Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Book Review: The Magician King - Lev Grossman

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Quentin Coldwater should be happy.  He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory--a fictional utopia--was actually real.  But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace.  His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.

Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off--only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, a they'd hoped.  As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.

3/5 stars (liked it)
Quentin is the biggest whinniest baby ever.  He is never satisfied with what he has and is constantly seeking something better.  I would much rather have read this story from Eliot's point of view.  Although I really liked that we got to learn more about Julia in this book and all that happened to her from the time that she failed the test to get into Brakebills and how she met up with Eliot.  Although I wish we could have found out why she was there in the first place and their meeting from her point of view.

Book Review: Someday, Someday, Maybe - Lauren Graham

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Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three-year deadline she gave herself to succeed.  But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in a an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job.  She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates--Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material--and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works.

Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dish washing liquid and peanut butter commercials.  It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world.  Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet.

Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I listened to this on audiobook since it was read by Lauren Graham herself.  Franny is funny and a worrier.  She is constantly making deals with herself.  I really like her two roommates too and like that as the book progressed they were in it a little more.  I loved the progression of Franny's character and how she went from a little unsure of herself to someone very confident in herself.  I loved and didn't like the ending.  The ending is left a little open but I thought it was a perfect ending to this story.  I would definitely read another book written by Lauren Graham.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Book Review: The Chosen - J.R. Ward

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Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convinced of treason against the Blind King is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deed, he accepts his soldier's fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor's life.  But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear--even her role of mother to her precious young.  Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever lobe.  Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love...or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

4/5 stars (really like it)
I always enjoy Black Dagger Brotherhood books and I enjoyed this one.  Although this book was not just about  Xcor and Layla's forbidden love.  This story was about Quinn and Blay, Vishious and Jane, Trez (a shadow) dealing with the loss of his mate, Lassiter and his new role, Throe and his new role, Tohr and his struggles.  I almost thing there were too many side stories, some of which were wrapped up by the end but some that we'll have to wait until the next book to see what happens.  Overall an ending I expected and a story I enjoyed.

Book Review: The Wonder - Emma Donoghue

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In the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation.  Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, The Wonder works beautifully on many levels--a tale of two strangers who transform each other's lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

3/5 stars (liked it)
At times I just wanted to smack Anna and tell her to eat!  Other times I wanted to smack her parents and the whole community for allowing an eleven year old to make a decision like that.  I found myself both disgusted and intrigued by this story.  The ending although expected, wrapped things up a little too neatly.  I was hoping for a different ending.  This story really makes religion seem way out there and how far people are willing to go for sacrifice.  Overall it was well written.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Book Review: Enders - Lissa Price

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Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael--teens with chips in their brains.  They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations--Starters who can be controlled and manipulated.  With the body band destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders.  But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn't want to do.  Like hurt someone she loves.  Having the chip removed could save her life--but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father.  Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena's memories, too...and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear.  Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?

No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man.  Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth.  Even if it kills her.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This book continues right after the last one.  I found Callie to be a little whinny in this.  I realize she's been through a lot but that should have made her a stronger person and she just seemed to have gotten weaker.  I would have liked to see more of Michael and learned a little more from him.  I thought the ending just wrapped everything up too quickly and things were conveniently explained.  Although the Old Man was a surprise, even he was conveniently taken care of.  Overall it was a good conclusion.

Book Review: Insatiable - Meg Cabot

Insatiable - Meg Cabot Sick of hearing about vampires?  So is Meena Harper. But her bosses are making her write about them anyway, ...