Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Reads - Save Me


Save MeSave Me

By: Kristyn Kusek Lewis
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
Daphne Mitchell has always believed in cause and effect, right and wrong, good and bad. The good: her dream job as a doctor; Owen, her childhood sweetheart and now husband; the beautiful farmhouse they're restoring together. In fact, most of her life has been good--until the day Owen comes home early from work to tell her he's fallen head over heels for someone else.

Unable to hate him, but also equally incapable of moving forward, Daphne's life hangs in limbo until the day Owen's new girlfriend sustains near-fatal injuries in a car accident. As Daphne becomes a pillar of support for the devastated Owen, and realizes that reconciliation may lie within her grasp, she has to find out whether forgiveness is possible and decide which path is the right one for her.

My Thoughts:
"You can never know the truth about anyone's marriage, including your own" -Nora Ephron

That was a great quote to set the book rolling. Daphne is coming home from a business trip - something routine, she plans for her husbands birthday dinner, only to come home to the announcement that he has fallen in love with someone else. 

This was enough of a draw to get me involved. Not because of the physical messiness that was potential here. But because Lewis did her best to go through all of the various shades of emotional turmoil that this kind of event - which sadly is all too common - could cause.  Owen easily could be written off as the bad guy and this turn into another one of those books of woman independence, finding yourself outside of your relationships, and whatnot which are very prevalent in today's culture. But Lewis did far more than that.

She explored where relationships come from, what they need to thrive and how and when is the time to draw the line. Owen was far from the bad guy. He wasn't excused for his actions. But it seemed to be a case of life rather than something where you can suddenly point fingers and everything is black and white.

I was surprised by it's ending. And am still not quite sure how I feel about it. But it was definitely one that left me thinking. 

This novel explores fidelity, love and what is needed to keep a marriage going and I recommend it. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

YA Wednesday - Princess of Thorns


Princess of ThornsPrincess of Thorns

By; Stacey Jay
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
With the kindom at the mercy of soul-stealing ogres, the next generation of Sleeping Beauty  is in for a fight that no amount of fairy blessings could prepare them for. 

Given fairy blessings from her mother, Princess Aurora has been given the tools needed to end the reign of her evil step mother. Given superior fighting abilities, mercy and bravery Ror has everything necessary. But all magic comes with a price and Ror was also cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as her brother, she goes out to save the kingdom, in the process finding the cursed Prince Niklaas who joins her in her quest to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago. 

My Thoughts:
Well, this was a sequel that I had never thought about. This takes what happens after "Happily Ever After" to a whole new meaning.  It also shows how not all blessings are blessings and even things which seem like curses can be to our benefit.

Princess Ror is impetuous, cunning and loyal to a fault. She loves her brother and would do anything to save him from the ogres who hold him captive. This requires raising an army, staging a revolt and killing the ogre queen all before the end of summer. She is a princess who sometimes is impossible to like. She pushes away others ideas, can't seem to see any other path than what is before her and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

In short she is a teenager -  a very driven teenager, I'll give you that but a teenager none the less. She knows what is best even if it hurts pretty much everyone around her in the process. And with this hubris, she is going to need her growing up moment and that is a painful, but almost beautiful thing to watch.

I love fairy-tales, always have, and I found this blend of a young woman who seemed to come out of Divergent''s 'dauntless' group an interesting fit. She actually did remind me of Tris, in how Ror tried to push out every spark of mercy she could to achieve her ends. (That was why I really didn't like Divergent. I didn't feel like there was any redemption for Tris...) But it was Ror's ending which redeemed her and which made the book a great read.

I liked the weaving narrators - of seeing the ogre's thoughts and motivations. Of seeing the sudden realization of Ror when it all comes coming to pieces around her and her determination to build back up.

If you like fairy-tales and remakes, or strong female leads (WITHOUT LOVE TRIANGLES!!! YAY!!!) then give this a shot. You will enjoy it.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Misc Monday: Love Water Memory


Love Water MemoryLove Water Memory

By: Jennie Shortridge
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
Caution for conservative readers - multiple uses of strong expletives and adult content.

Summary:
Who is Lucie Walker? Even Lucie herself can't answer that question after she comes to, confused and up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay. Back home in Seattle, she adjusts to life with amnesia, growing unsettled by the clues she finds to the selfish, carefully guarded person she used to be. Will she ever fall in love with her handsome, kindhearted fiance, Grady? Can he devote himself to the vulnerable, easygoing Lucie 2.0, who is so unlike her controlling former self? When Lucie learns that Grady has been hiding some very painful secrets that could change the course of their relationship, she musters the courage to search for the shocking, long-repressed childhood memories that will finally set her free.


My Thoughts:
What an interesting premise. What would you do if one day you found yourself somewhere with no memory of how you got there, nor of who you were? And what are you to do if that happens to someone you love?

It was an idea which got me thinking. What would I do in that position. Which of my habits would I go back to and what would I think was idiotic/strange/foreign? Lucie wonderfully captured what I imagine all of the confusion, heart ache and loss which would come with such an event. So many times trying to figure out who she was, and who she is going to choose to become. It was great to see her rebuild from the tragedy and become a woman even better than she was before. 

Throwing in an approaching wedding added a depth of complexity. Could Grady still love a woman who was so entirely different from the one he proposed to? Both versions of Lucie were so completely different but Grady managed to find the similarities, and I liked seeing the two of them begin to reconnect.

I just wished that it hadn't been so needlessly laced with profanity. Are there times that call for it - occasionally it can be justified. But there was just too much of it for me personally.

I liked the premise and the characters, it was well executed. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Secret Keeper


The Secret Keeper The Secret Keeper

by: Kate Morton
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 5 stars

Summary:
1961 England. Laurel Nicolson is sixteen years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.

Fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to Green Acres for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by memories and questions she has not thought about for decades. She decides to find out the truth about the events of that summer day and lay to rest her own feelings of guilt. One photograph, of her mother and a woman Laurel has never met, called Vivian, is her first clue.

My Thoughts:
I love Kate Morton, always have. I still have difficulties determining which of her books are my favorites. This one just might take the cake. I finished it three days ago and I still can't get over how amazing it is. So many twists and turns in Laurel's search to find the truth and if a book can keep me guessing we know that excellent plot logic is at work. 

One of my favorite parts of all of Morton's work is how she writes. She writes for those who love literature and the written word. 

This story just kept me going and going and going. There were about 50 pages left and I was wondering how she was going to tie everything together and then when she did I just had to put the book down for the second and say "wow." It left me thinking about it and nothing else for a good day or so after I had finished it.

And so my friends if you find yourself stuck inside because of snow, or if you have a weekend and you want to get caught up in a novel - please, please, pick up The Secret Keeper. It really is one of the best books I have read. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Read - All Other Nights


All Other NightsAll Other Nights

By: Dara Horn
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
"How is tonight different from all other nights? For Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army during the Civil War, it is a question his commanders have already answered for him - on Passover, 1862, he is ordered to murder his own uncle in New Orleans, who is plotting to assassinate President Lincoln. After this harrowing mission, Jacob is recruited to pursue another enemy agent, the daughter of a Virginia family friend. But this time, his assignment isn't to murder the spy, but to marry her." Based on real personalities such as Judah Benjamin, the Confederacy's Jewish secretary of state and spymaster, and on historical facts and events ranging from an African American spy network to the dramatic self-destruction of the city of Richmond, All Other Nights is a story of men and women driven to the limits of loyalty and betrayal. It is also a parable of the rift in America that lingers a century and a half later: between those who value family and tradition first, and those dedicated, at any cost, to social and racial justice for all.

My thoughts:
I listened to this one rather than reading it - but it was a great way to pass time in the car as I drove around on errands and heading to and from my classes.

This was an aspect of history that I had never even thought of - spies in the Civil War. And then to get even more detailed let's take it up a notch with Jewish spies in the Civil War. This topic was wonderfully researched and chosen in my mind. The attention to details, to how the lines moved back and forth, adding in the Jewish culture - so often over looked in the finaces and weaving in characters such as Judah Benjamin and Edwin Booth made the listening experience so enjoyable.

Jacob was hard to listen to sometimes - I just wanted him to grow a spine, to say no. To refuse to kill his uncle or to have more strength than to play with the heart of a girl, even if she was a confederate spy. I wanted him to stand up to his commanding officers and make them realize what all they were asking of him. But the beauty of the book is that Jacob wanted the same things of himself.He was horrified to see how easily he did it himself.  It was an example of  how flawed a character can be and yet we still root for him. Because in him we find ourselves.

There were some amazingly cringe-worthy moments of antisemitism in there too. But it was accurately reflecting sentiments of the time. I am amazed at how far we have come. Not because of where we are now, but because of how bad the world used to be. 

For those who are wanting a Civil War novel (it is most definitely a novel) with a thrilling plot which keeps going until the end I would highly recommend All Other Nights.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

YA Wednesday - Royal Airs


15808431Royal Airs

By: Sharon Shinn
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 stars

Summary:
Josetta is a princess of one of the Five Families. But she is far from the throne, so she is free to spend her days working in the poorest sections of the city. 

Rafe Adova, an outcast since he was born, lives the life of a career gambler in those slums. He has no ambition other than cheating at the card tables—until the night he decides to help a girl named Corene, who looks like she's stumbled into the wrong bar. She, too, is a princess—sister to Josetta, who finds her with Rafe. He fascinates her. 

Josetta has never encountered anyone like him—someone seemingly devoid of elemental blessings. He is drawn to her, though he thinks they are unlikely to ever meet again—but their connection grows strong when she nurses him back to health after he is assaulted by foreign mercenaries.

And when they learn the reason he's being hunted, they know that the truth about his history could endanger not only their love but also their very lives...

My Thoughts:
I love Shinn, she is one of my favorite authors, so when I saw the second book of a series that I absolutely love I was so happy! This world is one of the favorites that I have read. (see Troubled Waters the first in the series) Along with wonderful world building, there are great characters. Josetta is the kind of woman who I would want to go to lunch with, and to see a young woman just trying her best to make the world better was a breath of fresh air.

And Rafe is a great male lead. It is great to see how the two of them help each other in thier whole comming-of-age journey. Rafe is resourceful, honorable, intelligent, but oh so directionless. I feel very much the same right now (directionless...I'm not sure how I measure on all of the other traits) and to see him fighting to find his own way felt real.

One of my favorite lines was about - when seeing something good and normal come into Josetta's life - her body guard tells her "You have led such an extraordinary life until now, it is nice to see something ordinary happening to you." The idea that love and family are the ordinary things in our lives was so sweet. 


The whole story was well woven, well written and I read it in one night. I can't wait for the next in the series to come out and I hope that she continues through all of the elements of her world.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

YA Wednesday - The Girl in the Steel Corset


The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)The Girl in the Steel Corset

By: Kady Cross
Genre: Steampunk, YA
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Summary:
In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one... except the "thing" inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch...

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on even if it seems no one believes her.

My Thoughts:
This book, has a great story, a fun plot, characters who I adore - it's steampunk, which is my favorite thing ever right now, but it did not in anyway live up to the standards set by Gail Carriger (and one more). The writing, or better said editing, didn't help the story reach it's full potential. I loved Finley, and how different sci-fi stories such as Jekyll and Hyde, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Frankenstein were all woven into the narrative. I am not a love triangle fan, but this one was ok, I am excited to see how Finley will resolve this in the future. 

My main problems are best summarized in how when asking for forgiveness a character just looks and says "We good?" WHAT? This isn't taking place in downtown LA or in modern society for that matter. If you are trying to convince me that this is in London, stop with the slang and let the characters speak how they are supposed to. It irked me to no end to see this pop up through out the novel. Also if I figure things out about 250 pages before the characters it's a problem. 

It had potential to be amazingly wonderful, but because of poor editing it fell flat. Though, I will be reading the sequel because I love the characters that much

Monday, February 9, 2015

Misc Monday - The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs


The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs (Cyrus Mills, #1)The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs

By: Nick Trout
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary:
After fifteen years, Dr. Cyrus Mills returns to rural Vermont to inherit the Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, the failing veterinary practice of his recently deceased and long-estranged father. Cyrus, a veterinary pathologist far more comfortable with cold clinical facts than living, breathing animals (not to mention their quirky, demanding owners), intends to sell the practice and get out of town as fast as he can.

Then his first patient—a down-on-her-luck golden retriever named Frieda Fuzzypaws—wags her way through the door, and suddenly life gets complicated. With the help of a black Labrador gifted in the art of swallowing underwear, a Persian cat determined to expose her owner’s lover as a gold digger, and the allure of a feisty, pretty waitress from the local diner, Cyrus gets caught up in a new community and its endearing residents, both human and animal. Sensing he may have misjudged the past, he begins to realize it’s not just his patients that need healing.

My Thoughts:
I thought this was a sweet novel, I just got Netflix and am on a Gilmore Girls binge right now, and this fit right in with the whole "small town/bad relationship with my parents" vibe. The characters are quirky and fun, and the reason why I love small towns - particularly the receptionist - she really is her own person - and the pets are cute too. 

I found this to be a sweet read, though too much whining about how parents weren't there and so I am going to be grumpy about it. Though it looks as like it the story continues in Dog Gone, Back Soon, so I will be interested to see how things further develop.

It was a sweet read, and I will get the sequel to see how it goes. It also probably rings truer for those who are huge pet owners. Go ahead, try it. It is a fun way to pass the time. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Friday Fun - The Movement of the Stars


The Movement of Stars: A NovelThe Movement of Stars: A Novel

By: Amy Brill
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
It is 1845, and Hannah Gardner Price has lived all twenty-four years of her life according to the principles of the Nantucket Quaker community in which she was raised, where simplicity and restraint are valued above all, and a woman’s path is expected to lead to marriage and motherhood. But up on the rooftop each night, Hannah pursues a very different—and elusive—goal: discovering a comet and thereby winning a gold medal awarded by the King of Denmark, something unheard of for a woman.

And then she meets Isaac Martin, a young, dark-skinned whaler from the Azores who, like herself, has ambitions beyond his expected station in life. Drawn to his intellectual curiosity and honest manner, Hannah agrees to take Isaac on as a student. but when their shared interest in the stars develops into something deeper, Hannah’s standing in the community begins to unravel, challenging her most fundamental beliefs about work and love, and ultimately changing the course of her life forever.

My Thoughts:
I loved this book. It was a slower pace than what I have been reading lately and I thoroughly enjoyed the change. I thought it would be a nice novel - historical, charting how Hannah became an astronomer and whatnot. What I didn't expect was that the book would explore the difficulties of racial issues, reconciling the faith of your fathers with your personal belief system, and gender equality.

All of these subjects - which are still relevant to our time - were covered without coming across as didactic. Hannah was a great lens through which to view the time because in her pursuit for truth she didn't seem to have the ability to see the importance of color, gender or belief. She simply went quietly in search of truth. I loved how she was able to stand up for her beliefs, declare what was in her heart - but still love those who believed differently than she did. 

Hannah is a strong, flawed and complete character and I loved to read on her story and go with her through her journey. It was a wonderful read. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

YA Wednesday - A Matter of Magic


A Matter of Magic (Mairelon, #1-2)A Matter of Magic

By: Patricia C. Wrede

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars

Summary:
When a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into a traveling magician’s wagon, Kim doesn’t hesitate. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London, Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. A hard life and lean times have schooled her in one lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But when the magician catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for. Until he suggests she become his apprentice; then the real trouble begins.

Kim soon finds herself entangled with murderers, thieves, and cloak-and-dagger politics, all while trying to learn how to become both a proper lady and a magician in her own right.

My Thoughts:
Everyone has probably figured out by now that I have a thing for magical novels...they are kinda sorta basically my favorite - if they are well put together and these ones are.

First off, this is two books published together - kind of like my one of my favorite fantasy novels Crown Duel and it was great to not have to wait to read the next one but just follow the story. I loved the characters - Kim had everything I loved in a heroine - mainly she was her own character, romance really wasn't something on her agenda and she was sharp as a knife. I was kind of reminded of the book Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell for a slightly younger audience. And Mairelon - the magician who finds Kim - is wonderfully exasperating and needing to go off on adventures. He doesn't care about what society thinks and I loved seeing his reactions to all of the chaos which surrounded him. 

I finished the book last night - having stayed up far later than I intended - and was left wanting to search for the next installment of the series...sadly I don't know if there is one, though goodness knows it would be a marvelous thing. If you want Regency England with Magic, this is the perfect book for you. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Must Read Monday - Chateau of Secrets


Chateau of SecretsChateau of Secrets

By: Melanie Dobson

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars

Summary:
A courageous young noblewoman risks her life to hide French resistance fighters; seventy years later, her granddaughter visits the family’s abandoned chateau and uncovers shocking secrets from the past. Gisèle Duchant guards a secret that could cost her life. Tunnels snake through the hill under her family’s medieval chateau in Normandy. Now, with Hitler’s army bearing down, her brother and several friends are hiding in the tunnels, resisting the German occupation of France.

But when German soldiers take over the family’s château, Gisèle is forced to host them as well—while harboring the resistance fighters right below their feet. Taking in a Jewish friend’s baby, she convinces the Nazis that it is her child, ultimately risking everything for the future of the child. When the German officers begin to suspect her deception, an unlikely hero rescues both her and the child.

A present day story weaves through the past one as Chloe Sauver, Gisèle’s granddaughter, arrives in Normandy. After calling off her engagement with a political candidate, Chloe pays a visit to the chateau to escape publicity and work with a documentary filmmaker, Riley, who has uncovered a fascinating story about Jews serving in Hitler’s army. Riley wants to research Chloe’s family history and the lives that were saved in the tunnels under their house in Normandy. Chloe is floored—her family isn’t Jewish, for one thing, and she doesn’t know anything about tunnels or the history of the house. But as she begins to explore the dark and winding passageways beneath the chateau, nothing can prepare her for the shock of what she and Riley discover…

My Thoughts:
I love that cover, so I made it a little bigger - doesn't it just look gorgeous to you?

So I read this in one sitting as the internet had gone out and someone had to watch the house while the cable guy took a while to fix it. But it was a very pleasant way to spend a Friday. I was reminded a little of the work of Kate Morton (The Distant Hours, Forgotten Garden and others are all amazing) In that it was a book alternating the story lines from the past and present trying to help families figure out their pasts. It was great to read about France during the occupation, and I feel like because of the book All the Light We Cannot See (I'm currently reading it, review to come) it is a part of history that many people are interested in. 

It discussed the ideas of who are the good guys and the bad guys? And is it still possible to be a good person when circumstances force you into doing things you would rather not?

I found it charming and sweet, with characters who were well written and fleshed out. I loved the growth of both Gisèle and Chloe. However I wasn't entirely content with Chloe's ending. Spoiler*** I wouldn't have had her end up in another relationship so soon after a break up, please just let her move to France and start that home for orphans like her dad wanted, No need for a relationship!!!***Spoiler done.

It was a good novel and one that I think could be good for book clubs to spark up some discussion and debate. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Musings

Ok, let's be honest, I really don't know who out there is reading, or even if I am putting things up that people want to read. I blog about books for many reasons.

First and foremost - so that I don't feel like I am wasting my time by reading whenever I want. I mean I can delude myself into thinking that if I blog and help other people know if it is a good book or a bad book then I am helping the world at large! Yes it is a good thing to be reading all day (Did I mention that today I sat on a couch and didn't move until I had both started and finished a book I had been wanting to read.)

Second - Well I do want to help people find books that otherwise the would have not found. But I don't know what the genres interest you, the reader (there are what 14 of you? Thank you followers!) And I don't always want to go with the best seller list because we know that:
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. –Haruki Murakami

So I find myself reading random things that jump out at me from the library shelf or from my goodreads page. 

Third - It has kind of become a habit for me. I finish a book, I write a post. I started so that I could qualify for free galleys and whatnot and then it just became an exercise that I *try* to do every week.

But I don't know if this is something I want to keep up, I am trying to get into grad school and that in and of itself is crazy! And I don't know if anyone will notice if I stop blogging or if they will care. So I leave it to you readers...Do you want me to try and keep this up? If so I will do my best to make it better, to try and get some interviews with authors, some book give-aways and contests and make it more fun. So the choice is yours.

Thank you for all that you do lovely readers, if you want me to stay let me know either by following me, or commenting below. :)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fantasy Friday - Stolen Songbird


Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, #1)Stolen Songbird

By: Danielle L. Jensen

Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars 

Summary:
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

My Thoughts
I needed a full 24 hours after reading this book before I could pick up another one. I needed a cathartic relief because I was enthralled by Trollus and wanted to be there. I wanted to live in this world, I wanted this to happen to me. And when I think about it all I want to do is to read it all over again. It is a mix between two of my favorite fantasy novels Crown Duel and The Hollow Kingdom (review to come shortly) and I loved every moment of it. I can say that it is perhaps the best modern fantasy that I have yet read. Jensen's world building was wonderfully done and she did it all without getting bogged down into the details as she introduced us into this new world. I could gush for a really long time...

I love Cecile. She is smart, strong and a wonderful heroine. She can be funny, and while thrown into a world roiling with dangerous politics she can hold her own. And Tristan...I love him. I just want them to communicate more. But, well communication is everyone's problem and it furthered the plot well. I loved the other Troll characters - the twins Vincent and Victoria and Merc, the first troll you meat. I love their distinct and fully formed personalities. I love the politics and the secrets and the schemings. 

Even the villains are well thought out nd developed so that they have decent motivations and we as the readers can know them. One thing that I wish I could have seen more of was (Spoiler highlight to see) the use of the bonding magic. In the world when two trolls are bonded they can feel what the other is feeling, and so Cecile and Tristan can feel each others emotions - including things like pain and hunger - I just wish that she had used more of this wonderfully amazing idea. (Spoiler done)

The biggest drawback is that the next one doesn't come out until June 2nd...I will be counting the days.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Historical Tuesday - The Brickmaker's Bride


The Brickmaker's Bride (Refined by Love, #1)

The Brickmaker's Bride


By: Judith Miller

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary:
Yearning for a fresh start, Ewan McKay travels with his aunt and uncle from northern Scotland to West Virginia, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial assistance from his uncle Hugh. Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, but it's Ewan who gets the business up and running again. Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Besides, Ewan has resolved he'll focus on making the brickmaking operation enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business
and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Scotland.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work may come to naught. As his plans begin to crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. She and her mother may have a way to save the brickworks, and in turn Ewan may have another shot at winning Laura's heart.

My thoughts:
This was a fun little read. When you want good clean romance this is a great book for that. I loved Laura and her mother and their interactions. It was a great mother daughter relationship to read. It was also nice to have a new time period and problem faced. Ewan was a great leading man and I found myself rooting for them.

The only reason I kept it from 4 stars was that the villains seemed far too one dimensional for my liking and  it at points I was just wondering why anyone still talked to them. 

It was a sweet christian romance and if that is what you are wanting to read this is a good pick for you.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Misc. Monday - I'll Be Seeing You


I'll Be Seeing YouI'll Be Seeing You 

By: Suzanne Hayes & Loretta Nyhan

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 Stars

Summary:
It's January 1943 when Rita Vincenzo receives her first letter from Glory Whitehall. Glory is an effervescent young mother, impulsive and free as a bird. Rita is a sensible professor's wife with a love of gardening and a generous, old soul. Glory comes from New England society; Rita lives in Iowa, trying to make ends meet. They have nothing in common except one powerful bond: the men they love are fighting in a war a world away from home. 

Brought together by an unlikely twist of fate, Glory and Rita begin a remarkable correspondence. The friendship forged by their letters allows them to survive the loneliness and uncertainty of waiting on the home front, and gives them the courage to face the battles raging in their very own backyards. Connected across the country by the lifeline of the written word, each woman finds her life profoundly altered by the other’s unwavering support.

My Thoughts:
I am going to buy this one rather than just settle on  it being from the library because I love the language that these women use. It had the wonderful charm of  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society but here on American soil. 

I loved watching how the women came to know each other and the power which letters have in helping friendships grow. It actually made me really sad to be living in a time where letters are obsolete - and when it comes to communicating with friends e-mail seems to be as well. 

The beautiful advice which was passed between women, and the strength which the pulled from each other as each of them had their lives changed by the ravages of war made me get out my highlighters and mark the whole thing up (Don't worry my librarian friends it is still in perfect condition.) One of my favorite lines though was:

“Did you ever catch a glimpse of what you could be, if you really tried at life?”

Maybe because I am young and at a place where I don't know what the future holds but this line really rang through me. Almost all the prose is like that. Wonderful, deep but not trying to be. It is simply two WWII wives passing along recipes and advice for how to survive the war - and all of the problems that just generally happen in life.  

Book clubs will love it - READ IT!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

YA Wednesday - Waistcoats and Weaponry


Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School, #3)Waistcoats & Weaponry

by: Gail Carriger
Genre: Steampunk
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Summary: 
Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.  

My thoughts: This is a wonderful coming of age work of Steampunk. I absolutely have fallen in love with these characters. During a time when I really have no business to be doing free reading I have devoted several evenings just to see what was going to happen next. And now I am quite distraught that I have to wait for the next one to come out. 

This isn't your typical girl coming of age novel with a love triangle and you will they, won't they - though the elements are all there, so don't go in thinking that this one is romance free. But they are set against a backdrop of this young girl - being trained in the art of spying and death - and how she feels about all this. Can she stomach killing people? Where on earth do her loyalties lie? Which group truly has the best interests and the balance of the nation at heart. That is her main struggle and it all comes to a head in this book. 

I love Carriger and her voice as an author, and as soon as life settles down (as if that ever is going to happen so lets just say in December) I am going to be finding her other books and reading to my hearts content. 

Just for Fun - Corsets and Conspiracies



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Curtsies & Conspiracies

By: Gail Carriger
Genre: Steampunk
Rating: 4.5 stars

Summary:
Sophronia, second year at Miss Geraldine's Finishing Academy, and it appears that this one won't be any easier than the last. After receiving incredible marks at her exams, Sophronia finds herself excluded and having to figure out the world on her own. While in such straits, she manages to save Dimity from kidnappers, discover a suspicious plot and let us not forget that now the Lord Fe!!lix Mercy is about. This year will prove to be one vital to her training, and to her friendships - which is stronger your ties to your work? or to the ones you love?

My Thoughts:
Ok, well I started with the 2nd book...I really wish I hadn't because this is an amazing book and I want to know how on earth the world was created. I love this version of London, Mechanicals everywhere, Vampires and Warewolves in parliament and general fun on all sides.
This series reminded me of my long lost love of steampunk, and especially why I love books set with a British tone. The wit, the class and the constant need for tea really make me fall in love with the genre. And the world which Carriger built left me wishing to grab my mechanical puppy, catch the next dirigible and make my way to London as quickly as I could.

It was well written, witty and left me giggling the whole entire time. It's one of the few books that I passed onto a housemate saying - hey you should read this! And that's how I feel about it in general. Hey you people who like steampunk, boarding schools or espionage...READ IT! and be happy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

OH my wow...

This is a really long 24 hours and I am fading fast. But here is the last survey

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? 22
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?Well I only really was able to read 4 but I loved Secret of Pembrooke Park
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nah, I loved it
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I loved how even though I was a late comer I still had some cheerleaders and was able to fully participate
  5. How many books did you read? 4
  6. What were the names of the books you read?  Return of the King, War and Peace, The Secret of Penbrooke Farm, Prince Caspian
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? That is hard because they were all different but I did love finally finishing War and Peace
  8. Which did you enjoy least? Probably Prince Caspian Because it was in the last hours
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I most definitely will and  I would love to maybe host a mini-challenge 

It is Finished!

I have made it to hour 20! and what is more....

War & Peace - More Accurate Book Titles, lol! I will admit I had to make up my own non-Russian names when reading this. Regardless, beautiful literature.


I READ ALL OF WAR AND PEACE!!! THAT HUGE BOOK THAT NO ONE HAS EVER READ? YEAH I READ THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah I feel accomplished...


Why do I read?

Or when you must stay where you are...So the question has been posed as to Why do I read?

To be honest I haven't seriously thought about it too hard. It is just a key and core part of who I am. I am a reader and it makes me happy and it is something that I just need.

I also think that it is something that is just a genetic part of my makeup. I was talking with my wonderful Grandmother one time and she seemed to be the only one who understood that it really was hard to walk away from a book to do dishes, talk to people, sleep or eat. It just wasn't something that she could easily do. After hearing that I remember thinking "Finally!!! Someone who understands" She told me how her mother didn't really get it and how it seems to be something that skips generations. It made so much sense, and it made me so happy to know that there were other people who understood how important a fictional world could be.

It is a place where I can learn, where I can reach the heights and depths of humanity without having to tread there myself. Like what I found in the wonderful story Between Shades of Grey (Not to be confused with the horrible thing with a similar title) It helps me to grow and expand as a person. It opens up new ways of thought and introduces me to culture and language that isn't my own.  Like in The Stolen Girl. It to me seems to be a duty to read, to come to know the world around you and to try and understand how other people think.

It is also how I can escape from the world that surrounds me. Whether it's due to stress, to anxiety to just wanting to travel, I have a bunch of little black marks on a paper that can take me to any place, any time and can even help me to enter any mind. Who wouldn't want this kind of super power. I can stop being a stressed out college senior for a second and can travel into a wonderful romantic post WWII England with Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society or I can go to Russia and try to make sense of a madman and the internal struggles that many will face with Crime and Punishment.

So I just want to tell everyone to: