Monday, December 30, 2013

Not A Drop To Drink


Today’s post is on Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis. It is 309 pages long and is published by Katherine Tegen Books. The cover has a very desolate landscape with a pond and a house with a girl on the roof. The story is told from third person close of the main character Lynn. The intended reader is older young adult and adults and for good reason. There is some language, talk of rape, and a lot of violence so older young adult and up just for the best. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.
Lynn knows every threat to her pond; drought, a snowless winter, and, most important, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty or doesn’t leave at all.
Confident in her own abilities, Lynn had no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftops, rifles in hand.
But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, the nighttime threats, and the gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it…
With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different from our own.

Review-This is a very dark book but it is very well written and I liked it. The main character grows so much over the course of the book. She starts out strong but over time she becomes compassionate which makes her stronger. In this world were water is controlled or tainted with disease Lynn makes hope. That does not happen until the end of the book but the ending is so different and good from the beginning. In the beginning Lynn and her Mother are alone and they want to stay that way. Trusting no one and needing no one else they kill to protect what little they have. At the end of the book Lynn has made a safe haven for other people to come and live. She has given others hope to survive and even comes to a place of forgiveness for herself and others. The last two lines of the book was very moving.
Lynn watched as he reached the pond, his long tongue hungrily happing at the life-giving water. “Leave him be,” she said. “He’s just trying to survive. Same as us all.”

The reason that is so moving is that is the coyote that killed her mother. Her character is so good at the end. There is a lot of darkness in this book with the world in the shape that it is in but if you are willing to brave it I think that you will like this piece.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I was given a copy of this book for free to review by the publisher.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Osiris Curse


Today’s post is on The Osiris Curse by Paul Crilley. It is the second in his Tweed & Nightingale series. It is 286 pages long and is published by PYR. The cover has the two main characters looking cool and steampunky with flying machines, pyramids, and with an evil looking mummy in the background. The intended reader is young adult but again if you read the first one and liked it then you like this one. The story is told from third person close moving from Tweed to Nightingale from chapter to chapter. There is no sex, mild language, and mild violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- When Nikola Tesla is murdered and blue prints for his super weapons are stolen, Sebastian Tweed and Octavia Nightingale are drawn into a global cat and mouse chase with his killers. What’s more, it seems that the people who shot Tesla are the same people responsible for Octavia’s mother’s disappearance. As the two cases intertwine, Tweed and Nightingale’s investigations lead them to a murdered archeologist and a secret society called The Hermetic Order of Osiris. Fleeing the cult’s wrath, they go undercover on The Albion, a luxury airship setting out on her maiden voyage to Tutankhamen’s View, a five star hotel built in the hollowed out and refurbished Great Pyramid of Giza.
In Egypt, the duo begins to unravel the terrible truth behind Tesla’s death, a secret so earth shattering that is revealed it would mean rewriting the entire history of the world. But if the cult’s plans aren’t stopped, Britain may lose the future.

Review- I was very excited about this book and Crilley did not let me down. The plot picks up not long after the end of the first novel. With Tweed still dealing that he is Sherlock Holmes reborn and Nightingale still looking for her mother. The investigation starts with H. G. Wells’ stolen invisible device and ends up with a secret underworld of intelligent reptiles. I liked that we got to spend more time with Nightingale in this volume and I hope that continues in next book whenever that is going to be. The dialog between Tweed and Nightingale was still funny and good, the action scenes were bit more fun I think. I think that is because there was more time. In the first novel Tweed and Nightingale were moving against a clock that was winning but I did not feel that way in this one. I hope that Crilley is working on the third novel because I want to see where he is going. Tweed was finally starting to both deal with being Sherlock Holmes and accepting that he is himself and good enough. I look forward to more and hopefully soon.

I give this book a Five out Five Stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France


Today’s Nonfiction post is on Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France by Nicholas Shakespeare. It is 448 pages long and it is published by HarperCollins. The cover is a picture of Priscilla during the time of the Nazi occupation of France. The story is told from some first person accounts like interviews and journal entries and sometimes from Shakespeare’s first person as he searches for information about his aunt. There is strong language, talk of sex and abortion, and violence; so adults only for the best. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- When Nicholas Shakespeare stumbled across a trunkful of his late aunt’s personal belongings, he was unaware of where this discovery would take him and what he would learn about her hidden past. The glamorous, mysterious figure he remembered from his childhood was very different from the morally ambiguous young woman who emerged from the trove of love letters, journals, and photographs, surrounded by suitors and living the precarious existence of a British citizen in a country controlled by the enemy.
As a young boy, Shakespeare had always believed that his aunt was a member of the Resistance and had been tortured by the Germans. The truth turned out to be far more complicated.

Review- This is the first biography that I have read in about 20 years. I just do not really like them but I liked this book. It is very sad but Shakespeare loves his aunt. His compassion about her life, her dreams, and the things that she had to do in order to survive shines out. He lays out his aunt’s whole life from birth to her death of cancer. He interviews her friends that are still living, and if not he reads letters and personal journals about his aunt. This is a look at a woman who lived through a very dark time and parts of her never moved past it. Priscilla, like most people, was more than just one person. She was a daughter of failed parents, a sister unknown to most of her siblings, a wife to two husbands, and a survivor of one of the darkest times in modern history. This story is about more than just one woman. It is about all women who lived like her; on the edge of life and death. Priscilla is a call to give mercy to those who are just trying to survive in impossible times. I was very moved by this book.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I was given a copy of this book by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Monstrumologist: The Final Descent


Today’s post is on The Monstrumologist: The Final Descent by Rick Yancey. It is the last volume in the Monstromologist series and is 310 pages long. The cover has the night sky with a city on it and crows; the title is in white and the author’s name in gray. The intended reader is older young adult and adult like the others in the series. There is language, some talk of sex but nothing on the page but the violence can be very intense so beware of that. It is told from Will Henry’s first person perspective. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Will Henry has been through more than seems possible for a boy of fourteen. He’s been on the brink of death on more than one occasion, and has gazed into hell- and hell has stared back at him, and knows his face. But through it all Dr. Warthrop has been at side.
When Dr. Warthrop fears that Will’s loyalties may be shifting, he turns on Will with a fury, determined to reclaim his young apprentice’s devotion. And so Will must face one of the most horrific creatures of his monstrumology career- and he must face it alone.
Over the course of one day, Will’s life- and Pellinore Warthrop’s destiny- will lie in the balance. In the terrifying depths of the Monstrmatium, the young man will face a monster more terrible than any he could have imagined- and their fates will be decided.

Review- I have loved this series. I know that Yancey had hit big with his 5th Wave book and that is in my library book pile but the Monstrumologist series has not gotten the love and fame it truly deserves. I was afraid because this volume is much thinner than the others in the series but Yancey does not fail. He gives a good conclusion to an intense series and he leaves himself some room to write more if he wants to. I hope he does. The thing that keeps this book going is not the weird monster or how Will Henry is going to save himself and Warthrop but what finally made Will Henry cut all ties with Warthrop. Yancey handles this very well especially with some of the fancy writing that is going on. There are time jumps going on but Yancey gives them to the reader excellently. I was never confused about what time I was in. Within one sentence I knew when I was and maybe because I read this book in about three days I was never lost. The darkness that Will Henry has to contend with the darkness in his heart. If you are looking for a happy ending this book and series is not for you. But if you want an insightful look into the inhuman and all too human heart then this will not disappoint.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Society of Steam: The Falling Machine


Today’s post is on The Society of Steam: The Falling Machine by Andrew Mayer. It is book one the Society of Steam trilogy and is published by Pyr Books. The cover is beautiful with two of the main characters on it Sarah and Tom with a villain on the side; the title and author’s name in white. It is told from third person close varying from chapter to chapter but the movement is natural and not jarring to the reader. There is no language, no sex, and some violence but it is not graphic so 13 and up should like and enjoy. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- In 1880 women aren’t allowed to vote, much less dress up in costumes and fight crime. But nineteen-year-old socialite Sarah Stanton still dreams of becoming one of the Paragons, New York’s greatest team of gentlemen superheroes.
Sarah finds opportunity in tragedy when Dennis Darby, her mentor and the leader of the Paragons, is murdered right before her eyes. To discover the truth behind the assassination, Sarah joins forces with the amazing mechanical man known as the Automaton. Together they begin to explore the mystery behind the assassination.
What they discover is a conspiracy among the heroes- a plot that will destroy the Paragons from within and deliver the secret substance that gives them their powers straight into the hands of the greatest villain the world has ever seen.
Now, is she is going to save them, and her mechanical friend, Sarah must become a true hero, no matter what the cost.

Review- I had so much fun with this book. The writing is strong, the characters are fun and interesting, and the plot is enjoyable. The only problem I have is that I do not have the other two novels in the trilogy… yet. The book happens pretty quickly once Sarah decides that she needs to avenge Dennis Darby’s murder, the story just flows. It starts with a bang and ends with twist that I guessed was coming but I was still pleased by it. Sarah is smart but she has been sheltered from the real world as a young woman of her time would have been. Sarah needs more and by the end of the novel she starts to get it. If you are an avid reader then you get where Mayer gets some inspiration for characters and I enjoyed that so much. If you are not in Steampunk or superheroes then maybe this is not the story for you. But if you are like me and love both then go get this book today. You will not regret it.

I give this book a Four of out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought this book with my own money.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Witness wore Red


Today’s nonfiction post is on The Witness Wore Red: The 19th wife who brought polygamous cult leaders to justice by Rebecca Musser and M. Bridget Cook. It is 340 and is published by Grand Central Publishing. The cover has two pictures on it on top one of Rulon Jeffs with his many other -wives wives and Rebecca colored in red and on bottom with her standing wearing red as she is going to testify against Warren Jeffs. The intended reader is someone who is interested in this case, cults in America, or just autobiographies. There is language, rape, and violence in this book so adults only. This is a autobiography of Rebecca Musser and is told from her view point. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Rebecca Musser grew up in fear, living downstairs from her father’s “real” family, and concealing her family’s polygamous livestyle from the “dangerous” outside world. Covered head-to-toe in modest clothing, she attended Alta Academy, a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints school headed by principal Warren Jeffs.
In her teens, she became the nineteenth wife of her people’s Prophet: eighty-five-year-old Rulon Jeffs. Warren’s father, and watched as forty-eight additional wives were added to her marriage. After she was widowed, Warren Jeffs threated t her with remarriage, she pulled off a daring escape and sough to build a new life and family on her own terms.
But by 2007, though far from the church, she was no longer able to stand for the abuse and underage marriages still being perpetuated within it- ones that she believed put her sisters at risk. So Rebecca took the witness stand against Warren Jeffs, the new self-proclaimed Prophet of the FLDS.
The following year, as a team of Texas Rangers raided the Yearning for Zion Ranch, and FLDS stronghold, Rebecca was called to the scene, advising law enforcement to an outcome that avoided bloodshed. Her subsequent testimony revealed the horrific secrets behind the temple’s closed doors, sending the leaders to prison for years, and Warren Jeffs for life.
Now, for the very first time, Rebecca Musser tell the full story- one of crimes committed in the name of God, the abuse of power played out across generations, and her own perseverance as well as the strength of those around her. A revealing memoir of escape from fanaticism and a fast-paced courtroom drama, THE WITNESS WORE RED is a testament to the power of one woman’s decisions to change the world.

Review- This was a very interesting and eye-opening read. I remember the raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch but other than that I really knew very little about the FLDS. Now that I have read two books about the FLDS I know a bit more and that is horrifying and stomach turning. Musser tells her story with heart-breaking honesty. She does not pull her punches when dealing with the abuse that happened and happens nor does she spare herself from the same gaze. Unlike Sam Bower, who at times I had trouble believing, I believe Musser. Because she does not have to prove herself in anyway. Bower would say things like “ I didn’t believe her” or “ I had my doubts about that witness” but Musser does not. She says that she believed because she knew it could happen. Musser just wants people to understand and have mercy on those who lived and live under FLDS teachings and control. Her story is about grace, forgiveness, and mercy towards and self.

I give this book a Five out of Five Stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane


Today’s post is on The Ocean at The End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. It is 178 pages long and is published by HarperCollins. The cover is blue with a girl just above the title; the title and author’s name in white. It is told from the first person perspective of the main character, a nameless boy. This is written for adults and older young adults and I personally think that is best. I will cover that in my review. There is no foul language, some sex, and some very scary events/monsters. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returned to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at his farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie- magical, comforting, wise beyond her years- promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

Review- Like most people in this world I love Gaiman. I think that he is a wonderful and unusual storyteller. He blends so much to make a story and this book is no different. Now I have read Gaiman as he wrote; I do not care that he was writing children’s stories or not. A good book is a good book no matter what. So some of the plot twists were not new to me. Things with no eyes, parents, adults really, being taken in by bad things, and wise cats I have seen Gaiman use before and I do not blame him for using them again. The reason why this story is for adults is really from three scenes. One is where the evil being has taken control of the boy’s father and makes the father almost drown the boy. Next the boy sees the evil being and his father having sex but because he is just seven he does not know what they are doing. And the last is when the boy dies. You are trapped in his first person perspective so everything is very real to you. On a side note the sex is not very graphic; the only reason I understood what the father and the evil were doing was because I am an adult. One thing that I really liked about this novel is that the boy is unnamed.  That appeals to me for some reason. If you are a Gaiman fan read this and if you want to be read it too.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library but it is on my to-be-bought list.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement


Today’s Nonfiction post is on Quiverfull- Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce. It is 258 pages long including an index. The cover has a hand holding arrows on a sky background. The content of this book is told in mostly third person with interviews, articles, and sometimes how the author got in contact with these individuals. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book but it is deeply disturbing because of the content so 16 and up. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- In the corners of fundamentalist Christendom across the country, an old ideal of Christian womanhood is being revived. It looks like this: The “biblical” woman wears modest, feminine dress and avoids not only sex but also dating before marriage. She doesn’t speak in church, or try to have authority over men. She doesn’t work outside the home, but within it she is its tireless center. She is a submissive wife who bolsters her husband in his role as spiritual and earthly leader of the family. She understands that it’s her job to keep him sexually satisfied at all times, and that it’s her calling as a woman to let those relations result in as many children as God wants to bless her with. She’s not the throwback to the fifties summoned in media-stoked “mommy wars” but is a return to something far older.
The Christian patriarchy movement finds its fullest expression in families following what they call the Quiverfull philosophy. Here, in direct and conscious opposition to feminist calls for gender equality and marriage equity, women live within stringently enforced doctrines of wifely submission and male headship. They eschew all contraception in favor of the philosophy of letting God give them as many children as possible- families of twelve or more children that will, they hope, enable them to win the religion and culture wars through demographic means: by reproducing more than other social groups.
Journalist Kathryn Joyce plunged into the world to give readers an intimate view of the patriarchy movement. We meet Nancy Campbell, grandmother to thirty-two and counting, and editor of an internationally distributed magazine that provides guidance for women seeking to be “virtuous” mothers and wives. We are invited into the home of Donna Mauney, an “ex-feminist” homeschooling mom from North Carolina, who children are more dedicated to the movement than she is. We are also introduced to the aspiration of Doug Phillips founder of Vision Forum and one of the most influential proponents of the patriarchy movement- aspirations that include a return to the values of sixteenth-century Calvinism, the repeal of women’s suffrage, and the cultivation of “Virtuous daughterhood”: unconditional devotion of a daughter to her father, who serves, quite literally, as her “Lord” until he helps her choose a husband who will then fulfill that role.
Quiverfull takes us into the heart of a movement we ignore at our peril, and offers a fascinating examination of the twenty-first-century women and men who proclaim self-sacrifice and submission as model virtues of womanhood- and as warfare on behalf of Christ.

Review- I read this book because I knew very little about the patriarchy movement but I had some suspicions. Now I have done more research both from this book and other sources and I have to say that this is horrifying. Joyce tells a story about real people living in this lifestyle every day for all their lives. Joyce tells the story but she has so much compassion for the people, both female and male, who are living in this world that it helps while reading it. The notes, interviews, and the articles that Joyce gives the reader about this movement is both enlightening and terrifying. The patriarchy movement is about a ‘return’ to better women and girls but really it is about controlling them in all ways. It is movements like these that make me ashamed of being a Christian. They twist and destroy the word of God and make themselves look like holy men of God. I had to read a funny novel in between chapters of the book so that I could make it all the way through this book. This book is broken into three parts from wives to mothers to daughters and the last chapter as daughters is truly sickening. I will recommend this book to my sister, nieces, sister-in-law, and others just to get the word out about this movement.

I give this book a Five stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hidden Empire

Hidden Empire (The Saga of Seven Suns, #1)
Today’s post is on Hidden Empire by Kevin J. Anderson. It is the first in his Saga of Seven Suns series which is seven novels long. It is 637 pages long including a glossary characters and terminology. The cover has Jupiter on it with the title in orange and the author’s name in yellow. The intended reader is someone who likes space operas, does not mind a lot of people dying, and general hard science fiction stuff. The chapters are told from third person close of a different main character. There is violence, talk of sex, and foul language; but if you like any space operas or hard Sci-fi then this is not shocking or new. Just to be safe 16 and up. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Mankind has colonized the worlds of the Spiral Arm. The galaxy is theirs for the taking. But humanity will soon discover the brutal, horrifying price of arrogance in deep space.
The Kilkiss Torch is a device of unimaginable power, capable of transforming gas giants into new suns. However, unknown to humanity, the Jovian worlds are home to an undreamed-of alien species: the hydrogies. Infinitely advanced, supremely powerful, and now the victims of accidental genocide, the hydrogues don’t seek apologies or reparations. Instead, incredible armadas of invincible city-sized warships suddenly emerge from the galaxy’s numerous gaseous worlds with a single mission: to annihilate every last human being in the universe.
And so begins the Saga Seven Suns- an action-packed epic of mankind’s destiny among the stars.

Review- This is a fast-paced, action filled space opera. As a long time science fiction fan this was an interesting and different ride. As I read this book at times I had to put it down because Anderson made me care about the characters so when really bad stuff happened I needed a break. So I would put it down then pick it back up and so on for about four months now. And now I have finished the first novel. It was good. It was everything that I was hoping for. Space ships, tricky politics, innocent people fighting for their lives, and truly bad guys. In my opinion the bad guys are not the Hydrogues, at this moment at least, the bad guys are the ones in power both the human and the Ildirans. The human in power is pretty amoral but the Ildiran leader is not really grey but more like darker shadow. He creeped me out really bad. The robots in this are important to the future of the story and I look forward to seeing where they are going. In general I think that this is a strong first novel in a series.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought this book with my own money.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Elite

The Elite (The Selection, #2)
Today’s post is on The Elite by Kiera Cass. It is the second in the Selection series and is 323 pages long. It is published by Harper Teen. The cover has the main character in a red dress with ribbons on it looking over her shoulder just past the reader. There is no sex, some language, and some violence but nothing that was not in the first volume. It is told from the first person point of view of the main character America. The intended reader is young adult but if you read the first one and enjoyed it then you should like this one too. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- The Selection began with 35 girls. Now, with the group narrowed down the Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s love is fiercer than ever. The closer America gets to the crown, the more she struggles to figure out where her heart truly lies. Each moment she spends with Maxon is like a fairy tale, filled with breathless, glittering romance. But whenever she sees her first love, Aspen, standing guard, she’s swept up in longing for the life they’d planned to share.
America is desperate for more time. But while she’s torn between her two futures, the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want- and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Review- This was slow for me to get back into. I do not why but I had to get about halfway through the book before I started liking it again. There is not much character growth but that is okay because the novel picks up right where The Selection left off. Where there is character development is in the secondary characters like the King and Queen. We get history of how the US became the kingdom of Illea. I liked the world building that Cass has in it. But I did not like that Cass started playing the game of misunderstandings with America and Maxon because I still like Maxon more than Aspen. So much of the plot is tied up in the things unsaid and misunderstood between America and Maxon. That is something that annoys me in books, TV, and movies. If that did not happen in the book I would like it more but as it is not a bad second book but nowhere as good as the first novel.

I give this one a Three stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, December 2, 2013


Today’s post is on Opal by Jennifer L. Amentrout. It is the third in her Lux Series. It is 382 pages long and is published by Entangled. The cover has the same two models as the main characters Katy and Daemon with Daemon looking at the reader. There is language, violence, and sex in this book; so over 16 just to be safe. It is told from Katy’s point of view just like the other novels. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- No one is like Daemon Black.
When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well.. There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.
But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.
After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different… And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.
Together we’re stronger…and they know it.

Review- Amentrout is a good writer. She knows how to plot for long term stories and does it well. But I did not like Opal as much as the first two in the series. The ending is the whole reason for it. She leaves it at the cliffhanger. My problem with that is that I think that it is gimmicky. I know that cliffhangers are the normal but I feel that they are cheap in all forms. It is basically a way to tell the reader (or watcher for TV and movies) that they will ‘have’ to read the next part. That annoys me. Amentrout is a good enough writer that I will want to read the next novel; she does not have to pull low blows like that. It is annoying enough to me personally that I have stopped reading and watching series because of it. I want Amentrout to trust her talent because she is very talented. But other than the cheap ending I enjoyed the novel. More character growth, more answered and interesting questions arise over the course of this book. The fourth novel has been out for almost three months and I still have not read it nor do I have a desire to. I will probably wait until all the novels are out before I read it and that is very bad for Amentrout and all authors. They need sales and numbers in order to get their next book deal. But if you are going to write gimmickly when you do not need to then maybe I just need to find a different author.

I give this book Three out of Five Stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Prophet's Prey


Today's Nonfiction post is on Prophet's Prey by Sam Brower. It is 323 pages long including an index. It is published by Bloomsbury. The intended reader is someone who is interested in the story behind the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints or FLDS. The cover is a beautiful scene with the mountains of Colorado in the distance and two women with their backs to the camera in long dresses. There is some language, some graphic descriptions of the rapes that happened, and talk of violence. Be warned. The book is told in two ways first talking about what was going on inside the FLDS ranches and homes; then from Brower as he collected data about them. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the book jacket- From the private investigator who cracked open the case that led to the arrest of Warren Jeffs, the maniacal prophet of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Latter- Day Saints (FLDS), comes the compelling, horrifying story of how a rogue sect used sex, money, and power disguised under a façade of religion to further criminal activities and a madman’s vision.
Despite considerable press coverage and many lengthy legal battles, the full story remained largely untold. Only one man can reveal the whole, astounding truth: private investigator Sam Brower, who devoted years of his life to breaking open the secret practices of the FLDS and bringing Jeffs and his inner circle to justice. In Prophet’s Prey, Brower implicates Jeffs in his own words, bringing to light the contents of Jeffs personal priesthood journal, discovered in a hidden underground vault, and reveals to readers the shocking inside world of FLDS members whose trust he earned and who showed him the staggering truth of their lives.
Prophet’s Prey  offers the gripping, behind-the-scnes account of a bizarre world from the only man who knows the full story.

Review- This was an interesting book but I had some problems with it. I understand that Brower spent seven years of his life involved with the FLDS and its people but some things I just did not believe. Like at one point he said that he was doubtful about the woman who was calling pretending to be a 15 year old girl being raped daily. I remember when that news story broke and no one was doubtful. Everyone from the federal government to the average person just like me believed it. But when he was talking about all the details about the FLDS and their daily life I did believe him. Brower does not always go into details about all the horrors that women and children endure in the FLDS culture but he does not sugar-coat them either. He does a good balancing act of truth but protecting both the reader and the person that it happened it. As you are reading the book you can feel Brower’s frustration with the legal system and how it has failed to protect and even to help people. But be warned- this book is not for those with a weak stomach. Bad things that are real are talked about in this book. I had to read it in pieces because of that.


I give this book a Four out of Five Stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Million Suns

A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)

Today’s post is on A Million Suns by Beth Revis. It is the second in her Across the Universe series. It is 386 pages long and is published by RazorBill. The cover is star covered with a young man and young woman in a bubble facing the stars. The intended reader is young adult but adults can enjoy this one too. There is some language, no sex, and some violence but nothing too extreme. It is told from the first person point of view of Amy and Eldest; changing from one chapter to the next. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed.
But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to act on his vision- no more Phydus, no more lies. But when Elder learns shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a mystery that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier. Their success- or failure- will determine the fate of the 2,298 passengers aboard Godspeed. But with each step, the journey becomes more chaotic, and the love between them more impossible to fight.
Beth Revis catapulted readers into the far reaches of space with her New York Times bestselling debut, Across the Universe. In A Million Suns, Beth deepens the mystery with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Review- The second novel picks up three months after the end of the first novel with all the tensions that it left. Again who was the villain for this novel, like the first one, was unseen but believable. Again dealing with one of the side characters was hard to read because he is an evil person. But I think that he is used to show that no matter what we do; in the end we are still human with all those failings. I think that Elder grows more as a character than Amy. In the first book it is about Amy finding her own feet alone but now Elder must step up and become more to save everyone. One thing that I really liked about Suns was the emotional pressure on the characters. Elder gets to see a change in how people react to him and he is forced to grow. Amy one the other hand does not have as much character growth as she did in the first novel but I think that is because more is needed of Elder than her for the story. Amy is more established than he was but now they are on more equal terms as characters and partners. I am looking forward to reading the last novel Shades of Earth soon.

I give this book Four of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Rithmatist

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1)

Today’s post is on The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson. It is the first in a new YA series. It is 378 pages long including book discussion questions and published by TOR. The cover is grey with front piece like parchment with a clockwork horse at the bottom. The intended reader is young adult but anyone who has read Sanderson before will love this book. There is no sex, no language, but the violence can be intense. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the wild chalklings- merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the wild chalklings now threaten all the American Isles.
As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing- kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery, one that will change Rithmatics- and their world- forever.

Review- Once again Sanderson creates an inventive world with dynamic and fascinating magic system. Sanderson is a brilliant writer and once again I am in awe of his ability. This is an alternate history with strong Steampunk themes. The characters are interesting and they grow over the course of the book; like good characters should. Each chapter starts with drawing and a little more information about rithmatics. At first these do not make sense but as the story goes on and you get more information about rithmatics things begin to come together. Of course there are questions that Sanderson saves for the next book; like is really going on in Nebrask or what came back from there wearing a human skin. As a fan of the Slender Man mythos I did enjoy the nod to it in the form of one of the villains. I strongly recommend this book and Sanderson in general. If you have not read him yet then this a great place to start. He has all the style of his Mistborn series but written for a lighter audience. I will be paying this book if I don’t get it for my birthday.

I give this book a Five out Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Just My Type


Today’s Nonfiction post is on Just My Type by Simon Garfield. It is 356 pages long including credits and an index. The cover has the title and author name in a red stripe down the middle with black above and below. The intended reader is someone who wants to know about the history of fonts or is a fan of Garfield’s work. There is no sex, minimal language, and no violence in this book. Thirteen and up because of some the very complex learning that happens with this book. It is told from third person with interviews and some of the author’s thoughts about fonts and their makers sprinkled in. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the book jacket- A delightfully inquisitive tour that explores the rich history and the subtle powers of type. Fonts surround us every day, on street signs and buildings, on movie posters and books, and on just about every product that we buy, But where do fonts come from, and why do we need so many? Who is behind the business-like subtlety of Times New Roman, the cool detachment of Arial, or the maddening lightness of Comic Sans (and the movement to ban it)? Simon Garfield embarks on a mission to answer these questions and more, and reveal what may be the very best and worst fonts in the world.
Typefaces are now 560 years old, but we barely knew their names until about twenty years ago, when the pull-down font menus on our first computers made us all the gods of type. Beginning in the early day of Gutenberg and ending with the adventurous digital fonts, Garfield unravels our age-old obsession with the way our words look. Just My Type investigates a range of modern mysteries, including how Helvetica took over the world, what inspires the seemingly ubiquitous use of Trajan on bad movie posters, and what makes a font look presidential, male or female, American, British, German, or Jewish. From the typeface of Beatlemania to the graphic vision of the Obama campaign, fonts can signal a musical revolution or the rise of an American president. This book is a must-read for the design-conscious that will forever change the way you look at the printed world.

Review- This is the second book that I have read by Garfield. I liked On The Map better but this is still a good book. This is an interesting and fun history of type. Garfield goes from Gutenberg to the people who are creating the type for tomorrow.  He has chapter breaks with odd information about the people, events, or just odd things that happened when some typeface was being designed. Garfield’s intense research and attention to detail again makes his writing a joy to read. The only part that made my eyes water was when he was laying out the print matrix’s that were and are used. All those numbers and technical information was a little much but I do now know how Gutenberg set his type. I recommend this book for fun and informative about type history and the very colorful characters who made them.

I give this book Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Lazarus Machine

The Lazarus Machine (Tweed & Nightingale Adventures, #1)
Today’s post is on The Lazarus Machine: A Tweed & Nightingale Adventure” by Paul Crilley. It is the first novel in a new series. It is published by Pyr Publishing and is 261 pages long. The cover has the two main characters with a green and silver machine and man in gas masks behind them. The intended reader is young adult but anyone who likes Steampunk and fast paced adventures will enjoy this book. There is no language, no sex, but the violence is not too bad and there is no gore. It is told in third person close moving from Tweed to Nightingale. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- An alternate 1895…A world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference Engine. Where steam and Tesla powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.
It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.
But all is not well…
A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as it takes over the underworld. As the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.
Professor Moriarty.
When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, Tweed is forced to team up with an information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.

Review- I loved this book. It was fun, fast paced, and with interesting characters. This is the first YA for the author but he is a good writer so it does not matter. Now as I am an experienced reader so I saw some of the twists coming but that did not bother me and I think that if you are younger, like YA, you may not see them coming. The way that Crilley world builds is fantastic. For example: Tweed and Nightingale are running down an alley, he creates them, their clothes, their emotions, etc. Then they look up and he builds the alley, the shadows, the sounds around them. I truly enjoyed reading this book. This is going on my to be bought list. The only thing that I would like Crilley to change is that I do not think that he does not use Nightingale to her best. I found her so interesting I wanted more with her and about her. But other than that this is a great read and I am looking forward to the next book which he is working on.

I give this book Five out if Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library but I will be buying this one.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

Today’s post is on Insurgent by Veronica Roth It is 525 pages and is published by Katherine Tegen Books. It is the second in Divergent series. The cover is a grey-green with a tree in a circle of its own leaves and the outline of Chicago in the background. The Intended reader is young adult or dystopian fans. There is no sex, no language and lots of violence like the first one. It is told from person point of view of Tris the main character; just like the first novel. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- One choice can transform you- or it can destroy you. But, every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save herself- while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grow. And in times of wars, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable- and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Review- This book picks up where the first one stops so no time is lost in the telling. Roth does some things that I really like in Insurgent like having Tris deal with that fact that she killed people in the uprising. Tris undergoes some interesting character changes because of the murders that she saw and the killing that she had to do herself. The romance is still in the back burner of the novel with the mystery of why the leader of one of the factions murdered so many people. The final twist in the novel was confusing and out of the blue. I can see where Roth is going with the third novel but I can why she wanted to go that way. Basically we as humans have forgotten what it is to be human so we sent some people to live in isolation so that they could learn to be human again then maybe they could lead everyone else back to some kind of morality. So yeah… I do not know why she decided to do that but whatever. I liked this more than Divergent but I think that Roth is going to go weird with the plot. I want to trust her but something just stops me from doing that. I hope that I am wrong; I hope that Roth does not go into some preachy morality play thing for the third novel. She can surprise me and I dearly hope that she does.

I give this book Four stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013



Today’s Nonfiction review is of Drink: The intimate relationship between woman and alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnson. It is 303 pages long including a bibliography at the end. It is published by Harper Wave. The cover has the title in a sweat ring left from a drink. The intended reader is adult and with the content I think that is best. There is talk of sex, sexual abuse, drug use, alcohol abuse, suicide, and other dark topics. The book combines both first person and third person narratives. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- With the feminist revolution, women have closed the gender gap in their professional and educational lives. They have also achieved equality with men in more troubling areas as well. In the United States alone, the rates of abuse among women have skyrocketed in the past decade. DUIs, “drunkorezia” (choosing to limit eating to consume greater quantities of alcohol), and health problems connected to drinking are all on the rise, especially among younger women- a problem exacerbated by the alcohol industry itself. Battling for women’s dollars and leisure time, corporations have developed marketing strategies and products targeted exclusively to women. Equally alarming is a CDC report showing a sharp rise in binge drinking, putting woman and girls at further risk.
Ann Dowsett Johnson illuminations this startling epidemic; dissects the psychological, social, and economic factors that have contributed to its rise. In Drink, she brilliantly weaves in-depth research, interviews with leading researchers, and the moving story of her own struggle with alcohol abuse. The result is an unprecedented and bold inquiry that is both informative and shocking.

Review- This book was very moving but not very surprising to me. Maybe because I have just finished my graduate degree on a party campus but I knew about a lot of the problems that Johnson talks about. She talks about her mother’s struggle with alcohol, her fight with, and many other young and older women’s fights with alcohol. She talks about why someone would want to drink themselves into blackout and what happens when someone does that. The only thing that I really had a problem with in this book is that Johnson point blank tells the reader that she is not going to talk about why she became an alcoholic. My problem with that is she had no problem doing that to others. She does tell when the women give their real names and she does not pull any punches. But I think by not wanting to be honest about herself with the reader that she cheapens her message. The message of Drink is that there is hope. No matter why you drink or use there is hope for you to get better and to get your life back. I think that if someone has an alcoholic or drug user in their life that this a good book to read. It is very well written and I think that this information is needed by the world at large.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I was given this book from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch

Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles, #1)

Today’s post is on The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney. It is 343 pages long and is published by Greenwillow Books. The cover is dark with the shadowy figure of a man walking towards the reader. The story is told from first person point of view of the man character Tom. There is no sex or language but there is some violence and scary stuff so younger readers be aware. The intended reader is younger about the age of 10 and up with the younger enjoying this more than the older. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Capturing Witches Binding Boggarts Driving away Ghosts.
For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook got the county, ridding the local villagers of evil. Now his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried- some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive.
Only Thomas Ward is left. He’s the last hope; the last apprentice.
Can Thomas succeed? Will he learn the difference between a benign witch and a malevolent one? Does the Spook’s warning against girls with pointy shoes include Alice? And what will happen is Thomas accidentally frees Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the county…?

Review- When I started reading this I thought that this was The Witcher for kids but it really not. It is its own story with some influences like The Witcher and other stories with things that go bump in the night and those that fight them. It is well written but nothing really special. The cast is pretty average with self-doubting young man who will grow into some power, a harsh teacher with a heart of gold, and a mysterious young girl who may or may not be good or bad. For a younger reader this would have been fun, scary, and new but to someone who has read as much as I have nothing really new here. I would recommend it for a kid who is looking for a way into horror. I do not think that reluctant readers would be drawn to this because of the length and the long(er) chapters. All in all nothing really new but nothing against it either. Tom has compassion, he listens to others, but he makes decisions himself. If you have a young one who like Goosebumps and wants to move up in the horror world then this is a good way to go.

I give this book Three and half stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this from my local library.

Friday, November 8, 2013



Today’s post is on Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It is 313 pages long and is published by Knopf. The cover is blue with the head of a child on it, the child’s face only has one eye and two ears of different sizes. The story is told in first person point of view changing from main character to main character in different parts of the story. There is no language, no sex, and only one fight scene that is not scary or gory. The intended reader is a middle school aged child. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?
R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

Review- This is a feel good book about overcoming your metal barriers. Auggie cannot change his face or the way that people respond to him but he can change how he responds to the world. That is what is important in this book. Not Auggie’s disfigurement but the choices that he makes along the way. Other characters are given the main light in their own parts of the book but it all comes back to Auggie’s decision to not hide from the world anymore. Auggie goes from really not liking himself and what he feels is his place in this world to in the end he just feels like a normal kid. He has problems but Auggie does not let them overwhelm him or make him bitter. It is an uplifting story with character change and movement. This is not my normal reading fare but it is very well written and was a finalist for the Newbery book award this year 2013. This book could be a good teaching tool about children born with problems from facial disfigurements, like Auggie, to other problems that people have in life.

I give this book Five out of Five Stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Last Dragonslayer

The Last Dragonslayer (The Last Dragonslayer, #1)

Today’s post is on The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. It is 286 pages long and is published by Harcourt. The cover is light green-yellow with an orange VW bug under the title. It is told in first person point of view of the main character Jennifer. There is no language, no sex, and no violence. The author is British so some of the language may not be easily understood by someone who does not know British culture but Google will help with that. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- In the good old days, magic was indispensable- it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians- but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam- and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something knows as… Big Magic.

Review- I went into reading this book with some caution because I love Jasper Fforde. He is a wonderful writer but until this book he has only written books for adults. The Thursday Next Series is a literary marvel. So I was worried that Fforde would change his style now that he was writing for young adults. I should not have been worried. This book is wonderful. It is not as funny as Thursday Next but it is very well written and I think that teens would enjoy it. Jennifer is a good heroine who fights against some very bad odds. The plot is not too twisty but that is normal for Fforde. He likes to take small things like an orphan and make them into something bigger and wonderful. Jennifer is important and she learns that she is more than just a foundling. She is blessed with honor, a desire to do the right thing, and a very carefully controlled temper. The Last Dragonslayer is a great read by a wonderful author and I cannot wait to read the second one.

I give this book Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I was given this book as a gift.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Destiny, Rewritten

Destiny, Rewritten

Today’s post is on Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice. It is 335 pages long and is published by Katherine Tegen Books. The cover has a young girl looking up with shelves of books all around her and a black cat sitting next her looking up too. There is no sex, no language, and no violence in this book. It is told from the first person point of view of the main character Emily. The intended reader is a young girl no younger than seven but no older than about 12. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Des tin y: |destine| (noun) The hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.
Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has been told for her entire life that her destiny is to become a poet, just like her famous namesake, Emily Dickinson. But Emily doesn’t even really like poetry, and she has a secret career ambition that she suspects her English professor mother will frown on. Then, just after discovering that it contains an important family secret, she loses the special volume of Emily Dickinson’s poetry that was to her at birth. As Emily and her friends search for the lost book in used bookstores and thrift shops all across town, Emily’s understanding of destiny begins to unravel and then rewrite itself in a marvelous way.
In her third novel, Kathryn Fitzmaurice again weaves a richly textured story about unexpected connections, about the stories that shape our lives, and about the most perfect kinds of happy endings: those that happen just on time.

Review- I have some serious problems with this book. First the cover when Emily is searching for her book she is not looking for anything else so she does not have a look of happy wonder on her face, like on the book cover and there is no cat in this book at all. If I was a younger and reading this book because of the cover I would want a cat in this story. I would want the cat to be important to Emily. Next Emily does not really believe in destiny, her mother does. I did not enjoy reading this book. It was boring. The only thing not boring about this book is some of the conversations that Emily has with her best friend Wavey. They are very natural conversation and very funny. But other than that I did not enjoy this book. It was boring and I found her mother, a main character, to be very annoying. Her mother believes that destiny just happens to people and nothing Emily or anyone else any change it. She is not helpful or interesting to the story. Another reason I would not give this to a young girl to read is because Emily’s mother is actively stopping her from finding anything out about her father. The mother is keeping information from her that her mother knows that Emily really wants to know.

I give this book Two stars out of Five and I will never read anything by the author again. I get nothing for my review and I was given this book to read for a graduate course.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Today’s post is on Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. It is 279 pages long including beautiful full page illustrations and is published by Little, Brown, and Company. The cover is a beautiful picture of a young girl riding a flying dragon across the cover in bright and vivid colors. The intended reader is are children about the age of seven and up but it is so well written that anyone who likes fantasy Chinese stories will enjoy this book. The story is told from third person close changing characters from one to another over the course of the story. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- In the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli spends her days working hard in the fields and her nights listening to her father spin fantastic tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli’s mother, tired of their poor life, chides him for filling her head with nonsense. But Minli believes these enchanting stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest.

Review- I really loved this story. I love myths and legends from all cultures. Grace Lin is a wonderful storyteller and this book won the Newbery Honor the year it was published. This is a wonderful story is you are interested in Chinese storytelling or if you want to introduce your children to this vivid culture. The main story is about Minli wanting to meet the Old Man of the Moon and discover how she can make her family’s life easier. But threaded throughout the story are dozens of other stories that gives beautiful background information about the main plot. It is not just about Minli changing her family’s fortune but about learning to be happy with what blessings you have. There is theme of family being the most important thing in the world from the beginning story about the Jade Dragon looking for her lost children to Minli’s parents looking for her. This book is easy to read aloud so bedtime story would be great with this.

I give this book Five stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, October 25, 2013

One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer

Today’s post is on One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Gracia. It is 215 pages long and is published by Amistad. The cover has the three sisters on it with Delphine closest to the reader looking up at the sky. The intended readers are children but teachers could read this out loud for the class. It is told from the first person point of view from Delphine. This book has won the Coretta Scoot King Award, was a National Book Award Finalist, and is a Newberry Honor Book. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Eleven-year-old Delphine has it together. Even though her mother Cecile, abandoned her and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern seven years ago. Even though her father and Big Ma will send them from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to stay with Cecile for the summer. And even though Delphine will have to take care of her sisters, as usual, and learn the truth about the missing pieces of the past.
When the girls arrive in Oakland in this summer of 1968, Cecile wants nothing to do with them. She makes them eat Chinese takeout dinners, forbids them to enter her kitchen, and never explains the strange visitors with Afros and black berets who knock on her door. Rather than spend time with them, Cecile sends Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern to a summer camp sponsored by a revolutionary group, the Black Panthers, where the girls get a radical new education.
Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, One Crazy Summer is the heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls in search of the mother who abandoned them- an unforgettable story told by a distinguished author of book for children and teens, Rita Williams-Garcia.

Review- This is not my kind of book. But that said it is well written and if you are interested in the time period then this is a good book for you. For me personally I was bored with it. I did not feel that the main problem was resolved by the end. I did not buy Cecile’s ‘change’ and I still do not get why she left when Cecile could not name Fern. I think that Delphine is only adult that is in the book and that is sad because she is only eleven. The dynamics between the sisters is believable but I just really did not connect with the book. I think that it was a place in the classroom with all the history that is very important to the book but other than that I just do not see it being more.

I give this book Three out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review, I borrowed this book from my local library, and I read it for a graduate class.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Men Who United the States


Today’s Nonfiction book is The Men Who United the States by Simon Winchester. It is 447 including notes and a bibliography. It is published by HarperCollins. The cover has two pictures on it ; at the top the picture of a man standing before Niagara Falls and on the bottom a train going across a high bridge. The intended reader is someone who is interested in American history. There is no language, no violence, and no sex in this book so all ages okay. The book is mostly told from third person but Winchester does put in stories about traveling around the US to add color. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- For more than two centuries, “E pluribus Unum”- “out of many, one”- has been featured on America’s official government seals and stamped on its currency. But how did America become “one nation, indivisible”? What unified a growing number of disparate states into the modern country we recognize today? In this monumental history, Simon Winchester addresses these questions, bringing together the breathtaking achievements that helped forge and unify America and the pioneers who have toiled fearlessly to discover, connect, and bond the citizens and geography of the United States from its beginnings.
Winchester follows in the footsteps of America’s most essential explorers, thinkers, and innovators, including Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery expedition to the Pacific Coast, the builders of the first transcontinental telegraph, and the powerful civil engineer behind the Interstate Highway System. He treks vast swaths territory, from Pittsburgh to Portland, Rochester to San Francisco, Truckee to Laramie, Seattle to Anchorage, introducing these fascinating men and others- some familiar, some forgotten, some hardly known- who played a pivotal role in creating today’s United States. Throughout, he ponders whether the historic work of uniting the states has succeeded, and to what degree.
Featuring forty illustrations throughout the text, The Men Who United the States is a fresh, lively, and erudite look at the way in which the most powerful nation on earth came together, from one of our most entertaining, probing, and insightful observers.

Review- I enjoyed this book but I warned you; it can get meaty at parts. But if put the time into this book you will have a good time but I like to learn new things. I have never read Winchester before but he has made a fan out of me. He takes you on a journey from the beginnings of America all the way to the current age. His unique spin is using an Asian philosophy to explore American history. He starts with when America’s story was dominated by wood and ends with it told through metal. The chapters are long but there are breaks so you can stop and think about what you have just read. There is a ton of information in this book and Winchester does not waste an inch in this book. But it can drag at points just to warn you. All in all an excellent read.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I was given this book from HarperCollins in exchange for a review.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Today’s post is on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. It is 525 pages long including over 284 pictures. It is published by Scholastic Press. The cover is very colorful with an ornate lock and keyhole in the center and the full moon over Paris behind it. This book has won the Caldecott medal and is written for children but anyone who loves stories with hope and movies will enjoy this book. It is told from third person close mostly from Hugo's point of view but it can change from time to time. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book. Anyone over the age of five should be fine. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks- like the gears of the clocks he keeps- with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the train station, Hugo’s undercover life and his most precious secret are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spell-binding mystery.
With 284 pages of original drawings, and combining elements of picture book, graphic novel, and film Brain Selznick breaks open the novel form to create an entirely new reading experience. Here is a stunning cinematic tour de force from a boldly innovative storyteller, artist, and bookmaker.

Review- This book is fun to read and great for those children who have trouble reading. The plot is fast paced with interesting twists. The characters are so real. They make this story about life after War World One not only interesting but enjoyable. Hugo is just trying to survive and he wants nothing more than to fix the last thing that his father was working on before he died. Isabelle wants to see movies without having to hide it from her godfather. And her godfather just wants to forget everything from before the war. The way that these characters meet, interact, and save each other is moving and beautiful. Selznick brings together so many elements from writing and film that it is hard to pick them apart. This book is an ode to the love of books and film from Selznick to the reader. If you are an adult you will fly through this book and children will enjoy both the pictures and the way the words build them in your mind.

I give this book Five stars out of Five. I get nothing for this review, I borrowed this book from my local library, and I read this book for a graduate class.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Requiem (Delirium, #3)

Today’s post is on Requiem by Lauren Oliver. It is the third in her Delirium Trilogy and is 418 including a 27 page short story about Alex in the end. The intended reader is young adult but if you have read the others in the series then you should read this one too. The cover has the main character Lena in close-up looking at the reader directly. The story is told from first person point of view from Lena and Hana changing from chapter to chapter. There is some language, violence but no sex in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past. But we are still here. And there are more of us every day.  
Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge

Review- I have read all the of Delirium trilogy as they have come out but I was so disappointed with the final book. Oliver is an experienced writer, she knows how to plot out where her story is going, and that is my problem. Because I did not feel that she was ready to end this series. It is that or Oliver is going to write more in this world. She does not resolve the love interest problem or the government. The book just ends. All the characters from all the books are just left there with a ton of unfinished business. I do not know why Oliver chose to do that. It was very unsatisfying ending. There is not as much character growth in Requiem as there was in the second novel Pandemonium but that was fine until the end. The characters were dealing with all the changes from the second novel in this one and that was interesting and good. But the ending really just sucks all the good things that novels did because it just stops.

I give this book Two Stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl

The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl (Geek Girls, #1)

Today’s post is on The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl by Gina Lamm. It is part of her Geek Girl series and is 333 pages long. It is published by Source Books Casablanca. The cover has the male main character looking at the reader as he unbuttons his shirt and the female main character with big smile on her face looking at him. It is told from the main characters point of view changing from chapter to chapter. There is language, sexuality but no violence. 18 and up because of the sex. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- An avid gamer, Jamie Marten loves to escape into online adventure. But when she falls through an antique mirror into a lavish bedchamber- 200 years in the past! - she realizes she may have escaped a little too far.
Micah Axelby, Earl of Dunnington, has just kicked one mistress out of his bed and isn’t looking to fill it with another- least of all this sassy, nearly naked woman who claims to be from the future. Yet something about her in undeniable enticing…
Jamie and Micah are worlds apart. He’s a peer of the realm. She can barely make rent. He’s horse-drawn. She’s Wi-Fi. But in the game of love, these two will risk everything to win.

Review- I picked this book up because it sounded funny. It is not. It is pretty boring in actuality. Jamie is supposed to be a hardcore gamer girl with her own sense of herself. She is not. I am a hardcore gamer and it was painfully plain that Lamm has never played an MMO or talked to a real live gamer girl. Lamm just plays off the stereotypes that people who do not play have about gamers. Like gamers expect girls to be healers whether they want to or not. That is just not true. Jamie and Micah or, Mike as she likes to call him, are boring. Jamie also is not sassy. How Jamie to be sassy is by cursing in everyday language. I have no problems with cursing, I curse sometimes daily and pretty foully, but that does not make me sassy (Bonus information about me Quentin Tarantino is my favorite director and screenwriter.). She goes from not wanting anything to do with him because he was being an ass to her to in love with him in the space of twenty pages. Mike is not a bad hero but I just did not connect with him or with his relationship with Jamie. Honestly I did not really like anything about this book. It was not funny, it played on stereotypes, the romance was flat, and all the characters were two dimensional. I will not be reading anything else from Gina Lamm and I am just so disappointed in general with her and this book.

I give this book One star out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library Thank God!