Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Prophet's Prey

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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 fa├žade 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

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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

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

Drink

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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

Wonder

Wonder

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.