Friday, August 29, 2014

Samurai Deeper Kyo volume 22

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Today’s post is on Samurai Deeper Kyo volume 22 by Akimine Kamijyo.  It is published by Tokyopop. As it is the 22nd in the series you need to have read the first 21 to understand the story. The cover has Kyo and all the four emperors on it looking cool.  The intended reader is someone who likes samurai manga, lots of characters and character development. There is language, no sex, and lots of violence in this volume. Older teens and adults just to be safe. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book -  Hataru’s fight against his half-brother Shinrei continues! In a blind rage, Kyoshiro gives complete control of his body to Kyo and a deadly fight with Shinrei begins. Hotaru most choose between protecting his brother or joining Kyo in killing him. But before the battle is finished, the last of the Four Emperors, Akari, makes a grand entrance…

Review- Finally we have reached Shinrei but he is an ass so he is totally going back on his word to Yuya. Hotaru and Shinrei fight but with Hotaru still injured from his fight with Kyo it does not go well. Kyo and Kyoshiro have one moment of agreement and Kyo gets to kick ass. Yuya finally gets the water dragons out of her heart and then she and Kyo get into it. I will give the short version- Yuya wins. She wins all her fights with Kyo. In one panel he is just accepting that she is going to win and just move on. And by move in I mean kicks Bontenmaru in the head, so he does. Akari makes his/her entrance. Akari is a transvestite. She is also a wonderful healer. But she will only heal you if you tell her a secret. Poor Arika gets the worst of her but she is funny and just like everyone else likes Yuya. Now we get to see the real power of the Four Emperors. I can not wait!

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War

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Today’s nonfiction review is on Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott. It is 544 pages long including notes and is published by HarperCollins. The cover has the torso of woman in a blue dress and a broach with the United States and the Confederacy flags on it. The intended reader is someone who is interested in history and the impact that women had on the Civil War. There is some language, talk of sex, and lots of violence in this book but because of how it is written I think that anyone from 13 and up can read and enjoy this book. The stories are told from diaries, letters, interviews, and other historical sources. There Be Spoilers Ahead.
From the back of the book- Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy illuminates yet little known chapter of our history, chronicling the adventures of four heroines- a socialites, a farm girl, and abolitionist, and a widow- throughout the war.
After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall, Belle Boyd became a Confederate courier and spy, using her charms to seduce men on both sides.
Emma Edmonds cut her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the war’s bloodiest battles.
Beautiful widow Rose O’Neal Greenhow engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy.
Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring.
Abbott’s entertaining and enlightening history, packed with black-and-white photographs draws us into this tumultuous time as these daring women lived it.
Review- I think that this book is going to be the next big hit. This book is smart, interesting, fun, and touching. I had a moral problem as I read this book and I think that it is a good thing. Abbott presented me with people who are not good people but then they have to deal with others who are in my opinion are worse. For example Rose Greenhow is one of the reasons that the Confederacy won the battle of Manassas. She hated anything and everything about the US. But she was hunted, tortured and imprisoned by Alan Pinkerton. My problem was how Pinkerton did all of this and it was Pinkerton. I do not like Pinkerton. Abbott gives the reader many things that like. She makes all the women understandable and pitiable. The notes are useful but I did not need to read them to feel that I understood the story. I highly recommend this book.
I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I was given this book by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Strange Sweet Song



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Today’s post is on Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule. It is 324 pages long and is published by Dt. Martin’s Griffin.  It is a standalone novel. The cover has the main character in the center with her back to the reader running in the green gray woods. The intended reader is young adult but I think that some adults would enjoy this book, if you like coming of age stories with opera as a background. There some strong language, some abuse, talk of sex, and no violence in this book. The story is told from third person close. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Outside Dunhammond Conservatory, there lies a dark forest. And in the forest, they say, lives a great beast called the Felix. But Sing da Navelli never put much faith in the rumors and myths surrounding the school, music flows in her blood, and she is there to sing. This prestigious academy will finally give her the chance to prove her worth- not as the daughter of world-renowned musicians, but as an artist and leading lady in her own right.
Yet despite her best efforts, there seems to be something missing from her voice. Her doubts about her own talents increase when she is cast as the understudy in the school’s production of her favorite opera, Angelique. Angelique was written at Dunhammond, and the legend says that the composer was inspired by the forest surrounding the school, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. But was it all a figment of his imagination, or are the fantastic figures in the opera more than imaginary?
Sing must work with the mysterious apprentice Nathan Daysmoor, as her vocal coach, who is both her harshest critic and staunchest advocate. But Nathan has secrets of his own, secrets that are entwined with the myths and legends surrounding Dunhammond, and the great creature they say lives there.

Review- I was not sold on this book until the ending. It was very moving. The ending was very beautiful. Sing and the Felix have this moment of understanding that was touching and artistic. The pacing is very slow so some people will not like this book as much as it deserves. The pacing is like watching an opera. Things happen but everything adds up to the ending aria. Rule tells this story from four different perspectives, Sing, Nathan, the Felix, and the bad guy George. I really liked hearing from all the sides of this book. The only problem with that was at the beginning it was hard to tell who was experiencing when. But at halfway through you get it. The story feels very out of time. When something happens to make the reader think about when this is taking place it was very jarring but that does not disturb the flow of the story for very long. I will be reading Ms. Rule’s next book.

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

Friday, August 22, 2014

Samurai Deeper Kyo volume 21

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Today’s post is on Samurai Deeper Kyo volume 21 by Akimine Kamijyo. It is published by Tokyopop. As it is the 21st in the series you need to have read the previous volumes to understand the story. The cover has Hotaru and Shinrei looking cool with water and tattoo’s and stuff. The intended reader is someone who loves samurai manga, interesting romance, and fight scenes. The story is told from third person god perspective with character’s thoughts thrown in for plot and character development. There is violence, some language, and no sex in this volume. There Be Spoilers Ahead.
From the back of the book- Kyo and his party face off at the Fifth Gate- in the battle to kill off Shinrei, Kyo uses Mizuchi and Suzaku, his most powerful attacks, but they aren’t enough. With waterwyrms squeezing the life out of Yuya and Shinrei refusing to take them out of her body, the only way to save Yuya now is to kill Shinrei!
Review- Finally Kyo and Shinrei are fighting it out. I liked Shinrei okay before this volume but he is such a stubborn ass that I just lose all liking for him. Hotaru feels the same way. Kyo is still pretty hurt from his earlier fights so Hotaru has caught up with them and he decides that it is time to settle things with Shinrei. As they are brothers there is a lot to settle. Arika is still fun because him and Hotaru have a frenemy relationship. The dialog between Hotaru and Shinrei is just hilarious. They are telling each other off and that the other needs to stop fighting and grow up. I really enjoyed their interactions. More beautiful art in this one. Wide scenes with Kyo and company, full two page pictures with so much action in the images. Once again the story and art are just top of the line. I really love this series and I highly recommend it.
I give this manga Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought this manga with my own money.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time



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Today’s post is on Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time by Dava Sobel.  It is 208 pages long and is published by Walker & Company. The cover has a compass rose with John Harrison, H1, and a ship on the high seas over the rose. The intended reader is someone who is interested in nautical history, unsung heroes, and good writing. There is no sex, no language, and no violence in this book.  But some the language maybe too difficult for younger readers; ten and up just to be safe. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that “the longitude problem” was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day- and had been for centuries.
The quest for a solution had occupied scientists for the better part of two centuries when, in 1741, England’s Parliament upped the ante by offering a king’s ransom to anyone whose method or device proved successful. One man, John Harrison, dared to imagine a mechanical solution- a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had even been able to do on land.
Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest, and of Harrison’s forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, brilliance and the absurd, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clock making. Through Dava Sobel’s consummate skill, Longitude opens many new windows on our world.

Review- I spend part of childhood on sailboats. From birth to three I lived on one full time and I still walk like the earth is going to move under my feet. I feel a special closeness with the sea and I hope one day to live there year round. I think that I was predisposed to like and be interested in this topic. I was not disappointed. Sobel gives the reader a brief history explaining why longitude was so important to sailors, merchants, and everybody else. She gives insight into the lives of sailors, scholars, lords, and herself. With wit, understanding, and clarity the reader moves from the earliest human history to present day. All the dramas that come with people trying to solve a great mystery and the infighting when it happens. I was surprised that there is a villain in this story. A real villain who wanted to stop Harrison from getting the prize money because he did not like the answer; but in the end Harrison and the brilliant clocks won.  I want to go and see H1, H2, H3 and H4 in person.  

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

Monday, August 18, 2014

Flings

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Today’s post is on Flings by Justin Taylor. This is a series of short stories. It is 240 pages long and is published by Harper Collins. The cover is yellow with the title in red and the author’s name in black sideways on the cover. The intended reader is someone who likes literary fiction and short stories. There is strong language, sex/sexuality, and no violence in this collection. Adults for the best. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- In a new suite of powerful and incisive stories, Justin Tayler captures the lives of men and women unmoored from their pasts and uncertain of their futures.
A man writes his girlfriend a Dear John letter, gets in his cars, and just drives. A widowed insomniac is roused from malaise when an alligator appears in her backyard. A group of college friend tries to stay close after graduation, but are drawn away from- and back toward- each other by the choices they make. A boy’s friendship with a pair of identical twins undergoes a strange and tragic evolution over the course of adolescence. A promising academic and her fiancĂ© attempt to finish their dissertations, but struggle with writer’s block, a nasty secret, and their own expert knowledge of Freud.
From an East Village rooftop to a cabin in Tennessee, from the Florida suburbs to Hong Kong, Justin Taylor covers a vast emotional and geographic landscape while ushering us into an abiding intimacy with his characters. Flings is a commanding work of fiction that captures the contemporary search for identity, connection, and a place to call home.

Review- So that blurb is full of lies. This short story collection is dreck. Every story has sex and drugs in it. One story has no plot, no dialog, and no character development. I was impressed by that one. There was only one part of a line that I liked- everything managed and nothing solved, ask your doctor today.  That was the only thing that I like about this book. One part of one line that is the last third of very long and boring line but for the last part.  It is very literary. It has all the earmarks of that writing style. It is boring. It is pointless. It has unnecessary sex just to be racy without being racy or interesting.  It includes drug use because that is hip but this collection is not hip. It is dreck. Why for the love of god do people want to write this stuff or read it? I just do not understand. Nothing was interesting about this. I was given this book to read for a review by HarperCollins or I would never have read this dreck. Oh the dreck I will read to get more free books.  I would never recommend this collection for anyone to read ever.

I give this book a One out of Five stars. I was given this book to read by Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Samurai Deeper Kyo volume 20

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Today’s review is on Samurai Deeper Kyo volume 20 by Akimine Kamijyo. It is published by Tokyopop. As it is the 20th volume in the series you need to have read the previous volumes in order to understand what is going on. The cover has the group with Kyo in the center and everyone is looking cool. There some language, no sexuality, and lots of violence in this manga. The intended reader is someone who has read all the previous volumes, loves samurai manga, and cool fighting. The plot is told using third person god point of view with character's thoughts added for plot and character development. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From back of the book- Benitora and Taihaku face off at the Fourth Gage- Benitora’s dedication to protecting his friends just might give him the edge he needs to kill Taihaku. But when Taihaku gives a devastating revelation to Yuya, her life and Sakuya’s will change… forever.

Review- Benitora and Taihaku’s fight is the main arc of this volume but Yuya has her moments too. The whole reason she is with this motley group is because Kyo and Kyoshiro know something about her brother; namely who killed him. Taihaku knows more than that. He knows who her brother really was and who his real sister is. In addition he has a message from him to give Yuya- Live happily and do not avenge my death. Well Yuya does not take any of this very well and I do not blame her. Like her I too am tired of the Mibu thinking they have the right to destroy or save anyone they want. Benitora wins but then Taihaku is killed by another of the Five stars and Shinrei thinks that Kyo and company are the ones who did it. All the layers of lies and manipulation that the Mibu have is truly impressive. More fighting and Yuya’s life still hangs in the balance.

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Such Good Girls: The Journey of the Holocaust’s Hidden Child Survivors

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Today’s post is on Such Good Girls: The Journey of the Holocaust’s Hidden Child Survivors by R. D. Rosen. It is 304 pages long including a bibliography, list of documentaries and feature films  and is published by HarperCollins. The cover has a picture of a young girl praying in a garden. The intended reader is someone who is interested in Holocaust history. There is some language, talk of rape and sexual abuse, and talk about one of the most horrible times in human history; teens and adults for the best. This story is told from interviews, journals, newspaper articles, and research data. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Only one in ten Jewish children in Europe survived the Holocaust, many in hiding. In Such Good Girls, R. D. Rosen tells the story of these survivors through the true experiences of three women.
Sophie Turner-Zaretzky, who spent the war years believing she was an anti-Semitic Catholic schoolgirl, eventually became an esteemed radiation oncologist. Flora Hogman, protected by a succession of Christians, emerged from the war a lonely, lost orphan, but later became a psychologist who pioneered the study of hidden child survivors. Unlike Anne Frank, Carla Lessing made it through the war concealed with her family in the home of Dutch strangers before becoming a psychotherapist and key player in the creation of an international organization of hidden child survivors.
In reading the stories of three women who defied death by learning to be “such good girls,” R. D. Rosen examines a silent and silenced generation- the last living cohort of Holocaust survivors. He provides rich, memorable portraits of a handful of hunted children who, as adults, were determined to deny Hitler any more victories, and he re-creates the extraordinary event that lured so many hidden child survivors out of their grown-up “hiding places” and finally brought them together.

Review- This was a fascinating and wonderful read. I truly enjoyed this book. I felt that there was really some hope for both these survivors and others who have had to hide from horrible things in their lives. The three women that the story mostly focus’ on are truly terrifying and amazing. They survived things that no one should ever have to and then they go on to lead lives that help other people. The women talk about how hard it was to move on but they do. They are inspiring. The writing is wonderful, the research is heartbreaking but I felt like I could trust Rosen. He was very thorough and the notes help if you want to track back for yourself. The things that happen to the women and their families is just heartbreaking but I felt hopeful at the end. I highly recommend this book.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I was given this book by HarperCollins in exchange for a honest review.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Queen of the Tearling

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Today’s post is on The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. It is the first in a trilogy. It is 448 pages long and is published by HarperCollins. The cover is very dark with a castle at the top with reddish lightening behind it. The intended reader is someone who likes fantasy. The story is told from third person god point of view so that the reader can get into the heads of the characters as the story moves. There is strong language, talk of sex and rape, and lots of violence in this book; older teens and adult only for the best. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. A girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced, Kelsea is not defenseless: around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus.
Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, and an act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic.
But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun- a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that could make her a legend… if she can survive.
Review-This was an interesting read. As I was reading I could tell what the author Johansen has read. I could be wrong but I think that she has read The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy and The Darkangel Trilogy by some of the themes in the story. This fantasy is not pure fantasy but some kind of mix with science fiction. Humans were bought to this world by a visionary leader who wanted to save mankind from destruction; like in The Girl of Fire and Thorns but it is not God in this novel. There is high fantasy and science so advanced it is magic; like in The Darkangel. The world building is slow but I liked that. I felt that I was getting to know the greater world as Kelsea was. Kelsea is a young woman who has been protected from too much knowledge about her mother and her world in hopes of her finding the current world too horrible to live with and thus change it. At least that is my opinion about why Kelsea was not told so much by her care-takers. There are traitors, useless nobles, slaves, and a dark power behind the Red Queen. I am very curious about where Johansen is going with this plot. If you are looking for something a little different flavor than so much out today then give this book a try.
I give this book a Four of out Five stars. I was given this book by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Samurai Deeper Kyo Volume 19

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Today’s post is on Samurai Deeper Kyo Volume 19. It is written by Akimine Kamijyo and is published by Tokyopop. As it is the 19th in the series you need to have read the others in the series to get the story. The cover has all the boys on it with Tenro just to add a little metal to the scene. The intended reader is someone who likes fighting, interesting characters, and surprising romance and should be older teen or adult. There is language, no sex, and lots of violence in this series and volume. The story is told from the third person point of view with character’s thoughts added in for plot and character development. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- An already weak Kyo faces off against Chinmei, guardian of the Third Gate. Chinmei offers Kyo the title of Crimson King- if he’ll kill his companions and join the Mibu, When Kyo refuses, there’s only one thing left to do: Fight! But all the while, Yuya’s time is running out, and the group has yet to face off against the powerful Taihaku…

Review- The fight with Chinmei is finished in this volume and it gets a little hairy for a moment. Then when you think that going to be business as usual Kyo realizes that Yuya is hiding how many stars she has left. When Chinmei attacked with his gravity he had the water dragons move so now she has less than one hour. That puts Kyo in a great mood. But we get some good Kyo/Yuya interactions that makes me happy. Yuya gets to tell off one of the Mubi because she is so tired of them thinking that they can control anything and everything around just because. Kyo even compliments her in his own Kyo way. Meaning he is ass about it. Benitora wants to fight next and he gets his wish. Good volume like always.

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Alloy of Law

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Today’s post is on The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. It is 383 pages long and is published by TOR. This is a stand-alone novel set in the Mistborn world. The cover has two of the main characters looking serious and steampunky. There is no sex or sexuality, some language and lots of violence in this novel. Teens and adults would enjoy this novel best because of the very complex and serious plot. There Be Spoilers Ahead.
From the back of the book- In the three hundred years since the events of the Mistborn trilogy, science and technology have marched on. Scadrial is on the verge of modernity, with railroads, electric lighting, and even the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
Yet even with these advances, the magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for those attempting to establish order and justice.
One is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to becomes lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax must now put away his guns and assume the duties incumbent upon the head of a noble house- until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.
Review- I loved Mistborn and everything else that I have read from Sanderson. I am so glad that this book is no different. I think that this novel is a stand-alone but I hope not. Sanderson does so much. He resolves some of the plot questions but the overarching problems are still there. The characters are good and believable. The plot is fast paced and when the main villain is revealed it is surprising. Wax, Wayne, and Marasi have their backs against the wall with no help and no options. How the world has changed since Hero of Ages is really neat. There are multiple religions, the way that people deal with those born with Allomancy or Feruchemy, and just all kinds of little touches. I really hope that Sanderson comes back to finish this story. He leaves so much unfinished. What is really going on in the background? Is Wax really going to go through with the contract with Steris? I want to know more about the gods that are now present in Scadrial and so much more. I highly recommend this book and everything by Sanderson.
I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for this review and I was given this book as a gift by a personal friend.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Samurai Deeper Kyo volume 18

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Today’s post is on Samurai Deeper Kyo volume 18 by Akimine Kamijyo and it is published by Tokyopop. As it is the 18th in the series you need to have read the previous volumes to understand the story. This is one of my favorite covers for the series. It has Kyo and Yuya on it; Yuya looking pretty and Kyo looking all Kyo like but it is just so beautiful and I think that it reflects their relationship too perfectly. There is strong language, lots of violence, and implied nudity in this volume; older teen and adult only. The story is told from third person god point of view with character’s thoughts added in for plot and character development. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- After his battle with Saishi, Akira collapses! Bontenmaru can carry him through the Second Gate, but there they must choose between two doors… Meanwhile, Izumo-no-Okuni searchers for the same mysterious jewel that Kyo seeks. But then she runs into Taihaku or the Five Stars, who makes her an offer she can’t refuse…

Review- Back story about what happened between Akira and Okuni. Side character development and who really killed Mahiro’s sister. So much happens in this volumes lots of plot development but sadly very little character growth. Okuni is the only one who gets growth because of her interaction with Taihaku. She is still trying to help Kyo get his body back so she has gotten into the Mibu headquarters and has some fun. Then we get back to the exciting parts. Mahiro’s sister was murdered and for years Mahiro thought that Kyo was the one to kill her. But now we discover the truth and more fighting ensues.  So Kyo gts really angry and gets real in this fight. Very dramatic with emotional tension and of course really great art. I love how detailed Kyo's eyes are. With him his soul really is in his eyes.

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