Friday, July 31, 2015

Cry Wolf


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Today's post is on Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs. It is the first in her Alpha & Omega series. It is 294 pages long and is published by ACE. The cover has the two main characters on it Anna as a human and Charles in his wolf form. The intended reader is someone who likes urban fantasy, a fan of Briggs, and werewolf stories. There is some mild language, sex, and violence in this book. The story is told from third person close of the characters moving from one to the next as it goes. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack... and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.
Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna's inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.


Review- This was a fun and unusual urban fantasy. Anna is an omega and that makes her out of the pack but very important to it. Charles is a very alpha kind of guy who is having to learn new things about himself and the world he has lived in for over 200 hundred years. The romance is very downplayed, which I found surprising. I thought it was going to be more important to the plot overall because of the whole mating thing. Lots of politics and plot heavy things going on but I liked the world building and I have not read Briggs main series Mercy Thompson. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

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.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rock with Wings


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Today's post is on Rock with Wings by Anne Hillerman.  It is the twentieth in the Navajo Mysteries series. It is 366 pages long and is published by HarperCollins.  The cover is the sun setting over the desert with stylized woman in the center. The intended reader is someone likes mysteries, has read the others in the series, and good writing. There is no sex, no language, and violence in this book. The story is told from the third person of the characters. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Navajo Tribal cops Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito, and their mentor, the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, investigate two perplexing cases in this exciting Southwestern mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Spider Woman’s Daughter.
Doing a good deed for a relative offers the perfect opportunity for Sergeant Jim Chee and his wife, Officer Bernie Manuelito, to get away from the daily grind of police work. But two cases will call them back from their short vacation and separate them—one near Shiprock, and the other at iconic Monument Valley.
Chee follows a series of seemingly random and cryptic clues that lead to a missing woman, a coldblooded thug, and a mysterious mound of dirt and rocks that could be a gravesite. Bernie has her hands full managing the fallout from a drug bust gone wrong, uncovering the origins of a fire in the middle of nowhere, and looking into an ambitious solar energy development with long-ranging consequences for Navajo land.
Under the guidance of their mentor, retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, Bernie and Chee will navigate unexpected obstacles and confront the greatest challenge yet to their skills, commitment, and courage.

 
Review-  An amazing read, good character development, an excellent mystery, another winner by Anne Hillerman.  Jim Chee and his wife, fellow officer Bernie Manuelito, hoped for a week of vacation.  Of course that will not happen due to events, starting with Bernie's sister not following through on the care of their mother, to Jim's cousin needing help getting his business off the ground. Retired lieutenant Joe Leaphorn advises both of the younger officers, Jim and Bernie, helping them to plan and direct this challenge to their expertise and commitment to the Navaho community.
This second novel by Anne Hillerman is a fun read. If you liked Spider Woman's Daughter then you need to read this one.

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation

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Today's post is on Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb. It is 336 pages long including notes and index. It is published by Algonquin Books. The cover has Chicago skyline on bottom with a picture of the people in the high life on top. The intended reader is someone who likes history, true crime, and interesting stories. There is no sex, no language, and no violence in this book. The story is told in third person with first person interviews, letters, and other first hand documents to add depth. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- It was a time of unregulated madness. And nowhere was it madder than in Chicago at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. As Model Ts rumbled down Michigan Avenue, gang war shootings announced Al Capone’s rise to underworld domination. Bedecked partygoers thronged to the Drake Hotel’s opulent banquet rooms, corrupt politicians held court in thriving speakeasies, and the frenzy of stock market gambling was rampant.
Enter a slick, smooth-talking, charismatic lawyer named Leo Koretz, who enticed hundreds of people (who should have known better) to invest as much as $30 million--upwards of $400 million today--in phantom timberland and nonexistent oil wells in Panama. It was an ingenious deceit, one that out-ponzied Charles Ponzi himself, who only a few years earlier had been arrested for a pyramid scheme. Leo had a good run--his was perhaps the longest fraud in history--and when his enterprise finally collapsed in 1923, he vanished. The Cook County state’s attorney, a man whose lust for power equaled Leo’s own lust for money, began an international manhunt that lasted almost a year. When finally apprehended, Leo was living a life of luxury in Nova Scotia under the assumed identity of a book dealer and literary critic. A salacious court hearing followed, and his mysterious death in a Chicago prison rivaled the rest of his almost-too-bizarre-to-believe life.
A rip-roaring tale of greed, financial corruption, dirty politics, over-the-top and under-the-radar deceit, illicit sex, and a brilliant and wildly charming con man on the town and then on the lam, Empire of Deception has it all. It’s not only a rich and detailed account of a man and an era; it’s a fascinating look at the methods of swindlers throughout history. Leo Koretz was the Bernie Madoff of his day, and Dean Jobb shows us that the American dream of easy wealth is timeless.

Review- This was a very good crime true story. At first I really felt bad for Koretz. The author helped me sympathize with him but then over time as Koretz's selfishness just grew and grew I did not feel that way any more. Instead I feel for his family. His family behaved in a noble way that cost them so much but in the end was right. The research is good with notes to add more information or for study if you want. Jobb does good world building with 1920's America. He helps the reader is to see that world as it was. Jobb also gives information about the men who would hunt Koretz. The story is about Koretz but it is also about the men who would catch him. We get to see the whole picture, I think. I really felt that I could see as much as the whole story as was possible.

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.

Monday, July 27, 2015

XXXholic volume 17

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Today's post is on XXXholic volume 17 by CLAMP. It is 180 pages long and is published by Del Rey. As it is the seventeenth in the series you need to have read the first sixteen to understand the story. The cover has Watanuki on it with a butterfly cooling very mysterious. The intended reader is someone who likes Japanese mythology, fantasy, and beautiful but sad stories. There is no sex, no language, and no violence in this book. The story is told from Watanuki's perspective. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Watanuki no longer leaves the wish-granting shop he inherited from the witch Yuko. What's more, he must help everyone who walks through its doors- even the monster that are his eye! How can the still-inexperienced Watanuki handle what can only be called one dangerous customer?

Review- We get to see how Watanuki run the shop in this volume. Domeki helps him because of their shared eye if Domeki sees a place then Watanuki can walk there in his dreams. When the blurb says that he must help everyone who enters the shop, it is not something special that was the way the shop worked for Yuko too. The spider is interesting in this one, she is not a villain this time. She is someone who wants something that was promised to her and needs Watanuki to get it for her. She does try to be scary but because of everything that Watanuki has been through, she just does not sacre him anymore. That annoys her but I like the development that Watanuki has gone through. Only two more volume before the end of this series.

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

Friday, July 24, 2015

The House of Shattered Wings

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Today's post is on The House of Shattered Wings by Ailette de Bodard. It is 416 pages long and is published by ROC. The cover is blue with a stone throne and Paris in the background. The intended reader is someone who likes alternate history, intricate plots, and long endings. There is no sex, no language, and some violence in this book. The story is told from the third person close perspectives of the main characters moving as needed in the story. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Multiple-award-winning author Alieete de Bodard brings her story of the War in Heaven to Paris, igniting the City of Light in a fantasy of divine power and deep conspiracy...
In the late twentieth century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins, the remnants of a Great War between arcane powers. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burned-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes, and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those who survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and the great Houses still vie for dominion over France's once-grand capital.
Once the most powerful and formidable, house Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.
Within the House, three very different people must come together: a na├»ve but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires salvation- or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And is Silverspires fall, so may the city itself.

Review- There is so much going on this book that I hardly know where to begin. The world building is excellent. The character flow over time, not really changing but, evolving with the story and the demands it puts on them. The action is slow to build but the tension is very good. The only thing that I did not like about the story was that I think that the author took too long with the ending. I think that she could have ended it 50 pages earlier and had a better story. But that said the ending was not a bad one, just drawn out. The magic of this book is very interesting and I like how the reader does not really know how the world fell into this state. I do not know if this is going to be the beginning of a series or more books set in this world. I did like how de Bodard ended the book. But I would not mind seeing more of this world. It is hinted that only places like Paris are as bad but I would find out for myself. I liked it and I like de Bodard. I look forward to whatever she writes next.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I was given this book by Ace/ROC in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The History of THE BOOK in 100 Books: The Complete Story, From Egypt to e-book

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Today' post is on The History of THE BOOK in 100 Books: The Complete Story, From Egypt to e-book by Roderick Cave & Sara Ayad. The cover is black with different kinds of books on it from scrolls to an e-reader. The intended reader is someone who is interested in history, human development, and books. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book. The story is told in sections as technology evolved. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- From inscriptions on tombs to the first writings on papyrus; from scrolls to the first bound codex books in Roman times; from exclusive and expensive handscribed books to the creation of moveable type and the invention of printing for the masses; and from the printed book to the e-book reader and beyond- discover The History of THE BOOK in 100 Books.
Each of the 100 books chosen has played a critical role in the development of books in all their forms and with all that they bring: literacy, numeracy, technological progress and the expansion of scientific knowledge, religion, political theory, oppression, liberation, entertainment, and more.
The History of THE BOOK in 100 Books tells a story tat is fascinating and enlightening. It is populated with prehistoric communities and ancient civilizations; artists and scholars; authors and poets; inventors, scientists and mathematicians; monks and scribes; explores and missionaries- there is no particular job description behind the evolution of the books.
The 100 books originate from around the world and cover subjects as diverse as religion, science, crime, travel and fashion. Classic examples, such as Gutenberg's 42-line Bible and the Book of Kells, are included alongside less well-known titles that have been selected to represent a stage in the history of book production or because of their content or impact. Each entry is placed in its specific historical context and includes connections to books across cultures and periods of time.

Review- This was a fun and interesting look at the evolution of the book. The authors take us from the first things that were used as books all the way to the current ebooks. They cover books of all kind from all over the world. From the palm leaf books of south Indochina to forgotten penny dreadfuls of the 19th century. The research is good, easy to follow and easy to find more if you want to. I really liked seeing what other countries were doing to make and preserve books in the pre-Gutenberg time. The writing was good, with little witticisms from the authors that added to the overall enjoyment of the journey. One thing that they did that I really enjoyed is that they mostly used books that were not very famous. The Book of Kells and one of the original Gutenberg bibles are the one really famous books in this piece. All of the rest are lesser or unknown books.

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.

Monday, July 20, 2015

XXXholic volume 16

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Today's post is on XXXholic volume 16 by CLAMP. It is 174 pages long and is published by Del Rey. The cover has Watanuki on it looking pale and sad, with Yuko on the back facing away from the reader. As it is the sixteenth volume in the series you need to have read the first fifteen to understand the book. The intended reader is someone who likes Japanese mythology, good art, and tragic storylines. There is no sex, no language, and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- The witch Yuko is gone, vanished and forgotten by the world with the exception of a small handful of people. But Kimihiro is determined to keep the wish-granting shop going, even if the shop's arcane rules nearly kill him for the crime of setting a wrong price. Now begins a new chapter: xxxHOLIC Ro!

Review- This is a very sad volume with Yuko being gone and Watanuki choosing to stay with the shop. We get a time skip and have no idea what really happened in between. At least four years have past but I think more than that because of what Domeki and Mokona talk about over the course of the volume. We also do not know how many mistakes Watanuki made as he learned to run the shop but it was many and very bad. That said I really liked this volume. The sorrow in it is very moving and beautiful. Almost done with this series only three more volumes to go.

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

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sorcerer to the Crown

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Today's post is on Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho. It is the first in her Sorcerer to the Crown series. It is 384 pages long and is published by ACE.  The cover is red with the out-line of a dragon on it. The intended reader is someone who likes historical fantasy, Georgette Heyer like plots, and good writing. There is no sex, no language, and no violence in this book. The story is told from the third person close of the two main characters. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From Goodreads- In this sparkling debut, magic and mayhem clash with the British elite…
The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…
At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…
  

Review- I love this book. It is so wonderful. The writing is great, the plot is interesting, and the world building is so wonderful that I just cannot express how much I loved this book. If you like Georgette Heyer than you need to read this book. Cho is a very gifted writer. I really cannot think of anything that I did not like about this book but the fact that I have no idea when the next one is going to coming out. The one thing about the blurb is that it does not introduce the other main character, Prunella Gentleman. She is really very funny and is the real mover of the book. The plot moves around her really and Zacharias just does not know what to do with her. But they have very good chemistry. I cannot wait to read the next one and I hope it comes out soon!

I give this book a Five out of Five star. I was given this book by Ace/Roc in exchange for a honest review.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Darjeeling: The Colorful History and Precarious Fate of the World's Greatest Tea

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Today's post is on Darjeeling: The Colorful History and Precarious Fate of the World's Greatest Tea by Jeff Koehler. It is 291 pages long including notes and is published by Bloomsbury. The cover is a picture of the hillside where Darjeeling tea is grown with a cup of it at the top. The intended reader is someone interested in history, India, and tea. There is no sex, no language, and no violence in this book. The story is told from the third person without the author's voice at all. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Darjeeling's tea bushes run across a mythical landscape steeped with the religious, the sacred, and the picturesque. Planted at high elevation in the heart of the Eastern Himalayas, in an area of northern India bound by Nepal to the west, Bhutan to the east, and Sikkim to the north, the linear rows of brilliant green, waist-high shrubs that coat the steep slopes and valleys around this Victorian "hill town" produce only a fraction of the world's tea, and less than one percent of India's total. Yet the tea from that limited crop, with its characteristic bright, amber-colored brew and muscatel flavors--delicate and flowery, hinting of apricots and peaches--is generally considered the best in the world.
This is the story of how Darjeeling tea began, was key to the largest tea industry on the globe under Imperial British rule, and came to produce the highest-quality tea leaves anywhere in the world. It is a story rich in history, intrigue and empire, full of adventurers and unlikely successes in culture, mythology and religions, ecology and terroir, all set with a backdrop of the looming Himalayas and drenching monsoons. The story is ripe with the imprint of the Raj as well as the contemporary clout of "voodoo farmers" getting world record prices for their fine teas--and all of it beginning with one of the most audacious acts of corporate smuggling in history.
But it is also the story of how the industry spiraled into decline by the end of the twentieth century, and how this edenic spot in the high Himalayas seethes with union unrest and a violent independence struggle. It is also a front-line fight against the devastating effects of climate change and decades of harming farming practices, a fight that is being fought in some tea gardens--and, astonishingly, won--using radical methods.
Jeff Koehler has written a fascinating chronicle of India and its most sought-after tea. Blending history, politics, and reportage together, along with a collection of recipes that tea-drinkers will love, Darjeeling is an indispensable volume for fans of micro-history and tea fanatics.


Review- At times a very interesting account of India and tea but at times it is very slow and a little boring. Maybe because I am really just interested in the history or social parts of the book but when he would go on about the weigh of tea and the prices for it, it was not easy to hold my interest. When Koehler was writing about the history of Darjeeling and how tea came to be grown in India that was very interesting. This book is about more than just tea in India; it is about how colonialism has shaped India. From the way that tea to grown to how it is drunk, the British are still affecting India. But it is also about how the Indians are retaking their history, their country, and its exports. It is interesting to see how tea is seen socially as women's work but that does come with some troubles.  The changes that India has seen over the course of its history is truly breath-taking and this book does cover some of that. But this is about how tea and India have worked together.

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

Monday, July 13, 2015

XXXHolic volume 15

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Today's post is on XXXHolic volume 15 by CLAMP. It is the Fifteenth in the series, so you need to have read the first fourteen to understand the story. It is 170 pages long and is published by DEL REY. The cover has Yuko, on it looking very pretty, with Watanuki and the illustration wrapping around on the back. The intended reader is someone who likes Japanese mythology, ghost stories, and very pretty pictures. The story is told from Watanuki's perspective. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Kimihiro is having some wish-granting success with his very first customer, but his efforts are interrupted by a disturbing dream of the witch Yuko vanishing forever. Even people Yuko has helped are saying they've never heard of her. Too bad there is no such things a "just a dream" in Kimihiro's universe...

Review- This volume is very sad. We do not know what is really happening to Yuko but she is disappearing. Watanuki, of course, is very upset about this. When he demands what he can do for her, she tells him that him existing is her wish. That Watanuki being real is more than enough for her, I had tears in my eyes. Watanuki swears that he will meet her again at the end of the volume. Watanuki learning how to grant wishes himself is an interesting and of course telling event in the series. But now where is the story going to go? And not much more left, so onward into the end bitter or sweet.

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

Friday, July 10, 2015

Silken Threats

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Today's post is on Silken Threats by Addison Fox. It is the first in her Dangerous in Dallas series. It is 282 pages long and is published by Harlequin. The cover has the two main character's about to kiss. The intended reader is someone who likes suspense, romance, and interesting plots. There is some sex, some language, and some violence in this book. The story is told from the third person close of the two main characters; with villains thoughts added in for plot development. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

 
From the back of the book- Everyone has secrets, and some will kill to keep them buried...
It stared with a break-in. And though normally wedding dress designer Cassidy Tate could have handled it, having Tucker Buchanan's strong arms, quick wits and great dog as backup was reassuring! The former army engineer turned architect was the perfect guys in an emergency- and the fact that he was willing to pick up the pieces was even more appealing.
Because it turned out it wasn't a simply robbery. Someone was after something in the shop Cassidy and her fellow bridal boutique owners shared. Now Tucker didn't want to let Cassidy out of his sight. But was that to protect her- or claim her for his own?

Review- The blurb is not bad but Tucker is not like that. The plot is really interesting in fact the only problem I have is the changing of villains half-way through. Cassidy's ex-brother-in-law is the villain for the first half then her ex for the last half. Other than that I liked this novel. It is very different from everything else that I have been reading lately. It was fact-paced plot, interesting characters, and decent dialog. Normally a Harlequin is not my style but this sounded so fun that I just had to read it and I am glad that I did. The sex is more implied than anything and the violence is in an action movie kind of way. I liked all the characters and I think that I may read the next ones in the series because of the overall mystery. At the end who the real villain is still is unclear and what is driving him. All in all good fun read.

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Other Serious: Essays for the New American Generation

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Today's post is on The Other Serious: Essays for the New American Generation by Christy Wampole. It is 288 pages long and is published by HarperCollins. It is a stand alone series of essays. The cover is white and black stripes in the shape of the American flag. The intended reader is someone interested in modern culture and essays. There is no sex, no language, and no violence in this book. The essays are written from first person perspective of the author. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- The essays in The Other Serious examine the signature phenomena of our moment: the way our lives contradict themselves, how exaggeration and excess seep into our collective subconscious, why gender is becoming more rather than less complicated, and how we interact with the material things that surround us. It is a book about the delicacy and bluntness of American life, how pop culture sticks its finger deeply into the ethical dilemmas of our time, and how to negotiate between the old and new, the high and low, the global and local, the sacred and profane. At the heart of these reflections lies a central question: What should you do when you don't know what to do?
Taken together, these essays comprise a razor-sharp critique of "the administrativesity" of contemporary American life- the idea that we exist in a constant state of escapism and self-prote4ction, fearing confrontation and embracing randomness and absurdity. These pieces investigate the writer's own way of thinking- putting forth new ideas, questioning them, and urging the reader to adopt the same spirit of re-examination. Full of sage advice and staggering insights, The Other Serious offers us a new understanding of the everyday.

Review- This was a very boring book. I could not you tell anything that I found interesting or insightful or staggering. I was bored for the whole book. There is nothing bad about this book, the author did not offend or annoy me but she did not inform or entertain me. She writes about everything from movies to how different ages interact with each other. The best thing I can say about this book is that she did not offend me. maybe i am just not the right reader for this book. If you like essays about philosophy and modern life then try this one. If not then skip.

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

Monday, July 6, 2015

XXXHolic volume 14

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Today's post is on XXXHolic volume 14 by CLAMP. It is the fourteenth in the series, so you need to have read the first thirteen to understand the story. It is 178 pages long and is published by DEL REY. The cover has Yuko on it looking very pretty with Watanuki and wrapping around to continue on the back. The intended reader is someone who likes Japanese mythology, ghost stories, and very pretty pictures. The story is told from Watanuki's perspective. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Kimihiro is a mystery even to himself. He has no memory of his past, or even of his beloved parents' names. Neither does he have any idea why he is being followed by malicious spirits. But his boss, the witch Yuko Ichihara, knows, and in this volume nay of Kimihiro's secrets are finally revealed!

Review- Watanuki is finally told what is going on with and to him. In exchange for another's safety he gave up his memories. Once he was told that, Watanuki was at peace with his choice. The way that the plot is going is still sad but I think that things are going be changing soon. What is going to happen I do not know but something big. The plot is getting more and more hidden as things go on. Which is unusual, normally at this point you would have some idea where things are going or at least how they are going to resolve and I just do not have that. Only five more volumes until this one is done.


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

Friday, July 3, 2015

Princess of Thorns



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Today’s post is on Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay. It is 388 pages long and is published by Delacorte Press. The cover has the main character in profile with her silver blonde hair flowing behind her as she runs. The intended reader is someone who likes fairy tales, re-telling fairy tales, and romance. There is no language, talk of sex, and violence in this book. The story is told in first of the two main characters moving from one to the other as the story needs. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Once Upon a Time There Lived a Princess…
Princess Aurora’s mother, the Sleeping Beauty, died when Aurora was seven, sacrificing herself to give Aurora her own fairy magic. In the ten years since, Aurora has learned that no magic comes for free. The price for hers is her romantic heart. Platonic love is the only kind she will ever know. When her brother is captured by the queen’s men, Aurora dresses as a boy and sets off to raise an army, determined to free the only person it is safe for her to love.
… And a Prince…
Prince Niklaas is living on borrowed time. He must convince a princess to marry him before dawn on eighteenth birthday or meet the same terrible fate as his ten older brothers. And so Niklaas barters his most prized possession for a charm to locate the lost princess, Aurora. Instead, he finds her brother- or so he believes- and is blackmailed into helping raise on army.
Will They Find Their Happily-Ever-After?
As they race to prevent the fulfillment of an ogre prophecy foretelling the end of human life, Aurora and Niklaas learn that there are worse things than old curses. There is impossible hope and forbidden love, and there are kisses that steal like a thief in the night.

Review- This was an interesting retelling of two different fairy tales, sort of. The Sleeping Beauty part was what happened when the wrong prince woke her up at the wrong time. The Swan Brother’s was when the King wanted to live forever and he gets his sons cursed for that. I know that Aurora and Niklaas had to fall in love but I really liked them as friends. They were good friends but because of the demands of the plot they had to become more. I also wanted to spend more time with the ogre queen. She is very interesting, she believes that she is saving the world but she discovers that is not true. I wanted to see what made her first doubt her brother, what was that last thing that drove her to search for answers. But we do not get that. Instead we get a very forced and awkward romance between Aurora and Niklaas. 

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sea Monsters: A Voyage Around the World's Most Beguiling Map

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Today's post is on Sea Monsters: A Voyage Around the World's Most Beguiling Map by Joseph Nigg. It is 159 pages long including and index. The cover is a picture of the map that the book is about. The intended reader is someone who is interested in history, sea monsters, and maps. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book. The story of the map is told in third person. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Smart phones and GPS give us many possible routes to navigate out daily commute, warn us of traffic problems and delays, and tell us where to find a cup of coffee. But what if there were sea serpents and giant man-eating lobsters waiting just off course if we were to lose our way? Would there be an app for that? In the sixteenth century, these and other monster were thought to swim the northern water, threatening seafarers who ventured too far from shore. Thankfully, Scandinavian mariners had Oluas Magnus, who in 1539 charted these fantastic marine animals in his influential map of the Nordic countries, the Carta Marina. In Sea Monsters, well-known exert on magical beast Joseph Niggs bring readers face-to-face with these creatures, alongside the other magnificent component of Magnus's map
Nearly two meters wide in total, the map’s nine wood-block panels comprise the largest and first realistic portrayal of Northern Europe. But in addition to these important geographic elements, Magnus’s map goes beyond cartography to scenes both domestic and mystic. Close to shore, Magnus shows humans interacting with common sea life—boats struggling to stay afloat, merchants trading, children swimming, and fisherman pulling lines. But from the offshore deeps rise some of the most magical and terrifying sea creatures imaginable at the time or thereafter—like sea swine, whales as large as islands, and the Kraken. In this book, Nigg provides a thorough tour of the map’s cartographic details, as well as a colorful look at its unusual pictorial and imaginative elements. He draws on Magnus’s own text to further describe and illuminate the inventive scenes and to flesh out the stories of the monsters.
Sea Monsters is a stunning tour of a world that still holds many secrets for us land dwellers, who will forever be fascinated by reports of giant squid and the real-life creatures of the deep that have proven to be as bizarre and otherworldly as we have imagined for centuries. It is a gorgeous guide for enthusiasts of maps, monsters, and the mythic.

Review- Very scholarly and at times that kills how much fun this book could be. Nigg knows his maps and his monsters but he really needs someone to better edit his work. This was not an easy book to read. When he was talking about the history of monsters it was okay but his writing style is just not very easy to read. I wanted to really get into this book and geek out over the beautiful map and the cool monsters but that was just not happening. That say if you have a more scholarly bend than I do you should really like this book. Nigg's research is good with notes and other references to help learn more about the map, monsters, and others maps in general. He just needed someone to help him edit his work for a more general reader.

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