Saturday, April 30, 2011

April Book Picks


Favorite Book:
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Even though I had a few issues with it, I can say it was the best book of the month.  I liked the concept of the dystopian society, how the cleverness of the writing, and how funny it was.

Favorite Audio:

Hands down my favorite book of the month overall, I really enjoyed this book.  Katherine Kellgren does a great job and Jacky is one of the best characters I have read. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (audio) by L.A. Meyer,

Description from Goodreads:
Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas.

There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life -- if only she doesn't get caught....


I really sorry I didn't start this series sooner.  It is pretty awesome and Jacky is a great character and one of my new favorites.  While the book certainly doesn't shy away from the bad things that can happen to children, it doesn't get too carried away in that department.  Jacky is in some pretty deep trouble during parts of the book and she doesn't come away scot-free.  But it makes her character realer somehow and I liked that about this book.  It was nice to see a diverse cast of characters and how the characters have individual personalities.  Jacky is a showboater, so to speak, and with that comes a lot of trouble.  It was funny to see how she handled the onset of puberty and how she furthered The Deception.  She is a crafty and ingenious character, that's for sure. 


8 hours

I am really enjoying Katherine Kellgren as a narrator.  This is the third book I've listened to with her as the reader.  I was not a fan of her in The Red Pyramid, but I really enjoyed her The Mysterious Howling and I loved her in as Mary "Jacky" Faber. It just goes to show that sometimes it is just the source material and not the narrator.  I love her voice as Jacky and I think she does a great job with the accents and distinguish the characters.  Jacky is a great character and Kellgren brings her to life in a wonderful way.

Hogwarts: Charms
Whisper
Bloody Jack

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Summer Lightning by P.G. Wodehouse

Once again, Blandings Castle is host to a series of misunderstandings and false identities, all leading up to some seriously funny happenings.  Hugo Carmody, secretary to Lord Emsworth, is in love with Lord Emsworth's niece, Millicent Threepwood, and he schemes to find a way to marry her.  Meanwhile, Lord Emsworth's nephew, Ronnie Fish, is in love with a chorus girl named Sue Brown, much to the objections of his aunt.  And Galahad Threepwood, brother to Lord Emsworth, is writing his reminiscences which worries the upper class society.  These three things together make up the hilarious goings-on in Summer Lightning
"There are mysteries afoot in this house, and I don't like 'em. The atmosphere of Blandings Castle has changed all of a sudden from that of normal, happy
English home into something Edgar Allan Poe might have written on a rainy Sunday."
 Another fun adventure at Blandings Castle! I love these British stories.  It's like reading a British sitcom.  As usual, it is a typical Wodehouse comedy.  The Efficient Baxter makes an appearance after an invitation from Lady Constance to steal Galahad's manuscript and I love how Lord Emsworth thinks that Baxter is just crazy even though all the stuff Baxter does has a rationale.  And this book involves what it seems will be one of many stories involving the thief of the Empress of Blandings, Lord Emsworth's prized pig.  So funny!


Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
Wodehouse Challenge

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Leave It to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse

Back to Blandings Castle! This time the occupants get involved in what becomes a fairly elaborate scheme to steal Lady Constance's necklace in order to get money for both Freddie, youngest son of Lord Emsworth, and Lady Constance's stepdaughter.  Enter Psmith to aid in the scheme and romance the new library cataloger in his charming and verbose way.
Psmith himself regarded the coming ordeal with equanimity.  He was not one of those whom the prospect of speaking in public afflicts with nervous horror.  He liked the sound of his own voice, and night, when it came,found him calmly cheerful.  p.228
I was, once again, amused by the antics at Blandings Castle.  Lord Emsworth played a small role in this novel with most of the action centering on Psmith.  I suppose that is because this is counted as the second Blandings Castle novel and also as the fourth Psmith novel.  I liked Psmith and thought he was witty and funny and very clever and I am definitely going to have to read the other Psmith books.  I liked all the characters in general though Baxter and Lady Constance are the perfect foils for the insanity that surrounds everything that happens at Blandings Castle. I want to feel sorry for Baxter but he sort of makes it impossible for that to happen.  I know he pops up in parts of the rest of the series. 

The plot to steal the necklace got pretty complicated though it was all explained throughout.  It was amazing just how many characters ended up on the scheme. But it all worked out (hilariously) for the best.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
Wodehouse

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 4/25


Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I am still reading Leave It to Psmith (Wodehouse). Next I'll be reading Shine (Myracle).   I'm listening to Bloody Jack (Meyer).

Reviews posted: Bumped (McCafferty) and First Light (Stead)


From NetGalley
Sister Mischief by Laura Goode
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publish date: July 12, 2011
Listen up: You’re about to get rocked by the fiercest, baddest all-girl hip-hop crew in the Twin Cities - or at least in the wealthy, white, Bible-thumping suburb of Holyhill, Minnesota. Our heroine, Esme Rockett (aka MC Ferocious) is a Jewish lesbian lyricist. In her crew, Esme’s got her BFFs Marcy (aka DJ SheStorm, the butchest straight girl in town) and Tess (aka The ConTessa, the pretty, popular powerhouse of a vocalist). But Esme’s feelings for her co-MC, Rowie (MC Rohini), a beautiful, brilliant, beguiling desi chick, are bound to get complicated. And before they know it, the queer hip-hop revolution Esme and her girls have exploded in Holyhill is on the line. Exciting new talent Laura Goode lays down a snappy, provocative, and heartfelt novel about discovering the rhythm of your own truth.



Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady (audio) by L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren
Bloody Jack is back and this time, she's facing a situation far worse than a ship full of murderous pirates. Curse of the Blue Tattoo, L.A. Meyer's sequel to the enormously popular Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy is just as bawdy and entertaining as the original. Left in Boston by the H.M.S. Dolphin crew when they discover her true sex, Jacky Faber finds herself navigating entirely new waters. It turns out that bloodthirsty buccaneers have nothing on the young ladies at the Lawson Peabody School! As Jacky observes, " . . . they're like any bunch of thirty or so cats thrown in a sack and shaken up good. They're mean in ways that boys never even thought of being." Jacky soldiers on, getting herself into scrapes that her darling beau midshipman Jaimy Fletcher couldn't even begin to imagine

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!


Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates Easter!  We are at my in-law's house for the weekend, probably going to mass in the morning.  Then an Easter egg hunt for the boy and later crawfish for everyone!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

First Light (audio) by Rebecca Stead

This was different and I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed the alternating voices of Thea and Peter and how the story played out between the two of them.  I enjoyed the way the mystery was drawn out but not so much that I couldn't stand it.  And the fact that there is a mysterious world under the ice where people have lived a long time was different and I loved the concept.  I was reminded several times throughout the story of City of Ember, but without the dystopian concept and the frantic struggle for survival.  It didn't feel like there was any external danger to any of the characters.  Rather it was all about the internal struggle of Thea's people. 

I liked all of the characters and loved the dogs.  Both Peter and Thea are likable characters and they carry the story well.  The only character I was dissatisfied with was Thea's grandmother.  I felt like there was something more to her character.  And it also felt like part of the "fathers" storyline was dropped, like there was something missing to it.  But neither of those things was essential to the story and the book moved along at a good pace and had a satisfying conclusion.


7 hours, 6 minutes

David Ackroyd and Coleen Marlo are the narrators for Peter and Thea.  Though the book is in third person, the chapters alternates between the two main characters.  Both the readers do a fine job and I enjoyed listening to them.  David Ackroyd, in particular, had a nice voice and reminded me of the reader for some of the Richard Peck books I've listened to.  He has an old-fashioned voice, if you know what I mean. 

Hogwarts: Arithmancy
Whisper in my Ear

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bumped (e-book) by Megan McCafferty

In a world where adults lose fertility around the age of 20 due to a virus, Melody is one of the first girls in her class to go pro, as in professional surrogate.  Offered a highly lucrative contact to preg for a well-to-do couple, all she has to do is wait for them to find the perfect match for her.  Then her long-lost, "Godfreaky" twin sister, Harmony, shows up wanting her to give up pregging for money and move to Goodside, the religious compound, with her.  However, when the surrogate parents finally find the perfect donor, things begin to change for the twins in an unexpected way.

I feel like this book was saying a whole lot of things.  I also feel like most of things went over my head as I was distracted by the onslaught of pregnancy related slang.  The sheer amount of it almost overwhelmed me.  Since society has now become focused on encouraging teenage girls to become pregnant, of course the slang would move along with it.  It made me laugh but it also made me scratch my head occasionally.  And if I had a nickel for every time the word "bump" was used, well, then I'd have a lot of nickels.

Still this is a very clever book.  In fact, everything about this book screamed clever.  It is a biting look at society's tendencies to go overboard with an idea and also to commercialize it.  From the FunBump available for the "pre-bumped" to the use of "man brands" (sperm donors), everything about this society is focused on surrogates and child birthing.  And I mean everything.  I had a hard time grasping the timeline of when all the adults went sterile but everything in the books seemed a bit frantic like babies had to be had now or the world would end.  And, by making teenage pregnancy not only palatable but extremely desirable, the message of why they were doing it becomes lost in the marketing.

As for the characters, I can't say I liked either one of the twins that much.  They represent two extremes and it's hard to relate to an extreme.  In fact, the only likable character is Zen, the friend of Melody, who acts like the only voice of reason in the whole book.  Everyone is a caricature from both Melody and Harmony down to every adult and teenager in the book with the exception of Zen.  Nothing in the whole book felt real and I was emotionally separated from the characters' plights, much like the pregnant teenagers from their bumps. 

It is a quirky and interesting book though.  I found myself racing through it, curious to see what happens next.  Was I surprised by the turn of events near the end of the book?  No, not really.  Am I curious to see what happens next?  Yes, actually I am.  There were things that could possibly develop into something interesting for the characters and I'd like to see if they are addressed and how so.  A lot of people really like this book and I'm still trying to decide how I feel about it.  It was worth reading and I guess that's the best thing I can say.

Provided by NetGalley
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish date: April 26, 2011
Hogwarts: Charms

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 4/18


Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading Leave It to Psmith (Wodehouse) and Shine (Myracle).  I'm listening to Bloody Jack (Meyer).

Last week I read 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Last Little Blue Envelope (Johnson) and Summer Lightning (Wodehouse). I finished listening to First Light (Stead).
Other reviews posted: Lucy Rose, Here's the Thing about Me (Kelly),  Absolutely, Positively (Webber)



Won from Library Thing's Early Reviewers
Imaginary Girls  by Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publish date: June 14, 2011
Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.




Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (audio) by L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren
Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas.

There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life -- if only she doesn't get caught....

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan 
There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.
Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lucy Rose: Here's the Thing about Me (audio) by Katy Kelly

Lucy Rose is an Original Thinker and a precocious eight-year.  She has recently moved to Washington, DC with her mother after  her parents separate.  She missed her dad in Ann Arbor and is worried that she won't like it in DC.  But she makes friends and convinces her teacher to let her take the class pet with hilarious results.

This was precious little book.  I can't say that I listen to anymore of the series since it is definitely an elementary level book.  My 4 year old seemed to like it alright.  Lucy Rose is a cute character and I liked her advice column grandmother and her grandfather.  They were a nice addition to the story especially with Lucy Rose "anonymously" asking her grandmother advice on things.  It was cute and I'd say that elementary school readers would enjoy them.


2 hours 21 minutes

Tara Sands is the narrator and she did a nice job of capturing the right tone for Lucy Rose and the rest of the characters.  She made the story fly by and I liked her voice. 

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
Whisper in my Ear

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Last Little Blue Envelope (e-book) by Maureen Johnson

*Some SPOILERS for 13 Little Blue Envelopes*
Ginny never thought she'd see the last blue envelope from her summer trip to Europe at her late aunt's behest.   Then suddenly it pops up in her e-mail, well a scan of the first page anyway, with a note from the finder that the last lettter has instructions for her to find another piece of her aunt's artwork.  So Ginny packs her bag and heads back to England to complete the task from the last little blue envelope.

I was happy to learn that there was going to be a sequel for 13 Little Blue Envelopes.  I wanted to know what was in that letter even if Ginny was okay with not knowing.  Or rather she thought she knew and was okay with it.  But I somehow don't think she really knew.  But then I don't think a sequel was planned after the first book ended.  ANYWAY,  I'm happy to know what was in the envelope and I think Ginny was too.

Once again, I found Ginny to be incredibly passive though she managed to show a little more backbone at the end of the story.  So I applaud her for that.  I wanted to see more of Keith because he is so funny in the first one, but right at the start, it was easy to see that that relationship was not going to go like Ginny wanted it too.  I was irritated through most of the book by Oliver, the finder of the letters, but toward the end I felt sorry for him which is a bit amazing considering how he started out.  I liked Ellis and I was glad she wasn't made into a villain.  And the quest itself was fun.  I always enjoy a good road trip and with a sort of scavenger hunt thrown in, it was really entertaining.  I think the ending worked perfectly and I'm glad to have a definite end to Ginny's story.

Provided by NetGalley
Publish date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Ginny received 13 blue envelopes from her deceased aunt with specific instructions on what to and what not to pack in her backpack and how to follow the instructions in one letter before opening another.  These letters lead Ginny on a trip around Europe and to the greatest adventure in her life so far.
She was standing in the airport of Copenhagen, staring at a doorway, trying to figure out if it was (a) a bathroom and (b) what kind of bathroom it was. The door merely said H.
Was she an H? Was H "hers"? It could just as easily be "his". Or "Helicopter Room: Not a Bathroom at All.
This is my second read.  I read this about when it came out around 2006 and had positive memories about it. The sequel is coming out this month and I decided to re-read this one in order to have a fresh memory about the main character and her travels. And, while I like this book and I like Ginny, it struck me on this read-through how passive Ginny is about the whole thing.  She doesn't question anything and doesn't seem to have much emotion about it.  She just goes along with whatever happens.  She does what the letters tell her to and anytime anyone suggests something, she goes along with it too.  I don't want to spoil the book, but the boy in Italy, anything Keith says, the family in Amsterdam, Ginny just goes along.  I wanted her to take some active interest in what was going on.  Maybe show a little emotion or something. 

It is a charming book and I enjoy Ginny's trips around Europe following her aunt's letters and trying to figure out her aunt's life and why she ran away from New York before she died.  The settings are beautifully written and it (kind of) makes me want to go out and visit Europe with just a backpack and a vague idea of what I'm doing.  There are some really funny scenes and a few touching moments as well.

Maureen Johnson is offering a free download for 13 Little Blue Envelopes from April 12 - April 25th.  Check the links here for your favorite e-reader version.
Kindle Edition
NookBook
Sony Reader Store
iBookStore


Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Absolutely, Positively (e-book) by Heather Webber

Lucy Valentine has a lot of worries between her boyfriend's bad heart, her own fear of commitment, and her job finding lost loves.  Soon she is mixed up in a mystery involving a lost love with a criminal career and a missing neighbor.  Oh and a mysterious stranger literally throwing money around on the street.

There were 2 major mysteries and 1 minor going on in this book and, in the end, I had a bit of a Nancy Drew flashback because at least 2 out of 3 intersected in the end.  It's alright though.  I enjoy this little mysteries and it's fun seeing how Lucy can use her psychic finding objects abilities to find the answers.  There are some funny moments and I love Lucy and Sean together.  I'm glad these books didn't take too long for them to get together.  Sometimes I get tired of series taking forever to get the main characters together.  It's nice to see the characters moving forward and seeing some character growth.  Often, with cozy mysteries, everything is often left exactly the same.  And, with the introduction of new psychic healer character, I think that things are going to get even more interesting for Lucy Valentine.

Hogwarts: Hide and Seek Mini-challenge

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 4/11


Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading 13 Little Blue Envelopes and The Last Little Blue Envelope (Johnson) and attempting to finish Summer Lightning (Wodehouse). I'm listening to First Light (Stead) and Paranormalcy (White).

Last week I read Priceless (Kellogg), Absolutely, Positively (Webber) and Betsy-Tacy and Tib (Lovelace), Bumped (McCafferty) and listened to Lucy Rose, Here's the Thing about Me (Kelly).
Other reviews posted:  The Goddess Test (Carter)

From NetGalley
Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
Publisher: Orchard
Publish date: June 2, 2011
Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.


Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?


Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) (e-book) by Holly Black
Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.

When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?

Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose



Friends in High Places (Kick Keswick #4) by Marne Davis Kellogg
Kick Keswick, once a jewel thief living an exciting double life, has now retired in simple luxury to the south of France. But when an old enemy resurfaces, threatening to expose the countless fake jewels Kick had carefully substituted during her years of secret theft, she is ready to act.
Back in London, Kick finds herself with more employment than she bargained for at a company whose status is much more precarious than she’d thought. Her enemy, in disguise, circles ever closer. And a young nun comes to Kick with a mysterious jewel-encrusted figurine, and a story of greed and murder.
To balance on this high wire, Kick must sneak into an upper-crust wedding in the Italian Alps, break into an ancient castle owned by a very modern murderer, and do it all with her customary panache, style, and grace. Can she keep one step ahead of the most seductively ruthless foe she’s ever encountered?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace

Neither Betsy nor Tacy would have pointed that out.  Tib was always pointing such things out.  But Betsy and Tacy liked her just the same.  p.6
Betsy, Tacy and Tib are eight years old and beginning to explore even more of their neighborhood.  This book is more like a series of stories rather than one long plot.  The girls are growing older so the stories have more to do with them "keeping house" for their mothers or forming their own club to get back at their older sisters for having a club of their own.  Betsy is the ringleader and she usually thinks all of the ideas such as intertwining their hair to put in "lockets" just case one of them should die and making everything pudding.  And the other girls go along with her since she has the best ideas.  Tacy is much more a follower and Tib is the more practical one.  I like that this series grows along with the girls and I'm looking forward to the teenage years.

Hogwarts: 7 in a Series

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Diana Wynne Jones is responsible for my love of fantasy

Diana Wynne Jones died in late March and I was saddened to learn of her passing.  I grew up reading and re-reading her books and I can count her as truly one of my favorite authors of all time.  Her books meant a lot to me growing up and I hope that they will mean as much to my son as he grows up.  I went to public library catalog thinking I'd check out a few of my favorites and then do some reviews on them.  But then I saw how many there were and I didn't know what I would choose. Instead, I've decided to list some of my all-time favorites, the ones that I wore out my paperback copies and will always be counted among my favorite books.  It's not a short list or even a complete list of her books that I love.


Howl's Moving Castle 
(sequel: Castle in the Air and the House of Many Ways)
Full confession: I have not read the House of Many Way and have read Castle in the Air only about two times
But Howl's Moving Castle, that I have read many many times, in addition to owning the movie which is very different from the book, but is still brilliant.  I digress.  I was always drawn to stories of magic and magicians which might explain a lot of Wynne Jones' book and I love the story of the magician Howl and his demon and poor Sophia who is under a curse by the Witch of the Waste that has turned her old.



A Tale of Time City
A science fiction tale of Time City, a city which exists outside of history and whose purpose is to keep history on course.  Vivian is kidnapped by two boys from Time City thinking she is the source of problems that history has been having.  I liked how the technology is described and the image of the clothes the denizens of Time City has stuck with me.  It's amazing because the computer pads the children use are actually quite a bit like an iPad.  There is also a quest aspect in the story and I credit this story with my love of quest/puzzle stories.




The Chrestomanci Series
Charmed Life
The Lives of Christopher Chant
Witch Week
The Magicians of Caprona
There are other books in the Chrestomanci series, but the ones listed above are the only ones I have actually read.  These are fun books dealing with orphans, multi-dimensions, magic, and love.  I could not get enough of Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant and I loved figuring out the mythology of the stories.  I actually read them out of order the first time I read them, but it was amazing to me when I figured out that this Chrestomanci was actually Christopher or Cat.



Dogsbody
The tale of the Dog Star who is sent to Earth in the incarnation of a dog after being convicted of murdering a fellow celestial body.  This book always touch me, partly because I am a dog lover and I love the idea of something being bigger than it really is. 


    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    The Goddess Test (e-book) by Aimee Carter


    To save her dying mother, Kate makes a deal with the mysterious and handsome Henry.  He will delay her mother's death if Kate agrees to spend 6 months out of the year with him for the rest of her life. But first she has to pass a series of tests that have left all the previous girls who've tried dead.

    Persephone is the new It girl, I am assuming.  Because I know that Meg Cabot has a series coming out soon about her and then there is this book.  It's not about Persephone per se but she figures into the plot a fair amount without making an actual appearance.  I'm kind of hoping she shows up at some point in this trilogy.  Anyway...

    Kate is an ok kind of girl.  Her mother is dying and she doesn't know what to do with her life.  Because she has devoted so much of her life to taking care of her mother.  When her mother brings Kate back to her hometown to die there, Kate is manipulated into the position of saving her mother by taking the Goddess Test by Henry, the owner of a large manor house outside of the town.  So Kate has to pass tests that she is not aware of even taking and stay alive since all the girls who have tried have ended up dead.  Slowly, ever so slowly, Kate figures out who Henry really is and yet does not seem to get who everyone else is around her.  She doesn't come off as stupid but she is not very aware or not aware enough.  While I liked her, there were times when all I could think was Really?  And Henry is the standard, standoffish brooding hero.  I mean, given how Henry is, that is totally understandable, but you know, it had some Twilight moments. 

    It was an easy read though, very engaging and, given how much I love Greek mythology, very fun for me.  It was nice to see these characters in other settings and how the progression of history might have changed them.  Kate is a super sweet and caring character and I didn't mind her.  I'm curious to see how the series will continue since there was no cliffhanger ending.  This is one series I will continue on with.

    Provided by NetGalley
    Publish date: April 19, 2011
    Hogwarts: History of Magic

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Priceless (Kick Keswick #2) by Marne Davis Kellogg

    Kick Keswick is enjoying her retirement both from the auction house she previously worked in and from her life as the Shamrock Burglar, the world's best jewelry thief.  But when an impostor Shamrock Burglar begins to steal from wealthy ladies, Kick returns to the glamorous world of the rich and famous to clear her reputation.
    She didn't know it, but time was up and she was out of the running.  She'd picked the wrong brand name to plagiarize and she wasn't ready for the big leagues anyway.  p.244
    Another fun adventure with Kick Keswick!  This time she travel to Italy to find the impostor Shamrock Burglar and she does it with style, class, and a whole lot of jewels.  It's fun watching Kick work and how smooth she really is, despite the fact that she is often smug.  But the decadent life that she lives might make anyone smug, especially considering she is a great jewel thief .  She is an expert at manipulating situations and figuring out people.  The only thing is that I never feel like she is in any danger.  Of course, she is going to come through the whole thing ok, she is Kick Keswick, after all!

    Hogwarts: Hide and Seek mini-challenge

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Weekly Round-Up 4/4


    Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
     I'm reading Priceless (Kellogg), Deeply Desperately (Webber) and Betsy-Tacy and Tib (Lovelace). I'm listening to Lucy Rose, Here's the Thing about Me (Kelly) and Paranormalcy (White).

    Last week I read  The Goddess Test (Carter) and listened to Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex (Colfer).
    Other reviews posted: Cinderella, Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer (McGowen)

     




    Lent to my Nook by my mom
    Absolutely, Positively by Heather Webber

    “Exposed” by a Boston Herald reporter, Lucy is suddenly the talk of the town. Long back-story short: Even though the rest of her Valentine ancestors were blessed by Cupid with psychic abilities, Lucy’s only special power lies in her ability to find things. This skill has proven quite a blessing for those who come to her matchmaking agency in search of finding their long-lost loves. Now that Lucy’s secret is out, she has more new clients than she knows what to do with. But soon a certain man of mystery steals Lucy’s spotlight…
    No, it’s not Sean Donahue, the sexy fireman-turned-private-eye who’s stolen Lucy’s heart. It’s a masked man in a cowboy hat, dubbed “The Lone Ranger,” who’s been throwing handfuls of cash across the Common. Now all of Beantown’s abuzz. Can Lucy unmask the mysterious money man, track down all her clients’ old flames, and turn up the heat on her love life? Absolutely, positively…




     Huntress by Malinda Lo
     Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn't shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people's survival hangs in the balance.To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls' destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.
    The exciting adventure prequel to Malinda Lo's highly acclaimed novel Ash is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.



    Airborn (audio) by Kenneth Oppel, read by a full cast
    Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt's always wanted; convinced he's lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist's granddaughter that he realizes that the man's ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.

    In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies

    Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
    Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.
    She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.
    Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

    First Light (audio) by Rebecca Stead, read by David Ackroyd, Coleen Marlo
    Peter is thrilled to leave New York City to accompany his parents on an expedition to Greenland to study global warming. There he has visions of things that should be too far away for him to see.

    Generations ago, the people of Thea’s community were hunted for possessing unusual abilities, so they fled beneath the ice. Thea needs help that only Peter can give. Their meeting reveals secrets of both their pasts, and changes the future for them both forever.


    Lucy Rose: Here's the Thing about Me (audio)  by Katy Kelly, read by Tara Sands
     I’m Lucy Rose and here’s the thing about me: I am eight and according to my grandfather I have the kind of life that is called eventful, which means NOT boring. According to my mom and my grandmother I’m what they call a handful. And according to my dad I am one smart cookie.

    I say I am one girl who is feeling not-so-sure about things on account of my parents got a separation. Plus my mom and I just moved to Washington, D.C. Plus I haven’t met any friends yet but I do know someone who is not one and that is Adam Melon, who I call Melonhead.

    Here’s another thing about me: most of the time I am plain hilarious.