Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday 56 - The Name of the Star

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Hosted by Freda's Voice

"The police aren't even trying to deny it anymore, " Jerome said quietly, right before Mark took roll.  "There's definitely a new Ripper."

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
p.56 e-book 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Queens of All the Earth by Hannah Sternberg (repost)

I've been asked to repost this review since the publication date was moved back.
After a mental breakdown, Olivia Somerset is brought to Barcelona by her stern but loving sister, Miranda for some R&R.  Olivia is drawn to the quiet and strange Greg Brown who is traveling with his father.  And the two families become acquainted after a mix-up with the sister's room and Mr. Brown's offer to switch with them.

If you have ever read A Room with a View, then you will be familiar with the plot of Queens.  There are a few changes here and there, but the basic story is there, just modernized and set in Spain rather than Florence.  Since A Room with a View is one of my favorite classics, I really enjoyed this book.  It is the condensed version and the descriptions of Barcelona are beautiful.  All characters fit their classic counterparts, but there are a few key differences that I liked.  The motivation for the trip comes from Olivia losing touch with reality and having a complete breakdown so her sister kindly travels for a bit of "travel therapy."  And the trip proves therapeutic for the both of them as is wont to happen in these books.  I'm not entirely sure if this is classed as YA or adult, but it really could go either way.  It is an enjoyable book whether or not you have read A Room with a View or not.

Provided by NetGalley
Publish Date: October 1, 2011
Publisher: Bancroft Press
ISBN: 978-1610880329

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 9/26

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 still reading Department 19 (Hill) and listening to The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (Meyer).

Reviews posted: Tankborn (Sandler), Blandings Castle ...And Elsewhere (Wodehouse)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday 56 - Blandings Castle

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Hosted by Freda's Voice

His recovery was hastened by the slamming of the door and the spectacle of his son Frederick clasping in his arms a wife who, his lordship had never forgotten, was the daughter of probably the only millionaire in existence who had that delightful willingness to take Freddie off his hand which was, in Lord Emsworth's eyes, the noblest quality a millionaire could possess.

p.56 Blandings Castle and Elsewhere by P.G. Wodehouse

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blandings Castle ... and Elswhere by P.G. Wodehouse

The Blandings Castles short stories contained in this book are meant to be read before Summer Lightning.  Something I didn't do, but still I don't know how much that really matters. All the stories were hilarious and entertaining in true Wodehouse style. 

"The Custody of the Pumpkin" takes the reader back before Lord Emsworth acquired the Empress of Blandings and become obsessed with his pig.  In this story he is worried about a prized pumpkin and the loss of his head gardener.  Also Freddie gets married and Lord Emsworth is at first dismayed, but then later delighted to learn who Freddie married.

"Lord Emsworth Acts for the Best"- Freddie's wife leaves him when he does something stupid (just like Freddie) and Lord Emsworth decides to fix the situation so as not to be stuck with Freddie. This leads to an awkwardly hilarious encounter with his daughter-in-law and her little dog. 

"Pig-hooo-o-o-ey" - With the loss of his pig-man, Lord Emsworth searches for a way to get the Empress of Blandings to eat for fear of her losing weight and the prized pig competition.  With the help of niece Angela's young man, he succeeds in both his endeavor with his pig and with helping the two young people come together.

"Company for Gertrude - Freddie tries to help his cousin Gertrude with her love problems but manages to annoy his father in the meantime. 

"The Go-getter" - Freddie tries to convince his aunt to buy the dog biscuits of his father-in-law's company, leading to a confrontation between Gertrude's fiance's dog and his aunt's dog and solving Gertrude's love problems.

"Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend" - Lord Emsworth makes friend with a young girl and her brother and tries to avoid a tiresome event at Blandings Castle.

Wodehouse Challenge

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tankborn by Karen Sandler

Kayla and Mishalla are GENS (Genetically Engineered Non-humans), people made from human and animal DNA to be slaves for the high class trueborns.  When each receives their Assignments on their 15th year, they find themselves involved with something more involving the children Mishalla is assigned to care for and the trueborn family Kayla works for.

I can honestly compare this favorably with the few Octavia Butler books I've read.  And that is high praise indeed.  While Tankborn seemed a bit heavy-handed sometimes with the genetically engineered slave concept, it was still a really enjoyable read and pretty thought-provoking. Kayla and Mishalla are ready made sympathetic characters and it is easy to care for them and their plight. The castes system in the book was a little confusing to me with the trueborns, lowborns and GENS and all the classifications in the middle.  But really it was important to establish who everyone was and how they all fit together.  Like I said, I really liked Kayla and Mishalla and their romantic interests were pretty likeable too.  I liked seeing the growth of Devak, the grandson of Kayla's Assignment.  The conspiracy of the plot was fairly surprising and actually a little horrifying as I become invested in all the characters.  There were a few subplots that were not addressed and so I wonder if they are planning a sequel. 

Provided by NetGalley
Publish date: September 28th 2011
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 9/19

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 Department 19 (Hill) and listening to The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (Meyer).

Last week I read Wisdom's Kiss (Murdock) and Tankborn (Sandler).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday 56 - Lulu Dark

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Hosted by Freda's Voice

Those two had some nerve accusing me of being a wannabe sleuth.  Charlie and Daisy were the ones who were acting like this was some big mission: impossible.

p.56 Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls by Bennett Madison

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure far beyond the staid old kingdom of Montagne.
Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true life secret from his family.
Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips.
These three passionate souls might just attain their dreams while preserving Montagne from certain destruction, if only they can tolerate each other long enough to come up with a plan. Tough to save the world when you can't even be in the same room together.

I haven't read Princess Ben so I was unfamiliar with the world and with the character.  I might have to go back and read it because Nonna Ben was pretty fierce.  As was Wisdom.  She was very tenacious and curious and fairly unprincess-like. While she wasn't my favorite character (that honor going to Trudy) she was alright for a princess.  Trudy was the sweetest and the one with the most to lose as an orphaned serving girl with psychic powers.  The love triangle that springs up between Wisdom, Trudy and Tips, Trudy's childhood friend and first love, was inevitable.  But the real meat of the story, for me, was in the intrigue between Wisdom's kingdom and the duchy she is meant to marry into.  I loved the outcome and how clever they solved the problem.

I liked this book, let me say, I did.  But it is told in many random forms like diary entries, memoirs, letters, biographies, a play and all of that together felt mish mashed.  Random bits of important information are thrown in through in encyclopedia entries which seems like a lazy way of importing things readers need to know.  The conceit is cute at the beginning but loses its cuteness about half way through the book.  But it doesn't make the book unreadable.  On the contrary, it is a charming book that I enjoyed very much.  It was just one of the those things I couldn't help noticing.

From NetGalley

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 9/12

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 Wisdom's Kiss (Murdock) and Tankborn (Sandler).   I'm listening to The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (Meyer).

Last week I read Drink, Slay, Love (Durst).
Other reviews posted: Paranormalcy (White)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Pearl is a fun-loving, blood-drinking sixteen year old bad girl vampire.  That is until she is stabbed by a unicorn.  Suddenly she is a different kind of vampire, one who can walk in the sunlight and has a reflection.  But she is also turning into a different kind of girl, much to her family's displeasure.  Now they have given her the task of luring a large meal to the Fealty Ceremony and, for Pearl, that means going to high school.

I loved Pearl in a weird way.  I love that she was so badass and so out to prove herself and that doesn't change even after the unicorn incident.  I love that it was a unicorn of all things that stabbed her.  So random and fun.  But I loved Pearl's gradual transformation the best and the fact that she went to the library of all places as soon as she could walk in the sunlight.  Her fascination with daylight was almost touching.  It's something everyone just takes for granted but as a vampire she had no experience with it.  Pearl was awesome, even in high school.  She was just the coolest.  And Evan, the boy, was super sweet and I liked him too.  It is a romance-light book which works for the story being told.

The story was really fun and I liked this book.  The vampires and the unicorns, it's a weird combination but it works in this book.  I did have a little laugh at the Vampire King of New England because I mean, come on, what kind of title is that? But the world was built nicely and everything made sense and there were some good light hearted laugh out loud moments in the midst of Pearl's identity crisis.  And prom, of course.

From the publisher
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publish date: 9/13/2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Evie works for IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency)  bagging and tagging paranormals and wishing she was a normal girl herself.  But when the paranormals start dying, the mystery of who and what Evie becomes all too important.
Just as he reached for my neck, I tased him. I was there to bag and tag, not to kill. Besides, if I had to carry separate weapons for every paranormal I took out, I'd be dragging around a full luggage set. Tasers are a one-size-fits-all paranormal butt-kicking option. Mine's pink with rhinestones. Tasey and I have had a lot of good times together.
I liked Evie's sarcastic tone and her naivete.  She was kick-ass without being too in-your-face tough.  This was a fun book and I really enjoyed it.  I was a little frustrated by the fact that no one would answer a darn question in a straightforward manner, but still it was interesting, uncovering the secret of Evie and Vivian.  Thought not too much of the secret, I assume, since this is still a series and there is more to the story than what is in this book.  It was nice that the book didn't end on too much of cliffhanger.  I hate that.  It could almost be a standalone if necessary. 

Lend is my favorite boy of the moment.  Who could be more perfect and more perfect for Evie?  Sigh.  No one.  He is awesome and so is his family.   I loved that part of the book.  And I loved the chemistry between Evie and Lend.  I can't wait to read more about them.

8 hours, 40 minutes

Emily Eiden is the narrator and she does a great job of capturing the sacrastic nature of Evie and the sweetness of Lend.  I liked her voices for all the characters.  Her pacing was pretty much just great and she has a wonderful voice.  I really liked her and would definitely listen to something else read by her.

Whisper in my Ear

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

All These Things I've Done Giveaway!

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.
 Courtesy of Macmillan Children's Publishing, I am giving away one copy of Gabriell Zevin's new book All These Things I've Done.  I loved loved Elsewhere and can't wait to read this one.  The giveaway ends on September 16 at midnight.  Winner will be chosen via random number and contacted for mailing address.  Just fill out the form below. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 9/5

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 Drink, Slay, Love (Durst) and Wisdom's Kiss (Murdock). I'm listening to The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (Meyer).

Last week I read Huntress (Lo) and finished Paranormalcy (White). 
Other reviews posted: The Unwanteds (McMann)

From NetGalley

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Publish date: December 27th 2011
Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process

Croak by Gina Damico
Publisher: Graphia/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish date: March 30th 2012
Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can't stop her desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

Ladies in Waiting by Laura L. Sullivan
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish date: May 8th 2012
Eliza dreams of writing plays for the king’s theater, where she will be admired for her wit rather than her father’s wealth. Beth is beautiful but poor, so she must marry well, despite her love for her childhood sweetheart.

Zabby comes to England to further her scientific studies—and ends up saving the life of King Charles II. Soon her friendship with the handsome king becomes a dangerous, impossible obsession. Though she knows she should stay away from the court, the queen needs ladies in waiting.

And so the three Elizabeths from very different walks of life find themselves at the center of the most scandal-filled court that England has ever seen.

Friday, September 2, 2011

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.

She was here because the Council of Sage believed the Fairy Queen knew something about why their kingdom was turning into a wasteland - place where crops spoiled overnight, where farmers couldn't replant because there was no sunlight.  Where monsters crawled out of their dark places and were found dead in northern villages, or were somehow reborn in the soft little bodies of human babies.  p. 103
I loved Kaede and Taisin.  They were a beautiful couple and their relationship develops at a sweet and slow pace allowing them to really think of about how they feel about each other.  Each girl has her own strengths and places to them very well.  Taisin is a gifted sage and Kaede is very strong and determined and become quite a good hunter.  It's those qualities that get them through their long adventure, allowing to them to carry out the tasks set before them.  They set out at the invitation of the Fairy Queen to find out what is happening in their kingdom and find many fantastic and sometimes horrific creatures waiting for them.  Yet they manage to persevere and complete their quest.

Where Ash was a retelling of the Cinderella story, Huntress has its own unique story to tell.  I loved it and thought was a truly lovely book, though a bit sad.  It is set a couple of hundred years before Ash and really tells the tale of how the Huntress position came to be. It moved along at nice pace though it did seem to take a long time for them to get to the Fairy Queen and it moved even quicker after that.  But I guess the background was necessary for what they found with the fey.  It is beautifully written and the imagery is amazing.