Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 10/31 + Happy Halloween!

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 Prized (O'Brien) and Touch (Accardo). And I'm still listening to To Say Nothing of the Dog (Willis).

Last week I read Ascendant and Errant (Peterfreund).  Other reviews posted were Friends in High Places (Kellogg) and Uncommon Criminals (Carter).

Happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Errant by Diana Peterfreund

Set in the Killer Unicorn universe, this novella takes place in 18th century France.  It is a tradition of the nobility to  hold a unicorn hunt before a wedding to prove the virginity of the bride.  When Sister Brigitta of the Order of the Lioness arrives with her unicorn, she is surprised to discover not only is the bride of the bloodline, she also has the power as well.  Together the two find a way to save Elise from the men trying to control her life.

I really enjoyed the story.  At first it was frustrating because neither Gitta nor Elise has any interest in trying to understand each other, but once they come to see the other's point of view was great.   I liked the whole story and I think it added something to the story that was started in Rampant and Ascendant.  It was interesting to see in this world how unicorns are accepted and something known even if they are scarce.  And how the world generally views unicorns and unicorn hunters. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday 56 - Ascendant

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

And how wily of the zhi to have used her teeth and not her horn.  I hadn't seen that before from a unicorn, not even the devious kirin.

p.56 Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ascendant (Killer Unicorns #2) by Diana Peterfreund

Astrid is having trouble coming to terms with her ancestral calling.   On one hand, she can't let the unicorns slaughter innocent people.  On the other, she doesn't feel right hunting the unicorns to extinction.  So when Astrid is offered a job protecting a herd, she views it as a chance to get away from the Cloisters and try to understand the animals better.  But she also learns that everything comes at a price and someone is always the loser.
As one, the unicorns bowed before me, touching their horns to the earth, and I released my hands.  I was a goddess.  I was Diana, the Huntress, the Mistress of the Animals.  p.215
I actually found this one a little more compelling than Rampant.  It explores the moral implications more of taking a virtually extinct and once thought mythical creature and either hunting it to extinction or using it like a lab rat.  Neither are really going to work, but how do you solve a problem like man-eating unicorns?  Astrid doesn't know but then neither does anyone in her world.  And Astrid does not think a lot of herself and her powers so I liked seeing her explore them more along with her ability to "communicate" with the unicorns.  There is understandably some killing and a lot of action, but it was nice to not to have it hunt, kill all the time like in Rampant.  Astrid certainly has a lot of questions that need answering as do I.  The ending set up nicely for another book but without a dreaded cliff-hanger.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Friends in High Places by Marne Davis Kellogg

Kick Keswick is enjoying her life in France with her husband.  But an old foe is back at Ballantine and Company, threatening to expose Kick's old life.  While her husband is away on assignment, Kick goes back to London to set right some of the consequences of her old thieving ways.

I was apparently in the mood for heist stories because I followed Uncommon Criminals with Friend in High Places.  Two very different protagonists, however.  Kick is a reformed thief but still the very best at it.  And she loves the good life, fancy parties, luxurious meals, and beautiful jewels.  When it comes out that somethings are not on the up and up at Ballantine and Company,  Kick feels compelled to help out.  And Kick is very clever so she manages to help out her old company, make some new friends, and help out some nuns.  And she does it with a lot of style.  I love reading about her adventures and the clothes and the food, but I am getting a little tired of reading the same thing about her background.  It's redundant.  But still these are good books, worth reading especially if you like a good heist story.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Katarina Bishop is now the girl that robbed the Henley. Following her successful heist of that museum, Kat has dedicated herself to recovering art stolen from its rightful owner.  When Kat is contacted to steal the Cleopatra Emerald, one of the largest every discovered, she concocts a scheme to steal it even though it is the one thing Uncle Eddie has forbidden.  But the emerald comes with a curse and all is not what it seems for Kat.

This was a great second installment of the Heist Society.  I really like Kat and her crew.  She is so clever that even when she is conned she still manages to come out ahead and in the simplest manner too!  I love a good heist story and this one has it all.  I love Kat's relationship with Hale.  They have the best chemistry.  And the rest of Kat's friends are pretty awesome too.  Gabriel is pretty amazing. 

The plot moved at a good pace.  It was nice not knowing how Kat was going to pull it off until the very end.  I liked how she got the better of her antagonist.  I am intrigued though by the lady's relationship with Uncle Eddie and I hope she makes another appearance.  She was a great foe for Kat. 

6 hours, 43 minutes

Angela Dawe is the narrator and she does an excellent job.  Her tone was just right for the story.  She doesn't really do voices but she does try to distinguish each character.  I liked her pace and her voice is appropriate for the story.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 10/24

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 Ascendant (Peterfreund) and Prized (O'Brien). I'm listening to To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last (Willis).

Last week I read Friends in High Places (Kellogg).

From NetGalley
Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett
Written in the style of Charles Dickens, Jacob T. Marley is to A Christmas Carol as the world-famous Wicked is to The Wizard of Oz. Jacob realized that he was no more than an entry in Scrooges ledger in an account that was now being closed.  What a wretched man, Marley thought. Whatever in the world made him? Whether it was seconds or minutes, Marley did not know, but he paused so completely he thought his heart had stopped beating. I did, were his own words that came to him. I did. I made Ebenezer Scrooge.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 10/17

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 Friends in High Places (Kellogg) and Prized (O'Brien).  I'm listening to To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last (Willis).

Last week I finished The Name of the Star (Johnson) and read Ashfall (Mullin) and The Hijab Boutique (Khan) and listened to Uncommon Criminals (Carter).

From NetGalley
Prized (Birtmarked #2) by Caragh M. O'Brien
Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime.  In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

From Audible
To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis, read by Steven Crossley (e-audio)
Connie Willis' Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Doomsday Book uses time travel for a serious look at how people connect with each other. In this Hugo-winning companion to that novel, she offers a completely different kind of time travel adventure: a delightful romantic comedy that pays hilarious homage to Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat.

When too many jumps back to 1940 leave 21st century Oxford history student Ned Henry exhausted, a relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. But complexities like recalcitrant rowboats, missing cats, and love at first sight make Ned's holiday anything but restful - to say nothing of the way hideous pieces of Victorian art can jeopardize the entire course of history. 
 Harriet Spies Again by Helen Ericson, read by Anne Bobby
Harriet M. Welsch has just received the best news of her 11th year—Ole Golly is coming back! Harriet can still remember how sad she was when her beloved nanny married George Waldenstein and moved away. But the circumstances of Ole Golly’s return remain unclear. Where is George Waldenstein?

With Mr. and Mrs. Welsch living in France for three months, Sport confiding that he has a crush on a girl at school, and the arrival of a mysterious new neighbor who’s going to require a whole lot of spying, Harriet already has her hands full. Then she overhears Ole Golly saying she’s innocent—but innocent of what? Harriet the Spy is on the case and ready to help Ole Golly in any way she can.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

When the supervolcano at Yellowstone erupts during his first weekend home alone,  16 year old Alex finds himself on a journey across ash covered land and extreme weather changes trying to get to his family.

At first when I started this book I felt it was going to be a retread of Life As We Know It, but I was happy to find out as I read on that it was different.  Sure both books are about an event that causes extreme changes in the climate and changes society but LAWKI was more of a isolated book.  Ashfall explores the world as it has changed.  Alex is trying to get to Illinois where his parents went for the weekend.  What is a three hour car ride takes him more than a few months.  Along the way  he has a lot of encounters with both nice people and cruel, vicious people.  And there are some really horrific things happening in this lawless state.  The most horrific happens off page but still just hearing about it was enough.  It's all sort of pre-Mad Max.

Alex was a typical enough teenager and I liked his personality growth.  He changed from normal teenage boy to a survivalist.  I liked his relationship with Darla.  I was glad that it didn't turn too mushy but instead maintained that balance between needing each other and still being their own persons.  Alex is, in a way, more caring than Darla and she is definitely the tougher one.  But it worked out okay for them.  Everyone else is more anecdotal than fleshed out, but given the nature of the book that definitely fits.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Hijab Boutique by Michelle Khan

Farah has been assigned a project about her mother for International Woman's Day.  The problem is that Farah thinks her mother is boring, much more so than the other moms of her classmates.  As Farah struggles to find something to bring to class, she learns more about her mother.

Well, this was a cute book.   The language was very simple and it read like a 10 year old wrote it.  In fact it brought memories back of my 5th grade journal.  It was funny that Farah thought her mom was so boring and couldn't think of anything interesting about her.  Very typical.  But the lessons is really that it's hard to know who your mother is outside of your relationship.  And Farah really knew very little about her mother.  So I enjoyed Farah's discoveries of her mother's past.  And I liked the explanation of why her mother choose to wear the hijab and all the different styles of hijab.  It made the story different than my usual reading fare.

Won from LibraryThing

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1) by Maureen Johnson

Rory is from a small town in Louisiana, but she moves to London when her parents decided to teach in England for a year.  Luckily she gets a good roommate at her new school and starts figuring out the ways of the English. Less lucky is the fact that someone has started imitating the Ripper murders.  And there is no evidence of who it is despite there being cameras everywhere.  And somehow Rory has started seeing people that no one else can see.  
Annoy a Southerner, and we will drain away the moments of your life with our slow, detailed replies until you are nothing but a husk of your former self and that much closer to death.  p.25
I'm always wary of non-Southerners writing about teens (or really anyone) from Louisiana.  Sometimes it's hard to get right.  And I love Maureen Johnson so I wanted her to get it right.  But the thing about Rory is that she is less Louisianan and more Southerner and more teen than all of that.  And she is a definite fish out of water at her Wexford.  But she manages with the help of her new friends.  The thing about Rory is that she just sort of goes along, just doing what everyone tells her.  She was a little blank for a main character.  I guessing she is suppose to act as proxy for the reader and that would explain it.

But beyond Rory, the story definitely fell on the creepy side of the line.  So much so that I refused to read it before bed as I like sleeping and not dreaming of murders or imagining ghosts in the dark corners of my room.  I don't know much about Jack the Ripper so I did a little research after I started.  The background is explained but I like to know before I start.  I liked the introduction to the mystery and I liked the twist in the middle that changed the story.  It made it different.  I was actually surprised that by whodunit and thought it was set up nicely though the info dump at the end was a little too much.  The set up for the next book was unique and I'm excited to see what happens to Rory in the next book.

350 Page

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 10/10

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 The Name of the Star (Johnson) and listening to Uncommon Criminals (Carter).

Last week I finished The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (Meyer) and posted my review of Department 19 (Hill).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday 56 - This Book Isn't Fat...

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

I feel this weird warm flush when he laughs.  I look away, start searching my bag for my phone, suddenly nervous.

This Book Isn't Fat, It's Fabulous by Nina Beck

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Adventures of Jacky Faber, on her Way to Botany Bay by L.A. Meyer

Jacky is bound for the penal colony of New South Wales as punishment for her crimes against the crown.  To add insult to injury, the government confiscates her newly bound Lorelei Lee and puts her and the other female convicts aboard for the trip.  But Jacky's friends come through for her as Higgins finds a way on broad along with some old faces.

Well, this was full of adventure!  Jacky is sentence to life in New South Wales, finds herself on her own ship, is threatened by the first mate multiple times, marries Higgins, finds and loses Jamie, ends with as the "pet" of a Chinese female pirate, finds Jamie again and reclaims her ship.  Phew.  That's a lot for one 16 year old girl.  And as much as I enjoy Jacky's adventure, they are beginning to lose their what little credibility they had in the first place.  Oh well.  They are fun books and explore their historical nature to the fullest which is a fun way to learn about these things.  I really liked Jamie's chapters.  The boy is coming along nicely but I do feel sorry for him.  All of these terrible things happen to him and he does some questionable things in return and all because of his relationship with Jacky.  I hope that works out in their favor.  And I hope Jamie can hold on to his sanity in the meanwhile.

Katharine Kellgren does a wonderful job yet again.  I love her singing voice and I love her voice for the Shanty Man.  She is so versatile!  And she does a great job with the dialects and the languages which must be hard to do.  

Bloody Jack
Whisper in My Ear

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Littlest Bookworm

There will be a new little bookworm at my house.  YES I am expecting a baby at the beginning of April and am so excited.  As you may or may not know, I already have a 4 year old (5 in December) and now I'll have a little baby too.  I can't wait!  But as long as pregnancy feels, it does go by quickly in the end. If I've been absent lately, it's because this is what I have been concentrating on lately. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Department 19 by Will Hill

Jamie Carpenter watches as his father is gunned down by mysterious government agents.  Two years later he is an outcast in society for his father's supposed crime.  But when his mother is kidnapped by a mysterious and dangerous creature, Jamie is brought into the Loop where the vampire hunters work for the government in Department 19.  It's up to Jamie to find his mother before the oldest living vampire does the unthinkable.  

Confession: I've never read Dracula.  It was just never high on my list of things to read.  And that story figures heavy into this story.  Despite my lack of Dracula literature reading, I still got the gist of the story and the background of some of the characters.  In this novel, Dracula is dead, killed like in the original story, but he turned three brothers into vampires and they are the oldest living vampires.  They are brutal and vicious and they are creating an army of other vampires.  The second oldest, Alexandru, kidnaps Jamie's mother, leading Jamie to hunt for his mother.  Jamie is taken by Department 19, a secret government agency founded by original slayers of Dracula, to hide him.  But Jamie only wants to find his mother.  Aided by Frankenstein (the monster), Jamie becomes immersed in the world of the supernatural, determined to find his mother and figure out what really happened to his father.

There is a lot going on in this book and I suppose part of that is a trilogy.  There is the mystery of Jamie's father, and why his mother was taken.  And there is something going on with the vampire brothers.  It's not confusing when you're reading it but when thinking about it, I can only hope that more is answered in the next book.  I enjoyed it though and I liked the characters.  I found Jamie a bit abrasive and there was a lot of yelling (I can't help noticing when a verb is overused), but it is all understandable.  It is on the gory side so if you are squeamish, be forewarned.  Mostly it is vampires exploding and lots and lots of blood.  But it didn't bother me too much.   enjoyed the alternating historical chapters and thought they were a nice touch.  There are definitely a quite a few stick with it images.  I'm curious to see where all of this is going.

Won from LibraryThing
Off the Shelf
350 Page

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 10/3

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 The Name of the Star (Johnson) and listening to The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (Meyer).

Last week I finished Department 19 (Hill).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Monthly Picks

Favorite Book:

Tankborn by Karen Sandler
I really liked this science fiction book.  It was different than what I've been reading and the characters are still relate able and the story is interesting.