Saturday, October 31, 2015

Stacking the Shelves -- The Forgotten Books

I was going through my TBR (which is basically a spreadsheet) and comparing it to my Edelweiss downloads and I found some books that I forgot I downloaded! I've had a lot going on and it's showing.  So here they are:

For Review:
Shade Me by Jennifer Brown book cover
Shade Me, by Jennifer Brown from Edelweiss

Bluescreen by Dan Wells book cover
Bluescreen, by Dan Wells, from Edelweiss

The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston book cover
The Truth, by Jeffry W. Johnston from Edelweiss

So now I feel better that I've made that right.  Hopefully I can remember to read them when the time comes! Thanks for visiting and I'd love to see what books you've acquired. Please leave me a link. And make sure to visit our hosts, Team Tynga's Reviews. Have a great week!





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Friday, October 30, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday - Favorite Books to Movies

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow




Happy Friday! And Happy Halloween weekend! Here's this week's question from Alison and Parajunkee:

What are your favorite books that have been made into a movie? - Suggested by Girl of 1000 Wonders


I really enjoyed The Help. I thought they did a great job. And Unbroken was good too.  I wish I could say The Martian, but I haven't seen the movie yet! (Loved the book, though.) I think the Harry Potter series were good movies, but there's just so much in those books that if you've read them, you can't help but feel cheated. Same with The Lord of the Rings.

Have a great weekend everyone. Thanks for stopping by. Leave me your link, and come back soon!





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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas @SJMaas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas book cover and review
Suffice it to say, If you've read the other books in the Throne of Glass series, Queen of Shadows is not to be missed.

The tale is long and complex and I'm not going to do much of a summary. There are parts, especially at the beginning, that are somewhat slow moving, but Mass is a great storyteller, so it isn't difficult to get through.

Then the action picks up and is nonstop until the end. All the characters are back, but some have big surprises in store. Queen of Shadows wraps up this episode nicely (I love that) so no big cliffhanger. But rest assured, there is more to come!

This is a wonderful epic tale, for even those who shy away from high fantasy (like me.) The characters are human-like and it isn't all about the magical elements. If you haven't started Throne of Glass yet, you should give it a try.

A short review for a long book.  This series is highly recommended. I had this book laying on my desk at school for a couple of days and I can't tell you how many students came in and wanted it! I told them, "Sorry. I'm reading it. You can put a request in for when I'm done." At least one of them is going to be very happy tomorrow when this book is available!

Published by Bloomsbury, September 1, 2015
Copy obtained from the library
648 pages

Rating: 4.5/5





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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Audio Book Review: Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Peter and the Starcatchers by Barry and Pearson book cover and review
While I found Peter and the Starcatchers to be a bit over the top, the intended audience will probably find this to be an excellent adventure.

Peter and the Starcatchers is a prequel to Peter Pan. How did Peter end up on that island? How did he learn to fly? How did Captain Hook's hand get bit off? Where did Tinkerbell come from?

In a nonstop, rip-roaring adventure on the sea and on a desert island, Barry and Pearson give us their interpretation. There is quite a bit of magic that serves to save the day. The reader gets several perspectives -- Peter's as well as Captain Stache (the pirate), Slank (the first mate from Peter's ship), the "cannibals" on the island, the mermaids, and maybe a few more.

There is a magical trunk that they are all after and it jumps from character to character; it is even in the mermaids' possession for a while. Every time we are SURE the bad guys will prevail (wink, wink). And I'll be darn if every time somehow the trunk gets away and passed on to someone else. The reader is "fooled" several times into thinking that all is well, the trunk and Peter and his friends are safe, only to watch the trunk get snatched away in some inventive escapade.

It's all very entertaining and exciting -- if you're ten years old. I found it to just go on a bit too long. I'm not a huge high fantasy fan and when magic saves the day (over and over) I just get bored.

The best part is that Jim Dale narrates the audio version. I mean really, he's incredible. I missed the illustrations in the book, but I got Jim Dale's voices instead.

I did enjoy how everything kind of ties up to the classic Peter Pan story at the end. Very clever. Definitely recommend Peter and the Starcatchers to your middle school kids. There are at least three more books in the series for those that can't get enough.

Published by Disney-Hyperion, 2004 (Brilliance Audio)
Audiobook obtained from SYNC YA Audiobooks
480 pages

Rating: 3/5





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Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You, by Claudia Gray @claudiagray

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray book cover and review
Wow. Talk about world building. My favorite thing about Ten Thousand Skies Above You is discovering what Gray has come up with for each dimension that the characters visit.

Marguerite has resisted working for Wyatt Conley, because she knows he's trying to take over all the dimensions. But when Wyatt "splinters" Paul, Marguerite must jump from dimension to dimension collecting his parts while doing some of Wyatt's dirty work. Theo goes with her.

I'm not going to describe the different worlds they encounter, because that's the most fun. How does Gray come up with this? I'm impressed.

I was sucked into Ten Thousand Skies Above You from the very beginning. It's full of action and danger. And the overarching plot moves along as Marguerite discovers more and more with each dimension she visits.

There is a pretty brutal cliffhanger, which I tend to hate, but at least Ten Thousand Skies Above You had a natural stopping point and an end to this part of the story. This one was better than the first, A Thousand Pieces of You, and I think the challenges in the third book will be even more substantial. I, for one, can't wait.

Published by HarperTeen, November 3, 2015
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
432 pages

Rating: 5/5





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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Stacking the Shelves -- Much Anticipated!

I've had a hold on a book for a while. It finally came in and I've already started it. Can you guess what it is?

From the Library:
Queen of Shadows, by Sarah J. Maas
I had to drop everything for this one.

For Review:
His Right Hand, by Mette Ivie Harrison from NetGalley
I read the first one, The Bishop's Wife and enjoyed it so I couldn't pass this up.

So how was your week? Did you get anything good? Be sure to leave me a link. Thanks for the visit and be sure to visit our hosts, Team Tynga's Reviews.




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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Book Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin @ryangraudin

Wolf by Wolf is a thought-provoking story about what might have happened had Hitler been victorious in World War II.

In this version of history, our main character, Yael, has escaped from a Nazi death camp but only after being experimented upon and almost killed. The doctor was trying to turn her into an Aryan by using drugs to change her skin, eye, and hair color. A side effect of this treatment is that now Yael has the power to shape shift. She can put on the face of anyone she sees.

Hitler has continued to take over land and try to rid the world of entire civilizations. He and  Emperor Hirohito have taken over the Eurasian continent and northern Africa. In the "present," which is 1956, Yael has trained with the resistance to impersonate a teen, Adele, who has won the coveted Axis Tour, an annual motorcycle race from Germany to Tokyo. Adele was the first female to ever win (or even compete in) the race. Now Yael will kidnap her, impersonate her, win this year's race, and assassinate Hitler at the Victory Ball.

We get Yael's backstory in bits and pieces. She describes the people who the five wolves she has tattooed on her arm commemorate. These wolves are designed so they hide the tattoo of her prisoner number that she was given while in the death camp.

Wolf by Wolf is hard to put down. The pacing is nonstop, and the racing is brutal and sometimes deadly. Yael's road to victory is not straightforward, and she must make difficult choices. The descriptions of the death camp are horrifying (as they always are.) The whole shape shifting thing is a bit far-fetched, but that's not what the story is about. It serves a purpose.

I hope Wolf by Wolf gets some attention. I believe it could be the stepping off point for some interesting conversations about racism (both historical and current) and being true to oneself. Or as the author's note says "to impart a deeper understanding of what humanity is capable of. Both the good and the evil." Lots of food for thought.

Published by Little, Brown BFYR, October 20, 2015
eARC obtained from NetGalley
400 pages

Rating: 4/5





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Monday, October 19, 2015

The Other Side of Life -- Exciting Things! (Not Reading)

Originally, I blogged about reading and all my other hobbies (mostly sewing and cooking.) My posts got to be so sporadic that I quit posting to that blog, deciding I would use my book blog to post occasionally about other things going on in my life.  I still like my old blog header, so I use it for these posts. Feel free to skip this one if you are only in it for the books.

I haven't posted anything to this blog for almost a week. That's unheard of. I'm quite sure that has never happened before -- even when on vacation, I usually have posts prepared ahead. Turns out I'm not reading as much lately. And if I'm not reading, I'm not posting. I have some good reasons though.

First, there's my delightful little granddaughter, who is now almost eight weeks old. I try to see her as much as I can, and am spending time making things for her, like a Halloween costume!

Second, we are building a new house! It's going fine, but I find that there are so many decisions to make that even if I have time to read, my mind isn't willing. I spend countless hours on the internet looking at pictures, getting ideas, and making decisions. Thank you Pinterest!

I have been reading. Just at a slower pace. I'm reading a really good book now, and next up is Queen of Shadows, so I think that will keep me interested!

Thanks for stopping by. Someday soon I should be posting a book review...




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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Book Review: The Cove by Ron Rash

The Cove by Ron Rash book cover and review
The Cove is a beautifully atmospheric story set during World War One that involves complex characters and emotions.

Laurel lives with her brother, Hank, in an isolated cove in the Appalachian valley. Their parents are recently dead, and Hank has returned from the war, minus one hand.

It's a hard life, made even harder because the people think the cove is cursed and that Laurel is a witch. A secretive man appears who is mute, and ends up staying to help Hank with the farm. He's also taken a shine to Laurel.

The man's secrets are slowly revealed. We know right away that he has escaped from prison, but there's more to it.

Not much happens in The Cove. It's a somewhat simple story of love and secrets. But the way it is written keeps you in the story. The norms of a society at war and the difficulties of digging a well are just couple examples of explorations in The Cove that make the story rich in atmosphere.

I do have another complaint, though. I'm confused by the last sentence of the book. Does that change everything? Am I getting that right?

I decided to read The Cove because of Rash's other book, Serena, that was weirdly awesome. The Cove just didn't have the same tone, so I can't say I liked it as much, but it was still a very positive reading experience.

Published by Ecco, 2012
eBook, purchased
272 pages

Rating: 3.5/5





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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Stacking the Shelves - Fairy Tale, Anyone?


Happy weekend! I just got one book this week -- couldn't pass up this cover!

For Review:

The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine book cover

The Shadow Queen, by C. J. Redwine from Edelweiss

How about you? Can you entice me with any gorgeous covers? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit our hosts, Team Tynga's Reviews.





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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Book Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch book cover and review
Ice Like Fire moves the story along and ramps up the tension at the end, but doesn't have the amount of action that was in the first book, Snow Like Ashes.

Spoilers for Snow Like Ashes, so stop now if you haven't read it and intend to.

Miera is adjusting to being queen of Winter. Their alliance with Cordell is shaky and Miera doesn't trust them. When the lost chasm of magic is found in a Winter mine, Miera and Theron must go on a quest to find three keys that will allow this magical door to be opened.

Miera struggles with her dealings with the other kingdoms she visits, and Theron doesn't help. She is losing trust in him, and he is taking liberties with Winter's assets. His main objective is to get all the kingdoms to sign a peace treaty. Miera knows this will not solve their problems.

There are a lot of characters, and it took me a while to remember all the characters and subtleties of the first book. Most of Ice Like Fire is about Miera's inner turmoil -- trying to be queen and stay true to her friends. Protecting her kingdom, but allowing herself to be the warrior she is. With each stop along the journey, she figures out more about herself, and of course, the questionable motivations of others. If you're in it for the romance, you won't find much in Ice Like Fire. Yes, there is a kind of love triangle, but it's not at all a focus of the book (or Miera.)

There isn't very much action in Ice Like Fire except at the end. This book is more about the characters and the different kingdoms and just how difficult it is to survive in this complex world where each kingdom is looking out for themselves. And the ending is not only full of action, but some surprises too.

Ice Like Fire is by no means the end. A war is brewing, and it seems like it's going to be a huge struggle for Miera and the people of Winter.

The Snow Like Ashes Series introduces an interesting world and complex political beliefs along with a magical element that will appeal to a wide range of fantasy fans.

Published by Balzer + Bray, October 13, 2015
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
496 pages

Rating: 4/5





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