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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shadow of Night


Book #23 Read in 2013
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

This is the second book in the series and it picks up right where book 1 leaves off.  Diana and Matthew have traveled back in time to retrieve the book of spells that they are after.  They must be careful to not change events that will have implications as to how the future unfolds.  It is a dangerous time, especially for Diana, as witch hunts are plentiful.  Matthew's friends from the School of Night (Christopher Marlowe, Walter Raleigh) are characters in this book.

This book has interesting twists and turns.  It fleshes out Matthew's past for both Diana and readers.  The characters in the 16th century are interesting and Diana and Matthew have a nice support network in them.  Of course the ending leaves you wanting more--when is book #3 coming out?  I enjoyed this book.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lost Cat


Book #22 Read in 2013
Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation and GPS Technology by Caroline Paul

Caroline is a cat person.  She has two sibling cats--Tibula and Fibula or Tibby and Fibby for sure.  Caroline injures her leg which causes her to be couch bound and this lack of moving ability spirals her into a depression.  That depression really begins to rage when Tibby, an indoor/outdoor cat, takes off to parts unknown.  Caroline launches a search for him, consults pet psychics, pet detectives and put flyers all over the neighborhood.  Mysteriously, five weeks later Tibby shows back up, none the worst for wear.  Caroline then becomes obsessed with finding out where Tibby went and used technology such as GPS and a pet camera to try to figure it out.

This was a cute, quick read.  Cat people will get the obsessive nature of Caroline's search.  Tibby and Fibby were distinct feline personalities and that was shown well through the writing.  

I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a review.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Tell Tale Start (YA)


Book #21 Read in 2013
The Tell Tale Start by Gordon McAlpine

Edgar and Allan are twins and the distant relations of Edgar Allan Poe.  The twins are amazingly bright and are eerily connected to each other.  A mad scientist wants to get a hold of the twins to explore and experiment with their intense connection.  But will the twins, with some help from the famous author relative, be able to outsmart him?

This book was a cute, quick read; I finished it in one sitting.  The twins are mischievous and entertaining.  This book had a lot of humor in it and a good mystery.  Loved Roderick Usher, the cat owned by the twins, and his ability and skill set that came in handy.  I would especially recommend this book for a male reluctant read in upper elementary or middle school.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Second Chance Summer (YA)


Book #20 Read in 2013
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (YA)

Taylor's father is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He wants to spend the last summer at the summer home, all of them together, as a family.  Taylor and her family are dreading the thought of losing him, but life continues to go on.  Taylor needs to repair relationships with her friends from the summer town, namely Lucy and Henry.  As she attempts to do so, she connects with her father and learns more about him and ultimately, learns about herself.

This was a good read and yes I did tear up while reading it.  I think my favorite quote was near the end of the book and Taylor states that "today was a day that would split my life into before and after".  This totally captured how I felt when I lost my mom when I was a teenager.  Your life is never the same.  Besides emotional power, this book included great characters (loved Taylor and her father), romance, and wonderful canine in Murphy the dog.  I recommend it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kepler's Dream


Book #19 Read in 2013
Kepler's Dream by Juliet Bell (YA)

Ella's mother is undergoing chemotherapy.  Due to this, Ella is sent to spend the summer with the grandmother she has never met.  GM (Grandmother or more aptly, General Major) is a stern woman who upholds grammatical rules, the importance of books and maintaining a healthy emotional distance.  Then GM's most treasured piece of her library is stolen and Ella and her friend Rose begin to investigate the robbery.

This book was a good read.  Ella is a great character--she has a sense of human and a sense of strength about her that readers will respond to.  GM will win readers over in spite of herself.  The secondary cast of characters are quirky and interesting.  This book had a good mystery plot to it to keep readers engaged.  I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Here I Go Again


Book #18 Read in 2013
Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster

Lissy Ryder was the "It" girl in high school--popular, envied and downright nasty at times.  At her high school reunion, she realizes how much damage she did to classmates.  Through a tonic, she has the opportunity to go back in time and right her wrongs.  But every change she makes to her personality creates multiple changes, most for the bad, for those around her.  Lissy begins to realize that she may need to worry more about those around here than her own life if she wants things to turn out ok in the long run.  

I love Lancaster's non-fiction and her blog.  This book, her first fiction that I've read, was a winner.  Lancaster's voice was heard throughout this book--her caustic wit was portrayed as Lissy began to honestly evaluate herself--and I loved it.  This book had great characters, so much humor and enough 80s and 90s references that I smiled many times while reading.  I recommend it.

I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a review.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stick


Book #17 Read in 2013
Stick by Andrew Smith (YA)

Stick is the nickname for Stark McClellan.  Stick was born without his right ear.  This means he feels like a freak and tries to not draw attention to his missing ear.  If that wasn't enough for a teenager to deal with, Stick lives in a horribly abusive home.  His father and mother are horrific parents and the saving grace is Bosten, Stick's older brother.  The two boys are extremely close and take care of each other the best they can in the situation they have at home.

This book is gritty and painful to read at times, but also extremely powerful and hard to put down.  Stick and Bosten are wonderful characters.  Readers will care about them and hope that all turns out well.  There is action, romance and humor in this book.  I recommend it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What's a Witch to Do?


Book #16 Read in 2013
What's a Witch to Do? by Jennifer Harlow

Mona is the high priestess (top witch) of her community.  Someone seems to be jealous of that fact, as Mona is a target of someone trying to kill her.  Adam, a werewolf, declares himself her bodyguard and moves in with her and her two nieces to protect them.  On top of that, Mona is helping her younger sister plan a wedding.  Will Mona figure out who is trying to kill her in time to stop him/her?

This book had a good mix of mystery, action, romance, humor and paranormal.  The characters were well-developed; readers will like Mona and Adam, laugh at the girls, and cringe when Aunt Sara starts asking questions.  I enjoyed the book.  I received a free copy from CMBR Reviewers Group on Facebook in exchange for a review.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The One and Only Ivan


Book #15 Read in 2013
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

What a beautiful and heart wrenching read all at once!  Ivan is a gorilla who was taken into captivity at a young age.  He was purchased by Mack, who has set up a small circus/animal display in the middle of a mall.  Ivan is there with other animals but is closes to Stella, a wise old elephant, and Bob, a stray dog who likes to sleep on Ivan's stomach.  Then a young elephant, Ruby, arrives and Ivan makes both Stella and Ruby promises that he is not quite sure how to keep.

These characters are wonderful and readers will fall in love with them.  Readers will root for the animals to have happy endings.  The chapters are extremely short, so this book flies right by, even for the most reluctant of readers.  Applegate's writing is magical.

Everybody Sees the Ants (YA)


Book #14 Read in 2013
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King (YA)

This is a young adult realistic fiction book and I enjoyed it.  Lucky is a high school student who is getting bullied by a real jerk named Nader.  His father's advice is to ignore it, and that is what most of the adults do too, since Nader's father is a hot-shot lawyer and people are intimidated by him.  On top of that, Lucky's grandmother, on her death bed, makes Lucky swear to rescue her husband, a POW/MIA from the Vietnam War.  Lucky's dreams take him to his grandfather, who gives him advice as to how to handle the problems in his life.

This book was a great read.  It showed the effects of bullying.  It also showed how the victims were not the only ones who feel helpless when bullying and harassment is going on.  Lucky is a character readers will relate to and care about; this book has action, romance and humor.  King's writing is so true-to-life that readers will feel a part of the story.  I recommend it.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Peaches and Screams


Book #13 Read in 2013
Peaches and Screams by G.A. McKevett

This is the 7th book in the Savannah Reid mystery series.  In this book, Savannah heads back to her southern hometown for the wedding of one of her sisters.  When she arrives, she finds one of her brothers has been arrested for the murder of the town judge.  Savannah does not believe that her brother did it, so she sets out to use her former cop/current PI skills to clear his name.  She gets some help from her friends Dirk and Tammy.  But will they be able to prove Macon's innocence?

I enjoy this series.  Savannah is a great main character--tough yet caring, cat owner and intelligent.  I also like her relationship with Dirk and Tammy.  I will continue this series.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Children and the Wolves (YA)


Book #12 Read in 2013
The Children and the Wolves by Adam Rapp (YA)

This is a hard to read book, telling about three very messed up young adults.  Bounce, Wiggins and Orange are drug users, kidnappers and seemingly evil people.  They kidnap the Frog, a three year old girl.  They treat their parents with disrespect, steal money and drugs and plot to hurt others.  This book is gritty but there is something about it that makes you have to keep reading.  Will any of them be redeemed?  Will any of them get caught?

Rough read but worth reading.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Weather Witch (YA)


Book #11 Read in 2013
Weather Witch by Shannon Delany (YA)

This is the first book in a new series by Shannon Delany.  Weather Witch is set in Philadelphia in 1844.  The culture is one of fear of the paranormal. . . those thought to be weather witches are imprisoned and tortured.  

Jordan is taken into custody for being a weather witch, though she swears she is not one.  She is taken to the Maker, a man named Bran, who tortures the witches until they show their power.  But Bran cannot get Jordan to unleash her power, and he begins to doubt whether or not she really is a Weather Witch.  Meanwhile, Jordan's possible match, Rowen, is trying to get to the prison to rescue her.  The cliffhanger ending of this book will leave readers begging for book two.

Jordan is a great heroine--though a lady, she finds a strength that she did not know she had when faced with the horrid prison conditions and the horrific torture.  She is caring, bonding with her fellow prisoners.  She is compassionate, especially when it comes to Meggie, the Maker's daughter.  Rowen is a compelling flawed hero.  He seems to be after fun at the beginning of the book, then comes into his own and when suffering a loss, he realizes that even if he dies, it will be worth it if he saves Jordan's life.  

Readers will root for the couple to be safely reunited.  Book two will have many ends to tie up and I cannot wait to read it.

I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for a review.

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Reads

January Reads:

1.  The Diviners (YA) 4/5 Kindle  1st in series
2.  Love Anthony (4.5/5)
3.  The Raven Boys (YA) (5/5) 1st in series
4.  A Novel Way to Die (5/5) 2nd in series
5.  Blessed (YA) 5/5  3rd in series
6.  Diabolical (YA) 5/5 Kindle 4th in series
7.  The Cheshire Cheese Cat (YA) 4.5/5
8.  Grave Mercy (YA) 4/5 Kindle 1st in series
9.  Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener (4/5) 3rd in series
10. The Fault in Our Stars (YA) 5/5 Kindle