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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Reading Women

Book #83 Read in 2014
Reading Women by Nanci Milone Hill

This book is a guide to over 100 women's fiction books and can be used as a guide for book clubs.  Titles are picked, with a short author biography and plot summary included.  Also, there are discussion questions given and similar titles suggested.  It was a good collection of titles. 

Brown Girl Dreaming (YA)

Book #82 Read in 2014
brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (YA)

This book, told in verse, is a telling of Woodson's childhood, time spent in the South with her family, time spent in NYC with her family and the working on her family.  Growing up in a time of the civil rights movement, Woodson recounts sitting in the back of the bus, watching the Black Panthers on tv, and feeling different from those around her.  Woodson always had a love for words and that was the driving force of her becoming the wonderful author she is today.  This was a quick, interesting read.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rogue (YA)

Book #81 Read in 2014
Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (YA)

Kiara has Asperger's Syndrome and is having a hard time fitting in to middle school.  Due to some of her behavior, she has been suspended from school for the remainder of the school year and is being homeschooled.  Kiara meets her new neighbors Chad and his younger brother Brandon.  Kiara really just wants to make friends and find her superpower (she is slightly obsessed with the XMen characters).  Her mother has left her family to do some singing gigs so Kiara feels abandoned by her and even more lost.  This causes her to grab a hold of Chad as a potential friend, even though that friendship is pretty unhealthy. 

I enjoyed this book, which was written by a local author.  The author created interesting and complex characters and did a good job portraying a character with Asperger's Syndrome.  I could see middle to early high school students enjoying this book.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Harriet Spies Again (YA)

Book #80 Read in 2014
Harriet Spies Again by Helen Ericson (YA)

This is a companion novel to the children's classic book, Harriet the Spy, and continues Harriet's story.  Ericson stays true to the original writing style and character development.  Harriet is still a quirky young detective, about to turn 12 and trying to figure out the mysteries around her.  Ole Golly, her nanny of sorts, has returned to New York and Harriet feels there is more to that story than she has been told.  Thanksgiving arrives and Harriet has set things up to try to solve all of the mysteries.

Reading this book was like visiting a childhood friend.  Harriet's voice was the same.  It was a good, quick read.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Book of Life

Book #79 Read in 2014
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

The third and final book of this series is a satisfying conclusion to a great series.  Books 2 and 3 picked up where the previous book left off, so reading in order is key.  In this book, Matthew and Diana stand up to the Congregation who opposes their marriage and their babies-to-be.  Matthew has to hunt his insane "son" Benjamin.  The characters that readers enjoyed in the first two books return, along with some interesting new additions. 

Harkness has a masterful wave of weaving stories of several paranormal creatures.  These books has engaging plots, great mystery elements, romance, humor and action.  I truly loved this series.  I received an e-ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Signed, Skye Harper (YA)

Book #78 Read in 2014
Signed, Skye Harper by Carol Lynch Williams (YA)

This is a young adult book in the realistic fiction genre.  Winston is 15 and wants to become an Olympic swimmer.  She lives with her grandmother and has ever since her mother took off to become a star when Winston was four years old.  Winston has a crush on neighborhood jock Stevie.  Unexpectedly, Winston's mother writes that she wants to come home but has no way to get there.  Winston's grandmother steals the RV which belongs to Stevie's parents.  She does not know that Stevie has stowed away.  The trio, along with black lab Thelma and one-legged rooster Denny, set off for a trip to Texas to get Winston's mother.  Winston isn't really sure if it is a good idea or not for her mother to come home with them.

Told in quick chapters, this book was a good, fast read.  Winston is a likeable character--intelligent, spunky and funny.  Nanny, Thelma, Denny and Stevie are all good secondary characters.  This book has elements of romance and humor in it as well as angst.  I enjoyed it.

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Big Kitty

Book #77 Read in 2014
The Big Kitty by Claire Donally

This is the first book in a cozy mystery series.  Sunny returns to her hometown after her father suffers a heart attack.  She finds an office job while still trying to free lance as a reporter.  Her first story is about the town's cat lady, who claims to have hit the lottery but she cannot find her ticket.  The cat lady dies.  One of her cats, Shadow, adopts Sunny.  Sunny decides that the cat lady was really murdered and teams up with local police officer Will to investigate.  This is not without danger and Sunny gets herself into some jams.

The Big Kitty was a decent cozy.  Sunny predictably got herself into some hot water and needed rescuing but that's par for the cozy course.  Shadow was a great sidekick.  Overall, a good read and I have book #2 in my TBR pile.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Falling Into Place (YA)

Book #76 Read in 2014
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang (YA)

This young adult novel will appeal to fans of If I Stay and Thirteen Reasons Why.  Liz has decided to kill herself but plans on driving her car off the road to make it look like an accident.  Liz, while popular in high school, realizes that she has not always been a nice person.  Of course, she feels abandoned both by her father who died recently and her mother who threw herself into work to overcome grief, so that does not help her mental state at all.  Told in alternating locations of the hospital and flashbacks of days and weeks leading up to the accident, Zhang details the happenings of a teenage girl. 

Add to this that the author is a high school student and it makes the novel that much more of a success.  It is well written and the flashback format does not hinder the plot.  The characters are very realistic as are the situations they experience.  It was a good read.  I received this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a honest review.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mortal Danger (YA)

Book #75 Read in 2014
Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre (YA)

This is the first book in what seems to be destined to become an excellent young adult series.  Edie is on the bridge ready to jump off--literally--when handsome Kian stops her and says he has a deal for her.  He will grant her three wishes in return for three favors.  Her first is a makeover, in the hopes of being able to escape the bullying of her private school classmates.  Upon return to school in the fall, Edie is fit, trim and pretty.  The same crowd who harassed her begins to accept her...which will allow her to give the payback that she wants them to receive.  Of course, selling your soul comes with a price and there is collateral damage along the way.

I read this book in a day.  The plot was engaging and quick moving.  Edie is an intelligent character which is a nice change.  This book had a good balance of action, humor, fantasy and romance.  I will definitely read the second book.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Innocent Blood

Book #74 Read in 2014
Innocent Blood by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

This is the second in the series.  The prophesied trio (Rhun the Knight of Christ; Jordan the Warrior and Erin the Woman of Learning) are trying to find the First Angel so he/she can open the Blood Gospel and stop the world from pressure.  Innocent Blood, like book #1, is action-packed and hard to put down.  The main characters are joined by interesting secondary characters who have bigger roles:  Christian, Bernard, Judas, The Blood Countess.  This series is an interesting blend of military action, paranormal and spiritual; I enjoy these books.

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

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (YA) re-read

Book #73 Read in 2014
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling

This was a re-read of one of my favorite series and I loved it just as much as the first time around.  Harry Potter finds out he is a wizard and famous for surviving an interaction as a baby with Voldemort, the evil wizard.  Harry begins his first year of magical training at Hogwarts and meets all sorts of interesting people, ghosts and creatures.  This series is wonderful.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Blood Gospel

Book #72 Read in 2014
The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

This book was sort of a merge between The DaVinci Code and The Strain.  It was action-packed and had short chapters, along with an army of bad vampires and an order of vampires that are a sort of religious order.  This is the first in a series and while almost 500 pages long, was an amazingly quick read.  The main characters are Rhun (a "good" vampire), Erin (an archaeologist) and Jordan, a soldier.  They are given the task of finding a book called The Blood Gospel, believed to be written in the blood of Jesus.  Of course the bad guys all want the book too. 

This book was well-written and kept me engaged.  The characters were interesting and complex.  I will continue on with the series.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Madman's Daughter

Book #71 Read in 2014
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

This is the first in a series told from the point of view of Juliet, teenage daughter of Dr. Moreau.  At the beginning of this book, Juliet has been left on her own after her mother dies and her father is presumed dead.  She finds out that he is indeed alive and has Montgomery, her childhood friend and her father's lab assistant, bring her to the island where her father now resides and experiments.  Her father is more than slightly unhinged, having created a line of creatures taken from a combination of animals and which he tries to make human. 

Juliet was a good heroine; she was intelligent and brave.  This book got too much of a romantic triangle at times but the action of the plot saved it from being over the top.  I have #2 in the TBR pile.  I read this book on my Kindle.

July Reads

July Reads:

1.  Accidents of Marriage (4.5/5)  review book
2.  Inferno (4/5)
3.  And We Stay (YA)  5/5  review book
4.  Big Little Lies (5/5)  review book
5.  The Cuckoo's Calling (3.5/5)  Kindle book  1st in series
6.  The Book of Secrets (5/5)
7.  Say What You Will (YA)  5/5  review book
8.  The Truth About Alice (YA)  5/5   library book
9.  Murder in the Mystery Suite (5/5)  review book  1st in series
10.  I Work at the Public Library (5/5)
11.  The Snow Child (4/5)
12.  Hexed (YA)  5/5  review book  1st in series

70 books read in 2014