Monday, September 28, 2015

The Testing by Joelle Carbonneau

 This is a classic dystopian novel - something has happened to the Earth, in this case a devastating war resulting in contaimination and ruin.   The government that has risen from the ash, isn't being completely honest with it's people.

Cia is from Five Lakes colony.   All her life she has wanted to be chosen for the testing - and become a student at the Universtiy.  Only a very select few are chosen to do so.   Cia's father shares his recurring nightmares with his daughter and warns her to trust no one.  Nothing is as it seems.

During the testing, Cia and her friends are tested intellectually and morally.   There are tests within tests.   A little slow in the middle but worth continuing.  I will most likely finish the series.  I gave this one 3/ 5  stars.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Lost Prince ( Iron Fey #5) by Julie Kagawa

   It pains me to do this.  It really does.  I am a HUGE fan of the Iron Fey series books 1-4.   I loved the fresh take on the Fey courts and the incorporation of the Iron Fey.  I thought that the characters in the books - all of them - but particularly Ash, Meaghan and Puck - were very memorable.  They felt like friends.  

When I saw this title, I was really excited to return to that world, but sadly, this is not that.   Yes, you do return to the NeverNever.  You do see favorite characters again but this time, they are the supporting cast for a new crew - Meaghan's half brother Ethan, his annoying, ripped straight from Lost Girl  love interest Kenzie and Todd - the half fey who needs Ethan's help.

I couldn't wrap my head around Ethan.  I understand that he hates the Fey because of bad things that happen to him, but, he's a tool.   I understand the tough guy with a heart of gold  persona, but Ethan just didn't do it for me.  Because I couldn't relate to Ethan - OR Kenzie - who I just found annoying - the whole story fell flat for me.   So disappointed.  Stick with books 1-4, they are AWESOME - and then, let it go......

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

   It starts out as a English assignment - write a letter to someone that is dead.  Laurel could write to her dead sister, May, but instead she chooses Kurt Cobain, front man of the rock band Nirvana.  Eventually she branches out to write about her life and feelings to Judy Garland, River Phoenix,  Amelia Earheart and others.

I enjoyed the style of this book. Every moment was written in a letter a la The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.   The stye here was so flawless that you really didn't notice that was how the author was moving the action in the story.

This is a great book about loss, acceptence and moving on.  It's also about relationships - the things we hide and the things we share.  I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it -especially to young people dealing with loss.  5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

War Hero: The Unlikely Story of a Stray, an American Soldier and the Battle of Their Lives by Stephan Tatty

Product DetailsI came across this one on Kindle unlimited.  I adore animals but I am not sure what made me pick this one.  Usually I am gun shy with books like this because I know I'm going to cry, something awful will happen to the dog....   I'm happy to report that this wasn't really the case with this book.

This is the story of Rags, a stray, who was found and saved in Paris by an American soldier, named Donovan, during World War 1.   Donovan was a signal corspman whose job it was to keep the radios working so that the front lines could communicate with the reinforcements - an important and dangerous job.   Donovan found Rags under a pile of clothes - homeless and hungry.   Rags was probably about a year old.  Rags was a terrier and learned quickly.   Eventually he saved many lives by alerting soldiers to falling bombs, carrying messages and even helping to find broken wires to fix the radios.

Of course I realized that horses, dogs and other animals were used by both sides in the war.  I didn't know it wasn't as prevalent for the Americans as it was for others.    This was an engaging story, beautifully written.   I love non-fiction because I love learning new things.   I gave this one 5 out of 5 stars.   Rags didn't die in the war but lived a long life.  I hope to someday see his gave and moument to the Big Red One ( his regiment)  here in Silver Springs, MD someday.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Color of Water in July by Nora Carroll

   I added this book to my TBR list because I read a work up when it came out.  I had been waiting for it's release and then, low and behold, it becomes available on Kindle Unlimited.

This book is a stunner.  It's a beautifully written story about a time and type of life long past but also about the mistakes that can haunt us.   I loved the setting - Northern Michigan - on a lake with a beautiful lake house.  Journey's End, the house, is both a character and a representation of the things that we want in life and what we are willing to do to get them.

This was the PERFECT end of summer book.  I am looking forward to future books by this author.  5 out of 5 stars for all those plot twists that I never saw coming..... I loved every minute.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker

The Choosing (Seer, #1)   This book was recommended to me by my mom - whatever sh tells me to read, I do because it's always good.   This one is an apopalyptic and dystopian blend.   It's the story of a girl, Carrington, who has been groomed all her life to be Chosen - to be deemed worthy to be some man's wife.   But when her big moment arrives, not everything goes according to plan.   She is not Chosen and is sent instead to live as a Lint.   Lints are workers in our society - factories, food warehouses and the like.  They will never get married and never have children.

The Authority is a small community of 12 families who make all the rules for others to live by.  They are guided by a so-called holy book, called the Veritas, which is supposed to be God's law.  This book has so much going on in it.   There is Carrington's need to find out who she is and what she truly believes, as well as how she fits into the larger society.  There is also the idea of what it means to be Choosen and by whom.   So much to think about in this powerhouse.  I really enjoyed it.  If you like YA, Dystopian or Apopalyptic novels, I highly recommend this one.  5 out of 5 stars for all the things it really made me question and digest.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Compulsive by Lia Fairchild

Product Details  I picked up this book via kindle unlimited as it was recommended to me by a group of friends on Facebook.   I read some chick lit/romance though, if you read my blog, you can see that I am not a voracious consumer of this type of book. That said,  I really enjoyed it.

The main character's name is Gray.  She is dealing with some unique issues in her life which ultimately have resulted in her being a compulsive liar.   Gray is forced into therapy due to some issus at work - if she doesn't try to work throuh her problems with a professional, she will lose her job.   The way in which she ultimately ends up with Dr. Harrison as his patient is somewhat unexpected.

This book is about relationships - how they impact us and how we can ultimately help one another. I enjoyed the breadth of emotion that the author was able to create.  I could feel Gray's emotions and frustrations.  I could definitely feel the sexual tension betwee her and the men in her life.  

If you enjoy chick lit/ romance,  I highly recommend this book.  It is engaging and enjoyable - a page turner.   I gave it 4 out of stars.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Product DetailsI read this book because it was banned.  Banned books always make me curious and I often go out of my way to add them to my to be read list.   This one was protested in North Carolina because of the underaged drinking and abuse.

This was like a watered down version of Speak by Laurie Halsie Anderson, so for my money, if you want to recommend or read a book like this one with real topics facing teenagers, Speak is a better choice.  That said, my review is as follows.

The book starts out with an attempted rape at a party.  All the children had been drinking.  There is even some abuse of perscription drugs - not by the main characters- but the sale of said drugs at parties is blatant. This is real life.  You could experience at any house party in America on any given Friday, to believe otherwise is naive.  

The story is about how a group of girls ostracize one of it's members because of this attemtped rape.  It is also about those "mean" girls and the terrible things that they are willing to do to other human beings to stay on that pinnacle of power that is the top of the highschool heirarchy.  So sad and pathetic.

I think it's important for children to read books that have REAL subject matter and to talk to them about real issues.   It's only by confronting what is really happening in our schools and with our children that we can even hope to make a difference.

I gave this one 3 out of 5 stars.  It has an angry tone - rightly.  The main character makes continually poor choices, even though her reasons for those choices change, which is a good thing.  Good, but not as good as Speak.

The Secret Place by Tana French

Product DetailsI read In theWoods by Tana French some years ago.  I loved it.  Tana French has a lyrical style and all her stories are set in Irelend/ the United Kingdom.  She definitely paints a beautiful picture with her writing - the landscapes and the character sketches.

This story takes place at a prep school for girls.   (of course there is a nearby boys school) It is a story about friendship but, ultimately, it is a murder mystery.  One of the boys was found murdered on school grounds.  Why was he there?  And what happened?

The story twists and turns around several possibilities. In the end,this book was well written but I found the outcome to be obvious.   Mysteries aren't typically my thing but every once in a while I try one.I read this one based on how much I enjoyed Into the Woods.   For me, this was a 3 out of 5.  Its hard to tell if that is really this story or just my reticence with mysteries.   It is well written  so if you enjoy Mysteries,  give this one a try.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by John Krakauer

   This one was a topic of immediate interest to me. Like Missoula, I come from a football town and I have a background in research with victims of domestic violence.   It seemed incredible to me the number of rapes  that were reported in a year.  It certainly makes one wonder how many went unreported and it shows, in my opinion, a systemic problem both with the way we treat (entitle) sports figures and how we approach victims of violent crimes, particularly rape.

This was a difficult book to read.  I had to read it a little at a time, then think about it, and then come back and read some more.  The book follows many different victims of rape that all come from the Missoula area or attend college there.   It was amazing to see how differently law enforcement handled the different scenarios.   I don't want to go into too much detail and give the story away, but I think that this book should be mandatory reading for every highschool senior.   It was eye opening.   I can't say that I enjoyed it but it did open my mind and I learned a lot from it.  I would recommend it highly especially to young women and fans of nonfiction  current issue type works.  5 out of 5 stars for me.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

   Just when I thought I couldn't love this series any more than I already do, this book comes out and completely blows me away.  All the characters live up to the full potential and once again, new characters are added, and others are revisited.

I loved Lysanra and the character development that Maas does to explain her backstory and establish her friendship with Aelin.  I think that Aelin needed some more females in her life.  Manon and Abraxus continue to be favorite characters and the additional development of  Asterion.  

This series just continues to grow.  I'd love to say that I was disappointed that the story isn't over, but I'm not.  I can't wait to see what else Maas has in store.  In the meantime, the characters I've grown to love are in a good place while we wait. 5 out of 5 stars.