Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Great Escape Story: Fearless by Cornelia Funke

Fearless

Fearless
Cornelia Funke
YA Fantasy
Rating: 4.5

When the heart craved something so forcefully, then reason  became nothing but helpless observer. The heart, the soul, whatever it was…

So at some point I will have oodles of wonderful programming posts for you regarding the Summer Reading Program.  It’s going spectacularly…however, that also means I’m exhausted and, in turn, do not want to think about it outside of work at the moment. But I will share the experiences about Dinosaurs, Worms, Bike
Rodeos, Tie-Dying, and a couple really great Magic Tree House Book Clubs in the near future : ) So to take my mind off all the programming madness, I’ve kept up my reading and therefore have a book review for you!

Fearless was a great read. Pretty sure I liked it more than Reckless the first book in the series (I read that one quite a while and don’t remember it being a “great” read, more of an “ok” read).  This story had romance, adventure, magic, a different fairy tale-ish world, amazing characters, and a fast paced, thoroughly engrossing (if not at times very frustrating) plot.

Jacob Reckless is in a race against time (and an adversary) to find a way to save himself before the curse he is under claims his life. Reckless finds himself on the treasure hunt of his life with his best friend Fox, a lovely vixen shape-shifter. They must put all the pieces together and find the only possible cure to Reckless’ life before time runs out. (And it’s not even a 100% sure the cure will work!) Of course, their hunt won’t be easy as they find themselves racing against another who is searching for the same treasure while also running into many interesting foes along the way.

My only quam with this book was that it didn’t give enough of a background of the first novel for me.  Generally I get annoyed at all the background stuff in series, but I really missed it in this one because I honestly couldn’t remember what had happened! I would have found more info. beneficial, but that’s just me. 

Cornelia Funke is amazing and hands down one of my favorite authors.  She weaves wonderful stories that I love to get lost in (although I’d rather live in the Inkheart series as this one is a bit gruesome at times).  I can NOT wait for the next book in this series…or anything else she happens to write in the meantime.

Top Ten Books Of 2013 …So Far

 Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2013

 Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

I’ve read sooo many good books already this year! But here are my top ten faves! (Click on the titles with links for my reviews.):

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

New favorite series.  Re-done, futuristic fairy tales.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Read this in a day.  A great YA dystopian with a lovely romance…Still haven’t read the second one because I know I need to schedule an entire day devoted to just reading when I pick it up 🙂

The Woman Who Died a Lot (Thursday Next, #7)The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde

Finally caught up to the end of this series. I loved this one SOOO much. I laughed really hard out loud…in public.  It’s different than the others in the series, but it’s still wonderful.

Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman

Love Pullman and I watch Once Upon a Time so had to read this one and it was great.  I hadn’t read all of these fairy tales The Fire Chronicle (The Books of Beginning, #2)before so it was a great way to become acquainted with them.

The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens

The second book in a wonderful junior fiction fantasy.  Fast-paced and action packed.

 

Fyre (Septimus Heap, #7)Fyre by Angie Sage

The last book in another great junior fiction fantasy series.  Ended well with the hope for more stories from the same world in the future…

 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Loved this for all of the great quotes held within it.  So well written.

 The Ashford AffairThe Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig

Historical fiction standalone novel by one of my favorite authors : )

Inferno by Dan Brown

A new Dan Brown novel…and it was awesome.

 

The Clock Of LifeThe Clock of Life by Nancy Klann-Moren

A very powerful story dealing with racism, war, mental illness, and so much more…so good !

Now, go read some of these if you haven’t yet!

What have been some of your favorites this year?

A “Real” Vampire Novel: Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty

Stoker's Manuscript

Stoker’s Manuscript
Royce Prouty
Adult Fiction
Rating 4

I was lucky enough to snag an ARC copy of this off of LibraryThing Early Reviewer’s program.  This wasn’t your now typical “sparkly” I’m-in-love-with-a vampire novel, it was a good ol’ traditional creepy “real” vampire story.  (Side note: the “romantic” vampires are really getting on my nerves.  They are soo over-protective, self-absorbed, and cocky in a bad way…ugh.)

The story follows an orphan, Joseph, originally from Romania who has become a rare manuscript and bookseller in America after he and his brother were rescued from their unfortunate circumstances. Now, he faces a sale of Stoker’s original manuscript of Dracula, to an unknown and unusual buyer back in his homeland, however this sale might be much more than Joseph bargained for…Possibly an introduction to the world of vampires, and not very patient or understanding vampires. (In other words, the way vampires should be…despite the fact I do read about the romantic kind too.)

Stoker’s Manuscript takes you to Romania which is a place I love reading about and has wonderful characters within it.  It’s creepy, but not scary (not even as scary as The Historian by Kostova was for me) which was appreciated and the plot had a nice pace.  I loved The Historian which is why I really wanted to read this one, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! Overall, a very enjoyable vampire novel : )

Top Ten Summer Reads!

 Top Ten Summer Reads

 Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

Reading in the summer is wonderful as it can finally be done outside for those of living in places where winter is a force to reckoned with.  With that being said these are the Top Ten books I’m looking forward to reading this summer:

The Golem and the JinniThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

I love the title and the cover. Not quite sure what it’s about, but I’m excited to read it based on those two facts alone.

The Apprentices (Book 2) by Maile Meloy

Loved the first book in this series, so I can’t wait to dig into this one!

Awaken (Book 3) by Meg Cabot

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (Pink Carnation, #10)The final book in this trilogy with a unique and modern twist on the Hades and Persephone story. I’m excited to see how everything will end…can..not..wait!

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (Book 10) by Lauren Willig

Another Pink Carnation book….super excited!!

The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon

A redone fairy tale. Can’t wait to give it a try.

 Pure (Pure, #1)Pure by Julianna Baggot

I’ll be reading this in July as part of Your Pick for Nik’s Book Club.  I have wanted to read this for a long time so now I have a reason 🙂

 The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I am still on the waiting list for this one at the library and haven’t decided if I’m going to the signing 4 hours away next month or not so I haven’t purchased it yet, but it sounds like it will be a great book. Of course Gaiman is amazing so I’m sure Fearlessit will be

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Another WWII by Code Name Verity’s author (which I still haven’t read so I will be reading that too…) Code Name Verity comes highly recommended so I’m sure this will be amazing too.

 Fearless (Book 2) by Cornelia Funke 

Still haven’t gotten around to reading this even though it’s been out for a while, but I will this summer…I promise. Love Cornelia Funke!!

And a classic…not sure which one though…I finished Jane Austen’s works and there are about a million others to choose from.  It’s so hard to pick one!

What will you be reading? Got any more suggestions for me?

 

Review of The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Rose Throne (The Rose Throne, #1)

The Rose Throne- Book 1
Mette Ivie Harrison
Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 3.5
*Through NetGalley

I obtained an ARC of this book through NetGalley

Magic, royalty, romance, and a prophecy, plus a pretty cover is what made me pick me up this book.  But…it was just o.k. for me. Not bad by any means, there were just a few elements that drove me crazy and made me look online to see if there was a book 1…this is it.

The Rose Throne is about two different kingdoms, two different kinds of magic, and two very different princesses from either kingdom.  There is a magic called taweyr for the men and neweyr for the women, unweyr for those with no magic and something much more dangerous and powerful for those, the ekhono, who by some “mistake” get the opposite gender’s magic.  The dangerous part of being ekhono is that the ruler of one of the kingdoms has declared it illegal and will put to death anyone suspected of it.  This ruthless king has thrown the balance of men’s and women’s magic out of whack by not letting the neweyr flourish and letting his taweyr take over the land.  Ailsbet, the princess of this land, only truly loves music, not ruling, and no one in her land appreciates music like she does.  I didn’t really understand this princess; I thought she was cool in the first half of the book, but then in the second half she seemed super selfish, and annoying. I didn’t get it…

However, on the other land, a much more reasonable king abides with a more enjoyable princess, Issa. I just ended up feeling sorry for her the entire book, but she was a strong and capable character unlike Ailsbet. She’s forced to leave her kingdom and agree to marry a young boy prince, Ailsbet’s younger brother, to try and unite the two kingdoms, thus hopefully fulfilling a prophecy. However, chaos (and possibly true love?) then ensues which you will find out if you read the book : )

My main problem with this book was the lack of background information. Like the magic isn’t ever just explained to you (which I get sometimes you’re supposed to show readers things through your writing, but this definitely needed an explanation…I thought I had missed a book).  I wish the kingdoms had a bit more info. too. Like how big are they? Just one town? Islands? I know there’s more than just the two main ones so how many others are there.  Stuff like that just made it feel incomplete for me. And it is quite violent in parts which I wasn’t expecting.

Overall, it was O.K. I’m not mad I spent time reading it.

 

Review: The Storm Protocol by Iain Cosgrove

The Storm Protocol

The Storm Protocol
Iain Cosgrove
Adult Thriller
Rating 4

I received this book from the author and it was an enjoyable read out of my typical reading zone, but something I liked nonetheless. The Storm Protocol is full of action, mysteries, gangsters, detectives, and a brand new, extremely dangerous drug about to get into the wrong hands. (I just watched Gangster Squad so reading this made me think of that movie a lot throughout even though they’re quite different.)

I enjoyed the setting of this book a lot, as it is set in both America and Ireland. My only issue was that there are so many character points of view, it was hard to remember who was who throughout the story without flipping back and double-checking.  But, like I mentioned in my last post, that could be because I am reading so many books at the same time and I’m not very good at it.

Other than that, a fast-paced thriller : )

Some Reviews While Recovering From Starting SRP..

Well the Summer Reading Program is upon us all within the public library systems…which is what I will be using as my excuse for not getting any blogging OR reading done.  I feel like something detrimental is missing not having a book finished every other day!  However, I do have 4 started at the moment, which is something I despise doing.  I like to read one book at a time, finishing it within a few days, but the chaos of library programming has creeped into my reading habits..making it just as difficult to choose only one book. So I’m currently reading The Storm Protocol by Iain Cosgrove, The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison, Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty.  They are all fabulous books and all completely different; mobsters, princesses/fantasy, and a nice dark vampire novel, but I’m having a hard time staying focused on just one.  This has NEVER happened to me before so it’s a bit disconcerting…I’m typically super focused.

As I haven’t actually finished any books, I figured I’d give you all some past reviews of books I’ve enjoyed : )

Summer and Bird

Summer and Bird
Katherine Catmull
Genre: Junior Fiction
Rating: 4

Summer and Bird by Catherine Catmull

I got this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program and am glad I did 🙂

Summer is a practical and loving young girl, older sister to Bird, a wild and free-spirited, sometimes irrational little girl. Summer and Bird.  This is a lovely story completely out of the ordinary. After waking  up to find their parents, and cat Sarah, missing one morning, Summer and Bird embark on a magical adventure which will change their lives forever.   A beautiful swan queen, an evil puppeteer, a mysterious old man, and all kinds of birds flock this book and mix with the two girls, for better or worse, throughout the story.  Summer and Bird is filled with many thought provoking issues and beautiful imagery, making it not just a young adult story, but a gret read for adults too.

Summer and Bird was a bit hard for me to get into right away, but it was well worth the difficult start.  I feel like I gained something from reading the story and learned about myself too. (Always the sign of a great book).

 

The Apothecary

The Apothecary
Maile Meloy
Junior Fiction
Rating: 4

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

A highly enjoyable and fun read. The Apothecary provides a great mix of history combined with magic and adventure. Janie, the main character, is forced to move to London from L.A. with her parents during the Cold War which she is not happy about. However, she ends up meeting a boy named Benjamin in London and together they embark on a dangerous mission to stop the testing of an atomic bomb.  They are helped out with the aid of magic, adding a welcome fantasy element to this story.  I would definitely recommend this book to others who enjoy stories with adventure and magic like Harry Potter and others in that genre.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Seth Grahame-Smith
Adult Fiction
Rating: 4

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

So I’ll admit, I only read the book so I could watch the movie when it came out on DVD, and I didn’t have high hopes, especially given the kinda gross cover.  However, I was pleasantly surprised (I did skip the gory parts though).  It wasn’t so completely out there to make it sound absolutely ridiculous and it wasn’t so “completely true” to make it seem like an actual boring biography.  I actually found myself looking up different things that happened in the book to see if some of the happened in Lincoln’s real life to like his familiy history manic depressive tendencies (so I did learn a little too:) Overall, it was a good read, held my attention and made me curious (possibly curious enough to read a non-fiction book?).

 

Do you read one book or many at a time???

Review: House of Secrets by Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini

House of Secrets (House of Secrets, #1)

House of Secrets #1
Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini
Junior Fiction Fantasy
Rating 3

House of Secrets is an exciting read full of adventure, humor, and lovable characters.  However, it didn’t stand out for me like I expected it to, being Chris Columbus was a co-author with Ned Vizzini. And I also, wouldn’t have categorized this as a junior fiction read; rather I would have made it young adult because there are a lot of jokes I don’t think the younger ones would get and there’s quite a bit of violence.

For me, this book was just okay.  Some scenes I just didn’t believe because the characters seemed to “get” and “catch on” to things a little too quickly if you know what I mean?  The adventures were great too, but, I feel like they were a bit too easily accepted and resolved by the characters. ( I don’t know of 15 year old who could perform surgery..and without medical tools just because their dad was a doctor…) And a couple of the illustrations didn’t match the descriptions in the story. (Wish I had taken that one last class to get my editing certificate!! Gah!)

Getting past the wishy-washy parts, the characters themselves were lovable.  Cordelia, the oldest sister, doomed to be the protector and a lover of obscure books.  Brendan, the middle child with a love for video games and a desire to be a “man”.  Eleanor the youngest child, cute and a bit dyslexic. And then the fictional pilot Will with a bit of an ego and an affinity for saving the day. 

House of Secrets has a pretty unique plot with a house literally full of secrets, a Wind Witch, a Storm King, a magical book, a fantasy world, and some great crazy adventures. (I could have done without some of the violence, but hey, that’s just me.)  Four kids are thrown into an different world where they would rather not be and must find a way back to the “real world”.  But where are they? And why were they chosen to go on this adventure?

This is only Book One of a series so a lot of questions go unanswered and the book does end with a pretty good cliffhanger, so be prepared!  I’m not sure if I will be continuing on with this series, since it wasn’t spectacular for me, but who knows.  I think tweens might enjoy this a bit more since they probably aren’t as picky as I am 🙂

Armchair BEA: Favorite Pictures Book to Young Adult Fiction

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Design Credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Oh I love this topic!  I read tons of YA, Junior Fiction, and now lots and lots of picture books for storytimes. I have oodles of favorites in all three categories so let’s start with picture books:

Top 5 Children’s Picture Books:

One-Dog CanoeOne Dog Canoe by Mary Casanova

This is a wonderful story with great illustrations by an author from Minnesota.  I’ve read this a few times to kids and they always laugh throughout the story.  Plus it can be very interactive if you want to be.

If the Dinosaurs Came BackIf the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most

Another book I’ve read multiple times at storytimes and it is always a HUGE hit.  The kids can roar and comment on different things they would like and not like about dinosaurs coming back. (I recommend getting the giant book of this if you’re using it for a storytime because it makes it that much better ; )

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction SiteGoodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Rinker

Okay, so I just discovered this one today, but it is to date, the longest book I’ve been able to read to a group of preschoolers without them getting antsy.  And the boys (yes, the BOYS) loved it! It teaches them what different machinery is used at construction sites along with having a nice repetitive flow.

The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old TreeThe Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstein

Now this was my all time favorite book as a kid.  I memorized the whole story by heart at one point so I didn’t even need the book to “read” it. I haven’t tried it at a storytime yet, but I will definitely be using it this coming Halloween to see how it goes over.

Is Your Mama A LlamaIs Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino

My second favorite book as a kid. I made my mom check this out from the library almost every time we went (must buy my own copy at some point).  I loved the illustrations in this one because of the colors.  Plus the story is super cute and it can be interactive if used at a storytime.

Top 5 (okay 6) Junior Fiction Books:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Changed my life. That is all there is to say.

Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, and Lost Heroes series by Rick Riordan

Exciting, fun, fast-paced. Plus, kids get the opportunity to learn about mythology while they read.

The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)The Mysterious Benedict Society series

Super-smart misfits trying to fit in and save the world. Great series with little lessons snuck in along the way.

Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

How Peter became Peter Pan and it’s done well. (My little sister enjoyed these so I’m guessing they are a pretty universal “good” read because she despises reading.)

Ella EnchantedElla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

An amazing fairy tale most girls I feel would enjoy if they are okay with a slight fantasy setting (and trust me some definitely aren’t). Read it in one night…

Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke

A book about books and a girl who loves to read.  Plus, there is magic, fantasy, and the occasional reading of “things” into and out of books…

Top 5 YA books:

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Completely in love with these futuristic fairy tale retellings : ) Check out my review of Cinder and Scarlet

The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia

A boy is main character…and it’s a romance. Loved every single one in this series.  They were magical and provided a great “escape” atmosphere.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

Wow. I tear through these books every time a new one comes out.  Magic, adventure, and my fictional boyfriend, Jace (move over Clary) : )

Divergent series by Veronica Roth

Dystopian fiction, but less gruesome than the Hunger Games. Plus it’s full of twists that actually kept me guessing the whole way through (and staying up way too late to finish the two books currently out).

TDivergent (Divergent, #1)he Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot

These are so funny and I think a lot of girls in the YA, maybe late JF range can relate to, at least the first books in this series quite well (I know I did when I read them in highschool). And they are written in diary format, which is quite “in” these days with youth.

Do you share any of my same favorites?  What are some of yours? Got any recommendations for me?

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