Monday, December 22, 2014

Prayers For The Stolen



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Ladydi Martinez was born in the mountains of Guerrero Mexico. It is a dangerous place to be a girl. The men all leave to find better opportunities leaving the women alone in the midst of a drug war. The mothers disguise their daughters as boys from a young age in hopes they will not be taken by the drug lords. When their gender can no longer be hidden, they are made as ugly as possible so the drug lords will not want them. Ladydi and her friends spend their time dreaming of the future. Little does she know what will befall her when a local murder implicates her friend.

This was a beautifully written book. Clement writes a moving coming of age story. You are drawn into the story, by the almost poetic feel of the writing. I think it is a story that will stay with you for a while. There are a lot of horrific things in this story, but the writing and the characters keep you turning the pages. I really liked how Clement wrote her characters. They really come alive, and the different personalities grab your attention and make you want to learn more about them.

I thought this was an interesting book to read, and it made me want to learn more about what is happening in Mexico with the drug cartels, human trafficking, and illegal immigrants. Clement does not shy away from the difficult issues that are occurring, and I think it is important to keep these issues fresh in our minds, so that we might try to find a solution to these horrific events.

I read this as an ebook on my Nook. I had no problems reading it in this format. I would recommend reading this book.

**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest reveiew**

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book that I would not have gotten to as soon, or heard about otherwise. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Walking Dead Season 1





Rick Grimes is a police officer who is shot on duty. He wakes up from a coma and finds himself in the zombie apocalypse. The world has completely changed. Finding himself all alone in the hospital, and it seems the world, Rick begins the search for his family. He travels to Atlanta trying to find them. He must quickly adapt to this post apocalypse world if he hopes to survive.

The television show The Walking Dead is loosely based off the graphic novel series of the same name. The first season mainly corresponds to the first volume: Days Gone Bye and part of the second volume: Miles Behind Us of the graphic novel series. The show uses characters, plot lines, and the driving idea behind the series to create a show that fans of the series will appreciate, while making it work well as a television series.

The author of the graphic novels Robert Kirkman wanted to create a series that examined what would happen to people who found themselves in the zombie apocalypse. How would they behave? How would they live? How would they change from the person they used to be? Personally, I think the show does a better job with the gradual personality changes that a person would experience in this situation. We get to watch as each decision takes a toll on the characters, and how that changes who they are. I also like that the show added some new characters. It created a little more balance, and allows for some creativity in the show.

This is a series that I actually like the show better than the books. I like the idea behind the graphic novels, but do not always care for the execution. I think the show portrays the characters in a more believable way, and is more balanced in the way characters, specifically women, react in the zombie apocalypse. I mainly continue reading the graphic novels because I find it intriguing to see how the author shows certain events and how they might differ in the show. And I really like the idea Kirkman had to try to show how people would react in this scenario.

I think this show is an incredible adaptation of the graphic novel series. It stays true to the main ideas, but does not adhere so closely to the books that it would not work on television. I think this is an important balance that does not always happen in film adaptations. The acting from the main characters also adds a lot to the pleasure of watching this show. It feels believable which is essential in this type of show. You quickly become invested in the characters, which is dangerous, as you never know who will be the next to die.

If you are a fan of the graphic novel series or zombies, I highly recommend watching this show.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Persepolis



Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Persepolis, #1-2)



This is Marjane Starapi's memoir about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It takes place in Tehran when she was age six to fourteen. She experienced the Shah's regime overthrown, the Islamic Revolution, and war with Iraq. These were all life changing events for her as a child of Marxists and as great-granddaughter to one of Iran's last emperors. Interspersed with these major events, are her daily life experiences.

I really liked this memoir. It is a powerful telling of one person's experience during great historical events. It is very personal look at her life. Even though we are mostly given the highlights or "big moments", I thought it came together in a moving story. There are tragic moments, but also humorous parts that make a very emotional story. I also thought it was excellently portrayed from a child's perspective. This can be hit or miss in books, but it was realistic, and made for an interesting view of historical events.

I liked that she used only black and white drawings in her graphic novel. I do like color and appreciate beautiful art in graphic novels, but I think the plain straightforward art really worked well with her story. It did not distract from the seriousness of her memoir, but rather leant to the impact of her words.

If you are interested in events in Iran or excellent graphic novels, I highly recommend reading this book.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Myths And Legends Of The British Isles





This collection includes myths and legends from the history of the British Isles. Ranging from stories that include Greek and Roman gods to stories from the Middle Ages, there are almost forty different classic tales that have a significant place in British history. The tales are divided into five sections: The Origins, The Early History Of Britain, Marvels and Magic, Heroes and Saints, and History and Romance.

I really enjoyed reading Barber's The Knight And Chivalry, so I put some of his other books on my to read list. I was delighted with this collections of myths, and immediately added it to My Favorite Books list. It has a wide variety of tales. There are some that not as many people will have heard of such as: The Giants of the Island of Albion, Helena and the True Cross, The Wild Hunt, and Hengist and Horsa. But it also has some classics such as: King Arthur, Cuchulain, Lady Godiva, Robin Hood, and Beowulf. I really liked this collection of myths and legends, and it is one I will add to my personal library.

I also appreciated that before each story Barber had a brief explanation about the myth. He includes information about where the myth comes from, if it has been abridged for this book, the translation, and why it is important. I found this very interesting to read, and that it enriched the reading experience. I thought that he included just enough information to make it interesting, but it did not take over the stories.

If you like reading different myths and legends, I would highly recommend reading this book.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Among The Hidden





Luke has never been able to leave his farm because he is a shadow child. The government limits the number of children a family can have to: two. After a series of devastating droughts that led to famine, the government decided that they had to control food production, manufacturing, and the population. Luke and his family live in fear of the Population Police discovering that Luke exists. With a housing development being built next to their farm, Luke is now confined to the house. One day, Luke sees a girl's face in a window where he knows two other children live. He risks meeting with her, and he must decide if he will join her cause to gain equal rights for shadow children.

I think this is an excellent series to introduce a young audience to the dystopian genre. It does not shy away from serious issues, and I am glad it does not. I think it is important for young readers to be exposed to serious thoughts as they are ready to process them. One of the reasons I like this book for young readers is the way it is written. Haddix writes so that different issues will be clearer or mean different things depending on your age. It allows a younger reader to be exposed to serious thoughts without being overwhelmed. It also lets other age groups enjoy the story.

This book is geared towards ages 8-12, and I think the length is perfect for that age group. It is long enough to develop the characters and plot, but not so long this age group would lose interest in the book. It is an interesting book, and what I have read of the rest of the series is good too. I would recommend reading this book.

This was the seventh book the Bookworms read together. I picked this book for us to read. I remember liking this book when I was younger, and I thought they would like it too. The main character is a boy, but there are girl characters as well, and I think it works well for boys and girls. It was great to return to this series. I really enjoyed our discussion of this book. Here are some of the Bookworms thoughts on the book. Warning: there may be spoilers:

Q&A With The Bookworms Book Club

How many stars out of 5 would you give this book?
Paige 5
Alejandro 5

Did you like reading Among The Hidden?
Alejandro Yes. It was really good and I want to read it again, but I think there must be a second book because it didn't feel complete.
Paige Yes, I like it.

What was your favorite part?
Paige I can't answer that because I can't pick just one thing.
Alejandro I like it when he found Jen. I also liked the beginning when they explained things. Also the part where they died because they wanted to be free.
Paige When they died was one of your favorite parts?
Alejandro I said I don't like that part because all the kids get shot. Is there a part you didn't like?
Paige When his brother said the Population Police were coming to get him and scared him. That was mean.

Where does the story take place?
Alejandro In a forest.
Paige In a house.
Both In the country, not really sure.
Alejandro it said they were only about 8 hours from the capital so I think it is close to D.C.
Whitney it actually never says where it takes place. What do you think of that?
Paige  It is a mystery! I like that because then you can imagine wherever you want it to be.
Alejandro I think that is cool, and a very good idea.

How do you think it would feel to hide all the time?
Paige Really sad. You couldn't see anyone like Luke couldn't see anyone but his mean brothers.
Whitney Why do you think they were so mean to him?
Paige They had a bad attitude because they had to to his chores because he can't go outside.
Whitney Would you feel angry if you had to do your brother's chores all the time?
Paige No. I would feel bad for him because he can't play outside or ride his bike.
Alejandro If I was Luke I would be jealous of my brothers because they could go outside and do things. If I was his brothers, I don't know how I would feel. Probably bad for him sometimes, but jealous because he never had to do chores.

What do you think of Jen's rally?
Alejandro I thought it might be scary because Luke was worried about her getting shot.
Paige I was also worried about her getting shot.

Why do you think she did it?
Paige To stand up for what's right.
Alejandro To stand up and show the government was not correct.

Would you go with her to the rally or stay behind?
Alejandro I would go to the rally. The government is not correct in the book. People deserve to have the choice about having children and how many.
Paige I think I would go to the rally because I would be standing up for what I believe in.

Would you follow the law or break it like Luke and Jen's parents?
Both Break it!

What did you think about the Barons having different rules then everybody else?
Alejandro That is not correct.
Paige That is not fair.
Whitney what would you do about that?
Paige I would go talk to the people in charge. I would speak for what's right.
Alejandro Tell them they can't do that. It isn't right.

Why do you think Jen's father helped Luke?
Alejandro Because he had a third child and didn't want the Population Police to find him.
Paige Because he knew he was Jen's friend and he wanted to do the right thing. He wanted things to change.

Why do you think the government made the Population law?
Alejandro Because they were afraid of running out of food. I thought it was a good point they could grow food indoors.
Paige It costs more to have more kids. I thought they should move food to places where they didn't have it.
Alejandro I would start growing plants indoors. Maybe find a way to grow things on the moon.
Paige How would you get there?
Alejandro I would take a jet to the moon.
Paige I don't think your parents would buy one.
Alejandro I would borrow one from NASA.
Paige I don't think NASA would lend it.

What would you believe, the books from the government or the computer sites of the rebel groups?
Paige I think you should ask a lot of questions of both groups.
Alejandro Hard to say. The computer is not always right.

Would you get a fake I.D. or hide?
Paige Fake I.D. I would want to see what the world actually looks like.
Alejandro Fake I.D. So I could escape.

What do you think about someone donating their child's identity when they died to a shadow child?
Alejandro I think it is nice because they want someone else to have life.
Paige I think it was nice to do that.

Would you read the other books in the series?
Paige I think I will read the next one.
Alejandro Oh yeah! Note: Alejandro has since gotten the next book from the library and started reading it.

Thank you Alejandro and Paige for reading and reviewing this book with me. I look forward to our next book together!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mirror Sight





Karriagan G'ladheon, a member of the Green Riders that serve King Zachary of Sacoridia is on a vital mission for the kingdom. She and a small group have entered Blackveil forest. They were followed by a rebel group, who are trying to disrupt their mission. Their arch nemesis Mornhavon appears, and Karrigan finds herself in a magical confrontation with him. She ends up sealed in a sarcophagus during a magical explosion. When she emerges from the sarcophagus she finds everything has changed. She begins to question if she will ever return to the places and people she loves.

This was the fifth book, and the long anticipated sequel in the Green Rider series. I have been a fan of this series since the first book: Green Rider came out, so I was very excited to get my hands on this book. That excitement did not last long. I ended up feeling very confused about this book. It felt like it was a completely different story that also had Karrigan G'ladheon as the main character. It was very out of place in the series, and left me wondering why it was written as part of this series if it was not going to move the plot along or really use the characters and world from that series.

To be fair, it was a well written book. It just did not work as part of the Green Rider series. I think it should have been written as a stand alone book using different characters, and not as part of this series. It almost seemed like the author wanted to write some historical fiction combined with steampunk instead of continuing with this fantasy series.

I was disappointed in this book. This is a series I love to read, and I always wait in great anticipation for the next book in the series. If there is another book, I will be reluctant to read it. It felt like the author was loosing some of the passion for the story. I may be wrong about that, but it was not up to the standard of the rest of the books in the series. I am glad I got it from the library instead of buying it right away like I typically do with the Green Rider books.

If you are a fan of the series you will probably want to read it, but it is not as good as the rest of the books.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Innocent Traitor





Lady Jane Grey is only a few people away from the throne. She is a cousin of the Tudors, and spends her youth studying with her cousins Edward and Elizabeth. Her parents are very ambitious for her. They ensure her education is one worthy of a queen, hoping to marry her to Edward, and have her be the future Queen of England. Although this is their main goal, they are adaptable, and will do anything to get their daughter on the throne.

I was delighted when I found out about this book. I enjoy a lot of Alison Weir's books, but had never read any of her historical fiction before. I have since read all of her historical fiction that is currently available, and this one is my favorite. I really liked reading about Jane's life. It was tragically short, as she was caught up in a struggle for the throne. Her reign only lasted for nine days. I think Jane is an intriguing historical figure, and I thought this was a good story about her life.

I really liked how Weir wrote the relationships in Jane's life. They are complicated and vary person to person, just as you would expect them to. They really help explain who Jane is, and I thought the way the relationships were written added a lot of depth to Jane's story. The plot was fascinating. I knew how it would end for Jane, but I still found myself caught up in her story. To me, this is one of the signs of good writing.

I really appreciated how Weir included notes about where she deviates from historical record, or was just a little liberal with the facts. This is something I always look for in historical fiction, and too often I am disappointed. I like the honesty. I know it is fiction, so I expect to find some deviation or imagination, but I care about accuracy. I am more likely to like a historical fiction that tells me where it deviates.

If you are interested in the Tudors or this time period, I highly recommend reading this book.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

John Adams Movie Version





This mini-series depicts the life of John Adams beginning with the events of the Boston Massacre and goes until his death in 1826. It includes the major events of the American revolution, his time abroad as ambassador, and his work as Vice President and President of the United States. It shows his family life and the struggles that went through.

I have come to expect great things from HBO, and this was no exception. I have wanted to see this mini-series since it came out, and I finally got around to it. I knew it was going to be good, but it was better than I expected. The filming was beautiful, the acting superb, and the content was both interesting and moving. I think John Adams is often overlooked(many people seem to know more about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson), and this mini-series shows how important he was to the American Revolution and developing the government of the United States.

This film is based of the biography John Adams by David McCullough. I read it many years ago, and found it interesting. It has been long enough that I cannot say for certain how closely the film follows the biography, but they did use it as a main source for this film. Even though it is a seven part series, some parts of his life had to be left out, and I would guess more details can likely be found in the biography. There is just too much in Adams' life to cover minutely in a film. I usually like to review movies based on books I have read more recently, but I found this mini-series so incredible that I wanted to let other people know about it.

I liked as it showed the events of the American revolution, and the formation of a new government that it was depicted with honesty. It was not just a patriotic propaganda film. It showed a human side to these events. The difficulties, the personality clashes that made these events harder, and the family issues Adams had. The writing for this film was excellent. Having great actors such as: Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney in the main roles also made this a film worth watching. 

Although I enjoyed the whole series, I particularly found the last episode moving. Many of the lines are from letters written by John Adams, Abigail Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. There was something about hearing their own words as you watched the incredible acting that really struck a chord. I thought this was a great way to depict these historical figures--with their own words. Although this was written after this series was made, it reminded me of the book Dear Abigail: The Intimate Lives And Revolutionary Ideas Of Abigail Adams And Her Two Remarkable Sisters. I really liked this book. It is letters Abigail Adams and her sisters wrote to each other. This film helps illustrate why so many letters between them would have been necessary--both the distance and great events occurring in their lives.

This is a great historical film, and an important one. I think even those that do not typically like watching films about historical events will like this one. There are so many things that make this worth watching. I enjoyed it, and found parts of it to be very moving. It is one I would watch again.

I highly recommend watching this film, and reading some books about these historical figures. I would start with the books Dear Abigail and McCollugh's John Adams.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Walking Dead: The Best Defense






Rick's group is trying to come to terms with their new life. They struggle to set aside differences as they work on clearing the prison to make it a safe place to settle down. Glen, Rick, and Michonne see a helicopter go down, and quickly set off to look for survivors. Someone has beaten them to the crash. They discover a small fortified town called Woodbury, and their leader, the Governor. Rick, Glen, and Michonne soon realize this is not a small haven willing to work with them. The Governor is a sadistic ruler that wants no interference--or challenge to his authority.

This is the fifth book in The Walking Dead series, and it begins right after volume four The Heart's Desire ends. This was the most violent of the whole series so far. It made the series much darker, which is surprising as there is constant violence in this series. This volume did not move the plot along a lot. It was the beginning of a whole new plot line, so it was largely used to foreshadow future events, and introduce us to some new characters. I was okay with this, because there needed to be something besides constant infighting and relationship drama. The introduction of a villain was something this series needed, because let's face it, not everyone is going to try their best to help others in an apocalypse.

I do think some of the issues I have mentioned before are still present. For example, the way the women are written is horrible. I keep waiting to see some improvement in that area. If the goal of the series is to examine how people would react in a zombie apocalypse situation, I have to think at least one woman would step up and defend herself, and not depend on all the men to do it for her. I find the lack of competent women in this series disturbing. The character art did improve. They are becoming more distinguishable from each other, which I greatly appreciate.

I am intrigued to see where the story arch with the Governor goes. I will continue reading this series, because despite the flaws, I find it an interesting angle for a post-apocalypse story. I just hope some of the issues I have with it are improved as the series goes on.

If you are interested in zombies, I recommend trying this series.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Battle Magic






Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are on their way to the First Circle temple in Gyongxe. They make a stop at the Emperor's summer palace where they are treated like royalty. During their stay, they discover that the Emperor is planning on invading Gyongxe. This is a fatal threat to the temple of the Living Circle. With imperial soldier hot on their trail, they rush to warn the citizens of Gyongxe of the coming attack. The mages try to help the citizens prepare for battle, but will it be enough to win the war?

I won a free copy of this book from the publisher in a promotional event for the book*. I was excited to read this book. It seemed like a really cool fantasy world, and I was not wrong. I have only read the three books in the Circle Reforged series, but I am looking forward to reading other books that involve these characters and this world. I really liked the way magic works in this world, and quickly was absorbed into the story. This was a great young adult fantasy. I like that Pierce does not shy away from real issues--war, relationships, and PTSD to name a few of the topics. It is refreshing to read about real issues while reading a really good story.

This is the third book in the Circle Reforged series, which currently has three books. It is the eleventh book in the Emelan series, which is where several series take place. Chronologically it takes place before The Will Of The EmpressI did not feel lost starting the story with this series. I think it would have added depth to what was going on if I had read some of the other books, and maybe cleared up some references to the past. But, I do not this it was necessary to enjoy this series to have read the other books.

If you like young adult fantasy books, I recommend reading this book.

*Winning a copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book I would not have gotten to as soon, or heard about otherwise.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Eirik The Red And Other Icelandic Sagas



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This is a collection of nine Icelandic sagas. The translator Gwyn Jones chose which sagas to include, and they seemed to show a range of culture, history, ancestry, and the introduction of Christianity and how it changed the culture and beliefs. Some, focus a lot on the ancestry and blood feuds, while others are about exploration, magic, and fighting. They range from being based on actual events to the magical and fantastical. The sagas included in this collection are:
  1. Hen-Thorir
  2. The Vapnfjord Men
  3. Thorstein Staff-Struck
  4. Hrafnkel the Priest of Frey
  5. Thidrandi whom the Goddesses Slew
  6. Authun and the Bear
  7. Gunnlaug Wormtongue
  8. King Hrolf and his Champions
  9. Erik the Red
These sagas were a little more difficult for me to get through, particularly the first few. I found this surprising. I normally love viking sagas, and read them with great joy. I do not know if it was the translation, or how the original material was written that caused me to not engage as I normally would with the sagas. I will have to see if I can find any other translations of all of the different tales and compare them, before I decide which caused me to stumble through this book. The writing did not capture me as these tales often do. Perhaps it was because there seemed to be a lack of poetry or rhythm I often associate with the sagas. There were a lot of genealogies, which can be interesting to read, but I felt it overwhelmed the tales at time. And this was after the translator removed some that seemed unnecessary.

I would still recommend reading this collection of sagas if you typically enjoy reading viking sagas. It was an interesting collection, and I liked reading about the explorations. I have read a couple of the stories in this collection in other places, but not all of them. King Hrolf's saga is one I like and would recommend reading. I would recommend starting with a different saga or collection of sagas if you have not read any before.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Shadows Of The Workhouse





Jennifer Worth is a midwife working in London East End during the 1950s. She also worked as a nurse. In this book, the focus is on people who have been in the workhouses, and what their experiences were. Instead of focusing on her midwifery experiences as in the first book. The main stories are about Jane, Frank and Peggy, Joseph Collett, Sister Monica Joan, and Reverend Applebee-Thornton.

This is the second book in Jennifer Worth's Call The Midwife trilogy. Like the first book, Shadows Of The Workhouse also tells some of Jenny's experience working in east end London. The first book, Call The Midwife, had many stories that gave us little glimpses into people's lives. This book only has a few stories that go into more detail. They also highlight the real fear people had of the workhouses(in place from the government to help the poor) and explain why such fear existed.

I thought this was a great follow up to the first book. It was interesting to learn about people Jenny was close to. I think it helped me understand a little more about who Jenny was, and the larger scope of the challenges she faced working in the East End. Another great example of the struggle to survive, and it gave a very human face to that struggle. The real difference to me between the first book and this one was that this one was more focused on other people than just on Jenny and her experiences. While I still liked this book, I did not like it as much as the first book. I did appreciate the writing. There are a lot of details that can be hard to read, but are very important for understanding that time period.

I recommend reading this book.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Jack Of Fables: Jack Of Hearts





There are two parts to Jack in this book. One part is about Jack's past and explains his secret former relationship with the Snow Queen. It is during this relationship he gains the name Jack Frost, and the powers that go with that character. The second part is about what Jack is up to currently in Las Vegas. He finds a directionless heiress and gets married to her. Could this be Jack's happily ever after?

This is the second volume in the Jack Of Fables series that is a spinoff from the Fables series. You should probably read this book after the first book The (Nearly) Great Escape to fully understand what is happening. I would also recommend reading through Fables volume six Homelands before tackling this book if you want to avoid any possible spoilers.

I did not really care for this volume, largely because I do not care for Jack's character. There is really nothing redeeming about him to me. He is a womanizing jerk that always will look out for himself, and there is no effort to make him appeal in any other way. His humor does nothing for me, so this spinofff series is not my cup of tea. I only continue to read it because I am a major fan of the Fables series and do not want to miss any information that pertains to the larger story. I did like that this story did follow one of Fables major themes of combining fairy tale characters into one person, so Jack The Giant Killer is also Jack Frost. It is always managed in a fun, clever way, so that was awesome. Other than that, not so great.

If you are not a fan of Fables or Jack's character, I would not recommend reading this book.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Bone Season



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In the year 2059, several major cities have come under the control of the Scion. Paige Mahoney is part of the criminal underworld of London Scion known as the Seven Seals. She scouts for information by breaking into other people's minds. She has this power because she is a dream walker. Simply by being this type of clairvoyant is considered treason punishable by death. She is arrested and sent to a prison meant for her kind, and she discovers it is controlled by the Rephaim, who want voyants such as her, as soldiers in their army. Paige must struggle to survive and find a way to regain her freedom.

I really liked the world building. There were a lot of layers to this world, and I found it very interesting. I kept reading to learn more about this new and exciting world. It can seem like there is a lot of information coming at you, but keep reading it is well worth it. There were a few times that I thought the background information was a little awkwardly inserted, but on the whole, it was a well written novel. The characters also kept me interested. They were complex, and I liked several of the personalities a lot.

This was the first book in a series that is planning to have seven books. While a sequel does not surprise me, I am a little curious to see what happens to keep the series going for six more books. Clearly there is more to be revealed, which as a reader, I find exciting. My curiosity will definitely keep me reading this series. I think there is a lot of potential for this series, so I hope it stays strong for the next six books.

I recommend reading this book.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Poincare Conjecture





Henri Poincare was a mathematician in the late nineteenth early twentieth century. He revolutionized the field of topology--the study of geometric configurations that are unchanged by stretching or twisting. Poincare's conjecture states that there is only one shape possible for a finite universe in which every loop can be contracted to a single point. His conjecture is one of the seven millennium problems that carries a one million dollar reward for the person who discovers the solution. Gregory Perelman has offered a proof for this conjecture. O'Shea explores the Poincare conjecture, and what led up to Perelman's proof of this conjecture.

This book was recommended to me by my husband. Wanting to understand more about his work as a topologist, I agreed to read this book. I found it very interesting. I liked learning about the history of this conjecture, and how Perelman came up with his proof. I found most of the information presented in a way that allowed for a non-mathematician to understand what was being discussed. I admit, some of the math was beyond me, but on the whole, it was understandable. While I preferred the history portion of the book, I thought there was a good balance between the history and the math used to explain the conjecture.

I liked the way O'Shea explained the math. I thought he did a decent job making it understandable to the average reader without making it seem too dumbed down or over the top popular science. I found much of the material interesting, and I liked that it would bring up a lot of fascinating thought and discussion points. There is also a great section of notes in the back if you desire to learn more about some of the topics discussed in the book.

If you are interested in the Poincare conjecture, math, or know a topologist, I recommend reading this book.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Girls At The Kingfisher Club



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Jo Hamilton is the eldest of twelve sisters. Their mother died while they were young, and their father wants nothing to do with them. Jo teaches her sisters to dance, and she is the one who gives the signal at night to sneak out to go to the speakeasy. It is their only freedom. One day, their father tells them he will begin marrying them off to men of his choice. The girls sneak out more, knowing this joy might soon be denied to them. They are caught in a raid one night, and everything changes.

I thought this was a fun and unique retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I liked the use of the prohibition era as the setting for the story. It worked really well with this story. I had initially been a little hesitant about reading it. I was wondering how a modern retelling of the tale would be pulled off, but it actually worked really well. The writing pulls you in, and there is never a dull moment.

I found myself absorbed in this tale. I loved the personalities of the different sisters. I also liked that we did not get to know as much about some of them. I have heard some complaints about this. I thought this was actually very good for the story as it would have either made it very long, or all the information about the individuals would actually take away from the group, and the story. It was handle in a way that made it unnecessary to go deep into all the personal perspectives. I really enjoyed this retelling. My only complaint is that it was over too soon, but I look forward to reading it again.

If you are a fan of fairy tale retellings, I highly recommend reading this book.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Downton Abbey The Show





The first season of Downton Abbey takes place during 1912-1914. It is the story of the Crawley family and their servants. The Crawley family discovers that something has happened to their heir, and they must find the next in line and train him for their position. It causes great upheaval in the family. We follow personal stories as the daughters look for love, are faced with class issues, and see how great historical events shape the family.

Downton Abbey is not based on a book. However, some of the ideas for this show came from real people, events, and locations. A biography for one of the people who inspired some of the plot lines in the show is: Lady Almina And The Real Downton Abbey. Some of the similarities are: the family home being turned into a hospital during World War I, the Lord marrying an a rich American heiress to provide money for the estate, a servant named Bates with a limp, Spanish flu, and an Earl obsessed with cars who ends up in an car accident.

I thought this was an interesting show to review as any books directly related to the show were written after the first season aired, including the biography about Lady Almina. This is a fine example how using a stories about real people and events as inspiration can be fashioned into something incredible. I found it interesting to watch a show and later read the book about some of the real people who inspired this incredible series.

I recommend watching the original UK edition. When the show aired in the U.S. parts of it were edited out to fit into the time slot it was given. There is not a ton of missing material, but it is noticeable. The first time I watched it on dvd, I thought something odd was going on because there were scenes I did not remember. Again, it is not detrimental to the experience if you watch another version, but I prefer being able to see what was originally there.

This is an incredibly done period drama. The costumes, script, and locations all superbly work together to make the viewer feel immersed in the show. I enjoy the subtle humor that is often included, particularly from the Dowager Countess. There is also great heart to this show, which makes it a joy to watch. I have enjoyed rewatching this show, and always look forward to the next season.

I highly recommend watching this show, and reading some of the books it has inspired.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fables: Arabian Nights (And Days)





Fabletown is in chaos. Prince Charming is discovering being Mayor is not a job where you simply make public appearances, it is much harder than he ever imagined. He must decide to do with Boy Blue--who broke Fabletown laws, yet gathered much needed intelligence. The ambassadors from the Arabian Fables has arrived and things get off to a rocky start. It gets worse when Frau Totenkinder informs them that they have brought a d'jinn with them that could destroy them all.

There are a lot of snippets of stories in this volume. We are updated on a few things at the farm, the hunt for Bigby continues, King Cole gets a new job(which seems to suit him very well), we learn more about wooden soldiers, we discover spies on both sides, new magical abilities, and some very complicated relationships emerge. There is a lot happening in this volume, so it is important to read this book to understand things later in the series.

This was the seventh volume in the Fables series, and it was interesting enough. It did a okay job moving the plot along, but I like it when there is more about the characters we have come to know and love. This book was more about bringing in new characters and briefly updating us on some previous characters in the series. I did like learning more about d'jinn and seeing Frau Totenkinder at her nefarious best.

If you are a fan of the series I recommend reading this book.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Assassination Of The Archduke






Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the heir to the Austria-Hungary empire. He married Sophie for love, defying the Emperor, which turned the aristocrats in his country against him. Even though their morganatic marriage meant Sophie could not be Empress, and their children could not inherit the throne, they were shunned and humiliated. Despite the opposition, Franz and Sophie continued to love each other and their children. Franz and Sophie were shot in Sarajevo leaving their children orphans in a situation. Much of their children's property was taken from them, and they suffered exile and imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps.

I was very interested to read this book because I wanted to learn about Franz Ferdinand's life. I knew who he was, and that he was assassinated, but I never knew the details of his life before. It was fascinating to learn more about him as a person, but also the events that led up to his assassination, and World War I. I like that King and Woolmans included a little bit about what happened to Franz and Sophie's children after they were killed. The assassination of their parents altered their lives in unbelievable ways.

I did feel as though I was being bludgeoned with the facts that Franz and Sophie had a morganatic marriage, and everyone was against them, but I suppose that is how they felt. It was also an important factor politically. The authors presented the Archduke in a favorable way, although they do not shy away from his flaws. It was also interesting to read about some of the theories of how the assassination came about. It definitely made me want to read more about this topic.

I thought this was a very interesting biography. The fairy tale nature of the romance between Franz and Sophie will probably make this book appeal to many that might not typically read biographies. I highly recommend reading this book.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Ladies' Paradise





The Ladies Paradise is a modern department store in nineteenth century Paris owned by the  innovative Mouret. It is suppose to be the store that delights women by meeting all their needs and whims in one place, with low prices. Denise Baudu moves from the country to stay with her Uncle after her parents die. She is trying to support two younger brothers, but cannot manage on her own. She discover that her Uncle's business is failing due to the success of the large department stores. Denise must find work, and gets a job at The Paradise.

I thought it was interesting in some parts, but dragged in some places due to all the discriptions. The store and the products are described in great detail to the point you start to lose track of the dialogue and events. To be fair, Zola wrote this book to illustrate capitalism, modern ways, and the changes in consumer culture and class. I think the underlying message about capitalism and change also overtook the story.

This is part eleven of Zola's Les Rougon-Macquart cycle. It follows a family in the Second French Empire, and shows how environment and heritage form a family. This is the only book in the series I have read, and I do not think the other books need to be read to understand what is happening. It is possible that reading the rest of the series might make certain characters actions make more sense, and perhaps give them some of the development I would look for. It might also make the characters stand out more against the messages about capitalism.

It was an okay book, but just as I would get interested in what was happening with the characters I would get lost in descriptions or long speeches that inform us more about capitalism than the plot. If you are a fan of Zola, I would recommend this book.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Chocolate Touch



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John Midas loves candy. He eats it all the time. He would rather eat candy than do anything. His parents have tried everything to get him to eat healthy food and less sweets. Nothing works. One day, John finds a special coin. He buys a box of chocolate at a candy store, and everything changes. Whenever he touches something, it turns into chocolate. This seems like the perfect gift to John. After he has the chocolate touch for awhile, he starts to realize eating chocolate all the time is not as much fun as he thought, and he begins turning important things into chocolate. John must try to find a way to stop turning everything into chocolate before it is too late.

The Chocolate Touch is a fun retelling of The King Midas tale. I liked the new approach to this classic tale, and thought it brought up some interesting discussion points. It also teaches the importance of moderation, healthy eating, unselfishness, and good choices. The morals were very prominent in the story, but not overdone.

It is a short easy reader book that is great for those that have moved beyond picture books and are ready for something a little longer. It would also be a fun book to read aloud. It is an entertaining retelling of a classic tale, and will be a fun read for different age groups.

This was the sixth book the Bookworms read together. Alejandro and Paige had both read it before, but I had not. We had fun reading and discussing the book together. Here are the Bookworms thoughts on the book. Warning, there may be some spoilers.

Q&A With The Bookworms Book Club

How many stars out of 5 would you give this book?
Alejandro 5
Paige 5

Did you like this book?
Both Yep, it was good.

What was your favorite part of the story?
Alejandro I liked the part where John was playing the trumpet and it turned into chocolate.
Paige I liked it when he opened the chocolate from the store, and he kept opening wrappers and finding nothing inside. He finally found a tiny crumb and ate it.

Would you want to have the chocolate touch?
Both Yeah, it would be fun!
Alejandro I think it would be fun to have whatever you eat taste like chocolate.
Paige Not around the holidays! Because I get candy then and want to taste the different kinds. Maybe other times it would be fun.

If you could turn anything into chocolate what would it be?
Paige My Mom because she keeps telling me to clean my room.
Alejandro I would turn the whole world into chocolate, and eat it from space in my spacesuit, while I float near the sun.

Is there anything you would not want to turn into chocolate?
Both My family.

John had to choose between getting rid of the chocolate touch and saving his Mom, what would you choose?
Paige I would save my Mom.
Alejandro The same.

John started turning things he touched into his favorite candy: chocolate. What kind of candy would you turn things into?
Paige Dum Dum Suckers or Laffy Taffy.
Alejandro Bazooka Gum.

Would you tell your friends about this book?
Alejandro Yeah, I had read it before, and some of them have too.
Paige I would tell them about it, but most know about it already. Our teacher read some of it to us.

Do you have any other comments about the book?
Paige I liked the ending. He got to see his Mother.
Alejandro I want to reread it!

Thank you Alejandro and Paige for reading and reviewing this book with me. I look forward to reading and discussing more books together

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Runes Of Ragnan






In the Runes Of Ragnan, two immortal brothers fuel warfare among humans. Covering over one thousand years of their story, the brothers face an unleashed fire giant from Muspell, warrior kings that have touched the face of Odin, and an ancient Druid order. In the midst of all these things a woman battles to maintain balance. The Runes of Ragnan are of vital importance, and they are bing hunted.

I did not care for this story. Normally, I really like tales of viking adventures and Norse mythology, but this one was difficult for me to connect with. It was a short novel, and because it tried to show how much time it covered, it seemed rushed and disjointed. There was also a lack of character depth that made it hard to identify with the struggle between the brothers. There was also a lack of dialogue that made the story uninteresting.

I did like some of the pictures. Some of them were very well done and showed some epic battle scenes. People who like fantasy will like some of the images in this book. I also appreciated how this book quoted from The Poetic Edda. When done well, it can help me connect to the story to have some well known pieces included in a book. Unfortunately, it was not enough to make me like this book.

I would recommend looking elsewhere for a graphic novel about viking sagas. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Leavenworth Case





Horatio Leavenworth is a millionaire. He is found murdered in his library. His last act appears to have been reviewing a book he had planned on publishing. He was killed with a shot to the back of his head from his own pistol. To add to the mystery, the room was locked. Detective Ebenezer Gryce has decided this must mean Leavenworth knew his killer, as he was not alarmed when the killer approached in his private secured space. The question is: who was close to the victim, and wanted him dead?

I thought this was an interesting mystery. It was fascinating to read a book that was early in this genre. Some of it seems like it has been done before, but this is actually one of the original mysteries. Many plot points we think overdone and classic such as: the murder in a locked room, a missing maid, a missing key, burned evidence, and a recently changed will were original or relatively new when this book was written.

I liked discovering the clues in this mystery. It made for an interesting puzzle to solve along with Detective Gryce. The beginning is a little slow, but keep reading. It starts to pick up, and you become involved in the case. There are a lot of layers in this story, so be prepared.

This was the first book Green wrote featuring Detective Gryce. She wrote more mysteries with him solving the case, that I would like to read. I also liked learning more about the author Anna Katherine Green. She wrote this about a decade before Sherlock Holmes was written, and was a very popular writer in her time. She is credited with developing the series detective and helping to shape this genre into the form we know today. She is known as the mother of the detective novel. 

If you are a fan of mysteries, I recommend reading this book.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Missing Microbes



Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues



Dr. Martin Blaser writes about his journey to understand the importance of the microbiome. He presents research about the overuse of antibiotics and the damage it is causing our health. He explains how bacterial and human cells have had a symbiotic relationship for thousands of years, and the sudden change in that relationship is contributing to many of the health problems humans experience today. He advocates that new approaches need to be taken towards antibiotics and bacteria if we are to avoid unintended consequences.

The focus of this book was about how overused antibiotics are. Prescriptions are written because it is thought it will not hurt a person, so more antibiotics are distributed than is necessary. Antibiotics are used in farm feed to help animals grow, and consequently end up in the food we eat. He also wrote how c-sections change the personal microbes that babies would normally be given during the birth process. I found this section very interesting. While Blaser acknowledges that antibiotics and c-sections have saved lives and should be used when necessary, he posits that the overuse of them will have impact on our health.

I liked reading about the importance of microbes in our lives. Blaser provides a good overview on the topic. I thought it was very approachable, and the average reader would have no problem understanding this book. Blaser included some personal stories at appropriate moments that will help many people identify with the science in ways they might not have expected to. While there was not a lot of information about what the individual can do beyond avoiding unnecessary antibiotics, it was a very informative book, and it will be intriguing to see what some of these studies show us in the future.

I recommend reading this book.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Johannes Cabal: The Detective





Johannes Cabal has recently won a deal with the devil, but now must escape the clutches of a local government. He takes passage aboard the airship the Princess Hortense, after stealing the identity of a government official. His escape seems imminent. He was not counting on meeting someone on board the ship who not only knows who he is, but he is also not on friendly terms with. There is a death on the ship, and Cabal begins to investigate out of idle curiosity. When an attempt is made on his life, he quits playing and begins to search in earnest.

This is the second book in the Johannes Cabal series. It picks up where the first book Johannes Cabal The Necromancer leaves off. This is my least favorite so far(I read the series a little out of order). It is still a decent story, and I love all of the books in the Johannes Cabal series I have read so far, but to me, it is not on par with the rest of the books. The writing is still superb, but it lacks some of the pazazz of the rest of the series. I think it is because in the other books, Cabal is in his own world doing extraordinary things, and here, he seems almost like a regular person. Not the Cabal I know or love. I would say it was the return of his soul, but he returns to the necromancer we have come to know in the next book: Johannes Cabal The Fear Institute, so maybe it was the author exploring the character and new settings.

There is still a great sense of humor in this book, and the writing does pull you in. I wanted to keep reading to discover what situation Cabal would find himself in next. It is not that I did not like this book, it just was not what I was expecting. It in no way changes how much I love this series, and I will continue to look forward to reading further adventures with Johannes Cabal. Howard writes an enjoyable mystery that for this book, seems to be a steampunk crossover. One thing I really like about this series is that any of the books could be picked up without reading the other books. I think it is more enjoyable if you have, but you will be fine reading any of the books that appeal to you.

If you are a fan of Johannes Cabal, I would recommend reading this book.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Black Orchid


Black Orchid


Black Orchid is a crime fighter who has been undercover in one of Lex Luthor's organizations. Her identity is discovered and she is killed. But this is not the end of Black Orchid. Her death brings the next Black Orchid to life. The new Black Orchid is confused, and begins a search to discover who she is, and what she is suppose to be doing. Lex Luthor is trying to get control of her, and it is a race to see if the new Black Orchid can figure things out before Lex captures her and begins his experiments.

This is one of the origin stories for Black Orchid, and it was an interesting one. It caught my attention, and I will be looking into more graphic novels that star Black Orchid. I liked that a few classic comic book characters stories converged in this tale. Poison Ivy, Swamp Thing, Batman, and Luthor make appearances. There is also a visit to Arkham Asylum. It was fun to get a brief glimpse of them interacting in each other's story.

I think Gaiman did an incredible job capturing the issues of choice, right vs. wrong, and violence. The characters must deal with the choices of others--both violent and non-violent actions. The impact that the choices other people make impacts everyone in an intriguing way. Just because there are good intentions does not mean it turns out well. Some of the characters are known, so we have an idea of their role as hero or villain. Others, are somewhere in between. They are neither good nor evil, which is very interesting in this genre.

I think one of my favorite things about this book was the stunning artwork. I loved the look and the colors that were chosen. The use of color to show what was happening was well done, and added a lot to the story. The visual element was a pleasing part of this reading experience. I think it is worth reading this graphic novel just to admire the beautiful artwork.

If you like reading origin stories for heroes, I recommend reading this book.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cold Mountain


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Inman is a soldier fighting for the Confederates during the Civil War. He walks away from the fighting, and is trying to make his way home to his sweetheart Ada. Inman's journey takes him through the war ravaged countryside showing what the war has done to the people and the land. While Inman struggles to get home, Ada is trying to keep her farm alive all on her own. She receives help from a stranger named Ruby, and together they work to make their dreams become reality. Ada and Inman must confront the changes the war has brought to their lives.

For me, it required some patience to read this book. It is a very descriptive story. I could see some beauty in the details about the land and inner struggles of the characters, but for my tastes, it was a little too much. I thought the symbolism and foreshadowing created a great atmosphere or tension to the story, but sometimes it got lost in all the details.

I liked the parts with Ada and Ruby best. Their different personalities work well together. I liked seeing the gradual change in each of them as they learn from each other. Necessity brought them together, but it was a way of unifying two very different people. Relationships are a big part of this story, and the way they are written has a way of grabbing you.

I also liked the way this story shows on individuals and societies change during the Civil War. Particularly those that did not have a lot to gain from either side winning. It beautifully showed how neither side helped, but rather hurt those that were bystanders in the war.

If you like historical fiction, I recommend reading this book.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

V For Vendetta





"Remember, remember the fifth of November of gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."

"Good evening, London. It's nine o'clock and this is the voice of fate...It is the fifth of the eleventh nineteen-ninety-seven". England has become a fascist state. Freedom has been taken from people. Everyone is under surveillance, and there are strict consequences for breaking any law. The government has become corrupt and citizens suffer. V is a masked man who stands up to the government. He takes the law into his own hands, and encourages people to fight the government. He saves a woman named Evey from the police, and they help each other.

The development of the characters is incredible. Evey's growth from a scared girl to a strong woman is an amazing transformation, and one that should not be missed. Women do not always get large or decent roles in graphic novels/comic books, so it was refreshing to see a character like Evey, and watch her grow. I like how we slowly learn what is behind V's plot, and where he intends to take it.

I really liked this book. One of my favorite things is that we never completely learn who V is. We learn a little about him, but he is never fully revealed. V realizes it is not who is underneath the mask that is important, it is what the mask represents, and what it can inspire people to do. It is very powerful, and I thought this was an incredible way for Moore to portray a "hero".

The writing in this book was fantastic. At times, it left me horrified. The way people treat each other in this story makes you sad for humanity. There are glimmers of hope. There are a lot of lines that really hit home, and can inspire you. It is an engrossing tale, and I quickly became invested in the characters.

I highly recommend reading this book.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Woman Who Would Be King


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Hatshepsut was the daughter of a general who became king. She was married to her brother, but failed to produce a male heir to continue her family's dynasty. When she was twenty she had her coronation as king, and would reign for twenty-two years. Under her reign Ancient Egypt saw one of its most prolific building periods. A few decades after her death, many of her images were destroyed, in an attempt to erase her reign.

I was very interested in this book when I heard it was coming out. I like reading about women who achieved great things in history. Hatshepsut has always been an intriguing figure to me, and one I wanted to learn more about. Unfortunately, I do not think this book was the right one for me. I did not like how the information was presented.

The main issues I had were: the amount of speculations in the book, the modern thoughts that were sometimes applied to these historical figures, and the repetitive nature of some of the statements. I understand when writing about a person that lived so long ago, it can be difficult to find sources for their whole life. I am okay with some speculation based on what little information we have, but I was not looking for a whole book of maybes that often seemed inconsistent with statements in the next paragraph. A theory would be given about a person or event which would be followed in the next paragraph by a statement "we cannot really know if this happened or if this person was alive at that time", and this started to bother me.

Near the end of the book, it seemed to me the author was finally stating what she thought happened based on clear evidence. I think there were other parts where this happened, but it got lost in all the speculations. I liked the part where she was discussing Thutmose III, and the actions he took to destroy anything having to do with Hatshepsut. I was very interested in the author's explanations for why this happened. I think this section of the book illustrated what I was looking for in this book.

I think the author was really trying to understand who Hatshepsut was as a ruler and a person, but at least here, I did not always see the evidence for her claims. In the author's note she says "Many historians will no doubt accuse me of fantasy: inventing emotions and feelings for which I have no evidence. And they will be right." While this method helps some people understand a historical figure, it did not really work for me. I think it would have worked better if the author had tried to write a biography(even if it ended up really short) or a historical fiction book where she could explore the emotions of her subject, without trying to back up every thought or emotion she was portraying. The combining of the two ended up leaving the book a little uncertain to me.

I read this book as an ebook on my Nook. The only problem that I had was that the Family Tree image did not show up correctly on my Nook. Part of the image was cut off, so the whole image could not be seen.

**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review**

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book sooner than I would have gotten to it, or heard about otherwise.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Inheritance Movie Version





Edith Adelon is an orphan working as a paid companion to Amy, daughter of the wealthy Hamilton family. Amy's father, Henry Hamilton found Edith in Italy when he went to take care of his deceased brother's affairs. He brought her home with him to save her from life in an orphanage. The Hamilton family is preparing for the annual Greens Cup Race, and the guests that will arrive. They hope to find a husband for their cousin Ida at this event. Ida becomes jealous of the attention Edith gets from the gentlemen, and finds ways to interfere with Edith's happiness.

The Inheritance is based of Louisa May Alcott's first novel of the same name. Here is my review of the book The Inheritance. It was not published while she was alive. It could be viewed as a Cinderella story with the heroine's struggle to find her place as a poor woman living in society. In it class issues and women's roles are mentioned, but are in the background of the story. The real focus is Edith, and what happens to her.

This movie is very different from the novel it is based off of, and in this case, that is actually a good thing. This was one of Alcott's early novels, and it showed in the writing and flat characters. The roles of some of the characters have been changed in the film such as: Henry Hamilton being alive, there is no brother, and Mrs. Hamilton is much more friendly. The location was changed from England to Massachusetts U.S.A. The characters were also given a little more personality than in the book.

The plot is predictable and the characters are uncomplicated, but it is a fine movie if you are expecting that and are okay with such films. It should be remembered how little there was to work with from the book, and they actually did a decent job keeping the same themes and feel as the book, while improving on the material. It is a simple love story that the whole family could enjoy.

If you are a fan of Louisa May Alcott, I would recommend this movie.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Chew: International Flavor



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Tony Chu is a cibopath working for the FDA, and he has a new case. Following the trail of a newly discovered fruit that tastes like chicken, Tony ends up on an island with more questions than he arrived with. Some of the main questions are: where did this fruit come from, and is it the answer to the global chicken crisis? Tony must discover what is really going on before everything spirals out of control.

This is the second volume in the Chew series. It is a still a fun read and I greatly enjoyed it, though not as much as the first book. There was a lot of setting up for things to come, introduction of new characters, and some character building, so this volume moved a little slower than book one: Taster's Choice. I also really liked finding out what happened to Tony's old partner. We get to meet Tony's new partner in this book, and it was an awesome plot point.

One thing I like with this series is how it takes classic comic book and graphic novel tropes and makes them more extreme and hilarious. From the drawings of female characters to the abilities used to fight crime, everything is outlandish, but done in a way that is quite hilarious. There are also a lot of humorous self-references, so many people reading the series will appreciate how it makes fun of itself. 

I really like this original series. The writing is decent, and so far, it is progressing well. I have great hopes for the rest of the books. I am looking forward to more adventures with Tony Chu. I recommend reading this series. 


Friday, October 31, 2014

Blythewood





Avaline Hall is seventeen, and has already had an unbelievable life. She has survived a factory fire, escaped from an insane asylum, and been invited to attend Blythewood Academy. Blythewood is an elite boarding school. Ava's mother attended until she was expelled. Ava is hoping to learn more about her family at the school, but is learning more than she bargained for. Dark things are happening at Blythewood, and the students are being trained with a specific purpose. Ava must figure out what is really going on before events become to dangerous.

I won a copy from the author in a contest*. I had not heard of this book before, and was intrigued by the description. I am glad I received a copy because I ended up liking this book. I was pulled into this world and was delighted when I discovered it was the first in a series. The second book Ravencliffe is suppose to come out soon, and I look forward to returning to this world. It reminded my of another series I like: The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. It has a similar feel to it.

I liked the world set up in this book. The details were rich, and you felt like you were actually in a world where fairies and other mythical creatures exist. The combination of history and fantasy was well done. I really like it when an author is able to mix fantasy and history. It makes it seem like the world they created could be stumbled upon at any time.

I especially enjoyed the dark atmosphere. It creates a lot of suspense, and keeps you turning the pages. There was also a lot of character building which I like. I look forward to learning what happens to these characters. The story leaves off in an interesting place, and leaves you wanting to immediately read the next book so you can discover what happens.

I recommend reading this book.

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a book I might not have gotten to as soon, or heard about otherwise.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hollow City

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Jacob and the children living with Miss Peregrine have just escaped the island. They are not safe though. They are being chased, and it will take all the skills and luck they can muster to not get caught. While eluding their attackers, they must find a way to rescue Miss Peregrine. They are desperate to find someone who can help her before she is beyond anyone's abilities. They are heading to London because they have heard that is where the only person left who can help them is. The journey is full of peril and wonders as they stumble onto a menagerie of peculiar animals and discover new peculiars.

An excellent sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. I really liked how the series progressed in this book. Sequels and second books in a series do not always live up to the first book, but this one does. I would even say it surpassed the first one, which I did not think was possible. The characters began to develop in very interesting ways, and I liked the new depth this brought to the story. Between living in a loop for decades and having peculiar abilities interesting thoughts, actions, and issues arise as we learn more about these children.

There was a new batch of photographs to enjoy that help bring the story to life. I loved the anticipation and wonder that I feel when turning the pages to see what picture would be next, and how it would tie into the book. It is such a fun aspect to the series, and I enjoy how the photographs can lull me into thinking the story is real.

I was also interested in the book the children have with them, and read from while they traveled: The Tales Of Peculiar Children. I would be happy to read a book of these tales if Riggs ever decides to publish them. There were so many things that I enjoyed about this book. It kept me interested the whole time, and I did not want to stop reading it! Hollow City leaves off in an interesting place, and left me wishing I could immediately pick up the next book. I cannot wait for it to be published and to read it.

I highly recommend reading this book!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Season Of The Witch






When bullied by a group of kids at school Toni feels scared and does not know what to do to make it all stop. She meets up with a girl from school named Cassandra, and everything changes. They decide to stop being victims and take control of their lives. They begin casting spells. At first Toni doesn't really believe it will work, but then things start to happen to the people they cast spells on. Toni begins to wonder if she really has the power to make these things happen.

I received a free copy of this book from the author as part of a promotional event*. I thought Fredericks did an excellent job with the pacing of the book. Just when you think you can't stand the horrible things happening, Toni decides to get take control of her life. When the revenge starts to become too much we are faced with a new twist in the plot. It keeps you engaged in the story and helps you appreciate the overall message of the book.

I liked the message about standing up for yourself, but the author took that message even further, which I appreciated. Often people stop thinking about what happened when they use the phrase they stood up for themselves. Here, we discover how real the consequences of our actions can be. I also liked Fredericks larger message about the need to find control in our lives in any way possible, and how difficult it is to understand what someone else is thinking. The promotion of balance between standing up for yourself and aggression is an important one in this book.

I thought it was well written and engaging. There is a realness to this story that made it a very emotional read at times. There is a conversation at the end of the book between Toni and Cassandra that I found very realistic, and could see happening in real life. This book was also a unique take on the bullying issue. There is a lot going on in this story, but I think it made the reader feel the lack of control the main characters felt. It was an interesting book.

I recommend reading this book.

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provided me with a copy of a book I would not have gotten to as soon, or heard about otherwise.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies Graphic Novel





England has been struck by a horrible plague. Unmentionables are attacking people. As the dead rise, the Bennett sisters are trained in the deadly arts to defend themselves and those around them. Elizabeth Bennet has become a deadly foe. Her wits are as sharp as her sword, but she might have met her match in Mr. Darcy. Despite her unladylike ways, Mr. Darcy finds himself falling for Elizabeth. Their love must face the test of dreadfuls, ninjas, and society.

I enjoyed the graphic novel version of the book. It has all the humor and gore of the novel Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, but was a more condensed version of the novel. It also has more pictures than the novel did, and that was a great bonus. I liked seeing the Bennet sisters fight the dreadfuls. It also shows some of the transformations as characters are bitten by dreadfuls. It was interesting to keep track of the progress of the plague in the images.

This graphic novel is another wonderful retelling of the classic Pride And Prejudice. It is a fun way to read this classic novel, and enjoy some zombie fighting at the same time. This shorter version of the book is a great introduction to fans of the classic novel that are not sure how zombies will mix with Austen. Fans of the novel will have fun with this version of the tale.

If you like zombies or Pride And Prejudice, I recommend reading this book.