Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Reality Boy by A.S. King

Reality Boy by A.S. King
Amazing book.
When Gerald was five years old, his family starred in a reality TV show. One of those ones where a nanny is brought in to help the family with their unruly children. Because Gerald, at age five, chose to take out his frustrations by pooping in various places - like on the dining table, in his mom's shoes, etc... he was the focus of the show and the "problem child". In reality, his behavior was due to the horrible dysfunctionality of his family - especially his older sister.
At age 17, Gerald is often called the Crapper and has problems in school as well as his family life. Then, Hannah, the junkman's daughter, a coworker and classmate of his befriends him. Romance blooms and the two dysfunctional teens help one another to overcome their insane families and find normality. The book is touching and funny and sad and just awesome. I highly recommend it!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage by Justin Cronin
The military has endorsed development of a virus that was found in the Amazon jungle with bats that made people vicious and strong and unkillable - until they died. So, they used death row convicts to experiment on to try to make the virus safer to make an army of unkillable killing machines. Except of course, it backfired, unleashing the virus and the 12 killers into the world causing an apocalypse leaving the world a dangerous place full of vicious virals. Except for Amy, who was injected with the virus at age 6, with the lowest dosage, which made her the key to curing the whole thing. The author spent the first one third of the very long book introducing this along with Carter, the 12th convict injected, and the only innocent man from death row, and we don't hear from him again - perhaps he will be important in later books.
Honestly, this could have been done in one or two chapters rather than the whole first third of the book.
Then, it is almost 100 years later and we are with a colony of people who are dependent upon an aging and dying electrical system to light up the colony at night and keep the virals away. The last two thirds of the book deals with these characters and they run into Amy, who has now aged to about 14 due to the age slowing properties of the virus. Together, a group of young people and Amy travel to find other people and find a way to stop the virals.
There are two more books after this.
I got the second one.
It is really long.
No surprise.
The last one is not written yet.
I bet it will be long.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Oh dear. This was a difficult book for me. I did not like the main character Victoria, or her foster mother, Elizabeth. The story is well written and drew me in at first and I found it fascinating and difficult to put down because I wanted to find out what was going on. Then it became difficult to read because I realized what was going on. Victoria, who had spent her entire life in the foster care system after being abandoned as an infant had her last chance to be adopted at age 10 by a woman named Elizabeth. The story is told in flashbacks from Victoria's adult life beginning at age 18 back to her childhood then her year spent with Elizabeth. While I understood Victoria's childhood decisions, I was appalled by some of her actions that she took as an adult. The book is wonderfully written and I understand why many people like it, but at the same time, it was also very difficult. I enjoyed seeing the different meanings of flowers and thought that was an interesting thing to include.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Story by Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart

My Story by Elizabeth  Smart
I found this to be a very moving book. Elizabeth tells the story of her kidnapping and the nine months she spent captive.  She is quite defensive and that definitely shows and it is a bit sad that she feels the need to be so defensive, but her story is well told and very inspirational. It is a quick read and it is inspirational that throughout her 9 month ordeal, Elizabeth felt strengthened by the Lord and that she is now helping other people who have been abused to recover.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Far Shore (The After Series book 3) by Traci L. Slatton

Far Shore  (After Trilogy, #3)
Another fantastic book! I was having technical difficulties and could not get the book onto my kindle and I could not wait for my husband to get home and help me so I sat at my computer and read the whole book in the last few hours. Now my neck hurts, but it was worth it. Emma battles to save Arthur, and help her friends and together they hope to find a way to end the mists that have destroyed so much. Great story and makes you really think about things. I look forward to the next book!                  

Cold Light (After Trilogy, #2) by Traci L. Slatton

Cold Light by Traci L. Slatton

In Canada, 16 months since she got home, Emma's life is once again shattered as raiders capture her 9 year old daughter, Beth. Following her husband, Haywood's precognition, Emma walks through the sub-freezing wasteland to rescue her child. When she reaches the Outpost, she finds that Arthur and her friends from Europe have crossed the ocean to get her. Emma is torn between her love for Arthur and her husband and family. Together, they go to rescue Beth. More adventure, friendship, love, sorrow, and paranormal abilities abound in this fantastic second book. Looking forward to the third book!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fallen (After Trilogy, #1) by Traci L. Slatton

Fallen by Traci L. Slatton
I was given a free copy of this book to review and I was just totally blown away by it! I could not put it down. It is an adult dystopian romance novel with a strong kick-ass woman protagonist who is also a mom. When a mysterious mist begins killing everyone and destroying all things made of metal, Emma, and her 5 year old daughter are in France, while her husband and older daughter are in Canada, one of the few areas of the world that seems to be safe from the mist. Emma is a survivor and as she wanders through the dystopian world, she takes in and cares for several children who she finds. When she runs into a group of men who seem well fed and whom her psychic child tells her have a good camp, she and the children join them and she joins Arthur, their leader. Battling cannibals and other roving insane people, captured by a psychotic Russian man and his camp, Emma proves herself to be a useful survivor due to the healing ability that she acquired after the mists came. With romance, action, surprising plot twists and a fantastic plot, this it a totally captivating story. I have already started the second book in the series and cannot put it down either. I totally recommend this series!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer

The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer

Totally fantastic book! Great story, and makes you think about what we are doing to the environment. Following the first book, The House of the Scorpion, Matt is back in Opium, and not that El Patron is dead, Matt is considered the new El Patron, Drug Lord. With lots of help from Cienfeuegos, leader of the farm patrol who was once a biologist, and Celia, who raised him for part of his life, Matt learns about the empire he has inherited. It has a many secrets; some good and some quite evil. All of the work done in Opium, most of it horrifically difficult, is done by eejits - people who have been microchipped to follow orders and not think on their own. The eejits are people who were fleeing their countries trying to find work. Once they are chipped, they have very short lives and are not considered human and are replaced by hapless border crossers. Matt wants to find a way to cure the eejits, stop growing Opium, bring his friends to Opium and marry Maria. It is a ruthless world he is in, the other drug lords want to take over his country, and no one can be trusted. Quite a big challenge for a fourteen year old boy, but perhaps it can be done since he is the clone of El Patron.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Surprise for Lily (The Adventures of Lily Lapp #4) by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher

A Surprise for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I have not read the others in the series, but this one seems fine as a stand alone book. I think it is great for elementary school aged children. It is a bit like the Little House books and follows an Amish girl, Lily, who is 11 years old and in 6th grade in this book. She has many adventures including a rowboat mishap, a new school teacher, rescuing a puppy, and other adventures in the daily lives of Amish children. I enjoyed the book and think children will enjoy it too.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Released (Romani Realms, #1) by Mia Fox

Released by Mia Fox
A scintillating tale of magic and love, sorrow and loss. Suki is a Genie, bound to the one who releases her from her bottle. She acts as a muse to the men who are her releasers, helping them to achieve greatness. Yet, the men all die tragically and Suki also created the Bermuda Triangle and launched the Great Depression. Now, she has not one, but two releasors - teenage girls Charlotte and Samantha, and they are under attack from Suki's arch-nemesis, Raven, a gypsy demon and her "bother/boyfriend", Phineas. Suki is drawn to James, the bar tender, who is also more than human and who tries to protect her. Can she protect her releasors? And if not, what then? This is the first book in a trilogy and I look forward to the next two. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Reluctant Assassin (W.A.R.P., #1) by Eoin Colfer

The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer
Totally excellent adventure! From present day England to Victorian London, Riley travels through time as he reluctantly murders a man. Winding up with Chevie, a teenage FBI agent, the two travel through time trying to escape and outwit the evil Garrick, who is changed when he travels through time. Shades of Dickens and H.G. Wells abound, but I was sad to see no references to Dr. Who. Riley and Chevie are spunky and enterprising and I look forward to the future books in what promises to be a fantastic series!

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
I could not put this book down and stayed up very late last night to finish it. It is captivating and touching, two stories in one as 90 year old Isabell tells Dorrie about her past forbidden love of a black man in the 1930s, and Dorrie, a black single mother, struggles with family problems of her own. Their stories are told as Dorrie drives Isabell across the country to a funeral and the women help one another to deal with their past, and their present lives.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Wow! This is an amazingly fantastic and original book from a young, first time author. I am just astounded. The book is captivating and unique, well-written and thrilling.
I could not put it down. The Bone Season is set in London in 2059. Paige is a 19 year old clairvoyant who is working for the syndicate, part of the criminal underworld in a society where having clairvoyance is a crime. She is captured and taken to Oxford where she is imprisoned by the Rephaim, a supernatural race of beings who want to control all of the clairvoyants. The book is very violent and action packed. Some things are not explained well, but as the first book in a series, I am hoping that those things will be fleshed out better in the ensuing books. I am impressed by this young author and look forward to reading more from her!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3) by Rae Carson

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Totally excellent ending to a fantastic series! I really think I liked this book best out of all three. Finally, Elisa grows up. In her quest to save Hector, regain her kingdom and bring about peace with the Inviernos, Elisa learns to use her godstone fully and becomes a strong awesome ruler and warrior. Of course, she is helped along the way by her companions Belen, Storm and Mara. Lots of action, magic and romance abound in this fantastic final book of the trilogy.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Coexist (Keegan's Chronicles, #1) by Julia Crane

Coexist by Julia Crane
The story sounds like it could be interesting and has potential, but it needs editing and the main character is incredibly shallow and self-centered. There is more description of clothing than there is of some of the characters' personalities.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Gated by Amy Christine Parker

Gated by Amy Christine Parker
Lyla lives in a community that is a doomsday cult led by a man who they call Pioneer. She and the other families have been hand picked by Pioneer to live there until the end of the world after which they will be the only survivors. Pioneer has chosen families with girls and boys the same ages - so they can all be paired up. Lyla's Intended is Will, a nice boy who has always been her best friend. They learn to fight and be self-sufficient and await the end of the world. Until Cody and his father, the sheriff, come to visit. Lyla is asked to give the handsome Cody a tour and soon the Brethren (gods?) tell Pioneer that the end of the world is coming sooner than anticipated and they must go to their underground silo to survive. I am not sure why the author used the "Brethren" in the sky concept - perhaps she was trying to avoid implicating God or any known religious groups? Anyway, that made it less realistic. In all, the story just doesn't quite have a real enough feeling to it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fire & Ash (Benny Imura #4) by Jonathan Maberry

Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry
Über fantastic ending to a fantastic series! Totally awesome and cool with tons of action, unexpected plot twists and, of course, Benny trying to save the world. Now that Benny, Nix, Lilah, Riot and Chong are at Sanctuary, things are not what they were expecting. Chong is infected with the zombie virus, but not dead, being kept alive as they hope to find a cure. As they fight the reapers and the zombies, with the help of Captain Joe Ledger, they see more horrors than they could ever imagine and as they survive, they find that they are becoming what Tom had trained them to be - Samurai. Can they stop the reapers from destroying the cure? Can they fight off the even faster, smarter zombies that are now appearing? Can they save the 7 towns? Read this final thriller to find out!

Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin: A Memoir by Nicole Hardy

Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin: A Memoir
Captivating, open, honest and real.  This is a hearfelt memoir of a woman who grew up in the Mormon religion and was taught that a woman's goal in life should be to marry and have children.  But, she wants more out of life than that.  She wants to write and travel and she does not want to have children, which is seen as blasphemy by the Mormons.  She chronicles her lifetime and her struggles with lust, believing the church's teachings that lust is wrong outside of marriage, her struggles with not wanting the life that her church taught was necessary for salvation, failed relationships with men and the freedom she enjoyed once she left the Mormon church.  The book is well-written, intriguing, fascinating, sad and joyous and I thouroughly enjoyed it.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The First Rule of Swimming by Courtney Angela Brkic

The First Rule of Swimming by Courtney Angela Brkic
Unexpected and unusual, captivating and a bit confusing. Set on a fictitious island in Croatia, this book tells the story of two sisters, Jadranka and Magdalena and their family and how it was affected by the wars and communism. From the island of Rosmarina to the costal city of Split to New York City, the sisters and their family members tell their stories in various times and places. Part of the story is told by the dying grandfather, whose thoughts we are privy to as they wander in and out of times and places and parts are told by their uncle and mother, but Magdalena tells most of this touching story. This book is intriguing and I do recommend it.