Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
This is a fabulous YA fantasy! Fifteen year old Neryn has been on the run with her father for several years and when he gambles her away to a man named Flint, she is sure that worse things will follow. As it happens, Flint is kind to her and their paths continue to cross one anothers as she heads north to Shadowfell, where she has heard there are other people who are in rebellion against the cruel king who has banned all contact with the Good Folk and all those with Canny gifts. Neryn has always been able to see the Good Folk and believes that is why the kings men are after her. As she heads towards Shadowfell, she must survive and prove that she has the virtues necessary to be trained as a Caller. With magic, adventure and romance, this is an excellent story and I look forward to reading the other books in the trilogy!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amelie Sarn

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister
This is a poignant story told about sisterhood and tragedy. Based on a true story it tells the story of Sohane, a Muslim teenager in France, who decides to wear a head scarf after a law has been passed declaring it illegal in schools. At the same time, her younger sister Djelila is shunning her Muslim heritage and acting as French and modern as she can. When some neighborhood Muslim boys begin to bully Djelila for not following the Muslim customs, she does not realize just how dangerous the Muslim bullies are. This is a short and sad story that brings to light the injustices that Muslims force upon women and tells a tale of sisterhood.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fractured Dream (The Dreamer Saga) by K.M. Randall (

Fractured Dream by K.M. Randall
Nice romantic fantasy with a cliff-hanger ending. When Story and her two best friends, Adam and Elliot are at the lake where her Uncle Peter had disappeared years before, Elliot is concerned because he has had a vision of Story drowning in the lake. Instead, all three of them are dragged down through the lake into another world where fairy tales are real and Story is a goddess although she does not feel like one. Aided by her friends from both worlds including Jess, a Red Riding Hood whose destiny is to destroy her own Big Bad Wolf, along with Bliss, who is a Thumbelina and a Pegasus and many others, she finds that she must destroy the evil Brink in order to save her true love and save the world. The book is captivating although in some parts the wording was a bit awkward and some details did not make sense. In all, it was a nice book especially for the author's first book. I look forward to reading her next book. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2) by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym), J.K. Rowling

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
I totally loved this book. It is fabulously written! In this second Cormoran Strike novel, Strike is hired by a woman to find her missing husband, Owen Quine, an author, who has had a propensity for disappearing every once in a while. When Strike finds her husband brutally murdered, it is once again up to Strike, aided by his lovely assistant, Robin, to find the real murderer as the inept police arrest the wrong suspect. I could not put this book down! It is such a fabulous mystery. As Strike interviewed the various suspects, I was sure that each one was the murderer. At the end of the novel, I was surprised when the real perpetrator was revealed. I look forward to the next book.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cut and Thrust by Stuart Woods

Cut and Thrust by Stuart Woods
This is the first book that I have read by this author. It is part of a series, but I think this book is able to stand on it's own, without having read the rest of them although perhaps people who have read the whole series might get more out of the story than I did. In this book, Stone Barrington is a lawyer who is friends with the president and is very much a part of the political scene. He and his cohorts finagle things behind the scenes in order to get their favored candidate nominated for their political party to run for president. There are some people who have threats against their lives and some police and other people trying to stop those from taking place. The whole book is a bit gossipy and does not have a lot of substance to it. I am not sure what the title has to do with the book. The book is an easy read though.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Perfect by Rachel Joyce

This book is told in two parts alternately by Byron, who is 10 years old in 1972 and by Jim, a middle aged man with OCD in the present time. Byron tells about his friendship with a boy named James and his mother's slow slide into insanity. Jim tells about his present life and his past in a mental hospital where he received shock therapy among other treatments. As the book goes on we learn how the two characters are related to one another. The book is well-written but a bit slow going. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fifty Years in Polygamy: Big Secrets and Little White Lies by Kristyn Decker

Fifty Years in Polygamy by Kristyn Decker
Kristyn/Sophia tells the story of the first 50 years of her life lived in a polygamous family. She was born into a family that is not the same group as the infamous FLDS, but the two groups have a lot of background together and at least one of her sisters was married into the FLDS group. Another of her relatives is on a TV show about polygamy. This book gives a slightly different viewpoint than the more recent books by the people who have come out of the FLDS group because the author is a bit older and was not in the in some ways more oppressive FLDS group. However, polygamy definitely messed up her life and the lives of her family members. She tells of abuses that she and others suffered and of her own bizarre polygamous marriage that she stayed in quite unhappily until she was 50 years old. Her story is sad and a bit difficult to follow. I think that she really needed a better editor. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3.5) by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
This is my favorite book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series although once again, I don't really think the title makes any sense - I think the author just wanted a one word title or something.
This book follows the story of Cole and Isabel. I did not really love either character because they are both incredibly self-centered, but perhaps all of us are if we think about it. The reason that I liked this book is because the author is a totally fabulous writer and this book was just a joy to read. It was rather light hearted and fun and had a lot of humor in it. Cole is back and has gone to LA to find Isabel, and to be in a reality TV show with a new band. Isabel tries not to fall in love with Cole and does not want to be on the reality TV show. If you like Stiefvater's other books, you will love this one too. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen by Leela Punyaratabandhu

Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I also checked out the hard copy from the library. The photos are beautiful, but there are not photographs of every recipe, which would have been nicer. If you are really interested in Thai cooking, this cookbook has a lot of information besides just the recipes including what parts of Thailand each dish is eaten in and how it is eaten and more. The recipes are far from simple though. They are quite complex and use ingredients that may be quite difficult to find anywhere besides Thailand. I also thought that the font size is a bit small in the cookbook and it would have been easier to read if it had been larger and bolder.

Turning on a Dime By Maggie Dana

Turning on a Dime by Maggie Dana
Interesting combination - horses, time travel and the Civil War. The story is told alternately by two teenage girls who love horses - Samantha, a present day girl whose goal is to be the first African American girl to ride in the Olympics, and Caroline, who lives on a plantation in Mississippi in 1863 where her father breeds horses. Caroline is a tomboy and gets in trouble frequently for not acting ladylike enough and for riding horses in her brother's breeches and getting dirty. When Samantha, whose mother is black and father is white, accidentally travels through time and winds up in Caroline's room, she learns what life was like during the Civil War for black people. She and Caroline become friends and together they try to save Caroline's horse as the Civil War encroaches upon them. The story is fun and intriguing although I think that some of the time elements are a bit off - for example, would someone during the Civil War era have named a fast horse Meteor? All in all though, the book is a fun read for girls who like horses and it features spunky girls and the time travel twist is fun if not realistic. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

The Museum of Extraordinary Things
This is an extraordinary novel. Set in New York, in 1911, the story is told by the two main characters as they recall their lives and we see how they are brought together.  Cora, an 18 year old woman who was born with webbing between her fingers pretends to be a human mermaid in her father's side show museum.  Eddie, whose name is really Ezekiel Cohen is a young photographer who emigrated from Russia with his father.  The story includes the Triangle  Shirtwaist factory fire and the Coney Island Dreamland sideshow fire as the historical backdrop for this romantic mystery.  The writing is beautiful and the research that the author did helped make this a fantastic book. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Sixth Wife by Laura Lond

The Sixth Wife
This is a short story - a novella about Adelia, a human woman who married Ametar, an elf, who has outlived his previous human wives because elves live much longer than humans. It is a sweet love story, with an interesting plot twist, but it is rather short. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Forget Me Not by Stacey Nash

Forget Me Not (Collective, #1)
YA paranormal romance. Interesting concept. When Anamae finds a flowered brooch that matches her mother's necklace at a secondhand store, she is thrown into a mystery. The brooch and necklace are "tech" when they are put together and when she uses it, "The Collective", an evil organization that secretly runs the world, wants to take the jewelry and eliminate Anamae and her best friend Will and anyone else who is aware of the tech. Luckily, they are taken in by the Resistance, but then her father and others are in danger. Ana has been saved from the Collective by Jax, a good looking boy who is of course, interested in Anamae, which her best friend Will does not like, and she just does not understand why. There is mystery, intrigue, and romance, but to me, the powers of the Collective are really unrealistic. I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the next one. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.