Saturday, August 31, 2013

Protected by Cindy M. Hogan

Protected by Cindy M. Hogan
Her cover blown, and now wanted by terrorist groups, Christy is thrust into the witness protection program and trained to be the exact opposite of her normal self - now she is to be an average student and a cheerleader. Trained to escape from villains, torn from her life, and thrust into a new one, Christy does what it takes to survive. Action, adventure, disguises, cheerleading and more abound in this second book in the trilogy. Totally fun and exciting - an enjoyable read and now, I must read the next book!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Watched by Cindy M. Hogan

Watched by Cindy M. Hogan
I got this book free on my kindle because I have received the second book free to review and I thought I should read the first book first. It is a good book, with intrigue, the FBI, bad guys shooting at them and of course, some romance. Christy is 15 years old and on a two week trip to Washington DC that she won a scholarship to when she accidentally witnesses a politically motivated murder. After that, she and her friends are targets and they are in trouble. It held my interest and now I am going to read the second book!

Brilliance by Marcus Sakey


It seems rather arrogant to write a book and title it Brilliance, but the book is rather brilliant. Beginning in 1980, 1% of the children in the world are born "brilliant" - gifted beyond normal with incredibly unusual skills. Threatened by their ability, the US government has begun testing children for giftedness, and segregating them in special schools. A government agency has been set up to eliminate the threat from brilliant rebels. Cooper is a brilliant, and a member of the DAR, fighting for justice - or so he thinks. As he hunts down a brilliant rebel murderer, he learns the truth about what is really going on. Lots of action, brilliant gifts and a dystopianish future. I look forward to reading the next book.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Heartrending and beautiful, this story is told by Mia as she watches her broken body from the outside, having barely survived a car wreck that killed her parents and younger brother. She thinks back on her life and remembers all of it's beauty and considers what it would be like to stay and live without her family. I laughed, I cried, and then laughed and cried some more. Just a beautiful story.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Set 3 years after "If I Stay", this sequel is told by Adam, who is now a famous rock star. Mia moved away and just stopped communicating with him, he hibernated in misery for a while and then wrote a best-selling album. Fame, however has not treated Adam well and he is anxious and miserable. Then, while in New York, he sees that Mia is playing a concert, attends it, re-connects with her, and the rest of the story comes out. This book is sad and completes the other book, but I did not like it quite as much.

Monday, August 26, 2013

God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age by Galen Guengerich

God Revised by Galen Guengerich
The author of this book, a Unitarian Universalist pastor who had been raised Mennonite, believes that we have outgrown the concept of a supernatural God, so we no longer need one, yet we still need religion to give us a sense of common community and ethics and morality.
He advocates religion without God. He posits that since religion has always explained the unexplainable, and we now have science to do that for us, the concept of a supernatural God, one who is inconceivably born of a virgin and who is omnipresent and omniscient, is an unnecessary and outmoded one. In his view, we are brought together by rituals and we need those rituals to give us a sense of community, gratitude and ethics, and we can do that without a supernatural God.
I disagree. I would rather have God without religion than religion without God.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
This is a lovely double layered story as Nicola and Rob, who have the psychic ability to look into the past, follow the story of Anna, whose carved firebird statue they are trying to authenticate by proving it's ties to Czarina Catherine. They follow Anna's story as they travel through Europe following her life from age 8 to 17, from Scotland to Russia. As Anna's story unfolds, Rob helps Nicola to accept her psychic ability and teaches her how to use it to see into the past much better than she had before. A truly lovely story!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Take the Monkeys and Run (Barbara Marr Murder Mystery, #1) by Karen Cantwell

Take the Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell
This is a cute, silly, lighthearted murder mystery. At first, I was annoyed with Barbara because she really does not seem like a very dedicated mom, nor is she believable in other ways, but still the book is very funny. I laughed out loud at Barbara's mom who apparently did some of everything before getting married including being a spy. Barbara herself reminds me a bit of I Love Lucy. Just imagine Lucy in the suburbs solving mysteries, pretending to be Sigourney Weaver's character in Alien as she faces the bad guys. With monkeys, mafia, the FBI, Barbara's old boyfriend, and a cop who looks like Brad Pitt, the novel is a really fun read.

Monday, August 19, 2013

the Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
Funny, intriguing, thought provoking and an excellent read!
Alex Woods does not have a father. Having been hit in the head with a meteor, which caused him to miss a year of school, he has no friends. Mr. Peterson has no family. When chance throws the two of them together, they become great friends. Mr Peterson shares his enjoyment of secular humanism and Vonnegut with Alex, and Alex shares his enjoyment of meteorology and science and life with Mr. Peterson. This is the story of their friendship, thoughts on life, death and the universe and more. The story begins at the end, when Alex is stopped at the border with marijuana in his glove box and Mr. Peterson's ashes in an urn in the car and then goes back and tells what lead up to that. It is really a fantastic, funny, sad and wonderfully written beautiful story.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown

Inferno by Dan Brown
I absolutely love the rich descriptiveness of Dan Brown's writing and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Once again, professor Robert Langdon is enthralled in a mystery which his unique knowledge of symbolism and historical places will help to solve. Once again, a beautiful young woman, who Langdon is not really interested in, is involved. Brown takes us on a tour through Florence and Venice and many of it's museums and historic sites as Langdon flees people who are for some reason that he cannot remember, trying to kill him and, as he later discovers, it is up to him to save the world from an unknown menace. As he flees through Italy, we are treated to rich descriptions of the artwork and architecture and of course, many references to Dante's Inferno.
Fantastic book and fans of Dan Brown will enjoy it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Starglass by Phoebe North

Starglass by Phoebe North

Terra lives in a spaceship called Asherah that left a dying earth 500 years previously headed towards a planet that they call Zehava. Asherah contains an entire environment complete with 3 seasons, dirt, plants growing, snow and 27 hour days. The ship is run by an aristocratic counsel that is challenged by a hidden group that calls themselves the Children of Abel. As they draw near to Zehava, eager to land and live in a new world, the actions of the group intensify. The counsil choses people's jobs for them at age 16 and even their spouse if they don't chose one by age 18. Everyone must marry and have two children - a boy and a girl, who are grown in the hatchery because it would be too dangerous for women to have to give birth. The Children of Abel want freedom on Zehava from the counsel which has extended it's powers over the past 500 years. Terra gets caught up in the political mess and becomes a key player after witnessing a murder that was written off as an accident.
The people in this spaceship are descendants of secular Jews and they use Jewish terminology, but not the Jewish religion.
The story is ok, but some parts are not explained well leaving the book a bit confusing.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2) by Laini Taylor (Goodreads Author)

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
If you liked the first book, then you will enjoy this second one as well. It is darker - war, monsters, pain, blood (obviously) and tells Karou's story as it goes on after the first book. It will have a sequel so it doesn't really answer many questions or conclude anything. We get to see Karou working and see the ugliness of war and her human friends pop in for a visit which is kind of fun and interesting. I look forward to the next book.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Fed-Up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Suffering and Tragedy by Shumley Boteach

The Fed-Up Man of Faith by Shumley Boteach
"Do not go gentle into that good night; rage, rage against the dying of the light" (Dylan Thomas)
From the beginning of the book, that line of poetry ran through my head as the summation of the entire book. Finally, on pg. 110, I found that the author of this book quoted it as well.
Rabbi Shmuley argues in this book that suffering is not redemptive, nor is it deserved due to sin, but rather, suffering just sucks, and we should fight against it. Using Job as an example, along with Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel, meaning "one who wrestles with God", Rabbi Shmuley argues that we should challenge God, and His actions when they are less than righteous and fair. In the face of suffering of other people, we should fight for their rights, challenge God, and work to end the suffering of other people. We may chose to accept our own suffering, but we should not ever seek to justify the suffering of others theologically.
I like the rabbi's definition of religion as "the subordination of our self-centeredness to God's higher purpose." He tells us that the answer to suffering is that we demand that it end and that we act to do so. We need to help the poor and those who are suffering and not simply accept suffering as a good or redemptive thing.
I enjoyed this book, and for the most part, agree with what the author says in it. And I love that poem by Dylan Thomas. I highly recommend this book. It will definitely give you some things to think about.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Earthbound (Earthbound, #1) by Aprilynne Pike

Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
Original YA paranormal romance. So cool! What Tavia does not know fills lifetimes. Yet she must remember it in order to save - the world probably. As she runs from her past towards her future, the two merge, as they always have. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and paranormal superpowers abound in this fantastic novel. I am looking forward to the next book!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Seduction by M.J. Rose

Seduction by M.J. Rose

This is a strange story of reincarnation, the devil and perfume.
The parts about perfume are very detailed and rather intriguing and the story about Victor Hugo is interesting as well. His séances, and exile give a glimpse into the past and I liked the historical references. Jac, Theo and the past lives as druids and psychotherapy and Jung and the abusive grandfather just were a bit too much. I think the author tried to weave too many stories together. I got a free preview copy to review from Netgalley and because it was not the final copy, the editing was not complete and that may have made it more difficult for me to follow.