Friday, January 31, 2014

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Funny, insightful, sometimes sad and with some unexpected twists, this is a story that I won't forget. Harold is a bit like an old Forrest Gump, walking across England, remembering his past - only his past is rather ordinary, not at all like the infamous past of Forrest Gump. He is walking to see an old friend who is dying of cancer and he believes that his walking will save her. What makes the book interesting is his insights about the people he meets and life itself and humanity. Here is one of Harold's observations about a man who he met who shared his painful story with him: "The silver-haired gentleman was in truth nothing like the man Harold had first imagined him to be. He was a chap like himself, with a unique pain; and yet there would be no knowing that if you passed him in the street, or sat opposite him in a cafe and did not share his teacake. ... It must be the same all over England. People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The inhuman effort it took sometimes to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and everyday. The loneliness of that."
I enjoyed the story and highly recommend it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tesla's Attic (Accelerati, #1) by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman

Tesla's Attic by Neal Shusterman
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. It is a fun sci. fi./fantasy/thriller/mystery for middle school age kids and older readers will enjoy it as well. In this first book in the series, Nick and his father and brother have moved into his Great Aunt's house in Colorado after Nick's mother died in a house fire in Florida. When Nick has a garage sale to get rid of all of the "junk" that was in the attic, he learns that some of the "junk" has some odd properties. As he learns more, he and his friends try to track down and retrieve all of the items from the attic to keep it from the mysterious Accelerati group and to keep the world from ending prematurely. This book is a really fun read and promises to be a great series!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kitty Hawk (I, Q, #3) by Roland Smith

Kitty Hawk by Roland Smith
In this third book in the I.Q. series, the President's daughter has been kidnapped and Q., Angela and Boone are on the kidnapper's tail. Angela's mom, Malak, who has infiltrated a terrorist ghost cell, is the kidnapper and she hopes to take out the whole cell if she can move up in the ranks and find out who is in charge. The terrorists have some tricks up their sleeves though, so things don't go as smoothly as they had hoped. Boone and his smelly dog Croc, however have some interesting tricks and skills too - magical ones. There is action, adventure, and a bit of craziness going on in this thrilling third story in the series. Excellent book.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The House That Cleans Itself: 8 Steps to Keep Your Home Twice as Neat in Half the Time by Mindy Starns Clark

The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark
Wow! This is an incredibly helpful home organization book! It has wonderful tips on how to organize your home and some funny embarrassing messy house stories. It helped me to look at my house a bit differently and move things around to where they make more sense and are more useful as well as encouraging me to declutter things more. I have read a lot of home organization books and I think that this one is the most helpful and useful book of all the ones I have read. Since reading it, I have moved some items around in my house and eliminated others and it has given me some great ideas on how to make my home more organized so that it is easier to keep clean. I highly recommend this book!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Song of the Shaman by Annette Vendryes Leach

Song of the Shaman by Annette Vendryes Leach
Captivating and intriguing, this story goes back and forth between Sheri, a present day (2006) single mom in New York to son Zig, who knows all about Indians and is increasingly fascinated with them and a woman named Louise who lived in Panama in 1899. The two stories intertwine as Sheri wonders about her unknown past - she had been adopted as an infant after her mother died in childbirth and as her son Zig becomes more and more intrigued with the Indian culture. I could not put the book down, but was not really thrilled with the ending. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Blood Guilt by Marie Treanor

Blood Guilt (Blood Hunters, #1)
This book is the first in a series that follows the Awakened by Blood trilogy. I have not read that trilogy. In this book, Mihaela, a vampire hunter, is on vacation in Scotland when she sees some vampires following a child. She follows them to rescue the child, Robbie, and in the process, begins a romantic relationship with Maximillian, a vampire. The book focuses on her struggle with herself and her guilty feelings about enjoying a relationship with a creature who is part of a group that she has sworn to kill. She learns that Maxwell is kinder and more "human" than she would have believed a vampire could be as they work together to save Robbie and keep Gavril and some other vampires from using him to cause mass destruction. I received this book free to review from Netgalley. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Humans Of New York by Brandon Stanton

Humans of New York
I am actually still reading this beautiful book, but it is so fantastic! I will finish it soon. The photographer has taken totally amazing, wonderful photos of normal and not so normal looking people. It looks like he had fun doing it too by some of the comments that he has about the subjects of his photos. I have not seen his blog, but will have to look for it. My whole family is enjoying this book!                  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Ok, this is the second book that I have read by Rainbow Rowell - I also read Eleanor & Park and once again, I totally loved the book - all the way up to the very end - which wound up being a let down. It's like the end was - missing. It isn't the cliffhanger type ending where you can't wait for the next book, because it doesn't have a cliffhanger and there won't be a next book - this is it. And it is not the kind of ending where you are sad to leave that world and have to go back to the real one because the book was so fantastic and satisfying. It is an unsatisfying ending. There is just something missing. It is anti-climatic.
Anyway, in this story, Cather and her twin sister Wren, go to college and in a cry for independence, Wren has refused to room with Cather, leaving Cather with her scary roommate, Reagan and Reagan's boyfriend, Levi. Wren goes on a partying streak leaving Cather behind to write fan fiction for the Simon Snow fantasy series on her own. Cather struggles trying to figure out boys and her insane family as Reagan and Levi try to draw her out into college life. There is lots of writing and romance and angst and the story is mostly fantastic.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Above by Isla Morley

In this dystopian novel, Blythe is kidnapped at age 16 by a doomsday prepper who keeps her in a missile silo to save her from the end of the world as we know it. For the first part of the book, she is in the silo, goes rather insane at times and deals with the reality of being captive. She has a child who is stillborn, and her captor brings her another child and she has a son, Adam who lives. The book is rather rambley and I skimmed a lot and then seventeen years later, she and Adam, who is fifteen years old, escape from the silo to go back to the world only, it is a very different place. The end of the world as we know it actually has happened, unbeknownst to Blythe, and she and Adam have to find a way to survive in this new and damaged world. Interesting premise, has some good points, but not fantastic. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Horizon (Above World) by Jenn Reese

In this third book of the series, Aluna and her friends face Karl Strand in their war against him and against the prejudice that pervades in their world. As they join up with a group of Upgraders, they find that Upgraders are people too and have their own problems to deal with and they only support Strand because he promises them safety. Realizing that the prejudice that the various groups have against one another is wrong, Aluna and her friends must go separate ways to each deal with their own groups as they try to defeat Strand and make the world a better place.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Serafina and the Leprechaun's Shoe (Serafina's, #3) by Treanor, Marie

Serafina and the Leprechaun's Shoe (Serafina's, #3)
This book focuses on Jack, a spoiled, rich, young aristocrat, working at Serafina's who must soon choose whether to run the family business or be left out of the family fortune. He falls in love with Roxy - rock star and Adam's ex when she calls Serafina's for help finding her mother, Sinead, who disappeared at Roxy's house while Mike Grimm, an American rock star was performing a satanic ritual. Left in her place, was a half-finished Leprechaun's shoe. The crew of Serafina's gets involved, there is romance and sex, and the mystery is taken care of. I found Sinead to be a very shallow character and the whole Tuatha duDannan Leprechaun world plot to be very weak and not well thought out. I also am getting tired of the mysterious dark "founder" flitting around mysteriously being helpful. All in all, I did not think the plot in this book was as good as the last one.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Unbreakable (Unraveling #2) by Elizabeth Norris

Unbreakable (Unraveling, #2)
Fantastically awesome and action packed sequel to Unraveling. Janelle is now helping her best friend Cecily to care for people at their shelter in the damaged world. People are mysteriously disappearing. When Cecily disappears also and Barclay - the IA agent from New Prima - shows up wanting Janelle's help finding Ben and busting a human-trafficking ring where people are being kidnapped and sold on different earths, Janelle has to go help out. She is one totally tough chick! I love that this is a YA paranormal romance, but the female character is not in a love triangle and she is not some whiney, wimp about the guy she loves. She is one totally tough, cool girl! Totally fantabulous, excellent book!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Serafina and the Virtual Man (Serafina's, #2) by Marie Treanor

Serafina and the Virtual Man by Marie Treanor
Totally excellent New Adult paranormal fantasy. In this second book, we follow Sera's friend Jilly as they work to expel a poltergeist and find out there is a lot more going on than what they expected. Jilly is drawn into a Virtual Reality game where she plays with Genesis Adam, who is supposedly dead. How can he be living on in his game? Warning - lots of sex - some of it virtual. Fantastic book with a great story - looking forward to the next one.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Born Wild - The Soul of a Horse by Joe Camp, Kathleen Camp

Born Wild - The Soul of a Horse by Joe Camp
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I chose it because of the lovely photo of the baby horse on the front. The book has three main parts - a story about a group of wild horses told from the point of view of the horses, the author's story about himself raising horses using the horse-whisperer method, and a rant/warning about the dreadful things the Bureau of Land Management does to the poor wild horses that it is supposed to be protecting. I think the main purpose of the book is to try to bring attention to the fact that the BLM is doing a great disservice to the very animals that it is supposed to protect. The author does a good job of highlighting the problems that this group is perpetuating. I do hope that something is done to change the way the BLM operates and I hope this book can help bring attention to that issue.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park
Totally loved this book - except for the very end which left the reader hanging. Frustrating. Such a fantastic, wonderful love story. Could not put it down. Anything I write could not do this book justice. You just have to read it. Really.                  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Chupacabra (Marty and Grace #3) by Roland Smith

Chupacabra by Roland Smith
This third book in the series is an excellent, action-packed adventure as Marty and Luther and their new friend Dylan go undercover into Noah Blackwood's Ark to try to contact and rescue Marty's cousin (who until recently he thought was his twin sister)Grace, who was kidnapped by the nefarious Blackwood, her grandfather. Grace does some investigating of her own on the same night that Marty and pals have snuck into the Ark and they find one another as they try to escape from the evil Butch and Yvonne and the chupacabra that she sent out to capture and/or kill them. Between the stinky dinosaur hatchlings and the poached baby pandas and the giant squid and the chupacabra, cryptids and bad guys abound. It is up to Grace and Marty and pals to save the day. Great book - looking forward to the next one.

The Bar Code Prophecy

The Bar Code Prophecy (Bar Code, #3)
This is the third book in a trilogy. I have not read the first two, and I don't plan to. In this book, a company called Global 1, which began by making GMO foods (Monsanto?), expanded to creating genetically modified animals and inventing a bar code tattoo to put on people which includes genetic information and when the tattoo is put on, nanobots are injected into the person's bloodstream which enables GPS tracking of that person. Some native Americans have a tablet with a prophesy about a girl who will bring down Global 1. That girl, unbeknownst to herself, is Grace. When she turns 17, she gets the tattoo and then the world begins to change. I felt like Grace's character was a bit flat and some of the dialog a bit stilted. The book is short and was interesting, but not great.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Well. This book went from intense creepy psychological thriller romance to gruesome and unbelievable. I found Mara's character more believable - wondering if she is insane, possessed, some of both and or being manipulated. Noah, though, was even less believable, perhaps because his character is not explained enough. Perhaps everyone in the mental hospital is insane. I enjoyed this book although it ends with a huge cliffhanger and the next book won't be out until this summer. I look forward to the next book to see how the author wraps things up.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mirage (Above World #2) by Jenn Reese

Mirage by Jenn Reese
In this second book in the Above World series, Aluna, a Kampii (mermaid) from the ocean and her best friend Hoku, go with their friend Dash, an Equian (centaur)and Calli (bird/person) to the Equian city in the desert to warn the Equians about the evil Karl Strand. They arrive too late, as Strand's clone daughter Scorch is already there controlling their leader with the promise of bringing water to the desert. Aluna and her friends encounter and deal with the prejudice of the Equians who value their bloodlines and who consider Dash, who was bred to be an Equian (centaur) but has only a human body and Tal, also bred to be Equian but having only a horse body as aldagha, or damaged and therefore not as good as the pure Equians. Together, the friends join with the Serpenti (snake people)and fight Scorch and the prejudice that exists among the Equians.