Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: The Unnaturalists

In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.


[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Want to Read Wednesday: Breathing Room

Evvy Hoffmeister is thirteen years old when her family brings her to Loon Lake Sanatorium to get cured of tuberculosis (TB). Evvy is frightened by her new surroundings; the rules to abide are harsh and the nurses equally rigid. But Evvy soon falls into step with the other girls in her ward. There’s Sarah, quiet but thoughtful; Pearl, who adores Hollywood glamour; and Dina, whose harshness conceals a deep strength. Together, the girls brave the difficult daily routines. Set in 1940 at a time of political unrest throughout the U.S. and Europe, this thought-provoking novel sheds light on a much-feared worldwide illness. Hundreds of thousands of people died each year of TB, and many ill children were sent away to sanatoriums to hopefully recover.

This is a masterful novel—both eloquent and moving—that gives voice to those who fought hard to overcome the illness.

[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kindred Review: Inside the Oval Office

Love of reading (and history) runs in the family! Today, I'm featuring one of my mom's recent reads. 

In 1940, inventor J. Ripley Kiel was taken by Secret Service men to the Oval Office, where he planted a microphone in FDR's desk lamp and connected it to an experimental sound recording machine. Since that day, almost every president has found some use for recording, sometimes covertly, sometimes not. The tapes and transcripts left behind from this sixty-year recording experiment are a cockpit voice recorder of the presidency, time capsules from crucial moments in American history. During four years of research in the National Archives and Presidential Libraries, William Doyle unearthed scores of White House tapes and transcripts, many never before published. He interviewed over one hundred Oval Office insiders, Cabinet members, and White House aides, from FDR's personal secretary to Henry Kissinger. Inside the Oval Office is the result, a flesh-and-blood drama of the presidency in action.
 [from Goodreads]

Rating:  4 out of 5 boxes

Politics is not of great interest to me, but history is.  I was pleased while reading this book to find it contained much more of the history of the White House than the politics.  The author gave a synopsis of each president‘s executive style.  This was not to create a political discussion, but to explain how each person utilized the rooms in the White House according to personality or need and to explain what each one taped and why.  Because of these tapes we have a piece of history preserved in time.

 The White House is a transient home to our Presidents and their families.  I enjoyed reading how each family created a home there for 4-12 years and then turned it over to the next occupant with either grace or grudge.  The book belongs to my husband.  He asked me if I had read it and I had not because I didn’t think it sounded interesting, but I’m glad I gave it a try.  Well written, never dull.  I would highly recommend to anyone interested in history or bibliographies.

Title:  Inside the Oval Office:  The White House Tapes from FDR to Clinton
Author:  William Doyle
Genre:  History, Nonfiction
Year:  2002
Book Source:  Received as a gift

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review of Book of a Thousand Days

When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren's refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment.
As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. But the arrival outside the tower of Saren's two suitors--one welcome, and the other decidedly less so--brings both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.
 

With Shannon Hale's lyrical language, this forgotten but classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and reset on the central Asian steppes; it is a completely unique retelling filled with adventure and romance, drama and disguise.
[from Goodreads]
   
Rating:  4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Fans of sweet romance and historical fiction
High point: Dashti's wit and charm
Low point: Lady Saren was really quite annoying
Reader maturity: 13+

Book of a Thousand Days is a positively enchanting story. Though it took me a few chapters ("days" in fictional time), it soon won me over with its charm and unique story.

I had no idea being locked away in a tower could be so dramatic! But Dashti's wit and tales of muckers, as well as her mistress' insistence that she take on a noble identity, enliven their stay. The threads of this tale are delicately woven. The mysteries are solved in due time, and the romance is one of my all-time favorites. In a case where the reader knows more than the characters, the reader is rooting for a happy ending. Some might consider the pace slow, but I thought it deliberate, giving each element its time to develop and shine.

Book of a Thousand Days is a beautiful story based loosely on Mongolian myth that brings folklore and legend to life.

Title:  Book of a Thousand Days
Author:  Shannon Hale
Genre:   Fiction - Fantasy
Year:   2007
Book Source:  Purchased

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: What's Left of Me

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.


[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hiatus

I never figured on writing one of these since my short absences have been more likely to go unnoticed if I didn't announce them. This time, however, I'm looking at a two month hiatus so I thought I'd deliver an explanation.

I love reading and reviewing. This break is not because I'm tired of reading or because blogging doesn't interest me anymore. This break is because my offline life is about to get really busy. Normally, I would schedule posts in advance, but real life has been really busy for a while now, and I'm all out of reviews. My posting schedule has been stressing me out (I was trying to complete the 100+ in a year challenge, and since I'm so busy, it was sucking the fun out of reading and reviewing) so for the next few months, I'll read what I can, review what I can and call it good.

Hopefully I'll see you around!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: Burning Blue

When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that—he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He's a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he's in—and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.

[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: Lovely, Dark and Deep

About a high-school senior, who, in the aftermath of a car accident that kills her boyfriend and throws her carefully planned future into complete upheaval, retreats to the deep woods of Maine to live with the artist father she barely knows and meets a boy who threatens to pull her from her safe, hard-won exile.

[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Supernatural Saturday Review: Texas Gothic

Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.
[from Goodreads]

Rating:  5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Ghost story enthusiasts
High point: Amy, the ghosts, sister Phin...
Low point:  Nothing. I LOVE THIS BOOK.
Reader maturity:  13+

There are so many great things about Texas Gothic, I hardly even know where to begin...

First off, it's a ghost story--a good one. It's not cheesy or formulaic (beyond the normal amount of formula for ghost stories--sighting, haunting, revelation of mystery, ghost is gone, voila!) and mixes in a heaping helping of skepticism from a lot of different angles that keep it feeling fresh and, dare I say, realistic.

Second, there's Amy, who is the type of main character that I would really, really like to be friends with (although, truth be told, I'm more likely to friends with her sister, Phin, the science-y, nerdy one). She's polite, smart, fiercely protective and stubborn when she needs to be. She's also the liaison between her family and...everyone else, which makes her more world-wise than most people her age.

Third, there's Ben (the hot neighbor cowboy mentioned in the blurb), who I maybe shouldn't like as much as do, him being so gruff and cocky and occasionally rude and all, but...well, if you read Texas Gothic, you'll understand why I like him so much. (I almost made this point seven, but this is getting a bit long, so I'll add here that I also love the other characters in Texas Gothic. They're a motley crew of unique personalities that each hold their own. Fantastic!)

Fourth, the title rocks. It caught my eye in the library because the state of Texas isn't usually associated with anything Gothic. How could I pass it up?

Fifth, it handles the Texas part well. A lot of novels set in Texas make me wonder if the authors have actually ever been there....But Texas Gothic uses the history of the conquistadors and missions in Texas to craft a great story.

Sixth, there are so many little details and elements in Texas Gothic that make it come alive. It's not just a story that jumps from point A to point B; there are lots of little zigs and zags and emotional elements that combine for something rich and intricate.

(So, apparently I figured out where to begin...)

Texas Gothic is AMAZING. If you like ghost stories, even a little bit, you need to read Texas Gothic. If you don't necessarily like ghost stories but you like archaeology (yes, archaeology--I told you, awesome zigs and zags!), you need to read Texas Gothic. And if you like neither of those things but you like a good book, then you also need to read Texas Gothic.

Title:  Texas Gothic
Author:  Rosemary Clement-Moore
Genre:  Fiction - Supernatural
Year:  2011
Book Source:  Borrowed from library

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: Renegade

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.


[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.