Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Page Count: 352
Fiction Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Sci-Fi, Romance, Magic
Dates Read: May 27 - May 29, 2015
A young prince, who spends most of his time avoiding beatings from his older brother who are vying to be the next Czar of their land, is banished from his homeland in Old Russia, after glimpsing the enchanted Firebird. On his journey to find Firebird again, he befriends a talking fox, and completes complicated mazes and puzzles, all before he falls in love with Firebird. Soon he discovers that Firebird is more than she initially appears to be, and is in fact a young maiden who has been waiting to find true love and have the enchantment broken that has been holding her hostage.
How could a sci-fi/fantasy fan not fall in love with that description? I know I did, and I fell hard. I had such wonderful expectations of this. I really tried to like this one. The idea of a young prince stumbling into the woods and falling in love with a faerie sounded promising. Lackey let me down. She failed me.
Lackey spent a bit over 3/4 of the book explaining the relationship of prince to his brothers and fathers. She really didn't need that many pages to tell us that he was bullied by his brothers and that his father refused to name an heir to the throne for fear of being murdered by the son. She didn't need to spend that many pages telling us that these boys spent their day time hours learning to fight, challenging each other, and then spending their nights wooing (and sometimes raping) the young women who worked for their father. Really! The over detailing in this book was like beating a dead horse for two weeks straight.
Eventually when we do get to the heart of the story, you start ti worry because your page count is dwindling and you're wondering how she is going to build a solid story in such a short amount of time. SPOILER ALERT: SHE DOESN'T! This book was such a disappointment. The sad thing is that after writing my summary of the book, I want to go back and reread it in hopes that it has magically changed since I closed it, and a truly engaging story is going to be there.
2 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: Potter Style
Page Count: 352
Nonfiction Genre: Art, Reference
Dates Read: May 27, 2015
Linda Sunshine examines the work of Lewis Carroll's Alice stories in this in depth collection of original artwork, quotes, letters, and notes. Also included are various pieces that were created by others, but were inspired by Carroll's work.
Lewis Carroll's Alice Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass were two of my all-time favorite stories as a child. Growing up and even today as an adult, I am always eager to read and see anything that is about Carroll's work, or inspired by him. All Things Alice by Linda Sunshine is a perfect collection of these things. This is a great companion book to Carroll's that addressed a lot of the "behind the scenes" workings. Filled with Carroll's logic and facts of the stories. This contains the beautiful art featured in the original stories, and has become a symbol for the amazing tale he created. A very beautiful collection.
4 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Page Count: 144
Fiction Genre: Historical, Russia, WWII
Dates Read: May 26, 2015
A fictional story based on history. When German troops surround Leningrad in the fall of 1941, they cut off all food supplies. It wasn't expected to last the 900 days it did. Within the city of Leningrad you'll find the Institute of Plant Industry. While the residents are boiling bark and licking moss off of stones for food, the scientists in the institute vow to do everything they can to protect the rare plants and seeds in their care, even though they could provide food for all the city's residents. Hunger is told from the perspective of one of the scientists as he describes what some of his colleagues, including his wife, will do to uphold that vow, while others take to more destructive measures.
This book was just downright awful! I felt deceived by the author's synopsis of this book. This story was supposed to be about a group of scientists surviving when the Nazi's cut off food supplies. It was supposed to be centered around these people who vowed, at all costs, to protect their rare and precious seeds and plants taken from around the world. Under no circumstances would these seeds and plants be used as food, even though everyone is starving.
In the great game of bait and switch, what this book turned out to be was basically a philandering journal of one of the scientists. He spoke about how much he loved his wife, a fellow scientist at the institute, while having affairs with other female scientists. It was about his dishonest and dishonorable behaviors. Him breaking his vows to his wife, to colleagues, and to his precious plants. He shows how truly desperate a human being can get in the time of war and drastic measures are needed, but also how awful humans can be to each other under normal circumstances.
Maybe this scientists true nature actually made this a beautiful story.
2 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Page Count: 368
Fiction Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA, Adventure, Dystopian
Dates Read: May 22-25, 2015
** I picked this book because I want to visit Russia soon. Though this book is not specifically set in Russia, it is a very Russian setting, and uses a lot of names and words that have a Russian feel to them **
Alina Starkov is young soldier for the once great nation of Ravka. When she was a little girl she was left orphaned in the home of Duke Keramsov. There she meets her life long best friend Malyen (Mal). While on a mission in The Fold, she and her fellow soldiers are attacked. During the attack Alina unleashes an unknown dormant power that will change the course of her life, and jeopardize her friendship with Mal.
Where do I even begin with this one? When I started this I expected to encounter every stereotypical YA dystopian plot cliche. This book did not disappoint in that manner. However, what I did not expect to find was a semi-enjoyable story to go fit around the cliches. This was a decent story, I just wish Bardugo could have been a bit more original with her story.
When I first finished this I was a little sad it ended. The more I think about it though, the more cheated I feel. Take a girl who has a special power and doesn't know it. Now this girl has an unexpected power that changes the course of her life. She meets a bunch of back-stabbing people. The throw in a predictable love triangle for good measure. That is the nitty-gritty of Shadow and Bone. I have yet to decide if I will finish the series or not. I'm sure curiosity will get the better of me, eventually, but at this point I don't see it in my immediate future.
3 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Page Count: 460
Fiction Genre: Mystery, Chick-Lit, Thriller, Book Club, Contemporary
Dates Read: May 20-21, 2015
There has been a death in a small Australian beach side community. All the kindergarten mothers seem to be a suspect or a part of something bigger. Who would have thought that PTA could be so competitive and vindictive? Told through the eyes of three mothers, Madeline, Celeste, and Jane at various intervals starting months before the murder to months after the murder.
Madeline is an experienced mother. Her oldest daughter, a child from her first marriage, is a teenager in high school. Her middle child, her first of her second marriage, is well into primary school, and her youngest child is just starting kindergarten this year. Madeline is a stay at home mom who is struggling with her ex-husband and his new, younger wife, and their child who is also starting kindergarten this year.
Celeste is the young wife of a very prosperous and successful business man. Before she married she was a very successful lawyer, but gave it all up for a life of luxury and to be a full-time mom to her twin boys, also starting kindergarten.
Jane is the new girl in town. A very young single mother, with no friends or family in the community, she just wanted a fresh start for her and her son Ziggy. Ziggy will be joining Celeste and Madeline's children in kindergarten. Along the way she discovers something she never thought she'd know.
Through the school year, these three women build a strong friendship while dealing with the tough subject of bullying in schools. But is it just the children who are doing the bullying?
I should start off by stating that I did not select this book because of the synopsis. This is not the typical story I would have picked. Out of all the antonymous titles I looked at, this one looked the most entertaining. However, the thing that really sold me on it was the cover. It's a very simple cover, but there's something about it that is very appeasing to me.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I'm always hesitant about "Chick-Lit", but I was very surprised and pleased with this one. The story was engaging, and the characters were so well developed that I was "in the moment" of the story rather than trying to guess the secrets and what would happen next. That's why the ending shocked the hell out of me.
Moriarty's writing style is brilliant. It pulls you in and you don't want to let go. it's like discovering your sister's diary and you know you're not supposed to be reading it, but you do anyway.
5 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Page Count: 305
Nonfiction Genre: Feminism, Humor, Memoir, Essays
Dates Read: May 14-19, 2015
Caitlin Moran tells her hilarious history of growing up awkward, becoming a feminist, self-discovery, and becoming a writer, wife, and mother. Moran explores many taboo subjects such as abortion, drugs, and strip clubs, but also talks about issues that many women face dealing with self acceptance and love, body image issues, love, and the workplace. Moran's is not the typical story we hear, but hers is worth listening to. She has remarkable wit and divine sense of humor that brings light to the darkest subject.
Overall, this was a great read. Moran isn't too interested in telling you how to be a woman, as much as she's interested in telling you her story of being an awkward, over-weight child to being a less awkward, assertive, over-weight, confident woman. She tells you about her loves and her heart breaks, and making difficult taboo decisions that were best for her family.
Initially I was unsure of this book. Moran's story of adolescent masturbation was almost too painful to read, but everything before and after that was delightful, inspiring, and relatable. There were times when Moran would speak of her most painful memories and you wanted to cry along with her. When she had some of her greatest successes you felt like it was your best friend and you wanted to pick up the phone to call and congratulate her. This book is a must read for any woman who has ever doubted her skills, her looks, or anything about herself.
4 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: Margaret K. Elderry Books
Page Count: 208
Fiction Genre: Graphic Novel, Horror, Fantasy, YA, Short Stories
Dates Read: March 24-26, 2015 and May 17, 2015
'It came from the woods. Most strange things do.' Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss. These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll. Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there...
This book is brilliant. The short stories remind me of a book I used to read as a child, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but these were much darker. The imagery is beautiful and disturbing. A great book and a must read.
5 out of 5 stars