Saturday, October 7, 2017

80:120 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

From when I read it five years ago with the now 16yr old:
Haven't read this one in a few years and am enjoying it as much as I always do.  I remember as a little girl wishing that I could find a magic wardrobe and be transported to a magical land and have those adventures.  What makes things special this time tho is again, sharing these stories with my 11yr old.  He has watched the movies but it's his first time reading the books and he's loving them as much as I do.  Definitely one of those books in one of those series where if you haven't read it....WHY NOT????  Stop looking at reviews and go read it already.  And if you have children, go read it to them as well.

Now I'm reading these again my new current 11yr old (and one of his friends) and it's still magical. They are fast, sweet reads but I pick up new little nuances each time and the current child points out different things and leads us into different discussions which makes each reading unique and special.  I still say if you haven't read them, you should, and if if you have kids you should definitely read it to them as well.

Page count: 189p/16,441p ytd/287,573p lifetime

79:120 Eight and a Half Lives by Faye Larson

Five years ago, Owen's fiance told him that it was ridiculous to get chemo for a cat. Today, Owen still has Gatsby and the fiance is history.  Owen has never regretted his decision. His days are filled with writing, petting Gatsby, zombie movie marathons (with Gatsby), eating (and feeding Gatsby).  He's feeling it's pretty perfect until the day when Gatsby gets out the window and causes Owen to meet his new neighbor, Jay. Jay and his fiance broke up when she got a job that required her to move to France. No hard feelings, just not the life that Jay wanted.  As they talk, it comes out that Jay loves zombie movies as well and now the zombie marathons are even more fun as Jay and Owen (with Gatsby's help) start going through all the zombie movies they can find and even start their own rating system for them.  Jay is smart, fun, loves Owen's books.  He is absolutely the perfect man, except he's straight.  Poor Owen.

This was a fun and cute tale of a growing friendship and how you never know what's around the corner (or who is moving next door to you).  Usual disclaimer, I know the author and was given a free copy of the book with no expectations.

Page count: 78p/16,252p ytd/287,384p lifetime

Friday, October 6, 2017

78:120 Buried Heart by Kate Elliott

The conclusion to the Court of Fives trilogy.  Jes and Kal are now fighting for their lives and the path that Effea will take going forward.  Jes still believes in Kal and her father but even if they can win and put Kal on the throne, what will that mean for Effeans going forward? Back to the way things have been, Commoners and Patrons?  It's looking more and more like Effea is ready to rise and if you are not with her, you are against her and there will be no mercy.

This was a fabulous conclusion to this tale although it did feel a bit too HEA with the ending but I am going to gloss over that.  I'm not a huge fan of tying everything up with a pretty bow at the end so it all works out for your main characters but at the same time, I'm also kind of in the mood for that at the moment.  The book was fast paced, the twists and turns fun and not always predictable, the characters relateable. In all, I definitely recommend the series.

Page count: 481p/16,174p ytd/287,306p lifetime

Sunday, October 1, 2017

77:120 The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time by Brooke Gladstone

Brooke Gladstone, an award winning journalist, runs a weekly show on NPR called On the Media which highlights how the media shapes our perceptions on reality.  There was an interesting point made early on that facts are facts but everyone's reality is different because it is based on your perceptions, what facts you have accepted (and what you have not), your personal history, and so much more that makes each of us unique.  We can all observe the exact same thing but it will be incorporated into our unique realities differently. And our reality does not like to change, it does not like to accept new facts that show that something else we believe to be real is actually false.  And this is where the trouble with our current reality in our country comes from.  Now is a time when we must try to find the ties that bring us closer together, have dialogues, and learn how to reach out of our own reality bubble, to break through it, and figure out how our reality coincides with that of others to form a reality formed in facts that we can agree to.  In the past, the basic facts and reality were not seriously in question and now everything seems to be.  Until we can agree on basic facts, we cannot come together as a nation or a world.  She talks about how easy it has been to manipulate people and compares much of what we have been going through using the lens of many different authors (I cringed a lot at her thoughts on Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World since my thoughts mirrored hers in many ways when I first read those books several years ago).  This was a tract and not a full book so it took less than 2hrs to read although I think I may go back and read it again in a few months to keep some of these thoughts more fresh in my head. 

Page count: 97p/15,693p ytd/286,825p lifetime

Friday, September 29, 2017

76:120 Snared by Jennifer Estep

The 16th book in the Elemental Assassin series.  Gin has finally found a member of the Circle from whom she might be able to get some information on the elusive group and it's leader but it hasn't been easy.  It's been preying on her mind but when Jade comes to her for a favor, she also can't say no.  She owes Jade and a missing girl in this town will probably not end well as they both know but Gin also knows how to deal out her own brand of justice. Following the trail of Jade's sister though, proves to be more elusive than The Spider anticipated and much more deadly as it appears she may be the latest victim of a new serial killer, one who now seems to have his sights set on Gin.

The constant inner monologue has gotten better but it's now been replaced with memory flashbacks that tie directly into whatever it is Gin needs to make the leap to solve the latest crisis which I feel is a lazy way of dealing with things rather than setting things up enough in advance that you know it was all well thought out and planned.  I still enjoy the world even if its fairly shallow because the characters are entertaining and I like their interactions with each other and there are books where there is less reliance on tired tropes. This just wasn't one of them.

Page count: 371p/15,596p ytd/286,728p lifetime

Sunday, September 24, 2017

75:120 The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire

The 11th book in the October Daye series.  Things are going so well for October right now. The biggest worry she has right now is that someone will want her to join in the karaoke at her bachelorette party and drinking enough to stay mildly drunk with her metabolism so she doesn't go crazy.  Yeah, life is actually pretty great until she gets home and there is a knock on her door and when opened, it reveals the one person she really didn't want to see...her mother.  Amandine is not here to wish her daughter well on her upcoming matrimony though. Amandine wants to hire October to find her other daughter, August, who has been missing for 100 years.  To ensure her 'cooperation', Amandine captures Tybalt and Jazz and then forces them into their animal forms and into rose thorn cages.  To save them, October had not only better find August but she must do it before there is nothing left of their minds to save.

The biggest problem is that the trail is 100 years old, older than October, and she doesn't have the faintest idea where to start so she goes to Sylvester to ask the biggest favor of her life, for him to wake up his brother, Amandine's husband and August's father (and the one who turned October herself into a fish for 14yrs), Simon.  Now they are on the trail together to search out August who went looking for Oberon himself but she is on a path the Luidaeg set her, one that she sold her way home to get but which means she can't come home until she finds him and he does not want to be found which means even if October can find her, bringing her back to Amandine will be a much bigger problem than she can imagine.

This was a heartbreaking, gut wrenching story but so amazingly well done.  There were so many twists and turns along the way that while I was sure October would eventually succeed, I had no idea what the cost would be although I was sure there would be one.  What I most appreciate is that even through all the anguish, there are some light-hearted moments to keep you from sinking down too far.  My favorite happened during the opening bachelorette party where the Luidaeg performs "Poor Unfortunate Souls" during karaoke party. I literally snorted my tea over that one.

Now I have to wait for another year for the next one to see how people recover from this ordeal.  It will seem like an eternity!

Page count: 354p/15,225p ytd/286,357p lifetime

Friday, September 22, 2017

74:120 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Salamanca Tree Hiddle does not understand why her mother left her and her dad, only that something has happened and she isn't coming back and now her father has moved them away from the farm and the only life she has ever known and that she loves to the suburbs where her entire life has been turned upside down.  The first person her dad introduces her to is Mrs. Cadaver who Sal finds strange and does not understand why her dad wants to spend so much time with her. Then she meets Phoebe who lives on her block and is in her classes at the new school.  Phoebe's family seems like the perfect middle class family...until her mom disappears one day. It brings everything Sal has gone through flooding back.  Now she is on a roadtrip with her grandparents, following the path her mother took to Idaho and with so many miles ahead of them, she starts telling them Phoebe's story not realizing that she is telling her own story at the same time.

A poignant story about a girl trying to come to term's with the loss of her mother and upheaval of her entire life.  There is love and loss, friendship and family, basically life.  One of my older kids had read it years ago so it was hanging around and I've been trying to read new authors so figured I'd give it a try.  It was ok. The plot and writing were simple and straightforward with no major surprises.

Page count: 280p/14,871p ytd/286,003p lifetime