Tuesday, November 14, 2017

98:120 Last Call at the Last Chance by Seanan McGuire

Emma has been dead and running the Last Dance Diner for a long time. She generally keeps her cool and helps those who are ready to move on their way but tonight there is a customer who deserves no hospitality. Bobby Cross kidnapped her the last time she saw him and she is not the forgiving type. Tonight Bobby swears he won't do anything like that but when he pulls a gun out to make her and some of her guests play cards with him, the stakes are there anyway.

I think Ms. McGuire's ghost universe is so well done with the different types of ghosts and I look forward to reading more about them.

Page count: 17p/18,369p ytd/289,722p lifetime

97:120 Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

David Balfour had led a fairly sheltered life so it was surprising to him when his parents died that his uncle instead of taking him in as family should rightfully do instead sold him off to a ship bound for another land. When the ship takes on another passenger, Alan, and David hears of plans to kill that passenger for his money, he decides to take a stand with Alan and together they are able to defeat the leaders but then end up shipwrecked on the rocks in a part of Scotland that David is unfamiliar with and where Alan is a wanted man. David must follow the clues to find Alan and a way home through Scotland with his head still intact. Much easier said than done.

Read this for a high school English class with my 16yr old as part of his Hero's Journey studies. The story was fairly simple but I will admit that a bit more knowledge of the revolution that was going on in Scotland and England at the time would have helped me understand more of the characters interactions better I think.  Reading the Scottish brogue was not my son's favorite part and I'm thankful to have enough of an acquaintance with it that I didn't find it distracting from the story. 

Page count: 217p/18,352p ytd/289,705p lifetime

Saturday, November 11, 2017

96:120 Practically Married by Faye Larson

Many single people put their best friends down as their emergency contacts so Martin thought nothing of having Sawyer down as his. What he didn't expect was to wake up in the hospital with Sawyer in the room talking to the nurse about the fact that Martin was now missing his appendix and they are engaged. Apparently that was easier for the hospital to understand when Sawyer showed up after being called so now Martin is living at Sawyer's home while he mends and is trying to figure out how he is going to pay off this new medical bill. What he didn't expect was just how nice it would be and how much he didn't actually know about his best friend.

A cute little tale about how we don't always see what's right in front of our faces. Character development is pretty much on par with what you would expect for a short story and there is a little much reliance on repetitious internal dialog for my taste but overall, it was enjoyable way to spend 30min.  My usual disclaimer, I know the author and was given a copy of this book for free with no expectations

Page count: 89p/18,135p ytd/289,488p lifetime

Thursday, November 9, 2017

95:120 The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Expurey

A pilot is stranded in the desert when he wakes one morning to find this strange little fellow who asks the most extraordinary questions and has the most amazing tale to tell of his little planet with it's three volcanoes (although one is extinct) where he can see the sun set so many times in one day and he has one perfect little flower with four thorns. He asks the pilot to draw him a sheep even though the pilot says he can only draw boa constrictors digesting an elephant. But the little fellow thinks the drawing is perfect and then starts telling all about his journey to Earth and all the other planets he visited and how they all had adults doing adult things who didn't listen or understand. Slowly, understanding dawns on the pilot and he starts realizing there is more to this little fellow (and life) than he originally thought.

I don't know quite why I never read this book when I was younger but this was my first time reading it and it was just lovely.  A simple tale that isn't really simple at all when you come back to reality after reading it, realizing that it has changed you as well as the pilot who told it.

Page count: 85p/18,046p ytd/289,399p lifetime

Sunday, November 5, 2017

94:120 All the Pretty Little Horses by Mira Grant

Set in the time before Feed, the zombie outbreak is finally being contained and areas are being reclaimed. Stacy and Michael Mason are known as the heroes who kept on the blogs and the airwaves, giving survival guidance and letting people know they were not alone. Now, however, Stacy is diving deep into depression with the knowledge that she shot her only child during the outbreak and that while the courts have declared her innocent, she has judged herself much more harshly and branded herself a murderer.  Michael can only watch in despair as the woman he loves sinks further and further away from him. Then one day he comes up with the idea to start documenting the recovery efforts. He pulls every string he has to get them permission to tagalong with an army group in Santa Cruz and everything changes when Stacy gets a camera in her hand. She comes alive but never more than when they find the group of children who have been hiding out all this time. Maybe Michael has found a way to bring his wife all the way back to him.

I absolutely love this universe and the heartache that went into telling Stacy's story was so real. I cannot imagine having to make the decision she did or how I would climb back out of a very dark place if I did but it feels like a very real situation someone could find themselves in. That realness to her writing is what makes these books so very powerful and this did not disappoint.

Page count: 84p/17,961p ytd/289,314p lifetime

93:120 History of US vol 8: An Age of Extremes by Joy Hakim

Review from 2013:
Middle-School History covering 1880-1917.   This book focused first on the power houses of their day: Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Morgan.  It also talked about the inventions and innovations of the Gilded Age but also focused a lot on the extremes between the rich and poor and the politics behind it like the city bosses but also how the progressives came into being trying to deal with the injustices they saw all around and the reforms that came about such as the child labor laws, juvenile courts, the 40hr work week, and unions.  The book leaves off at the start of WWI during Woodrow Wilson's presidency.

I liked this one probably the best of all so far.  Things seemed to flow better from one chapter to the next and I didn't feel like we were bopping around all over the place completely out of order.

Page count: 215p/17,877p ytd/289,230 lifetime

Friday, November 3, 2017

92:120 The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

My review from 2012:
An enjoyable romp through other areas in the Narnia universe that eventually lead into Narnia itself, but only briefly.  King Edmund, Queen Lucy, and Queen Susan make small appearances but are not integral to the story rather it's an adventure tale of two children running away from Tashbaan towards Narnia with two talking horses but who find out about a plot to destroy Narnia and must do the near impossible to get the news into the right hands.  You can definitely see the Aslan/God connection very heavily in this one as he orchestrates things for the greater good of the land he loves.

Page count: 224p/17,662p ytd/289,015p lifetime