Wednesday, December 27, 2017

117:120 Blood Vengeance by Yasmine Galenorn

Aegis and his band have been invited to play at a mountain chalet and Maddy comes along so they can have a mini-vacation after the craziness of opening the Bedlam B&B. However, it's not long before strange things start happening. First, a message arrives asking Aegis to meet someone downstairs. Then an avalanche buries much of the resort and Aegis is still missing. Once they can find him, maybe they can start figuring out who is behind all this but they definitely won't like the answers as both Maddy and Aegis have made many enemies in their long lives.

Some interesting back story to both of our main characters as well as setting things up for what seems like it is likely to be a long story arc. 

Page count: 51p/21,990p ytd/292,393p lifetime

Thursday, December 21, 2017

116:120 A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade by John Chu

The Turbulence is always out there, trying to breach the walls to destroy minds and bodies and machines alike. There is a sentience to it as it probes first one spot and then another looking for weakness.  There are men with incredible minds who can see where the walls need to be fixed and can make it happen through sheer force of will until other men can come along and build their design into reality to keep the Turbulence out.  Ritter's father is one of the best Engineers there is, maybe The Best, and Ritter has only ever wanted to please his father so followed in his footsteps.  He has the talent but more so, he has the talent to actually be able to rebuild minds. But with that talent comes a lessening of focus for the walls and now he must choose to be a Librarian as his talent shows him he should be or follow in father's footsteps to become an Engineer and lose a part of himself forever.

The worlds that Mr. Chu manages to create in such short stories are truly incredible and this one was no exception. The characters and their struggle manage to touch and engage so easily because they speak to universal dilemmas. This story yet again demonstrates Mr. Chu's amazing talent for the short story.

Page count: 24p/20,939p ytd/292,342p lifetime

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

New Releases I'm Looking Forward To: 1st Quarter 2018

My usual disclaimer:

Let me state, this is really based on authors or series that I'm already reading since those are the things I follow.  I'm not paid to write this blog nor do I have any affiliations with any publishers so I don't receive free books or advance notice of things except what I glean off Facebook from people who do have those contacts or what I research on my own (which again, leads back to authors that I'm already reading).  Maybe someday I'll be one of those who has the contacts and gets ARCs but it's not today.

Considering how much my To Read pile has grown this year, I think I might be glad that the year starts off with just a couple of books so maybe, just maybe, I can start making a dent in said pile. Of course, with going back to work, I'm not actually sure that will happen but hey, a girl can dream.

So the first quarter starts off with the new Wayward Children book, Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire.   This is billed as another stand alone although I'm guessing it probably will help if you've read the other books.  Rini lands one day with a splash at Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children determined to save the world only to find out that she was born years after her mother, Sumi, died.  Now Rini has to figure out how to save not only the world but herself as well before Reality catches up to her.

Release Date: January 9

Nothing that I'm super excited about in February but then two come out on the same day and I will have to flip a coin to figure out which I'm going to read first. Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs is the first Alpha & Omega book in a few years and while I prefer Mercy's stories, I do like Charles and Anna and look forward to popping in on them again.  This time, the damaged werewolves who live near the Marrok's pack are in trouble and it will take both Charles's fighting skills and Anna's gift as a peacemaker to try and save them.

Release Date: March 6

Also coming out that day is Tricks for Free by Seanan McGuire, the latest in the Incryptid series.  When we last left Annie, she as on the run from the Covenant with no way to get back to her family without endangering them further. To fully escape, she can't even have her beloved Mice with her so if something happens to her, she has no way to get the word out. For a Price to be out there in the world without any backup at all, that is a truly scary thing and we can only hope Annie survives this.

Release Date: March 6

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

115:120 The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The diary of a 14yr old Jewish girl who lived in Holland and went into hiding with her family, another family, and a friend of the family in order to try and escape the Holocaust after the Germans occupied the country. They lived together for 3 years before they were caught and sent to the concentration camps. This is not a novel but rather the thoughts and feelings of a teenage girl growing up under the shadow of death but yet her writing is powerful and raw and you can see the underlying steel and passion within her.

One interesting tidbit that I learned is that this version of the Diary is not what she actually wrote but a compilation of what she originally wrote combined with a version she had started working on for publication after the war with her father's edits (particularly of her relationship with her mother to tone that down and also apparently of her thoughts that were of a more *ahem* adult nature).  There has been another version released that contains more of this and I really want to find time to read that one to see how it differs.

Page count: 283p/20,915p ytd/292,318p lifetime

Friday, December 15, 2017

114:120 Shockaholic by Carrie Fischer

Carrie Fischer's 2nd memoir (apparently I'm reading these in reverse order) opens with her frank discussion of her mental illness and the history of and her views on electroshock therapy which she has used and has helped her tremendously.  She then goes into how that treatment can cause memory loss and why that is a reason for her to write down what she remembers while she still does. This leads into the rest of the book which has stories about her relationships with her father, Michael Jackson, Senator Edward Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, and many others through the years. The stories are told in her usual irreverent fashion and it's very easy to hear her voice in your head as you read.  They aren't dolled up or candy coated, they are just her stories as she remembers them which helps keep it real.  I truly enjoyed it.

Page count: 162p/20,632p ytd/292,035p lifetime

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

113:120 Maudlin's Mayhem by Yasmine Galenorn

The 2nd book in the Bewitching Bedlam series.

Strange things keep happening around Maddy lately. First, she has been clumsy and getting hurt in ways that are just not normal for her including bumping into a strange woman who ends up needing a place to stay for herself and her friends. It's not until Snow White and her 7 Dwarfs show up at the B&B that Maddy realizes who she has opened her Inn to. Then Bubba, her cjinn, turns up in a human form and Aegis is turned into his bat form and unable to change back. Maddy is now convinced that this is more than just strange occurrences and something really is up and it comes as no surprise to find out that she has been hexed.  Now she must figure out who has put the hex on her and how to get it off before anything worse happens.

I'm enjoying this series and I like the fact that there are generally red herrings and lots of twists and turns in the stories but that the real solution was visible and not just something thrown in at the last second that was never shown before (hate that!). Now to read the two tie-in short stories which I'm hoping will answer some of the questions I had reading this about what happened during their vacation. I read the order guide and it said to read them after this one but I definitely felt like I was missing some crucial information so maybe reading Blood Vengeance before this would have been better.

Page count: 307p/20,470p ytd/291,873p lifetime

Sunday, December 10, 2017

112:120 Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

So here's the review I wrote back in 2008 (which I admitted to being in a crappy mood when I wrote it):

So my impressions of Prince Caspain (made before getting in such a horrid mood). Decent book but way too much emphasis on descriptive scenery with a decent nod to a plot and almost no character development. In all honesty, this would have been much better cut down and used to start an adventure book rather then being the entire thing. Just not enough meat on the bones of this one. On to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

And from 2013:
After re-reading it again and in a better mood, well, I can't say I was far off the mark.  It was a cute little story but yeah, not really much in the way of any kind of character development or much point other than crowning Caspian king.  It still feels like it could have been a few chapters in the start of a bigger adventure and just not enough happened to have it be its own story.

And from 2017:
Yeah, still think this could have easily been condensed and put into a different story. I'm glad that now that I've done this one with the youngest child, I don't actually ever have to read this again.

Page count: 223p/20,163p ytd/291,566p lifetime