Friday, February 22, 2013

24:120 My Heart Lies South by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino

The story of an American woman's marriage to a Mexican and her assimilation into Mexican culture and appreciation for it's heritage.  Elizabeth was a reporter and one day her boss said "You know how you always wanted to go to Mexico?  See how far you can get on this and write a story when you get as far as you can."  In her travels, she met Luis who almost immediately started courting her, unbeknownst to her at that time.  In a scandalously short time (less than a year), they were married and she was moving to Monterrey, Mexico.  She tells of her trials and tribulations between their beliefs in how to act in any given situation and hers, where she found compromises and where she found that their ways worked just as well, about the love and respect that grew for her new family and the culture of her husband.  Originally published in 1953 and speaking about events mostly from the 30s.

I found this a nice, easy, enjoyable read.

Page count: 228p/5,940p ytd/150,360p lifetime

Saturday, February 16, 2013

23:120 Steel's Edge by Ilona Andrews

The fourth and final book in The Edge series.  Richard Mar is on a mission to destroy the slavers who have brought so much pain to his family.  Not just those particular slavers but he wants to bring down the entire support structure from the top down.

Charlotte de Ney is The Healer, a magic wielding healer without peer until the day comes when she finds that she cannot heal herself and she is infertile and her husband instead of standing with her, presents her with annulment papers and she feels a rage and a power to hurt flow through her.  She flees into The Edge and eventually is able to set up a new life where her magic is less potent but she can still heal well but not be tempted into darkness.  And then Richard lands on her doorstep, fatally wounded, and with the slavers hot on his tail.  They are now thrown together and Charlotte has darker powers than anyone ever imagined.  She will need them as the path they are on is very dark indeed and will lead to places they could never have imagined.

I'm saddened that this is the last book but at the same time, the plots that have woven these four books together have been brought to a close and I truly respect them that they are stopping until such time as they feel there is another good story to tell.  They are not simple romances where guy meets girl, beats his chest, and she falls into his arms.  There is a full story developed in each one with overreaching arcs throughout the four books.  Yes, each has it's own romance but those are not the only story and the stories are rich and full. The romances are as well as the characters dance around, learning about each other and finding their mutual commonalities.  Both sides of the romance are fully fleshed out with strong characters.  A strong series by a fabulous husband/wife author team.

Page count: 388p/5,712p ytd/150,132p lifetime

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

22:120 The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

A Novel Based on the True Story of a Hitler Youth.  Helmuth is just 17yrs old and has spent the last 264 days of his life in a German prison awaiting either his execution or his pardon.  Today is Tuesday and the executioner works on Tuesday.  Will this be the day or will he be spared another week?  As these thoughts flash through his mind, so do thoughts of happier times of his youth.  Time with his mother and brothers, his grandparents, his friends.  When times started turning bad in Germany.  When it became a crime to speak your mind or listen to the radio.  Of the time that he decided he was no longer going to remain silent about what he saw going on around him....

A heart-touching and gut-wrenching story of a boy who became a man when he stopped being silent and started speaking out against the Fuhrer. A boy who remained true to his faith and his beliefs when every one told him to toe the party line and look the other way.  Someone we can all look up to and admire for the strength of his convictions and his determination to be true to them.

Page count: 202p/5,324p ytd/149,744p lifetime

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

21:120 Darkness Hunts by Keri Arhur

The 4th book in the Dark Angels series.  Risa is continuing to try and figure out where to find the keys that her father has charged her to find and who has stolen the first one that she found while continuing to struggle against her attraction to Lucian and with Azriel's refusal to deal with the attraction between the two of them.  Now in her search for answers, she has come across a serial killer on the astral plane, one who has been taunting the Directorate and who now has his sights set on her.

It feels like the main plot has been thrust off to the side and was barely a blip in the plot on this one.  It was good to see her finally send Lucian packing (although I doubt he'll stay away) but mostly I just found this book frustrating on so many levels.  Nothing that was hinted at in previous books was more than touched on briefly and instead a whole new thing that was, to all appearances, completely off track thrown in.  I'm hoping the next book gets back to the real story line again.

Page count: 389p/5,122p ytd/149,542p lifetime

Thursday, February 7, 2013

20:120 Haunted Moon by Yasmine Galenorn

The 13th book in the Otherworld series by Yasmine Galenorn and the 4th to be told by Camille.    The sisters and their now extremely extended family have enjoyed a few weeks respite after Menolly's wedding but now everything is hitting the fan at once and they are gearing up for action.  The Aleksais Psychic Network is back making trouble again, ghosts are disappearing from graveyards, and the dead are rising to eat the living.  To top it all off, there are things that Camille does not understand going on with her training with Aveal.  Now there is this huge grey egg thing in the middle of the graveyard eating zombies and humans alike and Pentangle, Mistress of Magic herself, is telling Camille that it's due to Galukah and that she needs to destroy him to restore balance.  

Another fabulous book by Ms. Galenorn.  This series continues to be amazing and I'm always sad when I race through the latest one that it will be months before there is a new one so I can delve into the world once again.  This one was no different.  It sucked me in and left me feeling bereft when it was over.  My only complaint is there is a lot going on in this book and at times it almost seems too much and so things get resolved but a bit quickly and too easily.  Usually we see the sisters struggle more to overcome the baddies and while they've been dealing with Galukah for a while, his dispatch seemed almost too abrupt.  However, based on how it was done I have a feeling that there will be lingering effects to come for Camille.  It will be interesting to see what changes her new priestess role will bring in the future.

Page count: 321p/4,733p ytd/149,153p lifetime

19:120 Undead and Unreturnable by Mary Janice Davidson

The 4th book in the Queen Betsy series.  Betsy is finally planning her wedding to Sinclair and while she should be thrilled beyond belief, somehow the date keeps getting postponed and more and more things keep coming up.  There's pesky ghosts that are always wanting her to fulfill some last request so they can move on or the Ant wants her to babysit Baby Jon or there's a serial killer to catch.  Seriously, can't a girl catch a break when it's time to plan her wedding?

Another bubblegum read.  Betsy is ditzy and her friends put up with all her foilibles.  I'm kind of done with them for a bit tho.  I think I've done three in a row around other books and it's become a bit much so I'm off to read other things for a while before coming back to her.  I'm not annoyed enough to give up on the series but I can only take so much airheaded blonde.

Page count:  264p/4,412p ytd/148,832p lifetime

18:120 Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Edward and Lucy along with their cousin, Eustace, fall through a painting and land about Caspian's ship, The Dawn Treader, as Caspian and his crew search for seven lords who had been sent away by Caspian's uncle, Miraz, since they were intensely loyal to Caspian's father and Caspian himself.  Many adventures are had as they sail to the ends of the known world and beyond to find all seven of these lords.  In the end, they are all located (although not all are still living) and the children return home but are told by Aslan that they will not be returning to Narnia again.

Continuing to study the Narnia series with Jon.  It's a better adventure book although towards the end some of the stuff with Aslan gets pretty deep into the religious overtones.

Page count: 256p/4,148p ytd/148,568p lifetime

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

17:120 The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

I read this one back in 2011 but it's this month's book club read for my group so I wanted to reread it to make sure I could remember it well enough to discuss it.  Here is my previous write-up:

September runs away with the Green Wind to Fairyland where he must leave her to have her own adventures.  Unfortunately, Fairyland used to be a wonderful place under Queen Mallow but she disappeared and now it's been taken over by The Marquess who has imposed all these rules and regulations and nothing can fly but the winged cats, not even dragons or lovely wveryns.  September ends up in front of the Marquess who threatens her new friends if September doesn't do her a favor.  Little do either of them know what the consequences of her accepting will be...

An interesting take on Fairyland.  I found it to be a bit of a slow read with the complex explanations and long-winded tone it takes from time to time, mostly in the beginning.  I enjoyed it overall tho but I'm not sure how long my boys would sit still for it although I'll try and find out at some point since it is a children's book and I'd like to get the children's take on it.

In all, I still agree with this assessment.  The language, while magnificent does bog it down early on until you get used to it.  I think I enjoyed it more this time around as it was easier to get into having read it once already.  There is now a sequel out that I'm seriously considering picking up.  Hmmmm...

Page count: 247p/3,892p ytd/148,312p lifetime

16:120 Underworlds: Ice Dragon by Tony Abbott

The fourth and what seems to be the final book in the Underworlds series.  Owen and his friends are now in the Norse Underworld trying to stop Loki who wishes to bring about the end of days and destroy Odin's throne thinking it will lead him to take Odin's place.  He has Dana and her parents imprisoned somewhere in the underworld as well.  When the time comes, Hades, Kingu, and Anubis all bring forces over from their underworlds in an attempt to stop Loki but Loki has brought powerful forces of his own and it will take all their strength as well as those of Asgard to keep his armies at bay which leaves just Owen, Jon, and Sydney to take on Loki by themselves.  Can they possibly prevail against a god?  And even if they do, can they then be in time to save Dana and her parents and put things back to rights in their own world?

A cute, fun little series with enough mythological elements to introduce some interesting concepts.  No real character development except where necessary to move the story along, it's an action/adventure tale and sticks to that the whole time.  Of course, for my almost 7yr old who this was aimed for it was perfect.  In all, I'd give the series 5 stars considering it's target audience and how well it hits that demographic.

Page count: 117p/3,645p ytd/148,065p lifetime