Tuesday, September 30, 2014

99:120 The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison

The 13th and final book in the Hollows series.  Cormel is continuing to hound Rachel and threaten Ivy to get Rachel to find the souls of the undead vampires and reunite them with their bodies.  Rachel has been trying, for Ivy's sake, to do just that but Cormel feels like Rachel needs more "persuasion" to hurry up.  When Rachel ends up in the middle of a fight between vampire factions, with an injured Ivy, she makes the only choice she can think of and transports over to the Ever After with Ivy, Trent, Nina, Bis, and Jenks.  While there, Felix starts his crap up with taking over Nina which has the unexpected consequence of having one of the surface demons chasing off all the others as Felix recognizes his soul.  Now Rachel knows where the souls of the undead vampires go, to the Ever After as surface demons, but now she has to figure out how to bring the souls back to Reality and reattach them to their owners.

The problem is, Rachel isn't sure how to capture and reattach souls so Trent asks Landon for help.  While Rachel doesn't trust him, she doesn't see that she has a choice if she wants to save Ivy and get Cormel off their backs.  Unfortunately, Rachel was right not to trust Landon as he now sees a way of getting what he's always wanted, Elven supremacy with the vampires and demons taken out.  He sees that if he can destroy the ley lines, all magic will fall and the other magic dependent species will fall with it while they will have the Goddess to keep their magic strong.  Can Rachel stop Landon and keep the demons and vampires safe from his mad schemes?  And what will it mean for her HEA?

Ms. Harrison promised us that Rachel would get her Happily Ever After with the end of the series and she did not disappoint even if Rachel had to go through hell and save the world once again although would it be a Hollows book if that weren't the case?  I could have done with a little less of Rachel's constant guilt over Trent's situation among the dewar but otherwise, an excellent end to a fabulous series.  I'll miss Rachel, Trent, Al, Ivy, and Jenks.

Page count: 462p/26,864p ytd/207,902p lifetime

Saturday, September 27, 2014

98:120 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The 1st book in His Dark Materials trilogy.  In a world where no one is ever alone because they all have their daemon familiars, something strange is happening.  Lyra takes little notice of the stories about the Gobblers who steal children except to use them in games of pretend until her friend is taken one night on the eve of her leaving Jordan College to go with the fascinating Ms. Coulter to the city.  Once in the city however, she starts learning disturbing things about Ms. Coulter and the Gobblers and something they call Dust.  She runs, frightened of what she hears and goes to the gyptians who have been hardest hit by the Gobblers with several of their children missing.  Now that Lyra is able to tell them the direction they have been taken, they are ready to take action and get their children back.  Lyra refuses to be left behind, which is all part of her fulfilling a destiny that she knows nothing of but must fulfill for the sake of everyone.  On her way, she will make some amazing friends including Iorek the Battle Bear.  Unfortunately, her destiny lies in a world far from her own and her friends may not be able to join her.

Yeah, I'm a few years behind on this one but I tend to not want to read things right as everyone else is.  I actually am not sure after the hubbub that I would have picked it up (I find that things rarely live up to their hype) but a friend sent me the series so it's been sitting on my shelf since it looked like something I might enjoy but I just hadn't gotten around to it.  I'm falling a bit behind on my new authors for the year so I figured I'd grab these to read and preview for my kids.  On the whole, it's an interesting new world but I found the characters shallow and the plot nothing new or spectacular.  The world kept me just interested enough that I will read the next one to see where things go but just barely.

Page count: 351p/26,402p ytd/207,440p lifetime

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

97:120 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

1st book in the Little House on the Prairie series.  Laura is about 5 years old during this book which covers approximately a one year span of time with her and her family living in a log cabin in the woods of Wisconsin. We get to see how she played and learn about life during that time from the eyes of a child which is always an interesting way to learn history.  It's a sweet, simple tale filled with the joy and innocence of childhood and love of life and family.

This is my second time reading this and doing it with one of my children as part of our curriculum.  The Prairie Primer curriculum incorporates so much by using these books.  We made butter, cheese, molasses on snow candy, and hasty pudding.  We learned about whittling, line dancing, harvesting maple syrup, and how honey is made and collected.  We studied Louis Pasteur and the California Gold Rush.  It's amazing how this book can be a jumping off point for so much.

Page count: 238p/26,051p ytd/207,089p lifetime

Monday, September 22, 2014

96:120 The European World 400-1450CE by Barbara A. Hanawalt

Here's my review from 3 years ago:

Middle school history. This covers the basics of what was happening in Europe between 400-1450CE. While there were a few interesting tidbits of political and religious points that affected things that I learned, the rest was a decent covering of the era without any new major insight although I think that is due in part because it's an era of history I actually enjoy studying. Thankfully my 7th grader enjoyed it and learned lots and that is what really matters.

Can't really add much to it.  It does it's job decently enough.

Page count: 189p/25,813p ytd/206,851p lifetime

Thursday, September 18, 2014

95:120 Shiver in Light by Laurell K. Hamilton

The 9th book in the Meredith Gentry series.  The babies have finally arrived, triplets rather than twins, and now it's time for Merry and her men to find their new normal as they try to figure out who the fathers of all the babies are and just how much magic they will have.  Not only that but Taranis is coming back into some of his powers and is convinced that Merry should be his and that at least one of the babies is also his and will stop at nothing to have them both.  Andais is finally coming out of the madness that claimed her after Cel's murder and Merry is showing her that she will have to play nice if she wants to know her great-nieces and nephew.  Merry is also trying to figure out what her play will be as her time is running out in her alliance with the goblin king, not that he may be king for much longer.

I've got 4 kids and I understand that post-partum is a thing but oh, man, a whole entire book devoted to her weeping and whining?!  I liked the little bits of political intrigue that went on between the crying jags but the petty bickering I could definitely have done without especially since it did not seem to move the story or overall plot along at all.  Considering it was years since the last one, this seemed like a very poor return to the world.

Page count: 372p/25,624p ytd/206,662p lifetime

Thursday, September 11, 2014

94:120 How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back by Diana Rowland

The 4th book in the White Trash Zombie series.  Angel finally seems to have her life on track.  She has a job she enjoys not only at the funeral home but also helping out a little in the zombie labs.  She's passed her GED and is now contemplating taking some college courses.  Things are a bit rocky with Marcus but she is sure enough in herself to speak up about what she wants.  Yep, things are going pretty well until Pietro and several other high ranking people in the Zombie Mafia are kidnapped and it looks like Sabertron is behind it.  Now it's her, her zombie baby, the defector, and a guard to try and get them back from inside Sabertron's HQ.  While there is definitely an element of the kind of trouble that Angel excels at, there is also a lot that sees her completely out of her depth and being forced to grow in unexpected ways.

I continue to really enjoy this series and this one was no exception.  My only disappointment was with the ending.  We saw Angel who is starting to earn positions of trust and power backslide towards her previous life and it really saddened me.  I'm hoping this is not a preview of things to come.

Page count: 328p/25,252p ytd/206,290p lifetime

Saturday, September 6, 2014

93:120 Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Set during the Civil War, we follow the Youth (Henry) as he deals with the reality of modern war compared to his expectations based on the stories of wars set in ancient Greece and Rome.  He has to master his disappointment as his troop just continues to sit around and then deal with all of his thoughts of wondering how he will perform when they are finally called to action.  When the call does finally come down, he gets his answer when he runs from his first battle.  We then watch as he goes from berating himself for cowardice to turning his actions around that they are what any sane person would have done and the others in his regiment were fools if they didn't run as he did.  This turns around again when he happens upon a member of his regiment who has been mortally injured but found that the regiment won their battle.  Now he is with a group of wounded and he is moaning about his lack of a "red badge of courage" and is wondering how he will explain his actions to his regiment upon his return and how he can return without a proper explanation since he is doubting now that they will see the wisdom in his actions as he did.  We continue to watch his ability to move in and out of situations and think his way around what his actions show to put a positive light on them.

The language and descriptions throughout the book were incredibly powerful but I definitely found it hard to like the main character even though I felt he was drawn very true to life.  Overall I can see why it's a classic and I'm glad to have finally read it.

Page count:224p/24,924p ytd/205,962p lifetime

Friday, September 5, 2014

92:120 Flight From Hell by Yasmine Galenorn

A novella set in the Otherworld series, narrated by Menolly setting up the new Fly By Night series that will take place alongside the Otherworld series but focus on the PI Firm with a vampire at the helm and an exiled blue dragon.

Menolly is called in by Ronan to discuss the increasing number of baby vampires in the area and how many of them have had to be staked due to abandonment by their makers.  Menolly makes a note of it but doesn't consider it her main priority considering the demon war going on until she and her sisters are searching for information and their friend and powerful ally, Carter, expresses concern about his friend, an exiled dragon named Shimmer.  This leads the sisters to the Fly By Night Detective Agency where they meet the owner, a vampire rogue named Alex, who seems to know more about what is going on with the baby vampires in the park and how it all ties in with Shimmer and his own past.  Now it's time to go in and kick some butt...

It was a great introduction to the new series and has definitely wet my appetite for it.  Too bad we have to wait until next year to get the first full length novel.

Page count: 126p/24,700p ytd/205,738p lifetime