Monday, October 31, 2016

84:120 The Star of New Mexico by Seanan McGuire

Fran is gone and now comes the task left to the living of saying good-bye to the Flower of Arizona, the Star of New Mexico.  Jonathan is not handling it at all well and it's hard to see how it will effect Alice in the long run but so many loved Fran and will do all they can to help each other and those who loved her most learn to let go.

Such a tragic tale, beautifully and lovingly told.

Page count: 13p/22,578p ytd/271,728p lifetime

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

83:120 Fearless by Elliott James

The third book in the Pax Arcana series.  Ted Cahill is now sheriff in a small college town when strange things start happening so he puts a call in to Sig and the team comes.  As they start investigating, all signs start pointing to someone using magic against a student, Kevin Kachida, and doesn't care about innocent bystanders.  To protect Kevin and stop this person, John and the team are going to have to go deep into the supernatural underground and deal with bigger forces than they ever have before.

I found this one a bit less fun than the previous ones.  They are focusing on an outside threat to someone they didn't know before and for no reason other than to stop casualties.  It meant that the team basically split up for the entire book which meant very little character or team growth.  It was much more of a basic action/adventure story and the characters really could have been any one.  I have the next one in the series but I'm taking a break after this one.

Page count: 437p/22,565p ytd/271,715p lifetime

Monday, October 24, 2016

82:120 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle

Mr. Murray has been gone for over a year and the letters have not been coming for the past several months.  This has been hard on his family but even more so on Meg, his only daughter.  Then one very stormy night, there is a banging outside and Charles Wallce, the youngest Murray, introduces Meg and their mother to Mrs. Whatsit.  As the days go by, Meg is introduced to the others, Mrs. Who & Mrs. Which and they tell her that they know where her father is and that she and Charles Wallace must be prepared to rescue him when the time comes.  As the story spins out, Mr. Murray is trapped on another planet, Camozotz, where the Darkness has taken hold and Meg, Charles Wallace, and a neighbor boy, Calvin, must find a way to get Mr. Murray out of the hands of IT who is trying to take over his mind.  A big task for three children.

I didn't read this book as a child even though I know I had a copy.  I read the whole quintet a few years ago so this is my second time reading this book.  I'm reading it as part of my 10yr old's literature study this year.  I find it a bit simplistic and while the fantasy is fun, the storyline is a basic good v. evil with no depth to the evil other than this is what evil does.  I think it holds up ok but I probably would have enjoyed it more had I read it as a child.

Page count: 480p/21,883p ytd/271,033p lifetime

Thursday, October 20, 2016

81:120 Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliot

Jes has been singled out to move quickly up the ranks of the Fives Court but while she trains hard, always in the back of her mind is her family and their safety and how to protect them from Lord Gargaron.  With Kal and her father off to the frontlines, she needs to rely on others who are not as watched as she is but trust is hard for her, especially with so much at stake.  Then she starts overhearing things, plots within plots at the highest levels of the palace but she has no one she can trust with this information and certainly no one who would believe her.  When she is taken on a traveling party to inspect the gold mines, she finds her twin sister and thinks things might finally be coming together but then her party is attacked and plots start unfolding faster than the rings turn in the Fives Court.  Jes who can see how those rings move so clearly on the Court is having a much harder time figuring things out when she is in the middle of so many different plots pushing her in so many different directions but who can she turn to for help.

A good follow-up to the first book.  Jes is growing as a character even if sometimes it's painfully slow and that is something that I really want to see in books.  Some of the twists and turns were beautifully orchestrated and a few I wasn't expecting at all which is always a bonus.  I'm now bummed that I have to wait almost a year for the end of this trilogy.

Page count: 480p/21,883p ytd/271,033p lifetime

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

80:120 Fairy Deby by Gail Carriger

Cups is a young fairy with a big problem.  Her mother was saved by the local human king and so she owed him a death debt.  When she died with it unfullfilled, it passed on to Cups and no fairy can grow their wings with such a debt hanging on to them.  Now she has traveled to the King's court to become the Lesser Jester to the princess to try and work off this debt but somehow, teaching the princess to tumble doesn't seem like it will do the trick.

A fun little tale with fairies and a princess and even a dragon to read when you standing in line at the grocery store or otherwise have a few minutes to spare and just want the world to stop for a bit.

Page count: 21p/21,403p ytd/270,553p lifetime

79:120 Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

The second book in the Innkeeper Chronicles.  Dina is the Innkeeper of Gertrude Hunt Inn.  An Inn is in need of guests for the energy to sustain itself and Dina is in need of guests for money to pay the bills.  Unfortunately, she has only one full time guest, Caledonia, who is a sadistic tyrant in hiding from the galaxy.  When the Arbiter shows up at her doorsteps asking if she is willing to host a peace conference made up of three species who want nothing more than to kill each other, Dina has to think long and hard about accepting but ultimately the health of the Inn makes her decision easy.  Unfortunately, while all three factions have lost dearly enough in the war to come to the table, getting them to put their pride on the back burner to make the deal is another thing altogether and the Arbiter has many strings to pull to try and bring the peace about and is not afraid to pull every last one out.

My thoughts on this book are all over the map.  I really enjoyed the first one and was thrilled to get the second one as I'm just horrible about reading things on a blog on a weekly basis so don't bother.  I enjoyed the world building and OMG, Orro the chef is fabulous!  But at the same time, I had issues with it.  It was definitely darker in tone which I don't mind but wasn't quite what I was expecting.  The constant "I'm exhausted", "I'm the Innkeeper, it's my job to ...", and "I wonder what Sean is up to right now" inner monologue by Dina got old less than half way through and never let up.  Maybe that worked in a more serial type of format but reading it straight through was annoying.  Many of the other characters were simply drawn with very little in the way of depth to them.  I love how rich the characters are in the Kate Daniels series so I'm not sure why these got so little.  I still enjoy the world and hope to see more books in it but I also hope they are a bit more polished.

Page count: 237p/21,382p ytd/270,532p lifetime

Sunday, October 2, 2016

78:120 Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

The 9th book in the Kate Daniels series.  Kate is finally ready to tie the knot with Curran but when they ask Roman to officiate, she starts realizing just how big a deal her wedding is going to be.  Then the Witch Oracles send for her to show her that if she marries Curran, he will die by her father's hand but if she doesn't, their son will die by her father's hand as a baby.  Either way, she cannot win. Then Roland, her father, kidnaps Siaman and she is forced to try and get him back.  The future is not set in stone but right now, no path is looking good for Kate and those she loves.  Being Kate, she finds some completely insane and reckless plan in a last ditch effort to save her family and her city. Only time will tell if she has done the impossible.

So much is going on in this book as it seems like the final confrontation with Roland is getting closer.  Kate is her usual, impetuous self but there is definitely something darker growing within her.  She can feel it and she is doing everything she can to not turn into the monster her father is.  With Curran's love and the help of her family and friends, I'm definitely hoping it will be okay.  I am now unhappy though because I read this book in just a couple of days and I now have to wait like a year for the next one to come out.  I want more and I want it NOW!

Page count: 328p/21,145p ytd/270,295p lifetime