Tuesday, April 19, 2016

38:120 The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

My review from 2012:

The last book by Laura in the Little House series, the manuscript of which was found in her possessions after she passed by her daughter Rose and was not printed until Rose's passing.  Similar in style but you can see the detail goes down to more bare bones as it progresses.  The first thing that strikes you is what a run of bad luck that family had after all the problems her Pa had had getting proved up on a homestead and then the first four years for her and Manly were filled with bad weather and the ruination of their crops time and time again, the loss of their son when he was only a few weeks old, and the loss of their home when it burned down shortly afterward.  But what really comes through louder, is their indomitable spirit, their tenacity to make it work, their love for each other and their daughter, their willingness to keep working hard even when it hadn't paid off yet.  That was the pioneer spirit and it was truly remarkable to read.

Page count: 134p/10,205p ytd/260,282p lifetime

37:120 Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Sometimes, for special children, doors open into new and fantastical lands.  Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many of these children are thrown back months or even years later and left wanting to go back.  Eleanor West was once one of those children but her door never closed and she has been back several times but instead of staying, she runs a home for those children who are trying to figure out life here after being there.  Nancy is one who has just come back from a land of the dead and wants nothing more than to go back where things make sense to her but her parents want their bright, rainbow girl again so they have sent her to Ms. West's house.  There Nancy meets Sumi (a child who visited a high nonsense land), Kade (who was in a fairy land but was thrown out when they discovered she was really a he), Jack and Jill (girl twins who were with a vampire lord), and Christopher (who traveled to the land of bones).  There are many more in the school but those are the ones who seem to take an interest in being her friend and Nancy is trying to settle in but things change after Sumi is found murdered with her hands cut off.  Now Nancy as the new girl from a land of the dead is suspect and her friends are with her in trying to uncover who the real murderer is.

So many things to say about this book.  I loved the diversity of the characters!  The worlds were amazing but we get to know so little about them and I wanted to know so much more.  This is really more of a novella than a full novel which means there is more worldbuilding than we would normally see in a short story so therefore so much more to tease us with but not enough time to go in depth with anything.  This is truly Nancy's story so we get everything from her perspective and the details on her world but really, there seem to be so many stories to tell here and I really hope we get to have more of them.

Page count: 173p/10,071p ytd/260,148p lifetime

Monday, April 18, 2016

36:120 Wings of Fire: Escaping Peril by Tui T. Sutherland

The 8th book in the Wings of Fire series.  Now that Queen Scarlet has revealed herself to still be alive and out for vengeance, Peril has decided that she is the only one who can stop her and protect Clay.  Turtle, a Seawing prince, decides that since his friends are already off on a dangerous mission he should join up with Peril to try and stop Scarlet and help Queen Ruby.  Once they get separated though, that's when Peril's father shows up, in the employ of Queen Scarlet.  He is able to give Peril the one thing she wants above all else, the loss of her fire-scales, but it comes at a cost that may be more than she is willing to pay.

I didn't enjoy this one as much as the previous installments.  I wanted to know more about Peril because I think she is one of the more interesting characters that we met in the first five books.  I get that Peril is a broken character but being inside her mind was boring and repetitive.  While she did grow a bit as a character by the end of the book, it was only a little.  The fact that most of the book was very predictable, much like Peril's thoughts, didn't help either.  The end looks promising for the next book so here's hoping this one was just a fluke.

Page count: 336p/9,898p ytd/259,975p lifetime

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

35:120 Barack Obama: United States President by Roberta Edwards

A brief history of Barack Obama from his parents meeting to his inauguration as President.  It's fairly simple and not one of the better president histories that we've read recently as it was just too simple and really rah-rah.  I voted for him twice so I'm not against him but what I was hoping for was something a bit more balanced in the telling and this wasn't it.

Page count: 64p/9,592p ytd/259,639p lifetime

Monday, April 11, 2016

34:120 Elfquest: The Searcher and the Sword by Wendy & Richard Pini

The story of Shuana after escaping with the elves when the regained the shards of the Palace and her trying to integrate more into human life after several years with the Wolfriders.  It also follows Treestump as he finds an abandoned troll lair with the forges and means to make metal weapons there and becomes obsessed with learning those secrets.

As always, the artwork is exquisite and the story engaging.  I love how the stories reflect what is going on with society without being super preachy about it.  Elfquest has always been my favorite comic series and likely always will be.  I'm super excited to finally be reading Final Quest and hope that Wendy and Richard Pini continue making Elfquest for many, many years to come.

Page count: 96p/9,528p ytd/259,575p lifetime

33:120 Grave Visions by Kalayna Price

The 4th book in the Alex Craft novels.  Now that Alex is out as a fae, she is trying to figure out all the rules that she didn't grow up with and how to deal with the big one of not knowing (and not currently wanting) to swear allegiance to any fae court.  Unfortunately, she has a faerie household and without the strength of a court, they are draining her of energy and she is now risking fading.  The Winter Queen is now summoning her to attend a grisly murder in her court that is obviously a threat directed at her while the human law is asking for her help in a series of locked-room murders.  On top of all that, one of her best friends is getting married and she is part of the wedding party.  Somehow she must help with the murders and find the culprit so she can get the Winter Queen to allow her to be an unaligned fae which can halt her fading.  Unfortunately, time is not on her side and it may be better to align with a court than risk the consequences.

It's been several years since the last book was published so I was a little confused on where things had left off previously but thankfully this book did a good job of adding in just enough reminders to jog the memory but didn't do the whole "in the last book..." type of thing.  The fae court stuff going on in this one was very well done and there was some nice intrigue going on for a bit but the main baddie was pretty easy to figure out pretty quickly so it was more a matter of waiting for the main characters to catch on and have the evidence necessary to prove it which is not always so fun.  I prefer to figure it out with them, not ahead of them.  Otherwise, a good installment and I hope whatever it was that put this one off for so long is now happily resolved and regular installments can continue.

Page count: 340p/9,432p ytd/259,479p lifetime

Friday, April 1, 2016

32:120 Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson book 9.  Adam and the Pack are called in to help with a troll attacking a bridge in the Tri-Cities area but after defeating the troll, they are introduced to the reason for the troll's attack, a human-child who has been in fairy for longer than anyone knows and has been given her favor.  Now the fae want him back and Mercy's protective instincts are fully kicking in and she declares her protection, not only of this child but those who come and seek it.  Now Bran has cast out Adam's pack which means they are on their own and the fae will push the limit's of Mercy's decree to get this boy and see if the holds the key to their regaining the favor of fairy.  Even her own pack is not sure of their ability to uphold her stance but then Adam goes Alpha on them, overruling Mercy's wishes on dealing with the pack, and now there is a very united front.  That's a good thing because negotiating with Fairy itself, as well as the fae, is tricky enough when you are not divided among yourselves.

This series has never been less than great but Wow!  This book seemed to have it all.  Adam going all Alpha is a thing of beauty and the love between him and Mercy is always beautiful.  Mercy is Mercy.  She protects and loves fiercely.  She opens her mouth and sticks her foot in it but doesn't back down when she believes she's right.  Things with the fae have been climbing the last couple of books and it was great to see how things are starting to play out there.  I love that the fae are not inherently evil but simply are not human.  They don't think like humans and have totally different priorities and use different means to accomplish their goals.  It doesn't make them evil per se, but they are other.  Now that there is a treaty of sorts between these fae and Adam and Mercy, it will be very interesting to see where this goes.

Page count: 342p/9,092p ytd/259,139p lifetime