The_Truth_is_a_Cave_in_the_Black_Mountains_by_Neil_Gaiman_200_254  imagesimages3  This is a dark tale of a man’s quest into the Black Mountains for the truth.  There is a mystery to be solved.  The narrator is a small man, a dwarf, whom we meet as he is about to hire a guide, Calum MacInnes, to take him to a cave on the Misty Isle reputed to be filled with gold.  I liked the story, it had a haunting quality to it.  It wasn’t entirely fair though.02images2

04. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Grave Dance: an Alex Craft novel by Kalayna Price, read by Kira, on 08/01/2014

GraveDance grave_witch_cover_by_leafofsteel-d4v7vbqprice  In this second book of the series Alex Craft, raiser of “shades” is tasked with finding the killer who has only left feet as remains.  She also has to keep from being captured by various Fae courts.  Then there are the 2 guys competing for her, one is a grim reaper named Death, the other Falin Andrews is the Winter Court’s Assassin.  Another rousing fast-paced mystery!  I look forward to imagesDSC_0036the next book in the series.

31. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Globish: How the English Language became the World's Language by Robert McCrum, read by Kira, on 07/31/2014

It seems unlikely that a small island conquered repeatedly would provide the world with a global language.  McCrum provides a historical review of how the English language developed, how its fluidity and subversive nature allowed it to flourish and become the lingua franca of the world.  He also details all the colonizing by the Brits. index globishpiespeakers   I wish only one timeline of history had been provided, I got a little confused going through history periods a couple of times, while focusing on other aspects of the language development.

30. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal

Hunted The Iron Druid Chronicles Part 6 by by Kevin Hearne, read by Kira, on 07/20/2014

index  Hunted is more like Part II of book 5, in that it picks up seconds later from where Trapped left off.  Atticus, Graunuialle, and Oberon get chased across Europe, with Artemis & Diana trying to kill the 3 of them.  I didn’t like to see these 2 strong female role models – Artemis & Diana – being portrayed in such a stupid manner.  And as another reviewer said, Atticus is way too powerful in comparison with the “Gods” in the novel, he seems to be able to get them to do whatever he wants. I did really like the epilogue where Graunuialle got her own wolfhound.

29. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal

Trapped by Kevin Hearne, read by Kira, on 07/19/2014

Finally, after 12 years of training in secret to become a full druid,  Granuaile is ready to for the binding ceremony.  However, all the deities, that thought Atticus had died, now learn that he is still alive.  The saga continues.  They also have to help prevent Ragnarok.  I read this book back-to-back with the next book in the series “Hunted”, which is good, because Trapped ends on something of a cliffhanger.  They also kind of blended together in my mind, reading both in one straight shot.   trapped c92439bb9a4e1b7db76d3fc7fd23066eatticus_and_granuaile_by_codyvrosh-d63iuwe35ee3eae8e474884125d4c5c4b056dcbwlfh This was a fast enjoyable read, but sometimes Atticus is so arrogant, it is really annoying.  Iron_Druid_Chronicles images

29. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, NonFiction, Science · Tags:

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell., read by Kira, on 07/20/2014

davgol  Malcolm_GladwellBoy with menacing shadowAnother great book by Gladwell!  In this title he explores how our wounds our struggles can be the source of our strengths.  Interesting pieces that I learned: apparently Goliath was suffering from acromegaly (due to pituitary tumor) that caused him visual difficulties (thus he had another person guide him to the battle field) in addition to his giantism; Marching Day in England is where the Protestant march and celebrate their victory over the local Catholics! imagine if the Northerners came down to the South and celebrated the South’s loss in the Civil war!   He talks about the advantages that come from being a big fish in a small pond.  For example, the same percentage of Science majors switch over to Humanities in a Top School as compared to a medium school, despite the fact that the ATC test scores of students at the top school are generally way above those at medium schools (unless all these schools are grading on a curve, which wasn’t clearly discussed).

When the impressionists were shunned from the high art society in France, they created their own art show. And their art became more popular.  The most interesting take-away message is, if you’re going to fight the big and powerful, you don’t play by their rules.  You change the game.

Negatives: Though Gladwell holds up Jay Freireich’s cure of childhood leukemia as admirable, Freireich violated the physicians oath – do NO harm

22. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington, read by Kira, on 07/14/2014

livfor  Liv is a scholarship student at a rich school. You know that Liv has been killed at the start of this novel.  The question is why did she die, and why have there been so many mysterious deaths in the past.  This was a fun read, not particularly deep, but I like ghost characters.  The ending of the book leaves the possibility of sequel, but this probably won’t happen.Huntingdon-College-CC-Spyder-Monkey-e1351559840834The_Haunted_Mansion

17. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Inspirational, Kira, NonFiction

Unitarian Universalism: a Narrative History by David E. Bumbaugh, read by Kira, on 07/14/2014

rainbowchalice index       I read this for a class I took at my church this summer [we called it Summinary :) ].  It gives a history of liberal religion and the quest for tolerance for religious freedom.  I was amazed at how often, religious change came about due to other power struggles.  The Germans were chafing under Roman authority.  So when Luther  made his religious objections, the powers of state used the theological dispute to their advantage.

A repeatmichael-servetuseEmersond theme was reformers in one decade turning into the old guard against whom the newer thinkers rebelled in the next generation.  I was Ariussurprised at how enriching I found thisHosea_Ballou read.francisdavid

Muller’s book is divided into four sections framed by the following four questions:

1. Who am I? what is my identity.

2. What do I love?

3. How Shall I live, knowing that I shall die?

4. What gifts shall I leave behind to the Earth?

 

Muller then took these meaningmaking questions and explored the questions.  I particularly liked question number three.  howlive ua2020-final-report-cover-shothow-then-should-we-live 10-truths-before-happiness how-to-stay-on-track-to-a-meaningful-life-L-Yzz2TS images Though, love-my-way-out-lI didn’t agree with all of his statements/thoughts, for example, he said that EVERY single moment is a gift, I found these food for thought.  I highly recommend this title!

03. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kira, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Thriller/Suspense · Tags:

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price, read by Kira, on 06/30/2014

Grave Witch UK aus Kapaklar3 germangravewitchKapaklar1 0cb4f2ec-7b89-4ba2-a12e-20c9d13192a1biopicIn this paranormal murder mystery, private investigator, Alex Craft is able to raise shades and talk to them about how they died.  She stumbles upon some dark ritual murders, and now she needs to track down the killer to save her own life.

Captivating World-building. Some Romance, complicated but well structured plot twists.

03. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Humor, Kira · Tags:

Downton Tabby by Chris Kelly., read by Kira, on 06/28/2014

I had so much fun reading Agent Gates, a parody of Downton Abbey, I decided I needed to read Downton  Tabby.Downton-Tabby-2 This was a fun quick read, with humor not just satirizing the TV series, but also grabbing puns from a variety of sources.
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19. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction, Science, Self Help · Tags:

The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease by Daniel E. Lieberman, read by Kira, on 06/16/2014

humbod  Fabulous HominidTimelinediabetesWhats-the-Paleo-Diet-3book!  The first half recounts the changes in human physiology, from the time we first diverged from apes (chimpanzees specifically) to modern times. Dr Lieberman discusses the physical adaptations and what they mean for the way our bodies function.  Then he takes this history of the human body and shows us evolutionary mismatches between our physiology and our modern lifestyle, first starting with the foods we eat, and then discussing our bodies needs to be physically active, that we were born to run/walk long distances, and that our bodies suffer if we fail to be active.  For example he notes that people that run barefoot, rarely suffer foot injuries, in contrast to runners that wear shoes (barefooters also hit with the ball of the foot first, unlike shod runners who strike with their heel).  Type II Diabetes, Heart disease, and cancer are discussed in detail.  I found it especially interesting how our bodies process different types of foods, how damaging starches and carbs are, compared to protein, fat, fiber, and how the composition of what you eat, affects whether it is sent for fat storage, whether it triggers insulin shock or absorbed slowly and more healthily.

19. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery, Teen Books · Tags:

Shadows by Robin McKinley, read by Kira, on 06/01/2014

shadows tp edot warp realiztMaggie lives in a world being torn apart by cohesion breaks – aka cobeys, which are breaks in reality, where chunks of space are missing.  Magic has been outlawed in the Neworld where she lives, in order to cut down on the number of cobeys, which seem attracted to magic.  Her own family has had there genes chopped, so that magic doesn’t become active.  Then Maggie’s Mom remarries, and Maggie knows that there is something wrong with her new step-dad, (who’s come from the OldWorld where magic is still practices) – he seems to be surrounded by shadows.  Then all of a sudden some huge cobeys appear right where Maggie lives.  The police come out, and start hauling people away.  Maggie and her friends need to figure out what is happening and how they can stop the cobeys.  Like most of McKinley’s books this title could easily be continued in a series, but she doesn’t seem to pursue the potential series.

03. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Fire : tales of elemental spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson, read by Kira, on 05/29/2014

fire1 hellhound5 stories around the motif of fire beings.  I preferred Robin’s tales over her husband Peter’s (big surprise, since I’d never heard of him before).  The best tale was called Hellhound, about a demon who changed sides.  Peter’s tales had some very excellent sections, and then other parts seemed liked they needed fleshing out (also, could have done without the sexism – no it was a made-up time, so did Not need to be part of the context).

02. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books

Chalice by Robin McKinley, read by Kira, on 05/22/2014

chalice2chalice3chalice - Copy - Copy  Beekeper Mirasol is unexpectedly chosen as the next Chalice, the most important adviser to the Master.  I was absolutely delighted with this tale.  Previous Chalices usually used water, or some milk, rarely blood.  But Mirasol’s element seems to be honey.The pacing, the worldbuilding, the level of tension, was perfect for me.  I am now seeking out all of Robin McKinley’s works.-Gold-Plated-Chalicechalices - Copychal - Copylggoblet - CopychalicecircleArdagh_Chalice - Copy

02. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee, read by Kira, on 05/17/2014

cherry cola {FCEA40D7-9A5C-40B1-B52F-3A568A25D2C3}Img400 9781611737134_p0_v1_s260x420Small town librarian MauraBeth tries to ramp up programming and usage at her library, in an attempt to keep the city council-members from closing the library in order to fund development in the town.  I thought this would be a little more interesting, being a librarian, but it wasn’t very.  Too much HANDWRINGING and really, 1 book club that meets every 6 weeks?

A fairy tale-like story.  The rulers of Montagne have been rumored to possess and use magic.  But this has been only a rumor.  Grandmonther (queen mother) Benificence, her two daughters Wisdom and Temperance, along with an orphan named Fortitude and a miller’s son Tips all end up at Wisdom’s wedding to the neighboring and coveting kingdom.  Its a pretty fast paced, fun tale, written mostly in letter, epistolary format. wisdom's kiss wisdom-s-kiss

14. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Kira

MirrorMask by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean, read by Kira, on 05/13/2014

index mirrormask-drawing    mirr  MirrorMask,ChildrensEdition_Hardback_1185587477Circus daughter Helena says she hates her life and wants to have an ordinary “real” life, and that she hates her mother.  Her mother falls ill with mirrormask2cancer.  In an alternate reality – a dreamy Alice-through-the-Looking-Glass world – Helena has to set things right, in order to return to her original world. I choose this title because its a graphic novel, which is this months challenge.  It was interesting, kind of showing teen rebellion and growing up.  I didn’t really care for the artwork.

I wish they could get someone like Laurel Burch to do the artwork in these Graphic Novels – please add this kind of color graphic novelists!images

14. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple, read by Kira, on 05/13/2014

Jo Hemlock has spent her life hiding, hiding the fact that she’s a witch, and hiding from the evil clan of witches that killed her mother, that are now pursuing her and her grandmother.  Now that she’s about to have a regular boyfriend, is when the evil clan strikes again, sending her innocent father (whom she had never met) searching for her Mom and then for Jo.   Fast paced, and engaging book (not deep though).  house ivy s grimoire House-Ivy-Sorrow-BannerI would enjoy a sequel.

14. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Kira · Tags:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, read by Kira, on 05/13/2014

 

The book starts out slow.  It is the story of 2 youngsters trained in the magical arts as opponents in a challenge.  The venue for competition is the Night Circus.  Their respective masters omit informing them of important rules of the game, like how a winner is determined.

night_circus___celia_and_marco_by_acbunny-d60u8rythe_night_circus___celia__s_library_by_sombrewood-d5e00xk01a624d91a48461261ac67cdfc3c6a88AlemanhaI found timeline a night_circus__the_clock_by_thesearchingeyes-d5laf5vbit cos-NIGHT-CIRCUS-large640Night_Circus_Hero_groupnfusing.NightCircus_AFthe_night_circus___widget_and_poppet_by_eizurin-d4i1ce0Night Circus 0911  But once I got into the book, I found it magical, very atmospheric and a bit mysterious.  I like the way the different story-lines blend together.