11. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: ,

Dragon Strike: Book 4 in the Age of Fire series by E. E. Knight., 353 pages, read by Kira, on 01/10/2015

index age_of_fire_dragon_trio_by_isvoc-d7zqvk5.png   map3_borders_smallHere the tale of the 3 dragon siblings merges together again.2816715wistala_by_3l3ctr0head-d46r954  It is nice to see the 3rd sibling, the crippled one, depicted as such a great leader.

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Emma and the Blue Genie. by Cornelia Funke, 90 pages, read by Kira, on 01/01/2015

0385375409 emma-and-the-blue-genie-illustration2-kerstin-meyer-001 emma-und-der-blaue-dschinnI’ve really enjoyed Cornelia Funke’s works, and was delighted to see another of her works translated into English.  This is a short story of a girl having an adventure in elsewhere with some genies.

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery · Tags:

Secondhand Spirits: A Witchcraft Mystery by Juliet Blackwell., 336 pages, read by Kira, on 01/03/2015

imagesLily Ivory, a witch, runs a vintage clothing shop.  Against her wishes, she is gifted a familiar who takes the form of a pig.  During the course of  her days she discovers…

I like the nuanced characters, and the fact that Lily is a very strong protagonist.  I also liked that the villain was difficult to spot or figure out – though the clues were there.  I very much enjoyed this fulfilling mystery.

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, How To's, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction

Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!) by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin, 291 pages, read by Kira, on 12/31/2014

51u6aQwkMxL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ 9780399166013_IL_3-300x217 CarolsFerals1 3546954 Alinta VickisDiningRoom-Before-lr VickisDiningRoom4-after-lrThis is a how-to-book showing you ways to make your abode more liveable for you and your cats.  This is especially important if you live in a small space – like an apartment – and if your cats cannot go outside.  But it involves a fair amount of construction, including attaching hangers to the walls, so that might be a problem for some apartment renters.  One of the first couple examples depicts the makeover for a man who lived with 2 Savannah cats, one of whom was launching himself on top of the range hood that hung from the middle of the ceiling.

 

I need to figure out some catification to keep my cat off the kitchen counter where he looks for more catfood – maybe I’ll try some perfume .

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction, Self Help

Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain your Brain by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner., 268 pages, read by Kira, on 12/17/2014

images  Screen-Shot-2014-05-07-at-9.50.30-AM   The Authors of Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics explain how you can apply some of their techniques to your own life.  I liked the example of the young man from Japan who won the Coney Island hot-dog eating contest.  By methodically studying himself, he figured out, how to be able to eat twice as many hot-dogs (plus buns) to beat native American contestants.  After a couple of years, other contestantfreaks watched his methods and eventually beat him, by using the techniques he’d figured out.

Another topic covered is you need to understand what really motivates people, which is often quite different from what people will tell you, even different from what hqdefaultthey believe about themselves.  For example, when a soccer player gets a penalty kick, will they be aiming for the spot most likely to score a point – statistically this would be right at the goalie –  or someplace else, likely to make a point, but if it fails, they won’t look images2like an idiot.  I enjoyed this book.

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth, 304 pages, read by Kira, on 11/29/2014

The_Traitor_coverFour_A_Divergent_Collection_cover  It is really interesting to see how an author constructs a backstory, or prequel, filling in information that leads up to the larger, already completed, more ambitious narrative.  We get to see Four’s day of Choosing.  We get to see him become and initiate and his relationship with Amar (and Amar’s disappearance).  With this prequel however, you really want to read the trilogy first, and then these prequel stories.  I don’t really know, if these stories would actually hold much interest, if you hadn’t already read Divergent.  The_Transfer_coverThe_Son_cover The_Initiate_cover

29. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Cats, Fiction, Humor, Kira · Tags:

The Devious Book for Cats: A Parody by Fluffy & Bonkers with the assistance of Joe Garden by Fluffy & Bonkers with the assistance of Joe Garden, 213 pages, read by Kira, on 12/14/2014

This parody of The Dangerous Book for Boys is another set of short essays or even just a few paragraphs, featuring humorous riffs on cat behavior.  I enjoyed it!index2 index

29. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Abhorsen book 3 of the Sabriel trilogy by Garth Nix, 358 pages, read by Kira, on 12/28/2014

Abhorsenindexsabriel__abhorsen__s_house_by_andreascott-d3encfeNEW_Abhorsen300pxKPrhwK0abhorsen_bells_2_by_elentari_liv-d4ynyh5This is really Lirael part II.  The previous book in the trilogy ended on a cliffhanger. Sabriel and Touchstone walked into the trap laid for them.  Now only Lirael and Sameth can save the kingdom.  I am very glad I finished this series.  Though it did drag a bit, (and I don’t like set-back, after setback) it contained some really great parts, I even cried at the end.  I look forward to the next title in the series, I believe Garth Nix is doing a sequel to the trilogy.Lirael__The_Abhorsenabhorsen+trilogy

26. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery · Tags:

The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe, 320 pages, read by Kira, on 12/26/2014

the sth A blending of genres, this is a mystery set in medieval times, with a little bit of magic, and a large amount of Guy Noir (a more serious version).  Eddie LaCrosse is a sword for hire/detective with a tragic past (as far as women are concerned).  His childhood best friend, hires him to clear the queen of having murdered her own son. Not quiet sure how the title fits.  Great pacing, and an intriguing story, though I wish the female characters had been drawn more completely and less tending toward objects.  Eddie_LaCrosseeddielacrosse86efb52beeea082270089188ca448ce6

15. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Lirael by Garth Nix, 487 pages, read by Kira, on 12/10/2014

index    lirael 2This is the 2nd book in the Sabriel trilogy.  It picks up 14 years after Sabriel killed Kerigor and takes the viewpoints of Sabriel’s son, Prince Sameth, the Abhorsen-in-waiting, and of Lirael a daugher of the Clayr who are able to see into the future.  We meet Lirael at age 14 long after most Clayr have obtained the “Sight”, who has given up hope that she will ever become a ‘normal’ Farseer, like the rest of her community.  Lirael eventually becomes a librarian (and what a kick-butt occupation this is in this world), and has adventurous encounters in the library with her newly acquired magical companion “the Disreputable Dog”.  At the same time Prince Sameth tries to study the Book of the Dead in order to master the bells, to help his mother and eventually to become the Abhorsen.  However, he experiences panic attacks when he tries to interact with the book.  Eventually the 2 characters 3e091473a6324c21a9932889449091b6cross paths.  Their interactions are delightful.  Some of the index2surprises were easy to foresee, but I found this a very enjoyable read.  Beware,it ends 91GqNS1Oc2L._SL1500_on a cliffhanger.

15. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction, Science

Rock Breaks Scissors: A Practical Guide to Outguessing and Outwitting Almost Everybody by William Poundstone, 302 pages, read by Kira, on 12/13/2014

rock breaks rock-paper-scissors-lizard-spock-stein-schere-papier-eidechse-echse-the-big-bang-theory RANTBLEimages outguessing machine Even when people try to be unpredictable, they usually fall into patterns.  William Poundstone shows readers how to make the best odds for yourself, whether this be a game of rock/paper/scissors, gambling, fixing the books, or investing in the stock market.  Poundstone writes in an engaging and accessible style.

05. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue Book 3 of the Raven Boys Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, 391 pages, read by Kira, on 12/01/2014

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Maggie Stiefvater hits another out of the stadium!  Wow, this book is so much better than the last title I read by Stiefvater – that being Sinner.  Stiefvater creates so much atmosphere and the setting itself is sort of alive.

Blue’s mother, Maura, is missing, she went underground looking for Artemis (Blue’s father), but hasn’t returned for weeks.  The Professor from Britain, whom Gansey studied with, has joined the boys on their hu
nt for Glendower.  Gray Man’s boss, Greenmantle comes to town, along with his wife Piper, looking for vengeance against Gray abandoning the job he was supposed to complete for him (in the last book).  Adam and Ronan work together on a project.  And where is Neve?

I thought this might be the conclusion to the series, however, the epilogue lets you know differently.  I’m so glad there will be more to this series!

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30. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

Made for You by Melissa Marr, 368 pages, read by Kira, on 11/24/2014

index4I have loved Melissa Marr’s fairy series (Wicked Lovely) and I really liked Graveminder.  This title had a lot of potential, the protagonist is now able to experience other people’s deaths by touching them.  This happens after she almost dies in a car crash, a crash the police suspect may have been an intentional attempt to kill her.She winds up in the hospital quite disfigured.

Then her boyfriend who stood her up, and thus led to her walking home at dusk, doesn’t come visit.  At first she is relieved, but then she starts to wonder, when there is No word from him at all.  Then the killer starts targeting her acquaintances, and then her friends.  Some of the chapters  are narrated by the killer, and you get to see into his twisted mind, he believes he is getting messages from God to purify her, that she was “made for him”.  I kept on waiting for her to find out about the murders he committed.  Afterwards, some part of my mind felt the need to turn the news on, to see if any further kills had been announced – it was a bit disturbing.  I am Not fond of such high tension/suspense.  So though it was an engaging read, I will be more careful in selecting books from Marrs.  If you like thrillers though, you’ll probably like this one.

29. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Fiction, Humor, Kira · Tags: ,

Stink Outside the Box : Life Advice from Kitty by Jeremy Greenberg, 64 pages, read by Kira, on 11/28/2014

510iuVLaHpL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Cute tongue and cheek life counseling from kitties who’ve been there and learned from it – coming back to you with philosophy.  The first advice actually made me laugh out loud, it had a little bite of snark in it.  The rest of the advice was a little bit tamer,  still funny, but not as big of laughs.81iWw40m0LL

28. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags: , ,

Dragon Champion Bk 1 in the Age of Fire series. by E. E. Knight, 371 pages, read by Kira, on 11/27/2014

632579In this first book of the series, we get the viewpoint of AuRon, the clutchwinner (male dragon hatchling who wins the fight after the male eggs hatch).  AuRon is a grey dragon, and unusual because he lacks scales.  This is his tale from the eggshelf, the death of his parents, his capture by humans, dwarves, elves, his escape, then journey across the mountains, his tenure/apprenticeship with NooMoahk one of oldest surviving dragons, and AuRon’s revenge on the human’s who are enslaving dragons and wiping out the other species of hominids.  This is a fast moving tale with adventure, battles, skirmishes, and an extended apprenticeship with the great black Dragon NooMoahk (I find I usually really enjoy these periods of scholarship in fantasy books).  I enjoyed learning more background about this dragon family.  I also really liked how the author depicted weaknesses that could be turned into strengths (AuRon’s lack of scales).  I also enjoyed being introduced to character’s early on in the book, and then meeting them in their changed (mostly for the better) adult forms later on.  index2LineoftheSiblings2

28. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: , ,

The Journey - Guardians of Gahoole Bk 2 by Kathryn Lasky, 244 pages, read by Kira, on 11/23/2014

index Soren and his band of owls, search for and find the Island of Hoole with the great Ga’Hoole Tree.  This is a institution of learning similar to Hogwarts.   Here they are divided into different “chaws” or teams that learn a specific skill.  Soren and talkative Otolisa  are placed in the colliering and weather in a chaw where they learn to transport hot coals to use in the smithy.  Evenutally, a bunch of downed owls are discovered brought home to the GaHool tree among them is Soren’s sister Eglantine.  These downed owls are in some weird mental state, that is disrupted with mirrors.    I read this in disjointed bits and pieces over an extended period of time, thus I don’t have a great feel for how good of a read it really is.

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28. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Teen Books · Tags:

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan, 320 pages, read by Kira, on 11/16/2014

51LMS-eZloL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This selkie tale (tail) is told from a couple of perspectives.  The intro shows the young boys gathering clams (or something like clams) for the dinner table and introduces us to the scary witch  on the beach Misskaella, who is the main character.  Then perspective shifts back to the young girl Misskaella as she grows up and is treated poorly by her family and the island’s populace because she is different, because she has a gift with the seals.  She takes her revenge by creating selkie brides for the male populace.  She becomes the richest most powerful person in town.  She can transform male seals into human lovers (for a time).  We feel sorry for Misskaella and then angry that she could be so cruel.  This was a very engaging read, something of a downer, though the island returns to normal at the tales end.
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27. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Tempting Danger by Eileen Wilks, 309 pages, read by Kira, on 11/22/2014

81617This is a fast-paced urban fantasy novel with romance thrown in.  The protagonist Lily Yu is a detective investigating a murder that appears to have been committed by a werewolf. Or is someone framing the Lupi and planning to wipe them from the face of the earth.  The romance aspect was fine and didn’t annoy me too much.   I look forward to the next title in the series.

 

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16. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Witch & Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet, 314 pages, read by Kira, on 11/14/2014

Witch_and_Wizard_CoverA fantasy novel by one of the most popular (if Not the MOST popular author – I think he has the broadest appeal).  I’d had such good luck with David Baldacci, and Nora Roberts.  Well this time I struck out.  There was way more freaking out than was necessary and also too much immediate foreshadowing “my next decision was stupid, and unfortunately, so was my next”.  I would think someone like Patterson would be good at straight out telling a story, without so much dancing around with the thoughts of the main characters.  Basically two teens wake up in the middle of the night and are taken to jail, after a new order has been elected into office.  Oh, yeah, and they both apparently have major powers, which their parents explained to them, except they weren’t listening.

14. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Cats, Fiction, Humor, Kira · Tags: , ,

A Cat's Christmas by Stefanie Samek, 180 pages, read by Kira, on 11/10/2014

index Looking for a simple gift for a cat lover? This is a sweet get-yourself-in-the-mood-for-Christmas book for Cat-lovers.  It is a book featuring Christmas recipes, Christmas tips, Christmas songs, all sorts of Christmasy is both humor here as well as stories traditional Christmas tales told from Cat standpoint.  The humor was gentle and clever, not the loud guffaw and bust your gut type of humor, but genial and endearing.  I was impressed at how continually Samek was able to riff on the cat humor, finding all sorts
of puns and ways to have fun.  This book includes feline versions of Christmas Carols, treats and goodies for cats, a cats version of the poem The Night Before Christmas, as well as Dicken’s A Christmas Carol for cats (eg Bob Scratchit).  Some of the ideas really did seem plausible and I wondered if she thought readers might take her up on some of the suggestions.