This was a mixed bag of tales.  Some lived up to the advertising, others were less successful.  One of the problems I had with some of the tales, is telling me how smart the protagonist is, and then all she did was sprinkle magic fairy dust that she had from somewhere to solve all the villages problems.  I realize it is more difficult to show instead of tell, in short tales, but maybe you Not-One-Damsel-in-Distress-9780152020477can’t have short fairy tales that cannot 5c6beb7d1455d9712297b6c80feb8533be shown, but paladinbyxiaji777xj3must be told. strng il_570xN.541902331_kzpc images I did enjoy the story Janet Burd (a Tam Lin variation), as well as the Mollee Whoppee story.

26. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Graphic Book, Kira

Fairest: In all the Land by Bill Willingham, read by Kira, on 02/24/2014

Someone is killing all the pretty heroines.  Cindy (Cinderella) takes up the investigation trying to figure out who and why, and can she save her sisters.  An odd story within a story, except at the end, you realize you should have paid attention to the main narrator.    9781401239008_p0_v2_s260x420STK619326120306035527-fairest-1-cover-story-top index

24. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George, read by Kira, on 02/21/2014

princess of glass    Another delightful retelling of a fairy tale by Jessica Day George, this time, we revisit the story Cinderella.  In this version it is the Fairy Godmother who is wicked, and Eleanora (Cinderella) is but a victim.  The protagonist is Poppy one of the Twelve Dancing Princesses from an earlier book.  I think I must read all of this author’s books – they are enchanting!red s red glass

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman., read by Kira, on 02/16/2014

Odd is a kid who smiles all the time, even after his father dies.  The village people do Not understand him.  Then he attempts to use his father’s giant axe, and in the process Odd & the Frost Giants - Cover +injures his leg; he builds himself a crutch and drags himself home.  His mother remarries a man who doesn’t care for Odd.  But Odd perseveres, using the talents he has, he is able to help out the Norse gods, Odin, Loki, and Thor, who have been turned into different animals.  This was a AdamStower_OddtheFrostGiants01fun short read.universe_within

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow . by Jessica Day George, read by Kira, on 02/16/2014

sun-and-moon-ice-and-snow1   Another delightful rendition of Beauty and the Beast this time in a Norbear - Copywegian mode.  This was well done, fast paced, and atmospheric!  I would like to see a version where the girl does NOT succeastL - Copyumb to kn_eastbearsun moonpressure from her family.

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine, read by Kira, on 02/19/2014

cover-of-fairest fairestA reinterpretation of Snow White.  In this fractured version, the protagonist, an innkeeper’s daughter, is a larger girl who is sometimes treated poorly by other people because of her looks.  However, she has the most beautiful voice in the kingdom. This was well written and challenged our culture’s obsession with good looks, asking the reader to question our assumptions we make based on physical attractiveness.

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner., read by Kira, on 02/15/2014

A satire on Political Correctness covering a number of common fairy tales.  In one the helpful woodsman gets his head chopped off, for intruding and doubting that Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, couldn’t work out their own problems.  hw7.plIt was ok, I did learn some things about discrimination and different ways of viewing the world.

19. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue, read by Kira, on 02/09/2014

A wonderful entrancing story! a hobgoblin, trades places with the real Henry Day, getting a chance to life out a human life, after waiting about 100 years for his turn.  The previous HenrStolen_Childy Day, now renamed Anaday, struggles to make sense of his world, and to fit in with the band of hobgoblins.  Both characters struggle to figure out what to do with the lives that they have.  I like the fact that Donohue took a familiar narrative, that of the stolen/exchanged child, and tackled stochilddeeper questionstlchls of what it meastolns to live a meaningful life.  This book reminded me of both   and Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let me Go” as well as Adam Phillips’ book missing outMissing Out (which had too much psychoanalysis for me to finish).

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

Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman, read by Kira, on 02/08/2014

Black Orchid tells or retells the story of one of DC comic’s superheroes (or superheroines).  The Black Orchid had appeared in DC Comics of the 1970′s.  Neil Gaiman performs a twist on the usual narrative of a superhero.  The story begins with our superhero getting killed in the beginning pages.  Then a former friend uses the woman’s DNA to create a plant/human hybrid, that has different superpowers.  It is a very violent story, with death upon death of the both the good and the bad guys.  Lex Luther is the main bad guy, while other superheroes/villains make cameo appearances.  This title is credited with helping to break the way for lessindex traditionalimagesBlackO graphic novels.

10. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: ,

Harlequin Valentine by Gaiman, Neil, read by Kira, on 02/09/2014

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Apparently the Harlequin is a stock character in European and British theater specifically, the Commedia dell’Arte format – along with a whole host of other characters – including Columbine – his love interest.  In this retelling of the Harlequin’s usual story, Gaiman adds a twist to the standard narrative.  Even though I was not familiar with the standard narrative, I could see that giving the woman powers and moving her into a main character status is a twist on the standard narrative where the woman is often the object, and Not the subject.  Interesting piece.harqp3

03. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Christmas : a Candid History by Bruce David Forbes., read by Kira, on 01/17/2014

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Did you know that the Puritans banned the celebration of Christmas in the US & UK for almost 2 Centuries!  So working Christmas was the norm, when Bob Cratchit asked Scrooge for the day off.  The christmas-a-candid-historyChristmas Carol story makes it seem as if, Scrooge is being a mean person, as opposed to a law-abPURITAN-BAN-ON-CHRISTMAS-WAS-TO-PREVENT-DEMONIZATIONS-OF-CITIZENS-IN-COMMUNITYiding citizen, a shrewd business person.  The biggest reason for the revival of the winter holiday celebration in Britain & America was the book, the Christmas Carol; the 2nd reason for the revival of celebrating Christmas, was the press’ fascination with the young Queen Victoria & Prince Albert from Germany who captured the royal families’ Christmas Tree in the newspaper.  The “tradition” caught on.cmaspuritans

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A pioneer in the world consciousness effort, Shakti Gawain details the practical technique of using mental imagery and affirmation to produce positive life changes.  creative-visualization-complete-book-on-tape-shakti-gawain-audio-cover-artThis includes the Pink Bubble Technique, Grounding and Runnbook covering Energy.  I find these exercises very useful and recommend work by Shakti Gawain.Visualization

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Something Missing by Matthew Dicks, read by Kira, on 01/30/2014

something missingMartin a career criminal with OCD, only steals items that won’t be missed.  Food, cleaning supplies, and higher end pieces, like good thiefjewelry that hasn’tsomething_missing_coer been used or silver.  He likes his “clients” and when he accidentally knocks a toothbrush in the toilet, he is unable to just wash it off, but rather replaces it, which leads him to his first good deed.  He begins to think that maybe he is meant to be in these houses for more than personal acquisitions.

Something missing refers to both the items in people’s homes as well as relationships in Martin’s life.

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30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Classics, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Kira

Jules Verne’s Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne/Gary Gianni, read by Kira, on 01/24/2014

Trapped in an Underwatjules verneer Vessel with a Brilliant Mad Misanthrope!  that about sums it up.  Since our challenge this month was classics, and I haven’t tried many graphic novels, I thought I’d give this book a go.  This is my 2nd or 3rd graphic novel, and I find I don’t get much out of these [though as a kid, some of the Classic Comics really brought to life some of the classics, but others didn't work].  On top of the limited plot-line the artwork was dreary, you could have had some beautiful underwater scenes, for example of Atlantis or the cool fish.    But No.

 

 

 

 

 

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22. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Kira, on 01/19/2014

Wow!  I was so impressed with this 2nd book of the Raven Cycle trilogy.  Definitely, a book that stands on its own (well the background stoThedreamthievesbluery would be nice to have). tumblr_mswuqaIkXF1r181heo1_500135343_10202156284849292_698349595_oBlack Prince effigycabes water  Part of the credit goes to the awesome narrator of the Audiobook – Will Patton.  Patton manages unique and appropriate voices for each character.  The other part I really loved about this book, is the way it takes comaurora lynchmon narratives and breaks them, oh oh, the mother and aunties are letting the Hit Man into their house! danger danger, oh, but these women aren’t stupid, no they’re just braver and more clever than women usually get dreamthivscredit for.  This story focusesThe-Raven-Boys-IB2(pp_w573_h441) on Ronin and his abilties to dream objects and bring them back.  Also: Great Worldbuilding!

Pics include: Blue, the gang, Kavinsky’s car, Glendauer, Cabes Water, Aurora Lynchtumblr_mqgw0pp1ej1s2qitso1_500 tumblr_mdmygfZaTa1qmbg8bo1_500 and 2 collages.

22. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Classics, Fiction, Kira

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, read by Kira, on 01/18/2014

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s seemed to be mostly a character sketch of Holly Golightly (Gloria Vanderbuilt is one of many supposed models for the character).   The narrator and Holly both live in a brownstone Manhattan apartment building.  Holly was a vivacious country girl, who has become a society girl, socializing with wealthy men, who give her expensive gifts and money.  The narrator seems to be a version of Truman Capote, observer and writer.

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02. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira

Ross Poldark : a novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787 by by Graham, Winston, read by Kira, on 12/27/2013

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I recently watched the dramatization of this Masterpiece series for the 3rd time in my life (once as a youngster forced to view it as my parents watched it, a decade ago on VHS, after I suggested MRRL purchase it, and now checking out the DVD series from DBRL).  The story weaves in economic and class injustices alongside sudsy and dramatic storylines.  What was especially interesting was contrasting the book version with the TV series.  So much more happens in film, than in the book, much more drama.  For example in the film series, the protagonist marries Demelza, only after she is forced to reveal that she is pregnant by him.  And he is still in love with his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth who ended up marrying his cousin Francis (they understood that he had died fighting over in the colonies).  In the book, he gives Elizabeth up right after he sleeps with Demelza – no protracted struggle to do the right thing.  Also, in the book Ross is clearly fascinated with Demelza this creature who has bloomed as she became his housemaid.

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26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery, Paranormal · Tags:

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, read by Kira, on 12/24/2013

Jonathan Stroud has done it again, actually this title is better than the Bartimaeus series (imho).  The Lockwood Investigative Company of ghost investigators burn down a house in the process of eliminating a problem specter haunting a house.  That’s when things get really interesting, when a wealthy CEO hires them to clean out a mansion where other larger & more experienced agencies have failed.  Join Lucy, George, and Anthony as they attempt to stay alive and solve this mystery.

A wonderful read – good plot, and delicious atmosphere, transports you to another London.

 

 

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11. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry, read by Kira, on 12/11/2013

Once again I’m impressed with Dave Barry.  He is so funny.  This time he strings together a cohesive narrative with gut-busting sections, and Christmas cheer.  Its a story told about a family who’s dog is dying and how this affects the annual Christmas pageant.shepherd_angel_walter_barry  santa-and-nativity-scene

11. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Kira, Romance, Science Fiction · Tags:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth, read by Kira, on 12/06/2013

This title unlike the previous 2, is narrated by both Tris and Tobias. I’m Not sure this adds that much (unlike hearing Beans narrative in contrast to Ender’s version of the same story). I’m always suspicious that the author is trying to pad their work to add more pages.  Maybe Roth is pulling a Hobbit Movie extension trick, trying to get as much out of the story as she can.  Overall, I liked this book, no it wasn’t as fast-paced as the other two, but you gained a lot of explanation.  I wonder if Roth knew where the series was headed when she published the first book.

 

allegiant  DIVERGENT-ALLEGIANTalegntimagesallegns

If a song was playing during the opening scenes, it could be the Who’s “Don’t Get Fooled Again” new boss, same as the old boss…