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

The Capture by Kathryn Lasky, 222 pages, read by Kira, on 11/04/2014

gallery_owl_galleryRecommended by one of our regular teen readers years ago, I now have the opportunity to read this series.  The Capture starts with the protagonist, newly-hatched owlet named, Soren, spending a few weeks in the nest, before his elder clutch-mate Klud, pushes him over the edge (reminiscent of E. E. Knights Dragon series).  From there he gets captured by an evil group of owls, who snatch baby owls, and imprisoned at the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls.  Here Soren meets Gylfie a tiny elf owl, and the two attempt to withstand the brainwashing the academy imposes.

 


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12. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kira · Tags: , ,

Cat love letters by Leigh W. Rutledge , 112 pages, read by Kira, on 11/12/2014

This delightful book features collected correspondence between pairs of cats.  Some of these cats are falling in love, some are having spats, some are desperately searching for their loved ones, atypical relationshipsindex 10-titanic-new-version-lolcats column_021_demotivational-cats perfectly-timed-photos-29    – a wide variety of relationships Ian Wilkinson, from Peterborough, UK who has recieved letters from Royal Mail claiming his three-year-old cat Snowball has attacked the postmanIMG_0930 Dear Kitty Paware  images3  9a5d5e3227147d312c34b494b8f09fb4 thumb  imagesfeindex2cat_1751089catured.  Some were sweet, some were funny.  Another treat by Leigh Rutle????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????dge.

12. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Clariel: the Lost Abhorsen by Garth Nix, 382 pages, read by Kira, on 11/08/2014

index2In this prequel to the Sabriel series, protagonist Clariel, is forced to move to the city of Belisaire with her parents.  Her mother is moving to the capital, because it provides better opportunities for her work as a goldsmith.  Clariel hates being cooped up in the city – and is desperate to escape.  She is subjected to having to act properly, and decide whether or not to step into the political machinations.  There is a very funny scene at her first class at the academy – the subject “drinking tea”, where all sorts of etiquette and protocols are to be observed, where the instructor struggles in vain to rein his 5 students in. Throughout the novel, Clariel struggles with doing the right thing versus escaping and gaining her own freedom.  Returning readers will be delighted that Moggett the sarcastic cat-like creature has an extended role.

 

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

Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech, 176 pages, read by Kira, on 11/02/2014

love_that_dog 977108e4e010f1d5b4be4dcc31a63c02 creechI love Sharon Creech’s work (Walk Two Moons is my fav).  So when I saw she had a book about CATS, I had to read it.  Apparently, this book is a sequel to Love that Dog.  In this book, the protagonist Jack is still mourning the loss of his dog and Not ready for a new pet, and is still in Miss Stretchberry’s  poetry class.  Miss Stretchberry is a wonderful teacher, I really wish I’d had such a good literature teacher poetry or what-not or any sort.  She makes the poetry come alive, even for me in this short book.   I guess I will have to take an online  class on poetry.  She explains what makes the poetry work, and she is very encouraging of Jack.   Eventually, when the black kitten disappears he realizes he does like the cat.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Scarlet Pimpernel. by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, 306 pages, read by Kira, on 10/31/2014

scarlet-pimpernel-cover - Copy n87614 - CopyThe Scarlet Pimpernel is the original Zorro, a foppish aristocrat, who in reality rescues French scarlet_pimpernel_600 - Copyindex - Copyscarlet-pimpernel-drawing - Copyaristocrats from the guillotine and excesses of the French Revolution (seen here at its worst).  After the excesses, the story moves into how the Scarlet Pimpernel has pulled of some quite daring rescues, tweaking the noses of the brutal French guards.  Then it moves into the love story/romance between Marguarite and her husband.  I dislike how far in debt, Margaurite is to her husband, and how high/large his forgiveness needs to be, to reconcile the couple.  Then back to more adventure.  Though really the quick thing to do, would be to incapacitate Chauvelin.  It is an old book and the treatment of women shows the misogynistic flaws of the time.  The “smartest” woman in Europe, remains clueless about her husband’s masquerades throughout (my husband noted this). Fun, but could use some updating.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Memoirs · Tags: , ,

Haatchi & Little B: the Inspiring True Story of one Boy and his Dog by Wendy Holden, 224 pages, read by Kira, on 11/01/2014

81LTSYB7-zL._SL1500_So I was looking for a the animal’s point of view story preferably a cat story.  What I found on our ebook listing was this dog story and Not from the dog’s point of view.  It is a story about lives who deal with disability and how the dog helps the little boy.  Owen the young boy was born with a rare genetic abnormality called Schwartz-Jampel Syndrome.  This syndrome shortens and tightens all his muscles limiting his mobility in the extreme.

Haatchi the dog, had been tied to train tracks and run over, consequently missing his tail and one of his rear legs.
haatchi-640x360 owen-haatchi Both need lots of special attention, physical therapy.  Owen had been withdrawing into himself, as he noticed his difference from fellow kids.  Haatchi brought him out of his shell, and 571151-24ab88ee-982c-11e3-ae2a-c06439f32ae2allowed him to blossom.  Haatchi won all sorts of awards it seemed almost improbably, but I guess, the grand prize has to go to someone.

Haatchi’s presence helped the fundraising effort for Owen’s new wheelchair.  It ends with a short glossary of special words used by Owen with Haatchi.

30. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

The Finisher by by David Baldacci, 497 pages, read by Kira, on 10/29/2014

index2 I hadn’t read anything by popular author David Baldacci, so when I saw this book in my favorite genre I thought I’d give it a try.  This strategy paid off when I discovered Nora Roberts’ fantasy trilogy Morrigan’s Cross.  It is a very fast-paced read with a rather different world, some sort of apocalypse, I believe, with perhaps magic or maybe its technology.  Things are Not as they seem, it took me awhile to figure out how this universe/world worked.  The main character Vega Jane (an orphan of course) sees her coworker being chased by tracking hounds followed by the City Council members.  Her friend is headed into the Quag – wherein there are only monsters and no sane member ventures into.  Yet things are Not as they seem.  Vega Jane’s transformation seemed a lot more believable than a number of heroes, I’m Not sure why.  I cannot wait for the sequels!

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26. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira · Tags: ,

Black Beauty: the Autobiography of a Horse by Anna Sewell, 301 pages, read by Kira, on 10/26/2014

black_beauty  black-beauty-ladybird-book-children-s-classic-series-740-gloss-hardback-1986-1445-p  imagesBlack-Beauty-02-800x587blbeaut 902078-M 054677Although Beauty’s life starts out soft and sweet, you know abuse by humans is coming down the pike.

There is a lot of moralizing.  Moralizing of a sort that I agree with, we should Not abuse horses, nor other animals.  And I think showing kindness to other humans is a standard by which we ought to judge others (if we are going to judge them at all).  But I am surprised that this is a classic, it might as well have been titled, 50 ways Not to abuse horses.  That said given the great positive influence this title has had on the treatment of horses and animals, I am glad of its impact.  Plus the story had a happy ending.

23. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Fiction, Humor, Kira · Tags:

Grumpy cat : a grumpy book / by Grumpy Cat. by Grumpy Cat: a Grumpy Book., 96 pages, read by Kira, on 10/21/2014

gcbook-225x300 Here we learn where Grumpy Cat lives (in Arizona), what his first words were “No”, “Good”, and how he likes the desert.  Full of the humor you’ve come to know and love, Grumpy Cat spreads his warm fuzzies around.

22. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Cats, Fiction, Humor, Kira · Tags:

Cats' Letters to Santa by Bill Adler and Paul Bacon, 96 pages, read by Kira, on 10/20/2014

cats letA humorous whimsical collection of letters to Santa from cats.  Some complain about the dog, one asks that Santa bring another companion for the one lonely fish (since the last fish disappeared mysteriously), sometimes the cats name relates to the humor of the letter.
9781848373716
clts-tail-300x205gang letter to santa

20. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Cats, Children's Books, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Lighthouse, the Cat, and the Sea: a Tropical Tale by Leigh W. Rutledge, 175 pages, read by Kira, on 10/18/2014

51ZC2SJTQAL._SL500_AA300_ images2 df461102777f12ab3e163e245effaa76   Swimming catimages3A sweet tale told at the end of Mrs. Poole’s, the cat’s, life about growing up on a sailing ship, travels, shipwreck, but then most of the time is spent with Griffin, the son of the lighthouse keeper.  Griffin is tender and different, just like his Uncle Daniel was.  I’m guessing this to be a metaphor for being gay.  Griffin’s mother loves her son, and through that love is able to reconcile herself with her brother who has also always been different.  Charming, though Not as delightful as Rutledge’s Diary of a Cat. Next up Rutledge’s Cats Love Letters.

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20. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Cats, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Humor, Kira

P.S. Your Cat Is Dead by James Kirkwood, 224 pages, read by Kira, on 10/18/2014

ps-your-cat-is-deadThere is a reason we don’t carry this title…yep, its Not that good.  Remind me to never read a book, just because the cover looks really good.  They say you cannot judge a book by its cover, well, thats Not entirely true.  If the cover features a knife dripping with blood, you know chances are good, that its just NOT a “cozy mystery”.  But I digress.

Main character, Jimmy Zoole’s has had a wretched year: his best friend died, his acting career is dead, his apt has been burgled repeatedly, his promising manuscript for a novel gone with burglary #3, his girlfriend just broke up with him, and now his cat has died while at the vets.  Its being capped off with burglary #4 on New Year’s Eve.  Zoole catches the burglar in the act ties him to the kitchen counter, and vents by hitting the burglar.  I thought it would be lots funnier.  Yes I knew there’d be some black humor.  But I thought the burglar turning around and helping Zoole after being hit repeatedly stretched credulity.

The cover (the black one) looks like it’d be a hilarious read, a little quirky… Not for me.  Yet this book, was turned into both a play and a movie, perhaps I’m being harsh.

20. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books

Sinner (Shiver Trilogy Companion) by Maggie Stiefvater, 357 pages, read by Kira, on 10/19/2014

asinnerSinner?  well I usually think of someone much worse than Cole’s character.  It seems something of a boast to label oneself as a sinner with his few “crimes”.  I wish I found out more about Sam and Grace – I don’t really care that much for Cole and Isabel, they are Not as interesting as Sam and Grace, but perhaps their story has played out, maybe it really played out at the end of v1 of the  Trilogy.  Isabel became less and less likeable, really annoying as if parents getting a divorce entitles her to be bitchy and mean.  And I guess Cole’s great self-doubts justify him falling in love with such a mean person.    Much more romance, much less action. Trite.  But if we categorize this as a romance, then it is a much better romance than the majority of romance type novels I’ve come in contact with.

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14. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Kira, Science Fiction · Tags:

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, 199 pages, read by Kira, on 10/11/2014

9781921656064-1xdllbtAn enjoyable book.  Main character Miranda starts the story off, telling how her neighbor and best friend Sal, quit hanging out with her, after he got punched, as the two were walking home.  A number of other 6th graders enter her life, as space is opened up.  These include AnneMarie, whose best friend Julia “broke up” with her.  Collin joking fellow who’d always been in the background, Marcus the kid who hit Sal, and even Julia, AnneMarie’s long-time best friend.  It also describes Miranda’s relationship with her Mother (single mom) and Mom’s boyfriend Richard.  The heart of the story is how Miranda navigates her friendships.  There is also a time travel mystery, as she receives notes from a
person who has already seen the future. images2680954d79bd11915bdcbc13da7008c5 The question is who is doing the time travelling.  All the clue are laid out for you, but I didn’t think it was obvious.  Minor quibble – I didn’t think the explanation for Sal’s jerky behavior really made sense.  But overall enjoyable!

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09. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Cats, Humor, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Dear Tabby: Feline Advice on Love, Life, and the Pursuit of Mice by Leigh W. Rutledge, 112 pages, read by Kira, on 10/09/2014

index mq1 20101218-Dear Tabby get-attachment deartabby dear-tabby-header-jan-14-2013Another book by Leigh Rutledge.  This one is a Dear Abby type series of letters that cats (& 1 dog), have written in to Dear Tabby.  Tabby answers a range of questions from how to get your humans to change the stupid funny name they’ve given the cat, to love of birds.  Rutledge, seems familiar with the types of letters that might get written in to an editor, including portraying diverse reactions to a given topic.  Dear Tabby is above all funny, with sharp sarcasm ending most replies.  Now on to find more cat titles by Rutledge.

09. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, 486 pages, read by Kira, on 10/03/2014

emp imagesssThis was a delightful, enjoyable read.  It is the tale of an old jinni, released from his flask after 1000’s of years imprisonment.  He is released by a tinsmith in New York at the turn of the century in New York.  At the same time, a golem created to be the wife of a ship passenger who dies en route to New York, struggles to pass as human in New York in a nearby neighborhood.   I really enjoyed this tale of historical fiction with a touch of magic.  You get a lot of backstory on several of the characters.  I heartily recommend this title. golemandjinni_pbk  772720 istock_000009314476small.jpg NOL-Read-Sliders-The-Golem-and-the-Jinniimages

09. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, 501 pages, read by Kira, on 10/05/2014

dsafdsafasdfThis is the story of Alma Whiteacre a scientist of moss and evolution.  It starts with her father’s life, an unscrupulous lad, who starts prospering by stealing botanicals.
His life is interesting, though he is not a likeable character.    The next 3 segments of the book cover Alma’s life, a very intellectual but very lonely life.  Her mother and secondary mother figure, are all about being tough, and stoic.  Her father is pretty self-centered, and behaves however he pleases.  An interesting, if uneven read.

05. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira, Multicultural Fiction

One Night @ the Call Center: a Novel by Chetan Bhagat, 310 pages, read by Kira, on 10/02/2014

clltr - Copy1340699569_9780552773867  one night - Copy IMG_3975 index2 - CopyI read about this bestselling title in the book Globish  He is the biggest selling English language author in India.  In 2010 Time Magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people of the world (along with Barack Obama and Steve Forbes).  I’d never heard of him before. the story takes place over the span of about 8 hours, examining the lives of 6 call center employees, most of whom are adults.  It was an ok book.  Not bad, but Not something I’d recommend.

 

01. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, History, Kira, NonFiction

The Mental Floss History of the World : An Irreverent Romp through Civilization's Best Bits by Erik Sass and Steve Wiegand with Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur., 416 pages, read by Kira, on 09/23/2014

3242424mental-floss-forbidden-knowledgeMentalFloss500mentalfloss   This was a far more interesting history of the world, or most any history than I’ve previously read. The downside, is that I will have difficulty remembering all the individual facts.  The narrative was constructed more like Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader including Harper’s Magazine Index-type lists of comparative statistics that really make you think. Much more attention is given to Asia, Africa and South America than your standard Euro-centered histories of the past.   Did you know that the Khan that Marco Polo visited was the same Kubla Khmentalfloss2an mentioned in Coleridge’s poem?  I listened to this title and thus missed some formatting and organization that would have been communicated on the page.   Apparently, they had sidebars that listed who-or-what was up at a given point in time, who/what was down. They also had important events listed within a given time-period.  These interesting tidbits didn’t translate as readily to the audio version, they needed more verbal placemarkers, such as these highlights apply to this time period.  Still I really enjoyed this book, and will look for more Mental Floss titles.

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

Diary of a Cat : True Confessions and Lifelong Observations of a Well-Adjusted House Cat by Leigh W. Rutledge., 176 pages, read by Kira, on 09/28/2014

indexcat-housecats-in-sinkcat-reading-newspaper-445x299    nosy-dogThis was a delightful tale written in the form of diary entries by a cat.  The cat introduces us to the various neighbors on the block.  These include a squabbling mother & teenage daughter next door, an agoraphobic older woman desperately trying to get her shoes to walk her more than a few feet down the block, a crazy cat lady, with a house full of cats, and an abused young boy 26-dta-markhillary-2826736533and his unsparing father.  There is humor a-plenty, though its Not all fluff.  I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading Rutledge’s other titles.