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

MirrorMask by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean, 80 pages, 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, 362 pages, 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, 387 pages, 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.

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

Agent Gates and the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey: (a parody) by Camaren Subhiyah, 126 pages, read by Kira, on 05/12/2014

Agent GatesAh – my Downton Abbey addiction can be revived!  This month’s challenge is Graphic Novels, and I was lucky that my coworker recommended this title to magent batese.  It is a parody, poking fun at a variety of aspects of the show, particularly, the aristocracy’s treatment of their servants.  The illustrator does an excellent job of drawing characters with distinctly recognizable physical characteristics of the TV characters.  Even the names are clever.  Bates is Gates, Thomas Barrow is Thompson Sparrow, Anna is Joanna, Daisy is Poppy.  Funny stuff!

30. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Legend by Marie Lu, 305 pages, read by Kira, on 04/27/2014

Legend_Marie_Lu_Book_coverIn post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, two highly intelligent teenagers alegendTess n Dayre working for opposing sides.  Rebel, Day was to have been killed when he supposedly failed his trials, but lives on the streets with, helping his family survive, as well as thumbing his nose at the Republic, by wreaking havoc.  He is the Republic’s Most Wanted Criminal, Not because his crimes are heinous, but because they make the Republic look bad.

On the other side is child prodigy June, assigned the task of hunting down Day, because he supposedly killed June’s brother Metias.

This is a fast-paced action book, with a romance that is at turns cute and then annoying.

I disliked the number of torture/terrorizing scenes and thus will NOT read the 2 sequels..

30. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, 374 pages, read by Kira, on 04/25/2014

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What a delightful and fun read.  Teenager Wade is living in the US about 2014’s, in a post energy world.  He lives in the stacks – stacks of trailers/mobile homes linked together with steel poles, and whatever jetsam is lying around, his trailer is on the 32nd level, and actually receives a little sunlight.  His aunt steals his food vouchers.  He has found a safeplace at the bottom of a mound of abandoned vehicles (no gas left), which he crawls into every day hooks into the Oasis (FB on steroids) with a visor and haptic glove and goes to school.  This is the environment.  The multibillionaire, James Haliday who invented the Oasis and numerous other internet games died 5 years ago and set up a series of challenges, the winner will inherit the billions.  Wade is one of several hunters searching for the 1st key.  Haliday loved the 80’s so the hunters as well as the readers get to share in 80’s culture.  Personally, I don’t think I’m very in touch with pop culture, but was amazed at all the culture references I caught – Blade Runner, LadyHawke, War Games, John Hughes movies, Excalibur, Gary Gygax, D & D, etc.

I REALLY enjoyed this book! and have recommended it to all  sorts of people.

 

 

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16. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe, 352 pages, read by Kira, on 04/14/2014

The-Hum-and-the-Shiver-Alex-Bledsoe1Wild and willful Brownwyn Hyatt is back from the Iraq war.  There are omens that her mother is likely to die, and a haint is wanting thumshivo talk to her.  Will it be possible to change the future and keep her mom alive. Or if her Mom does die, will Brownwyn be able to remember her musical skills in order to learn her Mother’s song.  Will she be able to resist the temptation of her old boyfriend, bad-boy, Dwight?  It also includes the storylines of a Christian minister trying to make inroads into this isolated community of people called the Tufa.  And it includes the storyline of Don Swayback, 1/8th Tufa, who comes back to his roots.

I really liked the storyline of the book up until the last chapter, even if it was a bit slow-paced.  I didn’t like the way the protagotuatha_de_danann_by_mirovia-d4h4bx0nist behaved in the end, so totally self-centereeriu_queen_of_tarad.

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

Fortunately, the Milk. by Neil Gaiman , 101 pages, read by Kira, on 03/31/2014

milkA cute piece of froth wherein the father goes out to purchase some milk for his children’s cereal, and when he arrives later than expected he spins a tale of time-traveling dinosaurs flying in balloons visiting talking volcanoes, purple ponies, vampires, and GaimanMilk_1_photo_Brady_Hall080713pirates.  Not Neil Gaiman’s usual fare.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags: ,

Murder of Crows: a Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop, 354 pages, read by Kira, on 03/29/2014

murdcrows Mexican Wolf Peeking Over the Snow c.murder.crows.poland.TNIn the first novel, Written In Red Meg Corbin cements her place among the Others (vampires, werewolves, Medusa-plague-causer, elementals, etc).  In this book Murder of Crows, Meg and her Lakeside community confront additional attacks on their community and attempts to recapture Meg.   The Others are reminiscent of Native Americans, and I like the fact that they don’t get pushed around here and are able to deal with the intruders on their own terms… also that the polluters get their comeuppance.   I really enjoy this series – definite page-turners and full of atmosphere!

 

“Near perfect…Written in Red isn’t just the best urban fantasy of the year, it may be one of the best ever.”—All Things Urban Fantasy

27. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Women's Fiction (chick lit) · Tags:

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen, 334 pages, read by Kira, on 03/24/2014

What a delightful wonderful tale!   Sarah Addison Allen’s writing is a bit like Anne Tyler’s, but with a little magical realism and and little more optimism thrown in.  I liked how you got to know each character’s back story, how they became who they are.  I liked the ending though pLost lakeersonally, I could see it coming.  And the book had a positive impact lost lon my bodlake losty  cypress kneeslo lk  devons wingslots lake lot lakeimage.    lost lkeLost lake fwaking Kate

17. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman, 325 pages, read by Kira, on 03/15/2014

grimlegElizabeth takes a job at the New York Circulating Materials repository where objects including items from the Grimm tales are loaned out.  However, someone is stealing from the repository and she and her fellow pages investigate.  I really enjoyed the story – its Not perfect, but very entertaining and creative.

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17. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, Kira, NonFiction

Dave Barry's Greatest Hits by Dave Barry, 287 pages, read by Kira, on 03/14/2014

Dave BarryMore Humor by Dave Barry.  You have to get into the storytelling mode, for Barry’s humor to work, and then it catches you!
I very much enjoyed this book!

 

 

03. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books

Ash by Malinda Lo., 264 pages, read by Kira, on 02/28/2014

ash_malindalo_500A creative retelling of Cinderella – with a little Tam Lin thrown in.  Ash becomes an indentured servant to her stepmother when her father’s debts come due.  She sees fairyland as an escape from her drudgery and abuse.  The fairy Sidhean who could steal her away from mortals is reluctant to do so, seemingly because he is cursed to love her and have his heart broken.  Eventually, Ash falls in love with the Kings Huntress, and realizes, she might want to stay in the mortal realm.  Enjoyable, 500fullfast-paced rehuntress_arc_cover_webad.

01. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George, 324 pages, read by Kira, on 02/27/2014

dragonslippers  dragonskin-slippers Another story where the orphan maiden is sacrificed to the local dragon, and eventually marries the prince of the kingdom.

Not all goes as planned, first, they weren’t sure the dragon still existed, since no one had seen him.  Then it turns out the dragon really didn’t want to deal with humans, he was too old, and humans too dangerous.  Then it turns out that dragons horde very different items depending on their own particular interest.  This particular dragon hordes shoes.  The protagonist Creel, gets a pair of shoes from the dragon, shoes with special powers.  A delightful tale, I did think back to the Stolen Child, about the theme, enjoying what you’ve got, when Creel was living in the dragon’s cave, eating well, pleasant company, and able to embroider to her heart’s content.  To someone who would love more time to craft, it sounded idea..   Not as good as the other 2 books I’ve read by Day, the pacing wdragonslipas a bit too dragintense towards the end for me.

01. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Inspirational, Kira, Self Help, Short Stories

The Late Bloomer: Myths & Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, 380 pages, read by Kira, on 02/28/2014

late bloomer  Clarissa Pinkola Estes examines archetypal themes in fairy tales relevant to unleashing creativity and letting your unique talents blossom. Estes uses a combination of Jungian psychology together with family wisdom to explain the significance of various tales.  I learned that she had been held at gunpoint down in Guatemala, during a period of civil unrest, listening to her inner voice/angel, she eventually started singing to her kidnappers, who let her go, saying the singing was driving them nuts. She finishes each chapter with a blessing.  I really liked this title, As it was so deep & rich, I wouldn’t want to read several back to back.  I really clientImg_estesenjoyed this book, & feel cactslike I benefited from her wisdom.

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

Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls by Jane Yolen, 116 pages, read by Kira, on 02/28/2014

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, 158 pages, 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, 266 pages, 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., 117 pages, 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, 328 pages, 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.