10. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston, read by Kira, on 07/08/2013

winter witch

Morgana’s mother arranges a marriage for her with a drover from a couple villages over in part to keep her away from the suspicious locals and partly because the mother is dying.  Morgana, mute, is not entirely certain what to make of her gentle husband Cai, nor is he certain what he got himself into.  Unbeknownst to them, there is a black witch in town who covets their keep.  Morgana must come into her full witchly powers to save her home and husband.

Beautiful deblue winter witchscriptions of the Welsh landscape, and a love-story form the backdrop for this paranormal tale.  I liked the atmosphere of the book, almost as much of a character as the protagonists.

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worldle breene

Brene Brown’s latest work debunks the myth that showing vulnerability is weakness, rather it takes courage to be vulnerable.  At the end she provides guideposts to living wholeheartedly.

Brene Brown has a couple of fabulous talks on TED.  I recomend starting with this one http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html  its been viewed over 10 million times!  I think she is profound.

Some of her quotes:

Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.

You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside, your story & hustle for your worthiness.

power of vulnerability

brenee

Then there’s a Teddy Roosevelt quote that she likes.

It is not the critic who counts; not the one who points out how the strong person stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if zhe fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

vulnerab  Brene

29. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira

Silent to the Bone by E.L. Konigsburg, read by Kira, on 06/24/2013

SilentToTheBone   I so loved EL  Konigsburg’s previous award-winning book I read “The View from Saturday”, that I had to read more of her work.  Here the protagonist’s best friend, Branwel, is accused of injuring his half-sister and is struck dumb.  Connor is the only one who figures out how to communicate with Branwel and gets to the bottom of this mystery.  The emphasis is on relationships.  Another very enjoyable read!silent2thebonetop-konigsburg

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Award Winner, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Food, Kira · Tags:

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, read by Kira, on 06/13/2013

On her 9th birthdayparticularsadness cake  Rose discovers that she can taste the emotions of the people who prepared the food she eats; thus discovering the emptiness and discontent her Mother represses.

This is a story of attempting to forge meaningful connections within one’s family and beyond.

The atmosphere reminded me of that found in the title “A Certain Slant of Light”, though Sadness is far more realistic and grounded (yes it contains a small amount of magical realism).

03. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg., read by Kira, on 05/31/2013

What a delightful book!  I’m so glad our challenge this month was award winners for Teens & Children’s.  I’ve read a bunch of well written charming titles.

I’d read one review of “The View from Saturday” where the reviewer said she read this book every year, and I’d read “From the Mixed Up Files…” by Konigsburg previously, and liked it, but didn’t find it stellar.  Well this book was a surprise.  Four children in the sixth grade each struggle with different changes in their lives (divorce, new country, etc).  They come together to form the Team named the Souls to compete in Academic trivia competitions across the state of New York.  Initially, it appears to be the story of these 4 children, but gradually you realize it is also the story of their teacher, Mrs. Olinksy who has returned to teaching again after a car accident that left her a paraplegic in a wheel-chair.  I’d like to reread this title and read it with my husband.  If you like Louis Sachar, you should give this title a try!

 

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03. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Kira · Tags: ,

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, read by Kira, on 05/25/2013

WinnDixie1 Because-Of-Winn-Dixie-3-T5CPEU88EA-1024x768 Much different, lighter, from her The tale of Despereaux, which I found to be a little dark.  Its the story of Opal, a preacher’s daughter, who’s mom left when she was 3.  Opal and her dad have just moved to a new town, and through her dog “Winn Dixie” Opal is able to make friends with all sorts of people.  The best “scene” was when her dog, started chasing a mouse through the win dix famchurch. A short feel-good novel.

24. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, read by Kira, on 05/23/2013

percy-jackson-and-the-lightning-thief-1-19-10     Fast paced, enjoyed the concept of the 12 camp cabins each one for a different member of the Greek pantheon.  I would like to see the camp.  Alexandra_Daddario_in_Percy_Jackson_and_the_Olympians__The_Lightning_Thief_Wallpaper_2_1280It lightning_thief_hd_wallpaper_thumbwas really obvious which god’s son he was, but enjoyable to watch him and his mates discover his heritage. I really liked the book, until somewhere right towards the end, after Percy battles Ares, somehow things didn’t really fit.  I thought for sure I’d want to start right in on the next book in the series, but afpercy-jackson-and-the-olympians-the-lightning-thief-920160ter I finished I changed my mind.  Maybe it was the author’s attempt at bridging to the next book, lightning_thief_ukthat percywas weak.

22. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Drama, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Eva moves the furniture by Margot Livesey, read by Kira, on 05/21/2013

jacket-eva-moves-the-furniture If you liked the book “A Certain Slant of LIght” you will like Eva Moves the Furniture.  It has the same eevavocative feel to me, slightly haunting.

Growing up,Eva has 2 companions a girl her age, and a grown woman, eva moves furnthat no one else can see.  Her Mom died right after she is born, and she experiences a certain degree of loneliness, and is less than successful forming friendships at school.  The companions meddle in her life, sometimes to Eva’s delight, sometimes to her disappointment.

It is Never clear whether the ghosts are real, or a figment of Eva’s imagination, because the ghosts don’t always behave well.  It could be that Eva blames her bad behavior on these ghosts, which are nothing more than a figment of her imagination.  But I lean to the other possibility, that they really are present.  But you can see where either narrative makes sense.

This book takes you room by room and shows you how to add shelves, storage and the like to various rooms to keep them organized.

Like many books of this nature, they still don’t solve my problems with having enough place to put things away.  The book had colorful pictures showing examples of the ideas.  The examples looked very nice, and very expensive.  The rooms displayed seemed to have a lot of space to start off with.  Ordesky so often suggested building custom made storage, well of course, she profits from building these high end organizing units.  She devotes a couple pages to safes, and storing your valuables. complete-home-organizer-maxine-ordesky-paperback-cover-art closetsInteresting, but nothing earthshattering.

20. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Kira, NonFiction

Hook, Loop 'n' Lock: Create Fun and Easy Locker Hooked Projects by Theresa Pulido, read by Kira, on 05/18/2013

hook loop  hooking loopshooknloopNot too many books out there on Locker Hooking.  One of the instructors at Camp Shannondale in Southern Missouri teaches this craft, and I’ve been intrigued.  I really love the modern look achieved with brighter colors, and fancy fabric, like recycled sari silk.

This book contained both excellent instructions for beginners, as well as “patterns” for cool projects.   I’ve seen a lot of  the photos/projects in her book on the Pinterest website.

16. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira · Tags: ,

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, read by Kira, on 05/14/2013

caddie

Tom-boy Caddie Woodlawn, is growing up on the froncaddytier in Wisconsin.

I really empathized with Caddie, when her Mom punished her harshly, but Not her brothers, because “she was a girl and should have known better”.  However, her father punishes the boys.

I liked the fact that when Caddie starts doing more domestic activities, that her brothers follow her, because they’re pals.

 

The author tells more and shows less, leading to a quaint, less accessible read.  The story got better as it progressed.

16. May 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Romance · Tags:

A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant, read by Kira, on 05/06/2013

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Booklist: Starred Review!

This was a fun read!  Unlike most romances where the relationship between the two protagonists is plagued by misunderstandings, and self-doubt.  It is also an unusual romance novel in that the woman propositions the man.  Martha, just widowed, needs to conceive an heir, within the next month, or the country estate falls to her rapist brother-in-law.  Martha is a practical do-gooder.  The rake that she hires to “give” her an heir, Theo, was exiled from London to the country by his father, for being a lay-about, money spender.

Both of them learn to be better people, Theo learns to take an interest in his estate, and start caring for people.  Martha learns to let her hair down a bit, and get to know her neighbors as real human beings, Not charity cases.

There is humor and awkward sex.  3 out of 4 hot chilli peppers, as far as spiciness goes.

This book was recommended to me, by experts at the Reader’s Advisory Workshop I attended.

09. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira, Romance · Tags:

The witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare., read by Kira, on 05/08/2013

WitchBlackbird8 witchblvpwitch-of-blackbird-pondA delightful tale – Kit travels to Puritan New England from Barbedos, after her grandfather dies.  She must learn to adjust to new strict norms, but befriends an older Quaker woman (believed to be a witch) who lives out by Blackbird Pond.

I wish the book had more of an epilogue, I’m tempted to write one myself.

Wordle-The-Witch-of-Blackbird-Pond Dolphin map

01. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Thriller/Suspense · Tags:

Fallen Rogue by Amy Rench, read by Kira, on 04/30/2013

Harper Kane Olympic Swimmer gets caught up shady government operations, when her microbiologist brother Bobby is killed after he develops a serum that gives people psi-onic powers.  Now the government that funded these experiments wants her dead, and they send in their best op Rome Lucian.  Unfortunately, for the government, Rome realizes something is fishy, and decides to aid Harper.

TFallen Roguehis was a fun quick read.  However, the plotting could be more credible, with less coincidences.  Like why would Bobby be shot, the very day, the very minute, Harper arrives for a visit?

30. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Kira, NonFiction, Poetry

My brother's book by Maurice Sendak, read by Kira, on 04/28/2013

SendakPoetry.  sendak-233This was a book about longing to be reunited with those you’ve loved.  I had to read it 3 times through, to get a full sense of the narrative.  Even then, the poetic lines are open to multiple interpretatsendak grions, feeling like the mist slipping through ones fingers.

30. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce, read by Kira, on 04/26/2013

Cover-of-Some-Kind-of-Fairy-Tale The protagonist Tara Martin disappeared 20 years ago.  When she returns she claims she spent 6 months in Faery.  Her family and boyfriend have been devastated by her disappearance and respond in various ways to her tale.  I’m Not sure this really belongs in SciFi, since the focus is more on the internal psychological bluebells clyne meadow 2007world than the magical aspects.

 

So I liked a lot of the book, but unlike many other reviewers could see the ending from a mile away (well not the epilogue part).  Perhaps, it reminded me of the book “Giants of the Frost” by Kim Wilkins.

22. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, read by Kira, on 04/18/2013

Weird sistersRosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia, named for Shakespearean characters by their father a Shakespearean professor, each struggles with their individual weaknesses and limitations.  The adult sisters find themselves at home together for a summer, helping their mother with breast cancer.  Rosalind, the oldest, has always been the solid responsible one, never venturing far from home.  Bianca, the middle child, always outshone by her sisters, carved a niche for herself within fashion and looks.  Unfortunately, her expensive habits caught up with her in New York, and she has returned home after her employers discovered Bianca’s embezzling of the company.  Cordelia, the youngest, never expected to be responsible, has followed the gypsy life, couch-surfing, until she gets pregnant, and also returns home.

The story is told from an interesting perspective, from the omniscient we of the sisters, sometimes its from all three sisters, sometimes its from 2 sisters perspectives.

I also liked the way stories from the past were interwoven, with the current issues.  If you like Anne Tyler, you’d probably like this book

17. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Romance

Gift of Magic by Lynn Kurland, read by Kira, on 04/01/2013

gift of magic

In the conclusion, the third book in this 2nd trilogy of the Nine Kingdoms, Sarah and Ruith battle their way past an astounding number of evil-doers.  Sarah always retains this mousy-ness about her.  Ruith thinks she’s oh so courageous, but she’s always hesitant, but insistent.  I wonder if the author knew what she was going to do with all the various characters, some of the key players were introduced for the very first time in the second book of the trilogy. I much preferred the charismatic Morgan woman-warrior.  Well I hope the 2nd book the the 3rd trilogy is as good as the 1st title in the 3rd trilogy, whenever it comes out.

08. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Pratchett, Terry & Neil Gaiman, read by Kira, on 04/05/2013

good omensAn entertaining satire of Armageddon.  Like many soldiers/players, despite being on opposing team, after being stationed in the same area for millennia, demon Crowley & angel Aziraphale have developed a working relationship, finding that in some ways, that they have more in common with their counterpart in the field, than the higher-ups on their team.  Both Crowley & Aziraphale have changed, more through their association with humans, than the influence of each other.   Then Crowley is handed the baby AntiChrist.  Demon Crowley realizes he doesn’t want the world to end, that he has enjoyed his time on this plane.  Aziraphale grapples with the paradox of the AntiChrist,  needing the AntiChrist’s presence in order to bring about the Grand Plan Armageddon, even though it means the destruction of the earth.  Azirafale has also enjoyed his time on the earth, and dreads the boredom of heaven.

Then the AntiChrist goes missing having been mistakenly switched at birth.

Initially I wasn’t sure I was up for a dystopian narrative, however, Gaiman & Pratchett do a good job, razzing both sides.  This was a delightful tale, with biting humor. I bet Gaiman & Pratchett really enjoyed writing this book.

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30. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocolyptic, Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Bloodring book 1 Thorn St. Croix series by Faith Hunter, read by Kira, on 03/29/2013

BloodRing

Thorn is living in the end of times, though an its ambigous end of times, seraphs and demons are still fighting in a post-apocalyptic-ice-age.  Thorn is part of a new species, neomages, who are able to bend leftover creation energy to their will.  Specifically she is a stone mage, and since mages present a threat to both humans and seraphs they are confined to luxurious Enclaves.  Thorn is passing for a human, working as a jeweler, in a remote icy town.  When her ex-husband Lucas is kidnapped and her friends are threatened, she risks revealing her true identity in order to save her adopted family.

 

BloodRing isblodring a fastpaced page turner.  Lush imagery and really interesting world-building (especially the magic-working of the gems) add to the tale.  Though the book does NOT end on a cliff-hanger, it fails to wrap up a number of the mysteries.  Who is the Amethyst Mistress?  Why did Lucas haul all that amethyst back to the store/house for his ex-wife? did he really cheat on Thorn voluntarily and what is his latest wife up to?