Magic Study by Maria V Snyder (book 2)

Back Cover:

YOU KNOW YOUR LIFE IS BAD WHEN YOU MISS YOUR DAYS AS A POISON TASTER…

With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she’d been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can’t help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways—and her newfound friends and relatives don’t think it’s for the better….

Despite the turmoil, she’s eager to start her magic training—especially as she’s been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia’s throne for a lost prince—and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with all her new enemies…

My Thoughts:

I liked this book. Maybe not as much as the first, but I still liked it. Yelena is now a strike first, think later person. She thinks she can just do whatever she wants and it puts her and others at risk, great risk. I still like her but there are times where I just want to slap some sense into her. And Valek! WTH? He went from someone who commanded everyone to taking orders from Yelena. Don’t get me wrong..He’s still very much swoon-worthy but he is presented unlike himself all because he’s in love. Bull. The integrity of Valek’s character should not have changed because he’s in love with Yelena. If anything, it should have made him stronger, smarter and better. I found his character to be weak and only there when Yelena needed him. Kinda one-sided.

Yelena meets her family finally and comes to discover that not everyone is so welcoming to her. Her brother, Leif, hates her and won’t have anything to do with her. I can somewhat see how he feels. It’s like the Prodigal Daughter returns in a sense. You do learn a lot about why he’s like that, but all in all, I think it wakes Yelena up to, not everyone likes me or loves me instantly- especially family. Leif is a needed character to Yelena’s because of how she’s acting in this book.

It does get a bit tiresome with all the kidnappings that take place. I mean it seems everyone gets kidnapped- Yelena gets kidnapped all.the.time. And typically, she thinks she’s so tough and doesn’t need help from anyone. It’s tiring. And annoying. I get being independent but it starts crossing a line when people come to her aide and she tells them to go away she has it under control. I mean, really? It also pisses me off that she can’t accept who she is. A soulfinder. Take that and run with it, girl.

BTW, not all kidnappers rape, torture and murder…something new needs to be done with these kidnappers. It’s getting old that that’s all they do.

3 out of 5 stars. Still a good read to learn more background and learn more about Yelena but tiring with all the kidnapping, murders, and rapes.

Advertisements

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Back cover:

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

My Thoughts:

I have put off reading this series for a while..like years. It wasn’t until it came back up in my Tumblr newsfeed that I thought, ‘yea, let’s read this.’ I have read Snyder’s other series about Opal and it was fantastic! One of my all time favorite series. So I had very high expectations for Snyder. She delivered!

Yelena is a strong woman. You may not see it at first because she’s been prisoner for a year and been through some horrible stuff in her life. But she is very strong. You like her instantly. When Valek appears, I thought I bet he’s a strong contender for her love interest. But I questioned that because he was always keeping her at arms distance but at the same time, he was always around saving her. He’s a good guy deep down, aside from poisoning her and all that. He’s someone you want on your side and either he’s on your side and always will be or you’re dead. I mean there’s no in between.

Ari and Janco. What characters! I love them. I mean, if Valek wasn’t already the soul mate to Yelena I would definitely choose on these two for her. They are just amazing! Strong, powerful, loyal men who have Yelena’s back. They are definitely swoon-worthy.

I do like the story plot. I mean Yelena has nothing to lose being the food taster for the Commander. I mean at the point in which she became, she didn’t even really have life. She was just wasting away. She was already dead in a sense. As she becomes more herself, you see her soul change. You see her embrace, to an extent, who she is and she sees she is valuable and loved. Yelena is the one who can save the city. In the end, her magic is what makes her leave because the Commander, even though Yelena saved his life, issues a warrant for her death.

The hardest part to stomach in this book is Yelena’s past. It is definitely something that some readers need to be warned about as it could trigger past events. The abuse she undergoes at the hands of some sick bastards is just horrendous. Snyder doesn’t go into a lot of detail but it’s there for the reader to imagine. Which is why some readers should be aware that it is in the book. It’s interesting in how she overcame her abusers because she murdered one- which let me tell you, he deserved and the fiction world is better off. The plot has a lot to do with her past and how it is coming back to haunt her- literally.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Read it. Then read the others in the series.

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Back Cover

 To fight her destiny as the missing heir to a powerful and dangerous secret society, sixteen-year-old Avery West must solve an ancient puzzle in a deadly race across Europe. Forbidden love and code-breaking, masked balls and explosions, destiny and dark secrets collide in this romantic thriller, in the vein of a YA DaVinci Code.


Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada at the Champs-Elysees when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war.

They are part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle of Twelve, and Avery is their missing heir. If they discover who she is, some of them will want to use her as a pawn. Some will want her dead.

To thwart their plans, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the landmarks of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul and through a web of ancient legends and lies. And unless she can stay one step ahead of beautiful, volatile Stellan, who knows she’s more than she seems, and can decide whether to trust mysterious, magnetic Jack, she may be doomed after all.

My Thoughts:

I normally don’t like historical fiction but this book is definitely one to read. Avery is a strong, smart, leading character who definitely knows her own mind and can deal with some heavy stuff. The book starts out like a normal YA novel, set in high school, pretty girl, handsome guy, yada yada. Then it gets interesting- on prom night, no less. A couple of handsome guys fight for who gets to take her and she ends up deciding on her own really. She goes to France and that’s where the adventure and fight for her life begins.

It’s really fascinating the history weaved into this story. Alexander the Great and his Diadochi. It’s riveting and makes you want to find out what happens to Avery and Jack, or is it Avery and Stellan. The puzzle that they have to untangle is an ancient one, that no one has truly figured out or even understood. Jack is this devilishly handsome guy who she has a major crush on, maybe more- I know they ‘have feelings’ for each other, they say that in the book, but I feel like they love each other. It’s like a Romeo and Juliet thing- star-crossed lovers for sure. Stellan is the one I like. He’s loyal, dangerous, handsome, and Russian. Did I say Russian? He’s Russian, or at least half Russian. I mean…Russian. I have this fantasy..

Where was I? Oh yes, Stellan. I’m interested to see where his story leads with all this. I honestly thought Jack would be the One. But Stellan makes the whole plot more interesting.

My only qualm with this book, the ending. IT JUST ENDS SUDDENLY. Cliff.Hanger. I screamed, “Are you kidding me?!”, when I realized that the book had in fact ended. Maggie Hall needs to get on that second one. Pronto. I need to know if Avery and Stellan do get married.

YA version of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. If you like YA read it, it’s a good plot line and the characters are wonderful.

4 out of 5 stars.

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Book Cover
The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.

“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

My Thoughts

This book had me crying from beginning to end. I couldn’t stop. It just made me both happy and sad for Ally. The frustration she felt just leaped off the pages. I know a couple people with dyslexia but this book explains it to others so well. I mean it really does. It tells you the story of how Ally thinks, feels, and tries to cover it up. Ally thinks she’s stupid because she can’t read. How terrible for a child to think that and no one know how to help her.

Mr. Daniels is the type of teacher that you wish you had in school and hope and pray your child gets when they are in school. A kind, patient, caring person who actually wants to help and teach. I really think that if we saw Ally in a later book, it would be Mr Daniels who she’d thank for helping her see her true potential and that she is truly a brilliant girl. I think what frustrated me with this book, is that it took a substitute teacher for people to realize that Ally wasn’t a bad child, but a struggling student.

I love her friends too. Both strong, necessary kids in the book to help Ally learn who she is and what a friend truly is. Some of it made me cry because of Ally’s friend, Albert, who is from a poor family and even though he’s smart, he’s bullied a lot. Another reason I cried so much was the added fact that Ally’s family is a military family- the part with her Dad made me cry a lot. Definitely an emotional book.

Read this book and prepare to cry. Have some Kleenex handy cause you’ll need it. Such a beautifully written book about a challenge a lot of students and people have but is easily written off.

5 out of 5 star! Well Done, Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Well done.

I’ve been thinking..uh oh

I had a thought last night about book club and how to hopefully better it.

I need some thoughts/feedback on this though…

What if we chose a different genre each month and voted for a book in that genre?

Example: April- genre chosen would be Classical fiction. Then we submit our favorite classic books (Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, etc) and then we vote on which one. Winner is the one we read. May we choose historical fiction, then vote on those books..and so on and so on.

Would that be a good way to get more people? If we read a better variety of books then maybe people will say, “Hey, I love that genre. I’ll read this months book and attend.”

Thoughts? Cause the way it’s going now, it’s the same 3-4 people each time. And with 85 members that’s just so lame. Help me please.

The Taking by Kimberly Derting

Back Cover

A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this take on alien abduction. I thought it was a pretty interesting take on how aliens take people away. The thought that they use fireflies makes me question going out alone at night. The logic behind aliens taking only teens is really well thought out- younger bodies so any testing done won’t harm the body, teens could be classified as run away instead of missing more than likely.

In the case of Kyra, it’s interesting because she’s been gone for 5 years. Then she awakens behind a gas station. How horrible. To her it’s been 1 day, but to her family, 5 years. I just couldn’t imagine. It was easy for me to see through her parents eyes who were amazed and worried and shocked at her return. I would be too. Her dad, well, he just broke my heart. He practically lost his damn mind after her disappearance. But who can blame him? He was blamed for her disappearance. Her mom…well, I don’t like her mom. She doesn’t act like a mother who just found her long lost daughter. I get she has a new family, but come on! Your daughter, who you thought was dead, arrives at your house and you treat her like nothing is wrong. Kyra doesn’t make it easy on her since her mom does have a new husband and a ‘replacement’ kid. I probably would act the same way if I arrived home and my mom had a replacement child and new husband who she wanted me to bond with. Yea, no.

It’s interesting to think that fireflies help aliens abduct people. A flash of light, then you don’t remember anything. Well, it’s creepy but it works. The fact that there are more of them, lots more, hundreds more of those who have been abducted really is cool and crazy. They live quietly away from others, out of the eyes of those who want to test on them. The need to. They have powers. Kyra has the most of them- holding her breath underwater for 15+ minutes, telekinesis, healing..She’s super now.

It’s a great story and you honestly, will be riveted. I was. I read this book in one afternoon. I just couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what happened to her and to Tyler. Tyler is her ex-boyfriend’s little brother..but after 5 years gone he looks older than Kyra. Kyra still looks 16, not 21. She bonds with Tyler and they end up in love. It’s a whirlwind romance and yet, you root for them.

I highly recommend this book. It’s an easy, quick read with a fascinating story about alien abduction.

5 out of 5 stars!

New Things Happening & A bit of a rant

So I’ve been given an option for book club to make it better. I am considering taking it and running in hopes that 1. more people show up and participate, 2. book club doesn’t have to dissolve due to lack of participation and my frustration with slackers, 3. it would take some pressure off of me.

What people don’t get is that when I do something, I will literally stress myself out until that event is over. I sometimes make myself sick I stress so much. Then when people don’t bother to show up because they suck and don’t think about anyone but themselves, I stress more because I feel like I did something wrong. It’s frustrating. It’s so damn frustrating. But MORE than that, it’s rude. At some point, if you’re a part of a group it should come into your head to actually participate in said group. Why join a group if you don’t want to do anything? Why join if you’re not willing to participate? If there’s something that you think could make it better, why stay quiet? Maybe your idea is the key to this whole group becoming spectacular. Maybe we’re just waiting for you to actually open your mouth and let that awesome come out.

But people don’t get that here. For some reason, being considerate is just not something people are anymore. Why? When did it become okay to show up half an hour late to a meeting you scheduled with me? or not show up at all when you RSVP’d? I mean come on, if you don’t want to do something, then say so. Don’t pussy-foot around it. You won’t hurt my feelings if you’re honest. Just say so. I have other things to do. I have a family and other responsibilities. I have a life. Sometimes I don’t understand people. Were you not raised to respect people? I was. If  I know I can’t or don’t want to do something, I say, No. If something happens, I try to let that person know asap so they aren’t sitting there going, “where is she?”. It’s rude. So rude. And I’m so tired of it.

Try. That’s all I ask. Try to do something outside your comfort zone. Just once. Read a book you wouldn’t normally read. Go to a gathering or party you probably wouldn’t go to. Talk to a person who wouldn’t normally talk to. Just. Try. It’s like the people here who constantly complain about not knowing people or having friends. How is that my fault? or my problem? You stay at home and don’t try to meet people. There is a TON of stuff to do in this area- and you sit at home on your butt all day/night and complain on a Facebook forum to hundreds of others people. Stop being a little bitch and do something about for yourself. Make your own opportunities.

I just needed to get that out there. And off my chest. I feel better.

Hopefully I can get book club running better and maybe participation will grow. I won’t hold my breathe, but maybe I’ll cross my fingers.

Stay nerdy,

M.

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (spoilers)

Back Cover
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again.
Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.
Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

My Thoughts

I will admit that when I first read the beginning of this novel, I was dumbstruck. I mean the opening is just so, unbelievable. I cried for that little baby- and she’s fictional. The opening to the book was heartbreaking but sucked me in.

I really thought King did a good job at portraying Brady Hartfield, the crazy murderer, as crazy but also smart and meticulous. He is what people are scared of- those people who go undetected because they look ‘normal’. It’s scary to think that your ice cream man could be a psycho mass murderer. Brady is smart, focuses, obsessive, and organized. But with that, he’s also a loner, and someone who just glides by in life unnoticed. He does his work at his jobs then goes home to take care of his alcoholic mother (their relationship is all kinds of messed up). His lair is his sanctuary where he devises all these murder plots. King definitely makes you paranoid and think about stuff. I know I won’t be going to any concerts soon- Thanks Stephen King.

Det-Ret Bill Hodges is a great lead character. He’s old, yes, but he’s still got it. I mean he bags a woman 20 yrs younger than him plus solves the case of the year- so yea, age has nothing to do with anything. It’s interesting how he knows what he’s doing is going to land him with possible prison time but he’s so hooked on catching the guy that he just can’t give it up. It’s not that he didn’t try, at least once, it’s just it was personal. On so many levels, it was personal. I mean that crazy Brady Hartfield blew up his truck with his lover in it, stalked him for lord knows how long, and threatened him more than once. I’d take it personal too and risk prison time (you know, if I was a fictional character). I got so sucked into the story that I was just waiting for Det-Ret to shoot him and then he had freakin’ heart attack! WTH King. I mean, yes, it added some twists but goodness, Bill should’ve been the one to at least knock the murderer unconscience. Which brings me to the crazy woman, Holly. Wow. If I had a mother like her, I would be like her too. Her mom takes helicopter parenting to a whole new level. I was SO glad and proud when she finally told her mom off that I whooped for her. And then there’s good ole Jerome. I loved his sense of humor and smarts. He was a much needed character because he also brought a sense of humor to the pages. I really liked him and he was very critical in helping figure out who Mr Mercedes was.

The one thing I was VERY disappointed with and just pissed off about was that Brady didn’t die. He gets banged in the head where it’s clear his skull is crushed and he’s in a coma for months and he survives!! Are you kidding me, Stephen King?! I do realize it’s a trilogy but give me a break. If any character needs to die out of all the books I’ve read, it’s Brady Hartfield. He’s one twisted, sick human being. I just don’t get it. I honestly thought the trilogy was going to be about Det-Ret Kermit “Bill” Hodges solving crimes, not about how this sick person survived to wreak havoc on more unsuspecting, innocent victims. I guess I’ll just have to read the other 2 books and see what happens. Damn you, Stephen King.

I HIGHLY recommend this book. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book written by Stephen King, as he’s not really my cup of tea, but this book definitely was worth the read. I started it Saturday afternoon and finished it late Sunday evening. It’s THAT good. Try it out. Get passed the opening part- meet Det-Ret Kermit “Bill” Hodges, you’ll be glad you did.

5 out of 5 stars!

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Back Cover
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.
Maybe that was always beside the point.
Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.
When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.
That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

My thoughts:

So when I first started reading, I was annoyed with Georgie. She was severely lacking in the wifely love gene. She was so focused on her job that she didn’t know anything about her family. It really upset me.

But having said that, it was a refreshing switch to read about a woman who is obsessed with her job and a stay at home dad who cares for the kids. It was nice to see a woman portrayed in a ‘not your typical working mom’ idea. Even though Georgie upset me at first, she got soooo much better going into the book. Once Georgie happens upon her old phone from her youth, it becomes like this portal where she can talk to the younger version of her husband. MAN! How cool and weird. It’s really intriguing to think that plugging in an old landline phone can take you back to the past, so you don’t screw up your future even more.

I honestly loved the flashbacks that Georgie has. Telling us about her relationship with her best friend and her husband. It’s so interesting to see it and know that she’s not really seeing the whole picture. Her husband, Neal, is a silent but intriguing type. I kinda really wanted to hear his thoughts more. He’s that brooding, silent type that girls find mysterious. It’s so amazing how he takes care of his family- Georgie doesn’t even realize how great he is until it’s almost too late.

Just read this book. I swear to you it’s amazing. I ugly cried while reading this book so yes, it’s very good and worth the read and the money if you buy it.

This book. I just don’t know if I can express into words how good this book is. You see, I LOVE Rainbow Rowell. Her books just speak to me. Yes, they are YA but who cares? You shouldn’t judge someone on the books they read, at least they’re reading.

5 out of 5 stars!