Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Memes: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
I can be so, so quiet.
Friday 56:
I asked, "Did your dad shoot all these?"

Isabel made a face. "Not all. Some of them he probably lectured to death."
I dug into my TBR mountain to find Forever by Maggie Stiefvater. I bought this one in October of 2011. I read the first two books in this series sometime in 2011. Here is the description from Amazon:
The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

ARC Review: The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray

The Gilded Cage
Author: Lucinda Gray
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (August 2, 2016)

Description: After growing up on a farm in Virginia, Walthingham Hall in England seems like another world to sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph. Her new life, filled with the splendor of upper class England in the 1820s, is shattered when she discovers the corpse of her brother George in a lake on the estate-the tragic accidental drowning of a young man, the coroner reports, despite the wound to George's head.

Katherine is expected to observe the mourning customs and get on with her life, but she can't accept that her brother's death was an accident. A bitter poacher prowls the estate, and strange visitors threaten the occupants of the house. There's a rumor, too, that a wild animal stalks the woods of Walthingham.

Can Katherine retain her sanity long enough to find out the truth? Or will her brother's killer claim her life, too?

My Thoughts: What a lovely Gothic novel! Katherine Randolph grew up in Virginia with her brother George. They were orphaned but taken in by a kind neighbor family. Their lives change immensely when a lawyer comes to call tell them that they have inherited Walthingham Hall in England after the death of a grandfather they never met.

They are made welcome by their cousins Henry and Grace Campion but strange things start to happen. There are rumors of beasts in the woods nearby. Almost immediately after their arrival, George is found dead. Katherine suspects foul play the but the older, wiser men including the local magistrate and her cousin are convinced that it was an accident.

Katherine is alone with no support except her loyal maid and a footman but both of them are threatened with being let go. She makes a friend with the magistrate's daughter Jane who is in love with Cousin Henry. When her loyal footman suffers an "accident" when out hunting, Katherine knows that she is correct that her brother's death was not an accident.

Many exciting things happen before the villain is unveiled and gets his comeuppance but Katherine manages to stay strong, smart, and intrepid despite the things that happen to her. This was a nice romance and had all sorts of scary moments, too.

Favorite Quote:
There—in the corner—something crouches. A dark shape, too hunched to be a man. As I adjust to the blackness, my sight sharpens, and I see two yellow eyes watching me. My breath stops in my throat. This can't be happening. Keeping my eyes on the thing, I move my legs to the floor, carefully, carefully. It keeps its terrible gaze trained back on mine.
I received this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan 
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Leviathan (Book 1)
Publication: Simon Pulse; Reprint edition (August 10, 2010)

Description: It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.

My Thoughts: This story is a combination of alternate history and steampunk. It takes place in 1914 when Europe is on the verge of war. It stars Deryn Sharp who has disguised herself as a boy now named Dylan and joined the air corps. She finds herself as a middie on the Leviathan which is a living ship made up of a number of fabricated animals. Deryn and her people are Darwinists because, in this world, Darwin discovered DNA and a craze for creating all sorts of new living beings began.

It also stars Aleksandar who is the son of Archduke Ferdinand. It begins when the Archduke and his wife are assassinated and Alex's loyal subjects are trying to get him to Switzerland and safety. Austia-Hungary is the land of the Clankers. Alex's people have developed all sorts of interesting machines. In fact, they flee in a walker which is sort of like a tank with legs.

The two kids converge on a glacier in Switzerland which is where the Leviathan is forced to land after being attacked by German airships. Alex and his cohorts have a secret base there where his men hope he will spend the war. But he has to see if he can help when the ship comes down.

They have to work together when the forces searching for him and for the Leviathan converge. Add to this a science boffin named Nora Darwin Barlow who has an urgent need to get some egg to the Ottoman Empire and you have all sorts of action.

I loved all the steampunk details both of the Clanker's technology and the Darwinist's beasties. I also like the friendship that grew between "Dylan" and Alex. Deryn was a great character who is determined to be who she wants to be despite the handicap of her gender. She is brave, smart and adventurous.

The story continues in BEHEMOTH and I can't wait to read it.

Favorite Quote:
Newkirk looked down, shuddering a little. "Don't like those beasties either."

"You don't like any beasties," Deryn said.

"Aye, but the crawly ones are the worst."
I bought this one October 24, 2010. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
"I think we have a tumbler!" bellows Lord Flint. His wife beside him lets out a peal of laughter.
This week my teaser comes from The Gilded Gage by Lucinda Gray. I got this book for review from Macmillan. Here is the description from Amazon:
After growing up on a farm in Virginia, Walthingham Hall in England seems like another world to sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph. Her new life, filled with the splendor of upper class England in the 1820s, is shattered when she discovers the corpse of her brother George in a lake on the estate-the tragic accidental drowning of a young man, the coroner reports, despite the wound to George's head.

Katherine is expected to observe the mourning customs and get on with her life, but she can't accept that her brother's death was an accident. A bitter poacher prowls the estate, and strange visitors threaten the occupants of the house. There's a rumor, too, that a wild animal stalks the woods of Walthingham.

Can Katherine retain her sanity long enough to find out the truth? Or will her brother's killer claim her life, too?

Monday, July 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 25, 2016)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme begun by Sheila at Book Journey. Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts have given it a kidlit focus.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Other Than Reading...

My stretch of quiet weeks ended this week. We had some weather excitement when a line of very strong thunderstorms came through late Wednesday night. We lost power for about 6 hours and are lucky. I'm writing this on Saturday afternoon and there are still substantial parts of Duluth that aren't expected to have power restored until Tuesday afternoon because of so many downed power lines and power poles. We also lost cable access. So I had no TV, house phone or internet until 3:30 on Thursday and it has been dropping off unexpectedly since for hours at a time.

We lost part of a tree in the storm which neighbors have already helped fix by bringing their chainsaws and cutting off the broken portion and cutting up the fallen part into usable chunks for disposal and fire pits. We also lost a large section of shingles and some of the facing from the roof. Insurance adjusters are scheduled to come look early this coming week.

The house hunt continues. I had one I was very interested in that was sold before my agent could get me in to see it. I have started to look for land to build my own here in Duluth. The thing about building though is that it takes so long and I am 250 miles away for most of the next year. It looks like there are lots of stressful decisions in my future.

Read Last Week
Vicarious by Paula Stokes was an interesting psychological mystery with some elements of science fiction. I liked the story very much. My review for this August 16 release will be posted on August 11.

Then I chose a few from my TBR mountain.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff was also science fiction. This one is a unique reading experience told in memos, IMs, hacked reports, and other interesting graphic presentations of the after-effects of a planetary invasion. My review will be posted on August 24.
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff is an epic fantasy story that is also post-apocalyptic. Its setting in Japan. I liked that it mined a relatively unused mythology for its base. I also thought it was action-packed and entertaining. My review will be posted on August 25.

Shadows by Robin McKinley was also a fantasy. I enjoyed the main characters adventures as she discovers that she has magic and that what she has been told about it by her government is both wrong and dangerous. My review will be posted on August 27.

Currently
I added The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton to my TBR mountain on July 21, 2014. I remember enjoying the first book in this series which mines Norse mythology for its fantasy setting.

Next Week
It is time to start tackling the September releases on my Review Stack.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
I bought a copy of The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton this week because it sounded good.

I got a PDF review copy of Vicarious by Paula Stokes from her publicist.

You can check Inside of a Dog (my other blog) to see what adult books I read, reviewed, and plan to read. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Book Review: Seizure by Kathy Reichs

Seizure
Author: Kathy Reichs
Series: Virals (Book 2)
Publication: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (October 18, 2011)

Description: Lost treasure. Perilous adventures. Deadly foes.

Tory and her friends are just starting to get a handle on their super-heightened wolf-like capabilities—contracted during a medical experiment gone horribly wrong—when they find out funding is being pulled from the institute where their parents work. The pack now faces its greatest fear—separation. So when Tory stumbles across ancient lore hinting at a lost pirate treasure, the Virals devise a risky plan that pits them against fiendish traps, headless corpses, and deep underground tunnels. But they're not the only ones looking, and the competition could be lethal. They'll need to work as one mystery-solving canine force if they to hope to uncover the lost fortune, save the institute, and stick together!

My Thoughts: This second in the Virals series has the team - Tory, Ben, Shelton and Hi and Tory's wolf dog Cooper - facing a pretty big problem. They are just starting to understand the powers they acquired when given a virus that added canine DNA to their own DNA when bad news comes. The research center where most of their parents work is being closed and sold off.

The kids are determined to find a way to save the center so that they can stay together. Since the research center is on an island near Charleston, South Carolina, it doesn't take long for them to decide to search for pirate treasure. Anne Bonny is reputed to have buried some somewhere in the area. The kids aren't the only ones who want Anne Bonny's treasure and soon find themselves dealing with a number of enemies.

The kids use their various talents to track down the clues and use their Virals powers to get themselves out of a number of dangerous situations. This story was action-packed and should keep any middle grader on the edge of their seat. Along the way, they'll also learn quite a bit about Anne Bonny and the area around Charleston.

I liked that Tory was the alpha of her new pack despite being the youngest of the teens. I also liked that Tory had to juggle her dad's new girlfriend's plan to have Tory take part in Cotillion along with the more adventurous parts of the story. Even Virals have to deal with bullies!

This is the second of a five book series which also has four novellas. I look forward to reading lots more about Tory and her friends.

Favorite Quote:
"I'll just say it." Hi gestured to the ghostly stretch before us. "This is the creepiest place in the world. So glad we came in the middle of the night."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.
 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Memes: Seizure by Kathy Reichs

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
Cannons thumped in the distance.
Friday 56:
My senses vaulted into overdrive, exploding all at once, like a car started with the stereo on full blast. System overload.
I dug deep in TBR mountain to find Seizure by Kathy Reichs. I added this one to LibraryThing on Oct. 11, 2011. Here is the description from Amazon:
Lost treasure. Perilous adventures. Deadly foes.

Tory and her friends are just starting to get a handle on their super-heightened wolf-like capabilities—contracted during a medical experiment gone horribly wrong—when they find out funding is being pulled from the institute where their parents work. The pack now faces its greatest fear—separation. So when Tory stumbles across ancient lore hinting at a lost pirate treasure, the Virals devise a risky plan that pits them against fiendish traps, headless corpses, and deep underground tunnels. But they're not the only ones looking, and the competition could be lethal. They'll need to work as one mystery-solving canine force if they to hope to uncover the lost fortune, save the institute, and stick together!