Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Marvels

Find it at your library

A marvelously illustrated and whimsically written tale that shows not everything is as it first seems.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Find it at your library.

This award winning novel is a powerful look at life in the south during the 1930s from the point of view of the black community.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bone Gap

Find it at your library

A whimsical story in which a compelling cast of characters are rescued from a variety if predicaments in a variety of ways.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Scorpion Rules

Starting off as a typical dystopian novel, this book twists, turns, and ends up in unexpected places. It will make the reader question good and evil, right and wrong, and the use of power. 

(Ok, so it's two sentences. It was either that or a super annoying run-on.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dimitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad

A well crafted, lyrical, and engrossing depiction of the life of a Russian composer during The Great Terror and the Siege of Leningrad. 

But wait...there's more...

Symphony for the City of the Dead (Symphony) is a non-fiction book that touches briefly on the fall of the Romanov family, covers the rise of Lenin and Stalin, life during The Great Terror and WWII, and focuses on the life of composer Dimitri Shostakovich. Symphony not only covers Shostakovich's life, but the lives of other Russians during these time periods, and seamlessly links them together through the political and musical atmosphere of the time. without linking these different parts of Russian history, the importance of different events covered in the book would be lost. 

M.T. Anderson's writing effectively and engrossingly depicts the life of Shostakovich, and is countrymen: the fear, pain, hunger, and suffering they endured, as well as the strength and courage they found when it was most needed. Anderson's depictions of Shostakovich's music is itself lyrical; the tone of the writing keeps the narrative moving and makes the reader hear and feel what the symphonies being described should sound like. While reading, I had a simultaneous urge to find out what happens next in Dimitri's life, and to run and listen to be music that was "playing" on the page. 
In addition to this auditory presence, the book has a visual presence as well. Pictures of the city of Leningrad, citizens, soldiers, key political players, and propaganda are placed throughout the book to help readers see and feel story.
Symphony is a book that will be enjoyed by music lovers, Russian and WWII history enthusiasts, and is a perfect book to get readers interested and curious about the events and time periods covered, as well as the meaning and influence of music.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy the day with friends and family, and be thankful for all of the books you have read, and have yet to read.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Still Alice

Find it at your library

A depiction of a woman with early onset Alzheimer's Disease that is at times sad, but manages to still end on a somewhat positive spin.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Crawl Through It


A wonderfully insane helicopter ride through the lives of four high school students who are looking for the answers. 

I fell in love with this book and I NEED to talk about it with someone. Anyone else read it? Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

A cute, funny, ironic, and easy-to-read book that still manages to tackle serious issues and save the world.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Take Two (or three?)

As you, my many abandoned followers know, I have not posted anything in close to a year. Before that, I had not posted anything in over a year.

Now, I think I am ready to take another stab at this blogging thing.

Am I any less busy? No.
Am I working a lot? Yes.
Do I have a million things to do? Yes.
Am I looking forward to getting a new standing desk?  YES x 1,000.

But I am going to make it a million + 1 things to do, this blog being the +1.

Now, I am going to change the format a bit. As you may have gathered from the new title of the blog, I plan on making my reviews much shorter. Instead of a summary and full book review, I plan on writing one sentence reviews. If I feel very strongly about a book and feel the need to extrapolate on my one sentence, I will. This is my blog, after all, and if I feel like breaking my rules, I can do that.

My goal is to 1) get back into the blogging habit and 2) practice getting straight to the point. An online elevator pitch. If you want to get the quick and dirty of why you should or should not read a book, this is the place to look.

Along with my one sentence review, I will link the book to WorldCat, so if you are interested, you can find which libraries near you have it.

There you have it. My brand new blogging plan. Along with that new plan will be a new layout, soon to come.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Review: The Story of Owen

The Story of Owen, Dragon Slayer of Trondheim #1 by E.K. Johnston
A delightful tale about modern day dragon slayers. As told by a bard-in-training.

Set in modern times, but a modern times that includes dragons, this book is told bu Siobhan, Owen the dragon slayer in training's friend and bard. Owen has just moved to Trondheim from the big city. His father and mother are both dragon slayers, although his mother is absent for most of the book as she lives in a different country, and his aunt Lottie is one of the most famous dragon slayers of all time.

Owen and Siobhan meet on Owen's first day at a new school and they are fast friends. Siobhan is a music nerd, and everything she thinks and feels is through music. Owen quickly decides Siobhan is the perfect person to be his bard, sing his praises, and bring back some forgotten or dropped dragon slaying traditions.

As this book is about a dragon slayer and friend, there is of course much dragon slaying and training for dragon slaying. The action takes a back seat to the various relationships in the book: Siobhan and her family, Siobhan and Owen (SPOILER: not a romantic relationship!) Owen and his family, and all the other friend and family dynamics included in the story.

I liked Siobhan and enjoyed her story telling. She often gave the version she fed to the press, and then the more-or-less true version, which made her more believable. Owen was a likeable high school guy who happened to carry a sword at all times and be a trained killer (dragon killer, of course).

Over all, the conflict was minimal, even if it did involve dragons, and everyone in the story was so...nice. Really, there was not a single mean character.

This book will appeal to people who like a bit of action, and people who like human interaction. The story was entertaining and didn't require much thinking. A good book to pick up for an action packed day at the beach or a kick ass plane ride.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What I Learned From My 2014 Reading Challenge

More than a year later...here's a blog post.

In 2014, I joined the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the third year in a row. My goal was to read 80 books. I read 90.

I read fiction, non-fiction, comics, manga, YA, and adult books. Judging from the number of books and the span of categories I covered, You would think I read everything there was to read. However, that isn't necessarily true. Many of the YA books I read were contemporary or fantasy, as were the adult books. The non-ficton was few and far between. The comics and manga provided the most diversity in genre; I read super hero books, fantasy, contemporary, horror, and a little bit of crime-fantasy-ish (whatever you consider Chew to be). It was not until the end of the year when I started reading award nominees that I reached out and read something outside of my range of normal.

What does this tell me? That I need to set new reading goals in 2015. Not just a number of books, but to make what I read more diverse. So here they are, my 2015 reading goals:
  • Read 1 non-fiction book every month. This can be is prose or graphic novel form.
  • Read a horror book (I don't usually read horror because, well, it scares me).
  • Read at least one comic book/ graphic novel every month
  • Read the pile of Manga in my room that a friend lent me.
  • Read a Goosebumps book. I have never read one!
  • Don't just prick from the 'New' shelf. Read some of the book that are more than a year old, too.
  • Begin re-reading the Harry Potter series. It's my favorite and I have not read it in a while.
  • Complege Goodreads reading challenge of 75 books. Five less than last year.