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Q - T > Shay's 1,000,000 pages

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message 701: by Shay (last edited Apr 15, 2012 08:01PM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 111. Mrs. Jeffries and the Silent Knight by Emily Brightwell by Emily Brightwell. 240 pages. The author is getting a bit sloppy with the mystery aspect of the books in this series. Which I guess is understandable as it's a very long running series. But, the characters ignored a very obvious clue and used the ignoring of it to stretch out the solving of the crime. But, in a long running series, you grow fond of the characters and can view the books as an opportunity to visit with them again. 2 1/2 stars.
112. How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue by Meg Donohue. 309 pages.
This is the short review: Boring in the beginning, okay to good through the middle, overly melodramatic and manipulative at the end. So bad the end ruined the book for me. Not recommended. Definitely a library only if you must.
113. A Magnificent Obsession Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy by Helen Rappaport by Helen Rappaport. 336 pages. This book is dry. It's a very "classical" history book- not at all like a David McCullough biography. But despite that, it was interesting and worth reading. You get a feel that Queen Victoria was very selfish in her mourning of the death of Albert, her husband. That it was an excuse to hide away from the world and have the world cater to her. She also comes off as mentally ill. But, for anyone who is interested in the Victorian Era, this would be worth the read.

Total Pages Read: 310,396

message 702: by Shay (last edited Apr 17, 2012 11:03PM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 114. Cod A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky by Mark Kurlansky. 294 pages. Thought it was kind of dull. But this is an earlier work by this author, so I guess he hadn't fully developed his style.
115. Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles, #3) by Kevin Hearne by Kevin Hearne. 310 pages. Not as good as the previous two in the series. But, good enough that I'm looking forward to #4.

message 703: by Shay (last edited Apr 20, 2012 07:13AM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 116. Calico Joe by John Grisham by John Grisham. 198 pages. This is a Hallmark commercial of a book. In other words, it's purposefully trying to manipulate you and is overly sentimental. Despite that, it works. You know the book is doing it, but you don't care because you find yourself liking and caring about the fate of the two characters- the main character and Calico Joe. I recommend it, but I don't recommend buying it even though it's a 4 star book for me. $12.99 for a 200 page ebook? Madness.
117. The List by Siobhan Vivian by Siobhan Vivian. 332 pages. I have mixed feelings about this book. First of all, I get that it's realistic fiction about high school life. I get that teenagers swear and have sex. But, I think how those things are portrayed in a fictional work need to be handled well. I don't think they always were in this book. On the plus side, the author didn't make the sex graphic and showed that a lot of times when young girls have sex the root cause is a lack of self esteem. But, there's just something about this book that I didn't like. I probably won't rate it right away.
118. Defending Jacob by William Landay by William Landay. 421 pages. This was the best legal thriller I've read in a long time. As good as Grisham at his best. Highly recommended. One of those books I'd give 5 magnifying glasses to. Especially chilling if you have kids as it also touches on alienation in the computer age.
119. The Heroin Diaries A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx by Nikki Sixx. 413 pages. What can I say? Even though I'm not a rabid fan of Motley Crue, I love celebrity type memoirs from people who were famous when I was a teen. All I can say is that it's sad that so many people fell prey to their addictions and couldn't enjoy their successes. Interesting facts from this book: Sixx's mother dated Richard Pryor and he was sort of engaged to Vanity.

Total Pages Read: 312,364

message 704: by Shay (last edited Apr 23, 2012 03:21PM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 120. The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1) by Julie Kagawa by Julie Kagawa. 504 pages. This was a good book- suprisingly good considering I'm a little blah feeling about the whole vampire genre.

message 705: by Shay (last edited Apr 23, 2012 03:23PM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 121. Caesar (Masters of Rome, #5) by Colleen McCullough by Colleen McCullough. 928 pages. This book covers, roughly, the period in Caesar's life beginning with his "war" with the boni of the Senate through the resolution. So, it's the period well covered by actual historical documentation. So, if you're somewhat familiar with Roman history, you know how it ends- even how it ends event by event. But, one of the great things about a great historical novel is it fleshes out the human side of the event. It's a speculation about how characters felt, what their motivations were, etc. I truly am amazed by how well written this whole series has been.
122. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen by Sarah Addison Allen. 276 pages. One of my complaints about this author is that she seems to write the same book over and over. But, her books are great comfort reads. This one is a little different from the others and I think this and her first are my favorites.

Total Pages Read: 314,072

message 706: by Shay (last edited Apr 25, 2012 11:24AM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 123. Storms My Life with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac by Carol Ann Harris by Carol Ann Harris. 400 pages. Wow, Harris is a self-absorbed nut ball. She is, considering she must be in her 50's, surprisingly unable to engage in any kind of self-reflection. And comes off as a total drama queen which makes some of her accusations regarding Buckingham suspect. Despite that, it was a fascinating look into the life of Fleetwood Mac when they were on top of the world. (Rumours era- Tusk) Recommended for fans.
124. The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass by Kiera Cass. 327 pages. Not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I don't know why I chose this book to read- other than I just kept seeing the cover. Especially since I don't like the cover- it looks like she's smelling her armpit. But, I figured, it was one of the most popular (added to TBR shelves, I guess) books for April. Overall, the author tells a decent story. The pacing is good. The real flaw is in character development- it's especially evident that we never get to really understand and know the main character. Her defining characteristic is "loves family". But, overall, not a bad first book.

Just checked, it's not her first book. Which kind of now lowers my opinion, a little.

message 707: by Shay (new)

Shay | 862 comments 125. Tricked (Iron Druid Chronicles, #4) by Kevin Hearne by Kevin Hearne. 338 pages. I think I like this one better than the previous one in the series. But, there's one character that I really miss- don't want to say who because it's a spoiler. I'm so glad that book 5 is coming out later this year.

message 708: by Shay (last edited Apr 28, 2012 12:23PM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 126. Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris by Kristina McMorris. 437 pages. Wow, the author really cannot write dialogue- a lot of it sounds lifted out of cheesy 40's/50's movies. Unlike her first book Letters From Home, which I had to give up on, there's not as much dialogue. Especially of the male bantering sort at which this author is incredibly incapable of writing and occurred so much more frequently in Letters from Home. So bad it made me cringe and feel embarrassed for the author. So, why did I bother reading this book? I like historical fiction, I especially like the WWII time period and this book was about an interesting subject. This is a (barely) 3 star book, but at least the author is improving.
127. Girl Walks into a Bar . . . Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle by Rachel Dratch by Rachel Dratch. 248 pages. I grew up watching SNL. My dad used to let me stay up nights- we'd wait for mom to fall asleep- to watch the "Golden Age" of SNL. The Belushi years. So...don't really remember Rachel Dratch, but her memoir is funny. Not really much about SNL in this book, it's mostly about her life after it. But one of the better comic type memoirs that have come out recently.

message 709: by Shay (last edited May 01, 2012 09:44AM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 128. The Story of Us by Deb Caletti by Deb Caletti. 389 pages. I'm trying to read more current books and I haven't really felt like reading any mysteries for my fun reading. So, I'm reading more YA books- really like this author. Will definitely read something else she's written.

Total Pages Read: 316,211

message 710: by Shay (last edited May 04, 2012 09:29AM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 129. Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, #12) by Charlaine Harris by Charlaine Harris. 327 pages. I've not really liked the last few books in this series. I don't like any of her other series. I was so unenthusiastic about this series for a while that I went without reading it for years- until True Blood. (I like the show much better than this series) But, I read that this book and the next will be the final two books in this series. And, it shows, in a good way. A lot of story arcs that were needlessly stretching out feel like they're being resolved.
130. Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski by Sarah Mlynowski. 357 pages. Didn't really like this book and the breezy kind of attitude about sex and other things. Do not recommend you let your child read this unless you've read it.

message 711: by Shay (new)

Shay | 862 comments 131. Insurgent by Veronica Roth by Veronica Roth. 525 pages. I'm disappointed in this book. I expected more- and it was hard to get into this book. The first 1/5 of this book was just blah and boring. It did pick up, but it wasn't a book that I was rushing to read every day. I'm actually thinking of giving it 2 stars, but is that really fair to give a book 2 stars because it didn't meet your expectations? In any case, it's no higher than a 3 star read for me. But, the ending did set up a twist that makes you want to read the third book. So, I do plan to finish out the series.

message 712: by Shay (last edited May 04, 2012 11:41AM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 132. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green by John Green. 310 pages. I usually strongly object to sex and bad language in YA books. But, this book is an exception. Why? I think a lot of YA books use sex and bad language as a shortcut to realistic character development. They fall back on the, "Well, that's how kids really talk," excuse. But their characters don't seem real. That's why Green's book is an exception. I really liked this book and all of its characters.
133. Life, on the Line A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat by Grant Achatz by Grant Achatz. 390 pages. Since my mom's death from cancer a few years ago, I don't like reading books where someone has cancer. It upsets me. But, I love food memoirs and Achatz is one of the best chef's in America if not the world. And I know he survived. However, I was surprised at how little of the book features his struggle with cancer- just the last part. Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that this book is mostly about food and Achatz's love of creating extraordinary dishes. After reading it, I think that he would define himself as a chef more than as a cancer survivor. That cancer made him appreciate the life he's living now- and a big part of that life for him is food.

Total Pages Read: 318,120

message 713: by Shay (new)

Shay | 862 comments 134. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins by Wendy Higgins. 453 pages. Probably my favorite YA book published this year- so far. If you are not religious, some parts of the book might bother you. But, it's not a preachy or judgmental brand of Christianity even though it does go into a bit of stuff from the Bible.

message 714: by Shay (new)

Shay | 862 comments 135. Let's Pretend This Never Happened A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson by Jenny Lawson. 318 pages. Overall, a funny look at dysfunctional families and mental illness. At times, though, the author's humor seems a little forced and contrived. But, I did enjoy the book so much that at the end I tried to force myself to slow down. But, I couldn't and kept going back to it.
136. Unorthodox The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman by Deborah Feldman. 254 pages. It was a very informative book. I learned a lot about the history and culture of the extremely Orthodox Jewish sect. This is the best thing about the book. Unlike "Let's Pretend This Never Happened", this book made you feel very conscious of the distance between you and the author. Even though Feldman revealed personal details and her feelings, you felt there was a definite wall between author and reader.

message 715: by Shay (last edited May 09, 2012 07:13PM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 137. Body & Soul (A Ghost and the Goth Novel) by Stacey Kade by Stacey Kade. 316 pages. This is the last book of the trilogy. I thought the author ended it well. Cute series that I overlooked initially because of the awful cover and title of the books.
138. Naked in Death (In Death, #1) by J.D. Robb by J.D. Robb. 306 pages
139. Glory in Death (In Death, #2) by J.D. Robb by J.D. Robb. 296 pages.
140. Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb by J.D. Robb. 296 pages.

There was a discussion in another group about Nora Roberts/ J.D. Robb. Which got me to finally pick up my copy of the first book in this series, Naked in Death. I was immediately addicted. One of the best things about the series is that the author doesn't drag out plotlines without resolution for a decade- like Janet Evanovich. The only thing I don't like about the series is the sex- too much sex scenes for my taste.

Total Pages Read: 320,359

message 716: by Shay (new)

Shay | 862 comments 141. Rapture in Death by J.D. Robb by J.D. Robb. 294 pages.
142. Ceremony in Death (In Death, #5) by J.D. Robb by J.D. Robb. 327 pages.
143. The Oracle of Dating (The Oracle of Dating, #1) by Allison van Diepen by Allison van Diepen. 256 pages. Cute, but nothing special. Fast, easy read.
144. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth by Jennifer Bosworth. 373 pages. Interesting premise- a girl struck by lightning gets super powers. Interesting setting- a very near future Los Angeles after a major earthquake causes mass destruction. Interesting plot- a battle between earthly forces of good and evil. But, somehow, it just didn't come together as well as I had hoped. Not a bad, horrible book. Especially considering it's a debut novel. So, it was good enough to make me want to read the next book in the series.

message 717: by Shay (last edited May 18, 2012 07:54AM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 145. Vengeance in Death (In Death, #6) by J.D. Robb by J.D. Robb. 343 pages.
146. Holiday in Death (In Death, #7) by J.D. Robb by J.D. Robb. 308 pages.
147. Conspiracy in Death (In Death, #8) by J.D. Robb by J.D. Robb. 336 pages.
148. Loyalty in Death (In Death, #9) by J.D. Robb by J.D. Robb. 336 pages. Obviously, I really like this series. This is one of my favorite things about GR- that you can get recommendations from other people and discover great books.
149.  Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg by Elizabeth Eulberg. 278 pages. This book opens with hopefuls auditioning for a performing arts school in New York. Each person gets a chapter. Then, once that's done, it abruptly skips forward in time to senior year. This is the main problem of the book- horrible transitions and the character development really suffers. People have changed without real explanation, because 3 years have passed unwritten about. What could have been a good book, ends up a 2 star book because of this.
150. Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi by Nicholas Pileggi. 320 pages. If you've seen the movie Goodfellas, then you pretty much know the story of Henry Hill's life. The movie pretty much faithfully follows the book, but if you loved the movie it's worth reading.
151. Making Rumours The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album by Ken Caillat by Ken Caillat. 384 pages. This is not a tell all book about Fleetwood Mac's escapades during the making of the album "Rumours". Yes, there are a few interesting gossip tidbits, but this book is mostly an account of the technical aspects of making this album. A good read for a long-time fan.

Total Pages Read: 323,914

message 718: by Zakiya, dancing en pointe (new)

Zakiya the Walking Butterfly (walkingbutterfly) | 3574 comments Mod
Great reading as always, Shay! :)

message 719: by Shay (last edited May 20, 2012 11:08AM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments Zakiya wrote: "Great reading as always, Shay! :)"

Thanks, Zakiya. With this post right now, I'm officially not behind my goal of 400 books in 2012.

152. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants  by Ann Brashares by Ann Brashares. 294 pages. The book used a lot of (then) current references to pop culture that now really make the book seem dated. I do think it's a cute book. This is a reread because I wanted to read the rest of the series and thought I would start at the beginning.
153. All These Things I've Done (Birthright, #1) by Gabrielle Zevin by Gabrielle Zevin. 354 pages. I liked this book- thought it was well written and compelling. A lot of YA characters seem to kind of blend together- they don't stand out enough and aren't different enough. Some seem quite cookie cutter- same girl, different name and city. But, this book definitely had memorable and interesting characters. Wish GR would let us give 1/2 stars because this is definitely a 3 1/2 star book.
154. In One Person by John Irving by John Irving. 425 pages. Oh, John Irving. You wrote a pretty much perfect novel- A Prayer for Owen Meany. Not just wonderful characters, but so much technical perfection. Magic! So, this is what a lot of readers- like me- expect and hope for. That he can create that magic again. Sadly, this is not that novel. Although it is a really good novel. It's a novel that many a writer could never have written- they lack the talent and range. It is pretty much typical Irving- you have sexual identity issues, boys' boarding school, absent WWII soldier father, etc. Everything but bears. (Irving fans know what I mean- even Vienna makes a cameo) A lot of the elements for a magical elements were there- the best characters he's written in years. But, the novel falls short and the ending was just awful. I do not know how to rate this book.

message 720: by Zakiya, dancing en pointe (new)

Zakiya the Walking Butterfly (walkingbutterfly) | 3574 comments Mod
That's great!!! I think I'm still 17 behind because of February, but this summer looks promising. I'm going to be reading my butt off I'm sure! :)

message 721: by Shay (last edited May 24, 2012 07:20PM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 155. Fury by Shirley Marr by Shirley Marr. 277 pages.

First of all, probably the best YA author you've never heard of. Unless you've heard of her, in which case, you probably agree that this author needs to be read by more people and her books need to be widely available in America. Second, I think that I would personally like the author. Unlike many GR authors, she didn't rate her book. What she did do, well, I was going to describe it, but I'm going to just quote from it and link it instead because this is how authors should behave if they're going to read their own reviews. Seriously. Here's the quote, "Thank every single person who has rated and/or reviewed Fury for better or for the worse! I try and thank everyone I can personally, but sometimes I'm so busy reading and reviewing other books that I forget to keep an eye out! But I do read every review. Above everything else, I value balance and honesty - so thanks for giving me the Bad with the Good!

Please feel free to say whatever you like in the comments. I don't read or post comments on the threads that start under my own novel cos I'm not the police and I don't want to tell/correct/hassle people on how they should feel or think about my book. If you'll like to interact with me, do please befriend and find me chatting away on other books (if you are a fan of realistic Aussie YA, then we definetly [sic] need to be friends.)"

Link to full review:

The book begins with Eliza Boans sitting in a police station being questioned for a murder. It then goes back and forth from the present to the past. The episodes from the past are about the events leading up to the murder. I'm looking at my summary and I know it's inadequate, but I just do not want to do anything to spoil this book. I will say that the transitions in time are done very well. I can also say that I just love the tone of the novel. It reminded me of one of my favorite movies about high school- Jawbreaker. (Also about a murder) And, finally, I just loved how the author was able to make my feelings about Eliza change from the beginning of the book to the end. The way her character was slowly revealed, made sympathetic. Look, just do what you can to get your hands on this book. It's that good. Plus the added bonus of buying a book that rewards an author who both professionally and personally deserves to be rewarded.

Overall Rating: 3 1/2 stars (I'm stingy, remember)

Genre Rating: 4 1/2 stars (Imagine 4 1/2 lockers standing for realistic YA fiction.)

If you haven't seen Jawbreaker... well, you really should go and watch that too.

message 722: by Shay (new)

Shay | 862 comments 156. The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles, #2) by Kady Cross by Kady Cross. 416 pages.

This is the second book in the Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross. Like many a second novel, it was a bit of a let down. It's perfectly understandable, really. Most authors probably spend years writing their first novel- polishing it and making it as perfect as they can. Once they get published, I guess, the pressure is on to produce a novel a year. Especially true, it seems, of YA series.

On the plus side, Cross seems to have ironed out some of the wrinkles I found in the first novel. Especially in the area of pacing- I thought sections of the first novel dragged. This novel does seem to move quickly and stuff is constantly happening. On the negative side, it's a second novel which means that the whole idea of YA steampunk "superheroes" (À la The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1) is no longer fresh and novel. The way it is when you encounter it in the first book. But, the book does compensate by giving you more details about the characters (past) lives. Overall, I'd say if you don't expect a perfect book and you enjoyed the first in this series, this book is probably worth reading.

message 723: by Shay (new)

Shay | 862 comments 157. I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern by Justin Halpern. 180 pages.

Basically, this book is about Halpern's (mostly non-existent or solo) love life from his teen years through proposing to his girlfriend. In his first book, Sh*t My Dad Says , his father was the star. The guy with the best and funniest lines. The same is true in I Suck at Girls- he's clearly riding on dad's coat tails.

Like many wives, I'm always trying to get my husband to read more. That's the reason I bought Halpern's first book. It seemed like such a "guy" book. The same is true of this book which features stealing pornography from the homeless, masturbation, and diarrhea. But, of course, I ended up reading Sh*t My Dad Says- if only to be able to have a book discussion with my husband. I was surprised at how much I liked it. Listening to his father was almost like having a visit with my late grandfather- who also had no filter and no off switch between his brain and mouth. (But in a funny, charming way.) I liked the first book so much that I got I Suck at Girls for me. I'll let my husband read it now that I'm done with it.

Yes, this is a funny book. There were several LOL moments- not an exaggeration. I was giggling in the library while reading this. (While my son was getting some tutoring.) There were many more moments that had me smiling. But, to me, one of the things I like best is how vulnerable the author allows himself to be. That he's not afraid of looking bad, silly, insecure. And also, that no matter what his father says or how he says it- these two clearly love each other and that shows in this book and is very touching. Maybe that's why so many women- including me- really like these books despite the potty humor and masturbation jokes.

Recommended for: Everyone, but especially husbands/boyfriends who don't read. It's short- under 200 pages and funny. Unless your husband/boyfriend has major daddy issues that will send him drunk dialing dad and leaving you to handle the fallout (emotional or otherwise).

3 1/2 stars

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Shay | 862 comments 158. Enchanted by Alethea Kontis by Alethea Kontis. 305 pages.

Enchanted is a delightful retelling of several fairy tales.Not going to tell you which because part of the joy of reading this book is discovering this for yourself. I don't know why, but I really wanted to read this book after seeing the cover. So far, this is one of my favorite YA books released in 2012. I really did feel a lot of sympathy for the main character and thought her family was just wonderful. From her father who collected and told Sunday stories to her Pirate Queen sister. Now, one of my biggest pet peeves is that authors always feel the need to manufacture a romance in YA books. Not just manufacture them, but have the romance and the boy consume and dominate the girl's thoughts. Which, I can tell you from personal experience, is not a good idea- a boy should not be the end all and be all of a young girl's life. However, this was not the case in this book. Of course there was a romance. A very touching and sweet one that blossomed between Sunday and the frog prince. Besides, every fairy tale needs a "happily ever after". But, Sunday seemed to always consider her separate life, and her family, as an important part of who she was and the choices she made.

The book's main weakness was the sections involving the prince. I didn't find him as compelling a character as Sunday and her family. When the prince was featured, I found myself wanting the author to return to Sunday and family. But, considering that this is a debut novel, this is a very minor criticism. Look forward to reading the next book written by Kontis.

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Shay | 862 comments 159. Lucky Man A Memoir by Michael J. Fox by Michael J. Fox. 260 pages.

I grew up watching Michael J. Fox play Alex P. Keaton on "Family Ties". I think one of the remarkable things he did, as an actor on that show, was to take a potentially completely unlikeable character and humanize him. I think a good deal of that is there is a certain "niceness" to Michael J. Fox the person that just comes through on the screen. It definitely comes through in this book.

Like many people, I was shocked when he went public with his Parkinson's diagnosis. It felt especially horrible because he seems like such a truly nice person- and nice people don't deserve these kinds of things. Especially not a young person with a young family. Because I had this image of him, certain revelations in this book came as a shock- like his drinking problem. He credits his Parkinson's diagnosis with leading him to stop drinking. Indeed, he credits Parkinson's with "forcing" him to make many choices that made him a better man. Hence the title, "Lucky Man" which he says without a trace of irony and a great deal of sincerity. That's not to say he didn't have "Why me?" moments. Of course he did.

Fox's description of himself as a "lucky man" reminds me of one of my favorite memories of my mother, who died of stomach cancer a few years ago. We were sitting in the waiting room at her oncologist's office, waiting to get some blood work done and her chemo treatment. She looks around the room and tells me, "I'm lucky." Of course I look at her like she's insane- she's only in her 50's and she has inoperable stomach cancer. So, I give her "the Look". She looks at me and says, "Look at that old man and his daughter and her 4 kids." I look and there's an old man with his daughter and her 4 kids under the age of 5. My mother says, "You think the daughter is here supporting her father like you're here for me, right? I met her, the daughter, and she has leukemia." My mother then instructs me to look at another grandfather, his daughter, and their 10-ish year old child. I know what's coming, but she said it anyway. She tells me, "I met the boy last week when we were both getting blood drawn." My mother looks at me and says, "I'm lucky because I lived long enough to see you grown and for my grandchildren to remember me when I'm gone." Less than a year later, my mother was dead at 58, but she insisted up to the end that she was "lucky".

Michael J. Fox has retired from acting, but began a new career as an activist for Parkinson's. Especially research devoted to finding a cure, which he says many researchers think is only a decade away. I hope he's wrong and a cure comes sooner. Highly recommend this book

Rating: 4 stars

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Shay | 862 comments 160. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks by Anna Banks. 326 pages.

Oh...this is one of those books. I could list all of the faults- and I definitely will list some of them. Yet, despite them, I found the book compelling. I found some of the writing kind of silly. Especially the dialogue. I think that most of the sympathy I had for the character was due to the tragedy at the beginning of the book. I think without that incident, I wouldn't like the character very much and would find her whiny and annoying. Normally, this is where I would slam an author for lazy writing- creating some kind of "movie of the week" melodrama as a shortcut to character development. However much eye rolling I did, I kept going back and reading this book. Normally, I have 10-20 books going at once. So, it's rare that I will read large portions of a book and find myself returning to it (the book). But I did with this book. My main reason for liking this book: "I liked it because I liked it. It was good because I liked it". Circular, I know, but some books are like that. You like them for some inexplicable reason you can't quite put your finger on.

Rating: 3 stars
Genre Rating: 3 1/2 flippers or mermaid tails

message 727: by Shay (last edited May 28, 2012 09:32AM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments 161. Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch by Nancy Atherton by Nancy Atherton. 232 pages.

I've not been in the mood for cozies, but I keep requesting them from the library. I honestly had no desire to read it, but it was due yesterday and I couldn't renew it. I found the first pages slow going. This book is #17 in this series, but like most mystery authors, the first few pages are devoted to recapping the characters, setting, etc. But once I got past this, I found myself charmed by Lori and the residents of Finch. Of course, it's probably an idealized view of village (small town) life, but how much realism can you really expect? After all, you really have to suspend belief when reading mysteries- how many of us really stumble across a corpse every few months. This series is unique, though, in that not every mystery is a murder mystery. (Maybe none at all- can't remember this is book #17) You can't get any cozier than that, can you?

I've read a lot of mysteries and mystery series. At some point, many/most completely fall apart and you get bored reading them. Or annoyed reading them- there are a few long running series that have stretched a love triangle out over many books spanning at least a decade. However, this is one of those series where you like the sameness. It's okay that the characters don't really develop and stay frozen in time like a bug trapped in amber. It means that every year, a new book is like visiting with old friends. Its sameness becomes comforting. This is a series that has done exactly that.

Rating: 3 stars

Genre rating: 3 1/2 tea pots

162. Blu's Hanging by Lois-Ann Yamanaka by Lois-Ann Yamanaka. 261 pages.

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Shay | 862 comments 163. Stay At Home Dead by Jeffrey Allen by Jeffrey Allen. 283 pages.
This is another cozy mystery that's due at the library. So, I had to read it. A lot of times this doesn't work well; I feel resentful while reading in this situation. I also had some major doubts about this book- the cozy field is pretty much dominated by women. In essence, I went into this book expecting to hate it. To my surprise, I finished this book in less than 24 hours.

For the most part, I liked the main character who is a stay at home dad. I'm putting down his experiences with people looking funny at him to living in a small, conservative, Texas town. (He lives in one in real life and was a stay at home dad.) My husband was a stay at home dad for a while. Women used to smile at him and tell him he was sweet or that he was "such a good dad". My husband would tell them, "No one should think I'm doing a great job because I only do what women do every day without any thanks. Except they (the women) do it better." He would then go on about what a shame it was that what he was doing was so unique that it deserved to be commented on- that more dads should take an active part in the lives of their kids. Then, they would give him an even bigger smile.

What I disliked about the character was his "dwarf issue". He encounters a "little person" who is a private detective. They get into a scuffle. He asks someone in law enforcement about the P.I. and is told that he's a good investigator but has "little man syndrome". I think that does cross a line and I didn't like it. But I did think that Deuce's encounters with Rose Petal's "Mommy Mafia"- that group of PTA type moms was spot on. I guess hatred of them is universal.

Recommendation: I'd say that if you like cozies, you will like this book. It did stand out among the many craft and cooking cozies that we have been overrun with.

Overall Rating: 3 stars
Genre Rating: 4 teapots (for cozies)

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Shay | 862 comments 164. Getting Old Is Murder (Dell Mystery) by Rita Lakin by Rita Lakin. 336 pages. I had to read this book for a reading challenge: "Read a book featuring an elderly female." (or something like that) So, this is not a book I really wanted to read at this particular time- not that it would really change my ratings. I generally only give 3 to 3 1/2 star ratings to genre type fiction. And, no matter my mood, this is a solidly 3 star book. Which means, to me, that it was an enjoyable cozy. And I really thought she did a good job with the characters. Finally, the author is a former TV show writer. So, for a debut mystery, the writing is pretty polished and well paced.

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Shay | 862 comments 165. Taste by Kate Evangelista by Kate Evangelista. 259 pages.
I got a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I want to mention, though, that the author didn't approach me. She posted the book giveaway info in a forum- no spammy behavior from the author. Just posted and let it be. I saw the post, fell in love with the cover and had to read it. Now "cover love" has failed me at times- I've read quite a few mediocre and awful books because of a wonderful cover. This is not one of those times...

I'm prepared to cut debut authors a bit of slack, but this first book didn't feel like a debut novel. A first book usually seems to have a number of flaws- pacing, telling and not showing, etc. But the author has put quite a bit of thought into this book. It shows even in the details. For example, one of my big pet peeves is the "invisible parent". A parent that inexplicably lets the children under their control do odd and dangerous things. However, in this book the combination of the boarding school and the backstory on Phoenix's parents explains their absence. Another major issue first authors have is pacing- not just in action, but also in the "reveals". As much as action propels the reader along through the pages of a book, so does the desire to learn more about the book's characters and world. This book managed to balance keeping enough mystery to keep you eagerly reading and timing the reveals well enough that the book didn't drag. Quite a feat for any author, let alone a first time author.

I think one of the main things I use to determine how much I like a book is readability. Just the ability of a book to make you want to read it. To make you choose it above all the other books you may have going. The way some books compel you to read it in any free minutes you can snatch while at work. This book did all of those things. I finished it in about 8 hours-during a day I was working. (Or supposed to be working, good thing my husband is the boss and firing me would make his home life too difficult) So, this book is highly recommended to anyone who loves YA books.

Overall rating: 3 1/2 stars (remember, I'm stingy with stars. I only gave "Water for Elephants" 3 stars)

Genre rating: 4 1/2 tombstones

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Shay | 862 comments 166. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling by Mindy Kaling. 240 pages.
167. Darkness Before Dawn by J. A. London by J. A. London. 342 pages.
My full review is on my blog:
Review of Darkness Before Dawn and Immortal Rules

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Shay | 862 comments 168. Kiss the Dead (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #21) by Laurell K. Hamilton by Laurell K. Hamilton. 359 pages. The best thing I can say about this book- only three sex scenes. And only one of those involved Anita with more than 1 person. The worst thing(s): no Edward and Hamilton has turned Asher into a whiny wimp. A 2 star book.
Full Review here:

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Shay | 862 comments 169. Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1) by Leigh Bardugo by Leigh Bardugo. 368 pages.
Shadow and Bone is one of those books I pretty much decided to read because the ad for this book kept appearing on Goodreads- over and over and over. I think that this was one of the most hyped/anticipated books this year. So, I went into it expecting great things.....

So, I was disappointed. Very disappointed because it just wasn't that interesting in the beginning. It was a book I would read a few pages and put to the side for another book- it just didn't grab me at all. But, about 20% of the way through, things got interesting. (It's the point of the first battle) At this point, I get why so many people fell in love with this book. It has a medieval Russian fantasy world kind of feel- a lot of the names are in Russian (I'm guessing). So, it feels like you're in a Russian folk tale. Also, the book explores something in great detail in a way that's different for a YA novel- it explores the concept of power. Power in government, the way power corrupts. How having an absolute monarch can lead to stagnation which in turn can lead people to follow any kind of demagogue because people yearn for change so badly that they'll accept any change. Good or bad. (Is this some kind of allusion to the Russian Revolution?) So, you see, it's a definite cut above most YA books in this sense.

Hmm...when someone says, "in this sense", they're usually qualifying the statement. Which I am, I guess. I'm saying that there is symbolism, allusions, allegories in this novel which does set it apart from run of the mill YA novels. So, in what way isn't it "a cut above"? It's one of those books that has a lot of technical things right: good characters, understandable motivations, etc. But despite all of that, I just didn't fall in love. Something was missing. Don't know what. I know people who love Twilight- they think it's poorly written, but to them the book has that "magic". I do get that- that some books are just magical. Usually it's because they do a lot of things right and have that extra sprinkling of fairy dust that makes the characters live off the page and take residence in our brains. This book just isn't magic to me. Yes, I'll read the next book in the series. Yes, I'll enjoy it if it's as good as this one. But, I finished reading this book about a week ago and completely forgot I read it until I saw this partially finished review in my Blogger Post page. Sorry, these characters just don't live in my head, but I hope that you read it and it's magic for you.

Overall rating: 3 1/2 stars

Genre rating: 4 magic wands

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Shay | 862 comments 170. Florence by Ciye Cho by Ciye Cho. 203 pages.
I guess this is the disclosure part again: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. But I want to say that the author didn't solicit me to do this. I saw the beautiful book cover on two other blogs, noted they were e-ARC's and tracked the author down and asked for a copy.

The real standout thing in this book is the world building. A lot of recent mermaid books I've read really missed the opportunity to take us to another world. A world that's all the more magical because it's not on another planet or in the land of the Fae, it's just under the sea. What I especially love is the gift the author has for description- the prose is both crisp and spare and yet creates one of the most vivid worlds I've read recently. I've read a lot of books recently in which the author seems to have worn out a thesaurus- synonyms piled onto synonyms piled onto adverbs onto $2 words.

Full Review on my blog: Review of Florence

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Shay | 862 comments 171. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick by Huntley Fitzpatrick. 395 pages.
I really was captivated from the beginning of this book. From the very start, you really feel for the MC, Samantha. The author was able to capture the longing she had for a life more like the Garrets- a life full of laughter and love. Now, I come from a family more like the Garretts and I can say that for a long time I wished for a family more like The Cleavers (Leave It To Beaver, anyone else remember?). I think a lot of times growing up, we think life would be better if it was just different. However, in Samantha's case, her home life really is kind of awful- cold, impersonal, with a mother overly concerned with how things look rather than how things really are. So, you can understand why Samantha falls in love with the Garretts- the reader kind of does too because they are such a great family. You can even understand why Samantha so quickly falls in love with Jase- she really doesn't have anyone else. So, just, "Wow"! The author manages to create such wonderful and real characters.

Towards the end of the book something happens that just stretches the bounds of what an author can reasonably expect a reader to accept. Ever seen a magic show? I remember going to one as a kid and the magician at the party did the floating ball thing. From where I was standing, you could see the shadow of the string. That was it for me- I knew how the trick was done, so I was conscious that the whole thing was a trick. Same thing happened in this book. An event happened and it was too big and convenient a coincidence. So awkward to me, that it took me out of reading the book- I could see the string- the trick. All of a sudden, I wasn't in the world of the book, I was aware that all it was was a book. Kind of ruined it for me. I waited a few days to write this review, thinking I might get over it. No, what I really remember is catching sight of the author's "strings".

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Shay | 862 comments 172. Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell by Shelley Coriell. 299 pages.
When you write realistic fiction, you really need to keep it, well, realistic. Which is why I had problems with the latter part of My Life Next Door. "Chloe" did not have this issue- I thought the ending was really well done. However, as much as I liked the main character Chloe, I just don't think that this book has characters that live off the page. That you take with you after you finish reading it. I don't wonder about Chloe's life after this book ends.

So, should you read this book. Yes, when you're looking for a light, fluffy type of read. "Welcome Caller" would be one of those books good for an in between read. Something to read after reading a sad, long, depressing, etc. book. Kind of a clearing the mental cobwebs type of book.

Overall rating: 3 stars
Genre Rating: 3 1/2 lockers

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Shay | 862 comments 173. Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick by Patricia McCormick. 216 pages.
Obviously, this is a difficult book to read as it is a child’s eye view of a real life genocide. The author interviewed Arn Chorn-Pond for this book. Chorn-Pond doesn’t spare anyone, including himself, from the truth. He includes details about his time under the Khmer Rouge that are not flattering to him. Such is the horror of war, really. That people find they are willing to do the unthinkable to survive. And, the author really showed the process whereby that can happen.

On the negative side, there is a real disconnect between content and age appropriateness. The book deals with genocide, which means this is really a book written for older teens. Yet, it’s from the point of view of a 9 year old child. So, the language usage seems a little bit simplistic for a book targeted at teens. I wonder if this would have been better in third person because in first person it has to use simpler vocabulary- the vocabulary and thoughts of a 9 year old. Yes, third person would have taken the immediacy away, but I think the subject matter alone would have allowed us to connect and sympathize with the main character. Also on the negative side, the author tries to write in dialect. I say tries to because all she does is omit articles- “a”, “an”, and “the”, because Asian languages omit these.

Overall, this is a book I would recommend with some reservations. First, I think this is a book that a parent needs to read first before giving it to their child. Even then, this is a book where you would have to read with your child. I would not recommend letting your child read this book if they’re easily frightened.

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Shay | 862 comments 174. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne by Emmy Laybourne. 294 pages. Don't care enough about this book to write a full review. I feel like I did my time reading it, I just want to walk away from it now. This is a "Meh" book. It's one of those books that is not worth buying. If you really feel the need to read it, get it from the library or a friend. There's not one part of this book I really liked.

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Shay | 862 comments 175. Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein by Lisa Burstein. 304 pages.
Amy...I think a lot of us have gone through times in our teen years when we felt like Amy. Just kind of feeling that you don't fit in, that people don't see you as you are. That if they did see you, they wouldn't like you. Feeling unhappy with life without being able to put your finger on the "Why", the cause of the unhappiness. Burstein did a good job of being able to make Amy sympathetic through all of her struggles and not whiny and annoying. Which is good because Amy (until her self-created problem at the beginning of the book), has mostly typical teenage problems. The kind of middle class American kid type problems that can sometimes make you just loathe a character. Instead, because of the great writing, those typical problems made it easy to relate to Amy as the book takes us through Amy's life while she works through them. And, I was so relieved that the author didn't ruin the book with a bad ending. I've found that when reading realistic YA novels that if the ending isn't good/plausible/consistent, etc. that it just ruins the whole book.

Full Review here

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Shay | 862 comments 176. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith by Seth Grahame-Smith. 336 pages. 3 stars.

It was good, but not great. It was a fun book, but you almost got the sense that the author wrote it thinking, "Movie Deal!" In other words, it kind of reads like a (good) novelization of a movie- like it's a book based on a movie, not the other way around. But, it's a good summer type read. And yet, you almost get the feeling that this might be one of those books that the movie will be better than the book.

Full Review on my blog

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Shay | 862 comments 177. Something Like Normal by Trish Doller by Trish Doller. 214 pages.

This book was my "I Hate This Cover" winner for the month of June. To all the publishers (I'm thinking of you in particular Disney) who evidently don't value bloggers, you're wrong. Really, really, wrong to the point of moving past misguided into "evil overlord" territory. Why? Because I decided to read a book (this one) that I had basically slushed into "Will Never Read" pile due to bloggers posting about this book. Telling people that it's not a YA romance, but rather a book about a young man returning from the war in Afghanistan.

Okay, this is probably the best YA book I've read that was published this year. (Again, thank you fellow bloggers and "Stuff it", Disney.) Better yet, it's an important book. Even better, it doesn't read like it's self-conscious about being an "Important Book". Instead, it just tells one person's story about war. I'm torn because I want to write a detailed review, but on the other hand I don't want to spoil it. So, I'm just going with the angle of, "Trust me, this is good". How good? Good enough to buy new.

Finally, this book does a good job portraying America's "Unsung Heroes". The families of veterans. The wives, husbands, moms, dads, girlfriends, boyfriends, and assorted friends and relatives, who keep the home fires burning. Who raise the kids, write the letters, say the prayers, cry oceans of tears, wear out the carpets pacing, etc. The heroes left behind who give the men and women fighting something tangible to fight for, live for, and come home to.

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Shay | 862 comments 178. Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout by Jennifer L. Armentrout. 335 pages. Wow, why don't I listen to people more? Well, individually tastes are different. That's a given. But when lots of people like something- or love something- it's worth giving a book a chance. Normally, I don't read books that have this much of a romance angle. But I'm glad I read this one:

My Full Review

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Shay | 862 comments 179. This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers by Courtney Summers. 332 pages.

I picked up this book because so many bloggers had written that they were really excited to read this book. One mentioned some blood spots on the cover- I didn't notice those. For whatever reason, I took this to mean the book was about teen suicide. So, imagine my surprise when it becomes apparent- in chapter two- that it's a zombie book. At that point, I went and read the summary because I was a little confused and discovered, "Wow, it is a zombie apocalypse book. "

Short summary: "The Breakfast Club" meets Lord of the Flies with zombies.

Link to my full review

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Shay | 862 comments 180. Quarantine The Loners by Lex Thomas by Lex Thomas. 416 pages.
I have two sons- one of them a teenager. I was just bemoaning the fact that there's a point at which boys seem to stop reading. Say around age 9-12. Why? To some extent, they run out of stuff to read. There is just not enough fiction being published that's appealing to teenage boys. So, they don't read and because they don't read, nothing much gets published that teenage boys will like. Because it won't sell, because teenage boys don't read. Kind of a big circular mess, actually. I'm mentioning this because if you have a teenage boy at home who is a reluctant reader, this is the book for him. In fact, this would be my 2012 pick for Reluctant Male Readers.

However, I think the very things that boys will like about this book are things that (some) parents may have problems with. For starters, it's violent. Not just violent, but it contains very graphic violence. Second, there are sexual situations. For me personally as a parent, I find violence and sex in books less offensive and troublesome than in movies, TV, and video games. There's something about having a visual image that's more disturbing and video mediums lack the ability to convey the thought processes going on in a character's head. That whole gratuitous sex and violence thing that I think is common in movies, TV, and video games and is actually relatively rare in YA books.

There are two major things that are appealing in this book. The first is a must for teenage boys- that something is always happening. This book is well-paced and there are constant twists, turns, and action. The plot consistently moves forward. As a parent, the thing I most liked about the book was the relationship between the two brothers- David and Will. I have two sons and my husband is one of four boys- three of them even went to high school at the same time. I found the relationship between David and Will to be both real and touching. The authors really captured the love/hate/competition thing that brothers- especially those close in age- seem to have.

Overall Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Genre Rating: 4 school lockers

There's a GR giveaway for this book that ends on July 6th

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Shay | 862 comments 181. 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody by Jessica Brody. 352 pages.

This is a good coming of age book. Like many people who have had "daddy issues" as a teen, I found myself able to relate to the character's struggle to come to terms with her relationship to her father.

My Full Review Here: Review

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Shay | 862 comments 182. Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire by Roxanne St. Claire. 368 pages.

This is a pretty cheesy kind of book- but good cheesy. At least I found it charming and at times sweet. It's very predictable, but sometimes that's good. I mean sometimes I want the book I'm expecting, if that makes sense. In other words, if a book seems like it's silly, sweet, and yet goofy, then I want that book to deliver a silly, sweet, slightly goofy story. Throw in some "Coming of Age" type moments and a cute romance and you have this book.

On the negative side, the author threw in an attempted date rape. It was pretty awful and just seemed so out of context for a book like this. Also, the language is just horrible at times. I'm not a teenager, so I don't know if that's realistic or not. But other than that, this is a great summer read.

Overall rating: 3 stars
Genre rating: 4 high school lockers (This book is very readable. I really couldn't put it down once I started)

183. Death of a Kitchen Diva by Lee Hollis by Lee Hollis. 327 pages. Did not like this book. It's a 1 1/2- 2 star book. Full Review Here

message 747: by Shay (last edited Jul 14, 2012 09:11AM) (new)

Shay | 862 comments These are all my "Meh" Books. Books that were good enough to finish, but are 2 1/2 star book. Just barely okay. Just barely readable. Reviews Here

184. The Hunt (The Hunt, #1) by Andrew Fukuda by Andrew Fukuda. 293 pages.

185. Bunheads by Sophie Flack by Sophie Flack. 294 pages.

186. Team Human by Justine Larbalestier by Justine Larbalestier. 293 pages

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Shay | 862 comments 187. Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2) by Deborah Harkness by Deborah Harkness. 584 pages.

I gave "Discovery of Witches" a 1 star rating on Goodreads. I liked the first, maybe, fourth of the book. Then I thought it was boring and overly long. Think about it- it's a 600-ish page book and I thought 450 or so pages of it were deadly dull. That's like a whole boring chunky book worth of boring. So, why did I read Shadow of Night? Because it's set in the Elizabethan Era and I was promised that I would meet Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. So, I decided that as long as I could get the book for free, I would give it a try.

So, this was my attitude going into the book. I was prepared to try to like it, but I was expecting to hate it. I know that's not really fair, but... I ended up really liking this book. Which says something, because when I started the book, I was looking for reasons to hate it and give myself and excuse to stop. But I couldn't stop, the book just sucked me in. Why? Because stuff actually happens in this book compared to the overly navel gazing boredom of the first book. Second, Diana is really a lot less whiny and annoying in this book. Finally, Kit (Christopher) Marlowe is a deliciously, queen bitch, gay daemon.

Historical Accuracy: I'm not an Elizabethan scholar, but I'm pretty sure that Marlowe wasn't a demon. In other words, this is an historical fantasy novel. So don't quibble about this. I hope it's accurate because the atmosphere Harkness created in this book is really lush and you feel transported into Elizabethan England. In any case, Harkness has published these books: The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution and John Dee's Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature. So, I'm going to assume that Harkness knows more than I do and that this book is pretty historically accurate.

Overall Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Genre Rating: 4 magic wands

As a side note: If you despised "Discovery of Witches", and perhaps were unable to finish it. I think that you could read a summary of "Discovery" to get enough background to read this book. There's really very little information you need from "Discovery" to make sense of "Shadow of Night". Of course, if you hated a first book in a series, it goes without saying that you should get this one from the library.

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Shay | 862 comments 188. From What I Remember... by Stacy Kramer by Stacy Kramer. 462 pages.
My Full Review Here

It's not great literature- but that's okay, who could really have been expecting that? Fun is good, fun is great for a summer beach read. The author throws in some deeper themes- like a brother with Asperger's- and those themes are brought together at the end a little too neatly. Actually, this is the thing that bothers me most- when books insert serious issues to try to balance out an otherwise cheesy plot. But if you can overlook that, it's an enjoyable read.
Overall rating: 3 stars
Genre Rating: 4 school lockers

message 750: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (alibrarianslibrary) Shay wrote: "187. Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2) by Deborah Harkness by Deborah Harkness. 584 pages.

I gave "Discovery of Witches" a 1 star rating on Goodreads. I liked the first, maybe, fourth of the book. Then I thought it was bor..."

I find it extremely interesting that, for as much as you did not like the first in the series, you ended up liking the second! That doesn't happen very often! Lol.

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Books mentioned in this topic

Blood Cross (other topics)
The Cliff House Strangler (other topics)
The Coptic Secret (other topics)
Manor of Death (other topics)
Preaching to the Corpse (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Sally Goldenbaum (other topics)
Suzann Ledbetter (other topics)
Alexander Campion (other topics)
Christina Dodd (other topics)
Lee Goldberg (other topics)