08.20.2015

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Love this read. I just finished it, and I can’t help but wonder what the next book will be like? It reminds me of Thief’s Convent, the character’s are close, but yet so different. I so wish I could climb like these thieves. I so wouldn’t be always on the floor or asking for things be be handed down to me. I don’t want to be a thief, I couldn’t handle that style of living, I would have way to many worries to complete a job correctly.

08.18.2015

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

Chronicles consist of:

Book 1: Dealing with Dragons
Book 2: Searching for Dragons
Book 3: Calling on Dragons
Book 4: Talking to Dragons

Cimorene, Morwen, and Kazul are the few character in all four books. However, their friends are quick to come, and completely loyal. Wrede did a awesome job at combining the traditional things that happen within stories of princes, dragons, and magic with the practical side of beating the evil out of the kingdom. It is a funny read, with character that are all their own.

08.18.2015

Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins

Girl on a train was a fascinating mystery from the first page.  The main character, Rachael, is obsessed with a couple she watches from a far from a train.  She watches, who she calls Jason and Jess, from a train and dreams that they are the perfect couple.  There real names are Megan and Scott who live a few houses away from where Rachael used to occupy, before her alcoholism poisoned her relationship. “They’re a match, they’re a set,” Rachel reflects. “They’re happy, I can tell. They’re what I used to be, they’re Tom and me five years ago. They’re what I lost, they’re everything I want to be.”  Rachel would get drunk and forget what she did while she was intoxicated.  So when Megan goes missing, Rachael holds the key to her demise but has to put the puzzle pieces together before someone else goes missing.

07.9.2015

Dearest by Alethea Kontis

I was excited to see this book. I enjoyed Enchanted and Hero, so I knew this head to be a great book. It was an awesome plot, the author was confused towards the end of the book. However, the book had a great climax and resolution with no cliff hanger ending.

07.8.2015

Four Girls from Berlin: A True Story of a Friendship That Defied the Holocaust By Marianne Meyerhoff

To question or search for your identity your whole life seems tedious and disheartening. To be coerced to abandon your identity is just cruel. Marianne Meyerhoff’s poignant recounts of her life and that of her mother, Lotte or Mutti, points to the moralizing (and often conflicting) aspects of what it mean to be human. Marianne’s journey to rediscover her lineage, with the help of old and new friends and the treasure trove of her mother’s family heirlooms, takes her all around Europe and across lifetimes. You cannot help but shed a tear or two for all the lives lost during the burgeoning popularity of the Nazi regime in 1930s Germany. The damage inflicted on everyone on both sides of the conflict paints a bleak picture of the universal ideals of Peace and Happiness; and whether it was ever possible to achieve it.

The Jewish Holocaust during Second World War is not a new topic but its significance will never diminish for further discussion and research. As a former undergrad history major, I always preferred microhistory—the history of the masses, the personal accounts of the unnamed and the intimate details that seldom make it into the history books. As Marianne, or Marianna as she is affectionately known, gradually learns of her mother’s past, she has to confront the remnants of Nazi cruelty and bigotry. But she soon found herself becoming a part of a generation of storytellers and healers of a wounded world that was weary of war and a country that was trying to overcome the shadow it casted upon the world.

The “light” at the end of this dark and arduous tunnel was learning about Lotte’s three girlfriends who never forgot about their beloved Jewish friend who narrowly escaped the clutches of evil. Berlin, especially Bavaria’s Black Forest, must have been idyllic based on Lotte’s and later Marianne’s description. She described the flourishing Arts and Sciences communities during her mother’s early years. I appreciated Marianne’s careful and thoughtful words because it did not invoke anger within me but empathy. Fortunately the greater narrative of WWII ended with a happy ending; though it may not have been the same for Lotte’s family but to live your life as best as you could after emerging from hell on earth, can provide a sort of solace that hope does exist for the future.

This is a beautifully written story of one generation’s survival and another’s discovery.

07.2.2015

In the After Light by Alexandra Bracken

The third and last book of the Darkest Mind series. I enjoyed this book, Bracken did an awesome job at keeping the characters the same, along with making the reader sympathetic towards the main characters. The only thing I did not like, was how it ended. It seemed to be rushed, and hurried along, when Bracken could have stretched it out further.

07.1.2015

The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee

This is a first for me; a fiction book about a library. Although it was fiction the struggles and joys of running a library is all too real for me. Maura Beth Mayhew is the Director for the Public Library in Cherico, Mississippi and the book introduces the audience to her at a time when she learns her job and the library may no longer exist in the coming fiscal quarter. She is the typical young professional woman that many have come to expect when they hear the word: “Librarian”. She loves her job, she’s very easy going-gets along with everyone she meets, and from what I can infer from the story she understood that she needed to step out of her comfort zone and evolve into someone else if she is going to save the town’s library.

Of course the obvious adversary to our budding heroine is the town’s local mayor who insists that practical use of the land occupied by the library will be the profit making scheme for the town—and himself. Our lead character has her work cut out and fortunately, she wasn’t about to face the task alone. Slowly she befriends strangers who gradually became friends and at one point a surrogate family for her. What stood out for me in this book was the moment each person became a part of the other’s life when tragedy strikes or when great things are happening. The supporting characters involved are all very colorful and full of intrigue that made me wish the book was more than 243 pages—or at least become a set.

This is another easy-read kind of book that anyone would enjoy. I finished this book in two days—well, more like two nights; I’m sure you can finish this book in one plane ride or while waiting at your local DMV.

05.18.2015

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Once in a while I browse our library’s collection of books when I am having a difficult time choosing my next great read. I chose this book during one of my visits because I thought it should be worth reading; someone obviously spent a great deal of time and money writing about something as minute as…salt. Soon I found out that there is actually a sub-genre of books called Commodity History; which include books about everyday kitchen items such as: corn, booze, sugar and salt!

I took my time reading this book not because it was difficult to read through but well, “life” keeps getting in the way. But I will say this, when I did find the time to read it I genuinely enjoyed the contents of the book. Salt was such a high demand commodity that Empires grew out of it and trading it connected remote parts of the world. Techniques used by different cultures to cultivate this prized mineral were discussed and delicious recipes were incorporated into the chapters to provide a sense of connection with the past populace.

Reading this book made me think that perhaps there are different ways to studying history. We can study people and events or simple commodities that has held the interests of humanity since its discovery.

04.8.2015

Timeless by Gail Carriger

It’s over already?! Good things MUST come to an end…I guess. As much as I am saddened by the realization that the adventures of Aleixia Tarabotti is really over, I’m equally glad that I’ll be able to sleep before dawn because the series was “that” good! Timeless may be the final book of the series but it’s also a series of new beginnings for some of the characters.

Aleixia travels to Egypt to visit oldest Vampire Queen in the world. What awaits her in Egypt is the chance to learn everything about her father, the late Alessandro Tarabotti—the mysterious and powerful preternatural. This is also the first time the infant-inconvenient appears to us as a happy and mischievous toddler, Prudence. As a metanatural, there are many people, mostly the undead, who are curious (and repulsed) by her mere existence. As if that was not enough to keep the Maccon on edge especially Aleixia when traveling to a new country. It is here in Egypt that Aleixia will or must “correct” the “wrong” her father committed in the past. The problem is, she doesn’t know what her father did—she never met the guy!

I don’t think any amount of tea, English or otherwise, will help her.

03.25.2015

Heartless by Gail Carriger

In all of the books, Heartless clearly illustrates Aleixia finally settling in to her social and political roles in Victorian London. Despite her ever increasing girth, Lady Maccon—mujah, female Alpha of Woolsey, and close friend of the fabulous Lord Akledama—continues to waddle around London investigating an assassination plot against the Queen. But first she has more urgent matters to address.

-There’s the feral husband of hers who is constantly exclaiming the adverse effects of Vampires in societal matters

-The numerous assassination attempts by vampires towards her and the “infant-inconvenience”.

-And Felicity has shown up again. I. Hate. Her.

What I have noticed is that not all has been addressed or unfolded in the series so far. Is there or will there be any notion of magic? It is only natural for one to wonder about the absence (or omission) of magic in stories that involve the supernatural. My theory is, the mechanical science and the scandalous behavior of the characters would be enough to entertain the reader. Whatever the reason may be, the series is undeniably charming with a hint of sass for a cynic such as yours truly.

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