Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday's in the Tower by Jessica Day George

To read my review of the first book in this series, click here: Tuesday's at the Castle.


Title: Wednesday's in the Tower (Castle Glower #2)
Author: Jessica Day George
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Mid-Grade Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None (other than a desperate need to own a griffin)
Premise: "After discovering a giant egg in the magical Castle Glower, Princess Celie agrees to care for the egg and what creature it hatches" (King County Library System).
Opinions: Okay, this series is just FABULOUS!!!! and it keeps getting better. I want to live in this country, that castle, and to hang out with those kids. Celia is by far my favorite heroine in a mid-grade book and I love how her family believes in her and supports her.  This is a great read for kids and um, those who are no longer kids on the outside, but still running wild with a young heart. And hurrah for Rufus! I want a griffin too! Okay, enough said. Go read this series to your kids, now. As for me, I will be anxiously waiting for the arrival of book three, Thursday's with the Crown, which is schedule for an October 2014 release.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley

To read my reviews of the other books in this series, click here: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, A Red Herring Without Mustard, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, and Speaking from Among the Bones.


Title: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce #6)
Author: Alan Bradley
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Adult Murder Mystery
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: some vivid scenes
Premise: "On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train's arrival in the English village of Bishop's Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces' crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself. Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office--and making spectacular use of Harriet's beloved Gypsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit--Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer" (King County Library System).
Opinions: This book was a beautiful mix of an eleven-year old dealing with intense grief in overwhelming circumstances while still hunting for the truth. It felt real, raw and emotional from Flavia's perspective. You see the emotional/psychological twists she endures now that she is seeing things in a different light, and is becoming her own most unique and intriguing grown-up. I'm continually amazed by the depth of characters among the plethora of people crossing Flavia's stage. However, the one who has my heart the most is Dogger. He is forever a hero in my book and a man I wish I could know in real life. One of the other things I love about this series is the intermittent references to history, literature and music that makes me want to delve even deeper into their amazing culture. 

Alan Bradley has done a remarkable job on a brilliant series that steps out of the norm for the mysteries that I have read (keeping in mind my scope is more limited than I would prefer to admit. In the end this book (and its series) has left me thoughtful, intrigued, and envious. I definitely recommend it, but suggest that a parent read it first to know if their specific child can handle the content).

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tres Leches Cupcakes by Josi S. Kilpack

To read my reviews of the other books in this series, click here: Lemon Tart, English Trifle, Devil's Food Cake, Key Lime Pie, Blackberry Crumble, Pumpkin Roll, and Banana Split.


Title: Tres Leches Cupcakes (Culinary Mystery #8)
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Adult Mystery
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "Sadie Hoffmiller is working undercover for the BLM on an archaeological site in New Mexico when she stumbles across a pair of recently deceased bodies and becomes involved in the black market world of Indian artifact theft" (King County Library System).
Opinions: Sadie is living in hiding in New Mexico from a character in one of her earlier stories. To keep her busy she is working a side job for the BLM trying to uncover who is stealing Native American artifacts. I loved to see her working her way back into the investigative action, and finding her comfort zone again. I love the ever growing relationship between her and Pete and the trust that continues to grow between them. I was also fascinated by the new cast of characters and friends and the new places she goes. One of my favorite scenes is when she goes investigating in a bar and gets in a fight. LOVE IT!!!!  I've also written down several of the recipes, especially a Crock Pot Posole while I hope to make for my family this week. Sounds delectable. I can't wait to read the next one.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crossed by Ally Condie

To read my review of the first book in this series, click here: Matched.


Title: Crossed (Matched #2)
Author: Ally Condie
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "Seventeen-year-old Cassia sacrifices everything and heads to the Outer Provinces in search of Ky, where she is confronted with shocking revelations about Society and the promise of rebellion" (King County Library System).
Opinions: Overall the writing is well done and the story is intriguing, but as a sequel I found Crossed to have a different flow than Matched had. In the first book we learn about the status quo and slowly learn about how that needed to change. Hence, Matched focused more on plot. In Crossed we get the chance to delve deeper into who Cassia and Ky are as individuals and what has led them to be who they are and wanting to be together. Since the story focuses on what they're thinking and feeling there are times that the story feels slow. However, I still found myself pulled along, wondering if Ky and Cassia would find each other again, and what would happen when the did. And I was most curious about the little bit we saw of Xander and where his story goes. I'm interested to see where book three leads and how their stories will end.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

To read my reviews of the other books in this series, click here: The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, and The  Mark of Athena,


Title:  The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus #4)
Author: Rick Riordan
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings:  None
Premise:  "Greek and Roman demigods from the Prophecy of Seven must work together to seal the Doors of Death--and help Percy and Annabeth escape the Underworld in the process"-- Provided by publisher.
Opinions: My husband and I are reading the series aloud together, because we are so addicted to it. I was glad to see each of the heroes of the Prophecy of Seven develop into more in-depth characters with new strengths bringing greater dimension to already intriguing people. I especially loved seeing Annabeth and Percy's trip through Tartarus and the monsters that they encounter that they had previously killed. Most of all I loved "Bob", but you'll just have to read the story to find out why.  Leo Valdez also received more face time and an intriguing twist to his story. Other than the feeling that Rick Riordan is trying to provide a cameo for every God in the Greek & Roman pantheons, this was an amazing book.  I can't wait until the Fall when book five, Blood of Olympus, is released.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George

To read my reviews of the other books in this series, click here: Princess of the Midnight Ball and Princess of Glass.


Title:  Princess of the Silver Woods  (Princess #3)
Author: Jessica Day George
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "When Petunia, youngest of the dancing princesses, is ambushed by bandits in wolf masks on her way to visit an elderly neighbor, the line between enemies and friends becomes blurred as she and her sisters get a chance to end their family's curse once and for all" (King County Library System).
Opinions: This is a magnificent cross between a continuation of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Robin Hood, and Red Riding Hood. Jessica Day George does a brilliant job of interweaving those stories into a beautiful new creation.   I was fascinated by both Oliver and his internal battle between doing what he knows is wrong in order to take care of people who were wronged by others. I also loved getting to see Petunia again and to travel with her as she finds her own personal strength.   I also enjoyed getting to see other characters we've seen before and see how their lives have changed for better or for worse, and the consequences they now face.  In the end, I cried. . .in a good way.  So yes, this is a book (in fact an entire series) worth reading.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Matched by Ally Condie

For my reviews of other Ally Condie books, click here: Being Sixteen.


Title: Matched (Matched #1)
Author: Ally Condie
Reviewer:  Karen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating:  Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "All her life, Cassia has never had a choice. The Society dictates everything: when and how to play, where to work, where to live, what to eat and wear, when to die, and most importantly to Cassia as she turns 17, who to marry. When she is Matched with her best friend Xander, things couldn't be more perfect. But why did her neighbor Ky's face show up on her match disk as well?"
Opinions:This book was fascinating because the Society was based upon statistics and the laws of probability. Everything is based upon that--including what you eat, what you where, and what you are allowed and not allowed to do. Anyone who strays from what is acceptable, based upon what is expected according to probability is then censured as needed. Because of this you wonder if the characters are doing what they are doing, because they truly want to or only because they are taught that this is what probability allows. 

The characters were intriguing as well. I loved Xander--the boy every girl wants, and no one can think they are allowed. He's introspective, smart, good looking, and more than even Cassia realizes. As for Ky, this jury is still out. I feel there is a lot more to his story to learn before I really discover what I think of him.  And I adore Cassia. She wants to do what is right for her, for her family, for those around her, but she has to determine what "right really means". It makes her an interesting read. I love her strength most of all.

Overall, this was a really great read and I look forward to reading what's next in the sequel, Crossed.