Friday, April 18, 2014

Crossed by Ally Condie

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

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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,

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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.


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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.



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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.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran


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Title: Nefertiti
Author: Michelle Moran
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Rating: Liked
Alerts/Warnings: Plague, Murder, Forced Abortion, etc
Premise: "Raised far from the Egyptian court with her sister, Mutnodjmet, the beautiful and ambitious Nefertiti becomes the wife of the radical new pharaoh, Amunhotep, encouraging his plans to overturn Egypt's state religion and making powerful enemies in the process.
Raised far from the Egyptian court with her sister, Mutnodjmet, the beautiful and ambitious Nefertiti becomes the wife of the radical new pharaoh, Amunhotep, encouraging his plans to overturn Egypt's state religion and making powerful enemies in the process. - See more at: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1010114082_nefertiti#sthash.EGQaIuXy.dpuf
Opinions: I found this novel fascinating. It wasn't told from Nefertiti's point of view, but from her sister's, Mutnodjmet. Mutnodjmet's story made me cry, and there were many times I would have loved to just smack Nefertiti in her behalf. But that just shows how intriguing this book is. I became so involved in the story, and some of the choices made that affected a nation, that I struggled to put the book down for the last two days.

This book does take a look at some of the possible difficulties that people faced in Egypt at that time, but also shows the strengths they had and their beliefs. Even though I may disagree with some of their lifestyle decisions, I am completely fascinated by the lives they lived. And Mutnodjmet is now one of my favorite characters of all time, for her loyalty to family, but her strength in learning to stand for what she believed in, in her own way.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Banana Split 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, and Pumpkin Roll.

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Title: Banana Split (Culinary Mystery #7)
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Adult Mystery
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "Sadie Hoffmiller need some time to rest, and where better than in beautiful Hawaii? But when Sadie finds herself entangled--literally--with a body, she is forced to face the compounding fears that are making her life so difficult to live. Her determination to focus on her healing soon takes a backseat, however, when she meets the son of the woman whose body she discovered and decides to help him" (King County Library System).
Sadie Hoffmiller need some time to rest, and where better than in beautiful Hawaii? But when Sadie finds herself entangled--literally--with a body, she is forced to face the compounding fears that are making her life so difficult to live. Her determination to focus on her healing soon takes a backseat, however, when she meets the son of the woman whose body she discovered and decides to help him. - See more at: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/item/show/979279082_banana_split#sthash.lcsQas8k.dpuf
Opinions: Banana Split was fascinating to read. Compared to the others in this series, it stood out because Sadie was having to deal with her own personal demons from the previous books as she tried to help Charlie, a Hawaiian boy in the foster care system, find out what happened to his recovering addict mother.  Having personal family members who are dealing with depression and anxiety, I felt a little more connected with Sadie allowing me to understand her feelings a little bit better as she tried to overcome here fears and not letting the anxiety control you.

I also loved the location for the story. Hawaii is always amazing, but I here Kaua'i is outstanding. I loved Josi's interpretation of life there and it reminds me of the time I stayed on the North Shore of O'ahu. I loved being taken back to my time there. The warmheartedness of the people, the beautify of the surroundings, the warm breeze and humid air.  (Okay I'm ready to go back.)  Anyway, the plot was intriguing, the character's growth wonderful, and the recipes delectable.   However, the questions I had at the end of the last book didn't get resolved in Banana Split, so I guess I'll just have to read the next book Tres Leche Cupcakes to find out more  ;-).

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

 To see Stephanie's review of this book, click here: Tuesdays at the Castle.

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Title: Tuesday's at the Castle (Castle Glower #1)
Author: Jessica Day George
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: MG Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "Eleven-year-old Princess Celie lives with her parents, the king and queen, and her brothers and sister at Castle Glower, which adds rooms or stairways or secret passageways most every Tuesday, and when the king and queen are ambushed while traveling, it is up to Celie--the castle's favorite--with her secret knowledge of its never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom" (King County Library System).
Eleven-year-old Princess Celie lives with her parents, the king and queen, and her brothers and sister at Castle Glower, which adds rooms or stairways or secret passageways most every Tuesday, and when the king and queen are ambushed while travelling, it is up to Celie--the castle's favorite--with her secret knowledge of its never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom. - See more at: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/item/show/908964082_tuesdays_at_the_castle#sthash.F807xMY3.dpuf
Eleven-year-old Princess Celie lives with her parents, the king and queen, and her brothers and sister at Castle Glower, which adds rooms or stairways or secret passageways most every Tuesday, and when the king and queen are ambushed while travelling, it is up to Celie--the castle's favorite--with her secret knowledge of its never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom. - See more at: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/item/show/908964082_tuesdays_at_the_castle#sthash.F807xMY3.dpuf
Opinions: I have yet to read a Jessica Day George book that I didn't like. This specific book is now when I'm my top 15 of my favorite books to read. The plot feels like a retelling of an older story, but with a unique twists. The Castle is my favorite character of the whole book. I'm intrigued by the fact that the castle is alive in its own unique way, and is in charge of who will be the King of the entire country. The was it shows its approval of some characters versus others is hilarious, and it is usually spot on about the person's character.

I also appreciated the relationship between the royal siblings. They looked out for each other,learned from each other, and trusted each other. I loved that she was mapping out the Castle and getting to know it on a personal level. Princess Celie was also an intriguing main character. She trusted, and could interpret, the signs the Castle was giving her. She is smart, kind, and funny. She even instigated several practical jokes on those in the Castle who were against her family.  I seriously had a difficult time  putting this book down.