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Archive for September, 2012

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Challenge: Completed!

Posted by Caitie F on September 30, 2012


When you complete your challenge, please add a link to a blog post/goodreads shelf/Shelfari shelf with your list of books in the comments below!

This is where I will pick the winner for the gift card!


Posted in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

A Dance With Dragons by George R R Martin

Posted by Caitie F on September 28, 2012

Title: A Dance With Dragons
Author: George R R Martin
Hardcover: 1045 pages
Publisher: Bantam
Pub Date: July 2011
Rating: ++++

This contains SPOILERS for the first FOUR books in this series!

Summary from goodreads:

The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance.

In the east, Daenerys, last scion of House Targaryen, her dragons grown to terrifying maturity, rules as queen of a city built on dust and death, beset by enemies.

Now that her whereabouts are known many are seeking Daenerys and her dragons. Among them the dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, who has escaped King’s Landing with a price on his head, wrongfully condemned to death for the murder of his nephew, King Joffrey. But not before killing his hated father, Lord Tywin.

To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone – a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark’s bastard son Jon Snow has been elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, but he has enemies both in the Watch and beyond the Wall, where the wildling armies are massing for an assault.

On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all


Okay. So this book was better than the last one, but I don’t think it could be worse since there were actually characters I like in this book! Also, a LOT happened in this book. There was still some moving around to set up the last two books in the series, but there were lots of breaks in the slower parts with characters that I loved and action.

But I kind of hate George R R Martin. I cannot count the amount of the times that my favorite character have been in mortal danger and/or actually died in these books. It is just cruel. There are two characters in particular that seem like they died 5 or 6 times. I mean, even when you have seen a dead body, they aren’t necessarily dead in this series! It makes for a very stressful and emotional reading experience.

And he did it big time in this book both making me think my favorite character overall is dead and showing that a couple others aren’t. There were separations, reunions, and dragons.

This was such a cool book and I am so glad I am caught up with the series. I can now join discussions and don’t have to worry about being spoiled anymore! Though it also sucks that there is not anything else published. He needs to get writing!

DO you have any series that you are finally catching up to? Let me know in the comments!

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The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Posted by Caitie F on September 26, 2012

Title: The Lost Hero
Author: Rick Riordan
Hardcover: 557 pages
Pub Date: October 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Rating: +++


Summary from goodreads: Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?

Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god


I don’t know how it took me so long to read this book. I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series and, while this is called something else, it is the same universe and has a lot of the same characters. It has been on my list for a while, and I am glad I finally read it!

I only gave it three stars because a lot of parts were really predictable and I think would be very predictable for anyone has read the Percy Jackson series, no matter what their age is. There were so many hints to the big twist at the end that it was a little disappointing.

But it was still a fun read! I loved getting to learn more about the Roman Gods and some of the villains from myths that I had been hoping to see in the first series. They are still updated to live in our time which makes every new character more fun to see. Sometimes it is a little rushed and I wish we could spend more time with each bad guy, but I think it needs to be the way it is because of the audience.

The new characters are great. Jason may be the main person, but just like Annabelle was my favorite, Piper is my favorite character in this one – though I have to say Leo is a VERY close second. They are both smart and have their own strengths which make them well-rounded and complex characters.

This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys mythology and is interested in learning moer about the Roman gods.

I need to get the second book in the series!

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An Exciting Trip to the Bookstore

Posted by Caitie F on September 24, 2012

I have some very excited news to share with everyone! I had the most exciting trip to a bookstore on Saturday! I know that sounds strange, an exciting trip to a store, really? Really! I actually had tears from being so happy.

Back when i was unemployed, I was critiquing  queries and partial manuscripts for writers. I would give them a sentence by sentence evaluation of their query, then write them an editorial letter on the first fifty pages. I didn’t get to everyone who sent them to me, because a LOT of people sent it to me!

I got a response to one who had gotten an agent and a book deal! He said he would put me in the acknowledgements, but I thought nothing of it.

I realized that the book had come out this week and we were in a Barnes and Noble. I looked in science fiction and couldn’t find it so I asked someone for help. She thought it would be in new science fiction, couldn’t find it and checked again. It might be in the octagon in the front of the store! It was – it was actually right under the latest J.D. Robb book! Now that is placement!

Now it was exciting enough that a book I did something with was published and in that location. But that isn’t what gave me happy tears.

No, that happened when I turned to the acknowledgements in the back and saw

My name. My name in the acknowledgments in someone’s book. What Jay said was very touching and I thank him. Saying you will do something is one thing. Actually doing it is a whole other thing.

I started teary up and jogged towards my husband jason (I know, running in a store is bad, but I was too excited for thinking) and opened the book. He had no idea why I was so excited!

This was my first acknowledgement. It isn’t much, but this is what I like doing most. I love working with authors to make something that is already really great even better. It is what i am passionate about and is just a dream. That is has happened is amazing. I hope it is the first of many.

I cannot wait to read the entire book. The first fifty pages were great and now I am sure they are even better!

Obviously, I won’t be able to review the book,  but here are some reviews from other bloggers!

Steph Su Reads

Good Books and Good Wine

Sorry this wasn’t more articulate – I am still just so excited that it is hard!



Posted in Editorial | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

Posted by Caitie F on September 23, 2012

Title: Love Anthony
Author: Lisa Genova
Hardcover: 320 pages
Pub Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster)
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.

Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.

Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.


This book is not my usual fare. The summary made me think of Jodi Picoult, and I don’t really like Jodi Picoult’s books. But I was intrigued, so I gave it a chance.

I ending up reading it in two days, even reading it during my lunch break because I was so captivated by Beth and Olivia’s stories. Warning to all parents who want to read this though – have a box of tissues handy. I don’t even have kids and it made me a little teary (which was very awkward at work!).

I know there have been a lot of autism books and sometimes they feel like they are trying to teach you about autism. This one didn’t feel like this. If it “taught” me anything, it helped me understand what the child is experiencing. Yes, Olivia’s story was about how it affected the parents and her marriage, but through the excerpts of Beth’s book it showed how scary and frustrating it must be.

Yet is mostly isn’t about autism. It is about relationships evolving. It is about finding happiness for yourself and thinking about your own dreams sometimes. It is also about great friendships and figuring out some things for yourself.
Getting into both Beth and Olivia’s heads made the book much deeper than seeing it just from one perspective. The reader can really understand what both of them are going through and is able to feel a deep connection to both character. It will take me some time to get their distinct voices out of my head.

This book was so much more than I expected and I am very happy about it! What books have surprised you?

Posted in Review | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

Posted by Caitie F on September 17, 2012

Title: The Dressmaker
Author: Kate Alcott
Hardcover: 306 pages
Pub Date: Feb 12, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she’s had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic’s doomed voyage. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men, one a roughly-hewn but kind sailor and the other an enigmatic Chicago millionaire. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes.

Amidst the chaos and desperate urging of two very different suitors, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. Tess’s sailor also manages to survive unharmed, witness to Lady Duff Gordon’s questionable actions during the tragedy. Others—including the gallant Midwestern tycoon—are not so lucky.

On dry land, rumors about the survivors begin to circulate, and Lady Duff Gordon quickly becomes the subject of media scorn and later, the hearings on the Titanic. Set against a historical tragedy but told from a completely fresh angle, The Dressmaker is an atmospheric delight filled with all the period’s glitz and glamour, all the raw feelings of a national tragedy and all the contradictory emotions of young love.


After such a slow book, I wanted to read something fast and this was a great choice! There were a lot of Titanic books this year and I was avoiding them for the most part since I was really interested in the Titanic sinking as a kid. I didn’t really want to read yet another stor of the sinking.But then I saw this book and saw that it was mostly a historical novel about after the ship was sunk and the survivors were on American soil. That was something different and something I could be interested in.

For the most part, it was a really enjoyable book. It was much deeper than i thought it would be. It looked at the class differences in a fresh way, it looked at the whole idea of women and children first, and it looked at how someone could live with themselves when they survived and so many others did not. It was also a feminist book thanks to the amazing character of female journalist Pinky., which is probably why I enjoyed it so much!

While I liked the main caracter, Tess, a lot, I didn’t like the love triangle she was in because I could not see the real appeal of one of the men until the end of the book. I got that he was fancy and stuck up for her once…but it seemed pretty obvious what she should do and I got very annoyed with her pretty easily. But other than that she had a wonderful story.

This book was much better than I expected it to be. I found myself torn, much like the characters. Some people did some pretty horrible things to get into a lifeboat and once they were in them, so it is very easy to despise them. On the other hand, the were terrified and thinking on their feet. Who knows how any of us would act. Sure, we would like to wish we would all be heroes, but when actually faced with it, maybe not. It made me think about things in a much more complex way.

I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy strong female characters and a historical fiction book that can make you rethink things.

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At Home by Bill Bryson

Posted by Caitie F on September 15, 2012

Title: At Home
Author: Bill Bryson
Paperback: 592 pages
Pub Date: October 5, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.”

Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has
happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home.

To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.” The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on, as Bryson shows how each has fig­ured in the evolution of private life. Whatever happens in the world, he demonstrates, ends up in our house, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.


While this is not a fast read at all, it IS a fascinating read. It took me about two months to read this, and I usually read at most ten pages at a time. There was just so much information in this book that any more than that and I could not get much out of the book. That is probably not true for everyone, but I usually feel like that when I read nonfiction books, especially ones that have so much in them! I want to read his other book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, but that would probably take me veen longer!

Bryson has such an engaging style and has a way to talk about history in a fun way. This book really had so many things that I wondered about. You wouldn’t think the history of the toilet could possibly be anything but boring…but it was! There is also the history of clothing, the hallway, and so many other things we see every single day!

I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys finding out about history that they probably never heard before. But be warned, you will want to share the cool knowledge you learn with others and they may get a little annoyed!

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TSS: Reading More Slowly

Posted by Caitie F on September 9, 2012

My slower reading pace has continued. That is what I get for not taking a break between the last two A Song of Fire and Ice without a break. I love the series and the writing style, but it is a LOT of one style and one series. Dance With Dragons is a fantastic book but it is taking me forever to read. I am about halfway done and am going to try finish it in the next couple weeks.

I didn’t read at all last week…but i had a really good reason!

My older brother got married!

It was a beautiful ceremony and a really fun reception. I have an amazing new sister-in-law and I am so happy for my brother! We were in the wedding party and it was not stressful at all. IT was fun and an honor ot be part of their special day.

IT was just a wonderful weekend seeing family back in Ohio and I am very happy that my parents are coming to visit in October!

I did finish a book this week, but it doesn’t come out until next year, which sucks because it was amazing. I wrote my review already and it is the definition of a rave. I am so excited for the release of this book! But I have to finish some books that are already out and speed up!

Hope everyone else has had a great weekend, reading and otherwise!



Posted in Misc | 2 Comments »

The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis

Posted by Caitie F on September 8, 2012

Title: The Malice of Fortune
Author: Michael Ennis
Hardcover: 400 pages
Pub Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

A sweeping, intense historical thriller starring two of the great minds of Renaissance Italy: Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci. Based on a real historical mystery, and involving serial murder and a gruesome cat and mouse game at the highest levels of the Church — it was the era of the infamous Borgia.

This is an epic tale exploring the backdrop of the most controversial work of the Italian Renaissance, The Prince. Here, Niccolò Machiavelli, the great “scientist” of human behaviour becomes, in effect, the first criminal profiler, while his contemporary and sometime colleague, the erratic genius Leonardo da Vinci, brings his observational powers to the increasingly desperate hunt for a brilliant, terrifying serial murderer. Their foil and partner is the exquisite Damiata, scholar and courtesan. All three know their quarry is someone who holds enormous power, both to tear Italy apart, and destroy each of their most beloved dreams. And every thrilling step is based on historical fact.


Usually, when I finish a book, I immediately know what I want to rate it. This one, not so much. This isn’t quite “go out and get it” but is more than “if the premise sounds good, go get it”. I think that if you like historical, suspenseful mystery/thrillers, you will like this book, yet it more literary than most books in that genre.

I didn’t like that it moved slowly at points. It took me about 60 pages to get into the story since there was so much that had to be set up and revealed before you could really get into the mystery and the characters that I found most interesting: Machiavelli and da Vinci. I thought the courtesan, Damiata, added a twist to the story and I loved how the reader never really completely knows what she knows, but she also distracted from the characters I loved most.

I love reading about Italy, it is one of my must-visit place in the world. But I am glad I wasn’t living in this Italy. There is war, rape, and lots and lots of murder. It is not a bright and happy Italy, it is a vicious and scary Italy which, while not a place you want to go, is exciting to read about.

The mystery had me turning the pages well past when I should have stopped. It was great because you never had all of the information. There was so much secrecy and dishonesty that it helped carry the intrigue until the end. It was also very graphic. The serial killer did not leave his victims in one piece.

Overall, it was a very good piece of historical fiction. I like that the author used primary sources when investigating all of this for himself. Who knows if his assumed perpetrator is the right one, but it sure made for an exciting read, other than some very very slow chapters.

My other problem? I have never read The Prince and now I want to.

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