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Archive for September, 2015

Fall TV 2015: First Impressions

Posted by Caitie F on September 28, 2015

I love TV. A lot. Probably a little too much. There are very few new shows I won’t try (CSI type shows are the exception). I wanted to give my impressions after the first episode of the brand new shows this year. I am probably going to update this post as other new shows come on (SUPERGIRL!!)

Monday

Minority Report:

One of the shows I was most excited about. I loved this movie. Expanding it into a TV show? That sounded awesome. Well, I made it through half of the pilot. The show was kind of a mess. It felt so procedural and I really dislike procedurals. The acting was okay at best, and there were some TERRIBLE lines.

Blindspot:

After the disappointment of Minority Report, I was feeling very cynical. It wasn’t as bad, and I will give it another few weeks before giving up. But it feels like it could be very procedural as well. I just hope the overarching story can be a strong connection like Blacklist, so the “crime of the week” isn’t the only thing holding it together. That said, the writing better get much better on this one.

EDIT after week two: Got through 10 minutes. Completely procedural. Blah. I’m done.

Tuesday

Best Time Ever:

This show is so much fun! The second week was better than the first – mostly because NPH started talking a little slower. I wish it would keep being at 10:00, since I can’t watch live at 8:00. Let’s hope for some better guest announcers. The first two were okay.

Muppets:

Was there any doubt I would love this show? It is so clever and funny. More Muppets please!

Scream Queens:

This is another show that is currently on probation. There is a lot I like about it – the cast, the horror/humor, but it will depend how the story progresses. I have my theories. Also, I really liked the Serial joke. Just that gave it an extra week

Thursday

Heroes Reborn

I was excited about this, but after the premiere, I have given up. It had a lot of the same problems as the second season on on Heroes – too many characters and storylines, with really weird cuts. It didn’t flow together very well and the jumps were odd. I found myself often a little confused and very bored. This could have used a lot of streamlining. I would have thought they would learn something from last time. Disappointed because I really liked Zachary Levi in such a different role.

Sunday

Quantico:

I LOVED this show. The acting was fantastic. The story (and how it is told) are daring and brilliant. The characters are so multilayered. It was INTENSE. This isn’t even on probation, I am in for the whole season. This is another fun one to theorize on and I am sure i will have a new opinion after each episode on who the terrorist is.

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Summer Reading Reviews: Fantasy

Posted by Caitie F on September 23, 2015

Well, it is later than I had hoped, but here is the third post in my reviews of ALL the books I read this summer.

Title: Burning Skyburning
Author: Sherry Thomas
Pub Date: Sep 2013
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Rating: +++++

Summary (from goodreads):

Iolanthe is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—the one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant teenager with no training. Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

Review:

This book has been on my radar for a while, and when I finally read it, it was so much better than I thought it would be! Both main characters are fantastic – smart, flawed, brave, and totally kick ass. The world building is incredible. The magic is super creative and cool. Everything about this book was awesome. I really need to read the next book in the series – if you like high fantasy, read this book.

Title: The Magician Kingmagician
Author: Lev Grossman
Pub Date: Aug 2011
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Viking
Rating: ++++

Summary (from goodreads):

Quentin should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring. Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they’d hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia’s illicitly-learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.

Review:

It took me so long to read this book because I really didn’t like how the first book ended. Lev Grossman likes to stomp on your heart repeatedly. But this was a very good second book. It still stomps on your heart. A lot. You will still want to smack some sense into the characters. In a good way though. It was great to be back in this world and Grossman is an extremely talented writer.

Title: The Wrath and the Dawnwrath
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Pub Date: May 2015
Hardcover: 388 pages
Publisher: G P Putnam for Young Readers
Rating: ++++

Summary (from goodreads):

Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Review:

I was worried when I read the description of this book. It sounded like it could be a little Stockholm sydrome-y. Or insta-love. But it isn’t either. Instead, it is a beautifully woven tale with an amazing heroine. I loved the other women in this book – the relationships are what makes it go from good to great.

Title: The Witch Hunter witch
Author: Virginia Boecker
Pub Date: Jun 2015
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Rating: +++++

Summary:

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake. Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate

Review:

Woah. This book is intense and super suspenseful. Be prepared to read this book all in one siting if you can, I know I did. This is exactly how I like my YA fantasy books – really hard choices, learning everything you know is wrong, and figuring out how to try to make up for your past. I want the next book so badly.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR List

Posted by Caitie F on September 22, 2015

Thanks to the wonderful people over at The Broke and the Bookish for hosting!

I do this every single season and usually fail miserably. I did read 7/10 in the summer so I passed! Going on vacation made that a lot easier. This fall, I doubt as I will do as well because i have SO many manuscripts to read.

1 Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin

2. The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James

missing

3. Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson

disney after

4. Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore

coyote

5. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

ghost bride

6. The Map of Time by Felix J Palma

map of time

7. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

sorcerer_front mech.indd

8. Stiff by Mary Roach

Stiff

9. Saga Volume 2 by Brian K Vaughen

saga 2

10. Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte

overwhelmed

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Summer Reading Reviews: Young Adult Fiction

Posted by Caitie F on September 2, 2015

I am doing a series where I review ALL the books I read this summer that weren’t graphic novels, since I already did those. It will be broken up into four posts, that will hopefully all be posted in the next two weeks. Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, Young Adult Fiction, and Fantasy.  The reviews and descriptions will be short.

Title: More Happy Than Notmore happy
Author: Adam Silvera
Hardcover: 304 pages
Pub Date: June 2015
Publisher: Soho Teen
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Review:

Wow. This book is incredible. I read it WAY back in June, right after it came out and I still think back to this book in September. Everything about this book is great: the characters, the plot, the setting, what it says about the world. Everything. If you somehow missed it when it came out, do yourself a favor and pick it up.

Title: Where I Belongwhere I
Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
Paperback: 289 pages
Pub Date: Feb 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

Meet Corrinne. She’s living every girl’s dream in New York City—shopping sprees at Barneys, open access to the best clubs and parties, and her own horse at the country club. Her perfect life is perfectly on track. At least it was. . . . When Corrinne’s father is laid off, her world suddenly falls apart. Instead of heading to boarding school, she’s stripped of her credit cards and shipped off to the boonies of Texas to live with her grandparents. On her own in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the life she’s supposed to be living. She doesn’t care who she stomps on in the process. But when Corrinne makes an unlikely friend and discovers a total hottie at work, she begins to wonder if her life B.R.—before the recession—was as perfect as it seemed.

Review:

This book was a fast summer read. The main character was so annoying at the beginning, but she was supposed to be. I didn’t love the romance in it, but I liked having a main character that felt more realistic. She didn’t change all at once. There were some very big cliches of both city and country life, but all in all it was a fast and fun book.

Title: Bass Ackwards and Belly Upbass
Author: Elizabeth Craft
Hardcover: 386 pages
Pub Date: 2007
Publisher: Poppy
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Harper, Sophie, and Kate are about to commit the ultimate suburban sin–bailing on college to each pursue their dreams. Middlebury-bound Becca is convinced her friends have gone insane.

Harper is going to be the next Jane Austen. Or Sylvia Plath. Or Plum Sykes. Figuring out which should be easy. It’s living with the lie she told her three best friends that’s going to be hard. Kate doesn’t know exactly what she wants. But whatever it is, she won’t find it at Harvard. Maybe the answer is in Paris, or Athens or anywhere Kate can be someone besides the girl with perfect grades, perfect hair, and the perfect boyfriend. Sophie is a star. She’s already got the looks, the talent, and a list of demands for her dressing room. Now that she’s wrangled a furnished guesthouse in Beverly Hills, it’s only a matter of time before she’s discovered. Becca is dysfunctional. At least, her family is. Which is why she can’t wait to flee the drama and get to college. But Becca’s friends know she needs more than a spot on the Middlebury ski team and a cozy dorm room. They know she needs to fall in love.

Review:

I love books that center around groups of friends like this or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. None of the characters were perfect, but they were all intriguing andI really loved following their stories, especially since they were all after high school, trying to figure out what they are doing next. Looking forward to reading the second book!

Title: Don’t Even Think About Itdon't even
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Hardcover: 336 pages
Pub Date: Mar 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

We weren’t always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn’t expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes.

Since we’ve kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what’s coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.

Review:

This was such a fun book to read. I don’t think most authors could pull of a book from different perspectives like this, but Sarah Mlynowski did. It was so creatively written and is a smart, fun YA book. It was the perfect book for summer, but would also work in the back to school season if you are reminiscing about those days. You will be instantly glad you never suddenly could read everyone’s mind.

Title: The Westing Gamewesting
Author: Ellen Raskin
Paperback: 182 pages
Pub Date: 1978
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger – and a possible murderer – to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead… but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

Review:

How did I never read this mystery before? It was SO good. I loved everything about it. If you, like me, missed this classic, go get it and read it now.

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Summer Reading Reviews: Adult Fiction

Posted by Caitie F on September 1, 2015

I am doing a series where I review ALL the books I read this summer that weren’t graphic novels, since I already did those. It will be broken up into four posts, that will hopefully all be posted in the next two weeks. Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, Young Adult Fiction, and Fantasy.  The reviews and descriptions will be short.

I am starting with Adult Fiction, which actually has the most books.

Title: The FirebirdFirebird
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Paperback: 539 pages
Pub Date: Jun 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird—the mythical creature from an old Russian fable.

Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna into the past who leads her on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

Review:

I LOVED the first book I read by Susanna Kearsley, THE WINTER SEA, and this book was just as good. This book goes with the first and is kind of a sequel, though it could stand alone. Why would you want it to? These are two of my favorite books. I have never been much of a Russian history fan, but this made the history fascinating. The blending of historical and contemporary with the magical realism element woks perfectly. Both have intrigue and great romance.

Title: In the Unlikely Eventunlikely
Author: Judy Blume
Hardcover: 397 pages
Pub Date: June 2015
Publisher: Knopf
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.

Review:

When I saw the Judy Blume had a book for adults, I knew I had to read it. It was really good! Not surprisingly, the voice that I thought was the best was the teenager, yet the voices were all distinctive. I can’t believe I had never heard about this story before, but am glad that I got to read this fictionalized version. It was a very fast read, and was often suspenseful (like every time someone got on the plane. Was this the next one???). Overall, a very enjoyable read.

Title: LeadLead
Author: Kylie Scott
Paperback: 320 pages
Pub Date: Nov 2014
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.

Lena’s not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional. But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

Review:

If you like rock star romances, this is a series you should look at. This is my least favorite of the three, but it was still enjoyable. I didn’t like Jimmy as much as the other guys, but loved seeing everyone come back and Lena was fine. It was an enjoyable and very fast read.

Title: Pride and Prejudice pride
Author: Jane Austen
eBook: 427 pages
Pub Date: 1813
Rating: ++++

Summary:

It’s Pride and Prejudice. You know what it is about.

Review:

I have finally read it. And it was unsurprisingly good. I have watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries a couple times and have read a retelling or two, but now i have finally read the source. Much better if you picture all the characters as the people in LBD, which I did the entire time. I see why it is a classic and look forward to reading my next Austen.

Title: Glazed Murder
Author: Jessica Beck
Paperback: 291 pages
Pub Date:  Mar 2010
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

Meet Suzanne Hart, owner and operator of Donut Hearts coffee shop in April Springs, North Carolina. After her divorce from Max, an out-of-work actor she’s dubbed “The Great Impersonator,” Suzanne decided to pursue her one true passion in life: donuts. So she cashed in her settlement and opened up shop in the heart of her beloved hometown.

But when a dead body is dumped on her doorstep like a sack of flour, Suzanne’s cozy little shop becomes an all-out crime scene. Now, everyone in town is dropping by for glazed donuts and gruesome details. The retired sheriff warns her to be careful—and they’re all suspects. Soon Suzanne—who finds snooping as irresistible as donuts—is poking holes in everyone’s alibis…

Review:

A cute cozy complete with recipes, what more can you ask for? Though you will want to eat donuts while you read it. Solid mystery, fast read. Not the best cozy I have read, but I still recommend.

Title: Go Set a Watchmango set
Author: Harper Lee
Hardcover: 278 pages
Pub Date: July 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: ++

Summary:

The original manuscript Harper Lee submitted. Somehow, it became To Kill a Mockingbird

Review:

I have no idea how an editor saw this and said “this story of Scout in the courtroom, this is what you should write”. That editor is a genius.

This book has one great scene (and it isn’t that one) and that was about it. And of COURSE it has one great scene, it is a first draft! I could rant on this for a while, but am not going to. Glad we could all have some real conversations about Atticus, but this never should have been published.

Posted in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Review | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »