Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Muse by Raine Miller

The Muse (Rothvale Legacy Historical Prequel, #1)The Muse by Raine Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this through the Goodreads giveaways in exchange for an honest review.

I chose it because of the combination of historical romance and art that the synopsis promised, and also because one of the comments on it were from a fan of the Rothvale series, who really loved that series and was excited to have this backstory prequel.

I ultimately gave this a 4/5, but it was a struggle for me. It went very slowly to me until the last third of the book. Had I not felt that I needed to give a review of it, I might not have finished, but finish it I did, in tears, today at lunch time. I'm also now interested in the Rothvale series, which I realize is contemporary, but I think will be more full for me with this backstory to draw on.

There are some steamy sex scenes, which seem a little at odds with the formality of the characters to each other, but then I remind myself that culture is different now than it was then, and I need to stop comparing it to a married couple of today.

Graham and Imogene have both had a lot of tragedy in their lives, I always have a soft spot for damaged heroes, and there is plenty of that here. His fears of past events repeating themselves lead him to quite a bit of paranoia and heavy-handedness, while Imogene wants to live life to the fullest and know the truth of things, no matter how hurtful they are. Together they make a beautiful couple that are deeply in love, but sometimes deeply at odds as Graham tries to protect her from everything, and she stubbornly refuses to to play the docile lady for him.

An enjoyable read, and I'm looking forward to giving the Rothvale Legacy series a try.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Martian by Andy Weir

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received this through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

I kept hearing friends trying this one out and raving that it was wonderful, and I admit I was intrigued by the premise, so when I saw it available, I decided to give it a try. I was a little apprehensive that I would be bored by a one-man show, I haven't seen either of the movies that it were offered as a combo/comparison, Castaway and Apollo13, though I am aware of them. I had nothing to worry about!

I was drawn in right away, and found myself holding my breath to see how Mark would deal with his next challenge! The science was great, it was high enough level that I could follow it, even if it wasn't an idea I was already familiar with, it was explained and applied to a situation, which really helps me to understand what's going on. Mark is a great character, a definite Space MacGuyver, humorous and endearing, an easy guy to like. I had to be careful reading this one before bed because it was keeping me awake, I just had to see what happened next, it couldn't wait!

I can't recommend this one enough because I really think it makes Sci-Fi accessible to people who aren't usually into it, it's got more of a real world feel because it is our world, albeit the future, it all sounds very plausible. Well, okay, just the sheer volume of stuff that happens to him and that he's able to overcome is kind of over the top, but still! If I have any criticism, it's that it ended a little too abruptly for me, I would have liked just a bit more follow through on what came next, but overall, it was fantastic!

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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess BrideAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I cannot say how much I loved listening to this. I was 14 when The Princess Bride came out, and it became one of the defining movies of my teen years. I've watched it I don't know how many times, quoted it endlessly with my friends then, and still do today. This movie touches people in a way no other can. It is so many things, a comedy, a fantasy adventure, and the ideal romance. It's the happy ending we all want. I've been itching to watch it again the whole time I've been listening.

What I dearly love about this book is the sheer love and delight towards the movie of everyone involved in making it. That really shines through and makes me so happy that the people who made one of my favorite movies share that love with me. It wasn't just another project they worked on, it was something incredibly special.

I could listen to Cary Elwes speak all day! Well, I sort of did or would have if I could have had that long uninterrupted! His delivery is perfect, joined by Rob Reiner and other cast members and combined with the stories from the making of the movie, fun facts, the actors real insecurities and downright fears, their personal struggles and camaraderie make this a book I will treasure. It adds an extra dimension to the story that makes it even more precious to me.

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Sunday, January 04, 2015

Bout of Books 12.0!

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 12.0 is here! I'm ready! Bring it on! No goals for me, just reading and having fun!

To join us, check out the Bout of Books Blog or click on the picture above!

Chat with us on Twitter at #boutofbooks, or on Facebook at Bout of Books.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Doctor Who: Silhouette by Justin Richards

Doctor Who: Silhouette (New Series Adventures, #53)Doctor Who: Silhouette by Justin Richards

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was excited to see some Doctor Who books available on Blogging for Books, and was intrigued by the Carnival setting of Silhouette.

I have only seen the first episode of the Peter Capaldi season, but I think it was enough to give me a good feel for the characters.  A weak area of Silhouette is that it depends a little too much on the reader already knowing who Madame Vastra and Jenny are and doesn't explain their true relationship with each other.  Madame Vastra also doesn't seem to have much personality here, I would have liked to see her do a little more. Strax was very well done, and easily steals his scenes.  The Doctor seems very like what I remember from the show, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes crotchety, very much not interested in being detained (that's a funny scene, but no spoilers!).  Clara too seems true to form, though strangely missing from the cover.

The Carnival of Curiosities is an intriguing backdrop to the mystery to be solved, and I enjoyed how the performers talents were utilized.  To say a lot more would be too much and make it less enjoyable I think.  I was in the mood for a Doctor Who story, and this did fit the bill.  I think those not already into the show might find it a little flat, but fans will easily be able to fill in the gaps with their knowledge of the show and characters.

I give it a 4/5 based on Strax's character and the Victorian carnival setting.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Secret Journal of Ichabod Crane by Alex Irvine (Sleepy Hollow TV Tie In)

I enjoy Tom Mison's portrayal of Ichabod Crane on the TV show Sleepy Hollow, so when I saw that The Secret Journal of Ichabod Crane was available on Blogging for Books I was happy to give it a try! I hoped that a written version could live up to the personality that Tom has infused the character with, a noble, resourceful and intelligent man who is baffled by the modern day yet also intrigued with it. He is also very opinionated on the things that seem ridiculous to him, offering historical refutations on why those things make no sense. These diatribes are always a humorous highlight. Those characteristics are what interest me, and what would have to carry a book purported to be his journal.  I'm happy to report that it did this!

The Secret Journal... is a great review of the first season of the television show, as Ichabod relays the story of his awakening, meeting Abigail, and coming to understand that they are the two witnesses that must save the world from Moloch and the Four Horsemen.  It is also filled with interesting historical happenings that were going on in Ichabod's own time and of course all the asides on modern things that we've come to expect and love from him. The internet, cell phones, current fashion and clothing styles, cars, movies, all of these things he embraces or rejects to varying degrees and brings back to mind those funny moments in the show.  There are many "taped in" articles and other findings, drawings of maps and puzzles, and some explanations of different ciphers that may have been used at the time.  I can't speak to the validity of any of these historical facts and secret codes, it is a supernatural/fantasy show after all, but in the fantastic there is perhaps a grain of truth at times, and it fits in well with the story. His affection for Abbie and her sister and all their companions comes through, making him that much more real and human.

All in all, I feel that fans of the show will definitely enjoy this addition to the world of Sleepy Hollow, that recounts the first season from Ichabod's point of view without just being a retelling of what we've already seen.  The Secret Journal... would likely be confusing for those who have not watched the show, but may just be interesting enough to prompt them to give it a try, if for no other reason than to see our hero in action, in spite of (or maybe because of) his clothes and mores being hopelessly out of date!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie

The Dalai Lama's Cat is a sweet, gentle and humorous book that I truly enjoyed during a very difficult time, it was exactly what I needed. I adore the cover!  I've had a passing interest in the Dalai Lama, mostly just seeing snippets of wisdom here and there attributed to him, but would really never have thought about him having a pet, so even the title grabbed my attention.

HHC - His Holiness' Cat actually acquires many names in her tenure at Jokhang, not all of which she is amused by.  Saved from certain death as a tiny kitten, this is her story, told from her point of view of her time there, and how she grows and tries to apply the Dalai Lama's teachings to her life.  She is first and foremost a cat, however, and is subject to a cat's whims, follies and attitudes.  The result is a delightful and amusing story that weaves the occasional  Buddhist precept into it, leaving me more interested in the Dalai Lama and Buddhism than I was before.  It seems like such a gentle philosophy of life, and many of the ideas could be used as guiding principles, regardless of your beliefs.

I highly recommend The Dalai Lama's Cat to cat and all animal lovers of course. I always enjoy stories told from the animal's point of view. I would also encourage anyone who is curious about the religion to give this a try. It is a very beginning introduction by way of the setting and is very non-judgemental in the presentation of ideas. 
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