Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Review: The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson #5), by Rick Riordan

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson And The Olympians #5), by Rick Riordan
★★★ ½ (rounding up to 4)

Synopsis: All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows.
While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.
In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his fate!!!
In A Sentence: A good ending to a fun series

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday's Opinion (A Day Late): Ten Things To Be Thankful For

Happy Tuesday folks! (yes, I know it's Wednesday.  I'm a little late with this post.  Deal with it)  It's already time for my own weekly meme, where I discuss my thoughts and opinions on everything under the sun!

This week, since we're only 2 days away from Thanksgiving:
Ten Things That I'm Thankful For

Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: The Snow Queen's Shadow, by Jim C. Hines

The Snow Queen's Shadow (Princess, #4)The Snow Queen's Shadow by Jim C. Hines
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Snow Queen's Shadow, by Jim C. Hines
★★★☆☆

Synopsis: A broken mirror. A stolen child. A final mission to try to stop an enemy they never dreamed they would face.
When a spell gone wrong shatters Snow White’s enchanted mirror, a demon escapes into the world. The demon’s magic distorts the vision of all it touches, showing them only ugliness and hate. It is a power which turns even friends and lovers into mortal foes, one which will threaten humans and fairies alike.
And the first to fall under the demon’s power is the princess Snow White.
In A Sentence: Out of the entire series, this is the darkest novel, and the best written.
What I Liked: This one was a retelling of "The Snow Queen", which was interesting by itself. It also was pretty dark in comparison to the rest of the series. The writing was better this time, much better than the previous ones. The action was also pretty good in this story, with a reasonable pace that makes you want to continue reading.
Why It's Still Only Three Stars: I still can't really enjoy this series. While you start caring for the characters more in this book than in the previous ones, I still couldn't fall in love with the story. It's a good action book, but not an excellent piece of literature.
In A Nutshell: I thought this was a good conclusion to a decent series. If you like fairy tale re-tellings, action novels, or novels with strong female characters, then you might like this series. I think the first and last books are the best out of the four. They're enjoyable, quick reads, with a little bit of everything. You might not fall in love with the books, but you'll still have fun with them.

View all my reviews

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday folks!  It's raining here, but that's not going to put me down!


It's time for the weekly meme hosted by Book Journey, where you get to recap on the posts you wrote over the past week, and the books you managed to cram into your busy schedule!

Book Review: The Battle Of The Labyrinth (Percy Jackson And The Olympians), by Rick Riordan

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4)The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Battle Of The Labyrinth (Percy Jackson And The Olympians #4), by Rick Riordan
★★★

Synopsis: Percy Jackson isn't expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos's army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop the invasion, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth - a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn.
In A Sentence: A decent read, but I’m not feeling very wowed by this series (not yet anyway)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Book Review: Forest Born (Books Of Bayern #4), by Shannon Hale

Forest Born (The Books of Bayern, #4)Forest Born by Shannon Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Forest Born (Books Of Bayern #4), by Shannon Hale
★★★★

Synopsis: Rin is sure that something is wrong with her…something really bad. Something that is keeping her from feeling at home in the Forest homestead where she’s lived all her life. Something that is keeping her from trusting herself with anyone at all. When her brother Razo returns from the city for a visit, she accompanies him to the palace, hoping that she can find peace away from home. But war has come to Bayern again, and Rin is compelled to join the queen and her closest allies—magical girls Rin thinks of as the Fire Sisters—as they venture into the Forest toward Kel, the land where someone seems to want them all dead. Many beloved Bayern characters reappear in this story, but it is Rin’s own journey of discovering how to balance the good and the bad in herself that drives this compelling adventure. Once again, Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale brings readers to a world where great friendships, unexpected plot twists, and a little dose of magic make for incredible storytelling.
In A Sentence: Not my absolute favorite in the series, but still a lot of fun.

BOOK SALE!!!!

Ever have one of those days when you're just driving by, minding your own business, and suddenly you see a sign that says:

Of course, you just have to pull over, right?
Guilty.

Apparently, my local library was having a book sale this weekend, so I went home, created an enormous list of books I wish to find (so I don't go too overboard, heh-heh), and then spent a couple of glorious hours sliding my hands over book spines and snatching a read I wanted before some little old lady using a walker could nab it.


I had a seriously good haul too!  I had to give myself a $30 limit, but I got some great reads!  I wish I could have gone today (it's Buy-A-Bag-And-Fill-'Er-Up Day), but making money got in the way (*sigh*).

I'm pretty happy with my finds.  I found a bunch of beautiful hardcovers to add to my Amelia Peabody collection, found a couple of books from trilogies that I'm trying to complete, and some other great reads that weren't on my list but I ended up getting anyway, because 1) they're on my TBR and are supposed to be really good, and 2) they're books I'd like my kids to read.

I took a pic!  Take a look!



Of course, my cat got all up in my grill because apparently I was holding the camera wrong:





It's too bad I don't have time to sit down and read through all of these new books, but alas, like I said, I gotta go to work.  At least I'll be able to share some book reviews during my break, because I finished a couple of reads this morning!  Be back soon!

-Lisa the Dancing Bookworm

Friday, November 21, 2014

Feature And Follow Friday!

Happy Friday everyone!  And it's time for the weekly meme hosted by parajunkee and alison can read


Here are the rules:
1) Create an F&F post and answer the weekly question.
2) Follow the two hosts and the featured blogs
3) Start following the other blogs participating in the blog hop (you decided how many you want to follow)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: River Secrets (Books Of Bayern #3), by Shannon Hale

River Secrets (The Books of Bayern, #3)River Secrets by Shannon Hale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

River Secrets (Books of Bayern #3), by Shannon Hale
★★★★ ½ (rounding up to 5)

Synopsis: Razo has no idea why he was chosen to be a soldier. He can barely swing a sword, and his brothers are forever wrestling him to the ground. Razo is sure it's out of pity that his captain asks him to join an elite mission--escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern's great enemy. But when the Bayern arrive in the strange southern country, Razo discovers the first dead body. He befriends both the high and low born, people who can perhaps provide them with vital information. And Razo is the one who must embrace his own talents in order to get the Bayern soldiers home again, alive. Newbery–Honor winner Shannon Hale returns the reader to the intrigue and magic of Bayern, first introduced in her critically acclaimed novel, The Goose Girl . Enter a world where even those with no special magical skills find in themselves something they never imagined
In A Sentence: An adorable read that makes you chuckle out loud.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Hellllooo Monday!

It's time for Book Journey's weekly meme, where we discuss what we've posted last week, and what our reading plans are for this week.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book Review: The Titan's Curse, by Rick Riordan

The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3)The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson And The Olympians #3), by Rick Riordan
★★★

Synopsis: When Percy Jackson receives an urgent distress call in his dreams from his friend Grover, he immediately prepares for battle. He knows he'll need his powerful demigod allies, Annabeth and Thalia, at his side; his trusty bronze sword, Riptide; and ... a ride from his mom.
The demigods race to the rescue, to find that Grover has made an important discovery: two new powerful half-bloods whose parentage is unknown. But that's not all that awaits them. The Titan lord, Kronos, has set up his most devious trap yet, and the young heroes have just fallen prey.
Hilarious and action-packed, this third adventure in the series finds Percy faced with his most dangerous challenge so far: the chilling prophecy of the Titan’s curse
In A Sentence: Another fun installment, but the series is certainly getting darker

Book Review: Enna Burning (#2 In Books Of Bayern), by Shannon Hale

Enna Burning (The Books of Bayern, #2)Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enna Burning (#2 in Books Of Bayern), by Shannon Hale
★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Enna and Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee (Ani for short) became fast friends in The Goose Girl, but after Ani married Prince Geric, Enna returned to the forest. Enna's simple life changes forever when she learns to wield fire and burn anything at will. Enna is convinced that she can use her ability for good--to fight Tira, the kingdom threatening the Bayern borders--and goes on secret raids to set fire to the Tiran camps and villages. But as the power of the fire grows stronger, she is less able to control her need to burn. In her recklessness she is captured by the Tiran army and held captive by a handsome, manipulative young captain who drugs her to keep her under his influence. Can Ani and her old friends Finn and Razo rescue her without sacrificing themselves? And with the fire still consuming her, will Enna find a way to manage the gift that threatens to destroy her?
In A Sentence: A very good book with some excellent qualities for a sequel

Friday, November 14, 2014

Feature And Follow Friday!

Hey guys!  It's Friday!  And it's time for a Feature and Follow!


This is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, where your goal is to follow and be followed.  Answer the question, follow the hosts, then follow as many participating blogs as you can!

This Week's Question: 
Create a playlist, or, if you're lazy, just one song for a book.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday y'all!  And here's a recap of what's been going on:

First off, reading.  I have only been able to read audiobooks lately, and even then only when I'm driving, so my reading is currently going at a snail's pace.  But I did manage to finish 2 audiobooks last week.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: My Name Is Rapunzel, by K.C. Hilton

My Name Is RapunzelMy Name Is Rapunzel by K.C. Hilton
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

My Name Is Rapunzel, by K.C. Hilton
★, rounding up to 1.5….maybe

Synopsis: (what made it intriguing) My tale has been told again and again, and I’ve heard each one. Except for my hair, I barely recognize the pitiful renditions. Muddled versions, crafted to entertain laughing children…but the children wouldn’t have laughed if they’d known the real story. It wasn't their fault. They didn't know the truth. Nobody did. My name is Rapunzel. I will tell you my story. I will tell you the truth.
(what it is really) Rapunzel gets cursed with eternal youth by the witch who wants her hair for a youth potion (oh, btw, the witch turns out to be her grandmother). Apparently Rapunzel’s maternal side of the family is gifted with long life and beauty, and it’s in Rapunzel’s hair, which she can’t cut off (huh?). The witch also curses Rapunzel’s fiancĂ© Henry, turning him into a dragon, but Rapunzel thinks he’s dead, and the dragon is the witch’s pet or something.

Book Review: Fifty Shades Of Grey, by E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Fifty Shades Of Grey, by E.L. James


Synopsis: When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana's quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too--but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success-- his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family--Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey's secrets and explores her own dark desires.
In A Sentence: Be prepared for a rant because OH.....MY.....GAWD.

Book Review: The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)The Maze Runner by James Dashner
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
★★ and ½ (rounding up to 3)

Synopsis: Thomas wakes up in a metal box, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in "the glade" for two years, trying to find a way to escape through a maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change. Older fans of Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember (Random, 2003), will likely enjoy this title and ask for the inevitable sequel.
In A Sentence: Meh….just, meh.

Book Review: I Capture The Castle, by Dodie Smith

I Capture the CastleI Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I Capture The Castle, by Dodie Smith
★★ and 1/2

Synopsis: The story of 17-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle's walls, and her own first descent into love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has "captured the castle" — and the heart of the reader — in one of literature's most enchanting entertainments.
In A Sentence: I have more complaints about the audio than I do about the actual book

Book Review: Vicious, by V.E. Schwab

ViciousVicious by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Vicious, by V.E. Schwab
★ ★ ★

Synopsis: (from the book flap) Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing hidden possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could actually gain extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis inevitably moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor is breaking out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person he can find—aside from his own sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, spurred onward by the memory of betrayal and desperate longings, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
V.E. Schwab’s Vicious is a riveting investigation on the nature of loyalty, the possibility of redemption, and an exploration of our darkest, most thrilling selves.
In A Sentence: A respectable, dark novel, but not 5-star material

Book Review: The River Of No Return, by Bee Ridgway

The River of No ReturnThe River of No Return by Bee Ridgway
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The River Of No Return, by Bee Ridgway
★★★

Synopsis: (from the book flap) Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Lord Nicholas Falcott wakes up in a hospital bed in twenty-first-century London. The Guild, a secretive fraternity of time travelers, helps him make a new life in the modern world. They tell him that there is no return. But Nick yearns for home and for one beautiful woman in particular, now lost to history.
Back in 1815, that very woman, Julia Percy, finds herself the guardian of a family secret inherited from her enigmatic grandfather...how to manipulate time. But there are those who seek to possess Julia's power, and she begins to realize she is in the gravest peril.
The Guild's rules are made to be broken, and Nick discovers how to travel back to the nineteenth century and his ancestral home. Fate and the fraying fabric of time draw Nick and Julia together once again...soon enough, they are caught up in an adventure that puts the future into their hands.
Love endures the gulf of centuries...and so does danger. As gripping as it is evocative and fast paced, The River Of No Return is a tale of lovers who match wits and gamble their hearts against the rules of time itself.
In A Sentence: An enjoyable read but not amazing.

Book Review: The Snow Queen's Shadow, by Jim C. Hines

The Snow Queen's Shadow (Princess, #4)The Snow Queen's Shadow by Jim C. Hines
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Snow Queen's Shadow, by Jim C. Hines
★★★☆☆

Synopsis: A broken mirror. A stolen child. A final mission to try to stop an enemy they never dreamed they would face.
When a spell gone wrong shatters Snow White’s enchanted mirror, a demon escapes into the world. The demon’s magic distorts the vision of all it touches, showing them only ugliness and hate. It is a power which turns even friends and lovers into mortal foes, one which will threaten humans and fairies alike.
And the first to fall under the demon’s power is the princess Snow White.
In A Sentence: Out of the entire series, this is the darkest novel, and the best written.

Book Review: Red Hood's Revenge, by Jim C. Hines

Red Hood's Revenge (Princess, #3)Red Hood's Revenge by Jim C. Hines
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Red Hood's Revenge, by Jim C. Hines
★★★

Synopsis: Wars may end. But vengeance is forever. Roudette's story was a simple one. A red cape. A wolf. A hunter. Her mother told her she would be safe, so long as she kept to the path. But sometimes the path leads to dark places. Roudette is the hunter now, an assassin known throughout the world as the Lady of the Red Hood. Her mission will take her to the country of Arathea and an ancient fairy threat. At the heart of the conflict between humans and fairies stands the woman Roudette has been hired to kill, the only human ever to have fought the Lady of the Red Hood and survived-the princess known as Sleeping Beauty.
In A Sentence: Decent read, but not one to love

Book Review: The Mermaid's Madness, by Jim C. Hines

The Mermaid's Madness (Princess, #2)The Mermaid's Madness by Jim C. Hines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Mermaid's Madness, by Jim C. Hines
★★★

Synopsis: What would happen if a star writer went back to the darker themes of the original fairy tales for plots, and then crossed the Disney princesses with Charlie’s Angels? What he’d end up with is The Mermaid’s Madness —a whole new take on The Little Mermaid . And with Jim C. Hines, of Jig the Goblin fame, penning the tale, you can bet it won’t be “They lived happily ever after.”
In A Sentence: An interesting plot but the tone falls flat

Book Review: Divergent, by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Divergent, by Veronica Roth
★★★


Synopsis: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
In A Sentence: Fun. Your typical dystopian young adult novel

Book Review: Black And Blue, by Anna Quindlen

Black and BlueBlack and Blue by Anna Quindlen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Black And Blue, by Anna Quindlen
★★★

Synopsis: In Black And Blue, Fran Benedetto tells a spellbinding story: how at nineteen she fell in love with Bobby Benedetto, how their passionate marriage became a nightmare, why she stayed, and what happened on the night she finally decided to run away with her ten-year-old son and start a new life under a new name. Living in fear in Florida—yet with increasing confidence, freedom, and hope—Fran unravels the complex threads of family, identity, and desire that shape a woman’s life, even as she begins to create a new one. As Fran starts to heal from the pain of the past, she almost believes she has escaped it—that Bobby Benedetto will not find her and again provoke the complex combustion between them of attraction and destruction, lust and love.
In A Sentence: Thought-provoking and sad.

Book Review: A Dewdrop Away, by C.A. Allen

A Dewdrop AwayA Dewdrop Away by C.A. Allen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A Dewdrop Away, by C.A. Allen
★★★

Synopsis: Rupert has lived his entire life under the cruel reign of the black squirrels. When he finds out that the artifact that causes the immortality of his enemies is missing, he is sent on a quest to find it and claim it for his own. Rupert is determined to overthrow the evil Emperor Venul and rule justly in his stead, but he is warned by the wise white squirrel Zirreo to be cautious, for countless things can go wrong when holding an object of magic.
Years later, the Dark Wanderer, a shadowy figure claiming to be the servant of the squirrel goddess Astrippa, is loose in Arborand. When friends Mae and Flor accidentally cross paths with him, they get more than they bargained for when they discover that the darkest, wildest legends are often true.
Meanwhile, Theo, an orphaned half-breed squirrel, finds a compass that doesn’t point north and is compelled by a series of disturbing messages to set out with his faithful chipmunk servant Parris to follow where it leads.
What if inequality threatened to take over the land? What if the gods who ruled your childhood fears came to life? Would you bow down, or would you fight? What if fate gifted you with only one journey on which to find out?

Book Review: The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. FikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
★★★ and 1/2

Synopsis: (from the book flap) A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island--from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly. And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.
In A Sentence: a very nice story that made for an enjoyable (and quick) read

Book Review: The Stepsister Scheme, by Jim C. Hines

The Stepsister Scheme (Princess, #1)The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Stepsister Scheme, by Jim C. Hines
★★★ and 1/2 (rounding up to four)

Synopsis:What would happen if an author went back to the darker themes of the original fairy tales for his plots, and then crossed the Disney princesses with Charlie's Angels? What's delivered is The Stepsister Scheme, a whole new take on what happened to Cinderella and her prince after the wedding. And with Jim C. Hines penning the tale, listeners can bet it won't be "and they lived happily ever after."
In A Sentence: Princesses kick butt and rescue the prince. My kind of story.

Book Review: Lost Lake, by Sarah Addison Allen

Lost LakeLost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lost Lake, by Sarah Addison Allen
★★★ ½ (rounding up to 4)

Synopsis: The first time Eby Pim saw Lost Lake, it was on a picture postcard. Just an old photo and a few words on a small square of heavy stock, but when she saw it, she knew she was seeing her future.
That was half a life ago. Now Lost Lake is about to slip into Eby's past. Her husband George is long passed. Most of her demanding extended family are gone. All that's left is a once-charming collection of lakeside cabins succumbing to the Southern Georgia heat and damp, and an assortment of faithful misfits drawn back to Lost Lake year after year by their own unspoken dreams and desires.
It's a lot, but not enough to keep Eby from relinquishing Lost Lake to a developer with cash in hand, and calling this her final summer at the lake. Until one last chance at family knocks on her door.
Lost Lake is where Kate Pheris spent her last best summer at the age of twelve, before she learned of loneliness, and heartbreak, and loss. Now she's all too familiar with those things, but she knows about hope too, thanks to her resilient daughter Devin, and her own willingness to start moving forward. Perhaps at Lost Lake her little girl can cling to her own childhood for just a little longer... and maybe Kate herself can rediscover something that slipped through her fingers so long ago.
One after another, people find their way to Lost Lake, looking for something that they weren't sure they needed in the first place: love, closure, a second chance, peace, a mystery solved, a heart mended. Can they find what they need before it's too late?
At once atmospheric and enchanting, Lost Lake shows Sarah Addison Allen at her finest, illuminating the secret longings and the everyday magic that wait to be discovered in the unlikeliest of places.
In A Sentence: A lovely story that makes for a great, easy read

Book Review: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
★★★ and 1/2

Synopsis: Orphaned Jane Eyre grows up in the home of her heartless aunt and later attends a charity school with a harsh regime, enduring loneliness and cruelty. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane's natural independence and spirit — which prove necessary when she finds a position as governess at Thornfield Hall. However, when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him and live with the consequences, or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving the man she loves?
In A Sentence: A decent classic, but not a favorite

Book Review: The Hidden Staircase, by Carolyn Keene

The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew, #2)The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Hidden Staircase, by Carolyn Keene
★★★ and 1/2


Synopsis: Nancy Drew is on the case, trying to solve the second mystery of her career. When Nancy's friend Helen asks her to come stay at Twin Elms to try and catch the ghost that has been frightening Helen's Aunt Rosemary and Miss Flora, Nancy readily accepts the assignment. Exhibiting total fearlessness and constant level headedness, Nancy uses her deductive reasoning to try and outsmart the ghost. Along the way, Nancy's lawyer father is kidnapped in what at first appears to be an unrelated incident, or is it?
In A Sentence: Quick, cute, and fun.

Book Review: Guns, Germs, And Steel, by Jared Diamond

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human SocietiesGuns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Guns, Germs, And Steel, by Jared Diamond
★★★ and 1/2

Description: Why did Eurasians conquer, displace, or decimate Native Americans, Australians, and Africans, instead of the reverse? In this groundbreaking book, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for history's broadest patterns. Here, at last, is a world history's broadest patterns. Here, at last, is a world history that really is a history of all the world's peoples, a unified narrative of human life.
In A Sentence: A fascinating study with a lot of information crammed in

Book Review: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
★★★ and ½ (rounding up to 4)

Synopsis: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
In A Sentence: This book scares me…

Book Review: Driving Sideways, by Jess Riley

Driving SidewaysDriving Sideways by Jess Riley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Driving Sideways, by Jess Riley
★★★ and a 1/2 (rounding up to 4)

Synopsis: Leigh Fielding wants a life. Seriously. Having spent the past five years on dialysis, she has one simple wish: to make it to her thirtieth birthday. Now, thanks to the generosity of the late Larry Resnick and his transplanted kidney, it looks like her wish may come true.
With her newfound vitality (and Larry's kidney) in tow, Leigh hits the road for an excursion that will carry her from Wisconsin to California, with a few stops in between: Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Rockies, Las Vegas--and a memorable visit to thank Larry's family for this second chance.
Yet Leigh's itinerary takes a sudden detour when she picks up seventeen-year-old hitchhiker Denise, a runaway with a bunch of stories and a couple of secrets. Add to the mix a long-lost mother, a loaded gun, an RV full of swingers, and Hall and Oates' Greatest Hits, and Driving Sideways becomes a hilarious and original journey of friendship, hope, and discovery.
In A Sentence: A fun and comfortably quirky novel.
My Thoughts: This was a decent read, really. I liked Leigh's quirkiness and felt that I could relate to her in many ways. That's always a plus, to be able to relate to the main character. The other characters were enjoyable as well: Wes, Jillian, Denise, they were all fun to read about. I also really liked how the plot went in unexpected twists and turns while at the same time traveling it's fairly predictable main route.
The plot had many fun moments. Some were pleasant to read about, some were hilarious, and some were downright outrageous. It had it's eye-opening moments as well, where things don't go as planned and subsequently change Leigh's outlook on life. Overall, this whole book was an interesting read.
There are some slight downsides to this novel, however. The writing is good, but not great, and sometimes it seems a little jerky. There were a couple times where I wondered where the author was going with the story, but in retrospect, the plot's pace made sense.
Overall, this is certainly a good story that goes in surprising, and sometimes amusing directions. I would say it's a light, but not too light, read. I had fun with it and I think generally, most readers would too.

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Book Review: The White Dragon, by Anne McCaffrey

The White Dragon (Pern, #3)The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The White Dragon, by Anne McCaffrey
★★★ and 1/2

Synopsis: Never had there been as close a bonding as the one that existed between the daring and adventurous young Lord Jaxom and his extraordinary white dragon, Ruth. Pure white and incredibly agile, Ruth was a dragon of many talents, though almost everyone on Pern thought he was a runt that would never amount to anything.
But Jaxom knew better, knew he could teach his dragon to fly and to destroy the deadly silver Threads that fell from the sky. Disobeying all rules, Jaxom and Ruth trained in secret. Their illicit flights seemed but a minor disobedience - until they found themselves in the path of danger and in a position to prevent the biggest disaster of all!
In A Sentence: not as good as the first two, but still enjoyable

Book Review: The Clue In The Diary, by Carolyn Keene

The Clue in the Diary (Nancy Drew, #7)The Clue in the Diary by Carolyn Keene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Clue In The Diary, by Carolyn Keene
★★★ and 1/2

This was yet another Nancy Drew mystery. I figured it would be a quick read but it took me longer than expected because as an adult I kept getting bored. But I loved this series when I was a kid, so for nostalgia's sake, I rate this book 3.5 stars.
Nancy Drew is definitely a character that young girls could look up to. She's nice, responsible, loyal, and inquisitive. The books are sweet and fun, and always end with a happy resolve. It's a book series that I would strongly recommend to any kid daughter, but I don't think adults would be quite as passionate about these books if they were reading it for the first time.

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Book Review: Castaways Of The Flying Dutchman, by Brian Jacques

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman (Flying Dutchman, #1)Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Castaways Of The Flying Dutchman, by Brian Jacques
★★★ and 1/2

Synopsis: A boy and dog trapped aboard the legendary ship, the Flying Dutchman, are sent off on an eternal journey by an avenging angel, roaming the earth throughout the centuries in search of those in need. Their travels lead them to Chapelvale, a sleepy nineteenth century village whose very existence is at stake. Only by discovering the buried secrets and solving the dust-laden riddles of the ancient village can it be saved. This will take the will and wile of all the people-and a very special boy and dog!
In A Sentence: A fun read that's great for kids to enjoy.
What I Liked: This was a reread for me. The first time was way back when I was twelve and I loved it. Now as an adult I was still able to enjoy it, but not as much. I thought the main characters were really likeable, and I thought the plot was very fun with a feel-good ending.
What Was...Meh: I thought the treasure hunt was a little unbelievable as an adult. Why hide the deeds and titles for your land for four hundred years and make the clues and hunt so complicated, that your descendents can't find them? It just seemed a little unnecessary. Plus the translation of a clue from Latin to English rhymed, which bugged me a bit
In A Nutshell: This is a decent read. It's a warm, feel-good story that's great for kids ages 10-14. But it doesn't work so well for adults. I enjoyed it, and it made me feel nostalgic, but that was it.

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Book Review: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
★★★ and 1/2

Synopsis: Set during World War II in Nazi Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing something she can’t resist — books. With the help of her best friend, Rudy, she learns to live on Himmel Street after her brother dies on the train ride there. She learns to read thanks to her accordion-playing foster father, Hans Hubermann, and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man who took refuge in her basement. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul and human spirit.
In A Sentence: A good read.

Book Review: The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody #3), by Elizabeth Peters

The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody, #3)The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

★★★ and 1/2, rounding up to 4

In A Sentence: The most confusing book of the entire series, but still a fun read

Book Review: Charms And Chocolate Chips, by Bailey Cates

Charms and Chocolate Chips (A Magical Bakery Mystery, #3)Charms and Chocolate Chips by Bailey Cates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charms And Chocolate Chips, by Bailey Cates
★★★ and 1/2 (rounding up to 4)

Synopsis: A HALF-BAKED HEX. Between brewing magically spiced treats at Honeybee Bakery and volunteering with a local conservation group, Katie Lightfoot barely has time to see her boyfriend, much less delve further into her destiny as a witch. But avoiding her fate won’t be as easy as whipping up a new recipe—especially when Katie finds herself once again mixed up in murder.
When a fellow volunteer for the conservation group is found dead, Katie’s mystical senses tell her that there’s more to the death than meets the eye. Her suspicions are confirmed when members of her coven are targeted next. Katie will have to embrace her powers quickly...or she may find herself chewed up and spit out by some serious black magic.
In A Sentence: Basically the same stuff I said about the last book

Book Review: Bewitched, Bothered, And Biscotti, by Baily Cates

Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti (A Magical Bakery Mystery, #2)Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti by Bailey Cates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bewitched, Bothered, And Biscotti, by Bailey Cates
★★★ and 1/2 (rounding up to 4)

Synopsis: A WITCH WITH A WHISK As a new witch—not to mention owner of Savannah’s most enchanting bakery—Katie Lightfoot is still getting used to casting spells, brewing potions, and mastering her magical powers. But that doesn’t mean she can’t find time to enjoy a picnic with firefighter Declan McCarthy…until she stumbles upon a corpse. The dead man’s tattoo reveals he was a member of a secret society—and it turns out he's missing an object that was very important to the group. When Katie learns the killer was after more than the man's life, she and her Aunt Lucy leave the baked goods on the rack to cool and set off in hot pursuit of a killer.
In A Sentence: Fun and enjoyable and fast.

Book Review: Brownies And Broomsticks, by Bailey Cates

Brownies and Broomsticks (A Magical Bakery Mystery, #1)Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brownies And Broomsticks, by Bailey Cates
★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Katie Lightfoot's tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah's quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees. While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy's cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren't just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells! When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben's name and find the real killer..
In A Sentence: A very sweet and lighthearted cozy mystery

Book Review: Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens

Oliver TwistOliver Twist by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens
★★★★

Synopsis: One of Dickens’s most popular novels, Oliver Twist is the story of a young orphan who dares to say, “Please sir, I want some more.” After escaping from the dark and dismal workhouse where he was born, Oliver finds himself on the mean streets of Victorian-era London and is unwillingly recruited into a scabrous gang of scheming urchins. In this band of petty thieves Oliver encounters the extraordinary and vibrant characters who have captured readers’ imaginations for more than 150 years: the loathsome Fagin, the beautiful and tragic Nancy, the crafty Artful Dodger, and perhaps one of the greatest villains of all time—the terrifying Bill Sikes.
In A Sentence: There’s a reason why this is considered a classic

Book Review: Mudbound, by Hilary Jordan

MudboundMudbound by Hillary Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mudbound, by Hilary Jordan
★★★★

Synopsis: In Jordan's prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband's Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family's struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura's brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion. The men and women of each family relate their versions of events and we are drawn into their lives as they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale
In A Sentence: A beautiful, sad read that's worth a look.

Book Review: Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson

Life After LifeLife After Life by Kate Atkinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
★★★★

Plot Synopsis: What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can — will she? Darkly comic, startlingly poignant and utterly original — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best.