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Feb. 15th, 2017


[info]katara

| o43 |

Title: Norse Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman
Format: Epub
Rating: 4/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: February 11, 2017 to February 15, 2017
Book Summary: Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales.

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, son of a giant, blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman, difficult with his beard and huge appetite, to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir, the most sagacious of gods, is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.

Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.
Book Review: I had never read anything by Neil Gaiman. I had heard things - good things - about his books from friends but after being recommended several books in the past and finding nothing short of disappointments in them, I was afraid to crack open a book by Neil.

This book, however, held myths. Norse myths, to be exact. I was excited. After all, I had loved Edith Hamilton's mythology book when I first read it as a kid.

This book follows the three major players within Norse mythology - Thor, Odin, and Loki - as they play each role of the Norse realmdom and their own roles to come in Ragnorok. You get brief glimpses of the other lesser gods and goddesses of the Norse mythology but that is just it - brief glimpses. Whatever stories that had been told of them are gone, lost to the sands of time. An unfortunate thing because their stories would have been interesting to know as I am sure they played their own parts in the upcoming end of the world but what roles they may have or not played will never be known.

Neil Gaiman gives right in and gives us a tour of Yggdrasil and its nine realms that you may find yourself wishing to visit these worlds even if you can only do so in your imagination. He spins you tales of heroics from Thor, Odin the all-wise Father, and the manipulator trickster God, Loki, and his kin as he builds up an army of the undead to begin setting the course towards the end of the Gods.

This book was fascinating and one book you will truly enjoy sitting down with. Gaiman has a way with words and he draws you into his story until the very end of the page. I have to admit even I was always reluctant to put down this book to get ready for bed or even for work because I loved how weaved his magic to draw back into this world of Norse mythology.

Anyone who loves mythology will love this book.

Jan. 15th, 2017


[info]katara

| o40 |

Title: SLEEPY HOLLOW: Rise Headless and Ride (Jason Crane series #1)
Author: Richard Gleaves
Format: Epub
Rating: 5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: January 13 to 15, 2017
Book Summary: "May I present the Last Descendant of Ichabod Crane..."

JASON CRANE just turned seventeen years old.

He's a STAR WARS fan and a history geek. He doesn't believe in ghosts or the afterlife. He doesn't believe in psychic powers or tarot cards. He doesn't believe in the Headless Horseman.

But Sleepy Hollow will change all that. Because Jason Crane has a heritage to claim. Jason Crane has a Gift to discover. And Jason Crane has an old enemy who will RISE HEADLESS AND RIDE.

THE JASON CRANE SERIES re-invents and re-imagines classic American ghost literature. Sleepy Hollow, Salem ("The House of the Seven Gables" and the infamous witch trials), and haunted Washington D.C. and Baltimore ("The Fall of the House of Usher" and other works of Edgar Allen Poe.)

The series is set in and among the real-life sights and Halloween events of the modern-day locations. Perfect for planning Halloween tourism! Every place mentioned in Book #1 exists for you to explore: Gory Brook Road, the Tarrytown Lighthouse, the ruin of the Horseman Bridge, the grave of Washington Irving, Patriot's Park, Philipsburg Manor and the haunted Burying Ground of the Old Dutch Church.

Book Review: Meet Jason Crane, the last descendant of the infamous Icabod Crane from the story, Sleepy Hollow.

Jason is typical teenager. He loves Star Wars and history. He is not a fan of sports and tends to approach anything supernatural or paranormal with a scientific skeptism. He is also top of his class. When he finds himself being ripped away from the one home he has known most of his life by his grandmother, Eliza, and to a place known for the story of the Headless Horseman. At first, Eliza is keeping her reasoning for the move secret until she introduces Jason to the descendant of Brom Bones, who is on a mission to find a treasure.

Mix in three other characters - Zef, Kate, and Joey.

Plus the legendary Headless Horseman and you have a retelling of a famous tale.

This book was truly a page-turner. It kept me riveted from the first page to the last page. I hated putting the book down even for a second. The story was refreshing and plot interesting. This was one self-published book that I could not understand that had not been touched by other major publishers. The characters - even the secondary characters - were well-rounded and could stand on their own. I was impressed by the display of depth of these characters. They were not one dimension as other authors often have their secondary characters but these were filled with emotion that you could become invested in these characters along with Jason, his grandmother, and the villian of the story.

I loved this book and it is not often for me to really praise a book like this one but I do love this one. I cannot wait to start reading the second and the third books to this. I hope they are just as good as this one.

Seriously if you love the story of Sleepy Hollow, then pick up this book. You won't regret it at all.

Jan. 4th, 2017


[info]katara

| o27 |

Title: Harley Quinn (2016-) #11
Author: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, John Timms (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: January 04, 2017
Book Summary: “JOKER LOVES HARLEY” part one! For months now, strange reminders of Harley’s time with the Joker have been popping up in the most unexpected places…is this coincidence? Or a message? As our tale begins, Harley is introduced to a newer, kinder Joker…and Red Tool is not happy about it!
Book Review: I am going to be honest and tell you that it is rare that I pick up anything DC (unless it is Wonder Woman) and even rarer if it is Harley Quinn.

But the cover to this one caught my eye. I have to say this one is simply stunning. There are no words to describe how pretty this cover is and if there are to be more covers like this then it might continue to pique my interest in the series (I'm a sucker for covers).

The story opens with the Joker having returned to Harley but Harley doesn't seem very happy to see him in the least. Perhaps she has reasons for this (as I have not read any comics between them) and though he seems to be sincere in his words, part of Harley (as well as myself) wonder what motives he has to be interested in her.

On top of that Red Tool is far less than pleased that Harley's former lover is back in the picture. I cannot say I blame him either especially with the history between the two of them. It makes one wonder what exactly Joker has come for Harley for. It always tend to be only when she is useful to him but I suppose we will have to wait until the next installment to find out.

I like Harley in this series. She is interesting and seems to be doing something that has made her much more of a hero than what she had been in the beginning of her life. She is carving something for herself but now things might be changing especially with the joker coming back into the picture. How Harley will handle this is really anyone's guess.

I think I am going to go back and look for the rest of this series and see what exactly has been going on with it.

All in all, I recommend this. I like this Harley and I think many will end up like this one too.

Dec. 26th, 2016


[info]katara

| o26 |

Title: The Bathory Curse
Author: Renee Lake
Format: Epub
Rating: 2.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: December 10 to 26, 2016
Book Summary: It is said that Vlad the Impaler's first wife jumped to her death rather than be with such a monster, however…

Princess Cneajna of Transylvania didn’t expect to be brought back from death’s door by an ancient Pagan Goddess. She certainly never asked to be made into an immortal witch. All she wanted was to live out her life the wife of Vlad the Impaler and mother of his two sons. However, now she has a new life, and with it comes the impossible task of breaking a centuries old curse placed on the women of her family. A curse that drives each one insane. To make matters even more complicated this is a family she didn’t even know she was related to: The Bathory’s.
Book Review: I actually have had this book on my Nook for some time. I had planned to read it earlier this year but my Nook died and I had to wait til the holidays when I picked up a new Nook.

The concept of the story really seemed to be interesting and I have always loved some retellings of famous stories but this one was not one of them.

Once the wife of Vlad the Impaler, Ceajna or Nea (as she is known for most part) is murdered. She is then resurrected by a goddess and becomes an immortal witch given the task to balance the power between good and evil. Unfortunately for Nea, her bloodline is a bit cursed by the Bathory Curse. Now Nea has to find a way break this curse upon her family.

I think what turned me off completely was the grammar issues, typos, awkward structuring. I did try several times to come back to the book before finally giving up and just leaving it as it was. Again the concept was interesting but the execution was just too flat for my tastes. Maybe I will find a better copy of this book later this year and pick it up and see if there are changes to it.

Nov. 24th, 2016


[info]katara

| o23 |

Title: The Princess Diarist
Author: Carrie Fisher
Format: Epub
Rating: 3.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: November 22 to 24, 2016
Book Summary: The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.
Book Review: Real Rating: 3.5

This was the first book I have read from Carrie Fisher. I had never read of any of her other books but I had heard that many of her books were humorous and worth the read. This one drew my curiosity more when I learned that this book would contain information on her affair with Harrison Ford.

I was a bit disappointed.

She admits that because of all the pot smoking she did pretty much obscured her memories so the only thing she has to connect the dots with are the diaries she kept while having her weekend affair with Harrison Ford.

Yet, there are no major mentions of her working with Mark Hamill and what it had been like to be on the set of Star Wars.

But I do suppose smoking pot does cloud one's memories and thus you only have your diaries to fall back on. I just wish there had been more stuff from the Star Wars set. I don't expect scandal or gossip, just what it had been like to be there.

Maybe I need to read her other books.

Sep. 9th, 2016


[info]katara

| o22 |

Title: Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant #1)
Author: Derek Landy, Tom Percival (Illustrations)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: August 29 to September 09, 2016
Book Summary: Meet Skulduggery Pleasant. Sure, he may lose his head now and again (in fact, he won his current skull in a poker match), but he is much more than he appears to be—which is good, considering that he is, basically, a skeleton. Skulduggery may be long dead, but he is also a mage who dodged the grave so that he could save the world from an ancient evil. But to defeat it, he'll need the help of a new partner: a not so innocent twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie. That's right, they're the heroes.

Stephanie and Skulduggery are quickly caught up in a battle to stop evil forces from acquiring her recently deceased uncle's most prized possession—the Sceptre of the Ancients. The Ancients were the good guys, an extinct race of uber-magicians from the early days of the earth, and the scepter is their most dangerous weapon, one capable of killing anyone and destroying anything. Back in the day, they used it to banish the bad guys, the evil Faceless Ones. Unfortunately, in the way of bad guys everywhere, the Faceless Ones are staging a comeback and no one besides our two heroes believes in the Faceless Ones, or even that the Sceptre is real.

So Stephanie and Skulduggery set off to find the Sceptre, fend off the minions of the bad guys, beat down vampires and the undead, prove the existence of the Ancients and the Faceless Ones, all while trading snappy, snippy banter worthy of the best screwball comedies.
Book Review: “Doors are for people with no imagination.”

To be honest, I was skeptical about picking this one up. It had been recommended to me by a friend and the last time I listened to them, I end up with a book from the Twilight universe.

This one seemed a bit more of Harry Potter with a Dark Lord lurking within the shadows and Stephanie as Harry Potter. Stephanie is brilliant, twelve, and a killer of the deadpan. She has inherited her late uncle's estate and when someone breaks into the home to do away with her, her theory of her uncle being murdered for something isn't so farfetched now. She meets her Uncle's friend, Skullduggery, and finds herself whisked into a world of magic. They were a great pair and they seemed to be able to match each other perfectly (and not in the pairing sort of way).

I really enjoyed this book immensely. It was funny and really sucked you into the world until the very end. Stephanie and Skullduggery worked as team very well. They were humorous together and complimented each other very well.

I think my only slight problem was I would have loved spending more time knowing the other characters within these pages and perhaps with the next book I just might.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves the Harry Potter series.

Jul. 27th, 2016


[info]katara

| o21 |

Title: Ghostbusters
Author: Nancy Holder
Format: Epub
Rating: 3.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: July 15 to 27, 2016
Book Summary: After Dr. Erin Gilbert is disgraced at a job interview for her belief in ghosts, she is roped into investigating a haunting by her former colleague, Abby Yates and Abby’s new co-worker, Jillian Holtzmann. The three scientists soon discover that some specters do far more than go bump in the night.

MTA employee, Patty Tolan, finds that New York City’s subway tunnels are becoming a hive of ghostly apparitions. She calls on Erin, Abbey, and Jillian to investigate, revealing that paranormal activity across New York City is swiftly becoming a disaster of near-biblical proportions

Together, these four would-be paranormal investigators are determined to find out what’s going on, save their city, and maybe make a profit while they’re at it. The team must stop a mysterious evil known only as Rowan from destroying the barrier between this life and the next and turning Manhattan into a literal hellscape.
Book Review: I am probably one of the guilty ones of saying snotty things about the movie even before production began. It was not because of the role given to women but because the movie was going to be a reboot and honestly I hate reboots. Still I thought what harm would it do if I read the novel first?

I am glad I did. If the movie is anything like this book, then I will gladly see it. I absolutely loved it. The humor was fresh and funny and the little back story and tidbits were really wonderfully. I think I may even prefer the novel over the movie itself but then again movie novelations always gave a bit more information behind a characters motives or told you things that in the movie you did not get to see or know.

I think if you give this book a chance, your opinion of the movie might change as mine has. I do plan on seeing the movie soon and I hope many of you will give it a chance and do the same.

Jul. 16th, 2016


[info]katara

| o20 |

Title: Scarlet Witch #1
Author: James Robinson, Vanesa Del (Illustrator), David Aja
Format: Epub
Rating: 2/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: July 16, 2016
Book Summary: Witchcraft is broken - and the SCARLET WITCH is on a journey across the globe to fix it. From the back alleys of Manhattan, to the serene Greek Isles, to the bustling streets of Hong Kong, Wanda will have to face down her foes and find out who her true friends are. But as Wanda solves magical crimes and pieces witchcraft back together, the most important question remains: Who is the mastermind that broke it in the first place?

Written by Eisner Award winner JAMES ROBINSON, with covers by Eisner Award winner DAVID AJA with the first issue drawn by fan-favorite VANESA DEL REY!
Book Review: The Scarlet Witch has always been one of my favorite Marvel characters. I always thought there was potential for her own series. For all the things she has done in the Marvel universe, this was perhaps her chance to gain redemption and even for readers to get to know her more even those who are new to her and want a chance to learn more of her.

This one fell flat for me. I am not sure what it is. Maybe it is the noir feel as I have never read anything like it or it could be the art. The art just seemed to be nothing more than quick sketches rather than what it should seem like.

Or perhaps I have been out of the Marvel loop altogether. It has been, after all, several years since I actually picked up anything Marvel (except the recent comic of Captain America).

I may continue with the series to see if I can connect once again with Wanda but we shall have to see.

Jul. 11th, 2016


[info]katara

| o19 |

Title: The Haunted Sultan (Skeleton Key)
Author: Gillian Zane
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: July 07 to 11, 2016
Book Summary: The Sultan’s Palace is one of the most horrific tales of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. The Sultan, a Turkish man who lived there in the late 1800s, is said to be seen staring down at people on the street from the third-floor balcony of the house nicknamed The Sultan’s Palace. On most nights in the French Quarter, haunted tour groups traipse past the majestic house while tour guides weave tales of mass murder, thieving pirates and jealous brothers…but none know the real truth.

Sierra is spending her twenty-first birthday with her best friend in New Orleans. It’s Halloween and what better way to celebrate the night than on a spooky haunted tour? Sierra has to have the whole package though, and with her best friend leading the way, they find a costume shop down a dark alley and a mysterious shopkeeper who has the perfect costume for her. She doesn’t want money though, only a favor, help the one that asks. Clothed in a breathtaking costume, with a mysterious key around her neck, Sierra goes on the haunted tour and quickly forgets the strange shopkeeper, especially as she strikes up a conversation with Owen and sparks begin to fly. She doesn’t remember the words of the shopkeeper until someone asks for help…and the key around her neck opens the door to the Sultan’s Palace.
Review: Real Rating: 4.5



Above is the The Sultan's Palace in New Orleans. It was once the place of a horrific murder mystery where body parts and blood flowed through the place like a river. Was the man who lived within a Sultan? Or perhaps he had stolen the Sultan's harem?

No one is really sure what happened in the house but rumors continue to circulate of ghostly visions of a man standing on the balcony and cries within the palace itself.

For her twenty-first birthday, Sierra has come to New Orleans to celebrate it with her best friend. It is the month of Halloween and there are tons of ghost tours going on. Her best friend already has herself a costume and decides that if they are going on these tours, why not dress up. With her best friend leading the way, the two of them come across an odd costume store where a woman seems to be waiting for them. She gives Sierra a beautiful costume and skeleton key necklace. All this for Sierra, only if she does something and that something is answer the call for help. Simple right?

Unfortunately for Sierra nothing is ever simple and it ends up being the Sultan himself calling to her. With sexy Owen's help, Sierra sets about to free the soul of the Sultan.

This book was absolutely delicious. I love books with ghost stories and haunted houses. This book has it all including an evil ghost who is keeping the soul of the Sultan himself from finding any peace. Blood, sex, and evil all just wrapped up in one single story.

I am going to be honest I actually thought this book would have been more interesting if it had been made it into a longer story. I am not one for one of those stories where the female and male leads fall instantly in love. It never works and the story itself ends up being being awkward and not so well-thought out but this book did not seem like it. It actually worked for this one and I was truly surprised by this.

This book was my first taste into this series and I have plans on reading more of it as soon as possible. This book has set my standards for the rest of the series up high and I hope the others are just as page-turning and delicious as this one has been.

Jul. 8th, 2016


[info]katara

| o18 |

Title: Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play, Vol. 1: Priestess (Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play #1)
Author: Yuu Watase, Yuji Oniki (Translator)
Format: Epub
Rating: .5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: July 07 to 08, 2016
Book Summary: When best friends Miaka and Yui open the pages of an ancient Chinese book, they are transported into the Universe of the Four Gods, a parallel world to ancient China. Now, to escape schoolwork and family problems, Miaka flees to the parallel world, only to find a lot more danger and romance than she bargained for.
Book Review: It had been ages when I had last picked up this series. I had just started anime and my neighbor had these on VHS at the time. I ended up borrowing them to watch the anime. I never did finish watching it even after my sister bought the series for both herself and my niece to enjoy.

Now I remember why I didn't finish it: Miaka annoyed the hell out of me. If I thought Bella from Twilight was a massive Mary Sue, then I have met her cousin, Miaka. This special snowflake never seems to grow a backbone nor does she ever become detached from Tomahoma's hip. The bad thing is that everyone is forced to love her because of some prophecy written years ago.

I think I would have poured more into the series if she had learned to stand on her own two feet and become something more. I had this expectation that her need to cling to Tomahoma was nothing more than a phase but it seems to never stop with her. She learns nothing and doesn't even try really once to stand on her own always believing Tomahoma will swoop in and save her.

And he does. ALL THE DAMN TIME.

So yeah. I tried to continue on this series but Miaka's annoying behavior was just the last straw to me ever reading this series further. :/ I think I would have preferred Yui's side.

Jun. 5th, 2016


[info]katara

| o17 |

Title: The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: May 19 to June 05, 2016
Book Summary: How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favour.

But Apollo has many enemies - gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.
Book Review: What happens when you are a god one moment and end up becoming a mortal named Lester Papadopoulos?

This is what happened to Apollo but the only problem is Apollo does not remember what he has done to have caused Zeus to punish him in such a form. His memories are clouded but he knows he has to find Percy to help figure it out. The only problem is the fact he now has a tagalong who saved his life and thus owes a life-debt to.

This book was hilarious. Apollo reminded me so much of Gilderoy Lockhart in every sense. A drama queen (or king if you want to correct it), narcissistic, and selfish little bastard who bemoaned his fate whenever he had a moment to do so. He was hilarious in his narrative and even the haikus he tried so hard to make at each chapter. Some of them were, of course, a bit of a foreshadow but others were simply failed attempts of humor.

There are some that believe the author was a bit of a sell-out due to his continuous need to milk the cow but I don't think so. There is still much in the mythology world that could be used as material to continue to bring forth the Percy Jackson universe. There are still villians that may be hiding in the shadows still and remember the Gods themselves were never angels.

Rick Riordan remains my favorite author. I don't think that is ever going to change regardless of how he twists the Greek, Roman, and Norse universes to continue to roll out books for kids to read.

May. 26th, 2016


[info]katara

| o16 |

Title: Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016-) #1
Author: Nick Spencer, Jesus Saiz (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: May 26, 2016
Book Summary: He’s back! The original Sentinel of Liberty returns, with a new shield, a new team, and a new mission! And he’s not the only one who’s back! Like the saying goes-- cut off one LIMB, two more will take its place! HAIL HYDRA!
Book Review: Normally I don't pick up Captain America comics (not a big fan of his but my nephew is) but I had heard of some controversy with this one and it really piqued my interest. I became even more curious when I saw boatloads of tears from fanboys falling and I had to find out why.

The reason? This:



It was revealed in this new reboot(?) that Captain America is not the hero you really know but an agent of Hydra. You see a Hydra agent saved his Mother from being beaten by Steve's father one day and since then, well the rest becomes history. None of his team members seem to be aware of it and the one who might have known, Jack Flag, was tossed out of the plane during a rescue by the Captain himself. Is the hero dead? Perhaps. Maybe we will know in the next issue.

Although this storyline is interesting, I have wondered if the idea itself had been drawn from a "What If" idea that just got expanded further and made into a comic. Still I am looking forward to see exactly what the Captain does or doesn't do.

And what will his teammates think when they uncover the truth?

I am going to stay tuned and see how the entire thing plays out. Maybe I will enjoy it. Maybe I won't.

Only time will really tell.

Apr. 7th, 2016


[info]katara

| o15 |

Title: The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet
Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Format: Epub
Rating: 2.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: April 03 to 07, 2016
Book Summary: In August 2006, the International Astronomical Union voted Pluto out of planethood. Far from the sun, wonder Pluto has any fans. Yet during the mounting debate over rallied behind the extraterrestrial underdog. Disney created an irresistible pup by the same name, and, as one NASA scientist put it, Pluto was "discovered by an American for America." Pluto is entrenched in our cultural, patriotic view of the cosmos, and Neil deGrasse Tyson is on a quest to discover why.


Only Tyson can tell this story: he was involved in the first exhibits to demote Pluto, and, consequently, Pluto lovers have freely shared their opinions with him, including endless hate mail from third graders. In his typically witty way, Tyson explores the history of planet recently been judged a d
Book Review: Growing up, I had always loved the idea that Pluto was the ninth planet in the Solar System. It had been my favorite planet because it seemed to be always neglected when it came to discussing the planets of the Outer system. I was even more disappointed when I learned that it had been demoted from a major player to that of a supporting role of dwarf planet.

With the recent renewal interest of Pluto due to the flyby of New Horizons, I thought this book was the perfect read.

I was not entirely disappointed.

It was a nice light read filled with information from the mythology of the namesake Roman God of the Dead to the idea of people believing the planet was named after Mickey Mouse's dog, Pluto, to the cartoons. There were times I felt like the author was being defensive in trying to make a case for the reasoning behind the demotion of Pluto but it fell short to me. I guess I am just one of those older generations that has yet gotten over the idea and maybe I won't be ever.

Still a nice read and one that people will either really enjoy or be disappointed by the reasoning and information provided.

Mar. 26th, 2016


[info]katara

| o14 |

Title: The Vampire's Mail Order Bride (Nocturne Falls #1)
Author: Kristen Painter
Format: Epub
Rating: 3.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: March 20 to 26, 2016
Book Summary: Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town where Halloween is celebrated 365 days a year. The tourists think it's all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better. Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs and all.

After seeing her maybe-mobster boss murder a guy, Delaney James assumes a new identity and pretends to be a mail order bride. What she doesn't know is her groom to be is a 400-year-old vampire.

Hugh Ellingham has only agreed to the set up to make his overbearing grandmother happy. His past means love is no longer an option. Except he never counted on Delaney and falling in love for real.
Too bad both of them are keeping some mighty big secrets
Book Review: Real Rating: 3.5

It had been awhile since I had last picked up a book by this author. In fact, I had not finished up the House of Comarré series (and I need to do so but I am sure that since it has been awhile, I will need to re-read the series once more) quite yet. Normally her books are in the world of urban fantasy but this series was fluff, something I was not quite expecting from her.

Perhaps this might be her first dabble in this type of genre and I thought she did a wonderful job but I think my deepest problem was there was a bit too much fluff for me.

Aspiring candy maker, Delaney was a really likable character and one the reader could relate to on some levels. She did not come across as any Mary Sue. She had problems and flaws like everyone else. She adores her beloved fat cat, Captain Underpants, and spoils him to the point of rottenness. Now that is definitely something I have a kinship with her on. xD

On top of all that, who would not like to live in a town where it is Halloween 365 days a year? Sign me up!

Again the only beef was the too much fluff. Otherwise I really enjoyed this book immensely. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes humor and fluff wrapped up in one little package. I am planning to read more of this series and I am quite looking forward to immersing myself into the world of Nocturne Falls.

Mar. 19th, 2016


[info]katara

| o13 |

Title: The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia
Author: C.W. Gortner
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: March 07 to 19, 2016
Book Summary: For fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, a gripping novel that follows the extraordinary life of young Lucrezia Borgia, the legendary Renaissance Pope Alexander’s beautiful daughter. Was she the heartless seductress of legend? Or merely an unsuspecting pawn in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and her own survival?

Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias became Italy’s most ruthless and powerful family, electrifying and terrorizing their 15th-century Renaissance world.

To this day, Lucrezia Borgia is known as one of history’s most notorious villainesses, accused of incest and luring men to doom with her arsenal of poison.

International bestselling author C.W. Gortner’s new novel delves beyond the myth to depict Lucrezia in her own voice, from her pampered childhood in the palaces of Rome to her ill-fated, scandalous arranged marriages and complex relationship with her adored father and her rival brothers—brutal Juan and enigmatic Cesare.

This is the dramatic, untold story of a papal princess who came of age in an era of savage intrigue and unparalleled splendor, and whose courage led her to overcome the fate imposed on her by her Borgia blood.
Book Review: One of history's most notorious families, the Borgias have been the subject of speculation. There have been stories of bribery, poisonings, murder, and incest and have inspired writers to use them as a foundations for many of their own characters and stories such as the Godfather series by Mario Puzo.

While there is possibly that some of the stories told have been made up, there is still those tales that have not quite been unshaken from the family's reputation. It is believed that these stories were told by their enemies not only to make others believe that if the family is capable of doing harm to their enemies, they were also capable of doing the same to their own family members.

This story is told by Lucrezia Borgia's point of view. Although painted by many as Borgia poisoner, this version of her makes her a bit more of an innocent and perhaps even appealing to the reader of that innocence. Perhaps this may be a bit true. Maybe she had no part of her family's dealings and may have not been part of any of it but history has her written her differently.

The Borgias have always been an interesting and fascinating family for me. I even enjoyed the short-lived Showtime series fed that interest. I had not picked up a novel about them since I was in high school and I was glad this one was recommended to me by a friend. It was worth the pick-up. It kept me glued (at least when I was not at work) from the first page to the very last and I ended up feeling sorry for Lucrezia. I felt she did not deserve the reputation she had been delivered nor the problems that came with being a Borgia. It is too bad she had not been born into another family where her mother was more attentive and a father that did not view her as his pawn.

Feb. 16th, 2016


[info]katara

| o12 |

Title: SEVERED (A Tale of Sleepy Hollow)
Author: Dax Varley
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: February 12 to 16, 2016
Book Summary: Katrina’s still haunted by her encounter with the Headless Horseman - the night he beckoned to her. Now he has risen again, slashing heads and terrorizing the quiet countryside.

Her only joy during this dismal darkness comes when Ichabod Crane, a gorgeous young man from Connecticut, moves to Sleepy Hollow and their attraction turns to romance.

When the Horseman marks Ichabod as his next victim, Katrina, despite dangerous efforts to save him, sees no other choice than for them to flee.

But the Horseman awaits. Now it’s up to her to sever the horror and alter the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Book Review: Do you like the movie Sleepy Hollow or even the television series from FOX? Then this book may just be for you.

This book kept me riveted from the first page to the very last. Katrina is definitely not your sort of run of the mill damsel in distress. In fact, it is a role she rather loathes all together. It doesn't help either when Brom is already planning their wedding. It is something Katrina doesn't want.

Sleepy Hollow is haunted by the Headless Horseman. Katrina knows he is real. She has seen him before and she fears she could be his target. At first the Headless Horseman hasn't been seen in quite some time but then headless bodies appear. It appears the Headless Horseman has returned.

I really enjoyed this version of events from Sleepy Hollow. The storyline was not boring and the characters definitely had dimension to them.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves anything to do with the Sleepy Hollow world either it being from re-telling or from a character's point-of-view.

Feb. 12th, 2016


[info]katara

| o12 |

Title: The Good, the Bad and the Furry: Life with the World's Most Melancholy Cat and Other Whiskery Friends
Author: Tom Cox
Format: Epub
Rating: 5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: February 11 to 12, 2016
Book Summary: Meet THE BEAR - a cat who carries the weight of the world on his furry shoulders, and whose wise, owl-like eyes seem to ask, Can you tell me why I am a cat, please?

Like many intellectuals, The Bear would prefer a life of quiet solitude with plenty of time to gaze forlornly into space and contemplate society's ills. Unfortunately he is destined to spend his days surrounded by felines of a significantly lower IQ . . .

RALPH: handsome, self-satisfied tabby, terrified of the clothes horse.

SHIPLEY: mouthy hooligan and champion mouser, rendered insensible by being turned upside-down.

ROSCOE: fiercely independent kitten, tormented by her doppelganger in the mirror.

And then there's Tom, writing with his usual wit and charm about the unexpected adventures that go hand in hand with a life at the beck and call of four cats . . . or three cats and a sensitive poet who just happens to be a foot high and covered in fur.
Book Review: Do you love the twitter and facebook of MySadCat? Then you will definitely enjoy this book as well.

This book is filled with much humor (both from the cats and from Tom's father) over the adventures of raising cats.

I had not read the other books previous to this one but I enjoyed this one immensely. I think my favorite part were the cat commandments. I have to say these two remind me of my cat:

"Thou shalt have no other gods before thyself"

THIS^

She hates me loving on any other cat but her and makes it quite known she is the all powering God in my life. That any other worship of any other cat is forbidden and jealousy will rear its ugly head fast.

"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's cardboard box."

This one is a bit on the "if you have a box, then the box is mine. If you are in the box, then you have to get out of the box because it is mine and never ever yours." This applies to the other cats. She hates sharing with anyone and makes it quite clear the boxes are off limits to anyone if she is in them.

This book is definitely worth a read and one you will find much humor and enjoy the misadventures of raising cats who have quite different personalities. So pick this one up and read!

Feb. 11th, 2016


[info]katara

| o10 |

Title: The Royal We
Author: Heather Cocks, Jessica Morgan
Format: Epub
Rating: 3.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: February 9th to 11th, 2016
Book Summary: "I might be Cinderella today, but I dread who they'll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next."

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick's sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he's fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she's sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.
Book Review: Real Rating: 3.5

This story follows the romance of Kate Middleton and Prince William Rebecca "Bex" Porter and the heir to the throne, Prince Nicolas of Wales. There is drama, moments of humor, paparazzi, and what life is like when you become engaged to a member of the royal family especially the heir to the throne.

The difference between Kate Middleton and Bex Porter is the latter is an American.

This book seems a bit more like an autobiography written by Bex in order to set the real story straight about her first encounter with the prince to the ultimate "Wedding of the century". Perhaps this was why there was much more liberties with the usage of more American terms rather than those of proper Queen's English.

When I first saw this book out at my local Barnes and Noble, I was excited about it because I have always been fascinated by the royals ever since the late Princess Diana first stepped out in her glass carriage at the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral. I watched Prince William grow up from being called "William the Terrible" to the charming young man he is now.

I thought this book would be a fantastic read and one I would love to death.

How I was a bit wrong.

The characters as well as the romance between Nick and Bex fell a bit flat. They seemed to be moving through the story without evolving as characters in personalities. The plot itself was slow and almost non-moving. I felt like I was watching more of drunken frat party world rather than a royal romance.

It felt boring to the point that I nearly put the book down and walked away for the final time but I wanted to give the book a try to the very end.

I think I am going to hand this book to my niece. She might enjoy the whole "royal romance" thing better than I did..

Feb. 7th, 2016


[info]katara

| oo9 |

Title: Nefertiti's Heart (Artifact Hunters #1)
Author: A.W. Exley
Format: Epub
Rating: 3/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: January 09 to 28, 2016
Book Summary: Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

1861. Cara has a simple mission in London – finalise her father’s estate and sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when a killer stalks the nobility, searching for an ancient Egyptian relic rumoured to hold the key to immortality.

Nathaniel Trent, known as the villainous viscount, is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on both Cara and the priceless artifacts. His icy exterior and fiery touch stirs Cara’s demons, or could he lay them to rest?

Self-preservation fuels Cara’s search for the gem known as Nefertiti’s Heart. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she sacrifices her own heart and life.
Book Review: I actually picked this book up for free at Barnes and Noble.

Normally I could sit down and devour a book in hours or in just a few short days but this one I had to put down over a length of time. This one I had to do so. I am not sure what made me do so, I think it had to with the rape and beating of a child. I had thought that this would have made the main female lead stronger and much more less prone to falling for the first guy who walked through her door but that did not seem to be the case.

As for the male character, he seemed pushy to the point I would have loved to have taken the nearest iron skillet and knock the crap out of him. Any pushy male should have be tossed out the nearest window and replaced with a male who doesn't think with his penis believing it is the answer to any problem the lead female has.

The plot, however, was interesting. I had not never read any steampunk novels before so this was my first and I really enjoyed the world. It was fascinating and I am looking forward to checking out other books that connect into such a world as this one.

Continuing reading this series? I am not sure yet. I might try he next book in the future but we shall have to see.

Jan. 9th, 2016


[info]katara

| oo8 |

Title: Alice Takes Back Wonderland
Author: David D. Hammons
Format: Epub
Rating: 3/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: January 08 to 09, 2016
Book Summary: After ten years of being told she can't tell the difference between real life and a fairy tale, Alice finally stops believing in Wonderland. So when the White Rabbit shows up at her house, Alice thinks she's going crazy.

Only when the White Rabbit kicks her down the rabbit hole does Alice realize that the magical land she visited as a child is real.

But all is not well in Wonderland.

The Ace of Spades has taken over Wonderland and is systematically dismantling all that makes it wonderful. Plain is replacing wondrous, logical is replacing magical, and reason is destroying madness. Alice decides she must help the Mad Hatter and all those fighting to keep Wonderland wonderful.

But how can she face such danger when she is just a girl?

Alice must journey across the stars to unite an army. She discovers that fairy tales are real in the magical world beyond the rabbit hole. But they are not the fairy tales she knows.

Fairy tales have dangers and adventures of their own, and Alice must overcome the trials of these old stories if she wants to unite the lands against Ace.

With the help of Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White and heroes old and new, Alice may have the strength to take back Wonderland.
Book Review: When I first came across this book, I thought, "Wow! This sounds interesting!" and I found myself looking forward to the moment of its release.

I was a bit disappointed the moment after finishing it.

The plot was very interesting and had tons of potential but the many characters seemed to be a bit too much and fell flat. Maybe it was the mash-ups that just seemed to be too much. I should have enjoyed such things seeing as I love Once Upon A Time but I could not find any character that I could connect with.

Still it was a fun read and I still recommend anyone who loves Alice in Wonderland give this book a chance. You might enjoy it.

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