Thursday, April 16, 2015

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Daughter of the forestDaughter of the Forest

Juliet Marillier

400 pgs, Tor Books, May 2000






Sorcha is the youngest of seven and the only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters.  Her mother died right after she was born so she has been raised mostly by her older brothers – wonderful brothers who do everything in their power to protect her and make sure she is content. Pretty much the only unhappiness in Sorcha’s young life is that her father barely acknowledges her.  He seems to only have a use for the sons who are interested in fighting the battles to maintain their land.

When Sorcha is 12 her father brings home a new wife – who immediately puts Sorcha and most of her brother’s ill at ease. Their unease is justified when the step mother casts a terrible spell that transforms Sorcha’s brothers into swans. The Queen of the Forest gives Sorcha a task she can complete to reverse the spell on her brothers, but it will be emotionally and physically painful. She much complete this task in silence and never communicate in any way WHY she is doing this task that seems mad.

At first Sorcha works to complete her task in isolation only seeing people during the 2 nights a year her brothers return in human form. After a personal tragedy, Sorcha finds herself kidnapped/under the protection of her father’s enemies and taken far from home.  For the first time she struggles between love and desire to save her brothers.

My Thoughts

Daughter of the Forest takes a little while to really get into. The author take her time making sure the reader not only knows Sorcha well, but also have a very good understanding of each of her brothers. Time is also spent world building so the reader feels the magic of the forest and the sea.

Her brothers are all interesting in their own right – the payoff for the slow buildup at the beginning of the book. I love how protective they are of their sister and how hard it is for them to watch her struggle for their benefit during the curse.  They also drive me a little crazy when they make decisions for her after she has proven herself more than capable.

I did enjoy reading the first slower section of the book, but once the spell is cast the story does speed up. Sorcha’s an amazing heroine. Steadfast and strong, while also showing vulnerability.  She’s smart, caring, patient and talented. She immediately tackles the daunting task given to her by the Fair Folk and stays determinedly on it with one small exception. 

Even when kidnapped and taken far from home she immediately starts planning how to complete her task in unfamiliar territory. Adding to the challenge are confusing feeling for her kidnapper, Red.  Kidnapper is really a fair term for Red.  When Sorcha first met Red he was pulling her from water to save her from drowning.  She was undernourished and refused to speak. By the time they returned to his home she was following willingly.

Feelings develop between Red and Sorcha, but these are confused by the many obstacles between them.  Red’s brother disappeared near Sorcha’s lands, and Red’s people don’t like or trust Sorcha.  Her main priority is her brothers, but despite all this they grow closer. 

My biggest complaint is not a failure of the book – it’s a personal reading quirk. I struggle with foreshadowing.  My reaction to foreshadowing is to want to skip ahead any miss the sad/scary/bad stuff.  I’d rather just be surprised.

Overall I loved this book and I’m so happy Elizabeth recommended it!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Top 10 Quotes in books

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host a book related Top 10.
This week is top 10 inspiring, moving or thought provoking quotes in books.
Devil's Mixtape Quotecode name verity - quoteafterworlds - quoteKevin QuotesAnne of Green Gables QuoteMy heart black holes quotePastrix - QuotePoisonwood Bible quote

Thursday, April 9, 2015

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Heart and other black holesI found this on a list of the best books coming out this year and recently my hold came up at the library.  I don’t want to give away too much plot but Aysel has an infamous father and is a social pariah at school.  She struggles to relate to her mother and has decided she wants to end her life.  Her biggest concern is that she’s attempt suicide and be unsuccessful.  Enter FrozenRobot (Roman), a boy she meets on a website for suicide partners.

The Good

Physics/Math – I’m a math nerd. So I loved that physics and math are important to Aysel.  It’s how she sorts through her life and what causes her the most questions about her suicidal intentions.

Well built story - There’s no info dump.  The author does a beautiful job of alluding to Aysel’s past and what happened with her father, giving pieces so it’s always on your mind.  I really wanted to know what happened in the past but was interested enough in the present to continue reading without skimming to find out what happened.

Opposites Attract – Aysel might be a little stereotypical of what we think a depressed teenager looks/acts like, but Roman isn’t.  Until a year ago, he was a popular athlete.  Even though he’s not participating anymore the people around him still care and are concerned.

The Bad
I got nothing – I’m not saying it’s a perfect book, but there are no clear flaws for me.  It took me three weeks to complete this review trying to find something to criticize and decided to throw in the towel.

The Results
Really, really good, possibly excellent.  It’s on my list of books to purchase for reread.
For those who like star ratings – 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, April 6, 2015

Top Ten Characters I Want to Check Back in With.

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host a book related Top 10.


This week is characters/stories I want to peak back in on years later.

Rainbows books

1. I want to read more of all of Rainbow’s characters.  I want to check in with Beth and Lincoln, and Jennifer and Mitch.  Eleanor & Park need a sequel and while the hidden cameo by Cath and Levi in Landline was awesome I still want more.  Reagan could honestly use her own book.  Rainbow just writes characters I care about and want to be friends with.

books 2-4 yellow

2.  A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier

I fell in love with Cleo and Edmund during this story, but at the end they were still pretty young.  I’d love to know how their lives played out.

3.  Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

The ending of this book fit the story, but it left me craving a story 3-5 years down the line when Callie and Alex might be at the same place in their lives.

4.  My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Wanga

I just finished this book and loved it.  The ending was a little quicker than I would like (but not terribly abrupt) and even if I’d gotten more I’d still want to know Aysel and Roman do in college and as adults.

Books 5-7 navy

5.  If You Lived Here, You’d be Home Now by Claire LaZebnik

Rickie had just gotten her life more on track at the end of the book and I’d love to see how she and Noah and Andrew are doing in the future. 

6.  Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer

I loved the progression in Elisabeth that occurred over the course of this book and I’d love to see where her 5 year plan actually ended up.

7.  Unsticky by Sarra Manning

It’s no secret that I love Grace and Vaughn.  I don’t really need much plot here – just more Grace and Vaughn.

books 8-10 pink

8.  Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I loved the brief appearance by Lola and Cricket in Isla, but I want to see college stories from Lola and Cricket, and adult stories with Lola the fashion designer and Cricket the engineer.

9. Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

I hope Deanna gets out of that town and goes to college.  I liked where the story was going as the book ended, but I just want to be sure she ended up happy.

10. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

I want to see Elise as a college DJ.  Or really just as a college student – she’s one of those characters that I think will really flourish outside of the homogeny of high school.

Friday, April 3, 2015

March Recap

I have officially rediscovered the library. I love that I can put books on hold, they transfer them to the branch of my choosing and I can go in once a week to return/pickup.  I also finally figured out how to use the ebook application – it’s really nice as a mood reader to be able to look for what I’m in the mood for RIGHT NOW. 

I read 13 books this month (that surprised me) but I still haven’t gotten the hang of reviewing them in a timely manner.  Once again I logged to 2 reviews for the month. I do have two reviews in progress for books I LOVED – why are those so much harder to write?

Books Read

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Mariller

Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

Something Real by Heather Demetrios

A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller 

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury 

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

Challenge Update

I continued to make progress on the Read Harder Challenge from Book Riot.  I completed the Indie book category by reading The Carnival at Bray and I was concerned about the category when I started the challenge.  In total I knocked 5 more categories in March bringing my total to 13 complete out of 24.  Halfway done but I’m completely done with the easy for me categories so I’ll slow down going forward.

In Other News

I’m making progress listening to all the Harry Potter books.  I’m currently on book 4 – it’s fun as a reread, but would have driven me batty if I hadn’t read them already.  Snape is even harder to take in audio than in print.  I’m also listening to Yes Please by Amy Poehler (it’s my workout book) and I want to be her friend so bad.

I attempted to watch The Walking Dead and I’ve made it through 2.25 episodes so far. Evidently one of the actresses on the show in the second season is from my state – a small town my dad went to college in – so I’d like to make it until I see her in a few episodes, but man zombies are creepy. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix is adorable. I binge watched the first 8 episodes at the beginning of the month and now I’m hoarding the last six for a day I need cheering up.

And finally, I signed up to attend NerdCon Stories in Minneapolis October 9-10.  It has a fun guest list and it’s driving distance.  If anyone else is planning to go let me know.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Top 10 Recent Additions to my TBR list

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host a book related Top 10.


Top ten recent additions to my TBR list…hmmm.  These top 10’s are always interesting because odds are a year from now I won’t have read half of these. I’m not including anything on my Spring TBR list and I’m limiting myself to only 5 books that haven’t been released yet.

Older books…new to me

New to TBR - older

1) The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

This is an indie release from last year (so not really that old).  The synopsis is a little vague, but it sounds like a individual travel journey of personal discovery and I tend to like those.

2) The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

How gorgeous is that cover?  Again brief description and it sounds a little fantasy which tends to be hit or miss for me but I would seriously read this one for the cover.

3) The Martian by Andy Weir

I’ve started seeing this everywhere over the past few months.  Interesting concept and probably a little more of a challenging read then my typical fair.  

4) How to be Bad by E Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle

I have loved books by each of these authors individually so I’m intrigued to see what they came up with together.

5) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Super popular right now and I listened to a bit of the audio book – British narrator!  So it’s on my list of books to listen to.

Coming  Soon

New to TBR - 2015 releases

1) Call Me Home by Megan Kruse

After knowing NOTHING about indie books, this list has THREE indie’s on it.  From the synopsis this seems like a dysfunction family novel where choices are made that have long standing consequences.  Seems like the kind of book that will have lots of discussion material.

2) Ally Hughes has Sex Sometimes by Jules Moulin

Seems like a potentially fun women’s lit novel and I haven’t found one of those I was excited about in quite awhile.

3) Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

I’m a little nervous about this – it’s the kind of plot backstory that could end up feeling manipulative – but if it’s done well could be amazing.  MC’s finds the boy who was the recipient of her boyfriend’s heart.

4) Paperweight by Meg Haston

I’m at a phase where I’m really interested in mental illness.  I like when I can put myself in other people’s shoes through fiction.

5) The Only Ones by Carola Dibbell

It’s been so long since I’ve read an adult dystopia.  Inez is immune to a disease that has had devastating consequences.  Due to her immunity she is hired to provide genetic material for a baby.  Another book that sounds like it will provide lots of discussion material.  Also an indie press release.

Bonus Novella

Nice Girls don't ride

Nice Girls Don’t Ride by Roni Loren – Quick and easy romance. Nuff said.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Something Real

This was an impulsive library pickup.  I vaguely remember seeing it on blogs last year, but nothing specific.

The Good
Great Concept – Chloe (or BonnieTM ) Baker grew up on a reality TV show.  From birth to age 13 she lived on camera.  It’s well executed to show how not real reality television is from all of Bonnie’s clothing on the show being selected by someone else, to reshooting certain scenes for product placement.

Sibling relationship/friendships -  I enjoyed Chloe’s relationship with her brother Benton (Benny).  Most of her siblings don’t get much time in the book (there are 12 of them), but Chloe and Benny and fun together and supportive when they both really need some emotional support due to the show.  The friends Chloe made at school during the year before the show went back on the air are supportive when I REALLY needed her to have some.

The Bad
One dimensional villains – It’s hard imagine a mother being as insensitive her daughter’s emotional trauma as Beth seems to be.  And the show’s producer Chuck is evil.  Neither of these are deal killers for the book because they are both totally possible – just unbelievably frustrating.

The Results
This was an entertaining, fun read.  I don’t want to give away much of the plot so I didn’t say much but this was definitely an enjoyable quick read.
For those who like star ratings – 3.5 out of 5 stars