Monday, October 29, 2012

Waterfall (River of Time, #1)Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time travel in Italy, who could not want to experience that. Well, that depends upon the time where you travel. I'm not sure I would want to travel anywhere that I had to use chamber pots or holes in a seat that did not carry the waste somewhere other than where I was living. The thought of knowing what technology and time has afforded us and not being able to access it is overwhelming, especially when you think about the fact that there are people in this society who have that very experience because of it not being available to them.

I have to say I was surprised. This book was exactly what I thought it would be, but, more. I was hoping to read about glamorous balls and beautiful clothes. There was some of that but, more. This book put me in the middle of one topic I really dislike to read, what felt like a love triangle. The timing was different, which made this story a bit different. It was medieval times, a time of arranged marriages and when families were so close that sometimes children were promised to each other for a myriad of reasons. That changes the story some for me and makes the story more than a love triangle.

This story also really showed us about love and families, especially where close siblings are involved. It would be very interesting to see how things that Gabi did to help Fortino affected the future. Will they see differences in that part of Italy when Gabi and Lina are in their own time. Can just having a conversation with one person change the course of history? It definitely has to change how Gabi and Lina see things from now on as they have experienced medicine, food, beds, clothing, hairstyles and even differences in the Italian language. I have to say it is interesting that women being catty doesn't change regardless to the century, though I hope there are fewer willing to send another woman into a danger zone to keep what she wants. Ah, what am I saying? The news is full of people doing ridiculous things for ridiculous reasons every day. I'm glad the series is already fully written so I don't have to wait to see how this turns out, well only as long as it takes me to read the next 2 books, though I'm thinking of trying the audiobooks for Cascade and Torrent. I hope the narrator is great!

Review can also be seen at Lady Techie's Book Musings, http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Super Sweet Sixteenth CenturyMy Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great read! It had a wonderful atmosphere in just about one of my favorite cities. I love Florence, Italy and cannot wait to visit again. I like the gypsy aspect of the story because Romanian gypsies have always held a certain mystery for me. My mom told me about the ones that lived in the storefronts in Chicago when she was a kid and I have always wondered about them since I was a kid and heard the stories.

Cat has the kind of life you might imagine a "Hollywood" teen might have, especially with her parents' background. I found it quite disappointing that a mother could walk away from a family, especially a child the way she did. But, her mother's family history was what created her interest in Italy. One of the things I really liked was how we were never sure how Patience's role was affected in this with Cat in the Renaissance era for the time she was there. It was part of the mystery and was very well done. Another thing I really loved about this story is Cat's love of art and how we were treated to this wonderfully described atmosphere. I had the same feeling of awe when I saw the original David in The Accademia, especially in comparison to the other 2 copies I have seen both in the Louvre and the one in Palazo della Signoria. I learned more about the history of it through Cat's eyes.

It was great reading about Cat's interactions with her very distant relatives and how it caused her to reflect upon her relationship with her parents and her father's fiancee. The descriptions of the frescoes in Florence were very well done and brought back amazing memories for me. I liked the ending and hope to see more in this story!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Mira's Diary: Lost in ParisMira's Diary: Lost in Paris by Marissa Moss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received my copy of Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris from Source Books. When I was introduced to Mira’s Diary by Source Book’s publicity intern and I read the synopsis I thought it was fortuitous that they would offer me a chance to read/review this book right after my return from Paris, France. It was wonderful being able to visualize the different places I visited as I read through Mira's Diary. I only had one issue and that was that the book packed a lot of detail in a short read. There was enough to flesh out the detail more and I would have enjoyed more history about the family and their lives before Mira’s mom disappeared.

Mira has a gift that she seems to have inherited like her mom, the gift of time travel. I liked that Mira was not suddenly adept at her gift. She had a learning curve and unfortunately even when she was able to find clues about her newly found gift she still did not have enough information and continued to learn as she went along. Part of it might have had to do with her age, but, I suspect would be difficult for even adults who have no reference points or others to guide them. It is easy to forget that Mira is a young teenager, though in the times she visited the younger girls married early so they did tend to live more like adults, though it was interesting that the others were not aware of her age difference as it appears that Mary Cassat was in her late 30’s at the time.

One of the greatest things about this book for me as a museum and art gallery enthusiast is to experience all of Mira's visits with different artists and writers like Degas, Whistler and Renoir. I particularly enjoyed being introduced to an artist I was not familiar with, Mary Cassatt. I even researched her work and saw some of her wonderful art on a website that had her complete works. I am now wondering if I may have seen some of her work in the Louvre and not known who she was at the time. Interestingly enough there is a painting called Mary Cassatt at The Louvre painted by Degas. Another thing I loved was having Mira describe streets I walked down and treasures I was able to visit and take picture of like the Eiffel Tower.

One of the strengths of this book was how it described bigotry. It was even more disturbing to see it experienced through a frightened teenager's eyes. Thinking back to when I was a minority teenager I used to wonder how I would feel if presented with violence because of bigotry and I found out first hand so my heart was in my throat when Mira experienced the scene where the crowd was near the Eiffel Tower yelling racial slurs and behaving violently. She saw how someone with courage faced it when everyone was against him and she learned the importance of how to stand up for what you believe in even when you feel alone.

Part of me wishes we knew what problem Mira's mom was trying to solve because her absence weighs so heavily on her family. I am glad the book demonstrated a supportive relationship between the family members, at the same time it demonstrated sibling rivalry, growing pains and the effects on a family when the family is broken, which is how the book opens. The end was a huge cliffhanger and I hope that this is a series because I really did enjoy this step into Paris' past along with its supernatural aspects. I plan to send a copy to my Goddaughter because I know she will love it!

Review can also be seen at Lady Techies Book Musings at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Death's Rival (Jane Yellowrock, #5)Death's Rival by Faith Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit that all of the books in this series elicit a ton of emotion from me. I'm not sure how I feel about that because I tend to stay away from books/movies etc. that make me cry. I have to admit that towards the end there I was quite tied into Jane's emotions when she went to water. Of all the hurt that Jane has experienced the hurt she feels at the very prospect that God will turn away from her. She lives her life at a crossroads of sorts where she has a Christian faith, Tribal faith, and the soul of beast all weighing on her. The fact that she has lived as long as she has without breaking is a testament to her strength.

Jane Yellowrock lost a lot in Raven's Curse. She involved was caught up in a lot of vamp politics, part of which, tend to be situations of her own making due to not having enough knowledge, and the other part comes from following her nature to protect and right wrongs. That was one of the great things about Death's Rival, Jane learns so much about herself through going to water with Aggie and just her friendships with Aggie and her mother. She also learns more through knowledge made available to her by Sabina, with whom she has developed an interesting kinship.

What can I say, too many men in the pool for me. I wouldn't call it a love triangle because Jane is not exactly going back and forth between anyone. She has interest in all of them and now there is a new log in the fire, so to speak, or maybe with the ending, two more logs in the fire if beast has any say. I don't know how I feel about that ending. But, I do know that my dislike of Leo still grows. He is a vampire that I just do not like. I'm not a fan of Katie either. I do like Grégoires and Callan and I'm on the fence about George. I do however really like Alex and Eli and like that she is giving her partnership with them a try. They work well together and have a good rhythm working together. I also like seeing more of Derek Lee and all the Vodka and Martini guys. There was so much betrayal in this book but, I like how she handled it without involving the vamps in the policing of Derek Lee's men. Eli also seemed to fit in nicely with them despite being Army instead of Marine. I like that she has found more people to trust and build friendships with in the future. I did miss Angie-baby in this one and was quite surprised that she did not sneak and call Aunt Jane like she had in previous books.

I hate having to wait for Blood Trade, but there is nothing to be done but wait. Review can also be seen at LadyTechie's Book Musings http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Daughter of the Sword (Fated Blades, #1)Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daughter of the Sword is this conglomeration of historical Japanese lore, true Japanese history and urban fantasy. I received a copy with a really great cover from Literal Addiction which received the copy from the publisher for review purposes. I have to admit this was already on my to-be-read list already so when I had the opportunity to review it for L.A. I jumped at it and though there were times I was lost in the Japanese terminology, I enjoyed learning them. Steve Bein did such a good job with character development that there were times I had to put the book down or scream at the bigotry and misogynistic treatment that Mariko received from her co-workers, especially her new lieutenant.
Mariko is a worldly, intelligent, butt-kicker. She is a great cop, much to the dismay of both her family and her fellow police officers. She has the great honor of being the first female detective and the only one of her rank. She has a family that she is at odds with because of some problems her sister has that has put a wedge between them. They were so close that most in their community can tell the difference in their relationship and are watching and gossiping like the Oshiros are a soap opera to be monitored by all. Their mom is caught in the middle and it is quite interesting to see the dichotomy between the three of them as they juggle the past with the present.

Daughter of the Sword tells the history of several of the swords created by a great master named Inazuma. One of the swords has a terrible history and is the focus of a lot of the backdrop told in the book. There are multiple periods covered that tell the story of the sword and all who have owned it along with a lot of information about samurai. We also learn the history of a Professor Yamada who is very renowned for his knowledge of swords and martial arts. He also has a very deep history and some of his actions possibly reverberate throughout the history of his homeland. There are some aspects of World War II discussed and it allows the reader to see things from Yamada's and his friend's points-of-view.

Another interesting aspect of this story is the relationship between the police and Yakuza. I was a little lost with some of the Japanese terms for the different legs of the organized crime in Japan but, it made for another aspect of this story which is that it is also a Japanese police procedural with tons of action and a fair bit of gore which is to be expected when swords are involved. The sword play was described beautifully and it was interesting to see Mariko’s initiation into her version of a samurai’s way of life. If you love reading about far-away places, historical fiction and fantasy this book should definitely be on your list.

This review can also be seen at LadyTechies Book Musings http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo....

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fury's Kiss (Dorina Basarab, #3)Fury's Kiss by Karen Chance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a great addition to the Midnight's Daughter series. I was a bit lost with some of the jargon regarding the portals and gateways. I had this feeling like I should go back and read the last couple of books, but, eventually I found my place and the story picked up for me. It was never that the story was not good. It was that there is a big gap in time between releases so I forget a lot by the time the next book comes out. But, I love this series and it always stays interesting. This series tends to be my favorite by Karen Chance so I'm guessing it might be another 1 1/2 to 2 years before we see what happens next in the war.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dark Frost (Mythos Academy, #3)Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an e-Arc of Dark Frost and could not wait to inhale the words. I have to say that despite how much I wish things go a certain way Jennifer Estep is very adept and turning everything on its head. I find myself loving this book despite not always getting my way. One of the things I loved so much about this series is getting a great view of the different champions of the Greek mythology greats. Gwen Frost as Nike's champion she feels a lot of responsibility for protecting the world from Loki and his champions.

In Dark Frost everyone is trying to find the Helheim Dagger because it is one of the artifacts that can help free Loki. Gwen has friends but she still spends a lot of time keeping her own counsel. Is it to her detriment, maybe? But, part of her issue is that some of the adults that she should be able to trust treat her in a manner that makes it harder for her to be more forthcoming with them. It seems that whenever she feels she has her feet firmly on the ground someone or something snatches the rug out from under her. Gwen comes back to school thinking that she and Logan are going to be in a certain place and even her relationship with him has her questioning things.

Dark Frost really is a page turner and it is a great addition to the Mythos Academy series. The action and the fight scenes are great as usual. Fight scenes and weapons are seriously one of Jennifer Estep's strengths. The ending is huge and Gwen learns a lot about her relationships and trust. I am really looking forward to Crimson Frost.

Review can also be seen at LadyTechies Book Musings at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.Blogspo...

London Prep by Jillian Dodd My rating: 5 of 5 stars What a great adventure! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book...