Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Descent (The Taker #3) by Alma Katsu

Book: The Descent (The Taker Trilogy #3)
Author: Alma Katsu
Narrator (if applicable): n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: From because this trilogy is way too difficult to capture everything!

The final installment in the “mesmerizing” (Booklist, starred review) and addictive trilogy—find out who truly holds the key to Lanny’s heart and whether she’ll ever be reunited with her beloved in this gripping supernatural tale of magic, lust, and longing.
Lanore McIlvrae has been on the run from Adair for hundreds of years, dismayed by his mysterious powers and afraid of his temper. She betrayed Adair’s trust and imprisoned him behind a stone wall to save Jonathan, the love of her life. When Adair was freed 200 years later, she was sure that he would find her and make her existence a living hell. But things turned out far different than she’d imagined.
Four years later, Lanore has tracked Adair to his mystical island home, where he has been living in self-imposed exile, to ask for a favor. She wants Adair to send her to the hereafter so she may beg the Queen of the Underworld to release Jonathan, whom she has been keeping as her consort. Will Lanore honor her promise to Adair to return? Or is her intention to reunite with Jonathan at any cost?
Of all the forces of the universe, the most mysterious, confounding, and humbling is the power of love. The epic story of love and loss, magic and destiny that began with The Taker and sparked a chase around the world in The Reckoning comes to a surprising conclusion with The Descent. 

My rating: 4 Stars
My opinion: Hands down, this book was my favorite in the series. It flew by for me and I ended up reading it in one sitting. I found this to be the most twisted and dark of the trilogy. As this is the last in the trilogy, I enjoyed how the author wrapped up the storyline and the characters. 

Source: Publisher for review
Would I recommend? : I always recommend this series. I thoroughly enjoyed it. On that note, this is a trilogy that MUST be read in order!  Otherwise, the reader will be lost. Each book plays beautifully off one another.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Last in trilogy

I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-star by Judy Greer

Book: I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-star
Author: Judy Greer
Narrator (if applicable): n/a

Release date (if applicable): April 8, 2014

Synopsis: Judy Greer presents hilarious "stand up" written routines that explains why she is who she is. 
My rating: 3 Stars
My opinion: Although I love Judy Greer's acting, I must state that this book's writing style was done in a "speaking manner".  I could actually imagine her actually speaking it and heard her voice in my head as I was reading.  While I love this in her acting style, I found it to be rather annoying in my reading.  What resulted was that the book ran together. Other than that, the book was hilarious.
Source: Publisher for review
Would I recommend? : Yes, I would just give readers fair warning and let them know to push through it. 
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger

Book: The Orphanage of Miracles 
Author: Amy Neftzger
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: There is an orphanage in the midst of a worn torn land. Their only job is to produce miracles. Miracles that the king keeps very close to him.  Children come in, but they never leave unless their "miracle" dies.

Kelsey, a young girl with an evil spell on her, needs a miracle. She sets off to find this orphanage as her last resort to free herself of the spell. Will she be saved or will the king be stingy? 
My rating: 5 Stars
My opinion:  I have had the pleasure of knowing Ms. Neftzger for several years. She has been a Sisterhood of the Traveling Book author member. Her books have always focused on adult literature and while good, her literature didn't really stand out to her competitors. 

My opinion of this author changed when I read The Orphanage of Miracles. This book grasped me immediately. It is a wonderful, CLEAN read for middle school readers, which allows them to use their imaginations with the storyline. Although there were two stories "going on", the story wrapped up beautifully. 

One criticism that I did find focuses on the editing of the book. I feel that it could have used some tighter editing. I found several mistakes which should have stood out to an editor.  However, these errors didn't detract from my review rating.

As a result of her author member status, I have read numerous works by this author, but feel she has really found her niche in this series and in the juvenile book market. 

Source: Sisterhood of the Traveling Book 
Would I recommend? : I already have.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: First in series

Pioneer Girl: A Novel by Bich Minh Nguyen

Book: Pioneer Girl: A Novel
Author: Bich Minh Nguyen
Narrator (if applicable): n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: New Ph.D. yet jobless, Lee Lien is forced to return to her parent's home outside Chicago to work in the family restaurant. Soon after arriving home, her brother disappears leaving a gold broach that was left behind in the parent's restaurant in Vietnam by an female American journalist while she was there covering the Vietnam War. It is up to Lee to return her brother to the family, but what influence does this piece of jewelery have on a family of immigrants? Can Lee help her family to heal?
My rating: 4 Stars
My opinion: I must admit that I have mixed feelings about this book. I felt the primary storyline about Lee Lien's family's dysfunction and the disappearance of her brother to be boring and could not keep my interest no matter how hard I tried.  I found the characters and the storyline to be flat. They were written, but poorly developed. There were aspects to the story that were predictable and, as a result, easy to write.

On that note, I am a huge fan of Rose Wilder Lane and have been studying her bio lately. I found this book to be well researched. There were very specific details regarding Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane that I had not come across in my research, yet were mentioned in general. It would be interesting to know if the author took artistic liberty or if they were indeed factual. 

Had this book been about authors that weren't interesting to me, I have no doubt that this would have been a 1 or 2 star book review.
Source: Publisher for review
Would I recommend? : Not really.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Running and Walking for Women Over 40 by Kathrine Switzer

Book: Running and Walking for Women Over 40
Author: Kathrine Switzer
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: In a very concise format, Ms. Switzer presents critical information for female runners over the age of 40 including training diet, injuries and other special considerations.
My rating: 4 Stars
My opinion: I found this to be an excellent training book that grabbed me immediately. While I felt that 95 percent of it could be applicable to runners of any age or sex, I was fascinated by the author's information on how menopause affects running capabilities and injuries. .

There is an well detailed chapter that gives descriptions/treatments for common injuries.

I enjoyed this book so much and the information so useful that it  is in Amazon cart for addition to my training library.

Source:  Publisher for review
Would I recommend? : Already have!
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone