Monthly Archives: April 2011

Well, darn.

Hello! I just wanted to share a brief update.

My computer chose to crap out this month, after four years of being a perfectly serviceable laptop for that time. (Barring a replacement about halfway through because it started smoking…) Anyway, a few weeks ago, my laptop decided that the factory AC adapter wasn’t the right voltage anymore, and nothing I tried fixed it, so I haven’t really been around.

The good news is that I have a shiny new computer which now lets me get to wordpress and post things. The bad news is that said shiny new computer plays video games beautifully, so we are not quite back to regularly scheduled programming. I’ll let you know when we are, or, I suppose the results will be visible.

I have read a few things, mostly from netgalley, so while I work on those reviews, please tell me how you guys approach reviews. I’m genuinely curious, because it seems like a lot of people put a lot of work into them.

How do you start your review-process? Is it before, during, or after you read the book?

Do you ever decide not to review a book? Why?

What is the hardest part of writing a book review for you?

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Filed under Not a Book Review

Ash

Lo, Malinda. Ash (2010). 272 Pages. Little, Brown Books. $8.99

Aisling is Cinderella, and not Cinderella at the same time. Her mother died when she was young, and her father not long after– though he survived long enough to marry the cruel Lady Isolde. Without her parents to protect her, Ash is at the mercy of her stepmother and her stepsisters, who use her as a maid to settle her father’s debts. Her stepmother especially grinds her down, allowing freedoms only when she is gone.

It is when Lady Isolde, Ana and Clara are gone that Ash learns to live, exploring the magical woods near her home, where she meets Sidhean, an attractive, and strangely protective fairy* who becomes her only friend in this oppressive world.

When Ash is older, things begin to change. She meets Kaisa– the King’s Huntress– who invites her along on a hunt. Desperate to attend, she asks Sidhean for help, which he grants with a steep price. During the hunt, she meets Prince Aidan, heir to the throne, and eligible bachelor.

The hunt leads to the traditional ball, which she attends because Kaisa asks her to– where Aidan is completely enchanted by Aisling– and Aisling must escape before the magic runs out at midnight. Things progress from here in a not-quite Cinderella-esque fashion, and ultimately Aisling finds that she must fight for what she desires.

First Lines

Aisling’s mother died at midsummer. She had fallen sick so suddenly that some of the villagers wondered if the fairies had come and taken her, for she was still young and beautiful. She was buried three days later beneath the hawthorn tree behind the house, just as twilight was darkening the sky.

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Filed under Book Review, Fairy Tales Retold, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult Fiction

Maids of Misfortune

Locke, M. Louisa. Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francsico Mystery (2009). 336 Pages*. $2.99**

From the Author’s Site

It’s the summer of 1879, and Annie Fuller, a young San Francisco widow, is in trouble. Annie’s husband squandered her fortune before committing suicide five years earlier, and one of his creditors is now threatening to take the boardinghouse she owns to pay off a debt.

Annie Fuller also has a secret. She supplements her income by giving domestic and business advice as Madam Sibyl, one of San Francisco’s most exclusive clairvoyants, and one of Madam Sibyl’s clients, Matthew Voss, has died. The police believe it is suicide brought upon by bankruptcy, but Annie believes Voss has been murdered and that his assets have been stolen.

Nate Dawson has a problem. As the Voss family lawyer, he would love to believe that Matthew Voss didn’t leave his grieving family destitute. But that would mean working with Annie Fuller, a woman who alternatively attracts and infuriates him as she shatters every notion he ever had of proper ladylike behavior.

Sparks fly as Anne and Nate pursue the truth about the murder of Matthew Voss in this light-hearted historical mystery set in the foggy gas-lit world of Victorian San Francisco.

First Lines

The bastard!

Annie Fuller gasped, shocked at even allowing such an unladylike expression to enter her mind. She had been enjoying her tea and toast while sorting through her mail in splendid solitude.

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Historical Romance, Mystery & Suspense, Realistic Fiction

Welcome to Year Two

The more I think about it, the less I can believe that I’ve been blogging for a year now. That I’ve been writing book reviews, even. It’s gotten both easier and harder as I try to balance actually reviewing books with not making reading a chore. Because of this, I’ve read a bunch of books which haven’t been reviewed yet, books which really should be reviewed, except that there are so many people who have already read and reviewed it that it doesn’t feel necessary, exactly.

Like The Hunger Games; I read the first book around Christmas, and loved it. It reminded me of Battle Royale, but with a bit more plot. I read Graceling not long after, and I really, really liked it, but I can’t figure out how to put that into intelligent words. There are so many people who have already said it, and said it better than I could ever hope to, that it seems silly to do so.

But that’s not really why you’re here, is it? You’re here to see who won the giveaway. Well, if you won my giveaway, you’ll have gotten an email from me, but for the rest of you…

The Winners Are…

James P. gets Heaven is for Real!

Amelia of Nisaba Be Praised gets a Mystery Book! (brave girl.)

Didn’t win but still want a shot at free books? Well, 21 pages is hosting a give-away which ends on May 1st. Up for grabs are titles like Supernaturally, Beautiful Chaos, City of Fallen Angels, Forever, Divergent & Where She Went.

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Filed under Not a Book Review

The King’s Daughter

Martel, Suzanne. The King’s Daughter (1998 ed.) 231 Pages. Groundwood Books. $14.95*

From the Cover

The year is 1672. Eighteen-year-old Jeanne Chatel has just been chosen as a “king’s daughter,” one of the hundreds of young women sent by the French government to become the brides of farmers, soldiers, and trappers in the North American wilderness.

Orphaned at age ten, Jeanne has been raised in a convent. But with her independent spirit, she doesn’t hesitate to the opportunity to go to New France, as Quebec was then known. Wildly romantic, she conjurs up a new life full of adventure.

Upon her arrival in New France, Jeanne’s romantic dreams are soon cast aside, and she learns to be practical and realistic in this wild new country where death stalks the settlers every day. Life is not easy: her new husband is not the dashing military man she has dreamed of, but a trapper with two young children who lives in a small cabin in the woods. Proud and aloof, he is still grief-stricken over the death of his first wife and a child at the hands of the Iroqu0is. Alone much of the time, Jeanne faces danger daily, but the courage and determination that brought her to this wild place never fail her, and she soon learns to be truly at home in her new land.

First Lines

“A king’s daughter! I’m a king’s daughter!”

Closing the parlour door without a sound, as she had been taught, Jeanne repeated the magic words that had just changed her life. Her heart was beating wildly. She pressed both hands to her chest as her thin face relaxed into an unguarded smile.

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Filed under Book Review, Children's Fiction, Fantasy, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult Fiction