Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Books to Read: Sapphire Blue

Things I learned from reading this book: I always spell "sapphire" wrong on the first try. Other things I learned: good characters trump everything. Is there good plot going on in Sapphire Blue? Yep. Lots of adventure, beautiful dresses, hot smooches and danger. But mostly, there is Gwyneth. I love her.

From Goodreads:

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean. At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

I keep trying to figure out why this series works so much better for me than other urban fantasy books have. You think you've read enough of a category that you couldn't be engaged by it again, but then...

And I keep coming back to Gwen and Gideon. Really, all the characters here. I care about them. I want them to succeed. And I am totally convinced that there is some bad stuff coming. 

This is a definite read, especially if you like a little adventure and romance while you're, say, doing the dishes.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

the Madness of March

I'm totally not a big sports fan. And often March passes on by without me noticing one way or the other. But, because my alma mater was doing rather well in basketball earlier this year, I've been half-heartedly keeping track. And I've totally been missing out! I love how fast everything moves. One minute you've got dreams of glory, and an hour and a half later, you're dreams have died. Or been refueled.


Wouldn't it be lovely and completely horrifying if all our life-long dreams were so efficiently dispatched? Imagine I'm writing say, and I've written and written, and it all comes down to a head-to-head and one quicsk glance over by one editor.


I couldn't do it. I don't have the heart for sports. It must take some severe perspective to be able to process all that, so fast. I mean, one three-point-shot at the buzzer and wham!

I don't have a big punch-line at the end of this. Just that March Madness is not for the faint of heart.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Book Recommendation: Shadow and Bone

Jan here. I just pop in when I've read something I really liked. Today it is Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone.

From Goodreads:

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

To be honest, I don't love the dark, mysterious hero. So the whole time the Darkling is doing his charismatic, we-are-meant-to-be thing I was pretty skeptical. And Mal was such a great character. And Alina is sympathetic and even though this is, at heart, a normal young girl who turns out to be not so normal story, she's believable. And the world is detailed and interesting and nuanced. The concept of the Shadow Fold as the evil is so spare and scary it works as the representation of evil in a way not realized in many other books. Definitely a recommendation.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Books to Read: Ruby Red

Note: this was another one I listened to. Again with the four kids and the laundry and dishes and craziness. Ah, my life. So good. (no, it really is, just kind of chaotic and busy.)

I loved this book. Look, it's so pretty:

This was one of those random, pick-it-off-the-shelf at the library reads. But then I couldn't ever get through it because every time I tried to pick it back up someone new vomited. February was a good month around here. So instead I checked and magic, the library had it available as an audiobook.

And you know its good when you do EXTRA housework in order to keep listening. ME. Extra housework. I know.

From Goodreads:
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

 Gwyneth's voice was fresh and funny, without falling into that trap of too much voice. I believed her when she claimed she didn't want to be the time traveler. I was afraid with her when she randomly traveled to other times. And when Ruby Red was done I couldn't wait to read the next one. Which I will review with grown up thoughts and more details in a future post. Go! Read! Enjoy :)