baronessekat: (book)
Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own BodyGhost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body by Martin Pistorius

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


When Martin was 12 he fell ill and eventually lost all control of his body and fell into a coma. At the age of 16 he started to become aware again, but still had no control over his body. He was trapped in a prison and at the mercy of those around him. When he was 21, a worker at one of the care centers he went to on a daily basis, started talking to him and realized that there was an active mind behind his eyes and fought to get him help.

This book was difficult to deal with in places, especially as I have had family trapped inside their body and as someone on the outside looking in, you hope that you are doing right by them. It was really easy to empathize with Martin as well as his family.

The only thing I had trouble with was that this book is written in present tense as it goes from age 21 to 30-something. While there is nothing wrong with that style, it is not one I am fond of for memoirs.



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Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad (Funny in Farsi #2)Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad by Firoozeh Dumas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


While I found "Funny in Farsi" funnier, I enjoyed the stories in this installment more enjoyable and ones I could relate to more.

this time we get to experience even more of her personal life, both growing up and after being married, and how she had to deal with Parents from a very different culture than what they were living in. The story of her mother, husband and the bright red bedspread had me giggling to no end. Her realization that Jewish Mothers and Iranian Mothers are the same creature, just separated by religion, classic.

I highly recommend both this and "Funny in Farsi" and at roughly 6 hours each, they are both quick listens.





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The Gospel of LokiThe Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I am totally kicking myself for letting this book sit on my TBR list for as long as it did. I completely and utterly enjoyed this book and it was made all the better by Allan Corduner's narration.

This book tells the Norse Myths completely from the point of view of Loki, the Trickster god. The first person narration makes it even better.

I've always been a sucker for the anti-hero/bad boy and this was all about him. It gave a great perspective on the myths and I totally LOVED how it ended.

If you like stories of the Norse myths, I cannot recommend this book enough.



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Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in AmericaFunny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


What a fun book. An enjoyable look at one woman's struggle growing up in the 70's and 80's in California after immigrating from Iran and dealing with being both American and Iranian by culture when her parents were strongly Iranian (pre- Iranian revolution Iranian culture, not what we associate with Iranian culture today).

I found myself smiling throughout the entire book and have already obtained a copy of the author's next book as I am looking forward to more of a glimpse into her life and family.

Highly recommend.



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A Distant MirrorA Distant Mirror by Barbara W. Tuchman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I wasn't sure going into this book what I'd think. But I found an engaging and entertaining look at Europe in the 14th Century, specifically France and England and the dealings regarding the 100 Years War. I learned a lot of things that I did not know about the century, and am glad I took the friend's recommendation for it.

I did the audiobook and think the reader was a huge help in keeping me engaged for the entire 29 hours. If it's an option for you, I would recommend listening to this book.



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Amish Vampires in Space (Peril in Plain Space #1)Amish Vampires in Space by Kerry Nietz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


They say "Don't judge a book by it's cover". Same holds true for the title.

I went into this book expecting a written version of a story you'd see made into a movie shown on public access TV at 2am, or torn apart by Mystery Science Theater. I mean, come on, a book entitled "Amish Vampires in Space"? What else could it be but camp and nonsense?

Boy was I wrong. Instead I got a well written, enjoyable Science Fiction story that wove Amish, Vampires and Space Travel together with a logical thread that made me go "Huh, I never would have thought of that, but it makes total sense".

Oh sure, you can figure out early on where the bad guys come into the picture. But that's secondary to how the crew of the Raven and the Amish settlers deal with them.

All in all, I really enjoyed the book and have actually started recommending it to others. I may even look to get the next book in the series now.



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Mr. Wuffles!Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book caught my attention as I was walking through the library today. The cat on the cover looks just like my Puck that I had to stop and look through the book. It was an absolutely wonderful picture book that made me smile the entire time that I stood there in the aisle "reading" it.

There are only a couple words in the entire book, spoken by Mr. Wuffles owner. The rest of the time it's all pictures that tell the story of a teeny-tiny alien space ship that lands inside Mr. Wuffle's home. Mr. Wuffles plays with the ship until the occupants are forced to evacuate to under a credenza, where they meet a colony of ants who treat Mr. Wuffles as a Giant Godlike being. Through cooperation and sharing of resources, the ants and other insects help the aliens get past Mr. Wuffles to reclaim their spaceship and escape back home.

All in all Mr. Wuffles looks and acts just like my cat and now I have a story to go with him staring at the "invisible people in the walls" as I call it.



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The ShiningThe Shining by Stephen King

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


30 years ago I was a hardcore Stephen King fan, but had somehow missed reading The Shining. So when a reading challenge category of "Book that takes place in a hotel" came up, I decided to revisit the author.

I now remember why I stopped reading his stuff. I don't know if it was the book itself or the narrator but I kept finding myself looking to see how much time I had left in the book and going "I still have HOURS" to go. I found the reader to be rather monotone, and it wasn't until the end that his voice took on any kind of excitement that made me feel even remotely interested.

I never saw either the movie or the made for tv miniseries and frankly have no desire to do so. But I can see how this book could have translated well into a suspense thriller on screen. I just wish I had felt it while listening to the book.



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King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I'm rather ambivalent about this book. I liked many parts of it, but in general it's my least favorite of the three thus far.

I think what made me go "eh" over it was that it would randomly change which character was narrating the story. Which, if that had been the story telling technique from book one, I'd have been more OK with it. But waiting until the third book caused me to loose interest. Same thing happened with Book three of the Divergent series.

But at least the different points of view were read by different readers, so it was easier to tell. Though I though the voice of Evangeline sounded to young, but that's a personal taste thing rather than a story telling thing.

I did like how the author continued with the exploration of Mar's PTSD and I was glad to see that she didn't dive into Stockholm Syndrome (which was a fear I had). Once a certain point was brought up by a secondary character, I totally saw how the ending was going to go, but it was a believable ending.

Will I continue with the series if there are more books? Yes. But unlike other series, I'm not sitting here refreshing the author's webpage to find out when the next book is due to be published.



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The Ides of April (Flavia Albia Mystery, #1)The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I neither liked nor disliked this book. It was just OK for me. The writing was good and the reader talented, but it just didn't pull me in. Perhaps if I had read the previous works of this author, I might have liked it more, but as it was, I had no knowledge of the author or the fact that she had written an entire other series of books set just before this one.

As far as the mystery goes, I pretty much figure out who the killer was within a chapter or two of them being introduced. That doesn't mean it was a bad story, just that if you have read murder mysteries, there were flags early on.

I can't say that I will continue in this series, but if the next one crosses my path, I won't turn away from it.



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The Girl with Ghost Eyes (Xian Li-lin, #1)The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


if Goodreads let us do 1/2 stars, I would give this a 3.5.

Xian Li-lin is a 22 year old widow, living with her father in Chinatown in San Francisco at the end of the 19th century. She studies Daoist traditions and strives to not bring shame on to her father. The thing that makes her unusual is that she has Yin or Ghost Eyes which means that she can see and interact with the Spirits.

She's approached by the son of one of the most important men in Chinatown, who asks her to help his friend who has a friend who died but needs help crossing over to the next realm. She agrees. From there things go sideways.

The blending of the Supernatual with traditional Chinese beliefs and attitudes at the end of the 19th century was something I had not seen before and enjoyed greatly. I do think that I would have liked this book more had a read it rather than listened to it. Not being familiar with Chinese names, it was hard at times to keep them all straight. Add to that, is that I first encountered the narrator through another series of books (also in the first person) and I had a hard time separating that series' main character from Li-lin. Had either book been in third person I do not think I would have had that trouble.

Overall, it was a fun book.



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The Neverending StoryThe Neverending Story by Michael Ende

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I was definitely not the target audience for this book. And I can see how a person of a much younger age might have enjoyed this book. However, I felt incredibly eh about it.

if you've seen the movie by the same name, the movie is the first third of the book. I have not seen the sequels but from those that have, they encompass the rest of the story.

I found the first third interesting and I vividly recalled the movie parts as they came up. But once we reached the part where the first movie stopped, I really had trouble focusing and caring about the characters.

In the end I felt that the book was aptly named... as it felt like it was neverending.



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Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I liked this one a lot better than the first book and I found the first book really good.

The only way I can describe this series is X-Men meets Hunger Games. But that does it an injustice.

I'm liking that the author is giving the heroine of the story more depth and really conveys her feeling so completely over her head and out of her depths with what is happening. Unlike in Hunger Games, she didn't even initially start out asking for what happened to her, or sacrificing herself to save a family member. She did what she had to in order to survive and now she has to keep going.

I like that she is being shown dealing with the traumas. How she's being effected by PSTD (though it's not anything said but all the symptoms are there) of the torture, abuse and sheer hell she's had to endure.

And the narrator of the audiobook is really good and her voice alone grips me and drags me in and the story keeps me.

I will certainly be looking for the next book.



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book review

Jun. 5th, 2017 01:01 pm
baronessekat: (book)
Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen (Please Don't Tell My Parents, #3)Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen by Richard Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I very much enjoyed this book, it returned back to Earth and dealing with being a teenager having superpowers and not wanting your parents to know you are the head of a middle school supervillain team.

It got back to the feel of the first book and we get to see Penny coping with her skills, her desire to be a superhero when her powers are more villainous AND dealing with the fact that all the other super powered kids in her school are coming out into the open and wanting to be part of her afterschool club.

I am interested to see where the series progresses and has been one that I am recommending to both adult and child friends.



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Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the MoonPlease Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon by Richard Roberts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


While I enjoyed this installment, it felt a bit flat and out of place. But that may be because I'm 40+ years old reading/listening to a book for kids.

But that being said, the story, while feeling a bit contrived, moved a a good pace, had great dialogue and inner monologues and I found myself laughing in places.

It was not so out of place that I will not continue with the series to see how Penny and her friends continue on the road to Superheroism... or Super Villainism.



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baronessekat: (book)
Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain (Please Don't Tell My Parents, #1)Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain by Richard Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book grabbed my attention because of the title. It sounded fun. And, hands down, it was.

13 year old, Penelope's parents are Superheroes. The two smartest ones known. And Penelope's been waiting for her powers to start manifesting so she can join the ranks of LA's Superhero community.

But when her powers do start to manifest, she's told by her parents that it's going to take a few years for them to fully form. But what she doesn't tell them is that the powers are growing faster than expected. And what those powers prove to make her into... a mad scientist. So Penny, along with her best friends Claire and Ray, who both also develop powers, team up.

They start proving themselves to the Superhero/Supervillain communities, hoping to be taken seriously. And while everyone labels them to be villains, Penny hopes to one day still be part of the Hero side.

But until then, what's a 13 year old Mad Scientist to do but have fun and show up the Grown-ups.

I completely enjoyed this book, found myself smiling throughout it and am looking forward to the next one. Highly recommend.



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baronessekat: (book)
The Princess DiaristThe Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. Especially with Carrie reading the modern stuff and her daughter reading the journal entries.

The humor had me smiling throughout the book and even the serious points were touched with Carrie's special outlook on life.

I liked how she described what it is like "being Leia" and how, even long after the movies were out, she would often ask herself "what would Leia do" to get through a difficult situation. I liked her takes on what it means to be an iconic celebrity and likens autograph signing at conventions to lap dances.

All in all, a most enjoyable book and I do see myself looking for her other books, especially if she is the one narrating the audio versions.



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baronessekat: (book)
Precipice (Awaken Online #2)Precipice by Travis Bagwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


another installment that grabbed me and pulled me in. And like the other one, left me screaming in frustration of "how dare you end it that way?!?!?!"

Once again we join Jason as his friends as he now tries to rule the Twilight Thone in the game Awaken Online, while trying to figure out what is the ulterior motive of the games A.I.

Meanwhile the creators of the game struggle to figure out what's going on in game as well. One of their biggest problems is underestimating the resolve of a teenage boy who is tired of being bullied.

I really liked following Jason as he continues to grow and develop his Necromancer persona and how he reluctantly accepts that he has become the game's Uber-bad, Ultimate Supervillan and then plays up the part when pushed. I also liked how this time he has real world friends join him and how they too start to grow and come out of their shells.

Eagerly awaiting the next book.



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Redshirts: A Novel with Three CodasRedshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Newly assigned Ensigns on the Starship Intrepid notice other crew members acting oddly when it comes to interacting with certain upper crew-members and when the topic of away missions comes up.

Not only is it noticeable that some lowly Ensign dies on almost every away mission, there really doesn't seem to be a reason for half the away missions to happen OR the people assigned to them make any sense. It's as if they were on a TV-show... a badly written TV show.

As a long time fan of Star Trek, I found this book hysterical. And Wil Wheaton's narration of it was spot on, and one I will be recommending to other sci-fi geeks for a long time.




This was recommended by both George R.R. Martin and Wil Wheaton

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Dear Committee Members: A novelDear Committee Members: A novel by Julie Schumacher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book was an absolute treat that had me laughing out loud in several points. A collection of letters of recommendation as written by one beleaguered, disenfranchised, and rather cynical professor of English and Creative Writing at a university. It follows just one year of his correspondences to other departments, institutions, programs, places of employment as he is asked to write letters of recommendations for students (some he's only known for the 3 minutes it took for the student to ask him to write something for them), colleagues, and acquaintances.

It's hysterical to be guided through his complaints on the conditions of his academic building as it undergoes remodeling construction for the Economics Department, as he expresses his opinions about various undergrad and post-grad programs, and is constantly trying to get favors from his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend for his recommendees, though I suspect they would have better chances if he didn't keep bringing up things from his past interactions by saying things like "I'm sure you remember X situation... please don't hold that against this student". And trying to pit his ex-wife and his ex-girlfriend (who appear to be friends) against each other.

This is a book that I am glad I got the audio version for and will most certainly return to when I need a laugh.



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