Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BOUNDARIES by Dr. Henry Cloud Dr. John Townsend

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives:. Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances. Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions. Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others. Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator. Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: Can I set limits and still be a loving person? What are legitimate boundaries? What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy or money? Aren't boundaries selfish? Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?

First line:
"The alarm jangled."

 Good book on setting boundaries in all areas of your life, from work to children to yourself. Many insightful thoughts and ideas and stories.
This book is put out by a Christian ministry so there are many references to scriptures and God.

Rating: PG

3 1/2 STARS

Friday, October 19, 2012

FIRE by Kristin Cashore

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.

This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.

Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was

First line:
"Larch often thought that if it had not been for his newborn son, he never would have survived his wife's Mikra's death."

I read this book right after the first one and was soooo confused that I put it down. Recently, I had a couple of friends tell me to try again and I did and I'm glad! I liked this book. I like Fire! She's awesome and strong and weak all at once. She actually had me wanting to understand my emotions better (strange, I know). Fire shows depth and character as she makes decisions throughout the book. She's awesome. She has many conflicting emotions (love the father/hate the monster he is).
The plot is constantly moving forward and I had a hard time putting the book down. I wanted to find out who won the war, who dies and if the love interest works out.
Archer was a bit of a cad, wanting Fire for himself for the wrong reasons but sleeping around with other women in the meantime. Not sure how many of the characters knew their true lineage...
The writing was good as well as the world building. The characters had strengths and weaknesses and flaws, which made them very real.
I'm ready to read the next one!

Rating: PG 17
S: Mentions of sleeping around, kissing
L: No
V: Fighting, swords, bows & arrows, war

Fire's war with herself, finding peace
Prince Brigan
The writing

Sleeping around


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

KISS IN THE DARK by Marcia Lynn McClure

“Boston,” he mumbled.
“I mean…Logan…he’s like the man of my dreams! Why would I blow it? What if…” Boston continued to babble.
“Boston,” he said. The commanding sound of his voice caused Boston to cease in her prattling and look to him.
“What?” she asked, somewhat grateful he’d interrupted her panic attack.
He frowned and shook his head.
“Shut up,” he said. “You’re all worked up about nothing.” He reached out, slipping one hand beneath her hair to the back of her neck.
Boston was so startled by his touch, she couldn’t speak—she could only stare up into his mesmerizing green eyes. His hand was strong and warm, powerful and reassuring.
“If it freaks you out so much…just kiss in the dark,” he said.
Boston watched as Vance put the heel of his free hand to the light switch. In an instant the room went black.

First line:

This is my first book to read of Marcia's and I think I'll read more. KISSING IN THE DARK was a good, clean romance with upstanding values.
Boston is a kind soul who gets walked on too much. She's in a poisonous relationship because she wanted to help someone. Boston has good friends who help her. Her best friend has an older brother, Vance,  who gives her pep talks to build her up and get her away from the mean friend.
The characters are fun. They all have a bit of the storyline.
I LOVE a gentleman in stories. I really do. Vance, the main hottie, is such a person.
Marcia work good characters and I found myself wanting to be a better friend like some of the friends.
There were a couple loose ends like: Boston got the job she wanted but then we never hear about it again or the way she wanted to stand up to her boss. Also, the boy she's crushing on isn't heard from again after the third date. Oh and we don't hear about the IOU.
Ms. McClure has a few pet words she likes to use a lot: giggle, scolded, nest.
Marcia has a great writing style. I'm going to find another one of hers to read.

Rating: PG
L: No
S: Kissing
V: No


Mean roommate
A few loose ends


Monday, October 15, 2012

SCARLET by A. C. Gauchen

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

First line:
"No one really know 'bout me."

Is this a stand alone book or not??
I liked many aspects of this book. I figured out the twist. There was a bit of foreshadowing with the dialogue.
Scarlet is strong and fierce and fearless. She can jump among tree limbs, throw daggers with accuracy and steal with the best thieves. It's almost unbelievable what she can do.
Robin Hood found her and brought her into his band. He didn't know she was a girl at first. But that doesn't stop her from thieving. He likes her; she likes him. But she's a thief, not a noblewoman which Robin should marry. He huffs a lot at her decision to not tell him her past. He feels she's lying to him by not telling him.
Gisbourne is evil!
Obstacles were constantly in the way of the goal of Robin and his band of bandits, moving the plot forward and keeping the pace moving.
The end confused me because there were loose ends so I wondered if this was a trilogy??

Rating: PG 14
S: No, kissing
V: Fighting, death
L: No


Loose ends
Too much 'poor me'

3 1/2 STARS

Friday, October 12, 2012

DEFIANCE by C. J. Redwine

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

First line:
"The weight of their pity is like a stone tied about my neck."

This book is set up from the viewpoint of Rachel and Logan, each with their own chapters.
Rachel's dad taught her to live with her smarts, not be a weak female like the government wants. Logan was orphaned and apprenticed to Rachel's dad.
Logan becomes Rachel's protector which is awkward because a few years ago Rachel confessed her love for him and he didn't return it. So, Rachel hates Logan and hasn't talked to him since then.
The world and government building were done well. Except some things were confusing. I couldn't tell if the world was one that was new or one that was modern than laid to waste.
The characters were unique and easy to follow through the story. The villain is truly evil. But the main characters weren't saints. Rachel went through a dark time half way through the book and had to find some hope of the future to give her some light.
There were so many obstacles in the way of the characters achieving their goals! It kept the story moving and griping. I wanted to know what would happen to the characters, especially when they started on their trip.
 The relationship development didn't quite ring true with me. But I loved Logan looking out for Rachel and still respecting her strength. He knew when to help her.
There are a lot of unanswered questions. I hope they are answered in the next book.

Rated: PG 13
V: Some
L: No
S: Kissing

Internal dialogue

Middle is hazy to me now
The evil and killing


Monday, October 8, 2012

THE PRINCETTA by Anne-Laure Bondoux

Princess Malva—the Princetta of Galnicia—flees her kingdom and an arranged marriage, only to find herself betrayed by the very man who promised to help her. Orpheus is the son of a sea-captain-turned-pirate and is determined to make a name of his own commanding a ship in Galnicia’s royal armada. But when their paths cross on the high seas, so do their destinies. Together the Princetta and Orpheus will travel to edges of the Known World and beyond . . . a journey from which only one of them will return alive. Shipwrecks, shark attacks, barbarians, and mysterious archipelagos await readers in this lavish fantasy-adventure written by one of France’s most celebrated authors.

First line: "A few months ago you summoned me to the council chamber."

There isn't much warmth or connection to the characters. I do like Malva. She's adventuresome and brave.
I didn't care for Orpheus from the beginning.
I skimmed most of the book. I didn't feel any real depth to this story. Maybe some of it was lost in the translation from French.

Rating: PG
V: Some
L: No
S: No

the adventures
new species

Disjointed story
Didn't connect with characters


Thursday, October 4, 2012

PARTIALS by Dan Wells

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them--connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

Dan Wells, acclaimed author of "I Am Not a Serial Killer," takes readers on a pulsepounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question--one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.

First line:
"Newborn #485GA18M died on June 30, 2076 at 6:07 in the morning."
Another apocolyptic dystopian book with lots of twists and romance and government take over. The year is 2076. Most of humanity has been wiped off the earth thanks to man-made soldiers and a mysterious virus. There are no chlildren younger than fourteen because the virus kills babies within days. An edict handed down from the government, called the Hope Act, forces all women, eighteen years and older to become pregnant bevause this is the hope of the world or soon humans will become extinct.
The Paritals kill humans; the humans fear Partials. 
Kira, the main character, thinks she can cure the virus. But she has to break rules and defy the government and bring back a Partial alive to do so.
Which side is right? Which side is good? And which side is more human?
This book is fast-paced, full of action and science. Good plot. I loved Kira and Samm. Kira is strong, smart and brave. She knew what she had to do, worried about it, then did it. Samm is a Partial and we don't really get to know him until toward the end but he is intriguing! The other characters were good but could use a little more personality.
The world building was fantastic as well. I have to admit I did skim the medical stuff but I understood enough of it to know what was going on.
Can I brag? Okay. I guess a most of the twists thanks to Mr. Well's foreshadowing and hints.
As with this genre, I get really frustrated with the government and this book is no different. So kudos for good writing, Dan!

Rating: PG 13
V: Yes, fighting, 
L: Very little
S: No


Have to wait for the next one
Tons of medical stuff that I was too lazy to try and understand

4 1/2 STARS

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

EDENBROOKE by Julianne Donaldson

Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will she be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

Loved. This. Book.
I'm gushing. 
I love a good, clean, smart book. Throw in romance, a dashing gentleman and lady who can laugh at herself and I'm sold. EDENBROOKE was a book that left me sighing. And strangely, uplifted. That doesn't happen often. Not that I expect every book to leave me feeling good. I don't. I like good writing. I like a good story. I like characters that make me like them. Edenbrooke did all that for me too.
Marianne's mother has passed away and her father is grieving in a different country so Marianne is sent to her grandmother in Bath. Marianne's twin sister is in London, visiting family friends. Marianne is sent to be with her sister at Edenbrooke. 
Marianne is spicy and sassy and funny. I really liked her. She was my favorite character which means Ms. Donaldson did a great job of writing.
Oh yeah. There is a swoony gentleman named Philip. He's tired of mothers shoving daughters into his life because of his money and possessions. He's running away when he meets Marianne and helps her. Which makes Marianne mad because she wants to prove she in capable.
Gushing over. I was a little disappointed in the way the two love birds finally got together. I think it went too smoothly. That is my only complaint and it's not a big one. There were obstacles all along the journey until the end where I think the sister gave up a little too quickly. It didn't seem to be in her personality to give up. So I needed a little more of the sister changing her attitude. BUT! It wasn't a big deal because I got to *sigh* at the end anyway.
I'll buy this book for my library and will read it again.
Good job, Julianne!

Rating: PG
V: No
S: No
L: No


Ended too soon!
This book ruined me for a few days! I needed a romance to read and couldn't find one that worked. I finally 'settled' on Georgette Heyer.