Saturday, April 28, 2012

Struck - Jennifer Bosworth

Title: Struck
Author: Jennifer Bosworth
Paperback: 373 pages (ARE version)
Published date: May 8, 2012 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Macteenbooks/Macmillian
FTC: Received to review from Shelf Awareness

Do you remember a short while ago I reviewed the awesomely fun book Cinder -- the futuristic Cinderella story where Cinder is part human part cyborg?  Well, that author, Jennifer Bosworth, and a bunch of other Macteenbook authors are doing this huge tour called Fierce Reads.  Scroll towards the end of my post to see the cool metallic red package the books come in -- pretty cool marketing plan, and it worked.

Struck is one of those books that you greedily devour in just a day or two.  I love it's mix of post-apocalyptic (L.A. after a massive earthquake), fantasy/sci-fi (Mia has The Spark after being struck by lightening a bazillion times), and romance (of course there is).

Back of the book:

One month after a major earthquake has leveled Los Angeles, seventeen-year-old Mia Price faces a cult convinced that her unique history of lightening strikes is the key to their apocalyptic vision. But there is another group that seeks Mia's help in stopping the Followers. And neither side is willing to lose her. Then Mia meets a boy who will do everything he can to protect her, or so it seems.  When the two factions collide, Mia discovers the lightning scars she hides reveal a staggering power. But it means she must choose saving the world over the possibility of love.

My thoughts:

It's a superbly scary story of the lengths some people will go through to have control over others.  While I greedily gobbled up the story, it's not to the level that I enjoyed Divergent and Cinder (I'm still shoving those books on people).

The main story focuses on the Prophet who has a tv show called The Hour of Light where he's developed a huge following among people who want to have hope or put blame on something for the earthquake happening.  He also has huge tent revivals that especially appeal to the homeless masses, The Displaced.  There's also a counter cult that's cropped up in revolt of the Prophet and his sect.  Both cults want Mia's special gift to help out their cause.  The cult thing is quite creepy but scarily realistic. I could totally see crazy cults pop up like this after a major disaster.

The post-apocalyptic L.A. scene was my favorite part of the book because it just seemed so realistic. The lack of medical help for Mia's mom who's suffering from severe PTSD, the lack of food and supplies for the survivors, the lack of adequate police force, the looting and crime -- such a great setting for this story.

Mia Price is a pretty cool character.  Before the earthquake she'd been struck by lightening multiple times - which can actually happen and I find absolutely fascinating.  Her need to hide the visible lightening strike scars on her body, her confusion and self-blame on why she gets struck -- great character depth.  I love that her family is extremely important to her.  The mentally absent mother and the younger brother thing is a bit cliche but it still works. 

The side characters are pretty entertaining and fun and I love the sort of cliff hanger at the end. What else is to come and are some of the characters good guys or bad guys?  It does make me want to read a follow up book if there is one. I also like that she didn't make it HAVE to be a series book (yeah, Delirium, I'm talking to you).

Anyway, a fun and entertaining read and I'm curious to see if there's a book two and where she takes the story.

I found this pretty epic book trailer over at Jennifer Bosworth's website:

Head over to Serendipity Reviews to check out an awesome post on the behind the scenes look at the making of the book trailer.

You can check out Fierce Reads on Facebook and go to the Extras section to read the beginning of Struck.  There's also a ton of chances to win some of the Fierce Read books.

I also just found that has a short story up from Jennifer Bosworth called Prophet which is kind of a background to the creepy cult leader.

And here's the awesome Fierce Reads packaging I told you about.  Pretty cool, right?

Friday, April 27, 2012

What I've been up to

Why hello!  Yes, I am still alive and kicking.  I've been a bit MIA lately due to a week vacation to see family and then a horrible bout with the flu/ear & sinus infection thing.  Blah.  I have had a chance to read a bit so hopefully I'll be catching up on reviews soon.  In the meantime I thought I'd share a couple of recent photos of Rocket.

Of course I have to post a photo of me and Rocket reading.  He loves books.

While visiting grandma, he got to go on his first pony ride!

He had his first swing time.  I'm pretty sure he liked it. Please excuse the bruise on his cheek. The hazards of practicing walking.  He also got pink eye.  Just another day in the life of a baby boy.

He practiced playing the piano with his great grandma.  I think he's got it down!

He took a stroll through Estes Park in Colorado.  My grandma said he was the best shopper she's ever seen.  Never fussed!

He had his first Easter egg hunt with some cousins.  Fortunately they let him go first so he could snag a couple of eggs.

And he practiced walking.  He is totally walking now.  It's quite scary -- AND he's learned to climb stairs.  So I have to watch him ALL the time.  

Rocket just hit the 11 month mark a few days ago.  How time flies!! We are going to have to start planning is 1 year birthday.  Maybe pool party??  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Dispatcher Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my personal giveaway for Ryan David Jahn's book The Dispatcher -- check out my review if you haven't read it.

And the winner is:

Lindsey S.!!!

I'll be emailing you for your snail mail address so I can zip it off to you.  Hope you enjoy the read!

Maisie Dobbs - Jacqueline Winspear

Title: Maisie Dobbs (Book 1)
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Audiobook: read by Rita Barrington
FTC: Library book

A while back I got an ARC of one of Jacqueline Winspear's novels, book #8.  I had never read her books before and was totally intrigued but since it was #8 I didn't read it.  Set in post WWI, the series follows the life of Maisie Dobbs, a working girl who is brilliant and has become a private investigator in London.

After watching Season 2 of Downton Abbey on PBS, I was wanting a bit more of that era in a book.  Over at Harper Collin's blog The Book Club Girl, I noticed they announced March is Maisie Dobbs month (Book #9 just came out).  So when I saw Book #1 at the library I snagged it up.

 Maisie Dobbs and will definitely read more.

The synopsis (from Ms Winspear's website):

Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, began her working life at the age of thirteen as a servant in a Belgravia mansion, only to be discovered reading in the library by her employer, Lady Rowan Compton. Fearing dismissal, Maisie is shocked when she discovers that her thirst for education is to be supported by Lady Rowan and a family friend, Dr. Maurice Blanche. But The Great War intervenes in Maisie's plans, and soon after commencement of her studies at Girton College, Cambridge, Maisie enlists for nursing service overseas.

Years later, in 1929, having apprenticed to the renowned Maurice Blanche, a man revered for his work with Scotland Yard, Maisie sets up her own business. Her first assignment, a seemingly tedious inquiry involving a case of suspected infidelity, takes her not only on the trail of a killer, but back to the war she had tried so hard to forget.

My thoughts:

This was such a different book because, while the investigation part of the book was interesting, I was so engaged with the story because of Maisie Dobbs herself.  My favorite part of the story (and the main part of the story) was focused on how Maisie got her start as an investigator, her background as a World War I nurse (absolute favorite part), and her balance of being an educated working class woman in that era.

I would definitely recommend the audio book of Maisie Dobbs.  Rita Barrington's narration was spot on and beautiful.  I loved Maisie's interactions with her father -- who's voice totally reminded me of Catherine Tate's grandfather in Doctor Who (if you have no clue what I just wrote, I'll forgive you).

I also couldn't help but compare the time period to our own.  We have a whole generation who's been fighting in the Middle East for how long?? Post-traumatic stress has become a word we ALL recognize.  I know it's not to the same extent but I think there is a good comparison between the 1920's Lost Generation and our own.  What are your thoughts?

If you've read Maisie Dobbs -- and I won't spoil anything if you haven't -- didn't the scenes of Maisie and you know who during her stint as a nurse just make you want to cry...and then the ending when you find out what happened to him??  Sigh.

One more thing -- I adored Maurice.  I totally had an Agatha Christie's Inspector Poirot vibe from him.

I can not wait to read more Maisie Dobbs and see where life takes her.

Alternate cover:

Also Reviewed By:

Bookahaolic Mom
Books, Belles, and Beaux
Historical Tapestry
The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Literate Housewife

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Other uses for books

I just had to post this.  I noticed today that little Rocket was watching Super Why (an awesome show about finding answers in books) and found that he had also found a new way to use a book:

Do you (or your kids) have alternate uses for books?

(I think he's learning to smile for the camera too)

Odds and Ends

I thought I'd just do a random post today.  I noticed that the more people read my blog the more nervous I get about just blabbing about random stuff.  Which is what I normally just like to do.  So here we go...

I've been noticing that my reading habits have drastically changed.  I normally prefer to read a physical book.  But since little Rocket is now more mobile (he started crawling AND walking last week) it gets harder and harder to sit down with a book.  I used to read spend my time feeding him and reading but he LOVES to kick or slap my book so I can't do that anymore.

You know you want to see current Rocket photos.  Here you go:

Modeling the hat mama made for a friend's baby

Feeding himself his favorite food: mangos

Where were we? O yeah.  Now my main physical book reading time is sometimes when my husband gives me a few hours at night to escape while he watches Rocket and I can take a bubble bath and read.  Problem is -- bubble baths and serious books (or disturbing ones like The Dispatcher) aren't really bubble bath books.

I've also been in a huge audio book kick.  Since I'm a stay at home mom now, putting Rocket down for a nap then putting on an audio book and while doing chores around the house is the perfect thing for me.  I've currently listened to The Poe Shadow (awesome narrator), Maisie Dobbs, and I'm currently trying my hand at my first Charles de Lint book The Onion Girl.

I've also been loving eBooks on my iPhone at night.  I'm currently taking medication that is messing with my sleep and since I can't find a book light I like, eBooks have been perfect at night.  I've been reading classics like Persuasion, North and South, and The Scarlet Pimpernel.  I finally figured out how to check out library eBooks and Audio Books with the Overdrive app so I may have a wider selection to choose from.

Obviously from the plethora of books I've mentioned and the lack of reviews, I've got a LOT of catching up to do.

I'm also reading some interesting review books but they are going a bit slow because they are a little deep.  Bring Me One of Everything is a fascinating story about an anthropologist and the moral dilemmas they sometime face.  The other is The Discovery of Jeanne Baret -- a non-fiction about the first woman to travel around the world.

I also noticed that Carl has the Once Upon a Time challenge up and running.

I adore his challenges!  I am not sure I can read a lot for this one though but I still want to do at least one or two.  I noticed that he's going to do a Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman read-a-long.  !!!!  That was my first Gaiman book (and my favorite because it was my first) and I finally won a copy to add to my Gaiman collection.  O yeah I'm going to definitely do the read-a-long.  Since the challenge runs through mid-June I'm sure I can do  more than one book but you never know.  So I'm going to do The Journey -- one book and have enjoy the ride. If you've never participated in Carl's fun challenges....go sign up for this one!

Well that's it for now!  Off to do some laundry and listen to The Onion Girl.  Bye!