Waiting on Wednesday: Furious by Jill Wolfson

furiousFurious by Jill Wolfson
Release Date: April 16, 2013

Three high school girls become the avenging Furies of Greek legend.

We were only three angry girls, to begin with. Alix, the hot-tempered surfer chick; Stephanie, the tree-hugging activist; and me, Meg, the quiet foster kid, the one who never quite fit in. We hardly knew each other, but each of us nurtured a burning anger: at the jerks in our class, at our disappointing parents, at the whole flawed, unjust world.

We were only three angry girls, simmering uselessly in our ocean-side California town, until one day a mysterious, beautiful classmate named Ambrosia taught us what else we could be: Powerful. Deadly. Furious. (summary from goodreads)

I’ve been waiting on a book re-imagining the Furies forever. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to say.

Socialize with the author:
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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

– leeanna

Book Review: Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

magisterium-rInfo:
Title: Magisterium
Author: Jeff Hirsch
Release Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Library
Series? Not that I can tell
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Page Count: 310
Rating:

Summary:

On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn’s only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn’t for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn’s mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father’s work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run—with only one place to go. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
Magisterium is an intriguing combination of science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian/post-apocalyptic that while big on ideas, unfortunately fell short of the mark for me.

At first, I liked the main character, Glenn. I thought she would be a good inspiration for teen girls interested in science and math, and I loved that she didn’t want to be derailed by a romantic relationship. I could also relate to Glenn wanting to escape her father’s obsession, yet feeling sick about leaving him alone.

Magisterium has one of the best descriptions for science that I can remember reading:

“Ever since she was a little girl, Glenn loved science because it taught her to take new things and incorporate them seamlessly into what she already knew about the world. It was like adding a new room onto an ornate but ever more perfectly constructed house. In science, she learned, everything is connected and everything is explained (p. 73).”

But once the story got going, I was confused, sorta bored, and really tempted to start skimming. Glenn’s friend Kevin, the romantic interest, gets dragged into Magisterium with her. The bulk of the action happens to him, which makes me wonder why he wasn’t the main character instead of Glenn.

I figured out one of the big plot twists early on, so it didn’t have a lot of impact for me when it was finally revealed. I also stayed confused right to the end, and the ending baffled me. The opening for a sequel is definitely there, but I also don’t know where the author would take the story. Yet I had unanswered questions about basically everything, from the worldbuilding to the characters.

I up-rated because of the ideas in Magisterium. Unfortunately, I wish I’d found out a lot more about the Magisterium and the Colloquium. I had the feeling that the author had a lot more story to tell, but left most of it out.

Socialize with the author:
Jeff Hirsch:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

– leeanna

Feature and Follow Friday #3

Feature and Follow is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Its purpose is to help bloggers gain new followers and friends.

If you’re going to follow me, please use either Linky, Twitter, or Facebook as I do NOT have GFC. Thank you! Thank you! If you follow, please say how and I’ll return the follow :D

Happy Mardi Gras! If they were throwing the HOTTEST books off of a Mardi Gras float — what would you do to have them throw to you…?

Oi. I have to say I wouldn’t do anything! Cop out answer, but it’s true. As for some books I’d want, I’ll go with Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers and The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett, my recent Waiting on Wednesday picks.

– leeanna

Wicked Valentine’s Read-A-Thon

At the last minute I decided to sign up for the Wicked Valentine’s Read-A-Thon, mainly because I want to get a lot of reading done, and I think the bat on the banner is cute! I like bats just as much as I like owls.

The readathon runs from February 7 to February 14, and I’m going to put all updates in this post. I will probably spam Twitter and Instagram with updates too, so follow/interact with me there — links are on the sidebar.

Goals:
01: Finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
02: Read Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell
03: Read Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
04: Read Blood’s Pride by Evie Manieri
05 Read The Holders by Julianna Scott
06: Review Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell
07: Review Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
08: Review Blood’s Pride by Evie Manieri
09 Review The Holders by Julianna Scott
10 Review Incarnation by Emma Cornwall
11: Review Lady at the O.K. Corral by Ann Kirschner
12: Review City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
13: Review Trickster by Jeff Somers

As you can see, my main goal is going to be reviewing all the books … I hate getting behind in reviews. I might also start a reread of something fun, either Percy Jackson or World of Warcraft.

Updates:
February 7: I read to page 351 of Shadow on the Crown.

February 8: I finished Shadow on the Crown sometime in the early morning. Because I have quite a few reviews to write, I’ve picked up World of Warcraft: The Well of Eternity for a fun read. I even got a couple hundred words in last night, writing-wise. So far I’m having a good run … and I probably just jinxed myself.

February 9: Sick.

February 10: Sick.

February 11: Sick.

February 12: Sick.

February 13: Ugh! It seems to be my luck that I always have SOMETHING interfere when I try to do a readathon. I’ve been suffering from a weird cold for the past few days, which has put a huge damper on my reading/computer time. I spent most of the time flat on my back, a heated beanbag or pillow over my eyes, because I had such a bad headache. After a few days away, I feel oddly disconnected from the blogosphere. Fortunately now I’m almost back to normal, and I did get in a little reading time. With real books. How old fashioned :D

Here’s what I’ve read:
World of Warcraft: The Well of Eternity, War of the Ancients 1 by Richard A. Knaak
World of Warcraft: The Demon Soul, War of the Ancients 2 by Richard A. Knaak
World of Warcraft: The Sundering, War of the Ancients 3 by Richard A. Knaak
World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden

I’m in the middle of The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle and Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black. I had hoped to have a review up for Dance of Shadows yesterday, but got sidetracked with being sick. Both of these were actually started earlier in the week, and I anticipate finishing them before much longer.

I’ve been rereading the WoW books for fun, and I have to say that I’m sort of missing my days playing World of Warcraft. Uhoh.

February 14: The last day. Sadness. I didn’t get to hang out on Twitter like I’d hoped, but at least I got some reading accomplished. Not as much reading or reviewing as I’d hoped there either (I’m starting to sound like a broken record) but it was still fun! Today I finished The Hallowed Ones and am more than halfway through World of Warcraft: The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb. I may or may not finish it tonight.

And that’s it!

Total books read: 7
Total reviews written: 2

– leeanna

Book Review: Marie Curie and Her Daughters by Shelley Emling

mariecurieandherdaughters-rInfo:
Title: Marie Curie and Her Daughters
Author: Shelley Emling
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Source: Library
Series? No
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Page Count: 219
Rating:

Summary:

A new portrait of the two-time Nobel winner and her two daughters

Focusing on the first family in science, this biography of Marie Curie plumbs the recesses of her relationships with her two daughters, extraordinary in their own right, and presents the legendary scientist to us in a fresh way.

Although the common image is that of a shy introvert toiling away in her laboratory, highly praised science writer Shelley Emling shows how Marie Curie was nothing short of an iconoclast. Her affair with a younger and married man drew the enmity of a xenophobic French establishment, who denied her entry to the Academy of Sciences and tried to expel her from France. But she was determined to live life how she saw fit, and passed on her resilience to her daughters. Emling draws on personal letters released by Curie’s only granddaughter to show how Marie influenced her daughters yet let them blaze their own paths. Irene followed her mother’s footsteps into science and was instrumental in the discovery of nuclear fission. Eve traveled the world as a foreign correspondent and then moved on to humanitarian missions.

Emling also shows how Curie, following World War I, turned to America for help. Few people know about Curie’s close friendship with American journalist Missy Meloney, who arranged speaking tours across the country for Marie and Eve and Irene. Months on the road, charming audiences both large and small, endeared the Curies to American women and established a lifelong relationship with the United States that formed one of the strongest connections of Marie’s life. Without the financial support of American women, Marie might not have been able to go on with her research.

Continuing the family story into the third generation, Emling also interviews Marie Curie’s granddaughter Helene Joliot-Curie, who is an accomplished physicist in her own right. She reveals why her grandmother was a lot more than just a scientist and how Marie’s trips to America forever changed her. Factually rich, personal and original, this is an engrossing story about the most famous woman in science that rips the cover off the myth and reveals the real person, friend, and mother behind it. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
I’ve been interested in Marie Curie ever since I wrote a paper on her in college, and I thought Marie Curie and Her Daughters would be an interesting read, especially since I knew nothing about her daughters.

The book picks up after Pierre’s death, and has only hints about Marie’s early life. There’s not a lot mentioned on Irene and Eve’s childhoods either, other than that they were often away from their mother because she was so busy with her work, and that she was concerned about their education. I think it would have been informative to have more on the childhoods of all three women, so readers could compare and contrast.

Although I did learn a lot about Irene and Eve, and even about Marie’s life after winning the Nobel Prize, the book wasn’t enjoyable as I’d hoped it would be. The last few chapters dragged on. I think Marie Curie and Her Daughters is best read joint with another biography of Marie Curie, so as to get a more complete and informative picture of her life.

It’s an adequate book, and informative on the personal lives of all three Curie women, but I was left wanting more after I finished it.

– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers

dark triumphDark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers
Release Date: April 2, 2013

Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.

But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats. (summary from goodreads)

Grave Mercy was one of my favorite books of 2012 (somehow I left it off my list, oops!), and I’ve been waiting for the next in the trilogy ever since I finished it. While I’m a little disappointed that Ismae’s story isn’t continuing, I am super curious to read about Sybella, and to find out about her.

Socialize with the author:
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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

– leeanna

Fit Owl Tuesdays: Week 3

If you haven’t noticed, I skipped a few weeks of the fit owl, because this owl isn’t very fit. I still haven’t made it to the gym. At all. Winter really, really makes me wish I had a treadmill in the house. I wouldn’t even care if it was in the garage!

I was hoping to get into the gym today, or maybe to try out a session of yoga, but now I have to make an Apple store run to replace the power adapter for my Air. It had an unfortunate accident with the vacuum.

I did sign up for my first 5k of the year, which will happen in April. So I definitely need to get in some gym time before then, or I’ll be walking the entire thing.

– leeanna

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #44 ( #IMWAYR )

Last Week’s Reads:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
by J.K. Rowling
 
Marie Curie and Her Daughters
by Shelley Emling
Lady at the O.K. Corral
by Ann Kirschner♦♦
 

This Week’s Reads:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J.K. Rowling
City of a Thousand Dolls
by Miriam Forster♦♦
Trickster
by Jeff Somers♦♦

As you can see, I’m almost finished with my reread of Harry Potter. As I said in my last post, I’m always sad when I finish a reread. I think I might do a reread of Percy Jackson next, to mix some fun reading in with review reading. I’m having trouble writing reviews lately, so it’s good for me to mix things up with old favorites. Or that’s the theory, anyway.

Review books received from:
Lady at the O.K. Corral: Amazon Vine
City of a Thousand Dolls: Amazon Vine
Trickster: Publisher

Thank you! ♥

♦♦ indicates books received for review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey.

The YA linky list for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.

– leeanna

Inside the Nest: Week 4

I skipped last week because I didn’t have much going on, and I’m in the same place this week. I’m almost finished with my reread of Harry Potter, which is a little sad. I always hate to leave Harry’s world … although of course with fandom, I never really leave it :D

If you’ve emailed me lately and I haven’t replied, I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m trying to finish up a review schedule, and I’m behind on emails. I will get back to you, I promise.

– leeanna

Book Review: Counting One’s Blessings edited by William Shawcross

counting one's blessingsInfo:
Title: Counting One’s Blessings: The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
Author: edited by William Shawcross
Release Date: November 27, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Source: Library
Series? No
Genre: Nonfiction
Page Count: 688
Rating:

Summary:

William Shawcross’s official biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, published in September 2009, was a huge critical and commercial success. One of the great revelations of the book was Queen Elizabeth’s insightful, witty private correspondence. Indeed, The Sunday Times described her letters as “wonderful . . . brimful of liveliness and irreverence, steeliness and sweetness.” Now, Shawcross has put together a selection of her letters, drawing on the vast wealth of material in the Royal Archives and at Glamis Castle. Queen Elizabeth was a prolific correspondent from her earliest childhood before the First World War to the very end of her long life at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and her letters offer readers a vivid insight into the real person behind the public face. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
I had hoped this book would be a personal, enlightening view into the mind of the Queen Mother, because it’s composed of her letters, but instead it’s a bland, boring book. If I didn’t have a thing about finishing books, I likely would have stopped after the first few letters. The book is almost a disservice to the Queen Mother — her personality comes across as silly and vapid.

The letters from World War II were the most interesting, and if you’re going to skim over any of this book, I recommend checking out those letters. That’s where her “steel” shows through. Shawcross also includes her wartime broadcasts in that section.

However, other than that, this book is a real slog to get through. I think it would have been vastly improved by cutting down on the number of letters in the book (they span her entire life, from childhood to death), and including the letters she was responding to. There’s no context for 95% of the Queen Mother’s letters, and basically I felt like I was reading thank you note after thank you note. There’s only one instance where the text of a letter she replied to is included — a note from Prince Philip. Why only that letter? I wish I knew.

Socialize with the author:
William Shawcross:
Website

– leeanna