Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown

Wish You Were Here (Mrs. Murphy, #1)Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Curiosity just might be the death of Mrs. Murphy--and her human companion, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen.  Small towns are like families:  Everyone lives very close together. . .and everyone keeps secrets.  Crozet, Virginia, is a typical small town-until its secrets explode into murder.  Crozet's thirty-something post-mistress, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, has a tiger cat (Mrs. Murphy) and a Welsh Corgi (Tucker), a pending divorce, and a bad habit of reading postcards not addressed to her.  When Crozet's citizens start turning up murdered, Harry remembers that each received a card with a tombstone on the front and the message "Wish you were here" on the back.  Intent on protecting their human friend, Mrs. Murphy and Tucker begin to scent out clues.  Meanwhile, Harry is conducting her own investigation, unaware her pets are one step ahead of her.  If only Mrs. Murphy could alert her somehow, Harry could uncover the culprit before the murder occurs--and before Harry finds herself on the killer's mailing list.

I chose this book because it takes place in Crozet, VA not far from Charlottesville. I love that area and the author, Rita Mae Brown actually lives in the area, so I was intrigued by that. Secondly, my book club decided to read a "cat mystery" for July AND I love my cat. The mystery of the murderer lasted to the very end of the book and it wasn't obvious until...say...3/4 of the way through. I liked that. The murders were kind of gruesome, however they weren't described in detail and you found out about them after the fact, so that wasn't so bad. I loved Harry, the main character, and her animals - Mrs. Murphy, her cat and Tucker, her Corgi. Their antics and discovery details were priceless. Their conversations and the way they tried to tell Harry their ideas were great. Cozy mysteries are not my favorite genre, but they aren't bad. I probably won't run out and buy the next book in the series, but as I said, I did enjoy it. It's a great book for cat/animal lovers and mystery-lovers.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon

The Dream Crystal (The Dream War Series, #1)The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

All of the world's dreams are about to die. The Shadow People have come. Always near, they linger in the darkness, ready to devour dreams, hopes, aspirations and desires. . .

Aisling, having lost her dream of becoming a fashion designer, learns that she's a Faerie changeling. Disquieted by the fact that her faerie parents are kidnappers, she has decided to rescue the human child she was exchanged for, but her "sister" is no longer among the faeries, having been taken by the Shadow People. Ith, the Lord of Shadows, is trying to control the dreams of mankind, which are under the protection of the faeries, so they're at war.

Aisling, who doesn't believe in dreams any longer, is falling in love with a handsome, mysterious stranger - one of the Shadow People. seems fairies are the new thing and for that, this book if right on. This is the story of a girl who is going to fashion designer school and finds out that she was switched at birth and is actually a fairy. The story is pretty good, except that the descriptions of what every character is wearing in each scene was a little distracting. It also seemed to go round and round in circles a bit in places. There were good guys and bad guys but sometimes the good guys seemed bad and the bad guys seemed good. A little confusing. Anyway, I was honored to be asked to review it, but I probably won't read the sequel. Sorry, Mark.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

2011 YA Reading Challenge

I have completed the "Mini YA Reading Challenge" by reading 12 YA novels so far this year. Wow! It's only July 1st! Anyway, here is my list of the book I read:

  1. The Thirteenth Chime by Emma Michaels
  2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 
  9. Heist Society by Aly Carter
10. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
11. Dreams Unleashed by Linda Hawley
12. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I'll probably read more YA novels through the rest of the year, but I didn't want to overload myself with challenge requirements this year. I wanted to actually finish many of the challenges I started. And I've been doing it! Yay me!

Thanks to Jamie Loves YA for hosting this challenge.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)If I Stay by Gayle Forman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hesitate to say this book was "amazing". Hmmmm...although I really liked it. Why are young adults so fascinated by death and live & death decisions? They are young for Pete's sake. I'm in my 50's and I have just started thinking about what it will be like to be old and what will happen to my family when I die.

Anyway, I did really like this book. It was well-written and the backstories blended seamlessly with the present. It felt as though they were put in at just the right places. I loved the fact that the two main characters were musicians. It gave a facet to the story that inspired me because I'm a musician, too. Mia's family was so cool -- so different from her, but loving and supportive of her love of classical music and her life's quest to be a cellist. I feel as though these characters will have a place in my memory for a long time. I feel as though I know them and, no dear daughter, I didn't cry. Amazing, right? I know.

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