Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Summary: "In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny."

This book just blew all the other books I've read this year out of the water. I believe that it was first popular a few years ago, and the term people used was "assassin nuns." :D Can't get much cooler than that! It's not for the faint of heart, as it deals with some dark and nasty stuff. But the story of a "handmaiden of Death" is actually lighter and more inspiring than you might think! 

It reminded me a bit of Poison Study, and Duval (main male character) is quite like Valek, which is a very good thing!!

I enjoyed this story so, so, so much, and I can't quite explain why. Grave Mercy is over 500 pages, but it felt like 100. I read through it super fast, and it still didn't leave me satisfied. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one! 

549 pages

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Long Lost by David Morrell

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

His younger brother was kidnapped  by a cult family, raised for decade.  His life was bad, he did bad things.  He’s back and now he wants his brother's family and will kill to get it.

Audio:  7 hrs. 9 min.
Print:  384 pages

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"The Devious Book for Cats: A Parody" by Fluffy & Bonkers

This book is borrowed from Tammy P. and is written by cats for cats.  It has advice on lots of topics like cardboard boxes, catnip, kitty litter, grooming, vacuum cleaners, and my favorite, crazy cat ladies.  There are also plenty of devious instructions in chapters like "Getting Away With It," "Secrets of Daredevil Cats," "The Pros and Cons of Being Sullen," and "Toying With Allergy Sufferers."  It's a good thing cats can't read or we would all be in big trouble!  224 pages.

"In the Middle of Somewhere" by Roan Parrish

Daniel Mulligan has just moved to Holiday, Michigan, to teach at a small college after finishing his PhD in English.  Originally from Philadelphia, Daniel is a tough and tattooed outcast who's never really fit in with his family or classmates.  His mother died when he was young, and his father and three older brothers (all mechanics) never much cared for him, especially after he told them he was gay.  So Daniel feels especially out of place in the small town until Rex Vale comes back into his life.  The two men met six months earlier when Daniel was in town for an interview with the college and was literally rescued by Rex when he wrecked his rental car in a snowstorm.  They soon begin a relationship, but Daniel has never really dated and Rex doesn't want to get too attached to Daniel due to others in his life leaving him.  But as they grow closer, they discover that being vulnerable and letting someone help you is not the same as being weak.

This was a great book with two memorable and very likable main characters who seem to have little in common but complement each other well.  Rex doesn't talk much but can fix or build just about anything, while Daniel loves his books and overthinks everything.  Secondary characters, especially Daniel's best friend, Ginger, help move the story forward to a satisfying conclusion.  I have already started reading the next in the series.  350 pages (Kindle edition).

Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

Summary: "Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face to face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they’ve kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as co-workers for one reason only: to make partner at the firm. But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case."

Whew, another Julie James' book! She is just one of the best! It was a bit inspired by Pride and Prejudice, which was fun to read in terms of rival lawyers in a big law firm in Chicago. I was disappointed with a few bits of how Payton and J.D.'s rivalry played out...but overall, it was a great story! 

305 pages

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot

Summary: "A viral scandal draws notorious celebrity golfer Reed Stewart back to his tiny Indiana hometown, where he reunites with small business owner Becky Flowers in ways that challenge their perceptions about each other."

I adore the books in the Boy series by Meg Cabot, especially Boy Meets Girl. Boy Meets Girl is one of my all-time favorite books, and it's one that I read over and over again. Thus, my expectations for the newest installment of the series were a bit high. However, in reality, the book fell a bit short of meeting those expectations. The creativity of the format was not as interesting as it could have been, nor was Becky's character as well-developed as she should have been. She did not have 1/10th of the personality of Kate Mackenzie. I did enjoy Reed's character and overall the story was interesting, just not nearly as funny or clever as the other books in the series. 

357 pages

Extraordinary Black Missourians: Pioneers, Leaders, Performers, Athletes, and Other Notables Who've Made History by John A. Wright, Sr. and Sylvia Wright

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

Missouri TV personalities such as Julius Hunter, news anchor, journalist, and author, musicians W.C. Handy and Count Basie, and politician Freeman Bosley, Jr. are some of the black Missourians who are in this wonderful book.  240 pages.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Starflight by Melissa Landers

Summary: "Former high school enemies Solara Brooks and Doran Spaulding must team up when they find themselves aboard a renegade spaceship."

Oh.My.Gosh. I LOVED Starflight! What a fun and refreshing read! This novel has everything I love: 

  • band of misfits, 
  • enemies to lovers trope, 
  • a lost princess, 
  • cage fights, 
  • adventure, 
  • space exploration, 
  • pirates --- 
What more could you ask for from a novel? I can't explain all the good parts of this book without spoiling it, but it was a solid read!

I am eagerly anticipating the next novel, Starfall, due out next February! 

359 pages

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

The Girl with All the GiftsThe Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This started out interesting and lost steam. The plot was fine, but my interest lagged after the first 1/3. I think the concept initially was charming (zombie MC doesn't realize she's part zombie--thinks she's a normal girl).

However, after that, there was never enough character development and growth to keep me interested in all the running around that occurred in the plot. The themes became repetitive for me. I don't dislike it, by any means, but I just lost the initial level of excitement I had when I started the book.

The funny thing is that the plot might be a bit slow in the start, and it's right at the point where things kick up a notch that I started returning to the book with more and more reluctance. Therefore, it receives a very conflicted 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4, for consistency). It's worth a look, just for the interesting perspective, but I don't absolutely love it.

Pages: 448

The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Book two of the Inheritance Trilogy begins with a new set of characters and focuses on the aftermath of the complete shift in power that ended Book One.  The primary god of book one, 'Bright Itempas', god of order, ruler of sunlight arrogant and self-righteous, had, at the end of that volume, been reduced to mortal status and sent to serve penance among mortals.  Book two is narrated by Oree, a young blind woman who makes a living selling artwork in the capital.  She encounters Itempas in his reduced mortal form, and allows him to share her home.  Oree is well acquainted with the lesser godlings who now roam the capital, and is the former lover of  one of the chief male godlings, Madding.  One day she discovers a female godling who has been murdered - which is unthinkable, because only one substance can kill a god or godling.  That substance is the blood of the child of a the union between a god and a human.  Only a very few such beings exist, and much of the story revolves around figuring out who is plotting to destroy the gods and godlings using this new weapon. At least 'Bright Itempas' begins the process of maturing and becoming less self absorbed, for he is sentenced to serve his penance until he can show that he can truly care for others.  Book two has further developed the story of this world that Jemisin has created, but from a very different viewpoint.   She has described this world very vividly.   I'm partway through the third book, and eager to see if she can pull all the different themes together.  381 pages

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K.Jemisin

This is the first book in the Inheritance Trilogy, a truly unusual fantasy trilogy.  Jemisin introduces us to a world in which gods and mortals regularly meet and converse (and more), and engage in plots one against the other.  In this first book we follow a young woman, Yeine, a member of the ruling dynasty who has grown up in exile because her mother, the heir, married a lesser noble.  She is summarily summoned to the capital, to participate in the ceremony to transfer power to the next ruler.  Once she arrives, she starts unraveling the full implications of the rivalry among family factions, and also engages with several of the gods and godlings who also live in the capital, imprisoned there after a great war among the gods and now subject to the whim of the ruling family.  Jemisin has created some engaging characters and unexpected plot twists.  At the end of the first book, Yeine has survived the ceremony but has been transformed, leaving a great opening to pull us into the second volume.  386 pages

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"The Game Changer" by Kay Simone

This is the second Kay Simone book that I have read, and although it felt very different from the first ("The Company We Keep," which was great), I really enjoyed it.  Malcolm Rodgers is a professional quarterback who's having a very bad week.  First, he's injured in a game that will require him to undergo weeks of intensive physical therapy causing him to miss at least six games in the season.  Second, his fiancee calls off their wedding and breaks up with him for reasons he can't quite comprehend.  Malcolm ends up spending most of his time with Vance Coberly, his team's head physical therapist, just trying to get his leg back in shape as fast as he can. Although different in the way they approach life, the two men become friends.  However, when the seemingly straight Malcolm kisses the out-and-proud Vance, the two will never be the same.

This novel was about a lot of things: self-discovery, family obligations, friendship, homophobia, professional football, and love.  The author takes time to flesh out the two main characters, why they are the way they are, their fears, and their faults, which doesn't always happen in character driven novels.  This was another winner from Simone that had me hooked from beginning to end.  403 pages (Kindle edition).

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

Frost Like Night (Snow Like Ashes, #3)Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The ending is so fantastic and satisfying that my initial impulse was to give this book a 5. Wow. That's the way to successfully wrap up a fantasy trilogy.

I have settled at a 4, just because there were some things in the first half that weren't quite as smooth for me. Overall, this is an excellent YA fantasy series, set in a fascinating and creative world, with plenty of dark magic to suit my dark side, and enough hope to please my often hidden light side.

It's a definite win, and I confess part of my confusion at the start might have been due to the gap of time from when I read the first two books. If you have time for a reread, I think that would be ideal. If not, definitely read a good summary or synopsis of the first two books before diving in, because it's a complex world with a lot of characters.

Pages: 496

Friday, October 14, 2016

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents, #1)Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collection dug deeper on some of my favorite characters, including Minerva and Remus. Again, if you're a Potterhead, this is for you.

Pages: 68

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

Summary: "As an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and a father, Harry Potter struggles with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs while his youngest son, Albus, finds the weight of the family legacy difficult to bear." - The official script of the original West End production.

Oh.My.Word. I was blown away by this play and all the places that J.K. Rowling went with it. I cried, I laughed, and I yelled. It gave me all the feels. I wish I could see it in person - maybe one day! 

I was pleasantly surprised by the Malfoys in this play, and I truly loved Scorpius as a character. He is simply the best. 

327 pages