Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Monday, October 20, 2014

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary

Title:Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary
Pages: 159
Audio: 3 Hours


Title: Dry
Author: Augusten Burroughs
Pages: 293 pages
Audio: 12 hours 30 min

Inside cover blurb: From the bestselling author of Running with Scissors comes Dry the hilarious, moving, and no less bizarre account of what happened next.

You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a higher power.

My take: I really like Augusten Burroughs, I think there is only one book of his that I wasn't too keen on. He is funny and honest. This book is no different from his other works. Read this book, read his other books as well.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a crazy,  suspenseful, emotional roller coaster ride. It is mostly based in Carthage, Missouri. On their 5th anniversary, Nick finds out that his wife Amy has gone missing. Of course the husband did it, correct? Yes? No? Maybe? You find out more than you would ever want to on the psyche of the couple, and you hope these types of people do not exist! I have never felt so much emotion (mainly anger) for a book before. I will wait for the movie to come out on DVD before I see it.
I read this book as an audio book.
Narrator: Mare Trevathan and Erik Sandvold
Time: 17 hours, 55 minutes
ISBN: 9780307588364
Pages (Per ISBN connected with the book used to create audio book):432

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. It is hard to fully describe what goes on in Cress without providing spoilers, but here it goes. Cress is based on the fairy tale "Rapunzel." Cress (Rapunzel) was placed in a satellite at the age of 10. She has been spying on Earth for the Queen Levana. Cress is torn between helping the queen, who she does not want to help, and helping Cinder and her gang overthrow Queen Levana. A lot of different and exciting things happen. Cress has fallen for Thorne, Cinder is still in love with Emperor Kai, and Scarlet is Wolf's Alpha Female. At the very end, we learn who Winter is, the princess of Lunar. Winter seems to be on the heroes' side, but we will have to wait until November 2015 to find out! :-(
I read this book as an audio book.
Narrator: Mare Trevathan
Time: 13 hours, 42 minutes
ISBN: 9780312642976
Pages (Per ISBN connected with the book used to create audio book): 560

The Lunar Chronicles:
Prequel-Fairest (Coming January 2015)
#4-Winter (Coming November 2015)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Summary: "After learning that she is capable of dangerous magic, Sophie Mercer goes to England with her father, friend Jenna, and Cal hoping to have her powers removed, but soon learns that she is being hunted by the Eye--and haunted by [spoiler]." 

Demonglass continues Sophie Mercer's story from Hex Hall. Sophie's world and the world of the Prodigium expand greatly in this sequel. I can't talk too much without giving away spoilers, but it ends on a major cliffhanger, and I will be anxiously starting the next book soon! 

359 pages

"Wishful Drinking" by Carrie Fisher

In this memoir by actress and writer Carrie Fisher, she says that she is a product of "Hollywood inbreeding."  With icons Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher as parents, she has first hand knowledge of the old saying that "truth is stranger than fiction."  Fisher claims that she decided to write this memoir after undergoing electroshock therapy for bipolar disorder.  She lost some of her memory because of it but what she has left is enough to keep listeners entertained.  Her father left the family for Elizabeth Taylor when she was two, so Fisher has much more to say about her mother . . . and does a darned good imitation of her voice.  She covers how, when, and why she got hooked on drugs (the undiagnosed bipolar disorder played a large part), telephone interventions by Cary Grant, her long roller coaster romance with Paul Simon, her pregnancy by a man who ultimately left her and their daughter for another man, and more.  One of the best stories is about George Lucas' explanation of why she was not allowed to wear a bra during the filming of "Star Wars."  All this is interesting to a point, but she doesn't really delve very deeply into her own psyche to account for her choices or how much of an impact her folks' parenting (or lack of) made her into who she is.  I listened to the audio version, read by Fisher, and the quality wasn't very good.  Many times I had to adjust the volume, especially when she yelled, which was often.  This was written in 2008, before the death of her father and before filming of the newest "Star Wars" movie, in which she will appear.

Audio:  3 hours
Print:  176 pages

"Cross & Crown: A Sidewinder Story" by Abigail Roux

This book takes place in the "Cut & Run" universe but features Kelly Abbott and Nick O'Flaherty, two members of Marine Force Recon team Sidewinder.  These two played prominent roles in Roux's last book, "Ball & Chain."  It is now several months after "B&C" and Nick has returned to his job as a detective in Boston.  Kelly lives in Colorado but is visiting him for two weeks.  Just before Kelly arrives, Nick begins investigating a robbery/homicide.  There's a witness, but he claims amnesia and forms an attachment to Nick.  On top of that, retired CIA hitman Julian Cross is following the witness but is reluctant to say why.  Can Nick and Kelly figure out who the witness is before another killing?

This rather convoluted mystery involved lots of Revolutionary War history related to Boston, the Irish mob, Rosicrucians, and a possible cure for cancer.  Throw in Kelly and Nick's evolving relationship, Julian's unexpected appearance, and there's a lot to cover in 208 pages.  Unfortunately, it doesn't always fit together very well.  However, I still enjoyed seeing these characters again, especially Julian and his partner, Cameron Jacobs, from "Armed & Dangerous" and "Warrior's Cross."  Even Zane Garrett and Ty Grady from the "Cut & Run" series make cameos in phone conversations, so that made me happy.  208 pages.

"Lion Hearted" by Sommer Marsden

It took me a while to finish this book because it just did not hold my attention.  Tryg is a lion shifter and enforcer of his pride.  He's also an outcast because he is gay.  But when two shifters go missing, apparently through abduction, Tryg follows the clues and sets off after them.  He takes Luke, an empath with him, and together they follow the missing shifters' scents to Divination Falls, where they encounter a weird creature that could kill them both.  This could have been much more interesting if the characters had been fleshed out better and the tale wasn't so meandering.  167 pages (Kindle edition).

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Report of the State Librarian to the 42nd General Assembly for the Years 1901-02" by Thos. W. Hawkins

Published in 1903, this is the biennial report of the MO State Library by the state librarian.  It reports how much the state legislature appropriated for the purchases of books ($6,000) and "contingent expenses" ($1,500).  These amounts covered two years!  At the end of those two years, the library had a total deficit of $1,429.15.  The "law department" of the library contained about 20,000 volumes with another 20,000 volumes of "miscellaneous character" making up the rest of the collection.   The report lists by title books that the library purchased, had donated, and were "received on exchange account" as well as the number of volumes of each.  Most of the books purchased pertained to laws, legal cases, and court reports.  From what I've read about the history of the MO State Library, it was originally the MO Supreme Court library and this report confirms that.  32 pages, copyright 1903.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Summary: "When Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, she is exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapshifters." 

I enjoyed Rebel Belle so much that I requested all the available books by Rachel Hawkins. Much to my delight, she has an established series with Hex Hall (which is followed by Demonglass and Spellbound), and School Spirits.

Hawkins' heroines have personality and spunk - they often say things or react to situations in a way that I can relate to. These are quick, easy reads - she doesn't get bogged down in detail. The stories are built up and told almost too quickly! I never wanted it to end.

323 pages

Monday, October 6, 2014

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Summary: "Seventeen-year-old Harper Price's charmed life is turned upside down when she discovers she's been given magical powers in order to protect her school nemesis David Stark, who's an Oracle." 

I really enjoyed this book - I read it all in one day while I was out sick. It is a really fast read as the author doesn't get bogged down in too much back-story, but rather fills you in on a need-to-know basis as Harper slowly learns more about the magical world. Harper thinks she has life all figured out, so it's fun to watch her try to balance her "perfect" life against her new life & death responsibilities. 

345 pages

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"Ball & Chain" by Abigail Roux

This is book eight in the Cut & Run series, and FBI Special Agent Ty Grady has just returned from a six month overseas tour of duty with his Marine Force Recon team Sidewinder.  His boyfriend and fellow agent Zane Garrett is relieved to have him back home, but being out at work forces the hand of their boss as it is against policy for partner agents to be romantically involved.  Then Ty's brother, Deuce, asks them to come to Scotland for his destination wedding and to look into threats that Deuce's future father-in-law has been receiving.  Ty requests that two of his Sidewinder buddies, Nick and Kelly, accompany them as back up, which is a good move since all hell breaks loose with murders and threats of kidnappings.

This book came out last March, and I had read how disappointed longtime fans of the series were due to it seeming to focus more on Kelly and Nick than Ty and Zane.  Actually, I thought it centered around Nick and Ty's damaged friendship and their PTSD from years of Marine combat.  Kelly was a part of that to a lesser degree, but poor Zane seemed relegated to the wings.  I found the murder mystery to be confusing due to the large number of new characters.  Roux always has lots of action, as this story did, but some of it seemed to be implausible.  The strain on Nick and Ty's longtime friendship provided most of the angst this time instead of Zane and Ty's complicated relationship.  There were still some great lines of dialog between the four friends, and some of the scenes worked very well, especially the poignant ones between Ty and Zane.  The next book is supposed to be the last in the series, and even though this one was probably my least favorite, I am dreading it because I have truly loved reading the many adventures of these two great characters.  288 pages.