Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Cora, a teenage slave, lives  on a Georgia cotton plantation. Her mother escaped when Cora was a child, and was never re-captured. Cora has had to fend for herself ever since. A new slave to the plantation (Caesar) asks her to escape with him. Even though her life is a living hell, she is afraid of what will happen if she gets caught trying to get away, so she refuses. However, when she is beaten for defending a smaller slave who is being severely punished, she decides to go with Caesar anyway. The two of them escape on the Underground Railroad, which in this novel is a real, not figurative, railroad that was built underground. They escape to South Carolina, where they live for a time as though they are free.

However, the fact that her mother escaped never to be found has caused a festering resentment in her owner. He is determined not to be foiled by another slave, and hires Ridgeway, a ruthless slave catcher, to find her and bring her back. She suffers many times over; every time she thinks she is settled and safe, Ridgeway shows up and she must flee again. In the process, many people who help her suffer cruel punishments.

This books reminds us of a part of our history that we would prefer not to remember.

322 pages

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Us" by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

In this sequel to "Him," Ryan Wesley is in his rookie season with the Toronto Maple Leaves and lives with his boyfriend, Jamie Canning.  However, they have to keep their relationship secret to avoid any distractions to Wes and his team.  He's promised Jamie that they'll come out once his rookie season has ended, but the deception is taking a toll on them both especially after one of Wesley's teammates moves into their building and constantly bugs them.  This was a wonderful follow up to the first book, which I loved.  Wes and Jamie still have great chemistry together, and their texts to each other are hilarious.  The angst in the story is just right, and Blake, the nosy teammate, adds a lot of humor with his irrational fear of sheep.  Another winner from Bowen and Kennedy that I couldn't put down.  328 pages (Kindle edition).

"Healing Jacob" by Nicole Stewart

This angsty romance between a homeless musician and a bakery owner fell flat for me.  Neither main character was three dimensional, and I couldn't invest myself in their story.  The misuse of commas was distracting.  I think the writer has potential, and a good editor could have helped with the flow of the story and fleshing out the characters.  166 pages (Kindle edition).

"In the Kill" by K. Sterling

Book 1 in the Lavender series is about a hit man and the artist whom he is sent to kill.  However, once he meets Sage Bradley, "Mr. Lavender" is sure that he's about to assassinate the wrong man.  Surely someone so talented who devotes his spare time to helping homeless teenagers and knitting hats for the elderly is not deserving of death.  Lavender must figure out who hired him to kill an innocent man and why before another assassin is sent to finish the job and him with it.  Although not a full length novel, it was packed with exciting scenes and kept me guessing how things would turn out.  109 pages (Kindle edition).

"Heat" by Wolf Specter & Angel Knots

Book 1 in the Fated Mates series focuses on Dane, a dragon shifter, and Wes, his fated mate and just a regular guy.  Dragon shifters have lived among humans protecting them for many years and are not supposed to make themselves known, but when Dane recognizes Wes as his mate he must reveal what he truly is.  I know it sounds weird, but this turned out to be a cute story that worked, even with a very unusual event between the two main characters.  140 pages (Kindle edition).

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher

The Seventh BrideThe Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was weird, which is the biggest vote in its favor. It has a middle grade voice, with a YA main character, and most of the other characters are adults. It's a strange blend, but I enjoyed that. I really liked the hedgehog, and I don't always enjoy animal side characters.

Pages: 183

Monday, January 23, 2017

Flight by Sherman Alexie

FlightFlight by Sherman Alexie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The concept is unusual but fascinating, and the story really makes you think. It's a bit frantic, or maybe chaotic, at times, but that's part of the charm and voice.

The audiobook version narrated by Adam Beach is excellent. I think I like this story even better due to the narrator, than I might have if I had just read it myself. The delivery is spot on.

Pages: 181

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-FiveSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So it goes.

I listened to the Audible version read by James Franco, which was good.

I now have a solid understanding of the ways in which Kurt Vonnegut has influenced the writing of Andrew Smith. I guess I went about it backwards by reading so much of Smith first, but if one brought me around to the other, that seems like a win.  I think I'm going to read more Vonnegut after this.  I'm not sure how I didn't read this one in high school or college, but I'm glad I finally cycled back around to it.

Pages: 215

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gemina by Amie Kaufman

Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)Gemina by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book 2 in a unique and exciting YA Sci-Fi Series, and I absolutely adore the audiobook!

I confess that I don't love book 2 quite as intensely as I did book one, but it's still a captivating, fast-paced story with several surprises. The new characters are unexpected and enjoyable, with strong voices, and the bit of romance burns slower than it did in book one (for better or worse).

I spread out the reading over a long period of time, due to personal chaos, which may have impacted the overall flow when I read it. I'll probably read or listen to this book again at some point, so I'll update my star rating at that time, if a second read changes my perspective.

I want more of this world and format, so I hope this series goes on for a long time or branches out into something new. Either way, but I don't want it to end.

Pages: 608

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole

Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles, #4)Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 4 in the Arcana Chronicles:

Whew! That ending! Next book, please, stat!

Pages: 280

Monday, January 16, 2017

Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson

Like a River Glorious (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #2)Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a pretty solid follow-up to book one, which I really loved. I enjoyed having more time with some of my favorite characters, and it wrapped up more thoroughly than a lot of 2nd books do, which I appreciate.

Rae Carson has a great voice in the YA world. She writes strong, interesting female characters, grows relationships slowly, and includes a lot of diverse characters and perspectives which provides a nice depth to her worlds. I will definitely read book 3.

Pages: 432

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"If the Seas Catch Fire" by L.A. Witt

This excellent book about two hit men in the Mafia controlled town of Cape Swan, CA, is one of the best I have ever read.  Domenico “Dom” Maisano is the nephew of Corrado Maisano, the head of one of the Mafia families.  He's a "made man" and has few choices in his life as his uncle's hit man, which he has always hated.  When Sergei Andronikov saves him during a beating, Dom pursues a temporary, no-strings relationship with the man before Dom is forced to marry a woman to keep up appearances and appease his uncle.  He thinks Sergei is a stripper but he's actually a contract killer whose goal in life is to wipe out the Mafia families who destroyed his own family when he was a boy.

I cannot praise the writing, story line, and character development enough.  Dom and Sergei have tragic and emotional back stories which allow the reader to understand their motivations for doing what they do.  Full of action, tenderness, suspense, despair, eroticism, fear, thrills, and more, this story will stick with me for a long, long time.  Highly recommended.  451 pages (Kindle edition).