Friday, October 13, 2017 | By: Taffy

KID AUTHORS: True Tales of Childhood from Famous Writers by David Stabler & Doogie Horner

The series that includes Kid Presidents, Kid Artists, and Kid Athletes now chronicles the lives of Kid Authors! Here are true tales of famous writers, from long before they were famous--or even old enough to drive. Did you know:
- Sam Clemens (aka Mark Twain) loved to skip school and make mischief, with his best friend Tom, of course!
- A young J. R. R. Tolkien was bitten by a huge tarantula--or as he called it, -a spider as big as a dragon.-
- Toddler Zora Neale Hurston took her first steps when a wild hog entered her house and started chasing her!
The diverse and inclusive cast includes Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, J. K. Rowling, Langston Hughes, Jules Verne, Lewis Carroll, Stan Lee, and many more.



 Opening line:
"Everybody loves a good story--and we all know that a well-told story has a beginning, a middle, and an end."

This was a fun and quick book to read. Little interesting insights to a few writers with cute illustrations for each.
Ronald, aka, J.R.R. Tolkein was bit on the foot by a Baboon Tarantula. They are ginormous! Remind you of anything spiders in his stories?
Roald Dahl loved candy. When he was thirteen he was sent to a dismal school BUT it doubled as an undercover testing lab for Cadbury! He us to daydream about the inside of that factory.
Sam, or Samuel Clemens or Mark Twain (his name has something to do with boats...) us to get into all sorts of mischief with his best bud, Tom.
There are more snippets of interesting facts about more kid authors at the end of the book
I think this would be a great addition to any home or classroom.

Monday, October 9, 2017 | By: Taffy

THE FIRE QUEEN by Emily R. King

In the second book in The Hundredth Queen Series, Emily R. King once again follows a young warrior queen’s rise to meet her destiny in a richly imagined world of sorcery and forbidden powers.

Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, imprisoned for treason and stripped of command. With the empire at war, their best hope is to find Prince Ashwin, the rajah’s son, who has promised Deven’s freedom on one condition: that Kalinda will fight and defeat three formidable opponents.

But as Kalinda’s tournament strengths are once again challenged, so too is her relationship with Deven. While Deven fears her powers, Ashwin reveres them—as well as the courageous woman who wields them. Kalinda comes to regard Ashwin as the only man who can repair a warring world and finds herself torn between her allegiance to Deven and a newly found respect for the young prince.

With both the responsibility to protect her people and the fate of those she loves weighing heavily upon her, Kalinda is forced again to compete. She must test the limits of her fire powers and her hard-won wisdom. But will that be enough to unite the empire without sacrificing all she holds dear?



 Opening line:
"Death has a stench, and it is not decaying flesh but the bitter scent of smoke clawing into my pores."

I enjoyed this book just as much as the first one! I was enthralled from the beginning and had a hard time putting the book down (I'm two hours behind in my chores!!).
Kalinda is the same brave woman we watched grow in book 1 but now she feels guilt for making bargains to save her empire and those bargains didn't quite work out.
Deven is still the devoted guard who wants to help and protect everyone.
The two are separated and a new "man" comes on the scene: Prince Ashwin. He is instantly enamored with Kali. Unfortunately for him, he looks just like his daddy who Kali killed: Turek.
There are also new friends added, who I really like, and new relationships. There was tons of palace intrigue that I thought Kali could dismiss because of who she was and how strong she is but that didn't happen. There are reasons...
I was so annoyed and frustrated with certain characters that I didn't mind when they were no longer part of the story. :)
Kali has a decision to make: be set free or defend her people. It's a big decision with lives and love in the balance.
Emily King does a great job developing characters and worlds and pulling readers in from the beginning (and the readers don't get the floors mopped because they. can't. stop. reading!).
I WILL read the third book! I can't wait to see what happens next!

Violence: fighting, whipping, death
Sex: kissing
Language: none
Saturday, September 2, 2017 | By: Taffy

FINALE! Summer reading challenges complete.

Wow! What a busy summer! 
We visited this whole other country and then visited the country. 
We welcomed home a daughter who was gone for 18 months (and cried), put up a pool and played. 
We got so much rain in the spring that new flowers appeared in the flower beds. The roses are still blooming and smell so good. But the time went too quickly! I'm not ready for the fall! 









I read 27 books in July and August.  
Some I really liked, others I didn't. I got my TBR pile down a teeny, tiny bit. I have a few more I want to finish this weekend as it's a long weekend:


If My Moon was Your Sun
by Andreas Steinhofel, Nele Palmtag (illustration)

 Max lives in a small town, much smaller than yours. His grandpa is losing his memory, but still remembers quite a bit. You can imagine how they hurried, Max and his grandpa, followed by old Miss Schneider, who insisted on coming along. Why were they in a hurry? Because everyone was after them. Max had skipped school to rescue his grandpa, and they were just starting out on what promised to be one of the best days of their entire lives.

A touching story about dementia and the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren,






The Fire Queen 
by Emily King

In the second book in The Hundredth Queen Series, Emily R. King once again follows a young warrior queen’s rise to meet her destiny in a richly imagined world of sorcery and forbidden powers.

Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, imprisoned for treason and stripped of command. With the empire at war, their best hope is to find Prince Ashwin, the rajah’s son, who has promised Deven’s freedom on one condition: that Kalinda will fight and defeat three formidable opponents.





The Secret Hum of a Daisy
by Tracy Holczer
 
After her mother's sudden death, Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she's never met. She can't imagine her mother would want her to stay with this stranger. Then Grace finds clues in a mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on. Maybe it is her mother, showing her the way to her true home.







 


Ever the Brave
by Erin Summerill
 
 Ever the Divided. Ever the Feared. Ever the Brave.
After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she'd like to, and now he's insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost.

The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart.








This book just might be my favorite read of the summer!



My Lady Jane
by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

CLEVER! 

What's what this story is all about! It's clever. Funny. Smart. Hilarious at times. Intriguing all the time. The story of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen, is told from the three different, rich viewpoints, thanks to three great writers. So many awesome quotes. Here's one that made me laugh out loud (I was listening to the audio book which made my laughter even more startling) and caused my children to look askance at me:
"Your mother was a hamster and your father reeked of elder berries!"







I hope to have 30 books read by the end of Labor Day. Then I really, really need to get back to writing.



Thursday, August 10, 2017 | By: Taffy

Summer reading updates! #3

Next week (August20-27)  the #COYER challenge is to read only audio or ebooks.

I'm wrapping up my TBR Wipeout challenge this week. Here are my thoughts on my summer reading:

I got a lot of books off my TBR pile! I read 18 books in June and July. August isn't over yet (sumer'snotoversummer'snotoversummer'snotover) so I still have a few weeks to finish up my challenges.

Here are the ones I'm hope to read through the rest of August:





Dream me by Kathryn Berla


Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self to your biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy








Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts















These are the ones I've enjoyed the last couple of weeks:


The Killing Curse
by H.B. Moore

"Taheer Sayid picked up his cell phone and selected his most trustworthy contact."

HB Moore kills it again! Another great addition to this series!














Havencross by Julie Daines

"Two hundred fifty miles into this journey and not a word spoken."

 Deception, lies, romance, unrequited love and smugglers all roll along in Ms. Daines newest, delightful book.


Saturday, July 29, 2017 | By: Taffy

Summer reading update #2

For #COYER this week (July 23-30) I'm reading only physical books, which was a little hard only because I was finishing up two ebooks. but i have plenty of hardcover to read! I'll let you know what I read in a few weeks.

Another month of reading!  

Here are the ones I am reading:




The Killing Curse 
by H.B. Moore








It Started With Goodbye 
by Christina June










Don't Kiss the Messenger 
by Katie Ray










Thick as Thieves 
by Megan Whalen Turner













Here are a couple I enjoyed the past couple of weeks:


My Lady Jane
Cynthia hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.


  Clever. Funny. Smart. Hilarious at times. Intriguing all the time. The story of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen, is told from the three different, rich viewpoints, thanks to three great writers.  
"Your mother was a hamster and your father reeked of elder berries!"





A Season in London

POOR RELATIONS by Elizabeth Johns


""This is my cousin, Emma Standrich," said Jane Wetherby said for the hundredth time that evening."


Emma feels she needs to become a governess to save her family. Colonel Shelton is smitten with her and offers his hand in marriage and the access to his money to help her save her family

 
EDWARD & EMILY by Heather B. Moore

""This is my cousin, Emma Standrich," said Jane Wetherby said for the hundredth time that evening."


Emma feels she needs to become a governess to save her family. Colonel Shelton is smitten with her and offers his hand in marriage and the access to his money to help her save her family

 
A SPORTING SEASON by Rebecca Connolly


"A season in London."
 
What a fun read! Daphne is determined to ruin her season in London before anyone else does and Jaime is determined to have a front row seat. Their dialogue is snappy and intelligent and their chemistry sweet.



Saturday, July 15, 2017 | By: Taffy

Summer reading updates...

This week (June 25-July2)  in the #COYER challenge I'm only reading ebooks. I'll be back on July 23rd to update how that went.

Here are the books I'm reading right now:


The Library of Light and Shadow
by M. J. Rose









A Season in London (Timeless Regency collection)
 Elizabeth Johns, Heather B Moore, Rebecca Connolly









 Strange the Dreamer
by Laini Taylor










My Lady Jane
by Cynthia Hand









I've read a lot of books this past month. Here's a rundown on what I enjoyed:


The Clockwork Dynasty
by Daniel H Wilson

Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past...

Russia, 1725: In the depths of the Kremlin, the tsar's loyal mechanician brings to life two astonishingly humanlike mechanical beings. Peter and Elena are a brother and sister fallen out of time, possessed with uncanny power, and destined to serve great empires. Struggling to blend into pre-Victorian society, they are pulled into a legendary war that has raged for centuries.

The Clockwork Dynasty seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings designed to live by ironclad principles, yet constantly searching for meaning.
 


 Opening line:
"The age of the thing is in the feel of it."

I wasn't sure how much I would like this book but I then I couldn't put it down so I guess it's safe to say I did like. 


Full review here

My Own Mr. Darcy
by Karey White

After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.


  Opening line:
"The theater was nearly empty."


I LOVE the cover!

Full review here.


A Beautiful Blue Death
by Charles Finch
On any given day in London, all Charles Lenox, Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, wants to do is relax in his private study with a cup of tea, a roaring fire and a good book. But when his lifelong friend Lady Jane asks for his help, Lenox cannot resist another chance to unravel a mystery, even if it means trudging through the snow to her townhouse next door.


One of Jane's former servants, Prudence Smith, is dead -- an apparent suicide. But Lenox suspects something far more sinister: murder, by a rare and deadly poison. The house where the girl worked is full of suspects, and though Prudence dabbled with the hearts of more than a few men, Lenox is baffled by an elusive lack of motive in the girl's death.


When another body turns up during the London season's most fashionable ball, Lenox must untangle a web of loyalties and animosities. Was it jealousy that killed Prudence? Or was it something else entirely, something that Lenox alone can uncover before the killer strikes again -- disturbingly close to home?



Opening line:

"Charles Lenox sat in the study of his town house in Hampden Lane--that small, shop-lined street just off Grosvenor Place where he had passed most of his adult life--and sifted through the papers that had accumulated upon his desk, as they would, inevitably, when one became a member of Parliament. "

I really quite enjoyed my first foray into the Charles Lenox Mysteries. 


Full review here.

Saturday, July 1, 2017 | By: Taffy

Annual Summer TBR Wipeout and other challenges

I'm doing FOUR reading challenges this summer. Not hard. Just reading. Cleaning out my Kindle and hardcover books by finally reading those books that have been begging to be picked up and loved.

My reading challenges are with #COYER (Clean Out Your E-Reads), Modern Mrs. Darcy , TBR Wipeout and Summer Book Trek *



I think it sounds fun and a great way to push me to get books on my TBR pile read!


  1. A Beautiful Blue Death
  2. A Study in Silks
  3. Prisoner of Ice and Snow
  4. Dream Me
  5. Ash and Quill
  6. Bring Her Home
  7. Perish From Earth
  8. Hello, Sunshine
  9. My Own Mr. Darcy*
  10. Relax, I'm a Ninja*
  11. An Ocean Away*
  12. A Season in London*
  13. Star-touched Queen
  14. The Clockwork Dynasty
  15. Lies Jane Austen Told Me*
  16. As You Wish
  17. My Lady Jane*
  18. Havencross*
  19. Flame in the Mist
  20. Watch Me Disappear
  21. Secret of the India Orchid*
  22. Fitness Junkie
  23. Royal Bastards
  24. The Original Jinny Moon
  25. Wreckage*
  26. Girl Out of Water
  27. It Started With Goodbye
  28. Don't Kiss the Messenger
  29. Thick As Thieves
  30. Defy the Stars
  31. The Go Between
  32. Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone
  33. The Library of Light and Shadow
  34. Mask of Shadows
  35. Where the Light Falls
  36. Romancing Daphne*
  37. P.S. I Like You*
  38. Presence
  39. Rosemarked
  40. I hate Everyone But You
  41. The Fifth Doll
  42. Everything We Keep
  43. The Killing Curse
  44. The Midnight Dance
  45. The Space Between Words
  46. Beautiful Poison
  47. The Original Ginny Moon
  48. If my Moon Was Your Sun
  49. The Fire Queen
  50. When the Mockingbird Sings

This is one of two challenges on Modern Mrs. Darcy's blog


I'm so excited to do these challenges!

What are you reading this summer??