Sunday, October 20, 2013


By Brandon Sanderson

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and a natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

But even with the best crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.


So, I’ve heard many avid readers enthuse about Brandon Sanderson, but when I read his Alcatraz books I was left with the feeling that he was talented but not really above average. I am here to tell you how wrong I was.  I read this book because I’ve got a friend who is pretty much Sanderson’s number one fan and I know she has good taste, so I thought, why not? I’m not really the type of person to get into high-fantasy, it tends to go on without any end in sight, which irritates me. This book was so brilliantly written, so cleverly concocted that I was reeling with Sanderson’s imagination and world-creating genius. It was concise, which is hard to do in fantasy, had a completely original feel, which is nearly impossible now days, and the characters were well fleshed out and not stereotypical. Basically, Mr. Sanderson, you rock. I was engrossed with the plot, wondering what wrenches he would throw in the works, because this was not a book you could see what was coming. It was “real life” unpredictable, even though there are people flying over rooftops. If you have any kind of liking for fantasy and a good yarn, I highly, highly recommend this book. I still have yet to read the other two in the trilogy, but I can tell you, they are definitely going to be read. I bow to your prowess Brandon Sanderson and would love to pick apart your process.

4 ½ out of 5

Drops of Gold

By Sarah M. Eden

When her father dies and leaves her completely destitute, Marion can think of only one thing to do—make a new life for herself. Commencing a life of duplicity, Marion transforms herself into Mary Wood—governess. In possession of a forged letter of recommendation and cloaked in the anonymity of her new identity, she enters a life of self-imposed servitude as teacher and caretaker of young Miss Caroline Jonquil of Farland Meadows. Her idyllic daydream vision of life at the Meadows is dashed when she finds a child desperately in need of hope and a cold and sorrowful home haunted by the past. With her characteristic sunny disposition, Marion casts her spell upon the household and slowly brings to life the long-forgotten joy of those within.

Layton Jonquil is a man tormented by the lies surrounding the death of his late wife, but he cannot deny his growing attraction for the beautiful governess whose goodness and optimism have touched his dormant heart. Their connection grows ever stronger, and despite the impropriety of harboring feelings for a servant, Layton’s heart whispers that this is the woman he’s destined to love. But when Layton’s fears about the past become too much to bear and the falsehoods in which they are entangled threaten to shatter his and Marion’s blossoming attachment, will true love conquer all?

This is my first book by Sarah M. Eden, and I can tell you this, it will not be my last. This was exactly what I was needing when I read it: sweet, innocent, and lovely. “Fluff” as I endearingly call it.  There are times in life when I just want a good and proper romance, nothing steamy (which I abhor), just something polite and warm. I loved reading about Marion and Layton and the sweet little 4-year-old Caroline. This was a nice short read that I enjoyed and was happy to find that this is the second book in a sequence about the Jonquil brothers. I look forward to reading the others. I think it shall become my guilty pleasure. It isn’t classical literature, but it sure gave me a good feeling when I finished it and made me smile in the reading. There’s a lot to be said for that.


I give it a 3 ¾ out of 5- above average for a proper little romance.

Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy

By Richard G. Scott

The gospel offers us the unmatched gifts of peace, happiness, and joy, but often these promised blessings seem elusive. In his long-anticipated book, Elder Scott powerfully outlines the truths we need to understand and embrace in order to experience these gifts. You’ll appreciate the encouragement, practical advice, and profound apostolic counsel from this trusted mentor.

There is nothing like Elder Scott looking directly into your eyes. Reading this book I kept hearing him speaking and what a wonderful talk it was. He has a way of making everything intimate and personal as well as personable. There are some fantastic chapters in here, and some that didn’t apply to me as much, but will definitely apply to someone else. This is a great book and I know I’ll read it again, which is saying something for me because usually I don’t revisit this genre unless it was incredibly worthwhile.

I give it a 4 out of 5

Leopard Moon

By Jeanette Battista

How do you disappear when you come from a family of predators?

A wereleopard, Kess is forced to flee her home and family in Miami once her brother’s obsession with her turns violent. She runs from city to city, trying to stay one step ahead of the investigators her family has dispatched to bring her home. Kess ends up in the mountains of North Carolina and attracts the attention of Cormac, a young man with a secret of his own. As she attempts to live as normal a life as her were-nature allows, her brother Sek continues to hunt for her. He believes she is the key to revitalizing their weakened clan and is driven to extreme measure to ensure their continued existence. As Kess’ relationship with Cormac deepens, Sek closes in, threatening Cormac’s life and Kess’ freedom.

Good gravy. I have so many issues with this book, which I don’t know why I thought might be different from the main stream stuff of the moment. Were-leopard seemed such a cool idea to me, and I’m really okay with paranormal romance if it’s not obsessive (ahem…Twilight) and well thought out. This book was wrong on so many levels. For one, I don’t know why I thought that in the synopsis when it said Kess’s brother was ‘obsessed’ with her that it wasn’t going to be incest. Stupid brain. I thought, no one would do that in a teen book! That’s disgusting. Nope. Wrong. It went there. Gross. And yet, yes reader, I did finish it. There wasn’t anything special about the characters in the book. Kess is beautiful, graceful, and in trouble, but able to handle herself. Cormac is like a gorgeous marble statue by Michaelangelo, as well as protective and almost immediately in love with Kess, who barely puts up any struggle at all. Sheesh. The only slightly interesting thing about this book was the way it put were-creatures into light, you had the wolves, bears and hyenas. That part was interesting, and not there as much as I would’ve liked. But, due to incest and lack of originality in the romance, I have no interest whatsoever in reading any more of this series. I’m thouroughly sick of this groundhog-day like plot that shows up in any book with romance for teens.

I give it a 1 ½ out of 5 for some interesting aspects.

The Alchemyst

By Michael Scott

He holds a secret that can end the world.

The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life.

The records show that he died in 1418.

But his tomb is empty.

The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects—the Book of Abraham the Mage. It’s the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hand, it will destroy the world. That’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it.


This has been on my to-read list since it came out years ago. When I found it for pennies at the local thrift store I picked it up to read. I have to say that I was peeved. The synopsis, of which I copied and pasted above, leads you astray as to the way this book is told. It is almost entirely told in the perspective of twins Sophie and Josh, who I was irritated were the main narrators. I was really hoping for a wicked-awesome story from Nicholas Flamel himself, but no, this is just another teens rescue the world book that happens to have a famous historical mentor figure. That said, after I got past my irritation (for the most part), I thought to myself, this series has potential. It’s not my favorite, but I also said that the first time I read Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, and it is now probably my favorite series next to Harry Potter, and I’ve read it just as much. So I’m cool with being wrong about first impressions. It did intrigue me enough to want to read the next book, so I’ll let you know if it’s worth a gander.


I give the first book a 3 out of 5- average.

The Whipping Boy

By Sid Fleischman

Prince Brat is the most horrid spoiled rotten kid in the whole kingdom, and being a prince, it makes him think he’s got a right to be. Jemmy is his whipping boy, the boy brought in whenever the prince does something worthy of a spanking, which is far more often than Jemmy likes. One day Prince Brat and Jemmy are kidnapped by two ruffians and it is up to Jemmy to try and save the prince, who can’t seem to keep his mouth shut, and show him that if he wants friends he needs to be a friend too.

I remember my teacher reading this out loud in second grade. I didn’t remember much because, frankly, my listening skills were horrible as a kid. I do remember that it was funny. So, when I found it the other day I thought, I can read this is one sitting, I’ll try it. This book is great. It’s a fun way to get kids to read and see that being a spoiled brat isn’t the way to win friends and get people to like you. It’s interesting even as an adult, which is the way I look at great kids writing: if you still value it as an adult, it’s a good book.

I give it a 3 ½ out of 5

W.A.R.P The Reluctant Assassin

By Eoin Colfer

Riley, an orphan living in Victorian London, has had the misfortune of being apprenticed to Albert Garrick, a former illusionist turned murderer, who now uses his conjuring skills to gain access to his victims’ dwellings. On one such escapade, Garrick brings his reluctant assistant along and urges him to commit his first killing. Riley is saved from having to complete the grisly act when the intended prey turns out to be a scientist from the future, part of the FBI’s Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (WARP). Riley is unwittingly transported via wormhole to modern-day London—with Garrick close on his heels.
In modern London, Riley is aided by Chevron Savano, a seventeen-year-old FBI agent. Together, Riley and Chevie must evade Garrick, who has been fundamentally altered by his trip thought the wormhole. Garrick is now not only evil, but he also possesses all of the scientist’s knowledge. He is determined to track down Riley and use the Timekey in Chevie’s possession to literally change the world.


I was pretty excited when I found out Eoin Colfer was writing another series for young adults. I loved Artemis Fowl (with a little less enthusiasm for some of the later books) and had fun reading Half Moon Investigations, The Supernaturalist, Airman, and The Wish List. Eoin Colfer is a fun writer with twisting plots and charismatic characters. WARP was a fun creation with Time Travel at its center. I was wishing I knew a few more details about Victorian London so I’d know what Colfer invented and what was fact.  This book seemed to me to combine some of the historical vibe from Airman and the sci-fi of both Artemis Fowl and The Supernaturalist.  The two protagonists were interesting and fun. Riley is a 14-year-old kid who is just trying to survive to eat his next meal, while keeping his guardian from killing his assistant (him). He has many talents thanks to his master, who taught him skills in fighting, lock-picking, thieving, and illusions. On the other side of the century is Chevron Savano, also an orphan and California native with Native American roots and a full training skill set from Quantico. When these two meet, and Riley’s mentor kills Chevie’s, they find themselves allied out of need and on the run to prevent the devil incarnate from changing history for the worse. This was a solid adventure, with some grisly details of stabbings and murders. There was a little mention of Jack the Ripper and I found myself scrunching up my face in distaste at the horrible person that Garrick is. I have high hopes for the next books in the series.

This was a 3 out of 5- average, good, exciting, but not ‘spectacular’