Sunday, December 30, 2012

TSS: Happy New Year

Hello everybody! Let me wish you a Happy New Year, full of books and happiness!. I'm writing this in advance while being forced to stay in because of the snow storm. We have been lucky, we still have power and other than the fact that we cannot see our car since is completely covered by snow, we are perfectly fine.

I used this day to catch up with the two reviews I had to post: Body Double and Rachel's Secret. Both were very nice books to read and since I'm sort off in vacation were fast reads too. Right now I just started The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. I've heard wonders about the book and since I'm doing the sequel challenge I figure I could tackle the first installment of this series and do the follow up during 2013.

This year I had a goal of 40 books and I'm very pleased with myself, since I accomplished it. Now the hard part is deciding what should be my goal for next year. You see, I am tempted to say 50, but I also know I have a big year ahead with my PhD and I hate not reaching my goals. So maybe I will go halfway and stick to a healthy 45. What do you think?.

What are your 2013 goals? book or non-book related. Do you guys work with a book goal?

You will also note that I now have all the legal props that apparently one should have when having a blog. I decided to do it since I've been spending a fair amount of time in the site now and I'm planning on changing my reviews a little bit. Just trying to make them more fun and hopefully more interesting ;).

Have a wonderful week and an amazing new year! Hope to see you visiting during 2013.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rachel's Secret by Shelly Sanders

Book Summary (From the book)

Rachel is a Jew living in Kishinev, Russia. At fourteen, Rachel knows that she wants more from life than the traditional role of wife and mother. She has dreams of being a writer. But everything is put on hold when a young Christian man is murdered and Rachel is forced to keep the murderer’s identity a secret. Tensions mount as the Christians’ distrust of the Jews is fueled by prejudice and rumour.

While Rachel keeps the truth to herself, she watches as lies and anti-Jewish propaganda leap off the pages of the local newspaper, inciting Christians to riot against the Jews. Violence breaks out on Easter Sunday, 1903, and when it finally ends, Rachel finds that the person she loves most is dead and that her home has been destroyed. As she struggles to survive the aftermath of the riots – or pogroms – support comes from someone totally unexpected, when a young Christian named Sergei turns against his father, a police officer complicit in the riots, to help Rachel.

With everything against them, the two young people find comfort in the bond that is growing between them, one of the few signs of goodness and hope in a time of chaos and violence.

My review

I got this book through a LybraryThing Giveaway. When I first asked for it I thought it was going to be mostly a love story under a lot of pressure. I was wrong. 

First of all, I had no idea that it was based/inspired in a real character, in this case Sander's grandmother. This explains all the details in this book. I love romanticised history and in this case the author had the "advantage" of having the details from a person who was actually there, and luckily survived such a terrible moment in history. 

I've always liked books that explain traditions and this book did a lovely work, both with Christian and Jewish ones. Also, seeing all the riots through the eyes of young people was something I really appreciated. Usually is the adults that provoke this type of events. Kids more often than not, think the way we tell them too, and this book showed this once again. All the prejudice against, in this case, the Jewish people, came from the adults that felt threatened and rumors were started and fed by the same people. Is sad to think that this type of behaviour has no changed; people feel threatened by what is strange to them and let fear take the best of their rationality.

I gave this book a 5 because it showed the sides of the story in a very human way. I liked the fact that the struggle Rachel has inside is not just the fact that she knows who killed her friend, she is fighting against 2 prejudices, her religion and the fact that she is a girl.

I appreciated the fact that Sergei grows in front of our eyes. The juvenile jealousy against Rachel taking "too much time with his friend" replaced by a questioning young adult, someone who listens to others and makes his own mind.

Without ruining the end for you I have to tell you that I wanted a different end, but this one was as full of emotion as the one I wanted.

Body Double (a.k.a.: Doble Cuerpo) by Tess Gerritsen

Book Summary (From the book)

In the brilliant new novel of suspense by the New York Times bestselling author, Boston medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles must face a savage serial killer and shattering personal revelations. As a pathologist in a major metropolitan city she has seen more than her share of corpses every day, but never before has the lifeless body on the medical examiner's table been her own. When a DNA test confirms that the mysterious doppelganger is her twin sister, an already bizarre murder investigation becomes a disturbing and dangerous excursion into a past full of dark secrets.

My review

My aunt gave me this book a couple of months ago, and it was just sitting in my bookshelf. Alas, I felt like reading in Spanish since it's been a while. I don't know how to explain this, but when you live 24/7 in 2 languages that are not your mother tongue, some of the most basic words start to slip away. 

Do you know the TV series "Bones"? I love it, but I haven't got to the books yet. Why do I bring this out you wonder, well for the whole first chapters of the book I kept feeling this book was a lot like Bones. it turns out, this book is the forth book in a series AND has a TV adaptation. Luckily for me, the books stands pretty well on his own. There are a couple of references to past situations, but the book centers on an specific case, which was nice.

Although the mystery was not as gruesome as I'm "getting used to" with the Swedish noir novellas I've been reading lately, it keeps you interested.  It was indeed a page turner and I'm happy to say that it was not easy to foresee the  resolution. I hate when I'm watching a show and in the middle of the episode I know what happened and there is no thrill to the action anymore.

I think I could like the characters as much as I like the ones in Bones. I've been told the book characters are very different from the one that Kathy Reichs wrote, but I still want to red some of the books. However, I did not feel like checking out the series based in Gerristsen work. 

This was a nice read, fast paced and full of mystery. I do not feel I have the right to critic the character building, because usually in series the characters are built through the whole thing, not just one book, and let's remember is the fourth book. I do wish we would've had a bit more of background for the bad guy(s) that appear in this installment.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams

Book Summary (From the book)

Meet Fritti Tailchaser, a ginger tom cat of rare courage and curiosity, a born survivor in a world of heroes and villains, of powerful feline gods and whiskery legends about those strange, furless, erect creatures called M'an. Join Tailchaser on his magical quest to rescue his catfriend Hushpad -a quest that will take him all the way to cat hell and beyond...

My review

Recently I read The Dirty Streets of Heaven and I liked it. So when Veronica talked about this book in the S&L podcast...well let's just say it really caught my attention.

The edition that I read had a special introduction from the author and right there it grabbed me:

         And for the first couple of years the I lived as a human domesticated by cats, it pretty much stayed that way [...]

A human domesticated by cats! I was reading this part with my cat on my legs, very carefully so he wouldn't be disturbed, and just couldn't help but smile to such sentence...because is completely true.

Are you a cat person? If you are not, is ok, I am, but I will not make a post telling you how awesome cats are in my opinion. But this is a book for a person that has interact with cats at least once. The way Williams describes the daily routine of the felines, they "dancing", the interactions is just possible if you had a cat. It was very amusing to me read a particular part, look up and see Hoppi doing the exact same thing. 

I really enjoyed the mythology that Williams created, the Gods, the way the world was created, how Man, oops, sorry, M'an came to be show a very good story telling ability.

I was a bit disappointed with what happens to Hushpad, Tailchaser's object of affection; I won't give  you much details, but I was actually proud of Tailchaser for his final decision. 

A lot of people, me included, will say that this book feels a little bit like LOTR with cats, and although there are several similar moments (just like HP has them too) I believe this book can stand on his own, thanks once again to the mythology construction.  

I wish there was a second part to the book, because there are some characters that I would love to know what happened to them after the whole ordeal.

This is another book that will go to my list of books to read to my kids, if ever I do have kids.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

TSS: Challenges...

During 2012 I joined my first reading challenge ever, the R.I.P event. Thanks to this "push" I read a bunch of books I was considering but never got to them. Around the same time, I round up the courage and did the 24 hour Read-a-Thon, and that gave me the opportunity to do nothing else than read, something I rarely do. And finally, I joined my first book club ever, the Sword and Laser book club and this opened my horizons to books that I didn't know about (like the Dirty Streets of Heaven) or books I was thinking about reading, but what if I don't like it (like Cloud Atlas).
Bottom line, this year I joined reading groups of different sorts. It was the encouragement of my boyfriend and the other people in those groups that motivated me to tackle certain books and certain subjects. So I was thinking that during 2013 I should not only remain in my book club, and re do the challenges (the read-a-thon will have to be on the fall session since I have a Pre-Doctorate exam coming Yikes!) but maybe join another challenge...this time a yearlong challenge. 

So I went to A Novel Challenge (great website BTW) and decided on my 2 new challenges of 2013, you can also find some information in the brand new tabs up here.

This is a very pretty challenge, in my opinion. We travel with our books, so why not add a map showing our trip, right?

2013 Sequel Reading Challenge 


I was already planning to read some sequels next year (fingers crossed most of them will be available in my library), so here is the perfect way to help me to make it happen.

What about you? Are you joining any new challenge this year? Any recommendations? I think I will stick to 2 new challenges, with school and all, but maybe you have THE perfect challenge for a girl like me :) 

Other than that I finally finished The Fat Years. Also my brother is spending the holidays with me (Insert Happy Dance Here); I will try to continue with regular posts, but I can't promise anything ;)

Have a great week everybody