Friday, November 25, 2011

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters

by Natalie Standiford

Grade: Unfinished
Read: To page 154.

Reveiw: To page 154, because that's where she began to diss Catholic theology. There would be two excuses for this scene here:
1. Standiford is a non-Catholic who thinks she knows what Catholicism is from the media or something. In which case, I stopped reading because the thought of how ignorant people are of Catholicism drives me crazy and I don't need to feel crazy right now.
2. Standiford went to Catholic school herself, and this is based off her experience. In which case, no WONDER there are troubles in the Church. Those nuns were totally ignorant of anything. I mean, the questions Jane asks them are questions that any Catholic should be able to immediately answer off the top of their head. Grrrrrr. And the way they just cut her off and refused to even attempt to answer? "Catholic theology is very complicated", my foot.

(Also, Jane was talking about the Eucharist in a way that made me slightly uncomfortable. I don't know if it was bad, but I didn't feel like reading it. So I didn't.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mary, Mother of the Son Vol. I: Modern Myths and Ancient Truth

by Mark Shea

Grade: To Own

Review: Mark Shea is fabulous. Utterly awesome. As might be obvious from the title, this book is in a sense mostly aimed at the Protestant view of Mary. However, I find that most of the secular objections to Catholicism find their root in a Protestant mentality. And Mark Shea is especially good at linking his defense of the Catholic Church against Protestantism with defense of the Church against secularism and atheism. Thus his discussions of The DaVinci Code, and the "pagan" roots of Christmas and other religious holidays, among others.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Magicians and Mrs. Quent

by Galen Beckett

Grade: Good
Story: Ivy Lockwell gets drawn into mystery, magic, and love. Plus there's a magic forest, a cryptic riddle, a Mr. Rochester (complete with moors), and an insane asylum.

Review: This was a little uneven for me. Firstly because of the way the book was divided up. The first third was totally Jane Austen, the second third was Bronte, the last third was...I don't know, Charles Dickens? Or more likely just pure Galen Beckett. Whatever it was, it was not as obvious as the first two thirds. Anyway, it was also divided up between view points. There was Ivy Lockwell, poor and eldest of three sisters; Dashton Rafferdy, dashing (what do you know) and rich and bored; and Eldyn Garritt, poor and desperate and strangely attracted to a particular angel statue which hangs out outside the church. So I actually rather liked the interspertion of Rafferdy's and Ivy's points of view. It worked well, especially with how their story lines worked out. But Eldyn? He totally had nothing to do with the story. Ok, so he saved the life of somebody's father, and he met with Rafferdy once or twice, but really he SO did not deserve his own story line. Plus he annoyed me a bit, so there was that. And he was so mean to his sister.

But the story itself was interesting. I like the magic system in this book. I loved all the "umbral" and "lumenal" stuff--the varying lengths of nights and days. It poses a lot of questions, though. What about seasons? Do they have them at all? How on earth do they know enough to have an almanac? I liked the way the Romance turned out, mostly. It was somewhat unexpected in some ways. I liked the characters: Ivy was awesome; her sisters were great too; I started out not liking Rafferdy at all, but by the end I loved him; I didn't like Eldyn, but I already mentioned that.

Besides all this, I think I can really say that historical fantasy really is one of my top genres. "Historical fantasy" as in historical fiction, but from some alternate universe where magic is as common as technology.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


by Veronica Roth

Grade: Good
Story: Beatrice lives in a dystopian world where you choose the future course of your life by choosing a "faction".

Review: I had been told by someone that this book was so amazingly awesome that it was BETTER than Hunger Games! It's not. Not to say that it isn't engrossing, intriguing, and entertaining. It is. It's just not Hunger Games.

Anyway, now that's out of the way, let's talk about the actual book.
--I love the idea of factions, just like I love the Houses in Harry Potter. They could even be roughly equivalent: Erudite=Ravenclaw, Dauntless=Gryffindor, Amnity=Hufflepuff. None of them quite equal Slytherin, though.
--I love physical training stories, like this and Hunger Games and Poison Study.
--I love dystopia and worlds of the future where you can see hints of the world we live in now.
--I love books that are fast-paced and plot-filled, which I finish in a day.
--I love siblings, but I don't love siblings that hardly show up at all. I was looking forward to Caleb/Tris stuff, and it hardly ever happened.
--I don't love Romance, except when I really love it, which is rare. This was not one of those rare occasions. But the plot and general cool dystopian-ness was enough for me to be able to ignore it.

P.S. Definitely looking forward to the sequel. The cover shows the symbol for Amity on the front, which should be cool. They weren't in this one much, so I'd like to learn more about them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


by Heather Dixon

Grade: Good
Story: The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Plus an Evil King, a Bertie Wooster, a Family Tragedy, a set of Magic Sugar Tongs, and Lots and Lots of Dancing.

Review: I almost, almost stopped reading this one on page 18. I was annoyed by the meeting between Azalea and her love interest, as seems to happen so often with me. And then I stop and never finish.
BUT. But, but, but! I may, perhaps, just maybe, be getting over my terrible inability! Because THIS time, I continued! I looked at the back, confirmed to myself that he was the love interest, sighed to myself and thought "Oh well, there goes another awesome book back to the library simply because I have an issue with Romance." But then something came over me, and I decided I did not care. I read on! In fact, I read through almost all my classes (not usually recommended, that) and finished less than 24 hours after I started.

Now before you get too excited and think that I am over my Romance issues forever, it is important to observe a few points:
--The Romance was really quite minimal. In fact, I'm almost glad I didn't love it, because perhaps if I did like it I would have been disappointed. Not that  in the past even minimal Romance hasn't stopped me from reading books before, because it most certainly has.
--However many times his eyes were described (which usually bothers me), he was never described as "sexy" or "incredibly handsome" or any such thing. In fact, the person who was MOST described thusly was...well, spoilers. Anyway, so all the descriptions of him really seemed more like it was simply Azalea falling in love, as opposed to the way so many books seem to be trying to force ME to fall in love as well. And I DO NOT want to love the hero of a book unless I really like him, and not just his sexy eyes. Anyway.
--There were sisters. 11 of them. (This IS the Twelve Dancing Princesses, after all, and in my opinion, you should always try to actually have twelve of them, and not just some "large" number like...5.) And some of them have Romances of their own. Romances that I felt quite free to love very much. If this were not the case, I probably would have put down the book.

And besides all this, there's simply the fact that this was really a story about a family. And they seemed like a family. The sisters were adorable, and I love siblings.

(Plus Lord Teddie = Bertie Wooster. Ha ha!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Ghosts of Ashbury High

by Jaclyn Moriarty

Grade: Good
Story: Riley and Amelia show up at Ashbury High, and all of a sudden there's betrayal, Irish folk tales, Gothic literature, and lots of GHOSTS!

Review: I was in a bit of a reading slump, you may have noticed from the lack of reviews recently. But I should have known this would be the one to get me out of it. Jaclyn Moriarty is AWESOME. She's one of the few people whom I don't have to fall in love with a particular character or relationship or plot device, but simply love her story and writing and ALL her characters. (I that I think of it I'm not so sure...DO excuse the vagueness of this review. It's NaNoWriMo and Midterms at the same time. My brain is SHOT.)

I mean:
Emily--Normally I think she would bug me, done by a different author, but SHE. She is hilarious and amazing.
Lydia--Complex, fascinating, awesome.
Toby--Sweet, imaginative, filled with fascinating thoughts on Black Holes.
Riley--Bursting with all sorts of suppressed emotions, thus rather fascinating as well.
Amelia--Not as interesting on her own, but what a presence!

None of these characters, or the myriad of others that show up in smaller roles, are the "types" I would usually like. But Moriarty takes them all past their stereotypes, and writes a cracking good story with mystery, development, lots of school (I love school!), and GHOSTS! (Maybe.)

Not quite as awesome as The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, but awesome all the same.