My life sure did get hectic for me over the past few months and although I did some reading (not as much as I would like) I did not take the time to get on here to write the reviews. I thought about it a lot if that counts for anything, then it got to the point where it had been so long since I had written that it seemed impossible to get started writing the reviews. Then there is the problem of remembering both the names of the books I read as well as what I thought of them. I will do my best to catch myself up and get myself to the 1/4 cannonball goal for 2013.
I had rather enjoyed his first book, and reading over that review it seemed I felt at the time that the second was not quite as good. I had written that before I had finished reading it, but as I recall I didn’t love it but it wasn’t too bad either.
Title: Frozen In Time Author: Mitchell Zuckoff Source: from publisher for review Rating: Fun Fact: The Greenland coastline is longer than the distance around the equator. Review Summary: Another awesome example of narrative non-fiction from Zuckoff, packed with adventure, drama, and a personal touch that makes the reader feel like the know the people involved.
During WWII, planes routinely used Greenland as a staging point to get from the US to Europe. From this story, it seems as though planes almost as routinely ended up crashing due to the wind and poor visibility! In Frozen In Time, a B-17 participating in a search and rescue mission crash lands with all men on board miraculously surviving the crash. A Gruman Duck amphibious plane which is part of a daring rescue mission crashes as well and since none of the men on board survived, the plane is never retrieved. Frozen In Time tells both the story of the many daring rescue attempts necessary to retrieve the men aboard the B-17 and the modern day story of the hunt for the lost Duck.
Title: Fear in the Sunlight Author: Nicola Upson Source: from publisher for review Rating: Review Summary: I almost really loved this well-written, atmospheric mystery, but the end was just too unsatisfying.
Mystery writer Josephine Tey is in Portmeirion to meet with Alfred Hitchcock and his wife about a film deal. Hitchcock is also in Portmeirion to scout the location and set up tricks to reveal his crews response to guilt and fear. In this tense atmosphere, no one is prepared to deal with the murder of two women on the island. The island police don’t seem particularly interested in finding the killer and it’s only years later that another murder connected to a Hitchcock film begins to lead to the truth.
Title: It’s Only A Movie Author: Charlotte Chandler Source: library Rating: Fun Fact: Hitchcock once had a set showing a city street in Holland built complete with working street cars and sewers to drain the fake rain. Review Summary: The book was a very light read composed mainly of quotes that made me feel like I really got to know Hitchcock.
It’s Only a Movie is a very comprehensive biography, covering Hitchcock’s career from his beginnings as a title designer through the final movie he was never able to complete. Even the plots of his movies are included. Mostly though, this was an intimate portrait of the man, told through quotes from him and those who knew him.
Title: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) Author: Marissa Meyer Source: library Rating: Review Summary: Creative, awesome world-building and interesting protagonists made this an enjoyable read very similar to Cinderbut the lack of action was disappointing.
Loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood, Scarlet’s story starts as she searches for her missing grandmother. Along the way, she meets the dark and handsome street fighter Wolf who might be able to help her, if she can trust him. We also learn a little more about Cinder’s escape and how she might be connected to Scarlet’s grandmother.
Title: Under the Tuscan Sun Author: Frances Mayes Source: library Rating: Review Summary: This is a wholesome, lovely, refreshing read with lyrical prose describing a beautiful location but it is a little undirected.
First let me tell you what this book isn’t. It’s nothing like the movie; it’s not a romance; and it isn’t even a book with much of a plot. Instead, it’s a beautiful collection of anecdotes loosely tied together by the progression of time. The primary focus is on the author’s experiences restoring a Tuscan villa, but her focus on food is a close second. Some of her experiences as a tourist remind me of a travel memoir, but I particularly enjoyed the other parts that describe the experience of actually living in Italy.
Title: Special Offers Author: M. L. Ryan Source: from publisher for review Rating: Review Summary: A nice light read with a well developed paranormal element, a fun romantic sub-plot, and a great sense of humor.
When Hailey orders a cheaper kindle with “special offers”, she gets more than she bargained for. Through a strange series of events, a super-natural being named Sebastian has been trapped in the kindle and is released to inhabit Hailey’s body when she turns the kindle on. Fortunately for Hailey, another super-natural (and also super sexy) being is look for Sebastian. With his help, perhaps she’ll be able to retrieve Sebastian’s body from his killer and put him back where he belongs.
Title: Etiquette and Espionage Author: Gail Carriger Source: library Rating: Review Summary: Great world building, a strong female protagonist, no angsty relationships, and an incredibly fun boarding school. This one’s a keeper.
Etiquette and Espionage, Gail Carriger’s first foray into young adult fiction, is set in the same fascinating world as her Parasol Protectorate series with its enjoyable blend of fantasy and steampunk elements. As a bit of a tomboy, Sophronia doesn’t quite fit her mother’s idea of a proper lady, so her mother is thrilled to send Sophronia off to finishing school. Fortunately for Sophronia, the finishing school is not what her mother thinks, teaching young ladies not only the “fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but [also how] to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course” (source) .
Title: The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World Author: Michael Pollan Source: library Rating: Fun Fact: A tulip grown from seed doesn’t flower for 7 years! Review Summary: This was one of the most fun non-fiction books I’ve read, because of both the content and the author’s enthusiasm.
The author’s starting premise in The Botany of Desire has two fascinating parts. First, that plants benefit greatly from domestication, so our relationship with them could just as easily be viewed as them domesticating us. And second, that domesticated plants have evolved to meet some basic human desire, making plants of the past a great way to learn about what previous civilizations valued. The bulk of the book is devoted to stories of particular plants that illustrate this point. Although I expected more of a history of the plants in question (the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato), I very much enjoyed the collection of anecdotes presented instead.
Title: And Then She Fell Author: Stephanie Laurens Source: from publisher for review Rating: Review Summary: The unique premise and appealing heroine made this both a great romance and an exciting mystery.
Henrietta Cynster doesn’t believe she’s meant to fall in love. Instead she’s devoted her time to helping other young women determine if their suitors are truly motivated by love. However, when she breaks up a match that was motivated by good intentions (but not love) she feels honor-bound to help James find another bride. This being a romance, Henrietta and James are immediately attracted to one another, but their own stubbornness and some societal constraints have to be overcome before they realize it. Once they do, the book becomes largely a mystery, although one intended mainly to highlight the depths of their feeling for each other.