Just Another Reader

I read a bit of everything. I read a lot, and I like what I like, though my opinions can change.

The Ghost Bride

The Ghost Bride - Yangsze Choo

A Ghost Bride is when a woman is married to a dead man to soothe his restless spirit. When the richest family in the town of Malacca in Malaya loses their son and heir, they go to a family whose debt they owe to find a bride for him, Li Lan.


Li Lan doesn't wish to be a ghost bride and her dreams soon turn to nightmares as she is visited by the spirit of the son from the spirit world. She ends up entering the world and not being able to get back to body.


I did like the writing and the setting was beautiful, but I wasn't able to get into the book.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

Another reread for my Hogwarts Challenge. A bit weird since I read #2 before this, but I've read the whole series more than once.


HPSS is a strong start to the series. I remember hearing that the first chapter was a bit weird and hard to get into, but after that the story flows. But after having read the entire series, the first chapter has so many little nods and mentions that pay off it's a joy to reread.


I do always forget how short the book is, particularly how long it takes to get to Hogwarts. It's a great book and start to a classic series. 

Garden Spells

Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

I picked up Garden Spells for my ongoing Hogwarts Challenge, as it could on its own net me 8 points. 


I had never heard of it, but I really enjoyed reading it. The story follows the Waverly family who live in a town full of families with long histories and unusual traits, from dating older women, to gossiping, to one man being the strongest person in town even in his 90s.


The Waverly family is considered odd, even compared to the rest of the town. Each member seems to have some sort of ability, and the tree in the backyard has a mind of its own and apples that will supposedly show you either the best or worst moment of your life.


Claire is an amazing baker/chef/caterer whose food can bring joy and sadness. But everyone leaves her and she doesn't know how to act with an attractive interested neighbor. Her younger sister Sydney shows up after ten years with a daughter, Bay. Bay knows that they belong there. Claire's older cousin brings humor to the book in that she feels the need to give people things that they will need, even if she doesn't know why.


I loved the relationship between the two sisters as they grow to learn about each other. We don't get a lot of flashbacks to their childhood, but it's clear they were never close and we get to see a bond form in this book.


I really enjoyed this book and plan to pick up more by the author.

Twice a Month Update #2

Still ahead of schedule. My reading has slowed down a bit since the main challenge I was reading for is done, but the overall challenge runs the entire year. It is deciding my books for me a bit more than I'd prefer, but I'm managing to work in what I want to read where I can. 


Books finished in 2015:

  • 10 Things I Hate About You by David Leviathan
  • Balanced on Blade's Edge by Lindsay Buroker
  • Inuyasha Volume 11: Scars of the Past by Rumiko Takahashi
  • Inuyasha Volume 12: Trials and Traps by Rumiko Takahashi
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
  • Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
  • Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
  • Tris's Book by Tamora Pierce

In the middle of:

  • Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
  • Hyperion by Dan Simmons, narrated by Marc Vietor, Allyson Johnson, Kenvin Pariseau, Jay Snyder, and Victor Bevine
  • Burned by Karen Marie Moning, narrated by Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross


Books Read in 2014:



On Track?

10 books ahead of schedule


Reviews to write:



Pages read in 2015 (to be added monthly):

Will add in later, I don't have access to my spreadsheet at the moment


Favorite Reads:

January: Oracle's Moon by Thea Harrison













Favorite book of 2015 thus far:

Oracle's Moon by Thea Harrison


Inuyasha Volumes 11 and 12

InuYasha, Volume 11: A Feudal Fairy Tale - Rumiko Takahashi Inuyasha, Volume 12 - Rumiko Takahashi

Finally managed to read some manga, I do really want to finish this series this year. Ideally soon.


These volumes feature imposter gods, injured wind tunnels, resurrected siblings, and nice demons. Many of the plotlines were present in the anime and I was familiar with them. Still enjoying the series, but I am getting a bit antsy for a later arc.


Balanced on the Blade's Edge

Balanced on the Blade's Edge - Lindsay Buroker

Balanced on the Blade's Edge is a steampunk fantasy about Ridgewater Zirkander, who gets on the bad side of the wrong politician and gets reassigned to a prison camp.  A new prisoner is the mysterious Sardelle, who wakes up after being in stasis for 300 years and tries to understand her new world when her people are dead and a magic user like her would be executed.


The series is from the same author of the Emperor's Edge series that I read and loved last year. I did like this book, but not as much. I think I will read another since the rest of the series seems to be more standalone and I do like her writing.

10 Things I Hate About You

Ten Things I Hate about You - David Levithan

Yes, it's an adaptation of the 90s movie. The movie is amazing and I do recommend it if you have not seen it. I was watching it the other day and found out there was a book adaptation.


The book follows the movie almost exactly told from the points of view of the different characters.  Since I had seen it recently (and have watched it numerous times before then) I did notice when some of the dialogue was different. For the most part, I found it toned down most of the dialogue. 


I was hoping it would add to the movie and it did include a few scenes that weren't in the movie, but I knew were deleted scenes from the bloopers at the end. But it's not necessary. 


The movie is amazing though.



One Foot in the Grave

One Foot in the Grave - Jeaniene Frost

I'm really enjoying this series. As I read I always make guesses of what's going to happen next and while this book isn't being really shocking or anything, everytime I think oh I hope this isn't going to dragged out or angsty, it's not.


The book takes place four years after Halfway to the Grave ended. Cat has been leading a government team against vampires and has gotten quite a reputation for herself. 


That reputation gets her attention and someone is able to connect Cat to her current location and identity.  Luckily, her old flame Bones, who she hasn't seen since she took off on him that four years ago, pops back into her life and is able to help.


Don't know if I'm doing this series any justice, but it's a lot of fun and it works. I loved the end and look forward to where it goes.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Journey to the Center of the Earth - Jules Verne

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a big classic scifi novel. Professor Lidenbrock finds a mysterious coded message in a recent purchase and his nephew Axel manages to decode it to find a way to the center of the earth. Times wasting so Professor Lindenbrock immediately packs up and leaves with Axel for an incredible adventure.

The book just isn't for me though. It's okay, but the style and datedness of the science. Granted, I wonder what some people will think of our scifi someday.      

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was always my least favorite of the books. There weren't any standout moments that stayed with me like in the other books and there was an extended scene with giant spiders. I hate spiders.

But rereading this is a joy and I love the series. I did like the introduction of Tom Riddle and the shock at the end of who he was. This book also has Lockhart who is hilarious. It still isn't my favorite, but rereading it did remind me of how much I do love it.      

The Chronicles of Pern

The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall - Anne McCaffrey

The Chronicles of Pern is one of the many Dragonriders of Pern books, one of my favorite series. This book is a collection of five short stories which take place before and after Dragonsdawn, which detailed the Pern landing party and colonization.

It has been a while since I have read the series and a few of the stories would have benefited more from me being more familiar with Dragonsdawn, but it was still enjoyable. The first tale is fun in that it explains how the planet was named: Parallel Earth; Resources Negligible.

My favorite story was the fourth and longest, where they plan to set up more Weyrs. At the time they only had one for the dragons, but with the expanding colonization of the planet and growing number of dragons, they needed more. It introduces Torene, who is mentioned in the first book Dragonflight, and her ability to hear all dragons. We also see the first instances of the popular practice of shortening your name when you become a dragonrider.      

The Giver

The Giver - Lois Lowry

The Giver is a classic YA dystopian. In fact I had to read it for sixth grade English. I even still have my copy with its highlights.

It features Jonas who lives in a strict society. We see the book through his eyes so initially everything seems normal. But as the book goes on we learn how everything is assigned from their job, their spouse, children, etc.

At age 12, children are given a career path. Jonas is assigned the mysterious job of the Receiver. He meets the Giver who holds many human memories that he uses to advise society and he passes on the memories to Jonas.

As Jonas learns about colors and love and family and what life can be like, he also learns to horrors of his community and must decide where his future and that of society should lie.      

This Wicked Gift

This Wicked Gift (A Carhart Series Novella) (Entangled Edge) - Courtney Milan

I recently read Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series and decided to go back to her earlier works. This Wicked Gift is a prequel novella to her Carhart, introducing William White and Lavina Spencer and it was her first published work.

I did like the story and the version I have includes commentary from the author and how she wanted to write a story where the man is racked with guilt over taking advantage of the woman and the woman is fine with it. I do think the beginning portion to set up that situation felt rushed and I would have liked to see it developed more. It did set the standard for Courtney Milan and her unconventional historical romances.

Regardless, I enjoyed the book and I think she has gotten a lot better over the years. I look forward to continuing to make my way through her older books in time for her new ones.      

Oracle's Moon

Oracle's Moon - Thea Harrison

I always feel bad when I'm reading a romance series and I figure out who the next couple is and am more interested in them than the current pair

About 2/3s of the way into Serpent's Kiss I realized I had no idea who the next couple were. I had thought that the series would continue with more of Dragos's sentinels, but we hadn't seen them in a long time. I thought, well there's that Djinn that keeps popping up. But who would he be paired with?

The end of that book involved the Djinn travelling with the pair to meet the Oracle. Once they met I knew this was the next couple and I was excited to read it.

Khalil is Djinn, who after bringing trouble right to the Oracle's doorstep, decides to stay and be her protector. Grace, the current Oracle, is not happy about this.

The line of the Oracle runs all the way back from Delphi and has passed between the women of her family. Grace and her older sister Petra lived with their Oracle grandmother after their parents' death. The power passed to Petra when the grandmother died. Three months ago, Petra, her husband Niko, and Grace were in a car accident that killed Petra and Niko and crippled Grace. Grace is now the new Oracle and caretaker to her young niece and nephew her sister left behind.

Dealing with a Djinn Prince is not something she wants as she struggles to adjust to her new power and responsibilities. He refuses to leave and promises to help her and the children.

The book doesn't have the same focus on Wyr politics the previous ones did, though we do learn about how the human witches fit in.

The book focuses more on Grace and Khalil as they get to know and care for each other. Khalid was hilarious, unintentionally, and he can "achieve" pancakes for me any day. Grace was strong and real as she tries to care for and protect her kids and learns more about the origins and extent of her powers.

The two are now one of my favorite fictional couples.      

How to Break a Dragon's Heart

How to Train Your Dragon: How to Break a Dragon's Heart - Cressida Cowell, David Tennant

Another amazing David Tennant narrated dragon adventure with Hiccup, Toothless, Fishlegs, Camicazi.

I love this series and the audiobooks are insanely fun to listen to. David Tennant is a perfect narrator and I never want this series to end. However, I went into this series knowing that there will be an end, and it will explain why there are no longer dragons in the world.

Book 8 in the series continues the story. Camicazi has gone missing and the Hooligan tribe has turned out to look for her. But they landed on the wrong beach, a love letter was sent to the wrong girl (well the right one, but sending it was a bad idea), Hiccup is volunteered for a deadly task (as usual), and everything goes wrong (as always)

But in the meantime, we find out about Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Second (ancestor of our main character who is the third in the line) and why he wrote a book about dragons. We also get the setup for why the dragons have left our world (or whatever has happened to them). Or at least an idea of what could have happened.

I really look forward to the rest of this series. I've read it's only going to be 12 books so I'm getting near the end :(      


Talon - Julie Kagawa

So take your Romeo and Juliet, where Romeo works for the Order of Saint George and Juliet is a dragon who is learning to assimilate with humans, aka Garrett and Ember. St. George almost hunted dragons to extinction so since then dragons have stayed out of the public eye. They live and train their young and can shift into human form. The Order of St. George hunts dragons. All in modern times with teenagers. That pretty much sums up the book.

I love dragons. Really love dragons. And while there were parts of the story I liked, there was also a love triangle introduced about halfway through that will likely become more of focus in the future books. A lot of the world set up also felt undeveloped due to it being secretive.

Regardless, I'm curious enough to see where it will go and like the author enough that I will keep reading. Also I really like dragons.