Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book Review: Cast in Peril by Michelle Sagara

book cover of 

Cast in Peril 

 (Chronicles of Elantra, book 8)


Michelle SagaraCast in Peril
by Michelle Sagara

Genre: Fantasy / Mystery

Ages: 14 and up

This is the eighth book in the Chronicles of Elantra.

I received an advance e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.



It has been a busy few weeks for Private Kaylin Neva. In between angling for a promotion, sharing her room with the last living female Dragon and dealing with more refugees than anyone knew what to do with, the unusual egg she'd been given was ready to hatch. Actually, that turned out to be lucky, because it absorbed the energy from the bomb that went off in her quarters....

So now might be the perfect time to leave Elantra and journey to the West March with the Barrani. If not for the disappearances of citizens in the fief of Tiamaris-disappearances traced to the very Barrani Kaylin will be traveling with...

My Thoughts:

I feel like the series is finally getting somewhere! Upon discovering this series last year, I knew I loved the characters, but as it went on I began to wonder if the plot was going to continue meandering on in the general direction of learning something about Kaylin's 'Chosen' status or just fizzle out. This book reassured me, and now I can hardly wait for the next one.

One thing I loved about this book is that there were actually signs of Severn and Kaylin's relationship changing. Anyone who has read the earlier books knows what I mean. Will they keep to the pattern of caring but not touching, or will we get a kiss? That is one of the delightful questions that keeps you  in suspense throughout the series.

Cast in Peril starts with a bang - literally - when someone throws a bomb through Kaylin's window. Is she the target, or is her roommate, who happens to be the only female dragon? They survive due to the hatching of a most peculiar creature who is in itself a mystery. Since the emotions of everyone other than Kaylin tend to be kind of subdued in this series, it was interesting to watch the various reactions from her friends.

All in all, this was one of my favorite books in the series, but I still wish Ms. Sagara would pick up the pace a little.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I give it a 3.10 for a couple of insulting terms.

I rate it a 2.10 for mild sexual references.

I give it a 5.10 for fighting and death.

                              Lieder Madchen

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pics I've been meaning to post...And a recipe, sort of.

Here are some pics from my year. One is as old as April, a few are from May when I got my lovely new camera and several are from the past week. Enjoy. :)

Here is a picture of me (left), Kimberley Derting (middle) and my sister (right). We were at Powell's for a book signing and all the lights went out, which is why it is so dark. Ms. Derting's son was kind enough to be our photographer.

Pics from the Saengerfest:
 This is from the Nitobe Memorial Garden in Vancouver, B.C. One of my choir friends (name not shown to protect her identity) knows the gardener so we got in before hours. It was very quiet and lovely.

Also from the Japanese garden.

 Genuine Canadian Canada geese. :)

The church filling up for the Saengerfest. Sorry, but I don't have any pics of my choir singing.

 The Olympic Stadium through a car window.

 Vancouver's skyline.

More of Vancouver's skyline...not exactly sure what that building is, but it's cool.

 Entering Chinatown, the coolest part of the trip.

 The Jimmy Hendrix shrine.

 Dried squid.

 Mutant cucumbers. Yes, those are full-sized cabbages being dwarfed.

Me all dressed up for the party at the Hellenic Cultural Center. Don't ask me why the German choir was partying in a Greek building; we were in the Croatian Cultural Center the night before.

 A quick stop at a book store on the way home. Just because. :)

A frog. What more welcome could one ask for?

 A pretty flower.

 Conor the mouse.
Another pretty flower.
Fritz enjoying Insurgent.
Yet another pretty flower.

Waiting for a train to take me and my cousin on an adventure in Portland.

 A bridge in Portland.

 People at the Saturday Market.

 Cutlery art.

 Metal personages.

A cool statue at Chinatown.

 An interesting fountain.

Me and Monet.

 What to do with this overabundance of tomatoes?

 Let's wash them and lay them out...preparing for the slaughter.

 Tomato guts.

 Here are some peppers to throw in.

And some onions...

 Looks like we're getting somewhere.

 Lots of limes.

 Salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne and vinegar for flavoring.

And then lots and lots and lots of cilantro. Let it sit overnight and you have a lovely salsa. Of course, I still have enough tomatoes for five more batches....

                            Lieder Madchen

Monday, September 3, 2012

Series Review: Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio

Girl Genius
story by Phil and Kaja Foglio, drawings by Phil Foglio, colors by Cheyenne Wright

Genre: Steampunk / Science Fiction / Alternative / WebComic / Graphic Novel / Young Adult

Ages: 13 and up


The Industrial Revolution has become all-out war! Mad Scientists, gifted with the Spark of genius, unleash insane inventions on an unprepared Europe. For centuries, the Heterodyne family of inventors kept the peace, but the last Heterodyne disappeared twenty years ago, leaving their ally Baron Klaus Wulfenbach to maintain order with his fleet of airships and army of unstoppable, if not very bright, Jaeger Monsters.

At Transylvania Polygnostic University, Agatha Clay dreams of being a scientist herself, but her trouble concentrating dooms her to be a lowly minion at best. When her locket, a family heirloom, is stolen, Agatha shows signs of having the Spark in a spectacular, destructive fashion and captures the attention of the Baron—and the Baron’s handsome young son, Gilgamesh.

Swept up to the Baron's Airship City, Agatha finds herself in the midst of the greatest minds of her generation, as well as palace intrigue, dashing heroes, and an imperial cat. Agatha may be the most brilliant mind of her generation and the key to control of the continent, but first, she just has to survive.

My Thoughts:

This is so freaking awesome! This series was recommended to me many times, first by my brother and then by multiple online friends, so I finally gave it a shot. I'm not usually big on comics or graphic novels, but I went through this whole series in four days. Ten years worth of mad scientists, zany monsters, romantic hilarity and more squished into ninety-six hours with at least fifteen cups of coffee...It's a wonder my brain didn't start leaking out of my ears...oh, wait, what is that grey stuff on my shirt?...Sorry, I shall endeavor to be serious. It is difficult, since I only finished the last page a couple of hours ago and I'm still drinking too much coffee.

Okay...(a few hours later with time to calm down) I can get to the serious review. A-ha! They posted a new page! Sorry, I must go for a minute...Ok, I'm back. This is turning into the most peculiar review. Anyway, so, first of all, I love the characters. I had to have fallen in love with the Jagers first, then everyone else nearly as quickly. I love the bantering interplay between them all, particularly when Gil and Tarvek meet...oh, yeah, that was way too much fun. Agatha is brilliant, first as she comes to terms with her sudden lifestyle changes and then as she starts to truly enjoy herself. She comes to enjoy herself just a little too much at times...

I love the bizarre tangents the story runs off in so frequently, I love the sheer quirkiness of any given page, I love the explosions, the gadgets, the Big Awesome Plant...what isn't to like? Plus there's the fact that you can read the ENTIRE thing online without taking any breaks, staying up to ridiculous hours until your eyeballs start to dry up like raisins and drinking coffee until you twitch at any sudden noise!

The art is lovely, full of fascinating details if you look at it closely enough. I enjoy reading the signs and labels scattered around. The outfits are so lavishly odd that sometimes you just have to sit there blinking at them for a bit. Most impressive. Not to mention the hats.

I would recommend this to lovers of steampunk, silliness, graphic novels or just plain fun. It was enervating, it was unnerving, and it was completely marvelous. Go here for the first page. You won't be able to stop.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I would rate it a 3.10 for mostly mild swearing.

I would give it a 3.10 for quite a bit of innuendo that was for the most part harmless.

I rate it a 6.10 for quite a bit of cartoon violence, most of which is shown with bright red blood.

                           Lieder Madchen