Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sapphire Blue

Sapphire Blue picks up where Ruby Red left off--Gwen and her time traveling partner Gideon are making regular trips back in time to meet with Count Saint Germain and others to work out the mystery of why they are the last time travelers and why their distant cousins Lucy and Paul have stolen the other chronograph to keep the Circle from closing. Gwen is seen as a poor replacement for her cousin Charlotte and Gideon keeps giving her mixed signals. Despite all this, Gwen begins investigating on her own, running into a young version of her beloved grandfather who decides to help her. Danger lurks; Gwen suffers humiliation; people aren't who they seem to be. This middle book sets the stage nicely for the final book, Emerald Green.

I love Gwen because she's such a real character who puts up with a lot of nonsense from those who should be most supportive. She's tough and she doesn't play by the rules, but her weakness is obviously the hard to read Gideon. He was quite irritating throughout this book, never giving clear vibes as to his intentions and what he knows about the Circle. The real surprise for me was that I liked the appearance of Xemerius, a ghost demon only seen by Gwen; usually these types of characters make me lose interest in a story because they seem silly, but Xemerius is actually funny and helpful in ways almost none of the humans are. In general, I'm pretty irritated by the secrecy and arrogance of the adults and Gideon, and will be glad to see if Gwen can take them all down a few pegs as she solves the mystery.

Sometimes a middle book in a series suffers from lack of action and the addition of non-essential information, but Sapphire Blue seems to have transcended those issues and gives a good story that furthers the overall plot well. I love Gwen and can't wait to see where all this time traveling ends up...but it looks like I've got a year to wait until the final book comes out.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Son by Lois Lowry

The fourth book in Lois Lowry's The Giver series, Son begins at roughly the same time as The Giver but from the viewpoint of Claire, a young birthmother. Claire gives birth to a boy but something goes wrong and she must have a c-section, thus ending her days as a birthmother. She finds herself reassigned to work in the hatchery, but somewhere along the way, she realizes something is odd...she misses the "product" she gave birth to. With just a few clues, Claire is able to track her son down in the newchildren's care giving center--and we, the long time readers, realize it's Gabe, the baby Jonas took with him at the end of The Giver. It's a good way to begin the book Son; it gives us another perspective on the community in the days leading up to Jonas's flight.

Son is mostly about Claire and her years long quest to find Gabe after Jonas leaves with the toddler. Claire winds up in an isolated village, the victim of a shipwreck, and spends a good deal of time training to climb a very steep cliff that will lead her on. Along the way, she is befriended by Einar, a lame young man who also once tried to escape the village, and while there is nothing explicit between them, the reader definitely gets the sense that if Claire stayed, there would be a relationship. Once she completes her mission, she runs into the mysterious Trademaster from The Messenger, who exacts a massive toll to reunite Claire with her son.

There is so much to love in Son but most of all the writing is engulfing and captivating. I experienced Claire's despair and her determination; I could feel the narrowness of the village where she lives, and I lived her loneliness after encountering the Trademaster. The story is obviously allegorical and full of symbolism that will not be lost on long time readers. It's not that the story is action packed or even new in its approach, it's that it flows so well and is so human that we can all identify.

Now, that being said, I did have some problems with the book that were overridden by the wonderful writing style. I understood the need for Claire to train for years but I found it frustrating that the story didn't move along farther in that time period. And I'm still dissecting how I feel about the ending...there didn't seem to be much lead up to the how of what happened, if that makes sense. I get it, really...but that doesn't make it any less abrupt. But overall this book is a fitting ending to a quartet of stories that ignited the fire of today's post-apocalyptic story boom.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Happy Blogiversary to me!

I so meant to keep an eye on the calendar so I'd know when it was August 27, but naturally it sped on by without my noticing. But if I had, I would've been excited to let you know that it's been SEVEN years since my first posting to Under a Blood Red Sky! And that hardly seems possible.
While I'm not a faithful poster, I do enjoy posting; mostly about books and book reviews, but sometimes silly stuff, sometimes touching stuff, sometimes just stuff. It's fun and it makes me happy...mission accomplished!
And just in case you are wondering where the title comes from:  It's from U2's "New Year's Day" because you can never have too much U2 in your life.
Thanks for being here! 

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Of Ramblings and Readings

Well, well, it is, September, and I've finished two books in the past month. It's not that I haven't been reading, it's that what I've been reading has been slow going, and most of that blame can be squarely laid at my feet.

First I read The Twelve by Justin Cronin (see review below) and that sucker was HUGE and INVOLVED. Very, very well done but it took quite a while to move through all the layers and story lines.

Next I've been tackling:

I've been reviewing it for HNS so I can't post a review here yet. I will say that ultimately I loved it and I'll recommend it for those who love good historical fiction with a solid mystery.

Mostly, however, I've just been:

That's right, just plain old distracted. School started up August 1 and it's been a rough start with teacher evals, Core standards, and an eighth grade class shipped in from hell every day to give the devil a break. Plus high school band season is rolling and with youngest daughter in her junior year, we're as busy as ever with all that stuff. I've also become involved with an online group that writes fan fic and I am loving the opportunity to get back to writing! It's been good for me to be complimented on my writing skills and just plain fun interacting with the others in the group. 

Next up I'm going to enjoy

for review for HNS. I missed the first in the series so I hope that won't be detrimental to figuring out what's going on. This one looks super good! 

Finally, I took Thursday off to accompany K to the Country Music Hall of Fame where we went to an intimate interview with Keith Urban! You guys know I love me some Keith and he did't disappoint. Very down to earth answering the 400 high schoolers' questions and interacting with the crowd. 

That's it, that's all from me for now. What's up with you?