Tag: Franny Billingsley

What I Read Last Week

Posted March 21, 2011 by Tracy in Features | 18 Comments

Good morning!
So it’s going to be a busy day at work today. Yesterday we had quite a storm and got mucho rain. My office at work was flooded as well as the preschool that’s attached to it and part of the rest of the facility. Lots of work to do.
This past weekend I got the pleasure of spending quite a few hours with Lori, Holly and Nikki which was just a ton of fun. We had lunch, went to the local Borders (which is closing down so all the romance was on sale for 50% off) and then to B & N. We talked and laughed and just had a great time.
A funny thing that happened last Friday…I was assaulted by the Oatmeal Police. You didn’t know that they existed, did you? Well frankly, I didn’t either until I was in Starbucks. This is what happened…I got my coffee and oatmeal from Starbucks and was “fixing” my oatmeal at the counter when a man walked up to me and started spewing about how much milk I put in my oatmeal. Now, if you’ve ever had oatmeal from there you’d know that the cups are rather small so really I had probably put about 2 tablespoons in but apparently that was way too much in this man’s opinion. I asked him why he thought it was his business and he was just disgusted that I would put milk in and not let the oatmeal “cook” with just the water. I told him that it would “cook” by the time that I got to work, it would just do it with the milk in it. He just shook his head and walked off. This man was seriously disturbed about my oatmeal. I had to laugh but then I started thinking about the fact that this guy thought that it was really OK to tell me how to do something – someone he doesn’t even know. I have a sense of propriety and even if I think someone is doing something completely ridiculous I would never say it to them (unless they were harming someone else). Is this something that would just happen in America or would this happen in say England where (I think) they are very proper? Or any other place? I just don’t get why people think everyone else’s business is theirs as well. Huh. Something to think about.
So on to what I read last week:
My first read for the week was a YA fantasy book called Chime by Franny Billingsley. I don’t normally read YA or fantasy all that much, for that matter, but it was a decent read. You can read my review here if you’re interested. 3.75 out of 5
Next up was The Rake and the Recluse by Jenn LeBlanc – a book I read for The Book Binge. This was a time travel historical where a woman is sent back in time. The theory that her father had come up with is that there is that one person that we are destined to be with and that we could travel time in order for that match to happen. She thought he was nutty but obviously something happened. She falls in love with the recluse, a Duke, who finds her by almost running over her with his carriage. This was a decent read as well. There were parts of it that I didn’t care for but since it was so long (580 pages) there could be parts that I didn’t like and still like the book as a whole. 3.75 out of 5
After that was Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley. This was an m/m about an FBI agent, Miller, who is determined to bring down a drug lord. He gets an ex-con who works in the drug lord’s organization, Danny, to help him out and ends up babysitting and protecting him when said drug lord comes after the informant. But there’s so much more going on here besides Miller trying to save Danny’s life. It’s Miller admitting to himself that yes, he is gay, and that yes, he has been living a lie his entire life and what will he do about it if he wants to be with Danny. This was such a great read. I loved the tension both sexual and suspense-wise. Danny and Miller’s relationship really had me on the edge of my seat and I loved not being able to figure out how the hell they would ever be able to be together. Just a damn good read. 5 out of 5
My Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was Born to Be Wild by Christine Warren. Josie is a vet and Eli is the town sheriff and also an Other – a lion shifter. Eli brings in a wolf – who’s actually a shifted human – to her clinic and she tries to help the person. They discover that there’s something funky going on with the wolf as well as in the town and they’re determined to figure it out. The suspense part of this book was really the only thing I cared for in the story. It was pretty interesting and kept me guessing. The romance did nothing for me. I didn’t like Eli because he treated Josie like she was an idiot though she was really quite smart. However, she did have her TSTL moments and I ended up thinking they were perfect for each other. 2.5 out of 5
Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips was my next read. This was another good read about Meg who heads to Texas for her best friend’s wedding and realizes that these two people should not be getting married. She manages to get Lucy to realize that Ted is not who she will be happy with the rest of her life. The wedding gets cancelled but Meg is stuck in town because she has no money. Though they hate each other, eventually Ted and Meg start a sex only relationship but as does happen, Meg ends up falling in love with Ted. I wasn’t sure what to think about Ted at first but as the book went on I got to like him more and more. Meg and Ted were great together and I really ended up liking the book. 4 out of 5
Last on the list was Called Home: Two Hearts Answer by Gloria Schumann. This was the story of Emma and David who head back to their home towns for different reasons and meet up. I’ll be reviewing this on Wednesday so you can read more about it then.
My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week:

Happy Reading!

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YA/Fantasy Review: Chime by Franny Billingsley

Posted March 18, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Before Briony’s stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family’s hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it’s become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.
Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He’s as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she’s extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn’t know.
Briony hates herself. She caused a great wind to come and knock her twin, Rose, off of her swing and hit her head on a rock. Now her twin is not quite right in the head at all times. Then she caused a great wave to come and knock her stepmother over which caused a spinal injury. She created fire and burned down the library in their house. She’s not a good person but it’s all because she’s a witch. Her stepmother told her that and because witches are hanged Briony can never ever tell anyone what she is.
When the story opens it is to show us that Briony and her family are waiting for a ship to come to port that holds the son of a local man. He will be staying at Briony and her family’s home and Briony’s not happy about it at all. But when Eldric arrives she finds a friend. She can’t let down her mask and show Eldric who she truly is but they have great fun together with their Bad Boy club, boxing lessons and their swamp excursions.
Briony’s not supposed to go into the swamp because according to her stepmother bad things happen. But when she goes to talk to the Boggy Mun she discovers that he’s the one causing the people of the village to die of the swamp cough. He’s punishing them because they are taking the water from the swamp in order to put in a railroad. Briony makes a deal with the Boggy Mun but in order to save her sister Rose and the other citizens of the village she must reveal herself as a witch.
This is a fantasy book that really had a great blend of lightness and humor along side the darker more evil side of the spirits, the Old Ones, and the havoc they can create. There are Old Ones walking around that others are unaware of but the ones in the swamp are the most volatile. There’s the Boggy Mun, Mucky Face the Dead Hand and many other spirits that were created specifically for this story. They were pretty intense at times and you never knew what they were going to be up to next.
The story is really about Briony and the information about her witchiness that her stepmother pushed on her and told her not to tell anyone. You take an innocent girl and foist horrible ideas on her and her memories start to twist, fade and disappear. She begins to wonder what is reality and what is fantasy. It was quite clever to create a fantasy book that has a girl in it that doesn’t know what is reality and what is fantasy…to a point.
Then there’s Eldric who is 4 years older than Briony but is a fantastic friend. Though she doesn’t allow herself to think of Eldric with feelings (because according to her she can’t feel – she can only think about feelings because she’s not a normal girl) she knows that she wants him in her life – even if she can’t completely admit that to herself. Their friendship and the intensity of their connection really came to life in the story
I liked the book but there were some things in the book that I really thought could have been left out. Briony had so many issues going in her life (there’s a lot going on in the book) that adding a separate love interest for Eldric really rubbed me the wrong way. I would have preferred (which is something Rose is always saying: she “prefer to” do something or “prefers not to” do something) to not have that added to the story but since I’m not the author…I guess it wasn’t up to me! lol Also, at the end of the book Eldric does something that I think was completely out of character and it really bothered me that the author felt the need to put that in. I just couldn’t figure out why the author would go there…and I still haven’t figured it out.
Overall I liked the book and would read something by Ms. Billingsley again.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5

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