Saturday, April 30, 2011
Behind the Palace Doors: Five Centuries of Sex, Adventure, Vice, Treachery, and Folly from Royal Britain by Michael Farquhar, 307 pages
With all the hoopla over the wedding in Britain, this was a perfect time to read this book. This covers some of the misadventures of the British royal family starting with Henry VIII and working all the way up to the present queen, Elizabeth II. It's filled with lots of little chapters, making it a fun and light read. I've read the author's four other books and really enjoyed them, and this was just as fun. Nothing better than reading about the sex scandals of people who have been dead for centuries, lol.
This is the final short story collection by David Lubar that I hadn't read yet and it was just as funny as the other books. He has a strange and odd sense of humor that really appeals to me. In fact, this is the type of short stories I would write if I had any writing ability. I pretty much had to beat my kids off so I could read them first (one of the advantages of being the parent.)
Thursday, April 28, 2011
I read a ton of Sweet Valley High books through middle school and somewhat in high school. So I was interested when I heard there was a new book that takes place 10 years after the last one. Jessica has betrayed Elizabeth and Elizabeth is now living in New York City. Can these two sisters ever patch this up and become the twins and friends they were before? I can't go into any more details without giving too much of the plot.
This book isn't what you would call fine literature but fit the Sweet Valley High mood exactly. The books were always fun pieces of fluff (I still remember slam books going around my school because we read about it in SVH) but that is all they weren't meant to be. For anyone who grew up with Jessica, Elizabeth, Steven, Todd, Bruce, Lila and the rest of the gang, you should pick this book up and enjoy a walk down memory lane. It's a little more grown up than the originals but so are the characters. I broke out laughing when Mom Wakefield dropped the f-bomb in this book!
Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester, 495 pages
This book covers the Atlantic Ocean, with the author using Shakespeare's speech "All the world's a stage" from As You Like It, with man's seven stages of life illustrating the ocean, the infant, the school boy, the lover, the soldier, the justice, pantaloon, and second childishness. He covers the creation of the Atlantic ocean, the exploration, the military battles, and even man's destruction towards the ocean. This was a slow read at times but very intriguing and interesting. I had read The Professor and the Madman by this author so I knew he liked a lot of details, which this book had tons of. If you enjoy non-fiction, this is a great read. Just plan on devoting a big chunk of time to it.
Annie and Max Darling find themselves investigating yet another murder (remind me never to go Broward's Rock since everyone seems to drop dead under mysterious circumstances) that seems to be piling up bodies and suspects galore. With cat philosophy pictures and friends contributing investigating tips, Annie finds herself knee deep in a mystery that may have Annie as the final dead body.
This is the 21st book in the series so there weren't a lot of surprises, but this was still an enjoyable read. I think I enjoy these books even more after getting to hear Carolyn Hart speak at the library last summer. If you haven't read any of her mysteries, you are really missing out. I always finish one of the Death on Demand books with a list of new mystery authors to read due to Annie's mystery bookstore.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Hamish Macbeth is the constable for Lochdubh and the surrounding area in Scotland. When Captain Davenport is found stuffed up his chimney, it's believed that local chimney sweep Pete Ray is the culprit but Hamish quickly turns his attention to the captain's past looking for suspects. The captain managed to anger and steal from many people in his past. Hamish is sure that one of the people he defrauded is responsible for the death, especially when bodies start piling up.
I've even M. C. Beaton's series over the years, including her Agatha Raisin series. If murder mysteries with odd characters, intriguing plots and lots of humor appeal to you, this is one author you don't want to miss.
I've read all the book in the Clan of the Cave Bear series many time over the years ever since I picked the first one up when I was thirteen. There was almost a ten year wait for the next to last book and then about 9 years for this final book. I must say this last book just didn't measure up to the first books but was still a read I wouldn't have missed. Ayla and Jondalar have made it home to his people and Ayla is training to be a Zelandonia, a spiritual leader. But they still love each other deeply. Jean Auel has brought to life prehistoric people with this massive series. I recommend starting with the first book in the series and working your way through before you pick this up.
Abraham is a central figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with all three religions co-opting him as the father of their religion. How can one man be the starting point for such three different religions? Bruce Feiler does an excellent job exploring how each of the three religions came to adopt Abraham as their father, making him a good starting point for discussions on how we can come together. I hadn't realize how little is actually know about Abraham, and how he had kind of sank into the background of history for centuries. This was the book club book for the Readers without Borders book club and I'm very glad I read it.
Anita Blake gets a call that her former fiance, Richard, has been arrested in Tennessee on charges of rape. Knowing that there is no way Richard could have done it and the full moon is only days away, Anita races to Tennessee to help find a way to clear Richard. It quickly becomes apparent that Richard has been framed to remove him from the scene. But what do the locals not want them to find out, so badly that they are willing to kill for it.
It has been years since I'd read this book in the Anita Blake series, so I had pretty much forgotten everything it. It was a treat to enjoy it again for what seemed like the first time. This book had werewolves, wereleopards, vampires, and even a demon. If you like dark and delicious vampire books, this is the series for you.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
This book was found by one of our pages hidden behind books in the nonfiction section. Looking it over, I decided I wanted to read it before giving it to my 15-year-old to read. With such chapters as Sexual Identification; Kinks, Fantasies, and Fetishes; Foreplay; and The First Time, I was at times embarrassed and shocked (there was stuff I didn't know about) but felt it was information that I would rather my teen got from the book instead of her friends or the internet. I am hoping that this will encourage Renee to come to me with any questions she has (OMG, do people really do that?) but if nothing else it will serve as a conversation starting point. At times I felt like the book went too far in the premise of promoting teen sex, but I realized that it was written mainly for teens who are having sex or about too. If anything, the book may scare Renee off the thought of sex for a while. This is also a good resource for gay teens and their parents. The author included lots of information with humor. I just wish the book had a different cover. I sat in my car and read it during my youngest daughter's ballet class because there was no way I was sitting in the waiting room reading it in front of the other parents. I am sure we will get complaints about this book but that is all part of being a public library.
Lisa reviewed this book just under two weeks ago, so I won't go into a much of details. This was much darker than the first book and that's saying a lot. There is much more blood, skin, and gore galore in this book. I agree with Lisa in that you shouldn't read this book while you're eating. I've read an another book that talked about the Wendigo myth so I was familiar with the lore. This is one of the creepier creatures of mythology. It's basically a human that is turned into a animalistic cannibal creature who is cursed with a hunger for human flesh that is never sated. Makes for delightful bedtime reading.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
It seems like everyone has reviewed this book so I won't say much. I didn't plan on reading this book since it seemed like everyone in America was reading it but one of my sisters is reading it and wanted my opinion. I started the book planning on disliking it but to my surprise I really enjoyed it. It had a gripping story, interesting characters, and takes place in a circus. So to my shock, I must say, this was a good read, one I totally recommend picking up.
MSSU has chosen Egypt as their next country and Rosemary Mahoney is the author who is coming to do an author talk. She spent 3 days rowing down the Nile by herself and this book features her adventures. More of the book is spent on her trying to buy a book than on her actual rowing time but it's an interesting look at Egypt. It's amazing how different their culture treats women, and how foreign women are treated not as women but a different being completely. I have dreamed about traveling to Egypt for years but I'm not sure if I would be comfortable going on my own after reading this. I look forward to the Egypt semester at MSSU and getting to listen to Rosemary talk about her time in Egypt.
This is like the 10th Hannah Swensen mystery and each one has been a fun read. When the local minister goes on a honeymoon his replacement is an old friend of the minister's family who spent some time as a teenager in the town. He seems like the ideal fill-in until Hannah finds him dead. Investigating his murder, Hannah realizes that the perfect Reverend may not have been as perfect as he seems. Hannah also must deal with her beau Norman being distant ever since his ex-girlfriend Bev has joined his dental practice. Has Norman deserted Hannah for the all-too-beautiful Bev or is there something else bothering Norman?
I always like this murder mysteries that contain lots of fun recipes. I prefer these to the Diane Mott Davidson cooking mysteries because I generally have the ingredients and ability to cook Joanne Fluke's recipes. My favorite recipe so far has been her Chocolate Highlander Cookies in a previous book. My mother-in-law even asked for the recipe!
Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconbridge, has called off his engagement after catching his fiance in bed with Ian Eversea. Alexander is determined to get revenge and how better than by seducing Ian's sister Genevieve. The only thing Alexander didn't count on was falling for Genevieve. Genevieve has been in love with her best friend Lord Harry for years, and believes he feels the same way. When he announces his plans of proposing to someone else, Genevieve believes that her heart has been broken forever. Little does she expect to feel an attraction to the darkly sardonic Duke of Falconbridge. When these two cross paths, sparks fly and they instantly find themselves fighting against an instant attraction. But can they put aside the past to face a future together?
I've read a few in the Pennyroyal Green series so far and have enjoyed them all. "What I Did For a Duke" by Julie Anne Long may be my favorite to date. Alexander is dark, moody, and able to laugh at himself while Genevieve is spirited, controlled, and sarcastic, a combination that kept me eagerly turning pages and reading this book in one setting. With steamy seduction weaved with witty dialogue and lots of humor, this was a wonderful read that is a welcome addition to my book shelves.
This was a review book sent to me and sometimes nothing is more enjoyable than a total mind candy book. This was funny, sexy, and really enjoyable.
The Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d'Este, is rumored to have killed his first wife Lucrezia but on her wedding day, Barbara, his second duchess is determined to ignore those rumors. But Barbara finds her curiosity piqued and she decides that her safety lies in finding out the truth along with providing a heir. Lucrezia is an immobila, a spirit not yet moved on, who is unable to affect the living except to watch. Barbara suffers attempts on her life as she moves closer to discovering who killed Lucrezia but she may not survive long enough to learn the truth.
"The Second Duchess" by Elizabeth Loupas was a rich and sumptuous read, bringing history to life. The use of Lucrezia as an immobila was a creative plot device, she was able to give background and plot development without distracting. Barbara's spirit and strength was enjoyable but still suitable for the time period. Elizabeth Loupas has earned a place as one of my new favorite authors!
This is one of my review books and I very much recommend this book if you enjoy historical fiction. One of the nice additions at the back is the author interview and the reader's guide.
I love books about ghosts, monsters, or any kind of unexplained mysteries so I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, it fell short of my expectations. It was a little dry in places and dumbed down in others. It covers the Great Lakes and some of the disappearances of ships, ships that have wrecked with major loss of life, and monsters (think American Loch Ness) that may inhabit the Great Lakes. If you want a fast, fast read, this would fit, but there are better books out there.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I saw this book on the shelf and had to get it based completely on the title. As the author says, there is so much pressure in all of those books that list 1001 places to see before you die, 100 foods to eat, 100 books to read, 1001 places to pee (actual book) so it's nice to have a list of places you shouldn't even bother going to. The list is very varied, including a few places in history, and a place in outerspace. What I found really funny is that Picher, Oklahoma is number 50 on the list. There were a few places that I would actually like to see just because they sound so horrible. This book was a fun read, filled with lots of snarkiness and humor. I hate to say it but this book should go on your list of books to read before you die.
This is the 13th book in the Alexandra Cooper series. Alexandra Cooper is a special victims prosecutor in New York City. She is called to Mount Neboh Baptist Church because of a body found on the church steps, decapitated, and set on fire. The only clue is a Star of David necklace, signifying that it might be a religious hate crime. A second corpse is found at a Catholic church in Little Italy soon after. Alex must work together with her friends Mike and Mercer, detectives, to solve these murders before more outspoken religious women are silenced.
I really enjoy these books, but they are not for the faint of heart. With Linda Fairstein having the background as an actual sex crimes prosecutor in New York, she is able to draw on her experience to create mysteries that are horrifying and terrible.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Lisa brought this book to the Creatures of the Night book club and did a great job promoting it. With that and her blog posting, I decided I really wanted to read this book. I won't go into to much since Lisa has already reviewed it. This book is really dark, with a main character that has suffered much, and he's only 12. The doctor that he lives with and serves as an assistant is pretty much an ass. Even with his background, I don't have much sympathy for him. I raced through this book and I'm putting myself on hold for the sequel. If Harry Potter was too upbeat for you, you'll love this book.
This is another collection of short stories by David Lubar that my kids got me hooked on. These are some very twisted, kooky, twisted stories, a lot like my kids. If you are looking for a fun and fast kids book, pick this up, you won't be disappointed.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Kyle is the prince of his high school, beautiful, arrogant, and selfish. When he invites a weird, goth girl to the high school dance as a joke he doesn't expect the night to end with him cursed. Kyle's now a beast, unloved by his father, living alone with only a maid and a blind tutor. The witch who cursed him has given Kyle a chance to break the curse. He must find someone who loves him and who he loves, within two years. But as a hairy beast Kyle knows that he'll never find love.
This book is one of the newest teen book sweeping the literary world, especially with the new movie that has come out. I put off reading this book thinking it would be teen fluff but I really enjoyed it. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales and this was a fun adaptation. I liked the fact that it had a witch, the rose, and the magic mirror and was set in modern day New York City. I'm interested in seeing how the book translates to the big screen.
The vampire council has shown up to decide if Jean-Claude deserves punishment for killing council member "Earthmover." It's up to Richard, Jean-Claude and Anita to work together to save not only themselves but all the vampires and lycanthropes in St. Louis. But Richard's anger towards Anita and Jean-Claude for their relationship threatens to pull them all apart when they need to pull together more than ever.
This is probably the book in the series where the Anita Blake series started to get weird sexually. But the vampires, werewolves and zombies make it worth reading.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
The final book in the Grandma's Attic saga. Mabel and Sarah Jane may be grown up with children of their own, but their lives aren't any less interesting. Exploding beans, bright red children, an unexpected train trip are all part of the fun and trouble they continue to find themselves in.
I was sad to see these books come to an end. One of the things I've enjoyed is the morals and Christian beliefs that run through the books without being preachy. These were good books that any age could enjoy.
Gossip is soon swirling around North Branch about Mabel and Hudson Curtis, the minister in a neighboring town. Why does he seem to show up whenever she's in town, and was he seen at her house? Mabel learns that the best intentions doesn't always protect you from gossip.
Mabel is happily married to Len, but she soon discovers that being a preacher's wife isn't always smooth sailing.
Mabel is engaged to Len Williams, the town minister, and figures the next year of teaching should be peaceful and calm. But Mabel's life is nothing but filled with unexpected events. A storm, a long-lost will, old history and new rumors combine to give Mabel a year she'll never forget.
Mabel is 18 and ready to teach her first school. Between dealing with students, an overbearing father of students, town gossip, and an attraction for the young minister, Mabel may find herself overwhelmed.
Mabel and Sarah Jane are sixteen and ready for high school. There is no high school in their small country town so they go to live with relatives in the big city to attend high school. But now that they are growing up, it doesn't mean that they'll get into any less scrapes.
Another collection of stories featuring Mabel, her family and friends. This book features gypsies, revenge against a brother, "helping" a classmate, and a lesson in just how expensive a gift of a bookcase can be. My daughters and I have enjoyed these books a ton.
Reading these books are like discovering brand-new Little House on the Prairie books. Mabel and her best friend Sarah Jane is always getting into trouble, along with Mabel's two older brothers. With such stories of a face cream that goes awry, a surprise party that may surprise the guests more than the birthday girl, a ma who is determined to have a freshly-painted house, and a spelling dog, this is a wonderful treat of a book. My only regret is that our library doesn't have copies of this series. I may have to break down and buy my own set.
Anita Blake is back, dating both werewolf Richard and vampire Jean-Claude. As if her life wasn't complicated enough, she finds out that there is a hit out on her, with a deadline of 24 hours. Bounty hunter and professional killer Edward has shown up to help protect Anita. All of this muscle behind still might not be enough to keep her alive.
Every book reminds me of why I enjoy this series so much, especially the early books. I love vampires, werewolves, and anything creepy with a good story line, and Laurell K. Hamilton always delivers!
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Rossamund Bookchild is a foundling being raised at Madame Opera's Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls. Rossamund is a shy and quiet boy cursed with a girl's name, the name on a slip of paper being the only thing found on him abandoned as a baby. Rossamund is recruited into the ranks of the Emperor's Lamplighters. Lamplighters are those who light lamps along the highways at dusk and put them out at sunrise. He must travel across the Half-Continent to his post, if he can survive the trip. He must face kidnapping, monsters, and monster-fighters who may be more lethal than the monsters.
I had this book suggested to me by a staff person at Books-A-Million who felt so strongly about me reading this book that he came by the library and dropped off his personal copy for me! I hadn't planned on reading the book but how can you say no after a recommendation like that? Now I very glad I did. This was a good teen read, very different. I would say it was almost a cross between Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Last Apprentice by Delaney (if you haven't read that last book, you should). I've already ordered the next two in the series via inter-library loans.
This is the sequel to The Alienist that Lisa recommended to me and I've enjoyed both books. This one was darker to me, not because it was any gorier, but because it dealt with moms who kill. Set in the late 1800s New York City, Stevie the street boy is the voice behind this story. This was when they first started exploring mental illness, insanity and such in criminals, especially serial killers. If you like a well-plotted mystery that is dark and disturbing, you will want to read both of these books.
Precious Ramotswe is the No. 1 Ladies Detective in Botswana. She is asked to investigate the death of two cows at a remote cattle post, while Grace Makutsi is busy finalizing plans for her wedding to Phuti Radiphuti. Both of them also are visited by visions of Mma Ramotswe's old white van that had been sold for scrap. Throw in an apprentice who may be the father of twins, and it all combines for a intriguing and interesting time for Precious.
This is a really good mystery series, that is different and well-done. Set in Africa, it has a different mindset than American mysteries, and concentrates more on human behavior and intrigues than blood and gore. The series on HBO was enjoyable but way too short.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
This was a book I saw mentioned in the book recommendations the comic Unshelved does. I was going to do a suggestion for purchase but Jeana had already bought it, yippee! This book covers some of the dreadful ways some famous people died. One of our early presidents was pretty much tortured to death by his doctors, a famous English monarch may have exploded in his casket, and two scientists either died a glowing death or had their brain stolen during the autopsy. The big thing was beating off my kids so I could have a chance to read it before they ran off with the book.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
This is the second collection of stories in the grandma's attic series. They really remind me of Little House on the Prairie, Mabel is a lot like Laura. This book has stories involving an abandoned and soggy rag doll that comes to life, a stranger come to dinner that pa and ma both think the other knows, and a pig in a baby carriage that scares a new mother. I must say I love inter-library loans. I get to rediscover some of my favorite books from childhood!
I had the first two or three books in this series when I was a kid, and I saw on Amazon.com that they were re-releasing them. I eagerly requested all of them through inter-library loan and have been enjoying these books, reading them as fast as I can so my kids can read them too. They are basically stories that remind me of Little House on the Prairie. Mabel is the grandma telling stories of growing up in the "old days" with her parents and two older brothers on a farm. With such stories of a birthday cake for Ma that has a surprise flavoring, pa taking an unexpected bath, Nellie the horse making trips to town, and the excitement of one pair of shoes a year, these humorous but moral-teaching stories are a great look back. I may end up buying new copies of these books for my kids (heck, I may keep them for myself).
I read the book Ida Early Comes Over the Mountain for the first time when I was probably 8 or 9 years old, and I've read it many times over the years. It's one of those old favorites that I'll come across on my book shelf, sit down with and enjoy for a comfortable hour every so often. So I was over the moon when I came across this sequel (that I didn't even know about) last month at an used-book store.
Ida is back keeping house for the Sutton family in rural Georgia up in the mountains. She still is the tallest woman around, the best story-teller, and living life on her terms. This is the first Christmas the Suttons will celebrate with their mother, but Ida will help them make new Christmas memories.
While this one didn't tug at my heartstrings as much as the first book, it was wonderful to get to hear more about characters that I now consider old family friends. If you want a feel-good book, you should pick up Ida Early Comes Over the Mountain and this heartwarming sequel. It will make you laugh and cry all at once.
I thought you would like to know our totals for the blog so far. January had 15 participants with 94 books read and 19,217 pages. February had 13 participants with 73 books and 22,364 pages. March had 13 participants with 71 books and 22,017 pages. We've read over 60,000 pages so far this year. Kind of impressive!
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Margaret has been raised in a convent since she was a baby, growing up with the knowledge that she was an abandoned foundling, with no family and money. But she discovers that she is actually Lady Margaret Roseberry, ward to King Henry VIII. Countess Arabella has been sent to bring her to court. Arabella's brother Jasper meets up with his sister and Margaret and is instantly attracted to Margaret, deciding to seduce her. But Arabella has decided that Margaret will be her meal ticket, training her in sensuous arts for the king's pleasure. Margaret is determined though that she will find pleasure herself, after being denied it so long at the convent. Will Margaret and Jasper find a way to please each other and themselves without angering the king?
"The Ravishing of Lady May" by Charlotte Lovejoy was a steamy and seductive, torrid and tawdry read, filled with lots of erotic encounters. While not much plot or character development takes place, Charlotte Lovejoy creates a hot, hot book for anyone looking for a one night stand of a story. I would not have chosen this book myself but had it sent to me as a review book. This was much more erotic than I normally read and like, but all in all, it wasn't any worse than Laurell K. Hamilton's last few books.
Zoey Redbird is 16 years old and has just been marked as a fledgling vampyre. She goes to the school the House of Night to train to become an adult vampyre, if she survives the change. As if it wasn't difficult enough being a teenager and a fledgling, Zoey has also been chosen by the Goddess Nyx as a special servant. Zoey must learn to handle her special powers, make friends, deal with her human ex-almost boyfriend, and deal with the power-hungry leaders of the school's Dark Daughters group.
I've put off reading the House of Night series because I thought they were just teen fluff. I read this for the Creatures of the Night book club since this month was a teen read. I was forced to admit to my 15-year-old that she was right and this is a really good series, at least the first book is. I will be picking up the next book very soon, hopefully it will be as good as the first book.
Kate Shugak has been named executor of Old Sam Dementieff's will and one of his last requests to her is "Find my father". During her search, Kate finds her life threatened multiple times. Trying to find Sam's father will also have Kate learning about Sam's background and Alaska's early and turbulent history. Throw in a missing Russian icon and a Dashell Hammett manuscript, and you've got a mystery that has people killing to solve.
I've read all the books in this series (I think this is number 17) and enjoyed them all. Alaska seems to be filled with a ton of interesting characters, at least if these books and Northern Exposure are correct, and they make for a fun story. This is one though that you don't want to read on it's own, you need the back stories from the previous books to make it more understandable.