Friday, May 27, 2011

Dead Reckoning By Chalaine Harris, 325 pages

Sookie Stackhouse is just trying to recover from the insane twists and turns her life has taken but the calm is just a momentary quiet before everything in life starts to go crazy again. Her vampire lover Eric is keeping something from her, someone has firebombed the bar she works out, and an enemy from the past has reappeared. All in all, Sookie's life is back to normal.
This was a great book to read to just enjoy a fun dose of what I call mind candy. I have enjoyed this series from book one, I watch the tv show (new season next month, yippee) and I'm even collecting the comic books. Charlaine Harris is a great author with multiple series, now I just need to get her to come to the Joplin Public Library.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lamplighter by D. M. Cornish, 715 pages

This was recommended to me by a staff person at Books-A-Million. It's the second in the series, kind of a cross between Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Very good, now I just need to track down book 3.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater, 139 pages

I have read this book a few times over the years and love it every time. I really hope they don't screw it up when they make the movie, but what I've seen so far doesn't bode well.

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier, 252 pages

I really enjoyed this book. It was deep and thought-provoking while being an easy read.

Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson, 471 pages

I'm not going to go into a lot of description on this book. I mainly wanted to just get it posted so I can check it in and I don't have internet at my house right now because of the tornado.
This is the newest Goldie catering mystery and isn't one of the best. The series is slowing down and isn't as good as the early ones were. I found myself reading this just to finish it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dangerous Love by Kate William, 132 pages

One of the strictest rules in the Wakefield house is "No motorcycles." Ever since their cousin was killed in a crash, Elizabeth and Jessica have been forbidden to go near them. So when Elizabeth's boyfriend Todd drives up on a shiny new Yamaha, she knows there's trouble ahead. She can't ride Todd's bike, but other girls can-and do. And the sight of those girls riding with their arms around Todd is making Elizabeth crazy with jealousy. Todd tells her not to worry, but Elizabeth's scared of losing him. Will Todd's new bike drive them apart?
This one has an especially dramatic ending, whatever will happen in the next book? Still campy and fun.

All Night Long by Kate William, 134 pages

Elizabeth Wakefield knows her beautiful twin can handle almost any guy-most boys are just no match for Jessica's seductive charms. But Scott Daniels, Jessica's latest love, is more of a man than a boy, much older and much more experienced than anyone Jessica's ever dated.
When Jessica sneaks off to a college beach party with Scott, Elizabeth's afraid of what could happen. And when her twin isn't back by morning, Elizabeth's fear turns to alarm. Where's Jessica? Why has she stayed out all night long?

Secrets by Kate William, 118 pages

This is the 2nd book in the Sweet Valley High Series. I think for the posts from now on I'll just list the description on the back. Jessica would stop at nothing... Beautiful and ruthless Jessica Wakefield is determined to be chosen queen of the dance at Sweet Valley High. If she can win the contest, she's sure to win Bruce Patman, the most sought after boy in school. The only person standing in Jessica's way is Enid Rollins. When Jessica discovers the truth about Enid's past, she is sure the crown is within her grasp. She doesn't care that Enid is her twin sister Elizabeth's best friend-or that revealing the secret may cost Enid both her reputation and the boy she loves. Only Elizabeth can stop Enid from Jessica's vicious gossip-but can she stop her scheming twin in time...
These books are completely hooky, but still lots of fun.

Author Postings

I just had to mention that I've had 2 authors see the reviews I'd written about their books and comment about it. I got so excited thinking "Actual authors are reading something I wrote, whoo-hoo!" Stephen Fried of Appetite for America and Randy Russell of Dead Rules totally rock!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Aunt Dimity & the Family Tree by Nancy Atherton, 229 pages

This is the 16th book in the Aunt Dimity mystery series and I've enjoyed every single one. Aunt Dimity is a ghost who only shows up as writing in a lovely diary that Lori can see. With Aunt Dimity's help, Lori always manages to solve the mystery, but usually stirs up one or two more mysteries along the way. These are fun, light, tea cozy English mysteries, perfect for a rainy afternoon with a spot of tea.

Double Love by Kate William, 182 pages

1st book in the Sweet Valley High Series and the one that started the decades of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield fandom.

Elmer by Gerry Alanguilan, 140 pages

This is probably one of the oddest books I have read so far this year. I saw it mentioned on my Unshelved library comic strip and was intrigued. The premise of this graphic novel is that on February 3, 1979, chickens gained intelligence. There were massive uprisings at some places with chickens running rampant and killing people (but considering how chickens are killed at a poultry plant do you blame them?) People reacted to the chickens talking by killing many of them. It took about 6 months for the world governments to give chickens equal rights to humans. That is till about 20 years later when the bird flu hit, and chickens were killed by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions.
This was extremely well-written and well-drawn, if you've enjoyed the graphic novel Maus you would like this. If you haven't read Maus, you should!

Power Play by Kate William, 150 pages

Book 4 in the series. Elizabeth and Jessica go up against each other! Still fun and full of teenage drama.

Playing with Fire by Kate William, 149 pages

This is the 3rd Sweet Valley High Book in the series. I read the brand new Sweet Valley Confidential book which features everyone all grown up and felt a need to revisit my middle-school years, which I spent reading every single one of these. I won't go into plot details in these books, but they are nice light fluff, and fun for remembering reading for the first time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Finding Emilie by Laurel Corona, 427 pages

Stanislas-Adelaide, known as Lili, is the daughter of Emilie du Chatelet, has grown up knowing very little about her her mother, who died when Lili was only six days old. Her father has handed her care off to others, contributing only a stipend towards her upkeep, but never seeing her. Lili grows up with two women, adopted aunt Julie de Bercy who is known for her Paris salon and Baronne Lomont, a prudish religious aunt. Both women contribute different aspects to Lili's upbringing. As Lili gets older, she starts to learn more about her shocking and talented mother. Emilie was responsible for translating Newton's Principia Mathematica and providing mathematical proofs to make Newton understandable. She was also known for her scandalous relationship with famed writer Voltaire. Lili must decide what of her mother she will emulate and what of Julie and Baronne Lomont, while still staying true to herself.

"Finding Emilie" by Laurel Corona is an imaginative telling of what might have happened to Emilie du Chatelet's youngest child if she had survived childhood. It is always interesting to read about some of woman's eternal struggle to gain the ability to use their intellect and make choices about their life. This is a sweeping novel, filled with interesting characters, and tumultuous ideas. For fans of great historical fiction, this will be a welcome addition to their collections.

Dead Rules by Randy Russell, 376 pages

Jana Webster has much of her life and personality tied up in being half of the couple known as Jana Webster/Michael Haynes. She knew that they were meant to be together forever, that is until she dies from a tragic bowling accident while on a double date with another couple. Jana then wakes up on the bus to Dead School, without Michael. She knows that she must work hard to figure out how to kill Michael so they can be together again. Nothing will stop her, not even her attraction to the darkly handsome and mysterious Mars Dreamcote.
This is an advance reader's copy that Renee had sent to her to review. I picked it up because I was stuck in a slow drive-thru lane and this was in the van. I figured I would read just the first few pages until I was done waiting. But this book was so funny that I kept reading the book. It's a teen Romeo and Juliet retelling, with a hilarious twist. My daughter knew that she would be one to die from a bowling accident! I really recommend that Cari get this for the teen department when it comes out next month.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

White Man's Heaven by Kimberly Harper, 325 pages

The subtitle for this book describes it perfectly: The Lynching and Expulsion of Blacks in the Southern Ozarks, 1894-1909. I had heard about the mobs that had drove blacks out of Joplin at the beginning of the 1900s but didn't know much about it, so I was interested in reading this book when I found it at the library. It covers Peirce City, Monett, Springfield, southern Arkansas, and Joplin. There were lynchings of blacks pulled out of jail cells, including 3 in Springfield on Easter morning, 2 of which are believed to be innocent men. Mobs after most of the lynchings drove black communities out of the towns, leaving this area empty of the African American population. This is a good look at one of the most shameful times of this area. While dry at times, this is still an interesting read for anyone who wants to learn more about this time period.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mystery by Jonathan Kellerman, 421 pages

A young woman is found dead, and police detective Milo Sturgis comes to his friend and consultant Alex Delaware, to gain the psychologist's insight into the case. What is shocking is that Alex saw the victim the night before at the closing of the Fauborg Hotel, with the beautiful woman sitting alone at the bar waiting for someone. As Milo and Alex try to discover her identity, each clue they find seems to stir up even more confusion. This case promises to be one of their more difficult to solve.
This was a dark but fun mystery, like all of Kellerman's books. I've read all of his mysteries and it's a toss up on if I enjoy his or his wife's books more (Faye Kellerman). His books always have a dark undertone, but still make for a fast read.

The Bone Yard by Jefferson Bass, 215 pages

This is the latest book in the Body Farm novels by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson who write under the pen name Jefferson Bass. Dr. Bass is the creator of the University of Tennessee's Body Farm that is mentioned in the Patricia Cornwell books.
Dr. Bill Brockton, creator of the body farm at U of Tennessee is leading a training session for law enforcement when one of the participants gets some disturbing news. Her sister has committed suicide, but Angie St. Claire, forensic analyst in Florida is sure it's murder. Dr. Brockton heads down to Florida to help out, and quickly finds himself embroiled in a decades old murder case. A reform school that burned down years ago proves to be the site of young boys' bodies, who may have met a early death at the hands of the people who were supposed to keep them safe. Dr. Brockton finds himself trying to not only solve this crime but also stay alive long enough to do so.
This is one of my favorite series, it's similar to Patricia Cornwell, but her books have gotten odd over the years, so I don't enjoy them as much. It's also a lot like Kathy Reichs "Bones" series, with some CSI thrown in. Great plots, interesting characters, and well-written, what more can you ask for in a series.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Soldier by Grace Burrowes, 406 pages

Emmaline Farnum is the only family that Winnie has, but Devlin St. Just has been given the estate they live on, and feels a responsibility to Winnie. His care for Winnie quickly deepens, and Devlin finds himself fighting an attraction to the not appropriate but oh so attractive Emmaline. Emmie knows that she can never have a future with Devlin, and that he can provide a better future for Winnie, but it doesn't keep her heart from falling for both. Secrets from the past threaten Emmaline and Devlin's future happiness, if they aren't willing to sacrifice everything for their hearts.
"The Soldier" by Grace Burrowes is another entry in this fun Regency romance series featuring a crotchety and determined duke, intent on seeing his sons married, and the succession secured. Each son is just as strong willed, falling in love on their own terms. With lots of humor and steamy romance, these books are always a delightful read, a treat for fans of Regency romance at it's best.

Appetite for America by Stephen Fried, 518 pages

Fred Harvey created the first chain of restaurants, and was the first famous brand name before Coca-Cola even become a household name. This book explores the man who created this chain of railroad eating houses, gave us the phenomenon Harvey Girls, and changed America forever. This book was a fascinating read. I hadn't realized that the Kansas City Union Station was pretty much completely designed by "Fred Harvey", with them owning every shop in it. Joplin had even had a Fred Harvey restaurant up to 1930. If you love history, Americana, and lots of information, this is a must read.

Narcissus in Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton, 424 pages

Richard no longer wants Anita to be lupa of his werewolves, a new leader for the wereleopards is in town, and Anita finds herself overwhelmed by the ardeur, a thirst that must be fed by blood or lust. All in all, another normal time for Anita.
This is the book that took this series from a fun and dark vampire/werewolf series to an almost sexually disturbing series, but I still read the books. Now, I'm just creeped out when I see my mother-in-law reading them.

The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato, 387 pages

The Palio is a dangerous, no holds barred horse race ran a twice a year in Siena. Pia Tolomei has been informed that she is to be married to one of the riders, a brute who evil is surpassed only by his brother's and father's. When her fiance is killed during the race, Riccardo, another racer, jeopardizes his chance at winning to try to save him. Because of his act, Riccardo is drawn into a plan to take over the city, and Pia and Riccardo are thrown together into a dangerous attraction. Who, if any, will survive the next race just a month away, and do Riccardo and Pia have any chance for a life together?
"The Daughter of Siena" by Marina Fiorato is a rich, lush novel covering a time filled with intrigue, violence and interesting characters. Weaving a tender romance with a plot to overthrow the Medicis rule of Siena, this is a book that keeps you reading, eagerly turning pages.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell K. Hamilton, 596 pages

Another entry in the Anita Blake series. Significantly darker, with some scenes of child abuse, lots of blood and gore, this is not a book for the faint of heart.

Murder by Gaslight by Leonard Piper, 219 pages

This was an examination of some actual murder cases from Victorian and Edwardian England. It covers the crime, the investigation and trial. It's amazing how people never change and there really is nothing new under the sun. But when it's English, murder seems more civilized.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Victorian Undead-Sherlock Holmes vs Zombies by Ian Edginton and Davide Fabbri, 144 pages

Sherlock Holmes vs Zombies, how does it get any better than this?! Well, it does with Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula but that's another book. This is a collection of comic books that has been released as a graphic novel. A comet from outer space has fallen in London, and 50 years later a zombie plague is hitting London. Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick Watson must find the mastermind that is controlling the flesh-eating zombies and figure out a way to stop the evil destroying London before it sweeps the island nation. This is a wonderful comic that is filled with an interesting take on Sherlock Holmes with wonderfully graphic artwork. If you enjoy zombies, Sherlock Holmes or just a weird and eccentric storyline, pick up this book and read a story you can really sink your teeth into.

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins, 128 pages

When I heard that there was a graphic novel with Pinocchio as a vampire slayer, my first thought was that he must tell lies and use his wooden nose as a stake. That is exactly what he does. His father/creator Geppetto has been killed by dark, blood-thirsty creatures and Pinocchio is determined to kill them all as revenge.
This is a great idea, but isn't the most high-brow book ever. It's a little disjointed in places but still a fun and odd read. Now I just have to get my hands on the sequel.