Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Elizabeth's Secret Diary by Kate William, 323 pages

This is a Sweet Valley High book that covers books #20-#30 via Elizabeth's diary entries. I don't feel like I gained anything new since it covers the exact same stuff as when I read the original books, but it is my goal to read all the books. I've only got about 40 to go before I finish.

Midnight in the Garden of Good And Evil by John Berendt, 391 pages

Set in Savannah, this is almost like two books in one. First, a collection of stories about some very eccentric Southern characters, second, a murder trial featuring a wealthy antiques dealer and his young, handsome handy man. This was a book that I wouldn't have picked up on my own, but ended up reading it for book club. I'm glad I did because I enjoyed it as a fun, fluffy read that didn't really expect anything of me. I always like books about odd people, and this fit the bill.

Baited Blood by Sue Ann Jaffarian, 320 pages

Murdered vampires, each having been branded, keep turning up. Madison must help the Vampire Council figure out who's behind this, or else someone she cares about could turn up staked next. This author also writes the Odelia Gray plus-size mysteries that I'm a fan of, and this vampire books are enjoyable also.

Shatner Rules by William Shatner with Chris Regan, 251 pages

William Shatner has become a larger than life character, almost better known for his Priceline commercials than as the guy who played Captain Kirk. This book was a funny look at how even he sees it as a personae, and has fun with it. A great, light-hearted read that had me laughing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, 387 pages

Two magicians use The Night Circus as a playing field in a game that soon has them working together to create a magical place. But their competition can't be set aside, even for love.
This was a darkly evocative book, rich with imagery and character development. I found it really hard to believe that it was the author's first book. Outstanding!

The Boyfriend War by Kate William, 209 pages

Jessica Wakefield and her best friend, Lila Fowler, are at war! The battlefield is the white sandy beach of Club Paradise, a fabulous island resort owned by Lila's uncle. Jessica's dreams of lounging by the pool and dancing the night away are shattered when she learns that Lila's uncle has less relaxing plans for them; Jessica and Lila aren't guests, they're hired hand! Jessica's going to make Lila pay for this, and she's determined that the price will be Lila's new Club Paradise boyfriend. Back home in Sweet Valley, Jessica's twin sister, Elizabeth, makes a shocking discovery. While researching her family history, she unearths a secret about her mother's past that could change the future of the Wakefield family.

Almost Married by Kate William, 199 pages

Elizabeth Wakefield and Todd Wilkins are living together! Their parents are away, so Todd has set up house at the Wakefields'. He wants to create the perfect love nest, but Elizabeth has more important things on her mind. Not only has Elizabeth discovered that her mother was once married to Mr. Patman, Bruce's father, but now they're having an affair! Horrified by their parents' behavior, Elizabeth and Bruce decide to investigate. What could down-to-earth Alice Wakefield and flashy Hank Patman possibly see in each other? Through their sleuthing, Bruce and Elizabeth begin to understand their parents' attraction-because they too are feeling an attraction-to each other.

Ghostopolis by Doug Tennapel, 267 pages

A fun graphic novel that I brought home for Samantha, and Renee and I both ended up reading it. Written and illustrated by the same guy who does Earthworm Jim. This was really outstanding. It had a skeleton horse, a giant radioactive firefly, ghosts, mummies and lots of action.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Damned by Chuck Palahniuk, 247 pages

Madison Spencer is the daughter of Hollywood celebrities, who has died at the young age of 13. She has arrived in Hell and soon is making friends. Her goal is becoming Satan's fun, witty, fat sidekick.
This is a really quirky book, basically Judy Blume's "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" meets almost any Christopher Moore book. I'd never read a chuck Palahniuk book before but I will be picking up more of his now. This was really entertaining.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Seizure by Kathy Reichs, 491 pages

This teen book features genetically altered teens with doggy powers, pirates, and debs, what more could you want? This is the second book in Kathy Reichs series featuring Temperance Brennan's niece, Tory. They are fast-paced, action-packed with lots of science and history thrown in, making them a fun read.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey, 558 pages

This is the 3rd book in the Monstrumologist series by Yancey. Dr. Warthrop is on the trail of the monster of all monsters "The Faceless One". He ends up leaving Will Henry behind, taking an eager young monster-hunter assistant, Arkwright. Will Henry doesn't trust Arkwright and soon ends up going after Dr. Warthrop himself. Together, they will chase down this monster, but who knows if they will survive the trip.
This is one of the darkest series I've ever read, especially for a teen book. I don't like Dr. Warthrop at all, I just want to wrap Will Henry up and take him home with me. These books would make amazing movies, especially if handled by Tim Burton. I could see a young Tim Curry playing Warthrop, or Johnny Depp.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion by Janet Mullany, 286 pages

It has been years since Jane took the Cure and the Damned helped save England from the French. The Damned have been cast out from London Society, and some have made their way to Jane's quiet little town. The close quarters have started Jane back down the path towards vampirehood, just when she's rediscovered her writing ability. Her niece is way to close to the vampires and a friend is ruining Jane's stockings while associating with their Damned neighbors. Jane must fight her vampire tendencies, battle rogue vampires, and try to settle a civil war between feuding vampire neighbors while trying to find time to write.
I enjoyed Janet Mullany's book "Jane and the Damned" so I was very excited to see "Jane Austen:Blood Persuasion". This book was a great revamping of Jane Austen history, bringing new blood to the canon, this is a definite must read that Jane Austen fans will want to sink their teeth into.

Frail by Joan Frances Turner, 373 pages

Amy is a survivor, one of the few humans, or frail as they're called, left after a plague has hit, leaving almost everyone either an ex-zombie or ex-human. The ex-humans and ex-zombies are left with an extreme hunger and an ability to heal, leaving them almost completely immortal. Amy is told that her mother is dead but she refuses to believe it. Stalked by feral dogs that exist in her imagination and real life, Amy is taken under wing by Lisa, an ex-human. They are captured by a group of exes who use humans as a labor pool. Amy doesn't know who to trust, and doesn't know if she's going crazy, but she's determined to survive at all costs.
"Frail" by Joan Frances Turner is a new twist on the zombie genre. It's extremely dark and convoluted at times, laying the groundwork for a series that promises to be different. This novel was hard to follow sometimes, with Amy being a difficult character to like at times. "Frail" is one of the oddest and strangest zombie books I've read. This wasn't my favorite read, way too depressing and not any humor.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry, 357 pages

I had read Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry and thought it was an outstanding teen zombie book. So I was very excited to see this, thinking it would be similar. Instead, this book totally blew it away, being much darker, horrifying and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole book. If you are a fan of The Walking Dead, this is a book you won't want to miss. A serial killer is slated for execution, killed, and wakes up in a body bag...hungry. As the book says "This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang...but a bite." I finished this book very disturbed and decided I needed to read something lighter and fluffier for my next book.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Banvard's Folly by Paul Collins, 283 pages

A collection of people who have been forgotten by history and perhaps shouldn't be. The list includes the person who developed the grape eaten most in America today, writers, forgers, scientists, and artists galore. If you like history and interesting tidbits, you should pick this book up.

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine, 328 pages

Another book by the author of Ella Enchanted. This had a dragon, an ogre, thieving cats, and a girl who must make her own way in the world. Gail Levine is one of my favorite fantasy writers and this was a great book.

Stiff by Mary Roach, 303 pages

This explores the history of cadavers throughout history and medicine up to new developments that are pending. This is not a book for the faint of heart.

Double Dexter by Jeff Linsay, 337 pages

Dexter is back, but this time he's the prey. This is another great read for fans of the books and tv show alike.

As The Pig Turns by M.C. Beaton, 292 pages

Agatha Raisin is back, grouchy and obsessive as ever, and still falling over dead bodies. This time it's discovering a cop roasting at a pig roast, unfortunately, the list of suspects is long due to his unpleasantness.
This is one of my favorite characters, mainly due to Agatha being such a character. The setting, dialogue and secondary characters all lend themselves to these books.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Soulless by Gail Carriger, 373 pages

Alexia Tarabotti has no soul, is a spinster with a dead Italian father (horror of horrors), and was just attacked by an extremely rude vampire. When she accidentally kills him with her hatpin and parasol, she is investigated by Lord Maccon, the local Alpha werewolf in London. It seems that rove vampires are appearing and disappearing, and some believe that Alexia is responsible. Just because she has no soul, does that make her evil? Can she figure out what is happening without breaking all of Society's rules and ruining what little reputation she has? Plus, she must fight her attraction for the horribly rude and aggravating Lord Maccon.
My mother-in-law recommended this book to me and I'm glad she did. It's Amelia Peabody (by Elizabeth Peters) with all the attitude and the steel-tipped parasol, with lots of paranormal beings thrown in, and a little bit of steampunk mixed with English regency romance. I loved the first book and am eagerly anticipating reading the next.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Red Moon by DAvid McAdoo, 200 pages

This is a graphic novel following a little dog who leaves a neglectful family, and discovers a powerful force inside him. There is a something awful coming and he must try to save the animals, but does that include humans. Throw in some murderous crows (like the word play?), and this graphic novel is an outstanding read. The artwork is dark and gripping, and the storyline had me eagerly turning each page. I feel guilty for not being nicer to my dogs, they might save my life someday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch, 304 pages

Jane Lynch has shot to stardom with her portrayal of cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on Glee, but she had been acting for years before landing the role. This book covers her childhood, her entrance in acting, years of doing pretty much every role offered, and coming to terms with her sexuality. This book was remarkably well written, surprising for an actor, but Jane Lynch brought her innate snarkiness to the written page. There seems to be a deluge of memoirs right now, but this is a great entry in the genre.

Scandalous Women by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, 304 pages

I always like reading about the "bad girls" of history, they are the ones who make history. With chapter headings like Wayward Wives, Scintillating Seductresses, Amazing Adventuresses and Warrior Queens, this book covers some very amazing women, even some I had never heard of. This book is great for short reading bursts on breaks, and also intriguing enough to hold you attention for longer sessions. Definitely a must read for fans of history and women who changed the world.