Saturday, December 31, 2011

How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse by Cressida Cowell, 244 pages

Hiccup's best friend is dying from the deadly and always fatal Vorpentitis. He has less than a day to find the cure and faces pretty much impossible odds. But with the help of old and new friends, this unlikely hero might just pull it off.

How to Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell, 225 pages

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is back and just as much an unlikely Viking as before. His dragon Toothless has been captured by the Romans, there's a bloodfeud between his clan and another, and an old foe has returned. What's a not so heroic hero to do?
This is a great juvenile series, funny, sweet and tons of fun to read. Toothless has to be my favorite characters, I love reading his dialogue.

"V" for Victory by Kate William, 199 pages

The Sweet Valley High cheerleaders are going to the nationals! Although Jessica Wakefield and Heather Mallone have declared a truce as cocaptains, Jessica is determined that this time the spotlight will be hers alone. But Jessica soon learns Heather is the least of her problems. Sweet Valley High's biggest rival is Heather's old squad, and even Jessica is shocked by their low-down tricks. When Heather flubs her big routine, Jessica suspects that there's more behind it than nerves. Does someone have a secret hold on Heather? Jessica and her twin sister, Elizabeth, are locked in a battle of wills, and Ken Matthews and Todd Wilkins are desperate to make peace. Will the boys' meddling help them make up-or will love for the same guy tear Elizabeth and Jessica apart forever?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dearest Friend, A Life of Abigail Adams by Lynne Withey, 369 pages

Abigail Adams was in the very midst of the Revolution and the early stages of American history as the wife of John Adams. She not only ran the family and their farms so he could serve the government, she also was John's sounding board and helped with his political career. Abigail was very much for women's education and early rights, while strongly believing in a woman's place in the home, struggling to walk that fine line that women still struggle with today. John and Abigail's marriage was for love, and that strong love continued their whole life, even with the multiple and long separations because of John's political career. Abigail Adams was a fascinating woman and I'm even more interested in seeing the outstanding HBO documentary about the Adams' now. This book also gave me an intriguing look behind the scenes at the founding of our country, leaving me even more amazed that we not only survived those early years but that we're still going strong.

The Pom-Pom Wars by Kate Williams, 193 pages

Jessica Wakefield has started her own cheerleading squad! Determined to outdo obnoxious Heather Mallone, the new captain of the official team, Jessica is going to make sure that the Sweet Valley cheerleaders don't get to the state competition without her. Secretly holding her marathon cheerleading practices, Jessica prepares to show up her old team in front of the whole school-in the greatest cheer-off ever! Elizabeth Wakefield's secret diary isn't so secret anymore! Furious with Elizabeth, Jessica tells Todd Wilkins her sister's most scandalous secret: Elizabeth once had a sizzling romance with Ken Matthews, Jessica's new love!

Jessica Quits the Squad by Kate William, 195 pages

Jessica Wakefield finally meets her match when beautiful Heather Mallone moves to town. Not only is Heather glamorous and popular, but she's also the best cheerleader Sweet Valley High has ever seen! She has big plans for the squad, including stealing Jessica's role as captain. Outraged at the idea of sharing the spotlight, Jessica starts the biggest feud in cheerleading history! Elizabeth Wakefield should be happy that Jessica is falling in love with Ken Matthews, but instead she tries to keep them apart. Is Elizabeth really in love with her boyfriend, Todd Wilkins-or is she harboring a secret passion for Ken?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Operation Love Match by Kate William, 199 pages

Bruce Patman's parents are getting divorced, and Elizabeth Wakefield has promised Bruce that her twin sister, Jessica, an expert in matters of the heart, will help get the Patmans back together. But just how much can Jessica do? When Jessica reads in her horoscope that everything in her life is about to go wrong, she's skeptical. But then she finds that all her plans-including arranging for Bruce's parents to fall madly in love again-aren't working. Bruce is beginning to wish Jessica would butt out, and Jessica is beginning to wish she had never been born! Will Jessica be able to keep Elizabeth's promise to Bruce and not destroy the Patmans' marriage for good?

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Favored Queen by Carolly Erickson, 295 pages

Jane Seymour started out as a Maid of Honor to Catherine, Henry the VIII"s Spanish wife. She watched Catherine struggle to give Henry the prince he so strongly desired, and fail multiple times. Anne Boleyn, another of Catherine's Maids, schemed her way to Henry's affections, overthrowing a marriage and the Catholic church, only to fail herself in the goal of a prince for England. Jane Seymour finds herself the object of the king's attraction in his obsessive goal of a son, but Jane isn't sure she's willing to throw away her hopes for love.
Carolly Erickson is one of the best known names in English historical entertainment, and "The Favored Queen" is her latest offering. Filled with intrigue, scandal and sex as only King Henry's court can do it, this book will keep you eagerly reading to the end. While at times the novel seems loose with reinterpretation, it is fictionalized history, and should be read for enjoyment. Fans of historical entertainment won't want to miss this book.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Deadly Christmas by Kate William, 231 pages

Jessica Wakefield is in danger! Finally convinced that her fiance', Jeremy Randall, is nothing but a two-timing criminal, Jessica plots to get even. But when her devious plan goes wrong, Jessica is caught in her own trap-seconds away from a fiery death. Elizabeth Wakefield is scared for her twin sister, and she doesn't know whom to trust. Has Sue Gibbons really joined their side, or is it Sue and Jeremy against the twins? If Elizabeth's instincts are wrong, Jessica will go up in flames!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Best Ghost Stories Ever Told edited by Stephen Brennan, 559 pages

People having been telling ghost stories probably from the first cave men sitting around the campfire, and it has been a favored genre for writers. The stories in "The Best Ghost Stories Ever Told" feature some of the literary world's best known writers, such as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Joseph Conrad, along with some lesser known authors. I have always found "The Monkey's Paw" a truly creepy and terrifying story, along with "The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe. Most of the stories in this collection were ones I'd never come across, but I enjoyed them. Fans of vintage literature will enjoy this book as a prized addition to their collection.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mad Power edited by Albert Feldstein, 192 pages

Renee got a bunch of old Mad magazines and books as a Christmas present from my brother. I love those old Mad books, they're still really funny. I read a bunch of them this weekend.

Mad's Dave Berg Looks at Modern Thinking by Dave Berg, 192 pages

Renee got a bunch of old Mad magazines and books as a Christmas present from my brother. I love those old Mad books, they're still really funny. I read a bunch of them this weekend.

The Mad Worry Book by Tom Koch & Bob Clarke, 191 pages

Renee got a bunch of old Mad magazines and books as a Christmas present from my brother. I love those old Mad books, they're still really funny. I read a bunch of them this weekend.

The Ides of Mad edited by Albert Feldstein, 192 pages

Renee got a bunch of old Mad magazines and books as a Christmas present from my brother. I love those old Mad books, they're still really funny. I read a bunch of them this weekend.

The Mad Self-Improvement Yearbook by Tom Koch and Bob Clarke, 190 pages

Renee got a bunch of old Mad magazines and books as a Christmas present from my brother. I love those old Mad books, they're still really funny. I read a bunch of them this weekend.

Jessica's Secret Diary by Kate William, 323 pages

This diary covers the Sweet Valley High books #30 through #40 showing secret stuff involving Jessica. It was kind of neat but I am ready to get to the end of these books. I'm getting closer and closer.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Club by Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum, 120 pages

In honor of the upcoming visit of Bill and Gene, I picked up a collection of Unshelved to enjoy. I love how they perfectly capture all the quirks, troubles, and wonderful moments of working in a library. Now, just the long wait till April 2013.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt, 191 pages

Stephanie reviewed this book and it looked interesting so I picked it up. I'm a big fan of Patton Oswalt, especially since "King of Queens" so I figured any book by him should be funny. It was quirky, odd, snarky, and humorous, just like him. I must say I think I'm a Spaceship after reading this book.

At The Mercy Of The Queen by Anne Clinard Barnhill, 432 pages

At fifteen, all Lady Margaret Shelton wants is the quiet life in the country she's had so far. But she is sent to court to serve her cousin, Queen Anne Boleyn. Known as Pretty Madge, her innocence and naive beauty is used to gain the king's interest, as a ploy to help Queen Anne hold onto to her position. All Madge wants is the chance for love and a life outside court, if that is even possible. Forces are sweeping the nation and court, threatening not only the Queen's position, but her very life.
As a fan of historical English novels, this was a wonderful read, told from the little used viewpoint of one of Queen Anne's maids. This was one of the most politically tumultuous time periods in English history, with scandal and religion creating massive upheavals. "At the Mercy of the Queen" by Anne Clinard Barnhill is a well-crafted addition to this genre, sure to be a delight to fans of Philippa Gregory and Carolly Erickson alike.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vintage Vampire Stories edited by Robert Eighteen-Bisang & Richard Dalby, 318 pages

This collection features vampire stories ranging from the mid1800's to the very early part of the 1900's, many of which haven't been printed for over a century. These are the original vampires, pale and lean, ugly yet compelling, those early precursors to vampires as we know them today. Some were originally featured in The Strand, also featured is a rare copy of Bram Stoker's early manuscript pages for "Count Vampire". With these stories, you will not only find yourself in the fog-shrouded streets of London, but also the balmy olive gardens of Italy and snow-swept mountains of Spain. With vampires ranging from revenge seeking reincarnations to spirit based vampires to even a blood sucking hand, this book is a definite must read for not only vampire fans but also those who enjoy pulp fiction short stories. This novel now has a welcome place on my bookshelf.

If It Was Easy, They'd Call The Whole Damn Thing A Honeymoon by Jenna McCarthy, 295 pages

Everytime I read a Jenna McCarthy book, I'm positive that she is writing about my marriage, but a lot more snarky and much wittier. Taking on such taboo subjects as sick spouses, remote control possession, house decorating, money issues, relatives, and, of course, sex. She takes on the difficult job of showing a truthful look at staying married in a society that considers marriage as disposable as paper sacks, and does it humorously. One of the great things are the little "At Least You're Not Married To Him" scattered throughout the books, which are little annoying habits of other women's husbands. I finished the book renewed in my appreciation of my husband's faults, and exhausted from all the laughing I did while reading this book. I even had to steal it back from my husband to finish reading it!

I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley, 297 pages

Flavia de Luce (don't you just love that name) is preparing for Christmas as only she can, scientifically. She isn't quite sure if Father Christmas exists, but she is determined to settle it once and for all by trapping him using one of her beloved chemistry creations. Meanwhile, in a hope to save the family home, Buckshaw, Flavia's father has rented the house to film crew during Christmas. When one of the stars turns up dead while most of the village is present, Flavia must try to figure out the killer. As always, she must walk a fine line between finding the killer or ending up the next victim.
I am a huge fan of Alan Bradley's Flavia books. They're extremely funny, well-written, and a great blend of science, English humor, and bittersweetness, all at once. The only drawback is the wait between books.

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz, 294 pages

Anthony Horowitz was hired by the Arthur Conan Doyle estate to write a new entry in the Sherlock Holmes stories, and I must say, he did a wonderful job. This takes place just a year or so after Watson's marriage, and melds perfectly into the timeline. While investigating one mystery, Holmes and Watson stumble across a bigger, much more dangerous intrigue, that threatens not only their life but the very fabric of English society. Everything in this book felt like an original Doyle story. For fans of Sherlock Holmes, this is a definite must read. I am even considering buying this book myself to add to my collection.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Enormously Foxtrot by Bill Amend, 256 pages

I really miss Foxtrot in the comic pages, so every so often I read a collection just to remind me why they're so funny.

A Very Babymouse Christmas by Jennifer Holm & Matthew Holm, 96 pages

I really like the Babymouse graphic novels, I just use the excuse that I'm getting them for Sammi. The artwork is cute and funny, the plots are snarky and humorous, and the books are just a fun, fun read.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Death Threat by Kate William, 195 pages

Sue Gibbons, Jessica Wakefield's biggest rival, has been kidnapped! Just weeks after gorgeous Jeremy Randall left her at the altar for Jessica, things have gone from bad to worse for the Wakefields' houseguest. Now Sue's captor is threatening to kill her if the Wakefields don't pay up. Jeremy, Jessica's fiance, insists he'll find the kidnapper, and Jessica and Elizabeth are determined to help. But when Jessica discovers Jeremy in the wrong place at the wrong time, she smells a rat. Will Jessica have to betray the man of her dreams in order to save Sue's fortune-and her life?

Double-Crossed by Kate William, 195 pages

Jessica Wakefield is engaged! Now that she's put a stop to the wedding between Sue Gibbons and Jeremy Randall, Jessica has the love of her life all to herself. Or so she thinks. But when she catches Jeremy in a secret embrace with his ex-fiancee, Jessica gets suspicious... Is Jeremy as perfect as he seems? Lila Fowler, the richest girl in Sweet Valley, has finally found the perfect guy. Robby Goodman is gorgeous, funny, and sophisticated. There's just one problem. He's poor. Will Lila's plan to make Robby into a millionaire save their love, or end in disaster?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Date With a Werewolf by Kate William, 195 pages

Is Jessica Wakefield in love with a werewolf? Her identical twin, Elizabeth, can't shake the feeling that Jessica's new boyfriend, Lord Robert Pembroke, is not what he seems. Could he be the vicious killer the twins have been pursuing on assignment for the London Journal? Luke, Elizabeth's English love, confirms her suspicions that Jessica is in terrible jeopardy. Meanwhile Elizabeth's friend Lina Smith is in danger of losing the only boy she's ever loved. David knows that when he discovers her secret, he'll never speak to her again. Desperate, Lina turns to Elizabeth. Can Elizabeth salvage Lina's relationship and save Jessica from a wolfman, too?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Love and Death in London by Kate William, 199 pages

Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are looking for trouble. Working as summer interns assigned the Scotland Yard beat for the London Journal, they're bored with all the petty cases they've been given. When a series of grisly murders breaks out, they decide to do some sleuthing on their own. Elizabeth and Jessica discover that the murder victims look as if they've been attacked by wild animal. Who-or what-could have committed such a beastly crime? The detectives are baffled, but the twins, led by Luke, the quiet boy who is quickly finding a place in Elizabeth's heart, have their own suspicions. Will they find the murderer, before he-or it-finds them?

How to Be A Pirate by Cressida Cowell, 211 pages

Well, Hiccup survived the test and is now going through more Viking training. They encounter a missing treasure, a not-so-honest farmer and lots of adventure.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, 214 pages

This is the book that the movie was based off of. It's a really cute juvenile book, with Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III being the son of the Viking chief, but the most unlikely heir you've ever seen. I'm hooked on this series now.

Plain Fear Forsaken by Leanna Ellis, 413 pages

I thought I had read just about everything until my supervisor told me about a book she had put me on hold for, An Amish vampire romance! I must say, this is a genre that probably doesn't need explored. People who enjoy vampire books generally don't read Amish books, and people who read Amish books generally don't enjoy vampire books. This novel proved difficult for me to really get into, and just wasn't that great. But I do think people should read it just so you can tell people about the Amish vampire romance book you read!