Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, 264 pgs.

I downloaded this audio for my commute. This is a true story. Katie Davis opted not to go to college immediately after high school, but rather spend a year in Uganda working in a children's home. What happened then was not what she set out to do. By age 19 she had adopted 13 African daughters and has begun an NGO that supports the education, nutrition, and health care of 400 more children. Her story is incredible. Her faith is phenomenal. I don't know who narrated the book. I didn't really care for the narrator; she was entirely too perky, but the story itself is worth the time.

Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher 277 pgs.

Felicia Kistofferson leaves Wyoming to take a teaching job in Idaho. For some reason the proprietor of the general store can't stand her and doesn't want her teaching in the school. This inspirational novel by Hatcher is pretty predictable, but it was an enjoyable way to tolerate the commute by listening to it on audio.

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral (304 pages)

Glory is a piano prodigy.  After her mother died, she retreated into her music.  Her father raised her with the goal of playing sold out shows at Carnegie Hall and across the globe.  Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to Frank, who moves in next door.  She loses herself in his paintings and drawings, mix CDs and late night IM conversations.  Soon, Frank becomes both her connection to the world and her escape from reality.  Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song Chopsticks; F and G notes moving closer together, and farther apart.  Now, Glory has disappeared.  But nothing is as it seems.  And we must decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along.

This book is beautiful.  It's told almost entirely in pictures and IM conversations, which makes it feel like you're watching something private, something more than just words on a page.  On the back of the book is a quote from Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and I think he sums this book up perfectly --  "Reading Chopsticks is like watching people kiss on the street: It's private, it's beautiful, it's lonely, it's wild, it's secret, it's everywhere and you can't look away."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Songs For a Teenage Nomad.

by Kim Culbertson, 204 pages.

The premise of this book really intrigued me...which, duh, that's what made me read it...

Teenager that has a song journal and documents memories she gets from certain songs.  The rest of the book is tolerable enough, but I wouldn't have continued reading it if it were longer than 200 pages.  It's about teenagers and the weird issues they can have in their home lives...probably a good book for a teen to be exposed to, but not needed for an adult who already knows how messed up life can get.

The Good Neighbors Book 3, Kind by Holly Black (111 pages)

This was the third book in the series and I am assuming the last as well. It was a decent end. I dislike cliff hangers so at least it closed up most loose ends, although not all of them.

Dragonheart by Todd McCaffrey (538 pgs.)

This is Book 5 in Todd McCaffrey's 3rd Pass Pern.  He plays with time a lot in this sub-series of Pern stories.  This book overlaps and continues with the story in Dragonsblood, which is Book 2.

The 3rd Pass of Thread has begun but the dragons are sick and dying!  This has never happened before.  Using Time seems to be the only way to help combat this threat to Pern's safety, but will the riders be able to survive it?

Dragon Harper by Anne and Todd McCaffrey (298 pgs.)

This is Book 4 in Todd McCaffrey's 3rd Pass Pern.  Here we follow Kindan through some very difficult early/mid teen years and the surrounding events of a horrible pandemic that decimates the human population across Pern just 12 Turns (years) before the 3rd Pass of Thread.

Dragon's Fire by Anne and Todd McCaffrey (366 pgs.)

Book 3 in Todd McCaffrey's venture into the land of Pern's 3rd pass.  In this story, we follow Cristov, Pellar, and Halla in the search for a good solution for dealing with the Shunned and for a firestone that is safe for the dragon's to use.

Keep Your Mouth Shut and Wear Beige by Kathleen Gilles Seidel (278 pgs.)

As the mother of 2 boys, I couldn't resist this title, knowing that I'll likely be a mother of the groom someday.  I expected to be entertained.  I did not expect to be pulled into the story and feel like I was a part of it.  I read this book in 1 day... staying up past 3am because I couldn't put it down.

Darcy, recently divorced, is facing her son's wedding and the relationships with the new in-laws... and the exes new girlfriend who seems to want to play the role of Mother of the Groom.  Darcy needs to find her place and start being honest with herself and everyone else about what her own needs are.

"Prude and Prejudice" by Francene Carroll, 57 pages

Another one of my Kindle downloads, hastily acquired before I left on vacation. The only positive thing I can say is that at least I only paid 99 cents for it. It was too short, a novella, really. The writing was okay, and the characters were not likable at all. And the book only vaguely mirrored "Pride and Prejudice," which is unfortunate because "Prude and Prejudice" was intended to be a modern retelling of the classic Austen novel -- and my all-time favorite book. I honestly felt like I was reading some mediocre fan fiction.

A Most Uncommon Degree of Poplularity by Kathleen Gilles Seidel (294 pgs.)

I often find that books catch my eye based on their titles.  That was the case with Kathleen Gilles Seidel, though it was another book I first noticed.  I decided to take this one, too, and read it first as it was published first (though they aren't a series.)

I was expecting some light, fluffy reading.  I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the story and the relatability of the protaganist, a mom of 2 with a much absent husband.

This was the story of 4 moms who are friends as are their 4 daughters who are moving into middle school and all the attendant drama.  Can the friendships... of the moms as well as the girls... survive the challenges?

"The Importance of Being Emma" by Juliet Archer, 416 pages

I loaded up my Kindle before leaving on vacation. "The Importance of Being Emma" was well worth the 99 cent Amazon price. Actually, I would have paid more, I enjoyed it that much. Archer has written a modern re-telling of Jane Austen's "Emma." As the book opens, Emma Woodhouse is working for her father's company, Highbury Foods, and Mark Knightley, her brother-in-law and one-time crush, has returned from India to work at his father's company. Mark has always been like a big brother to Emma, but he finds to his discomfort that he's now attracted to a very grown-up Emma. The book is populated with all the characters that appear in the original "Emma," with some minor adaptations. Emma gets up to her usual matchmaking schemes. There are mysteries and misunderstandings. Oh, and
this time around there's some hot sex and saucy language. I don't know what Jane would say about that, but overall I found "The Importance of Being Emma" fun and worth the read.

"Most Talkative" by Andy Cohen, 288 pages

I was prepared not to like this memoir by Bravo TV programming honcho -- and St. Louis, Missouri boy -- Andy Cohen. But I freely admit to loving the trashfest that is the Real Housewives franchise, as well as Cohen's late-night talk show "Watch What Happens," so I read "Most Talkative" before leaving on my vacation. My one gripe in the past is that Cohen seems to be a bit of an attention hog. But "Most Talkative" completely charmed me. It was funny; I especially loved his stories about geeking out over meeting his daytime TV obsession, Susan Lucci. It was moving, particularly when he covers coming out to his friends and family. And it was honest, especially in regards to how he has royally screwed up at times in his life. "Most Talkative" also brought back a lot of memories from the summer of 1993. Cohen, working for CBS, details covering the massive flooding in the Midwest. I was living in Columbia, Missouri, and working as the features editor at the MU Journalism School's daily city newspaper, the Columbia Missourian. It was a crazy summer for me, my colleagues and my students,
so it was interesting to hear about his experiences.

"Graffiti World: Street Art from Five Continents" by Nicholas Ganz, 392 pages

A book from the ship's library, and one of the more comprehensive works I've read about graffiti. The pictures were plentiful and gorgeous, and the text did an excellent job of discussing the works and artists. Very cool.

"The Guinness Story" by Edward J. Bourke, 176 pages

Yet another book from the ship's library. I was curious about the history of Guinness, even though I probably drink one a year, and usually when it's mixed with a Bass. This book details the history of the brewery, the Guinness family, and the beverage itself. Kind of interesting. There were lots of cool historical photos and some neat factoids. My favorite? Cats were kept at the brewery to control the rodent population, and there was a precise accounting of how many cats each department was to keep. There was also a Senior Tom Cat.

"The Wilder Life" by Wendy McClure, 336 pages

Another book from the cruise ship's library. Danya reviewed this one several months ago, so I won't go into much detail, other than to say that "The Wilder Life" details the author's obsession with Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books and her pilgrimages to the sites described in the books. I grew up reading the books -- I still have my original set, as well as the two journals published later -- and watching the TV series. While a fan, I was never particularly obsessed. My family did visit Mansfield, Missouri, considered *the* Laura Ingalls Wilder site, when I was a little girl, and several years ago my youngest sister and I journeyed to Independence, Kansas, one rainy Saturday afternoon for Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. And, oddly enough, after the May 2011 tornado, I was going through boxes of old stuff deciding what to keep and what to discard, and I found my old sun bonnet, purchased in Silver Dollar City when I was about 9 years old. Needless to say, I put it on. It didn't quite fit, and I felt like a big old dork, but I did it anyway. So I enjoyed this book and the author's trip into dorkdom, but I couldn't completely identify. Now, if she'd been writing about Jane Austen, I would have
been right there with her ...

"The Camera My Mother Gave Me" by Susanna Kaysen, 159 pages

Nerd that I am, one of my first stops upon boarding the cruise ship Celebrity Eclipse during my recent vacation was the ship's library. Once I got over the shock that items were not shelved in order and some non-fiction items were labeled as fiction, I started pulling down stuff that I wanted to read. Such as this book. Kaysen, perhaps best known for her memoir "Girl, Interrupted," penned this slim but intriguing book several years ago. The camera the title refers to is her, uh, lady parts. The whole book is about a chronic pain she developed in her vagina and her quest to find someone to treat it. She saw everyone from gynecologists to alternative healers, with mixed results. As the book continues, the reader begins to realize that the story isn't just about the author's physical pain; it's about her increasingly troubled relationship with her boyfriend, her lifelong battle with depression, and how she views her sexuality. Some things were resolved by the
last page and some weren't, but I found this one of the more interesting books I'd read in a while.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Good Neighbors, Kith Book 2 by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh (115 pages)

This was the second book, another quick read and it ended in a cliff hanger. The book is kind of jumpy at times but still an OK book.

Twist It Up, Jack Witherspoon (149 pages)

I was thumbing through this cookbook as I was putting it up and realized some of the recipes looked amazing. I was thinking to myself what does a 12 year old know about cooking?? Turns out a lot. This book offered easy recipes and since they came from a kid, they were kid friendly too. This book does make you feel unaccomplished when you realize a 12 year old is more successful then you, but it's a great book. I also was touched by the story how how he came to love cooking, when would watch the Food Network channel while receiving treatments for his childhood illness at the hospital. This boy is not only a chef but also a huge philanthropist, what's not to love?

The Good Neighbors, By Holly Black (117 pages)

I check this book out for my husband to read and I decided to read after seeing it laying by the couch one night. It was short and was a quick read. I have mixed views it was not a bad book but it was nothing to write home about either. I will say that I plan on reading the next two books, just to see what happens and because it wont take me long to do.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ecclesiastes, NKJV, 20 pp

The Introduction said many readers view the content as cynical; I thought it was pretty much spot on (so, what's that say about me?)  The worst part was not any cynicism on the author's (ascribed to Solomon) part, but the inane headings included by the editors for some of the passages.  For example, "Wisdom is Superior to Foolishness"  No kidding.  Up next on my OT reading list, the Book of Esther

The Runaway Dragon by Kate Coombs

I had picked up this sequel to "The Runaway Princess" for my 10-year-old daughter. Meg has managed to escape the tower, and convinced her parents to let her have a variety of lessons, but when her dragon flies away from home, it is a struggle to convince them to let her go questing after him. On the adventure, Meg is joined by Dilly, lady-in-waiting; Cam, assistant gardener; Nort, a clumsy and skinny guardsman, and Lex, the second-most powerful wizard in the land. Of course everything soon goes askew. But Meg, with the help of her friends and a little luck, will manage to get everything to come out okay.
This was a delightful romp, light and humorous, with enough adventure and magic to keep the plot entertaining.

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry, 174 pages

The Willoughbys are old-fashioned children, like the ones in storybooks, except for the fact that they're not orphans. They decide to send their odious parents on a dangerous trip, little knowing that their parents have decided to hire a totally un-Mary Poppins nanny. Who will end up with the storybook ending, the children or the parents?
I had picked this book up for my 10-year-old daughter and decided it looked good myself. It was a funny book, with lots of allusions to some of my favorite childhood books. A great read for those grownups who still have a soft spot for their beloved classics.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Heck:Where the Bad Kids Go by Dale Basye, 288 pages

Heck is the inbetween place for bad kids, a holding stage for them until they hit 18 and can be judged. When Milton and Marlo die in a marshmallow polar bear explosion, this brother and sister duo must figure out the rules of Heck if they hope to have any chance of escaping.

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart, 304 pages

This was the book club book for Readers Without Borders this month. This was one that I wouldn't have picked up on my own, but I very much enjoyed it. It was filled with obscure trivia, very odd people and sweet stories, making it one of my favorite reads this month.

2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clark, 296 pages

This is one of those books that I've always wanted to read but never got around to. This classic novel takes place over the course of millions of years,from the time of our primitive ancestors to that of our much more advanced space aged brothers and sisters. Imagine being trapped in space, cut off from all communication with Earth, while a super computer has just killed your buddy and is now after you. Terrifying. A good read.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Case for Ghosts: An Objective Look at the Paranormal by J. Allen Danelek (220 pgs.)

This book was not what I was expecting.  I was interested in reading some "anecdotal evidence".  This was more of a research paper/ opinion paper format.  And with that, let me add that the subtitle is not even remotely accurate.  The author has a very strong opinion on the issue of ghosts/ paranormal and, while he addressed some of the arguments against, it was only to knock them down.

I was mildly entertained in the beginning.  I did enjoy the chapter describing different types of ghosts (and admit to matching them up to ghosts in Harry Potter).  However, I grew increasingly uncomfortable as he delved deeper not only into the existence of ghosts (I will continue to just use that word though he has a much larger vocabulary for them) and the contacting of them.  His stance on the safety of what he was doing and that all the spirit world is love and light, though admitting the presence of "some malevolent personalities", was quite disturbing to me.  I disagreed quite strongly with many of his opinions, which he tended to present in a manner that made it clear that he took them for fact.

Friday, June 22, 2012


by Jane Austen, 453 pages.

My self-imposed Jane Austen Month has brought me to my second book only, Emma.

I did not like it as well as Pride and Prejudice, though it helped to think of all the characters as the actors from Clueless. I don't really admire Emma the way I admire Elizabeth.  And so many of the characters in this book were extremely tiring!  However, Mr. Knightley is a perfect dreamy gentleman, just like my Paul Rudd.  I think I HAVE to watch Clueless now!

Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith, 317 pages

This book covers Sarah, wife to patriarch Abraham. Sarah is known for becoming a mother at an extremely advanced age, but this book looks at Sarah in a new light. What would her and Abraham's relationship been, why could she choose someone to serve as her womb, and how would Sarah have handled that? The author did a fantastic job of staying true to biblical truth, while breathing new life into the story. I think I will be reading her other books in the Wives of King David series.

I Date Dead People by Ann Kerns and Janina Gorrissen, 127 pages

Nora's family moves into an old house that has a lot of history, and evidently a lot of ghosts. Nora never expected to fall in love with Tom, one of the ghosts. But their love could prove to be eternal.
I've real five of these books in the series, and finally caught on that there is the same counselor and teacher in each one. I like the little subplot twist there. Great reads if you just want something fun and not too serious in a graphic novel.

My Boyfriend Bites by Dan Jolley and Alitha Martinez, 127 pages

This graphic novels are all about girls falling in love with different paranormal creatures. This one has Vanessa falling love with Jean-Paul, who all the signs point to being a vampire. But Vanessa quickly finds out that not all is as it seems.
These are fun, quirky books.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch by Nancy Atherton, 232 pages

For a sleepy little English village, Finch sure seems to have a lot go on. A new neighbor moves in, and Lori Shepherd quickly finds out she is a renowned artist hiding out from her rabid fans. Amelia is also searching for lost pages of a family diary that seems to deal with Mistress Meg, also known as the local children's boogeyman, the Mad Witch of Finch. With Aunt Dimity's help from beyond, Lori is sure to solve this mystery.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Castaway by Lucy Irvine, 288 pages

This is the true story of a woman who replied to an ad looking for a "wife on a deserted island for a year". Lucy responded and ended up spending a year on Tuin, a small island north of Australia, marrying Gerald, fellow castaway to fulfill a requirement insisted upon by the Australian government. They came very close to starvation, dehydration, and even death, but also got to experience stuff that very few white people would ever get to. This wasn't a bad read at all.

The Healthy Baby Meal Planner by Annabel Karmel (202 pages)

Author, trained chef and nutritional expert, Annabel Karmel is a genius!  Her ideas and suggestions on what to feed babies or toddlers are spot on.
I love this book because it is broken down in to sections, based on stages of development.  I had no idea what to feed my baby at first, nor how to prepare it, but Annabel's advice and tips have been really helpful.  I've checked this book out three times within the past few months and have even photocopied a few of the more helpful pages.  Honestly, I should probably just buy it so that I'll have it on hand whenever I need it.  If you're starting your little one on solids anytime soon, I highly recommend reading this book.    

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lila's New Flame by Kate William, 199 pages

Late one night, an entire wing of Fowler Crest burns to the ground! Lila Fowler, already furious over a long-distance relationship gone up in smoke, swears revenge on the arsonist who left her home in ashes. Will Lila's vow blow up in her face? Steven Wakefield is psyched to intern at the Sweet Valley District Attorney's office. His first assignment? To investigate the Fowler Crest fire! Steven's always considered Lila the flakiest of his sisters' friends. But as he spends time with her, Steven can help feeling a definite romantic spark. Then he finds a clue that points to Lila as the culprit! How can he prove she's guilty after losing himself in the searing passion of their first kiss?

Proverbs, NKJV, 47 pp

I've been breaking from my usual Biblical readings (pretty much just Genesis, Exodus, Esther, and the Gospel of John) for the last few years.  I have utilized Jeremiah, Leviticus, and Numbers as part of my Hebrew study recently, but the four books before are my favourites.  But, I've been encourages to start reading some of the other books as well, so I figured I couldn't go wrong with Proverbs, and I was right.  Ecclesiastes next.  (Just in English; I', reserving my Hebrew Torah studies to Friday evenings for the time being, so may be awhile before I get through Deuteronomy.

Happily Ever After by Kate William, 199 pages

Elizabeth Wakefield is avoiding Prince Laurent de Sainte-Marie. He may be devastingly cute, but he's engaged to Antonia di Rimini, the daughter of a haughty countess. Then Elizabeth learns that Prince Laurent has refused to marry Antonia-because he loves Elizabeth! Elizabeth doesn't want to cause an international incident...but is running away from Chateau d'Amour Inconnu the answer? Jessica Wakefield's sexy new boyfriend, Jacques Landeau, made an awful mistake. To save himself, he got her mixed up in a major jewel theft. Jacques has apologized a million times, but she's not ready to forgive him. Will Jessica reconsider when he reveals a heart-wrenching secret?

To Catch a Thief by Kate William, 199 pages

Elizabeth Wakefield is furious. She was swept off her feet by Prince Laurent de Sainte-Marie-the most romantic guy she's ever met in her life. But that certainly isn't the problem. The problem is Antonia, his fiancee! And Antonia's mother, the Countess di Rimini, will do anything to keep Elizabeth away from the prince-including locking Elizabeth and her twin in a dungeon! The countess has another reason for imprisoning the twins. Jessica Wakefield stole her precious emerald! Or so the countess believes. Jessica is enraged by the accusation-and miserable about being separated from her brand-new boyfriend, Jacques Landeau. She swears she'll find out who framed her...but will the truth break her heart?

With a Name like Love by Tess Hilmo (249 pages)

Ollie's father, Everlasting Love, is a traveling preacher.  She, her mother and her four younger sisters travel the country with him holding short revivals, moving from town to town in their travel trailer.  Usually Ollie's family only stays in one area for a few day, but when they arrive in Binder, Arkansas, Ollie feels compelled to stay longer.  Not for herself, but in order to help a trouble boy named Jimmy Koppel, whose mother is in jail for murdering his father. 

I first heard of this book at a summer reading workshop I attended.  It was mentioned along with Wonder by R.J. Palacio and I loved that book so there was no question whether I would read it.  I will admit the beginning was a little slow for me, but the middle and last half of the book made up for it.  Ollie's family is loving and kind, but they also feel real.  For example, the sisters do not always get along, and sometimes they act jealous of each other, which makes the book  feel more authentic, or at least more like my idea of how families act.  I think most upper-elementary age children could read this chapter book in a couple of days.  The font is large and the story has a mystery element that propels you forward.    

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sociology, 6th Edition (1996), by Schaeffer and Hall, 638 pp

This is not my textbook for SOC this semester.  It is my old intro book from when I took the class over ten years ago; but as I am taking a few Upper Division SOC courses this, next, and maybe further semesters, I decided to read it before summer classes began (yeah, it's the second week in, but close enough, dontcha think?)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Empire of Death by Paul Koudounaris, 224 pages

This book covers the history of charnel houses and ossuaries. I ordered this book via inter-library loan to use as a resource for my upcoming program on how bodies are treated after death throughout history and around the world. While the book was dry at times, the pictures alone made it a worthwhile read.

Mistress of Mourning by Karen Harper, 399 pages

Queen Elizabeth's two children lost in early childhood, and the Queen's two brothers who vanished from the Tower many years ago. As Varina is escorted back and forth from the palace by the handsome Nicholas Sutton, she starts to develop feelings she long thought dead. Soon after the figures are finished, Varina is sent for again by the Queen. She and Nicholas are requested by not only the Queen but also the King, to investigate the death of Prince Arthur, heir to the throne, and serve as the Queen's chief mourner. As Varina and Nicholas delve into the mystery of not only this Prince's death, but also the death of those two young princes in the Tower so long ago, Varina wonders if she will live long enough to find the answers.
"Mistress of Mourning" by Karen Harper is a wonderful look at a intriguing part of English history. This work of historical fiction brings alive a segment that I hadn't read much of, and deals with the possible reasons for the deaths of the boys in the Tower, along with how their sister might have dealt not only with their death but the long-reaching aftermath. Karen Harper's books have a favored spot on my bookcase, with each one finished leaving me eagerly awaiting her next one.

The King's Damsel by Kate Emerson, 346 pages

Thomasine Lodge was set up as a lady-in-waiting to Princess Mary, daughter to King Henry VIII, after her father died, and her wardship was purchased by the status seeking Sir Lionel Daggett. Thomasine has been told that she must seek favor with the young princess or Sir Lionel will make Thomasine's life more miserable. Thomasine quickly comes to care for the princess, becoming a friend and confidant as the marriage of King Henry and Queen Katherine falls apart due to his obsessive love for Anne Boleyn. Anne becomes Queen, and Thomasine becomes a member of her court, in order to keep Mary informed and watch out for her best interests. But unfortunately, Thomasine catches the eye of the king, who has proven himself unloyal and faithless to the women he loves. Anne is also a dangerous enemy to have, so what is Thomasine to do?
Kate Emerson always does a fantastic job of bringing English history to life, choosing little known characters and creating wonderfully detailed backstories. Fans of Philippa Gregory, Karen Harper and historical fiction, will thrill to this new look at the Tudor Court.

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis (320 pages)

Deza Malone is a hardworking, smart student whose family has been greatly affected by the Great Depression.  With little money and no job prospects Deza's father leaves home in search of work, but soon after Deza's mother loses her job so they have little choice but to follow him, even though they are not sure where he is since they have not heard from him.

Award-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis spins another tale set during a time period that he is obviously comfortable with.  Deza's big heart and kind attitude, plus her goal to reunite her family, despite the odds, will keep readers turning page after page of this delightful story.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (315 pgs.)

Overcoming fear, over-protective parents, and physical challenges to find true friendship.  A few good friends will carry you through anything... even middle school!

I had several books on hold to "read a book from the blog" for summer reading.  I am glad that I got to read this one.  The characterizations were so real that I could see these people in my mind as I was reading and I felt like I got the reasoning for their actions even before it was explained.  It made me wish that this was a non-fiction story.

If you liked this story, you might also like the movie "Big" with Tom Hanks.  It has a similar sort of feel to it.

Do You Believe in Ghosts by Martine Laffon (95 pgs.)

This book was not quite what I was expecting.  Rather than discussing ghosts, it is almost more of a "how to" book on contacting them.  It tells about different methods of contacting spirits and those who made famous such methods.  I was happy that it then went on to talk about the fraud that those same people committed and how they faked their way to fame.  Also discussed are pros and cons of this sort of activity and the possible dangers inherent in it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton, 359 pages

I've been reading the Anita Blake books since the very beginning, and the last 4 or 5 just have been getting way too dark and sexually graphic for me to really enjoy. This one seems to have moved back a little, with not so much sex and extreme violence, making it a more enjoyable read. While I'm a big fan of these books, I hesitate to recommend them a lot, because of just how explicit the series got. If the books continue to ebb in blood and sex (with the two combined) I will be glad of it.

Pet Sematary, Stephen King, 395 pages

I am a big lover of Stephen King and was surprised that I had never read this one. Classic horror to the maximum. Made me fall in love with one of my favorite writers all over again. Don't worry, I won't go all Annie Wilkes (Misery's antagonist) and tie him up/ torture him or anything like that.... but I truly did love this book. I started dragging out the ending b/c I wanted to savor it as long as I could.

Girl to the Core by Stacey Goldblatt, 304 pages

The main character of this book, fifteen year old accordion playing Molly, finds her strength through an unlikely source: Girl Corps, which is a group similar to Girl Scouts. I thought the book was hokey. I didn't care too much for Molly, who was in the throes of giving up her virginity to two timing Trevor, just so she could "keep him."

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (213 pages)

In a series of letters to an anonymous person, Charlie begins to document his first year of high school and the problems he goes through.  He soon meets a couple of seniors, Sam, and her brother, Patrick, and is accepted into their group of friends, where he is introduced to drugs and sex and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. His new friends keep him from being depressed for a while, but after the school year is over and his friend start to head off to college, it all starts to become too much for him to handle, especially after a horrifying realization about his favorite Aunt Helen.

The only reason I even read this book was because I saw a trailer for the movie and the movie looked pretty good.  I finished this book a couple days ago and I'm still not sure how I feel about it.  First off, there's Charlie. He's just really, really strange.  There were times I thought he had some sort of developmental disorder or something, because he's very socially awkward and he cries at the drop of a hat.  I just thought it was very far-fetched that he would immediately become best friends with a group of seniors, and they would treat him as an equal. (Granted, I never went to a public high school so I guess I wouldn't really know, but still. ;) I'm pretty sure it doesn't work like that.) Anyways, Charlie has to deal with a lot in one year, things like rape, abortion, first love, family problems, suicide, experimenting with drugs, depression... It's a lot for the kid. What was strange to me though was how well he handled the really tough things like the abortion, but then there's all these little things that happen and he just starts crying about it? It was just weird to me. However, I did like the book simply because of the way it was written.  There were a ton of really great quotes and I found myself wanting to highlight random passages all throughout the book.  But since it was a library book, I refrained. :)

Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs, 402 pages

A.J. Jacobs has decided to pursue the "perfect body" with the same level of obsessive dedication that he showed when going after the ideals of biblical law and reading the entire encyclopedia. Over two years he spends a month concentrating on a different body part or health ideal, culminating in a triathlon. One of my favorite chapters was "The Lower Intestine: The Quest to go to the Bathroom Properly" with him buying a squatting chair. His wife is a long-suffering sidekick, willing to go along with some of his journeys to optimum health.
While I didn't find this book as funny as "A Year of Living Biblically" I did still really enjoy it. It will be interesting to see what will be his next obsessive journey.

R is for Revenge by Kate William, 231 pages

The Sweet Valley High cheerleaders have been kidnapped! Cocaptains Jessica Wakefield and Heather Mallone thought they'd found the perfect faculty adviser for their squad in Nancy Swanson. They're sure he mousy assistant librarian won't cramp their style at all. But neither Jessica nor Heath knows about the dark secret in Nancy's past. Or how dangerous she really is. Until Sweet Valley's cheerleaders start disappearing one by one.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris, 327 pages

This is the latest Sookie Stackhouse book in one of my favorite series. Every book has me feeling sad for Sookie, I would love to see her catch a break just once. But yet again, it seems like the universe has chosen Sookie to be it's whipping boy.