Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Elizabeth is Mine by Kate William, 195 pages

Elizabeth Wakefield never planned on straying from her longtime boyfriend, Todd Wilkins. But then, she'd never met anyone like Devon Whitelaw. Not only is Devon devastatingly sexy, he's also brilliant-and impossible for Elizabeth to resist. Elizabeth tries to break up with Todd gently, but the more she pushes him away, the tighter he clings. Can Elizabeth make Todd understand that she no longer loves him...without breaking his heart? Todd's going insane with jealousy. Why would Elizabeth pick that arrogant jerk Devon over him? Todd needs to prove how much he loves Elizabeth-quick. And he's got the perfect plan-he'll ask her to marry him! If that doesn't work, Todd will only have one option left to make Devon Whitelaw go away.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Puns of Steel by Scott Hilburn, 126 pages

I was at Books-A-Million for over an hour, so this was a fun way to kill the time. A hilarious comic collection filled with tons of punny comics.

Don't Roll Your Eyes at Me, Young Man! by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman, 128 pages

A Zits collection. What can I say, another afternoon at Books-A-Million with my youngest this time.

White Cargo by Don Jordan & Michael Walsh, 320 pages

I had known about a little about the history of indentured servants in America but hadn't realized just how long and widespread it was, and just how horrible it actually was. The first slaves in America weren't black, they were white Englishmen. How is that not taught in our history classes? People not only sold themselves into years of servitude to pay their way to the new world, but also as a means of paying off debts. Also, it was used as a way to punish and transport convicts. These people were beaten, starved, and worked to death, often serving years past their original agreed upon time. White slaves outnumbered black slaves for years and years in America, with the slaves coming from England, Ireland and Scotland. It proved to be a highly profitable business for those involved, with transporters even resorting to kidnapping to fill cargo holds with people to work the tobacco fields. The transports from England stopped after the outbreak of the American Revolution and picked up for a short time after the end of the war, with the English government transporting the dregs of their convicts as a final revenge upon the upstart Americans. With America no longer as a dumping ground, the English then turned to Australia as a solution. All of the people proud of their early settler ancestors may want to consider the fact that those ancestors could have been sent here as a way of avoiding a death sentence.
This was an eye opening read, one that I won't soon forget.

License to Dream by Pat Brady, 127 pages

I enjoy reading comics before going to bed some nights because it's a great way to wind down for the evening. We have about 30 different comic collections on Jason's nightstand so I can just roll over and pick one up if I feel like it. I got hooked on the Rose is Rose strip when I lived in Jefferson City and got the St. Louis Post.

What Would Dewey Do? by Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum, 127 page

It's still a ways off till we get the geniuses behind Unshelved to visit the library, but it's never to early to enjoy one of their comic collections. If you haven't discovered Unshelved yet, you are in for a treat. It's a comic devoted to the craziness that is a public library, not only the patrons but the staff themselves. Pick one up today and enjoy it, it's what Dewey would want you to do.

Humongous Zits by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman, 255 pages

Another comic collection featuring Jeremy, and his parents, who seem to exist only to embarrass him. That is the only reason Jason and I find for getting out of bed many days, how can we totally embarrass Renee that day?

My Bad (Zits Treasury) by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman, 262 pages

Anytime a Zits book gets brought into the house, a fight usually ensues over who gets to read it, with the book disappearing into various people's bedrooms. Having a teenager in the house, the comics hit home way too often.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Zombie Parents by Scott & Borgman, 128 pages

This is the the one comic that almost every day my husband, myself, or my 16-year-old will exclaim that we're sure the creators have a camera in our house taping us. It really hits home for the relationship between the parents and Jeremy and between the husband and wife. So, when I go to Books-A-Million with my kids for a hour or two, this series is one I'll pick up usually to read.

Fuzzy Logic by Darby Conley, 128 pages

I think my favorite strips are the ones featuring Bucky and the ferret next door. Bucky is one crazy little cat.

I'm Ready for my Movie Contract by Darby Conley, 128 pages

Another Get Fuzzy collection, what can I say, I really enjoy them.

The Get Fuzzy Experience by Darby Conley, 128 pages

Get Fuzzy is one of the snarkiest comic strips out there, so I always get a kick out of reading them. So I felt a craving to re-read one of the collections we own. Bucky is probably my favorite character.

What Jessica Wants by Kate William, 199 pages

Is Jessica Wakefield losing her touch? She can usually wrap any guy around her finger. But Devon Whitelaw, the seriously sexy new guy in town, won't give her the time of day. Of course, Devon's coldness only makes him more intriguing. Jessica swears she'll make him hers. In fact, she'll crush anybody who stands in her way... including her own twin! When Devon becomes Elizabeth Wakefield's new chemistry lab partner, she can help but notice how attractive he is. Who wouldn't? Still, she only has eyes for her longtime boyfriend, Todd Wilkins. But the more Elizabeth works with Devon, the more impressed she is  by his brilliant mind. In comparison, Todd seems...well, sort of ordinary. Will Todd be history when Devon goes after Elizabeth's heart?

Dead Inside Do Not Enter by The Lost Zombies Community, 160 pages

This is probably one of the saddest and coolest zombie books I've ever read. It's not a book per se, with a storyline and characters, but is instead a collection of notes and such left behind by survivors and victims during the zombie outbreak. It features explanations of why people did what they did, notes looking for loved ones, and suggestions for survivors.

Big Nate and Friends by Lincoln Peirce, 222 pages

Another fun graphic novel in a series that has my kids completely hooked. I love how totally confident Nate is of his abilities, he kind of reminds me of my youngest.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, 346 pages

As a Jane Austen fan, I was very pleased that the library book club read this for it's July selection. We had a few who had never read Jane Austen before, so it was a nice treat. Elinore is the oldest sister, practical and level-headed, responsible for keeping her sisters and flight mother on an even keel. Marianne is the middle sister, romantic and prone to extreme attractions. Margaret is the youngest sister who plays an almost non-existent role in the book. When the sisters' father dies, the substantial bulk of money goes to their older half-brother, who has promised to look after them and their mother, but he is quickly convinced by his wife that what money the women has is enough for their few needs, and the extent of help his father expected was nothing more than help moving to a new home.
Settled in a new cottage rented to them by a distant relative, the women quickly settle into country life, filled with all the little excitements such as visiting family and affairs of the heart. Jane Austen always does a wonderful job of bringing her characters and settings to life. One of our book club members said she enjoyed Austen most for the conversations, and I must say I agree. There is always a misunderstanding of the heart, disappointed affairs due to the lack of fortune on the girl's part, and then true love. One of the other members felt that this book was more like a soap opera or teen romance, and it's kind of true. Austen wrote romance and intrigue in such a way that authors today are still copying her.

Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen, 133 pages

I'm a fan of Jane Yolen so when I read a review of this book on Unshelved's Friday book reviews, I was intrigued. Henry is a small, smudgy boy, who doesn't seem to have any real talent for magic. But when the Wizard's Hall is threatened by the beast of a dark wizard, Henry, also known as Thornmallow because he's prickly on the outside and squishy within, realizes that all he can do is try his best to save his school and new friends.
I'm surprised this book hasn't enjoyed a new fan base because it reminds me a lot of Harry Potter. I really wish Yolen had developed it into a longer book, this was more like a novella. I'm pretty sure Rowling must have read this book and gotten some of her ideas from it. For fans of Harry Potter going through withdrawal this is a nice little treat.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Murder On The Half Shelf by Lorna Barrett, 293 pages

I so want to go live in Booktown, with all it's speciality book stores. Except, I wouldn't want to end up as one of the dead bodies that Tricia seems to stumble over on a regular basis. These are definitely what you would call cozy mysteries, but their very well-written ones, enjoyable from page one. Watching the relationship between Tricia and her sister develop over the books has been an additional treat. Now for the long wait for the next book in the series to come out.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Miss Don't Touch Me Vol. 2 by Hubert & Kerascoet, 92 pages

I'd discovered the first book and really enjoyed it. The second one takes the book in a different direction, with Blanche seeming a lot less in control of her life. The artwork is still very amazing, with the story being attention grabbing. The sad thing is that the 3rd book hasn't been translated into English yet. I may have to learn French.

Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore, 403 pages

I love Christopher Moore, with "Lamb" and "The Stupidest Angel" being some of my favorite books. So, I was eager to pick up his newest book. This covers the artist scene in Paris in the 1890s, especially right after Vincent Van Gogh's death. What if Vincent didn't kill himself? What if there is a central color running through a lot of the the great pictures of that time destroying the artists?
This was an odd read, as all of Moore's books are. It was different from his other books but still very Moore-esque.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The King's Concubine by Anne O'Brien, 448 pages

As a huge fan of historical English fiction, I was intrigued to read about a time period that I knew little about. King Edward, his queen, and his concubine were brought to life in "The King's Concubine" by Anne O'Brien. Filled not only with characters that grabbed the reader's attention, this time period was also filled with conspiracies and schemes galore.

The Borgia Mistress by Sara Poole, 406 pages

"The Borgia Mistress" is an intrigue filled historical novel, with Francesca as a strong central character. Sara Poole has brought to life the Papal Court of Pope Alexander VI and his quest for a lasting legacy of the Borgia family. As the third book in this series, it can stand alone but is better enjoyed read in order due to the rich and complex back story.
The rest of this review can be found at www.NightOwlReviews.com since I read it as an Advanced Readers Copy for them.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lio's Astonishing Tales from the Haunted Crypt of Unknown Horrors by Mark Tatulli, 221 pages

One of my favorite comic strips.

Big Nate on a Roll by Lincoln Peirce, 216 pages

I can see why these books hold such an attraction for my kids. They are really fun.

Big Nate Out Loud by Lincoln Peirce, 223 pages

Big Nate starts a band with his friends called Enslave the Mollusk.

Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Peirce, 216 pages

I'm working my way through these books just so I can know what the attraction is for my kids. They are fun books with Nate as an adorable character. This one featured lots of fun information about Ben Franklin also.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Big Nate From the Top by Lincoln Peirce, 223 pages

I'm a fan of these fun graphic novels. I love Nate's total confidence.

Infestation, 257 pages

This was a graphic novel featuring a zombie outbreak crossing over multiple dimensions involving Transformers, GI Joe, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, and COV. I was very excited about this but ended up being a little disappointed in the book. It required much more back knowledge than I had since I don't read all of these comics.

Ozark Ghost Stories by Richard & Judy Dockrey Young, 186 pages

My youngest had requested this book because she wanted to read some local ghost stories. She kept trying to tell me all about them because she was so excited about. After reading these stories reflecting the stories told around fires and family get-togethers, I'm thinking about having a storytelling event around Halloween. I especially liked the use of local lingo in these stories.

Big Nate Goes For Broke by Lincoln Peirce, 216 pages

Both of my kids love the Big Nate books, fighting over them anytime I bring a new one home from the library. I enjoy the strip in the newspaper, but wasn't sure the books would be that great. I finally picked one up after listening to yet another fight over who got to read the book first. I have to say I really found it to be good, with the story humorous and the drawings perfectly suitable to the book. If you've like the comic strip at all in the paper, you should really pick these books up, and if you've not seen Big Nate at all, you're in for a treat.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Phantom of the Post Office by Kate Klise, 136 pages

I got hooked on these books last year when Kate Klise came to the library. They may be children's books but they are well-written, really sweet and the illustrations really add to the story. I have to beat my 10-year-old off to get first dibs on them, they're that good.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Elizabeth's Secret Diary Vol. III by Kate Williams, 325 pages

This is diary entries of Elizabeth Wakefield covering the Sweet Valley Books #71-82. All I can say is these sisters don't have a boyfriend that the other doesn't end up dating, usually secretly.

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman, 402 pages

I was a huge fan of Unwind when I first read it, and became a Shusterman fanatic after he came to the library and gave one of the best author visits I'd ever attended. So I've been eagerly awaiting the sequel to Unwind for ages. Our director was nice enough to pick up an Advanced Readers Copy at ALA for our teen librarian, and she was nice enough to share it with me after she'd finished it. I got it yesterday morning and finished it last night. It was terrifying, enthralling and outstanding. It really makes you wonder how much of our political and moral beliefs are shaped by the government, business interests and the media spin doctors. This will be one book that I know I'll have to buy for my 16-year-old, and I will continue to recommend Unwind and now UnWholly as a must read book.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Eat Slay Love by Jesse Petersen, 279 pages

One of the saddest things about this book is getting to the end and finding out Jesse Petersen hasn't written another to follow. If I became wealthy (lotto wealthy) I will pay her to write a book just for me.

Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen, 261 pages

I'd reviewed this book before about a year ago, but I'm reading the series before Jesse Petersen gets here on Friday. Reading them a second time just reminds me how much I really like these books, they are some of the funniest zombie books I've read. If you haven't picked any of them up, DO SO.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Body in the Boudoir by Katherine Hall Page, 255 pages

This prequel shows how Faith Sibley, a single caterer living in New York City, met her husband, Reverend Thomas Fairchild. Faith, as the daughter and granddaughter of clergymen, had sworn that she would never marry a clergymen, but the heart knows no limits. Her and Tom fall deeply and quickly in love, with an engagement soon following. Faith plans their wedding, with the ceremony to happen at her beloved Uncle Sky's Long Island mansion. But mysteries abound, threatening not only the wedding, but also Faith's life. Can she solve all of these before she becomes the dearly departed instead of the blushing bride?
I've read all the Faith Fairchild mysteries, so I particularly enjoyed getting to see how it all started. Katherine Hall Page always creates a story that not only intrigues but also entertains, with compelling storylines and characters that are refreshing. The mix of mystery and food is mixed perfectly, with the meals and cooking complementing the plot perfectly. These books are always wonderfully readable and "The Body in the Boudoir" proves to be no different.

The Museum of Hoaxes by Alex Boese, 266 pages

This also was reviewed on the Unshelved Friday book club page and piqued my interest. It looks at the history of hoaxes and some of the most famous. I especially liked the inclusion of pictures. I enjoy reading about hoaxes and shenanigans, I was a big fan of the Weekly World News when it was still published. Bat Boy lives on forever!

Hippo Eats Dwarf by Alex Boese, 278 pages

This book was reviewed under the Unshelved comic strip Friday book club, and I thought it sounded interesting. It covers internet and media hoaxes and such, and is also a guide on how to be able to tell reality from fantasy in today's hype-driven world. Though I'm thinking the first step would be that if the story comes from the Weekly World News, you might not want to believe it. This was an okay book, it didn't enthrall me, but it did keep me entertained and the chapters were relatively short with lots of bullet points.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Final Sail by Elaine Viets, 260 pages

Another book in the Dead-End Jobs mystery series by Elaine Viets. I have really enjoyed these books from the start. I'm really wanting Helen to tell Phil about her dead ex-husband so they can deal with that. This is a great series but I really recommend starting from book one.

Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith, 307 pages

Seth Grahame-Smith made Pride and Prejudice something that you could take a bite out of with the addition of zombies, and took a swing at Abraham Lincoln by giving him a silver tipped axe and a passion for killing vampires. Now he's done the same thing with Jesus' birth, but there aren't any monsters, except for the people. What if the wise men weren't really kings or magicians, but instead thieves, on the run from Herod? How would that change the story?
I was a little hesitant when I picked this book up because I wasn't sure how respectful the author would be of one of the most beloved events in the Christian religion. But, I have to say he did a good job of putting a new spin on the story without mocking or belittling it. The way Balthazar treats Joseph for believing Mary's story of being pregnant with God's story is how I'm sure a lot of people reacted.
I can see a lot of people being upset that someone dared to mess with the story of Jesus' birth, but all in all, I think it was a good read.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, 361 pages

Some people say serial killers are created, others say they're born that way. What happens when you're the teenage son of the most famous serial killer of all time? Jazz is determined to prove everyone wrong, including his dad, by not being killer. But someone has started recreating his dad's kills, and the clues are pointing to Jazz as the copycat.
This was a disturbing and intense read, that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I really enjoyed it and am eagerly looking forward to the next book. I can easily see my 16-year-old daughter and Lisa getting into a fight over who gets to read this book first. They would both really enjoy it.

Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen, 259 pages

Since Jesse Petersen will be coming to the library on Saturday, I thought I would reread her books again. I knew I liked them but I had forgot just how much. The chapter headings are one of the many delights of the book. My husband was getting a little irritated because I kept insisting on reading them to him even though he had already read the book. What can I say, they're just so funny they deserve to be read out loud.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Miss Don't Touch Me by Hubert & Kerascoet, 46 pages

This was a short graphic novel, but very powerful and an interesting read. It's the turn of the XXth century and a serial killer is on the prowl in Paris, killing young working women in horrific ways. When Florence's sister is killed, Florence knows it wasn't suicide. Determined to track down the killer, she takes a job as a dominitrix in a brothel. Can Florence find the killer and hold onto her virginity?
This was one of the most unusual graphic novels I'd ever read but I really enjoyed it. I found it recommended on the Unshelved comic strip page, and I'm glad I ordered it via inter-library loan. I think Lisa would really enjoy this one!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Liar's Moon by Elizabeth Bunce, 356 pages

This was the sequel to Star Crossed, and I enjoyed this one just as much as the first one. I'm very excited about the author's upcoming visit in August. The one drawback to this book was the twist she introduced at the very end, and now I have to wait for the next book to come out before I can get some questions answered.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fight Fire With Fire by Kate William, 199 pages

Jessica Wakefield cannot believe that her big brother, Steven, has fallen for her best friend, Lila Fowler. It's disgusting! Even Jessica's twin sister, Elizabeth, thinks Steven is making a big mistake. So the twins devise a perfect plan to snuff out the sparks between Steven and Lila. But when their scheme backfires, it could lead to a fiery death for someone they love! Lila's been told not to leave town until the arsonist who burned her home has been caught-because she's still the main suspect! Then Steven discovers the real firebug...who holds a grudge against Lila and all the students at SVH. Worst of all, the arsonist is preparing to strike again! Can Steven save Sweet Valley High from burning to the ground?

Too Hot To Handle by Kate William, 197 pages

Cool, brilliant, and intensely handsome, Devon Whitelaw had a perfect life. But his parents died in a senseless accident-leaving him totally alone. In order to claim his vast inheritance, Devon must find a guardian. He heads West to find one person who cares about more than his money. Is the love he so desperately needs waiting for him in California? Steven Wakefield's romance with Lila Fowler is starting to sizzle! But as he investigates her arson case, Steven finds more proof that she torched Fowler Crest. Just as he's about to break his own heart and turn her in, Steven discovers evidence that could brand someone else as the real suspect...someone who's haunted Lila's nightmare for a long, long time.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Charming Crime by Tonya Kappes, 155 pages

June Heal had her father die when she was young, her quirky mother pass away recently and now the building when she creates homeopathic remedies to sell at the local flea market has blown up. When June is invited to set up shop in neighboring Whispering Falls, she feels it's a great step. But quickly June becomes enmeshed in not only the mystery of her past, but also a magically perplexing murder. Can June, her hunky best friend turned cop, and her enigmatic cat Prince Charming figure out what's going on, and keep June alive long enough to see it through to the end?
I have to say I wasn't completely enthralled with this book. The plot and character development didn't flow smoothly, with the novel containing huge leaps that kept me from becoming engrossed in the story. As a fast read, it wasn't bad, I just wouldn't have wanted to invest more time into the book.

Into the Dead by Jesse Petersen, 87 pages

This is an e-book by Jesse Petersen that I've had saved and finally got a chance to read, with her author visit coming up next month. Basically, it's a collection of short stories showcasing different people and how they handle the zombie apocalypse. Some of the stories feature the beginning, and others cover the months after. I especially liked the two featuring television and the government, things that even the zombies can't kill. One of the things I like most about Jesse Peteresen's books, is the humor that runs through them. If you've read her other three books, you'll want to pick up this e-book, it's a can't miss.

Dead(ish) by Naomi Kramer, 104 pages

This was a self-published e-book that was on the Nook I bought and because I had finished the book I was reading at night in bed, and was too lazy to get up and get a new book, I read this one. Basically, it's an investigator hired by a ghost to find out where her body is. The ghost is haunting the guy who killed her (accidentally he claims) and doing a pretty good job of vengeful torment, but she still wants to know where her body is.
This was not great writing by any means, but it beat going to bed before I was ready, and also beat getting up and finding a book to read.