Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde (375 pgs.)

This is the 3rd book in the Thursday Next series.

The twists and turns of the story and the amazing creative genius to them keep me in thrall.  I am completely captured by the life within Book World.

Here Thursday is seeking sanctuary hoping for some quiet and rest in an unpublished novel with maybe some light work for Jurisfiction.  Of course, what happens is anything but that.

Perelandra by C.S. Lewis (208 pgs.)

This is the 2nd book in this sci-fi trilogy.  This time we are taken to Perelandra (Venus) and discover what it might have been like in the Garden of Eden before the Fall.  We see how the Bent One tempts and twists the truth until we question all that we know.

If only such beauty really could exist under the cloud cover of that planet.

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis (178 pgs.)

I thought it would be fun to re-read Lewis's sci-fi trilogy in honour of Curiousity's Mars landing.

In this story, we visit the planet Malacandra and its people and those who care for it, guide it, and, perhaps, rule it.  With 3 different sentient species on one planet, life there has developed a different pattern to the days and very different thought processes than on Thulcandra -- The Silent Planet -- or, as we might call it, Earth.  We learn about the Bent One and how this has affected us all.

And I find that I just might not be surprised if we find pictures of Sorns being transmitted to us...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Too Much Information by Gene Ambaum & Bill Barnes, 127 pages

Each one of these Unshelved collections just makes me even more excited about the creators visit next year. Yippee!

When We're in Public, Pretend You Don't Know Me by Susan Borowitz, 274 pages

My mom had picked this book up for me as a funny guide for surviving Renee's teen years. I actually had to take this book away from Renee a few times to finish it. I'm glad to say that I'm an "uncool" mom instead of a "best buds" or "clueless" mom. I picked up a few tips that I will be using over the next few year as Renee goes through her teen years and Sammi enters them.

VWars edited by Jonathan Maberry, 406 pages

This was a fantastic new take on the vampire story. What if vampirism was caused by a virus awakening dormant dna? What if there were different types of vampires throughout the world based on your genetic makeup, explaining the variety of vampires throughout history and around the world? I especially enjoyed how there was a variety of writers, but the story itself stayed very coherent. This is probably one of the most outstanding vampire books I've ever read.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Road to Perdition 2: On the Road, by Max Allan Collins, 294 pages

The graphic novel "Road to Perdition 2: On the Road," originally published as three issues. It's not exactly a sequel to "Road to Perdition"; rather, it portrays events that occur during the timeline of the first graphic novel. It's not as dark as the first one, either in storytelling or artwork. But it's still a good read. Lots of gangster life in this one, with action set in gambling halls, brothels, and speakeasies. Lots of violence, too. And the gangster haven of Kansas Cit
y plays a crucial role as well.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Death Makes the Cut by Janice Hamrick, 322 pages

This was the much awaited sequel to Death on Tour, which was Janice Hamrick's first mystery. I was a big fan of Death on Tour, so I was unsure whether or not the author would be a one hit wonder. Well, I must say I enjoyed this book just as much even though it took place in Texas instead of Egypt, and I'm not really a fan of books set in Texas. Jocelyn Shore is back home and ready to start a new school year, when she stumbles over the dead body of a fellow teacher. She quickly becomes involved in trying to help solve the crime, and becomes a target herself. Throw in a distant boyfriend in a long-distance relationship, and much too attractive police detective, an over-the-top drama teacher, and the craziness of her cousin, and it all adds up to what may be this teacher's final exam.

The BUST Diy Guide to life by Laurie Henzel and Debbie Stoller (368 pages)

Go Green, Live Rich by David Bach (175 pages)

Among the Barons by Margaret Peterson Haddix (182 pages)

Among the Betrayed by Margaret Peterson Haddix (156 pages)

Among the Impostors by Margaret Peterson Haddix (172 pages)

Road to Perdition by Max Allan Collins, 303 pages

For those of you who have seen the Tom Hanks movie adaptation of this adult
graphic novel, read "Road to Perdition." It is SO much better than the movie! Set in the Midwest in 1929, it focuses on Michael O'Sullivan, an enforcer for the local mob family, the Looneys, as well as Al Capone and Frank Nitti in Chicago. O'Sullivan, a veteran of WW1, is portrayed as an efficient killer who's only doing what he needs to do to support his wife and sons during the Great Depression. When the Looney family turns on him and attempts to kill him, then murders his wife and young son, he hits the road with his oldest son, seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. It's violent stuff -- lots of guns and knives -- in the style of old gangster films and features non-stop action, even as the relationship between father and son is explored. The black and white artwork is phenomenal, much better than that featured in "Road to Perdition 2," which I'm reading now. The dialogue and story-telling were terrific, but the detailed drawings really held my attention.

The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace, 59 pages

"The Painted Bridge" is actually 290 pages, but page 59 was as far as I got before giving up. The book is quite well-written; it just didn't pull me in as a reader. I appreciated the premise: In 19th century England, a woman's husband commits her to an asylum. The reason? He claims she is suffering from hysteria. In reality, from the beginning, it appears she is simply too independent and intelligent for his liking. So I thought, "Cool, this will be a feminist novel." And it probably is. But it moved at a snail's pace, and I couldn't stay focused, so I'm moving on to something else. Perhaps I'll pick it up another time.

Fables: Super Team, 148 pages

Completely caught up with all the ones we own. I'm really sad now.

Night Watch by Linda Fairstein, 402 pages

This wasn't my favorite in the series, kind of felt like it left me hanging and unsatisfied.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, 197 pages

Our August Readers Without Borders book. I really enjoyed it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fables: Rose Red, 245 pages

This is the next to last graphic novel published so far in this series. I hate that I'm so close to being caught up because this has been one of the best graphic novel series I've ever read. Each one keeps getting better and better.

A Guide to Natural Housekeeping by Christina Strutt (192 pages)

This was a very helpful book and had some great tips for day to day needs. This book is also a double whammy in my experience becasue if you try to keep a natural house and life, you tend to lead a more greener lifestyle too. 

Express Housekeeping (224 pages)

100 Festive Finds in Missouri by Ann Hazelwood (112 pages)

I had no idea that Missouri had so many festivals to attend. I would really like to try and go to the Irish Festival in Kansas City and the Japanese festival in Springfield. I like a little culture and diversity. I was a little shocked that the Carthage Maple Festival was not in there, but hey I live local and know about that.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Only Menopause Guide You'll Need by Michele Moore, M.D. (144 pgs.)

The title is pretty self-explanatory as to what the book is about.  It deals with peri-menopause through to post-menopause.  It's anecdotal in part and written in clear English by a woman who is not only a doctor, but has "been there, done that".  Many different issues are addressed (including such things as irregular periods, insomnia, memory problems, hot flashes, etc.) and medical, herbal, and homeopathic possible remedies are listed.  Hormone Replacement Therapy tends to be favoured, but other options aren't put down.  Most helpful if you are looking for answers to a specific question/concern rather than trying to just read through.

I'd Rather Eat Chocolate by Joan Sewell (207 pgs.)

Subtitle - Learning to Love My Low Libido

I don't have much to say about this book.  If the title grabs your attention, then you will probably want to read it.  If it has ever occurred to you that there maybe should be treatments for high libido rather than low, then you will probably want to read it.

I will leave it with this quote that is also found on the back cover of the book:  "If I had a choice between reading a good book and having sex, the book wins.  I notice I put in the adjective 'good' -- and that leaves me wondering if I'm not trying to put a better face on things.  I still want people to read this and think, Well, of course, if it's a good book.  But my boyfriend -- the man I would eventually marry -- would take even bad sex ofver a good book."

This is How by Augusten Burroughs (230 pgs.)

Subtitle - Help for the Self Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness Grief Molestation Disease Fatness Lushery Spinsterhood Decrepitude and More for Young and Old Alike

I have read most of the books this author has written.  This one, though different, does not disappoint.  Though you don't need to have read "Running With Scissors" or "Dry", they would give you background on where he is coming from.  His insights are interesting and hard-hitting straight-to-the-point.  I don't agree with all he had to say, but it did make me think.

I did find it strange that the book seems to me to be mostly directed at women.  "Breeders" and children are not often his target audience, necessarily.

Perhaps one of the best points in this book is about real honesty and being honest with ourselves and not trying to put band-aids of false "everything is good" on top of problems... whatever those problems might be.

Bagpipes, Brides, and Homicides by Kaitlyn Dunnett, 278 pages

Another murder mystery but with a Scottish theme.

Not So Funny When It Happens edited by Tim Cahill, 207 pages

One of the drawbacks of doing the pull list for all the holds each morning is coming across books that catch my interest. This one looked interesting. It's a collection of travel mishaps, which are always a lot funnier when it happens to others.

Frequently Asked Questions by Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum, 135 pages

I love this comic strip. I'm just counting down till we get to see Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum next year. Yippee!

The Highly Effective Detective by Richard Yancey, 294 pages

Teddy Ruzak was a security guard, who due to an insurance inheritance, decides to start a detective agency. He doesn't have a license or training, but he does have a lot of enthusiasm. His first case is investigating a hit and run involving a gaggle of baby geese. Just how far can determination and enthusiasm carry you?
This was a different detective, he kind of reminded me of Barney Fife. It was really a good read.

21st Century Dead edited by Christopher Golden, 338 pages

This was a collection of never-before-published zombie stories by some outstanding writers. There were some that will stay with me for a while because they were just that creepy. I especially liked the thought of just how far will a mom go for her baby, even when it's dead.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Lion Called Christian - Anthony Bourke -- 226 pgs

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This is a reissue of a book written in the 70's. Back in the 70's a couple of Australian friends purchase a lion cub from Harrod's Department Store. (This would never happen now.) This story tells of their raising him until he was to the size they felt they could no longer take care of him in the way that would be in the lion, Christian's, best interest. Through a series of events, they became acquainted with a man in Africa who had the goal of creating his own pride of lions, and introducing Christian to the life as a "wild" lion. Christian is successfully reintroduced, but he never forgot his first owners. A year after Christian was left in Africa his owners came back, called his name, and he came running. He even brought his wild mate with him and "introduced" them. I like animal books, so I liked this one. There is a YouTube video of Christian greeting his former owners after a year. It was originally shot as part of a documentary. There are several "Christian Videos"; here's the link to one:

Picture-Perfect Prom by Kate William, 197 pages

Junior year is coming to a close, and there's only one thing on Jessica Wakefield's mind-snagging the hottest prom date in Sweet Valley. But who could be worthy of the most devastatingly gorgeous girl at SVH? Jessica and her best friend, Lila Fowler, are determined to find out-by rating all the guys in school. But when their list of who's hot and who's not gets out, the guys seek revenge! Elizabeth Wakefield needs to make a decision fast. She told both of her ex-boyfriends, devoted Todd Wilkins and sexy Devon Whitelaw, that she needed time to stand on her own. But now she's totally alone-without a prom date! Will she be able to figure out who her dream guy is-before he asks someone else?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Devil's Wake by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due, 278 pages

I'd vowed to read something happier after the disturbing books I've been choosing lately, so what do I do? Yeah, I read a zombie novel. I find them irresistible. "Devil's Wake," which I believe kicks of a new series, was pretty good. I like zombie books that take place when the zombie apocalypse kicks off. What starts it in "Devil's Wake"? The combination of a flu vaccine for a new strain of the illness, and a special mushroom that dieters take to suppress their appetite. The heroes of the story are teenagers, which I liked but found perplexing at first; I couldn't figure out why this wasn't a teen book. But it's written like an adult book, so I let go of my confusion. The book opens with following the separate experiences of Kendra and a group of juvenile offenders who are serving their time by working at a summer camp. Kendra and the teens soon cross paths and join forces to find a safe place in a world overrun by zombies. Toward the end, there's a supernatural element introduced that I didn't feel was necessary, but I did enjoy this book and would read others if the series continues. I also didn't find this book as gory as other zombie books I've read, which might make it more tolerable for those who don't relish blood and guts. There was greater emphasis placed on the internal life of the characters -- their concerns about family members, anxieties, confusion, connections to each other.

Edgar Allan Poe's Haunt of Horror, by Corben and Margopoulos, 112 pages

Oh, how I love graphic novels. I've taken to reading them between bigger books, viewing them as a palate cleanser. I was a wee bit Poe obsessed in junior high and high school, so I thought I'd check out this volume. It's ... interesting. The authors give their takes on famous Poe poems and short stories. They've adapted a lot of Poe's text and paired it with visuals of mad dentists, murderers, zombies, and so on. And after each adaption they provide the original Poe text. My only complaint about this graphic novel? There was no adaptation of my favorite Poe work, "The Masque of the Red Death."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen (259 pages)

I haven't read a zombie book in forever, and after reading everyone's reviews of this one I decided to give it a try.  I liked it a lot and I'll definitely be reading the next book. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fables: Witches, 184 pages

This had one of the best lines I've ever read in a book. The magic mirror is dealing with Baba Yaga (one of the scariest witches ever in fairytales) and is telling her that she will be dead soon. Baba Yaga asks why, and the Magic Mirror tells her that she was dead the moment Bufkin (one of the Flying Monkeys from the Wizard of the Oz) decided she needed to go. Bufkin is considered kind of a bumpkin by the fairytales so Baba Yaga is shocked by this. She asks why and the Magic Mirror replies, "He reads. He reads everything." That is my all time favorite line. That would be my superpower. I may even have it put on my grave, "She read. She read everything."

Library Mascot Cage Match by Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum, 120 pages

We are just about 8 months away from Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum coming to the Joplin Public Library. I will be rereading all of their collections between now and then in anxious anticipation.

I'm Not Anti-Business, I'm Anti-Idiot by Scott Adams, 128 pages

I'm rereading the Dilbert collections as a nice way to unwind before going to sleep.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Last Werewolf.

by Glen Duncan, 293 pages.

 *DISCLAIMER* this review contains a tiny bit of a spoiler...

Only 293 pages?!?

I've been undecided on whether or not I like this book, and now that I know the page number (I was reading it as an ebook, so I was happily living in that electronicVOIDof-page-numbers.), I think maybe I don't, because it felt like 593 pages.

I get that it's a challenge to make a werewolf interesting, and the prose was somewhat compelling (I did have to look up no less than a dozen words, so at least my vocabulary spiked after reading this novel).  A werewolf isn't glamorous like a vampire.  He's savage and erotic, apparently.  There was WAYY too much sex in this book, especially in reference to a very uncomfortable place ("like the back of a Volkswagen?").  I think this book might have been misogynistic as well, though it's a fuzzy line that will most definitely be answered with the second in this series, which is written from a female werewolf's perspective.  I will give that one a few chapters, to see if he writes for Talullah differently than he wrote for the hypersexed and unlikable Jake, though my hopes are not high.

I keep trying to love werewolves because I like people and I like wolves and I like shapeshifting, but it's just never as good as Wolf's Rain.  Perhaps I should just watch that series again and shut up about it already...

Deceit by Brandilynn Collins -- 324 pgs

Skip Tracer Joann Weeks believes that church elder, Baxter, murdered her best friend six years ago. Now, Baxter's new wife has died. Can Joann prove he did it? Read and see.

Matched by Allyson Condie -- 369 pgs

Guess I'm on a dystopian fiction kick. Matched tells of Cassia and how her society matches her with Xander for her life-long match. She views his information in the "port", but before it closes she gets a glimpse of another boy she knows, Ky. This gets her to wondering and questioning all about life and choices. Is Xander her true match? Should her match really be Ky? The books ends without questions being answered. Obviously, the story will continue.

Messenger by Lois Lowry -- 169 pgs

This is the Third book in the Giver series. It begins with Matty, who lives in Village with Seer. The Village is filled with people with disabilities. They are welcomed there. They are cared for. They are loved. However, slowly, Village decides to reject all outsiders. This sends Matty on a quest to let the outside world know not to come to Village, but also to rescue Seer's daughter. This volume is where The Giver and Gathering Blue begin to mesh. The fourth in the series, "Son" is due out in October. I've got it on hold!!

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry -- 215 pgs

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Gathering Blue is the second in the dystopian series by Lois Lowry. Emphasizing the story of Kira, a lame orphan with a gift for "threading". She meets characters along the way -- Thomas, the woodcarver; Jamison, her guardian; Matt, the street urchin. This book doesn't *seem* to fit second in line to The Giver, but read the third book and things begin to fit.

One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus, 302 pages

What if in the 1870s the government tried a secret ploy to bring the Indians into white civilization by sending 1000 white women to be brides and mothers and civilize the wild "Red Man"? To fill the ranks of the women needed, the government would pull women from prisons, the streets, and the madhouses. The story is told through the journal entries of May Dodd, a woman consigned to a mad house by her wealthy family for daring to fall in love with a man below their station. She is sent across the country to marry an Indian and help change their way of thinking. But instead, she may find her outlook completely changed.                   This book was wonderfully done, with the plot coming across as believable. The characters grabbed the reader, and the storyline left me very upset and sad, as a good story often will. Fans of Dances With Wolves would most likely enjoy this book.  A wonderful read that I totally recommend.

Invictus by JorDanielle Cashion, 181 pages

This is the book by the author we have coming to the library on Saturday. Since I'm going to be talking about it I wanted to refamiliarize myself with the book. Bad vampires, good vampires, demons, vampire fighters, and a forbidden romance, everything a vampire book needs. 

Still Pumped From Using the Mouse by Scott Adams, 128 pages

Another Dilbert collection to help soothe me off the sleep.

Casual Day Has Gone Too Far by Scott Adams, 128 pages

Since I like to read something light a lot of nights just before I fall asleep, I've starting picking up comic collections to read. I've read Dilbert from almost day one, and it was entertaining to go back and reread some of the earlier comics. Seeing how new and amazing the Internet was considered was funny.

Fables: The Dark Ages, 177 pages

This was one of the saddest books so far, I was tearing up a little through it. I've gotten really attached to some of the characters. If you like the dark and creepy fairytales, you'll want to pick up this series. But I wholeheartedly recommend starting at the beginning. The artwork and storylines are amazing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Great Fables Crossover, 231 pages

I've been waiting forever to be able to read this one. Someone had lost volume 12 and I had to wait for it to be reordered. This series is outstanding, but this was probably the oddest of all of them. I have to say I'm not a fan of Jack Horner at all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dead in Red by L.L. Bartlett, 280 pages

  The 2nd book in the Jeff Resnick Mysteries by L. L. Bartlett. It explains some of what happens in Book 1 so you are not at a total loss on how he got his sixth sense. I read this one really quick. It was a nice weekend read. Through a couple of curves in trying to figure out "who dun it".