Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Line by Teri Hall (219 Pages)

This was a great novel and I could not put it down, I finished the book in about a 24 hour span which says a lot because I don't have a lot of down time. The book was based on the "The Line" a force field type structure that separates the area they live in from "Away." The government enacted the invisible structure to protect the people from atomic war fare. The only problem was when they started it up they gave no heads up. This separated families and leaving one side to fend for themselves during the war. This is not a futuristic book but more like a modern time "what if" kind of book. The book comes down to what are you personally willing to do to stand up for what you think is right. I cant wait to read the second book, so stayed tuned!

On My Own by Francine Pascal, 179 pages

I know Jason in Reference is counting down until I'm done with this series.

Split Decision by Francine Pascal, 179 pages

Each book gets me closer to the end.

Bad Girl by Francine Pascal, 177 pages

It's really strange to see Elizabeth go all rebel in these books.

My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall (321 pgs.)

An interesting and entertaining read, this memoir by Penny Marshall really gives a look at who she is and the life events that shaped her.

Like in any family, she and her brother Garry (My Happy Days in Hollywood) are quite different, and yet, their love for each other (and their other sister, Ronny) shines through. 

Penny took a rough road in much of her life.  There were things I learned that made me sad for her and her experiences.  One of the things that really made me sad is that she spent her life being unhappy with her looks and thinking she wasn't pretty.  For the record, I have always wanted to be Laverne and not Shirley.

Her career travels got a boost thanks to Garry's belief in nepotism and then her own huge talent.  Starting in front of the camera and then working her way behind it to become one of Hollywood's great directors and setting milestones for women in the industry.

My Happy Hollywood Days by Garry Marshall (276 pgs.)

This autobiography/memoir by one of Hollywood's best directors -- seriously, thinking of making a movie with him is enough to make me wish I were an actress -- is a very interesting and entertaining read.  His personality shines through as he tells about growing up and getting out of New York and the struggles he faced figuring out quite what direction his career was going to go. 

Garry tells his stories with tact and honesty.  His views on actors and studios are not necessarily what the media gives us. 

I suggest reading this book paired with his sister, Penny Marshall's, book "My Mother Was Nuts".  The overlap, yet differing points of view on several events adds to the interest.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, 128 pages

A Great Allegory --  though at times it seemed he was labeling some of my beliefs as impediments to the Journey (probably the intention).  Wanted to read it for a long time, but finally got around to it.

All About Love by Francine Pascal, 181 pages

I keep getting closer and closer to the end of Senior Year.

Tales from Missouri and the Heartland by Ross Malone, 142 pages

Ross Malone is a Missouri author who coming to the library for the December Coffee Talk. This book was a little bit like "The Rest of the Story" vignettes by Paul Harvey. It was very entertaining and a good read. I'm thinking that I'm going to buy his books and get them autographed as a Christmas present for Mom. She would really enjoy them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

How Music Works (345 pages)

By David Byrne.

A book as knowledgable, insightful, and disjointed as Byrne's brain.

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler, 325 pages

This was a little difficult to read at times because it rang so true. I wouldn't have picked this book up but I'm glad we read it for book club.

Take Me On by Francine Pascal, 176 pages

Another Sweet Valley High Senior Year Book. I may not have them all done this year, but I'm getting close.

The Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman, 336 pages

Every blogger has a book these days. Some are so-so, and some are worth the price, such as "The Smitten Kitchen." How could you not love a blog and book that have the word smitten in the title? Perelman is not a trained chef or world-traveling foodie. Rather, she's a self-taught cook who writes about her experiences in her tiny New York City kitchen. The recipes and photos are scrumptious. Can't wait to try the Gnocchi in Tomato Broth, the Blue Cheese and Black Pepper Gougeres, and the Chocolate Chip Brioche Pretzels. It's a carb-lover'
s dream.

The Walking Dead, volume 8, Made to Suffer, by Robert Kirkman, 136 pages

And I've reached the final volume in the "Walking Dead" series that the library owns. *sob* I just need to buy the compendiums so I can read them again and again. In this installment, all heck breaks loose at the prison as the Governor tries to take control of the facility.

The Walking Dead, volume 7, The Calm Before, by Robert Kirkman, 136 pages

Rick's wife Lori gives birth to their second child. The running joke among fans of the "Walking Dead" TV show is that Lori's parenting skills leave something to be desired. She spent most of the first two seasons asking people to watch her son Carl or asking if anyone
knew where he was. As my co-worker said, "Lady, it's the zombie apocalypse. Can't you keep track of your kid?" Doesn't bode well for the new kid.

The Walking Dead, part 6, This Sorrowful Life, by Robert Kirkman,136 pages

More zombie killing, and Michonne takes revenge on the Governor in a deserved but disturbing manner.

The Walking Dead, part 5, The Best Defense, by Robert Kirkman, 136 pages

My quest to re-read the volumes the library owns continues with part five in the classic series. Rick and the other survivors have settled into the prison, and the Governor's brutality and depravity
hits a new low.

City of Saints by Andrew Hunt, 321 pages

I'm not one to read mysteries on a regular basis. They need to be gritty, violent and preferably historic to get my attention, with well-developed characters. (Modern cozies with the cutesy puns for titles are not my thing.) When I saw on the front of the cover that "City of Saints" won the Tony Hillerman Prize, I thought I'd give it a try, as I went through a Tony Hillerman phase years ago. The novel takes place in 1930s Utah, focusing on a devout Mormon sheriff's deputy in Salt Lake City as he simultaneously struggles with workplace corruption and solving the high-profile murder of a local doctor's socialite wife. I found the Mormon angle interesting, and I thought the hero's foul-mouthed partner, a former strike-breaker, was hilarious. When I read mysteries, I care less about who did it and more about how the hero figures things out. I liked the way "City of Saints" wrapped up, and I certainly hope it'
s the first in a series from author Andrew Hunt.

Thrifty: Living the Frugal Iife With Style by Marjorie Harris (211 pages)

Good book, offered a lot of modern day tips on how to pinch pennies. What I liked about this book, it was not just "save your bread ties" sort of thing, it mentioned part of being thrifty is taking care of what you have to make it last. As Margaret Atwood quoted in the book "Materialism is mistaking quantity with quality. The point is not having stuff, the point is appreciating the stuff you have."

Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano (309 pages)

Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life was a great book. It offered great tips and tools on how to take baby steps to create a better you and the planet too. One thing that was unique about this book was at the end of every chapter was a hand that had 5 simple steps to try in the next week above them. It was a great visual tool, showing that even by making 5 small steps a week or even a month can make a big difference.

Breathers by S. G. Browne, 310 pages

I just got sent the sequel to this book to review "I saw Santa Claus Eating Mommy" so I wanted to read the first book. This is a unusual twist on the zombie genre, with the zombies having awareness but no rights. So what happens when a zombie decides he wants the right to live a normal life? I really enjoyed this book, it was funny and twisted, making it a great read for those who like zombie books.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Camp Foxtrot by Bill Amend, 252 pages

Sometimes when life is just too crazy, a nice comic collection will help calm everything down and make me laugh. Foxtrot is still really good at that.

The Return of the Lone Iguana by Bill Amend, 126 pages

I've been reading Foxtrot for years and years, and sometimes there is nothing better than reading one of the collections before falling asleep.

In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz, 320 pages

"A Tale Dark & Grimm" by this author was a darkly delicious children's book featuring some of the fairy tales told as they were originally intended, scary and creepy. So, finding a new book was a great treat. This one has Jack (Jack and the beanstalk, Jack the Giant-Killer, Jack jumps over the candlestick), the Princess and the Frog, the Emperor has no Clothes, and other fairy tales. One of the highlights of this book that had me laughing out loud is the narrator. He warns the reader throughout, and is abashed when he forgets. If you like your fairytales Grimmtastic, this is a definite must read.

The Lady of Secrets by Susan Carroll, 429 pages

I was sent this one to review by Nightowl Reviews. While not my favorite, it wasn't a bad read.

Lucky Stuff by Sharon Fiffer, 306 pages

I'm a fan of these books featuring Jane Wheel and her passion for collecting. I was very excited to get this one sent to me to review.

The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania by Tracey Miller-Zarneke, 160 pages

I was sent this to review for Nightowl Reviews and it's a beautiful coffeetable book. The artwork and design time that went into this movie is astounding.

Beauty's Release by A.N. Roquelaure, 238 pages

I'd remembered these books because of all the hoopla over the 50 Shades books. It had been a decade or two since I'd read these books but I didn't want to request them via inter-library loan. I was talking with a friend about books we loved and it came up that she owned these books. I traded my Trueblood comics for her Sleeping Beauty books for us to read. Boy, these make the 50 Shades books look very tame.

Beauty's Punishment by A.N. Roquelaure, 226 pages

I'd remembered these books because of all the hoopla over the 50 Shades books. It had been a decade or two since I'd read these books but I didn't want to request them via inter-library loan. I was talking with a friend about books we loved and it came up that she owned these books. I traded my Trueblood comics for her Sleeping Beauty books for us to read. Boy, these make the 50 Shades books look very tame.

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A.N. Roquelaure, 253 pages

I'd remembered these books because of all the hoopla over the 50 Shades books. It had been a decade or two since I'd read these books but I didn't want to request them via inter-library loan. I was talking with a friend about books we loved and it came up that she owned these books. I traded my Trueblood comics for her Sleeping Beauty books for us to read. Boy, these make the 50 Shades books look very tame.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Over-Dressed The Shockingly High Cost Of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline (244 pages)

Man where do I start with this book, lets just say it was a complete eye opener! This book talks about how the American need for cheap clothing has helped with the decline in things being American Made because outsourcing overseas is so much cheaper. By doing that we have lost jobs, money and a whole section of skilled workers with no jobs to do anymore. Don't get me wrong, I am all about saving money and finding a deal, but when I shirt I bought at a favorite store of mine started unraveling at the seams after two washes it makes you wonder, what am I really spending my money on?  I don't know how many times I have said or heard someone say, "They just don't make things the way they use to anymore." Which is true, but we can change that. We have turned into a "Fast Fashion Nation" meaning we pay cheap prices and don't worry about quality because we don't plan on owning the product five years from now, or heck for some people by the next season. The younger generations are the worst and they like fast fashion, saying I wont pay over $20 for a dress because I am going to throw it away after two wears anyway, there are so many wrong things about this kind of mind set. We all know about the harmful effects of producing clothes and have heard stories but what about the clothes we discard? Even places like Good Will and Salvation Army can't keep up with all the clothes we discard. For an example one Salvation Army in New York will make Bales of clothing weighing 18 tons every three days out of unwanted clothing. That is one Salvation Army in American. What happens to all those tons of clothes? Some get sent Africa to be sold, some go to companies where they try and break the clothes down for fibers to use in insulation and things like that, and some end up in the land fill, this is a scary thought! Compared to say the 1900's, 1920's or even the 1970's our cost of living has increased along with our earning power. We now pay more for food and shelter but not our clothes, the prices are the lowest they have ever been. Even back in 1920's one would expect to pay $90-$120 for a dress but it would last for years  to come or could be refashioned into something else. Now days any dress over $30 is considered expensive and yet it can't make it through a season of wear without falling apart. I could go one and one about the things that I learned, but I hope you will be inspired to read it. A few last thoughts, we as the consumers do have a say, if you do not like a company and how they treat the environment or its workers, don't spend your hard earned money there. When we keep buying stuff we know is wrong, we are creating a demand for them to keep making the stuff and to keep doing what they are doing. One last thought, we all know our cheap clothes are produced in countries without labor laws and regulations and that's why its more expensive to buy American made products because they have to treat their workers fairly and pay them more. Some companies could double or even triple what they are paying their workers over seas, and we as the consumer would not see a price increase at all, that is truly something to think about.

Don't Throw It Out: Recycle, Renew, And Resure To Make Things Last by Lori Baird (386 pages)

This book had some really great tools that spanned into all aspects of life. What I liked about this book was Sections called "Make it Last," "Fix It Fast" and "Pass It Along" which would tell you how to maintain the product or appliance and if you could no longer use it how to properly recycle the item or pass it on to be refashioned into something else.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Provincial Lady in Wartime by E.M. Delafield, 349 pages

I've reached the totally sad place of being at the end of this series. I've really enjoyed these books written as the diary of a lady in England during the 1930s and beginning of 1940s. This one covers England's entry into war against Hitler, and, as only Delafield can do, is completely hilarious and irreverent. These have been a wonderful treat to read.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Russia, Enchantment of the World (144 pages)

In my effort to learn more about the world around us, I try to read a book about other places around the world. We just got a new shipment in of the "Enchantment of the World" which is a series of amazing books that Scholastic puts together. I think they are great books filled with wonderful facts and stunning pictures. I picked Russia to read about this month because I truly did not know that much about it. There were many amazing facts but I will only share a few that I learned and I hope that you all might be inspired to learn more about Russia or another place around that world.
1. Russia is the largest country in the world and spans 9 time zones, although it only has 22 people per square miles due to some parts being hard to live in due to climate. 2. Russia has the oldest lake in the world dating back to over 30 million years ago. It is home to more than 1,500 species of plant and animal life that are only found in and around this lake. 3. Most people are packed into urban areas and most families are large and a lot of people live in "kommunalka" a type of communal apartments were two to seven families will share an apartment and only have one private room for an entire family! (I will never complain about little space when I only share my home with a husband, son and a dog!) 4. They have an interesting tradition at the wedding to determine if  the man or woman will be the head of household and its determined by eating special bread. Long story short, who ever takes the biggest bite of "karavay" is the head of household. 5. Last but not least, Russians are some tough people, they have overcome centuries of hardships  due to religion, wars, government oppression, natural disasters, you name and yet here they still stand today.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Off the Grid by P.J. Tracy, 305 pages

I've been hooked on the Monkeewrench books since the very first one. I like seeing how Grace has grown and opened up, and the mysteries are dark and well-crafted. This one combined terrorists with the sex trade, and threw in an Indian reservation. I really enjoyed reading it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury by Robert Kirkman & Jay Bonansinga, 277 pages

Lisa has reviewed this book already so I will just say I'm a big fan of The Walking Dead, be it tv, graphic novels, or books. It's people stripped down to their core essential, be it good, bad, or just plain human.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Giver by Lois Lowry (180 pages)

I jumped on the re-reading bandwagon and began the series again to refresh my memory before I read Son.  I hadn't read this book since I was probably 10 years old, so I can definitely say I appreciated it a lot more this time.  It really is an absolutely fantastic book.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (192 pages)

Rebecca Stead won the Newbery Medal for When You Reach Me a few years ago and there is a lot of medal buzz about her latest.  The audio was really great and quick to listen to, even though in description, the story sounds relatively simple.  The characters are well-drawn and really make for a good story, though I'm not sure it is Newbery Medal material. 

Here's how Amazon describes it:  "The instant New York Times bestseller from the author of the Newbery Medal book When You Reach Me: a story about spies, games, and friendship. Seventh grader Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, a twelve-year-old self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer's first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: what is a lie, and what is a game? How far is too far to go for your only friend? Like the dazzling When You Reach Me, Liar & Spy will keep readers guessing until the end." 

Thanks, Amazon for the description!

Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian (400 pages)

I read this for my October book club meeting.  It was supposed to be creepy/scary in honor of Halloween, but after reading the first part of the book, it was apparent that it wasn't scary or creepy.  Which was fine with me because I'm not a fan of that genre, however, the story took a long time to develop and I did not care for the ending at all.  Honestly, I would not recommend this title and most everyone in the book club group felt the same way.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall, 326 pages

I've been a big fan of Penny Marshall ever since I first saw Laverne & Shirley as a child. I can remember going as her one Halloween with a big L on my sweater. But I never realized just how connected she was to the Hollywood scene and what movies she had directed. Her book was just as funny and slightly twisted as she always had struck me as being. It was also enjoyable getting a behind the scenes look at Laverne & Shirley and an explanation for the final season that had only Laverne.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Highly Effective Detective Goes to the Dogs by Richard Yancey, 329 pages

Teddy Ruzak is one of the most fumbling detectives of all times. But he is sweet and funny, reminds me a lot of Barney Fife. I really enjoy this series.

Son by Lois Lowry (400 pages)

And finally...the fourth book in the Giver Quartet! 

Jacque has already reviewed this one so I won't say a lot.  I think my main problem with this book, was the length.  One of my favorite things about The Giver is how short, and quick to read it is--making it a perfect title to recommend to reluctant readers.  Son is almost double the size of The Giver and I'm not sure why.

Messenger by Lois Lowry (192 pages)

The third book in the Giver Quartet.  It's definitely my least favorite of the four, but that's probably because the author kills off one of the main characters.

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (256 pages)

This is the second book in the Giver Quartet.  While I don't think it's as good as The Giver, I still think it's a good sequel.

The Giver by Lois Lowry (240 pages)

Since the fourth book in this series was coming out in October (yes, I'm a bit behind in my blogging), I decided to read the previous three in the series so I would have a better understand of what was happening in it.

Lois Lowry is a genius, pure and simple.  Even though I've read The Giver several times over the years, it still managed to surprise, excite and frustrate me all in the same reading.  I love it and highly recommend it to anyone (child, teen or adult) who is looking for a good dystopian fantasy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, 388 pages.

This book is pure geeky fun. I heartheartheart it! Exuberantly. As if I needed another reason to love science fiction and the '80s...

Get it immediately on molib if you smile at the mention of "Real Genius", Rush, or Arcade/Bowling Alley. Immediately. Ok, I have to return it first, so give me a minute...

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, 284 pages

This book is interesting and worth a look if you are a parent to a tiny tot. It has been reviewed before by Jeana and Heather so I'll keep it short. It makes some good points that I am going to keep in mind for my parenting. It really emphasizes American parents' tendency to overparent creating a rude little mini self-important monster, which really makes sense to me.

Last To Die by Tess Gerritsen, 338 pages

I've been a fan of the Tess Gerritsen books for probably at least 10 years now, but the last few books have just gotten really strange. It's not that they're bad books, they're just not as good as the first ones were, at least in my opinion.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Daughters Break the Rules by Joanna Philbin, 276 pages

The daughters of the extremely wealthy and famous learn how to deal with their parents fame in their own life. Written by Regis Philbin's daughter, so it reads pretty true.

You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News by, 295 pages

Brought to you by the same great minds that create, which is a hilarious website, this features segments such as The Four Most Badass Presidents of All Times (yes, Teddy Roosevelt is on the list), the Six Cutest Animals That Can Kill You (the platypus is a freaky animal), and Four Great Women Buried By Their Boobs. I laughed out loud through a lot of this book.