Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray, 398 pages

The fascinating sequel to a really good trilogy featuring the daughter of Cleopatra. I'm a fan of historical fiction and this was well-done.

Anno Dracula-Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman, 441 pages

I'm a fan of vampire books but not as big a fan of revisionary fiction (where the author imagines a different history) so the Anno Dracula books aren't my favorite cup of tea. But I'll gladly read them when sent the books by Night Owl Reviews. I have to say I do prefer the early novels because I like history better in these books.

The Spanish Queen by Carolly Erickson, 276 pages

I love historical fiction, especially English history, so Carolly Erickson is always a favorite read. Her newest book covers Catherine of Aragon and her love affair with Henry VIII that so turned religion and England upside down.

Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio, 382 pages

A review book from Night Owl Reviews that featured 18-year-old May Dugas trying to make a success of her life in 1887 Chicago. Wanting to help provide for her family and have enough money to feel secure, May takes up life in a bordello. She has a chance to get out when she gains a wealthy fiance, until Reed Doherty, a Pinkerton detective enters her life. He continues to show up at inopportune times, but May will continue to survive, at all costs.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray, 351 pages

I'd discovered this trilogy when I was sent the 3rd book to review. This looks at the life of Selene, the only daughter of Cleopatra, who was brought to Rome as a royal war trophy and raised by Augustus' sister as a royal ward. This was a well-done piece of historical fiction, and really brought alive this tumultuous time period in Roman history. I'm almost through the second book as well because I'm eager to catch up on the back story I'd missed reading the last book first.

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda, 224 pages

I'd become interested in reading Alan Alda's biography after reading about his early childhood on the burlesque travel circle because of his father being a singer/stand-up man. He's had an interesting life, especially with a famous father and a mentally ill mother. The only difficulty was separating the real person from his Hawkeye personae, which is how I will probably always think of him as.

The Mystery of Cabin Island by Franklin Dixon, 178 pages

While the Hardy Boys' books can be a little hokey at times, they still remind me of my childhood and picking them up off the library shelves for the first time.

Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller, 256 pages

This was an engrossing read about the daughter of hoarders. These books are a not-so-secret pleasure, and I always finish one with an urge to clean my house. This was interesting and well-written.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith, 242 pages

I've been reading this series from the very beginning. While some of the later books have dragged just a little, this one was very well done and enjoyable. It's interesting to see how the relationships between the characters have developed and grown, especially Charlie in this book.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Once Upon a Time edited by Paula Guran, 384 pages

This is a dark collection of fairy tales with new updated versions. I'm a sucker for fairy tales, so I was eager to pick this up. While it's not the best collection I've read, it was still a good read.

Hild by Nicola Griffith, 546 pages

I'd seen this reviewed on Unshelved's Friday book club and thought it looked interesting. Hild is an early English saint that I knew nothing about. She is the niece of a king in early seventh-century England, and uses her birthright as "light of the world" and her ability to read nature's signs to help find her place. The only problem is surviving in that role.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Castle Rouge by Carole Nelson Douglas, 485 pages

Another fabulous read in the Irene Adler series. There is a reason that I keep picking these books up and re-reading them over the years. This is one of the darker ones.

DC Comics Covergirls by Louise Simonson, 208 pages

This was a Christmas present from my sister. It looks at the women who graced the covers of DC Comics from the very early days, some as sidekicks, villainesses, bit players, many with their own titles. Starting with Wonder Woman (my favorite) the book works through BatGirl, CatWoman, Lois Lane, Poison Ivy, Power Girl, and many other woman. While I really only read Wonder Woman, it was interesting to read about the roles women had on the pages of comics, and I may end up picking up more titles.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Christmas Odyssey by Anne Perry, 315 pages

This was the December book club book. Spun from the Monk series, it features Henry Rathbone, Squeaky Robinson, and almost Dr. Crow searching for a prodigal son. It takes you through the deepest underbelly of London society in a search for truth and redemption.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fiend by Peter Stenson, 295 pages

Two meth heads come down from a weeklong trip and discover that the world they knew is gone. Zombies (or Chucklers) as they're called, roam, looking for victims. This was one of the oddest takes on the zombie genre I've read. I've never done drugs in my life, so it was interesting to see behind the scenes of an addiction to meth like that. I think Lisa would love this book for the zombies and the utter grittiness of it.

Something Borrowed, Someone Dead by M.C. Beaton, 309 pages

Another Agatha Raisin mystery.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Butler, A Witness to History by Wil Haygood, 96 pages

This is the story behind the movie The Butler. Evidently this gentleman was butler to eight different presidents in the White House starting with Truman. His dedication and good manners are a testament to him. I think I'll have to see this movie when it comes out on video.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Seven Deadlies by Gigi Levangie, 224 pages

Perry Gonzales is a freshman at Mark Frost Academy, and her job is baby-sitting her fellow students. Need someone to tutor your shopaholic daughter, keep your son out of your prescription drugs while you're at fashion week, and such? Perry is your girl. Her college application is a collection of seven stories featuring her baby-sitting jobs that correspond with the seven deadly sins.
This book grabbed my attention with the title and cover, and was a treat to read from page one. It was witty, funny, twisted, and well-written. Just when you thought you knew how it was going to end though, BAM, curveball out of left field that left me reeling. I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending, but I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Daughters of the Nile by Stephanie Dray, 556 pages

This was my latest review book from Night Owl reviews. Featuring Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, it covered her life from 20 to her death. My only real regret with this book is the fact that it's the 3rd book in the series, and I hadn't read the first two.

The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran, 383 pages

This book had been sitting on my want to read list for months and months, and I finally picked it up. It features Nefertari, niece of Nefertiti, the forgotten queen who tried to destroy Egypt's god worship. Nefertari faces an uncertain future, with her family destined to be forgotten, unless she is willing to reach out and grab a different future. She wants nothing more than to be the wife of Ramses, and he wants her to be his Chief Wife, but will the people of Egypt be willing to accept a queen whose family is known for their heresy.

The Secret of the Caves by Franklin Dixon, 175 pages

Some of the Hardy Boys books can be really hard to believe, with plots that are very over the top. This was one of those books.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright, 326 pages

I've been wanting to read this book for ages since it's such an old classic (1907) and a standard in Branson. It was definitely a reflection of it's time and is filled with a good, solid, Christian message. I can't see my children or husband reading it but it wasn't bad.

Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge, 87 pages

Cari had reviewed this retelling of updated and slightly twisted fairytales and it sounded intriguing. I'm glad I picked it up, these were a lot of fun and different.

A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange by Isis Crawford, 312 pages

While these cooking themed mysteries are somewhat far-fetched at times, they are still enjoyable.

Duck the Halls by Donna Andrews, 310 pages

Another mystery featuring Meg Langslow and her wacky and kind of crazy family. I would have to say that I would seriously consider moving away from this town considering how many people end up dead. This is a funny and light-hearted series though, and always entertaining.

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy, 337 pages

This was the Readers Without Borders book club book for this month. It's basically a collection of essays covering people who have introduced him to great books or writers, and the books that have touched him and/or changed his life. I really liked the passion the author has for the written word, he talks about how some words just fascinate him, wanting to be rolled around in the mouth and enjoyed. I finished this book with a list of authors and books I wanted to try. I've avoided 'War and Peace' up to this moment, considering it a dry, overblown, never-ending dull book, but I now am seriously contemplating picking it up.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Shore Road Mystery by Franklin Dixon, 178 pages

Another Hardy Boys book since I'm working my way through some of the early ones again. It's amazing how much stuff they have considering the time period the books were written in.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, 549 pages

This had been read and reviewed by numerous staff members, so it's been on my read list for a while. I always start to feel bad for the books that sit there on the list, just waiting for their turn, some of them for years.
Ismae has always been an outcast, marked by scars that show her as a daughter of Death. Given in marriage to a crude pig farmer by her abusive father, Ismae manages to escape her wedding night and make her way to the convent of St. Mortain, where she is trained to become a handmaiden of Death, handing out his will. She becomes an avid student, ready to show her devotion. As a final test before her final vows, Ismae must go to court and help look for a traitor. To do so Ismae must pose as the mistress of Gavriel Duval, who quickly starts to gain a place in heart. Ismae must decide which is more important, her heart or her devotion to Death?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, 419 pages

This was a darkly delicious vampire story, featuring a world with vampires exist in walled off cities, with humans allowed to enter but never leave. Tana rescues an ex-boyfriend, a chained up vampire, and possibly herself in the start of what promises to be a life-changing event.
Holly Black has created a new twist on the vampire story, that is sure to sink it's teeth into readers.

Dancing Barefoot by Wil Wheaton, 115 pages

I've been a fan of Wil Wheaton since he was Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Then when he started showing up on The Big Bang Theory, I kind of fell in love with him again. This collection of 4 short stories is kind of an insight into the person behind the characters, and is funny and quirky.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Peekaboo Planet by Pat Brady, 128 pages

My very last comic collection until I discover another series. Bedtime won't be as sweet for awhile.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Declaration by Gemma Malley, 301 pages

Imagine a future where you can live forever, but to keep the world from overflowing, people aren't allowed to have children anymore unless they opt out of eternal life. The worse crime would be having children that weren't allowed. Those children born are considered surplus, unable to take longevity drugs and trained to become servants to the "legals" as a means of giving their life some meaning. Anna is one of these surplus children, never daring to think of herself as anything else. That is until a new boy shows up and tells her of another life, if she is willing to reach for it.
This book was reviewed by other staff people who really loved it, so it's been on my read list for almost a year. I'm glad I finally picked it up. It reminded me a lot of some of Vonnegut's work.

This Might Not Be Pretty by Jan Eliot, 191 pages

This hits really close to home at times with our two daughters. Very hilarious!

Not Just Another Sweetheart Deal by Pat Brady, 128 pages

One of our last collections, I'm not sure what I'll read before falling asleep now.

Rose is Rose: Running on Alter Ego by Pat Brady, 128 pages

I don't think my alter ego looks like Rose's, lol.

Enchanting Rose by Pat Brady, 128 pages

A great way to fall asleep.

High-Spirited Rose is Rose by Pat Brady, 128 pages

My whole family has enjoyed these collections.

Peace of Mind is a Blanket That Purrs by Pat Brady, 128 pages

Another cute book.

It Takes Two to Tickle by Pat Brady, 128 pages

This features some of the earliest strips.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Desperate Households by Jan Eliot, 128 pages

One of my last Stone Soup collections. It's been interesting to see how the characters have changed and developed over the years.

The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot, 392 pages

This is just a fun murder mystery series featuring dorm supervisor Heather Wells. It's been a long haul, but her and her fiance', Cooper, are about to tie the knot. That is if Heather can stay alive long enough to walk down the aisle. This funny series is best read starting at the beginning.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan, 274 pages

I'm a fan of Jim Gaffigan's standup, so I was interested in reading his book. He definitely has an irreverent look at parenthood that I appreciate.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Five Little Peppers Midway by Margaret Sidney, 176 pages

I hadn't known there were more books in the Little Peppers series. I'm going to enjoy reading these newly discovered classics.

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney, 164 pages

I have to go back sometimes and reread childhood favorites. This is one that I really liked because it reminds me of Little Women and so many people have never heard of it.

Another Scandal in Bohemia by Carole Nelson Douglas, 465 pages

I LOVE the Irene Adler series by Carole Nelson Douglas, it brings a new new side to the Holmes canon. I've read this book more than once, have a ton of other books I need to read, and still had to pick this one up. If you're a fan of Sherlock Holmes literature and haven't read any of this series, you're missing out on a serious treat.

You Can't Say Boobs on Sunday by Jan Eliot, 189 pages

Another totally hilarious comic collection featuring the characters of Stone Soup.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Lenore, Purple Nurples by Roman Dirge, 111 pages

Sometimes I get to review totally awesome for Night Owl, and this is one of those items. Somehow we came across these comics by Roman Dirge and my whole family is now totally hooked. They are completely creepy, sometimes downright gross, and have a tendency to make us laugh at completely inappropriate stuff. So how could we not love them.

We'll Be REally Careful! by Jan Eliot, 191 pages

Stone Soup comics have a tendency to result in my husband and me turning to each other and saying, "You've got to read this! Isn't this our family?" It's been fun to see how my youngest has gone from being a lot like Alix to becoming more and more like the hormonally challenged Holly. This comic at least gives me hope that I'm not alone.