Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Body in the Piazza by Kathering Hall Page, 207 pages

This is the newest Faith Fairchild murder mystery. I haven't missed one yet, and I'm always excited when a new one comes out.

The Forgetful Lady by Jacqueline Diamond, 108 pages

There's nothing I like more than getting to read books sent to me by authors, to review for Night Owl.

A Lady of Letters by Jacqueline Diamond, 124 pages

I was asked to review this for Night Owl Reviews. I really enjoyed it, it was a fun, totally mindless, Regency romance.

The Sheik by E.M. Hull, 196 pages

I'd heard of this book and knew the movie starring Valentino was based on it, but had never read it. One of the books I'd read lately (The Pirate King) mentioned it, so I decided to give it a whirl. This was considered the 50 Shades of Grey for it's time, being incredibly racy for when it came out.
It features a young girl who has just come into her majority, so to celebrate, she decides to travel across the desert. Of course, she is taken by a sheik who has been attracted by her beauty and spirit, and also wants to revenge himself on the English. He ravages her repeatedly (polite way of putting what it nothing more than rape) and determines to break her spirit. Of course she falls in love with him, and finally he falls in love with her. Gaggg!!!! While I love a good historical bodice-ripper, I prefer mine rape-free. Not a book I really enjoyed at all, but I can cross it off my list of want-to-read books.

Sweet Life: Bittersweet by Francine Pascal, 85 pages

Even though these are totally trite and formulaic, I still hope this isn't the end. They truly are a guilty pleasure.

Sweet Life: Cutting the Ties by Francine Pascal, 83 pages

Sweet Valley High, will anyone get a happy ending?

Sweet Life: Secrets & Seductions by Francine Pascal, 69 pages

Sweet Valley High, but with sex, ooo-la-la.

Sweet Life: Too Many Doubts by Francine Pascal, 93 pages

Still all the drama, now just grown up.

The Sweet Life: Lies & Omissions by Francine Pascal, 80 pages

This takes place 3 years after Sweet Valley Confidential, which is when the twins are 30. Still all the drama, now just more of it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Persian Boy by Mary Renault, 419 pages

I don't remember where I saw this book first mentioned, but it had seemed interesting enough that I had put it on my "want to read" list. After a few months I finally got around to it, and it was really good.
 Bagoas is a Persian boy whose family is killed when he is only 10 due to political upheaval, intrigue and betrayal. Bagoas is the only one to survive, due to his good looks he is sold to be an eunuch. After just a few years, he is taken into the court of the Persian ruler, King Darius. After Darius' death, Bagoas is given to Alexander the Great, and soon becomes not only a member of his household, but close to Alexander's heart. He is part of Alexander's life during his last years, including his India campaign.
I knew a little about Alexander but not much. This book really brought him to life and showed a little window into what was a fascinating time period. The author used a light and delicate touch dealing with the sexual aspects of the book, considering the cultural and historical viewpoint differences on sexuality. I may have to read more of her books dealing with Alexander.

Road Trip by Francine Pascal, 181 pages

What good road trip doesn't have a detour to Las Vegas?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Where We Belong by Francine Pascal, 178 pages

Nothing beats a Sweet Valley High book when you want a fast, mindless read. Really, they're like the one night stands of the book world.

The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen, 331 pages

I'd read the first book in this trilogy when I'd brought home "The False Prince" for Sammi to read. She'd finished it quickly, came up to me, and said "You have to read this so I have someone to talk about it with!!!" I started it and quickly found myself devouring the book. It was a long wait for this one to come out, but as soon as it did I brought it home. From the first sentence, my daughter was hooked. I mean, with an opening sentence like "I had arrived early for my own assassination." how can you not be? As soon as she finished it, I started it and read it in just one day. I don't really want to go into plot details since it's the second book and many people haven't read the first one yet. I will say, it reminds me a lot of "The Thief" by Turner and is extremely well written, with captivating characters, and lots of action. Now, the only thing that has my family sad is the wait for the third book in what is a great series.

An Autobiography by Agatha Christie, 576 pages

I've always enjoyed Agatha Christie's novels and heard she'd had an interesting life. Her autobiography really showed her voice, it sounded like a favorite aunt telling you stories about some of the neat and amazing things she done, jumping around a little but still moving along her life. Because of this I've decided to start reading more of her novels and start adding them to my collection.

Young Miss Holmes Casebook 3-4 by Kaoru Shintani, 384 pages

This is the second manga collection featuring Sherlock Holmes' niece that I've read so far. Once I got over reading the book backwards and the big eyes on all the women, it was pretty enjoyable. I did like how they took the original Holmes' stories and stayed true, while making them new and different.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fairest: Wide Awake, 156 pages

I am a big fan of the Fables graphic novels and this a new series featuring the women. I may have to end up buying all of these for myself.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones, 298 pages

This is the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle. These are really odd books, not bad, just odd. I enjoyed them, I'm just not sure how much I liked them if that makes sense. This was kind of a new take on Aladdin (the original, not the Disney movie) and I did like that.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley, 475 pages

This is the latest book in the Flavia de Luce series. This 11-year-old avid chemist and detective has seemed to develop a penchant for stumbling across dead bodies, and the trend continues when she finds the missing church organist in the tomb of the local church's patron saint on it's reopening. Flavia searches out clues and guilty parties alike, and as always, is determined to find the answers, even if she might join the line up of deceased.

The New Deadwardians by Dan Abnett & I.N.J. Culbard, 176 pages

This graphic novel explores England after the death of Prince Consort Albert, when zombies rose and rolled over the country in a wave of death. To combat the tide, scientists came up with the ability to turn humans into vampires, making them basically invisible to zombies. It has been reserved generally for the upper class, leaving the common man to toil away, facing death from zombies and bites from those vampires who can't or won't control their urges. Because of the changes in society, there remains only one murder detective at Scotland Yard, George Suttle, and he is called in to investigate the death of a fellow vampire, who has died under mysterious circumstances. Suttle soon finds himself ensconced in a deeper mystery than he ever expected, one that may have ramifications far beyond a simple murder.
This was an interesting take on vampires and zombies, combining the two with the Anglophile mania sweeping the US at the moment. The artwork and storyline were really intriguing, and I will be looking for the next book.

An Apple for the Creature edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner, 609 pages

I'd picked up this short story collection because it featured a story about Sookie Stackhouse, and then felt like I couldn't not read the other stories. Just when you thought going to school couldn't be any worse, these writers but the jittery into first day jitters. While I wasn't familiar with most of the writers, I enjoyed the stories all-in-all.

Funky Winkerbean by Tom Batiuk, 128 pages

I'd forgotten how much I used to like Funky Winkerbean until I came across this collection on a shelf at the library.

The Child Within Has Been Awakened But the Old Lady on the Outside Just Collapsed by Cathy Guisewite, 128 pages

A Cathy collection that I enjoyed at night before falling asleep.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory, 695 pages

Most people know King Richard as the hunchback who killed the little princes. But, Shakespeare's version is probably far from the truth. Philippa Gregory approaches his story from his first wife's viewpoint, and paint a much more sympathetic version that is more realistic. Anne is the daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, who is known as the Kingmaker, because he helped put Edward IV on the throne. But after Edward marries Elizabeth Woodville and promotes her many relatives over all others, the Kingmaker turns against his former ally and decides to place another on the throne. But after treason and bad luck, Warwick is killed, and Anne must make her own way in the world. After being pushed into one marriage that almost destroyed her life, can she have the strength to make her own decision? She marries Richard, King Edward's younger brother, and is set on a path that will bring her against the royal family.
The author did a wonderful job bringing this time period and these historical figures alive. At times, I was almost heartbroken reading the book, because I knew what happened to the people. I became invested in this story, and felt anguish at every tragedy that befell Anne, and sorrow for her happiness because I knew it wouldn't last. It takes a wonderful author to bring history alive like this. Yet Philippa Gregory manages to do so with each and every book.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

50 Shades of Brains by BF Dealeo, 162 pages

Fifty Shades of Brains by BF Dealeo is one of the funniest, snarkiest, most twisted books I’ve read in a long time. Done as a spoof (or homage, you decide) for E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey book, it features Aurora Foyle, otherwise known as Ro, going to interview famed zombie hunter Caligula Green (nice twist of name for a zombie book) who has helped protect Seattle after the zombie apocalypse and organize the survivors. He offers her a job but she wants more than just that, she also wants what’s in his pants (sorry, couldn’t resist.) This starts what promises to be an interesting and sick relationship. It’s just not guaranteed to be a long one. One of my favorite parts was the multiple times Ro’s inner voice spoke to her as a variety of creatures, such as her inner goddess, inner life guard, inner therapist, etc. I may have to go back and count how many different inner voices she actually has. It looks like there might be a sequel, so I've got my fingers crossed that I might get to read more about Ro. If you like 50 Shades of Grey and like zombies, you will love this book. If you didn’t like 50 Shades of Grey and like zombies, you will love this book. If you don’t like zombies, you just aren’t worth talking too.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pirate King by Laurie R. King, 529 pages

This combines Sherlock Holmes with his wife Mary Russell, and then you throw in a film crew making a movie about making a movie about (yep, a movie within a movie) the Pirates of Penchance.