Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cruise Control by Francine Pascal, 179 pages

Jessica is sad again, the drama never ends.

It Takes Two by Francine Pascal, 181 pages

It's hard to believe that I'm almost at the end of this series. Still some light fluffy reads.

The Kadin by Bertrice Small, 441 pages

While rearranging some bookshelves I came across some old favorites. This is a historical romance that travels between Scotland and Turkey in the late 1400s and takes place mostly in a harem. Sometimes there is nothing better than an old
fashioned bodice ripper.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Unshelved: Large Print by Gene Ambaum & Bill Barnes, 127 pages

Last Unshelved book so far, sad, sad.

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

These strips are even funnier the 3rd or 4th time reading them.

Touch and Go by Francine Pascal, 178 pages

It's kind of nice to see Melissa get hers in this book, but I'm kind of sick of Alana and Conner. But only 6 more in this series.

The Seven-Percent Solution by Nicholas Meyer, 224 pages

I was moving some books around on my bookcases and came across this old favorite that I had to re-read. Sherlock Holmes' cocaine addiction has gotten to the point where it will kill him before much longer, and Watson is desperate to help him. The only man in Europe who may be able to help him is Sigmund Freud, but the issue is getting Holmes there. This is an outstanding book and a must read for any Sherlock fans.

The West End Horror by Nicholas Meyer, 192 pages

I'm a big fan of Sherlock Holmes and this is a "lost" manuscript showcasing a never before published case. A killer is stalking the theater world in 1895 and this case comes closer to being the end of Sherlock and Watson than any other. This one also featured Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw, Bram Stoker and other literary icons. I've read this a few times and always enjoy it.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, 307 pages

Gail Carriger is the author of the Parasol Protectorate series, and this book in the first in a teen series set in the same world. Sophronia is 14-years-old and the despair of her family due to her interest in mechanical things, her penchant for climbing and her inability to curtsey. So, they ship her off to finishing school but within hours, Sophronia discovers that Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality isn't your normal finishing school. Instead of being taught to be proper young ladies of society, they also seem to be learning skills better suited to spies and assassins. Sophronia quickly finds herself involved in an intrigue that could be more than she could handle.
This was a really fun book, and a great read. I love Gail Carriger's books and was really sad when the Parasol Protectorate series ended. At least this way I get some more of that universe, and set with some really hilarious characters.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Encounters of Sherlock Holmes edited by George Mann, 352 pages

This was a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories with a steampunk twist. The one featuring Mrs. Hudson as the true brains behind solving the crime was my favorite.

Lenore: Swirlies by Roman Dirge, 108 pages

My whole family is a fan of Lenore, the cutest little dead girl ever. Roman Dirge writes the creepiest stuff ever that is hilariously odd. This was one we didn't own in our own personal collection. One of the great things about this collection is it explored how Lenore came to be. It also features the best birthday party EVER.

What Do You Mean, I Still Don't Have Equal Rights? by Cathy Guisewite, 124 pages

I knew Cathy had been around for a while but I didn't realize she dated from the late 70s. It was really interesting to read this early collection and see Cathy's beginnings.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sin With a Scoundrel by Sara Bennett, 375 pages

Another historical romance set to me by Night Owl Reviews. It was so-so.

The Foreign Student by Susan Choi, 325 pages

The April book for Readers Without Borders Book Club. I'm not sure how much of me not feeling real excited about this book is from my heavy cold and how much is from the book itself. Wasn't a horrible read, it just didn't grab me.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What Would Dewey Do? by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum, 127 pages

These are always a delight.

Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum, 127 pages

Since I bought the Unshelved books at their recent appearance at the library, I'm working my way back through them again.

He's Back by Francine Pascal, 177 pages

Another notch on my Sweet Valley High Senior Year tally.

World War II: The War at Home by Stuart Kallen, 111 pages

Sammi needed some nonfiction books about the Holocaust and WWII for a school project so I took her to the library to get some. She left them in the van and while running some errands yesterday I had 30 or so minutes in the van with nothing to do, so I picked one to kill some time. This was actually really interesting and I learned some new facts about WWII. I had never realized that Japan released bomb balloons, they floated to America, and while most were a bust, one actually went off and killed an American woman and her 5 kids. The news about the bombs wasn't released during the war so Japan wouldn't know they were effective and the American people wouldn't be demoralized. I may actually look at the other books Sammi picked up in this series to see what other facts I didn't know about WWII.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan, 347 pages

This was a hilarious zombie book with the twist that animals become zombies. Well worth the read.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Zits: Chillax by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman, 85 pages

I'm a big fan of the Zits comic strip (many times we're positive the creators must be our house) so I was intrigued to see this new offering, which is a book with drawings interspliced. It was funny and touching, and a great read.

Life Below Stairs by Alison Maloney, 192 pages

I love anything about the Regency through Edwardian time periods in England, so this was a must read for me. It was interesting and a fast read, with short chapters subdivided in easy to read subsections, but all in all, the book was almost too light and fluffy. There are much better books out covering this topic.

Never Give Up by Francine Pascal, 183 pages

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

Monday, April 15, 2013

Driving the Saudis by Jayne Amelia Larson, 208 pages

This was an interesting behind the scenes look at being a temporary driver for the Saudi royal family on one of their trips to California. The mind-boggling amount of money that they spend is unbelievable. This was an fast read, and kept me entertained.

Best of Enemies by Francine Pascal, 184 pages

Let's see how long Elizabeth gets to be happy.

Be Mine by Francine Pascal, 166 pages

Of course there has to be a ton of drama on Valentine's Day at Sweet Valley.

Get A Clue by Francine Pascal, 176 pages

I've really enjoyed these light, fluffy reads.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Because I Said So! by Ken Jennings, 237 pages

This book explores all those parental platitudes we were told such as "No swimming for 1 hour after eating", "Finish your carrots, they're good for your eyesight", "Apple seeds are poisonous", etc., and etc. Shockingly, a lot of those old wives tales are full of baloney. With sarcasm and humor, this Jeopardy champion explores which are true and which are hooey.

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by Fiona Carnarvon, 310 pages

I'm a relatively latecomer to the Downton Abbey craze, but totally love it. The house is as much a character on the show as the actual people. So I was delighted to see this book come in as an interlibrary loan request for another patron. Written by the current Countess of Carnarvon, who lives at Highclere, the estate that Downton Abbey is based on, this is a fabulous read. What added to the interest is finding out that the 4th Lord Carnarvon was the one who helped discover King Tut's tomb. I enjoyed reading the history of this family and the house, and seeing pictures of it all. Fans of Downton Abbey won't want to miss this book.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tearing Me Apart by Francine Pascal, 178 pages

Sweet Valley High, it's an addiction.

Killer Honeymoon by G.A. McKevett, 279 pages

Savannah and Dirk are finally married and on their honeymoon. But Savannah can't go very long without stumbling over a crime, even while trying to enjoy wedded bliss. This book at least ended happily, so I really enjoyed it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Book of Common Fallacies by Philip Ward with Julia Edwards, 488 pages

I saw this book and thought it would be fascinating learning about all the "facts" we know that aren't really true. Except that this author has taken anything that is interesting and drowned it in a sea of boring. Any tidbits that are at all fascinating or intriguing are surrounded by 5 boring entries on logical, math or philosophy fallacies that left me bored out of my mind and drooling. Plus, the author has no belief at all in anything at all questionable, such as parapsychology, aliens or even religion, so his fallacies are often times insulting. Not worth picking up at all.

Lenore:Cooties by Roman Dirge, 120 pages

Roman Dirge is the creator of not only Invader Zim but also one of the creepiest little girls in comic history, Lenore. She's a little 10-year-old girl who died, but came back and has a passion for everything dark and creepy. This book deals with her dying again and escaping from the underworld, and the head honcho sending his denizens to bring her back. Any book that has Nazi zombies has to be a must read. Lenore reminds me a lot of my youngest daughter way too much sometimes.

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann, 390 pages

I was gathering holds one morning and saw this book on the shelf in the juvenile fiction section. A review line on the cover described it as Hunger Games meets Harry Potter. How could I not pick it up for Samantha and myself? She raced through it and really loved it, so I gave it a go as well. It was interesting but not as fabulously outstanding as Harry Potter or Hunger Games.
Quill keeps itself strong by getting rid of the 13-year-olds that are at all creative. Only the strong and smart with no spark of creativity are what they want. They believe the purged are destroyed in a lake of boiling oil but instead they live in a land of magic called Artime where they are treasured for their gifts. But what will happen will Quill discovers Artime's existence?
If you are going through withdrawal from Harry Potter/Hunger Games, this book should help assuage your longings.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Death of Yesterday by M. C. Beaton, 263 pages

Poor Hamish. He really wants someone to love but seems fated to be alone. M. C. Beaton's books are always a treat.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Show Boat by Edna Ferber, 398 pages

Show Boat had been an answer on Final Jeopardy and I realized I'd never read it, or even really heard of it. This book showcases the Cotton Blossom, one of the river's traveling theaters, bringing a little spark of the stage to towns each year. Fun-loving Captain Andy, his puritanical wife Parthy, and their dark-eyed daughter Magnolia buy the boat, and spend a good part of each year floating up and down the river. One thing I found extremely interesting that Magnolia's daughter was named Kim because she was born between Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri and the name Kim was considered outrageous and odd. Now you see a ton of women named Kim. This was an old fashioned book, but was a good read.

Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol by Gyles Brandreth, 325 pages

I discovered this mystery series through Night Owl Reviews, and I'm always excited to find a new one. This is, without a doubt, the darkest in the series since it is set during Oscar Wilde's incarceration for "gross and lewd practices" according to the law of the time. It was almost heartbreaking to see the change in Wilde from the earlier books, but he still managed to find some light in this darkest of times. These are some of the most original, well-written, witty mysteries I've ever read. I was very excited to see the books have been optioned by BBC as a television series. If you like Oscar Wilde's wit and mysteries at all, you won't want to miss these books. They can be read on their own, but you won't want to miss any in the series. Just don't start with this one.

One Glorious Ambition by Jane Kirkpatrick, 382 pages

I'd chosen to review this for Night Owl Reviews because it was a historical biography about a woman that I knew almost nothing about. Dorothea Dix was a name I knew only as head of nurses during the Civil War because of my love of Louisa May Alcott and her books, and Alcott encountered her during her nursing time in the Civil War. Miss Dix actually devoted her life to creating hospitals for the compassionate care of the mentally ill. For a time period that expected women to be silent and serve only as decorations, she impacted the United States in an amazing way. The author did an outstanding job of bringing this woman to life.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, 288 pages

Scott Meeker had reviewed this book for the Globe and it sounded intriguing. I'm very glad I picked it up and gave it a try. This is the book for anyone who disagrees every time someone sounds off about how real books, libraries and bookstores are becoming obsolete. With the multitude of formats that e-books come in, a real book is a timeless format, with a feel and smell all of it's own.
In this book, Clay Jannon has been downsized, and the best job he can find, is night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, due to his ability to climb a ladder and his sense of curiosity. It doesn't take many shifts before Clay figures out there is sometime odd about this bookstore with is incredibly tall shelves and odd patrons. He starts on a mission to figure out what is going on. Soon he discovers a secret, almost cult like group, with a devotion to a font type and a passion for research. Throw in a behind the scenes look at Google and museum storage, and you have a modern day wizardry story that leaves you with a deeper appreciation for books.
This was one of the best books I've read in a long time. While I do have an e-reader, I use it only for books I can't easily get in real form. Nothing thrills me more than seeing a row of books on the shelf, knowing that there are spirits inside each one, just waiting for me to release them. This novel was so outstanding that I've started a book quote journal, because there were three quotes in this book that I didn't want to forget.