Friday, May 31, 2013

Paper Made! by Kayte Terry (248 pgs.)

101 Exceptional Projects to Make Out of Everyday Paper

There are some really fun projects in this book.  It is well-illustrated and the directions seem to be quite clearly written.  This one has a strong possibility of being added to my own craftbook library.

...then i met my sister by Christine Hurley Deriso (269 pgs.)

Summer has lived her life in the shadow of a sister that died before she was born.  Now that she's 17, the age where Shannon is forever frozen,  she has a chance to meet her sister through a journal that she kept during her last summer.  Summer learns that no one is quite what she thought. 

Good reading.  Good to learn how getting a different perspective can totally change the way events and people are seen.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn, 374 pages

Another Night Owl book, unfortunately I hadn't read all the books that these were happily ever after for.

The Curious Cases of Sherlock Holmes, 167 pages

This is a graphic collection featuring Sherlock in some interesting cases. He meets up with the Phantom of the Opera, solves the mystery behind Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes, and even solves a crime at Moulin Rouge. I was excited to pick this up at the bookstore ages and ages ago, but when I finally sat down and read it, I was disappointed in it. The artwork was not that great and the storylines were somewhat murky.

True Stories of Pirates by Lucy Lethbridge, 142 pages

This book explores some of history's most intriguing pirates in short biographies. One of the many book that is sitting on my "want to read some day" bookcase, and it finally made it off the shelf.

The Wedding of Cathy and Irving by Cathy Guisewite, 191 pages

The courtship and marriage of Cathy and Irving, it's been a long journey.

Only love can break a heart, but a shoe sale can come close by Cathy Guisewite, 128 pages

Nothing is more entertaining or relaxing before falling asleep than reading a funny comic collection.

Understanding the "Why" Chromosome by Cathy Guisewite, 127 pages

Cathy and the men in her life.

I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore by Cathy Guisewite, 128 pages

Another funny Cathy collection.

Shoes: Chocolate for the Feet by Cathy Guisewite, 128 pages

I'd never read this Cathy collection. I didn't know there was a time that Cathy didn't date Irving.

Death and the Courtesan by Pamela Christie, 229 pages

Another review book for Night Owl Reviews. Not one I would have picked myself, but not a bad read.

Senior Cut Day by Francine Pascal, 175 pages

It's hard to believe that this is the next to last book before the Wakefield Twins leave high school and go on to college.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Busy Mom's Cookbook by Antonia Lofaso (216 pages)

The Sacrifice by Kathleen Berber Duble (211 pages)

The was a great book that was based during the Salem Witch Trails and follows a family who must watch their friends and even family be accused of witch craft. This was a quick easy book but was very historically based following an actual family that was involved with the trials.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Soul Kitchen (217 pages).

By Poppy Z Brite

Fluffy summer read. Not particularly good or bad. Meh. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Zom-B by Darren Shan, 174 pages

This is one of the most disturbing zombie books I've read. It was really well done, and the ending was completely shocking.

Extras by Scott Westerfield (417 pgs.)

"Extras" was an extra book for the Uglies trilogy.  (All sci-fi writers eventually learn that there are more than 3 books in a trilogy.)

I had a bit more trouble getting into this story than I did with the others.  The focus on people with free-will becoming idiots is difficult and the mind-set is way too recognizable.  Westerfield creates a believable world. 

The story has moved to Japan where they have a reputation based economy.  Imagine Facebook and Twitter on an even crazier scale.  Likes and shares increase your face value/fame.  But what happens when the need for fame and the need to save the world run into each other?  Tally Youngblood.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis -- 211 pages

The last title in the Chronicles of Narnia.  It tells of the ending of the world of Narnia, the final battle (Armegeddon?) judgement, and going to Aslan's country.  Almost all the characters found in the other volumes of this series are given at least a mention in this final book.  I'm glad to have re-visited this series.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, 127 pages

It wasn't until I started this book that I realized I've never read the actual book. It was really enjoyable, a scary look at what science can do.

Board Stiff by Elaine Viets, 272 pages

I love Elaine Viets' mysteries, she does a good job of combining intrigue with humor.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages & 16th Century (477 pages read)

For this review, I am combining both literature volumes that I read from, but I did not read either one entirely (they're ginormous!) This past spring semester I was immersed in the classics: I read Beowulf, The Wife's Lament, Exile of the Sons of Uisliu, Lanvel, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Canturbury Tales, Many many accounts regarding the queens of the Reformation (Lady Jane Grey, Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots), Twelfth Night, Doctor Faustus, and Paradise Lost. Also, it is quite possible that I missed naming a tale or two, but this is my best account.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Milk It! Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the '90s (410 pages).

by Jim DeRogatis.

Jim is an opinionated rock critic and this book is a collection of his writings for different publications during the years. This is one of those books where sometimes you have to skip a chapter if you don't care at all about the band he's reviewing, etc. Overall, it's nice to read opinions from a feminist dude that reviewed music at a time when music was still mostly interesting. Three things to recommend Jim if you like reading music journalism:

*Jim hates Hootie & the Blowfish.
*Jim loves Veruca Salt.
*Jim thinks the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is "The Man" and overrated, to say the least.

B.P.M. (95 pages)

by Paul Sizer.

Cute graphic novel about a DJ coming up in the club scene. The art wasn't great but it was a fun story about making sets/mixes and the love of music.

The Manny Files by Christian Burch (296 pgs.)

This book turned out to be an unexpected delight.  I picked it up to glance at just because the title caught my eye.  It didn't take long to get hooked into the story. 

The narrator of the story is a delightful 8-9 year old boy named Keats.  He made me laugh out loud many times while I was reading.  His perspective and observations on his family and his 3 sisters and, of course, the manny, made me wish to know him.  The (almost) surprise ending brings a smile.

The story comes from the experiences of the author who was a real-life male nanny... a manny.

Making Rounds With Oscar by David Dosa, M.D. (225 pgs.)

An interesting perspective from a medical doctor on the special abilities/ behaviours of animals  -- in the case, Oscar the cat. 

Dr. Dosa is a geriatrician on a dementia ward.  Oscar is a cat who seems to know when death is near and doesn't let a patient or family member go through the experience alone.

Dr. Dosa relates stories of and from the families of deceased residents of the nursing home where he works as he explores not only how Oscar helped them through the transition of death, but also, how dementia itself effects the loved ones of the sufferer.

Specials by Scott Westerfeld (372 pgs.)

Book 3 in a series.  Continues to be interesting and thought-provoking.  Amazing how someone can make such a convincing case for mind control of the masses.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

How to Be a Woman (312 pages).

By Caitlin Moran.

Zoe Heller reviews Moran by calling her the British Tina Fey and this works. She's a hilarious feminist with a lot of blunt, ballsy views on this crazy sexist world we live in. I highly recommend!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Upstairs & Downstairs by Sarah Warwick, 128 pages

This was a beautifully done coffee table sort of book exploring the world that the inhabitants of Downton Abbey would have lived in. It explored the downstairs servants' life vs. the upstairs family's life from before dawn to bedtime. For anyone who is a fan of the Edwardian age or Downton Abbey, this is a definite must-read. The illustrations were also an outstanding part of the book.

The Silver Chair - C.S. Lewis -- 243 pages

The story in the Chronicles of Narnia where Prince Rillian has been held captive and enchanted by the witch.  Two children from our world, Eustace and Polly, and taken by Aslan into Narnia to find the captive prince.  Polly is given four signs to follow to find the prince.  She muffs the first three signs.  What happens when she is confronted by the fourth.

Only one more in the series, and I will have completed re-visiting the series from my youth.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The New Testament - Various Authors -- 400 pgs (est.)

I'm estimating the page length because I read this in the audio version.  Danya won't let me count it as 27 books, although it is.   :-)  Makes for good reminders and food for thought as I commute to work.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Cathy Chronicles by Cathy Guisewite, 224 pages

This was a good look at how Cathy got started and evolved over the opening years.

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke, 323 pages

I really enjoy the Hannah Swensen murder mysteries, but at this point, she needs to pick one of the guys and get engaged. Come on, it's time. I never finish a book without writing down at least one or two recipes.

The Annals of Unsolved Crime by Edward Epstein, 347 pages

From the title and cover of this book, I thought it would be an interesting read, filled with unsolved crimes and who-dun-its. I didn't realize that it would be politically based unsolved crimes, and would be presented in a totally dry manner. By the end, my eyes were pretty glazed over.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Liesel & Po by Lauren Oliver (320 pages)

No time to write a summary, but thanks to Amazon for having one for me to borrow.

"Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost named Po appears from the darkness.

That same evening, an alchemist's apprentice named Will makes an innocent mistake that has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places."

Thin Thighs in Thirty Years by Cathy Guisewite, 125 pages

Another Cathy collection to keep me entertained before bed.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis -- 221 pages

This is the first of the Chronicles of Naria (although 40 years ago when I first read the series it was always last in the list).  It tells of the creation of Narnia and gives background of the things you find in the other books.

It is the story of the professor in the Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe.  It tells how the wardrobe came to be; how the lamp post came to be in Lantern Waste; and answers a lot of questions one might have about that world.

World War Z by Max Brooks, 281 pages

I've heard about this book forever, but had never read it since we didn't have it at the library. My husband was nice enough to download it for me and I finally got around to reading it. I can see why it's considered one of the best zombie books ever.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Club Monstrosity by Jesse Petersen, 180 pages

Natalie is what you’d call a “traditional” monster. She is a creation of Dr. Frankenstein, and she’s been chased by torch carrying mobs, but she’d be more than content to live a quiet, peaceful life, and is perfectly capable of stringing more than two words together, unlike the portrayals by books and movies over the years. Natalie gets together every week with other NYC monsters in a support group, to help them deal with their erroneous portrayals, ways of coping and survival methods to keep the average human from discovering who they are. Along with a wolfman, mummy, swamp creature, vampire, and other creatures, Natalie starts to investigate when members of their group start dying like their books. Maybe it’s time for Natalie to get her monster on after all.
Jesse Petersen is known for her outstandingly funny zombie books, now she takes on the monster genre with her same sense of wickedly delightful humor. Throw in some sexy seduction scenes with a wolfish anti-hero, and “Club Monstrosity” is a book you’ll hate to put down. For anyone who feels that the zombie scene may be getting played out, Jesse Petersen’s take on monsters promises a whole new series with just as much action and laughter. The only hard thing will be waiting for the next book.

Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell, 286 pages

My supervisor swears by this author and series, so I thought I would give it a go. Mallory was found on the streets at 10, breaking into a Porsche, by cop Louis Markowitz. Instead of putting her into juvie, he instead took her home and his wife and him raised her. Now, Mallory is a cop herself, with Special Crimes, but when her father is found dead at the hands of a serial killer he'd been tracking, Mallory is determined to get justice.
This was not an easy read, but it wasn't a bad read. I'm going to try the next book in the series before I really decide if I like them or not.

Wake Me When I'm A Size 5 by Cathy Guisewite, 126 pages

The early Cathy strips are funny and really enjoyable. I miss seeing new ones.

Men Should Come With Instruction Booklets by Cathy Guisewite, 126 pages

These are funny and great to read before bed.

A Hand to Hold, an Opinion to Reject by Cathy Guisewite, 125 pages

Reading the early Cathy strips really shows just how much women in the workplace has changed since Cathy first started.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Adolescence, ninth edition, Laurence Steinberg, 434 pages

This text was my favorite, as I am quite personally interested in raising adolescence and curious about their minds, lives, interests, and such. Steinberg presents interesting and useful material. Again, I did super in the class and was excused from the final.

The Developing Person Through Childhood, sixth edition, Kathleen Stassen Berger, Bronx Community College, 405 pgs

This semester I enjoyed this text (relatively easy to read, and yes, I read it) about childhood development, and I did so well in the class that I didn't have to take the final. I learned about synaptic pruning, myelination, Piaget, and much more!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Wild (369 pages).

By Cheryl Strayed.

Very well-written rite-of-passage hiking memoir. I devoured this book. I highly recommend it and we have it as ebook and regular flavor pagey-goodness. Pick it up and if you aren't sucked into the story within the first two pages, well, I just don't know. Read it.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis -- 249 pages

One more down in the allegorical Chronicles of Narnia.  This volume has always been one of my favorites.  The gallant mouse Reepicheep is one of my favorite characters in the book this time through.  I used to find him a bit annoying, but this time I could see the places he kept Caspian and the other King/Queen on target. 

This book introduces Eustace, a thoroughly disagreeable "son of Adam".  I have always loved the picture and allegory of how Aslan changes him.  Eustace tries to change himself, but without any success.  It's not until Aslan takes over that any changes occur.

I love this series!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Guilt by Jonathan Kellerman, 378 pages

I've read all the Alex Delaware mysteries so far, and while they are getting a little formulaic at this point, they're still good mysteries.

Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham, 362 pages

Sarah McKinley is in the process of restoring the beautiful old Florida mansion she bought to turn it into a bed and breakfast. Little does she expect to find the remains of dozens of bodies in the walls, most over a century old. Caleb Anderson is in town trying to track down the killer of two missing girls, and for some reason he is drawn to Sarah's house. The two quickly feel an attraction that quickly grows into fullblown passion. But Sarah's house may be the death of them both!
A friend of mine is a huge Heather Graham fan, so I decided to give the author a try. While I do enjoy mysteries and the paranormal, this one just didn't grab me. I will say, I didn't figure the killer out at all, until the grand reveal. I will probably give this author another try though.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

THE 20-MINUTE GARDENER by Sunset, 288 pages

This is a Sunset publication that includes oodles of projects for people who'd like to garden, but may not have oodles of time for doing so. It offers plans for set-up, quick fixes, techniques, as well as suggestions for an array of easy-care plants. Perhaps my favorite project is the succulent frame (found on pages 86-7)--I cannot wait to build one!!!

EASY GROWING by Gayla Trail, 208 pages

Fantastic: a thorough, yet not intimidating, introduction to growing organic herbs and edible flowers (from small spaces, whether it be a pot or a plot). I'm so fond of this title, that I'm purchasing my own copy to have on hand when need be. If you've the slightest interest in growing herbs/edible flowers, then this book is a must read. MUST. READ.

GROWING AND USING SPROUTS by Richard Helweg, 288 pages

This is a highly informative, most comprehensive introduction to growing sprouts. It covers everything from choosing seeds and sprouting equipment to types of seeds to sprout, the dangers of sprouting (Very few, friends, so don't be scared!), charts, recipes, beverages and sprouting for your pets....

[Note: I must make mention of PLANT A KISS, which is a wonderful children's book in which a girl plants a kiss that sprouts. It's written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.]

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, 308 pages

In 1666, the plague has come to a small English village. In order to prevent the spread of the disease, the town's minster convinces the villagers to quarantine themselves from the rest of the world to prevent it's spread. But for how long will the villagers be able to turn to God before they turn to other options, or turn on each other? Anna, housemaid to the minister, serves as the focal point for the story.
This book was a fascinating read, keeping me completely engrossed each page. My only fault was with the extremely convenient wrap up at the end, which didn't ring true. But other than that, I totally recommend this book if you like historical fiction.

Prom Night by Francine Pascal, 176 pages

Hard to believe that there are only 2 more books in this Senior Year series.