Friday, August 30, 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (419 pages)

I know this book has been blogged about before, so I will keep this sweet. I have a love/hate relationship with this book. It hooks you in with the book cover and then keeps you hooked all throughout it. I know they are making this into a movie and I am interested to see how it all turns out.

Green Career$: you can make money and save the plant. By Scott and Jennifer Power (240 pages)

The illustrated history of Scotland by C. J. Tabraham (224 pages)

I checked out this book in preparation of a trip I am planning to take to Scotland. I love to travel and learn about all the other cultures and people of the world, my dream job would involve lots of traveling and writing about my adventures. This book was an over sized book which made the stunning pictures much clearer and sharper. Even if you don't have any plans to travel there, this book is still worth checking out.

England. The Culture by Erinn Banting (32 pages)

England. The People by Erinn Banting (32 pages)

The was a very quick and yet informative read about the people of England. As you can tell by the cover that is has been recently updated and wonderful pictures to supplement the text.

Cheaper, Better Faster by Mary Hunt (386 pages)

Its been a little bit since I read this book as I am a bit behind on blogging. It did have some good tips on saving money, so I had heard before and some that I had not. It is worth checking out and the layout of the book is to encourage reading certain chapters that pertain to you and your family and skipping the ones that don't.

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter, 204 pages

I'd had a really bad week, and was feeling incredibly grumbly. So when I saw Pollyanna on my "want to read" shelf, I knew I had to pick it up. I've read this classic before but it's a treat worth repeating. I'm sure most people are familiar with the Disney classic featuring Hailey Mills, but the book is worth picking up on it's own. Pollyanna is an orphan sent to live with her spinster aunt who is willing to perform her "duty" and raise Pollyanna. Little does she expect Pollyanna to change her outlook and life with her optimism and her "glad game". The book celebrates a century this year, and there is a reason that it's still a beloved classic. Pollyanna's enthusiasm for life and belief in the basic goodness of people serves as a good reminder for me to have a more positive outlook, and I will try to play the "glad game" more often when I'm feeling grumbly.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

We'll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark 283 pages

A Classic, "Who Done IT" kinda novel. Not really my cup of tea & I couldn't relate to the characters, so all I can say is, "meh."

The Get Fuzzy Experience by Darby Conley, 128 pages

Sometimes you just need to read about a sarcastic little egomaniac of a Siamese cat to lift your spirits.

Undead and Unstable by Mary Janice Davidson, 312 pages

This one helped redeem the last book a little, but still kind of depressing. I hope the next one picks up more. I want my Betsy books to be fun and light, not depressing and sad.

Undead and Undermined by Mary Janice Davidson, 279 pages

I'd realized that somehow I had missed the last two books in the Betsy, Queen of the Vampires series, so picked them up. I finally started this one, had been having a horrible day and got to the end of this book which was a real kick in the teeth. Just a great capper to a bad day. I won't go into why it was a downer because I don't want to do any spoilers, but it was almost too much.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Someday, Someday, Maybe (344 pages).

By Lauren Graham (yes, that Lauren Graham).

This was a delightful read because I was able to read the whole thing with Lorelai Gilmore's voice in my head. If you imagine that a book by Lauren Graham is like an autobiography of a young Lauren Graham who acts all cute and quirky like Lorelai Gilmore, then you are right. It is exactly that. It is also a fluffy summer read with romantic comedy tendencies.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Winter at Death's Hotel by Kenneth Cameron, 354 pages

I reviewed this for Night Owl Reviews so I won't go into too much detail here. It's a mystery featuring Arthur Conan Doyle's wife while they're on a publicity tour in America. The attitude towards women, while totally correct for the time period, made me so mad that it kept from enjoying the book as much as I normally would.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay, 316 pages

I think Jacque has reviewed this book already so I won't go into too much detail but I will say I loved this book. This is another book that I wouldn't have picked up except that it was a book club book, but I ended up just loving it. I started it Saturday afternoon and finished it that evening. It's heartbreaking, and just fascinating look at France's Holocaust history. I hadn't even known about the roundup of Jewish children by France, definitely a sad moment in their history.

Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden, 286 pages

I came across this book when a patron checked it out and it looked intriguing. It covers two society girls who in 1916 go west to Colorado to teach in a little country school, at a time when Colorado was still wild and pretty unsettled. It's a fascinating read, especially seeing the difference in lifestyles between these two extremes of society.

Famous Players by Rick Geary, 80 pages

This is probably my least favorite of the unsolved murder mystery graphic novels by Rick Geary that I've read so far.

The Saga of the Bloody Benders by Rick Geary, 80 pages

Lisa was right about these graphic novels. It's a quick look at some generally unsolved murders. The sparse artwork lends itself to the story perfectly.

Archie Day by Day, 96 pages

This is a collection featuring some of the daily strips about Archie that ran in newspapers.

Archie's Classic Christmas Stories, 96 pages

The title pretty much sums it up. I've been reading Archie for a couple of decades now and I'm still a fan.

The Best of Archie Comics, Book 2, 416 pages

This looks at 70 years of Archie comics. I'm definitely a Betty girl.

big Nate Game On! by Lincoln Peirce, 224 pages

This Big Nate collection features sports strips featuring Big Nate, being a gracious winner and loser as only he can. Reading these strips always reminds me of how grateful I am to have a sixth grade girl, not a boy.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Orange is the New Black (352 pages).

By Piper Kerman.

Very insightful look into prison life and the brokenness of the penal system in general. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Best of Archie Comics, 415 pages

This covers 70 years of Archie, showing how the art has changed and some of the favorite stories, including the new storyline following the two paths of Archie marrying Betty or Veronica.

Simon & Kirby Library Science Fiction by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, 351 pages

I reviewed this for Night Owl Reviews. This is not my normal cup of tea because I'm not really a scifi fan (except for the original Star Trek) but this was a comic collection and featured some of the earliest sci fi comics, so I thought I'd give it a go. It was interesting to read and see what the writers/artists of the 40s and 50s foresaw in the future, and comics are kind of timeless.

Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen, 295 pages

I'm a big fan of the Lady Georgiana Rannoch mystery series. As 35th in line for the crown, Georgiana is unlikely to ever rule, but it does mean she can't really work for a living but is expected to live up to a certain standard. So when she is invited to a posh estate to help groom a long lost heir from Australia, Georgiana jumps at the chance, especially when Darcy turns up. But a murder quickly follows with the heir as the prime suspect. Georgiana and Darcy must work together to prove the Australian heir's innocence and find the murderer before they strike again.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton, 570 pages

I got to review this for Night Owl, which means I have a nice hardback copy of a book by an author I've been reading forever. I've enjoyed the Anita Blake books since they first came out, but have been a little turned off by the extremely sexual turn the series has taken. This one lightened up a little so I enjoyed it more than I have the last few ones.
Anita has dealt with zombies for a long time, and is an expert on them. But the zombies attacking a Colorado area are unlike any she's ever seen before. And Micah's dad is the latest victim of their attacks. Anita will face a challenge unlike any other, and could lose some of men closest to her, if she doesn't die herself.

Candy Freak by Steve Almond, 264 pages

This book explored some of the history of candy in America, and was just a homage to candy in general. I really enjoyed just how passionate he got about his favorite candy. It was funny and I just enjoyed the whole thing, but I was really craving a Twix or KitKat by the end.

All-of-A-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor, 189 pages

There is just something about children's books based in the early nineteen hundreds, especially about immigrant families. This family of five stepping stone girls are industrious, cheerful, and eager to visit their local library, so how can you not love this book. It was a sweet read.

The Coffee Tea or Me Girls Get Away From It All by Trudy Baker and Rachel Jones, 229 pages

These Coffee Tea or Me Girls books are a guilty pleasure of mine. Written in the 70s, it's the sexual escapades of two stewardesses and their friends. The books are funny and just a great bit of mind candy.

The Adventures of Buffalo Bill by Col. William F. Cody, 174 pages

This was an old book that I picked up at a garage sale because it looked interesting. This was a little disjointed and not the best book I've read, but Buffalo Bill did have a high opinion of himself.

Wounds of Injustice by Jeremy Amick, 284 pages

My brother sent me a manuscript to read, and since it's a book I figured why not count it. It's loosely based on a murder in our hometown, and looks at a Vietnam vet who has been pushed too far by his wife and her lover.

Too Much Information by Fene Ambaum and Bill Barnes -- 127 pages

Finally finished my autographed copy of this book that I bought when the authors were at JPL.  The authors definitely know libraries and like to poke fun at anyone and everyone (including administrators!  Ouch!!) who darkens the library door.  I didn't finish this all in one sitting.  The strips are just too good and need to be savored.

When Loves Blooms by Robin Lee Hatcher -- 290 pgs

Ok, this is the second time I read this book -- totally accidentally.  I don't remember titles well.  This is one I grabbed before vacation for the plane trip.  I didn't get it done on the plane and just now finished it.

You know from about pg 4 who will marry whom, but it was still an enjoyable way to kill some time. 

Emily leaves her family wanting to make a difference in someone's life and becomes governess/school teacher to two girls on an Idaho ranch whose mother is dying.  The girl's stepfather hates her and doesn't believe she can "make it" out there.

The book is predictable, but does include an epilogue.  I like when they do that because if you're going to wrap up a sappy story, at least tie it up neatly.  The epilogue does that.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter, 268 pages

I'm rereading some of my favorite childhood classics as Samantha is discovering them. This is one that has a beloved spot on my bookcase because it's that perfect combination of tragedy combined with optimism, spunk combined with fate, and good writing peopled with interesting characters.
Elnora Comstock has lived on the edge of the Limberlost all her life, learning about the plants and insects residing there, turning to her neighbors for the love her grief-stricken mother isn't capable of showing. Now Elnora is sixteen and ready to start high school against the wishes of mother. Elnora shows up the first day, in shoes and dress that scream country, and soon realizes that the cost of books and school fees aren't covered. Overcome by despair at first, she quickly realizes that the moths she has been collecting over the years will pay not only for high school but also college. With her optimistic determination, Elnora forges ahead, working hard to gain an education. But circumstances beyond her control threaten to keep her from getting that treasured diploma. Elnora is the epitome of the struggling girl character, filled with compassion and determination, and a beautiful face that she is unaware that filled literature 100 years ago. Popular then, these books still speak to readers today, and serve as a timeless example for young women still.

The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford, 434 pages

This was a fabulous review book sent to me by NightOwl Reviews. It looks at the mysterious circumstances of Jane Austen's death, as seen through the eyes of a close, personal friend, Anne Sharp. It was intriguing and heartfelt, and a great read.

Rotters by Daniel Kraus -- 448 pgs

This is a book you can't turn away from even though it's awful.  It's well written, with character development that makes sense, but it's like the train wreck you know you shouldn't gawk at, yet can't help from it.

Joey's mom dies, hit by a bus.  He's sent to live with his father whom he has never met.  Because his father is the "garbage man" he is automatically an outcast at school, bullied by students and teachers alike.

This book traces Joey's descent into the life of his father (who robs graves).  It traces his passage to adulthood and his relationship with his father.

It's hard to read -- hearing how Joey turns from a regular straight-A student to one you wouldn't be surprised to hear that he'd gone on a killing spree at school.

Does Joey "make" it?  I really can't recommend the book.  It's pretty graphic, pretty disturbing, and pretty depressing.  But I found it compelling to read.....

Zom-B Angels by Darren Shan, 182 pages

Book four of the series. B has found her way through a zombie-infested London, to the Angels, a group of higher-functioning zombies whose mission is to fight evil and protect humans. Some key questions from previous books are addressed -- who is Mr. Dowling, why did B revive into a higher-functioning zombie? -- and new twists are introduced. For me, nothing is as shocking as the twist at the end of the first book, but I'll keep reading this series. It's interesting to see B evolve into a better person, even though she's now a zombie.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Beauty Experiment: how I skipped lipstick, ditched fashion, faced the world without concealer, and learned to love the real me by Phoebe Baker Hyde, 220 pages

Because I couldn't say it any better than the back cover, this book is "a painfully honest, funny, and touching account of one woman's determination to outgrow the fantasy of the feminine perfection, to make peace with that critical inner voice, and to love herself-and the imperfect world-as they are." I highly recommend this book. I think almost everyone could relate in some way or another to the author's plight.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Joyland by Stephen King, 283 pages

Stephen King's latest book is one of the best he's written in a long time. Based in a carnival/amusement park, it has Devin Jones trying to put his broken heart back together. Legends of a murdered girl's ghost haunting a ride has Devin investigating, and finding himself in a dangerous mystery that could cost him his life.
This book was outstanding, succinct as so many of King's books aren't, and the writing was just great. The mystery combined with the romance, overlaid with just a light touch of the supernatural was perfect. I also like the fact that it's only published as an actual book to fit the crime noir, pulp classic feel.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, 549 pages

In 15th century Brittany, Ismae was sired by death but raised by a cruel mortal man who was married to her human mother. Death, who is at this time worshiped as Saint Mortain, has blessed his daughter with several unique gifts: among them, immunity to poison. Her childhood is full of inhumane and cruel treatment, and she faces a very bleak future, until she is saved by an induction into the Convent of Saint Mortain and trained therein with her sisters, other beatiful daughters of death, by the nuns to become what they refer to as Death's Handmaidens. In other words, these girls are assassins dealing out death as deemed by their patron saint. Ismae's world is completely changed when she is placed in the household of a young nobleman and introduced into their royal court to try to protect Brittany's duchess from the French who threaten their borders. Her mission is to reveal and kill internal traitors who have been feeding their enemies information.

I came upon this teen title because of the email Cari shared with our staff regarding the Sync Audio website and the summer of free audio books (Thanks Cari!). This title was offered one of the weeks. The plot intrigued me, however, upon learning the length of the novel I was skeptical. I'm glad that I gave it a try because I LOVED the book and was consumed by it. I checked out the hard copy form and listened to the audio alternately and both were excellent. The characters were intriguing, believable, and likable. The unknown traitor only became obvious (at least to me) near the end, which left me guessing throughout the majority of the novel. There seems to be the perfect balance of action, intrigue, and romantic spark. This book also appealed to my girlhood love of pretty dresses and handsome chivalrous men, which refuses to completely die out in my soul. The plot also is somewhat resolved at the end of the novel which is so rare and appreciated. This book is a series, but from what I can tell, each title focuses on a different daughter of Mortain (female character).

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home (136 pages).

By Joss Whedon

Rereading the comics now that I've finished my blog of the TV series. Great fun!


The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens, by Dr. John Huffy, 150 pages

They say never judge a book by its cover, but this title certainly got my attention. This book is well written, humorous, and relevant. In a way, maybe it was "preaching to the choir" because I've always striven (and still do) to be an available parent, but this book and the ideas presented are important. I think it's sad how society and families are so quick to dismiss teenagers rather than to connect with them as individuals, which each of them are. Rather than just survive the teen years, I'd like to foster an environment for them to thrive & this book is a good reminder of "how to" and appropriate source of information & inspiration.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch (248 pages)

There are some things you can't leave behind... A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey's younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys. Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won't let her go... a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn't spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

This book was really good, but sort of horrifying.  The things Carey went through in the woods are things no little girl should ever have to endure, let alone at the hand of her own meth-addicted mother.  

I have to admit, I'm still not completely sure how I feel about this book.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Daddy Long-Legs (249 pages).

By Jean Webster. 

You will like this book if you like Austen, Bronte, etc. such a blunt, brash, ballsy feminist protagonist. This book is available at for free in every format imaginable. Quick read too. A delightful romp, I dare say. 

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery, 308 pages

There is just something about solidly good classics with a spunky female main character. I hadn't read Anne of Green Gables for decades, but after hearing my 11-year-old rave about it, I felt a craving to give it a go again. Anne's optimistic look at life, her vivid imagination and just overwhelming enthusiasm for everything still delighted me as much now as it did as a child. Watching Anne win the hearts of Matthew and Marilla was incredibly touching and hilarious, and I think I'm going to have to reread some of my favorite girl classics again now.

Not the Killing Type by Lorna Barrett, 309 pages

I always enjoy these cozy mysteries. If I lived in Stoneham I wouldn't want Tricia EVER to come looking for me, because that would guarantee she'd find my dead body.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Every Day by David Levithan (324 pgs)

Every Day by David Levithan
"A" wakes up in a different person's body every day. A has no parents. A has no siblings. A has no gender. A has no constant beyond the constant of complete change every day.

One morning A wakes up in Justin's body and falls in love with Justin's girlfriend Rhiannon. Rhiannon becomes A's compass point. Everything revolves around her. Each morning A calculates how far away Rhiannon is and how best to get to her. And each day, A tries to figure out how they can be together when nothing is constant.

From Poverty to Power, James Allen, 160 pages

This is the "bonus book" included in this copy of As a Man Thinketh (which is ironic b/c it's almost 4 times as long!) The two books go hand in hand & I think they are just great.

As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen, 45 pages

The title of this book is taken from the book of Proverbs (23:7)"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." In this essay, James Allen reveals how our thoughts make us or break us.

The Way to Freedom by the Dalai Lama XIV (Bstan-'dzin-rgya-mtsho) 181 pages

This is a book on the core teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. I am always interested in religion and thought, and I have great respect for the Dalai Lama.