Friday, August 30, 2013

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

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

Lovers' Lane by Rick Geary, 80 pages

This is a true-crime graphic novel that Lisa has already reviewed. I picked it up because of her and really enjoyed it. Interesting without being too bloody.