Monday, September 30, 2013

Death Angel by Linda Fairstein, 369 pages

I've read all the Alex Cooper murder mysteries so far and they're a pretty good read. It's always a good solid mystery, lots of action, and just a little romance.

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig, 468 pages

This may be the last in the Pink Carnation series which makes me a little sad.

Walking to Gatlinburg by Howard Mosher, 333 pages

This was another book club book that I wouldn't have picked up on my own. It was an interesting read and I really enjoyed it up to the very end. I won't say more because I don't want to do any spoilers.

Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones by Kaitlyn Dunnett, 279 pages

A Scottish-themed murder mystery set in Maine. These are always fun reads.

The House on the Cliff by Franklin Dixon, 180 pages

I'm working my way through some of the early Hardy Boys books. This was book 2.

Night Pilgrims by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, 416 pages

I've been a fan of the Saint-Germain novels for a long time. It's a vampire novel with a twist. He feeds on sexual energy but that is a secondary part of the books. Each one features a different time period in his life, jumping back and forth, with the most indepth look at the time period you'd find in a fiction vampire novel. This one covers pilgrims traveling to Egypt and Ethiopia, looking for soul-cleansing or answers to prayers by visiting holy sites in the early 1200s. Not a bad read, but you'd want to be familiar with the previous books.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Adventuress by Carole Nelson Douglas, 402 pages

The second book in the wonderfully done Irene Adler series. Re-reading them, I just fall deeper in love with this series. I'm excited to pick up the next one.

Good Night Mr. Holmes by Carole Nelson Douglas, 384 pages

This is one of my all-time favorite series, and while I was sick I wanted to read something enjoyable. This tells the story of Irene Adler from the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia" but from her viewpoint. Irene is an opera singer trying to make it, living in London, when she takes in the just fired Miss Penelope Huxleigh. Miss Huxleigh is the daughter of a deceased parson, and she's not sure what to make of American-born Irene Adler, but soon realizes she has a heart of gold. I can't say enough good things about this series, but I will be making my way back through the series.

Stone Angel by Carol O'Connell, 341 pages

Well, I made it to the book that dealt with Mallory's past. I'm just not a fan of this series, the mystery is way too convoluted, and then the author throws out a bunch of clues at the end to wrap it up. I made it through four books, I think I gave it a good go.

Killing Critics by Carol O'Connell, 534 pages

My supervisor at work really loves this series so I've been giving it a try. I'm just not totally into it. But the next book goes into Mallory's past, so I'm hanging on. Not a bad mystery series, just not my favorite.

Lethal Treasure by Jane Cleland, 296 pages

When you're sick, a good mystery can help take your mind off it. I really enjoy this series, it doesn't really require much of me.

The Tower Treasure by Franklin Dixon, 180 pages

I've been on a kick rereading some childhood favorites, so how could I not pick up The Hardy Boys. While dated and trite at times, still a good read.

Zombie Need Love Too by Mark Tatulli, 128 pages

My only regret with these Lio collections is that there aren't more of them. The cartoons are sick, twisted, funny, and sweet all at once, like my family.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny's Story by Brnda Ashford, 304 pages

The true story of who has been termed Britain's longest-serving nanny, Brenda Ashford. She was trained at the Norland College, an institute for British nannies, and has cared for more than 100 children. She started before World War II and has seen significant changes in society, women's rights and childcare throughout her long career. A little bit Mary Poppins and a little bit Super Nanny, this was an interesting and entertaining read.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Behind the Burly Q: The Story of Burlesque in America by Leslie Zemeckis, 360 pages

This was an extremely fascinating read covering Burlesque from it's early start in the 1880s up to it's dying breath in the 1960s. A lot of famous comedians got their start doing burlesque shows, including Abbot and Costello and Red Buttons, with Alan Alda even growing up offstage watching his dad be a straight man to comedians. This indepth look includes a multitude of interviews with former dancers, strippers, comedians, singers (one type was even called a tit singer), and club owners. Burlesque was considered an act or art form, until flashing become the norm and it started a downhill slide. Shows were a cheap entertainment, especially during the Depression where a man could get hours of variety entertainment for very little money. I hadn't realized that circuses of the time featured burlesque shows as well. I have a new appreciation for a truly American art that has started to feature a comeback, but will never enjoy a heyday like it did in the early 1900s.

Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead, 310 pages

As a fan of anything English, historical, and with a non-fiction bent, I was all set to love this book that followed the career of Harry Gordon Selfridge, the man who really brought the department store to England. Unfortunately, this wasn't a bad read, it just wasn't a great read. While it was interesting to see how Selfridge made shopping at his store an entertainment experience, and changed how Londoners shopped, this book just didn't grab me. I will say it could be the fact that I was sick at the time, so please pick this book up with an open mind.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster, 110 pages

I've been re-reading some of the amazing children's fiction that was written around 100 years ago, especially those featuring spunky female characters. Jerusha (Patty) Abbott was an orphan girl, who at 17 was given the chance to go to college to become a writer through the beneficence of a anonymous donor. Patty got a glimpse of "Mr. Smith", and titles him Daddy Long Legs in the monthly letters she writes him. Patty grabs hold of each and every experience, gathering happiness after what has been a long drought in the orphanage. She is determined to gain all she can through college, and become a self sufficient writer as soon as possible. Her letters to Daddy Long Legs soon start to alter his hands off approach, and Patty's enthusiasm for life and those around her works it's magic on him. This is yet another classic that leaves the reader smiling, and serves as a good example of the wonderful literature dating from the early twentieth century.

Cut to the Bone by Jefferson Bass, 368 pages

This book serves as a prequel for the Bill Brockton series and shows the creation of the Body Farm, and his first encounter with a deadly serial killer. In 1992 Bill Brockton is the head of the Anthropology Department at the University of Tennessee, and is upset by the lack of proper guidelines for proving time of death. So he creates a rather macabre research facility devoted to studying the decay of bodies after death. Meanwhile, Dr. Brockton is called in to help investigate some deaths that bear an uncanny resemblance to previous cases. Soon Dr. Brockton realizes he is in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a serial killer out for revenge. And the game could end up costing him all he loves along with his life.
This series is a must read for fans of Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell, along with any CSI fanatics. The authors use their background to create a realistic and attention-grabbing book, that has the reader eagerly turning each page.

Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger, 320 pages

I've been hooked on Gail Carriger since her Soulless series. So when I discovered she had a new teen series set in the same world, it was a must read. This steampunk spy series features a finishing school for ladies that trains them to be the best spies. It's filled with intrigue, humor, and a great steampunk twist on Regency romance and paranormal creatures.

What gloves go best with foxglove poison? What is the seating arrangement for a deadly dinner party? Sophronia is sure to discover the answers to these pressing problems at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. Her first year was a success in that she survived, and Sophronia is determined to continue her winning streak. A field trip to London though promises adventure and intrigue that could take down a nation, along with ending Sophronia's life, or worse, leaving her in public with a wrinkled dress.

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory, 544 pages

Nobody does English history like Philippa Gregory. Princess Elizabeth of York has lost her father, her brothers have died or disappeared under mysterious circumstances, and she is waiting to see who her husband will be. The candidates are Richard III or Henry Tudor. When Richard falls at Bosworth, Elizabeth is slated to marry Henry to help legitimatize his rule. But their marriage promises to be no love match, especially with Henry's ambitious mother calling the shots. Henry struggles to hold onto England, a country that remembers and loves the York rule with fondness. Henry's overwhelming fear is that there is still a York claimant (or pretender) waiting to take his throne. Elizabeth must decide whether her loyalty is to her husband and children, or to what may be a possibly long-lost brother.

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge, 400 pages

This was a really intriguing look at servants in Britain from the 1800s up to modern times, including their relationships with each other and the families they served. It was amazing how fast the system collapsed after WWII, though it was on it's last legs after WWI. Servants were considered indispensable, yet required to be invisible. The different types of servants, the attitudes toward them, and how long it took for society to accept women's changing roles are all discussed in this fascinating book. This is a must read for fans of all things Britain and Downton Abbey.

Undead and Unsure by Mary Janice Davidson, 301 pages

I've been reading this vampire series since the very first book, and it has definitely taken a much darker turn, but I'm glad to see that this book lightened up a little. Though I almost hate reading the last chapter anymore in these books, there always seems to be some dark, depressing twist.

Big Nate Flips Out by Lincoln Peirce, 216 pages

I'm just as hooked on the Big Nate series as my kids are. So I was excited to see that I could get the newest Big Nate book as a review book through Night Owl Reviews. It was funny as always, it was nice to have the comic fleshed out with more of a storyline than they can do in the newspaper.

Ella of All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor, 133 pages

This was the final book in a really sweet children's series. While I enjoyed all the books, I felt like this one just didn't measure up to the previous books.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor, 160 pages

The series continues on through World War I. It's amazing to see how everyone pulls together for the war effort. I love the fact that I can find these books courtesy of the inter-library loan system.

All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown by Sydney Taylor, 187 pages

I have to say that this series is just a nice, happy children's series set in the years just preceding WWI in New York City. Featuring the 5 daughters of Jewish immigrants, it follows them through their everyday adventures, and ups and downs. Every book is just a fun, good read.

The Hen of the Baskervilles by Donna Andrews, 308 pages

I really enjoy mysteries, and I've read all of these bird themed mysteries so far, and I have to say that living next to these people would be impossible. Not only are they too happy together in their family relations, but everyone has money and interesting jobs. But I'll still continue to read the series.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More All-of-A-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor, 160 pages

I'd found the first book in this series on the sales shelf and found it to be such a sweet read that I was glad to see more books in the series. I've had to get them via inter-library loan, and the this copy is an original 1954 hardback edition about to fall apart, but the artwork on the front is adorable.
This continues the story about 2 years later, with the girls and their family still practicing their Jewish faith, making their own fun, and enjoying a summer away from the city. This time period just had some fabulous children's books written.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon, 288 pages

This was a fairytale retelling that combined Rapunzel with Snow White. It was well-done and very interestingly done. I would read more by this author.

Reheated Lio Brand by Mark Tatulli, 127 pages

Lio is one of my family's favorite comics because it's twisted, odd, and funny (like us.) I enjoyed the homages to various comics and liked seeing Lio's interactions with his dad. No matter how odd Lio is and no matter how much his dad doesn't understand him, he still loves him.

Death Rides Again by Janice Hamrick, 310 pages

The Jocelyn Shore mysteries are fun without being too bland or too bloody. I enjoyed getting to see the family interactions in this book. This author will stay on my "must read" list.

The Coffee Tea or Me Girls Lay It On the Line by Trudy Baker & Rachel Jones, 274 pages

I really like the Coffee Tea or Me books so I was excited to see that there was another one in the series. The only problem is that this wasn't a humor collection so much as it was a manual on how to deal with women's changing sexual roles during the 70s. It was interesting to read about the limits that women faced and the issues with homosexual identities in the 70s. I just kept thinking of the Virginia Slims ad "You've come a long way, baby!"

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty, 358 pages

This was a great take on the zombie/vampire/monster genre. The book is really funny and well written. I can't wait to read more in what will hopefully be a series.
Zoe is a travel book editor, and when she's hired to help write a travel guide to New York City, she is shocked to discover the audience it's being geared towards, coterie (or monsters as they're known to humans.) As a human, she isn't considered a co-worker by many, but a snack. When a war between humans and monsters breaks out, Zoe is in the middle. She might be able to help end it, if she isn't ended first.