Monday, March 31, 2014

Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman, 64 pages

Title: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices
Author: Paul Fleischman
Pages: 64
Date: March 28th
Found: While checking in books
Motive: Just glanced through it and became intrigued.
Summary: A collection of poems describing the lives of various insects.
Verdict: Some of the poems seemed halting, but many of them had a beautiful flow. I would love to hear these actually read by two voices. The subject matter was quirky, but the words were beautifully woven together.

Powerless by Matthew Cody, 277 pages

Title: Powerless
Author: Matthew Cody
Pages: 277
Date: March 28th
Found: While checking in books
Motive: The superhero premise caught my eye, especially the point of view.
Summary: Daniel's family moves to Noble's Green to care for his sick grandmother, and Daniel (with some Sherlockian influence) begins to unravel a mystery surrounding his new friends.
Verdict: Surprisingly enjoyable and creative.

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo, 88 pages

Title: Bink and Gollie
Author: Kate DiCamillo, Alison McGhee and Tony Fucile
Pages: 88
Date: March 26th
Found: While checking in books
Motive: Been eyeing it for awhile. I love DiCamillo's books, and this looked especially cute.
Summary: Three adventures of two best friends.
Verdict: This was just precious and perfect and quirkily imaginative. I loved it.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier, 224 pages

Title: Smile
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Pages: 224
Date: March 24th
Found: While checking in books
Motive: Read another book by her, wanted to give this one a try.
Summary: This is Raina's personal memoir, telling about her struggles with braces, missing teeth, surgeries, and generally growing up at the same time.
Verdict: I really enjoyed that this was her own story and memories. 

Pegasus by Robin McKinley, 404 pages

Title: Pegasus
Author: Robin McKinley
Pages: 404
Date: March 22nd
Found: The libraryyyy
Motive: Danya recommended it
Summary: Princess Sylvi is bound to Pegasus Ebon, and they can talk to each other.
Verdict: I tried so, so hard to enjoy this book. I did, for a little while, and I understood the slower build-up and longer descriptions, but by the time I got to the latter half of the book, I was questioning the fact that there was still no actual plot happening, and the actual writing style irked me somehow. It was really okay, I just can't say that I enjoyed it overall.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown, 160 pages

Title: Star Wars: Jedi Academy
Author: Jeffrey Brown
Pages: 160
Date: March 17th
Found: While checking in books
Motive: Star Wars
Summary: Roan has -always- planned on going to Pilot Academy, like his brother, father and grandfather. So when his application is rejected, his entire future seems destroyed, until he is invited to attend Jedi Academy instead.
Verdict: Pretty enjoyable overall, kind of lost interest when it started getting more cookie-cutter middle school experience with Star Wars pasted on top, though. I should have expected that.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, 307 pages

Title: The One and Only Ivan
Author: Katherine Applegate
Pages: 307
Date: March 11th
Found: While checking in books
Motive: I've heard of it, and seen it on awards lists
Summary: Ivan is a gorilla. He was born in a jungle, but hardly remembers it as he's lived at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall for most of his life. When a new baby elephant arrives, he begins to question his own complacency.
Verdict: Really good, I was impressed.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier, 233 pages

Title: Drama
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Pages: 233
Date: February 20th
Found: While checking in books
Motive: Candy artwork, super fast read
Summary: Callie is involved in her middle school's theater program, actual drama ensues.
Verdict: I guess I should have known that the title wasn't only referring to theater. I do not enjoy middle school drama...

Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness by Bryan Lee O'Malley, 192 pages

Title: Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness
Author: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Pages: 192
Date: February 20th
Found: While checking in books
Motive: Well, I read the first two, and look, here's the third one, wow.
Summary: Scott Pilgrim has more drama.
Verdict: Why do I keep doing this.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, 445 pages

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Pages: 445
Date: February 13th
Found: Saw Renee had it on hold, caught it on the way back in
Motive: I am known to be involved in several fandoms, so I was intrigued.
Summary: Cath is just starting college. Her new roommate is intimidating, her roommate's boyfriend is flustering, and her twin sister is pulling away from her. Life is generally overwhelming, and fanfiction has been her escape for years. She learns to balance her new life and relationships and understand herself.
Verdict: Came for the fandom, stayed for the rattling self-exploration. Cath knows me too well.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World by Bryan Lee O'Malley, 223 pages

Title: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Author: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Pages: 223
Date: February 12th
Found: While checking in books
Motive: Read the first one, oh look it's the second one, I guess I'll look through it.
Summary: Scott Pilgrim is involved in drama.
Verdict: Why is the art like candy. Why can't I stop.

Flight of the Dragon Kyn by Susan Fletcher, 224 pages

Title: Flight of the Dragon Kyn
Author: Susan Fletcher
Pages: 224
Date: February 10th
Found: In a thrift shop
Motive: Read the first one recently.
Summary: A prelude to Dragon's Milk, Kara has the ability to call birds down from the sky. The king believes this means she would also be able to call down dragons, and attempts to use her.
Verdict: This was a pretty enjoyable read.

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley, 168 pages

Title: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life

Author: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Pages: 168
Date: February 6th
Found: While checking in books.
Motive: I hear about it a lot, and the artwork caught my eye.
Summary: Scott Pilgrim is in a band, starts having girl trouble, and has an epic duel with a new girl's evil ex-boyfriend.
Verdict: Kind of indifferent, and not that amused, unfortunately.

The Queen's Dwarf by Ella March Chase, 372 pages

Many royals kept collections of people who were termed freaks. These would often consist of dwarfs and giants. Queen Henrietta of England was one of these collectors. This book tells the story from the viewpoint of Jeffrey, a dwarf who came to her court as a young man and spent his life there. This was fascinating and well written.

The Red Lily Crown by Elizabeth Loupas, 418 pages

This was an odd historical fiction book sent to me by Night Owl Reviews. It deals with Florence, Italy, as Prince Francesco comes to power in 1574. He was obsessed with alchemy. This wasn't a bad read but not my cup of tea.

Dragons Wild by Robert Asprin, 360 pages

I've read Aprin's Phule and Myth series and really enjoyed them so I was intrigued to read this series featuring Dragons. It's sent in today's world (which makes it different from his other series) and has Dragons walking among us. This looks at a young man who discovers he is a Dragon and has a short learning curve to find out what that entails. I love Asprin's twisted sense of humor and I'm sad he's dead. I will enjoy his books all the more.

Ma, he sold me for a few cigarettes by Martha Long, 479 pages

This is one of the most heartbreaking memoirs I've read. Martha grew up in Dublin in the 1950s. Her mother hooks up an abusive man who keeps Martha and her siblings in abject poverty and abusive terror. The horrible things Martha goes through trying to survive were heartwrenching. I devoured this book in one day and finished it feeling extremely drained emotionally. I wanted to give Martha a warm bath, a good meal and a hug.

The Three Investigators:The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy by Robert Arthur, 180 pages

I love rereading books from my childhood. It's interesting to see if I remember them correctly and to enjoy the memories.

Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanna Fluke, 511 pages

I've been reading these books from the very beginning and I really enjoy the recipes. This one has Hannah in jail so it's a slightly darker feel at times.

The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde (289 pgs.)

Book 2

Competition between the two licensed houses of magic, a rather crazy royal family, and study of a non-evolutionary, magician-created creature.  What could go wrong?

Every bit as good as the first book, this one ends nicely wrapped up yet with plenty of room for more story to be told.

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (287 pgs.)

I enjoyed Fforde's Thursday Next series so much that I thought I would give this a try.  Strangely, as I was reading it, I got the distinct feeling that I had read it before...but a long time ago as compared to the few years ago since it was published.  But Fforde is like that.

Anyhow, excellent beginning to what I HOPE will be more than a two book series.  Fforde is a master of alternate present.

Set in England in a time of diminishing magic, there is one dragon left.  What is the dragon's relationship to the power of magic?  What will happen when he must be slain?

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg (320 pgs.)

I almost hate to say it, but I didn't really enjoy this book.  It was different than the others that I have read by Flagg.  The characters were as well developed and real as ever... but I didn't LIKE them.  Maybe I wasn't supposed to.  I don't know.  
The style was a bit different, too.  Written from the viewpoint of the main character, Daisy Fay, in a sort of diary style.  We follow Daisy's life and changing perspectives from about 11 to about 18.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Girl and Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - 423 pages

Cari recommended this book to me.  I have the audio version.  I have looked forward to my commute since beginning the book, because it is one you won't want to put down.  

I typically am not that fond of the fantasy genre.  This is kind of a fantasy, but one of more a historical-type bent.  You feel like it could have almost happened. It's rather mystical, but in a realistic sort of way.   I envision this taking place in the 1600 or 1700s in a North African type setting.  The language in it isn't *quite* Spanish, and isn't *quite* French, but it's close.  The religion isn't *quite* Christianity or Catholicism, but there are references and descriptions that are *almost*.

This is the first book of a trilogy.  I can't wait for the next one!  (But, alas and alack, another JPL employee has it!)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, 496 pages

My lovely coworkers have blogged this series again and again so I'll keep this brief. This second book in the Divergent Trilogy was a little slow at the beginning for me but really picked up in the middle and end. I really enjoyed this one and am excited to read the third, Allegiant, especially because of the mixed reviews. I know the author does something pretty shocking with some of the characters and the plot so that will be exciting. This author definitely takes risks and I respect that, especially in YA when novels are almost always very predictable and over simplified.

The Giver by Lois Lowry, 180 pages

I had not read this children's classic that some call the first dystopian novel,  since I was in junior high. I really enjoyed revisiting the book and found it even more haunting and impacting with the insight of all of my adult baggage. It is such a thinker. I loved it and it is so brilliant, but I'm not gonna lie, it does not leave you feeling warm and fuzzy....

Four Perfect Pebbles by Lila Perl and Marion Bluementhal Lazan, 130 pages

Marion Blumenthal Lazan is a Holocaust survivor who travels the country speaking a message of remembrance and tolerance. Her book covers her experience, with her being 10-years-old when her family was liberated. The Joplin Public Library was lucky enough to have her speak at our library.

The Love Slave by Bertrice Small, 420 pages

Sometimes you just need a totally trashy and torrid historical romance. Bertrice Small is perfect for that.

morningglories, Volume five, 136 pages

I know less about what is going on now than when I finished the first volume.

Historical Heartthrobs by Kelly Murphy, 223 pages

This looked at 50 hotties from history. I'm definitely a Benjamin Franklin fangirl.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Buffy: The Core (168 pages).

by Andrew Chambliss.

Joss? You're abandoning us even for season enders now? Are you over us? Nooooooooo. All is doomed.

Pretty exciting season-ender, but without Joss at the helm, that emotion is missing...and so is a certain character that we really really need right now. Here's hoping _____ will come back in season 10.

I'll keep reading, because Buffy is my favorite thing ever, but I am dubious. I'm not sure how they can pull this back together into something believable at this point. Things have gotten really really strange in the comic version of Buffy.

Buffy: Welcome to the Team (136 pages).

by Andrew Chambliss.

I wholeheartedly welcome Illyria to the team. Other new characters I am more ambivalent about.

Buffy: Guarded (136 pages).

by Andrew Chambliss, whom I blame for all of this.

Buffy: On Your Own (144 pages).

by Andrew Chambliss.

SPOILERS AHEAD: I have to vent for a second. I HAVE to. The comics are really weird, man. If anyone wants to read them, I have all of season 8 and 9 now, but everything is weirrrrrrrrrd.

stop reading now if you don't want to know some of the weird.


Ok, so Giles is dead. Buffy is pregnant. No wait, she's a robot. Dawn and Xander are together. Buffy fell in love with Xander for a second. Angel and Buffy boinked a universe into existence? Willow is having an affair with some sort of snake goddess? Giles leaves his entire estate to Faith? Billy the vampire slayer? What. is. happening.

Buffy: Freefall (136 pages).

by Joss Whedon.

Great start to season 9.

Buffy: Last Gleaming (160 pages).

by Joss Whedon.

That's better. Joss, stop abandoning story arcs. It's nuts without you. Nuts.

Buffy: Twilight (160 pages).

by some people.

What?!?! Did they call this plot point "twilight" because it's completely ridiculous?

Buffy: Retreat (144 pages).

by Jane Espenson.

Monday, March 24, 2014

And Then There Were Nuns by Jane Christmas, 292 pages

This was a entertaining and moving read. It follows one woman's interest and desire to become a nun at the later stage of life in her 50s. It was interesting look at nuns in today's world. It spoke to me in a meaningful way, and I appreciated the author's anger at how women are treated in the church still today.

Death of a Policeman by M.C. Beaton, 264 pages

M.C. Beaton is one of my favorite mystery writers. I really appreciate the fact that she writes fast and puts out a new book every year at least. The Hamish series is fun, quirky and filled with wonderful descriptions of Scotland. I am so going to go to England, Scotland and Ireland some day. I wholeheartedly recommend this series, but it's best enjoyed from the beginning.

A Grumpy Book by Grumpy Cat, 96 pages

I love Grumpy Cat, he reminds me of my husband.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Hidden Harbor Mystery by Franklin W. Dixon, 177 pages

Book 14 in the Hardy Boys mystery. It's hard to believe that they were able to create a series that is relatively timeless like this.

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore, 356 pages

I LOVED this book. The lost diary of Arthur Conan Doyle has been located, covering the time period of his decision to bring Sherlock Holmes back from the dead. What lead to this decision after his many vocal outbursts stating that Holmes was dead forever? And where has the diary been?
The book alternates chapters between Arthur Conan Doyle in the early 1900s and Harold White, a member of the Baker Street Irregulars in present day. This book was a gushing fanletter for all the Sherlockians out there. I am buying a copy of this book for my own collection. I liked it that much.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Buffy: Time of your Life (136 pages).

Didn't really follow this one and didn't really like the art. A disappointment for the return of Fray. Not sure what all the time shifting was about. Perhaps this was an alternate world wherein season 6 went differently? I don't know. 

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan, 211 pages

Oh my gosh, I loved this book SO MUCH. It's a novel of love, romance, and heartbreak written like a diary in dictionary form. Each entry from A-Z is wonderful. It's so open and raw and made me want to reread it the second I finished it. Now I must read more of this author!

Morning Glories, 168 pages

The second collection. It's a very dark and twisted series.

Morning Glories Volume One, 192 pages

Collects the first six issues of a comic featuring a academy with more secrets and challenges than any of the new students ever thought possible. Will they survive long enough to find the answers?