Thursday, July 31, 2014

SVU Billie's Secret by Laurie John, 230 pages

Another Sweet Valley University book, I'm pretty sure I know Billie's secret.

Fire & Ash by Jonathan Maberry, 537 pages

The final book in this teen zombie series. I've loved them all, these weren't light and fluffy books, and each one had moments that had me angry and/or heartbroken but still kept me eagerly reading. While they may be in the teen section, these are still an outstanding read.

Starting Now by Debbie Macomber - 340 pages

Predictable, formulaic, no-brainer romance.  Girl gets fired, can't find job, meets curmudgeon of a handsome man, falls in love, breaks up, gets back together, he breaks up, etc, etc, etc.  Throw in some knitting, volunteerism, mentoring a 13 year old pregnant girl who doesn't know she's pregnant, and you've got the book.  An amusing time filler for my commute. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, 994 pages

Title: The Wise Man's Fear
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Pages: 994
Date: July 30th
Found: While checking in, same time as The Name of the Wind
Motive: Continuing the Kingkiller Chronicle
Summary: Kvothe has a series of adventures and sort of ends up back where he started.
Verdict: Disappointing after the first one. Excellently written, seriously beautifully crafted on the surface, but the story wasn't truly continued, there was no real character development, and an unnecessarily large percentage of the book was pretty morally twisted. Just, sigh. I ate it up anyway because this guy writes like magic.

Breath of Bones by Steve Niles, 80 pages

Title: Breath of Bones
Author: Steve Niles, Matt Santoro, and Dave Wachter
Pages: 80
Date: July 25th
Found: While checking in
Motive: I thought, hm, this looks alright
Summary: Set during WWII, in a Jewish village. A plan crashes near the village, prompting Nazi soldiers to investigate. Events lead the villagers to create a golem to protect them.
Verdict: Actually pretty good. The story was a lot more interesting once I realized that the golem is truly from Jewish folklore.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan, 128 pages

Title: The Arrival
Author: Shaun Tan
Pages: 128
Date: July 25th
Found: In teen department
Motive: Went looking for it because I loved it the first time I read it. One of the best examples of simple graphic novel storytelling I've ever seen.
Summary: A man must leave his wife and daughter behind as he goes to find a place for them in a foreign land. His struggles to overcome the challenges, new language, strange foods, trying to find work, are all beautifully and imaginatively illustrated.
Verdict: I LOVE this book. This book encompasses what I've been looking for in graphic novels for a long time. The story is beautiful, and incredibly rendered, and without using words. I love it.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, 324 pages

Title: Ender's Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
Pages: 324
Date: July 21st
Found: While checking in, remembered that it's on the summer reading list
Motive: one of my favorite books ever
Summary: Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is a Third. He is small for his age, but he is unnaturally bright, a combination of his two genius siblings. The International Fleet has high hopes for him, but their plans for him do not involve being his friend. Can Ender survive the tests they put him through and help them defeat the Buggers?
Verdict: Pretty much the best.

Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman, 248 pages

Title: Marvel 1602
Author: Neil Gaiman
Pages: 248
Date: July 7th
Found: while checking in
Motive: I like Marvel, and unique takes on familiar settings
Summary: Basically, what if all the Marvel superheros we are familiar with had developed in 1602, rather than modern day. What would they be like, what challenges would they face?
Verdict: Pretty creative. I enjoyed it.

The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show by Ariel Gore, 234 pages

I'd seen this reviewed on another site ( and thought it looked interesting. It features a troupe of performers made up a bearded lady, a fire breather and a stigmata performer along with others. This book explored our search for a relationship for God and family. A solid read, all in all.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (448 pages).

by Rae Carson.

I tore through this book. I liked the writing and the hardships and the love interest was my type, buuuuut...

The "Godstone" stuff was really weird to me. The God stuff in general didn't resonate with me and the stone thing was just too funny to be taken seriously, but the writing was compelling enough to keep me interested. I don't think I'll continue with this series, but it was an entertaining read, for sure.

Thanks for recommending, Cari!

Superman/Wonder Woman Volume 1 by Charles Soule & Tony Daniel, 193 pages

The new 52 is the revamping of the comic book world and Wonder Woman and Superman are hooking up. When you're two of the most powerful people on Earth, you're not allowed to have a normal relationship. This was GREAT! I'm now collecting this series along with my regular Wonder Woman subscription.

Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson, 272 pages

Something I came across and picked up. Wasn't a bad read. Didn't see the ending coming.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore, 389 pages

A look at the history of the creator of Wonder Woman, his alternative lifestyle, and the early days of Wonder Woman. As a Wonder Woman fan, this is an absolute must read.

Vixens, Vamps & Vipers by Mike Madrid, 254 pages

A great look at the bad girls who filled the comic books during the heyday of the Golden Age of comics.

The Adventure of the Plated Spoon and Other Tales of Sherlock Holmes edited by Loren Estleman, 272 pages

I love Sherlock and there isn't anything better than a short story collection featuring new pastiches by good authors.

The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson, 384 pages

A murder mystery set in 1727 London's debtor prison. This was fascinating and I'm glad I got to review it for NightOwl Reviews.

Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks, 758 pages

Our book for book club this month. It is the story of Owen Brown, one of John Brown's, of Harper's Ferry fame, sons.
A little dry at times and not always an easy read. It took me 6 days to finish this because it just didn't really grab me.

Jefferson City At War 1916-1975 by Jeremy Amick, 127 pages

My brother wrote this book and it's a collection featuring people from Jefferson City who went to war.

Runaways: The Good Die Young, 152 pages

I'm hooked on this series and can't wait to see where they're taking it next.

Happy Birthday, Babymouse by Jennifer Holm & Matthew Holm, 95 pages

These are the height of fine literature, but seeing a new one on the shelf makes me happy and I always have to fight off my 18- and 12-year-old daughters when I bring one home. How many books can you say that about?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Fairy Tale Detectives, by Michael Buckley 284 pages

The concept of this book series is intriguing. Daphne & Sabrina Grimm are descendants of the brothers Grimm, whose "fairy tales" were actually true accounts of history! The girls learn they are destined to follow in their family's footsteps regarding the "ever-afters" and also must try to save their grandmother from a giant!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cruel Beauty (215 pages).

By Rosamund Hodge

Breathtaking interpretation of "Beauty and the Beast". I loved it intensely. 

Everything on It by Shel Silverstein -- 194 pages

A book of silly poems that I read for the Summer Reading Program.  It was an entertaining enough book, but reading poem after poem got a little old.  I enjoyed some of his poems, but others I read and thought to myself, "And he got famous (and probably rich) writing this stuff??

It needed to be read in bits and dabs.  I'm just glad I'm through it.

Book Thief by Markus Zusak -- 552 pages

A story about growing up and the power of words.  Set in WWII Germany, illiterate Liesel begins her journey as a book thief, stealing the Gravedigger's Handbook before she is even able to read it.  Thurs begins her love affair with books, when her foster father teaches her to read it as he calms her nightly nightmares.

Death is the narrator of the book, and it took me a while to get into it, but I ended up enjoying the book immensely.  I listened to the downloaded audio of the book, and wondered half-way through if I would have enjoyed it as much in a printed format.  Its time and place jumps around a bit, and Death makes frequent aside comments, so I question if I'd have had the same feelings for the book had I "read" it.

Go for it.  It's an unusual and haunting read.

Runaways by Brian Vaughan, 144 pages

Meghan had reviewed this book and really liked it so I thought I'd give it a go. Of course, I then had to wait for both of my kids to read it before I got a chance. Imagine being a teenager and finding out your parents wear costumes and meet with other costumed people. You'd think they were superheroes, but wait, what if it turned out they were actually super villains?

The House of Death by Laurie John, 283 pages

While Sweet Valley books would never get awards for their realism, this was one of the most out there ones yet, and that's after reading the thrillers with the vampire.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The One by Kiera Cass, 336 pages

This final book of The Selection Series was just as intriguing and compelling as the rest. It is just a continuation of the same storyline of the previous books but somehow Kiera Cass has managed to make the scenario totally engrossing. I liked the complexity and yet sheer fluffiness of the books and she really has you guessing what will happen throughout them. The series ended with a bang, an unexpected super dramatic conclusion, and I thought the outcome was just a little too tidy. All of the loose ends were a bit unbelievably and easily resolved. It all ended very quickly and did not completely explain the resolution of political problems. It makes me wonder if she is planning to write more, or she just wanted a pretty, easy ending?

Anyway, regardless of all that, I really loved this series.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw by Christopher Healy, 516 pages

I love anything fairytale based, and this series has been a lot of fun. What happens when the Prince Charmings of our stories are actually as suave, dashing and great as the tales make them out to be? The Princes are tired of having their characters maligned and names forgotten, and they'll continue to try to be heroes until it kills them. This is a really fun series.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How to Know if Someone is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less, by Neil Clark Warren, 186 pages

This is another book I checked out because of the title. I have a tendency to stay too long with people that I know are not right for me, and this is something I am working on changing. I am not interested in spending my time or energy on someone when I know they are not what I'm looking for long term. I thought the author, a clinical psychologist, shared a lot of valuable information.

Excuse Me, Your Soul Mate is Waiting, by Marla Martenson, 174 pages

This book is based on The Law of Attraction, which states that we create our world through our thoughts, words, and actions. The author was inspired by another book, Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting and applies the principles to romance. It details four steps (which can apply to anything, not just dating and relationships) 1. Name what you DON’T want. 2. Name what you DO want. 3. Feel what you want 4. Allow it to happen.

Crash Course in Love by Steve Ward and JoAnn Ward, 151 pages

Apparently this book is based on a VH1 TV show, Tough Love, and the authors are a mother/son matchmaking team. I don't have TV and had no idea of the premise- I checked it out based on the title. It glosses over basic fundamentals of dating and relationships including flirting, communication, sex, etc. It's a quick book with obvious advice, in my opinion.

Big Book of Hell by Matt Groening, 170 pages

A compilation of comic strips from the comic strip "Life in Hell" penned by Matt Groening of "The Simpson's" fame, before the Simpsons were even a thought.  Though the seeds of the Simpson family can easily be seen in many of the strips --  especially the "Lies I told my two younger sisters" strip, where the two younger sisters greatly resemble Lisa and Maggie (except for the rabbit ears and tails).

Monday, July 14, 2014

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem, 79 pages

I've read about the golem before, supposedly it's a creature created by a rabbi to help protect the Jews during a purge. I've never seen it used against the Germans before. This was a great take on an old folktale.

Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel, 399 pages

A very odd graphic novel I came across out in the stacks. I'm still not real sure what it was about after reading it.

The Elite by Kiera Cass, 352 pages

The second book in The Selection series that I (and Danya) am (are) obsessed with. This one keeps following America in the competition to win Prince Maxon's heart while also convincing herself that the royal life, and this boy, is actually what she wants.

I got hooked on the first book, The Selection, but found it corny a bit. This installment was much more complex and unpredictable. I loved it! There are so many new issues and plot twists! This series is much more than just a pretty cover. I am 75% done with the last book, The One (thanks for lending it to me Danya/Samantha/Samantha's friend)  :) and I am OBSESSED with this series. It is the best that I've read in a long time.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, 352 pages

This book was a wonderful surprise from the Sync Audio program which allows anyone to download (AND KEEP!) two audio books per week (but only during that week) throughout the summer, a fairly new YA title and a similarly-themed classic.

This title, Cruel Beauty, is a new take on the tale of Beauty and the Beast. Nyx was a girl born into a country which had been "Sundered" or inescapably held captive, by a Demon, 'The Gentle Lord' who lives in the ruins of the once grand castle of the former royal family. This book has the feel of a medieval time period but has no defined date. There is enough desperation within her people that many of them still make ill-fated deals with this demon, usually resulting in their undoing.

Nyx's father had made one such deal with this demon which resulted in Nyx's forced bethrothal to him, in which she would have to marry him upon her coming of age (16, 17?). That is where the book begins, she is soon sent to his house and deserted by her family where she encounters this 'Gentle Lord' who is not exactly what she expects.

I LOVED this book. It is basically a very feisty heroine exploring an AWESOME castle with a menagerie of creepy, beautiful, intricate, enchanted rooms and several mysterious characters. It gave me an air of the beauty and mystery within the novel, Night Circus (which I also loved).  The end was slightly too unbelievable but the overall ride was so enthralling that I didn't mind a bit. We do not own this title at JPL at all, but if you can get your hands on it and enjoy fairy tale retellings, give this book a try. It was great!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

In The After by Demitria Lunetta, 455 pages

A great zombie??? book with an interesting twist. I especially enjoyed how the author showcased the emotional toll a zombie apocalypse would take on people, with an emphasis on children and teens. Now I just have to wait until I can get the next book.

Alfred Hitchcock & the Three Investigators in The Mystery of the Green Ghost by Robert Arthur, 181 pages

I'd read most of these books as a kid and always enjoy going back. Even as an elementary student I was hooked on mysteries.

Aunt Dimity & the Wishing Well by Nancy Atherton, 278 pages

I really enjoy this mystery series. It's light and fun, and just a good read every time.

Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden, 280 pages

Boy, the problems rich people have.

The One by Kiera Cass, 336 pages

The final book in a great trilogy. The end was OMG!!! I'm hoping the author writes more.

The Elite by Kiera Cass, 352 pages

The second book in a totally addictive series.

The Selection Stories, The Prince and the Guard by Kiera Cass, 227 pages

I blame Chelsey for getting me hooked on this series. Very much Hunger Games meets The Bachelor.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fangirl (445 pages).

by Rainbow Rowell.

This is the first book I've finished in what seems like an eternity but is really only a few weeks (biggest reading slump evereverever). I think it might have convinced me that I need to try to write fiction again.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain, 109 pp

Fun and interesting read, with lots of illustrations (1/2 of the book) 
My love of the Primordial History of Genesis certainly allowed me more insight, though the Foreword and Afterword mainly focused on Twain's dealings with sex roles and equality issues of his time.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wonder Woman Showcase Vol. 3 by Robert Kanigher, 528 pages

This covered all the Wonder Woman comics 138-156 for May 1963 through August 1965. It was interesting to see how much she has changed since then.

GI Brides by Duncan Barrett, 275 pages

I love anything history based, especially if it has an English bent. This was a perfect fit that was really well done. It was interesting to read about the English girls who fell for American soldiers and their lives after coming to America as war brides. I hadn't realized there was such a backlash against the women at the time. While many didn't have a happily ever after, I was glad the author showed some that did. A great fit for history buffs.

People I want to Punch in the Throat by Jenn Mann, 164 pages

This was one of the funniest books I'd read recently. Covering life in the suburbs of Kansas, this author covered playdates, mommy wars, pajamas in the school pickup lane, husbands, and neighbors perfectly. I love her snarky attitude and her honesty about about not helping with homework because she'd rather watch her DVR. I will be reading everything this author writes because she is the voice I hear inside my head. I would go to one of her book signings, except I'm too lazy to get dressed on my day off and I'm pretty sure she's too lazy to hold one.

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan, 162 pages

As a fellow library worker, this book was FUNNY and spot on. Most people think that a library is a quiet placed filled with patrons who love to read, but sometimes that is the farthest thing from the truth. The library is more a baby sitter, video store and computer lab than a place with books for many people. Plus, the poop and sex can get a little old. Plus, the fact that the stories were filled under Dewey label added to the enjoyment. I will be adding this book to my personal collection. This book should be mandatory reading for all library patrons and new employees.

Catnapped by Elaine Viets, 276 pages

I always like this series because it's fun, well-written, and a great peek into some low-end jobs that don't usually get the respect they deserve.