Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ms. Marvel (120 pages)

by G. Willow Wilson

I'm not super into superheroes (beyond Buffy) but this was pretty fun.

Fairest (220 pages)

by Marissa Meyer

The evil queen's perspective, and not in a Maleficent-sympathetic way.

Bridget Jones' Diary (271 pages)

by Helen Fielding

Why did I read this?

Mr. Kiss and Tell (336 pages)

by Rob Thomas

This is the second in the Veronica Mars book series. I wish I wasn't caught up because this would be a great series to get lost in this summer.

The Final Descent (320 pages)

by Rick Yancey

Final in the Monstrumologist series. Disappointing.

In Real Life (175 pages)

by Cory Doctorow

Graphic novel about girls and gaming.

A Thousand Dollar Tan Line (336 pages)

by Rob Thomas

This is the first in the Veronica Mars book series. I'm impressed. Feels just like watching the show.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (880 pgs.)

Highly recommend for fans of sci-fi (this one tends to be heavy on the science).

 Divided into 3 parts, this story starts in the near future with the destruction of Earth's moon by an unknown Agent.  The first 2 parts are the years immediately following that as Earth prepares to send representatives of every race into space to survive the "hard rain" that will destroy life on earth.  The second part takes us through the next few years of getting those in space to a place where they can survive for about 5,000 years.  The 3rd part is 5,000 years after the destruction of the moon.

The first two parts have characters that seem to me to be obviously based on real life people.  In this case, if I have to choose between Hillary Clinton and Neil DeGrasse Tyson to save humanity... I'm going with NDGT.

The last part of the story was disappointingly realistic in some ways with there still being war even when humanity is struggling to survive and repair their homeworld.  There were some interesting twists including one that I did not see coming at all.  It left the door wide open for more stories based in the same time frame.  I am hoping the author doesn't disappoint me. 

Alaska by Tracie Peterson (464 pgs.)

This is a book of 4 short stories following various members of a family over the course of much of the 20th century.  It was some of the worst sort of Christian writing...the kind of trite cr@p that makes people not read Christian authors.  Dramatic speech and actions.  Sexual harassment disguised as "male leadership".  Turning awesome bits of history (the Nome serum run, WW2, the Iditarod) into trite, of course everything works out, romance. 

I yelled at this book.  Many times.

Death at the Door by Carolyn Hart, 294 pages

I like the Death on Demand books featuring Max and Annie.

Andy Capp Sounds Off by Smythe, 124 pages

Another one of my guilty pleasures, really no redeeming values except that I find them funny.

Imzadi II by Peter David (375 pgs.)

This was the book that I chose for the "love triangle" category for A.S.R.  It was, in a word, dreadful.  The writing, especially in the beginning, was the something I might expect to read on a fanfic page (which, granted, these kinds of books are pretty much glorified fanfic).  As the storylines (and there were several) progressed to include action scenes, the writing improved.  The storylines themselves, however, were quite over-the-top.  It wasn't just a basic Worf, Deanna, Will Riker triangle.  It had to throw in Cardassians, Romulans, and Tom Riker, just to make sure it was really, REALLY weird.  That, and the author referring to his own previous writings as canon makes this book pretty low on my list to ever lay hands on again.

300+ Mosaic Tips, Techniques, Templates, and Trade Secrets by Bonnie Fitzgerald (160 pgs.)

I didn't count, but I imagine that the 300+ number is accurate.  This book looks like it would be quite helpful for a beginner.  Plenty of information on the tools and supplies needed to get started to  make a variety of mosaic projects in a variety of styles.

You're the Boss, Andy Capp by Smythe, 126 pages

It kind of bothers me that I like these comics since it basically revolves around Andy Capp drinking, living on the dole and hitting his wife. But these are still a guilty pleasure.

Beetle Bailey in the Soup by Mort Walker, 125 pages

Came across this at an used book store and had to pick it up.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Midnight Tales by Bram Stoker, 182 pages

Bram Stoker was a messed up man based on these stories. I knew he had written Dracula but had never read any of his other horror tales. The Dualitists was so creepy and horrifying that I made my daughter and husband read it so I could talk about it with someone. I want this book for my own collection now.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Whose Body by Dorothy Sayers, 252 pages

The first Peter Wimsey novel. I'm kind of upset that I hadn't read any of these before now.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fables: Happily Ever After, 197 pages

The next to last edition of Fables. I'm not ready for this to be over, I've become way too attached to some of these characters and I hate to see them end. This series has been a rollercoaster of feelings.

Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton, 566 pages

The latest Anita Blake book. This book dealt more with the political and power struggles going on in Anita's life and had less of the sex and blood of some of the previous books so I enjoyed it more. I still think I liked the earlier books more in the series but I will continue to read her books.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees, 354 pages

The latest book club book. A imaginary look at the love that could be behind the romance of Jo and Laurie from Little Women.

Naked by Eliza Redgold, 308 pages

A retelling of the Lady Godiva story. This was a very well-done historical look at what may lay behind the legend.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Stories by Women, edited by Amber Coverdale Sumrall, 406 pages

Recommended reading with plenty of chocolate, fuzzy blankets/pillows/etc. As depressing as this may seem, it was an oddly comforting book for me, made up of over 60 short stories/poems/quotes/etc. I especially liked how different each piece was, all the different tones, scenarios, etc. And I came across this gem of a quote by Judith Viorst, "When he is late for dinner and I know he must be either having an affair or lying dead in the street, I always hope he's dead."

Bleeding Hearts: Love Poems for the Nervous and Highly Strung, compiled by Michelle Lovric 126 pages

I made a home for you in my heart. it didn't have four walls but it had a door so you left -Jade Reidy

Friday, June 19, 2015

Anatomy of Evil by Will Thomas, 326 pages

I loved this book, my one complaint is it felt removed from the last book and didn't answer questions raised in the last book.

Fatal Enquiry by Will Thomas, 293 pages

I love Will Thomas' mysteries set in Victorian England featuring Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn.

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang, 175 pages

An interesting graphic novel, showing how online gaming can affect your life, positively and negatively. It's interesting to see how many people are more vested in their online life than everyday life.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bad Days in History by Michael Farquhar, 479 pages

This book starts with January 1st and continues through December 31, looking at bad days that took place throughout history. The author has a twisted sense of humor and a love of history, so I always enjoy his books.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

IZombie, Dead to the World by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, 144 pages

I'd watched the tv show but didn't realize it was based on comics. Very different from the show, both have a zombie named Gwen, but still really good and catching.

Raisins and Almonds by Kerry Greenwood, 207 pages

Another great Phryne Fisher mystery. I love everything about these.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dreams of the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn, 318 pages

This was a great sequel to After the Golden Age. Coming to terms with superpowers, living in a family of supers.

It Happened at the Fair by Seeanne Gist -- 432 pages

Inspirational, historical fiction.  Cullen attends the World's Fair in Chicago 1893 to try to find buyers for his automatic fire sprinkler system.  The noise in the Mechanical Building along with his hearing loss makes it impossible to hear and interact with potential customers.  In desperation, he hires a teacher of deaf children to teach him to lip read.  You can guess the rest.

One thing interesting at the end of this book is that the author goes through details of the book letting the reader know which things are actual fact, which things are fact but things with which she took license, and what things are pure fabrication.  That was kind of cool, although I had already independently looked some things up.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, 168 pages

Be Impeccable With Your Word. Don't Take Anything Personally. Don't Make Assumptions. Always Do Your Best. This was a great book and wonderful class that I studied for several weeks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader, 310 pages

This was a fiction book about a teenager anchoress, a holy woman who would shut herself away into a sealed up cell to devote her life to praying. I have to say I finished the book almost as confused as when I started.

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble -- 312 pages

Inspirational Fiction.  Suspense and mystery.  Somewhat predictable, but a good way to spend my commute.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Archie, Volume 4, the Best of Dan DeCarlo, 140 pages

A great way to relax before falling asleep.

Archie Archives, Volume 8, 235 pages

Another look at the early days of Archie comics.

The Best of Josie & the Pussycats by Dan DeCarlo, 96 pages

A fun look at a spin off comic from Archie.

The Greatest Knight by Thomas Asbridge, 444 pages

The story of William Marshall, a youngest son who became a knight in the 13th century and worked his way to an earldom and regency through 5 kings. This was a fascinating piece of history.

You Drive Me Crazy: Love Poems for Real Life, Edited by Mary D. Esselman and Elizabeth Ash Velez, 157 pages

So many wonderful and diverse poems about the many ways of love. *loved this book and now want my own copy*

Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters, by Jessica Valenti, 248 pages

Great book, great voice, great message.

The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou, 273 pages

Have I ever told you how much I admire this beautiful poet? Rather than a review, I am going to paste just one piece that speaks to me. When You Come When you come to me, unbidden, Beckoning me To long-ago rooms, Where memories lie. Offering me, as to a child, an attic, Gatherings of days too few. Baubles of stolen kisses. Trinkets of borrowed loves. Trunks of secret words, I Cry.

Cleaning House: A Mom's 12 Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, by Kay Wills Wyma, 272 pages

I checked this out from our parenting resource section because I liked the title and was in the throes of trying to get my boys to step up more around the house. I don't think it really helped me or gave me much new information. If anything, it just made me go, woah, we've got it going on pretty well already. The author was a self proclaimed helicopter parent who used to do everything for her kids. Each month, she added something new for her four kids to take on/accomplish. I was glad for the changes they made and for their successes, but honestly, halfway through the book I was thinking, Man, I can't believe I'm sitting here reading about cleaning for leisure! *yawn*

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Gray Mountain by John Grisham (384 pages)

Typical Grisham fare.  Not super strong characters and I could have used more closure at the end, but the story was interesting and hopefully it will help bring the devastating effects of strip mining to the forefront.

Amazon description: The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (368 pages)

I LOVED this one!  A beautiful story of friendship and love. 

Amazon description: "Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (545 pages)

I was expecting a bit more from this title since it won the Pulitzer Prize.  Don't get me wrong, it was well-written with beautiful language, but the ending left me wanting more closure and it was a tad drawn out for my taste.  

Here's the description thanks to Amazon:  "Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge."

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Such Good Girls, the Journey of the Holocaust's Hidden Child Survivors by R. D. Rosen, 257 pages

This was an informative but severely depressing book about Jewish children who were hidden by their parents during the Holocaust by being given to mainly Catholic people to raise. The psychological scars it left behind are sad. This was a horrible time in history.

Archie, Volume 3, The Best of Dan DeCarlo, 152 pages

A great way to relax before going to sleep.

Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, 661 pages

Yes, you read that above correctly 661 PAGES! For me, a mother of a 3 year old and part time library employee, that is a practically insurmountable goal. But, I had heard time and again from, Jeana, Megan and others that this book was absolutely fantastic, and they are absolutely correct, it is.

This is a first-hand account from a young man was born and is known everywhere as Kvothe, but has had many other names, and has already lived a fantastical and legendary life. He hides now in a small town as a barkeep but is not completely able to escape his past that has been filled with tragedy and dark magic. This novel unfolds as Kvothe tells his story to a traveling scribe who happened upon his bar and recognized him behind his guise. This installment is book one of a trilogy, The Kingkiller Chronicle, and tells the tale of the first day of a three day period the scribe has allotted chronicling this legendary man's life journey. Therefore, this, the first book of three covers his childhood and halfway through his teen years. This is a copycat Medieval?/Renaissance? time period in a author created landscape, very comparable to western Europe.

It has been years since a book has spoken to my soul as this one has. To say that I liked this book is such an absurd understatement that it is hard to find correct words, I lived and breathed this book. The writing alternates between world shattering darkness, light as air humor, beautiful delicate imagery, and just good solid description and development. Rothfuss reminds me of Tolkien but much less convoluted, JK Rowling but for adults, and Suzanne Collins worthy suspenseful mastery, all mixed with poetic grace. The experience within these pages was transcendent for me and yes, (when I get time) I will be reading the 900+ page second installment. LOVED.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein, 291 pages

Once I heard the premise for this book, I knew I had to read it sooner or later. It is somewhat comparable to a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-esque adventure.

The eccentric game creator and billionaire, Luigi Lemoncello has decided to give something amazing to those in his hometown: a library. But not just any library, this historical building has been equipped with nearly science-fiction-quality technology: moving holographs, giant air lifts you strap into that zoom straight to your favorite book in the stacks, a whole game room where your video game even has smell-o vision, and so much more. And, when it is announced that twelve, twelve-year-olds will be selected to be the first to visit the library in a special lock-in, Kyle knows that he has to be one of those kids. He, and eleven of his classmates spend a wonderful night in the wonderous library, and afterward it is announced there will be an elective situation where these children must to use their smarts and their library know-how to escape from the library, without using doors or windows. Adventure ensues.

I really liked the book, it was clever and cute for kids. I was, however, hoping that the end just blew me away but it was a bit underwhelming for me. The big reveal seemed too easily worked out from the clues given early on and throughout the book. But, I'm guessing it was written this way so that 5th or 6th graders, for whom the book was intended, could figure it out themselves. Any library nerd should at least give it a try!

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, 227 pages

Several others have already reviewed this title, it was recommended to me by Jeana. It is fairly hard to explain without giving away too much but here goes. 

Cadence is a privelaged teen who has, all her life, spent her summers lazing about on a private island in New England with her family. She has an especially close bond with two cousins and a friend of theirs, Gat. This group affectionately calls themselves "the liars". Everything on the surface seems perfect for this golden girl until family drama comes to a head and a mysterious and terrible incident occurs leaving her with amnesia and recurrent headaches. No matter how much she asks, no one will give her details of what occurred, preferring instead to gloss it over and move past. Finally, Cadence decides she must have the answers she so desperately wants and returns for the summer to seek the truth from her beloved liars.

This book was AMAZING, the writing is nearly perfect. It had a fantastic balance of suspense and character development. The flash backs and forwards are woven intricately throughout in an understandable but delightfully confounding way, and the end was mind blowing. I honestly did not expect the outcome whatsoever and it completely surpassed the buildup throughout, which you can not always say for these types of books with mysteries interwoven. I listened to the audio, which was very good. Loved it.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Killer Gourmet by G. A. McKevett, 294 pages

These are just fun, fun mysteries in a great series. I like the fact that Savannah is always cooking or appreciating food but the book isn't interrupted with recipes.

Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood, 207 pages

I think I liked the television episode of this book a little better than the book, but that doesn't happen very often.

Archie, Volume 2, The Best of Dan DeCarlo, 151 pages

Another great Archie collection.

Brother Boatman by Lynn Gardner -- 152 pages

No photo available.  A quick biography of the man who was president of OCC when I attended.  It's a book with a very specific audience -- those who knew him or who attended OCC.  I enjoyed getting to know the man I didn't know very well when I was a student.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith -- 388 pages

WEIRD book.  I really got tired of the "horny" characters and the words, "sh**" and "f***".  Read it only because I had to finish.  WEIRD

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman -- 337 pages

Fascinating.  Neil Gaiman is a GREAT audiobook narrator and storyteller!  Read this.