Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (4)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 
 
"Lucky knew Lincoln had a hard time talking on the phone because he needed both hands for tying knots on a string or a cord. When he was about seven, Lincoln's brain had begun squeezing out a powerful knot-tying secretion that went through his capillaries and made his hands want to tie knots."
~The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron with illustrations by Matt Phelan (pg. 17)

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's Monday! What are you reading? (11)

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from BookJourney.

Long time, no blog! I took a little time off from reading and blogging during and after vacation, mainly to give my brain some time off since school starts this week. My trip was awesome, and if I have time, what with all the homework, I'll try to post some pictures.

Until then, here's what I've been reading:

I finished:
Cast in Chaos (Chronicles of Elantra, #6), by Michelle Sagara West
I love this series and this book doesn't disappoint. I love the characters and the way the Elantran world shifts and expands with each new book. Sagara-West has created an amazing world, and Kaylin is one of my favorite characters.

I'm reading:
Nothing! But give me a day or two for this change.

To be read:
For the next several months, I'll be blogging on mostly children's and YA books for my Materials for Youth class (can you say, "awesome"?!?).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Search for Steampunk recommendations

I've recently become aware of the popular steampunk genre and I'm hoping those in the blogosphere would be able to help me find some titles to help me get my feet wet.

I've read and adored the Parasol Protectorate series, but I don't know how steampunky that book is compared to full blown steampunk. As with Sci Fi, I may not be ready to go all-in yet; I may need something a little more entry level.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (3)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Really, Alexia, this is no time for levity! I am all aquiver, facing a ghastly emotional crisis, and you issue forth nothing more than scads of unwanted jocularity!"
Changeless by Gail Carriger, page 157

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Monday: What are you reading? (10)

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from BookJourney.

I read:

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Lonnnggg book, but very interesting plot - What happened to the gods that immigrants brought to America? Apparently America isn't too hospitable. I haven't read too much of Gaiman, Stardust is the only book in my collection, so I can't really say how it fits into his regular format. Stardust is a bit more family-friendly than this one, but they're both (sorta) on-the-road books.

One word of warning, this book may be a bit too bulky for a once-a-month book group; it's meaty and takes some time to get through.

I listened to:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Audio book)
I really could not get into this book. It's Twilight-lite, in the worst way. Girl inexplicably and instantaneously falls for boy, this time because she's been staring at him in his wolf form for years. Never had a conversation before, never even knew he was a human (or humanesque) until he shows up on her doorstep and she just *knows*. Then there's the chaste cuddling in bed that "she knows she just can't live without" (paraphrased).

I couldn't do it. I got about three discs into a nine disc audio book and had to quit. The readers were alright - the female reader was a little to breathy for my taste (though that was probably what they were aiming for) and the male reader wasn't tops on the female voices, but otherwise they were both pretty good. That still wasn't enough to keep me listening.

Currently Reading:
Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate #2) by Gail Carriger

To Read:
Road trip coming up next week, so I plan on "reading" a lot of audio books. More to come in two weeks!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

(Forgive the lack of images - Blogger isn't letting me add pictures at the moment.)

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Chast in Chaos (Chronicals of Elantra #6)
by Michelle Sagara West
Publication Date: August 1, 2010

From Goodreads:
Kaylin Neya is a Hawk, part of the elite force tasked with keeping the City of Elantra safe. Her past is dark, her magic uncontrolled and her allies unpredictable. And nothing has prepared her for what is coming, when the charlatans on Elani Street suddenly grow powerful, the Oracles are thrown into an uproar and the skies rain blood…

The powerful of Elantra believe that the mysterious markings on Kaylin’s skin hold the answer, and they are not averse to using her–how ever they have to-in order to discover what it is.

Something is coming, breaking through the barriers between the worlds. But is it a threat that Kaylin needs to defend her city against–or has she been chosen for another reason entirely?

From me:
I really love these books, they top my favorites list. Sagara-West has created a brilliant fantasy world with interesting race and political issues with Kaylin's magic being the foremost on many people's minds. She's already saved her world a few times, so I'm curious to see what she has to deal with next! For my review of the first book in the series, Cast in Shadow, see here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (2)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"The black dog licked its long snout. Then it said, in a deep, dry voice, 'I saw Harry Houdini once, and believe me, man, you are no Harry Houdini.'"
American Gods by Neil Gaiman, page 180.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Monday: What are you reading? (9)


It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from BookJourney.
I read:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
I have one word for this book: Wackadoo. This book was an interesting mix of post-spicy-dinner dream craziness and something an adult is forced to come up with on the spot for a child begging for a story. I really enjoyed it, though. The characters were characters, my favorites being the Tweedles and the clumsy knight. Alice was the grounding force of the story - she was always polite and often aggravated, and though she easily accepted the strangeness and kept hold of her creativity and imagination, she never lost her rationality.

Oddly enough, I felt as though I connected with this story because my dreams are very much like the dreamscape of Wonderland and the Looking Glass World. My dreams always have a plot and, despite their craziness, I'm always convinced that they make sense. (For an example, see my Betty White dream here.) I'd recommend this to any adult who has somehow missed it over the years and possesses a sense of whimsy and I also think it'd make a great read-aloud-to-a-child book (just beware, interesting questions could be posed whilst reading, like "Mommy, what's a hookah?"). (*****)

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter (*****)
For full review, see here.

Currently Reading:
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
American Gods is my book group's latest discussion book. It's definitely interesting...we'll see how I feel the further I wade through this beast of a book. Though I'm not sure how I'm going to get through it all by group time (and I'm one of the leaders!).

To Read:
Changeless by Gail Carriger

Bubbles Unbound by Sarah Strohmeyer
Recommended by a friend.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Blameless

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights future releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Ok, I'm about an hour early, but it's more Wednesday than Tuesday as I type this. Therefore, this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate #3)
By Gail Carrigar
Publication Date: September 1, 2010

Ok, I'd like to tell you about this book, give you a quick synopsis, but the Goodreads synopsis is full of Changeless, book #2, spoilers. Now, I haven't read book #2 yet, so I don't want to read the synopsis, let alone post it on my blog. I'm not going to spoiler myself.

So why am I choosing the third book in the series for my WOW posting when I haven't read the second yet? That would be because I was completely hooked by the first book, Soulless. I adored it - it was full of wit and dry British humor (for full review, see my blog entry). I am betting on a solid sequel, therefore Blameless will surely rock my socks. It had better, or I'm going to be truely, truely bummed.

Book Review: Only the Good Spy Young

Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls #4)
By Ally Carter
(*****)

From Goodreads:
When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past....

From Me:
Another great book! Cammie is still the target of a rogue group made up of the world's top spys and assassins, but now people she knows and trusts could be the enemy.

By the time I got to the end of this book, as Carter was setting up the next installment, I almost felt like books one through four were all part of a prequel - that the story is about to really take off. Maybe it's more like Harry Potter's Half Blood Prince - the game changer that leads to the final act. Or maybe it really is a set-up for many more books. Or maybe I'm just reading into it and the next book will go back to the status quo. Guess I won't know till I can get my hands on the next one - which I intend to do as soon as I can! 

Teaser Tuesdays (1)


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Please, would you tell me," said Alice, a little timidly, for she was not quite sure whether it was good manners for her to speak first, "why your cat grins like that?"
"It's a Cheshire-Cat," said the Duchess, "and that's why. Pig!"
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, page 61.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's Monday: What are you Reading (8)

It's Monday: What are you Reading is a weekly meme from BookJourney.

I'm finally back! I've managed to keep reading over the past few weeks, but my poor blog has been neglected.

Currently Reading:
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
I've owned this book for a few years and I'm finally getting around to reading it. So far so good!

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
I adore this series!

Finished Reading:
Oh so many books! See my blog for full reviews.

To Read:  I have no idea! We'll see where I land once I finish these books.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Soulless

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

From Goodreads:
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

From Me:
I loved this book! Absolutely loved it! I must make it a new addition to my library.

Alexia has a brilliantly dry sense of humor - maybe it's the fact that she's soulless, or maybe it's the author's British connections - but the dialogue and first-person narrative were fabulous. The climax may not be great for the overly squeamish, but that was the only really squicky bit.

This book was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it, especially for anglophiles and paranormal fans. (*****)

Dead in the Family

Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse #10) by Charlaine Harris

From Goodreads:
Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems. Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow, the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling, and Sam’s brother’s marriage is about to take place... or will it? The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now. The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods; now Sookie is about to come face-to-face with one of her more distant relatives...

From Me:
I really love this series, but as with most series that deal with danger and death, I eventually start to feel really bad for the hero or heroine - they can never seem to catch a break!

This book felt a bit like Sookie had finally managed to catch that break. Sure, there was still danger, but after the torture scenes from book #9, the danger here felt like nothing. I particularly liked the scenes with Sookie's cousin's boy - they were both touching and amusing.

My only problem with this book is that there just wasn't enough Eric in it. No other Sookie book has managed to knock the Ericrific #4 out my top spot.  (*****)

The Monsters of Templeton

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

From Goodreads:
On the very morning Willie Upton slinks home to Templeton, New York (after a calamitous affair with her archeology professor), the 50-foot-long body of a monster floats from the depths of the town's lake. This unsettling coincidence sets the stage for one of the most original debut novels since The Time Traveler's Wife. With a clue to the mysterious identity of her father in hand, Willie turns her research skills to unearthing the secrets of the town in letters and pictures (which, "reproduced" in the book along with increasingly complete family trees, lend an air of historical authenticity). Lauren Groff's endearingly feisty characters imbue the story with enough intrigue to keep readers up long past bedtime, and reading groups will find much to discuss in its themes of "monsters," both in our towns and our families.

From Me:
The Monsters of Templeton is chock full of information and characters, and while I sometimes got lost in all of it, it was worth the effort of wading through it.

The historical flashbacks in this story really appealed to me. I particularly appreciated the interectedness of the characters from the past with their modern day contemporaries. In my opinion, the 'monsters' in this story are the sins of the Templetonians (lust, greed, etc., etc.) that passes through the generations, not the sad and lovely monster from the lake.

Like many of the books that I've read lately, I found myself preferring the supporting characters rather than the main character. In this case, I really didn't think that Willie had many redeeming qualities. She was pretty terrible to the people who were trying to love her or be her friend (though they all seemed to grow more attractive to her as she began to see their goodness). I liked her better by the end of the book, but it took a while for me to feel that way.

My only issue with this book was the awkwardness with which Groff incorporated certain paranormal elements. The book, for the most part, reads like straight literature, in which a few of the otherworldly elements - the lake monster and the household ghost - didn't seem out of place. But there were other bits that seemed too over the top for the rest of the text. The overall tone of the book wasn't one of magical realism - to make it work better, the story either needed more of the magical elements or less of them.

Overall, a very enjoyable book. It's also a great choice for a bookclub - plenty to discuss.  (*****)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jane Bites Back (Jane Bites, #1) by Michael Thomas Ford

Jane Bites Back (Jane Bites, #1) by Michael Thomas Ford

From Goodreads:
Two hundred years after her death, Jane Austen is still surrounded by the literature she loves—but now it's because she's the owner of Flyleaf Books in a sleepy college town in Upstate New York. Every day she watches her novels fly off the shelves—along with dozens of unauthorized sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations. Jane may be undead, but her books have taken on a life of their own.

To make matters worse, the manuscript she finished just before being turned into a vampire has been rejected by publishers—116 times. Jane longs to let the world know who she is, but when a sudden twist of fate thrusts her back into the spotlight, she must hide her real identity—and fend off a dark man from her past while juggling two modern suitors. Will the inimitable Jane Austen be able to keep her cool in this comedy of manners, or will she show everyone what a woman with a sharp wit and an even sharper set of fangs can do?

From me:
Jane Austen is undead and well and ticked off that people are making money off her books with all their silly spinoffs, sequels, and inspired-bys and she doesn't see a single royalty. She's been trying to get another book published for a century or two, and finally sees some success. In the mean time, there's trouble afoot, and other vampires may be involved.

If you read this book expecting non-stop hilarity and/or action, then you will likely be disappointed. And frankly, Jane didn't "bite back" to my satisfaction. However, Michael Thomas Ford did a surprisingly adept job at writing in Jane's voice. I found vampire-Jane believable; despite the necessity to bite, she fits the social mold I'd imagine her in during the 21st century.

Magic Bleeds

Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels #4) by Ilona Andrews

From Goodreads:
Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it rose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar midway between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family…

From me:
Kate Daniels has had to battle many evils while her past has slowly been revealed in the first three installments in this series, and this time the Big Bad is family. Despite the fact that she'd been trained to keep everyone at a distance, to not form attachments that will weaken her resolve or become a target to her enemies, she has created a family for herself. And now they are in danger.

While there is plenty of blood and gore in the Kate Daniels series, this book finally gets around to a bit of the romance that was hinted at in the earlier books and it was also a major step in the over-arching story's progression. While I've enjoyed all of the books in this series, these story advancements were very satisfying. 

A good read for action and urban fantasy fans and those not afraid of a little blood and guts. (*****)

Book Review: Glimmerglass

It's been so long since I've blogged! My abject apologies! But I've managed to read many books in the meantime, so let's commence the reviews!

Glimmerglass
By Jenna Black
(*****)
From Goodreads:
Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, Dana decides she’s had it with being her mother’s keeper, so she packs her bags and heads to stay with her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, she finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone wants something from her, even her newfound friends and family. Suddenly, life with her alcoholic mom doesn't sound half bad, and Dana would do anything to escape Avalon and get back home. Too bad both her friends and her enemies alike are determined not to let her go . . .

From me:
Dana is a half-fae/half-human girl who finds out her heritage makes her special in a supernatural way and a target for people who want to exploit or eliminate her.

While a lot of bad stuff happens to poor Dana, she's a bit too whiney for my taste. Some of minor characters show great potential, and with the introductions and initial plot set-up out of the way, future stories could be more interesting, too. That is, if Dana can suck it up in later books.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New books!

Hello my lovelies! Long time, no blog. I've been swamped with tons of homework, but now the summer reading shall commence!

Half Priced Books had a major, super-duper clearance sale at our fairgrounds this weekend. All the local HPB's got all their clearance books together and brought them in all their glorious wordy goodness to one magical place! All books under 3 dollars! And I got 11! for $11! Soooo happy! Here's what I got:

All-American Girl, by Meg Cabot
The Cinderella Deal, by Jennifer Crusie
The Winter Rose, by Jennifer Donnelly (for after I get my hands on The Tea Rose)
The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly
Cheating at Solitaire, by Ally Carter
The Amber Room, by Steve Berry
People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks
The Printer's Devil, by Paul Bajoria
Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

Quot libros, quom breve tempus.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's Monday: What are you reading? (7)

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from BookJourney.

I read:

Tempest Rising (Jane True #1) by Nicole Peeler (*****)
Jane True is a young woman who lives in a small northeastern coastal town. Something from her past has lead the other townsfolk to treat her terribly, and she lives her life trying to avoid the worst of them and swimming in her personal cove. After discovering a body during one of her swims, Jane is tossed into a world of magic and mystical creatures.

On the plus side for this book, the author was kind enough to provide clever pronunciation tips for some of the names and creatures she describes in the book. Jane's feelings are identifiable and make sense in most of the situations she's in. There's a fairly detailed action scene and plenty of suspense. Tempest Rising is also a page-turner and a quick read.

On the other hand, I did have a few issues with the story. First off, this book definitely fits into the romance framework (2 or 3 explicit sex scenes plus several more vague references and 'fade-to-black' moments), but Jane and her new vampire beau, Ryu, seemed to be running of to do the dirty at fairly inappropriate times. They discover a new clue, or have a run in with a friend or foe, or find a dead body, which, in other mysteries, may lead to further investigations, here just leads to sex. The author was also very boob-focused - to the point where I started to wonder what Freud would say about it. Finally, the first part of the book felt very disconnected from the second part - first you hear about all the crap Jane has had to deal with, her not fitting in, people being mean, then she heads off to the magical compound and most of that seems to be forgotten. Also, it takes *forever* for the author to tell the reader about Jane's past, even though she leaves tidbits all over the place before the big reveal.

This was a good, but not great, read. I was tempted by the cover art, but it may have been more interesting than the actual text. I'm not sure if I'll read the follow up - we'll have to see.

Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins (*****)
Sophie is sent to a reform school for magic users after a spell-gone-terribly-wrong. There she makes friends and enemies and learns some Big Things about herself and her family.

A good book, but I think I may have read too many magic-boarding-school books. Hex Hall has some interesting and unique tidbits, but overall it fits the same vein as many other YA books.


Currently Reading:

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford

To Read:  See photo from last Monday. The stacks haven't diminished much.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Maybe This Time

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights future releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Maybe This Time
By Jennifer Crusie
Publication date: August 31, 2010

From Amazon:
Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiance and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her before they go their separate ways forever. A very distant cousin of his has died and left North as the guardian of two orphans who have driven out three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs a very special person to take care of the situation and he knows Andie can handle anything…

When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children, Carter and Alice, aren’t your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. What’s worse, Andie’s fiance thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back, and he may be right. Andie’s dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that’s not the only haunting...

What follows is a hilarious adventure in exorcism, including a self-doubting parapsychologist, an annoyed medium, her Tarot-card reading mother, an avenging ex-mother-in-law, and, of course, her jealous fiance. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get more complicated, North shows up on the doorstep making her wonder if maybe this time things could be different between them.

If Andie can just get rid of all the guests and ghosts, she’s pretty sure she can save the kids, and herself, from the past. But fate might just have another thing in mind…

From me: I love just about anything from Jennifer Crusie. While I haven't read everything she's written, what I have read always makes me laugh. I've read a lot of books over the years, and her book Agnes and the Hitman, co-authored with Bob Mayer, is one of my Top 10, so I'm looking forward to her new book.

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's Monday: What are you reading? (6)

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from BookJourney.

I read:
The Spellman Files (The Spellman's #1) by Lisa Lutz
The Spellman's give a new definition to 'disfunctional family.' The Spellmans are PI's, and their three children are raised in the business. David, the eldest, is perfect in every way. Isabel, the youngest for a good while and then suddenly a middle child, was in every way opposite of her perfect brother and made great efforts to be so. Rae, the youngest is surprisingly adept at the family business; she's also addicted to sugar and negotiation.

The Spellman family spends as much time invading each other's privacy as they do investigating for their clients. This leads to many problems for Isabel when she makes an attempt at a normal life.

While extremely sporadic in form, jumping around in the timeline, it somehow still works - and is the better for it. It also made me very thankful for my family. For while reading about the Spellman's is great fun, being a part of that family wouldn't be. Recommended. (*****)

Currently Reading:
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
I read this book a few years ago and really enjoyed it (though I can't really remember much of it now). I'm reading it now for a book group, and I'm looking forward to delving back into it. Hopefully I'll have an awesome and inspiring review of this one for you soon.

To Read:
My to-read pile is getting out of hand. Luckily my summer class is almost over so I'll hopefully be able to get around to all of these!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

List o' Links

I know I haven't been posting much lately other than my "It's Monday: What are you reading?" and "Waiting on Wednesday" posts, but school and homework have kept me mighty busy. That and I just had my high school 10 year reunion, which was a lot of fun, but still weirds me out. I don't feel old enough to have had one of those yet.

Anyway, here are a few links I've found recently and wanted to share...

Entertainment Weekly shares the 15 Perfect Pop-Culture Pairs. Props for including my favorites - Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. My personal runners-up include Chuck and Morgan (or John Casey and his Crown Vic), Howard and Rajesh, and Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster.

Check out an article from the guardian.co.uk about Literature's Great Sister Acts. My favorite sister act is the Haynes Sisters, and while this is a film duo and not literature, if you don't know who they are, we can't be friends. From literature, apart from all of the Austen girls, I'm partial to Sarah Addison Allen's sisters in Garden Spells

I love the books and the movies are craptastic, but this is seriously getting out of hand.

Finally, the LA Times presents Summer Reading: 60 Titles. This is one of the few 'recommended' lists that has interested me. The titles here are more than schmaltzy chic lit or literary-snootery - it includes everything from YA to soap opera vampires to poetry. There's something here for everyone.

So, what do you think? Who are your favorite pop culture duos or literary sisters? What makes the perfect summer read for you?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls #4)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights future releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls #4)
By Ally Carter
Publication Date: June 29, 2010

From Goodreads:
When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past....

From me:
If you've been reading this blog for the last few weeks, you'll know that Ally Carter is one of my new favorites. I love the GG series and I'm super excited to get my hands on this one! Though I'm really concerned about this "trusted ally" being a double agent - I really hope it's not who I think it is...

Monday, May 31, 2010

It's Monday: What are you reading? (5)



It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from BookJourney.

Strangely enough, I was able to read and finish several books this week. I'm not really sure how it happened - I had an awful lot of homework. It was probably because all of them were quick reads, except the one I've been working on for a few weeks. That and the long weekend. That must be it.

I read:
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerdherd by Holly Black, et al
This was a fun set of short stories. I particularly enjoyed Tracy Lynn's One of Us, Garth Nix's The Quiet Knight, Lisa Yee's Everyone But You, and Wendy Mass' The Stars at the Finish Line. Not all of the stories were to my taste, and I was disappointed with the final story - it was a bit of a bummer and ended the book on a down note - and I *did* like Kelly Link's Secret Identity better when I realized that the superhero conference had real superheroes (I was really confused until that point, I thought it was a conference for people who pretended to be superheroes, and some things just weren't making sense), but overall it was a great mix of geekdom and an introduction to authors I hadn't read before.  Overall, a good read!  (*****)

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
It's hard enough learning how to be a spy at a super-secret spy school, but it becomes even harder for Cammie and her friends when a group of boys come to the all-girls school. Cammie has to wonder who's friend and who's foe in the second installment of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls Series. This book has more on the line than the last one, with more excitement and adventure. (*****)

A Touch of Dead (Southern Vampire Mystery Short Stories) by Charlaine Harris
This set of five short stories, gathered together from previous anthologies, was a nice change of pace from the full length Sookie stories. I love Sookie, but the poor thing has a lot to deal with and is often on the wrong side of something deadly. A Touch of Dead was a lighter read and a nice way to get me back into the Southern Vampire Mysteries, since I'm currently waiting for the latest installment to come available at my library. (*****)


Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover (Gallagher Girls #3) by Ally Carter
In this installment, the Gallagher Girls are facing real threats. One of their own has been targeted, and the girls rally together to keep her safe.

The characters grew into themselves in this story, and also in their relationships with each other, which was nice to see. It also feels more realistic that despite the fact that they were up against unseen foes, there was still time to worry about boys and clothes.

Great read - highly recommended. (*****)

Currently Reading:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (still and possibly forever)
The Spellman Files (The Spellmans #1) by Lisa Lutz

To Read:
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers by Angie Fox
The Demon King (A Seven Realms Novel) by Cinda Williams Chima
Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Leverage


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights future releases that we're eagerly anticipating

I'm mixing it up a bit this week, because I'm just so darn excited! I'm a big Leverage fan, a show from TNT. It's currently entering it's third season and it's second season came out on DVD yesterday.

Ok, you have to understand why I'm so excited. First, I don't have cable. So when I hear about a cable show that sounds interesting (like Psych or Battlestar), I have to wait for the season to end, the DVD to be released, and my library to have it ready for me. I got interested in Leverage because Gina Bellman stared in another favorite, Coupling (the British version - the US version was a joke). So I borrowed Leverage from my library months and months ago, LOVED it, and bought the first season. I have since watched this DVD 100 times. You think I'm exaggerating. I'm possibly under-estimating that number. This show is hilarious! And I've been unable to watch any other episodes - again, I don't have cable, plus Hulu let me down.

So finally, finally, the DVD has been released and my Amazon pre-order has been shipped. Now I'm anxiously awaiting the postal service's delivery. SOOO excited!

From Amazon:
TNT's Leverage takes a Robin Hood approach to criminal justice. After losing his son, ex-insurance investigator Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton) reinvents himself as an avenging angel who rights wrongs for victims of organized greed with the skilled support of thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf), hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), grifter Sophie Devereaux (Coupling's Gina Bellman), and retrieval specialist or "hitter" Elliot Spencer (Angel's Christian Kane).

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Monday: What are you reading? (4)


It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from BookJourney.

I had a LOT of homework this week, so my blog and my reading has been sparse. My apologies.

I finished:
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1), by Ally Carter.
I've only read two of her books, but Ally Carter is rising the ranks of my favorite YA authors. The story follows Cammie Morgan, a genius girl from an elite girls' boarding school, which secretly trains its students to be spys. Cammie falls for a normal boy, but can a spy trainee have a normal relationship? The book was a lot of fun, and the other books in this series are now in my library queue. Loved it! (*****)

I'm (still) reading:
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle

To read:
Shades of Grey, by Jasper Fforde
An Uncommon Reader: A Novella, by Alan Bennet
A Touch of Dead (Southern Vampire Mystery Short Stories), by Charlaine Harris

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday:

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is:

Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, #4)
by Ilona Andrews
Publication Date: May 25, 2010

From Goodreads:
Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it rose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar midway between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family…

From me:
This series is full of action and interesting supernatural-types. There's a bit more gore than I prefer, and the f-bomb is dropped semi-regularly, but the story is exciting and the characters are intriguing. Andrew's also has an interesting take on the supernatural beings that inhabit her world - the shapeshifters shift shiftily, the vampires are icky and mindless (no sparkles here), and the multitude of other 'others' fit definitions I've never heard before. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Monday, May 17, 2010

List o' Links

This article is a little old, so forgive me if you've heard this one, but Mr. Rochester is voted the most romantic character in literature. Make sure to check out the top 10 at the end of the article!

Louisa May Alcott's Little Women are the newest members of the monster-mashup club.

Are you a new or future MLS graduate? This article from Will Unwound may prove helpful.

Alas, the dangers of watching crime dramas.

I want this book.

"We'll just put the books anywhere."

Improv Everywhere and ghosts hit the New York Public Library! Thanks, Mike, for the link!

Happy linking!

It's Monday: What are you reading? (3)

 It's Monday: What are you reading?
What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey where bloggers gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.


I actually managed to do a lot of reading this week. I think it's because my first summer class was beginning, and I wanted to soak up as much fun reading as possible before I was trapped in a mire of homework!


I finished:
 
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Heist Society is a YA novel that follows a 15 year old girl, Katarina Bishop, who grew up in a family of theives. These theives are not mere common criminals, but come from the grand tradition of theives. In what Kat has planned on being her final illegal act, she has conned her way into an elite boarding school - Kat wants a normal life, she wants to learn normal things. But, alas, someone has stolen paintings from a rich and dangerous man (with a mob flavor), and this man believes the culprit is her father. Kat, and her group of misfit, teenaged friends, must somehow steal the paintings back and, if not clear her father's name, at least keep him alive.
 
This book was a fun romp - like a glimpse of the Ocean's 11 crew in high school. The book was a page-turner and kept me interested from page one. The author also left enough unsaid and path's unfulfilled that it would lead perfectly into a series. Actually, I really hope this turns out to be a series - I'll be seriously annoyed if it isn't!
 
The only issue I had with this book was that I really enjoyed the characters, particularly the side kicks, but I wish there would have been more of them (not in number, but in scenes and detail). Again, I hope for at least a sequel so I can get to know the crew better.
 
A fun read - highly recommended! Look for the book cover that looks like Ashley Green playing Audrey Hepburn playing Holly Golightly! Carter's Gallagher Girl's series (about an elite girls' school, which is a spy-training school in disguise) is on my library queue. (*****)
 
 
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
A progressively lipogrammatic epistolary fable...
 
Ella Minnow Pea follows the character of the same name, her family and friends, and others from a small island country (Nollop) off the coast of South Carolina, and their lives through the letters they write. Nollop, the island, is named after their hometown hero who came up with the pangram "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Then one day, the "Z" falls off of the monument to Nollop, and the town council believes that it's a sign from Nollop that Z should no longer be used. The penalty for using the letter - 1st offense: warning, 2nd offense: the stocks or the lash, 3rd offense: banishment. Unfortunately, more letters begin to fall...

I picked up this book expecting a fun and clever read. And while completely clever, I didn't have as much fun as I thought I would. This story got under my skin and I was actually righteously angry at this group, these penta-priests, who were making life hell for the people of this little country. I became very involved in this story and I seriously was hoping for some kind of vigilante justice because the rule-makers were making me so mad!

This is a great book for wordies, like myself. The story begins with beautiful, lyrical vocabulary (a product, Dunn writes, of the country's love of language and Nollop) and as more letters become illegal, the language deteriorates. While this book is an exaggerated and (hopefully) impossible situation, it is an interesting look at censorship taken to its ultimate end. As a library student, my mind went instantly to banned books in the library, but any where that language and learning is restricted (to some or all) is dangerous.

I highly recommend this book and I would also suggest it for a book club. (*****)


Hard Magic (Paranormal Science Investigations, #1) by Laura Anne Gilman
Hard Magic is a spin-off of one of my favorites, The Retriever series. Both series take place in NYC where, unknown to must regular people (here called Nulls, which is basically a Muggle), magic does exist.

Bonnie is a young woman fresh out of college, looking for a job and a place to belong. She's also a Talent, a magic user. After receiving a mysterious phone call telling her to be at a certain place at a certain time, she begins a new adventure in magic forensics.

This is a great book for people who like forensics, but don't really care about accuracy (since this is about magic, not science). I enjoyed the supporting characters, who were fleshed out really well. I swear, a lot of the time I'm more interested in the supporting characters than the main ones, and I'm looking forward to "getting to know them" better in the rest of the series. Bonnie is also a fun heroine, first introduced in the Retriever series, and she makes an interesting lead.

So far, this new series hasn't topped the Retriever series for me, but it has great potential to get up there, and I look forward to reading more. (*****)


Currently Reading:
A Wrinkle in Time (Time Series #1) by Madeleine L'Engle
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black, et al

To Read:
Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron (Shades of Grey #1) by Jasper Fforde
The Uncommon Reader: A Novella by Alan Bennet

What are you reading?