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?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Waiting on" Wednesday: How Did You Get This Number

"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:

How Did You Get This Number
by Sloane Crosley
Publication Date: June 15th

From Amazon:
Nine thoughtful, unfussy essays by the author of the collection I Was Told There'd Be Cake navigate around illusions of youth in the hope that by young adulthood they'll all add up to happiness. The account of Crosley's footloose adventure to Lisbon on the eve of her 30th birthday starts things off in rollicking fashion in Show Me on the Doll: without proficient language skills, getting hopelessly lost in the labyrinth of Bairro Alto, and panicking in front of the myriad QVC channels offered by her hotel, Crosley recognizes that Lisbon was a place with a painfully disproportunate self-reflection-to-experience ratio. There is the requisite essay about moving to New York and replacing her anorexic-kleptomaniac roommate with a more acceptable living arrangement: in Crosley's case, delineated in Take a Stab at It, she is interviewed by the creepily disembodied current occupier of a famous former brothel on the Bowery, McGurk's Suicide Hall. As well, Crosley delivers witty, syncopated takes on visiting Alaska and Paris, and finding much consolation from a two-timing heartbreak in New York by buying stolen items from her upholstery guy, Daryl, who found them fallen Off the Back of a Truck, as the delightful last section is titled. These essays are fresh, funny, and eager to be loved (from Publishers Weekly).

From me: I really enjoyed Crosley's first book, I Was Told There'd Be Cake; it was highly humorous and highly quotable. I'm looking forward to this next collection!

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Monday: What are you reading?

I finished: Darklight by Lesley Livingston (*****)
(See earlier blog for review.)

I'm reading:
Heist Society by Ally Carter (Like Ocean's Eleven with teens)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn

To Read: The possibilities...
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
Geektastic: Stories of the Nerd Herd
The Uncommon Reader: A Novella by Alan Bennet
Hard Science by Laura Anne Gilman

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I am aware that the target audience for comic-book movies are men, particularly the younger types. But many of these movies have a fantastic mix of action and humor that I enjoy. Also, as a fantasy/paranormal reader, I like the extra-ordinary aspects of these stories.

But how do you interest the women who see these movies as guy-only fare? Who prefer chick flicks and roll their eyes at their boyfriend's/husband's/brother's/dude-friend's video game marathons and comic book collection? (I am *not* saying anything about these women or about the quality of either types of these movies - I'm mainly talking about impressions here.)

How do you get these women in the theaters for comic movies? Easy. You cast Robert Downey Jr. as the lead. (Hummina hummina hummina)

I would like to applaud the casting people for many of their choices. Halle Berry and Rebecca Romijn and their "costumes" were for the fanboys, but thank you, X-Men, for Hugh Jackman. Recently-released Losers - all eye candy, all the time. Iron Man (plus Sherlock Holmes) - RDJ is delicious! And Wolverine - more Jackman and Taylor Kitsch and Ryan Reynolds (plus my favorite hobbit, Dominic Monaghan).

Now some of these movies are pushing it, even for me. For example, I don't think anyone will be able to twist my arm and get me in the theater to see Tron, but some of these movies are indeed chick-friendly. And if it takes a bit of yummy to get a gal to give one a try, I see no harm in that. No harm at all.

Let me show you what I'm talking about...

Nothin' wrong with that.

I see no "Losers" here. Just tasty, tasty winners.

I'm just sayin': Rreowr.

What movie/actor would you add to this list? (Guys can play, too - what actress rocked your socks in a comic book movie?)

Book Review: Darklight

by Lesley Livingston

From Goodreads:
Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was a Faerie princess, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved the mortal realm from the ravages of the Wild Hunt.

Now Kelley is stuck in New York City, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet and missing Sonny more with every stage kiss, while Sonny has been forced back to the Otherworld and into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the remaining Hunters and Queen Mabh herself.

When a terrifying encounter sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful but destined to be cut short. An ancient, hidden magick is stirring, and a dangerous new enemy is willing to risk everything to claim that power.

Caught in a web of Faerie deception and shifting allegiances, Kelley and Sonny must tread carefully, for each next step could topple a kingdom . . . or tear them apart.

With breathtakingly high stakes, the talented Lesley Livingston delivers soaring romance and vividly magical characters in
Darklight, the second novel in the trilogy that began with Wondrous Strange.

From me:
When a book follows the text of another story - a tragedy - particularly Romeo and Juliet, you know the main characters are going to have problems. Look at New Moon - poor Bella had a whole lotta issues with her boyfriend that she had to deal with that paralled R & J. This book had a similar feel. Though, like New Moon, you know that no matter where the book is going at any given moment, there will be another book in the series to fix whatever is going wrong in this one. It's *gotta* have a happy ending eventually.

We get to know the characters better in this book, ones that we only got a taste of in the first - impressions change, and we no longer know who is good and who is bad. There is also a lot more action and new threats.

An enjoyable book and an enjoyable series. I look forward to seeing where this story goes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's (not) Monday - What are you reading?

Ok, I found this from Book Journey through Super Librarian's blog, and it looked like Super Fun :)

It's not Monday anymore, but close enough - I just found this today and I wanted to play.

I finished: Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer's new paranormal romp Wild Ride. I'll give it 4 out of 5 stars (*****). It probably would have managed a 5 if their Agnes and the Hitman wasn't so completely awesome that few books in this style can compare. For more info, see my earlier blog.

Reading: Darklight, by Lesley Livingston. Book 2 in the Wondrous Strange series. A YA novel about a girl who finds out she's literally a faerie princess. Adventure and Shakespeare ensue. Book #1, Wondrous Strange, has a nice mix of levity, action, and drama. The story didn't grasp me right away, but it had me hooked when the horse took up residence in the heroine's bathroom. I enjoyed the mix of folklore, fairy stories, and Shakespeare - and since I'm also a big fan of A Midsummer Night's Dream, I definitely liked the connection here. (*****)

To read: Depends on what I'm in the mood for. The contenders:
Shades of Grey, by Jasper Fforde
Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
The Uncommon Reader: A Novella, by Alan Bennett

How about you? What are you reading???

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wild Ride

The Crusie/Mayer collaboration Agnes and the Hitman is one of my all-time favorite books (which is saying something, since I've read a *lot* of books). But I was disappointed with their Don't Look Down. I was really hoping for another Agnes with this book.

I'd put Wild Ride somewhere in the middle. But I'd definitely put it a lot closer to Agnes in the Crusie/Mayer spectrum. This story follows a group of people who work at a theme park in Ohio, which also happens to be a prison for five demons, the Untouchables. The premise was definitely outlandish, and surprising, considering the more real-life, action adventure tales of the first two books (i.e. no magic, no demons). But the kooky strangeness really worked here.

I'll never look at a theme park the same way again. A wild ride indeed.

Blog Facelift

Blog facelift - I has one.

But I have no regrets...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Open Blog Post #3 - What I learned this semester

I've had a mental block about this post for a week or two now. It should have been the easiest thing to do, but I kept finding other things to do. Like squirrel around Facebook or stare into space.

Imagine, if you will, you are standing in a room full to the brim with cotton balls - everything around you is white and fuzzy. You can't hear very well and everything is kinda hazy. That, my friends, is my brain on school. Now imagine a tin can with a dried bean or two inside. Shake it around a bit. That empty rattle? That's my brain on the end of the semester.  This is why I've had such a hard time trying to come up something to write for my last blog. I finally decided to write about this semester and what I've learned.

First off, Cataloging. I think I have a brain for cataloging. I'm very particular about things and detail oriented. This should have come easier for me, but I think that it's going to take a LOT more repetition before it really clicks.

Next, Research. As much as I enjoyed this class and learned a lot, I hope I don't find myself in a situation where I have to do a research project. I'd be happy to help people find things for their research, and I'd even be willing to help a colleague, but I'm sorry, this is not my forte. Someone would have to pay me a lot of money to even consider a doctorate, and that price would be determined on how much I valued my sanity (given how much of my sanity I had left at the time).

Finally, Reader's Advisory. Best. Class. EVER. And that includes all 12 years of public school; 3 or so years of nursery school, preschool, and kindergarten where we had nap time and finger painting; and college. This class even beat out a college course that took me to Greece for a week. That's saying something, because Greece was awesome. I loved the material, the assignments and projects, and the books. All the glorious books!

But the best part was the class. The discussions and the interaction. I am truly bummed out that this class is over, and even more that some of the fabulous people I met are graduating and I won't necessarily see them again (it's times like these that I love Facebook - you can keep in touch with people that you otherwise would have lost all contact with). But this class and these super-cool library people have inspired me in a way that my other classes haven't (at least not to the same degree) and I would be thrilled if all or part of my future library career included Reader's Advisory work. I LOVE it!

And because I think everyone in our class was so much fun, I hope to see them all at the ALISS BBQ at Andrea's house on the 15th! I'd also love to see everyone at the upcoming Adult Book Group - look for information on the ALISS facebook page!

P.S. Despite my lack of success for my secret shopper assignment, I have found myself a fun heisty book. There are no cats solving crimes that I know of, it's not a cozy mystery, and it involves stealing stuff back from the mob. It's also a YA book, but if I had been asked, I would have said that I don't mind YA in the least. I now have Heist Society on hold at my library, and I'm looking forward to reading it :)