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 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...