Friday, December 31, 2010

Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

About the book:Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter--and lived to tell the tale. But she's never faced off against her own kind . . . until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment--at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery.Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.

First line: Tucking my hair back, I squinted at the parchment, trying to form the strange angular letters as smoothly as I could.

My thoughts: This is the eighth book in the Rachel Morgan series. The whole story revolves around the fact that Rachel has been shunned by her the witches for being able to kindle demon magic. Her search for a way to save herself was somewhat disjointed what with hopping from place to place with help from so many people it was hard to keep straight. I have read and enjoyed them all including this one. However this one is among my least favorite of this series.


Quote: Oh, I was still impressed with Pierce’s magic that far outstripped mine. His quick one-liners in his odd accent aimed at Al when the demon wasn’t listening still made me smirk. And I wasn’t looking at his long wavy hair, or his lanky build, much less his tight ass. Damn it.

Rating:

Links:
Kim Harrison
Publisher: Eos
Publication Date: 3/1/2010
ISBN: 9780061138034
Ean: 0061138037
Paperback: 487 pages
Language: English
Physical Info: 6.45 x 1.48 x 9.13 inches, (1.47 lbs)
Categories: Fantasy - General
LC Subjects: Occult fiction, Witches
Dewey: FIC


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

DESCRIPTION: The metropolis of New Crobuzon sprawls at the centre of the world. Humans and mutants and arcane races brood in the gloom beneath its chimneys, where the river is sluggish with unnatural effluent, and factories and foundries pound into the night. For more than a thousand years, the Parliament and its brutal militia have ruled here over a vast economy of workers and artists, spies and soldiers, magicians, junkies and whores. Now a stranger has arrived with a pocket full of gold and an impossible demand. And inadvertently, clumsily, something unthinkable is released.
As the city becomes gripped by an alien terror, the fate of millions lies with a clutch of renegades and outcasts on the run from lawmakers and crimelords alike. The urban nightscape becomes a hunting ground. Battles rage in the shadows of uncanny architectures. And a reckoning is due at the city's heart, under the vast chaotic vaults of Perdido Street Station.

First line: A window burst open high above the market.

My Thoughts: This book is China Miéville's second novel, and it is the first in a series that is set in Bas-Lag, a world where both magic and technology exist. The contrast between the technology and the everyday lives of the characters lend it a steampunkish feel. China Mieville spends spends a lot of time and a lot of words painting fantastic pictures in this novel. The details were wonderful, bringing the characters, the city and the world to life. However, at times the story line was put aside for these vivid descriptions. I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved the unique setting and the characters that peopled the book. The story line was interesting and engaging. I loved the way the author could make me picture the scenes, his world building was wonderful. But.....for me, there were way too many pages spent on this. I got this for my Kindle and I read and read and didn't seem to get anywhere (looking at the percentage read at the bottom of the Kindle.) I looked the book up and found that it has 880 pages! There were a LOT of words I had to look up. That was handy on the Kindle. If you are a scifi/fantasy/steampunk fan I think you will like this. I don't think it would appeal to someone looking to read these genres for the first time.



My rating:

Quote: I can dig my claws into the rim of a building's crown and spread my arms and feel the buffets and gouts of boisterous air and I can close my eyes and remember, for a moment, what it is to fly.

Links:
Wikipedia
SF Site
Races of Bas-Lag

Awards:
Winner: Arthur C. Clarke Award (2001)
Winner: August Derleth Award (2001)
Winner: Premio Ignotus, Best Foreign Novel (2002)
Winner: Kurd Lasswitz Award, Best Foreign Novel (2002)
1st place: Amazon.com Editors' Choice, Fantasy (2001)
Shortlisted: Nebula Award, Novel (2002)
Shortlisted: Hugo Award, Best Novel (2002)
Shortlisted: World Fantasy Award, Novel (2001)
Shortlisted: James Tiptree, Jr. Award (2000)
Shortlisted: BSFA Awards, Novel (2000)
4th place: Locus Poll Award, Best Fantasy Novel (2001)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stranger in Paradise by Robert B. Parker

About the book: Police Chief Jesse Stone faces his most fearsome adversary in the latest addition to the celebrated series.

The last time Jesse Stone, chief of police of Paradise, Massachusetts, saw Wilson "Crow" Cromartie, the Apache Indian hit man was racing away in a speedboat after executing one of the most lucrative and deadly heists in the town's history. Crow was part of a team of ex-cons who plotted to capture Stiles Island, the wealthy enclave off the Paradise coast, by blowing up the connecting bridge. Residents were kidnapped, some were killed, and Crow managed to escape with a boatload of cash, never to be seen again. Until now.

So when Crow shows up in Jesse's office some ten years after the crime, it's not to turn himself in. Crow is on another job, and this time he's asking for Jesse's help-by asking him to stay out of his way.

First line:

My Thoughts: This is the first of the Jesse Stone series I've read. Well, actually I listened to this one. In fact the only other books of Parker's that I have read are the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch westerns which I liked. This wasn't a mystery as you knew what was going on with everyone most of the time. But the flow of the story kept pulling me along page after page. Crow was an interesting character. The ultimate bad guy with a heart? The hired killer who won't kill women. I can't say that I liked Amber very much, but had to giver her some slack since she was 14 and had had no real parental guidance in her life. I want to read more of the books in this series, I think Jesse might be worth getting to know. One thing that didn't set right with me was a lot of the dialog. It sounded stiff. Each comment was ended with said so&so or so&so said. Each and every short comment. I like to be able to keep up with who said what, but it got a little tiresom after awhile. All in all, though, I liked it and I'll pick up mort of his work.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

About the book: This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls “Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister”) is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed several things about this book. I loved visiting different countries and cultures through the eyes of this author. The way the author talks about her experiences makes you feel like you are there. While on her year long journey of self discovery she meets some colorful and interesting characters. My favorite person from her travels would have to be Richard from Texas. He sounded like a fun person to know. She made me laugh several times and shake my head in wonder many times. With that being said I could not identify with this author. Just think about being paid to travel for a year (the advance on the book,) meet so many interesting people, make so many friends and at the same time dwell on how hard your life is and how alone you are. It did not compute for me. I'm glad she found a way out of her depression and at the end of her trip found love. I hope she is still happy.

My rating:





Quote:
My husband was sleeping in our bed. I was hiding in the bathroom for something like the forty-seventh consecutive night, and—just as during all those nights before—I was sobbing. Sobbing so hard, in fact, that a great lake of tears and snot was spreading before me on the bathroom tiles, a veritable Lake Inferior (if you will) of all my shame and fear and confusion and grief.

I don't want to be married anymore.

I was trying so hard not to know this, but the truth kept insisting itself to me.

I don't want to be married anymore. I don't want to live in this big house. I don't want to have a baby.


Links:
About the author

Richard form Texas



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rage by Jonathan Kellerman

About the book: Troy Turner and Rand Duchay were barely teenagers when they kidnapped and murdered a younger child. Troy, a remorseless sociopath, died violently behind bars. But the hulking, slow-witted Rand managed to survive his stretch. Now, at age twenty-one, he's emerged a haunted, rootless young man with a pressing need: to talk-once again-with psychologist Alex Delaware. But the young killer comes to a brutal end, that conversation never takes place.

Has karma caught up with Rand? Or has someone waited for eight patient years to dine on ice-cold revenge? Both seem strong possibilities to Sturgis, but Delaware's suspicions run deeper . . . and darker. Because fear in the voice of the grownup Rand Duchay-and his eerie final words to Alex: "I'm not a bad person"-betray untold secrets. Buried revelations so horrendous, and so damning, they're worth killing for.

As Delaware and Sturgis retrace their steps through a grisly murder case that devastated a community, they discover a chilling legacy of madness, suicide, and multiple killings left in its wake-and even uglier truths waiting to be unearthed. And the nearer they come to understanding an unspeakable crime, the more harrowingly close they get to unmasking a monster hiding in plain sight.

First line: On a slow, chilly Saturday in December, shortly after the Lakers overcame a sixteen-point halftime deficit and beat New Jersey, I got a call from a murderer.

My thoughts: I have enjoyed other books in this series by this author and I know what a good writer he is. The first part of this book did a great job setting the scene and drawing me in. The next half seemed to be mostly conversation between the two main characters wherein they create scenarios to explain all the things they find. Their conjectures twist and turn as they follow clues and talk to people. Unfortunately the story just....ends. Suddenly. With no actual proof of what happened. I don't know if the story will be continued in another book or not. I'll be looking into this. If you are a fan of Kellerman's books, you'll want to read this one. If you are new to his work I'd suggest you start with and earlier one.

My rating:



Quote: They continued viewing the tape. For an instant, Kristal Malley had twisted in her captor's grasp and the camera caught 2.3 seconds of her face.

Links:
excerpt

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid

Product Description:In this heartwarming novel, author Greg Kincaid tells the tender story of how one very special dog changed the lives of his adoptive family—and an entire town—forever.
When Todd McCray, a developmentally challenged young man still living on his parents’ Kansas farm, hears that a local animal shelter is seeking temporary homes for its dogs during the days leading to Christmas, he knows exactly what he wants for the holidays. His father objects, but Todd’s persistence quickly wins out. Soon the McCrays are the short-term foster family for a lovable pooch the young man names Christmas.
But what about all the other dogs who will be forced to spend the Yuletide season in cages? In the days that follow, Todd uses his special gifts of persuasion to encourage his hometown to participate in the “Adopt a Dog for Christmas Program.” What follows from his small act of kindness will teach his family, and his community, about peace on earth and good will toward men—and animals.

First line: Jake seemed content with the Connor family, but even so, his departure was predictable.



My thoughts: This is a short, sweet, feel good story that is just right for Christmas. The engaging plot kept me turning the pages. It also brings a great message about the importance of adopting pets without being preachy. I found this to be a refreshing read, very positive. If you are a dog lover don't miss this one. Even if you aren't an animal lover I think you will love meeting Todd and his family. Just a note: it would fit nicely in a stocking.


My rating:


Quote: Then, there is Todd, my youngest child. By that Christmas he was old enough in years to be on his own, to have a real job like his siblings, but the immaturity that naturally accompanied his disability kept him home with his mother and me.
Todd looked like any other healthy twenty-year-old, but he had his own way of thinking about things. You'd know from watching or even talking with him briefly that something was unusual.


Links:
preview the book
the author

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

About the book: Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.


First line: Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature.

My thoughts: Oh my! To start with I'll tell you, this book is very sad but at the same time full of hope. It made me laugh out loud at times. It is filled with love. I don't usually cry in books, but this one is an exception. Basically it is the story of Denny's life struggle, as as told by the family dog. The author made me care about the characters, love Enzo, caused me anger, joy and sadness. This is a wonderful book and will be on my list of favorites for the year. I think that anyone would enjoy this book, I recommend it!

My Rating:



Quote:“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog's master whispers into the dog's ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life. Then his tail is cut off and put beneath his head, and a piece of meat or fat is placed in his mouth to sustain his soul on its journey; before he is reincarnated, the dog's soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as it would like.

I learned that from a program on the National Geographic channel, so I believe it is true. Not all dogs return as men, they say; only those who are ready.

I am ready.”






Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wicked Appitite by Janet Evanovich

Product Description: Life in Marblehead has had a pleasant predictability, until Diesel arrives. Rumor has it that a collection of priceless ancient relics representing the Seven Deadly Sins have made their way to Boston’s North Shore. Partnered with pastry chef Lizzie Tucker, Diesel bullies and charms his way through historic Salem to track them down—and his criminal mastermind cousin Gerewulf Grimorie. The black-haired, black-hearted Wulf is on the hunt for the relic representing gluttony. Caught in a race against time, Diesel and Lizzie soon find out that more isn’t always better, as they battle Wulf and the first of the deadly sins.

First line:
My name is Elizabeth Tucker. I’m Elizabeth to my mother, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been Lizzy to everyone else. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve baked cupcakes.

My Thoughts: This is the first book in the new Unmentionables series starring Diesel and Lizzy. Diesel is not a new character, he is from the Between the Number Stephanie Plum books. I liked him just as well as I did in those books. The evil guy, Wulf, has been introduced before as well. Carl the monkey, from Plum Spooky, is back too, and just as ready to "flip" some one off as not. This was another fun, far-fetched, silly, light read by Evanovich. I enjoyed this book even though it seemed familiar. Many things about it remind me of the Plum series. If your are looking for a deep &/or meaningful read this is not it. It is great escapism. The plot is simple and contains of slapstick. I loved the cat. I will be reading the next one.

My rating:




Quote: He was dressed in a perfectly tailored black suit and black dress shirt.
He approached the bakery, and my skin prickled and a hot flash ran through my chest. “Holy moly,” I said to Clara.
“There’s nothing holy about him,” Clara said.
The man stopped inches from the front door and stared in at me. His mouth was sensuous and unsmiling. He looked to be my age, and he was eerily handsome. He crooked his finger at me in a come here gesture.
“Do you suppose he wants a muffin?” I asked Clara.
“Either that or your soul.”


Links:
the author
about the book

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Synopsis: In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. The "star-crossed" lovers theme continues as Bella and Edward find themselves facing new obstacles, including a devastating separation, the mysterious appearance of dangerous wolves roaming the forest in Forks, a terrifying threat of revenge from a female vampire and a deliciously sinister encounter with Italy's reigning royal family of vampires, the Volturi. Passionate, riveting, and full of surprising twists and turns, this vampire love saga captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

First line:
I was ninety-nine point nine percent sure I was dreaming.

My thoughts: Since most of you have probably read this I won't go into much detail. I basically liked this book but found Bella to be a weak, self serving character. I disliked the way her character used Jacob and the way she could not function without Edward or Jacob to support her. I think I could have liked this book a lot more with fewer pages of "I'm dreaming..." and fewer pages of moping. With that said, I enjoyed getting to know Jacob and his family. I like the way the author has rethought the werewolf and vampire legends. The trip to Italy to rescue Edward and meet the Volturi was interesting. I checked this one out of the library and will get the next one but hope it moves on along.

My rating:

Quote:
"Shoot," I muttered when the paper sliced my finger; I pulled it out to examine the damage. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut.

It all happened very quickly then.

Edward threw himself at me, flinging me back across the table...

I tumbled down to the floor by the piano, with my arms thrown out instinctively to catch my fall, into the jagged shards of glass. I felt the searing, stinging pain that ran from my wrist to the crease inside my elbow.

Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm—into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires.

Links:
first chapter
Stephenie Meyer

Lesley Anne Ivory's Perfect Little Cats

Product Description:
A collection of cat paintings. 15 cats and kittens of all kinds and colours are depicted against a variety of decorative backgrounds. Every illustration is faced by an extract of verse or prose by famous writers, such as Champfleury, William Cowper and Charles Baude.

First line: Here by the sacrad hearth I lie, High priest of the silken mat, Guarding with imperious eye, The Precinct of the cat.

My thoughts: I love Lesley Anne Ivory's art and when I ran across this little gem at a used book store I snapped it up. It is a very slim volumn with 15 pictures and 15 quotations. The illustrations are lovely and the quotations about cats that face each illustration make for fun reading. Especially if you are a cat person. If you are not a cat person, don't bother with this one. I loved it.

Quote:
"He's delicately tough, endearingly reserved,
Adaptable, fastidious, rope-and-fibre-nerved.
Now an accomplished Yogi, good at sitting still,
He ponders ancient mysteries on the window-sill,
Now stretches, bares his claws and saunters off to find
The thrills of love and hunting, cunningly combined.
Acrobat, diplomat, and simply tabby cat,
He conjures tangled forests in a furnished flat."

My rating:






Links:
images
Lesley Anne Ivory

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini

About the book: Mr. Moose prepares for Christmas using his Christmas checklist:
•Write Christmas cards and address them
•Shop til you drop
•Wraps and ribbons
•Bakes and cooks
•Roasts chestnuts
•Decorate
•Sing
But Mr. Moose's kids notice that he forgot one thing on his list - a Christmas tree. When he goes out to pick one up, he discovers that they're all gone and comes home empty-handed. Mr. Moose and his Moosetache get creative for a substitute. The book uses rhyming text and colorful illustrations.

First line: ‘Twas the season, and Moose was merry.

My thoughts: What a cute book. I'll read more books in the Moose series after enjoying this one. The author had written a wonderful, humerous fantasy. The flow of the words that will keep the kids engaged. The bold, colorful illustrations by Henry Cole will be fun for you and your kiddos to explore. It's too late this year but next year I'm going to purchase this book for my nieces and nephews. Your kids will want you to read it again and again so enjoy!

My rating:





Quote: But—with orderly organization, a bit of regimentation, lots of imagination, and just plain old Moose know-how—getting ready for the big day should have been simple. Easy. Yes, in all probability, just ….perfectly perfect.

Links:
About the book

The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tommie dePaola

From Publishers Weekly:In the tradition of his The Legend of the Bluebonnet and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, dePaola offers another gracious retelling of a timeless folktale. His skillfully pared-down narrative and paintings that glow with strong colors present the story of a well-intentioned Mexican child, Lucida. Distressed because she has no other gift to offer Baby Jesus, she carries into the church an armful of weeds, each of which suddenly becomes ``tipped with a flaming red star''-marking the miraculous blooming of the first poinsettias.

First Sentence: Lucida lived in a small village high up in the mountains of Mexico with her mama, her papa, and her younger brother and sister, Paco and Lupe.

My thoughts: I like dePaola's children's books and this is one of my favorites. It is a wonderful little story full of hope, faith, and miracles. The simple pictures are lovely. What a great adition to a Christmas Around the World unit or to simply share with your own children at home.


Links:
Tomie dePoala

How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) by Ann Coulter

About the book:Welcome to the world of Ann Coulter. With her monumental bestsellers Treason, Slander, and High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Coulter has become the most recognized and talked-about conservative intellectual in years—and certainly the most controversial. Now, in How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must), which is sure to ignite impassioned debate, she offers her most comprehensive analysis of the American political scene to date. With incisive reasoning, refreshing candor, and razor-sharp wit, she reveals just why liberals have got it so wrong.

In this powerful and entertaining book, which draws on her weekly columns, Coulter ranges far and wide. No subject is off-limits, and no comment is left unsaid. After all, she writes, “Nothing too extreme can be said about liberals because it’s all true.”

First line: Historically, the best way to convert liberals is to have them move out of their parents' home, get a job, and start paying taxes.


My thoughts: I've been curious about Coulter's writing so when I found this book on CD at the used book store I got it. It is somewhat dated, most of the articles that make up this book are from 1999 to 2004. She comments on such things as 9/11, John Kerry, media bias, the new York Times, terrorism and so on. Her comments are very biting and she holds none of her feelings back. Her writing made me laugh several times through out. I felt she had some good points but they were hard to see through the sarcasm and name calling. You will understand what the author is about once you finish it. If you are a moderate you'll like some of it, if you are a conservative you'll like more of it. If you are a liberal you'll probably want to take it out and burn it. I'm just saying.

My Rating:





Links:
about the book
Chapter 1
about the author

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Narrows by Michael Connelly



Product Description: FBI agent Rachel Walling finally gets the call she's dreaded for years: the one that tells her the Poet has returned. Years earlier she worked on the famous case tracking down the serial killer who wove lines of poetry into his hideous crimes. Rachel has never forgotten the killer who called himself the Poet — and apparently he has not forgotten her.

Harry Bosch gets a call, too. The former LAPD detective hears from an old friend whose husband recently died. The death appeared natural, but this man's ties to the hunt for the Poet make Harry dig deep — and lead him into a terrifying and unknown world.

First Line: She was in darkness, floating on a black sea, a starless sky above. She could hear nothing and see nothing. It was a perfect black moment but then Rachel Walling opened her eyes from the dream.

My Thoughts: This is the 10th Harry Bosch novel and Connelly's 14 novel. In the first part of the book Rachel and Harry are following their own investigations before finally ending up in the same place and finding out they are working on the same thing from different angles. The book gets off to a slow start and then takes several twists and turns before coming to a conclusion. The story takes you from California to Las Vegas to the Mojave desert. I don't think it is a mystery, it's more like a suspensful hunt. The book alternates between first person narrative when Bosch is telling his part of the story and third person narrative when dealing with Rachel. I like that the book is not just about the hunt, you learn about Harry and Rachel. You feel Harry's love for his daughter and how Rachel is dealing with being demoted previous to this novel. This isn't my favorite Connelly book (That would be Void Moon at this point) but it was still a good read.

My Rating:






Quote:"The device had one waypoint in its record. The Mojave. Just inside the California border at Nevada. We flew out yesterday and we went to the marker. We've been using gas probes in the sand. Late yesterday we found the first body, Rachel."

Links:
about the author

Connelly's books
about the book

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley


Product Description: From Dagger Award–winning and internationally bestselling author Alan Bradley comes this utterly beguiling mystery starring one of fiction’s most remarkable sleuths: Flavia de Luce, a dangerously brilliant eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders. This time, Flavia finds herself untangling two deaths—separated by time but linked by the unlikeliest of threads.

Flavia thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacy are over—and then Rupert Porson has an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. The beloved puppeteer has had his own strings sizzled, but who’d do such a thing and why? For Flavia, the questions are intriguing enough to make her put aside her chemistry experiments and schemes of vengeance against her insufferable big sisters. Astride Gladys, her trusty bicycle, Flavia sets out from the de Luces’ crumbling family mansion in search of Bishop’s Lacey’s deadliest secrets.

First line: I was lying dead in the churchyard.

My thoughts: I found this, the second Flavia de Luce novel, to be as charming as the first. I loved going with Flavia as she rode trusty Gladys around town searching for clues. I cheered for her with each new find. I felt sorry for her as her sisters tormented her and when she was wondering about her mother.Her character is developing nicely and I can't wait to read the next book to see how she grows. I especially like the way Bradley captured the time and place, 1950 in England. Reading the description of the puppet show here reminded me of the time I saw a puppet show in the early sixties at school. I recommend this book to anyone.

My rating:





Quote:
"On my Honor," I said, holding up three fingers in the Girl Guide salute. Although I had been chucked from that organization for insubordination (among other things,) I felt it was hardly necessary to share the gruesome details with Nialla.

Links:
about the book
Flavia's Fan club


Heat Wave by Richard Castle


Product Description: A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal. Secrets that lay hidden in the dark until one NYPD detective shines a light.

First line:It was always the same for her when she arrived to meet the body.

My thoughts: I am a fan of the Castle series on TV so when I saw this I had to get it. It has been languishing on my Kindle for awhile but I finally got to it. I found it to be a fun read and I WILL read the next one. I really liked the characters Rook and Heat and I liked their scenes together. I felt the characters were well designed. Jameson Rook, who is exasperating, self-centered and egotistical, was written in such a way as to make you care about him. Even though is may have seemed a little Corny in places, the mystery was good, it kept me guessing. It is a light, enjoyable, quick read. If you are a fan of the TV show, you'll like this.

My rating:



Quote: "At noon she shouldered her bag, and when Rook stood to go with her she told him to get himself some lunch, she needed to go on this one by herself. He told her she should have some protection. 'I'm a cop. I am the protection.'"

Links:
read the first chapter

about the book
about the author (actor)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tomb With a View by Casey Daniels


SUMMARY: Cemeteries come alive for amateur sleuth/reluctant medium Pepper Martin. Cleveland's Garden View Cemetery is hosting a James A. Garfield commemoration. For tour guide and reluctant medium Pepper Martin this means that's he'll surely be hearing from the dead president himself. And when she's assigned to help plan the event with know-it-all volunteer and Garfield fanatic Marjorie Klinker, she'll wish Marjorie were dead...too bad someone beats Pepper to it.

First line: If I knew Marjorie Klinker was going to get murdered, I might have been nicer to her. Well...Maybe.

My thoughts: I have really enjoyed this series. It has a cozy mystery feel along with being a lighthearted paranormal fantasy. Daniels has created a fun character in Pepper Martin who can talk to ghosts and has become a kind of private investigator for the undead. The question she has to find out this time is who killed Marjorie and there are several people on her list to check out. The President wants her to hurry up and get it over with as he is tired of all the goings on within his domain in the tomb. I enjoyed her interaction with the president and thought his role at the end of the book was great. The relationship developing between her and Quinn (a hot super cop) through these books didn't get far this time, but there is always the next book. There is a little light romance, a little action, identity theft, the stalker, humor, a little steam and lots of fun.

Quote: "I said she was a pain, I didn't say anyone wanted to kill her. Oh..." I thought about Gloria Henninger of the pink bathrobe and the dog. I thought about how Marjorie made Doris cry and almost leave a volunteer job she loved, and I thought about Ray, who wasn't smiling when he left Marjorie's house the other night. I thought about me. Oh yeah, I'd wanted to kill Marjorie plenty of times. This wasn't the proper occasion to admit it.

My rating:





Links:
about the book
preview the book
about the author

Books in the series:
*Tomb With A View, July 2010
A Pepper Martin Mystery #6
*Dead Man Talking, October 2009
Pepper Martin Mysteries, No. 5
*Night Of The Loving Dead, January 2009
Pepper Martin Mysteries, # 4)
*Tombs of Endearment, October 2007
Pepper Martin #3
*The Chick and the Dead, March 2007
Pepper Martin #2
*Don of the Dead, June 2006
Pepper Martin #1

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson

About the book: Bear is out looking for a snack, but when the sun sets he loses his way. How bear wants to go home! But where is his cozy cave? Bear searches and searches and as the skies grow dark, Bear feels scared! But bear is never alone, and his resourceful friends put together a search party to find their missing companion. A tale about friendship and feelings, this story will be sure to resonate strongly with children.


First line:
In the deep dark woods
by the Strawberry Vale,

a big bear lumbers
down a small, crooked trail.

My thoughts: Another great addition th Wilson's Bear series. This is one of my favorites. This can be used to explore feelings, friendship, being helpful and seasons. Again the rhyme is catchy and the repeated phrases beg the kids to participate in the reading. I love the illustrations. You and your kids will love it!

Quote:
The friends bundle up
and begin to prepare.
They form a search party
for their lost friend Bear.

My Rating:

Links:

Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson



Product Description:
Bear is not feeling well at all; he is achy, sneezy, wheezy and sick and in no shape to go outside to play. Mole, Hare, Mouse and the rest of the gang try to make Bear feel as comfortable as possible in his cave. Under the care of his friends, Bear starts to get better but as soon as Bear is well, guess what happens? All of his friends get sick!



First line:
Alone in his cave
as the autumn wind blows,
Bear feels achy
with a stuffed-up nose.


My thoughts: I love the entire Bear series. The stories keep the kids attention, the illustrations are charming, the rhyme is fun. This particular book was a great jumping off spot for a health lesson. The discussions included hand washing and covering mouth when sneezing. After reading it we also discussed how family and friends can help one another. This book is great for the classroom and home. Your kids will love it!

My Rating:



Quote:
Mouse queezes Bear tight.
He whispers in his ear,
"It'll be just fine.
Your friends are all here."


Links:
About the book
Look inside

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

About the book: The first in a stunning new series, The Cousins’ War, is set amid the tumult and intrigue of the Wars of the Roses. Internationally bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings this extraordinary family drama to vivid life through its women – beginning with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

First Line: In the darkness of the forest the young knight could hear the splashing of the fountain long before he could see the glimmer of moonlight reflected on the still surface.

My thoughts: Wow! I absolutely loved this,the first book in The Cousins' War Series. I don't read much historical fiction but I do enjoy it. This one has me wanting to read more. I really don't know much about England and its Monarchy so I knew next to nothing about the Plantagenets before reading this. Having said that, you now know that I don't know the fact from the fiction as written here but I'm thinking: so what. I was fascinated by the story of THE WHITE QUEEN and am looking forward to reading THE RED QUEEN. Gregory fleshed out the characters. I found them to be smart, determined, and ruthless. I was rooting for them all the way. The book was so full of things: history, love, magic, war, suspense. Something here for everyone. If you haven't already read it do so!

My rating:



Quote: He is a usurper and a tyrant, my enemy and the son of my enemy, but I am far beyond loyalty to anyone but my sons and myself.
Links:

Blood Memories by Barb Hendee


Book Blurb: Eleisha Clevon has the face of a teen angel, but she is no angel. Unlike most vampires, she doesn’t like to kill, but self-preservation comes first.
When an old friend destroys himself by walking into sunlight right in front of her, Eleisha is shocked. And what she finds afterwards points to how very sick of his existence her friend had become—piling drained corpses in the basement and keeping records of other vampires’ real names and addresses. That’s a problem. Because now, there are policemen on the case: two very special humans with some gifts of their own. They know who Eleisha is, and, even more dangerous, what she is.

First line: I was with Edward the day he killed himself.

My thoughts: I was already a fan of Hendee's co-authored Noble Dead series about a dhampir. Blood Memories is the first book in The Vampire Memories series and is set in modern times. I thought the vampire lore unique. Eleisha was created to care for William and that is what she did for 100 years. She knew little of life and nothing of other vampires outside of Edward. I felt it was a sort of vampire coming of age story as I watched her learn and grow, become stronger. The flashbacks added a lot to the story as I learned about the characters pasts and about them as people. This story was short at 243 pages and moved right along. The ending, of course, left the story wide open for the next story in the series. If you like vampire stories you'll like this one.

Quote:
As a child, Eleisha discovered that the most worthwhile talent a little bastard kitchen wench can achieve is invisibility. the less the cooks saw her, the safer and healthier she remained.


My rating:


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tell Me Where It Hurts by Dr. Nick Trout

ABOUT THIS BOOK: It’s 2:47 a.m. when Dr. Nick Trout takes the phone call that starts another hectic day at the Angell Animal Medical Center. Sage, a ten-year old German shepherd, will die without emergency surgery for a serious stomach condition. Over the next twenty-four hours Dr. Trout fights for Sage’s life, battles disease in the operating room, unravels tricky diagnoses, reassures frantic pet parents, and reflects on the humor, heartache, and inspiration in his life as an animal surgeon. And he wants to take you along for the ride.…

From the front lines of modern medicine, Tell Me Where It Hurts is a fascinating insider portrait of a veterinarian, his furry patients, and the blend of old-fashioned instincts and cutting-edge technology that defines pet care in the twenty-first century. For anyone who’s ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your veterinarian’s office, Tell Me Where It Hurts offers a vicarious journey through twenty-four intimate, eye-opening, heartrending hours at the premier Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston.

You’ll also be inspired by the heartwarming stories of struggle and survival filling these pages. With a wry and winning tone, Dr. Trout offers up hilarious and delightful anecdotes about cuddly (or not-so-cuddly) pets and their variously zany, desperate, and demanding owners. In total, Tell Me Where It Hurts offers a fascinating portrait of the comedy and drama, complexities and rewards involved with loving and healing animals.

First line: It might seem strange, coming from an Englishman, but sometimes emergency surgery in the middle of the night can play out like a synopsis of a perfect reason for the Boston Red Sox.

My Thoughts: I have a soft spot for animals in general and dogs in particular so I thought I would enjoy this book. I did. In here you read about the hospital and learn about many of the high tech ideas available to vets today. Even better you meet some wonderful pet parents, learn their stories and care about them and their pets. Dr. Trout's evident love of his patients shined through.

Dr. Trout examines many of the issues facing vets and owners today including how much are you willing to pay & what is really best for the animal?

I found myself tearing up in several places and laughing in others. I did think that at times the humor fell flat, but all in all I enjoyed this book. I would like to get his next one.

My rating:



Quote: In a few seconds the Flynn family will be out of sight, but anyone who knows them can see the unnatural shift in their dynamic - baby on the hip, toddler in the carriage, Brian, in hand, walking by his Mom's side. Something is wrong with this new asymmetry. There is an empty space up front center, conspicuous, like an empty chair with a place setting at a family dinner table.

Links:
reader's guide

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski



About the book: Boston P.I. Remy Chandler has many talents. He can will himself invisible, he can speak and understand any foreign language (including the language of animals), and if he listens carefully, he can hear thoughts.
Unusual, to say the least - for an ordinary man. But Remy is no ordinary man - he's an angel. Generations ago, he chose to renounce heaven and live on Earth. He's found a place among us ordinary humans; friendship, a job he's good at - and love.
Now he is being drawn into a case with strong ties to his angelic past. The Angel of Death has gone missing - and Remy's former colleagues have come to him for help. But what at first seems to be about tracing a missing person turns out to involve much more - a conspiracy that has as its goal the destruction of the human race.
And only Remy Chandler, formerly known as the angel Remiel, can stop it.

First Line: It was an unusually warn mid-September day in Boston.




My thoughts: This was a new take on urban fantasy for me. No vampires, withces or werewolves. In this series we have Remy Chandler, angel.

This story is fast-paced and action packed. It drew me in and kept me reading. Remy is a likable, interesting character who has to work hard to be human, struggling against his true self. His relationship with his dying wife is bittersweet. He loves her dearly but is now forced to pass her off as his mother at a nursing home. My favorite part is Marlowe, Remy's Labrador, with whom he can communicate.

I really liked this one and will read more in the series. In fact it may just turn into one of my very favorite UF series.


My rating:

Quote: Marlow didn't move.

Remy leaned in to the car. "What's wrong?"

"I go," Marlowe said, refusing to make eye contact with him.

"You can't come with me, pal. It's too dangerous."

"No," the dog said stubbornly, draping his head over the back of the seat.

"Listen," he finally said in his firmest tone. "I don't have time to fool around right now. It's very important that I get to where I'm going so I can take care of business and come back to get you." Marlow lifted his head to look hin in the eyes.

"When?" the dog asked. "As soon as I'm done," he explained. "I have to go and help Casey and her friend..... and then I'll come back. Okay?" The dog thought for a moment. "Must come back," Marlowe said, and Remy could sense genuine sadness emanating from the animal's words. "Pack gone. Just Marlowe. All alone."

Links:
the series
the author

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman


From School Library JournalIn this rhyming story, Pete, a turkey outsmarts the townsfolk of old-time Squawk Valley as they mask their quest for a Thanksgiving entr‚e with the premise of needing a feathered model for a themed arts-and-crafts fair. Angular cartoon people, done in watercolor and gouache, create turkey sculptures of potatoes, rope, oatmeal, and soap, as well as collages and portraits. This variety of presentation makes it easy for Pete to hide temporarily among the exhibits when the moment of truth arrives. The faint typeface is somewhat difficult to read and some alliterative lines ("We'll fill our fair with folks and fun") will twist a tongue during read-alouds. The final page showing a dozen turkeys at the beach is a real champion, capturing various comical expressions and activities.

Quote:"They make turkeys out of spuds, and out of clay and out of rope. They made turkeys out of oatmeal, and out of paper, out of soap."

My thoughts: I read this book to my second graders and they loved it as much as I did. The rhyme and meter is engaging and the story humorous. In fact it made me laugh out loud in a couple of places. The illustrations were great! If you have kids, get it. You won't regret it.


Links:
The book and activities

The Bone Vault by Linda Fairstein

Description: In the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exquisite Temple of Dendur, a controversial new exhibit is fiercely opposed by many among the upper echelon of museum donors. Alex Cooper steps into this highly charged ring of power players only to make a much more troubling discovery -- a young museum researcher has been murdered, her body shipped to the Met in an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus. Together with cops Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, Alex must penetrate the realm of the city's cultural elite to find a killer intent on keeping some secrets buried for eternity.

First Line: I spent a long afternoon at the morgue.

My Thoughts: This is the 5th book of the Alex Cooper series but the first one I've read. I enjoyed exploring the hidden spaces of the American Museum of Natural History and learning more about it and its beginnings. The mystery was interesting, but maybe a little slow. the thriller part didn't kick in till better than half way through the book. Over all it was a fun quick read. I'll read more of these.

My Rating:





Quote: "It's in a diorama, in one of the display cases ont he main floor. It's - it's....an arm. a severed human arm."

New word: Beastiary - A bestiary, or Bestiarum vocabulum is a compendium of beasts. Bestiaries were made popular in the Middle Ages in illustrated volumes that described various animals, birds and even rocks. The natural history and illustration of each beast was usually accompanied by a moral lesson.

Links:
Excerpt


The Bone Vault
by Linda Fairstein
Hardcover: Jan 2003,
400 pages.
Paperback: Jan 2004,
528 pages.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Product Description: Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination. Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .


First line: She didn't feel like wearing a garter tonight. Her gold-beaded dress, cascading in waves of crystalline fringe, covered the intersection between her sheer stockings and bare thigh.

My thoughts:
This book is an ARC that I received from B&N as part of their First Look Book Club. I was initially attracted to it because of the time period in which it takes place, the 1920s. I loved the cover as well, it is beautiful.
I am not much of a YA fan, or for that matter nor am I much of a romance fan, but wanted to give this one a try. The fact that the character's were 17 year olds jarred in my mind and clashed with their older adult actions. I've seen it written that this book is Flappers meet Gossip Girls. I loved the setting and the look into the world of flappers, speakeasys, gangsters and jazz.

The chapters of this book alternate between the stories of three teenaged girls: Gloria, a Chicago Socialite engaged to a man who loved only her money, Clara, Gloria's cousin, who is trying to escape her old life and reinvent herself, and Lorraine, Gloria's jealous best friend. The first part was a little hard for me to get into, but after that it it got better. My favorite character was Clara. It seemed to me that it was her story that held the book together. My least favorite was Bastian, the fiance.

If you are a YA fan you should love this one.


My Rating:
Quotes: Everything began to crystalize: She would help Marcus with his plan to break Clara's heart. Only, really, she would be working to make Marcus fall in love with her.



Links:
Jillian Larkin
About the book