Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Wrap-Up

Books read:

Audio Books finished:

It was a slow month for me as I frantically tried to finish some challenges and failed a bit.  Believe it or not I am actually trying to keep my challenges more manageable for next year.
Anyway, favorite book this month was, well, frankly there wasn't a favorite.  None of the books I read really stood out though most were enjoyable.
How was your November?

Monday, November 29, 2010

350 Page Books Challenge - COMPLETE

Ashley at What's Your Story is hosting the 350 Page Books Challenge.  The  challenge is to read as many books as possible that contain 350 pages and runs from January 1 to December 31st.

The Guidelines:
·      *This challenge does not have to only include YA, but it should be predominantly YA that means at least 75% of the books you read should be young adult fiction.
·     * Each book MUST contain 350 pages or more.
·      *Only physical copies and e-books will count toward the challenge.

COMPLETE 12/30/11

I'll list as I go.

1.  Slice of Cherry Dia Reeves
2.  Withering Tights Louise Rennison
3.  Bright Young Things Anna Godbersen
4.  Brilliant Marne Davis Kellogg
5.  The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group Catherine Jinks
6.  Shine Lauren Myracle
7.  Sister Mischief Laura Goode
8.  Matched Ally Condie
9.  A Long, Long Sleep Anna Sheehan
10. Department 19 by Will Hill
11. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Weekly Round-Up 11/29 + an award!

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading The Moonstone Castle Mystery, The Phantom of Pine Hill (Keene), Beautiful Darkness (Garcia and Stohl) and Delirium (Oliver) and listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Rowling)

Last week I read The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Meyer)
I jumped around between books so I didn't finish reading anything else though I did finish on audio A Season of Gifts (Peck).

ComaCalm's Book Reviews was very nice and gave me the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thanks so much!

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties. Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star… Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will. The only person Cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets. Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
"If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Alone since four members of the family died of arsenic poisoning, Merricat, Constance and Julian Blackwood spend their days in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew 39,

The Clue of the Dancing Puppet (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #39)
"Nancy's not only an ace detective, but a money-maker and a top actress!"  p.176
Nancy is asked to investigate the mysterious appearance of a dancing puppet who has no strings!  The owners of an amateur theater group ask the girl detective to investigate the spooky happenings.  Nancy, along with Bess and George, moved into their home and start their search.  After a confluence of events, Nancy finally solves the mystery and even earns accolades as an actress in the course of her sleuthing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What's in a Name 4 Challenge - COMPLETE

Beth Fish is hosting the What's in a Name Challenge once again and I enjoyed it so much this year that I'm doing it again.  Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2011.


Read one book in each of the following categories:

1.A book with a number in the title: Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber
2.A book with jewelry or a gem in the title:  The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud
3.A book with a size in the title: Hero at Large by Janet Evanovich
4.A book with travel or movement in the title:  Linger by Maggie Steifvater
5.A book with evil in the title: Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
6.A book with a life stage in the title: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Thanksgiving Picture Books

    First, Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers!  I'm at my in-laws eating like a mad woman and regretting it later.
    I am thankful for my wonderful husband and our beautiful and sweet little boy.  I am thankful for the rest of my family for being so fabulous.   And I am thankful for my job, my friends, both in real life and the ones I've made through my blog.  I hope you have a happy and thankful day.

    I'm sharing a few of the pictures books we've been reading, getting ready for this holiday.

    Peanut-Butter Pilgrims by Judy Delton
    (This isn't actually a picture book.  It's a beginner's chapter book but I decided to read one chapter a night to my son.)
    As Thanksgiving rolls around, the Pee Wee Scouts get ready to celebrate. They make food baskets for the poor and they visit a turkey farm. At the townhall, they even perform a play. 

    Happy Thanksgiving by Margaret McNamara
    There's nothing that can put the damper on a class festivities than a fire drill, but Mrs. Connor's class finds a way to turn even that interruption into an opportunity to share the message of Thanksgiving.

    T is for Turkey by Tanya Lee Stone
    Little ones will love learning about Thanksgiving in Tanya Lee Stone's newest shaped alphabet book. Join in as the elementary school puts on a play that tells the true story of the first Thanksgiving. Rhyming couplets that flow through the alphabet help kids celebrate everything from Harvest to Pilgrims to Turkey.

    One is a Feast for Mouse by Judy Cox
    Thanksgiving leftovers litter the table. Mouse peeps out of his hidey-hole and spots the perfect feast for one mouse - one green pea, one red cranberry, one scoop of mashed potatoes, and one portion of roasted turkey. But can Mouse get this mountainous meal back to his own small table?

    I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson
    Children will love this hilarious take-off on the popular cumulative poem "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." With its theme of feasting-gone-wild, it's the perfect Thanksgiving treat that will remain fresh all year long.

    A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman
    Turkeys around Squawk Valley just don't jump into pots anymore - they are way too smart for that. So the townspeople hatch a clever plan. They host a turkey-themed arts and crafts fair and lure a vain bird into town by advertising for an artist s model. Peter the Turkey, proud of his well-stuffed form, takes the bait but doesn't fall for the trap. 

    Thanksgiving Parade by Jodi Huelin
    Extra chunky and extra fun, here is one tempting shaped board book celebrating the most exciting aspects of Thanksgiving for kids!

    March along in the Thanksgiving Parade! Follow the giant balloons, marching bands, and parade floats. Kids and adults alike will gladly join in the fun. 

    Dora's Thanksgiving by Sarah Wilson
    It's Thanksgiving, and Dora and her family and friends are ready to celebrate. What is Dora thankful for? Take a look inside Dora's Thanksgiving and find out!

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

    This Eclipse novella shows the other side of the the Eclipse battle between Edward's family and the army of newborn vampires created by Victoria as part of her revenge scheme for the loss of her love at the hands of Edward.

    It took me a long time to get around to this novella.  I sort of lost interest in Twilight after Breaking Dawn, a book with which I have a whole lot of issues.  But I figured I might as well read this for the November Novella challenge.  It was a fun, fast read.  Kind of interesting to see how Victoria and Riley created and trained the newborn army and the battle from the other side.  It provides a little more motivation for the Volturi in Breaking Dawn and, of course, we get to meet the vampire that Carlisle tried to save.  Bree is a sweet, some what innocent girl and it is sort of tragic reading about her already knowing her fate.  The "romance" was too short to really make me care and I really only interested in what was going on elsewhere.  The character that I wish we would have had more on was Fred, but he provided an interesting idea to the series.  So all in all, it wasn't bad.

    Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts
    November Novella

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Teaser Tuesdays - The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
    Grab your current read
    Open to a random page

    Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

    It was shockingly weird to touch another person after a whole life -- because the last three months were my whole life -- of avoiding any kind of contact.  Liked touching a sparking downed power line, only to found out that it felt nice. 
    p.42 The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Weekly Round-Up 11/22

    Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
    This week I'm reading The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Meyer), Tennyson (Blume) and The Moonstone Castle Mystery (Keene) and listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Rowling) and A Season of Gifts (Peck).

    Last week I read Crime Wave at Blandings (Wodehouse) and The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes (Keene) and The Clue of the Dancing Puppet (Keene).

    I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I too last week.

    Won from Not Enough Bookshelves (Thanks!)
    The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
    Some schools have honor codes.
    Others have handbooks.
    Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.
    In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew 41

    The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #41)

    Nancy and her friends smiled, and Bess said with a sigh, "I wish we would meet charming characters like that nowadays instead of sheep and jewel thieves!"  p.140
    Nancy travels to Scotland to visit her maternal great grandmother who is apparently Scottish.  The things we learn about Nancy!  Well, it's nice to see something of her mother's family even if we never hear anything about her actual mother.   There are several cases, of course, and one involves smuggling, this time sheep.  Why is it always smuggling?  It's like there are no other crimes to commit besides smuggling and theft and they are close to the same anyway.

    Anyway, mysteries to solve and bagpipes to learn.  It is seriously lucky that Nancy is capable of learning any instrument in a few hours and even luckier for her that it happens to be the exact tune her aunt taught her.  Otherwise it might have a taken a bit long to catch the thieves.  Such a multi-talented girl!

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (Based on a Book)

    I actually had the good fortune to see Deathly Hallows on Wednesday night.  This is the first time in my life I've ever had the opportunity to see a movie before it is released and what a great movie for such an opportunity.

    Anyway, I loved Deathly Hallows.  When I first heard it was being broken up into two movies, I wasn't sure how I felt about that.  But having seen Part I,  I"m glad they did.  It enabled to keep so much more in line with the books which has always been a problem in the other movies.  So many details tend to lost.  But Deathly Hallows kept quite in line with the book, though some details that got taken out of the other movies were inserted, like Bill and Fleur, to make it make a little more sense.  I think the movie did a great job of building the tension of the book  The sense of waiting and waiting for something to happen was definitely there.  And the bang!  There it was.  The group dynamic was really great between the trio and they did a nice job with the Hermione and Ron relationship. I can't say I'd really change anything about it.  I can't wait for the next movie though!

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Wodehouse Reading Challenge

    The Wodehouse Reading Challenge is hosted by me!  I have been reading a little P.G. Wodehouse and decided that I wanted to read ALL the Wodehouse I could and I thought others might want to join me.  So I created a dedicated blog for it.  I'll review here but all the linkies will be over there.  The challenge starts December 1.

    My goal is to read the entire Blandings Castle series in 2011 which includes 11 novels and 9 short stories.

    Something New (orginal title of Something Fresh)
    Leave it to Psmith
    Blandings Castle and Elsewhere

         "The Custody of the Pumpkin"
         "Lord Emsworth Acts for the Best"
         "Company for Gertrude"
         "The Go-getter"
         "Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend"
    Summer Lightning
    Heavy Weather
         "The Crime Wave at Blandings"
    Uncle Fred in the Springtime
    Full Moon
         "Birth of a Salesman"
    Pigs Have Wings
    Service With a Smile
    Galahad at Blandings
         "Sticky Wicket at Blandings"
    A Pelican at Blandings Sunset at Blandings

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Teaser Tuesdays - The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
    Grab your current read
    Open to a random page

    Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

    Nancy ran forward and strained her eyes to catch the license number and make of the mysterious truck.  But just then two swiftly running figures dashed up, obscuring her view.
    p.102  The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes by Carolyn Keene

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    GLBT Reading Challenge 2011 - COMPLETE

    Hosted by Amanda at its own dedicated blog, the GLBT Reading Challenge is to read books about GLBT topics and/or by GLBT authors.  This year is set-your-own-limits so I'm going to say 10 books and I'll see how that goes.  I'll list as I go, but it's possible I'll choose from the list below.

    ETA I'm changing this to 5 books since it is set-your-own-limits.

    ETA 2: I'm going to call this complete as of 6/17/2011.

    1.  The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
    2.  Gigi by Colette
    3.  Shine Lauren Myracle
    4.  Sister Mischief Laura Goode


    Twelve Long Months - Brian Malloy +
    Gravel Queen - Tea Benduhn
    Of All the Stupid Things  - Alexandra Diaz
    Empress of the World -  Sara Ryan
    Even Cowgirls get the Blues - Tom Robbins +
    The Bermudez Triangle - Maureen Johnson
    Belmondo Style - Adam Berlin
    Rainbow Boys - Alex Sanchez
    Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List - Rachel Cohen and David Leviathan
    Down to the Bone - Mayra Lazara Dole
    Are We There Yet? - David Levithan
    How I Paid for College - Marc Acito
    Lulu Dark Can See Through Wall - Bennet Madison

    Weekly Round-Up 11/15

    Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
    This week I'm reading Crime Wave at Blandings (Wodehouse) and The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes (Keene) and I'm listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Rowling) and A Season of Gifts (Peck).

    Last week I read Inside Job (Willis), The Education of Madeline (Williamson) and Shopgirl (Martin) and finished listening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Rowling).

    Books that I bought at the library book sale:

    Tennyson by Lesly M.M. Blume
    On the banks of the Mississippi River, Tennyson Fontaine and her sister, Hattie, play endless games of hide-and-seek and make up fantastical stories about the latest adventures of their wild dog, Jos. But when their mother doesn’t come home and their father sets off to find her, the sisters are whisked away to Aigredoux, the once-grand plantation of their ancestors, now in ruin.

    Caught in a strange web of time, dreams, and history, Tennyson comes up with a plan to shine light on Aigredoux’s past and bring her mother home. But like so many plans, Tennyson’s has unexpected consequences.

    Suddenly Supernatural: School Spirit by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
    All Kat wants is to be normal, or at least to look that way to students at her new school. But her mother is a medium, and not the kind that fits in between small and large; Kat's mom is the kind of medium who sees spirits and communicates with them. And, even worse, Kat has just discovered that she can see spirits too. In fact, she seems to be the only one capable of helping a spirit at her school cross over successfully. The question is can she do it without needing to switch schools herself?

    The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner
    The Maze was only the beginning...

    Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more Variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

    In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety... until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

    Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, much of the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated--and with it, order--and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim... and meal.

    The Gladers are far from done running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

    Thomas can only wonder--does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED? 

    Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
    Being a Greek god is not all it once was. Yes, the twelve gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, but they are crammed together in a London townhouse—and none too happy about it. And they've had to get day jobs: Artemis as a dog-walker, Apollo as a TV psychic, Aphrodite as a phone sex operator, Dionysus as a DJ.

    Even more disturbingly, their powers are waning, and even turning mortals into trees—a favorite pastime of Apollo's—is sapping their vital reserves of strength.

    Soon, what begins as a minor squabble between Aphrodite and Apollo escalates into an epic battle of wills. Two perplexed humans, Alice and Neil, who are caught in the crossfire, must fear not only for their own lives, but for the survival of humankind. Nothing less than a true act of heroism is needed—but can these two decidedly ordinary people replicate the feats of the mythical heroes and save the world?

    Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin
    The New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof delivers another captivating novel about women and the choices that define them. This is the story for anyone who has ever wondered: How can I truly love the one I'm with when I can't forget the one who got away?
    Ellen and Andy's first year of marriage doesn't just seem perfect, it is perfect. There is no question how deep their devotion is, and how naturally they bring out the best in each other. But one fateful afternoon, Ellen runs into Leo for the first time in eight years. Leo, the one who brought out the worst in her. Leo, the one who left her heartbroken with no explanation. Leo, the one she could never quite forget. When his reappearance ignites long-dormant emotions, Ellen begins to question whether the life she's living is the one she's meant to live.
    Love the One You're With is a powerful story about one woman at the crossroads of true love and real life.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    The Education of Madeline by Beth Williamson

    Madeline is thirty-two and a spinster.  When she stops the town sheriff from hanging a so-called horse thief and spies the very big Teague, she gets an idea.  After saving him and cleaning him up she makes him an indecent proposal. As the two grow closer, they help save each other from vicious lies and their own pasts.
    He leaned down and gently pressed his lips to hers, but one taste was not enough.  p.80
    I wanted a historical western romance to read for the Take a Another Chance Challenge so I did a search and Beth Williamson came up somehow and I put her down on the list.  Then I finally got around to getting the book from the library a couple of months ago and put off reading it.  Historical Western Romance is not really my thing and I saved it for last.  I think I got more than I bargained for with this book because, in addition to the historical western romance, I got sex and lots of it.  I had accidentally picked up a historical western erotic romance.  Yes, I, who mostly reads YA.  So that happened.  Not that I'm prudish or that it was my first time ever reading a "hot" book but I'm never expecting it, you know?

    Anyway, I enjoyed the book overall.  The story was good and it was nice to see a heroine who wasn't small or petite.  Madeline is a very big woman (as the book will tell you over and over) and she needed a big man and finds one in Teague who is very big (as the book will tell you over and over).  So that in itself is unusual because a lot of times in romances the heroine is small and dainty and the hero is big and masculine.  But Madeline is big and feminine and Teague is big and masculine so it works out.  The plot moves along at a nice pace and I enjoyed seeing Madeline get the best of her enemies and have a happy ending.  The main characters were sweet and had some very sad stories, Teague in particular.  I actually didn't mind the historic or the western part.  It was a very natural setting and it didn't feel forced.  This was actually a fairly decedent choice for me since it is WAY out of my normal reading zone.

    Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
    Another Chance

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Shopgirl by Steve Martin

    Mirabelle works at Neiman Marcus selling fancy gloves when she meets rich, middle-aged Roy Porter.  The two begin a relationship that has a lasting effect on both.
    He never complicates a desire by overthinking it, unlike Mirabelle, who spins a cocoon around an idea until it is immobile.  p.10
    What better way to compliment a book than to close it and sigh?  That is exactly what I did for this novella.  It was a very thoughtful and insightful book about one woman trying to become an adult and deal with adult relationships.  I wouldn't say there were lessons to be learned about life in general because it is a very focused book.  I will say that watching Mirabelle learning harsh lessons about life and love was a profound experience.  Martin accomplished a lot in 130 pages, managing to capture the right tone and emotion of the situation between Roy Porter and Mirabelle as well as exploring how these two people made a connection at all.  It was a sweet book, a bit sad, and very engrossing

    Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
    November Novella

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (audio) by J.K. Rowling

    The Half-Blood Prince is one of my favorite HPs though the last bit kills me.  When I get to the part with the phoenix song I always cry.  Though I found myself wanting to defend Snape's actions in the hosptial wing scene after everything had happened.  Which is so funny because the first time I read it, I was so angry at him.  These books are such an emotional investment.

    I like the unfolding of the Horcrux storyline through the memories and the background on Voldemort.  It shows how went from a little psychopath to a very big psychopath and how his own orphaned state lead him down a such a different path than Harry's.  It's amazing how much of the little things from the past books start coming together here to continue on through Deathly Hallows

    I've never been a big shipper type person, but I love the Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione couples.  There is a whole lot of Harry and Ginny, of course, and Ron and Hermione slowly get it together but they are so funny in doing so. 

    Hogwarts: Harry Potter

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Inside Job by Connie Willis

    Rob runs a magazine that exposes psychic charlatans for what they are with his beautiful assistant Kildy.  When he comes across a psychic who seems to be channeling one of the best skeptics in history, he tries to discover the truth to this new spirit.
    "The skeptic's first rule is 'Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.'  You've got do something extraordinary."  p.77
    I always enjoy anything by Connie Willis and this is no exception.  At just under 100 pages, this is a fun and surprisingly informative novella about H.L. Mencken and psychic scams in general.  The first time I encountered anything written by Willis with psychics was in To Say Nothing of the Dog (highly recommended) and so this is a more undated look.  There is some character growth which is unusual in a novella and it is a funny book.  I love the characters and how they set out to disprove something that seems really real.  I liked all the background information and I learned about a U.S. law case that I hadn't heard of before.  So really it was a very enjoyable book.

    Hogwarts: Divination
    November Novella

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Teaser Tuesdays - Inside Job

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
    Grab your current read
    Open to a random page

    Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

    Sex has been a mainstay of the psychic business since Victorian days.  Half the appeal of  early table-rapping had been the filmy-draperies-and-nothing-else-clad female "spirits" who drifted tantalizingly among the male séance goers, fogging up their spectacles and preventing them from thinking clearly.

    p.16 Inside Job by Connie Willis

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Weekly Round-Up 11/8

    Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
    This week I'm reading Inside Job (Willis), The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes (Keene) and Shopgirl (Martin).

    Last week I read Another Faust (Nayeri and Nayeri) and The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (Keene).

    Other reviews posted:
    The Secret of the Golden Pavilion (Keene)
    The Clue in the Old Stagecoach (Keene)

    Inside Job by Connie Willis
    "Inside Job" takes its place on that permanent shelf, a tale of spiritualists, séances, skeptics, and a love that just might be able to rise about it all. 

    The Best of Wodehouse: An Anthology by P.G. Wodehouse
    P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) was perhaps the most widely acclaimed British humorist of the twentieth century. Throughout his career, he brilliantly examined the complex and idiosyncratic nature of English upper-crust society with hilarious insight and wit. The works in this volume provide a wonderful introduction to Wodehouse’s work and his unique talent for joining fantastic plots with authentic emotion.

    The Short Second Life of Bree Turner by Stephenie Meyers
    In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

    Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood... life before she became a vampire.

    All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don't draw attention to yourself and, above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.

    Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as "her". As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?

    Shopgirl by Steve Martin
    From the comic genius of Steve Martin comes a contemporary fable of life an love from the point of view of a shopgirl behind the glove counter at Neiman Marcus. Mirabelle, a semi-glamourous young woman who is making her way through the romantic jungles of Beverly Hills/Los Angeles, is an aspiring artist who prides herself on her clothing aesthetic. Unfortunately, she doesn't always have the best taste in men. When she meets a young Turk named Jeremy, whose idea of a great second date is a visit to the Laundromat, she sees him through a haze of prozac and other anti-depressants, and through the prism of her own poor self-esteem. But then she meets Ray Porter and thinks he could be her Knight in Shining Armor. In fact, he does turn out to be a worldly, rich gentleman who is a kindly and even exciting lover, but he never really takes Mirabelle seriously. Together, Mirabelle, Ray, Jeremy, and a few other suporting characters populate this insightful piece that is sometimes quirky, sometimes comic, and sometimes languid as a summer day.

    Matchless: A Christmas Story by Gregory Maguire
    When the story was first translated from Danish and published in England in the mid-nineteenth century, the Little Match Girl's dying visions of lights and a grandmother in heaven were often interpreted as metaphors of religious salvation. In "Matchless", Maguire adds a different dimension to the story, intertwining the match girl's tale with that of a young boy, Frederik, whose own yearnings are the catalyst for a better future for himself and his family. Maguire uses his storytelling magic to rekindle Andersen's original intentions, and to suggest transcendence, the permanence of spirit, and the continuity that links the living and the dead.