Friday, May 29, 2009

Suite Scarlett - Audio

Scarlett Martin was not going to have a good summer anyway. But her family's hotel is broke and now Scarlett is stuck working there. And on her 15th birthday Scarlett receives the Empire Suite and a permanent guest, Mrs. Amberson.
Meanwhile, Scarlett's brother, Spencer, is trying to get his acting career going so he can avoid culinary school. When Mrs. Amberson gets involved in Spencer's new play, the summer gets a whole lot more interesting. Can Mrs. Amberson save Spencer and Scarlett?

I've read Suite Scarlett before and enjoyed it. Scarlett is a nice girl who really loves her brother and wants to help him. When she gets involved with Eric from her brother's play, she doesn't quite know how to handle that relationship and Eric doesn't make it easy for her. I saw a lot of Eric and Scarlett's relationship when I was in college so it definitely felt real. And Mrs. Amberson was such an Auntie Mame character, I expected her to say "Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death." But I enjoyed that as much as I've always loved Auntie Mame. In a way, this book reminds me of an old film, an Auntie Mame or Bringing Up Baby, but for some reason Good News comes to mind (haven't seen it? you should).

Lately I've been listening to a lot of books I've read before. Sometimes outside narration changes a book. Sometimes the narrator are so bad that they ruin the book. Jeannie Stith is the narrator of Suite Scarlett. She does a good job. Some of her inflections were strange and I though she needed to speed up Mrs. Amberson's speech pattern. But her voice is pleasant and clear so it was okay by me.

GLBT Challenge 2009 - COMPLETE

I am joining the GLBT Challenge 2009 hosted by Amanda at The Zen Leaf. The challenge is to read 6 GLBT books from July 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009. This will be a real challenge since I don't read a lot of GLBT books in general. Here is my list.

1. √ Kissing Kate - Lauren Myracle

2.Boy Meets Boy - David Leviathan

3. √ Another Kind of Cowboy - Susan Juby

4. Between Mom and Jo - Julie Anne Peters

5.√ The Straight Road to Kylie - Nico Medina

6. Ash - Malinda Lo


Some alternates (Mostly YA) are:

The Bermudez Triangle - Maureen Johnson

Belmondo Style - Adam Berlin

Rainbow Boys - Alex Sanchez

Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List - Rachel Cohen & David Leviathan

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues - Tom Robbins

Down to the Bone - Mayra Lazara Dole

The Straight Road to Kylie - Nico Medina

Hero - Perry Moore (I've read this before and it was very good. It's about a gay superhero.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dirty Laundry

Welcome to Winchester School of the Arts, a place where the dirty laundry of other boarding schools is sent, the kids who are too bad to go anywhere else.
Enter Carli Gemz ("games"), a beautiful girl sent by the producer of her new TV show to learn about boarding school and being bad.
Here's Fun (Fellini Udall Newport), the producer's son who is made to be Carli's assistant or else by his dad.
Exit Darcy Novak, one of the good girls at Winchester. She's disappeared and the cops and school are a little lackadaisical about finding her.
Now Carli is involved in finding Darcy, partly out of curiosity, partly to help her get out of a shame spiral, which she frequently has since her life is so perfect and she is so talented. And Fun is involved since he liked Darcy well enough and has to assist Carli in whatever she does. Welcome to Winchester where it's all Fun and Games.

I liked this book. It was so funny and strange at the same time. Fun was a great character and his relationship to Carli was pretty good. There were a couple of things that threw me though. One was Carli's roommate, Miranda, and Fun's "crush" on her. It was a weird detail and didn't really gel with me. Another was Fun's roommate, Nails. He bothered me which I know he was suppose to but I wished more had been explained about him.

I liked how they sort of accidentally solved the case. It was different from most mysteries where the "detective" intensely goes out looking for clues. The ending was a little wrapped up even for a mystery, but I'd like to see more from Carli and Fun.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Excited: Book coming

I just checked my holds list and FINALLY my copy of The Last Olympian is in transit to my local public library branch. I can't wait to read it. I've been waiting and waiting. I put in my request a long time ago so I'm number 2 on a hold list out of 36 so I'm going to have to read fast! So I think it will be at my branch by tomorrow and I will be reading that next.

Oh and I said I was going to listen to The Graveyard Book next at work but I don't know if I'm going to do that. I haven't really decided yet.

Tantalize (Audio)

I've written about Tantalize before, but I just finished the audio version and wanted to give a little review of it.
Here is a quick synopsis:
Quincie, the main character, is drawn into a world of vampires and werecreatures where her best friend is a werewolf. She is determined to open a vampire themed restaurant but the plan stumbles when the head chef is murdered. Enter Henry Johnson, a chef that no one would consider dark and mysterious, to take over. Will Quincie be able to open her restaurant and resist the temptations that are offered to her? This is how to write a good vampire/werewolf triangle. It is one of those books that will stay with you long after you've finished shuddering.

It is interesting how differently you see the actions in a book on a second reading (or listening in this case). I read this the first time but decided to try the audio when I started reading the follow-up novel Eternal (not a direct sequel). Kim Mai Guest is the narrator and she does an excellent job. Her voice is soft and slow and she adds a dreamy quality to the book. She does a great job of making Quincie's choices sound realistic. This was an excellent audiobook.

Scott Westerfeld Mini-Challenge - COMPLETE

I am joining another challenge. This one is the Scott Westerfeld Mini-Challenge hosted by Becky. The challenge is to read at least two Westerfeld books, but I've read most of them already. So my challenge is to read the Midnighters series or at least the first two books. Here I go.
January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009.

1. The Secret Hour (Midnighters #1)
2. Touching Darkness (Midnighters #2)

DONE 12.9.09

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays - Dirty Laundry

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

"Fun tries to console Nails while avoiding the dreaded issue of Carli. Meanwhile, Carli adopts her false 'Shelia Smith' identity for the very first time."

-p. 27 Dirty Laundry by Daniel Ehrenhaft

Being Nikki

Emerson Watts is still stuck in the body of world famous supermodel Nikki Howard after a tragic accident and a brain transplant. She is becoming more accustomed to the fame and the job, but she still misses her old life, family and her old friend, Christopher, who Em is still in love with. So when Nikki's brother shows up, Em is unsure how to handle him or the news that Nikki's mother is missing. And she doesn't know what to do when something even more shocking turns up in the search for the Howards' mother.

I admit that this is one of my favorite Meg Cabot series. I enjoyed Airhead and was looking forward to Being Nikki. Now I'm looking forward to Runaway, the next one in this series. Em seems to be a fairly typical teenager, boy-crazy with a good head on her shoulders. Although it did get a little tiring reading about Em worrying about the same thing over and over again. I was surprised, however, at the direction Cabot took the book in the end and enjoyed that. It's not often that I am surprised by a Meg Cabot.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What I'm Reading this week

I just finished Being Nikki by Meg Cabot. I tried to read Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr but decided that I should read Ink Exchange first so I'm waiting on that. So I'm going to read Dirty Laundry by Daniel Ehrenhaft and then the Melissa Marr books. I'm about to finish Tantalize in the car so I'll start Sabriel by Garth Nix in the car and The Graveyard Book by Garth Nix at work since I'm almost done with Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson.
Check out J. Kaye's Book Blog for what others are reading.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In which I fangirl all over my favorite series

As a followup to my post about my favorite books, I'd like to talk a little about my favorite book series (in no order):

1. Harry Potter (of course) - J.K. Rowling - I started reading HP when the third book came out. I hadn't heard of it before but I have always like boy wizard type book (e.g. the Chrestomanci books) so I picked it up and that's was all. I have them all in hardcover sitting proudly on my bookshelf. I am also collecting the audio versions but they are expensive so I only have the last one right now. Jim Dale is an awesome narrator.

2. A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket - I picked the first one up because I liked the cover and the way the book pages were cut. I kept reading because it was so absurd, but the kids were so smart and better than the adults. I would have loved these when I was younger, probably more than I do as an adult and I love these books so much that I own all of them. They get a little repetitious until The Vile Village when he changes up the format and starts to create the mythology in more detail. The ending is insane but what else would you expect. I listened to all the audio books recently in order in a row and let me tell you it can get brutal, but Tim Curry is just so excellent and was the perfect person to narrate these books, although Daniel Handler narrates books 3-5 and was a poor substitute.

3. The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis -This is one of the first series I ever read. I adored Aslan and was always looking for a way into Narnia. I always loved the first five books but got bored around The Horse and his Boy. Recently we listened to them in the car, but I stopped at The Last Battle and didn't finished the series. The last book never really sat well with me. I recommend the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre version of the audio books. They are excellent.

4. Nancy Drew- Carolyn Keene - My obsession with Nancy Drew had carried through my whole life so far. I read as many of these as I possibly could growing up and when I was about 21 or so would "sneak" into the kids section at the library and check out the books and the audio books( read by Laura Linney (excellent)). I bought books on Nancy Drew and read every analysis book I could find on her. To say that Nancy Drew is a cultural icon is nothing new, but she was and still is a very important person to me.

5. The Bartimaeus Trilogy - Jonathan Stroud - Okay, if you don't like Bartimaeus, the wise cracking "demon" then I don't know what to say. He is one of my favorite literary characters and the points in the books when he is not there are not as good. This series is just so awesome, I love it. The audio books are read by Simon Jones and he does a phenomenal job. I have listened to them at least twice.

6. The Hitchhiker's Guide "Trilogy" - Douglas Adams - I love the irreverent Hitchhiker's books. They are just classic and full of quotable quotes. There are 5 books in the inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy, but my favorites are the first 3. So much of pop culture can be attributed to these books. 42 anyone? Now where's my towel?

7. The Incarnations of Immorality - Piers Anthony - I loved these books growing up. To this day, I still have my original paperbacks sitting on my bookshelf. Admittedly, I haven't read them in a while, but they've stuck with me. Each book is about a different supernatural beings, Death, Time, Fate, War, Nature, Evil, Good, and how each person became these things.

8. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer - Yeah, yeah, look I like these books, okay (well, most of them). No the writings not the best and Edward is a crazy stalker person but this series is like sprinkles on a cupcake. I adored the first three books, then Breaking Dawn just kinda ruined it for me. I understand the Renesmee was the end game and I'm fine with that, but it was just such a departure from the rest of the books. I think that is what happens when the publishers mess with the writer's vision. She didn't know how to either take her original ending or change it to match the rest of the series. But I'm still a Twilight fan, even if I'm in it for the lulz now.

9. Sailor Moon - Naoko Takeuchi - I know this is not a book series, but a manga series, it is still one of my favorite things of all time. I watched the anime first, then found the manga series. I own the original Mixx series and recently reread them. I love Sailor Moon! I can't explain the attraction or why I'm still a fan 10+ years later. Some things are just worthy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I love Meg Cabot, really I do.

I love Meg Cabot. I do, I really do. But there is something about half of her female characters that just make me crazy. Queen of Babble made me want to kill myself, but I powered through it because it's Meg Cabot and I love her. But I won't be reading anymore of that series. I just can't do it. It's just that a lot of her characters are so stupid. When a normal rational thinking person would be like Oh he likes me or Oh this is obviously what is happening, some of them are like What! I never saw that coming and overreact or whatever. But it's Meg Cabot and I love her so I'll read whatever you put in front of me.

I loved the Princess Diaries even though the middle books were a little mind numbing and Mia can be so oblivious. I loved All American Girl and the sequel a lot. I LOVED Avalon High so much that I read it twice. And the Mediator series was very good and different for Meg Cabot. I've read her adult "chick lit" novels and they are good although fairly standard. As for her stand-alones, I've read Teen Idol, How to be Popular, Pants of Fire, and Jinx. Teen Idol was my favorite out of all of these. My husband even became interested in the audio version on a trip one time! But the female lead is pretty much a standard Meg Cabot character in all of the books, not a lot of variation. But it's Meg Cabot and I love her.

By far my favorite books is the Heather Wells series. She is one of the best Meg Cabot characters. If you don't know, Heather Wells was a pop star (a la Tiffany or Debbie Gibson) whose mother stole all her money and left Heather to fend for herself. So she works as a residence house coordinator at New York College. Every book a murder happens in the dorm and Heather solves it. It's standard mystery format but Heather Wells is so funny and well written. She is in love with her landlord/former boyfriend's brother who is a P.I. and treats Heather like a big brother much to her frustration. She is also more real than a lot of characters I've read. She does not have the perfect body and likes to eat. This is one series that I really enjoy reading and always grab the latest book as soon as it comes out.

P.S. Meg Cabot, if for some reason you ever see this, I love you, I do, I really do.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Charlie Bone (Children of the Red King) on audio

I've talked about Charlie Bone before, but now I've finished all the books that are out so I thought I'd do a little more on the series.

I enjoy Charlie Bone. He is a good kid who is insanely curious and has a moral code that he cannot lay aside for anything. He is very brave and tries to do the right thing. I say "tries" because he often rushes headlong into situations without much thought and his friends have to save him. It's nice that Charlie doesn't have the most powerful endowment or the most showy. It makes him easier to identify with although it can be a little annoying for his friends to always have to show up to save him. But he is the kind of boy who inspires loyalty in others since he is extremely loyal to his friends and family.

Warning: spoilers if you haven't read these.

From Midnight for Charlie Bone through Charlie Bone and the Shadow, Charlie's adventures start small and the grand arch slowly comes out. In the beginning, he can just hear pictures talk and move and in the end he can go physically into photos and paintings and, of course, this leads to trouble. The grand arch in the first five books the grand arc is really about where Charlie's father is and Bloors and the evil they are creating. But Charlie's father is found then he and Charlie's mother are whisked off screen so Charlie can continue his adventures without parental interference. I was disappointed by this plot device since I wanted to see Charlie and his father together. However, I recognize it as a standard trope and may help the new overarching plot. It remains to be since the upcoming Red Knight is the last book in the series.

The Bloors have been replaced as the main villains by Count Harken, the Shadow of Badlock. He has abducted poor Billy Raven into his world and enchanted him so he doesn't want to leave. At the end of the Shadow he is still in the painting and Charlie has to figure out how to save him. Like the Bloor, Count Harken is not that scary to me. He seems almost minor. Charlie and his friends defeated him easily in the Hidden King and I don't think they will have to hard a time in the Red Knight.

My big gripe is the change is narrators. I hate when a book series changes narrators in the middle. Simon Russell Beale narrates the first five books (which were originally intended to be all of the Charlie Bone-centric books) and does an excellent job. I really liked his characterizations and reading. But Simon Jones takes over at Beast and the following books. At first, I was not happy since I had to learn new voices and mannerisms for the characters. But once I got past my initial resistance, I like his version too. He was really great as the narrator of the Bartimaeus Trilogy and Millions.

(Just a side note as an example: I really hated the change in the Series of Unfortunate Events from Tim Curry to Daniel Handler and back. Tim Curry should NEVER be replaced with anyone. He's freaking Tim Curry, he will do a better job any day; especially for a Gothic series like that.)

What I'm reading this week

I went through Impossible really fast last week. It was an excellent book and I couldn't put it down. This week I started Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty so that I can read the new one in that series Perfect Fifths after that. I also finished the Charlie Bones series on audio since the new one isn't out till the end of the year. I started Tantalize in the car and I'm still listening to Suite Scarlett at work. It is taking me forever, but I only listen to it when I do a certain kind of work and I haven't been doing much of that lately. I'm hoping to finish it up this week though.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Based on the ballad "Scarborough Fair," this was a most excellent book. I read it very quickly and was drawn to Lucy's story. After a terrible incidence at prom, Lucy finds out she is pregnant and must complete three tasks: make a seamless shirt, find an acre of land between the salt water and the sea strand, plow it with a goat's horn and sow it all with one grain of corn. If she cannot complete these things, she will go insane when her child is born like her mother, who even though she is around, cannot help Lucy. Lucy is a good strong character and I liked her. I liked Zach a lot too though. His character was believable and cute and a good match for Lucy. Together, with the help of Lucy's foster parents, they figure out the solutions for the tasks and, ultimately, that what it really takes to break the curse is love.

Monday, May 11, 2009

This Book Isn't Fat, It's Fabulous

Riley is living the fabulous life. She is extremely popular and can get any boy she wants. Of course, she is in love with her gorgeous best guy friend who does not return her feelings and the rest of her friends are sharks out for blood. But Riley is playing the game right until her future step-mother decides it would be good for her to go to fat camp. Now Riley is stuck at New Horizons where she doesn't feel she belongs. Because Riley isn't fat, she's fabulous.

Honestly, this is another book I picked up based on the title and cover. It was a cute quick read. It was a nice change to have the main character be a "queen bee" and not a size 2 and proud of it. Most of the book revolves around her feelings for her best friend and a new boy she meets at camp and her confusion over who she loves. The ending was a little too neat and sweet but the character changes were set up early and Riley is one fabulous character full of self-confidence and was a refreshing change for me.

Reading this Week

This week I'm reading This Book Isn't Fat, It's Fabulous by Nina Beck. After I'm done with that I am going to start Impossible by Nancy Werlin. I'm still listening to Charlie Bone and the Shadow in the car since there was a library mix-up and I missed a couple of days and Suite Scarlett at work and when I clean at home.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I So Don't Do Mysteries

Sherlock Holmes Baldwin, better know as Sherry, is living a decent life. Sure, her dad is about to marry The Ruler, one of the strictest teachers in a school and she just bash her crush's nose in with a door, but she's doing okay. Then her mother enlists her to help solve a mystery involving rhinos at a wildlife park. The only trouble is her mother is dead! So now Sherry is stuck with her mom's ghost, her reincarnated wren grandfather, and a big mess!

Honestly, I picked this up based on the title and the cover. It looked so cute and it was a very cute book. Written in short, choppy sentences in language like a teenager, Sherry was a typical pre-teen. She adapted to the situations with ease, was a very quicker thinker, and prioritized just like a kid. Normally, this isn't my kind of book because I always think the author is trying too hard, but the longer I read the easier it was to ignore that slang and descriptions that always strike me as too much. If sentences like "Major tragedy." doesn't bother you then this is a nice, quick read to give your brain a rest. I'll probably read the next book.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Current Books

Currently I'm reading I So Don't Do Mysteries by Barrie Summy. It is a fun little book. I'm listening to Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson at work and Charlie Bone and the Shadow by Jenny Nimmo in the car.

Up next I think I might read Impossible by Nancy Werlin. I just needed a break from the YA Fantasy but I'm ready to get back to it now.