Sunday, July 31, 2011

July Picks

Favorite Book:

Betsy's Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace
I loved the conclusion to this very sweet series.  It was fun to see Betsy grown up and finally with Joe.  I think it gave a good account of what it was like to be a newly married woman during World War I.  I liked that Besty and Tacy and Tib remained good friends despite growing up and getting married.  This was a lovely series.

Favorite Audio:

Mississippi Jack by L.A. Meyer, read by Katharine Kellgren
This was a fun addition to the Bloody Jack series and I suppose I really enjoyed it because it takes place in the early United States and down the Mississippi River, winding up in New Orleans.  Jacky can get into real trouble wherever she goes and it is a good thing for her that she makes lots of  good friends.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Bonny Light Horseman : Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, in Love and War by L.A. Meyer

Jacky has finally been caught by the British government and is set to France as a spy.

You know what? I'm glad that Jacky was finally caught.  It felt like the chase had gone on long enough and another book of Jacky escaping would have been too much.  This book added some forward motion to the overall plot and I was glad of it.  I knew that Jack would make an excellent spy.  She is so clever and wily and she proved me right.  It was interesting to see a battle of Napoleon's (who makes an appearance) and how Jacky handled being in "enemy" territory.  And, of course, being Jacky she manages to find romance in the midst of her spying.  I'm beginning to feel sorry for Jaimy.  I think Jacky might love the idea of him, more than actually him.  Because how well do they really know each other at this point?  Each has done things the other doesn't know about, things they are not proud of.  And Jacky's affections wander so much in each book.  I guess time (and more books) will tell.

12 hours

As always, Katharine Kellgren does a great job.   I did notice, however, that her screaming rendition of Jacky's distressed moments, especially at the battle, are a bit grating.  While I know that her reading of those parts is accurate for the text, I found myself wanting to fast forward.  

Bloody Jack
Whisper in my Ear

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie

Cassia lives in the Society where everything is perfectly controlled from leisure time to food to who people marry and how many kids they have.  Cassia is excited to finally be Matched but when the screen flashes a face different than the boy she is Matched to, Cassia begins to wonder about the choices people in the Society don't have. 

I was kind of  hoping to be blown away.  I've heard such good things and I waited so long to read it.  And while I liked it a lot, in the end, it felt like a cross between The Giver and the Uglies series.  The writing was good and it flowed smoothly for me.  It was a quick read despite being a little lengthy.  I didn't really connect with the characters much and I never really felt a connection between Cassia and Xander.  I know that they are best friends for years, etc. but she really spends so little time with him and when she does, all she can think about is Ky.  So I didn't get a sense of her love for Xander at all.  Condie did a nice job setting up the love story for Ky and Cassia, but I feel like she neglected the relationship between Xander and Cassia for it.  Thus the love triangle didn't really work for me. 

Conceptually it is definitely part of the new YA trend for dystopians.  Society controls every aspect of the lives of its citizens who are, in turn, willing to be controlled in order to maintain a safe life.  There were a few aspects that stood out to me, like the pills that everyone carries around and the artifacts they are allowed to have from the before times (or whatever they call them). And I will probably read the next in the series (due out in November) because I am curious by the events at the end of the book.  

Won from Library Thing

Alphabet Challenge
Take a Chance
350 Page
Off the Shelf

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie is back with more of the same.  This time Grandma Belle, Joe's grandmother, is putting curses on her.  Meanwhile, someone is leaving dead bodies for Stephanie and several people want to kill her.  But then again, what else is new?

I enjoy this one as I have enjoyed the other Stephanie Plum books, but they are bordering on stale.  It's sort of the "same ole thing" with Stephanie, needing to choose between two hot guys, her failure to apprehend skips, and people wanting her dead.  I really want some forward motion for her.  She seems to be stuck in the same spot.  There was a nice callback to the first book so that was something.  And Grandma Mazur and Lulu are once again the funnies thing in the book.  It was a nice addition to the Stephanie Plum collection but it wasn't the greatest.  I am hoping that this series is going to wrap up soon and that Stephanie gets a good happy ending with a guy who will just let her be herself.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 7/25

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 Smokin' Seventeen (Evanovich) and listening to My Bonny Light Horseman (Meyer) and Paranormalcy (White).

Last week I read Sister Mischief (Goode) and The Wizard of Dark Street (Odyssey)

Other reviews posted: Glee: The Beginning (Lowell)

The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 46 and Three-Quarters (e-book) by Barbara Silkstone
A murder by beheading sends Alice Harte, reluctant real estate broker for thugs, running into the arms of Nigel Channing, a charming British con man. This urban fantasy is set in Miami and London. Fans of Stephanie Plum will cheer for Alice as she watches her back in attempting to keep her head, while being stalked by Nigel's daft ex-wife and inept, but dangerous mobsters. Alice's world is filled with memorable characters strangely reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.

Nigel, a chubby John Cleese with serious dress-code problems, whisks Alice to England. She sees him as her White Rabbit rescuer. The plot trips along at a cracking pace with Alice flinging zingers like a drive-by shooter.

After Alice discovers a gangster's freshly beheaded body in his Miami mansion, she launches a desperate self-defense in a kangaroo court. The main witness against her is Algy Green, a bumbling cockney swindler who super glues his bat wing ears to his head and commits perjury for theme park tickets. But in the middle of the trial a small piece of evidence opens her eyes.

From Simon and Schuster

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Publish date: 9/13/11
Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do? 

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (I will be buying this one, but I couldn't resist an ARC.  But these books are really best view in real life since they are so beautiful.)
Publish date:  9/20/11
Alek and Deryn are on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaim Alek’s throne as prince of Austria, and finally fall in love. The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war (and crown). And the love thing would be a lot easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl. (She has to pose as a boy in order to serve in the British Air Service.) And if they weren’t technically enemies.

The tension thickens as the Leviathan steams toward New York City with a homicidal lunatic on board: secrets suddenly unravel, characters reappear, and nothing is at it seems in this thunderous conclusion to Scott Westerfeld’s brilliant trilogy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Wizard of Dark Street by Shawn Thomas Odyssey

12 year old Oona is destined for the position of Wizard's Apprentice since she is a rare Natural Magician.  But all she wants to do is start her own detective agency.  When the current Wizard, also Oona's uncle, is stabbed with a magic knife, it's up to Oona to figure out who purported the crime.  
"Indeed, Deacon," she said.  "Nothing like a bit of spying to put one in the right mood."  ARC p. 75
This was a great mix of fantasy and mystery so it combined two of my favorite genres.  Oona is a girl detective and those are the best kind.  She is smart, witty, clever and loyal to her uncle.  She is also filled with a deep sadness after the death of her mother and sister and a fear of her own magic because of their deaths.  It adds some depth to Oona's story which otherwise might have been too formulaic.  I also loved Oona's talking encyclopedia raven, Deacon, and their relationship with each other and how he aids her in sleuthing and acts as her friend and companion.

The world that Odyssey has built is very well thought.  Dark Street is the last of the faerie paths, now closed off to the Faerie world and only available to our world for a minute each night at midnight.  It makes the inhabitants of Dark Street very unique.   Still it is a pretty normal place to them.  But it is a world unto itself.  I liked how the magic of the place flavored the book, but wasn't the point of the book.  I loved how really this is, at heart, a mystery, just dressed in fantasy clothes.

Sent by publisher for review

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sister Mischief by Laura Goode

From Goodreads
Listen up: You’re about to get rocked by the fiercest, baddest all-girl hip-hop crew in the Twin Cities - or at least in the wealthy, white, Bible-thumping suburb of Holyhill, Minnesota. Our heroine, Esme Rockett (aka MC Ferocious) is a Jewish lesbian lyricist. In her crew, Esme’s got her BFFs Marcy (aka DJ SheStorm, the butchest straight girl in town) and Tess (aka The ConTessa, the pretty, popular powerhouse of a vocalist). But Esme’s feelings for her co-MC, Rowie (MC Rohini), a beautiful, brilliant, beguiling desi chick, are bound to get complicated. And before they know it, the queer hip-hop revolution Esme and her girls have exploded in Holyhill is on the line.

Plot: I could see this as movie.  It would be a great Disney type movie except for the cursing and lesbians.  And, while you might be able to lose the cursing, the lesbian part is a big part of why this book works in a different way from the standard YA love story.  Music is hard to read on paper and rarely comes through so while I could picture the girls rapping and singing I couldn't really "hear" it.  But the message comes across pretty well despite the discrepancies of medium.

Writing: There is a lot of slang, but it was fairly easy to follow. My main obstacle was the grocery list of musical artist and songs that occur with some frequency in the story.  I wanted to say "YAY! I'm glad that you know your artists and musical genre, but moving on." I was glad when that lessened as the story became more established.  That is my main gripe.  Other than that the prose flowed nicely and it had a bit of a poetic flavor to it. 

Characters: I loved Esme.  I just want to hug her and maybe mother her a little bit because she really needs a mother.  Her father does his best and he is a very open and emotional father and I loved that about him.  His willingness to give her freedom and not hold her back was so awesome in a parental figure.  But her yearning for her wayward mother is deeply apparent.  Esme is such a tough talking chick, but she is so vulnerable and willing to love.  She and her friends are so amazing together and their dynamic alone made the book worth reading.  They were each so distinct but all bought something to the table. They like to discuss deep and meaningful things like religion and sexual language and misogamy in rap music.  They are a awesome group of heavy thinking, heaving rhyming girls and I thought they were great.

Love Story: Esme, who knows for sure that she is a lesbian, starts a little something with Rowie, who is unsure of her sexual orientation.  This leads down an interesting road that is probably pretty obvious.  I think that it is a huge growing part for Esme, even though I want nothing but everlasting love for her.

Overall: Worth reading.  If you love hip-hop, then this is the story for you.  If you love LGBT stories, then this is the story for you.  If you like high school empowerment , then this is the story for you.  If you don't like any of the above, well, then I don't know what to tell you.

Provided by NetGalley
Alphabet Challenge
350 Page

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Glee: The Beginning by Sophia Lowell

Find out the story that happened before the first episode of Glee.  How Rachel became involved with show choir, Quinn and Puck's attraction and how Quinn and Finn became a couple in this prequel to the television series.

No offense, but it turns out Glee is less charming without the music and the actors to pull it off.  Not that the book was bad.  It was well written.  I think that the book just lack some of the charm that the TV had when it first came on.  It was interesting to see the dynamics of the group before the show started.  I hadn't had the impression that Mercedes, Kurt, Artie and Tina were in the glee club before Mr. Schuester took over, but apparently they were.  And Puck and Quinn had their attraction even before she decided to start dating Finn.  So the dynamics were different than the ones explored in the show.  But I don't know.  Maybe it is because it took me forever to finish the damn thing, but I was less than enthralled.  I rarely read based on a (fill in the blank) books so that might have been it.  Still it is a pretty cute book, especially if you are a big Gleek.

4 hours, 58 minutes

Emma Galvin is the reader and I like her voice a lot.  I need to see what else she has narrated because she adds this sort of sarcastic tone to the story.  She is a clear and crisp reader and I like what she adds to the story.

Whisper in my Ear
Alphabet Challenge

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 7/18

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 am reading Sister Mischief (Goode) and The Wizard of Dark Street (Odyssey) and listening to My Bonny Light Horseman (Meyer) and Paranormalcy (White).

Last week I read Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell (Rumley) and finished listening to The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Lockhart) and Glee: The Beginning (Lowell).
Other reviews posted: Imaginary Girls (Suma)

For Books in the Email check out this post

My Bonny Light Horseman: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, in Love and War (audio) by L.A. Meyer, read by Katharine Kellgren
In My Bonny Light Horseman, the infamous pirate, riverboat seductress, master of disguise, and street-urchin-turned-sailor Jacky Faber has been captured by the French and beheaded in full view of her friends and crew.

Inconceivable? Yes!

The truth is she’s secretly forced to pose as an American dancer behind enemy lines in Paris, where she entices a French general into revealing military secrets—all to save her dear friends. Then, in intrepid Jacky Faber style, she dons male clothing and worms her way into a post as a galloper with the French army, ultimately leading a team of men to fight alongside the great Napoleon.

In this sixth installment of the Bloody Jack series, love and war collide as the irrepressible Jacky Faber sets off on a daring adventure she vowed she’d never take!

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.
There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed.
Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.
Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In the Email

Normally I include this in my Weekly Round-Up post, but I am woefully behind in highlighting e-books that I have received for review.

From Simon and Schuster

Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Publish date: 8/30/2011
Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It's winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year's even better--the guy she's been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there's no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em's best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that's nothing compared to what's really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it's only a matter of time before he's exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
Publish date: 8/30/2011
Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret--behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime.

In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it's a wondrous transformation.

But it's a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

From NetGalley

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publish date: 9/6/2011
It could happen tomorrow...

A cataclysmic event. An army of "The Changed."
Can one teen really survive on her own?

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human...

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom---a young army veteran---and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse.

This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive.
Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 
Publish date: 9/12/2011

Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure far beyond the staid old kingdom of Montagne.
Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true life secret from his family.
Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips.
These three passionate souls might just attain their dreams while preserving Montagne from certain destruction, if only they can tolerate each other long enough to come up with a plan. Tough to save the world when you can't even be in the same room together.

Ashfall by Mike Mullin
Publisher: Tanglewood
Publish date: 10/14/2011

Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.
Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.

Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon
Publisher: Bonneville Books
Publish date: 11/8/2011

After their father’s disappearance, Cinder leaves home for a servant job at the castle. But it isn’t long before her sister Ella is brought to the castle herself—the most dangerous place in all the kingdom for both her and Cinder. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other and one you'll never forget.

Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publish date: 1/10/11
High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.
And then ditched her.
Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together — stain by stain on her thrift-store dress — exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag's moving car...
But to get the whole story, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. And discover if losing out at prom can ultimately lead to true love

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by e. Lockhart

Frankie attends Alabaster Preparatory, an elite school for both old and new money alike. She begins dating Matthew Livingston, one of the most popular senior boys, her sophomore year. Matthew is a member of the school's most secret male society and Frankie wants in. Underestimated by the boys and tired of being "adorable," she makes it her mission to become the brains behind the brawn.

I've reviewed Frankie Landau-Banks before.  But I had the urge to listen to it again while waiting for the next Bloody Jack book to come in.  It's been about 2 years since I first listened to it.  I found Matthew to be a very frustrating character.  The way that he doesn't even noticed Frankie for who she really is and, even when she tries to express her feelings, he doesn't get it.  Maybe that is the product of being a teenage boy.  But his constant refrain of "Don't be mad" and "You are adorable" are the wrong approach to someone like Frankie and it does reduce her to only being a little girl in the exact same way her family calls her "Bunny Rabbit."  It's a serious underestimation of Frankie.  But like Alpha says it would be hard to overestimate Frankie.  I don't want to boil down Frankie's ambitions to her liking Alpha, but I think her need for him to notice her and respect her is part of what drives her taking over the Bassets.  If he had acknowledged her when they first meet in school, maybe things would have been different.  Alpha proves himself to be the better counterpart in the end, much more so than Matthew who is really just a follower, not a leader.  Frankie and Alpha are both leaders.

And so, once again, this book gave me a lot to think about.  I can say this is truly one of the best books to read and I'm sure this is not my last time with Frankie.

6 hours

Tanya Eby is the narrator and I love her voice for Frankie.  She doesn't really do voices for the rest of the characters but it's still easy to tell them apart.  She really reads Frankie with the right tone and speed. 

Whisper in My Ear

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell by Crickett Rumley

Jane is the typical rebellious teen but she wants to do her grandmother and late mother proud so she agrees to be a Magnolia Maid for a year.  A Magnolia Maid represents the town of Bienville, Alabama as an ambassador, participating in publicity events.  All while wearing antebellum hoopskirts and corsets.  Jane is not about to put up with the normal antiquated Maid routine and she tries to change it.  But change is not something most Southerners like and Jane has her work cut out for her.
Truth is, there's nothing sweet about me.  I hate being sweet.  p.56
Well, this was incredibly cute and sassy. The Old South pageant ways are fun to read about even if I can't really related.  Anyway,  Jane deals with her issues with being a Magnolia Maid in a hilarious and sarcastic way, but she is a nice girl with plenty of parent issues.  She really tries to cheer on the underdogs who end up on the court and does a great job standing up to the mean girl of the group, Ashley, and her henchgirl.  She also deals nicely with the old fashioned views of the Head Advisory of the Magnolia Maids.  Jane is pretty awesome.  I really liked her and felt sorry for her.  She is a typical heroine dealing the loss of her mother, the abandonment of her father and her long lost but not forgotten crush all while dealing with a frilly hoopskirt.

Received from publisher for review

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

From Goodreads:
Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

I'm pretty excited about this book.  It was different from a lot of the books that are out there right now.  Going in, I wasn't sure about it and I put it on hold right after starting it to finish the Betsy-Tacy series.  Picking it up, I was resigned to another "sisters' book.  And there is a lot of that in this book.  There is a whole lot more though. Ruby and Chloe are all each other has with Ruby acting as the mother figure to Chloe.  When Chloe comes back from her father's and begins living with Ruby again, they try to take up where they left off.  But Ruby's determination to get Chloe back results in her making a deal to return everything back the way it was, exactly and that leads down a strange and mysterious road, one I was happy to journey down.  The way the story unfolded and the mystery in the town was ah-mazing. 

I don't want to give too much away so that makes this harder to review.  Needless to say that I simultaneously wish I knew more and am happy with what I know.  There is a very large element to the story that is something that always intrigues me* and I was happy to see it explored in the story.  Excellently and beautifully written, I have to say that Imaginary Girls is in my top 5 of summer books.

* SPOILERS (highlight) ** I am always intrigued by god-like characters who control small towns.  I know that might be weird.  So, much like the Mayor in Bleeding Violet (Reeves), Ruby hit the right button to interested me.  What is she?  I know what her mother said about her and how the town people feel about her.  They seem afraid and disgusted by her, being made to love her and do what she says.  I love the idea of her and her need to keep the town the same as something both for amusement and her security.  I love that Chloe is really not afraid of her and is barely disturbed by her sister's abilities.  It was interesting that Ruby needed Chloe to adore her and wanted Chloe to really love only her.  There were a lot of elements that really worked including the town of Olive.  I'm still a bit confused on that point but, in the end, I was just like Chloe, waiting for Ruby to resurface.  **

From LibraryThing
What's in a Name

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 7/11

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 Sister Mischief (Goode) and Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell (Rumley) and listening to The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Lockhart).

Last week I read Betsy's Wedding (Lovelace) and finished Mississippi Jack (Meyer) on audio.
Reviews posted:  Betsy and the Great World (Lovelace).

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mississippi Jack : Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, and the Lily of the West by L.A. Meyer

Jack is on the run from the British authorities and ends up in the wilds of America on the river.  After obtaining a keel boat and turning her into a showboat (Jacky cannot resist becoming an entertainer), they obtain a crew and set on down the Mississippi River.  But trouble, as ever always, finds Jacky Faber in the form of some British agents.  Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Jacky,  Jaimy is trying to follow Jacky downriver and running into trouble of his own.

I was excited that Jacky was exploring America more and headed down the Mississippi River to New Orleans.  I loved her adventure down the river, taken in typical Jacky style.  She can't just go down river.  No, she has to have a showboat and a scam.  She is so awesome.  Leave it to Jacky to get a hold of a boat so she can be captain once again.  I liked Jaimy's storyline and liked hearing about his adventures.  I think he is becoming more a man and certainly his trials in American have toughened him up and he is becoming more of Jacky's equal.  That was nice to see.  I worry about him trying to settle her down.  I don't think that is going to happen the way he wants.  Jacky is just too much to contain.
17 hours

Katherine Kellgren is once again the narrator and once again does an awesome job, especially with the character of Mike Fink, not my favorite character.  I found his voice grating but that just shows Kellgren's talents.  Mike is a hard character and she does a great job capturing his character with her voice.

Bloody Jack
Whisper in my Ear

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Betsy's Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace

Betsy and Joe get married and Betsy adjusts to married life, wanting to be a good wife to Joe.  But with the War looming over the entire world, will Betsy have the ideal life she is wishing for?
Things couldn't be perfect, for herself or Tacy either, unless Tib was happy too.  p.242
Betsy and Joe get married!  Excited.  I loved how quickly they got married and started their life together, though Betsy's role as wife illustrates just how old fashioned this series is.   But Betsy and Joe are a sweet couple and he treats her with a great deal of respect and she does the same for him.  They are so sensible and loving with each other and towards their friends too.  I love that Tacy found someone to complement her and that she had two boys.  And that Tib found someone as well.  This was the perfect ending to the series and I'm sad that it is over, which is a little funny given how old these books are. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Betsy and the Great World by Maud Hart Lovelace

Betsy is 21 and embarking on a European trip to help her learn to become a better writer and to help her with the heartbreak of her broken relationship with Joe Willard.  Betsy experiences life in a variety of European cities and learns about heartbreak and what she really wants out of life.
The next morning, of course, Betsy made a list.  Lists were always her comfort.  p.150
It was good to see Betsy growing up and learning about the world.  That way she has these experiences before settling down and getting married.  If she hadn't had a couple of romances, then her reunion with Joe might have fallen flat.  Betsy needed more life experience and she got plenty in her travels in Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the places she visited and loved the clothing they wore and the trends in clothing at the time.  It was also interesting to see World War I begin from the viewpoint of an American in Europe and how that occupied the attentions of everyone.  It felt very real (mostly because these books are a fictionalized autobiography of Maud Hart Lovelace) and I was glad that Betsy and Joe are reunited in the end, but it was nice to see Betsy experience life outside of her comfort zone.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 7/4 + Happy Independence Day!

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 Betsy's Wedding (Lovelace) and Imaginary Girls (Suma) (for real this time).  I'm listening to Mississippi Jack (Meyer) and Glee: The Beginning (Lowell).

Last week I read Betsy and Joe and Betsy and the Great World (Lovelace).
Other reviews posted: Betsy In Spite of Herself and Betsy Was a Junior

Won from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers
Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.

Happy Independence Day to my US followers!  I'll BBQing and swimming today and generally having a relaxing day.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Lying Game on ABC Family!

Having never read The Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard, I never got into the show.  But I have read The Lying Game by the same author and now it is going to be a TV series on ABC Family, just like PLL!  I am pretty excited about this since the book was fairly awesome.  Definitely adding this to my must-watch list.   I thought I'd share trailer with y'all.