Saturday, October 31, 2009

Recommended for Fantasy and Vampire Lovers

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris


The children have had their turn when it comes to fun and spooky Halloween books, but now it's the adults' turn. Many of you may have already heard of the Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampire) novels by Charlaine Harris, whether it's through the HBO show True Blood or a friend or even a bookseller at your local B&N. If not, and you like fantasy and don't have a problem with vampires (they're not depressed and they're actually fun, I promise!), then you'll enjoy these books. They have their share of humor, horror, romance, the fantastic, and goodies you don't see coming. Charlaine Harris has a vivid imagination and if the idea of a vampire named Bill visiting a bar in Louisiana doesn't make you cock your head in curiosity and smirk a little, then I don't know what will. This ain't Twilight folks, I'll tell you that right now.

Read the Epinions review here! (actually, the review includes all 7 Sookie Stackhouse books)

Notes from the playlist: "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Recommended for Young Readers Who Love a Scare

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn

I read this book long ago when I was young and I still remember and love it. You hated Molly's (the protagonist's) younger stepsister Heather, but when the end came, it was scary and unnerving and you didn't hate her anymore. That's because while Helen seemed like such a good friend, she wanted something in return, and Heather isn't the first...

It's a good ghost story with a ending that won't leave kids freaked out. Everything is resolved and left you with a good feeling. Some kids might be looking for stories with a bit more horror, but this should be good enough for many. If you're looking for some good Halloween books to read, try this one by candlelight and see if you don't get a few shivers.

Notes from the playlist: "Haunted" by Poe

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recommended for Young Readers and Dahl Fans

The Witches by Roald Dahl

It's hard not to love Roald Dahl. I still have this book, the very same book that my sister got years and years ago. It's actually quite amazing how well it's held up, only gently dog-eared though it's been read oodles of times. You'll learn to recognize real witches here; they don't ride brooms or wear pointy hats. Instead, they're just like any other women - except they're bald, have no toes, and they hate children. Read Dahl's tale of how one little boy and his grandmother thwarted the plans of some of the nastiest witches in all of the country!

Notes from the playlist: "I Remember" by Stabbing Westward

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Recommended for Kids (and kids at heart)

I Spy Spooky Night by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick

I loooove I Spy books. I have almost all of them. Well, technically I do have all of them because the Challenger books are essentially rehashes of older books with harder things to find. But I love I Spy books. I love their pictures. I love the intricacy of the shots. The lighting. All the tiny little objects they used to make the photos. Tiny buttons, marbles, paperclips, delicate figurines, shiny balloons, old keys and boxes and books, glimmering paper, pools of water, strewn sand, all sorts of things. I love sitting and searching for something, even knowing I've glossed over it probabaly a thousand times. I love discovering all the hidden toys and pieces and little birds peeking out under leaves and cat paws in paint crossing the pages. Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em, and I'll recommend them until the cows come home.

Naturally, this one takes you through a haunted house and all its unique rooms. Perfect for the coming excitement of that mystical night - Halloween!

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Recommended for Culture, Human Interest, and Biography Buffs

Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent

I was zoning (read: orgainizing) the biography section in the store one day and came upon this book. A lot of times, that's how we booksellers get sucked into books. Something looks interesting and we pick it up and before we know it, we're adding it to our mental list of "Books I Need To Read." Nevermind that the list is already hundreds of books long (most of which we eventually forget about at some point). But this one I did finally read and found to be thoroughly interesting. Norah Vincent conjures up a convincing man-counterpart (from the walk to the talk to the fake cash and prizes in the pants). From there she goes on a journey, slipping into man-saturated areas of life: bowling alleys, strip joints, door-to-door salesmen, and even a monastary. For over a year and a half she was Ned, experiencing life as a man, even dating women to see what it was like on the other side. Within her writings, she tries not to make too many assumptions, or at least, press her opinions on anyone, but rather does her best to report what she discovers within the world of men.

A real eye-opener and a fascinating read for both men and women, her experience eventually led to a minor breakdown, which led to the inspiration (if one could call it that) for her next book, Voluntary Madness, a book that is, of course, on my mental reading list. Except this one is near the top so it doesn't get lost.

Notes from the playlist: "Bonebreaker" by Infidel Incorportated

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Just Cracked Open

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

When I moved to my new home, we got satellite instead of cable, and of course a free package came with it. That meant movie channels. Thus for the first time I got to see Stardust.

For it's flaws, it's a fun movie, but working in a bookstore I knew that Neil Gaiman was the mastermind behind the book that became the movie (found in both the adult and teen sections, in fact). I've not read as many of Gaiman's novels as I would like (American Gods is next on my list), though I did make a point to own Coraline (the book, not the movie). I wanted to know just how different the book is from the movie. I may not know Giaman well, but I know enough to feel safe to assume that it will be quite different. But in a good way. I expect to have a good time with Gaiman. After all; Coraline? The creator of the movie Mirrormask? Oh yes. A very good time.

Notes from the playlist: "The Myth of Creation" by Ian Bellamy

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Recently Finished

Cirque du Freak: Tunnels of Blood and Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan

Darren Shan continues to learn the life of a half-vampire, trailing along as his maker Mr. Crepsley teaches him more and more about what it means to be vampire. He has much still to learn. That includes finding out about the vampaneze - vampires who no longer follow the code of "no killing humans" - and a place called Vampire Mountain where every 12 years the Vampire Princes and Generals get together and talk vampire politics (and much more).

Tunnels of Blood was interesting, the vampaneze weird, but Vampire Mountain wasn't much more than a transitional book - like an entire book used to get from point A to point B. A lot of travel and hanging around. Still, Shan makes sure to keep it as interesting as possible (I liked the wolves in Vampire Mountain), though I was a bit disappointed in the confrontation between Mr. Crepsley and the Princes. After being suggested that it would be a big deal throughout the past few books, it was a bit anticlimactic and I thought their final decision was a bit ridculous (not to mention unfair) and seemed to only serve as a reason to get Darren into perilous situations in the next book, Trials of Death. Ah well, at least it means that the next book ought to be exciting.

Read the Epinions reviews here and here!

Notes from the playlist: "Black Betty" by Ram Jam

Friday, October 2, 2009

Recommended for Fiction Readers and Animal Lovers

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Happy Birthday to Me!

I chose this book to recommend on my birthday because it's one I've read more than any other book. The funny part is that I'm not sure why. I guess it's just because it's a good story. Unique. Interesting characters even if they are rabbits. A different world view.

Watership Down is an epic story of rabbits. Yes, you heard right, rabbits. Hazel is the unlikely hero of the tale, who convinces a group of rabbits to leave their warren after one rabbit, Fiver, speaks of a foreboding prophecy in which everyone in the warren is killed. Hazel and the other rabbits set out on a long journey to find a safe haven where they can begin anew. But the world is large, and there are a lot of enemies in it, sometimes even their own kind.

Hats off to Richard Adams for creating this book. You get to see a rabbit's take on life, all their unique stories and tales of their one rabbit hero, and be amazed at how anxious you can get during a rabbit war. It may sound strange, but give it a try. It's a steady seller, and has been for over 30 years.

Notes from the playlist: "Idle (The Rabbit Song)" by Hem

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Whoops! I completely forgot to mention this. Last month I reviewed Stephanie Garber's amazing book Caraval for the web blog I curre...