Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Purchased for My Shelf

My Fair Succubus by Jill Myles

I do enjoy good romance from time to time, but Jill has actually made it to my shelf. Yes. I'll read romance, but books have to be something special, different, or just flipping good to end up on my bookshelf, and Jill Myles is actually the first author to do it. Maybe she got the timing just right, maybe it's her smart use of vampires, angels, and succubi, or maybe it's her steaming hot sex scenes. I think it's a mix of all those things. Her books are fun to read, characters are enjoyable, and these make for great reference books when it comes to writing my own love scenes. In the end, though, they're enjoyable and a great change of pace. Kudos Jill.

Previous books:

Notes from the playlist: "Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Recommended for A Merry Christmas!

The Chronicles of Narnia (Leatherbound Edition) by C.S. Lewis

Can it really be Christmas without a little Narnia magic? Perhaps, but it probably won't be the same!

Have I read all of the books yet? I admit that, no, I haven't. I'm taking my sweet time (and of course, reading them out of order). I read the first one back in college, a few weeks before the movie came out. Yeah, I'm one of those geeks that likes to compare the movies to the books. But it only takes one book before you realize that they're going to be great fun. I love Lewis's writing style - it's like a fun sort of omniscient. Aslan is always impressive, and you never know what's going to happen next or where you might go - since on occasion you do venture outside of Narnia. It's not all witches and wardrobes you know!

And yes, I totally own the leatherbound edition made by B&N. And why not? It's gorgeous, affordable, and will last a lot longer than paperbacks. Of course, if you have kids, they might be better off with something you don't expect to last for very long. Whatever the format, kids and adults all want to visit Narnia!

Notes from the playlist: "From Western Woods to Beaversdam" by Harry Gregson-Williams

Monday, December 20, 2010

December Book Giveaway Winners!

The winners have been chosen. It was a pretty tight little contest this time, with only four entries, giving each person a 25% chance of winning. This time I didn't even bother with the random number generator - I went even more random, writing names on pieces of paper, balling them up, mixing thoroughly, and then picking two with my eyes closed. So who won?

Mekaela won Gary Braunbeck's Mr. Hands!

Adriana won L.J. Smith's The Forbidden Game!

Congratulations guys! Extra Christmas presents for you this year, eh?

For those of you that didn't win, stick around - you never know when I'll have another giveaway!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Recommended for Kids and Parents Alike

I Spy Fantasy by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick

Christmas is coming, so it's time for dreams and wishes to come true and for flights of fancy to sprout wings and really soar. For kids, they can dive into an I Spy book and discover all the hidden goodies throughout its pages and enjoy the fun rhymes that announce what objects to look for. Since I did I Spy Christmas last year, this year it's all about the fantasy - mystifying and magical. Sand castles besieged by knights, cities made with wooden blocks, sparkling jewels, and of course, a unicorn hidden on every page.

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "Macedonian Morning" by Bill Whelan

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Merry Christmas everyone! Last month I didn't do a book giveaway because I figured everyone should be grateful for what they already have. I just forgot to mention that somewhere.

But now tis the season, and I've already bought 5 books to donate to Head Start of Kansas City (and if your B&N is doing a book drive - and it probabaly is - if you can, buy some books to donate before Christmas!). I've also been feeling very generous this season. So much so that I actually purchased a book specifically for this giveaway.

The Forbidden Game Trilogy by L.J. Smith

THAT'S RIGHT! This book again! That's how much I love this trilogy (previous posts are here and here). Maybe some people think I'm over the top, but Julian kicks butt and it's just a whole lot of fun. I enjoy it so much I wanted to spread the love around by putting this brand spankin' new copy up for the giveaway. Our store is supposed to have 6 in stock as often as possible - I ordered an additional 3 because I handsell these as often as I can. So we had 9 in the store a few days ago. Now we have 7. (Told ya!) So if you want to try outwitting a Shadow Man like Julian, go right ahead.

Mr. Hands by Gary Braunbeck

For those of you who like to have something totally different for Christmas, here's a bit of horror for you. I have to say - I almost don't want to give this book away just because I freakin' love the cover so much. And it's a good book, of course. And Gary's a cool guy. But I'd like to pass it on to others so you can see for yourself. If horror is your game, then this is what you want to play. While this is my copy, trust me, I'm one of those people that keeps her books in pristine condition (or as close to as humanly possible).

If you want to join in on the giveaway, just leave a comment and some way for me to contact you in case you win. Pick one book or put your name in for both - doesn't matter to me! This contest will run until midnight December 19th - that way I have time to ship these out and you (might) get them by Christmas - or at least hopefully by the new year.

How can you say no to free books??

Notes from the playlist: "I Can't Take It In" by Imogen Heap

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Recently Finished (and Recommended)

Bad Kitty vs Uncle Murray by Nick Bruel

Every time I flipped through this book, I found myself giggling. I made a note to find the time to actually sit down and read it - and I did. Bad Kitty is a chapter book series by Nick Bruel. There are only a few of them right now, but with the way these are becoming more popular (and with good reason), I wouldn't be surprised to see more and more come out. Kitty is the main character of these books, but hangs out with Puppy (who is absolutely adorable and reminds me of my sister's dog with his goofy face). In this book, Uncle Murray is coming over to take care of Kitty and Puppy while their owners are away. Of course, with Kitty being the sort of cat she is, that won't be easy. It's a really funny book (I particuarly liked the bit where Kitty was in the closet with Puppy and you get diary entries from Kitty - where one day is about equivelant to 6 minutes). Kids will laugh and have a good time with this, and I highly recommend picking this up - especially if your family has a cat!

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "O Tannenbaum" by Vince Guaraldi

Friday, December 3, 2010

Recommended for Pretty Much Anyone Willing

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Contrary to popular belief, The Lord of the Rings isn't actually a trilogy. It is one novel simply split into three parts - that and many people find it easier to read three separate books rather than deal with one massive tome. Like me. Why else do you think I sprung for the 50th Anniversary Edition with it's gorgeous hardcover and gilded pages? Whatever way you prefer to read it, this is the fantasy story, the quintessential tale of the battle between good and evil...with a few Hobbits stuck in the middle of it.

If you haven't read this, but you've seen the movies, then you ought to read this (...just read it in any case). Besides, even though I'm not a naysayer of the movies (love 'em), in the book Frodo isn't a total pansy, that whole Warg thing never happened, King Theoden was always ready to rock, and Sam ruled even more of the universe. Overall? A long, albeit good, read.

Notes from the playlist: "The Bridge of Khazad Dûm" by Howard Shore

Monday, November 29, 2010

Currently Reading

A World Without Islam by Graham E. Fuller

Yet another book spotted while at work. This is in the current affairs section, and it caught my eye and my interest. It's in this book that Fuller intends to show what the world may be like without Islam - and it may not necessarily be any different at all. Indeed, if not Islam, then what religion, what politics might have come into play and would they be the same in terms how how the West is viewed, etc? Very intriguing questions. I'm not yet very far into the book, but look forward to see how Fuller's ideas unfold.

Notes from the playlist: "What I've Done" by Marié Digby

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Recommended for Fantasy Readers (Kids and Adults)

Mariel of Redwall by Brian Jacques

I threw young readers in there because the Redwall books are placed in both the adult fantasy section as well sa the young readers section of the store. I read them when I was young, but I would totally read them as an adult as well. In the end it just depends upon the book style you want. But whatever you decide, these are a lot of fun. I actually found Watership Down through these. I chose Mariel of Redwall because it was my first Redwall book and my favorite. The main characters are mice, otters, moles, and other woodland creatures while the bad guys include stoats, weasels, and rat pirates. They're fun to read and I must say, the food always sound delicious, haha.

Notes from the playlist: "Unopened" by Sonata Artica

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Recommended for Travelers and the Curious

God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre by Richard Grant

I first spotted this book two, maybe three years ago when working at my other store. It's kind of hard to ignore a book called God's Middle Finger. It's equally hard to forget about it after reading what it's about. With phrases like, "[...] his reckless adventure spiraled into his own personal heart of darkness when cocaine-fueled Mexican hillbillies hunted him through the woods all night, bent on killing him for sport." Whaaaat? Really? Of course, I didn't get the chance to read it right away, but that book stuck with me until years later I finally got my hands on it. It's a great read. Definitely worth it. Grant travels all along Sierra Madre and learns about how the police and the drug dealers co-exist, sees abject poverty, the nonstop machismo that saturates the culture (and the men), and quickly discovers that it's all about who you know.

I put this book near Thanksgiving because after reading this book, it just makes me thankful for everything I have here. I'm sure Grant's happy to be alive and well on the opposite side of the Mexican border...

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "Silver Springs" by Fleetwood Mac

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Recommended for Kids, Camels, and Beach Bums

To the Beach by Thomas Docherty

"Take an adventurous trip to the beach and hang out with the best camel ever."

That's what my Bookseller Recommends card read when I stuck this book on the recommendation shelf (back when I worked in a store that had one...my newest store did away with employee recs - VERY sad about that). It's a simple story about going to the beach - but this boy does it in a very unexpected way. And the camel is awesome - and adorable. That was actually one of the things that made me pick up this book, the cuteness of the camel. Who doesn't love a camel that knows how to have fun? I know we're in November, so read this and think of sunny days, or hang onto it until beach days come again.

Notes from the playlist: "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Recently Finished (and Recommended)

Star Island by Carl Hiaasen

I was in the mood for something different, and having read the book blurb about Carl Hiaasen's newest book, thought that might just do it. I've never read anything by him before and figured now was a good time to see what Carl's all about. Though Star Island doesn't really fit the mystery genre by any real definition, it was still a fun romp. Weird, wacky, and amusing at every turn, I had a great time and polished this off in a single day. It's all about the trials and tribulations of pop star Cherry Pye - or at least, her double Annie, who slips in when Cherry's too coked out/drunk/unconcious to do the job. I guess it's in mystery because A.) the rest of Carl's books are in there and B.) you really don't know who is going to do what next. It may be your cup of tea and it may not be, but I say definitely give it a try and see what happens.

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "Who Wants to Live Forever" by Queen

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Recommended for Bakers of Cookies, Cakes, and More

Nestle Classic Recipes by Nestlé

Mmm. Who doesn't love Nestle goodness? From their classic chocolate chip cookie recipe to a few surprising ideas (key lime pie, anyone?), this book is choc-a-bloc full of delicious goodies ready for baking. And guess where I found this? In the bargain section of the store! Haha! Always great stuff in the bargain section. This book is a total joy to have around and I'm always eager to make something mouth-watering. The best part is that most of the recipes are simple, so for when I want something sweet and awesome and don't have the time or money for a recipe from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey, this is the way to go. Yummy!

Notes from the playlist: "Vianne Sets Up Shop" by Rachel Portman

Friday, November 5, 2010

Recommended for Readers of Dystopia

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Dystopia. The opposite of utopia. This is one of the quintessential dystopian novels, alongside others like 1984 and Brave New World. Book burning is what Guy does as a fireman. He starts the fires - he doesn't put them out. At least, until he discovers that there is more to life than burning books. That in the past, books weren't set on fire - they were read. He begins to discover how ridiculous and meaningless most of his life is. Soon, ideas of escape begin to form... This was indeed a good book and it is more than interesting to watch Guy change as he learns more and more. But when a novel rests in a dystopian society, how it ends can be anyone's guess...

Notes from the playlist: "Reunited" by Alan Silvestri

Monday, November 1, 2010

October Book Giveaway Winners!

Well, the winners have been chosen via Random Number Generator and the ballots are in (wait...numbers? Ballots? Nevermind). The winners are:

Anonymous for The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff! (wow, it seemed like everybody wanted this book...)
David for Little Bee by Chris Cleave!
Nicole C. for Zoo Story by Thomas French!
MayinJune for The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi!

Congratulations guys! I hope you enjoy your new reads!

Thanks to everyone who participated and keep checking back for more cool books to read. And you never know when I'll have another book giveaway!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recommended for I Spy Fans

I Spy Mystery by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick

Yep. Another I Spy book. Because they're awesome! So let's finish out October on a fun, kid-related note. Mystery and hidden things abound in this one, so take your time to look through all the enigmatic pages to find all the objects. The mystery theme is perfect for Halloween if you can't get your hands on I Spy Spooky Night. As always I love the pictures that these two have come up with and it's just so much fun to sit and look at them even when you're not actually trying to find something in the riddles. You simply never know what you'll find in the mish-mash of goodies. Trick-or-treat!

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "Replay" by Iyaz

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Recommended for Scary Storytelling

The Complete Tales of Edgar Allen Poe by Edgar Allen Poe

You can't have a good Halloween without some good scary stories to go with it. Might I suggest the "Masque of Red Death?" Or perhaps the old classic, "The Pit and the Pendulum." There's always "The Raven." Or you could read one that you've never heard of before. This is everything you ever wanted from Poe in a gorgeous leatherbound edition. I'd like to add that these leatherbound editions are fantastic. I own four of them. My cover looks a bit different (I got mine several years back), but the content is the same. Every page filled with Poe and his tales of murder, deception, ghosts, and other things that go bump in the night - as well as the things that creep up behind you and don't make any noise at all and by the time you notice them, it's too late...

Notes from the playlist: "Superbeast" by Rob Zombie

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Recommended for Science Geeks and Any Crichton Reader

Prey by Michael Crichton

The stuff Crichton came up with was always pretty impressive, both on a literary level and on a scientific level. Never mind that the dinosaurs escaped and wrecked havoc in Jurassic Park - we're all still jazzed about the idea of actually making real dinosaurs. As with most of his books, Crichton utlized a terrific amount of actual research to base all his ideas upon. This is also what helps to make the book so freaky. Robots of any form breaking free of human control and doing their own thing is a huge fear that lurks around. Nanos are no different. Those little buggers could (and in the book, do) as much damage as any human-sized, or larger, robot. Scary. However, that same information is what makes this book so thrilling. You like SF? You like Michael Crichton? You like science? Dive in, because this book is for you.

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "What I've Done" by Linkin Park

Saturday, October 16, 2010


My first giveaway wasn't superhot, but I attribute that to only having one book available. After all, a lot of people are burned out with paranormal type stuff, urban fantasy and all that. So this time I'm doing something a little different - giving away more books with a wider variety. If this doesn't draw more people in, I don't know what will. So, with that in mind, here's the October Book Giveaway!

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

This book has only been on the front shelves for what seems like forever. I know, it says "New in Paperback" up there, but this came out in 2008 and the paperback came out in February of this year. It's been uber-popular and still sells dozens of copies as the days roll by. So why not see what everybody's talking about?

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi

If the author name sounds familiar, then so should The Spiderwick Chronicles. This book is fresh off the press, only just going out a few weeks ago. It reminds me of other interesting child-oriented post-apocalyptic style sort of thing. Like Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Something I could see Miyasaki doing. So if you're ready for a unique adventure or have some kids who would be interested in a story with a beyond the Wizard of Oz type feel, go for it.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

This is one I just kept looking at while at work. It sounded so interesting, so different, so ripe for Tim Burton to take a look at. This is geared toward teens and follows a boy who isn't supposed to be here. He was left in the crib of a human baby a long time ago, but he really belongs below ground, a dark world beneath the down. And he'll finally have to go there when his sister goes missing...

Zoo Story by Thomas French

This is the book I read back in July. It follows the events that unfold at a zoo in Florida, a fascinating look at where zookeepers work, how they handle escaped animals, and what happens when things are stretched to their limit. If you already have warring feelings about zoos, this will enhace them. Are zoos worth it or are they sheer entertainment? Knowing a little more about the full story behind at least one of them will at least give you more insight into the world we never see.

Yep. Four books. A little something for everyone. And remember, these are ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) so they're not entirely finished. They are all paperbacks, and they all have markings on the outsides of the pages to prevent anyone from attempting to sell them. But if you just want to read a good story, like a good free book, or think ARCs are cool, then by all means join in on the fun.

All you have to do is leave a comment anywhere on this blog. Say whatever you like (recommend something, tell me how much you enjoyed something, anything), but be sure to include an email address or some other way I can contact you if you've won, as well as which book you would like. The contest will end October 31st as the big spooky clock strikes 12. *muahahaha!*

**Just to clarify: There will be four winners - one person for each book. Not one winner take all. Hence the whole "tell me which book you want" thing. Sorry if anyone was confused.

Good luck!

Notes from the playlist: "Burning in the Skies" by Linkin Park

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Currently Reading

The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy by Luke Cuddy (Editor)

Now, your store may or may not have this - apparently it is now out of print and only available digitally, but a few stores still have it in stock (at least they do around me). Every time I was in the philosophy section of the store, I saw this and others like it; House and Philosophy. Family Guy and Philosophy. Star Wars and Philosophy. But out of them all, I thought this would be the most fun to read. Though not a big gamer at all, I do love the Zelda games (ok, so I only own/have played two of them) and was really curious as to how the writers managed to wrangle philosophical concepts from an adventure video game. I suppose if you try hard enough, you can get philosophical about almost anything. Still, it's been an interesting read, with essays by different writers all compiled together. And yes, these guys have played the games.

Notes from the playlist: "The Joker" by Steve Miller Band

Monday, October 4, 2010

Recommended for Wolf Lovers and Photographers

Wolves: A Photographic Celebration by Amber Rose

This is another bargain delight I stumbled upon one day. These books fall into the Brick Books series, so there aren't just wolfy books like this. However, I think these are hard to come by now, so if you can't find them in the store, you might have to buy from a secondhand place. What I love about this book is that it's just pictures and fun facts. I love wolves. Always have. Always will. My parents still wonder why I'm not in the middle of the woods studying them. Sometimes I wonder that too. But since I'm not, I'll settle for this. Gorgeous color pictures with factoids accompanying each page. And if you were so inclined, it's not big like most coffee table books, but would make for an interesting piece.

Notes from the playlist: "The Greatest Story Never Told" by Murray Gold

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Winner!

The winner of the very first Bookseller Recommends Book Giveaway, after using the Random Number Generator, is.....

Poster #7 - HEIDI!

Congratulations Heidi, and I hope you enjoy your books!

(And no, in response to your comment, I actually haven't read Child 44 yet, but I've heard a lot of good things about it. Probably why it was a B&N Recommends book!)

If you didn't win, don't worry because I'll be posting another contest soon and THIS time there will be more than one title to choose from!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recommended for the Fantasy Anti-Hero Crowd

Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson

I chose this cover instead of the new release cover since that one is more likely to make people think of Lord of the Rings. After all, there is a ring of power involved. But this isn't your happy Hobbit sort of story. The main character, Thomas Covenant, is an asshole. No joke. He's a definite anti-hero, and I think my first ever anti-hero story. Despite his jerk power, he manages to do the right thing, and maybe not even be such a jerk in the end. What I really loved the most about this book though, were Donaldson's descriptions of The Land. It had been a while since someone had painted such a gorgeous picture for me with words. That's another reason I used this cover, because I think it's a more accurate represnation of just where Covenant goes.

This is the first in a trilogy, but if you really wanted, you could just read this book and leave the rest alone. The trilogy is pretty good though, so I think you ought to keep reading. However, beyond this is a second and, yes, a third trilogy, but I would forgo those entirely for a number of reasons that are too extensive to outline here.

Notes from the playlist: "This is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home" by Murray Gold

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Recommended for People Searching for Hope

703: How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life by Nancy Makin

This was a book a customer was searching for. She found it, but I remember seeing her put it back. Intrigued, I took a look myself and made a mental note: Read. In case you missed it, this has been in my Reading List off to the left for quite some time.

I finally got to it (and while reading it, it caught the interest of one of my managers as well). It's a fascinating story that will make you angry, make you smile, and yes, even perhaps shed a tear or two. I know, that all sounds awfully cliche, but it's true. When my manager asked how the book was going, I told her I'd finished it. Was it worth reading? Emphatic "Yes" on my part. Honest to heavens, if you're running out of hope for whatever reason, read this book. Understand that it's not impossible to love life again and escape from whatever dark prison you or others have managed to build around you. This book is actually in the Health/Diets section of our store, but it really can give you a boost no matter what you weigh.

Notes from the playlist: "When She Loved Me" by Sarah McLachlan

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Recommended for A Bit of AWESOME!

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

When I first came upon this book one day at work, I had two thoughts. 1.) I need to read this book. 2.) Why is it in the Self Improvement section?

Though I never did quite figure out why it's in that section, I most certainly ended up reading it and I had a good time in the process. The concept is simle: Awesome Things. Those little things in life that are, well, awesome. Like walking past a bakery and snorting up that delicious smell of baking bread and cookies and yummy things. Or freshly fallen snow. Or, everyone's favorite, popping bubble wrap. There are literally hundreds of yippee-skippee things in here that will, at some point, jog a delighted part in your brain that makes you say, "Omigod, YAY" as you suddenly remember just how awesome that particular thing is. One of those for me?

The smell of the coffee isle in the grocery store. AWESOME!

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "The Kraken" by Hans Zimmer (AWESOME!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Recommended for Travelers and History Hunters

Hunting Pirate Heaven by Kevin Rushby

I actually had to read this in college when I took a course on pirates (yes, you heard me. A college course on pirates). But that doesn't mean it was a boring textbook. Instead, this is actually one man's account of trying to find the one place that pirates were rumored to stop and make their paradise with all their gold and plunder. Somewhere off the coast of Africa, near Madagascar. Rushby takes off from England, and from there goes on trucks, boats, and experiences some friendly--and some very questionable--people as he tries to find this fabled pirate heaven. This is also one of those stories where, as I read, I thought (admittedly in a very biased manner), "This is the sort of thing that only an English guy could get away with. If this were an American, he probably would have been shot by now."

A final note? Most college books I sold back. This one I kept.

Notes from the playlist: "Cheeseburger in Paradise" by Jimmy Buffet

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...