Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Currently Reading

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I've had this on my shelf for quite some time, actually. But it wasn't until yesterday that I really decided I should read it. I've been in a bit of a reading funk lately, ever since I finished off Succubi Like It Hot. Didn't know what to do until yesterday we watched a Dracula parody and I realized I still hadn't ever read this book. In fact, I bought this and 8 other books during a book-buying frenzy the last time we had a Buy 2 Get 1 sale on the B&N Classics. Yeah, what can I say? I like these books. In case you didn't know, Dracula is an epistolary novel (written in letters and journal entries and so forth), which is always different. I'm not very far, but already the Count has shown is creepy side. I look forward to seeing how the original story goes after years of being faced with movie versions.

Notes from the playlist: "Bill and Sookie Together" by Nathan Barr

Friday, March 26, 2010

Recommended for Pet Lovers and Dog Owners

Cesar's Way by Cesar Millan

Let's face it: most people fail to relate to their dogs as, well, animals. In fact, they can barely relate to them as dogs, let alone animals. That's where Cesar comes in. My last dog passed away (miss you, baby!) some time ago, and we've just now gotten a new dog. Difference is that we had our original dog since she was a puppy; this new dog is a rescue and already 3 years old. I knew my old dog inside and out. We were in-sync, and though I know she wasn't the perfect dog, at least I understood her. New dog not so much. So, knowing how good Cesar is with dogs, decided to see what he had to say. And it all makes so much sense. It's a lot of common sense, actually. Common sense that a lot of people just don't have when it comes to dogs. How they are pack animals, how (and why) they need a walk every day, how they have certain energy levels that we need to learn how to manage with our own. This isn't a book on how to housebreak your dog or teach him to sit. It's a book about understanding dogs, why they do certain things, and how to handle some situations. How to - as Cesar says - be the pack leader.

Notes from the playlist: "Junuh Sees the Field" by Rachel Portman

Monday, March 22, 2010

Recommended for Business Workers, Writers, and Procrastinators

The Now Habit by Neil Fiore

I'd read a review of this book and was then lucky enough to win it from the reviewer once she finished with all her procrastination-based books. If this were a group meeting, I would stand up and announce, "My name is Nicole and I am a procrastinator." I am, after all. However, after reading this book I handle it much better. I've learned to deal with my procrastination issues, the stress that tended to come with them, and the "I should" statements for when I wasn't working and always had in my mind that I should be. Fiore reminds you that it's okay to take some time off and enjoy some play time. After all, we know what happened to Jack with all work and no play. It's a solid book and I'd only read half of it before already feeling a great deal more positive about work (not the bookselling, the writing). Hooray!

Notes from the playlist: "Fireflies" by Owl City

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Recommended for Writers

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

Recommended to me by several other published writers, I finally bought this book and read through it. There are many great ideas within its pages for writers, from handing dialogue to avoiding needless junk. I've recommended this to other writers since then, and it has plenty of reason to be so popular. Likely another reason why it often ends up on the main tables at work. So the next time you're looking for a good book to help with your fiction writing, read through a few sections of this book and see if there aren't some ideas in there that you couldn't use.

Notes from the playlist: "Life Less Ordinary" by Carbon Leaf

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Recommended for Kids

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

You simply can't go wrong with a lion in the library (at least, you can't when it's in a children's book!). When this lion wanders in one day, no one is sure what to do. But this lion loves books and he enjoys sitting with the children. The kids love him as well, but sometimes it's hard for a big lion to behave - and be quiet - in a library.

I love the illustrations that go with this story. The lion is so big! The best part is that he's probably pretty on par with how big a real lion would be compared to a child. He's an adorable lion with cute facial expressions and really, it's just hard not to love a lion that hangs out in a library. It's a whimsical sort of tale that children will love to read or have read to them, and who knows? Maybe this will make them want to visit the library more often!

Notes from the playlist: "This Side" by Nickel Creek

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recommended for Kids

Gallop! A Scanimation Picture Book by Rufus Butler Seder

I got a kick out of this book when I first picked it up back in the kids' section. It's so simple and yet so fun. When you open the book, the animals inside move because of the scanimation-style pictures. Kind of like a flipbook without the need to do any flipping. The cat is actually my favorite as it leaps and runs. This book sold fairly well beforehand, and then oodles of copies after I put it on the recommendation shelf. I like to think that I helped with its sales. Since then it's been a very steady seller. Parents as well as kids love to make the animals move by opening and closing the pages (so they'll run backwards too!). It will hold up better than a pop-up book and keep kids entranced for, well, longer than the typical picture book anyway!

Notes from the playlist: "Swing Life Away" by Rise Against

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Currently Reading

Succubi Like It Hot by Jill Myles

I actually admit, I read the first book (check out the previous post) by borrowing it from the library. But that was before:

A.) I won a $50 B&N gift card
B.) I knew how much fun it would be, plus other things.

So a few days after finishing the book, I went out and bought it and then this one to go with it. I'm happy to say that there are several copies in the store (3 of each, in fact. Er, 2 now, actually). Though I don't know how many books Jill intends to write, I know that even if I don't buy all of them, I'll end up reading all of them. The protagonist is nice and perky (snarky on occasion, which is fun), her love interests are dead sexy (in numerous ways, in fact), and the plotlines are unique, which is a breath of fresh air in a world currently full of vampires and shifters and other paranormal beings.

It just doesn't get any better than that.

Notes from the playlist: "Extremoz" by E.S. Posthumus

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Recently Finished (and Recommended)

Gentlemen Prefer Succubi by Jill Myles

All right, I admit. I was suckered in by the cover on this one. That doesn't happen often...if ever. But there I was, moseying around a writer's forum when I saw the two covers of Jill Myles's upcoming books (the second being Succubi Like It Hot) and thought, "Ooh. Yum." Haha. How could I not? Still, that didn't mean I was going to read it. Her covers got me to her website where she offers you the first chapter of the book. I read it. And I promptly freaked out when I got to the end because I couldn't keep reading. I was forced to wait patiently until the book came out (yeah, it wasn't even out yet), but after all that, I've finally read it.

And I enjoyed. Thoroughly. It's not even really what you think, I'm sure. While the whole succubus thing might turn some people off, along with the inclusion of vampires (yep, everyone's into those these days), you need to know that Myles takes a completely different road with just about everyone involved. Succubi like sex, but they can't help it. Angels can be assholes, and vampires are fallen angels. Some interesting takes on many different traditional things. Highly enjoyable, very hot and tasty, just what the doctor ordered (and the sort of thing I was looking for, oh, several years ago).

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "My Name Is Lincoln" by Steve Jablonsky

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...