Saturday, May 29, 2010

Currently Reading

Dead Men's Boots by Mike Carey

Having read Mike Carey's first two books - The Devil You Know and Vicious Circle - I wondered a few weeks ago whether or not he'd written another one. Carey is well-known when it comes to the comic world (working on such popular goodies as X-Men), so when I first found him, I was curious. Could he create an entire engaging novel? While I wasn't entirely wowed by the first book, I was still curious enough to read his second. I liked his protagonist Felix Castor and his abilities, as well as the subplot involving his possessed friend Rafi and a lurking succubus named Juliet. In fact, I find the subplots more fun than the main deal most of the both books to be honest. But here I am again, lurking around in Felix's world and having an interesting time doing it. We'll see if perhaps this time Carey can really rock my socks.

(if you're curious and want a fuller review of the first two books, check my Epinions reviews here and here!)

Notes from the playlist: "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Recommended for Lazy Cookie Makers

No-Bake Cookies by Camilla V. Saulsbury

This is yet another one of those books I found while organizing the shelves. No-bake cookies? Why, yes please! Saves me the time and energy of putting together fancy ingredients (the Nestle Toll House recipe doesn't count because I have that memorized) and switching on the oven just to enjoy tasty treats. Instead, all you have to do is chuck together a handful of ingredients with the occasional melting of chocolate, butter, or whathaveyou. Minimal effort for a tasty reward. Joy. Especially perfect for summer days when it's hot and you just want to whip up a batch of yumminess.

Notes from the playlist: "So Nice (Summer Samba)" by Astrud Gilberto

Friday, May 21, 2010

Recently Finished

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Yes, I know, you're probably wondering when I'm going to get off the "recently finished" list and go back to recommendations. Sorry. I'm a fast reader. I read this in two days and actually thought this would be a "Currently Reading" one, but I finished this on the 19th so that's how the cookie crumbles. If you remember, I recommended the first in the series back in October, Dead Until Dark. The series has slowed down since then, more or less turning into "a day in the life of Sookie Stackhouse" type of thing, but that really doesn't bother me like perhaps it ought to, but that's because a day in the life of Sookie Stackhouse is actually pretty dang interesting. The plot here is thin, but it's fun to follow Sookie around as she tries to figure out the few things that are important. And Harris, I feel, is setting up something important with the whole Victor deal...

Notes from the playlist: "Beneath a Phrygian Sky" by Loreena McKennitt

Monday, May 17, 2010

Recently Finished

Messenger by Lois Lowry

Every time I read the back of this book, I was curious. Especially after some of her other books. Matty wants his true name to be Messenger, but something strange is happening in Village. People who are normally nice are changing. The Forest outside is growing darker. The Village will soon close to outsiders. And only Matty has the gift that can save everyone. That, of course, it just a taste of what's going on. In a way, this book vaugely reminded me of Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, what with the dark Forest and all. However, when I reached the end I was a bit disappointed. Some of it doesn't really make sense. It's good, but in my opinion, not as good as The Giver. I am, however, curious about Lowry's other book featuring Kira, a character from this one; Gathering Blue.

Notes from the playlist: "My Little Demon" by Fleetwood Mac

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recently Finished

Body Movers by Stephanie Bond

There's a reason I have this book, and while it's a good reason, I'm glad I didn't buy it. Though thusfar it isn't bad, it's far from awesome. There are a lot of interesting things going on, but in some cases, it feels like too many. The main character has a lot of gusto and I love her name (Carlotta), but she makes a record number of stupid decisions. By page 55 I realized that if things didn't improve within the next 20 pages, I was going to be done and move on to something else. Bond managed to keep the story going and keep Carlotta from doing enough stupid things (barely) to keep me in it to the point that I felt that it was my duty to finish the book. I do intend to pick up 2 Bodies for the Price of 1, but it's because I want to see if Carlotta ever hooks up with anyone and what the deal was with her parents. Yet why do I get the feeling I'll be gypped out of getting the full story...?

P.S. Where's the romance? This is, after all, in the romance section...

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "Major Tom" by Shiny Toy Guns

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Recently Finished (and Recommended)

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Yes, yes, I know. No, I am not on some Sarah Addison Allen kick. I just wanted to polish off her third book while still in her little North Carolina cloud of magic. I figured (especially since a co-worker heartily informed me it was just as good as Garden Spells) that I might as well anyway. It will likely be a while before she delivers another though. But to the point, it was another fun book that in many ways falls into urban fantasy like her past two. The fun part about her books that she makes me happy to read straight fiction again. It's not shelved in the fantasy section because that's not what her books focus on. The magic is on the side, just like hushpuppies with a good barbecue pork sandwich. In fact, I think this is the first book where a main character is disturbed by random magic happenings. It's cute, though I do admit, I liked the first two better. That doesn't mean by any measure that this isn't a totally enjoyable book.

Notes from the playlist: "One Last Drink" by Enter the Haggis

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Recently Finished (and Recommended)

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

The same author of Garden Spells brings out a slightly different flavor with this book. While I don't own this (my mother does), if I were to ever buy it, I'd try to get it in hardcover simply because I love, love, love the cover art (not a fan at all of the paperback cover). It's a fun story with a few secrets along the way that you never see coming. A woman named Della Lee is in Josey's closet, and there may be more to it than Josey thinks. There are plenty of dots to be connected, links to discover, and some lovely moments that make your heart ache in a "Just kiss her already you idiot!" way. I love Allen's description and the way she weaves in tidbits that match up with the characters. There's a touch of magic and something else in this book - not as much as Garden Spells, but just the right amount to make it special.

Notes from the playlist: "The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Recommended for Kids

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

There's a reason this book won a Caldecott Medal. Simply put; it's good. Hah! I remember this book from when I was just a little girl. I'm 26 now, and I still love it. Who doesn't love ducks? Ducks marching around through the city, all in a row, with policemen making sure that the ducks stay safe all the way to the cozy little lake on the other side of town. It's so simple and yet so memorable. The little ducks are perfectly illustrated, fuzzy with down and little webbed feet walking. The kind of book that kids will enjoy and love to look at later on. My sister and I actually drew in this book - but not a lot. There was just one little duckling that always seemed to be looking at we added in a tiny fly for him to get distracted with. In my mind it was a fine addition to the book. :)

Notes from the playlist: "Flowers Only Grow Where There Are Seeds" by Anne Dudley

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...