Monday, August 31, 2009

Library Sale Finder!!

Michele at Reader's Respite posted a link to this cool website that helps you find nearby library sales! Searchable by state and by date, you can sign up for reminder emails!! How fab is that! My bookshelves are pleading for mercy even as we sit here. LOL :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Attention Michael Crichton Fans

Rumors are going around that Steven Spielberg has optioned the rights to Mr. Crichton's unfinished novel Pirate Latitudes. The Guardian has published a story with more details, click here. According to the article the book will be published in November.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Adventures

I've signed up for two classes at our local community college. I took a computer class in the spring of '08 and I didn't do very well trying to juggle home and work and school along with a long commute. I've been out of the Supermom game for a while and it took a lot out of me. I enjoyed it though. So this time I'm taking international relations and 'culture and geography'. Should be interesting I think.

Post #975 in Giveaway

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Warded Man Movie Coming?

According to the Del Ray Newsletter, author Peter V Brett has signed a film adaptation deal for his book The Warded Man aka The Painted Man. The same group who makes the Resident Evil movie franchise has taken on Brett's book.

Images found on Random House and Fantastic Fiction.

Post #974

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Enchantment Emporium; Tanya Huff

Tanya Huff is a new to me Canadian author I found on the "fabulous new finds" shelves in my local library. This book was published this year by Daw. I searched for a book site for her without success, although she has a livejournal page, the title above links to a wiki page about her. ISFDB has a page for her. Ms. Huff has a huge list of work, none of which I'm familiar with- a condition many Canadian authors probably suffer with (ie: Americans being totally clueless about our good neighbors' literary work). I have managed to find one of her older works: titled Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light, which I look forward to reading sometime soon.

I have to say the title and cover sucked me right in- that the blurb sounded fascinating was a bonus. Ms. Huff has developed a detailed alternate reality version of Canada populated with well developed, articulate characters (in this case primarily women) who have what we would likely consider paranormal gifts. The Gale family is comprised almost entirely of women, the few directly related male members of the family are carefully portioned out to the other ladies 'to keep the bloodlines pure' according to the characters. Once I realized what that actually was, it squicked me out totally. Still does. Despite that Ms. Huff managed to pull me deeper into her story.

Alysha Gale is twenty four, newly unemployed and has been summoned across Canada by a mysterious letter mailed to her by her grandmother that opens: "If you're reading this I'm dead.." or something close to that. Allie has to go to her grandmother's antique shop and figure out what's happening. No one is totally sure if grandmother is dead or not, so Allie and her favorite cousin and their childhood friend Michael are ordered to figure out exactly what's going on. After that it's nonstop action: leprechauns, gates that allow powerful beasts into the mortal realm, mysterious spelled cell phones, baked goods that have spells and charms baked right in. Let's not forget the seventh son of a seventh son and yummy delicious bad guys that have this romance reader wishing the bad guys had books all their own.

I really enjoyed The Enchantment Emporium. I felt like I was dropped into a fully developed world, as opposed to enduring lots of world building. I'm hopeful Ms. Huff will write more books set in this world, preferably with more on stage action by the bad guys!

This is post #973 for those of you keeping track of my 1,000 post giveaway

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Death Wore White; Jim Kelly

I found this book by happy coincidence. I read about it via the Guardian book section and made a note of it, less than ten days later it was listed on our library 'new acquisitions' email. So I requested it- first one on the list! Here in the US this is a 2009 release from St. Martin's. It's a police procedural and puzzle mystery set in contemporary England. More on the procedural and characterization and less purely puzzle, but that element is still there. It is, in a word fabulous- go & read it.

Peter Shaw is a youngish veteran police officer (10 years) in a small British coastal town. His partner is George Valentine, who is significantly nearer to retirement age. George and Peter's father, Jack, were disgraced twelve years earlier. An event which led to Jack's premature death a year later and the near total ruination of George's career. Peter and George are on the beach looking for illegal barrels of toxic waste when the stumble upon a body in an inflatable boat rocking in the surf, shortly afterward they find a line of stranded vehicles most of which contain annoyed passengers- except for one, which contains a very dead passenger. The weather is prated on endlessly, blizzard conditions. Remember that, will you?

Peter is the kind of person who enters his father's profession to try and understand him better. He's also the kind of person who marries a woman the exact opposite of one his parents would approve of- a trait that endeared him to me, lol. :) Peter, naturally, feels compelled to revisit the scene of his father's last case and quizzes George about it. George is having some trouble adjusting to being ordered about by a stripling and doesn't seem inclined to change his methodology to make Peter's working life easier, not that he should anyway. George is a widower who has his routines that do nothing to hide his loneliness or rootlessness. He knows policing though, and Peter does well to remember that.

Despite being slow to start, once Mr. Kelly has a head of steam there's no stopping the momentum of his story. It's nicely balanced between figuring out the murders and exploring the personality and methodology and private lives of Peter and George. I'm hopeful that the next book moves a little quicker in the beginning since there is groundwork laid. Mr. Kelly has another series featuring sleuth Philip Dryden, the most recent one of which was released in paperback in September of 2008.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer Doldrums

It's my turn over at the Access Romance Reader's Blog. All about how I need to be rescued out of a reading drought. Click link in title above to read the post.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Millions of Strawberries

By Genevieve Taggard

Marcia and I went over the curve,
Eating our way down
Jewels of strawberries we didn't deserve,
Eating our way down,
Til our hands were sticky, and our lips painted.
And over us the hot day fainted,
And we saw snakes,
And got scratched,
And a lust came over for the red unmatched
Small buds of berries,
Till we lay down-
Eating our way down-
And rolled in the berries like two little dogs,
In the late gold.
And gnats hummed,
And it was cold,
And home we went, home without a berry,
Painted red and brown,
Eating our way down.

Friday, August 14, 2009

NPR Listeners Beach Book Poll

I stole this idea from Kailana at The Written Word. Books I've read are bolded. 34 of those. Titles I own but haven't read are italicized. 6 of these.

1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
4. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
6. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
9. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
10. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
11. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
12. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
13. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
14. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
15. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
16. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
17. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
18. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
19. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
20. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
21. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
22. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
23. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
24. The World According to Garp by John Irving
25. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
26. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
27. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
28. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
29. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
30. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
31. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
32. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
33. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
34. Beach Music by Pat Conroy
35. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
36. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
37. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
38. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
39. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
40. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
41. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
42. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
43. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
44. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
45. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
46. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
47. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
48. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
49. I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
50. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
51. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
52. The Stand by Stephen King
53. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
54. Dune by Frank Herbert
55. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
56. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
57. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
58. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
59. The Godfather by Mario Puzo
60. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
61. Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
62. Jaws by Peter Benchley
63. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
64. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
65. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
66. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
67. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
68. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
69. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
70. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
71. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
72. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
73. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
74. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
74. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
76. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
77. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
78. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
79. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
80. Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
81. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
82. The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve [tie]
83. All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
84. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
85. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
86. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
87. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
88. Shogun by James Clavell
89. Dracula by Bram Stoker
90. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
91. Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
92. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
93. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
94. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
95. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
96. The Shining by Stephen King
97. How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan
98. Lamb by Christopher Moore
99. Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen
100. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Treasures from the Library

In a vain attempt to either: a) cut down in book spending b) take all of the best library books home so no one else can read them or c) increase my guilt at lack of reading by looking at my enormous library pile or possibly d) all of the above, I have approximately 25 titles checked out from the library.

I'm currently reading 2:

Death Wore White by Jim Kelly

The End of Overeating by David Kessler

I have 2 more on request and just received an email saying the one I wanted most is available for pick up:

Mastered by Love by Stephanie Laurens

This is post #968 for those readers interested in participating in my 1000 post giveaway, click here for information. If you would like to be entered in the giveaway please leave a comment on any post starting with the August 7th announcement and ending with the 1000th post.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Four Wives; Wendy Walker

Ms. Walker is a new to me author published by St. Martin's Griffin. Full disclosure: I received this title as an ARC from Phenix Publicity for the purpose of this review. This title sparked much conversation between the Hubby and myself, with different reactions from both of us. It would be a fabulous title for a book discussion group.

This is a story of four women who start off the story playing in the shallow end of life's pool and end up in the deep end. How they went from shallow to deep and how they rescued themselves (most of them anyway) and each other. Superficially Four Wives is centralized around planning a charity fundraiser. However, IMO Four Wives is actually a character study of these women, their marriages & the superficiality that infects them all to one degree or another.

There is Janie the Barbie wife, who has all of the fabulous and perfect Barbie accoutrements (house, kids, car, trainer, servants, plastic surgery, husband), except maybe she doesn't love her husband anymore and sex with him is icky now. Ooops. Then there's Marie, a Harvard trained lawyer who gave up an exciting & thriving career in New York City to live the suburban lifestyle she was supposed to want. Poor Marie didn't realize just how much suburban living would suck the vitality out of her. Love is the doctor's wife, but she's too stressed, too anxious, too guilt ridden to truly enjoy her children, her husband or the storybook life she's created. But what is she hiding? Last is Gayle, the old line New York family member, wealthy in her own right. She's everyone's guiding light. Gayle is way too much of a control freak, way too reserved to throw her social weight and influence around too much. So- what is Gayle keeping at bay with all of those pills she takes?

These women, these characters, provoked very strong reactions. The conversations between Hubby and I were animated and thought provoking. Ms. Walker paints true to life people and places them in a complex social and moral situation and then stirs the pot, leaving the reader to eagerly devour the pages wondering just how will everything fall into place at the end. The dynamic of one woman who makes a moral judgement that may have serious repercussions throughout her life is placed alongside another woman who is so self absorbed that she doesn't consider anything other than what she wants and how to get it. Alternatively there are women who play out life scripts written for them when they were children. Which ones of these ladies will triumph?

One quote stood out for me at the end, a quote that I think is representative of the novel as a whole. In my book it's on page 353:

"She had done a lot of thinking about the state of affairs between men and women and the attempts they made to share one life, one home. Was there ever really harmony without one person's submission?"

All I can say is wow. Four Wives is wonderful: thought provoking, conversation stirring, exciting. My hubby has borrowed it and plans to read it. If he wants to write a review I will post it and link the two reviews. Ms. Walker has another book out titled Social Lives which comes out September 1st. Run out and buy or borrow Four Wives, you won't be sorry.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Twenties Girl; Sophie Kinsella

Twenties Girl is my very first Sophie Kinsella book. I know, I know I must be the very last woman on earth who hasn't read the Shopaholic series. I've been living under a rock reading other stuff, I guess. I will be up front and say I received an ARC from Random House for the purpose of this review. Link to Ms. Kinsella's site in the title above. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have picked this up on my own- and I would've missed a fabulous, funny book.

Twenties Girl is the story of two young women, Lara and Sadie, who have opposite temperments using their individual strengths and weaknesses to help the other cope with and transcend the vagaries of life. That sounds very serious, but truly Ms. Kinsella has a deft touch for comic yet true to life situations that would curl your hair if it was you, but are somehow hilarious when it happens to someone else. In a way I think this is also Lara's coming of age tale. By helping Sadie Lara must let go of preconceived notions and castles in the air and learn to be assertive and cope with life as it is, not life as she wishes it would be. For Sadie's part, well- she needs to learn to put others' needs ahead of her own, to be more forgiving.

Lara Lington is a mid twenties age Londoner who gave up her job to open an executive search firm with her 'best friend' Natalie. Lara's problems result from impulsivity and a pronounced tendency to be chameleon-like in the face of even the barest criticism. Sadie is Lara's long ignored elderly aunt. Rather, Sadie's ghost is haunting Lara. In her own mind, at her death Sadie is twenty three. At the height of her beauty and happiness, feeling as though she's at the top of the world. Except she's actually one hundred five. And very dead. Sadie wants Lara to find her favorite necklace and she threatens to haunt Lara until and unless she finds the necklace and returns it to Sadie.

Lara and Sadie are hilarious and heartbreaking. I found Sadie the more compelling character despite the book's primary focus on Lara's arc. Sadie manages to prod, drag and hound Lara into clarity of purpose and determination via Sadie's compelling need for a missing art deco dragonfly necklace. Throw in a smarmy coffee chain magnate uncle and his family, parents who know something's wrong but who won't corner Lara into honesty and the reader has a mixture of plot and character that are sure to keep you laughing as you devour the story.

Laughter's a formidable weapon in Ms. Kinsella's arsenal as she leads readers into a superficially shallow, fun storyline that has at it heart, a compelling narrative about family, love, and self respect. Full of fun anecdotes about life in the roaring twenties I loved reading about, Twenties Girl makes for a laugh out loud, "oh no she didn't" kind of read sure to make you smile.

P.S. The funeral at the end was a unique and touching tribute to Sadie! Just the right send off, I think.

Image found on Random House Library.

Friday, August 07, 2009

1,000 post celebration coming

This post makes my 965th post, in celebration of my up coming 1,000th post I've decided to give away books I've recently reviewed to commmenters who leave a brief "hi there" in the comments. I'm willing to ship overseas as long as you're patient enough to wait for regular mail not airmail. Winners will be able to choose any two titles from the following list, which I plan to amend with more titles as time goes by. I'll chose enough winners to get through the list, at the moment it's 3 but will rise as I read more. Whichever winners contact me first via email get first pick, I'll use the timestamp on the email to decide who get which ones. :)

Questions?? Email me: bookwormomster AT gmail DOT com

All books reviewed & listed in my archives except as noted.

1. Cybele's Secret- Juliet Marillier (hardcover) review pending

2. Ruby's Slippers- Leanna Ellis

3. Certain Jeopardy- Struecker & Gansky

4. Rooftops of Tehran- Mahbod Seraji

5. Dirt: An American Campaign Mark LaFlamme

6. Twenties Girl- Sophie Kinsella

7. Four Wives Wendy Walker

July Monthly Synopsis

Hardly read anything this month, truth be told. Well, hardly finished anything. The "reading mojo" as CindyS calls it seems to have gone on vacation. Which really annoys me since I've tons of great books around here begging to be read, but I've a shorter reading attention span than a two year old who needs a nap.:(

1.The Book of Unholy Mischief; Elle Newmark

2 DNFs~

Both explained in post

1. Iron Angel, Alan Campbell

2. Trading in Danger; Elizabeth Moon

Read earlier this year, but somehow forgotten in the monthly synopses, neither reviewed:

The Shadow Queen~ Anne Bishop~ Fantasy

Midnight Secretary~ Tomu Ohmi~ Josei Manga, click here for definition

Reviews for these coming soon. I hope.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cheaper Sony E-Books & Readers

According to the NYT, Sony is slashing prices on their ebooks & is also introducing new, less expensive readers. Good news for those of you waiting for prices to fall before making the jump over to ebooks. Link in title.

New Vorkosigan??

According to Lois McMaster Bujold's MySpace page there will be a new Miles book late next year. Found via...someone on my feed reader. Apologies for not remembering which blogger, will try better next time. :(

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

M&B Retro Covers

According to the Guardian (link in title above) M & B is redoing cover styles across their lines to emulate their 70's era look. Kinda neat, huh? I'm not sure how to find the new covers on their website, but click here for the site. I don't read much HQN/M&B, so maybe someone else out there figure out how to find the new covers?

Guardian running a contest

From now until 9 August readers can nominate books for the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize contest. Rules listed here. Prize is a mug. Sounds like tremendous fun. I'm off to hunt up a possible entry. I desperately need more mugs. LOL :)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Back Now-

Vacation was fabulous. Just the Hubby & I. No kids, no animals. No worries. Or at least nothing worth fretting over while we were gone. You know, it was the first time we'd gone away alone in...five years. Maybe four. Can't remember. That was only a long weekend. This time we took a whole week. What luxury- an entire week. Needless to say I didn't read anything. No newspapers, no magazines, no books, nothing. Honestly, I can't say I missed it either. Yes, I'm shocked too. But really- I left most of my life behind for a week & I enjoyed it. Now that I'm back, though, I'm refreshed & ready to go. Maybe. HAHAHAHA :)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

I Meant to do my Work Today; Richard LaGallienne

I meant to do my work today-
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand-
So what could I do but laugh and go?