Showing posts from 2011

Top Ten Book Releases I'm Looking Forward to in 2012

There are always so many books that I look forward to reading.  I have about a zillion on my To-Read list and, honestly, the list continues to grow every single day.  Now, to add to that list, here are the ten books that are being released in 2012 that I am definitely looking forward to:

1. Though this is NOT the book cover (it hasn't been released yet), I am definitely looking forward to Pittacus Lore's The Rise of Nine Release:  August 2012
2. Again, no book cover released, but here's a map of the town where the trilogy takes place.  Nora Roberts The Last Boyfriend is the second in the Inn Boonsboro trilogy. Release:  May 2012
3. A retelling of Jane Eyre?  Sign me up! Margot Livesey's The Flight of Gemma Hardy sounds awesome! Release:  January 2012
4. This book sound fascinating and is set in my favorite era:  WWII.  Ramona Ausubel's No One is Here Except All of Us Release:  February 2012
5. Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened sounds absolutely hilarious! R…

Top Ten Book Villains of 2011

Now this is probably the easiest post in this week long event.  Counting down my top ten villains is a piece of cake!  In descending order:

10.  Solomon from Red Riding Hood.  He's pious and such a hypocrite.  I hated him from the moment he appeared in the book.

9.  Precious Jones's Father, and Mother for that matter, from Push.  Truly atrocious people.  I think allowing your husband to perform such acts, or turning a blind eye to the situation, is equally as punishable as the acts themselves.  Despicable.

8.  Kronos and the Titans from Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian.  Gods bent on destroying the World...those definitely count as villains in my book.

7.  Lestat from Interview with the Vampire.  He's a selfish non-living being.  Very selfish. 

6.  The entire town of Martirio, Texas from Vernon God Little.  Jumping to conclusions and accusing innocent children of crimes they had nothing to do with is pretty villainous.  Yes?

5.  Ruth from Never Let Me Go.  She could giv…

Top Ten Book Boyfriends of 2011

This topic is hard for me because I haven't really fallen for many characters this year; at least characters that fit this category.  However, there are about five I can lump together to get something down on this list.  Here goes:

1.  Undoubtedly goes to Peeta from The Hunger Games.  He's amazing in all the right ways. 

2.  Joe Morelli from the Stephanie Plum series.  I love Joe so much more than Ranger.  He'd be my pick for sure :)

3.  Peter from Red Riding Hood.  He's dark, mysterious, and...broody. 

And that's pretty much it.  I feel like a failure in this post, but I've got nothing else.  It could possibly be due to the copious amounts of medication racing through my veins.  Damn you holiday cold!!!!

Top Ten Covers of 2011

Day two of the Top Ten event is dedicated to the loved covers that have come out throughout the year.  Now, according to the rules, just because I've chosen a cover does not mean I've actually read the book.  However, I am planning on reading all of these books at some point in the near future. goes!

1. Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children 2. Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers 3. Daisy Goodwin's The American Heiress 4. Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers 5. Beth Revis' Across the Universe 6. Karen Russell's Swamplandia! 7. Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus 8. Tina Fey's Bossypants 9. Haruki Murakami's IQ84 10. Alexi Zentner's Touch And there you have it.  Look for tomorrow's installation of Top Ten Book Boyfriends!  Woohoo!

Teaser Tuesday...Spreading a Little Love over Scotland

It's Tuesday and that means it's time for a teaser!  Today's teaser comes from Alexander McCall Smith's Love Over Scotland, the third installation in the 44 Scotland Street series. 

"The pain from the scorpion sting seemed to have abated somewhat, and when she looked down at her left foot she saw that the swelling also seemed to have subsided.  She felt a strong surge of relief at this; obviously the scorpion was not too toxic, and she was not going to die, as she had feared earlier on" (218).

Oh the antics these characters manage to get themselves in to.  Good stuff.  Happy Tuesday everyone!

Top Ten Books of 2011

I find it so difficult to narrow books down into top 10 lists, but I've decided to participate in a wonderful event for this week which requires me to do just that.  Ugh!  Regardless, I will endeavor to be discerning and only list the ten that the post requires (though I could go on and on, I'm sure).    So, without further ado, here is my haggled-over list of the top ten books I've read in 2011.  Though not all of these books necessarily came out in 2011, I read each of them over the past year.

1.  Chris Bohjalian's Trans-Sister Radio...I loved this book from the moment I opened it.  It's provocative, thoughtful, and oh so controversial.  Great read!

2.  Julia Glass' Three Junes...This book stayed with me for months after I finished it.  Glass does a beautiful job at portraying each character and fully developing everything.  Brilliant.

3.  Kathryn Stockett's The Help...Um...HIGH-LARIOUS and heart-warming!  That's all.  I loved, loved, loved this book so …

Life on the Equator Sounds Not So Awesome...

This book sounded so promising.  Again, borrowed from a friend, I was looking forward to reading it.  However, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.  Yes, there are some entertaining events and some funny instances (I actually laughed out loud a few times), but overall it was a disappointment...for several reasons.

Sex Lives follows the South Pacific adventures of J. Maarten Troost and his girlfriend, Paige.  Paige gets a job working for the Kiribati government and Troost decides to hang onto Paige's coattails when she goes.  What follows is a historical analysis of the people of Tarawa and the island nations of Kiribati, in addition to Troost's adventures and misadventures of island life.  That's about it.

I think the main reason I disliked this book was because of the author.  Yeah.  He comes off as a complete pretentious ass.  Oh so you don't have to work.  Good for you.  Oh, you can turn your nose up at student loans and credit card bills.  Have a coo…

I Like My Coffee Black (Book #19)

Book number 19 in my ever-occurring, never-ending A-Z Reading Challenge is Alexander McCall Smith's Espresso Tales.  This is the second book in the 44 Scotland Street series and I have to say, though enjoyable, I didn't like it as much as the first in the series.

Espresso finds us back on Scotland Street with all of the previous characters, plus a few that are featured more prominently than in the previous book.  Most of the characters are still who they were in the first book, though some of them have had a few mishaps and setbacks.  Bruce is just as egotistical as ever, but there were instances in this book that knocked him down a peg or four.  I liked that fact (perhaps that's mean of me).  Pat is finally making a decision about her future and starting to voice her opinions and ideas to those she's surrounded by (Bruce mainly).  She also meets someone...kind of.  Domenica is still the voice of intuition and stories that prevails over the entire story.  Bertie is a ye…

Explosive Eighteen is Lacking a Spark

Oh Janet Evanovich...perhaps you should wrap up Stephanie's story OR finally make a few decisions about her character development (or lack thereof as of now).  I really wanted to like Explosive Eighteen.  I really did!  Unfortunately, it's more of the same ole shtick with a ho-hum plot.  We left Stephanie in a great place in the last book in the series:  going on a Hawaiian vacation with a mystery man.  Now, my hope was that the mystery man would be Morelli.  I wasn't let down in this case...kind of.  There was a really weird turnout to poor Stephanie's tropical vacation and she was hesitant to talk about why it was cut short and why there was a distinctive tan on her ring finger.  Say what?!  I won't give anything else away.

This installation of the Stephanie Plum series involves our heroine in an international jewel heist, a case of mistaken identity, and lending a hand to mortal enemies.  It also finds Stephanie, like always, trying to choose between Ranger and …

Why I Love...Trans-Sister Radio

It's that time of the week again when I go on and on about why I love something.  This week's post is about my favorite book read during 2011.  Now I could definitely dedicate this entire post to The Hunger Games because I absolutely loved that trilogy...a lot, but I think that I am going to go for something off the beaten path.  Because of that, my favorite book read in 2011 was Chris Bohjalian's Trans-Sister Radio.  This book was so amazing, heart-wrenching, and provocative.   

I posted a review of this book when I read it in March and have continued to think about it since then.  Bohjalian's gentle dealings with gender ideals and identity are handled so beautifully in this book that they, at times, leave the reader a little speechless.  The story-telling by each of the characters lends a gorgeous layering to the novel.  I honestly couldn't recommend this book more...or anything by Bohjalian for that matter.

Runners Up
~Kathryn Stockett's The Help
~Julia Glass…

Why I Love...TV and Movies

I'm notorious for believing that books are far superior to their TV and movie counterparts.  This is a known fact and, undoubtedly, true in nearly every single instance.  However, there are those rare occasions when TV shows and movies do a damn fine job at portraying the original print version; that's why this post is dedicated to my favorite show from a book and my favorite movie from a book (I couldn't pick just one).

It seems that there is a definite trend in today's newly developed shows.  That trend is taking popular books (mainly those geared toward young adults) and creating popular television shows from them.  Case in point:  The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and so on.  I can honestly say that I have heard great things about all of these shows, but I have yet to watch a single episode of any or read a single book.  On the other hand, there are three shows developed from books that I absolutely love (in descending order):

#3 HBO's…

Teaser Tuesday...Balzac Reminds Me of Van Wilder

So I realize that I was a complete slacker last week and didn't post a "Why I Love...Wednesday" or a book review (and I did finish two books!).  I'm going to remedy that this week...haha.  Regardless, it is Tuesday and it's times for a teaser.  This week's teaser comes from Dai Sijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, which I am starting for one of my book clubs.

"Lou broke the silence. 'I expect they're books,' he said.  'The way you keep your suitcase locked up and hidden away is enough to betray your secret:  you've got a stash of forbidden books.'" (49).

I've had this book on my To-Read list for ages and am so glad that it was chosen for our selection this month.  Yay!

Teaser Tuesday...A Short History Lesson

And I'm finally home from proctoring my last final of the term AND participating in a massive Writing 115 grading session.  My brain is mush and I am in rare form.  It's a wonder I can even write a coherent sentence, let alone an entire post.  But, since it's Tuesday, a teaser is a must!  Today's blurb comes from Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything.  Thank you Wallace Books for this literary gem!!

"Perhaps nothing speaks more clearly of our psychological remoteness from the ocean depths than that the main expressed goal for oceanographers during International Geophysical Year, 1957/8, was to study 'the use of ocean depths for the dumping of radioactive wastes'.  This wasn't a secret assignment, you understand, but a proud public boast.  In fact, though it wasn't much publicized, by 1957/8 the dumping of radioactive wastes had already been going on, with a certain appalling vigour, for over a decade.  Since 1946, the United States…

Why I Love...Stand Alone Novels

It was a beautiful, sunny day here in the PNW, though I forgot to take a picture of it (I even thought to myself while I was driving home from work: "take a picture of the sky because it's an amazingly nice November day.  That doesn't often happen here").  However, that has absolutely nothing to do with today's post.  I just thought I'd share :)

Instead, it's time for "Why I Love".  This week's topic is....series or stand alone novels.  Intriguing and important!  While both have their positive and negative attributes, I have to give the honor to those novels that can stand alone.  Those that don't depend on anything else to make them complete.  Those that come full circle within the given pages.  It's so satisfying in that respect.

Don't get me wrong, I love a series just as much as the next girl (Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, and Stephanie Plum to name a few), but there's something about a stand alon…

Teaser Tuesday...Evidently Cannibals are Sexy...

Today's teaser comes from a book lent to me by a friend, J. Maarten Troost's The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific.  It's a travelogue, and we all know how much I enjoy travel and people who write about travel.  However, I don't think that the island of Tarawa, where Troost heads, would necessarily be my destination.  But who knows, it could be intriguing! 

"But we had a few illusions and no one, certainly not Kate, a walking spout of bilious bile, was going to deprive us of what we wanted to see.  We had traveled far, uprooted our lives, moved to the end of the world, and there was no way we were going to concede that we had made a mistake." (35)

Sounds fascinating...and comical!!!

Top Ten of 2011 Event

Yet another great thing to participate in!!!  

The Low-Down Monday 12/26 – Top 10 Books I’ve read in 2011 Tuesday 12/27 – Top 10 Book Covers of 2011 Wednesday 12/28 – Top 10 Book Boyfriends in 2011 Thursday 12/29 – Top 10 Characters in 2011 (This can be anything you’d like to make it for characters. You can post your favorite Villains, etc. Just be sure that this post is character based.) Friday 12/30 – Top 10 Books I’m looking forward to in 2012 (Also on this day, we’ll each be adding some kind of a recap of the total number of books read, pages read, etc. This part of the post is optional. Feel free to add any stats you’d like to share with everyone. So, if you’d like to also include some end of year stats, feel free to join us!)

I came across this on a site that hosts a few meme's that I participate in and thought it sounded like a great idea, so I decided to join in.  It's hosted by a few other blogs and there's a …

An Encounter with the Jersey Devil...Among Others

I just finished a Stephanie Plum between-the-number novel, Plum Spooky, and have to say that I enjoyed it for the quick read that it was.  I've read a few of the in between novels and have always been a little disappointed in them.  I think this stems from the fact that Morelli and Ranger are not prominently present.  Such a tragedy.  However, I did find this one entertaining, even without those two, and despite the fact that there was a certain amount of the paranormal/science fiction aspect to it.  Not too shabby.

The novel centers around Stephanie (obviously) and her rather inept attempts at capturing a high-bond skip:  Martin Munch.  There are a couple lesser skips that she runs down during this long search, Gordo Bollo is a rather comical one who enjoys throwing fruits at Stephanie to escape, but the majority of the time is spent trying to ferret out Munch.  Munch has fallen in with a scary guy, Wulf, who is busy eluding Diesel, a guy who randomly appears in Stephanie's a…

Why I Love...W.P.B.!

Well, hello Wednesday.  It's nice to see you again!  I'm getting a little bit of a late start on my "Why I Love" post this week because it's so hard to come up with one favorite book family, which is this week's topic.  Now, because I couldn't narrow it down enough to not include these three families, I simply ranked them in order!

This should be a given for anyone who knows me (and for anyone who's read some of my past posts) because I always manage to weave in a little Harry Potter reference somewhere in my discussion.  However, this one is completely applicable.  Every single Weasley family member is so fully developed, even those who don't show up often.  The dynamics between the members are beautifully portrayed and each character is lovable in their own way (even Percy at times).  The Weasley family is one that makes the most of their situation, doesn't begrudge anyone who might have more in a monetary sense, and loves each other uncon…

I'd Rather Murder this Book on the Eiffel Tower than Read It Again

Claude Izner's Murder on the Eiffel Tower is TERRIBLE!!!  If you pass one book over during this holiday season, make sure it's this one.  Oh man.  So bad!

I borrowed this book from a friend last week and it sounded promising.  She said it was different, had an odd voice to it, and that she was waiting to make up her mind about it.  That should have been a sign.  Alas, I read the whole thing...and feel like I've lost a few braincells while doing so.

The novel follows a group of middle to high class individuals through Paris during the 1889 World Exposition Fair (the one where the Eiffel Tower was unveiled).  What follows is a case of whodunnit.  There is a murder...and then another...and another...and another...yet they are all chalked up to the work of killer bees by the police.  What?!  Unless you are a character from NBC's Grimm, this is simply not plausible.  Victor Legris, a bookseller, is present at the first murder and soon embarks on his own personal investigati…

Teaser Tuesday...Bring Me Some Coffee!

It's a rainy, windy, out of control day here in the Pacific Northwest (seriously...I feel like the roof is going to be ripped off the top of the house right now), but I am a dedicated Teaser Tuesday poster and, fear not, I will not let you down!  Today's teaser comes from a book that I am two pages into as I started it this morning and then got distracted by shopping (whoops).  My selection is from Alexander McCall Smith's second installation in the 44 Scotland Street series and is called Espresso Tales.

"Stuart looked frantically about the room.  It would be possible to make a run for it now, he thought.  Lard would be unable to run after them, with that bulk of his, but he had heard sounds out in the hall and he had assumed that there were other men, apart from Gerry, in the house.  These gangsters rarely had just one side-kick, he remembered." (177)
And now I want some coffee...

A Shining Knight is Kind of Dim in my Opinion...(Book #18)

Finally knocked out another book in the A-Z challenge; it's been a while since I've selected a book that will work for the challenge.  I originally had a different novel chosen for the letter "K", but I decided to choose something that I knew I could get through quickly in an effort to finish up the challenge.  Thank you Jude Deveraux for providing me with such a choice in A Knight in Shining Armor (one of my 50 centers from the Friends of the Library sale).

Reading the synopsis of this novel really presented me with not much to go on.  I thought it was going to be a historical novel, but I was mistaken...kind of.  

Knight follows Dougless along her journey to love and self-acceptance in 1988.  She is on vacation in England with her significant other (a self-centered ass) and his spoiled brat of a daughter.  Trouble ensues and she's left to fend for herself without anything to her name.  Cue the entrance of Nicholas Stafford, an earl from the sixteenth century.  …

Why I Love...Draco Malfoy

It's hard to find a specific character in a book that you hate but love at the same time.  Most of the time you hate them with a passion, feel indifferent, or, in rare cases, love them despite their many shortcomings.  Because of that, this week's "Why I Love" is dedicated to my favorite villain; one that I love despite his MANY shortcomings.

Draco Malfoy.  The poor kid!  I know, I know.  Many people absolutely hate the white-blonde snot, but for some reason I felt sorry for him more than I hated him.  For me, Draco was a victim of circumstance.  He grew up with parents who demonstrated a hate for the "other" and didn't really know a different view of the world.  In many ways, he is like Harry.  Whoa...did I just say that?  Yes, I did!  Though Draco had parents, who loved him in their own way, he was also brought up in an environment that did not encourage outward displays of affection or acceptance.  He was stunted in his development at a young age and…

Teaser Tuesday...Traveling Back in Time (Kind Of...Sort Of)

Today's teaser is brought to you by the letter K!  I am still trying to get through my A-Z Book Challenge (I keep reading books starting with letters that I've already read), so I grabbed one that will count toward that specific challenge.  Though it wasn't the original intention for the letter, I felt like I was so far behind that I grabbed one I knew I could get through quickly.  So, because of that, this teaser comes from Jude Deveraux's A Knight in Shining Armor; it's one of my Friends of the Library purchases!

"As she hung up, Dougless realized she wasn't surprised by the coincidence.  It seemed that some kind of wish therapy was at work.  Every time she wished for something, she got it.  She wished for a Knight in Shining Armor and he had appeared (a crazy one who thought he was from the sixteenth century, but a man in armor no less); she wished for money and he had a bag of coins worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.  Now she needed reservations to …

But Who's the Wolf??????

Just finished Sarah Blakley-Cartwright's Red Riding Hood and I am not amused!  I had, I guess unreasonably, high hopes for this adaptation of the classic fairytale.  Alas, I was let down.  The story was interesting and kept me involved, however I felt completely let down by so much of the book.

Hood follows the experience of Valerie and the village she lives in.  Every full moon a family must sacrifice one piece of their livestock to appease the werewolf who haunts their village.  One fateful harvest there is the rarely occurring blood moon.  This is where all the action starts.  There is a vicious killing of one of the villagers and, literally, all hell breaks loose.  The one killing leads to broken loyalties, paranoia, questions of faith, and more deaths.  Of course there is also a love triangle between Valerie, Henry, and Peter that plays into the action of the story, but the reader doesn't have to think hard to know who Valerie will end up with.  It's a decent storyline…

44 Scotland Street Makes Me Teary-Eyed

That's right!  Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street makes me teary-eyed.  Not because of the plot or characters or anything like that, but because of the fact that I can close my eyes and see exactly what the characters are seeing.  I can walk and ride along with them in every aspect.  Sad and teary-eyed because I miss it so much.  Ugh.  Now I don't even want to write this.  My dreary day (though fantastic weather-wise with it's overcast skies, slight mist, and chilly breeze) is now reflected with a dreary mood :(

Anywho...moving on to the book.  LOVED IT!  I like the fact that McCall Smith originally created this as a serial and ran it in The Scotsmanevery week and I can only image how fans reacted.  Personally, I would have found it nearly impossible to wait for the next installment to come out.  Oh the pins and needles!  However, since there are currently five books in the series, I think I'm good for the moment.

44 Scotland Street follows the inhabitants o…

Why I Love...A Multitude of Authors

As someone who has made books and reading their profession, it is very difficult for me to choose a favorite author.  But there are several who stand out in my eyes and that's why this week's "Why I Love" is dedicated to my favorite author...or authors in my case :)

First, and foremost, I have to include Italo Calvino who is a notable Cuban-Italian writer.  I first encountered the brilliance that is Calvino's writing in an undergrad English course and have since sought out everything he's written, even going so far as to take a grad course dedicated to him.  The first book I read of his was The Baron in the Trees.  Pure magical brilliance!  He's also written a lot of literary theory and critiques on the notion of time as it's represented in literature.  I have to say that my absolute favorite novel by Calvino is If on a winter's night a traveler...which is a unique piece of work in that it doesn't follow the traditional formula of novels at al…

Books Galore!

This past weekend was the annual Friends of the Albany Library book sale at the fairgrounds and I picked all of these lovely, wonderful, heartwarming books up for a mere 23 bucks!  I love this sale and always mark it in my calendar.  Also, I could have bought a lot more and spent even longer perusing the tables, but my Powell's tote was full :(  Next year I'm bringing two bags!  Now I just have to wait for the Friends of the Corvallis Library sale to add to my continually growing selection.

Teaser Tuesday...Beware the Big, Bad Wolf!

This week's teaser comes from one of my finds from the Dollar Tree that cost me, you guessed it, a whole dollar!  Whew...almost broke the bank there!  So, without further ado, I give you Sarah Blakley-Cartwright's Red Riding Hood (adapted from the screenplay written by David Leslie Johnson):

"Suzette was thinking she'd rather the visitors begin to leave, but hearing steps ascending the ladder, she still opened the door, moving onto the porch in anticipation and closing the door behind her against the snow.  But when she saw the dark head come into view, she wished she hadn't.  She recognized him even after all these years." (111)
I haven't yet started the book as I'm finishing up another one, trying to finish up grading for the end of the term, applying to a PhD program, and participating in National Novel Writing Month.  Needless to say my plate's kind of full, but I have every intention of starting this book by this weekend.  Yay for Veteran'…

Why I Love...A Book in my Hands

I've been known to read anywhere and everywhere.  True statement.  There are very few places that I am unable to read; namely cars and double decker buses (found both out the hard way).  When I was little, I was able to read in cars, no problem.  However, as I've grown older, I find that I tend to get a little motion sickness if I don't watch the road the entire time.  Either that, or I have to close my eyes for the duration of the trip.  Regardless, I've discovered that I can read just about anywhere aside from those two places.  So, because of this, I dedicate this week's "Why I Love" to my favorite reading spot...THE WORLD as long as I have a book in my hands!

I'm quite comfortable hunkering down in any given spot, cracking open whatever book is in my bag, and losing myself in the world it provides.  This ability has provided me with many escapes from the everyday world and helped to pass hours and hours.  I find this incredibly true when confronte…

Portland's a Crazy Little Bitch!

"I wonder how people think of Portland from the outside.  Is it a hippie haven where everyone reads Ken Kesey and hangs out at open mike night?  Is it the gray, grungy, junkie-riddled streets of early Gus Van Sant movies?  A cheap, trendy town full of myopic record labels and zinesters?  Sex worker paradise?  Bookstore heaven?  A place where New Yorkers come to feel important and/or relaxed?  Some wet old logging town that somehow became "one of the best cities in America"?
Yeah, it's all that and a fancy coffee spilled on your Gore-Tex jacket (the same one you soiled with microbrew last night)."  ~Kevin Sampsell
What a lovely...and TRUE...introduction to Portland Noir, a wonderful collection of seedy stories set throughout Portland, written by local authors.  The collection really does showcase the different sections of the city (Burnside, St. Johns, Mount Tabor, Powell, Oaks Bottom, etc.) and the sub-culture that is inherently threaded through its identity.  I…

Teaser Tuesday...Reminiscing about Edinburgh

It's that time of the week where I put forth a little gem of lovely from whatever book I'm reading (at least the one closest to me at the time).  For this week's edition, I've just started Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street, the first in the series.  Yay for Scotland (I miss you)!!  And the teaser...

"'Psychotherapy," said Bertie, gazing down at the floor.  'I set fire to Daddy's Guardian.'  He paused, and looked up at Domenica.  'While he was reading it.'" (222)

I'm really enjoying this book so far...for several reasons.