Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The smartest monster ever

As I've been reading "light" fiction lately, I thought it was time to break out another classic. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was my pick.

I surprised myself by actually enjoying it. (What a cool cover! And yes, electricity was a big part of the book.)

First of all, I'm fascinated by Mary Shelley. She's the daughter of feminist authoress Mary Wollstonecraft and philosopher William Godwin. She married Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. She wrote Frankenstein when she was 18. Wow.

Anyway, the plot of this novel is familiar, so I won't go into that. Let me just say that the monster is not at all what I expected. He's very....introspective. And literate. And emotional.

Rating: 9/10

I'm off to Tennessee tomorrow, but I've packed my bags full of good reading. Here's hoping I get to read all of it!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Okay, so I've been enjoying Veronica Mars. I get obsessed with a show, watch all the episodes and then move on--usually after the show is abruptly cancelled and disappoints me. It's happened so many times....Alias, JAG, Remember WENN (did anyone else ever watch this show? It was on AMC like a decade ago) and so many more...

So I decided to make Teddy Dunn my hottie tonight....who stars as "Duncan Kane" on Veronica Mars. Well, I did a little bit of Wikipedia research and then found out HE LEAVES THE SHOW in season two. Great--so he and Veronica won't ever be together!?! This is the problem of watching cancelled TV shows--you can find out waaaay too easily what's happened. I shall have to guard my eyes from now on.

So, although I'm a bit upset that you left the show, Teddy, you can star in Hottie Monday.

He looks like a teddy bear, doesn't he?

Sunday, April 27, 2008


While I was searching for a decent link for Coil of Serpents, I stumbled across this Gothic Romance bibliography. Randomly, it's part of the Missouri Secretary of State's website. Although to be fair, it is part of (maybe?) their state library's pages.

If you click here, you'll find tons of bibliographies for all sorts of genres. I think I may go explore it now.

Four in one?

I've been a busy reading girl this week. (Since it's FINALLY warm enough to be outside for longer than 10 minutes, I've started eating my lunch outside, which translates to more reading time. It's amazing how surfing the Internet can eat your lunch break away. Hmmm.)

So in the past week I've finished and/or read:
A Broken Vessel by Kate Ross (the second mystery that features Julian Kestrel, who I really like)
--- Nice mystery, interesting characters, good twists
--- Rating: 8.5/10

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
--- Young Adult novel, fantasy adventure novel, mystery (kind of), great ending
--- Rating: 9/10

Coil of Serpents by Anne Stevenson (yeah, I couldn't find a good link for this book)
--- Good for fans of Mary Stewart: it featured a girl who travels abroad, looking for her "missing" (aka just hiding out, mooching off of people) stepfather who falls in love with a suspicious guy. Danger, adventure, traveling and history abound. I thought it was set in the 1950s...until it randomly mentioned a disco. Yeah, it's set in the 1970s, but it didn't end up bothering me. I'd re-read it.
--- Rating: 9/10

Book I did not finish:
The Silk Vendetta by Victoria Holt
--- So overdramatic and filled with the same lines over and over and over and over. It was dull and BORING.
--- Rating: 5/10

I'm heading off to Tennessee later this week and am hoping to get more good reading time in. Yay.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I checked out Ginny Aiken's Priced to Move because I've read a few of her mysteries and thought that they were okay.

This is the first in the "Shop-Til-U-Drop" series. Andie is a gemologist, hard at work in NYC. She's exhausted and tired of constant traveling. So when her Aunt Weeby (it's a nickname...makes me think of Weezer and how I LOVE their song--and the video for--"Perfect Situation") breaks her leg, Andie quits her job and moves home, which is down South. Through her aunt's connections, she ends up as a host for a shopping network: the "Shop-Til-U-Drop" network. She gets paired up with Max, hot but "dumb" weather guy. They bicker, sells gems and then get mixed up in a murder. Chaos ensues.

I liked the faith elements mixed in, which didn't feel too forced. I liked Andie and Max's bickering. I didn't like how Andie kept on getting mad at Max for random reasons. Ah well. Overall, not too bad. It's a super light breeze to read. I'm going to read the next one in the series, too, which is a good sign.

Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It's almost Monday, so here's my belated hottie of the week: Aaron Ashmore.

He played Troy on Veronica Mars, which I've just started watching. I think he may be out of the show for good now, but who knows! Anyway, I like his face.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I am America!

This is just for fun, but I skim read I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen T. Colbert.

It's very similar to the The Colbert Report.....which I really enjoy. So if you like the show, this is a funny, easy read.

I'm not going to give it a rating because it's basically all satire and I don't know even know what to rate it, but whatever....just enjoy.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Action, but I'm okay with it!

I know I whined about too much action in Fire Study but in this next book, Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell, there was lots of action and I loved it!

I was an English major in college, which may explain part of my love for this book. It's basically a rip-off of The DaVinci Code (which oddly enough, I seem to be reading a lot of lately), but with a focus on Shakespeare.

Kate, a smart, young theater director, is given a gift by her former dissertation professor and mentor Roz--but there's a catch. Kate has to promise to follow the trail the gift will open. The book then twists into a quest for Shakespeare's lost play Cardenio.

With globe-hopping, murders galore and discussion about Shakespeare, it's a perfect English major book. It makes you think about Shakespeare and who he was (personally, I like the Edward de Vere theory). Some of the characters are a bit shallow, but since the book is so plot-driven, I'll forgive that little flaw.

And did I mention it features people dressing in disguise? I love that!

Rating: 8.5/10

Fizzled out

I was really looking forward to reading Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder. It's the last book (I think) in a trilogy that began with Poison Study. I loved Poison Study! It was a bit of a fantasy--Yelena, a murderess, is sentenced to death but is offered a chance to live--by becoming the foodtaster for the Commander of Ixia. She is trained by Valek, who teaches her about poison and how to detect them. It was subtle, magical, fascinating and basically, I'd give it a 9.5 or 10.

Magic Study is where Yelena learns more about her true abilities--including her connection to magic. It was, again, slower paced, with a focus on Yelena learning. It was still interesting, although I liked Poison Study more.

With Fire Study, well, Maria didn't flame out--she fizzled.

This may sound odd, but there was too much action! One of my favorite aspects about this series has been the slow pace that's still interesting. Yelena learns about poison and magic and develops her abilities. With fire, she doesn't actually study or conquer any magical abilities associated with it. I don't feel like getting into details, because it's complicated, but the entire book was spent traveling, with constant decisions.

Although, to be fair, I'm glad the ending was okay--I really didn't think everything would work out and it'd be another Pirates of the Caribbean 3, where Elizabeth only sees Will once every 10 YEARS and she's still somehow content with that?!? That movie upset me; I'm glad this book's ending didn't. I hate bad endings.

Rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Too boring

I picked out Sarah Andrews' In Cold Pursuit because it is set in Antarctica. I stopped reading it because it was so boring.

The cover is so gorgeous that it's a shame the copyeditors didn't pay more attention to what was inside it. Seriously, I have never seen such lousy proofing! Quote marks were ALL OVER the place. I honestly wonder if Andrews wrote the book without using any quote marks and then some poor entry-level editor had to go in and add them--and then really screwed it up.

The plot is this: a gorgeous, exotic-yet-very-waaaaay-too-self-conscious grad student goes to Antarctica to study ice. Her adviser is in jail, charged with murder, and she decides to clear his name. But she's not a detective--she doesn't fool anyone with her "questioning" and subtle "hi, we just met, but why didn't my grad adviser kill this random guy."

Also, the main character, Valena, is so preachy on the topic of global warming. I could handle some subtle work-ins of the topic, but nooooooooo, she preaches it to everyone. Seriously, she met this random guy (and that's another whole issue--way too many one-bit characters; I lost track of everyone) and starts talking about global warming. His responses were so lame--literally, Valena talked about greenhouse gases and his response was "oh, I guess that's a bad thing, huh?" and her response was, "Yeah, it is! And here's another page-long rant on the topic." Sarah Andrews, that's not dialogue. Psssh.

So, I don't recommend this book. It's boring, heavy-handed on global warming, poorly edited and just not worth your time. Even the description of Antarctica parts were dull and science-laden, which made me sad.

Rating: 4/10

Monday, April 14, 2008

What to wear

Well, this is maybe more "Cutie Monday" than hottie Monday. I just really like Clinton Kelly from TLC's What Not to Wear. He's funny, he's a great dresser and is just a general cutie.

He also has a freakin' hilarious website. There were photos of him that featured penguins. That was enough for me--after all, I picked a book out of the library this week just because it was set in Antarctica.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shoot 'em up

Okay, so Secrets of a Lady by Tracy Grant isn't a shoot 'em up book, but there was shooting and plenty of action (and drama).
Evidently this book was published first as Daughter of the Game, which made at least one Amazon reviewer upset. The story follows Melanie and Charles Fraser, who's son is kidnapped and held for ransom. Except the ransom is a special, historical ring that the Frasers don't have--but they do have a connection to the ring. The book follows their journey to save their son.

It took me quite awhile to get into the book; I almost quit it several times. But after Melanie reveals her big secret (hence the "secrets of a lady"), I was more interested.

The action happens quickly, there's plenty of tension between the two leads, and numerous twists. While it's not suspenseful, it's still full of continuous action. The writing was good, too, for a debut novel. All in all, I ended up liking it just fine.

Rating: 8/10

Monday, April 7, 2008


Meet Phil Wickham. He's a singer. I've seen his ads in various places.

He likes The Myriad and Leeland, two of my favorite bands. Rock on, Phil.


I read The Givenchy Code by Julie Kenner because it had quite a few 5 star ratings on Amazon. The plot is a rip-off of The Da Vinci Code, obviously, with a twist on fashion. Except it's not as good.

Graduate student Melanie Prescott loves high fashion, history and math--particularly ciphers. However, if not for the author telling us she's in grad school, you'd never know--she doesn't do homework, worry about classes, etc. Instead, she's involved in a game called "Play.Survive.Win." (PSW), a sort of role-playing game with assassians, targets and protectors. PSW was just an internet game--until some sicko transferred it into real life.

So Mel is now a target, with some guy named Lynx after her. Yeah, you barely even get to know Lynx or even care about him. Instead, you meet Matthew Stryker, a hott ex-Marine who's been assigned to protect her.

The rest of the plot is basically Mel figuring out clues around New York City, Lynx using GPS to track them, and Stryker being hott/pushing Mel out of the way of bullets.

Character development is a bit thin. Mel and Stryker end up sleeping together and maybe end up together in the end....but you don't know! I hate it when characters end up together just because they're both pretty people. The ending is so vague and not really explanatory--I don't think anyone was even punished for starting P.S.W. And there's one character (Todd) who may be bad or may not...but honestly, I can't even remember. And it's been a day since I finished it. That should sum up this plot-driven book for you--lots of action, but forgettable characters.

Rating: 5/10

I do have to thank this book though, because it's helped me realize I hate reading about high fashion. It just kills me when people spend so much money on CLOTHES that will be out of style in a year or two. That really bothers me.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Myriad of confusion

For some reason, I labored under the impression since November (when I added it to my to-be-read list on Amazon) that John Green's Looking for Alaska was about a boy who goes to live at a boarding school in Alaska, makes friends, meets a sexy girl and fun/chaos ensues.

I must have been living in an alternate universe where a John Greene wrote the book. The book is about a boy who goes to live at a boarding school in ALABAMA, makes a few friends, meets a sexy/slightly crazy girl and yeah, some fun ensues, but it's not all fun.

Here's the cover photo:

Very cool, etc. But somehow I thought there were pine trees on the book cover. I was really confused to see a candle (although, let me tell you, this cover is very appropriate for this book--great job designer!). Again, in my world, the pine trees fit in perfectly up in Alaska. Sigh.

I just happened to have picked this book to read next after Young Miles. Bizarrely enough, the main character's name in Looking for Alaska is also named Miles. The books were written 20 years apart, so I don't think you can blame it on name popularity.

The book is divided into two parts--before and after. You don't know what the defining event is, however. That is, unless you read the cataloging in the front of the book and IT TELLS YOU.

I was about 20 pages or so from "the event" when I decided to finish reading for the night. As I have my library degree, sometimes I check out book's cataloging. So I checked out Looking for Alaska, where some kind librarian wrote: "Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about XXXXXXXXX." Know what those XXX's stand for? The freaking last half of the book. I'm not hating on catalogers, but wow, I wish I hadn't been told the plot just before I got there.

It's a YA novel but kept me entertained. Miles has an obsession with people's last words, and the author sprinkles them throughout the novel. I didn't like Alaska, the girl, but maybe you will. She was the only aspect that tainted the book a bit for me.

Here's the main points you need to take away from this post: this book is not set in Alaska, don't read the cataloging entry and it turns out the author is only a few years older than me, and wow, I'm jealous.

Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


First, I am not going to put up a picture of Young Miles, which I finished reading last night. Why? I don't like the cover. I have this aversion to cartoon characters and the cover of this book has particularly silly-looking ones. Pssh.

Anyway, I was feeling quite bold, so I decided to give a bit of sci-fi a try. I have heard excellent things about Lois McMaster Bujold's writings and had done a bit of reading on Amazon about her Miles Vorkosigan Saga Series. I started with the first book about Miles, which technically isn't the first book in the series.

I liked it; it's definitely an adventure series, which was a nice change in variety. It kept me entertained and amused. I don't feel like explaining the plot, because the book was actually an omnibus...three books in one. Let's just say the story involves: space, mercenaries, genetic defects, fighting and much more.

Rating: 8/10