Monday, February 4, 2013

Plethora of Reviews

Sorry for the lack of reviews lately. I have been reading like crazy (mostly romance…brain candy), but I haven’t really had the time to sit down and type something out. The new job is going great but I hit the ground running from the moment I walk in the door until it is time to leave. Don’t ask me what I do, because half the time I can’t even remember. I am just busy. There is always something to do and I love it!

Ok, now back to the books. Like I mentioned, I have been reading a ton of romance novels. Why? Because they are like potato chips…once you take one, you have to have 20. I can easily devour these books without batting an eye. Also, my love life is going pretty awesome, so I have no problem reading about other people falling in love. Finally, I love them. Guilty pleasure! I started reading them in junior high school and I have been addicted ever since.

Let me tell you about some of the books I have read lately, the good, the bad and what’s currently being read.

The Good:
Actually, scratch that good out and let’s make this the great part. I am in two book clubs, one full of my library friends and the one I use to run at my old job. In the library book club we recently read Silas House’s A Parchment of Leaves, an adult fiction book. The person who took over the group just raved and raved about the book. I liked the fact that had 200 pages or so, but once I started reading I fell in love with Vine, the main character, House’s writing style, and the novel as a whole. The elegance and sorrow which House writes with can only be described as absolutely beautiful. This book reminded me a lot of Cutting for Stone (just minus 400 pages.) I cannot rave enough about this book and I hope this snippet inspires you to check it out!

The Meh:
Eh, more so “the not so great”. Life is too short for bad books, but sometimes you are asked to judge a competition. This is the first time I have ever judge a competition, so I went in with an opened mind. No prejudging based on the cover or the genre. I just finished The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson, a YA Christian book. First off, ahhhhmazing cover. Just beautiful. I know tons of young adults are going to pick this book up based solely on the cover. Another great thing going for it? It is a Snow White retelling. That is two great reasons to pick up this book. This is not a modern day retelling of Snow White, but the author does add a fresh spin to the love story that will grab readers’ attentions just to see how it pans out. Other than that interesting angle, the storyline and the characters were pretty two dimensional.

The Impressive:
Another one of the books I judge was Caught on Camera by Kim Law. The premise is that a video photographer has to score an in depth interview with a playboy politician to save her job. But everyone has secrets they want to stay buried…even video photographers. Anyway, I thought it would be a fairly decent contemporary romance, but I was very impressed with the characters’ depth and growth. Also, great dialog. Definitely a pleasant read!

The Funny:
One of my old coworkers recently held a program, “Best Books of 2012” which focused on the best picture books, juvenile books, and juvenile nonfiction books of 2012. I happened to be at the library when the program was happening so I went. First off, she book talked over 100 books. Serious props to her for being able to talk that much. The program was definitely interesting and she gave everyone who attended a couple of free books. There was one particular book that her book talk sold me on. Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Extra Credit by Tommy Greenwald is a HILARIOUS juvenile fiction book. Charlie Joe’s antics and situations had me laughing out loud! The illustrations aren’t as comical as other popular books (DOAWK), but Charlie Joe comedic timing was superb. I can’t recommend this book enough!

The Bad:
I haven’t really read anything bad lately, given one exception. I have been seeing a ton of advertisements for Are You My Mother? By Alison Bechdel, so I thought why not give it a shot. It is nonfiction and a graphic novel, both of which I love. Maybe I should have read Fun Home first, but I went in blindly. There aren’t many books I hate, but this book is one of them. Why? I could not connect with the author at all. I thought the book was whiney, tedious, pretentious, and self obsessed. Yeah, I know that is kind of harsh, but that is how I feel. I thought, “maybe I am missing something….everyone else seems to love it.” Well there is always going to be one person who doesn’t and for this book, that is me. If someone can give me a better argument for this book, please do. I wanted to like it, but well…see above.

The Delightful:
I went back to my goodreads to see what I wrote after reading The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig and all I had was “delightful.” And it truly was. This book was raved about by a friend and like I said I have been reading tons of romance lately. This historical romance was filled with intrigue and intellect. The dialog between the two main sets of characters was quirky and fun. I often caught myself grinning from ear to ear while reading this novel. I can’t wait to get my hands on the second in the series, The Masque of the Black Tulip, if someone would ever turn their copy in! Pesky patrons.

Well, I have finally gotten back into audiobooks. Ok, I am a snob when it comes to audiobooks. I prefer nonfiction audiobooks (mainly written by women) and read by the author. See? Not picky at all! I truly cannot tell you why I checked out My Lucky Live in and out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke. I grew up watching Diagnosis Murder and The Dick Van Dyke show, so I have always been a fan. But when the book was released last year, I really had no inclination to check it out. Since I have a slightly longer drive to work now and I have decided to stop listening to the music on the radio (it is crap and I feel my brain rotting), audiobooks seem like a good idea. I still have no idea what prompted me to search to see if Van Dyke was the reader of his autobiography, but when I found he was I immediately placed my hold. This man has an amazing voice that is nothing short of enthralling. I do not think I would love his story as much as I do if I had read the book. The fact that he is the reader completely sells it.

Completely Taken Over My Life:
Last year, at the Southern Magic Romance Writer’s Luncheon the guest speaker was Sherrilyn Kenyon, who I had heard of but never read. I tried getting a hold of Fantasy Lover which is the first in her Dark-Hunter series, but was unable to before the luncheon. That coupled with the fact that I was broke is why I decided not to go. I wish I had, but alas. Well, I decided to get a running start on next year’s luncheon. I found out that Jeaniene Frost was the speaker at the 2013 Luncheon in November. I got a copy of Halfway to the Grave, which is the first in her Night Hunter series. It took a little while to get it because it had several holds. I am half way through it now and I love it. I love kick ass heroines and Cat is definitely one of them. It reminds me a lot of the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, which consumed my life during the fall. I got the second book, One Foot in the Grave, and tore through it in one night. I bought the 3rd, 4th, and 5th in the series at the local used bookstore. Can’t wait!

Short but Awesome:
Though it is pretty new, Legion by Brandon Sanderson is a hard read to find. Great thing is that if you find it, it is a super short read (80 easy pages or so) and it is fresh, fun, and a change of pace. The main character, Stephen Leeds AKA Legion, is sometimes classified as a schizophonic or a genius. His halluncinations are the real geniuses though. Each brings their own special talents that help Leeds solve cases like Sherlock. This quick read is definitely worth a try…if you can get a hold of it.
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