The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

>> Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Genre: YA Fiction
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 308
Challenges:
Support Your Local Library Challenge #46

I read this one because several people I know really loved it. See
Heather’s Review at The Capricious Reader for the one that convinced me to read it.

Mary is a teenager who lives in an isolated village surrounded by a strong fence to separate it from the forest. In the forest live the “Unconsecrated” who are flesh eating zombies. The villagers live according to strict guidelines administered by the mysterious nun-like members of “The Sisterhood”. The Sisterhood and their associate group of Guardians see to the physical and religious protection of the villagers from the Unconsecrated. When the fence is breached and the village invaded, Mary is among a group who escape. But is there any place to go? The Sisterhood has led the villagers to believe that they are the only survivors left uninfected by the Unconsecrated. Mary doesn’t believe this. The stories her mother told her as a child and things she’s seen recently make her doubt many of the so called truths her friends hold to be unquestionable.

This story is an interesting combination of futuristic dystopian and somewhat historic religious (along the lines of early Puritan America) elements.

Anyway, although the story was interesting and entertaining enough, I just never felt like it reached out and grabbed me. If it hadn’t been for the high praise from many other readers, I would likely have given up and not finished it. I did stick with it but never really loved it. I found it to be rather repetitious. I kept thinking I just read this same scene or description a few pages back. I felt like some potentially interesting storylines were kind of dropped or never really played out fully. All in all it was OK, but not great.



Rating 2.5/5

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The Dead of Night by John Marsden

>> Friday, September 25, 2009

The Dead of Night by John Marsden
Genre: YA Fiction
Series: #2 in the Tomorrow series
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 278
Challenges:
Support Your Local Library Challenge #45

This is a continuation of the story begun in Tomorrow When the War Began. In the first book, Australia is invaded while a group of teenagers is on a camping trip out in the bush. They return home to discover that their families have been imprisoned and end up living out in the bush on their own while doing what they can to make things difficult for the invading army.

This book picks up a few weeks after the initial invasion. The groups of kids is still holed up in their remote camp, but getting fed up with not knowing what is going on with their friends who had to return to their hometown for medical treatment. They need information, supplies and to find out if there are any other groups like theirs who are taking a stand or trying to fight back.

Between sneaking into their enemy held hometown and venturing further into the bush to look for signs of organized resistance is the story of a group of kids struggling with having their lived turned upside down. They struggle with figuring out what is the right thing to do and along the way find themselves questioning their values. The kids alternate between bravely taking action and wishing there were adults around they could defer to and rely upon.


We didn’t know if we were doing the right thing, ever. We didn’t know anything. We were just ordinary teenagers, so ordinary we were boring. Overnight they’d pulled the roof off our lives. And after they pulled off the roof they’d come in and torn down the curtains, ripped up the furniture, burnt the house and thrown us into the night, where we’d been forced to run and hide and live like wild animals. We had no foundations, and we had no secure walls around our lives any more. We were living in a strange long nightmare, where we had to make our own rules, invent new values, stumble around blindly, hoping we weren’t making too many mistakes.
Narrated by Ellie, a completely believable teenager that Marsden has written well, this story is a bit slow in the middle, but picks up with some great tension in the final third.

It’s very much another episode in an ongoing story. I’m not sure the book stands on its own, but in conjunction with the previous book, it works. I believe this series is more like an episodic tale in the vein of a TV drama show. I didn’t like this one quite as much as the first one, but will definitely continue with the series. I love it when they blow stuff up!


Rating 3.5/5

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

>> Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Catching Fire Book Cover

Genre: YA – Science-Fiction/Dystopian
Series: #2 in the Hunger Games series Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 391
Challenges:
Support Your Local Library Challenge #44

Wow! Just Wow! This is going to be a hard post to write, but I loved this book and am eagerly anticipating the third in the series.

What’s difficult is to say anything about the plot without giving away things I wouldn’t have wanted to know before I read it. I pretty much avoided all reviews and marked them to read after I finished it because I didn’t’ want to be spoiled. I feel I owe folks that courtesy.

So, what I can say is that if you read and loved The Hunger Games as much as I did, read this. The rollercoaster ride continues. It picks up a few months after the end of the first book and the repercussions of that happened in the game arena are still echoing. Winning the Hunger Games is only the beginning. There is a Victors tour of all the districts and then, of course the prospect of being a mentor to future tributes. Winning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when you’re plagued with nightmares of what you went through in that arena and know you’ll be a part of The Hunger Games for the rest of your life as a mentor. Add to that the element of political unrest in the country and the increasingly open brutality of the Capitol and you’ve got something simmering that may just blow the lid off the pot.

You’re not going to get any more from me about what happens in this book. Just read it. I know that some folks who really enjoyed The Hunger Games have been disappointed in the sequel. I can understand that, it takes a different path in some ways and is repetitive in others. I liked it a lot and was blown away more than once by plot twists I hadn’t even considered.

I’ll admit I was annoyed at times with some of the stuff that was a repeat or rehash of the first book. I don’t think it was better than the first book and I’m glad that it’s planned as a trilogy so there’s a limited time for getting to whatever the outcome will be. I don’t think it’s better than the first book and probably not as good, but it’s a great continuation of the story. Now that I’ve read it I’m looking forward to spending some time online reading all those reviews I marked to read later and to check out the fan websites that I’m sure are out there.


Rating 4/5

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The Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge

>> Monday, September 21, 2009

Clear Your Shelves Challenge

Swapna at S.Krishna’s Books is hosting a challenge for October and November that is exactly what I need. It’s the Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge.

Here are the pertinent details:

This is a challenge that is aimed at getting through those books that have been sitting on your shelves for months, even years!

Who?
Anyone who wants to sign up!

What?
Any non-review books that are on your shelves and/or review copies that have been on your shelves for over six months.
Crossover with other challenges is welcomed, even encouraged!

When?
This challenge will run from October 1, 2009 – November 30, 2009

Where?
At S. Krishna’s Books!

How?
This challenge will work a little differently than other challenges. Instead of picking a set number of books to read during this time period, you will pick a percentage. This means that a certain percentage of the books you read during these two months will have to qualify for this challenge. For example, let’s say you pick 40% and you end up reading 10 books in October and November. 4 of those books would have to qualify for this challenge in order for you to complete it.
As a result, there is no need to make a list of books prior to starting the challenge, though please feel free to do so if you want to!
There are more details (particularly related to review books) at the Challenge Details Post. I don’t have any review books currently pending or anticipated soon, so those details aren’t pertinent to my participation.

This challenge is perfect for me right now. Recently I’ve been neglecting the books on my bookshelves in favor of library books. Part of the reason for that has been the Support Your Local Library Challenge. Between the books I currently have out from the library and holds that are waiting for me to pick up, I’ll be well within reach of my goal for that challenge . I’ve pretty much wrapped up all the other challenge related books so now is the perfect time to have the incentive to point myself back to the books that are already in my house.

I’m setting a goal of 70% for myself for this challenge. I’ve got plenty to choose from and just need to make sure that for a few weeks any library books I’m interested in go onto my library wishlist rather than my request to hold list. I’m not going to pre-list any books for this. I’ve got plenty here to choose from and need to go with whatever whimpulse strikes in between the library books.
I’m very excited about this challenge. If it sounds like something you’re interested in please check out the challenge details post linked above and join the fun.

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Audiobook – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

>> Sunday, September 20, 2009



Genre: YA – Science-Fiction/Dystopian
Publication Date: 2008
Read by: Carolyn McCormick


Yes, I just read the book a few months ago, so this post is not about the plot of The Hunger Games it’s about the Audio version of the book and my audiobook listening in general.

For my thoughts about the story see
my review of The Hunger Games.

I decided that listening to the audio version of this book was a great way for a re-read before reading the sequel. I was glad I did. It was a nice way to be refreshed on the story and it was interesting to compare the audio to reading it. Bottom line, I loved the book in both versions.

Carolyn McCormick is an excellent reader and I’m pleased to see that she has also read the audio version of Catching Fire. You may not recognize her name, but if you’ve watched even a few of the ubiquitous Law & Order episodes on TV, you’ll probably recognize her voice as that of psychologist
Dr. Elizabeth Olivet. She has consistently appeared as a guest star on that series.

What I discovered while listening to this book is that I apparently have some distinct preferences for my audiobook listening. I listen almost exclusively in the car when I’m driving by myself. When I first started listening to books in the car, cassette tapes were the most common format. Gradually the selection of books on cd became more extensive and then I got a car with no cassette deck. In the meantime I also acquired several ipods, one of which is now dedicated to audiobooks.

I started this book by listening directly from the cds. I had a day long road trip and had just picked it up from the library. I found that in this particular book the tracks tended to be longer (4-5 minutes) which made it more awkward to backtrack just a little bit if I wanted to. The advantage of cassettes was always a quick short rewind when necessary. One difficulty in listening to cds is that (at least on my car stereo) I have to back up to the beginning of the track.

I guess I’ve been spoiled by my ipod. I ended up going ahead and downloading this book and finishing it by listening from the ipod. It gave me back that ability to back up just a half minute or so when I want to. From now on even though the book on cd might not be due back at the library right away, I’m going to go ahead and put it on my ipod because I find that I need that. Because I listen in primarily 10 to 15 minute increments while driving around town or running errands, being able to back it up just a teensy bit rather than up to 5 minutes to the beginning of the track is important to me.

Lessons learned, I guess.

Bottom line on the audio version of The Hunger Games is that I still give it a 5 star rating and recommend it as either an initial or as a re-read option.


Rating: 5/5

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BBAW 09 - Goals and other stuff

>> Friday, September 18, 2009


Today's BBAW Topic is to write in 50 words or less what I like best about my blog right now and where I would like it to be a year from now.

I actually like how my blog looks. The name and domain change this year were good moves.

Of course my goals would be more readers and comments. It’s the conversation I enjoy. The primary goal is for this to remain fun and not become stressful or work.

Moving on - I've had a great time participating in BBAW this week. Unfortunately I've had a chaotic week at work and home. I'm ridiculously behind in responding to comments and visiting the other bloggers who participated in BBAW. Luckily the Mr. Linky lists at the BBAW site will be there so I can catch up and visit folks over the next couple of weeks.

I'd like to thank all the folks who stopped by for the first time this week and hope you'll become regulars. I'll be visiting you too.

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Play Dead by David Rosenfelt

>> Thursday, September 17, 2009


Series: #6 in the Andy Carpenter series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 358
Challenges: TBR 2009 Challenge Alternate #12


Once again David Rosenfelt kept me interested and guessing about the mystery while at the same time laughing. Andy Carpenter is a smart-mouthed wisecracking New Jersey lawyer who irritates both judges and prosecutors in the process of doing the right thing for his clients. This is true even when his client is a dog.

As this book opens Andy finds himself petitioning to save a golden retriever from certain death after it bites the person who claims to be it’s owner. Andy has a soft spot for goldens because his own dog, Tara (according to Andy) has had her official title updated to “Tara, the Greatest Creature on this or Any Other Planet and if You Can’t See That You’re an Idiot, Carpenter”. As Andy says “It’s a little long, but it’s apt.

What comes as a total surprise is that the dog Andy is trying to save may turn out to be the key to proving the innocence of a man found guilty of murder five years ago.

It’s not all fun and giggles in this series. It’s a good mix of interesting and twisting mystery with some fun humor and quirky returning characters thrown in.

This is a fun series. If you haven’t tried it yet, pick up a copy of the first book (
Open and Shut) and give it a chance.






Rating 4/5




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BBAW 09 – Thank you Meghan

>> Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Today’s BBAW topic is to talk about a book I read only because I discovered it on another blog. That was a difficult selection to make because many of the books I’ve read this year have been due to recommendations from book bloggers. I’ve already talked about many of them in my posts earlier this week spotlighting favorite bloggers.

Many of the books came recommended by multiple bloggers and ended up on my TBR list after reading several reviews. The book and blogger I chose to talk about today is The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen which came highly recommended by Meghan at Medieval Bookworm. The reason I’m highlighting that one is that it was her review and her review alone that convinced me to buy the book.


I hadn’t even heard that this book existed until Meghan posted her review (see
Meghan’s review of The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet). She actually posted it just as the book was released here in the US. I stopped at the bookstore on my way home that night and bought it. Meghan’s review was enough to convince me that I would like this book and that it might also be something The Hubster might like. He hasn’t read it yet, but I enjoyed it tremendously. I knew from Meghan’s description and from browsing through the book after I bought it that it was a book I wanted to save to read on vacation. It’s an oversized hardcover with many notes, diagrams and drawings in the text and margins. It’s a book that begs to be read sitting in a comfy place. I’m glad I didn’t try to read it on my daily commute and workplace lunchtime routine reading schedule.

Please check out
my review of T.S Spivet for further details on my thoughts.

This is not the first and I’m sure won’t be the last book that Meghan has influenced me to read. I’ve been subscribed to her blog for a while now and it’s definitely among those I check first when I see new content. She writes excellent reviews and reads a variety of books. I get the best historical fiction recommendations from her! And she knows what she’s talking about because she’s a MA candidate in Medieval Studies at the University of York in England.


I encourage you to check out Meghan’s blog at
Medieval Bookworm. It’s gorgeous as well as informative, useful and fun.

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Book Blogger Appreciation Week Reading Meme

>> Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This one is tough because we’ve been asked to limit our responses to five words or less but we're allowed to use pictures.


Do you snack while you read? If so,
favorite reading snack?
No - Lunchtime and train reader
Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
Books look new when finished


How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?












Laying the book flat open?

Never crack spine - at worst:


Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
Both

Hard copy or audiobooks?
Both


Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
Chapter end or train stop

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
Depends on where I’m reading



What are you currently reading?












What is the last book you bought?

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
One book and one audiobook


Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

Anytime, Anywhere
























Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
Both

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
David Rosenfelt, Ron Rash

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
Fiction -by author, Non -by subject.

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BBAW ‘09 – More Bloggers I Appreciate


Today’s official post topic is interviews of other book bloggers. Well since I suck at interviews (it gives me horrible flashbacks to my middle management days and interviewing job applicants – ick) I opted not to participate in the interview roundup portion of BBAW. Instead I decided to post some more on yesterday’s topic.

So I’m going to spotlight some more of my favorite blogs that did not make the awards shorlists. Again, I’m focusing on bloggers I ‘met’ in the early days of my blog in 2006 who have remained in my “Favorites” folder in my Google Reader and who have been frequent visitors, commenters, and TBR expanders over the years.


Bellezza at
Dolce Bellezza

Bellezza’s was among the first blogs I started visiting regularly. For starters, it’s continuously one of the more beautiful blogs out there. She always has these gorgeous photos in her header and posts that just seem to ooze peacefulness and relaxation. She’s also guilty of adding many a book to my TBR list over the years.

Bellezza is a teacher and it’s clear from her posts about her classes and teaching in general that she’s the kind of teacher every kid needs to have at least once in their life. One of my very favorite posts of hers that I still remember is this one from 2007 about “
Marshmallow Day”.


Kailana at
The Written World

Kailana’s is also one of the first group of book blogs I subscribed to. As is the case with many in this early group of blogging friends, I’m not sure which of us found the other first, but we’ve been sharing comments and book recommendations for a long time. I love her blog because it’s gorgeous, full of variety and entertaining to read.

I appreciate Kailana for being a frequent commenter (often among the first comments on my posts). It’s that interaction and conversations about books and reading that makes this so much fun.


Literary Feline at
Musings of a Bookish Kitty

OK so Wendy (her real name) had me at “Bookish Kitty” because I’m a cat person. The pictures in her blog header are simply adorable. But what has kept me a fan is the variety of books she posts about and the quality of her posts. I’ve learned to trust her recommendations. When she gushes about a book I can be pretty sure I’m going to like it.

I’d like to highlight two recent recommendations. A World I Never Made by James LePore (
see Literary Feline’s current giveaway post for this book ). The level of trust in her recommendation led me to request the book via interlibrary loan when none of my three local libraries had it and it was totally worth it. I really enjoyed the book. Also her review of Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall convinced me to get on the library waiting list early and I was very glad I did.


Repeating myself from yesterday, there are far too many bloggers who fit into the category of favorite blogs that weren’t shortlisted, but please take the time to visit these excellent blogs. Their recommendations can be trusted.

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Book Blogger Appreciation Week – (Bloggers I appreciate)

>> Monday, September 14, 2009


Today is the first official day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2009. The awards nominations and voting are done and we can now move into what I consider the heart of Book Blogger Appreciation Week which is talking about and thanking my favorite book bloggers who have added to my life as much as they have added to my TBR list.

The powers that be behind Book Blogger Appreciation Week have set some suggested daily posting topics for this week. I’m opting to participate in some, but not all of those. The theme for the week is Celebrate Books.

I love that theme – it’s difficult for me to talk about books without talking about my reading friends I’ve discovered since I started this blog a little over three years ago. Today’s BBAW theme is exactly that. We’ve been asked to spotlight some favorite blogs that did not make the awards shorlists.

If I spotlighted all of my favorite blogs that didn’t get shortlisted this would be the world’s longest blog post so some picking and choosing had to happen. I decided to limit my spotlights to three and to select some bloggers that I feel like I’ve known for a long time. All three of these wonderful ladies were among the first people to find my blog and it was through them that I was introduced to the ever growing book blogging community. Please check out these blogs if you haven’t already done so. I can vouch for the quality of their recommendations and excellence in blogging.


Booklogged at
A Reader’s Journal

Booklogged will always hold a very special place in my heart. She was the first person to post a comment on my blog that wasn’t from someone I already knew. I was stunned the day that happened. I seriously never expected anyone but my friends to read this. When she posted I read her blog and then through her blogroll and comments found a the breadcrumbs of a trail that led me to discovering a whole list of other book blogs. I’d had no idea there were so many.

Booklogged and I have shared many recommendations over the years. We don’t always like the same books, but our tastes overlap enough and we both tend to read a variety of genres and authors. Last summer I had the thrill of actually meeting her in person. She and her husband along with her truly delightful mother were visiting the Portland area and we were able to get together at Powells Books for a thoroughly enjoyable visit.


Les at
Lesley’s Book Nook

Les is another one of the early visitors to my blog and someone whose recommendations I’ve come to trust. Although she doesn’t live here she’s visited the Pacific Northwest several times since I’ve ‘known’ her. One of these days our trips to the Oregon coast will coincide and when that happens she and I will be meeting for lunch at The Chowder Bowl at Nye Beach in Newport.


Les not only has an excellent book blog, she’s an amazing photographer too. Her photography blog can be found here at Lesley’s Photoblog. Over the years, I’ve read several books based on Les’s recommendations, and she routinely adds to my TBR list. She works in a bookstore and I love when she posts her endcap displays.


Bookfool at
Bookfoolery and Babble

Again one of my early book blogging buddies, Bookfool has the most amazing sense of humor and eye for fun. She, like Les is an excellent photographer. If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check out
Bookfools Photoblog too. Between Bookfool and Les I’m hoping to gain some photography skills by osmosis.

Bookfool has the honor of having an aspect of my mystery/thriller reviews named after her. Often when I would post a review of this type of book she would ask me if it was gruesome or scary enough to cause her nightmares. So now, when I say a book passes “The Bookfool Test” it means that it’s a good mystery or suspense story without being nightmare inducing.


There are far too many bloggers who fit into the category of favorite blogs that weren’t shortlisted, but please take the time to visit these excellent blogs. Their recommendations can be trusted.

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The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

>> Thursday, September 10, 2009


Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 359
Challenges:
Support Your Local Library Challenge #43

This is the story of 4 couples who are close friends. They all live on Nantucket and have known each other for years, vacationed together, raised their kids together and been a tight circle of friends. The book opens with the deaths of one of the couples in an apparent sailing accident. The rest of the book tells of the aftermath of this tragedy on the group and at the same time reveals the history of the all of them. It’s told from alternating viewpoints and reminiscences of all of the remaining six of the group.

For me it was like reading a TV movie made for what most people would consider a ‘women’s channel’. It was a bit of drama, a bit of mystery about what really happened to the couple who died and a whole lot of soap opera. It was the mystery angle that kept me reading. No matter that I didn’t particularly like any of the characters (OK maybe I liked one), I had to continue to read to find out what really happened.

In order to get there, I had to wade through the four couples being intricately intertwined in a series of relationships, affairs, unfulfilled attractions, petty jealousies and all the typical soap opera antics.

All in all it was a quick read that was just kind of OK for me.


Rating 2.5/5

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Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

>> Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Genre: YA Fiction
Series: #1 in the Tomorrow series
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 284
Challenges:
Support Your Local Library Challenge #42


A group of Australian high school students head out for a camping trip in the deep bush. When they return home several days later nothing seems right. Their families are not at home, their animals have been neglected and in some cases are dead. As the kids go to each of their homes their fear grows. It doesn’t take long for them to discover that their country has been invaded and a foreign army is in control. Their families have been imprisoned. Pretty soon they decide they have three options: go back to the bush and hide out and wait out the war, surrender and join their imprisoned families, or find a way to fight.

Yes this sounds an awful lot like the 1984 movie Red Dawn (which I’ve seen several times and enjoyed despite its occasional silliness). This book has many elements of that movie, but it’s good! This is the first of a seven book series and I fully plan to read more of them.

The story is told by Ellie - one of the girls who organized the camping trip. She says from the beginning that she’s writing it because the group decided they should write down what’s happened to them and selected Ellie to do so. Since its told in flashback and first person, you know from the beginning some of the characters who have survived up to this point. What is interesting is that since the entire story is told from the perspective of the kids, you never really find out what’s happening outside of what they can observe and learn. The invading country is never identified, the status of the invasion and war remains unknown beyond what the kids can discover on their own. I thought this added to the tension and let the reader share in the fear and speculation of Ellie and her friends.

Marsden did an excellent job of writing from the perspective of a teenage girl. Ellie is a tough kid who has grown up on a ranch and can take care of herself pretty well. She’s also a teenager struggling with her world being torn completely upside down and at the same time dealing with changing relationships among the group of friends. Yes teenage romantic feelings continue even amidst the struggle to survive, but at the same time Ellie’s observations about herself and her friends are well done. She speaks of the courage and how some of the group begins to demonstrate previously unknown strength of character. They’re not always courageous tough kids turned guerillas, however. They have their moments of fear and uncertainty as well. They’re teenagers for goodness sake.

I liked Ellie as a character and a narrator. Some of the other kids are more fleshed out as characters than others, but I would expect that as the series continues so will the character development.

I probably would not have even picked this book up if it wasn’t for a Twitter conversation among a group of book bloggers. I owe some thanks to both Bookfool and BethFishReads for convincing me to read this book.



Rating 4/5

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Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

>> Saturday, September 5, 2009


Genre: Mystery / Vampire
Series: #2 in the Sookie Stackhouse series
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 291
Challenges:
Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge #2


I enjoyed this second book in the Sookie Stackhouse series even more than the first. With the major characters established in the first book, the story pretty much just takes off and runs from the beginning in this one.

Sookie and Bill (her vampire boyfriend) travel to Dallas. The vampires need Sookie’s telepathic abilities to help investigate the case of a missing and possibly abducted vampire. At the same time, a co-worker of Sookie’s is found dead in a car in the parking lot of Merlotte’s (the bar where Sookie works). Sookie is pretty sure the owner of the car is innocent of the murder since she had called his sister to take him home from the bar and that’s why his car was left in the lot overnight.

Vampires, shapeshifters, and other supernatural creatures as well as at least one other human with the same telepathic “disability’ as Sookie are all a part of the story. In addition to the simultaneous investigations of the murder and the missing vampire, the book introduces more information about the vampire culture and its complex politics and traditions.

I’m enjoying this series a lot. I like the combination of mystery, romance, supernatural creatures, vampire lore, and a handful of comic relief tossed in here and there.

Rating 4/5

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Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall

>> Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 319
Challenges:
Support Your Local Library Challenge #41


I’m not going to attempt a plot summary of this one because I couldn’t do it justice without getting convoluted. So this time I will fall back on using the blurb on the back of the book.


Olivia Harker Cross owns a mountain, or thinks she does, in Pope County, Kentucky, a land where wolves – Olivia’s wolves - howl in the night. But someone is killing the wolves of Big Foley Mountain, and Olivia is beginning to realize how much of her own bitter history she’s never fully understood: Her mother’s madness, now building toward a fiery crescendo. Her daughter’s flight to California, leaving her to raise Will’m, her beloved grandson. And most of all, her town’s rage, for Olivia has real and dangerous enemies.

Now this proud, lonely woman will face her mother and daughter, her neighbors and the wolf hunters of Big Foley Mountain. And when she does, she’ll ignite a conflict that will embroil an entire community–and change her own life in the most surprising ways.

This debut novel impressed me a lot. Olivia’s voice is real and powerful. She tells her story with some brutal honesty. She’s had a hard life growing up in backwoods depression era Kentucky. What Olivia doesn’t know is that the truth she knows may not be the actual true story of what has happened in the past or what is happening in the present.

What she does know is that she loves her grandson so much it hurts and she loves her home and the wolves her grandfather had brought to Big Foley Mountain just as much. She knows she doesn’t feel love for, nor does she feel any love from her mother.

The characters in this book are well written and while some are frightening, others touch your heart. Tiny little Love Alice Hanley and her husband Junk Hanley are good hearted people who although they are only allowed to shop at Olivia’s store on Wednesdays and are not allowed to be served an ice cream at the drugstore, are better friends to Olivia than most of the white folks in town.

The story has a bit of Olivia’s family history, a bit of mystery and a whole lot of tension and suspense. The conflict builds and grows to a final confrontation that leaves the last third of the book begging to be read in one sitting. You’ll not quickly forget the characters in this book.


Thank you to Literary Feline whose review at Musings of a Bookish Kitty convinced me to request this book from the library




Rating 4.5/5

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