Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne

Funny and sweet novel about a woman who basically inherits a decrepit old finishing school and tries to modernize it. The class she creates on "Handbag Love" was so apt, I'd have taken the class myself!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Good reads

Three excellent reads I just finished up:

Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede -- a teen novel about magic in frontier days on an alternate Earth. It's just wonderful, I loved the female protagonist and I even enjoyed the first person narrative, which doesn't always work for me. I have always been a Wrede fan and this one, the first in a new series, makes me feel like pawing the ground in frustration because I have to wait for the next one to come out. 

The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne -- fun British chick-lit, well written and with a great sense of humor. A nice sensible heroine too, not some dithery vague twit that I can't relate to. Really looking forward to reading the sequels to this - and anything else Browne writes!

Wish You Were Here by Lani Diane Rich -- I love a good romance novel that makes me laugh out loud, and this one did, several times. The main characters were likeable and well-written, the dialogue was snappy, and I'm so glad I discovered this author. Can't wait to read more of her stuff. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

recent reads

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - this is her latest, and not bad, except I didn't really care much for the main character, so I felt it hard to root for her.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly - a fun read about an unconventional girl growing up in the early 1900s in Texas.
The Duel: The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr by Judith St. George - an interesting kid's book about these two men who ended up fighting a duel and inspiring one of my favorite commercials.

Retirement Homes Are Murder by Mike Befeler - What would happen if you had no short-term memory and someone accused you of murder? This feisty old guy fights back.
The Second Mouse by Archer Mayor - Couldn't quite get into this one, but it is probably one that a lot of people would enjoy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

latest books

Angry Management by Chris Crutcher - the latest offering from one of the best teen authors out there includes 3 short stories featuring characters from many of his books, all stuck in Mr. Nak's anger management class. A very good read.

Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O'Neal -- a fun cooking/romance, I thought. Publishers Weekly's didn't like it much, but I enjoyed the descriptions of what it is like to be a female chef in a male-dominated world, the food and restaurant where the protagonist works, her relationship with her (dead) relatives, and the descriptions of Colorado. 

The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff -- one of my favorite entertaining fantasy writers is back with another urban fantasy, this one set in Calgary. Quite entertaining. And hey, did you ever read Tanya Huff's "Blood" series? Toronto private eye Vicki Nelson and her undead sidekick Henry (bastard son of Henry VII) kick some serious demon/monster butt in this great series, which came out in the early 90s. 

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin

I really enjoyed this memoir of growing up on Long Island in the 40s and 50s. Doris Kearns Goodwin never disappoints.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

New Tricks by David Rosenfelt

I love this guy's books! This is the latest in a series about Andy Carpenter, a lawyer who lives in Paterson NJ. It's well written, suspenseful and funny. What could be better? If you've never tried this series, you can start with the first one, Open and Shut.  Fans of Harlan Coben will probably enjoy this, as will anyone from this area of New Jersey - it's fun to be reading along and then stop and realize "Hey! I know exactly where this guy is talking about! I've been there." 

Monday, August 03, 2009

Recent Reads

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci. An enjoyable book of short stories by popular authors of teen literature. Not all the stories resonated with me, but that's the best part about short stories, you can skip the ones you don't like. Highly recommended (especially if, like me, you were considered a geek or nerd in high school).
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Meredith recommended this kid's book to me and I am about 1/4 through it. So far it is excellent. The kind of book that I makes me wish I didn't have to come to work today, so that I could lie around and finish it.
Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham.
Holly's inbox is pretty boring, actually, and she could do with a good editor.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larssen.
I don't deny that these are very gripping thrillers, but I don't think they are quite as amazing as all the stuff I've read about them suggests. They are certainly not literary masterpieces. Other writers have created equally good damaged female characters (Carol O'Connell's Mallory's Oracle for one), and I wonder if part of the "mystique" of these books is that the names and places are very unfamiliar to us, so that adds to its cachet. Plus, not to sound cold, but let's face it -- it always helps a book's publicity when an author dies unexpectedly.