Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pick list

If you haven't guessed already, this is a picks list. This list is comprised of books I have read this year and last year that were particularly enjoyable. They are not perfect, nor my favorite reads ever (that's a lie. There are, in fact, two books on this list that qualify as my favorites.) but I think they are all very good books. I hope you enjoy, and maybe find something that catches your fancy. 

In no particular order:

1: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

2: The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen

3: Clockwork Prince, by Cassandra Clare (But do the sensible thing and start with Clockwork Angel first, please. There is nothing more silly than reading a sequel before reading the first book.)

4: Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins

5: The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

6: The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff

7: A Matter of Magic, by Patricia C. Wrede (This book is actually an omnibus containing the out of print Mairelon the Magician and The Magician's Ward.)

8: Going Bovine, by Libba Bray

9: Spilling Ink, by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter (for my fellow aspiring writers)

10: And finally, because I am obliged to include it on any picks list, whether I have read it recently or not, Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Review--The Hangman's Daughter

    Historical fiction is a particular favorite genre of mine, so I was looking forward to this one, though I was a bit dubious as to just how much "history" there was actually going to be. With The Hangman's Daughter, Oliver Pötzsch spins a yarn that has one foot well into a period of history that has always fascinated me. Extreme themes by today's standards, such a witchcraft, leprosy, the Plague, were common fare during the 17th Century, and Pötzsch employs them all to flesh out his tale, which was enjoyably old-fashioned.
    The title implies that the hangman's daughter is the main character, but she was only one of several, all of whom are outcasts because of their positions in society--the hangman, feared and despised, his daughter, shunned by proxy, and the young physician, who dares to think that there is more to medicine than blood-letting and leeches.
    The misplaced fear of witchcraft drives the story, which was fairly well-paced, though occasionally I felt it was a bit contrived and predictable. That said, it was refreshing to read a story about witches that didn't involve some soppy teen drama.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


   Ok, I must admit, ten pages in to this book I was worried... "Oh no, not another angsty teen drama with supernatural creatures who happen to be drop-dead gorgeous." Yes, there was one "hottie" as author, Kiersten White calls him, but he could also look downright frumpy if he wanted; he was a shapeshifter, after all. Yes, a shapeshifter. Paranormalcy is filled with those "not normal", or rather paranormal, as the title suggests.
   Our heroine, at heart a teen just trying to fit in, finds such normalcy as prom, boyfriends, school lockers--heck, school--to be beyond her experience. You see, Evie is special... dare we say, "paranormal". She sees beyond glamours, those shimmery shields that cover the true being within, be it a werewolf, a vampire, a hag, or, yes... that hottie shapeshifter.
   Throw in a faerie prophecy, some spunky teenage attitude, and you find yourself in the middle of a playful, supernatural romp. Paranormalcy was fun... not highbrow, not fine literature, but fun. So, if you are looking for something fun... and a hottie thrown in, then enjoy!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Tao of Pooh (review)

This is just a little review
For something called The Tao of Pooh
Sweet Pooh-bear, and Benjamin Hoff
Will teach you a lot-- please don't scoff! 

So smart, so wise, and simply sweet
This cute book, is ever so neat
It might change you, if you so please
Open your mind--live life with ease

So you see now, is it funny
I love this book more than honey?
Give it a read--it's good for you
And discover a great taoist...



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review--The Eleventh Plague

   In case the title is not a give-away, The Eleventh Plague, by Jeff Hirsch, is another dystopian, world-gone-bad novel, and this one had me feeling as though I were sitting under a table, in my blanket fort as a 5 year old, playing "big bad world". You know the game, when you hide yourself away, pretending there is a bad world out there, kept away simply by staying on the magic blanket. Sometimes, you would venture out, daring the baddies out there to get you, knowing you could retreat to your safe place, and knowing they wren't real anyway.
   As in the familiar childhood game, all things in The Eleventh Plague end in a glorious "Kumbaya" moment, so sickly sweet it made me want to gag. Ok, so there is violence, death, and loss along the way, but that didn't manage to keep away the saccharin taste that lingered just beneath the surface. The many moments of tension seemed shallow, since I knew all was going to be well in the end, and I was going to be safe on my blanket. It was enough to make me not want to play the game.
   Maybe you'll have better luck.