Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

As I compile this post, I hear wind whipping past the windows blowing through the trees and rain is coming down.  We're being hit by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy.  So, far my BWOBNY friends and I have remained safe in our homes with our families.  We hope you all have been so lucky.  Stormy weather like this is a great time to hunker down with a book.  Today, there are tons of new reads but unfortunately most of us will have to hold out on picking them up until the storm passes.  Once the weather clears though, you'll probably want to dart out and pick up some of today's new releases.

There is a lot to love in Romance today with dozens of new releases in the genre.  Some of the highlights include "Dark Nights," by Christine Feehan, "Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet," by Darynda Jones, "Iced," by Karen Marie Moning, and "The Bite Before Christmas," by Lynsay Sands.

Moving over to Mystery/Thriller, you'll discover "Stalked," by Allison Brennan, "The Sanctuary," by Ted Dekker, "A Small Hill to Die On," by Elizabeth J. Dunan, "Breaking Point," by Dana Hayes, and "A Christmas Garland," by Anne Perry.

Stomp on to Sci-Fi/Fantasy for the latest "Star Wars," novel, "Death Plagueis," by James Luceno as well as "Ghost Planet," by Sharon Lyn Fisher, "Death's Apprentice," By K.W. Jester, and "Shadow Rising," by Yasmine Galehorn.

In Young Adult, you'll see "Ruins," the newest novel by Orson Scott Card, "Sapphire Blue," by Kerstin Gier, and "Venom," by Fiona Paul.

What will you be reading this week?  Remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fairy Interesting: OUAT "The Doctor"

2.5 "The Doctor"

Tonight in Storybrooke, David Charming gets a little pushy as the stand-in sherriff, Dr. Whale's hair has more character than he does, and Regina shows an emotion other than disdain as she fights for the love she knew long ago.

In flashback Fairy World Rumplestiltskin pushes a younger Regina along her path of vengeance, pairing up with the delightfully Mad Hatter and "the doctor" (who really doesn't deserve to wear that moniker ;) as he tries to find a way to a realm with no magic.

And in Alterna Fairy World the intrepid female four return to camp to find Hook the lone "survivor" of Cora's wrath. Fortunately, Emma's stupid pills have worn off and she manages to wrangle the truth out of him only to discover that what they need is at the top of a bean stalk.

Here's the Once Upon a Time I know and love! Tonight's episode was fantastic. I thought it had a nice balance between the different story lines and started to pull all the threads toward each other.

Regina. Hm. I don't think I like this idea that she's evil mainly because of Rumplestiltskin. I just feel like her character was developed to be so evil and twisted in the first season, that I'm not ready to point it all to this one cause.

Though I do have to say that I adored her pleading with David Charming and her heartbroken realization that Daniel really was a monster. I get that a lot of her anger and resentment feeds back to Daniel's death. I really do. I just think there is still way more going on with her story. She banished a lot of people and destroyed a lot of lives through her spell bringing everyone to Storybrooke and I don't think the mayorship or watching Snow as a school teacher fits into this very narrow revenge focus that is being presented here.

SQUEE! Jefferson is probably my absolutely favorite character. I was talking with Eileen today and said how much I hoped his story wasn't over. So how delighted was I that he featured so prominently in tonight's episode. His creepy smile when Regina agrees was spot on.

And as an aside. I know that the beginning of the first season was a little heavy on Lost references, so I was glad they dropped them, but I totally had to snrk when Rumple said "Dead is Dead."

So apparently Oz is another realm. I adore this idea that it isn't just Fairy World and Storybrooke. I love the fact that there are all of these other realms around - Wonderland, Neverland, Frankenstein's realm, etc.
Seriously. What is up with his hair?!

I appreciated the fact that the nod to Dorothy's slippers was so subtly dropped in.

I realize that his name is Dr. Whale (or Victor), but I will always think Creepy Uncle John every time I see him and I think that makes Dr. Whale even creepier and wrong for me.

I loved Hook and Emma's exchange: "I can count the men who have done that on one hand."
"Is that supposed to be funny?"

Also. Whoa. Rumple is way more powerful than he lets on. To just wave his hand and reappear Whale's arm? He has been practicing a whole lot while Belle's at the library.

But I was kind of hoping they would go somewhere else than to Frankenstein's monster. I was kind of hoping it wasn't the really obvious answer. And how did Victor end up getting sucked from his world into Storybrooke? For that matter, how did Hook get sucked out of Neverland?

I really think Jefferson needs to fix his hat or build a new one. With some magic in Storybrooke he should be able to do this, right?

I'm really looking forward to getting more about Emma's background next week. So what did you think? Will Henry ever hear from the horse that he's ready? Who is walking around without a heart?!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

This week is light on new releases but heavy handed with best-selling authors.

Over in Mystery/Thriller, "The Racketeer," is the latest novel by John Grisham and "The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds," by Alexander McCall Smith is available today.  Plus, Ed McBain's "Matthew Hope," series has been re-issued in paperback today.  I also found out last night that Ed McBain is a pen name for Evan Hunter, who wrote the screenplay for "The Birds."  I really want to read an Ed McBain book now, they sound perfect for Halloween. 

Meanwhile over in Romance, Debbie Macomber most likely has another best-seller on her hands with "Angels at the Table," as does Karen Kingsbury with "The Bridge."  Sylvia Day continues to turn up the heat with the second entry in the "Crossfire," series, "Reflected in You." 

Science Fiction/Fantasy fans will be left speculating alone this week as there are no new releases in the genre today.  Or, perhaps they'd enjoy some of the Young Adult fantasy fare available today such as "The Crimson Crown," the fourth novel in Cinda Williams Chima's "Seven Realms," series or "Beautiful Redemption," the fourth novel in Kami Garcia's "Beautiful Creatures," series. 

Other new releases in Fiction today include "Back to Blood," by Tom Wolfe and "The Elephant Keepers Children," by Peter Hoag.

What new reads are on your "to-read" list?  Happy reading and remember to support your local book stores whenever possible.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fairy Interesting: OUAT "The Crocodile"

My dad (who likes to pretend that he doesn't really care about this show, but yells at the characters pretty much every episode) hadn't seen last week's episode, so we rewatched it right before viewing tonight's episode.

Watching it the second time brought up a couple of points that made this episode better for me.

1. If Cora is Lancelot, then who else in the camp knows the truth? Cora was with Emma and Snow from the moment they arrived in the camp, but someone sent the guards to go get Emma and Snow claiming that Lancelot wanted to see them. So who was it? Who else is an evil spy?

2. Why would Regina let David Charming know about her vault? It sounds very unlike her to just let her secrets out in the open. It's one thing for Henry to tell someone about it; a completely different one to allow Charming to actually walk right into the vault.

All right. On to tonight's episode!

2.4 "The Crocodile"

In Storybrooke Rumple and Belle fight. Again. Belle learns the joys of iced tea and pancakes and gets a job as the town librarian. And is reunited with her father. After he kidnaps her and shortly before he decides to send her down the river. Almost literally. The search continues for fairy dust, David takes over as sheriff, and Ruby is everyone's favorite confidante (how much do I love her this season btw!). Rumple has to face his inability to connect in relationships and goes to David Charming, of all people, for advice.

Meanwhile in flashback Fairy World we see Rumple's relationship with his wife crumble, his obsession of reclaiming her from the evil Captain James who has supposedly kidnapped her, and see her betrayal twist him even further into the "Dark One" he claims to be. And we learn that magic beans can also act as magic portals. Good to know when you're trying to bring mom and grandma back from Alterna Fairy World.

Finally, in the tiniest glimpse of Alterna Fairy World Cora and good old Captain Hook look like they're up to something.

A decided lack of Snow, Emma, and Regina tonight. I hope these threads start to come together better because right now I feel like there's almost too much going on and we're losing touch with the main characters. But we'll see how it goes :)

I really like Emily de Ravin and I like Belle, but I am really not digging the Rumple/Belle connection anymore. I don't know. I guess it just feels played out. And how many times can Rumple repent and then regress before it gets old? Oh wait, it already did.

And while we're on the subject of Rumple - um, so he is Rumplestiltskin AND the Beast AND the crocodile AND the evil fairy (remember Cinderella)?! What's next? The Big Bad Wolf. Oh, no. Wait, that's Red Riding Hood. But of course we haven't met the three little pig's wolf yet, so I guess it's still a possibility.

Okay. Enough cynicism for one post :)

On a totally differen't note: I LOVE BELLE'S ROOM. Can I please have it? My entire life I have wanted a room with a bay window like that.

Was anyone else confused with the switch from Rumple's far past (pre-"Dark One" [and really? Dark One? Ahem.]) to his closer past (post-Dark One)? Maybe I got distracted, but I was a little thrown off by that transition.

So we know where Regina learned the whole ripping the heart from the chest and crushing it to dust thing now.

Smee! I was laughing when his floppy red hat appeared.

Belle's father also seriously needs to take a chill pill. I understand that he doesn't want her with Rumple, but to throw Belle out into the world all by herself with no memory of any of the people she knows and loves? After she's been locked up for who knows how many years? In what universe does this even make a SHRED of sense? I wanted to jump in and shake him! It will be interesting to see if he is able to reconcile himself at all with his daughter after that stunt.

Normally I'm thrilled to see another Rumple episode, but I wasn't really feeling this one. Maybe it's just my mood. I'm sorry but Rumple's wife is pretty much a jerk to leave her son that way.

Though I am super excited to see Cora and Hook working together.

So I am assuming that the island refuge is Never Land, which would explain why it was unaffected by the magic, since Never Land plays by different rules? Or was Hook on the refuge island looking over at Never Land, which he lost? Does this mean that there is no Peter Pan? Or will we get to meet him someday?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bionicle Books, Polynesian Culture, and Gender Division in Chapter Books

So, recently I started reading the Bionicle books as put out by Lego. And yes, my friend did make fun of me, and no, I don’t care. I do have a strong suspicion that I am one of a few twenty-three-year-olds who gets Bionicle chapter books from the library, but, they are highly enjoyable so I don’t worry too much about what society has to say on the matter.

Anyway. That’s beside the point.

Wombly is Suspicious.
I came home from the library and started reading with Wombly. I do admit, he was hesitant at first, and highly suspicious of this Bionicle book thing. However, being an open-minded friendly sort of Wombat, he decided to read along with me, due to my enthusiasm. And huzzah! He did, indeed, enjoy himself.

One of the things I really enjoy about the Bionicle world is the mythology. I was curious and tried looking up where the ideas behind the Bionicle world came from. Oh. My. Goodness. It was rather difficult to find. FINALLY, I found out that there was this whole big uproar because Lego had used Polynesian culture and names, and the Maori people found it offensive to their culture. When I found this out I had two responses:

1) That is so cool. I want to learn more about Polynesian life and culture.

2) Oh, peoples of the Lego industry, you missed out on a wonderful opportunity.

Wombly Giving the Toa Chronicles a Chance
I think that Lego had a chance to expose Down Unders to another peoples’ culture and social identity and mythological stories. Lego could have worked with Polynesian people, or something, and had some sort of info in the back of the books to let Down Unders know about Polynesians. I have read quite a few books where at the end of the book there’s more information about the historical background.

Now, I would guess that there were two thoughts going on:

1) Explaining the historical background will take away from the MAGIC of the world, and Down Unders will be sad that this world is not real, but only made up and based on real life information.

2) It will bore Down Unders and will stop them from buying a magical fantasy book.

In response to that I say:

1) Understanding the historical background always enhances my enjoyment of a book, never detracts from it.

2) What a sad outlook on Down Unders. And yes, I understand you’re trying to sell books to a specific demographic according to a specific genre, but really? I think there was definitely room somewhere to allow for the exploration of other cultures outside of our American norm.

BUT, regardless of all of that: I have enjoyed these books so far. They’re easy to read, they’re complex in story and character, and there’s a lot of action going on which is really good for those who may be slightly ADD. I think that the characters are well-thought out and distinct as individuals. It’s a thick kind of world a person can really sink into. And I love Kopaka. He is probably my favorite.

I did have one tiny complaint, and this probably comes from going to an All Woman’s College and having feminist friends: but, I think it would have been nice if two of the Toa had been female, instead of just Gali. Like, Onewa, or Lewa, or even Tahu. I think they chose to only have one girl so that girls could be interested, but boys would still read them. I noticed also that the author of the books, CA Hapka, usually goes by Catherine Hapka. (Although, on Amazon the author name is listed as Cathy Hapka, which is interesting.) I don’t know why there’s this idea out there that boys won’t read books about girls, with girls, or by girl authors. I think that because we as a society are catering to that idea even in our chapter books, this contributes to the unbalanced outlook that can occur between genders. Maybe if boys read more chapter books with girls, by girls (as well as books about boys by boys) there would be no need for this silly division between genders. We’re all people. And I think Down Unders are smart enough to understand that.

Wombly Pretending to Be Lewa
SO. Give the Bionicle books a try, and feel free to let Wombly and me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Swann Dives In

I'm really glad that I dove in to "Swann Dives In," by Charles Salzberg.  I normally can't get into PI novels especially one with a male protagonist.  However, I gave "Swann Dives In," a try after receiving a free review copy and I am so thankful that I did.  After a previous case nearly ended in his death, Private Investigator, Henry Swann left the business for a job in cable installation but when an old friend offers him the opportunity to get back in the PI game, he both reluctantly and excitedly agrees.  Soon, Swann is tracking down a missing girl, her arrogant boyfriend and finds himself mixed up in the surprisingly cut-throat world of buying and selling rare books.

What I loved about this book is that while Henry Swann is kind of a jerk and a male chauvinist, there is something about him that makes you root for him and kind of like him.  He's determined to get the job done and he's funny.  Plus, he loves books which becomes quite evident as his investigation takes him into the world of rare book dealing.  This novel is set in 2001.  Swann and the characters he encounters throughout the investigation comment on their passion for books and their concerns that e-books would threaten big book store chains such as "Barnes and Noble" and "Borders" the way the big box stores impacted the small independent bookstores.  This commentary on e-books, bookstores, and the publishing industry stirred up a lot of emotions for me as I am sure it would in anyone who is a fan of this blog.  I really related to the passion  for books of Swann and those he encountered in the rare book trade.  This mystery was also a true mystery novel.  It kept you guessing all the time.

Besides the missing girl, there was another mystery that kept me guessing the whole time.  Swann mentions that his son lives with his grandparents.  He is upset about not being able to properly parent his son but no explanation was ever given why that is.  However, this is a minor detail that plays little relevance in the plot of "Swann Dives In," and may have been dealt with in Salzberg's previous novel, "Swann's Last Song."

I highly recommend "Swann Dives In," and not just for mystery fans but for anyone who is passionate about books.  It was  a terrific read and I cannot wait for more adventures with Henry Swann.  For details on where to purchase the book, visit henryswann.com and have fun clicking around on Swann's virtual desk!

Note: I received no financial compensation for this book.  A review copy was given to me in exchange for a free, honest review.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

There are a lot of new releases this week.  So, let's get right into the Laydown Lowdown.

Two of the best-selling ladies of Mystery both have new releases today.  Patricia Cornwell debuts the 20th installment in her "Kay Scarpetta," series, "The Bone Bed," and Karin Slaughter's latest, "Fallen," lands on shelves today.  Other new releases in the genre include "A Fatal Winter," by G.M. Malliet, "Sacrifice Fly," by Tim O'Mara, and "Death on Telegraph Hill," by Shirley Tallman.

Over in Romance, you'll find "Things Remembered," by Georgia Bockover, "The Theory of Attraction," by Delphine Dryden, "A Gift from Tiffany's" by Melissa Hill, and "A Simple Autumn," by Rosalind Lauer.

Slink by Science Fiction/Fantasy and you'll see "Bowl of Heaven," by Gregory Benford, "Only Superhuman," by Christopher L. Bennett, "Angel's Ink," by Jocelyn Drake, and "Dreamsongs, Vol. II," by George R.R. Martin.

Yielding to Young Adult, you'll notice, "Beta," by Rachel Cohn and "Hidden," the 10th book in P.C. Cast's "House of Night," series.  You will also see "Starstruck," the latest in Lauren Conrad's best-selling series, and "Break My Heart 1,000 Times," by Daniel Waters.

Lots of great new reads this week!  What books will make your "to-read" list?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fairy Interesting: OUAT "Lady of the Lake"

2.3 "Lady of the Lake"

In tonight's episode Henry continues to prove that he is more astute than about 90% of the other characters by uncovering Regina's vault, getting to know his grandpa better, and helping Jefferson along the way. In the flashback we learn more about Snow and Charming and Snow finally gets to meet Mama Charming where she learns a life lesson about parenthood and sacrifice. And in alterna-Fairy World Snow runs into an old friend and she and Emma set off to find the wardrobe looking for a way back to Storybrooke. We find out that Cora is even more eviler than we thought and Emma acts a whole lot stupider than she actually is. Until she redeems herself at the very end.

I love the mix of the flashbacks to Fairy World, the present in Storybrooke, and the present in Alterna-Fairy World. However, it does feel like there is so much going on in each episode that the focus is much more narrower than in episodes last season. For example, we got barely anything in Storybrooke and I felt like Jefferson's story got a little short shrift because of this.

My favorite zingers of the night - and this episode seemed to be full of them:
Cora: "The apple fell very far from the tree." Ha! Right!

Emma talking about the Chimera: "Like turducken?" (I found this particularly funny as I wrote a paper about women as chimeras last semester and was boring all my friends with facts about this particular mythological monster.)
Emma: "I think we'll be okay, I just killed a dragon last week." (btw, the look on Snow's face when Emma said that was priceless)
Mulan: "Have you ever seen an ogre?" (and, for the record, I totally don't like her still)
Emma: "Pretty sure I've dated a few."

Aurora about Emma's leather jacket: "What kind of corset is this?" (And Aurora is sorta kinda but not really maybe growing on me. I think the writers are trying a little too hard to bring in another kick-butt female, but it feels totally forced to me)

David Charming: "Maybe we should've gone with Operation Viper." And really? You're going to leave the vault just like that without even looking around at ALL?! Are you people on stupid pills this episode?!


And speaking of stupid pills, here are the things that annoyed me about tonight's episode (as much as I love this show and enjoyed this episode, I still want to strangle some of the writers). I did definitely love a lot of things, but let me get this stuff out of the way first :)

First off, Emma may be out of her element, but she is not an idiot. She was a bounty hunter for pete's sake! People who have done that kind of thing for a living do not do something as stupid as shoot off a gun in the middle of the woods when they were JUST told that ogres only track by sound. Seriously people. I just don't buy that at all.

And I understand that he's Prince Charming and everything, but I seriously doubt that the king's guard  could be defeated that easily. I was really wanting Snow and Lancelot to ride up and save him. I would have believed that a lot more. Having them arrive just after felt stupid. And, perhaps I missed it, but the only arrow I ever saw shot was at the very beginning (lodging conveniently in another guard's chest when Charming barely ducked?!) so where did the arrow come from that hit Mama Charming? And why would she come running back out? She didn't fight Charming at all when he told her to go inside and he never yelled or did anything that would make her think he was hurt. Just very weak writing in this section.

Also, why on earth does Snow so conveniently lay out her ENTIRE PLAN as they are leaving the camp. She was so worried about Cora overhearing, but when they're almost in the clear she divulges everything? Your viewers have brains writers! All these lame plot devices are glaringly obvious!

And my final nitpick (and please, if you have a response to any of these, feel free to comment below. I'm just airing my opinions - I'm sure there are tons of people that would disagree with me) has to do with the ogre. First, it seemed way too easy for Snow to kill him. THIS is the monster everyone is terrified of? Second, there's only one ogre in the forest? They kill him and then are just all tromp tromp through the woods at night. The one thing we just said was too dangerous to do. *sigh*

Okay. I feel better now.

btw King George is a vindictive BAD WORD and he looks even more evil in Storeybrooke, but that may be because he looks like Widmore in the real world. EVIL

What is with all the evil parents?!

It's a good thing we had Mama Charming to balance things out. I totally knew that she was going to trick Snow into taking the potion (well, duh, Emma), but I loved the exchanges between her and Snow. They were so sweet and I wished she could have stayed alive so Snow could get a little bit of a real mother's love. However, it did shed a nice light on her interactions with Emma.

Speaking of which, I wish Emma had been a little more visibly moved by Snow's early musings. I loved her comment that they had a family already, but she seemed so cold and distant. At the same time, as I thought about it, I realized how hard it would be for her to see all of the things that should have been hers and to think about the family life she should have had. And this would bring up her anger over having been abandoned. Her speech at the end was perfect and their mother/daughter moment was brilliant. I was completely heartbroken by Snow's last glance at the life that was supposed to be.

I did wonder how much of the Fairy World has actually been destroyed. There seemed to be an awful lot of it left for them to tramp through. I was horrified to learn that Lancelot is dead. I liked him. But then I thought, how do we know Cora is actually telling the truth? It's not like she's exactly a paragon of virtue. And her evil smile as she scooped up the ashes was almost Regina worthy.

Can you imagine how crazy it would be if she ends up being the uber villain and Regina has to work together with Snow, Emma, and Charming to save Henry and the rest of the Fairy World people?! That would be super fun, since you could never trust her no matter what.

While it's all noble for them to march off trying to find Cora to save the day, wouldn't it be smarter for them to go back to the island and let everyone know that Cora has been masquerading as Lancelot? You know, before Cora sneaks back in and causes more damage?

Henry and David Charming's sword fight was sweet. It was nice getting to see Henry act like a kid for once.

I loved getting a little more Jefferson and of course Henry was the perfect one to help him see the truth, but it all seemed a little bit too easy and his reunion with Grace felt far too brief. I felt rather cheated. Here's hoping we get a Mad Hatter focused episode really soon.

So what did you think? Do you subscribe to the theory that the guy in the apartment in the first episode is Rumple's son, who might also be Henry's father and the key to ... well, I don't know what, but it's fun to speculate!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Run the Presses!

I've been after a certain book for awhile now.  Unfortunately, it's been out of print for over 20 years.  I love the movie, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," and I've always wanted to read the book, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A True Story," by Cameron Crowe.  Most people don't even know that the film was based on a book or real people and events altogether.  In his early 20's, Crowe posed as a high school student and the book and subsequent film are based on his experiences.  I have wanted this book for years but sadly my library and the entire library system in my area don't carry.  I've looked into purchasing a used copy through online retailers but the book must be in high demand as the prices start at $50.00! If anyone ever wants to woo me, this book is a perfect way to do so.

I then asked my BWOBNY friends what book they'd most like to see back in print.  Jess P. chose a childhood favorite, "The Time of the Witch," by Mary Downing Hahn.  While most of Hahn's independent reader mystery chillers have been re-released, this one has not. 

Rebecca T.  would love to see last week's Book Club pick back in print, "My Life as a Furry Red Monster," by Kevin Clash.  She thinks it is odd, and I agree, that despite the documentary's success, this novel has sadly gone out of print.

What about you guys, what book(s) would you like to see back in print?  Maybe if we generate a good conversation here, we can sway the publishers!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

43 Cemetery Road

I recently read the second book in the 43 Old Cemetery Road series by sisters Kate and M. Sarah Klise. The first in the series is called Dying to Meet You, and is about a boy, Seymour Hope, who moves into a house on 43 Cemetery Road. His parents soon abandon him to go off and tour Europe. He is left alone in the house with Ignatius B. Grumply, who is a grumpy old man. There is also a ghost by the name of Olive C. Spense, who refuses to die completely until the books she wrote while she was living are published. The three strike up a friendship and the second book, Over My Dead Body, continues the tale.

Seymour, Olive, and B. Grumply are writing a book together. Olive and Ignatius co-write it and Seymour illustrates it. But... Alas, someone has written the director of the International Movement for the Safety and Protection of Our Kids and Youth (IMSPOOKY), Dick Tator. Dick Tator believes that all scary books should be burned, that Halloween should be banned, and that, moreover, ghosts are in no way real. He has Ignatius sent to the loony bin and Seymour sent to an orphanage. In the end will Olive, Grumply, and Seymous be able to live happily ever after? Will Seymour's parents go to jail for being terrible parents? Will Halloween be saved? Well, you'll have to read the books to find out for yourself.

I thought this book would be appropriate to review this week since it's set during Halloween, which - - is coming up! Oh my goodness it's October. Wombly will have to think up a costume. But also, it dealt with the idea of book burnings and bannings, which I thought appropriate since last week was Banned Books Week.

What I loved about these two books: the whole narrative is told through letters, and newspaper clippings, and drawings, and audio transcripts, and official documents. One, this makes it a super fast read, Two, it makes the read super fun. And pretty much every single character's name is a pun. As a lover of bad puns, this cracks me up. This series is perfect for Down Unders looking for stories that include mysteries, ghosts, and itching powder.

I definitely look forward to reading the rest of this series!

SO... Before I wish all of you Down Unders a good week, what do you think Wombly should dress up for, for Halloween? What are you going to dress up as?

Wombly trying to dress up as a ghost.

Wombly as a jail warden with keys.

AND... Have a good week Down Unders!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reviewing The Warrior's Heart

Have you read any good biographies lately? I found a good one that my son enjoyed reading. It is an ARC of Eric Greiten's new book, The Warrior's Heart, which comes out October 9th. He took his best seller, The Heart and the Fist, and adapted it for the YA reader. Instead of reviewing it myself, I thought I would ask my son a few questions to get his input. This is not a direct quote of my son, but just the gist of what he said. So here goes.
Me: What did you think of the book?
Son: It was good. It was real, believable.
Me: What did you think of the "You" chapters where the author presents scenarios for the reader to reflect on his own responses to that scenario?
Son: It was confusing at first, but made sense as I read more.I found it interesting how it was done. (The illustration about the police station in Beijing had a real impact on my son.)
Me: Did the author communicate clearly?
Son: Yes. I think it was supposed to be confusing at first, but you get it later on. It makes you think.
Me: What do you think his message was?
Son: I think his purpose was to tell people what it was like to be a SEAL. I also think he was trying to encourage others to go beyond what you think you can do.
Me: What do you think of SEALS based on his descriptions?
Son: I learned that SEALS are well trained and well disciplined. It is one of the hardest branches. I respect them.
Me: Is there anything else you want to say?
Son: I didn't know about Tianammen Square in China. It was scary and crazy.
Me: If you were to rate the book, from 1 to 5 stars, 1 being really bad and 5 being the best book you ever read, what would you say?
Son: probably 3 and a half. because 4 would be really good and 5 would be amazing.

Believe me, a 3 and a half in my son's book is high praise, as he is not an avid reader.  If you have a reluctant reader, then I highly recommend this to get them interested in reading.

Reading The Warrior's Heart has encouraged me to read Greiten's The Heart and the Fist.  So if you like YA or biographies, then this is a great choice. Go pick up a copy at your local brick and mortar store. You will be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

The second week in October seems to be a light release week and a mysterious one as there are no new releases in mystery today.

However, R.L. Stine releases his first adult horror novel in over a decade, "Red Rain," and Kim Newman has updated and elaborated on a previous novella for "Anno Dracula: Dracula Cha Cha Cha."

Meanwhile, over in Romance, get ready for an early Christmas with "Christmas in Apple Ridge," a bind-up of three novels by Cindy Woodsmall.  The novella, "Turn to Ashes," is the latest installment in the "darkness" series by Jaime Rush.

Moving to Science Fiction/Fantasy best-selling author Kim Harrison presents "Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond," and Phillip Joseph Farmer begins a new series with "A Feast Unknown."

Check out Young Adult for "Romeo Redeemed," by Stacey Jay, "Mystic City," by Theo Lawrence and "Time Between Us," by Tamara Ireland Sone.

Other new releases in Fiction today include: "Cash Out," by Greg Bardsley, "Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Married," by Heather McEltatton, and "Care of Wooden Floors," by Will Wiles.

I'm really excited about the new R.L. Stine!  What books are you looking forward to reading this week?  Remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.