Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

It's the last Tuesday in April, the weather is getting warmer and before you know it, beach read season will be in full swing.  Perhaps, that's why there are so many new releases available today.

Mystery in particular is a crowded genre today with new titles such as "The Cuckoo's Calling," by Robert Galbraith, "Bat in the Belfy," by Sarah Graves, "The Tooth Tattoo," by Peter Lovesey, "The Girl Who Married an Eagle," by Tamar Myers, " and "The Body in the Piazza," by Katherine Hall Page. 

There is lots of love in the air over in Romance with "Headed for Trouble," by Suzanne Brockman, "Lord of Wicked Intentions," by Lorraine Heath, "A Spear of Summer Grass," by Deanne Raybourn, "A Passion for Pleasure," by Nina Rowan and "Stealing Home," by Jennifer Seasons.

Skipping over to Science Fiction/Fantasy and you'll find "The Lives of Tao," by Wesley Chu, "Dark Days," by Caitlin Kitteredge, "Crucible of Gold," Naomi Novik, "Guards! Guards!: A Novel of Discworld," Terry Pratchett, and "Necessary Evil," by Ian Tregillis. 
Finally in Young Adult, you'll discover "Sweet Peril," by Wendy Higgins, "The Boyfriend App," by Katie Sise. 

Will any of these books make your "to-read" list this week?  What are you all reading lately?  Share with us and Happy Reading!! Remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Fairy Interesting - OUAT "The Evil Queen"

2.20 "The Evil Queen"

So tonight Regina proves, in both flashback fairy world and in Storybrooke, that she is the evil queen and that, although she will continually blame everyone around her, it is her choices that are making her truly the "evil queen."

Henry and Emma start conniving again in their adorable way with Project Praying Mantis trying to uncover the truth about Tamara. But unfortunately, Emma comes off like a jealous ex and Tamara goes running around with Greg doing crazy plots with Hook.

Speaking of whom - Hook seriously needs to stop making deals with people because he is getting the short end of the stick every single time. And he really doesn't learn his lesson. Even if his Regina deal was a set up, it's completely indicative of every other time he's trusted one of the "bad" guys.

The overriding theme tonight was revenge, of course, but more specifically how the lust for revenge can completely overtake someone's life and eat away everything they really care about.

Regina lost Henry once and she is losing him more and more every minute. She can't take away all his memories. He loved her when he was her son, but he was a lot younger and a lot more naive. Now he has seen her for who she has become and he can't forget all of that. And even IF she could make him forget I think she knows deep down that it wouldn't actually be Henry loving her.

She destroys her own life in flashback fairy world through her actions. She can blame Snow all she wants, but everyone knows that as long as she is ordering entire towns to be slaughtered then she is evil.

I loved the hint we get that she could have been redeemed and it makes her waffling in the present more believable to me. But I still feel like her reason for going totally evil is weak. How does she turn so quickly from "Kill everyone!" to "I want to be family!" to "Kill everyone!"? Except, of course, the fairy tale base of the show does lend itself to that dichotomy (as I pointed out about last week's episode).

side note: I really dislike the fact that Regina can look like anyone she wants. It makes everyone suspect and I hate that.

It's a good thing Regina stole that bean because otherwise no one would be going anywhere. Unless they could get Jefferson to make a hat!!!

Hook had the real speech of the evening sounding a bit Inigo Montoya as he realizes that without revenge he won't have anything left. But even with that they all push forward to wreak the revenge they think they want so badly.

Greg is looking for revenge for his father (and still hoping to find him) but we now learn he has some other agenda - which the presence of Tamara has made pretty clear. That and his obsession with the magic since he arrived.

I do want to know what Neal is doing while Tamara is running around with Greg all the time. I don't know why Neal doesn't seem to notice that she spends a lot of time NOT with him. And btw Tamara and Greg totally make me want to blerfgh everywhere.

However, the fact that they can overcome magic with science is pretty freakin' amazing.

Emma is the only one not actively seeking revenge, but she is the one who comes across as the most crazy. She does seem like the jealous ex, but there's reason for that. There is still a connection there no matter how much either of them ignores or denies it. And Henry is astute enough to see it. It might be partly wishing, but I think that he's seeing some of the truth Emma won't let herself see.

And I can't believe that Emma is still hiding things from Henry. No one has told him about the beans? For real!? Stupid people. Didn't they learn anything about keeping things from Henry?

So how does this all play out? What will the finale bring? I'm quite interested to find out!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fairy Interesting: OUAT - Lacey

So getting the flu on Sunday evening makes it hard to write a blogpost for some reason :) So here's last weeks and check back later for today's!

2.19 "Lacey"

In this episode we finally get back to Belle, but without completely losing the other threads of the stories. It was a nicely balanced episode. In Storybrooke Regina is finally up to her old evil conniving ways and makes Belle revert back to her cursed self. Rumple tries to woo her back and learns completely the wrong lesson. Snow and David Charming are knee deep in plans to go back to Fairytale World and Neal proves to be even more adorable at swordfighting with Henry than David was. In flashback Fairy world we get more proof that Rumple and Belle are meant for each other and Robin Hood makes a brief appearance.

I thought this was a great episode and, even though I thought I was done with the whole evil Rumple/Belle stops him thing it was handled so amazingly in this episode with a twist at the end I really didn't see coming.

But more on that later.

Watching Regina realize that she is twistedly related to Rumple was absolutely hilarious. But in that conversation can we just say that it was the most literal pot calling the kettle black of ever.

I understand why they kept the beans from Regina, but honestly, did they really not think that she would figure it out?

I don't understand what they think they're going back to! Snow knows that most of it is completely gone. What is there left to go back for? I hate sad face Snow. Gah! make her happy again.

I do like getting the cameos of the giant, but I miss having the dwarves *cough*Leroy*cough* around town as much.

It is great that Emma is confiding in Neal and I really hope he doesn't go anywhere. Because of course we know that his fiance is in it for the power and is sleeping around on him, so we can just ship Emma and Neal with no regrets. It's more of that black/white dichotomy that tends to happen in this show, which fits the fairy tale premise.

I was so happy to have Belle back. Even in her memory-loss state she was starting to be Belle again. I was begging Gold not to lie to her about healing her and then he just kind of side-stepped it without really denying it. But then to lose all that with Regina's matchbook trick was so sad.

Gold going to David for advice was perfect - after all, they're the only real happy ever after that just keeps working out. But Rumple isn't really the wooing kind of guy. He was trying so hard and I love the look on his face when Lacey gave that line that showed there was a tiny vestige of Belle left. This episode is probably the best I've liked Rumple this season (except for his good-bye phone call to Belle *sob*).

I love that blue on Lacey/Belle. And she plays the other part really well. But I want Belle back! But this is going to be SO much more interesting. So I'm contradictory.

So the Sheriff of Nottingham is a bartender at The Rabbit Hole. So hm. Also kind of a sleazeball. Also it was bad to see Rumple lose himself, but worse to see Lacey admiring him :(

And can we say best scene in the entire episode!?
did anyone else wonder where the hay bale all the blood on Rumple's apron came from? Because Robin Hood was pretty much untouched. So yeah. I know. Family show and all. But they could have done some kind of camera angle thing to make you think there was a wound, but you see all of him. Only a tiny bit of blood on his face. I think I may have watched too much Walking Dead.

I was honestly expecting the trailer to open and reveal Robin Hood at the end (who, btw, was pretty cute), but of course it's Hook. I kind of wonder if they have any idea how many times Hook has FAILED though.

A great episode and I can't wait for tonight's!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Odd and the Frost Giants

Book Details:
  • Written by Neil Gaiman (Who also wrote The Graveyard Book and Coraline.)
  • Illustrated by Brett Helquist (who also illustrated for The Series of Unfortunate Events and Chasing Vermeer.)
  • Published by HarperCollins (who also published Herbert's Wormhole.)

Important Things to Know:
  • Even if you have a disability, like a hurt leg, you can still have adventures.
  • There are three main Norse gods in this story: Odin, Thor, and Loki.
  • Norse mythology is awesome.
  • This story is really very short, but still very good!

Why Wombly and I Enjoyed This Book:
  • Mainly, it was about Norse mythology.
  • Not only did it contain Norse mythology, but it was a well-researched story with Norse mythology.
  • Odd is adorable.
  • Odd carries the viking spirit and doesn't let bad things stop him from being a warrior and a lover of life.

Wombly and I Read This Book Because:
  • I enjoyed reading The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland.
  • I enjoyed Coraline and Wolves in the Walls and MirrorMask by Neil Gaiman.
  • I love Brett Helquist. I love his style. He's one of those illustrators where even if I don't know who the author is I will try reading the book because I love him so much. (ALSO: I didn't realize it but Brett Helquist did the cover art for Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge, which is one of my personal favorites, and was also published by HarperCollins.)

You Can Find This Book At:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

Whovians like Rebecca T. will no doubt be delighted by today's paperback releases of various Dr. Who tales.  The stories, which feature different Doctors throughout the shows history, include "Beautiful Chaos," by Gary Russell, "Fear of the Dark," by Trevor Baxendale, and "Festival of Death," by Jonathan Morris.

Other new releases in Science Fiction/Fantasy today are "The River of No Return," by Bee Ridgeway and "The God Patent," by Ransom Stephens. 

Over in Romance, you'll find "Claim Me," the second novel in J. Kenner's "Stark" trilogy as well as "Wedding Night," by Sophie Kinsella, "The Mystery Woman," by Amanda Quick, and "Enslave: Beauty Tames the Beast," by Cathy Yardley.

Moving over to Mystery, you'll discover "A Murder at Rosamund's Gate," by Susana Calkins, "The Dead Caller from Chicago," by Jack Fredrickson, and "Crashed," by Tiffany Hallinan.

Jumping over to Young Adult, you'll see "The Elite," the second novel in "The Selection" trilogy by Kiera Cass, "Chosen at Nightfall," by CC Hunter, "Darius & Twig," by Walter Dean Myers, and  "Unbreakable," by Elizabeth Norris.

With all these new reads this week, what ones will make your "to-read" list?  Share with us!  Happy Reading and remember to support your local book stores whenever possible. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Press Here

Book Details:

  • Written and Illustrated by Herve Tullet (who is French, so if you can read French you can experience his website in French.)
  • Published by Chronicle Books
  • It has been translated into other languages, like Russian.

Wombly and I Loved this Book Because:
  • I could sit and read it again and again and still be amused each time
  • It's a great book for helping a child's imagination, I think
  • I love the colors of it
  • Wombly enjoyed that he could interact with the book
  • I love that I could sit in the library and giggle to myself over a board book. There's some kind of magic in a book that allows you to do that. Or, as the Chronicle Books page for this book will tell you: "It's not magic. It's the power of your imagination."

I Read This Book Because:

You Can Find The Book Here:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

I think we could all use a little escape from reality with one of today's new reads.

Nora Roberts, one of the best-selling queens of Romance presents her latest love story, "Whiskey Beach."  "Taking Chances," by Molly McAdams and "Sand Castle Bay," the first in Sheryl Woods' "Ocean Breeze" series are also available.

Moving over to Mystery, you'll find "Follow Her Home," by Stephan Cha, "London Falling," by Paul Cornell," "A Man Without Breath," by Phillip Kerr, and "The Carrion Birds," by Urban Waite.

Most of Phillip K. Dick's Science Fiction/Fantasy novels are re-released in paperback with spiffy new covers today.  "Promise of Blood," by Brian McClellan and "Star Wars: Book of the Sith," by Daniel Wallace are also available today.

"Dead Silence," brings Kimberly Derting's "Body Finder" series to a close in Young Adult today and "Game," the sequel to "I Hunt Killers," by Barry Lyga is also available.

What are you reading this week? Will any of these new releases make your "to-read" list?  Remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

March Book Club: Sever by Lauren DeStefano

We read the first book in DeStefano's trilogy and then the second one together, so it was fitting that we finished off the series as a book club as well.

After everything she's been through - losing her brother, being married against her will, escaping from Housemaster Vaughn's clutches, losing Gabriel, and being recaptured and tortured - Rhine finds herself back with Linden and Cecily. She still plans on finding her brother, Rowan, and trying to regain a small sense of her life like it was before everything happened. As she fights to fulfill her goals, Rhine has to decide who she can trust and whether Linden, Cecily, Rowan's uncle Reed, and even Vaughn himself, will ultimately help or hinder her along the way.

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What we thought:

Jenn N.: Sever exceeded my expectations. DeStefano succeeded in overcoming the sophomore slump that was Fever. Of course I expected Rhine's trek to find her brother to be harrowing but Sever was full of twists and turns that I did not see coming. I also loved the growth in Cecily's character. In the prior two books I found her nothing but obnoxious but here she really stepped up to become more mature than her years with varying results. I'm still trying to decide whether her boldest maneuver was brilliant or tragic. The only thing I didn't like about Sever was that the tidy ending was a bit rushed. Regardless, it was a great, thrilling, and suspenseful read.

Rachelyons: This is my favorite YA dystopian series after The Hunger Games. Like Jenn, I loved Cecily's growth. I hated her in the first two books but grew to love the woman she became. I also loved Madame and the new less threatening side we got to see of her. I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this book :) I also felt like it was rushed at the end, but I feel like that with most last books in a trilogy. It's like Rhine is just chillin with Reed for half of the book and then all loose ends are tied up in the last quarter of the book. But overall I think this series is original and addictive and I was thoroughly satisfied with Sever.

Rebecca T.: I was not a fan of Fever, so I was a little nervous to get to Sever. However, from the beginning I was intrigued. I too loved Cecily. I wasn't so antagonistic toward her in the first two books (I even wished that she had narrated part of Fever), but I loved the progression of her character and, like Jenn, I am still torn over her most daring maneuver. However, I thought it fit perfectly into the arc of her character. I adored Reed. What a great addition. I do agree with Rachel that it seemed like Rhine spent a little too much time just kind of hanging out with him, but she was also recovering from both her time at Madame's and the experiments in Vaughn's basement, so she needed time. Plus that meant we got more of Reed :) I also really liked the development of Linden's character and the way DeStefano dealt with his and Rhine's relationship. Overall I liked the complete story arc and Sever definitely redeemed the trilogy for me.

What did you think? Did  you like it? Who was your favorite character?

This month we're taking another break from YA and checking out Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette? Feel free to read along with us and check back to let us know what you thought! (Rebecca T. here - I just started this and I am LOVING it! My manager at work wanted to know what I was laughing at on my break :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Herbert's Wormhole

Wombly and I read this on the Nook we got for Christmas :)

Book Details:
  • Written by Peter Nelson
  • Illustrated by Rohitash Rao                           (for Down Unders: be aware that this illustrator doesn't just do drawings for Down Unders, so you may want to stick to the book website, link found below, for more info on the illustrator.)
  • Published by Harper Collins
  • (who was the publishing company that published A Series of Unfortunate Events)

Important things to know:

  • Alex is obsessed with video games. The kind where he gets to slay aliens.
  • His mom and dad set up a play date with him and the nerdy next door neighbor Herbert.
  • A time/space portal opens in Alex's backyard
  • Wacky time adventures ensue.

Wombly and I liked this book because:

  • It was a lot of fun
  • The sense of place was very clear - Wombly and I felt like we had lived in the world while we were reading the book
  • The characters were fantastic
  • The main character Alex is kind of a jerk ~ but he's a fun character because there's a lot of room for growth in imperfect characters
  • Wombly loved how Herbert is so incredibly over-the-top nerdy
  • I love Sammi ~ I love strong female characters
  • I loved the scene where Alex loses his memories of video games.
  • Wombly loved how Nelson played with the time traveling into the future thing - - I don't want to give away details, but Wombly and I enjoyed the old man they meet in the future.

I read this because:

  • I read the Time Warp Trio.
(Random Fact: the first three books in the Time Warp series was re-published by HarperCollins in 2006/2007; the same publisher that published Herbert's Wormhole)

Check out the book's website!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

I don't know how the weather is by you but here in the Hudson Valley, it's gorgeous out!! It's a perfect day to lay outside with one of this week's new reads.

Mystery fans may want to soak up the rays and enjoy "The Perfect Ghost," by Linda Barnes, "Midnight at the Marble Arch," by Anne Perry, "Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble," by Ann B. Ross, and "Unintended Consequences," by Stuart Woods.

Meanwhile Sci-Fi/Fantasy fans will want to check out "Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison," by Hadden Blackman, "The Gifted," Anna Kathryn Davis, "Plague Nation," by Dana Fredsti, and "Blood of Dragons," by Robin Hobb.

Romance lovers can delight in "All or Nothing," by Dixie Lee Brown, "Here and Now," by Bobbye Marrs, and "A Time of Change," by Aimee Thurlo.

Finally, Young Adult fans will enjoy "Apollyonn," by Jennifer L. Armetrout, "Inferno: Chronicles of Nick #4" by Sherilyn Kenyon, and "Mojo," by Tim Tharp.

What are you reading this week?  Are you enjoying the beautiful spring weather?  Share with us and Happy Reading.  Remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

I hope nobody pulled any tricks on you yesterday.  No foolin' today, there are lots of great new releases this week.

First up in Romance, one of my favorite authors, Julie James, releases her latest
"FBI/US Attorney" tale, "Love Irresistibly."  Ms. James is a former attorney which I believes help make her novel realistic and relate-able.  Other new releases in Romance include Maya Banks' second novel in the "Breathless Trilogy," "Fever," plus "Naughtier and Wilder," by Lora Leigh and Jaci Burton and "Starting Now," by Debbie Macomber.

Over in Mystery, James Patterson's former writing partner Andrew Gross, now a best-selling author in his own right, presents his latest thriller, "No Way Back." Other new releases in the genre today include "Afterwards," by Rosamund Lupton, "The Baker Street Translation," by Michael Robertson, and "Another Sun," by Timothy Williams.

Skipping to Science Fiction/Fantasy and you'll find "Protector: Foreigner #14," by C.J. Cherryh, "Prophet of Bones," by Ted Komatka and "Without a Summer," by Mary Robinette Kowal.

Finally, two Young Adult series' come to a close "Rise," the last book in the "Eve" trilogy by Anna Carey and  "Light," the sixth and final book in "Michael Grant's "Gone."  Mercedes Lackey also releases, "Sacrifices," the third book in her "Shadow Grail" series today.

Will any of these new releases be making your "to-read" list?  Share with us.  Happy Reading and remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Thank You for the Drama

I have been watching "General Hospital" for 18 years.  I love escaping to the fictional city of Port Charles on a daily basis. One of my favorite memories of working at Borders was sharing my love with my co-workers, and fellow fans, Jess P. and Claire.  "General Hospital" celebrates its 50th Anniversary today!! I think even non-soap fans would have to admit that 50 years is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

I want to thank everyone involved with "General Hospital," for bringing these stories to life and providing my friends and I with endless hours of entertainment.  Some people snicker at my love of soap operas and dramas.  However, they fail to realize that shows of this nature require fresh written stories, to produce episodes approximately 200 days out of the year, along with a full cast of actors/actresses to perform them and a crew to capture the action.  The creative ensemble required to put an hour long show everyday is phenomenal.

I would especially like to thank Claire Labine, General Hospital's Head Writer from August 1993 to March 1996.  Her stories provided me and my friends with our fondest, albeit most heartbreaking "General Hospital" memories.  These stories included the tragic tale Kawasaki disease stricken young Maxie receiving a heart transplant from her cousin who died in a bus crash, Monica Quartermaine's bout with breast cancer and HIV-positive Stone Cates and his girlfriend Robin Scorpio.  These stories linger with me almost two decades after they aired.  How often does the average TV show do that?

Robin and Stone
Of course in addition to these heart wrenching stories, the show is also filled with romance that makes your heart soar.  Under the current head writer, Ron Carlivati's reign, I am currently rooting for Sabrina Santiago, the slightly geeky but super sweet nurse with a frizzy mess of hair to win the heart of the widowed Dr. Patrick Drake.  My other favorite romance was the pairing of Emily Quartermaine and Nikolas Cassadine.  As an awkward teenager, the slightly older Nikolas failed to see Emily as anything more than a friend but once she grew up the friendship blossomed and the duo become one of the show's biggest super-couples.  I'm a sucker for unrequited love finally being requited.

Nikolas and Emily
Speaking of Emily and Monica Quartermaine, this post would not be complete if I didn't talk about my love for the families of "General Hospital."  The always fighting, back-stabbing but always their for each other Quartermaine clan is my favorite.  If I could join any fictional family, that would be the one.  I'd love to tell Tracy to stuff it, in "Monica's house," although that would complicate by un-family love type feelings for the just back from the dead A.J. Quartermaine.  

I have only touched on a handful of my favorite "General Hospital" moments.  I could go on and on about my favorite my show and I often do over on twitter, @lapetitecupcake.  If you're interested please check out my frequent "General Hospital" tweets.

Happy 50th Anniversary, General Hospital!! Thank you so much for all the wonderful memories.  I can't wait to see what else lays ahead for the citizens of Port Charles.

If you're a fan of "General Hospital," I'd love to hear from you!  Post some of your favorite memories below and join me in celebrating their 50th Anniversary today.