Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Laydown Lowdown

It's apple picking season but while I love apple pie and applesauce, I've never been a fan of raw apples and I don't understand the appeal of picking your own apples.  Instead, I'd rather go to my local bookstore and pick some fresh books.  Perhaps, you do too.  There are plenty of great new books to choose from this week.

R.L. Stine reboots his "Fear Street" series after a long hiatus with "Party Games."  Check out my review on Thursday.  You'll also find "The Fine Art of Pretending," by Rachel Harris, "Between the Stars and the Sky," by David James, "Complete Nothing," by Kieran Scott,  "The Queen of Zombie Hearts," by Gena Showalter,  "Lies We Tell Ourselves," by Robin Talley and "Belzhar," by Mike Wolitzer all available in Young Adult today.

Step over to Romance for "Kiss Me, Captain," by Gwen Jones, "Night Play," by Sherrilyn Kenyon, "The Groom Says Yes," by Cathy Maxwell, "All Fired Up," by Katie Meader, "The Groom Says Yes," by Cathy Maxwell, and "He's So Fine," Jill Shalvis.

Look out for "Dangerous Women," an anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois in Science Fiction/Fantasy, plus "To Dance With the Devil," by Cat Adams and "Magician's End," by Raymond E. Feist.

Slide through Mystery/Thriller for "The Lost Key," by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison, "Murder as a Second Language," by Joan Hess, and "Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials," by Ovida Yu.

Will you pick any of these books this week?  Share with us!  Happy Reading and remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fairy Interesting: OUaT - A Tale of Two Sisters

We're ba-ack! And I'm so excited. I can't wait to see what else this new season has in store.

For my initial resistance to the idea of Frozen coming to Storeybrooke I definitely warmed up to the idea (pun fully intended) over the break. After reading some interviews with the writers and show creators and having time to get used to the idea I was really excited to see where they would go with it. And after tonight's episode I'm not disappointed (well, mostly not, but I'll get to that later).

4.1: A Tale of Two Sisters

Tonight Regina's happily ever after is thwarted yet again and she decides to do what Regina always does - take matters into her own hands by bringing wrath and destruction down on those who are in her way. But it isn't as simple as it used to be. Meanwhile in flashbacks to Arendelle an undefined amount of time after the ending of the movie, Anna is getting ready for her wedding and Elsa finds her mother's journal which seems to confirm her worst fears about herself. And Rumple and Belle finally get their honeymoon, but Rumple just can't resist playing with fire, no matter how many pledges he tries to make.

The juxtaposition of two kinds of "monsters" fighting to overcome their instincts was fascinating to me. On the one side we have Regina. We've seen over the past few years how she came to be the evil queen and watched her fight her way out of the persona she crafted for herself and which almost destroyed her.

Regina became a monster by choice. Her decisions after Snow's betrayal continually pushed her further down the path of anger, revenge, and cruelty. But her love for Henry and the relationships she slowly developed brought her out of it and you can see her really struggle through this episode to subdue the inner monster she's created in herself. Even in the end, when she seems to have finally overcome her gut reaction, she can't help but revert to manipulations and destruction in order to try to gain her happy ending.

On the other side is Elsa. Born with a magical power she was taught to fear, she views herself as a monster. Even after her breakthrough in the movie, she still has this deep-seated perception of herself as monstrous simply because of who she is. So it doesn't take much for her to find confirmation in her mother's journal.

Not even Anna's protestations can convince her that she is not the cause of all of their pain and suffering and that she is not, in fact, the monster she's always believed herself to be. However she comes to be there, even in Storeybrooke Elsa is fighting herself. She's desperate to find the one person in the world who wholeheartedly believes in her and, if the preview for next week has anything to say about it, will find herself becoming more "monstrous" in order to do so.

Another theme, which I pointed out in my write up of last season's finale, is the sanctity of family. It is first and foremost and the most powerful kind of magic. Even though Robin loves Regina and truly wants to be with her he takes his vows seriously and he cannot rightly break the bond of family that ties him to Marian, no matter how much he might want to.

Emma is devastated because she hurt Regina, a woman who against all odds has become a part of her family. And she can't think about beginning new with Killian until she's made things right with the family she already has.

And of course we now have the "Tale of Two Sisters" with Anna's persistent and certain belief in Elsa's goodness and her ability to help make everything right. Anna cannot believe that their parents could have been fleeing - her loyalty to her whole family is the most important thing she can hold onto. And when she needs help, where does she turn? Her soon-to-be in-laws, because where else do you go with your problems than your family?

As much as I'm annoyed about them bringing Marian back (like really?), I did like the opportunity to explore her reaction to Regina. As someone who hasn't seen the past three years, she can only see Regina as who she was. And this perception very nearly causes Regina to revert to that person.

Perception - being seen - very important here as well. Who others think we are has a profound impact on how these characters behave. Rumple wants to be the man Belle and Neal see him as (the question, of course, is whether he can keep his vow - he's off to a very shaky start). Killian, for all his "I'm a pirate" protestations, wants to be the man Emma can love and live with. Each character allows themselves to be defined by the way they are viewed. And what greater tool of perception than a book where all the stories are written and portrayed. Is it any wonder Regina desires to destroy it?

(Side note - this twist of Regina wanting to destroy the book or the writer of the book reminds me a bit of the Ever After High series written by Shannon Hale in which Raven Queen, daughter of the evil queen and destined to take her place, refuses to sign the Book of Destiny consigning herself to a villain's fate and throwing all of fairy land into an uproar as no one's fate is certain anymore. These books are a lot of fun and you can see my Top 10 review if you'd like to see a bit more :)

And this brings me to another question that was raised in this episode, at least to me. Yes, I can understand Regina wanting to get her own happy ending. She lost her first love, Daniel, in many ways has lost Henry, and now has basically lost Robin - the one who is supposed to be her soulmate. So when she says it's time for the villains to get their happy ending, I totally understand it - but what does that truly mean? What if getting your happy ending means that others won't get theirs? (Another thing brought up in the Ever After High series - if Raven isn't the evil queen, then Apple White will never eat the poisoned apple and be awakened by her true love, right?)

So if Regina gets her happy ending, what will that mean for others? If she'd married Daniel then Snow would never have been her step-daughter, would never have had to flee into the woods, would never have met the dwarfs, and might never have met Charming.

If Regina had kept Henry all to herself he never would have found Emma, Emma never would have been reunited with her parents, the curse would never have been broken, she never would have reconnected with Neal, and she never would have met Killian.

Now that Marian's life has been saved, Regina getting her happy ending would mean more heartbreak for Robin and who knows what other ramifications.
If there's one thing this show has made abundantly clear, it's that magic always has a cost. What if the cost of allowing herself the chance to have A happy ending destroys her chance to have the happy ending she wants with Robin?

Now onto some shorter and less contemplative observations on the episode.

Leroy and Killian fought it out for favorite line of the episode for me.

I loved the whole truck scene with Leroy being so concerned about his truck: "She needs to be treated gently." And whose brilliant idea was it to make Sleepy the designated driver?!

Also, his cry of "Evil snowman! RUN!" had me giggling.

Killian's lines were a bit more contemplative: "There is always a crisis. Perhaps you should consider living a life through them. Otherwise you might just miss it."

I also loved their little exchange right toward the end.
Emma: "Wanna go home and see what's on Netflix?"
Killian: "I don't know what that is but sure."

And of course, his parting snark shot: "I have all the time in the world. Unless another monster appears and kills me."

Also, did you notice that Emma has this weirdly bizarre "magic casting" stance. It looks incredibly awkward to me :P

As soon as Regina brought back the mirror I started snrking to myself because now I can only see him as Tom Neville from Revolution and I just can't.

As for that scene between Regina and Emma at the end. Part of me loved it. Part of me was scoffing at the corniness. Part of me was screaming DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN?

Switching over to the Belle/Rumple storyline for a moment - I'm so scared. I'm scared that Belle's going to find the fake dagger and figure out what he did. I'm scared that he's going to be seduced by power (the ending certainly didn't alleviate my fears there - though I loved the Sorcerer's Apprentice music).
HOWEVER how adorable was Rumple's pledge to Neal? And the ballroom scene? Perfection with the chandelier and the dress and the blue suit and the music... *sigh*

And finally, our new arrivals.
I think the casting of Elsa and Anna was well done. It took me a little longer to settle with Elsa, but I think the actress playing Anna does a fantastic job of doing the slightly awkward, adorable babbling that is Anna without overplaying it.

I was cracking up at a number of her lines as well, especially when she assured Elsa, "You have a sister. You're never going to be alone. Except when I'm not there, but even then I'll be there in spirit."
Though I must admit that I typed in caps lock: DON'T SIT ON THE GROUND IN THE WEDDING DRESS
Because really. Let's not ruin your mother's wedding dress by tramping through the woods and then SITTING ON THE GROUND

I thought Marshmallow the snow monster was done well and even the troll was better than I feared. But I do hope they haven't used up their CGI budget in this one episode.

Also, was it just me, or did it take Elsa an inordinately long amount of time to walk into Storeybrooke. When she freezes the truck it's dark. Like night time dark. And then it's well into the day when she walks into town.... did I miss something?

The only fly in my ointment, so to speak, is the casting of Kristoff. The casting on this show has, overall, been completely spot on. I've had very few complaints and many, many compliments to those doing the casting. But Kristoff... not doing it for me. His face isn't square enough, his head just looks too small for his body - something's off with the shoulder/head ratio. He's too skinny imo. But mostly I think it's the hair. I know they set it up with Anna saying he got a haircut, but the shaggy blonde hair was so much a part of who Kristoff was in the movie so having him with this super short and rather severe haircut immediately separates this portrayal from what we're expecting from the character. So... I'm hoping he'll grow on me, because I'm sure we haven't seen the last of him. But for now, it's probably the biggest casting disappointment of the entire show for me.

But anyway!

So! Misthaven is the Enchanted Forest? Of course it is. So was Anna in Storeybrooke all along? Who is she? How did Elsa find her way to Storeybrooke? When will she remember that being afraid is what causes crazy things to happen like freezing trucks and creating monster snowmen? Will Belle find the fake dagger and flip out on Rumple? Will Rumple put on the hat and start mopping the castle (I would seriously pay good money to see this btw)? Will Killian and Emma ever get a moment to actually be a couple? How did Henry avoid growing too much over the break? Who actually wrote the storybook? Will Regina keep Sidney trapped in the mirror forever? Will she ever get a happy ending?!

I guess we'll have to tune in next week and find out :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Vampires of Manhattan by Melissa de la Cruz

"The Vampires of Manhattan is 'hipster horror'--the memorable characters from her Blue Bloods series are older and cooler than before, trying to build 'Millennial' lives in the bustle of Manhattan while battling forces of evil and, of course, each other. Hero of this sexy, paranormal action tale is Oliver Hazard-Perry, former human conduit, and Manhattan’s only human-turned-vampire, now the head of the Blue Bloods Coven. When his all-too-human lover is found murdered on the eve of the coven’s annual Four Hundred Ball--a celebration meant to usher in a new era in vampire society, and to mark the re-unification of the Coven after decades of unrest and decay--Oliver is devastated. Now, not only is he trying to create a new world order for the immortal elite, he’s the prime suspect and is stalked by the newly installed head of the vampire secret police. Because according to the new rules, vampires who take human life can now be executed. Burned. How can an immortal sentenced to die fight back? He has to find the killer--and the answers lie deep in vampire lore" 
- melissa-delacruz.com

"Vampires of Manhattan," by Melissa de la Cruz was a quick fun read but I had a few issues with it that prevent me from giving this a rave review.

Despite being described on the authors website as "hipster horror," being told by the publishers representative who handed me the ARC of this novel at Book Expo America this year, I didn't find any hipsters in this novel aside from a passing reference to hipsters populating Brooklyn.  Unless my view of hipsters differs from the authors and publishers definition of hipsters.

I took the sub-title, "The New Blue Bloods Coven," too literally and was delighted.  I hadn't read the original series so I thought this would be a great place to start.  I figured I could start here and then check out the past coven in her original series.  However, this novel seemed to feature all the characters that were in the original series.  Fortunately de la Cruz did a good job of explaining who is who without inundating the reader with exposition.  It also made me more eager to read the original series to see what Oliver, Mimi, and Ara were like 10 years ago.

I loved the complicated relationship between Mimi and Kingsley.  Despite being supernatural beings, they seemed very human and I think most readers could relate to their relationship struggles. 

My favorite part of the novel was the middle.  The point of views switched from Mimi, Oliver and Ara to the point of view of Mimi's estranged husband Kingsley, Oliver's girlfriend Finn, and Ara's partner, Edon.  Not only did the point of view change but the time moved to five weeks prior, so it was cool to connect the dots from one character to another point and time and discover where they ended up.

I also laughed out loud at some of the humorous jabs the characters in the novel make to other famous vampires series that feature sparkly vampires and the like. In the "Blue Bloods" universe this is all part of the "conspiracy" that helps vampires like the "Blue Bloods" stay hidden in plain sight, appearing as ordinary humans who walk in the sun like you and I.

I thought the ending was a little rushed but it ended on one doozy of a cliffhanger which spins this new series on what seems to be a whole new direction unique to this "new coven."  I plan on checking out the potential sequel but while I'm waiting I think I'll catch up with the original "Blue Bloods" series to fill in some of the gaps in characters backstories and some of the vampire mythology unique to the "Blue Bloods" universe.

While I enjoyed this novel, I recommend it to original "Blue Bloods" fans first, I suggest everyone else read a few books from the original series first to fully appreciate the novel.  I'm sure existing "Blue Bloods" fans would love this novel.  I know I'd be thrilled if
de la Cruz wrote a follow-up to her "Au-Pairs" series that I adored.

Have you read "Vampires of Manhattan"?  Did you find any hipsters?  LOL, seriously, please share your thoughts!

Special thanks to Hachette Books for giving me this ARC at Book Expo America.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

10 Things I Love About the Incorrigible Children Series

I stumbled across this series a while ago, and I'm so glad I did. On my first foray into my new local library I saw the second book and my friend who was giving me the grand tour laughed as I jumped up and down and clutched the book to my chest. I just finished the third book and the fourth one is sitting on my table waiting for me. I was going to wait to do this post until I'd finished it, but I'm loving them too much. I want everyone to go find and read them!
This middle grade series by Maryrose Wood is set in Victorian England setting and follows the adventures of young Miss Penelope Lumley. She has recently graduated from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females and is beginning her position as the governess to the three new wards at Ashton Place. Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia were raised by wolves. Literally. And it is up to Miss Lumley to train them in proper etiquette, and educate them in history, mathematics, Latin, and all other proper pursuits. However, larger and larger mysteries abound as Penelope and the Incorrigibles make friends, enemies, and end up in more scrapes than should be possible.

If you would like to learn more about the series you can go to the Incorrigible Children website and if you want to see what Maryrose Wood is up to you can check out her website or follow her on Twitter. I just found out about #swanburnewednesdays where Maryrose is encouraging retweets with contests so I'll be over there tweeting my heart out today! Plus she has the cutest hashtag ever with #ahwoo - and you have to read the books to understand that.

So here are the 10 things I absolutely adored about Maryrose Wood's Incorrigible Children Series

  1. The Tone. I know that so many books have been described as Snicket-esque. I've described books that way myself. But somehow Maryrose Wood pulls off a vaguely Snicketish tone while combining it with an air of Jane Austen and yet managing to feel completely original. The voice is mature, but not out of reach of the age range for which it is written. This is an author who trusts her audience and does not talk down to the children who make up her primary audience.
  2. Penelope Lumley. She is just the right mix of plucky, sober-minded, warm-hearted heroine with a sense of humor to boot. She is curious and grows through her experiences. Even though she's older than the typical middle grade heroine at fifteen, the focus is enough on her young charges and the tone is such that it never feels like a YA book. And I really like the fact that it was marketed as a middle grade series.
  3. Old Timothy the coachman. Mysterious, gruff, with a kind heart (though he'd never really show it :) - everything an old coachman should be. I'm really curious to learn more about him.
  4. The Incorrigibles. For children raised by wolves they are very well behaved. I love their little quirks and while it might be unbelievable that a six year old girl who grew up in the woods would be able to learn how to parse Latin verbs, somehow it works. I also love their names. They are adorable and good-hearted and (I just realized that each of these descriptions has included a reference to the characters hearts, but they're apt descriptions so they're staying) I really wish I was their adoptive mother rather than the disinterested Lady Constance.
  5. Speaking of. Lady Constance and Lord Frederick. I like them in the role that they play. Their disinterest (along with Lord Frederick's mysterious secret) create a great foil for Penelope and the children.
  6. Simon Harley-Dickinson. I want more of him. Way more than we're given. So I'm really hoping he surfaces much more often in the next book(s).
  7. Nutsawoo. Could there be a more adorable animal sidekick? Seriously straight out of a Disney movie.
  8. Miss Swanburne's sayings. The founder of Penelope's Alma Mater has left a legacy of pithy sayings that Benjamin Franklin would have been proud of. I love how often they pop up and how "little" sense some of them make while somehow being incredibly profound. I was reminded of a saying Dick Van Dyke mentioned in his memoir that he always said: "you can spread jelly on peanut butter, but you can't spread peanut butter on jelly." There's a Swanburne-ism if she'd been born in more modern times if I ever heard one.
  9. The hunt is on. There are so many mysteries you almost need an abacus to keep them all straight. Something Cassiopeia could do with ease. There are so many little details and things you start to put together but then something else happens or is revealed. Even some things which are obvious end up being not so obvious because even though you know a certain thing you don't understand how it fits into the bigger picture and I need to read the next book to figure it out!
  10. There are SIX books in this series. SIX OF THEM! I'm so excited! I'm only half way done! I have three more whole books to look forward to!
Go forth and happy reading!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Laydown Lowdown

It's officially Fall!  There already seems to be slight crispness to the air.  Fortunately there are lots of great picks to unwind with while savoring a pumpkin spice latte or cidery treat.

Over in Young Adult "Afterworlds," by Scott Westerfield hits stores today along with "On a Clear Day," by Walter Dean Myers, "Salt & Storm," by Kendall Kulper, "Skink No Surrender," by Carl Hiassen, "Unmade," by  Sarah Rees Brennan and "Reign: The Prophecy," by Lily Blake.

Make your way to Mystery/Thriller for "Bones Never Lie," by Kathy Reichs, "Silent Murders," by Mary Miley, "Angel Killer," by Andrew Mayne, "Wouldn't It Be Deadly," by D.E. Ireland, and "To Dwell In Darkness," by Deborah Crombie.

Race to Romance for "Never Marry a Viscount," by Anne Stuart and "The Prince Who Loved Me," by Karen Hawkins.

Finally skip through Science Fiction/Fantasy and pick up "The Seventh Sigil," by Margaret Weissand Robert Krammes and "Daring" by Elliot James.

Will any of these books make your "to-read" list?  Share with us! Happy Reading and remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Falling for Fall

It's the saddest day of the year for me, today is the  last day of Summer.  I hate the change of seasons.  I'd be happy with 80 degree weather and sunshine year round.

Rather than sulk around over the impending chill of fall and dread of winter that looms ahead, I decided to focus on some of the good things that I am looking forward to this fall and asked the BWOBNY crew to share what they're looking forward to.

I can't get enough pumpkin spice lattes or pumpkin spiced anything for that matter.  I'm also really looking forward to picking up the new jazz album that combines the talents of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga which is available tomorrow.  Plus, the fall signals the return of some of my favorite TV shows such as The Good Wife and The Big Bang Theory.  And the new show Forever, which features an immortal medical examiner, looks intriguing. 

Kiersten White has a new book coming out called Illusions of Fate that I'm really really looking forward to. Every book she does is so different and the cover for this one is absolutely gorgeous! I'm also excited about The Maze Runner movie. Not only did I really enjoy the book but the previews I've seen look like they do the book justice. And Dylan O'Brien is a phenomenal actor.  I'm looking forward to a bunch of my favorite TVshows coming back, but for new shows I'm most excited about CW's The Flash and, after seeing quite a few previews in the past couple of weeks Gotham looks really intriguing.  

Kimbra's new album The Golden Echo just came out and I will be listening to it all fall in preparation of seeing her in November! I also can't wait for the final installment of the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. 

The Piano Guys newest release Wonders will be coming out in October. It includes their cover of Let it Go which is AMAZING!!!! 

I'm excited to watch Arrow and The Flash.  I'm really unaware of what books are coming out because I keep reading old dead things. I think Lemony Snicket's new book is coming out soon, which will be exciting to read. And I'm excited for Piano Guys too. I lurve them.
Eileen is also looking forward to the new Piano Guys album and adds "Houdini  and the new season of Doctor Who are my TV picks for this fall. I also cant wait to see The Maze Runner film." She is also interested in checking out 
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which comes out in November. 

What are you most excited for this fall?  Share with us! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What I'm Reading Now

Normally I'd be putting together a 10 Things post right about now, but I'm stuck on what I want to post about next.

So I thought I'd do something a little different.

I'm one of those people who is usually reading multiple books at the same time. This drives some people crazy.

I rarely don't finish a book, but I will take breaks from them, so my "Currently Reading" shelf on GoodReads was out of control for a while. I've been on a mission to pare that list down. But I tend to be reading different books in different formats/situations so that hasn't helped much.

So I thought I'd give you a peek into what I'm reading right now.

On my Nook: I usually have a book going on my Nook that I read for a little while right before I go to sleep. I do this because I can turn out the light and it will automatically save my place without me having to use a bookmark. Right now this book is The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules by Carolyn Custis James. It's a non-fiction Bible study book that really explores the book of Ruth, particularly looking at it through the contextual lens of the culture of the time. It's fascinating and James has really studied to bring a different perspective to a story I thought I knew really well. I'm only about half way through, but so far I highly recommend it.

On audio in my car: I love listening to audiobooks during my drive and I've taken to just perusing my local library's collection (unless I have a specific one in mind) for whatever catches my attention. In the last couple of years I've been making an effort to read classics I've never read or non-fiction. I don't tend to read a lot of non-fiction and it's one of my goals to do better in this area. Listening to it works well for me. So right now I'm listening to In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson. Larson has been recommended to me by countless customers when I was working at the bookstore and this is my first foray into one of his books. This takes place in 1933 when Hitler is just really starting to come into prominence. The new American ambassador and his family are thrust into the simmering world of both elegant parties and violent outbursts. It's definitely interesting, but I don't think I'd be able to stay tuned to it if I was reading it. Enjoying it on audio though.

On my phone's Nook app: My favorite part of having a smart phone is the ability to read books without having to bring them or my Nook to work. So I have a book that I read on my lunch breaks on my phone. I just started Ten by Gretchen McNeil. I've been wanting to read this since I saw the ARCs at BEA a couple years ago and I'm very intrigued. It's obviously based loosely on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, something I gathered as soon as I saw the cover. It's got a Harper's Island vibe, but with a younger cast (and if you don't know what Harper's Island is get to your Netflix and watch it right now. It's also loosely based on Christie's novel so the parallel makes sense). A group of teens go to an island for a long weekend party, lying to their parents about where they'll be (obviously) and then a storm comes in and bad things start happening. I'm liking the characterizations so far and hoping that a lot more twists and turns are still to come. You might get a 10 Things post about this later.

In print: GASP! Yes, I still read books in print and I've taken to having one book on my table that I read during breakfast each morning. The one I'm working on right now (again in my attempt to read more non-fiction) is Rocco Versaci's This Book Contains Graphic Language: Comics as Literature. It's an interesting look at the history of comics and the way they've been received with Versaci making his argument for why they should be accepted as literature. A little dry, but certainly interesting so far.

On TV: And since I'm a big believer in storytelling wherever it takes place, I have the bonus here! I've been rewatching Joss Whedon's Dollhouse and falling in love with it all over again. The actors are truly phenomenal. In this 2 season show, Caroline finds herself in trouble and in order to make it go away her best option is to sign her life over to the Dollhouse for 5 years. Her memories are removed and stored and then other memories are downloaded based on the needs and wants of clients who have enough to pay for wish fulfillment. As she becomes Echo in a world of other dolls more and more mysteries begin to unravel around her. It does suffer some uneveness of story line for a couple of reasons (its cancellation not least of all), but it's pretty good and the characters are what will suck you in. I only have 2 episodes left and I'm so disappointed it's going to end.

So there you have it - a taste of what I'm reading/listening/watching now. What's in your currently reading list?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Laydown Lowdown

Happy Tuesday everyone!  There are plenty of great new books to keep you busy this week.

Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han conclude their "Burn for Burn" trilogy with "Ashes to Ashes."  Other new releases in Young Adult include "Made for You," by Melissa Marr, "Get Even" by Gretchen McNeil and "I'll Give You the Sun," by Jandy Nelson.

Search Romance for "Finding Miss McFarland," by Vivienne Lorret and "In the Red," by Elena Mauli Shapiro.

"Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon," by David Barnett, "The Clockwork Dagger," by Beth Cato, and "The God Hunter: A Field Ops Novel," by Tim Lees are available in Science Fiction/Fanstasy today.

Over in Mystery, you can pick up "Broken Monsters," by Lauren Beukes, "Raging Heat," by Richard Castle, "The Golem of Hollywood," by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman, "Life Deluxe," by Jens Lapidus and "The Stone Wife," by Peter Lovesey.

Will any of these books make your "to-read" list?  Share with us!  Happy Reading and remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

June Book Club: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Juliet is just trying to survive after her father disappeared amidst life-ruining scandal. Life's not easy for a sixteen year old in nineteenth century London, but she's found a job cleaning at King's College and is making a life for herself. That is until she stumbles across an experiment in the depths of the research area of King's College, finds her childhood friend, Montgomery, who just might know where her father is, and defends herself against a lecherous professor. Fleeing London, Juliet convinces Montgomery to take her to the island where her father has been hiding and continuing his work. But if things were bad in London, they're even worse on the island where a mysterious creature is killing the islanders, where her father is performing experiments she is both compelled and repulsed by, and where Montgomery becomes even more enigmatic than ever. What will it take for her to survive?

Want to own it?

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What we thought:

Rebecca T: Having never read The Island of Doctor Moreau, I had no real idea what was going to happen (and now I want to go read it!). I really enjoyed this story though and appreciated that you didn't have to be familiar with the original to become immersed in the world. I enjoyed it so much I immediately went out and read the second book, Her Dark Curiosity, which I also thoroughly enjoyed and am now waiting for the third one!

Eileen: Really enjoyed this book! It didn't stray far from HG Wells original storyline but it was good nonetheless. Excited for the sequel and to see what happens to Juliet next!

NaomiRuth: I enjoyed it! I felt like the author had really done her research into the time period and the writing style of not only HG Wells but Robert Luis Stevenson as well. It fit that time period of penny dreadfuls and the like, I felt like. Like Eileen I'm interested to read the sequel to see what happens next!

Check back for next month's review when we talk about Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo's collaborative work In the Shadows.