Monday, November 29, 2010

Full Dark House, by Christopher Fowler

Full Dark House Interesting and well done mystery, going back and forth from the London Blitz to London in 1985. I have the feeling it didn't make a lot of sense, and I really have no idea what happened, now that I think about it, but I did enjoy the ride.

Letters to Juliet

Letters to Juliet Pretty bad romance movie, but it could have been worse. I guess.

Reality Check, by Jen Calonita

Reality Check Pretty bad YA, clearly based on The Hills or similar. Group of friends are approached and offered a deal to become reality TV stars, they accept, friendships fall apart, fame and fortune aren't worth it, yadda yadda.

Perfect One Dish Dinners, by Pam Anderson

Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers
Yum. Some geat looking dishes in here, but the one-dish thing is a total lie.

Rejuvenated Jewels, by Amy Hanna

Rejuvenated Jewels: New Designs from Vintage Treasures Rotten craft book. Fugly projects, and impossible "finds" meant that unless you had access to an entire French flea market, you would have no chance to make anything remotely like what she made.

Toward Zero, by Agatha Christie

Towards Zero Beautifully plotted Agatha Christie. I had read it before, but not in years, so it was a nice find.

Into The Wild Nerd Yonder, by Julie Halpern

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder What could have been a charming and fun book about self discovery took a nasty and judgemental anti-sex turn, by using an STD as a plot device to punish a not-nice character. Girl was no good, that is true- but the way this was done was a little Christian coalition.

Cake Pops, by Bakerella

Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats Insanely cute and time consuming baked goods. If I ever lose my mind entirely, you will find me making panda cupcakes on lollipop sticks, and I might even be pretty happy about it. Until then, there are better things to do with life.

The Earring Style Book, by Stephanie Wells

The Earring Style Book: Making Designer Earrings, Capturing Celebrity Style, and Getting the Look for Less
FANTASTIC craft book. So inspired, I would be making things right now if I could find the freaking remote to the tv set.

Test, by William Sleator

Test Pretty terrible near future YA. Realizing that the entire educational system is rigged by corrupt oligarchs with control over central testing and close ties to the government (hey!), Ann befriends refugee Lep and works to change the system.
Cardboard characters and silly plot points ruined what started with a good (well, at least a true) premise.

Amy And Roger's Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour Really lovely YA. When Amy Curry needs to drive her family's car cross country after a devastating loss, the son of a family friend accompanies her on what turns into a truly epic detour. Well done and touching without feeling cloying- one of the best realistic (well, ish) YA fiction books I've read in a long time, despite the awful title (which wouldn't be so bad if it didn't echo Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, and so on.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cat Getting Out of A Bag, by Jeffrey Brown

Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Other Observations
Beautifully done funny book of line drawings of cats doing tyical cat things, but clearly done out of so much love for his cats! Strange little artifact, but so charming, and honestly touching.

Empty, by Suzanne Weyn

Empty Near future post-oil war-with-Venezueala YA fiction. A bit too much going on in this. Weyn (The Barcode Tattoo) is attracted to tough topics, and has a clear point, but the story is filled with so many distractions that its ultimately an unsatisfying soundbite kind of thing.

Silver Guilt, by Judith Cutler

Silver Guilt (A Lina Townend Mystery)
Quick, competent, and well done mystery with an unusual heroine and excellent antiques and country houses setting. I will look for more from this series.

The Painted Garden, by Noel Streatfeild

The Painted Garden Wonderful Noel Streatfeild book about an English family who stay with a relative in Los Angeles for a winter. The painted garden the title refers to is the painted sets of a film version of The Secret Garden that Jane, the youngest child, gets to be a part of. Not her strongest, but a lovely read.

The Abolition of Death, by James Anderson

No image because new computer and/or blogger is being evil and oppressive.

This was totally bizarre, confusing, and pretty terrible mystery, set in an unnamed Soviet bloc country with eeevil rulers and terrible place names (District 49, etc).

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, by G. Neri

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

Graphic novel. Sad as hell, about an 11 year old in Chicago who joined a gang, killed a neighborhood girl in a shooting, and then was killed by his gang. Ooof.

Misguided Angel, by Melissa De La Cruz

Misguided Angel (Blue Bloods, Book 5)

Book 5 in the Blue Bloods series, and for all it's nonsensical teen vampire mayhem, still so much better than most of the YA out there.

Capitalism: A Love Story

Capitalism: A Love Story
Flat documentary from Michael Moore. Some great interviews and interesting topics, but all so heavy handed, one sided, and polemical.

King Corn

King Corn (Standard Packaging)
Rather depressing documentary about corn. Not only was this a tough sell to my long suffering husband (hey, want to watch a movie about 2 guys growing some corn?) but it took a startling and graphic detour into cow slaughter. However, it was still interesting, if kind of horrifying.

Gimme a Call, by Sarah Mlynowski

Gimme a Call Ridiculous YA. Time travelling cell phones... I don't have enough energy for this.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ivy & Bean: What's The Big Idea? by Annie Barrows

Ivy and Bean What's the Big Idea? (Book 7)
Ivy and Bean are marginally less loathsome in this, the 7th of the series, but the book itself was depressing, shallow, and, well, depressing.
Ivy and Bean learn about GLOBAL WARMING from the seemingly dim witted 5th graders in their school, and when the whole 2nd grade class goes into deep funks about the planet's impending DOOM, their teacher assigns them all to do projects that will help save the planet.
Ivy and Bean waste a lot of time, energy (both theirs and consumer fossil-fuel based energy) on a lot of different ideas, before coming to their inevitable and sappy and insulting-to-adults conclusion.
Hideous, on about 20 levels.

Beyond the Vicarage, by Noel Streatfeild

Either the new computer or blogger or the combination is being a pain in the ass ( I really hate this new computer).
Good book.
Too irritated at the world to say any more about it.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth, by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
#5 in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Greg Heffley's journals are still funny, but it's hard to see how he'll go into the high school years and 'keep it clean'.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Making of A Marchioness, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Emily Fox-Seton Being The Making of a Marchioness and The Methods of Lady Walderhurst God, it really is so interesting to get to read some of these rather obscure early 20th c books, that are, thanks to Persephone Press and The Bloomsbury Group, being re-released. Wish Amazon would link to ther very attractive new cover, but it won't, and I'm feeling lazy, so that's that for cover images.
Best known for her childrens' writing, such as The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett also wrote adult fiction, and this is a really surprising example of that.
A bit of fairytale, a bit of romance, a bit of gothic suspense and danger, but with a heartily, astonishingly down to earth heroine- 35 year old Emily Fox-Seton, who, to the surprise of all, marries the dashing Marquis of Walderhurst. Emily's later-in-life marriage causes upheaval among her family and new in-laws, but she carries the day in the nicest of ways.
She is a bit of a Sara Crewe, in that she sees the best in every situation, but she also, as a woman and not a young girl, has passion and a lust for life that unworldy Sara never seemed to have.
Very interesting book!

The Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That?, by Ina Garten

Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips Some great ideas from my favorite chef-character.

Bright Young Things, by Anna Godberson

Bright Young Things
Great cover, no?
Best thing about it.
Much like Godberson's The Luxe, set in Gilded Age New York,this, her take on 1920's Manhattan is facile, improbable, and as melodramatic as a daytime soap.