Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wither, by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)
This won't be out until late March, but I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this- it was fantastic!!!!!
YA dystopia (surprise), with a polygamous twist. After scientists have used genetic engineering to eliminate cancer and most diseases, the first generation was healthy and long-lived- but after that, males die at 25, and females at 20. Desperate oligarchs have turned to polygamous marriage to try to keep family lines intact, and girls are kidnapped to become brides and childbearers, to widen the gene pool. Rhine, Jenna and Cecily have been brought as brides for Linden, a clueless and ineffectual aristoctrat.
The world-building in this was wonderful, and fully developed characters deepened the high-concept plot. Couldn't put this down, read it in one sitting.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Secrets of My Hollywood Life: Broadway Lights, by Jen Calonita

Secrets of My Hollywood Life 5: Broadway Lights
Kaitlin Burke is starring in a Broadway play after the end of the long running family series that has been her entire life, and facing new challenges in live theater, as well as trying to balance her family life while shuttling between New York and LA. This series is still well done, if a bit saccharine and unrealistic, but fun and quick.

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, by Melanie Rehak

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her
Fantastic book about Harriet Stratmeyer, the heiress to the Stratemeyer Syndicate, the writing company behind so many of the popular 20th c. children's series, including the Bobbsy Twins, The Dana Girls, The Hardy Boys, and more, and about Mildred Wirt Benson, the woman who wrote most of the "original 56" Nancy Drew books.
This was wonderfully done, and as much as it was biography, it was also social history, looking at how women's changing role through the 20th century was mirrored by the lives of these extraordinary women.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Three Black Swans, by Caroline Cooney

Three Black Swans One of the worst books I've read in a long time- an early entry into worst book of the year.
Caroline Cooney strikes me as the kind of writer who clips news articles, and then shuffles them into a novel. Absurd coincidences and a wretched plot, kind of Jodi Picoult for kids.
3 girls, two raised as cousins, find out that they are triplets, separated at birth- you know what, life is too short to elaborate on this crap.

The Body in the Library, by Agatha Christie

The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery Solid Miss Marple, solving a clever and fiendish crime that left, in the best tradition of mystery novels, a body in the library of a stately home.

Uncle Dynamite, by P.G. Wodehouse

Uncle Dynamite (Collector's Wodehouse) Absurd upper class follies in country-house pre-war England. The usual suspects at the usual shenanigans- Bertie Wooster, Gussie Fink-Nottle, Madeleine Basset, engagements, secrets, newts- lovely, light and frothy.

Hot Water, by P.G. Wodehouse

Hot Water
Silliness set in Brittany. A Chateau infested by impostors, a dipsomaniac Vicomte, an American businessman longing for Glendale California, thieves and scoundrels of all sorts, very funny. St. Rocque sounds like a blast- I think it must be St. Malo, from what I could tell.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Best of 2010

American Subversive: A Novel

Best Adult Fiction (novel) - American Subversive, by David Goodwillie

Stars in the Bright Sky

Fame: A Novel in Nine Episodes

Best Adult Fiction (short stories) - Fame: A Novel in Nine Episodes, by Daniel Kehlmann

Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel


Best Adult Fiction (sci-fi) - Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart

Alice I Have Been: A Novel [DECKLE EDGE] (Hardcover)

Best Adult Fiction (Historical Fiction) - Alice I Have Been, by Melanie Benjamin

Friends Like These: My Worldwide Quest to Find My Best Childhood Friends, Knock on Their Doors, and Ask Them to Come Out and Play

Best Adult Non-Fiction - Friends Like These, by Danny Wallace

Ship Breaker

My Kid Could Paint That

Best Documentary - My Kid Could Paint That

District 9 (Single-Disc Edition)

Best Feature Film - District 9

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Thirteenth Pearl, by Carolyn Keene

The Thirteenth Pearl (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, No 56)
Stolen jewelry, mysterious socialites, pearl cults, and bopping around Japan in kimonos. Great finish to the series, and I like it that the last mystery is one where money is no object, where Nancy Drew in disguise can pass as a Japanese girl, where it starts and ends in River Heights, but goes everywhere on the way. The ending, though, where it is clear that Nancy has no more mysteries to come- ouch!!!!

"She paused a moment, then said "Do you think we'll ever get another mystery to solve?"

Ned chuckled. "It's just like you to say that, Nancy. It seems to me that you have had quite a few mysteries to solve since The Secret of the Old Clock."

And I have read all 56 of them in the last surreal month.

Mystery of Crocodile Island, by Carolyn Keene

Mystery of Crocodile Island (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, No 55) Down in the Florida Keys, Nancy and friends help a client of Carson Drew's find out what is really going on at his crocodile sanctuary (weapons smuggling). Lots of boating, boat crashes, Bess being made fun of, and a sense of weariness with the whole enterprise.

The Strange Message in the Parchment, by Carolyn Keene

The Strange Message in the Parchment (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, No 54)
Back near River Heights, Nancy + friends go to visit June, a girl who lives on a sheep farm, and helps solve the mystery of the surly foreman and the kidnapped small boy who lives there. The almost go to Rome, but, as in some of the later books, it is mentioned that sending a batch of people on a wild goose chase to another country might not be cost effective. Damn reality, seeping into my Nancy Drews!!!

The Sky Phantom, by Carolyn Keene

The Sky Phantom (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, No 53) Wow- lots going on in this one!
Nancy, Bess, and George are on vacation on a dude ranch/flight school (?). Bess falls in love with a cowboy, forgeting about patiend Dave back home, and receives the first proposal of marriage out of the 3 main characters. Nancy is taking flying lessons, and when a plane and pilot go missing, she and her instructor help find him and solve the mystery, but the most interesting parts of this one are the plot-moving devices, you can see the end coming in this one. Bess eventually decides to turn down the cowboy and to wait for Dave, but it is clear that their lives will be changing soon.

The Secret of the Forgotten City, by Carolyn Keene

The Secret of the Forgotten City (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, No 52) Desert Southwest, and more unfortunate Native American scenes, although the River Heights gang are trying to help some of the tribes.

The Mystery of the Glowing Eye, by Carolyn Keene

The Mystery of the Glowing Eye (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, No 51) Ned is kidnapped by a crazy and evil grad student intent on using Ned's work to help him build lasers, and Nancy goes to Emerson College to help save the day. Another one where Nancy + technology = fail.

The Double Jinx Mystery, by Carolyn Keene

The Double Jinx Mystery (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, No. 50) Nancy and Ned get involved in solving the jinx placed on an exotic bird farm by an unscrupulous property deveoloper. Both get ill with ornithosis, but this is one where Nancy saves Ned, over and over.