Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Review: The Girl in the Green Raincoat - Laura Lippman

The Girl in the Green Raincoat (Tess Monaghan, #11)
In the third trimester of her pregnancy, Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan is under doctor's orders to remain immobile.  Bored and restless, reduced to watching the world go by outside her window, she takes small comfort in the mundane events she observes...like the young woman in a green raincoat who walks her dog at the same time every day.  Then one day the dog is running free and its owner is nowhere to be seen.  Certain that something is terribly wrong, and incapable of leaving well enough alone, Tess is determined to get to the bottom of the dog walker's abrupt disappearance, even if she must do so from her own bedroom.  But her inquisitiveness is about to fling open a dangerous Pandora's box of past crimes and troubling deaths...and she's not only putting her own life in jeopardy but also her unborn child's.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I borrowed this book from a friend and did not realize it was part of a book series until I finished it.  All the while I was reading I was thinking that this would make a good book series.  This book was pretty short and a fast read.  I wanted to see how things played out and what really happened to the Girl that is "missing".  Tess along with her friend Whitney are interesting characters, even the dog in the green coat was interesting.  I would definitely check out more books by this author.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: The King - J.R. Ward

The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #12)
Long live the King...
After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father's mantle--with the help of his beloved mate.  But the crown sets heavily on his head.  As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything--and everyone--at risk.
Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it.  But when she decides she wants a child, she's unprepared for Wrath's response--or the distance it creates between them.
The question is, will true love win out...or tortured legacy take over?

3/5 stars (liked it)
Hard to believe this is the 12th Black Dagger Brotherhood I have read.  Did not think that another book was needed on Wrath but I was proven wrong.  This story is about Wrath the king and Wrath the husband.  This book also contains many other characters and possible pairing.  Such as Sola and Assail, whose story began in the previous book and continues in this one.  Also the shadow brothers Trez and iAm and the chosen Selena.  Xcor also going after Layla and her being pregnant the entire book, no mention of her at the end which I thought was strange.  Something going on with John Matthew and some seizures he's having, not fully explained.  Overall a good book but wish some things would have been resolved, I guess that will be left for another book. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Mr. Popper's Penguins - Richard and Florence Atwater

The story of a poor painted named Mr. Popper and his family, who live in the small town of Stillwater in the 1930s.  The Poppers unexpectedly come into possession of a penguin, Captain Cook.  The Poppers then receive a female penguin from the zoo who mates with Captain Cook to have 10 baby penguins.  Before long, something must be done lest the penguins eat the Poppers, out of house and home.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I always wanted to check this book out.  I was at my son's school helping with state testing and so I had two hours sitting there in case someone had a question or needed the bathroom and this book was in the classroom library.  So glad I read it.  It's a very cute story filled with the fun and chaos these little penguins cause the Popper family.  After reading this I asked my son if he had read it and he hadn't but he promised me he would.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Book Review: Panic - Lauren Oliver

Panic - Lauren Oliver
Panic
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher.  She'd never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out.  But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic.  His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game,  he's sure of it.  But what he doesn't know is that he's not the only one with a secret.  Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them -- and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

3/5 stars (liked it)
The game Panic seems like a dangerous and intriguing game for kids to play and something very believable.  Heather and Dodge are not friends but they both decide to play Panic along with Heather's friend Natalie.  Also along for the ride is Heather's best friend Bishop who does not play the game but is there for support.  Heather has a really crappy life at home and a little sister, Lily to take care of.  Natalie wants to be an actress/model.  Dodge has a sister, Dayna that was in an accident and is paralyzed, not a great home life for him either.  Heather, Dodge and Natalie decide to form an alliance to get to the end of the game.  But so many things go wrong, and so many secrets are kept.  I wish we could have gotten to know Anna better, the only adult in the book really.  Lauren Oliver does not disappoint, so good to read another book by her.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: Carniepunk - Various authors

Carniepunk - Various Authors
Carniepunk
The traveling carnival is a leftover of a bygone era, a curiosity lurking on the outskirts of town.  It is a place of contradictions--the bright lights mask the peeling paint; a carnie in greasy overalls slinks away from the direction of the Barker's seductive call.  It is a place of illusion--is that woman's beard real?  How can she live locked in a watery box?

And while many are tricked by sleigh of hand, there are hints of something truly magical going on.  One must remain alert and learn quickly the unwritten rules of this dark show.  To beat the carnival, one had better have either a whole lot of luck or a whole lot of guns--or maybe some magic of one's own.

Featuring stories grotesque and comical, outrageous and action-packed, Carniepunk is the first anthology to channel the energy and attitude of urban fantasy into the bizarre world of creaking machinery, twisted myths, and vivid new magic.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I mainly got this book for the Rachel Cane story.  I ended up liking most of the stories, including the Rachel Cane one.  I really like that the main theme of this anthology is the carnival.  It was interesting to see where all the authors took this theme to.  I really liked the Mermaid story at the end, I think that one was my favorite.

Book Review: The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street
Told in a series of vignettes stunning for their eloquence, this memoir (?) is Sandra Cisneros's greatly admired story of a young girl's growing up in the Latino section of Chicago.

2/5 stars (it was Ok)
Maybe it's because it's told in vignettes, which I guess I'm not too fond of, but I did not care for this book.  I really wanted to know more about Esperanza and what her life was like but what I got was little stories about her neighbors and just a little bit about her.  I realize that her neighborhood told a lot about her but I wanted to see her home life more.  Also not quite sure how much time passes from the beginning of the book until the end.  It was a very short book and did not take me long to read.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Review: Wonder - R.J. Palacio

Wonder
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school--until now.  He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be.  The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face.  But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R.J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next.  With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
My 9 year old son and I read this book together.  He liked Auggie right away and was laughing along with him.  Plus I saw so many similarities in Auggie as I saw in my own son, they both love Star Wars and they are both so close in age.  I felt like R.J. Palacio really captured how the mind of a little boy works and it sounded so real.  This book also made me tear up, when kids were not very accepting and adults as well.  I think this book was great in teaching both parents and adults not to stare, or be rude just because someone looks different.  At the end of the book I asked my son what he liked about this book.  He told me he really liked Auggie and wished that he went to his school so he could be friends with him.  I also like how this book is not just told from Auggie's point of view.  You get to hear how it's been like for his sister Via, her new boyfriend Justin, Auggie's friends Summer & Jack and also an old friend of Via's Miranda.  Great book for all ages.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying - Carol Leifer

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying
For many years, television comedy was an exclusive all boys' club--until a brilliant comedian named Carol Leifer came along, blazing a trail for funny women everywhere.  From Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live to Seinfeld, The Ellen Show, and Modern Family, Carol has written for and/or peformed on some of the best TV comedies of all time.

This hilarious collection of essays charts her extraordinary three-decade journey through show business, illuminating her many triumphs and some missteps along the way--and offering valuable lessons for women and men in any profession.  Part memoir, part guide to life, and all incredibly funny, How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying offers tips and tricks for getting ahead, finding your way, and opening locked doors--even if you have to use a sledgehammer.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I received a copy of this book through Quirk Books.  I must admit that I did not really know who Carol Leifer was until I go the book.  But even though I didn't know who she was I enjoyed her book.  She tells her story of how she started out as a comic and all the things she did and people she met to get her to the success that she is today.  Her book was filled with many great tips that can be used in any profession.  Also she made me laugh several times.  I loved the pictures of herself with celebrities throughout her career.  Overall a fast read and enjoyable.