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2009 Reads for Marcia (allthesedarnbooks) Part 2: 76+

75 Books Challenge for 2009

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1allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Aug 31, 2009, 4:25pm Top

Well, in spite of taking big chunks of time away from the group (RL is a horrible pain), my other thread was getting rather long and unwieldy. As I had just reached my 75 goal, I figured there was no better time to start a new thread than now.

My previous thread can be found here:
http://www.librarything.com/topic/54185

In that post, I have a ticker, as well as an ongoing complete list with links, both of which I will continue to edit to keep them up to date, as I am geeky about things like lists. (I figure we all are, or else we wouldn't be here... Ahem.) Anyway, moving onward, here are my thoughts on my latest reads.

76. Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau by Martha Ward

I loved this book! I picked it up in a roundabout way; I was searching for a different book on my library database, and this title came up by accident. My local library didn't have it, so I immediately requested it from another branch. I'm very happy that I did, as it was immensely fascinating. Ward writes about the two famous women who have been combined in popular memory into one, the mother and daughter, both named Marie Laveau. There's not a lot of information about either woman for many reasons; records have been lost or destroyed, rumors and legends have been treated as facts, besides the two Maries profiled there were numerous other women (some related, some not) by the same name living in New Orleans in the 19th century. Ward does an admirable job tracking down facts about the women's lives, dispelling myths about voodoo, while at the same time never taking away from the immense spiritual impact that is their legacy. I learned not only about these two remarkable priestesses and voodoo in general, but also about life as a Creole, a woman, and a free person of color in 19th century New Orleans. Highly recommended; five stars.

77. The Vampire of Ropraz by Jacques Chessex; translated by Donald W. Wilson

This is a bizarre, disturbing little book. At just over a hundred pages, it manages to be full of intense, graphic images. The author takes the true story of a crime committed in rural Switzerland in 1903. The corpse of a young woman is found violated, then those of two more women, before a mentally ill, disfigured farm boy is found in an act of bestiality and accused of the crimes. This book... ugh. I really did not like it. The prose is spare and cold, except for the descriptions of the various crimes, which are grisly and overly detailed. This book also contains one of the most stomach turning scenes of child abuse that I have ever read. The very last page or so was intriguing, and there were moments when I felt that the author was really going to make a point about the nature of poverty, abuse, and violence, but he never really got there. This is a gruesome book with no deeper meaning. What's more, there are no real characters; even the perpetrator of the crimes is barely developed as an individual. If you are interested in terrifying scenes of necrophilia, mutilation, rape, bestiality, and child abuse with no further story, then you might enjoy this book. Otherwise, steer clear from it. I wish I had. 1/2 a star.

2alcottacre
Aug 29, 2009, 12:27am Top

Got you starred again, Marcia!



I am going to start looking for Voodoo Queen. The other one - I do not think so!

3allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Aug 29, 2009, 12:42am Top

Thanks for the star! I hope you like Voodoo Queen, Stasia. I think it's going to be one of my top books for the year. And yes, avoid the other one at all costs! If you see it, run!!!

4alcottacre
Aug 29, 2009, 12:44am Top

Stasia running away from said book . . .



. . . only not as fast, lol.

5allthesedarnbooks
Aug 29, 2009, 12:48am Top

That is so cute! Now I want to go watch Ghostbusters...

6alcottacre
Aug 29, 2009, 12:51am Top

Go for it! Maybe it will get the horrible taste of that last book out of your mouth.

7lunacat
Aug 29, 2009, 4:40am Top

Just posting so I don't lose you..........otherwise I will, and then get highly confused *sigh*

8Whisper1
Aug 29, 2009, 8:04am Top

Hi There Marcia

I certainly would not want to lose your thread. You are one of the major contributors to my tbr pile. I'm heading to the library later this morning and I hope to get a copy of Voodoo Queen..then I'm heading to Barnes and Noble for a coy of Zeitoun highly recommended by Arubabookwoman (Deborah), another major contributor...then, I'm looking for Impossible a book recommended on the kitchen thread by scarpettajunkie....oh, not to mention Stasia and the hundreds I find on her thread that I simply cannot resist.

I'm taking Will with me so he can help to carry them all. .... He doesn't know it yet, so I'll make a fresh pot of coffee to be nice to him in the hope he helps me.

9ronincats
Aug 29, 2009, 11:24am Top

Oops, almost missed your shift. Good thing it's a Saturday and I'm catching up on threads!

10allthesedarnbooks
Aug 29, 2009, 12:48pm Top

Hey, Luna, Roni, & Linda! Glad to see you guys. :)

>6 alcottacre:, Actually Stasia I started reading What the Moon Saw this morning, and it's doing a good job of cleansing my palate!

>8 Whisper1:, Linda, I hope you can get Voodoo Queen and that you enjoy it. I just added Zeitoun to my wishlist last night, actually, and Impossible's been on there for a while. You're a great contributor to my pile, too, lol... That is if you're talking about the same Nancy Werlin book!

11tloeffler
Aug 29, 2009, 10:02pm Top

Voodoo Queen is at my library, and as soon as I clear a few more books off my "read NOW" table, I'll be putting it on there! It sounds right up my alley!

12blackdogbooks
Aug 30, 2009, 9:48am Top

Back for more! Starred again!!

13allthesedarnbooks
Aug 30, 2009, 11:49am Top

>11 tloeffler:, Yay! I'm so excited I can recommend this one to people... It was such an unexpected, delightful discovery for me.

>12 blackdogbooks:, Welcome, blackdogbooks!

14blackdogbooks
Aug 30, 2009, 4:53pm Top

Ohh, I've been here from your first thread. Always lurking.

15allthesedarnbooks
Aug 30, 2009, 5:28pm Top

I knew you were here before... Should've been more specific. Welcome to the new thread. :)

16allthesedarnbooks
Aug 31, 2009, 12:00pm Top

Hey, guys! After much persuading on my part, I finally convinced my mom to sign up for LT and join this group. She hasn't quite figured everything out yet, but we started a thread for her this morning http://www.librarything.com/topic/72131 if you want to make her feel welcome (and see what she's reading)! She reads mostly mysteries and thrillers, with the occasionally foray into other genres, but our reading tastes don't always overlap, so I think this group will be good for her. :)

17allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Aug 31, 2009, 4:25pm Top

Yay! After the travesty that was The Vampire of Ropraz, I was lucky enough to find a good one!

78. What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau

I absolutely adored this book! It's the story of 14-year-old Clara Luna, who lives in suburban Maryland with her family. Her father, who crossed the border from Mexico illegally many years ago, never speaks of his parents or his youth in Mexico. One day, just as she is feeling restless and yearning for something, Clara receives a letter from her grandparents, inviting her to visit them in rural Mexico. When she arrives, at first she is shocked at the way they live, and doesn't think she will be able to survive without the conveniences and luxuries she is accustomed to back home. She begins to explore the wilderness around Yucuyoo, her grandparents' village. She makes friends with Pedro, a young goatherder, and learns about healing from her grandmother. Clara's story is alternated with chapters narrating her grandmother, Helena's, experiences growing up in the late 1930s and discovering her own healing abilities. Finally, with the help of her grandparents, Pedro, and the beautiful natural surroundings, Clara finally comes to feel like her "inside matches her outside." This one is definitely a keeper, one that I fully intend to pass onto my own children someday. Highly, highly recommended. Five stars!

18alcottacre
Sep 1, 2009, 10:42am Top

#17: My local library has that one, so I am going to see if I can pick it up today. Thanks for the recommendation, Marcia!

19Carmenere
Sep 1, 2009, 11:57am Top

What the Moon Saw sounds like an excellent read, especially because I enjoy traveling in Mexico. I'm adding it to the Tipping Tower of Tomes.

20allthesedarnbooks
Sep 1, 2009, 11:59am Top

>17 allthesedarnbooks: & 18, Awesome! I hope you both enjoy it as much as I did.

21allthesedarnbooks
Sep 1, 2009, 12:33pm Top

I just finished Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans, which was really good. I will have more complete thoughts on it later today. I know a lot of you have read extensively on Hurricane Katrina, and I was wondering what books you would recommend?

22alcottacre
Sep 1, 2009, 12:54pm Top

#21: I know that Whisper has read several books on Katrina recently, Marcia, so you might want to check her thread. One that I read and recommend is The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley.

23allthesedarnbooks
Sep 1, 2009, 1:07pm Top

Thanks, Stasia! Added that one. I remembered that Linda had read a lot on the subject, and was already planning to reread her thread! :D

24FlossieT
Sep 2, 2009, 4:48am Top

Belated congratulations on your 75!

25allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Sep 2, 2009, 7:32pm Top

Thanks, FlossieT!

I saw this on a bunch of your threads, and I just couldn't resist.

What were the last three books you bought?

Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels
Cooking Basics for Dummies
Falling in Love with Natassia

What are the next three books you want to buy?

Hmm, this is bound to change, but I have the following in my Book Depository cart:
The Way of Shadows
The Secret History of Moscow
Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry
Let the Right One In
Strangers
The Implacable Order of Things

And that's six, not three...

Which book would you most like as a gift from someone?

Something I haven't read from my wishlist, or that really touched their soul. A nice edition of one of my favorites.

Which book would you most like to give someone as a present?

Really depends on the person I'm buying for and their tastes!

Who are your 3 favorite authors?

Hard to decide on just three! But maybe
Tony Horwitz
Emily Dickinson
Xiaolu Guo

Which three books will you buy as soon as they are published?

The Silver Blade by Sally Gardner
The next George R.R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire book
Strange Fate by L.J. Smith

Who are your 3 favourite characters in books?

Hard! Emily from L.M. Montgomery's Emly books (Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily's Quest), Anne from her Anne of Green Gables series, Alanna from Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartet are my childhood favorites and probably still my favorite.

Which three books did you inherit (not necessarily physically, but as recommendations from parents)?

Misty of Chincoteague (from my mom)
Einstein's Dreams (from my dad)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn/Maggie-Now (from my grandma)

Which three books would you love to pass down to your children?

Off the top of my head?
Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech
Anne of Green Gables (and its sequels)
D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths

Which three books do you most often recommend?

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers by Xiaolu Guo
The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

If you were going into hospital, which three books would you take with you?

I would take a huge pile of books I hadn't read yet, which is what I did when I had brain surgery, lol. It worked out really well, as you might imagine...

If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you want to find there?

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder - great comfort read to remind me of winter
War and Peace - so I could finally finish it
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson - a lifetime's worth of poems that you can get something new from on every reading

Your house is burning down and you can only rescue three books, which would you grab?

My mom's copy of Misty of Chincoteague
My grandma's copies of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn/Maggie Now and Gone With the Wind

Which book would you like your children to look at and immediately remember you by?

I don't know... Emily of New Moon maybe.

Which book would you like to be buried with?

None. I'll leave them to my loved ones and/or the library. Plus, I want to be cremated.

What are you reading right now?

Enclave by Kit Reed
Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend by Joshua Blu Buhs
A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce

26allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Sep 4, 2009, 2:56pm Top

79. Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum

This was a pretty good book about life in New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. Baum follows the lives of nine citizens of New Orleans. It took me a while to get into it. For the first 100 pages or so, I had a hard time keeping the people straight. After that, it picks up considerably. I had two problems with the book. First, it really gets interesting when you start to see how the people you've gotten to know handle the disaster and tragedy of Katrina, and I felt that the section about the storm itself was too short and lacking in detail, and that the section about afterward was also not long enough, especially in comparison with the build up. I felt that a lot of the "stories" were not properly wrapped up. Some of the "characters" were hardly featured in the last section at all. Secondly, I wish there had been a little more diversity amongst the people profiled. New Orleans is a very diverse city, and while there were rich and poor blacks and whites, there were no other minorities. There were also, IMO, not enough women. Three out of 9, one of whom was born a man. Women's lives are just as interesting as men's. Overall, however, a very good read. It whetted my appetite to read more about Katrina, and I'm always interested in reading more about New Orleans. Recommended. Four stars.

On a somewhat related note, I watched an extremely interesting documentary last night called On the Order of Myths. It's about Mardi Gras, and while it takes place in Mobile, Alabama, not New Orleans, I think there are some similar issues raised. In Nine Lives, one of the main topics of discussion is the integration of carnival krewes, and in Mobile, Mardi Gras is still segregated. It's an intriguing film about race and tradition in the South. It's available on DVD, or if you have Netflix, to watch instantly on your computer, which I did.

27FlossieT
Sep 3, 2009, 11:14am Top

Wonderful to see the Emily books there! Have such fond memories of those (but no copies of them, strangely - I think I used to serially borrow them from the library).

28allthesedarnbooks
Sep 3, 2009, 11:52am Top

The Emily books are my favorite! Lol. And I know what you mean about serially borrowing from the library. Although I have copies of those, for some reason my complete works of L.M. Montgomery library was always missing a copy of Rilla of Ingleside, so my Anne set was never complete, and I was constantly getting that one out. I just purchased a copy a few years ago at a book sale, but I cannot for the life of me locate it!

29arubabookwoman
Sep 5, 2009, 2:38pm Top

I really liked Nine Lives a lot, perhaps because I lived in New Orleans for 18 years. While Katrina and its aftermath were a part of the story, I don't think the focus of the book was meant to be the hurricaine, but rather on the people of New Orleans. On the whole, I think he chose a wide variety of people--a transsexual bar owner and his ex-wife, a legendary Mardi Gras Indian and his wife, a streetcar worker, the leader of one of New Orleans' famous high school marching bands, high society former King of Rex, etc. And can you imagine any other city in the US having a coroner like Frank Minyard? These people make New Orleans what it is (was?). I think that reading the book might help people understand why so many New Orleanians would live nowhere else in the world, and to better understand life in "the big easy."

P.S.--glad to see you are doing better, and are back with us, marcia. :)

30allthesedarnbooks
Sep 5, 2009, 8:15pm Top

>29 arubabookwoman:, Thanks, abw! I didn't expect Nine Lives to be so much about Katrina, but I guess I just would have enjoyed more detail in those sections if that makes any sense?

31allthesedarnbooks
Sep 6, 2009, 1:54am Top

80. Enclave by Kit Reed

Ok science fiction/fantasy novel. Sarge starts a boarding school on an abandoned monastery island, isolating the students and telling them that the end of the world is imminent... but is it really? Didn't hold my interest consistently. Three stars.

81. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Interesting YA fantasy novel, setting the tale of Rumpelstiltskin in an early Industrial Revolution mill setting. A little too long, but definitely an enjoyable read. Three and a half stars.

32allthesedarnbooks
Sep 7, 2009, 11:38pm Top

82. Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris

This is the second book in Harris's Lily Bard series, after Shakespeare's Landlord, which I read last year. I really enjoyed it. Lily is a great character, and I really feel like I get to know her better with each book (I've also read, out of order, Shakespeare's Trollop). She is, in my opinion, the most complex of Harris's heroines, and I much prefer her to Aurora Teagarden or Sookie Stackhouse. A great little mystery. Four stars.

33TadAD
Sep 8, 2009, 8:52am Top

>32 allthesedarnbooks:: I really wish she'd pick that series up again. But, I guess the lure of True-Blood-hyped Southern Vampire sales is too much. :-)

34Whisper1
Sep 8, 2009, 9:39am Top

Marcia and Deborah
I'm currently reading Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans. I agree that it is a bit difficult to get into at first, but now that I got the hang of it, I'm enjoying it. Deb, thanks for recommending this one and other Katrina/New Orleans books!

35allthesedarnbooks
Sep 8, 2009, 12:45pm Top

>33 TadAD:, I agree, Tad! And the thing is, I really think the Southern Vampire books could benefit from a break. It feels like she's churning them out at such a pace that they really aren't the quality they started at.

>34 Whisper1:, Yay! Glad you like it, Linda. I agree it's hard to get into, but it does get better. I guess my main problem was that once I finally got into it, it ended too soon!

36Whisper1
Sep 8, 2009, 1:30pm Top

Marcia

thanks. I hope you are doing well these days.

37allthesedarnbooks
Sep 8, 2009, 1:37pm Top

Thanks, Linda! I'm hanging in there. Hope you're doing well, too!

38Cauterize
Sep 8, 2009, 5:01pm Top

Just finished going through your thread! You read quite the variety of things, I look forward to more reviews. Looking at that quiz you took, I also have Misty of Chincoteague from when I was young. I love Marguerite Henry horse books and I have copies of Sea Star and King of the Wind.

39alcottacre
Sep 9, 2009, 8:22pm Top

#32: The Lily Bard series is my favorite of Harris'. Glad you are enjoying it.

40allthesedarnbooks
Sep 10, 2009, 3:26pm Top

>38 Cauterize:. Thanks! Aw, I love Misty of Chincoteague. When my mom and I talk about places we eventually want to go, I'm always all for Prince Edward Island and she wants to go to Ossoteague and Chincoteague. I think I have King of the Wind somewhere, and I know I have Stormy, Misty's Foal, but I don't know about Sea Star.

>39 alcottacre:, Thanks Stasia! Lily's just such an amazing character, she really makes the series stand out from the usual mysteries I read.

41allthesedarnbooks
Sep 10, 2009, 3:39pm Top

Here's another quiz/meme I've seen on several people's threads that I just couldn't resist!

Using only books you have read this year (2009), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

Describe yourself:

Primitive Mentor

How do you feel:
Repossessed

Describe where you currently live:
Dry Storeroom No. 1

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Toward the Distant Islands

Your favorite form of transportation:
Feet of Clay

Your best friend is:
Friday's Child

You and your friends are:
Fragile Things

What’s the weather like:
What the Moon Saw

You fear:
Real Murders

What is the best advice you have to give:
Secrets to Happiness

Thought for the day:
Siste Viator

How I would like to die:
The Shortest Way to Hades

My soul’s present condition:
A Certain Slant of Light

42allthesedarnbooks
Sep 12, 2009, 12:21am Top

I've been doing some definite "escapist" reading... I may get back to something more serious eventually! Or not. Meanwhile, I've finished:

83. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

It had been a long time since I'd visited Discworld, and after hanging out around here enough, I was eager to go back again, and start from the beginning. This is the first in the series, and I had never read it before. While it's not as even as the later books, I still quite enjoyed it. I know a lot of people don't care for Rincewind, but I find him fairly amusing. Death makes his first memorable appearance, and the tropes of high fantasy are delightfully lampooned. If you haven't read a lot of fantasy, you won't find this as funny; it's definitely not as pop culture funny as some of his other books. I liked it a lot, though. Four stars.

84. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

This was a disappointing YA novel. The premise is intriguing: a post-apocalyptic, dystopian society hiding from zombies. OMG, though, the book is just incredibly boring. It was a struggle to finish... How can the author make zombies this boring? I guess that's an accomplishment, but not necessarily something to be proud of. Kind of reminded me of the movie The Village. I would recommend avoiding this one unless you're SUPER into zombies or post-apoc. Two stars.

85. Undead and Unpopular by MaryJanice Davidson

Found this one when going through some unshelved boxes of books and cataloging them. I was glad I picked it up! I'd forgotten how enjoyable this series is. This is the fifth book in the Betsy series, which starts with Undead and Unwed. I laughed out loud at several points, and it was a great escape from my everyday life. Nothing deep, but loads of fun! Three and a half stars.

43alcottacre
Sep 12, 2009, 2:55am Top

#42: I am a fan of the Undead series, too, especially the first one. I laughed so hard at *MILD SPOILER* Betsy trying to kill herself after she was already dead!*END OF SPOILER*

44ronincats
Sep 12, 2009, 11:38am Top

Glad 2 of the three were enjoyable. Pratchett is always fun. I may have to try the Davidson series!

45allthesedarnbooks
Sep 12, 2009, 3:16pm Top

>42 allthesedarnbooks:, Hee that was hilarious! Betsy cracks me up. My favorite part of this one was when her grandfather escaped from his nursing home, because it was so relatable! Hilarious if you've been there.

>44 ronincats:, You should try them, Roni! They are good quick reads, big print, and funny. Similar to the Sookie Stackhouse books, only less mystery and action, more laughs and chick lit.

46allthesedarnbooks
Sep 17, 2009, 12:27am Top

I just finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I am incoherent with awe. I will try and have more complete thoughts on it tomorrow, but right now just know that it is easily the best book I've read this year, and destined to become one of my all-time favorites.

47Whisper1
Sep 17, 2009, 12:51am Top

Marcia
I've heard so many positive things about The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I really must read this soon.

48allthesedarnbooks
Sep 17, 2009, 12:58am Top

You'll love it, Linda! I got it out from the library, and it's due back tomorrow. Rarely do I finish a library book and declare "I must own this!" But that was the case. I want my own copy. I want to reread it and dog-ear it and write notes in the margin. I will get it on my next trip to the independent bookstore, where I will pick it up, along with her new book Gourmet Rhapsody, and The Wood Wife, which I have on order for the Halloween Group Read.

49Whisper1
Sep 17, 2009, 1:01am Top

Wow Marcia that is a heavy recommendation. And, since I trust your judgment and some of my favorite reads of 2009 are from your lists, I must obtain a copy tomorrow.

50allthesedarnbooks
Sep 19, 2009, 4:32pm Top

>49 Whisper1:, Wow, Linda! I'm flattered that my word carries so much weight, lol. I hope you love it as much as I do. :)

---

86. Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tam

This book is, as the title states, a guide to romance novels by the authors of one of my favorite blogs, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. The blog is witty, funny, and full of romance novel recommendations. The book... well, I was a little disappointed. It's not that it wasn't funny; it was. It was just extremely disorganized, and it was a lot of fluff and not a lot of substance. It's pretty similar to the blog, and while the style used works really well in that format, for a book it leaves something to be desired. There were some interesting discussions of the history of romance, it's cliches, etc. I would've liked more. There were a few recommendations of books, based on subgenre (pirate romance, time travel, etc.); again, I would've loved more. There were lots of silly, funny little lists; I could've done without the majority of them. Cute, but nothing life-changing. Overall, recommended for hardcore fans of the blog and romance junkies; for anyone else, I think reading the blog will be enough. Three stars.

87. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery; translated by Alison Anderson

I had read a lot of really positive things about this book on LT. I went into it with some trepidation, certain that it couldn't live up to the praise I had heard. Wow, was I wrong! Not only did it meet the high standard I was expecting, it surpassed it on just about every level. There's lots of philosophy and Art, but the real meat of the story is the characters: Renee, the self-educated concierge who hides from the world; Paloma, the 12-year-old genius; and Ozu, the Japanese man who befriends them both. Their not perfect characters, and at times I found some of their opinions pretentious, but they are REAL. The story starts out slow and builds subtly until by the last 50 pages or so, I could not put it down. I got it out from the library, but this is one I will buy and reread, which isn't something I do very often. Highly recommended. I gave it five stars for the sake of LT ratings, but in reality, it's worth about five hundred stars.

51Whisper1
Sep 19, 2009, 6:27pm Top

The Elegance of the Hedgehog must be a very popular book. I am #10 on the waiting list at the library...looks like I need to buy a copy if I hope to read it soon.

52allthesedarnbooks
Sep 20, 2009, 5:42pm Top

>51 Whisper1:, It's weird, Linda. Most people I talk to have never heard of it, and then there's huge waiting lists at the library and they're out of it at the bookstore... Who are these savvy local readers? How do I meet them?

---
Finished another one...

88. The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

The second of the Discworld series, in chronological order. Another one featuring Rincewind. Funny. I enjoyed it... can't wait to get to the witches, though! Four stars.

53kgriffith
Sep 20, 2009, 6:58pm Top

Gotcha starred :)

I picked up a copy of The Elegance of the Hedgehog before I saw it on the ER list, and haven't gotten to it yet. Need to bump it up the leaning tower of TBRs for post-move reading :)

54allthesedarnbooks
Sep 20, 2009, 11:34pm Top

>53 kgriffith:, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I don't have leaning tower of TBRs, just about 3 bookcases, 4 or 5 giant bins, and a neverending wishlist! Moving sucks, but at least it's always a good excuse to reorganize your library. ;)

55Cauterize
Sep 22, 2009, 5:19pm Top

Wow, I just put myself down for a hold for The Elegance of the Hedgehog at my library and I'm number 212 for 30 copies. I haven't been this high up since I put a hold on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Who ARE all these savvy local readers?

56allthesedarnbooks
Sep 22, 2009, 11:16pm Top

>55 Cauterize:, Isn't it in the Patriot Act that the gov can see what we're reading? If I were FBI, I would look up everyone who's reading Elegance of the Hedgehog, track them down, and befriend them!

57Whisper1
Sep 23, 2009, 12:49pm Top

Marcia

I thought of you last night. I belong to a book club held at my local library. The elegance of the Hedgehog was mentioned as a book to discuss. One member said she didn't like the book, all others in the group who have read it almost jumped out of their chairs at her telling her to go back and re-read it because indeed it is an excellent book.

58suslyn
Sep 26, 2009, 2:03pm Top

I'm back with you -- belated congrats on 75 ... yeah, I'm *that* late!

59allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Sep 29, 2009, 2:35pm Top

>75, Sounds like I should join that book club! Lol.

>58 suslyn:, Welcome back, Susan, and thanks!

I've been busy and haven't had that much time for reading lately, and I've also been suffering from a case of the dreaded Book Funk and have started a ton of books and not finished them. I did manage to read one, however:

89. Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies: the Straight Scoop on Freemasons, the Illuminati, Skull and Bones, Black Helicopters, the New World Order, and many, many more by Arthur Goldwag

This was an interesting, if flawed book. It consists of articles covering many "cults," conspiracies, and secret societies. I had two major problems with the book: One, Goldwag doesn't always reference his sources, and when he does, he does so inconsistently. There are no footnotes, or even endnotes. Sometimes he references his sources directly in the text, but there are many articles where he doesn't cite sources at all. I understand that a lot of what he cited was from unconventional sources, due to the nature of his subjects, but I still wanted to know where the info was coming from. My second problem was that there was so much information presented, but the articles were so short on each group/theory, etc. The addition of cults seemed odd, in particular; while I could somewhat see grouping conspiracies and secret societies together, since a lot of conspiracies are about secret societies, the cults didn't seem that related. It could easily have been two, if not three, more comprehensive, informative books. Still an interesting read, especially the part about the conspiratorial mindset. I, for one, started to understand a lot of current conspiracy theory, ie. some of the more fringe beliefs about President Obama, in context with ideas that have been around longer. Worth a read if you're interested in the subject, but not a comprehensive look by any means. Three stars.

60allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Oct 28, 2009, 12:46am Top

I've had a bad cold/flu for the past week or so, haven't had enough energy for much reading or going on LT at all. I did manage to finish these three books, however. I will have thoughts on them when my brain is less foggy.

90. Shakespeare's Christmas

91. French Kissing

92. Genesis: A Novel by Bernard Beckett

61FlossieT
Oct 10, 2009, 8:03pm Top

>92 sorry to hear you're not well - but REALLY looking forward to hearing about Bernard Beckett in particular!

62alcottacre
Oct 11, 2009, 4:34am Top

Me, too!

63ronincats
Oct 11, 2009, 4:45pm Top

Hope you are feeling better REAL soon!

64laytonwoman3rd
Oct 11, 2009, 4:47pm Top

Sorry your flu lasted so long...I hope it's finally moving on out.

65allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Oct 28, 2009, 12:45am Top

Thanks for the well wishes, everyone! I'm feeling a little bit better today. Here are my thoughts, for what they're worth, as promised. Trying something new with the cover images, hope it works ok!



90. Shakespeare's Christmas

Another entry in the Lily Bard mystery series. In this one, Lily leaves Shakespeare to go back to her hometown for her sister's wedding. We learn more about her past and her family, and when people start getting murdered, and her PI lover Jack shows up on a missing child assignment, the mystery heats up. I really enjoyed the development of the relationship between Lily and Jack. While it was interesting to learn more about Lily, I missed the peripheral characters back in Shakespeare. Three and a half stars.



91. French Kissing by Nancy Warren

I went into this book with fairly low expectations. I was sick, and looking for something light, so I picked this one from my collection of Harlequin Blazes. For those of you who aren't familiar with category romance, Blaze is Harlequin's "sexy" category. The good ones are steamy and exciting; the bad ones are like watching porno paint dry. This one was not just good and steamy; it was excellent. The sex wasn't what made it good (there were several run-of-the-mill scenes, and one very hot chapter involving photography) but the characters. The heroine, Kimi Renton, is a fashion editor for an upscale Manhattan magazine. Holden MacGregor is a PI working undercover to solve a couture theft. They meet in Paris. The plot is kind of silly, but the writing and the characters raise it way above regular category romance fare. Every once in a while you find an author who really speaks to your sense of what a romance novel should be, and for me, Nancy Warren is one of those authors. I will definitely be checking out her backlist. Four and a half stars.

I know you guys are eagerly awaiting thoughts on the Beckett, but I still need to wait for my head to clear up a little before I can give it the serious attention it deserves. But I did like it!

66Whisper1
Oct 11, 2009, 9:13pm Top

I hope you feel better soon Marcia!

67allthesedarnbooks
Oct 11, 2009, 9:20pm Top

Thanks, Linda!

68allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Oct 15, 2009, 7:43pm Top



92. Genesis: A Novel by Bernard Beckett (Can't get the touchstone to work on the title, so I put it on the author and you should be able to get to the work page, I think.)

This was a short, interesting little book. Set in a not-so-distant dystopian future, the novel centers around Anaximander, a young student, who is being questioned by the members of the Academy, in order to gain a place among their ranks. It is through this interview that we learn the history of the society Anax lives in. I don't want to give too much away, but it's all about the nature of humanity and freedom, with a great twist at the end. I'm not sure about the style of the book, it almost reads like a play, with pages of dialogue, and I'm not sure it wouldn't have worked better that way. Still recommended, especially for fans of dystopian literature, or people who are interested in artificial intelligence. Three and a half stars.



93. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Another fun Discworld novel. This is the first one to introduce my personal favorite character of all time, Granny Weatherwax. Eskarina, a young girl, is left a staff and power by a dying wizard, who mistakes her for an eighth son, instead of a daughter after seven boys. The problem is wizards are meant to be men, and women are meant to be witches, and nary the two shall meet. Esk is taken under the wing of Granny, they head off towards Unseen University, and much fun ensues. Four stars.

69Whisper1
Oct 15, 2009, 7:47pm Top

Hi Marcia

I'm stopping by to wave hello and to say I hope you are feeling much, much better.

70allthesedarnbooks
Oct 15, 2009, 7:50pm Top

Thanks, Linda! I'm feeling better... still not 100%, but much better than I was.

71alcottacre
Oct 17, 2009, 11:49pm Top

Genesis has been on Planet TBR for a while now. I really enjoy dystopian books so I am hoping to get a copy soon.

72allthesedarnbooks
Oct 19, 2009, 1:35pm Top

I hope you like it, Stasia!

73allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Oct 26, 2009, 12:39am Top

Oh, man, guys, I've really been in a reading funk lately! All I can manage to read is fluff, and even with the fluff I keep starting books and not finishing them. Hopefully things will pick up soon. I'm beginning to doubt that I'll make my personal goal of 125 for the year, and at the glacial pace I've been reading lately, I'll be lucky if I even top the 100 I read last year! Anyway, here's two I managed to finish.



94. Murder Uncorked by Michele Scott (touchstone wasn't working, so the page is here.)

This is the first in the Wine Lovers mystery series. It was an enjoyable cozy mystery. There were some great descriptions of wines, and some excellent recipes. The writing style was a little weak, and the mystery was so-so, but the characterization and setting were interesting enough that I will probably read more of the series. Three stars.



95. Beth and the Bachelor by Susan Mallery (touchstone wasn't working, so the page is here.)

CatyM recommended this romance on her thread, and while I didn't enjoy it quite as much as she did, I really liked it a lot. I don't read very many Silhouette Special Editions (when I'm in the mood for a category, I usually pick up a Harlequin Blaze or a Silhouette Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense). The heroine of this one, the titular Beth, is a 38-year-old widow with two children. The hero, Todd, is a millionaire playboy whom Beth's friends win her a date with at a charity auction. The date is a disaster, and at first it seems like they have nothing in common. However, Todd pursues Beth, much to her amazement, and a relationship slowly blossoms between them. I loved the way their relationship developed organically. Beth and Todd are both well-drawn characters, and Beth in particular is achingly real. So real, in fact, that when her insecurities threatened to derail her, I had to put the book down because it hit too close to home. Even though I'm only 24, and not a widow, the way she feels about her body is one of the more realistic portrayals of a woman's issues with her body that I've read in a romance. The peripheral characters (Beth's friends, her children) are weak, especially in comparison with the in-depth characterization of Beth and Todd, but that's to be expected in the length restraints of a category romance. My only major problem was with the sex scenes. My expectations are different after reading Blazes and other contemporary romances, but the sex scenes here just read to me as unbelievably cheesy and cliched. I understand not wanting to use vulgar language to describe the sex, but every time Beth referred to her "feminine place" all I could think of was a Kotex ad, and some of Todd's romantic lines made me laugh out loud. I think it would have been just about a perfect, short, sweet romance if the sex had been excluded altogether, or if it was merely alluded to by the author. Four stars.

74alcottacre
Edited: Oct 26, 2009, 12:38am Top

Marcia, one of the best romances featuring a 'larger size' woman was written by Justine Davis. I have a copy of it in my personal library, but I do not have it catalogued and right now the title eludes me. I will look for it when I am at home (sorry, I am at work at the moment) if you are interested in reading it.

Aha: I found a review of it (as well as the title) here:

http://www.theromancereader.com/davis-love.html

75allthesedarnbooks
Oct 26, 2009, 12:45am Top

Thanks, Stasia! I will have to check that one out. Beth isn't really "larger size", she just has a "normal" body at 38 and has given birth to two children. I thought the way her insecurities were portrayed were very realistic.

One of my favorite romances is Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie, which features a curvy heroine.

76alcottacre
Oct 26, 2009, 12:51am Top

I will look for that one by Crusie. I read one of hers, Crazy for You, that kept me in stitches, so I am definitely up for another one by her.

77allthesedarnbooks
Oct 26, 2009, 1:05am Top

Crazy for You was hilarious! I love Crusie, she's one of my favorite authors. Bet Me is one of my favorites, along with Welcome to Temptation, but pretty much all of hers are golden, IMO.

78alcottacre
Oct 26, 2009, 1:09am Top

Then I definitely need to expand my Crusie reading horizons :)

79allthesedarnbooks
Oct 26, 2009, 6:44pm Top

Yay! You won't regret it, Stasia, she's wonderful.

80allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Oct 28, 2009, 12:58am Top



96. Murder With Peacocks by Donna Andrews

I loved this cozy murder mystery, the first in a series! Thanks to everybody in the group who recommended it. Funny, laugh out loud, light, perfect escape reading... Everything I would've liked from Murder Uncorked, but was never delivered! I will definitely be reading more of this series. Four stars.

81alcottacre
Oct 28, 2009, 6:31am Top

*sigh* Everyone (but me) seems to be reading Donna Andrews books this week, which just reminds me that I own several of them and really need to read them!

82allthesedarnbooks
Oct 28, 2009, 1:00pm Top

I'm putting Murder with Puffins on hold at the library as we speak...

83Kittybee
Oct 29, 2009, 5:12pm Top

I just got Murder with Peacocks and am looking forward to reading it. I am glad to hear you enjoyed it!

84allthesedarnbooks
Oct 29, 2009, 6:30pm Top

>83 Kittybee:, Awesome! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I just handed my copy off to my mom. It's so funny and a great little cozy mystery!

85Whisper1
Oct 30, 2009, 10:23pm Top

Marcia

My TBR pile is filled with your recommendations, and so many books that I've read this year I found on your thread! Murder With Peacocks sounds delightful!

86allthesedarnbooks
Oct 30, 2009, 11:46pm Top

Linda, Murder With Peacocks is, indeed, delightful! I was watching the hockey game earlier tonight and my mom was reading (not a big hockey fan) and she kept giggling, and then she would recount to me the specific scene she was laughing at. I can't wait to get the next in the series, Murder With Puffins, probably at my next trip to the library.

87allthesedarnbooks
Nov 8, 2009, 3:06pm Top

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten much reading done lately. :( I can't really explain the cause of my book funk, I just know that it exists. Sigh. I'm pretty active in local politics, so hopefully now that election season is over, I can get in some more reading when I would have been making phone calls and going door to door and attending dinners. Anyway, I did manage to finish two books:



97. Ill Wind - Rachel Caine

This is the first book in the Weather Wardens series. It's fun, fairly inventive urban fantasy, complete with djinn and some great twists. I will look for more in the series. Three and a half stars.



98. Wednesday Wars - Gary D. Schmidt

Thanks to Linda, Stasia, and everyone else who recommended this one! I will go ahead and admit that this is not a book I would have picked up on my own, Newbery Honor book or not. Maybe it's the twelve-year-old girl still inside of me, but usually when I read young adult books, I tend to pick up ones with female protagonists. Kudos if there's romance or something paranormal in nature. This book is set in 1967 Long Island, narrated by a seventh grade boy, the awesomely named Holling Hoodhood. As the book starts, Holling is convinced that his seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates his guts. While the other students in his class go to Catholic or Jewish religious education classes, Holling, a Presbyterian, is forced to stay alone with Mrs. Baker. Eventually they start reading Shakespeare together. Sounds like a fairly simple story, right? Think again. In the hands of Schmidt, what could be a basic, boring coming of age story is a masterpiece. I laughed out loud and I sobbed out loud, sometimes within the space of the same page. I really cannot recommend this book enough. Highly recommended for kids and adults! Five stars.

88tymfos
Nov 8, 2009, 8:06pm Top

Wednesday Wars is on my list to read. I really have to get to it, we have it at the library where I work.

Like you, it's not one that I would normally seek out; but you, Linda, and Stasia have convinced me!

89ronincats
Nov 8, 2009, 8:43pm Top

I enjoyed The Wednesday Wars a lot this year, and passed it on to my nephew. I also liked the first Weather Wardens book a lot, but I have to caution you, Marcia, that with each consecutive book the problems get bigger, the violence escalates, and the things I really liked about the first seem to fade away. I made it through 4 of them before I just stopped.

90allthesedarnbooks
Nov 8, 2009, 11:38pm Top

>88 tymfos:, Terry, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

>89 ronincats:, Hmm, that doesn't sound promising, Roni, but I do think I'll give the rest of them a shot until it gets too bad for me. I really liked the worldbuilding.

91alcottacre
Nov 9, 2009, 1:27am Top

I am glad to see that you liked The Wednesday Wars, Marcia!

92lunacat
Nov 9, 2009, 8:27am Top

Glad you liked The Wednesday Wars. I agree with you though, I only seem to pick up YA books with a female lead character. I wonder if its due to us being women or if its because there are more YA books for girls out there?

I like the look of Ill Wind so thanks for the recommendation.

93Whisper1
Nov 9, 2009, 9:21am Top

So glad you liked the Wednesday Wars. It is one of my top reads of 2009! I enjoyed your comments.

94allthesedarnbooks
Nov 10, 2009, 12:10am Top

>91 alcottacre: and 93, Thanks Stasia and Linda! I would not have discovered this gem without you guys.

>92 lunacat:, I don't know Jenny! When I was a kid, I was never into reading books with male protagonists, and as I've grown up, I notice it still happens, to an embarrassing extent. If the book doesn't have a female main character, or isn't written by a woman, the chances of me picking it up decrease greatly. It's not just YA books for me! I've tried in the last few years to read more books by men, from a male perspective, but my library is still predominantly female. I don't feel that bad about it, though, since the traditional literary canon is so male and misogynistic. Whatever the case is, I just prefer girl books!

95allthesedarnbooks
Nov 12, 2009, 3:57pm Top

I'm sick. Again. Meh. I think I need to trade in my immune system for a new model. But I did manage to finish a few books in between coughing fits. I've now reached 100, which means that I've officially read as many books so far in 2009 as I did in the entirety of 2008. Yay!



99. Amuse Bouche - Anthony Bidulka

This is the first in the Russell Quant mystery series, another delight I would never have discovered if not for this group. Russell is a great hero-- a gay PI living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which is awesome, because so rarely do we see either gay people or private investigators living outside of New York or LA in our literature. Great characterization, funny one-liners, and a pretty good mystery. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more in the series. Four stars.



100. Mort - Terry Pratchett

Another hilarious Discworld book. In this one, Death takes an apprentice, Mort. Mort is a great character, as is Death's daughter, Ysabell, and his manservant, Albert, but Death is the real star. When he takes a vacation to experience human life... just delicious, funny stuff. Four stars.

96FlossieT
Nov 12, 2009, 6:42pm Top

Yay on your 100! Boo on the being ill. Yay for Mort! Hmm, I make that 2-1 to the 'Yays' :-)

97Whisper1
Nov 12, 2009, 6:59pm Top

Marcia
Feel better soon!

Hugs,
Linda

98ronincats
Nov 12, 2009, 8:01pm Top

Have you read Reaper Man yet? It's the sequel to Mort and I think about twice as good--a much more mature book. Great for what ails you--but I hope you feel better soon!

99allthesedarnbooks
Nov 12, 2009, 11:26pm Top

>96 FlossieT:, Thanks Rachael! Yay for the yays. :)

>97 Whisper1: Thanks Linda! Hugs back (over the interwebs I'm not even contagious!).

>98 ronincats:, Roni, I think I read Reaper Man years ago when I did my original Pratchett run. I don't remember a lot of the details, though, just being amused. Right now I'm trying to read the Disworld books in publication (in spite of the recommended reading order chart), so hopefully I'll get to it sometime soon.

100tymfos
Nov 13, 2009, 2:01pm Top

Hope you feel better soon, and congrats for reaching the 100-book mark!

101allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Nov 13, 2009, 4:27pm Top

Thanks, Terry!

102alcottacre
Nov 14, 2009, 1:19am Top

Congratulations on hitting 100!


103allthesedarnbooks
Nov 14, 2009, 3:37pm Top

Thanks, Stasia! The adorable graphic definitely makes me feel better. :D

I'm pretty much on the mend, except for a lingering croupy cough.



101. Power Play - Nancy Warren

This is another fun contemporary romance by Nancy Warren. The sex is hot, but not too over the top for a Blaze. Emily and Jonah are stuck in a room together after an unfortunate bedbug incident and further failures on the part of the hotel staff. Emily's in town for her cousin's wedding, Jonah for a hockey tournament. Sparks fly, at first they think just sexually, but then when Emily is in danger they both realize it's become something more. Fun, sexy romance. I didn't like it as much as I did French Kissing, but still heads and tails above typical category romance far. Four stars.

104alcottacre
Nov 15, 2009, 12:47am Top

The cough always seems to be the last thing to go. Glad to hear you are on the mend and hopefully the cough will be gone soon.

105allthesedarnbooks
Nov 15, 2009, 11:25pm Top

Thanks, Stasia! :D

I'm currently reading Wolf Hall, which is excellent!

106jadebird
Nov 15, 2009, 11:44pm Top

I'm sorry you weren't feeling well, glad you are better.

Wolf Hall sounds very interesting. Thanks.

107allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Nov 19, 2009, 2:09pm Top

>106 jadebird:, Thanks! I hope you enjoy it.



102. Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel (touchstone doesn't seem to be working all of a sudden, so work page is here: http://www.librarything.com/work/9209435/book/50764601 )

Other members of this group have written really amazing reviews of this book. I can't hope to stand up to theirs, but I'll throw in my two cents nonetheless. This is historical fiction at its finest: it draws you in, recreates the scene with detail and emotion, and makes you care about people long dead. Set during the reign of Henry VIII, this book chronicles the life of Thomas Cromwell, born to a drunk and abusive blacksmith, who rises to become Master Secretary and adviser to the king. The politics are intriguing, Cromwell is sympathetic, and the portrait of the Tudor Court is fascinating. The book is written in a different style than I'm used to in my historical fiction. Mantel refers to Cromwell as "he" rather than by name, which causes a lot of confusion at first when their are other males present in the scene. However, the immediacy of this point of view overcomes the downfalls, and I soon found myself absorbed. The view Mantel presents of Sir Thomas More was somewhat shocking, for a Catholic school girl like myself. This is a lengthy, exciting glimpse into another time. Highly recommended, especially for fans of historical fiction, or those who are disappointed with the Phillipa Gregory-izing of the Tudor era. Five stars.



103. The Girl in the Flammable Skirt - Aimee Bender

I chanced upon this collection of short stories while wandering the fiction stacks at my local library. The title and the cover drew me in; I started reading the first story, and I couldn't put it down. I checked it out, took it home, and finished it within a few hours.

This collection is probably not for everyone. It's absurd, it's bizarre, it's surreal. Bender mixes sexuality, grief, and the imagination in a way that is at once fascinating and repellent. On first glance, many of the stories seem light, insubstantial, comical. Many of them take on the familiar style of fairy tales. But each one has a dark underbelly, much like life itself. They are confusing, incomplete, imperfect, and completely haunting. I finished the book and I found that I couldn't stop thinking about them. This is a book that will stick with me, and one that I will probably have to read again.

My favorite stories were "Drunken Mimi," a high school love story about an imp and a mermaid, both pretending to be human; "What You Left in the Ditch," the heartbreaking tale of a woman whose husband returns from the war with no lips and her attempts to deal with the loss; and "The Healer," a tale of two mutant girls in a small isolated town, one with a hand of fire, the other with a hand of ice.

Highly recommended for fans of magical realism and inventive symbolic prose. I loved it, in spite of, because of, all its weirdness. I will definitely be looking to read more by Bender. Five stars.

108FlossieT
Nov 19, 2009, 6:33pm Top

Ooh, Marcia, book 103 looks like a winner. Right up my street. On the wishlist...

Love those serendipitous library discoveries. That hardly ever seems to happen to me any more - my 'preferred' library doesn't have the range to put out interesting books, and the Central library is just too confusing. I have really happy memories of discovering new writers at the library as a child, in a way I don't nowadays.

109VisibleGhost
Nov 19, 2009, 11:36pm Top

allthesedarnbooks, I liked your serendipitous library-find story so I'll spill mine. Today, I espied In the Valley of Kings by Terrence Holt in the new release section. A collection of short stories. The blurb by Junot Diaz starts off with, "Holt is my favorite writer." The he mentions Holt is Melville+Poe+Borges. Peter Matthiesson has a blurb. Then I start reading the flap copy. Holt was an up and coming writer fifteen years ago when he dropped writing, went to medical school and began practicing medicine. Locations of the stories range from small-town America to deep space. Genres get blurred. Cover art is nebulous. I'm hooked. I check it out.

110alcottacre
Nov 20, 2009, 1:47pm Top

#107: Putting The Girl in the Flammable Skirt in the BlackHole where Wolf Hall is currently residing. Thanks for the review and recommendation, Marcia!

111_Zoe_
Nov 21, 2009, 7:06pm Top

I can't believe I missed this thread for two and a half months! My wishlist has just grown a bit....

112allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Dec 14, 2009, 7:47pm Top

Hey guys! I haven't been around much in the last weeks. Christmas is coming upon us, so things are getting busy! I also haven't been reading as much, because a lot of the time I usually spend reading has been dedicated to knitting in an attempt to finish presents for people before Christmas. But I did manage to read three books, at least. I don't think I'm gonna make 125 by New Year's at this rate...



104. Murder with Puffins - Donna Andrews

This is the second book in the mystery series starring Meg Langslow. Her boyfriend Michael, her colorful family, and unfriendly little dog Spike all reappear, as well. Not as funny as the first book, but still a cute, cozy mystery novel. Three and a half stars.



105. Sourcery - Terry Pratchett

Another fun Discworld book. This is my favorite, so far, of the books starring Rincewind. It's a lot funnier than The Color of Magic or The Light Fantastic. Also, the Luggage plays a big role in this book, and I absolutely adore the Luggage. Funny, light, escape reading. Four stars.



106. The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters

I was a little disappointed in this gothic period piece, mostly because I'm such a huge fan of Sarah Waters. I haven't yet read her The Night Watch, set during World War II, but I'd say I definitely prefer her Victorian-era set novels (ie Fingersmith) to this one, but that could just be a historical era preference in general. The ghost story is subtle, probably too subtle for me. I like my ghosts with a bang. Still a good book, but not, in my opinion, her best. Three stars.

113alcottacre
Dec 13, 2009, 7:50pm Top

Nice to see you back, Marcia!

114allthesedarnbooks
Dec 14, 2009, 7:47pm Top

Thanks, Stasia! It's good to be back. :D

115allthesedarnbooks
Dec 16, 2009, 12:03am Top



107. The Girls - Lori Lansens

This book absolutely took my breath away. It's easily one of the best books I've read in 2009. Thanks to everyone in this group who recommended it. I owe you guys!

The book is primarily narrated by Rose Darlen, one of a set of two conjoined twins, with occasional chapters from her sister, Ruby. Abandoned by their young mother after birth, the girls were raised by loving older couple Aunt Lovey and Uncle Stash in a small town in rural Ontario. The prose is wonderful, but the characterization is really the star of this novel. Although Ruby doesn't speak as often as Rose, they are both separate, multi-dimensional, and, most important, interesting characters. Just wonderful, wonderful stuff. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Five stars.

116alcottacre
Dec 16, 2009, 12:28am Top

#115: The Girls is on my memorable reads list for the year. I am glad to see if has found another fan!

117allthesedarnbooks
Dec 16, 2009, 1:34am Top

>116 alcottacre:, One of the reasons I read The Girls was because you had recommended it, Stasia. Thank you!

118alcottacre
Dec 16, 2009, 7:27am Top

It goes around - someone recommended it to me so that I could pass along the recommendation to you. I love that about LT!

119allthesedarnbooks
Dec 16, 2009, 2:54pm Top

>118 alcottacre: Me too! The majority of the books I read this year that really stood out were LT recs. I don't know what I'd do without you guys!



108. All My Patients Have Tales: Favorite Stories from a Vet's Practice - Jeff Wells

This book about a mixed practice veterinarian was enjoyable, but not for the weak-stomached, as there's no shortage of blood, feces, and other animal excretions. It's composed of a series of essays relating some memorable moments in the author's first years of practice. A few of the stories are laugh-out-loud and many are filled with in-depth detail of medical procedures. The stories are ok, but they often seem to lack the human (or animal) element that is so necessary in books of this nature. I read this book because the blurb's on the back compared it to James Herriot's classics, but Wells lacks Herriot's warmth and style. I'd recommend this is if you're really interested in veterinary medicine or want to read anything about animals you can get your hands on, but for the average reader, I'd say go read (or re-read) Herriot instead. Three stars.

120FlossieT
Dec 16, 2009, 7:48pm Top

Just wandering through to say I also love the Luggage... Sourcery was my favourite Discworld for a long time.

121allthesedarnbooks
Dec 17, 2009, 12:32pm Top

>120 FlossieT: Thanks for wandering through, Rachael! Luggage love is always welcome. :D

122Whisper1
Dec 17, 2009, 2:13pm Top

Marcia

I join you and Stasia in saying that Lori Lansen's book The Girls was one of my top reads for 2009. And, you are right, it does take the breath away. I hated it to end!

(touchstones not working properly.)

I highly recommend Rush Home Road. This is yet another stellar work by Lansens

123allthesedarnbooks
Dec 17, 2009, 3:52pm Top

Thanks, Linda! I will probably try to get Rush Home Road the next time I am at the library. I remember reading your favorable review of it, but thinking that I wanted to wait until I had read The Girls first, which now I have!

And your rec, like Stasia's, was one of the reasons I read The Girls in the first place, so thank you very much for that!

124allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Dec 24, 2009, 5:08pm Top



109. Warbreaker -Brandon Sanderson

I really enjoyed this fantasy novel. The worldbuilding was excellent, although it took me a long time to catch on to the magical system. That could be a problem with my comprehension abilities, not the writing, however. The characters were really great, especially one of the main female characters, Siri, who grows from a rebellious princess into a smart, strong leader. Her sister, Vivenna, wasn't as likable for me, mostly because she made some very stupid choices through most of the book, but by the end she had grown half a brain and I was ashamed to root for her as well. The only thing I didn't like about it's book was its exhausting length at 592 pages. I didn't notice it for the last 100 or 200 pages when the action really picked up, but there were some points in the middle that could have been more tighly edited. Still, this book's a winner and I will definitely be looking to read more of Sanderson's books. If you like your fantasy with strong female (and male!) characters, complex religious and political systems, and zombies (yes, zombies!) this book is for you. Four and a half stars.



110. Grave Secret - Charlaine Harris

This is the fourth book in Harris's Harper Connelly series. It's very good, but I do suggest reading the series in order, so that the development of the characters is clear. Harper, who was hit by lightning as a teenager, has the unique ability to find and "hear" dead bodies. She travels around the country with her stepbrother and now lover, Tolliver. This book really delves into their troubled pasts, especially the disappearance of Harper's sister, Cameron. If you've followed the series, this book is very rewarding. Harper becomes more and more real as the book goes on, and it's a testament to Harris's abilities at an author that although I, like many of the people Harper and Tolliver meet, would normally be weirded out by the fact that they were raised as brother and sister but are now "together", for them it makes perfect sense and you really feel the need they have for one another. A great entry in what is, IMHO, tied with the Lily Bard books for Harris's best series. Four stars.

P.S. is anyone else having problems loading some of the group pages? Mine won't go to past page 1, and I don't know if it's my computer, or what.

ETA comments!

125_Zoe_
Dec 22, 2009, 10:13pm Top

I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Warbreaker. It'll definitely be on my TBR list once the paperback comes out... though I should really read the second two Mistborn books first.

I'm having the same problem with the group pages. There's a Bug Collectors thread here, though not many people seem to be complaining yet.

126allthesedarnbooks
Dec 23, 2009, 12:33am Top

Thanks, Zoe! I added my complaint to the page, as it's very annoying. Thank goodness I have the link to my own thread saved, or else I'd be totally lost.

Warbreaker was very good. It was the first Brandon Sanderson I've read, and I really enjoyed it. The worldbuilding was excellent, although it took me a long time to catch on to the magical system. The characters were really great, as well, especially one of the main female characters, Siri. I will definitely be looking to read more of his books. I have Elantris already, so I will probably read that next, and then go for the Mistborn trilogy.

127_Zoe_
Dec 23, 2009, 12:58pm Top

I really liked Elantris, so I hope you enjoy it too. His Alcatraz books, starting with Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, are a lot of fun too in a completely different way.

128jadebird
Dec 24, 2009, 1:43pm Top

Oh, the Sanderson books sound very good! Warbreaker is now on my get list. Thanks.
Happy Holidays!

129allthesedarnbooks
Dec 24, 2009, 5:11pm Top

I've edited Msg 124 to add my comments on Warbreaker and Grave Secret.

>127 _Zoe_:, Thanks, Zoe! I'm looking forward to Elantris whenever I get to it, and knowing that you enjoyed it definitely is a good sign! The Alcatraz books look like fun, too, and I'd add Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians to my wishlist if it weren't already there!

>128 jadebird:, You're more than welcome, jadebird! I hope you enjoy Warbreaker as much as I did. Happy Holidays to you, too!

130Whisper1
Dec 24, 2009, 6:54pm Top

Merry Christmas Marcia

I send all good wishes for a healthy, pain free new year!

131allthesedarnbooks
Dec 25, 2009, 12:15am Top

Thank you, Linda! It means the world to me, and the tree is adorable. Merry Christmas to you, too, and may we both be pain free in 2010!!!

132allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Dec 25, 2009, 12:55am Top



111. Tis the Season - Lorna Landvik

This book was a pleasant little surprise. I picked it up on a whim off the Christmas display at the library, not expecting much. I don't usually go in for holiday themed reading, due to the cheese factor, but this year I was feeling festive, so I thought what the hey. This book is written in epistolary form, including some emails and gossip columns, and while it starts out slow, it really picks up towards the middle for a satisfying conclusion. Caro, a rich, alcoholic heiress, has just gotten out of rehab when she reaches out to her former nanny, Astrid, and the man whose dude ranch she stayed at as a teenager, Cyril. What follows is a Christmas miracle of friendship and love. This was sappy, yes, and the characters could have been more developed, but in the end it was exactly what I needed this time of year, and I may even have shed a tear or two. Very sweet. Three and a half stars.

ETA: The touchstone wasn't working because someone had combined the book with a totally different work, and I tried to separate the page, so here's hoping this work link stays: http://www.librarything.com/work/9343812

And now I must go to bed, because Santa Claus comes tonight! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

133dk_phoenix
Dec 27, 2009, 9:05pm Top

Just chiming in to say that Sanderson seems to be one of the best new worldbuilders out there in fantasy right now... I'm consistently impressed by the worlds he creates, and will definitely be picking up Warbreaker later this year! Currently reading the second book in the Mistborn trilogy... spent 5 hours yesterday on my couch with it :)

134Whisper1
Dec 27, 2009, 11:06pm Top

Marcia

I hope you had a lovely holiday!

135allthesedarnbooks
Dec 28, 2009, 12:31am Top

>133 dk_phoenix:, Ooh, I'm excited now. I'm waiting a little while before I pick up another Sanderson, simply because I don't want to run out too soon, but I cannot wait for Elantris and the Mistborn trilogy. Yay! It's so exciting to discover a great new fantasy author

>134 Whisper1:, Thank you, Linda! I did. I hope yours was wonderful, as well!

136allthesedarnbooks
Edited: Dec 30, 2009, 3:33pm Top



111. Holly - Jude Deveraux

I hated this romance novel. Both of the main characters were distinctly unlikable, and the heroine especially left me with a nasty taste in my mouth. Hollander "Holly" Latham is an heiress who is obsessed with two things: old American houses and Laurence "Lorrie" Beaumont, the boy she fell in love with when she was thirteen. She convinces her father and stepmother to buy the house she stayed in that summer so she can stalk Lorrie, marry him, and become mistress of his ancestral home, Belle Chere. This brilliant plan of hers is thwarted, however, when she meets Nick Taggert, who is supposedly a "working class" gardener. They have an immediate sexual attraction, which is described in frequent, mostly cold and clinical detail. The sex scenes are very unsexy, but there sure are a lot of them.

There's a nefarious plot against Holly, but I didn't give two hoots, because she was so awful. She's selfish and snobby. Nick, of course, isn't even really one of the "little people", but a doctor from an equally rich family, so when she realizes that she loves him in spite of his class, it doesn't matter because he's really old money, too! And the villain, of course, is secretly gay.

I had to keep checking the copyright page, because although this book was published in 2003, it was so sexist and classist, I felt sure it was a Harlequin from like 1981 with some gross and gratuitous sex scenes added in to make it feel "modern." This was my first foray reading Jude Deveraux, and I have to say I won't try her works again. This is the kind of book that gives romances a bad name. Not recommended in the least. One star.



112. Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett

This book, on the other hand, I absolutely loved! It's my favorite Discworld book I've read so far. Granny Weatherwax is in peak form and Pratchett takes on Shakespeare, with a story that parodies MacBeth and makes frequent references to Hamlet and King Lear, as well. Just hilarious. I don't think you need to be familiar with MacBeth to enjoy it, but I think having read the play will only enhance the experience. Five stars.

Edited to add comments!

137jadebird
Dec 28, 2009, 2:05pm Top

Hurrah for Terry Pratchett! I've got The Wee Free Men near the top of my TBR stack.

Happy New Year!

138allthesedarnbooks
Dec 28, 2009, 11:57pm Top

Ooh, I love The Wee Free Men! Happy New Year to you, as well!

139allthesedarnbooks
Dec 30, 2009, 3:47pm Top

I've edited msg 136 to include comments on Holly and Wyrd Sisters.



114. Willful Creatures - Aimee Bender

This is another delightful collection of short, surreal tales by Aimee Bender, who is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. It's not quite as strong of a collection as The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, but it's still absolutely absorbing and bizarre. The same blend of tragedy, human fallacy, oddness, and magical realism prevails in this book. My favorite stories are "End of the Line" a quietly horrifying tale about a man who buys a little man from the pet store; "I Will Pick Out Your Ribs (from My Teeth)" the story of a man in love with a girl who won't stop overdosing on pills; and "Leading Man," the story of a boy born with fingers the shape of keys and his discovery of what they unlock. Highly recommended. Five stars.

This is probably the last book I will finish in 2009, unless I have a lot more time to read today and tomorrow than I am anticipating, so here's a link to my 2010 thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/79163

Hope to see you there!

140VioletBramble
Dec 30, 2009, 4:10pm Top

I like Aimee Bender. Have you read An Invisible Sign of My Own?

141allthesedarnbooks
Dec 30, 2009, 4:17pm Top

>140 VioletBramble:, No I haven't yet. I've loved her short stories so much, though, that it's definitely high up on my TBR list!

142Whisper1
Dec 30, 2009, 5:32pm Top

Marcia

I want to thank you for the wonderful books you have read in 2009. I've added many to my list.

All good wishes for a very healthy New Year!

143_Zoe_
Dec 30, 2009, 5:38pm Top

I'm waiting a little while before I pick up another Sanderson, simply because I don't want to run out too soon

Luckily he seems to write very quickly! Also, have you read the Wheel of Time books? Sanderson is writing the last three, but it's a long journey to get there.... personally I abandoned the series around Book 7, so I don't think I'll ever get around to seeing what Sanderson has done with it. The reviews have been great, though.

144allthesedarnbooks
Dec 30, 2009, 8:30pm Top

Linda- Thank you right back atcha! I've added so many of the books you've read to my list, too. Hope you have a lovely New Year! I'm going to NYC to visit friends, so hopefully my health will hold up through the traveling. :D

Zoe- I've never read the Wheel of Time series, just because I had heard that it was unfinished. Maybe once Sanderson writes his, I will tackle them as a whole. In all my spare time, lol...

145_Zoe_
Dec 30, 2009, 8:37pm Top

Ah yes, the elusive "spare time"....

How long are you going to be in NYC?

146allthesedarnbooks
Dec 30, 2009, 9:24pm Top

I actually have had quite a bit of spare time the last few months, since I took the semester off, but I'm starting classes again on the 19th, so it will be an adjustment! My reading time probably won't suffer, but I imagine I will be watching a lot less TV (goodbye soap operas!) and completing far fewer knitting projects.

I will just be in NYC for for New Year's Eve and day, unfortunately. My friend has to drive back to Buffalo on Saturday, so we have to come home on Fri so she has a chance to get packed. That's why I'm so worried I'll get sick. It's a lot packed into two days for me! Hopefully my fragile biosystem will remain in balance. It's about a 3 or 4 hr drive each way, so we shall see!

147_Zoe_
Dec 30, 2009, 9:40pm Top

I hope the classes go well! I feel like I still haven't fully recovered from the fall semester, and I have two essays due next week :(.

That would be a lot for anyone in two days! Good luck.

148Whisper1
Dec 30, 2009, 9:52pm Top

Marcia

I'm sending lots of love and energy your way for a wonderful trip.

149allthesedarnbooks
Dec 30, 2009, 10:09pm Top

>Zoe, wow! That's quick. Good luck with you essays.

Thanks!

>158, Thanks, Linda!

I will "see you" guys in 2010!!!

150callen610
Dec 30, 2009, 11:13pm Top

Congratulations on a terrific year of reading - I'll see you 2010!

151_Zoe_
Dec 30, 2009, 11:25pm Top

>149 allthesedarnbooks: Slow, actually. They're leftovers from the fall; the professors generously let us have until right up to the mark deadline for submitting papers, but it means everything drags on a bit more than it should.

152Whisper1
Dec 31, 2009, 6:49pm Top

Happy New Year...and a Healthy one as well!

153ronincats
Dec 31, 2009, 10:06pm Top

Well, Marcia, we ended with exactly the same number of books for the year. How about that?

Wishing you a Happy New Year and looking forward to following your thread next year.

154alcottacre
Jan 1, 2010, 3:36am Top

Happy New Year, Marcia!

155allthesedarnbooks
Jan 2, 2010, 1:29pm Top

Thanks everyone for the New Year's wishes! I had a wonderful, but exhausting, time in NYC. Heading over to the 2010 group now. Can't wait to see you all there!!!

156Cauterize
Jan 5, 2010, 12:07am Top

Just dropping in to say I am adding Warbreaker to my TBR, and I've got you starred for 2010!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2009

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