Thursday, April 29, 2010
Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter - I found the heroine in this novel to be frustrating. She had so little understanding of her situation and what was possible. Her continued pursuit of an annulment seemed particularly naive although her anger and frustration was understandable. The hero was probably fairly true to life in terms of the time period but his continued insistence that she recognize that she needed his permission to do pretty much anything because she belonged to him was kind of a downer in a romance novel.
Doors Open by Ian Rankin - I struggled with this one a bit because I could not wrap my head around the kind of boredom that would make someone want to steal a priceless painting at the risk of destroying one's life. I wanted to take our main character aside and lecture him about the potential consequences of his actions. I also figured out the plot twist very early on. Having said that, I think Ian Rankin is an outstanding author and any of his books are worthy of a read.
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley - The first book in this series (which I have not read) was a smash hit so I was excited to read this one. The author does a good job of revealing the young detectives quirks and insecurities without making her annoyingly precocious and the author's skill in quickly drawing interesting and unusual characters is apparent. The mystery itself was interesting but a tiny bit thin but I found I didn't care because the characters were so very interesting.
Love in Mid Air by Kim Wright - I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. I usually am deeply irritated by novels about infidelity because I can never figure out why the character doesn't do the right thing and divorce their spouse BEFORE they go out looking for someone new. Of course, that tends to make for a very short novel when the characters behave in sensible and rational ways but it almost always makes me not like and not care about characters who behave so dishonorably.
Anyway, back to this novel, I really liked this book, not because of the infidelity and the problems with her marriage which I always find a bit trite and banal, but because of the way the book explored how her actions impacted the lives of everyone around her. I also liked that the book ended in the same way life often does, messy and unresolved. This is really an author to watch.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday I got up early to go to yoga class with Average Jane and then out for crepes. Then I rushed home so I could walk Daisy. Unfortunately, by the time I got home it had started pouring down rain so poor Daisy just hung out with me while I got the house ready for company. At around one, some of my favorite people came over to play the board game Dune with me. Since we all had birthday parties to attend that night, we decided to set a time limit (since our last game lasted 8 hours). Beneath the Ginko owns the game which is lucky since it is almost impossible to get a hold of these days. I believe there are a few places out there where you can cobble together the game but that is quite a bit of work. The other attendee had played the game before informed us he had spent quite a bit of time thinking about his strategy and began to indulge in some quality trash talk. Everyone else was a newbie. When it came time to form alliances, Trash Talk Boy announced that by pairing up with Ginko there would be no contest and they would crush the other three of us into dust. Oddly enough, that brought out my competitive streak so @imaginary_mark/Taracuda , Fred/@bckhough and I joined forces and by the time we were done, there were some outrageously awesome strategies being devised and, may I just say, I personally kick some fairly major ass. My partners also had some truly inspired moment. Unfortunately, so did the other team. The final move was so close that it basically came down to having one slightly better card to play. If you can get your hands on this game and have the patience to read several pages of instructions, I highly recommend trying this game. I know we will be playing again. In case you are wondering, Daisy got lots of attention from the dog friendly crowd.
After the game, I headed over to my good friend Gone Mild's house for his 50th Birthday Bash. GM brews his own beer so it is always a treat to visit him. After that I headed out to Funky Town for my favorite girl's birthday party. Funky Town was quite an adventure but I think I will leave that story for others to tell. Happy Birthday this week to three of my favorite people!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Heart's Blood by Gail Dayton - Victorian England setting except with wizards, sorceresses, alchemists and conjurers. I thought the world building and magical elements were really interesting and the mystery held my attention. The romance portion of the book was a bit weak however. I liked the characters quite a bit but just felt like too much happened in too short of a time period. I will, however, definitely pick up her next book.
Short Squeeze by Chris Knopf - I am not sure if it was the continuous use of the volunteer at a library being called a librarian or constant references to the main character smoking pot but this book got annoying and repetitive after awhile. I just wanted to say okay, we get it. You have created a quirky pot smoking character. Let's move on already.
Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb - I can't remember reading a book in this series that disappointed me. Some are better than others but none are bad. The near future setting (with really cool techie toys), the tough detective who faces down hardened criminals and serial killers with ease but panics when she is confronted with babies and determined hairdressers, and a super hot, rich fantasy of a husband who adores his wife all add to the appeal of this series. Add to that a group of friends who have managed to recognize each other as soul mates and create a family that buoys each other up during hard times and you have a winning series from my point-of-view.
Secrets of a Scandalous Bride
by Sophia Nash - This is one of the bad boy romances and I have to admit, while I like to flirt with the bad boys, the thought of dating one or marrying one leaves me a bit perplexed. Reading about them on the other hand, can be quite fun. Anyway, there were parts of this novel that I really enjoyed but I couldn't figure out why the bad boy would essentially kidnap a woman and then make her cook for him when he doesn't like food. I think having him not ask for sex (as is typical in a bad boy novel) was showing that underneath the gruff exterior beat the heart of a gentleman but I couldn't figure out why he bothered. Don't get me wrong, I liked the heroine but he didn't know anything about her and at first didn't find her particularly appealing so why would he put himself through all that trouble. Once they fell in love is when the book picked up for me and I really enjoyed how the problem that kept them apart was handled.
Beaded Hope by Cathy Liggett - This book was pretty predictable and I could see the ending coming a mile away but I did very much like the details about the African women. As always when I read about the AIDS epidemic in Africa I want to sell the house, quit the job and join the Peace Corps.
Fantastic Mr. Fox - This was actually pretty fantastic and I can see why it was nominated for the Oscars. It was clever and witty with a nice strong female character. I had a bit of trouble not picturing George Clooney every time Mr. Fox spoke but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Highly recommended for adults.
Monday, April 19, 2010
In Our Room
On the strip between the lakes
I look for some trace of you
in everything that moves.
At the tip of its wake, a coot's
bone bill points through
the leaves' sponged-ink shade,
slate feathers splitting the air;
the water quivers, bright
as your bath-drenched hair
shaking off silvered bits.
A tern pulls up, tilting
through the spreading light,
then drops beak and body fast.
Two dark swifts dip past
swamp oaks like brown
twilight in our room, blinds
barring your face, while your lips
closed on some dream sound,
some word I didn't catch,
a wood-duck's straight-seamed wedge,
a cowbird shuddering from
the lake on loose bent wings.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The American Library Association (ALA) and Woman’s Day are looking for stories that showcase the importance and value of libraries within the communities they serve. Essays are due by May 9, 2010.
Women ages 18 and up are invited to send in their stories in 700 words or less to firstname.lastname@example.org. Up to four stories will be profiled in the March 2011 issue of the magazine or at womansday.com.
Librarians can download free tools to help collect local stories from the Campaign for America’s Libraries Web site. Tools include a sample press release and newsletter copy.
A downloadable Web button that can be linked to the official rules on the Woman’s Day Web site is also available.
The initiative continues a nine-year partnership between the magazine and ALA’s Campaign for America’s Libraries that has generated millions of dollars worth of editorial coverage for libraries. Since 2002, Woman’s Day has asked its readers to write in about “how the library has changed my life,” “how the library helped improve my health” and “how the library helped me deal with the tough economy.”
Woman’s Day magazine is a Partner in the Campaign for America’s Libraries, ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Friday, April 09, 2010
Pieces of Sky by Kiki Warner - I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit and felt like the author did a good job evoking emotion and building a solid romance. However, it did, at times, feel like there was too much going on. Not only was she running from the evil brother-in-law, he was in the middle of a blood feud with the man who massacred half his family, the ranch burned down, the dog died.... Well, you get the idea.
First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost - Good, popular basic premise of a woman in danger with a "good" vampire to the rescue, this was a serviceable romance but a bit disjointed. The author is at the start of a new series a new series and it shows.
The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine - This story of a woman and her two daughters living in gentile poverty in a New York suburb started off really well but gradually lost steam as the characters became more and more self-pitying. I think this was meant to be a Jane Austin spinoff but it had none of the sparkling wit of the original.
The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper - This one is quite good if you like historical novels. The main character is a lady-in-waiting for Anne Boleyn and is trusted enough to eventually become the governess for Queen Elizabeth (before she becomes queen, of course.) This is based on the life of Catherine "Kat" Ashley and covers the death of Anne Boleyn through Kat's death.
The Golden Season by Connie Brockway - I believe I said before that I really like romance novels that have characters I would like to know in real life. Even without the fabulously rich part, the two main characters in this novel are really wonderful people. They are genuinely kind, caring people who rescue family members from bad circumstances at great personal cost to themselves because it is the right thing to do. This is an A+ novel.
The Most Intimate Place by Rosemary Furber - I don't think I have a handle on this novel yet and may have to hold off talking about it until next week. By then I may have made up my mind what I think of it....or possibly not.
2012 - I think I can recommend you all pass on this particular movie unless you really have nothing else AT ALL to do. I like the apocalypse film genre but this one did nothing for me.