94 Mini Book Reviews

This was from my 50 book challenge.  I almost made it to 100 . . .

  1. Decorative Knitting by Kate Haxell and Luise Roberts – There was a lot of interesting “finishing” techniques, but the projects didn’t interest me that much. Still it will be a nice reference book to have.  I’m not in love with it though and probably wouldn’t have purchased it if I could have flipped through it first.  Still, it was only $4.99 so I’m not too disappointed.
  1. Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer – This was a fun book. I wish there were more pictures of the shop inside. Someday, I’d like to open a shop like this one, so full of fun and camaraderie.  Not a lot of patterns in my size, but I think I could adapt a few.  The fluffiest baby blanket pattern made me search online for Trendsetter Zucca ($9 a ball, 4 balls to make the pattern)/ GGH Esprit (Same price) and Gedifra Techno Hair (1 ball at $12 a skein). The price isn’t unreasonable, unfortunately, it’s hand wash only.  Who wants to handwash a baby blanket?  Ker-ist.  This book is a keeper.  I loved the horse blanket made from 11 skeins of Noro Kureyon.  (Just eyeballing it I didn’t think 11 skeins of the $8.50 yarn would be enough to go around a horse, but it’s lovely.)
  1. The Northampton Wools Knitting Book by Linda A. Daniels – I’m a Webs girl (www.yarn.com) I’ve never been to this shop even though it’s down the street from Webs (mostly because I’ve already spent all my money at Webs).  But the next time I’m up that way, I’m going to stop by and look around.  If I ever win the lottery, I would knit the patterns in this book.  (Of course I could always spend the time to research cheaper yarn choices, but the hand dyed, hand spun, are simply gorgeous) There are a few sweaters (I might sub in cheaper yarn) and the “Swirly Whirly Scarf” that I might try.  The Scarf only calls for one skein of $21 yarn.  (The yarn in this book is deadly.)  This book is a keeper, just to look at all the yarn porn.  And if I get all fan girlish, I’ll bring it in to see if she could sign it.
  1. Knit Panchos, Wraps & Scarves by Jane Davis – Interesting patterns, if not inspired, very useable versions. I like that the instructions are in a large font and the patterns are easily read.  I will definitely make some patterns out of this book.  Keeper!
  1. Hip Knits by Better Homes and Gardens – Ugh. I’m glad this was only $2.99 at Amazon’s blow out sale.  Most of the patterns in this book I wouldn’t make even if I could decipher the instructions.  I know how to knit and this book confused the crap out of me.  I did like their bubble gum blanket, but their instructions made my eyeballs roll around in my head.  Needlessly over complicated and not explaining it right.  I might make their striped yoga mat and matching bag, but I won’t look at their instructions.  I’ll just make it up as I go along.  All in all, this is one FUGLY book.  I’ll probably donate this one to the library or if anyone wants it after this stellar review let me know and you can have it.
  1. DomiKnitrix: Whip Your Knitting Into Shape by Jennifer Stafford.  My friend bought this for me for Christmas to be naughty, but it’s really not *that* type of book at all.  I was surprised by how *helpful* this book was in learning new techniques.  The pictures are in color and very detailed and the projects are fun and range in level of difficulty from novice to apprentice to DominKnitrix.  I’m probably going to try the “strings of purls necklace” (novice) and the “Snow Devil Hat” (Domiknitrix) at some point this year.  Really good book!  A keeper.
  1. Strange Candy by Laurel K. Hamilton. If all you’ve ever read of LKH are her Merry series or the last few books of Anita Blake, you *must* read this book of her short stories.  As much as I like reading about the sexual romps of Anita/Merry, it does begin to pale book after book and I’ve been discouraged with those series lately.  However, this book of short stories clearly shows off her talent.  There is a previously unpublished Anita Blake story in there that is very grim and made me chortle with glee at remembering the old Anita from “Obsidian Butterfly” and before.  There are stories from the Nightseer universe, which is an enchanting world. The stories are haunting and gripping and keep you turning the pages because you are hooked.  I highly recommend it for an evening of fun reading.
  1. Hell to Pay by Simon R. Green. I love Simon R. Green.  And while my favorites will always be Hawk and Fisher with a close second, the Deathstalker series, John Taylor is no slouch either.  It was nice to get back to Nightside after the Lilith war and see all of the familiar characters.  I wished for more Suzie Shooter, but you can’t have everything.  Great book.  My one complaint is the character of Eleanor changed like flicking on a switch.  I didn’t buy that in one scene she’s threatening to kill her niece and in the next scene asking Taylor to bring her niece back safely.   But a minor complaint.  Green’s got a great imagination and I loved being back in the world again. This one is going happily up on my shelf with the rest of the books.
  1. Sleeping with the Fishes by MaryJanice Davidson. Another one of my all time favorite authors. I really liked the characters and the stories.  My one complaint is closure.  I don’t want to wait six months for another book.  Of course I’m going to read it when it comes out, but I want to read a story with a satisfying ending.  I don’t want to read another book one of a series.  To compare, Simon R. Green’s Hell to Pay told a story:  Beginning, Middle and End.  It used characters from his John Taylor series.  “Sleeping with the Fishes” had a lot of great characters doing fun things for 268 pages.  The end gets wrapped up rather quickly in the last 20 pages and the other 248 pages were just fun.  I like fluff.  I like her characters.  I want to read a story though!  Other than that, believe it or not, I really enjoyed the book.  It was light and fluffy.  Usually, I laugh at loud reading her books, but this one didn’t catch me as funny.  The preview to her new Betsy Queen of the Vampires book “Undead and Uneasy” had me laughing though.  (But there’s no way in hell I’m buying it in hardcover.  I can read these books in a few hours!)  Anyway, I was glad Fred wasn’t Betsy with fins.
  1. Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich – I was looking for a Stephanie Plum fix and this one fits the bill. The story was funny and had a little romance and a lot of action in it.  I think Evanovich played up the Nascar connection a bit much, but that’s really my only complaint.
  1. Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich – This is the sequel to Metro Girl. It was also a fun read, but an event happened in the two main characters relationship that just turned me right off the heroine’s love interest.  I wanted her to move on to the next man.  But unfortunately, she didn’t.  It bothered me throughout the book, but other than that I enjoyed it.  Like Metro Girl, it was funny and had enough action to keep me entertained.
  1. Visions in Death by J.D. Robb – This was an Eve Dallas mystery. It’s book 19 of a 20 book and still going strong series.  But it’s the kind of series that you don’t necessarily have to read from the beginning.  I’ve read a bunch of anthologies that had an Eve Dallas story in them so it wasn’t a completely cold read.  As always, I had a hard time relating to Eve because she’s not an easy person to like.  But you do admire her commitment to duty and it was a good enough read that I sought out the first book in the series so I could get the background history of these characters.
  1. Naked in Death by J.D. Robb – This was the first book in the “In Death” series. I’m really glad I didn’t start off reading with this first book.  I didn’t like Eve Dallas at all and probably wouldn’t have been motivated to read other books.  The novel, itself, was excellent.  It showed a futuristic world just different enough to be believable.  It was lurid enough to be fascinating although the ending was a bit telegraphed.  I liked how the love story with Roarke started out and progressed.
  1. Traitor to the Blood: A novel of the Noble Dead by Barb and J.C. Hendee – This is book four of the series. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t as good as the previous books.  I really liked the character development of Leesil and Magiere.  I thought Wynn and the kittens were annoying, but cute.  Chap’s development is odd, but I’m willing to see it through.  The book had some powerful themes, but it wasn’t a “can’t put down read” like the previous books were.  I’m looking forward to reading though, Rebel Fay, which is the next book in the series when it comes out in paperback.
  1. The Prize by Brenda Joyce: This was a quick, hot, gripping read.  The only downside is I *hated* the male protagonist.  He just didn’t have any redeemable qualities except for the physical.  He was abusive and I totally didn’t buy the romance.  It didn’t stop me from reading.  Joyce has realistic and sexy love scenes.  I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t one good thing to like about the “hero”.  He reminded me of the old Harlequin / Silhouette heroes from the 70’s who would smack the heroine if she got “hysterical”.
  1. Unforgiven by Lindsay McKenna: Speaking of Harlequin, I was really excited about their new “Nocturne” series.  It’s all about paranormal romances.  So this story is about jaguar shapeshifters.  It starts off with the hero in prison and the heroine as a female Zorro.  All right!!!!  It worked out really well until the middle when there was this HUGE info dump about the warriors of light and the magic emerald and wouldn’t you know it BOTH of them were told the same story as children.  It was a little too much all at the same time and too coincidental.  I couldn’t suspend my disbelief fast enough and grew really bored and skimmed to the end.
  1. Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs: This was such a great book.  I bought it at lunch time and read it every available moment until I finished it.  The back cover blurb said it was like “David Sedaris meets Hotel New Hampshire” and for the first part of the book that was true only not as funny as Sedaris.  But then it picked up on it’s own.  Reading about the household and what they considered to be normal behavior was riveting.  I will definitely pick up his other books.

 

  1. Plum Lovin’ by Janet Evanovich: Hurray for the library!  They had this and I read it in an hour and a half.  (One of the reasons why I won’t buy a book in hardcover!).  It was delightful.  It was great visiting with old friends Stephanie and Lulu.  I was grinning all the way through.  I like on the cover it said that it was a “between the numbers” book.  So I still have to wait for Lean Mean 13 in June to find out what Ranger wanted to talk to her about and see if Joe had a reaction to the events at the end of Plum Lovin’.  This was a nice Valentine’s Day treat.

 

  1. This Pen for Hire: A Jaine Austen Mystery by Laura Levine: First book in the series.  If you like MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead series, it’s like that without the paranormal elements.  Jaine is a wise cracking copy writer who finds herself in a boatload of trouble when the man she penned a love letter for is arrested for the murder of the recipient.  It’s heavy on the mystery, light on the romance.  But very, very funny.  Levine used to write scripts for the Laverne and Shirley TV show, if that gives you an idea of the comedy involved.  Good stuff and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the nxt books in the series.
  1. Bangkok 8 by John Burdett: This metaphysical mystery has Thai police officer and Buddhist monk in training, Sonchai Jitpleecheep, looking into the murder of an American marine.  Set in the backdrop of the brothels of Thailand, the story has magical elements and a dangerous trail to find out who was responsible for the death of the marine and also Sonchai’s partner.
  1. Last Writes by Laura Levine – This is the next book in the Jaine Austen mystery series. It’s a fun book.  This one has Jaine finally moving up in the world as she gets a job as a writer for a syndicated sit-com called “Muffy and Me.”  Lots of great characters and a murder to solve.  A nice quick read.
  1. Playing With Fire by Gena Showalter – Very Fantastic Four-ish feel to it, with a protagonist that can control the four elements. It’s a romance novel with some action in it.  It was a fun read, but it went on a little long.
  1. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris – Another great collection of essays. It was a very entertaining book that made me laugh out loud in places.  His writing style is wry and sarcastic.
  1. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. Loved, loved, loved this book!  Very original urban fantasy with a touch of romance.  I liked that the main character, Mercy Thompson was an auto mechanic and a coyote skin walker.  Lots of great fae characters and a unique story line.  I just bought the sequel to it.
  1. Simple Chic: Designer Knits Super Quick by Jill Eaton.  Meh, it had a couple of good patterns in it.  I borrowed this one from the library and liked the kid’s hats the best.  There’s one of a Christmas tree and one that resembles Cindy Lou Who’s hat from the Grinch.  Easy patterns and decent yarn selection.  It’s definitely worth a look.
  1. The Full Cupboard of Life: More from the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith  – This is the continuing adventures of Precious Ramotswe and Mma Matsuki as conduct their business.  This time they’re investigating the suitors of a very rich woman.  But the story is also about life in Botswana Africa and it’s a real treat to visit with these characters.  Smith’s style is charming and peaceful and he paints a wonderful picture of Africa and the people therein.
  1. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency)by Alexander McCall Smith – The story continues in book six of the series when Mma Ramotswe is being stalked by a figure from her past.  Mma Matsuki decides to take dancing lessons and Charlie, the apprentice quits the garage.  This series is wonderful.  If I ever open up a bed and breakfast, I’d have his complete set in the library, so my customers could curl up with a cup of rooibus tea and enjoy.
  1. Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy – My husband bought me this because he picked it up in the book store and was laughing while reading the chapters. I liked the book.  I really like her and her good natured humor comes out in this book.  As far as pregnancy guides go, it was OK.  It was fun morning sickness reading.
  1. Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy Vickie Iovine – Hated this book. I read the first half of the book with a sneer on my face.  I just didn’t like the author’s voice.  I thought she was shallow and we had nothing in common with the exception I was pregnant and she had been pregnant.  I don’t care about fashion nor am I worried that my husband will find me less attractive because my body was changing.  I stuck through to the end because it does have some useful information in it.  But mostly I was really put off by the narrator.
  1. No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong – This was Jaime Vegas’s story in her Otherworld series. Alpa werewolf Jeremy (from her books “Broken” and “Bitten”) is her love interest and it’s about damn time.  Whoo!  It was a fun read.  Nice to visit with these characters again.  I thought the story wasn’t one of her best.  It lacked the emotional punch and suspense of her other stories.  But I was very happy to be along for the ride.  I’m looking forward to her new book “Exit Strategy” that’s out in June.
  1. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde – This is book two of his Thursday Next series. The puns and fun abound.  This time Tuesday’s husband is eradicated and she has to find out how to get him back.  Spec Ops, Goliath and even Uncle Mycroft have a hand in things – the latter almost destroying the world.  The usual stuff.  There’s new villain too, with the initials of A.H.
  1. Best New Paranormal Romance by Paula Guran – Great book of short stories. The lead story by Elizabeth Bear “Follow Me Light” was a good choice to get the anthology started.  This is not a book of Mary Sue’s meeting the perfect man for some freaky sex.  These stories have intricate fantasy worlds and people that you feel and hurt with.  The only story I didn’t like was a blatant anti Bush one.  Hey, I don’t like him either or the war in Iraq, but take your platform out of my paranormal romance.  Although, once it got over that and got into the story, it was a fine read.  “Single White Farmhouse” by Heather Shaw and Sarah Prineas’ “A Treatise on Fewmets” stands out in the collection.  This is definitely worth a read.
  1. Sebastian by Anne Bishop – Sebastian is a succubus who lives in The Den of Iniquity in the world of Ephemera with his cousins Glorianna Belladona – a rogue magical Landscaper, and a male cousin whose name escapes me who is a Bridge. Together with Lynnea – Sebastian’s soul mate, they try and defeat the Eater of the World and some nasty wizards.  The world building is stunning and unique.  However, the characterizations lacked.  It was a good story.  But I’m going to wait until the sequel “Belladonna” is out in paperback to pick it up.
  1. Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander Mccall Smith – I’m trying to be a book behind the new release in the series. But I’m catching up.  This is book seven and the eighth book is out.  Mma Ramotswe and Mma Matsuki have several mysteries going on at the local zoo, doctor’s office and a newspaper’s advice column.  It was a peaceful read and an enjoyable one.
  1. Amelia Rules! The Whole Worlds Gone Crazy by Jimmy Gownley – This is a graphic novel about a girl whose parents are divorced and she moves with her Mom from Manhattan to her Aunt Tanner’s house in Smalltown USA.  On one hand, it’s a touching story about how she deals with the divorce.  But then her friends get into the act.  Pajama Man and Reggie – who wants to be a superhero and then the comic book takes off like a Calvin and Hobbes adventure.  The graphics are stellar and the story is wonderful.
  1. Blood Bound by Patricia Brigg – Sequel to “Moon Called”. I really like this series.  I’m itching for the new book and it’s not even on the horizon.  In this edition, the gang:  Mercy – a coyote shape shifter, Adam – the local pack alpha werewolf, Samuel – the head honcho werewolf’s son and Vampire Stefan track down a serial killer.  Good stuff.  Highly recommend this.  Oh, and I’m going to cast my vote for Adam – although the Stefan thing intrigues the heck out of me.  Even though a secret little part of me is hoping this doesn’t turn the series all Anita Blake harem-like.
  1. Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn – This is the third book in the series. I was surprised at the love interest and how the book ended.  Kudos to the author for not going the Pollyanna route.  It made the series much more interesting to read.  I’m definitely going to keep up with the series.
  1. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1) by Jim Butcher – I saw the scifi channel series first and now that it’s in hiatus, I needed my fix somehow. I was blown away by the books.  I think I might be in love with Harry Dresden! LOL.  Great story.  Great action.  Believable magic and world.  Makes me want to dance a happy little jig.  Awesome first book too.
  1. Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, Book 2) by Jim Butcher – The second books gets even better in the series. I barely recognized the TV episode this was based on, so it was really nice to read about it in more depth. I’m so hooked on this series.  It’s a gripping easy read that makes me fly through the pages.
  1. Civil Litigation in CT: Anatomy of a Lawsuit by Kimberly A. Peterson – Snoresville.  This 9-year old textbook is what UCONN’s continuing education program uses for their paralegal course.  I guess it’s the only textbook that is Connecticut Passed the course with flying colors.
  1. Wills, Trusts and Estate Administration for the Paralegal (The West Legal Studies Series) By Dennis R. Hower – Nice comprehensive textbook. Very informative.  Boring as hell.  Got a 98 for this class.
  1. Foundations of Business Organizations for Paralegals By Margaret E. Bartschi – Very comprehensive textbook. Well organized. Lots of good information.  Got an A in this course as well.
  1. The Hot Rock By Donald E. Westlake – This caper tale reminded me a lot of Oceans 11. They made a movie out of it, but I can’t picture Robert Redford as the lead John Dortmunder.  I had James Caan in my head.  It had fun action, witty repartee and a satisfactory resolution.
  1. Killer Hair By Ellen Byerrum – The first of the “Crimes of Fashion” mystery novels. Reporter Lacey Smithsonian gets suckered into investigating a suicide at her local hair stylist.  It turns out it could be murder.  Fantastic descriptions of vintage clothing and snappy dialogue made this a fun read.  The only thing that bothered me was the multiple POV every now and then threw me out of the narrative.  Still, it was worth continuing on with the series.
  1. Mistral’s Kiss By Laurell K. Hamilton – I love my library. I read this in one night.  I can’t say that it’s a good book.  But, it’s a very entertaining vignette.  I can’t help but feel that this should have been a part of the previous two books.  See there was Danse Macabre.  Then the next book, A Stroke of Midnight, took place within I’d say two hours after the end of “Danse”.  And this book takes place about another three hours after the end of “Stroke”.  So we’re still at the same night as Danse Macabre.  Or more accurately, it’s the next morning at the end of Mistral’s Kiss.  I didn’t like Mistral – not my kink.  I also couldn’t figure out how Merry could “help” Sholto after Mistral’s teeth hurt her too much.  Or how Sholto heard about Mistral dominating her, when it happened about five minutes or so before they met up.  ::shrug:: I guess time works differently in the fairy land.  Oh, and regarding the ending (No worries it’s not a spoiler), Gawain’s “Big Oopsie” that happened?  Since the cistern listens to Merry’s wishes, why didn’t she just say “Uh, no.”  And reversed Gawain’s command? Problem solved.  My thoughts on the Merry series, it’s good porn, just don’t expect it to be a novel.
  1. Grave Surprise By Charlaine Harris – This is the second book in the series with Harper Connelly. She can commune with the dead by touching them or their graves.  Neat little mystery, with supernatural evidence.  You really care about the characters.  The love interest made me squick, but then I thought about it and it might work.  I’ll have to see what she does in the next book.  She’s one of my favorite authors.
  1. Order of the Stick: On the Origins of the PCs By Rich Burlew – This is a great graphic novel that’s almost a prequel to his popular online comic.  If you like D&D or any roleplaying or computer games, this is seriously funny stuff.  Check out his comic at http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0456.html
  1. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive By Alexander Mccall Smith. Oh well, I found this one at the library too and it was too good to pass up.  This means, I have to wait for his next book to visit with Mmas Ramotswe and Matsuki and their #1 Ladies Detective Agency.  This book had a bit more angst but it was all solved rather quickly.  It was a pleasant read.
  1. Hammered By Elizabeth Bear – Smoking hot cyberpunk action. No clichés in sight though.  I loved the characters, especially Razorface. The fast paced action made me turn the pages and kept me wanting more.  I have to look up all the French phrases in babelfish – especially the naughty parts –, since it’s been about 20 years since my last French lesson.  I’m looking to get the sequels “Scardown” and “Worldwired.”  I was disappointed that the ending of this book wasn’t an ending in that there was a closure to the story arc.  I expected there to be three individual books with maybe a cliffhanger to get you to keep reading the next one.  I think I read that this was Ms. Bear’s first book.  I wonder if originally, all three were one book and the editor made her split it into three?  I’m looking forward to finding out more about Nell and her eagle feather and why Jenny chose Maker as her street name.  Good stuff.
  1. A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber – I was late for work because I had to finish this book. It’s the sequel to “The Shop on Blossom Street.” And you know that everything will end up OK, but you really are emotionally invested in these characters so you want to make sure.  It’s a very quick, very easy read.  I bought the knitting pattern book to go with it because I’m a big ole sappy nerd.  I was moved to, if not tears, then certainly sniffles during the course of the book.
  1. Valentine’s Exile Book 5 Vampire Earth by E.E. Knight – David Valentine’s story continues as he escapes from a bad situation to go looking for the lost wife of William Post, one of his soldiers and close friend. Great story.  The ending made me very impatient for July when the next book is out. And also made me want to smack David in the head.
  1. Grave Peril Book 3 Dresden files by Jim Butcher. I started off watching the series on SciFi, but when they went into an indefinite hiatus I decided I would read the books while I waited.  Bob is different.  Much different.  But not in a bad way.  Murphy is a bit different too.  But I like both the TV and the book versions, which is really unusual.  In this book, Harry and Michael (whom I really would like to appear in the series) investigate the weak barrier between here and the Nevernever and wind up fighting a Nightmare and trying to track it down before it destroys more lives.  Oh yeah, and he also starts a war between the White Council and the Red Court Vampires.  Great Read.
  1. Summer Knight Book 4 Dresden files by Jim Butcher. The addiction continues.  Poor Harry is suffering from the events that happen in the previous book and learns that his godmother has given his debt of service to Queen Mab, the Winter Queen of the Faerie court.  She hires him to find out who killed the Summer Knight.  I can’t say enough good things about this series.  Engrossing and  a fun read.
  1. Death Masks Book 5 Dresden files by Jim Butcher. Harry is hired to find the stolen shroud of Turin.  He battles demons, fallen angels, the Red Court and other such nasties.  Helping along are Murphy, Michael and two other Knights of the Cross, ex-girlfriend Susan and a white court vampire we’ve met before.  Nice action, lots of battles and Harry is still wise cracking his way through it.
  1. Blood Rites Book 6 Dresden files by Jim Butcher. I have a confirmed crush on Harry Dresden.  The Black Council Vampires are now trying to kill Harry and Thomas, a White Council Vampire has hired Harry to investigate murders during a porno movie shoot.  There’s a huge revelation in this book, concerning Harry’s family.
  1. Dead Beat Book 7 Dresden files by Jim Butcher. Harry is blackmailed into obtaining a necromancer tome for the Black Council.  Of course, there’s plenty of competition for it, including a super villain named Cowl, or rather that’s what Harry calls him.  Fallen Angel Lasciel tries to help and convert Harry to the dark side.  The wardens show up, even though the White Council has taken a beating during the war with the Red Court.  I like the TV show version of Morgan better because the book version makes me want to shove his sword where the sun don’t shine.
  1. Proven Guilty Book 8 Dresden files by Jim Butcher – Harry, now a reluctant warden of the White Council. He has to investigate why the Faerie Realm isn’t helping out in the war against the Red Court.  Thrown in is a bunch of monsters who feed on fear and go wild at a horror convention.  And then there is stopping a new black wizard in Chicago.
  1. White Knight Book 9 Dresden files by Jim Butcher – I couldn’t not read the next book in the series, even though it was in hardcover. There was no way I was waiting for paperback for this one.  I read it in one day.  This time, a malevolent presence is killing woman practitioners of magic.  Harry investigates and finds there may be a connection with White Court Vampire, Thomas.  Old flame Elaine is there to offer magical support and Murphy, recently demoted to Sergeant is also using her vacation to help Harry find the murderer.
  1. Mackenzie’s Mountain by Linda Howard. OK I had this as a book on cassette that I got from the library and I was listening to it in the car.  It, being summer, I had the windows rolled down and wouldn’t you know it, during the sex scenes I was at a red light.  There were catcalls and whistles going on around me from the other cars.  I really like Linda Howard’s books in general.  I think I might have read this one once upon a time because it was really familiar, but I picked out “abridged” by mistake – something I never do – so I can’t be sure.  It was light and fluffy and fun to listen to.  You gotta love a book whose first line is “Wolf needed a woman.  ”
  1. A Man, A Can and a Plan : 50 Great Guy Meals Even You Can Make by David Joachim and The Editors of Men’s Health. This is like a board book for adults.  It’s got thick cardboard pages full of really interesting and easy recipes.  I got it for ha-has because it seemed like a great idea.  I didn’t find anything appealing in it, but my husband liked the spaghettio’s omelette.  Not for me.
  1. Designer Knockoff Book 2 Crimes of Fashion by Ellen Byerrum – In this quirky cozy mystery series, our heroine, Lacey Smithsonian, is a driven reporter who has been put on the fashion beat at her local newspaper.  But trouble and destiny seem to follow her and she finds herself, again, investigating a murder.  This time finishing up on a mystery that her Aunt might have been trying to solve many years before her death.  We’re treated again to lovely vintage clothes descriptions, snappy dialogue and a mystery involving the elite rich.
  1. For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison. This is Book Five of the Rachel Morgan series.  I was happy that Rachel was less of an airhead in this book.  I had been really disappointed in how she was acting last book, lusting over everything that moved.  But she seems to be back on track to normalcy in this book.  Seeing Jenks and Ivy in action again was a real treat.  There were a lot of surprises in this book.  Characters I thought I knew acting differently, but believably.  The ending will shock you.
  1. Rebel Fay by Barb and J.C. Hendee – This is Book Five in the Noble Dead series. I was ready to leave Leesil.  When Magiere is the sane and reasonable one in the relationship, it’s time to go.  Leesil was definitely at the breaking point as they trekked into the Elvin lands to find his imprisoned mother.  I didn’t think the Chane and Westiel scenes added anything to the book.  But I would have wondered what they were up to, if they hadn’t been mentioned.  At the start of the book, I wasn’t sure I liked the journey the series was taking me on.  But by the end, the huge story arc had reached a conclusion.  I’m looking forward to see where this is going in the next book due out in January.
  1. Knitting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time by Betty Christiansen and Kiriko Shirobayashi I can’t lay off a knitting book sale. I’m really glad I didn’t pass this book up.  The charities are heart warming and gut wrenching and I often found myself crying and picking up my needles.  What a lovely, wonderful and inspiring book.  There’s a charity in here for everyone.
  1. Knit 2 Together: Patterns and Stories for Serious Knitting Fun by Tracey Ullman, Mel Clark, and Eric Axene.  Another sale book!  The pictures were big and descriptive and some of the patterns I might give a whirl.  I basically got the book because I’ve always thought Tracey was a hoot and while she tones down her whacky and humorous side, it’s still brought a smile to my face.
  1. Dragon Champion (The Age of Fire, Book 1) by E.E. Knight. I happened to catch this book out of the corner of my eye as I was leaving the library and snapped it up.  E. Knight writes a great post apocalyptic vampire series, so I thought I’d give his new series a whirl.  I’m in awe that he could switch gears to an epic dragon fantasy – told by the dragon.  I really liked it and was surprised to find myself identifying with the dragon Auron.  I’ve read that each book of the Age of Fire is told by a different sibling.  Looking forward to catching the next in the series.
  1. All together Dead Book 7 Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. Wow, what a great book.  Poor Sookie, girl can’t catch a break.  I could read this series over and over again.  There’s a new short story coming out in September and the new book is at the editors right now.  It’s tough to wait!  I’m dying to find out about the consequences of what happened at the end of the book. And of course when “True Blood” comes out on HBO, I’m going to have to subscribe to HBO.
  1. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas. I read about this in Oprah magazine a while ago and I found it at a used book sale, so I snatched it up.  It wasn’t what I was expecting.  I thought it was chilling how easy she slipped into alcoholism and how no one noticed anything was wrong.  The book started out slow, but I think it’s a worthwhile read, especially for a teen age girl.
  1. Predator by Patricia Cornwall. Can I tell you how much I hate her new writing style.  Kay Scarpetta was so much smarter when I wasn’t avidly listening in on every thought in her head.  I think Pete Marino isn’t given enough credit and is written like a cartoon character instead of the flawed gorilla he is.  And I just want to give up on Lucy, who’s supposed to be a genius but is getting to be too stupid to live.  Cornwall’s earlier stuff was real CSI before there was CSI on TV and I loved it.  Now, it’s more like a dysfunctional Walton’s special.  It’s sad to see a great series go so downhill.
  1. Judge and Jury by James Patterson and Andre North. Completely unbelievable ending.  But a pleasant read none the less.  It’s about chasing down a murderous mob boss who defies everyone, judge and especially jury.  I thought the female character was just a cut out and I didn’t believe her grief or see any emotional change.  It was a “thin” book, meaning there wasn’t much meat on it.  But I could pick it up and read it online at the bank or when I had a spare moment and then utterly forget about it once it was in my hands.
  1. Glory in Death by J.D. Robb – This is Book 2 of the Lt. Eve Dallas series. I’m not reading them in order.  The great news is that you don’t have to and they’re so popular that pretty much everyone and his brother has read these books so you can pick them up for a quarter at tag sales and book sales.  I actually got this one through our inter-library loan.  As usual, it’s a quick read that grabs you right into the pages and you are immediately in Dallas and Rourke’s world.  Hot sex and a great mystery.  In this book, Eve is tracking down a serial killer who focuses on powerful and influential women.
  1. Hand felted jewelry and beads : 25 artful designs / Carol Huber Cypher. What a lovely book.  One that I do not have the talent or the materials to emulate, unfortunately.  Instead of “traditional” hand-wash or machine wash felting, this book is about needle felting.  Something I’d love to try, but I just can’t start another hobby at this point.  However, the pictures were gorgeous and my fingets itched to try a project.
  1. Divided in Death by J.D. Robb – This is book 18 in the Eve Dallas mystery series. This time, one of Rourke’s employees is suspected of committing a crime.  Only it’s not as cut and dried as it first appears.  The two dead are not merely a cheating husband and his mistress but ultra secret government agents.  I love this series because of the never boring, married sex and how quickly I can get lost in the book.
  1. Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (re-read) – I read this in preparation for the release of the new book. I was glad I did because I had forgotten about the Horcruxes and some very important, but well hidden clues in the novel.  It helped me prepare for the release of Deathly Hollows.  I’m going to miss this series.
  1. Magic Bites by Ilona (& Gordon) Andrews – This has to be the best first novel that I’ve read all year. Excellent, excellent stuff.  I liked that the vampires were monsters.  I liked that the male shape changer “sidekick” was ugly.  The world concept where magic waned and waxed was unique and original.  The hardest part about reading a new author that’s this good is to have to wait for the second book, –which looks like it’s due out in March 2008.
  1. The Gospel of the Knife by Bill Shetterly – OK, this is a great book that I never would have read if a friend hadn’t told me about it. We were discussing 2nd person point of views and how they seldom work.  I always thought they read like a “Choose Your Own Adventure Book.”  However, she pointed me to Shetterly’s website: http://qwertyranch.blogspot.com/2007/07/gospel-of-knife.html and I read the first chapter online.  It was wonderful. 2nd Person POV worked! It sucked me right in and I kept reading.  And reading.  And reading until I realized the whole novel was online.  Confused (but elated.  I started reading this book at work and then went home and *dreamed* about it), I did a little research and this is his second book in the series.  Sure enough, you could get the first book online “Dogland” as well. Now before you think this author is self published or a POD customer, he’s not.  You can also buy his books from Amazon and “The Gospel of the Knife” was published by Tor – a well known book publisherSo, I stopped reading “Gospel” to go back and read the first one “Dogland”, but it just didn’t grab me like the second book did and I was dying to know what happened next in “Gospel” so I returned to it and finished it.  It was wonderful.  What I can’t figure out is why offer the whole novel for free?  The first three chapters were enough to hook me into buying it.  Or offer the first novel for free and market the second book as a new release.  Although, that would have backfired because I might not have gotten the second book.  On the other hand, I was so impressed by the book I went to his website and found his wife, Emma Bull’s, book mentioned.  That sounded interesting enough for me to put on my wish list.  And I will certainly be on the lookout for any new books of his to appear.  And I’ll probably eventually go back and read Dogland.  So as a marketing idea, it’s a big hit.  An author I would have never heard about is now on my radar, along with another author (his wife) for any new books.  So it’s a great investment in his writing career.  However, I’m wondering if “Gospel” doesn’t sell out the advance if there will be another book.  And why would Tor allow this “competition”?  Interesting stuff.  The book is about a boy with a magical destiny and powers yet unrealized going to college and growing up.
  1. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling – No spoilers. A fitting ending to the series.  I didn’t like the prologue, but I can see why it was needed for closure.  The first death hit me the hardest.  I liked how all the plot strings came together.  I think it was very interesting that just about all of the spoilers I came across were true – from a certain point of view and if you took things at pieces instead of as the book as a whole.
  1. Baby days: activities, ideas, and games for enjoying daily life with a child under three by Barbara Rowley – Cute book I got out of the library. I put it on my registry.  It’s got a lot of educational activities that I think would be helpful to any parent.
  1. Pyramid by David Macaulay – Got this for research on a book that I’m writing. Very basic stuff. Lots of pictures on how the pyramids were built and constructed.  I got it in the children’s section of the library, where I think is the best place to start any research and then go from there.
  1. Pyramid written by James Putnam; photographed by Geoff Brightling & Peter Hayman. This is also a research book from the children’s section in the library.  I think you can also pick this up at any museum.  The pictures were gorgeous.  They showed pyramids from Egyptian, Mayan and Aztec, as well as grave decorations and other burial accoutrements.
  1. Don’t Look Down by Jennie Cruise and Bob Mayer – I’ve wanted to read this book since they announced the collaboration in Writer’s Digest Magazine. This was my first book for both authors so I was going in without prejudice.  I liked it.  It had a lot of action and military stuff in it as well as a nice romance.  Pepper was great as a comic relief.  She was the main character’s five year old neice.
  1. Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter by Alison Hansel – This is a great book filled with patterns for anyone who likes the Harry Potter universe. There was a pattern for every skill level.  Although, I liked the online patterns of the Hogswart’s House scarves better, the house socks were great.  I thought there were some unique patterns in the book.  I was excited to see Ron’s “Animal Cracker” hat in there.  That’s the one he’s wearing in the movie when he eats the lion cracker and starts roaring around the common room.
  1. Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer Series, Book 1) by Karen Chance – This is a great book. It takes a lot of stereotypes and tosses them right out the window.  Cassandra is clairvoyant.  She’s also on the run from a dangerous vampire mafia who want to use her gifts to their advantage.  But it seems that the mage guild is trying to kill her and she’s caught between a rock and a hard place trying to survive.  It was a fun quick read and I immediately bought the next book in the series.
  1. Charmed by Shadow (Cassandra Palmer Series, Book 2) by Karen Chance – Not as good as the first book, but still an entertaining read. It continues the adventures of Cassandra who is still on the run from the vampire senate (mafia).  The mages have only slightly reconsidered their wrath on her because she just might be their new Pythia – one who has considerable power.  There’s time travel and romance and lots of battles.  I’ll continue to read the series.  The next book is out in April 2008.
  1. Rapture in Death by J.D. Robb – This is the 4th book of the In Death series featuring future cop Eve Dallas. This time Dallas’ outer space honeymoon is interrupted by a murder that follows her back to Earth.  Suicides keep popping up and it’s up to Dallas, Roarke, Peabody and crew to find out if they’re really suicides or actual murders.  A good, quick, engrossing read.
  1. Paula Deen: It Ain’t All About the Cookin’: A Memoir by Paula Deen and Sherry Suib Cohen – I was expecting a recipe book with some off color comments and lots of butter. But this gut wrenching memoir is about Paula Deen’s life before she became famous.  It’s honest and emotional and I think she’s very brave for sharing her story, the good and the bad with us.  It was an enlightening read, but it can be a bit depressing at times.
  1. Lean, Mean 13 by Janet Evanovitch – I had been waiting for the next edition of Stephanie Plum Trenton bounty hunter.  It doesn’t disappoint, but it also isn’t anything special.  I love the characters and the situations they seem to find themselves into.  Unfortunately, nothing new happens.
  1. The Harlequin by Laurel Hamilton – This was not the orgy-fest I expected it to be. Unfortunately, it’s still got a long way to go before the series is as good as it used to be.  Anita Blake, necromancer and succubus, saves the world by boffing everyone who’s not nailed down.  It was entertaining.  I never liked Richard.  But now I’m beginning to feel sorry for him.  It was good to see Edward again.  I also liked Dolph and his interactions with Anita.  But I’d like to see an old fashioned raise the zombie from the grave story again and leave all the boy toys at home.
  1. On Edge by Adam Copeland. This autobiography is by WWE superstar Edge, a.k.a. Adam Copeland.  I wanted to read it to get the juicy bits about his real life affair with Lita, but unfortunately he was a gentleman about it.  The book has a lot of great pictures and information for anyone interested in starting out in wrestling.  It reads like stereo instructions though.
  1. Purity in Death by J.D. Robb – Publisher’s Weekly’s review: “A sick computer can and does infect other computers, but not its operator,” claims Roarke, dreamboat husband of New York’s hotshot futuristic cop, Lieutenant Eve Dallas, in the 15th installment in Robb’s `Death’ series. Roarke’s theory is put to the test when pedophiles and drug dealers begin dying from a computer-generated virus that literally blows the mind of its victims. It doesn’t take long for Eve to figure out that a vigilante terrorist organization with superior tech knowledge is meting out its own form of justice the group even leaves the message “absolute purity achieved” on victims’ computer screens. Pinpointing the group is more of a challenge. Suspects could be anyone from members of the justice system to formerly abused children, the latter of which strikes a personal and painful nerve in Eve, who was abused as a child.”—The great part of this series is that you can read any book in any order and not be confused. You miss the subtle nuances of some relationships of Eve and her friends and occasionally will miss a reference to an “in joke” from another book, but each book can stand on its own.
  1. Bangkok Tattoo by John Burdett – Royal Thai police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is back in the second book of the series to investigate the grisly murder of a CIA operative. Wrapped up in all of this is a hooker named Chanya, a Thai army general who is feuding with Sonchai’s superior officer, Captain Vikorn, Muslim fundamentalists, the Yakuza and a Japanese tattoo artist.  I enjoyed the cadence of the book and following Sonchai around Thailand.
  1. We Thought You Would be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive by Laurie Notaro – More essays from Laurie’s life.  Not as funny as her first few, but maybe that’s because I’m getting used to her.  I do like reading about her neighbors, her mother and her job.  She’s got a great turn of phrase and I’m usually smiling when I read.
  1. Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1) by J.R. Ward – I probably would have really liked this one if it wasn’t for the barrage of dumb character names. Too many characters are introduced in this book and the names made me giggle.  Zsadist, Rhage, Wrath, Phury (rolls eyes).  Aside from that, though, once I got beyond the names, it wasn’t a bad book.  There was a lot of sexual tension and a decent villain.  I probably won’t go out of my way to pick up another in the series, but it wasn’t a complete disappointment.
  1. Undead and Uneasy (Queen Betsy, Book 6) by MaryJanice Davidson – I read this book with a great deal of trepidation. Davidson had warned that there was a darker element in this book and I was terrified that one of my favorite characters was going to die.  I think it would have ruined the end of the series.  And let me tell you, everyone is in danger in this book so I was biting my nails until the very end.  Because of that “worry” I wasn’t as amused by Betsy’s antics, but it was nice to see everyone – and I do mean everyone – in what I think is her final book (for Betsy anyway).
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