Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; Reissue edition (January 9, 2001)
  • ISBN-10: 0451458125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451458124
  • List Price: $7.99
  • I finished this book on April 26
So, as you may have guessed, my lovelies, this is Dresden Files part deux. Okay, now, guessing game number two. What kind of beastie is associated with the moon and is my favorite after vampires? That's right, Werewolves!! You guys are so smart!
As I'm sure you can guess Harry Dresden, our favorite professional wizard, is on the hunt to track down some badass werewolves with the police. Only this time around Murphy, his cop buddy (who is also happens to think is foxy, though he's sleeping with the hot reporter broad) is super mad at him. I hate that in books: when characters who are buddies spend the whole book mad at each other and you know they are gonna kiss and make up at the end. Makes everything difficult, you know? Besides, things are difficult enough. And here's why: Butcher's take on werewolves is that there are a bunch of different kinds. Those who are cursed (loup-garou) those who are possessed by baddie demons and those who have received the power from fuzzy belts (hexenwolves) amongst others. So, you know, Dresden has enough on his plate without spats with friends.
I kind of liked Butcher's different kind of wolves, but I must admit, when they all hang out it gets a little confusing. There is much fighting, and no eating of beef chow mein. (yeah, that's right, I made a horrible Warren Zevon reference, I'm not sorry). Also in this book Dresden gets knocked about pretty good and we get to see him have to deal with trouble when his magic fails him, which I liked. I also don't believe that I mentioned in my previous post that Dresden routinely uses the stellar phrase 'Hell's Bells' which I love (I often say Yikes Stripes! but I'm thinking I really like that and might steal it).
Might I add that the term loup-garou is French, and what the werewolves refer to themselves as in one of my fav werewolf books, Blood and Chocolate. Reading this also made me think of some of the other werewolf stuff I've read and liked. Might I recommend Bisclavret, one of the twelve Lais of Marie de France. It's this poem about a werewolf man and his wife, and definitely worth checking out. I have more Dresden Files books waiting but I might take a break and read something for the challenge, haven't decided. That's me, keeping you on your toes.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bee at Deliciously Clean Reads

Hello my lovelies. This is just a note from your beloved booknerd to tell you that awesome book reviews by me can also be seen at Deliciously Clean Reads. DCR is all about reviewing books that happen to not contain cursing and graphic sex. I know you're shocked right now. You're thinking, but Bee, you love books with cursing, one night stands, and of course...the gayest cover ever. And that's true, my sweets, but I also love a lot of very tame YA and children's books.
I will be a regular contributor over there, but of course, I review everything here, so the reviews there will be repeats (though I'm giving them a different treatment). For example, my first review there is of Elsewhere (go here to read my original review) But the blog is really good. Recently they've even reviewed some of my favorites, like Twilight. So, check it out if you'd like. They also take submissions, and guidelines are on their page if you're interested.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (April 10, 2000)
  • ISBN-10: 0451457811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451457813
  • List Price: $7.99
  • I finished this book on April 19
This is Book One (of several books which are making impatient eyes at me from my bookshelf) of the Dresden Files series. I haven't seen the show yet, mostly because I wanted to read the books first, but the show is streaming online if you're interested. Also, I must comment that in my head I've just been thinking of it as Dresden Files. Last night, when someone tried to call it by it's proper name I was all: "Huh?" Then I realized why: it's a bad name. The other titles are better, though, don't worry. I dunno, to me Storm Front seems like a Tom Clancy thing, you know?
So, anywho: the book is about professional wizard Harry Dresden. He's working on two cases - one assisting the police with some major bad magic mojo and one for a private customer who has misplaced her husband. Not to mention that he's in trouble with the White Council and has a sort of parole officer popping in occasionally with a large sword waiting to kill him if he slips up. Apparently, our hero has been sentenced to the Doom of Damocles, meaning that he can be killed for breaking any magic rule (and meaning that every time they mention it I get the song "Sword of Damocles" from Rocky Horror Picture Show in my head).
But the important part for me to explain is not the plot. The best part is Dresden's self depreciating, funny and honest narration. It's similar in tone to the narration of our favorite vampire/mobster/club owner Jack Flemming, in fact (for bonus comparison points: both characters also live in Chicago). I found myself really liking Dresden's storytelling. My favorite line (and one I totally agree with) is this gem: "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face." Totally true, man.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next books and I'm sure I'll eat through them quickly. See you soon, with round 2!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Abridged edition (January 2, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 0553714856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553714852
  • List price: $25.00
  • I finished listening to this audio book on April 17
So, I have been meaning to read something by Hiaasen, and I plucked this one up because it was read by him as well (also because I had to drive to Rochester and needed something fun). I've gotta say, for my first run I liked it, and someday I will read more by him.
Here's the scoop (please enjoy newspaper pun): Jack Tagger is a writer whose been sent to the bad boys corner to wear a dunce cap - otherwise known as a the obituary page. (Having gone to school for journalism I concur that this is a very lame assignment - mostly checking facts). One day Jack gets a death notice for a man he realizes is widely known as Jimmy Stoma, lead singer of the rock band Jimmy and the Slut Puppies (best band name ever? yes). He hopes that this obit will be the one to get him back on the front page. But, in investigating the death he discovers more than he bargained for. He's sure that Jimmy's death wasn't an accident, but he's not sure how to prove it. What's a newspaper man to do? In no particular order I recommend sleeping with your editor, hitting someone with a giant frozen lizard and wearing a cool disguise (hint: our hero does two out of those three things, you get to guess which). I think it's important for you to know that there is a character named Opossum Man. Let that marinade.
This is a great satire of the newspaper business, and I really enjoyed it. I liked the main character, and the good strong neurotic first person account he gave. I also liked Hiaasen's reading. His voice is thin and reedy at times, but also likable and calm. He even did voices, which I give him full marks for. While he is no Tim Curry ( and really, who is?) or Stephen King (with his oddly enticing accent) he did really well with the voice acting and his delivery was good.
Hiaasen's website is good, and there is a decent faq about each book. Also, there are several lyrics of Slut Puppies songs in the book. Apparently, Hiaasen commisioned Warren Zevon to write the song the title is named after. You can see lyrics here, and if you want, buy it at Itunes.

Once Upon a Time Challenge

Okay, my lovelies. Your esteemed nerd has been invited to join a challenge. I'm so excited! The Once Upon a Time challenge is to read books that of the following genres: fantasy, fairy tales, mythology and folklore. And, of course, since the challenge ends in June ( the 21, in fact, this bloggers' birthday - coincidentally) Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Well, this girl loves a challenge, and this girl loves her fantasy, so: I'm totally in.
Here's some of the books I plan on reading for the challenge, but of course, I am open to suggestions:
In no particular order:
Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino
Strange Happenings by Avi
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The Subtle Knife/Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
and of course:
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
knowing me, I will come up with others. I'm going to start tucking into these after I finish some of the Dresden Files books.
For more info on my nice new friends check out the the Once Upon a Time Challenge and Stainless Steel Droppings.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Strangehaven Vol 3: Conspiracies by Gary Spencer Millidge

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Abiogenesis (September 21, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 0946790078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0946790074
  • List Price: $14.95
  • I finished this book on April 10
I know you're expecting the exciting conclusion to Strangehaven right now, but too bad: it wasn't the end! That's right, guys, its happened again. Remember A Distant Soil? Argh!! And once again, the last book isn't even available yet. Boo. To. That.
Anyway, I suppose I will begrudgingly tell you what happened even though I'm mad. Ku Klux Klan outfit guys tried to get Alex into their group, and while he was inclined to say boo to that a couple of the people from town convinced him to go in as a spy. Apparently Strangehaven is a kind of magical hot spot that affects the whole world (not to be confused with the Hellmouth, guys). And the KKK dress guys are gonna put the whammy on the universe if they aren't balanced by the white witches in the town.
In other news, the murder (which was actually two like I thought) from the last book is pretty much ironed out and don't worry one of the many ponytailed men was exonerated. There was also more infidelity and the switching of identities. Oooh! And there was a ghost who came back to hang with his wife when she died. That's sweet, and you know it. Warms my heart.
So this is the problem I always have with graphic novels and comics: I can't get my hands on the good ones in order. Hopefully when this next one comes out I'll be able to get my hot paws on it quickly and share it with you all. Cross your fingers
If your interested, you can check out some of Millidge's other artwork: here. And for fun: here's a picture of Millidge with his flowing locks of love falling over his face as he signs some comics. I dunno, guys, it's funny to me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Strangehaven Vol. 2: Brotherhood by Gary Spencer Millidge

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Abiogenesis (March 1, 2001)
  • ISBN-10: 0946790051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0946790050
  • List Price: $13.95
  • I finished this book on April 10
So, I've gotta tell you kiddies, a lot just happened. Like I mentioned, the first book had various bizarro plot lines going on and they kept right on going in this one.
So, this book did not focus on Alex as much as the first one did, though he played a part in it. He gets lost in the woods for like a week (which is apparently enough time to grow a ponytail) and then comes back to start teaching. Imagine his surprise when there are only two students and some creepy dummies in the classroom. Other than him there's an affair going on in which the young woman decides to tell the wife (because that always works out well) and of course, our pal the alien guy who I think has a skullet (looks like from balding though, not shaving). Either way, there are many many plots weaving in and out here.
Now, I like to think I'm a sharp cookie (what does that phrase even mean, when you think about it, it doesn't even make sense) and I can follow a confusing plot. Having said that, it might be easier for this girl to understand it is every man in the book didn't have long hair wearing a ponytail. Seriously, there's at least 3 ponytail guys in here. Not to mention that because of Millidge's interesting illustrations and shading these guys sometimes look blond and sometimes not - so I'm all "huh?" and have to go back and think about which ponytail dude I'm looking at. Maybe that makes me visually illiterate or something, but I'm okay with that. I have a theory that perhaps Mr. Millidge only has so many male characters with long hair because that's clearly the style he likes to rock. As evidenced by the photos of his flowing locks. So, for fun: please enjoy a picture of him getting made fun of for his awesome 80's hair at a comic con (pic is halfway down the page - caption is priceless).
Sorry, I got all sidetracked thinking about petting the author...dreamy. Anywho: did I mention that there was one death, possibly two at the end of this book? There was. So, yeah, I have to go and find what happens. Up Next: the exciting conclusion!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Strangehaven Vol. 1: Arcadia by Gary Spencer Millidge

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Abiogenesis (May 1, 2001)
  • ISBN-10: 0946790043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0946790043
  • List Price: $13.95
  • I finished this book on April 8
So, alright, my lovelies, I know I said that I was going to be reading something from the list next, and I swear I had the best intentions. I got a book from the list out from the library. Then I couldn't bring myself to read it. And it kept staring at me. Creepy. Anyway, an esteemed library school colleague of mine loaned me a series of graphic novels, among others, and so here it is. I am too busy with real homework right now to be dealing with self-imposed homework. I will get back to the list in a week or so. For now...graphic novels.
So this book one of three. In it, we meet Alex, who gets in a car accident and wakes up in a mystery village somewhere in the UK. He keeps having visions of a woman underwater with fish. When he tries to leave he can't seem to get out - he drives in circles for hours and ends up right back there. So he decides to stay. Huh? I'm not mad at this or anything, but I mean, who really stays somewhere that they fully intended to leave because they get lost? Someone who's not trying very hard, that's who. Okay, anyway, so there's a girl he likes, Janey. He finds a house and a job and then, inexplicably turns down Janey's advances and goes camping.
There are also a bunch of other subplots going on here. For one, there is a weird cult/religious group who wear ku klux klan outfits and are doing shady rites. There is also a brazilian guy who befriends Janey's brother and who's contstant offerings of tea and pipe smoke are suspicious to me. Also, one of the guys claims he's an alien and appears to have x-ray vision. I must admit I'm intrigued by all of this and will be starting the next one tonight.
The illustrations are unique, they look a lot like photographs. The pictures of Alex's vision underwater woman are very cool. They are blurred in places and look as though they're really underwater.
In searching, as I do, for more information on these books I found the author's website. He looks all cool and dark in that picture, right? So I was intrigued ( I love cool dark men) so I was compelled to search him out: and I found this. Seriously, look at that hair, it's better than I could have hoped! Oh me oh my, it's like awesome 80's hair band hair. So tasty, and hilarious, thank you Mr. Millidge and your auqua net. I mean, it's lovely, it's prettier than my hair for certain. Anyway, back to the point: Mr. Awesome Face Framing Waves Millidge also has a blog but it doesn't look like it's been updated in a while.
Overall, interesting beginning and I look forward to reading more. Thanks, Chip, for loaning them to me!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sabriel by Garth Nix

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Listening Library; Unabridged edition (April 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807205567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807205563
  • List Price: $33.00
  • I finished listening to this audio book on April 4
So, I'd seen this one in YA collections and I was interested. But it was not until I saw the audio version read by Tim Curry that I had to get it. Friends and neighbors, I love Tim Curry, and he read this with gusto. Sometimes he rolls his Rs, not to mention pronouncing the word "lieutenant" with an F in it which gets me all worked up. And there's all these cool fantasy things for him to say so he sounds extra cool, but seriously, I would listen to him read the phone book.
The best part is that the story is super good too. It's about Sabriel, who had grown up at a boarding school, learning some magic, but nothing of the mysterious Old Kingdom beyond the wall. Her father is a necromancer and she discovers that he's trapped in death when he sends the tools of his trade, the sword and bells to her by means of a dead guy. Sabriel must travel across the wall into the magic and dangerous Old Kingdom and save her father. Once there she finds how little she really knows about the kingdom and her family. What she thought was her father's name, Abhorsen, she finds, is really his title, a bloodline and a responsibility. Now that he is trapped in death she is the Abhorsen. Not to mention that there is a terribly powerful dead monster-guy after her and the only guidance she has is a sardonic talking cat and a man who she frees along the way who has been imprisoned in wood for the last 200 odd years (might he be a handsome prince?)
I was so into this I sat in my own parking lot like a creepy stalker listening to it. Toward the end every place I went I was mad when I got there because I had to get out of my vehicle and stop listening. This is part of a series, so I will definitely be reading the next ones. I'm always mad when I finish stuff like this. Now I'm sitting at work, having just heard the exciting conclusion and I'm all daydreaming: Hmm, I wonder what Sabriel and Touchstone are doing now? Yeah, I'm a nut job, but I also think that's a sign of really good characters. I would read a book that was just Sabriel sitting around having dinner and cleaning her bells. There's a website for the book, but it won't tell you more than what I did. Dreamy sigh - I love YA fantasy books.
P.S. I swear I'm reading something from the list next. Cross my heart.

Monday, April 2, 2007

My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler

  • Paperback: 213 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (May 12, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 1582346186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582346182
  • List Price: $13.95
  • I finished this book on April 2
Alright, kiddies: the subtitle of this one is: A collection of one-night stands. If you don't know Chelsea Handler is a comedian who's been on a bunch of different things. This book is basically her tales of drinking and debauchery.
I think I mentioned that often I find it necessary to talk to the books I'm reading. I also laugh out loud on occasion, as I did with this one. But you don't understand. I was not politely laughing to myself. I was not chuckling. I was not giggling or snickering. Friends: I was guffawing. Seriously. There were times when I had to put the book down and walk away, laughing so hard I was weeping. That's all I'm saying. Here's what I say to you: there are midgets. There are dogs stealing underwear and there is an M&M costume. Just let that marinade for a second. In the immortal words of Richie Tozier, it is chuckalicious.
The book isn't a laugh out loud romp all the way through, in fact, some chapters were more pathetic than funny. But the funny parts definitely outweigh the lamer parts. Mostly her exploits end embarrassingly, and hilarity ensues. One of my favorite parts is where a sleazy guy says to her "You don't need to drink to make yourself more interesting" and she's like "I have to drink to make you more interesting." Good times.
Thanks to Bridget (best GA co-worker ever) for recommending this one to me. For more info on Chelsea Handler check out her website or her myspace page.