My Selective September Book Haul. Since I’m moving soon, I’m really cutting back on what I buy. Here are four good ones I couldn’t leave the store without, though. Note my latest project in the background: framed coins from my travels around the world : )
by Kathy Reichs
Released: 2 November 2010
Buy it now!
Tory Brennan is the niece of world-famous forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (yes, friends, the bad-ass Bones character). Though Tory only recently learned of her father’s identity (and that of his family), her love of scientific discovery and crime-solving talents were definitely inherited. Unfortunate circumstances have forced her to move in with her newfound father in the charming Charleston, South Carolina, where her father works as a marine scientist at a top-notch laboratory on the coast.
In an old Southern city like Charleston, money speaks volumes, and scientists don’t make much of it. Bound together with a ragtag group of her father’s coworker’s children, Tory attends a private high school with some of the city’s richest teens. Despite being a bit of an outcast at school, Tory lives for adventure, particularly enjoying the exploration of the island where her father’s laboratory is located.
Suddenly, Tory and her friends stumble upon a series of mysteries. A forgotten memento. A secret science experiment. A lost dog. Suddenly the group is being followed by a scary group of hitmen, and dead bodies begin piling up. With the gang suddenly exhibiting strange symptoms that don’t match any illness they’ve ever heard of, will they be able to focus enough to solve the increasing mysteries before the hitmen catch up with them?
Stupidly, this was my first Kathy Reichs book, and I’m kicking myself for not having read her work before. With mystery upon mystery, a fast pace, tons of action, and a plethora of twists and turns, this book was unputdownable. The protagonist, too, is a girl I was very happy to read about: a strong young woman who embraces scientific discovery. Though this was YA book with a strong female protagonist who seems to have “special abilities” and is plotting to bring down a big conspiracy – a storyline that seems quite familiar to YA readers at this point – this book felt totally fresh. Though I tend to shy away from YA books – not because I don’t like them, but because I feel like a majority of them I can’t relate to – I found the protagonist very understandable, and I plan on passing the book on to my sister, a sophomore in high school. Altogether, this was a fantastic read!
When you realize the only person who will ever truly be there for you is yourself.
This photoset is VERY belated, but I have been thinking a lot about my favorite city in the country lately, and I couldn’t help revisiting the photos I took there a few months ago. It is everything I want in a city: near the water, in the South, beautiful, historic, haunted, etc.
If I ever won the lottery, Savannah is where I would go.
Stephanie Plum #13
by Janet Evanovich
Genre: Chick Lit
Released: 19 June 2007
Buy it now!
So if you haven’t read my twelve preceding posts about the awesomeness of Stephanie Plum, let me explain: these books are delicious. Lingerie-saleswoman-turned-bounty-hunter Stephanie, along with her former ho of a sidekick, Lula, are constantly getting into trouble as well as crazy predicaments that are hilarious to read about. With not one but TWO hunky leading men, there are plenty of steamy moments, and with a dash of mystery and a hint of action, these books are addictive page-turners.
The alternate title I’m giving this book is… The One where Steph and Dickie are Reunited.
Dickie is Stephanie’s ex-husband from a young and very, very short marriage. When Ranger asks Stephanie to drop in on him and plant a bug, little does she know that brief meeting will land her on the front page of the newspaper as the #1 suspect in his murder. Like always, Stephanie stumbles upon more than her fair share of crime scenes, further adding to her guilty image. With her grandmother reentering the dating scene and Stephanie needing to take refuge once again in the Batcave, this book is just as exciting as the rest in the series.
But Lean Mean Thirteen was a little more insightful than the preceding books in the series. There were quite a few lines in this book that captured my attention and made me kind of sit-up and say, “That seems deep.” Like when Stephanie dons a disguise to trick a guard into letting her into a building: “Men trust women… Women grow up wary, and men grow up thinking they’re immortal.” Or, when comparing the residences of her two leading men: “Morelli’s house was a destination for him. Ranger’s apartment felt like a part of his journey.” Altogether, this was another solid book in Stephanie’s saga with a little unexpected depth, making it even better.
The Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens of Richmond, Virginia
This has been on my list of places to see for awhile now, and with my time in the city growing to a close, I’m glad I was finally able to see such a beautiful part of Richmond. I’ve heard this is a breathtaking place to be at Christmas, as well, and I hope I get the chance to come back and see it lit up with all kinds of gorgeous lights!
by Jeanette Walls
Released: 1 June 2013
Buy it now!
Twelve-year-old Bean and her fifteen-year-old sister, Liz, are used to taking care of themselves after moving across the country with their flighty bipolar mother, an aspiring actress and musician. Though she has left her children behind on many of her trips, when a concerned grocer calls the cops to investigate her latest abandonment, Liz and Bean decide it’s time they moved on their own. Having no friends or connections of their own, they decide their only option is to travel from California to Virginia to visit the only family they have, an uncle they haven’t seen since they were babies.
When they arrive in the small town of Byler, the girls wonder if they’ve stepped back in time. Though the calendar says it’s the 1970’s, Byler doesn’t appear to have changed since their mother left it over a decade before. With the young men of the town off fighting in Vietnam, unemployment on the rise, and forced integration on the horizon, the town is in the middle of some big changes. When the girls arrive looking for not only a home but information on their family history, will their arrival be one more change the town can’t accept?
Jeanette Walls is one of my favorite authors. Her first (and my favorite) book, The Glass Castle, was a nonfiction book about her turbulent childhood growing up with drifters for parents. Her second book, Half-Broke Horses, was a nonfiction book about her interesting storm of a grandmother growing up out West. Both of her preceding books were AMAZING, and they were both nonfiction. As a former journalist, Walls does nonfiction very, very well. This was her first attempt at fiction, and while the book was pleasant, and I enjoyed reading it, it didn’t blow me away like her other books did.
Y’all know that Southern fiction is like my comfort food, and The Silver Star was right up my alley. With a bit of drama and a lot of love, I slid into this story like my favorite pair of jeans. Though this is a comfortable, enjoyable read, it’s not ground-breaking, and out of all Walls’ books, this is widely considered her worst piece of work; though it’s not bad, her other books just set the bar so darn high. This book would be enjoyed by any Southern fiction lover, though, and it’s definitely not a bad piece of work on its own.
Seriously has ANYONE in the history of FOREVER had a good experience with a cable company? Seriously? Do they all suck?
by Laurie Viera Rigler
Genre: Chick Lit
Released: 1 January 2007
Buy it now!
Courtney Stone is an L.A. hotshot who is currently drowning her sorrows with alcohol and Jane Austen after catching her fiance cheating. To add to the betrayal, her male best friend was covering for the cheat. After falling asleep in this alcohol-and-Austen-fueled state, she wakes up in her very own Austen novel. With a crazy, overbearing mother obsessed with getting her married, a father who seeks refuge from his bitch of a wife in his study, and a kind but infuriatingly submissive maid, Courtney can’t believe how lifelike this dream seems. However, after spending a few days with bloodletting doctors, annoying relations, and interesting neighborhood callers, she’s beginning to realize that this isn’t a dream at all. She’s trapped in the body and life of Miss Jane Mansfield, a woman whose face stares out at her when Courtney looks in the mirror. Courtney is doing a pretty good job at convincing everyone she’s not crazy, despite not being able to recall any memories from Mansfield’s life, but when handsome Charles Edgeworth arrives and stirs up some distant memories that are not her own, will she be able to hold it together enough to keep herself from a Regency era loony bin?
I found myself liking this book without having any idea why. Many real-life Austen addicts panned this book and for very good reason. The protagonist, despite her “Austen addiction,” doesn’t seem to know much about Austen’s era and conducts herself appallingly while she’s there, making her hard to like; she’s dense when it comes to personal matters, the plot borders on bizarre, and the ending is even weirder. However, that being said, I couldn’t help but think that if I fell asleep one night and woke up in another woman’s body in Regency-era England, I’d probably be just as confused and upset about it and would conduct myself in a similar manner.
The plot was interesting, the characters were somewhat believable, and Rigler did a great job really bringing that time period to life for the reader. This is definitely, DEFINITELY not a book for those who like their Austen serious, but it’s a bit of a fun read for those who can suspend their disbelief for a fun little bit of Jane Austen fanfic. I’m actually very interested in reading Rigler’s follow-up book, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, in which Jane Mansfield wakes up in Courtney’s body in present-day L.A.
by Herman Koch
Released: 12 February 2013
Buy it now!
The Dinner takes place at a restaurant in Amsterdam, where Paul Lohman, his wife, his brother, and his sister-in-law meet to discuss their children. Over the course of the night, sibling rivalries, intermarital spats, parental misguidance, mental illness, fame, violence, blackmail, and regret hijack the evening. Family is at the epicenter of this novel: the family you love, the family you hate, the family you choose, and the family you are born into. This is one of those books that is very hard to describe without giving away any spoilers, so I’m going to leave the plot summary at that.
Despite the turbulence throughout the meal, the book didn’t really get interesting to me until the second half, and by that point, I was rather confused from the first half of the book and didn’t really appreciate what was going on. Koch’s writing just did not jibe with me, but I can’t really describe why. The world Paul inhabits is stark and filled with paranoia. He’s irrational and unlikable, like everyone else in the book. It’s always hard for me to read a book where I can’t identify with the characters, and it’s even harder when I don’t even like the characters.
Many readers have drawn comparisons between The Dinner and Gone Girl, but while both contain mental illness, mystery, and violence, I thought they were completely different. Gone Girl was very plot-driven, where The Dinner was character-driven. While the characters in Gone Girl were very logical in their actions and decisions, the characters in The Dinner largely weren’t, and that bothered me. Altogether, I commend the author on his ability to create a thought-provoking book, but I didn’t enjoy my reading of it and definitely think it is a book that would not be everyone’s cup of tea.
It’s called Teeny Ted from Turnip Town, and it fits on a strand of hair, guys!
YAY! I HAVE INTERNET AGAIN!
After Comcast tried to DOUBLE my internet bill this month, I decided to forego it until I move. Luckily, my parents live within a decent distance so I can drive to their place and mooch off of them. Anyway, just wanted to give a bit of an explanation as to why I haven’t been posting much of anything lately: it’s not you (or me), it’s Comcast.
So without further ado, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish inviting readers to list their top 10 answers to a given prompt. This week’s theme is…
Top Authors I’ve Only Read One Book from but NEED to Read More
- Alice Hoffman (I’ve read her book The Ice Queen)
I particularly want to read her book The Dovekeepers, which I’ve heard great things about.
- Maria Semple (I’ve read Where’d You Go, Bernadette?)
- Elizabeth Gaskell (I’ve read North and South)
- Charlotte Bronte (I’ve read Jane Eyre)
While Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books of all time, it’s the only book of hers I’ve read.
- Kathy Reichs (I’ve read Virals)
This is a very recent read of mine, but I loved the book so much that I can’t wait to get my hands on another, especially one personally involving Temperance Brennan, one of my favorite TV sleuths.
- Tatiana de Rosnay (I’ve read Sarah’s Key)
I own her book A Secret Kept, and it’s definitely on my list to be read soon!
- Donald McCaig (I’ve read Rhett Butler’s People)
His new GWTW-themed book written about Mammy is coming out next month!
- Emma Donoghue (I’ve read Room: A Novel)
I’ve got at least one of her other books on my Kindle, but I haven’t read it… YET.
- Audrey Niffenegger (I’ve read The Time Traveler’s Wife)
I own Her Fearful Symmetry, but I’ve heard disappointing reviews of it, so I’ve procrastinated on reading it for awhile…
- Rhys Bowen (I’ve read Her Royal Spyness)
This is a series whose debut book I really enjoyed, but I haven’t happened upon any more in the series, and my bookshelves are already overflowing with things I’ve yet to read, so I don’t want to order it. I like for these things to happen naturally, you see.
The Biltmore Library in Asheville NC is like the library from Beauty & The Beast but in real life. What’s your favorite library?
Special secret: I once got to climb the spiral staircase AND touch a book. It’s a tour only employees can take!
I’m so jealous! Biltmore’s been on my list of places to see for a long, long time, and since I’m leaving the East coast in a few weeks, it’s probably going to be on that list for a lot, lot longer :(
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