So, to wrap up - the 13 books that have been on a sticky on my desk for me to review for MONTHS. Seriously. Since the spring.
I've decided mini-reviews are the way to go. Just to give you a taste. All of these are recommended. Trust me.
In alphabetical order:
Eoin Colfer (who's first name is pronounce "Owen") has taken it upon himself to fill the Very Large Shoes of Douglas Adams and write another installment to the Hitchhiker's Saga. We return to meet all of our good friends as Earth is -yet again - being exploded. Everyone has gone on to lead their own lives and are very surprised to find themselves back together again. Antic ensue. Colfer has captured Adams' voice nicely and the book didn't disappoint me. Of course, I also think that Mos Def and Zooey Deschanel make the best Ford Prefect and Trillian to date, so that tells you my opinion of the state of things. Enjoy!
Ah...Jenny McCarthy. You either love to hate her or hate to love her...or count her among your guilty pleasures. This little memoir (essays, mostly) about her journey through pregnancy is full of pre-vaccine angst and is quite amusing. I haven't felt as cute as she looks, though, and I think I hold that against her. If you find yourself in the family way, this is a fun read (you can do it in an afternoon). If not, then I wouldn't bother. It just won't resonate unless you, too, experience what she's talking about.
The Gears (yes, they're married) are experts in their subject: paleo-indians living right around the end of the last ice age in what is now Canada. It's Young Adult, but don't let that sway you. It's full of archeological tidbits woven into a compelling plot about a civilization on the brink of destruction. There's even some nice tribal warring to spice things up. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment.
This one should be titled: "A History of Tectonics and the Settling of the West...and a Few Chapters About The Great California Earthquake of April 1906." Dense, rife with information that you missed in High School Earth Science/Geology, this took me a loooooong time to read. But I did read it - cover to cover. And I now feel like I know a little bit more about the ground upon which I live. Even better that currently that ground houses the San Andreas Fault and I have a better understanding of earthquakes. I also have added a few places to my "must travel" list - places where the earth is so new it hasn't even hardened yet. If you're at all nerdy, this is a book you should at least take a stab at. Good stuff.
Like all of Green's recent novels, this one is about people who are putting their lives back together the best way they know how. There are also nice sub-plots: romance, intrigue, general life-happenings... She gives back story on every recurring character and that helps make them all the more real. It's a good beach/pool/bedrest book. More interesting than your basic fluff, but not so taxing that you miss what's going on if your poolside beverage is a little boozy.
Read. This. Series. Start with One For The Money and keep going. You've got LOTS to catch up on. With the exception of number 7 (which was great, but certainly not the best) there are guaranteed laugh out loud moments. Murder, mayhem, an ex-ho, an ex-special ops guy who is now a bounty hunter, a cop who makes everyone drool (in a good way) and generally pathetic criminals...what's not to like? Oh, and did I mention the crazy grandmother whose favorite passtime is going to funerals? It's a recipe for delightful. Trust me.
This one addresses my love of what realtors refer to as "The Handyman Special." The title refers to a family house that has been allowed to fall into disrepair...it also refers to the woman who's going to fix it. She's just been the unwitting pawn in a gigantic financial scandal and she flees home with her tail between her legs. She's got romance trouble, family trouble, financial trouble, and a giant decripit house- complete with a cantankerous old sqautter - buried deep in the South where people want to know who your "people" (relatives) are before they want to know anything else about you. I read this one by the pool in Vegas (ok, in the bath, but by the pool sounds much better) and then I was sad that I read it too quickly. Andrews delivers exactly what you're looking for: a feel good book with just the right amount of suspense, intrigue, and home-repair/antiquing tips.
Ah...the Mommy Memoir. I picked this one up based on a recommendation from my Aunt and the title. Because it's true. As with Belly Laughs, though, if you're not a mom/parent I'm not sure it would resonate with you. If you are, however, it's a fun little afternoon on the couch book. Interesting tidbit: Kogan's son plays young(est) Spock in the new Star Trek. He's very good for the five and a half minutes he's onscreen. Well, done! Also - I love that she whips around town with her kids on her Vespa. She's lived all over the world and she's not afraid of a little traffic. It's inspiring.
When I was seven or so, I was home sick from school one day and my mom brought me this book. Twenty (or so) years later, I still pull it out to read whenever I'm not feeling well. Morning sickness that lasts for months on end counts. It's a fairy tale - but this princess is not one dreamed up by Disney. She's quite plain looking and she has a distinct awkward phase, but she's full of moxie and isn't afraid to stand up to her parents when they decide that a dragon being allowed to lay waste to the countryside is the only way to marry her off. Finally, a princess I could relate to! Obviously this book is awesome because I have it memorized and still read it from time to time. You will, too. Especially if there's a seven year old girl who secretly wants to be a rebellious princess living inside you.
Why this book has been banned I will NEVER understand. It's got math, grammar, moral lessons...AND a talking dog with a clock in his side. I will be reading this one to my kids when the time comes. Assuming they don't mistake it for homework and grow bored with it on principle, that is.
Yes, they keep writing more of these. It's still Christmas, they're still in St bath's, and someone is still trying to off our Heroine. I'll admit that I was shocked at who the culprit was, but I'm not giving it away. The books are significantly better than the lame web-series they put together. Save your five-minutes-at-a-time streaming attention span and READ these instead. You'll be much, much happier. These are for the Seventeen year old girl who secretly wants to be a rebellious princess living inside you.
The last in the Ivy League/Secret Society Girl series. And still very good. Start with Secret Society Girl and work your way through. They're based at a very poorly disguised Yale (Eli University) and follow the senior year of the first group of girls admitted to the exclusive Rose and Grave Secret Society. Antics, near-death experiences, love-affairs...the stuff good summer reading is made of.
This is not the first in the series. I read it anyway - having read not one word of Alexander's work before. I was not disappointed. A murder mystery set in the late 1800s, told from the perspective of a female amateur detective (in this book she is on her honeymoon, having recently married a professional detective.) They are, of course, wealthy and connected. They are, of course, eventually wanted dead - but that doesn't happen until after they try to solve a murder that has taken place in the Sultan's palace. Yup. There's a Sultan involved. I may have to start at the beginning with these and see where they lead me.
So there you have it. Thirteen VERY late reviews.