Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So after I wrote that last post about books I'm going to read in July, I went to Amazon to see if Harry Potter is available on the Kindle.  To my dismay.  It is not.

And apparently JKR has a "philosophical" reason for not wanting her books on e-readers.

To which I say ... grow up and into the next century please.

I love my Kindle.  It in no way replaces my actual books.  Nor does it assuage my book buying addiction.  But I love my Kindle.  I love the idea that I have my library with me, at all times, and with the flick of a finger I could summon up the words to my favorite stories.

I also love that carrying it in my purse doesn't put a stitch in my back for two weeks.

Everyone I show my Kindle to is enthralled.  I was recommending it to someone else just this past weekend.  And I continue to visit Amazon.com and hit the "I want to read this on my Kindle!" button in the hopes that enough of those will wake publishers up to the new millenia.

So JK and Scholastic ... 1980 called.  They said it really was okay to move on.

What's on Your Nightstand - June

Hosted by 5 Minutes for Books this is the post where I tell you all about what I read this past month.  And this month, I'm actually on time!

So this past June I read:

And I'm currently reading, First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria.  Which, I should have finished before the 30th, personal and work life permitting.

So how does this fare against what I said I would read?  AWESOME, that's how it fares.  I read everything on that list (if I finished FCL,TCM that is).  I should get a medal.  Granted, to make it easy on myself, I only had 4 books on that list and two of them were Chick Lit.

But, where do we go from here?  Next month I would like to read:

The Tory Widow, Christine Blevins
The Girl from Junchow, Kate Furnivall
Run, Anne Patchett
Evermore, Alyson Noel
The Tea Rose, Jennifer Donnelly

This list is ambitious.  One - because two of those books I don't own.  Two - because I have two weddings to go to in July, one of which is my sister's so I'm heavily involved in the planning, and who knows when I'll find time to read.

SNAP!  I just remembered.  I have to read (and I mean have to read) Harry Potter 6!  Wow.  This list IS ambitious!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's in a Name: Friday Night Knitting Club

Friday Night Knitting Club, by Kate Jacobs

Georgia Walker runs Walker and Daughter, a premier knitting shop in downtown New York.  She's been raising her 12 year old daughter, Dakota, alone and running the shop and has been doing just fine thank you, with help from her friends.

Kind of accidentally, a group of strangers starts meeting every Friday night to get tips on knitting projects, to escape lonely apartments and procrastinate from school work.  And the knitting club is born.

There is a large cast of characters here, all revolving around Georgia and the knitting shop.  There's the married Darwin who's husband is away doing a residency, the single Lucie who desperately wants a baby, K.C. who's been laid off and looking for a new direction, wise Anita, widowed and looking at her future, and Peri, the entrepeneur who makes purses out of the shop and runs the cashier.  And James, Georgia's long lost love (and Dakota's father) and Cat, Georgia's long lost friend from high school.

As is often a problem in these novels ... the multiple points of view gets old for me.  And some of the characters were more interesting then others.  The story itself was often slow, and meandering, and not very cohesive.

The best part was the knitting, and the yarn, and Anita.  Many of the other characters felt cliche to me.  Including Georgia, who's saint act wore on.  Everyone loves her, she's such a great person, she's never annoying, she's always right, and everyone admires her and dotes on her.  She's the perfect mother, friend and girlfriend.  And yet, in her POV, she's unaware of this constant barrage of attention?  Please.

I think I'll give this one 3 stars.  It was pleasant, in a sugar-sweet, rush to the end kind of way.  It took me a week to finish which means I didn't like it that much.  But it did get me knitting again.  Which is cool.  I liked the knitting part.  And I think I even learned something.  Or rather, I read about something that made me curious so I researched and learned something.  Which is always fun.

Beach read, definitely.  If you're a knitter, it'll make you want to find a nice eccentric shop and see if they have classes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Made in the U.S.A.

Made in the U.S.A, by Billie Letts

I was able to win a copy of this book from All About {N} last month.  I started it yesterday and finished it this evening.

Lutie and Fate McFee (15 and 11, respectively) are living in Spearfish, SD with their father's ex-girlfriend when she unexpectedly dies in the check-out line at Walmart.  Questioned by the police and faced with the foster care system, Lutie and Fate steal her car and head out to find their Dad in Las Vegas.  What they find is dark, distrubing, and hopeful.  They end up in Hugo, OK, with a circus family, where they try to find a place to belong.

Billie Letts first novel was Where The Heart Is, which honestly, I can't remember if I've read.  Since I can't remember, I'm going to say that I haven't.  But I have read, Honk and Holler Opening Soon, which I adored.  She has a talent for (strange names that for some reason work) believable, marginalized characters that are usually on the raw end of hopeless and almost always need just a little bit of help to get themselves back to rights.

In Made, Lutie and Fate have lost both their parents to one thing or another, and been neglected their entire lives.  Scared and not sure how to remain safe and fed, they make terrible decisions.  It was really hard to read the beginning parts of this book because you just want to scoop them both up and hug them and say, "here, let me help you."  And you want to save them from themselves.

It didn't "fix" itself enough for me, and the ending felt a tad rushed.  Or ... I'm not sure.  I was so uncomfortable yet riveted to the first parts of the novel I think I expected an equal measure of relief when they finally came to a place to settle and when that didn't happen I was a tad disappointed.

I will say that her description of Las Vegas was a bit ... dramatic.  It is called Sin City but there are many houses off the strip and an Air Force Base and regular people that live there too.  I think the Governor of that state would take issue with her descriptions.  And at some points she makes it sound like all that stuff is only possible in Vegas ... and it really, sadly, happens everywhere.

All in, a good book.  Very glad I read it.  Obviously I was caught up in the story and characters as I flew through it, and it's got some pretty dark subject matter.  I read the author's note / short story at the end and the interview and Lett's personal story explains a great deal of why she wrote some of this.  Her and her husband took on some foster kids for a time, and some of this is what she feared for them, or maybe even what she heard of from them.

But the last question from Lett's was really sad.  Her husband of 50 years died last year.  This book was dedicated to him.  When asked what she was working on next, Letts answered that she was unsure, because she's adjusting to life alone.  She admits, she may have lost her muse.

I say read this one.  And then hug your children.  And your grandmother.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dead to the World

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

It's been a month since Sookie was in Jackson trying to save her cheating, now ex-boyfriend from a crazy group of vampires that were trying to kill him.  So it's somewhat surprising when Bill (cheating ex) shows up on her porch step telling her he's off to Peru of all places for the forseeable future, oh and could she watch his house for him?

Adding to it, driving home from Merlotte's one night she comes across a half naked man running down the side of the road.  Low and behold it's the haughty Eric; only he has no idea who he is or why he's running or who Sookie is.

When the Shreveport Vamps find out Sookie has Eric, they ask her to hide him in her home while they sort through the mess with some crazy, wacked out witches.  Sookie and her brother Jason agree, but then Jason myseteriously disappears and Sookie is left (mostly) alone trying to help Eric, search for her brother, and try to stick to her New Years Resolution of not getting beat up.

This is the 4th in the series and it was much better than Club Dead.  Eric was probably the best part of Club Dead and I looked forward to more of him in this book, even if his character wasn't really ... him.  I had a hard time liking this new Eric becaue he lacked that sarcastic, egocentric wit that Eric just exudes.  There are a light spoilers ahead so please be warned ...

And then there's Sookie and Bill.  This is hard because I realize the author wants/wanted to move past Bill but ... I just don't believe Sookie cares about Eric the way she cared about Bill.  Maybe that's intentional.  Or maybe I'm just biased.  But the believability was there for me in the first two novels with Sookie and Bill and with Sookie and Eric it's just sort of ... not there.

As also happens in series novels, the author spends several annoying paragraphs doing the "Last time on Sookie Stackhouse..." routine which I realize is necessary but it kind of gets old.  I skip those parts.  As I'm probably expected too.

I like this series and I think the whole storyline is interesting and worth following along.  Louisianna is a good backdrop and I can imagine quite clearly what some of these characters are like.  Definitely worth picking up and at 290 pages it's a breeze to finish and easy (light!) to carry around with you.
I won another book!  The 19th Wife, by David Ebershoff, through the Good Reads First Reader program!

I love this winning books bit!  I have to review them though, or you stop winning.  Because the whole reason publishers give places like Good Reads and book bloggers books to give away is they want people to talk about them and review them.

Still ... what a very pleasant start to my weekend!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chick Lit: Queen of Babble in the Big City

Queen of Babble in the Big City, Meg Cabot (3rd book for Chick Lit Challenge!)

The second book in the Queen of Babble series, we find Lizzie in New York City after her summer in France with her best friend Shari, Shari's boyfriend Chaz, and Luke, Lizzie's new boyfriend.

So everything's great, except that Lizzie has no job, no money, and no place to live.  Deathly afraid that the big bad city is going to chew her up and spit her out like it did some girl from Anne Arbor named Kathy, Lizzie takes a job that earns no pay, and agrees to live with Luke, who she's known for 3 months.

This book felt like a continuation of the other book.  Which, hello, it should as it's a series.  But more than that, it felt like it was supposed to be part of the same book.  Like Cabot wrote it all at one time, her publisher got a hold of it and said "I bet we can make three books" and chopped it up at the desireable points.

This is beneficial for one reason - I didn't have to sit through a chapter of "previously, on Queen of Babble."  Which gets soooo annoying.

It's also irritating, for one reason - the ending does not feel like an ending but more like an annoying cliff hanger from a prime time soap opera.  What will happen to Lizzie now?  What will her answer be?  How will she get out of this jam?

And, I can see the end from here.  It's not a bad ending, and really with Chick Lit, who can't see the end from 50 pages in?  It's part of it's charm.  It's comfort food in that you know what it tastes like, and it tastes good.  Chocolate ice cream for the book lover soul.

I still miss Luke.  He had that one charming scene on the train in the first book and it's like he's never been heard from again.  It makes me sad.  Shari, also, took a big jump out of this story, and was replaced by Tiffany and the lovely french people that own the bridal store.  Both of these are very funny characters, and I hope they are present in the next one.

I enjoyed the book, finished it in no time, and I enjoyed the back story of the wedding dress refurbishment and all the wedding info / quotes throughout.  Like I said, we're sort of in "wedding mode" around here so it's fitting and fun.  Definitely worth picking up at the library or the used book store.