Monday, July 27, 2009

From aspargus to zucchini

From asparagus to zucchini by Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition

I checked this book out of the library about three times before I just bought it. It is a cookbook, but so much more. I have fun reading about the various vegetables and how to store them and prepare them. If you've ever looked at a vegetable at the farmer's market and wondered what in the world to do with it, this book can tell you. Just joined a CSA and seeing a remarkable number of vegetables you've never heard of? Read this book.

Start me up

Start me up by Victoria Dahl

As a librarian, I rarely buy books for myself, but Borders had a sale. I blogged the first book in this series earlier this year (Talk me down). Dahl takes readers back to Tumble Creek, Colorado for Lori Love's shot at happily ever after. The female mechanic is set on living with the status quo, but a little sex would be an acceptable change of pace. Along comes her best friend's brother, the severely focused architect every girl wanted in high school. He's even more buff now.

Too bad she's also got to contend with the sheriff reopening the case into her father's untimely death and someone seems to want to run her out of town.

Lucky Lori finds herself a man willing steal the steamy books she's currently reading to get insight into what she wants. She wants her books, dammit; what she gets is so much better.
Another sassy, sexy read.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How to ditch your fairy

How to ditch your fairy by Justine Larbalestier

What a fun book! The main character wants to get rid of the fairy that allows any car she is riding in to find the perfect parking spot. She finds a way, but has to admit that some things are worse than the known evils in our lives. The synopsis on the cover of this book promises that readers will be able to recognize what kind of fairy they have by the time the book is finished. I'd have to say that I have a "running into stationary objects" fairy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sleepy little alphabet

The sleepy little alphabet by Judy Sierra

An absolutely fun new picture book. It has been compared to the now classic "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom." There's great attention to rhyme and alliteration. Earlier this week, Trisha and I had the opportunity to meet the illustrator, Melissa Sweet, at the American Library Association's national conference in Chicago. It's really fun to find a lesser recognized author or illustrator and say, "Hey, I already know your work, and love it." Some of the illustrations include images of fabrics to give the letters some depth. Ms. Sweet was very excited when we recognized one of the prints because the designer is very distinctive.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

This would be a pretty typical private investigator story - girl goes missing, family hires Little Detective Agency to find her, car chases ensue, several plot twists and eventually a happy ending.

But the book is instead made extraordinary by its narrator: Chet, a dog who is half of the Little Detective Agency (his human, Bernie, is the other half). While the story is related as if Chet is telling you the tale, at the same time the reader recognizes we're the only ones who can hear Chet: he's just a regular dog. OK maybe not "regular" - he's K9 trained - but certainly not super-powered or talking or anything.

Chet is a great character, and a great dog. He's as likely as any dog to get distracted by treats or cats or other animal invaders (his downfall, as the K9 final exam demonstrated). He understands some things about the human world, and other things leave him absolutely bewildered.

This is the first book in a new series of "Chet and Bernie Mysteries." I just received an uncorrected reader's proof of the second, "Thereby Hangs a Tail" (release set for January 2010).

I can't wait for more Chet!

Hot by Julia Harper

An armed robbery throws everything into an uproar at the small town First Wisconsin Bank of Winosha. In the post-robbery melee Turner Hastings suddenly realizes this is her big chance: while everyone else is distracted, she palms a key from the desk, walks to the vault, and dumps the contents of the bank president's personal lock box into her purse. Once she walks away, she's on the run.

FBI special agent John MacKinnon can't believe Turner's gall - they wouldn't have even noticed her theft on the tape if they hadn't gotten distracted and forgot to shut off the TV. Was Turner the mastermind behind the whole robbery? Why?

This book reads like Janet Evanovich - except with better sex! It was entertaining and light, but kept me interested.

I can't remember the last time I read a book like this, but I've already placed a hold for the only other Harper book in the library catalog.

Friday, July 3, 2009

My cat, the silliest cat in the world

My cat, the silliest cat in the world by Gilles Bachelet

Very funny. Older preschoolers and young school age kids will love the pictures of this cat doing all the daily routines any cat encounters. Eat, sleep, climb, ect. Toddlers will not really laugh at the fact that the "cat" in question is actually an elephant. This book is an absolute stitch with a room full of five year olds.

Diary of a wimpy kid

Diary of a Wimpy kid by Jeff Kinney

I'm not a kid, but I get it. I picked this up on the recommendation of an entire fourth grade class. I just couldn't finish it. I can completely understand the connection to the kid who tries to do what he should, and still gets himself into trouble. I think the fact that this is a middle child in the family is particularly appealing. He has some of the troubles of older siblings, some of the problems of younger siblings, and no matter what a child's birth order, they can relate to the main character. I just wasn't into it. Popped the first disc out of the CD player and put in Sugarland. Maybe someday I'll go back to the story to find out what happens.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Truth Hurts by Nancy Pickard

A non-fiction crime writer becomes the victim of her fame when anonymous threats demand she investigate her own lost family history and write her own story - right up until the inevitable bloody end.

Our bookclub read this book, and I have to say it was slow going for me: not a thrilling thriller, and not a mysterious murder-mystery. Although many of the other club members really enjoyed the book, I found it weak and a bit dull.

Although I do have to give kudos because I did not predict the ending - which is always a bonus in my book! I hate it when I can see the ending coming from a mile away.

The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar

It all starts with rockin' fairies thrown out of their clan for playing punk riffs rather than reels. As they travel their gang of fairy outcasts grows, until they eventually reach New York City.

A fairy fight results in the main characters splitting, and adopting a pair of humans: Dinnie, a bitterly angry, horrible violinist illegally subletting above a theater, and his neighbor Kerry, a sick, sweet girl with a pure heart who just wants to learn the guitar riffs to New York Dolls solos.

I've become a great fan of Terry Pratchett's "Wee Free Men" and other assorted fairy characters, and I hoped this book would be a good comparison. My overall assessment: a valid comparison, but not as strong. Funny, but more than slightly confusing.