USS Cecily: A Paper Ship

This blog navigates my reading- from projects like reading through the "horrid novels" mentioned in "Northanger Abbey" to random books that have wandered through the bookstore I work at to my latest dive into the wonderful world of Young Adult novels and beyond!

Comet in Moominland (Moomintrolls)

Comet in Moominland - Tove Jansson, Elizabeth Portch Often presented as the first Moomin book, Comet is a little bit darker than the others. It does, after all, concern the coming of a comet! Each of the odd personalities of Moominland copes with this knowledge in a different way-- the story becoming more about how they see the problem than the problem itself. Because of this focus, it is the perfect introduction to the personalities presented in the rest of the series.

Some parents may be reluctant to share this book with their children because of the darker themes (and highly improbable mathematics), but I think it would be a fine choice for a prolific reader in the fourth grade or higher.

The Soul Mirror: A Novel of the Collegia Magica

The Soul Mirror - Carol Berg I had my doubts about this book at first. (There was mention of a raven's call startling our heroine on the first page. I had to roll my eyes a little! It's always a raven... why can't anyone in a book be startled by a Guinea hen-- now there's a startling bird call!)

I had my doubts, partially because I did not enjoy the first book as much as I could have. I was delighted to have a new narrator, but skeptical that Anne would actually be different in tone from Portier. I was delightfully wrong!

Anne is possibly my favorite narrator in the series (I am in the second half of the third book as I write this review.) She's gutsy, yes, and smart-- but I don't love her for that. I love her because it takes her awhile to process things. The mystery stayed dark for me mostly because I was enjoying her process too much to want to "Nancy Drew" and figure it out before she did. Best of all though, she didn't like Portier at the start either. We were in cahoots and our opinions of the man changed together over the course of the book. I really needed that, especially if I am going to reread the series at a later date.

The fantasy elements in this book were amazing for me. I kept imagining what objects or effects would look like in a movie, as well as relishing in any explanations given along the way.

I flew through this book. Because of that, I can recommend the entire series now.

The Spirit Lens: A Novel of the Collegia Magica

The Spirit Lens - Carol Berg I think this book would have been better or me if I had liked the narrator. The mystery elements, the fantasy, and all other elements of genre fiction were all stellar, I just could not get into Portier's narrative.

I came across this book by way of an internet friend who swears by the series and I confess I did not go in with high expectations. However, the moment the trio (Portier, Illario, Dante) was formed and I knew more about the world... I wanted to know more and more and more.

Would I recommend this book to a friend? On it's own, no, but for it's place in the series... definitely.

Dragon Slippers

Dragon Slippers  - Jessica Day George If you hate a good laugh you probably should not read this book. Luckily, I LOVE to laugh just as much as I love strong heroines and delicious dragon based fantasy stories. (Hey- this book has those things as well!) If the idea of a shoe collecting dragon makes your eyes roll then I doubt you will survive the first chapter, which is a shame. It really is a charming little book.

In the spirit of Patricia C. Wrede's "Dealing with Dragons" (which was the love of my middle school years) this is a story about a girl who does not need to be rescued, no matter how many dragons she encounters. Creel is one of the most likable heroines I have ever encountered. She does not plan for everything, but even in the face of the unexpected she is hardworking and brave enough to make up for any lack of foresight. This girl has her priorities all in line and her heart is exactly where it belongs. She treats the dragons as fellow human beings (as one should) and shows and understanding for her fellow creatures that appears to be as rare in her world as it is in ours.

My favorite thing about Creel has nothing to do with dragons though and everything to do with her determination to be self sufficient. She could have easily stayed in a cozy place at any point in the story (and therefor DENIED us a story!) but she stuck to her plan and her principles throughout. No wand waving problem solving here: Creel made it to success as a seamstress (and a heroine) on her own.

Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 2)

Living Dead in Dallas  - Charlaine Harris A less than twenty-four hour read, the only time I put this book down was when I was literally too tired to make out the words. I guess that means it was good.

As I mentioned in my review of "Dead Until Dark," these books are like Nancy Drew books to me. I read through this one quickly, trying to figure out the mysteries before Sookie did. Like any series book, I do not believe this to be one of the greatest works of literature I have ever read... but I will say it was one of the most FUN.

As with the first book, I love the gritty realism of this series. Waitressing is not fun, people WORK for a living and, yes, humans are just as bad as vampires. (Sometimes more so.)

More than "Dead Until Dark," I can TELL this is a series book. While all story specific ties were tied by the end, there was so much more world building and hints of things to come. The Big Bad that is the Fellowship of the Sun is introduced, we get more shape-changer specifics, yet another brand of supernatural beings, human issues like sexuality and race are brought to the table and, well, the world is bigger than Bon Temps, isn't that interesting?

Also, for my interest, there was a little more history in this one. Honestly, the biggest appeal of vampires for me is that they serve can serve as eyewitnesses to times long past. I love the little glimpses into where the vampires came from in time (as well as nationalities. How long does it take for a Nordic accent to go away entirely?)

Looks like I am in it for the series now, rather glad I bought "Club Dead" in advance.

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 1)

Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris Preface: other than a brief obsession with Angel (after he got his own show) I was never a big fan of vampires. It is like the horse phase, I figured, some girls get it and some girls don't. I never much cared for horse or vampire books... and I figured I never would.

So much for that theory!

This book is not "just a vampire book." I found it shelved under mystery in the bookstore where I work and, really, that is how I would shelve it now that I have read it. The whole book I found myself doing something I associate with Nancy Drew books: trying to solve the puzzle before the heroine. In this case, I was stumped on every turn- which is nice, really.

Like Nancy Drew, I know this book cannot possible be as good as my opinion of it. I love mysteries, fun characters and well built settings- all three are offered here. Still, at the end of the day... this is a guilty pleasure.

In conclusion, here is are some of my early thoughts while reading the book (from my blog):
Sookie Stackhouse. Reading the first book as my library read for the week. I figure it was only fair, after all... I gave Twilight a fighting chance, didn't I? So far it is not horrible. There is a great awareness of how silly vampire fandom is hanging over the whole thing, the main vampire is name Bill (of all things), the heroine kicks serious ass without being a Slayer-type, the mystery plot is intriguing and I am a sucker for the deep South setting, as a Northern lass who tries to avoid the place like the plague. Oh, and Sookie being a waitress, I like that. Waitressing is actually portrayed unromantically and realistically (all the bits about covering tables for the other girls, getting called in, ect. ... as an ex-waitress, it makes my feet hurt in remembrance!) and, really, I do love that it sort of grounds Sookie and the story in a more believable world. No one is rich, she worries about taxes when her Gran dies and sleeps in a giant Mickey Mouse t-shirt, not some fancy PJs.

There is plenty of vampire lovin', of course. (What kind of vampire book would this be if no one got laid? Oh, right, TWILIGHT. I never read the sequels, but the whole first one was like "Edward, do me!" "Not 'til we're married, which will be never. Let's go play baseball in the rain.") There are fang-bangers (a not so subtle nod to vampire fangirls and boys the world over), people who get off on being bitten and such, but there is a line drawn between these types and Sookie, who honestly seems disgusted by most other vampires and sometimes by Bill as well.

Anyway, it's a fun vampire read. I expect it would be more fun if I actually liked vampires to begin with (or would I just feel insulted by the fang-bangers?), but there is enough of a plot to keep me going despite my indifference. If I ever need a quick read in the future I might even try some of the sequels, that's more than I can say for a certain other vampire series.

The Little Prince

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Katherine Woods Just read it.

Sundays at Tiffany's

Sundays at Tiffany's - James Patterson I read this book in less than 24 hours. I was putting out the bargin bin at the bookstore where I work when suddenly a terrible title caught my eye. "How many pages 'til they reference Audrey Hepburn or Truman Capote?" I wondered, taking it behind the counter with me.

Never is the answer, by the way, unless I very much missed something.

The entire time I was reading this book I felt that I should not be. It was a guilty pleasure with more guilt than pleasure. A cutesy-but-creepy story about a girl, her imaginary friend and her drama-queen (literally) mother. And I LIKED it. How did this happen? Am I really so Cinderella-vs-Evil Stepmother BASIC? Maybe.

I cannot really recommend this book. It "happened" to me, it "followed me home" and, heck, I enjoyed it- but I would not dream of forcing that much literary sugar-coating down anyone else's throat.

Literary junk-foodie? Be my guest.

Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild

Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild - David Stenn Does anyone write a biography quite like David Stenn? It reads like a novel but smacks of psychology and truth- in the best of ways.

Currently reading

Holly Black
The Iron Knight
Julie Kagawa
The Ionian Mission (Aubrey/Maturin Book 8)
Patrick O'Brian
Reading Sex in the Eighteenth Century: Bodies and Gender in English Erotic Culture
Karen Harvey
The Mysteries of Udolpho
Ann Radcliffe