February 28, 2015

Are you hungry for books? I AM.

My initial thought about Hallowe'en Party was that it was written in a vastly different style from the other Hercule Poirot mysteries that I had read by Agatha Christie. The reason, I quickly ascertained, was that it was one of her later works (1969 to be exact) and her narrative voice (as well as the times) had vastly changed. Christie certainly knew how to adapt to stay 'en vogue' because I had to check more than once that it wasn't some weird adaptation that I was reading instead. This mystery involves a retired Poirot being called in to consult on a murder by a friend (a female mystery writer of great repute who loves apples). What struck me is how often the characters mentioned individuals with mental disorders and how they were 'let out because of overcrowding in the hospitals'. Was that a huge concern in the 60s? The story was very convoluted so that you had to constantly re-write the timeline of events as they unfolded (the past caught up to the present in a big way). I wouldn't say this was in any way one of my favorites (Murder on the Orient Express which was my first Poirot mystery remains my absolute favorite) but I did rush home to finish the last 10 pages...

Up next is something completely different. I'm going to be reviewing The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. This is exactly what it sounds like: recipes by several American mystery writers and edited by Kate White. My plan is to read through the scattered excerpts and try out some of the recipes to let you know how they go. If you have another idea of how I could review it then do let me know! XD

February 25, 2015

A journey of self-discovery left me with a flat tire on the side of the road

As the title suggests, I've been on an epic journey of self-discovery and the title of this journey is The Magicians. I'd like to say that this was a pleasant journey that opened up my horizons and led me to unheard of heights of imagination and wonder. Alas, that is not the case. I'm going to come clean to you, guys. I couldn't do it. I couldn't finish this book. I gave it my best shot but on the train yesterday morning I decided that I was going to throw in the towel despite being a little over halfway finished. Here's what happened: I wanted something like Harry Potter but set in the non-magical world with adults. Instead I got angst. SO much angst. There's a big difference between realistic fantasy (There's no doubt that these characters are real because they have real issues and problems...with a dash of fantasy thrown in i.e. this book.) and fantastic reality (Wait, is that a dragon? Holy cow, I just levitated! Gee willikers, I can control forces heretofore undreamed of by man or beast...with a dash of reality thrown in  i.e. most other fantasy novels.) I was looking for something fun which would transport me to another world. What I got instead were young adults abusing alcohol, having promiscuous sex, lamenting their genius level IQ's, and whining about the monotony of studying spells. Basically, that wasn't what I thought I was signing up for and once I figured that out (two weeks later) I wanted out in the worst way. Soooo that's my review of 60% of Lev Grossman's The Magicians. It wasn't my cup of tea but it might be yours. :-)

Before I delve into another lofty text (it's another trilogy), I thought I'd read a quick Agatha Christie novel that I've been holding over from Halloween. It's a Hercule Poirot mystery aptly titled Hallowe'en Party. This is one of those Poirot mysteries where he is no longer working directly with the police force but is called into consult on a case that involves one of his friends (who is a female mystery write no less!). The start of this book is quite different to all of the others I've read from Christie but it's proving already to be vastly entertaining. I can't wait to get back to you with my review!

February 5, 2015

Oh dear, is this the start of another book series?: An Autobiography

I'm going to be forthright with you guys. I was disappointed in Seriously...I'm Kidding (which is a strange statement to make considering that title). I guess I was expecting more comedic memoir and less relentless stand-up in book format. I did say in my last post that I thought that was the premise but I was still hoping for more. Now this isn't Ellen's first book. It's actually her third and so I'm wondering if perhaps the other two captured more what I was looking for from her. That isn't to say that there weren't funny parts. It's Ellen for goodness sake! This is just to say that I was looking for something else and this wasn't it. If you're looking for a quick read that is light and easy then I would recommend this to you (especially if you enjoy Ellen's sense of humor). If you're looking for a comedic memoir I encourage you to look elsewhere.

A while back I took a trip to one of my favorite places on the planet: Strand Books (this is not an endorsement but boy howdy if you want to give me free books I will take them). While I was there, I did my typical "Oh boy! I've been wanting to read this one!" while grabbing up everything in my eyesight. One of the books I grabbed (which was suspiciously near the front entrance) was The Magicians by Lev Grossman. This book had been on my radar for quite a while. It's been on it so long that the author finished the trilogy (of which The Magicians is the first book). As the title suggests, this is a book about magic in the modern age (in New York of all places). Honestly, I was hooked within the first few pages so unless something goes horribly awry I'm most likely going to be in this for the long haul (I'm talking to you remaining two books in the trilogy). I'll let you know how it goes in my next post! :-D

I hope you're all staying warm because this winter is the pits!!

January 31, 2015


It was a little over a year ago that I was writing a post very similar to this one when the blog reached 5,000 page views. I was absolutely stunned at that number and so to see that it's tipped over 10,000...well, it's frankly robbed me of words.

I just want to thank you, reader, for dropping by my blog. I hope you've gotten something out of it because I know that I certainly have. I love writing this blog. I look forward to choosing books which I think will be interesting for you to try and I love posting my reviews for you all to read. So thanks for sticking with me. XD

Here's to 10,000 more!!!

This book should come with a warning

*I'm going to break one of my rules and give you guys a tiny spoiler. This is also a warning for those of you who might be triggered by sexual assault. Even though I had seen both film adaptations for Let the Right One In I was completely unprepared for what lay ahead for me in this book. Whereas gore, violence, and death have little to no effect on me some of the themes in this book gave me nightmares. There are graphic depictions of pedophilia, male castration, sodomy, and rape. If you want me to give you the page numbers so that you can otherwise enjoy this novel I think I can make that happen.*

Now with that bit out of the way I can focus on the rest of the book. Let the Right One In is a unique spin on the vampire tale. There are several mini stories that converge on the two main characters: Oskar and Eli. Oskar is a bullied boy with a thirst for revenge. Eli is the mysterious 12 year old who moves in next door and bewitches Oskar almost immediately. Eli is also a vampire. (This isn't a spoiler because this is a vampire novel, ya'll. Someone had to be a vampire.) This is no Twilight. That isn't to say that there aren't romantic tones but it's completely different from Edward and Bella. For one thing, they're 12 year olds. For another...well I don't want to give that part away. Lindqvist is a fantastic writer (and since it's been translated I'm sure it's even better in Swedish). There are so many themes that are covered in this book: bullying, discovering your true self, alcoholism, drug addiction, abuse (emotional and physical), and true love just to name a few. And because I have some kind of masochistic streak I've just discovered that he revisited these characters in a short story collection titled Let the Old Dreams Die which of course I've just added to my TRL. XD

I decided to go in a slightly different direction after reading Let the Right One In and so next up is Ellen Degeneres's Seriously...I'm Kidding. From what I can tell this is basically Ellen's stand-up in book format. O_O

January 24, 2015

Body snatching and the Shelleys

I'm guessing most of you have read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Have you ever wondered about the history of the author and how she came to write such a story before she'd even turned 20 years old? Well, if you didn't um...well you probably won't be interested in what I've just read. If you did, then hold onto your hats! The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo is the book for you! A large portion of the book is dedicated to the history of galvanism (electricity applied to muscles and its reactions) and the preoccupation of reanimation in the early 1800s. This fascination was not relegated to those in the sciences but also crossed over to the literary world as well. This is where the Shelleys come into play. Percy Bysshe Shelley, the poet, had an obsessive interest in galvanism and discussed this at length with his wife who had an equal interest in the subject and in particular, reanimation. Are you seeing where this is headed? The author discusses the history of the sciences while also delving into the marriage of these two iconic literary figures. I'd say the only thing this book was lacking was a more fleshed out appendix (remember I'm an uber nerd who actually reads these things). Other than that, I'd say this was an excellent book. It provided a lot of interesting information on an unfamiliar topic and I find myself wanting to learn more which is definitely the mark of a good book. :-)

In a move which no one could have anticipated, I've decided to read a vampire novel next. Let the Right One In is a Swedish novel by an author named John Ajvide Lindqvist. It has been adapted into two rather fantastic films (hence why I even know about this book). I'm hoping that it answers some questions that I had after seeing the films and I'm also hoping that I can come back with a favorable review for you guys! This isn't your typical vampire story, ya'll.  XD

January 1, 2015

2014 Book Roundup

It's that time again! I had a secret goal to read at least 50 books this year. I think I did alright. ;-)

  1. In the Shadow of Man
  2. Doctor Who: Beautiful Chaos
  3. Out of the Silent Planet
  4. Perelandra
  5. The Rubber Band
  6. The Red Box
  7. #zombie
  8. Hollow City
  9. The Spy
  10. How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity
  11. William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back
  12. The Last Policeman
  13. Countdown City
  14. Devil's Acre: A Russian Novel
  15. That Hideous Strength
  16. I Am Scout
  17. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  18. The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis
  19. D is for Dahl
  20. Doctor Who: Nightshade
  21. Danny, The Champion of the World
  22. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  23. The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss
  24. Room
  25. Death Comes to Pemberley
  26. Below Stairs
  27. World of Trouble
  28. Mary Poppins
  29. Eaarth
  30. Turing: Pioneer of the Information Age
  31. Booky Wook 2
  32. Dune
  33. The House of Special Purpose
  34. Brida
  35. In the Garden of Beasts
  36. The Seven Lives of John Murray: The Story of a Publishing Dynasty
  37. Curse of the Narrows
  38. Horrorstor
  39. The Rise and Fall of Great Powers
  40. The Imperfectionists
  41. The Bees
  42. The Orphan Master's Son
  43. Doctor Who: Enemies of War
  44. Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror
  45. Doctor Who: The Blood Cell
  46. Doctor Who: Silhouette
  47. Star Trek Into Darkness
  48. The Removers
  49. Operation Mincemeat
  50. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
  51. The Adventures of Ben Gunn
  52. Bridget Jones's Diary
  53. The Clocks
  54. Wasps' Nest
  55. The Sherlock Holmes Handbook
  56. Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead
  57. Revolution
  58. Girl Online
  59. Divergent
  60. Lights Out