Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Actor and the Housewife

by Shannon Hale

from Shannon Hale's website:
Mormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets celebrity heartthrob Felix Callahan. A few hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later, something has happened, though nothing has isn't sexual. It isn't even quite love. But soon Felix shows up in Salt Lake City to visit and before they know what's hit them, Felix and Becky are best friends--talk-on-the-phone, drop-everything-in-an-emergency, laugh-out-loud-at-stupid-jokes best friends. Becky's loving and devoted husband, Mike, is mostly unconcerned. Her children roll their eyes. Her large extended family and neighbors gossip endlessly. But Felix and Becky have something special... something unusual, something that seems from the outside--and sometimes from the inside too--completely impossible to sustain.

I'm not quite sure how I felt about this book. I read it very quickly - something that is odd at the moment. So, on the one hand the book at least sucked me in. And, I will admit, I was curious how it would all come together in the end. On the other hand, it left me feeling a bit strange. I tried to explain it all to my husband and couldn't, so I would guess I won't be very successful here either.

In order to enjoy this story at all, you must remember that it's made up and as impractical as the whole thing is (because it is on many many levels) it kind of works if you let it.

Becky is great in her own little way. She's not preachy (most of the time), and I loved her never-ending love for her husband. I love the idea of their relationship. It just made me smile.

Felix didn't do as much for me, though he is quite funny.

I thought the ending worked, though I'm not sure if it's what I wanted or not.

A mostly enjoyable read. Nothing like I expected.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Alcatraz vs the Scivener's Bones

by Brandon Sanderson
my review of Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians is here.

Alcatraz is preparing to escape the hushlands for the free kingdoms when his grandfather fails to show up at the airport to pick him up. Instead Alcatraz catches a ride in a giant glass dragon with his cousin Australia, uncle Kaz, Bastille, and Bastille's (grouchy) mother. Together they must infiltrate the Library at Alexandria and save Grandpa Smedry.

This book is very clever. Annoyingly so at times (the three chapters in a row where he talks about erasing the beginning of the last chapter and inserting the following bit wasn't too funny by the end), but mostly the cleverness is funny. I do admit that I was in a silly mood when I read it though - if you're looking for anything remotely serious, this book is not for you.

Alcatraz is still trying to figure everything out, especially how to use his talent wisely. But, he's gaining control and is able to once again save the day.

I enjoyed Australia very much. She cracked me up, and her talent of waking up ugly was too funny.

I look forward to the next book in this series.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June Books

This month was not a super successful reading (or reviewing) month for me. Life's been kind of busy and stressful (and it looks like we're moving across the country in a couple weeks, so the stress isn't really lightening up...). And, I've found that I just can't force myself to sit and read. No promises that July will be super productive, but hopefully by August life will be back to normal and reading/reviewing can start up again.

Middle Readers

Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Mustache Mary, by Wendelin Van Draanen (audio book) *

  • I love Sammy - this one was my favorite in the series so far
Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy, by Wendelin Van Draanen (audio book) *
  • Yep, still love her
Alcatraz vs. the Scrivener's Bones, by Brandon Sanderson
  • This series is a crack up.
Young Adult Books
Heroes of the Valley, by Jonathan Stroud
  • Sadly, not nearly as fun (or fast-paced or funny) as his Bartimaeus series
Fiction Books
All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows *
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
  • Very enjoyable. I sincerely hope a review is coming soon
Non-Fiction Books
The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff