Monday, August 26, 2013

Mystery Monday ft. Susan Elia MacNeal

    Susan Elia MacNeal is just one of the many fabulous authors that will be attending Bouchercon 2013 from September 19th to the 22nd. She's known mainly for her Maggie Hope Mysteries, an excellent mystery series set in World War 2 England with an intrepid and fascinating heroine. Whether you like historical fiction, or classic thrilling mysteries, Maggie Hope is the woman for you! Perfect for fans of Maisie Dobbs.

  1. Mr. Churchill's Secretary (9780553593617)
  2. Princess Elizabeth's Spy (9780345536730)
  3. His Majesty's Hope (978054536730) 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fairy Tale Friday

  When Mermaids Sleep by: Ann Bonwill (9780375870613)
       This is an absolutely goregous good night book that's filled with mermaids, pirates, wizards, unicorns, and dragons! Soothing, lyrical text accompanied with lush, textured illustrations.

     Vespa's family want her to become respectable and find a husband, while she would love nothing better than to spend the rest of her life working in her father's museum of unnatural history. Fate may have something else entirely in store for her, however! Vespa and Syrus Reed, the tinker, are trapped in an insidious web of plots and intrigue. A really fascinating mix of mythical creatures, Victorian London, and steampunk!

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by: Austin Kleon

   Whoever ever said "big things come in small packages" must have been referring to this gem of a book. Austin Kleon (author of Newspaper Blackout and Steal Like an Artist ) has written, by far, one of the most creative writing handbooks books I've ever read.
    Kleon knows that he's not the first person to write about the fact that all ideas grow from other ideas. He quotes a wide range of artists who share the same view point, including Picasso and Jay-Z, and offers a unique perspective on how to pull inspiration from other artists in order to create original art, whether it be writing, painting, or music.
    There's a fine line that separates stealing ideas and plagiarism and Austin Kleon manages to address that  point (along with many others) in an entertaining and cohesive way. All of his ideas are presented in short, visually appealing chapters full of valuable creative advice.
    Don't let the small size fool you- Steal Like an Artist is a wonderful guide for the modern day artist. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Light Between Oceans by: M.L. Stedman

   Tom Sherbourne accepts a job offering as a lighthouse keeper on Januce Rock hoping that he'll have time to recover from the physiological effects of war. He's a dutiful man, who takes his job seriously and enjoys the peacefulness of the island so far away from home.
     Before he started his new job, a man told Tom that it takes a certain kind of woman to be a wife of a light keeper. So when Tom met Isabel while feeding pigeons one day, he didn't suspect that the playful young woman would later become his wife.
     Isabel proves to be the perfect wife to accompany Tom during his time at Jaunce. She tends to their small home and goes about fulfilling wifely duties. While her tasks satisfy her need to keep busy, Isabel wants nothing more than to be a mother. Many miscarriages later, Isabel realizes that she may never bear a child.
     Lucy is driven into depression, and Tom doesn't know how to restore his wife's hope of having children, until one night when a small boat drifts ashore carrying the body of a dead man and a baby girl bundled in a woman's cardigan. Tom immediately wants to call for help and record the events in his log, as a good light keeper should, but his wife convinces him to put it off for just one day. Isabel is completely smitten with the baby girl whom she names Lucy. Tom warns his wife not to become too attached, but his efforts are futile. Isabel wholeheartedly believes Lucy is a gift from God and can't be swayed to believe otherwise. With a dreadful pit in his stomach, Tom agrees to keep baby Lucy as their daughter and sends the body and boat back to sea.
       For nearly two years Tom and Isabel raise Lucy as their daughter until Tom finishes his required time as the light keeper. Returning home with Lucy is shockingly different from what Tom and Isabel imagined it would be. It doesn't take long for the couple to realize that, despite what they thought, there are consequences to taking a child that isn't theirs.
       I read The Light Between Oceans whenever I could, even if it was only for a few minutes. M.L. Stedman has written such a engrossing novel it is almost impossible to read in more than one sitting. As the reader, you're aware that life for the Sherbournes isn't going to be an easy one-after all, they've committed a serious crime, even if they had good intentions. Stedman will have you rooting for the characters you love and biting your nails to find out their fate.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fairy Tale Friday

     Sometimes being a prince is not all it's cracked up to be. Sure, you might live a life of luxury, but, indeed, everyone has their own trials and tribulations! The princesses each have their own particular tale of bravery and derring-do, but alas, all of the princes are mere side-notes, lumped under the single name of "charming." Imagine being the subject of scurrilous and humiliating tales bruited about by impertinent and mocking minstrels! These are the adventures of a motley crew of more (or less) charming princes who set out to prove themselves as heroes, once and for all! Hilarious and swashbuckling!

Series in Order Thus Far:
#1: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by: Christopher Healy 978006211758
#2: The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle 
by: Christopher Healy 9780062118455

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wild by: Cheryl Strayed

Book of the Day: 
Wild by: Cheryl Strayed

   After many weeks of admiring the cover of Wild as it sat on the best-seller shelf, I finally decided to find out if it would live up to the hype or not.

   It does.

     Propelled by the death of her mother and a failing marriage, Cheryl decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail having never hiked before. Carrying an overstuffed hiker's backpack and wearing boots a size too small, she begins her journey completely inexperienced. Throughout the entire memoir I found myself absorbed in the details of her hike. Cheryl writes with the perfect combination of blunt honesty and humor. Whether she's writing about the blisters forming on her feet, or about the eccentric people she meets along the way, Cheryl Strayed will keep readers enthralled. I suspect Wild will become a modern classic right alongside Bill Bryson and Jon Krakauer.