Friday, April 27, 2012

Now reading The French Gardner by Santa Montefoire and Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Last night's meeting was fun, as always, and we were happy to welcome a few new members to the group.  Also, we decided on a date for going to see The Hunger Games movie at the Bangor Mall Cinemas.  It will be next Thursday, May 3rd, the early evening showing at 6:45PM.  Please note, this is not a library event, we are all meeting there outside of work but everyone is welcome!  :o)  I will post a confirmation on the exact time and meeting place after I call the theatre today.  For those of you who couldn't make it to last night's meeting, we are currently reading...

The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore and Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris.
May's Books
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These two books will be discussed at our May meeting!

I never know, nor can I begin to predict, how the book vote is going to go. Our ladies choose their own reads, nominate them, promote them, and the end result is always a surprise.  In this case, one winner was a last minute meeting addition.  The following two books (our June reads) and the winners of our book vote were...

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen.
June's Books
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These two books will be discussed at our June meeting!

One final note, we are breaking for summer and will not meet in July or August, but will be back in September for a fresh new reading year.  Fall Schedule  Please keep reading the blog as we will keep you all updated with book votes and our summer reads.  We did officially choose two summer reads for the group, to be discussed in the fall...  

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and Naked In Death by J.D. Robb. 
Summer's Books
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As always, hope to see you in our library someday soon,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Review by Jan:

First, I must confess that I have been off the grid for the last two weeks and on vacation in Florida---which was wonderful.  I'm back, relaxed and ready to discuss two books I brought as my beach reads.  Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich and Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin.

I highly enjoyed both books.  Our April meeting is tonight, so I will talk a bit about Wicked Appetite as it is one of this month's reading choices, and review Vengeance Born in a later post.

book jacketWicked Appetite is the first book in a new series by Janet Evanovich.  It centers around Lizzy Tucker, a gifted baker of cupcakes and is filled with a cast of quirky characters. Lizzy works in a bakery for a very patient boss, along with her best friend who is attempting to be a witch with a newly acquired spell book.  There is a paranormal element to the story, as Lizzy soon learns that she is one of two individuals with the ability to detect stones that hold the seven deadly sins.  This book centers around the hunt for the stone of gluttony.  I am assuming that we may get six other books in the future. 

Lizzy, attempting to have a perfectly normal life in Salem Massachusetts, is unwilling recruited by Diesel to help him in his quest to find the stones that contain the seven deadly sins, that in the wrong hands have the potential to unleash evil onto the world.  Diesel is an agent for a mysterious organization that protects humanity from objects of destruction.  For the most part, the agency he works for is kept a mystery throughout the book.  Diesel is the typically gorgeous hero, but cannot act on his attraction to Lizzy or one of them will lose their special abilities to hunt for potentially disastrous objects.  So, sorry ladies, no chili peppers in this book, but quite a bit of flirtation---so there is hope for the future books!  :o)

Diesel has a cousin, Wulf, who is also after the stones.  Wulf is portrayed as dark and self-serving, a magician type character who can burn flesh with his touch and who also wants the stones for his own mysterious purpose, which may not necessarily be to serve the welfare of humanity. 

Lizzy and Diesel soon discover that the stone of gluttony has been divided into four charms by its former guardian.  Upon his death, the guardian bequeathed the charms to his nieces and nephews, who all acquire attributes of gluttony while in possession of the stones. 

Basically, this book is about the quest to gather the charms that will lead to the stone of gluttony, but the journey is fun and quirky, a typical Evanovich book.  Along with gathering the charms, Lizzy ends up with a snarky monkey and a one-eyed cat.  It was the perfect beach read, quick and easy to follow.  More than one scene made me laugh out loud.  However, a lot of the magic of the story was left a mystery, which I can only assume will be delved into more extensively in future books.

Hope to see you all at tonight's meeting!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More book suggestions needed!

Well, we are looking for more book suggestions for our final reads before summer break.  We have extended our meeting time through June, then plan to take July and August off before restarting in September.  Fall 2012 Meeting Schedule

So, these books will be our last two until September.  That sounds so sad, doesn't it?  Maybe we'll have to vote in a few summer reads as well.  We are not going to do an online vote, so all books nominated will be up for contention at our next meeting.  As always, I've kept some old favorites that just don't seem to make that final vote.

Hope to see you all at our next meeting on April 26th at 6:00 pm!
Jan and Sarah

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Monday, April 9, 2012

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

A guest review from one of our NYOBG members

Actually... this came as a book suggestion for our next group read, but it was such a well described suggestion that I decided to post it as a guest review.  This is from SueCCCP.  She has several posts on her book review blog related to the read-along of this book if you have a moment to take a look...
 Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

book jacketIn the city of Camorr, the plague known as the Black Whisper is a disaster, killing everyone over eleven years old. However, this provides an opportunity for those who like to ‘adopt’ orphans. Slavers take most of them, but those who seem talented are apprenticed to the Thiefmaker and put to profitable work in the streets, markets and houses of the city. One particularly talented apprentice is tiny Locke Lamora, who displays a massive talent for the noble arts of theft and conman-ship. Unfortunately, young Locke doesn’t always foresee the outcomes of his schemes and drives the Thiefmaker to pass him along to Father Chains, a blind priest who spend his days begging outside his temple. I don’t want to provide any more background for the plot because it progresses in two timelines: one follows the training of Locke and the other apprentices that Chains molds into the Gentleman Bastards, while the second follows the adult Bastards as they relieve a nobleman of vast sums of money.

Locke and the other Bastards are all engaging characters and this debut novel is filled with wonderful detail and world building. It will keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat as their grand ‘game’ is unveiled and they have to deal with peril approaching from all sides. The fantasy setting is very well handled, leaving you wanting to learn more about the world, rather than boring you to death with irrelevant trivia. The dialogue is excellent, with some very notable phrases, although it does have quite a lot of profanity: the fact that they are called The Gentleman Bastards gives you a clue to the kind of world they inhabit. If you enjoy a good heist story, prefer your characters ‘earthy’ and like the idea of a sport that involves man-eating sharks jumping out of the water to eat the participants, then this is the book for you. I have been reading it as a 'Read Along' with some other book bloggers, many of whom have read it multiple times and rate it as one of their favorites.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Review by Sarah:

I thought that it was a delightful read. I will agree with Jan and say that there was an aspect of the main character that reminded me of Mary Poppins at first, but as I moved further into the novel I started to see Alexis as more of her own character. 

The book takes place in Victorian England, where werewolves, vampires and ghosts are an accepted part of society.  However, even amongst this assortment of beings Alexia is bit of an oddity.  One, she is considered a spinster, two her complexion is considered unfashionably dark (her father was Italian), and third and most importantly Alexia is missing a soul.  Her lack of a soul is not generally known in polite society, in fact it is such a secret that not even her family knows of her soulless state. 

The book starts out with Alexia attending a ball in which acceptable refreshments are lacking. So, she has tea cart brought to her in one the host’s sitting rooms.  However, she is not alone. She is soon set upon by a hungry rogue vampire who tries to bite her.  This is a futile effort, even though the vampire doesn’t know this, because Alexia being soulless renders supernatural beings human. The poor hungry vampire tries few more times but he loses his fangs each time he touches Alexia. Alexia soon tires of these attempts and pulls out her trusty parasol and threatens the poor vampire. He makes the mistake of lunging towards her and impales himself on the tip of her parasol which just happens to be wood.  So it’s not really her fault that the vampire dies but that doesn’t stop Lord Connall Maccon from getting involved. Lord Maccon is the Alpha werewolf of the local pack and is also head of the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR), which investigates crimes that involve supernatural beings. It turns out that this is not the only rogue vampire that has been killed in London in the last few weeks. Of course at first Alexia and Lord Maccon don’t see eye to eye as to how to find out where these rogue vampires are coming from. While they state that they don’t like each other, that doesn’t stop everyone else in seeing how well they fit together, in more ways than one.

It was a fun read and I like how Alexia is certainly not your typical Victorian lady.  I have read the first three books in the series, there are five total in the series right now. The book get progressively more steampunk as the series goes on.