Thursday, April 30, 2009

Genghis: Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden

This book might look familiar to you if you read my blog--back in 2007 I blogged about Genghis: Birth of an Empire and in 2008 it was Genghis: Lords of the Hills. Once again, I'm letting you know that you should READ THESE BOOKS! At least the first one, please. It's the best anyway. Just try it, even if you think you don't like historical fiction. Humor your old lady librarian, will you? :)

Genghis is getting old (fifties!) and still conquering cities with lightning speed on the steppe and in the mountains. He's taken part of China and now turns his power to the Shah and the Arabs. But, as any historian will tell you, all empires must fall, and Genghis is starting to unravel. His traveling armies are huge and his people are rich. Yet they are in unfamiliar territories and some are aching to get back home to the hills. Genghis names his heir--his third youngest son--think that causes some controversy? Even Genghis's own wives are starting to turn against him. But, as always, Genghis is a leader among men, and his men follow him. Warfare is changing and the Arabs put up a good fight. And I'm still rooting for Jochi, Genghis' wife's son by rape, even if he supposedly shouldn't inherit anything. Read the first book in this series if you haven't already. Please. It's awesome. Think of it as UFC that actually means something. These boys are fighting to LIVE.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Gods of Newport by John Jakes, Read by Jack Garrett

I'm a John Jakes fanatic and I can't believe I somehow missed this title being published. For some reason, I love a good epic, and Jakes always delivers. This time he focuses on Newport and the rich people who live there. We've all heard the big names--Vanderbilts, Astors, etc. Sam Driver is new to the scene because of his railroad money and he's determined to find a husband for his lovely daughter. They infiltrate the rich and famous Newport society but find it isn't exactly what they had hoped.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dog On It: a Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn

There have been a lot of dog books on the bestseller list lately--The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and The Art of Racing in the Rain. This one tops the list. Chet is a police dog that didn't quite make it all the way through training (that dang cat!). And Bernie is an ex-cop who is now a private investigator with a dog helper. The two of them are off to figure out what happened to a teenage girl who has disappeared. Kidnapped? Who knows? But between the two of them, they'll solve the case. Both Chet and Bernie have a great sense of humor and the dog behavior details are hilarious.

Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time: My Life Doing Dumb Stuff with Animals by Richard Conniff

I sure wish I had this book for a textbook back in the Biology days. Conniff really knows how to teach readers about science. He's been through so much with animals for research for writing his articles. Each chapter is about a different animal. My favorite was the first one about wild dogs in Africa and I think the chapters about monkeys were close behind. Who doesn't want to learn more about termites, leopards, cheetahs, and dung beetles? I'm not really sure if I can find any students to read this title straight through, but it's definately a better book than what I was expecting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dark Summer by Iris Johansen, Read by Joyce Bean

Well, I made it to Disk 7 and just couldn't take it anymore. I mean, really, I was rolling my eyes as I listened to this in the car. I've loved Johansen before, but this was just too much. Dogs who have been raised by an Apache medicine man have super powers and can cure people just by being around them. Um, sure. And, of course, the female vet falls for the ex-Navy SEAL who has been apprenticed to the shaman. Oh, geez. I just couldn't take the dramatic conversations, the horrible Irish accent of one of the characters, and and stoic gentleness of the rebel dog owner. Ugh.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

All librarians love authors who send them free books. And Elizabeth Scott is one of the best! First of all, high school girls love to read her books. I think Scott and Sarah Dessen are the two best female chick romance writers out there right now, and highly recommend both of them. See my review of Living Dead Girl, and check out LibraryThing for my 5 starred reviews for most of Dessen's titles.

You all know who Hugh Hefner is. Hannah is the teenage daughter of an old man surrounded by playmates. She lives with her mother who makes her living off of dressing scantily in front of webcam. What a life, right? But Hannah wants to blend in at school and not be like her parents. She wears a ponytail and works at a telemarketing place that takes fast food drive thru orders. Hannah swears Josh is the boy for her and Finn is just the annoying boy at work who annoys her. But do people like (or dislike) her just because of who she is? Can Hannah ever learn to like her father again when everything he does is driven by his tv show ratings? Will Josh or Finn win Hannah's heart?

Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron

All you girls who always ask me for a good mystery, here you go! Ivy is in her 30s, married, and very, very pregnant. In a cleaning mood, she decides to have a yard sale in front of their old Victorian home and is surprised to see an old acquaintance from high school. Mindy is hardly recognizable, but still her annoying, clingy self. But, a few days later, Mindy is missing and Ivy and David are under suspicion. The evidence keeps adding up and Ivy isn't sure if her hormones are acting up or if strange things really are happening in her home. She's scared. And home alone because David is in jail. I read through this in one night because I couldn't put it down--I was too scared! I HAD to see how it ended!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, Read by Madisun Leigh

Well, I found my least favorite Anderson title. But, I still like it. And her. Sure, this young adult novel can be added to any historical fiction list pretty easily, but I didn't find anything different about it. It read like many other slave fiction tales I've read. Sure, Anderson writes well, but I don't see what the fuss was about this title.

Isabel is thirteen and a slave who takes care of her younger sister, Ruth. Even after being promised freedom from a dying owner, Isabel and Ruth are sold to a brutal mistress. The Locktons are Tories who support England during the Revolution. Isabel is torn--which side will support the freeing of slaves? She isn't sure and her loyalties waver back and forth. But after meeting Curzon, a young black slave who fights for the Revolution in place of his master, Isabel starts rooting for the Rebels. Whatever the government situation is though, Isabel wants to be free.