Sunday, January 29, 2012

BLOGGING BREAK and SOCIAL MEDIA BURNOUT

For the last several months, my posting has decreased significantly. It's not that I'm too busy to write reviews or that I'm not reading. I guess I don't enjoy it anymore. I'm not deleting my blog because this may be a temporary break and I may feel differently in a couple of months. I still plan on keeping my books read page up to date but I will probably just write short reviews on Library Thing. I can always post those to twitter, so really no loss for anyone interested in what I'm reading. sI sill try to read others posts but no promises.

I think part of the blogging issue is that I am having social media burnout. I use to love twitter. I would have conversations with people about books and other stuff. But now my twitter stream seems to be an endless stream of Get glue, tumblr, pinterest, facebook, goodreads. People will write a review, link it to all these other sites and then feed that to twitter. So I will see several tweets about the same review. Or someone tweets something, links to tumblr or goodreads, which when you click on the link says the same thing that was just tweeted. I don't care what people are watching with 1000 other people on get Glue. I don't care about who has Klout for what. I have 400+ followers but rarely does anyone respond to something I say. Why the hell are they following me? Because they want me to follow back and then buy what they are selling. I'm not deleting my twitter account because again, I may not always feel this way, plus, amongst all the crap I do find some good book recommendations. I'll peruse but likely not interact much. Now there seems to be a lot of talk of pregnancy and while I'm happy for those people, a daily play by play of their pregnancy issues, makes me want to kill myself. I haven't started Downton Abbey yet, so I have to avoid those spoilers.
So what I once loved now just mostly annoys me. So I'll keep my distance until either I lose the grumpies or people get bored with all those annoying sites.
Bye for now!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

BUFFALO WEST WING & AFFAIRS OF STEAK by Julie Hyzy

With a new First Family, White House executive chef Olivia Paras can't afford to make any mistakes. But when a box of take-out chicken mysteriously shows up for the First Kids, she soon finds herself in a "no-wing" situation. After Olivia refuses to serve the chicken, the First Lady gives her the cold shoulder. But when it turns out to be poisoned poultry, Olivia realizes the kids are true targets.

 
White House chef Olivia Paras and her arch nemesis, White House Sensitivity Director Peter Everett Sargeant, must work together to solve the double murder of one of the First Lady's assistants and the Chief of Staff-before they become the next victims of a merciless assassin with a secret agenda.




I have been enjoying this series and these two are the most recent from Julie Hyzy. Olivia Paras is the executive chef at The White House and always seems to get involved in some criminal plot that endangers members of The White House. In the first couple of books, Ollie was dating Tom, a member of the Presidents security detail. I never liked him as he was kind of rude to Ollie and annoyed with her shenanigans. But they broke up and now she's got Gav, another secret service agent but one more supportive of her. I also like Ollie a lot more in the recent books as she stands up for herself and kind of kicks ass. In spite of the titles, there isn't as much food as you'd think but plenty of intrigue. This is a good cozy series.

my rating 4/5 for both

Monday, January 16, 2012

THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson

synopsis from the publisher: The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888.
Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police now believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

As I have mentioned before, I don't read a lot of YA but I'd heard good things about this book and well, let's be honest. Can I resist London, Jack the Ripper, and ghosts all in one story? No, no I cannot.

Also, Rory is not one of those annoying teens that can be found in other books. She is pretty self-assured though out of her comfort zone in this London boarding school. I think she is more horrified by the field hockey she is forced to play than the Ripper copy-cat.
Things start to get weird when she is the only one who saw the man outside the school window her roommate and she were sneaking back into. Now she has a third roommate that follows her everywhere.

Even though there are a million books incorporating Jack the Ripper, Johnson has a different take to add some originality. She also infuses a lot of humor in Rory that makes this a very enjoyable read. 
It is the first in The Shades of London trilogy but I have a feeling the next two will be worth the wait.
my rating 4.5

Sunday, January 15, 2012

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

summary from the publisher:
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.  
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to
win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. 


I don't like science fiction books, futuristic books, books about gaming, and anything resembling dystopian. Yet, this book was on a lot of "best of 2011" lists so I decided to read it. And I LOVED it. Yes, LOVED.  I really liked Wade and felt an instant connection to him. He reminded me a bit of Sebastian from The House of Tomorrow. Wade had nothing and had to fend for himself, in reality and in the world of OASIS. 
The author does a great job of creating such an amazing reality in the world of OASIS that it is a bit jolting during the brief times in the real world. This novel works on many levels. It can be seen as a cautionary tale in an already online obsessed world, where will we be in 30-40 years from now? It is also a coming of age tale, as Wade goes through the usual teenage angst. It also tackles the individual vs. large corporations.
I spent my teen years in the '80's so I loved all the references to that period.


I can't recommend this book highly enough. Even if you don't think it will appeal to you, I think it will. It transcends whatever genre it is. It is definitely a book I will reread and though it's still very early, I bet it makes my best of 2012 list!
my rating 5/5

WHAT ARE YOU READING MONDAYS

                              hosted by Sheila at Book Journey


LAST WEEK: I read-
Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta 4.5*
Stay Awake: Stories by Dan Chaon

If Jack's In Love by Stephen Wetta 5

and started The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt

THIS WEEK:
The Discovery of Witches  
The Truth of All Things by Kieran Shields
Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy (meant to read last week)
continue The Children's Book




Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

WHAT ARE YOU READING MONDAYS

hosted by Sheila at Book Journey

Books Read Last Week:
 Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 
Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy 4
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson 4.5
The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey  4.5

Books to Read This Week: 
If Jack's In Love by Stephen Wetta
 Stay Awake:Stories by Dan Chaon
 Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy
 and  possibly A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness



Happy Reading!

THE FLIGHT OF GEMMA HARDY by Margot Livesey

Summary from the publisher:
A captivating tale, set in Scotland in the early 1960s, that is both an homage to and a modern variation on the enduring classic Jane Eyre.
Fate has not been kind to Gemma Hardy. Orphaned by the age of ten, neglected by a bitter and cruel aunt, sent to a boarding school where she is both servant and student, young Gemma seems destined for a life of hardship and loneliness. Yet her bright spirit burns strong. Fiercely intelligent, singularly determined, Gemma overcomes each challenge and setback, growing stronger and more certain of her path. Now an independent young woman with dreams of the future, she accepts a position as an au pair on the remote and beautiful Orkney Islands.
But Gemma's biggest trial is about to begin...a journey of passion and betrayal, secrets and lies, redemption and discovery, that will lead her to a life she's never dreamed of.

I don't normally like books inspired by classics because I have read too many horrible Jane Austen knock-offs. But I was interested in reading a Jane Eyre inspired novel.
The story stays fairly true to the original, while not always in the plot, at least in the spirit. But I have to admit I'm a bit rusty in remembering all of Eyre.
Gemma is a strong girl, who once her uncle dies, is left to the cruelty of her aunt. Gemma becomes the help instead of part of the family. The family doctor feels for her and mentions a boarding school where she might be happier. Gemma is able to get a scholarship and is excited to go though her teacher states that scholarship girls are not treated well. But Gemma is determined to get out of her aunt's house.

The story takes place in the 1950's and 60's. Boarding schools like Gemma's go out of fashion and her's is shut down before she can graduate. She has to take a job and decides to become a nanny rather than work in a hotel.
Gemma takes a job at a remote island off the Scottish coast, as a nanny to Mr. Sinclair's niece. But like Mr. Rochester, he is rarely in residence.

Well, you know most of the rest. I will tell you there is no mad woman in the attic. The only weak point is the story used to replace that. I think it is a poor catalyst but the rest of the novel makes up for it.

Despite this being a modern variation of the classic, it still felt timeless as most of the story takes place in remote villages in Scotland and there are few references to remind the reader of the time period.

I really enjoyed this novel and appreciate the author's ability to update while keeping the spirit of the original story. You won't be disappointed.

my rating 4.5
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