Reviews

 
I know that you're all asking yourselves, "What is Sara reading right now?"   So, I will tell you.    I usually have one or two books going as well as something on audio.  I will keep you updated on what I’m currently whiling away my hours with.
I now have a blog over on wordpress.com that I'm tracking my books on.  I'll copy things here as well.  And, I've added this handy widget from Goodreads.
 
 
 

What I’m Reading: Chaos Choreography by Seanan McGuire
To Be Published: March 1, 2016
Read This: while practicing the tango.

Virginia, our Penguin sales rep, became one of my favorite people when a packaged arrived at Little Professor. This package contained an ARC of the fifth InCryptid novel, Chaos Choreography. I did a little happy dance around the store, clutching the book to my chest. And then I went home and devoured it.
For everyone else, it comes out March 1. I will pick it up on audio at release and listen to it immediately. So far, four is the average number of times I have read/listened to any of the InCryptid books. So, you could say, I like these.

Chaos Choreography opens with Verity happily married to Dominic, the ex-Covanant boy and somewhat happily living in her parents’ house with him. All of that is thrown into chaos when she gets a message on an old email address inviting her to a reunion season of Dance or Die, the television show she almost won with her alter ego, Valerie Pryor. But it would be insanely dangerous for her to go on national television now that the Prices are back on the Covenant’s radar. Right?
So, of course, she goes with Dominic and a splinter colony of
Aeslin mice in tow. But now Verity has to slip back into a persona she hasn’t used in over a year. Valerie isn’t such a good fit anymore and dancing isn’t the only thing she wants to do with her life. Which is why, when two of the eliminated dancers turn up murdered and then the bodies mysteriously vanish before anyone notices, Verity is absolutely ready to backburner Valerie in order to deal with the latest supernatural threat.

It’s not difficult to get me to love a book by Seanan McGuire. She pretty much just has to write it and make it available for me to get. But I especially adore Verity. She got under my skin with her first book and pretty much stayed there. I love Alex and I’m looking forward to finding out more about Antimony, but Verity is my first love. And this is Verity getting to do what she loves, fight monsters and dance the sort of tango that could set your panties on fire.
This book has the emotional hit that
Midnight Blue-Light Special did while keeping everything that has always made this series great. We also get introduced to a few new cryptids and another member of the Price family. As always, family with the Prices is something… special.



felicia

What I’m Reading: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
Published: Touchstone, 2015
Read This: while working on your award winning web series

Felicia Day, Queen of the Geeks.
Or, slightly awkward nerd girl you think would probably be a pretty good friend, but you might have to calm her down a bunch, but still probably cool.
I discovered Felicia Day in a round about way. I knew that The Guild was a thing, but I’d never seen it. I didn’t play MMOs, so that obviously wasn’t for me. (Also, I’m really uncomfortable with awkward humor.)
I knew she’d done guest spots on shows I was aware of, but always after I stopped watching them (Buffy, Season 7 anyone?) But then, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog happened and I now knew Felicia Day and I cared about her. Luckily, she had a backlog of stuff on the internet for me to consume. For free.

And now, a memoir, so I can find out more than I ever should have wanted to know about the origin story of Felicia Day.
I don’t read that many memoirs. At the end of the day, unless you’re really unusual, I just don’t care that much about your life. I’m sorry! I’m sure you’re really nice, but “slice of life” stories kind of bore me. However, exceptions can be made for certain people (usually women) I admire. Or, if you did something really, really awesome like Julia Child being a spy during WWII.
Felicia’s life story is pretty interesting in a quirky and awkward way. She didn’t have a background like mine, but I could see hers from here. I wasn’t homeschooled, mostly because my mom had to work full time and she was worried I’d become a shut in. But I thought it would be awesome. I didn’t get big on the early internet because we couldn’t afford the hourly rates and by the time AOL discs with 500 free hours started to liter the landscape, I was at boarding school with no dialup access. And I was NEVER going to be a musical prodigy. I just wasn’t that good at anything except reading.
catBut, I can still identify with lots of the things Felicia talks about in her book. Feeling lost the first time she went to a dance and was WAY overdressed. Being put into ALL the lessons because her mom didn’t really know what to do with her. Retreating into fantasy worlds because real life was difficult. I had books, she had video games. And Perry Mason books. Apparently.
I listened to the audio version of the book, read by Felicia, which was fun, but a little bit weird if you’ve heard her talk a bunch. Her cadence is different when she’s reading the book than when she’s recording a vlog, so that threw me just a little. It’s not bad, just different.
The book is charming if you’re willing to be charmed and frank about the difficulties she’s had growing up in an unusual way and then issues she had due to the pressure of success as well as illness. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who has those “please love me” thoughts every time I meet a new person or put something I did out into the world. If someone like Felicia Day can have them, then maybe it’s ok that I do too. After all, she’s the Queen of the Geeks.


carter

What I’m Reading:  Carter & Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard
Published: Thomas Dunne Books, 2015
Cover Art: I need to check a hardcopy to find out
Read This: while dancing by the abyss.

Daniel Carter was a cop in New York who stumbled across a deeply strange case that resulted in his partner and the perpetrator dead and his dreams being haunted by the strangeness of it all.
Emily Lovecraft is the last direct descendant of H.P. Lovecraft and works in her uncle’s bookstore in Providence, RI. There’s no reason these two people should ever meet until a suspiciously high priced lawyer tells Carter that he has inherited said bookstore.
That’s fine and dandy. He doesn’t really need a bookstore, but it’s a nice piece of backup income to supplement his PI business. But then, he gets a call from a man who is afraid for his life. When Carter arrives in the parking lot to meet his new client he finds the police already there and the client dead in his car under impossible circumstances.
The more he looks into it the tighter he and Lovecraft are drawn into a strange web that seems to have come straight out of HPL’s books.

I listened to this one on audio and I’ve got to say, pick up the hardcopy instead. It’s not that the narrator is bad, but I really didn’t care for the way he voiced Lovecraft. It was just weirdly drawling. It just didn’t work for me.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I’m hoping it’s the start of a series rather than a standalone. I feel like the ending is a great setup for a second book, but a little unsatisfying if it’s just the end.
It was a little odd to read this so close to 
Maplecroft. I kept thinking about the way the scary things worked there and mixing them up with the events in this book. Also, Howard confirmed my suspicions about a certain type of grad student…


page
What I’m Reading
Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge 
Published: Amulet, 2011
Illustrated by: Laura Lee Gulledge
Read This: while applying to art school


To give you an idea of how bad my book situation is, I’ve had an ARC of this on the shelf since 2010 and never gotten around to reading it. So, I grabbed it off the shelf today and sat down with it for a bit.
Paige Turner (her parents are authors who think they’re clever) has recently moved from Virginia to New York. She had to leave behind her friends, her school, and her easy access to nature in favor of a brownstone in Brooklyn and a school full of strangers.
In order to help find herself, she buys a sketchbook and tries to commit to her art. She’s a little geeky, very shy, and has “Little Mermaid hair” she can hide behind. As these things go, she finds friends, a little romance, and starts to develop her sense of self.
Paige has the same sort of worries that most kids have experienced at some point. She’s afraid of being too much in her own head, of being a bad friend, fighting with her mom, doubting her talent and her focus.
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The story is the sort of thing I probably would have loved a while ago, but I think I’m coming to it when I’m a little too old and cynical and also too close on the heels of I Am Princess X. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It felt… light. Not trivial, not empty. The story is about a teenage girl figuring herself out. That’s valuable. It just wasn’t compelling for me.
The illustrations are all black and white and alternate between glimpses of the sort of surreal life inside Paige’s brain/sketchbook, and the crisper work indicating external reality. Gulledge’s art is definitely worth picking the book up.


menace

What I’m Reading: Dragonbreath: The Frozen Menace by Ursula Vernon
Published By: Dial Books, 2016
Read This: while eating ice cream in winter

The Frozen Menace, the last of the Dragonbreath books comes out today! Which is very exciting.
In this adventure, Danny’s fire has gone out and he, Wendell, and Christina must travel to the Farthest North to find a phoenix eggshell to reignite Danny’s fire before he turns into a dragon-cicle.
As always, Ursula has provided us with a delightful story about a dragon who is a little too impetuous to see the danger he’s in and the very, very, very loyal friends who go along to help him. The challenges they face along the way are scary, but not so scary that you’ll get nightmares. The illustrations are charming and rendered in a sort of icy green that makes one feel chilly just looking at them. A few of the pages have an all black background and they’re just lovely!
This is a great close to the series and it leaves Danny and his friends in a really good place. I’m ok with letting them continue on to have their adventures in Mythical Japan, or under the ocean, or in bat caves in South America without me looking in on them anymore.

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