Thursday, August 25, 2011

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

I loved this book!  It was such a fast fun read.  I recommend it highly.

The Waverlys are a family of women who reside in Bascom, North Carolina.  All the Waverley women have reputations for having certain gifts.  Claire Waverley is a successful caterer, who prepares dishes made with the plants from her garden, which mysteriously blooms year round.  She has an apple tree with prophetic fruit, edible flowers that imbue people with special powers, and she's eccentric, reclusive, and an enigma.  Claire's distant relative Evanelle gives people things.  It is not always clear why she is supposed to give them something, but invariably some time after the gift is made a purpose is revealed.  Claire's sister Sydney, who ran away from Bascom the moment she could, returns suddenly one day and Claire's quiet and carefully tended life spins completely out of control.

This book is about so much more than two sisters reconnecting after many years.  It is full of magic and enchantment, and flower lore, and just plain joie de vivre.  Sarah Addison Allen, the author, was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, a place Rolling Stone magazine once called "America's New Freak Capital."  She has a B.A. in Literature because she thought it would be amazing to get a diploma for reading fiction.  She thought it was like being able to major in eating chocolate (a girl after my own heart).

Read this book.  Prepare to be delighted.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Demon's Parchment by Jeri Westerson

This is book three in Jeri Westerson's medieval noir series.   Westerson's main character is Crispin Guest, a sort of medieval Sam Spade, who lives in the Shambles area of 14th century London and uses his intelligence and keen eye for detail as the "Tracker".  He is approached by a Jewish physician, Jacob of Provencal, who wants him to find stolen parchments which someone might have used to bring forth a demon.  These same parchments might be behind a series of grusome murders of young boys.  With the help of his apprentice, Jack Tucker, Crispin must unravel all the mysteries and try to stop the murders.

It is a wild notion to write about a medieval serial killer who murders and defiles children, but in fact this novel is based on a retelling of a very real and strange tale of a 15th century serial killer, Gilles de Rais.  There is even another character in the book who is based on a real person, but I won't give away the surprise by telling you who here.  Just read the book and be surprised and delighted.

Westerson is a skillfull writer who knows her subject.  She has an uncanny knack for making you feel like you are right there in 14th century London experiencing these things along with Crispin.  She has a great eye for historical detail, and her writing is superb.

"Troubled Bones", the latest installment in this series comes out in October.  In the meantime, go here and check out Crispin Guest's Journal, or here and check out Jeri Westerson's webpage.

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson

Rose Grandee is a texas housewife.  She has a mother who departed her life early on leaving her with a pile of books and at the mercy of her Daddy's abusive fists.  Rose Grandee endures the physical abuse of her husband.  After all, it is pretty much all she has known over the course of her life.

But, underneath the surface of Rose Grandee, lies Rose Mae Lolly, a teen age hellion and heartbreaker from Alabama who is a crack shot with a pistol.  When the tarot cards of a gypsy fortune teller predict that Rose's husband is going to kill her unless she kills him first, Rose Mae Lolly rares her head.

After trying to kill her husband (before he kills her), and botching it, she and her dog fat Gretel, leave on a journey where she uncovers long buried truths about her family.  That journey results in a harrowing depiction of how far a mother will go to right a wrong and how far a daughter will run to escape forgiveness. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Forbes Highest Paid Authors List

  • James Patterson ($84 million)

  • Danielle Steel ($35 million)

  • Stephen King ($28 million)

  • Janet Evanovich ($22 million)

  • Stephenie Meyer ($21 million)

  • Rick Riordan ($21 million)

  • Dean Koontz ($19 million)

  • John Grisham ($18 million)

  • Jeff Kinney ($17 million)

  • Nicholas Sparks ($16 million)

  • Ken Follett ($14 million)

  • Suzanne Collins ($10 million)

  • J.K. Rowling ($5 million)

  • A Bookshelf that gently goads you into reading

    Now this is wild. . .to help you keep the balance between read and unread books!

    Literary Shoes etc.

    In my search for all things book related, I came across these.  Now why didn't they have things like this when I was young?

    Making Room for Readers

    This very interesting article from The Millions makes some excellent points about readers and reading.

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    Neil Gaiman purse

    One of the interesting vendors I met at the recent ALA meeting in New Orleans was Caitlin Phillips from Rebound Designs, which she bills as a second chance for well-loved books".  She transforms old and unwanted literature into one of a kind Book Purses and Paperback Wallets.  Have a favorite book? She's got you covered.  Check her out here.  The picture above is the purse she did for me using the leatherbound tenth anniversary issue of Neil Gaiman's "American Gods".  I think it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. 

    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    Five Architecturally Impressive Libraries

    As this site says, until each and every book is cataloged on the internet for consumption on a Kindle we're going to need libraries, so they might as well look good.

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Little Free Library

    Now this is really a quite charming idea

    A Backstage Pass to the World of Charlaine Harris

    If you are a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, you might enjoy this video interview with Harris (in two parts).  Charlaine talks about the books, her take on True Blood, and what's next for Sookie Stackhouse.

    10 Action Librarians

    Love this that I found over at
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