Saturday, February 11, 2012

"The Zen of Zombie: Better Living Through the Undead" by Scott Kenemore

263 pages

Zombies have a bad reputation for, you know, eating people's brains and stumbling around like morons. However, Kenemore argues that there's a lot we can learn from the undead. They don't let anything get in the way of what they want. Here, you can learn tricks to be more like a zombie, without resorting to a human-based diet. Parts of this book are funny, but most of the jokes fell flat for me. The problem is that it's too repetitive. There's one basic idea, just stated in different way. A funny idea, but could have used some more development.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Study in Scarlet

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 208 pages

The first story featuring Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. After the pair join forces, Sherlock is faced with a murder mystery that stumps everyone. When the murderer is revealed, his motivations are yet unclear. What could drive a man to murder? Fans of the BBC series Sherlock may be familiar with this story, though there are certainly enough differences to keep the reader's interest.

Though a classic, this story may fall short for some die-hard mystery fans. Readers who want to "solve along" with Sherlock may have some difficulty. The clues aren't as obvious to readers as they are to our hero. This story features American history, love, murder, and, of course, mystery. Fans of any modern Sherlock will should give the seminal works a read. It was certainly fun to contrast the new Sherlocks with the original.

January winners

First of all, great job on all of your reading and reviewing in 2011--as you probably know, they've figured out that we won the Missouri Book Challenge last year! Let's do it again this year.

Thanks for submitting your stats for January. Here's how things turned out:

Most books read:
Heather C: 15
Jenny E: 12
Chelsea E: 10

Most pages read:
Heather C: 5,038
Chelsea E: 3,862
Stephanie S: 3,119

Most participation points:
Chelsea: 19
Heather: 15
Jenny E: 12

Books: 66
Pages: 20,926
Participants: 9
Participation points: 76

Thanks everyone! Keep up the good work :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nightschool: The Weirn Books: Volume 4

by Svetlana Chmakova, 229 pages

The mystery of Alex's missing sister and the complicated plots behind her disappearance may wrap up in this final volume of the first story arc, but there's more magic and mystery to come.

If I could read these all one right after the other with a wikipedia page open reminding me what's happened, who's who, and how this world is structured, I think I'd enjoy them a lot more. The art is pretty, but the screentones are a little overused (diluting contrast and making everything a similar shade of grey) and enough of the many, many characters look alike that it's hard to keep them, the many-threaded plot, and the rules of the setting clear in my head. I'm not even sure I understand the resolution to this arc. But I like the glimpses I do understand enough to make me curious about when the next volume will be out. Although I may have to give myself a refresher before I start it. *sigh*

Night Passage

Night Passage
by Robert B. Parker
322 pages

Night Passage is the first book in the Jesse Stone series.  Jesse Stone is a recently divorced alcoholic who recently lost his job as a homicide detective in Los Angeles due to his drinking problem.  He is hired to become the new police chief in a small town in Massachusetts called Paradise.  He thinks this will be an easy job, but he soon learns that things in this town are not as perfect as they may seem, and it's up to him to put the town back on course.

Overall, I liked this book.  Jesse is a likeable character, even if he is a little flawed.  It was a very quick read for me, mainly because Parker does not waste words on flowery descriptions.  I thought the plot wrapped up nicely, but I am curious to find out what happens in Jesse's love life, so I will probably read the next book at some point.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
348 pp
The photos are haunting and strange and they lend an air of mystery to this story about time travel, monsters and, of course, peculiar children.  If you like supernatural elements with your mysteries and stories that don't have a definitive ending, you'll probably want to pick this one up.
Kim F