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Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan #12

Personally I’m not much into zombies. I just do not see the pull I guess, but it has to have its place amongst the shelves in the YA section packed full of vampires. I spotted this along side The Daughter of Smoke and Bone on a display shelf at my library and grabbed them both after a quick perusal of the gist of each story.  320 pages of zombies, well I wasn’t really sure I wanted to read it, but again, the female protagonist drew me in.

I was pleasantly surprised. Seriously, I thought I was going to be gored out more and have nightmare stuff, which makes me wonder why I picked up the thing in the first place. I am one that hates scary movies. I watched Signs and almost peed my pants, and then had nightmares for weeks. Frickin, that’s not supposed to be a really scary movie, but I am totally just chicken shit.

Anyway, it did have points of … anticipation, perhaps even apprehension, but not fear. I did want to smack some non-zombied dudes around, but that’s about it. It was an interesting story of struggle among the leftover peoples of post-apocolyptic zombieland. I was intrigued many a time and it kept me reading. At first the book didn’t capture my attention, and I’m not sure if it’s from the content or just a slow start, and it’s been more than 5 minutes since I put the book down. It took me a couple of tries to really get into it. I even read another book along side, and that’s how I know it hasn’t grabbed me instantly. It got better, like The Help did, and I did end up enjoying it.

I would recommend it, possibly to buy, but in the used section, or just paperback.

Ok, for the Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, I’d give it 6 G-String dollars. It tickled my whatsit, but wouldn’t earn enough to drop my pants. It will, however, entice me to look up and read the sequels I just found out about on Carrie’s site and see if any of those spark my whoreness.

God I can be sick.

grin

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor #11

Oh, a YA I can sink my teeth into (grammar note, should I have written “an YA” instead? hmmm).  Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor‘s 418 pages grabbed my attention in one of those ‘look at me’ spots in my library. My reading stack was only 6 deep so I thought, HEY, why not pile one more on top. I was really glad I grabbed this one. I love fantasy tales such as this that grab your attention, make it interesting but are also clear on what’s going on.  Nothing’s more frustrating while reading a fantasy book to not know what things are because it’s made up and the author didn’t explain it.

I noticed at the point of reading this book that I keep gravitating toward the female protagonist lately. I don’t even mean to, it just happens. Of course there was no hint or anything in the title right? … shit.

How can I tell about this story without giving it away? It’s obviously about a daughter, but a strange daughter, and I don’t mean her parents are at their wit’s end with her kind of crap, more like her parent, and her life, are very strange. Atypical you would say. Her story begins as any other young, teenage girl with an introduction to her best friend and her ex-boyfriend turned nude model in her art class in the middle of Prague. Yeah, typical late teen stuff. So yeah, it grabbed me pretty quick and made me laugh. I cringed slightly at the stalker’ish things happening because I don’t like those topics being made light of, or ignored, but thankfully that line of the story is rebuffed rather quickly. Then you get to meet her family and that’s when you get really sucked in.

I never like to give out anything of the story, which probably doesn’t help promote the book, but I don’t like to give anything away. I don’t want readers to pick up this book and already know the gist of the story, I like the surprise of it all. It is a great fantasy book and I’ll have to really look on Laini’s blog linked above to see if sequel’s have been started or not. By the way, not only would I recommend this book, but also to check out her website. Girl has vibrant pink hair and the website is a blog on blogger.com. I like the seeming availability of an author if their website isn’t just a giant publisher’s advertising gig with a small blip about this book followed by 15 other books they’d recommend from their vaults. Give me access, real access, even if it’s imaginary on my end, to an author, their works and their ideas and I’m likely to be a follower in the future.

Alright, so for the whoreness of this book, I’d give it a whopping 8 G-String dollars. Occasionally I’d find a part that wasn’t clear to me and I had to reread it, but it’s still a really good read and I’d highly recommend it.

Blue bloods by Melissa De la Cruz #10

You could probably say I’m fairly into vampire books I guess by the quantity I’ve read so far.  I don’t know if it’s that I’m into them or they are produced in such sheer amounts that I’m sort of stuck reading them. I’m all for it, sure, but they better be good.

Blue Bloods by Melissa De la Cruz isn’t one of them.  The good ones I mean.  Sure, it’s 320 pages of interesting reading, but I’m like many people who see too many rich people in books and roll my eyes. Oh poor rich girl fell in love with a vampire and almost DIED. Yeah, it’s a prejudice I guess, not necessarily against rich people, but reading about how bad they have it in a book that points out often how good they have it just turns me off.

I will most definitely give it some whore cash just based on the fact that the vampire stories were different. I like different. I prefer writers not try to ride off the coat tails of another rider’s success so the moment I smell another sparkly vampire I’d close the book and give it a big whipping with a wet bookmark and no whore money.

So, the story. Well, the story revolves around a group really, vampires (surprise!), but more particularly one, of course, special girl, who’s surprised to learn of her future. There of course is turmoil, mystery and sex (not explicit, but close). Like I said, the story is interesting enough, but I think the prestigious rich kids threw me off of it being so great.  I’m not sure. I did enjoy it, and would probably recommend it to the younger crowd, but am I likely to move on to the seemingly copious sequels? Nope, not in a rush to.

Here it is. This book would earn 4.5 G-String dollars from me. Seems a strange amount, I know, but that’s me.

The Blue Girl by Charles De Lint #9

This is a 384 page YA (young adult) book that I nabbed on the way through my library toward the kid’s section, where my son picks out his Thomas the Train books again. I didn’t have any idea what it was going to be about, or even what genre it fell into as I was mostly intrigued by the cover and semi-bland title. Maybe ‘bland’ isn’t the right word, but more generic than many books out there.

So I picked it up without any previous bias or preformed ideas on it and was pleasantly surprised.  You see, when I pick up a book based on its cover I’m often wrong, or horribly disappointed.  This book didn’t disappoint me.  YA books pique my interest quite often, not only because I have pre-teens expanding their reading horizons (turning them into mini-book whores for certain!), but because I am eternally immature. Seriously. Farts still make me laugh until I almost puke, I squeal out loud if I’m significantly pleased about something – even in public – and will dye portions of my hair blue just because it sounds fun. I’m immature and like it and will often gravitate toward the YA books over strictly adult fiction (perhaps this is why I’m one of the few adult that really like Twilight).

The Blue Girl by Charles De Lint didn’t disappoint me. It is a very simple story line, which is perfectly fine by me, and he weaves a tale around a strong young girl and her story in a fantastical world, which always gets my vote. Even as a male writer he does a pretty good job of helping us ignore the fact that he doesn’t have a vagina and he gets girl things right. An extremely easy read though and I think it comes across as almost too easy for the aimed audience. A writer has to be extremely careful when writing specifically for the age group that he did. You cannot even remotely hint at talking down towards the group, or dumbing down things, nor can you weave the story so its unintelligible. There was no surprises in this book, but it was still a decent read.

For the down and dirty, this book would earn 7 G-String dollars from this whore. It’d be something I’d possibly purchase for my kids to read as a fun, whip-through type book. I’m likely to check out his other works based on the nice read this one was.

Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes #8

Jeebus, I know I just did a knitting book, but since mom gave me a Chapter’s card for Christmas I bought a few knitting books for fun and completely devoured these two that I’ve reviewed.

I’ve been intrigued with knitting socks for a while and I jumped in with both feet, pun freakin’ intended Batman. When knitting socks, the intro-knitter will take it up with the recommended DPNs, double point needles.  These babies are about 5-6 inches long and have a point on both ends, hence the name. And I live to say words like ‘hence’ and annoy the über literate with starting a sentence with ‘And’.

Moving on.

DPNs make a great starter sock, but it has its downfalls.

  1. Fifteen bazillion needles around that have no markings on them to tell you their size so you have to not only buy one of those sizing charts you never thought you’d need, but you also have to figure out where the hell to put said fifteen bazillion needles.
  2. Said numerous needles will roll under couches, be used to impale something in a child’s game, or somehow go missing and your pattern will call for 5 needles, not 4.
  3. Patterns calling for DPNs will use differing numbers and will never, ever, match what the store sells them in quantities of (there I go, bugging the über literate again *snort*).
  4. DPNs almost always create what’s called ladders in the knitting where a noticeable mark is at the point where one needle meets the next, looking like ladders on 3, or 4, sides of the sock.

When I saw that you could knit socks using the magic loop method, or circular needles, I was all for it and was giddy to try.  Even indulged in the expensive Addi click circular needle system in order to do it with ease.

I spotted the book Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes in my online search for knitting books and was super intrigued by the idea of not only knitting socks up from the toe, but 2 at a time? COOL! Normal socks are knit from the cuff down, making a strange, albeit usable, heel flap, and ending at the toe, using the often-confusing kitchener stitch to bind it off. Then there’s the “Second sock syndrome” that all knitting whores go through with creating any socks.  You work hours to create this magical, beautiful sock, you’re all gung-ho, feeling the groove of knitting, until you bind off that sock and you realize you have to do the same damn thing over again.

This 176 page book is super easy to read, and since I was so intrigued I breezed through it and then read it again just so I didn’t miss anything.  The images were beautiful, and instructions were very easy to follow.  I don’t recommend it for beginner knitters but then again, most beginners would be very intimidated to even attempt toe-up socks let alone 2 at a time.  This is worth the 10 G-String dollars I’m giving it.

I know, I know, most people don’t give full marks for as many books as I have so far, but my blog, my rules. That and I don’t believe in taking whore dollars away from books without having a good reason to do so.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom #7

I’m not much for religious books anymore as I find them to be opinionated, often boring, embellished piles of garbage.  The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom is a really  not that kind of book.  It’s a short story, something you whip through in a night, and it weaves an interesting tale about a man’s life and the people he met in heaven after he dies.

The weaving of this tale must’ve been interesting to write, I must say, as the author does it in a way that keeps you reading. You know it’s likely bogus, but you don’t care because you come to know the character and really care for him enough to keep reading.  Truth be known, I actually teared up and gasped toward the end of the book.  I will not tell you why as it’d be too much of a spoiler.

With all that being said, I’d give this 208 page breezer 6 G-String Dollars, and even though it seems a little scandalous to give a semi-religious book some whore money, I’m going to do it anyway.  I would recommend this book as a light and fluffy read. I would not personally purchase this book as it’s only a one time read, but I’d still recommend it.

Mastering Color Knitting by Melissa Leapman #6

I almost forgot that I could include non-fiction titles in my journey to kicking ass on the book challenge. A pleasant surprise!

I received a Chapter’s gift card from my wonderful mom this past Christmas (hey mom, thanks again) and was giddy to spend it. We did go into the actual store, but I’m not good at buying books on a whim anymore. It creates clutter in my house and if I’m not likely to read the book again, I consider the purchase a waste of good book buying potential. So I left it unspent and waited to purchase online, where I could see reviews and decide if a book is worth it to have as a keeper. I had to decide what to buy, and frankly I was stumped as my first thought zipped to fictional books. I’m more into borrowing those things from the library anyway, so why buy?

Then a light bulb went off. I am constantly on the look out for new knitting ideas and patterns and to print them out from the internet is a waste of paper if I don’t use the pattern, so why not buy a whole book full of paper with the potential of waste!

No,not really.

I scoured Chapters for knitting books, and then took the time to read about each in user reviews. If it got poor reviews, even those from beginner knitters not understanding the patterns, I didn’t buy it. So there began the hunt for some good knitting books. I found 3, and this was the first one I picked up to read.

As an avid knitter, color changes didn’t frighten me, but they did seem a bit daunting and I held back from trying patterns that called for a them. Part of the reason is because I don’t much like weaving in ends. As a knitting whore, I’m open to knitting with acrylic as opposed to just wool, or other animal fibers, yet acrylic isn’t great for end weaving because of how slippery the fibers are. Ends slip out very easily so I avoided changing colors.

Until I read Mastering Color Knitting by Melissa Leapman that is. The author doesn’t only tell you the information, but also shows you in clear pictures. The information doesn’t just cover the change of color but also how to read the pattern properly for regular knitting and circle knitting, as well as how to weave ends, strand the yarn and do little fix ups for common errors.

So here’s the final tally. I’d definitely be able to scrounge up 8 G-String Dollars for this 176 page book.  It is that easy to read and really takes the fear out of it.  The reason I gave it less than full cash is because, like many other yarn books, the patterns included are knit with basically the most expensive wool they could possibly find.  That only means that when you go to knit up those patterns with your much more reasonably priced yarn, it won’t fill out the same or look like the picture. Drives me bonkers and I’d like authors to retry their own patterns with what you can find in the department store aisles rather than hand dyed wool from some obscure, yet expensive hub in the middle of nowhere.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin #5

I don’t know that I’ve ever put a bad review out there before of a book. Sure I’ve dissed 1984 and Animal Farm, or said that I could not get through The Grapes of Wrath because it was so boring, but an actual, out-there-for-the-world-to-read-and-the-writer-if-he-so-chooses book review? Not so much.

As you can probably tell I didn’t really care for the book.  But let me back up.

The story of An Object of Beauty revolves around the narrator telling a story of a friend’s life as she meanders through the art world of New York City.  The narrator is a friend of hers and the way the story is unwound seems interesting because it isn’t often in stories that the narrator is a character himself.  I would say more about the story itself, but there isn’t much to it … that’s it, that’s all there is.

It has taken me 3.5 weeks to read, and I’ve read 3 other books while this one has been open. It’s all because there is no relatable story.  I found the main character boring and shallow.  The myriad of people she interacts with, I seriously cheered some of them on hoping that they wouldn’t be another notch on her frigging belt of wayward usable friends.  It’s like I’d read along and go ‘oh look, another character, one more interesting than the main and oh look, she screws him too’, either literally or figuratively.  There was one moment where I’d hoped it would get interesting but that didn’t happen.

Here’s the thing though.  Steve Martin is a brilliant writer.  I know, it seems contradictory for me to say that I hated the book, but he’s a good writer so let me explain. His writing style shows the absolute brilliant mind behind the scenes.  I don’t mean he threw out big words just to impress, I could actually tell that he has remarkable intelligence through how he wrote the story together paired with the words.  His knowledge of the art world was the only thing I found truly interesting in the book, and he even included a few pictures of the art he talked about inside, which grabbed my attention.

Here’s the part I hate to do.  This is a book I’d wouldn’t step into the club for as it gets a measly 2 G-String Dollars for informing me about pieces of art I didn’t know about before. If you are an art lover, or absolutely adore The Grapes of Wrath, you could probably enjoy this book, but from my perspective, it wasn’t a good read.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline #4

374 pages of pure awesomeness.

Whoa, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, the author’s first and only book so far, is a geek’s book for sure.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a true comicon geek or just a regular geek reader, knower of geek things like me (although I am looking into the Comicon scheduled for Calgary because the TNG group is supposed to be there), this book is entertaining, well written and a basically excellent story.  Also, if you’re an 80s child and a non-geek, I’d still recommend the book as well because of his insane knowledge of all things 80s, not just video games, is impressive and nostalgic.

The main character comes across well and is highly believable.  What’s strange is I don’t remember him being described well, physically that is.  Much like Dean Koontz’ Odd Thomas, there’s no mirror trick to get you to visualize the main guy, just a few blips here and there to help you get a small picture.  Yet he’s formed perfectly in my mind.  He’s relatable, but not too loveable as to be unbelievable.

The story of the book nestles around a pretty damn bleak future, which then has the chance for redemption for just one person who can win this contest, that was left in the will of a famous, and beloved, computer geek, much like Steve Jobs (not like Bill Gates).  The contest winner will be set for life, and will have the ability to change the world if only he could decipher the clues that lead him to the end.  A lot of surprises thrown in along the way, and I do have a favourite one toward the end that I won’t reveal, and plenty of action kept me reading (1 surprise I’ll reveal just because it cracked me up – Wil Wheaton is a big dude in the book – not president but something more important, which is awesome!!).

Now for the juicy part. I’m not truly a picky reader, I’m a whore after all, I’ll do anything. But I am critical of books.  I want something somewhat easy to get into, not necessarily easy to read, but immersing myself into a book must occur or I won’t give it good marks nor recommend it.  I easily devoured this book, and sunk myself into the story and have no troubles giving this book a whopping giant 10 G-String dollars. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find anything wrong with it, it was that I didn’t care, I loved the story too much.  This baby would hustle up some big coin from sniffer’s row.

Geez I’m a pig.

I definitely recommend this book.   Hell, I’m thinking of even buying the damn thing and I don’t buy books easily.  Definitely pick this book up. Go, now, seriously, stop reading and click over to the amazon link and put it in your cart (or the Chapter’s one I provided on the word “One” of the title – Chapters has much better shipping than Amazon as they choose regular post and it gets put in your mailbox or on hold at the post office if you’re like me and order many books. Amazon only seems to use UPS who drop the stuff at your door and take off, not ringing the door bell to let you know you have a package as they don’t care if it’s you that grabs the package or some shmucky walking down the street, and this is regardless of the value of the package – $25 worth of replaceable books or $300 game systems. Just because Amazon is cheaper definitely doesn’t make them better in my books.).  Make sure to put enough books in to make the shipping free.

Go.

Side note: His website is freaking awesome too, you should check that out after you order the book.  When the book comes, check out the picture he has of himself inside the back cover. Can’t you just die? Dude has a DELOREAN!

Hangman by Faye Kellerman #3

Well hello page-turner with the nice bonus of giving me another new author to bore through.

And bore through it I did.  Truthfully it didn’t help that I had a lot of time on my hands since I had a bout of insomnia that my mom’s sworn remedy of Sleepy Time Tea only worsened with a racing heart (sorry mom! but ok, it may have been the chocolate cake too).  I finished it in a jiffy and it almost seems like I’m back to my old reading habits of pushing through a book quickly in order to find more of its kind, or in any effort to lose myself in a story and end up stumbling over a great writer.

I can’t even pinpoint right down to the nub why I enjoyed this book so immensely.  I had a discussion with my mom about writers and how I’m struggling through another book.  I truly believe a writer is more than just a brilliant mind putting words onto paper.  The characters must seem real, even if they aren’t based in our real world (as in Gandalf, or Mr. Tumnus) and if they don’t seem believable or the words on the page, although extensive, seem shallow, the entire book falls apart.  There must be a story.

This is a great story.  If you aren’t a mystery/crime reader, this book could even be for you because it’s much more than just murder/mystery fiction.  It’s believable, descriptive, not always perfect characters who are weaved into a story line.  What was amazing to me is too often mystery writers will have so many characters, often police/detectives, that you start to forget who is who, but that didn’t happen here.  I always knew who each character was and what their part in the story was.  I cannot say that this story stood out hugely against many others, but it did for me because the characters were different profiles from most of the others written about.  Yes, the main character/Lieutenant is a man, stereotypically, and yes, it’s set in L.A. but when you have a city that size, the amount of murders going on in books like this seem more believable.  Plus, the guy’s not an asshole, which is such a nice change!

The story doesn’t just revolve around the one Lieutenant either, and it doesn’t always follow him through every chapter and I think that is the main reason the rest of the characters stood out as well as they did.  Each were given their own turn in the spotlight.  It does follow the Lieutenant through his newest cases, one of which leaves him with an extra person in his house he didn’t have before.  The cases presented intertwine throughout the story, but aren’t linked together, and still stay separately interesting.

The best part was I didn’t guess the ending. I don’t always guess endings in murder books, but the moment I do, I tend to put away that author as it becomes too easy.  I like the suspense.

This book was 536 pages, finished in a scant 3 days (my daughter read it in 2).  I did put it down, but only because I had to.  It gets 8 G-String dollars.  This writer is going down on my list so I can go back in the right order to read the rest of her novels.   Strangely enough, I think part of the reason it didn’t get top dollar is because I read it out of order. It seems this is another series type where a mystery writer pens different books with the same main characters.  If I had read them in order, I’m sure I’d have more good things to say about her writing, but I can’t because I didn’t know there was an order.

P.S. Can I just put this out there to any publishers that may read this, or even the authors.  Can you please start numbering your books?  Many of us readers have almost a slight compulsion to read these books in order, so just a small number on the cover somewhere would be super handy.  Make sure it’s on the front because libraries cover up a good portion of the spine, unless you put it smack dab in the middle of the title as Sue Grafton did with all of her books (A to .. what is she on now, U?).  That’d be great.

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