Friday, January 30, 2009

Review: Murder With Puffins

Murder With Puffins: a Meg Langslow mystery by Donna Andrews
4.25 stars

Reasons for reading: I loved her first book, Murder With Peacocks; Seconds Challenge

Description: "A romantic getaway was what Meg Langslow had in mind when she and her boyfriend planned a trip to the tiny island of Monhegan off the coast of Maine. They would spend their days hiking the trails and their evenings by the fire. But in this remote place, birds of a feather flock together and Meg quickly learns that this vacation isn't going to go as planned. Although the puffins have already flown south for the winter, the island still harbors a flock of birdwatchers-and Meg's family...Discovering her parents, her brother, her aunt, and a nosey neighbor on the island is Meg's first surprise. Her second one comes when a body is found and her father is accused of murder. Now instead of quiet walks by the water, Meg finds herself scouring the island for clues. In the process, she uncovers more than she bargained for. "

First line: "I see land ahead," Michael said."

My thoughts: Another winner from Andrews! I didn't love this one quite as much as the first book mainly because I really, really liked the crazy three-weddings scenario of Peacocks and the rainy birdwatching of this one didn't quite grab me as much. But that's a minor quibble - I'm definitely into this series.

Meg's crazy-wonderful family is back, particularly her glamorous, enchanting mother (in fact, much is revealed about her, way too much for Meg). Michael is still the sweetest boyfriend ever, being a totally good sport about the rain, the lack of privacy, and the murder investigation. While not quite as involved as he was in the previous book, her mystery-loving dad still manages to end up as a suspect, rather to his glee. And various puffin-crazed birders and residents (whose fierce love of their rather dismal island is impressive) are hilarious, particularly Rhapsody, the odd, shy, children's book author who writes drecky children's books about the Happy Puffin Family.

The chapter headings are all titles (mostly books, some songs) with "puffin" subsituted in them, such as "Zen and the Art of Puffin Maintenance" which is a fun added touch.

This is a cozy mystery - you're rather glad the victim was killed. In this case, the victim is Victor Resnick, a conceited painter who is electrocuting the birds and chasing "trespassers" off with a shotgun, so no great loss there. Meg once again has to get involved because two of her relatives are suspects and there's a lot of slogging around in a hurricane. Not a nail-biting mystery, but the Langslow family's antics make for a great read.

Verdict: I'm flying (ha!) through these, it seems, and am looking forward to Owls Well That Ends Well.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Review: Plantation

Plantation: a Lowcountry tale by Dorothea Benton Frank
3.5 stars

Reasons for reading: I loved Frank's Sullivan's Island last year; Seconds Challenge

Description (from the publisher): "When Caroline Wimbley Levine learns that her mother, Miss Lavinia, has supposedly gone mad, she leaves the big city bustle of Manhattan and returns to Tall Pines Plantation. Caroline originally left Tall Pines to escape her feisty, eccentric mother and her drunken brother, Trip, but when Miss Lavinia dies, Caroline is forced to come to terms with her family's troubled history as well as her failing relationship with her husband. As Caroline reminisces about her past rebelliousness and her childhood, she realizes that her father's sudden and tragic death many years before served as a catalyst for the family's disintegration. Caroline and Trip also learn that their seemingly selfish and self-assured mother was not so uncaring after all. "

First sentence: "This story I have to tell you has to be true because even I couldn't make up this whopper."

My thoughts: This is my second book by Dorothea Frank and, while I didn't get as wrapped up in it as I did in Sullivan's Island, I still enjoyed it. I think part of the magic of her first book for me was that I read it while I was visiting South Carolina, so I was excited to read about places I'd just seen and I was surrounded by the heat, the rivers, the accent, etc. But Plantation definitely sparked some happy memories of being there, too. Frank's love of the area shines through, particularly when describing the beauty of nature, in particular the Edisto River, which seems to flow through the very veins of the Wimbley family.

This is a very back-and-forth novel, which isn't always my favourite. I don't mind flashbacks, but this one started at the end (through a prologue) and then mixed way-back flashbacks, the present day, and used both Caroline and Miss Lavinia as narrators. It was a bit too jumbly for me at times. It also had supernatural elements that didn't really grab me (messages from the grave, in particular).

I found both Caroline and Miss Lavinia's hormones a bit shocking - I'm not a prude, but not-yet-divorced Caroline seems to be attracted to every man she meets and barely lets two days go by in between her conquests. She is recovering from a jerk of a husband, but it was still a bit much. Miss Lavinia also seems to snag any man that wanders into Tall Pines. I'm all for embracing your sexuality, but a few standards and a bit of self-control wouldn't hurt.

France Mae, Trip's white trash wife, is both an awful villain and a figure for pity. She's greedy, rude, and stupid, and Trip only married her because she was pregnant. It's really quite sad - everyone in the family, including her husband, hates her. But she has produced four granddaughters for Miss Lavinia, who treats them and their mother like dirt. I actually felt sorriest for the girls - while their mother may be frightful, the family's attitude towards her overflows onto the children, which isn't fair. The new baby is gleefully described as ugly by her grandmother and aunt, which I found dreadful (yes, I've noticed an ugly baby in my time, but I would never describe my own kin that way) and it seems that Miss L. didn't know anything about loving a grandchild til Caroline and her son Eric showed up. Even Trip prefers his nephew to his own children. Perhaps if he wasn't a drunk who was losing all his money, he could've had a positive influence on them and kept them from becoming copies of Frances Mae.

The story of Trip, Caroline, and Lavinia's strained relationship unfolds well and Miss Lavinia leaves the world in grand style, as she lived in it. Lavinia really is a character and she does come to realize her past behaviour towards her children has damaged them. Despite her death, there's a happy ending.

Verdict: I may not have enjoyed this one quite as much as her first book, but I'll still be happy to take any trips to South Carolina that Frank wants to take me on.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review: The Book of Three

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
3 stars

Reasons for reading: I've been meaning to because it's one of my husband's childhood faves; Daring Book Challenge and Fantasy for the Genre Challenge

Summary (from Kirkus UK): "Assistant pig-farmer, Taran craves adventure and longs to be a hero. So when magical pig, Hen Wen escapes, his desires turn to reality as he embarks upon a dangerous quest to find her. Set in the mystical country of Prydain, Taran must brave perilous lands, mysterious creatures and face the terrifying and evil Horned King. Along the way, a colourful cast of characters provide Taran with worldly wisdom and witty banter, while the "crunchings and munchings" of the adorable Gurgi will captivate everyone's hearts. Originally published in 1964, The Book of Three is the first in Alexander's fantasy series, The Chronicles of Prydain, and has won him numerous praise and awards, including the prestigious Newbery Medal. Combining traditional storytelling with the struggle of good versus evil, this is a fast-paced and entertaining fantasy adventure."

First line: "Taran wanted to make a sword; but Coll, charged with the practical side of his education, decided on horseshoes."

My thoughts: I'm not really a high fantasy girl, so at first I was a bit resistant to the medieval, pseudo-Welsh setting of Prydain. I did like that it was fast-paced and not many hundreds of pages long. But I soon came to like Taran, who wants to be a warrior and hero before he truly knows what those words mean, but does become both by the end of the book. And really, who can resist an "oracular pig"? Big, white, smiling Hen Wen the pig is a character herself. Wolfhound/humanoid thing Gurgi reminded me a lot of Gollum and I wouldn't describe him as adorable, but he eventually won me over. And chatty, chatty Eilonwy is both an irritating little girl and quite fab - I liked how she kept putting Assistant Pig-Keeper Taran in his place and ended up being much more important than she seemed at first.

Verdict: Not sure if I'll read the whole series, but I might some day. And I'm glad that I've read this fave of my husband's and that I can now recommend it to fantasy-seeking kids.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Review: The Hoboken Chicken Emergency

The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater
3.5 stars

Reason for reading: Daring Book Challenge

Description: "When Arthur Bobowicz is sent out to bring home the family's Thanksgiving turkey, he returns instead with Henrietta -- a 266 pound chicken with a mind of her own. Feathers fly when this colossal clucker descends upon Hoboken, New Jersey."

First sentence: "Nobody in Arthur Bobwicz's family really liked turkey."

My thoughts: Not much to say, really, it's a really short book, but it's funny and fun. Pinkwater is always a hoot. Or perhaps a cluck, in this case. The part about Anthony DePalma, fake chicken catcher, is hilarious, particularly his top-secret method of trapping poultry. It's also a really neat example of a multicultural story that isn't going out of its way to be one - there are simply lots of immigrant families living in Hoboken and that's the way it is.

The edition I read is is a 30th-anniversary one, with new illustrations and, I think, a few changes to the text, as there's a reference to e-mail, which certainly wasn't around in 1977. But other than that, the strangeness and the good lesson of the importance of kindness are intact. I remember enjoying Pinkwater when I was a middle-grader myself, so he's Pinkwater is a classic and always a great recommendation for reluctant readers or kids looking for a laugh.

Addition: I was searching my parents' basement for childhood books and I discovered I actually own a copy of this book, whoops! But I'm still counting it because, unlike other Pinkwaters I read as a kid, I didn't have any memory of it at all.

Review: Out Stealing Horses

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
3 stars

Reasons for reading: Book club; IMPAC Dublin award winner for the Book Awards Challenge

Summary (from Publishers Weekly): "...the meditations of Trond Sander, a man nearing 70, dwelling in self-imposed exile at the eastern edge of Norway in a primitive cabin. Trond's peaceful existence is interrupted by a meeting with his only neighbor, who seems familiar. The meeting pries loose a memory from a summer day in 1948 when Trond's friend Jon suggests they go out and steal horses. That distant summer is transformative for Trond as he reflects on the fragility of life while discovering secrets about his father's wartime activities. The past also looms in the present: Trond realizes that his neighbor, Lars, is Jon's younger brother, who "pulls aside the fifty years with a lightness that seems almost indecent." Trond becomes immersed in his memory, recalling that summer that shaped the course of his life while, in the present, Trond and Lars prepare for the winter, allowing Petterson to dabble in parallels both bold and subtle."

First sentence: "Early November."

My thoughts: Quiet and grey are two words that come to mind to describe this book. Not grey in a bad way, but it definitely describes the Norwegian landscape. Despite being quiet, the novel does draw the reader in. Unfortunately, I found that the elements that drew me in, particularly why Trond had decided to live out the rest of his life in solitude, weren't really addressed. The "big reveal" (although it could be I shouldn't have expected one in a literary novel) - that Trond's father abandoned his family - was no surprise at all. To me it made the novel just peter out. There were also several other things that were mentioned, seemed important, and were never mentioned again or pursued very far. I did enjoy the descriptions of Trond's daily life, particularly his relationship with his dog, Lyra and I'm happy to add a Norwegian book to my reading experience..

Verdict: I had a feeling I was in trouble when one of the subject headings for the book was "social isolation - fiction." It was more interesting than I'd thought, though, but the ending rather spoiled the book for me.

For another, much better, review of this book, here's Raidergirl's.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Celebrate the Author: Brian Wildsmith

Author: Brian Wildsmith

Birthday: Jan 22, 1930

Biography (from his website):
Brian Wildsmith was raised in a small mining village in Yorkshire, England, where, he says, "Everything was grey. There wasn't any colour. It was all up to my imagination. I had to draw in my head..."

He won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art where he studied for three years. For a while he taught music at the Royal Military School of Music, but then gave it up so that he could paint full time.

He has deservedly earned a reputation as one of the greatest living children's illustrators. In 1962, he published his first children's book, ABC, for which he was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal, Britain's equivalent to the Caldecott Medal. He was also a runner up for this medal for The Owl and the Woodpecker.

Wildsmith has said: "I believe that beautiful picture books are vitally important in subconsciously forming a child's visual appreciation, which will bear fruit in later life." . . .

Brian is married, has four children, and currently lives in the south of France.

Why I'm celebrating him: I admit, he was a late entry onto my list when I discovered that I still had to read almost all of the books for the Daring Book Challenge in a month and I wasn't going to get through The Boleyn Inheritance. But I was glad to find out he was a January birthday - I've always had a soft spot for Wildsmith's work, as I clearly remember studying him with the children's librarian at my elementary school, a wonderful old-school teacher-librarian who gave me a very solid foundation in loving books and libraries. I can remember her teaching us about his illustrations and I think we even had to do an art project using his paint-splatter technique. His distinct style and wonderful use of colours have stayed with me.

Brian Wildsmith's Amazing World of Words

Description: "A young space traveler tours all the wonders of Earth, learning the names of a host of objects, in a colorful illustrated dictionary that includes hidden picture puzzles and locator tabs."

My thoughts: This was one Wildsmith book I knew I hadn't read as either a child or an adult. School Library Journal describes the format well: "The "I Spy" format features detailed double-page spreads devoted to such environments as a desert, jungle, market, wildlife park, playground, and farm. Small labeled drawings of objects that can be found on that page appear around each spread." The bright red spaceship is in each picture, for extra fun (I always loved books that had a recurring thing on every page). The first spread of the spaceship landing is the most Wildsmithian to me, with lots of paint splatters. His brightly-coloured dinosaurs are sure to please kids and the Mountains page has hangliders, animals, a rainbow and a pair of climbers risking their lives in a lightning storm. On the last page, the spaceship flies away on a watercolour background with a banner that says "goodbye" in many lanaguages trailing behind it. Even the endpapers are beautifully painted.

Verdict: While it's not a traditional picture story book, I think sharp-eyed smart kids would really enjoy exploring Wildsmith's world.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Review: Black Beauty

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
2.5 stars

Reasons for reading: have always meant to; Daring Book Challenge

Description: "Set in Victorian London, the novel follows the shifting fortunes of a horse as he moves from owner to owner. Narrated by the noble Black Beauty himself, the tale offers an animal’s perspective of the world, and highlights the thoughtless, even cruel treatment animals endured during that period."

First line: "The first place I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it."

My thoughts: The 2.5 stars represents my interest level/enjoyment of the book, not the quality. I wasn't a horsey girl, which is why I hadn't read it as a child, and I'm not a horsey adult. I can see why it's a classic, although I have to say I don't know if it's aged particularly well. Maybe that's not fair, but I definitely found the references to things like the Crimean War and Victorian elections rather beyond my scope, and I'm (apparently) a grown-up. There's also a lot of instances of drunkenness in the book, which prudish 21st century me found rather shocking.

But the fact that it's narrated by Black Beauty himself definitely adds interest and charm, so I'm sure that horse-loving kids can look past the Victoriana. I also found it interesting to read about all of the different places Beauty lived and worked - I tend to think of horses having one owner their whole lives, but of course that's not often the case and I'm sure it definitely wasn't the case back then, when people needed horses for daily transportation and work. While the message of treating horses (and people, too) with kindness is an excellent one, I found it really heavy-handed - most of the chapters are just slight variations on this theme - how nice it is to have a nice master, how awful it is to have a bad master - over and over again. But apparently this was new thinking in the 19th century, so I guess it was needed. The info at the back of my copy says that the story had a real impact on people's attitudes towards their animals and made people re-think things like cruel reining techniques, so it definitely deserves kudos for that. And I did like that Beauty got a happy ending, after some hard living situations.

Verdict: Not really my bag of oats, but I'm glad to have finally read this classic.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Review: Storm Front

Storm Front by Jim Dresden
4.5 stars

Reasons for reading: My husband is addicted to this series and wanted to get me hooked on it, too! Also, at least twice when he's bought the books, the bookstore clerks have been very excited by him buying the series, as they've been fans of both the books and the TV show, so I figured I'd see what all the fuss was about.

Description: "Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things--and most of them don't play too well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a--well, whatever. There's just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get... interesting. Magic. It can get a guy killed."

My thoughts: I've become much geekier since marrying my husband. :-) I really enjoyed this book, even though I'm not really one for fantasy. But Harry is incredibly smart, a gentleman, and master of one-liners - rather like my husband - so I was bound to like him! At first I wondered if I'd be able to get into a modern-day wizard, but the magic elements are well done - he explains how it uses the forces of nature and that wizards aren't really different from the regular population, just more attuned to those things and able to harness them. Also, the crime/mystery aspect was well done, too - Harry gets into a ton of vividly-described scrapes, from dealing with a female vampire to a human mob boss to various demons and finally the black mage hell-bent on destroying Harry and anyone else who gets in his way.

There are some great secondary characters. There's Murphy, the tiny but fierce female detective/martial artist assigned to the "special" crimes she needs Harry's help with. There's Bob, the spirit of the air who lives inside a skull and helps Harry remember spells and potions, in exchange for the odd get-out-of-skull-free card to go and spy on sorority parties. And there's Susan, a very sexy tabloid reporter who wants Harry for information and more. Even Harry's enormously huge cat Mister has a lot of personality. The thorn in Harry's side is Morgan, the over-zealous enforcer from the wizards' White Council, who's out for Harry's head because years ago, Harry killed someone with magic in self-defense and he can't afford one false move, or he'll be executed. Unfortunately, Harry isn't great at following rules...

The verdict: My husband succeeded, I'm a fan! (Now if only he'd stop pushing the next in the series on me until I'm finished the half-dozen books I need to read for challenges in the next few weeks!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Review: The Winter Rose

The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
4.25 stars

Reasons for reading: I lurved The Tea Rose over my Christmas vacation; Seconds Challenge

Summary (from Publishers Weekly): "In late Victorian London, idealistic new medical school graduate India Selwyn Jones goes to work at a clinic in the city's poorest neighborhood, much to the dismay of her aristocratic mother and ambitious fiancé, political up-and-comer Freddie Lytton. The squalor is a bit much for India, but she manages to keep her emotions under control until she meets underworld crime boss Sid Malone. Sid begins as India's nemesis, becomes her patient and ends up something much more than that. What India doesn't know is that Sid is the brother of tea heiress Fiona Bristow, wife of self-made, highly principled businessman Joseph Bristow. What Sid doesn't know is that India's fiancé is as ruthless as Sid's most ruthless henchman, willing to commit theft, betrayal and even murder to launch his career, force India out of hers and bring down Sid in the process. In typical epic style, Donnelly (The Tea Rose) alternates India's story with Sid's, Freddie's, Joseph's and Fiona's, leading the reader through turn-of-the-century England from the Houses of Parliament to ale houses and whore houses, and from London to Africa and beyond."

My thoughts: I liked this one almost as much as The Tea Rose, hence the quarter-star difference. The life of a female doctor in 1900 was really interesting and well-researched and again Donnelly made the squalid surroundings of East London and its proud, hardworking residents come to life. It was lovely to see Fiona and Joe again, with their growing family, although they're still no strangers to heartbreaking tragedy. And I really liked the characters of aristorat-turned-doctor-to-the-poor India and gangster-with-a-heart-of-gold Sid. I think I enjoyed their romance even more than Fiona and Joe's. Also, the African settings were well-drawn, and it was interesting to read about the beginnings of British colonization there.

Freddie Lytton was a great villain (well, he's loathsome, but great for a villain), almost as evil as Jack the Ripper/William Burton in the previous book. Perhaps more so, actually, since Burton seemed at least somewhat mad, while Freddie is completely ruthless and calculating.

But I didn't enjoy the mountaineering parts so much, though. While it was nice to see a bit more of Fiona's little brother Seamie and I liked brave, determined Willa, his climbing partner on Kilimanjaro, I skimmed over the descriptions of crampons and whatnot. Also, the scope of The Tea Rose also seemed broader - while the about same amount of time (10 years-ish) elapses in each book, it seemed like there were more details of what happened to the characters in the first book. There was quite a 6-year jump in this book. I gather nothing much happened, but it seemed a bit abrupt.

Still, this was a great follow-up to an excellent book. I've heard that she's working on a third book in this series, which I'm already looking forward to!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Review: Emily of New Moon

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
3 stars

Summary (adapted from Wikipedia): Emily Starr is sent to live at
New Moon Farm on Prince Edward Island with her aunts Elizabeth (the stern one) and Laura (the sweet one) Murray and her "simple" Cousin Jimmy, who composes poetry. She makes friends with Ilse Burnley, Teddy Kent, and Perry Miller, the hired boy . . . Emily has a hard time getting along with Aunt Elizabeth, who doesn't understand her need to write. Ilse's father, Dr. Burnley, ignores Ilse most of the time because of a dreadful secret concerning Ilse's mother. Teddy's mother is jealous of her son's talents and friends, fearing that his love for them will eclipse his love for her . . . Perry's Aunt Tom once tries to make Emily promise to marry Perry when they grow up, threatening that unless Emily does so, she won't pay for Perry's schooling. Other unforgettable characters are Dean "Jarback" Priest, a quiet, mysterious cynic who wants something he fears is ever unattainable; and fiery Mr Carpenter, the crusty old schoolteacher who is Emily's mentor and honest critic when it comes to evaluating her stories and poems.

My thoughts: I'm still an Anne girl. I may read the other two Emily books someday, but my heart belongs first to Anne and then to Jane of Lantern Hill. I think part of the problem is that, while Emily is different in some ways from Anne, so much of her situation is much the same - bright, spirited orphan girl sent to live with a family that doesn't really want her. And it definitely has lots of that part of Montgomery's style that I like the least - pages of flowery descriptions and raptures over the beauty of a single tree.

And while I've heard Emily's writerliness is the reason some people prefer her to Anne and that it makes Emily more similar to Montgomery herself, it wasn't really for me. I guess at the time it was a curiosity to have a girl wanting to be a writer and maybe that gave it extra charm and interest, but while I admire Emily's spirit, having to read her poetry and her constant misspellings got a bit annoying. It also split the book up in an odd way for me - some of it is told by the narrator and some through Emily's letters to her deceased father.

Least favourite parts: The inklings that Emily has psychic powers - it seemed really jarring given the age and style of the story. Dean Priest - maybe I'm just too 21st century in my outlook, but it really seemed to me as though this 30-something man had some much-too-strong feelings for 12-year-old Emily.

Favourite part: There's definitely still Montgomery charm, though. I really enjoyed the chapter where Protestant-raised Emily visits a Catholic priest to try and get him to convince New Moon neighbour Lofty John not to cut down a grove of trees between the two properties. The priest is enchanted by Emily and is convinced she's a fairy, which was cute. He also helps her with advice on how to get the heroine of her epic poem out of a convent, which was a hoot.

Verdict: I definitely prefer Green Gables, but New Moon was worth a visit.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Worst Books of 2008

Figured I'd start from the bottom up. :-) Of course, these are the worst books for me, because I didn't enjoy them. They may do quite well for others, but they didn't float my boat.

1. Food and Loathing: a lament by Betsy Lerner - Lerner is pretty unlikeable and I really felt I'd wasted my time slogging through a book where the only message of hope is basically that the best you can hope for is life to be just okay.

2. The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder - Well-written and a good story, but way too many horrifying and disgusting situations for me.

3. Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Militant Midwives by Michael Bond - Disappointing because I was expecting so much more from the creator of Paddington Bear! I g0t the impression this was a quickie installment in a long-running series, perhaps the earlier ones are better. There were a few funny bits, but it just seemed too dashed-off.

4. Real Vampires Have Curves by Gerry Bartlett - This one I do have a quarrel with the writing style - there was SO MUCH repetition of the basic facts it got really, really annoying. I wanted to like it, this mixture of vamp story, chick lit and bodice-ripper, but it really felt like either the author thought I was an idiot or she thought her main character was.

5. Down the Nile by Rosemary Mahoney - Nonfiction usually isn't my thing, so I have a bit of bias there. But her whole journey seemed rather pointless to me and it seemed to have made her pretty miserable, so what was the point of writing the book?

6. Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein - Felt dated, hateful characters and an ending that leaves no spark of brightness for the future.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Books Read

120 books read this year, 10 more than 2007!

Here's the list, for posterity...


East of Eden
2. Glamour
3. The Devil of Nanking
4. Food and Loathing: a lament
5. The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell
6.The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Cocktails for Three
Sweet Potato Queens' 1st Big-Ass Novel
Housekeeping vs. The Dirt
Witch Way to Murder
Bloodsucking Fiends
Mermaids in the Basement
13. Real Vampires Have Curves
Gods Behaving Badly
16.Remember Me?
Uncommon Grounds
Deep Dish
Agnes and the Hitman
Late Nights on Air
21.Enchanted, Inc.
Anybody Out There
Shakespeare's Landlord
Sullivan's Island
25.The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square
Bet Your Bottom Dollar
Down the Nile
The Three Miss Margarets
Strawberry Shortcake Murder
Perfectly True Tales of a Perfect Size 12
31.Dear Sad Goat
Cease to Blush
34. Till The Cows Come Home
The Marriage of True Minds
Nights of Rain and Stars
38.Love Walked In
39.The Sugar Queen
40.Dead Until Dark
41.Bobbie Faye's (kinda sorta not really) Family Jewels
Second Chance
Girls in Trucks
Miss Julia Takes Over
Julie and Julia
Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Militant Midwives
47.My Summer of Southern Discomfort
Elements of Style
Hotel Du Lac
50.Do Not Disturb
51. The Host
One Dangerous Lady
Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking
54.The Perfect Mahattan
55. Rat Pack Confidential
Over Her Dead Body
Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes
Your Oasis on Flame Lake
Murder With Peacocks
Carpe Demon
Miss Julia Throws a Wedding
The New Yorkers
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
On Beauty
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Fleur De Leigh's Life of Crime
Piece of my Heart
Theft: a love story
In Defense of Food
The Tea Rose
72. The Art of Undressing
The Stupidest Angel
74. Fashionably Late
Stop Dressing Your 6-Year-Old Like a Skank
76. 'Tis the Season
77. Water for Elephants

Children's and Young Adult

2. Blue Bloods
3. The The Poison Apples
4. Twisted
5. Beige
6. A Great and Terrible Beauty
7. Looking for Alaska
8. The Black Sheep
Naomi and Ely's No-Kiss List
10.The Luxe
12. The Tail of Emily Windsnap
13. One of those hideous books where the mother dies
14. Tantalize
15. Stormbreaker
16. Odd Man Out
Lock and Key
18. Derby Girl
19.Princess Academy
20. Suite Scarlett
21.21 Proms
23.Mistik Lake
24. Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
25.Stop in the Name of Pants!
26. Rumors: a Luxe novel
The Secret of the Mansion
28.Eighth Grade Bites
29. Gregor the Overlander
31.Indie Girl
32.10 Things to do Before I Die
33. Breaking Dawn
34. Aurelia
35. Artichoke's Heart
36. 13 Reasons Why
37. The Willoughbys
38. Top 10 Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
39. Private Peaceful
40. The Angel Experiment
41. Fancy White Trash
42. Breakfast at Bloomingdale's
43. Star-Crossed