Archive for February, 2009

An Exchange of Gifts

[openbook booknumber=”0809556855″]


A princess named Anastasia runs away from home and fakes her death to escape a marriage that is about to be forced upon her by her father the king. She finds herself in a run down hut and woefully unprepared for the life of an independent with no servants to wait upon her or skill to make up the lack. That’s when the boy Wisp stumbles into her life. A waif of a boy, he’s a runaway too and the two soon help each other to survive in the backwoods alone. Until the secrets they have kept from each other plunge them into danger and risk tearing them apart.

An Exchange of Gifts had all the makings of a really great book, in my opinion: there was a great set-up, interesting plot, a backstory about magical Gifts and traditions, and characters that were engaging and well rounded. Unfortunately this novel was never really finished in my opinion. The book in its current form would have made a great rough first draft of said novel, but to publish it as it is, I think, took away a lot of what this novel could have become if it had been fleshed out a little more. As it is, you can read the whole book in 20 minutes and, while being an interesting diversion, you can’t help thinking the author could have done better than this.

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[openbook booknumber=”0375705759″]


A book of short, very poetic, stories Elementals was a a very nice treat that I got myself and read over Christmas. For some reason no one buys me books anymore, I think they are intimidated by my five page long amazon wishlist. So I’ve been buying myself titles off of it in an attempt to shorten it some.

I have read a collection of A.S. Byatt’s short stories before in the form of Little Black Book of Stories and so more or less thought I knew what to expect. The stories I read in the collection Elementals absolutely blew me away.

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Black Heart, Ivory Bones

[openbook booknumber=”0380786230″]


This lovely book, Black Heart, Ivory Bones, is a collection of fantasy and horror tales edited by my two favorite ladies of their respective genres Ellen Datlow (horror) and Terri Windling (fantasy). This is one book in a series of six volumes of, as they call it, reconsidered fairy tales. These fairy tales are rewritten to change the focus of the originals or perhaps just to sharpen the point of them to showcase the sinister, the sensual, and the sometimes sadistic roots of our childhood fairy tales.

I have always loved reading re-written fairy tales since I was introduced to the genre in junior high. That was the first time I read this entire series straight through. Definitely another one of those books my parents should have known about before I got my hands on it, though this particular title kept it pretty light in the sensual department.

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Press Boners


A short, small book Press Boners contains various typos, miss-sayings, poorly written sentences, and out right sarcastic headlines and article quotes from newspapers all across the country. It was a book foisted off on me by my father-in-law when he was going through his books and decided to get rid of several in a move.

The positives of the book is that it was at times laugh out loud funny, the sly jabs at men, women, and various situations were amusing to read as well as the intentional and unintentional humor found in them. It was also amusing to find the Lancaster New Era quoted a handful of times, my old hometown newspaper.

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Absolutely Amazing Five-Minute Mysteries

[openbook booknumber=”0762417722″]


The byline of this novel is “40 New Cases of Murder and Mayhem for You to Solve”, which is precisely what this novel contains. My husband and I decided we wanted MOAR mystery after reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes so we decided to read Absolutely Amazing Five-Minute Mysteries together, a book that we had picked up at a brown bag book sale at a local elementary school a long time ago.

The mysteries turned out to be tough. You read the beginning of the mystery and then had to guess the end yourself. To check to see if you were right you had to flip to the back of the book to read the solution, a la the Clue books of my childhood. We got to be pretty good towards the middle and end of the novel at really reading the short stories and trying to pick up on all of the clues. There were a few things working against us though.

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