Gossip Girl

I don’t generally read Young Adult novels. I don’t. But I really enjoy this series by Cecily Von Ziegesar. I just finished I Like It Like That, which is number 4 or 5 in the series.

The characters are all upper East side, private prep school, socialite teens. They have their own credit cards and drop wads of money at the drop of a name brand. I think the idea is supposed to be that even kids who have it all have all the same problems as regular kids. You know… Who’s going out with whom? Will I get into a good college? How hot will I look in those $2000 shoes? Oh wait. That’s not right. Well, something like that. I just get a huge kick out of the total fantasy life. Giant apartments and tons of money. Glamorous parties and gallons of alcohol.

As a parent, it’s a lesson in how not to raise teenagers. Point taken.

I love Donna Leon!

Ok, maybe that’s going a bit too far, but I do love her Guido Brunetti mysteries. They take place in Venice. I just finished Death at La Fenice.

A world renowned conductor is found dead of cyanide poisoning between the second and third acts of La Traviata. Several people have motives. Commissario Brunetti has to find out who did it.

I love Leon’s descriptions of Venice. I also love the Commissario’s boss. He’s pompous and arrogant and none to bright. He says the most hilarious things in all seriousness. Brunetti makes bets with himself: if the boss says X I’ll buy my wife flowers. Definitely chortle-out-loud-worthy.

Undead and Unwed

I don’t even remember where I read about this book. I like vampire novels. This was touted as a chick-lit vampire story, so I borrowed it from the library.

I enjoyed it immensely. Betsey Taylor got hit by a Pontiac Aztec the same week she got laid-off. It killed her. She woke up a few days later in a coffin. She spends the rest of the book trying to figure out how to live as a vampire and fend off evil vampire coven leaders living a bad vampire cliche. She is extremely fond of expensive shoes. She is snarky and funny and I liked her. There is some rather graphic sex described, so if that’s not your thing, consider yourself warned.

Drowning Ruth

OK we had book club on Monday, so it’s now safe to talk about this book.

It’s by Christina Schwartz, for anyone who’s interested.

The storyline is choppy. It jumps from Ruth’s childhood to her mother’s and aunt’s childhoods in the beginning. In the second half, Ruth is a teenager, so add that to the mix. It’s also told from three different narrative voices. Ruth’s, Aunt Amanda’s, and a 3rd person narrative. It’s a little confusing, but you get used to it.

So the story goes something like this… Amanda was a nurse in a WWI veteran’s hospital. She leaves the hospital and goes home to live on the family farm with her sister and niece. Her brother-in-law is in France in the war. Apparently she was having some mental stress. Some freak accident happens, the sister dies, and Amanda is left raising the niece. There is all sorts of mystery surrounding the night the sister died, and Amanda goes off the deep end for awhile.

For me, the first half was horribly depressing. I even had to stop reading it and read something else for awhile. Probably this is because Ruth is just a little girl. She acts like she has some idea how jacked up her life is, but still… Anyway, the second half is much easier to read. Ruth turns out somewhat normal and has friends. There are some surprises, and you don’t find out til the very end exactly what happened that fateful night.

Most of the girls at book club liked this one. Several of us noted that if it hadn’t taken place up north on a frozen lake, we would have thought it was a Southern novel. It just had that Bayou, backwards feel.

All in all, it didn’t suck.

H.M.S. Surprise

I finished the third book in the Aubrey/Maturin series today! You may know them from the movie Master and Commander: Far side of the World with Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. Good movie. Even better books, unsurprisingly. I realize that the author, Patrick O’Brian, deserted his family to go off and get rich writing these novels. But that doesn’t detract much from the quality of the books. I love this series!

I would be irate, but I’m too sick.

I’m ’bout tired of all the spam in my comments folder. The other day I had 13 comments ready for approval. 3 were from real people. The other 10 were from online poker sites! With lovely messages like this, “Feminists think that the world can be re-educated to eliminate rape. Millions of boys hit puberty every day…” AAAARRRGH!

New title…

As you can see, I named the website. The vote was for Bookmark my Heart. Aside from one vote for “Bad Girl Gone Tri-Delt” (thanks to Holly), it was pretty much a landslide victory. Thanks to all who voted.