I am Princess X by Cherie Priest

Remember how on my birthday I responded to every Facebook birthday wish with a book recommendation? I was so tickled this summer when one of my librarian friends said she liked the idea so much that she did the same thing on her birthday! And this is the book she recommended to me.

princessxI LOVED this. Some graphic novel pages thrown in, a mystery [two girls create Princess X in story and pictures, one girl dies, the other one doesn’t believe it, and a few years later she sees Princess X pasted up all over the city), and a wild story. I loved how it came together and the girls’ friendship. Isn’t it convenient, though, how often in fiction (books or tv or movies) some teenager is always an amazing hacker? Have you ever known one in real life? I haven’t, but the world of fiction is lousy with these geniuses. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened and was super caught up in it. Terrific story.

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Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas

veronicaAhhh..just as satisfying as watching another VM movie, or several episodes of the show. It does tend to read a little screenplay-y, script-y, but that’s ok because I’m really watching it in my head as I read it. I’m delighted with this series and sure hope #3 is in the works.
This one was especially interesting because outside of the case Veronica is working (the main plot) the book also wraps up some stuff from the movie/previous book.

Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen

spynessThis might be one of my favorite Royal Spyness books (and it came out last year, so shame on me for not even knowing about it, but what a happy surprise to just see it on the shelf.)
It was refreshing to see America, not just its 1934 Hollywood glamour, but also through Georgie’s eyes. I also enjoyed the variety of settings. At first it seemed like it was going to be a bottle episode, but then we had not just a ship crossing, but also a train trip, stay at the famed Beverly Hills Hotel, and more. It was fabulous and I loved all the details. I also enjoyed the notable absence of Queenie for much of the book. I do find her a bit trying.

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

VMYou might already know that not only am I a huge Veronica Mars fan, but also a big fan of Rob Thomas back when he wrote YA. So when news came out that a book was coming out as a follow up to the movie I was pretty psyched. Although I received this for my birthday I managed to put off reading it until this week-when I raced right through it. It was super!! Basically, it was like reading an episode (well, maybe more like 2 or 3) of the show. Written exactly as the tv/movie dialogue is, same style mystery and solve, etc. As I read I saw the entire thing in my head.  Which, as a fan of the series, is exactly what I wanted. There were many pages in the beginning that were really exposition for anyone who hasn’t seen the show or movie, and if you haven’t it’s very easy with all of that to be caught right up.  There were many character and story mentions from way back in the show, which is also a nice treat for fans, while not being confusing for those who haven’t seen it. The only teeny tiny disappointment for me was that I felt I could tell it wasn’t just Rob Thomas writing-it just didn’t have quite the same feeling as his previous books and I could tell it was heavily co-written. But that’s ok! And, not a disappointment, but kind of weird-the title isn’t especially relevant to the story (which is about two girls who vanish during Spring Break.)
I hope that this becomes a long running mystery series with a book a year. I could easily see it being a very Sue Grafton/Kinsey Milhone detective type of series.

Great mystery, the snappy clever Veronica attitude and dialogue I’ve come to expect, and I liked how it picked up after the movie and furthered along her story. There were also some great surprises in here, dramatic moments, red herrings, and overall a good story.

I can’t wait for the next one!

Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen

heirThis is the latest in the Her Royal Spyness series and while it had most of the elements I love have to expect and love in the series, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as the others. In fairness-I read this in dribs and drabs and very disjointedly. But the flip side of that is that I didn’t find it compelling enough to just finish in a few days.
The setup this time is that the Queen arranges for Georgie to go stay with an old friend of hers (a dowager Duchess.)  This lady wants her at her estate because a new heir to the dukedom has just been found-a young Australian man who had no idea he was British nobility. His uncouth behavior and the duchess’s shock at it is a wonderful pairing. It’s also great how his not-raised-there take on the nobility and class structure is voiced and basically calls it all out for the ridiculousness that it is. Anyway, the current Duke, Cedric, is a total ass who won’t care for his family and announces he’s going to adopt his French valet so that Marcel will be the next Duke and it’s all a mockery of everything everyone else holds dear. Fortunately (or unfortunately, in Cedric’s case) Cedric is promptly murdered and of course, discovered by Georgie.  The investigation begins and I have to say–the solution is nothing you could figure out on your own (which I’m fine with.)
I don’t know if it’s because I read it so slowly or what, but it just didn’t seem to have the same witty momentum as the other installments in this series.

The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

brideAnd finally, the last of my week of reading fun fiction. I love Meg Cabot’s books. She’s a fun writer and her characters are always much more witty than any person could be in real life, yet they seem like they could be friends with you.  So, the thing about this book is that it’s the fifth Heather Wells book.  So not only did I miss #2,3, and 4 (having apparently only read the first one), but I also seemed to have forgotten a very large part of Heather’s story-that she was once a superstar singing sensation, alá Robin Sparkles. I also didn’t remember any boyfriends, ex or otherwise. I’ll bear in mind that I’ve got three unread books to choose from the next time I want a nice fun mystery.

So, Heather is a residence hall asst. director in NYC. She’s engaged and planning her wedding, but of course there’s a murder and she’s inclined to solve it.  I love the mix of residence hall stuff with her own adult life, plus the mystery. Though I will say that I think it’s time to lose “size 12/size 24” titles.  The first one worked, but now it just seems silly and irrelevant.

In Dublin’s Fair City by Rhys Bowen

dublinThis is the 4th Molly Murphy mystery I’ve read and I continue to be amazed and impressed at how Bowen picks out one historical movement/detail/event from the time and manages to make that the emphasis of the novel. All taking place within the same time, but a different emphasis on each one. In this case Molly has returned to Ireland and becomes involved with the movement to claim Irish independence from the British. (To be honest, I remain very confused about this.) This is the 4th book I’ve read, but it is actually the  6th in the series. I figured I wasn’t missing much by skipping two as I just found out there are now eleven books in the series and I know what happens with the slow romance arc. Books 10 and 11 look especially interesting to me, but I will take my time and read as I want.

A wealthy Broadway producer hires Molly to discreetly go to Ireland and see if she can locate a missing sister.  He and his family had left Ireland during the famine and had to leave behind an ailing baby sister. It’s not known whether she lived or died. Molly is apprehensive about returning to Ireland, where she is wanted for almost killing someone.  Immediately her adventure begins when she boards the ocean liner.  Famous actress Oona asks Molly to swap places with her. Molly agrees, but gets embroiled in problems when Oona’s maid turns up dead. I really liked how the action of the novel was both on the ship and then in Ireland upon her arrival.  It’s also really two mysteries–the dead maid and Oona’s switching, plus Molly’s case of the left behind sister. It was fascinating to see what Ireland was like as Molly visits cities and villages on her case.

Another great historical mystery by Rhys Bowen!