Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Taken

Author: Barbara Freethy
Stars: 5
Review by: Kim H.

A real page turner. Barbara Freethy keeps the story ingesting and moving along.

Recovering Charles

Author: Jason F. Wright
Stars: 1
Review by: Woman on the Go


I just picked up a new book that was reserved for me at the library . As suspected I couldn't put the book down. I finished it in two sittings. My favorite author - Jason F. Wright. 

Unfortunately this book left me upset and having bad dreams. Not like the other books he wrote that I loved reading. This was very graphic.  The book was fiction but the subject was very much still in the news. Most of the story took place in New Orleans just after Hurricane Katrina. Very sad story, unlike the previous books of his I have read. I was mentally shaken. I could not recommend this book, unless you like this kind of sadness. I found the ending very disappointing. I only as a rule read Romantic love stories. Had I known ahead of time what the content was I would have not read it. It only gets 1 star from me and that is because it was a very well written account of the sad event.   I am still waiting for several of his other books to show up any day as I have them reserved. Oh well, On to the next book!

The Island

Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Stars: 4
Review by: Barb

This was a nice summer "listen to" that I had downloaded to my cell phone. It continues my reading of summer novels about the Nantucket area. A nice simple story with no surprises and a couple of marginally whiny gals.

The Firebird

Author: Susanna Kearsley
Stars: 4
Review by: Smudge

Two stories woven together.  A fun read.

In the Company of Women

Author: Brenda Hunter, Ph. D.
Stars: 4
Review by: Brenda714

This non-fiction book deals with the relationships between women with a focus on mother-daughter and how that relationship affects other female relationships.  While it helps one understand the cause-effect of the m-d relationship it does not attempt to fix, but gives examples of what good inter female relationships could look like. 

Last to Know

Author: Elizabeth Adler
Stars: 5
Review by: bookhunter

Great summer read! Read it in one day - could not put it down.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

Author: Jan Philippe Sendker
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Sewing Teacher Chris

I liked it because of the mystical journey and love story. Others in book club did not.

Never Surrender

Author: Lindsay McKenna
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati

This was a rather intense read about a woman recovering from a bad situation during combat.  It is a reminder of what our military go through so we can have what we have.  Not every veteran is as lucky as this woman to have so much love to help her recover.

Going Home Again

Author: Dennis Bock
Stars: 4
Review by: BigDa

Beautifully written, and capturing the conflicts of living.

Everything I Never Told You

Author: Celeste Ng
Stars: 4
Review by: ADAR

Author's first novel.  Chinese-American family in the 1970s, small town in Ohio. Probably a very accurate picture of the times.  

Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline
Stars: 4
Review by: Michelle D.

Calling all children of the 80s!  Great, quick read about a billionaire who leaves his wealth to the winner of a scavenger hunt. Riddled with references to 80s pop culture stuff.

I, Michael Bennett

Author: James Patterson
Stars: 3
Review by: Ann M

Detective Michael Bennett put the drug lord, Manuel Perrine, behind bars.  He then escaped and is seeking out Bennett's family to assassinate them. 

The Bestseller

Author: Olivia Goldsmith
Stars: 4
Review by: 1stYearInTheClub

A fun summer read with a lot to learn about the publishing industry.

The Divorce Papers

Author: Susan Rieger
Stars: 2
Review by: Miss Lucy

Epistolary novel told through emails, written notes, and legal documents, all pertaining to the main couple's divorce.  It kept my interest for a while, but eventually I started to feel like I should be paid to read through minutely detailed legal correspondence.

Winter of the World

Author: Ken Follett
Stars: 5
Review by: Need to Read

Winter of the World by Ken Follett is the second book of a trilogy by Mr Follett.  I am reading them out of order.  I am wait listed for the first part, Fall of Giants.  The third will be published in September, I think.  A historical epic (early 1930's to late 1940's), Winter of the World revolves around the  events leading up to WWII and the years shortly after the war ended.  It is a real page turner (or, in my case, CD changer) with lots of action.  Great book.

In the Company of Others

Author: Jan Karon
Stars: 5
Review by: Need to Read

In the Company of Others by Jan Karon is a Father Tom Novel.  Ms Karon has written a series of books referred to as the Mitford novels and another series called the Father Tim Novels. All are based on Father Tim and his life as an Episcopal Priest in the village of Mitford and beyond.  They are feel good books that bring joy to the reader.  In the Company of Others is about the vacation Father Tim and his wife take in Ireland.  An enjoyable read about the ups and downs of everyday life.

Good-bye Witch: A Wishcraft Mystery

Author: Heather Blake
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

I like this Blake series since it is light and whimsical even for a murder mystery cozy.  This time the main character's best friend is being stalked by her ex-husband, or is she???  In any case, he turns up dead in her home and so the story takes off.  It would be nice to think that some wishes do come true like in the book.  Enjoy!

Angels at the Table

Author: Debbie Macomber
Stars: 4
Review by: JLB

Easy Read

Rainwater

Author: Sandra Brown
Stars: 4
Review by: Ann M

In the 1930's, Ella runs a boardinghouse.  Her son, Solly, who has some issues, lives there as well.  David Rainwater takes a room at the boardinghouse and brings a new dimension to their lives.

Runner

Author: Patrick Lee
Stars: 5
Review by: Bob E

Like the Aerosmith ride, goes zero to sixty in under four seconds.  Mind boggingly brilliant.

Q Is for Quarry

Author: Sue Grafton
Stars: 4
Review by: Barb

My first time to read Sue Grafton after all these years. It is the August selection for the South County Book Group. I liked the story, the characters and the way it read. Now to begin with A.

This Is Where I Leave You

Author: Jonathan Tropper
Stars: 3.5
Review by: mystery lover

About the ups and downs of life.  Reminded me of a 1990's movie Steve Martin was in.

The Night Is Forever (Krewe of Hunters Novel)

Author: Heather Graham
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

I like the Krewe novels since they have mystery, intrigue and paranormal all mixed together.  They are more complex than the average Cozy so it makes for nice summer reading.  This is about the death of the leader of a Horse Therapy Farm.  The majority of the people believe he just fell off the wagon and OD'ed.  In comes the paranormal. His ghosts tells one of his workers that he was murdered and she needs to find out who did it.  She calls up her cousin that works for the Krewe and so the investigation begins.  The problem I saw with this read is that there is all this investigation and then everything seems rushed at the end.  It read like the publishing deadline was due and the story had to end.  Read it and let me know!

The Martian

Author: Andy Weir
Stars: 5+
Review by: Saraswati

I want to thank KM for posting the review that triggered my interest in getting this book.  What was funny is that my Hubby put it on hold too and we wound up with 2 at the same time.  In any case, this is Mr. Weir's first novel and it is about an Astronaut that gets stranded on Mars after a failed mission.  Being the Science Geek that I am, I loved the science and thought process throughout this story.  The engineering humor is wonderful.  I sent word to all my fellow science teachers about this read.  What a great book for a science based summer read.  Enjoy!

The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic

Author: Hazel Gaynor
Stars: 4
Review by: Jambob

A poignant story based on fact. 14 immigrants from Addergoole Ireland make the leap of faith to journey to America on board the ship of dreams, the Titanic. I read a lot of factual Titanic books but this one touched my heart. Many books concentrate on its destruction, but this one made you feel as one of the desperate people waiting on the dock in New York straining to see the Carpathia berth with so few survivors, hoping that one of them is your loved one. Written with charm, hope and courage that honors the lives of those who sought out America as their future, knowing they would most likely never return to their homeland but had the misfortune of having a ticket for the Titanic.

Double Down: Game Change 2012

Author: Mark Halperin & John Heileman
Stars: 5
Review by: Bob E

Prescient analysis of 2012 Presidential election revealing the behind-the-scenes activities not shown on Fox News or MSNBC that drove the election. 

Deserves to Die

Author: Lisa Jackson
Stars: 4
Review by: Brenda714

The latest in the Montana "To Die" series. Another serial killer has come to the town of Grizzly Falls.  There are enough plot twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Plus, a romantic complication in the life of one of the lead characters just to keep things interesting. 

The Silkworm

Author: Robert Galbraith
Stars: 4
Review by: PKB

JK Rowling writing as RG in case you did not know. She is a good writer and this mystery had me guessing to the end. Love the character development and details.

Orphan Train

Author: Christina Baker Kline
Stars: 5
Review by: PKB

Great book,  short but powerful. Last page made me tear up. A relationship between a seventeen year old in the foster program who meets a 91 year old woman while doing community service and the similarity of their lives.

The Competition

Author: Marcia Clark
Stars: 4
Review by: bookhunter

A school shooting, an investigation and lots of mayhem.

Sundance

Author: David Fuller
Stars: 5
Review by: Karen P

If you've seen the Redford/Newman movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, you might enjoy this book as much as I did.

And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie
Stars: 4
Review by: libraryaimee


I listened to the audiobook and it was super creepy!  Excellent reader...although I have to say that all the references to eating "tinned tongue" were the most horrifying parts!

Also, I was surprised in the beginning with quite a bit of antisemitism and racism during the character description parts.  I wonder if the schools who use this as required summer reading address this aspect of the writing?

The Rose Garden

Author: Susanna Kearsley
Stars: 5
Review by: Smudge

A story of love, time travel, and belonging.  Well told.

Birdsong

Author: Sebastian Faulks
Stars: 2
Review by: ddlesmom


This book took off like a shot and I thought for sure I would devour it.  It got extremely slow, picked up again, got slow again and dragged to the end.  I found myself skipping whole paragraphs and not missing the story at all.
 
From Amazon "As the young Englishman Stephen Wraysford passes through a tempestuous love affair with Isabelle Azaire in France and enters the dark, surreal world beneath the trenches of No Man's Land, Sebastian Faulks creates a world of fiction that is as tragic as A Farewell to Arms and as sensuous as The English Patient. Crafted from the ruins of war and the indestructibility of love, Birdsong is a novel that will be read and marveled at for years to come."
 
I just didn't see it.

Almost Paradise

Author: Debbie Macomber
Stars: 2
Review by: Brenda714

One of her earlier works, it is aimed more for a teen reader than an adult.  A bit of romance set at a summer camp.

Afraid to Die

Author: Lisa Jackson
Stars: 4
Review by: Brenda714

Part of the Montana "To Die" series.  It is definitely a stand alone as the author does quick updates so you understand previous history between the main characters.  The 2 lead characters are female detectives in the town of Grizzly Falls.  Afraid to Die deals with a serial killer that encases his victims in artistic ice sculptures. We have a bit of romance to keep the book interesting but the main thrust is the serial killer.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Author: Judy Blume
Stars: 4
Review by: laz


How did I miss this classic when I was a youngster?!? It's definitely a "must read" and I'm glad to have had the chance to read it to my own youngsters.

Fun, believable, cracks us up each night...a good read!

Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters

Author: Timothy Keller
Stars: 4
Review by: laz

A great look at the things that distract us from what our focus should be...and a challenge to be realistic about what those distractions are.

The Dinner

Author: Herman Koch
Stars: 5
Review by: Sue27

Highly Recommend. This book is very clever and yes, twisted & evil. The last quarter of the book is fabulous. Couldn't put it down.

The Inn at Eagle Point

Author: Sherryl Woods
Stars: 3
Review by: Miss Lucy

Last year, so many people in the club read books by Sherryl Woods that I discovered a new author for myself.  This year, though, I haven't seen any evidence of her books in the club.  This is Book One of her Cheasapeake Shores Series.  Nice, romantic beach read!

Outliers: The Story of Success

Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Stars: 2
Review by: Sue27

This book is more like a magazine article with a few interesting ideas, expanded to book length. Gladwell plays very loose with social science and 'proof'. Disappointing.

Antigone

Author: Sophocles
Stars: 5
Review by: BookDancer

There is a reason why people are still reading and discussing this play, written nearly 2500 years ago.  In spite of the extremely unfamiliar conventions of ancient Greek drama, it is riveting in its treatment of the timeless themes of familial loyalty, citizenship, civil disobedience and the power of religious fervor, as well as others. How awe-inspiring to reach across millennia and face individuals and a world very similar to our own.

Freud's Mistress

Author: Karen Mack & Jennifer Kaufman
Stars: 3
Review by: Amy R.

This historical fiction was entertaining, but the characters weren't as engaging as I would have liked.

Hearts Divided

Author: Debbie Macomber, Lois Faye Dyer, & Katherine Stone
Stars: 4
Review by: E. L.

Three different stories by three authors about grandmothers and their grandaughters.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage

Author: Molly Wizenberg
Stars: 2
Review by: Karen S

I listened to this on audio book with my husband and this book annoyed me.  I guess it was an interesting story about starting a restaurant and hopefully killed that desire for my husband because she definitely paints a realistic picture and makes it sound not so glamorous.  They both seemed so flighty though and this flightiness/impulsiveness just annoyed my Type A sentiments that really plans for things.  Probably secretly jealous on some level, but just seemed to me like they had a trove of amazing friends to help out and became wildly successful at something that they half-assed got into.

A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny's Story

Author: Brenda Ashford
Stars: 2
Review by: Karen S

This was sweet and I loved the narrator, Nurse Brenda, BUT she was a little too good to be true and never talked about losing her temper or frustration with kids.  Kept thinking how she would be the ultimate foster mom because she could shower the children with love, but then leave them and not look back.  Inspired me and made me feel like a bad mom in parts all at the same time.
 
 

Our Lady of Immaculate Deception

Author: Nancy Martin
Stars: 3
Review by: MidnightReader

Easy and enjoyable read with family, murders, quirky characters, and humor. I got a kick out of it!
 
 

A Long Time Gone

Author: Karen White
Stars: 4
Review by: MidnightReader

I love books by Karen White. This book was inspired by her visits to Mississippi during her childhood summers. This story is about complicated relationships between mothers with a family mystery thrown in. I loved the story, the setting, and the writing. 

Lone Wolf

Author: Jodi Picoult
Stars: 4
Review by: MidnightReader

Picoult takes on medical science and family issues when she writes about a parent who is in a coma and the family, who already has unique problems, now needs to decide who makes medical decisions for the parent. Very real and an excellent read.
 
 

The Girls of August

Author: Anne Rivers Siddons
Stars: 4.25
Review by: Barb

A real quick read in one day beach book of long time friendship and misjudging newcomers.
 

Congratulations to...

... our Week # 9 prize winners:
  • Woman on the Go
  • LaPats11
... and to our 1,000th book reader:
  • Scooper

Progress So Far

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The Fever

Author: Megan Abbott
Stars: 3
Review by: libraryaimee

A modern day Salem Witch Trial.  I really liked it, but was a little let down by the ending.  Very suspenseful...teen girls at a high school are taken down one-by-one by mysterious convulsions.  Spooky!
 

Mamba in Chinatown

Author: Jean Kwok
Stars: 4
Review by: ADAR

Good picture of ABC ( American Born Chinese) in NY present day.  Good reader if you listen to it.
 
 

Loser

Author: Jerry Spinelli
Stars: 2
Review by: ADAR

Juvenile fiction.  My granddaughter, going into 6th grade, was assigned this for summer reading.  I had never read it.  About a boy from first to 6th grade.  Very  appropriate for this grade level.
 

Little Mercies

Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Stars: 3
Review by: ADAR

Very current topic. Fast read.
 
 

The Financial Lives of the Poets

Author: Jess Walter
Stars: 4
Review by: Nancy W

This is a funny book about a 40 something journalist, husband and father, caught in the down economy of the recent recession, which doesn't sound like a funny subject. At first, it seems to be praising the usage of marijuana, since in the first chapter, the main character runs into some young adults and smokes with them. But, keep reading. There are some surprises and a moral at the end. I guess it is that anything can happen and you will survive.
 

Blossom Street Brides

Author: Debbie Macomber
Stars: 5
Review by: Nancy W

This is a great summer read, easy and happy. It is about the intertwining lives of people who live and work in a pretty Seattle neighborhood. The characters are described well and their lives are believable. Blossom Street Brides is not about weddings, but about the relationships in the families.
 
 

The Invisible Wall

Author: Harry Bernstein
Stars: 4
Review by: Barb

Interesting fast reading story. 

First Love

Author: James Patterson
Stars: 4
Review by: bandit

Started out slow, couldn't tell where this story was going.  Worth reading.

The Accident

Author: Chris Pavone
Stars: 4
Review by: iambetsyw

An unauthorized biography of media mogul is being shopped around and the subject of the book will stop at nothing to prevent its publication. The characters are interconnected and know secrets that could ruin his reputation. If you like fast paced conspiracy theory themed books this will keep you guessing until the end.
 
 

The Hurricane Sisters

Author: Dorothea Benton Frank
Stars: 4
Review by: bookhunter

Excellent story.  Find out why they are the hurricane sisters.
 
 

You Better Knot Die

Author: Betty Hechtman
Stars: 3.5
Review by: E.L.

These Crochet Mystery books have a recipe or two and a crochet pattern in the back of the books.
On Betty Hechtman website, you can see pictures of the projects.

Found

Author: Margaret Haddix
Stars: 5
Review by: Shanimal

A well written mystery packed full of suspense.
 

I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50

Author: Annabelle Gurwitch
Stars: 2.5
Review by: Miss Lucy

Books about getting older depress me, even when they are meant to be funny.  (I guess if we don't laugh about it, we'll cry.)  That's why I can' t give this book a 3 star rating (3 meaning "I enjoyed it").  This book contains lots of good ramblings on memory lapses and aging signs on one's body, in terms of both looks and health. 
 
One passage that particularly resonates is about Internet passwords:
"There's just no way I can remember them all.  This means I have to change my passwords on a regular basis.  However, some of the sites I visit won't accept the same password more than ten times, and if I pick something that isn't a repeat of one I've already used, then I can't remember the new one.  Sometimes, I can't remember my user name, so I have to create new email accounts just to access those sites, and if I forget the passwords to those new email addresses, I'll never get back into them, if I can even remember what these new email addresses are in the first place."
 
Another favorite passage describes something her friend does when she can't sleep:
"I make lists and more lists.  I make lists of the lists I need to make.  I combine the lists and prioritize them into one master list, but I realize I've forgotten so many things that I start the whole process all over again."
 
 

Down the Rabbit Hole

Author: Peter Abrahams
Stars: 4
Review by: Bobbi

A fun light mystery told from the perspective of a 13 year old girl, whose idol is Sherlock Holmes and who gets herself into all kinds of debacles.  Sort of a modern day Nancy Drew.  An enjoyable read.
 
 

The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

Author: Helen Rappaport
Stars: 4.5
Review by: Barb

Filled with history and facts this book still reads smoothly. I couldn't help but like these girls and the love they had for each other and family. The book, I believe, is more about family dynamics than the tragic fate awaiting them. This was a good read.
 
 

Death Money

Author: Henry Chang
Stars: 2
Review by: BigDa

A look into a different culture.
 
 

Everything to Lose

Author: Andrew Gross
Stars: 2
Review by: Sarah F.

 Not my favorite Andrew Gross book though it kept my attention.
 
 

In the Presence of My Enemies

Author: Gracia Burnham with Dean Merrill
Stars: 5
Review by: Amy

It was great to read how their relationship with God brought them through such a hard time! 

Fante: A Family's Legacy of Writing, Drinking, and Surviving

Author: Dan Fante
Stars: 3
Review by: BigDa

A factual and realistic biography of an alcoholic family.
 

The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green
Stars: 2
Review by: BigDa

Cancer...it's not your fault, the fault is in our stars.
 
 

Unsaid

Author: Neil Abramson
Stars: 4
Review by: mystery lover

I really like this book, but if anyone thinks this book is sad--the sad comes from the humans not being as they should, it takes all.
 

The Shortest Way Home

Author: Juliette Fay
Stars: 5
Review by: KM

Superb writing, rich character development. A man who hits burn out after 20 years of working in war-torn areas as a nurse returns home. He is reluctantly drawn back into his family, going through significant changes, making discoveries, both about himself, family members, and friends, including a woman he knew well in high school. A beautiful story. The audio version is terrific.
 
 

The Girls of August

Author: Anne Rivers Siddons
Stars: 1
Review by: KM

Sounds like the perfect summer read, right? Well, no. I just looked at some reviews on Amazon and see I'm not alone in thinking it was poorly written. I was very surprised as I began reading it since on the back of the book there are glowing reviews by journals and other authors for her other books. I only read it to the end because I was curious to see if her writing would improve. There were a few spots that were better and some plot developments that were interesting. But it was rather akin to watching the aftermath of a car accident--morbid curiosity! 

The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy

Author: Heather Blake
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

The little town of Enchanted Village has a lot going on.  Someone in town wants to frame one of the town elders for the murder of one of the younger members.  The ghost of the deceased imprints itself on the main character and wants her help in solving his murder.  Intriguing, fast summer read with some wishes that come true.
 
 

Sugar and Iced: A Cupcake Bakery Mystery

Author: Jenn McKinlay
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

The newest book in this cozy series has our Bakery crew preparing for a new cupcake event in a beauty pageant. Now you know this is going to be an easy summer read when you are giving out cupcakes at a beauty pageant.  With all cozy mysteries you have murder, intrigue and romance.  The romance part adds humor to the story.  The ending is a little shocking, but definitely sets the tone for the next book.
 
 

The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of Lord of the Rings

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Stars: 5
Review by: BookDancer

Beyond 5 stars, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy reigns supreme in 20th century fantasy literature, in my opinion.  It was amazing to listen to this wonderful work on a long car ride.  Unfortunately, we didn't realize that my son's audio version was abridged and we were so disappointed to miss even one word! 

The Ghoul Next Door: A Ghost Hunter Mystery

Author: Victoria Laurie
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Saraswati

This is the latest installment in this series and I forgot about the campy humor that runs throughout the book even when some of the moments are very dark.  The hunters are asked to help a friend's future brother-in-law who seems to be possessed.  This leads the team chasing something they have never come across.  Don't forget to read the Acknowledgments.  It makes the ending mean even more. Good summer read!
 

Fatal Fortune: A Psychic Eye Mystery

Author: Victoria Laurie
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Saraswati

This is the latest installment in the Psychic Eye series. It starts off  with the main character's best friend and business partner being caught on film killing a man in cold blood.  Now our Psychic Eye must find the truth even if it means the ultimate betrayal of a friendship.  Good summer read!
 

Killer Physique: A Savannah Reid Mystery

Author: G.A. McKevett
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

I was glad another summer reader posted about this book or I would have missed this latest installment.  The story line is about an ex-cop, turned PI and her crew.  She is newly married to her ex-partner.  The exchange between the older, newly married couple is funny.  So while she is preparing to meet his family she has a murder to solve for friends of hers.  It also brings to light that body & eating disorders are not just women's issues.  This is an enjoyable summer read. 

Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth
Stars: 3
Review by: BookDancer

Fast-paced and entertaining.  Would like to see the movie!

The Market Square

Author: Miss Read
Stars: 3
Review by: BookDancer

Miss Read never fails to enchant and entertain with her gentle tales set in rural England.
 
 

Locke & Key Volume 2

Author: Joe Hill
Stars: 3
Review by: Michelle D.

Continuing story about a family that loses their father.  This volume is more gruesome than the first.
 

Locke & Key Volume 1

Author: Joe Hill
Stars: 3
Review by: Michelle D.

Graphic novel written by the son of Stephen King.  It has bizarre story lines.  Good if you like that genre.

 

The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern
Stars: 5
Review by: Avid Reader

This book was so good that my daughter grabbed it to read whenever I put it down. 

Tapestry of Fortunes

Author: Elizabeth Berg
Stars: 4.5
Review by: Holly B.

I was interested in reading this book as I've enjoyed other books by the same author, and I noticed other members of the summer reading club have enjoyed this one.  This is a wonderful story about being open to new possibilities in life.  It also does a great job of depicting the bond of female friendships.  I didn't want the book to come to an end.
 
 

Don't Try to Find Me

Author: Holly Brown
Stars: 4
Review by: bookhunter

A runaway who doesn't want to be found.  Hard to put down.
 
 

Nightwoods

Author: Charles Frazier
Stars: 2.5
Review by: Susan G

Only two and a half stars for me -- this book just didn't do it for me.
 
The writing in Nightwoods is occasionally very rich -- Frazier truly delivers in trademark fashion. But the story jumps between bits of beautiful, descriptive writing without clearly drawing the big picture. In the end, it felt too fragmented to me. Often I found the pace was frustratingly slow which left me wanting to just be done with it.
 
The characters are interesting but I found them to be under-developed. The author often alludes to events that happen in the past but never defines the events with clarity. I suppose that for some readers it makes the book complex and interesting and mysterious, but leaving out the distinct motivators that drive the behavior of each character left me feeling that the characters were incomplete and inaccessible.
 
I just kept thinking that it wasn't a poorly written book, there was a lot of potential that was not fully developed. I kept waiting for the characters and the setting and the plot to coalesce into something truly deep and beautiful, but sadly, for me it never did.
 
 

Marjorie Morningstar

Author: Herman Wouk
Stars: 3
Review by: CDM

Disappointing ending.

Night Whispers

Author: Judith McNaught
Stars: 3
Review by: 1stYearInTheClub

A good plot, well paced, but just a little over the top wrapped up romantically.  A waste of time really, but fun, and good for a long plane trip which is where I read most of it.
 
 

The Night is Alive

Author: Heather Graham
Stars: 3
Review by: Jambob

Ms Graham has a formula she repeats in her series of the Krewe of Hunters. These are FBI agents that solve unusual crimes through the intercessions of ghosts. Mystery mixed with the history of the local area....romance and a happy ending.
 
 

Winter Journal

Author: Paul Auster
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Miss Lucy

Memoir of author Paul Auster, in the winter months before he turned 64, approaching what he feels is the winter of his life. Extremely personal, he shares thoughts and feelings few of us would share even with ourselves. Written in second person, it's like someone telling you the story of your life.
 

Notorious Nineteen

Author: Janet Evanovich
Stars: 5
Review by: PK

In the summer, I read books for the same reason I go to the movies...to laugh, be entertained and relax.  Stephanie Plum and her cast of characters never fail to deliver.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College

Author: Andrew Ferguson
Stars: 5
Review by: Bob E

Very funny and informative account of the college application process and its effect on families.  Well written.
 
 

Home: a Short History of an Idea

Author: Witold Rybczynski
Stars: 5
Review by: Mary NK

When did "house" become "home"? How did it evolve from solely protection from the elements, into a sanctuary? Beginning with pragmatic necessities, we humans gradually added beauty and comfort until our (cold, hard) castles became our Homes.
 

Bossypants

Author: Tina Fey
Stars: 3
Review by: Mary NK

Alternately silly & insightful, the audiobook read by the author is candid without stooping to gossip.

Man of War

Author: Charlie Schroeder
Stars: 3
Review by: Mary NK

Reminiscent of Confederates in the Attic, the author joins reenactment groups to get a feel for history and war in many countries and times, including Roman Legion, Polish Falcons, German infantry, Revolutionary war musketeer, French & Indian War cannoneer, etc.
 
 

The Perfect Fake

Author: Barbara Parker
Stars: 4
Review by: Jeanette

Good suspense, mystery. 

Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits

Author: Kevin Roose
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Miss Lucy

NYT reporter Kevin Roose gets behind-the-scenes views of the life of young recruits on Wall Street today. 

The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

Author: David McCullough
Stars: 5
Review by: BKF

The book details all the politics and problems surrounding the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. After reading the book you can't help but be amazed that it was actually completed! Thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Brooklyn Bridge is a beautiful bridge, and all the more so once you know the back story.
 
 

Providence Rag

Author: Bruce DeSilva
Stars: 4
Review by: BigDa

Slowly builds to a suspenseful denouement.
 

The 5th Wave

Author: Rick Yancey
Stars: 5
Review by: Marianne S.

So what happens when the space aliens show up and they aren't friendly? First book in a YA series, wonderfully executed. Looking forward to book two coming out in the Fall.
 
 

The Sun Also Rises

Author: Ernest Hemingway
Stars: 5
Review by: Julie

Wonderful, fast summer read. So many memorable lines.
 

Jane Eyre

Author: Charlotte Bronte
Stars: 5
Review by: Julie

Why not?
 
 
 

20 Grand

Author: Rebecca Curtis
Stars: 3
Review by: Julie

Okay short stories; I had loved one of her pieces in the New Yorker.
 
 

The Rosie Project

Author: Graeme Simsion
Stars: 4.5
Review by: English Teacher

Don Tillman is a quirky character.  He is highly intelligent and set in his ways.  He has set standards and expectations for his future wife and thinks his wife choices can be narrowed by a questionnaire that he creates.  Simsion developed the characters well.  I loved the variety of characters and the way the story unfolded.  My only critique was that the ending was a bit predictable.  You will laugh and cry as Don Tillman learns about himself.  A fun summer read!
 
 

Gone Girl

Author: Gillian Flynn
Stars: 5
Review by: Passionate About Books

I absolutely loved this book! One of the best novels of the year. It's a thriller intertwined with brilliantly written characters; it's the kind of book that's nearly impossible to put down. The surprises and twists keep the reader on their toes up until the final page, and my first thought upon finishing the novel was that I wanted to read it a second time. There was many times I wanted to just take a peek at the end to see what happens to Nick and Amy. But I didn't. I survived the heart pounding suspense and made it to the end of a very satisfying read. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!
 
 

My Wish List

Author: Gregoire Delacourt
Stars: 1.5
Review by: BookWorm2

The writing was good and the premise (a woman wins the lottery, but tells no one while she decides what, if anything, to do with the money) promising, but as with so many other books, there is the stereotypical spouse who is a rat.  So sad that the second half could not sustain the quality of characters that the first half had.
 
 

Keep Quiet

Author: Lisa Scottoline
Stars: 4
Review by: tandtmom

Another page turner from Scottoline, one of those gut-wrenching, tough decision-making series of events.  Story revolves around a family consisting of a mother, father, and teenage son.  The mother is a judge and an over-involved mother who is consumed by her son's grades, athletic endeavors, etc.  The father is a self-employed financial planner who is trying desperately to develop a relationship with his son because of the years he missed while building his business.  An accident, lots of secrets, twists, further complicate the story.  Although the topics are tough, it was a good read.
 
 

Just Jennifer

Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller (Minotaur, August 2014)


Summer in Acker’s Gap, West Virginia is hot and sultry, and a killer has struck, seemingly at random and the residents of this once thriving coal mining town hold their breath waiting to see if county prosecutor Bell Elkins and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong can bring someone to justice before the killer strikes again.  Bell is also dealing with the release from prison of her sister Shirley, who served time for a crime she committed to save her younger sister from their father and all the emotions she has kept repressed for so long.  Add in a coalminer’s daughter who will do anything to protect her disturbed father and it becomes a volatile situation just waiting to explode.   When the inevitable happens, an unthinkable crime is revealed, but the results are oddly redemptive, restorative and healing for those involved.  The people of Acker’s Gap are fiercely protective of their loved ones, their secrets and their pasts.  Many long to escape, some do, never to return, while others, like Bell, feel the strong pull to return to home.  Whether they choose to go or to stay, Acker’s Gap is indelibly etched on the souls of its residents who will carry it with them wherever they go.  This is the third entry into a series filled with memorable characters, each one flawed in their own way, will stay with you and such a strong feeling of place Acker’s Gap will remain in you long after the last page is turned.

Just Jennifer

One Kick by Chelsea Cain (Simon & Schuster, August 2014)

Chelsea Cain has terrified readers for year with serial killer Gretchen Lowell pursued by detective Archie Sheridan.  She now turns her attention to Kick Lannigan, a twenty-one-year-old woman who was kidnapped as a child of six, rescued five years later but unable to escape the demons that still hold her captive.   Kick turned to boxing and martial arts as a way to release her past; combined with the unique skills she learned while being held captive (bomb making, lock picking and escaping) Kick is in a word, dangerous.  She also has what it takes to help locate two children who go missing within weeks of each other.  John Bishop, a former weapons dealer, approaches Kick and convinces her that with his contacts and money and her knowledge of the inner workings of child kidnappers and abusers, they are an unstoppable team.  But John has a hidden agenda, as does Kick, and the one thing she may not be equipped to do is to revisit a past that she has successfully fortressed herself from in the past ten years---or so she thinks. Kick is a fascinating character: she is someone who could escape from almost any situation, shoot accurately from any distance, or throw a knife to kill yet there is an unexpected vulnerability about her.  No one gets inside the mind of her characters the way Chelsea Cain does, keeping her readers guessing and off balance until the final sentence. 
  

Just Jennifer

Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance (William Morrow, July 22, 2014)


Out in Bisbee, Arizona a differently able man is found dead, presumably murdered, but the ME is out of town for the weekend and no determination will be made until Guy Machett makes his ruling.  Guy is found murdered in his home before he can come back to work.  Over two-thousand miles away, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts his step-mother has just died of emphysema, his half-sister Liza has just refurbished the house neither had lived in for over eleven years with hundred dollar bills she found hidden throughout the house and then disappeared the night after the house burned to the ground and her landlord was murdered.  On the lam from what or who, Liza doesn’t know, but she’s trying to get to Bisbee to find out what Guy knows.  Sheriff Joanna Brady does know that the trail ends in Bisbee and that she has two murders to get to the bottom of and needs the help of officials in Massachusetts to get to the bottom of at least one.  With as many twists and turns as a canyon creek, Joanna manages to untangle lies and deceit more than two decades old.  A hot, dusty setting brings Arizona to life while Jance does the same for her characters, as subtly as calling on Joanna’s step-father, the ex-ME for help, to show the difficult relationship Joanna has had with her mother.  Joanna was elected Sheriff after her husband was killed in the line of duty and her new husband Butch accepts his wife’s avocation and never feels as if he is living in another man’s shadow.  Fully realized characters and a complex case make this fast-paced read one to add to a must-read list this summer. 

Just Jennifer

Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech (William Morrow, August 2014)

Beginning with Serena Lenore, the matriarchal dynasty has been producing some of the most beguiling scents for centuries.  Tucked away in the Blue Ridge mountains is a perfumery that is worth millions of dollars owing to a signature perfume whose wearers are hand-picked, sign a contract and are willing to hand over a fortune for the success it guarantees.   Something is not right, though, with the Lenore women.  Willow, the current CEO and granddaughter of Lenore is beginning to forget things; Mya, the heir apparent is willing to tamper with the formula for the sake of even greater success, or so she thinks; the youngest, Lucia, left the family fifteen years ago to seek her fame and fortune as an actress in New York City.  Newly divorced, Lucia is returning to the place of her birth where she will learn she has more of the family traits than she realized, maybe even more than Mya, and may be the key to saving the generations’ old business.  Led, or announced, by a swarm of dragonflies, Lucia and Willow quickly come to learn that Lucia is the only thing that can save the family business, but at what cost?
Told with a magical realism, Season of the Dragonflies is an atmospheric debut that explores or relationship to our family, especially the women in our family, and to generations that have come before and the ones that are yet to come.  As Lucia is willing to accept her gifts and find her place within her family and the company, Mya also learns to redefines her place in both, and learns what overreaching and not taking responsibilities can sometimes cause.  A perfect sultry read for the late summer.


Just Jennifer

Just My Typo: From “Sinning with the Choir” to “The Untied States” compiled by Drummond Moir (Three Rivers Press)

My life is rife with typos and as is the case with most people, I can easily spot others’ typos while missing my own egregious mistakes.  Most recently, a famous typo came up while preparing for a weekly Internet radio show I co-host http://hunterdonchamberradio.com/library.htm We often do a “today in history” and back in June, something caught my eye.  In the second (1934) edition of Merriam’s New International Dictionary, the word DORD got through, defined as “Density”.  Someone caught it five years later and began to investigate.  What had happened was, and editor ran together the phrase “D or d, cont./density” creating this new word.   But, and here’s the part I found interesting, Dord is actually a word: it is a bronze horn from Ireland dating back as far as 1000 BCE.  Huh.

Drummond Moir, who started his career as a proofreader in London, catching a missing “r” in the word “opprobrium”, has compiled a collection of typos, public and not so public, humorous and embarrassing, and put then on display for the world (or at least word geeks) to see.  Separated by type and source, the typos rage from “From his left ear to the corner of his mouth ran a long scar, the result of a duet many years before.  Flight from Germany, William le Queux” to “Arthur---was serious burned Saturday afternoon when he came into contact with a high voltage wife.  Albuquerque paper” and includes favorite typos of famous authors and editors (not necessarily their own).  The chapter featuring typos from children is less endearing as the words are often more likely to be malapropisms rather than typos.  A fun book to pick up and flip through at random with an invitation at the end to e-mail the editor with other humorous typos to be included future editions.  FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Congratulations to...

... our Week # 8 Prize Winners:

  • Kim H.
  • Liza

Progress So Far

Click on image to enlarge.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Steal the North

Author: Heather Brittain Bergstrom
Stars: 4
Review by: ADAR

First novel set in the West, present day.  Tells a lot about American Indians, their lives today and relations with "the white man".  Also a love story.
 
 

Lights Out

Author: David Bain
Stars: 2
Review by: BigDa

Lightweight, easy reading.
 
 

Lucky Dog

Author: Dr. Sarah Boston
Stars: 2
Review by: pages of summer

Did not like the veterinarian's attitude that pets are hobby.
 
 

Loss of Innocence

Author: Richard North Patterson
Stars: 4
Review by: DeckReader

A reminder of the turmoil of the late 1960s with a sweet love story and a woman coming of age.
 
 

Separate Beds

Author: LaVyrle Spencer
Stars: 4
Review by: DeckReader

Couldn't identify with main character's problems, but found the story interesting.

Still Life with Bread Crumbs

Author: Anna Quindlen
Stars: 4
Review by: Rainbow

It was interesting to see so many different opinions and meanings behind the art pieces.  I enjoyed the ending. 

Defending Jacob

Author: William Landay
Stars: 4
Review by: EAM

In addition to keeping readers wondering who committed the murder of the teen in the park, Landay delves into issues of how cases are brought to juries and their impact on families - impacts that are significant and detrimental whether the defendant is guilty or not.  Honest and thoughtful insights here.  Good discussion book - did Jacob do it or not? 

Fourth of July Creek

Author: Smith Henderson
Stars: 4
Review by: BigDa

Weird.  Disjointed. Sad. Hopeful. And yet it coalesces into a riveting tale.  Couldn't put it down.
 

The Wedding Bees

Author: Sarah-Kate Lynch
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee

As sweet as Sugar Honey!  I loved every second of this book. Great summer beach read...and you will learn about beekeeping!
 
 

Gotcha (Sisterhood)

Author: Fern Michaels
Stars: 2.5
Review by: Saraswati

Starting at book 21 in a series seems like a strange plan, but this book does stand on its own.  The story is about a mother seeking revenge for her son's death and how the Sisterhood helps this along. The Sisterhood is ruthless! There are some supernatural things going on along with some very highly unlikely scenarios.  It was an OK read, but I am intrigued enough to look up some of the earlier books.

Flora and Ulysses

Author: Kate DiCamillo
Stars: 4
Review by: tandtmom

I enjoy keeping up to date with middle grade novels because they're fun and light-hearted.  This was an adorable story about a young girl who describes herself as a cynic, caught in a very unusual situation.  Her parents are divorced; her mother writes romance novels and her father, well, is quite unusual in that he is quite quirky, but a good-hearted man.  Flora observes a squirrel in her neighborhood being vacuumed up.  Not your typical day.  What happens after the vacuum incident is strange, but DiCamillo ties everything in quite nicely.  Should be a must read for middle grade students.  
 
 

Frozen: Heart of Dread

Author: Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

Being the first book in a new series, I didn't know what to expect. The more I read the more I was convinced I saw this before.  I really mean saw it.  It felt like I was reading a compilation of post-apocalyptic and fantasy movie scripts.  The story is about a woman trying to escape from her current life, harder in this future than it sounds, and find the "Blue."  The Blue is like our Atlantis.  The story had some very dark moments, but I was surprised by the ending.  Take a chance and read the book and let me know what you think!
 
 

Good Things I Wish You

Author: A. Manette Ansay
Stars: 3
Review by: Ginger

This book has a unique format. The main character is writing a non-fiction, historical book about a love relationship from the mid 1800s. She finds parallels with a new love relationship developing in her own life. You will read an eloquent blend of fiction and history accompanied by photographs and notes from the past.
 
 

Everything I Never Told You

Author: Celeste Ng
Stars: 4
Review by: Ann M

The story takes place in the mid 1970s in Ohio.  Lydia, a teenage girl of a Chinese American family, disappears and is found dead.  The family falls apart as they try to decipher the mystery of her death.
 
 

Don't Shoot

Author: David Kennedy
Stars: 3
Review by: maggie

David Kennedy writes of his experiences in reducing the number of homicides in urban areas.  While his focus is on the criminal justice world, he forgets that the key to sustainable success are the people who work these programs.  Without dedicated people and those who believe, there is little hope for continuation of the initial success.
 
 

The Sense of an Ending

Author: Julian Barnes
Stars: 5
Review by: Shannan Seely

The book is part philosophy, part mystery and part mid-life crisis. Julian Barnes writes such excellent prose. The middle-aged man's life is changed when he receives a gift from an acquaintance of many years ago.The book will appeal to all genders. While reading, you will reflect and think about what you have done (or failed to do) to affect the people around you. A great read!
 
 

One Night

Author: Debbie Macomber
Stars: 3
Review by: E.L.

Romance and mystery.
 
 

The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

Author: Carlos Castaneda
Stars: 3
Review by: Maya

 An interesting yet logically challenging account of the potential for a non-ordinary reality in which a Mexican "sorcerer" teaches the author about the hidden powers of certain plants and animals and how to access them. The author was a Master's student at UCLA at the time. The author describes his spiritual journey and the fears and challenges that he confronts along the way.  Not for everyone. Must keep an open mind and/or treat this book as fiction even though it is written as non-fiction. You decide.

Knit Two

Author: Kate Jacobs
Stars: 4
Review by: Maya

Excellent sequel to The Friday Night Knitting Club, which you MUST read first. A wonderful extension of the story. It will pull you in and want you to keep reading.
 

The Hidden Child

Author: Camilla Lackberg
Stars: 4
Review by: iambetsyw

A must read for fans of Scandinavian mysteries! The narration shifts from the present day Sweden to 1944 when the world was in the grip of World War II. A woman makes a shocking discovery in a box of her late mother's belongings. A Nazi medal, a child's bloodstained dress and a collection of personal diaries. It's all somehow connected to a recent murder...I don't want to say anything further because it will spoil the ending. If you like Jo Nesbo, Steig Larsson, Jussi Adler-Olsen you will love this book!
 

All Fall Down

Author: Jennifer Weiner
Stars: 3
Review by: iambetsyw

 Allison Weiss seems to have it all: a successful career as a blogger, a nice husband, a beautiful house in the 'burbs of Philly,a daughter. What most people (including Allison) don't realize is that she is slowly becoming addicted to prescription painkillers. It starts as a way to cope with her complicated life; a challenging child, a father who is in the early stages of dementia, a husband who is also overwhelmed by life. Allie winds up in rehab and is resistant to facing the fact that she is in the grip of addiction. Her road to recovery is not easy, but the conclusion of the story paints a picture of her constant struggle to deal with her desire to remain sober. Not as light a read as the author usually writes.
 
 

Rashi's Daughters, Book I: Joheved: A Novel of Love and the Talmud in Medieval France

Author: Maggie Anton
Stars: 4
Review by: Smudge

Life in a Talmud scholar's house in the early Middle Ages, France.
 
 

Air Bound: Sisters of the Heart

Author: Christina Feehan
Stars: 2.5
Review by: Saraswati

This is a book long in the making.  It has been years since the last "Sea Haven" book has been released.  Unfortunately,  it's the same 'ol, same 'ol.  They are not the Drakes, but...almost just the same...Sorry, but I read this before.   If you want an easy summer read with no background then it's ok, but otherwise....
 

Cat's Claw

Author: Susan Wittig Albert
Stars: 3
Review by: BusyMom

An entry in the Palm Springs mystery series - if you're a Stephanie Plum fan, you'll enjoy this.  Albert changed her writing approach in this story with point of view and I found it somewhat confusing until I figured out who was speaking.
 
 

Surgeon in Blue: Jonathan Letterman, the Civil War Doctor Who Pioneered Battlefield Care

Author: Scott McGaugh
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar

A long deserved biography of Dr. Johnathan Letterman, the PA born physician who is credited with standardizing battlefield medicine. Letterman grew up in a humble, but slightly well off family and was able to afford an excellent education despite the early death of his father. Possessed of excellent common sense, he began traveling upon graduation all over the country and applied that good sense to barracks and bases all over. Early highlights included tackling malaria ridden swamps in Florida, an act which caught the eye of several persons in the right places. So after Lincoln's appointed medical adviser left, Letterman found himself, with little actual tactical experience, head of the 100,000 plus Army of the Potomac on the eve of the Civil War. His abilities were first tested at Antietam, where his basic sense applications (baths, not eating moldy food, etc.) on the field cut illness down by 3/4 and deaths by an immeasurable amount. By Gettysburg he had become involved in planning parts of the battles.  After the war was over he married, fathered two daughters, and ended his brief life as a coroner. 

Superman versus the Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate

Author: Richard Bowers
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar


 Admit it - you want to read this for the title alone.
 
Back in the 30s when Superman was created by Jewish teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, they mixed a lot of their heritage into the character. Hints and nods to Moses and other individuals are in his backstory so things seemed appropriate that he should be chosen a half generation later to take on the KKK. Concerned by increasing Klan recruitment of youngsters, it was decided to do a 16 part storyline on the Superman radio show about how Jimmy Olsen (alias the world's worst sidekick) attempts to infiltrate the KKK and gets caught immediately, necessitating a timely rescue. The series was written by and done in cooperation with numerous individuals including a muckraking journalist who the Klan had already threatened multiple times for doing the simple task of making them look like idiots. But the series was completed to near universal acclaim and won multiple awards, as well as to be marked later by several organizations as a key part of declining enrollment in the years after it was released. A very good book for comic enthusiasts, although many will probably agree with me in saying Jimmy Olsen should've just been bumped off. Would've saved Superman so much stress in the future.
 
 

I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford

Author: Richard Snow
Stars: 3
Review by: Mandy Apgar

A biography of Henry Ford, I got it for two reasons - one, I knew nothing of the man other than that he was rumored to have been a terrible anti-Semite, and two, for being such a famous personality of his time little is said of him today.  The book does a very good job of telling his origins and childhood in a way that explains most of his motivations later in life. The kicker is that, although the book acknowledges his anti-Semitism repeatedly, it doesn't really explain why he got to be that way. Especially in the light of retelling how his immediate family was at odds in their opinions, things fell rather flat there other than a brief explanation of "he read it in books when he was a kid and the idea must have stuck." So that part seemed rather a cop out granted how often it was brought up. However; when the book is its best is during the time when he was beginning his automotive empire so one can learn quite a bit about early engines, construction, etc. as things are explained rather well. So it was a bad / good situation.
 

A Terrifying Taste of Short and Shivery

Author: Robert San Souci
Stars: 2
Review by: Mandy Apgar

The overall worst of the series I think. A collection of darker folktales retold from global locations, it would have been a lot better if the editor had forgone adding silly urban legend type stories in. Where the book follows the usual series format we get classic stories like The Lutin and the usual one or two really obscure ones, but this volume has several "mad killer hiding behind the back seat" type things and is a small book at that. Also contains a retelling of a paranormal event known as the Dartmooor Terror and the same applies there - it is not written very well having been dumbed down a bit for the younger readers. The art as well is not the best of the series either.
 
 

Cape May's Gingerbread Gems

Author: Tina Skinner
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar

Cute. Very compact (postcard sized) and hardbound, this contains snapshots of various Cape May area Victorian buildings and a sentence or two of information. Not exactly what I was hoping for due to the lack of extra information, but it made up for it in showing structures not found too often in other books. A nice pocket sized surprise but nothing really past that. 

The Yellow Fairy Book

Author: Andrew Lang
Stars: 3
Review by: Mandy Apgar

One of the many collections of folk and fairy tales by Andrew Lang, this one I had never read before and although I liked it I think the general reader would not. Coming from a very traditional German family I was more or less raised on the obscure stories instead of the more common ones. Out of several dozen stories in the book I would say only two (Emperor's New Clothes and Thumbelina) have actual name recognition among the general public today whereas another 7 would be vaguely familiar to a more studied reader. I like having the variety of unusual stories, but for many persons today whose knowledge of folk life consists of Disney films it would not be the best book. 

The Bones of Paris

Author: Laurie R. King
Stars: 5
Review by: Marianne S.

Searching for a missing American woman in Paris, 1929, including an astonishing cast of literati, Surrealists, and Dadaists, plus several visits to the Grand-Guignol.
 

Mr. Mercedes

Author: Stephen King
Stars: 3
Review by: Marianne S.

I found the protagonist, Det. K. William Hodges (Ret.), to be so annoying that I was really hoping for a different outcome to the story. I gave it an extra star for King's throw-away reference to Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box.
 

Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators

Author: William Stolzenburg
Stars: 5
Review by: Marianne S.

A lively look at the work of ecologists, over the past fifty or so years, who have proposed that the shrinking diversity to be found in ecosystems around the world is attributable to the lack of apex predators. Includes a thought provoking analysis of the consequences of a lack of predators here in the land of the white-tailed deer.
 
 

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Author: Elizabeth Kolbert
Stars: 5
Review by: Marianne S.

Life on Earth is currently undergoing what may very well be the sixth major mass extinction. The author examines twelve animal and plant groups and species, tracing how human interference led to the eradication of these fauna and flora. Sobering, with a decent bibliography for follow-up.
 
 

Blood Red

Author: Mercedes Lackey
Stars: 4
Review by: Marianne S.

A quirky take on the Red Riding Hood tale. Red survives and grows up to become a hunter of all things that go bump in the night, but especially of werewolves. A quick, fun read.
 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cthulhu Cymraeg: Lovecraftian Tales from Wales

Author: Mark Howard Jones & Kate Evans
Stars: 4
Review by: Marianne S.

When I'm feeling unwell, eldritch horror featuring tentacle elder gods tends to make me feel better. This collection of nine short stories fit the bill nicely. 

Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan

Author: Melanie Dobson
Stars: 3
Review by: Jambob

A sweet little romance in the 1890s when young ladies bemoaned the tradition of an arranged marriage to save the family fortune. This is one of many books in the Love Finds You series. I always had an interest for Mackinaw Island ever since I saw Somewhere In Time. I hope to visit there one day.

The Goldfinch

Author: Donna Tartt
Stars: 3
Review by: EAM

I enjoyed the story-telling nature of this book, but the ending did not pull things together for me.  Very long and convoluted story, which kept my interest, but didn't seem to lead anywhere.
 
 

And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie
Stars: 3
Review by: pages of summer

Trying to read books that were made into movies.....
this one's ending is not like the movie at all and the butler did not do it.
 

The Beach House

Author: Jane Green
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Barb

A nice summer listen to. 

Wanted

Author: Julie Kenner
Stars: 2.5
Review by: Saraswati

This is another book in the the Shades-like genre but lighter.  This is the first book in this new series. As with the other books in this style, there is a couple that has more issues than People magazine and are drawn together against others' advice.  The characters are all true adults and not as violent as in other texts. The series breaks the Shades way since the book comes to completion and book 2 is about another gentleman in the trio of friends.  Easy summer read.
 
 
 
 

Botany for Gardners, 3rd Ed.

Author: Brian Capon
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati

This is another book I had to read for a class that I am taking.  Although the book is being used for a "non-science major" class it contained a lot of scientific information.  This is a great book if you really want to learn about plant life.  By knowing the basic science you can understand why plants do what they do and how to help your garden.  I enjoyed the refresher information but I also had a lot of "AHA" or "REALLY?" moments.  Great book if you want to get more details about plants.
 
 

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification: An Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families of North America

Author: Thomas J. Elpel
Stars: 5
Review by: Saraswati

I had to read this book as part of a class I am taking, but I really enjoyed using the guide and information.  The book provides a brief biology course about plants at the beginning, but the majority of the book is a key to help you ID plants.  I had a great time searching out the unknown plants around my home. The funny part was finding out that my herb garden contained mostly plants from the mint family even though I thought I had a pretty diverse garden.  A very fun book!
 
 

The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Good Thing

Author: Alfie Kohn
Stars: 4
Review by: laz

I think that Alfie Kohn should be required reading for any parent and/or educator, and this one is no exception. A great look at the myth so many have bought into, and why we need to examine it more closely!