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Showing posts from 2015

2015 Reads in Review: The Good and Bad

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Not to brag, but I managed to put quite a few new books (and more than a couple of re-reads) on my "read" list in 2015. Some were great. Others... well, let's just "live and learn," shall we?

Let's start on a positive note, with my favorites. I won't bother with the synopsis, but I will link to the ones for which I wrote a review.


The Martian — If you haven't read the book, stop what you're doing right now and read it. Seriously. Seeing the movie won't help. There are some things that a book can do that movies have to leave out. When Mark, who's been in his own head for weeks, is told to tone down his messages to Earth because they are being read in real time, his response made me want to be him. I've never loved an inappropriate word more than I did in that moment.

More importantly, The Martian reminded me just how precious our planet is: it sustains us, despite what we do to foil that effort. I truly fear that we will make our planet …

2016 Polar Book Club: Twice as Nice with Two Books

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It's time to declare Winter Reading with the Polar Book Club!

Uber-Reader Karen and I have chosen two books for the 2016 Polar Book Club: Library of Souls and The Luminaries.

Library of Souls:
Time is running out for the Peculiar Children. With a dangerous madman on the loose and their beloved Miss Peregrine still in danger, Jacob Portman and Emma Bloom are forced to stage the most daring of rescue missions. They’ll travel through a war-torn landscape, meet new allies, and face greater dangers than ever... Will Jacob come into his own as the hero his fellow Peculiars know him to be? This action-packed adventure features more than 50 all-new peculiar photographs.
The Luminaries, the 2013 Man Booker Award winner:

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has …

Review: What Alice Forgot

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I am a fan of Fluff 'n Trash™. I love Penny Vincenzi, Janet Evanovich and select other writers who offer stories with a light touch. However, along with a light touch, their stories offer substance: characters make sense and act logically within the story. The narrative matches tone and focus. Without these elements in tight control, readers encounter too much froth, and the entire thing falls apart.

Lianne Moriarty is too frothy for this reader. I got as far as the secret in The Husband's Secret and put the book down. How could I care about such a dire, stressful situation if the characters felt so insubstantial and offered an almost flippant response? Reading the book made me feel as if I was eating cotton candy when I needed a heaping pile of macaroni and cheese. The author skated across the top, not investing in the characters or the story, just telling it.
I gave Moriarty a second try with What Alice Forgot, which I thought had a brilliant premise: a woman l…

Listing Karen's Summer Reads

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Summer readers enjoy the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer with a book in hand.

Members of the adult Summer Reading Program also have an added bonus: the chance at a free book of their choice for being the most ambitious reader of the group.

This year's winner is Karen Young, an avid reader who joined the summer book program when it was first established in 2013. This is her summer 2015 reading list:

Divergent InsurgentAllegiantFollowing AtticusRevenge of the Middle-Aged WomanThe LoopIce TrapGhost HuntingSeeking SpiritsMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenI am Haunted Living Life Through the DeadHollow CityThe Trail of Painted PoniesNaked HolesThe Bridges of Madison CountyZoyaThe GiftUnder the SunThe Book of Matthew, New Testament, Holy BibleThe Book of Mark, New Testament, Holy BibleThe MartianSteamboat GothicSpecial DeliveryThe Old Man and the SeaBen Franklin's Wit & Wisdom Epidemic!
For her epic reading, Karen will receive the book of her choice. What will it be?…

Summer Reading: Had Me a Blast!

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The summer whipped by so quickly, I was positive I hadn't read a single book. How in the world can anyone get into the pages or bits in the blink of an eye?

Well, I did manage to get one or 30 under my belt. Here is the definitive list of books I read between Memorial Day weekend and the autumnal equinox weekend. The list is heavily populated with thick, heavy books of fiction and non-, but it also is peppered with a couple of re-reads and shorter reads (juvenile fiction and short stories).  The way I figure, it all evens out.


The Borrower The Dalai Lama's Cat Prisoner of the DevilEverything I Never Told YouKindredThe Four Agreements A Dirty Job 52 small changes: one year to a happier, healthier youInterred With Their Bones The Cats in Krasinski SquareDaily Rituals Earth (DK)Stepmonsterthe life-changing magic of tidying up The Husband’s Secret I Am Half-Sick of ShadowsPuff the Magic Dragon Story of the Nile ArcadiaThe Light Between OceansThe Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Lif…

Review: Prisoner of the Devil

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What if Sherlock Holmes was a part of something real, something historic? That's the question Michael Hardwick and Simon Haugh ask — and answer — about the great detective in Prisoner of the Devil, which is being re-released after three decades.

The prisoner of the tale is Alfred Dreyfus — of the historic Dreyfus Affair, perched on the cusp of the first World War — and the devil is the hellish island to which he was sent on the flimsiest of evidence. It's a worthy read for fans of Sherlock Holmes, and an interesting retelling of real-world history.

Prisoner of the Devil is a tale of French anti-Semitism involving Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a French military officer convicted of treason in 1895 by a secret tribunal. In the book, narrated by Dr. John Watson, Dreyfus' brother approaches Sherlock Holmes and implores the world's greatest detective to uncover the truth that will exonerate his brother.

The book was as much a world history lesson as a mystery, and a good one. Bri…

What I've Heard About Audiobooks

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When a friend told me she didn't like to read, I assured her that she just hadn't found the right book. When she did, it was the Shades of Gray series, and she couldn't read it fast enough (or often enough). She found The Book, so we figured her voracious reading habit would commence.

But that didn't happen.

Instead, her reading faltered. No other book captured her attention. The page was cold and lifeless. Books were stilted and boring. At first, she thought she just read too slow. Rich detail was lost in the words. She read for school and retained the information, but the pages for leisure reading never came alive for her like they did for me.

Last summer, when she and her son were planning a long drive, she asked me for recommendations for books she could borrow on audio. I threw a few titles there, as did her son. In the end, they settled on The Help.

She found herself smitten again, and her son enjoyed the book as well. In fact, they were so wrapped up in the book…