Isaac Asimov... mystery writer??? Apparantly so. Murder at the ABA describes just that; a murder which takes place at the 1975 American Booksellers As...moreIsaac Asimov... mystery writer??? Apparantly so. Murder at the ABA describes just that; a murder which takes place at the 1975 American Booksellers Association convention. Asimov appears as a minor character in this story, and apparently included enough real information regarding the actual 1975 ABA convention that he had to include a disclaimer that the events portrayed are a work of fiction. The mystery was only so-so. For me the star of this story was narrator Darius Just; especially as he was read by Daniel Grace. Darius Just is a curmudgeonly, chauvinistic and narcissistic man. Through Asimov’s eyes, he managed to be …well, not likable, but entertaining. I have never heard of narrator Daniel Grace, but he has that 1950’s quality to his voice that made it somehow seem okay that Darius Just is such a wanker. Many aspects of this book are quite dated, but listening to it made me feel as if I was watching an old black and white on Turner Classic Movies rather than reading listening to a novel that is no longer in it’s prime. Again, the mystery wasn’t great but the characters, the writing and Darius Just made me laugh out loud many times.
If you happen to come across this in a library collection or used book sale, it’s worth giving it a go. However I can’t really recommend anyone rush to put this on their TBR list. (less)
The Rhythm of the Road could have been a fantastic book. It is a dark, well written story about teenage Jo and her incredibly dysfunctional parents. T...moreThe Rhythm of the Road could have been a fantastic book. It is a dark, well written story about teenage Jo and her incredibly dysfunctional parents. The novel flips back and forth in time between the 1980’s when her parents first met and present day. Currently Jo lives in England with her truck driving dad while her mother is a stranger in California, known to Jo by name only. Jo travels the United Kingdom with her dad, Bobby, who suffers from severe depression (and, as a result, incredibly poor judgment in his parenting skills.) Although Jo mentions school once or twice, the majority of her time is spent on the road in Bobby’s truck. Jo herself has more than a few issues. Being raised on the road, she only has the occasional interaction with kids her own age. And being raised by a single father with mental health issues, she rarely views the world around her in a normal, healthy way. As Jo grows up and becomes more independent, Bobby’s depression becomes more and more consuming. And, as Jo struggles to form her own identity, she develops an unhealthy fascination with a rising country music star. Albyn Leah Hall writes heartbreakingly real characters who are headed towards one cluster fuck of a train wreck.
I said this could have been a fantastic book because the resolution came about too sudden for me. As always, it is hard to articulate without giving away spoilers. But after setting up an entire book with incredibly flawed and fragile people, I wanted to see them on the road to recovery. But this novel is not about people getting better. It is about them hitting rock bottom. Even so, The Rythym of the Road is beautifully written and gripping. It appears that Leah Albyn Hall has only written one other novel, and it has themes similar to this one. That is a shame, because the woman can write. This is a book I definitely recommend. (less)
A good, suspenseful YA book. Unfortunately, I figured out the mystery... but that's what I get for reading books meant for girls more than 20 years yo...moreA good, suspenseful YA book. Unfortunately, I figured out the mystery... but that's what I get for reading books meant for girls more than 20 years younger than me ;)
I loved that this book is dark and creepy ~ not supernatural creepiness, persay (although there is some of that.) But the creepiness of the adults in the story. Some of them are just ~ not bad, but not exactly good people, either. I would have loved for Windsor to explore certain characters and their motivations a little more ~ perhaps make a longer book, or even a series of two or three. Unfortunately, I got the feeling this is a one time deal ~ no continuation or series in the works. Which is too bad. Although there is a definite ending, so much was left unresolved.
Ah, well. That's what I get for reading YA, right? If I want an indepth novel, I should start reading books geared towards adults ;) Still, it's a quick read and a story worth reccomending. (less)
Awww... hippies!! Whatever happened to them? The Butterfly Girl doesn't showcase the smelly, stoner, poser hippies of the 1980's and 1990's but genuin...moreAwww... hippies!! Whatever happened to them? The Butterfly Girl doesn't showcase the smelly, stoner, poser hippies of the 1980's and 1990's but genuinely naive, hopeful, free spirit and new age hippies of the 1970's. It makes me feel all fuzzy and nostalgic. It also makes me roll my eyes, lol. That is, teenage Megan would have totally wanted protagonist Florrie for a BFF. Adult Megan just smiles and shakes her head every time the girl does something idiotic (which is fairly frequently.)
So this is a book about teenage pregnancy. An incredibly dated book about teenage pregnancy. Florrie is able to run away from home, meet up with various helpful strangers, work odd jobs and even have her baby with the help of a midwife. Although she is repeatedly encouraged to get her head straight, no one suggests the importance of finishing highschool or seeking medical attention for her child. More than anything else, The Butterfly Girl shows how immature and young Florrie is. While I don’t believe she is more childlike than any teenage girl, her decision to keep her baby forces her to come to terms with the real world much quicker than she would have otherwise. Despite the fact that Florrie’s experience is so very different from that which a modern pregnant teenage runaway would face; her story is still worth reading. (less)
I have always been a fan of Willie's music. Now I am a huge fan of Willie himself :) An easy read & incredibly entertaining. You don't have to be...moreI have always been a fan of Willie's music. Now I am a huge fan of Willie himself :) An easy read & incredibly entertaining. You don't have to be a fan of Willie's music or even country music to enjoy this book.(less)
A Christmas gift from my Granny back in 1994. It's filled with awesome recipes ~ lots of casseroles, stews & soups ~ vegetarian, but they fill you...moreA Christmas gift from my Granny back in 1994. It's filled with awesome recipes ~ lots of casseroles, stews & soups ~ vegetarian, but they fill you up like yummy, hearty, midwestern meals. My favorite cookbook, I use it over and over again :)(less)
Not sure if I still classify it as "erotica" ~ but it was certainly the dirtiest book I had ever read when I first discovered it as a 13yr old Catholi...moreNot sure if I still classify it as "erotica" ~ but it was certainly the dirtiest book I had ever read when I first discovered it as a 13yr old Catholic school girl.(less)
Dairy Queen has got to be the best book hidden behind the worst cover/title ever. This isn’t a book I would have given a second glance at if it weren’...moreDairy Queen has got to be the best book hidden behind the worst cover/title ever. This isn’t a book I would have given a second glance at if it weren’t for so many Goodreads friends raving over it. Even looking past the cover, the synopsis here doesn’t sound great. One special summer in which our young protagonist, D.J. Schwenk spends time with a guy who is “out of her league”, figures out some family issues and goes out for the boys football team? This has the potential to be quirky in an oh-so-annoying way. But it isn’t. Not at all. And I am kicking myself for not reading this book sooner than now.
To start with, D.J. is refreshing and a pleasure to read about. Author Catherine Gilbert Murdock writes D.J. in the Sookie Stackhouse style. That is, she just happily rambles about her day, her thoughts and feelings on just about everything in such a friendly, conversational manner that before you know it you are completely hooked. Unlike Sookie though, D.J. is figuring out her purpose and goals in life. Also, this series will not be more than a trilogy, so we know her blathering will have a point and eventually lead us to (hopefully!) a satisfying conclusion. D.J. is every bit the tomboy who lives and works on a dairy farm, is athletic, and much like any boy, is very uncomfortable experiencing and expressing emotions. We get to meet her family who are just as tough, strong, sensitive and emotionally unenlightened as D.J. is. Of course YA covers are misleading, but I still think it’s odd for this book to have such a weird, whimsical cover when there really isn’t anything weird or whimsical about D.J.
Dairy Queen is simply one of those books which gets so many things right, it’s hard to articulate what makes it so special. I love that D.J. follows her desires not in an effort to prove a point, or impress someone or rebel. She merely attempts to figure out what she wants in life and endeavors to follow her dreams. There is a great message in this novel of being true to yourself.
And did I mention this book is also about football? Lots and lots of football (oh yeah!) Murdock does a fantastic job of describing the sport, but it’s clear that she really isn’t a fan when she mentions D.J.’s old brother/football hero Bill attending Minnesota. Yeah, it’s cool he’s playing for a NCAA team and all, but really Minnesota?? Just about the worst team in the Big Ten. I could understand if the book was based in Minnesota, or Murdock had special ties to that school (who knows, maybe she does?) But Dairy Queen takes place in Wisconsin, which has a perfectly respectable state university and football team of their own. A team that is so good, I always have a tight knot of anxiety in my stomach when my beloved Buckeyes play them. Ah, well.
Besides being proud of her brother for attending Minnesota (because for fucks sake, they are terrible!) Dairy Queen is a flawless and enjoyable book. It is definitely one I recommend, even for people who are not football fans. Really, the sports stuff isn’t so overwhelming for those of you who just aren’t into it. For the rest of us, it’s got just enough to make you count down the days till kickoff. That is, if you aren’t already =)
UPDATE: This series rocks! Just finished the final installment, Front and Center and loved it. Going back to rate each book in this trilogy 5 stars (8/22/11)(less)