Why I picked it up: It was in my house. I think Snow gave it to me? It’s a romance novel with cupcakes on the cover; I figured it couldn’t be all bad.Why I picked it up: It was in my house. I think Snow gave it to me? It’s a romance novel with cupcakes on the cover; I figured it couldn’t be all bad.
Lani was a big-time pastry chef in NYC but she left for the small island town of Sugarberry, GA and opened her own cupcakery. The chef she learned from and worked under shows up unexpectedly. Lani had feelings for him but never told him; turns out he had feelings for her as well. He has brought his nationally famous television show to Sugarberry and plans to film in Lani’s shop.
It requires a LOT of suspension of disbelief. It is not realistic at all. But it’s light and fun and the characters are fun, if a little one-dimensional. There are 2 recipes in the back of the book, but given how much cupcakes figure into the story, I felt there should have been more. Two and a half stars, but I’ll round up because there is no reason to round down. ...more
Why I picked it up: YALSA Challenge, plus it’s baseball.
This is nonfiction. Macon is small town in Illinois, population 1,200. An English teacher seeWhy I picked it up: YALSA Challenge, plus it’s baseball.
This is nonfiction. Macon is small town in Illinois, population 1,200. An English teacher seen by the town as a hippie with big ideas ends up coaching the baseball team. Practices are optional and he lets the players figure out who plays what position. But in 1970 and 1971, the team does better than anyone could have anticipated, especially for such a small team (both in number of players and size of the players) from such a tiny, unknown town. The state tournament had not been divided yet, so all schools, regardless of student body, played in the same tournament. What happened was nothing short of amazing for all involved.
I loved it. It was like Hoosiers with baseball. The people, the baseball, the small town, all of it, I loved it. Great story. Challenges: YALSA Challenge 2013-Alex Award ...more
Why I picked it up: January read for my historical fiction online book group. (Yes, I finished it late!)
Harriet lives with her very oppressive fatherWhy I picked it up: January read for my historical fiction online book group. (Yes, I finished it late!)
Harriet lives with her very oppressive father and her oppressive and frugal-to-the-point-of-madness Aunt Louisa. They have allowed to her to take dance classes, which she loves, but when she is offered a chance to travel down the Amazon with a ballet company, her family refuses to let her go and instead cancels her dance classes. A chance meeting with a young man at one of the most famous estates in England gives Harriet the courage to disobey her family and travel to Brazil with the ballet company.
I liked it. It was a simple story, it was surprisingly funny, and while some parts were easy to anticipate what would happen, other parts caught me by surprise. The romance was sweet, though about a third of the book could have been skipped if the characters just talked to each other! Some times it felt like a 1930s screwball comedy.
The book was written in 1985 as an adult romance. That is how I am choosing to categorize it, as an adult book. It has recently been remarketed to teens. I don’t know why. It’s a perfectly good story, but the main character is 18, there is only one character under the age of 18 (and he’s 7), so all the plotlines involve adults. Perhaps if it were written today it would be considered “new adult” but that’s a classification I happen to strongly dislike, so I’m sticking with adult.
A word on the audio: I liked the reader. Many of the characters have foreign names and it’s always nice to know the correct pronunciation. (I butchered the Russian prima ballerina’s name when I read the first 3 chapters in book form.)
Challenges: My Geography Challenge: Americas (Brazil) ...more
Why I picked it up: It will be the next community read for my library (Spring 2014).
Clay is a web designer in San Francisco and he is out of a job. WhWhy I picked it up: It will be the next community read for my library (Spring 2014).
Clay is a web designer in San Francisco and he is out of a job. While wandering the streets, he sees a help wanted sign in the window of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Clay meets the unusual requirements and he becomes the night shift. The customers at Mr. Penumbra’s are unusual and Clay realizes that there is more to the bookstore than meets the eye.
I liked it. It was fun, it was intelligent, it was about books, it had characters I wanted to hang out with. Oh, and the cover glows in the dark! (Really. We totally tested it. In a supply closet at work. Of course that’s not weird!) It’s also interesting that it’s about the power of both books and technology and how the two can be combined, something I think people don’t realize is possible. (I’ve been told since I entered the library field that “libraries are dying” and “we have computers, who needs books” and “it’s all electronic now” and yet I am still a librarian employed in a library.) One thing that bothered me, though, was that the first person narrator would think things, and then other characters would answer as though he had spoken, but the thought was never in quotation marks, indicating it had never been spoken out loud. It happened several times.
Three and a half stars, but I will round up because I kept thinking about it after I read it and I liked the characters to much.
Quote: "I have waited my whole life to walk through a secret passage built into a bookshelf." Page 143
Why I picked it up: I like Willa Cather and am a big fan of O Pioneers! but had never read her other two books set on the prairie.
When Jim Burden is aWhy I picked it up: I like Willa Cather and am a big fan of O Pioneers! but had never read her other two books set on the prairie.
When Jim Burden is a young boy, he moves to the prairie to live with his grandparents. The closest neighbors are a Bohemian family with a girl, Antonia, a few years older than Jim. The story is of his growing up and his friendship with and observations of Antonia.
I liked it okay, though it doesn’t have the magic for me that O Pioneers! does. I think that’s because O Pioneers! is so much about the land while My Antonia is more about the people and their lives, with an emphasis on immigrants. Reading it does make me want to read more Willa Cather.
A word about the audio: I had high hopes that because I listened to the audio version, I would at last know for sure the correct pronunciation of the titular character. Alas, that was not to be. Because the reader used one pronunciation for the reading of the book itself (ann-TOE-knee-ah) and a DIFFERENT pronunciation when introducing the book at the beginning and at the beginning of each disc (ann-toe-KNEE-ah), I am still in the dark. And I find it odd that the pronunciations on the same recording are different!
Why I picked it up: November read for my online book group, plus I had heard good things about the series.
Alexia is an “old” maid in London high socieWhy I picked it up: November read for my online book group, plus I had heard good things about the series.
Alexia is an “old” maid in London high society. She has no problem being unmarried but she does have a secret she is keeping from society and her family: she is one of the rare soulless, a preternatural who can combat the supernatural, rendering them human (powerless) when she is touching them. When Alexia is attacked by a vampire at a party, it is curious that the vampire did not know of her kind. Lord Maccon, alpha werewolf and infuriatingly good looking, is helping Alexia figure out what is going in London.
I liked it. It’s a neat world; a steampunk Victorian London with vampires and werewolves living out in the open. The chemistry between Alexia and Lord Maccon is a treat. Alexia’s vampire friend Lord Ackeldama is a hoot. This was a fun read. Three and a half stars. I will be continuing the series. ...more
Why I picked it up: I first read it as a sophomore in college as a part of my American Lit class. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since and I’ve reaWhy I picked it up: I first read it as a sophomore in college as a part of my American Lit class. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since and I’ve read it several times. This particular time (November 2012) was for the Classics book group at my library.
Alexandra Bergson is the oldest of four children born to a Norwegian immigrant now living on the Nebraska prairie. As her father lays on his deathbed, he realizes it is his daughter and not his sons that has a love of the land. Her brothers want to move after their father’s death, but Alexandra sees the future of the land and convinces them to stay put. Sixteen years later, she has done well for herself and her brothers.
At the book discussion, a gentleman summed up the book as “you are born, you suffer, and then you die.” That is not at all what this book is to me, though I understand where he gets that. To me, this is a love story to the land. My copy is well-highlighted, a result of several papers I wrote on the book, using it as a base for the creative writing project that was my senior comprehensive exercise, and just loving the language. The land is the most wonderful character in the book, but I also love Ivar. And Alexandra. Yes, there is suffering in the book and yes, there is tragedy. But at its heart, this book has a love for land and country that gets into my heart every time I read it.
A funny note on the book: several years ago, my brother and his wife were in a book group with another couple. My brother knew this was one of my favorites and had never read it, so he nominated it. When they voted, the two finalists were O Pioneers! and a book that one of the other members had seen in a magazine as being the book Natalie Portman was currently obsessed with and she gave as a gift to all her friends. They picked O Pioneers!, which I think is probably the only time in my life I will be picked over Natalie Portman. ...more
Why I picked it up: I'm leading a discussion on it for my library's new Classics Book Group. And I had never actually read any Sherlock Holmes and figWhy I picked it up: I'm leading a discussion on it for my library's new Classics Book Group. And I had never actually read any Sherlock Holmes and figured it was high time.
A doctor from the country shows up at the Holmes/Watson residence hoping for help from the brilliant Sherlock Holmes. A good friend of the doctor's has just died, and the friend fears that a family legend of an otherworldly, gigantic, devilish hound is at fault. Holmes is intrigued by the case, though Watson is actually sent alone to the country to some in-person detecting.
I enjoyed it. I thought the mystery was quite good, and it was extremely atmospheric. I do not like the character of Holmes and was quite glad he was missing from a great portion of the story. Arrogance is not a personality trait I have much patience for. I read the download from Project Gutenberg.
Why I picked it up: The concept. A book in dictionary entries! The word nerd in me loves it. Loves it. Wishes I had thought of it but knows I could neWhy I picked it up: The concept. A book in dictionary entries! The word nerd in me loves it. Loves it. Wishes I had thought of it but knows I could never pull it off. Plus, I like David Levithan.
First Person Narrator (FPN) uses dictionary entries to tell the story of his relationship with his lover. The gender of the lover is never revealed. The entries don't actually define the word, but rather how what the word means played a part in the relationship. I'm not sure I'm describing it well. We get a good picture of FPN and the relationship, though it's pretty non-linear.
I liked it. I liked it a lot. It's probably 3 ½ stars but I'm bumping it up because I think David Levithan may share my brain. I was glad I read this one as an ebook because I bookmarked a lot. There were moments that I felt as though the FPN was expressing my thoughts and feelings. The lack of specifying the gender of the lover worked for me. I had an image in my head and that's good enough for me. I would also categorize it as having a bit of an open ending, which I don't always like, but had no problem with here. Again, I saw an ending in my head. I felt like I was inside the FPN enough and a part of the story enough that I could see what I thought would happen. And I still think the concept is brilliant.
I have favorite quotes but I'm not sure I want the world to know which ones I felt came from inside my head :)
Why I picked it up: It was referenced in a VOYA article and I thought I had found a Jennifer Crusie I hadn't read. Turns out I had read it when I firsWhy I picked it up: It was referenced in a VOYA article and I thought I had found a Jennifer Crusie I hadn't read. Turns out I had read it when I first discovered her, but I didn't remember much other than the house. Interesting what details stick with you.
Not the world's greatest premise. Linc has the chance for his dream job teaching at a small college in Ohio, but the president of the college vastly prefers married professors, so in his interview, Linc makes up a fiance. He needs to produce a fiance at the interview, so he offers to pay his eccentric neighbor's back rent if she will pretend for a weekend. Daisy agrees, and everything snowballs predictable from there.
It's fun. Crusie's characters are always fun, and I love the house in Ohio. I can't think too hard on some of the messages here, becuase it will make my head hurt, but if I just accept it as lighthearted fluffy fun, it's enjoyable and (as I have proven) fairly forgettable.
The action picks up not long after Magic Study ends. Yelena wants to learn more about her magic, but is also scarWhy I picked it up: Last in a trilogy
The action picks up not long after Magic Study ends. Yelena wants to learn more about her magic, but is also scared of what she has learned about her particular magic so far. She continues to be headstrong, a little impulsive, and to have the loyalty of those we as readers have come to know and love.
I find myself liking this book more and more as I think back on it and the series as a whole. There are things from the first book that come back here, and I always like that. When I had about 50 pages left, I kept wanting to pick up the book at stoplights, and that's always an indication to me that it's a good book! Parts are slower than others, and there is a lot of what I call "magic theory" here, which is less exciting to me. But overall, I really, really enjoyed both this particular book and the trilogy as a whole. The characters are the best part. When Valek would show up, I found that I was as happy to see him as Yelena was--another mark of a great character.
Why I picked it up: It's a sequel. Book 2 in a trilogy, to be exact.
Yelena has been returned to the family she was stolen from when she is six. Her hoWhy I picked it up: It's a sequel. Book 2 in a trilogy, to be exact.
Yelena has been returned to the family she was stolen from when she is six. Her home country of Sitia is foreign to her, but she cannot return to Ixia. She must learn to control her magic as gets reacquainted with her family and her homeland.
I wish I could give this book 3 1/2 stars and I'm still undecided if I should round up or down. I really like Yelena and am glad to spend more time with her, and her boyfriend is totally awesome. The first half of the book drags a bit, but the second half totally makes up for it and is very hard to put down. My big complain about the second book it that it doesn't have a map of the land, as book one does. Book one's map includes lands not relevant until book two, so I don't understand why the map isn't included. But it isn't, and that is enough of a hinderance for me that I'll round down to 3 stars. But I liked it and will be starting the last of the trilogy straight away.
Reading Bingo: Fantasy Jessica's Scavenger Hunt: Unicorn...more
Why I picked it up: It was the January book for one of my Goodreads Book Groups. And when I was halfway through, I realized 2 of my coworkers had eachWhy I picked it up: It was the January book for one of my Goodreads Book Groups. And when I was halfway through, I realized 2 of my coworkers had each given it 5 stars.
Yelena has been in Commander Ambrose’s dungeon for almost a year, awaiting execution. When she is pulled from her cell she believes she is about to hung, but she ends up in a meeting with the Commander’s advisor Valek instead. Turns out, the laws of the land dictate that the next person to be executed must be offered the chance to taste the commander’s food for poisons instead of dying that day. Not sure if this is actually a better deal, Yelena excepts and begins to learn about poisons from Valek.
I really like the premise, and it doesn’t take long for the story to get going. The idea of being a food taster is really interesting, and this book covers a lot of ground and is very compelling. I enjoyed it a lot.
My favorite quote: (view spoiler)[ "The uniform enhanced his athletic body, and my thoughts drifted to how magnificent he would look with his uniform puddled around his feet." (page 279) Part of why I like it is that it's really the only racy part of the book! (hide spoiler)]
Why I picked it up: sequel/companion to the book I just finished
Basically, same review as for the other book. Same town, same pack, different main chaWhy I picked it up: sequel/companion to the book I just finished
Basically, same review as for the other book. Same town, same pack, different main character, though we met Maggie in How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf. Again, the plot advanced in a manner that I wasn’t expecting and I was surprised by some plot twists, though not by others. A fun read. I would continue to read about Grundy if there were more in the series. A nice, uncomplicated, quick read. ...more
Why I picked it up: Jessica & Christie picked it out for me so I’d have a cheery book after reading about a teenager with bone cancer. Also, theyWhy I picked it up: Jessica & Christie picked it out for me so I’d have a cheery book after reading about a teenager with bone cancer. Also, they claimed it would count as “research” for my honeymoon to Alaska, since it is set in Alaska.
It’s a fun read. There are some great lines and funny things. I’d like to live in Grundy, and not for the werewolves or even the attractive men. The plot went in some directions I wasn’t expecting, and that’s always refreshing, especially for a romance. I liked it.
Reading Scavenger Hunt: quilt (a pink double wedding ring) ...more
Why I picked it up: I needed an apple tree for my reading scavenger hunt and this is the book my friend & coworker Christie used for that, and sheWhy I picked it up: I needed an apple tree for my reading scavenger hunt and this is the book my friend & coworker Christie used for that, and she thought I might like it.
This book started slow, and Christie warned me about that. You don’t really like the main character at first. But then it starts to get a little mysterious and intriguing, and the middle of the book is quite good and fun and suspenseful without being stressful. And there are some fun characters. I like the “date” to a foreign country on the mobile library and I *love* Sister Ignatius. The middle of the book would have gotten 3 stars from me, maybe 3 ½.
But then the end wasn’t so good in my opinion. Part of it was that the book didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be. Was it a spoiled teenager wising up? Was it fantasy? Was it a mystery/suspense? I don’t mind genre-blending when it works, but this one felt fragmented and scattered as opposed to seamless. The fantasy element bothered me, as it was never explained and yet it’s the only thing that was fantasy-related in the book. And the “suspense” part bothered me as I felt like some things that were revealed about a character didn’t ring true with that character through the bulk of the book. So overall, I wasn’t a fan, mostly due to an ending I felt didn’t really fit and no explanation of the fantasy element.
I still can't tell you what made me want to pick up this book, since I so rarely read grown-up books. But pick it up I did. And it was okay. But it waI still can't tell you what made me want to pick up this book, since I so rarely read grown-up books. But pick it up I did. And it was okay. But it wasn't great.
My biggest complaint is that there wasn't a good way to tell how much time had passed in the story. Other than the epilogue, which had a year attached to it, I have no idea how much time passed in the story, and certainly not from one chapter to the next. In fact, things that were mentioned in one chapter would not have happened yet in the next chapter, though to be fair, the chapters rotated in perspective of each of the 4 main characters. But still, I shouldn't have to guess at how many years transpired over the course of a few chapters or the whole book.
I also felt like the story was incredibly slow to get going. Some of the characters didn't ring true to me, even after learning all of the backstory. Really, especially after knowing the backstory. And the ending was a little too happy-with-a-big-bow-wrapped-around-it for me.
I used to read (adult) romance novels fairly frequently but have fallen out of the habit. I forgot how comforting it is to know that the last page wilI used to read (adult) romance novels fairly frequently but have fallen out of the habit. I forgot how comforting it is to know that the last page will bring peace and a happy ending. I picked this one up because the author is local and will be speaking at my library in the fall.
To be fair, books that identify within the genre as Christian fiction are not usually what I pick up. I don't avoid it, either, though. In this case, the Christian elements don't really feel forced, as I sometimes feel they can, and prayer is integrated at very appropriate times. I found the characters to be likeable and believable. I was genuinely interested in what happened and there is a bit of suspense as well, which definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. Overall, I liked it. ...more
One of the things I like about Jodi Picoult is that becuase she approaches issues from so many sides, I usually see a persepctive or an argument thatOne of the things I like about Jodi Picoult is that becuase she approaches issues from so many sides, I usually see a persepctive or an argument that I hadn't considered. I didn't really get that from this one. Doesn't mean that all readers would have that lack, but I did.
I thought the story was okay. The timeline, especially in Zoe and Vanessa's relationship, seemed really unrealistic to me. The end felt extremely abrupt. And the epilouge, instead of answering questions, gave me many new ones....more
I read this book because the author is coming to a Friends of the Library luncheon for my library. It's not normally what I would pick up, mostly becaI read this book because the author is coming to a Friends of the Library luncheon for my library. It's not normally what I would pick up, mostly because its intended audience is over the age of eighteen. I enjoyed it, though it didn't bowl me over. I enjoyed the setting (Belgian Congo in 1958) and especially liked the tidbits of information about the locals and the wildlife that started each chapter.
I found it had too many characters for me to have an easy time keep track, and each seemed to have at least 2 different ways of being addressed or referred to, which made it even more difficult. One plotline seemed to have been dropped about 2/3 into the book with no resolution. But overall I liked it, and I really chuckled at the ending....more
I picked up this book because I was going to Savannah for a long weekend and I figured I should read "the book." I wasn't expecting to like it so muchI picked up this book because I was going to Savannah for a long weekend and I figured I should read "the book." I wasn't expecting to like it so much. Sure, the trial part is interesting, but it's the look at the inside of some of the personalities and eccentricities of the real people, as well as the beautiful landscape of Savannah, that kept me hooked. More city portrait than true crime, I loved it. I was about 3/4 through when I visited the city, which made the story come even more to life.
I really liked the audio reader, too, and recommend the book on audio. As a bonus, there is brief section by the author at the end of the last CD, recorded about 2 years after the book came out. He talks about the impact of the book on Savannah tourism, the timing of his writing, his time with Jim Williams, and other bits and pieces. Very interesting.
I didn't realize when I started it that this book is the longest running nonfiction NY Times bestseller....more
Look, I'm going to be honest. I didn't like it. To be fair, it's not my kind of book. War books rarely are, but this was more than that. I didn't likeLook, I'm going to be honest. I didn't like it. To be fair, it's not my kind of book. War books rarely are, but this was more than that. I didn't like that it tried to be something bigger, something art-y, something making big statements about memory and war and what is real and what isn't. I know for many, based on reviews, that something bigger worked. For me, it just read like an extremely unreliable narrator. And it was way too blurred between fiction and non-fiction for me. I read it because it is the "One Book, One Community" read for the library system I work for, and I do think good discussion can come out of it. ...more
I've been reading Bennie Harper books for years. Some are better than others. This one is in the middle for me. I like that quilts show up in the bookI've been reading Bennie Harper books for years. Some are better than others. This one is in the middle for me. I like that quilts show up in the book more often than in some others, both in terms of actual quilts, and just the mentioning of patterns. I started the series because of the quilt association, so I like it when it's really there. Some side plots are dragged out too long, though, especially the Aunt Garnet/Dove plot. But the resolution of the mystery was one of the better ones for the series, I thought. Not as much Gabe as I like, since I'm somewhat in love with him, but I enjoyed it just the same. And as someone who loves, loves, loves county fairs, I like the setting....more
Bet Me is my favorite of Jennifer Crusie’s, and I’m a big fan of hers, so that is saying something. It also is just as good after multiple reads. I usBet Me is my favorite of Jennifer Crusie’s, and I’m a big fan of hers, so that is saying something. It also is just as good after multiple reads. I usually can’t wait to get back to Min and Liza and Bonnie and the “if” dinner. Min is an actuary who is dumped by a not-very-nice-guy 3 weeks before her sister’s wedding. When she overhears the now ex-boyfriend bet a gorgeous man he can’t get her into bed in a month, she figures she can string him along for the 3 weeks until the wedding, then leave him, but fate, chaos theory, their crazy friends, Elvis (both Presley and Costello), his 8-year-old nephew, and Krispy Kreme donuts all have other ideas. A fun read. I’ve read it many times and recently had the abridged version on audio for a car trip. It was okay, but I don’t understand why it was abridged, and I definitely noticed what was missing. People who haven’t read it most likely won’t, though....more
Absolutely amazing. Cried. And cried. And then cried some more. I started it at night, quickly figured out that there was no wayI was going to sleep bAbsolutely amazing. Cried. And cried. And then cried some more. I started it at night, quickly figured out that there was no wayI was going to sleep before I finished it, and skimmed the entire book that night. Was up until about 3:30am, and I am NOT a night owl. Went back and listened to it later. Amazingly poweful, and one of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read....more