The jinn (genies) are real. Their world is separated from ours by a thin veil. A female jinn, Dunia, comes to our world hundreds of years ago and mothThe jinn (genies) are real. Their world is separated from ours by a thin veil. A female jinn, Dunia, comes to our world hundreds of years ago and mothers a whole generation with one man. Quickest sum up: these jinn-humans are called upon to fight some evil jinns who want to take over the world. :)
It sounds awesome (and it should, it's inspired by the tales from Arabian Nights) but the way the story is told is so rambling and meandering that I had trouble following the story and piecing it all together. The book starts off with Dunia's story and then leaps from person to person to person--each character getting the in depth treatment--and for me that totally stalled the magic of the story. Reading plot synopses of this book makes me excited to read it (Dunia's descendants find out slowly that they are jinn; one guy starts floating off the ground because he's been cursed by another jinn--sounds great, right?) but then I remember that actually reading it was quite...boring. :(
Rushdie writes beautiful prose and everything is expertly imagined. It's just not for me.
I got this book pre-pub from Edelweiss. I don't think I knew what I was getting into, I requested it on a whim (childhood, interesting stuff happeningI got this book pre-pub from Edelweiss. I don't think I knew what I was getting into, I requested it on a whim (childhood, interesting stuff happening to someone else...) and I'm so glad I did.
At first read, I wasn't totally enthralled. It is super interesting how Smith uses narrative and then spliced in pieces from her childhood therapy sessions. She had some "issues" as a kid that were definitely concerning. I kept reading....
...and then young Emily gets into a major car accident. Or rather, she was hit by a car. Once in the hospital, it's discovered she has a brain tumor. Suddenly, so much about her childhood makes more sense--her lack of coordination, slow motor skills, her inability to really use her right hand. I love the way Smith writes (and it should be good--she's been a writer her whole life!) and I appreciate how she injects some humor into her memoir. I gave this a FIVE stars on Goodreads because I cried probably four times. The first being when her mother realizes a) her daughter is late coming home, b) there are sirens in the distance, and c) runs all the way to the scene of the accident to find unrecognizable her daughter being loaded into a stretcher. Me=blubbery mess.
Okay, but not great. This was more fluffy romance (and some hot sex scenes) and less witty, clever dialogue than I like. It's a cute story about a tightly-wound actuary (Brighton) whose dedication to "the plan" drives her fiance away from her. After he demands back his engagement ring, Brighton escapes to Black Dog Bay--a town dedicated to the break-up. In Black Dog Bay, Brighton finds new love (of course). There's obviously more drama and detours than girl+boy=happily ever after, but that's basically the gist...
First I'm going to admit that I didn't read this WHOLE book in its entirety because it's not my favorite type of book--super dark, full of sadness, noFirst I'm going to admit that I didn't read this WHOLE book in its entirety because it's not my favorite type of book--super dark, full of sadness, no real levity to be found. However, it's a great book. Neville is a fantastic writer, the dramas and questions presented in the story line are gripping and fully resolved by the end. Those We Left Behind is about two child/teen brothers as they are released from prison. As the book opens, it seems questionable whether these brothers are actually guilty of what they were accused of--murder. Neville's other characters range from the brothers' parole officer to the cop who originally put them away. Gritty, dark, and a good mystery.
I picked up this book on NetGalley because, traditionally, I love Margaret Atwood.
The Heart Goes Last is about a scary, startling economic collapse. Stan and Charmaine both have steady jobs and have recently bought a new home...but then they lose everything. They're living in their car. When they are given the opportunity to become part of a new trial community that offers food, shelter, and some semblance of safety, they take it. Of course, nothing is as it seems in this new "community". Sounds interesting, right?!
Unfortunately, this book wasn't my favorite. I read the first quarter of it and then went online to read other people's recent reviews. I guess it is mostly about dysfunctional people's dysfunctional sex lives. No, thank you. I'm giving it 3-stars (re: Amazon and Goodreads and anywhere else that has stars...) because Atwood is still a phenomenal writer.
Because of my dad, I grew up watching Dick Van Dyke. Mostly Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on endless repeat. He reminded me of my grandpa--Because of my dad, I grew up watching Dick Van Dyke. Mostly Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on endless repeat. He reminded me of my grandpa--a tall, skinny man with a huge sense of humor. (We found a stack of jokes stashed in his wallet--just in case--after he died.) When this book popped up on NetGalley, I requested it without pause. Because Dick. Van. Dyke.
It's not what I expected, but in some ways it's better. Van Dyke writes a smattering of advice about how to appreciate old age and how to really ENJOY it. Truth be told, it seems like 90-year-old Van Dyke's secret is mostly that he is Dick Van Dyke. He is perennially optimistic and light-hearted. Plenty of other people his age are consumed with anxiety (Carl Reiner) and in a great amount of physical pain (his brother, Jerry Van Dyke). Dick is the exception. When he was filming Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a doctor told him he'd be wheelchair bound in a few years. That was when he was 40. He has so much energy now that he married a 40-year-old when he was 86. (At first, I was grossed out, but then I realized most people in his age bracket are dead. It would be cool to see a Betty White-Van Dyke hook-up!)
This book is enjoyable. Some anecdotes, memories, name-dropping, and some advice. Thank you, NetGalley!
This is one of those books I had checked out and then kept past the due date. It wasn't one I wanted to rush through. I read every delicious part. This novel really shows the scope of World War II in occupied France.* We meet two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, before the war even starts. We learn about their sad upbringing, their strange abandonment, and their tenuous relationship. And then...the war. Both sisters become heroes over the course of the next six years. I won't divulge details (because it's definitely worth the journey) but I probably sobbed three or four times, much to the confusion of my husband.
*Turns out I know nothing about France in World War II. Nothing about the Vichy government, nothing about the Free Zone, nothing about what the French survived. Awesome way to learn more about history....more
I read this book because a pastor recommended it. If you're interested in hearing the sermon I listened to that referenced this book, here it is!
This is a book written by a man who is homosexual and also Christian and, through his own research and soul-searching, has determined the right thing to do is live a celibate life. I didn't have many expectations going into this book but it ended up being different than what I expected! More than a memoir of his personal struggles and emotions, Hill is collecting information from various sources (the Bible, other Christian/gay men, Christian scholars, advice from peers, etc.) and explaining how he came to his conclusions and ideas on this topic. In some ways, it reads like a very heartfelt research paper.
More than anything, I appreciate Hill's perspective and point-of-view in our current culture, which is more "do-whatever-makes-you-happy" and "don't-deny-yourself-anything". Hill is a gentle, compassionate writer, and he thoroughly explains his thought process and conclusions on this issue. No matter who you are (hetero- or homosexual, Christian or non-) I think this book has something to offer; for myself I was curious what someone like Hill needs and should expect from a loving church family. (Answer: support and compassion.) ...more
This is one of those books I kept checking out of the library and never reading. Then one day, a fellow librarian and I both wanted to check it out. SThis is one of those books I kept checking out of the library and never reading. Then one day, a fellow librarian and I both wanted to check it out. She let ME have it, so I finally had the motivation I needed to start reading.
It's good! This is a story about Floss (Gran), Grace, and Neva. Grandother, Mother, and Daughter, respectively. All three of these women are midwives. Neva is--*surprise*--pregnant and will not tell anyone who the father is. Floss is hiding some MAJOR secrets of her own and Grace is suddenly having her midwifery license challenged. This was a quick, easy read, totally intriguing. Hepworth writes women and emotions and birth brilliantly. My only complaint is the romance between Neva and her friend/co-worker/OB is a little weird. It's like the book morphed, for mere paragraphs at at time, into a smut novel. But okay. :)
Last time I worked I picked up this book totally because of the cover. I thought it might be a book about a girl obsessed with Audrey Hepburn.
It's a new book, by one of my favorite authors, about Audrey. She has been bullied to such an extent that the bullies were expelled, Audrey is switching schools, was institutionalized briefly, and is now battling major social anxiety. Kinsella chooses never to tell the reader exactly what happened. Audrey won't take off her sunglasses, look anyone in the eye, or talk to anyone new. This book is also about Audrey's family--her neurotic mother, her amiable father, her typical brother, and her sweet four-year-old brother. They are hilarious and totally adorable. Audrey's story takes place against the vibrant backdrop of her family's dramas. (Oh, of course there's romance. This is Sophie Kinsella.)
Basically, this book is about Audrey healing. Normally I would find a book like this totally boring, but Kinsella's deftness with dialogue and relationships made this book wonderful.
“It won’t be forever. You’ll be in the dark for as long as it takes and then you’ll come out.”
“They talk about “body language,” as if we all speak it the same. But everyone has their own dialect. For me right now, for example, swiveling my body right away and staring rigidly at the corner means, “I like you.” Because I didn’t run away and shut myself in the bathroom. I just hope he realizes that.” ...more
So far this isn't my favorite story in this vein! I LOVE books like this, but for some reason the main character in this just exhausted me. Molly hasSo far this isn't my favorite story in this vein! I LOVE books like this, but for some reason the main character in this just exhausted me. Molly has just found out she's pregnant. She's reluctant to tell the baby's father. On New Year's Eve, he proposes and from there this book splits into two parts--a version where Molly says "yes" and a version where Molly says "no". Sounds interesting, right? For me, I was just perpetually ANNOYED with Molly. She keeps waffling between confiding in the characters around her or keeping everything a secret (over and over and over again). I really dig the premis, but not so much the execution.
Got this book as a freebie through NetGalley. I have to say that I didn't finish it. :( It's like Zerndt took a bunch of short stories and chopped theGot this book as a freebie through NetGalley. I have to say that I didn't finish it. :( It's like Zerndt took a bunch of short stories and chopped them, mixed them up, and then smashed it back together. I enjoyed some of the story lines (mostly about a group of people who live in the same town) but I was always frustrated when the flow was interrupted by switching to a different story line. It was very abrupt and made this totally unenjoyable to read. :( I will say that Zerndt has skill as a writer--loved the parts describing snow boarding in the moonlight!...more
So I'm just going to say it--this wasn't as good as Ready Player One! But really, Cline set the bar so high. Nonetheless, Armada is still super fun.
ArSo I'm just going to say it--this wasn't as good as Ready Player One! But really, Cline set the bar so high. Nonetheless, Armada is still super fun.
Armada is about a teenager, Zach Lightman, who finds out that all the alien-oriented video games and movies were basically real. They were planted to help the ease the people of earth into the idea of an alien-invasion...which is basically happening right now. Zach is abducted by a sort of Men-In-Black-type group to save the world because he's one of the best gamers out there. Of course, Zach has his friends and chummy boss to provide a solid base of supporting characters. He's also got an obsession with his dead dad annnnnd...of course that's important.
The ending wasn't a surprise and actually seemed a tad abrupt, but...this book is fun and quick to read.
This is a story about Lizzie Siddal. She is semi-poor, working in a milliner's shop, when a group of Pre-Raphaelite artists handpicks her for their newest model. In the 1800s, sitting for a painter is scandalous! One of the leaders of the group, Dante Rosetti, becomes romantically involved with Lizzie. This is the story of their tragic love affair--and it is tragic. Siddal tries so hard to maintain her integrity and honor and it is slowly chipped away and then demolished.
Pros: This is a very interesting story. I did a little research on Siddal and Rosetti and, sure enough, Siddal was swept up into what turned into a very dramatic, if anti-climatic life. I love when a book inspires me to learn new things, especially about art history!
Cons: It's not very interesting to read. I think in a more skillful author's hand (Philippa Gregory?!) this story would be fascinating. Here, it falls a little flat for me. There are whole paragraphs of description and explanation--not really my thing. BUT some readers love that detail!
I started reading this book without really realizing it was a Christian living book about a Christian family trying to live like Christ. But no matter! Since I am a Christian, this proved fortuitous.
Dannemiller is a very relatable writer. He and his family embark on a year of attempting to stop buying worthless things. Food, utilities, gas, etc. are allowed. Gifts should be handmade or experiential gifts. Once the rules are decided upon, Scott and his wife jump headfirst into the new year. To their credit, even when things get tough, the Dannemillers stick with it. When Scott forgets his socks on a business trip, he washes and rewashes the ones he was wearing each day. When the toaster breaks, the Dannemillers decide they can indeed live without it.
As intended, my favorite part of this book is how much introspection it encouraged. How much do we spend on frivolous things? How much do we really need? In the end, the Dannemillers were able to donate MUCH MORE than normal to charities, churches, local organizations, etc. They also shifted the focus of every holiday and event from getting stuff to spending time as a family and the event itself. At the end of the book, they celebrate Christmas with a few gifts and candy but then focus on giving to others for the rest of the day. That's kind of awesome...
I received a free copy of this book from the author through Twitter. (!!!!)
This is a book about two kids planting, growing and harvesting their own foI received a free copy of this book from the author through Twitter. (!!!!)
This is a book about two kids planting, growing and harvesting their own food. Lexi and Jason are two siblings who want to enter [and win] the First Annual Garden Contest. This is a story that kids will be absorbed in without realizing how much they're learning--about seeds, planting, plant life cycles, bugs, fertilizer... It's a little long for my kids (7 & 5) but definitely a good book to read slowly together. If you're looking for a chapter book to get kids excited about nature, gardening, and science, this one would fit the bill. Kids probably won't even notice they're learning because there's enough sibling drama [read:fighting] and other antics to distract them. :)
"When we mourn, He says--when life gets extremely difficult, when we experience the deepest suffering we've ever encountered, when we come to the end of ourselves--then we are blessed."
Idleman uses the oft-confusing beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5) as the platform for this whole book; contrary to what we might think, when we are at our very "worst", that's the time we can come closest to Jesus. "Reaching the end of me is a daily journey I must make because it's where Jesus shows up and my real life in him begins." The first few chapters were my favorite. After that it seemed repetitive but I admit that this could be the fault of the reader.
I loved Idleman's interpretation of Luke 7. Jesus is invited to eat dinner with Simon, a religious leader. Simon is rude. In the middle of dinner, a prostitute bursts in. Despite everyone's obvious disgust, she washes Jesus' feet (which was apparently the host's responsibility!) with her hair and her own oil. Without the cultural context, I missed how much Simon dissed Jesus. His behavior makes the prostitute's reaction to Jesus all the more amazing. This book is full of anecdotes, personal stories, and Biblical examples to support Idleman's points.
Some of my Favorite Quotes:
On the idea that things we typically see as "bad" (weakness, poverty, mourning, etc.) can be good:
"Embrace the paradox: Brokenness is the way to wholeness."
"God will not waste your pain...God will not leave you alone."
"There's nothing life can throw at us that God can't use to draw us nearer to Him."
On humbling ourselves to exalt Jesus:
"The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). The real question is whether we can own up to it."
"I've come to realize that if me gets in the way, I'll miss out on the real life I'm meant to live. The life in which I love others and make a difference in the world."
"...when we get to the end of ourselves and finally realize we aren't strong enough, smart enough, or talented enough, then ironically we have never been in a better position to be used by God in significant ways."
"Performance-based religion is the false foundation of choice for many of us who grew up in the church."