WARNING: This book will cause uncontrollable laughter. Do not read in public if cracking up in front of strangers is something that embarrasses you.WARNING: This book will cause uncontrollable laughter. Do not read in public if cracking up in front of strangers is something that embarrasses you. If you are supposed to be doing something else, but want to surreptitiously read a book instead, don't choose this one because you will totally get busted. Don't hide this one inside War & Peace and expect to get away with it. Seriously. You've been warned. * * * * * Words can hardly express my love for this book! I first heard about it when Kay of It's a Book Life shared a link to an excerpt featuring 10 different snippets in one of her bookish news posts. I knew right away I had to read it and immediately put in a request at my library. Two days later I picked it up and had to force myself to not read it in one sitting because I wanted the enjoyment to last just a bit longer. I had been plodding though a bit of a slow book and this was just the break I needed. I brought it with me to my grandmother's house Mother's Day weekend and some of my more bookish relatives were laughing along with me as I read out some of my favorite passages. My aunt took it up to bed with her and finished it that night!
It's a slim volume and anyone who loves books and bookstores will get a kick out of it. If you've ever worked in a bookstore, other retail establishment, or any job that deals with the public, you will get a kick out of it. If you're amazed by the foolishness that comes out of people's mouths sometimes, you will most definitely get a kick out of it. A few of the anecdotes in the chapter 'Customers Behaving Badly' were more appalling than funny, but all of them will leave you have shaking your head and asking yourself, "How could someone really say that?!" You will appreciate your neighborhood booksellers all the more after reading this one, that's for sure. Read. This. Book. Just do it, because I can't imagine you would possibly regret it. :)
Before the entire series was published, this was my least favorite Harry Potter book. (Though let's be honest, least favorite is a relative thing whenBefore the entire series was published, this was my least favorite Harry Potter book. (Though let's be honest, least favorite is a relative thing when it comes to a favorite series -- it was always a good book for me, I just liked other installments better). After I knew the whole story, I had a much greater appreciation for the events of this second book and thoroughly enjoyed my re-read. This was at least the third time I read this one, if not the fourth -- I've lost track!...more
If you like novels with these characteristics, read Kate Morton's novels. I cannot say enough good things about her books and I wholeheartedly recommend them. She never fails to surprise me and I cannot wait until she publishes her next book. Bear in mind that her writing is not of the happy, feel good type. Her stories tend to be dark and creepy and not for the reader who needs a happy ending. There are always bright spots in her books and parts of the plot resolve themselves in a happy way, but overall these novels could best be described as tragic. But, the biggest tragedy of all would be to not lose yourself in these pages.
First of all, I have to say that Kate Morton is my new favorite author. I can't put a finger on exactly why, but I am finding her books thoroughly addFirst of all, I have to say that Kate Morton is my new favorite author. I can't put a finger on exactly why, but I am finding her books thoroughly addictive. I am trying to put off starting The Distant Hours because I know it is the only one I have left of hers to read until she publishes her new title next year. Of the two I have already read, I have not yet decided which I liked better: The Forgotten Garden or The House at Riverton. Luckily I don't really have to choose and I can happily find a permanent place on my shelves for both of these wonderful books.
The basic premise of The Forgotten Garden is the story of a little girl who travels alone on a ship from England to Australia in 1913. The girl is taken in by the family of the dockmaster who finds her and raises her as their own, naming her Nell. On her 21st birthday, Nell's father tells her the truth and shatters her sense of self. Nell has an intense desire to figure out who her birth family was and why she was abandoned on that ship all those years ago. One of the only clues Nell is left with is a white suitcase containing a book of fairy tales written by a woman named Eliza Makepeace.
The book is told from various points of view and over various time periods. The story is alternately told from Eliza, Nell, and Cassandra's (Nell's granddaughter) point of view. It takes place 30 years ago when Nell is first investigating her origins, the present time when Cassandra has taken over the investigation after Nell's death, and the early years of the 1900s when all the mysterious "action" is originally taking place. It was fascinating to see Cassandra and Nell piecing together the mystery while also "going back in time" to see what really happened. From reading other reviews, I have gathered that many readers did not like all the bouncing around, but I found it intriguing and feel it really added to the story, making it more interesting.
As with Morton's previous novel, this one also had all sorts of twists and turns. Even when I thought I had it all figured out, there was always at least one more curve ball thrown my way, keeping me on the edge of my seat until the very last page. But unlike The House at Riverton, after finishing this book, I still had a few unanswered questions in my mind. I spent a good hour flipping back and forth, looking up various passages and piecing together a few of the more minor mysteries. I just couldn't shake the feeling that I was missing something. Upon further examination, I found there were indeed a few small connections that had slipped under my radar. I normally would not have done this, but I really enjoyed playing detective after the fact. Trust me, the details I was looking up were not the main thrust of the story-line; Morton wrapped up the primary mystery/secret in a very satisfactory way. But for anyone who likes to read in between the lines, there were a few other things to be discovered. If you were slightly more astute than I, or if you read this book over less time than I did, maybe you would see these things the first time around. Either way, it was an excellent and enjoyable read that I will treasure for a long time to come.
Marjane and the ladies of her family swap stories about their love lives in this companion to Persepolis. It was so interesting to see their perspectiMarjane and the ladies of her family swap stories about their love lives in this companion to Persepolis. It was so interesting to see their perspective as part of a different culture than my own. There is so much we all have in common, and yet there are also challenges many of them face that may seem foreign to a Western reader. Going in, I had no idea what the significance of this book's title was other than a vague thought that embroidery is a typically female activity, but it turns out that is not what it is referring to at all. I won't tell though, you'll have to read it to find out!
I'm a little ashamed to admit that an odd title and the original cover which I didn't really care for stopped me from picking this book up sooner. ItI'm a little ashamed to admit that an odd title and the original cover which I didn't really care for stopped me from picking this book up sooner. It was making the rounds in book clubs, magazines, best-seller lists, the net, and anywhere else you might find book recommendations, but I just wasn't getting all the hype. It wasn't until I saw a trailer for the movie adaptation, that my interest was really piqued and I realized it actually was the kind of story I would enjoy.
Once I did pick it up, I was utterly mesmerized. I'm not a fast reader, but I literally inhaled this magical novel. If I had to tear myself away from it, I was still thinking about it and counting down the minutes until I could crack it back open and continue reading. And when I turned the last page, I immediately wanted start it again, I loved it that much. At it's core, this book is a romance, but there is so much more to it than just that. It's a Depression-era travelling circus come to life, complete with some amazing animals, men who just might be evil incarnate, and a cast of endearing characters who make the best of the tough hand life has dealt them.
It begins in the present day with Jacob Jankowski as an elderly nursing home resident. I might be a little biased here since I used to work at a nursing home, but this little old man charmed me from the first minute I met him. He's feisty despite his physical limitations and his enduring, lifelong love for his wife Marlena is touching to witness. There are some blurred lines between right and wrong, since his wife was married to someone else when they met, but once you meet the bastard (pardon my language, I really can't help it in this case!), I think you'll understand why sometimes breaking the rules can be overlooked.
All too often, when a book has a really well done romance, it's hard for other relationships in a story to shine, but that is not the case here. Besides Jacob and Marlena, the relationships between Jacob and Rosie the elephant and between Jacob and his friend Kinko were also amazingly well done. For me, this book is the very definition of a richly developed, plotted, and characterized novel, and I truly applaud Sara Gruen for that. This one will be on my re-read list for life.
I should also note, as such a huge fan of the book, I was a bit disappointed with the movie. I loved the actors they chose, the set was brilliant, and they did a really decent job of capturing the spirit of the book, but I just wanted so much more. But even if you loved the movie, that's all the more reason to read the book because the book is infinitely better!
This is truly a fantastic book -- every single recipe I have made so far has been a hit. The recipes in this book transform ordinary vegetables into dThis is truly a fantastic book -- every single recipe I have made so far has been a hit. The recipes in this book transform ordinary vegetables into delicious, caramelized versions of their former selves. And there is a wide variety of recipes on offer; this is not just a book full of side dishes. To quote Ms. Chesman's preface, "This is a cookbook for vegetable lovers and vegetable haters. It is a cookbook for people who want to eat more veggies but have had their fill of steamed carrots & stir-fried snow peas." And she delivers just that and more!...more
This is an excellent reference book with a fantastic, wide-ranging selection of recommended titles for all ages. If you are looking for suggestions ofThis is an excellent reference book with a fantastic, wide-ranging selection of recommended titles for all ages. If you are looking for suggestions of books to read with your kids, books for them to read independently, or even books for yourself, I highly recommend this guide. Many of the titles in the 8+ and 12+ age categories are beloved classics that would appeal to teens and adults as well. This would make and excellent gift.
For a longer review & comparison to the adult version, see this post on my blog....more
I first read this book in the 6th grade, and reading it as an adult, I completely get why it was assigned at my Catholic grammar school. It's a very eI first read this book in the 6th grade, and reading it as an adult, I completely get why it was assigned at my Catholic grammar school. It's a very entertaining story about the Herdmans, a family of miscreant children who know nothing about church or Christmas and participate in a pageant for the very first time. It teaches morals and values while also telling the religious story of Christmas. The shenanigans the Herdmans get into are interesting enough to hold kids' attention and the lessons aren't stuffy or preachy, but they are most certainly there. In addition to the story itself, I would be remiss not to mention how incredibly good the narrator's performance is. This audiobook is the perfect example of how a great narration can make a story even better than it is in print. I don't generally read children's books quite this young, but this one has made me want to read the other two Herdman books! I just read that the author passed away over the summer, but I'm sure this very special book of hers will live on for a very long time.
Imagine a world in which no one is allowed to fall in love. A world in which love is believed to be the root of all evils. At age 18 you get "cured" aImagine a world in which no one is allowed to fall in love. A world in which love is believed to be the root of all evils. At age 18 you get "cured" and are "safe" from contracting the "disease" of love, or Amor Deliria Nervosa as it has been named. Of course, this book was destined to be about a girl who falls in love right before she is scheduled to be "cured."
I found the premise of this book fascinating and I really enjoyed reading it. Until I got to the end, that is. I didn't care for the end and felt as if the story was left unfinished. Then, to my happy surprise, I discovered there is a sequel coming out! So, I feel it is only fair to not hold the ending against this book, because the story is not yet over! If you like young adult fiction with an interesting twist, give this one a try.
I probably wouldn't have picked this one up if it wasn't scheduled for book club, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Loved the characters anI probably wouldn't have picked this one up if it wasn't scheduled for book club, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Loved the characters and the setting. I haven't read the companion books yet, but really want to. It's quite chunky, but I didn't want to put it down!...more
My husband and I listened to this on audiobook in the car and I'm eternally grateful that we did not get in a accident -- it's just that funny. JustinMy husband and I listened to this on audiobook in the car and I'm eternally grateful that we did not get in a accident -- it's just that funny. Justin's Dad has something to say about just about every topic you can think of and it's all hilarious. The man has no filter -- he cuts to the chase, tells it like it is, says what he thinks, and really likes the word sh*t (and bullsh*t). If that kind of thing bothers you (Mom, I'm talking to you), you probably should pass on this one. If you prefer your humor with a sprinkling of colorful language, you MUST read or listen to this book. It's hands down the most entertaining memoir I've ever read.
In a word, AMAZING. Kate always ends her stories with a twist and even knowing the high likelihood of that happening with this one, I still could notIn a word, AMAZING. Kate always ends her stories with a twist and even knowing the high likelihood of that happening with this one, I still could not figure it out! Once I got near the end of this book, I stayed up until 3AM one night because I just could not put it down. Once again, Kate has captured another time and place and crafted very memorable characters. Kate is not known for happy endings, but I love how her endings always seem "right." I'm never left cursing and grumbling that things ended unfairly or that the ending did not fit with the rest of the book. Things can't always be sunshine and rainbows, but I always finish a Kate Morton book with a feeling of satisfaction, knowing all the different threads have come magically together and been resolved as they should. A little bit gothic in style, this historical mystery is one not to miss. Kate Morton will forever be on my auto-buy list -- doesn't matter much to me what her future books may be about, I will want to read every single one!