Can't say I liked the self-serving piety or blind ambition of Lady Margaret Beaufort (The Red Queen), but Philippa Gregory's romp through the War of tCan't say I liked the self-serving piety or blind ambition of Lady Margaret Beaufort (The Red Queen), but Philippa Gregory's romp through the War of the Roses is gripping as well as educational. Enjoyed Wiki-ing all the main characters after reading this historical fiction about the grandmother of Henry VIII and how she propelled her son (Henry VII) to the throne of England in 1485. ...more
My friend Carrie Boes highly recommended this book, but I kept stalling. Call me a weenie, but I wasn't sure I could handle a five-hour literary journMy friend Carrie Boes highly recommended this book, but I kept stalling. Call me a weenie, but I wasn't sure I could handle a five-hour literary journey through the hell of living with Alzheimer's Disease. I read the book anyway--on a series of 3 flights from SC to MN. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. I did not nap; I did not slog through the Sudoku puzzle; I just read "Still Alice". The main reason this novel grabbed my attention is that it's NOT written from a caregiver's or doctor's perspective; it's narrated by a highly functional, professional woman slipping into the confusion and turmoil of this terrible disease. The reader experiences how Alice's perception (of family, her surroundings, and herself) changes as the disease progresses over a two-year period. And the changes aren't always predictable. I kept wanting Alice to find those pills she stashed in the bedside stand while she still had the power of reason. But the author does an outstanding job of showing how this strategy-of-last-resort backfires when the brain becomes pickled with amyloid. She also reveals in a compassionate way the extent to which Alice's family suffers along with her. Like "The Fault With Our Stars", this is a sad but powerful book. Well worth the read in my opinion....more
Nothing beats the joy of reading with children. So pull out your blanket and settle into the rocking chair. “Shark At the Park” is a rhyming adventureNothing beats the joy of reading with children. So pull out your blanket and settle into the rocking chair. “Shark At the Park” is a rhyming adventure tale that young readers will enjoy over and over again. It’s got plenty to like: drama, danger, and a gluttonous shark that gets his comeuppance in a most clever fashion. Additionally, the charming illustrations go a long way in making the story pop. Kudos to author Mike Kalmbach and his son Alexander on their first collaboration. Let's hope it's the first of many....more
There’s plenty to like in this bewitching NA novel by Ann M. Noser. The title alone is enough to make you pick upEver wonder “How to Date Dead Guys”?
There’s plenty to like in this bewitching NA novel by Ann M. Noser. The title alone is enough to make you pick up the book. The misty forest and beguiling lass on the cover draw you in farther. And then there’s the gripping story: shy college girl, Emma Roberts, falls for sporty Mike Carlson. Concerned about his safety, she follows her drunken crush for a midnight swim across the Chippewa River. Emma is the only one who makes it to the other side alive. Blamed for Mike's death, Emma quickly becomes the campus pariah.
Shattered by grief and guilt, she seeks solace in a witchcraft manual called the Book of Shadows. Under a full moon, Emma casts a spell to claim Mike from his watery grave. Unexpectedly, her power-packed incantation resurrects five men for the price of one. The greedy river is NOT happy, and neither are the killers of one of the drowning victims. Both parties are out to get Emma—for different reasons.
This story exemplifies the old adage: be careful what you wish for...you just might get it. I liken this book to a bag of Lays Potato Chips; the chapters are so crisp and delicious, you can’t stop devouring them. That’s because Noser writes in a refreshing straightforward manner AND she knows how to end each chapter on a hook—thus the Lays phenomenon.
At the start of this story, Emma is a delightfully snarky but unhappy bookworm. The five men she resurrects each have issues to resolve before the river reclaims them. As Emma helps each soul, her confidence blossoms and she grows as a character. I like that quality in a protagonist. This story is fine for the PG crowd as well; there’s plenty of witchy humor and romance elements, but no gratuitous sex scenes or cursing.
This author has plenty of imagination. For one: she weaved this tale around the controversial Smiley Face Murders (a police theory that applies to a string of suspicious drownings of college-aged men in the Chippewa). I also like how Noser imbued the river and the Book of Shadows with distinct personalities. That really ramped up the tension and added supernatural depth.
I was fortunate enough to be around when “How to Date Dead Guys” was in it’s infancy. It was an honor to be part of Ms. Noser’s critique group and watch her hone this manuscript into the gripping urban fantasy it has become. Lucky for us, she’s already hard at work crafting the sequel: “How to Ditch Dead Guys”.
Although Christianity has a large following, the New Testament is mute about what Jesus of Nazareth did between the ages of 12 and 30. Not to worry...Although Christianity has a large following, the New Testament is mute about what Jesus of Nazareth did between the ages of 12 and 30. Not to worry...his cheeky best friend Levi (known as Biff) fills in the missing years in this hilarious "gospel" called LAMB.
In an effort to escape the wedding of their secret crush (Mary Magdalene), teenage Jesus (Joshua) and his buddy Biff set off on a quest for the three magi. The journey leads them to China, and Kabul, and finally India. Under the tutelage of the first magus, they study Chinese medicine, healing, and fireworks. The second magus: Buddhism, kung-fu and meditation. The third magus: Asceticism and yoga. While Joshua perfects his skills, Biff enjoys the local cuisine and hangs with some really hot babes. At the age of 30, they return to Jerusalem.
I loved the bawdy, irreverent tone of this book even though everyone knows the story is going to end BADLY. The glue that holds everything together is Biff's undying loyalty to his friend Joshua. Like a Jewish Sancho Panza, Biff is there every step of the way as Joshua trains, works miracles, and builds his following. Plus Biff gives us the low down on all the disciples. As Joshua incurs the wrath of the pharisees and the Roman army, Biff struggles to protect Joshua from his fate, but ultimately fails. But that doesn't stop him from dealing with that crackpot, Judas.
The author did his biblical research. I love how Moore tied Jesus' well-known miracles to his training in China, Kabul, and India. And I like how he handled Joshua's human fears, struggles, and weaknesses. (Reanimating the dead was always a challenge for the messiah; Lazarus had a perpetual ripe smell months after returning from the dead.)
Anyway...if you'd like a fresh, imaginative twist on the New Testament, LAMB is the gospel for you. Enjoy.
Thirteen-year-old Madison Spencer dies of a pot overdose (?) and is damned because of the lavish Hollywood lifestyle of her parents (thinly veiled verThirteen-year-old Madison Spencer dies of a pot overdose (?) and is damned because of the lavish Hollywood lifestyle of her parents (thinly veiled versions of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt). Or perhaps her damnation is due to a mistake? Or a technicality? According to DAMNED, it's just so easy to end up there. Use the f-bomb 701 times and BOOM, you're have a one-way ticket to Inferno.
But little Maddy Spencer refuses to let Hell get the best of her. She keeps her optimistic spirit, makes new friends, and rallies the damned to improve the general conditions of Satan's Dump. Where to begin? The Sea of Roiling Insects? The Mountains of Toenail Clippings? Or the Marshes of Rank Perspiration?
Despite her pampered upbringing, it's easy to like Maddy because of her indomitable spirit. While improving Hell, she unravels the mystery of her death, and kicks some major demon butt along the way.
Reader impressions in a nutshell: Great, graphic, (and sometime disturbing) descriptions. Good voice. A few plot holes. While the first half is snarky humor and hilarious world-building, the second half is more gripping (Maddy confronts her killer(s)).
"Damed" is one sarcastic, quirky, strange little read that raises a very interesting question: How can a soul make the most of his or her eternal damnation? Will you cling to your earthly identity until you're a blithering idiot with black flies crawling over your face? Or will you continue to grow?...more
Keeping this one short: While the TV series was wildly entertaining, I liked the book more. Kerman's take on her experiences in women's prison was refKeeping this one short: While the TV series was wildly entertaining, I liked the book more. Kerman's take on her experiences in women's prison was reflective and inspiring--a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit and the fact that necessity is the mother of invention. Her fellow prisoners leapt from the pages, but rocketed into hyperdrive in the TV series....more
Warning: Do not read these humor essays in bed at night while your spouse is sleeping. Your guffaws will wake him up. Sedaris admits to being shallow,Warning: Do not read these humor essays in bed at night while your spouse is sleeping. Your guffaws will wake him up. Sedaris admits to being shallow, but the breadth of his musings is expansive and delightful. The pigeon French conversations with his fellow students in Paris is wickedly funny. As well as the chapter where Sedaris claims his boyfriend's African childhood as his own because battling pythons is so much more exciting than slurping ice cream at a suburban mall. Need something upbeat and refreshing? This is the read for you....more