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message 1: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2292 comments Mod
Read any good books lately? We want to know about them.

Enter your reading list and/or reviews here. Did you like it? Hate it? Feel lukewarm? Share your thoughts with us.

Happy reading!

message 2: by Leah (last edited Mar 26, 2016 11:53PM) (new)

Leah K (uberbutter) | 744 comments Mod
Planned Reads for March 2016

Boys in the Trees by Carly Simon - ★★★
Columbine by Dave Cullen - ★★★★
The Gilded Razor by Sam Lansky
The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places, from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley by Eric Weiner
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King - ★★★★
Amazing Fantastic Incredible by Stan Lee - ★★★★
In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides
The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London by Judith Flanders

message 4: by Terris (last edited Mar 30, 2016 03:27PM) (new)

Terris | 536 comments Finished:
I Am Scout by Charles J. Shields (Buddy Read), 4****s, 3-21-16
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, 3***s, 3-7-16
Flowers for Algernon by Daniels Keyes (re-read for Bk Club), 4****s, 3-6-16
Ending Up by Kingsley Amis, 3***s, 3-25-16
Kitchens of The Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, 2**s, 3-15-16
My Side of The Mountain by Jean George, 4****s, 3-18-16
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, 3***s, 3-10-16
Middlemarch by George Eliot (audio), 3***s, 3-18-16
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, 4****s, 3-21-16
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan, 3***s, 3-21-16
Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery by Deborah and James Howe, 4****s, 3-23-16
A Lesson in Hope by Philip Gulley, 3***s, 3-25-16
The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith, 3***s, 3-26-16
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, 5*****s, 3-27-16
Love Anthony by Lisa Genova, 4****s, 3-30-16
Reading now:
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

message 5: by James (new)

James F | 1396 comments Allendoerfer and Oakley, Fundamentals of Freshman Mathematics [second edition, 1965] 588 pages

Inspired by the Penrose book, I have begun a project of reviewing my high school and college mathematics, with the intention of going beyond them to the next steps. I decided to begin by re-reading my eleventh grade algebra book. The "freshman" in the title refers to college. There seem to be two meanings to the course name "College Algebra" depending on the college: it can mean high school algebra from a more rigorous standpoint, or what comes after high school algebra (i.e. abstract algebra). This is the first type; it would be a low level college text, sort of remedial for those whose high school math wasn't sufficient for calculus, but for high school it was fairly high level. It could probably best be considered as what used to be called "ATA" (Algebra-Trigonometry-Analysis); in present day terms, Precalculus plus a simplified version of the first month of calculus. The author's assumption is that the student will be going on to study science or engineering, rather than pure math, so it is written from that perspective.

Being written before the circa 1970 dumbing down of high school math, it begins with a brief introduction to logic and set theory, then gives a somewhat more advanced review of number systems and basic algebra (i.e. what today would be Pre-algebra, Algebra I and II), goes on to cover simultaneous equations and inequalities, vectors and matrices, exponential and logarithmic functions, and basic trigonometry, and ends with an intuitive introduction to limits, derivatives and integrals.

At some point, I acquired a second used copy of this, and used it for tutoring students who were returning to college after forgetting most of their high school math, or simply worried (rightly, usually) that their high school math courses were not an adequate preparation for college math.

The main "shortcoming" from a present day perspective is that there is nothing about how to do everything on a calculator (the introduction mentions that they are "far too expensive" for the average undergraduate!). There are also a few typos which affect the sense, especially in the equations.

Not the world's most interesting book, and somewhat less advanced than I remembered (some of what I thought I learned here I must have gotten later in my calculus courses), but a decent review of things I had partly forgotten (especially vectors and matrices.)

message 6: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments The Altar Girl A Prequel by Orest Stelmach

The Altar Girl: A Prequel by Orest Stelmach
2 stars

This started out with a great opening line--"He snatched me a block away from my apartment."--but the rest of the book didn't live up to that level of interest. Nadia's godfather has died, supposedly from falling down his stairs but Nadia knows that the night he died, it was raining and he would never have attempted going down those stairs in that kind of weather. When she starts asking questions at his funeral, it causes some unsavory characters from her past to abduct her and question her to figure out what she knows. The more she pursues information, the more she suspects that he was killed by someone she knows, maybe even her own brother. Running parallel to this story was a back story that talked about Nadia being tested by her father when she was young to prove that she could take care of herself when left in a wilderness situation. I guess that part was included just to prove how resourceful she could be. I did enjoy the information about the Ukrainian immigrants and the refugee camps they lived in post World War II. My incentive was to fit a category on a challenge and, of course, knock another Kindle "freebie" off my list, so at least I accomplished that.

message 7: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
5 stars

Listening to this audio book, I just wanted to keep driving around town so that I could hear more of it. The book is disturbing but fascinating, probably due to the fact that although the author, Jeannette Walls, was brought up hungry, cold and neglected much of the time, she never made the reader feel like she was feeling sorry for herself. Her life was the way it was and she and her siblings made the most of it and became more like care givers to their parents than children. The daughter of an alcoholic father who had grand ideas but no follow through and an artistic mother who figured things would somehow work out without any help on her part, it's amazing that Jeannette turned out to be an intelligent, studious, sensible young woman. I can't believe her parents were able to keep their 4 children with them for the entirety of their childhood rather than losing them into the Child Protective System.

message 8: by Warren (new)

Warren Benton | 75 comments The Bookseller of Kabul
Rating 4.25

This is the story of the family of Sultan Khan who is the bookseller in Kabul. You get an inside view of a wealthy family of war torn downtrodden Afghanistan. There is oppression that exist and you discover how most of the people really disliked the Taliban. The women seemed to be most oppressed and longed for basic freedoms that we really take for granted in a western culture. I found this book intriguing and disturbing all at the same time. Most of the people longed to be more free and have opportunities of school and work, but most were held down and back even by there own families that stick to tradition and barter to marry their children off.

All in all this was very interesting because I have little frame of reference for this as a small town american. This book has led me to a few other book that I now have on my TBR list.

message 9: by James (new)

James F | 1396 comments Jim C. Hines, Revisionary [2016] 339 pages

The fourth book in the Magic ex libris series of fantasy novels about a library cataloger and libriomancer. As with most fantasy series, once it gets beyond the length of a trilogy it becomes less original, and in this case, because there is no "constraint" on what the protagonist can do with his magic, no absolute rules the reader can count on, it all seems too easy -- get into a seemingly impossible situation and he simply discovers some new aspect of the magic to get him out of it. The only thing really that got me into reading this series to begin with was the hero's occupation as a library cataloger (like me) and that has long since become essentially forgotten. The fact that the "bad guys" are racist politicians, bureaucrats, Homeland Security and the military, though better than the reverse in so many thrillers, is an easy choice and not backed up by any real political theme. In short, the series is entertaining adult fantasy but nothing beyond; good if you're looking for something to relax with or fill up time, but not if you feel overwhelmed by how much worthwhile literature you haven't gotten to yet.

message 10: by James (new)

James F | 1396 comments Kathleen Grissom, Kitchen House [2010] [abandoned after 207 pages, plus the last 18, out of 365]

I almost never abandon a book once I seriously start it (I think this is only the fourth in over seven years that I've been writing reviews); I tried to force myself to finish it because it was the book for the library discussion group, but after over a week and less than two-thirds finished I decided I just didn't want to waste any more time on it. I did skip ahead and read the last two chapters for the sake of the discussion. Reading this did have the good effect that to see whether it was as flawed a description as I thought I read a few (much more worthwhile) nonfiction books about slavery for the discussion.

Despite having given it up, I won't say that this is a completely bad novel, or all that badly written; but it just isn't a good book either. The basic idea, a friendship between an Irish indentured servant and the Black slaves on a plantation, is just implausible (to make it even halfway believable, the author has to make her an orphan whose parents died on shipboard) and not wholly original either (there was a 2006 Young Adult novel by Sharon Draper called Copper Sun with a similar situation). Having a white girl living with the slaves and treated essentially in the same way is false to the realities of the period, as I understand them from reading slave narratives and other historical sources (there were actual Irish slaves in the Caribbean, but indentured servants in the United States were in a totally different situation from slavery; and many references in the slave narratives suggest that the Irish, having no claim to status except being white, tended to be among the most racist groups.)

The recent spate of novels about slavery and Jim Crow, as with many recent novels about the Holocaust, show I think that it is now considered far enough in the past to be a "safe" subject, at least if it is dealt with in a "safe" manner, and Grissom has made all the "safe" choices: the novel is set at the very beginning of the nineteenth century, in the "Old" tobacco planting South, rather than farther south and west in the Cotton era, and focuses on "house" rather than "field" slaves, so slavery is presented as a kind of domestic service rather than an economically important and highly profitable method of producing an important commodity. The horrors of slavery are not downplayed, but they are presented as being a result of "evil" people rather than the inevitable product of the economic system itself. The cliché of the kind but weak master versus the cruel overseer is at the center of the events. The fact that many of the horrors of this novel are visited on the white owner's family as well as the slaves is also an implausible feature. I won't go into detail to avoid "spoilers" but the farther I read, the less believable the events -- and the more predictable. The last two chapters convinced me I was right not to keep going; the ending was definitely not believable as historical reality. I suppose, like the other "safe" novels about Jim Crow and the Holocaust, this book could be useful for someone who has absolutely no idea how terrible these things were, but for anyone with the least knowledge it is not going to be worthwhile from a historical viewpoint.

As to specific problems: although set in one of the most important formative periods of American history, there is no politics in the novel; the white characters never discuss anything that is happening in the country in general; there is for instance no mention of Jefferson or the struggles between the Northern and Southern politicians, the Louisiana Purchase, etc.

So what about it simply as a novel? The style as I said is not terrible, but neither is it good enough to redeem the problems with the plot. The tragic situations are too dense, without any relaxation of the tension, making it a difficult read, and eventually it just reaches a saturation point where it actually seems boring, especially as all the situations are predictable. The novel is written in the first person, alternating the viewpoints of the indentured servant, Lavinia, and the slave girl Belle. The author took some care in trying to make the voice of Belle sound realistic, with some light dialect; the longer sections by Lavinia were written in a neutral present-day English (although there were no contemporary slang expressions or jarring anachronisms) and did not seem to fit with the young age of the character in most of the book.

message 11: by Warren (new)

Warren Benton | 75 comments Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are
Having read most of Craig Groeschel's books and years of sermons I have heard most of this book before. But for someone who has not followed him for years this book talks about how to break away from being a person of the world and being a person that God created you to be. He talks about the characteristics you should have if you are living for God life: patience, honor, integrity. The chapter on integrity I thought could have been a book in itself. A few quotes from that chapter:

"Just to clarify, personal integrity is not the same thing as your reputation. No, your reputation is who other people think you are. Your integrity (or lack thereof) is who you really are. "

"If you have integrity, that's really all that matters. If you don't have integrity, that's really all that matters."

A quote he used from Tony Dungy " Integrity doesn't come in degrees: low medium or high. You either have integrity or you don't."

Another quote that stuck with me from the Bold Obedience chapter was "We must realize that true obedience is total and timely. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Partial obedience is disobedience."

This book is short and to the point. Groeschel has an ease to his writing as if he were just sitting down to talk with you (corny jokes included).

message 12: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
4 stars

Wow, what a read!! I can't say that I loved this book but I certainly "liked" it more my usual 4 star books--maybe 4.5 stars. The book starts out in an England which is in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars and is full of magicians, some practical and some theoretical, but none of them seem to come to much other than giving these men a reason to come together in their clubs and discuss magic. Seemingly out of nowhere, a Mr. Norrell appears and invites all these men to witness a demonstration of his abilities and he is suddenly extremely popular and believed to be the only true magician in the land. He, then, basically forbids anyone else from practicing magic. Soon another magician, young and untrained, appears. Jonathan Strange becomes a student of Mr. Norrell but Norrell wants to control his training totally and only reveals bits and pieces of what he knows and only lets him read very selected books from his extensive library. The magicians are asked to aid England in the war against Napoleon and at some point Jonathan Strange goes to the battlefields and aids the troops by himself, which angers Norrell and causes a rift to begin between the two. Interspersed with this we are also given the story of a man with thistle down hair from the land of fairy who is extremely powerful and wants to intercede with the two magicians in any way he can. He was originally called upon by Mr. Norrell to aid him in bringing the wife of a friend back from the dead. The fairy man's condition was that he would hold some power over the woman from then on and she, in her bewitchment, lived between the two worlds. The man with thistle down hair then bewitched others, including Mr. Strange's wife and in his obsession to free his wife from the bewitchment, he and Mr. Norrell must again join forces. This book is just incredibly fantastical and although at times I felt like I was in over my head with all the footnotes and convoluted story, overall it held my interest and kept me turning the pages. Sometimes I'd be wondering what in the world is going on here but as I kept reading it would then become clear. I couldn't read fast enough during the last hundred pages or so--but being honest, some of that may have been just being anxious to have it finished so I didn't have to hold that heavy book at the gym anymore.

message 13: by SouthWestZippy (new)

SouthWestZippy In Cold Blood
1 star
I did not like the book for many reasons. First off, It is a nonfiction story with a little fiction mixed in to give it flavor which was not needed. On November 15, 1959 in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas two men, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith murdered four members of the Clutter family. That alone should have been enough to draw you in but Capote felt the need to give so much detail on the little things the horror gets lost in them. Second, as much research was done, six years worth, it still lacks in my option to be a well rounded story which could be a good thing, it is already long winded.
I know this a classic and loved by many and did start the True Crime genre but I just could not get into it.

message 14: by Terris (new)

Terris | 536 comments Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, 4****s
This is the story of a mentally disabled 32-yr-old man, Charlie, who is used in an experiment to see if doctors and professors at a local university can increase Charlie's IQ, which is 69 at the beginning of the book. The story is told from Charlie's point of view as he tells, through journal writing, what he is thinking and feeling. So you can tell how he changes through his writing skill, as he goes through the operation, hormones, and skills tests. The question throughout is "Will the operation help and will it last?" It is a re-read for me for book club - I originally read it 42 years ago!! I loved it then, and I love it now. It is heartwarming and tearjerking, and I highly recommend it!

message 15: by Terris (new)

Terris | 536 comments Beverly wrote: "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
4 stars

Wow, what a read!! I can't say that I loved this book but I certainly "liked" it more my u..."

Wow, Beverly, that sounds wild! "Good for you" for sticking with it and getting through it!

message 16: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments Terris wrote: "Beverly wrote: "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
4 stars

Wow, what a read!! I can't say that I loved this book but I certainly "lik..."

The hardest part was holding that book for an hour and a half every day while I pedaled the recumbent bike down at the gym. It was so freaking heavy--I think I bulked up a bit!! :)

message 17: by Melissa (last edited Mar 07, 2016 09:15AM) (new)

Melissa (melissasd) | 792 comments Split Second (Maggie O'Dell, #2) by Alex Kava
Split Second by Alex Kava
Maggie O'Dell #2
4 ★

They dubbed him the Collector, so named for his ritual of collecting victims before disposing of them in the most heinous ways possible. FBI Special Agent Maggie O'Dell tracked him for two years, finally ending their game of cat and mouse. Now Albert Stucky has escaped from prison . . . and he is setting up a new game for Maggie O'Dell.

Some say Maggie O'Dell has lost her edge as one of the FBI's best profilers. Since capturing Stucky, she's been walking a tightwire, battling nightmares and guilt over the victims she couldn't save. Now that Stucky is loose again, she's been pulled out of the field. But she knows it's only a matter of time before she's drawn back in -- because only she can see so clearly into the mind of this madman. And he's counting on just that.

As Stucky's trail of victims leads closer and closer to Maggie, she is put back on the case under the supervision of Special Agent R. J. Tully. Together they race against the clock to hunt the killer who remains one bloody step ahead of them. And Maggie finds herself pushed to the very edge. Has her desire to stop Albert Stucky become a matter of personal vengeance? Has she crossed the line? And has that been Stucky's goal all along -- to make her into a monster?

My Thoughts:

As suspected, Albert Stucky is stalking FBI Special Agent Maggie O'Dell. Or is he? This one had me guessing til the end. Is it Albert Stucky or his previous business partner? Or are they working together? There's more suspense this time around and the descriptions of the murders a bit more visual. Nick (from book 1) is back and the chemistry is still there with Maggie. We also meet a new partner for Maggie. At least I'm hoping he shows up again. Special Agent R. J. Tully is a single dad raising a teenage daughter by himself. This is also the first time he's been in the field. I like him and think he'll make a good addition to the team. He grounds Maggie.

message 18: by Warren (new)

Warren Benton | 75 comments I Am America
Rating 0.75

I picked up this book because I know lots of people love The Colbert Report. I have never watched the show and know little of Colbert so I cam into the book with no preconceptions. Colbert is a comedian / Political Satirist I was thinking this was going to be his take on our country from his comedic slant. To me this book was weird ramblings that I was unable to follow. I have a personal rule to finish all books I start because there may be at least one sentence that really strikes home. I found zero sentences in this book. The only plus side of this audio book was that I picked it up from the library so I didn't pay anything for this work.

I know lots of people will love this book, and that is fine. Every book always has people who love it, some who like it, and some who hate it.

message 19: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
5 stars

What a wonderful book! I really enjoyed every minute of this book which was recommended to me by a number of different friends. Ove is an almost 60 year old curmudgeon who follows rules to the max and expects everyone else to as well. If they don't, he is certainly not above letting them know how he feels about it. Since his wife passed, he spends his days in his established routines and decides that life is just really not worth living anymore. He decides that he is going to commit suicide. Then, a new family, husband, pregnant wife and 2 small daughters, move in next door and the first thing they do is run over his mailbox because the husband doesn't really know how to back up a U-Haul trailer...and to Ove's way of thinking, anyone should know how to do that. From that point on, any attempts he makes at taking his life either go awry (the rope he uses to hang himself snaps in half) or some emergency arises that keep him from following through. The first interruption occurs when his new neighbor falls off a ladder and he has to drive the family to the hospital because the wife doesn't have a driver's license. As time goes on, against his will, Ove is drawn more and more into interacting with this new family next door and other folks in the community that he comes in contact with. This is just a great laugh out loud, heart-warming story that will make you wish you knew someone like Ove and had the chance to get to know them better--to make your life and theirs much richer.

message 20: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2292 comments Mod
The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam (Good Thief's Guide, #1) by Chris Ewan
The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam – Chris Ewan

Charlie Howard is a successful mystery author, writing a series that features a professional burglar, Faulks. As a sideline he – and I guess you could call it research – he also occasionally accepts a commission to steal certain items. When a stranger offers him an unusually high fee to steal a couple of seemingly worthless monkey figurines, his instincts tell him to decline while his curiosity urges him to comply. Before long he’s embroiled in a major intrigue, and a suspect in a murder.

This was a highly entertaining mystery. I couldn’t help but think of Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr series, but the comparison is a good one. The pace is quick, the characters interesting, and the charms of Amsterdam (a city I have visited) evident. I didn’t really like the way he revealed the culprit; bringing everyone together and having a long speech to lay out the crime and point out the responsible party (or parties) seems a bit tedious. Still, I was charmed by Charlie and want to read more of this series.

message 21: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman
What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman
3 stars

Although I raced through this book, it was not as much because I was loving it but because I kept hoping for some relief from the horrible hopelessness of what I considered the "driving" story. The story alternates chapters that are presented by Isabelle (Izzy) in present day and Clara in the past. Izzy is a teenager living in a foster home because her mother killed her father and is currently in prison. Her foster parents are supportive and caring but Izzy isn't quite ready to believe they're in it for the long haul. Clara is also a teenager who comes from an extremely wealthy family. Her father is overly controlling and her mother is just there, she never confronts her husband. Clara's brother left home to get away from them and ends up dead. I think they assumed he committed suicide. Clara sneaks out at night to spend time with her friends at the Cotton Club and has met a young man named Bruno. They fall in love and want to marry but her father forbids it and expects her to marry a young man that they have picked out for her. When she vehemently refuses her father has her committed to a home for "nervous invalids", hoping that it will bring her around to his way of thinking. When that doesn't work and the family finances take a turn for the worse, Clara is then send to Willard, which sounds like one of the old state hospitals where patients were treated with ice baths, insulin treatments and eventually electroshock. Back in the present time, Izzy's mother has been granted the chance to go through old suitcases that had been left at the old Willard hospital and she invites Izzy to go along. They, of course, go through Clara's old trunk and Izzy finds Clara's journal which details her trials and tribulations at being committed, being kept away from her love, and being pregnant in such a horrible situation. Izzy is determined to find out what eventually happened to Clara, Bruno and their baby...and there's your story. We learn about the horrible treatment that Clara is subjected to in the past along with Izzy's progress in solving the mystery in the future. Throw in some teenaged angst brought on by being the daughter of a murderer, the new girl in school and a foster child and it will keep you turning those pages, even though I thought that some of the dialogue was a little stilted and there was entirely too much gagging and vomiting going on. I will say that although the ending was a little too neatly tied up, I did like it.

message 22: by Terris (new)

Terris | 536 comments The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, 3***s
An adorable story about, and told by, a silverback gorilla, Ivan, who is on display in a strip mall with several other animals. They are not treated badly but they are just in small cages/display areas, which is definitely not best for them. Just before the old elephant dies, she makes Ivan promise to get the young elephant out of this place. But how is a gorilla going to make that happen? Well, with the help of some of the other animals and the custodian's daughter, several things occur that end up helping all the animals. It is a heartwarming tale and a fast easy read, since it is listed as 4th-6th grade level. But I loved it! :)

message 23: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1) by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
3 stars

I think that my optimism for this book was way too high. I have wanted to read this book forever and now that I finally have, I have to say I was disappointed. It was OK but I was not "wowed" by it. I listened to the audio which was read by the author and in the introduction she said that many people thought the book was beyond the comprehension of children. Ms. L'Engle said that children could understand it easily and it was adults that would have trouble with it and she must be right. I really enjoyed the first few chapters of this as they talked about the children meeting Mrs. Whatsit who had been blown off course during the storm. I liked the idea of the children wanting to find their father who had disappeared while participating in a top secret mission. But once they actually experienced a tesseract, the wrinkle in time, that allowed them to move through time, the story just lost it's appeal. One of the problems may have been the audio...whenever Mrs. Which (or Witch--I was never sure which it was) talked, her voice boomed out with a lot of reverberation which I found very annoying. So this may be one of those books that I would have enjoyed more if I had read it instead. I also liked very much the relationship between siblings Meg and Charles Wallace. They loved one another and there was no doubt about their closeness and loyalty to one another and their family. I did not like the children's father. Once they found him, I didn't think he behaved in a very fatherly way--he was just wimpy, in my opinion. The back of my audio says that 5 and up is the recommended audience, I can't imagine any 5 year old I've ever known being the least bit able to sit and listen to this production without being scared and/or bored. Maybe reading out loud in small amounts where they could be interactive and easily ask questions but even that, to me, is a stretch. Overall, I was unimpressed but glad that I finally read it.

message 24: by James (new)

James F | 1396 comments Sean Carroll, From Eternity to Here: The quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time [2010] 438 pages

This is one of the better popular science books I have read, at the non-mathematical level. The book is well-written and well-organized, without a lot of "gosh-wow", and clearly distinguishes what is accepted by most scientists from what is speculative or personal opinion. Carroll presents a wide-ranging view of modern cosmology organized around the concept of the "arrow of time". Understanding, as many popular science writers seem not to, that the audience for a book of this type is not primarily readers with no prior knowledge of science, but readers who have read many other books of the same type and level, he minimizes the space given to the standard simple explanations of relativity, quantum theory and the Big Bang (although enough is included for a "new" reader to follow his discussions) in favor of a more comprehensive and very clear, but mostly non-mathematical presentation of the basic concepts of thermodynamics, particularly entropy, which is the main theme of the book. (The only mathematics really needed is a high school undertanding of exponents and logarithms, and the author gives a brief review of them in an appendix.)

The central problem of the book is the paradox (emphasized also by Penrose) that entropy always remains constant or increases in any closed system, so that the universe considered as a closed system must have begun at a much lower level of entropy; yet the very reasons why entropy tends to increase make it hard to understand why the universe did not start out at a very high level of entropy to begin with -- in other words, if we were to assume a random initial condition for the universe, it would not resemble the actual beginnings of the real universe. In pursuing this question, he touches on many of the same ideas that are in many of the other books I have read, especially Susskind's The Black Hole War which I read earlier in the year, but from a different perspective and at a less technical level. (If you have read the Susskind book and understood it, there isn't a lot new here, but if you haven't read it or found it difficult, this book discusses the same issues, such as black hole entropy, conservation of information, and the holographic principle, very clearly.) In the end, he suggests that the solution may be a "multiverse" which is a mainly empty, high entropy de Sitter space, producing low entropy "baby universes" through quantum fluctuations. The book however is mainly a presentation of the problem, rather than pushing hard for a particular solution. There are a few mentions of string theory, as one possible avenue to understanding quantum gravity, but it is not described in detail; that is not one of the concerns of the book. Rather, it emphasizes thermodynamics throughout, with some general relativity and some quantum field theory, as the main clues to understanding the context of the Big Bang. Although more favorable than Penrose to the Inflationary theory, he agrees with him that by itself it makes the entropy problem worse rather than solving it.

Altogether a very interesting book, and the most recent work in my chronological reading of my library's popular cosmology books.

message 25: by Beverly (last edited Mar 11, 2016 09:28AM) (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
Fortunately the Milk Neil Gaiman
4 stars

Just a fun, wacky, quick read. I purchased this little book some time ago and just noticed it when I was scrolling through my Kindle books early this morning. I took a notion to read it and whipped right through it. A mother must leave her family for a time and tells them that everything is ready for them to be able to get by without her except that they need milk. When it comes time for breakfast, the children can't eat because there's no milk. The father goes out for milk but is gone for quite some time and when he finally returns he relates a very implausible but entertaining story about what happened to him while he was gone. The story includes dinosaurs, pirates, vampires and hard-hairy-wet-white-crunchers and many great illustrations, it would be a great story to read out loud to your children or grandchildren. I'm going to have to go back and reread "The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish" now.

message 26: by Terris (last edited Mar 10, 2016 04:07PM) (new)

Terris | 536 comments The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, 3***s
An intense story of a man who is trapped on an island where Dr. Moreau is performing extreme surgeries on animals, grafting together a monkey with a dog, or a fox with a bear. Needless to say it doesn't all work out as the doctor planned! And this man has to figure out a way to keep himself safe from these creations and a way to get off this island! A very exciting story written in 1898.

message 27: by SouthWestZippy (new)

SouthWestZippy Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
3 stars
Set in the 70's a interracial family tries to deal with themselves and living in a small Ohio town.
Marilyn and James Lee have three children, Lydia, Nath and Hannah. Lydia not only the oldest but clearly the favorite so when Lydia drowns, devastation and despair become the norm.
The story took me on a wild ride roller coaster of emotions. I hated the parents yet I have a understanding of the parents. I felt so sorry for the two kids, they were left alone to deal with their own emotions on the death of their Sister. I would have given it five stars because it drew me in, had me feeling, thinking and have me on the edge of my seat on what was going to happen next but the end of the book was such a let down that three stars will all it gets. I wanted a little more, a better explication on what happen. After that big of a ride, I think I deserved it.

message 28: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments The Last Bookstore In America by Amy Stewart
The Last Bookstore in America by Amy Stewart
3 stars

This book did not pan out exactly the way I expected. The review said that it was comic and although there were some parts that I thought were slightly amusing, I didn't think it was overall funny. Lewis Hartman's uncle Sy has died and left his bookstore, one of the last bookstores in the U. S., to him and his wife. Lewis fondly remembers the time when he was young and stayed with his uncle and is excited to check it out and possibly become the full time owner of one of the last bookstores in America. His wife...not so much. She knows that the Gizmo, sold through, is quickly closing down the book business by allowing everyone immediate access to any books they may ever want to read and people just don't want to bother with searching the shelves of some dusty old bookstore to find something to read. However, when they arrive in the small town of Eureka, California they discover that uncle Sy's bookstore is bringing in over a million dollars a year...? They are thrilled and come one step closer to becoming committed bookstore owners until they discover that the regulars in the shop are buying more than just the fact, they will sometimes purchase the same books over and over again. It's not bad, it's just not what I expected and not really the type of story that I would have read if I'd realized what was going on ahead of time.

message 29: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments The Valley by John Renehan
The Valley by John Renehan
4 stars

Last month our library had a program called Author Roulette, to help patrons familiarize themselves with new authors. You picked a slip of paper out of a bowl and it told you the name of the book. When I pulled out The Valley and realized it was about the war in Afghanistan, I almost threw it back but decided that didn't really fit the intent so I took the book, expecting to slog through it just to get it done. To my surprise, I really enjoyed this book very much. To me it was really more of a mystery and the setting just happened to be in Afghanistan. Lt. Black is sent to The Valley--one of the most remote and probably the most dangerous location in the country--to investigate the shooting of a goat by one of the American soldiers. The military claimed that it was an unfortunate mistake but a complaint had been made by the chief of the local village and an investigation needed to be conducted. Lt. Black feels as if he's being punished with the assignment and the platoon at the outpost think the investigation is ridiculous, so the atmosphere is immediately tense. However, it doesn't take long for the lieutenant to figure out that something much more serious than killing a goat is going on. Like most mysteries, I had no clue "who dunnit" so I could barely put the book down. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the land and felt like I could visualize what it must look like. I will say that some of the dialogue, when it contained a lot of military jargon, left me hazy sometimes but the overall story was enough to keep my interest. I would certainly recommend the book and consider it my "surprise" read of the year (so far).

message 30: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments Beauty and the Beast (Faerie Tale Collection, #1) by Jenni James
Beauty and the Beast by Jenni James
3 stars

According to the reviews this story of Beauty and the Beast is the first in a new series of fairy tales for young adult readers. I found it to be a quick entertaining read that was mostly "sweetness and light" with just a little hint of evil. In this adaptation, the Prince, who has been extremely abrasive to anyone in the kingdom who is not as attractive as himself, finally insults the wrong person, a witch. She curses him with turning into a werewolf (at least that's what the review says although he never acts like a werewolf in the story) every night and then back to himself during the day. And as usual, the challenge is that he must make a young lady fall in love with him while he is the wolf before the curse will be broken. One night as he sits by the brook, a young woman from his kingdom who has often been the butt of his jokes appears. They strike up a friendship and you can probably guess the rest. The prince's cousin who thought he was going to gain the throne rather than the cursed prince is the one "evil" element in the story but his evil is pretty mild...although great at creating some upsetting situations. Overall, I think that young Young Adults would really enjoy this or anyone who just wants to read a straight forward rendition of a fairy tale.

message 31: by James (new)

James F | 1396 comments Stanislaw Lem, Solaris [1960, tr. 2013] 223 pages [Kindle]

Solaris is a classic work of literary science fiction, written in Polish in 1960; it was the first of Lem's novels to be translated into English (rather poorly, from the French translation) and has been made into films three times, twice in the U.S.S.R. (1968, and the classic Tarkovsky version of 1972) and more recently by Soderberg in the U.S. I had read the original translation a long time ago, and began reading it again, but discovered that there is a newer (2013) e-book version by Bill Johnston which is (marginally) better and directly from Polish, so I read that instead.

The initial setup: Solaris is a planet with a unique ocean; for hundreds of years scientists and explorers have debated whether it is inorganic, living, or even a sentient organism. Kris Kelvin arrives on the planet to find that recent experiments have created a very strange situation.

This novel, which made Lem's reputation in the west, considers questions of human identity, ethics, and metaphysics, as well as being a great story.

message 32: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
4 stars

A lovely, straightforward little book which describes one family and their community during a time when pioneering types from many countries are attempting to make their mark on American soil. Alexandra Bergson is the only daughter and the most level headed of her siblings--all boys. Her father leaves the farm and it's handling to her and over the years, with careful management and continual expansion, the family is doing extremely well. Now, after all these years, Alexandra may finally have found someone to share her life with and her brothers are not exactly happy about the situation. Just a wonderful snapshot of the hard life in a less than perfect environment as these dedicated farmers try to make their way towards sustaining their families and helping their neighbors. This audio was read by Barbara McCulloh who had, in my opinion, the perfect voice for this story.

message 33: by Terris (new)

Terris | 536 comments Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
Kitchens of The Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, 2**s
I think this book tried too hard to stretch and try to do something different, and in the end, for me, it didn't work. "I think" it was about Eva who's mother leaves her when she's a baby and her father dies a few months later. So it's supposed to be about the people who raise her, and all the different people who she comes into contact with during her life, and the food they introduce her to, that end up making her into the brilliant chef that she becomes. However, after that first chapter, each chapter thereafter is about some person whose affect on Eva seems so obscure that you don't care about them -- and I got lots of details about them that I don't need/want to know. One character was Eva's boyfriend's brother's best friend's aunt, who, in another chapter, marries Eva's high school boyfriend's dad. What?? But even though Eva is in each chapter, I never get to know her, except a little bit through her food. Also, I often wondered if it was a YA novel, by the way it was written. So, in the end, the connections of some of these people to Eva was so uncertain/hazy that I didn't care about them, and I could never quite figure out where the story was trying to go. In the end, it came back around to her mother, who had not been spoken of since the first chapter. When I read the last page, my reaction was "Oh brother." Sorry to be so blunt, but I had heard some wonderful things about this book, but that was not my reaction.

message 34: by James (new)

James F | 1396 comments Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design [2010] 198 pages

The blurb calls this a major work. It's not. I know I'm in a minority, but I am not a fan of Stephen Hawking as a popularizer. Undeniably, he is a major physicist, and I remember liking his Brief History of Time, but I read that a long time ago. His popular works since are all very oversimplified, and this one could almost be considered as a children's or YA book -- I would have no problem with it if it were marketed as such. But as an adult book, it covers no new ground which is not covered in more depth in many other popular science books.

He begins by saying that "philosophy is dead", replaced by science. Okay, as someone with a degree in philosophy that may have prejudiced me to begin with. He then spends about 15% of this very short book giving a lightweight history of philosophy, not only oversimplified but full of errors. For example, he calls Thomas Aquinas an "early Christian philosopher" -- even if we consider modern philosophers who happen to be Christians as "Christian philosophers", he was past the middle, closer to today in time than to the real "early Christian" philosophers like Tertullian, Origen and Augustine. He calls Aristotle the leader in rejecting observational science -- actually he was probably the best observational scientist in antiquity, especially in his specialty of marine biology. He contrasts him to Galileo on the question of falling bodies -- probably it was Aristotle who actually experimented on this, dropping objects in liquid to slow them down and thereby discovering the laws of bodies at final velocity; while Galileo certainly never dropped the balls from the tower of Pisa -- he didn't have the instruments to prove anything that way anyway -- and whether he did the experiment with inclined planes is open to doubt (his first edition talks about rolling balls, which would have given very different results than he claimed; the later editions correct it to sliding blocks.)

Hawking then moves to physics "lite", and while I'm not presumptuous enough to claim there were errors, it was certainly very oversimplified. His "philosophy" of "model-dependent realism" is presented very simplistically, without any consideration of the philosophical issues it raises. He gives very briefly all the standard analogies and examples which are in every book on relativity and quantum theory, from the two-slit experiment to the inflating balloon, and almost nothing which is not found everywhere else. The book is very short; the actual text, excluding the glossary, acknowledgements and index (there is no bibliography at all), is about 180 pages, of which 30 are either just chapter titles, blank, or ornamental illustrations. The font size is very large, and there are unnecessary large illustrations throughout, giving it the appearance of a children's book -- I know he has physical limitations on writing long books, and has more important things to work on, but it would have been more honest to write a short book than to pad it out to look longer than it is.

Only the last ten or fifteen pages have anything which might be new to some people (but it's all in his earlier books) -- the no-boundary condition as a basis for the multiverse, very lightly explained. I was very disappointed in this book.

message 35: by Leah (new)

Leah K (uberbutter) | 744 comments Mod
Columbine by Dave Cullen
417 pages


I think everyone has that defining event that makes one stop and say “what has happened to the world?!” and while there were other national events to happen beforehand in my life (Waco, OK bombing, etc), Columbine was my moment. I was in 8th grade, just about to start my life in high school. I lived less than an hour from Columbine. And when that happened? Things changed, and they changed fast. A few days after the shooting, my best friend and a few other theater folks were waiting after a rehearsal when they started playing with chalk. Remember when you were a kid and you’d outline your body in chalk, fun times, yes? Not anymore. My friend and her friends did this on school property –11-13 year olds just having fun. But to the district, what would have been a simple joy of a child before was now a malicious threat to us all and those kids were all suspended and not allowed to participate in anything for the rest of the year. What had happened to my innocent childhood? Well it was done for. And other events would occur afterwards (9/11/01 when I was a junior in HS, and the VA Tech shooting when I was in college myself, Sandy Hook, just a few to come to mind) but THIS one affected me in ways I can’t really describe. Maybe it was my age, maybe because I was headed on my way to high school, maybe because I had friends in the area of Columbine, maybe because it was so close in distance. What I know is I can tell you where I was, all the news footage, the fear around us – it was everywhere, especially in my state of Colorado.

So with ALL that background, that may explain why it took me so long to read this book. I just couldn’t. Every time I passed it in the bookstore I just thought “nope. I’m good. I know what happened. I don’t need to relive it.” But if this book taught me anything, I DIDN’T know what happened really. Just like most people, we went off gut reactions, initial reports, and emotions of everyone around us. I learned a lot of info and details from this book I had no idea about. It was very interesting. Well researched. The author does a great job of giving facts and trying to keep sensation out of it, not an easy thing to do in such things, But, unfortunately it had an affect even I didn’t think would happen – so many emotions. It left me angry, in tears, and unfortunately caused some panic attacks and nightmares. I actually thought about discontinuing the book on more than one occasion. I’ve read a lot of books, a lot of gory details and events, in my time but this one did me in. It became overwhelming for me.

Either way, read this one if you haven’t. I’m a big fan that the truth of events need to be seen, whether you want it or not. Columbine does just that. Dave Cullen is straight forward with details. He has updated the book a couple times now, removing and adding details as he finds them to be truthful…or not so much so in the removal of some parts. I’m sure there are several books on the subject but stick to this one. It might not be a fast read, but it’s a must read.

message 36: by Leah (new)

Leah K (uberbutter) | 744 comments Mod
Boys in the Trees by Carly Simon
371 pages


This the memoir of Carly Simon’s early life, pretty much spanning from a young child until her mid-30’s. And we learn two things from this book – 1) Her dad was the co-founder of Simon and Schuster and 2) She likes guys, like every guy she came across and would sleep or want to sleep with anyone who came in contact with her. Oh..also…she was married to James Taylor and made music.

This book is hard for me to rate – I found it equally annoying and intriguing and had trouble putting it down. I think Carly Simon actually writes really well but I found a chunk of the book pretty boring – there was just so much talk of every man she met and how she either screwed, wanted to screw, or the man made a move at her. The beginning of the book (her childhood) and the last one-third (marriage to James Taylor and how she came about her more popular songs. I will give her credit – she is honest and unlike many memoirs she does not use her book to talk bad about people, she uses a respectful voice throughout. To be honest, I’m not the hugest fan of Carly Simon so that may have skewed my perception a bit. A good book but may be better if you’re more of a Carly Simon enthusiast than myself.

message 37: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments Island of Bones (Crowther and Westerman, #3) by Imogen Robertson
Island of Bones Imogen Robertson
4 stars

My favorite of the series so far. Set in England in the late 1700's, as workers are preparing to move the remains of 2 bodies interred on the Island of Bones in the Lake District of Cumbria, they discover a 3rd body in the tomb. Gabriel Crowther is originally from this area and being an anatomist, he is requested to come and investigate. The spirited Harriet Westerman, recently widowed, comes as well bringing her young son. We meet Crowther's sister and nephew, neither very likable. As Crowther and Westerman attempt to solve the mystery of the extra body, a stranger in town is killed and the local "healer" is suspected. Add to all of this going on, the fact that someone is looking for The Luck--which is an ancient artifact covered in jewels, a young girl from the village is kidnapped and boarded up in a mine and Mrs. Westerman's son is attempting to help the local healer without her knowledge and you just can't put the book down. Rich in fascinating characters and history, this was a great read and although I prefer to read a series in order, I think you could read this without having read the first 2. There is much more background information regarding Mr. Crowther presented in this account, which I really enjoyed and I think it made me understand him and his attitudes better. I would highly recommend this series.

message 38: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments Cricket Song by Anne Hunter MOCK CALDECOTT AWARDS
Cricket Song Anne Hunter
5 stars

This year our library is sending out the nominations for the Mock Caldecott Awards in quarters--so I don't have to review them all at the end of the year!! Today I reviewed my first one. This is an absolutely lovely bedtime book. The drawings are pen and ink, done by the author. I thought the illustrations were beautiful but what really grabbed me was the banner picture spanning every set of pages that showed the progression through the story. In other words--a child hears the crickets as he falls asleep and it shows his house and the tiny crickets in the yard and bunnies and the yard sloping down to the ocean. And as you scan across the ocean you see whale tails and jellyfish and then you see various boats and another home across the ocean. As the story progresses through the night for the first child, the sun sets and the lighthouse comes on. As it nears dawn for the first child, we then see the closing of the day for another child on the other side of the world. I actually got chills looking at the pictures. I loved it.

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Melissa (melissasd) | 792 comments Jaws by Peter Benchley

Jaws by Peter Benchley
4 ★

The classic, blockbuster thriller of man-eating terror that inspired the Steven Spielberg movie and made millions of beachgoers afraid to go into the water. Experience the thrill of helpless horror again -- or for the first time!

My Thoughts

If you have seen the movie, then you will enjoy the book. The movie follows the book pretty good, but you get more information about the people and their lives. The ending is a bit different as well. I liked how the author showed the sharks point of view at times. The excitement is there as well. Even though I knew what the shark was going to do, I still found myself excited to read on. I may have to move on Jaws 2 soon and see how that goes. I will definitely read more by Peter Benchley.

message 40: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments A Highland Christmas (Hamish Macbeth, #16) by M.C. Beaton
A Highland Christmas by M. C. Beaton
3 stars

I've been wanting to give this series a try for awhile and I'm glad that the first book was just short and sweet--a nice taste of what, I hope, is to come in the following volumes. My library actually lists this as the first in the series but Goodreads says it is 15.5. I don't know, but I think it was a good book to start with, it gave me a good indication of what the lead character, Hamish MacBeth, will be and I really liked what I saw. It's Christmas time in the highlands but it doesn't appear as if anyone is really celebrating--no decorations, no caroling, no festive foods. Constable MacBeth goes on about his daily activities. A elderly lady's cat has gone missing, Christmas lights and a massive Christmas tree are stolen from a nearby town, the local nursing home needs some entertainment for the holidays and a young student at the local school has few social contacts and her "older" parents just take it for granted that she acts like a small adult and is happy about it. How do all these things combine to make for a feel good holiday read? You'll just have to read it to find out. Just a cute, quick read.

message 41: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments Haunted Connecticut Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Constitution State by Cheri Farnsworth
Haunted Connecticut by Cheri Farnsworth
2 stars

I don't know why I continue to think that one of these days I'll read a book that says it's going to tell me "haunted" stories and I'm just going to be scared silly or at least get a little goose-flesh. This book was fine. It broke Connecticut down into different sections and then told about the ghosts, witches, aliens or odd happenings (like the death of thousands of frogs) that occurred there. But is there any evidence that ghosts (or whatever) are at the bottom of any mysterious happenings? You guessed it, no. I will say that there were some interesting stories, some historical information and some fascinating scientific explanations for what was considered paranormal happenings during the 1700 and 1800's.

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Leah K (uberbutter) | 744 comments Mod
Amazing Fantastic Incredible A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee

Amazing Fantastic Incredible by Stan Lee
192 pages


This is the memoir of comic book writer, Stan Lee. And I may not be big on the going-ons of comic books but I certainly know who THIS guy is. And it couldn’t be more fitting that this memoir is done in comic book style, who would expect anything else?

I enjoyed this book. It was fun and different to read it in full-color comic style. He seems honest and sincere and there’s a few really sweet moments throughout. He talks a lot of about the characters he came up with and his writing career through the last 70 years. It’s a quick read, which I guess is my only complaint if I were to have one. This book took me a day to read (it would take someone without a toddler afoot probably an hour or so). Due to the nature of how it’s written, it doesn’t go too far in depth, it sweeps by a lot of details. Sometimes I wanted to know more but that would have taken away from the style.

message 43: by Terris (new)

Terris | 536 comments Melissa wrote: "Jaws by Peter Benchley

Jaws by Peter Benchley
4 ★

The classic, blockbuster thriller of man-eating terror that inspired the Steven Spielberg movie and made millions of beachgoers afraid to go int..."

I'm glad you enjoyed this. It's just kind of fun and exciting even though we all know what's going to happen -- and I always think the book is better than the movie ;)

message 44: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments Shouldn't You Be in School? (All the Wrong Questions, #3) by Lemony Snicket
Shouldn't You Be in School by Lemony Snicket
3 stars

The 3rd, and as far as I know, final book in the "All the Wrong Questions" series. Although I enjoyed this one, it seemed much darker than the 1st two. I enjoyed the word play that Lemony Snicket is famous for and he always provided definitions for the more complex words as usual but I just didn't find myself smiling as much. Lemony and his friends in Stain'd-by-the-Sea are trying to find out who is burning buildings down. And why are all the books in the library completely blank? It seems that all of the school children in town are in danger and everyone is getting way too much laudanum. If you've read the first 2, read this one but just be aware that you may not find it as entertaining as those.

message 45: by Terris (new)

Terris | 536 comments Beverly wrote: "Shouldn't You Be in School? (All the Wrong Questions, #3) by Lemony Snicket
Shouldn't You Be in School by Lemony Snicket
3 stars

The 3rd, and as far as I know, final book in the "All the Wrong Questions" series. Although I ..."

You know, I read the first book but it didn't make me want to read Book 2. I just wasn't crazy about this series.

message 46: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 657 comments Terris wrote: "Beverly wrote: "Shouldn't You Be in School? (All the Wrong Questions, #3) by Lemony Snicket
Shouldn't You Be in School by Lemony Snicket
3 stars

The 3rd, and as far as I know, final book in the "All the Wrong Questions" ser..."

It was definitely not as good as A Series of Unfortunate Events but the 2nd book was my favorite.

message 47: by Terris (new)

Terris | 536 comments Beverly wrote: "Terris wrote: "Beverly wrote: "Shouldn't You Be in School? (All the Wrong Questions, #3) by Lemony Snicket
Shouldn't You Be in School by Lemony Snicket
3 stars

The 3rd, and as far as I know, final book in the "All the Wrong..."

Oh! Maybe I'll at least have to read Book 2. Thanks for the recommendation :)

message 48: by Terris (last edited Mar 18, 2016 08:22PM) (new)

Terris | 536 comments My Side of the Mountain (Mountain, #1) by Jean Craighead George
My Side of The Mountain by Jean George, 4****s
I loved this book! This young adult novel is about a twelve-year-old boy who goes from living in a New York City apartment with his parents and 8 siblings, to living alone in the woods of New York state, just living off the land. It feels very authentic and refreshing, the nature descriptions make you feel like you are there. It was written in the 60's, was a movie in 1969, and I know I should have read it when I was younger. But as I said before, I loved it!

message 49: by Terris (new)

Terris | 536 comments Middlemarch by George Eliot
Middlemarch by George Eliot, 3***s
Wow! Finally finished! All 912 pages! It was basically an old English soap opera set in the 1830's. There were several families involved, romances, and dramatic unethical/immoral goings-on that had to be untangled in the end. And I enjoyed it :)

message 50: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissasd) | 792 comments Riders (Riders, #1) by Veronica Rossi

Riders by Veronica Rossi
4 ★

Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

My Thoughts

An interesting exciting twist on the 4 horseman story. Veronica Rossi brings them to life with Gideon, Sabastian, Marcus and Jode: 4 completely different people who must come together as a team to combat the Kindred. Daryn is their Keeper and she does an excellent job keeping them together. But she has secrets that she keeps from them. The Kindred are a group of fallen angels who are trying to form a new kingdom for themselves to rule. I found the story extremely intriguing and intense. The characters are very unique and so very different. I'm not sure who I liked the best. The author does an excellent job describing the horses and armor. The Kindred are definitely not a group you want to meet in a dark alley alone either. The book takes an unexpected turn, but it's a fun ride. I didn't figure it out til almost around the time Gideon did. I'm looking forward to book 2.

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