In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

Who doesn’t love a tragic book about men against nature? I’ve read Moby Dick and enjoyed it, but did not know the Essex’s sinking contributed as inspiration for the tale. I was completely unaware of this little thrilling bit of history until I saw a preview for the movie starring Chris Hemsworth. Thank you, Chris, I still haven’t seen your movie, but I’ve read the book. That is actually pretty accurate, when I see previews of movies based on books, it only encourages me to read the book first. Sometimes I get to the movie, sometimes I don’t. Read More »

A Moment of War

by Laurie Lee

A Moment of War by Laurie Lee

This is the final of autobiographical work of Laurie Lee, a British dude who enjoyed romping around Europe. A Moment of War follows him as he decides to go battle against Franco’s forces in the Spanish Civil War. As you can imagine, it didn’t go well. Read More »

For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf: A Choreopoem

by Ntozake Shange

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange

I get it. I get it. I get it. This is a “choreopoem”. It isn’t supposed to be read but performed, but hey, you publish it and put it in a bookstore and I’m gonna read it. That’s just the kind of girl I am. As I was reading this book I found it challenging to review. Should I look at it as poetry? Should I take it as a play? Lyrics? At times it is all of the above, so I genuinely don’t think my grade will meet a universal expectation of grades. This was so close to a C- that I teetered on the brink and eventually I had to go with D+, because it is written and I am not seeing a theatrical performance. I believe that I’d enjoy the show.  Read More »

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Emporer of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

In 2005 (?) my mom had cancer. She told us that she had to go in for surgery. I visited her in the hospital. She came home. My youngest brother and I called her surgery “the incision” and would make fun of her Pre Incision and Post Incision dancing. I wasn’t living at home and the whole thing seemed to pass rather quickly and then it was over. My mom was okay… then I read The Emperor of All Maladies… so I called to hear what really happened, because if Mukherjee taught me one thing, it is that cancer is never that simple.

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Berlin: Portrait of a City Through the Centuries

by Rory McLean

Berlin Portrait of a City Through the Centuries by Rory McLean

When I was 16 I won an all expense paid “study tour” of Germany sponsored by Diamler-Benz and the Goethe Institute. I jest not. My school was chosen to provide a participant, an essay contest ensued, and I won the opportunity to traipse about Germany with a group of 50 other North American teens (some Canadians came as well). The final stop was in Berlin. Read More »

The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science

by Douglas Starr

The Killer of Little Shepards by Douglass Starr

I’m sure I’ve talked before about how my husband thinks I am extremely macabre what with my reading of murder books all the time… I can’t help myself. I love history and there is also something about looking at the horror of a murderer and what makes them tick. It is like standing close to a monster, but not getting eaten. Read More »

Twelve Sharp

by Janet Evanovich

Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

Plodding along through this series with limited interest. In this installment Stephanie Plum is bumbling along as per usual. AAAANNNNDDDD as per usual her life is in danger. Read More »

C is for Corpse

by Sue Grafton

C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton

Yes, back to the BEGINNING of these Sue Grafton books. For those who don’t remember, I am not reading these in any order other than the order that they come into my hands. I think the first of the Alphabet Murder books I read was N is for Noose. I’ve acquired various others along the way. One day I’ll get through all of them, perhaps before she writes Z. Read More »

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Book 5: The Unmapped Sea

by Maryrose Wood

The incorrigible Children of Ashton Place and the Unmapped Sea by Maryrose Wood

Okay, I’ma ’bout to get nit-picky. Between books four and five they changed the style and design of the cover art which is no surprised as they changed artists. They also went from the deckle edge paper to regular old straight edge paper… UGH. It appears from her website that future releases of the books will have different cover art most likely using the current artist. I am not a huge emoticon user, but let me describe my face right now. I am frowning. My eyebrows are furrowed. Basically, my face is the annoyed emoticon. Read More »

Hocus

by Jan Burke

Hocus by Jan Burke

Confession: I am somewhat behind on my reviews. I read this one so long ago that I couldn’t exactly remember what it was about. I had to begin re-reading. Within a few minutes I remembered it all. I tend to think more favorably of books a while after I’ve read them, so my review might be tainted by that. Read More »

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

by Alan Bradley

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

If you recall my last review of this series, I expressed concern as to where the series was going. I worried that it all might be coming off the rails. You will be happy to note that I was being unnecessarily pessimistic. Read More »

A Spool of Blue Thread

by Anne Tyler

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

I don’t exactly recall how this book came into my orbit… and how I randomly ended up with a large print edition? Very interesting. Or maybe it was a gift because I started taking sewing classes last year? Either way, it had nothing to do with sewing and was a nice little read. Read More »

Ordinary People

by Judith Guest

Ordinary People by Judith Guest

I will admit, this is one of my favorite as a movie. I love a good miserable tragedy that ends with an unsatisfying whimper. I assure you, I’m not being sarcastic, I also really enjoyed it as a book. I picked this book up from the “FREE” bin at a second hand book store because, why not? Though–I rarely say this–I liked the movie better. Read More »

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

by Erik Larson

Dead Wake: the Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

I have never hidden my love of Erik Larson’s books. I enjoy learning more about the subjects he chooses, and usually find his style very readable and relatable. Larson is a master at recreating a time while giving the reader the ability to belong to that era. Dead Wake was no exception. 

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Run or Die

Killian Jornet

Run or Die by Killian Jornet

Yes, I am reading one running book a month to keep the dream alive (and the enthusiasm) until I can begin my running program. Read More »

To Be a Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5k Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place)

by Martin Dugard

To Be a Runner: How Racing up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking on a 5-K Can Make You a Better Person and the World a Better Place by Martin Dugard

Another running book. Get ready. Read More »

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I try to limit my fantasy to the YA variety. Fantasy isn’t my favorite genre and all the adult fantasy writers seem to think that series containing 12 books are where it’s at. They also take several years between books. I am looking at you George RR Martin. Read More »

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It

by Neal Bascomb

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb

Spoiler alert* Roger Bannister got to the four minute mile first, and I’m assuming you know that if you’ve been alive the last 60 yrs or so. I assume Bascomb also knew that you’d know the outcome before he even started this book and that was his challenge. How to make common knowledge into a bit of a nail biter? How to mimic the feelings of watching an actual race? Bascomb manages to do just that, and to recreate an era of sports before ‘doping’ and big money endorsements. Read More »

Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans

by Gary Krist

Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans

Jazz, scandal, murder? Sounds like a book for me… sadly, it was only okay. Read More »

A Heritage of Shadows

by Madeleine Brent

A Heritage of Shadows by Madeleine Brent

Oh man. I wish I liked this book because I’ve been vocal about my enjoyment in these guilty pleasure reads. Read More »

Tregaron’s Daughter

by Madeleine Brent

Tregaron's Daughter by Madeleine Brent

We all have guilty pleasures, right? Things that we love, but KNOW they are ridiculous. Enter Madeleine Brent, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, etc. I LOVED these books in Jr. High. They really informed my early ideas of love and romance. Apparently, it isn’t REALLY love unless you think that the man you like is trying to kill you. I’m being serious here. All the books have variations of those plot points. That being said, when I saw this gem on Amazon.com my nostalgia was peaked and I wondered if I would like them as much as an adult… Read More »

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

by Max Brooks

World War Z by Max Brooks

This book was a pleasant surprise. Normally, I don’t get into Zombie post apocalyptic books (I’m looking at you, Cormack McCarthy), but this was written in such an interesting way that I couldn’t resist. Read More »

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

by Richard Flanagan

The Narrow Road to the Deep north by Richard Flanagan

Ah… literary fiction, my old nemesis. Also, winner of the Man Booker Prize. I’ve been burned by that prize in the past. As I type this review, I am still uncertain whether I actually enjoyed the book or not. Read More »

The Children’s Blizzard

by David Laskin

The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin

Oh, the tears that I cried while reading this one. So, spoiler alert, people die. Children, specifically. If you are squeamish about kids dying, this is probably not the book for you.
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Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West

by Hampton Sides

Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides

This book solidifies it for me. I need to read more Hampton Sides. Read More »

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew

by Margaret Sidney

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney

I find this sort of book a bit difficult to review. It wasn’t meant for an adult, and not meant for this century so as I read I am wondering what a modern day kid might think about this book. I can assure you, as a modern day adult, I found this book more than a little sappy and more than a little lame.  Read More »

Gilead

by Marilynne Robinson

Gilead by Marilynn Robinson

I’d never heard of this book, but my well read friend sent it for Christmas and I was intrigued. I went into the book with no background information and was pleasantly surprised. Gilead is the name of a town in Iowa where Congregationalist minister, John Ames, is preparing to die. Read More »

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices

by Xinran

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices by Xinran

Spoiler alert. This book is depressing. SUPER depressing. I purposely saved this gem for a time when I am not pregnant because I knew I would not be able to handle it in a highly charged emotional state. That being said, I still cried. Read More »

The Light Between Oceans

by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

What makes a good fiction book? That is a difficult question. Does it entertain? Does it educate? Does it evoke a strong emotional reaction? The Light Between Oceans is not a book that I would typically choose for myself but as I discussed my reaction to the non fiction book An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken with a good friend, she brought over the Stedman book and wanted to see what I thought. They both deal with women who have lost children and there the comparison ends. Read More »

The Saga of Hugh Glass: Pirate, Pawnee, and Mountain Man

by John Meyers Meyers

The Saga of Hugh Glass: Pirate, Pawnee, and Mountain Man by John Meyers Meyers

How can a book be both fiction and non fiction you ask? Well, clearly, it doesn’t work, but I will get into that later. Let me just say… this was one of the worst books I have read in my life. Period. There were times when I debated finishing it at all. Ugh, it was awful. Do yourself a favor and never read it. Read More »