Nightingale Wood

by Stella Gibbons

Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons

Ah, refreshing, refreshing Stella Gibbons. I really like her style. When my husband and I were dating, or perhaps I waited until we were engaged, I made him read Cold Comfort Farm aloud with me. The poor man had to endure my constant, “I saw something nasty in the wood shed.” It must not have put him off too much, because here we are. But I digress. I was prepared to like this book, and I did. Read More »

Every Man Dies Alone

by Hans Fallada

Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada


I loved this book. Loved it. I’ve read my fair share of forgettable WWII novels. This wasn’t forgettable at all, and I was crying at the end. You have to love a book that makes you cry. To understand and appreciate this book one needs to know its writer. Hans Fallada is the pseudonym of Rudolf Ditzen, morphine addict and author who was institutionalized multiple times and lived through the Third Reich. He was neither overtly supported, nor criticized the Nazi Party. He took the middle of the road route that he so detests in his novel Every Man Dies Alone. Understanding Fallada’s self loathing helps one greater appreciate what he is trying to say. Read More »

Faithful Place

by Tana French

Faithful Place by Tana French


This novel is the third in French’s Murder Squad series. I raved about the first, and enjoyed the second, and I liked Faithful Place, but I am finding with each book, I am less invested. Read More »

The Weird Sisters

by Eleanor Brown

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown


This book begs the question, should Shakespeare enthusiasts be allowed to write novels? I am not sure they should. I get it, he was a playwright, he was witty, he was innovative… but people, it’s been a long time, we can move forward. But no, Brown, lets her love of Shakespeare flow in this novel. Read More »

The Victoria Vanishes

by Christopher Fowler

The Victoria Vanishes by Christopher Fowler

This novel is the second in A Peculiar Crimes Unit series. If you recall the first book received decent marks, and I was interested in the sequel. Unfortunately, the sequel isn’t as good as the first book. Again we find Arthur Briant and John May in the midst of a possible unit shutdown as Bryant decides it is time to retire. Before retirement can happen, one last case must be solved.  Read More »

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling

by Maryrose Wood

The Incorrigilbe Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

Can you tell a book by its cover? All I know is when I saw the cover illustration which sports three children and a pale governess, I was sold. My husband commented on how nicely bound the book was, and he IS the authority in this house, as he did take a class on book binding in college. More than a nice cover, The Mysterious Howling is a fun, feel good story about how a little love and understanding can make even the most daunting situation, rewarding. Read More »

Past Imperfect

by Julian Fellowes

Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

Oh, Julian… why did the book have to end that way? Why? Wait, I feel I am spoiling this review by letting my feelings overcome me. Let us start at the beginning. I have long had a love for Mr. Fellowes (which is why I feel I can call him Julian). Read More »

Waiting for the Barbarians

by J.M. Coetzee

Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee

I am skeptical when I pick up books by Nobel Laureates. There is something so pretentious about the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes. Read More »

The Likeness

by Tana French

The Likeness by Tanna French

I bought this book with the expectation of being disappointed. I really enjoyed French’s In the Woods and figured that she would use many of the same devises she’d used in the first book, but that I would see them coming and it just couldn’t be good. How pleasantly surprised I was to discover that not only did I absolutely enjoy the book, I can’t wait to read the third installment in her Murder Squad series. Read More »

The Clothes on Their Backs

by Linda Grant

The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant

Another self important and whiny story about a girl whose parent’s survived World War II. I’ve read a lot of these types of books in my day, and this wasn’t a great one. Read More »

No Wind of Blame

by Georgette Heyer

No Wind of Blame by Georgette Heyer

I remember my first Georgette Heyer novel at the tender age of 12. Friday’s Child. I loved it and it began a quest to read every Georgette Heyer Regency Romance I could find. I also started on her mystery and her other historical fiction, but didn’t appreciate them, and stuck with what I liked. Now that her mysteries on in re-print, I thought it was high time to give them another try. Read More »

A Red Herring Without Mustard

by Alan Bradley

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luce has done it again. That eleven year old scamp has stolen my heart and solved another mystery all while learning the secret art of not overreacting in order to confuse her elder sisters. There is something tender about the motherless young detective that makes me want to take care of her, and in the next second send her to her room because she is so sassy. Read More »

In the Woods

by Tana French

In the Woods by Tana French

I am a crime drama junkie. There, I admit it. I occasionally watch true crime shows, no matter how sordid, so In the Woods was exactly what I like. Read More »

The Magicians

by Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

I wish that this book wasn’t so crappy, that or that Lev Grossman wasn’t such a good writer because this book was a wasted opportunity. There are so many problems that I don’t know quite where to begin… One of the largest problems is that Grossman has attempted to write an Urban Fantasy. Unfortunately, this genre doesn’t exist and I’d be willing to wager that the Venn Diagram that includes fantasy fans and those who read urban novels doesn’t exactly have a large cross section. Read More »

The Mysterious Benedict Society

by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

THIS is the kind of middle grade novel I love to read. The largest difficulty I encounter in the middle grade novel is that the author feels a need to dumb it down. Or when they try to be clever, they oversell it. The Mysterious Benedict Society was a refreshing change. Read More »

Full Dark House

by Christopher Fowler

Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler

Sometimes I get all book snobby, and feel like I know what a book will be like just by picking it up. When I picked up Full Dark House I expected something like a Jasper Fforde novel (which we know that I love) and I didn’t quite get it. Not that I didn’t enjoy Fowler’s novel, because I did. Read More »

The Whiskey Rebels

by David Liss

This book again demonstrates why I dislike historical fiction. Why, oh why, can an author not stay within the scope of one or two events from history as opposed to everything that happened. Read More »

Red Riding Hood

by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Can I tell you how much I hated this book? Yes, I suppose I can. This book was so beyond awful that I don’t know where to start. Read More »

So Brave, Young, and Handsome

by Leif Enger

So Brave Young & Handsome by Leif Enger

Growing up, my siblings and I rode in the car with our parents for hours—one of the joys of growing up in the middle of nowhere. We only agreed upon three CDs (or rather, tapes in those days): ABBA’s Greatest Hits, Neil Diamond (anything), and Marty Robbin’s Gunfighter Ballads. Yes, we all love the gunfighter ballads. Read More »

The Search For WondLa

by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Search for Wondla by Tony Diterlizzi

Against my better judgment I picked up this book. I’ve promised myself that I wouldn’t start a new series that wasn’t already complete. I get tired of waiting for new books to come out and then re-reading to remember what happened… hence one of the reason I have sworn off the Wheel of Time Series until it is finished.  Alas, I am pleased that I rarely listen to my better judgment. The Search for WondLa was what I have been searching for in a middle grade novel. Read More »

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

by Barbara Robinson

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

I remember the first time I ever encountered this book. I was in second grade and Mrs. Jordan (who wasn’t a very engaging out loud reader) read this book to the class. At the time, I did feel that this was a great book, and upon re reading… I think I liked it even more. Read More »

Dracula in Love

by Karen Essex

Ugh. This ‘novel’ was beyond awful. It would be too generous to call this an attempt at glorified fan fiction. I am often leery of books that tell a well-known story from the perspective of another character. This has always seemed to be more of a creative writing class assignment than anything that should sell as a novel. Read More »

Dark Places

by Gillian Flynn

I really wish I would have read Flynn’s Dagger Award-winning novel Sharp Objects before reading this novel, because after reading Dark Places, I am not going to be reading anything else written by Flynn unless it is a gift and I have no other reading materials on hand. Read More »

The Angel’s Game

by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

I don’t know what it is about the Spaniards but they have a way of weaving the mystical with modern to create a macabre sense of possibility. Zafron again makes use of some well beloved characters in his first novel, The Shadow of the Wind. Read More »

Peace Like a River

by Leif Enger

Peace Like a River is the kind of book I have been looking for. Enger creates the fascinating character Jeremiah Land, a father, and modern worker of miracles. We begin the story by remembering the story of Reuben Land’s miraculous birth. Read More »

The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale

by Joseph Conrad

It is no secret that I have a difficult time caring about the book when I can’t relate in any way to the characters. Mr. Verloc is lazy, loathsome, and self centered. Conrad paints a picture of a cumbersome man who sweats a lot as he rambles around alternately toad eating and bullying his own family passive aggressively. Read More »

Postcards from a Dead Girl

by Kirk Farber

I’ve read a few books in my time that leave me confused, not knowing whether I liked the book or didn’t like it. This is one of those books. Read More »

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag

by Alan Bradley

Another Flavia de Luce mystery that leaves one feeling warm and fuzzy and wishing for more. This book begins with an innocent puppet show coming to town. Flavia soon becomes entangled with the puppet master and his assistant. Rounding out the old faithful characters, are some new and interesting townspeople. Read More »

Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade

by Patrick Dennis

This is one of the few novels that I read after seeing the movie. A roommate persuaded me to see the old movie full of technicolor hijinks but I didn’t seem to remember much of the novel when I read the book. Auntie Mame was written by Edward Everett Tanner III under the pseudonym Patrick Dennis.  Read More »

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

by Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luce is a modern day Miss Marple. Sure, she isn’t set in modern times but she is a likable detective heroine that is sure to keep people reading this new mystery series. And she’s only eleven! Read More »