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 »

The Swan Thieves

by Elizabeth Kostova

I enjoy Elizabeth Kostova. I thought The Historian was a great read, but I worried that Ms. Kostova might not be able to pull it off again. Happily, I was wrong. Ms. Kostova talent lies in being able to weave different time periods and different stories together into a larger mystery. Read More »

Show of Hands

by Anthony McCarten

I learned something about myself while reading this book. Mainly, that I am a sucker for likable characters, and likable characters were few in this. Anthony McCarten is also a playwright, which is a strike against him in my book (did you see what I did there? Yes, that was a pun, and I blame my husband-he delights in that sort of thing). Read More »

Shades of Grey

by Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde has done it again. Any unfamiliar with the Thursday Next books, or the Nursery Crime series needs to stop what they are doing, immediately, and read them. They are that good. Read More »

Betsy and the Great World And Betsy’s Wedding

by Maud Hart Lovelace

Yes, it is a two for one special. And I am torn… technically this was one physical book with two books inside. Does that mean they get one grade or separate grades? So many options, and so little time.

The Betsy Tacy books as they are lovingly called by the legions of fans I never heard of before purchasing this book because it was a) on sale, and b) had a flashy illustration making good use of a scarf on the cover, are semi autobiographical. Read More »