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 »

Eleven on Top

by Janet Evanovich

Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich

I am swiftly coming to the end of the books I own in the Stephanie Plum series. My husband found some at a yard sale and bought them on the cheap. I only have one more and I don’t know if I will be buying the rest any time soon as there are so many great bubble gum reads out there. Read More »

Ten Big Ones

by Janet Evanovich

Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich

I have three kids aged 3 months, 2 years, and 4 years. Even at University I managed to do my school work and still read for pleasure. Whenever I feel like I am slipping behind and not reading, I crack out of few of these books. I enjoy Plum series because they are easy to read, don’t require 100% attention, and the bright colors are a favorite of the 2 year old. She likes to stack and unstack and pull them off the shelves.  Read More »

To the Nines

by Janet Evanovich

To the Nines by Janet Evanovich

I am back to the Stephanie Plum books, and while the ninth installment was entertaining, it wasn’t wonderful.

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Hard Eight

by Janet Evanovich

Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich

So, I am clearly reading my way through the Stephanie Plum series. Though, after this book, I decided to take a little break. I have read too many too soon to really appreciate the books as they should be read. Read More »

Seven Up

by Janet Evanovich

Seven Up by Janet Evanovich

This wasn’t my favorite Evanovich book. I find that each plot isn’t necessarily what makes me like a book or not. I enjoy the side characters and how well I feel that they fit or how well I feel that they interact. I find that Stephanie’s old high school “friends” Mooner and Dougie don’t really do it for me. Read More »

Hot Six

by Janet Evanovich

Hot Six by Janet Evanovich

Another Stephanie Plum book and things are as crazy as ever in Trenton, New Jersey. Read More »

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’t Most Terrifying Epidemic-and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

by Steven Johnson

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson

So much about this book was truly wonderful, but the organization left a lot to be desired. Perhaps the scope of the entire project was just too large and the book would have been better served if Johnson had narrowed the scope, but more on that later. Read More »

Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time

by Caleb Daniloff

Running Ransom Road by Caleb Daniloff

I used to be a runner. This is true. Since I had my son almost four years ago my running has been sporadic and at times a bit disappointing. During this, my third, pregnancy I vowed to read at least one running book a month in order keep my excitement level up to fulfill my goal of eventually running a marathon. I’d had this book on my radar for quite some time, and was very happy with the book overall. Read More »

The Only Girl in the Car

by Kathy Dobie

The Only Girl in the Car by Kathy Dobie

*Sigh. Where to begin? Sometimes I read a book and I just shake my head over it. This is one of those. Read More »

The Secret Place

by Tana French

The Secret Place by Tana French

It is no secret among my friends and relatives, as far as genre fiction goes, Tana French is one of my favorites. I deliberately saved this one for my hospital stay with the birth of my third child. Tana French and I have a little tradition. She produces new books at the same rate that I produce new children. I hope she stops pretty soon because I can’t keep this up forever! Read More »

The Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance

by Ed Ayres

The Longest Race by Ed Ayres

So, spoiler alert, I would like to one day run a marathon. Until I am back to my spritely running form, I have decided to read one book a month about running in order to keep my enthusiasm up and learn a thing or two. I don’t have a lot of runner friends that READ about running, so getting good recommendations has been mostly trial and error. As previously stated, I don’t like to read reviews prior to reading a book because I don’t want to taint my own feelings. I had already started this one when I added it to my goodreads.com profile. Unfortunately, I caught a glimpse of some negative reviews so this might feel like an apologist essay. If so, I apologize (do you see what I did there?). Read More »

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken by Laura Hilenbrand

Though I have vowed to cut back on my WWII reading, this book came highly recommended from nearly all my non fiction reader friends. I thought I’d read it before it became a movie and a weirdly watered down Hollywood version replaced the memory of the actual book. I am glad I did. Read More »

American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, and the Birth of Hollywood

by Howard Blum

American Lightening by Howard Blum

At first, and in the middle, and also at the end, many things about this book just bothered me. I didn’t like the style in which it was written. Read More »

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

Elizabeth McCracken

An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination by Elizabeth McCraken

I was pregnant when a friend suggested I read this one. When I bought it I was horrified to find out it was about a woman who has a stillbirth. I don’t consider myself over superstitious, but my pregnancy was already high risk and would need a c-section (something I’d never endured with my previous children) so I put the book aside to read later. Read More »

High Five

by Janet Evanovich

High Five by Janet Evanovich

This is the fifth installment in the Stephanie Plum series. And I am not going to lie, it was hard to suspend my disbelief at times. Generally, the plots are implausible, but this one was just too much.  Read More »

12 Years a Slave

by Solomon Northup

12 Years a Slave by Soloman Northrup

This book was written in 1853 about a free black man who was kidnapped and transported south to live as a slave for 12 long years. I’ve read other memoirs written in the same time frame, and I have to say that I don’t love the style of personal narratives written at the time. So that dislike of the way this memoir was written is reflected in how much I was able to enjoy the book as a whole, if one can enjoy reading about the utter misery of another human being. Read More »