U is for Undertow

by Sue Grafton

U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton

In this installment in the Alphabet Series, Kinsey Millhone gets roped into investigating a possible body dump that happened twenty years ago. Michael Sutton shows up at Kinsey’s office and begs her to investigate a cold case kidnapping/murder. He claims that he has had triggered memories and Kinsey believes him until she realizes Michael Sutton is a highly impressionable young man  who once accused his father of sexual abuse, then recanted, but not before destroying his entire family. So Sutton isn’t the most reliable source. Read More »

Heroes on Horseback: A Life and Times of the Last Gaucho Caudillos

by John Charles Chasteen

Heroes on Horseback by John Charles Chasteen

This is another gift from my younger brother, and I suspect it was a remnant from his university days. The name Chasteen looked familiar, and sure enough, I have Born in Blood and Fire and Problems in Modern Latin American History from my university days. I double majored in Political Science and Latin American Studies, so lets just say Chasteen and I crossed paths quite a bit in the form of required reading. Read More »

Wish You Happy Forever: What China’s Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains

by Jenny Bowen, founder of Half the Sky Foundation

Wish You Happy Forever by Jenny Bowen

I really shouldn’t read books like this when I am pregnant. Sure, orphans get to me any time, but when I am pregnant I have no control over the tears. Whenever I find anything particularly sad, or touching, my eyes turn into sprinklers. This book was both touching, and sad, in spades. Read More »

The Butterfly Mosque

by G. Willow Wilson

The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson

This book came highly recommended, by someone whose opinion I trust. That in and of itself can be dangerous. It is hard to read a book that has been talked up so much because I want something amazing. Well, The Butterfly Mosque wasn’t amazing, but it was certainly good. Read More »

A Body to Die For

by Kate White

A Body to Die For by Kate White

Apparently this is the second book in a series, but it came to me free so I dove right in. I guess I have been spoiled by great mystery writers (Tana French, Alan Bradley) or really fun mystery writers (Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich), because White’s effort fell flat. Read More »

Yes Sister, No Sister: My Life as a Trainee Nurse in 1950s Yorkshire

by Jennifer Craig

Yes Sister, No Sister by Jennifer Craig

The title of this book pretty much sums up what is about. I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I had not read the Call the Midwife Trilogy beforehand. This memoir seems to have a lot less heart than the Midwife books, though I did learn more about the mechanics of training to be a nurse. Read More »

The Importance of Being Seven

by Alexander McCall Smith

The Importance of Being Seven by Alexander McCall Smith

This is the sixth installment in Smith’s 44 Scotland Street Series. I recommend reading these books as a series, and not as stand alone novels. I enjoyed this book immensely and particularly enjoyed Smith’s note to the reader at the beginning of the book. He speaks about the title, The Importance of Being Seven. Bertie, one of our main characters is almost seven. Smith tries to capture that feeling of wanting something very much (to be seven, in Bertie’s case) and not quite being there. Read More »

The Unbearable Lightness of Scones

by Alexander McCall Smith

The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith

I have taken a significant amount of time off of the the 44 Scotland Street Series, not because I don’t love them, but because they are that particular brand of warm comfort that one remembers when one needs a nice little read that leave the reader feeling uplifted. If you are unfamiliar with the series, please ignore this review straight away and start at the beginning. You will thank me. Read More »

Two for the Dough

by Janet Evanovich

Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich

This is the second book in the Stephanie Plum series. One has to kind of feel for Stephanie as a heroine because she tries to be tough, but she just isn’t tough enough. Read More »

The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible

by Simon Winchester

The Men who United the States by Simon Winchester

I wanted to like this book. I did. I’ve been a fan of Winchester and simply LOVED The Professor and the Madman. Unfortunately, The Men Who United the States suffered from a classic mistake made in nonfiction: the author was too close to the subject. Read More »

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Interrupted Tale

by Maryrose Wood

The incorrigible children of Ashton Place: The Interrupted Tale by Maryrose Wood

It is no secret that I have been a fan of this series of books. Sadly, this is the fourth book meaning there are only two more to go. When I think about where these books could be taking me, I get excited, and that is exactly what books should do.

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Farewell to the East End

by Jennifer Worth

Farewell to the East End

Farewell to the East End is the last book that Worth wrote concerning her time in London’s East End working as a midwife in the 1950s, but interestingly not the last book she wrote about nursing. I am planning to read those as well. Once again Worth splits up parts of the narrative telling stories about her fellow midwives, Trixie, Cynthia, and Chummy. Read More »

Shadows of the Workhouse

by Jennifer Worth

Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth

This book is the second book of the Midwife Series Trilogy on which the BBC drama Call the Midwife is based. Whew, that was a mouthful. Suffice it to say that this book is every bit as sad as the title suggests, in the very best possible way. Read More »

Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s

by Jennifer Worth

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Once upon a time I stumbled upon the BBC series Call the Midwife on Netflix. I generally enjoy what the BBC has to offer and I devoured this entire series in a matter of a few weeks. I cried every single episode. Perhaps I should preface all the crying with the fact that I am pregnant, and tend to be easily touched into tears when I am pregnant. Read More »

A Mormon Mother: An Autobiography by Annie Clark Tanner

by Annie Clark Tanner

A Mormon Mother by Annie Clark Tanner

My little brother got me this book for Christmas. I suspect that it was heavily discounted from the $1.50 price tag that graced its cover. Though I love free books, AND love my little brother for providing so many, it is often hit and miss with his gifts. It was with trepidation that I started this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. Read More »

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Unseen Guest

by Maryrose Wood

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place and the Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. These books are charming. I am really looking forward to reading them to my kids in a few years. One thing I enjoy about these books is that there is an underlying mystery that prevails through each book and the reader gets little bits and pieces each time. The reader gets just enough information to start making speculations that are either confirmed or debunked in subsequent books. Read More »

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World’s Great Drinks

by Amy Stewart

The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart

Disclaimer: I do not drink. So why read a book about drinks? I must say, I have a fascination with the science behind the making of alcohol. I visited a Whisky distillery in Scotland and a Pisco distillery in Chile, so I am a bit of an enthusiast. Read More »

The Night Listener

by Armistead Maupin

The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin

It has been a while since I read something so awful that I debated whether I should finish it or not. Congrats Night Listener, I finished you, but don’t feel better for it. Read More »

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

by Anthony Marra

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

Poor Chechnya. Some countries seem to just have it bad and Chechnya is one of those. I will not delve into political theory or strategy but for those unacquainted with Chechnya’s tragic history, suffice it to say that it is a country surrounded by larger countries with dangerous ambitions, and the Chechen people have paid a hefty price. Read More »

11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944

by Stanley Weintraub

11 Days in December by Stanley Weintraub

I know I promised a break on non fiction WWII books, but this has been on the shelf since I married my husband (it came with him) and it was Christmastime so I thought, why not? Mistake. Read More »

I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring

by Robert I. Eaton and Henry J. Eyring

I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring by Robert Eaton and Henry Eyring

I always hesitate when I review religious books about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). It is difficult for me to separate my own religious beliefs and examine a text as a purely impartial reader. For example, as a member of the LDS church I read church texts and the scriptural cannon (Old Testament, New Testament King James’ Version, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) weekly, but I never review them as I consider them sacred. Read More »

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and The History of the World

by Sam Kean

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean

This is the second of Kean’s scientific narratives that I have read, and the first that he had published. Though I liked it less than The Violinists Thumb, it was still interesting and informative. Read More »

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma

by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart

The third installment in The Mysterious Benedict Society is every bit as fun, action-packed, and refreshing as the previous books in the series. I feel like I gush when I write about these books, but they are genuinely wonderful. Stewart’s style is both light and captivating. I find myself cheering audibly for our heroes and cringing whenever the villains get a leg up. I assure you, it is quite amusing to watch. Read More »

Speaking From Among the Bones

by Alan Bradley

Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

I truly enjoy reading Flavia de Luce novels. I can’t help it. Bradley manages to capture perfectly inconsistencies that radiate from 11/12 year old girls. He also captures a time that I find fascinating in English history.

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L is for Lawless

by Sue Grafton

L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton

I’m going to ask for you to indulge me while I go off on a bit of a tangent. I saw W is for Wasted in the bookstore as I was doing all my last minute shopping. I am thrilled that I did not start this series back in 1984 when the series  first was released. Sure, I was five then, so I am not sure mystery novels would have been appropriate reading material, but I am glad I arrived at the tale end. Read More »

Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-first-century Parenthood

by Drew Magary

Someone Could Get Hurt by Drew Magary

I’m a parent. I wasn’t always a parent. I find it hard, now, to remember what my life was like before I had all these irrational fears and before I spent my days worrying about things like potty training progress or which educational school of thought best fits my ideal of the type of people I would like to release into the world. Read More »

The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code

by Sam Kean

The Violinists Thumb by Sam Kean

I first heard about this book on Radiolab, and yes, I immediately like most of what I hear about on Radiolab. Now, I am not fascinated by scientific details, generally speaking, so I probably would not have selected this book had I not heard some excerpts beforehand and that would have been a shame because this book was GREAT! Read More »

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente

 

This is the second book in Valenti’s Fairyland series. I was looking forward to it for a LONG time, but with a bit of trepidation. How does one improve or add to a story that I personally enjoyed so much? Read More »

The Oxford Book of Modern Women’s Stories

edited by Patricia Craig

I was skeptical when I initially got this for my birthday. What constitutes a Modern Women’s Story anyway? Happily, Patricia Craig explains what does it for her, and since she is the editor, thats what made it into the book. Read More »

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics

by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

Fun fact about me, one of my life’s goals is to go to a regatta. In my mind it would have been on the Thames, but now I have a new regatta in mind, all thanks to The Boys in the Boat. Read More »