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 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 »

Four to Score

by Janet Evanovich

Four to Score by Janet Evanovich

Disclaimer: I’m beginning to feel like the titles have very little to do with what is actually happening in the book. I picture Evanovich in her office thinking, “Okay, we’re on four… hmmm… I got it, Four to Score!” though what it means she hasn’t the vaguest idea. That being said, I genuinely liked Four to Score. I think it is my actual favorite in the series thus far. Read More »

Three to Get Deadly

by Janet Evanovich

Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich

So, spoiler alert (not really), I read six of these books in quick succession as I prepared for the birth of my third child. I needed some light bubble gum reading to feel like I was getting something accomplished and I can crack two of these books out in a day. So be prepared for lots of Evanovich reviews in the future. Also be prepared for me to start enjoying them marginally less. I find this series should not be devoured whole, as it were, but nibbled in bites here and there. I find I appreciate the individual books more that way.
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The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History

by Lewis Buzbee

The Yellow Lighted Book Shop by Lewis Buzbee

I like books about reading. And books about books. And books about loving books… Buzbee’s book about bookstores was right up my alley. I think all book lovers can relate to the themes he touches on, and as he takes his little walk down memory lane, a lot of what Buzbee remembers will be familiar. Read More »

The Sojourner

by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

The Sojourner by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Of all the depressing books I’ve read where not much goes on… well, what to say? It was depressing and not much happens. I could stop there, but I know you want to know more. Read More »

Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson

by Raymond W. Thorp and Robert Bunker

Crow Killer by Raymond Thorpe and Robert Bunker

Though I don’t typically read mountain man books, this was a birthday gift that looked pretty interesting. Also, I know very little about any but the most famous mountain men and I am always interested in learning new things. Sadly, Crow Killer ended up being a little too folksy and not academic enough for me. Read More »

Fatal Voyage

by Kathy Reichs

Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs

I was excited about this book. I liked the first couple of seasons of the tv series Bones, and a big part of what I enjoyed was the character Temperance Brennan. I should have known the books would be different, and not in a way that I enjoyed. This is why I typically stay away from movie or tv versions of books, and I’ve got to say, I think this is the first time I enjoyed the tv version better. Read More »

Cruel and Unusual

by Patricia Cornwell

Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell

I’ve never read a Corwell novel, but I see them everywhere in the supermarket, airport, bookstores. I understand that she is extremely popular and though I enjoy mysteries, I’ve never felt compelled to read her stuff. Cruel and Unusual came from bin of free books that my little brother dropped off for me. Read More »

The Devil’s Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century

by Harold Schechter

The Devil's Gentleman by Harold Schechter

Finally, a delightful non fiction about murder… just what you were all hoping for, I am sure. This book follows the poisoning murders of two people and the subsequent trials of Roland Molineux in the late 1800s.

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by Faye Kellerman

Stalker by Faye Kellerman

I’ve never read a Faye Kellerman book before. It isn’t what I would consider ‘my type of book,’ but I can’t say no to free and it looked like an easy and unchallenging read. That is probably the highest praise I can give this book, because it wasn’t compelling or exciting. This one turned out to be Meh. Read More »

The Big Ditch: How America Took, Built, Ran, and Ultimately Gave Away the Panama Canal

by Noel Maurer and Carlos Yu

The Big Ditch by Noel Maurer and Carlos Yu

Finally! An academically written book about a historical event from an economics perspective! I have been hoping to read something of this nature for a while now and happily my kindly husband obliged with this little birthday gift. Maurer and Yu have all the academic credentials one could hope for which lead me to worry that the writing would be dry, it wasn’t. Read More »

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

by Hampton Sides

In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides

I have a fascination with arctic (or antarctic) adventure biographies. It isn’t exactly that I wish I was born in a different time, I love my modern conveniences, but I have a great admiration for those who dared to venture out and discover the world that we know today. I’d heard a little about the USS Jeannette’s turbulent journey, but not enough to make the book uninteresting. Also, not enough to spoil the ending. Read More »

The Clinic

by Jonathan Kellerman

The Clinic by Jonathan Kellerman

This was another free book from my brother’s bargain book hunting. I’d just read one of Kellerman’s wife’s books and decided I should decide who was the better writer. I hadn’t been terribly impressed with Faye Kellerman’s book, but Jonathan Kellerman had an interesting spin on the suspense novel. Read More »

Death at the Priory: Love, Sex, and Murder in Victorian England

by James Ruddick

Death at the Priory : Love, Sex, and Murder in Victorian England by James Ruddick

I love a good true crime book as much (or more) than the next gal. I also enjoy reading about Victorian England. In theory this is the sort of book I love, but the execution did nothing for me, and Ruddick’s “investigation” left a lot to be desired. Death at the Priory seeks to illuminate the 1875 poisoning of Charles Bravo. Read More »

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

by Alan Bradley

The Dead and Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley

I have been a vocal fan of the Flavia de Luce novels since I read the first. I’ve been deeply invested in the mystery and watching the characters unfold, but I must say this last book was challenging to me. Not because it wasn’t well written. Not because Flavia didn’t get up to her usual mischief. Not because some questions weren’t finally answered. What I found disconcerting was that I am not sure I like where the series is going. Read More »

The Fault of the Apple

by Frederic Wakeman

The Fault of the Apple by Frederic Wakeman

I am not sure where or how this book came into my possession. I seem to remember a yard sale somewhere. My copy is a hardback without a dust jacket, and the beautiful binding makes it look very intriguing. Yet another case of not judging a book by its cover, because this book hit the trifecta of awful. Read More »

Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer

by Jonathan L. Howard

Johannes Cabel: The Necromancer by Jonathan Howard

Hmmm… I am still on the fence about this book, and the grade that I gave it. Truly, it hovered between the B-/C+ range. This is another of my little brother’s gift books from his bargain book hunting. Read More »

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

by Stephen King

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon By Stephen King

I’ve never been a reader of Stephen King books. I have read various articles that King wrote about both reading and writing, and I’ve found those interesting, but my attempts at reading his books while I was in high school didn’t make me a lifelong fan. Read More »

Critical Conditions

by Stephen White

Critical Conditions by Stephen White

I’ve never read anything that Stephen White had written before. This little gem came into my hands via my brother who got a bin full of books for me from some sort of heavily discounted sale. This isn’t a book I would have selected to read on my own, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results. White’s series follows Alan Gregory a clinical psychologist who gets involved in all sorts of bizarre criminal cases/situations. Read More »

What W.H. Auden Can Do For You

by Alexander McCall Smith

What W.H. Auden Can Do For You by Alexander McCall Smith

According to the foreword on this book, I am the target audience. I like (not love) poetry and I am only familiar with W.H. Auden in a superficial way. I am a self proclaimed fan of all things Alexander McCall Smith, but unfortunately, his own love of Auden’s work does not translate well. It is the classic non fiction mistake. When the author is too close to his subject, it makes it challenging to remain unbiased and write something with a wide appeal for all. Read More »

The Battle for WondLa

by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Battle For WondLa by Tony Diterlizzi

The third and final book in the WondLa trilogy was a sweet little read. Though much was predictable, clearly Eva Nine is going to triumph, but it was an interesting journey. Read More »

The Shadow Thieves: The Cronus Chronicles Book One

by Anne Ursu

The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu

When I first started this book I was unsure of whether I liked it, or not. The whimsical narrative style seemed a little too cutesy for my personal taste, but when I was young I had an interest in Greek and Roman mythology. Read More »

The Quality of Mercy

by Barry Unsworth

The Quality of Mercy by Barry Unsworth

I was unaware that this book was the highly anticipated sequel to Sacred Hunger. It only took 12 years to follow-up so I am sure fans of the original book might differ from me in their opinions of the book. Sacred Hunger follows a slave ship and talks a lot about greed, apparently. Well, at least if wikipedia is to be believed. Read More »

Pigs in Heaven

by Barbara Kingsolver

Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver

I seem to be burning through these fiction selections that my younger brother got for me. Pigs in Heaven is not a book that would have appealed to me, or that I would have chosen on my own. But as a free book, what a nice addition. A note, this is actually not the first book in a series of books about a lot of the same people so… proceed with caution. Read More »