Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary

by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull

This is my favorite book in the Fablehaven series thus far. In my experience the books tend to start out slow, and pick up speed towards the end of the first third, then they gain speed, and by the end is rolling so rapidly that it seems like Mull is rushing to get everything in that he had planned. The fourth book actually kept a nice pace throughout and it ended in a bit of a cliff hanger which makes you want to read the fifth book as soon as possible. Read More »

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow

by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow by Brandon Mull

I approached the third Fablehaven novel as a fully invested (less skeptical) reader, and as a result I enjoyed this installment. The third book begins right where the second book ended, I am not sure that I enjoy that irregular timing, but is serves to move the story along swiftly and there is nothing technically wrong with choosing to start a book then, it was just unexpected. Read More »

Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star

by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull

I will admit after the first Fablehaven, I was a bit disappointed. I found a promising magical world, but characters that were slightly annoying. I was unsure if it was because Mull had a plan for the young characters to mature, develop, and grow on you. I decided to continue with the series on the hope (and hey, my brother lent me all the books so I had nothing to lose) and was glad that I did. The second Fablehaven book is much better than the first. Read More »

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

This book and I have history… I read a review before it came out and was very excited about it. Then, one of the defunct book clubs that I am a part of decided to read it. I was thrilled, then they decided to replace the selection with The Help *gag*. I was disappointed but always having 20 books or so on my to read shelf didn’t leave me time for moping. Read More »

Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army & Other Diabolical Insects

by Amy Stewart

Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart

I recently moved to a house with a basement. And in the basement spiders lurk, everywhere! I was also reading this book while pregnant, which makes me a bit more sensitive to things. Needless to say, my skin crawled the entire time I read this one. The premise is something I can get behind, a non fiction book about the havoc that harmless little bugs can reap, but the book as a whole was not wonderful. Read More »

The Lampshade: A Holocaust Detective Story from Buchenwald to New Orleans

by Mark Jacobson

The Lampshade by Mark Jacobson

You know I am a sucker for a real life detective story… and a real life detective story with Nazis… sign me up. There were so many things I enjoyed about this book, but a fair amount that I didn’t enjoy. Read More »

Who Do You Think You Are?: A Memoir

by Alyse Myers

Who do you think you are: a memoir by Alyse Myers


Every now and again I like to read a biography about someone I have never heard of. In this case it was an auto-biography, or memoir if you want to get fancy about it, written by Alyse Myers. I knew nothing about who she was, or why her life was important, but discount books are my weakness. Read More »

Death in the Stocks

by Georgette Heyer

Death in the Stocks by Georgette Heyer

I didn’t like this book. There, I said it. It feels almost unfaithful saying something harsh about Georgette Heyer’s work. The woman practically formed every idea I have about Regency Era living, but I have to be honest, her mysteries aren’t great. I find she tries to be too clever, and too flippant, and too trite. Read More »

Catching Fire

by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins


I was pleasantly survived with The Hunger Games and eagerly read the second installment. This might have tainted my opinion of the book. If I review several books in a series, I try to review right after I read them, or not read them one after another. I find it hard to look at each novel as its own separate entity without comparing it to the others. Catching Fire, just might be a casualty of how much I enjoyed the first book. Read More »

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin

by Erik Larson

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson


When I got this book, I was so excited. I love Erik Larsen’s books. I enjoy how he blends history and murder. I think his style is easy to get lost in. That is why In the Garden of Beasts was a huge disappointment to me. Read More »

Born Liberal Raised Right: How to Rescue America from Moral Decline-One Family at a Time

by Reb Bradley

Born Library, Raised Right by Reb Bradley

This book was a gift… at the time of the receipt of said gift, I had (okay I guess I technically STILL have just the one kid) one kid who was not yet a year old. So I am not sure if this was a reflection on my current parenting, or a future warning… either way, another book that didn’t need to be written. Read More »

Why Shoot a Butler

by Georgette Heyer

Why Shoot a Butler by Georgette Heyer


I’ve made no secret that I generally dislike Heyer mysteries. This book is the rare exception. Why Shoot a Butler is another mystery set in a country weekend estate type setting with a lot of wealthy people hanging around each other seemingly shocked about a murder that has happened. I would hazard a guess that all Heyer’s mysteries have this similar setting, and sometimes it works. Read More »

The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Perilous Journey

by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart


When I think of the Mysterious Benedict Society books the words that come to mind are charming and whimsical. The second installment only increased my enjoyment in the series. This novel begins where the last adventure ended. Read More »

The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I resisted The Hunger Games for a long time. Why, you ask? Well, it seemed like it was the Twilight crowd that was jumping on the band wagon and saying how great the books were. No offense against that crowd, but Twilight isn’t exactly my thing. Read More »

Fablehaven

by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

A few friends suggested this book as a young adult read, and when my brother offered to lend it to me, I couldn’t refuse. I thought this JUST might be the thing to jump start another wave of fiction reading, as I have been focused on non fiction for a while. Sadly, no. This book did not meet expectations. Read More »

Mockingjay

by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

So we’ve finally come to the last installment of The Hunger Games Series. Straight off, I was disappointed. The story was not compelling in its entirety, nor was Katniss very likable, coherent, or believable in this last book. There are scenes within the book that I thought lived up to the promise of the original idea, but I found Collins using some pretty cheap literary devises to move time along quickly. Read More »

The Rasputin File

by Edvard Radzinsky

The Rasputin File by Edward Radzinsky

Rasputin is one of the great characters in history. He features in countless novels, non fiction books, plays, and even cartoons. Often Rasputin is portrayed as a seducing villain who caused the downfall of the Romanov empire.  Radzinsky sets out to present a real Rasputin, one who propagandists failed to present. Read More »

The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World 1788-1800

by Jay Wink

The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World by Jay Winik

The wonderfully researched history follows the fledgling United States, France, and Russia as they navigate into the modern world. For non history buffs, the period of 1788-1800 includes all sorts of rebellion within the United States (Shay’s Rebellion, Whiskey Rebellion, etc), the French Revolution and murder of the French Monarchy, as well as the twilight of Catherine the Great and Russia as a world power. Read More »

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Kill Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

I am always a bit skeptical when I pick up a book that someone AND someone else wrote. I get vicious flashbacks to university where I had to write papers in a group. Trying to fit your own writing style with the writing style of someone else… well, lets just say I hated writing papers in a group or as a pair. I don’t know how two people organize one set of thoughts, which is one of the problems with this non-fiction. Read More »

Raising a Riot

by Alfred Toombs

Raising a Riot by Alfred Toombs

This non fiction comes to us via my husband and the yard sale. It is another of the ‘christian fiction’ set, though Christianity is not displayed quite so prominently, or prominently at all. If I did not know where this book came from, I would just assume it was another set of memoirs that didn’t need to be written as nothing of import actually happens. Read More »

Stalin’s Children: Three Generations of Love, War, and Survival

by Owen Matthews

Stalin's Children: Three Generations of Love, War, and Survival by Owen Matthews

Stalin’s Children met my criteria for a good biography. Most likely because I found myself crying throughout the first third of the book. Read More »

Footsteps in the Dark

by Georgette Heyer

Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer

My love of Georgette Heyer is no secret, but the more of her mysteries I read, the more disappointed I become. Read More »

Into the Wild

by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I am not sure whether I actually enjoyed this book. Probably not a good sign since I have already finished it but, you see, I find myself torn. I feel biographies should be written about people that DO something, people worth learning about. The circumstances portrayed in this non fiction are certainly tragic, but I am not sure if they merit a novel. I am also not sold on Krakauer’s writing style. Read More »

Welcome to My World

by Johnny Weir

Welcome to My World by Johnny Weir

First, I think I should let you know that I got this book for free… as a joke. When Borders went out of business (moment of silence), they gave a bunch of books that they couldn’t offload at a 90% mark down to my brother’s place of work. He came over once while I wasn’t home and hid them all over my bookshelves. The joke is on him because I will read anything! Read More »

The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


I am always on the lookout for good children’s literature. I enjoy kids books that tackle interesting concepts without getting heavy handed and overly preachy. A children’s book should also be fun. Neil Gaiman’s book mingles fantasy and adventure with a bit of silliness. Read More »

My Two Chinas: The Memoir of a Chinese Counterrevolutionary

by Baiqiao Tang with Damon DiMarco

My Two Chinas: The Memoir of a Chinese Counterrevolutionary by Baiqiao Tang with Damon DiMarco

There were so many great aspects to this book, but other aspects left me flat. When I read an autobiography, I expect a person to relate the events of their life with a level of passion or interest, and why not? Most people enjoy talking about themselves. My Two Chinas could have been written by a stranger, some of the episodes in the book were retold with such a lack of passion that I wouldn’t have believed, except for the use of the first person, that Biagiao Tang wrote this about himself. Read More »

The Bascombe Novels

by Richard Ford

The Bascombe Novels by Richard Ford

Technically, there are three novels composed in the Bascombe Novels. First, The Sportswriter, second, Independence Day, and third, The Lay of the Land. I toyed with the idea of reviewing each of these separately, but I read them together and neither book stands above or below the others. So, all together now…  Read More »

Root out of Dry Ground

by Argyle M. Briggs

Root Out of Dry Ground by Argyle M. Briggs

I like old books. I like the smell of their pages and how they  look on my bookshelves. I like the nice book bindings, and the sometimes beautifully colored illustrations. Apparently, my nine month old son agrees because he is eating the book as I type. Read More »

The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War

by David Halberstam

The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam

Meh. Longest. War. Ever. Or so this book would have me believe. The actual title of this book should have been. I Hate McCarthur, and Here is Why, oh and also, His Entire Geneology, and the Failings of His Ancestors. I was prepared to like this book at the outset, and was bitterly disappointed. Read More »

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 »