The Dressmaker

by Rosalie Ham

The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham

I saw a trailer for the movie version of this book a few years after the movie was in theaters. As usual, I thought, hmmm… looks like an okay movie, but I bet the book is better. Having never seen the film, I can’t promise I am correct, but the book was fine. It wasn’t wonderful, but entertaining enough. Read More »

Merlin’s Keep

by Madeleine Brent

Merlin's Keep by Madeleine Brent

Take a trip with me to nostalgia town. Really, I first read Madeleine Brent the summer before I turned 13 and I thought they were the BEST books ever. Back in that time my idea of romance came from Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. Then I discovered Madeleine Brent, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Georgette Heyer. They were my Jr. High staples, and for a LONG while (longer than I’d like to admit) I would re-read my favorites each year.
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Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

by Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

So, apparently Jenny Lawson writes a beloved blog. I did not know that when I put this on my Christmas wishlist. I thought the description was intriguing enough and at this point in my life various people I know have suddenly become depressed, are seeking help for depression, or are recovering from depression. I was hoping to get a humorous insight into the disordered or depressed mind… that isn’t exactly what I got. Read More »

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne Valente

I’ve been vocal about my support for Valente and her work but I can not lie to  you, this last book took me way too long to get into. I just didn’t find the story as compelling no matter how prettily it was written. Read More »

The Goldfinch

by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Fun back story, because I know you come for the back story. My husband bought me this book (it has been on my to-read list… a VERY long list) from a used book store for Christmas two years ago. Inside there is an inscription “To my sweet Love Jo, I hope you’ll enjoy this book… and many more that I plan to give you :) Always yours, Oren Liberman” Then there was some Hebrew (?) and it was dated Feb 9th 2015. So… the detective in me goes to work. Jo could either be I guy or a gal, I am assuming Oren is a man, a man who plans to give many more books and likes to write smiley faces. What happened to Oren and Jo? A mere few months later this book was in a used bookstore being purchased by my guy who likes to give me books. Did one of them die? Was there a falling out? Was Jo using Oren for the books? Cold, Jo, so cold.  Read More »

The Haunted Bookshop

by Christopher Morley

The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley

If I had to pick one word to describe The Haunted Bookshop it would be “charming”. As I was reading it, I felt struck that the old fashioned whimsey could be captured in a play, or in old movie musicals the kind that star Gene Kelly and have a fair amount of tap dancing. Anything that evokes Gene Kelly tap dancing is okay for me.  Read More »

Fearless Fourteen

by Janet Evanovich

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich keeps cracking these books out, and I keep reading them. Read More »

Lean Mean Thirteen

by Janet Evanovich

Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum, our hapless heroine is back to her old tricks. I think I mentioned that I am getting tired of this series in general. But when one gets books for free one reads them. Especially when I am in the midst of trying wean #3 and perhaps Evanovich’s light fare are all I can handle mentally right now.

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The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

by Helen Rappaport

The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport

Does the world need another book about the Romanovs? That is the question. I’m not exactly sure that it does, but then again I’m not sure that it doesn’t. Helpful, no? There are a slew of nonfiction books about Czarist Russia, Rasputin, the October Revolution, etc and a book has to be unique to add something new to a discourse that has been hashed over to the point of animated musical fodder. Read More »

House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family

by Paul Fisher

House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James family by Paul Fisher

I’ve been wanting to read this book since it came out. I’ve kept my eye on it and put it on my amazon wish list in hopes my husband would get it for me for Christmas of my birthday. I am VERY easy to shop for. Books, chocolate, and running shoes, in that order. Easy.
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Fathers and Sons

by Ivan Turgenev translated by Richard Freeborn

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

The back of this book reads “This new translation… makes Trugenev’s masterpiece about the conflict between generations seem as fresh, outspoken, and exciting…” blah blah blah. I can tell right now, fresh, outspoken, and exciting are not words I would use to describe this book.  Read More »

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

by Marie Kondo

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Condo

Disclaimer: I am NOT a hoarder, but I do have bit of a reputation for saving every. single. paper. that comes into contact with my life. Read More »

Twelve Sharp

by Janet Evanovich

Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

Plodding along through this series with limited interest. In this installment Stephanie Plum is bumbling along as per usual. AAAANNNNDDDD as per usual her life is in danger. Read More »

Run or Die

Killian Jornet

Run or Die by Killian Jornet

Yes, I am reading one running book a month to keep the dream alive (and the enthusiasm) until I can begin my running program. 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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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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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Stalker

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water

by Mark Reisner

Cadillac Desert by Mark Reisner

I’ve talked about my youngest brother before. He is the type who would leave really horrible books hidden in your bookshelf. He is also the type to unload his old books on you. He is ALSO the type who is studying environmental law in law school. I generally have a queue of books that I am scheduled to read, but my little brother is a perpetual queue skipper. He came over with a book he’d read for one of his classes and wanted someone to discuss it with. As he knows I will read almost anything, I was an obvious choice. Read More »