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 »

Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus

by Carolina Maria de Jesus

Child of the Dark by Carolina Maria de Jesus

I was reluctant to read this book because I was worried at the emotions it might bring out. I lived in Brazil for a year and a half, and spent a fair amount of time visiting favelas and speaking to the poor and weary who were unfortunate enough to call those wretched places home. 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 »

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 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 »

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 »

Silent Courage: An Indian Story

by George P. Lee

Silent Courage: An Indian Story : The Autobiography of George P. Lee, a Navajo by George P. Lee

Oh, so many thoughts about this one. My uncle brought this one to me during Thanksgiving and said, “It is an interesting book. Despite what happened to him later on.” Despite what happened to him later on?! What happened to him later on? To google George P. Lee  then and there, or read the book first? Read More »

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker

by Kevin Mitnick with William L. Simon

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin Mitnick

I slightly dislike these written with books because I am not sure how much was the not so ghost writer and how much was Kevin Mitnick? Which to criticize first, or last? And yes there is plenty to criticize, only where to begin? Read More »

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Meh. So many problems with this book, which was sad because I have been wanting to read it for some time. The largest problem is that of legitimacy. Quiet tries to pass itself of as a serious psychological work when it is really just another self help book (gag). Read More »

You Can’t Say You Can’t Play

by Vivian Gussin Paley

You Can't Say You Can't Play by Vivian Gussin Paley

My husband heard about this book on NPR and we’d had a spirited debate about the merits of not allowing children to exclude other children from play. He got me the book for Christmas so we could, no doubt, continue the debate. Read More »

The Dead Fish Museum: Stories

by Charles D’Ambrosio

The Dead Fish Museum by Charles D'Ambrosio

Ah, the world of short stories. The art of a short story is a difficult one. The author needs to create emotional impact and create interest in a location or character in a short amount of time. Story arcs must move more quickly which is a bit of a challenge. Read More »

Tell the Wolves I’m Home

by Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Gag. I feel like Brunt tried to create a modern day To Kill a Mockingbird. Sadly, it just came off as a bit weird. The book starts with June Elbus recounting sitting for a portrait with her sister. Her uncle is a famous painter who happens to be dying of Aids. So a barrel of laughs, right from the beginning. Read More »

Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison

by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull

I have finally finished the series! I’ve had the book for a long time, and to be honest, the only reason I decided to read it at this particular moment is that the book takes up quite a bit of space, and I am trying to consolidate that shelf to make room for my anticipated Christmas books! That pretty much sums up my feelings of the entire Fablehaven series. Read More »

Going Rogue: An American Life

by Sarah Palin

Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin

I’ve never liked Sarah Palin, I thought she was a poor choice for Senator John McCain as a Vice Presidential nominee, but I will say, this book made me appreciate Sarah Palin a bit more. I won’t say I could envision us being bosom buddies, or anything, but I feel I understand more about her as a person than I did before reading this book. Read More »

High Tide at Gettysburg

by Glenn Tucker

High Tide at Gettysburg by Glenn Tucker

I am not a Civil War buff. I find it interesting, but it isn’t the first thing I gravitate toward when looking for non fiction. I actually married into this book. When my husband was a teenager he picked it up because he enjoys military tactics, but he found it pretty unreadable and never finished it. Having read the whole thing, I can understand why he desisted. This was a long, slow slog of a read. Read More »

How Soccer Explains the World

by Franklin Foer

How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer

I grew up with brothers… who watched football. The kind where people wear pads and you throw the ball about. We lived in a small town without soccer leagues. Despite this, I’ve enjoyed soccer. A soccer match is significantly shorter than a football game, and I imagine that is part of the appeal. I even played on an indoor soccer league once upon a time, and ‘coached’ an intramural team. Thus, my soccer credentials are obviously impeccable. Read More »

Into the Mist

by Patrick Carman

Into the Mist by Patrick Carman

If any of you are Land Of Elyon fans, you might be sorely disappointed in this review. I had never read, or heard of these books, and I don’t generally read a lot of YA Fantasy. For those in the know, this is actually the fourth book in the series, but not really. Read More »

My New American Life

by Francine Prose

My New American Life by Francine Prose

Meh. My New American Life was okay, but not terribly exciting. I did have a chuckle at the back jacket reviews because they call Prose’s ‘social satire’ brilliant. I’ll be the judge of that, because I rarely find social satire brilliant, unless it is written by Stella Gibbons or Jasper Fforde. Read More »

The Guardian Poplar: A Memoir of Deep Roots, Journey, and Rediscovery

by Chase Nebeker Peterson

The Guardian Poplar: A Memoir of Deep Roots, Journey, and Rediscovery by Chase Nebeker Peterson

This book was kind of a meh, for me. Peterson writes well, and a lot of his memories are interesting, but it just didn’t seem to resonate with me. Perhaps the lackadaisical, no real moral to the story, type of storytelling just doesn’t grip me personally, but it this book didn’t. Read More »

The Green Bough

by Ann Ritner

The Green Bough by Ann Ritner

I love my husband… and every time I read one of these Peoples Book Club books that he found at a yard sale, I remind myself that I love him. I enjoy the fact that HE enjoys the fact that I love old books. As a result I plow my way through these ‘Christian fiction’ books with a smirk on my face. The Green Bough was no exception. 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution

by Joel Richard Paul

Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution by Joel Richard Paul


I know some people don’t like non fiction. They get bogged down in the dates and the details, and if it doesn’t pertain to their immediate circumstances… they just don’t care. I am not one of those people. I LOVE non fiction. I like obscure settings, and obscure people. The older, the better. Sadly, Unlikely Allies seemed to be history light. Read More »

The Weird Sisters

by Eleanor Brown

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown


This book begs the question, should Shakespeare enthusiasts be allowed to write novels? I am not sure they should. I get it, he was a playwright, he was witty, he was innovative… but people, it’s been a long time, we can move forward. But no, Brown, lets her love of Shakespeare flow in this novel. Read More »