Archive for March, 2008

Marley and Me by John Grogan

Again, I feel I’m coming a little late to the party on this book, finally reading something that’s been suggested to me be several others. But it’s the April pick for an online discussion I’m part of so the timing was right to read it.

As many others have said, I laughed and cried while reading Marley’s adventures. I am a cat owner, but have relatives with dogs and I think the feelings pet owners have for their charges are universal.

I was surprised (and impressed) by how much of his personal life the author shared (although it is subtitled life and love with the world’s worst dog) and think it’s also the story of a marriage. And that’s probably what has made it so widely read. Because it’s not just about the dog.

I’ll be interested to see how the movie version of this story turns out.


March 30, 2008 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell

This is the new book by Mary Doria Russell, gained favorite author status in my world because she wrote The Sparrow and A Thread of Grace.

Dreamers of the Dayis shorter than her previous books, and is the coming of age story of Agnes Shanklin, a 40 year old schoolteacher from Ohio. After the tragedy of the Great War and the influenza epidemic Agnes has a modest inheritance which allows her to travel to Egypt and Holy Land. She arrives in Cairo just as the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference begins and meets up with Winston Churchill, T.E. Lawrence and Lady Gertrude Bell.

This is an interesting story – lots of wonderful historical detail and set in a time I haven’t really read about (the 1920s). Agnes is an interesting narrator, and her plainspoken opinions on the events of the day  and coming of age story are a nice contrast to the heavier storyline of world politics.

March 30, 2008 at 10:30 am 1 comment

The Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher

A short little YA novel this week. Only 150 pages – done in 2 hours! (of course that was from 11pm to 1 am – so not the best time and another night spent up late with books).

Alice is a sophomore and her best friend is Jewel. Both Jewel and Alice are artistic, and he is king of the art crowd. Then (out of the blue to Alice) Simon starts hanging out with Alice and quickly they’re boyfriend and girlfriend and there’s not room for both Jewel & Simon in Alice’s life.

This was a great story of love and friendship, especially first love. I totally related to Alice and her desire to no longer be invisible and have friends. I thought the characters were well drawn and realistic. Just a fun little tale.  A fun little subplot involves Alice learning glassblowing. Very cool stuff.

March 20, 2008 at 11:45 am Leave a comment

Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein

Another great entry into the Alex Cooper series.  And another fascinating bit of New York history. In her 10th outing Alexandra Cooper is trying a 30 year old rape case, and also trying to solve murders committed by what may be a serial killer. Oh, and she’s trying to make time for romance.

This did not disappoint, and Fairstein has kept this series fresh. All the familiar elements are there, the Jeopardy Final Question bet between Alex and Chapman,  the police details, the interesting NYC history that becomes a plot point, and a legal sub-plot that explores an issue.

The last 50 pages are a gripping race against time and I stayed up too late racing to finish the book. Very satisfying.

March 19, 2008 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews

A fun southern cooking novel.  I like Mary Kay Andrews. Ever since I visited Savannah and then read Savannah Blues and Savannah Breeze.

This fun story focuses on Gina Foxton, star of the local Georgia Public Television show Fresh Start and Tate Moody start of the hunting, fishing and cooking show Vittles.  Both are competing to star in a new southern cooking show on the Cooking Channel.

With a cup of laughter, a dash of romance and two characters you want to cheer for, Andrews has whipped up another success. She even includes some recipes at the end of the book.

March 17, 2008 at 7:47 am Leave a comment

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

I’ve been on a Sarah Dessen kick, since I read That Summer last week. And last weekend How to Deal, which is based on That Summer and Someone Like You was on Lifetime, so I watched it. I must say I liked this book better than That Summer, which isn’t too surprising, as That Summer was her first novel. This book reminds me more of Just Listen and her other great books.

Plot summary: Halley and Scarlett are best friends. Halley is the quiet one, and Scarlett is the brave one. Then, Scarlett’s boyfriend is killed at the beginning of their junior year, leaving behind a pregnant Scarlett, and for the first time ever Scarlett really needs Halley. There’s two interesting secondary plots revolving around Halley’s relationship with her mother and Halley’s relationship with bad boy Macon.

This was a great read. I appreciated Halley’s struggle as the “good girl” who wants to skip school and do things with bad boy Macon, and the relationship she has with her mother is an excellent portrayal of the difficulty mothers and daughters face in the teen-age years. The friendship between Halley and Scarlett is also accurate. All in all another winner from Sarah Dessen.

March 13, 2008 at 7:26 am 1 comment

Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan

This weekend was all about hearts. First Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult, then this pick for book club, Heart in the Right Place (which has several patients with heart problems).

This memoir tells how Carolyn Jourdan, US State Senate Counsel, and former Tennessee redneck, returns home following her mother’s heart attack to help her physician father with his rural family practice clinic.

It’s a sweet tale, with vivid descriptions of the odd cast of characters who come to be treated by Doc Jourdan. It’s also the tale of Carolyn’s struggle to decide if she should remain in east Tennessee as her father’s receptionist or go back to her high-powered Washington life.

This was a fun, quick read, with lots of pithy observations on the human condition. It’ll be fun to talk about at Book Group.

March 10, 2008 at 7:49 am 1 comment

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I'm currently reading: Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand . . . Look for a review soon!


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