Archive for February, 2009

Niagra Falls All Over Again by Elizabeth McCracken

It took me awhile to get into this book, which is the last in my Elizabeth McCracken kick. For whatever reason the characters and story were not as compelling to me as The Giant’s House. However, I liked the time period of the novel and learning more about Vaudeville and early Hollywood.  I also just love the way the author writes. Such phrases!

The plot involves Mose Sharp retelling his story of the relationship he had with his vaudeville partner, Rocky.

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February 28, 2009 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

I enjoy science fiction and this quick little classic was read for book group. Some interesting observations about human life. And I had a total flashback moment when it came to the short story “There Comes Soft Rains” as I vividly remember reading it in an English class. Good stuff.

February 27, 2009 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment

Bean There, Done That by Sandra Balzo

This was another decent entry into the series. I was more pleased with Maggy’s character development in this book, than in the previous one. The climax/resolution came together a little too quickly for me. And the twist did seem believable, but I like Maggy so I’ll keep reading these.

The Plot Summary: Coffee shop owner Maggy is surprised when her ex-husband’s new wife, Rachel,  shows up asking for Maggy’s help in proving the husband is now cheating on Rachel. But when Rachel turns up dead, Maggy quickly tries to help defend her ex-husband.

February 26, 2009 at 1:24 pm Leave a comment

Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein

I am a huge fan of Alex Cooper (the protagonist in these novels) and it’s always easy to pick up her latest adventure and not feel as if I need to go back and read the end of the last one to remember where Alex is. Anyway, how could I not love this book? It takes place in the New York Public Library and is essentially, a love letter to librarians.

When two women turn up dead in the same apartment, Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper and detectives, Mercer and Mike, end up at the New York Public Library looking for an old map to solve the crime. Tangled up in the case are an eccentric family and other bibliophiles with money.

The reader gets an inside look at the history of the New York Public Library and the librarians save the day!

Just a delightful read – quick pacing, suspense filled and a little bit of Alex’s personal life to keep her human.

This is my new favorite book of 2009 . Even though I consider them a series, you don’t have to read the Alex Cooper books in order. So please, pick this up! It’s worth your time.

February 24, 2009 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a young adult book. In fact I just checked, and I went an entire month without reading one. Anyway, we picked this book up on the teen group’s book buying trip and I’d been hearing good things about it so I started it last night and today after I did my chores, I just had to sit down and finish it. It’s one of those books, where you just need to read it.

Here’s the premise – Clay receives seven tapes in an unmarked package. He’s stunned to hear Hannah’s voice on the tapes, as Hannah recently committed sucide. And these are her reasons why, which are being passed to each person who is a part of the story.

There’s the suspense of why Clay received the tapes and what he did to Hannah, as he had a crush on her for the past few years, so he’s at a loss as to why he’s part of her reasons. Then there’s Hannah’s haunting story – which at its heart has the simple message – you really don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life and how your actions can impact another person.

This book is so well-written. It’s sad, but surprisingly I didn’t cry (and really I’m a soft-touch) probably because I was too stunned. This is a powerful book which should be read and discussed. Hopefully it can help another teen who feels there’s no way out, and hopefully it will make people stop and think about their actions.

My copy of the book included an awesome interview with the author – who in his acknowledgements (13 of them) said he was inspired by Chris Crutcher, one my favorite authors. I can hardly wait for Mr. Asher’s next book.

February 15, 2009 at 8:33 pm Leave a comment

Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

It is thrilling to discover a well-written debut novel and that is just what Little Giant is – well-written.

I found Truly’s story compelling and the plot twists and ending were engaging. The ending surprised and satisfied me.

While looking at the back cover I realized Sara Gruen, Joshilyn Jackson and Stephanie Kallos all contributed blurbs of praise and are all authors I’ve enjoyed. So it should be no surprise to me how I enjoyed this story.

Truly takes your from her birth to her present day – and I love it when an author crafts a well done prologue, with enough to get you hooked but not enough to give everything away – I always wonder, do they write the prologue last or do they begin with it?

Truly is born large – a bowling ball – and contains to rapidly grow and become larger. Her father dies an early death, leaving her to be cared for by a poor farm family and her older sister, the beautiful Serena Jane to a life of privelege. However, her sister’s beauty and the son of the town’s doctor set out on a course of events which changes Aberdeen County.

February 8, 2009 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

I loved the Big Stone Gap Trilogy (and really I consider it a trilogy and have decided to ignore she even wrote a fourth book because I thought it was awful and not the way I imagined Ave Maria ending up.) Anyway, I was so excited to learn Ms. Trigiani was writing another trilogy and the first entry, Very Valentine, was quite enjoyable.

Valentine is an apprentice in her family’s custom made shoe shop. They’ve been making wedding shoes since 1903. However, in these modern times the business isn’t profitable. Will Valentine save the business? Will she find love with a hot Italian chef?

I liked the characters and the authors description of places in New York City. The chapters are all named after places.

My big criticism of the book was the ending. I know it’s part of a trilogy but I really didn’t feel any sense of closure and I was confused about some details towards the end. Also, I had a hard time figuring out the time line. The events of the novel take place over a year and half, but I sometimes missed those fast forwards of time. The only other thing bothering me was Valentine and Roman’s relationship – and I’ll be curious what happens in book 2.

So despite these criticism,  I will be reading the next one.

February 6, 2009 at 8:29 am Leave a comment

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