Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: Only Time Will Tell

Only Time Will Tell Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know I read some of Archer's books years ago--perhaps some of the Kane and Abel series? And this reminded me that I need to read more of them, especially the audiobooks! I downloaded this one from 3M Cloud Library through the library system, and it was darn good!

Harry Clifton is a poor kid in the early 1900's. Though he would rather fool around at the docks and skip school, his voice catches the ear of a teacher, and he's sent off to a boarding school on a voice scholarship. This first book of the series is Harry's coming-of-age. He's poor, yet his single mother works hard to make sure he has everything he needs, even when he's surrounded by his rich best friends. When he realizes that falling in love can be difficult with unexpected consequences, he tries to escape the life that God has dealt him. The book ends with quite the cliffhanger--now I have to read on!

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: Tell Me Something Real

Tell Me Something Real Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not your typical "cancer" book, but it was a bit too problem-novelish for my tastes. But I know some people love those!

The Babcock sisters do everything together, including driving their sick mom to Mexico for cancer treatments. They are making a lot of sacrifices for their mom--their life is on hold, even as Vanessa falls in love with a boy receiving treatment and the youngest sister takes her Catholic saint obsession a little too far.

Lots of creative references, sisterly love, and a sweet romance!

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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Review: Girl Mans Up

Girl Mans Up Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you, Morris committee, for bringing this book to my attention! This is one that all libraries should have in their teen collection, and, honestly, I'm surprised I haven't read more like it. Love that the author thanks Michael Cart, Malinda Lo, and even names the high school in the book after Julie Anne Peters.

Pen Oliveira (don't call her Penelope) dresses like a dude, but she's a girl, and she likes girls, and she's okay with that. It's everyone else, especially her parents, who seems to have an issue with her not acting like a "real" girl. In her Canadian Catholic school, she's an oddity, but luckily her older brother always has her back. Part of Pen's coming-of-age is discovering who her real friends are, and that can be a very tough difficult decision. I appreciated all the "man up" and "getting some balls" references throughout the text. This will get you thinking about gender, and that's a good thing!

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Review: Because I'm Watching

Because I'm Watching Because I'm Watching by Christina Dodd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enjoyable romp with likable flawed characters! Mad Maddie has been accused of murder before and has spent some time in an insane asylum. She's at it again, but thanks to a PTSD-suffering ex-POW across the street, she finds out that things aren't always what they seem. The two start a sweet romance, each trying to save the other, and the mysteries of Virtue Falls are solved, thanks to the help of the Sheriff.

The characters make this book--quirky and different, so that when the action is over the top, you just don't care!

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Review: Blood Red, Snow White

Blood Red, Snow White Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one weird and mature book, and I sure hope it got some discussion at the Printz table this year. Lots of literary loveliness with this one! But, man, I didn't want to keep reading's a lot more than a fairy tale retelling--it's a mature metaphor about war, historical hell in Russia, and adult life problems.

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Review: You Will Know Me

You Will Know Me You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I felt like this audiobook was all over the place! I couldn't decide if it wanted to be about gymnastics, crazy sports parents, or just broken people. I had a difficult time understanding the whole adult man/child lover thing--um, that's rape. That was never really mentioned and I just couldn't get past it. The narrator's voice of the younger brother was disturbing, too. He was ten in the book, but sounded like a three-year-old with a lisp.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review: Small Great Things

Small Great Things Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Picoult manages to keep pushing these good books out! This novel is all about race--in short, a black nurse is charged with murdering a white supremacist's baby in the maternity ward. Add in a white do-gooder public defender and all sorts of conversations about white privilege, microaggressions, class and gender issues, and you've got a novel that will hold your attention and make you think!

I'll admit that I didn't like the way the ending wrapped up, but it's still worth the read if you like these kinds of contemporary family/social drama fiction books.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Review: The Queen's Accomplice

The Queen's Accomplice The Queen's Accomplice by Susan Elia MacNeal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series just keeps getting better and better! Maggie Hope is back in England now, working in a boring job with the Special Operations Executive's offices. When their young female SOE recruits start disappearing and turning up murdered, she works with a local policeman to help solve the crimes. She's able to use her resources--MI5, Scotland Yard, and even her friend the Queen--to solve the crime, and the book ends with her running off to save her step-sister. Lots of woman power in this book! Can't read to read #7!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Review: Julian Fellowes' Belgravia

Julian Fellowes' Belgravia Julian Fellowes' Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perfect for audio, this serialized novel is another perfect spoon-feed for Downton Abbey fans. The creator of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes, even has his name in the book title, so that means something, right? ;)

On the eve of the battle of Waterloo in 1815, the attendees of a ball are thrust together in ways their ancestors won't understand for years. Choices are made, and the lives of the old and titled, the new rich, and their servants come together to create this very Downton-ish novel. I'll admit that I didn't really care to know what the ladies and gentlemen were wearing all the time, but I admired the smooth narration by Juliet Stevenson--she's amazing!

I'll keep reading Fellowes--I loved Downton, and I enjoyed this similar world, too!

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Review: Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories

Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories by Craig Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm only up to Book #5 of the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson, but I recently finished Season 5 of the A&E/Netflix series and was in the mood to read more. I've had this ARC on my home bookshelf since 2014, so I knew it was what I was looking for. I've been in hospitals a lot lately and haven't been able to concentrate on novels--this small collection of short stories was just what I needed.

Walt is Walt--a crusty, tough old sheriff stuck in his ways. The stories wander around in time--in one his wife has just died, in another, his daughter Cady is getting married. Some have mysteries, some are funny, and some are sad. All in all, it's a great collection of additional stories in the Longmire world.

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