Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Bullseye

Bullseye Bullseye by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quick little short story only available as an ebook. So glad my library has 3M Cloud Library and ebooks like this are purchased!

And it was great to see the lead characters of two of Baldacci's great series coming together to solve a crime.

View all my reviews

Review: The Courtesan Duchess

The Courtesan Duchess The Courtesan Duchess by Joanna Shupe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good smutty historical fiction!

View all my reviews

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Review: The Mirror Empire

The Mirror Empire The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Whew--this high fantasy novel took a lot of work. So many characters! And the chapters just around, so just when I was figuring out what was going on, I'm dealing with another character! Ugh!

This book started out great--good worldbuilding with a mirrored empire, blood witches, war and ethnic cleansing, and diverse characters. One world even has men and women reversed--the women are warriors, and the men wear girdles and exist to sexually please their wives.

But by the time I got to page 350 or so, my interest waned. I ended up skimming the rest of the novel--I wanted to know what happened, but I didn't want to spend hours of my time doing so.

View all my reviews

Review: The Tudor Secret

The Tudor Secret The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm a sucker for anything about the Tudors. In this novel, Brendan Prescott, an orphan raised by the Dudley's housekeeper, discovers that he is more than just an orphan. Court intrigue is at a highpoint when he turns 20--King Edward is dying, Princess Mary is a dreaded Catholic, and Princess Elizabeth isn't allowed at court because she's nothing but trouble. The Dudleys are trying to keep control of England with deceit and lies, but Elizabeth's protector William Cecil is trying to get his lady on the throne.

Ahhh, the intrigue.

I enjoyed this--Prescott is a likable character, even if he is fictional!

View all my reviews

Review: Thank You for Your Service

Thank You for Your Service Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this author's The Good Soldiers and was on the committee that gave it an Alex Award. So I was looking forward to reading this one, even though I knew it was about a horrible topic--PTSD in soldiers after Iraq and Afghanistan. It really is disheartening, and I found the comparisons to Vietnam intriguing. Fighting a war where nothing is gained (as in yards or cities) is difficult for soldiers. Simply patrolling and being on the lookout for IEDs and snipers is a different kind of war, and some people can't handle it. I liked how Finkel touched on how some soldiers break and some don't, and what kinds of therapies work for some people. There is no one formula that works, unfortunately. Suicide kills so many of our veterans, and this audiobook helped me understand what is currently being done and what programs/therapies offer hope.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review: States of Confusion: My 19,000-Mile Detour to Find Direction

States of Confusion: My 19,000-Mile Detour to Find Direction States of Confusion: My 19,000-Mile Detour to Find Direction by Paul Jury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another college graduate with a degree that doesn't result in an instant awesome job. Sigh. Why do parents let their kids major in things like film studies and rack up the college debt? I'm telling you the same thing that I tell my daughter--if she's majoring in something that makes no money, she will go to community college. Only. If she wants to be a lawyer or doctor or engineer, I'll fork over the big bucks for a high dollar school like Rose Hulman a few miles away or Illinois. But I'm not paying huge bucks for her to major in English. It's not going to happen.

Okay, rant over. Paul is a recent college grad and isn't sure if he wants his law school attending girlfriend and her place in Chicago. And so he decides to wander around the country, eating PB&J, and trying to find purpose in his life. He really is the kind of man I don't like--never happy, always complaining, and wondering why he can't find a $80,000 job he loves after majoring in film.

Sigh. Entitlement, folks.

On the other hand, this book was an easy read and Paul grows up a little on his trip. I'm sure his blog posts were enjoyable as he tried to find the positive in each day of his trip. It does seem like he spent way too much driving instead of living though--this isn't the kind of traveling I ever want to do.

View all my reviews

Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Minnow Bly is in juvie, so we know she did something wrong. But, she's been horrifically wronged, too--she is missing her hands. As she slowly acknowledges her grief and works through her past with the Kevinian cult, the reader finds out what happened. It's fast-paced, even though most of the action takes place in prison and through flashbacks. Nothing fancy here--just fascinating storytelling.

View all my reviews

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: Go Set a Watchman

Go Set a Watchman Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm glad this was published, but I'm so glad Harper Lee re-wrote it and created To Kill a Mockingbird years ago. It was nice to "come home" to familiar characters in Maycomb, and I didn't mind getting an inside look into Atticus. I felt like this book was mainly about how people can make excuses for racism, which is still going on today. I guess I'm not as forgiving as Scout.

And I really didn't like the sections that were written like this: "Look sister, we know the facts: you spent the first twenty-one years of your life in the lunching country, in a country whose population is two-thirds agricultural Negro. So drop the act" (178). The whole Jean Louise talking to the reader/self thing didn't work for me.

And then it switches to "You are fascinated with yourself. You will say anything that occurs to you, but what I can't understand are the things that do occur to you. I should like to take your head apart, put a fact in it, and watch it go its way through the runnels of your brain until it comes out of your mouth" (175). So now Scout is trash-talking directly to Hester, a woman she went to school with.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner The Maze Runner by James Dashner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that I really, really thought I had read and just forgotten to blog about. Until I watched the movie in the theater with my daughter and realized that none of it seemed familiar! And so I listened to the audiobook and was thoroughly entertained. Great listen along for families--lots of action and lots to talk about!

View all my reviews

Review: From a Distance

From a Distance From a Distance by Tamera Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ahhh, this was just what I needed today--a sweet romance about a spunky woman determined to make it on her own in the Wild West. Nothing new here, but it read easily.

View all my reviews