Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank

Every once in awhile I read a book and think, "If I could write, this is the book I would write."  And this is an example of something I wish could come out of my brain.  I really connected with the main character and, at times, it felt like this novel was my memoir.  Except my life isn't this exciting and I'm not that good at witty banter. And I haven't found my Robert.

Jane is trying to find love, but she isn't that good at it.  Is her brother, with his endless supply of beautiful women that he brings to every family vacation? Does she love her first boyfriend Jamie, of which she says, "It scares me how fast I go from disliking to loving him, and I wonder if it's this way for everyone." When she meets an older man everyone respects, does she love him? or does she just need his approval?

Best lines of the book?

He told me I didn't know what real happiness was. "You have to shrink yourself to fit into this little life with him."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My One Square Inch of Alaska by Sharon Short

I'm heading to Alaska soon so I thought I would interlibrary loan some titles that I found on  This was a book that took me forever to read. Why? Because it wasn't very well written.

Donna is a high school student in the 1950's who takes care of her younger brother because her mom is dead and her dad is a drunk.  She dreams of being a fashion designer and re-works her mom's old dresses into clothing items for herself.  When her little brother becomes seriously ill, the two take off to find her brother's one square inch of Alaska that he won in a cereal box contest.

The above plot line could be a great novel. Unfortunately, they don't leave on the trip until the very end of the book.  Too much of the book is about the boyfriend, the art teacher, and some other minor characters that the reader doesn't really care about.  I still feel like I never got to know Donna.  She wasn't a consistent character, even though she tells the story in first person. She made strange choices (like the pills) that didn't seem like choices she would make, given that her she didn't respect her best friend or father for making bad choices.  Some things just didn't ring true and I found myself rolling my eyes a lot in the middle and end of the book.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This is a book that makes you sigh.  Big sighs. And smiles. And makes you think, "Oh, I remember high school love!"

Eleanor is the new girl on the bus--big, red-haired, and easy to tease. Park is one of the few Korean boys around and just happens to sit alone.  The two sit together, and one of the best teen romances of 2013 happens!

This is a sweet, sweet story. I found myself marking a lot of quotes and sharing details with my book club and friends. It's an amazing romance--for males and females.  Its celebrates being different AND loyalty--what can be better than that?

Alibi Man by Tami Hoag. Read by Beth McDonald

Book #2 in the Elena Estes mystery series.

A beautiful Russian groom is found dead and Elena must try to figure out who killed her and why, with the help of a hottie detective.

This is the book version of an hour-long cop TV show, and I enjoyed it!

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Last Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone

Growing up I read almost everything I could get my hands on.  From my church library, I read all the Janette Oke Christian historical fiction titles and all of the Louis L'amour books from my public library. I guess Little House on the Prairie and Caddie Woodlawn (one of my Top Ten books ever) prepared me for a life of reading historical fiction.

On the advice of one of our school's maintenance men, I interlibrary loaned this title. Ron said I would love it, and he was right! It's a quick, easy read, and a lot like every Western movie or book you've ever read. But I think that's why this author is a success.  Sometimes we read to comfort ourselves.  I love knowing that Smoke is going to get revenge.  I love that he's the fastest draw in the West. And I love that when he loves a woman, he loves her completely and wholly.

How long has it been since you read a Western? If it's been awhile, try this series.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Performed by Christina Moore.

I'm not sure how this book got on my to-reads list, but it did somehow. It was a National Book Award finalist back in 1989 and I understand why.

However, I only listened to about half of the audiobook.  I love the unique characters--those parents were freaky when they purposely tried to have unique babies. And I mean babies with fins or babies with extra body parts. They are all part of a traveling freak show and don't think of themselves as strange--everyone around them isn't "normal."  As much as I enjoyed the oddballness of the book, I wasn't vested enough in the characters to keep listening. I really wanted to smack the narrator, Olympia, an albino dwarf, for how she victimized herself with her brother Artie. I really didn't want to see how that relationship ended up because her devotion was kinda creepy.