Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: Doc

Doc Doc by Mary Doria Russell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Beautiful writing, but the slow, easy pace of the sexy southern voice on the audiobook doesn't keep me awake at 5:45 am while driving to an early morning library instruction setting. I had to switch to something more peppy.

And I know way too much now about 1870's high-tech dental techniques.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review: The Surgeon

The Surgeon The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I can't believe I never read this series back when it started--it's just the type of thing I like to read occasionally. My brain doesn't have to work too hard, and it's gross enough to keep me interested!

Dr. Cordell moved away from Georgia after a sexual assault. She's tried to put it behind her as she works as a trauma surgeon, but when women's bodies start appearing in Boston, her nightmares come back.

Lots of gross medical stuff, and the references to Caller ID (fancy!), answering machines, and other dated technology made me smile. I'll keep reading this series to see if I can stand Rizzoli. I'm not liking her much right now.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Nimona

Nimona Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I placed this graphic novel on hold when I saw that it was on the National Book Award long list for Young People's Literature. It's adorable! Okay, it's adorable in an evil, conniving way.....

Nimona is a villian's sidekick and she uses her shape shifter powers to be as evil as possible. She's unstoppable! Well, at least until it's discovered that something can stop her powers. While her boss Lord Ballister Blackheart seems to have a nice streak, Nimona is trying her best to get him on the throne by wiping out the competition. It all ends in an epic battle, of course, where Nimona must decide if she's truly good or evil.

Quirky parts made me smile, but the small font made me squint.

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Review: O is for Outlaw

O is for Outlaw O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love reading books that take me back in time--this series does just that. Kinsey is a private investigator (typewritten notes and all!) back in 1986, and when her ex-husband is seriously injured, she has to investigate to figure out what was going on in his life. As always, Kinsey gets sucked in, does some slightly illegal sleuthing, and solves the case.

While I didn't rate this a 4 or a 5, this one of the best long mystery series out there. I'm glad I re-discovered this series.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: Skyscraping

Skyscraping Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

5 stars for the writing--beautiful novel told in verse. But it's not like Ellen Hopkins verse--it's real poetry. There were several poems that were so good I had to read them over again. And some that made me tear up. That makes me think that this could give some award love--the writing is that good. I could see an English class poring over this novel.

But I'm sick of the 90s trend in YA literature. I know, I know, the authors are all my age and grew up in the 90s and so that's what they write about. But I'm wondering if younger teens would get this book? Would it help them understand the stigma of being a gay man in the early 90's and how scared everyone was of AIDS?

I may be wrong. This is when I miss being surrounded by young teens so I can ask them these questions. I did talk to my 12-year-old--she was completely ignorant about AIDS. I sure hope they at least mention it in the Health class she's in this semester!

Kudos to the author for making me feel something. She admits in the afterword that it's a work of fiction that is based on her own life. It's heartfelt poetry--and it shows.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review: French Concession: A Novel

French Concession: A Novel French Concession: A Novel by Bai Xiao
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I stopped on page 41. There's an assassination and Chinese rivers and a hot Russian Jew with a Chinese lover and all sorts of things, but I just couldn't get into it. The writing style is different (probably due to the translation from Chinese), and I love the setting, but this just isn't the book for me.

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Review: Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this audiobook was a hoot! Made more so because I couldn't help but think of my trip to Shanghai earlier this year. I felt out of place at times because I wasn't wearing heels and Prada, but now I know it could be worse!

Economics professor Rachel Chu has an awesome boyfriend who invites her to Singapore for his best friend's wedding. No big deal, right? Except it's the wedding of the year, and Rachel discovers that her boyfriend is crazy rich, along with all of his family and friends. And so begins a week of private islands, fancy jets, designer dresses, and hazing. Everyone believes Rachel is a golddigger (of course), and is terrified that Nick will propose to Rachel on their summer trip to Asia.

The accents on the audiobook were spot on--much more enjoyable than reading the book, I bet. I've got the sequel China Rich Girlfriend on hold!

And I can't help but wonder what the private jet would be like. I kinda want one of those. With the full crew, of course.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: No Comfort for the Lost

No Comfort for the Lost No Comfort for the Lost by Nancy Herriman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I can see why his historical fiction adult novel has received rave reviews on Goodreads. The setting is great--I really got a feel for old San Francisco, the seedy parts and all. Celia runs a free women's clinic and serves all types of clientele, even the Chinese prostitutes. She isn't the most respected white woman in town because of this, but, of course, she's a force to be reckoned with.

Detective Greaves admires her, even when he doesn't want her involved in the murder investigation of a former prostitute.

I'm not a big fan of mysteries where the solution is solved through lengthy dialogue. I know this is the traditional way of wrapping up a mystery, but I'm just not a fan. I tried watching Criminal Minds last week on Netflix and thought the same thing--don't tell me what happened! Show me!

I can see this being a huge hit with the older mystery crowd though. There will be a sequel. I wouldn't mind one written from Detective Greaves point-of-view--I liked him better than the main character. I guess I'm getting sick of "spunky" women before their time.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Review: Conviction

Conviction Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Braden is an awesome baseball pitcher who is destined to follow in his father's footsteps of making it big. But when his father is arrested, everything Braden believes is shattered. His older chef brother must come back from NYC to care for him, and the entire family is so burdened by secrets that it was difficult to read.

Seriously, I thought this was a slow read. Braden's whole conflict with religion was a bit heavy handed to me, and I found myself skimming those parts. His relationship with his father never rang true to me either--all the flashbacks reveal so much about his dad's temperament, and I didn't see a high school senior being so blind.

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Review: The Fixer

The Fixer The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I never blogged about them, but I know I've read some books by this author that I didn't like. Or, um, finish. But I saw that the reviews of this title were great, so I figured I would give the author another chance. And I'm glad I did!

Totally unbelievable and like an episode of 24, this young adult novel's main character is sixteen-year-old Tess. She is whisked away to DC to live with her older sister after her grandfather's Alzheimer's gets too advanced. Her sister is a "fixer," which means that she's buddies with the president and other important DC people, as well as rich. Tess ends up being a fixer at her high school, too, but the fun and games get serious when a supreme court justice ends up dead. The people around him start dropping like flies, and Tess and her sister are deep in the mess.

Book #2 The Long Game will be out eventually!

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Review: A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've been reading a lot of travel memoirs lately, and I wanted to read this one before I watched the movie. At times, I was entertained--I chuckled a bit. But I didn't see the reflection that I've come to expect from travel memoirs. I wanted Bryson to really get down to why he was tackling the Appalachian Trail in the first place. What made him start it? What made him walk it in chunks?

How in the world did he ever think that driving to it and walking and then driving home in the evening would work? (Really, that part drove me nuts. He trashes pollution and modernization a lot in the book, yet he thinks walking the trail in daytime chunks is okay?)

My mind wandered in the science and green rants, but I thought Katz was a hoot. I guess I just wanted more. I wanted to know what Bryson's wife thought about all this. I wanted a more Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail experience that was a life changer.

I didn't find any passages to highlight--that's a disappointment for me when I'm reading a memoir.:(

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Review: Prairie Fire

Prairie Fire Prairie Fire by E.K. Johnston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It wasn't until I started this book that I remembered how much I loved the world this author created for The Story of Owen. It's modern times, but things are much different because dragons are among us. I loved the Canadian setting and the name dropping--there's even a shoutout to John and Hank Green on page 188:

"A prominent American young-adult novelist and his brother (who seemed to harbor bardie aspirations of his own) talked about us on their vlog and actually invited Emily to speak at their conference."

The mingling of pop culture and this alternative world that includes YouTube AND dragons was pretty awesome.

Siobhan McQuaid is still a bard who sings about her friend Owen the dragonslayer, but in this book they are in training to join the Oil Watch. The military boot camp isn't fun, especially for Siobhan, whose hands are still injured from the last book when she killed her own dragon with a smoking hot sword.

This book is about friendship. Really good friendship between Siobhan and Owen, as well as the friendship between the Oil Watch squad. The teamwork and camaraderie is great and made me enjoy this book much more than the first. Can't wait to read the next book by this Morris award-winning author.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Review: Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World

Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Rita Golden Gelman gets a divorce at age 48, she flips out (according to some of her friends). She sells everything and becomes a nomad--traveling cheaply around the world and living in exotic locales. Her explanation for it is easy--she wants to learn more about the people of the world, the food they eat, and their culture.

I admire her, but I don't think I have the guts to do what she did. She spent years in Bali, and lived in New Zealand, Indonesia, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Israel, the Galapagos Islands, and Thailand. She is a children's book author, and so her royalties kept her going in these places where she could live for dollars a day.

What I did love reading about was how Gelman created a community wherever she went. She made friends quickly and easily and use those connections to make more connections. The backpacker world is a close-knit family, and she mastered it.

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Review: Wars of the Roses: Trinity

Wars of the Roses: Trinity Wars of the Roses: Trinity by Conn Iggulden
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love you, Mr. Iggulden, for your Genghis: Birth of an Empire series. But I'm not a fan of this one. I only gave Stormbird three stars, and this one I didn't even finish. I was listening to the audiobook and made it to Disk 5 before my next audiobook on hold came in. The story moves slowly, and the breaths by the narrator didn't help things move along for me. In fact, this audiobook, even with the great accents, made me drowsy. And that's not a good thing since I listen while I drive! I'm giving up on this series, but I still want to read some of his others.

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