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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Friday, December 2, 2016

Review: The Other Einstein

The Other Einstein The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's always tricky when a different take on historical figures is novelized. I enjoyed this idea that Einstein's first wife was the brains behind many of his successful theories--she was a physicist after all. It's frustrating that we'll never know! I enjoyed the author's note at the end, although I still want to know some "truths" about Einstein in this novel. Was he a jerk? Did he physically abuse his wife? All in all, an engrossing read, even if I did want to run to all the source material and find out exactly what was fact and what was fiction.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Review: News of the World

News of the World News of the World by Paulette Jiles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ah, I love well written westerns! Add in a smooth talking audiobook narrator with a great voice, and I'm in love!

Capt. Kidd doesn't want to be the one who delivers a silent, dirty 11-year-old to her aunt and uncle for $50, but he does. Years ago, the Kiowa had murdered her parents and stolen her, and she was fully adopted into their world. Now, like most child captives, she isn't acting thrilled to be returning to her old ways. Their journey is the story and they encounter a lot of trouble along the way!

Captivity stories are their own kind of trouble, I know, but I've read them since I was first introduced to Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison when I was little. When I taught high school American lit, I introduced my students to the first American bestseller written by a woman, The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. This one can be grouped together with those as a captivity story, but it's so much more than that, mainly because Capt. Kidd becomes a better person because of his relationship with Johanna. She brings out the good in him. Even I teared up a little at the end!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review: Calamity

Calamity Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't know how Sanderson does it, but he writes the best kind of fantasy for me! Love how his books make me stay up too late, laugh, and grow attached to his characters. I hadn't read Book #1 and #2 in years of this series, but I was able to quickly pick up where I/they left off.

David and his Reckoners save the day (of course)!

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Review: The Sun Is Also a Star

The Sun Is Also a Star The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had its sweet romantic moments, but moved very slowly to me. I listened to the audiobook and I was wishing that I could jump ahead during Disk 2 and 3 of the 7 disk audio. The narrators did a great job--loved having three separate people narrate the different perspectives.

New York City setting (again), but the Korean-American and Jamaican teenagers provided interesting backstories to the one-day-in-the-life-of romance novel. I think this is the first YA novel I've read about deportation, so I'm glad that a popular YA novel about such a topic was published.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Review: Deception's Princess

Deception's Princess Deception's Princess by Esther M. Friesner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This author can whip out these princess books like crazy--I'm impressed because she's a decent writer. This one is all about Maeve in Connacht, and, yes, folks, she's a lot like very other Irish princess story you've ever heard. Acts like a man but is beautiful, smart as a whip, great at warfare, and has a dad that she has whipped. Nothing new in this book, but good for those tweens who want clean historical fiction with a touch of the fairy world.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review: Rise the Dark

Rise the Dark Rise the Dark by Michael Koryta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Parts of this action thriller hit to close to home. A domestic terrorist group is planning to take out a huge electrical plant that would make the northwest cities go dark. In doing so, they infiltrate dozens of online crazy groups (you know, the ALT-RIGHT ones), and feed on their ignorance to stir everyone up. And, um, it works.

In the meantime, Mark Novak is after the murderer of his wife, and ends up twisted into his family history in the mountains of Wyoming and Montana. The crazies are out in full force in this novel, but, whoa, it hits home after reading the "news" this morning. It's all about the message, folks, and the spindoctors who put it out there. I really enjoyed this and stayed up way too late to finish it--that's the sign of a good novel!

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: Thunder Boy Jr.

Thunder Boy Jr. Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had to bring this one home so my 13-year-old daughter could read it to me. If I tell her that it's a possible medal winner, she's always willing to give a picture book a try. She wasn't thrilled with this one, but she did like the artwork in the guitar and some of the other illustrations. As did I!

I appreciate the little boy wanting to have a different name from his dad, but I was hoping he would find it himself! :)

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Review: A Drop of Night

A Drop of Night A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can pick some former freshmen students who would have loved this book, but I think I'm just way too old for it. Love the concept--it's very The Grounding of Group 6, which was one of my favorite books growing up. But it just fell short to me--too many unanswered questions.

Some teens are selected from the US to travel to a secret underground palace in France to be the first ones to explore its mysteries. Sounds unreal, right? Um, yes. Someone is out to kill them and they must try to escape the booby-trapped (think Goonies!) palace and the wandering ghosts. This book isn't really all that scary, but I can see some young tweens loving it. I did love the cover and the mix of the modern day with the French Revolutionary time period.

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Review: All Is Not Forgotten

All Is Not Forgotten All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a disturbing book to listen to in audio. There are graphic descriptions of rape, assault, and things you just don't want to listen to while you're driving down the road. The narrator is one asshole of a therapist that will make you doubt the efficacy of therapy for the rest of your life, too.

In general, the book is about a teenage girl who is raped at a party. She is treated with drugs to "forget" the details, but the treatment doesn't help her forget her feelings, and so she begins therapy to bring back the lost memories. Her family is a mess, she grasps onto thing she shouldn't, and her therapist is only concerned about himself. If you like disturbing reads, give this one a try.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Review: Remember the Ladies

Remember the Ladies Remember the Ladies by Gina L. Mulligan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perfect for this election season--a reminder of the power of gender in DC and how women have to "work" men to get their votes. It's not based on a true story, other than the title coming from Abigail Adams' letter to her husband about remembering the ladies.
Amelia Cooke didn't have much of a life in an orphanage, and she took a risk going to DC to turn herself into a lobbyist in 1887. But she manages to learn how to turn her looks into her favor, and also manages to live at a hotel by herself, when every man around her wants her to be married and pregnant. She learns how Washington works, and it was interesting to see how the partnerships were made back then--lots of crooked deals, favors being pulled, and secrets being discovered for blackmail.

After reading this one, I don't see how any women could NOT vote in every possible election. Women fought HARD for the right to vote. It's not something that should be taken lightly.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Review: Hard Knocks

Hard Knocks Hard Knocks by Zoë Sharp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charlie Fox is my new favorite mystery-solving bad ass. She's pretty good at getting into scrapes, but since she teaches self-defense and was a victim of a horrific attack years ago, she's excellent at getting out of them now. Now the pendulum swings the other way--she's terrified that she's going to kill someone instead of simply maiming them.

When her old British Special Forces officer/lover contacts her to find out why a colleague mysteriously died at a bodyguard training facility in Germany, Charlie reluctantly agrees to go undercover and figure it out. But there are bigger problems--children are getting kidnapped, guns are being traded, and lowlife European gangsters are involved, too. Charlie takes care of business though, of course.

This series was first published in Britain, so it's difficult to find all of the books in America in my library system, which is why I skipped from Killer Instinct to Book #3 that I had to read in large print. Hoping the rest of the series will be easier to find!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Review: The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oprah, you still know how to pick them!

Loved this book, although I have to admit I'll be pushing for Homegoing to win more prizes since I loved it more.

Interesting twist of having an actual underground railroad in the South in this alternative history, but the pain and suffering of Cora is so, so real. There is some literary genius going on in this novel--the symbolism and deep characterization will stick with me. And it might be alternative history, but bits and pieces of the alternative parts are oh-so-true in reality. It's one of those books that could use a re-read by me if I had the time.

Read it and see what the hype is all about!

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Review: The Gilded Years

The Gilded Years The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting historical fiction novel about the first African-American woman to graduate from Vassar. In order to do so, she claimed she was French and English on her application, and led a double life when traveling between college and Roxbury in Boston. I'm always a fan of historical fiction about the gilded age, so the fictionalized world of Anita Hemmings was a perfect fit. Learning seven languages? Pretending to be engaged? All those fancy houses and horrible dresses and up-dos? I'm not sure if the author handled Anita's internal struggles about "passing" accurately, but I know I sure felt some of her pain. What a horrible situation--having to pretend to be someone you're not in order to attend the college of your dreams.

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Review: Redemption Road

Redemption Road Redemption Road by John Hart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

John Hart is good--he's like John Jakes and Pat Conroy rolled into one. Southern, slow mystery with a cowboy-esqe feel and a slow-talking, redemption-seeking hot fallen cop who has just gotten out of prison. Now more young women are ending up dead at the abandoned church and he and his kinda woman must figure out who did it.

This book is full of disgusting small town secrets and examples of how the rich and connected get away with stuff because, you know, their last name. Great mystery! And wonderful audiobook--Scott Shepherd can talk to me all he wants!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It felt like coming home to read these characters again, and I enjoyed the script. I couldn't help but picture the movie characters as I read. I laughed aloud once (which rarely happens when I read), but I was ticked that the stupid Time Turner was involved again. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was my least favorite movie because of that confusing thing!

Loved the relationship between the older and younger generations, and the combinations of the Malfoys and Potters. Yes, I kept picturing Malfoy from the current Flash television shows as the Draco in the book, so that made it even better!

Overall? Enjoyable read. Familiar characters. Typical action of what's already been done in previous books but with a second generation of characters--nothing really new here. Would I see the play? Probably not. Unless I got a sweet deal on the tickets.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: The Glittering Court

The Glittering Court The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I haven't listened to more "mainstream" YA titles in awhile, so I thought I would give this historical fantasy a try. I knew this was a title that some teens love and some adults hate, and I see why. It's a little like The Selection and over the top--girls are picked off the country-like-British street and "taught" to be ladies. Then, after traveling to Adoria (um, America), they are married/sold off to men who need ladies to help them become gentlemen in their new land. No mention of the words "slave trafficking" but I was sure thinking of it as I listened. Adelaide, the main character makes the reverse decision--she quits being a countess and runs off to make her own choices, and ends up being the poor church mouse who works in a mine to help her common husband pay off her bride-price. All very Harlequin-ish, which is what some people love, I know.

The narrator MADE this audiobook, and she is why I kept listening. Loved her accents, and the clean production. Kristen Sieh is a narrator I'll be looking for again.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: Lady Cop Makes Trouble

Lady Cop Makes Trouble Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Enjoyable romp for the quasi-deputy Constance Kopp. She's supposed to be a sheriff's deputy in Bergen County, New Jersey, but it's still not exactly clear if the sheriff has the right to hire a female deputy. When a convict escapes the hospital on her watch, she knows that she has to be the one who hunts him down. And she does! She breaks all the taboos for women at the time--traveling into New York City without an escort, going to a hotel alone, and wandering through the bad parts of the city alone to find her witnesses and suspects. Some unexpected developments brew in the the #2 of the series--is there something stirring between Constance and the Sheriff? Hmmmmm.......

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Review: Homegoing

Homegoing Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

READ THIS BOOK!!! ALL OF YOU!!!

This is a stunning debut--can't wait to read the next book from Yaa Gyasi. I've always been a sucker for historical family fiction--I want to know where people come from and how they get where they are. I'm fascinated by genealogy and how it effects where we end up.

Hundreds of years ago, Effia and Esi, two half-sisters, are born in Ghana. With the tangled history of the Fante and Asante people and the ugly world of the slave trade, they and their ancestors lead very different lives. I listened to the audiobook (which was freaking amazing--Dominic Hoffman is an awesome narrator) and would have liked to flip through the print book a bit to refresh my memory of the family trees of the characters, but I managed just fine. From coal mining in the South to the Great Migration to Harlem jazz clubs, the narratives tell the varied stories of how Africans came to the U.S., and how they became Americans.

Perfect reading for this election season. It's beautiful, inspiring, and a darn good listen/read--it's going to sweep a lot of awards, I hope.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Review: Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante

Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Probably the best in the series that I've read so far--Maggie travels back to the United States with Prime Minister Churchhill and becomes entangled in a mystery with Eleanor Roosevelt. One of Eleanor's secretaries is found murdered, but Maggie knows that things aren't exactly right at the crime scene. Thanks to her investigation, the mystery is solved, and an innocent black man isn't executed (or lynched, really) for murder in the South. It's 1942 and norms are being broken all over the place--love how morality, gender, and homosexuality are addressed in this series.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Review: Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct Killer Instinct by Zoë Sharp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in a series that was first published in the UK. Charlie Fox is a woman who is on a mission--she teaches self-defense classes for women all over the small towns in northern England, so that no other woman has to go through what she did. While serving in the British forces, she became a victim, even though her own parents never believed her story. Now that she's changed her name and determined to be strong, she gets roped into serving as a bouncer at a local night club--she knows pressure points and martial arts, and she's a big change from the 300-pounders with no necks that usually work the club floors. While working, she is roped into the search for the murderer of a few young women in the area--they were raped and brutally killed. Luckily Charlie can figure it all out.

I read the American edition of this book, and Lee Child writes the intro--he loves this author. I do, too! It's a typical mystery, but I LOVED the main character--she's not perfect, but I want to be her best friend. I'm looking forward to reading the next book, if I can find it.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Review: Wolf Hollow

Wolf Hollow Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a literary children's book that seemed like it was written for adults. I'm not the best reader of middle grade fiction--I don't work with that age, and I grew up reading Christopher Pike when I was in middle school. And, honestly, I understand why. Do kids like this book? It seems like something that teachers will want to add to the curriculum--another historical fiction book so students can learn about "back then," as well as some tragedy to make the kids cry. (Can you tell that my junior high reading class read Bridge to Terabithia AND Where the Red Fern Grows?) There are a lot of vocabulary words to pick out for lessons and symbolism galore.

I listened to the audio, which was lovely. Odyssey, anyone? But there were times that I wanted the plot to pick up speed, and I can't imagine many twelve-year-olds having more patience than me.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Review: March: Book Three

March: Book Three March: Book Three by John Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing art! I didn't read the first two volumes, and YA readers can jump right in like I did. The art draws you in, and the story keeps you there until you finish. SO MANY COMPARISONS TO TODAY AND #blacklivesmatter. This should be in all high school libraries, and social studies teachers could easily use parts of it for classroom discussion.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Review: Booked

Booked Booked by Kwame Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quick little audiobook, but I didn't love this as much as The Crossover. Listening to the author hurt the book, I think, because there wasn't the voice work that I was looking for, and I didn't love the parts in 2nd person--the "you" drove me nuts. There was a lot of realistic family drama involved--parents separating, bullying, friendship, first crush. That stuff I liked, but I'm not a fan of a bunch of books/library references. Odd, isn't it?

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Review: Age of Myth

Age of Myth Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like epic fantasy? Then you'll love this book! I really don't understand why this was published adult--it could have easily been YA. Give this to fans of Patrick Rothfuss or teens who are looking for another fantasy series to start.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Review: Dark of the Moon

Dark of the Moon Dark of the Moon by John Sandford
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had to read this one because in the opening chapters, a character listens to Cross Canadian Ragweed. And I love going to hear Cody Canada sing. This book was an enjoyable pop culture bestseller, but it did take me a week to read, which isn't a good thing. It was entertaining though!

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Review: Leaving Blythe River

Leaving Blythe River Leaving Blythe River by Catherine Ryan Hyde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perfect for fans of Hatchet, Longmire, and feel good outdoors stories. Published for adult audience, but could have easily been for teens. 17-year-old Ethan isn't thrilled when his mom sends him to his dad's while she takes care of her dying parent. Ethan hates his dad--he walked on him having sex with Ethan's crush--his dad's secretary. But when his dad disappears on a daily run, Ethan must mature quickly--he needs to find his father, even if he isn't too thrilled to be doing the right thing.

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Review: Golden Son

Golden Son Golden Son by Pierce Brown
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Can't believe this received an audie--my copy of the CD audiobook sounds cloudy and hazy--very irritating. And I'm not interested in the story, either, which is surprising since it received rave reviews.

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Review: All American Boys

All American Boys All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant audiobook (Perfect narration by Guy Lockard and Keith Nobbs). Two "All American boys"--one white, one black--deal with racism, awakening to racism, and the blindness of friends and family. Love how this book deals with a difficult subject in a way that everyone can understand. If I could make all my friends read this book, I would! I'm late to the game reading this one, but so glad I did.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Review: Clariel

Clariel Clariel by Garth Nix
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I remember reading the Abhorsen series years ago--so long ago that I never marked them on Goodreads. I somehow got my hands on this audiobook and the narrator persuaded me to listen. Great fantasy series!

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Review: Born on a Tuesday

Born on a Tuesday Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. Coming-of-age story set in Nigeria. Engrossing read--I needed to learn about the different kinds of Islam from the innocent eyes of Dantala. Review to come in SLJ AB4T.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Review: Point of Honour

Point of Honour Point of Honour by Madeleine E. Robins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good Labor Day read that involved absolutely no brain labor on my part! Sarah Tolerance is a "fallen woman" during the Regency period. King George is mad, politicians are crooked and maneuvering for the throne, and she lives in a cottage behind her aunt's upscale whorehouse. Sarah isn't a working lady--but she did run off to the continent with her fencing instructor, leading to her current status. Now she isn't above dressing like a man and displaying her fighting skill to protect herself as she investigates acts of mischief. This is more mystery and who-done-it than romance, which was okay by me.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review: Losing It

Losing It Losing It by Emma Rathbone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Awkward coming-of-age story about an immature 26-year-old obsessed with losing her virginity. Review to come in SLJ AB4T. As for the audio, this was a great production--my Odyssey ears didn't catch any production errors and the narration was clear and appropriate for the storyline.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

Review: Front Runner

Front Runner Front Runner by Felix Francis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Back in the day, I read all the Dick Francis books. I love reading about horses, so when the author throws in a mystery and a British setting, I'm a happy girl. I hadn't read any spinoffs, so I thought I would give this audiobook a try. It was what I remember, but I wasn't too impressed. Good mystery about fixing racing, dodging British corporate tax, and blackmail.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Review: The Prime Minister's Secret Agent

The Prime Minister's Secret Agent The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love this series! Maggie Hope isn't coping very well since she had to kill someone during her spy mission to Germany a few months ago, so she's recovering in Scotland as she trains other spies. She's mean (they call her Lady Macbeth) and needs a mystery to pull her out of her gloom and doom. When her ballet friend Sarah is threatened with a mysterious illness, Maggie helps solve the mystery.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Review: The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The Tales of Beedle the Bard The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Much more enjoyable than Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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Review: What Angels Fear

What Angels Fear What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just what I wanted to read during intersession--a mystery that I didn't solve right away, and a cast of interesting British characters. Set during the time of mad King George, and the privileged vying for power in his midst.

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Review: Amy Snow

Amy Snow Amy Snow by Tracy Rees
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Historical fiction treasure hunt between a lady and her orphan companion. No surprises here, but I had to finish to make sure things turned out the way I thought they would. There was something about Amy's voice that just didn't ring true to me though--can't put my finger on it.

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Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I realized that I had never read this book--figured I should since there is a movie coming out based on this one. It will need a lot of filler! I wasn't too impressed with the listing of critters, but it's cool that the proceeds of this went to charity.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: The Tumbling Turner Sisters

The Tumbling Turner Sisters The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this easy read, but had a huge problem with the fact that I couldn't tell the sisters apart when they were narrating the story. The chapters are told from the POV of Winnie and Gert. Even though their hopes and dreams were very different, there were times that I had to check the chapter headings to see who was doing the thinking.

In order to raise money for rent while their father is recovering from a drunken injury, the four Turner sisters start a Vaudeville act with their mother acting as babysitter to the oldest sister's infant son. Over the next few years, the sisters fall in love, learn a lot about showbiz, and become more independent. Many newsworthy items are thrown into the novel--Prohibition, women emancipation, the KKK, factory fires, birth control, etc.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review: Found

Found Found by Harlan Coben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love how Coben doesn't dumb down his writing when he writes for teens--the action and fast-pace is still here like in his adult books, but the characters are teens instead of adults. His adult fans should try this series--they won't be disappointed. I somehow skipped Book #2 in this series, so I'll have to go back and read it sometime.

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Review: His Majesty's Hope

His Majesty's Hope His Majesty's Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oooo, I love this series. Totally unbelievable, but that's just what I want in my WWII spy stories! Maggie Hope is finally being sent to Germany undercover--the first female spy for England during the war! Unfortunately she is dropped right into her mother's world--Clara Hess, the evil German intelligence officer who is down on her luck since her plan to kidnap English royalty failed in the last book of the series.

Love the relationships between Maggie and her men, as well as her friends' homosexual relationship in a London where it's illegal but accepted in certain circles. The author did her research, and has pages of Historical Notes and lists nonfiction books to read if interested.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review: If I Was Your Girl

If I Was Your Girl If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lovely book and thank you, thank you, for having a trans woman write a novel about the teen trans experience, and even including a trans model on the cover. This book needs to be in all high school libraries.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review: My Lady Jane

My Lady Jane My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just the kind of funny vacation fluff I was looking to read! I'll read anything about British monarchs, and the addition of a few of them being able to turn into animals at will made this a funny read! I wasn't too thrilled with the occasional comments from the narrators, but I loved the snarky comments and vivid imagination that the three women used to write this book. This version of Layd Jane Grey is much more entertaining than the real-life version!

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