Current reads

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December reads

Some good ones and some real duds this month!! I read outside of my normal comfort zone, so it was interesting.

So Long at the Fair by Christina Schwarz 4* a finely woven story about a man who is having an affair with his co-worker (who is being stalked by an admirer), the man’s wife and another co-worker also tell their stories. Plus the story of their parents back in 1963. All of it happens over one day. Hated that it ended though, I wanted more!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins YA SF4.5* my husband saw a review on this book that said it was going to be as big as Harry Potter so of course we had to look into it! My teenage son read it first (loved it) and then I read it. Very good book, set in a fictional world where the US is no longer and is now 13 different districts. Each district has to send 1 boy and 1 girl (randomly drawn) to the hunger games. It’s a fight to the end, and only the last person alive wins. Not my type of book normally, but I found it fascinating and can’t wait for the next in the series (at the end it says “end of book one” so I am assuming she’s planning on more!).

Somebody Else’s Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage 3* 2 drug addicts have a baby girl and give her up for adoption. The father (now off drugs) teaches at a school where the girl now goes as a teenager.

Oxygen by Carol Cassella DNF I wanted to like this book, and I wanted to finish but halfway through I still didn’t care, so I gave up. It’s the story of an anesthesiologist who has a patient die while in her care and is subjected to a lawsuit.

What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn 2* barely finished it, just didn’t like the writing. The story of a young girl who disappears, a neighbor boy is accused of the crime.

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins YA 4* didn’t like the way it was written at first (verse) but after a few pages I got into and got used to it. Good teen book, the story of 3 teens who meet at a living facility for suicidal teens after failed attempts.

The Returning by Ann Tatlock 2* ARC as an Atheist I was surprised to find this was Christian lit, so take my review with a grain of salt. I like the concept of the book, a man gets out of prison after 5 years and returns home to his wife and children. Of course there is an adjustment period for all of them. I felt the book could have been so much more than it was. I felt that it was sappy and the ending was unbelievable and trite.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore YA 4* Katsa is “graced” with killing and is being used by her uncle to torture people who disobey him. Her life changes when she meets Po, another graceling.

Phytosphere by Scott Mackay SF 4* aliens put a shield around the earth that blocks the sun, killing off all plant life and leads to total panic and riots due to food hoarding. A scientist on earth and one on the moon work to find a solution before everyone starves. Couldn’t put it down, but found the ending wrapped up way too quickly.

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank 3* the story of survival in a small town in FL after nuclear war in other parts of the country and world

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart 3* the world is devastated by a virus and only a few people are left. Love the premise, but the main character left a lot to be desired (it took him over 24 hours to think of calling around to see if his family was alive).

On the Beach by Nevil Shute 2* the end of the world due to nuclear war. I started skimming about halfway through, felt nothing for the characters and the story was just boring, kept waiting for something to happen….

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock YA 3* Princess Ben discovers a secret magic room in her castle after her parents are assassinated

Blood Orange by Drusilla Campbell 4* a couple’s daughter is kidnapped and everyone blames it on the husband’s defense of an accused child killer. The wife is shocked and dismayed when she learns it could have been from something she did.

World War Z by Max Brooks 3.5* it’s basically a report after the zombie war is mostly over. It explains how governments and people reacted during the panic and after. It was pretty interesting and outside of my normal range of books.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

November Reads

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale 3* the true crime story of the killing of a 3 yr old boy who is murdered in 1860. Interesting look at that time, but boring in places, information overload.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows 5* set in England after WWII, the story is told in a series of letters from a writer to a book group in Guernsey. They share their stories of the war and it’s after-effects. I couldn’t put the book down and read it in less than 24 hours. I hated that it ended! It had parts that made me laugh out loud and parts that made me cry.

Bound by Sally Gunning 3* the story of a 7 year old girl who comes from England with her family, but due to hardships on the crossing her father has to use her to pay his debts by making her an indentured servant. Luckily she is picked by a benevolent family and is well taken care of until the daughter marries. Alice goes with her to the new husband’s house. Things change dramatically there, and Alice has to run away. The story starts out strong but ends a little weak, overall a pretty good read.

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane 3* set in 1919 in Boston The story revolves a round a black man, Luther and a white cop, Danny and their families. While I love historical fiction, I think Lehane was so busy trying to tell the story of the times that the characters fall flat.

The Road Home by Rose Tremain 4* Lev leaves his country in Eastern Europe to find work in London so he can send money back home to his mother and daughter. It was interesting to see what immigrants go through when coming to a new country, and the reasons why they come. I found the ending a tad unbelievable but overall it was an excellent book. I like that she didn’t make Lev perfect since everyone has flaws.

Pioneer Women by Joanna L. Stratton 3* true stories of pioneer women in Kansas, parts of it were fascinating, I just wish she had just compiled all the letters/stories of each woman instead of just putting pieces in.

Not Me by Michael Lavigne 4* a man is taking care of his father who has Alzheimer’s when his father gives him a set of journals. Through the journals he finds out his father isn’t who he always thought, a kind giving Jewish man, but a Nazi war criminal.

She Was by Janis Hallowell 3.5* a 60’s radical has turned her life around and become a wife, mother, and doctor and feels safe when her world comes crashing down with the appearance of an old college friend.

The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella 2* romance set during WWII in Italy. I love that time but just too romancy for me….

Anybody Any Minute by Julie Mars 3* a woman buys a house in the middle of nowhere during a midlife crisis

After River by Donna Milner 4* a teenage girl’s life changes after an American draft dodger comes to work at her family’s Canadian farm

Soiled Doves, Prostitution in the Early West by Anne Seagraves 3* interesting look at the old West, great pictures, but really no new information to me.

The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown 3* would have been 4* but the story is told by a 10 yr old but the thoughts were just too adult for a child, drove me crazy. Alice becomes friends with a bi-racial child (who is a curiosity in her small Vermont town) and an elderly man with AIDS the summer she turns 10.

The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler 4* true stories told by many woman who gave up their children for adoption in their teens between 1940 to 1960-ish. Hit home for me as my father was an adopted child in the 50’s. The only bad thing was I felt it got a little repetitive by the end.

Women of the West by Cathi Luchetti 3* no new info to me, but great pics and still interesting reading

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher YA(audio) 4* a teenage girls sends out 13 tapes to 13 people she feels that led to her suicide. I think listening to the book as opposed to reading it is the way to go with this story since you get to hear her voice and then the voice of the boy listening.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sept and Oct reads (yes, I'm a month behind!!)


The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff 3* two stories about polygamy, one from the 1800’s and one today. It’s labeled a mystery but I don’t really see it as one.

The Condition by Jennifer Haigh 3* the story of a family who has to live with their daughter’s/sister’s “condition”. Everyone is flawed. It was just okay. I didn’t really care about any of the characters and the ending was predictable.

Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich DNF I wanted to like this story after all the rave reviews I read, but I just couldn’t get into it. Too many stories told from too many perspectives. I gave up halfway through.

The Lavender Hour by Anne Leclair 3* a cancer survivor becomes a hospice volunteer where no one knows she once had cancer. She has strong feelings for her patient which leads to a bad ending of course…..

How to be Good by Nick Hornby 3* a doctor’s husband falls under the spell of a “healer” and decides to “be good” which includes giving away their money, having homeless people live with them, etc.

The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper 4* a man returns to his hometown when his father has a heart attack. He is hated by most of the townspeople because of a tell-all book he wrote.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume 4* The story of 2 “summer sisters” over a 10 year period. One of those books you can’t put down until you are done. She has a way of making you feel the characters.

Leaving Cold Sassy by Olive Ann Burns 3* the continuing story of Cold Sassy, only the author died while writing it and they didn’t finish her story. The story itself was great, but I was disappointed it just ended in the middle of the story and the editor just gave a biography of the author’s life.


Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan 3* a woman’s husband dies and she moves to a remote island in Maine to get away from everything. She adopts a dog that teaches her to love again.

The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer 4* fluff yes, but entertaining Hollywood fluff! Gracie is left by her husband of almost 10 years (10 years being the magic number in pre-nupts) for a way younger woman. She tries to get her life back on track as she stays at a friend’s beach house in Malibu for the summer.

Bufflehead Sisters by Patricia J. Delois 4.5 the story of 2 friends starting at age 5. Janet has always wanted a sister and Sophie fit’s the bill. Janet has a stable and loving home life, while Sophie has an unstable mother and an absent father. The story follows them through childhood and into adulthood. I couldn’t put the book down and read it within 24 hours, even though I had an idea what was going to happen, I needed to know the how and why and where’s!

Lemon Jelly Cake by Madeline Smith 3* historical fiction set in a small town in 1900. Basically small town life seen through the eyes of the town doctor’s daughter.

Everything Changes by Jonathan Tropper 3.5* Zack's life starts to unravel when his missing dad shows up. He starts questioning his job, his fiancee, and basically all aspects of his life. His best friend died 2 years ago and his feelings for the widow don't help. There are laugh out loud parts and sad parts.

Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor 4* a Jewish man’s friendship and business partnership goes downhill when his friend goes back to Germany in 1933. Told in a series of letters between the 2 men.

Under the Sabers, The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank 4* interesting look into the lives of Army Wives. I bought the book because it said the show Army Wives was based on it. I can see some of the characters from the show in the book. The book was more about the murder/suicides at Fort Bragg though. I would have liked a more in depth look into more army wives and to hear THEIR stories more. That being said, it was still a very good book, just not what I was expecting.

The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies 3* a small Welsh town is home to a German POW camp, which of course causes upheaval among the locals

Goldengrove by Francine Prose 3* a teenage girl feels responsible for her older sister’s death and begins an unhealthy relationship with her deceased sister’s boyfriend.

Elleander Morning by Jerry Yulsman 3.5* an odd time travel book that explains nothing about HOW it happened…..interesting story though, a bit confusing in parts. It’s the parallel story of how the world would be if WWII had never happened.

Calligraphy of the Witch by Alicia Gaspar de Alba 3.5* a story about a woman captured by pirates and brought to Boston around the time of the Salem witch trials. She is considered evil because she speaks a foreign language and is Catholic. Great representation of the hysteria of the times. A little predictable though.

Tethered by Amy MacKinnon 3* a mortician is involved in an unsolved murder of a young unidentified girl. The story was predictable and I figured out halfway through who it was.

Helpless by Barbara Gowdy 3* a man kidnaps a little girl that he tells himself is being abused. He’s a pedophile but trying to convince himself he’s not. As the mother of a 10 yr old girl it was hard to have sympathy for him, which is what the book tries to do. Sad sad book all around. You feel bad for the little girl, her mother, for the kidnapper’s girlfriend, for the mother’s landlord (who the police think are involved).

Thank You for All Things by Sandra Kring 3* a woman and her twins go to her childhood home because her father is dying. Too many secrets, too contrived. Not her best….

Monday, September 1, 2008

August reads

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalin 4* mixed storylines of German citizens and Jewish people as WWII is ending. Interesting look at the German’s perspective. I don’t think I ever gave it much thought to how it was for them once the war was ending/over.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt 3* 5 college friends matriculate…involves drinking too much, a little studying and murder….

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns 3.5* small town life in 1906, a 14 yr old boy and the town are shocked when his grandfather marries a woman almost half his age only 3 weeks after his wife dies.

A Wicked Snow by Gregg Olsen 2.5* gave it 2.5 only because I DID finish it. supposed to be a thriller, but wasn't very thrilling. a woman tries to come to terms with her mother's serial killing 20 yrs ago, but someone is trying to dig up the past.

How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper 4* the story of a young (late 20’s) widower and how he copes with his teenage stepson, dating, and his family. Has a lot of laugh-out-loud parts, but also sad. Quick, easy read.

The Book of Fred by Abby Bardi 4* a teenage girl, Mary, her parents are a member of a strange religious group that won’t allow medical intervention and 2 of her brothers die due to that conviction. The state takes all of the children to foster care while her parents await trial for child neglect. The story revolves around Mary, her foster mother, her foster mother’s daughter, and foster mother’s brother. They all learn from each other and change in ways they didn’t expect.

Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult 3*, not my favorite from her. The story of a couple’s break up seen through the eyes of the woman’s daughter, brother, lover, husband and herself.

The Garden Of Last Days by Andre Dubus III 3* the story revolves around a stripper who has to bring her daughter to work one night when the lady who watches her is hospitalized. her daughter disappears from the club. The story is told by the stripper, a bouncer that works there, a man who is thrown out for touching one of the strippers, and the babysitter. It’s an okay book, it just wasn’t as emotionally wrenching as The House of Sand and Fog.

About Grace by Anthony Doerr 3* a man dreams parts of the future. He starts falling apart when he dreams his daughter’s death. The writing is like beautiful poetry but the story itself is a little hard to believe, but it does make you keep reading to find out how it ends.

Covered Wagon Women Vol 6 by Kenneth L. Holmes 4*, actual diaries and letters of women on the Oregon Trail. Parts of it were fascinating, but it got a little monotonous in places

Before the Storm by Diane Chamberlain 2.5* too soap opera-ish, a woman has a boy with fetal alcohol syndrome who rescues a bunch of children from a church fire. He is later accused of setting the fire. Too many people sleeping with their friend’s daughter, or their brother-in-law or their best friend’s wife….

Fanny and Sue by Karen Stolz 4* the story of twin sisters born in 1920. At first I was thinking “what is the point of this story???”. By the end of the book I was mad it ended!

Land of a Hundred Wonders by Lesley Kagen 3.5* Gibby is NQR (not quite right) after an automobile accident that killed her parents and “dented” her head. She is an investigative reporter for a newspaper she writes and is writing a big story about the murder of a local man. There were several parts that made me literally laugh out loud.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

July reads

The Nanny Diaries by Emma Kraus and Nicola McLaughlin 3.5* the story of a college student who nannies for a rich Manhattan family, both funny and sad

Sweet Shrub by Jane Roberts Wood 3.5* the continuing story of Lucy Richards, she is now back home and is courted by Josh. There is racial unrest in the new town they move to where Josh has a job as a principal.

Dance a Little Longer by Jane Roberts Wood 3.5* the continuing story of Lucy and Josh now during the depression

Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress 4* starts off with a crazy aunt who chops her husbands head off and carries it across the country in a Tupperware container. Then moves to a town with racial unrest, set during the 60’s.

Tender by Mark Childress 3.5* a story loosely based on the life of Elvis. Follows a young man from his poor beginnings and through his rocket ride to fame and fortune.

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben 3* not his best…the story of a couple who start tracking their son’s online activity when one of his best friend’s commit suicide. They are surprised by what they find.
The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen 4*

We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver 4* I tried to read this book a while back and couldn’t get through it, but kept seeing awesome reviews. I gave it another try and boy am I glad! The heart wrenching story of a mother who can’t seem to bond with her son like she should and as a teenager he kills some of his classmates.

How Not to Look Old by Charla Krupp 4* she explains ways to look 10 years younger. I like that she gives an expensive, medium, and cheap way for each idea. She also gives brand names that work and pictures of the wrong and right way so you can see the difference.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

June reads

Leave No Trace by Hannah Nyala 2* The story of a woman deserted in the middle of an Australian desert and her attempt to get out alive while avoiding killers who are tracking her. Written by a SAR tracker, so LOTS of detail in that aspect but I felt the story itself was lacking and just dragggged. I only finished the novel to see if she makes it out alive.

The Outlander by Gil Adamson 2.5* I just didn't like this story, found it boring. Only gave it 2.5* because I actually finished. A woman kills her husband and then is on the run from his brothers.

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult 3* not my favorite by her, too religious....the story of a woman whose husband and daughter are killed by a man who later decides he wants to donate his heart to her other daughter.

The Journal of Callie Wade 3* the journal of an 18yr old girl traveling with her family from Missourri to CA in 1859. Reminded me some of Mattie Spenser, but not as good.

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan 4.5* set in Mississipi in 1946, racial tensions abound. 2 war veterans come home, one black and one white and receive completely different homecomings. The story revolves around a farm-bound houswife and her interactions with each man and their families. Best book I have read in a while, once I picked it up I couldn't put it down until I was finished.

My Enemy's Cradle by Sara Young 3* A half Jewish woman passes herself off as her cousin to enter a German Lebensborn (birth center) during WWII. I just didn't connect with the characters, they felt stilted and the story just didn't seem believable to me.

The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle 3.5* the story of a young girl who grows up on a horse farm with a dysfunctional family. Her father is gruff and more interested in the horses than in his daughters, her mother hasn't left the bedroom years and her sister takes off an gets married before she graduates high school.

The Train to Estelline by Jane Roberts Wood 4* an immature 17yr old girl goes to a small town to teach school in 1911 and learns things are not always what they seem. She is shocked at how poor the people she lives with are and her students. she grows up a lot in the year.

Riding With the Queen by Jennie Shortridge 4* Tallie Beck is a down and out rock and roll singer who has to head back home with her tail between her legs to sing at a piano bar. She has to beg to stay with her little sister who she hasn't seen in 14 years. She has to come to terms with her bi-piolar mother who she also hasn't seen or spoken to in 14 years. I started out hating Tallie but by the end of the book i am rooting for her, hoping she will grown up and get her act together.

One Mississippi by Mark Childress 4* the story of a teenage boy and his family who move every couple of years due to the father's job. Set in the 60's right after school intergration starts, it is full of racial tension. Daniel is unused to race beng an issue as they haven't lived in the south and problems arise after he and a friend accidentally hit the first black prom queen as she is riding home on her bike.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

March reads

Not a very good month, just couldn't get into much, too much on my mind....

Roseflower Creek by J. L. Miles 3.5* the sad story of a girl and her mother, both are abused by the stepfather

The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross (ARC) 3.5* a pretty good thriller about a woman whose husband dies in an explosion on his train into work one day. Later some shady people start nosing around saying he owes them money. She learns her husband wasn't exacty what she thought.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon 3* a young boy witb learning disabilities tries to solve the mystery of who killed the neghbor's dog

Awake by Elizabeth Graver 3* the story of a couple who have 2 sons, one who has a very rare skin condition that can't be exposed to light. they find a summer camp for other kids like him and their world starts to change.

Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern 4* a mystery revolving around an autistic boy. He and a little girl go into the woods together and he is found alive, she is found dead. His mother tries to help the police by finding out what he knows. Everytime I think i knew who did it I was wrong!

Sellivison by Augustus Burroughs (audio)3* cutesy story that revolves around the cast of a QVC-type television station

Resistance by Owen Sheers 3* set during WWII in England but written as if the Germans were winning and had invaded England. Interesting concept, the story itself was okay. It revolves around an isolated valley with a bunch of farms run by women whose husbands disappeared to help fight the Germans. 5 German soldiers arrive in the valley to the dimay of the women.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenger (reread) 5* LOVE this book!!

Notes on a Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers 3* a story told in notes between a mother and daughter. Sadly, I could completely relate in this day when everything is rush rush rush....only my son and I text instead of leaving notes on the fridge!

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman NF 3* the true story of a zookeper and his family in Poland during WWII. At times fascinating, it also has parts that just drag.

What Girls Learn by Karin Cook 3* 2 young sisters and their mother move north with their mother's new boyfriend. their world changes when their mother gets sick.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

February Reads

Jack's Widow by Eve Pollard DNF fictional account of Jackie O after JFK's assassination. I thought it would be interesting but she just whined over and over about his affairs. Gave up halfway through.

The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert 3* actually 3 short stories all pertaining to WWII. The first story is about a boy/young man who has a missing chest muscle so can't fight for his country (Germany) during the war. It was an okay story 3*, the second story is about 5 children abandoned by their Nazi mother at the end of the war. Awesome, heartbreaking story 4* would have given it 5 * but i wanted more detail, i think this story alone would have made a fantastic book, the third story is about a man in the 90's who finds out his beloved grandfather was a Nazi 3*

Snow Angels by Stewart O'Nan 3.5* would have been 4 stars but the ending was horrible, it just ended. I kept looking to see if I was missing some pages or something! It's a story revolving around a teenage boy and his divorcing parents and then a parallel story about his old babysitter.

The Summer Guest by Justin Cronin 4* revolves around a summer camp in Maine and the family that runs it and one frequent visitor, evolves over several decades

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (NF) 3* History of those who stayed behind in the dustbowl. Parts of it were fascinating, parts of it were boring and dragged. I had to push myself to finish, but I learned a lot about that time that I wasn't previously aware of.

Gossip of the Starlings by Nina de Gramont (ARC) 3* the story of 2 rich teenage girls in private school. How their lives intersect their and outside of school with their outside friends. Hard to tell who is the bad influence as they both have their own issues. I found some of it unbelievable, but still couldn't put it down until the end.

An Absolute Gentleman by R.M. Kinder 4* a charming college professor is also a serial killer. Engrossing story, pulls you in from page 1. Not graphic or bloody.

The Dead of Summer by Camilla Way 4* the story of 3 oddballs who become friends and the horrible outcome of their summer

Ties That Bind, Ties That Break by Lensey Namioka (YA) 3* nice story about a young Chinse girl in 1911 who refuses to have her feet bound. Her father indulges her and forever changes her life.

A Ship Made of Paper by Scott Spencer 4* a white man begins an affair with the black mother of one of his step-daughter's friends.

Every Last Cuckoo by Kate Maloy 3* an okay story about an elderly lady who takes in "strays" when her husband dies

The Life You Longed For by Maribeth Fischer 4* a couple's 3 yr old son has a rare incurable disease. the mother is having an affair when she is accused of having Munchausen (intentionally causing her son's illness).

Orchard by Larry Watson 3* The story of a painter and his muse, the feelings of her huband and his wife. Not his best.

In My Hands by Irene Gut Opdyke (YA) (NF) the true story of Irene's life as a Polish resistance fighter during WWII. She helped many Jews, risking her and her families lives. Inspiring story, I just felt there wasn't much emotion in the telling.

Night of Flames by Douglas W. Jacobson 3* set during WWII, tells of a man and his wife who are seperated at the beginning of the war. They both fight, he for the Polish Army, she for the resistance. Interesting story, I just felt the ending was unrealistic.

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarty (audio) 3*

A.D. 62 Pompeii by rebecca East 3* time travel A young college graduate volunteers to go back to AD 62 Pompeii. She ends up a slave. Light, easy read, somewhat of a romance.

Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy 4* the story of a Catholic family told from the 50's to the present. Each chapter is told by a different family member so you get different points of view from one event.

Friday, February 1, 2008

January reads

City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin 4* set in Berlin in 1920's to the early 30's. Revolves around a young Russian woman who works for a shady nightclub owner. he wants her to help prep a woman who may or may not be the murdered Romanov's daughter Anastasia. Not only was the story fascinating but it was so interesting reading about Hitler's rise to power from the people's point of view.

Leftovers by Laura Weiss 4* not listed as a YA but it read like one to me. The story revolves around 2 teenage girls with troubled home lives. Quick, easy read, couldn't put it down until I finished.

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett 4* the story of the woman who is a magician's assistant (and best friend) for 22 years. They finally marry right before he dies. When he does, she finds out about a family he said was dead. The story is an exploration of his childhood and why he tried to forget it.

The Gathering by Anne Enright DNF ughhhhh, a story set in Ireland, but Maeve Binchy, she ain't! I got about 1/3 of the way through in the hopes it would get better but the story just bounced from one era to the next from one paragraph to the next it it was impossible to keep up. the writing was so murky I could never figure out what she was trying to say! I never like critically acclaimed novels, so why I tried this one is beyond me!

Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue 3* the story of Mary, turned out of her house by her mother when she's a teenager in London during the 1700's. What's a girl that young to do out in the streets with no skills or money? A sad story but I found myself hoping she would end up pulling herself up out of the streets.

Carry Me Home by Sandra Kring 4* set in a small town during WWII. It's told by a boy who is "slow". He had a fever when he was young and it "fried" his brain. His brother and friends head off to war and he is left behind. Interesting look at how life was like during the war (rationing, waiting for telegrams to say a loved one had died, polio).

Keeping the House by Ellen Baker 3* the story of a family over several generations (during WW I and II). the exerpts about wifely duties out of Ladies Home Journal were hilarious and made me sooo glad times have changed! the stories were good, but it just jumped back and forth too much for me to really feel anything for any of the characters

Lessons From a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles (YA) 3* the story of a troubled teen and her friend, who she torments

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond 4* a woman is walking on the beach with her fiance's daughter and looks away for a minute. the girl disappears. the book chronicles their search and despair and how they each handle their grief differently. it's one of those books you can't stop thinking about after you finish.

The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin 4*(NF) the true story of a blizzard on the Dakota-Nebraska prairie on Jan 12th, 1888, has great background on a lot of the families involved, dragged a bit when it came to the weather forecasting

The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi 2.5* the story of a family of sisters with a mentally unstable mother and a gambling father. Depressing story that just jumps all over and is hard to follow. I had to push to finish it.

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett 4* a woman finds out she's pregnant and runs away from her life. she isn't in love with her husband and can't see having a baby, so she goes to a home for unwed mothers run by nuns.

White Crosses by Larry Watson 4* set in 1957 a sheriff of a small town in Montana goes to the scene of an accident with the principal of the elementary school and an 18 year old girl in one car together. it looks like they are running away together. the sheriff makes a decision that night that will affect the rest of his life.

Forgotten Ellis Island by Lorie Conway 4* (NF)fascinating history of the hospital at Ellis Island, a little repetitive in parts, but overall a terrific book. loved all the pics of the immigrants, really brought the book alive.

Blueberry Hill by Marcia Evanick (audio) 3* romantic fluff. Not my typical type of book, but was a cute story. The only thing that drove me insane was the reader kept pronouncing Bangor "bangER". NO ONE in Maine pronunces it that way!!!

Francesca's Kitchen by Peter Pezzelli 3* light easy read about a widowed grandmother who becomes a nanny for a single mom with 2 children

Boy A by Jonathan Trigell 3* a sad tale of a boy who commits a horrific crime with a friend when he is a child. He is finally released from the prison system when he's 24 but for his own safety he is always know as Boy A. The story follows his life when he is released plus flashbacks to his childhood and time in prison.

The Liar's Diary by Patry Francis 4* a plain Jane school secretary's hum drum life is shaken up when she is befriended by the
sexy new music teacher. Her whole life is blown apart when secrets come out.

Pieces of My Sister's Life by Elizabeth Joy Arnold 2.5* The story of the relationship between 2 twin sisters and their neighbor boy best friend. I found the entire story unbelievable. Only gave it 2.5* since I actually finished it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Best of 2007

These were my favorite of the year, in no particular order.

All The Numbers by Judy Merrill Larsen
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Ride The Wind by Lucia St. Clair Robinson
These Is My Words by Nancy Turner
Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck
TallGrass by Sandra Dallas
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
Whistling in the Dark by Leslie Kagen
Lottery by Patricia Wood
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

December reads

What A Woman Must Do by Faith Sullivan 3* small town life revolving around a family of 3 women

Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy (audio)4* just her typical story in Ireland. I just love her writing.

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Mardsen (YA) the story of 7 teenagers in Australia who "go bush". When they come back their world has compelety changed as a war has broken out and all of their families taken hostage. I had to push myself to finish though, just not my cup of tea. I also didn't realize this was the first in a series. My 17 yr old son loved the entire series......

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis 3.5* time travel book. An historian from 2057 goes back to the 1300's. the story runs parallel from the present back to where she is, problems at both times as to whether she will be able to get back.

Deadline by Chris Crutcher YA 3.5* a high school senior finds out he has left than a year to live and he decides to do things differently (my teenage son rated this a 5).

The Way life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline 4* light easy read a woman has a midlife crisis and moves to Maine, has some good recipes too.

Gifts by Ursula K. Le Guin YA 3* the story of 2 teens with amazing gifts

The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan 4* The story of 3 Indian women and their daughters who all live in America. I loved reading about their culture.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (ARC) 5* the story of a woman in Maine told from various points of view, her, her family, neighbors, townspeople, etc. Makes you remember how you see yourself is not how others see you.

Hidden by Paul Jaskunas 3* the love story of a couple and then the demise of their relationship. Did he attack her or did he not?

Torch by Cheryl Strayed 3* the story of a lady who is diagnosed with cancer and given less than a year to live. The story revolves around the effects on her and her family.

Golden Country by Jennifer Gilmore 3* an okay story about 3 Jewish families from 1925-1959.