Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Dead and the Gone (Last Survivors #2)

The Dead and the Gone (Last Survivors, #2)The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I accidentally read book 3 prior to reading book 2, and I'm glad that I did. If I had read this one prior to jumping into This World We Live In, I might not have continued on. While we see the world through Miranda's eyes in books 1 and 3, we see it through Alex's in this one. It was a bit on the nose. Yes, we get it. They are Puerto Rican. They are Catholic. No subtlety here. I didn't find any of the characters likable. Bri was dumb. Alex was an aspiring saint / asshat. Julie was the only one who was remotely bearable. Too much is happening, and not enough is resolved.

This installment shows what happens in New York after a meteor knocks the moon closer to the Earth. We follow Alex and his sisters as they try to survive there and it follows the same timeline as book 1. This book could be read as a stand-alone novel, but I wouldn't recommend it.

The Alex you meet in this book is different from the one viewed through Miranda's eyes in book 3, and that's a good thing. I guess it helps you to understand a little about his decisions in book 3, but not entirely. I recommend reading them out of order or you might not continue with the series.

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If I Stay

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)If I Stay by Gayle Forman
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I listened to this on audio. I HATED the narrator. This book may be tolerable if it is read rather than listened to, but I will never know.

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, and I'm going to revise my star rating down to 1 1/2. There wasn't anything good here. The characters were ridiculous. Her parents were the most unbelievable, hipster, non-parents in the entire world. My disdain for her father was only topped by my utter hatred for her mother. Really, parents? Your "too cool for school" lifestyle made me want to punch you. Lucky for all of us that you are fictional characters. Father is a former rocker who didn't learn to drive until he was forced to "grow up" and be a real adult. Mother is a poser who rattles off indy bands to prove her edginess and insists on a midwife/birthing center for her punk-rock fueled childbirth. They are so cool that they let her rock star boyfriend sleep over. Seriously? And Mia is so full of insecurities and self-doubt that I could barely listen to her inner dialogue.

This book was terrible, and I won't see the movie.


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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I is for Innocent (Kinsey Millhone #9)

I is for Innocent (Kinsey Millhone, #9)I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reread of I is for Innocent. Classic Kinsey with a return of past characters: Henry, Rosie, and a side dish of Jonah.

Kinsey is freshly fired from her independent contractor gig at California Fidelity, and finds a new home with her attorney, Lonnie Kingman. Lonnie needs Kinsey's help investigating an old homicide for a client. Kinsey dives in head first, as always, and puts her life on the line. And in the climactic ending, she owes her life oddly to her ex-boyfriend, Dietz. You're welcome, Kinsey. Get on a plane to Germany already!

We also get the fun side plot of William, Henry's hypochondriac brother, who visits and falls in love with Rosie. Proof that there's a lid for every pot, and the heart wants what it wants. Clich├ęd, but true.

Set in the 1980's, it's interesting to see how much technology has changed things. Caller ID, cell phones, and the internet would have eliminated so many of the issues she encounters. Makes me thankful for all I have now. Phone lines cut? Ha! Fooled you. I don't even have a landline. My cell phone will prevent you for ambushing me in the dark, killers.

Incidentally, this book is the reason why I won't look through a door's peephole. The victim died when the murderer shot her through the door's peephole as she went to look through it. I'm scarred for life now. You knock on my hotel room door, you'd better say something to let me know it's you, or I'm never letting you in. You know, on the off chance you are a murderer.



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Stories I Only Tell My Friends

Stories I Only Tell My FriendsStories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've always enjoyed Rob Lowe: St. Elmo's Fire, The West Wing, and Parks and Rec, but I wouldn't consider myself a huge fan. Sure, he's pretty, and he's taken some great roles. Billy Hicks was one of my first crushes: the pretty, dangerous, incorrigible bad boy with a heart of gold silently screaming, "fix me; love me!" Sam Seaborn was the perfect package: smart, witty, and doing important things for important people. And who couldn't love Chris Traeger? He was literally the best person to move to Pawnee. Ever.

However, you don't have to love Rob Lowe to love this book. It's well-written, and he shares lots of interesting stories about growing up in Ohio, breaking into show business, and the wins and losses along the way. My favorite part was about getting his role in The Outsiders and the subsequent adventures in filming. You can see by his stories that Charlie Sheen has always been a little off-center, and Tom Cruise has always been intense and crazy. I also enjoyed his stories of growing up in the excesses of Malibu, how he felt like the outsider growing up, and his journey to stardom when he wasn't mature enough to handle it. He shares some of his struggles with addiction and gives small glimpses into what seems to be a strong marriage and happy family life. His journey could have gone a very different way, and I think he's grateful for what he has.

If you want a glimpse into what drives someone to persevere as an actor, this is a read for you. I've never had that drive, that pull, to push myself outside of an ordinary life, so it was fascinating to read what kept him going. It was surprising, and an interesting perspective. Clearly it's why I'm not a star--I would never tolerate the bullshit he did to maintain his fame. That, coupled with the cool stories about movies, shows, and actors made this an entertaining read.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This World We Live In (Last Survivors #3)

This World We Live In (Last Survivors, #3)This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More post-apocolyptic goodness. Start stocking up your pantry! These books will trigger the prepper hiding inside of you.

In book 3 of the series, we return to life with Miranda and her family. The world has not recovered from the disasters triggered from the asteroid colliding with the moon, knocking it towards Earth. Miranda has matured in this book. We continue to see her life through her journal entries, and it gives a unique perspective on the happenings and allows us to guess at people's true motives as she does.

It's interesting to think how we would survive if disaster strikes. The Evans family fares better than most because they were resourceful and their mother was prepared and had the foresight to anticipate how long it could take for society to recover. Others didn't adapt, and died. It is an interesting take on survival of the fittest.

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H is for Homicide (Kinsey Millhone #8)

H is for Homicide (Kinsey Millhone, #8)H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rereading the next letter in Grafton's alphabet series, Kinsey finds herself with a new case--looking into insurance fraud--and goes undercover to find the truth. This one was fast-paced and had little of the characters we have come to love: no Henry, Rosie, with limited Vera and Con Doyle. Step back into the eighties where we wore mini-skirts, ratted our hair, and didn't run around with cell phones and internet. It adds a layer of complexity to her investigations that we wouldn't find with our technologically-advanced PIs of today.

Kinsey's always fun to read, and "H" doesn't disappoint, but doesn't necessarily delight, either. Having read them when they were new releases, though, they have stood the test of time for me. Still one of my favorite detective series.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Passion and Purpose

I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Passion and PurposeI Will Not Live an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Passion and Purpose by Dawna Markova
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"It is not the events in our lives that determine who we become, but the meaning we choose to place on those events." - Victor Frankl

I have read this book three times, and I always walk away both centered and inspired. One woman's simple exploration of what her life means, Markova experiences it all; trials, joys, the bitter with the sweet, and shares her journey to living a life of passion and purpose. I found it inspiring and, in a weird way, calming. It was a reminder that I can have exactly what I want out of life, and to slow down and appreciate what I have.

She designs an acronym for LIVE to guide her when she is at a crossroads in life:
L: What do I love?
I: What are my inner gifts and talents?
V: What do I value?
E: What are the environments that bring out the best in me?
In doing so, she stays true to her personal path. Part self-help, part memoir, Markova lays her soul bare for the reader, and reminds you to look at the good and move towards the life you want.





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Taken (Taken #1)

Taken (Taken, #1)Taken by Erin Bowman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Every boy in the village disappears on his 18th birthday, leaving the women to sustain and run society. No one understands why, but accepts it. Their world is surrounded by a large wall, and if you climb it to escape, your charred body is returned for burial. Sounds interesting, right?

It started off with so much promise, but failed to deliver. Evil masterminds, righteous underdogs, and star-crossed lovers. All of the ingredients I usually love. In the interest of avoiding spoilers, I will just say the characters didn't resonate with me, and the big mystery fell flat. I can't put my finger on what was missing for me, but I don't think I will read the other books in the Taken series. That's how little I care about what happens next. Sorry book, I wanted to love you, but I didn't. I'm sure it's not you; it's me. No hard feelings.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors #1)

Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

True confession time: I have a real jones for post-apocalyptic, survival, dystopian fiction. I eat it up! Part of the appeal for me is thinking through how I would react in a similar situation. I'm convinced I would be the last survivor, regardless of the situation. I think I would be very similar to Miranda's mom. Cool in a crisis, I would cash out everything and stockpile food and supplies to help my family survive. In Life As We Knew It, we view everything through Miranda's journal entries. She's immature, and scared, and doesn't always grasp the severity of the situation (naturally--she's 16). Suspend your disbelief as an asteroid hits the moon, moving it closer to the Earth. Chaos ensues. Nature is out of balance. And society as we know it collapses.

Now please excuse me as I go to the store to stockpile gallons of water and food for my pantry. 3 stars.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Independent Study (The Testing #2)

Independent Study (The Testing, #2)Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Independent Study follows Cia Vale as she progresses through University and is selected for her major which dictates what she will do following graduation. We are introduced to some new characters as she is assigned to her house and we uncover more of the mystery of what the government is hiding. Cia is still a Mary Sue. Everyone loves her, she is the smartest, the bravest, and she solves problems. She's clearly being set up to be the next leader of the land; the savior they have been waiting for. We don't get enough Tomas in this book. He's barely a player and I find myself wondering what is going though his head as the events unfold for Cia. What does his initiation look like? How is he feeling about University, the government, and the aftermath of the testing? I need to know more--he keeps me from hating on Cia.

Overall, a solid second installment in the series. If you enjoyed the first book, you will continue to enjoy the second. I'll definitely read Graduation Day to see how it all pans out.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Lost Code (The Atlanteans #1)

The Lost Code (The Atlanteans, #1)The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

You know it doesn't bode well for a book when I make the comment halfway through, "Having a hard time not putting this in my "abandoned" shelf. Horrible dialogue, no likable characters." Sadly, the characters did not improve, the dialogue was terrible, and the premise, while interesting, fell extremely short of the mark.

Owen Parker won a lottery to attend a summer camp in one of the domed cities of the post-apocalypical United States. Our environment is ruined, and the rich can buy their way into living in one of the domes. Fifteen-year-old Owen was possibly the worst part of this book. His inner dialogue was more fitting for an 10-year-old, not someone who is 15. Seriously, dude, you almost drown, you discover a huge secret about yourself, and you find yourself wondering if you are in love with a girl who nearly let you die? Who you have talked to once? Geesh. Get out of here.

The bad guys were bad, the good guys were good, and the simplicity of those lines kept me from caring overly much. I won't be reading book 2. We gave it a good try, but it just didn't work out.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hickory Dickory Dock

Hickory Dickory DockHickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Traditional Agatha Christie with lots of twists and turns. It's a bit hard to keep everyone straight because of she introduces so many characters to the story, but she was the master of surprising me. No one is innocent, but only one person is truly guilty, and every time I thought I had figured things out, she introduced another clue that proved me wrong.

Special bonus for a little bit more look at the infallible Miss Lemon, and small subtraction for limited Poirot--I like the eggheaded, arrogant little man.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Testing (The Testing #1)

The Testing (The Testing, #1)The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Standard dystopian fare, but enjoyable. The world is recovering from war, destruction, and Mother Earth fighting back. There are parallels to the Hunger Games, Divergent and Legend, but with unique twists. Corrupt government? Check. Earth in chaos? Check. Plucky female lead? Check. Budding teen romance? Check. It's all here.

In the United Commonwealth of the former United States, high school graduates can be selected for the Testing for entrance to University. The Testing consists of 5 trials. If you survive these five trials, they interview you and determine if you are worthy to enter University and be a part of rebuilding the country. Cia is a bit of a Mary Sue, but I think she'll bloom in the next book. We'll see. Truth be told, I really want to find out more about her father, so I'm hoping he plays a bigger part in book 2. Or just write me a prequel, Joelle.

Fans of young adult dystopian should check it out. Three stars.

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A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Second read-through of the book. *Disclaimer: I like my book relationships to be very different from my real-life marriage. If my husband tried controlling me like Matthew does with Diana, I'd punch him in the face, then walk away. But since it's a fantasy, I'll allow it.

This book has a lot going on. Vampires, witches, magical manuscripts, time-travel, haunted houses, and daemons. Not my usual fare, to be sure. I rarely, if ever, read paranormal romance. But I love historical fiction and I like the way Harkness weaves in historical facts to her story about Matthew and Diana. Diana is a scholar who stumbles upon an enchanted manuscript during her research. She's also a very reluctant witch, daughter of two very powerful witches, who avoids using her powers at all costs. Matthew is a brooding millionaire vampire scientist, who spends his time researching blood and DNA with his vampire assistants in his lab. He also does yoga and has a castle. In France. With horses and a library. Hey, if he offered me a free trip to his castle, I might let him boss me around for a while, too. As long as I got time to read by the fire and ride his horses. But I digress.

Diana unknowingly triggers many magical creatures when she has the manuscript called from the stacks. She's in danger and Matthew's hero complex goes into complete overdrive to protect her. And possibly eat her, because she smells good. But not right now. He's a good vampire! Very self-controlled. While I rate it a solid three stars, what kept it from being rated higher was Diana. She desperately needs to grow some confidence. She's supposed to be an intelligent, Yale-educated woman at Oxford, for crying out loud. Make good choices and stand on your own two feet! She's my biggest nitpick with the story. It's a little like Twilight for adults, but not in a bad way. It's smarter and more complex. I liked it, flaws and all.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

When You Are Engulfed in Flames

When You Are Engulfed in FlamesWhen You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More adventures of David and Hugh! Hugh is my favorite--the man must be a saint. I find myself waffling between love and hate for David. He is a terrible person, but then he says something that hits so close to home that I find myself laughing out loud because it's so relatable.

Lots of funny vignettes in this one. I think my favorites were the airplane lady, his parents' art collection, and his landlady, Helen, but they all gave me a chuckle. Typical Sedaris fare--give it a read.

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Reading University: Time to declare our majors (and minors)



We've made it through the first seven weeks of our Reading University Challenge, and it's time to declare our majors and minors.

Zach

Major:  History
Minor:  Social Sciences

Maddie

Major:  Science
Minor:  Social Sciences

Michelle

Major: History
Minor: Science

It will be interesting to hear about the selections over the next six weeks.  Here we go!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Physical Education Week

Physical Education


This week we each read an arts book from one of the subtopics we laid out for Reading University.  Our subtopics needed to fit one of the following criteria:

Baseball - fiction or non-fiction book about baseball or a baseball player
General Sports - fiction or non-fiction book about any sport other than baseball
Olympics - fiction or non-fiction book about the Olympics, an Olympian, or any Olympic sport
Sports History - fiction or non-fiction historical book involving any sport

Books Selected:


Zach (Sports History - Mountain Climbing)

Ghosts of Everest: The Search for Mallory and Irvine by Jochen Hemmleb
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The story of the expedition to find Mallory and Irvine who lost their lives attempting to first summit Everest in 1924.  This book is full of cool facts and pictures, and has a lot of climbing history.

There is also a picture of Mallory's frozen body, so NSFW.  It was pretty chill to see a corpse.  Get it, chill?  hahaha




Michelle (Sports History - Mountain Climbing)

The Mountain: My Time on Everest by Ed Viesturs with David Roberts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you are Ed Viesturs's mom, look away now. You may not want to read this...

I love reading travel and adventure memoirs. Reading about places that I may never get to visit, dangers I may never get to experience, and people I may never get to meet makes me feel a little more well-rounded. I have armchair traveled to Everest several times and thought I would enjoy this book, so I bought it without reading anything about it.

Ed Viesturs comes across as strangely unlikeable and a bit of an ass. He was featured in the Everest IMAX documentary and he didn't seem that way in the movie, so I have to attribute it to the weird combination of using a co-writer whose voice differed so greatly from the voice in Viestur's climbing diaries. The entire book reads as one huge humblebrag. He sprinkles stories of climbing history, his attempts on Everest and other 8000s, and adventures of other climbers he has known and worked with throughout the book. His diary entries made me think, "I'll bet this guy is insufferable at parties. He thinks he's amazing." I get it; you are brave and have successfully reached the summit several times--no small feat. I would never, ever attempt such insanity, as I hate to be cold and am a bit afraid of heights. He seemed critical of some of his peers and a bit smug about the decisions he would have made in those situations, as if his superior judgment is why he is alive today while so many others have perished. But Ed, mountain climbing is an inherently dangerous sport. If you have not had an unfortunate accident, I believe it is a matter of luck, not skill. Mother Nature can and will take you out at anytime, so count your blessings.

I did enjoy all of the stories about various summit attempts on Everest, and would still recommend to people who love adventure and climbing. But Viesturs's writing definitely annoyed me. I have a copy of another one of his books, "No Shortcuts to the Top," and I will give it a try. Hopefully it is less of a humblebrag and more of a collection of entertaining climbing vignettes. One more chance, Ed, one more chance. Don't let me down!


Maddie (General Sports - Mountain Climbing)


Following Atticus by Tom Ryan




The Mountain: My Time on Everest

The Mountain: My Time on EverestThe Mountain: My Time on Everest by Ed Viesturs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you are Ed Viesturs's mom, look away now. You may not want to read this...

I love reading travel and adventure memoirs. Reading about places that I may never get to visit, dangers I may never get to experience, and people I may never get to meet makes me feel a little more well-rounded. I have armchair traveled to Everest several times and thought I would enjoy this book, so I bought it without reading anything about it.

Ed Viesturs comes across as strangely unlikeable and a bit of an ass. He was featured in the Everest IMAX documentary and he didn't seem that way in the movie, so I have to attribute it to the weird combination of using a co-writer whose voice differed so greatly from the voice in Viestur's climbing diaries. The entire book reads as one huge humblebrag. He sprinkles stories of climbing history, his attempts on Everest and other 8000s, and adventures of other climbers he has known and worked with throughout the book. His diary entries made me think, "I'll bet this guy is insufferable at parties. He thinks he's amazing." I get it; you are brave and have successfully reached the summit several times--no small feat. I would never, ever attempt such insanity, as I hate to be cold and am a bit afraid of heights. He seemed critical of some of his peers and a bit smug about the decisions he would have made in those situations, as if his superior judgment is why he is alive today while so many others have perished. But Ed, mountain climbing is an inherently dangerous sport. If you have not had an unfortunate accident, I believe it is a matter of luck, not skill. Mother Nature can and will take you out at anytime, so count your blessings.

I did enjoy all of the stories about various summit attempts on Everest, and would still recommend to people who love adventure and climbing. But Viesturs's writing definitely annoyed me. I have a copy of another one of his books, "No Shortcuts to the Top," and I will give it a try. Hopefully it is less of a humblebrag and more of a collection of entertaining climbing vignettes. One more chance, Ed, one more chance. Don't let me down!


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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mathematics Week

Mathematics


This week we each read a mathematics book from one of the subtopics we laid out for Reading University.  Our subtopics needed to fit one of the following criteria:

Math - fiction or non-fiction book involving mathematics or numbers, or a math teacher or mathematician as a main character
Probability and Statistics - fiction or non-fiction book about odds, gambling, or a gambler. May also include books about chess or a chess player
Computers and Cryptography - fiction or non-fiction book about computers, computer science, or cryptography
Finance - fiction or non-fiction book about money, the stock market, or a book where the main character is a millionaire or on a quest for riches

Books Selected:

Zach (Probability and Statistics - Gambling)


Banker by Dick Francis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Banker starts off with a bang.  Tim's boss has a meltdown and soaks himself in the fountain outside of work.  While he is recovering, Tim takes over his duties at the merchant banking house and uncovers a horse racing mystery that nearly costs him his life.

I was surprised at how much I liked this book.  I thought it would be boring, but it kept my interest.


Michelle (Finance - Money)

 Banker by Dick Francis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dick Francis was the master of writing the everyman hero: ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations. It's part of the appeal for me. He always found a way to combine an interesting topic with characters you could root for, and worked them seamlessly into the world of horse racing. This time, we step into the world of finance with merchant banker Tim Ekaterin. As Tim takes on more responsibility at his family's banking house to cover for a sick colleague, he takes a chance on financing a prize-winning race horse. What follows takes on twists and turns, with some surprising revelations.

The good: I liked Tim. Like most Francis protagonists, he was a good guy, and you want everything to work out for him. The mystery kept me guessing. Just when I thought, "Oh, I totally know what's going on," another piece of the puzzle dropped and made me rethink my suppositions. The unique topic was banking, and it was an interesting look into the world of finance and how some of the decisions are made. And the racing! I love horse racing, and his books make me wish I was an English trainer, or jockey, or horse owner.

The bad-ish: The ending was abrupt, and I felt like this book was begging for an epilogue. Minor nitpick, but still a bit disappointing. Subtracting a half-star for that.  Otherwise, it was an enjoyable read for me, as always.



Maddie (Probability and Statistics - Chess)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first book in the epic series, we join Harry as he begins his life as a young wizard.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Banker

BankerBanker by Dick Francis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dick Francis was the master of writing the everyman hero: ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations. It's part of the appeal for me. He always found a way to combine an interesting topic with characters you could root for, and worked them seamlessly into the world of horse racing. This time, we step into the world of finance with merchant banker Tim Ekaterin. As Tim takes on more responsibility at his family's banking house to cover for a sick colleague, he takes a chance on financing a prize-winning race horse. What follows takes on twists and turns, with some surprising revelations.

The good: I liked Tim. Like most Francis protagonists, he was a good guy, and you want everything to work out for him. The mystery kept me guessing. Just when I thought, "Oh, I totally know what's going on," another piece of the puzzle dropped and made me rethink my suppositions. The unique topic was banking, and it was an interesting look into the world of finance and how some of the decisions are made. And the racing! I love horse racing, and his books make me wish I was an English trainer, or jockey, or horse owner.

The bad: The ending was abrupt, and I felt like this book was begging for an epilogue. Minor nitpick, but still a bit disappointing. Otherwise, it was an enjoyable read for me, as always.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Witch of Blackbird PondThe Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

*Part of my "Reviewing Children's Classics" series.

Every so often it is nice to revisit old childhood favorites to see how they stand the test of time, or to read ones that you somehow missed. I had never read "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" when I was growing up. My daughter read it for our family book club a few summers ago and she made it sound so interesting that I finally picked it up to read. She was right; I really enjoyed it.

Set prior to the Revolutionary War, Kit travels from Barbados to her family in Connecticut after her grandfather dies, leaving her homeless and penniless. She grew up in a life of wealth and privilege, so adjusting to the Puritan life of colonial America was a bit of an adjustment. She befriends an old Quaker woman who is shunned for her beliefs, and eventually matures and better understands the world.

If you haven't read this little gem, you should, especially if you like historical fiction. It's a fast, enjoyable read.

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