Friday, February 27, 2015

A Charming Crime (Magical Cure Mystery #1)

A Charming Crime (Magical Cure Mystery, #1)A Charming Crime by Tonya Kappes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A cute start to the series. I liked it more than I expected. A bit fluffy, but a fast read. I loved her cat, Mr. Prince Charming. He saved the book from veering into 2 star territory.

Seriously, though, I could barely get past all of the Ding Dongs. Crazy girl had them stashed under the steps in her basement? How expired were they if she stashed them for an emergency? She had them in her glove box, in her purse, just everywhere. I know that if I ate that many Ding Dongs, I certainly wouldn't look like the woman on the front of the book. Just saying'.

Ding Dongs aside, I will continue with the series. Not my usual genre, but still fun.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His TimeLongitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have a unique talent for getting lost. I would not have been a good explorer. This book just drives that point home for me. I frequently get lost (or, as I like to describe it, take the long way home) and it is a source of humor for my husband when he gets the phone call telling him I have no idea where I am. And Las Vegas really isn't big enough to get lost in.

Anyway, "Longitude" examines the problem of how it could accurately be charted and how many worked tirelessly to find a way. Part history, part science, I found it interesting to see how early minds tackled this problem that we take for granted with all of our technology. It's something I hadn't considered before.

Harrison had an fascinating mind to imagine and invent the marine chronometer necessary to solve the puzzle. And for that, dear sir, we thank you for the innovations that keep us from being lost on this big planet.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hell is Empty (Walt Longmire #7)

Hell Is Empty (Walt Longmire, #7)Hell Is Empty by Craig Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series gets better with each book.

This time around, Walt is assisting with a prisoner transfer and investigation with several agencies, including the FBI. Yes, there is cold, ice, and the typical Wyoming winter you have come to expect. Is it ever summer, or even spring, in Absaroka county? Or are all of the criminals so excited to have some warmth that they take some time off from breaking the law so we don't get mysteries set in summer? But I digress.

Walt, protector of everyone, is on the hunt when the prisoner transfer goes south in the middle of a blizzard. He's my favorite version of an everyman hero, and I love the partners he takes in this one to save the day.

If you aren't already reading this series, you should be. But don't start with this one--start at the beginning and enjoy the ride.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Emerald (Jewel #2)

Emerald (Jewel, #2)Emerald by Lauren Royal

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More adventures with the Chase Family in Restoration-age England. This time we journey with Jason Chase, the Marquess of Cainewood.

For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, I didn't like this one as much as I loved Amethyst. It's the same formula (almost exactly) but I didn't love Jason as much as Colin. Cait is charming and strong. Jason is a bit bland in ways Colin was not. Still, the historical aspects are extremely interesting and the overall it is a solid historical romance read. I will continue on in the series.

View all my reviews

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Red Tent

The Red TentThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. The writing was lovely.

I went in not knowing much about the bible stories behind it, and I think allowing the book to unfold made it even better. I was captivated by the women's friendships and rituals, but what really drew me in was the tragedies and joys of Dinah's life. I loved following her life from start to finish, and didn't want the story to end. It was a beautiful book. No need to be religious to enjoy the story--it's a wonderful historical fiction read all on its own.

View all my reviews

Yes Please

Yes PleaseYes Please by Amy Poehler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amy Poehler, I want to be your best friend. Is that weird?

Seriously, I think she and I would be the best of friends. She's funny, and smart, and seems like a genuinely good person and a good mom. She has stayed humble despite her fame, and is still a little self-conscious and brave enough to share it in her book. I loved the stories about her time on SNL. I laughed out loud several times throughout and fell even further in love with Parks & Rec, my favorite show. She's a funny, funny woman. I want to hang out with her and listen to more stories. Love you, Amy!

P.S. I recommend this on audiobook format. She reads it herself and has celebrity guests as well. Not sure how it is in book format.

View all my reviews

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mr Monk and the Blue Flu (Mr. Monk #3)

Mr. Monk and The Blue Flu (Mr. Monk, #3)Mr. Monk and The Blue Flu by Lee Goldberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

These books are fun, easy reads. If you loved Monk, you will enjoy reading these mysteries by Lee Goldberg. If you didn't watch Monk when it was on, set this book aside and watch the series. It is so good!

Told through the voice of Natalie, his assistant, she gives us Monk through her eyes. The labor dispute leads to a "sick out" where Monk temporarily gets his badge back, and is teamed up with similar misfits to solve a series of crimes involving one left shoe. If you know Monk, you know how crazy this makes him. The story moves fast and reads more like a screenplay, but is an amusing way to pass the afternoon.

View all my reviews

The Hills of Tuscany: A New Life in an Old Land

The Hills of Tuscany: A New Life in an Old LandThe Hills of Tuscany: A New Life in an Old Land by Ferenc Máté

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ah, Tuscany! I love you so. I have armchair traveled there many times, and will visit in person someday.

I loved reading about how one couple relocated to a small village in Tuscany and learned to live among the locals. I read with jealousy how they simplified their lives and settled into the slower routine. I would love to be able to do something similar someday. Whenever I read about Tuscany, something pulls at my soul. Having no Italian blood in my heritage, I find it odd, so it must be my soul was there in a previous iteration of life. Hunting truffles, gathering the grape harvest, sharing food and drink with friends. Tending my garden and reading books. This sounds like the perfect life. Obviously the author has a different financial and family situation than I do, so I will patiently save up for a trip while he jet-sets around the globe. Jealous. Good for you, sir, good for you.

View all my reviews

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1)

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This just wasn't for me. The story never sucked me in and I hated the main character. And when a book is based around this character and this character only, it's important you don't hate him. From the opening pages, I knew I would have trouble finishing this book. Jorg is simply terrible, and when the author gives you insights into why this boy (yes, boy) is a sociopath, it doesn't add up. I kept on, thinking it would make sense at the end, yet it didn't.

There is a ton of great epic fantasy out there, so I wouldn't waste your time on this one. I won't be continuing on with the series.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Name of the Rose

The Name of the RoseThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me a while to get into the story, but in the end I enjoyed it.

You might find yourself bogged down with Eco's need to show you how much he knows about monks, religious rites, and history. Descriptions are everywhere--you practically drown in them. But wade through it all and you will find Brother William, a Medieval-era Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick, Adso. William notices details that others overlook. He comes to the monastery as they have just discovered a suicide. Several deaths follow as William and Adso work together to figure out what is happening. The monks are quite naughty, and the mystery is solid.

It wasn't a quick read due to the tremendous amount of details Eco adds, but it is a good book. Now off to watch the movie!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I Am Legend

I Am LegendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Did you see the movie? If yes, forget what you watched and read this book. If no, don't watch the movie and instead read this book.

Different, and infinitely better, this book will take you on an emotional ride. Imagine you are the last uninfected human on earth. Vampires are everywhere. You spend your days scavenging around, taking what you can find from the remains the dead left behind. You spend your nights holed up in your house, listening to the infected attempting to get in. Imagine you find a friend, a companion. A sliver of hope. But life is unpredictable, and so is this book.

Read it, but have something happy to read immediately afterwards to cleanse your soul. I chose "Yes Please" by Amy Poehler, but you can choose whatever you would like, as long as it makes you happy.

View all my reviews

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Clocks (Hercule Poirot #34)

The ClocksThe Clocks by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another Christie classic. This one takes us into the intriguing spy games of the 1960s.

A murdered man. A blind woman. A young secretary. And 4 mysterious clocks left behind. How do they all fit together? Leave to the masterful Agatha Christie to weave a plot that leaves you guessing, but makes sense in the end. Our old friend Hercule Poirot is there, twirling his mustaches and drinking hot chocolates. He is pompous, but I love him for some unexplainable reason. And Colin, marine biologist / investigator, is a likable character--wish he was around for more.

Poirot may be old, but the guy is still at the top of his game. #34 in the series, and still enjoyable.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Brain on Fire: My Month of MadnessBrain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If I am ever acting crazy, please go find Susannah Cahalan's doctor before checking me into a mental institution.

This is an interesting story of one woman's journey into a world of misdiagnosis, disease, and madness. Part medical mystery, part memoir, part cautionary tale, you get a unique perspective into her illness and recovery. I was left thinking about how many patients are misdiagnosed and assumed to be mentally ill when they really have a curable disease. Very scary to consider. Also, her boyfriend and family should be considered for sainthood. It was hard on all of them but they didn't give up. Good people, right there.

And seriously, if I am not acting like myself, make sure I don't have encephalitis. I can't stress this enough.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian GrayThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Continuing my quest to read through the classics. I can't believe I've not read this one before.

Art. Vanity. Hedonism. Sin. Murder. This book runs the gamut of debauchery. It was quite scandalous in 1890. Written by Oscar "Buck" Wilde, it was part of the evidence in his gross indecency trial and conviction.
So many tragic ends in this one. Poor Sybil Vane! Poor James Vane! Poor Basil Hallward! No one who crosses Dorian's path comes out ok. Not even Dorian.

Enjoy this piece of classic horror, and if an artist friend asks you to sit for a portrait, tell him, "no thanks".

View all my reviews

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Tutor's Daughter

The Tutor's DaughterThe Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not my typical choice, but I enjoyed the mystery interwoven with the historical fiction. A bit preachy, but what else can you expect from something labeled Christian Regency romance?
I did enjoy the characters for the most part and there isn't anything too objectionable here, although the plot does drag a bit in places, the historical setting and details made up for it.

View all my reviews

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young GirlThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I can't believe I had never read this before. Heartbreaking to read about what happened to all of them after their discovery and capture.

I was surprised by this book. I expected more thoughts around being discovered, but in a way it is nice to see that she really was a young girl with hopes for the future. She was annoyed by her perfect older sister and her mom drove her crazy. It could apply to any girl at any time period.

I would be absolutely stir-crazy in the Annex. It's a miracle they didn't get caught sooner. Bad food, no food, no entertainment, strict schedules. You couldn't use the bathroom when you wanted.
I realize those in the concentration camps had it much worse, and it seems Anne did, too. For a young girl, she didn't complain too terribly much about being stuck there. She knew she was fortunate in a lot of ways.

I thought it was interesting to see how she matured during their time in the Annex. Deep down inside, she was just a regular teenaged girl, the same world-over. She really could have been a talented writer. What a shame.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Junkyard Dogs (Walt Longmire #6)

Junkyard Dogs (Walt Longmire, #6)Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of my favorite series. I love Walt and Henry so much! Both are great characters, complex, loyal, and funny.

This one keeps us close to home, with Walt investigating an accident, family conflicts, and murders. Absaroka County is a tough place to live, for sure. All of our favorites are back in this one: Sancho, Lucien, Vic, and Dog. What starts out as a family feud quickly escalates into a much larger conspiracy, and I had no idea whodunnit until it was spelled out to me, in typical Johnson fashion. He's the master of the plot twist. I never figure it out, but once he tells us who and why, everything makes sense. He seems to be channeling Agatha Christie.

Another really great installment. Read this series!

View all my reviews