Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: Still Life with Bread Crumbs

Still Life with Bread CrumbsStill Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. It's lovely. It wouldn't have been a book I could appreciate ten years ago, but I appreciated everything about it now that I'm older. So glad I read it. This book won't be for everyone, and that's ok. 4 stars.

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Review: The Bride (Lairds' Fiancées #1)

The Bride (Lairds' Fiancées, #1)The Bride by Julie Garwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What can I say? I like my heroines smart and sassy and my men strong and bossy. I like fire in my relationships. Shut up.

I may have found another guilty pleasure book. This time, it's not pirates like you would expect, but a Highlander. Not an immortal one, but a Laird. A sexy, brooding Laird used to getting his own way from everyone. Enter the arranged marriage of a young English woman. She's spirited, doesn't take his rank seriously, and sparks ensure. Good stuff!

This book hit all of the right notes for me. Historical? Check. Overbearing, bossy man? Check. Smart, mostly fearless, independent woman? Check. Happily Ever After? Of course! I wouldn't read it otherwise. Can't wait to read book 2.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Review: Murder to Go (Food Truck Mysteries #1)

Murder to Go (Food Truck Mysteries #1)Murder to Go by Chloe Kendrick

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not the worst book I've ever read, but dang, there were some dumb parts. The mystery actually doesn't make sense when all is said and done.

Maeve inherits a food truck from her zany aunt, who may or may not have had a girlfriend after her husband died. So what, you say? Yes, I agree. But apparently that was supposed to be important to the plot, except it so wasn't. Maeve's mom was pretty offensive about the fact that sexuality is a spectrum, not a 50/50 choice. The mystery would have stayed the same without adding this part, so it seemed shoe horned in to make a statement. Anyway. Someone is out to get Maeve, and people's heads are being cut off. CUT. OFF. Again, this part was never explained. Ever. Add in the "millennials are a lazy bunch vs. a victim of economic circumstances" theme and the unrealistic characterizations (see lesbian / not lesbian plotline, grouchy yet sexy male characters) and you might or might not be intrigued enough to read book 2. I am a masochist and will read it if it is free and it fits a challenge. Your mileage may vary.

P.S. Who has a death in the family and doesn't ask how they died? Especially if you are the main inheritor? Really? Selfish, selfish, selfish. And dumb.

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Review: UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale #1)

UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale, #1)UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute start to the series. I'll read the next one.

I see a lot of the reviews say the typos were terrible. Thank god I listened to this on audio, because nothing pulls me out of a book faster than poor editing. Mina is clumsy and unpopular at her high school. She has a crush on the popular rich guy. She reminds me of Mia from the Princess Diaries. In fact, now that I think about it, her best friend reminds me of Lily, and the whole book is similar in a lot of ways. So if you liked the Princess Diaries, you will probably like this book too.

Anyway, standard high school young adult paranormal. Three stars.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Review: Death of a Perfect Wife (Hamish Macbeth #4)

Death of a Perfect WifeDeath of a Perfect Wife by M.C. Beaton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ah, Hamish. You are such a simple man. Priscilla doesn't deserve you.

More murder and mayhem in Lochdubh. For such a small, quiet village lots of people get murdered. I grew up in a small town of 2700 people and we rarely had these shenanigans go on. The one cop on duty was resigned to setting up speed traps (in the same place!!) to get some action. We didn't even have any stoplights, so I feel like I'm a bit of an expert in small town life. Hamish would have fit in perfectly. Anyway, a busybody newcomer is killed, with a long list of suspects. She was pretty terrible, so anyone could have been the culprit. But Hamish solves the case like we would expect, with no resolution to his relationship with Priscilla. Looking forward to book 5.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: Catch Me If You Can

Catch Me If You CanCatch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a lot like the movie, at least what I remember. It was a long time ago.

Con man stories are fun, and it is outrageous to me what he was able to get away with at such a young age. Airline pilot, doctor, lawyer. It's ridiculous. But a couple of things really struck me. First of all, there was an utter lack of remorse. He's smug and proud of what he accomplished. A complete sociopath. He said he felt bad in a few places, but I don't believe him. And the ending was abrupt. It just ended on one of his escapades. I would have rather heard about his punishment through his eyes. It was a strange choice to me.

Overall it was entertaining. Three stars.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Review: The Program (The Program #1)

The Program (The Program, #1)The Program by Suzanne Young

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've had this one on my shelf for a while, and I'm glad I finally read it. Good start to the series.

The pros: I didn't hate any of the characters. I'm weird about things like this, and I liked Sloan, I liked James, and I liked Realm. I liked how the plot unfolded and we got little pieces along with Sloan. Mystery, dystopian, with a dash of romance and teen angst. All good things.

The cons: Well, if you go in knowing it's a young adult dystopian series, there aren't a lot of cons. Maybe the insta-love, but again, you know that will be a thing in young adult.

I'm excited to read book 2. 3 1/2 stars. Can't bring myself to give it 4 stars, but it's close.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Review: The Eighty Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation

The Eighty Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired A NationThe Eighty Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired A Nation by Elizabeth Letts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Be right back, I'm running off to buy me a horse! Loved reading about Snowman's rescue from the glue factory to national champion. Who doesn't love a rags to riches story, especially when it involves animals?

This book is as much about Harry de Leyer as it is about Snowman. It's about a friendship and love between man and beast, and I'm not going to lie, I teared up at the end.

I listened to it on audio, and the narration was well done, but I'm sure it's just as good in book form. 3 stars.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review: Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1)

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)Soulless by Gail Carriger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book. I can't believe I waited so long to read it. It's one of my new favorite series. I think the steampunk kept me away, but it was subtle enough to forget and fall in love with the characters.

Alexia is my favorite type of MC. She's strong, and sassy, but not too perfect. In fact, her acknowledgment of her flaws adds to her charm. Same for Lord Maccon--my new book boyfriend. Strong, brash, bossy, and a little overbearing. Hey, what can I say? I have a type. The two of them make the perfect point-counterpoint.

The plot is good, the romance is good, the action is good, the setting is good. I just love everything about it! Read it. Enjoy it. You know you want to!

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Review: Attachments

AttachmentsAttachments by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again, I find myself in love with Rainbow Rowell. I think we could be best friends. I adore her books. It's rare that I find an author whose work resonates with me on so many levels. I don't typically read chick-lit, or sappy romances, or whatever classification you would call her books. But she gets me. The dialogue, the characters, they are are so realistic and I find myself thinking about the stories long after the book is finished. I'm not a crazy stalker, but I would like to have coffee with her sometime.

In this one, we get to play voyeur with Lincoln, the overnight IT guy who is tasked with monitoring the internal emails at the newspaper. It's a crappy job, but someone has to do it. I guess. Depends on which side you sit on for personal privacy in the workplace. Some really amusing exchanges between Beth, the movie reviewer, and Jennifer, the copy editor, get flagged, and Lincoln gets sucked into their lives. Me too. They both seem awesome. Anyway, that's how it starts. I will spare you the spoilers and just encourage you to read it.

The book gave me warm and fuzzies. What? I'm not a robot. Beep boop.

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Review: Half the World (Shattered Sea #2)

Half the World (Shattered Sea, #2)Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More adventures with Father Yarvi and the gang. Welcome back!

Yarvi has a couple of new members of the crew this time. Meet Thorn. Tough, sassy, with a streak of insecurity inside of her. A girl after my own heart. Meet Brand. A warrior with a peaceful heart. Together they can do great things if they would just listen to Father Yarvi and the gang.

It was another great installment in the series. Yarvi has grown and matured, mostly for the better. The Queen is still fantastic, just as you would expect. And the band of misfits are all interesting and fun.

Action-packed, full of intrigue, with just a dash of romance. Good stuff.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review: Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle

Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish IsleCall the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle by Mary J. Macleod

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quaint, interesting anecdotes about a family who moves to the remote Hebrides of Scotland. Mary J, the country nurse, sees the islanders through good times and bad. Some stories are funny, some are quite sad, and some will make you shake your head.

An interesting look into the culture of rural Scotland and the life of a woman devoted to helping others.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Review: The Shade of the Moon (The Last Survivors #4)

The Shade of the Moon (The Last Survivors, #4)The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Jon was insufferable. Just really the worst.

I would like to think that someone who had been through as much as he has would be a better person. Lisa, too. But the two of them were terrible people, and therefore I couldn't bring myself to care about either one of them. Plus, the writing in this one fell flat. The dialogue was stilted and it seemed like the author just wanted to crank out another book in the series. Stick with Miranda and Alex if you write future installments. A disappointment all-around.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review: A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford #1)

A Duty To The Dead (Bess Crawford, #1)A Duty To The Dead by Charles Todd

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

New series for me, and it's off to a great start. Really liked it.

Bess Crawford is a wartime nurse who makes a promise to a young dying soldier to deliver a message to his brother. When she does she finds herself wrapped up in a mystery from the past. The mystery is smartly plotted and even though I guessed at a few twists and turns, it was still really enjoyable.

I like Bess. She's a strong, confident character but not an insufferable Mary Sue. I like her father, and I like Simon. It has the bonus of being a historical mystery, which is my two favorites mixed together. And a series to boot! I am really looking forward to the next book in the series.

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Review: How Will You Measure Your Life?

How Will You Measure Your Life?How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quick read about the goals you set for your life and how you can apply them in all areas. I especially enjoyed the section called, "What Makes Us Tick". It was all about motivation, for both yourself and others. Some of his thoughts for job satisfaction that really resonated with me:

Is this job meaningful to me?
Is this job going to give me a chance to develop?
Am I going to learn new things?
Will I have an opportunity for recognition and achievement?
Am I going to be given responsibility?

Good thoughts around parenting, work, and life. Three stars.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: Bird Box

Bird BoxBird Box by Josh Malerman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. Let me unscrew my mind for a minute. I still don't have a clue what was happening in this book.

If you like creepy psychological horror/mystery/dystopia, you should give this book a try. I refuse to tell you beyond what you can get from the book description, because you should go in blind (see what I did there?)

Just do it. But don't read the part in the bar at night. Or read it and don't cry to me later. You've been warned.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1)

The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries, #1)The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute start to the series. It's very different from the movie, especially her grandmother. Try to wipe your mind before reading, because you aren't getting Julie Andrews here, folks.

In case you have no idea what this series is about, Mia finds out she is a princess. A real princess. Of a small country in Europe. She's dorky, and unpopular, and a bit weird, like most high school freshmen. And now this? Nothing but trouble.

This book will help you remember how awkward high school was. And then you can be glad you made it to adulthood.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1)

Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After, #1)Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am shocked by how much I enjoyed this book. It was right up my alley, though. Historical with a strong female lead. Nothing turns me off faster than a sniveling, insecure woman who can't function without a man.

This was a good one. Semi-fairy tale world with some realism thrown in. Issy is alone in the world after the death of her father, when she is bequeathed a castle from a family friend. The current occupant, Duke Ransom, had no idea his castle had been sold by his solicitors. Hilarity ensues as they both stubbornly refuse to budge. And it's a romance, so you just know they will fall in love by the end. But how they get there is good--really good, actually. Give this one a read.

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