Friday, December 30, 2011

My New Years Resolution

Tine is short.  Far too short to waste reading a book you aren't enjoying, regardless of the rave reviews.  I have been enjoying a fabulous little book of  'recommended reads' and the author has a great rule that she calls "The Rule of 50".  If you are under 50, then you should read 50 pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading or giving up a book.  As you get older, time gets even shorter so, once you are over 50, then she says to subtract your age from 100, and that is how many pages you should read.

As the author says, no one is getting any points in heaven for slogging through a book they aren't enjoying but think they ought to read.  I am subscribing to this new motto and have even created an "Abandoned/Did Not Finish Category" in honor of it!  I will be more ruthless and try to read only really good enjoyable books.

Did you make any New Years Resolutions?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate RelationshipsThe Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Lerner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It has been years since I read this book and it is as good as I remember. Clear and simple in how to get to the root of issues, take responsibility (not try to change the other person) and handle things productively. It talks about how when one person over-functions, this allows the other person to under-function (any guesses on which role the woman usually has? ) and how to correct that balance. I think that every woman should read this book! Excellent.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

When She WokeWhen She Woke by Hillary Jordan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book started off with so much promise but, unfortunately didn't follow through. I absolutely LOVED Mudbound so would recommend that you check that out.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The most precocious nine-year-old on the planet is interviewing every person with the last name of Black in NYC. Why? His father, who died in the WTC tragedy, left a blue vase in his closet. The vase held a key in a small brown envelope with the word "black" on it. The boy assumes that "black" refers to a person's last name hence the interviews. He is convinced that locating this person will lead to finding out exactly how his father really died or what the key is for.

The story line was very disjointed and felt gimmicky. As others have said, this author has a significant amount of linguistic muscle without almost no craft. The repetitive phrases were so annoying (If I hear "heavy boots" one more time - AGH!) The Sunday School platitudes are equally as grating....whenever the author writes something that he finds "beautiful" and "true", he congratulates himself on his brilliance and tells us that that thing is "beautiful" and "true." The entire book reeks of such unearned profundity. I wanted to love this book but found it Extremely Irritating and Incredibly Boring.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Book Lust

Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and ReasonBook Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl


I got this for Christmas (I am a big girl and don't have to wait till the 25th ) A WONDERFUL book that is grouped by Sections/Topics such as: Bomb Makers, Latin America Fiction, Pawns of History, Russian Heavies, World War II Fiction etc., with each section listing a few books and a short description. Most of the sections take up <1 page so, this little gem is packed with recommendations. I love the authors advise in regards to her favorites may not be your favorites - take 100 minus your age and that is how many pages you should read of a book before you decide whether to read or toast it. This is going to be a book I refer to on an ongoing basis. WONDERFUL gift for any book lover - Thanks Luce!!!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

2012 Is Right Around The Corner

This is the time of year people consider to be a 'fresh start'. For me, I make various goals: financial, relationship, health and personal goals. A goal that I am making this year is that I have decided to be more cognizant of my computer time.  For me, that means making my time on the computer meaningful and to try to limit my random surfing so that I can use that time to focus on my many hobbies.  So many people told me that they missed my old blog, so I thought I would resurrect it in a slightly different format.

Starting a blog may seem contrary to a goal of spending less time on the computer but, what I am hoping is that I can post various things to keep in touch with folks about my life, my travels, my boyz, my knitting/crochet and my books and other things that are going on in life and, in return, you will either comment here on the posts or email me.  Don't worry, I still plan on emailing as well but, I thought I would try this to share various occurrences and things that are on my mind that I want to share.

I am not sure if this idea will work or not but, I figure that time will tell.  What do you think?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Rapture of CanaanThe Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is narrated by 15 yo Ninah Huff and tells the story of her being raised in a commune type of environment in a cult her Grandfather started. Excellent writing and I will be reading more by Reynolds in the future.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

InvisibleInvisible by Paul Auster
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is akin to a car accident that you just can't help yourself with watching....even though you know you will regret it. The book is told in 3 parts, Summer, Fall & The Ending. Summer was very good, Fall was uncomfortable and The Ending was.....it just was. I did LOVE the writing and that almost made me want to rate it higher but, the story line was lacking. I will definitely read something else by Auster in future.

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Friday, December 9, 2011


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this quiet story of Rachel DuPree. Set in the early 1900's, it starts with Rachel working as a cook in a boardinghouse in Chicago and follows her life as she gets married and she and her husband stake a claim and move to the Badlands of South Dakota. It is a wonderful glimpse into the African American homesteaders and what they endured.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Good WifeThe Good Wife by Stewart O'Nan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Patty is pregnant when she gets a phone call in the middle of the night from her husband Tommy saying he has been arrested for being at a house where there was a murder/robbery. This is an quiet book that shows over the next 28 years how Patty's life unfolds. This is a haunting novel about enduring. It felt long but, that was the point - to capture the ordinariness of her life and how this could happen to anyone. It makes you think "how would I cope in those circumstances?" I don't know if I would recommend this book but I enjoyed it and will definitely be reading more by O'Nan.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

The Sky Is EverywhereThe Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an extremely enjoyable book. Lennie Walker is 17 years old when her older sister Bailey dies suddenly. This book captured so many emotions in such a true way - particularly grief and young love.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Learning to SwimLearning to Swim by Sara J. Henry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was an effortless read with likeable characters. I don't typically care for mysteries but, really loved Troy and how things unfolded. I was so glad that the author didn't take it to the romantic level. It ended exactly how it should have. A very enjoyable read to lose yourself in.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

22 Britannia Road: A Novel22 Britannia Road: A Novel by Amanda Hodgkinson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This had wonderful potential but, it never delivered. The writing style felt choppy, the characters weren't fully formed and felt like strangers and it strained in credibility. It was hard to feel empathy for a man who goes awol and spends him wandering around Europe and having an affair. As for Silvana, she had a much more difficult time during the war but the inconsistencies (she suddenly forgot how to hunt for food or what?) and false claims (she is strong but acts very weak) left the reader feeling little sympathy for either character. I really wanted to like this book but am surprised that I stuck it out to the end.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy

My rating: 3.6 of 5 stars

 A wife who's husband has gone off to war and is left in their home on Guernsey Island to take care of their two daughters and his mother-in-law while the Germans occupy the Island. So many beautiful descriptions that make you feel the conflicting emotions and what it would have been like to have lived in that time.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

The HistorianThe Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This novel was better than I anticipated. The ending was very disappointing (Dracula kidnaps someone to catalog his library - really??) The history was fascinating but, this book still dragged at many points. All of this being true, it still was an entertaining read in a DaVinci Code type of way.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Border SongsBorder Songs by Jim Lynch
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed “The Highest Tide”. I wanted to like Border Songs. It has the same quirky character with similar idiosyncrasies. I loved the setting of my old stomping grounds of the border towns of Lynden, Blaine, White Rock and Abbotsford. Still, something missed the mark where the wry humor and the dysfunction were just a bit too ‘off’. The character development felt more like tangents that didn’t go anywhere. Instead of this book, I would recommend The Highest Tide.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is going to be my pick for my next bookclub month. A mix of the horrid autrocities of the Japanese on the Filipino people in WWII, and the wonderful magical tales of the Philippines - all told with such beautiful eloquence.


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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Child 44Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is divided into two halves. The first half appears to be separate stories that capture the horrid conditions of living during Stalin's Soviet Union. When being accused meant guilt which meant death. There was never anyone accused who was innocent. Even the children understood the fear and jeopardy you could put everyone you knew and loved in by doing the slightest, inadvertent thing to show you were a traitor. I loved the first half of the book and it continually made me count my blessings. Then the book changed in the second half to be about a serial child murderer. Smith's writing continued to be compelling and all of the previous "separate" stories started to intertwine and a few other unexpected details suddenly surfaced to make this a very fascinating gripping mystery book. That being said, mysteries are not my cup of tea so I am only giving this 3 stars. If you like mysteries, this is an excellent book that you should read.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things, #1)Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was fluffy but, still kept my interest. It is about 3 girls - Letty, Cordelia and Astrid - in 1920's NY. All 3 girls are annoying but, have redeeming traits that are enough to keep it going to the end of the storyline.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

The King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #3)The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not as good as the first two but still enjoyable.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The AlchemistThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A simple but powerful little story

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Friday, September 23, 2011

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Bernard Cornwell is an amazing author. I wish he had been my history teacher as he makes history fascinating......even if he does too eloquent a job in capturing the gory details. I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in this series.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Anna and the French KissAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This fun witty book was a delight to read. Anna is being shipped off from her home in Atlanta to go to a private school in Paris. She doesn't want to leave her friends and can't understand why she has to go anywhere....let alone to a school where she doesn't speak the language. I adored this book. The characters were amazingly well developed, genuine and real. The dialogue felt natural and frequently made me laugh out loud.

Anna and the French Kiss is probably one of the most fun books I have read this year. Sometimes you need something light and flirty to read. This book definitely fits the bill.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this 2nd book in the series and will definitely be reading the future books as well. Wasn't surprised to discover that this series is being made in to a movie with the first one set to release in 2012. Not sure if they will be able to do it justice.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Shanghai GirlsShanghai Girls by Lisa See
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a wonderful book with so much depth. I don't know why I had the preconceived notion this was a light book. It starts off with the 2 sisters very spoiled and enjoying life but, quickly shifts from there, not only to the stark realities of having to pay for their father's debt with going into pre-arranged marriages but, the war, communism and so many other facets of their lives. Excellent writing and I will be reading the sequel.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

An Abundance of KatherinesAn Abundance of Katherines by John Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While this was still witty and captured John Green's wonderful style, I definitely enjoyed LOOKING FOR ALASKA better. Still, a fun read.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

In the WoodsIn the Woods by Tana French
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't normally like mysteries but, thought this was excellent - both the plot and the writing. It was excellent character development and I will definitely check out the other books in this series.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, what a book. I love how Cornwell allowed Uhtred's to grow and develop throughout the book. The history lesson on the 9th century was fascinating and captured the brutality of the day. I need a break from the vivid violence but, will definitely be returning to Uhtred's adventures in the 2nd book of this riveting series.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Number the StarsNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A young girl and her family in 1943 Copenhagen help a Jewish family. A good story, albeit a bit too syrupy. I was more taken with the author's notes at the end telling some of the facts she combined in to the book.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So beautifully written. This is the story of Raj, a nine-year-old middle son of an illiterate and impoverished native family. Do not read too much else about this novel. Just pick it up and read it and savor. This is one I want to read again.

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the plot description, I didn't think I would like this book. I was right. I LOVED it! I found I couldn't wait to get back to this book. Fabulous read, character development and story line. I am glad this is a series.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Craving PerfectCraving Perfect by Liz Fichera
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. It flew by and was so much fun. I really enjoyed it being set in Tempe Arizona and having so many familiar references. It is so true that life is never perfect but, sometimes, it takes a bump or two to make you appreciate what you have. A very enjoyable read.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Particular Sadness of Lemon CakeThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book has an unusual writing style and creative story line of a girl being able to taste people's feelings. Very quirky and unique.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #2)The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the first "Queen's Thief" so much that I immediately picked up and read this 2nd in the series. I absolutely loved it and fell more in love with Gen. Can't wait to read the next book in the series. Very well written, good character development a plot that leaves you having to figure things out. Wonderful.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NemesisNemesis by Philip Roth
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While I did learn a lot about polio and felt that Roth captured the hysteria that was felt during the epidemic, I struggled through this book. The main character felt weak, immature and totally unlikeable (all the while the author is trying to portray him as some type of hero - which was completely implausible to me). Still, it was educational about the polio epidemic and the impact on the communities.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Thief (The Queen's Thief, #1)The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fabulous story about a wonderful little thief "Gen". I loved the way this book unfolded. Don't read too much about it, just read it! I will be reading the 2nd book in this series soon.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lawn BoyLawn Boy by Gary Paulsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This cute humorous little book is about a boy who gets an old lawnmower from his Grandmother and turns it into a business. It does get pretty far fetched and does some stereo typing but, still an entertaining read. I got this book as I loved Gary Paulsen's WoodRunner (check it out! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/76207...

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Please Ignore Vera DietzPlease Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vera is struggling to come to terms with Charlie dying. Charlie was her best friend and, to make things worse, they had a falling out 6 months before he died. This is an edgy, cynical book that confronts issues head on. Very good read.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

This story of the Revolutionary War is told from the perspective of a 13 year old boy.  Samuel spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He has grown up far from any town, or news of the war.  Soon, the war comes to him as the British Army and Iroquois attack his home and take his parents away as prisoners.  Each day he confronts the enemy, and the tragedy and horror of this war.
The depiction of war and how impacts both soldiers and local families is realistic and somewhat graphic, so squeamish people might squirm.  The fictional story of Samuel is told with alternating non-fiction chapters telling historical notes that illuminate the sobering realities of the Revolution and add some enlightening context of the conditions, (prisoners of war were fed by their families as their captors weren't expected to be fed by their captors until the 1900's)  This is a quick read that, not being raised in America, educated me on how things were for soldiers and families during this time.  

Every Man Dies AloneEvery Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This sweeping saga takes place in Berlin under the Nazis and focuses primarily on a working-class couple who, after their only son is killed at the front, decide to take a stand with a resistance campaign. I was engrossed in following their efforts, the furious Gestapo's efforts to capture them along with the many other sinister neighbors, co-workers and snitches. This book captures the fear that every person felt living through those times and makes you see how, despite this fear, many Germans did what they felt was right to stand up against the Reich. I love books that are translated from another language. It adds to their richness. I was 3/4 of the way through this book before I googled it and discovered that this was based on a true story. I wasn't surprised to discover that the author lived through this horrific time which explains his ability to capture the incredible details and evoke so many emotions. You must read this book.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell


Sahara Jones is going into fifth grade-again. Although she won't be "Sahara Special" anymore (special needs, that is), she doesn't expect this year to be any better than last year. Until she gets a new teacher. Not only does she dress different but, Miss Pointy is like no other teacher Sahara has ever known. With her help, Sahara just might find a way to redefine special for herself.  This is a cute Young Adult novel.
Rating: 4.1 Good