Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

My rating: 4.6

This is the charming story of Budo, Max's imaginary friend. Though only Max can see him, he is real. He and the other imaginary friends watch over their children until the day comes that the child stops imagining them. And then they're gone. Budo has lasted a lot longer than most imaginary friends - four years - because Max needs him more as Max is autistic.

Budo helps Max to cope with the world. His parents argue about sending him to a special school but Max is perfectly happy if everything is just kept the way it is, and nothing out of the ordinary happens. Unfortunately, something out of the ordinary is going to happen - and then he'll need Budo more than ever.

 I completely let go and enjoyed every minute I spent with Budo. Budo WAS real. I think the audio narration was absolutely perfect for this book.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

My rating: 4.2

Warning:  deals with suicide and not recommended for anyone prone to depression

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

This was an honest moving book that I can see a lot of Young Adults really enjoying.  It was similar to The Fault in Our Stars and All The Bright Places but not quite as good.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason

My rating: 4.6

A lonely old man is found murdered in his Reykjavík flat, the only clues are a cryptic note left by the killer and a photograph of a young girl’s grave. Inspector Erlendur, who heads the investigation team, discovers that many years ago the victim was accused, though not convicted, of an unsolved crime.

The Icelandic names - of people and places - could be confusing but just sit back and enjoy the story. I am not a huge fan of mysteries but I will definitely be reading more by this author.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 2.1

Georgie's marriage to Neal is in trouble. She is a tv writer and stays to work on her show while Neal takes their two daughters to visit his parents in Omaha for Christmas. Georgie calls Neal from her childhood room at her mother's house using the same rotary dial phone. She gets the "Neal from the past" when they first started dating.

This should have been much shorter. It came across as a gimicky teenage romance/drama that just didn't work for me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Bookmark Picks Jan/Feb Edition

I just got my latest Bookmarks Magazine - I always get so excited! Here are the reads that are jumping out at me that I am going to put in my queue: Let me know what books you have in your queue (whether from Bookmarks or some other source) (all book covers are clickable and take you to Amazon....but I found all the books at my online library)



I haven't had good luck with David Mitchell novels in the past so am cautiously adding this one to my queue:

These are the reads that jump out at me at first glance. I will be taking it with us this weekend on the plane and browsing further. Let me know your picks or any good books that you are reading.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

My rating: 4.8

Arn is a kid doing normal kid things like selling ice cream with his brother, enjoying music and playing games. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever.  He is separated from his family, sees so much death, works in a labor camp and is eventually recruited by the Khmer Rouge. 

I listened to this book on my iPod from the library and think that the voice really added to it's authenticity. This amazing true story tells of how Arn defies the odds to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps to now be a Human Rights Activist.

Thank you Jeana for recommending this book to me - thoroughly enjoyable!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton

My rating: 5.0

Wow.  After his 3 year old brother's death, 14 year old Kevin and his grieving mother go to live with his grandfather in the Appalachian mountains for the summer.  Kevin is introduced to new friends, good books, being an assistant veterinarian to his Grandpop and immersion in the slow life of this Kentucky town.

This is all set against the backdrop of mountain top removal for mining that is blowing up the hills of the mountain heritage. 

Almost from the very beginning, this was a book that I couldn't wait to return to and very soon, I found myself thinking of it during the day. This is well written, with marvelous character development.  I am still stunned by this amazing story and cannot believe that this is this author's first book. I hope it isn't his last.  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradel

My rating: 4.7

This book starts out with Eva as a baby and follows her, and the people in her life as she grows up. Each chapter feels like a short story.  I don't like short stories but this was such an enjoyable read. This is very original in how it is written and hits so many great notes - funny, touching and includes a lot of appreciation of food.

You learn about Eva from all different people's perspective. Sometimes you can tell the connection to Eva and sometimes you can't.  Hang in there and it all comes together.