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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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12 01, 2017

Review: Lacombe Lucien by Louis Malle & Patrick Modiano

By | January 12th, 2017|Categories: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Drama & Plays, Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

Rating:

lacombe lucien book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

Set in Southwestern France in June 1944 during the German occupation, Lacombe Lucien is a tense work digging into the pathos of the era. The French citizens go about their lives quietly trying not to bring any attention to themselves. No one seems to know where his or her neighbor’s and, sometimes, even family loyalties lie. Lacombe Lucien is the 1974 screenplay collaboration between renown French movie producer Louis Malle and Patrick Modiano, recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature. Translated into English by Sabine Destree, the screenplay is beautifully written and easily read.

11 01, 2017

Review: Cast of Characters by Thomas Vinciguerra

By | January 11th, 2017|Categories: Biographies, Entertainment, Humor, Nonfiction|Tags: , , , , |10 Comments

Rating:

cast of characters book coverReviewed by Kate Schefer

I am familiar with The New Yorker, and I am familiar with E.B. White and James Thurber and a few of the other writers who were the publication’s founding voices. But I am not familiar with how the two created and influenced each other. Or at least I wasn’t until I read Cast of Characters by Thomas Vinciguerra. Originally intended as a biography of Wolcott Gibbs, the book developed into a retelling of the formative years of The New Yorker, highlighting its founders, their lives, and their iconic work. I could tell that the main focus was to be Gibbs, as the book began and ended with anecdotes about him, and his son Tony was Vinciguerra’s primary source. But I believe the book struck a good balance between Gibbs and his counterparts.

11 01, 2017

Review: A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

By | January 11th, 2017|Categories: Genre Fiction, Historical, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Series|Tags: , , , , |4 Comments

Rating:

perilous undertaking book coverReviewed by Kelly Ferjutz

Books by Ms. Raybourn are so marvelously complex that the temptation for a reviewer is to write a long review in order to do justice to the story. This is especially difficult if the reviewer is already prone to overlong reviews. Mea culpa.

In London of 1887, eccentricity meets rigid society rules and they have a great adventure. We’re fortunate to be allowed to accompany them! This is the second  adventure of Veronica Speedwell, an emancipated woman if ever there was one – prone to dashing off to exotic places in pursuit of her trade – she’s a certified lepidopterist. For this story, however, she is back in London, sharing a cottage with a fellow scientist, Revelstoke Templeton-Vane, whom she calls Stoker. There is an attraction between them, but allowing It to grow would only complicate things, so it stays very low key.

10 01, 2017

Review: Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

By | January 10th, 2017|Categories: Asian American, Coming of Age, Genre Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Literary, Literature & Fiction, Satire|Tags: , , , , |4 Comments

Rating:

wangs vs the world book coverReviewed by Alisha Churbe

Jade Chang’s novel, Wangs vs. the World is highly entertaining. It is a portrait of a family complete with all of their similarities and their differences. She shows them as they come together and also when they fall apart. The novel is a very quick read. Chang’s prose is energetic and flows flawlessly. She peppers in thoughts about immigration and politics but it is not heavy-handed and fits within the confines of the novel well. The thoughts propel the story to its conclusion.

Charles Wang has lost everything. He once had everything–fancy cars, a lucrative business, many factories, enough money to be comfortable and then some. He has three children, Grace, Andrew and Saina. He’s married to his second wife, Barbra.  His first wife was killed in an accident six months after his youngest daughter, Grace, was born.

9 01, 2017

Review: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

By | January 9th, 2017|Categories: Coming of Age, Genre Fiction, Literary, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Rating:

most dangerous place on earth book coverReviewed by Carrie Ardoin

It’s been more than ten years since I was in high school, but I do have a younger brother who’s still there…and I really am thankful that he doesn’t have the attitude of any of the characters in this book. Honestly, not a single character in The Most Dangerous Place on Earth was likable. I’m not sure if that’s what the author intended, but that’s how I felt.

The novel tells the somewhat disjointed story of a group of kids who have grown up and gone to school together since their elementary years. In eighth grade, something tragically avoidable (and very maddening to read about) happened to one of their classmates, and though you’d think it would affect all of the kids’ lives pretty deeply, it doesn’t.

9 01, 2017

Giveaway: A List of Cages by Robin Roe

By | January 9th, 2017|Categories: Giveaways|Tags: |27 Comments

a list of cages book coverEnter A List of Cages giveaway! One winner will receive a copy of A List of Cages by Robin Roe and a $50 Visa gift card to put towards a day of friendship! 

Open to U.S. residents only

About the book

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian–the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

8 01, 2017

Review: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

By | January 8th, 2017|Categories: Comedy, Literature & Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction|Tags: , , |5 Comments

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bookshop on the corner book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

After life throws a curve ball at Nina’s professional career, she finds herself carving out a new path. On an impulse, Nina purchases an old van and transforms it into a mobile bookshop. Nina sets out with a new career in a small Scottish town, making connections with people through book recommendations and exploring new romantic relationships in Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner.

Nina was a character I could easily identify with; I’ve held jobs at two different bookstores, a library, and now I freelance edit for independent authors. Stocking a small van with books that I’m passionate about and sharing them with eager readers seems like it would be rather enjoyable.

8 01, 2017

Mailbox Monday, January 9, 2017

By | January 8th, 2017|Categories: Etc.|Tags: |10 Comments

Welcome to Mailbox MondayMailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Here are the books that made their way into my physical and digital mailboxes last week:

Review Copies

enemies of versailles book coverthe housekeeper book coverelusive miss ellison book cover

7 01, 2017

Review: Confessions of a Wedding Musician Mom by Jennifer McCoy Blaske

By | January 7th, 2017|Categories: Comedy, Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction|Tags: , , |4 Comments

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wedding musician mom book coverReviewed by Kelly Ferjutz

I wanted to like Confessions of a Wedding Musician Mom. Really, I did. I love classical music and it has been a major part of my long life. I knew I was in trouble, however, on page 15 as the female protagonist opened her ‘yellow Schemer edition of Chopin’s preludes’. Every piano or other music student would immediately recognize a Schirmer’s Library edition, with the black scroll work on its yellow cover.

Against my better judgement, I persisted in continuing to read. I actually  made it to page 63 of 189, before abandoning the project. What an abysmal mess! Eegads. 

6 01, 2017

Review: The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day

By | January 6th, 2017|Categories: Children's Books, Love & Romance, Young Adult|Tags: , , |3 Comments

Rating:

possibility of somewhere book coverReviewed by Meg Massey

Eden Moore is on track to become the valedictorian of her high school class, despite the fact that she’s grown up in a trailer park with her often out-of-work father and stepmother. Since her birth mother left her when she was just a child, Eden’s only ever had one goal: to leave her small town and life there behind.

Her classmate Ash Gupta has never quite understood how Eden, with her sharp and sarcastic nature, could possibly become valedictorian. But when the two of them are thrown together to complete a class assignment, they begin to get to know each other for the first time, and Ash recognizes her intelligence and depth.