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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Good House

Book #86 Read in 2012
The Good House by Ann Leary

Hildy Good is a descendant of Sarah Good, Salem witch.  Hildy's curse is alcoholism.  Her family stages an intervention and sends her to rehab.  Little do they know that after rehab, Hildy drinks alone at night from the bottles in her cellar, while declaring herself alcohol free.  But Hildy cannot pull off this farce forever, and it eventually all catches up to her.  Along with Hildy's story, the novel also details an affair between Peter and Rebecca, the trials of a couple with an autistic son and the other happenings of the small town.

I liked the writing of this book.  Leary is good at description of both character and setting.  Hildy was a character that I went back and forth between liking and hating.  Liking won out in the end.  The book was a bit slow in the middle but quickly accelerated and kept my interest until the end.

I received a copy of this book from BookBrowse for review.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Secrets at Sea

Book #85 Read in 2012
Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck

This is a young adult fantasy book.  Three sister mice and one brother mouse have to take a boat trip when their people travel to England.  During that trip, destinies are formed and futures are firmed up.  The mice try to lend a helping paw to the marriage hunt of the Cranston sisters, with varying levels of success.  

This was a cute read.  The mice characters were cute.  There was action, love and humor in this book.  I think this book would appeal to both boy and girl readers, from elementary to middle school range.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Everything I Needed to Know about Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume

Book #84 Read in 2012
Everything I Needed to Know about Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume
edited by Jennifer O'Connell

This book features a variety of authors detailing how the works of Judy Blume affected them as they were growing up.  Blume receives a nice tribute from these authors and acknowledgment that her works were meaningful to slews of readers.  Many of Blume's books are mentioned, but titles such as Forever, Deenie and Tiger Eyes and Are You There God, It's Me Margaret receive several mentions.

Having been a huge Blume fan growing up, this was a nice way to revisit some memorable titles.  It was an interesting read about how literature can affect readers and stay with readers for years and years.  I enjoyed it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Beneath a Meth Moon (YA)

Book #83 Read in 2012
Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson (YA)

This book tells the story of Laurel, a teenage girl, who is addicted to meth.  Laurel's mother and grandmother are killed in a hurricane and that grief spirals Laurel into the grips of a drug addiction that means she risks losing her family, her friends and her life.  This book shows what addiction does to people without going into vivid, gory detail.

Woodson is one of my favorite authors for young adult books.  Her books are well written, have complex characters and deal with difficult issues.  This book continues that pattern.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Cat Who Came Back For Christmas

Book #82 Read in 2012
The Cat Who Came Back For Christmas by Julia Romp

Julia Romp's memoir is about much more than just their wonderful cat, Ben (Baboo).  Julia is a single mother to George, who is autistic.  This book details her struggle to connect with her son and Ben is the key--George connects with this cat in a way that he has never connected before with another living being.  Ben gets George to talk more, to connect with his mother and to get him touch with his emotions--all things that Julia had wanted for years for her son.

Then the unthinkable happens and while Julia and George are away, Ben goes missing.  George blames Julia for this and any progress he had made since Ben came into their lives is immediately erased.  Julia knows that she must find Ben if she is ever going to see that side of her son again.  Julia makes it her daily mission to look for Ben, following up on countless leads and sightings of the elusive cat.  At the same time, Julia finds a sort of new career path for her--pet detective.

This book was a good read.  Ben is a great cat and I loved reading about how the love for this cat really brought George out of his shell.  I give Julia props for doing the difficult task of parenting, hard enough in its own right, made even more difficult with her special needs son.  She craved hearing him tell her that he loved her.  She just wanted to be able to touch him without him freaking out.  She is a strong woman.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Anya's Ghost

Book #81 Read in 2012
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

This is a graphic novel which usually isn't my genre of choice but I like this one.  In this book, Anya, a teenager,  falls into a well and finds a set of bones there.  There is a ghost who is haunting the well.  When rescued, Anya realizes she has brought a part of a finger bone out of the well with her so the ghost is now following her around--at school, at home etc.  Anya does see some perks to have a ghostly friend, especially one who can look at test papers of classmates for a test Anya didn't study for.  But the ghost has her own ulterior motive and Anya needs to confront the ghost in order to protect herself and her family.

This was a very quick read and I think that both boy and girl readers would like it.  There was enough of a plot for me that the graphic novel format did not bother me.  I enjoyed this book.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Clobbered by Camembert

Book #80 Read in 2012
Clobbered by Camembert by Avery Aames

This is the third book in one of my favorite cozy mystery series.  Charlotte owns a cheese shop and seems to have a knack for getting involved in on-going police investigations.  This usually results in some threat on her well-being but she handles it with style.  Her partner in crime is her co-worker Rebecca.  In this book, Rebecca's boyfriend is accused of murdering a business woman and Rebecca asks Charlotte to help prove his innocence.  Along with the mystery is some romantic entanglements involving Charlotte's boyfriend Jordan and her ex-boyfriend Chip.

I enjoy this series.  These books have good mysteries, interesting characters, a hint of romance and great animal characters, especially Rags, the Ragdoll.  Charlotte is an intelligent heroine, even though she overstimates her skill at getting herself out of risky situations at time.  The romance is not the main focus and isn't an annoying plot device so that is good.  I recommend this series.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

On the Day I Died (YA)

Book #79 Read in 2012
On the Day I Died by Candance Fleming

This book is a collection of stories told by teenage ghosts.  Each deceased teenager tells Mike, a living teenager, how he or she ended up in the cemetery.  The stories run the gamut from accidents, to suicide, to murder, to monsters.  The ghosts feel that they have to tell their stories in order to be able to rest in peace.

This book was a quick, good read.  The stories were interesting and though short, gave a good snapshot of the lives that these people lived.  This book would appeal to both girl and boy readers.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Book #78 Read in 2012
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Karou collects teeth for Brimstone, a magician of sorts.  Little does she know how her past is going to come colliding with her present.  Then she meets Akiva, an angel, and she is drawn to him in ways that she does not understand.  Her world is then rocked when Brimstone, and her connection to the other world, is destroyed.  Karou then truly feels alone and without meaning.  Akiva wants to help change that, but cost may be incredibly high.

This was a good young adult fantasy read.  This is the first in a series.  Karou is an interesting female lead character.  She is tough, intelligent and has a sarcastic sense of humor that I enjoyed. Akiva is a good romantic lead.  He is a flawed hero which draws readers in.  Secondary characters are interesting--the concerned best friend, the slightly odd actor ex-boyfriend and Brimstone, a man of mystery.  I enjoyed this read and hope to get to the sequel soon.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Notorious Nineteen

Book #77 Read in 2012
Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich

This is the 19th book in the Stephanie Plum series, which is my favorite.  In this book, Stephanie is once again trying, usually unsuccessfully, to catch some bond skippers.  She is also still wavering between Morelli and Ranger as her love interests.  In this installment, the main focus is on a man who disappeared from the hospital, and Stephanie is trying to find him to collect on his bond.  No one at the hospital seems to know where he went.  Stephanie and Lula team up with Briggs, the short hospital security guard, to see what they can find out about the missing man.  On top of that, someone is trying to kill Ranger so Stephanie is trying to help him out.  

As usual, this book involves a lot of humor, action, romance and cars blowing up.  The beloved characters (Grandma Mazur, Bob the dog, Connie) are back in full force to share the spotlight with the trifecta of Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger.  These books are comfort reads to me--I enjoy them.