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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hearse and Buggy

Book #55 Read in 2013
Hearse and Buggy by Laura Bradford

This is the first book in a cozy mystery series.  Claire has a shop in an Amish village where her aunt runs a bed and breakfast.  This allows Claire a new start in life after her divorce.  The simple little town turns out to be a little more complicated when Walter, a man who stole from the Amish, is murdered.  Claire begins her own investigation into the murder and wants to help Jakob, a detective who recently returned to his Amish hometown, find the murderer. 

This book was a good read.  Claire is a likable main character.  She is intelligent.  The setting of a romantic triangle between Jakob/Claire/Benjamin happened in this book but it was not the center of the story.  Secondary characters were interesting and the small town setting was wonderfully described.  I will continue this series.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

City of Women

Book #54 Read in 2013
City of Women by David Gillham

This historical fiction book is set during the time of the Holocaust.  Sigrid is a German woman who ends up having an affair with a Jewish man and helping Jews escape the Nazis.  Sigrid is a hard character to like at first but I ended up liking her.  By the end of the book, she took control of her destiny.  The horrors of the war and the hatred were detailed well in this book.  The writing style was sophisticated.  All of the characters were flawed in their own way, which made them very realistic.  Overall, a good read.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I've Ever Had

Book #53 Read in 2013
I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I've Ever Had by Tony Danza

This book is a must read for teachers or those wanting to teach.  Danza details the struggles facing teachers, districts and students today.  He also is always up front that he was only teaching a1/5 of a teaching load as a normal teacher.  He talks about being the newbie, finding his connection with his students, his administration, fellow faculty members and parents.  This book tells of how A&E shot a reality television show of his year teaching in a Philadelphia high school.

Danza's humor shines through this book.  At the same time, he is amazingly real and honest throughout the book.  Not all of his lessons worked but he did not give up.  He could not save every student of his, but that did not mean that he stopped trying.  I loved this book.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Life List

Book #52 Read in 2013
The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

When Brett's mother dies of cancer, Brett believes that she will inherit her mother's successful company.  Instead, she is given a "life list" from her mother--things that she must do within the next year.  Each time she accomplishes a task, she gets some of her inheritance and a note from her mother.  To get her full inheritance she must accomplish all of the tasks.  Some of the tasks on the list are:  fall in love, buy a dog, buy a horse, help poor people, find a teaching job and have a baby.  Brett has no idea how she will complete all of the items on the list.

This book was wonderful.  Brett grows as a person as the book unfolds.  She finds out who she is, what she is capable of and what she wants out of life.  Her mother continues to teach and advise her, even after she is gone.  This book has romance, humor and engaging characters.  Readers will love it. 

I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a review.

Together Tea

Book #51 Read in 2013
Together Tea by Marjan Kamali

Mina, her parents and her two brothers head to America from Iran during the Iran-Iraqi war.  This book talks about Mina's assimilation to American life, how her mother is still trying to arrange a husband for her, and on the return visit that Mina and her mother take to Iran when Mina is in college. 

This book does a nice job describing the difficulty of fitting in to a new country, and fitting in when visiting the old country.  The characters are interesting and well-developed.  There is humor and romance in this book and the writing style is nice--a flavor of chick lit, but more substance. 

I enjoyed this book and recommend it. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Amy Falls Down

Book #50 Read in 2013
Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett

Amy is a writer...well, she used to be but she hasn't written anything in years.  She is more famous for a writing group where one of the members tried to kill people.  Then she has an accident in her back yard, hitting her head on a birdbath, and when she comes to, a reporter is leaving her house and Amy has no recollection of what she had said.  The article comes out and Amy is made out to be a wonderfully eccentric talent, when in reality she had taken leave of her senses temporarily.  That article begins to bring media attention back on Amy and her former agent begins booking Amy for radio shows and speaking engagements.  Amy has no filter and takes no prisoners.

This book had a lot of humor in it.  I enjoyed the references to books and to the writing process.  However, the writing was a bit disjointed and at times the book dragged for me.  Overall though, I thought it was a good read.

I received this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a review.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Reading Promise

Book #49 Read in 2013
The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma (Kindle)

This is a book about books, a must read for readers.  Alice and her father begin the streak when she is 9 years old; the streak being that her father will read to her every day.  This streak remains in effect until Alice goes to college 9 years later.  Sometimes they do the reading via phone, sometime in the parking lot of the school, but they always read together and the two are bonded in such a wonderful way.  Books discussed in the book brought back memories for me.  Many I have read and loved.  This book also reminded me of my mom and I reading together before bed when I was younger. 

Besides the love of reading, this book also brought up the importance of being able to encourage that love of reading in the hearts of students.  Alice's father was an elementary librarian and he instilled the love of reading in countless students.  Then, in the name of progress, the library where he worked was dismantled to make way for computers and technology.  Given the current state of education with standardized testing and the Common Core, I could totally relate to his frustration that his years of effective teaching were ignored or lessened.

I put this book on the book list for a non-fiction class I'm offering for professional development this summer and I am glad I did.  I enjoyed it a lot.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Husband's Secret

Book #48 Read in 2013
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

This book tells the story of three women:  Rachel, Cecilia and Tess, and how they are connected in ways that are unknown even to them.  Rachel's daughter was murdered as a teenager.  Cecilia is feeling unsatisfied with her normally perfect life as wife and mother.  Tess's husband has fallen in love with her cousin, so she packs up her young son and goes back home to her mother's.  All three women are dealing with tons of issues, to varying degrees of success.  These women are interesting and complex.  There is a decent mystery plot to this book to keep readers engaged.  At times this book is a tad predictable but that did not take away enjoyment from reading it.

I liked Moriarty's book What Alice Forgot so I chose this one from Amazon Vine to review.  I was not disappointed.  I enjoy her writing style; it is easy and enjoyable to read without being fluff.  Moriarty creates interesting characters that will keep readers hooked in her books.  I recommend this book.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

May Reads

May Reads:

1.  Every Day (YA) 5/5  Library book
2.  Gone Girl (4.5/5) Kindle
3.  The Program (YA) 4.5/5
4.  The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane (4.5/5)
5.  Planet Middle School (YA) 4/5  Library book
6.  The Boleyn King (4/5)
7.  Dying to Know You (YA) 4/5  Library book
8.  Hidden (YA) 4/5  Library book

47 books read in 2013 so far