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Monday, March 31, 2014

The Kitchen Daughter

Book #34 Read in 2014
The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

I read this book in one sitting.  It tells the story of Ginny, who seemingly suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, but it has never been diagnosed.  Ginny's parents are killed in an accident and Ginny's sister Amanda wants to sell their house because she thinks that Ginny cannot live on her own.  The sisters begin a power struggle.  As if that is not stressful enough, the gap between the siblings widen when Ginny sees signs of her syndrome in Amanda's older daughter.  Ginny finds comfort in cooking and is surprised when she is able to see ghosts when she cooks their handwritten recipes. 

This book would appeal to fans of magical realism such as Sarah Addison Allen or Alice Hoffman's books.  Ginny is an interesting character and I found the way she lives fascinating.  The writing is engaging and will keep readers interested from start to finish.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Dream Thieves (YA)

Book #33 Read in 2014
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (YA)

This is the second book in a YA paranormal series.  Teens are trying to find a ley line.  This book focuses more on Ronan and his ability to bring back objects that appear in his dreams.  Mr. Gray is a complex villain in this book; a hitman hired to bring back the object that is really a person.  Blue is still struggling with her destiny of killing her true love with a kiss and is struggling with her feelings for Gansey and her non-feelings for Adam.  Of course the ending is a cliffhanger one; book 3 will be out in October.

The characters in this series are interesting and complex.  This book started off slowly for me (I loved the first book, The Raven Boys) but picked up halfway through and then was a totally engaging read.  Besides the mystery of finding the ley line, there is also a good action plot with Mr. Gray, as well as humor and romance.  All in all, a good read.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Flora and Ulysses (YA)

Book #32 Read in 2014
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

This was a cute book about Flora, a somewhat odd child, and Ulysses, a flying squirrel who is thought of by Flora as being a superhero after he survives being vacuumed.  Flora is connected in Ulysses and strides to save him from her mother, who wants to kill Ulysses.  This book has cute illustrations in it and would be a good read aloud.  There was a lot of humor in this book.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Love and the Zombie Apocalypse

Book #31 Read in 2014
Love and the Zombie Apocalypse by Chelsea Bellingeri

I borrowed this book from the Kindle Lending Library and cannot wait to borrow book #2 next month.  Zombie are suddenly everywhere and if one is bit or scratched by them, death and then a return as a zombie is the outcome.  Rachel is trying to get to her younger sister's summer science camp.  Along the way she meets several people who turn out to be willing to help her--football star Cage, firefighter Adam and his girlfriend Selena, and oddball Nicky.  This book was non-stop action and I read it in one sitting.  Besides the zombie action, there was romance and humor.  I enjoyed it a lot.

Paws for Murder

Book #30 Read in 2014
Paws for Murder by Annie Knox

This is the first book in a relatively new cozy mystery series; it is set in a pet boutique.  Izzy returns to her hometown and opens the pet boutique, making all sorts of costumes and clothing for pets.  Her childhood Rena partners up with her to create yummy pet treats to sell at Trendy Tails.  Their grand opening is going well until the body of a local rich girl/political activist is found in their alleyway.  Rena is considered a suspect.  Izzy teams up with Sean, her old friend who had a crush on her, who is now Rena's lawyer to try to find the real murderer.  Will they do so before Rena is arrested?

This was a good cozy mystery read.  I enjoyed the setting and the animal characters throughout the book.  The mystery was decent as I was kept guessing about the true identity of the murderer.  The romantic history between Izzy and Sean was another interesting element.  There was also humor in the book.  I loved Aunt Dolly trying to seduce Izzy's cranky business neighbor.  I will read the second book in this series.

Monday, March 17, 2014

City of Ashes (YA)

Book #29 Read in 2014
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (YA)

This is the second book in a great young adult paranormal series.  In this book, Clary is beginning her life as a Shadowhunter and trying to get past romantic feelings with her newly found, long-lost brother Jace.  Her mother is still in a coma, her friend Simon is still trying to be her boyfriend and of course the host of not-so-normal teenage problems (attacks on vampires and werewolves, her crazy father Valentine causing trouble) keeps readers engaged in this book.  The characters are cool and larger than life.  The plot is exciting and full of twists and turns.  There is humor and romance in the book.  I cannot wait to start book #3.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Water Castle (YA)

Book #28 Read in 2014
The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore (YA)

Ephraim's father has had a stroke and his mother moved the family back to the family home in the country in the hopes that it will help his father recover.  Ephraim realizes that the kids in his new school are more academically advanced than he is so he is struggling to fit in.  He joins forces with Will and Mallory to find the Fountain of Youth in the hopes that the magical water will cure his father; Ephraim's family has spent generations on this quest.  Will the kids be able to find the fountain?  If they do, will it cure his father?

This book had a decent plot that will keep readers engaged.  The characters were interesting and well-developed.  There is a parallel story from the early 1900s told alongside the main story but this is done in a way (different page setup, dates on the top of the page) that will not be confusing to younger readers.  I enjoyed this book.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Reading Circle

Book #14 Read in 2014
The Reading Circle by Ashton Lee

This book will be out on March 25, 2014 but I was lucky enough to receive a signed copy from the author.  I loved the first in this series, The Cherry Cola Book Club.  The second book, this one, was no different.

In this book, MauraBeth is still trying to ensure her library's survival, as the local councilman wants its location to build an industrial park.  MauraBeth tries to increase numbers in The Cherry Cola Book Club, but the councilman plants his own member to cause problems.  As if that is not enough to worry about, MauraBeth's growing relationship with teacher boyfriend Jeremy is hitting some snags.  However, MauraBeth is a librarian made of strong stuff and she engages in her struggles head on.

Once again, Lee does a great job writing female characters.  He creates voices for them that are interesting and believable.  He did have me a bit worry about Jeremy early on in this book but showing a different side to Jeremy made him a more complex character. 

I loved this book and cannot wait for book #3 in the series to come out.  I highly recommend this series to book lovers who love to read about books, libraries and interesting characters.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The House We Grew Up In

Book #27 Read in 2014
The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

This novel was an excellent read.  It detailed the dysfunction of the Bird family--father Colin, mother Lorelei, children Meg, Bethann, Rory and Rhys--and all the fallout that stemmed from that dysfunction.  Lorelei was a hoarder and her disorder got worse and worse as time went on and the children grew up and left the family home.  The children were definitely not without their own issues and each character in this book was a complex one.  The writing was wonderful; the characters described in such vivid detail that they were all larger than life.  This was my first book by this author but I will definitely read more by her.  I received a review copy of this book from BookBrowse in exchange for a review.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe: Once Upon a Midnight Eerie (YA)

Book #26 Read in 2014
The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe:  Once Upon a Midnight Eerie by Gordon McAlpine (YA)

This is the second book in a cute series featuring the great great great great grandnephews of author Edgar Allan Poe.  The twin boys are rather unique in that they can see into each other's brains and read each other's thoughts.  This makes them very interesting to an evil, mad scientist, whom they defeated in the first book.  In this book, the boys are playing their ancestor in a movie and are confronted by the mad scientist's daughter and mother.  They are assisted by relatives of Emily Dickinson.  Of course, their highly intelligent cat Roderick helps them as well.

These books are cute, quick reads.  They have a decent mystery plot, humor and lots of literary references.  I enjoy them.

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

Monday, March 3, 2014

OCD, the Dude and Me (YA)

Book #25 Read in 2014
OCD, the Dude and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn (YA)

Danielle is a teenager who has OCD.  She does not feel as if she fits in with her peers.  Reading and writing have been an outlet for her and she journals her feelings a lot.  She writes about happenings on a school trip, her social peer group meetings, her feelings for Jacob (a boy in her class) and other life events.  As the book progresses, Danielle comes more into her own and begins to blossom, largely due to a friendship with Daniel, a boy from group.  This book was a realistic and honest look at OCD and how it can affect the life of a teenager.  The writing style was believable and well done.  I enjoyed the book.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rotten (YA)

Book #24 Read in 2014
Rotten by Michael Northrop (YA)

Rotten (otherwise known as Johnny Rotten or JR) is a rescued Rottweiler.  JD is a teen who can be said in need of rescuing himself after spending the summer in juvie.  The dog and boy hit it off after a rocky start and JD realizes how attached he has become to the dog when JR bites one of JD's friends and that family decides to sue for medical pills and pain and suffering, effectively putting a death sentence on the dog.  JR is desperate to save his dog...will he be able to?

This book was a good, quick read.  JD is an interesting character; he is not just your typical troubled teen.  JR is a dog who has personality.  There is the engaging plot of trying to save JR along with humor and romance between JD and his ex-girlfriend Janie.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Witch Before Dying

Book #23 Read in 2014
A Witch Before Dying by Heather Blake

This is the second book in a good cozy mystery series.  Darcy is still working on her crafting skills, Aunt Ve is getting remarried and a dead body is found in the neighborhood.  All of these things will put Darcy's desire to become a private investigator to the test.  Luckily, there are both crafters and humans in her neighborhood who will help her out and try to protect her.  This book had elements of mystery, romance and humor in it.  Darcy is a very likable main character and her fledging romance with cop Nick is believable.  I enjoy this series.

February Reads

February Reads:

1.  Clockwork Scarab (YA) 5/5
2.  Hiss and Tell (5/5)
3.  Words with Fiends (5/5)  3rd in series
4.  If You Find Me (YA) 5/5
5.  The Reading Circle (5/5) 2nd in series
6.  A Certain October (YA) 4/5
7.  Double Click (5/5)  Kindle  2nd in series
8.  A Dog Called Homeless (YA) 4/5  library book
9.  The Arrangement (4/5)  Kindle
10.  Butter (YA) 4/5  Kindle
11.  Forgive Me Leonard Peacock (YA) 4.5/5
12.  Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (YA) 4/5
13.  Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am (YA)  3.5/5

Year to date:  22 books read