The Library

Welcome to my library! You know those super annoying people who, when asked what they like to read, respond with "Oh, you know, I like to read everything," but what it really means is that they haven't read a book since Of Mice and Men in ninth grade English class, unless you count the People magazine they read in line at the grocery store yesterday?

Yeah, I'm NOT one of those people.

I've read books from pretty much every genre, time frame, and country. And if I haven't read it, I've probably at least heard of it. Seventeen years in the book business will do that to a gal. My current (like this month) tastes are running toward popular fiction of the psychological thriller/cop/lawyer/mystery type, but that could very well change tomorrow.

Anyway, if you have a book related question, or need a suggestion for something good to read, feel free to contact me at I used to get paid to do this. Now I just do it for fun.

The Help bu Kathryn Stockett - I'm the last woman in America to read this book.  So far it's gorgeous.  Beautiful.  And real.  

Unseen by Karin Slaughter - THANK YOU Karin Slaughter for giving me a mystery that I could actually read again! Will Trent is back, and he's undercover.  Sara saves to day, and Lena is still all kinds of trouble.  

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - I usually think I'm not smart enough to understand Neil Gaiman, but not only did I understand this one, I loved it.  It's a modern day fairy tale that's the story of mythical, magical creatures and one little boy who gets caught up in their world.  Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. 

Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Rifka Brunt - This is a beautiful story of unlikely friendships, mourning, growing up, and being understood.  I loved it.  

Tell Me by Lisa Jackson -  I think I must just be in a no mystery/suspense phase because while Lisa jackson will never produce great works of literature, I usually find her completely readable.  I could barely get past the first chapter of this one, though, and I never finished it.  Onward and upward! 


9th Girl by Tami Hoag -  Tami Hoag is probably in my top 3 mystery writers of all time, and this, while not her best, was totally readable.  The dead girls isn't what she seems, the detectives on the case have their own personal problems to deal with, and the killer is good and crazy.  It wrapped up neatly (and fairly predictably) in the end, but it was a fairly good fast paced read. 

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight -  A teenage girl dies suspiciously at her private school.  It's ruled a suicide but her mother just can't believe it.  The mom begins to piece together the least days and weeks of her daughter's life through text messages, social media, and by talking to friends.  I guess I've become a grumpy reader lately because this is another book that I WANTED to love, but somehow it fell short. 

 Look Again by Lisa Scottoline -  What would happen if you saw a kid on one of those "Missing Child" posters and decided it looked just like the kid you adopted a few years ago?  Probably not any of these things.  Sorry, this one didn't do it for me. 

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld - I really thought I would love this paranormal-ish book about twins who share the gift of ESP but it turned into more of a book about adult women (and to be fair, men) making stupid choices that have the potential to ruin lives.  The premonition stuff is only hit on to make one of the sisters look sort of new age-y and flighty.  Not at all what I expected and not at all what I wanted from this book.  

The House Girl by Tara Conklin - This book is another story within a story, which I've really been digging lately, and it introduces us to Josephine, a slave girl who can read and write, and who paints exquisite pictures, which her mistress claims credit for.  In the modern set, Lina is a lawyer who is looking into the history of Josephine for a lawsuit, and she becomes totally absorbed in the story.  

Insurgent by Veronica Roth -  The second book in this trilogy wasn't as interesting as the first, but there were enough plot twists and dying characters to keep it interesting.  I'm looking forward to the third book coming out this fall. 

Divergent by Veronica Roth -  My Entertainment Weekly told me to read this book, and I'm glad I did. It's a teen/YA book set in a not too distant alternate future where at age 16, everyone must choose which of the five factions to join.  One honors truth, one honors harmony, and so on.  Tris, the main character, finds herself drawn to more than one faction, and that's where it gets interesting.  It's no Hunger Games, but it kept me entertained. 

The Storyteller by Jodi Piccoult -  I almost didn't read this.  Her last book was boring and disappointing, but so far I'm enjoying it.  Sage Singer is a baker with a scarred face and no friends to speak of.  When she meets Josef, an old German man,  they begin to share their life stories with one another and he tells her he was a Nazi.  Oh, and he asks for her help to die.  UPDATE: I ended up loving this book, even though I figured out the plot twist about six chapters in.  It's totally worth the read, and I love that it's a story within a story.

Terrified by Kevin O'Brien -  Megan ran away from an abusive husband years ago, and pregnant and alone, started a new life with a new name in a new city.  Fast forward 15 years, and her husband is after her again.  I typically like Kevin O'Brien's books, but I found myself skimming through most of the middle.  Megan wasn't a terribly sympathetic character, and the plot took a few too many weird twists for my tastes.

Second Son by Lee Child -  This novella gives us a glimpse into Jack Reacher's history, and tells us of the first crime he solved - at age 13.  Farfetched? Sure.  A good, quick read? Definitely.

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots  -  Lorca is a teenaged girl with an indifferent mother, an absent father, and a terrible self image.  She spends her days trying to please her un-pleasable chef mother by cooking dishes that will wow her.  Her quest for a certain recipe takes leads her to a couple people who begin to teach her that family can sometimes be what and who you make it.  Although the final chapter felt rushed and too tidy, the rest of the story was so, so lovely.

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris  -  I'm almost too heartbroken to even put this on my list.  See, here's the thing.  I LOVE David Sedaris.  LOVE.  I'd put his Me Talk Pretty One Day on my top 10 books of all time list, if I had such a list.  But this one, it just WASN'T.  It wasn't charming.  It wasn't funny.  It wasn't David Sedaris.  I didn't even finish it, and I can barely even talk about it.  So, so sad, I am.  

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs  -  I'll admit, I love a good werewolf/shapeshifter/fairy/vampire story, and this seventh in the Mercy Thompson series is no exception.  After her husband's werewolf pack is taken hostage, Mercy finds herself enlisting the help of fae, vampire, werewolf and other assorted supernatural creatures.  The book is fast paced and interesting, and Mercy is one of my favorite supernatural heroines, just because she is so darn down to earth. 

Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline  -  So this guy gets deployed to Afghanistan, his wife dies in a freak household accident, he finds out she was a) an alcoholic and b) pregnant with someone else's kid, his unit gets bombed, his daughter rejects him, his sister-in-law tries to get permanent custody of his daughter, his arm gets shot off... and that's just in the first third of the book.  I really couldn't put it down, not because I particularly loved it, I just couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen to this guy next.  

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris  -  Oh Sookie, how I will miss you! This final chapter in the Sookie Stackhouse series had all the usual bad guys, surprises and humor that you'd expect, and Sookie finally ends up with...  You'll have to read it to find out ;-) 

The Crucifix Killer by Chris Carter  -  I love a good serial killer story.  When this guy apparently resurfaces, it seems impossible, because the Crucifix Killer had supposedly been caught, convicted, and executed two years ago.  Oops.  This book is all the things I like in a good serial killer book with one main exception - the writing.  It fell flat, it fell short, and even though I WANTED to know what happened, I couldn't really be bothered to finish it. 

Zero Day by David Baldacci  -  This book has been hanging out on my nook FOREVER.  I'm not sure why I decided now was the time to read it, but so far, that seems to have been a good decision.  John Puller is an Army man from a long line of Army men, and as a member of the Criminal Investigative Devision, he is sent out to investigate the murder of a family on rural West Virginia.  So far, the characters are interesting and the plot is moving along nicely.  I can see this title appealing to fans of the Jack Reacher series, or even to Tom Clancy fans.  Update:  Finished it, really liked it, if not the outcome. 


Six Years by Harlan Coben  -  Finally!  Harlan Coben is back!  I rate Tell No One and Gone For Good as two of my favorite mysteries ever, but in my humble opinion, Mr. Coben has been struggling to write anything nearly as good, well, since The Woods, anyway.  But I thoroughly enjoyed Six Years.  It's about a college professor who falls in love, only to be unceremoniously dumped by the woman he believed to be the love of his life.  He stays out of her life for six years... then, well, I'm not going to give too much away, but you should read it to find out for yourself what happens.  


Fireproof by Alex Kava  -  I really like the Maggie O'Dell character, and in this latest book by Alex Kava, she's even more damaged than usual, which is saying quite a bit.  Fires are being started, bodies are being found, and Maggie is right in the middle of it.  I'm not sure I love all these open-ended endings I've been finding lately, though.  I understand the need to draw the reader back for a sequel, but some closure would be nice, too. 

The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman  -  Twenty years ago there are five unlikely friends.  They are children, then teenagers, and they are friends mainly due to proximity and circumstance.  They roam the woods near their homes, and befriend a homeless man who lives in the woods there.  One night, something happens that tears them apart.  Twenty years later, the apparent suicide of one of the friends brings them back together, and they start to put the pieces in place about what really happened when they were kids.  Overall, I liked it, but I didn't LOVE it, and I felt like the ending was just kind of an afterthought.  I hate it when that happens.

I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman  -  Eliza is only 15 when she is abducted.  Over the course of the next 40 days, she is held captive and possibly, just possibly assists in committing other crimes.  Now she is a grown woman, married with children, and Walter, her captor is about to finally be executed, but he wants to meet with Eliza just one last time.  

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman  -  This stand-alone book of Laura Lippman's surprised me.  The characters were interesting, the plot was interesting...  I really liked it.  Helen/Heloise is a former plain girl with a nothing face who has made it big as a high-class madam.  She manages to keep her life a secret from her son, but that all threatens to come falling down when someone figures out who she is.  Although it's not totally believable, it's still a really good read. 

Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster  -  Jen Lancaster is funny.  Funny.  This lighthearted (sort of, I guess) take on hew weight loss journey is funny as well.  But... why are we all obsessed with our weight to begin with?  Why?  Oh, I guess that's a topic for another day, isn't it?  Anyway, the book was interesting and a really quick read.  So there's that. 

Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman  -  I've been a fan of Laura Lippman for years, but this decade plus stand alone mystery was a new-to-me read.  Alice and Ronnie are just 11 years old when they are convicted of taking a baby from outside a neighborhood house.  The baby died while in their "care."  Alice and Ronnie both maintain a variety of different versions of the story of how it happened.  The book picks up seven years later, when they turn 18 and are released from the separate juvenile facilities that have been housing them.  When another little girl goes missing, they are considered prime suspects.  I enjoyed the mystery of what happened in the past and how it related to what was happening in the present, and the plot twists were interesting... but I felt like the last couple chapters were added on in a re-write or something, because they changed the entire book, introduced new characters, and took the plot twists into a whole new realm of "what the hell just happened here?"  Overall, it was a fairly good mystery, but nothing I would probably recommend.  

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple -  Bernadette Fox used to be an award-winning architect, but now she's living in Seattle with her kid and husband and mainly her job is being bat-shit crazy.  The story is told mainly in a series of emails and letters, but when Bee, Bernadette's daughter gets a chapter, it's in first person.  This drove me absolutely insane, by the way.  I like quirky book characters, but Bernadette takes it a couple steps too far and really she's too crazy for my taste.  I kept reading mainly because I wanted to make sure Bee was ok at the end.  SPOILER ALERT!!!  - She is, by the way. 

Snow White Must Die by Nele Nehaus -  Oh man.  I'm really going through a rough patch picking books right now.  I thought that a nice mystery would get me back on track, but even though I finished this one, it took me FOREVER because I never really got into it.  The main character Tobias has just been released from prison after serving time for the murder of two girls, but he has maintained his innocence all along.  Right after his release, another young girl goes missing, and the entire town assumes he is responsible.  Sounds totally interesting, right?  Sorry book, maybe it's not you, maybe it's me.

Lone Wolf by Jodi Piccoult  -  I usually like Jodi Piccoult, but I could NOT get into this one.  Maybe it's the subject matter, or maybe it's the painfully slow introduction that revolves around a circus, a tiger, and a kid who decided to let all the animals loose, but whatever it was, I barely made it three  chapters before giving totally up.  I keep telling myself that I will go back and try again someday, but the truth is, I won't. 

The Racketeer by John Grisham  -  I don't know for sure if my reading preferences have changed that much over the years, or if Mr. Grisham's writing has gotten that much drier...  a little of both, I suspect.  I still rank A Time to Killas one of my top 10 books EVER, so it's hard to hate on him too much, though.  This particular book starts out describing an innocent man (a former lawyer at that) in prison, so it seemed like a pretty good starting point for a plot.  From there though, it was all over the place, dealing with offshore bank accounts, the meth industry,  crooked federal judges, hidden gold, and a bunch of other things.  My biggest issue with it, though, was that the main character just wasn't terribly interesting.  Sure, he did a bunch of stuff and ultimately outsmarted the federal government multiple times, but I found myself not really caring how it turned out.  Maybe he would get caught, maybe he wouldn't, either way I didn't have any real vested interest in his outcome.  I really miss Grisham's more relatable characters like Jake Brigance and Mitch McDeere. 

Touch and Go by Lisa Gardner  -  I'm a long-time Lisa Gardner fan, but I was underwhelmed when I started reading the lastest D.D. Warren/Tessa Leoni thriller.  But I kept going, and about 1/3 of the way through, it got better.  I had a hard time caring about the main characters - a really rich Boston family - but I do love Tessa, so there's that.  Also, I didn't figure out the "whodunnit" part until close to the end, so I'll have to say it's worth it for that part alone.  Not the best thing I've read lately, but worth the time, once you get into the meat of the story. 

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes  -  I confess.  When a friend told me I should read this book, I DID download it but then I proceeded to ignore it for a while. It just didn't look like my kind of thing.  When I finally did start reading it, I couldn't put it down.  Lou (Louisa), the main character, is a recently unemployed 27 year old waitress who still lives with her parents.  When she takes the only job she can find - caregiver for a quadriplegic who is bent on ending his own life - she doesn't really know what she's gotten herself into.  Other than the few randomly interspersed chapters that were written from other characters' points of view (Which I could have totally done without, by the way) it was a well written book that covered a whole slew of topics.  I loved it and hated it in equal measure.


Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder  - These were favorites of mine when I was a kid.  It was way past time for a re-read, and I'm enjoying them as much today as I did when I was seven.  But seriously, can't those poor people get a break?!?!?  


The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson -  This is a young adult/teen book and therefore a really quick read, but I was so taken with the story and the storytelling.  Julia is just eleven years old when "the slowing" begins.  The slowing is an actual slowing down of how quickly the earth spins.  As the days and the nights get longer, Julia and her family are faced with decisions about how to react to the new normal.  When some Americans choose to stay on "clock-time" and others choose to move to "natural time" it causes rifts among neighborhoods and even families.  It is a beautifully written book.

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf - I almost didn't read this book when I realized it was about a gunman in an elementary school.  That subject just isn't for read-for-fun fiction, I think.  But I didn't have anything else lined up to read so I gave it a go, and it was... pretty good.  And it wasn't really about school shootings, like I had first feared.  The main characters were vaguely interesting, and the savior of the story was a spunky girl named Augie who would not, absolutely and under no circumstances, leave the school without her little brother.  

Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster - I wrote a review of this one for the BlogHer book Club and you can read about it on my main blog page. Spoiler alert - I really liked it!!!

A Wanted Man by Lee Child - Oh Jack Reacher, my love for you is inexplicable and intense.  In this installment of Reacher's Fascinating Life, while hitchhiking he finds himself in a car with two thugs and an abducted cocktail waitress...  or so he thinks.  Of course, no one is who he or she seems to be, and Reacher figures it out long before anyone else, then does something about it.  Although I've suspected it before, it's pretty apparent in this book that Reacher is some sort or high functioning autistic savant, what with all the random facts and counting and numbers and such that are constantly running through his brain.  It just makes me love him even more.

Hounded: The Iron Druids Series by Kevin Hearne - I had heard this author compared many, many times to Jim Butcher, so it was worth a go.  The main character, Atticus, is one of the last of the Druids, and he is living peacefully in small town America.  Well, until some Celtic gods show up to try to kill him, anyway.  This was a story I should have liked, but I couldn't finish the book.  I think it may have had something to do with all the weird, unpronounceable Celtic and Gaelic names.  I always struggle with those.  I haven't totally given up, though.  I may try this one again another time.  I really WANT to like it, you know?

Cold Days by Jim Butcher - I anxiously awaited the latest Dresden book just like every other geeky fangirl in the world, and I inhaled it in a day or so.  It had everything you would expect from a Dresden book - humor, fight scenes, fairies and assorted other bad guys, a ragtag group who fight the good fight.  It was broad and sweeping and epic... and I really kind of miss the days when Harry Dresden was just a professional wizard trying to make a living, don't you.  Sigh...

Also, I think that books make the best gifts:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Pin It button on image hover