Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 2011

Time for the May reading recap already? Yikes. Someone please slow down those flipping calendar pages!

MOURNING GLORIA by Susan Albert Wittig (3.5/5 Mystery Scale)
Solid installment in the China Bayles series.

THE OLIVE FARM by Carol Drinkwater (4/5 Non-fiction Scale)
Drinkwater does a wondeful job of taking us to Appassionata and showing us all the beauty--some a bit hard to uncover--and the dedication it took to own this unique property. I don't like olives, but I sure did like this book!

HARVEST MOON by Robyn Carr (3.5/5 Romance Scale)
Interesting set up in that the H/H hit it off right away--no annoying will they/won't they--and the conflict comes from other influences in their lives. Enjoyable entry in the Virgin River series.

STAY by Allie Larkin (4/5 Fiction Scale)
Perfect escapist fiction about family and friendship with a romance tossed in for good measure. And, Joe the German Shepherd--he's everything you love about dogs.

IF YOU ASK ME by Betty White (4/5 Non-fiction Scale)
Charming. You hear Betty White on every page. Photographs are wonderful.

THE ARRIVALS by Meg Mitchell Moore (4.5/5 Fiction Scale)
The story of what happens when the (adult) children come home. Some scenes in this book tore at my heart; others made my heart sing. I've always said that you never know when the phone rings or the back door opens what your children will bring home to you. Ginny and William get the phone calls and open the back door, and how the Owen family deals with the summer of their discontent made for an excellent reading experience.

So, a little bit of everything in May. Favorite had to be The Arrivals. I totally identified with Ginny Owen probably because while they haven't come home, the phone never stops ringing.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Snippet

Light filtered in through the lace curtains and made patterns on the polished wood. The air smelled of dust and old paper. Rows and rows of books lined the shelves and I let my eyes linger on the sturdy spines, thinking how human books were, so full of ideas and images, worlds imagined, worlds perceived; full of fingerprints and sudden laughter and the sighs of readers, too. It was humbling to consider all these authors, struggling with this word or that phrase, recording their thoughts for people they'd never meet.

~Lucy Jarret from The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

Monday, May 16, 2011


JOY FOR BEGINNERS by Erica Bauermeister
In stores June 9

A group of seven women gather for an outdoor candlelit dinner in Seattle to celebrate their friend Kate’s recovery from cancer. Wineglass in hand, Kate makes a pact with them: to start her new lease on life, she’ll overcome her fears and go white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon. But if she goes, each of them must also do one thing in the next year that is new or difficult or scary – and Kate gets to choose their challenges.

Knowing how much I liked The School of Essential Ingredients, June 9 can't come soon enough for this reader!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April 2011

Ten books read in April. I should be a happy reader, but I'm not. Not to slight WALDEN by Henry David Thoreau, the only real star in the list was MARCH by Geraldine Brooks, and this was a re-read for a class I took. Everything else was just fair to middling.

AGAINST THE WIND by Kat Martin (3.5/5 Romance Scale)
This first book in the Raines Brothers Trilogy was the April selection for the Barnes and Noble (Burlington, MA) Romance Readers. All in all, this story of a Sarah Allen's escape from an abusive, criminal husband back to her hometown and into the arms of local rancher, Jackson Raines (who she knew from high school days) was a good start to the series. I will want to read both Gabe's and Devlin's stories to round out the saga of the Raines' family.

DEAD BY MIDNIGHT by Carolyn Hart (3/5 Mystery Scale)
Normally, I love settling in with an installment in the Death on Demand series by Carolyn Hart. This time, not so much. It seemed to me that the plot elements were stretched to the extreme in order to fulfill the 200+ page usual length of a book of this type. While I love the references to Annie Darling's mystery bookstore and mystery books and authors, I was driven to distraction by the cat paintings with cute sayings done by Annie's mother-in-law, Laurel---and I love cats!!!

PROMISE CANYON by Robyn Carr (3.5/5 Romance Scale)
Enjoyable trip to Virgin River with Clay Tahoma (Navajo) and Lily Yazhi (Hopi) as they found each other and reconnected with their Native American upbringings. It was nice to have one of the secondary series couples (Nate Jensen and his fiancee Annie) featured in the main plot along with two subplots that allowed updates on Jack and Mel as well as the Riordan brothers.

MARCH by Geraldine Brooks (4.5/5 Fiction Scale)
March was a book that I just held in my hand and sighed when the final word was read. This is the story of John March, the father from Little Women, and covers his life from the age of 18, his meeting and marrying Marmee, his Civil War experiences, and return to Concord and his family--and so much more. Were his letters home deceitful or protective? And can one of moral certainty become a ruined dreamer?

CLEANING NABOKOV'S HOUSE by Leslie Daniels (2.5/5 Fiction Scale)
A quirky, interesting start that quickly turned boring, annoying. Enough with the cutsey angst; give me a real story with characters I truly care about. Best of the book? The young son who wanted to name his cookbook "Ate It Anyway." Cleaning Nabokov's House will, I think, appeal to many readers who enjoy stories of thirty-somethings seeking the perfect life balance. It just didn't do it for me. Now, if we were talking about sixty-somethings seeking whatever we are supposed to seek, well, that would be another story.

CHASING FIRE by Nora Roberts (3/5 Fiction Scale)
Good story; traditional NR characters and plot development. 472 pages? Would have enjoyed this story of smoke jumpers in Montana even more if it had ended about 100 pages sooner.

44 CHARLES STREET by Danielle Steel (3/5 Fiction Scale)
Story of friendship and love as four strangers come together under the roof of 44 Charles Street. Another easy, enjoyable story from Ms. Steel.

THE LADY MOST LIKELY by Julia Quinn, Connie Brockway & Eloise James (2/5 Romance Scale)
May selection for the Barnes and Noble (Burlington, MA) Romance Readers. This story, told by three different historical romance authors (Julia Quinn, Connie Brockway, and Eloisa James), revolves around a country house party. The Earl needs a wife, and his sister obliges by inviting several damsels and a few other gentlemen to what promises to be the event of the season. Spare me the invitation next time, please.

BEAUTY IN SCIENCE AND SPIRIT by Paul H. Carr (Read as course material)
Interesting take on the mathematical beauty of modern science emerged from the mystical beauty of ancient stories, illumined by art, with some good old random vs. order in the universe side trips included. A lot of in-class discuss on beauty and what it means to each one of us.

WALDEN by Henry David Thoreau (Read as course material)
How do you rate/review Walden other than to say that it was (and will continue to be) a thoughtful reading experience. Whenever the opportunity arises to read/think about all of the Concord, MA, residents of the late 1800s, I am amazed and grateful, too, knowing that a visit to their homes is but a 15-minute drive away.

One DNF for the month: THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER by Jael McHenry. There has been a lot of on-line buzz for this book. 100 pages convinced me that I just didn't get what the buzz was all about.

So there you have my April--heavy on pages, light on enthusiasm.