Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Synopsis: It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever. (from the back of the book)

Review:  I picked this up only because it is a sci-fi retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. I'm not sure what I expected but this was more. Peterfreund does an excellent job of keeping the core of Austen's story while adding a futuristic twist that blends nicely with Austen's themes. Peterfreund's writing has a repetitive quality that mildly annoying, but did not distract from the story. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys Austen, and perhaps wants to read a unique retelling.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 12-5-2012
Pages: 407

Review: Chicken Every Sunday: Life with Mother's Boarders by Rosemary Taylor

Synopsis: Rosemary's family lives in Tuscon, Arizona, one of the first families there. Her mother takes in boarders, teachers, tradesmen, salemens, couples on vacation or there for health reasons. This is a memoir of a lively family and their adventures.

Review: I'm not sure what attracted me to this book. I picked it up for pennies as a thrift store. It was charming, delightful and several times made me laugh aloud. I enjoyed the vignettes, the droll way Taylor spoke of her family and the cheery nature of the writing. I recommend this is anyone who enjoys memoirs from around the turn of the century.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 12-4-2012
Pages: 307

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Review: Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

Synopsis: Luis Fuentes is a good boy who doesn't live with the angst that his big brothers, Alex and Carlos, have always lived with. Luis is smart, funny, and has big dreams of becoming an astronaut. But when he falls for the wrong girl, Luis enters a dark world he's never known, and just when he thinks he's got life all figured out, learns some disturbing news about his family that destroys his positive outlook on life. Will that Fuentes bad boy streak come out with a vengeance and lure Luis to live on the edge like his new girlfriend and his own father? (back of the book)

Review: This is the third in Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry series. Again, I was pleased to see the characters from the previous two books have pivotal parts in this one, although it focused on the youngest Fuentes brother, Luis. Elkeles did an excellent job of creating different characters who feel related. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a pleasing, satisfying read.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 11-30-2012
Pages: 308

Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkekes

Synopsis: When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for the past year, he doesn't want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him in Colorado. When he meets Kiara Westford, a good girl totally unlike any of the girls he's usually drawn to, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she's too good for him. But will he put his pride aside when he realizes that being with Kiara might finally allow him to be his true self? (from the back of the book)
Review: This is the second in Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry Triology, centering on the second Fuentes brother, Carlos. I enjoyed this as much as the first, and was pleased to see the two main characters from the first novel make an appearence - and even have a bit more story themselves. While this is a teen romance novel, it doesn't have the normal angst and nonsense one usually finds. I recommend as a pleasent read.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 11-30-2012
Pages: 324

Review: Redwall by Brian Jacques

Synopsis:  Matthias, a young mouse, must rise above his fears and failures to save his friends at Redwall Abbey.  Cluny the Scourage, one of the most deliciously despicable rats of all time, is the villian. The unforgettable cast of supporting characters includes the stalwart badger Constance, an irrepressible hare named Basil Stag Hare, and the elderly wisemouse Brother Methuselah.
But most of all there is Matthias, seeking his true destiny in a journey that will lead through danger and despair to true wisdom. (from the back of the book)

Review: I've heard of this book for many years. I finally read my copy and was pleasently surprised. This was an excellent read, one I had trouble putting down. I might compare it to Lewis' Chroncles of Narnia. Worth reading if you find a copy.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 11-29-12
Pages: 352

Review: The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson

Synopsis: A 182-line poem, published in 1893, about God's Love chasing us. It is considered one of the best mystical/religous poems of the later time period.

Review: I'm not one for mystical poetry, finding it vague, flowery and verbose. This was none of those things. Simple words, strung together like beads, describe God's pursuit of us in gorgeous, haunting language. I highly recommend.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 11-28-2012
Pages: 26

Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Synopsis: With great wisdom and insight Lindbergh describes the shifting shapes of relationships and marriage, presenting a vision of life as it is lived in an enduring and evolving partnership. A groundbreaking, best-selling work when it was originally published in 1955, Gift from the Sea continues to be discovered by new generations of readers. With a new introduction by Lindbergh’s daughter Reeve, this fiftieth-anniversary edition will give those who are revisiting the book and those who are coming upon it for the first time fresh insight into the life of this remarkable woman. (back of the book)

Review: This was a small volume of Lindbergh’s thoughts inspired by the sea. It’s light and prosy, and a bit vague, but worth reading. She makes excellent points about time and modern lives.
Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None
Date Finished: 11-26-2012
Pages: 132

Review: The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds (Author) and Paul Lantz (Illustrator)

Synopsis:  Edward lives in upstate New York with his parents and little sister as one of the earliest settlers to in the New World. When his father leaves to fight Indians, it’s up to Edward to help his mother fight for their lives when the Indians attack them.

Review: This was a quick read, with surprising depth for its brevity. The characters become clear and solid in a few words and the story is excellent. I highly recommend.
Bookmarks:  7 of 10
Awards: 1942 Newbery Medal
Date Finished: 11-24-2012Pages: 17

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review: Hank Zipzer: Holy Enchilada! by Henry Winkler

Synopsis:  Hank Zipzer’s class is celebrating the visit of the Principal of their sister school in Japan by having a multicultural luncheon. And Hank gets chosen o host the principal’ son in his home – who happens to be the coolest boy anyone has ever met! Hank and his friends agree to make enchiladas for the luncheon. Hank is on top of the world until a small mistake in recipe spells disaster! Will Hank be able to save the day? Or will everyone in P87 hate him forever….
Review: I adore the Hank Zipzer books. I laughed out loud at every one, but they aren’t flippant books. Hank struggles with learning disabilities, in a real and relatable way. Surrounded by a crazy cast of secondary characters, Hank struggles through with a little humor and imagination – and a bunch of love for those around him. I highly recommend for children age 5-13, and for anyone who wants a good quick read that will make you laugh.
Bookmarks: 8 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished: 11-24-2012
Pages: 160

Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Synopsis: When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. (from the back of the book)

Review: I picked this up only because it won a RITA award and I was curious. It seemed like another angsty  teen romance . I was wrong. Elkeles writes with surprising depth, her characters real, flawed, round and solid. Add a believable romance and danger, and you have a book worth reading. I highly recommend.
Bookmarks: 7.5 of 10
Awards: 2010 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance
Date Finished:  11-22-2012
Pages: 368

Review: Fair Weather by Richard Peck

Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Rosie Beckett has never strayed further from her family's farm than a horse can pull a cart. Then a letter from her Aunt Euterpe arrives, and everything changes. It's 1893, the year of the World's Columbian Exposition-the "wonder of the age"-a.k.a. the Chicago World's Fair. Aunt Euterpe is inviting the Becketts to come for a visit and go to the fair. (from the back of the book)

Review: As with all the other Peck books I’ve read, I enjoyed this one immensely. Peck’s way of writing is phenomenal. His characters feel real, their adventures and drama believable and his ending always satisfying. I highly recommend this – and all – of his books.
Bookmarks: 8 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished 11-15-2012Pages: 160

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Purge 2012

I'm not sure what got into me, but I was rather ruthless with this purge. 370+ books - gone! It feels grand, to say the least. Several friends have picked through them, taking what they wanted. But I still have so many left.

I plan to take some to a department at work that has a lending library, others I will take to a book shop for credit and the remainder will be given to a local thrift store.

In addition to purging, I've begun loading all my books onto my LibraryThing account. It's marvelous. I can access it from work, or by cell phone - no more buying books I already own.

If you wish to see what I own, you can look at my catalog here. It is not complete. I have only uploaded about 1/4 of my books, being that it takes time to do so. Also, I haven't gone back through the last load of books and corrected titles are versions. It's a delightful task.

This, of course, makes my goal of reading all my books that much easier. The smallish goal is to have at least 50% read. Once I load all my books into LibraryThing, I shall be able to calculate my read to un-read ratio and then we shall see where I stand.

And that's enough booky goodness for today.

Review: Anastasia at this Address by Lois Lowry

Synopsis: To 13-year-old Anastasia Krupnik, this Single White Male from the magazine personals section sounds perfect. And really, she's not lying when she writes to say she is tall, young, hates smoking, has seen Casablanca so many times she can recite some of it, is quite sure she would like Caribbean vacations, and is definitely ready for romance. And later, when she writes to say she owns a sloop and that she races occasionally, well, that's not exactly a lie either. Tension and hilarity build as Anastasia digs herself deeper into this embroilment. When SWM writes to say he would like to meet her, it looks like the jig is finally up. How will our outspoken, fast-thinking, SWF get herself out of this mess? (from the back of the book)

Review: Lowry is known for her marvelous books, and this is no exception. Anastasia is a believable character and I enjoyed reading about her adventure. Lowry creates solid secondary characters, and a story with the right balance of humor, moral and drama. I would recommend for young girls, age 10-15, and anyone who enjoys a pleasant read.
Bookmarks: 7 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished: 11-15-2012Pages: 143

Review: Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolen

Synopsis: Sleeping Beauty, the princess, meets an ugly farmer’s daughter and a clever old witch and learns a lesson about how to treat people – or would, if they ever woke her up.

Review: I enjoyed this retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It’s a quick read with stylized drawings and an amusing tale. I would recommend for children from 6-10, and for anyone who enjoys a light-hearted retelling of an old classic.
Bookmarks: 7 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished: 11-10-2012
Pages: 16

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: Leese Webster by Ursula K. LeGuin

Synopsis: A spider weaves incredible art with her web, but her life changes when humans discover the work.

Review: This was a clever little tale, although nothing extraordinary. Younger children will enjoy the artsy spider and her explorations.
Bookmarks:  6 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished: 11-10-2012
Pages: 12

Monday, December 3, 2012

Review: Debbie's Dollhouse by Barbara Kunz Loots

Synopsis: Debbie moves to a new town and finds making friends isn’t hard when you share what you love with other people – in her case, a towering dollhouse.

Review: This was a tad saccharine, but the message is worthwhile and I enjoyed reading about the dollhouse.  I’d recommend for young girls, age 6-10.
Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished 11-10-212
Pages: 14

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Review: Unchained by C.J. Barry

Synopsis:  She'll risk everything to clear her family's name... including everything he has. Cidra Faulkner saw her family murdered and her people condemned for a crime they didn't commit. Now a skilled Kin-Sha warrior, she vows to track down the true culprit and exact justice, both for her family and all the Kin-Sha. Intergalactic treasure hunter Grey Stone had no intention of helping Cidra until his old mentor tricked him into it. Now he's trapped into helping the daughter of the man who brought about the downfall of his people -- a woman whose very presence jeopardizes all he's worked for. But honor won't let him say no. And love won't let him turn back. (from the back of the book)

Review: I picked up this book because Barry’s Unmasked was marvelous! This was not as good. The story had solid characters, action-packed plot, a believable villain, a few twists I didn’t see coming and even a dash of humor. My complaint was how quickly the hero and heroine fell in love.  It seemed – rushed and hard to believe. It lacked a depth that made me care - which is spoiled some of the story. I would recommend her other work before this one.

Prude Note: There are several sex scenes, clear but not graphic and easy to skip. I think I skipped all of them because they didn't add anything to the story.
Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 11-2-2012
Pages: 210

Friday, November 30, 2012

Review: The Cobra and the Concubine by Bonnie Vanak

Synopsis:  Badra sought refuge in the Sahara, but she could never truly escape the sheikh who'd stolen her childhood. Fareeq had proven that her long dark hair and lush body aroused a passion in men that meant only pain-and neither his death nor protection by her rescuers, the Khamsin, the Warriors of the Wind, could change that. Badra could no more forget her past than one Khamsin's burning sapphire eyes. And she could no more accept the feelings Khepri aroused than she could admit the secret shadowing her heart. Kenneth Tristan, heir to the duke of Caldwell, had ridden with the Khamsin since his English family's slaughter. Known as Khepri, the Cobra, he'd grown up in Egypt and loved the land. Yet, now, all was sand in the wind. The love of his Arabic brothers, the title that awaited him in London, the treasures from his family's archaeological dig - all was nothing, for he could not protect Badra, could not avenge her past and win her love. He would sacrifice all to make her whole. But until he did just that, they would still be just... THE COBRA AND THE CONCUBINE (from the back of the book)

Review: This is a typical romance novel. It’s a bit clich├ęd, but she does a solid job of creating believable characters (especially Badra) and the action is heroic and melodramatic, as is proper. The “big mystery” I thought was forced and contrived, but it is a romance novel – that’s part of their charm.  If you want a good romance novel NOT set in the typical Regency drawing room, I recommend this book. It is the third in a series, and the previous characters show up. I would say that "spoiler" the previous books, but it doesn't.

Prude Note: The sex scenes are a bit graphic, and seem overly dramatic. However, given Badra's past, it's forgivable. You can skip if you want to and it will only detract from the story in a minor way.
Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished: 10-28-2012
Pages: 342

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Counting

I recently completed a book purge. Of my 2,700+ books, I culled about 350 from the herd. It is a good feeling. It is amazing what brutal honesty with one's self can accomplish.

Some books I got rid of because I can load them onto my kindle (i.e. classics).
Some books I got rid of because I was only keeping them to feel smart about myself.
Some books I got rid of because I've had them for 10 years and never read them.
Some books I got rid of because I will never read them again.
Some books I got rid of because they were dreadful and I'm sorry to have wasted time on them.
Some books I got rid of because they interested me once, but no longer.

I plan to distribute them to various persons in my know and a local shop for credit.

My husband warned me that just because I got rid of books does not mean I can buy more. Oh, silly man. Of course it does. I have room on the shelves now!

He never learns.

Review: The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds (Author) and Paul Lantz (Illustrator)

Review: The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer


Synopsis:  Set in around 1751, The Black Moth centers on Jack Carstares, oldest son of the Earl Wyncham. Disgraced years before and forced abroad, he return as a highwayman in the country he loves. He foils an abduction by the Duke of Andover (the brother of Carstares’ sister-in-law) and ends up in the home of Diana Beauleigh. Adventure and Romance ensure, the hero gets the girl, the villian gets his due and everyone is happy in the end.

Review: This is most likely Heyer’s first book, written when she was 19. It’s a lovely story.  Heyer jump between characters, giving almost as much page time to minor characters as to the main, but that does not detract from the story. Her writing is smooth, her plot properly melodramatic and fraught with peril, as is only right for a romance, but she grounds it in solid characters and historical facts. If you enjoy Jane Austen, then Heyer is for you.

Prude Note: Like Austen, this is a clean book with no sex scenes at all. Anything even remotely close to that is hinted at in the vaguest terms.
Bookmarks:  7 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished: 10-19-2012
Pages: 190

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health by Gary Taubes

Synopsis: For decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet despite this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates, like white flour, easily digested starches, and sugars, and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number. In this groundbreaking book, award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong. (from the back of the book)
Review: Read this book! It will change how you veiw science, medicine, health, excerise - everything. It's dense, a textbook, really, and will take you time to get through. It took me almost 6 months.  A lay-man's version is called Why We Get Fat and What We Can Do About It by Taubes. It's on my list to read. Again, read. this. book. I can't stress that enough.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: Several

Date Finished: 9-25-2012
Pages: 609

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny

Synopsis: Drs. Patricia Love and Steven Stosny have studied this all-too-familiar dynamic between men and women and have reached a truly shocking conclusion. Even with the best of intentions, talking about your relationship doesn’t bring you together, and it will eventually drive you apart.

The reason for this is that underneath most couples’ fights, there is a biological difference at work. A woman’s vulnerability to fear and anxiety makes her draw closer, while a man’s subtle sensitivity to shame makes him pull away in response. This is why so many married couples fall into the archetypal roles of nagging wife/stonewalling husband, and why improving a marriage can’t happen through words.

How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It teaches couples how to get closer in ways that don’t require “trying to turn a man into a woman.” Rich in stories of couples who have turned their marriages around, and full of practical advice about the behaviors that make and break marriages, this essential guide will help couples find love beyond words. (from the back of the book)

Review: I read this at the instruction of a marriage counselor. It was enlightening, but not mind-blowing. I didn't agree with all of the advice, but the basic idea seemed true. And some of the advice has been useful. I would recommend as a resource to marriages in trouble, but not as a end-all-be-all fix. It will simply give one several good ideas, perhaps some useful tips. Personally, I found other books more helpful for my marriage. But each marriage is unique and this may speak to others in ways it did not speak to me.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-21-2012
Pages: 213



Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Synopsis: Sophie lived in the town of Market Chipping, which was in a Ingary, a land in which anything could happen, and often did - especially when the With of the Waste got her dander up. Which was often. As her younger sisters set out to seek their fortunes, Sophie stayed in her father's hat shop. Which proved most unadventurous, until the Witch of the Waste came in to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased. Which is why she turned Sophie into an old lady. Which was spiteful witchery. Now Sophie must seek her own fortune. Which means striking a bargain with the lecherous Wizard Howl. Which means entering his ever-moving castle, taming a blue fire-demon, and meeting the Witch of the Water head-on. Which is more than Sophie bargained for....

Review: I saw the movie and had to read the book. The book is better, although I adored the movie. The book is almost a different story, different in there are more characters, a different ending, sub-plots, and even a different villain. However, being that I prefer books, I wasn't unhappy (although if I'd read the book then seen the movie, I would have been) with the book, merely enjoyed it for the delightful story that it was. I highly recommend. This would be an excellent book to read aloud to kids, or for anyone who enjoys a good mystery-romance-fantasy.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-18-2012
Pages: 329

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer

Synopsis: From the moment Captain Gervase Desborough, the new Earl of St. Erth, returns to his ancestral home, Drusilla Morville is instantly captivated by the handsome lord. But the independent-minded miss knows she is no match for the beautiful debutantes who will soon vie for the eligible earl's affections. Until his life is threatened. As the unwelcome heir to Stanyon Castle, Gervase knows that far more than a mere inheritance is at stake. But her never expects to be attacked by a mysterious assailant - or to be rescued by such an enchanting young woman. Little does the dashing lord realize that Drusilla has no intentions of letting any harm befall the man she secretly loves.

Review: I adored this book! Heyer was known for her Austen-esque writing and I can see why. The flavor, the words, the story, the characters, all have a lovely Austen tang. This is the fifth Heyer book I've read and all of them have been marvelous! I highly recommend to anyone who enjoy Austen or just a pleasing, satisfying romance.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-14-2012
Pages: 346

Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: What Jamie Saw by Carolyn Coman

Synopsis: When Jamie saw him throw the baby, saw Van throw the little baby, saw Van throw his little sister Nin, then they moved. Nin's okay - Jamei know that because his mom was there to catch her. And then Jamie and his mom and Nin moved to Earl's little trailer in the middle of nowhere. They don't have a lot of money, and sometimes the car doesn't start, but Jamie has his mom and Nin and, most of all, his magic tricks. Things are fine....as long as no one gets too close.

Review: As a Newbery book, I had high hopes. But I admit I didn't get it. The book touches on deep themes, abuse, poverty, family and loss. But the resolution lacks something. Jamie and his mom confront Van, but nothing changes - no move to a better life, no lesson learned. It felt flat and loose. While this wasn't a bad book, it felt incomplete. I would be interested in other's opinion.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: Newbery Honor, 1996

Date Finished: 9-6-2012 
Pages: 126

Review: Georgina and the Dragon by Lee Kingman

Synopsis: Georgina was named after her great-grandmother who had helped to bring the vote to women in Idaho. When the government issued a stamp in honor of her famous ancestor, Georgine was invited to attend the official ceremonies.
Determined to earn her plan ticket, Georgine set out to find work. She soon discovered that boys had all the jobs. Undaunted, she went on to prove her enterprising a girl can be. From walking the enormous wolfhound no boy could handle to tackling the town's fiery-tempered old dragon lady, Georgina turned boy and girl roles upside down and started all sorts of hilarious happenings in her town!

Review: This was a delightful and amusing book. Georgina is just the sort of girl I'd want as a daughter; spunky, fiery, no brain-to-mouth filter and very tenacious. She managed, through her perseverance, to change the lives of those around her, for the better, including her own. I recommend this for young girls, 9-12, who like adventure and humor and who might feel they can't find their place in the world.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-5-2012
Pages: 84

Review: Plain Girl by Virginia Sorensen

Synopsis: Every day, every hour at school, Esther stood out like "one black bird against the sky" in her plain clothes. Esther was Amish, or a Plain Girl. It wasn't until she was almost ten years old that the Pennsylvania school authorities forced her father to send her to public school. The Amish, you see, believe in teaching their children at home, according to their own ways.
Esther's brother, Dan, had gone to public school - and, because of the different life he discovered there, he had run away from home. Dan felt that he, not his parents, should decided whether or not he would accept the Amish way of life.
Esther was secretly looking forward to seeing all the wonderful things at school that Dan had told her about. But like Dan, she knew that she, too, would be faced with a difficult choice.

Review: Sorensen's characters are well-rounded, and I enjoyed her details of Amish life. The conflict felt real and familiar and I think this would be an excellent book for young kids who find the beliefs taught at home different from the ones they learn at home, or those that feel different.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 09-03-2012
Pages: 151

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review: Lady Whistledown Strikes Back by Julia Quinn

Synopsis: Like the first, this is another collection of four stories framed by the musings of Lady Whistledown (first introduced in The Duke and I). These take place surrounding a Dinner with a Theft and a Festival at Palace.

Review: Again, this was marvelous! I loved that characters in one story often popped into another stories. I loved the unique touch each author gave on their story, but maintaining the over all feel - light, romantic and witty. I highly recommend. Oh, and I would read ALL of the Bridgerton Series before this - those characters make appearances also and if you know who Lady Whistledown is, it makes it even more fun!

Prude Note: Each story has varying levels of sex scenes - from graphic to none at all. Most can be skipped if you wish, without impeding the story.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 8-3-2012
Pages: 387

Review: The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown ed. by Julia Quinn

Synopsis: Framed by the musings of Lady Whistledown (first introduced in The Duke and I), this is a collection of four stories set in the same time frame, all settling around a skating party and a Valentine's Day Ball.

Review: This was marvelous! I loved that characters in one story often popped into another stories. I loved the unique touch each author gave on their story, but maintaining the over all feel - light, romantic and witty. I highly recommend. Oh, and I would read ALL of the Bridgerton Series before this - those characters make appearances also and if you know who Lady Whistledown is, it makes it even more fun!

Prude Note: Each story has varying levels of sex scenes - from graphic to none at all. Most can be skipped if you wish, without impeding the story.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 8-1-2012
Pages: 391



Review: The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

Synopsis: Marked by tragedy, traumatized at the age of eight, Michael, now eighteen, is no ordinary young man. Besides not uttering a single word in ten years, he discovers the one thing he can somehow do better than anyone else. Whether it's a locked door without a key, a padlock with no combination, or even an eight-hundred pound safe ... he can open them all. It's an unforgivable talent. A talent that will make young Michael a hot commodity with the wrong people and, whether he likes it or not, push him ever close to a life of crime. Until he finally sees his chance to escape, and with one desperate gamble risks everything to come back home to the only person he ever loved, and to unlock the secret that has kept him silent for so long. (from the back of the book)

Review: I heard Hamilton speak at a writer's conference. He signed my book. And I am so glad I picked it up. This is a marvelous story. The characters have depth, roundness and flaws. The plot, jumping between two time frames, keep the mystery and made me stay up late to finish it. The puzzle-plot reminds me of Agatha Christie. I highly recommend - even if you aren't a mystry fan.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: 2011 Edgar Award for Best Novel

Date Finished: 7-31-2012
Pages: 314

Review: The Maid-at-Arms by Robert W. Chambers

Synopsis: George Ormond leaves his plantation in Florida and travels to his distant relatives in the North. There, he finds them facing the Colonies rebellion against the Crown and the possible massacre by the Native Tribes. He also find his true love, only to hear she is engaged to another. Ormond joins with others to face the Tribes and find his place in war.

Review: Written and published in 1902, this is a wonderful fictional account of a small bite of a the Revoultionary War. Sweet romance, elegant prose, daring action and mystery make this an excellent novel. If you enjoy older books, I highly recommend.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 7-25-2012
Pages: 342

Review: Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas

Synopsis: Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith’s. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn't possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India? Leo has no reason to think Bryony could ever forgive him for the way he treated her, but he won’t rest until he’s delivered an urgent message from her sister—and fulfilled his duty by escorting her safely back to England. But as they risk their lives for each other on the journey home, will the biggest danger be the treacherous war around them—or their rekindling passion? (from the back of the book)

Review: This story intrigued me, and I was not disappointed. The characters are well-rounded, flawed and have a real feel. The plot is good, and I enjoyed the use of real histroical events as a backdrop. My qualm with the novel was the frequent use of sex as interactions between the hero and heroine. It caught me off guard, and felt gratuitous. However, aside from that, the story has a marvelous, sigh-worthy ending, one I enjoyed more then most books.

Prude Note: The sex scenes are early, frequent and sometimes graphic. Despite the good story, this may not be the book for you if you wish to avoid extensive sex scenes.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: 2010 Rita Award for Best Historical Romance

Date Finished: 7-22-2012
Pages: 340

Review: Unclaimed by Courtney Milan

Synopsis: Handsome, wealthy and respected, Sir Mark Turner is the most sought-after bachelor in all of London—and he's known far and wide for his irreproachable character. But behind his virtuous reputation lies a passionate nature he keeps carefully in check...until he meets the beautiful Jessica Farleigh, the woman he's waited for all his life. But Jessica is a courtesan, not the genteel lady Sir Mark believes. Desperate to be free of a life she despises, she seizes her chance when Mark's enemies make her an offer she can't refuse: seduce Mark and tarnish his good name, and a princely sum will be hers. Yet as she comes to know the man she's sworn to destroy, Jessica will be forced to choose between the future she needs…and the love she knows is impossible (from the back of the book)

Review: As the second in Milan's Turner Series, I would have read this one on the strength of the first alone. However, the premise intrigued me and I was interested to see how she handled it. I was not disappointed. Milan did a superb job of making Mark chaste without being a prude. I would highly recommend this book as a satisfying read, unusual in a good way.

Prude Notes: The first two sex scenes are masturbation, although there is not actual body parts described. Those, along with the two regular sex scenes, are easy to avoid. However, given that the whole story hinged on the hero being a virgin, you might not want to avoid some of them.
Bookmarks: 7 of 10
Awards: None

Date Finished: 7-20-2012
Pages: 422

Review: Unveiled by Courtney Milan

Synopsis: Ash Turner has waited a lifetime to seek revenge on the man who ruined his family—and now the time for justice has arrived. At Parford Manor, he intends to take his place as the rightful heir to the dukedom and settle an old score with the current duke once and for all. But instead he finds himself drawn to a tempting beauty who has the power to undo all his dreams of vengeance….
Lady Margaret knows she should despise the man who's stolen her fortune and her father's legacy—the man she's been ordered to spy on in the guise of a nurse. Yet the more she learns about the new duke, the less she can resist his smoldering appeal. Soon Margaret and Ash find themselves torn between old loyalties—and the tantalizing promise of passion (from the back of the book)
Review: This is my first Milan novel and I rather enjoyed it. Her characters are well-rounded, intriguing, flawed and witty. I enjoyed the plot, although occasionally it was a bit flippy-floppy for my task. In the end, this is a satisfing novel, one I would recommend.

Prude Notes: The sex scenes are ordinary and avoidable, and not important to the story.
Bookmarks: 7 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished: 7-19-2012
Pages: 378

Review: How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn

Synopsis: When James Sidwell, Marquis of Riverdale, offered to help Elizabeth Hotchkiss find herself a husband, he never dreamed that the only candidate he could propose would be himself. (from the amazon description)
Review: As with all Quinn books, this one is delightful. Full of wit, humor, romance and love, the story follows a young girl torn between her heart and her family. The secondary characters are marvelous, as always and I enjoyed seeing the hero and heroine from To Catch a Heiress appear. I highly recommned as a light, summer read.

Prude Notes: The sex is sweet and ordinary, and easy to avoid if you wish too. The story won't be affected.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished: 7-16-2012
Pages: 375

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review: On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

Synopsis: Joel dares his best friend, Tony, to a swimming race in a dangerous river. Both boys jump in, but when Joel reaches the sandbar, he finds Tony has vanished. How can he face their parents and the terrible truth? (from the back of the book)

Review: This is a sad, hard story. However, it's a good book, one that would be excellent to help someone through the death of a loved one, particularly a death one might feel guilty over. It's a quite read, but leaves a mark.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: 1987 Newbery Honor Award

Date Finished: 7-11-2012
Pages: 90

Review: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Synopsis: Ten-year-old Caitlin's word had always been black and white. Anything else was confusing; but her brother, Devon, helped her understand. Then tragedy struck, and now nothing makes sense. As a girl with Asperger's syndrome, Caitlin turns to what she does know - textbooks and dictionaries. And after reading the definition of close, she realizes that this is what everyone needs. In her search for closure, she discovers that black and white are surrounded by shades of gray, and that those are beautiful and necessary for healing. (from the back of the book)

Review: This is a marvelous book. I laughed out loud several times, and cried at the end. Yes, cried. Written from the viewpoint of a child dealing with Asperger's, it gives an excellent perspective, one many of us might learn from. I highly recommend this book - in particular if you know someone with Asperger's, and wish to learn more about how they see the world.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: 2010 U.S. Nationa Book Award for Young People's Literature

Date Finished: 7-10-2012 
Pages: 235

Review: Ravyn's Flight by Patti O'Shea

Synopsis: Communications specialist Ravyn Verdier is on a mission to test the habitability of Jarved Nine when her team is mysteriously killed. Sent to rescue her, commander Damon Brody becomes stranded on the planet with her. Trapped on a world harboring an unimaginable evil, Ravyn and Damon must depend on one another--and they discover love is the only force strong enough to battle their unseen enemy. (from the back of the book)

Review: This is a well-done sci-fi romance. I enjoyed the world-building (and the subtle references to things from our time that carried over), the romance was a little hokey, but not enough to ruin the story, and I enjoyed the romance between the secondary characters. The story is fact-paced and well-written, although I could have done without the mystical stuff. In the end, if you are looking for good sci-fi romance (which is hard to find) this is a good choice. I will be reading more of her work.

Prude Note: There are several sex scenes, all of which can be avoided if you wish. One, however, is important to understand the romance between the secondary characters, but not so important that skipping will ruin the story.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 7-8-2012
Pages: 312

Review: Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair

Synopsis: The universe isn’t what it used to be. With the new Alliance between the Triad and the United Coalition, Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian finds herself serving under her former nemesis, biocybe Admiral Branden Kel-Paten–and doing her best to hide a deadly past. But when an injured mercenary winds up in their ship’s sick bay–and in the hands of her best friend, Dr. Eden Fynn–Sass’s efforts may be wasted.

Wanted rebel Jace Serafino has information that could expose all of Sass’s secrets, tear the fragile Alliance apart–and end Sass’s career if Kel-Paten discovers them. But the biocybe has something to hide as well, something once thought impossible for his kind to possess: feelings . . . for Sass. Soon it’s clear that their prisoner could bring down everything they once believed was worth dying for–and everything they now have to live for. (from the back of the book)

Review: This was a delightful book. The relationship between Kel-Paten and Sass, the humor, the tension, the romance - it's perfect. Sinclair is a master. Her stories are intricate, fast-paced, with distinct, complete characters in a believable story with a twist to the end. Unlike so many romance books, this one has meat on it's bones. It's more then just love-tale; There is mystery, suspense, action, humor and yes - love. I highly recommend, not just this story, but most of Sinclair's work.

Prude Note: There are 2 major sex scenes. They are not graphic and are important to the characters. You can skip over them if you wish, and it won't ruin the story.

Bookmarks: 9 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 7-5-2012
Pages: 525

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review: To Close to the Sun by Robin T. Popp

Synopsis: Galactic smuggler Angel Torrence resented Colonel Nicoli Romanof from the first order he barked at her. His disembodied voice – arrogant and bossy – blared out of the Icarus’s control panel, not to thank her for rescuing him and his ship from the terrorist attack, but to instruct her to set a course for the most perilous planet in the solar system.
On the riskiest mission of his career, Nicoli had allowed his life essence and his physical form to be separated. And the Harvestors had taken the bait – his body. Now he needed the cocky pilot who’d stolen his vessel to help him retrieve his person and destroy the deadly race of aliens. Then he discovered the young man was a woman, and he kissed his chances of success goodbye.
When Nicoli refused her assistance because of her gender, Angel would have moved heaven and earth to prove she was up to the task. But she never expected the colonel’s physique to be so magnificent – or his heart to be so courageous. And when a passion she couldn’t deny flared between them, she wondered if they’d found love or flown…Too Close To The Sun. (from the back of the book)

Review: I picked this up on a whim, as I was looking for science fiction romance novels. Unlike several others I picked up, this one proved interesting and well-written. I enjoyed the characters, the story and the romance. Some of it was a bit contrived - the whoops-we-are-naked parts - but the world-building was interesting enough that I just rolled my eyes and keep reading. This is a pleasing summer read. Oh, and just ignore the cheesy cover.

Prude Note: There are three major sex scenes, all of which can be skipped with no loss to the story. They aren't graphic, mostly the normal romance novel stuff, if a bit contrived.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 7-3-2012 
Pages: 305

Review: Special Forces Unarmed Combat Guide by Martin J. Dougherty

Synopsis: A How-to manual on unarmed combat.

Review: No book is substitute for hands-on training, but this book does a good job of giving a the basic idea. It has step-by-step instructions, pictures and general advice. I purchased it as reference for writing and it's proven useful.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 7-1-2012
Pages: 320

Review: Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch

Synopsis: It was just another day in Arizona and then the monster showed up. Marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt had just finished a day on jury duty. When she stepped out of the Pueblo Caliente courthouse, all she was thinking about was the work she had to get caught up on. Then her attention was caught by a fight between a couple - a domestic dispute that looked like it was about to turn ugly.  But ugly didn't even begin to cover it when the "man" suddenly transformed into a huge, winged monster right out of grade Z science fiction movie and went on a deadly killing spree. In hindsight, Kitty realized she probably should have panicked and run screaming the way everyone around her was doing. Instead she got mad, searched her purse for a weapon, and, armed with a Mont Blanc pen, sprinted into action to take down the alien. In the middle of all the screeching and the ensuing chaos, tall handsome hunk of a guy in an Armani suit suddenly appeared beside her, examined the body, introduced himself as Jeff Martini with "the agency." called out an Armani-clad colleague to perform crowd control, and then insisted on leading her to a nearby limo to talk to his "boss". And that was how Kitty's new life among the aliens began....

Review: I picked this up on a whim several months ago. It was clever and amusing, not the best read ever, but pleasing. I laughed out loud several times and I didn't know what would happen until the end. I enjoyed the campy qualities and the concept. I felt the "climatic" confrontation between good and evil was a bit contrived, and the romance a bit rushed. In the end, it's a pleasant summer read.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 6-15-2012
Pages: 389

Review: Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain 1942 by the United States War Department

Synopsis: This is a small instruction manual give to all American G.I.s when they travel to England during WWII. It's full of instructions for etiquette, social rules, and general knowledge such at the metric system and British money.

Review: This was a delightful book! I loved the comparison between American and English customs - (They make crap coffee, We make crap tea) - I would highly recommend this book for any Anglophile or fan of WWII history. It's a quick, easy read and quite fun!

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 6-10-2012
Pages: 31

Review: The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes by Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart

Synopsis: When she was sixteen, Dee fortune kidnapped her two younger sisters and ran from danger. Now twenty-nine, sh'es still trying to control her shape-shifting  power - no easy task when Danny James shows up one Friday morning with his deadly smile and dangerous questions about the past. Lizzie is determined to save her family from financial ruin by turning straw into gold; now, if she could only stop turning forks into bunnies. Then Elric, a sorcerer, appears on Friday - annoyed with the chaos Lizzie is creating in the universe and in his heart. The youngest, Mare, towers above her sisters but her telekinetic power is dwarfed by their gifts. She spends her days at Value Video!! and her nights contemplating the futility of her existence. But the a gorgeous Value Video!! VP and Mar'es long-lost-love turn up...and they all turn up heat on a weekend no Fortune will soon forget. (from the back of the book)

Review: I picked this up at two of the three authors are the same as Dogs and Goddesses, which I rather enjoyed.  This wasn't as good at Dogs and Goddesses but it was amusing and a good read. I enjoyed the three sisters (Mare was my favorite) and the intertwinning stories. If you're looking for a pleasent beach read, this is a good choice.

Prude Note: There are several sex scenes but each is important to the development of the characters, and the story. None are gratuitus as often occurs in these sort of novels. They are easy to skip, if you wish, but there is nothing disgustingly graphic about them, just your usual romance novel heaving and swelling.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 6-8-2012
Pages: 410

Review: The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

Synopsis: The Primal Blueprint is a simple, flexible plan to help you look and feel your best without struggling or suffering, by adapting the simple lifestyle practices of our hunter-gatherer ancestors into modern life. Sisson presents the compelling premise that you can reprogram your genes in the direction of weight loss, health, and longevity by following 10 immutable Primal Blueprint lifestyle laws validated by two million years of human evolution. Weight loss is largely about insulin; moderate your production by eliminating sugar and grains, and you will lose the excess body fat you desire even while eating delicious, satisfying foods. Plus you will improve your energy level, reduce inflammation, and eliminate disease risk. Eating meat, eggs, and a generally high-fat diet not only is healthy but is the key to effortless weight loss, a healthy immune system, and boundless energy.Slowing down your typical cardiovascular workouts, and incorporating brief, intense strength sessions and occasional all-out sprints can produce fitness benefits far superior to workouts that are longer and more grueling-and can eliminate the risk of burnout. (from the back of the book)

Review: Mark Sisson is, for lack of a better word, an Elder in the Primal / Paleo nutrition movement. His blog, Mark's Daily Apple, is a pillar of knowledge for us new cavemen. This book is his basic ideology and how-tos. It's well-organized, humorous, easy to understand but not dumbed-down. I enjoy his realistic approach and his philosophy - namely, that most diets function on guilt instead of true health. I highly recommend if you are looking to get healthy and have failed with most other methods.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 6-3-2012
Pages: 325

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review: Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart and Lucy March

Synopsis: Abby has just arrived in Summerville, Ohio, with her placid Newfoundland, Bowser. She’s reluctantly inherited her grandmother’s coffee shop, but it’s not long before she’s brewing up trouble in the form of magical baked goods and steaming up her life with an exasperating college professor.
And then there’s Daisy, a web code writer, and her hyperactive Jack Russell, Bailey. Her tightly-wound world spins out of control when she discovers the chaos within and meets a mysterious dog trainer whose teaching style is definitely hands-on.
Finally there’s Shar, professor of ancient history at Summerville College, who wakes up one morning to find her neurotic dachshund, Wolfie, snarling at an implacable god sitting at her kitchen table, the first thing in her life she hasn’t been able to footnote.

What on earth is going on in this unearthly little town? It’s up to Abby, Daisy, and Shar to find out before an ancient goddess takes over Southern Ohio, and they all end up in the apocalyptic doghouse… (from the back of the book)

Review: I picked this up on a whim at a local used book store and I am SO glad I did! The story was intriguing and well-written, the characters were distinct - not something easy to do when you have this many main ones - and the world-building was believable - even if it was about a real life goddess! And the dogs - oh, I laughed out loud several times at the dogs! I highly recommend this if you enjoy a good light funny read!

Prude Note: There are several sex scenes, and one rather odd scene with paint. You can skip if you want, but they are integral to the story - unusual for a romance novel, by my standards. However, just knowing that happen is enough and skipping is fine if you want.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 5-17-2012
Pages: 388

Review: A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos

Synopsis: Catharine's mother has died, following the birth of an infant son, and when her father decides to remary, Catherine faces painful changes, not the least of them in herself. (From the back of the book)

Review: This story is told in the form of a journal, written by a middle school girl. She lives on a farm with her father and siblings in 1830. This is excellent. The story is vibrant and well-told, with real-to-life struggles of the time - slavery, school, death and a blended family. I enjoyed this immensely and highly recommend!

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: Newbery Medal, 1980

Date Finished: 4-26-2012
Pages: 144

Review: Cultures of the World: Afghanistan by Sharifah Enayat Ali

Synopsis: This is a children's book, part of a collection, on countries around the world. It goes over culture, geography, history etc, and includes many color photos.

Review: This is an excellent introduction to Afghanistan. I was pleased it was half words and half pictures. I'd recommend this for children age 5+ who wish to learn about other cultures.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 4-25-2012
Pages: 144

Review: The Practical Princess and Other Liberating Tales

Synopsis: What was the fairy thinking of when she gave the gift of common sense to a baby princess? After all, what does a princess need but beauty and charm? But Princess Bedelia's common sense  bought through many a dangerous situations! (From the back of the book)

Review: This is a collection of retold fairy tales, featuring hapless males and strong females. It's delightful! It's a quick read, fun and funny. If you find a copy, buy it and enjoy!

Bookmarks: 7 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished: 4-15-2012
Pages: 94

Review: Astropilots by Laura J. Mixon

Synopsis: Andrea Ito has the right stuff. She's an ace pilot, the Top Gun of the toughest space academy in the solar system. Then mysterious Jason Stiletto blasts into her life from Eridani, a distant star system. He's the best cadet she's ever seen. But he has a terrible secret.
Jason doesn't play by the rules. He only has one goal - revenge on the man who tried to kill him. And he only has one friend - the gently alien Sssrei. That is, until he meets Andrea. But can he trust her with the truth? And how can he stop his enemy's deadly plan?
Review: Published in 1987, I expected this to be cheesy and stupid. I was pleasantly and completely surprise to find it an excellent read, with complex plot, well-rounded characters and excellent world-building. This is first-class space fiction novel. I'm eager to read more of the author's work and would recommend this to anyone wanting a quick, excellent read!
Bookmarks: 8 of 10
Awards: None
Date Finished: 4-12-2012
Pages: 236

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church by Reggie McNeal

Synopsis: In this provocative book, author, consultant, and church leadership developer Reggie McNeal debunks these and other old assumptions and provides an overall strategy to help church leaders move forward in an entirely different and much more effective way. In The Present Future, McNeal identifies the six most important realities that church leaders must address including: recapturing the spirit of Christianity and replacing "church growth" with a wider vision of kingdom growth; developing disciples instead of church members; fostering the rise of a new apostolic leadership; focusing on spiritual formation rather than church programs; and shifting from prediction and planning to preparation for the challenges of an uncertain world. McNeal contends that by changing the questions church leaders ask themselves about their congregations and their plans, they can frame the core issues and approach the future with new eyes, new purpose, and new ideas. (from the website)

Review: I did not like this. I thought his premise was a rewording of tired arguments, he preached to the choir, and it was full of inane advice the sounded good because it was different but that didn't make it good. In the end, I think the author's heart was in the right place, but his advice cliched and unhelpful.

Bookmarks: 5 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 4-8-2012
Pages: 152

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review: No Children, No Pets by Marion Holland

Synopsis: NO CHILDREN! NO PETS! What can the three Sanders children and their cat do about a sign like that? Don and Jane and their troublesome little sister find their new Florida house filled with odd tenants - and strange happenings. Why did the superintendent leave in such a hurry? What happened to the missing ruby clip? And where did the homeless boy come from? Here are suspense and fun - the unexpected and the hilarious. Even the peculiar tenants wind up says, Yes Children! Yes Pets!

Review: Published in 1956, this is a flimsy paperback book with retro illustrations. The story is cute and cliched, but takes place in Florida, which I found marvelous. Holland nailed the quirky old people, the Florida weather, the gritty sand and the sound of wind through palms. This story is worth reading, if for nothing more then the vintage language and the funny characters.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 4-7-2012
Pages: 156

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review: Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin

Synopsis: When Danny Dunn tips over the mysterious jar of glistening liquid, he has no way of knowing that he will involved himself, his friend Joe and Professor Bullfinch in a wild flight between planets. But anything can happen when Danny is around - and practically does!

Review: Published in 1956, this reminds me of the dreadful science-fiction television shows from the same time. The story is improbably, the characters are flat and stereotypical, the humor is lame - but the retro feel and the hard science (aside from the anti-gravity paint) is sound and delightful and I'm glad I purchased this for my "Geek Books for Children" collection!

You will remember I read another of these stories a few weeks ago. This one is the first. The one I read then is the third, and introduces the Irene Miller - an smart-mouthed, intelligent girl - which is probably why I like that one better.

Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 4-3-2012
Pages: 154