Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 24: Happy B'day to Me! And books 'n' stuff!

One Plus OneOne Plus One by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I *loved* this book. The readers were top-notch, the characterization interesting, the conflict moving--really strong focus on how one thing going wrong can cause an avalanche of bad luck for a family on the edge. Hugely enjoyable. Moyes manages the differing viewpoints adeptly. I will listen to this, or read it, again!

Light ThickensLight Thickens by Ngaio Marsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Marsh, and I've read LT before; it was a real treat to read it as my students and I were studying it in class! Amazing that this was set in 1982: she feels post-war to me, always. Highly recommended, especially for students of Shakespeare!

Lords and Ladies (Discworld, #14)Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Highly recommended by various folk (Lyle, Cala, Andy) and I enjoyed it, but the reader (Nigel Planer) didn't do women's voices very well, which weakened the story since it's largely *about* women. Pratchett, as usual, is funny and sly and does great parallels and also makes great points about human nature. . . . I did enjoy it, but I still prefer the Tiffany Aching books!

A Rural AffairA Rural Affair by Catherine Alliott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Entertaining enough: fairly well-written, but didn't really take advantage of the quirky characters Alliott created. Handed it off to Renee without a qualm. Fluff a step above Katie Fforde, but not Marian Keyes or Jennifer Crusie's level.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Found this a huge pleasure. Sharp, funny, touching--probably the teens are a bit too articulate, but that makes the reading even better. Great to read a book with a gay character and love interest that was, essentially, a teen novel--not a message book or a purpose book. Albertalli's writing is endearing, interesting, and funny. I want all my students, kids, and friends to read this book!

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Back home after two weeks of weekend travel: Uncle Tom's 90th and then L's graduation. Both good experiences, but my! Delighted to be home. My b'day: extremely low key, aka "forgotten", but made a great cake and had a nice hike with Lori. More will come. We're all toasted. Lyle home and busy changing up his room and adjusting to life after college with his dumb ol' family (for a bit at least). His room looks great!

I have either bad allergies or a little cold: it's been incredibly dry and windy, so I guess my money's on allergies. Stuffy as can be! Off to lie down and read a bit, perhaps with the Red Sox on. Thank HEAVEN for three day weekends!

Sunday: March 29: Happy SUNNY Palm Sunday!

Dreaming Spies (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #13)Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some Laurie King's I like; some drag a bit or a lot and come alive better as audios than on the printed page. Dreaming Spies, however, is terrific: full of interesting characters, fascinating details about life in Japan in the 1920's, and fast-paced enough to keep everything clipping along. I haven't read many books about the countryside of Japan--most of them involve the big cities, which sound way too crowded and built-up for my taste--so King's descriptions were interesting and novel. I still need to ponder the end a bit--this is definitely a rereadable novel on my list!--but it gets two thumbs up from me!

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 3, Sunday: Tying up some Book Ends. . .

This is How it EndsThis is How it Ends by Kathleen MacMahon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

At the moment, can't tell if I've dumped it, or just put it to one side for a bit. Seems dull right now, but one reviewer said the first part drags but the rest is much better. Sooooooo, we'll see.

The Rose of SebastopolThe Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hey, guess what? War is hell, and sometimes women don't get treated the way they should.

This is essentially the gist of this novel by Katharine McMahon. I'm glad I read her Crimson Rooms first, because in that one her female protag. fights back; in the other two earlier novels I've read since, the characters are a little victim-y and I am not so much of a fan.

Well written, however, and maybe if I reread, I'd enjoy it more. Just not engrossing or really covering new ground.

The Boy in the Suitcase (Nina Borg, #1)The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

WOW! Got this one from a list of "If you liked "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" You'll LIke. . . " on Facebook. This first novel by a team of Danish women is spine-tingling and disturbing but not as graphic, gross, or politically detailed as GWTDT, and is very good. I am looking for more Nina Borgs!

The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q, #1)The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another book recommended for readers who like Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: this one was even better--funnier and more developed characters--than "Boy in the Suitcase." Interesting, fast-paced, suspenseful and peopled with interesting, nuanced characters. Again, I'm looking for the next volume in the series for sure!

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Finally, May has brought us some lovely weather. We still get a sea breeze, but we have two daffodils, more working to bloom, and the crocuses are nearly past. Andy got pansies for the windowboxes, so this week that will be our after-school task. Lots of reading, and lots to do: life is good.