Friday, February 5, 2016

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, 288 pages

Elizabeth Gilbert, yes, yes, author of "Eat Pray Love" has written a nonfiction book about living life fully in creativity.  I would not recommend this book to someone who doesn't like Elizabeth Gilbert, this book will just annoy you.

However, if you are a fan of Gilbert, or happen to have not read anything by her in the past and don't have preconceived notions, then by all means read this little gem.  It is one big pep talk about doing what makes you creatively happy and not worrying if you don't become acclaimed or have to keep your day job in order to pay the bills.

I never actually thought about my job as a creative expression of myself, but after listening to this (read by the author) I have more confidence that I am doing exactly what I want  and am supposed to be doing and am completely blessed to have the opportunity to do so.  And . . . my next book to read is "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett.  Anyone who reads or listens to this book will know why.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) by Robert Galbraith, 512 pages

Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym of J.K.Rowling, made famous by writing the Harry Potter series.  This is the 3rd very adult book about the modern day private detective Cormoran Strike, who is based in London.  I listened to this and it is expertly read by gravelly voiced, Robert Glinister.

In this outing, Strike and his secretary/assistant/partner, Robin Ellacott are targeted by a serial killer who likes to stab his female victims and keep parts of their bodies as souvenirs.  The killer has a grudge against Strike and sets his sights on Robin. 

Darkness and danger and suspense ensues and I loved every bit of it.

Monday, January 18, 2016

X (Kinsey Millhone #24) by Sue Grafton, 403 pages

Sue Grafton is up to "X" in her alphabet series of books featuring private investigator, Kinsey Millhone.  The books are set in the 1980s, pre-internet, pre-cell phones.  Kinsey makes full use of phone books and payphones.  Ahh, those were the days.

I never did figure out why this book was called "X" except that is the letter Grafton had to work with.  There were three stories happening here:  Kinsey and her landlord Henry have some new neighbors who turn out to be a nightmare; Kinsey is following up on cases from Pete Wolinsky, a private eye who died in "W is for Wasted" and ends up tangling with a very nasty man indeed and finally she plays reluctant marriage counselor to a feuding rich couple.

 I listened to this book and enjoyed it.  Sue Grafton has kept me interested and engaged through 24 letters of the alphabet and I'm looking forward to finishing the journey with "Y" and "Z".

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman 352 Pages

Elizabeth has taken a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, a rather unusual library that loans out a variety of objects with historical value. In the basement of the Repository, sits a special room – The Grimm Collection. Any object that has magical properties resides in this room.

When objects start to go missing from the Grimm Collection, Elizabeth along with her fellow pages, go on a dangerous journey to recover the stolen pieces. Elizabeth begins to learn that fairy tales are not just stories anymore.

This was read by Julia Whelan. 

Nightmares! by Jason Segel 400 pages

Charlie Laird recently lost his mother and his father has remarried. He believes that his stepmother is a witch, she dresses funny and makes him eat green pancakes. Ever since Charlie, his dad, and brother moved into the purple mansion, he has been wrecked with horrible dreams. He believes that a witch, who looks similar to his stepmother, wants to eat him. 

Nightmares become a reality for Charlie when his is tricked into going to the Nightmare World in search of his brother. Charlie and his friends need to face their fears if they want to make it back home. Along the way, Charlie makes some allies with some of the scariest monsters.

This was read by Jason Segel. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Figment by Cameron Jace 260 pages

Alice is having a hard time telling reality from insanity ever since dealing with the Cheshire. Professor Pillar hasn’t been much help, he hasn’t contacted Alice since they returned from the Vatican. All over London, kids are being found with their heads cut off and stuffed into watermelons, this only means that only Wonderland monster has shown up.

The Pillar and Alice are trying to stop the Muffin Man from killing all of London, but Alice must return to Wonderland to see why the Muffin Man is the way he is. The Muffin Man is set out to hurt the Queen of Hearts after she made him sneeze so hard, his eye popped out as well as leaving his three children to starve to death. Alice, along with Lewis Carol, try to change the past by saving the Muffin Man’s children.

On top of everything else, Jack keeps reappearing and it is causing Alice to think she really is insane. After turning to the Pillar, she learns the real identity of Jack Diamonds. 

Insanity by Cameron Jace 246 pages

Alice Wonder is a patient at the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum after she killed her classmates. Everyone believes that Alice is insane, except for Professor Pillar, another patient in the asylum. The professor believes that Alice is the real Alice from Wonderland and she is meant to fight in the Wonderland Wars.

Professor Pillar is able to talk to the director of the Asylum, who allows Alice to leave the asylum and has Alice pose as a student at Oxford University. Alice is tasked with finding the serial killer, The Cheshire, however no one knows what he looks like in human form - all of the monsters from Wonderland have come back as modern day criminals.

While trying to stop The Cheshire, Alice meets Jack Diamonds who seems so familiar, he looks just like her dead boyfriend whom she killed. Alice and the Pillar travels from London to the Vatican in search of The Cheshire and to provide that Alice is sane.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff 272 Pages

Growing up, 12-year-old Rump always heard that your name was your destiny. However, Rump never knew his whole name. I mean, what kind of name is Rump? It is a name that will make you the butt of everyone’s jokes. When he finds his mother’s old spinning wheel, things seem to change for Rump. He learns that he can spin straw into gold. However, magic can be a dangerous thing.

Rump, on mission to break the spinning spell, travels to Yonder and Beyond, encounters trolls, pixies, poison apples, and a foolish queen. With the help of his friend Little Red Riding Hood, Rump learns of his true name and the power that it holds.

This was read by Maxwell Glick and a final nominee for the Mark Twain Awards. 

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas 211 pages

Mark Nolan has become the sole guardian of his six-year-old niece Holly, after her mother died. He didn’t know how to be a parent, but he was left with the instructions from his late sister – There’s no other choice but you, just start by loving her, the rest will follow. It’s not hard to love Holly, but it is hard to communicate with her. Holly hasn’t spoken is the night her mother died.

Maggie Collins moved to Friday Harbor to start a new life. After the death of her husband, she decided to open a toy store but is afraid to open her heart to love again. When she meets Holly, Maggie tries to add a bit of magic into Holly’s life. By doing so, Holly begins to talk again.

Christmas is near and magic is in the air. Holly writes to Santa for a new mommy. Anything is possible with Mark and Maggie growing closer. 

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer, 309 pages

I listen to most of the books I blog about, but my sister suggested this book to me and we had a print copy, but not an audio version, so I read this one.

This is a quirky book about Sunny, her husband Maxon, and their son Bubber.  Sunny was born with a condition that makes her completely bald.  Maxon and Bubber are both on the autism spectrum.  Sunny and Maxon have been in love since they were children.

Sunny is about 9 months pregnant, Maxon is on his way to the moon on a NASA mission and Sunny's mother, Emma is in a hospital dying.

Sunny and Maxon live in a perfect suburban house in a perfect suburban neighborhood and no one there knows Sunny is bald.  She took to wearing wigs before Bubber was born.  Sunny is holding it together until there is a car accident and her wig flies out the car.  The whole neighborhood now knows perfect Sunny isn't so perfect after all.  Will they still love her? 

Sunny and those of us lucky enough to read this story learn that we all have secrets we're glad the whole world doesn't know and no one is perfect and yes, we're still lovable anyway.