Monday, January 23, 2017

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman, 372 pages

Elsa is seven and friendless except for her 77 year old eccentric grandmother.  Elsa and her grandmother have a secret language that is based on a fairytale world that her grandmother has been telling Elsa about since she can remember.

Elsa's grandmother dies and sends Elsa on a quest to deliver letters to several people.  Through her quest, Elsa learns that some of the stories she has heard are based on real people. 

It took me quite a long time to get into this book but once I did, I really enjoyed it.  Fredrik Backman tells stories about love and broken people and healing.  I am looking forward to the next tale from him. 

The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins, 360 pages

It is 1959 and 12-year old Christy Hurley lives in Ireland with his father and extended family.  They are travellers, tinkers, nomads.  Christy's grandfather dies, the extended family settles down for a time so that Christy and his cousin Martin can get confirmed and Christy discovers a family secret that changes his world.

This is one of those rare novels that is so beautifully written that I didn't want it to end.

The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller 304 pages

I am not usually a non-fiction reader, however I was intrigued by this book. Everyone knows the rhyme about Lizzie Borden: 
   Lizzie Borden took an axe, 
   Gave her mother forty whacks. 
   When she saw what she had done, 
   She gave her father forty-one. 

I think it was because of that rhyme that made me pick up this book. It did take me a while to get into the book but once I finally did, I couldn't stop reading it. Once I was finished reading it, I have to ask "Did Lizzie kill her father and step-mother?" It may be a question that is never answered. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, 522 pages

"Carry On" is based on the fan fiction that a character was writing in Rainbow Rowell's book "Fangirl".  That said, this is a stand-alone book that doesn't require the reading of "Fangirl" to appreciate.  Don't let that stop you though.

"Carry On" features a magical world and school, similar, yet different, from the world of Harry Potter.  

Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy pretty much hated each other all through the Harry Potter series.  Our hero here, Simon Snow, and his nemesis, Tyrannus Basilton Grimm Pitch "Baz," end up in a totally different dynamic.  Witty, funny, exciting, magical, thrilling. . . a great read, or in my case, listen.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp 288 pages

Opportunity, Alabama is a small town. Here, the principal gives a welcome speech at the beginning of a new semester. As the students get up to leave, they discover that the doors to the auditorium are locked. Except for one, the one door that stands a boy with a gun. 

Claire is outside on the track, running with three others and her coach. Tomas is in the principal's office looking through student's files. Sylvia and Autumn are stuck in the auditorium with the rest of the high school. In just 54 minutes, their worlds are turned upside.  

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Curse of the Boggin by D. J. MacHale 242 pages

When supernatural phenomena start following Marcus O'Mara around, he discovers a key that leads to The Library, a place where all the stories of the living and dead are kept that will help him and his friends solve a terrifying mystery.  He will have to face a monstrous creature, a boggin, that has the ability to induce hallucinations that feel all too real.  Marcus needs all of his courage and wits to protect his family and the Library.  This is the first in the Library series.  A note from the author at the beginning makes it clear that all the other titles to follow may be read in any order.  The first one is the only one that needs to be read before others.  I really enjoyed listening to this one.  I think it would appeal to kids who like a bit of scary and a bit of mystery in 3rd grade and up.

Archon by Lana Krumwiede 313 pages

Picking up several months after the first book in the Psi Chronicles series, Archon finds Taemon struggling with the aftermath of his decision to remove psi from all of Deliverance.  His motivation was for all the right reasons, but not everyone is adapting to life without telekinesis well.  He and his friend Amma are searching for his parents, rumored to have been thrown in asylums as instigators.  Then Taemon discovers that his father may have been captured and taken by the Republikites.  Taemon and Amma set off to rescue him, even though it is extremely dangerous.  What they discover could make matters far worse than they ever would have anticipated and sets you up to really want to read the third book in the series as soon as possible!  I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes a little Fantasy/Sci-Fi.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

No Man's Land by David Baldacci, 420 pages

No Man's Land is #4 in Baldacci's John Puller series.  Chief John Puller, Jr. works for the US Army Criminal Investigation Command.  In this outing, retired General John Puller, Sr. (our John's father) is accused of murdering his wife over thirty years ago.

John Puller, Jr. begins an investigation to find out what really happened to his mother when she disappeared when he was just 8 years old.  Government conspiracies and lots of bad people get in the way of finding out what happened.  Veronica Knox and Robert Puller step in to help. 

Verdict:  not too deep but enjoyable.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Story Thieves by James Riley 416 pages

When Owen sees his classmate Bethany climb out of a book, everything changes in his life. Owen talks Bethany into letting him come with her into the new Kiel Gnomenfoot book. Owen promises that he will not do anything but watch as the story unfolds. However, Owen does not keep his promise. When he interacts with the characters in the story, things go terribly wrong. Owen must become the hero that he wants to be, to help fix everything. 

Ticket to India by N.H. Sanzai 288 pages

Maya travels with her mother and older sister from San Francisco to Pakistan, after the death of her grandfather. They are going to help Maya’s grandmother make the move to California with them. Before traveling back to the States, Maya’s grandmother wants to embark on a secret trip to India to family heirlooms that were left when the family fled during Partition. When Maya and her sister learn of the trip, they blackmail their grandmother into taking them with her. While traveling, the trio gets separated. Maya enlists an orphan boy named Jai, to help track down the treasure. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich, 288 pages

Evanovich makes it easy to keep track of this series.  We are at volume #23 in the Stephanie Plum series. 

Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter in New Jersey.  She has her parents, her wacky grandmother, her sidekick Lula, her boyfriend Joe and her other boyfriend Ranger.

All the usual suspects are here, but instead of the often present strange animal we have an angry clown.  Stephanie catches some bad buys, buys the obligatory new old car and waffles between Joe and Ranger.  A nice little read or listen if you don't want to think to hard.