2010 Reading

Title: Life's a Beach
Author: Claire Cook
Pages: 288, pp
Published: May 2008
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

A fun, light read. Just what I needed to get back into reading this winter. It's the story of Ginger--who is facing a mid-career crisis and has moved back to the family home to figure things out.









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Title: Dog On It
Author: Spencer Quinn
Pages: 336, pp
Published: September 2009
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


The first of what looks to be a promising new mystery series--Chet and Bernie Mysteries. Chet is the dog narrator and Bernie is the owner of a detective agency. It was fun to see the story from Chet's perspective. Easily distracted as it may be. I'm interested enough to want to see how the characters develop.









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Title: Live A Little
Author: Kim Green
Pages: 384, pp
Published: August 2008
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


The funny story of a forty-something woman who gets the chance to reinvent herself after a diagnosis of cancer becomes a misdiagnosis. There were a couple of minor characters I'd like to know more about--they intrigued me. Good beach read, or if you need something kind of fluffy.








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Title: Time Of My Life
Author: Allison Winn Scotch
Pages: 304, pp
Published: August 2009
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Taken from the BookBrowse website:

Time of My Life is much more than a story about a real life desperate housewife. Instead, it speaks to so many of our tiny, lingering doubts, the same doubts that send us googling old friends and exes or wistfully pulling out pictures of days gone by. And through Jillian’s journey, in which she rediscovers the mother who abandoned her, reacquaints herself with the strengths she once deemed important, and may literally rewrite her future, we all get a chance to peek inside the windows of our own “what ifs,” and consider if the path we took was the one that has granted us the most happiness.

Enjoyable but not deep. Great to read when you need something to think about but also an escape. Which is just what I needed.









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Title: In The Woods
Author: Tana French
Pages: 448, pp
Published: May, 2007
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


A great mystery. The narrator is the survivor of a childhood trauma of which he has no memory, involved as a detective in a case that happens to be located in the same woods. The relationship between the narrator and his partner, Cassie Maddox, is complicated and complex.

The setting is atmospheric and the pace is tight. Ireland is as much a star character as the people.

I figured it out.









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Title: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
Author: David Wroblewski
Pages: 608, pp
Published: September, 2009
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


We had such a lively discussion about The Story of Edgar Sawtelle during book group today. This is what a book group is all about! Not everyone was as enthusiastic about the book as I am and that fed our discussion.

I originally read the book in October, 2008, and skimmed it for our discussion today.







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Title: The Spellmans Strike Again
Author: Lisa Lutz
Pages: 388, pp
Published: March, 2010
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Another romp in the Spellman series. True to the characters, true to the action, this is one fun book! I couldn't wait for it to come out in paperback!









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Title: Midnight's Children
Author: Salman Rushdie
Pages: 560, pp
Published: April, 2006
My Rating: didn't finish reading


So, I didn't read the whole book. I don't like magical realism as a genre of writing. This book was a real struggle for me. There are parts that are so humorous but overall it's just too dense. I did check out the SparkNotes so I can follow the discussion.








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Title: About A Boy
Author: Nick Hornby
Pages: 320, pp
Published: May, 1999
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


for book group this Friday. I vaguely remember the movie and think there's a lot of difference between the book and movie. I actually read the book when it first came out but was quite fuzzy about the details. Anyhow, it was a good read for this time of year when I can't get bogged down with anything heavy but still want a story to chew on and characters to care about.









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Title: Lost At School
Author: Ross Greene
Pages: 320, pp
Published: October, 2009
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


So the District-wide book group has finished the discussion and the book. It left me with a lot of lingering questions. Mostly about the District's vision and what the expected outcomes of us reading this will be. You know... basic leadership questions.

It was a good book and it helped expand my thinking about challenging students.









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Title: First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria
Author: Eve Brown-Waite
Pages: 320, pp
Published: April, 2009
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Highly enjoyable memoir about living abroad in the Peace Corps and with other aid agencies. Makes me realize I'm not as adventurous as I'd like to think I am. The author has a fun, witty writing style.









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Title: How I Became A Famous Novelist
Author: Steve Hely
Pages: 224, pp
Published: July, 2009
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


I'm sure there are cynical writers as depicted in this book. I'm sure of it. But this book is amusing and I'm glad my book group chose it for our summer read. A couple of times I laughed out loud.










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Title: Prayers For Sale
Author: Sandra Dallas
Pages: 352, pp
Published: February, 2010
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Sandra Dallas creates wonderful historically rich stories. Prayers for Sale does not disappoint. Another great read.









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Title: The Passage
Author: Justin Cronin
Pages: 649, pp
Published: June, 2010
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


At 836 pages, it was an epic. I didn't realize it's the first of a trilogy. Also the first book I read on my Nook. Love the Nook! It's intuitive and sleek. Anyhoodle, the book has a post-apocalyptic setting and it's kind of science-fiction. I really liked it once I got into it.








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Title: The Forgotten Garden
Author: Kate Morton
Pages: 552, pp
Published: February, 2010
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


What a wonderful story to get lost in on a summer day! And there's even an interview with the author:










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Title: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson
Pages: 590, pp
Published: June, 2009
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


A gripping mystery and thriller. Even though I've never been to Sweden, I could visualize the settings and cities. I stumbled with pronunciations. Once I got the characters straight (there's quite a family tree to follow) I got into the story and couldn't put it down. It's part of a trilogy and I'm excited to read the second book.









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Title: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Author: Aimee Bender
Pages: 288, pp
Published: June, 2010
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars


A coming of age novel about a young girl who realizes she can taste the emotions in any food she eats. I had high hopes because it's an interesting premise but the author tries to do too much with other characters in the book. And I didn't find them interesting enough to care about. I'd give it a "meh".








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Title: The Girl Who Played With Fire
Author: Steig Larsson
Pages: 630, pp
Published: March, 2010
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


The second installment of the Millennium Trilogy was another can't-put-down mystery/thriller. Same characters and settings as Girl With The Dragon Tattoo but this time the action picked up much faster. I don't have the third book, yet.








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Title: My Name Is Mary Sutter
Author: Robin Oliveira
Pages: 384, pp
Published: May, 2010
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Historical fiction, set in the Civil War, Mary Sutter is a midwife determined to become a surgeon. Mary is headstrong, brave and determined. Yet there is vulnerability to her that resonated with me. I couldn't put it down, although there are some graphic battle scenes. A very good book.









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Title: Dead Until Dark
Author: Charlaine Harris
Pages:
Published: September, 2002
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


A fun, quick read. Southern Vampire series. Some of the characters were more caricatures than characters but it was a fun romp.









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Title: Life, Love and a Polar Bear Tattoo
Author: Heather Wardell
Pages:
Published: November, 2009
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


A very quick read. Definite chick lit. And sort of predictable. But I did care about the main character.









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Title: Beautiful Lies
Author: Lisa Unger
Pages: 483 pp
Published: April, 2006
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


A very fast read. The conversational tone that the narrator takes gets on my nerves as a writing style, but other than that I really couldn't put it down.








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Title: Wildwater Walking Club
Author: Claire Cook
Pages: 272 pp
Published: April, 2010
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Ok, I admit it's a chick lit book. But you know what? No one does it better than Claire Cook! This was a quick, fun read that was just what I needed. I could relate to the characters and enjoyed the dialog.









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Title: Watermark
Author: Vanitha Sankaran
Pages: 368 pp
Published: April, 2010
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Historical fiction based during the Inquisition. The main character is a mute albino woman. Very compelling, I was drawn into the story--the richness of atmosphere and the detail. I couldn't put it down.










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Title: The Amateur Marriage
Author: Anne Tyler
Pages: 336 pp
Published: October, 2004
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


A re-read for my book group. I didn't really enjoy it the first time and I didn't enjoy it this time. I didn't care for the characters. I didn't like the storyline of a WWII-era marriage that was made in haste and does not stand the test of time. Meh.









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Title: Heartsick
Author: Chelsea Cain
Pages: 336, pp
Published: September 2007
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Comparisons have been made to Silence of the Lambs but Heartsick isn't as intense as Silence. This was a tight thriller. The exploration of relationships was very interesting--cop/suspect, victim/perpetrator, etc. It was a Nook promotional book and I'm glad I got it. It's part of a series and I will definitely check out another.









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Title: The Lace Reader
Author: Brunonia Barry
Pages: 416, pp
Published: August 2009
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


This was a really good book, unpredictable and intriguing. It helps that I'm familiar with the setting and understand the native peoples.











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Title: The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie
Author: Alan Bradley
Pages: 416, pp
Published: January 2010
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


The first in a new series starring a precocious eleven year old girl named Flavia de Luce. It took a while to get into but once I got into it, it was a very fast read and kept my interest. I'll probably read the next one.









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Title: The Postmistress
Author: Sarah Blake
Pages: 326, pp
Published: February 2010
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Postmistress is historical fiction set during WWII and it centers on three women--Frankie Bard, a radio reporter; Iris James, the postmistress; and Emma Fitch, the doctor's wife.

My bestie recommended this but didn't tell me it is sad. It's evocative of the era and it was engaging to all the senses. There were times that made me wonder why the title is the Postmistress when I didn't think she was the focal point of the book. For as critical as I may sound, I really liked this book and recommend it.


This author interview gives away some teasers/plot points so don't watch it if you don't want spoilers.







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Title: The Good Thief
Author: Hannah Tinti
Pages: 368, pp
Published: August 2009
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


I don't even know where to start with how much I loved this book. It's a somewhat Gothic and completely mesmerizing story. The story of Ren is mysterious--from how he lost his hand to how he came to be at the orphanage and his future rests in the hands of a con-artist who claims him from St. Anthony's Orphanage. Even though there are some brutal deaths, overall the story is uplifting. I smiled through the whole book, I was captivated.





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Title: Olive Kitteridge
Author: Elizabeth Strout
Pages: 304, pp
Published: September 2008
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


It is a collection of 13 connected short stories about a woman named Olive and her immediate family and friends in the town of Crosby in coastal Maine. The Maine-ness of the characters and setting made the book extra enjoyable. Some of the stories were better than others.





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Title: Comfort and Joy
Author: Kristin Hannah
Pages: 272 pp
Published: October 2006
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars



It's a modern-day fairy tale with an interesting plot concept. Joy is at the lowest point in her life and needs a break during the holidays; she gets more than she bargains for and teeters between reality and fantasy. It was a quick read and was fun but wasn't the great holiday read I was looking for.





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Title: The Christmas Cookie Club
Author: Ann Pearlman
Pages: 274 pp
Published: October 2010
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



This was the kind of Christmas book I was looking for: a tale of friendship, love, family and cookies. The Christmas Cookie Club is the background for twelve women annually coming together and sharing their lives and cookies. The bonds of friendship are woven and tangled in believable bonds. I can easily see myself reading this every holiday season.





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Title: Case Histories
Author: Kate Atkinson
Pages: 336 pp
Published: October 2005
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


It's a mystery where the crimes take a back seat to the characters. I was much more involved in the characters than in the cases that brought them all together. The private detective, Jackson Brodie, has almost too much empathy for his clients and gets caught up in their lives. The cases are often grisly, but the twists and turns kept me reading. And the characters made me care. I want to know what Jackson Brodie and this cast of characters are up to next.