Sunday, September 30, 2018

Carissa's Law

Fiction by Misty Boyd.

What do you know about spina bifida? I didn't know much. What I was pretty sure I knew was (a) it's caused by lack of folic acid in the mother's diet during pregnancy, and (b) babies born with it usually die soon after birth or are in a permanent near-vegetative state.

Well, this book didn't address the folate deficiency thing, and wikipedia agrees that it is a risk factor but not necessarily a cause. So I was partly right about (a). But I was quite wrong about (b)!

This novel was actually written by a woman with spina bifida. The story is about an 18-year-old girl with the condition who uses a wheelchair and has some medical troubles, but is otherwise just like any other girl of her age: going to college, trying to be independent from her parents, and meeting boys she'd like to date.

I enjoyed reading about a character who is different from myself and realizing how alike we all really are. Also, I learned a few things about dealing with a disability that I'd never thought of before. For example: When able-bodied people take up the only handicapped stall in a public restroom, it's pretty upsetting to a person who uses a wheelchair, especially if there are regular stalls open. I'm trying to remember not to do that in the future!

Anyways, this was a nice story and a quick read.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Second Silence

Fiction by Eileen Goudge.

Mary Jeffers has a shotgun wedding and a baby daughter by the age of seventeen. But these are not the things she ends up regretting at almost fifty.

This was an interesting character story with some romance and suspense.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

How to Stop Time

Fiction by Matt Haig.

In this story, the main character is over 400 years old, but looks about mid-thirties. He's not exactly immortal, but it's pretty close to that. The book has a plausible explanation but I won't go into that any further because....

The important thing here is that this is a great story! Like the movie The Highlander, this book makes you think about what it would be like to live on after everyone you know and love is dead. The scene in that movie with the song, "Who Wants to Live Forever" sung by Queen, still breaks my heart when the immortal Connor calls for his wife and she comes up the path, suddenly older, while he still looks just the same.

But I digress.

Anyways, this story does a great job of making such a strange concept seem real This is a great book!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Sittaford Mystery

Fiction by Agatha Christie.

I haven't visited my Agatha Christie list for a while, But I hadn't forgotten about re-reading all her books in order through audiobook.

This one is a classic non-detective story, by which I mean there is no Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple here to show everyone how clever they are and you AREN'T. There is only a regular policeman with the help of a regular person to solve this mystery.

Great book!! I actually remembered who the murderer was at the beginning (from previous reading) and still enjoyed the story!

I also read recently by this author: Murder at the Vicarage

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Other Woman

Fiction by Sandie Jones.

Emily thinks she's found the perfect man in her fiance Adam, except for one problem: his mother is a complete psycho.

This is not a spoiler; it's obvious from the book jacket.

The surprise is HOW psycho the woman is, and WHY.....

It's an exciting read, but I was unsure if I completely buy the ending. Still a pretty good book!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Last Hours

Fiction by Minette Walters.

This novel is set in 14th century England at the outbreak of the black plague. Although that sounds like a terrible place to put a story, I really enjoyed this book, mostly because the author manages not to kill off everyone you like. The plot was very good and the characters were believable.

The only problem was, apparently this story is just an opening to a series, and the book ended with"to be continued..." Grrr.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Wife

Fiction by Alafair Burke.

Now THIS is actually the "psychological thriller" it claimed to be.

It starts out with Angela, who is apparently standing by her husband, although he's being accused of some kind of assault. She's a tightly controlled character, hyper-focused on her son and her perfect homelife; it's not surprising at first how loyal she is to him, and what her reactions are. Still, as the story unfolds, we get more and more layers of information about her and her relationships and it gets really interesting. By the end, the story packed in so many surprises I was practically yelling WOW!

This is en exciting read!

Saturday, September 15, 2018


Fiction by Ernest Cline.

I recently read Ready Player One by this author, and it was really good, despite being basically a giant gamer fantasy. (I am not a gamer, and usually find those sorts of things kind of lame.)

This book was also a giant gamer fantasy, but it was not nearly as good as Ready Player One. However, it was not completely lame either. The characters were good and the story turned out to hold together rather well, but I thought it had too many fantasy battle sequences, which I would unfortunately call lame. Have you seen that scene in "The Big Bang Theory" where Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard are all playing a fantasy game together?


There were a bunch of scenes like that, where the reader is supposed to think these dudes are cool and saving the world and all, but really I just kept picturing a bunch of nerds in some basement on their laptops.

Besides that, this was a good book. And if you're into gamer stuff, you might not even have to skim those parts...

Friday, September 14, 2018

Night Over Water

Fiction by Ken Follett.

Did you know that, just before World War Two, they used to have flying boats? Apparently these were huge, luxurious, passenger seaplanes that could fly over the Atlantic, London to New York, in about thirty hours. This sounds like a fabulous way to travel.

This story is of a fictional flight of one of those actual planes, taking off right as England declared war on Germany. It carefully follows several passengers and one crewman in the events leading up to the journey and on the long flight itself.

As usual, Ken Follett's characters are a joy to read about, and the history seems to come alive. This story also had a large element of suspense. It's a really great book!

I also read recently by this author: A Dangerous Fortune.

Sunday, September 9, 2018


Fiction by Caroline Kepnes.
In this story, a 13-year-old boy called Jon is cutting through the woods on the way to school, a route he takes to avoid bullies. Even though he is semi-secret close-friends with Chloe, a popular girl who hangs out with the bullying boys, he is still routinely victimized by the boys while she fails to intervene. Then he disappears.

Oddly enough, the bullies are not to blame. No one knows (or seems to care much, with the exception his parents and Chloe) where he is, until he suddenly reappears four years later, and he comes back changed. He's different, and I mean in a Pet Sematary kind of way that I can't explain without a major spoiler. The rest of the story deals mostly with his continuing relationship with Chloe, a girl he seems forever linked to through what seems a combination of her guilt and his obsession.

I really liked this book at the beginning because the characters were so real and engaging, and that continued throughout the reading (with the addition of a police detective who was equally well-drawn), but I became more and more troubled by what was happening in the story. I like a complicated plot that I can eventually figure out, and I don't mind weird unexplained elements that eventually get explained or resolved somehow, but this book did not manage to get the resolution on track. I found the ending very unsatisfying.

Still, it held my attention and engaged my emotions. I'm still giving a qualified thumbs-up.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

They're Not Your Friends

Fiction by Irene Zutell.

This book should have been a fun read; it's basically about celebrity gossip writers. It had some fun elements and funny bits, but I had some trouble enjoying it.

The main characters are Lottie, a underpaid gossip-writing genius; Lem, a used-to-be-great gossip writer on his way out of a job; and Mike, an overpaid, neurotic guy who couldn't write his way out of a gossip paper bag. They were all well-written and realistic characters, but I couldn't properly like them, and I wasn't sure who to root for. I think the story got to heavy for the light reading it was supposed to be.

I'm not sure what rating to give this one.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Fiction by Sandra Brown.

This was an exciting story about a (handsome and dashing male) pilot and a (beautiful and sexy female) doctor. You can guess where that storyline is going...

But the plot still has plenty of surprising twists. It was a fun read!

I also read recently by this author: Sting