Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Matchmaker

Fiction by Elin Hildebrand.

The Matchmaker

Set on the island of Nantucket, this story was about a woman who has an uncanny knack for finding people their "perfect match." Of course, her own love life doesn't run as smoothly.

I listened to this story as a recorded book, but I think I would have enjoyed it more just reading it in print. It was a good book, but it was a little too slow-moving for audio.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Westmacott/Christie Reader

Subtitled: Six Novels by Agatha Christie writing under the name Mary Westmacott.
Fiction by Agatha Christie.

Cover of: The Westmacott-Christie reader by Agatha Christie
image by

This is actually six separate books published together in one volume. I liked them all, and some of them I LOVED! (See ranking below.)

Agatha Christie wrote these under a pseudonym for a reason: they are in a completely different style than the detective mysteries she is best known for. Not only is no one murdered in any of these novels; the plots move more slowly and the characters are much more in depth. I think they are better-written, however.

Here is my ranking of the six novels, with #1 being the favorite:

1. Giant's Bread
2. A Daughter's a Daughter
3. The Burden
4. The Rose and the Yew Tree
5. Absent in the Spring
6. Unfinished Portrait

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Bookman's Tale

Fiction by Charlie Lovett.

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession (B&N Recommends Edition)

This was one of those thrillers that failed to thrill me.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Before I Go

Fiction by Colleen Oakley.

Before I Go

Daisy is a young woman who beat breast cancer a few years ago. This is story is about what she does when it comes back.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Subtitled: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success
Nonfiction by David B. Feldman and Lee Daniel Kravetz

Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success

There was nothing really wrong with this book, but I just wasn't interested in it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Spool of Blue Thread

Fiction by Anne Tyler.

A Spool of Blue Thread

Oh my goodness.

WHAT a fabulous family story. I just love Anne Tyler.

Read this! PLEASE!! I can talk to you about the characters.

I also read by this author recently: The Beginner's Goodbye.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

It Was Me All Along

Nonfiction by Andie Mitchell.

It Was Me All Along: A Memoir

I've mentioned before that I don't really like most memoirs.

And yet I keep reading them. Go figure. Hope springs eternal, I suppose, because every now and then there is a great one.

Anyways, this is one of the not-so-great ones. Although it might be helpful for someone experiencing the same life circumstances as the author....that isn't me.


Friday, May 15, 2015


Fiction by Maria Hummel.


Set in Germany at the end of of World War II, this is a fictionalized account of part of the author's own family history, based on some of her grandparents' letters she'd found hidden in a wall for fifty years.

The novel explores the idea of Nazi Germany: How much did ordinary, regular people really know about the horrors of the Holocaust? Was everyone really buying into cult of Der Fuerer, and the idea of the Master Race? The citizens endured countless sufferings and losses. Can the Germans' troubles be discounted because they brought it on themselves?

It's a really good story, but we all know there was no happy ending for the Germans. And this story does not have a happy ending.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Fiction by Colleen Hoover.


A young adult romance, this was a pretty good story. It had a little too much s-e-x for a teen book, in my opinion, but them I'm a stuffy mom.

It had a bit of a surprise at the end.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

All Joy and No Fun

Subtitled: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood
Nonfiction by Jennifer Senior.

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood

This was an interesting book. As the author points out, there is lots of attention given to the effect parents have on their children, but not much thought about the effect of children on parents. Parenting is the best and most wonderful thing you can ever do, right? That's what we are told, anyways. But...

A recent study showed that people without children are significantly happier than people with children. Why is that? Because kids make you miserable? Well, sort of.

This book explores the idea of parenthood as a "high-risk/high-return" proposition. It's basically the whole, "Parenting is really hard, but it's also rewarding," idea. This is of course not a new thought; however, acknowledging this truth can free us from the unnecessary guilt. Although we love our kids, we just don't LOVE EVERY MOMENT with our kids. Or even most of the moments, really. It's something that everyone feels and no one mentions, because we're thinking we're the only one who gets annoyed, or angry, or frustrated by the constant demands of our children.

It's nice for someone to just say, "Hey, it's tough to be a mom. It's not really that fun most of the time. And that's okay. It's worth it."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Astonish Me

Fiction by Maggie Shipstead.

Astonish Me

At the opening of this story, it is 1977. Joan is a professional ballerina who gets pregnant and has to quit the ballet. The rest of the story is about her life with her son, and her not-always-successful quest for happiness.

At first I really hated Joan's character, but she grew on me. The story had a surprising ending as well. Good story, overall.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Magician's Lie

Fiction by Greer McAllister.

The Magician's Lie

A great story about a turn-of the-century female magician.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Fiction by Rachel Cusk.


This was an odd little book. It didn't really have a story. Nothing happened. Maybe that's why it was called "Outline," but I didn't really get it.

There were some really brilliant pieces of writing within it, but there was nothing to tie it together.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A House in the Sky

Nonfiction by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

A House in the Sky: A Memoir

This was a true story about a Canadian woman who was kidnapped in Somalia.

The whole first part of the book is just about her life and why she became a world traveler. Then she details her travels, venturing into more and more dangerous places, boldly going into countries she is warned to avoid.

Everyone told her not to go to Somalia, but she went anyways. Reading the story, at first I was annoyed that she had ignored so many warnings, and felt like saying, "No wonder you got kidnapped! Somalia is a terrible place! Everyone TOLD you! You kind of deserved it." But the truth is, NO ONE deserves to be treated the way she was. And she really endured well, and did a lot of smart things to ensure her survival. So it was a good book.

Oh, and Somalia is not a nice place. Don't go there.