The Fireman by Joe Hill: Book Review

The Fireman by Joe Hill Book Cover

I try hard to avoid any blurbs or early reviews of books that I’m really anticipating, but somehow things just seep into my consciousness and I’m not even sure how they got there. So in addition to having my own ridiculously high hopes for this book, I’d come across things like “Hill’s magnum opus!” and “his best work to date” […]

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The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman: Book Review

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman Book Cover

I adore Neil Gaiman’s work, so I jumped at the chance to review this new collection of his nonfiction. I’ve read bits and pieces of his graduation speeches and stuff like that and it always makes me stand up and cheer, “Yes! This! This man gets it!” And that should probably tell you where my expectations were. The collection […]

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Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews: Book Review

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews Book Cover

I really, really want to give Save the Date four stars, and I would have, but somewhere about halfway through I got fed up with Cara. Up to that point, she’d been such a little fighter that I’d been rooting for her all along. And sure, she has a lot on her plate, but then she goes looking for–and creates!–trouble where none […]

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Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler: Book Review

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler Book Cover

I’m sitting here thinking about what it was, exactly, that I liked about this book. I can’t really say that it was about much of anything. It’s just a slice of everyday life. But I think what stands out to me most is that this is a book about male friendship. Not “good buddies” or even battle-forged bonds. These guys just like […]

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Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne: Book Review

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne Book Cover

3 Stars. Eh. Axel was a whiny wimp who complained endlessly about having to go on the trip. The minute his uncle, Professor Liedenbrock, started to get the least bit angry with him over his dithering, Axel would cave and blithely go along with whatever ridiculous plan the professor has in mind. Axel was generally the one with […]

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The Discreet Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa: Book Review

The Discreet Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa Book Cover

3 Stars. I’m about to write a huge sweeping statement that I really shouldn’t but here goes. I just don’t do well with South American authors. That’s not fair. I’ve only read three or four, I think. But I never have a clue what’s actually going on. What’s real, what’s not, what the “not real” things are supposed to […]

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The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly: Book Review

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly Book Cover

3 Stars. I’m so torn. I adore A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly. Like, top-five-books-ever adore it. So I know she can write. But this is her debut novel and it shows. It also got laughably melodramatic. There’s a better word to describe this book but it’s escaping me. Dickensian? Maybe. Fiona’s tragedies just pile one on […]

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The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker: Book Review

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker Book Cover

4 Stars. As I write this, it’s been a year and a half since I listened to The Golem and the Jinni and I still think about how good it was. Then I feel a pang of guilt that I haven’t reviewed it and spread the love. So here we go. Details have faded a bit but I do remember that I loved innocent Chava and jaded Ahmad. Chava was […]

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Bel Canto by Ann Patchett: Book Review

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett Book Cover

4 Stars. I liked this a lot more than I expected to. That description makes the book sound like something it isn’t. It isn’t about the politics of the country or anything like that; it’s about the people and the possibilities within them. There isn’t much action but there is a lot of character development and relationship […]

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The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths: Book Review

The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths Book Cover

3.5 Stars. I’ve never read any of Elly Griffiths’ other mysteries but this one was good. I had a vague guess as to “whodunnit” but I didn’t really know why or how. There was a more personal twist at the end that did surprise me quite a bit. I like surprises. But somehow the whole novel felt a bit gray. DI Stephens seems to have […]

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