Book Review: Wine. all the time.

Part of me wants to say I don’t know why I picked this book up but really I do. See, I have this friend. She and her hubs are super into wine. She came out this past spring and we  went wine tasting. I had no idea what the hell she was talking about with the wine. No idea. So when I saw Wine. all the time. by Marissa A. Ross, I thought why the heck not.

The book is pretty funny. I mean, yes, Ross goes on and on about how wine is made, and what all the labels mean, and what people mean when they say a wine is full bodied and fruity, and why you should only drink natural wines. But in all that she is damn funny. And all that is actually kind of useful. Apparently Old World wines are ruled by various laws that say certain regions can only grown certain kinds of grapes so instead of telling you a bottle is a Cab, it says the region, expecting you to know what kind of wine comes from that area. No wonder wine is so confusing. I think I’ll just stick to drinking it.

℘℘℘- Three Pages. Useful little book. I’ll be honest, I skipped a lot of it. I don’t really care that much about wine. LOL


Book Review: Sushi for Beginners

I have the vague sensation I have read Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes before. Perhaps while I was pregnant and on bed rest. I consumed A LOT of books and don’t remember most of them due to hormones, yeah, hormones.

I enjoyed this book in the way that you know vaguely what’s coming because you’ve read it before but don’t precisely remember the details. On top of which, I have a much different perspective on life than I did all those years ago.

So onto the book. Sushi is set in Ireland. There’s a fun slight culture change. Everyone smokes in the book. Even those who have quit still smoke. LOL. I don’t know if that’s the culture or the time the book was written (2000 published) but it made me long for the days when I still smoked ridiculously expensive French cigarettes with abandon. There really is something to be said for a book, cigarette, and coffee.

The main character is forced out of her comfortably life and into one where she confronts not only her own fears but a lot of truths about who she is and how the world works. She finds her own footing. Yes, that is a popular theme with me. I suppose some things don’t change.

I had a really hard time finding any connection with one of the secondary mains. She is married, her children go to school daily, and she has a house cleaner but still complains about how rough her life is. Yeah, sorry, not buying that one.

℘℘℘℘ – Four pages. Breezed through in 2 days. Probably did the first time I read it as well. Makes me wonder if I finished reading all Keyes books or no the first time round. It’s a good chick lit book. Amusing, I laughed out loud several times. Mostly light read, although reality rears it’s ugly head more than once. But I like that in a book.

First Quarter 2017 One Star Reviews

The Cat, The Collector, and the Killer – Leann Sweeney

Apparently this author is a New York Times Best Seller. I slogged through 89 pages but had to stop. Everyone is obsessed with cats. And the writing was not good. But mainly it was the cat thing.

If Mashed Potatoes Could Dance – Paige Shelton

This is a national best selling author or so her book tells me. It was barely ok but a few major things lowered it’s rating. First, the author spends a lot of time setting up the rules of her world, then breaks them with a whirly “this usually can’t happen but…” Um, no. And in a number of places the author contradicts things previously said. There are two mysteries running at the same time and they don’t get equal effort. So the lower priority mystery, where people are being held hostage, is revealed in a poof. And the long drawn out, time consuming mystery is solved in the “this usually can’t happen” manner. I will not be reading the other books in the series.

Cruel Intent – J.A. Jance

I see J.A. Jance’s books all over the place. I assumed they would be good. I wish I could pin point what was missing for me, but I just didn’t care about the plot or the characters. I felt no suspense what so ever. I read a 140 pages of this “suspense mystery” and I am returning it to the library without a care as to who dun it or if he will be caught. I just feel nothing about the book. Blah.

Book Review: Solo

A bit back I reviewed a book by Jill Mansell which I liked a lot but which made me cry. I do not like books that make me cry. So I decided to grab another one of her books and see how that went. Solo. 

wrinkles nose. It went on way too long. It’s the typical story of boy and girl meet, misunderstandings occur, they split, they come back together, they split, etc. But it happens like 37 times in this book because it goes on for 472 pages. I rather enjoyed the book for the first 250. Not “woot this is awesome”, but a solid four rating. But then it kept going on. Rather like when the guy I was dating dragged me to see the Fellowship of the Ring. I am not a Tolkien fan. I know, I know, just get over it already….

Over it yet? So, in the movie when they formed the ring, I thought “Oh thank god, this has been the longest 3 hours of my life.” But then the movie didn’t end. It went on and on. And I realized after looking surreptitiously at my phone, that we were only half way through.

This book was like that. There was a natural ending that would have made it a solid four rating but on it went for another 200 pages. Bleh. And look surprise, she willfully misunderstands him yet again. And he takes it, again. And Again. And Again.

℘℘ – Two Pages. I finished out of the sheer hope that something unpredictable would happen. My hopes were dashed.

Book Review: And Then There Were Nuns

I know, I know, I said I was done with cozy mysteries but this one caught me with it’s title. It literally jumped off the shelf while I was at the library browsing on the last date night I had with the hubs. Yes, we are that geeky. But if you have a small child, you know, going to the library without said child, is exciting.

And Then There Were Nuns by Kylie Logan started off pretty good. Not great. Not ooh, this is so well written I can’t put it down, but good enough. This is apparently one of a series, and the “get a new reader caught up” portion was done ok. Not the best I’ve seen but no where near the worst. So I’m reading happily along, or happily enough anyway. And then…

All of a sudden, the head jumping starts. And these odd little extra thoughts, in parentheses in the main character’s thought stream. And I notice whenever something exciting is about to happen, she ends the chapter. Ok, lots of people do that. It gets you to turn the page, go to the next chapter. But you don’t get to see the action. Logan skips it entirely and you find out what happen when the main character is thinking about it or telling someone else what happened. Ugh. Shoot me.

And the mystery is solved with a big SURPRISE! Not surprised, not amused.

℘℘℘ – Almost 3 pages. I don’t know. It’s more than 2, the reasonably good stuff at the start gets it out of 2 page range, but…Fine, it’s readable.

Book Review: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d

While on vaca I was enjoying tearing through almost a book a day. I just had free time. A seven year old can only sight see so many hours a day, which translated nicely into down time for mom as there was no house to clean, no books to edit, no classes to prepare for. So I READ. I was super excited to see a new Flavia de Luce book from Alan Bradley available for download. I’ve read the whole series.

I am torn by this book. I wanted to like this book. I was predisposed to like it, as I adored the last 7 or 8. But this one just missed the mark for me. Flavia is back in the UK. She is growing up, but you don’t see the growth, she is just completely different than she has been in previous books and her inner monologue tells you this is growth. wrinkles nose. She lost a lot of her charm to be frank.

Then in the actual mystery, she is super dense about certain things that are glaringly obvious and then in the last ten pages she pulls off a magical, “this is how it was done.” I am not really a fan of that. And I don’t remember the previous Flavia books being that way.

The final nail in the coffin for me I won’t tell here as it gives away too much but it was unnecessarily harsh.

℘℘℘ – Three Pages, I finished it. Maybe I’m being too critical. But if I separate out the rest of the books in the series and just judge this one by itself, I probably wouldn’t have finished it. It just had too many issues for me. And I desperately missed the Flavia of old. Impetuous, bold, honest, and charming in the way children are when they haven’t learned not to say certain things and they feel things fully. sigh. I’ll read the next one just to see if the author brings her back, that Flavia.

Book Review: The Crossing PLaces

I reviewed The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths a few weeks ago, liked it a lot. I grabbed the follow up to that book, Smoke and Mirrors, shortly thereafter and it was awesome. So of course I grabbed the first book in her Ruth Galloway Mystery series, The Crossing Places.

I am less enthusiastic about this series. It is still very well written and I quite like the lead character. Ruth Galloway is independent, intelligent, and a total introvert. She is a professional forensic archaeologist who teaches at Uni. She has an Indiana Jones poster in her office for the humor of it. When the book starts she is asked to evaluate some recently found bones for the police. This is a new direction for her. As the book goes on she finds lots of parallels between what an archaeologist does and a detective’s job.

It’s slower moving than the Magic Men series. And it is a bit darker. I liked the feel, the slow, creepy, languid pace. Although, I did know who done it before Griffiths revealed it. Maybe that’s why I am less enthused.

On the other hand I downloaded the next 2 books in the series for my upcoming trip.

℘℘℘℘ – A sold four pages. I can’t wait to see where the series develops.


Book Review: The Bone Collection

I used to read Kathy Reichs obsessively. When her books became a TV show I watched that too. Super entertaining in that vaguely smart over dramatic manner I enjoy. Eventually the show leaned to drama with less smarts and I moved away from it. I also hadn’t picked up any of her books in eons. But I saw The Bone Collection on a swing through the library and thought four little novellas could be just what the doctor ordered.

This collection of novellas were definitely written with a purpose. Three of the four stories, according to Reichs comments in an author’s note, were written specifically to bring attention to a concern of hers. Why not? They’re well written entertaining little novellas if a bit preachy at times. But that’s the right of solid authors with a long list of hits behind them, to use their power for causes they think are important. I can roll with that.

Reichs has a slow discovery style, by which I mean, you get a body, and as Tempe performs the autopsy and gets overly involved with the investigation, new facts turn up, which alters the plot. I don’t want to get too specific and give away the twists. It’s a hallmark of Reichs though. If you’ve read enough of her books you know almost where the twist will take you but the reading is still enjoyable.

Two things became clear to me with the 4 novella format. First, in each one she says the exact same line about handing her ID to someone who studies it so long they could have memorized the information. Note to self, watch for lines I over use. The second was a little grating. Tempe gets overly involved in each investigation. As she goes along she makes these amazing deductive jumps providing valuable assistance to the police. Ok, cool. But then at the end, she goes dumber than a box of rocks. She goes to confront someone without back up and frequently lies about it, too. And at this point in the story as the reader, I know she’s going to confront the bad guys. How is it she doesn’t know until they attack her? Bah. It was a little much 3 times in a row.

℘℘℘ – Decent read. I have read her before and will probably read her again when her books cross my path but I won’t go looking for them.

Book Review: three amazing things about you

I randomly grabbed three amazing things about you by Jill Mansell on a breeze through the library one day, simply for it’s title. Because hello, three amazing things about me, love to hear that. Who doesn’t want to hear how amazing they are.

Surprisingly it wasn’t about my good qualities or even how to find my good qualitites and get people to appreciate them. Three things about you is actually the name of a website that gives advice on problems sent in by readers. Hallie, the blog owner, wants three things about each person to help her understand them so she can give quality advice. The secret that Hallie isn’t sharing is that she is almost bedridden with Cystic Fibrosis.

The book is an ensemble with probably ten characters to get invested in. Some I liked more than others. Most I understood because Mansell painted them so beautifully with her descriptions of their actions. The book is gripping I have to admit. I started it one morning and carried it with me all day, reading when I could and then finally spending 2 hours with the book while the hubs played with the kiddo to finish it same day.

I bawled. Loudly. So loudly in fact that the hubs heard me over the video game and came to investigate. I am torn because of this. Mansell has a long list of published works and I suspect they are all as compellingly written as this one but….I don’t like to be made to cry. sigh

℘℘℘℘℘ – Five Pages – read it in one day. Really want to read more but there’s the whole crying thing. Maybe I’ll go for one more of her novels and see if that one makes me bawl. That’s a plan then.

Book Review: Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

I think Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein is supposed to be for kids. Yep, just flipped it over and the age range is 8-12. Whatever. This book was awesomely amusing and I would give my right arm to visit a library like this. Wait, I’m right handed. I would give my left arm to visit a library like this.

Kyle Keely loves games. Board Games. Video Games. Word Games. He just isn’t crazy about homework, reading, or school. So when his best friend reminds him essays to win a chance to spend the night locked in the new library before it’s open to the public are due at the start of school, he only has times to scribble “I hope you have balloons there.” LOL

As befitting a 12 year old who plays lots of games Kyle finds a way to get a better written essay into the contest and gets to spend the night in the library. Of course getting out of the library is where his skills really pay off. You have to read the book from here. I can’t possible give away the plot on a book this fun.

℘℘℘℘℘ – 5 pages – Amusing good time. It was nice to visit my childhood again. I practically lived in the boring library I had access to as a child. I would have moved in to Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.