Monday, April 30, 2018

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely FineEleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this! Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is an absolute delight of a book that I will be recommending to many people! It is the story of a quirky, uptight woman trying to make a place for herself in a very square world. To me it was reminiscent of The Rosie Project by Don Tillman. Eleanor is an obsessively organized, exceptionally bright, socially inept 30 year old who lives a very safe, but solitary, lonely life. As the story develops she will win the sympathies and heart of any reader as she discovers people are not all bad after all.

When we meet her she is somewhat unlikable but nonetheless entertaining. Her naivety and misunderstandings of certain human behaviors and the resulting interactions with other persons make for some very funny laugh-out-loud scenes. It is also heartrending, but as she embraces the shocking reveals of her past there is a happy, satisfying and realistic conclusion when she and those in her world discover she is completely fine. In fact that is an understatement: she is marvelous!

This debut novel by author Gail Honeyman is original, thoroughly entertaining, heartwarming, and a masterpiece of character development. It is fast-paced, never boring, and a brilliant page turner. I look forward to reading more from this new author!

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

SourdoughSourdough by Robin Sloan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars -This is a very fun creative story. Especially recommend for people who live in or are familiar with the Bay Area, or who love sourdough bread or who are into technology. audio version is great.

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News of the WorldNews of the World by Paulette Jiles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought I would love this audio book because so many of my friends gave it 4 & 5 star reviews, but it was just ok due to the narrator whose voice I found particularly annoying. It is however a heart warming story rich with history.

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Every Day (Every Day, #1)Every Day by David Levithan


This is a fantasy with a new twist. The main character is a genderless 16 year old with no body, just a soul, and this character wakes up every day as a different person, not knowing who that person is. It is a different body type everyday, male, female, skinny, fat, diabetic, suicidal, healthy, criminal, saint, poverty stricken or wealthy, home-schooled, mainlined or private academy, gay, lesbian, school jock or geek, normal, or any of a variety of 16 year old real persons, a complete pectrum of types, but just for one day. And the next day and every day thereafter our main character is a new person who is not supposed to change anything, but just live that person's life the way they do.. It's an interesting story concept but I felt conflicted by it. The story rambles on, and except for the main character's thoughts and frustrations, all the other characters are flat since they only get one day to introduce themselves. The author is preachy about gender issues and treats sex casually and religion as something only for nutters. It dragged in the middle, is more a romance novel than a philosophical treatise (which it could have been) and is an interesting premise for a story but poorly executed.


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Monday, April 2, 2018

To The Bright Edge of the WorldTo The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars
I wanted to read this because I so enjoyed Pulitzer Prize finalist The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Her storytelling gifts and lyrical prose style are strong points in that story and in this, her powerful second novel, To The Bright Edge of the World. It is a man-against-nature story which takes place in 1885 with a small team of explorers trying to chart and tame a fictional remote ­wilderness river in uncivilized Alaska Territory. The novel is loosely based on an actual expedition the same year by Lt. Henry T. Allen.
The fictional story is built around a combination of diary entries, letters, and postcards, mostly written by Col. Forrester and his young, pregnant wife, Sophie, but also upon present day letters between a descendant of Forrester and a museum curator which explain artifacts from the exploration. Additionally, there are newspaper stories and period photographs taken and developed by Sophie, a budding photographer, diagrams and excepts from a book on obstetrics, and pictures at various stages in the book which lend a flavor of reality. Native Alaskan myths folklore are woven into the story. It is lush with magical realism, a vehicle I particularly enjoy. The story includes a secret to which I wish there had been more resolution, but overall this was highly creative and interesting novel.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is easy, fast paced YA fiction, not quite fantasy, with minimal world building, no dragons or other magic, and no gratuitous sex or violence (hooray). The plot is straightforward with a few surprises and the characterization is wonderful with a strong message of loyalty and determination. It won several YA award nominations and I now want to read its sequel, The Runaway King, which won the Whitney Award, but this book stands alone with a satisfying conclusion if you are a reader who doesn't appreciate series. I highly recommend--- everything in the book just works to make it a fun read for a pretty wide audience.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Hate U Give, an extremely powerful story about racism and police violence in America, is told from a black 16 year old girl's point of view and is one of the best books I have read so far this year. . . the sort of book that there can always be more of! Considering the amount of profanity used in this impressively important & timely novel, friends who follow my reviews may be surprised by my 5 star rating because I usually dock a book 1 point for language. But it is real and the language is necessary. It is an engaging, well-written story with complex characters that are real, likable, and all-too-human. It’s compassionate, complex, powerful, and profoundly sad yet is also uplifting and positive without being preachey. There is also some humor that had me laughing out loud. I "read" the audio book and the narrator is superb.

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