Angie BK · Cats! · Education · Fiction · Humor · Juvenile · Quick Read!

Bad Kitty | by Nick Bruel

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
(Roaring Book Press, 2005, 40 pages)

Go along on the adventure of Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel. This picture book starts out telling readers why Bad Kitty wasn’t always bad, and then gives the reasons why “Good” Kitty turns bad. The fun part about this picture book is that it helps children to learn their ABCs because it lists all the reasons from A-Z about why Bad Kitty goes bad, what Bad Kitty does when he’s bad, and then all the good things Bad Kitty does when he becomes good again. A delightful read for children of any age—especially cat lovers.

Fiction · Gwen B · In the Library · Quick Read!

1105 Yakima Street | by Debbie Macomber

1105 Yakima Street by Debbie Macomber
(Mira Books, 2011, 366 pages)

About the Book (Overview):

Dear Reader,

You’ve probably heard that my wife has left me. Rachel’s pregnant, and she says she can’t handle the stress in our household anymore. My thirteen-year-old daughter, Jolene, is jealous of her. Maybe it’s my fault. As a widower I spoiled her—

Jolene was reading over my shoulder just now and says that’s not true. She claims Rachel ruined everything. But that’s not true. The real question is: How can I get my wife back? I don’t even know where she is. She’s not with Teri Polgar or any of her other friends from the salon. The other question is…when will Jolene grow up and stop acting like such a brat? Of course, I’m not the only one in town with problems. Linc Wyse’s father-in-law is trying to destroy his business. And you know Charlotte Rhodes? Seems she’s becoming forgetful, and the family’s worried about her and Ben. Lots of other stuff going on—but Rachel is better at keeping up with it than I am. If you have any idea where my wife is, give me a call. Please.

Bruce Peyton

* * * * * * *

Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series is one of my all-time favorites. I enjoyed going back to visit all those beloved citizens each year as a new book was released. I was saddened to hear that the series was ending this October when 1225 Christmas Tree Lane was released. When I picked up this book, I was excited that Rachel and Bruce’s story was going to be told. They’ve been secondary characters for years and I’ve watched their relationship unfold. Now it was their turn to shine by being the lead story. I enjoyed getting to catch up with other people and couples from around Cedar Cove… Olivia is still recovering from cancer and now has to deal with her mother’s failing health. Charlotte (the aforementioned mother) and Ben deal with the after-effects of a house fire. Grace and Cliff adopt a new puppy, much to Grace’s chagrin. Will and Miranda try to work with together without killing each other. Shirley’s new romance takes the next step. Linc and Lori have to deal with Lori’s overbearing father. Chad and Gloria deal with an unplanned pregnancy. . .

I found myself laughing and crying as I read. Ms. Macomber has a way of touching your heartstrings which keeps you coming back for more. If you haven’t read this series, I highly suggest reading them in order, as each book builds on the last. You really won’t be disappointed for trying out these books… I know I haven’t been.

Once again Debbie Macomber has completed a wonderful book – I always enjoy a new Macomber novel and this didn’t disappoint at all. I will definitely miss all the family/friends in this series.  It was a great relaxing book to read. This episode in the continuing saga of Cedar Cove centers mostly around the shake-up of Rachel and Bruce’s marriage. Rachel up and left after Bruce’s inconsistent parenting with 13 year old Jolene caused a rift between them.  I enjoyed this book, and recommend it to all Debbie Macomber fans.  I just started reading 1225 Christmas Tree Lane and can’t put it down!  I’ll miss my friends at Cedar Cove after reading all 12 books.

Angie BK · Fiction · In the Library · Quick Read! · Thriller

Bonnie | by Iris Johansen

Bonnie by Iris Johansen
(St. Martin’s Press, 2011, 373 pages)

By happenstance, I picked up the novel Quinn by Iris Johansen for a trip I was taking. At the time, I didn’t realize that it was part of the Eve Duncan series by Iris Johansen—I just wanted a good read while I travelled. Quinn led me to the novel Bonnie, which solves the mystery of what happened to Eve Duncan’s daughter, Bonnie, many years ago.

The story is about how Eve Duncan and her partner in life and work, Joe Quinn, are searching for the answers to Bonnie’s disappearance. They are also working with Catherine Ling, a CIA agent, and John Gallo, Bonnie’s father, who is suspected of killing her in a delusional state. Conflict arises between Eve, Joe, and John because John refuses to believe that he killed his daughter. Things continue to escalate because Catherine starts to supports John. The tension throughout the book keeps readers turning the pages to find out what actually happened. Overall, I found Bonnie to be a quick, easy, and enjoyable read.

Food! · Non-Fiction · Ying L

How to Read a French Fry: And Other Stories of Intriguing Kitchen Science | by Russ Parsons

How to Read a French Fry: And Other Stories of Intriguing Kitchen ScienceB
by Russ Parsons
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001, 320 pages)

Yep, this is a book about food.  What a clever title! It’s written by Russ Parsons, the Los Angeles Times Food Editor. The book is a combination of food science and recipes. It’s very engaging and informative. My only complaint is that I think it could use a bibliography.

There are a number of practical tips, “how-tos” and the science behind them. The book has six chapters. Each chapter focuses on a food category and the best cooking methods to use. Many recipes are provided at the end of each chapter for readers to try with their newly-acquired knowledge. It offers new ideas on substituting ingredients, my favorite part. The book also helped me to understand why some of the recipes I’ve tried have failed. The chapter “The Second Life of Plants” was extremely useful. I gained new understanding on selecting and preserving fruits and vegetables.

If you like to read about food, give this book a try.

Erica M · History · In the Library · Juvenile · Non-Fiction

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball | by Kadir Nelson

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball
Written and Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
(Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children, 2008, 88 pages)

This Coretta Scott King and Robert F. Sibert award-winning book is a treasure for all ages, and is best suited for reading by upper elementary students through adult readers. This book is filled with gorgeous full-page, realistically painted historical images, the work of the author and artist Kadir Nelson, as well as a centerfold pullout documenting the first Colored World Series in Kansas City, MO in 1924.

The text is a smoothly read, but detailed, historical narrative of the ballplayers of the Negro League and the story of how these players finally earned their rightful place in Major League Baseball.  Young and old readers alike will be shocked and surprised by the social and political climate that led to the creation of this league, entertained and delighted by the antics of the ballplayers, and inspired by the outcome of the nine-inning (chapter) story. The work opens with a touching foreword by Hank Aaron, and ends with extensive notes and bibliographic information.

Audiobook · Humor · In the Library · Memoir · Ying L

When You Are Engulfed in Flames | by David Sedaris

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
(Little, Brown, and Co., 2998, 323 pages)

I picked up this audio book for a long trip. I read other books by David Sedaris before and loved most of them.  I really enjoyed this one. The book was read by Sedaris himself, what a treat!

When You Are Engulfed in Flames is a collection of 22 essays. In each essay the author tells a story that may seem ordinary but is actually super hilarious through the author’s meticulous observations and insightful reflections.  He’s also not afraid of portraying himself as self-interested, difficult, and lazy at times.  Here’s what he says about his boyfriend’s mother’s visits in the essay “It’s Catching”:

When Maw Hamrick’s around, I don’t lift a finger. All my chores go automatically to her, and I just sit in a rocker, raising my feet every now and then so she can pass the vacuum. It’s incredibly relaxing, but it doesn’t make me look very good, especially if she’s doing something strenuous, carrying furniture to the basement, for instance, which again, was completely her idea. I just mentioned in passing that we rarely used the dresser, and that one of these days someone should take it downstairs. I didn’t mean her, exactly, though at age seventy-six she’s a lot stronger than Hugh gives her credit for.

I also love the story on moving to Japan, quitting smoking and learning a new language.  If you like a good laugh, check it out!

Fiction · Graphic Novel · In the Library · Julia P · Quick Read!

Daytripper | by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

Daytripper by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá
(DC Comics, 2011, 247 pages)

This graphic novel got a lot of attention and a lot of praise so I was curious to see what it was all about.  The story follows Brás de Oliva Domingos, the son of a famous writer who spends his day writing obituaries.  Brás is ready for his life to “begin” – he’s just not sure how to make that happen.  Moon and Bá have the book setup so that it highlights the important moments in Brás’s life, all of which have worked to make him into the man he is.  It’s not a question of when life will start, but recognizing the moments in life that make you who you are.

Reading this book is inspiring in a way because the setup makes you stop and think about the moments in your own life that have and will shape you into the person you are and that you will be.  It makes you want to stop and appreciate what’s around you while also realizing that life is what you make it.  You can sit around wondering when your “life” is going to begin or you can embrace the here and now of life and make it all that you want it to be.

I definitely recommend this title.  It was a little confusing at first, but you quickly get the gist of things.  Great read.

Fiction · Gwen B · In the Library · Quick Read! · Romance

The Christmas Wedding | by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
(Little, Brown & Company, 2011, 288 pages)

About the book:

The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill’s wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby’s four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven’t celebrated Christmas together since their father’s death, but when Gaby announces that she’s getting married–and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day–she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.

But the wedding isn’t Gaby’s only surprise–she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever. With deeply affecting characters and the emotional twists of a James Patterson thriller, The Christmas Wedding is a fresh look at family and the magic of the season.

Gaby Summerhill’s family hasn’t been together for Christmas since her husband Peter died, but that’s about to change. You see, Gaby has been proposed to by three men, and the thing is she is going to have a Christmas wedding, and she isn’t going to disclose who the groom will be until the wedding. So the only way her children, Emily, Claire, Lizzie, and Seth will know who she is marrying is to come home for Christmas.

This one was different from James’s usual murder thriller books.  Sometimes he will go outside the box and he didn’t disappoint with this one.  I loved getting to know Gaby’s children. Each of them is dealing with their own issues, making this an interesting story. One is having marital troubles, one has a husband fighting cancer, another is a very successful lawyer who is married but puts in way too much time at her job, and finally one is trying to get a book published.

Each one’s story would have made for an interesting book in itself but roll them together and it made the plot of this book move along nonstop. I loved the plan Gaby came up with to get her children home, an idea that was totally new, hooking me, making me wonder myself who she would marry. There was even a twist thrown in that actually surprised me. Normally when I think of James Patterson I think of action-packed thrillers, but he can certainly pull off a nice Christmas-time family story, as well. I highly recommend this book! It was a quick read.  I finished it in two days. So for those of you who are amongst the followers, without giving anything away-you will love this newest one.  Interesting, entertaining, twists turns and a surprising ending. You will really not be able to put this one down.

Fiction · Julia P · Quick Read! · Romance

One Day | by David Nicholls

One Day by David Nicholls
(Vintage Books, 2010, 437 pages)

We selected One Day as our book club selection for this month and I was curious to see what all the buzz was about.  The way the book is setup is unique – one specific day is looked at over a span of twenty years in the life of two friends, Dexter and Emma.  They connected at University in 1988 and formed a fast friendship that stemmed from one night they shared together.  Dexter and Emma came from two different worlds and wanted different things out of life, but they kept in touch and their friendship went through the standard ups and downs with both parties trying to ignore their feelings for the other and getting lost in their efforts at figuring out what they wanted to do with their lives.

This book was incredibly readable and drew me in almost immediately.  I found the story very relatable.  The experience they shared in college, the questioning of friendships and wondering whether one person wants more or not, figuring out what you want out of life. . .   I think Nicholls did a great job capturing each year and phase of life and presenting it realistically.  I’d definitely recommend this book.  I’m curious to see the movie now (with Anne Hathaway) but it didn’t get the greatest reviews, so we’ll see.  No need to ruin a good thing 🙂

Fiction · Gwen B · In the Library · Quick Read! · Romance

A Turn in the Road | by Debbie Macomber

A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber
(Mira, 2011, 333 pages)

About the book:

Sometimes, where you think you’re going isn’t where you end up…

In the middle of the year, in the middle of her life, Bethanne Hamlin takes a road trip with her daughter, Annie, and her former mother-in-law, Ruth. They’re driving to Florida for Ruth’s 50th high-school reunion. A longtime widow, Ruth would like to reconnect with Royce, the love of her teenage life. She’s heard he’s alone, too . . . and, well, she’s curious. Maybe even hopeful. Bethanne herself needs time to reflect, to ponder a decision she has to make. Her ex-husband, Grant—her children’s father—wants to reconcile now that his second marriage has failed. Bethanne’s considering it . . .

Meanwhile, Annie’s out to prove to her onetime boyfriend that she can live a brilliant life without him!

So there they are, three women driving across America. They have their maps and their directions—but even the best-planned journey can take you to a turn in the road. Or lead you to an unexpected encounter—like the day Bethanne meets a man named Max, who really is a hero on a Harley. That’s when Bethanne’s decision becomes a lot harder. Because Grant wants her back, but now there’s Max . . .

From Seattle’s Blossom Street to the other end of the country, this is a trip that could change three women’s lives.

A Turn in the Road is the story of three generations of exuberant, strong women at a crossroads in their lives in more ways than one. From Washington to Florida, Las Vegas, New Orleans. . . So many stops, so many adventures on the way, all to find answers to fulfill their lives.

Macomber’s books are always pleasant to read, nothing that makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy. It’s always great writing, interesting real-life characters and a lesson or two in life. This is an excellent book that keeps you involved and guessing to the end. Never knew for sure how it would end. I loved the romance and the interaction of all the characters. I could not put this book down and I highly recommend it. I really liked A Turn in the Road– then again I always like a Debbie Macomber book! Another wonderful relaxing book by Debbie Macomber with interesting characters and story line.