Monday, October 28, 2013
Allison: So an idea for a book blog name just popped into my head, and since WordPress lets me play on my phone without investing much time and energy, I started a book blog here: Nor Any Drop To Read. I am going to cross-post here for a while before deciding what I want to do, book blog-wise.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Thursday, August 01, 2013
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
Friday, July 12, 2013
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Monday, July 08, 2013
Netgalley Knockout? At just about the time I think I will never ever ever be even remotely caught up with my review copies, along comes a support group for other bloggers in the same predicament. I've been mired in the Game of Thrones series for what seems like forever, but nearing the end of Book Five, I can see a time in the not-so-distant future when I might read something else! Here is the appalling list of books I have yet to read and/or review: Update: As I request more books...and I seem unable to stop doing so...I will add them to the top of the appropriate list. As I review a book, I'll strike through instead of deleting so I can see my amazing progress! LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program: HOLY ORDERS by Benjamin Black THE BLACK COUNTRY by Alex Grecian ANTONIA LIVELY BREAKS THE SILENCE by David Samuel Levinson SUBSTITUTE CREATURE by Charles Gilman Other Sources: UNDERCURRENT by Paul Blackwell* SONGS OF WILLOW FROST by Jamie Ford Netgalley: THE SEANCE SOCIETY by Michael Nethercott THE LITTER OF THE LAW by Rita Mae Brown THE BONE SEASON by Samantha Shannon WHEN THE WORLD WAS FLAT (AND WE WERE IN LOVE) by Ingrid Jonach POWDER BURN by Mark Chisnell MRS. POE by Lynne Cullen GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL by Christopher Finch CLEAN BURN by Karen Sandler THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION by Paulette Alden DEATH AND THE OLIVE GROVE by Marco Vichi THE AMBITIOUS CARD by John Gaspard LAWLESS & THE DEVIL OF EUSTON SQUARE by William Sutton THE RED QUEEN DIES by Frankie Y. Bailey
UNSEEN by Karin Slaughter*
IVA HONEYSUCKLE MEETS HER MATCH by Candice Ransom**
TWERP by Mark Goldblatt
THE OPHELIA CUT by John Lescroart
TRAVELS IN ELYSIUM by William Azuski
TUESDAY'S GONE by Nicci French*
MURDER BELOW MONTPARNASSE by Cara Black
BOLERO by Joanie McDonell
HOLD FAST by Blue Balliett
THE LITTLE DEATH by Michael Nava
THE EMPEROR OF ALL THINGS by Paul Whitcover
THE NOT-JUST-ANYBODY FAMILY by Betsy Byars**
THE FIRST BOOK OF CALAMITY WEEK by Paula Lichtarowicz
IN THE MATTER OF NICOLA TESLA by Anthony Flacco
THE GOLD DUST LETTERS by Janet Taylor Lisle
MUMBO JUMBO by Ishmael Reed
THE ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab
HIDING GLADYS by Lee Mims
DADDY LOVE by Joyce Carol Oates
BLOOD ON THE THRESHOLD by Karin Richmond
SPILT MILK by Chico Buarque
THE SCIENTIFIC SHERLOCK HOLMES by James O'Brien
THE SEVEN MARKETS by David Hoffman
MAKE BELIEVE by Ed Ifkovic
THE PINEVILLE HEIST by Lee Chambers
THE REBELLIOUS LIFE OF MRS. ROSA PARKS** by
GERONIMO STILTON CAVEMICE**
VEGAN EATS WORLD by Terry Hope Romero
THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER by Mike Robinson
SIMPLY SATISFYING by Jeanne Lemlin
THE PANTHER by Nelson DeMille
BECOMING HOLMES by Shane Peacock*
THE SECRET KEEPER by Kate Morton
CHRISTMAS IN TINSELTOWN by Frank De Caro
SMOKE & MIRRORS by Ryan Browne
THE ICARUS PROJECT by Laura Quimby
THE DALAI LAMA'S CAT by David Michie
THE INFECTS by Sean Beaudoin
SOMETHING RED by Douglas Nicholas
WHITE FOREST by Adam McOmber
BLACK BREAD WHITE BEER by Niven Govinden
THE LAST WORD by Lisa Lutz*
AFTER HER by Joyce Maynard THE FLYING BEAVER BROTHERS: BIRDS V. BUNNIES by Maxwell Eaton III** THE FLYING BEAVER BROTHERS AND THE MUD-SLINGING MOLES by Maxwell Eaton III* DEATH CANYON by David Riley Bertsch THE ABSENCE OF MERCY by John Burley
DOG LOVES COUNTING by Louise Yates**
PENGUIN CHA CHA by Kristi Valiant**
DREAM ANIMALS by Emily Winfield Martin**
THE CONTAGIOUS COLORS OF MUMPLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL by Fowler DeWitt**
SQUIRRELS ON SKIS by J. Hamilton Ray**
ANNE FRANK'S CHESTNUT TREE by Jane Kohuth**
ESCAPE THEORY by Margaux Froley
TUESDAY'S GONE by Nicci French
GARLIC, MINT, AND SWEET BASIL by Jean-Claude Izzo
WACKO ACADEMY by Faith Wilkins
THE LONGINGS OF WAYWARD GIRLS by Karen Brown
THE CHALICE by Nancy Bilyeau
MOTHERLAND by William Nicholson
THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN by Hallie Ephron
FAIRY TALES BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM retold by Philip Pullman*
THE CLOVER HOUSE by Henriette Lazaridis Power
THE SOUND OF BROKEN GLASS by Deborah Crombie
COVER OF SNOW by Jenny Milchman
THE SUMMER OF DEAD TOYS by Antonio Hill
GET STARTED: GROWING VEGETABLES by Simon Akeroyd**
THE BIG BOOK OF THINGS TO MAKE by James Mitchem**
ELDERS by Ryan McIlvain
THE PERFECT MEAL by John Baxter
THE CHILD'S CHILD by Barbara Vine
AURORARAMA by Jean-Christophe Valtat
SWEET TOOTH by Ian McEwan
THE DEATH OF BEES by Lisa O'Donnell
THE AVIATOR'S WIFE by Melanie Benjamin
THE END OF THE POINT by Elizabeth Graver
THE SECRET OF NIGHTINGALE PALACE by Dana Sachs
A STUDY IN REVENGE by Kieran Shields
YESTERDAY'S SUN by Amanda Brooke
A KILLER IN THE WIND by Andrew Klavan
INDISCRETION by Charles Dubow
AMERICAN BOY by Larry Watson
THE EVOLUTION OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin
GOLDBERG VARIATIONS by Susan Isaacs
AN EXTRAORDINARY THEORY OF OBJECTS by Stephanie LaCava
SEVEN LOCKS by Christine Wade
ASHENDEN by Elizabeth Wilhide
COLD LIGHT by Jenn Ashworth
PATRICIDE by Joyce Carol Oates
FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver
LIVE BY NIGHT by Dennis Lehane
THE HOLLOW MAN by Oliver Harris
THE GIRL ON THE CLIFF by Lucina Riley
**To read with Lilah
AFTER HER by Joyce Maynard THE FLYING BEAVER BROTHERS: BIRDS V. BUNNIES by Maxwell Eaton III** THE FLYING BEAVER BROTHERS AND THE MUD-SLINGING MOLES by Maxwell Eaton III* DEATH CANYON by David Riley Bertsch THE ABSENCE OF MERCY by John Burley
Thursday, May 16, 2013
GOLIATH'S SECRET by Bonnie Feuer: I read this one aloud to my six-year-old daughter and at the end, she sighed and said, "What a delightful story." I can't argue with that. Goliath the frog is silent, and several animals who live nearby try to teach him how to talk. In the end, they discover that everyone has his own way of communicating and our differences make us interesting. The illustrations in this one are gorgeous. The animals of the West African forest are drawn with gorgeous detail. The illustrations of the Goliath Frog in motion are particularly notable. A lovely story that has the feel of a classic. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
THE DAY MY MOM CAME TO KINDERGARTEN by Maureen Fergus, illustrated by Mike Lowery: This would be a great book for a child entering kindergarten! The child's mom comes to kindergarten one day, and she gets it all wrong. She talks when the teacher is talking, makes huffy noises and slams down the scissors when she has trouble in art, and forgets to take off her outside shoes. The child must walk her mother through the basics of kindergarten rules. In the end, Mom decides that she'll go back to doing what she's best at, and leave kindergarten to her child. For a child nervous about starting school, Mom's introduction to kindergarten rules and activities would be an excellent primer. It walks the child through what to expect in a funny, nonthreatening way. Even when Mom gets it wrong, punishment is not the result; her child teaches her the right way. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
SCAREDY SQUIRREL GOES CAMPING by Melanie Watt: Scaredy Squirrel does not think camping is a great idea; there are simply too many hazards, like zippers and penguins and mosquitoes. So he decides to experience camping by watching television shows about camping. The only problem? He must set out on an adventure in order to plug in his extension cord! Along the way, he faces many of his fears and learns the joys of camping. I read this to my six-year-old daughter, and we are both now Scaredy Squirrel fans. Scaredy Squirrel's charts, maps, and detailed plans are hilarious additions to quirky, fun illustrations. The narrative will appeal to children and adults - my daughter and I were both cracking up. And the lesson, that things are not as scary as they seem, that some things are worth the risk, is hard to argue with. A delightful picture book. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
DYLAN'S DAY by Tim Hutchinson: Dylan, a very busy dog, has many things to smell, chase, and do, but his most important tasks involve the big fat cat that lives next door. Lush, multilayered illustrations invite a closer look at Dylan's surroundings, and the charming narrative follows a dog as he goes about his day. Children who love dogs will adore this one. I read it aloud to my six-year-old daughter, and we were both enchanted. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
MR. FLUX by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Matte Stevens: Martin and his neighbors live in a place where nothing ever changes, and they like it that way. Until Mr. Flux comes to town... I read this picture book aloud to my six-year-old daughter, and we were both delighted with the quirky tale and whimsical illustrations. At the end is a discussion about the 1960s art movement Fluxus, and it opened some discussion about what art is. This would be a great book for a child who fears change, or is about to experience a major change. Martin and his neighbors learn that change is not necessarily a bad thing. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Friday, March 29, 2013
DAISY'S DEFINING DAY by Sandra V. Feder, illustrated by Susan Mitchell: I read this early chapter book with my six-year-old daughter. We read alternating pages to each other. Daisy loves words. She keeps a journal with lists of her favorite rhyming words, cloud words, perfectly paired words, and more. One word pair she does NOT like was discovered by Grant: Lazy Daisy. She loathes this nickname. Meanwhile, Daisy is delighted when her teacher introduces the class to alliteration. She is inspired to create a new name for herself, one so delightful that it will overshadow the hated "Lazy Daisy." She hits on "Dynamite Dramatic Determined Dazzling Daisy," and requests that everyone call her that from now on. Her parents are good-natured about this (her father asks her to write it down so he can remember it) and her best friend, Emma, is willing (although Daisy notices Emma talks to her less when she has to use the long version of her name). In the end, Daisy sees the usefulness of a short, easy to remember name. The wordplay in this book is just fun. At the end of the book, Daisy's word lists are included. Daisy's desire to be called something other than Lazy Daisy is understandable, and her alliterative adventure to find the perfect name is charming. When she realizes that her long name is causing problems, she rethinks it. She also has a younger sister, Lily, and patiently teaches her to ride a bicycle, a sweet addition to the story. Grant's selection of Lazy Daisy as a nickname also opens up discussion about name-calling and nicknames (Grant does not mean to be insulting to Daisy). An excellent chapter book for early readers. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Booking Through Thursday can be found right here. Movies have a rating system to help guide the consumer weed out adult/violent/inappropriate kinds of films. Video games do, too. Do you think BOOKS should have a ratings system? I really, really don't. I believe that parents should pay attention to their children's reading, and in some cases screen (a friend once asked me, "How old do you think a girl should be to read Twilight?" and I replied, "About 28") and definitely discuss, but I don't like the "slap a rating on it" approach. It oversimplifies. And in the case of the MPAA, let's look at the ridiculousness of a bit of nudity warranting a stricter rating than, say, a character gunning down dozens of people. I think that parents should be tuned in to what their children are reading, but I don't know that a rating system is at all helpful. There have been books I've picked up without knowing they were Christian fiction, and I wished there had been a warning label, so I do think an accurate synopsis/teaser is a good thing. My daughter is only six, but as she gets older and reads more independently, I plan to keep an eye on her reading, not to censor, but to ensure we discuss complex issues that may come up. I don't see how an outside agency's opinion really helps me do that.
WILLOW FINDS A WAY by Lana Button, illustrated by Tania Howells: Kristabelle is a bully. She makes a list of invitees to her fabulous birthday party and then makes demands, crossing names off her list when they fail to act according to her whims. Willow is not immediately the target of Kristabelle's bullying, but she knows she should say something when Kristabelle is mean to her friends. But she's so excited about the birthday party, and she doesn't want her name crossed out! Eventually, Willow finds a creative way to stand up to Kristabelle, who learns an important lesson. This is a sweet picture book about bullying. Having Willow as a bystander makes for a great discussion with your child about excluding others and standing up when someone else is being bullied. My six-year-old daughter and I both enjoyed this thoughtful look at bullying. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
I read this aloud to my six-year-old daughter after we read and loved LULU AND THE DOG FROM THE SEA. This is actually the first in the series. McKay has created the perfect series for young animal lovers. Lulu's adventures with a duck egg she rescues in the park were just as delightful as her encounters with the dog on her family's beach vacation. In this book, a distressing loose dog incident while Lulu's class is at the park results in smashed duck eggs everywhere. Lulu finds one intact egg and smuggles it back to class. Her teacher doesn't share her fondness for animals and makes the threat that if one more animal is brought into the classroom, the class guinea pig will be swapped for another class's stick insects. So Lulu is in a quandary; she cannot abandon the egg, but she fears getting caught and losing the class guinea pig. Lulu is a sweet child who wants to help animals, and her care of the duck egg is charming. The somewhat traumatic event at the beginning of the book gives way to a perfect resolution. My review of LULU AND THE DOG FROM THE SEA is right here. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I read this book aloud to my six-year-old daughter, and we both enjoyed it. Tilly has moved into an drafty old mansion, far from her friends, and her mother is on bedrest for pregnancy complications. Tilly is having a difficult time, so when she is led by a fox to an enchanted garden, she makes a den for herself and befriends Helen, the girl she meets there. TILLY'S MOONLIGHT GARDEN is nothing short of magical. The blurring of what is real and what is in Tilly's imagination is beautifully executed, giving an aura of otherworldliness to the entire novel. Tilly plays with Helen by moonlight, and slowly makes a daytime friend at school. She frets about her mother: will her mother ever be well again? Will she really have a healthy baby? Tilly's struggles are stressful for a child: an ill parent, a new school, loneliness. The moonlight garden soothes her and makes her daytime life bearable. There is no big realization on her part about reality versus imagination, but that just keeps the story more magical. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! "Was kissing her Will's way of making sure she didn't forget him while he was gone? Or was he marking his territory before he left town? Only one of those options was flattering."
Monday, March 25, 2013
FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER by Ellen Meister turns out to be chick lit. I'm starting this review with a disclaimer that chick lit is not normally what I read. It is possible that this is wonderful for chick lit. I was drawn to this title by the promise of Dorothy Parker's influence on a modern movie critic, Violet Epps, who is witty and confident in print, but a disaster in real life. Doesn't that sound fun? The book promises that the spirit of Dorothy Parker will help Violet find her voice and blah blah blah. At the same time, Dorothy Parker will blah blah blah until she is finally ready to go toward the light and blah blah blah. Where do I start? I disliked Violet. No, 'dislike' is too strong a word. I didn't particularly care about Violet, because she's not a fully realized character. She has a few "defining moments" in her past that are summarized for the reader, which I believe are meant to evoke sympathy. The explanation for her social anxiety is facile and, frankly, insulting, and a genuine depiction of a character suffering from such would have been much more sympathetic. Instead, we have a tacked-on reason why the "heroine" has so much trouble asserting herself outside her movie reviews, and naturally, she must confront that "reason" before the end of the novel and blah blah blah. At one point, Violet is reviewing a sappy film and comments, "I said a little prayer I save for these moments: Please, surprise me. In fact, I wound up saying that prayer about a dozen times during this movie. It was never answered." I could not have said it better myself. The premise of this novel had such promise, but instead of being caught in a refreshing breeze, I had to plod against the current of its predictability to finally, thankfully, reach the predictable end. Violet has so much going on in her life. Her only sister died a year before. She is involved in a custody battle for Delaney, her thirteen-year-old niece. Her boyfriend is a jackass. She has a lame backstory to explain her social anxiety. A new intern at work is out to get her. I can see why she needs Dorothy's help. But even with Dorothy coaching her, Violet is reluctant to stand up for herself, long past the point of believability. I'm surprised Dorothy didn't tell her to grow a pair (or some more 1920s-ish idiom) and stop wasting her time. When Violet finally throws over the jackass boyfriend, I was relieved rather than triumphant. Check that box off the list of requisite plot developments and move on to the next one. Her plot with Dorothy to gain custody of Delaney is briefly a bright spot in the book: "'You simply explain to him that if he and his darling, long-suffering wife don't drop the case, you will have no choice but to tell her about the affair.' 'That's almost blackmail,' Violet said. 'No, my dear. That is blackmail.'" Then we go back to the main point of the book: Violet needs a better boyfriend. Yes, that's what I want to teach my daughter: become a strong woman so you can dump the jerk and get a nice man. If you're drawn to this title as a Dorothy Parker fan (as I was), I suggest skipping it and rereading some of Parker's writings and Meade's biography WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS? The Dorothy in this book, along with every other character, is sketched lightly with a number two pencil and colored strictly within the lines. I was (obviously) disappointed in this novel's lack of depth, but since I don't really read chick lit, I'm not sure if that's a genre failure or particular to this novel. Source disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.
I really enjoyed the previous book in this series, THE SECRET FIEND, but this, the fifth in the "Boy Sherlock Holmes" series, seemed long to me. It simply lacked the tension that kept me turning pages in THE SECRET FIEND, and I found myself setting it aside to read other books. In this installment, one magician (Hemsworth) is suspected of murdering another (Nottingham), who happened to have stolen his wife away. Only bits of Nottingham are found, and no one knows how Hemsworth did it. Against his resolve to stay out of detective matters until adulthood, Holmes agrees to look into the case at the prodding of Irene Doyle, who has been offered a chance to sing in Hemsworth's show. The solution was telegraphed from the beginning, which accounts for some of the slack in the tension. Wondering what on earth happened is always more engaging than waiting to find I was right. This book was also heavy on the love-triangle angle, which isn't particularly interesting to me. Angsty teenaged Holmes infatuated with two very different young ladies just doesn't hold my interest. Even if it isn't Peacock's best, young Holmes is still very readable, and I'll be reading the conclusion to the series, BECOMING HOLMES, next. My review of THE SECRET FIEND is right here. Source disclosure: I received a review copy of this book courtesy of the publisher.
Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme created by Marcia. Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. March's host is Caitlin @ Chaotic Compendium Yippee! I received an e-galley of the new Karin Slaughter (pub date 7/2/13) Lilah and I received several e-galleys of children's books to review:
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Kate Atkinson is probably my favorite living author (though, as a rule, I'm not prone to absolute statements - hence, "probably"), and while I've loved her last few books about Jackson Brodie (CASE HISTORIES was a revelation), they did not make me set down the book reverently after finishing the final page and wish I could read them again for the first time. They did not give me the feeling, page after page, that I was reading something extraordinary, something brilliant, possibly the author's best work. LIFE AFTER LIFE did. I would give almost anything to be able to read it again for the first time. LIFE AFTER LIFE follows Ursula from the moment she is born (or not) on February 11, 1910. "'Ursula,' Sylvie said. 'I shall call her Ursula. It means little she-bear.'" The first time, the umbilical cord is wrapped around her neck, and she is stillborn. But this is not the only possibility. When the doctor arrives in time, he is able to save her. Will she survive the influenza epidemic? A child murderer? An abusive husband? The Blitz? Will she change the course of World War II (and the world)? Atkinson deftly weaves a story of infinite layers, going over and over the same pivotal events with a delicate brush, exploring how the tiniest of changes can have far-ranging effects on the future. Ursula is born feeling the weight of these layers of possibilities. "The past was a jumble in her mind, not the straight line that it was for Pamela." She has memories or impressions of things that will happen, but she learns not to talk about them. She does, however, follow her instincts, acting with no apparent purpose, but for the whispers of her mind, the echoes of other possible worlds. Atkinson brutally repeats a story with nuance after nuance ending in tragedy. It's an extraordinary reading experience, to mourn at once in so many different ways, to hope in so many different ways. This sounds confusing and hard to keep straight, but it isn't. Atkinson has managed to create a world in which many different realities are simultaneously true (what is true, really?) and layered so skillfully that they can coexist in the reader's mind. I read LIFE AFTER LIFE on my Kindle, and I highlighted about a quarter of it. I really expected to write a tome of a review, but I'm too envious of first-time readers to say too much and spoil the experience. Available April 2. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher. I will also be purchasing a hard copy.
Booking Through Thursday can be found right here. Happy Spring Equinox, everyone! What book are YOU choosing to celebrate with? I actually don't change my reading based on time of year or holidays, for the most part. In summer, I find myself reading lighter fare, and I have Christmas favorites that come out annually, but spring doesn't have a set reading list for me. I'm continuing with the books I'm currently reading (and since there are more than usual - I generally read one at a time - perhaps that's an indication of spring restlessness).