Because of Winn-Dixie
Book Review / April 27, 2016

Title: Because of Winn-Dixie Author: Katye DiCamillo Genre: Fiction Publisher: Candlewick Release Date: August 6th, 2001 Format: eBook Pages: 182 Source: Library Kate DiCamillo’s first published novel, like Winn-Dixie himself, immediately proved to be a keeper — a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor winner, the inspiration for a popular film, and most especially, a cherished classic that touches the hearts of readers of all ages. It’s now available in a paperback digest format certain to bring this tale’s magic to an even wider circle of fans. The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket–and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of WAR AND PEACE. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con…

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Book Review / April 25, 2016

Title: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Series: Hercule Poirot, #4 Author: Agatha Christie Genre: Mystery Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers Release Date: September 1st, 2006 Format: Hardback Pages: 288 Source: Library First Published: June 1926 In the village of King’s Abbot, a widow’s sudden suicide sparks rumors that she murdered her first husband, was being blackmailed, and was carrying on a secret affair with the wealthy Roger Ackroyd. The following evening, Ackroyd is murdered in his locked study–but not before receiving a letter identifying the widow’s blackmailer. King’s Abbot is crawling with suspects, including a nervous butler, Ackroyd’s wayward stepson, and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Cecil Ackroyd, who has taken up residence in the victim’s home. It’s now up to the famous detective Hercule Poirot, who has retired to King’s Abbot to garden, to solve the case of who killed Roger Ackroyd–a task in which he is aided by the village doctor and narrator, James Sheppard, and by Sheppard’s ingenious sister, Caroline. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the book that made Agatha Christie a household name and launched her career as a perennial bestseller. Originally published in 1926, it is a landmark in the mystery genre. It was in the…

Yes, Please
Book Review / March 18, 2016

Title: Yes, Please Author: Amy Poehler Genre: Memoir Publisher: Dey St. Release Date: October 28th, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 329 Source: Library In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book,Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by. (via Goodreads) Amazon I feel like I need to start this review by sharing: I am not familiar with Amy Poehler’s body of work. I respect her work, and I know what she has done through Amy Poehler’s Strong Girls, but I have never seen Parks and Recreation, I never saw Upright Citizens Brigade, and I barely have seen any episodes of Saturday Night Live. I might have seen one sketch with Amy in it… But I know she’s funny. And that’s all that matters. Why is this important? It means that going into this memoir, I didn’t have any preconceived notions. This is not a standard memoir. Had I known more about…

Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 4: The Bell Warden
Book Review / February 25, 2016

Title: Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 4: The Bell Warden Series: Lone Wolf and Cub, #4 Author: Kazuo Koike Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Dark Horse Manga Release Date: January 9th, 2001 Format: Paperback Pages: 311 Source: Library Illustrator: Goseki Kojima First Published: 1995 Dark Horse continues its presentation of the entirety of Japan’s Lone Wolf and Cub, one of the unquestioned landmarks of graphic fiction, packaged in the digest format preferred by creator Goseki Kojima. The fourth volume of this ambitious monthly program collects four classic Lone Wolf tales, including one never before seen in America, where little Daigoro searches for his lost father while amazing a well-known samurai with his warrior’s eyes and cool demeanor. Also, the Lone Wolf takes on the sons of the war-bell warden, legions of organized crime bosses, and a mysterious tattooed lady with a dark story and impeccable killing skills. It’s bloody and romantic…and among the best the comics medium has to offer. (via Goodreads) Amazon   The fourth volume of Lone Wolf and Cub really started to catch my attention. Like the previous volumes, this contains 4 stories continuing the tale of ronin Ogami Itto and his son Diagoro as they wander Edo-period…

The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Book Review / February 22, 2016

Title: The Perks of Being A Wallflower Author: Stephen Chobsky Genre: Coming of Age Publisher: MTV Books and Pocket Books Release Date: February 1st, 1999 Format: Paperback Pages: 213 Source: Library Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up. (via Goodreads) Amazon   The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the quintessential…

A Time To Kill
Book Review / February 1, 2016

Title: A Time To Kill Series: Jake Brigance, #1 Author: John Grisham Genre: Crime Thriller Publisher: Delta Release Date: July 1st, 1989 Format: Paperback Pages: 515 Source: Library The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town of Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi, reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own outraged hands. For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life–and then his own. (via Amazon) Amazon   In John Grisham’s first novel, life becomes complicated in Clanton, Mississippi when a black Vietnam veteran kills the two white men who raped and maimed his 10-year-old daughter when they are leaving the courthouse after their preliminary hearing. Enter young, passionate, honest local street lawyer, Jake Brigance. He takes the case to defend Carl Lee Hailey even though he thinks he cannot win. Why? Because this is the biggest case he can imagine and it will change his career forever. Little…

Pet-Friendly Francie Scores a Pooch
Book Review / January 18, 2016

Title: Pet-Friendly Francie Scores a Pooch Author: Kat E. Erikson Genre: Children's Literature Publisher: Self-Published Release Date: May 4th, 2015 Format: eBook Pages: 67 Source: eBook Eight-year-old Francie Waggit wants a pet so badly it hurts. But like her dad says, caring for pets takes time and money, and the Waggit family can’t spare much of either – especially with Francie’s mom off in Africa rescuing baby elephants. No matter how much Francie plays pretend that her dad is a type of PET (Physical Education Teacher), he just can’t fill the shoes, or paws, of a real furry friend. So when a loveable stray named Scrimmy literally leaps into Francie’s life at a San Francisco 49ers football game right before Christmas, her father finally agrees to “tryout” a pet. Francie’s wish came true! Almost. Turns out, her new rescue dog is loyal to a fault: be it high fences, locked doggy doors, or elementary school rules, Scrimmy will stop at nothing to stay by Francie’s side. Can Francie help her faithful foster pooch make the Waggit team for keeps? Or will she have to give up her Best Furry Friend forever? Pet-Friendly Francie is ideal for children ready to advance…

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Book Review / January 8, 2016

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: The Dial Press Release Date: July 29th, 2008 Format: eBook Pages: 274 Source: Library “ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”  January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about…

Lock In
Book Review / January 3, 2016

Title: Lock In Series: Lock In (#1) Author: John Scalzi Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Tor Books Release Date: August 26th,2014 Format: Hardback Pages: 336 Source: Library (Books n' Booze Book Club) A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the best-selling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi. Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent – and nearly five million souls in the United States alone – the disease causes “Lock In”: Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge. A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as “Haden’s syndrome,” rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an “integrator” – someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a…

Ready Player One
Book Review / December 31, 2015

Title: Ready Player One Author: Ernest Cline Genre: Gamer Fiction Publisher: Random House NY Release Date: August 16th, 2011 Format: Hardback Pages: 372 Source: Library In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. (via Goodreads) Amazon   This book hooked me on the first page when one of my favorite Ghostbusters quotes appeared: “Cats and dogs living together… mass hysteria!” – Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters   At that moment, I knew this was a book for me. I was immediately addicted and thought about canceling long-standing plans so I could stay at home and…

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