Adult Book Reviews

Book Review: Sweetshop of Dreams
Colgan, Jenny
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I just thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Light and sweet, but with enough substance to not make me gag. I happen to love clutzy protagonists, and Rosie got into enough scrapes to make me laugh out loud. Aunt Lilian's story kept the whole novel grounded for me, if it was a stand-alone novel, it would be quite depressing. In my opinion, their stories balanced each other to make a wonderful story. The supporting cast was great as well, I particularly loved when Edison came around!

Krista
Book Review: The Palace of Illusions
Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee
4 stars = Really Good

This was a fascinating look at an Indian epic, which I do not know much about. Told from the point of view of a woman was a very clever way to put a new twist on a story! I wavered between 3 1/2 and 4 stars for this one, primarily due to the fact that I was occasionally completely confused as to who she was talking about at any given moment. Many of the names are very similar, and although she gave a short list in the front of the book, it did not come close to capturing all of the players in the epic. If I had to do it again, I'd probably make a cheat sheet bookmark of who everyone is!

However, it makes me want to learn more about the Mahabharata, which as I've always said is the mark of a good book!

Krista
Book Review: Rooms
Oliver, Lauren
4 stars = Really Good

Varied between 3 1/2 - 4 stars. I actually enjoyed the stories of the ghosts more than the Walkers. I didn't really care for anyone in the family except Amy. The writing is wonderful as with all the Lauren Oliver books I've read, even when I wasn't sure I wanted to continue, I was compelled to finish the book just because of the way she describes things (in this case, not always pleasant, but still interesting).

Krista
Book Review: The Objects of Her Affection
Cobb, Sonya
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Read this book in about 1 day, I couldn't put it down! I felt "uncomfortable" reading it - watching someone spiral into deeper and deeper problems is a little difficult, I just wanted to shout at her "Sophie, STOP IT!!!" Fun book to read, I look forward to this author's next book!

Krista
Book Review: Love Anthony
Genova, Lisa
3 stars = Pretty Good

Genova's novel follows the hope and struggle of raising an autistic child. This fictionalized story incorporates (as Lisa Genova's novels do) appropriate medical terminology while combing sympathetic characters and their journeys through dealing with autism. While the story line is greatly over-simplified, the story is easy to follow, allows the reader to understand perhaps previously unknown realities, and makes for an easy read.

Melissa
Book Review: Still Alice
Genova, Lisa
2 stars = Meh

The novel follows the decline of a woman diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. While the writing elicits sympathy along with hope, the plot and outcome are over-simplified to the point of near disbelief. The events of the character's journey combine medical terms and emotional appeals. Good for a quick summer read.

Melissa
Book Review: The Tie That Binds
Haruf, Kent
4 stars = Really Good

Another deeply complex novel masked in simplicity by Haruf. The story follows the life of a forlorn woman whose dreams are never realized. The story is expertly told by the character of a neighbor, which gives the story another layer in which to delve. A beautiful and captivating read, bringing you right back to Haruf's Holt, Colorado.

Melissa
Book Review: The Aviator's Wife
Benjamin, Melanie
3 stars = Pretty Good

While the subject of this historical fiction novel is captivating, with the narrator assuming the voice of Charles Linbergh's wife, Anne Morrow, the novel lacked going beyond what is commonly known of the family. I often found myself internally restructuring sentences because they were choppy or confusing. The novel is still worth the read and implored me to do research on my own on the infamous family.

Melissa
Book Review: The Bedwetter : Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee
Silverman, Sarah
4 stars = Really Good

This book was clever and entertaining, just like Sarah Silverman. I listened to it on audiobook and it was read by the author, which I highly recommend. A very sincerely sweet and funny book.

vfranklyn
Book Review: Orphan Train
Kline, Christina
4 stars = Really Good

This book was really good. The story was engaging and the characters were interesting and multi-dimensional. It was about a week ago that I finished this book, so really I don't remember what I was going to review. But it was good. The only problem I had was that something major happened towards the end of the book that I didn't feel was addressed enough or resolved completely.

vfranklyn
Book Review: Plainsong
Haruf, Kent
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

A beautifully written piece of literature that speaks to the timelessness of modern small towns. Set in rural Colorado, this novel follows several lives that inevitably affect one another. Haruf writes in poetical prose that is both beautiful and simplistic in structure. The amount of detail and imagery adds to an already rich text.

Melissa
Book Review: The Invention of Wings
Kidd, Sue Monk
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book was incredible. The narrative was so powerfully written I felt transported in time to the antebellum south. I'm embarrassed that I'd never heard of Sarah and Nina Grimke before this book. They are inspirational heroes of their time. Handful was so beautifully and hauntingly drawn that I felt she was as real as Sarah and Nina. I can't recommend this book enough! Sue Monk Kidd did her research, that's for sure. The story was so realistic it could pass for nonfiction. Awesome!

vfranklyn
Book Review: Wild Bunch Women
Rutter, Michael
4 stars = Really Good

Not exactly a meticulously researched volume on the women in the West. Lots of speculation. However, it was very readable and interesting. I liked that the author tried to make the subjects as human as possible. It's so strange to me that these women lived in a West that was so raw and untamed little more than a century ago. Good, quick read.

vfranklyn
Book Review: At Least You're in Tuscany: A Somewhat Disastrous Quest for the Swe
Criswell, Jennifer
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Stumbled across this title through Goodreads, and I am so glad I did!
The author gives and honest, sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious view of her experiences moving to Italy rather impulsively. I didn't realize she had a blog, now I'm going to go through the photos to match faces with people I feel I've met through her book! Highly recommend.

Krista
Book Review: The Angel Makers
Gregson, Jessica
2 stars = Meh

I would start this novel and read a few chapters, then lay it down for a day or so, then pick it back up and have no idea what the book was about. The beginning doesn't grip at all. It gets better towards the middle. I'm not sure why I kept reading it, to be honest. The storyline is interesting, but the writing is disconnected.

vfranklyn
Letter to my Daughter
Angelou, Maya
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book is a compilation of essays on a variety of subjects. Thought provoking and beautiful, I highly recommend this quick read. I especially appreciated Angelou's observation that instead of "you can't go home again", it's more accurate to say you can't ever leave home, meaning your first home, where you grew up. I find this to be very true as I often think of where I grew up and the friends I had there as a child. Thankfully, I'm able to keep in touch with the most dear of them on Facebook.

vfranklyn
Book Review: Elizabeth is Missing
Healey, Emma
3 stars = Pretty Good

Loved the concept of the book, it showed the confusion, frustration, and fear that comes with diminishing memory. I liked the switching back and forth between the past and present and how they started getting blurred. It's just the ending I had a problem with - I don't think it lived up to the rest of the book.

Krista
Book Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Walton, Leslye J.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Umm. Wow. This was an amazing book - it was weird, and beautiful, and horrible all at the same time. Reminded me somewhat of Far Far Away as it was like the original versions of fairy tales, dark and disturbing, but awe-inspiring at the same time. I had to keep reminding myself that this is cataloged as a teen book - I think adults would love it and appreciate the writing as well. Anyone who argues that YA novels are not sophisticated or that they are written at a lower level should pick up a copy of this book. Fantastic.

Krista
Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See
Doerr, Anthony
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Lyrical and beautiful and an absolutely stunning book. I couldn't put it down!

Krista
Book Review: The Bear
Cameron, Claire
3 stars = Pretty Good

When 2 young children have to survive after a bear attacks and kills their parents you wonder if this could really happen. How long could they survive and how the whole experience will effect the rest of their lives.

Jennie
Book Review: Alias Grace
Atwood, Margaret
4 stars = Really Good

I really enjoyed this masterful work of historical fiction. Atwood did a great job researching the historical accuracy of her characters and admits when she was led to "invent" to fill in the blanks. Her creative use of imagery leaves you stunned, amused, thrilled, and pleased. I really enjoyed this novel.

Donna
Book Review: Merle's Door
Kerasote, Ted
4 stars = Really Good

I love dog books, and stumbled on this one while looking for ebooks. What a wonderful book, written by a man who obviously loved his dog-friend. Reading it felt like I was with them on their adventures! However, make sure you have tissues handy!

Lorna
Book Review: The Invention of Wings
Kidd, Sue Monk
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This is a book that captures you immediately and you can't put it down. I loved this book. I truly cared about the 2 main characters, one of whom is based on abolitionist and suffragette Sarah Grimke.

Trish
Book Review: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Angelou, Maya
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I find that sometimes I give 5 stars to what are clearly very good books, but then something like 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' comes along and I realize that there are very few books I've read that are as important and wonderful as this one. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. Maya's voice is beautiful, honest, and so very observant and wise. I recommend this book to everyone in the world, period.

vfranklyn
Book Review: The Maid's Version
Woodrell, Daniel
3 stars = Pretty Good

I loved the way that Daniel Woodrell puts words together, his writing is so lyrical! That said, I had a hard time getting through this very slim book with the jumps in time and the amazingly large cast of characters. The story would have been a bit more enjoyable to me had it been linear, and without quite so many side stories of this small town.

Krista