Misfortune Cookie by Michele Gorman

Synopsis: When Hannah moves to Hong Kong to be with her boyfriend, she’s frustrated, disappointed, and paranoid to find out that he’s spending more time with his hot boss in Ho Chi Minh City than with her–and she’s desperate to make sure she hasn’t made a mistake. Review: Misfortune Cookie is a sweet chick lit romance that kept my interest. I actually really felt for Hannah’s situation, even though I occasionally got frustrated with her for vocalizing her paranoia in such an obvious way. I…

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The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Synopsis: A high school girl is overcome by anorexia. Review: I liked the writing in The Stone Girl, but I’m not sure it offered anything new to this particular subgenre of troubled teen lit. I was caught up in Sethie’s story, in her desire for a guy who we know isn’t a good one, and her descent into anorexia, but I’m a sucker for that kind of thing even if it’s not particularly original. Many thanks to Random House Children’s Books for the review copy.…

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Considering the Lilies by Harold Hanson

Synopsis: A reflection in words and photos of the wild lilies flowering in the Shenandoah Valley. Review: I loved this Considering the Lilies. It’s heartfelt and well-observed. I don’t live in this area of the US, so it’s not all that useful as a reference, but it’s a great inspiration for some Charlotte Mason-inspired nature study. Share on Facebook

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The St. Zita Society by Ruth Rendell

Synopsis: When the servants of the residents of a tony London neighborhood get together to try to improve their collective lot, they have no way of knowing that their cozy way of life is about to explode–thanks to the secrets they’re all protecting. Review: The St. Zita Society took some time for me to warm up to it, mainly because there was no one I felt like I could connect with. But Rendell is such a brilliant writer that she kept me interested, and when…

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The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell

Synopsis: A sociologic look at the increase of narcissism in American culture. Review: In The Narcissim Epidemic, as Dr. Jean Twenge’s previous book, the authors parsed similar data from psychological studies over the decades to see that overall Americans are scoring more highly on narcissistic traits than before. It’s a little sad to see that there’s empirical data to show that yes, we really are a nation of self-obsessed assholes. But I’m writing this while watching “So You Think You Can Dance” and the humility…

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Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge

Synopsis: Subtitled: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled–and More Miserable Than Ever Before. Review: I picked up Generation Me after hearing Dr. Jean M. Twenge interviewed on The White Horse Inn, a favorite podcast of mine. While I really appreciated the depth and breadth of her research, and agree with many of her conclusions (particularly the importance of teaching self-control instead of self-esteem), I lost her when she began interpolating her own opinions on child rearing. Her derision (as a childless person)…

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Motherland by Amy Sohn

Synopsis: Interlocking tales of some tortured moms and dads living high on the hog in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Review: I do not know why I kept reading Motherland, I didn’t connect with any of the characters and I was seriously worried about the safety of all their children. I had enjoyed her previous novel, Prospect Park West, mostly because as a New York mom myself I am not immune to the pleasures of schadenfreude. But with this book, I couldn’t enjoy any of it because…

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The Black Prism by Brent Weeks (Lightbringer, Book 1)

Synopsis: Color is magic and war is imminent, and when a corrupt leader discovers his bastard son, the game may change forever. Review: Wow. The Black Prism completely blew me away! I had heard absolutely nothing about it before buying it thanks to a $2.99 Kindle deal. I figured I could risk it. I had a little trouble getting into it at first, mostly because I have started and given up on so many bad fantasy novels that I’m primed for disappointment. I wasn’t sure…

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Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle

Synopsis: Lucretia, a 12-year-old girl living in the projects in Queens, just wants to spend her birthday with her best friend, but the boarded up apartment on the top floor might be inhabited by people who have a different plan for the girls. Review: Scary, smart, beautiful, haunting, powerful, resonant–can I please have a few more adjectives of praise to apply to this fabulous novella? Victor LaValle might be the most exciting contemporary writer I can think of. He is endlessly imaginative, a brave writer…

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The Vault by Ruth Rendell (Inspector Wexford)

Synopsis: An underground vault with four bodies is found underneath a picturesque London home–and one of them was put in there much later. Review: I love Ruth Rendell but I was really bored by The Vault, a sequel of sorts to A Sight for Sore Eyes, which I really enjoyed. I think it’s that I don’t really care for Inspector Wexford as a character. I’ve read a few of those books and I haven’t liked a single one. I also found the mystery just not…

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