Tag Archives: 21st Century

BFG, Flora and Ulysses, Ben & Me, and Ender’s Game

Oh, I am hard-pressed to say which of the characters in these books for kids/young adults I love the most! The Big Friendly Giant, Ulysses the flying squirrel, Amos the mouse who lives in Ben Frankin’s fur hat, or Ender, the 6-year-old military mastermind. Okay, my feelings for Ender aren’t exactly affection or delight like I have for the others, but this is my most recent batch of books read for homeschool. The BFG was yet another Roald Dahl I’d never read before, and I’m…

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The Winter Girl by Mark Marinovich

Synopsis: When Scott and his wife Elise move into her father’s Hamptons home to await his death in hospice care, he becomes fascinated by the house next door, which is seemingly empty and not-empty at the same time, and the actions he takes to alleviate his curiosity have devastating consequences. Review: The Winter Girl is a dirty piece of business that makes Gone Girl seem like a romance. I was fascinated by the extremity of the story, repelled by the depravity, and sucked in by…

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The Blondes, Fates and Furies, And Again, The Fifth Season

Some strong reads in the last few weeks. I want to get Fates and Furies out of the way because I basically hate-read it. I just didn’t get what the big Story was. While I liked Mathilde’s backstory and some of her choices in the second half, I just couldn’t get over how fusty and edge-less it felt to me. Not enough rock ‘n’ roll for a story about young people in the West Village in the late 1990s… maybe because that’s where I lived…

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Cormoran Strike, Dungeons and Dragons, and Creepy ‘Eileen’

I’m utterly enthralled by Cormoran Strike, the private detective at the center of JK Rowling’s pseudonymous crime series. The third book, Career of Evil, finds Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott the target of a psychopath with a penchant for dismemberment–and Robin seems to be his target. Rowling (as Robert Galbraith) understands that she can’t just deliver an intricately plotted crime story, she also has to take the characters further on their journey. At the end of the book, I was so heavily invested in…

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Last from Ruth Rendell, Fantasy Debut

I’m so sad to be writing a review of Dark Corners, because it’ll be the last book from one of my favorite authors of all time. Ruth Rendell died earlier this year and left behind a tremendous legacy. As her alter ego Barbara Vine she wrote beautifully complex psychological thrillers, and while her Rendell books were more procedural they still always had crazy amounts of depth. Dark Corners isn’t her greatest Rendell work (I reserve that praise for Judgment in Stone), but I was duly…

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The Lake House by Kate Morton

I really, really wanted to love The Lake House by Kate Morton the way I loved the first book of hers I ever read, The Forgotten Garden, which still stands as one of the finest contemporary Gothic mysteries I’ve ever read. I wasn’t as thrilled by The Distant Hours (which I couldn’t finish) or The House at Riverton (which I don’t really remember), but her skill with structure will always keep me coming back. The Lake House definitely kept me turning pages, but overall I…

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The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Synopsis: After an economic disaster causes 50% unemployment, a married couple decides to take a chance on an unusual planned community rather than continue to live in their car and fight off roving bands of marauders. Review: I have not alwqys been a fan of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian science fiction, but with The Heart Goes Last she finally delivers a novel that’s one of her best ever, and that can hold its own with the best of the genre. The dystopian premise is so delightfully…

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Thrillers and Revenge–Mary Kubica and More

I’m a big fan of relaxing my brain through literature, but my love of genre means that you can’t really fool me much. I recently enjoyed two thrillers–Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica and The Hand that Feeds You by AJ Rich–and while both were well written with fabulous characters and lots of suspense, I couldn’t help but wish that I could read a thriller that didn’t basically end up in the basement with Jame Gumb. In the case of Hand, the very fact of a…

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Homeschool Coop Book Club–Unit 1

My family belongs to a homeschool coop that meets once a week, and I am so happy to be the book club teacher for our 4th/5th graders and our middle schoolers. We read poetry, do writing prompts, learn about literary devices, and have amazing discussions of books. I just finished reading the first books for each class and I’m so excited to start talking about them with the kids. The 4th/5th graders are reading a book that’s new to me called Ratscalibur by Josh Lieb.…

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Fitz, the Fool, and Ann Rule

I like big books and I cannot lie This short story hater can’t deny That when a book comes in At 500+ pages My heartbeat starts to fly This week marked the release of Fool’s Quest, the second book in Robin Hobb’s Fitz and the Fool trilogy. In preparation I re-read Fool’s Assassin, the first book, and I wasn’t just info gathering knowing that Hobb will jump right in without making the reader slog through clunky backstory. I was deliciously swept away by the story,…

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