Friday, April 3, 2020

A little bookish escapism....

Sometimes I just want to read a book that's lighthearted and fun, with some romance, a little adventure, and a happy ending. A Distance Too Grand by Regina Scott definitely fills that bill. It's set in 1871 and centers around two very engaging characters. Young, serious and handsome Capt. Ben Coleridge is leading an Army survey of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. He's also looking for his father who went missing on a previous scouting expedition. Then there's Meg Pero who is determined to take her late father's place as the survey's photographer. She's determined, and spunky, and loves capturing the wonders of nature on her photographic plates.

Ben and Meg have a history and their relationship is at the heart of this novel. But there's also a mystery to solve, and it's not just the question of what happened to Colonel Coleridge. Someone is following...and sabotaging the expedition. Is it one of the other members of their team? Or someone else? And why do they want the survey to fail?

I enjoyed this one. The Old West setting is always a favorite of mine. I thought the two main characters were believable and well-matched, if a little predictable. There were some very likable secondary characters, and all of Scott's historical details, especially when it came to Meg's photography, gave the novel some nice authenticity. All in all, A Distance Too Grand is an entertaining and sweet romance. And just what I needed right now.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday...

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme is Ten Signs You Know You're Book Lover.

Fun, huh? You should join in. What signs show that you're a bibliophile? Here are mine:

You know you're a Book Lover if.....

1. Your To-Read list is longer than your To-Do list.

2. Your only card that's "maxed out" is your library card.

3. Your bookshelves 'runneth over'...onto your floor, under your bed, stacked next to your chair...

4. At lunchtime, you care more about the book you're reading than the food you're eating.

5. You talk about your favorite characters like they're close, personal friends.

6. You'd rather buy books than shoes.

7. Your hardest packing decision when going on a trip is not only which books to bring, but how many you can fit in your suitcase.

8. Your decorating style of choice is Bookshelf Chic.

9. You don't have one favorite book (or author), you have many.

10. Sometimes you wish everyone around you would just shut up and let you read in peace.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Bookish suspense...

An innocent sleepover takes a horrifying turn when three 12-year-old girls sneak out of the house in the middle of the night in search of a dark and deadly urban legend. The investigation that follows will tear up the small town of Pitch, Iowa. What really happened that night? What part did the three girls play in it? And who is Joseph Withers?

My thoughts:  Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf is a riveting psychological thriller that's hard to put down. It's told in several different voices and styles, which I actually liked. Cora's journal entries from before the sleepover were my favorite and really helped build the suspense. The other two girls, Jordyn and Violet, were seen more through the eyes of their parents and the police. And their online conversations. I really liked how Gudenkauf wove the separate narratives together. It's very compelling the way the bits and pieces of this mystery come together. The ending did feel a bit abrupt, but I'd still give this one 4 stars. I'll definitely be checking out Gudenkauf's other novels. If my library ever reopens.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Book Love by Debbie Tung

This is a delightful collection of 'book love' moments. The illustrations are charming, and the captured moments so real they often made me smile and nod my head in agreement. Some even made me laugh...something everyone needs about now. Book Love is a very quick (and very fun!) read. It'd make a great gift for any bookworm. Here are three of my favorite pages:

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Haiku Reviews...

Aurora Blazing (Consortium Rebellion #2) by Jessie Mihalik

When her brother is kidnapped,
Bianca does whatever's necessary
to find and rescue him.

Space Opera/Adventure .... 381 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(Great sequel to Polaris Rising which was one of my favorite reads last year.)

The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld

Though her sister's been 
missing for years, Naomi refuses to
stop searching for her.

Mystery .... 261 pages .... 4.5/5 stars.
(I really liked Denfeld's previous novel, The Child Finder, which is also about Naomi and her search for a lost girl.)

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Eight tattered books. That's all.
But to Dita and the other children
they are life...and freedom.

YA Historical Fiction .... 407 pages .... 3.5/5 stars.
(This well-written novel is based on the true story of Auschwitz survivor Dita Kraus.)

Happy Reading!

Friday, March 20, 2020

A 5-Star Thrill Ride...

The Orphan Program was a secret government agency that took orphans and trained them to be covert operatives and assassins. Evan Smoak was 12 when he became Orphan X. He went on his first mission at 19. Ten years later, he managed to escape from the program and disappear. Now he's the Nowhere Man, a well-trained weapon and rumored protector of the innocent and desperate. He lives by the rules he was taught as Orphan X:  one mission at a time, always play offense, master your surroundings, never make it personal, and most important of all, never let an innocent die. But his current case is testing all those rules...and all his survival skills, too. Because the bad guys aren't just gunning for his client. They're gunning for him.

I loved this book! Evan Smoak is like a combination of Jack Reacher, Gabriel Allon, and Jason Bourne, three of my all-time favorite tough guys. He's great. And so smart. I loved watching him outwit his enemies. But my favorite moments were his interactions with the 8-year-old boy who lives downstairs. This book is jam-packed with action and suspense. And it's so well-written. I could not put it down. And I was sad when it ended. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Coronavirus craziness...

So most of you know I like to read apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, especially books involving zombies, natural disasters, EMPs, and even pandemics. But while I like to read about these things, I've never wanted to actually live through one.

But here we are. Right smack dab in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.

I think the worst thing for me is that unsettled feeling that comes with not knowing what will happen next, and the worry I have for my mom who is part of that older and most vulnerable population. If I get sick I'll be fine; if she does....  Watching the news doesn't help. Neither does the fact that normal life as been so disrupted. Public schools, libraries, and other places closed. Church and other events cancelled. Panic buying at the grocery stores. It's all so crazy!

I have to keep reminding myself that even though it might feel like the end of the world, it really isn't. Things might be hard, but we've lived through hard things before. And nothing bad lasts forever. This pandemic will come to an end. Life will go back to normal. Until then, I just have to keep breathing... and believing. And I have to cling to those things that make life worthwhile:  my family, my faith, love, laughter, good friends, hope, prayer, and those shining moments of happiness that come even in the midst of all the darkness.

Hang in there everyone! 
Stay well. Stay calm.
And never stop looking for the positive things in life.
Especially now.

P.S. Woke up to a 5.7 earthquake this morning. Fun times! Thankfully, there was no damage where I live and my family is all doing fine. I wonder what fun thing will happen next.