Thursday, February 27, 2014

Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee

There were times I truly enjoyed this book and times I thought Ace, the mad, fat heroine of this book was way too insecure and untrusting of the man that loves her.  Yet, isn't that how life really is.  Why shouldn't a book take this reality and focus on it.  Ace and her two best friends, Chloe and Lilly, have great adventures and enough sense to take care for their besties like no one else could.  I loved how they handled Chloe's cheating, good for nothing husband.  That alone would make the book worth reading. 
When you live in Bugtussle, Mississippi everyone knows your business. EVERYONE. Which is one reason that Graciela Jones (Ace) is a bit wary when her ex-boyfriend comes back to town. She can’t turn around without someone telling her she should never have left him, what he’s doing at the exact moment and where he is and with whom. Her dog has even forsaken her lap for his. What’s a girl to do?
Ace’s best friend Lilly has been suspended for having an affair with a student - which she didn’t. Mason came back home to help Lilly out since he’s a hot-shot attorney in Florida. Where Ace lived with him until she saw him talking to another woman, got pissed off and left.
Lilly and Ace have a fairly innocent friend named Chloe who had the misfortune to marry the town abuser (covered for by his mommy of course!). When he hits her one time too many, Ace decides he’s got to go and beings plotting his end with the help of Mason, Lilly and the town’s Grand Dame who has more between her ears than just jewelry and a mansion.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The All-girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

Fannie Flagg is one of the best story tellers around.  In this book, she mixes in historical fiction by switching from past to present throughout the book as we learn about the little known piece of history in WWII, the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
Filled with southern charm and plenty of humor, this is a fast read.

Sookie Poole is more than ready for the empty-nest syndrome to set in now that she and husband Earle have married off their last daughter. Sookie's Alabama socialite mother, Lenore Simmons Krackenberry, lives right next door and Sookie does her best to look after the octogenarian Lenore but Lenore is a force to be reckoned with. Beautiful, opinionated and outspoken, Lenore has been the darling of Point Clear, Alabama, and Sookie has always felt like an ugly duckling living in her mother's shadow. One morning as Sookie opens Lenore's mail (one of Sookie's duties since Lenore can't be bothered with the mundane task) she finds a letter from the Health Department in Houston, Texas, and Sookie's life will never be the same.

In 1941 in Pulaski, Wisconsin, the Jurdabralinski family were owners of the local filling station where father and son proudly serviced the cars along the busy interstate. Now that America had entered the World War Wink Jurdabralinski heads off to war and the filling station becomes the full-time job of the 4 Jurdabralinski sisters, Fritzi, Sophie, Tula and Gertrude. The sisters capture the imagination and the admiration of male motorists and the filling-station becomes the busiest in the area. Fritzi, the eldest, wants more excitement in her life and joins the Billy Bevins daredevil flying circus where she performs death-defying stunts and becomes a skilled pilot herself. When the military forms the WASP group Fritzi signs up immediately and she is soon followed by sister Sophie. The two sisters ferry planes to US pilots throughout the war.

The two stories intertwine throughout the book making for an enjoyable read of both present day and WWII America. The characters are wonderful and there is a great deal of Flagg's trademark humor.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

This is an excellent historical fiction for 4 - 5th graders.  Boys especially will enjoy the adventures, but girls too since I enjoyed it. It's about a 12 - 13 year old boy learning to survive in the wilderness, on his own in 1768.

Young Matt and his father travel to Maine to stake out land for their family and build a home that his mother and sister can move into.  They left the girls back home until the house is ready.  Matt's father eventually goes back and leaves Matt to keep up the house and care for the garden so there is food when the family returns in 7 weeks.  After his gun is stolen, Matt befriends Attean, a native American boy, who teaches him the survival methods of his people. Their friendship deepens, and we learn to see white America through the eyes of a native resident. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Pirates Coin by Marianne Malone

There is plenty of magic, mystery, and adventure in the third The Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure.
I have always loved doll houses and as Ruthie and Jack miniaturize and walk through the rooms, I walk with them with the wonder and eyes of a child.  
I would love to see the Thorne rooms located in Chicago.
*** Here is a fun surprise ***  There is an adventure online game called Game of Thrones that will walk you through the Thorne rooms.  The photography is fantastic, the game is fun.

Sixth Graders Ruthie and Jack return to the Art Institute of Chicago's magical Thorne Rooms. During a school presentation, Ruthie and Jack discover that their classmate Kendra is descended from Phoebe Monroe, the young slave they befriended when they traveled to 19th-century South Carolina. Kendra tells them that long ago her family lost their good name and their business selling herbal remedies when mobsters accused them of stealing the recipes! Only Ruthie and Jack know the truth--because only they know about the secret ledger that Phoebe wrote the recipes in long ago! Ruthie and Jack's mission to clear Kendra's name takes them back to the Thorne Rooms, where a mysterious old coin leads them to 1753 Cape Cod and to Jack's own ancestor . . . the pirate Jack Norfleet! But playing with history can be dangerous! Suddenly, Jack's very existence is in jeopardy! Can Ruthie and Jack find the proof they need to help Kendra? And can they fix the past and save Jack's future . . . before it's too late?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott Davidson

Goldy Shulz and her best friend Marla Korman hang out and sleuth together along with their safety shadow Sargent Boyd in this mystery with lots of twists and turns.  Even Goldy is fooled by a few people with unexpected surprises.  This time her husband gets her 24 hour protection from a killer on the loose and she still manages to get in trouble.

The Synopsis:
Goldy Schulz knows her food is to die for, but she never expects one of her best friends to actually keel over when she's leaving a birthday party Goldy has catered. At first, everyone assumes that all the fun and excitement of the party, not to mention the rich fare, did her in.

But what looks like a coronary turns out to be a generous serving of cold-blooded murder. And the clever culprit is just getting cooking.

When a colleague—a woman who resembles Goldy—is stabbed, and Goldy is attacked outside her house, it becomes clear that the popular caterer is the main course on a killer menu. With time running out, Goldy must roll up her sleeves, sharpen her knives, and make a meal out of a devious murderer, before that killer can serve her up cold

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Literary Blog Hop begins today

If you haven't read about this yet, there is a Literary Blog hop going on beginning today 2/8 through 2/12.  It's hosted by Judith at Leeswammes' Blog.
This will give us an opportunity to meet over 40 other book bloggers. 
Many (maybe all) are having a giveaway during the Blog hop.  If I had known earlier, I would have participated in the Hop.  
Now I have my day planned out!  I'll blog hop through breakfast, then move my laptop in front of the TV and hop while watching the Olympics.  This is my version of an Olympic event! :)  I'll have to find some time to knit while watching the Olympics too.  It's just wouldn't feel right without knitting at some point.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ghost gone Wild by Carolyn Hart

I love Baily Ruth Raeburn.  She is a sweet angel of heaven, though she only calls herself an emissary from Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions and occasionally a ghost.  She loves earthly things and delights in treating herself every chance she gets.

The Synopsis:
Bailey Ruth stumbles into to trouble when she leaves heaven to help out a ghost’s nephew, Nick Magruder. Unbeknownst to Bailey Ruth, this heavenly mission was not approved by Wiggins, and she is stranded on earth trying to protect Nick from murder. Bailey Ruth must use her sleuthing skills to determine who the attempted murderer is and why. She eventually teams up with his Aunt Dee – who sent Bailey on this mission. Can she solve the mystery and prove Nick’s innocence before it’s too late?

The story is written in first person following Bailey Ruth. As a ghost, she is able to disappear and reappear on earth, stay invisible or be seen, and move objects. She is…I shall use the word: quirky. She loves changing outfits and doesn’t mind breaking the rules that guide the emissaries from heaven. When she gets to earth to save Nick, she finds out she is stuck there because it was not a true mission from the Department of Good Intentions. Using her sleuthing skills and sweet talk, Bailey goes undercover in different disguises to solve the crime. Nick’s Aunt Dee joins up with Bailey. Although the two are different in the styles of their mission, they want to help protect Nick and find the perpetrator before the Department of Good Intentions/Wiggins finds out and takes them back to heaven. Nick is a young man who struck it rich with a video game. He was picked on in high school, and thus, doesn’t mind showing his influence as a wealthy man now. This, however, surfaces different targets that might want to hurt Nick. Add in an old historical treasure hunt to this mystery and there are more targets/motives to deal with.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

OMG!  If you have not read "The Name of the Wind", the first book in this series, I highly recommend it.  Not because Wise Man's Fear won't make sense, it will.  Read the 1st one because it may be just one step better than this one.  If you don't have time to read, the audio version is very well done with a massive 36 CDs!
Some say Wise Man's Fear is about a boy who is too perfect in everything he does.
This is a fantasy book, and he is the hero, about the only thing he doesn't do well is get the girl he is in love with.  He has his share of trials and tribulations and adventures.
It's an excellent story.  Trying to read the story line below, without reading the first book could be a bit overwhelming - there is so much going on, but it makes sense when you read the book.

The synopsis:
Day Two: The Wise Man's Fear. "There are three things all wise men fear; the sea in storm, a night with no moon and the anger of a gentle man." An escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe discovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King's road. All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived. Under her tutelage, Kvothe learns much about true magic and the ways of women. In The Wise Man's Fear Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.