Monday, December 31, 2012

November Reads

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon - 11/7/2012 
Excellent - Historical Fiction Re-read, audiobook.
Brianna and Roger find Jamie and Claire in North Carolina.
My third read of Drums of Autumn. Gabaldon gets better every time.

Letters of Jane Austen by Jane Austen - 11/15/2012 
Excellent - Non-fiction
This edition of Jane Austen's letters was edited by Jane Austen's great-nephew Edward Hugessen Knatchbull-Hugessen (the first Baron Brabourne, 1829-1893), and was published in 1884. An interesting compilation that gives some insight into the mind of Jane Austen via her personal correspondence.
Our book club assignment this month was a biography of Jane Austen. Since I'd read a rather long biography last fall (Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin), I chose this free Kindle edition of her letters which I mostly found very interesting.

The Last Viking by Sandra Hill - 11/30/2012 
Good - Romance (Steamy)
Geirolf Ericsson, a 10th century Viking, travels back in time to 1990's Maine, where he meets Professor Meredith Foster, the overseer of a project to build a replica of a Viking longship.
Another of the light sexy historical romance novels I seem to gravitate toward now and then, especially if they involve time travel. First in a trilogy. If you like these types of books, go for it!

October Reads

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs - 10/3/2012 
Good - Sci-fi 
Virginia gentleman John Carter travels mysteriously from 1870's Arizona to Mars where he meets both Green and Red Martians, saves the planet, and falls in love.
I only managed to finish one book in October though I had several going at once. A Princess of Mars was our book club selection, prompted by the film John Carter. I am not usually a sci-fi or fantasy reader (The Lord of the Rings notwithstanding) but I enjoyed A Princess of Mars, which is the first of a series. 

September Reads

Mistress by Mistake by Maggie Robinson - 9/7/2012
Good - Regency Romance
Through a misunderstanding, spinster Charlotte Fallon ends up in Sir Michael's bed, but she finds it is not as distasteful as she had envisioned.
Every now and then, I need a light and sexy historical romance. This one fit the bill!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett - 9/15/2012
Excellent - Fiction
Skeeter Phelan, recent college graduate and 1961 resident of Jackson, MS, decides to interview colored maids about their experiences working for white families.
Our book club selection for September - Even better than the movie. Highly recommended!

Line of Fire by Stephen White - 9/16/2012
Fair - Suspense
Against the backdrop of local wildfires, Dr. Alan Gregory and his detective friend Sam deal with the fallout of a 3yo secret coming to light.
Not Stephen White's best contribution to his Alan Gregory series. 

Illusion by Frank Peretti - 9/30/2012
Excellent - Suspense
After a car wreck tragically claims the life of his wife and magic partner, Mandy, Dane Collins finds himself in a quaint coffee shop transfixed by a magician whose illusions even he, a seasoned professional, cannot explain.  Even more mysterious is the performer herself. Nineteen-year-old Mandy has never met him, doesn’t know him, is certainly not in love with him, but is in every respect identical to the young beauty he met and married some forty years earlier. They begin a furtive relationship as mentor and protégée, but as Dane tries to figure out who Mandy really is, and she to understand why she is mysteriously drawn to him, she is being watched by those who not only possess all the answers but who also have the power to decide her fate. (from
This story was so complex that I had trouble writing a summary, so 'borrowed' one from amazon. Illusion returns to the skillful storytelling that made Peretti a success. Highly recommended!

What are YOU reading?

Monday, September 03, 2012

August Reads

Schooled by Anisha Lakhani 8/2/2012
Good - Chick Lit
Anna, a newbie teacher at a swanky Manhattan private school discovers the lucrative world of after-school tutoring for the wealthy.
This was entertaining in a bitter sort of way.

The Deception at Lyme (Or, the Peril of Persuasion) by Carrie Bebris 8/5/2012
Good - Historical Fiction
Mr. and Mrs. Darcy visit Lyme along with Georgiana and Lily-ann, where they find a woman lying at the bottom of the Vobb; has she been pushed and who is her child?
I love this series of mysteries featuring Mr. and Mrs. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I love seeing the characters from Austen's books come into the stories. I love how the villains of Austen get their comeuppance, as it were. Fun! And this one had WENTWORTH! :-)

Body for Life by Bill Phillips 8/6/2012
Excellent - Non-fiction
12 week plan for nutrition and fitness to achieve physical and mental strength
This is the fitness and health program I am following. Makes a lot of sense and I have lost 7 lbs so far.

Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan and Danae Yankoski 8/7/2012
Excellent - Inspirational
Chan contends that we've ignored the Holy Spirit for far too long, and we are reaping the disastrous results. Thorough scriptural support and compelling narrative form Chan's invitation to stop and remember the One we've forgotten, the Spirit of the living God.
Loved this book - very challenging

Henry V (unabridged audio) by William Shakespeare 8/10/2012
Excellent - Classic
Henry V invades France.
Actually listened to this (our book club selection for August) TWICE. Once with the explanatory materials and once without. Loved it so much more than I would have imagined.

The Inconvenient Duchess by Christine Merrill 8/21/2012
Good - Romance Regency romance
35yo Marcus Radwell, Duke of Haughleigh, is honor-bound to marry Miranda after she is compromised on his estate.
I read several Regency romances in August and this was the first. Not too bad!

Harry Potter's Bookshelf by John Granger 8/23/2012
Excellent - Non-fiction
Examines the literary traditions and elements of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
Wow, if you are interested in Harry Potter and how it relates to the literary world at large, try this book on for size. SO much to think about. And I will need to read it again. After I read the HP series again, of course.

Susanna and the Spy by Anna Elliott 8/26/2012
Good - Regency Romance
Susanna, impoverished gentlewoman and recent governess, discovers a smuggling ring by mistake near her family's estate.
Another Regency romance - nicely entertaining. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone #1 by J.K. Rowling 8/27/2012
Excellent - Young Adult

A Scandalous Charade by Ava Stone 8/27/2012
Good - Regency Romance
Lucas Beckford agrees to help a friend win the heart of a cold heiress, Lady Juliet, only to lose his heart to her. But then she disappears and all signs point to her being in danger. Smutty :-)
Another Regency romance - this one is rather risque. Be warned. Regencies range from the very proper to the very erotic nowadays and there isn't much to warn you ahead of time except maybe the cover. Which you don't see on the Kindle anyway. lol 

The Heir (The Duke's Obsession) by Grace Burrowes 8/31/2012
Good - Regency Romance
Rather steamy Regency romance in which Gayle Windham, heir to a dukedom, spends the summer at his London townhouse trying to avoid the demands of his father for him to marry. But his new housekeeper Anna Seaton seems to have an intriguing secret.
Another smutty Regency romance - pretty good story and not too predictable, other than the obvious Regency formula, which is clearly expected in the genre. 

Sunday, August 05, 2012

July Reads

Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling 7/1/2012
Excellent - Young Adult
During Harry's 3rd year at Hogwarts, a dangerous murderer escapes from the wizard prison called Azkaban and is reportedly searching for a way to kill Harry.
I blew through the rest of the Harry Potter books this month, devouring them one after another. I watched the movies after each one. Can't believe that for 5-10 years I resolutely thought I wouldn't like them. I am going to read them again very soon.

Erasing Hell by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle 7/5/2012
Excellent - Inspirational
How could a loving God send people to hell? Will people have a chance after they die to believe in Jesus and go to heaven? With a humble respect for God's Word, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle address the deepest questions you have about eternal destiny. They've asked the same questions. Like you, sometimes they just don't want to believe in hell. But as they write, "We cannot afford to be wrong on this issue."
Downloaded 3 Francis Chan books free for the Kindle (limited offer, I believe) and started with this one. Very good. Highly recommended. (Summary from Chan's website.)

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 7/12/2012
Good - Classic
An anonymous benefactor gives poor Pip the chance to better his lot in life.
I had such a hard time getting through Great Expectations, not because it was a bad book, just not quite the right time for me to read it.

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling 7/13/2012
Excellent - Young Adult
Harry Potter competes in the TriWizard Tournament.
See above.

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling 7/17/2012
Excellent - Young Adult
The Ministry of Magic refuses to acknowledge the fact that Voldemort is back and sends Dolores Umbridge to "supervise" at Hogwarts as the High Inquisitor, while the 5th year students prepare for their OWL exams.
See above.

Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling 7/21/2012
Excellent - Young Adult
In his sixth year at Hogwarts, Harry finds a potions textbook filled with annotations from "the Half-Blood Prince" and works closely with Dumbledore uncovering Voldemort's past.
See above.

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling 7/22/2012
Excellent - Young Adult
In the last book of the series, Harry, Ron and Hermione seek out the horcruxes in an attempt to defeat Voldemort, who eventually besieges Hogwarts.
See above. And then go read them all.

Crazy Love by Francis Chan 7/22/2012
Excellent - Inspirational
Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts — it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same.
Wow, this was a motivating book! Read it! (Summary from Chan's website.)

Henry V (with SmartPass commentary) by William Shakespeare 7/28/2012
Excellent - Classic, Audiobook
Henry V invades France.
I have never read any of Shakespeare's history plays, until now. I didn't expect humor and romance! Loved it! Of course, the fact that Tom Hiddleston is playing Henry in an upcoming PBS presentation doesn't hurt at all. I did watch the Branagh version as well. Oh, and I listened to it on audio with a commentary interspersed throughout which made a huge difference in understanding it.

Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 7/31/2012
Good - Young Adult
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
OK, I "borrowed" that summary from amazon since I am too lazy to write one myself. My friend recommended this book because she wanted to discuss it. I'd heard about it in a book review magazine; the creepy pictures are what makes it so memorable. The story is creative and compelling. Read it in a day and a half while camping.

Monday, July 16, 2012

June Reads

Love Unlisted by Stephanie Haddad 6/15/2012 Good - Chick Lit
Grace writes lists, lots of lists. Her life is ruled by the lists, but then she meets Colin, a guitar teacher who challenges her to think outside of her lists.
A nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling 6/17/2012
Excellent - Young Adult
Orphaned Harry Potter finds out that he is the son of a wizard and a witch and is accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.
James (my 12yo son) decided he wanted to read Harry Potter. I'd never had much interest in reading them but had said years ago if any of my kids ever wanted to read them (something I thought unlikely at tanhe time), I would read them too. He asked me to read them "with" him, but he's far far ahead of me already. 

Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling 6/21/2012
Excellent - Young Adult
Someone is turning students at Hogwarts School into stone, and Harry Potter (now a 2nd year student) must track down the Chamber of Secrets to save them.
Enjoying reading the series far more than I anticipated. Go ahead, say, "I told you so!"

May Reads

Thursday Next in First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde 5/4/2012
Good - Fiction
Fourteen years later, Jurisfiction has ceased operation, but Thursday still works undercover in the BookWorld. Her son Friday's destiny in the Chronoguard is in jeopardy and of course the world is in danger of imminent destruction.
I love getting lost in the BookWorld with Thursday Next. You should try it sometime!

Jane Austen in Boca by Paula Marantz Cohen 5/24/2012
Good - Fiction
A retelling of Austen's Pride & Prejudice set in Boca Raton FL and peopled with Jewish retirees.
Interesting concept for a P&P retooling and quite well-done.

The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado 5/26/2012
Excellent - Inspirational
A study of the Beatitudes with a focus on joy
Been too long since I read Lucado. Going to make it a regular habit!

The Custom of the Army by Diana Gabaldon 5/27/2012
Good - novella
Lord John travels to Canada to handle the court martial of an old friend.
Short e-book about Lord John, one of the characters in the Outlander series.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

April Reads

The Intrigue at Highbury (or, Emma's Match) by Carrie Bebris - 4/3/2012
Good - Historical Fiction
After their coach is robbed, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy end up in Highbury, just as a dinner party at Donwell Abbey has ended in murder.
This was the last of Bebris' Jane Austen novels. I highly recommend the series and look forward to the next one.

Titanic: The Tragedy That Shook The World, One Century Later by LIFE Books - 4/7/2012
Good - Non-fiction
Remembering the RMS Titanic and its passengers - photos and text
I have been a Titanic enthusiast since I was 12 or so. This was a lovely book with beautiful illustrations and lots of good information. 

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani - 4/9/2012
Good - Historical Fiction
Enza Ravenelli and Ciro Lazzari meet as teenagers in Italy but both emigrate to America shortly afterward.
I enjoyed this a lot more than the last few I read from Trigiani. Reminded me more of her Big Stone Gap series that I liked a lot.

Titanic Tragedy: A new look at the lost liner by John Maxtone-Graham - 4/15/2012
Good - Non-fiction
Some interesting chapters on various aspects of the Titanic.
Don't let one rather boring chapter toward the beginning keep you from finishing this book. So much interesting information I'd never known!

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray - 4/27/2012
Good - Classic
Long long tale of two early 1800's women - one namby-pamby and one schemer.
Book club book.  The subtitle "A book without a hero" is well-earned!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

March Reads

An Experiment in Criticism by C.S. Lewis 3/5/2012 
 Excellent - Non-fiction
A short but meaningful and deep book on literary criticism.
Wow, this book was deep. I started out disagreeing with him quite a bit, thinking he was a snob. But by the end, I was nodding my head furiously and making plans to purchase this book. It was out of print, but is going to be published again shortly, if not already.

El Dorado by Baroness Orczy 3/6/2012 
Excellent - Classic
The Scarlet Pimpernel rescues the Dauphin from the Temple Prison but is captured.
This is the second book that my favorite Scarlet Pimpernel movie is based on. Surprised me how much of the movie is straight from the book. Did you know there are about a dozen Scarlet Pimpernel books?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 3/12/2012 
Excellent - Young Adult
Wow, great book! I read it before a couple years ago and wanted to re-read for the movie, as well as for book club. Powerful and well-written!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 3/21/2012 
Excellent - Young Adult
Liked this one much better the second time; maybe I understood it better. This is the sequel to The Hunger Games

God's Story, Your Story by Max Lucado 3/23/2012 
Excellent - Inspirational
See how your day-to-day story intersects with God's grand epic of everlasting redemption.
Fit very well with the themes of the prayer book I read twice recently (A Praying Life by Paul Miller). Hadn't read this one by Lucado before but I read many of his about ten years ago or so. 

Ghosty Men by Franz Lidz 3/25/2012 
Fair - Non-fiction
Story of the Collyer brothers of NYC interspersed with stories of the author's hoarder uncles.
The Collyer brothers were interesting but I didn't care for the stories of the author's uncles. It felt like he was trying too hard to draw the connections. Plus I picked up the book to learn about the Collyers.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova 3/25/2012 
Excellent - Historical Fiction
Historians track down the real Dracula.
Wow, this was an interesting read! The story was told from several characters' perspectives. It was one of my first Kindle library loans and I didn't finish it in time, but I borrowed it again. Long book, but really really interesting!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins 3/27/2012 
Excellent - Young Adult
The first time I read this I was not happy at all. But this time (second time's a charm?!), I understood better what the author was trying to do - again, very powerful!

What are YOU reading?

February Reads

The Count of Monte Cristo (abridged) by Alexandre Dumas 2/2/2012 
Good - Classic
In the abridged version, one loses a lot of detail!
I want to read the long version again now! If you've never read Monte Cristo, I recommend it! But give yourself a lot of time and be patient!

North by Northanger (or, The Shades of Pemberley) by Carrie Bebris 2/5/2012 
Good - Historical Fiction
This is my favorite one yet in this series - not surprising since it features Mr. Henry Tilney. Darcy, a pregnant Lizzy, Lady Catherine, and a whole slew of others are all on the trail of an item lost by Darcy's mother just before her death. The story takes them to Northanger Abbey and to Pemberley.
I'm really enjoying this series. Bebris seems to have hit her stride. 

Tag Man (A Joe Gunther novel) by Archer Mayor 2/9/2012 
Good - Suspense
Rich Vermonters are waking up to find post-it notes next to their beds. "You're it!" But the Tag Man, as the perp is soon known, is in over his head due to dark secrets he uncovers.
Interesting suspense novel

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James 2/10/2012 
Good - Classic
A governess is sent to a country estate in England to care for two young siblings, but apparitions appear to her.
Read this for book club and ALL of us without exception got to the end and said, "WHAT?!?!" Glad I read it, but it wasn't a favorite of any sort.

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson 2/13/2012
Good - Young Adult
Eleven year old Jack wakes up at his Maine campground to discover his mom has vanished. Has something bad happened to her or has she just left him (again)? He decides to look for her on his own.
Interesting young adult novel. I loved it!

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 2/14/2012 
Excellent - Mystery
The first Sherlock Holmes mystery brings Watson and Holmes together for the first time to solve a case involving Mormons and 2 dead men.
Read this before for book club; read it again for Brit Lit. Liked it lots better the second time. 

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy 2/24/2012 
Excellent - Classic
The Scarlet Pimpernel rescues French aristos from the guillotine but his secret identity is endangered.
Read this before for book club too and read it again for Brit Lit. Liked it lots better the second time. I am finding that to be a theme. Books are better on re-reading!

The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair) by Carrie Bebris 2/26/2012 
Good - Suspense
Anne de Bourgh is about to be married off to a scoundrel, but elopes to Scotland with another man. Darcy and Elizabeth need to solve a series of murders related to the elopement.
Another good one in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series. 

Spin by Catherine McKenzie 2/26/2012 
Good Chick Lit
Kate shows up still drunk for an interview at a magazine and they offer her a chance to go into rehab and write an expose about a celebrity who is drying out.
Chick lit - predictable but entertaining. 

What are YOU reading?

Monday, March 12, 2012

January Reads

V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton 1/14/2012 
Good - Suspense
Kinsey notices a shoplifter in a department store and the arrest sets off a chain of events.
I always love reading Kinsey's stories.

Wickham's Diary by Amanda Grange 1/16/2012 
Good - Historical Fiction
The history of George Wickham from his childhood through his failed attempt to elope with Georgiana Darcy.
Another of the Austen diaries by Amanda Grange. The other diaries are all "written by" Austen heroes, though, so this one by the nefarious Wickham didn't quite satisfy. For a more pleasant take on Wickham, I prefer Lost in Austen (tv show).

Persuasion by Jane Austen 1/17/2012 
Excellent - Classic
3rd Re-read - Anne Elliot is once again confronted with Frederick Wentworth, the man whose proposal she turned down eight years ago and whom she still loves.
Love Austen more and more every time I read. 

The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol & Agnete Friis 1/26/2012 
Good - Suspense
Red Cross nurse Nina Borg finds a small naked boy in a suitcase in a public locker and is dragged into a web of intrigue and danger while trying to discover his identity.
Written by Danish authors,

A Praying Life by Paul Miller 1/27/2012 
 Excellent - Inspirational
2nd read - Love this practical and thoughtful book on the why's and how's of prayer.
I highly recommend this book on prayer; it's changed my life.

The Butch Bakery Cookbook by David Arrick with Janice Kollar 1/29/2012 
Excellent - Cookbook
Delectable rich bold cupcake recipes featuring ingredients like Jack Daniels, bacon, and cayenne pepper.
Gorgeous photos of "manly" cupcakes - no frou frou or flowers or pink frosting here! We made one of the recipes (not the one with bacon, or the one with cayenne, nor even the JD) - yummy!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Library Overload

It's one of those weeks when the library showers abundantly upon me!

Drums of Autumn, the fourth Outlander novel, came to me in audio CD form. I've been waiting for it for weeks (via interlibrary loan)! I adore listening to Davina Porter read Gabaldon and popped the first CD in the computer right away.

Also in from interlibrary loan:
  • The Real Oliver Twist: Robert Blincoe: A Life That Illuminates a Violent Age by John Waller (a compelling history of the lives of workhouse children in the industrial revolution). This title was mentioned in the fascinating At Home by Bill Bryson. And since I recently read Oliver Twist, this caught my attention.
  • North by Northanger (or, The Shades of Pemberley) by Carrie Bebris - 3rd in a series of mysteries featuring Mr. and Mrs. Darcy
  • An Experiment in Criticism by C.S. Lewis - this was recommended by the instructor of The Art of Reading course I just completed.
  • I've been wanting to re-read Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion trilogy, so I thought getting that on audio would help me accomplish that. But apparently I didn't request them in order since the 3rd volume arrived yesterday. Can't listen to that without #1 and #2! lol
I love interlibrary loan!

A beautiful library in a nearby town is a quiet convenient place for me to log some work hours while waiting for David to be done with Robotics league. But it's filled with such horrendous reading temptations! I've resisted until this past Tuesday. I even had to get another library card to use this library, bringing my total to FIVE library cards. Yes, I belong to five different libraries!

The first book I read from that library is The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis. Originally written in Danish, this thriller tells of a Red Cross nurse who finds a naked preschooler in a suitcase stuffed in a public locker.

Grabbed The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half by Stephanie Nelson. Because I know I should work harder at couponing, this one caught my attention. Gonna skim through and see if a thorough reading would be helpful.

A bright yellow book caught my eye - Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Written by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, this book covers the topic of choices and how we make them - good and bad.

Skimmed through What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life (ageless secrets of style) by Kim Johnson Gross and decided it wasn't worth my time to really read. Also skimmed through Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch -- Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods by Jennifer Reese and decided I want to OWN this one. Who wouldn't want to make their own marshmallows? :-)

Of course, I am also still finishing The Count of Monte Cristo (abridged) for the Brit Lit class I am co-teaching, as well as just beginning The Turn of the Screw by Henry James for book club.

Even if I only read all day long, I don't think I can get through all these! LOL I will do my best!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

December Reads

December was a productive month for reading fiction! I managed nine books!

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson - 12/1/2011 
Good - Thriller
Christine has amnesia - the kind in which every day starts as a blank and she can't remember two decades of her adult life.
The premise was intriguing, but the added mystery kept me guessing right until the end. Enjoyable!

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn - 12/10/2011 
Good - Historical fiction
A meandering first-person look into the passionate crooked mind of Emily Dickinson.
I wanted to like this novel more than I did. I wanted to like Emily Dickinson much more than I did. But she comes off as selfish, insane, and immoral, though with a muddled note of genius.  From what I can tell, this is more fiction than it's not anyway.

Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange - 12/11/2011 
Excellent - Historical fiction
Starting at age 15, Tilney writes of his family life and eventually meeting Catherine Morland in Bath.
I adore Amanda Grange's Austen hero diaries and I've been eagerly awaiting Tilney's diary since I favor him above all other Austen heroes. Tilney did not disappoint me! Loved reading his side of the story. I think I only have Wickham's Diary left to read (and of course, HE isn't an Austen hero as such!). 

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich - 12/14/2011 
Excellent - Fiction
Stephanie comes back from Hawaii with a mysterious photograph that lots of bad people want. Plus Joyce Barnhardt is missing, presumed dead.
Back on track with #18, Evanovich's bounty hunter heroine Stephanie Plum finally realizes she can't forever keep two guys dangling on the line. I enjoyed Eighteen a lot!

The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon - 12/18/2011 
Excellent - Fiction
Jamie Fraser and Lord John travel to Ireland to investigate an army officer for a court martial and become embroiled in a Jacobite plot.
OK, so you should know up front, The Scottish Prisoner is one of the Lord John novels. (In case you aren't a Gabaldon junkie like me, Lord John is a gay character from the Outlander books - rather a main character.) I read one Lord John novel back a few years ago and it wasn't my thing really, so I've avoided reading any further ones. Until now. I read online that this novel (and all the Lord John books actually) give more detail about the Outlander storyline. So I decided to bite the bullet as it were and give it a try. Glad I did! I know more about Jamie Fraser than I did before, as well as some of the minor characters in the series. And I just skipped over any parts that made me squeamish. There weren't many. 

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) by Carrie Bebris - 12/22/2011 
Good - Historical fiction
Lizzy and Darcy take Kitty and Georgiana to London for the Season, where Kitty meets the cheerful debonair Mr. Dashwood. But he soon undergoes a puzzling and distasteful change.
A nice light mystery involving Austen characters and with a touch of the supernatural. I am working my way through the series. This was #2.

Black Silk by Judith Ivory - 12/26/2011 
Fair - Historical fiction
A Victorian rake falls in love with his guardian's widow, but she is not interested.
This was recommended on an author blog I sometimes read as an example of an unusual romance. I liked the story but found the writing awkward and pretentious. 

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon - 12/28/2011 
Excellent - Historical fiction
Claire travels back to find Jamie and the story eventually makes its way to America.
I listened to Davina Porter's skillful audio recording. Wow, every time I re-read one of Gabaldon's books, I am just amazed by the depth of her plots and the detail of her writing. Love it! This was my 3rd time reading Voyager

Cemetery Girl by David Bell - 12/29/2011 
Good - Thriller
12yo Caitlin disappears when walking her dog, but reappears 4 years later. Her father needs to know where she has been.
Just found out I can borrow library books on my Kindle, so I wanted to test out the process. This title was one that looked good for a test. Interesting story. I didn't really like the way it was written, but it was certainly a page-turner!

Reading Reflex: The Foolproof Phono-Graphix Method for Teaching Your Child to Read by Carmen McGuiness 
Excellent -Non-fiction
I've been working with Suzy out of this book since last spring. It's really been helping her gain confidence in her reading. It was recommended to me by a friend who is a certified teacher with additional training in Reading. WELL worth the money and time!

What are YOU reading!?