Monday, June 30, 2014

These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon | Book Review

Continuing on my re-read project, These High, Green Hills is the third book in the beloved Mitford series.  Oh, I love these books so much!

In These High, Green Hills, Father Tim is happily married to Cynthia and they're working on merging their homes.  They're going to keep the little yellow house next to the rectory as Cynthia's workspace and as a place they can "retreat" to for a date night or weekend.  Near the beginning of the book, they work together to lay a flagstone path through the hedge, to make it all official.  :)  So sweet!  In this book, there's actual talk about feelings and some hard topics are broached.  While laying the path through the hedge, Cynthia brings up the subject of retirement and Father Tim balks.  Later, they get lost in a cave and Father Tim has a "breakthrough" about his failed relationship with his father and his inability to discuss retirement.

So, as I just mentioned:  this is the book where Father Tim and Cynthia get lost in the cave and the youth group uses Barnabas to find them!  The first time I read the book, way back in high school, it felt like they were lost in the cave forever.  This time the passage felt relatively short, but no less tense.  I think it'd be horrible to be lost in a cave for 10 hours without light, food, or water!  Also, re-reading this as an adult I recognize exactly how scary it would have been for a senior adult with diabetes.  

These High, Green Hills is also the book where Dooley's mom is discovered.  Quite by providential accident, actually.  Hoppy calls Father Tim to the hospital to pray over a woman who'd been badly burned; the woman turns out to be Paulina!  You'll need to pick up the book to find out whether she is reunited with Dooley.  ;)  (I can't give it all away!  I really want people to go read these books!)

Speaking of Dooley, he's a little twerp at one point.  He's been at his fancy new school for most of the book, and then when summer vacation arrives he announces (announces... doesn't ask... big point of difference there) that he'll be spending the summer at Meadowgate.  Hmm.  So Father Tim and Cynthia barely get to see him all summer!  

Last but not least:  Miss Sadie.  She is definitely aging, ya'll.  But the church throws her a fantastic 90th birthday party.  Will she be one of the first residents of Hope House?

Coming up next: Out to Canaan!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews.  You can find their blog here:  This weekly meme, which Tynga's team posts on Saturdays, is all about sharing the books that you received or purchased over the previous week.  Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your own Stack!

ARCs and egalleys

Rabbit Ears by Maggie di Vries
God Loves Hair by Vivek Shraya

(Who doesn't love free books?  Go use your public library!)
Becoming Clementine by Jennifer Niven--This is the third Velva Jean book and I've already started reading it!  I love Velva Jean books.
100 of the Worst Ideas in History: Humanity's Thundering Brainstorms Turned Blundering Brain Farts by Michael N. Smith with Eric Kasum

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Year With Six Sisters' Stuff: 52 Menu Plans, Recipes, and Ideas to Bring Families Together by Six Sisters' Stuff | Cookbook Review

This is a fantastic cookbook!  Tons of color photographs (EVERY recipe has a photograph!) and all the recipes are super easy and well-explained and all the family tradition anecdotes are adorable.  The cookbook is laid out into 52 meal plans consisting of a main dish, a side dish, and a dessert.  Yes, that means there are 52 sweet tooth recipes in this cookbook!  Mmm... everything looked so good it was hard to pick just a few to try and highlight!

Easy Salsa Rice:  This got two thumbs up from us, and will become a staple on "Mexican Night" at our house.  (And at our house, "Mexican Night" happens nearly once a week.)  You mix together just six things (and one of those things is water) and microwave and voila!

Garlic Roasted Potatoes:  Took me less than 10 minutes to prep; roasted for 45 minutes; delicious.  The potatoes were just the right bit of garlicky and slightly crisp on the outside like we like them.

Gooey Lemon Bars:  Shut the front door!  These are SO GOOD!  I just absolutely love lemony desserts and bake them all summer long.  There's a crust-type layer that's soft & chewy topped by a gooey layer topped by a frosting layer.  I do not think these will last long in our house.

Slow Cooker Roasted Vegetables:  Super simple and delicious!  You just chop all the veggies and throw them in the Crock Pot and forget about them for a few hours and then voila, a delicious and nutritious side.  I'm testing these recipes in the hot southern summer, and I also like that this recipe uses the Crock Pot instead of the oven having to be turned on.

So these are just four of the many, many recipes I copied down from this book to try.  I look forward to trying the rest in the next couple weeks.  This was such a winner of a cookbook, I may gift it to a sister-in-love or niece next Christmas!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen | Book Review

(I like this cover, and I like that all three books in the trilogy have coordinated covers.)

Throwback Review!

I originally read this book in January 2013.  I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and didn't write any review.  But January 2013 was only a year ago and I still remember that I really enjoyed this book.  I remember that I offered it up in many Readers Advisories.  I can't believe I didn't write any review!  I so highly recommend this book.  It's marketed to middle grade guys, but don't listen to them.  I'm an adult gal and I loved it.  Go read it.

Here's the plot summary from Goodreads:
The False Prince is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing.  To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince.  Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage.  Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point--he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed.  But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

This plot summary kind of says it all:  it is an action-packed book filled with so many plot twists and turns.  And I love the main character, Sage.  He's a fun-loving little trickster!  It is a middle-grades book, so the violence isn't too violent and there's no tender loving.  And there's this great twist/reveal at the end of the book that I didn't even see coming.  Just a fantastic book that I want lots of people to go read!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Light in the Window by Jan Karon | Re-Read Book Review

Continuing on my re-read of the Mitford books, this is my re-read review of the second book in the series, A Light in the Window.  These books are so popular and have been around so long that Goodreads doesn't bother to summarize it.  So I will!  These books have been around for long enough; I'm going to do a quick chapter-by-chapter review.  Spoilers abound, but I feel ok about that.  These aren't the most suspenseful books and you should've already read them!

Close Encounters (1): Father Tim is back from Ireland and Edith Mallory (a wealthy and recently widowed parishioner) has her sights set on courting him.  Work has begun on Hope House; the foreman is Buck Leeper.

Lost (2): Father Tim is unable to touch base with Cynthia... uh oh.  Sadie finds out that Olivia is her (illegitimate) great-niece.

Found (3): Cynthia is living in NY and it's not helping Father Tim's mood.  But she does come back for a weekend and they eat pb-and-banana sandwiches and make up.  Miss Sadie gives all of her hats to Olivia.

Banana Sandwiches (4): Father Tim & Cynthia write letters to each other.  Sweet.  Then Father Tim calls and a man answers.  Bad.

The Blizzard (5):  There's a blizzard.

Water Like a Stone (6):  Father Tim misses a Sunday service for the first time he can remember, due to the blizzard.  Father Tim & Cynthia make up.

More Than Music (7): The "bookends" write sweet letters to each other.

Keeping the Light (8): Father Tim has a prescient dream about an accident at the Hope House construction site.  Hoppy & Olivia are engaged.  Miss Sadie is going to host the wedding reception in her ballroom.  Dooley can sing!  Father Tim lets Fancy cut his hair.

Going On (9): Edith Mallory is still trying to get in Father Tim's pants.  Uncle Billy & Miss Rose's place is declared a Town Museum.  Father Tim flies to NYC.

Cousins (10): Father Tim flies home to Mitford to spend the weekend with Cynthia.  Cynthia eats Miss Pattie's drumstick.  Father Tim gives Cynthia his mother's brooch.  Father Tim contemplates marriage...

Meg (11): Cousin Meg moves into the guest room.

Faith Not Feeling (12): Dooley gets in trouble at school.  The Grill's rent is hiked by Edith Mallory.  Cousin Meg is still in the guest room.  The brooch is missing.

A Rock and a Hard Place (13): Buck Leeper warns Father Tim to keep Dooley away from the construction site.

Home Again (14): Cynthia's home!  But they're on the outs again; this time because Father Tim thanked her for roses she didn't send and she hung up on him.  It's pouring rain and they can't find the key to her house.  Dooley gets suspended from school.  Father Tim & Cynthia get the flu.

Lady Spring (15): Dooley spends his suspension nursing Father Tim & Cynthia and gets sick himself.  

Down the Hatch (16): The guys gather to help pack up The Grill.  Horribly depressing chapter.

Broken Rules (17): Father Tim has discovered that The Grill's floor joists are rotten.  The Grill is saved!  And Percy and Velma take a vacay to Hawaii while The Grill is closed for repairs.  Tommy is gravely injured at the Hope House build site.  Dooley is shaken.  Father Tim tells Dooley he'll be going away to school next year.  Father Tim visits Buck Leeper and Buck Leeper explodes in a violent but yet healing rage.

The Ceiling (18): Miss Sadie tells the story of the ballroom ceiling.

Hasta La Vista (19): Puny & Father Tim see what Cousin Meg has been up to in the guest room.  Cousin Meg leaves.

June (20): Puny and Joe Joe get married.  Tommy comes home from the hospital.  Dooley starts his tutoring.  Cynthia & Dooley officially join the church.  Father Tim & Dooley visit schools.  Olivia & Hoppy get married.  Roberto (Leonardo's grandson) comes to visit Miss Sadie.

Knowing (21): Dooley picks a school.  Captain Willard Porter's statue is unveiled at a festival; Father Tim pushes a peanut up Main Street with his nose, along with all the other clergymen of Mitford.  Father Tim proposes to Cynthia and she says yes!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

This is a neat weekly feature over at a blog I really enjoy, The Broke and the Bookish.  They read books similar to some that I've been reviewing, and they're fun and they write well.  Totally worth checking out!

Top Ten Things I Like or Dislike on Book Covers

1. I'll start with the don't-likes: I don't like when the author's name is larger than/more prominent than the actual book title.

2. I don't like movie tie-in covers.  The book was first!  What was wrong with the original cover?

3. I don't like "Oprah Book Club" stickers.  I will always peel these off.

4. I like a clean, readable font for the title, and I am a bit picky about spacing/layout.  In other words, I don't want to have to concentrate to read the title.  Along with this: I also don't like 500-word subtitles.

5.  I don't like when the publisher puts commendation blurbs on the front cover.  I'm totally fine with lots of praise blurbage on the back, but please don't throw it in my face on the front.

6. Now on to the things I do like on my book covers:  I like a good, clean, hooking tag line.  If you can't make it succinct, just leave it off.  But if it's a good tagline I'll buy it.  Megan Shepherd's Madman's Daughter books have had good taglines.  I was also recently convinced into reading a Robin Constantine book because of the tagline "Cruel Intentions meets Pride and Prejudice."

7. I like good quality art on my covers.  I want to feel like the publisher/artist took more than 20 minutes to design the cover.  Bonus points if it appears that the artist actually read the book.  There was an earlier Top Ten Tuesday that talked about book covers as art.  You can read my post HERE and you can read The Broke and the Bookish's post HERE.

8. I like to know what book I'm on in a series when I pick up a book.  This is more for at-work reasons than personal reasons.  It's frustrating to be looking at book for a teen and I find a good one that matches them perfectly... then we find out it's #3 in a series or something.  I'd like to be able to tell that at a glance, before going to the trouble of recommending it.

9. While I loathe "Oprah Book Club" stickers, I love award stickers.  This one is, again, mostly for at-work reasons.  It's much easier to "sell" a book to a parent with that Newberry sticker on the front!  Quite a few teens know their awards also, and will be more likely to want the award-winner.

10. Finally, I like my book covers to set the mood correctly.  Please, please, please stick as close as possible to gender-neutral covers.  And no white washing!  And let's move away from teen face close-ups and/or white girls in gowns.  I think we have enough of those for now, thank you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Burn by Julianna Baggott | Book Review

This trilogy ends in the same way it began:  in a nuclear explosion.  (Not literally; I don't do big spoilers like that.)  Figuratively, that is.  There's build up build up build up and then BAM everything you thought you knew, everything you thought you'd find out, is blown to bits and you're left wanting to go find Julianna Baggott and demand an explanation.  (Don't worry; I didn't actually go stalk an author.)

So there's a lot of stuff going on all at once in Burn and you find out about it from quite a few points of view, so be prepared to pay attention.  This is not a beach read.  You're going to want to pay attention to everything in this book because it's fantastic the way all the pieces come together at the end.

Partridge is inside the Dome, living with Iralene.  He's the new ruler of the Dome, now that his father is dead.  He's supposed to be getting married to Iralene, but he's really in love with Lyda, the soon-to-be-mother of his child.  I do love this about Partridge though:  he's not completely hardhearted like his father and he hates the idea of hurting Iralene.  This causes him some grief at one point, but I won't give anything away.  So things are pretty hard for Partridge right now because his heart is with the resistance movement, with Pressia and Bradwell and El Capitan and Helmud, but he has to play a part for the time being.

Pressia and Bradwell and El Capitan and Helmud are outside.  They've got the serum that is supposed to cure all the fused people and they're back from Ireland.  But there's major disagreement between the four of them that threatens to ruin any and all plans they have for taking down the Dome and it's current regime.

Lyda is inside the Dome and is not coping with that too well.  I cannot say anything more than that for fear of spoilers.  But you'll agree, right, that we all want her and Partridge to end up together?

Speaking of characters we'd love to see end up together:  how about Pressia and ... ?  You could just as easily put either Bradwell or El Capitan in that blank.  Decisions are made in this book!  I just can't promise you'll like them.

The ending:  WOWSA.  Not the ending I expected at all.  Just WOW.  When I read the entire Divergent trilogy and got to that ending, I was half angry and half ok.  With this one I'm just shell-shocked.  Like this trilogy took me on a journey and left me stranded with PTSD.  I really want to re-read the trilogy straight through and see if I feel any different.  I just want... need... more.  There's so much character development and world building!  Such a well-written trilogy.

One last thing:  I've read rumors of a movie series.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  Anyone out there have an opinion?  I think the books are FREAKING AWESOME but the movies might make it almost too real, if that makes sense.  Like, it might be too much for me to actually see Pressia, with her hand and her face, or Bradwell with his birds, in real life on the silver screen.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews.  You can find their blog here:  This weekly meme, which Tynga's team posts on Saturdays, is all about sharing the books that you received or purchased over the previous week.  Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your own Stack!

ARCs & egalleys

Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett
Tape by Steven Camden (Look at that cover! How could someone of my generation resist?!)
Jesus Jackson by James Daley (I just love the title!  Intrigued about the book.)
Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano (Can you believe I haven't read any DeStefano yet?  Teen Library Services Specialist fail.)
Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols  (Another head-slap: I haven't read any Echols yet either!)
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden (Hubby is a bit jealous that I get to read this before him.  I do plan to be nice and share it with him after I read it, though.)
Yoko's Diary by Paul Ham (This one is younger YA?  Middle grades?  But I think it has tearjerker potential.)
Me Being Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy (I love this title too! I feel like this will be a funny book and I enjoy funny books.)
Promposal by Rhonda Helms
In a Split Second by Sophie McKenzie
Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz (I loved
Gone Gone Gone so I'm excited to try her newest book.)
Phantom Limb: A Daniel Rinaldi Mystery by Dennis Palumbo
The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer (How much do you LOVE that cover?! I love love love it!)
The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

(Who doesn't love free books?  Go visit your public library!)
Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich (As I write this blog post I'm nearly through this book, so look for a review soon.  I love love love Stephanie Plum books!)
The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn with Petra Couvee (I do quite a bit of banned books activism, so I'm really interested in this.  It is an adult nonfiction, so I hope it's not too terribly heavy for summer reading.)
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (A sister-in-love recommendation, so you know I have to try it!  I love it when a family member and I read the same book and we can discuss it.)

Friday, June 20, 2014

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon | Re-Read Book Review

I just love the Mitford books so very, very much.  I read the first nine years ago, about the time that they were released.  These books hold an extra special place in my heart because I read the first six or so aloud with my mom.  I was in late middle school and early high school in the years that we spent reading these books together.  A few nights of the week we'd convene in my bed, snuggle up together like I was a little kid and we'd pass the book back and forth, taking turns reading aloud.  By the end of high school I was so busy and "grown up" and we ended the tradition, sadly.  But I kept up with the book series on my own.  It's been nearly ten years since the last Mitford book was released, but I've just caught wind of a tenth Mitford book, to be released in September.  So I've embarked on a re-read of the first nine so that I'm caught up with residents of Mitford prior to the release of Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good.

I really like the summary of At Home in Mitford provided on Goodreads, so I'm going to share it:  "Enter the world of Mitford, and you won't want to leave.  It's easy to feel at home in Mitford.  In these high, green hills, the air is pure, the village is charming, and the people are generally lovable.  Yet, Father Tim, the bachelor rector, wants something more.  Enter a dog the size of a sofa who moves in and won't go away.  Add an attractive neighbor who begins wearing a path through the hedge.  Now, stir in a lovable but unloved boy, a mystifying jewel theft, and a secret that's sixty years old.  Suddenly, Father Tim gets more than he bargained for.  And readers get a rich, provincial comedy in which mysteries and miracles abound."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fuse by Julianna Baggott | Book Review

Throwback Review

According to Goodreads, I read Fuse in June 2013 and gave it 5 of 5 stars.  I immediately put myself on the already-growing holds list for the as-yet-unpublished third book in the trilogy.  That's how good it was.  Unfortunately, I didn't seem to care about writing down any kind of review to share with ya'll here.  But here's the Goodreads synopsis/review for plot summary, and I promise to write a full review of the third & final book in the trilogy:

We want our son returned. This girl is proof that we can save you all. If you ignore our plea, we will kill our hostages one at a time.

To be a Pure is to be perfect, untouched by Detonations that scarred the earth and sheltered inside the paradise that is the Dome. But Partridge escaped to the outside world, where Wretches struggle to survive amid smoke and ash. Now, at the command of Partridge’s father, the Dome is unleashing nightmare after nightmare upon the Wretches in an effort to get him back.

At Partridge’s side is a small band of those united against the Dome: Lyda, the warrior; Bradwell, the revolutionary; El Capitan, the guard; and Pressia, the young woman whose mysterious past ties her to Partridge in way she never could have imagined. Long ago a plan was hatched that could mean the earth’s ultimate doom. Now only Partridge and Pressia can set things right.

To save millions of innocent lives, Partridge must risk his own by returning to the Dome and facing his most terrifying challenge. And Pressia, armed only with a mysterious Black Box, containing a set of cryptic clues, must travel to the very ends of the earth, to a place where no map can guide her. If they succeed, the world will be saved. But should they fail, humankind will pay a terrible price...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Familyby Kati Neville with Lindsay Tkacsik | Cookbook Review

(Warning: the cover images are the only images in this cookbook.  :/  I prefer my cookbooks with lots and lots of photos.)

Overall, I'm going to give this cookbook 3.5 of 5 stars.  No pictures.  Over 50 recipes, and I only found three to try out.  The instructions are clear and concise, so that's a plus.   This would definitely be worth looking at if you're interested in freezer cooking, but I've also seen better.

I picked a couple of things to try out of this cookbook.  As I write this, I'm eating a breakfast burrito!  It's pretty good, but I'm not overly excited.  However, that could be because I followed almost none of the directions properly.  It was late at night when I was assembling them.  You're supposed to start with scrambled eggs (did that) and then add in diced boiled potatoes (I subbed in thawed frozen Ore-Ida hash browns) and a cup of sour cream and salt and pepper.  So far, so good: only one substitution and all instructions followed.  Then you're supposed to start assembling the burritos: 1/2 cup of the egg/potato mixture on each tortilla, topped with diced ham and some shredded cheddar.  Here's the second substitution: I'm not that into ham so I subbed in cooked crumbled sausage.  And I didn't read the instructions in full, and mixed it plus the shredded colby jack (turns out I didn't have cheddar in the house) into the egg/potato mixture.  So now everything is one big mixture and I ladled that out onto each tortilla and wrapped them up.  I don't think this made any difference at all.  The thing is, the ratio of potato to egg feels pretty "off" to me.  And I only used 2/3 as much potato as the instructions called for!  There's a lot of potato in this.  I like the concept enough that I'm going to try again with a second batch of burritos, but I'm going to double the eggs, half the potatoes, leave out the sour cream, and increase the shredded cheese.  

Oatmeal Cookies with Coconut and Mango: while descriptive, that cookie name is a mouthful! I re-named them Jungle Cookies. :) No disrespect to the authors. I made them and froze most of them, but couldn't resist baking 1 dozen immediately. I served them to my parents & hubby & all four of us gave them 2 thumbs up! Yay! And I have another seven dozen in the freezer!

And last but not least, I also tried Mexi-Stuffed Peppers.  We LOVED LOVED LOVED these!  They're like regular stuffed peppers, but with taco seasoning mixed in, and fiesta cheese sprinkled on top.  I'll definitely keep my freezer stocked with this one.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

This is a neat weekly feature over at a blog I really enjoy, The Broke and the Bookish.  They read books similar to some that I've been reviewing, and they're fun and they write well.  Totally worth checking out!

Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List

I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but this summer I'm doing a massive re-read of all nine existing Mitford books by Jan Karon in preparation for the release of the new book in September.  So those books definitely have priority.  I've read three; just six more to go!

1. Out to Canaan by Jan Karon

2. A New Song by Jan Karon

3. A Common Life: The Wedding Story by Jan Karon

4. In This Mountain by Jan Karon

5. Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon

6. Light From Heaven by Jan Karon

After all that, or in between... I need to get back to some of the ARCS I've been receiving!  Here are four that I'm most excited for, in no particular order:

7. Kid Presidents by David Stabler.  I think this is actually late elementary/middle grades, but I do love some good presidential trivia.  I've never read a book from this angle before, the telling of the Presidents' childhoods!

8. Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant.  I haven't read a single Michael Grant book yet, but all I hear is praise for his work.  I felt like I was too far behind to go back and read the whole Gone series, so I'm glad he's started a new series, and that I can get in on the ground floor.

9. Dancing for the Devil by Anny Donewald with Carrie Gerlach Cecil.  This is adult nonfiction, but I'm super interested in the story.  The book is the memoir of Anny, who was a stripper and then she got saved, literally and spiritually, from that lifestyle.

10. Rich Kids of Instagram by The Creator of Rich Kids of Instagram with Maya Sloan.  I'm intrigued by this book:  it's a novel, but it's based on a popular Tumblr blog that's based on an Instagram hashtag.  Is your mind a little warped by that sentence?  Yeah.  That's why I'm intrigued.  I've also got an ARC for Tween Hobo: Off the Rails, a graphic novel based on a popular Twitter account.  Hmm.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes | Book Review

(No one could complain that this cover gives away any plot points or influences the reader's thoughts in any way, could they?)

I finished reading this book over a week ago and have been procrastinating on the review.  I have a pretty big moral problem with part of the plot that I'm afraid would tinge a review.  There will be a spoiler at the end of this review, but I'll put a big warning in front of it.

Me Before You is told primarily from Lou's point of view.  Lou knows that she loves her job at The Buttered Bun Cafe and she knows the bus schedule and she knows that her sister is the smart one and she's pretty sure she loves her boyfriend, Patrick.  

Will Traynor knows how to flip corporations and he knows that he loves traveling and he knows that he loves adventure, like bungee jumping and sky diving, and he's pretty sure he loves his girlfriend.

What neither of them knows is how quickly a life can be turned upside-down.  For Will, it's when he's in an accident and ends up a complete quadriplegic, suddenly utterly dependent on others for everything from bathing and dressing to changing a catheter to feeding him.  For Lou, it's the loss of her job at The Buttered Bun and the acceptance of a job as Will's companion.  Another thing that neither of them knows:  how Lou's six month contract as his companion will change them both and bring them closer to each other than either expected.

So, just looking in the shallow end of the pool here, the book itself is well-written.  The pacing and character development were spot on.  By the end of the book I was so wrapped up in the story that I think my heart was literally racing.  I remember there was one day that I was reading Me Before You on my lunch break and I got within 20 pages of the end and my lunch break ended and I was so upset that I had to wait to find out what happened!  So it's very well written, and I would definitely pick up another book by Jojo Moyes.

*Spoiler Ahead*

So... I had a pretty big moral problem with the main conflict in the book, and the ending.  In this paragraph I'm going to reveal the ending, so read on at your own risk.  The main plot conflict is revealed about halfway through the book, and it's this:  turns out Will's mom has hired Lou to try to convince Will that life is worth living.  Will has decided that he's going to this clinic in Switzerland where he will end his own life in six months' time.  Lou finds out about this about two months into her contract.  She starts to plan all kinds of outings and trips and experiences for Will, to try to get him to change his mind.  You see, she's begun to care for him immensely.  The ending is NOT what I wanted.  I don't know... this is such a huge case-by-case argument, you know?  About how to officially define suicide vs euthanization.  And whether a place that provides the means is legal or not.  I can only speak for myself, and I do not agree with it at all.  No matter what.  Everyone can have their own opinion, but this ending just did not sit well with me at all.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews.  You can find their blog here:  This weekly meme, which Tynga's team posts on Saturdays, is all about sharing the books that you received or purchased over the previous week.  This week's Stacking the Shelves covers last week and this week... because I'm forgetful.

ARCs and egalleys

Fish by Bianca Bagnarelli
Remember Me by Romily Bernard
I Want to Live These Days With You: A Year of Daily Devotions by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown
Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas
A New Darkness by Joseph Delaney
Dancing for the Devil: One Woman's Dramatic and Divine Rescue From the Sex Industry by Anny Donewald with Carrie Gerlach Cecil
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster
Blue by Lisa Glass
The Spiritglass Charade by Colleen Gleason
Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
The Accident by Kate Hendrick
Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt
Catalyst by S.J. Kincaid
Winterspell by Claire Legrand
Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian
Clariel by Garth Nix
Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
Deliverance by C.J. Redwine
Willie's Redneck Time Machine by John Luke Robertson with Travis Thrasher
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Lark Ascending by Meagan Spooner
The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
Beetle Boy by Margaret Willey
Crashland by Sean Williams
I am the Mission by Allen Zadoff
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

(Who doesn't love free books?  Go use your local library!)
A People's History of the Peculiar: A Freak Show of Facts, Random Obsessions and Astounding Truths by Nick Belardes
Lost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic Record by Errol Fuller
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
Book Art: Creative Ideas to Transform Your Books-Decorations, Stationary, Display Scenes, and More by Clare Youngs