Friday, August 24, 2012

A Crimson Warning

A Crimson Warning (Lady Emily, #6)A Crimson Warning by Tasha Alexander

On the library stacks: Adult fiction
Series: Lady Emily #6

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lady Emily Hargreaves lives in Mayfair with her dashing husband Colin. While Emily continues her eccentric pursuits in studying classical languages and now promoting the women's suffrage movement, Colin serves quietly as a secret agent to the Crown.

As the season begins, red paint is found on some of the doorsteps of the 'ton' elite, and soon thereafter a scandalous secret is revealed about the inhabitants. Lives are being lost as part of the uproar and together Colin and Emily must solve the mystery behind the red paint before more lives are ruined.

After just feeling ho-hum about last two books in this series, I almost gave up. But I am SO very glad I read this one. I felt like so many of the characters got a new lease on life and I'm excited about this series once again. I love how the mystery included so many of the Hargreaves' friends and neighbors and I enjoyed the political aspects to this book also. Thankfully I won't have to wait long for the next installment.

Also reviewed by: Girl Who Loves to Read ~ Confessions of a Book Habitue ~ Books, Belles, and Beaux ~ Your link here?
Source: Library

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Peach Keeper

The Peach KeeperThe Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

On the library stacks: Adult fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Willa Jackson has been hanging out in Walls of Water almost her whole life. She was the former high school prankster, but returned to the town after her father's death to show how respectable and normal she could be. She runs a sporting goods store even though she has no passion for it, catering mainly to the tourists on the main street.

In high school Willa never hung out with the Osgood twins, the children of the most prominent socialite family. But when Paxton Osgood restores the house of Willa's grandmother, they are all forced to confront a past that had quite literally been buried.

I don't know why I have waited so long to read this one. I love the fictional North Carolina mountain towns the author creates and she infuses just the right amount of magical realism for me. This is a sweet story that has nice mystery and romantic elements. With cameos of characters from previous novels, this book will certainly satisfy the author's fans.

Also reviewed by: Confessions of a Book Habitue ~ A Bookshelf Monstrosity ~ Library Girl Reads and Reviews ~ write meg! ~ Lesa's Book Critiques ~ Chick Lit Reviews and News ~ 2 Kids and Tired Books
Source: Library

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

On the library stacks: YA Fiction
AR Reading Level: 4.1
Series: 1 of 3 (Summer)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Belly (I'm not a fan of her name) goes to the beach every summer with her mom and her brother. They stay with their lifelong friends, the Fishers, who have two boys named Conrad and Jeremiah. The boys are around Belly's age and they've never really seen her as a girl until the summer she is 15 years old.

Belly has had a crush on Conrad forever, but Jeremiah has always been her friend. There is tension in the house Belly hasn't noticed before, and Belly ends up spending a lot of time with a boy she meets at a party. The story is given more color with flashbacks to past summers.

If I think about this book too much, I can really see some things that bug me. But the truth is, it was an absolutely perfect summer beach read. I read it in a day and was totally entertained. However, I don't think I will read the rest of the series.

Also reviewed by: write meg! ~ Book Nut ~ Your link here?
Source: Purchased

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last StandMajor Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

On the library stacks: Adult fiction
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book made the blogging rounds awhile ago, and I had decided I wasn't going to read it. But it was my book club's pick in July, so I ended up reading it anyway. It's a sweet story and I'm glad I read it, even if I wasn't totally wowed by it.

Major Pettigrew is a widower who lives in a small Sussex village. To the horror and dismay of his son and his upper crust neighbors, the Major likes the owner of the village shop, a woman of Pakistani descent names Jasmina. Between this budding relationship, the monetary problems of the local aristocracy, and the Major's own selfish son, the values the village holds dear are in some jeopardy.

I enjoyed this book. Not a lot happens in the first half, but it does help set up the eventful second half. I like the Major's wit and wisdom, but he was probably the only character that I felt I really connected with. Having lived in a village similar to this, there was quite a bit of truth in Simonson's observations on life, even if some of the events were quite melodramatic. My book group all enjoyed this one and it made for a nice discussion.

Also reviewed by: Maggie Reads ~ Lesley's Book Nook ~ So Many Books, So Little Time ~ Confessions of a Book Habitue ~ The Boston Bibliophile ~ Gerbera Daisy Diaries ~ It's All About Books ~ Capricious Reader ~ Thoughts of Joy... ~ Jules' Book Reviews ~ write meg!
Source: Gift

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street (The Penderwicks, #2)The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

On the library shelves: Children's fiction
AR Reading Level: 5.4
Series: Book 2 of 3 (The Penderwicks)
Award:  Publishers Weekly Best Book

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My kids and I adore the Penderwick family. We listened to the audiobook (with fantastic narrator Susan Denaker) on our travels this summer. I love this series because everyone from my 1st grader to my 7th grader is engaged in the story and wants to listen in.

From the author's website:
In the second book about the Penderwicks, the sisters are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure! But the adventure they get isn’t quite what they had in mind.  Mr. Penderwick’s sister has decided it’s time for him to start dating—and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster.

Enter the Save Daddy Plan—a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it. But in the meantime, they have some other problems to deal with. Rosalind can’t seem to get the annoying Tommy Geiger out of her hair—and she can’t stand him, really. Skye loses her temper on the soccer field in a most undignified manner. Jane’s love of creative writing leads her into deep waters. And Batty’s getting into mischief spying on the new next-door neighbor. As for Hound, he’s always in trouble.
This book is just good, clean, quality children's literature. I will admit that I did enjoy this one a smidgen less than the first, but perhaps that's because I already know how wonderfully delightful each character is, so the book didn't have that "newness" element. Having said that, I would absolutely recommend this series for the entire family as a read-aloud or to listen to together. We've already started on the third.

Also reviewed by: Book Nut ~ Becky's Book Reviews ~ Your link here?
Source: Library Audiobook

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Savannah (Savannah Quartet, #1)Savannah by Eugenia Price

On the library shelves: Adult fiction
Series: Book 1 of 4 (Savannah Quartet)

My rating:  3 of 5 stars

I decided to read another chunkster this summer. Clocking in at nearly 600 pages, Savannah certainly fit the bill. This sweeping novel is set in the early 19th century and tells the story of young Mark Browning who has renounced his fortune in Philadelphia and has decided to make his own way in the town of his mother's birth. On his voyage to Savannah he meets Robert Mackay, a wealthy merchant, who takes Mark into his home and makes him one of his family.

Mark has a bit of growing up to do in his adopted city. His intentions are good but sometimes his energies are a bit misguided. He falls in love with two women, unearths buried family secrets, and discovers his true passions. He still retains a bit of his naivete, but he is certainly a charming man.

I enjoyed this novel, but it went on a little long for me. There wasn't as much substance to the characters as I would have liked and I felt like some points were rehashed far too many times. It was an entertaining read though and, despite some anachronisms, I did enjoy the historical elements. Many of the characters were real people and the events of the time such as the Marquis de Lafayette visit and the War of 1812 figured into the novel.

Also reviewed by: Becky's Book Reviews ~ Your link here?
Source: BookMooch

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


MilkweedMilkweed by Jerry Spinelli

On the library shelves: YA Fiction
AR Reading Level: 3.6
Awards: Booklist Editors' Choice; Parent's Guide Book Award/ Honor Book; Golden Kite Award/Honor Book

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This novel is set in Warsaw during World War II. It features a homeless boy who has no past and doesn't even know his own name. He is befriended by an older boy named Uri and given the name of Misha. Uri invents a past for Misha and tells him he is a gypsy. Even though being a gypsy in Nazi-occupied territory is bad, being a Jew like Uri is worse. 

Eventually Misha and the other street boys are moved into the Jewish ghetto. There they experience the horrors of hunger, sickness, filthy living conditions and torturous rule by the Nazis. Eventually many are sent to the concentration camps, but Misha escapes.

I normally love Jerry Spinelli but I was so disappointed this was the one required summer reading book for my rising 7th grader. This book is very unlike his other novels and I felt that he was going for shock value instead of literary value. I read the book in one sitting because I just wanted to be done with it as quickly as possible. I failed to connect with the characters and the book felt vague, dark, and hopeless.

Also reviewed by: Diary of an Eccentric ~ Your link here?
Source: Purchased

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #13)The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

On the library stacks: Adult fiction
Series: No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency #13

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mma Ramotswe has two big problems. 1) Mma Potokwane has been fired as head of the orphan farm and 2) One of the apprentices at Speedy Motors has been wrongly accused of a crime. Add into that Grace Makutsi's adjustment to married life and a stranger who shows up out of the blue (I didn't know he was coming, but I almost cried) and you have a recipe for an absolute winner in this 13th installment.

There really isn't much more gushing I do about this series that I haven't already done in the past. It amazes me that I can still give 5 star ratings to a series that has been going on so long. Somehow McCall Smith gets right to the heart of human nature in such a gentle manner that it takes my breath away. I love my yearly visits to Botswana.

Also reviewed by: A Reader's Journal ~ Your link here?
Source: Library

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Lesson in Secrets

A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs, #8)A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

On the library stacks: Adult mystery fiction
Series: Maisie Dobbs #8

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this 8th installment of this wonderful series, it is 1932 and Maisie finds herself working for the British Secret Service. Posing as a philosophy lecturer, she is able to infiltrate a college in Cambridge where there are suspicious political activities. When the school's founder is murdered, Maisie is able to solve the crime while investigating the disturbing rise of fascism in her own country.

Once again, I just adore Maisie. She's smart and witty, but also feminine and sensitive. I loved the further exploration of her personal life as well as that of her assistant, Billy Beale. I enjoyed the various settings and locations the novel depicted as Maisie traveled back and forth between Cambridge, London, and Kent. I also love how the author integrates historical fiction with her mysteries.

I can't believe this series is soon to be 10 years old! I recommend starting at the beginning if you are a new reader.

Also reviewed by: Savvy Verse & Wit ~ Lesley's Book Nook ~ A Work in Progress ~ Diary of an Eccentric ~ Your link here?
Source: Library