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Greater than Rubies by Hallee Bridgeman – While I think these books might have the worst covers in history, I really appreciate Bridgeman’s series, which isn’t pat Christmas romance. This is a novella in the series, but it is well built and fleshes out a story of its own. Looking forward to reading the rest of the Jewel trilogy, too.
The Weed That Springs the Hangman’s Bag, A Red Herring without Mustard, and I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley – Yeah, I am binge-reading the Flavia de Luce books. Because they are SO fun to read! It’s a wonderful, smart, clean mystery series with an insanely delightful 11-year-old heroine-sleuth. I could not love Flavia or these books more. Six thumbs up.
Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister – I listened to this in my car. I really like Bauermeister’s other books, The School of Essential Ingredients and The Lost Art of Mixing. But I didn’t love this one. I think if I had been reading it, I might have just put it down, abandoned. I didn’t connect with the characters, it all felt too easy. Bauermeister still wrote amazing prose with quotes like this:
“I think love is kind of like those waves out there,” she said. “You ride one in to the beach, and it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever felt. But at some point the water goes back out; it has to. And maybe you’re lucky–maybe you’re both too busy to do anything drastic. Maybe you’re good as friends, so you stay. And then something happens–maybe it’s something as big as a baby, or as small as him unloading the dishwasher–and the wave comes back in again. And it does that, over and over. I just think sometimes people forget to wait.”
But overall, I only gave it 2/5 stars.
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang – This is a YA fiction piece (just published in September). As we open the novel, Liz Emerson drives her car off a snowy road into a tree. The rest of the book goes back and forth in time, showing Liz’s path up to this point. It’s hard to read stuff like this, but I found Zhang’s prose easy and her topic is important. She explicated how a young girl can turn into someone she hates and yet can’t seem to change. I really think teachers should read this, especially. (Now there’s a whole thing with Physics in here – trying to relate it and life, I think. I didn’t get it. But the story stands without it.)
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes – Moyes’s novels just want to be devoured. This is the third one I’ve read, and I don’t think it’s ever taken me more than two days to get through one. One Plus One is the story of desperate single-but-still-technically-married mom Jess. She and one of her employers – a wealthy man whose home she’s cleaned – end up taking a wild road trip to try to get her daughter to a math competition in Scotland. Ed is going through issues of his own. Moyes is both deep and hilarious, poignant and easy-to-read.
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry – I really wanted to love this book. Truly, I did. (Especially because Anne loves it.) I can see how if I were reading it for a book club or English class, there would be a lot to talk about in terms of religion, family, and even love. It may be one of those books that grows on me over time. Jayber is a really intriguing character. But there is soooooo much description and musing in the novel and not enough action and dialogue. It took me forever to read.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – Liane Moriarty writes books that are just too hard to put down! This one focuses around three women, all kindergarten parents at the same school in their little seaside town in Australia. Bullying and abuse take center stage, and secrets abound. Moriarty is funny while still developing deep characters and tough issues. The police reports dispersed among the story really make it.