Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 2017 in Books

Much Ado About Anne (The Mother-Daughter Book Club, #2) - Frederick, Heather Vogel - juvenile fiction - four stars - Ellie and I are continuing to read this series, in a somewhat haphazard way.  We went from book four to book two, so we know how some things turn out, but they are still great books.  In this one, the mothers invite the Chadwicks to join the book club, except that most of the girls don't get along with Becca.  They also need to save Half Moon Farm.  One of the nice things about these books is that they deal with a fair amount of girl drama in a good way, it's nice to be able to talk some of these things through with Ellie.

Christmas Bliss (Weezie and Bebe Mysteries, #4) - Andrews, Mary Kay - fiction - four stars - Last month I read a couple of the other books in this series.  In this book Weezie is getting ready to get married, and BeBe is about to have a baby, but finds out that her divorce from her previous marriage was never finalized because her ex never completed the paperwork, so now she has to track him down and make herself legal.  Always a fun and easy read.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes - Ford, Jamie - fiction - five stars - I've read his other books and really enjoyed them, so I was really excited to see this book show up at the library.  It's the story of Ernest Young a boy who his mother sells or pays to get to the U.S. from China (we never quite figure out which).  He ends up at an orphanage and is then auctioned off at the Seattle World's Fair where he is won by a woman who runs a brothel.  He becomes an employee, there, and the book tells what he made of his life, and of the friendship between him and two that he befriends there.  Such an amazing story of defying the odds and of love.

Love in a Time of Hate: The Story of Magda and Andre Trocme and the Village That Said No to the Nazis - Schott, Hanna - biography - five stars - This was my favorite book this month.  The amazing true story about a pastor and his wife who helped shelter countless Jews and help them to safety during WWII.  It's a slow build as the book examines the life of both individuals and how they grew up.  Their work during WWII is remarkable, but how they inspired an entire village to work with them makes it even more so.  A must read.

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat - Williams, Patricia - autobiography - five stars - In many ways this book reminded me of Hillbilly Elegy in that it's a look at a culture that is so foreign to me, and so hard to get out of.  Patricia grew up in Atlanta, by thirteen she was pregnant, by fifteen she had two kids, at sixteen she was selling drugs.  She because a pretty successful drug dealer, but ended up going to jail.  She eventually found her way out of that life, as in Hillbilly Elegy it was a series of minor miracles, people who believed in her and helped her, but so eye opening to read about how difficult it is, and to see what a cycle it is.

Filling Her Shoes: A Memoir of an Inherited Family - Fasbinder, Betsy Graziani - memoir - four stars - The story of a woman who marries a widower (his wife died from cancer), and how she gains a new family and son.  I saw this one at the library and it just sounded interesting.  All the intricacies of stepping into someone else's life, trying to preserve the memories of her new son's mother, in-laws that are not really your in-laws.  A really unique book, and worth the read.

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - Stambach, Scott - fiction - four stars - This one reminds me of The Secret Life of Hendrick Groen which I read last month.  That book detailed the life of a man struggling to find meaning/exist in a nursing home, while this book deals with a severely handicapped boy (supposedly born with major birth defects as a result of radiation poisoning from a nuclear incident in Russia.  He lives in a home for severely ill children, he has been there his whole life, and has grown resigned to the fact that he will be there forever watching others come and die around him.  Then Polina arrives, she opens his eyes to what actually living is and changes him forever. 

The Mother-Daughter Book Club (The Mother-Daughter Book Club, #1) - Frederick, Heather Vogel - juvenile fiction - four stars - Finally getting around to the first book in the series.  This book tells how the club was started as the girls are also just starting middle school and navigating the complexities of that.  Again, we have really been enjoying this series and Ellie has been reading Little Women along with the girls in the book.

Circus Mirandus - Beasley, Cassie - juvenile fiction - five stars - My sister-in-law got this one for Ellie.  This is a first time author, and it's the story about a boy named Micah whose grandfather (who he lives with) is dying.  His grandfather has always told him stories about the Circus Mirandus, and says that he is owed a miracle from them.  Micah is able to visit the circus and meet the inhabitants, along the way he makes a friend, learns about his family's history, and gets to be part of the miracle.  We both really enjoyed this one.

The Fourth Stall (The Fourth Stall, #1) - Rylander, Chris - juvenile fiction - five stars - This is one of Ellie's battle books.  As you can see it's the first in a series and it's so clever and fun.  Mac runs a business in his school helping people.  You want to get into an R-rather movie, McDonald's for lunch, answers to test questions, he's your man.  But his enterprise is in serious jeopardy, and he has mole in his organization.  A great read and perfect if you've got boys.

Today Will be Different - Maria Semple - fiction - four stars - I really enjoyed her book Where'd You Go Bernadette, so when I saw this at the library I snapped it up.  It's a day in the life of Eleanor Flood.  It starts out pretty well, but then her son fakes an illness and she needs to pick him up from school, and then she finds out that her husband told his office he would be out for a week yet he has been leaving as if going to the office each day.  These incidents create a domino effect that cause chaos on the outside as well as in the inside as she confronts some of her past demons.  It was a really enjoyable read with a character almost as neurotic as Bernadette.

Y is for Yesterday (Kinsey Millhone, #25) - Grafton, Sue - detective - four stars - I've read, or listened to, all of Grafton's alphabet series, so I'm pretty vested in the characters by this point.  This was a good one, although longer than some I feel.  It solves not only the mystery at hand - an extortion scheme involving a sex tape created 10 years prior by a group of boys, one who was just released from prison on turning 25, but also ties up some loose ends from prior books.  These are always engaging and I confess to staying up late to finish it.

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