Short Vignette Reviews

Short Vignette Reviews so I Can Be Redundant in a Title

Book Reviews in Few Words!!

The Fireman fma4 could have been called The Nurse. I thought all the cultural references were fun and it had some terrific comic moments but Nurse Harper was at times a dweeb, or naive and stubborn when she shouldn’t have been but I admired her ability to always be true.  The story did feature some really good guys, some really evil dudes, some cute kids and a very interesting premise – the ‘spore’ that once caught, would or could make you burst into flame.  I will refer you to the Twitter hashtag #FiremanAlong to find any reviews that have trickled in so far. We really did have a good time. A huge thank you shout out to all the participants – it was fun. I was excited to encounter a few pie mentions.  fma3 (I listened to AND read my purchased from an indie bookstore hardback.)

13 Little Blue Envelopes tlbebymj by Maureen Johnson. I liked it and I was inclined to like it because I really enjoyed the author’s presentation at the Book Blogger’s Convention in 2010. I suspended all belief and didn’t even realize it until I read a few reviews after – like really, WHERE WERE HER PARENTS!?  I get it, but I didn’t even think it while reading. Too funny. So the issue is a dead aunt sends her 17 yo niece all over the world in order to help her find herself. The kid has a sensible head on her shoulders and is pretty bright so it all works out. I think it was a fun escapist YA book. I want to read the sequel. (Kindle)

The In-Between Hour tibhbybcw by Barbara Claypole White.  I really enjoyed The Perfect Son; I enjoyed meeting BCW and hearing her speak. I bought a few books at the author event and I have purchased a few since. Finally, I’m getting around to reading her books and I bet that I read more books by her soon and in a shorter time frame than I’ve ever read any other author’s books. There is something about her books that I really like and I am trying to figure out what exactly. She has a fearless quality, a wonderful personality unfolding process, great pacing and the occasionally deep thought. She also mentions pie. Fans of Lisa Genova and Liane Moriarity would like Barbara Claypole White. (Kindle)

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Books and Pie aka Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Story From a Photo Prompt

Story Prompt

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(Photo taken on Block Island, Rhode Island)

The old dog was waiting for his Master. The lady who also lived in the house with Master and with the dog, in the big house by the sea, had taken the dog to the beach. Without Master. The lady set up her blanket, her beach chair, the cooler with chilled fizzy waters — and was very nice to bring his water bowl and regular non-fizzy water to fill it. She had made a place on the blanket for the dog but he wouldn’t lay on it. He stretched to the length of his leash in the direction of the house where he lived with his master. And with the lady. She was a nice lady. Master seemed to like her, too. The old dog waited patiently, scanning the view in the opposite direction from the view of the sea, looking for his master. The nice lady read a book and would occasionally beckon the dog to join her on the blanket, try to coax him to have a drink of water, to rest on the blanket rather than the sand. She was careful to place the bowl of water in the shade of her beach chair. She would stare fondly, then disappointedly, sadly forlorn at the dog who seemed to ignore her. She would sigh and return to her book, facing in the direction of the water, the opposite direction from the old house. The old dog would stare sadly forlorn in the direction of where he hoped Master would soon appear.

Wait! A tall man was approaching, coming to join them on the beach. Yes, it was him! His Master was coming. The dog glanced at the lady to see if she too noticed Master arriving but she could not see – she was facing the wrong way. And had her nose in a book. The tall man walked to the old dog, bent down and gave him many pats and an ear scratch. “Hello Old Boy! Are you enjoying the beach? Did momma bring you to the beach, Old Man?” Master gave the lady a kiss who by this time had realized his master’s presence and the tall man settled onto the blanket to look out to the sea. The old dog took a drink of water from the bowl in the shade of the lady’s beach chair and then snuggled between them content, happy again. His master was here.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Books and Pie aka Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Unpluggity-Pluggity

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Yes, yes, I *do* realize that I am somewhat running a readalong this month:  #FiremanAlong

But I am also going to attempt a disconnect from social media a teensy bit and that will mean Facebook, Instagram, Litsy, and Twitter.  (ha – maybe I will attempt snapchat as soon as most of you newbies get old to it!)

Give me 7-10 days off, if that’s OK. Carry on without me, if you can.

You can do that, right?

FWIW, I have 13 hours remaining on my audio of The Fireman which might be ~45% through? — I just got to the part where Harper is visiting John Rookwood to attend to his injuries after going to her house to retrieve the ace bandage. Is that a spoiler?

It is also right after mention of the following which I knew I just had to include somewhere and since youtube song mentions are NOT such a hit on the Twitter feed, I might as well put here:

I am disheartened, disillusioned, frustrated, and scared for my country this election year. I feel the polarization and the lunacy and what seems to be a tendency to be cruel rather than compassionate in relations with ‘others’ and I can’t process. I need some time to  commune with nature.

Call it self-care.

So I’m taking a break from the internet. In some ways, I feel like I know and value a wonderful diverse caring group of friends online but I also am assaulted by persuasiveness that leaves little sympathy and empathy and respect for a different viewpoint. I also suspect that the media is feeding the beast and is not to be trusted.

I’ll shut up now and look to the sunshine. I promise to wear my sunscreen.

loveCare

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

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Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist

Thoughts yhismtsoafbysy by Sunil Yapa, 2016, # of pages

Challenge:  Personal Rooster Chase
Genre:  Contemporary Lit
Type/Source:  Hardback/Indie Bookstore purchase
 Why I read this now:  Finally! I have owned this book since January? Now was finally its time.

MOTIVATION for READING:  My attempt to read books published in 2016 that might end up on the short list for the 2017 Rooster.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  The riots protesting the 1999 WTO conference in Seattle.

THREE words:  Intense, intense, intense

Style: Yapa gives seven viewpoints to tell this happens-in-one-day story. It is a woven collection of passion and backgrounds, motivations and futility. It is very descriptive at times, almost to the point of trying too hard but it all works. The characters are fascinating, some more likable than others, some more believable maybe, but still captivating. As someone who is mainstream go-along-to-get-along in my safe suburban America, I get skewered here but I wanted to understand. Why didn’t the delegates just meet at the hotel?  

FINAL THOUGHTS: The world is a hot mess. And I don’t know my proper place within it.

RATING:  Five slices of pie.

“Because how deep the darkness of the heart which longs for control.”

The following is a bit of cinematic history, questioning why movies fail, how a few might actually be masterpieces, and yet it could also be that Americans just can’t handle the truth. Watching this reminded me of Yapa’s book and its themes so I present it here for you to reflect on as well.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

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The Abstinence Teacher

Thoughts tatbytp by Tom Perotta, St. Martin’s Griffin, 358 pages

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Challenge: What’s in a Name 9 : Employment Category
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Tradeback / Used Books Shelf at Indie Store

MOTIVATION for READING:  I mistakenly thought this author was from Nebraska. I had him confused with the guy who made the movie Election. Perotta wrote the book that inspired the movie Election but Alexander Payne adapted the screenplay and directed the 1999 film with Mathew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. Why do I care? I am sure there are plenty of authors from Nebraska but that is always what Perotta reminds me of and now I really don’t have any reason to! Odd, what our brain attaches and jumps to and reminds us of…

WHAT’s it ABOUT:A sexual health teacher has fundamentalist Christians move to town and not be too happy with the what of what she teaches. So she ‘gets’ to teach abstinence to High Schoolers to keep her job. Meanwhile, a former drug addict rock music guitar player finds Jesus and coaches the health teacher’s daughter’s soccer team. There are sparks…

WHAT’s GOOD:I felt Perotta did a mostly good job balancing the viewpoints without bias but it still felt detached. I don’t think this is fair of me because it is difficult to write about a subject when you have opinions one way or the other, but I felt him being careful. I know these fundamentalist types and he wasn’t wrong and I can’t accuse him of portraying them inauthentically. But something didn’t convince me – of either side, really. The teacher also was rather rigid in her thoughts and I found myself not liking her. The soccer coach actually had growth. Not a better but more accurate title: The Born-Again Addict.

What’s NOT so good: The more time away from this book, the less I liked it and question the point. Was it hypocrisy? Was it “be careful what you believe it cuz someone somewhere will knock your feet out from under you?” I dunno.

FINAL THOUGHTS: For a book that seemed to attempt a showing of both sides of an issue in a fair and unbiased manner, it definitely had liberal-leaning tendencies. I struggle with wondering what was the moral.

Shall I just suggest that this is not Perotta’s strongest book? He’s a good writer and he had excellent character development; plot progression and pace were fine. I think I will give him another chance or two. I will read Election next.

RATING: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned that I noticed.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

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I am almost ready for #FiremanAlong – Day 0

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Hello Everyone!
I had no idea I was going to throw myself into this readalong like I seem to be doing. So exciting to have something to look forward to, would you agree?

Yesterday, I shared a Flares song “Burning Embers” to get everyone jazzed for July and today I appropriately (ahem) posted The Doors “Come On Light My Fire”. Today is Day Zero. Tomorrow is July 1! Fire on Facebook Messenger

You notice that I didn’t link the video songs above because I want to encourage you to go to Twitter and search (and save?) the hashtag #FiremanAlong and remember to look at it often. Share any fun quotes from your reading, RT and “Like” any fun quips that others are sharing. Let’s interact! SPIT SPOT

I have had questions about the LIST. I created a Twitter list of the participants so that you can quickly see who else you may know or not yet know and what they are up to.  This is one way to see people’s tweets without necessarily following (though I hope to follow all of you myself.)

Let me explain – subscribing and VIEWING the list won’t show only #FiremanAlong tweets – only searching and viewing the hashtag will specifically bring up tweets with that reference.

A LIST only displays ALL TWEETS – anything and everything by those people who are members of the list. So, if you are wondering what I am tweeting about when NOT tweeting the readalong stuff, you can see that, too. This saves you going to each member’s tweets individually. It’s a way to group like-minded people’s tweets. Everything but only those people. Does that make sense?

No, you cannot tweet just TO the members. It’s more of a way to spy and wonder, “So, what IS Care up to?”

It may or may not be useful to you and that’s cool. Just use the hashtag #FiremanAlong and you’ll be fine. I love lists and have a ton of them. I usually make one for every readalong…  (For example, my #StateOfWonder list only shows me Katie, Debbie and Stacy. Easy peasy to sort what they are up to and if they tweet something interesting.)

Someone asked about a schedule…  Once I get the print copy, I might break it down in weekly chunks – would that be useful? I find that once I start a book like this (and face it — it DOES feel like a King novel. So readable!!) they go SO FAST. Yep, 800 pages in a few days without even trying.

Have fun. If you want discussion, please post on a blog if you think spoilers will happen — and let us know on Twitter. See you on IG and Litsy, too, most likely.

Oh, there is a group on Litsy reading The Fireman for book club. Check it out.

Fire on Facebook Messenger

Tomorrow will be another youtube clip. I’m so excited! You’re gonna love it!!!

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Unaccustomed Earth

Thoughts uebyjl by Jhump Lahiri, Random House Vintage Contemporaries 2009 (orig 2008), 333 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:  I have had this copy in my house far too long. I was needing, craving a short story experience. Only fitting it be a collection by such a skilled writer.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Again, I am “Bad, bad Care” because I do not have my copy in my hands for reference. This is particularly tricky when reviewing a collection. I gave this book to my friend in Rhode Island. I am in North Carolina. I could wait but I just want to get this list of review posts DONE already! Nobody reads these anyway, amirite? No, I know that is silly, you are reading this right now, aren’t you? Thank you. Smile and shake your head in disbelief. Lahiri deserves better treatment, I realize.

WHAT’s GOOD: Lahiri amazes me. Some of these stories don’t really even have a plot. Or maybe just not a lot of action. She gets people. She gets in their head and gets right to their core. She is insightful; she finds pain and gently extracts it,unfolds it, examines it. She knows the universal feelings felt by all and yet captures the cultural differences within every day lives against the sameness of emotions. She shines in exploring humanity’s weaknesses against the concept of best selves. OK, I’ll shut up now.

Most impactful story/ies: The young girl who reflects on the older boy and how their families knew each other. The older boy, now in college, reflecting on his relationship with his father. Then, much later, the girl and boy meet up in the most unlikely of places and circumstances.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I never really looked at the cover but it all comes together in the last story. And it just leaves an aching hole in your soul.

Only two (or is it three?) of the stories are linked, but I could be wrong. All the stories do not connect around same characters but they all have a thread of melancholy.

RATING: fourpie of apple pie.

“Today, Paola had mentioned, an American novelist was coming, someone homesick for Thanksgiving and bringing an apple pie.”

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Honey Baby Sweetheart

Thoughts hbsbydc by Deb Caletti, Simon Pulse 2005 (orig 2004), 308 pages

Genre:  Young adult fiction
Type/Source: Tradeback / unknown
 Why I read this now: Wanted something lighter

MOTIVATION for READING:  I cannot recall where I got this book but it might have been – no couldn’t have been – BEA? oh well. Somebody gave it to me. I thought by title it would be a lighter beach-read kind of read but the National Award Finalist sticker on the cover made me wonder.

(Interesting, this is tagged as from the Book Blogger Convention so I did get it in 2010 in NYC! Whadday know)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: I don’t remember. Really! How SAD is that!?! It read it only 10 days ago.

WHAT’s GOOD:  I am sitting here trying to rush through this review post so I can feel like I’m accomplishing things today – I have much to do and can’t decide what to start first. Bad bad Care…

Oh. OK, it’s coming back to me. (Call me lazy, too, because I could go downstairs and fetch the book! But NOoooOOOooooo, I just want to get this done. Sigh.)

We have a young girl who is a “good girl” and knows the best way to survive high school is to keep your head down and do not ever call attention to yourself. But then she meets a “bad boy” and she falls. Hard. She has no control over herself to listen to the warnings in her head that this dude is trouble.

What’s NOT so good:  And so that is what annoyed me so. Though, I do get it! I do know we (I) often hear those warnings in our (my) head NOT to do something but this was big stuff not “don’t eat that cookie” – this was “aiding and abetting a criminal is risky!!!!” Luckily, she has a good support system to pull her through. 

Hmmmph.

FINAL THOUGHTS: It didn’t bowl me over. The book is readable. The main character likable. I have no complaints other than it really didn’t move me. 

RATING: Three slices of apple tart.

Pie! The only pie reference was a tee shirt that said “QT PIE” and the apple tart. Close enough.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Devil in the White City

Thoughts ditwcbyel by Erik Larson, Vintage 2004 (ori 2002), 396 pages

Genre: Nonfiction, history, architecture, true crime: serial killers
Type/Source: tradeback, unknown
 Why I read this now: craving nonfiction

MOTIVATION for READING: My husband is not a fiction reader (or book reader, really) and he requested a book from my library that I thought he might enjoy. He has yet to finish and I needed a book when we were traveling so I finished it while he was doing other things.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Larson typically takes two story lines – 1) a big event in history and weaves it with 2) a celebrity(?) personality. This one is about 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and the men who were in charge of building it while exploring one of America’s earliest known serial killers. The Fair provided the opportunity for victims.

WHAT’s GOOD: I really enjoyed learning about Daniel H. Burnham. He’s the guy that the famous Chicago fountain is named for:

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I also liked learning about the Ferris Wheel (but then I also explored more about this on my own. I just got curious after the inventor/designer was mentioned. I did that a lot, actually – pursued further knowledge about many a topic in this. And photos…)

What’s NOT so good: I was bored with the serial killer part and was mostly annoyed at Larson for the teasers that were so obscure and explained so far beyond in the text that I often groaned in frustration.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I am not sure I need to read any more of this guy’s books. They just aren’t for me. The history is usually awesome but I want more pictures and no more heavy-handed foreshadowing.

RATING:  Three slices of Blackbird Pie.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

State of Wonder

Thoughts sowbyap by Ann Patchett, Harper Audio 2011, 12 hours 25 minutes

Challenge: Readalong!  #StateOfWonder
Genre:  Contemporary Lit, Med Lit even maybe
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible.com May’s Credit
 Why I read this now: I can’t remember exactly how it all came together…

MOTIVATION for READING: Because I loved This is the Story of a Happy Marriage and it made me want to read all of Patchett’s books.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Here’s the blurb from goodreads.com:

Set in the Amazonian jungle, State of Wonder is a major and explosively ambitious new audiobook from the New York Times-bestselling author of Bel Canto and Run–both a gripping adventure story and a profound investigation of difficult human choices.

I love short blurbs. This is perfect.

****** YOU WILL BE SPOILED WITH THIS POST IF YOU READ ON. TOTAL SHARING COMMENCING *****  To be honest, I hate doing this because then you are setup that there are SHOCKS and AWE and I wasn’t aware of them until I got it spoiled. Just sayin’.

WHAT’s GOOD: Hope Davis is now one of my favorite audiobook performers.

What’s NOT so good: Ok, I really did love most of all of it. I admit that I had read many not-so-positive reviews looooong time ago that made me not tbr this (though when I look NOW at what my goodreads friends thought of it, all seemed to praise it well enough.)

Katie who no longer lives in Massachusetts but dwells in the dells of Texas now is writing a spoileriffic post where we will be soon discussing THE ENDING! I can’t wait.

I’m trying to anticipate her issues with the ending with my own wonderings of my reactions – including spoilers here, be only slightly forewarned. oh, I already warned you? Are you ready?

I first must say that I want to blame Aths for spoilering me anyway even as I attempted to avoid being spoiled. But she had a comment in her review – WHAT?! WHY THE HECK DID I READ IT BEFORE I WAS DONE WITH THE BOOK!??!!? – about how the wife of Anders suspected he wasn’t dead (“He can’t be dead; I’d know” and the romantic in me wants to believe that.) and that is why Marina agreed to go get answers. Yes, this nagged at the back of my mind without me really examining it.

“…and the wife is convinced that Anders isn’t dead. And so begins Marina’s incredible journey to Brazil,…”

The quote above is lifted directly from Reading on a Rainy Day’s review of this book. Her stating this AND after reading the choice quote she included to kickoff the post nagged at me…

GUESS WHAT!  Anders ends up alive.

  1.  How did he not get killed by the scary deadly cannibals?
  2. She (Marina) was able to find him in a quick trip down the river after many MANY mentions how hard everyone thought it was to find the RIGHT tributary?
  3. Of course, (pls read that ‘of course’ with dripping sarcasm), we had to sacrifice the FAVORITE character in the entire book!!!
  4. OK – I also thought that Marina was going to end up staying to carry on Doc-What’s-Her-Crazy’s work…  I did. I really thought she was going to stay.
  5. I was sad the baby died. I was.
  6. I agreed with Dr. Crazy – women shouldn’t have babies late. I think the idea is nuts. I liked the juxtaposition (simplified as it was) that we could develop a drug for all-aged-women fertility vs malaria vax? Whoa.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  It was fun. The anaconda scene was worth everything. Some of the ‘thoughts’ seem very simple as I think back on it – cartoonish even. Rapp mushrooms?  Lavender moths? Only place in the world? Whatever.

I enjoyed(?) the dilemma discussions of ‘saving’ primitive peoples. Even as Doc rallied against a lot of it, she was still attempting a huge savior move with a malaria vaccine.

Someone on Twitter asked me…  AS A SCIENTIST, does it seem REAL to you and the question threw me. Off-tilted me. Science is so many things. Patchett writes very well and she can put the reader in that time, that place, very realistically. So can Stephen King. Do we ever ‘question’ the reality of his books?! no, we enjoy the ride of crazy because it is buoyed by true imagination, creativity and emotion. EMOTIONS is the button we love.

Does anyone want to discuss the title?

RATING: I rounded up to 5 slices of pie. Fun read. All sorts of existential questions, real or not; the questions ARE real.

No mention of pie.

 

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

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