Monthly Archives: May 2014

Here Comes Trouble by Kathy Carmichael

Quin, an investigative reporter who travels far and wide and lives dangerously, returns home to recuperate from injuries sustained at work. Stella, Quin’s childhood best friend who still lives in the same tiny town where they grew up, lives a quiet life gardening, sewing, and teaching biology. Their mothers and their friends – collectively known as TROUBLE – immediately start scheming to get Quin and Stella together. Little do they realize their efforts harm more than help and might not be needed in the first place.

Here Comes Trouble by Kathy Carmichael is a silly, predictable, mildly romantic, quick, enjoyable read. It’s light, simple, and perfect mind candy. Sometimes you just need to read something fun and not taxing. This is the perfect book for those times!

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 40
Pages Read in 2014: 9738
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Bringing Adam Home by Les Standiford

At some point when I was little I saw a made-for-TV movie about the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh. I’ve read a couple other books about the case, but none since I became a mother myself. Reading the beginning of the book, even though I knew what happened, was difficult. My own mother left me in the toy aisle many times as she shopped nearby. No one really thought twice about it back then. I wanted to reach through the pages and back in time to yell at Reve not to let him play the video game. That nothing good would come of it.

But that wouldn’t be true.

In fact, a whole lot of good came of Adam’s abduction and murder. We now have the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Hundreds of criminals were brought to justice through John Walsh and America’s Most Wanted. Many places use Code Adam for children reported missing in their stores. The list goes on. It amazes me how some (most) people would be understandably paralyzed if this had happened to their son, but the Walsh family have worked so hard to help others.

Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America by Les Standiford goes through the well-known story of Adam Walsh. It also tells the story of an incredibly botched police investigation (how many times can a person confess and not be believed, but, on the few occasions he – not surprisingly – recants his confession, he is believed?). And the story of Ottis Toole. A few years ago, long after Toole had died, it was determined that Ottis Toole was the likely culprit and, if alive, could be prosecuted and likely convicted. It’s an incredible, sad story all around. I found the book to be thorough and captivating, an excellent retelling of the Adam Walsh case.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 39
Pages Read in 2014: 9546
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Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce

Ever wonder how Santa Claus came to be? And, more importantly, how he became a Guardian? The story is told in Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce. Pitch (aka the Boogeyman) has gotten out and wants nothing more than to torture children’s dreams. Together, a wizard named Ombric from Santoff Claussen and Nicholas St. North, a bandit, along with some help from a little foundling named Katherine and a spectral boy, must battle Pitch to help the children. The book is cute and sweet and reads very fast. It is the beginning of the Guardians series of books (the series from which the movie Rise of the Guardians was adapted). I enjoyed it and my 7 year old son is enjoying reading it, too.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 38
Pages Read in 2014: 9223
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Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is the age-old story of two teens falling in love. Eleanor is the weird new kid, always awkward looking due to her family’s poverty and her step-father’s abuse. Park is the semi-popular Asian kid, totally awkward and uncomfortable in his own skin. Both are trying to figure out their place in the world and end up together, knowing it’s not likely to last, but hoping it might.

I enjoyed Eleanor & Park a lot. There were three things that bugged me. 1.) There is quite a bit of bad language, particularly at the beginning (it actually gets less and less as the story goes on). Most of it is in conversations. 2.) Some of the words used were very much things kids say today and not things kids would’ve said in 1986 when the story is set. 3.) There are a couple plot holes that left me puzzled. For the most part, though, this is an excellent book and I could hardly put it down.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 37
Pages Read in 2014: 8995
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Moving Day by Jonathan Stone

Every time I opened Moving Day by Jonathan Stone on my Kindle, the title space read “Moving Day: A Thriller.” I’m glad it told me this because otherwise I’d have never known it was supposed to be a thriller. It was more a plodder.

Stanley and Rose Peke are moving across the country. The movers show up and Stanley is pretty sure they are a day early, but they insist it is moving day and, being 72, Stanley figures his mind just isn’t what it used to be. Of course, they really are a day early and they aren’t movers at all. They are thieves who go around pulling this ruse on wealthy elderly people in order to steal everything they own. And thus starts a tedious story with way too much commentary and narration in the form of introspective questions. Stanley was originally from WWII Poland so much of the story is intermingled with his seven-year-old memories, particularly when the thieves hire some Neo-Nazis to help deal with Stanley. A lot of things are repeated over and over. The parallels of his childhood story and 72-year-old story are pointed out constantly and unnecessarily. It takes half of the book to even really get to the good (and slightly thrilling) part.

Now, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. I did, actually. I just think it could have been better and possibly not labeled a thriller. Don’t expect major excitement from Moving Day, but you can expect a decent, interesting book.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 36
Pages Read in 2014: 8659
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Conform by Glenn Beck

It’s pretty much common knowledge that public education in America has issues. Many people are very much opposed to Common Core, whether because they understand what is really is or because they just think they do. Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education by Glenn Beck attempts to address and explain the problems and give ideas on how to fix it. Unfortunately, I felt like the book fell a bit short of its goal.

Most of the examples given felt like scary, this is the worst that has happened sorts of things. I don’t disagree with many of the points of the book (such as the problems with teacher’s unions). I just didn’t feel like the arguments were super well done and I really felt like the solutions were extremely lacking (and this may be partly because Glenn Beck’s kids are homeschooled so they aren’t even in the “system” – two of my kids are homeschooled as well, but I have two in public school and even if I didn’t, good public education is important no matter how your own kids are educated). Conform was good, but it definitely wasn’t great or overly useful. The best part, as with all Glenn Beck books, was the extensive section at the back with all the sources and references for what was written in the book to, as Beck always insists, not take his word for it, but to do your own research and form your own final conclusions.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 35
Pages Read in 2014: 8382
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Canadian Meds by John Moynihan

I really thought Canadian Meds by John Moynihan would get better. I read the whole thing. It didn’t. The premise is good. The CEO and CMO of an internet drug company based in Canada cook up a plan to sell fake pills in the place of the real thing in order to pad their pockets and get rich. The book might have been good in the hands of a better author. As it is, it is pretty terrible.

First, the language. It is completely unnecessary. I don’t mind when books have an occasional swear word here and there. It seemed like a lot of the cussing in this one was for shock value. Second, the incredible amount of sex. Again, nearly all of it is completely unnecessary. Some is needed since one of the fake drugs is Erecta (for erectile dysfunction). The euphemisms and descriptions, though, were all ridiculous. Third, the characters. They are all flat and you just don’t care about them. The dialogue sounds like someone talking to themselves. None of the characters had their own voice. Fourth, the womanizing. Pretty much every man in the book is getting old (at 50!), out of shape, etc. Every woman is gorgeous. Every man apparently wants nothing more than to hop into bed with these gorgeous women and eye them like they are pieces of meat. Fifth, incredibly predictable. Nothing is a surprise. Everything that happens (and it happens slowly) is expected. Sixth, the ending. The ending is totally stupid and missing something. After learning the stories of several characters, suddenly they are just gone and it’s all about the CEO. His story is wrapped up, but the others are not.

Don’t waste your time on Canadian Meds. Even free it’s not worth it.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 34
Pages Read in 2014: 8109
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