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review 2018-03-30 14:22
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper ★★★☆☆
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper - Phaedra Patrick

Once in a while, I fall for the “because you read ______” recommendations that shout at me from every book buying and review site. I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to think of a time when I wasn’t disappointed. I need to remember this, next time temptation strikes.


This book was supposed to please readers who enjoyed A Man Called Ove and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and I suppose it is similar in that its main character is an old man who goes on a journey of self discovery. But that’s about it. I found the story charming at first, but it quickly devolved into cutesiness, and neither the writing nor the lessons learned nor the character evolution lifted it above the threshold for suspension of disbelief required for its unlikely events or improbable characters as did the two books that the recommendation was based on. The forward momentum stopped several chapters before the end, and I had to force myself to finish. It was an okay story, I suppose, for people who like glurge.


Audiobook, purchased via Audible. The performance by James Langton was excellent, and elevated the book from two stars to three.

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review 2018-02-11 16:40
A Wrinkle in Time ★★★☆☆
A Wrinkle in Time (Audio) - Hope Davis,Madeleine L'Engle Had I first encountered this book as a child, I would have loved it. Reading it for the first time as an adult, I found it a charming and sweet story with a likeable message. But it dragged for me in places, with my interest lagging until at least halfway through the story, and the ending was a little too… nice. Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Very good performance by Hope Davis. Fantastic forewords by the author and by Ava DuVernay (the director for the upcoming film adaptation).
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text 2018-02-09 14:03
The Secret of the Old Clock - 49%
The Secret of the Old Clock - Carolyn Keene,Laura Linney

I was delighted to find that the first 4 books in the Nancy Drew series are available on audio with my  new Houston Public Library e-card, and I'm listening to them out of order, because that's just how they're coming available on the Holds list. But it's actually sort of a disappointment. I love Laura Linney as an actor, but something is a little lacking as an audio narrator. Plus, listening on audio really does highlight the glaring flaws in these books that I can't help but see in spite of the soft-focus filter of nostalgia. 

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text 2018-02-04 04:56
Flavia de Luce series, books #5-8 ★★★☆☆

Speaking from Among the Bones - Alan Bradley  The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches - Alan Bradley  As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Novel - Alan Bradley  Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd: A Flavia de Luce Novel - Alan Bradley  

I burned through the last 4 audiobooks in the series during an awful two weeks around my father’s death, so it’s not surprising that my attention wandered and I retained little of the stories. I chose these books specifically because I needed something light and undemanding, but that would provide some distraction as I helped to clean and organize the house and occupy my mind on the long drives between my home and my parents’. And perhaps it was my frame of mind at the time, but this series seemed to lose steam in the last few books, and certainly seemed to lose some of the charm and humor that won me over to begin with. And I definitely think it jumped the shark in book #6 with the

weird inherited secret agent plot twist.

(spoiler show)


Still, I will probably pick up the next book when it comes out, just on the off-chance that my dissatisfaction with the last few books was situational, and not the stories themselves. I hope so, because I’ve really enjoyed the little psychopath until now.


Audiobooks, #5 owned and #6-8 borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Phenomenal performance as always by Jayne Entwistle.

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review 2018-02-03 18:26
Necessary Lies ★★★★☆
Necessary Lies - Diane Chamberlain

My first Diane Chamberlain book, and it won’t be my last. I’m looking forward to going through her backlist, despite my resolutions to read more new releases.  I’m not sure how to characterize the story, though. It doesn’t necessarily have a traditional plot and story arc. It’s more character and situation driven, with the reader discovering (and for me, feeling both horrified and unsurprised by) 1960’s social work and eugenics programs along with a naïve but determined young woman. And these discoveries parallel her own realization of how little personal autonomy she has, once she has married and is expected to give up control of her desires, career, brains, opinions, appearance, and reproductive system to her husband. And to do it cheerfully.


It’s an interesting and realistic story, somewhat spoiled by a 

happily ever after kind of ending.

(spoiler show)

Although many readers might not consider that a flaw.


Audiobook, via Audible, with an excellent performance by Alison Elliot.



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