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review 2018-06-13 01:55
Today Will Be Different
Today Will Be Different - Maria Semple,Kathleen Wilhoite

 

 

After having enjoyed Where'd You Go, Bernadette, I was excited to find another book by Maria Semple--and especially once I realized she had gotten Kathleen Wilhoite again, to narrate the audiobook.  The two books appear to exist in the same universe, as the central character's son goes to The Galen School, just as Bee does in Bernadette.  

 

Eleanor Flood used to be at the helm of an animated show called Looper Wash.  But that was years ago.  She and her hand-surgeon husband Joe Wallace had traded New York City for Seattle ten years before, based on the premise that Seattle was supposed to be the least religious city in the U.S.  They had a deal that they'd move back to NYC in ten years, switch again ten years after that, and keep alternating for the duration.  But Joe is well ensconced in his position as hand surgeon to the Seattle Sea Hawks, and the topic hasn't been broached in quite a while.

 

So, Eleanor decides that "today will be different," but her plans are interrupted when she gets a call from The Galen School letting her know that her son Timby is complaining that he doesn't feel well.  Eleanor is convinced he's faking sick because the same thing has happened a couple of other times recently, so she takes him straight to the pediatrician.  The visit reveals that the motive for being "sick" is conflict with a classmate, and the doctor prescribes "Mommy time."  An impromptu visit to Joe's office leads to the revelation that Joe had told his staff that the family was "on vacation" that week--which raises the question of what he's been doing while pretending to go to work every day.

 

So things take an odd turn as Eleanor attempts to figure out what's going on.  No, she can't just call her husband and have conversation, because then there'd be no plot!  Meanwhile, she and Timby have lunch with a former co-worker from her Looper Wash days, and he produces something she hasn't thought about in years: a hand-made illustrated book she made many years back, The Flood Girls.  What?!?!  Eleanor never told Timby she had a sister.  "I don't have a sister!"  Well, we'll see about that.

 

There were times when I found Eleanor exasperating, but she never completely lost me, and I enjoyed the payoff.  Kathleen Wilhoite again brings another dimension to the story with her narration.  I do wish someone had coached her on pronouncing "Clowes" and "Groening," though.  As in Bernadette, there is a scene where Wilhoite gets to showcase her beautiful singing voice.  In this case, she sings "Morning Has Broken."  Although I thought it was a pleasant enough song when the Cat Stevens version was popular in the 1970s, Wilhoite did something magical to it.  I almost teared up.  (Must see if library has her CD!)

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-03 11:30
Reading Anniversaries: First in a Series & Singles–January Edition

 

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on March 3, 2018.

 

2012

 

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The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

 

I don't much remember what went on in this book, except there being a plot to replace the Queen with an automaton clone. Must have made an impression on me because I rated it 4 stars on GR. Oh, and the covers in the series are beautiful! I recently and reviewed the second book in this series.

 

 

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Must Love Hellhounds by Various Authors

 

1

 

GR tells me that I loved most of the stories from this anthology. Must have been a good collection. I remember trying it out because it also included a story by Ilona Andrews -- a favorite author couple of mine.

 

 

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Frostbite by David Wellington

 

If you don't yet know that an awesome vampire series by David Wellington's exists, then you haven't been paying attention. Like the Laura Caxton series, this one is creepy AF. My GR review tells me I recommend it to:

 

                         people who like werewolves without the romance and cheesiness

 

I loved it and I don't even like horror much! Here, let my gushing adoration convince you that you need to try Wellington's books.

 

793399

 

Stray by Rachel Vincent

 

When I first read it, one of the most annoying things about this series was its heroine. She was a whiny, selfish brat who didn't care about the consequences of her action. One of the best things about it, as I continued to plod along, is how she changed! By the end of the series, the events have transformed her into the alpha her father always knew her to be. If that doesn't float your boat, maybe stay for all the violence and the gore? Oh, and did I mention that the series is complete? You can binge read it!

 

 

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The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

 

Maybe I have a soft spot for tortured, lonely werewolves or maybe it's something else. Either way, I just completed this series. While the first had impressed me, the second and third fell short. All I'm saying is that even with the cliffhanger at the end of the first one, it can easily be read as a standalone.

 

2013

 

375802

 

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

 

I have had much to say about the second book in this series on this blog. All good things, I promise. Therefore, it won't come as a surprise that I loved the first one, as well! The ending blew me away even when I have become so jaded about last-minute twists that change everything. Check this one out!

 

 

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He was a Hero, He Shouldn't have Died by Kenneth Mugi

 

If you asked me to describe this book in a word, I'd probably say weird. But wait, this is what I said in my review:

 

I got this book for free, in exchange for an honest review from Making Connections. Get your copy here.

 

This book is very different from the plethora of Paranormal novels out there- it turns the idea of Dorian Gray’s picture on its head.

 

What I really liked about it was that the touch of fantasy/paranormal elements didn’t overwhelm Kasumi’s story.

Another thing to like was that if the new edited version had any errors, I couldn’t find them.

 

There is enough humor to balance the darkness in the story.

 

I would have liked to see more of Morgan but watching Kasumi grow into her powers would be exciting too.

 

Hoping that there are some fight scenes in the next book!

 

This book isn’t for everybody but if you’d like to read something unique, give this one a whirl.

 

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The Gods Among Us by D.C. Belton

An old read, an old review:

 

The author was kind enough to give me a free review copy.

You know those books that you just don't wanna put down? Not because there's something exciting happening in the story or it is a good story...not only that but mostly because the writing flows and the story is being told so smoothly that you just read on and on. This book was such a book.

 

The parts I loved the most began when Pallas is aboard the ship and meets the crew. Their humor, lightheartedness and loyalty towards each other made them lovable.

I also liked that we're set up to hate Elena in the beginning of the story but we find out she has more depth and understands political intrigue much better than her younger sisters give her credit for.

 

Othello, I feared and hated just like I was supposed to. Even when I laughed at his antics, I wasn't less creeped out by him!

 

description

 

About the gods and their machinations: a) I'm not yet sure if they're actually deities and not humans who know what opposable thumbs are, b) they just don't care whose life they ruin, do they? Even Pallas who claims not to believe in gods & goddesses can't escape their schemes!

 

Pallas keeps mentioning how her father must miss her and I couldn't shake the feeling that there's something wrong there. Poor Pallas!

 

What would have made the book even better was a little more world building, maybe? Or a map, so we could understand what this world is like even better.

 

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Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Lovely, fun at times and sad at other times, quirky as heck read. I liked it, maybe you would too?

 

Well, those were my faves from the past years. You can also find reviews of books from 2018 that stuck with me. 

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review 2018-02-09 17:55
Best Quirky Characters I've Met in a While
Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple

Well this was a fun indulgence with the best quirky characters I've met in a while. Bernadette, her family and the other characters in town were a trip. Her daughter may be one of the more wise teenagers I've met in books from a parent's angle. She also has devastatingly good taste in music, and she does that thing where a kid is shocked, SHOCKED, to find that her mother is an actual human being with a past and knowledge of things outside of the household.

 

The mystery part of this one was secondary for me. In fact, I didn't need any mystery. Any way that Bernadette and the bunch had moved forward from a hilarious, but actually quite sad for them, stuck-point would have made me happy. The mystery was not as mysterious or good as I would have hoped, but it's hard to dislike this book with such fascinatingly flawed humans on every page.

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review 2017-06-09 02:48
Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Where'd You Go, Bernadette (Audio) - Maria Semple Bernadette Fox is a brilliant architect and semi-recluse who employs a virtual assistant called Manjula to handle most of her routine affairs and minimize how much she needs to interact with her fellow humans in Seattle. Bernadette's husband, Elgin Branch, is a renowned programmer at Microsoft known for having the fourth most popular TED talk. Bernadette has managed to make herself unpopular with fellow Galer Street School moms, mainly because she avoids joining parent committees, thereby showing she doesn't value "community." Bernadette and Elgin's daughter Bee, an eighth grader with exemplary report cards, intends to hold her parents to a promise they'd made of an anything-she-wants graduation present if she maintained perfect report cards her whole way through. And what she wants is a family trip to Antarctica. Which causes Bernadette to quietly freak out.... Bernadette goes missing, and Bee is determined to find her. Various types of correspondence--emails, faxes, letters, invoices, and the like--interspersed with Bee's narration help piece together the story of what has happened. Can Bernadette be found? This book is delightful. That's the word that kept coming into my head. I just love smart, quirky characters. And Kathleen Wilhoite's narration was perfect. Wilhoite is an actress (you might remember her from Gilmore Girls) and singer (she nails "Holy Night" in one scene in the book), and I was surprised to learn this was her first time narrating an audiobook. It seems she befriended Maria Semple in a writing group. I hope she decides to narrate her own books and others, too.
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review 2017-03-19 21:43
Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple

I’d had this book on my kindle for ages and when Char mentioned it and said her friend who never says anything is delightful, described it as exactly that,I thought I have to give this a go.

 

The story is set in Seattle and is basically about the disappearance of Bernadette, if you hadn’t already guessed that by the title. At the start we meet Bernadette’s daughter Bee who narrates parts of the story, while the rest is a collection of e-mail’s and notes. I loved this style of narrative, it made the story more unique and fun.

 

Bernadette, the protagonist, felt so real. She was flawed and a bit of an ass at times who did some really stupid things, but I could forgive all that because she was so damn funny. It was this humour that was one of the main reasons I kept reading, even when she drove me mad!

 

There were several side characters who helped make this even more fun, such as Audrey (the arch nemesis of Bernadette), Soo-lin who had a crush on Bernadette's husband and Ollie O who worked at Bee’s school.

 

Regardless of the humour the story still managed to touch on themes such as anxiety and mother-daughter relationships. The book felt light, but underneath it had an importance that means it'll stay with me far longer than it would have.

 

I did have to suspend my disbelief a few times, but strangely this didn’t detract from my enjoyment as it usually would. For me, some of the more ludicrous events seemed to add to the story. Don’t ask me how that happened! I can only assume it’s the strength of the author.

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