Adult Book Reviews

Book Review: Creative Weaving
Howard, Sarah
3 stars = Pretty Good

I'm a new weaver, and found this book to be quite inspiring. It has great photos that really give you great ideas about using color in your weaving. This book is a good resource for new and experienced weavers alike.

Jan
Book Review: 7 Deadly Wonders: A Novel
Reilly, Matthew
4 stars = Really Good

An exciting adventure that takes you all across the globe! A mix between Indiana Jones and The DaVinci Code. Discover ancient secrets and avoid deadly booby traps as you join Jack West Jr. in his search for the seven wonders.

Sara
Mockingjay
Collins, Suzanne
1 star = Yuck!

If I had not been pressured to finish the series, I would've never read this book. Seriously.
So the first book of the series was pretty good. I mean, the author could work on her descriptions and character development, but it really drew you in and had a good cliffhanger (though I've found way better ones).
Then there was the second book. Getting kind of...overdramatic, but it was okay. There was more action in it and there was another decent cliffhanger.
Then there just HAD to be the third novel. That just ruined it. The love affairs were WAY to overdramatized, the descriptions were TERRIBLE, and the storyline went everywhere. I constantly found myself reading entire chapters ten times over to at least get a sense of what was going on. It was totally cliche and repetetive and all these characters died for no reason at all. The epilogue was absolutely sappy and cheesy and way too predictable. Katniss is the worst herione ever and I don't respect anything about her.
Overall, a terrible book and not worth your time to read. Collins has made an extremely sloppy conclusion to her popular teen series and she should SERIOUSLY consider rewriting this novel, if not the whole series.

Cardcaptor
Book Review: Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope
Ryan, Kevin
4 stars = Really Good

This book tells about stories from several young people who used to be young homeless. They came across to know Covenant House, which have led and supported young people throughout the North America to become responsible adults. They provide resources, connections and programs. Their mentoring supports have impressive impacts on such youth and longer positive effects on their future lives. These stories help us understand situations, many of which are intense, that young homeless in this diverse society are facing, and give us hope that young adults can gain healthy choices thorough available and friendly resources such as the Covenant House.

Chi
Book Review: Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files
Butcher, Jim
4 stars = Really Good

While not as good as previous Dresden adventures Cold Days is a welcome return to Harry's universe. It's always nice to visit with Harry and his friends. He always manages to find himself in the most precarious of situations. And even though it's no surprise that he always gets out of trouble it's still nice to see how he accomplishes it.

Michael
Book Review: Proof Of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife
Alexander, Eben
4 stars = Really Good

Written by neurosurgeon who contracted a very rare form of E Coli that shut down his brain for seven days. During that time, he experienced other worlds that seemed more real to him than this world. He writes about what he saw in very methodical and unemotional terms, subjecting his visions to a very scientific approach. This experience changed his whole worldview from a pragmatic verifiable scientific methodology to a certainty that the human spirit can experience something beyond what can be seen and that even though evil exists, love will eventually triumph. I think even the most skeptical person should read this book.

Juli
Book Review: Bless Me, Ultima
Anaya, Rudolfo
4 stars = Really Good

This is a fantastic experience of Mexican American culture and the richness and differences it presents. Antonio shares his many "growing up" experiences and dificulties with Ultima, an old curandera (healer) who has insight, influence and wisdom.

Lisa
Book Review: Calling Me Home: A Novel
Kibler, Julie
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

When I finished this book, I just sat back and said "Wow." That pretty much sums up the entire novel. What an amazingly beautiful and sad love story, not only between Isabelle and Robert, but also the friendship between Dorrie and Isabelle. This is definitely a book I will be recommending!

Krista
Book Review: Ashes of Honor: An October Daye Novel
McGuire, Seanan
4 stars = Really Good

The most recent in the October Daye series, Ashes of Honor was incredibly difficult to put down. Like all of the books in the series, McGuire keeps the action going with a mixture of faerie mythology and mystery with Shakespeare references thrown in. A great read for fans of urban fantasy with an awesome heroine. I also loved that the author includes a pronunciation guide at the beginning of each book.

Becca
Book Review: Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
Kehert, Peg
4 stars = Really Good

Peg Kehert told you in her own words what it was like to be a child with polio. She writes how deadly and dangerous polio was in 1949. It was heartfelt and she made friends along her hard journey. I think that kids and adults should read this book.

Manjula
Book Review: The Happiness Project
Rubin, Gretchen
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Even though I loved this book and wanted to eat it up as quickly as possible, I tried to take it slow, absorbing as much as I could. It is packed full of fascinating facts about happiness, and examples of how she improved her life through big and small changes. It inspired me to start my own small happiness project, tracking it daily as she and Benjamin Franklin did.

One of my favorite bits is her four stages of reveling in a moment of
happiness:
+ anticipate with pleasure,
+ savor the moment as I experience it,
+ express my happiness to myself or others, and reflect on a happy memory.

Morgan
Book Review: Rogue Town
Griffin, Dennis N
4 stars = Really Good

It is amazing how just a few people with the right attitude were able to change a city, a county, and impact the entire country for the better. This is a good, and real life story by a man who was in the battle of good vs bad, and the good won in Stamford, CT in this battle that went into the 1980's.

Jim
Book Review: The Compound Effect: Multiplying your Success, One Simple Step at a
Hardy, Darren
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

"The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. These small, seemingly insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference." Darren Hardy does an excellent job in outlining the steps to success. He provides examples that make the concepts very clear as well as recommended action steps in order to help you make right choices and develop the habits and behaviors that will lead to success.

Nancy
Book Review: Articles of War: A Novel
Arvin, Nick
4 stars = Really Good

This book offers a interesting look into the terrifying world that young Americans encountered during WWII warfare. The story is told from a 18 year old small-town Iowa farm boy who is sent to combat in France. Fear quickly consumes George's world as he reacts to the unimaginable devastation around him. I immediately became intrigued with George's situation making it hard to put this novel down. The book is a short but powerful read, and there is much to be said about its honest look at the harrowing realities that people, turned soldiers, experience during wartime.

Curtis
Book Review: The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True
Dawkins, Richard
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Great book. Dr. Dawkins takes everyday questions and answers them both via myth and via science in a manner that is accessible to the average layperson. The height of the book for me was the discussion of "Sod's Law" and the understanding that reacting as if there is a threat when the possibility arises assures survival. Also, I thought it was interesting that we are living the good life (at least I am), and natural selection favors a struggle. The illustrations were also great. A big thumbs up!

vfranklyn
Book Review: Learn Spanish In Minutes
Montgomery, Liv
1 star = Yuck!

This is a CD. It is a total waste of time and money. You will learn some numbers and days of the week. The majority of time is used to teach you how to sleep and think about "learning". Summary: if you want to learn
Spanish DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME.

Diane
Book Review: The Beekeeper's Apprentice
King, Laurie R.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

After reading the classic Sherlock Holmes stories, Laurie R. King wondered what would a woman with a mind like Sherlock Holmes be like? Then she wondered what would happen if they met each other? And so the Mary Russell series of mysteries was born.... The story begins with Holmes retired from London and keeping bees in the country. Russell is walking across the fields with her face in a book, preparing for her university entrance exams. She very nearly steps on him. This is a wonderful book for anyone who enjoyed the original stories, but would like to consider how Holmes would function during the years before, during, and after World War I.

First in the Mary Russell series. Mystery--Historical Mystery--Psychological Suspense.

Karen
Book Review: Letters From Berlin
Dos, Margarete
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I loved this memoir of a young girl growing up in Berlin in World War II. It is told in a way that makes you feel that you were there, running for the shelters during raids, watching the city you loved decimated by bombs, working in the hospitals and seeing the advance of the Russians. She even spent time in a Russian gulag for reasons unknown, she and her mother were just trying to get to safety. It is a different perspective from many World War II-era books that I've read, and it was an interesting insight into what the German citizens were thinking and feeling.

I appreciated the way that the story was told - it felt like I was sitting next to someone and having them just tell me their life history. The author did a wonderful job transcribing her mother's story, adding little footnotes when necessary and pictures throughout.

Krista
Book Review: Taft 2012: A Novel
Heller, Jason
3 stars = Pretty Good

Timely in publication date if not when I read it, Taft explores politics and the state of America as seen through the eyes of a freshly woken William Howard Taft. The alternate reality aspects of the story are glossed over, which I was disappointed by, and the author seems to have a personal vendetta against processed foods, which seemed shoehorned into a story where it didn't belong, but overall, I don't want the time it took me to read this story back, which is fairly high praise.

Dennis
Book Review: The Forgotten
Baldacci, David
4 stars = Really Good

This book was full of twist and turns. Held my attention and couldn't wait to pick it up again.
Highly recomended.

Rhonda
Book Review: Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Phot
Egan, Timothy
4 stars = Really Good

Many readers may have seen Edward Curtis's turn-of-the-last-century sepia photographs of Native Americans--the photograph of Chief Joseph or that of a line of Indians on horseback, small in comparison with the monumental rock formations of the southwest, traversing Canyon de Chelly in Arizona.
Born in 1868, Edward Curtis devoted his life to documenting in photographs and text the life of the North American Indian--in the end, producing a twenty-volume collection of books. Egan's fascinating and informative book narrates the story of Curtis's life and life work, time spent with Indians of the southwest, the northern plains, the northwest coast, and Alaska. Egan relates Curtis's association with, among other well-known Americans, Teddy Roosevelt and J. P. Morgan. Readers interested in the history of photography, in the history of the United States, and in the history of Native Americans would enjoy this book.

Bill
Book Review: River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
Millard, Candice
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Explore an uncharted tributary of the Amazon River with President Theodore Roosevelt in The River of Doubt by Candice Millard. The adventure encompasses United States history, South American politics, native populations along the Amazon, and the relationship that President Roosevelt had with his son. Learn about the animals and plants along the dangerous Amazon and the near death of the President.

Janie
Book Review: The Lost City of Z
Grann, David
4 stars = Really Good

This is a non-fiction book about explorer Percy Fawcett who, along with his son, disappeared in the Amazon while looking for “Z.” Using information from journals and other sources, the author makes his own trip to the Amazon in an attempt to figure out what happened to Fawcett. I really enjoyed reading this book. Along with being entertaining, I found it very educational. I definitely recommend it!

Heather
Book Review: Bossypants
Fey, Tina
4 stars = Really Good

Tina Fey's account of her journey to become a successful writer/comic/actress is funny and interesting. With sincerity, warmth and wit, she tells about her life without glossing over the awkward and challenging moments. BTW, she's awesome!

Jenny P.
Book Review: Fear Not Tomorrow, God Is Already There: Trusting Him in Uncertain
Graham, Ruth
4 stars = Really Good

Very encouraging book. Lots of examples from her life and the Bible about trusting God about the future and hope for the hard times.

Colleen