Friday, February 18, 2011

An Echo in the Bone

An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

814 pages, and still everything is left hanging by the end?! Ack! Diana Gabaldon had better be working furiously to finish the next book asap, that's all I can say. There are too many cliffhangers to count in this one.

Volume seven in the Outlander series takes place during the Revolutionary War (Jamie & Claire's time) and 1980 (Brianna & Roger's time). Gabaldon skips around between storylines and narrators quite frequently, which keeps things interesting and also can be frustrating. There is a LOT going on in this episode. I read very quickly, and even I couldn't read fast enough to satisfy my urgent need to find out what the heck happened!

I really wished I had a computer by my side (or an Apple iPad/Touch/Phone) while reading this book because I kept wanting to look up names, battles, places, and timelines to remind myself of historical details I'd forgotten. The book really brings the Revolutionary War to life.

For readers' advisors: story, character, and setting are all strong doorways, but the length and occasional sexual content might scare off some readers.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Earth: A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race

Earth: A Visitor's Guide to the Human RaceEarth: A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race by Jon Stewart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My second foray into the world of audiobooks on CD was delightfully funny! Jon Stewart, Sigourney Weaver, and pretty much the entire cast of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" narrate the book, so if you like "The Daily Show," you'll probably like Earth: the audiobook. It's a tongue-in-cheek history of our planet & the human race told for the benefit of future alien visitors to Earth who arrive after we've killed ourselves off.

I thought they did an excellent job of adding sound effects and verbalizing the sidebars and other inserts, although nothing replaces a photo or diagram, so someday I will find a hard copy of the book and look through to see what visual items I missed.

My only real quibble with the audiobook was that occasionally Jon Stewart or one of the others spoke sotto vocce, and no matter how much I cranked up the volume on my car stereo (admittedly not as loud as boys with subwoofers who drive around annoying people), I could not always make out what they said. Ah well, the other 99.5% was hilarious!

For readers' advisors: "nonfiction" that reads like fiction??

View all my reviews

Friday, February 4, 2011

Put the Seat Down and Other Brilliant Insights for an Awesome First Year of Marriage

Put the Seat down and Other Brilliant Insights for an Awesome First Year of MarriagePut the Seat down and Other Brilliant Insights for an Awesome First Year of Marriage by Jess Maccallum

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A friend picked this up at closing time because the title caught her eye, and I decided to check it out for kicks (because it looked funny & was really short). Yes, I realize it's written for men. I did not let that stop me.

MacCallum has some really great advice for new husbands; I just wish he hadn't limited his audience by including so many Bible verses as justification for what he was saying. I didn't even disagree with the verses he chose, per se, although some of them were really a stretch, but the Evangelical Christian tone will likely deter many men from reading what would otherwise be excellent and straightforward advice. (With one exception: I do not think it damaged my marriage to have slept with my husband before our wedding. I think it strengthened our relationship and certainly made our wedding night MUCH less stressful.)

My advice: read all the excellent lists of tips & skip or skim most of the explanatory material & verses.

View all my reviews

The Summer Hideaway

The Summer Hideaway (Lakeshore Chronicles, # 7) The Summer Hideaway (Lakeshore Chronicles, # 7) by Susan Wiggs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the very first audiobook I listened to on my car's CD player. I love listening to books on my way to and from work! It makes even traffic jams delightful. :) Listening takes much much longer than reading for myself, but that's OK.

In this particular story, a dying George Bellamy hires a young private nurse, Claire Turner, to take care of him in his final days...and to fall in love with his grandson, Ross. George's family thinks Claire abducted him, since they don't understand why he is returning to the town and summer camp where he spent several significant summers during his youth. Claire, however, merely wants to keep a low profile and do her job. She & Ross both object to George's matchmaking scheme.

The story is really three alternating stories: present day, George's youth, and Claire's traumatic past. I was very impatient to get back into my car every day to hear what happened next! The funny thing about listening was how obvious it was when Wiggs got a little repetitive, however. For example, I'd recommend removing a few of the times Claire insists (to herself) that she can never ever have a family, as well as most instances where Claire is described as "intriguing." I got it the first time!

The one thing I had a hard time listening to was at the beginning when Wiggs is telling of Ross's final day as a med-evac pilot in Afghanistan. Although my husband is not being redeployed this spring, I still have a hard time listening to tales of war.

Overall, I loved this book. Time to check out more audiobooks!

For readers' advisors: story doorway, with character secondary

View all my reviews

House of Havoc: How to Make--and Keep--a Beautiful Home Despite Cheap Spouses, Messy Kids, and Other Difficult Roommates

House of Havoc: How to Make--and Keep--a Beautiful Home Despite Cheap Spouses, Messy Kids, and Other Difficult RoommatesHouse of Havoc: How to Make--and Keep--a Beautiful Home Despite Cheap Spouses, Messy Kids, and Other Difficult Roommates by Marni Jameson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I chuckled several times while reading this book, particularly in the first half, which is always a good sign. However, my reality does not match the author's reality--hers is much fancier than mine--so not many of the tips were really all that useful to me. And I have no intention of paying or bartering with anyone to add "bling" to my ceilings or mirrors or anything else, really. Not as she described it. I will be doing well to someday (soon?) purchase a home I can paint as I like! My current home sounds about as big as the author's "bonus room." Still, I enjoyed Jameson's stories about her family and her redecorating adventures.

For readers' advisors: character doorway

View all my reviews