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The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion
Meghan Daum
Beauty Queens
Libba Bray
Over My Dead Body
Kate Klise, M. Sarah Klise

The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues

The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues - Ellen Raskin I loved The Westing Game - this one, I just didn't.

Dying to Meet You

Dying to Meet You - Kate Klise, M. Sarah Klise This was cute. I don't know that I loved it, but I will read the next in the series, even though it's NOT AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK (which is probably for the best, as the way it's told - through letters, some handwritten, newspaper articles with very small print, drawings, etc.) - would probably be hard to see on my Paperwhite anyway).

First Light

First Light - Rebecca Stead First Light was fine - it was good - but sadly, I didn't love it nearly as much as Liar & Spy or When You Reach Me. On the bright side, it would make a very pretty movie.

Timmy Failure: We Meet Again

Timmy Failure: We Meet Again - Stephan Pastis I do just love Timmy Failure. Though for a while in this book #3 in the series, I was starting to become impatient with his antics and delusions, by the end I was totally back on his side. These books are among the funniest middle grade books I have ever read (though I do wonder if kids would find them quite as funny as I do). The good news is that Timmy is slowly but surely developing, into what I'm not sure, but he is developing. Also, shocker involving Corrina Corrina, and maybe more clarity regarding Total the polar bear. If you liked the first two, you'll like this one, and if you didn't read the first two, you should. I don't care who you are.

Speaking From Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel

Speaking From Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel - Alan Bradley The Flavia De Luce books just get better and better, or maybe it just seems that way because I love the characters more with each book. Especially Flavia, and Buckshaw, her family's ancestral home, which is like a character in itself. When I read the first book in the series, I liked Flavia and kind of liked the actual story/mystery. Based on that I might not have continued reading, but I'm glad I did.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - Jesse Andrews THIS BOOK WAS SO FUNNY. I mean, except for the parts that weren't funny, but the parts that were, were exceptionally funny. I would like to describe how funny, but once you say why something is funny, it kind of becomes un-funny, so I won't. Just read it. You might not like it, but at least then you will know that you have a very limited and sad sense of humor.

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Novel

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Novel - Alan Bradley Loved it - Flavia away from home, with none of her usual co-stars (not even her beloved laboratory), is Flavia nonetheless.

Liar & Spy

Liar & Spy - Rebecca Stead I loved this book.

The Given Day

The Given Day - Dennis Lehane The Given Day...it was good enough, I enjoyed reading it, but at times I thought - what I've read in the last 400 pages could possibly have been covered in 300. Maybe 250. So I really don't know if 700 pages were necessary to tell this story. That said, it was a good piece of historical fiction, lots of interesting details, and it made that time period feel real. The story moved along well enough to keep me engaged. But, I did look at my page counter more than I normally would. I'd recommend this book, but only if you're already a fan of 700-page novels in general. For anyone who gets impatient after 300 pages or so, or who couldn't bear to finish, like, Gone With the Wind - this might not be the book for you.

Greenglass House

Greenglass House - Kate Milford Oh, I don't know. This book was fine. Based on all of the 4- and 5-star reviews, I guess I had higher hopes. And the beginning was promising...a big, mysterious inn, smugglers, strangers with strange motives showing up one right after another, in the middle of a snowstorm. But then, it just took too long to get anywhere. So much exposition, so many of the same scenes repeated with only slight changes. SO MANY characters, and I didn't love the RPG angle, nor did I love the fact that the two main characters now had two names each, thanks to the RPG. I hate when I'm reading a book and mostly only feeling anxious to get done with it, but that was the case here. The ending was relatively satisfying, but nothing earth-shattering. Sigh.

Who Could That Be At This Hour?

Who Could That Be At This Hour? - Lemony Snicket, Seth Cleverly written and amusing, and as always in Lemony Snicket stories, more questions than answers. Based on what I've read in other reviews of this book and others in the series, this is a prequel, or at least somehow related, to A Series of Unfortunate Events. If there were any hints to that effect in this book, I missed them. But if it's true, I certainly hope it clarifies some of the nonsense we were left with at the end of book 13 of that series. 3.5 stars.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley I have to say that I didn't particular love this book, wasn't particularly caught up in the premise of the mystery, and yet, I'm so glad I continued with the series. Flavia De Luce totally grows on you, as does her home, her laboratory, even her love of chemistry (and I have absolutely no interest in chemistry. Possibly negative interest). This is a charming and sometimes funny series, with great characters whose development takes its time over the course of the (so far) seven books.

The End

The End - Michael Kupperman, Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist I totally enjoyed this series. But the end made me mad because it was JUST STUPID.

The One I Left Behind

The One I Left Behind - Jennifer McMahon I am not finished with this book yet, but I am giving it two stars anyway, because it wasn't horrible. But.

Here is the plot: in 1985, Reggie's mom apparently became the 4th victim of a serial killer known as Neptune, who first cut off the victim's hand and left it at the police station, and then days later, left the body somewhere else. 25 years later, Reggie's mother turns up alive (though sick and delusional), and at the same time, it looks like Neptune is back as well. No surprise that Reggie must find the killer before she becomes his next victim!

The story was all right, though at about 80% through, I'm ready for it to be done. Many of my problems are with character development (there's very little, Reggie has one prosthetic ear but so far that seems to be just a way to give her some "character"), and plausibility. So Reggie's mom disappears in 1985, and then her hand is delivered to the police department. Reggie does not freak out. In fact, she does very little, aside from a halfhearted and entirely unbelievable attempt to find her mother. Hello dear, your mother is GOING TO DIE. And even if she doesn't, someone still CUT OFF HER RIGHT HAND! Most of the 13-year-old girls that I know can get emotional over, oh, like anything. It seems to me this would qualify, but, no. So okay.

Then there is Reggie's reunion with her mother, 25 years later. Again, not much made of it. She gets a call, goes to get her at the shelter or hospital or whatever, and does not ask many questions. Later she thinks, hmmm, maybe I should call those people to find out what my mother has been up to for 25 years. And when Neptune comes back, she WISHES she could get information from her mother, about the killer, about where he kept her, about whatever, but STILL she does not call the people who had her. I think at some point she does call and ask about a Sister Dolores that her mom mentioned, but then has to wait for a call back. Do not get it.

And then, her boyfriend, who half the time I forget exists. He is a stoner, another quality that seems to have been added just to supply some personality. Reggie tells him nothing, withholding information about her situation for no apparent reason.

Maybe I'll have a different opinion when I'm actually finished, but I think my two stars will hold up. More to come.

Update - I've finished, and still agree with everything I said. Plus, the twist, oh I'm so tired of hearing about 'twists', but this one was not so twisty, and to me, the identity of the killer was a disappointment.

I've read good things about Jennifer McMahon's books, but this was the first one I've read. Maybe it just wasn't a good one to start with.

I Know I Am, But What Are You?

I Know I Am, But What Are You? - Samantha Bee I listened to this book in my car, and laughed out loud. I will add that the first chapter or so of this book did not lead me to believe I would be laughing anytime soon. I was wrong. It was funny, and I suspect Samantha Bee's narration probably made it even funnier than it would have been in print. One day when I've sort of forgotten about it, I'll buy it on Audible instead of getting from the library. That is saying something.

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You've Done

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You've Done - Stephan Pastis First of all, I think I am just naturally inclined to like a book which starts with - "A Prologue That Will Most Likely Make Sense Later." That is funny. The entire book is funny, if you can accept Timmy's complete obliviousness. I thought this one was actually a little better than the first, the plot being not quite so absurd (though still on the silly side). Here's one of my favorite passages:

"I know that if I am to move forward like the professional that I am, I must first see the past with mature eyes.
And that means acknowledging that others have caused all my problems and blaming them for it."