Things I’m reading Thursday – Code Name Verity

    This book. THIS BOOK!!! It broke my heart into a million tiny pieces. I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful this book is because I could not do it justice.


    There are two main characters in Code Name Verity, and they both desperately want to help in the war effort as much as possible. But it is WWII, and women don’t fly planes or become spies. Until they do. The book starts with “Verity”, who has been captured by the Gestapo, exchanging secrets to avoid torture and execution. Her captors make her write down everything she knows on any paper that can be found. She writes of her best friend Maddie, the pilot who dropped her off on the mission that resulted in her capture. She writes of how she and Maddie became friends and ended up flying missions, and wonders what happened to Maddie after she flew away. Maddie takes over in the second half of the book, but the plot does not slow down, and there are some truly heartbreaking twists. If you like stories of heroism and history, you are sure to enjoy this book. Just make sure you have some tissues close by.

    What books have you read that made you cry?


Things I’m reading Thursday – Wildwood

    Last Sunday, Mason and I drove in to town to try to find some new pants for Toby, who refuses to stop growing. Due to the time change, and a strange series of events that will never be duplicated again, we made it to the store at about 10 minutes ’til, and the store hadn’t opened yet. Down the strip is a Barnes and Noble, and since they have a café (“we are not Starbucks, we just carry their products, MA’AM”), I thought we’d spend a few minutes there while we waited for the other store to open. Now, you should know by now that book stores are my kryptonite, but I figured that I couldn’t get into too much trouble in 10 minutes. (Don’t hurt yourself laughing, Mom.) So, anyway….

    We wandered around for a few minutes because there is a big LEGO display and Mason wanted to see if they had any of the Monster Fighter sets. As we were standing there, Toby called, and when he found out where we were, he asked if I could look for a book for him. And since I have a book hoarding problem I think it is important to encourage Toby’s reading habits, I picked up a book three books for myself for him. Wildwood is one of them.


    This book is AWESOME!! The two main characters are both sincere and honest and just how I hope my kids turn out. Prue’s little brother is kidnapped by crows while she is babysitting him, and the crows disappear into the Impassible Wilderness – a very dense forest where no one ever goes. And if anyone does go in, they don’t come out. Prue is determined to get her brother back without her parents ever knowing that he was gone, but as she’s trying to sneak into the Impassible Wilderness, she finds Curtis, who has been following her. Curtis and Prue aren’t necessarily friends in the beginning, but by the end of the book, they have both grown and learned so much. In addition to the story, there are illustrations throughout the book that have a sort of folksy feel, and really add to the atmosphere of the Impassible Wilderness. I’m still a few pages from the end, but as soon as I finish it, I’m handing it over to Toby. He’s already finished one of the books that I bought on Sunday, and I’m sure he’ll need something else to read by this weekend.

    What do you guys think about reading books marketed to YA and middle grade audiences?

Things I’m reading Thursday – Size 12 and Ready to Rock

    Hello everybody!! (Is anyone else thinking of Grover from Sesame Street?) I took last week off because my mom and dad drove in from Ohio for the weekend, and I had a lot of shopping and cleaning and shoving-things-into-closets to do. I did read a couple of books last week, but I’m going to try to save those for a week when I didn’t read anything. With Christmas looming, I’m sure that will be sooner rather than later.

    This week, the book I have for you is Size 12 and Ready to Rock, the fourth in the Heather Wells mystery series by Meg Cabot. I think you could read this book out of order because most of the important information about the main characters is rehashed. Like the other books, most of the action takes place in one of the residence halls at fictional New York College. This time, though, the target isn’t one of the employees or students at the college.

Summer break . . . and the livin’ ain’t easy!

Just because the students at New York College have flown the coop doesn’t mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells can relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp, hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself—who just happens to be newly married to Heather’s ex-boyfriend, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead . . . and it’s clear that the star was the intended victim.

Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and his highest-earning performer) alive. So he hires his oldest son, black sheep of the family and private investigator Cooper Cartwright—who just happens to be Heather’s new fiancÉ. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can’t help but get involved. And after Tania shares a really shocking secret with her, this reality suddenly becomes more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.

    Like most of Meg Cabot’s books, I enjoyed this one. It’s a quick read, even though there is a murder and some pretty serious subjects, like domestic abuse. The dialogue is snappy, and there are songs written by the various characters at the beginning of each chapter. Although I haven’t actually finished the book, I have no doubt that the bad guy will get his just reward in the end.

    What have you guys been reading?

Things I’m reading Thursday – Millie’s Fling

    My sister introduced me to Jill Mansell, the author of Millie’s Fling. Ms. Mansell has actually written over a dozen books, and I would compare her style to Sophie Kinsella or Meg Cabot. Even though one could consider the subject matter a perfect example of “chick-lit”, Mansell’s books are a little meatier than either Kinsella’s or Cabot’s. The characters are the typical lonely girl, her quirky side-kick, the guy who is a friend, but not a boyfriend, and the guy who is obviously in love with the lonely girl, even though she has no idea. BUT….. the characters are still fully fleshed out, and are not just cardboard cutouts. Even the periphery characters have clear personalities and motives.



    From Amazon:

He’s the best thing that ever happened to her. He’s also the worst. He’s Millie’s Fling.

From one of the premiere contemporary authors in the UK, here is a fun and romantic tale that proves the road to matchmaking hilarity is paved with good intentions.

Bestselling novelist Orla Hart owes her life to her friend Millie Brady, whose rotten boyfriend has just left her. So Orla invites Millie to Cornwall, where Millie looks forward to a summer without any dating whatsoever. But Orla envisions Millie as the heroine of her next novel and decides to find Millie the man of her dreams. Except the two women have drastically different ideas about what kind of guy that should be.

With Orla and Millie working at cross-purposes, and a dashing but bewildered hero stuck in the middle, the summer will turn out to be unforgettable for all concerned…


    I really enjoyed this book, and after the suspense of both Broken Harbor and The Diviners, it was the perfect light read to clear my brain. Millie’s Fling was funny and ridiculous, and the characters were very relatable. I recommend this book if you need a palate cleanser, or just something to read that won’t make your eyebrows hurt from trying to figure out what’s going on.

    What have you guys been reading?

Things I’m reading Thursday – The Diviners

First, can I just tell you how thoroughly annoyed I am that I can’t figure out how to underline just the title of the book, and not the whole blog post title? I don’t know if this is because I’m writing the post in Word (Bill Gates, you sly devil), or if it’s WordPress messing with me. So there’s that.

    Secondly, I have been hearing about this book for awhile now, but it wasn’t released until September 18th, so I basically stalked the Amazon website (as opposed to the Amazon River), until it was released so that I could buy it electronically. Oh technology, how I love thee.

    Now, on to the book:


    This book is so many kinds of awesome, I don’t even know if I can describe it. I will have to re-read it because I got sucked in to the story and read it too fast to catch all of the little details. Libba Bray has written several other books, and each one has been completely different than the last. Not just different characters, but actual different style, setting, and theme. Here’s what Amazon has to say about the book:

     Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.” When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.

    Evie is only sort of the main character. There is also Jericho, who works with her uncle; Theta and Henry, a Ziegfield girl and her piano playing roommate; Mabel, in love with Jericho; Sam, the pickpocket; and Memphis, a numbers runner in Harlem. They all become connected in the course of the story, and each has a bigger part in their fight against the killer. It is a little gory, but mostly it’s fantastically creepy and so, so good!

    If you don’t think you’re up for a ghost story, try Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens which is hilarious and touching and all about awesome girl power.

    Happy reading!


Things I’m reading Thursday

The other day, when I was trying to think of something to write for my blog, I remembered that a lot of bloggers have theme days – like “Wordless Wednesday” or “Thirteen Things Thursday”. I don’t know why I never thought of doing the same, since it seems easier to write when I have an idea of what I want to write about. You’d think that I’d have endless fodder for blog stories, but for whatever reason, I can never seem to come up with something when I want to. Which is why the blog has been having huge dry spells. But now, I have a plan. I actually even had a picture for Wordless Wednesday, but I forgot all about it when I got home last night because Denver installed a dart board in his man cave, and I was obligated to kick his butt at Cricket. Which I did. It was awesome.

    Thursdays are going to be for me to talk about what I am currently reading, or have just finished reading. I read all the time, and I have checked books out of the library that I’ve read before, without remembering that I’ve read them until I start the first chapter and think “man, this seems familiar”. Maybe if I keep track of the books a little better, I won’t have this problem. There are thousands of books in the library – surely I can pick up something new the next time I go? So without further ado…..

    Broken Harbor, by Tana French

    This is Tana French’s fourth book, and it is just as wonderful as all of her previous books. Each book has a different main character, but all of those main characters are Detectives on the Dublin Murder Squad, so there are some recurring secondary characters in all of the books. And while it is accurate that each book involves a murder mystery, the books are really more character studies than mysteries. Here’s how Amazon describes Broken Harbor:

On one of the half-built, half-abandoned “luxury” developments that litter Ireland, Patrick Spain and his two young children are dead. His wife, Jenny, is in intensive care.

At first, Scorcher and his rookie partner, Richie, think it’s going to be an easy solve. But too many small things can’t be explained. The half dozen baby monitors, their cameras pointing at holes smashed in the Spains’ walls. The files erased from the Spains’ computer. The story Jenny told her sister about a shadowy intruder who was slipping past all the locks.

And Broken Harbor holds memories for Scorcher. Seeing the case on the news sends his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family one summer at Broken Harbor, back when they were children.”

    I cannot say enough good things about this book. There are so many threads running through this book, and they aren’t all tied up neatly in the end, but that doesn’t detract from the story. The mystery is solved, but the main character is forever changed by the case. His future is uncertain. That’s part of what makes this book, and all of French’s books, so great. As a reader, I was very invested in the characters and what made them tick. It was fascinating. I could not put this book down!

You don’t have to start with In the Woods, French’s first book, but I think once you read one, you’ll want to read them all.

    Tell me what you think – have you read this book? Did you like it?