Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman is a professor of genetics. He wants to find a wife. He also has Asperger's Syndrome or something like it and has trouble making friends, much less getting to a second date. He comes up with a Wife Project questionnaire to aid him in his search. Into his life comes Rosie, a woman who is seeking assistance in determining which of her mother's old classmates is her biological father. Rosie could not be further from Don's idea of the perfect mate, and you can guess what happens from there.

The Rosie Project is a clever and entertaining book. Although it's pretty clear how the romance is going to end, it still took some surprise turns and fully engaged me as a reader.

It was not a perfect book for me for a few reasons. At the beginning of the book, I didn't much like Don, Rosie, or Don's best friend, the philandering Gene. Eventually I got past this but it did slow down my enjoyment of the book in the early chapters.

The book is narrated by Don, and I was reminded of a criticism I read of The Big Bang Theory. The author complained that we are not laughing with the geeky nerds of the popular television show, but at them. I didn't agree with everything the author of that criticism said but thought some legitimate points were made, and they apply to The Rosie Project as well. There are many times when Don says or does something that we as readers are supposed to find funny that Don would not.

Also, in chapter eleven, Rosie convinces Don to leave a cafe without paying the bill. I believe we are supposed to see this as a sign of progress in Don, that he can stop being so rigid and such a rule follower now that he has met Rosie, but in my opinion anyone who leaves a cafe without paying the bill is just a jerk. In no way can that be considered a sign of growth, and on top of that Rosie is a part-time bartender and I did not buy that she'd be willing to stiff a waiter just because it was convenient. (There was no problem at the cafe or with the waiter.)

Still, I found it highly enjoyable and readable. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes The Big Bang Theory or quirky romance with a satisfying ending.

Simon's Cat v. the World by Simon Tofield

Simon's Cat is a well known figure on the internet. Simon Tofield has created a series of short animated videos of his cat doing cat things. As someone who knows and owns cats, I frequently find the videos hilarious.

Tofield has also published a few books featuring Simon's Cat. At the Galesburg Public Library, we have some ancient Garfield the Cat books that are still being checked out and I thought some Simon's Cat books might make good replacements.

This is a lovely book, containing beautiful color drawings with so much detail, and it is so clear that Simon Tofield also knows and owns cats. Each drawing stands alone, but all on the subject of the title: cat v. world.  Many kinds of adorable animals also make appearances. This book should appeal to almost any cat lover.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Place of Confinement by Anna Dean

Dido Kent is a spinster of 36 living in 1807 who has the unfeminine habits of thinking for herself, showing too much interest in unseemly matters like murder, and speaking her mind. She is dependent on her brothers for her living. However, she has had the good fortune of meeting and falling for a widower who, while sometimes frustrated with her, has fallen for her because of her personality rather than in spite of it. Their romance has moved slowly forward through the four books in this series. These are not books of great action, but rather character development and manners.

This is the fourth book and the best yet. This is a gentle series of romance and mystery. It is perfect for those who love Jane Austen. The romance is mostly of the meaningful glance and ardent touching of hands variety. The mystery is a set of little puzzles to be worked out.

I'm not sure how this book would come across to someone who hasn't read the first three books, but if the series intrigues a reader at all I recommend starting at the beginning anyway. I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

the first phone call from heaven by Mitch Albom

I had never read one of Mitch Albom's books before and this one makes me want to read the rest.  This is a touching story about the people in a small town who start getting calls from heaven, or are they?  That is what Sully Harding want to find out.  This book is so good, it makes you think about your belief in heaven and it is a terrific story.  I highly recommend  this book.

Burning Sky by: Lori Benton

This book is great if you like historical romance and Christian romance.  We follow a woman who was kidnapped by Indians in her childhood back to he home town.  She must decide which path to take, the life her birth parents gave her or the life she grew to know with Indian tribe that kidnapped her.  Will she let her faith guide her?  This is a good book to get lost in and enjoy.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Drone by Mike Maden

The title alone should give up a hint about this book! This is a very fast paced book! It is full of suspense, a bit of humor, and a shadowing of issues of morality....

The book explores a new way to fight wars. It does this by pulling you into the lives of Troy Pearce, a brilliant, trained CIA operative and his company Pearce Systems. 

If you enjoy thrillers that explore the developing world of technology this is truly a roller coaster read!! It is 413 pages of "what next..nooo.... now what...." I greatly enjoyed reading this and look forward to more books by this author.It also left me thinking about how countries use technology to fight their battles.
Would this be a better way or maybe not?  I hope you read this book
it indirectly guides the reader to consider  issues of right and wrong.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

I normally keep a book at work to read in the breakroom over lunch. Frequently this is a book that is okay but not that great, so I'm not tempted to take it home and read it more quickly. The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic was a breakroom book, but my reason for keeping it one was different. I enjoyed savoring it over a long period of time. Once I got into it I really enjoyed it.

It's not a perfect book. The first 80 pages or so are very slow moving, and I wondered how I'd ever make it through 560 pages. The author really sets us up to dislike the heroine Nora. She is enchanted by the Faitoren (the author's version of the Fae) and spends her time in a fog being pushed around by them. It got old, and I thought, well that would never happen to ME! I would never be captured and enchanted by fairies and married to a monster! It made it hard for me to relate to Nora.

However, once Nora escapes the book got very good. The characters kept me guessing. Nora's relationship with the other main character is complex. There is a disturbing fact from the wizard Arundiel's past that is true - it's not a falsehood or exaggeration that people tell Nora to caution her against the wizard. I really was not sure where the plot was going.

I've seen The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic compared to Discovery of Witches, but I enjoyed it so much more. Nora doesn't need a magical powerful man to fall in love with and hand her life over to. She is a strong independent woman who manages to forge relationships while hanging on to that independence and her own spirit.

I recommend this to any fans of adult fantasy - just keep going until Nora escapes. I found it totally worth it.


The end was a bit anti-climactic, but that's because we were set up for a sequel. I am very much looking forward to one!

Note: It took me a long time to get through it, but I read an advance reader copy.