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My Progress:

10 / 30 books. 33% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
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- California (3)
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- Georgia (1)
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- Washington, D.C.*

- Australia (1)
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- England (7)
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- Italy (1)
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My Progress:

18 / 51 states. 35% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

13 / 50 books. 26% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

20 / 50 books. 40% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

38 / 50 books. 76% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

33 / 52 books. 63% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

23 / 40 books. 57% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

13 / 40 books. 33% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

5 / 25 books. 20% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

25 / 26.2 miles. 95% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

19 / 100 books. 19% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

50 / 104 books. 48% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

39 / 52 books. 75% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

45 / 165 books. 27% done!
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Charming Epistolary Novel Warm and Fun

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

With World War II raging all around, British writer Juliet Ashton tried to lift people's spirits by penning humorous pieces for her newspaper column.  Now that the war's over, she wants to write a novel.  The only trouble is she can't for the life of her figure out what it should be about.  

When Juliet receives an intriguing letter from Dawsey Adams, a dock worker who lives on the island of Guernsey, her interest is piqued.  She's especially curious about The Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club Dawsey and his friends formed during the war as a spur-of-the-moment excuse to explain to the occupying soldiers why they were breaking curfew.  As Juliet exchanges letters with Dawsey and other colorful members of the club, she becomes fascinated by their lives, the history of Guernsey, and the people's experiences during the war.  The more she corresponds with the islanders, the more she realizes she's found not only a fascinating subject for her book but also a new crop of dear, dear friends.  

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is a charming novel told entirely in letters.  As you can tell from the plot summary, it's a character-driven tale—and what characters they are!  The beauty of this story really lies in its quirky cast.  Because of the islanders' lively personalities, the letters they write to Juliet are colorful and fun.  There isn't a lot of action to be had in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, so it feels a bit slow, especially at the beginning.  It gets better as it goes, however, and readers will soon find themselves wrapped up in the story of Guernsey.  I knew nothing at all about the island, so the historical bits interested me.  Like any book lover would, I also appreciated the novel's many nods to the power of books to bring people together, spur animated conversation, and comfort people in times of strife.  While I know plenty of people who absolutely adore this book, I ended up liking it, not loving it.  Still, it's definitely worth the read.  

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs) and violence

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

Unique Format Makes Psychological Thriller Even More Tense and Exciting

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When Nicolette "Nic" Farrell is summoned home to Cooley Ridge, North Carolina, she has little choice but to go.  The 28-year-old hasn't set foot in the tiny town on the edge of the Great Smokey Mountains for a decade.  Not since her best friend, Corinne Prescott, disappeared without a trace.  Nic isn't thrilled about returning to her childhood home in the woods, but now that her father has been moved into an assisted-living facility she needs to clean up the place and sell it.  Then she'll high-tail it back to her job and her fiancé in Philadelphia.  

Nic has barely arrived in town when Annaleise Carter, a 23-year-old local girl, goes missing.  The case bears a strange resemblance to that of Corinne Prescott, even involving some of the same players.  Nic can't bear to go through that kind of trauma again, nor does she want to see her brother's reputation dragged through the mud again.  Determined to find out what really happened to Corinne all those years ago, Nic starts digging for answers.  Can finding the truth about Corinne save Annaleise?  Are the cases even connected?  Can Nic piece it all together in time?  Or will she be the next woman to go missing from Cooley Ridge?

All the Missing Girls, a psychological thriller by Megan Miranda, offers a tantalizing mystery with plenty of twists and turns.  Using a unique backward-in-time storytelling format, it's a tense, engrossing novel that will have you speeding through the pages to see what's going to happen.  Because of the way it's told, the story does get confusing.  Overall, though, I liked the technique and felt like it added tension to the tale.  Although All the Missing Girls boasts plenty of action, it's mostly a character-driven novel, which makes it a bummer that most of its story people are difficult to sympathize with or even like.  They're just not a very appealing lot.  All considered, though, I still found this to be an exciting and compelling page turner.  I couldn't put it down.

(Readalikes:  Other thrillers by Megan Miranda)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, mild sexual content, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Honestly, I'm not sure how I acquired this one.  Hmmmm.

Disquieting Haddix Novel an Intriguing Start to New Trilogy

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Fredtown is a bright, clean village where adults and children live in harmony and love.  Twelve-year-old Rosi and her 5-year-old brother, Bobo, enjoy living in the pleasant utopia.  They know their "Fred-parents" are not their biological mother and father; they also know that they were placed in Fredtown because it was unsafe for them to live in the city where they were born.  Although Rosi and Bobo—along with the other kids in Fredtown—are curious about their origins, mostly they are content with their peaceful lives away from their biological homes.  

Then, something terrible happens.  The children are forced out of Fredtown.  Terrified, they're packed onto a plane and returned to their birth parents.  For the first time ever, Rosi, Bobo, and their friends are confronted with the ugly realities of poverty, cruelty, violence, and prejudice.  "Home" is a bleak, ruined world.  Used to comfort and affection from loving Fred-parents, Rosi and Bobo are frightened by the grim, unkind strangers who are their mother and father.

As Rosi learns to navigate life in this odd new world, it soon becomes apparent that the adults in her life are hiding some dangerous secrets.  In a world that seems built on lies, Rosi wants the truth.  And she'll stop at nothing to get it.

Children of Exile, the first book in a dystopian trilogy by Margaret Peterson Haddix, is an unsettling novel that asks important questions about identity, prejudice, love vs. hate, and nature vs. nurture.  Young readers will be drawn in not by its big themes, but by the story's mysterious, suspenseful vibe.  They'll enjoy plenty of action, interesting characters, and the constant question of what's really going on in Rosi's new world.  Although the tale is disquieting, it's not graphic, making it a safe choice for readers who enjoy dystopian stories but need PG content.  I've enjoyed many of Haddix's books and while Children of Exile certainly isn't my favorite of hers, it's still a compelling read.  Kids, especially sci fi and dystopian fans, should enjoy it.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of the City of Ember books by Jeanne DuPrau)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and scary images

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
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