Friday, November 29, 2013

A Reliable Wife: A review

Author: Robert Goolrick
Info: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, copyright 2009, 291 pages

Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for "a reliable wife." But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man's devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt a passionate man with his own dark secrets has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways.

With echoes of "Wuthering Heights" and "Rebecca," Robert Goolrick's intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Ralph Truitt wants a wife.  He wants to start over.  Move beyond the past and built a future with someone that is reliable.  When Catherine responds to Ralph's ad in the paper, thinks start to look up.  But Catherine isn't all she seems, and Ralph must confront his past before he has any hope of moving on.  Unfortunately for Ralph, confronting your past can be dangerous.

The Awesome
More than any book I've read, the setting really becomes a character in the story.  The cruel weather of rural Wisconsin mirrors the cold hearts of both Ralph and Catherine followed by the hope of spring, something new and beautiful.  Goolrick makes you feel the cold, the isolation, the desperation.

The Not So Awesome
The setting is about the only awesome thing.  The characters are awful, the deception disgusting, and there was entirely too much sex for my liking.  I think I'll stick to my relatively chaste teen books.  The author likes to describe detail, and on several occurrences I felt like I was rereading the same thing over and over.  In fact, a couple of times I had to stop because I thought my bookmark had been moved and I was reading chapters for a second time.

So this was a book club selection.  I most definitely wouldn't have picked it up on my own.  In all fairness, the book is well written, and the person who penned the book cover blurb did an amazing job.  If I could find time to read more adult novels, I might actually have picked this up after the description.

While I didn't really enjoy this particular story, I'm glad I read it.  It forced me to step out of my comfort zone, and it has given me another suggestion for reader's advisory.  If you like cold, depressing, romance novels, perhaps this is just the book for you. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Eat Lots of Turkey

Here's wishing you a tasty, relaxing, blessed Thanksgiving! 
 Eat lots of turkey, but make sure to leave some room for dessert :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Uncommon Criminals: A review

Author:  Ally Carter
Info: Diseny-Hyperion, copyright 2011, 298 pages

A review in 10 words or less:  Ancient family history is about to get between Kat and the prize of a lifetime.

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown

Kat Bishop is back.  Both in the sequel and in the general plot of the book.  After the escapade at the Henley in Heist Society she has decided to leave the family business, sort of, and use her thieving talents to retrieve priceless works of art to return them to their rightful owners.  When a sweet old women begs for her help to retrieve a diamond that was stolen from an archaeology site her parents discovered when she was a child, Kat decides to do the impossible.  The diamond is curse, and the players aren't quite what they seem.

The Awesome

Kat is a force to be reckoned with.  She's wicked smart, super crafty, and has nerves of steel.  Despite her fear of commitment and illegal hobbies, she has a heart of gold.  She loves family, respects her friends, and tries to do good, or reverse bad...right wrongs?  You get where I'm going.  It sounds weird to say, but each thief is kind of selfless.  They're kind of like musketeers.  All for one and one for all.  Leave no man behind.  I've got you babe.  Okay.  I'm done.  I just really like this crew.

Carter does an excellent job creating suspense.  She leaves you wanting more and keeps you guessing.  The author sets the scene that feels very much like a good old fashioned caper.  Think The Great Muppet Caper.  (This review is getting out of hand :)

The Not So Awesome

Much like the Oceans Eleven movies, information is revealed, but not all of the information.  When the action actually happens it's a bit too much of a surprise.  How did they get here?  Why does this feel like it's coming out of left field?  Kat's the main character, but the story lives a little too much in her head.

Despite the few not-so-awesome points, I completely adored this sequel.  Carter creates strong, independent, stubborn female characters that I absolutely adore.  The pacing is perfect and the dialogue is witty.  What else could you want?

For a genuinely fun read, check out the Heist Society series by Ally Carter.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top 10 Things I Am Thankful For

 Top Ten Things I Am Thankful For
(Book related...or not :)

I'm all for giving Thanksgiving some love.  The ever encroaching Christmas season is probably one of my biggest holiday pet peeves.  I love Christmas.  I love what Christmas celebrates.  I love the lights and the music.  I love the hunt for the perfect present and trimming a beautiful tree.  But all in good time people!  Why not enjoy season as it comes...not two months in advance.  So I was super excited to see that the Top Ten feature was highlighting one of my favorite holidays.
Here's a few things I'm thankful for (in no particular order):

1) I'm thankful that somewhere in me I discovered a love of reading, an appreciation for the written word.  Books not only allow me to live many lives, but they force me to expand my imagination and bring a smile to my face.

2) I'm thankful for finding a career that I'm passionate about.  I don't necessarily love going into work every day, but I believe what I do makes a difference.  I get to help change lives, and I am forever surrounded by people who are changing mine in positive ways.

3) I'm thankful for a family who, while they might occasionally make me a little crazy (love you!), support me through thick and thin.

4) I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had to travel, to see the world, to expand my horizons, and I look forward to the adventures to come.

5) I'm thankful for being apart of a pretty amazing blogging community.  For getting to communicate and share with others who believe in creativity and sharing their passions.

6) I'm thankful for a group of friends (both near and far) who support me and push me to be better, dream bigger.

7) I'm thankful that I haven't lost all of my hearing after standing in front of the speakers at more live concerts than I can count.  Sure...there's a specific tone I can no longer hear, but is it really important to hear the beep when the copy machine is out of paper?

8) I'm thankful for those who also enjoy inserting the well-timed movie quote or pop culture reference into their lives.

9) I'm thankful for a faith that is never ceasing, a love from a Heavenly Father that is unconditional and forever.

10) I'm thankful for you, dear reader, for stopping by.  Thanks for reading and listening, and thank you for the comments and encouragements.  Here's to a long and lasting friendship.

Happy reading!  (and HAPPY THANKSGIVING)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Q & A: Librarians as Leaders

Thanks for joining us for today's Q & A: The Librarian Way!  This week we're discussing library stereotypes.  There are so many.  Apparently all we do all day is sit behind a desk and read!  But that's how certain members of our community view us, so how can we combat the stereotypes and show the people we work with that we are leaders, innovators, dreamers, and collaborators?


Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Flat" Mike Sees the City

Much to my disappointment I can not, in fact, catch the subway to work here in Indianapolis.  I woke up the other day, having just returned from my pretty darn awesome trip to New York City, and couldn't believe I actually had to get into a car to go somewhere.  Total bummer!

Here are some pics from the latest adventure.  The biggest lesson learned..."Flat" Mike is just plain boring compared to the real thing.  While he was basically with me in spirit, it just wasn't the same.  I missed the little guy.  I'm 100% positive, however, that I would not have been allowed in several touristy locations with him in tow.  Seeing as how you basically have to undress for security every time you enter a building, foot tall ceramic garden gnomes would more than likely be construed as a weapon :)  "Flat" Mike served his purpose though, and many stories could be told of Emily's Adventure in New York.

The quick and (not so) dirty on the trip:
  • Traveling through NYC feels very similar to getting lost in a foreign country.  The tightly packed city was so much more diverse than I was prepared for.  English was, by far, the minority language and everyone seemed to speak in an awesome accent.  I met several Australians (who don't just go on vacation... they GO on vacation) and had my picture awkwardly taken (or stolen) with a gentleman of Asian descent on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.
  • Manhattan was much cleaner than I expected.  I did see rats and maybe almost screamed, but I didn't cause too much of a ruckus.
  • Broadway is awesome.  Cute boys on Broadway are even more awesome.  I got to see Newsies and First Date, and both were spectacular!
  • I will never, EVER, say again that I want to spend New Year's Eve in Times Square.  Too much crazy and way too many "interesting" smells.
  • My fashion choices would not fly for more than a weekend in the big city.  But then again, I already knew that...
It's' true, the city never sleeps and everything is at your fingertips which is pretty darn cool.  So in memory of a fantastic trip, I'm going to drive with my hand permanently attached to the horn of my car, use street directions as guidelines, and walk quickly and with purpose everywhere I go.  Oh New York City...I'm going to miss you. 
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