16 April 2018

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: 4 Short Book Reviews

4 mini book reviewsI had my last busy, busy week of work and then ran full-speed into my annual spring lace-making workshop. Yikes! I think I'm going to need a vacation from my vacation!

I didn't think I'd get much reading or listening time last week, but I ended up finishing two books and and listening to two more. Okay, so one of the audiobooks was only two hours long, but still . . .

I was inside lacing during all the beautiful warm weather and emerged from the workshop just in time for the cold and rain. Oh well, plenty of nice days ahead.

Because last week was kind of crazy, my short reviews are going to be even shorter than normal.

  • reviews: Mrs. by Caitlin Macy; Dictionary Stories by Jez BurrowsMrs. by Caitlin Macy (Little, Brown; Feb. 13): The story revolves around three couples who seem to have little in common beyond the fact that they send their children to the same exclusive preschool in New York's Upper East Side. As we get to know the parents better, we discover layered ties among them, deep secrets, and the pressures of keeping up with the 1-percenters. I didn't connect well to the characters and was less impressed than other reviewers who compared Mrs. to Big Little Lies. You might do better. Vanessa Johansson did a good job narrating the unabridged audiobook (Hachette Audio; 10 hr, 8 min), but her rich, expressive performance couldn't really save the story for me. (freelance assignment)
  • Dictionary Stories: Short Fictions and Other Findings by Jez Burrows (Harper Perennial; April 10). Burrows's clever collection of short pieces (including drawings) is composed almost entirely from the sample sentences you find in the dictionary to show how a word is used in context. It's hard to explain, but this book is such a delight for anyone who loves words. My already good relationship with the dictionary has been altered forever. Don't miss this book. Oh I think it'd make a great graduation gift too. (copy provided by the publisher)
  • Reviews: Creature of the Pines by Adam Gidwitz; Loyalty in Death by J. D. RobbThe Creature of the Pines by Adam Gidwitz (Dutton BYR; April 10). This book, the first in the new Unicorn Rescue Society series, is geared for young middle grade readers and offers fun and diverse characters as well as good action-adventure. What if mythical creatures were real and needed humans to save them from trouble? Kids (and their parents) will love timid Elliot and gutsy Uchenna, cheering them on as they save a Jersey Devil from the bad guys. Your big decision will not be whether to read Creature of the Pines but whether to read it in print or on audiobook (Listening Library; 2 hr, 12 min). January LaVoy's absolutely fantastic performance is not to be missed. She created a variety of engaging voices, built the tension, and amped up the action. The print book, though, has some great illustrations: decisions, decisions. (Check out the video for more on the series; auidobook provided by the publisher.)
  • Loyalty in Death by J. D. Robb read by Susan Ericksen (Brilliance Audio; 12 hr, 15 min). This ninth in the In Death series was written in 1999 and was slightly creepy, considering it involves massive terrorist bombings in New York City. Although the bad guys are political terrorists and the story is set in the future, it was still kind of eerie to be listening to this book in a post-9/11 environment. Anyway, I still love the characters and their continuing personal growth as much as I like the mysteries and author Robb's vision of the future (including technology). (personal copy)
And finally, here is the promised video:


Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 4/16/18, 7:13 AM  

Well, I'd sort of had half an eye on Mrs, but thrilled I can scratch it off the list - thank you!

Molly 4/16/18, 7:16 AM  

I think I might give Mrs. a shot. I'm always curious how the "other half" lives, and I did enjoy Big Little Lies :)

Dictionary Stories sounds like a unique read.

bermudaonion 4/16/18, 8:35 AM  

I need a copy of Dictionary Stories!

Susie | Novel Visits 4/16/18, 8:46 AM  

Hope your lace turned out lovely! Mrs. was the only one of these on my radar and I'm happy to see your review. I'll probably skip it. Seems like a theme that has been done too often recently.

JoAnn 4/16/18, 9:28 AM  

Glad you enjoyed the workshop. Your lace photos always amaze me... such intricate work. Too bad about Mrs.

Laurel-Rain Snow 4/16/18, 9:59 AM  

I already have Mrs., so I plan to give it a go. Sometimes I love what others do not...and vice versa.

Enjoy your week and your reading, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

Kathy Martin 4/16/18, 11:21 AM  

I love the J. D. Robb series but have never tried it on audio. We had perfect reading weather given that there was a snow storm! in April! this past Sunday. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Kay 4/16/18, 3:28 PM  

I remember thinking the same thing when I listened to Loyalty in Death last year. Very odd and a bit creepy. I've thought about reading Mrs. - may still just won't rush.

Greg 4/16/18, 4:04 PM  

The Unicorn Rescue Society sounds awesome.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 4/16/18, 8:17 PM  

Dictionary Stories certainly sounded interesting to me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Nise' 4/16/18, 9:32 PM  

I picked up Mrs. and just couldn't get in to the story. Love the In Death series.

Susan @ The Book Bag 4/16/18, 9:44 PM  

I love the JD Robb series and especially love listening to them. I love the characters too and the stories are different enough that I don't feel like I'm just reading the same thing over and over.

Happy reading!

Yvonne 4/16/18, 9:55 PM  

It's been awhile since I've read the JD Robb series. I only read the first couple, but I really liked them. Hope you have a great week!

Vicki 4/17/18, 2:34 PM  

Glad you enjoyed the workshop! All those books are new to me.

Anonymous,  4/18/18, 12:57 PM  

That's so disappointing about Mrs.! That was one I had been hoping to pick up.

Daryl 4/23/18, 11:29 AM  

i love catching up with your blog .. i literally just finished The Nightingale and need to take a break because it so deeply affected me .. there are several good palate cleansers in this post, thanks

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