Ove is a 59 year old grump with very strong ideas of what competence and a job well done mean; he also knows when someone isn’t capable of either. His wife has passed away within the last year and now he no longer can find a reason to continue. His reluctant, growing relationship with his new neighbors, however, keeps interfering with his plans and expanding his world. (“Considering how they are constantly preventing him from dying, these neighbors of his are certainly not shy when it comes to driving a man to the brink of madness and suicide. That’s for sure.” 160)
Rainbow Rowell has effectively cemented herself into my list of favorite, must-read authors. Her characters are so authentic and likable that reading this book is like spending time visiting with old friends. The premise of this novel involves 3 characters working at an Omaha newspaper in the midst of Y2K. Lincoln is a shy, 28 year old going through a rough patch in life. He is living at home with his mother and doesn't know what he wants to do with his life.
The Beekeeper’s Ball brings us back to the beautiful Bella Vista, the apple orchard we last visited in Susan Wiggs’ novel The Apple Orchard. The dramatic story of newly united sisters Tess and Isabel, along with their grandfather, Magnus, continues to unfold.
This steam punk adventure takes place primarily in Londinium, a dangerous alternative London ruled over by the Lady and filled with all things mechanical. Periodically, the Lady longs for a son who is completely flesh and blood with no clockwork pieces. When this happens she sends someone to cross over into the other London to bring one back for her.
The Humans is a book I could reread once a year. This is a bold statement, I know, especially since the premise is an alien assassin has been sent to Earth to kill a mathematician and erase all evidence of a potentially dangerous theorem. The story and our narrator, the alien acclimating to human life, become much more. I appreciate a narrator that confides in the reader and becomes a fully developed voice in your mind’s ear. Matt Haig’s alien fills that role beautifully.
Action-packed, interesting characters, and a well-thought out plot make Pierce Brown's debut novel a winner. Darrow is the main character in this sci-fi thriller. He is a hell digger and a "red", the lowest-class human. He, and other reds, live beneath the surface of Mars where they work in the mines to prepare the surface of the planet for human habitation. What Darrow and the other reds don't know is that the surface of Mars is suitable for life. In fact, humans have been living on the surface of Mars for over a hundred years.
Jamie Ford creates a poignant recollection of history with his debut novel, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet". Henry Lee is a recent widower living in Seattle's Chinatown. The year is 1986, and yesterday's memories have assumed a place in the present with the re-opening of the majestic Panama Hotel. Artifacts found in the basement of the old hotel transport Henry back to 1942 when he was a student at Rainier Elementary serving lunch to his classmates alongside his Japanese friend Keiko Okabe. The twelve year olds attend the school on scholarship, and the
Billie Breslin decides to leave college and move to New York City, where she has an interview for a job as an assistant to the editor of the prestigious food magazine Delicious. Billie’s amazing ability to name all the ingredients in a dish by only tasting it, amazes the staff and secures her the position. It doesn’t take long for Billie to realize that she not only loves her job, but is also beginning to love the large, eccentric magazine family. Sadly, not long after she is hired, the magazine is abruptly shut down by the current owner.
There aren’t that many authors that I love. Jonathan Carroll is one of them.
Carroll writes what inevitably ends up being labeled fantasy, but is really simply our lives and emotions expressed more clearly and intriguingly than our workaday world allows for. The mutable nature of reality and the down-to-earth approach to cosmic revelations recall the works of Philip K Dick.
“Every time a human walks out of a room, something with more feet walks in.” While this might not be comforting to most people, it is a fact of life in this fantastical Victorian world, created by the award-winning author Richard Peck, where human events are often mirrored in, or perhaps mirror, what happens in the mouse kingdom.
This simple board book stars a sad looking fish and a pink sea creature who tells him not to be worried, not to be sad, not to be scared and not to be mad. It turns out all the fish needed was a little smooch, and he becomes a smiley fish again. This basic book is perfect for babies and toddlers, and teaches that smiles can be found with just a little encouragement.
This charming picture book originally published in France in 2013 is about a little girl who believes she has "superpowers". She can make things disappear (like cupcakes), make plants stop moving, and become invisible when something breaks in the house. One day she falls while "flying" and her superpowers disappear. Just like that. And her knee starts to hurt and she starts to cry. Then she learns that her mom has superpowers too! Magic kisses can make things all better again. A very pleasant book about a child and love for a parent.
This story is about four “food bloggers”, each with their own personal struggles. The four women met through their blogs and have become good friends, each helping the other get through traumatic events in their lives. Soon they will all be meeting for the first time face to face at Lavender’s birthday party.
Lavender is the 85 yr old owner of the thriving Lavender Honey Farm, in Washington State. With failing health, Lavender is struggling to find someone to take over her beloved farm. Someone who will love it as much as she has and keep it going after she is gone.
Sweeping tale of an African woman, Aminata Diallo, who is kidnapped near her village, at the age of 11, and sold into slavery in the United States. The story spans 60 years of Aminata's life from Africa to the US, then Canada, back to Africa and ending in England, where Aminata writes down her story for the Abolitionist movement in 1803, hoping to bring an end to the slave trade.
This picture book first published in the Netherlands is a gem. I loved it from the very first spread--a drawing of a bird opposite of the word yearning. Followed by hoping, expecting, marveling--each showing a beautiful bird in a stage of parenting. Each spread consists of a word opposite a bird--and the pages with words become increasingly more complex in design. When I got to the final page, letting go, I was so impressed with the beauty of the book. Mies Van Hout is becoming one of my favorite author/illustrators.
“Storywoods” blog creator Rebecca Dudley uses her expert photography and multi-media diorama art in this beautiful wordless picture book story featuring Hank, a sweet little animal of the woods. While on a walk, Hank finds an egg on the ground beneath a bird’s nest. When he fails in his valiant attempts to return the egg to the nest before nightfall, Hank cares for the egg and keeps it warm until he can try again the next day. This time, he has some help, and makes new friends as a result.
"The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion is best described as delightful, funny, and quirky. The central character, Don Tillman, has a reputation for being a rigid, highly scheduled, socially inept, and brilliant genetics professor at an Austrailian university. Tillman is single, 39 years old, and due to his social limitations, sees himself with no prospects for love. He moves to solve this dilemma through the development of an idea he dubs The Wife Project. The Wife Project involves a 16 page, double sided question
In 1950s New Orleans, Josie Moraine dreams of escaping the Big Easy and attending Smith College in Massachusetts. Unfortunately for her, this is an especially difficult task. Josie is the daughter of a French Quarter prostitute with a penchant for trouble. Josie's mother, Louise, fancies herself to be a gangster's moll and frequently gets Josie entangled in her mistakes.