Monday, May 21, 2018

Confessions of a Queen B*

By Crista McHugh, this was a thoroughly enjoyable young adult book; apparently book 1 in a series. High school hallways everywhere have a type of queen bee - usually head cheerleader, drawing everyone into her orbit out of desire to be near her. Alexis Wyndham is the other type of queen B - the queen bitch. She makes the in-crowd quiver by what she posts on her blog, using her position to help unpopular kids. Posting video of freshmen being bullied, etc. She doesn't care about acceptance, from anyone. Enter Brett, the star quarterback. They're teamed up for a unit on reproduction, or how to avoid it. It involves pretend-parenting a doll that needs changed, bottled, and burped. Head cheerleader, who claims Brett, doesn't like this. Neither does Alexis, at first. Stereotypes don't always fit.

A Joyful Break

Book one of the Dreams of Plain Daughters series by Diane Craver. This is, of all things, an Amish romance. A bit of fluff I picked up for my Kindle to read in waiting rooms. It's surprisingly good. Rachel Hershberger is an Amish young woman tending her family since her mother died at the age of 44. She is angry with her father, thinking if he had just put in a phone shanty, her mother would not have died. She feels pressured by her Amish boyfriend to get baptized and join the church, so they can marry. Samuel is a good man, a furniture maker, but is he her future? So she takes her rumschpringe to visit her Aunt Carrie, a senator's wife, to think things through. Should she join her Aunt Carrie's English family, or join the Amish church and marry Samuel?

The Grave's a Fine and Private Place

This is the ninth in the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. Flavia is now 12, and reeling from a family tragedy. Dogger, loyal servant that he is, suggests a boating trip for her and her two older sisters as a necessary escape from moping about the house. Dogger took them boating near a church where the vicar had recently been put to death for poisoning three of his parishioners with cyanide in the communion wine. Of course Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poison, is excited about this. Then, while punting near the church, dabbling her fingers in the water, Flavia hooks something. it is not the Hemingway-sized fish she first imagined, but a body. AH! The perfect remedy for sorrow, in Flavia's book, is solving a murder. Though it could bring about her own.

This may just be my favorite of the delightful Flavia de Luce series. And it leaves plenty of room for more books to come. The children and I pass these books around as we get them; they are adult fiction, but no cursing, sex, or gratuitous gore. Flavia is a worthy young heroine, especially for unschooled kids, as most of her learning (and that of her sisters) was achieved on her own. I'm hooked!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Girl in the Spider's Web

By David Lagercrantz, continuing Stieg Larsson's Millennium series, translated from Swedish by George Golding. Lisbeth Salander is back. She has hacked into some delicate, government computers. The journalist Blomkvist gets a call from a source late one night claiming to have information vital to the USA. He needs a scoop; Salander has her own agenda. Together, they go against a web of governments, cybercriminals, and spies. The price could be death.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Quiet Kids

Help Your Introverted Child Succeed in an Extroverted World by Christine Fonseca. This book provides specific strategies to teach introverted children how to thrive in a world that may not understand them, that seems designed for their extroverted peers. The book shows how to develop resiliency, self-confidence, and enhance the positive qualities of being an introvert. It addresses academic performance, bullying, and social anxiety. I had high hopes for this book, because all but one of our large family are introverted (the remaining child is an ambivert). However, I had an extremely hard time getting through it. It includes self-reflection guides, tip sheets, checklists, workbook  - style tasks, overviews, q & a sections... What text there was seemed dry to me. The tip sheets were helpful, but the rest of the book just didn't hit me where I am. Too bad.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Final Girls

A thriller by Riley Sager. When Quincy Carpenter was in college she got away for a weekend with several friends in the Pennsylvania mountains. While there, a stranger with a knife changed her life forever. He massacred her friends, leaving her with wounds running into the arms of a State Trooper in the area to search for an escapee from the asylum nearby. The escapee was quickly dispatched, and Quincy was left with a gaping hole in her memories. She was also now a member of a club she never wanted to join - girls who had survived a massacre. The media dubs them Final Girls. There are three: Lisa, Sam, and now Quincy. Fast forward ten years. Quincy seems to have gotten control of her life; her boyfriend Jeff lives with her, she has a baking blog, Coop, the State Trooper, keeps tabs on her. Then Lisa is found in her bathtub with her wrists slit and Sam blows into town to stay with Quincy and turn her life upside down. What really happened the night her friends died?

With Every Letter

This is a historical novel by Sarah Sundin, the first of the Wings of the Nightingale series. Set in WW II, Lieutenant Mellie Blake is training as a flight evacuation nurse. Lieutenant Tom MacGilliver is an engineer stationed in North Africa. They participate in a morale boosting program, writing to each other anonymously. They both have reasons to keep their identities secret, but they both need real friends. Through the letter writing campaign a friendship develops. Could it be more? Should they meet? Then they're both stationed in Algeria. Will their friendship bloom once they meet or will their fears of the past keep them from meeting? This book really resonated with me, as writing letters is how I got to know my husband in the days before computers were ubiquitous. Living in two different states we were "set up" by my college roommate, his colleague. I gave her permission to give him my address but not my phone number. And so we began. By the time we met, months later, we knew each other quite well. It's a system I would recommend.