Friday, July 29, 2016

Matlida by Roald Dahl

                Matilda is not your typical child.  She was able to read at an early age but the only books in the Wormwood house is the phone book.  At age 4 she starts to walk to the public library where is she is greeted by an enormous amount of books!  The librarian shows her the children’s picture books but soon realizes that Matilda is beyond picture books and shows her Great Expectations!  Matilda then moves though all the great classic novels.  Although Matilda is a smart young girl, she has horrible parents and terrible brother.  During the story we learn that her father, a used car salesman, cheats out is customers by fixing the odometer and other sneaky fixes to make the cars look better than they are.  Because of this Matilda decides to teacher her parents a lesson!  Her parents finally allow Matilda to attend school, she starts at Crunchem Hall Elementary School.  The headmistress is Miss Trunchbull; who might be worse than her parents!   
                Although Matilda attends school, she is welcomed by a wonderful teacher, Miss Honey.  Miss Honey notices how intelligent Matilda is and starts to challenge her and forge kind and caring relationship Matilda has with an adult. 

                After you read this classic children’s book, check out the movie.  It is just as good as the book!  Danny DeVito plays Matilda’s father and also directs.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

First frost is coming to Bascom, North Carolina.  The Waverly sisters, Claire and Sydney are capable women but stressing about things going on in their lives. Claire is too busy with her candy business and Sydney wants a baby along with dealing with her adolescent daughter, Bay.  Bay cares for  a boy whose father has history with Sydney. The Waverly's are interesting characters who have special talents or peculiar gifts which cause them to be outsiders in their town. A stranger arrives in town causing disruption in their lives. A little magic flows through this book and a mischievous apple tree adds humor to the story. This book follows Garden Spells and picks up the story of this family.  This book has less magic and I enjoyed it more than the first one.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Extreme Prey by John Sandford

Yes, this is Book #26 in Sandford's "Prey" series, but if you've never read them and are curious, this is an especially fun one to read.  Lucas Davenport, no longer with the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is on the campaign staff for the MN governor, who is running for president.

While on the campaign trail in Iowa, the governor gets wind of a potential assassination plot against his rival in the campaign, and asks Lucas to investigate.  The case takes him to many Iowa towns, as well as to the State Fair.

This is classic Sandford, with the added benefit of being on our own home turf, which makes the book that much more fun to read.  He evens goes to Pella!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Trap by Melanie Raabe

Linda Conrads is a reclusive novelist still traumatized by the murder of her sister twelve years ago.  Linda saw the murderer leaving the scene, but he was never caught.  When she unexpectedly spots him on TV, she is certain no one will believe her.  So she sets a trap for him in the plot of her next novel.  The Trap is a good, twisty thriller.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

I enjoy this Iowa author, and again, this book was a very good read. I could empathize with the main character, Sarah Quinlan, within the very first pages of the story. The author winds a tale of mystery that keeps you guessing and wondering who did it all through the book. The fact that Sarah's husband displays secretive behavior, makes him suspicious and adds to the suspense. When Sarah finds out that Jack's parents didn't die in a car accident and that his Aunt Julia was murdered in much the same way his mother was years ago, she begins to have questions arise in her mind. Then she finds out that her husband has not been exactly truthful with her about his past. He changed his last name after his mother's death, and he was nearly engaged to Celia, his cousin Dean's wife, when they were young. Caught up in unanswered questions, Sarah begins to investigate the past and the present of the Quinlan family. It isn't until way at the end that the reader finds out what really happened.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut

Oh boy.  What to say about Kurt Vonnegut?  To call him a satirist doesn’t even begin to give him credit.  To call his humor simply ’dark’ somehow writes off the intensity and complexity behind the jabs and jokes.  His subject in this book is Walter F. Starbuck, the lowest-level member of the Nixon cabinet, a mere youth caught up in the infamous Watergate scandal and sentenced to jail.  On his first day of freedom, he runs into old enemies, old friends, and old flames, and manages to end up on top of the world before it crumbles beneath him yet again.  Kurt Vonnegut is simply an incredible writer and beyond that, you’ll have to read the book.  Truly a new classic American novelist, or to paraphrase one critic, Mr. Vonnegut is a champion of the simple and direct style, all but lost in most modern novels.  Bravo.