Thursday, December 14, 2017

Haunted by James Patterson

I have never read a James Patterson book in my life. I never thought I would ever read a James Patterson book. Nothing against Mr. Patterson, but it is not a genre that is at the top of my reading list. That being said, there was something about the book description that caught my imagination when I was reading it on our library website; and, now having read the book. I feel my curiosity was rewarded.
In the case of this Patterson book, Haunted, it is the tenth book of the Michael Bennett series. Jumping into an author, and a series, might seem risky, but with Patterson it was very easy to do. He starts his book with enough review of the characters to have you feeling like you know where they came from, but at the same time it doesn't feel repetitious. You can get right into the story. With Haunted you end up in a town in Maine that is dealing with missing kids, dead bodies and the start of a drug war. That is a lot of issues, but again, it is nothing a Patterson-newbie can't handle. You are nicely lead through the story.
I liked the characters - the bad people are bad when they are supposed to be, and the good people are good enough to get the job done. Haunted comes to a pleasing conclusion, but at the same time, there is enough foreshadowing to let you know there will be a book 11 if you are interested. I doubt that I will go back and catch up with 1-9, but there is a chance I will read number 11 somewhere down the road.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir by Amy Tan

Tan’s new memoir demonstrates that strength and resilience can triumph against all odds.  Having lost both her father and older brother within 6 months of each other when Tan was fifteen, she manages to cope by dedicating and empathizing with her mother despite her mother’s constant threats of suicide.  Tan shares her family history and cultural heritage through letters, documents and photos.  It was fascinating to learn about her maternal grandmother’s life in China and Tan’s mother life in Shanghai…  There are lots of details that helped me understand how being raised by immigrant Chinese parents and having to live up to high expectations impact Tan as a writer.  I enjoyed the chapter on the nuances of language and was touched by Tan’s relationship with her mother towards the end of her life.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Perfect Cookie by America's Test Kitchen

This wonderful cookbook features recipes for everything from favorite cookie jar classics to new and unique cookies, brownies, and bars.  It includes step-by-step instructions, techniques, and beautiful photos for every recipe.  There are also some great tips that I think even an experienced baker can appreciate.  Though I don’t often buy a cookbook for my personal collection at home, this one is definitely going to be added to my wish list! 

Piecing Makeover by Patty Murphy

Quilters -- here's a book for you!  Are your star or triangle points getting cut off?  Does your block end up slightly the wrong size?  Do you have a bunch of bulk where seams meet?  Do you dread Y-seams?  This book has many great tips on basic quilting problems, from block piecing to sashing to borders.  If you have a specific skill you'd like to improve, or just want an overall refresher course, this is a great book to check out.