Month: November 2013

Book Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline


Rating: 4 / 5

Molly Ayer is in the foster system, and close to aging out.  She’s having a rough time with her current foster parents, and after a petty offense, has one last chance to stay out of juvie.  Molly needs to complete 50 hours of community service, and through her boyfriend’s mom, she completes her hours by helping Vivian Daly, an elderly woman, clean out her attic. (more…)

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Rating: 3.5 / 5

Identical twins Cath and Wren are best friends and each other’s support system.  However, it is now freshman year at college, and Wren wants to room with someone else; she wants to discover who she is besides being a twin.  Cath, however, is having a much harder time adjusting.  Naturally shy and an introvert, Cath has never lived her life apart from Wren. Cath’s life revolves around Simon Snow; she has read every book several times over, (more…)

Book Review: Champion by Marie Lu


Rating: 5 / 5

Warning: Contains spoilers

Aligned with the Republic once again, June is Princeps-Elect, and Day has a position within the military.  The Republic and the Colonies are working on a peace treaty, but before one can be put in place, an outbreak of the plague occurs in the Colonies, and, thinking that it is the fault of the Republic, war is now imminent.   (more…)

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

burial rites

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Agnes Magnusdottir is staying with a local family in Iceland while awaiting her execution.  She and Fridrik Sigurosson have been convicted of murdering two men, her former employer and his friend.  It is Iceland in the late 1820s, and there are no prisons, so one local government official has been tasked with holding her custody on his farm until her execution date.  One of the few rights Agnes has as a prisoner is access to a priest, and she requests Toti.   (more…)

Book Review: The Violets of March by Sarah Jio


Rating: 4 / 5

Nearly a decade ago, Emily Wilson was the ‘it’ girl.  She had a wildly successful New York Times bestseller and had married a wonderful guy.  Today, however, things have changed; her husband admitted that he has been seeing someone else and wants to pursue that relationship, and for years she has plagued with writer’s block, and has not written a second novel.  With her divorce papers freshly signed, she flees New York City to Bainbridge Island off the West Coast, to her Aunt Bee’s house.  Although Bee is not her real aunt, she has been a constant presence in Emily’s life, and as a child, Emily had spent many summers at Bainbridge Island.  While spending the month there, she comes across a red velvet diary and opens up the mystery about her Aunt Bee, my mother, and a tragic incident that happened in the 40s.

The Violets of March is a cute and quaint story about a woman’s journey to heal herself and move forward with life. Emily is a likable character; I wouldn’t go so far as to say she is strong, but she is resilient and more often than not, rational.  She is a good mechanism to get the real story going, which is the mystery with Bee’s past, and why is she so hesitant to tell Emily the truth. The only grip I had with The Violets of March (and it was a minor one) is that I felt Emily rushed right back into a relationship.  She was married to Joel for years, and in less than two weeks, she was already involved with someone else.  I know in real life there are no timelines for these things, but it felt too contrived and rushed.

I enjoyed both story lines, but the events documented in the diary and its author were far more fascinating.  I kept turning the pages waiting to figure out how Esther’s story and her life intertwined with Bee’s and the residents on Bainbridge Island.  I’m on the fence about the ultimate ending, but the journey Jio takes the reader on is moving and emotional.  The Violets of March is an easy and enchanting read and can quickly be devoured in one sitting.

Other Sarah Jio books:
Blackberry Winter
The Bungalow

Book Review: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy

love dogs

Rating: 3.5 / 5

In Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows, Joy discusses carnism, which is the belief that humans eat animals without knowing why. Joy highlights the irony in the fact that animals humans normally keep as pets are abhorrent to eat, but other animals are not; in America, it is outrageous to eat dogs and cats since they are considered pets (and sometimes family members), but the majority of people who own pets are comfortable eating beef, pork, and chicken.   (more…)

Book Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion


Rating: 5 / 5

On paper, Professor Don Tillman seems perfect: he has a stable  and professional job, is incredibly intelligent, fit, and can cook.  However, he is socially inept and awkward, and has come to the conclusion that he will never get married or have children.  He knows that statistically, there is someone for everyone, and thus embarks on The Wife Project: a questionnaire that every potential partner must complete so he can evaluate compatibility.   (more…)