Paper Towns by John Green

Posted March 29, 2015 By Jandy

Young AdultPaper Towns by John Green Paper Towns
John Green (1977- ); Dutton Books 2008

High school graduation is only a few weeks away. Quentin Jacobson hangs out with his friends Ben and Radar, all three of them geeks. Q’s neighbor and crush, Margo Roth Spiegelman, is part of the in crowd. She’s dating the football hero. Q watches Margo from afar.

Then one night Margo shows up at Q’s bedroom window. Her boyfriend is cheating on her, her best friend always puts her down, and the class bully needs to learn a lesson. She needs a driver and Q is it. They spend the night pranking the people who have done her (and in the case of the bully, Q) wrong. The next day Margo packs some things, takes her car, and disappears. Read the remainder of this entry »

Lessons of a Lowcountry Summer by Rochelle Alers

Posted February 11, 2015 By Jandy

Paranormal RomanceGeneral FictionLessons of a Lowcountry Summer by Rochelle Alers Lessons of a Lowcountry Summer
Rochelle Alers; Pocket Books 2004

Sometimes life gets so chaotic that a brief escape is necessary. Three people spend their summer on small McKinnon Island just off the South Carolina coast taking the respite they need.

Dr. Hope Sutton, psychologist, has an advice column to help people with relationship issues. She believes she has a good life. She is in a committed relationship and is offered a radio program. Then she learns her partner is not as committed as she thought. She needs to reexamine her life and deal with some medical issues. She decides to spend the summer in the home her grandmother left her on McKinnon Island. Read the remainder of this entry »

Hickory Dickory Death by Agatha Christie

Posted February 1, 2015 By Jandy

Historical MysteryHickory Dickory Death by Agatha ChristieHickory Dickory Death
Agatha Christie; Pocket 1981

aka Hickory Dickory Dock

Things are being stolen at the Hostel for Students on Hickory Road. The Matron, Mrs. Hubbard, is the sister of Hercules Poirot’s secretary. It’s quiet in the office for now, so Poirot agrees to meet with Mrs. Hubbard and perhaps investigate at the Hostel.

The missing items are a hodgepodge of things from the different students. There are different women’s beauty items – a lipstick, a scarf, and the like. A stethoscope was pinched. A rucksack (backpack) was found cut to pieces in the basement. A cook book, one shoe, some over the counter medicine, and more have all disappeared in the past two or three months. Someone vandalized a foreign student’s thesis by spilling ink on it. Read the remainder of this entry »

Julie and Romeo by Jeanne Ray

Posted January 26, 2015 By Jandy

General FictionJulie and Romeo by Jeanne Ray Julie and Romeo
Jeanne Ray; Onyx 2001

Feuding families are a constant in the world. It’s inevitable that when some family members try to cross those boundaries, things are going to explode. That’s the basis of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and countless stories both before and after it was published. Jeanne Ray even uses a play on the famous title, Julie and Romeo, so the reader knows the book is about romance and feuding families. Ray’s twist? Three generations of the Cacciamanis and the Rosemans are feuding. It’s the middle generation that falls in love in this tale. Read the remainder of this entry »

In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner

Posted January 20, 2015 By Jandy

General FictioninhershoesIn Her Shoes
Jennifer Weiner; Washington Square Press 2003

Jennifer Weiner tells the story of a pair of sisters who break out of expectations and find themselves. Rose has always been the good girl who studied hard in school then went on to a high powered job. Maggie has always been the wild child who barely finished high school. She has great clothes and beauty sense, but no education or training for any work. Neither realize that she has some of her sister hiding away inside her. Read the remainder of this entry »


General FictionThe 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Jonas Jonasson; Hyperion 2012

Translated by Rod Bradbury

“Allan Karlsson didn’t ask much of life. He just wanted a bed, lots of food, something to do, and now and then a glass of vodka.” That life philosophy has kept Allan going for 100 years. Why should he change now?

This centenarian out Gumps Forrest Gump*. Throughout his long life Allan leaves and returns to Sweden, treks the Himilayas, works in Los Alamos, spends years in a Russian gulag, meets leaders of state throughout the world, and is an international spy. Read the remainder of this entry »


General FictionColorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki MurakamiWhen he was 22, Tsukuru Tazaki was on the edge of suicide. One of his four closest friends called him at university in Tokyo. He was not welcome to see any of the others again. When Tsukuru asked why, he was told to examine his conscious and he would understand. He knows nothing more than the two boys and two girls he had spent his teen years with in the Nagoya area never talk to him again.

Now he’s 36, still living in Tokyo, designing railroad stations. He has been drifting in his personal life since he finished school and took the job he enjoys. He has started a new relationship with Sara Kimoto. She wants to learn more about him, returning him to his past memories. The five teens had been very tight friends. His memories were good ones before the phone call. Read the remainder of this entry »

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Posted November 29, 2014 By Jandy

Historical FictionThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoevskyBrothers Karamazov
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky; Random House Publishing Group 2003

This version was translated by Andrew H. MacAndrew

In The Brothers Karamazov the defense attorney says about the prosecuting attorney, “”Also, he goes in for rhetoric too much, and those long sentences..”

For the modern reader, that statement is one of the problems with Fyodor Dostoevsky’s work. It is extremely true of The Brothers Karamazov. This is an interesting Russian novel – or would be if abridged in about half. When the action is moving and the characters are interacting I enjoy reading The Brothers Karamazov. Then Dostoevsky goes off into philosophical discussions that go on and on and on. The worst is the religious discussion discourse Ivan Karamazov has with his younger brother Alexi about a third of the way through the novel. I was determined to read every page of this book but that was one of the times I was sorely tempted to skip ahead. Read the remainder of this entry »

Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood

Posted November 20, 2014 By Jandy

Maddaddam by Margaret AtwoodMaddaddam starts where Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood end. If you  Science Fictionhaven’t read those books yet, I recommend you put this one down and start with either of them. Like the first two,  Maddaddam tells the current story with a lot of flashbacks to what happened before the world fell apart.

Toby and Zeb are the elders of the small community of survivors. She had been a God’s Gardener, a pacificist, until everything fell apart. She quickly learned to defend herself and the people with her. Now she is the only person in their group with a rifle. They also have a few spray guns for defense. Zeb had been a MaddAddamite, an eco-terrorist. He now has one of the spray guns and is the strongest in the group. Read the remainder of this entry »

Emily, Alone by Stuart O’Nan

Posted November 18, 2014 By Jandy

Historical FictionEmily, Alone by Stuart O'Nan Emily, Alone
Stewart O’Nan; Viking 2011

Emily Maxwell has been a widow for a couple years. She lives alone in her  comfortable home in Pittsburgh, doesn’t drive, goes out for breakfast once a week with her sister-in-law Arlene, has her elderly dog Rufus, and has a housekeeper in once a week. When she has to go out on her own she takes a cab. She reads, potters around the house, and looks forward to when she’ll see her children and grandchildren again. Her children are now middle aged and her grandchildren are in high school and college.

When Arlene collapses at the breakfast buffet, Emily has to take responsibility. She had depended on her husband for the big things for years. She was coping fine, but with Arlene now in the hospital, Emily has more to take on herself. Thanksgiving and Christmas are near. She knows her son and his family won’t leave her family in Boston for Thanksgiving. Her daughter and her family may or may not make Thanksgiving, but they should come from Michigan for Christmas. If the children don’t come, she and Arlene can go to the club for holiday meals. Read the remainder of this entry »

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

Posted October 24, 2014 By Jandy

General FictionSisterland by Curtis SittenfeldDaisy and Violet Shramm, twins, were born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. After they grew up, they left St. Louis. Violet came back after six months. Daisy was gone many years before she moved back and married. She and her husband jeremy have two children. She changed her name to Kate and she stays at home with their two young children. Violet now makes her living as a psychic.

Both girls were born with “senses”. When they were young they both could see things in their head before they happened. In middle school, Daisy learned to hide those senses. She didn’t want to be different. But their secret got out and the twins spent their middle school and high school years being teased for being witches. After they left home, Violet encouraged her senses. Daisy changed her first name and continued to keep them quiet from her friends. Read the remainder of this entry »

The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler

Posted October 22, 2014 By Jandy

General FictionThe Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler The Beginner’s Goodbye
Anne Tyler; Random House 2012

Aaron likes to walk in his Baltimore neighborhood with his wife Dorothy. She’s dead now, but she still joins him at times.

When he was two, Aaron had a flu like illness that left his right leg and arm crippled. He doesn’t let that or his occasional stutter stop him. His mother worried over him before her death and his sister has taken over. When Aaron meet Dorothy for the first time, he immediately falls in love. She’s a practical, independent radiologist. She joins him for dinner to discuss the writing project he offered her, not realizing he had asked her on a date. She doesn’t try to mother him and he doesn’t try to use her as his personal physician. They marry and have a normal happy life together.

Now a tree has fallen on their house, crushing Dorothy. Read the remainder of this entry »