lisa's reviews

Reading is the only thing in the world I am good at. A lifetime of reading, fifteen years of working in bookstores, and libraries, and an obsession with the written word makes me qualified enough to talk someone's ear off about books.  Now I am getting more ARCs than I have room for in the house.  Let me get back to reading them!

Dinner, A Love Story: It all begins at the family table - Jenny Rosenstrach I enjoy a book that doesn't promise that dinner is an easy, quick meal to have. The "medicine" recipes were great, and someday (when I create an awesome dinner flow) I will happily try every other recipe in this book.
Please Don't Tell - Elizabeth Adler The more I think about it, the more this author reminds me of a high school girl writing fan fiction. The writing just isn't done well. I can't even remember why I was excited to read this book, but I was, and now I feel like I've wasted my time. The writing was bad, the dialogue was bad, the characters were bad, the plot was bad. After struggling to read 100 pages (rolling my eyes the whole way at the stilted conversations, awkward internal thoughts, and ridiculous circumstances) I gave up and skipped to the end. The killer was who I thought it would be since the character was introduced.

Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers

Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers - Pam Anderson, Judd Pilossof Some day I'll get around to trying out some of these recipes.....
Tampa - Alissa Nutting When one of the librarians asked me what this book was like, I said the only thing that came to mind. Graphic. From the very first sentence it was graphic, and it really did a good job of making me judge the character as a perverted weirdo (sorry to judge like that, but I couldn't help it). Celeste Price was a VERY unlikeable character and I wish the author had dug a little deeper into her past to make us better understand why she was so strange. This book had a rushed feel to it, like the author was racing to put out a novel. The writing was good, and I didn't mind reading about all the sex, but I would rather have gotten a better feel for the characters.
The Execution of Noa P. Singleton: A Novel - Elizabeth L. Silver Ooh, this book..... I don't know what to think of it. Do I like it, do I hate it; is it good, is it bad? I don't know yet, I don't know if I ever can decide, or if I care enough to bother.

Not my favorite, but it had its moments. I didn't quite care enough about any of the characters to be interested about what happened to them. It was kind of cool and creepy the way everything came together in the end, and I admire the author for getting all the pieces tied up together. Expect for the father, what the heck happened to the father? Also, the mom was a little too detached to be really believable. And why mention Noa's brother at all if he had no part in the greater story? Yeah, ok, this book wasn't really that great. Maybe the author's next one will be better.
A History of Food in 100 Recipes - William Sitwell I LOVED this book, full of history, and making me want to learn more about world history, but I wish there were better recipes than the vague ones offered in the little pieces about each food. However, I understand that this is more about the history of food, not the actual food that is talked about. (Although it is categorized as a cookbook in my library....)
Home Made Summer - Yvette van Boven This is one of those lovely, but smug and impractical cookbooks full of recipes that no one with a real life could ever make. Oh well, at least the pictures are beautiful.
The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World - Lynn Alley The only recipe I would be interested in trying is the Chicken in Saffron-Tomato Cream Sauce.
The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks - Amy Stewart I love any book with recipes for making my own weird cocktails. It's a bonus that this book has really interesting info on the plants that turn us alcoholic for the evening. This one I might have to buy for myself.
NOS4A2 - Joe Hill On the one hand I wanted to keep reading this book to find out what happened at the end. It was an interesting enough story, but on the other hand, the book was way, way too long. If it had been up to me I would have cut at least 300 pages, maybe more. There were a lot of scenes that I thought really didn't need to be there. I understand the author actually took out a lot of backstory that will eventually become a separate graphic novel, but he could have taken out so much more. It kind of felt like a chore (a pleasant chore, but still a chore) to read this book to the end.
The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era - Jessica Fellowes, Matthew Sturgis I LOVE this book, with its amazing pictures and fun insights into the show and the culture in England in the early 20th century! As a huge Downton Abbey fan I was thrilled to find this at the library, but I think I may have to break down and buy this book.
The Woman Upstairs - Claire Messud I can't quite believe I made it through this book without throwing it aside in disgust, but I did. The whole book annoyed me; the characters, the story, the narration, etc. I kept waiting for the story to begin, but after a hundred pages I realized that there was no story, just some woman whining about her sad life. It was a bit of a let down after I had heard such good things about this book. The thing I kept waiting to happen only happened in the last four pages, and that's where I felt like the book should have started because it was only then that I cared about what might happen next, only then the book was over. I kind of feel like I wasted my time. I should have just put it aside and read something I would enjoy.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler I might have liked this more, but the narration (and the main character) seemed off. I found the whole book a little annoying, but I can't quite put my finger on why. I found the vague memories of the main character tiresome, maybe, and I wish the story had been told from Lowell's point of view, since he seemed much more straightforward. Also, I can't stand monkeys, chimps, gorillas, etc. of any kind. I think they are creepy, which may be another reason why this book left me unsettled, since I can't imagine ever wanting to raise a chimp, or think having one in my house would be a fine idea, or think of one as my sister.
The Faraway Nearby - Rebecca Solnit This book was interesting..... every time I got fed up with it and thought about putting it aside, it got really good. I liked reading about her interpretation of fairy tales, and her essay on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Somewhat boring and much too introspective in some places, but overall a decent book.

On further reflection I am awed by how the book's chapters wind out, and then bring themselves back together. It didn't seem like much when I first thought about it, but the more I think about it, the more I think that this is a very clever, very complex way to tell a story, one that not many authors could pull off so well.
The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog - Jen Lancaster I always like reading Jen Lancaster's misadventures, but this one I sort of bored by. I don't care about Martha Stewart very much, and while I love the way Lancaster can tell a story so well that one second you want to strangle her and by the next page you are totally on her side, I didn't much care for her interpretation of Martha Stewart.
The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family - Josh Hanagarne I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would, but it was a decent read, one I will happily recommend to people, especially when they ask me what it's like to work in the public library system. I have a feeling that Josh Hanagarne is very funny in person, but some of parts of his humor seemed to fall flat on the written page. Still the things that ring true in his life jump off the page, such as his love for books, his wife, and his son. Parts of this book made me laugh, parts made me cry, parts bored me so much that I skipped over them.