Book Review – Defending Jacob

Did you like tv courtroom dramas?  If so, you will probably love this book.  It’s very easy to read.  I finished it in a couple of days.
Jacob is a teen accused of murder.  His dad is the district attorney.  The main focus of the book is what it’s like for a family to live through a trial.  But the question of Jacob’s guilt or innocence will keep you guessing long after you finish the book.  And the ending?  Ya’ll…there’s a twist.  It surprised me and I rarely get surprised by a book.


Book Review – The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

I find book suggestions in lots of places. Here’s how I stumbled onto this gem.


I was reading Jen Hatmaker’s blog.  She mentioned something about ‘waiting for the new Alan Bradley book”.  I immediately began checking Amazon.  Who the heck is Alan Bradley?  I had never even heard of the guy.


People, I spend a whole lot of time in the library.  (I am a pathetic, well-read soul.)  There are lots of authors I don’t read but very few that I don’t at least recognize by name.


But Alan Bradley had flown under my radar.


This is his first book.  There are at least 3 more. (Yay!!!!)  He was in his seventies before he wrote this.  Doesn’t that just give you hope?


The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a ‘cozy’ mystery.  That means there is a dead person but not a lot of gore, carnage, violence, etc.  And, really, who needs all that nonsense?


The book is set in the 1950’s.  The main character is Flavia de Luce.  She is an 11 year old chemistry wiz and detective. She has two older sisters she doesn’t particularly like and an aloof single father.  They live in a crumbling old English estate.  I know that description sounds like this book is gonna be pure drivel but trust me here.  Flavia’s  character is written so cleverly.  You will love her face off.

So there’s a dead guy.  There’s a famous stamp.  Some other stuff happens.  Go read it.  You won’t be sorry

Book Review – Beautiful Ruins

Book Review – Beautiful Ruins



Bender pondered the wine in his hand.  “A writer needs four things to achieve greatness, Pasquale:  desire, disappointment, and the sea.”

“That’s only three.”

Alvis finished his wine.  “You have to do disappointment twice.”


“Stories are people.  I’m a story,  you’re a story…your father is a story.Our stories go in every direction, but sometimes, if we are lucky, our stories join into one and, for a while, we are less alone.”

If, after reading those two quotes, you have no desire to read this book, I honestly don’t know what the heck is wrong with you.

Beautiful Ruins is a great story.  It has interesting  characters and it moves back and forth between stories and time periods pretty seamlessly.  Lots of authors can’t pull that off.

This is the story of a young Italian man, an American actress and Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

No, seriously.  Part of the story is set during the filming of Cleopatra.

It’s part love story, part coming of age novel, part Hollywood gossip stuff.  It’s just good.  Read it 🙂

Book Review – Wild

Here is my non-fiction for the month of March.  I am only one month behind which is pretty awesome considering my track record with these  kinds of resolutions.
Wild is the story of Cheryl Strayer.  Cheryl loses her mother and kinda goes nuts.  She is young and married.  The grief consumes her and sends her into drug use, divorce, and lots of ill advised relationships with bad men.  I am not suggesting that grief over a lost loved one is an excuse for this type of behavior.  But, honestly, I can’t imagine life without my mom so I am giving Cheryl a pass here.  Mom loss just has to be different and I have no intention of judging her grief process.
Cheryl decides to save herself by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.  She doesn’t know a whole lot about hiking so she doesn’t have an easy time of it.
If Cheryl had made this hike last year and written a book about it, I would have hated it.  I am over the stunt book.  But she hiked the PCT in the early 90’s.  So it’s pretty evident she never intended to make the trip just to write a book about it.

Book Review – Quick Takes

More Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell.  I love these books but I gotta take a break.  I am at maximum saturation with Sherlock.  I will probably read the next one when Elementary goes on hiatus for the summer.  Have you watched Elementary?  You seriously should.

Don’t over think this one.  It’s the nineteenth installment in the series.  NINETEENTH.  I try to think of every one of these books as an episode of a television show.  Not much changes for the characters.  The story doesn’t advance all that much.  But it is entertaining as heck and that’s ok.