Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Well, this was GOING to be a Two Dorks, One Book feature post, but SOMEONE didn’t read it. So it’s just me. Reviewing alone again. Like a solitary, non bookdorky, book blogger. Because where are you, Kelley, and what are you reading? And don’t say Wheel of Time or Outlander again! Anyway, this was the February book for our book club but lots of folks didn’t read it, apparently, except me.

midnight crossroad

So here’s what I think:

In general this was a good pick, although I really did not like the cutesy caricature names. I probably would have been able to like this story better without that (it might even have been a love!). I mean, characters should not be named Bobo or Fiji or the Rev if you expect me to take them seriously (although I do suppose that is PARTLY the point). I also felt like a couple of the characters weren’t developed enough (Olivia, Joe Strong, Madonna & Teacher, and even main character Mernardo…which I know wasn’t his name, but I read it that way anyway every DAMN time), but since this is a series, that will probably take care of itself in later novels. I suppose I can live with it.

My other complaint: the ending annoyed me. It just did. I don’t want to spoil anything, but that is NOT okay, Charlaine Harris. Not okay at all. I do not like my evil villians to fall into quite that category. Maybe it is the teacher/mom in me.

I did find the supernatural twists: leeching vampires, eccentric small-town witches, talking pets, and possibly maybe shapeshifters and angels (?) fascinating, refreshing, and fun. Overall, I liked the story, found it had a few surprises and quite a believable small town feel. My favorite parts were definitely the cat familiar (yes, cliche I know, but perfect here) and the detailing of the Cartoon Saloon. Awesome.

Will I read additional books in this series? Likely at least one (too early to say if this is a long-term commitment yet) and maybe more if I’m in a rut, or want something easy and breezy.

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Wreckage by Emily Bleeker

wreckageThis reads a little like Lost mixed with Castaway mixed with Days of our Lives. Lillian and her mother-in-law, Margaret, win an all-expenses-paid vacation to Fiji courtesy of a yogurt brand. While on the promotional trip, the two women, the pilot, a flight attendant, and an executive from the yogurt company go down in their chartered plane. Several of the passengers survive and make it to a small island. Several others do not. When the survivors are rescued a few years later, the coverups and lying begin.

I enjoyed this book, although I could see a few of the big secrets coming a mile away. It was a quick read and enjoyable, but I did wish a few of the characters were a bit more developed. I also craved a different ending, but that’s just personal preference, I think. Still, I’d recommend it, particularly as a good beach read.

This was a Kindle First promo for February and I read it for book published this year. You can get it for $1.99 for the rest of the month 🙂

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming has been winning all sorts of awards (Newbery and National Book Award). It depicts a young black family’s moves from Ohio to South Carolina to New York City amid segregation and racial violence. Woodson also tells the story of growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness and how that made her different from other children. And while those elements are all certainly present, running like an undercurrent through the memoir, they don’t interfere with or overpower the narrative of Woodson’s childhood. Instead, historical events inform and color the verse so that we can learn from the effects on the family without feeling we are being taught. Woodson’s poems are beautiful, subtle, and yet still clear and evocative of a different time.

brown girl dreaming

I even had to read this one twice. I gobbled it down once super quickly to get the story of Jacqueline Woodson’s family life down, and then a second time slowly to savor the images and the language. It was that good. Although I’m not a huge fan of free verse, some of these poems I yearned to read aloud just to hear them spoken.

My favorite is “Composition Notebook” because as a writer, I KNOW the feeling of promise a new notebook brings:

And somehow, one day, it’s just there

speckled black-and-white, the paper

inside smelling like something I could fall right into,

live there — inside those clean white pages.


I don’t know how my first composition notebook

ended up in my hands, long before I could really write

someone must have known that this

was all I needed.


I read this for book with a color in the title and also because I don’t read nearly enough poetry. I’m sure glad I did.

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The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble

I read this for my challenge book with non-human characters.

This is the story of babies left with a childless old healer woman on a mountaintop. The woman’s name is Verity, and as one might expect, she can tell no lies. One baby was delivered by a stork, Clara, and the one who was delivered in a conch shell is Maren. (And, by the way, isn’t Maren the perfect name for a mermaid?) Clara and Maren also have an orphaned half-brother who was discovered under an apple tree. That’s a lot of orphan discovery for one family but since it is fairy tale-like, I’ll suspend my disbelief about that, the mermaid baby in the conch, and the wyvern they keep as a pet. The old woman keeps the foundling girls, and her longtime love, a traveling caravan peddler, takes the apple tree baby, a boy named O’Neill. Over time they grow, and Maren the mermaid girl begins to transform into her true fishy self at sixteen. Since she cannot survive atop the mountain any longer, Clara and O’Neill must return Maren to her true home in the sea.

the mermaid's sister

This is a light-hearted and fun read with quite a few surprises and scares. Overall, I love this if only because it was a NaNoWriMo novel. I only wish it had had a series of pictures to make it even more lovely. It’s clearly meant for young adults, I’d say, but The Mermaid’s Sister was enjoyable nonetheless. It was also one of the Kindle First promotional items for $1.99 this month, so if you get it quickly, you can get it cheap 🙂

Posted in Challenges, Children's, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Fiction, Mythology, NaNoWriMo, Paranormal, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doctor Who: The King’s Dragon by Una McCormack

I read this as myking's dragon DW “based on a TV show” book for the challenge. I’d read several other Doctor Who novelizations and they’ve been pretty good. This one doesn’t disappoint if you accept it for what it is: a light read that captures and extends the stories of some of our beloved characters 😉  I could actually hear the voices of the Doctor, Amy, and Rory as they tried to save a peaceful little city covered in a mind-melding gold substance called Enamour while simultaneously trying to avert intergalactic war. Breezy and fun without requiring much thought to follow. McCormack captures the characters well. A quick, easy read.


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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Oh, I liked this one so much better than Dark Places!!! I hate when I have to do a bad review 😉

sharp objects


A not-super-good reporter at a fourth-rate paper in Chicago is sent back to her tiny hometown to do some investigative reporting. It seems little girls in Wind Gap are disappearing and then showing up murdered and missing their teeth. Camille Preaker is troublingly real and far from perfect (unlike the heroine/reporters in many crime novels), given her tendency to drink too much and ritualistically carve words into her flesh. Needless to say, growing up in that tiny town was not good for her, so she isn’t eager to go back and reunite with the family members she left behind.

At times predictable, I still enjoyed Sharp Objects quite a bit and I gobbled it up in two days. I don’t know if I’m reading too many mystery/thrillers lately or if this one just had lots of clues, but I did know whodunit considerably before the big reveal at the end. I recall a similar feeling when reading Gone Girl, although I admit I hadn’t quite figured that one out. Still, the unreliable/unlikable protagonist seems to be a thing that Flynn does well (even though I couldn’t get past that very fact when reading about Libby Day, who I should have pitied, but instead, I just couldn’t stand). Flynn gets another win with this one, and I’ll just pretend Dark Places doesn’t exist.

I read this for “popular author’s first book” for the Popsugar challenge.

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Well, this is not what I was expecting. It was a whole bunch of Martha’s Vineyard “I’m fancy” with more than a little bit of King Lear who-is-the-favorite-daughter and the Kennedys all-American family thrown in.

we were liars

So Cadence Sinclair Eastman is 15 and and blonde and rich. (I hate her already.) She and her cousins (who are also 15 and blonde and rich) and a not-really-related Indian boy friend, regularly summer on the private island owned by her uber-rich Grandpa. So they all hang out, being snooty, swimming, enjoying clambakes, and pretending they are too good for the younger siblings (who are also rich and blonde, so WTH?), while their parents and grandparents act even snootier and fight about race and divorce and who should inherit. It’s sort of icky, actually.

EXCEPT… the first lines of the story tell us that they were all lying, so we spend the entire book questioning what is actually true and what is just a lie. Maybe they aren’t all that priviliged and jerky. Maybe their summers aren’t quite that idyllic. And then…BAM! It’s like the rug is torn out from under us and we discover that NOTHING is what it seems. There are some big freakin’ lies going on and they’re painful and NOT idyllic or all-American at all. There is supposed to be this super-crazy reveal that I sort of saw coming, but then I had to question if THAT was false, so…

While I don’t think this is the best book ever written or anything, it was an interesting one and unlike anything I’ve read lately. I do think I might read it again to see what clues I can find about the lies and the sort-of-surprise ending. No love triangles, no dystopia, just YA with a twist.

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My TBR is filled with crap.

And I need a new book to read. And NOT Sarah’s Key, Audible – that book scares the shit out of me, so quit trying to shove it down my throat! Ugh, I am tired of contemporary stuff and want to read something historical, but my entire TBR is just, like, every book ever written about the Tudors. Blah. I’m in a slump.


I am thisclose to just re-reading Scarlett again.


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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach


By turns ghastly and intriguing, this nonfiction piece looks at what happens to our bodies after we die, particularly for cadavers willed to science. The realities are somewhat unsettling, but Roach treats the subject with a light, irreverent tone that reminds us we have nothing to fear once dead and no reason to try to control what happens to our bodies. After all, it is irrelevant because SOMETHING is going to happen to us all eventually, none of the choices are particularly dignified, and we won’t be around to call the shots anyway 🙂

My husband asked WHY I was reading this…I replied that I simply didn’t know. Stiff had been on my TBR for quite some time, and I was in the mood for something DIFFERENT. Well, different it is. And I loved it. It is by turns well-informed and full of useless trivia, and only a tad disturbing. It might make you gag, but Stiff likely won’t cause any sleepless nights. It’s worth a read, if you’ve ever wondered how long a dead body will actually stay preserved when embalmed, what might happen to corpses sent to universities for research, how exactly medical examiners can determine precise times of death, or what innovative new methods of body disposal might be around if you aren’t too keen on cremation or traditional burial. Fascinating.

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The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

the truth about aliceThis is a fairly typical YA book about rumors and reputations and bullies. It’s got quite a few slut-shaming incidents and scenes depicting how boys get away with sleeping around but girls never can. It’s not groundbreaking or anything, but it was an enjoyable read.

Alice seems believeably flawed and yet surprising secure for someone her age; she reminds me of a former student with her pencil skirts and her pixie cut hair and raspberry lips. Kelsie, though, she’s the one who breaks my heart because I can totally get where she is coming from. Even knowing what she has done on several occasions is wrong, she is still able to make her peace with it, all for popularity. Too real, too sad.

This was a decent book, but I doubt I’d recommend or reread it. I counted this one as my Popsugar book set in high school. And just FYI, it was definitely not about Ann B. Davis or Alzheimer’s.

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