Title: Slice of Life
Author: Chris Rogers
Length: 390 pages
The fourth novel in the Dixie Flannigan series, Slice of Life is actually only the second Chris Rogers book that I’ve read. I usually keep strict enforcement of the rule that I read a series in order, but I had it on good authority (from the author) that even though each book follows chronologically, the stories stand completely on their own.
Having enjoyed Bitch Factor so much, I took a risk and decided to jump ahead to the book that was sitting there in my hands rather than wait to come across the in between titles.
I’m glad I did. Rogers was right about her work, each story stands alone quite nicely. Sure, a lot of things had happened since the first book, but they were briefly alluded to and I didn’t feel like I had missed anything at all. Nor did I feel like she was retelling a previous story (like some authors do in their flash backs to prequels) when referencing occurrences from the first title.
Rogers has an effortless storytelling style that fits well in the mystery/suspense genre. She’s a true artist. And not just in storytelling. If I remember correctly, when chatting about her books at the signing we had at the Half Price Books Humble store, she paints and designed the picture used in Slice of Life. The book is set in the Galveston art scene with a bit of gambling and a few dead bodies, so I thought the cover suited the story quite nicely and really shows off the talents of the author.
Even though I have broken the cardinal rule and ‘skipped to the end’ I plan to go back and read the second and third books when I find them. Rogers has hinted at some interesting history between the characters that I’d like to know in more detail, without giving away any previous tales endings.
Okay, I’m going to admit something an author should probably never admit: As a child, I didn’t like to read. It’s not that I had problems decoding—I just would rather have been doing something else. Like playing ball outside, or watching TV. I was one of those people (cringe), who used to say, “I’ll watch it (the book) when the movie comes out.”
Title: Mercy Watson Fights Crime
Author: Kate DiCamillo
I heard a rumor that Kate DiCamillo used to work for Half Price Books. With that being said, and me being an event coordinator for the company, I am bound and determined to get her in my store. So of course, I have to read everything she wrote aloud to my daughter in the interim.
And the kiddo loved Mercy Watson. It’s an easy reader chapter book with lots of pictures, and after sitting through countless Magic Tree House books, her attention span is right on par with these pig stories.
I highly recommend Mercy Watson books for toddlers on up to kiddos who can read this for themselves (8 years?). Mercy is highly entertaining as are her co-stars.
And for the Adults in the room…
Title: Don’t Die By Your Own Hands
Author: Reeshemah Holmes
I booked nutrition coach Reeshemah Holmes for a book signing at Half Price Books in Humble. The signing was just last night and she was kind enough to give me a copy of her book to read and review.
It truly is a busy person’s guide. It’s just shy of 70 pages and depending on your reading speed could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to conquer. I read it right before heading to bed after coming home from the signing.
It’s a great motivational tool for those who have already selected a diet plan; encouraging them not with a specific diet, but the tools to stick to the diet they’ve chosen as a lifestyle rather than a fad.
Don’t Die By Your Own Hands is definitely worth while for anyone wanting to change their life but uncertain of their power to do so… or someone who is convinced that they can change at any time, but haven’t changed yet.
For homeschooling parents who read my blog, this is also a good book to hand your teens as a lifestyle guide to follow their sports/ P.E. programs and rituals. There’s a lot of good advice about handling goals, nutrition, and staying healthy mentally in order to stay healthy physically.
2. Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games movie came out on Netflix and my husband really wanted to watch it. But I have a rule in my house about watching movies before I read the books, which goes like this: I don’t. I did want to see the movie, but I feared the series a little bit. I didn’t want to read something out of obligation to curiosity and book pop culture and then feel let down like I had with Twilight.
I enjoyed Twilight, but I felt as though I had killed off more than a few brain cells by suffering through the commitment of all four books… but Twilight was a paranormal romance adventure… The Hunger Games is a dystopian society… there, there it is again “dystopian society” that little phrase that sucks me in every time!
So this week began project Hunger Games. I wanted to at least get through a chunk of the first book before movie date night, and I did get through a bit, but I did not have the book completed when I watched the movie. I tell you what though, I went through the movie and all three books in three days and I’m blown away. It was pretty awesome considering what I was expecting. The series is more comparable to Harry Potter than Twilight, in my opinion.
When I finished Mockingjay, I closed the book with a shake and had to go take a shower to wash the invisible grime off my skin and bask in the happiness of the epilogue. It was perfect.
A lot of people say the third book wasn’t good. I admit I was thoroughly disheartened about halfway through, and the emotional disconnect of some of the primary characters lasted way too long. But it was appropriate. It made the end that much sweeter.
On to the highlight of the purpose of my post:
Love triangles in young adult novels are pretty much a staple plot line. Everyone has them. They are always melodramatic, fitting considering the angst of being a teenager. But Collins wrote a tip of an iceberg beauty that I will actually be proud to share with my daughter.
Love is presented very clearly as a choice. In a world that is completely out of Katniss Everdeen’s control, in times when her family’s safety is based on how she behaves towards others, in a time when the choices don’t seem to be hers at all but a manipulation tactic from the authorities in her life… who she loves and how she loves them is still her choice.
I’m so exhausted of whirlwind romances in young adult novels that are out of the teen’s control. They fell in love… they were destined… they were fated…. blah, blah, blah.
I believe that everything happens for a reason, I do. I believe that God has a plan, I do. But I also believe that loving others and how we show them that is a choice every step of the way. What I like about Collins’ book is the importance one simple choice leads to another choice to another and another and steam rolls into larger choices. The whole book is about the importance of weighing consequences, realities, and feelings within the scales of logic, need, and want. Sure, events out of the characters’ control changes circumstances, but given new circumstances what is the new ‘right’ choice.
I love it.
If you haven’t read the books, I tried to write this in such a way so I would not overwhelm you with blatant spoilers. I hope you understand my meaning without clear cut examples. Maybe when the dust settles I’ll write a spoiler alert review.
Title: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Author: Carson McCullers
Publisher: Bantam Books
Length: 307 pages
The first half of the book blew me away. Carson McCullers was a genius… a prodigy in my mind for those first hundred and fifty pages.
I think I disappointed my book club members, though, because after that halfway mark I started to seriously lose interest.
What we have here is circumstantial reading. I’m 99% certain that I had way too much going on this last week with the May the Fourth Be With You Event at Half Price Books in Humble (see previous post) and stayed up waaaaaaaaaaaaay too late too many nights in a row to truly enjoy Mick and her little gang of misfits on the outer edges of society.
When I sleepy read, I get a little cranky. Doctor Copeland started to piss me off. Jake became a burden. I started to feel endeared to lazy Antonapoulos because he was fabulously lazy and I, too, wanted to laze around and sleep the day away. Only Singer remains as he should, a tragically romantic icon.
Words to the wise: Don’t read this tired, but definitely read it. Also, my book clubbers make the most fabulous pies.
Things you should be sure to read prior to tackling McCullers: Thorstein Veblen’s Conspicuous Consumption and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. Trust me, they are handy source documents to have under your belt and filed away in your brain anyway.
I am currently reading February House by Sherill Tippins. Very insightful into the life of McCullers and worth any reader’s while.
Now this sleepy reader is over and out.
Half Price Books Humble just celebrated May the Fourth Be With You in serious style. There was a costume contest, a raffle, Comicpalooza tickets to give away, free comic books, and free art work by some amazing artists.
Bright and early in the morning, sporting a Spiderman t-shirt and super awesome white frilly skirt, my daughter showed up bright eyed and bushy tailed to get her own free artwork. Here she is chatting with artist Merrick Shaka Khan.
Shortly after this photo our costume contest winner also showed up bright and early. Meet Doctor Who:
In the early afternoon we had free ice cream from Amy’s Ice Creams and lots of coupons to share…
Then, Aoristos – Creationeer arrived to offer his artistic talents to our customers for a few hours. It was amazing to watch him put peoples’ faces into their favorite characters.
Finally, we were able to wrap up the day by announcing our Comicpalooza ticket raffle winner!
Stay posted to join in all the fun at Half Price Books in Humble. Next Event… a Celebration of Nurse Appreciation, May 11th. Starts at 1:00 pm.