A review of The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan revisits her familiar themes of mother-daughter relationships, female oppression, and Chinese/American cultural conflict. This novel spans three generations from the late 1800’s through mid 1900’s, and describes the life of Violet Minturn and her upbringing in an upscale courtesan house in Shangai. The plot jumps expertly among the lives of Violet’ more

Reviewed by Carra on
August 5, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Willowdean is pretty comfortable in her own skin. A self-described fat girl in a small town Texas, she’s got a job that’s tolerable, a great best friend, a gorgeous guy who kinda might be sorta interested in her and a long hot summer ahead of her. Unfortunately, summer is also when Clover City gears up for its second-most obsessive event—the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant--and Willowdean’s mother (winner in ’97) is fully immersed in the sequin-strewn spectacle. It will be the first summer that more

Reviewed by Katie H. on
August 4, 2015 | 1 comment
A review of Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

This book was a pleasant surprise. What’s been billed as a book on romance in the modern age written by Aziz Ansari, comedian and star of Parks and Recreation, is: A book on romance in the modern age A sociological examination at relationships and how they’ve changed over the years, and An investigation of how our lives today are inextricably bound to technology This book is chock-full of research conducted in conjunction with renowned more

Reviewed by Molly - Central on
August 3, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of The Monkey goes bananas by C.P. Bloom

This is a fresh look at the conundrum of the monkey on an island who has a yen for the bunch of bananas hanging from a tree on another island, separated by water, and a hungry predator, in this case, a shark.  Bloom and Raymundo have created a story with just a few words, and highly expressive, cartoon-style illustrations.  Monkey tries various methods to reach the bananas, or make the bananas reach him, and is foiled again and again, in progressively more dramatic and hilarious ways more

Reviewed by Karen on
July 31, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson

Okay, I admit it, I picked this one for the cover, but can you blame me?  With the rearing dragon, the perfect castle right out of Disneyland and the witch silhouettes sneaking up the mountains, this book promised some major excitement.  But, wow, did it deliver!  With a few sly nods to traditional princess tales, M.A. Larson's Pennyroyal Academy boldly lays claim to fresh fairytale territory where behavior trumps birth, what you don't know can kill you, and where the strength, more

Reviewed by Abby on
July 31, 2015 | 0 comments
100 Swoonworthy Romances Back in June, NPR asked readers to nominate their favorite romantic novels and the response was so big they had to shut down the poll after more than 18,000 nominations came in. Well the tally is in (and the experts have spoken) and now the only thing left to do is read.  The experts, including local Bobbi Dumas who runs the national more

Reviewed by Jane J on
July 30, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of Regeneration by Pat Barker

When a soldier publically declares that the war in which he is serving is slaughtering thousands without any purpose, should he be called insane? That’s the question posed when Siegfried Sassoon, a noted poet and writer, publishes his “Soldier’s Declaration,” denouncing the very war which he had immediately enlisted for back in 1914. His words ring truthful—the War would eventually claim over 700,000 just among British dead alone—but with more men being sent to the front, how to deal with a more

Reviewed by Katie H. on
July 29, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose

Sometimes you need to wait until the very end to get what you've been longing for. Such is the case with The Witch of Painted Sorrows. I read an early review of this gothic novel and was immediately attracted to the cover and publisher summary, "Possession, power, passion." Sounds great, right? Socialite Sandrine Salome flees New York and her abusive husband and journeys to Belle Époque Paris to stay with her grand more

Reviewed by Molly - Central on
July 27, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry

It’s 1961, and Pagan Jones-- already a Hollywood bombshell at age 16--is sitting in solitary confinement after an attempted escape from the juvenile detention facility she’s found herself in. Heavy guilt over causing the death of her sister and father weighs on her constantly, her career is in shambles, her boyfriend hasn’t spoken to her in months, and she’s in even bigger trouble than she was in when she arrived at the Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls. Things are looking pretty grim.In more

Reviewed by Beth on
July 24, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader

One autumn morning, a seventeen-year-old woman steps from her old life into her freedom—literally. For Sarah, life in thirteenth-century England offers few choices, even for an educated girl from a well-to-do family like her. So when she is faced with the prospect of marrying, Sarah chooses the one path that will give her some control over her fate. But, ironically, she will have to live for the rest of her life in a cell hardly larger than a few paces, and no window to the outside world. She more

Reviewed by Katie H. on
July 23, 2015 | 0 comments
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