Book Review: The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans

Did you ever have the assignment of writing your own obituary? It’s the kind of thing that makes you look back on your life and ponder.

James Kier has a similar experience. He reads his own obituary upon waking one morning and, before he can respond, finds the comments under his online obituary less than complimentary. His girlfriend, upon hearing of his untimely death, goes on a huge shopping spree using his credit card.  His company’s chief operating officer, and weekly squash partner, calls him the Grinch, Scrooge and Bergermeister all rolled into one.  His history with his soon-to-be ex-wife and his son is less than ideal.

Richard Paul Evans manages to bring us this story of a man who gets a reality check without being overly emotional. It is a quick read with short chapters for those of us with little time. 

If you have read Nicholas Sparks, you will find his style similar to Evans. A lot of depth and very real characters. Both authors have several titles that make us feel our humanity just a bit more that usual. 

If you don’t find The Christmas List on the new shelf, we will be happy to place a hold on it for you. We would also be happy to share other titles by these authors with you, as well.

Book Review: Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

Although I am not a huge crime fiction fan, the subject matter of this book stirred my curiousity enough to while away a few hours engrossed in its pages.

Timothy Blake, used car salesman, is your ordinary, everyday guy. His teenage daughter, Sidney, comes from her mother’s for the summer and normal parent-child frustrations ensue. Then Sidney doesn’t come home. Tim begins a search for her, starting at the Just in Time Hotel, her place of employment. They tell him they have never heard of her as she is not an employee.

He questions how well he knew his daughter as he searches. His ex-wife initially plays the blame game but then cooperates with him in the search for their daughter.

Fear the Worst avoids many of the normal crime fiction cliches. Tim doesn’t turn into a super hero when confronted with gun-toting bad guys.  He doesn’t develop uncanny spy skills. He doesn’t have contacts in high places. He just struggles to cope under extraordinary circumstances.

Linwood Barclay, although a bestselling crime fiction author in Britain, is still a much undiscovered talent in the U.S. This book had me thinking of flipping to the last pages in anticipation of discovering the outcome. I soldiered through and Barclay found a new fan. Too Close to Home and No Time for Goodbye will be my next reads by this author.

The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky

How far would a mother go to protect her daughter? A rainy evening, a beginning driver, and a fatality set the framework for this beautifully written, well thought out story that examines the strengths and weaknesses that can make or break a family.

 This book, one of Delinsky’s best, delivers a great reading experience. Written for adults, it won’t dissapoint. Young adults might also take a few lessons from its pages.

Crash Proof

Crash Proof, How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse, by Peter D. Schiff. Schiff provides an insightful view of his thoughts about our economy’s direction and provides valuable information for protecting your finances. Although this book was published in Febrary of 2007, he predicted the economic downturn and rising gold prices. It is real life information for real life situations and very applicable to this moment. A good book.

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga

This book, for young adults, has convinced me that I should expand my reading beyond the adult section of the library. It is a great book and left me wanting more from this author.

Fanboy feels he is the high school loser. He has only one good friend and could be labeled a victim in his high school. Goth Girl is the newcomer with an all black wardrobe and issues of her own. They form a bond that enables Fanboy to challenge the bullies and face his challenges, but Goth Girl has troubles of her own.

I did not want this book to end.

Katie Caught A Cold By Charlotte Cowan MD

Katie Bear is practicing for the Ice Show when she starts to feel ill. The doctor suggests she stay home from school for a few days. While recovering she helps her mother bake cookies. A few days later she is well enough to be in the Ice Show, where she delivers a winning performance. This is a good book to introduce children to doctor visits. Parents guide included. Reading level: pre school-1st grade

Playing For Pizza By John Grishman

This book is  about a football player who has been severely injured while playing in a USA league. After he recovers, no team here will hire him. He finds a team in Italy. This story is about the difficulties in the way the game is played, they play for love of the game, not money. He also has to adjust to a new way of life with people he cannot understand and they cannot understand him. There is a love interest, but the story is football. This is not like most Grisham books I have read. More human interest. Reading level: Adult

Vendetta by Fern Michaels

This is a story of seven young women who have had really bad things happen to them. They band together with Myra, an older woman who lost her pregnant daughter to a hit and run driver. This is a story of love and support for each other, but also about revenge. This story deals with the driver who killed Myra’s daughter. While some of it was a little unsettling to me, it is well written and held my interest until the end. There is a book for each of the women and I plan to read them all. I recommend Vendetta.  Reading level: Adult

Book Review-Miss Daisy Is Crazy by Dan Gutman

What do you get when you cross a student who hates school and a teacher who doesn’t know anything? You find the first book in the “My Weird School” series. Miss Daisy Is Crazy follows the adventures of A.J. a second grade student who hates school. Together he and his friends make a pact to forever hate school, convince their classmates that their teacher Miss Daisy is an imposter, and attempt to buy the school in order to turn it into a video game arcade. If you want a book with lots of laughs you’ve found the right one!!

Reading level Grade 2-3.

Book Review – The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches by Jeff Yeager

Jeff Yeager has been deemed the Ultimate Cheapskate for many reasons including claiming the free meal in a buy one get one free deal and making a doggie bag out of not only his own leftovers, but also everyone else’s at the table. However, in this book Jeff makes some great points.

 If you are looking for a list of hints to help you SAVE money, this is not a book for you. Instead it concentrates on not spending money in the first place. It emphasizes living within your means and staying at that level instead of raising your standard of living with each pay raise. It gives us hope that we may enjoy our later years without worries over money.

Ideas to reduce spending are woven into the text.  For instance, inventory your toiletries closet and make sure you really need an additional bottle of hand lotion, and of course, my favorite, use your public library. It encourages developing hobbies that don’t cost a lot.

This book lauds quality of life over quantity and that isn’t a bad place to be.

 I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others looking to improve their life. It was humorous and informative. A great read! Reading Level: Adult.