Ruined by Reading

I am the sort who roots for the underdog, uses Apple computers, knows that playing music is better than listening to it, believes chocolate is a food group, loves animals, swims like a fish, and stands up for people and things I believe in.

Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mew'd--Flavia de Luce #8

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd: A Flavia de Luce Novel - Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luce returns from boarding school, eager to get back to Bishop’s Lacey, but is met with the news that her father is ill and hospitalized. She ventures into town to commiserate with her friend, the pastor’s wife, and ends up on an errand to a woodcarver’s shop. She finds the woodcarver upside down and in dire straits. Thus begins Flavia’s 8th case to solve.


As with the other Flavia de Luce mysteries, the strength of this story is in the unusual characterization of Flavia herself, and in the relationships she has built with the townspeople of Bishop’s Lacey. Most of the series ends with a cliffhanger, and this installment is no exception. I look forward to seeing what is next for these characters.

Better Than a Textbook

Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War - Ari Kelman, Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

But not by much.

Book: Vetted

Crowded in the Middle of Nowhere: Tales of Humor and Healing from Rural America - Dr. Bo Brock

A fun book of vignettes about being a vet in Texas. These stories read very much likee humor pieces in Reader's Digest. Would be a good gift for an older relative who grew up in farm country. People who enjoyed James Herriot's books or Simon Dawson's stories of running a farm would also enjoy this. 

Gritty adventure

Dune - Frank Herbert

Well, I enjoyed that far more than I thought I would.

A leaf falls

Just got an email stating that Leafmarks is defunct. Although I doubt I'll miss it (it was always a clunky interface) there goes another one. 

At the Edge of Summer

At the Edge of Summer - by Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole’s second novel is a love story centered around two young sweethearts who are torn apart by family circumstances and World War I. Luc Crepet first meets Clare Ross when she becomes his family’s ward following the death of her father at age 15. Luc and Clare share an artistic temperament and quickly begin spending time together. Their age difference, Clare’s grief and life abroad with her grandfather, and WWI all conspire to keep the young lovers apart, however they keep in touch through letters, as they did when Luc was in college. They are brought together again through Clare’s work in an unusual studio when she returns to Paris after the war.


This author’s strength is in the manufacture of letters between the characters. There is less of this in this second novel than in Letters From Skye, which I preferred. All in all, At the Edge of Summer remains a satisfying read.

Blast from the past

Does anyone else have a little snowman that you can click on to make snow at the top of their screen? Because I'm wondering if I click enough times, if it'll turn into a bunny.

Ugh. I am SO disgusted.

Got this in my email today. And am completely disgusted because Shelfari was always better than Goodreads. Ugh.



As you may know, for the past few years, Amazon has supported two online communities of readers: Shelfari and Goodreads. Both services share the same mission - helping readers find new books and share their reading - so it makes sense to merge them. We plan to complete this by March 16, 2016. Our team can then focus on building innovative new features and creating a great experience for readers on just one platform: Goodreads.


We would like to invite you to now move your books across to Goodreads. To make it easy for you, go to and you will find instructions on how to do this. You will be set up and back to reading books in no time!


If you are not familiar with Goodreads, the core features you love on Shelfari - keeping track of books you have read and want to read, and connecting with fellow readers over your shared love of books - are at the heart of the Goodreads experience. You will also be able to enjoy additional services and features including:


  • On-the-go access to your bookshelves and friends updates through the Goodreads iOS and Android apps
  • The ability to use Goodreads on most Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets
  • Personalized book recommendations from the Goodreads recommendation engine based on books you have enjoyed
  • More ways to share and enjoy your love of reading through the Goodreads Reading Challenge, the ability to write rich text reviews, and enter to win books in our popular Goodreads giveaways program, and
  • Connecting with your favorite authors, including using Goodreads Ask the Author feature


If you have any questions about moving to Goodreads, please email and our team will be happy to help. You can also choose to export your data for your own records following the steps at

From your fellow book lovers, 
The Shelfari and Goodreads Teams

For Dog's Sake!

For Dog’s Sake is a quick read with fun, goofy illustrations, and would be a great book for every first-time dog owner. The main purpose of the book is to help the dog’s new humans help keep the dog out of trouble, and so it covers everything from what dogs shouldn’t eat to how to recognize some common ailments and what to do about them. The one thing this book doesn’t include is a training guide, so those new to dogs would be advised to join an obedience class and buy a separate book for training.

One Flew Over the Asteroid Belt

Shockaholic - Carrie Fisher

Because the Star Wars press junket just wasn't enough.

Someday My Prince Will Come

A Girl's Guide to Moving On: A Novel - Debbie Macomber

If Disney princesses were middle aged and lived in suburbia, this is what they’d read. Sure there’s no singing, no waving of magic wands, and sadly, no forest animals, but the basic structure is the same. Debbie Macomber’s books are nice, clean, undemanding places to go for a while, and A Girl’s Guide to Moving On is no exception. If you need a gift for an older female relative that you don’t want to offend, this book, packaged with an artisan loaf of bread, might be just the thing.

A Perilous Journey

Chasing the North Star: A Novel - Robert Morgan The Invention of Wings: A Novel - Sue Monk Kidd The Last Runaway - Tracy Chevalier

Chasing the North Star is the story of a slave named Jonah who learns to read as he serves his master’s children, listening in on their lessons. He is whipped when he is found reading in the hayloft, accused of stealing a book he was given by the mistress. Humiliated and hurt, Jonah decides impulsively to leave with a few coins, a knife, and little else but his wits—which are a considerable asset. Along the way, Jonah is joined by a young woman named Angel, who believes that following a mostly unwilling Jonah will take her north as surely as following the star or the list of names Jonah treasures. The perilous journey of these two young people winds and twists along, tossing them together and pulling them apart again and again.


Compelling and nail-biting, this historical novel will keep you reading long after the north star appears. Those who enjoyed The Invention of Wings and The Last Runaway would also like this book.

Deja Vu All Over Again

And Again: A Novel - Jessica Chiarella Lock In - John Scalzi Old Man's War - John Scalzi The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker

And Again finds a group of 4 people just as they are emerging from the first stages of an experimental medical procedure that will implant their memories into cloned, genetically perfect, replica bodies. As part of the SUBlife program that provided each person an out from terminal illness, they are required to come together for weekly group therapy sessions, and it is through these sessions, as well as each character’s commentary, that we follow their re-entry into a society that had, in some cases, already made peace with those same characters’ deaths.

And Again shares the cloned bodies—transferred memories conceit with some of John Scalzi’s books, most recently Lock In, as well as the Old Man’s War series. It shares the tweaked perspective of a relatively normal world with Age of Miracles.

Lynda Carter, Beware

The Adventures of Superhero Girl - Faith Erin Hicks, Rachel Edidin

Superhero Girl is an antidote for all those comics who take their superheroes a little too seriously. Would be a good book for any little sister, grades 4 and up.

Better than a Barbie

Girl in Dior - Annie Goetzinger

If you have a fashion-oriented kid (or maybe a teen who has just outgrown her Barbies) this graphic novel provides an interesting look into the house of Dior. The illustrations are beautiful, and the information is well-researched and incorporated into the story. I can think of a few of my students who would have really liked this non-silly look at the fashion world. (And this from someone who couldn't care less about fashion.)

Through the Twisted Clock Face

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll, Ralph Steadman

Who knew Salvador Dali illustrated Alice? Gotta check this out!

Currently reading

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Nathan Lowell
Abaddon's Gate
James S.A. Corey
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Neil Gaiman
I Am Radar: A Novel
Reif Larsen