Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale

Friday, April 27, 2012

Title: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale
Author: Lynda Rutledge
Pages: 289
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Amy Einhorn/G.P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin)
Pub. Date: April 26, 2012

I don't read much southern fiction, so I branched out a little by picking up Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale. Unfortunately, I wasn't as rewarded as I'd hoped to be. It basically takes place over the course of a day (New Year's Eve) as Faith Bass Darling, the town's wealthiest woman, decides to hold an impromptu garage sale to get rid of all the (very valuable) items in her home for ridiculously low prices (like a Tiffany lamp for $1). Faith says that God spoke to her and this is the last day of her life so she needs to get rid of everything. (This is not, however, a "christian fiction" book).

Faith has been living alone for over 20 years, as her husband and son both passed years prior, and her daughter, frustrated with her mother's inability to function afterward, ran away shortly after. What we see, as some of the caring townspeople try to intervene, is a woman who may be losing her mind and certainly her memory. Alongside her story is the focus on the various pieces of furnishings she is selling and short bits about the pieces' history. There is also a little side/back story about the accident her son was involved in.

Here's what I liked: Ultimately, I found the story of Faith's memory loss and breakdown compelling. I was interested in the brief history about each item she sold, as I don't own anything that has any history, really, but I was glad that the stories were brief because they didn't take away from the main story of Faith.

What I didn't like: I didn't care for the rest of the characters which were caricatures, and the whole storyline seemed a little kitschy to me. There seemed to be a lot of focus on stereotypes and prejudice which seemed like it was to create the feeling of the small town but just seemed unnecessary to me (either that or not fully fleshed out). Another gripe is that (despite all the Y2K phobia) the last day of the millenium was December 31 of 2000 not 1999 which this whole book is sort of based on. 2000 was the last year of the then millenium, while 2001 started a new one... technically.

While this turned out to not be for me, I think those readers who really love southern fiction and/or who don't mind a singular focus on this woman and her breakdown may find something in quirky Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale that they enjoy.

Here are a couple reviews from other bloggers:
Raging Bibliomania
Bermuda Onion

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Review & Giveaway)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Title: The Language of Flowers
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Pages: 308
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pub. Date: Random House

One thing I've always enjoyed reading about is a character who has a passionate hobby or interest that helps them define who they are and cope with life's stressors. It's also something I deeply encourage with the clients I work with -- I think we too often slight ourselves by blowing off those interests we wrongly consider luxuries when, in fact, they're more like necessities. (ie. reading and blogging for me!) All this to say that I was hoping that was one of the things I would find in The Language of Flowers, and it so was; but I also found a what turned out to be a hopeful story about a girl who initially feels she has never belonged and who believes herself to be unlovable and unworthy. The book starts out on Victoria's 18th birthday -- also the day she has to leave the foster care group home she has spent her adolescence in. As is common, there's little in the way of resources for children who age out of foster care, so we follow her as she lives a sparse lifestyle. Back when she was a young child and had the one foster placement that almost worked out, she had learned the language of flowers and the art of communicating with them. This art ends up playing a large part of her current day life and was fascinating to learn about.

The story is narrated by Victoria and the chapters alternate from the present day and the past. Both stories were equally intriguing, and I found myself enthusiastic to read more every time the chapter changed and I was able to return to each of the time lines being narrated. In the present day, Victoria runs into someone from her past who unwittingly brings Victoria back to face some secrets that have plagued her for years. There was a suspense as each of the story lines progressed to find out what did happen to the one great foster placement and what was the big, horrifying secret.

My one gripe was that at one point I thought the relationship between Victoria and one of the other characters was a little maudlin and maybe unrealistic. But this relationship had a large part in Victoria growing throughout the book. Victoria was a heartbreaking character because she has internalized such negative messages about herself, but her character reflected an astuteness in the author; the ways in which Victoria's experiences affect her beliefs about herself and her ability to attach to others was written with great acumen. The story went in a direction I wasn't expecting, but it worked well to create the growth necessary. I loved the last two paragraphs for the message it provided -- a great way to wrap up the story and something I'm sure I'll return to in the future just because I really loved the message.

I definitely recommend The Language of Flowers for readers who like great characters, a storyline that you'll invest in and that will keep you guessing, and that includes a fascinating side subject you probably haven't read much about (language of flowers). There is also a flower dictionary included in the back of the book which is a fun addition (because by the time you're finished reading the book, you'll want to look up what all your favorite flowers signify!)

I am fortunate to be able to offer a giveaway to one lucky winner in the U.S. or Canada. To enter, just fill out the form below. I will announce the winner on Saturday, April 28th!

Review: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Monday, April 16, 2012

Title: Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Author: Katherine Boo
Pages: 288
Genre: Non-Fiction (narrative), Sociological
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: February 7, 2012

In Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Pulitzer Prize winning Katherine Boo transports us to Annawadi, India; there she brings us into the lives of some of the children and adults living in a slum that happens to be near the Mumbai airport. This is where the country's richest and the wealthy from all over the world jet to and from. Juxtaposed against the wealth of the airport and the luxury hotels surrounding them is the slum where the residents often have to scavenge for food or at least for items to sell so they can buy food.

Boo spent years interviewing the residents about their lives, and in Behind the Beautiful Forevers, she illustrates the stark contrast between the lives they are living and the wealth right next door. While India continues to grow and prosper in some ways, it simultaneously oppresses this other population. The real weight of this book was meeting the "characters" in the slum of Annawadi. Their lives are so incredibly different from what most people live in the States that it was hard to believe this was non-fiction and that the people we meet are actual people living on the same earth we are. In meeting these people, liking some and definitely not liking others, the preposterousness of the situations they are placed in is brought to the surface for everyone to see. Abdul is a teenager whose family "runs" a garbage collecting business of sorts. Many of the people living in the slums collect garbage and then trade or sell it for money or food. The work is difficult and gross but is how so many people there keep themselves alive. Being next to the airport, they look forward to picking up the garbage left by the travelers there. Some of the individuals in the slum dream of one day working in one of the luxury hotels.

But within the slum, corruption runs rampant as well. In creating their own society, people have also learned to take advantage of their systems. It sickened me to read about the ways in which they took government money, faked using it for the intended purpose (taking pictures or putting on a show for the day when people came to monitor) and then used the money for themselves. The political corruptors promise people the government grants for a price and then keep part of the grant money. Even the police and community officials abuse their authority. In one of the turning points for Abdul and his family, a neighbor with whom they don't get along, one-legged Fatima, sets herself on fire but blames Abdul and his family. (It's crazy that this is non-fiction!) Abdul and his family have little to no recourse to defend themselves and prove their innocence. Although just learning about the people and seeing the injustice of the airport and hotels vs. the slums of Mumbai is interesting enough in this book, another driving "plot" line in this book was the trial against Abdul and his family members.

While it didn't necessarily provide answers, Behind the Beautiful Forevers was an eye-opening read that introduced us to the extremes of a rapidly prospering city. The first step to making any kind of change is awareness, and this is the perfect kind of book to do just that. It highlights the consequences of building up parts of the city without looking out for the welfare of the residents who are already there. And it also demonstrated the need for better management and monitoring of government and charitable aid that is provided. Definitely a recommended read for anyone interested in sociological issues or just in the plights of our fellow human beings.

Winner: Escape From Camp 14

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The randomly chosen winner of the Escape From Camp 14 giveaway is...

Jackie S.!

She has been e-mailed.

Recap: 2012 UCF Book Festival

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Two Saturdays ago, on March 31st, I attended the 3rd annual UCF Book Festival in Orlando. As we had last year, the bloggers were given a suite upstairs in the arena where the festival was held. We all met up there in the morning and planned out our day. It was my husband and myself, Heather (Raging Bibliomania) and her husband, Heather (Book Addiction), Sandy (You GOTTA Read This), Michelle (My Books. My Life) and her husband, and Anita (A Woman, A Wife, A Mom). As I mentioned before, I got so caught up with things I had going on last month that I forgot to rsvp for the author reception the night before and chose not to go in case that was an issue.. and boy did I miss out!! Check out Sandy's post about the dinner they had with a bunch of the authors!

The first panel a few of us went to was by prosecutor, Jeff Ashton. He was the prosecutor for the Casey Anthony case, which is close to home for those of us here in Orlando. He wrote Imperfect Justice which I've had for a while but still need to read. His panel was super interesting and we all liked getting to hear some of what he thought about everything. He was also incredibly friendly. I got him to sign my book and took this picture.

After grabbing a quick lunch, most of us headed to the panel, Writing Place: New Fiction From the South. The authors on this panel were Joshilyn Jackson, Karen White, and Nicole Louise Reid. They each read an excerpt from their books and answered questions. Afterward, I was able to get Joshilyn to sign my copy of A Grown Up Kind of Pretty (review to come soon). Joshilyn is so bubbly and funny and you can just hear her voice in the narrative of her books. (For those who listen to the audio of her books you can literally hear her voice).


The next one I attended along with Michelle was Contemporary Voices: Literary Fiction for the 21st Century which had authors, Lauren Groff, Darlin O'Neal, and Michael Griffith on the panel. I have to say that though I hadn't yet ready any of Lauren Groff's books (I'm currently reading Arcadia), I was wholly impressed by her. She came across to me as a real, genuine, literary writer; she was well-spoken, intelligent, and humble but still confident. She talked about how she really only publishes about a fifth of everything she writes. She answered one person's question about confidence by saying something along the lines of if a writer becomes too confident, their work will be negatively affected or something along those lines. (NOT a direct quote). Her short stories have been published in tons of magazines, journals and anthologies, including the New Yorker. And she was so nice and friendly. I pretty much resolved to read everything she has written.

Then we attended Tragedy and Triumph: Celebrating Non-Fiction with authors Sheryl Needle Cohn, W. Scott Poole, and Allan Wolf. All their books sounded interesting, but unfortunately I really had to limit myself to how many books I bought that day! The last session which I think we all attended was Embracing Imperfections with Young Adult Literature. The authors were Ellen Hopkins, Jessica Martinez, and Ty Roth. I'll admit, I've had sort of a grudge against one of these authors because of a comment she left on my blog, but I've considered going back to reading her books. And I really want to read the books of the other two as well.

The whole event was a lot of fun, but I do have to mention my gripe about the panels. None of the panels really followed their titles, and I had looked forward to those theme-related discussions. (There's a specific one I remember from last year that was so engaging and thought provoking). Most of these were practically just Q and A's, and a few were the Q and A combined with long excerpts read by the authors. I would have prefered the discussion.

After the event, we bloggers went out to dinner at Macaroni Grill and caught up. It was a lot of fun, but we didn't end up getting a picture!

It looks like next year's event is going to be a two-day thing. I'm not sure of the date yet, but it will probably be this time of year. I recommend clearing your calendar to attend!!

Review: Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Title: Sacre Bleu

Subtitle: A Comedy d'Art
Author: Christopher Moore
Pages: 403
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow (Harper Collins)
Pub. Date: April 3, 2012

My husband, Jason, has long been a fan of Christopher Moore's work, so I was excited for him when I saw there was a new book coming out. He agreed to review the book for me in exchange for me obtaining a copy. I figured this would doubly be of interest to him because it revolves around an art history theme which he is into. Here's his review:

Christopher Moore’s latest novel Sacre Bleu takes you back to the Impressionist movement focusing on the small French town of Montemarte. The book starts off with a bang, literally, as the suicide of Vincent Van Goh takes place. We then quickly jump into the mischievous acts of his peers Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Lucien Lessard as they mourn their peer and delve into his mysterious death. 

What I liked about the book:

Moore being Moore - Disclaimer: I’ve read several Christopher Moore books and I enjoy his sense of humor so with that being said Moore crafts great witty banter amongst his cast and makes for several laugh out loud moments. I feel like it is his trademark how he puts this dialogue in for laughs as well as moving the plot along. This makes for an enjoyable reading experience.

The color blue Moore makes a preface at the beginning saying this is a story about the color blue and it is at the heart of it all. Maybe it’s just the designer in me but the aesthetics of the hard copy compliment the story. What I mean is the type was printed in blue ink, the cover is blue, the jacket blue, etc. It might seem like overkill but I felt it accompanied the story very well. I wonder what the eBook is like on a color e-reader? I hope they do the same thing. If not the people that purchase the physical copy are in for a treat. 

Impressionists – Some would say that this is the most famous era in art history. I think it has more to do with the innovations of painting that changed the landscape of the art world (no pun intended). Moore selects a handful of classics Impressionists that make cameos in the book. I won’t let you know who they are so you will have to read it to find that out. If you are a fan of humor and also enjoy the Impressionist movement you will get a unique commentary with Moore’s usual flair. 

What I didn’t like about the book:

Honestly there’s nothing I didn’t like about this book.

I tried my best to be unbiased but I really am a fan of Moore’s books. If you are as well you should pick up the book. There’s not that many books out there that can make you laugh out loud on a consistent basis and Moore delivers. If you are in the market for some laughs and a unique look at the Impressionists this book is for you. If not, you must not like laughing out loud while you’re reading a book…? Don’t worry I won’t judge you if you don’t.

Review: Quiet by Susan Cain

Monday, April 9, 2012

Title: Quiet
Subtitle: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
Pages: 271 (+ notes)
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (Random House)
Pub. Date: January 24, 2012

With a few exceptions, I consider myself the quintessential introvert.  It's a characteristic I've learned to understand about myself over the years and have finally come to accept. But it wasn't easy, especially because in our culture it's considered a weakness and often just "weird". In Quiet, Susan Cain does a thorough and fantastic job of fleshing out the different components of the introverted personality, how this fits (and doesn't fit) into our world, and how this differs from (or is similar to) shyness and sensitivity.

It's hard to believe that the content of this book is under 300 pages because there was such a large amount of research and information provided in this book. While the topic was fascinating, I would probably only recommend this to those who are already intrigued by this topic. The large amount of research discussed might turn away readers who have little investment in the topic. Otherwise, however, I would highly recommend this book.

For this review, I'm going to point out some various parts that I related to. Right from the beginning on page 4., Cain describes a common struggle for introverted individuals, one that I wholly relate to.
Introversion--along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness--is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.
She follows it up be describing how our country moved from a culture of character to a culture of personality; there was a time when a person's character -- for example, the ways in which a person reacts to a situation and doesn't necessarily ask for credit -- was valued. Now, however, the gregarious people-person personality is valued more than a person's character. Cain quotes author, Guy Kawasaki, when he tweeted, "You may find this hard to believe, but I am an introvert. I have a 'role' to play, but I fundamentally am a loner." (p. 63). This reminded me of pretty much every job I've ever had in which I have had a "role" to play. I wanted to include one experience of this. In college, I waited tables at a couple well-known restaurants. I noticed a certain quality in some of the servers who made more money than me, so I experimented. I played the role of a more extroverted, almost brash, person and found that my tips were always higher. I concluded my non-scientific experiment by noting that people preferred the outgoing personality even if the service was the same. But, of course, I was not able to keep up that type of personality because it took so much energy out of me!

A few pages later, Cain talks about this personality style and the church. One example is the routine, in church, of having to greet others near the beginning of the service -- turn to your neighbor, shake hands, etc. I strongly dislike this part and loved that it was included in the book. There's also inclusion about how evangelicalism values extroversion -- "if you don't love Jesus out loud, it must not be real love." (p. 69).

Cain argues that group work, which our schools and companies value and force upon students and employees, can actually be counterproductive. There is something to be said about working alone, engaging in what is referred to as "Deliberate Practice".
"Deliberate practice is best conducted alone for several reasons. It takes intense concentration, and other people can be distracting. It requires deep motivation, often self-generated. But most important, it involves working on the task that's most challenging to you personally. Only when you're alone, [Ericsson says], can you 'go directly to the part that's challenging to you. If you want to improve what you're doing, you have to be the one who generates the move. Imagine a group class--you're the one generating the move only a small percentage of the time."

I related to this for sure... I don't know if I ever joined a study group when I was in college (undergrad or graduate). I regretted that I missed out on the social interaction, but studying in a group has always been something I was so not interested in... unless it was me and a friend in the same room each studying our own subjects. And like the deliberate practice points out, I considered group study a waste of my time because how would the group know what I needed to work on the most? I've always worked best on my own.

Quiet also contains a large amount of information specifically about how the brain works. In fact, studies have shown that even infants show specific characteristics that can identify if they will be introverted or extroverted. What I found really fascinating was the way in which we can utilize other parts of our brain to overcome that emotional reaction that starts in our amygdala. But when we're stressed or that other part of our brain has other things to focus on, we are less able to hide the amygdalic reaction.

Anyway, there is so much more in this book. There's even a section on the Asian culture and its "soft power", or the way in which that culture differs from the western culture as it pertains to the introvert/extrovert spectrum. There is so much to think or talk about after reading this. Overall, Quiet shows how introversion is normal, how our brain processes contribute to it, the strengths of introversion (and how it complements extroversion), and the consequences of living in a culture that discredits it. But most of all, Quiet is a testament to introverted individuals and is the acknowledgement that there is nothing wrong with having an introverted personality.

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Title: Secret Daughter
Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Pages: 339
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow (Harper Collins)
Pub. Date: April 5, 2011

There was a time in my life when I loved reading books about adoption. I actually had a strong interest in adoption and the dynamics it plays in birth and adoptive families. I sort of outgrew that for various reasons, so I initially passed on this book about a family that adopts a daughter from India and thought maybe the story was overdone. But then I read the initial reviews which were all good and reconsidered. Almost immediately after picking up the book I realized I made a good decision to read Secret Daughter after all. I so thoroughly enjoyed this book from the very beginning to the end and thought it brought up interesting topics.

Asha is born in India and taken to the orphanage upon birth. Her mother, Kavita, takes her there in an effort to save her from the fate of the first daughter born to her. Soon-to-be adoptive mother, Somer, is ironically working as a pediatrician when she realizes she will be unable to give birth to her own child. Asha is adopted by Somer and her husband, Krishnan, who happens to also be Indian. The story follows the families as Asha grows up and eventually decides to spend some time in India for herself. The dominant theme throughout the book is motherhood and what it means; it's about the feeling of belonging that we all desire; it's about culture and the differences between the two (Indian and American). The main viewpoints are from the mothers, Somer and Kavita, as well as a little from Krishnan's mother. We also hear from Krishnan, and sometimes the biological father, Jasu.

I loved Secret Daughter and was engrossed in not just the story but the discussion of motherhood and of womanhood, in general. And you don't need to be a mother to enjoy the topic, either, because it's about the different types of mothers out there and is presented in a very universal way. I actually read this book a while ago and am just now getting around to finishing this review so I don't remember as much as I wished I could to write this. But this is definitely a great read and will give you a lot to think or talk about!

Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden (review & giveaway)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Title: Escape From Camp 14
Author: Blaine Harden
Pages: 199
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Pub. Date: March 29, 2012

The subject of North Korea has been such an interesting source of reading and information to me for a while now, so my interest was definitely peaked when I found out about Escape From Camp 14. Shin Dong-Hyuk, whose life Escape chronicles, was born and raised in one of North Korea's rarely talked about labor camps, Camp 14. He is the only person known to have escaped a labor camp (and defected from North Korea) who actually was born into the camp. As bad as life is in that country, life in the camps is truly a torturous, if not deadly, life sentence. Their existence denied by the North Korean government (despite satellite pictures that prove their existence), the camps resemble the Nazi concentration camps. Raised like animals, children are taught to distrust everyone including family. Shin grew up despising his family who he viewed as competition for food. He was rewarded for snitching on others in the camp and was often tasked with contributing to the beating of a fellow peer. As much as North Korea brainwashes their citizens about their government, the children in the camp aren't even taught about that. Shin wasn't aware of actual civilization. In the camps, Shin witnessed horror after horror including the executions of his mother and brother.

Eventually, in search of food, Shin is finally motivated to risk his life to escape the camp. That leads to his eventual defection from North Korea through China, South Korea, and later the United States. He works with some human rights groups after his escape, but Shin's adjustment to civilized life isn't easy either. And despite the fact that he often witnessed or took part in savage behavior without any emotional attachment, these feelings start to plague him as he assimilates to western culture.

Escape From Camp 14 is a short book and easily accessible even for those who don't read much non-fiction. Probably the only complaint I have about this book is "type" for the chapter headings (I called it font but my graphic designer husband corrected me) made me feel like it was a children's sci-fi book rather than a serious sociological non-fiction. (No offense to the person who chose it... my husband didn't necessarily agree with me!)  Nevertheless, I think its brevity and easily readable nature will attract readers who have some interest but aren't into reading more dense, heavily involved books.

Though this is the story of Shin Dong-Hyuck (written by Blaine Harden who initially wrote about Shin in the Wall Street Journal), it was also a telling non-fiction about the effects of propaganda (or media control) on a population; it was also fascinating to watch someone who was raised to not have emotions and to prey on other humans to learn to trust others and experience love and compassion. (Though extremely rare, this experience starts for him prior to his escape from the labor camp and probably had a big part in his motivation to escape). It seems incredibly significant to me to see the enormous effect this can have on the human spirit even at its lowest emotional state. Surprisingly, one of the parts that was the most emotional for me (maybe because I tried to block my emotions for the really horrifying stuff) was the difficulty North Korean defectors have with assimilating to the culture in South Korea or the U.S. because of mental health issues that arise, adjusting to the dynamics of a civilized society, and extreme guilt, paranoia, and feelings of absolute worthlessness.

Right now in our world there are labor camps where adults and children are being enslaved, starved, and beaten to death and it's rarely talked about. Escape From Camp 14 is an important human rights book that sheds light on this topic as well as on the plights of the individuals who are brave and lucky enough to escape the totalitarian regime.

I am fortunate to be able to offer a giveaway of this book! All you need to do is fill out the form below. The winner will be announced on Saturday, April 14th.

March in Review

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Happy April!

Reading and Reviewing
March was a fun month for me, but I'm looking forward to April to return to my routine. Because I had so much going on in March, I did very little reading or blogging! Earlier this month, my husband and I spent five days in NYC (you may remember it's my favorite place ever!) Seems like whenever I go on vacation, I spend the week or so prior to it working and preparing, then while on vacation I do little reading, and after I get back I have to focus on catching up on work! While I did have some reading time in the city (at night, on the subway, etc.) I could not decide on just one book to read. I currently have seven "current reads" mainly because I started and did not get far in most of those books during or around that trip. I did go to a new bookstore in the city in addition to The Strand. The other one is actually just minutes from there. It's called Shakespeare and Co. Booksellers. I got the book I'm reading in that picture from that store. (These pictures are from my sort of new tradition of getting pictures of me reading in different cities!)

Then later this month I went on a girls' trip to Savannah for four days with some friends. Had a great time there... such a charming city! But, again, I read extremely little while there. (I even tried to finish Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, since we went on a tour for the book in the city, but I'm still chugging along in that one.)

I came home late Tuesday night, worked all day Wednesday through Friday, and then spent all day today at the UCF Book Festival. I would have attended the author reception the night before with Sandy and Heather, but with everything going on, I completely forgot to RSVP! (I'll post more about that event later).

Anyway, here are the reviews I posted this month:
  1. Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung
  2. The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson
  3. Gossip by Beth Gutcheon
  4. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  5. Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman
And mini-reviews for:
  1. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling
  2. Lightning People by Christopher Bollen
  3. The Good Psychologist by Noam Schpancer
  4. Silent Mercy by Linda Fairstein
 And here's what I read but have not yet reviewed:
  1. The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O'Nan (okay)
  2. Quiet by Susan Cain (loved!)

Blog Update
The only other thing worth mentioning is that I separated the reviews section of my blog into fiction and non-fiction. I used to never read non-fiction, so it's cool to me that I have enough for it to have its own page!

One more thing
I almost forgot! Since I wasn't able to go to the author reception the other night, I ended up going to see The Hunger Games. I thought the movie was well done. I wasn't one of those who loved the book (thought it was just good) and felt pretty much the same about the movie. I enjoyed it though. (Love how the people in the capital are dressed and how colorful they are!)

Happy April, everyone!