Currently Reading: Thereby Hangs a Tail

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'Thereby Hangs a Tail' cover

Title & Author: Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The second book of an irresistible series narrated by a loveable and wise dog. In the newest Chet and Bernie mystery, Chet gets a glimpse of the show dog world turned deadly. “We run a detective agency, me and Bernie, called the Little Detective Agency on account of Little being Bernie’s last name. My name’s Chet, pure and simple. Headquarters is our house on Mesquite Road, a nice place with a big tree out front, perfect for napping under, and the whole canyon easily accessible out back, if it just so happens someone left the gate open. And then, up in the canyon — well, say no more.” Continue reading

Why Not Me?: Book Review

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'Why Not Me?' cover art

Peekaboo!

Title & Author: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Genres: Humor
Format chosen: hardcover
Published: 2015
Synopsis (abridged, from Goodreads):

In ‘Why Not Me?’, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
 
Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

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War of the Encyclopaedists: Review

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'War of the Encyclopaedists' cover

Title & Authors: War of the Encyclopaedists by Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite
Genre: Literary Fiction, War
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

In a superb, rare literary collaboration, two major new talents join their voices to tell the story of a generation at a crossroads, and a friendship that stretches over continents and crises–from the liberal arena of Boston academia to the military occupation of Iraq–in this ambitious and electrifying debut novel.

On a summer night, in the arty enclave of Capitol Hill, Seattle, best friends Mickey Montauk and Halifax Corderoy throw one last blowout party before their lives part ways. At twenty-three, they had planned to move together to Boston for graduate school, but global events have intervened: Montauk has just learned that his National Guard unit will deploy to Baghdad at the end of the summer. In the confusion of this altered future, Corderoy is faced with a moral dilemma: his girlfriend Mani has just been evicted and he must decide whether or not to abandon her when she needs him most. He turns to Montauk for help. His decision that night, and its harrowing outcome, sets in motion a year that will transform all three of them.

Months later, Corderoy and Montauk grapple with their new identities as each deals with his own muted disappointment. In Boston, Corderoy finds himself unable to play the game of intellectual one-upmanship with the ease and grace of his new roommate Tricia, a Harvard graduate student and budding human rights activist. Half a world away, in Baghdad, Montauk struggles to lead his platoon safely through an increasingly violent and irrational war. As their lives move further away from their shared dream, Corderoy and Montauk keep in touch with one another by editing a Wikipedia article about themselves: smart and funny updates that morph and deepen throughout the year, culminating in a document that is both devastatingly tragic and profoundly poetic.

Fast-moving and compulsively readable, War of the Encyclopaedists beats with the energetic pulse of idealistic youth on the threshold of adult reality. “A wise and wise-assed first novel…with sweep and heart and humor” (Mary Karr, author of Liar’s Club and Lit) it is the vital, urgent, and utterly absorbing lament of a new generation searching for meaning and hope in a fractured world.

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The Casual Vacancy: Review

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The Casual Vacancy book cover

Title & Author: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Genre: Literary fiction, novels
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A BIG NOVEL ABOUT A SMALL TOWN …

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

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‘The Millionaire Next Door’ and ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’: Double Book Review

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After finishing two personal finance books back to back, I decided that I’d review them together since many of the ideas are similar. Plus I can only write about finance for so long….

Book 1

The Millionaire Next Door cover

Title & Authors: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
Genre: Finance, Business, Nonfiction
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The incredible national bestseller that is changing people’s lives — and increasing their net worth!

CAN YOU SPOT THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR?
Who are the rich in this country?
What do they do?
Where do they shop?
What do they drive?
How do they invest?
Where did their ancestors come from?
How did they get rich?
Can I ever become one of them?

Get the answers in ‘The Millionaire Next Door’, the never-before-told story about wealth in America. You’ll be surprised at what you find out….

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World War Z: Book Review

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Title & Author: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
Genre: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. “World War Z” is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

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Barefoot Dogs: Review

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Title & Author: Barefoot Dogs: Stories by Antonio Ruiz-Camacho
Genre: Fiction, Short stories
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

An unforgettable debut of linked stories that follow the members and retinue of a wealthy Mexican family forced into exile after the patriarch is kidnapped.

On an unremarkable night, José Victoriano Arteaga—the head of a thriving Mexico City family—vanishes on his way home from work. The Arteagas find few answers; the full truth of what happened to Arteaga is lost to the shadows of Mexico’s vast and desperate underworld, a place of rampant violence and kidnappings, and government corruption. But soon packages arrive to the family house, offering horrifying clues.

Fear, guilt, and the prospect of financial ruination fracture the once-proud family and scatter them across the globe, yet delicate threads still hold them together: in a swimming pool in Palo Alto, Arteaga’s young grandson struggles to make sense of the grief that has hobbled his family; in Mexico City, Arteaga’s mistress alternates between rage and heartbreak as she waits, in growing panic, for her lover’s return; in Austin, the Arteagas’ housekeeper tries to piece together a second life in an alienating and demeaning new land; in Madrid, Arteaga’s son takes his ailing dog through the hot and unforgiving streets, in search of his father’s ghost.

Multiple award-winning author Antonio Ruiz-Camacho offers an exquisite and intimate evocation of the loneliness, love, hope, and fear that can bind a family even as unspeakable violence tears it apart. “A straight-on jab to the soul” (Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), Barefoot Dogs is a heartfelt elegy to the stolen innocence of every family struck by tragedy. This is urgent and vital fiction.

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