Lost Cat by Caroline Paul

Lost CatCat lover alert! The cat is no longer away from home, but his person is curious about where he has been for 5 weeks. GPS, kitty camera, and pet psychics are all employed to unravel the mystery of the missing weeks. Humorous writing accompanied by wonderful watercolor paintings of the characters. The artist wasn’t a cat person at the beginning of the story but is a complete convert by the end. Charming, hilarious, and touching, this is a quick and easy read. Good to read aloud to each other on a warm summer evening with your kitties on your lap.

Reviewed by Kate

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

A Week in WinterConsider this a gentle read. Binchy knows how to bring tension and angst to a story but seems to have chosen to let that go in favor of a collection of character stories that are basically descriptions of slices of people’s lives and how they all end up together at a delightful inn on the coast of Ireland. Each chapter focuses on a different character. All but one are nice people who have faced challenges in their lives and are overcoming them. Happy endings for all.

Reviewed by Kate

Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern

Thanks for the MemoriesStrange memories after a blood transfusion are making Joyce nervous and jumpy. She has no way of knowing these things she is remembering, but they seem real. Justin, newly divorced, with a precocious teenaged daughter, is looking for meaning in his life. Before he can get out of it, he donates to a blood bank. We know their secret connection, but they don’t. Like ships passing in the night, they keep almost meeting. Meanwhile, separate lives go on. Likeable characters, quirky storyline premise, and good writing kept me engaged until the predictable conclusion. Happy story with just enough tension.

Reviewed by Kate

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenThe children at Miss Peregrine’s School are living the same day over and over and have been since 1942 when their home was bombed. Modern teenager, Jacob, has discovered the secret of traveling in and out of this loop in search of answers to the mystery of his grandfather’s childhood. A charming addition to the story are the odd photographs that illustrate the special gifts these children have. Well placed in the text, they really enhance the storytelling. Fits nicely if you like mystery, fantasy, adventure, coming of age stories, and a little romance.

Reviewed by Kate

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour BookstoreI finished the book with a smile on my face. An out-of-work graphic designer takes a job at a little hole-in-the-wall bookstore, which launches him into a wonderful adventure with old books, modern technology, a super smart young woman, his best friend from high school, and a cult of readers of ancient texts. This book has it all: sympathetic characters, great story line, plot twists, suspense. Keep the book in your hands after you turn off the light at night for one more delightful surprise.

Reviewed by Kate

Home Front by Kristin Hannah

I’m not usually a fan of books about the military, and my tastes tend towards introspective books and memoirs that prioritize thought over action. That said, this book did a really nice job of making the military accessible to me, thought the experiences of one of the narrators, Jolene, whose time in the National Guard culminates in a trip to the Middle East. The book follows her time as a helicopter pilot as well as the experiences of her husband and children at home, and it does a beautiful job mapping out the tangled webs of things we don’t say and the ways that these silences come to influence our lives. Hannah does a good job of portraying flawed yet real people. I would recommend the book.

Reviewed by Kate

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz

If I could choose one book everyone in the world should read, it would be this one. In this book the author explores why we find it so gratifying to be right and so distressing when we find ourselves mistaken. They say that to err is human but we don’t take it very well when we are wrong. Schulz helped me see that being wrong isn’t so bad and that I’m not always right when I’m right. Using examples from the personal to the political, she shows the reader a wide range of human fallibility and ends up giving us the courage to allow ourselves to be wrong.

Reviwed by Kate

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

Written like a novel with an ebb and flow that makes it very readable. It is a WWII war story and we hear about the privations and hardships and brutality of the experience but it includes so much humor, community spirit, and personal strength and determination, that you know good will triumph. We’re not stuck in the mire of individual baddies, we get to hear about the individual heroes.

Reviewed by Kate

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

Three characters, three separate stories all tied up in hope and despair and love. Lynnie, mute and locked up in an asylum. Martha, a 70 year old retired school teacher, caring for a newborn child for the first time in her life. Buddy, black and deaf, intelligent and uneducated, is running for his life, trying to get back to Lynnie. Well written by an author able to convey each of their stories with compassion and insight, giving us a glimpse of their thought and hopes and dreams.

Reviewed by Kate