Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

May 25

Comments: 6

Teaser Tuesdays: Tarnished Infidelity

by Ann-Katrina

Teaser Tuesdays Happy Tuesday! It’s time again for another edition of Teaser Tuesdays

Here are the rules:

  • Grab your current read
  • Let the book fall open to a random page
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • You also need to share the title of the book where you get your teaser from…that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given
  • Please avoid spoilers

Bird in Hand This week’s teaser:

"And then, when his mother got cancer for the second time, though Charlie knew about the chemo and the radiation and the lymph nodes, it was months before anyone acknowledged how serious it was. She was dying by the time Charlie’s sister called and urged him home." pg. 53 Bird in Hand by Christina Baker Kline

This is one of those books that’s been sitting on my TBR stack for ages that I’ve been meaning to read for just as long and always shove aside for one reason or another, but now I’m focused on finishing it.

I’m about halfway through now and I’m wondering why I waited so long. It’s the story of four people struggling through their individual and coupled lives in the wake of a tragedy.

I love character studies (I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before)–just stick a bunch of interesting people in a pressure cooker together and see what happens–and this book is shaping up to be an interesting one. Infidelity and a car accident in which a young boy dies. That’s what I call a pressure cooker if ever there was one.

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February 22

Comments: 2

Micro Read-a-Thon Update, Reviews in Queue, and the Week Ahead

by Ann-Katrina

The weekend is over. And it flew by. I barely had a chance to savor it. But, let’s not dwell on that, otherwise I might start twirling around really fast in an effort to time travel and that definitely wouldn’t be pretty.

Sunday was supposed to be dedicated to a mini read-a-thon, but due to some improper planning on my part (and lack of sleep the night before), it was transformed into a micro read-a-thon—two books and four short stories in six hours. I just missed the mark…by about four miles.

I did manage to finish one book (Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt) and get three quarters of the way through another (The Devouring by Simon Holt)—keep reading for some book notes. I also learned that I read much slower when I’m tired.*

Reviews in Queue

There are so many books around here begging to be reviewed, but I’ve been putting it off. I’m not sure why. Maybe there’s a mental block. Maybe it has something to do with the changes to the review system.** In any event, here are a few waiting for their moment on the chopping block:

Topless ProphetTopless Prophet by Alan Markovitz (with Thomas Stevens)

Before you read the title, see the cover image, and scoff, let me first explain the reason for requesting the book. I enjoy books on business and success—when they’re well done. If you can weave that valuable knowledge into an entertaining memoir, all the better. Plus, I enjoy a hint of risqué. And that’s precisely what Topless Prophet is.

It’s not as smut-filled as one might assume at first glance and deals more with Markovitz’s life growing up and entering the adult entertainment business, plus it dispenses some excellent advice (and inspiration) which could be applied in almost any situation. It’s also an interesting look behind the scenes of a high class strip club.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie BabbittTuck Everlasting

When I finished this book, I wondered why I hadn’t read it much sooner. I was also left in awe at how quickly it floated by.

This book was a much faster read than I’d anticipated, but it has so much to offer. Words fail me.

It’s one book that I can squarely recommend for both children and adults. For the child, there’s an entertaining story about a girl who’s tired of the status quo and ends up on an adventure with a peculiar immortal family and learning about life in the process, and there’s a heavier message for the adults.

The question posed on the front cover is no joke: What if you could live forever?

The DevouringThe Devouring by Simon Holt

When I first read the description at Amazon, I thought it sounded sufficiently interesting. Then I read a few reviews and they all had something in common: they said the book was frightening. Still, I didn’t believe them. I’ve read (and watched) so much horror and thriller and blood-soaked thrasher stories that they rarely phase me anymore. Then I began reading…

…and it is frightening.

It’s not your traditional frightening. Nothing seems overtly out of place until you realize the cold air you feel blowing across your arms and legs is not natural or that the smell of carnival popcorn doesn’t belong in your bedroom or the woman sitting on the bed is not actually your long-gone mother. Or that your soul has been replaced by something dark and no one around you knows. It’s a slow chill that snakes through you until you’re numb. That’s the kind of frightening it is.

It’s not without its clichés, but I still can’t wait to finish this one.

The Week Ahead

I don’t often publish “week ahead” posts, but I figure: I’m here, I’m typing, so why not?

Since embarking on this little reading experiment, I had to put aside Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson—of which I’m halfway finished and it rocks—so I’ll probably finish that up this week, then move on to something weightier; Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh (which I snagged thanks to a recommendation by Sravana) or Bird in Hand by Christina Baker Kline perhaps.

Suite ScarlettMrs. KimbleBird in Hand

After that, I’m sure I’ll want to move on to something light and carefree, or maybe some non-fiction. Goody Hall by Natalie Babbitt, Mister Monday by Garth Nix, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot are good candidates.

Goody HallMister MondayThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Since I tend to be a moody reader, we’ll have to wait and see to be certain.


*I decided to use a track timer while reading. At the end of each chapter, I pressed the ‘Lap’ button. It was interesting to see bottlenecks or fluctuations based on my posture or overall alertness.

**After an unscientific survey performed a while back, I’ve decided to break my reviews up into two parts posted separately. One part will be the summary and vocab words (I originally planned to do vocab, but never actually did it) and the second part will be my thoughts on the book.

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January 21

Comments: 4

Recent Arrivals: Bird in Hand by Christina Baker Kline

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: Bird in Hand by Christina Baker Kline

Bird in Hand

First line: For Alison, these things will always be connected: the moment [...]

Initial thoughts: I have to admit that I’m a sucker for character exploration. In that sense, I’m a voyeur. Sometimes I’ll get into a mood where I just want to read about people–interesting people, mind you–and the choices they make and how it affects their lives. In that regard, Bird in Hand seems like a perfect choice. Plus, I’ve heard so many people raving about its writing that I couldn’t help but resist…and from the first couple of chapters I’ve read, I’d say they are right.

Book description:

It was an accident. It was dark, it was raining, Alison had only had two drinks. And the other car ran the stop sign. But Alison finds herself trapped under the crushing weight of grief and guilt, feeling increasingly estranged from her husband…

Charlie, who has his own burdens. He’s in a job he doesn’t love so that Alison can stay at home with the kids (and why isn’t she more grateful for that?); he has a house in the suburbs and a long commute to and from the city. And the only thing he can focus on these days is his secret, sudden affair with…

Claire, Alison’s best friend. Bold where Alison is reserved, vibrant where Alison is cautious, Claire has just had her first novel published, a thinly veiled retelling of her childhood in North Carolina. But even in the whirlwind of publication, Claire can’t stop wondering if she should leave her husband…

Ben, an ambitious architect who is brilliant, kind, and meticulous. And who wants nothing more than a baby, or two–exactly the kind of life that Charlie and Alison seem to have…

Book Details: 288 pages; William Morrow; Pub. August 11, 2009

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