Saturday, January 20, 2018

Traveling Through Illinois by LuAnn Cadden & Ted Cable

Traveling Through Illinois: Stories of I-55 Landmarks & Landscapes Between Chicago and St. Louis by LuAnn Cadden & Ted Cable, 190 pages

If you have ever traveled to Chicago and driven on I-55, I would say this is a handy book to have.  As I have been driving between St. Louis and Chicago every year for the past year, I wish someone had written this book sooner.  Just about everything that you find fascinating along I-55 you will find written in this book.  Written by southbound then by northbound exits, it is fascinating to read what I have been missing all these years.  For instance, I must stop by the grain elevator museum sometime soon to see what I have been missing!

100 Things To Do In America Before You Die by Bill Clevlen

100 Things To Do In America Before You Die by Bill Clevlen, 173 pages

This is a very interesting read about some things to do in the United States while you are around to enjoy them.  Bill Clevlen is a local travel writer and broadcaster who lives in St. Louis.  I love the fact these are all based on sights in the USA, and they all seem doable.  I actually found that I have already done many of these, and he writes a page about each place.  He also includes trivia questions at the bottom of each page.  I learned that the Statue of Liberty use to be open to the top of the torch but was permanently closed during WWI.

Friday, January 19, 2018

I Heart Bloomberg by Melody Carlson

I Heart Bloomberg by Melody Carlson
(86 Bloomberg Place #1)
312 pages / 7 hrs, 53 mins

"Kendall's managed to wrangle her grandmother's house--free and clear--except for the rules... But that's ok, with the right ad she'll pull in some girls, their rent and if she's lucky, she won't have to go to work any time soon.

"For their part, Anna, Lelani, and Megan all have their reasons for wanting to move in: Anna has got to get out from under her overprotective parents; Lelani can't take another day in her aunt's tiny crackerbox house overflowing with toddlers and Megan needs a place free of her current roommate from Hades. Though they come with assorted extra baggage filled with broken hearts and dreams, they will discover they also have a vast array of hidden strengths.

"As they struggle to become the women they want to be, they'll find new hope and maybe even Kendall will learn a thing or two about life, love and the true meaning of friendship."  --from the publisher

I enjoy Carlson's conversational style of writing and uncomplicated story lines.  I also appreciate the way she treats the subjects of faith and relationships.  I gave it 3 stars out of 5 on Goodreads.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - 374 pages

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, 236 pages

Sisters first was an excellent book about growing up as both twins and in the political public eye.  The book is written from each twins perspective, alternating in the book between Barbara and Jenna.  At times this was confusing because I was trying to remember which one was who.  The girls include many details from their childhood and growing up with a grandfather who was President.  Then, they became the first family of Texas and then their father became President.  It is nice to read about two sisters who are so close and have stayed that way their whole lives while leading very different and separate lives.  This was very good book on the bond between sisters.

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg
384 pages / 10 hrs, 55 mins

"Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama, has just married off the last of her daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps traveling with her husband, Earle.  The only thing left to contend with is her mother, the formidable Lenore Simmons Krackenberry.  Lenore may be a lot of fun for other people, but is, for the most part, an overbearing presence for her daughter.  Then one day, quite by accident, Sookie discovers a secret about her mother's past that knocks her for a loop and suddenly calls into question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family, and her future.

"Sookie begins a search for answers that takes her to California, the Midwest, and back in time, to the 1940s, when an irrepressible woman named Fritzi takes on the job of running her family's filling station.  Soon truck drivers are changing their routes to fill up at the All-Girl Filling Station.  Then, Fritzi sees an opportunity for an even more groundbreaking adventure.  As Sookie learns about the adventures of the girls at the All-Girl Filling Station, she finds herself with new inspiration for her own life."  --from the publisher

What a great idea for a book!  Flagg does an excellent job describing the atmosphere of the 1940s, and the characters are a hoot.  The narrative gets choppy about halfway through with a switch to epistolary style and a few paragraphs that read like a textbook, but I still enjoyed it.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - 352 pages

I would sum up the book as SAD.  Two teenagers have cancer but fall in love.  They shared several unique experiences like traveling to Amsterdam to meet an author, making love etc.  But in the end she is waiting for death and the boyfriend, Augusta dies.  Very sad but interesting.

This is how Amazon describes the book:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.