Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Henry Huggins feels it’s high time he was allowed to go along on one of his father’s fishing trips. Mr. Huggins agrees on one condition: Henry must keep his dog, Ribsy, out of trouble from now until the next trip. Sounds like a fair enough deal, but Henry soon learns it may not be so easy in Henry and Ribsy by author Beverly Cleary.

In the words of Henry himself: boy, oh, boy! This little span of less than two months is quite an adventure. Ribsy is such a mix of four-legged, tail-wagging fun and well-enough-meaning mischief. I even became heartbreakingly frightened for him at one point (you know, in the curious way it’s possible to feel heartbreak and fright while reading a pleasant children’s tale.)

Besides the goings-on with Ribsy, it’s something to watch Henry navigate some relatable joys and trials of childhood: trying to keep up with and impress an older kid, wanting to get all the mileage he can out of his loose teeth, despairing at a bad haircut that makes him “look all chewed.” Yes, you can empathize with Henry’s frustration in those moments when grownups don’t understand and won’t listen—and his surprised relief when they do.

This book had me laughing so hard at times that I couldn’t go on until I could go on, especially when it came to the antics of a certain little neighbor of Henry’s, Ramona Geraldine Quimby. It might be cheating that Ramona got my biggest laugh here, given that she’s my longtime favorite Cleary character and this is one of Henry’s stories. But, gee! I couldn’t help cracking up!

I plan to read at least one more Henry book pretty soon.


Note to my blog readers: I didn’t actually get to read an old copy with illustrations by Louis Darling. I have a new copy from Harper, but my nostalgic self and I couldn’t resist using the old-fashioned book cover for this review.


After Henry and Ribsy, I just had to read (or reread, after so many years) Ribsy.


Arts and Entertainment, Books, ebooks, Fiction

“My Book Valentine” Book Sale 2018

‘Tis the season–for love!
Check out this $0.99 sale for sweet romance-themed books, including Love Unfeigned,
February 1st-14th, 2018.

Enter the sale here.



Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Finding Miranda by Iris Chacon

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Finding Miranda by Iris Chacon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Miranda is a shy librarian who’s new in town and chronically invisible. So it’s ironic when her handsome neighbor, Shepard, sees her–even though he, well, doesn’t. And not to mention that now there are some men around who see both Miranda and Shepard and apparently want them dead in Finding Miranda, a novel by author Iris Chacon.

I wasn’t sure what this book was, exactly, when I picked it up. A cozy mystery? A romance? Chick lit, maybe? Well, no, not chick lit. But now that I’ve read it, I can’t say as I truly know what to call this romantic comedic mysterious heart-tugging thingamabob of a book. But I enjoyed the heck out of it!

I thought the read would be more Miranda-central than it is, but it includes other characters’ perspectives, and that’s okay. Miranda is one unique cookie, the romance is too cute, and though I (lover of love that I am) very, very rarely ever read of a hero I’d call swoon-worthy, I might call Shepard that. Not because of his long hair or muscly build (honestly, the more it seems a story is trying to make me swoon over a romantic hero’s looks, the more it annoys me.) But Shepard shines as a layered, likable, flawed, and interesting person, not just the dashing or lovey-dovey figure the heroine falls for because that’s what’s “supposed” to happen in romances.

And the mystery. It’s not a whodunit or sleuthing type of thing, but it includes some politics, corruption, enough danger to keep you suspicious, and it actually escalates to the gripping level of a thriller.

Yet, the story remains its own, remarkable something, where the humor is quirky but the tale isn’t silly. The characters aren’t just caricatures that stuff happens to, and the story doesn’t pull punches and let everyone off easy. It came to a point or two when I had to set the book aside and give my affected heart a break for a minute.

Oh, and for the dog lovers, did I mention the cast of characters includes an awesome dog?

Here’s a winning tale with a bespectacled woman in the bushes and a great message on where courage comes from. I’d highly recommend this book to fellow readers who can rightly appreciate a thingamabob.


Note to my blog readers: this novel contains just a smidgen of crude humor and minimal profanity.


Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Marionette by A. J. Terry

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Marionette by A.J. Terry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Ko Min-Jung has received a formal “invitation” to join the ranks of recruits for the Agency. They’ll train her to become a professional agent to help protect North Korea from foreign threats. But this training could make it impossible for Ko to remain herself in Marionette, a novel by author A. J. Terry.

This spy thriller essentially has a triple timeline and doesn’t announce where in time it’s going before it goes. But because the unfolding of the plot makes sense, the timing isn’t confusing.

I felt the story teeter toward stalling a time or two in the earlier chapters while thoughts and questions would swarm through Ko’s head. In fact, throughout the book, I thought the narration sometimes asked more questions than necessary. But it didn’t bog things down too much, and if it were a slow read, I probably wouldn’t have finished it in a day, as I did.

This is a tragic, violent, even brutal story with a main character I’d find rather “tofu” at times, taking in the flavor of events happening around her without my always having the best sense of her. But when Ko would come through, I’d feel it.

And I was hit the deepest by one character’s accounts of brilliant humanity, shining through at its own expense, and the tension and irony in what happens to one’s humanity when some authority effectively tampers with it. I was riveted by the story and only felt a little let down toward the end when I realized it wasn’t going to have as much closure as I would’ve liked.

Not exactly a cliffhanger here, but it’s clear that Ko’s journey has only begun in this novel. So I plan on reading the next.


Note to my blog readers: while this novel has no profanity or explicit sex scenes, it does contain content for mature audiences.


Marionette is the first of the Agent Ko spy thrillers.

*Now, while I’ve already got Book Two, I had some trouble figuring out where to get the rest of the series. A little bird told me the novels will be getting a makeover, of sorts. So I’ve decided to hold off on reading more until the redone edition of the series appears.*