Fallingwater: The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright's MasterpieceFallingwater: The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterpiece by Marc Harshman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dreams of falling water…leads to Fallingwater for architect Frank Lloyd Wright and department store owner Edgar Kaufmann.
“A house like no other,
where sun can shine,
where balconies fly,
where falling water
is heard from every room.”
I had already wanted to visit this remarkable house. Now my desire is more intense!


The Switch

The SwitchThe Switch by Joseph Finder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michael Tanner is a regular person, owner of a coffee roasting business, on his way back to Boston from a sales meeting in Los Angeles when he picks up someone else’s laptop in the TSA area at LAX.
Senator Susan Robbins has her eye on a higher office and can’t be bothered with reading classified documents in a SCIF. She has her Chief of Staff, Will Abbott, download these files to her laptop – yes, the same laptop Tanner retrieves from the TSA conveyor belt. The senator has her password on a sticky note on the bottom of her laptop – is she not too bright?? Her Chief of Staff is a cutthroat and malevolent sort and has many resources.
Tanner is already facing some difficulties – his wife left recently; his business is relying on some new, yet unsigned, contracts to keep it afloat.
What the reader doesn’t know at first is that Tanner is smart and enterprising, as well as good and kind. For example, when he is about to steal a car he feels guilty, before he has actually stolen it. His character makes this fast-paced political thriller delightful.

Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool

Easter Ann Peters' Operation CoolEaster Ann Peters’ Operation Cool by Jody Lamb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book belongs in all middle school libraries, counseling/student services offices and public libraries.

Seventh grade can be a vexing time and author Jody Lamb’s choice for Easter Ann’s setting provides a perfect balance of disorder at school and at home for the middlegrade audience and the serious topic of family alcoholism.

Despite the ongoing situation with her family, Easter Ann’s story is fun, funny and upbeat. And I love the subtle reminders that this novel takes place in my former home state – Michigan.

I would like to see Easter Ann return in a sequel – this is one book I didn’t want to end!

An updated Resource List is included in the back – help for those concerned about a family member’s alcohol consumption – in this new second edition.


Just Dance

Just DanceJust Dance by Patricia MacLachlan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sylvie Bloom is moving up from 4th grade to 5th grade and is sad to be leaving her most perfect teacher behind, one who knows what she is thinking without her having to say a word.
Sylvie’s teacher, Mrs. Ludolf, has a husband, the sheriff, who is almost illiterate and writes a “crime/news interest” column in the town newspaper. Mrs. Ludolf gives Sylvie her husband as her summer project – to write his column for him as she rides around town with the sheriff.
Sylvie also has a personal project this summer – to figure out why her mother, a famous opera singer, is content to stay in their small Wyoming town instead of returning to life on the stage.
This short book is a treasure.

The Late Show

The Late Show (Renée Ballard, #1)The Late Show by Michael Connelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Renee Ballard is one determined detective who has been through some rough times, like sexual harassment by a former boss, followed by ostracism by the LAPD and demotion to the graveyard shift. She is always under scrutiny while doing her best, trying to make a difference. Connelly brings us non-stop action as we enter Ballard’s world.
First in a series.
This would make a great movie!

Fitness Junkie

Fitness JunkieFitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun and funny, Janey Sweet is thrown into the plight of the temporarily unemployed by her unfeeling business partner – is this even allowed? – for being overweight and nibbling a “bruffin” (brioche muffin/sounds delish) while representing their bridal wear company on camera during a fashion show.
Janey does some soul searching as well as fitness class searching while contemplating what she wants to do with her life.
Will she comply with Beau’s wishes and her actual contract stipulations and lose 30 pounds in three months?
Does she even want to continue to work with Beau, who is mean and controlling and weighs his food at restaurants?
Lots of name and fashion dropping in this book.
Lots of poking fun at outrageous food and fitness fads, too.


Joplin, Wishing

Joplin, WishingJoplin, Wishing by Diane Stanley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Part magical, part mystery, mostly realistic fiction, this book is a treasure.
Upon returning to school after her grandfather’s funeral, Joplin knows she is facing two tormenting dilemmas – her ongoing friendless state and the certain harassment from her classmates about her famous, eccentric, all-over-the-news grandfather. Kids get suspended, a teacher handles things poorly and Joplin takes a few days off, too.
Joplin brought home a broken antique platter from her grandfather’s house as a memento and has it restored with her aunt’s help. While feeling sad and lonely she longingly looks at the girl in the platter and wishes for the girl to be her friend and to have a friend at school. The next morning she notices a girl in her garden who looks like…the now missing girl from the platter! And Joplin makes a friend at school. Life gets complicated with this friend who has no home of her own and needs food, shelter and truly wants to get back to the mid 1600s. Life gets dangerous when a man from the 1600s wants Joplin’s magic platter.
Author Stanley brings us a main character who grows and develops, strong secondary characters, a good sense of place, and mystery and magic.
Starred review from Booklist is right on target.