Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

When Joshua Foer covers the U.S. Memory Championships for a magazine, he is fascinated on the competitors’ insistence that they don’t have super memories. They say that anyone can learn to do it. So he decides to try. For the next year he dedicates himself to learning how to memorize competitively and to study what is memory and why is it important.

This book isn’t a how to about how to remember.  It combines the history of memorization with the story of people with great memorizing skills, people with amnesia, and memory teachers. There are great characters trying to push their memories farther and farther.

Discord’s Apple (audio) by Carrie Vaughn

In the near future the U.S. is a police state with roadblocks everywhere looking for terrorists. When Evie gets a call that her father is dying of prostate cancer she drives to see him in Colorado. There she finds out that her family has been the keepers of the Storeroom, a treasure trove of famous magical items, for thousands of years. Soon, she will be responsible for the care. Many magical creatures are showing up asking for treasures that have been in storage. Can Evie keep control of the artifacts in her care?

This is a great premise. The problem is that Evie is the most useless and whiny character I’ve come across in a long time. Her main response to any kind of adversity is to just keep saying that she doesn’t want it to happen. Then she sits and sulks while people around her work or if she does take action it is so stupidly selfish that everyone else has to save her from herself. Her job is to write a comic book series that has a female Army character who is supposed to be learning how to function on her own behind enemy lines. She can’t even figure out how to the write that story for pretend and ends up abandoning it unfinished.

I did really like the ending though. It isn’t the expected happily ever after that you usually get and I appreciate that.

The Best of Friends by Susan Mallery

During her senior year of high school after her mother dies, Jayne goes to live with her friend Rebecca’s super rich family. Over the next 10 years Rebecca and her brother David leave home but Jayne stays close to the parents out of a sense of obligation for what they have done for her. Now she’s a nurse but functions mostly as an unpaid assistant to the mother. When Rebecca and David move back to town and David becomes romantically interested in Jayne, the bonds of friendship and family are strained to the breaking point.

I liked this book. It was chick lit/romance but the heroine didn’t forgo everything for the man like so often happens.

Say You’ll Be Mine by Julia Amante

Isabel has worked all her life at the winery in California that her parents established when she was in college. Now it is finally time to sell it so she can live her own life and can get away from her ex-husband Nick who was granted part ownership by her parents. Then her cousin from Argentina dies unexpectedly and she is given custody of her three children. Now she has to decide what life she wants.

The whole “I still love my ex” plot device annoys me to no end. If I had realized that was going on here I wouldn’t have picked up this book. She divorced her ex because he was an alcoholic. Now suddenly 10 years later he finds out that she has these kids and he wants back in her life. He dumps his finance who was just a second ago he was madly in love with because she told him that she thought that trying to raise kids with his ex wife was insane and she wasn’t going to be a part of it. I think she had a lucky break getting rid of this guy. Then he barges into Isabel’s life despite being repeatedly told to go away. Apparently he didn’t get the message that no means no. But in this book it doesn’t, I guess, because eventually she just gives in even though she clearly states that she’s never really loved him.

Don’t forget to check out my discussion of The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier for Banned Books Week. There’s a giveaway of the book and chocolate!