Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut by Salma Abdelnour

The author lived in Beirut Lebanon as a child until her family left during the civil war to move to Houston TX. All of her life she has felt drawn back to Lebanon. Now, at 38, she decides to spend a year in Beirut to see where her home truly is.

The main thing I liked about this book was the food.  She talks about a lot of great Middle Eastern food.  I was starting to look up recipes when I finished the book and realized that there are recipes in the back.

I didn’t really feel for this author.  She just seems restless to me.  It isn’t like she went off into the great unknown.  Her family still owns an apartment in Lebanon in a building populated by relatives.  She’s been visiting for years.  She speaks Arabic and friends are always popping over from all over the planet.

The Voluntourist: A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem by Ken Budd

After the sudden death of his father, the author worries that his life lacks meaning. He decides to start traveling and volunteering to help with environmental studies, teach English, build houses, or take care of children. He’s not qualified to do any of this and his quest for meaning may actually destroy the life he has in the United States.

Ok, this guy annoyed me.  I wasn’t in the mood for reading too much angst this week apparently.  His big dilemma is that is father died and he got it into his head that if he didn’t have children then his life was worthless.  From that bit of craziness, he forms this goal to go around the world and help people so somehow his life can have meaning.  Since I’m repulsed by the whole premise that a childless life is worthless, I couldn’t really get into this book.

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

This book picks up immediately after A Discovery of Witches so if you haven’t read that, start there. Matthew, a vampire, and Diana, a witch are running from people in modern times who are enforcing a law that bans their marriage. They time travel back to 1590s England where Matthew once lived in order to try to get training for Diana from the experienced witches of the past to try to figure out why her powers are so unpredictable.

This is a hard book to review because I have no idea where this story is going. I’m just along for the ride. Most of the story takes place in Elizabethan England were Matthew was friends with most of the famous people of the day. Christopher Marlowe, Walter Raleigh, and Queen Elizabeth are characters. The author brings a historian’s eye to the descriptions of life in the 16th century. I’m really enjoying this series and feel like it needs a better write up than this but it is one of those books that you really need to read and experience to be able to talk about it.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Three months ago Amy was driving when she was in a car accident that killed her father. Since then she has been terrified to drive. But now her brother is in rehab, her mother has relocated across country, and Amy has to get a car from California to their new house in Connecticut. Roger is a son of one of her mom’s friends and needs to get to Philadelphia. He agrees to drive cross country with Amy. Amy’s mom has planned the trip and made hotel reservations. But Amy and Roger decide to take a few detours along the way.

I don’t read much contemporary YA so it took me a bit to commit to this but I’m glad I did. The story is believable and there are pictures of gas and food receipts for stops along the way. There are playlists for different parts of the drive. Both Amy and Roger are not in great emotional states when they start out and they use the trip to work out their issues.


Still working on the audio for:

There’s No Place Like Here by Cecelia Ahern (audio)

Sandy Short investigates missing people for a living. All of her life she has been bothered by the fact that things go missing. If she puts her socks in the washer and only one comes out, where did it go? On the way to meet a new client whose brother is missing, Sandy finds herself missing. She is in a land where all the missing things are – books, bowls, cups, and lots and lots of socks.