Please Read This Book

I want to tell you about a book that I read this week. You know that feeling when you realize that you are just happy reading a book? I obviously love reading and that makes me happy but a good book will have me smiling.

I also want everyone to read it. I end up walking around and telling anyone who will listen that they have to read this book.

Without further ado – my new book recommendation is

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in our stars

 I have wanted to read this book for a long time. I reserved it through the library and I think it took three months to get it.

I have heard wonderful things about John Green’s books for the last year. I reserved Looking for Alaska first but was not able to read it when it was available. I then saw an interview with John Green on my local PBS station. It seems that he lived in Chicago and was talking about his life here. He seems very likeable and approachable.

You know those times when you run across someone or something and all of a sudden they are everywhere. That is what happened to me with John Green. Granted, the film version of The Fault in Our Stars came out this summer so he was in the spotlight but I have probably read more about him than any other author in a long time.  You would almost think I was going to write a term paper about him…

 “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like betrayal”

John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Synopsis –

Hazel has cancer. Her cancer started in her thyroid and then set up a “satellite colony” in her lungs. Her cancer cannot be cured but with the help of a trial medicine she is stable. She uses a portable oxygen machine because her lungs just cannot work well enough.  She is seventeen and has been out of school for three years because of her illness. She had gotten her GED and is attending college classes. She is an only child and she lives at home where her parents, primarily her mother, care for her.

Depression is an issue with cancer patients or as Hazel puts it “depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.”  In her mother’s efforts to help with the depression, she pushes Hazel to attend a support group. Of course, the support group is depressing. It is made up of children/young adults that have cancer.

It is in this group that Hazel meets Augustus Waters. Augustus tells the group that he “had a touch of osteosarcoma a year and a half ago” but that he was at the group to support his friend Isaac. Hazel noticed that Augustus could not stop staring at her. Since he was pretty hot, she didn’t mind but she didn’t exactly feel that she was that special looking.  She first tried to avoid eye contact but then just decided to stare back. Hazel won the staring contest.

At the end of the meeting, Augustus explained to Hazel that she looked just like Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta. They went to his house to watch the movie since Hazel had not seen it.

This is start of the story of Hazel and Augustus.

“Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”

― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars


First of all, I loved the writing. The problems were not sugar coated or belittled but at the same time they were not overwrought. Hazel worries about her parents.  She is an only child and worries what will happen to them when she dies. She resists having a relationship with Augustus because she knows that she will tear a hole in his life.  The plot and characters seem real.  The humor seems right.

Yes, this seems like it would be a depressing story. It is sad. And it is funny. And mostly it feels real. The characters are intelligent young people who have been dealt a terrible hand in life but they are still trying to find their way just as their contemporaries are trying to find their way.

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”

― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

So, I want you to read this book. I want you to be caught up in the writing and enjoy the way that John Green puts words and thoughts together. I want you to be surprised by how much you like this book.

This is my suggestion. You can order it right now. I know that is pushy but I want you to read the book. You can order just the book from Amazon with this link The Fault in Our Stars


you can do what I am about to do and order a volume called The John Green Collection
(for the kindle at $19.95) that has most of John Green’s books in one. *

How many nightlights?

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Thanks for reading

*Disclosure – I have signed up as an Amazon Affiliate. That means that I will make in incredibly small amount of money if you buy through the links.  If this bothers you or you think that it affects my review, then PLEASE don’t use the link. I would rather have you read the book than get irritated that I might make a few cents from your buying it through the link.

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Books for Less

Bliss is saving on books

I realized that I have been remiss when I have talked about finding low cost books. It seems that there are many people that like to read physical books rather reading on an eReader. Most of my tips have been how to find discounted books for the eReader.

There are sources for discount books. The obvious choice of the used book store. I am fortunate to have several in the town where I live.

The next choice that comes to mind is the local library.  My library  has book sales several times a year. I don’t think that this is uncommon.  Also, my library usually has a cart of books that are for sale in the check-out area.

But let’s think outside the box a bit. Both of those choices are great if you are not looking for a particular book.  But what if you want to read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt?


There is eBay. Yes, eBay has books. In fact they have almost 4 MILLION books available. There are some that have free shipping. If you are looking for a particular book, that could be a great source.  They seem to have textbooks, antique books, audio books and best sellers. All categories of books can be found there. You might also want to think of it when you need to clean out those book shelves and sell some of your books.

EBay also has a company by the name of Half that sells new and used books and rents books. Each books is broken down into sections for brand new, like new, very good, good, and acceptable. Each seller has a rating based on reviews. There is a cost to mail the book via media mail. You can also use coupons at the site. (google promo codes)

Amazon buys and sells used books. Depending on the title, you may be able to buy a used copy. Also, if you go to the book section, they have a (across the top of the page) section for “deals in books”.

There is also Barnes and Noble.  Barnes and Noble on-line has a section of bargain books (a tab toward the top of the page). There are hardback books there for $2.99. It is interesting because they show that the hardback book is $2.99 while the Nook edition will be $12.99. It looks to me that these books are a few years old but not the dregs of the book world. When I looked, I saw the Mitch Albom book, The Time Keeper in hardcover for $3.99 (and nook for $9.99). You will also find a display in the stores of books that are on sale.

Barnes and Noble also has a club. The cost to join the club is $25 per year. With the club membership, you receive discounts – 40% off hardcover bestsellers and 10% off almost everything else in the store. You also get mailings with discount coupons. If you order from the on-line store, you get free express shipping.   Irritatingly (at least to me…) none of the discounts apply to books you buy for the nook.

flea-market books

Books at a flea market

Books are also a staple at garage sales, flea markets and rummage sales.   These are the cheapest places to find books.

If you look on line, you will also find many discount book sellers (google discount books).

So there you have it.  More ideas for places for discounted books. Where do you get your books?  Is there somewhere I have missed?  Please let me know.

Have a great weekend!

Thanks for reading!


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Big Little Lies, Kindle Unlimited, and eBook Specials

I like to get my books for pennies; how about you?

I like to get my books for pennies; how about you?

First of all, I am thinking of changing the name of this blog.  Here are some ideas:

The Thrifty Book Lover

The Penny Pinching Reader

The Cheap Book Lover

What do you think?  Please let me know in the comments or via twitter (@carolearlycoone)

There are two new low to no cost book ideas for you this week.


The first is a new email service that I just joined. It is a service  to tell you about daily or weekly ebook specials.  The service is like the others (BookBub, Riffle, and Book Shout)  It is called ebook soda.  You go to the site, give them your email address and tell them (from a long list) what kind of books that you like to read and then receive a daily email with book specials.  I think that you might find some overlapping with these services but you will find good books at a lower than usual price. I have so many books to read that I am trying not to look at the emails.  I usually look.


I think that I have mentioned First to Read before.  First to Read features books from Penguin Publishing.  First to Read is a bit different from the other sites.  Once a month, First to Read announces their books for the month. The books have not been published yet but can be from authors that you have read before.  You can bid to get a copy of the book.  They collect bids and announce who gets the book.  For example the list of books came out yesterday and the bidding will close on July 28.  Winners will be announced.  There is also a twist.  Every time you go to the site and sign in, you get 5 points.  These points accumulate and then when the books are announced, if there is one you really want to read, you can “buy” it with your points.  They want you to review the books that you read.  This can be review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and on the First to Read site.  Today’s book review is a book that I received from First to Read.  In case you were wondering, I was pretty happy to get it and read it WAY before it comes out.


I also wanted to tell you about the new product from Amazon.  They now offer a book subscription service called Kindle Unlimited.  It is a service where you pay $9.99 and you have over 600,000 books that you can take out and read and return.  I have talked about other services and you can read about them here. I am still partial to Entitle because you get to keep the books but Amazon does seem to have more titles available.  You really need to research the book selection and be realistic about how many books you read.

New book by Liane Moriarty.  Out July 29, 2014

New book by Liane Moriarty. Out July 29, 2014

Big Little Lies
(click on title to go to Amazon to buy the book)

BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty to be published July 29, 2014

In Liane Moriarty’s sixth book, she covers the world of elementary school “mums” and the secrets and lies that accompany their every day lives.


Madeline is the experienced school mom. She has seen the politics and has the scoop on who is in charge and how it all works.  Her beautiful and rich friend, Celeste, has twin boys just starting in the school. Madeline can be outspoken and has no problem defending her friends, even when perhaps they wish she wouldn’t.  Celeste appears to the outside world to have a perfect life. She is beautiful, her husband loves her, her children are fairly well behaved and she is rich.

Jane is a single unwed mother whose son will be starting school.  She has recently moved to the community and is very young and unsure of herself.

When Jane helps Madeline after a mishap, Madeline takes Jane in as a friend.  For Jane, Madeline is a force that carries her along through the intricacies of school social hierarchy.

Throughout the book, you know that someone has died.  You don’t know who or how or why but it is apparent that it will all come clear at the annual school Trivia Night.  As the night gets closer, you find out more about each of the character’s lives and the secrets that they keep.


I liked the book.  I found the whole school social system to be believable and the women to be warm and well drawn.  It was funny and sad and intriguing.  It was interesting to know that someone was dead but not know who or why.

The author made it even more interesting by ending each chapter with comments made to the police in the investigation.  As the book moves along, the personalities of the school parents shine through their statements.  It is an additional layer of humor in the book.

I would have no problem suggesting that you read this book.  Although, I would tell you to read her other book, What Alice Forgot, first if you had not read any of Liane Moriarty’s books before. What Alice Forgot is still my favorite but this is a close second.  By the way, I read that What Alice Forgot is being made into a movie.

Do you like to see movies that are made from books that you really liked?

And for the nightlight rating

IMG_2483 (2)IMG_2483 (2)IMG_2483 (2)

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Eureka! (and a Review)

I apparently follow the crowd.  This is not necessarily something that makes me proud.  But I have been thinking that I should have some sort of rating system for the books I review.  To honor those great rating systems like the


system employed in rating movies by Siskel and Ebert.

But what to use?

Then it hit me.  How do I know if I am really involved in reading a book?  What do I do if I am reading and know that I just can’t put it down.  Yep, I take the book to bed with me.

And what would be the symbol of taking the book to bed with me?

IMG_2483 (2) Yes, the mighty night light.  Slayer of dragons, the light under the covers, and the light on the path to the bathroom.

So there we go.  A book will be given a rating between one and four night lights.  A rating of four night lights will be hard to come by as it is the best.  I sincerely hope that even rarer will be the rating of one night light.

There is my new visual review tool.  The night light.

I did read a very nice book.  The title is Almost Perfect and it was written by Diane Daniels Manning.

Synopsis –

Benny Neusner is having a hard time growing up.  He spends a lot of time trying to get his Mother’s love and attention.  He lives with his father and his father’s new wife, Sonya.  He decides that what he really needs is a dog.  He wants a beagle.  He thinks that would be the perfect dog.  His father and Sonya think that he is too irresponsible for a dog.

Benny goes to the New Hope School that is run by Dr. Kate.  It is a school for children who have trouble attending regular public schools.  Benny has regular talks with Dr. Kate who is trying to get him to control his temper and vocalize his needs.

One day while he was waiting for his Mom to pick him up for a visit, he hears a crying sound and despite some trepidations, goes over the fence to investigate at his neighbor’s house.  He thinks she is a witch but his curiosity gets the best of him.  He finds a sign indicating that the house next door was a kennel .  But it was a kennel for poodles.  Poodles are silly dogs that certainly are not worth his attention.

Benny meets his neighbor, Bess Rutledge.  That day changed many things in Benny’s life.  Through meeting Bess, her son, and most of all, McCreery (Champion Umpawaug McCreery), he starts to grow up slowly.  He learns many lessons and teaches a few lessons to those around him.

Opinion –

I really enjoyed this book.  Benny’s hopes and dreams are simple and heartbreaking at times.  In his unfiltered way, he just wants to be happy and for those around him to be happy.  I thought that the characters were believable in their imperfections.

This book is classified as a YA (Young Adult) book.  At 342 pages it might be for older YA readers and adults.


 (And for the TADA moment)  (Please imagine a drum roll here)

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What do you think of my new system?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!


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Fridays are the best.  One of the reasons is that I try and give you some ideas for weekend reading. I realize that I have not been doing book reviews the last few weeks. I can tell because I made up a list of the books that I have to review and there are 16 of them! How can that be?

One of the reasons is that I have wanted to a post about the genre “cozy mysteries”. I happen to be a fan of the cozy mystery. I didn’t know that they arecalled cozy mysteries until about a year ago. I just knew they were mysteries.

In case you are with me on not being up on all the genres, I will give you a quick definition of a cozy mystery.

The cozy mystery usually takes place in a small town or village (click here to read more on the village setting). The small size of the setting makes it believable that all the suspects know each other. The amateur sleuth is usually a very likeable person who is able to get the community members to talk freely (i.e. gossip) about each other. There is usually at least one very knowledgeable and nosy (and of course, very reliable!) character in the book who is able to fill in all of the blanks, thus enabling the amateur sleuth to solve the case.

Although the cozy mystery sleuth is usually not a medical examiner, detective, or police officer, a lot of times her best friend, husband, or significant other is. This makes a very convenient way for her to find out things that she would otherwise not have access to… Do you know any caterers or dog trainers who have access to autopsy reports? I don’t! (Unless you count some of my favorite cozy characters…)

At the same time, it is probably safe to say that the local police force doesn’t take the amateur sleuth very seriously. They dismiss her presence, almost as if she doesn’t exist. This of course, makes it convenient for her to “casually overhear” things at the scene of a crime.                       

Definition thanks to the Cozy Mystery web site

I have been reading cozy mysteries for a long time. I am not sure but I probably started with the beloved Miss Marple books by Agatha Christie.  There are many cozy mystery books these days.

I have recently found some authors of cozy mysteries that are new to me.


I found Death by Honey Bee by Abigail Keam as a discount book for the Kindle.  It is part of a series and this is the first book in the series.

Synopsis –

Josiah Reynolds is out checking on her bees when she finds a man face down in one of her bee hives. It becomes worse when it turns out that the man is dead and he is a rival beekeeper. Before a cause of death is even decided, the police are acting like Josiah is a killer. When the cause of death is not ruled homicide, she feels obligated to clear her name.  At the same time, the ruling does not seem to stop the police from trying to pin the non-murder on her.

Opinion –

I enjoyed the story and the introduction to the characters. There was just the right amount of intrigue to get me to want to read the next book in the series. (And you need to read them in order.) I did read the next book, Death by Drowning. It carries the story along nicely.

As a regular mystery reader, I liked the ending of the book. It was not the standard ending for a mystery.

A good beach read.


Another of the “cozy mystery” authors is Diane Mott Davidson.  Her latest book, The Whole Enchilada” came out  last August.

Synopsis –

Goldie Schulz is a caterer in Aspen Meadow, CO. She caters the birthday party for a friend’s son. As the friend is leaving the party, she dies. Goldie takes it upon herself to try to unravel what has happened to her friend. Along the way, Goldie is injured and learns more about her neighbors than she ever wanted to know. There are several recipes in the book that go along what Goldie is catering for parties.

 Opinion –

This is the 17th book in the series. I have enjoyed many of the stories.  This particular one left me a little flat. I felt that the end was abrupt. Not only was the killer found and Goldie endangered in the process but there was a personal surprise for Goldie at the end. If you have not read these books before, I would start at the beginning of the series. I think that the books can stand alone but I think the first ones are more fun.


Body in the Backyard is what in my mind I would think of as a contemporary cozy mystery. The author of the book is Elizabeth Spann Craig.

Synopsis –

Octogenariean Myrtle Clover is shocked to find a body in her back yard. She feels that this definitely entitles her to try and find the killer. Her son, the police chief does not agree. That does not stop her for looking into the murder and enlisting the aid of her neighbor, Miles. Together they have some close calls but the murderer is eventually found.

Opinion –

This is the 4th book in a series of what is about to be 7 books. (The 7th book comes out in the fall.)I had no idea that it was part of a series. I would certainly read the others.  It was an easy enjoyable read.  It does not appear that you need to read the series in order.

All in all, the books on today’s list are enjoyable and are very easy reads.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thanks for reading!

Stop on over at  if you would like to find out my take on popcorn books.  I am guest posting on Diary of a Word Nerd this week.





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