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March Monthly Reading > March Book Reviews

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Michelle (MichelleBookAddict) (maslme) | 76 comments Mod
We'd love to hear about the latest book you've read.
What was the book like? Your opinion?
And how many stars ★?


message 2: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments The Altar Girl A Prequel by Orest Stelmach

The Altar Girl: A Prequel by Orest Stelmach
2 stars

This started out with a great opening line--"He snatched me a block away from my apartment."--but the rest of the book didn't live up to that level of interest. Nadia's godfather has died, supposedly from falling down his stairs but Nadia knows that the night he died, it was raining and he would never have attempted going down those stairs in that kind of weather. When she starts asking questions at his funeral, it causes some unsavory characters from her past to abduct her and question her to figure out what she knows. The more she pursues information, the more she suspects that he was killed by someone she knows, maybe even her own brother. Running parallel to this story was a back story that talked about Nadia being tested by her father when she was young to prove that she could take care of herself when left in a wilderness situation. I guess that part was included just to prove how resourceful she could be. I did enjoy the information about the Ukrainian immigrants and the refugee camps they lived in post World War II. My incentive was to fit a category on a challenge and, of course, knock another Kindle "freebie" off my list, so at least I accomplished that.


message 3: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
5 stars

Listening to this audio book, I just wanted to keep driving around town so that I could hear more of it. The book is disturbing but fascinating, probably due to the fact that although the author, Jeannette Walls, was brought up hungry, cold and neglected much of the time, she never made the reader feel like she was feeling sorry for herself. Her life was the way it was and she and her siblings made the most of it and became more like care givers to their parents than children. The daughter of an alcoholic father who had grand ideas but no follow through and an artistic mother who figured things would somehow work out without any help on her part, it's amazing that Jeannette turned out to be an intelligent, studious, sensible young woman. I can't believe her parents were able to keep their 4 children with them for the entirety of their childhood rather than losing them into the Child Protective System.


message 4: by Juanita (new)

Juanita (juanita-b) Beverly wrote: "The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
5 stars

Listening to this audio book, I just wanted to keep driving around town so that I could hear more of it. The book is..."


Sounds like a great read...thanks for the review...


message 5: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments Juanita wrote: "Beverly wrote: "The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
5 stars

Listening to this audio book, I just wanted to keep driving around town so that I could hear more of..."


You're very welcome and I hope you enjoy it if you get a chance to read it.


message 6: by Paige (new)

Paige P (paigepradko) Beverly wrote: "The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
5 stars

Listening to this audio book, I just wanted to keep driving around town so that I could hear more of it. The book is..."


One of my all time favorite books. Incredible memoir!


message 7: by Juanita (new)

Juanita (juanita-b) Beverly wrote: "Juanita wrote: "Beverly wrote: "The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
5 stars

Listening to this audio book, I just wanted to keep driving around town so that I co..."


It's on my buying list...thanks


message 8: by Juanita (new)

Juanita (juanita-b) Room by Emma Donoghue

Review: Room by Emma Donoghue 5★'s

This was a heartwarming but fantastic story. The book was filled with creative insight, imagination, well written and I love the idea that the author went with Jack as the narrator. Throughout the book it showed how a young mind picks up on things and what their perspective captures. When I started the book I had no idea a young boy was going to tell me a story about the “Room” , his views, and the years he and his mother was isolated and how they spent their time. As I read the story was told in a way that didn’t give any hints or clues where the story was leading. It’s like it started out in slow motion and than “Wham” things started coming together for me. It’s amazing how the author organized the story creatively step by step. The story is captivating, informative, absorbing, to the very last page.

The story is about a nineteen year old girl who was abducted and held in a secured, secluded backyard shed for seven years. While secluded there she gave birth to Jack. When the story started Jack had just turned five-years-old, very adorable, loving, and smart. Jack voice conveys all the innocence and honesty of a child who tells things as he sees them.

His mother did a wonderful job creating a world in that room to keep him safe and entertained. Her imagination for passing the time with games using very few resources was incredible. Her love for Jack was so deep and overwhelming and when Jack turned five the mother started refreshing some of the things she told Jack over the past few years. She believed it was time to begin telling Jack the truth about the outside world…..

This is where Jack wasn’t sure what was true because his mother coddled him for five years and he never really knew there was any other place or people besides, “old Nick” and the confines of the small room they lived in. That room was his world and he was content with it because he knew of nothing else. As the story goes on we learn about their daily life, the strong relationship he has with his mother, their daring escape attempt, the shock of learning that there was an outside and it was real. His sheltered existence makes Jack unprepared for the complexities of his new world even normal weather events bothers him, interacting with family and other people is really hard for him and as your reading you hear it in his voice and you see this new scary world through his eyes….


message 9: by Karin (new)

Karin A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner
A Sound Among the Trees

by Susan Meissner ★★★

Susannah Page was a young woman during the civil war, her great granddaughter, Adelaide is ninety in the twenty-first century, and Marielle is her new granddaughter-in-law who has just married her grandson-in-law Carson Bishop four years after he became a widower. Marielle moves into the family home Susannah inherited and soon becomes swept up in Adelaide’s superstitions regarding the house and the superstitions of one of Adelaide’s friends that Susannah’s ghost haunts the house because apparently Susannah was a civil war spy. As Marielle settles into her new marriage and her role as mother to Carson’s two children, she works on sorting out the past tragedies and trial of the women of Holly Oak.

The characters are likable, the writing is fine, and I liked it, but it’s not the sort of novel I find particularly gripping now. It is labelled Christian fiction, but there really wasn’t much Christian about it other than that a few of the characters appeared to have faith a few times.


message 10: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
4 stars

Wow, what a read!! I can't say that I loved this book but I certainly "liked" it more my usual 4 star books--maybe 4.5 stars. The book starts out in an England which is in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars and is full of magicians, some practical and some theoretical, but none of them seem to come to much other than giving these men a reason to come together in their clubs and discuss magic. Seemingly out of nowhere, a Mr. Norrell appears and invites all these men to witness a demonstration of his abilities and he is suddenly extremely popular and believed to be the only true magician in the land. He, then, basically forbids anyone else from practicing magic. Soon another magician, young and untrained, appears. Jonathan Strange becomes a student of Mr. Norrell but Norrell wants to control his training totally and only reveals bits and pieces of what he knows and only lets him read very selected books from his extensive library. The magicians are asked to aid England in the war against Napoleon and at some point Jonathan Strange goes to the battlefields and aids the troops by himself, which angers Norrell and causes a rift to begin between the two. Interspersed with this we are also given the story of a man with thistle down hair from the land of fairy who is extremely powerful and wants to intercede with the two magicians in any way he can. He was originally called upon by Mr. Norrell to aid him in bringing the wife of a friend back from the dead. The fairy man's condition was that he would hold some power over the woman from then on and she, in her bewitchment, lived between the two worlds. The man with thistle down hair then bewitched others, including Mr. Strange's wife and in his obsession to free his wife from the bewitchment, he and Mr. Norrell must again join forces. This book is just incredibly fantastical and although at times I felt like I was in over my head with all the footnotes and convoluted story, overall it held my interest and kept me turning the pages. Sometimes I'd be wondering what in the world is going on here but as I kept reading it would then become clear. I couldn't read fast enough during the last hundred pages or so--but being honest, some of that may have been just being anxious to have it finished so I didn't have to hold that heavy book at the gym anymore.


message 11: by Juanita (new)

Juanita (juanita-b) Beverly wrote: "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
4 stars

Wow, what a read!! I can't say that I loved this book but I certainly "liked" it more my u..."


Bev, great review. This book has been on my shelf for so long. After reading your review I know I'm moving it up on my list...thanks


message 12: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments Juanita wrote: "Beverly wrote: "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
4 stars

Wow, what a read!! I can't say that I loved this book but I certainly "lik..."


I hope you enjoy it...it gets involved but it's not too hard to keep the characters sorted out!!


message 13: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
5 stars

What a wonderful book! I really enjoyed every minute of this book which was recommended to me by a number of different friends. Ove is an almost 60 year old curmudgeon who follows rules to the max and expects everyone else to as well. If they don't, he is certainly not above letting them know how he feels about it. Since his wife passed, he spends his days in his established routines and decides that life is just really not worth living anymore. He decides that he is going to commit suicide. Then, a new family, husband, pregnant wife and 2 small daughters, move in next door and the first thing they do is run over his mailbox because the husband doesn't really know how to back up a U-Haul trailer...and to Ove's way of thinking, anyone should know how to do that. From that point on, any attempts he makes at taking his life either go awry (the rope he uses to hang himself snaps in half) or some emergency arises that keep him from following through. The first interruption occurs when his new neighbor falls off a ladder and he has to drive the family to the hospital because the wife doesn't have a driver's license. As time goes on, against his will, Ove is drawn more and more into interacting with this new family next door and other folks in the community that he comes in contact with. This is just a great laugh out loud, heart-warming story that will make you wish you knew someone like Ove and had the chance to get to know them better--to make your life and theirs much richer.


message 14: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam (Good Thief's Guide, #1) by Chris Ewan The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan – 3***
This is the first in a mystery series featuring Charlie Howard, successful author and part-time professional burglar. I thought it was highly entertaining, with a fast pace, interesting characters, and a great setting. I was charmed by Charlie and I’ll definitely read more of this series.
Full Review HERE


message 15: by Karin (new)

Karin Fallen Land by Taylor Brown Fallen Land by Taylor Brown ★★★

It’s the last year of the American civil war. Callum, fifteen and a seasoned horse thief has ended up with a group of outlaws in order to survive; Ava, seventeen and orphaned, is keeping the family farm going and staying alive. When the band Callum is with come across Ava, he kills a man to protect her from being raped, but ends up unconscious after having an ear shot off in a shot designed for his head by the man he killed to protect Ava, and has no idea what happens to her. When he finds out, he steals a great horse from the leader of the outlaw group, a former Colonel, and sets off to help her. In the end, he and Ava end up on the run from bounty hunters, fleeing for their lives on a remarkable horse, working hard to stay alive as they glean for food in a beautiful but ravaged land.

The writing is solid, and the description well done. Despite is shady background as an orphan trying to survive; it’s hard not to root for Callum who is clearly a gentleman when it comes to women, or for Ava who is a bright, resilient young woman with a mind and heart worthy of admiration. I liked this book, and if you enjoy the kind of one step ahead, physical peril and injury, fighting literally with people as well as the elements to stay alive, the horrors of war, then you will probably like this book better than I did.


message 16: by Connie (last edited Mar 07, 2016 08:14PM) (new)

Connie D | 116 comments Deadly Engagement by Lucinda Brant. 3.5 stars. 3/7/16
Deadly Engagement (Alec Halsey Mystery, #1) by Lucinda Brant
Lovable Loser: Alec Halsey is considered "second" all his life

Alec Halsey returns to England from foreign duty in 1763 to find the girl he'd planned to marry. Emily, getting engaged to his rather horrible brother, Delvin. (Years before, he had lost his first love, Selina, to another terrible man, which just exacerbates the pain. Luckily, Selina's husband has recently died; unfortunately, so has her favorite cousin.) That's only the beginning of the story, but it is enough for us to get firmly on Alec's side before the murder mysteries need to be solved.

At the engagement party, a variety of characters commit crimes and/or become victims. It's an odd version of a closed-party mansion murder mystery, except we're not only trying to solve the crimes happening at the party, but also Selina's cousin's murder, the unjust hanging of an apothecary, and resolve whether Delvin or Alec should actually be the Earl of Delvin. Alec is also trying to reignite his relationship with Selina.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit (mostly because of the characters), and I'm giving it 3.5 stars. However, there were a number of awkward scenes (she had to piece everything together, but I think she jimmied too many together and made some odd choices for potential alibis, etc.) and some characters occasionally stepped out of character (especially for their time period) to fit those scenes. Despite my reservations, I do plan to read the next Alec Halsey mystery net time I'm in the mood for a romantic mystery. Maybe I'll listen to the audible this time, since those have been highly recommended.


message 17: by Connie (last edited Mar 07, 2016 08:12PM) (new)

Connie D | 116 comments You Wish by Jason Lethcoe. 4 stars. 3/7/16
You Wish (The Misadventures of Benjamin Bartholomew Piff, #1) by Jason Lethcoe
March holidays: leprecauns

Poor little Benjamin lives a miserable life in an orphanage, but when he makes a birthday wish for unlimited wishes it changes everything.

We are brought into the world of the Wishworks, a fantastical factory where people's wishes can be made true. Unfortunately, not far away is the factory that makes curses come true. I can't say much more without spoilers.

I found this a very clever children's book, one that I would have really enjoyed as a kid and one that I found sweet and amusing as an adult. As an adult, I especially liked the little details (including fictional historic anecdotes as footnotes!) that Lethcoe used to make this fantasy world, and the Wishworks in particular, feel more feasible and real. (My 4 stars is based on how I'd rate it as a child/teen. I'm less into fantasy now and probably won't continue the series.)


message 18: by Connie (last edited Mar 07, 2016 08:12PM) (new)

Connie D | 116 comments Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed. 5 stars. 3/7/16
Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
Green for luck


I loved Cheryl Strayed's Tiny, Beautiful Things, in which she gives advice to broken, frustrated, depressed people. This book is a collection of some of her most powerful writings, each going straight to the heart. I love her message of forgiveness, her advice to take the life you have and live it, and her understanding that life includes pain and requires change. This is a book I'd like to own to just open whenever I'm feeling discouraged, unsure, or stuck. She makes me feel brave enough.


message 19: by Juanita (new)

Juanita (juanita-b) Beverly wrote: "A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
5 stars

What a wonderful book! I really enjoyed every minute of this book which was recommended to me by a number of diffe..."


Bev, Nice review....I have this one on my buying list....


message 20: by Juanita (last edited Mar 08, 2016 09:49AM) (new)

Juanita (juanita-b) Harbour Street (Vera Stanhope, #6) by Ann Cleeves


Review: Harbour Street by Ann Cleeves. 4★'s

This is the first book I have read in the series. I enjoyed Vera Stanhope’s character. She has her own appeal that draws the reader in following her actions throughout the book. The writing style was brilliant which enhanced the setting of an old England town. The author really captures the dark side of England and moves the story one page at a time with her well-developed characters. There were lots of twist and turns that never gave away what was going to happen next or who did the crime. Although Vera is the main character Cleeves elaborates by description the importance of the other characters as she creates a mystery.

The story begins at a crucial moment while one of Vera’s Detective, Joe Ashworth and his teenage daughter were riding the Metro and a murder takes place a few feet away from them unnoticed until the train came to a stop. All passengers make their way off the commuter train but one well known elderly lady still sitting in her seat, Margaret Krukowski, a resident of Harbour Street. Margaret’s murder sets off a series of events that leads Vera and her team investigating door to door, person to person, of recent events and past occurrences.

Cleeves gives the reader enough situations to keep the reader interested and searching for answers. One crime just led to another involving many of the characters as suspected felons. Vera had her finger pointed at one person, than another, than another to the very end keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. I was completely surprised by the ending! I thought it was a great story…


message 21: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments Juanita wrote: "Beverly wrote: "A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
5 stars

What a wonderful book! I really enjoyed every minute of this book which was recommended to me by a..."


Thank you--this book was just a treat as far as I was concerned!!


message 22: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman
What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman
3 stars

Although I raced through this book, it was not as much because I was loving it but because I kept hoping for some relief from the horrible hopelessness of what I considered the "driving" story. The story alternates chapters that are presented by Isabelle (Izzy) in present day and Clara in the past. Izzy is a teenager living in a foster home because her mother killed her father and is currently in prison. Her foster parents are supportive and caring but Izzy isn't quite ready to believe they're in it for the long haul. Clara is also a teenager who comes from an extremely wealthy family. Her father is overly controlling and her mother is just there, she never confronts her husband. Clara's brother left home to get away from them and ends up dead. I think they assumed he committed suicide. Clara sneaks out at night to spend time with her friends at the Cotton Club and has met a young man named Bruno. They fall in love and want to marry but her father forbids it and expects her to marry a young man that they have picked out for her. When she vehemently refuses her father has her committed to a home for "nervous invalids", hoping that it will bring her around to his way of thinking. When that doesn't work and the family finances take a turn for the worse, Clara is then send to Willard, which sounds like one of the old state hospitals where patients were treated with ice baths, insulin treatments and eventually electroshock. Back in the present time, Izzy's mother has been granted the chance to go through old suitcases that had been left at the old Willard hospital and she invites Izzy to go along. They, of course, go through Clara's old trunk and Izzy finds Clara's journal which details her trials and tribulations at being committed, being kept away from her love, and being pregnant in such a horrible situation. Izzy is determined to find out what eventually happened to Clara, Bruno and their baby...and there's your story. We learn about the horrible treatment that Clara is subjected to in the past along with Izzy's progress in solving the mystery in the future. Throw in some teenaged angst brought on by being the daughter of a murderer, the new girl in school and a foster child and it will keep you turning those pages, even though I thought that some of the dialogue was a little stilted and there was entirely too much gagging and vomiting going on. I will say that although the ending was a little too neatly tied up, I did like it.


message 23: by Terris (new)

Terris The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, 3***s
An adorable story about, and told by, a silverback gorilla, Ivan, who is on display in a strip mall with several other animals. They are not treated badly but they are just in small cages/display areas, which is definitely not best for them. Just before the old elephant dies, she makes Ivan promise to get the young elephant out of this place. But how is a gorilla going to make that happen? Well, with the help of some of the other animals and the custodian's daughter, several things occur that end up helping all the animals. It is a heartwarming tale and a fast easy read, since it is listed as 4th-6th grade level. But I loved it! :)


message 24: by Terris (new)

Terris Beverly wrote: "A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
5 stars

What a wonderful book! I really enjoyed every minute of this book which was recommended to me by a number of diffe..."


I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I loved it too!


message 25: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1) by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
3 stars

I think that my optimism for this book was way too high. I have wanted to read this book forever and now that I finally have, I have to say I was disappointed. It was OK but I was not "wowed" by it. I listened to the audio which was read by the author and in the introduction she said that many people thought the book was beyond the comprehension of children. Ms. L'Engle said that children could understand it easily and it was adults that would have trouble with it and she must be right. I really enjoyed the first few chapters of this as they talked about the children meeting Mrs. Whatsit who had been blown off course during the storm. I liked the idea of the children wanting to find their father who had disappeared while participating in a top secret mission. But once they actually experienced a tesseract, the wrinkle in time, that allowed them to move through time, the story just lost it's appeal. One of the problems may have been the audio...whenever Mrs. Which (or Witch--I was never sure which it was) talked, her voice boomed out with a lot of reverberation which I found very annoying. So this may be one of those books that I would have enjoyed more if I had read it instead. I also liked very much the relationship between siblings Meg and Charles Wallace. They loved one another and there was no doubt about their closeness and loyalty to one another and their family. I did not like the children's father. Once they found him, I didn't think he behaved in a very fatherly way--he was just wimpy, in my opinion. The back of my audio says that 5 and up is the recommended audience, I can't imagine any 5 year old I've ever known being the least bit able to sit and listen to this production without being scared and/or bored. Maybe reading out loud in small amounts where they could be interactive and easily ask questions but even that, to me, is a stretch. Overall, I was unimpressed but glad that I finally read it.


message 26: by Juanita (last edited Mar 10, 2016 11:01AM) (new)

Juanita (juanita-b) Tell Me Something True

Review: Tell Me Something True by Leila Cobo. 3★'s

The subject matter about a deceased mother, Helena leaving behind a diary that she started when her daughter, Gabriella was born. She addressed Gabriella as she wrote for a while then Helena’s writing went more towards the style of journaling her thoughts and her private life issues. The story goes back and forth with the daughter’s lifestyle to her mother narrating a small part at a time of what she had written in the diary of her life style. Some of story was captivating but didn’t really have a strong grip on me as I read. It was somewhat confusing as each of these two characters thoughts weren’t organized to have the reader know which character was narrating as you went along. It’s one of those books were I had to go back a page and say to myself, “Oh it’s the daughter thoughts or it’s the mother’s thoughts.”

However, it was a daughter having questions about her mother that she never was told the truth about. She was young when her mother went away to publish a book and she always thought that tragedy is what stopped her from coming home. Her mother died in a plane crash when Gabriella was around four-years-old and she grew up with an overprotective grandmother in Cali, Columbia even though Melcom, her doting father lived back in the US. Gabriella is the one who found the diary years later and would not allow anyone to read it however, she does get answers to so many questions and how her grandmother, her mother and herself have really lived the same kind of life through generations of another family’s life, until one day Gabriella cuts the rope that has tied them all together over the years….

The story was interesting but without flair unless you would consider Gabriella’s love affair with the son of drug King Pin who was still behind bars in prison…. I found a few flaws with the story and wished it was better written but not every book is going to send shivers up your spine….


message 27: by Terris (new)

Terris The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, 3***s
An intense story of a man who is trapped on an island where Dr. Moreau is performing extreme surgeries on animals, grafting together a monkey with a dog, or a fox with a bear. Needless to say it doesn't all work out as the doctor planned! And this man has to figure out a way to keep himself safe from these creations and a way to get off this island! A very exciting story written in 1898.


message 28: by SouthWestZippy (last edited Mar 11, 2016 09:22AM) (new)

SouthWestZippy Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
3 stars
Set in the 70's a interracial family tries to deal with themselves and living in a small Ohio town.
Marilyn and James Lee have three children, Lydia, Nath and Hannah. Lydia not only the oldest but clearly the favorite so when Lydia drowns, devastation and despair become the norm.
The story took me on a wild ride roller coaster of emotions. I hated the parents yet I have a understanding of the parents. I felt so sorry for the two kids, they were left alone to deal with their own emotions on the death of their Sister. I would have given it five stars because it drew me in, had me feeling, thinking and have me on the edge of my seat on what was going to happen next but the end of the book was such a let down that three stars is all it gets. I wanted a little more, a better explication on what happen. After that big of a ride, I think I deserved it.


message 29: by Terris (new)

Terris SouthWestZippy wrote: "Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
3 stars
Set in the 70's a interracial family tries to deal with themselves and living in a small Ohio town.
Marilyn and James Lee have three childr..."


I've been considering this one, and now when/if I get to it I'll know what to expect. Thanks & Nice review!


message 30: by Jen (last edited Mar 11, 2016 10:46AM) (new)

Jen (phjenn) | 13 comments The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

★ ★ ★
This was my 2nd audio book and this one went much better. There were several different readers, which really helped me keep track of who was who. This was especially good because it was already a little tricky keeping track of the different dates/times. Harper is a man who lives in a house that can time travel, but only for him. He is tasked with killing the "Shining Girls". There are objects he leaves at each body, from a different time than when the killings are taking place. For instance a baseball card left years before the player on the card is actually playing. It seems as though, because of this house, he can do whatever he wants, risk free and just keep moving. Until one of the girls survives. Kirby didn't die like she was supposed to, her poor dog leads her to help. Harper doesn't know this for quite some time, but when he finds out, he must finish the job. Poor Kirby has devoted her time to finding her attacker. She starts finding clues but can't make sense of them because they're all over the place, outside the timeframe they should be in, etc... Eventually, Harper finds her. This book was quite interesting, lots of great detail of the places, times and people Harper is after. You can tell a lot of research went into this. I do want to look into more from this author, I liked the style of her writing. I do recommend this book but warn it is a bit gruesome and has strong language.


message 31: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments The Last Bookstore In America by Amy Stewart
The Last Bookstore in America by Amy Stewart
3 stars

This book did not pan out exactly the way I expected. The review said that it was comic and although there were some parts that I thought were slightly amusing, I didn't think it was overall funny. Lewis Hartman's uncle Sy has died and left his bookstore, one of the last bookstores in the U. S., to him and his wife. Lewis fondly remembers the time when he was young and stayed with his uncle and is excited to check it out and possibly become the full time owner of one of the last bookstores in America. His wife...not so much. She knows that the Gizmo, sold through Nile.com, is quickly closing down the book business by allowing everyone immediate access to any books they may ever want to read and people just don't want to bother with searching the shelves of some dusty old bookstore to find something to read. However, when they arrive in the small town of Eureka, California they discover that uncle Sy's bookstore is bringing in over a million dollars a year...? They are thrilled and come one step closer to becoming committed bookstore owners until they discover that the regulars in the shop are buying more than just the books...in fact, they will sometimes purchase the same books over and over again. It's not bad, it's just not what I expected and not really the type of story that I would have read if I'd realized what was going on ahead of time.


message 32: by Terris (new)

Terris Jen wrote: "The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

★ ★ ★
This was my 2nd audio book and this one went much better. There were several different readers, which really helped me keep track of who was who. This ..."


This sounds interesting. I like time travel so I'll have to look into this one -- thanks for the review!


message 33: by Terris (last edited Mar 11, 2016 02:00PM) (new)

Terris Beverly wrote: "The Last Bookstore In America by Amy Stewart
The Last Bookstore in America by Amy Stewart
3 stars


Beverly, have you read or seen around "The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend" by Katarina Bivald? Our book club is reading it in a couple of months so I have it on order. It sounds similar to "The Last Bookstore..." but I hope it is better!! Thanks for the review :)


message 34: by Terris (new)

Terris Beverly wrote: "A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
5 stars

What a wonderful book! I really enjoyed every minute of this book which was recommended to me by a number of diffe..."


I also loved this book & knew that he had a second book that is on my TBR list, I just haven't gotten to it yet. But I just now saw that he has a new one coming out on May 3rd called "Britt-Marie Was Here." He's just cranking them out! It looks good -- I guess I'll be adding it to the list :)


message 35: by Jen (new)

Jen (phjenn) | 13 comments Beverly wrote: "A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
5 stars

What a wonderful book! I really enjoyed every minute of this book which was recommended to me by a number of diffe..."


So glad you enjoyed it, it's one of my favorites! I try to recommend it to everyone, though I fear the day I'll find someone that doesn't end up liking it. Probably not very likely though. ;)


message 36: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments Terris wrote: "Beverly wrote: "The Last Bookstore In America by Amy Stewart
The Last Bookstore in America by Amy Stewart
3 stars

Beverly, have you read or seen around "The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend"..."


I have heard something about the Readers of Broken Wheel but haven't really read any reviews. I'll wait to see what you think before I add it. But the one by Backman I'll probably go ahead and add as well. I liked the way he wrote Ove!


message 37: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments Jen wrote: "Beverly wrote: "A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
5 stars

What a wonderful book! I really enjoyed every minute of this book which was recommended to me by a..."


Did you see that he has a new book coming out in May--"Britt-Marie Was Here"? You probably saw that Terris mentioned it above. We'll have to check that one out!! :)


message 38: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments The Valley by John Renehan
The Valley by John Renehan
4 stars

Last month our library had a program called Author Roulette, to help patrons familiarize themselves with new authors. You picked a slip of paper out of a bowl and it told you the name of the book. When I pulled out The Valley and realized it was about the war in Afghanistan, I almost threw it back but decided that didn't really fit the intent so I took the book, expecting to slog through it just to get it done. To my surprise, I really enjoyed this book very much. To me it was really more of a mystery and the setting just happened to be in Afghanistan. Lt. Black is sent to The Valley--one of the most remote and probably the most dangerous location in the country--to investigate the shooting of a goat by one of the American soldiers. The military claimed that it was an unfortunate mistake but a complaint had been made by the chief of the local village and an investigation needed to be conducted. Lt. Black feels as if he's being punished with the assignment and the platoon at the outpost think the investigation is ridiculous, so the atmosphere is immediately tense. However, it doesn't take long for the lieutenant to figure out that something much more serious than killing a goat is going on. Like most mysteries, I had no clue "who dunnit" so I could barely put the book down. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the land and felt like I could visualize what it must look like. I will say that some of the dialogue, when it contained a lot of military jargon, left me hazy sometimes but the overall story was enough to keep my interest. I would certainly recommend the book and consider it my "surprise" read of the year (so far).


message 39: by Juanita (last edited Mar 12, 2016 08:21AM) (new)

Juanita (juanita-b) Beverly wrote: "The Valley by John Renehan
The Valley by John Renehan
4 stars

Last month our library had a program called Author Roulette, to help patrons familiarize themselves with new authors. You picked ..."


Bev, Great Review...sounds interesting...Having six brothers who were in differant branches and a father who was a Mititary Vet., military jargon flows good for me...


message 40: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments Juanita wrote: "Beverly wrote: "The Valley by John Renehan
The Valley by John Renehan
4 stars

Last month our library had a program called Author Roulette, to help patrons familiarize themselves with new auth..."


I really think you would enjoy especially if you enjoy mysteries and come from a military background! The general take (from the other reviews I've looked at) is much the same as mine--readers enjoyed it more than they thought they would. :)


message 41: by Juanita (last edited Mar 12, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Juanita (juanita-b) Rapids

Review: Rapids by Tim Parks.. 3★'s

The story was an adventure for six adults and nine adolescents coming together on a white water kayaking experience in Italy from a swelling river below the melting glaciers from above. With a twisting surface and threatening undertows, the rapid river was a hazard thrill to those who live to feel the rush of risk. Tim Parks also was creative enough to describe the harrowing white water ride not only through the landscape of the Italian Alps, but also through the expressions of quirks and eddies of the human heart.

This group of people were on a Holiday vacation led by two licensed instructors learning how to allow the river to safely navigate them down through rough terrain, learning capsizing, spinning in the eddies, jarring around boulders and tree branches and still being able to have fun for the thrill. Just before dark they would carry their kayaks back to camp and sit around chatting of what happened that day and what lessons did they learn.

At these moments in the story Tim Parks weaves the personalities, secret intentions, unrewarded ambitions and petty arrogance of the characters to make it not only an analogy of social and psychological but also a political novel. The two instructors, Clive and Michael are political idealist and estranged lovers which soon transformed an innocent pleasure trip into something darker, and eventually chilling. Than there is Vince who comes with his eighteen year old daughter Louise who he feels is pulling away from him because of the bereavement of her mother, his wife. The entire group had issues but took this trip to get their lives back on track and to find resolution before they went home.

Parks embedded messages to the reader throughout the story on various issues as; global warming (the glaciers melting), three men handcuffed together as a human bomb in Berlin (terrorist threats), a kayaker from the group attempts suicide over the falls (mental insecurities) and teenagers drinking and having sexual encounters ( bad teenage behavior). Among reading all about white water rafting which was really interesting and enjoyable the reader also gets the messages that Tim Parks wants his book to deliver….


message 42: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments Beauty and the Beast (Faerie Tale Collection, #1) by Jenni James
Beauty and the Beast by Jenni James
3 stars

According to the reviews this story of Beauty and the Beast is the first in a new series of fairy tales for young adult readers. I found it to be a quick entertaining read that was mostly "sweetness and light" with just a little hint of evil. In this adaptation, the Prince, who has been extremely abrasive to anyone in the kingdom who is not as attractive as himself, finally insults the wrong person, a witch. She curses him with turning into a werewolf (at least that's what the review says although he never acts like a werewolf in the story) every night and then back to himself during the day. And as usual, the challenge is that he must make a young lady fall in love with him while he is the wolf before the curse will be broken. One night as he sits by the brook, a young woman from his kingdom who has often been the butt of his jokes appears. They strike up a friendship and you can probably guess the rest. The prince's cousin who thought he was going to gain the throne rather than the cursed prince is the one "evil" element in the story but his evil is pretty mild...although great at creating some upsetting situations. Overall, I think that young Young Adults would really enjoy this or anyone who just wants to read a straight forward rendition of a fairy tale.


message 43: by Paige (new)

Paige P (paigepradko) What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan What She Knew, a debut by Gilly Macmillan.

A fast paced, suspenseful thriller.
4 stars
Here is my review if you are interested.
my review


message 44: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
4 stars

A lovely, straightforward little book which describes one family and their community during a time when pioneering types from many countries are attempting to make their mark on American soil. Alexandra Bergson is the only daughter and the most level headed of her siblings--all boys. Her father leaves the farm and it's handling to her and over the years, with careful management and continual expansion, the family is doing extremely well. Now, after all these years, Alexandra may finally have found someone to share her life with and her brothers are not exactly happy about the situation. Just a wonderful snapshot of the hard life in a less than perfect environment as these dedicated farmers try to make their way towards sustaining their families and helping their neighbors. This audio was read by Barbara McCulloh who had, in my opinion, the perfect voice for this story.


message 45: by Connie (last edited Mar 13, 2016 07:20PM) (new)

Connie D | 116 comments The Promise by Robert Crais
4 stars
The Promise (Elvis Cole, #16; Joe Pike, #5; Scott James & Maggie #2) by Robert Crais

This is my first Robert Crais book, and my first Elvis Cole & Joe Pike novel, but it wasn't necessary to start at the beginning. Elvis Cole, Joe Pike, their mercenary friend Jon Stone, the police dog handler Scott James and his dog Maggie are all appealing, smart, and interesting. Cole is hired to find Amy Breslyn, a mother extremely upset about the death of her son in a suicide bombing in Nigeria. The case isn't quite what it seems. His first night on the case he finds himself at the scene of a police chase, where he and Scott James get targeted by police and the murderer.

The crimes are unusual (involving explosives, possibly Al-Qaida, hidden identities) and the whole book is fast-moving and enjoyable. The audio narration matched the book well.


message 46: by Terris (new)

Terris Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
Kitchens of The Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, 2**s
I think this book tried too hard to stretch and try to do something different, and in the end, for me, it didn't work. "I think" it was about Eva who's mother leaves her when she's a baby and her father dies a few months later. So it's supposed to be about the people who raise her, and all the different people who she comes into contact with during her life, and the food they introduce her to, that end up making her into the brilliant chef that she becomes. However, after that first chapter, each chapter thereafter is about some person whose affect on Eva seems so obscure that you don't care about them -- and I got lots of details about them that I don't need/want to know. One character was Eva's boyfriend's brother's best friend's aunt, who, in another chapter, marries Eva's high school boyfriend's dad. What?? But even though Eva is in each chapter, I never get to know her, except a little bit through her food. Also, I often wondered if it was a YA novel, by the way it was written. So, in the end, the connections of some of these people to Eva was so uncertain/hazy that I didn't care about them, and I could never quite figure out where the story was trying to go. In the end, it came back around to her mother, who had not been spoken of since the first chapter. When I read the last page, my reaction was "Oh brother." Sorry to be so blunt, but I had heard some wonderful things about this book, but that was not my reaction.


message 47: by Juanita (last edited Mar 16, 2016 08:11AM) (new)

Juanita (juanita-b) Beverly wrote: "A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
5 stars

What a wonderful book! I really enjoyed every minute of this book which was recommended to me by a number of diffe..."


This is another one that I added to my buying list....


message 48: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments Terris wrote: "Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
Kitchens of The Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, 2**s
I think this book tried too hard to stretch and try to do something different, and in the e..."


That's discouraging and disappointing..I'd heard some good things about it as well. :(


message 49: by Connie (new)

Connie D | 116 comments A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
5 stars
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka


When I started this, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it was on the 1001 Books to Read list, and guessed it was about farming in Ukraine. It isn't. The history of tractors is in the novel, as a booklet written by the aging father that briefly retells the history of Ukraine (and his family's life there). However, most of the story deals with his two daughters trying to deal with him and the mess he's gotten himself into. That mess is his getting married to a much younger sexpot from Ukraine who is trying to get asylum in England. Quite a bit of chaos ensues, but there are many life lessons for everyone involved. I don't want to add too much detail or I'll give things away.

The charm of this story is really the quiet humor, lines that made me smile and shake my head. I also loved Lewycka's lines that pierce to the truths about life, questioning why we do the things we do, why we care about people, why we hurt each other, how we help each other and so on.


message 50: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (zippymom) | 138 comments Island of Bones (Crowther and Westerman, #3) by Imogen Robertson
Island of Bones Imogen Robertson
4 stars

My favorite of the series so far. Set in England in the late 1700's, as workers are preparing to move the remains of 2 bodies interred on the Island of Bones in the Lake District of Cumbria, they discover a 3rd body in the tomb. Gabriel Crowther is originally from this area and being an anatomist, he is requested to come and investigate. The spirited Harriet Westerman, recently widowed, comes as well bringing her young son. We meet Crowther's sister and nephew, neither very likable. As Crowther and Westerman attempt to solve the mystery of the extra body, a stranger in town is killed and the local "healer" is suspected. Add to all of this going on, the fact that someone is looking for The Luck--which is an ancient artifact covered in jewels, a young girl from the village is kidnapped and boarded up in a mine and Mrs. Westerman's son is attempting to help the local healer without her knowledge and you just can't put the book down. Rich in fascinating characters and history, this was a great read and although I prefer to read a series in order, I think you could read this without having read the first 2. There is much more background information regarding Mr. Crowther presented in this account, which I really enjoyed and I think it made me understand him and his attitudes better. I would highly recommend this series.


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