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message 1: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2496 comments Mod

Read any good books lately that fit our monthly theme? Here's the place to share your opinions / reactions / recommendations.

This month's theme was suggested by Dlyn -
Library Week: Read a book you got from the library

Happy reading!

message 2: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2092 comments The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers
The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers
4 ★

"If you are reading this, then it means you're close to finding me. The clue leads to the final piece of the puzzle. There are pages where it is hidden, but it is not in a book. It is in plain sight, but do not take your time or it will be torn away. You must find me soon. ----Jason December" The bond between twins is unmistakable. For Jocelyn and Jack, that bond was all they had. But now Jack is dead. Then Jocelyn receives a letter from Jason December-the code name Jack used when they were children. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn's childhood crush. But Noah isn't the one contacting Jocelyn. Together they decide to return to Seale House, the frightening foster home where all three of them lived together. Seal House has more secrets than they could have ever imagined. And it suddenly seems possible

When I first started this book I thought it was going to be just okay...after all it was a YA intriguing can it be? Then the clues started coming and Jocelyn and Noah started solving them and looking for the next one...all the while running for their lives... and revisiting their childhood nightmare in Seale House. interesting plot...good characters...a touch of the paranormal. The ending was lacking though and a let down after all that had led up to it. Still 4 star worthy.

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Sue Seabury | 1 comments Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny

Graham Cavanaugh’s second wife, Audra, is everything his first wife was not. She considers herself privileged to live in the age of the hair towel, talks non-stop through her epidural, labour and delivery, invites the doorman to move in and the eccentric members of their son’s Origami Club to Thanksgiving. She is charming and spontaneous and fun but life with her can be exhausting.

I picked this book for the flimsiest of reasons: the cover. The little origami animals caught my eye. Then the author's name was 'Heiny' so I figured it had to be funny. I was not disappointed. Audra is the kind of person who will say anything to anyone at any time. All the characters were unique and engaging. The ending was kind of tame, but mainly, I didn't want it to end. Great read for anyone who enjoys character over plot.

message 4: by Carol (last edited Apr 04, 2018 11:02AM) (new)

Carol | 2092 comments The House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer
The House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer

When Hazel Nash was six years old, her father taught her: mysteries need to be solved. He should know. Hazel's father is Jack Nash, the host of America's favorite conspiracy TV show, The House of Secrets. Even as a child, she loved hearing her dad's tall tales, especially the one about a leather book belonging to Benedict Arnold that was hidden in a corpse. Now, years later, Hazel wakes up in the hospital and remembers nothing, not even her own name. She's told she's been in a car accident that killed her father and injured her brother. But she can't remember any of it, because of her own traumatic brain injury. Then a man from the FBI shows up, asking questions about her dad-and about his connection to the corpse of a man found with an object stuffed into his chest: a priceless book that belonged to Benedict Arnold. Back at her house, Hazel finds guns that she doesn't remember owning. On her forehead, she sees scars from fights she can't recall. Most important, the more Hazel digs, the less she likes the person she seems to have been.

I expected a little more "suspense" from Brad Meltzer....but I have to say that I enjoyed the plot and characters. The biggest drawback for me was that I felt left with way too many unanswered questions. I also liked the history about Benedict Arnold and the "tongue in cheek" description of Jack's TV show. I've seen some recently much like "The House of Secrets"...which was Jack & Skip Nash's TV show where they try to prove or debunk historical myths/legends. Overall it was a good read. The story meshed well and was easy to follow. The book will not only appeal to mystery fans but history buffs as well.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2496 comments Mod
Missoula Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
Missoula – Jon Krakauer – 4****
Subtitle: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. Krakauer explores the issue of acquaintance rape, and particularly, the ways in which universities dismiss victim complaints in favor of all-star athletes. Disturbing and distressing, but important enough to read. Most rapists are NOT strangers in ski masks hiding in dark alleys; rather, they are the boys next door or men in the office.
LINK to my review

message 6: by Carol (last edited Apr 05, 2018 05:55AM) (new)

Carol | 2092 comments The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon
The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

The summer of 1985 changes Reggie's life. An awkward 13-year-old, she finds herself mixed up with the school outcasts. That same summer, a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town. Just when Reggie needs her mother, Vera, the most, Vera's hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there's no body and Neptune disappears. Now, 25 years later, Reggie is a successful architect who has left her hometown and the horrific memories of that summer behind. But when she gets a call revealing that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.

This was not my first Jennifer McMahon book nor was it my favorite. That honor belongs to The Winter People...but it was one of the most devious of her books thus far. Her characters are so flawed that they become believable and unbelievable all at the same time. Because of that, you can’t stop reading. By the time you want out, you’re too far in and you need to know how it’s all going to turn out for the good or the bad. The subject of this one and the character of the Neptune Killer was just plain creepy but at the same time...mesmerizing. So if you choose to read this book... lock your doors...pull your drapes...and for goodness sake, leave the light on!

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SouthWestZippy | 138 comments Texas Blood Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands by Roger D. Hodge
2 stars
Roger D. Hodge tries to walk you through his adventure on figuring out his family history by retracing their steps while visiting places they lived, worked etc... plus he gives you a peek into his childhood and memories. The over-the-top details just kill the stories for me. I did find much of it fascinating just wish he would have stuck to his families history and not try and write a full history lesson with each area he visited. The pictures sprinkled throughout the book were fun to look at, nice touch.

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Carol | 2092 comments The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green
The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict. When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on? With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

This was my "Blind Date With A Book" on LibraryThing...and I think others should have the opportunity to meet this fascinating "guy". The setting and the plot is unique, and full of fascinating details about the early French settlement in New Orleans. It tells the story of grace in the middle of dishonor and despair. It creates a fascinating picture of colonial life with the believable characters at the heart of the story. It is diffidently a "must read" for all history buffs.

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Koren  (koren56) | 481 comments I guess you could say this is a biography of an election:

Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics by Lawrence O'Donnell

I was 12 during the 1968 election so I remember some of the events, the big ones like the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations. I remember liking Hubert Humphrey, mainly because he was a home state boy. This is a very detailed look at that election that was different from any election before it. The author has his own show on MSNBC.

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Koren  (koren56) | 481 comments Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff by Chip Gaines
4 stars

My advice would be to not read The Magnolia Story and Capital Gaines back to back. A lot of the story is the same in both books. However, this book is Chip speaking instead of both Chip and Joanna and there is a lot more introspection and inspirational quotes. This guy could do great on the motivational speaking tours. So if you want to read a book with the theme of never giving up, this is a good one, especially if you like their show Fixer Upper.

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Anna | 13 comments When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi 5 stars

When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi

I really loved reading this book which I got from the library. It was an easy 5 stars for me and I was gripped by every page.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2496 comments Mod
The Radium Girls The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore
The Radium Girls – Kate Moore – 5*****
Moore brings to life the stories of the brave women who painted luminous watch dials in the early 20th century, using radium-infused paint, which ultimately became their death sentence. The reader is in turns incensed and outraged, surprised by the ignorance and cavalier attitudes, and heartbroken by the pain and suffering these women endured.
LINK to my review

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Carol | 2092 comments Long Gone by Alafair Burke
Long Gone by Alafair Burke
It's a little hard to follow at first as the author spends several chapters introducing individual characters. To make matters even harder we learn that some of the characters are not who they said they were. It would have been much better if scenarios were revealed gradually. There was way too much for this old brain to comprehend all at once. The characters are realistic and believable. The storyline is unique...complex... and will keep you reading. I didn't like the read almost like an afterthought and therefore lost it a star. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves a good "who-done it".

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2496 comments Mod
One Of Us Is Wrong (Sam Holt, #1) by Donald E. Westlake
One of Us Is Wrong – Donald Westlake (writing as Samuel Holt – 3***
Westlake/Holt’s crime capers are not great literature, but they are loads of fun to read. Fast-paced, likeable characters, some funny dialogue, a great sidekick (I need a “Robinson” in my life!), leggy ladies, handsome leading man, car chases, guns, and crazy coincidences.
LINK to my review

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2496 comments Mod
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney – 3.5***
This is a wonderful debut novel, a character-driven tale that explores sibling relations, family dynamics, and a host of other issues that require open communication … something the Plumb siblings have never learned to do. I got drawn into their dynamic fairly quickly, but I think Sweeney was a bit too ambitious, covering many more issues and including many different points of view. I’ll be interested to see what Sweeney’s next novel is about.
LINK to my review

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Anna | 13 comments The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan - 4 *

I enjoyed reading this library book. A quick escapist read with a difference.

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Carol | 2092 comments False Witness (Detective Cooper Devereaux #3) by Andrew Grant
False Witness by Andrew Grant
Cooper Devereaux series Book #3

A woman disappears on her twenty-first birthday. The following day her body is found, wrapped neatly like a gift in a crumbling, sun-speckled graveyard. What does Detective Devereaux have to go on? Very little. No motive, no suspects. Then another victim is discovered in a crematorium parking lot. Again, she was killed on her twenty-first birthday. Again, her body was wrapped like a gift. By the third murder the tabloids have dubbed the homicidal monster the Birthday Killer—and Devereaux is under the gun.

Even though this is Book #3...unless you are a RIO die hard... you don't have had to have read the first two books in order to follow this one. One thing that Andrew Grant excels at is throwing the reader false leads and red herrings. The characters are so well defined that each "suspect" seems like the right one...and then we are off on another chase. I have to admit even with all the suspects presented I didn't see the twist at the end of the story. I first "met" Andrew Grant in 2009 with the first book in his David Trevellyan series and have read everything that he has published since. Those that like police procedures and authors like James Patterson and Lee Child (Andrew's brother), will more than likely enjoy any of Andrew Grants books.

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SouthWestZippy | 138 comments The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
2 stars
William Moulton Marston was a Harvard graduate, a feminist and a psychologist who invented the lie detector test. He was also a huckster, a polyamorous, a serial liar and a bondage enthusiast. You would think that would keep you interested and flying through the pages but it fell short.
I am exhausted after reading this ridiculously detailed history book. I wanted to like this book and parts I did but overall it was just dry and boring. However, I did learn a few things so I am giving it two stars.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2496 comments Mod
Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar and Grill by N.M. Kelby
Murder At the Bad Girl’s Bar and Grill – N.M.Kelby – 3***
Reminds me of Carl Hiassen, but not quite so well written. Still it’s a fun, ridiculous romp of a tale that kept me entertained and engaged despite its total outlandishness. Frankly, none of these characters made sense to me, and the plot was completely unbelievable. But I did laugh out loud a few times and it was a fast read.
LINK to my review

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2496 comments Mod
Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith
Trains and Lovers – Alexander McCall Smith – 3***
In this novel – not part of any series – four strangers meet on a train bound for London from Edinburgh. As they get acquainted their stories come out. I love Alexander McCall Smith. I love the way he puts together an ensemble of characters and slowly reveals their everyday lives and the little (and big) dramas hidden in plain sight.
LINK to my review

message 21: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2092 comments Shallow Graves (The Haunted #1) by Patrick Logan
Shallow Graves by Patrick Logan
Haunted series Book #1

Not all houses are made of brick and stone... Robert Watts is having the worst day of his entire life: first he's laid off, then he finds out that his wife is having an affair... with his boss no less. And that's only the beginning. Before the month is out, Robert finds himself alone to raise his daughter with no money, no job, and a house that is minutes from being repossessed. Just when he hits rock bottom, a strange visitor arrives at the doorstep of his soon to be foreclosed house with a letter from an Aunt he didn't know existed. The offer is simple: look after Aunt Ruth during her dying days, and in return Robert will be bequeathed the Harlop Estate in which she currently resides. It's a no brainer and Robert jumps at the opportunity, equally motivated by the prospect of financial security as he is for a fresh start. Problem is, it only takes a few nights in the Harlop Estate before he begins to question Aunt Ruth's claims that they are the home's only inhabitants.

It wasn't a bad book and it had a nice twist at the end that I wasn't expecting. I am a sucker for a good ghost story...but I felt that this one just didn't quiet make the grade. You had to feel some empathy for Robert Watts...the main character. Poor guy was just caught up in events but on the other hand he was rather maybe some of them were of his own making. It would have been nice if Mr. Logan had given us a hint of an explanation for the haunting. I will try another one in this series. As I said I am a complete sucker for a good ghost story.

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Jaret | 210 comments The Thomas Berryman Number by James Patterson by James Patterson
1 star

from my library's catalog: Three terrifying murders in the South culminate in a relentless manhunt in the North that centers on a ruthless assassin, the woman he loves, and the beloved leader he is hired to kill with extreme prejudice.

my thoughts: I needed this book for a challenge, otherwise, I would not have finished it. The plot was too scattered all over the place. I'm still not exactly sure what happened in this one. I'm pretty sure someone was murdered. But, that's about all I got out of this novel.

I could see the potential for the famous author James Patterson eventually became. You could tell he was trying for his notorious plot-twists. But, he just wasn't there yet. I'm glad this wasn't my first book by Patterson, I just might not have picked up another. Fortunately, he was able to hone his craft.

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Jaret | 210 comments The Scribe Silas (Sons of Encouragement, #5) by Francine Rivers by Francine Rivers
3 stars

from my library's catalog: Behind the men who shaped history are the heroes who forever changed it. In The Scribe, beloved author Francine Rivers illuminates the life of Silas, a lesser-known biblical character who made an impact on eternity. Silas is the man behind the spotlight who recorded most of the New Testament Scriptures we read today.

my thoughts: This was an interesting Christian historical fiction about Silas, the Scribe to Peter and Paul. It was interesting to read his point of view of the events in the New Testament. Silas recorded the events of the early church after Christ's crucifixion. He was able to give a different perspective as a participant, but not one of the main apostles. The story was an interesting mix of Silas's present and past. I'm going to check out the rest in this "Sons of Encouragement" series.

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Kay | 6 comments Survivor by Octavia E. Butler by Octavia Butler

This book is no longer in print, so the only place you can find it without paying an arm and a leg for it is the library. This was a reread for me but I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. I wish that this title had not been excluded from the series. If you want to check out my review here is the link:

message 25: by Carol (last edited Apr 19, 2018 06:12AM) (new)

Carol | 2092 comments Shoot First (Stone Barrington, #45) by Stuart Woods
Shoot First by Stuart Woods
Stone Barrington series Book #45

Stone Barrington is enjoying a round of golf in Key West when the game is violently interrupted--and it seems as if the target of the disturbance may have been one of his playing companions, the brilliant businesswoman behind a software startup on the cutting edge of technology. Soon, it becomes clear that this incident is only the first thrust in a deadly scheme to push the beautiful young woman out of the way and put her company's valuable secrets up for grabs. From the sun-soaked Florida shores to an idyllic English country retreat, Stone embarks on a quest to protect his lovely new companion while searching for the mastermind behind the plot against her. But he may find that her enemy is far more resourceful--and dangerous--than he could have anticipated.

It's the usual sex and more sex..not that I have anything against sex...but in a series with a character as interesting as Stone Barrington and some of his friends, it would be really nice to see more other types of action in the story. The one thing that I can say about any of Stuart Wood's books is that he doesn't waste time on descriptions of the room, the countryside, or anything...except of course the the sex which he manages to describe in minute detail. The female head of the corporation was also an air-head and so naive it's a wonder she could find her own a_ _ in the dark. Come on Mr. Woods bring back the Stone Barrington from the earlier books.

message 26: by Donna (new)

Donna | 351 comments I've just joined this group, and am not sure if I'm posting correctly, so my apologies if I make a blunder. I just finished An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones.

Now I am reading Night School, By Lee Child

message 27: by Carol (last edited Apr 21, 2018 05:56AM) (new)

Carol | 2092 comments The Echo Killing (Harper McClain #1) by Christi Daugherty
The Echo Killing by Christie Daugherty

A city of antebellum architecture, picturesque parks, and cobblestone streets, Savannah moves at a graceful pace. But for Harper McClain, the timeless beauty and culture that distinguishes her home’s Southern heritage vanishes during the dark and dangerous nights. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Not even finding her mother brutally murdered in their home when she was twelve has made her love Savannah any less. Her mother’s killer was never found, and that unsolved murder left Harper with an obsession that drove her to become one of the best crime reporters in the state of Georgia. She spends her nights with the police, searching for criminals. Her latest investigation takes her to the scene of a homicide where the details are hauntingly familiar: a young girl being led from the scene by a detective, a female victim naked and stabbed multiple times in the kitchen, and no traces of any evidence pointing towards a suspect. Harper has seen all of this before in her own life. The similarities between the murder of Marie Whitney and her own mother’s death lead her to believe they’re both victims of the same killer. At last, she has the chance to find the murderer who’s eluded justice for fifteen years and make sure another little girl isn’t forever haunted by a senseless act of violence―even if it puts Harper in the killer’s cross-hairs.

I found Harper to be a character that is easy to like. She's driven, smart, and daring without being ridiculously reckless. She does bend the rules here and there...but not to the point that you want to reach through the pages and shake her. I thought the killer was way too easy to identify but it didn't ruin the storyline. I'm not sure if this is going to be a series but if that was the author's intentions, she is off to a really good start.

message 28: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2092 comments Don't Turn Out the Lights (Commandant Martin Servaz, #3) by Bernard Minier
Don't Turn Out The Lights by Bernard Minier

You did nothing...”

Christine Steinmeyer thought the anonymous suicide note she found in her mailbox on Christmas Eve wasn’t meant for her. But the man calling in to her radio show seems convinced otherwise.

“You let her die...”

That’s only the beginning. Bit by bit, her life is turned upside down. But who among her friends and family hates her enough to want to destroy her? And why? It’s as if someone has taken over her life and everything holding it together starts to crumble. Soon all that is left is an unimaginable nightmare.

The book started out with a really interesting plot but it soon became rather fuzzy. The story is told from two main perspectives with two seemingly unrelated mysteries. By the time the two storylines intersected...the story began to fall apart for me. It felt that the plot twists became entirely unrealistic. In terms of the thriller aspect I will have to say that the author did a fantastic job of creating some very intense's just too bad that the storylines didn't connect better. I will give the author another try at a later date.

message 29: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments Donna wrote: "I've just joined this group, and am not sure if I'm posting correctly, so my apologies if I make a blunder. I just finished An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones.

Now I am reading..."

Welcome, glad you joined us. We're pretty informal here. We love to know what you're reading and what you think about it. As long as it fits the theme, it's fair game.

message 30: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2496 comments Mod
THURSDAY – 05 April 18
Old Heart by Peter Ferry
Old Heart – Peter Ferry – 3.5***
85-year-old Tom decides to “run away” after his adult children make plans to forcibly move him to a retirement community. If it hadn’t been for an F2F book club I probably would never have come across this little gem of a novel. I loved these characters (or loved to hate … in a couple of cases). In a short work the author addresses issues of aging, marriage (good and bad), lost opportunities, holding on to one’s dreams, taking chances, being responsible, and the meaning of love.
LINK to my review

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SUNDAY – 08 April 18
Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, #2) by Jacqueline Winspear
Birds Of a Feather – Jacqueline Winspear – 3***
The second book in the Maisie Dobbs series. She is a resourceful, intelligent, assertive young woman, who listens carefully and shows compassion when helping others confront their demons. Billy Beale is a wonderful sidekick and I like the relationship between Maisie and Inspector Stratton of Scotland Yard.
LINK to my review

message 31: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2092 comments The Haunting of Blackwood House by Darcy Coates
The Haunting of Blackwood House by Darcy Coates

Mara and Neil purchase Blackwood House, a derelict property outside of town. They’re warned about strange occurrences in the crumbling building. Doors open by themselves, voices whisper in the night, bloody hand prints appear on the walls, and cold spots linger in the basement, where the house’s original owner was murdered. But Blackwood was dirt-cheap and came with a large plot of overgrown land. Mara loves her new home, and disregards the warnings. After all, doesn't everyone knows that ghosts aren't real.

I search for really good ghost stories and I have to say that this one this rates as a #1 in that genre. It was one of the spookier stories that I've read and it didn't need gore to make it scary. I became irritated with Mara at times because of her attitude and irresponsible ways at times but I figured she wasn't entirely herself due to outside influences. Overall...I would say it is a great read for folks that like a little creepy haunted houses with their ghosts. I am in search of another like this from Darcy Coates.

message 32: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments The Fisherman's Testament by César Vidal by Cesar Vidal
3 stars

from my library's catalog: Marco Junio Vitales, a military general, is assigned to interrogate an elderly fisherman named Peter during the year A.D. 62 and hears an incredible story that shakes the very foundations of the Roman Empire.

my thoughts: This was a short summary of the Gospels told to Nero by Peter before his execution. A small historical fiction component was added to make it read like a story, but it is a very small component. The author tried to retell the Gospels as they would have been recited during the historical era and tried to record how the typical Roman would have reacted to them. It was an enjoyable, quick read.

message 33: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2092 comments The Inner Circle (Culper Ring, #1) by Brad Meltzer
The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer
The Culper Ring series Book #1

There are stories no one knows. Hidden stories. I love those stories. And since I work in the National Archives, I find those stories for a living.Beecher White, a young archivist, spends his days working with the most important documents of the U.S. government. He has always been the keeper of other people's stories, never a part of the story himself...Until now.

There were parts of this book that were so full of history and the secrets that our forefathers went to such great lengths to keep in order to preserve the fragile new democracy. It enables the reader to really feel that they are there and a part of the "inside information." In spite of that I crawled through the first few chapters and their seemingly useless chatter. Just when I was considering giving it up...things began to happen and I was once again drawn into the story and the characters. I find Wallace to be rather a waste as president...but that's more or less the way of government. It was fun to read about the underground caves in Pennsylvania where archival documents are stored, and other facts you don't get to hear about every day.

message 34: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2496 comments Mod
TUESDAY – 10 April 18
So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger
So Brave, Young and Handsome – Leif Enger – 3***
I was caught up in the road trip. The story takes place in 1915, when automobiles were scarce, and more people lived in the rural area of America. As Monte and Glendon head West and South, the landscape virtually becomes a character in the novel.
LINK to my review

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THURSDAY – 12 April 18
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis – 1*
Maybe I’m too far past my college years. Perhaps it’s the dry British humor. Or the 1950s setting and writing style (first published in 1954). But I just don’t see the humor in this. I struggled to finish and did so only because I had committed to a buddy read.
LINK to my review

message 35: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2092 comments False Friend (Detective Cooper Devereaux #2) by Andrew Grant
False Friend by Andrew Grant
Cooper Devereaux series Book #2

An arsonist is targeting schools in Birmingham, Alabama—with devastating effect. Detective Devereaux—a man you can’t quite trust and should never ignore—must put a stop to the elusive pyromaniac’s reign of terror before more damage is done. Or worse, before students’ lives are lost. But as Devereaux sifts through the ashes of the case, a grisly discovery at a burned-out school sends the investigation spiraling in a new, terrifying direction. The detective and his partner are dragged into a nightmare world by revelations of gruesome rituals, the disappearance of local citizens, and allegations against city officials of shocking crimes that stretch back decades. With innocent lives on the line, progress is hampered by friction between the police department and the FBI, and interference from factions of the local underworld complicate matters further. Devereaux doesn’t make excuses for his willingness to work outside the lines, but just as he needs to be at the top of his game, he’s rocked by echoes from his troubled past that threaten to engulf his daughter and girlfriend—and fracture the life he’s only recently begun to rebuild.

Thus far I have really liked this series and hope that there will soon be a third one. The crime starts right off with the burning of a school and a mystery photo of the man that could have been the arsonist. The main characters in the series all have believable and likable characteristics but are human enough to show some flaws. The one character that I really get frustrated with is Diane, the reporter that lets her fifteen year old son walk all over her. Just lock the kid in the basement for Heaven's sake or grow a backbone:) More of Devereaux's former slightly shady background is explored and he is making strives to reconcile with Amanda his girlfriend and their seven year old daughter while trying to stop more fires from being set. I'll look forward to more of this series.

message 36: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments My Bonny Light Horseman Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, in Love and War (Bloody Jack, #6) by L.A. Meyer by L.A. Meyer
book 6 in the Bloody Jack series
4 stars

from my library's catalog: While trying to run a respectable shipping business in 1806, teenaged Jacky Faber finds herself in France, spying for the British Crown in order to save her friends.

my thoughts: Another fun adventure in the Jacky Faber series. Jacky is over the top, but that's what makes her fun. This one required more stretches of the imagination, but I enjoyed reading how she managed to get herself entangled in the Napoleonic War. I'm looking forward to the next episode.

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The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin
The Swans of Fifth Avenue – Melanie Benjamin – 4****
Benjamin turns her attention to New York City’s social elite in the 1950s and 1960s. I was completely entranced and immersed in this deliciously gossipy tale. Benjamin really puts the reader into this glittering celebrity world. I could almost taste the caviar and champagne.
LINK to my review

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Dispatches from the Edge A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival by Anderson Cooper
Dispatches From the Edge – Anderson Cooper – 3***
This is Cooper’s memoir of how he came to be a senior anchor for CNN. The chapters are divided according to various memorable assignments covering war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, famine in Niger, a tsunami in Sri Lanka, and culminating with his coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
LINK to my review

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At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
At the Water’s Edge – Sara Gruen – 2**
Historical fiction / romance … or is that “hysterical” fiction. Maddie gives “hysterical women” a bad name. Still there’s some suspense and Gruen keeps the plot moving. Add the Loch Ness monster and a ghost to the mix. Not to mention World War II happening in the background.
LINK to my review

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We Band of Angels The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese by Elizabeth M. Norman
We Band of Angels – Elizabeth M. Norman – 5*****
Subtitle: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese. The book details the personal stories of the nurses and civilians interred as well as the historical events. Norman did extensive research and was able to interview a number of the surviving nurses as well as the families of others who had passed on. Their story is gripping and inspiring
LINK to my review

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Donna | 351 comments We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves By Karen Joy Fowler

There is no doubt that the author is a talented writer, the basic plot is a clever one, and the novel is well written (oh the words--- so much rich vocabulary!), but I found the book to be unpleasant. I don't understand the high ratings it receives. It is strange and grim, and the plot jumps -- not smoothly-- from here to there. The descriptions of animal testing and abuse were intense, and while I agree these are serious issues that need addressed, I was not prepared to find them in a fiction novel I am reading for pleasure, nor do I need to read a description of animal vivisection to know that it is abhorrent. I read the book to the end, but I'm not sure why I did. To put it in the author's words, this book has left me..."completely beside myself".

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