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What Are You Reading? > Reviews - May 2018 - Mother's Day

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message 1: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2892 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 moderator Book Concierge -
Mother's Day : Read a book where the main character is a mother

Happy reading!

message 2: by Anna (new)

Anna | 13 comments I have just finished reading My Name Is Lucy Barton My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout which I gave 3 stars.

It was an okay read. I found it hard to relate to any of the characters although the estrangement between Lucy and her mother was interesting. I believe that this is a really popular book so maybe I was just missing something.

message 3: by Priyanka (last edited May 03, 2018 10:28PM) (new)

Priyanka K | 3 comments I just read Small Great Things Small Great Things Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult by Jodi Picoult. It revolves around Ruth who is a nurse whose actions bring about an investigation on her capabilities as a labor nurse. One aspect of this book was her relationship with her son Edison. She had raised Edison up with a vision of giving him the life she knew he deserved without the labels that come with being African American. In fact during their stay in a majority-white neighborhood Edison has managed to stay at the top of their class. During the trial though, she goes through the struggle of juxtaposing what she has taught him with the reality she faces at work every day which was pretty interesting to read.

message 4: by Patti (new)

Patti Hughes | 5 comments I jumped right into this challenge with Jodi Picoult's "Harvesting the Heart" A mother whose own mother left her when she was five leaves her husband and 3 month old baby. Told from both the husband's and wife's point of view, the book goes back and forth through time, while telling a compelling story. Paige is afraid that she will hurt her son. Nicholas, her husband, is a cardiac surgeon, who works long hours and has not provided any assistance to Paige since baby Max was born. When she leaves, he is forced to deal with the baby, learn to feed him, change him, and find child care. Paige has a secret she has never shared, and when she comes back to Nicholas and tells him, it almost finishes them. The background of his work and Paige's art follow throughout the book. I loved this book, and rated it 5 stars.

message 5: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2627 comments The Haunting of Gillespie House by Darcy Coates
The Haunting of Gillespie House by Darcy Coates

Elle is thrilled to spend a month minding the beautiful Gillespie property. More than an hour's drive from the nearest town and surrounded by forests, the aging mansion is ideal for someone seeking solitude. But things start to go very wrong, very quickly. Elle discovers a crumbling graveyard nestled in the woods. It contains a generation of the house's residents, all with an identical year of death. Scratching in the walls... slamming doors... whispers in the night... a locked room. As Elle explores deeper into the house, she begins to unravel the property's dark and dangerous history. At its center is Jonathan Gillespie, a tyrannical cult leader and the house's original owner. And as Elle soon learns - just because he's dead, doesn't mean he's gone.

It was an interesting ghost story and moved along at a good pace. I didn't think it was as good as The Haunting of Blackwood House by the same author... but it will easily satisfy the "ghost loving enthusiast". The character of Elle did some very unnecessary and foolish things and the expectation of the ghost seemed unrealistic...but then the idea of the ghost being there at all wasn't exactly rocket science. Not everyone will care for this type of book but those that join me in loving a good ghost story will enjoy it.

message 6: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2892 comments Mod
A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell
A Thread Of Grace – Mary Doria Russell – 5*****
Russell’s third novel focuses on WW2 and the Italian citizens who saved the lives of thousands of Jews. What a story! Based on true incidents, Russell’s tale draws the reader into the lives of these people. I fell in love with these characters. Russell doesn’t sugarcoat the sacrifices and dangers they faced, nor does she make them saints. This is a war story, so I knew there would be death and destruction. Russell tempers the sadness and horror with moments of great tenderness and even humor.
LINK to my review

message 7: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2892 comments Mod
Every Breath You Take (Second Opportunities #4) by Judith McNaught
Every Breath You Take – Judith McNaught – 2**
A typical romance novel – with stereotypical characters and full of clichés. Still, it was a fast read and I was entertained.
LINK to my review

message 8: by Anna (new)

Anna | 13 comments The Dark Angel (Ruth Galloway, #10) by Elly Griffiths I have really enjoyed reading The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths - 4 *. This is number 10 in the Dr Ruth Galloway series. I have read them all and can't wait for the next one. Being a single mother is a huge part of these books and it is one of the things that I love about her character.

message 9: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2892 comments Mod
Rainwater by Sandra Brown
Rainwater – Sandra Brown – 3***
In 1934 in central Texas, Ella Barron runs a boardinghouse. A new boarder, Mr Rainwater, quickly becomes a leader in the community, and stirs her feelings as well. This is an interesting look at small town prejudice and bullying in tough times. Brown is best known as a romance writer, but it is more of an historical fiction work than a traditional romance. Brown does a credible job of exploring some important issues, though she does tend to rely on some of the romance tropes and stereotypical characters.
LINK to my review

message 10: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2627 comments Sister Sister
Sister, Sister]by Sue Fortin

Clare: Intelligent, loyal, paranoid, jealous. Clare thinks Alice is a manipulative liar who is trying to steal her life. Alice thinks Clare is jealous of her long-lost return and place in their family. One of them is telling the truth. The other is a maniac.
Two sisters. One truth.

It’s not a new idea, someone coming into a protagonists life and trying to take it over, but it still reads suspenseful and interesting. It doesn't take but about 70 or so pages for the reader to know that something is amiss...but just how amiss and who all is involved and how much involvement is there? Questions that have answers that are not revealed until nearly the last page. I couldn't read the book fast enough as I just had to see where the plot was going next. It's an excellent read with many twists. I think it's Sue Fortain's best work thus far.

message 11: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2627 comments Her Last Tomorrow by Adam Croft
Her Last Tomorrow by Adam Croft

Nick and Tasha are a couple held together by their five-year-old daughter. Until one ordinary morning, when Ellie vanishes amid the chaos of the school run. Nick knows she can’t have gone far on her own, which can mean only one thing: she’s not on her own. Who would take his daughter, and why? With no motive and no leads, Nick is thrown into a tailspin of suspicion and guilt. Like Tasha, he doesn’t know what to think, or whom to trust. But then someone starts doing the thinking for him. Confronted with an impossible choice, Nick will have to make a decision, and both options will leave him with blood on his hands. But perhaps that’s to be expected. After all, Nick’s not quite as blameless as he seems.

The question that drives the entire storyline is "Would you kill your wife to save your child?" Obviously a situation that no one could... or should... be expected to answer one way or the other...but Nick Connors is seriously considering it. Nick is not a really likable character and he makes some borderline stupid decisions. His wife, Tasha, is almost indifferent to the kidnapping of their 5 year old daughter. The police are next to useless so you don't really have a character that you can feel any empathy for except Elle, the 5 year old daughter. I gave the book 4 stars. it did keep you reading just to see what dumb thing Nick was going to come up with next. It was a very short book and I think the plot could have been developed more but overall an enjoyable read.

message 12: by Donna (new)

Donna | 437 comments What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal  by Zoë Heller
What Was She Thinking: Notes on a Scandal, By Zoe Heller

This mother of a rebelling teenager and a preteen with Down's Syndrome is a teacher. And an adulterer. She begins an affair with one of her students, and this story details the inevitable disaster as it unfolds.

message 13: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 546 comments My Days: Happy and Otherwise by Marion Ross Iconic mother on Happy Days television show.
3 stars

If you are looking for some dirt about her relationship with her Happy Days cast members you are not going to find it here. According to Marion, everyone got along and was one big happy family. As a matter of fact, for the most part the book has an upbeat, positive attitude. She even had a happy childhood growing up in southern Minnesota, and I was surprised to find out, she grew up about an hour away from my hometown. The book has a message that if you want something bad enough and are willing to work hard, you can do anything.

message 14: by Carol (last edited May 18, 2018 04:04AM) (new)

Carol | 2627 comments Solitude Creek (Kathryn Dance, #4) by Jeffery Deaver
Solitude Creek by Jeffrey Deaver
Kathryn Dance series Book #4
4 ★

A tragedy occurs at a small concert venue on the Monterey Peninsula. Cries of "fire" are raised and, panicked, people run for the doors, only to find them blocked. A half dozen people die and others are seriously injured. But it's the panic and the stampede that killed them; there was no fire. Kathryn Dance--a brilliant California Bureau of Investigation agent and body language expert--discovers that the stampede was caused intentionally and that the perpetrator, a man obsessed with turning people's own fears and greed into weapons, has more attacks planned. She and her team must race against the clock to find where he will strike next before more innocents die.

I have been a fan of Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series for years so when the first Kathryn Dance book cam out I thought I would give it try. I have been hooked on this lady ever since. The one thing you can count on with this author is that he will describe in detail every aspect of the story. In this case his ingenious description of the unsub and his horrendous acts is brilliant. You are certainly sure that you never want to meet up with anyone like him. Dance does something in this book that she almost never does...she gets the initial information wrong. If you have never read a Jeffrey Deaver are in for a treat.

message 15: by Donna (last edited May 21, 2018 03:25PM) (new)

Donna | 437 comments The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Awakening. Written by Kate Chopin in 1899, this is the story of a mother of two small children in a marriage that has lost its appeal. She decides to move into a separate house --- a brazen move in 1899!

message 16: by Carol (last edited May 22, 2018 03:51AM) (new)

Carol | 2627 comments Redemption Road by John Hart
Redemption Road by John Hart
4 ★

A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother. A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting. After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen. This is a town on the brink. This is Redemption Road.

The story line was intriguing but the characters were all very badly flawed, frail and tragically human. You had to feel empathy for Adrian Wall especially....thirteen years of his life spent in Hell. This is not a straightforward "whodunit" murder mystery. There are secrets and puzzles for the reader to discover and work out. Some are easily solved while others take the reader around in circles. It's full of twists and surprises and unexpected detours. Of course the author tosses in plenty of red herrings... and to complicate things even further, some turn out to be unexpected truths. The only thing that brought the rating down for the book was that it was just a tad too long. Otherwise an entertaining read.

message 17: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2627 comments The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger
The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger
4.5 ★

What is the difference between justice and revenge? Claudia Bishop's perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house--one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets. For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past--and within. Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course--because Zoey's past nightmare and Claudia's dreams for her future take place in the same house.

There are several characters intertwined with multiple storylines that makes this, at times, a difficult read to sort out. I've read several Lisa Unger books and have always found her to be very good at writing a story that is suspenseful as well as "spooky" at times. I think the entire essence of the story was the question of "how would you react if something horrible and violent happens to you?".

message 18: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2892 comments Mod
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler – 3.5***
A family saga covering three generations of Whitshanks and the familial home that anchors their story. Tyler shines when writing about everyday life and the small dramas that make up American families. I find these characters so believable and relatable, even when their circumstances are very different from anything I’ve experienced personally.
LINK to my review

message 19: by Anna (new)

Anna | 13 comments My Real Name Is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih I have just finished reading My Real Name Is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih. It was an amazing book. I have been completely blown away by it which is something that doesn't happen very often. A very clear 5 * for this one.

message 20: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2892 comments Mod
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere – Christine Ng – 4****
I cannot help but wonder what Ng has against determined mothers, first in her debut novel, and now with Elena Richardson. I was struck by how the Richardson kids had a mother who believed she was giving her kids everything, but in fact they knew little about how to deal with life. While Mia, unable to give her child much in the way of material goods, had given her the tools for living – self-reliance, observation, determination.
LINK to my review

message 21: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2892 comments Mod
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places – Gillian Flynn – 4****
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered. Twenty-five years later she’s asked to revisit that night and help uncover the truth. Flynn knows how to write a suspenseful psychological thriller. Here she explores memories and psychological trauma. I was caught up from the beginning and held on tight through all the twists and turns the story took.
LINK to my review

message 22: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2892 comments Mod
Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street, #2) by Alexander McCall Smith
Espresso Tales – Alexander McCall Smith – 3***
Book two in the “44 Scotland Street” series about the residents of a particular apartment building in Edinburgh. The novel is a sort of ensemble piece, with chapters alternating among the characters. It’s not great literature but it is fun to read. Reminds me of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series.
LINK to my review

message 23: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 546 comments Started in May and finished today. I just wanted to savor this slowly...

The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Table by Rick Bragg
5 stars and a heart

My favorite author. The only one I buy while they are still warm from the presses and keep to read again. I love this guy's family. The author tells about his grandmother and mother, who make old-fashioned southern cooking. These are not health conscious recipes. As a matter of fact, grease and fat factor heavily into most of the recipes. Each chapter tells a story pertaining to his favorite foods and then at the end of the chapter are the recipes. It is worth reading the entire recipe, as he writes them in his mother's voice and not in traditional recipe form. I might even make a few of them, although I think I will skip possum and squirrel

message 24: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2892 comments Mod
Koren wrote: "Started in May and finished today. I just wanted to savor this slowly...

The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Table by Rick Bragg
5 stars and a heart

This sounds wonderful! On the TBR it goes.

message 25: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 546 comments Book Concierge wrote: "Koren wrote: "Started in May and finished today. I just wanted to savor this slowly...

The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Table by Rick Bragg
5 stars and a heart

Have you read Ava's Man or All Over But the Shoutin'? If you loved those books you will love this book. I would recommend reading one of those books first to get a better feel for the characters, but you dont have to.

message 26: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2892 comments Mod
Just looked ... and I have not read a single work by Bragg !!!! Though I've had his books on my tbr for ages.
There's a yearly challenge I'm doing regarding "new-to-you" authors. He'll fit perfectly for Novembers challenge..... if I can wait that long.

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