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What Are You Reading? > REVIEWS for April Theme: National Library Workers' Day

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message 1: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2495 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 Jaret -
National Library Workers' Day: Read a book you borrowed from the library

Happy reading!


message 2: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk by Orhan Pamuk
2 stars

from my library's catalog: At once a fiendishly devious mystery, a beguiling love story, and a brilliant symposium on the power of art, MyName Is Red is a transporting tale set amid the splendor and religious intrigue of sixteenth-century Istanbul, from one of the most prominent contemporary Turkish writers. The Sultan has commissioned a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land to create a great book celebrating the glories of his realm. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed. The ruling elite therefore mustn't know the full scope or nature of the project, and panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears. The only clue to the mystery'or crime' 'lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name is Red is a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex and power. Translated from the Turkish by Erda M GOknar.

my thoughts: The mystery itself was interesting. The descriptions of historic Istanbul were beautiful. I had to get used to the writing style. Each chapter was told in "first person", but sometimes the narrator wasn't a person. I hated the female lead, because she was extremely one-dimensional. She lied and cried and did all the stereotypical "female" traits to get what she wanted and to walk away from situations without blame. The author, however, wasn't any nicer to the male characters, so I'm not sure misogyny was involved.

message 3: by Carol (last edited Apr 03, 2019 08:54AM) (new)

Carol | 2089 comments The Rule of Law (Dismas Hardy #18) by John Lescroart
The Rule of Law by John Lescroart
Dismas Hardy series Book #18

Dismas Hardy knows something is amiss with his trusted secretary, Phyllis. Her out-of-character behavior and sudden disappearances concern Hardy, especially when he learns that her convict brother—a man who had served twenty-five years in prison for armed robbery and attempted murder—has just been released.

Things take a shocking turn when Phyllis is suddenly arrested at work for allegedly being an accessory to the murder of Hector Valdez, a coyote who’d been smuggling women into this country from El Salvador and Mexico. That is, until recently, when he was shot to death—on the very same day that Phyllis first disappeared from work. The connection between Phyllis, her brother, and Hector’s murder is not something Dismas can easily understand, but if his cherished colleague has any chance of going free, he needs to put all the pieces together—and fast

This is going to probably be the shortest review I have ever written in my entire life. It was a decent criminal story but had entirely too much political opinion. Everyone is entitled to theirs but pick a different venue.

message 4: by Donna (last edited Apr 04, 2019 05:29AM) (new)

Donna | 351 comments Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich
2 Stars

“Evanovich?”, you’re thinking. “This will be great!” Except this isn’t Janet, it is her sister Stephanie. The name trigger worked, and I was fooled.

Holly nursed her husband through a terminal illness, comforting herself with food throughout the ordeal. Now her husband is dead, and Holly is badly overweight. On a flight home from dealing with her husband’s business, she finds herself sitting next to the modern day equivalent of a Greek God. Through stilted conversation, she agrees to take his business card and call him to work as her personal trainer.

The book is classic chick lit, from a fat girl angle, and it fell flat for me. There are many sexual situations, some great support from her friends, and long explanations that could have been handled in a few words rather than a few pages. I thought it “could be” good, but it just didn’t make it that far. I was underwhelmed by this novel, and I won’t be recommending it.

message 5: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2495 comments Mod
Jaret wrote: "My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk by Orhan Pamuk
2 stars

my thoughts: The mystery itself was interesting. The descriptions of historic Istanbul were beautiful. I had to get used to the writing style. Each chapter was told in "first person", but sometimes the ..."

I felt much the same way, Jaret.

Here's a paragraph from my review:
When he focuses on the murder and the investigation, the story is quite compelling. However, Pamuk also includes long passages on art, the history of Turkey, and the teachings of Islam. Some of these helped me to understand the culture and the references, but mostly they interrupted the story arc and sometimes had me scratching my head wondering what I had just missed.

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Donna | 351 comments The Great American Read The Book of Books Explore America's 100 Best-Loved Novels by Jessica Allen
4 Stars

I loved this! PBS presents a synopsis of their 2018 series on The Great American Read, when they asked the public to vote on their best-loved novels. (FYI, the winner was To Kill A Mockingbird) The book includes little known information about the books, the authors, the "best first lines in literature" and much more. I listened to my library's audio version of the book (it is the only edition offered through the library here), but I may have to buy this book. It is begging me to spend more time with it!

(And I also love the cover on this one!)

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2495 comments Mod
Us Against You (Beartown, #2) by Fredrik Backman
Us Against You – Fredrik Backman – 3.5***
Backman returns to Beartown to explore what happens in the aftermath of the first book’s stunning events. I love the way that Backman writes these characters. He moves back and forth between characters’ points of view as he tells the story of the town. Yet the story is always moving forward, keeping me enthralled and interested. Best enjoyed if you’ve read Beartown first.
LINK to my review

message 8: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments Donna wrote: "The Great American Read The Book of Books Explore America's 100 Best-Loved Novels by Jessica Allen
4 Stars

I loved this! PBS presents a synopsis of their 2018 series on The Great American Re..."

My brother and I bought this for our father for Christmas. We knew he would love going through critiquing every book. He loved showing everyone which books he thought were great and which he thought stunk. It was the hit we knew it would be.

message 9: by Donna (last edited Apr 04, 2019 08:12PM) (new)

Donna | 351 comments It's such a pleasure to give someone something they love! I'm happy your father enjoyed it.

message 10: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel, #1) by Janet Evanovich by Janet Evanovich
4 stars

from my library's catalog: Life in Marblehead has had a pleasant predictability, until Diesel arrives. Rumor has it that a collection of priceless ancient relics representing the Seven Deadly Sins have made their way to Boston's North Shore. Partnered with pastry chef Lizzie Tucker, Diesel bullies and charms his way through historic Salem to track them down--and his criminal mastermind cousin Gerewulf Grimorie. The black-haired, black-hearted Wulf is on the hunt for the relic representing gluttony. Caught in a race against time, Diesel and Lizzie soon find out that more isn't always better, as they battle Wulf and the first of the deadly sins. With delectable characters and non-stop thrills that have made Janet Evanovich a household name, Wicked Appetite.

my thoughts: It's exactly what I expected from a Janet Evanovich novel. Yes, it's a little formulaic, but it's still fun. The quirky characters and humor kept me laughing from beginning to end. The highlight of the book was Lorelei King's narration of the audiobook. She captured each character's personality perfectly and added even more whimsy to the story. It is very similar to the Stephanie Plum series, even including some characters from the between the numbers stories, but if you enjoy Stephanie Plum, you'll enjoy Lizzy as well.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2495 comments Mod
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite – 4****
What an interesting concept! I was immediately drawn into the sisters’ co-dependent relationship. I understood and sympathized with Korede’s dilemma; she loves her baby sister, but she wants her to stop her behavior. The tension is nonstop. Will she? Won’t she? When will she? How will she? In the end I’m left wondering WHO is the psychopath here?
LINK to my review

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Jaret | 210 comments Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri by Andrea Camilleri
4 stars

from my library's catalog: Montalbano's gruesome discovery of a lovely, naked young woman suffocated in her bed immediately sets him on a search for her killer. Among the suspects are her aging husband, a famous doctor; a shy admirer, now disappeared; an antiques-dealing lover from Bologna; and the victim's friend Anna, whose charms Montalbano cannot help but appreciate. But it is a reclusive violinist who holds the key to the murder. Montalbano does not disappoint, bringing his compelling mix of humor, cynicism, compassion, and love ofgood food to solve another riveting mystery.

my thoughts: I enjoy this mystery series. The descriptions of the Sicilian culture is interesting without overtaking the mystery story. I really enjoyed the mystery in this novel. The twists were fun without being too over-the-top. I love Montalbano as a character. He is interesting as a knight with dented armor. Grover Gardner did an excellent job as narrator of this audiobook.

message 13: by Carol (last edited Apr 08, 2019 05:55AM) (new)

Carol | 2089 comments Dead Lake by Darcy Coates
Dead Lake by Darcy Coates

A week's visit to the remote Harob Lake cabin couldn't have come at a better time for Sam.
She's battling artist's block ahead of a major gallery exhibition. Staying at Harob Lake is her final, desperate attempt to paint the collection that could save her floundering career. It seems perfect: no neighbours, no phone, no distractions. But the dream retreat disintegrates into a nightmare when Sam discovers she's being stalked. A tall, strange man stands on the edge of her dock, staring intently into the swirling waters below. He starts to follow her. He disables her car. He destroys her only way to communicate with the outside world. Sam is beginning to suspect he's responsible for the series of disappearances from a nearby hiking trail. Stranded at Harob Lake, Sam realizes she’s become the prey in the hunter’s deadliest game.

If you are a ghost story enthusiast like I am you will love any of this author’s books. The four that I have read thus far have been very short but the story that they tell doesn’t need four or five hundred pages. They are all creepy and you will have no problem painting the picture they evoke clearly in your imaginations. Haunted houses, haunted lakes, haunted people…Darcy Coates will introduce you to them all.

message 14: by Donna (new)

Donna | 351 comments Book Concierge wrote: "My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, the Serial Killer
– Oyinkan Braithwaite – 4****
What an interesting concept! I was immediately drawn into the sisters’ co-dependent..."

I've been wanting to read this!

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Donna | 351 comments Almost every book I read is a library book, so brace yourselves for a busy month of posting from me!

I'll Be Gone in the Dark One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone In The Dark, by Michelle McNamara

This book documents the events in the 70's and 80's when a serial killer was at work in the Sacramento area. The writer engaged in extensive research of crime scenes, evidence, and online "crime solving groups" to gather information about the man dubbed "The Golden State Killer”. Sadly Michelle McNamara died before the crime was solved, but after 42 years of eluding investigators, the Golden State Killer was arrested in 2018, and Michelle’s husband then published her research posthumously.

The book does not follow chronological order, which makes it a bit more difficult to follow. Parts of it feel “unfinished” (probably due to her untimely death), and while I didn’t feel engrossed in the book, I did get up at night after reading it to make sure my doors and windows were secure. Kudos to Michelle for her deep desire to solve this case and the hours she devoted to that end.

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Donna | 351 comments Love Does Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff
Love Does

This book is a How To book on how to show your love to the world. Bob Goff obviously believes that the word “love” is a verb, not a noun. The author tells some great stories, sure to give you a laugh or two, and pull at your heart strings. How did he get into law school when he bombed the entrance exam? How long did it take him to get a date with his future wife? How did he get involved in a marriage proposal of a complete stranger? And what about those kids in the Ugandan jail?

Bob Goff is a gifted writer and has undeniably led an incredible life. I recommend this book to those who need some kind words about their efforts, some motivation, or just a chat with a good friend. The book may not solve your problems, but it will most likely give you a smile.

message 17: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments Donna wrote: "Almost every book I read is a library book, so brace yourselves for a busy month of posting from me!

[bookcover:I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer|3..."

Me, too! That's why I suggested it. ;0)

message 18: by Carol (last edited Apr 10, 2019 11:19AM) (new)

Carol | 2089 comments The Spyglass A Story of Faith by Richard Paul Evans
The Spyglass by Richard Paul Evans

My mother loved Richard Paul Evan's books and this was one of her all-time favorites. Some will see this book as just being about faith. I believe it is much more. I saw it as teaching you to have a positive outlook on life...having a vision for a better world and then working towards making it happen. Teachers seem to be using the book in their classrooms, so that may qualify it as being a children's/young adult book... but it will appeal to adults in that everyone can understand the simple message of faith that it brings.

message 19: by Carol (last edited Apr 10, 2019 11:21AM) (new)

Carol | 2089 comments The Last Time I Saw Her (Dr. Charlotte Stone, #4) by Karen Robards
The Last Time I Saw Her by Karen Robards
Dr. Charlotte Stone series Book #4
The things I will read to complete a challenge:) This is the second book in this series that I have read so anyone can see that I haven't learned a thing. I just don't get Charlotte Stone. She seems to be an intelligent woman but she has this hang up with serial killers and her ghost, (literally), boyfriend. I guess it's one of these series that the reader either absolutely loves...and there are a lot of those...or absolutely hates...and we are diffidently a minority on that one. If you are one of the 90% then you will love it....and it did get me closer to complementing the challenge.

message 20: by Carol (last edited Apr 10, 2019 11:20AM) (new)

Carol | 2089 comments The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Burning Cove, #1) by Amanda Quick
The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
Burning Cove series Book #1
3.5 ★
It was a decent start to a new series. I believe the author chose a really interesting era to set this series in as it was reminiscent of The Thin Man series also from that period. Readers of Amanda Quick’s previous books will find that she has combined her dry wit, plots that twist and turn, and fantastic characterization into this series as well. The character of Irene was a woman that was certainly ahead of her time. I’m looking forward to more of these books.

message 21: by Carol (last edited Apr 10, 2019 11:22AM) (new)

Carol | 2089 comments The Armada Boy (Wesley Peterson, #2) by Kate Ellis
The Armada Boy by Kate Ellis
Wesley Peterson series Book #2

I feel guilty only awarding this one 3 stars. This is one of my favorite authors. I love her other series and was really liking this series after reading the first book. This one, while having an interesting topic...just didn't have the punch of the first book. The character of Wesley Peterson that drives the series was almost absent from participation in the 50 year old murder...the Armada Boy really didn't seem to have much to do with the crime at all in spite of the title...It just didn't grab me the way the first one did. Wesley is going to be a father any day now so maybe his mind wasn't in the game. I'll give him a pass on this one if he promises to be more present in the next one. Is it a deal, Wesley?

message 22: by Carol (last edited Apr 10, 2019 11:22AM) (new)

Carol | 2089 comments Wild Card (Stone Barrington, #49) by Stuart Woods
Wild Card by Stuart Woods
Stone Barrington series Book # 49
2.5 ★

I’m all over the map with this series. I have always liked the character of Stone Barrington but I hate what Mr. Woods has turned him into. The description says quiet clearly the problem here…”his LATEST paramour”. He goes through women like water through quicksand. He has, in some books, become an alley cat with alley cat morality. Stone is a brilliant attorney and when the majority of his efforts are devoted to this venture these books are a pleasure to read. I’m not in any way opposed to sex in a book but how about a little mystery to the mystery?

message 23: by Carol (last edited Apr 11, 2019 04:19AM) (new)

Carol | 2089 comments Trouble on the Books (Castle Bookshop Mystery #1) by Essie Lang
Trouble On The Books by Essie Lang
Castle Book Store series Book #1
I love books that I pick up for challenges because I find that I am constantly surprising myself...usually in a good way. This one, from the cover, reeked of "cozy"...and I am not a big fan of that genre....but it had an animal on the cover so off I go with it. From the very first chapter I really liked it. The only glitch keeping it from an extra half star was that this author is very "detail oriented" which tended to slow down the pace. I didn't need a detailed description of how the water filled the kettle for her tea. Other than that it was a captivating beginning to a new series that is well worth reading.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2495 comments Mod
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty – 2.5**
It’s not Moriarty’s best work, in my humble opinion. On the one hand I really enjoyed some of these guests’ stories. On the other hand, I didn’t really like any of these characters, and was completely irritated by Masha’s psychobabble new-age philosophy on fixing what was wrong with them. I also didn’t like the ending, with its fast-forward to weeks or years later in order to catch up on what happened.
LINK to my review

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A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua
A River Of Stars – Vanessa Hua – 3***
Hua’s first novel looks at the immigrant experience from a slightly different angle: wealthy Chinese who pay a high fee to ensure their babies will have the always-coveted native-born U.S. citizenship. The story focuses on Scarlett Chen, the mistress or Boss Yeung, and Daisy, the unwed teenager whose parents want to keep her from her American boyfriend. I found this an interesting and engaging story. I really liked Scarlett, but thought Daisy was frustratingly immature. Final verdict: a good, but not great, debut. I’d consider reading another of Hua’s works.
LINK to my review

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Donna | 351 comments Book Concierge wrote: "Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers
– Liane Moriarty – 2.5**
It’s not Moriarty’s best work, in my humble opinion. On the one hand I really enjoyed some of these ..."

I felt the same way. I struggled to even finish this book. Thanks for a great review.

message 26: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2089 comments The Good Good Pig The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery
The God, Good, Pig: The Extraodinary Life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery

“Christopher Hogwood came home on my lap in a shoebox. He was a creature who would prove in many ways to be more human than I am.”
–from The Good Good Pig
A naturalist who spent months at a time living on her own among wild creatures in remote jungles, Sy Montgomery had always felt more comfortable with animals than with people. So she gladly opened her heart to a sick piglet who had been crowded away from nourishing meals by his stronger siblings. Yet Sy had no inkling that this piglet, later named Christopher Hogwood, would not only survive but flourish–and she soon found herself engaged with her small-town community in ways she had never dreamed possible. Unexpectedly, Christopher provided this peripatetic traveler with something she had sought all her life: an anchor (eventually weighing 750 pounds) to family and home. The Good Good Pig celebrates Christopher Hogwood in all his glory, from his inauspicious infancy to hog heaven in rural New Hampshire, where his boundless zest for life and his large, loving heart made him absolute monarch over a (mostly) peaceable kingdom.

Pigs have gotten a bad rap. They are among the most misunderstood creatures on Earth. I worked at a zoo for 28 years and learned from "Petunia"..our education program pig that they are smart, loyal, mischievous and charming. They can be taught a variety of tasks and learn faster than dogs and some children. So when I ran across Sy Montgomery's book about Christopher Hogwood I just knew I had to have it. Ms. Montgomery is in many ways my heroine. She is a naturalist who travels all over the world and writes books about wild animals for both children and adults. All of her books are outstanding. Christopher was a dearly loved, sweet little guy who had many wonderful years with Ms. Montgomery and her family and friends. You can't go wrong with any of her books but I loved this one.

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Donna | 351 comments The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins

I read this series when it came out, and I LOVED IT. Unable to get the audiobook I had planned from the local library, I thought about The Hunger Games. I'm so glad I did. It was every bit as good the second time around as it was the first time I read it.

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Donna | 351 comments Another Country by James Baldwin

I didn't love this book. Although he is a powerful writer and his words are often poetic or lyrical in nature, the reader has to concentrate to absorb much of the book. The writing has an intensity; the situations often look bleak. I couldn't connect with most of the characters here, as I found most of them unlikable, and I felt the story might never end.

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Donna | 351 comments Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins

What else can I say about this series? If you are part of a minority of readers who has not yet spent time with Katniss, I highly suggest you do so.

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Donna | 351 comments Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger, #1) by V.C. Andrews

Yikes! What an unsettling book! According to the book blurb: "It wasn't that she didn't love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake—a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.

So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic."


message 31: by Donna (new)

Donna | 351 comments Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games have come to a close, and a rebellion is brewing. The president is taking aim at the citizens who support Katniss and Peeta and war breaks out. The Hunger Games survivors are trying to pull their lives back together and simultaneously trying to overthrow the government. This story is ripe with psychological anguish, anger, and recovery issues.

message 32: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments Manhattans & Murder (Murder, She Wrote, #2) by Jessica Fletcher by Donald Bain
3 stars

from my library's overdrive catalog: Promoting her latest books brings bestselling mystery writer Jessica Fletcher to New York for Christmas. Her schedule includes book signings, chat-show appearances, department store shopping, and-murder. But it all begins with a sidewalk Santa staring at Jessica with fear and recognition.

my thoughts: This episode was one of the first few in the Murder, She Wrote series and you can tell Donald Bain was figuring out his characters. The ending of the story did not match the Murder, She Wrote environment. It was a fine ending for another mystery, but it did not fit Murder, She Wrote. I liked the New York backdrop and the characters were definitely developing. I enjoyed it and I definitely see the potential the series has in this episode.

message 33: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments Deep Blue by Tom Morrisey by Tom Morrisey
3 stars

from my library's overdrive catalog: A suspense-filled search for hidden treasure—and hidden truths. While University of Michigan graduate student Jennifer Cassidy is researching the family history of Cecilia Sinclair, a long-deceased Southern expatriate, she discovers that something of great value is hidden in a spring near the family plantation in Florida. Jennifer contacts Beck Easton, a cave diver and former Marine, to help her. When Beck finds a map, it sets off a race for gold, and both pro- and anti-Cuban groups follow Jennifer and Beck as they travel from Florida to the Bahamas to Lake Huron, tracking clues that pre-date the Civil War. After nearly losing her life, Jennifer is confronted with the meaning of Matthew 6:19-21, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven ... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." And she realizes that she will have to make a decision

my thoughts: I would have enjoyed this more as just a treasure hunt story. The political subplot felt forced and unnecessary. It seemed to be included just to show off Beck Easton's military training and give a climactic moment for Jennifer to be Saved. The treasure hunt aspect, however, was very well-developed. I enjoyed the alternate history included regarding the Civil War and the dive facts were interesting. If Morrisey had left out the Cuban politics and stuck to the Civil War Era sunken ships, I would have given it a 4 star rating.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2495 comments Mod
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman – 5*****
What a marvelous character-driven novel! I loved Eleanor as much as I was frustrated by her. Her conversations with Mummy gave us clues to the trauma in her past that resulted in the fragile woman she is when we first meet her. I love the way the friendship between Raymond and Eleanor develops; how he introduces her to possibilities, but also accepts her at face value. Honeyman gives us some wonderful supporting characters as well; even if their scenes are small, they are fully developed and add to the richness of the novel. A fantastic debut novel!
LINK to my review

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Koren  (koren56) | 481 comments Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the Worldby Vicki Myron
5 stars

This is the second time I've read this charming book about a cat who was found in the book drop at a small town library and was adopted, not just by the library, but by the town. The book is actually three stories: the story of a cat, of a town, and of the author. Living within an hour of the town where the book takes place, I can say the author does an excellent job of describing small town living and the challenges of a small rural community and its people. I thought she did an excellent job of bringing Dewey into our hearts and her enormous love for Dewey shows. It was amazing how Dewey always seemed to know just what someone needed. I cried buckets at the end, perhaps because it has only been 6 months since I also had to make a decision about a beloved pet.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2495 comments Mod
Deviant The Shocking and True Story of the Original Psycho by Harold Schector
Deviant – Harold Schechter – 3***
The subtitle is all the synopsis anyone needs: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original “Psycho”. I’ve always like “true crime” books, and this is a pretty good, though not great, example of the genre. Schechter writes a detailed account of Gein’s upbringing (as best as he could re-create it), the events and suspicions of the townspeople, his trial and his life in a mental institution.
LINK to my review

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2495 comments Mod
Koren wrote: "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the Worldby Vicki Myron
5 stars..."

Perfect book to celebration National LIbrary Workers' Day!

message 38: by Carol (last edited Apr 19, 2019 04:34AM) (new)

Carol | 2089 comments Isolation by Travis Thrasher
[Isolation] by Travis Thrasher

James Miller is a burned-out missionary whose time on the mission field in Papua New Guinea left him exhausted and disillusioned. His wife, Stephanie, feels like she's losing her mind. After moving to North Carolina, Stephanie begins seeing strange and frightening things: blood dripping down the walls, one of her children suffocating. Premonitions, she's sure, of what's to come. As the visions and haunting images intensify, Stephanie asks her brother to come for a much-needed visit--but he's hiding secrets of his own that will prove more destructive than Stephanie can imagine. Nine-year-old Zachary sees his family's move as an adventure, and as he explores the new house, he discovers every young boy's dream: secret passageways and hidden rooms. But what seems exciting at first quickly becomes altogether frightening. When a snowstorm traps the Millers, the supernatural dangers of their new home will test everything they thought they knew about each other, and about their faith.

It was a chilling story of a families' terror in a giant maze of a house in the high mountains of North Carolina. Isolation was a good title for this book as well as a spot on description of what was happening to the family. Something isn't right in the big lodge house that was supposed to give them a fresh start. We know that they are not alone... and they know they are not alone...but they are unprepared for the terrible thing that is residing, as yet unseen, within the rooms with them. A blizzard has imprisoned them inside with IT and what it wants is unimaginable. It was listed as "Christian fiction"...which I didn't realize at the time...but the author was in no way "preachy"...just told a very good story.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2495 comments Mod
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
A Single Shard – Linda Sue Park – 4****
This middle-grade novel is a beautiful introduction to the Korean culture, as well as to the art of pottery. Park gives us a wonderful cast of characters. I love the relationship between Tree-Ear and Crane-man, how they care for one another, and give to one another so selflessly. I learned much about celadon pottery, and particularly the uniqueness of the inlay process. The novel was awarded the Newbery Medal for excellence in Children’s Literature.
LINK to my review

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Zamba The True Story of the Greatest Lion That Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer
Zamba: The True Story of the Greatest Lion That Ever Lived – Ralph Helfer– 3***
I’m not a great animal lover, but I was interested and engaged in most of Ralph Helfer’s memoir of raising and working with the lion he rescued as a young cub. I did find Helfer a bit preachy at times. Still, I applaud the way that he changed the minds of many animal “trainers” about the best techniques to use.
LINK to my review

message 40: by Donna (last edited Apr 19, 2019 02:58PM) (new)

Donna | 351 comments An American Bride in Kabul by Phyllis Chesler

The blurb on the inside of the book cover is enticing, and the first chapters of the book are quite interesting. A young college student in the US falls in love with and marries another student, a progressive “westernized” man from Kabul. They make a journey to Kabul to see his family, but at the airport her passport is confiscated and she is truly stranded in Afghanistan, now valuable only as the property of her husband. This happened in the early 1960’s, long before stories of such occurrences became mainstream news fodder in the USA. The rest of the book deals with how she gets back to the USA, and how she puts her life back together.

Unfortunately, much of the book consists of quotes from other books on Afghanistan, and the stories are disjointed and not in chronological order. I will, for these reasons, not recommend the book.

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Donna | 351 comments The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

I’ve been meaning to read this book, but since it is termed a “classic”, I had my doubts. (Yes, I am that kind of a reader.) But honestly, I loved this story!

Lily was orphaned at the age she should have made her entrance into New York City society in the early 1900’s. She was raised by society people, destined for a life of leisure and acceptance into the “in” crowd. She had no preparation for life in the real world. When she is left to live with a coolly distant aunt, and with only a small inheritance, she doesn’t know how to function. She is now 29 and must find a husband to support her according to her lavish tastes.

You’ll have a front row seat as Lily painfully stumbles and then spirals into a free fall from high society.

message 42: by Donna (last edited Apr 19, 2019 03:15PM) (new)

Donna | 351 comments You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris

From the Goodread's description:

"On 13 November 2015, Antoine Leiris’s wife, Hélène, was killed, along with 88 other people at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, when three men armed with guns and suicide bombs opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd at a rock concert. Three days later, Leiris, a young journalist, wrote an open letter on Facebook addressed to his wife’s killers." He immediately became a social media hero.

This is a poignant account of the days and months after his wife's death.

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Donna | 351 comments Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

This collection of short stories is written in a haunting, lyrical style that stays with you after the book ends. The stories center on young Indians moving to America, finding spouses on their own or through their families, and setting up their own households. There seemed to me to be an underlying theme of abandonment, and the stories are not joyful, but they seem genuine, with sensitive portrayals of the characters that allow you to get to know them intimately.

The title of the book comes from a Nathaniel Hawthorne quote: “Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil. My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far as their fortunes may be within my control, shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth.”

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Donna | 351 comments Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth

Tris Prior is turning 16, and in this dystopian world she must choose which faction she pledges her allegiance to. She chooses the Dauntless, and quickly finds that fitting into this group will not be easy. Jump from a train? Sure! Zipline from a 100 story building? Sure! Fight to near-death? You betcha! Engage in a little kissy-face with the leader of your group? Nobody is going to say no to that.

The story is fast paced, action packed, and sure to be a hit with most teen readers. Some key points weren’t really explained, such as WHY there are different factions, but it is an enjoyable story and I’d recommend it to all lovers of dystopian fiction.

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Donna | 351 comments Book Concierge wrote: "Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
– Gail Honeyman – 5*****
What a marvelous character-driven novel! I loved Eleanor as much as I was ..."

I also loved this book s-o-o-o much!

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Carol | 2089 comments Wild Fire (Shetland Island, #8) by Ann Cleeves
Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves
Shetland Island series Book #8 (Last Book - end of this series)

Hoping for a fresh start, an English family moves to the remote Shetland islands, eager to give their autistic son a better life. But when a young nanny's body is found hanging in the barn beside their home, rumors of her affair with the husband spread like wildfire. As suspicion and resentment of the family blazes in the community, Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate. He knows it will mean his boss, Willow Reeves, returning to run the investigation, and confronting their complex relationship. With families fracturing and long-hidden lies emerging, Jimmy faces the most disturbing case of his career.

I almost hated to read this book as it would be the end of a fabulous series. Saying goodbye to these characters was a bit like saying goodbye to friends and family. Ann Cleeves certainly ended the series on a high note. As is Ann Cleeves usual habit she gave us suspects galore and a perfectly good reason for each of them to have committed the murder. She manged to keep us guessing until the very end. I'm glad to see that she has chosen to allow life to go on for the characters that we have come to love. "Slàinte mhath" Jimmy and friends.

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Donna | 351 comments The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Petronella arrives in 17th Century Amsterdam, a new bride, saved from her family’s near financial embarrassment by marriage to a well-respected merchant in the Dutch East India Trading Company. She dreams of children and the cohesiveness of a family. What she finds instead is far different, when her new husband treats her kindly and with respect, but shows no interest in her as a wife. He gives her an extravagant gift in the first weeks of her life in Amsterdam -- a perfect miniature replica of the house they live in. When she contacts a merchant to build tiny furniture for the replica house, she gets far more than she bargained for.

This book pulled me in from the first pages, and I could hardly put it down. Chock full of historical information and fraught with the sub-text of the subjugation of women, this book kept me enthralled. I highly recommend it to those who love historical fiction, a romance gone awry, and women’s issues.

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Donna | 351 comments The Mark The Beast Rules the World by Tim LaHaye

In this, the 8th book in the Left Behind series, Nicolae Carpathia has been raised from the dead, has mandated that statues be erected in his image and worshiped, and gives the mark of the Beast to his followers. Those who choose not to receive the mark are beheaded. Things are looking grim for the Christians.

This book in particular is fast paced with a lot of action. I sometimes tire of the corny humor injected here and there, but the books are very interesting. I recommend them to all.

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Donna | 351 comments It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Craig feels like he absolutely MUST get into a progressive, intensive high school. He studies relentlessly, aces the exam, and is accepted into the high school he believes will give him a boost in getting a great job and having a great future But he quickly discovers that, at his new school, he is not brilliant. He’s only average, and he soon develops depression.

This book tells the tale of Craig’s stay in the mental hospital, and how he learns to manage his depression. It is geared towards middle school and high school students. It wasn’t one of my favorite books, but it is well written.

message 50: by Carol (last edited Apr 22, 2019 04:12AM) (new)

Carol | 2089 comments Michigan's Haunted Lighthouses by Dianna Higgs Stampfler
Michigan's Haunted Lighthouses by Dianna Higgs Stampfler

Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state, with more than 120 dotting its expansive Great Lakes shoreline. Many of these lighthouses lay claim to haunted happenings. Former keepers like the cigar-smoking Captain Townshend at Seul Choix Point and prankster John Herman at Waugoshance Shoal near Mackinaw City maintain their watch long after death ended their duties. At White River Light Station in Whitehall, Sarah Robinson still keeps a clean and tidy house, and a mysterious young girl at the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse seeks out other children and female companions. Countless spirits remain between Whitefish Point and Point Iroquois in an area well known for its many tragic shipwrecks. Join author and Promote Michigan founder Dianna Stampfler as she recounts the tales from Michigan's ghostly beacons.

It was a really short little book but filled with really good information about, and photos of the many allegedly haunted lighthouses that cover my beautiful state of Michigan. It's divided by the lighthouses locations on 3 of the 5 Great Lakes...Michigan ,Superior and Huron. I believe she has another book that covers the Upper Peninsular. I was surprised to see that I had visited 5 of these lighthouses and plan to see the others in the future. Proof that ghost story enthusiast will go out of their way to pursue a good haunt.

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