Friday, September 29, 2017


Fiction by Sarah Miller.

Caroline: Little House, Revisited

This novel is Little House on the Prairie re-imagined from Ma's point of view.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the Little House books as a little girl, and as I read them to my kids when I was an adult I really began to empathize with Ma. Laura (of course) thought her Pa was the greatest, but I felt that if he were my husband I'd be annoyed at him for dragging me all over the wilderness for no good reason. Caroline left her family and everything she knew to live in various places just because her husband wanted her to. As a military wife I can really identify!!

This book was really good, and it includes some historical notes as well, explaining which parts Laura might have remembered wrong.(Since she was only three or four years old we realize her account can't be perfect.)

Also it answers some questions about pioneer life that Laura Ingalls Wilder never addressed, namely: WHERE did they go to the bathroom?!

You know you wondered that too.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

An Innocent Client

Fiction by Scott Pratt.

AN Innocent Client

In this story, a defense lawyer tired of defending criminals wishes for just one innocent client before he retires. It was a really good legal thriller.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Little Face

Fiction by Sophie Hannah.

Little Face (Zailer & Waterhouse Series #1)

At the beginning of this story, Alice comes home from a brief outing to find that her newborn has been swapped for another infant while its oblivious dad was taking a nap.

The tagline on this book says, "It's every mother's nightmare," but it's not a scenario I've ever thought of. (Although NOW I have; thanks a lot for that, Sophie Hannah!)

But what does she do next? Her husband says that their child was not swapped; it's still the same baby, he insists. The police are skeptical. I had no idea how this was going to be resolved.

This was kind of a strange story, but interesting. I'm not sure about the ending...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Behind Closed Doors

Fiction by B.A. Paris.

Behind Closed Doors

Okay, AGAIN with the initials instead of the first name? (See my previous rant on that subject if you wish, here.) This is an annoying trend, but....

I forgive you that small pretension, B.A. Paris, because your book ROCKED.

Now THIS is a thriller!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Lying Game

Fiction by Ruth Ware.

The Lying Game

At the beginning of this novel, Isa receives a text from a school friend (Kate) she hasn't heard from in fifteen years that says simply, "I need you." Since Isa has a new baby and a life in London, and Kate lives way out in some swamp in the middle of nowhere, of course she.... jumps right up and gets on the train to go see Kate. Um, wait....WHAT?! 

This is third book I've read by Ruth Ware. All of them have been mostly exciting thrillers but seem to have something missing. I think it's that I can never really like and completely believe in the characters. The plot is always exciting enough to keep me from abandoning the book when the main character gets troublesome (boring, irritating, or just plain unbelievable), but only just. The endings are surprising but somehow over-the-top and sliding towards incredulity. I finish the story going, "I think that book was pretty good...wasn't it?" because I don't really think it was all that great and can't think of a reason why not.

I realize it's easy for me to criticize and author from my lofty computer keyboard, and I feel bad about that. I'm not saying I could do any better than Ms. Ware at this, but these books are missing some indefinable quality that makes me want to read them. Feel free to disagree if you want.

I also read by this author: The Woman in Cabin 10

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Overheard in a Dream

Fiction by Torey Hayden.

I have read almost all of Torey Hayden's nonfiction books, so I was very interested to see she had written a novel. This book was a little hard to find; it's not available on where I usually post a link. I guess it must not have been widely distributed.

It was really good, though! It's about a fictional psychologist and the strange family he helps. Although it is set in the US, where I know the author is orginally from, it reads like a British novel in many ways. I think this is because Torey Hayden has been living overseas for quite a while now.

This story was unusual but fascinating!

I also read recently by this author: The Tiger's Child

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Monogram Murders

Fiction by Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie.

The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Series)

I found this book in the Agatha Christie section of the bookstore, but it is not actually written by Agatha Christie, or even co-written by her, since she's been dead since the mid-seventies, and this book was published in 2015. Instead, it is a new story based on the character she created, the detective Hercule Poirot, written by someone else entirely. Apparently this has been done with the permission and blessing of the Agatha Christie heirs.

That being said, I thought this was a good Poirot story and stayed true to the detective's character as I remember him. Many reviewers seem to disagree with me on this point, by the way; you can see the link above to the b&n page and read their comments if you wish. (There are some lovely gems, such as: "This tome is a disgrace to the memory of Dame Agatha and Poirot." Wow. Tell me how you REALLY feel, Anonymous. This tome is a disgrace to the memory of Dame Agatha and Poirot.ThThis tome is a disgrace to the memory of Dame Agatha and Poirot.)

Obviously the writing style is not identical to Agatha Christie's, which would be impossible, but I found the plotting and character development very similar to hers. And, besides that, it was a good story. I will be reading more of these books.

So there.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Piece of the World

Fiction by Christina Baker Kline.

A Piece of the World

Image result for christina's world andrew wyethSimilar in theme to Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring, this book tells the story behind a famous painting. In this case the painting is "Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth.--->>>

The only thing I knew in advance about the painting was that the girl in the foreground was somehow crippled and could not walk to the house in the background.

I enjoyed this novel; it was a good character story about Christina Olson, who served as some kind of muse to Wyeth for many years.

I also read by this author: Orphan Train
(Image above from

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Song

Fiction by Chris Fabry.

The Song

I listened to this story as an audiobook, and it was pretty good. I didn't feel it was a good as the other books of Chris Fabry's that I've read, but maybe I was prejudiced because I knew it's a novelization based on a movie, which I don't think is the right way to write a book. :)

I also read recently by this author: Dogwood

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Tiger's Child

Nonfiction by Torey Hayden.

The Tiger's Child: What Ever Happened to Sheila?

This book is the sequel to Torey Hayden's first book, One Child. 

It was fascinating to see what had really happened to Shelia, the troubled child Torey helped. Unfortunately, reality doers not have not a tidy made-for-TV-movie kind of ending. Sheila is not all fixed up, with her troubled past washed magically away, rendering her eternally grateful to her loving teacher. It is a mark of Torey Hayden's integrity as a writer that she tells this story as truthfully as she can, and doesn't whitewash things.

I really recommend this book, although you should read the first one too!

I also read recently by this author: Somebody Else's Kids