Saturday, April 21, 2018

Live Wire

Fiction by Harlan Coben.

Live Wire (Myron Bolitar Series #10)

This is number ten in a series. The last Myron Bolitar mystery I read was One False Move, which was number five. So I'm really out of order here, which is usually against my series-reading rules.

But this series is a bit odd, because the later novels seem to be way better than the earlier novels, so I decided to jump ahead a bit. Call me a rebel.

This was a better story than the ones in books number 1-5, so the queue-jumping might have been a good move. In this story, Myron uncovers some secrets from his own past while trying to help a pregnant client find her husband.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Book of Tomorrow

Fiction by Cecelia Ahern.

The Book of Tomorrow

This was a fun little book, about a girl who finds a diary than can tell her what she would have written tomorrow. But the weird thing is, she never actually writes anything. She just reads and then has to decide if she wants to change what happened or not. She of course also finds out that changing events doesn't always work out....

As terrible as I am about keeping journals, I think this bit of magic would be extremely helpful to me. Then I wouldn't have to write anything at all! But I digress; obviously that isn't the point of the story.

I am always interested in the concept of fate and how the choices we make direct our paths, so I enjoyed this book a lot.

Although the copy I read had a better cover, plus it had a little ribbon bookmark, which was awesome.

(image from>>

Monday, April 16, 2018

Until We Reach Home

Fiction by Lynn Austin.

Until We Reach Home

Three sisters in the late nineteenth- century leave Sweden for a new life in America in this interesting book. I enjoyed the story, although I thought it wrapped up a bit too quickly at the end.

I also read recently by this author: All Things New, A Woman's Place, and  Wonderland Creek

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Wife Between Us

Fiction by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The Wife Between Us

Vanessa is obsessed with the woman who has stolen her husband Richard and seems to be stalking the new couple, hoping to win him back.

Nellie is excited about her new fiance Richard, but seems frightened at times because she thinks someone is constantly following her.

But maybe all is not as it seems....

This was a good and exciting thriller!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Little Fires Everywhere

Fiction by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere

This was a very good story about a "perfect" suburb where real people can mess things up.

I also read by this author: Everything I Never Told You

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Big Four

Fiction by Agatha Christie.

The Big Four (Hercule Poirot Series)

Continuing in my perusal of Agatha Christie's novel in order, I found this book to be up next. This is not one of my favorites, although it is still pretty good.

In this story, Poirot and Hastings are reunited, although Cpt. Hastings has married and moved all the way to South America. I suppose this means Mrs. Christie caved to pressure to bring the pair back, after she tried to retire Poirot in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

Anyways, as long as you manage to willingly suspend disbelief with some of the more fantastic elements, this is a fun mystery of the "master detective versus master criminals" variety.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A House to Die For

Fiction by Vicki Doudera.

A House to Die For (Darby Farr Series #1)

Since I am currently selling my house and buying a new one, it seemed like a good time to read a real-estate murder mystery!

Maybe not the best call?

No, seriously, this book was all right but I had some trouble getting into the story. It's first in a series about a real-state agent who solves murder mysteries, but I'm not sure about reading any future volumes. It does seem like people being murdered would put a damper on home sales, after all.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Winter of the World

Fiction by Ken Follett.

Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2)

This is the sequel to Fall of Giants, which I read and loved recently.

As you can see, it is clearly marked on the cover "BOOK TWO OF THE CENTURY TRILOGY," so that everyone knows it is part of a series. This is how it is supposed to be done, folks. Publishers, PLEASE take note.

But I digress.

This story centers on World War Two, which is probably the best setting in history for a novel. The Nazis represent such a quintessential evil force, it just makes for great literature.

Still, this story manages to humanize everyone, showing all sides pretty equally. It's really a wonderful story, especially the audio version!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Northern Light

Fiction by Jennifer Donnelly.

A Northern Light

This is a historical novel centered around a real event: a suspicious drowning in the Adirondacks in 1906. The book jacket says it is supposed to be for teens but it seemed a little depressing and slow-moving for that age group. But then, what do I know about teens?

It was pretty good but not great.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Keep Your Friends Close

Fiction by Paula Daly.

Keep Your Friends Close

Okay, I believe I have just run through Paula Daly's entire body of work in the past week or two. Theses are some great thrillers!!

Like the book Saving Grace  by Jane Green, which caused me great anxiety a  few years ago, this story involves a trusted friend who turns into an evil husband-stealing witch. So it also inspires a bit of the "Oh-No-I-Can't-Look-Syndrome," but it does a better job of countering my need to anxiously fling away the book with my stronger need to FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!

It's a great book!

I also read recently by this author: The Trophy Child

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Trophy Child

Fiction by Paula Daly.

The Trophy Child

This story begins with a teenage girl called Verity who seems to be in some trouble, but we learn rather quickly that it is her younger sister, ten-year-old Bronte, who is the Trophy Child mentioned in the title. Bronte is exceptional, according to her mother, and she must needs realize her potential in life, whatever the personal cost to her family or herself.

This was a really good thriller that did not go where I expected it to.

I also read recently by this author: Just what kind of mother are you?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Promise Bride

Fiction by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham.

The Promise Bride

This book was (co)written by a fellow military wife who was stationed with me recently, although she's moved elsewhere now.

It's a straight historical romance, and a good one. I'm interested to see where the next book will take the series.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

One of Us Is Lying

Fiction by Karen McManus.

One of Us Is Lying (B&N Exclusive Edition)

At the beginning of this story, five high school students enter detention together. There is a jock, a brain, a beauty queen....

Wait, haven't I seen this movie?

But the story quickly veers off-script. This is not a Molly Ringwald move; it's a murder mystery!

Very exciting read!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sleeping Beauties

Fiction by Stephen King and Owen King.

Sleeping Beauties

"What do women want?" This supposedly impossible question is attributed to Sigmund Freud in the text of this story, and Freud was indeed quoted by his biographer to have said he did not know the answer to the query (Was will das Weib? in the original German). It seems that this question has been asked by men throughout history, however, as evidenced by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales actually recording it in the fourteenth century. 

In this book, an answer is posited. "What do women want? They want a nap."

While this answer is a bit simplistic, I can't argue that there is some truth in it. I recently wrote a post in my blog about my own quest for a nap, actually.

This story could be read as a cautionary tale of the "be careful what you wish for" variety. In it, every woman in the world is suddenly unable to wake up when she falls asleep; instead she is encased in a cocoon-like sleeping bag cannot be roused. Obviously, this does not go well. What happens to the world when all the women are out of commission? (Nothing good, I'll wager.)

It's an interestingly feminist story in way, especially for one written by men, although it could be said that it's another argument for the unanswerable nature of the above question. As in, "You give women what they want, and suddenly they don't want it any more!"

But it could also be giving the same answer that Chaucer's Wife of Bath gave so many years ago: women want exactly what men want, which is to be in control of their own lives.

All this intellectual rigmarole aside, this was a really interesting and thought-provoking story. It was worth the 700-page read.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Just What Kind of Mother Are You?

Fiction by Paula Daly

Just What Kind of Mother Are You?

What if you were supposed to be watching a friend's child and you forgot? And then something happened to the child....

In this story, Lisa's daughter Sally was supposed to bring her best friend home to spend the night after school, but then Sally got sick and stayed home from school that day. Lisa was busy at work and forgot to call and cancel the sleepover, and neither she nor Sally even remembered that the sleepover had been planned until the child did not show up for school the next day. Then Sally called her friend, and the friend's mom said, "Isn't she with you?" Then Lisa receives a panicked call from Sally and realizes she forgot about her kid's best friend.

This premise scared me, because I never feel like I'm on top of things. It seems there is always something I'm forgetting, niggling at the back of my mind. Maybe every mom feels like this.

This was an exciting thriller with an ending I did not expect.

I also read by this author: The Mistake I Made

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Note

Fiction by Angela Hunt

The Note

A huge plane crash in Tampa Bay leaves no survivors, but there is a note...

This was a pretty good book, but I've read others by Angela Hunt that are better.

I also read by this author: Let Darkness Come

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Don't You Cry

Fiction by Mary Kubica.

Don't You Cry

Quinn's roommate Esther goes missing one Sunday morning, and she finds out that the girl she called Saint Esther might not be so saintly after all.

This was a good thriller with a surprising twist at the end.

I also read recently by this author: Every Last Lie

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Beneath The Night Tree

Fiction by Nicole Baart

Beneath the Night Tree

This was a pretty good book, except that it turned out to be number THREE in a series and I haven't read numbers one and two. GRRRR.

PEOPLE. Can you not LABEL these things?!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Fall of Giants

Fiction by Ken Follett.

Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy #1)

I should probably stop singing the praises of Ken Follett... but I'm not going to.

This book, set at the beginning of the twentieth century, is the beginning of a new trilogy (!!) of which all three are already published (!!!!) and are available on read by a lovely British voice actor who really brings the characters to life. (!!!!!!)

I just cannot recommend this enough.

I also read recently by this author: A Column of Fire.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Secret Daughter

Subtitled: "A Mixed Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away"
Nonfiction by June Cross

Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away

I have mixed feelings about memoirs; they can be interesting but often are not. People's assessments of their own lives are usually skewed, however they try to be honest.

This is pretty good for a non-celebrity memoir, in that it can (mostly) keep your attention on this author's life even though you don't know anything about her beforehand, but it does get slow at times.

June's main focus, understandably, is on race, and how her white mother sent her away to be raised in the black community, ostensibly for her own good. But instead of letting June's black mother (Aunt Peggy) adopt her and permanently make her a part of their family, June's biological mother keeps her hand in by having June "visit" her "real" home once a year or so. This leaves June conflicted and confused; with her biological mother hovering in the background she can't give her loyalty to Aunt Peggy, who is her real mother in the sense of making her go to school, eat regular meals, take her bath, do her homework, wear her coat when it is cold, and the myriad other things that real mothers do all year long. Meanwhile, her biological mother gets to do fun holiday things with her sometimes, and (to be fair) sends money for her support. It's a very "Disneyland Dad" situation, and I really felt for Aunt Peggy who loved June and tried to be the best mother she could.

So June felt that her trouble was that she was neither black nor white, but kept permanently in limbo between the two, never being allowed to join one culture or the other. I think this is only partially a racial problem in her case, however. The main thing was that her white mother gave her up without ever giving her up, selfishly keeping her straddling two families so that she could not truly be a part of either one.

Still, June was eventually able to come into her own identity, which is what the story is about. All in all, it's a good but not great memoir.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Mistake I Made

Fiction by Paula Daly

The Mistake I Made

Just from the title, one can tell that this story is about a woman who does something she shouldn't have, and faces some tough consequences for it. So I knew that this book was in danger of causing Oh-No-I-Can't-Look-Syndrome, which can be difficult to read because of the way you cringe while watching your main character careen obliviously towards certain disaster.

But, interestingly enough, this character was trapped so very neatly into to making the aforementioned mistake that I actually felt she couldn't have done anything else. So that made the story much more readable and interesting... plus I was pretty sure she wasn't quite as doomed as she seemed.

It's a good book!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

Fiction by Kelli Estes

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

This is a story told from two perspectives: a modern white woman and a nineteenth-century Chinese woman. Both women are in Seattle and the surrounding waters.

I really liked the story of Mei Lien in the past, but the modern story was much less compelling. The book is definitely worth reading for the historical information, however. The facts are altered a bit to suit the author's setting, but the essential history told of Chinese immigrant persecution is true.

Monday, February 26, 2018

All I Need to Get By

Fiction by Sophfronia Scott

All I Need to Get By

This book is about a woman who goes back home (with her brother and two sisters) to watch her father die. That sounds kind of terrible, put that way, but essentially that's what they do.

It's an interesting character story; we see how each sibling handles the unexpected frailty of their parents in their own way.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Story of Arthur Truluv

Fiction by Elizabeth Berg

The Story of Arthur Truluv

This is a sweet little story about an widowed elderly man.

It reminds me a bit of A Man Called Ove and  The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye in that they are also sweet stories about old guys. But Arthur is NOT a curmudgeon, or on the run from his emotions, so he's not really like Ove or Harold.

I liked this book a lot.

I also read recently by this author: Talk Before Sleep

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

eathFiction by Agatha Christie.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot Series)

This is one of Agatha Christie's best detective stories, and definitely my favorite of the Hercule Poirot books. I've read it before, and recently enough to actually remember whodunnit, but that knowledge actually enhanced this reading, oddly enough. I enjoyed looking for the clues leading to the conclusion.

That being said, if you haven't read this one, DO NOT READ SPOILERS. The surprise is the best that way. Obviously.

Incidentally, I hadn't realized that this book was so early in Christie's writings; it seems she tried to retire M. Poirot rather quickly but instead ended up keeping his character in her repertoire until her death.

I also read recently by this author: The Secret Of Chimneys