Witold Rybczynski Stars:
5 Review by: Mary NK When did
"house" become "home"? How did it evolve from solely protection from the
elements, into a sanctuary? Beginning with pragmatic necessities, we
humans gradually added beauty and comfort until
our (cold, hard) castles became our Homes.
Charlie Schroeder Stars:
3 Review by: Mary NK Reminiscent of Confederates in the Attic, the author joins reenactment groups to get
a feel for history and war in many countries and times, including Roman
Legion, Polish Falcons, German infantry,
Revolutionary war musketeer, French & Indian War cannoneer, etc.
David McCullough Stars:
5 Review by: BKF The book details all the politics and problems surrounding
the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. After reading the book you can't
help but be amazed that it was actually completed! Thoroughly enjoyed
this book. The Brooklyn Bridge is a beautiful
bridge, and all the more so once you know the back story.
Rick Yancey Stars:
5 Review by: Marianne S. So what
happens when the space aliens show up and they aren't friendly? First
book in a YA series, wonderfully executed. Looking forward to book two
coming out in the Fall.
Graeme Simsion Stars:
4.5 Review by: English Teacher Don Tillman is
a quirky character. He is highly intelligent and set in his ways. He
has set standards and expectations for his future wife and thinks his
wife choices can be narrowed by a questionnaire
that he creates. Simsion developed the characters well. I loved the
variety of characters and the way the story unfolded. My only critique
was that the ending was a bit predictable. You will laugh and cry as
Don Tillman learns about himself. A fun summer
Gillian Flynn Stars:
5 Review by: Passionate About Books I absolutely
loved this book! One of the best novels of the year. It's a thriller
intertwined with brilliantly written characters; it's the kind of book
that's nearly impossible to put down. The surprises
and twists keep the reader on their toes up until the final page, and my
first thought upon finishing the novel was that I wanted to read it a
second time. There was many times I wanted to just take a peek at the
end to see what happens to Nick and Amy. But
I didn't. I survived the heart pounding suspense and made it to the end
of a very satisfying read. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!
Gregoire Delacourt Stars:
1.5 Review by: BookWorm2 The writing
was good and the premise (a woman wins the lottery, but tells no one
while she decides what, if anything, to do with the money) promising,
but as with so many other books, there is the stereotypical
spouse who is a rat. So sad that the second half could not sustain the
quality of characters that the first half had.
Lisa Scottoline Stars:
4 Review by: tandtmom Another page
turner from Scottoline, one of those gut-wrenching, tough
decision-making series of events. Story revolves around a family
consisting of a mother, father, and teenage son. The mother is
a judge and an over-involved mother who is consumed by her son's grades,
athletic endeavors, etc. The father is a self-employed financial
planner who is trying desperately to develop a relationship with his son
because of the years he missed while building his
business. An accident, lots of secrets, twists, further complicate the
story. Although the topics are tough, it was a good read.
Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller (Minotaur, August 2014)
Summer in Acker’s Gap, West Virginia is hot and sultry, and
a killer has struck, seemingly at random and the residents of this once
thriving coal mining town hold their breath waiting to see if county prosecutor
Bell Elkins and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong can bring someone to justice before the
killer strikes again. Bell is also
dealing with the release from prison of her sister Shirley, who served time for
a crime she committed to save her younger sister from their father and all the
emotions she has kept repressed for so long.
Add in a coalminer’s daughter who will do anything to protect her
disturbed father and it becomes a volatile situation just waiting to explode. When the inevitable happens, an unthinkable
crime is revealed, but the results are oddly redemptive, restorative and
healing for those involved. The people
of Acker’s Gap are fiercely protective of their loved ones, their secrets and
their pasts. Many long to escape, some
do, never to return, while others, like Bell, feel the strong pull to return to
home. Whether they choose to go or to
stay, Acker’s Gap is indelibly etched on the souls of its residents who will
carry it with them wherever they go. This
is the third entry into a series filled with memorable characters, each one
flawed in their own way, will stay with you and such a strong feeling of place
Acker’s Gap will remain in you long after the last page is turned.
One Kick by Chelsea Cain (Simon & Schuster, August 2014)
Chelsea Cain has terrified readers for year with serial
killer Gretchen Lowell pursued by detective Archie Sheridan. She now turns her attention to Kick Lannigan,
a twenty-one-year-old woman who was kidnapped as a child of six, rescued five
years later but unable to escape the demons that still hold her captive. Kick turned to boxing and martial arts as a
way to release her past; combined with the unique skills she learned while
being held captive (bomb making, lock picking and escaping) Kick is in a word,
dangerous. She also has what it takes to
help locate two children who go missing within weeks of each other. John Bishop, a former weapons dealer,
approaches Kick and convinces her that with his contacts and money and her
knowledge of the inner workings of child kidnappers and abusers, they are an
unstoppable team. But John has a hidden
agenda, as does Kick, and the one thing she may not be equipped to do is to
revisit a past that she has successfully fortressed herself from in the past
ten years---or so she thinks. Kick is a fascinating character: she is someone
who could escape from almost any situation, shoot accurately from any distance,
or throw a knife to kill yet there is an unexpected vulnerability about
her. No one gets inside the mind of her
characters the way Chelsea Cain does, keeping her readers guessing and off balance until the final sentence.
Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance (William Morrow, July 22,
Out in Bisbee, Arizona a differently able man is found dead,
presumably murdered, but the ME is out of town for the weekend and no
determination will be made until Guy Machett makes his ruling. Guy is found murdered in his home before he
can come back to work. Over two-thousand
miles away, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts his step-mother has just died of
emphysema, his half-sister Liza has just refurbished the house neither had
lived in for over eleven years with hundred dollar bills she found hidden
throughout the house and then disappeared the night after the house burned to
the ground and her landlord was murdered.
On the lam from what or who, Liza doesn’t know, but she’s trying to get
to Bisbee to find out what Guy knows.
Sheriff Joanna Brady does know that the trail ends in Bisbee and that
she has two murders to get to the bottom of and needs the help of officials in
Massachusetts to get to the bottom of at least one. With as many twists and turns as a canyon
creek, Joanna manages to untangle lies and deceit more than two decades
old. A hot, dusty setting brings Arizona
to life while Jance does the same for her characters, as subtly as calling on
Joanna’s step-father, the ex-ME for help, to show the difficult relationship
Joanna has had with her mother. Joanna
was elected Sheriff after her husband was killed in the line of duty and her
new husband Butch accepts his wife’s avocation and never feels as if he is
living in another man’s shadow. Fully
realized characters and a complex case make this fast-paced read one to add to
a must-read list this summer.
Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech (William Morrow,
Beginning with Serena Lenore, the matriarchal dynasty has
been producing some of the most beguiling scents for centuries. Tucked away in the Blue Ridge mountains is a
perfumery that is worth millions of dollars owing to a signature perfume whose
wearers are hand-picked, sign a contract and are willing to hand over a fortune
for the success it guarantees.
Something is not right, though, with the Lenore women. Willow, the current CEO and granddaughter of
Lenore is beginning to forget things; Mya, the heir apparent is willing to
tamper with the formula for the sake of even greater success, or so she thinks;
the youngest, Lucia, left the family fifteen years ago to seek her fame and
fortune as an actress in New York City.
Newly divorced, Lucia is returning to the place of her birth where she
will learn she has more of the family traits than she realized, maybe even more
than Mya, and may be the key to saving the generations’ old business. Led, or announced, by a swarm of dragonflies,
Lucia and Willow quickly come to learn that Lucia is the only thing that can
save the family business, but at what cost?
Told with a magical realism, Season of the Dragonflies is an atmospheric debut that explores or
relationship to our family, especially the women in our family, and to
generations that have come before and the ones that are yet to come. As Lucia is willing to accept her gifts and
find her place within her family and the company, Mya also learns to redefines
her place in both, and learns what overreaching and not taking responsibilities
can sometimes cause. A perfect sultry
read for the late summer.
Just My Typo: From “Sinning with the Choir” to “The Untied
States” compiled by Drummond Moir (Three Rivers Press)
My life is rife with typos and as is the case with most
people, I can easily spot others’ typos while missing my own egregious
mistakes. Most recently, a famous typo
came up while preparing for a weekly Internet radio show I co-host http://hunterdonchamberradio.com/library.htm
We often do a “today in history” and back in June, something caught my
eye. In the second (1934) edition of
Merriam’s New International Dictionary,
the word DORD got through, defined as “Density”. Someone caught it five years later and began
to investigate. What had happened was,
and editor ran together the phrase “D or d, cont./density” creating this new
word. But, and here’s the part I found
interesting, Dord is actually a word: it is a bronze horn from Ireland dating
back as far as 1000 BCE. Huh.
Drummond Moir, who started his career as a proofreader in
London, catching a missing “r” in the word “opprobrium”, has compiled a
collection of typos, public and not so public, humorous and embarrassing, and
put then on display for the world (or at least word geeks) to see. Separated by type and source, the typos rage
from “From his left ear to the corner of his mouth ran a long scar, the result
of a duet many years before. Flight from Germany, William le Queux”
to “Arthur---was serious burned Saturday afternoon when he came into contact
with a high voltage wife. Albuquerque
paper” and includes favorite typos of famous authors and editors (not
necessarily their own). The chapter
featuring typos from children is less endearing as the words are often more
likely to be malapropisms rather than typos.
A fun book to pick up and flip through at random with an invitation at
the end to e-mail the editor with other humorous typos to be included future
Author: Heather Brittain Bergstrom Stars:
4 Review by: ADAR First novel
set in the West, present day. Tells a lot about American Indians, their
lives today and relations with "the white man". Also a love story.
William Landay Stars:
4 Review by: EAM In addition to
keeping readers wondering who committed the murder of the teen in the
park, Landay delves into issues of how cases are brought to juries and
their impact on families - impacts that are
significant and detrimental whether the defendant is guilty or not.
Honest and thoughtful insights here. Good discussion book - did Jacob
do it or not?
Fern Michaels Stars:
2.5 Review by: Saraswati Starting at book 21 in a series seems like a strange plan,
but this book does stand on its own. The story is about a mother
seeking revenge for her son's death and how the Sisterhood helps this
along. The Sisterhood is ruthless! There are some
supernatural things going on along with some very highly unlikely
scenarios. It was an OK read, but I am intrigued enough to look up some
of the earlier books.
Kate DiCamillo Stars:
4 Review by: tandtmom I enjoy
keeping up to date with middle grade novels because they're fun and
light-hearted. This was an adorable story about a young girl who
describes herself as a cynic, caught in a very unusual situation.
Her parents are divorced; her mother writes romance novels and her
father, well, is quite unusual in that he is quite quirky, but a good-hearted man. Flora observes a squirrel in her neighborhood being
vacuumed up. Not your typical day. What happens after
the vacuum incident is strange, but DiCamillo ties everything in quite
nicely. Should be a must read for middle grade students.
Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston Stars:
3 Review by: Saraswati Being the first book in a new series, I didn't know what to
expect. The more I read the more I was convinced I saw this before. I
really mean saw it. It felt like I was reading a compilation of
post-apocalyptic and fantasy movie scripts. The
story is about a woman trying to escape from her current life, harder in
this future than it sounds, and find the "Blue." The Blue is like our
Atlantis. The story had some very dark moments, but I was surprised by
the ending. Take a chance and read the book
and let me know what you think!
A. Manette Ansay Stars:
3 Review by: Ginger This book has a
unique format. The main character is writing a non-fiction, historical
book about a love relationship from the mid 1800s. She finds parallels
with a new love relationship developing
in her own life. You will read an eloquent blend of fiction and history
accompanied by photographs and notes from the past.
Celeste Ng Stars:
4 Review by: Ann M The story takes place in the mid 1970s in Ohio. Lydia, a
teenage girl of a Chinese American family, disappears and is found
dead. The family falls apart as they try to decipher the mystery of her
David Kennedy Stars:
3 Review by: maggie David Kennedy
writes of his experiences in reducing the number of homicides in urban
areas. While his focus is on the criminal justice world, he forgets
that the key to sustainable success are the people
who work these programs. Without dedicated people and those who
believe, there is little hope for continuation of the initial success.
Julian Barnes Stars:
5 Review by: Shannan Seely The book is part philosophy, part mystery and part mid-life
crisis. Julian Barnes writes such excellent prose. The middle-aged
man's life is changed when he receives a gift from an acquaintance of
many years ago.The book will appeal to all genders. While reading, you will
reflect and think about what you have done (or failed to do) to affect
the people around you. A great read!
Carlos Castaneda Stars:
3 Review by: Maya
yet logically challenging account of the potential for a non-ordinary
reality in which a Mexican "sorcerer" teaches the author about the
hidden powers of certain plants and animals and
how to access them. The author was a Master's student at UCLA at the time.
The author describes his spiritual journey and the fears and challenges
that he confronts along the way. Not for everyone. Must keep an open
mind and/or treat this book as fiction even
though it is written as non-fiction. You decide.
Kate Jacobs Stars:
4 Review by: Maya Excellent
sequel to The Friday Night Knitting Club, which you MUST read first. A
wonderful extension of the story. It will pull you in and want you to
Camilla Lackberg Stars:
4 Review by: iambetsyw A must read
for fans of Scandinavian mysteries! The narration shifts from the present
day Sweden to 1944 when the world was in the grip of World War II. A
woman makes a shocking discovery in a box of
her late mother's belongings. A Nazi medal, a child's bloodstained dress
and a collection of personal diaries. It's all somehow connected to a
recent murder...I don't want to say anything further because it will
spoil the ending. If you like Jo Nesbo, Steig
Larsson, Jussi Adler-Olsen you will love this book!
Author: Jennifer Weiner Stars:
3 Review by: iambetsyw Allison Weiss
seems to have it all: a successful career as a blogger, a nice husband, a
beautiful house in the 'burbs of Philly,a daughter. What most people
(including Allison) don't realize is that
she is slowly becoming addicted to prescription painkillers. It starts
as a way to cope with her complicated life; a challenging child, a
father who is in the early stages of dementia, a husband who is also
overwhelmed by life. Allie winds up in rehab and is
resistant to facing the fact that she is in the grip of addiction. Her
road to recovery is not easy, but the conclusion of the story paints a
picture of her constant struggle to deal with her desire to remain
sober. Not as light a read as the author usually
Author: Christina Feehan Stars:
2.5 Review by: Saraswati This is a book
long in the making. It has been years since the last "Sea Haven" book
has been released. Unfortunately, it's the same 'ol, same 'ol. They
are not the Drakes, but...almost just the same...Sorry,
but I read this before. If you want an easy summer read with no
background then it's ok, but otherwise....
Susan Wittig Albert Stars:
3 Review by: BusyMom An entry in
the Palm Springs mystery series - if you're a Stephanie Plum fan, you'll
enjoy this. Albert changed her writing approach in this story with
point of view and I found it somewhat confusing
until I figured out who was speaking.
Scott McGaugh Stars:
4 Review by: Mandy Apgar A long deserved biography of Dr. Johnathan Letterman, the
PA born physician who is credited with standardizing battlefield
medicine. Letterman grew up in a humble, but slightly well off family and
was able to afford an excellent education despite
the early death of his father. Possessed of excellent common sense, he
began traveling upon graduation all over the country and applied that
good sense to barracks and bases all over. Early highlights included
tackling malaria ridden swamps in Florida, an act
which caught the eye of several persons in the right places. So after
Lincoln's appointed medical adviser left,
Letterman found himself, with little actual tactical experience, head of
the 100,000 plus Army of the Potomac on the eve
of the Civil War. His abilities were first tested at Antietam, where his
basic sense applications (baths, not eating moldy food, etc.) on the
field cut illness down by 3/4 and deaths by an immeasurable amount. By
Gettysburg he had become involved in planning parts of the battles. After the war was over he married,
fathered two daughters, and ended his brief
life as a coroner.
Richard Bowers Stars:
4 Review by: Mandy Apgar
Admit it - you want to read this for the title alone.
Back in the 30s when Superman was created by Jewish teenagers Jerry
Siegel and Joe Shuster, they mixed a lot of their heritage into the
character. Hints and nods to Moses and other individuals are in his
backstory so things seemed appropriate that he should
be chosen a half generation later to take on the KKK. Concerned by
increasing Klan recruitment of youngsters, it was decided to do a 16
part storyline on the Superman radio show about how Jimmy Olsen (alias
the world's worst sidekick) attempts to infiltrate
the KKK and gets caught immediately, necessitating a timely rescue. The
series was written by and done in cooperation with numerous individuals
including a muckraking journalist who the Klan had already threatened
multiple times for doing the simple task of
making them look like idiots. But the series was completed to near
universal acclaim and won multiple awards, as well as to be marked later by
several organizations as a key part of declining enrollment in the
years after it was released. A very good book for comic enthusiasts,
although many will probably agree with me in saying Jimmy Olsen
should've just been bumped off. Would've saved Superman so much stress
in the future.
Richard Snow Stars:
3 Review by: Mandy Apgar A biography of Henry Ford, I got it for two reasons - one, I
knew nothing of the man other than that he was rumored to have been a
terrible anti-Semite, and two, for being such a famous personality of
his time little is said of him today. The book does a very good job of telling his origins and
childhood in a way that explains most of his motivations later in life.
The kicker is that, although the book acknowledges
his anti-Semitism repeatedly, it doesn't really explain why he got to be
that way. Especially in the light of retelling how his immediate family
was at odds in their opinions, things fell rather flat there other than
a brief explanation of "he read it in books
when he was a kid and the idea must have stuck." So that part seemed
rather a cop out granted how often it was brought up. However; when the
book is its best is during the time when he was beginning his automotive
empire so one can learn quite a bit about early engines,
construction, etc. as things are explained rather well. So it was a bad /
Robert San Souci Stars:
2 Review by: Mandy Apgar The overall
worst of the series I think. A collection of darker folktales retold
from global locations, it would have been a lot better if the editor had
forgone adding silly urban legend type stories
in. Where the book follows the usual series format we get classic
stories like The Lutin and the usual one or two really obscure ones,
but this volume has several "mad killer hiding behind the back seat"
type things and is a small book at that. Also contains
a retelling of a paranormal event known as the Dartmooor Terror and the
same applies there - it is not written very well having been dumbed down
a bit for the younger readers. The art as well is not the best of the
Tina Skinner Stars:
4 Review by: Mandy Apgar Cute. Very compact (postcard sized) and hardbound, this
contains snapshots of various Cape May area Victorian buildings and a
sentence or two of information. Not exactly what I was hoping for due to
the lack of extra information, but it made up
for it in showing structures not found too often in other books. A nice
pocket sized surprise but nothing really past that.
Andrew Lang Stars:
3 Review by: Mandy Apgar One of the many collections of folk and fairy tales by
Andrew Lang, this one I had never read before and although I liked it I
think the general reader would not. Coming from a very traditional
German family I was more or less raised on the obscure
stories instead of the more common ones. Out of several dozen stories in
the book I would say only two (Emperor's New Clothes and Thumbelina)
have actual name recognition among the general public today whereas
another 7 would be vaguely familiar to a more studied
reader. I like having the variety of unusual stories, but for many
persons today whose knowledge of folk life consists of Disney films it
would not be the best book.
Laurie R. King Stars:
5 Review by: Marianne S. Searching for a
missing American woman in Paris, 1929, including an astonishing cast of
literati, Surrealists, and Dadaists, plus several visits to the
Stephen King Stars:
3 Review by: Marianne S. I found the
protagonist, Det. K. William Hodges (Ret.), to be so annoying that I was
really hoping for a different outcome to the story. I gave it an extra
star for King's throw-away reference to Joe
Hill's Heart-Shaped Box.
William Stolzenburg Stars:
5 Review by: Marianne S. A lively look at the work of ecologists, over the past
fifty or so years, who have proposed that the shrinking diversity to be
found in ecosystems around the world is attributable to the lack of apex
predators. Includes a thought provoking analysis
of the consequences of a lack of predators here in the land of the
Author: Elizabeth Kolbert Stars:
5 Review by: Marianne S. Life on Earth
is currently undergoing what may very well be the sixth major mass
extinction. The author examines twelve animal and plant groups and
species, tracing how human interference led to the
eradication of these fauna and flora. Sobering, with a decent
bibliography for follow-up.
Mercedes Lackey Stars:
4 Review by: Marianne S. A quirky take
on the Red Riding Hood tale. Red survives and grows up to become a
hunter of all things that go bump in the night, but especially of
werewolves. A quick, fun read.
Mark Howard Jones & Kate Evans Stars:
4 Review by: Marianne S. When I'm feeling unwell, eldritch horror featuring tentacle
elder gods tends to make me feel better. This collection of nine short
stories fit the bill nicely.
Melanie Dobson Stars:
3 Review by: Jambob A sweet little romance in the 1890s when young ladies
bemoaned the tradition of an arranged marriage to save the family
fortune. This is one of many books in the Love Finds You series. I
always had an interest for Mackinaw Island ever since I saw
Somewhere In Time. I hope to visit there one day.
Donna Tartt Stars:
3 Review by: EAM I enjoyed the story-telling nature of this book, but the
ending did not pull things together for me. Very long and convoluted
story, which kept my interest, but didn't seem to lead anywhere.
Julie Kenner Stars:
2.5 Review by: Saraswati This is
another book in the the Shades-like genre but lighter. This is the
first book in this new series. As with the other books in this style,
there is a couple that has more issues than People
magazine and are drawn together against others' advice. The characters
are all true adults and not as violent as in other texts. The series
breaks the Shades way since the book comes to completion and book 2 is
about another gentleman in the trio of friends.
Easy summer read.
Brian Capon Stars:
4 Review by: Saraswati This is another book I had to read for a class that I am
taking. Although the book is being used for a "non-science major" class
it contained a lot of scientific information. This is a great book if
you really want to learn about plant life.
By knowing the basic science you can understand why plants do what they
do and how to help your garden. I enjoyed the refresher information but
I also had a lot of "AHA" or "REALLY?" moments. Great book if you want
to get more details about plants.
Thomas J. Elpel Stars:
5 Review by: Saraswati I had to read this book as part of a class I am taking, but I
really enjoyed using the guide and information. The book provides a
brief biology course about plants at the beginning, but the majority of
the book is a key to help you ID plants. I
had a great time searching out the unknown plants around my home. The
funny part was finding out that my herb garden contained mostly plants
from the mint family even though I thought I had a pretty diverse
garden. A very fun book!
Alfie Kohn Stars:
4 Review by: laz I think that
Alfie Kohn should be required reading for any parent and/or educator,
and this one is no exception. A great look at the myth so many have
bought into, and why we need to examine it more
Jasper Fforde Stars:
5 Review by: BookWorm2 Book 3 in the
Thursday Next series and an amazing read. This series is fantastic for
any true lover of books. Fforde weaves a believable tale with
fantastical back stories.
Claire Messud Stars:
3 Review by: 1stYearInTheClub I thought this
book read like a Woody Allen film without the humor. It gets better if
you stick with it. It's about the lives of a group of people living
and working in NYC. I didn't care for the
characters. It must have been the author's intent.
Erin Morgenstern Stars:
2 Review by: Ginger Other club members enjoyed the book so I read it only to
find out, I don't care to read fantasy. The plot was weak and I was
disappointed with the ending.
Timothy J. Gilfoyle Stars: 4 Review by: Matriarch This
non-fiction book by a noted historian is well researched and very
informative. It focuses on a man who lived in late nineteenth century
NYC and his life in the underworld. Gilfoyle also goes to
great length to detail the criminal "justice" system at the time. If you
enjoy the fiction of Caleb Carr, you'll love this.
Christina Henry De Tessan (editor) Stars:
4 Review by: Matriarch This
collection of essays by women who have lived abroad was a great read.
From Japan to England to Spain, the women had vastly different
experiences and some surprising ones as well. If you've ever dreamed
of living in a foreign country and experiencing a totally new way of
life, you'll enjoy this.
Nancy Atherton Stars:
4 Review by: Saraswati I really enjoy this series because the stories usually
leave me feeling content. This story is about making wishes come true
and what makes them good or bad. It also makes you think about who
your friends and neighbors really are. The stories
take place in a small hamlet called Finch, England. The town has all
the things that one would expect regarding a small town. This time a
quiet member of the community passes, and not murdered, and so starts
the wishing well story line. This is an enjoyable
read for the summer or just when you want to feel good.
Nancy Horan Stars:
4 Review by: MidnightReader This is the
fictional account of Mamah and her illicit love affair with
Frank Lloyd Wright between 1907 and 1914. The novel is based on research
done by a first time novelist and is a touching
account of life and mores in America and Europe. I wasn't sure about it
when I started it, but as I got deeper into the book I was really
Jackie Collins Stars:
1 Review by: Passionate about Books This book was
so boring! Yes it had sex, drugs, and the glamorous life. But to be
honest, I felt extremely bored while reading it, and the characters
annoyed me! Sorry, but this book was a snoozer for
Carolyn Haines Stars:
4 Review by: Saraswati This book
takes off right after the last where we find our main character trying
to recuperate with her fiance. There is no rest for the weary as our
lady PI is asked to help free a man in jail and
investigate a murder. Just to add fun into the mix there is a hunt for a
pirate's treasure and the always expected near-death experience. Unfortunately, things still don't go well for our PI but there is
hope on her horizon. Easy summer read and
the hope that things work out better in the future.
J.R. Ward Stars:
3 Review by: Saraswati I forgot how
many story lines Ward can put into one novel. I almost felt like I needed
a spreadsheet to keep track. When I first saw that this novel was
coming out I thought, wasn't there already a book
about the King??? There was. However, this is both the far past and
the present combining. This book focuses more on the politics of the vampire society then the wars of past. It has some true current event
points of view about the divide between the
people that consider themselves the top few versus the rest of us. What
happens when you embrace the many versus indulging the few? Once you
get the stories straight, this is a nice read. Enjoy!
Sherrilyn Kenyon Stars:
4 Review by: Saraswati I had to
reacquaint myself with the cast of characters and the wars going on in
the story line but once I was on board it read fast. You get the gist
of which characters will be coming together right
at the very start. Two trained assassins are thrown together in a non-combat situation and fall in love
and save the day. Throw in a few rescues, fights, and side story lines
and have a fun, exciting, summer read.
Cindi Madsen Stars:
4 Review by: LateNightReader This was an
enjoyable story about two long-time friends who pretend to be engaged to
help each other out. As their charade continues, they realize that they
may have deeper feelings for each other. The
question is whether either is willing to give up that friendship to
pursue a relationship.
Brendan Reilly, M.D. Stars:
5 Review by: Miss Lucy My book group
chose this book. As I started reading, I enjoyed it very much, but
wondered what the rest of the group would think. After all, my daughter
is doing her residency, and it was interesting
to me to "live through" a day in her life. But the more I read, the more
I became totally fascinated, and realized that anyone who has been
hospitalized, or has had a family member hospitalized, or might someday
be hospitalized, would have an interest in what
this book has to say. The author is not only someone you would wish to
have as your own doctor, he is a talented writer, who managed to make a
page-turner out of the day-to-day life of a doctor.
Kenneth Calhoun Stars:
1 Review by: Miss Lucy It had a great
premise - an epidemic spread across the country which prevented people
from sleeping. But the execution fell flat. It seemed to just go on and
on, with very little variation.
Maya Angelou Stars:
5 Review by: iloveHCL This book fits
the summer reading theme of literary elements beautifully, I think. It's
rare that I read a book and focus on the use of language as much as the
story. The reader is dropped into 1930s
life in a small southern town and feels what life was like for the black
Jennifer Potter Stars:
1 Review by: Mandy Apgar The author has done some other, much better, books on
plants and botanical history, such as the one on the rose. Here she is
concerned with tulips, orchids, poppies, roses, sunflowers, lilies, and
the lotus in terms of how each plant has impacted
history. Some of the events are a bit of a stretch with how she overemphasizes their global importance, and her language gets pretty florid
at times. Would have benefited better from an author with a less verbose
style & not as prone to be poetic.
Frank Miller & Lynn Varley Stars:
1 Review by: Mandy Apgar I really wanted to like this, but with the exception of the
Dark Knight series have never been a big Frank Miller fan. About the
battle between 300 outnumbered Spartan soldiers at Thermopylae against
the Persian army, there is plenty for him to
have gone into. But his art is unusually blocky here, and the figures
look static and posed. Writing is not his best at all either, or even
very good. Stilted would describe it. And while not a historical
stickler for these things following the battle itself
more so would have been interesting than all the asides he took - and
how bloody often did he have to say "Sparta?" OK, so it's one side of the
fight, but it's awfully irritating at times. Inspired the film of the same
name and I have no idea how they got one from
the other as they're fairly different and this was just overly dull,
inartistic, and uninspired. Not that the movie was good, but still.
Garry Wills Stars:
1 Review by: Mandy Apgar This was a boring one. Concerned about the
Elizabethan attitude towards drama as a political tool, it falls pretty
flat at times going on and on about the various Shakespearean plays
involved instead of the time itself.
Mark Harris Stars:
4 Review by: Mandy Apgar In an attempt to help justify WWII to the public, 5
Hollywood directors - Capra, Ford, Huston, W. Wyler, and J. Stevens -
all journeyed to the battle front to photograph and document major
events and battles all the way up to the war's end. An
account of their lives during this time, period attitudes of film
making, as well as an account of the war itself told from their
perspective. Being present for Midway, aerial combat, the liberation of
Dachau, and other events, all 5 came back home with a slightly
to severely different sense of purpose that permanently affected their
Walter Choroszewski Stars:
3 Review by: Mandy Apgar Mostly photos with a few sparse captions, it was produced
to celebrate the tricentennial. Being a newer resident (2½ years) I
was still able to recognize all the places, and actually I would have
preferred something a little bit different. Was
not even that much on the Red Mill for example, lots of outdoor shots,
and commentary by local persons and elected officials. Pretty but very
little substance to it.
Juliet Nicolson Stars:
1 Review by: Mandy Apgar Reading the dust jacket, the book seemed like it would be a
lot more interesting. Instead what it turned out to be is a series of
accounts of persons dealing with grief after losing loved ones during
WWI. A serious, noteworthy subject of course,
but with time after time of X person did this or Y person was never the
same it got to be rather depressing instead of a more scholarly account
of the transition to the jazz age like the book implied.
Wendy Webb Stars:
3 Review by: Jambob A book about
family secrets, murder, mystery, ghosts, and witches. Set on Grand Manitou
Island which is disguised name of Mackinac Island in the Great Lakes.
Ms. Webb is a good writer weaving past and
present into a haunted tale with a happy ending.
Ken Follett Stars:
5 Review by: Need to Read Eye of the
Needle is the first Ken Follett book I have ever read. I wasn't sure I
would like it it, but once I got into it, I was hooked on Follett.
Great book. Will certainly read more of his work!
Ransom Riggs Stars:
3 Review by: Julie The
accompanying photographs are what carried the storyline - oddities
captured in black and white. The end got a little sci-fi, but the
beginning captured a lonely teen boy's desire to get to know
his grandfather through a time travel experience.
Jason F. Wright Stars:
5 Review by: Woman on the Go Another wonderful read. A great hidden love story. His stories are magic for me. I am really enjoying this author. I can get through his books quickly. Looking forward to another of his books to read.
Neil Gaiman Stars:
3 Review by: Autumn This book is a
novella originally written to be performed at the Sydney Opera House in
Australia. It was recently published and set to illustrations by
artist Eddie Campbell. While I generally enjoyed
the story, I found that sometimes the graphics clashed and somewhat
distracted from the text. This story is not Gaiman's best, but I think
that it would make for a very interesting performance piece. He just
performed this work last weekend at Carnegie Hall
and I'm sorry I wasn't able to attend!
Nora Roberts Stars:
5 Review by: Passionate About Books
this book, I thought Abra was really annoying, however as I kept reading
on I really enjoyed her personality. She is a very quirky, eccentric,
bubbly, and vivacious person. I'm glad Eli
and her became an item so to speak...haha!
The storyline and plot
of this book was simply amazing! It had me hooked. Whiskey Beach was
definitely a page-turner! I could not put this book down. Whiskey Beach
is an exciting, yet thrilling novel built
on the foundation of an alluring setting that easily encourages
readers to lose themselves for hours at a time in its pages. (IT DID FOR
ME!) Nora Roberts just hits the note with the perfect blend of romance
and suspense in her latest work. This is an absolute must read for sure!
Anne Canadeo Stars:
3 Review by: laz Fun. Love this
series. Perfect summer reading mystery. Young girl depends on the help
and love of her older knitting circle friends to get through solving a
murder and losing a friend.
Julie Lawson Trimmer Stars:
3 Review by: Tartu The two
disparate stories never came together for me and I felt the characters
of the subplot were better developed than the characters of the main
plot. The book received high praise from Jodi Picoult
so I may try again when it is released in September.
Mary Alice Monroe Stars:
5 Review by: Kee Read This is book
#2 in The Lowcountry Summer Trilogy (#1 is Summer Girls.) Both books are
very good, interesting characters. This is one of my favorite authors!
Christina Schwarz Stars:
2.5 Review by: 1stYearInTheClub It took me two
attempts to finish Drowning Ruth. I put it down, but decided to give it
another try after about a week. It's well written, but I didn't like
it enough to give it a 3.
Chang-Rae Lee Stars: 2 Review by: Michelle D. Hard to
explain - about a girl who lives in a future society and leaves her
community in search of her boyfriend who has gone missing. But the
writing is long and convoluted and it is not always clear
what is happening to the characters. The ending doesn't feel like a
conclusion at all.
Suzanne Collins Stars:
5 Review by: BusyMom I started the
Hunger Games series anticipating my daughter would want to read it --
and I got sucked into the tough world of Panem and Katniss. I remember
thinking it was a horrible premise when I saw
the trailer for the first movie; after all, children were killing
children. However, you quickly realize there are very few in the nation
who really enjoy the Games and the brewing revolution builds. While
it's hard to separate each book, this final chapter
was satisfying, even if I might not have agreed with all the
conclusions. It's an interesting commentary on politics and how no one
gets it just right.
Nicholas Sparks Stars:
5 Review by: Passionate about Books
This book is absolutely heart wrenching! Nicholas Sparks is my all time favorite author, and his books are simply terrific! Although A Bend in the Road was a sad book, it was also a love story. The love that these characters shared for one another is merely joyous and overwhelming! I really enjoyed how Sparks uses flashbacks in his novels. Flashbacks are vital because it makes the story much more enjoyable to read, rather than straight narrating the novel. Great job Nicholas Sparks as always! Can't wait to read another novel by him. I highly recommend this book, as well as his other novels!!!
Sophie Kinsella Stars:
5 Review by: Passionate about Books
I love Sophie Kinsella's novels, they are a light hearted comedy that makes you laugh out loud at times. I was very intrigued by this book.
I found the main character Samantha to be very real, she was a young successful professional who has never turned on a stove or knows where to put the bag in her vacuum. With that being said I was wondering how Samantha was going to possibly be a housekeeper? In a series of funny mishaps, Samantha gets lessons and starts to realize there is more to life than high powered stress.
I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it!
Combining stories of Moses, Tarzan, Jesse Owens and others, Cleveland teens Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman. More so a biography of the pair, which is more than well deserved, reflected through their struggles with their creation. Selling the character for $130 under a cloudy agreement, the two were left destitute at times while DC Comics and others in charge reaped massive benefits. I have sold comics for nearly 26 years and no two other figures have gotten the shaft as much as these. Although Superman is not nearly the world's most popular character, he is the most iconic probably, and the book's greatest strength is when it details their fight to be recognized and just plain survive. What keeps it from being a 5 is a final chapter on concerned parties and how they relate to the ongoing legal issues surrounding ownership, it doesn't mesh well. You have the two eventually passing after so long and then it hits a wall almost.
It was very well written but I didn't like it as it was so bloody depressing. An account of Russian attitudes and thought in the modern age, it boiled down all too often to "our economy is in the toilet so we drink a lot." Just so repetitive.
Timothy S. Susanin & Diane Disney Miller Stars:
3 Review by: Mandy Apgar
About the career of Disney before he invented Mickey Mouse. Does not go into his childhood much, which I didn't like as it left out a lot of his motivation, and ends abruptly when his then animators defected for the man who bought out his first famous character of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Thomas' "An American Original" is still the best bio on Disney there is, but this one was good in giving a few extra details on his early collaborators - especially Ubbe Iwerks, and also his courtship of wife Lilly.
Kathy Merlock Jackson Stars:
3 Review by: Mandy Apgar
The author did not really write anything, instead the book is merely a collection of interviews of Walt Disney. His statement before the House Un-American Activities Committee, an article of his eldest daughter, interview by Cecil B DeMille and others.
Author: Charles Ridgway Stars:
4 Review by: Mandy Apgar
A well written, neatly done account of the actions of the former head of Disney PR written by the man himself. None of today's made up nonsense about Walt Disney, Ridgway got to know him the last 3 years of his life and spent the rest of his career thinking "what would Walt have done?" Really good for the little details he gives, but fails to not go into detail about the Eisner/ Roy E Disney falling out that shaped the company so much in recent years.
Sean McMeekin Stars:
3 Review by: Mandy Apgar
A history of the events of that time relative to WWI. Goes into uncanny depth, too much so at times, which is its major flaw. Overburdened with detail often, it loses its focus then. Also I think it doesn't cover why the events happened as much, starts up pretty fast but doesn't always explain why certain events took place earlier that impacted others at the core time.
Dr. Mark Siddall & Megan Gavin Stars:
4 Review by: Mandy Apgar
I liked this one. A rarity of museum books, it covers topics behind the current AMoNH exhibit on poisons with the focus of toxic animals. Well written with good commentary and insight, it is also a bit snarky at times. Seems to fit the subject as the book often goes into detail of what x doofus did wrong to find themselves dead or nearly so. In that aspect it also carries a definite "nature can still whup us" tone throughout.
Jack E. Levin & Mark R. Levin Stars:
1 Review by: Mandy Apgar
Note to readers - a small book with large print and numerous pictures not all relating to your subject means two things - one, the author doesn't have much of substance to say and what he does have to say is very little and basic. It also does not look good if your insightful introduction is written by your son. Probably because he couldn't get much anyone else to pay attention. Very dull and boring, it does indeed do a good job of summarizing the events leading to the crossing but fails to really explain why it was so valuable and how he did it other than a basic "it was cold" and exaggerating certain aspects of the Delaware itself. A book more so on the image behind the famous painting instead of what really happened.
Gareth Williams, Peter Pentz, Matthias Wemhoff, & Her Majesty Queen Margrethe of Denmark Stars:
1 Review by: Mandy Apgar
This is one of those books that makes me want to go back to crosswords. Ample and well illustrated, this coffee table type edition goes into the history of the Viking people from a standpoint of that they really were not as all nasty as they are portrayed. Written by a mass of museum educators in preparation for a large exhibition, it falls into the trap of so many other museum volumes - all pretty pictures and no meat. Very little insight, or even thematic focus, is offered. Little information to a knowledgeable reader is new and several subjects are quickly glossed over - like religion, which I wanted more on but the section on it paid it little mind and seemed like mostly background.