Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Just Jennifer


If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman
Audrey has just learned she has advanced cancer and not long to live; her fondest wish is that her adult daughters Jess and Lily will reconcile and their teenaged-daughters, nearly the same age, will have a close relationship.  Jess, a struggling television producer, and her older sister Lily, a successful professional marriage to a handsome and powerful attorney, have been estranged for almost thirty years, having been torn apart by a terrible secret and lies.  As Audrey attempts to reunite the sisters, she knows she too will have to reveal her secrets and the role in which she played in the sisters’ estrangement.  What could have been a melodramatic plot with wishy-washy characters is not, but rather a tender, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, and redemptive story.  The women are flawed, yet strong; they recognize their short-comings and stubborn streaks, and ultimately, they each want the same thing: to find their way back to each other, as well as to themselves. 

Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay
It is scary enough when one elevator malfunctions spectacularly and plunges thirty floors, killing all four occupants in a New York City high rise, but two more elevator accidents, a car bomb, and a dead many on the High Line set the residents of the city on edge, all on the eve of the opening of a new high rise, Top of the Park, one of the tallest buildings in the city.  Journalist Barbara Matheson, one of mayor Richard Headley’s biggest detractors, gets caught up in the mayhem, as does her daughter Arla, with whom she has a difficult relationship, who has just accepted a job with the mayor’s office, her boss, the mayor’s son Glover, who seems to never be able to please his father, a displeasure the mayor too often exhibits in public.  Detectives Jerry Bourque and Lois Delgado are investigating the dead man on the High Line and quickly realize the man without fingertips has a connection to the elevator incidents and someone doesn’t want the connection made.  Responsibilities for the violence are attributed to terrorism, but foreign or domestic? A domestic group The Flyovers quickly comes to the forefront of the FBI’s notice, but the detectives are not so sure, as their investigation keeps circling back to the mayor’s office.  Tightly written with taut, tense action, well-developed characters having interesting, long reaching and tangled stories round out this all stand-alone thriller with an all-too plausible plot, chilling and realistic.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

New for October...


The Furies by Katie Lowe
Violet has just started a year at Elm Hollow Academy, a private British school, after spending a year of independent living after her father and sister were killed in a tragic car accident.  The school has a long fabled history of witchcraft, and Violet, who has always had a hard time making friends, is very susceptible when she is approached by a group of girls Robin, Grace, and Alex, who encouraged, by their art teacher, form an independent sturdy group that begins to explore the dark arts.  After Violet is raped by a college student, the group performs a ritual designed to hurt the young man, but things ratchet up when the body of a student thought missing is found dead.  Full of feminism, mysticism, obsession, friendship, and revenge, this debut will appeal to older teen readers as well as adults.

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur

At age fourteen, Adrienne Brodeur, the co-founder of the literary journal Zoetrope: All-Story, is awakened in her Cape Cod bedroom one night by her mother Malabar who announces to Adrienne that she has just been kissed by her husband, Adrienne’s step-father Charles’s, best friend Ben.  From that moment on, Adrienne becomes complicate in the affair, helping Malabar meet Ben, who is also married, and keeping their love affair hidden from Charles, who needs extra care after suffering a series of strokes.  Being Malabar’s confidant rather than her daughter takes its toll on Adrienne throughout her teenage and young adult years.  As a young woman she begins to date, and eventually marries, Ben’s son, a union that cannot end well.  Malabar manipulates Adrienne, especially after Ben’s wife learns of the affair, holding a family heirloom necklace of emeralds, diamonds, and rubies, as ransom for Adrienne’s devotion.  Ultimately, Adrienne is able to see this one-sided relationship is emotionally unhealthy, and perhaps at times abusive, for what it is and manages to completely detach herself from her mother, no matter how painful, in order to lead a productive, and happy life, of her own as her own person.   


Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
The indomitable Olive Kitteridge is back, a widow after her beloved Henry’s death, and a little mellower…just a little, as she works her way through her seventies, marching toward eighty, head held high.  Told through a series of vignettes, some featuring Olive, some starring Crosby, Maine’s residents, all of whom have been touched one way or another by Olive: Olive remarries, and then is widowed again, she delivers a baby, and reaches a detente with her son Christopher, his new wife, her two step-grandchildren, and two new grandbabies.  Readers who loved Olive in her first book will lover her all the more; fans of Fannie Flagg and Lorna Landvick who have not yet found Olive should not hesitate to dive right in.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
Privileged Madison and Lillian were best friends for one year at an elite boarding school to which Lillian had a scholarship; Lillian was expelled, taking the blame for Madison, and the two have kept in touch through letters, but now, almost fifteen years later, Madison, the wife of a politically ambitious senator, reaches out to Lillian, who has almost no ambition, and who has been working low-level jobs for her adult life, to be the nanny to her step-children Bessie and Roland, who are coming to live with her family, children who burst into flames, though they are unharmed, when they are agitated.  The senator wishes to keep this peculiarity from his constituents, preferring instead to show off the son he fathered with Madison to avoid scandal.  Bessie and Roland understand on one level why their new family doesn’t want them around, but on another, don’t understand at all why their father keeps his distance.  To everyone’s surprise, including herself, Lillian is an outstanding governess and is able to make the children realized they are loved, and to show them that family comes in many different forms.  Kevin Wilson has once again written a family drama with an eccentric touch that injects humor, though sometimes black humor, into a heart-felt story with characters to cheer on.



Where She Went by Kelly Simmons
Maggie O’Farrell, Philadelphia beautician never imagined she’d become a helicopter Mom, yet know that her only child Emma, is living away at college, though only across the city, she finds herself calling Emma, and dropping into see her.  Maggie, a widow after her policeman husband was murdered shortly after Maggie learned of his affair with her partner, knows she shouldn’t smother Emma, yet can’t help herself.  When Emma goes quiet, Maggie goes to campus to look for her, finding the dorm room to which Emma was assigned all but empty, and an unusual contact on Emma’s phone “Future Husband”.  Maggie charges forward searching for her daughter, though her daughter is an adult and doesn’t appear to be taken against her will.  As she looks into Emma’s life, Maggie realizes how little she knows about her daughter.  Alternating chapters between Maggie and Emma in alternating timelines, the present and before Emma disappeared, confuse the narrative a bit and does little to build up the tension.  The mother-daughter dynamics far exceed the mystery-thriller elements in the plot.

The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate
This first mystery in a new series is homage to the women authors of the Golden Age of Mystery, focuses on the Grand Dame, Agatha Christie. Hayley Burke has just been hired as the curator of the late Lady Georgiana Fowling’s First Edition Library in Bath England.  Hayley has plans to bring the library back to the forefront of scholar’s and enthusiast’s minds, along with Lady Fowling’s long time personal assistant Mrs. Woolgar who seems to be trying to thwart Hayley’s every move.  When a member of the Agatha Christie fan fiction writers’ group, Hayley has allowed to meet at Middlebank House is found dead in the library, Hayley’s duties begin to expand to include amateur sleuth, though she hasn’t read a word of the books in the library.  Also fighting for ownership of Middlebank is Charles Henry Dill, Lady Fowling’s odious nephew.  Readers will enjoy the references to classic mysteries and the setting, but the plot feels a bit like a prologue as it sets up the characters for future books.

It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo, trans. From the Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer
One of the first titles from the new HarperCollins imprint, HarperVia, international fiction that has been translated into English, this novel explores the life of Adelaida, a young Venezuelan woman who is burying her mother amidst social and political unrest, and unsafe conditions.  Her best friend’s brother has been arrested and is feared dead; most of Adelaida’s money has gone to caring for, and then burying, her mother.  When she discovers her neighbor dead, she finds papers that she thinks will help her escape Venezuela by impersonating the dead woman.  This novel is richly written, filling the senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of a country in turmoil.  Throughout it all, Adelaida holds dear to the memories of her mother, memories that strengthen and sustain her to do more than survive.  An outstanding debut.

The House of Brides by Jane Cockram
This debut novel, an homage to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is successful on most levels, though not all.  Disgraced social media guru Miranda Courtenay flees from her native Australia to England, to her family’s estate after her deceased mother, who wrote the definitive history of the house, receives a letter from a niece imploring her to come to England to help her family.  When Miranda arrives at the Summer’s estate, she is mistakenly identified as a candidate for the nanny position, a misconception Miranda does not correct as it will give her time to try and learn more about her mother and her mother’s family.  What Miranda finds is a once grand hotel and restaurant, now left idle, her estranged uncle Max, his wife Daphne taken to bed after a car accident that has left their daughter Agatha wheelchair bound.  As Miranda cares for Agatha, her sister and brother, she starts to uncover the secrets to not only her past but to Daphne’s accident in this novel with good pacing, but characters who are not quite as developed as the gothic setting.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The New Christmas Tree

Author: Carrie Brown   
Stars: 5
Review by: MApgar

Covering various hand decorated trees and how to produce the effects; it had a wide swath of artistic talents and tastes, but had very concise directions that were presented extremely well along with the photographs.

The Emperors of Chocolate

Author: Joel Glenn Brenner   
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

An inner workings history of Hershey and Mars as a backdrop to the emerging candy industry.

Death in Early America

Author: Margaret Coffin   
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

You really need to be more original if your name is 'Coffin' and you write about funeral practices. The expanse of the book was fairly narrow and more can be found in a general style of living account, but it was written well.

Stromatolites

Author: R.J. Leis
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

A good compendium on the fossil algae - groups, what they are and are not, and even where to get genuine fossils. Was odd how it noted there is only 1 mineral and fossil show per state each month when really there are upwards of dozens in some though.

Milk!

Author: Mark Kurlansky
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

A semi expose and history on milk and dairy products; while the writing itself is very good it is loaded with 'recipes' which are in turn at times extremely vague and do not even give amounts of ingredients needed.

Inside the Victorian Home

Author: Judith Flanders
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

A look into everything from mourning (how long to wear what for whom) to where servants' quarters should be located according to station. Book covers a great deal and is written with personality.

Adopting Older Children

Author: Bosco Ruggiero   
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

Examining the processes behind adopting children over four; while it goes very well into potential issues both medical and psychological it lags behind in others. There is a great deal of emphasis on domestic adoptions and almost a negativity to international, with nary a mention of how the ability to have a child taken away is what drives so many away from the former. And while it gives a lot of advice on LBGTQ adoption it gives no mentions for disabled parents.

The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting

Author: Sally Donovan
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

Note the title - this does not cover how to adopt or laws, just how the author advises parenting (emotionally disturbed and older) children. Being pretty exclusive has its drawbacks as does her going on and on about how certain methods work yet in the same paragraph saying she basically wants to rip her hair out.

The Borgias

Author: G.J. Meyer
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

A bit boring; which is a real shame granted the subject. Author goes into how there are myths and stereotypes of the family but doesn't really get far into disproving them other than his frequent assails upon whom was related how.

The 70 wonders of China

Author: Jonathan Fenby
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

Brief bits on 70 marvels - manmade and natural - of China. Some were a bit too short, but on the whole the selection was well rounded.

Soda Politics

Author: Marion Nestle   
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

An examination on the ill effects of sugared drinks - soda, juice, etc. - and how they are pervasively marketed.

Let Me Lie

Author: Clare Mackintosh   
Stars: 4
Review by: Maryellen

I had a hard time getting into this book and almost abandoned it a third of the way in. I’m glad I didn’t. It turned out to have some good twists and turns.

Virginia Beautiful

Author: Wallace Nutting   
Stars: 3
Review by: BigBison

This book was written in 1930 and describes Virginia at that time, noting it will take about 1 month to travel to see it and that you had to take the ferry to get across certain rivers. The author was extremely opinionated about architecture and what comprises beauty and once I got over the surprise of picking up a useless travel book that I thought would help me to discover contemporary Virginia, I got interested in reading about a place I know, but in a different time period.

Anna & The Alien

Author: Honey Phillips   
Stars: 3
Review by: Aleksza

This is the first in a new series for this author. It is still a sci-fi human abduction love story. The series was just a fun summer read.

Great Balls of Fury

Author: Annabel Chase   
Stars: 3
Review by: Aleksza

This was a first in a cozy series. It has all the easy read elements...campy humor, love and a slight mystery.

Sentinal Galactic Gladiators

Author: Anna Hackett   
Stars: 3
Review by: Aleksza

This is the first of a new spin off series from the original Gladiators. This whole series is based on saving the human women that were abducted. It has the same flavor of the original series with a twist.

Racing Hearts

Author: Lauren Landish   
Stars: 3
Review by: Aleksza

This is the last book in this series but it appears that there will be a spin off series to follow.

Hunteer Galactic - Galactic Gladiators BK12

Author: Anna Hackett   
Stars: 3
Review by: Aleksza

This book also contains 3 novellas with the e-version.

Northridge Shifters

Author: Dee Bridgenorth   
Stars: 3
Review by: Aleksza

This 5 book series looked at a series of brother shifters and the women they fall in love with. The series contains: Noah, Ethan, Bennett, Sebastian, and Desmond.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Bearded Brothers

Author: K. C. Crown
Stars: 3
Review by: Aleksza

This was a 5 book collection. It included Her Mountain Daddy (Not what you think), Beauty and the Beard, Built and Bearded, The Gentleman, and Bride & the Beard. All stories have "alpha" males with beards (who knew), the women they fall in love with, drama and more love.

The Fountains of Silence

Author: Ruta Sepetys   
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee

A young adult historical novel about Spain during Franco's reign. Heartbreaking, but educational as I knew nothing of Spain during his regime.

The Perfect Fraud

Author: Ellen Lacorte   
Stars: 3
Review by: libraryaimee

Well written, but I found it predictable.

The Bride Test

Author: Helen Huang   
Stars: 2
Review by: Kristen E.

I really liked The Kiss Quotient by the same author, but I felt this one was more of the same. I was looking for something a bit different. The writing is good and I liked the characters overall though. I especially liked the heroine of this story.

And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie   
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

The most PC of the titles for this is one of her independent stories - nary a Poirot or Marple. 10 persons with shady backgrounds are invited to Indian Island, only to start dying 1 at a time in manners akin to the old nursery rhyme. Eventually all are dead and the truth is later found out via a message in a bottle - not wanting the guilty to go free, a person with a terminal illness arranged it all and killed themselves in a way to make it look like a related murder.

1607: Jamestown & The New World

Author: Dennis Montgomery   
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

A collection of essays on the settlement along with background on Virginia and Williamsburg. A lovely place that sadly gets sidelined for Plymouth. Jamestown was an area that hosted several characters and tragedies. From cannibalism to Pocahontas, it's all in here folks! Plus it doesn't go into 'lost colony' too much, other than 'they wrote the island's name on a tree, where do you think they went?'

Ghostbusters- the ultimate visual history

Author: Daniel Wallace   
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

I forgot about the second cartoon, thank God. And no mention of Ecto Cooler, the blasphemy! Other than that (and the tendency to rely on buzzwords to describe the actors & characters) it was a chronological account of the making of the first film up to a brief mention of the 2016 disaster with the various bits of the franchise in between.

Pompeii - Herculaneum, past and present

Author: A. de Franciscis   
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

A mini tour book, independently published, on the main buildings in both cities. Reconstructions are shown on plastic overlay sheets (in turn atop photos) as to give an approximate idea of the colors / style/ etc. of what was destroyed.

Between Two Worlds: Sicily and America

Author: Luisa LoCascio   
Stars: 4
Review by: KM

Though not Italian, I've been interested in books on Italy for a long time. This short but very interesting book is equal parts memoir and history. The author interweaves memories of growing up Sicilian in America with history and details of her travels to Sicily as an adult.

Prince Charles: the Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

Author: Sally Bedell Smith   
Stars: 4
Review by: KM

I had no idea that Prince Charles was so multifaceted. This is a fascinating book.

Next Year In Havana

Author: Chanel Cleeton   
Stars: 5
Review by: Barbara LOVES Books !!

Wonderful, informative about Cuba's political history, interesting twists and turns! A Great read !!

The Dark Side

Author: Danielle Steele   
Stars: 5
Review by: Linda

Excellent. Couldn’t put it down.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Author: Bryn Greenwood   
Stars: 5
Review by: Kristen E.

Never in my life have I read a book that made me feel as uncomfortable as this one managed to. Gritty, raw and wrong on so many levels, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things brought up feelings I wasn’t prepared for. The characters in this story really stayed with me.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Author: Brene Brown   
Stars: 3
Review by: Kristen E.

This could be helpful in a business environment. I found some of it didn't really pertain much to me.

Red, White & Royal Blue

Author: Casey McQuiston   
Stars: 2
Review by: Kristen E.

I appreciated aspects of this and loved the representation of different types of characters. We need more of that. But overall, it just made me more pissed about what is actually happening in life rather than what could be. It did drag in parts for me and bits were too predictable for me to enjoy. I think my hopes were too high for this one given the praise its gotten.

The Silent Patient

Author: Alex Michaelides   
Stars: 4
Review by: Kristen E.

This book was pretty un-put-down-able and had a twist I didn't see coming despite being aware of the fact that this book had a twist in the first place! With that said, this book will still kind of middle-of-the-road for me. If you remove the extraordinary twist, you are left with a strange story that suddenly doesn't quite make sense with characters that behave in ways that are illogical at best. Suspension of disbelief is definitely needed.

Chances Are

Author: Richard Russo   
Stars: 4
Review by: Judy

Most books about summer at Martha's Vineyard are about women meeting to spend time together. Richard Russo has three male college friends who are now in their sixties reuniting. It was a very interesting story.

Best Kept Secrets

Author: Jeffrey Archer   
Stars: 2
Review by: Chris L

Book 3 in Clifton Saga. If you like Soap Operas you will like this.

Ms. Bixby's Last Day

Author: John David Anderson   
Stars: 5
Review by: KM

What a special story. This may be juvenile fiction, but it has great heart and depth. So glad I read it.

Trinity

Author: Leon Uris   
Stars: 5
Review by: BertaP

I listened to this which I highly recommend. This saga about the Irish Troubles from the late 19th century to 1919 was written probably in the 60's but it is fresh and pertinent today. It was an interlibrary loan.

The True Death of Billy the Kid

Author: Rick Geary   
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

Billy was a jerk. Presented as a graphic novel, it recounts his late imprisonment, escape, and eventual hunting down in addition to several 'he didn't die' and other theories.

Black Dahlia

Author: Rick Geary   
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

One of his graphic novels, it is by far one of the most dignified ones on her. After Elizabeth Short's parents split she had a hard but fairly happy childhood, but wanting more as an adult got into some trouble and moved west as her father was in the area. Her bisected body was found in 1947, and despite having her effects and anonymous letters bungling and little additional info leaves the case unsolved.

The Mister

Author: E.L. James   
Stars: 3
Review by: libraryaimee

Exactly what you would expect from an E.L. James book!

French Kids Eat Everything

Author: Karen Le Billon
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

In a 'it'll be wonderful!' daze the author orders her family uprooted to France, where her husband was from and hated it. Kids are miserable and lash out, she cops an attitude with their school over cultural issues and argues with her husband. Patient people mostly put up with her crap, and eventually she realizes that she's doing no favors turning her girls into brats. And after that she decides she's unhappy and they got to move back to Canada. Lovely.

Miracle on the Hudson

Author: William Prochnau and Laura Parker   
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

What the pilots did was great, this not so much. Saying the title over and over and oooooover again doesn't help, nor does going into over in depth details of nearly every passenger to show how people of variety were on board. It was an airbus, of course one gets all kinds of people on them. Without the fluff this would've been a pamphlet.

Jewels and Jewellry

Author: Clare Phillips
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

Well that was dull. An account of the collection of the Victoria and Albert museum with a wee bit 'o history thrown in, the only good part was learning Freddie Mercury's sister donated several ornamented cases to them.

Anna of Kleve

Author: Alison Weir   
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

This was my final effort at continuing to read her - fictional works like this are just...odd. Be as graphic as needed but that shouldn't include famous people's invented sex lives, its boring. A princess in a German duchy, Anna is selected to be the 4th wife of HenryVIII. She adored him, but kept from the court that she had an illegitimate child and later a lover. Countering the stereotypes against her Weir does too much invention and not enough of her real talents.

The Red Thread

Author: Ann Hood   
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

This would've been better without all the archetypes. Fictional, it concerns Maya - her baby dies when she drops it; after she up and leaves her husband and forms an adoption agency for Chinese babies. Bitter that her ex is happy, she starts another group of families but things are really stereotypical. The uber yuppies with the yacht, down to nature types, teenage kid at home, disabled kid at home - while all kinds adopt she seemed to almost over stress how different everyone was.

The Whisper Man

Author: Alex North
Stars: 5
Review by: Kim P

Very good book and very scary.

Bag of Bones

Author: Stephen King   
Stars: 5
Review by: Jubilant Jazz

HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!!!

Being Mortal

Author: Atul Gawande   
Stars: 5
Review by: Kayleen

A really important read for any adult.

Summer of ‘69

Author: Elin Hilderbrand   
Stars: 5
Review by: Pip 2

This was GREAT! 50 years ago what do you remember about it?  I could not put this down!

The Secret Life of Bees

Author: Sue Monk Kidd   
Stars: 4
Review by: Diane G.

I have heard of this book many times and just never got the chance to read it. What a great story! It took a little while for me to get into it, but once I did, I was hooked. Excellent commentary on the meaning of family and a host of other challenging topics in the context of race relations in the South.

The Only Woman in the Room

Author: Marie Benedict   
Stars: 5
Review by: Grandma I.

Fascinating story of Hedy Lamarr, inventor as well as glamorous actress.

My Dear Hamilton

Author: Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie   
Stars: 5
Review by: BKF

A beautiful work of historical fiction, very well written and richly detailed. The story is told trough the eyes of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, Alexander's wife, a remarkable woman who played a major role in the founding of our country.

The Last Letter

Author: Rebecca Yarros   
Stars: 4
Review by: stillada

If you do not like to cry when reading a book do not read this one. You would not be able to not cry.

The Way Life Should Be

Author: Christina Baker Kline   
Stars: 5
Review by: Linda

First time reading her great book.

Katherine of Aragon - the True Queen

Author: Alison Weir   
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

Would of been better but for two things - talked way too much about her and Henry's sex life.  Also, Mary Boleyn was nearly ignored while the parts with Anne could've been condensed by 100 pages. Too much of the same things over and over and it drags the book a lot.

Foundation

Author: Peter Ackroyd
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

The beginnings of Britain to the early middle ages. Was alright but amazingly brief on some things - the whole Plantagenet mess didn't get enough space, and Beckett's death barely a mention among others.

A Royal Welcome

Author: Anna Reynolds   
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

Cute but small, on how events are staged at Buckingham Palace. Can get a lot more from the companion book for the Monarchy - Royal Family at Work series.

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

Author: William Kuhn   
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

Future generations will hate us for publishing this. The Queen is depressed, and while having a breakdown of sorts she leaves for Scotland on the train with several palace employees and a cheese shop worker / paparazzi in tow. An utterly terrible book that deals with her character all wrong - making her loopy, irresponsible, and several other things...and even tells events we have on film wrong and takes insulting liberties with the story of Diana's depression.

The rise of the Tudors

Author: Chris Skidmore   
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

A history of the Tudor lineage from its Welsh beginnings to essentially the crowning of Henry VII. Was a bit inaccurate and rather out of date, especially the things said about Richard III, and had a tendency to harp on the same thing over and over.

The New Girl

Author: Daniel Silva
Stars: 5
Review by: JudyE

The newest of Dan Silva’s series regarding Gabriel Allon, the chief of Israeli intelligence. Another great thriller!

The Library Book

Author: Susan Orlean
Stars: 4
Review by: JudyE

Appreciate libraries and their collection and the work behind the scene of librarians!!       

The Mummy Case

Author: Elizabeth Peters   
Stars: 3
Review by: Lizzy

Third in the series. Amelia and Emerson are in Egypt with their precocious son, Ramses. There’s pyramids, excavations, and murders. The cat, Bastet was a favorite! A lot of fun, especially with Amelia and Emerson’s snappy dialogues!

The Monogram Murders

Author: Sophie Hannah   
Stars: 3
Review by: Lizzy

A strong start. There was almost a little too much effort of trying to make Poirot be Poirot. Then the ending was so long and convoluted that it caused me much vexation! Catchpool was a good sidekick and the cuff links found in the victims mouths was unique.

A Zoo In My Luggage

Author: Gerald Durrell   
Stars: 5
Review by: KM

A delight, I listened to this in audio from another source, another library. The narrator, Rupert Degas, was one of the best I've ever heard. Durrell was a British naturalist interested in conservation of species. This book has some amazing detail and description of animal antics, very fun. Quite a story overall.

The Starter Wife

Author: Gigi Levangie Grazer
Stars: 3
Review by: August Mom

Mindless entertainment published in 2005 about the over the top living in Hollywood. Designer wives and designer divorces with sex, lies, alcohol and some humor.

High on Arrival

Author: Mackenzie Phillips   
Stars: 4
Review by: August Mom

This is Mackenzie Phillips actress/singer and daughter of John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas. Written in 2008 details her life as a junkie, recovery and relapse and her complicated and dark/dysfunctional relationship with her father. It is a miracle that she didn't die from a drug overdose.

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons

Author: Lorna Landvik
Stars: 4
Review by: Kim P.

Book follows 5 women who have a book club and their lives for 30 years.

The Sun Also Rises

Author: Ernest Hemingway
Stars: 3
Review by: Barbara LOVES Books !!

A little disappointing... plan to try author again with A Farewell To Arms or another. 😊

Memory Man

Author: David Baldacci   
Stars: 4
Review by: Barbara LOVES Books !!

Plan to read the sequel, The Last Mile

Just Mercy

Author: Bryan Stevenson   
Stars: 5
Review by: Barbara LOVES Books !!

Very enlightening re : racial prejudice is sadly alive and well in the US... Great book !!

What the Dead Know

Author: Laura Lippman   
Stars: 4
Review by: Donna S

First 1/3 of book was slow and hard to follow, until I realized the constant switching between past and present. I should have re-read the book jacket more carefully. Good surprise ending for me!

Tip of the Iceberg

Author: Mark Adams   
Stars: 4
Review by: Grandma I.

Alaska travelogue by a writer retracing the route of an 1899 exploration expedition.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Deila Owens   
Stars: 5
Review by: Gayle H

Very good, great summer read.

The Butcher of Anderson Station: A Story of the Expanse

Author: James S.A. Corey   
Stars: 5
Review by: Nicholas H

Great back story on Fred Anderson . . . I just wished it were longer.

The Long Road to Mercy

Author: David Baldacci   
Stars: 4
Review by: Nicholas H

Another solid entry by David Baldacci. Very similar to the Memory Man or John Puller series.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens
Stars: 4
Review by: Karyn G

I loved her story. The ending was a bit expected though. And why did she have to be beautiful? Would she have not found love if she was not beautiful? I think that took away from the message.    

Holy Ghost

Author: John Sandford   
Stars: 5
Review by: Noel

The best book I read all summer!

The Sins of the Father

Author: Jeffrey Archer   
Stars: 3
Review by: Chris L

2nd book in the Clifton Chronicle series. Like a Soap Opera, not much substance, but an easy read. Always ends with a cliffhanger which gets you into the next one.

A Seal Never Quits

Author: Holly Castillo   
Stars: 5
Review by: Pip 2

Great story about the Texas Navy Seals. I can’t wait to read the sequel coming out in 2020!

I Know Who You Are

Author: Alice Feeney   
Stars: 4
Review by: NAndreoli

Interesting twist.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens   
Stars: 5
Review by: line82

Fabulous beach read. Dramatic mystery with incredible natural descriptions.

The Underground Railroad

Author: Colson Whitehead   
Stars: 4
Review by: line82

Compelling historical fiction.

A Daughter's Truth

Author: Laura Bradford   
Stars: 5
Review by: Mystery fan

If you are interested in the Amish lifestyle, this book is a great insight. Very readable.

The Great Fire of Rome

Author: Stephen Dando Collins   
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

Good Lord this was bad. It took about 80 odd pages for the fire to start, it was then over in 5, just a few on the aftermath, and the rest of the book was a biography of Nero. Veering back and forth between deciding if he was unbalanced or not it, instead of having a stable subject, it relied on the life history of a very unstable man and told it in a supremely boring way.

The Perfect Alibi

Author: Robin Lockwood   
Stars: 4
Review by: vsemi

Quick read.

Surfside Sisters

Author: Nancy Thayer   
Stars: 4
Review by: Raritangal

Great beach read.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Congratulations to...

... our GRAND PRIZE winners:

  • from Headquarters - Pip 2
  • from North County - Deck Reader
  • from South County - Rebecca Robbins
  • from member libraries + Bookmobile - Keeread

Congratulations to...

... our Week #13 Prize Winners:

  • Jessica Getz
  • Dana Hawley


... our Week #14 Prize Winners:

  • vsemi
  • Kristen E.

2019 Club Progress

The club's 177 members read a total of 1,857 books this summer!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

New for September


Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna
Four women confess to the same murder of one man during a destination wedding at an exclusive California resort.  Three of the women are college friends of the bride, though they have mostly been out of touch for the last twenty years.  Whitney, the bride has a full schedule planned for her guests for the week, but that schedule does not include murder.  Kate, a successful lawyer seems to have it all, but the one thing she wasn’t more than anything, a baby, is elusive.  Ginger, the harried mother of three is worried her sixteen-year-old daughter Elise is up to something, and Emily, who plans to drink her way through the festivities, is Ginger’s ex-bestie, and both are apprehensive about the reunion; 68-year-old Lulu is the groom’s aunt and seems to have no connection the the young so why would she confess to the crime? Add Sydney Banks and her adorable baby Lydia, how do they fit in, and what is Sydney hiding, and you’ve got a light, frothy read, perfect for the end of the summer; though the characters are a bit shallow, the twists, especially at the end, make the read worth it.



The Sisters of Summit Avenue by Lynn Cullen
June Whiteleather seems to have it all: a big house in Minneapolis, her husband Richard, a prominent surgeon, and is one of the women behind the iconic Betty Crocker, but wants a child.  Her younger sister Ruth lives on a struggling farm with her husband John who has a mysterious sleeping illness, and her mother.  It’s 1934 and Ruth fears for John and how what her life has become and what it will be, especially if he never recovers.  When Richard and Ruth visit the farm with a possible cure for John’s ailment, many secrets from the past are revealed, secrets that have cause lost love between the two sisters.  The resolution of the sisters’ story is bittersweet, and the plot is a little slow, yet still enjoyable.  Fans of The Lager Queen of Minnesota will enjoy the bond between the sisters.



The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan
When Jocelyn is seven-years-old she wakes up one morning in her parents' English estate, Lake Hall, to find her beloved nanny Hannah has left.  Two decades later, Jo is living in California, estranged from her mother and her life in England.  The father of her daughter Ruby dies unexpectedly, leaving Jo with no option other than to return home with her daughter to live in her childhood home with her mother.  As she and Ruby begin to settle in, they find a human skull along the lakeshore, opening a police inquiry, but first in Jo’s mind is, could this skull belong to Hannah?  When a stranger appears at the door, Jo is startled and confused, and realizes there are more secrets than her mother is sharing in this fast-paced, twisty domestic thriller.



The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
There is a serial killer on the loose in Copenhagen in this debut by the writer and creator of the TV series The Killing. Naia Thulin is a young police detective who hopes to advance from the Major Crimes Division to the national cybercrime unit, but she is a calm, logical thinker and her politically ambitious boss doesn’t seem anxious to lose her.  She is partnered with Mark Hess who was asked to leave Europol and couldn’t be less interested in their current investigation.  Investigating brutal murders is disturbing enough, but there is a calling card left at each: a doll made from chestnuts; almost immediately, a finger print is recovered from a chestnut man, but it is unbelievably that of the 12-year-old daughter of Rosa Hartung, the Minister of Social Affairs.  Kristine was kidnapped over a year ago and is presumed dead adding an unsettling twist to this case.  Though the murders are gruesome, the detailed investigation, including the more unsavory side of the police department and government, well-rounded characters, and a motive over two decades in the making, make this an outstanding police procedural. 



Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs: Big Questions from tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty
In her third book, funeral director Caitlin Doughty addresses questions posed to her by some of the younger people she has encountered.  These questions are asked in earnest and Doughty answers them with honesty, and perhaps a bit of levity, but matter of factly, taking some of the fear and mystery out of what has happened to Grandma.  Included in these thirty-five questions are things such as why corpses make noises, do hair and nails grow after death? Can you exhume your pet after burying it in the backyard, and why can’t you save a skull of a loved one?  Well-researched and based on years as an alternative mortician, make this book as compelling as Doughty’s first two Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: and Other Lessons from the Cremator, and From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find a Good Death without taking the solemnity of her job out of the equation.

29 Seconds T. M. Logan
Sarah is a professor whose department chair Alan is a sexual harasser.  After Sarah saves the life of a young girl, the girl’s father makes an offer to Sarah: give him a name, and he will make that person disappear without a trace and without any link to Sarah.  Sarah only has 24-hours to make her decision, and she is certain she could never live with herself if she did such a thing.  After getting turned down for tenure, something Sarah is certain Alan is behind, she serious considers the offer.  This book explores the moral dilemma of just how much a person can bear, and how far someone would go when pushed too far.  Twisty with one surprise after another, this sophomore novel is engrossing and hard to put down.

Invisible as Air Zoe Fishman
Three years after the death of a stillborn baby girl, Delilah, Sylvia Snow and her family are still grieving, each in their own way: husband Paul has thrown himself into triathlon training, has become addicted to buying exercise equipment, and now due to an injury, finds himself relying on Sylvia for his most basic needs; their twelve-year-old son Teddy is keeping his grief to himself sensing his parents’ pain, love movies, has his first girlfriend, and is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah, something he’s not completely sold on as only his mother is Jewish.  Sylvia continues to be a force of nature, taking care of Paul and Teddy, running a perfect home, being active in the PTA, and planning Teddy’s Bar Mitzvah.   When the anniversary of Delilah’s birth and death arrives, Sylvia finds herself falling apart more than usual, and seeing Paul’s unused pain pills decides they are just what she needs to get through until after Teddy’s big day.  All too soon, Sylvia finds herself out of control, addicted to opiates, doing things she could never have imagined doing to get more.  It is this, and Teddy going missing, that wakes Paul up, wakes up the entire family that they are in face in crisis, and need help to continuing moving forward.  This is a painful and uncomfortable book but very timely nevertheless.

Clear My Name by Paula Daley
Tess Gilroy is the lone investigator for a British non-profit, Innocence U.K., an organization that fights to free inmates who have been wrongly convicted. Carrie Kamara is in prison for stabbing her husband’s lover to death, a crime she maintains she did not commit.  To investigate, Tess must return to her hometown, a place she has been avoiding for years, and face her own secrets.  As she returns to her coastal hometown in northern England, she finds herself struggling not only with her own demons, but also her doubts as to whether Carrie is in fact innocent.  Eagle-eyed readers are likely to figure out the outcome early on, but there is enough tension to keep the pace brisk and hold readers’ interest. 



Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Zig Zag Girl

Author: Elly Griffiths   
Stars: 3
Review by: Lizzy

Magicians and murder. Is it all an illusion? The Magic Men, are reunited in 1950’s Brighton. Abracadabra! Another murder! Will it be solved in time before all the magic men are killed off?  I will just admit I did figure it out.

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted

Author: Robert Hillman   
Stars: 2
Review by: Lizzy

The title is deceiving. Tom Hope is a weak man in some ways. I could not tolerate the atrocities that Peter had to endure. I did not like the way religion was portrayed . I get the premise, but I did not like the execution of the novel. Just wasn’t my cup of tea. The end was fine.

The Right Sort of Man

Author: Allison Montclair   
Stars: 3
Review by: Lizzy

Cute, fluffy read. It’s post WWII London, and 2 women from different walks of life set up a match making service. However, a potential date ends up murdered. Can these gals solve the murder? Can they save their business? Read and find out.

The Janus Stone

Author: Elly Griffiths   
Stars: 3
Review by: Lizzy

Second in the series. Not as atmospheric. Old characters blended with new. Ruth is 3 months pregnant and going about dangerous sleuthing.

My Life in a Cat House

Author: Gwen Cooper   
Stars: 5
Review by: MApgar

The continuing life of the mom of Homer the Blind Wonder Cat - now deceased along with his sisters, she thankfully doesn't go into much about his passing. A few sides as to how he was 'a part of my soul' and hints that his end was not a simple one, which is sad. She and her husband are still NY residents and now occupy their house at the permission of its two feline owners, their new girl cat and her three legged mate.

Queen of the World

Author: Robert Hardman
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

A more up to date account of Elizabeth II's reign and how she has a global impact. It just spends too much time on things that are already well known about her and isn't very concise or well written. The way the subject is approached is a good idea; it just isn't executed well.

Modern Monarchy

Author: Chris Jackson
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

I couldn't remember what this was til I looked it up and now I have no idea why Amazon has this as five stars. Ineffectual and inaccurate account of the British Royals as told by a photographer of many years. People seem to like it just on the photos - which are lovely - but very few comment on the lack of actual information and how bad it is.

The Betrayal of Mary Queen of Scots

Author: Kate Williams
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

OK. She married a total idiot. Twice. Once after the guy did something awful and she could have showed how strong she was at times. She was directly involved with transporting letters about her cousin Elizabeth I and how she wanted the throne. You can say that but then go 'oh no, she didn't do a thing and was a perfectly adept, smart person' in effect. If one wants to make their subject look good, don't keep bringing up their mistakes and essentially deny that they made them moments later.

The Beachcomber's Companion

Author: Anna Burgard
Stars: 5
Review by: MApgar

A charming little piece with nice illustrations on the various things one can find at the shore - sea glass to various shells. Not a field guide exactly, but something basic to just look at and show what can be found.

Al Capone

Author: Deirdre Bair
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

Awful. Gets basic facts wrong, invents others, and has a problem with repetition. I did like though how it gave a bit more attention to Mae (his wife) and Mafalda (sister) and how they were within the family.

Christmas Ideas

Author: Better Homes and Gardens   
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

A short book with selections on Christmas DIY items from trees (nice, actually - but too complicated) to wreaths and ornaments. Some of the instructions and ideas are quite good actually, but the book was far too short and didn't really offer much for everyday / the usual style of home items; it was a bit too favoring larger pieces.

When Women Ruled the World

Author:  Kara Cooney
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

A much better title would be 'When the author picked and chose what she wanted out of Egyptian history to show several famous female rulers, and filled the gaps with her personal political ideas as if that would mesh well.'

The Phantom Prince

Author: Elizabeth Kendall
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

The basis for a telefilm on Liz Kendall and her relationship with Ted Bundy. Sadly she isn't the sort of person that comes off likeable or that has much common sense; so how she was able to consistently overlook things time and again (whereas the movie portrays her in a very different light in some events) I have no idea. A nice gal sure, but not the brightest probably so her constant protests come off as rather hollow.

The Nazi Games

Author: David Clay Large   
Stars: 5
Review by: MApgar

The 1936 Berlin Olympics - how it came about, the absolutely racist bugger in the Olympic Committee that kept overlooking Nazi policies and disciplining those that spoke up, and the athletes themselves. While he downplays Jesse Owens' contributions a bit much overall he does a great service by not focusing entirely on him and also giving a lot of space to Jewish athletes especially, which I found many like books don't do. Balances things basically so it is not all him or the rowing team.

Around the World in 80 Trees

Author:  Jonathan Drori
Stars: 5
Review by: MApgar

While the entries are a bit short at times the book well succeeds in its purpose - accounting for various times in work history and culture as they were a reflection of the trees around them; and how each natural resource shaped the cultures around it.

Turncoat

Author: Stephen Brumwell
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

I'll believe that Benedict Arnold was a victim of circumstance and outside policies when Lizzie Borden's diary explaining how she found 'the real killer' comes to light.

Marooned

Author: Joseph Kelly
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

Run. Away. Now. Yet another of the "I swear to say something revolutionary yet I really just spout gibberish" historical books, he has problems with basic details and twists or overemphasizes certain facts to make what I guess is supposed to be a point in regards to the settlement of Jamestown.

Bunny Boy and Me

Author: Nancy Laracy
Stars: 5
Review by: MApgar

Rabbits are not simple starter pets, not in the least. The author soon discovers that when her alter ego, Bunny Boy, whom she has become increasingly close to as a way of coping with chronic illness, becomes special needs himself. As he heads further down the wrong path she becomes all the more aware of the difference he made and how much stronger she is despite her many issues.

Europe - a natural history

Author: Tim Flannery
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

Not enough meat for persons with knowledge of the field and far too much gibberish for those without to make it a really good read.

Last Chain on Billie

Author:  Carol Bradley
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

Billie is an African born elephant captured from her family as an infant and shipped overseas to hold up the trade in performers for two bit circuses. Mistreated by her early human companions, she becomes irritable and sometimes a little violent - but when the circus she's in goes under she becomes a prime candidate for a new elephant sanctuary.

Shoot for the Moon

Author: Jim Donovan
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

How the Apollo missions succeeded - and what went wrong. It does give some contradicting statements to earlier books (having quotes by Aldrin why Armstrong was the first out when I have books with ones saying the complete opposite) so I wonder how accurate it all is, but if Michael Collins says it's the best account I'll trust that it is fairly spot on.

A Fish Caught in Time

Author: Samantha Weinberg   
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

An account of the rediscovery of the coelocanth - told with very enthusiastic input of the museum professional behind it. Looking for unique fishes for her London Natural History Museum; she had a standing order with a fisherman to give her any unusual catch. When he showed up with a prehistoric looking giant she knew it was unique, but as not able to preserve all she wanted - and a subsequent scientist spent the rest of his life tracking the fish down.

Sea People : the Puzzle of Polynesia

Author: Christina Thompson 
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

This book has some pieces missing here. The author covers a lot of territory in various subjects but never really says or does anything conclusive; it is just a series of facts jumbled together. Its quality helps the situation a bit, but not enough to elevate it.

Valley Forge

Author: Bob Drury and Tom Clavin  
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

Exceedingly dull and overly repetitive; was hoping for something with personality to it - the only good part was how it emphasized the actions of Benedict Arnold, and as I'm descended from him on a quarter I loathe then I'm all for that.

Terrain

Author: Edited by Greg Lehmkul   
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

A combination decorating / gardening style book.. Practical ideas are given instead of HDTV style total makeovers, and it contains bits on the various kinds of pumpkins one can grow to select suppliers for products.

Magic is Dead

Author: Ian Frisch
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

In between jobs the author crashes in an office building and thru a series of increasingly tiresome anecdotes woven into even more tiresome family stories he finds himself getting into the amateur magic field. Encountering some really seasoned professionals, he is good enough to join select groups and pal around - but he still made several basic mistakes in the book as per Houdini, the Magic Castle, and other things that people with knowledge of the field can pick out readily.

Encyclopedia of Classic Quilt Patterns

Author: Edited by Patricia Wilens   
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

Quilt patterns both classic and new, presented in a very readable and historic way. Instructions are not always the easiest, but when things click it is explained well and the proper resource amounts given.

97 Orchard

Author: Jane Ziegelman   
Stars: 5
Review by: MApgar

A sort of history of a tenement block in NYC as viewed thru the food pathways of its various immigrant residents - Eastern Europeans, Germans, German Jews, Irish, and Italians. Each actual group's story is told as a reflection of how their culture views food and eating; with the usual biographical bits in between.

Educated

Author: Tara Westover   
Stars: 5
Review by: DorCaf

Well written and very inspirational. I've heard the author speak a few times about her background and it's truly amazing that she survived her childhood to become the adult she is today.

Time After Time

Author: Lisa Grunwald   
Stars: 4
Review by: Amy W.

A young woman wearing a flapper dress and fancy jewelry shows up in Grand Central Terminal during the Great Depression. Is it time travel or something else? Time After Time follows the love story of Nora and Joe who meet under very unusual circumstances in this intriguing novel. The author brilliantly draws the reader into events and experiences of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, including the 1939 World’s Fair and NYC during WWII. One of the best books I’ve read this summer!

Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa

Author: Nancy Naigle   
Stars: 3
Review by: BookWorm2

This book is based on the Hallmark movie of the same name. The story remains much the same, but does continue a bit past the movie ending. It is an enjoyable read, though a bit predictable at times. 

My Mother's Secret

Author: J. L. Witterick   
Stars: 3.5
Review by: BKF

The novel was inspired by a true story of a mother and daughter who helped 15  people survive WW II in Poland. The fictionalized account in the novel has them hide two families and a German soldier. Short book, quick read. 3.5 rating.

Dad Is Fat

Author: Jim Gaffigan   
Stars: 3
Review by: Grandma I.

Humorous reflections on life in NYC with 5 young kids.

The Wife Between Us

Author: Greer Hendricks   
Stars: 5
Review by: Donna S

Still a great suspense novel read, even though similar to other books. Can't say more as I do not want to give away any of the outcomes. I never even thought of the final revelation!

All the Things I Never Told You

Author: Celeste Ng   
Stars: 5
Review by: Lynne Thompson

Absorbing, addictive tale of midwest family and their relationships. Really interesting mystery at the center. Love Ng's writing and how we move through time and in and out of characters' minds.

The Hamilton Affair

Author: Elizabeth Cobbs   
Stars: 5
Review by: BKF

A terrific book about Alexander Hamilton, one of the most misunderstood figures in American history! A great read!

The Last Mrs. Astor

Author: Frances Kiernan   
Stars: 3
Review by: Debbie B

A good summer read. Very interesting to learn all about what she did for the city of NY.

Lilac Lane

Author: Sherryl Woods   
Stars: 3
Review by: Miss Lucy

The Adult Summer Reading Club wouldn't be complete without a little bit of the O'Brien Family! Nice series, and Ms. Woods seems to have an inexhaustible supply of family members to write about.

Waiting for Tom Hanks

Author: Kerry Winfrey   
Stars: 4
Review by: libraryaimee

A romantic comedy that is goofy and fun...a little ridiculous, but in a good way.

Save Me the Plums

Author: Ruth Reichl   
Stars: 5
Review by: KM

I loved this book...from top to bottom, left to right and am ready to read it (listen to it) all over again! Yes, the audio version is so good---read by the author---it's like sitting down with her in person as she regales you with tales of fascinating personalities, high drama, and mouth-watering recipes. She is down to earth, warm, and immensely likeable.

Plain Fame

Author: Sarah Price   
Stars: 5
Review by: Pip 2

Great story about a Cuban rock star and a Amish young woman, there a 5 other books in this series, Plain Change, Plain Again, Plain Return, Plain Choice, Plain Christmas. I would give this series a 10 or more!

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Author: Ocean Vuong   
Stars: 3
Review by: BKF

The author has won awards for his poetry, this is his first novel. It received many good reviews, but it was not at all what I expected. I had a hard time rating it. The book is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read, describing his life... a very complicated life.

Alaska Skies Vol. 1

Author: Debbie Macomber   
Stars: 4
Review by: Ruth

Good beach read, light, easy to pick up & keep up wherever you leave off.

Little Fires Everywhere

Author: Celeste Ng   
Stars: 5
Review by: Lynne Thompson

I loved this book. Engrossing, real human family story and evocative.

The Underground Railroad

Author: Colson Whitehead   
Stars: 5
Review by: doodoopuppy

Great book, but difficult to read because of the upsetting nature of the subject matter.

The Richest Season

Author: Maryann McFadden   
Stars: 5
Review by: Linda

First time reading her.  Great book.

Congratulations to...

... our recent Prize Winners:

Week 10: 
  • Kat
  • KM
Week 11:
  • Donna S
  • Chris L
Week 12:
  • Rainbow
  • Ruth

Progress So Far

After 12 weeks, we have 177 members, who have read a total of 1,513 books!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Code Girls

Author: Liza Mundy   
Stars: 5
Review by: Grandma I.

Fascinating true story of the many women hired during WW II to help break the enemy codes, which helped greatly in winning the war.

Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts

Author: Karen Kleiman   
Stars: 4
Review by: TaraC

If you are expecting or just had a baby, this book is full of nuggets of info and reality checks.

The Rooster Bar

Author: John Grisham   
Stars: 3
Review by: T.Miller

Interesting book, but slightly painful to read because of the things the characters did (but which is important to the story...)

Pachinko

Author: Min Jin Lee   
Stars: 4
Review by: BKF

The book tells the history of a Korean family in Japan from 1910 to 1989... their tragedy and success, forbidden love, search for belonging, and their final triumph against the odds. A very good read!

A Higher Loyalty

Author: James Comey   
Stars: 5
Review by: Rev.Jennifer

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Rather than a pure tell-all Comey used this opportunity to share his philosophy of leadership, democracy and moral decision-making. Regardless of political affiliation, I think readers will appreciate this book for the authors willingness to share his perspective. Noting both his concerns, his mistakes, his fears not only in the last months of his service with the FBI, but in his sharing of his full life narrative - personal and professional.

Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean

Author: Edward Kritzler   
Stars: 2
Review by: rgfundamental

Lots of info omitted from our history lessons.

Where the Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself

Author: Jill Biden
Stars: 4
Review by: August Mom

Jill is the wife of Joe Biden. She writes about her growing up, meeting and marrying Joe and their life together. The author is a girl next door who demonstrates family values and service to our country.

Mean Business On North Ganson Street

Author: S. Craig Zahler   
Stars: 2
Review by: Noel

Graphic violence - reader beware.

A Man in Full

Author: Tom Wolfe   
Stars: 4
Review by: BigBison

This book was 742 pages long and took 11 years to write, but it was worth the effort. The story is really a commentary on southern norms and our materialistic culture and how the wisdom of the philosophers prevails through time. The ending was a little weak otherwise this would be a masterpiece.

City of Girls

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert   
Stars: 4
Review by: line82

I like everything else she's written. This is a different style with great characters.

Bottle of Lies

Author: Katherine Eban   
Stars: 5
Review by: Diana

An exciting story of the generic drug industry and how it affects the the lives of so many people.

Field Gray

Author: Phillip Kerr   
Stars: 2
Review by: Chris L

Pretty boring. This recurring character is shipped from one jail/detention camp to another during and after WWII while trying to trip up the CIA, Stasi and French Secret Service. Lots of descriptions of despicable conditions, but didn't quite see what the character was trying to accomplish.

Orange Crush

Author: Tim Dorsey   
Stars: 2
Review by: Noel

A little too ridiculous for me.

Bad Girls of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them

Author: Liz Curtis Higgs   
Stars: 3
Review by: Pyrex

Great book for church women's groups to discuss.

The Storyteller's Secret

Author: Sejal Badani   
Stars: 5
Review by: stillada

Best book I read this summer.

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder

Author: Joanne Fluke   
Stars: 3
Review by: mystery lover

Good book. Hannah’s book’s last line is something you want to know for sure. Hannah wasn’t sure. Look at where she was. Sounds a bit of a cliffhanger. I want to know which it is.

Ladies of Liberty

Author: Cokie Roberts   
Stars: 4
Review by: Grandma I.

Story of some of the ladies who helped shape our country in the early 1800s, much of it told through their own letters with interesting commentary by the author.

The Trespasser

Author: Tana French   
Stars: 5
Review by: Donna S

First book that I read by this author. Now on my second. Great suspense / mystery novel set in Ireland.

The Last Time I Saw You

Author: Liv Constantine   
Stars: 4
Review by: Donna S

Good summer reading and had lots of suspense. Enjoyed first book, The Last Mrs. Parrish, more!

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Author: Bill Bryson   
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Kristen E.

3.5 stars. I always enjoy Bryson's books--particularly on audio. Fun reads and he has a great sense of humor.

The Huntress

Author: Kate Quinn   
Stars: 4.5
Review by: Kristen E.

4.5 stars! I really enjoy Kate Quinn's story telling! If you are looking for a great historical fiction book, this is it! Kate Quinn knows how to write a book you don't want to put down! I really liked the characters, although the Huntress could have been more evil in the end.

Head On

Author: John Scalzi   
Stars: 4
Review by: Kristen E.

Great audio. I really like the character of Chris Shane and his partner, Leslie Vann.

Unlocked

Author: John Scalzi   
Stars: 4
Review by: Kristen E.

Fun novella in the Lock In series. Highly recommend if you've read the others!

Midnight in Austenland

Author: Shannon Hale   
Stars: 4
Review by: KLB

A fun and more mysterious story from Austenland. I was very happy that Miss Charming was back as a supporting character.

The Marriage Lie

Author: Kimberly Belle   
Stars: 5
Review by: Jubilant Jazz

This book will have you on your toes till the very end! Extraordinary novel and great author!!!

Charlotte's Story

Author: Laura Benedict   
Stars: 1
Review by: stillada

I have never said 1 star before. A very weird book. I finished it, but then said "Why?"

Christmas Cake Murder

Author: Joanne Fluke   
Stars: 3
Review by: mystery lover

While I did like this book it told how it began, everything came together too perfectly and too quickly and seemed recent as did the side story. You can travel by train currently and take the back way to get around.

Rosemary's Baby

Author: Ira Levin   
Stars: 4
Review by: BKF

I think we all know the story line. The book's been around since 1966. That said, I really did enjoy the book. And now I'm going to watch the movie on DVD!

Joyland

Author: Stephen King
Stars: 3
Review by: Kim P.

In 1973 a college student takes a summer job working in an amusement park in North Carolina.  This is the tale of his work and the people he met.

The Late Bloomers' Club

Author: Louise Miller   
Stars: 5
Review by: Keeread

Nice, easy read about a small town and the community. Try if you like Debbie Macomber.

The Printed Letter Bookshop

Author: Katherine Reay   
Stars: 3
Review by: Lizzy

Sweet book about friendship, trust, love, redemption, and books. Almost a little too sappy for me, but yet I was drawn into the story.

The Crossing Places

Author: Elly Griffiths   
Stars: 3
Review by: Lizzy

An atmospheric mystery that takes place on the salt marshes. Ruth, a forensic archeologist, is called as a consultant when some bones are uncovered. A psychological mystery along with strong characters makes for a great read.

Incident at Badamya

Author: Dorothy Gilman   
Stars: 4
Review by:  Lizzy

A charming and captivating story of a young teenager raised in Burma. She has become an orphan and is making her way to America when she becomes kidnapped along with a group of passengers from a ship. The story centers on her escape and how a group of people open up and learn how to accept one another while realizing their own shortcomings.

The Perfect Fraud

Author: Ellen LaCorte   
Stars: 2
Review by: BKF

The story is told by two women in alternating chapters. Didn't love it. Grew tired of all the foul language in Rena's chapters. Claire's chapters were somewhat better, but overall the book was just OK, maybe even less than OK.

The Song of the Jade Lily

Author: Kirsty Manning   
Stars: 5
Review by: Pyrex

Historical fiction that made me aware of part of WWII history of which I was not aware: the Jewish people from Europe who fled to China. The story also includes the mystery of parentage of one of the characters.

Vixen Investigations

Author: Ashley Papa   
Stars: 5
Review by: PattiK

Loved this book!

Pompeii

Author: Filippo Coarelli   
Stars: 5
Review by: MApgar

Probably the best quality I've found on the site, the largest archaeological excavation in Europe. Divided into Public Life, Private Life, and the Cult of the Dead, each section provides buildings in the city as examples for how they fit Pompeii's multicultural port vibe. The first 26 pages gives a (very) brief account of the 79 AD eruption and a history of the city.

Herculaneum - Italy's Buried Treasure

Author: Joseph Jay Deiss   
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

Slightly out of date with recent work, and lacking in color, it is still a good account of the events concerning excavation of Pompeii's sister site. That it is rather good at; but it is a bit lacking in describing the eruption itself - an event that lasts a few pages, they could've spent more time on it and gone into better detail. The precise geology of it isn't quite correct which brings things down a tad.

Whose Boat is This Boat?

Author: Donald Trump   
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

The book is intended as a children's style recounting of his comments to the people of Puerto Rico; but it doesn't come off well. The more famous quotes aren't in, the art is far too poor, and basically it is just one illustrated sentence at a price that is high even for what it is. If handled with dignity this could've been better, and a concise way of showing his problems inherent in the situation then.

China Ghosts

Author: Jeff Gammage   
Stars: 4
Review by: MApgar

Adoption is not what some think -as Pennsylvania couple Jeff and Christine Gammage discovered. 22 years into a happy marriage they went to China to adopt their first child, Jin Yu. A toddler with an unknown medical history and a potential issue that greatly concerned them; she worried her parents and their traveling group with her seeming inability to communicate or move. While discussing adoption issues and processes, Gammage shows how his daughter adapted and recounts the arrival of their 2nd.