Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Congratulations to...

... our Week #12 Prize Winners:
  • Aimee
  • a 'Retired Cat' - who likes to read!

Progress So Far

Click on image to enlarge.

Friday, August 19, 2016

You Will Know Me

Author: Megan Abbott
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee

This is an edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller! I finished it in two days! Superb!

The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins
Stars: 4
Review by: Brooke S


Quintessential summer read - read in two days.
 

Melancholy Accidents

Author: Peter Manseau
Stars: 2
Review by: Mandy Apgar


A collection of "melancholy accidents," obituaries of sorts that back years and centuries ago were written for those who died as a result of gun mishaps. Thing is, one can only read so many of these things, especially today. After the 1oth story describing how a person's brains were splattered one gets rather tired of the concept. I used to research things like this for a historic society, but these are certainly more violent than the everyday ones, so the end product becomes rather ghoulish instead of getting a "Darwin Awards" type vibe that I had hoped for. As an historical examination it is alright but as an exercise in gun caution it kind of falls flat in light of the kinds of stories told and is somewhat depressing.

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

Author: Michael Lewis
Stars: 4
Review by: TLW

Decided to read this after watching the movie again. Enjoyed the book and the additional insight it gave to the game of football.

The Ghost of Craven Cove

Author: Carolyn Keene
Stars: 3
Review by: jamBob


OK, it's a Nancy Drew mystery and I am a retired lady who loved the original books from 1934. Nancy and chums go to Maine for an adventure involving cliffs and lighthouses codes and spies!
 

Richard III & the Princes in the Tower

Author: AJ Pollard
Stars: 2
Review by: Mandy Apgar


How do historians pretty much know Richard III killed his nephews to gain the throne? Call it a hunch. (Came up with that myself.) Originally third in line, Richard found himself as King when his two nephews mysteriously disappeared. His role in the crime has been debated ever since, with some taking the side that Richard was a victim of Tudor propaganda and really just a big cuddly teddy bear. I am not a Ricardian by any means, and I really wish the book would have stopped its wavering. Constantly shifting tone between if Richard was a good guy or bad, it just lacks tonal focus and loses ground by going off on tangents. Out of its 238 pages very little was actually on the titular subject - although it acknowledges at times that he had to have known something about it at least. Written before God had the humor to let us find Richard underneath a parking spot labeled "R" it is out of date on several things thusly as well - now we know what he looked like, his cause of death, and actual severe spinal curvature, spending what little time one has debating those topics (and often coming up with the wrong conclusion) is rather a moot point.

Mary Tudor: The White Queen

Author: Walter C. Richardson
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar


No, not that Mary. She was the psychotic queen. But her mindset wasn't her fault. Anyhoo, this is about her aunt Mary, the youngest sister of Henry VIII. Although the exact time of her birth is somewhat debated, what is known is that Mary was doted upon as a child. Loved by her brothers, parents, and sister Margaret, she inherited her mother's face and her father's sometimes fiery Tudor temper. When she was 17-19 ish she was married to the King of France, old enough to be her grandfather, and although the King worshiped his new wife her opinion of him was rather more muted. Banking that he'd keel over in a matter of weeks (which did happen) she got her brother to promise that her second husband would be one of her own choosing. When the time came it was Charles Brandon, a friend of Henry's and member of his extended cortege. He was furious when his sister stood up to him and insisted he keep his word, and was still angry when she and Brandon married in secret. It appears to have been a happy marriage however, ending with Mary's death in her late thirties.
 

The llustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain

Author: Charles Phillips
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar


Covering rulers, castles, forts, and other key places relevant to the history of the British Monarchy, this was very comprehensive. With so much information I think that only truly interested readers could process this quickly, and elsewise it would serve as a good basic reference book to dip into.
 

American Colonies

Author: Alan Taylor
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar


Good, but very comprehensive so if you do not like having a lot of names, places, and dates thrown at you quickly read this in smaller bits. An account of early American Colonies - colonial age more so - covering their inception, native people, history, and customs to a  degree. Respectfully handles the dual white elephants of colonialism and slavery, which on the former is rare I think as the author's personal opinion was kept outside and he just reported what happened.
 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The White Road

Author: Edmund de Waal
Stars: 1
Review by: Mandy Apgar


This is one of those books that make me want to apologize to future generations for sharing the planet with it. Good God did the author like the sound of his own voice - which is a huge (and very apparent) problem as the book is written in a stream of consciousness style. Oddly formatted paragraphs (with big print, always a giveaway that the author really has nothing to say) with a punctuation and formatting style that could give James Joyce a migraine, the original intent is good. A potter by trade, the author attempted to examine the origins of porcelain by visiting places key to its history - China, Dresden, and England mostly. If he had stuck to his idea it would've had a shot, but he just gets stuck on tangents and personal reflections waaaaaaaay too often. A person without a ceramic arts background could read this and understand the key concepts relative to the topic, but you really do need to have some prior interest in art history at least otherwise there is no way you'll make it through this. Speed reader or not, this was 48 minutes of my life I ain't ever getting back.

A Self Made Man 1809-1949: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln

Author: Sidney Blumenthal
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar


A near 500 page biography covering the first 40 years of Lincoln's life, with a concluding volume to follow. One of the better biographies on him as it does not delve into the politics of the author much and sticks to the subject at hand. It is also not overly sensationalized or sentimental, covering his abusive father, Lincoln's faults and shyness, and treating Mary Todd Lincoln in a very even handed manner instead of the insane "hellcat" she is often identified with. It deals a lot with Lincoln's perspectives toward slavery and other key issues around the Civil War, and serves as a good explanation of why and how he thought the way he did.
 

The Smithsonian Guide to Historic America: The Mid Atlantic States

Author: Michael S Durham
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar


Covering NJ, NY, and PA, the book examines key historical sites in each state. Locations are given in addition to a general profile of what happened there, key players, contact information for persons handling the sites, and even if a fee is required or not. A more upscale, nicely presented version of a tour guide.
 

Precious Gift

Author: Danielle Steel
Stars: 4
Review by: Just Ada


Good story especially the ending.

Nine Women, One Dress

Author: Jane L. Rosen
Stars: 5
Review by: line82


I loved how the stories intertwined.
 

Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes
Stars: 5
Review by: line82

Could not put it down. Heartbreakingly wonderful.

the Assistants

Author: Camille Perri
Stars: 4
Review by: line82


Slightly predictable, but still fun summer read.
 

Winters' Tales: Stories and Observations for the Unusual

Author: Jonathan Winters
Stars: 5
Review by: RGfundamental


Unusual, sometimes poignant, very short stories and observations by the late, great comedian.
 

Limb From Limb

Author: George Hunter & Melissa Preddy
Stars: 2.5
Review by: RGfundamental


True crime in 2007. Horrific. Inadequate verdict complemented by brilliant Michigan judge.
 

Outlander

Author: Gil Adamson
Stars: 3
Review by: Karyn G


Girl on the run in the wild. A good adventure story.
 

To Brew or Not To Brew

Author: Joyce Tremel
Stars: 4
Review by: LZ99


Fun new mystery series with relatively believable characters and not too outrageous of a plot. If I'd looked more closely before I checked it out, I'd have realized that it was about a brewery/brew pub and not a coffee house. ;-)
 

Brooklyn Secrets: An Erica Donato Mystery

Author: Triss Stein
Stars: 3
Review by: LZ99


Interesting. A mystery read with some engaging spots and some lulls.
 

The Martian

Author: Andy Weir
Stars: 4
Review by: Mostly Mohair


Funny, engaging story, fairly detailed technical info that would be of interest to scientifically inclined readers.
 

600 Hours of Edward

Author: Craig Lancaster
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Miss Lucy

Edward is a 39-year-old man with Asperger's Syndrome.  Spend 600 hours with him in this book.  He's delightful.
If you liked The Rosie Project, you will probably like 600 Hours of Edward.
Unfortunately, HCL doesn't own the book, so you'll need to get it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
P.S. HCL does own the sequel: Edward Adrift.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Author: J.K. Rowling
Stars: 5
Review by: Shapoppa


I'm a Harry Potter junkie. If you haven't read the series you are missing out on something special.
 

The Games

Author: James Patterson
Stars: 4
Review by: Minnie


The timing for this book was perfect. Rio and the Olympics .

Burial at Sea

Author: Charles Finch
Stars: 4
Review by: Ann Marie


Entertaining and well-written mystery series set in Victorian London.
 

Promise Me

Author: Harlan Coben
Stars: 4
Review by: BKF

Another in the Myron Bolitar series, Promise Me is suspenseful and thrilling right up until the last page.
 

The Blind Assassin

Author: Margaret Atwood
Stars: 4
Review by: Literary Giant


One of the top 75 books of the last 75 years per Parade Magazine, I found it difficult to read.  I was stunned by the incredibly complex and meaningful sentences contained throughout, confirming this is one brilliant author, and any shortcomings were mine alone.  Much is left hanging until the very end, which did not work well for me.

Forever Lily

Author: Beth Nonte Russell
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar


I would rate this about a 1 at times but that is not "the fault" per se of the author, just what happened really ticked me off. She had a friend, Alex, who was a trained nurse and apparently wanted nothing more than to adopt a daughter from China. The reason I said "apparently" as Alex - who is a whiny, self centered jerk with the ethics of a mushroom, promptly decides that she does not want the child upon seeing it. In between throwing temper tantrums about how she doesn't want to go to Gymboree with the kid (seriously) and complaining endlessly about how she is too small for a 13 month old, thusly meaning that officials lied to her, Alex just shines forth as one of those entitled people you can't but help to want to smack really hard upside the head. She is extremely irritating, nonetheless for her habit of going back and forth as to whether she wants the baby or not. The author and her husband agree to take her instead and after consulting with umpteen lawyers (during which time Alex changes her mind like 3 times) they realize that the baby, Lily, must be surrendered to the foster system upon arrival in the US so the Russells can foster her and then do a domestic adoption. Elsewise Alex would go to prison for fraud in China, which the idiot deserved, but it is much better the child go with a family who is somewhat sane. During the process Alex vents about her life and reveals that she coerced her husband into signing the papers by threatening to leave him and take their son. What a classy lady. After changing her mind a few more times, and even showing up unannounced asking if she could borrow Lily for a day or two "to help make up my mind" she is finally out of everyone's life for good. Eventually the Russells adopt another daughter, Jaden, also from China. Book would've been a lot better if not for Alex, which is not its fault so I will discount that, but for the author's endless mentioning of dreams she has supposedly coming out of nowhere convincing her to take the child. Having dreams about being mother to a Chinese baby is to me something perfectly natural granted the circumstances but she interprets it as a divine sign. Good for her, but all the same she doesn't shut up about the things and they take up a lot of space in the book and drag things down.
 

Working IX to V

Author: Vicki Leon
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar


An account of Greco Roman occupations by the author of the Uppity Women series. Occupation is rather a loose term here though as a lot of these - bather, armpit hair plucker, and so forth - are actually or mostly were the work of slaves. There are the jobs that many have heard of - Vestal virgin, bakers, etc. but a lot of the book is composed of semi obscure ones. I wonder if the orgy planner got any medical benefits.
 

Monasteries

Author: Markus Hattstein
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar


A well put together volume on famous monasteries. The construction and history of each is gone into, some more than most, as well as the basics of monastic life.

The Red Pyramid

Author: Rick Riordan
Stars: 4
Review by: LateNightReader


Good story, especially for the Egyptian mythology enthusiast.
 

The Wedding Shop

Author: Rachel Hauck
Stars: 3
Review by: Just Ada


Good book except for all the religious references.

Another Brooklyn

Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Stars: 2
Review by: Just Ada


I read this book in about one hour.
 

Crown of Thistles

Author: Linda Porter
Stars: 5
Review by: Jersey girl

Very interesting and in depth look at the reigns of James IV, James V and Mary Queen of Scots from the Scottish point of view.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Author: J K Rowling
Stars: 4
Review by: Jersey girl


Light summer reading.
 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Sunshine

Author: Catherine Anderson
Stars: 5
Review by: a 'Retired Cat' - who likes to read!


Book 5 Coulter Series.  People with disabilities should not be denied jobs!  Everybody deserves a second chance!

Lorie's Heart

Author: Amy Lillard
Stars: 5
Review by: a 'Retired Cat' - who likes to read!


The series by Amy Lillard has been great!

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

Author: Adam Grant
Stars: 4
Review by: Mitchie L


Written by a Wharton professor, this book examines ideas and creativity primarily in the business world.  It looks at why some ideas catch on and some fall flat.  It gives advice on how to avoid group think in the workplace.
 

Siracusa

Author: Delia Ephron
Stars: 4
Review by: Cindy N.


 This book is a psychological thriller with a ending that leaves the reader wondering what really happened somewhat reminiscent of the vague ending of Gone Girl.
 
It is the story of two couples and a one young girl vacationing together in Siracusa, Italy and how the couples and girl become entwined with each other.
 

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Author: Garth Stein
Stars: 5
Review by: Augustmom


Happy, Sad, and the story told through the eyes of a dying dog.  Details the relationship history of Denny, a race car driver, his wife, their daughter and her family through the course of cancer, death,a custody battle, and fighting for what matters.
 

The Client

Author: John Grisham
Stars: 4
Review by: libraryaimee


This was our book club pick this month...I have seen John Grisham movies, but I can't remember if I have ever read one of his books.  This one was great!  Action packed thriller, a fast read, perfect for summer!
 

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Author: Z Z Packer
Stars: 4
Review by: liskif


Debut collection of short stories from a millennial  (before they had a name) perspective. Don't miss "Our Lady of Peace" about a newly minted teacher's struggle to survive.
 

Persepolis

Author: Majane Satrapi
Stars: 4
Review by: Brooke S


Very interesting read for someone not familiar with as much Iranian history (read Persian love story Ali and Me), and went to grad school with Iranian immigrant to US. So enlightening, wryly funny.

Knitting

Author: Anne Bartlett
Stars: 2
Review by: liskif


If you've already learned to say no to people with their own agendas, you can skip this one.
 

My Lady Jane

Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee


This was a super fun YA novel that plays with the story of Lady Jane Grey.  The authors change Catholic and Church of England followers into people who shape-shift into animals and people who can't.  Very creative, very witty, and a very happy ending...no one loses a head!  If you enjoyed The Princess Bride movie, you will love this book, too!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Author: Washington Irving
Stars: 5
Review by: Shapoppa


A classic.
 

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Author: Lynne Truss
Stars: 5
Review by: JAO


If you are disheartened with the quality decline of the written English language and cringe when you see grammatical errors, you will love this book! I recommend the audio version, narrated by the author as she explores the comical results of misplaced punctuation.

Country Bride

Author: Debbie Macomber
Stars: 5
Review by: JAO


All of Debbie Macomber's books are wonderful and this one is no exception. Great character development and story line that keeps the reader guessing all the way to the end.
 

What We Find

Author: Robyn Carr
Stars: 5
Review by: JAO


Robyn Carr has a wonderful way of building a story line with unexpected twists and turns, and creating believable characters and situations.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Author: J.K. Rowling
Stars: 5
Review by: JAO


Jim Dale is a terrific narrator for the Harry Potter series. I have to re-read the original 7 books in preparation for the new book that came out the end of July.
 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Author: J.K. Rowling
Stars: 5
Review by: JAO


Jim Dale is a terrific narrator for the Harry Potter series. I have to re-read the original 7 books in preparation for the new book that came out the end of July.
 

Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage, and Survival

Author: Velma Wallis
Stars: 4
Review by: JAO


A very interesting book about survival in the very harsh conditions of Alaska and the reality and consequences of choices that are made for survival.
 

Miracles From Heaven

Author: Christy Wilson Beam
Stars: 5
Review by: JAO


I recommend reading the book before watching the movie. The audio book is read by the author and that adds so much more realism to the story as she tells it from her heart.
 

The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Margaret Douglas

Author: Alison Weir
Stars: 5
Review by: JAO


This book provides fascinating insight into the workings of the British royalty and life in the 1500s in Great Britain. If you like the historical fiction of Philippa Gregory, you will like this book as well.
 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bookerfly

Fluttering around her family reunion at the Key West Butterfly Garden ~from libraryaimee

Bookerfly

Exercising her taste buds at the famous Robert Is Here Milkshake & Fruit Stand ~from libraryaimee

Bookerfly

Stretching her wings at the Coral Castle ~from libraryaimee

Bookerfly

Exercising her wings at the Coral Castle ~from libraryaimee

Bookerfly

Exercising her mind at Theater of the Sea in the Florida Keys ~from libraryaimee

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Treasure Island

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Stars: 4
Review by: Shapoppa

I never read this book until now. It was a lot of fun.

 

A Lucky Life Interrupted

Author: Tom Brokaw
Stars: 3
Review by: Augustmom

This book details Tom Brokaw's diagnosis and treatment for cancer.  He weaves in his family relationship stories and history of events that he covered as a major network reporter and evening news anchor. He is a wise and esteemed writer/reporter and family man.
 

The Hero Two Doors Down

Author: April Robinson
Stars: 4
Review by: Augustmom


A great story about Jackie Robinson and overcoming the color barrier in baseball.  The special friendship that he built with a Jewish family helps speaks to our past and promise in the future to have a country of acceptance and tolerance toward all colors and faiths.
 

Home on Apple Blossom Road

Author: Sheila Roberts
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati


This is one of the latest book in this series. Two ex-high school sweethearts are brought back together because of a will requirement. They are required to conduct a treasure hunt to find what they inherited. Was it just for the $$ or was there something else behind the bequest? Read to find out.
 

Shadow Rider

Author: Christine Feehan
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati


This is the first in Feehan's Shadow Series. This is about a group of people that are able to "ride" the shadows and move differently through out our world. Like her Dark series, it is very emotional and the male characters are very possessive. This series seems to be a little more edgy than the Dark series but has some of the same qualities. Read and let me know what you think.
 

Extra Credit: A Murder 101 Mystery

Author: Maggie Barbieri
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati


This was the last of the Murder 101 series books and I was really shocked I missed it. This is about the simple college professor getting on with her life and dealing with her family through marriage. There is always a murder and some mystery. Just an easy summer read.
 

The Darkest Torment: Lords of the Underworld

Author: Gena Showalter
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati


This story is about the previous bearer of Distrust and his coming back to "life" as a pawn of Hades. He is given a job to retrieve a coin for Hades and winds up getting involved with a famed human, dog trainer. So how does a Lord bring a human into his world and how does she survive. Read and find out!
 

The Color of Water

Author: James McBride
Stars: 4
Review by: Mary NK


The loving tribute of a Black man, about his self-avowed "light-skinned" white mother, who escaped a childhood of abuse & hate. She raised 12 children with love, inspired all of them to attend college, and grew strong in the Lord.
 

The Castle in the Attic

Author: Elizabeth Winthrop
Stars: 4
Review by: YA Fan


This is a classic children's fantasy book.
 

The Founders at Home

Author: Myron Magnet
Stars: 2
Review by: Mandy Apgar


Who names their kid "Myron Magnet" for God's sake? Alliteration like that either condemns you to a life of James Bond villainy, exotic dancing, or writing really dull books that probably nobody will read. It appears he opted for the latter. From the jacket this looked to be more of an examination of the homes of the various founders and daily life of the period. Instead what you get is a series of biographies - Hamilton is really freaking short, Jefferson's even more so in proportion, and Washington's huge, of each one. Not much on home life. And a few of the decisions - why make Jefferson's section so small, why the grating bias against John Adams? - make little to no sense.

Deep Down Dark

Author: Hector Tobar
Stars: 3
Review by: Mandy Apgar


I really, really dislike that title. Just sounds like a 70s exploitation film or something. But it is a chronicle of the 33 Chilean miners trapped for 69 days. Who they were individually, what brought them there, how they survived down below, government bull keeping rescue efforts from being more productive, how their families coped, the whole lot. Did go into a few things that the media got wrong - like how the group's self proclaimed doctor didn't really have both a wife and mistress that only met due to being drawn to the families' tent city - but it also glossed over a few things pretty quickly. Met the creator of the drill that saved them, and one of the operators, at a geology club meeting and a lot of their process (what it took to convince people to use them, how it worked, etc.) seems like it was downplayed a little, which is unfair.
 

The War that Saved My Life

Author: Kimberly Bradley
Stars: 4
Review by: Just Ada

Young Adult book about England in the Second World War.  London and the blitz and children sent to the country.

Hoover Dam: An American Adventure

Author: Joseph E. Stevens
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar


I wouldn't call it an "adventure" necessarily. Covering the entire construction of the Dam things sure are pretty precarious at times, and multiple construction workers are killed, so to me that makes it sound overly chipper. But a lot went into this thing - why it was built, where, even the name, from Hoover to Boulder Dam and back again as changing political tides brought up or healed old wounds. A lot is spent in regards to the workers - tenement living, the role a daily construction worker played - and that was quite a nice thing for me to see.
 

Remembering Main Street: An American Album

Author: Pat Ross
Stars: 4
Review by: Mandy Apgar


This came about as the end result of the author's exploration of her hometown's Main Street - seeing how many other ideally bucolic places were still out there. Very few (not even 10) cities are covered, and things are pretty heavy on the photography end so there isn't as much history as one could hope for - but she does manage to find a group that still resemble an Andy Griffith Show set. Not that that is a bad thing per se, and that is discussed. Some of these areas were the end result of revitalization projects or the like and so that does play into it - people tending to want to go simpler and well stated even today.
 

Napoleon in Egypt

Author: Paul Strathern
Stars: 1
Review by: Mandy Apgar


Not necessarily one of the worst accounts I've read of the Egyptian Expedition, but it sure wasn't the best. Was pretty slow with the pace and made several mistakes, in addition to veering off into sidelines a bit too much.
 

Winners

Author: Danielle Steel
Stars: 5
Review by: LG


Great easy read.
 

Cleopatra's Needles

Author: Bob Brier
Stars: 3
Review by: Mandy Apgar


OK, but not as good as what I was hoping for granted it was him. Written by the renowned NY based Egyptologist (and star of some wicked History Channel and TLC documentaries before both went to the dark side) it explores modern history's fascination with Egyptian obelisks. How the things were made of course - which is where he nerds out over the unfinished obelisk as he usually does - but also some key famous ones. Some in Europe, the titular one in Central Park certainly, and some others still in their home land. If the obelisk was moved, he covers the relocation process. Book was nice, but it didn't seem to have much of his usual personality.
 

Matilda

Author: Roald Dahl
Stars: 5
Review by: Mandy Apgar


Probably one of my favorite books still since childhood, no small thing since I usually dislike fiction. Think of a very young Carrie without the mass homicides. Kinda. Matilda, you see, is a young London girl living with her toad of a family (little does she know the greater horror ahead - the even toadier Danny DeVito movie of several years ago) who are verbally abusive and ignorant of her. Upon entering school, where she is taught by the sweet and shy Miss Honey, Matilda discovers she is far ahead of her peers. Not being a jerk this doesn't bother her, as Miss Honey soon finds out herself. Attempts to put Matilda into a higher form fail - between her ignorant parents and the school's headmistress (and Miss Honey's aunt) Miss Trunchbull, she is rather stuck. But she and the teacher strike up a bond and so when Matilda discovers Miss Honey's father supposedly committed suicide and that her beloved friend was then a target of abuse herself for years, she begins to practice what the book calls her "eye-power." Having developed PK ability Matilda uses it to defend Miss Honey and eradicate the Trunchbull, and with the latter gone Matilda enters in more competitive classes. Although her ability fades soon after, she comes home one day to find her family fleeing the country - one of her father's shady used / stolen car deals gone awry - and granted "they really don't care Tuppence about me" her parents give consent for her to stay and live with Miss Honey instead.
 

The Mistresses of Cliveden

Author: Natalie Livingstone
Stars: 1
Review by: Mandy Apgar


Kind of like a really drawn out Downton Abbey but with more royalist sex. Simply an account of the various ladies of the house at Cliveden Manor - their lives, not necessarily the structure or a history of it, but rather with it serving as a tie to unite them. It was very boring and overlong with too much attention paid outside the subject.
 

The Presidents' Club: Inside the Most Exclusive Fraternity

Author: Nancy Gibbs & Michael Duffy
Stars: 2
Review by: Mandy Apgar


I was really hoping I'd like this better. I do not necessarily think that it was because I am not a political person - like to say the main reason I'm an independent is because I hate both parties equally - but this just got tiresome pretty quick. More or less the Presidents Club is composed of all the surviving former ones at the time the newest is in office. It was brought into its current incarnation after Truman and so the book covers him on up in detail. Some things just seemed rushed, like a few major situations with Kennedy, and they kept going time and again to others. Not to speak ill of the dead, but a lot of this is Nixon and he comes across even more so than usual as a total nutball. He runs off to do this or that, shoots his mouth off, from how it sounds here the Secret Service should've implanted a tracker in the guy. Granted that is probably how he was in some ways really but when a lot of the book is the Tricky Dicky show it rather defeats the purpose of tuning in for the other stars.
 

Kingdom Keepers: Disney at Dawn

Author: Ridley Pearson
Stars: 3
Review by: Minnie


This book is written for tweens, but if you like WDW and fantasy books you might enjoy this fast read.
 

The Goodbye Quilt

Author: Susan Wiggs
Stars: 2
Review by: Patti K


Usually love her, but not so much with this book.
 

The Nightingale

Author: Kristin Hannah
Stars: 4
Review by: NancyW


This is a popular historical novel set in WWII France. The characters and plot were well developed with good and bad traits on both sides of the war.
 

They Came to Baghdad

Author: Agatha Christie
Stars: 4
Review by: katza lover


This was a light and fun read. I enjoyed her other mysteries more than this one.
 

The Light of Paris

Author: Eleanor Brown
Stars: 5
Review by: Just Ada


Excellent.   Compares a 1999 lady's life to her grandmother's 1919 life.   Kept me going to find out more.
 

Mrs. Houdini

Author: Victoria Kelly
Stars: 4
Review by: jamBob


A nice look back to the life and times of Harry Houdini. Well researched, nicely written, and poignant.
 

Double the Pleasure

Author: Lori Foster, Deirdre Martin, Jacquie D'Alessandro, Penny McCall
Stars: 1
Review by: BKF


Four short romance stories by above authors. Ugh!
 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Congratulations to...

... our Week #11 Prize Winners:
  • Miss Lucy
  • Happy Reader

Progress So Far

Click on image to enlarge.

Bookerfly

Going Fishing - from Judy

Bright Eyes

Author: Catherine Anderson
Stars: 4
Review by: 'a Retired Cat' - who likes to read!


Book 4 Coulter Series.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Woman in Cabin 10

Author: Ruth Ware
Stars: 4
Review by: Diana

Full of suspense and intrigue. Lo Blacklock is offered an opportunity to join a special group on a spectacular cruise. A cruise that she will never forget.

 

The Blue Rose: An English Garden Mystery

Author: Anthony Eglin
Stars: 3
Review by: KM

The writing isn't exceptional by any means, however, I really enjoyed the combo of mystery and gardening!

 

Change of Heart

Author: Jodi Picoult
Stars: 3
Review by: Just Ada

Makes you think about capital punishment.  I listened to it.  Good readers.

 

13 Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher
Stars: 4
Review by: line82

Written with an interesting perspective. Kept my attention. Sad, but exciting.

Doctored Evidence

Author: Donna Leon
Stars: 4
Review by: Chris L.

Entertaining Guido Brunetti mystery about the murder of a much disliked old woman. Lots of false leads and plot twists.
 


Library of Souls

Author: Ransom Riggs
Stars: 4
Review by: Pam

A perfect way to end the series of Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

 

Rosemary: the Hidden Kennedy Daughter

Author: Kate Clifford Larson
Stars: 4.5
Review by: Barb

A lot of interesting information was found in this book, much about Rosemary and her interactions with family members that is little known, and much about the advancements of education and medical treatment for those with intellectual and physical disabilities. A serious, and good read.

 

The Apartment

Author: Danielle Steel
Stars: 4
Review by: Just Ada

Haven't read her in ages, but was glad I  did.  Very girlie book, but GOOD. 
 

Edge of Eternity

Author: Ken Follett
Stars: 5
Review by: Barb

I loved all of the books in Follet's Century Trilogy, this one probably most because it followed my lifetime. I love the way he develops his characters so that I begin to feel that they are my friends and I miss them when the book is over. Great read and reminder of what we've been through.
 


Honeydew

Author: Edith Pearlman
Stars: 3
Review by: Rachele S.

An interesting collection of short stories. Pearlman paints very vivid characters.

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Stars: 5
Review by: LateNightReader

This was a novel that I thoroughly enjoyed - including the storyline! It's akin to watching a movie and finding Easter eggs. I was happy when I recognized literary references and was intrigued by those I did not. I have more books on my "to read" list now!

 

Eligible

Author: Curtis Sittenfield
Stars: 5
Review by: Catdob

A dark, comedic twist on the story [Pride and Prejudice] and included quite surprising plot twists with the characters.

The Clique

Author: Lisi Harrison
Stars: 1
Review by: RGfundamental

Pre-teen lit. Give them Jane Austen instead!

Ink and Bone

Author: Lisa Unger
Stars: 5
Review by: Susan F.

This is a fast-paced, gripping paranormal psychological thriller. I love the main character - she's young and offers a different and alternative version of the "hero".  The characters were all real and raw, and flawed, but still likeable.  It's haunting and chilling, without being a horror story.  

 

Blackberry Winter

Author: Sarah Jio
Stars: 5
Review by: Just Ada

A little mystery, a love story.  Best book I have read in a while. 

 

The Aviator's Wife

Author: Melanie Benjamin
Stars: 4
Review by: Mitchie L

Historical Fiction novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of Charles Lindbergh. It reads like an emotional history lesson. It was very well written and informative.  You can view the newsreels on Youtube and see the historical courthouse in Flemington as it was during the trial.

 

Smooth Operator

Author: Stuart Woods
Stars: 4
Review by: Minnie

Good spin off series by Stuart Woods.

 

Death and Judgement

Author: Donna Leon
Stars: 4
Review by: Chris L.

One of the better Commisarrio Brunetti mysteries. Fast paced. Didn't figure it out until near the end.

 

If a Place Can Make You Cry

Author: Daniel Gordis
Stars: 4
Review by: RGfundamental

Personal memoir of family's move from LA to Jerusalem '82 to 2002. Author does not hide his political views and lives a life of privilege.

Mean Justice

Author: Edward Humes
Stars: 5
Review by: RGfundamental

Injustice in Bakersfield, California. Hysteria. Some innocents are still imprisoned.

 

Like Water for Chocolate

Author: Laura Esquival
Stars: 3
Review by: RGfundamental

Quick read fairytale. Clever idea. 

 

Murder in the Stacks

Author: David DeKok
Stars: 5
Review by: RGfundamental

True Crime. Well written. Penn State hasn't changed through the years. Recalls the culture of the 60's. 

 

Grief Street

Author: Thomas Adcock
Stars: 1
Review by: RGfundamental

Gruesome. Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of the past. Not a loving picture.
 

Blue Skies

Author: Catherine Anderson
Stars: 5
Review by: 'a Retired Cat' - who likes to read!


Book 3.  Coulter series - it really gives you an insight how a blind person sees!  Great.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Just Jennifer

There's still a few weeks left this summer to read some great books...

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny 
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache may have retired from the Quebec Sûreté, but cannot stay away completely when he takes a job as the head of the Sûreté Academy, much to the surprise of his wife and friends, as many of his detractors and even enemies are employed there as well.  Hoping to spark the interest of four cadets that Gamache is afraid he may lose, especially Amelia Choquet, a cadet Armand has a special affinity for, in spite of her poor attitude and the tattoos that cover her body, he brings them to Three Pines where a mysterious map has been found in the wall of the bistro and asks them to decipher the clues and read the map of the area, and perhaps learn why Three Pines is perpetually left off published maps.  A closed room murder at the academy casts suspicion on all the cadets and instructor, but strangest of all, a copy of the map from the bistro is found with the dead body.  Little by little, more is revealed about the Surete Academy, Three Pines, Amelia and even Gamache, as this series continues to be one of the best realized in both sense of place and person. 

Behind Closed Doors by PA Paris 
Grace has taken over the responsibility for her younger sister Millie who has Down’s syndrome but will be leaving her school to come and live with Grace within the year.  Having this responsibility, Grace is shocked that a man as handsome as Jack not only falls in love with her but seemingly with Millie as well, offering to make a home for both of them.  While on their honeymoon in Thailand Grace realizes there is a dark and terrifying side to Jack, a side of his personality that she never anticipated, one that is cruel and sadistic.  Jack holds Millie’s safety as a threat over Grace to control Grace as she desperately seeks a means to escape the nightmare that has become her life, a life few believe when she tries to tell them as Jack has carefully crafted a façade that paints Gras as vulnerable and even unstable in this compulsively readable chilling tale.

Behold the Dreamers by Imbola Mbue
Jende Jonga emigrated from Cameroon to the US and is living in Harlem with his wife Neni and son.  Jende has just gotten a job as chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a Lehman Brothers executive and Neni is enrolled in college, working for the Edwards in the Hamptons during the summer: all things seem hopeful for the Jongas.  Until the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  As the Edwards carefully constructed life begins to crack and crumble, the Jonga’s find themselves doing things, independent of each other, things that they never imagined themselves, or each other doing.  Confronted with the harsh realities of life in America, the Jongas make an incredibly difficult, bittersweet decision, but on Jende feels he and his family can live with and in the long run, will be better off with in this modern take of the search for the American Dream.

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
Sean Jackson is turning fifty and feels at the top of his game: he has made a fortune in the London real estate market and has women practically falling at his feet, to the displeasure of his second wife.  The weekend long party Sean plans for himself begins with his ex-wife dropping off his teenage daughters unexpectedly and ends with the disappearance of one of his three year old twins.  Who is never found.  Twelve years and two wives later, Sean is dead and as his family, and those who were at his fateful party weekend reassemble to pay their respects secrets, jealousies and accusations begin to come out and one of Sean’s older girls Mila, finds shocking clues to the disappearance of her younger half-sister, but when the truth finally comes out can she trust the people telling her that what she learns is the entire truth and who is the real monster and who is truly to blame?  As dysfunctional as they come, the families that Sean Jackson creates will suffer because of his ego, some of them to the point of ego in this psychological thriller that has a touch of Marwood’s sardonic humor and some chilling characters the likes of which we can hope to never encounter.

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs
Annie Rush appears to have it all: she is producing the cooking show she always dreamt of (though she had dreams of being the star), she is married to a great man---who also happens to be one of the co-hosts of her show (though lately things haven’t been going so well in their marriage) and she just realized she’s pregnant (but she’s not quite sure she’s ready for a baby).  All at once, her life is turned topsy-turvy and Annie is involved in an accident, waking up a year later from a coma with a long road to recovery and a lot of things to remember.  Instead of LA, she wakes up near her hometown of Switchback, Vermont where her family has been producing maple syrup for years.  Annie isn’t even aware she is married at first and concentrates on her recovery under the care of her divorced mother and father, brother and sister-in-law, four nieces and nephews and the high-school-boyfriend, now judge, she left behind.  Slowly, Annie regains her memory, with a few surprises along the way, and in the process of regaining her life she learns she is now divorced and begins to reevaluate the choices she made and decides that this time she is going to be the one really making the decisions…but can she have everything she wants?  A timeless story that once again reaffirms the power of family to heal and that time worn adage, you CAN go home, but Annie makes sure it is for her reasons and not someone else's.

Sorrow Road by Julia Keller
Acker’s Gap, West Virginia is besieged by snow storm after snow storm and prosecuting attorney Bel Elkin’s daughter Carla has called Bel abruptly and said she is leaving Washington, D.C. where she has lived to be near her father since high school and is coming home.  Bel is worried about Carla on the slippery roads especially when she learns that a law school friend has been killed in an accident just hours after she met with bell and asked Bel to look into the death of her father at a local nursing home Thornapple Terrace where other Alzheimer patients have been dying at an alarming rate.  Bel becomes suspicious and looks into the deaths as her daughter, who is being very secretive about her return takes a job collecting oral histories from rural West Virginia, including the nursing home in question.  A parallel story of three young friends in 1938 who join the Navy six years later has startling connections to the modern day deaths.  Acker’s Gap is filled with exceptional characters, especially Bel who has many demons from her past, demons she is hoping she didn’t pass on to her daughter, demons that she hopes do not cause her to give up a relationship she cherishes more than she will admit to herself.  The plot drags a little in places and isn’t as tight as past entries in this series, nonetheless, a visit to Acker’s Gap is always welcomed. 

The Book that Matters Most by Ann Hood
Unsure of what to do after her husband of 25-years leaves her, Ava joins a local book group, the members of which are choosing the book that matters most to them for their monthly selections.  As Ava works her way, grudgingly at first, through the selections and through her grief, she is unaware that her daughter has left her art program in Venice and is living in Paris, having fallen into some bad circumstances.  Though Ava begins to heal she is still haunted by her mother’s death when Ava was a young child and the book that that matters most to Ava, a book that proves to have healing powers that far exceed any reasonable expectations in this book that takes a woman from loss and desperation to joy and hope, making this a book that will surely be the book that matters most to future readers. 


The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
Be prepared to be charmed: after accidentally setting fire to the exclusive Boston dinner club where she is the chef, Olivia Rawlings escapes to Guthrie, Vermont where her best friend is living.  Offered a job at the Sugar Maple Inn, Livvy decides to stay for a while, navigating the local town and sorting out her life, a life that has been marked by running away from things.  In Guthrie Livvy rediscovers the simple joys of a perfectly baked apple pie, playing her banjo and the big heartedness of friends who become family as Livvy discovers the life she is meant to leave, even if it isn’t the life she thought she’d live.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
Anne and Marco Conti are certain their infant daughter Cara will be safe at home while they attend a small dinner party next door, especially if they take turns checking on her every half hour.  But when they return at home the end of the night, Cora is missing and Anne and Marco are suspects, especially Anne who has been struggling with post-partum depression.  As the investigation begins to unfold, secrets about each other, their families and even their next door neighbors emerge creating a baffling crime with many unseen twists and turns that ends with a final shocking and unexpected desperate act.


The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis
Told in alternating voices and decades, the glamourous world of the Barbizon Hotel during the 1950’s is brought to life by a present day reporter whose life in the hotel, now condos, is falling apart.  As Rose becomes obsessed with a story that involves hotel resident, Darby McLaughlin, who came to Manhattan to attend secretarial school in 1952 and stayed, she becomes wrapped up in a suspicious death involving Darby and a maid, the truth about which when revealed may change everything for everyone, or may change nothing, fading away quietly into history.

With Love from the Inside by Angela Pisel
Grace Bradshaw has lived with the knowledge that the state will determine the date and time of her death.  Grace is on death row, having been convicted of the murder of her infant son almost twenty years ago.  It has been almost twelve years (eleven years, five months and twenty-seven days) since she last heard her daughter’s Sophie’s voice, but it is the memories of Sophie and the hope of reconciliation that keeps Grace going.  After the death of her father, Sophie gave up the visits to her mother, trying to put the tragedies of her life behind her to create a new life, one that doesn’t include a mother convicted of murdering her baby brother.  And she succeeds: she is married to a successful plastic surgeon who is devoted to her as is his family, and her past is safely behind her until her mother runs out of appeals and the date of her execution is set: February 15.  Wrestling with her own demons, Sophie returns to her hometown and past where she finds evidence that may exonerate her mother if it is not too late.  Even if it is too late, Sophie must decide if it’s not too late to reconcile with her mother and if she does, at what cost to Sophie’s present life will it be.  As Grace spends her last weeks writing to Sophie, trying to shed light on what happened, Sophie fights for the mother she gave up on, trying to forgive her mother and herself for the past decade.  Mothers and daughters, the families we are born into and the families we create, our stories and our histories are all neatly woven into this compassionate, haunting story.



Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sweet Tomorrows

Author: Debbie Macomber
Stars: 5
Review by: LG


Great book. I love the Rose Harbor series.
 

The Monogram Murders

Author: Sophie Hannah
Stars: 4
Review by: jamBob


This is a cerebral mystery, many pages that discuss the murder/suicide or execution of 3 people involved in a heinous defamation which ruined the lives of 2 other people. Hercule Poirot is doing his best with the "little grey cells". This mystery is based on many subtleties you must think this one through to enjoy it.

The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place

Author: Jennifer McCartney
Stars: 1
Review by: Miss Lucy


This book inspires neither cluttering nor decluttering. It basically just makes fun of Marie Kondo's book. The title and maybe one or two lines in the book are funny, but other than that, I feel like it's making its author and publisher lots of money on Kondo's dime.
 

Animal Magnetism

Author: Jill Shalvis
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is a story in the same vein as the Three Sisters. It is about three women and their marriages. Each is battling their own problems and learn to help each other through the bad times and celebrate the good times. You can tell this is leading up to a series because you want to find out what happens next. Enjoy!
 

The Eighty-Dollar Champion

Author: Elizabeth Letts
Stars: 2.5
Review by: bandit

If you are really into horses I feel this book would be excellent.  A lot of detail on horses.

The Guest Cottage

Author: Nancy Thayer
Stars: 2
Review by: bandit

It was a quick read, a bit too corny!  Good for the beach.


Whispers on the Dock

Author: Camy Tang
Stars: 3.5
Review by: mysterylover


Historical fiction, inspirational.  Focusing on being kind to each other.
 

Richard III

Author: William Shakespeare
Stars: 5
Review by: BookDancer


Please don't just read a Shakespeare play; try to listen to it or, better yet, watch a performance on DVD.  Avail yourself of the countless online summaries, synopses and helps that weren't available the first time you tried to slog through it.  Then if you're lucky enough to attend a discussion of that play led by an engaging and enthusiastic English teacher, 5 is the lowest score you could give it!  You will also be inspired to seek out other video and live performances of that and other works! 400 years and counting, the Bard just keeps reinventing himself!
 

Breakwater Bay

Author: Shelley Noble
Stars: 3
Review by: BookDancer


A predictable yet sweet love story.  I can just see it as a Hallmark Movie!

The Girls of August

Author: Anne Rivers Siddons
Stars: 2
Review by: BookDancer


Disappointing since I've read better by this author.
 

Grunt: the Curious Science of Humans at War

Author: Mary Roach
Stars: 5
Review by: Mary NK


This book is NOT about war. What it IS about, is the way humans protect themselves from war. We learn, for example, why silk underwear is the best material if you're wounded; and why the Navy doesn't have camouflage. Open this book to any page and you will be regaled with facts essential not to the war machine, but to the drivers of that machine. How a chicken gun protects lives on airplane runways, for example. You can't go wrong with any book by Mary Roach, and Grunt will give you a whole new respect for the researchers and testers of military equipment.
 

Blackberry Winter

Author: Sarah Jio
Stars: 4.5
Review by: bandit

My best book of the summer.

Astronomy for All Ages: Discovering the Universe through Activities for Children and Adults, 2nd ed.

Author: Philip Harrington & Edward Pascuzzi
Stars: 2
Review by: Saraswati


This was another book I had to read for my class and like the title states its a basic lab manual with more background provided than most lab books.  I did learn that the story of Jack & Jill is really about the moon. and what an Astrolabe was. This edition is copy righted in 2000 so some activities will have to be updated, especially the ones about cameras and film. In general, if you are looking for basic Astronomy activities for a class or group this book is fine, but otherwise you can probably get better on the internet.
 

Lie in Plain Sight

Author: Maggie Barbieri
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati


This is the latest book in this series (#3) and it took me a while to get my memories straight from the last 2 books. There are a lot of secrets and lies being told to maintain them. This book has a lot of stories going on and sometimes it just seemed like the author was trying to pull too many loose ends together to what may be a grand finale. Don't know if this the last, but it does feel that way. If you like the last two you will probably like this one too.
 

One With You

Author: Sylvia Day
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati


This is the grand finale of the Crossfire series. Similar to the 50 Shades saga, this series takes two very troubled adults and has them fall in love. This book brings closure for the couple and hope while throwing in a twist. There is also a preview of the next series. If you like 50 Shades you will probably like this series too.
 

Daughters of the Bride

Author: Susan Mallery
Stars: 3
Review by: Just Ada


Nice book.  Not outstanding, but kept me going.
 

No One Knows

Author: J.T. Ellison
Stars: 4
Review by: Just Ada


Good mystery.   Lots  of surprises.

Ripe for Murder

Author: Carlene O'Neil
Stars: 4
Review by: LZ99


A fun read. Better than some others in the series.

The Weekenders

Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Stars: 4
Review by: TLW


A fun summer read just like Andrews' other books. Always a welcome distraction.
 

David & Goliath

Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Stars: 4
Review by: TLW


I always enjoy Gladwell's books and his perspective on different topics.
 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Congratulations to...

... our Week #10 Prize Winners:
  • Patti K
  • Fernanda

Progress So Far

Click on image to enlarge.