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Book Reviews

Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell

Your review: Another Scarpetta novel where she takes the reader from Boston to the the low country of Georgia. Scarpetta takes us through a southern women’s prison with a lot of unsettling undercurrents can be felt. Interviews with death row inmates to investigating unusual deaths. This novel takes us into discussions on lethal injections,poisonings to possible biological terrorist warfare. A little slow in the beginning. However all of her favorite characters are back and involved,Marino,Lucy, Benson and even the General. All of course is slowly revealed and tied up in the last few chapters. Makes the reader ponder the question of how many people have had rushed justice and rushed to death row? Good read,always waiting on the new case for Scarpetta.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

22 Brittania Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

22 Britannia Road book jacketYour review: Affected by the atrocities of World War II, a young Polish family escape the horrors of war and arrive in England at separate times. Janyusw, a former soldier, settles in Ipswich, England and prepares their house on 22 Brittania Road for the arrival of his wife, Sylvana, and his son Aurek. The family struggles to adapt to “English” life, which tears the family apart. The flashbacks were too many where the reader sometimes had trouble keeping track of all the settings. It’s starts off hopeful, but eventually tailspins into a dull, dreary storyline (like England’s weather) and ends with a predictable, frustrating ending.

Rate your book: 3 stars

 

Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch by Nancy Atherton

Aunt Dimity and the village witch book jacketYour review: In the village of Finch, a newcomer has arrived. Everyone is curious about her, but her secrets unravel and her famous identity is revealed. Amelia Thistle has come to Finch to solve a family mystery that her brother could not complete. With the help of many of the townsfolk that are interested the past history of their town, the hidden clues are found and the 300 year old mystery is solved. I enjoyed this Atherton book. With its many twists and turns, the suspense and surprises were very entertaining. Even a little romance brewing!

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

book jacketYour review: This is one of my all time favorite books! This is a moving tale of Liesel growing up during WWII in Nazi Germany. You won’t be disappointed with this one!!

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

 

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by  Jamie Ford

book jacketYour review: I really enjoyed this book! Such a sweet love story and rich with a lot of history. I learned a lot about the history of this time period that I never knew about. I’d love to visit the Panama Hotel in Seattle someday! Great book!!

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

Sarah’s Key by  Tatiana de Rosnay

book jacketYour review.: I really enjoyed this book! I learned SO much about the French involvement in the round up of Jews at the direction of the Nazi’s. I had no idea that this took place. I can’t imagine my own government rounding up an entire culture and hauling them away to their deaths. The horror. This book is very well written. It’s heavy and emotional. I like how it shifts back and forth from present day back to 1942. It did leave me wanting more of the story. The ending seems somewhat incomplete. I wanted to know more about how Julia’s life progresses. I definitely recommend this book! Read this & The Book Thief- both tell stories of Holocaust survivors & victims. If I could give this 4 1/2 stars I would. It’s very good but if I compare it to The Book Thief it’s not quite as good. The movie is also very moving and emotional. Has subtitles. You won’t be disappointed in this book or the movie!!

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

book jacketYour review: I really found this book fascinating! So sad to learn about how this impacted her family. And such a shame that everyone- especially those in the medical community doesn’t know WHO Henrietta Lacks is and what she has done (and continues to do) for the study of SO many diseases! This should be a must read for all pre-med and pre-nursing students!! Very well written and what a brave author Rebecca Skloot is. She went above and beyond to truly learn about Henrietta and her family and did so in a very respectful and thoughtful way. Thank you for sharing her story with us!!

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by  Amy Chua

book jacketYour review: Wow- this was an interesting book. Honestly- I went into it thinking that I would hate it! And there were many times that I did hate that “Tiger Mother”. Being a “Western Parent” I suppose I find it a big stretch to bridge between my style of parenting and hers. I believe there must be a balance somewhere in between her madness and my own crazy parenting style! I will admit that there were times that I understood and appreciated what she was trying to accomplish. And I also believe she truly loves her daughters and wants only the best for them. I think where she’s was missing the boat is that every child does not have to be #1 in EVERY thing they do to be happy and productive citizens. Also- every child is DIFFERENT as she learned the hard way. There isn’t a cookie cutter style of parenting that can be applied to every child! I do think she’s rather self indulgent and it really bothered me the way she treats her husband. She definitely rules the roost in that family and it seems like she treats her husband like a 2nd class citizen. I wonder what she thinks about the lessons she’s teaching her daughters about love, respect & marriage? Overall- I think this book is thought provoking, interesting and should be taken with a grain of salt. With that being said…. I think I need to print out some math drills for my girls to do so they don’t fall behind in school this year! LOL!

Rate your book: 3 stars

 

Midwives by Chris Bohjialian

book jacketYour review: This was a good book. Not a great book. I found it slow at times and overly detailed at others but also interesting. Lots of information about birth and the legal system. Honestly- one of those books that I was glad to finish!

Rate your book: 3 stars

 

 

 

The Hunger Games by  Suzanne Collins

book jacketYour review: This is a great book. I was resistant to read it because I thought a book about kids killing kids was NOT my cup of tea! But once my daughter read it and loved it and insisted I read it I did and I’m glad I did. The movie was equally great although as always lacked the details that the book had! Don’t let the topic scare you away- this is a great read!

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

 

Bossypants by Tina Fey

book jacketYour review: Enjoyable quick, funny read! I’ve never watched 30 Rock (although I think I will now) so that part of the book wasn’t as enjoyable for me. Tina Fey is hilarious!!

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

 

 

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

book jacketYour review: I really loved this book! Couldn’t put it down! Finished it in about a week! Really well written and a beautifully told, rich story! Funny and moving. Definitely recommend this book! The movie is equally as good!!

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

 

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

book jacketYour review: I really enjoyed this book! It has so many twists & turns that I didn’t expect! Lovely messages of love, life, hope, dedication, perseverance & loss. Wow! I really loved this book!! Nicolas Sparks has always been one of my favorite authors- he doesn’t disappoint with this one!

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

 

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

book jacketYour review: The adventures of Sookie Stackhouse continue. Her Gran has left her with a magic “compact” which grants only one wish. The problem is many folks are looking for it, so trouble ensues. As enjoyable as the stories are, this one by Harris had less violence than usual. A relief. More story, less blood.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

 

 

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

book jacketYour review: Sing You Home is the story of Zoe, a music therapist whose entire life falls apart; her lengthy struggle with infertility is central to the many problems she faces. Zoe focuses on her career, which leads her to Vanessa. They fall in love, and decide they want to try and start a family, but are faced with great hostility from the community and many legal challenges. I loved this book; Picoult’s writing kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to know Zoe’s fate. One of my favorite things about this book was that Picoult’s takes turns writing from the viewpoints of different characters, so that readers have a chance to feel connected to and understand each character. I also really enjoyed how she makes light of current political and scientific hot topics.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

His Strength Made Perfect: Michael’s Story by Cyndie Degnan

book jacketYour review: This first published work by local WMASS author, Ms. Cyndie Degnan, tells of the ongoing joys and challenges of her family as they live and love son Michael, who has Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. The author uses Michael’s wedding day as a focal point as she remembers events throughout their lives. Never sugarcoated or preachy, Degnan’s upbeat, conversational writing style keeps the story moving, engaging the reader. I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys triumph over tragedy, honest questions about the curve balls life throws, or who wonders if there is a God who faithfully provides in all circumstances. Great story, with lessons for all of us.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Book jacketYour review: The Secret is a wonderful reminder of how I believe our inate sensiblity knows the world is available to us but that we tend not to follow because of external influences. The book the Secret simplifies the complication we put into life and reminds us anything is possible. Its not a shocking surprise but an oh that is true and doable. Read, relax and refresh your take on life’s possibilities.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

book jacket“Fahrenheit 451″ by Ray Bradbury is a classic dystopian novel that examines a futuristic world of instant gratification. The protagonist, Montag, is a fireman, but he does not put out fires, he creates them in order to rid the world of useless and obsolete media: books. He has heard rumors of the days when books are read, but it is not until he meets a strange young girl that he realizes how deep of a lie he has been living. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the commentary it made on our society. The average citizen in Bradbury’s future only cared about the instant gratification of driving fast, giant television screens, and condensed entertainment that told an entire story in five minutes. The accuracy of the social critique is terrifying. I also enjoyed Montag’s role as a protagonist. He is not a hero and is not glorified as such; rather, he is a man who sees the horrors of the world, but struggles to make a difference in it. I have to say, the novel was rather preachy, like every line was meant to be quoted, which made the characters less believable and engaging than they might have been otherwise. I was never fully engrossed in the story, but the philosophies the novel discussed kept me interested throughout.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

book jacket“The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster is a children’s book about a boy named Milos who is given the mysterious gift of a magical tollbooth. With it, he finds himself in a land that proves how little he knows and how much he must learn in order to save the princesses, Rhyme and Reason. I picked this up on the request of a friend. While it is a children’s book, probably intended for elementary school kids, it’s a quick read that could be enjoyed by readers of any age who enjoy wordplay and riddles. I would highly recommend it for adults reading to kids as both parties would enjoy it.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

book jacketIn this multiple narrator novel, a family struggles to keep itself intact. Between one daughter receiving all the attention because of her life-threatening medical condition, to the other daughter being the lifeline to her survival, and a son who has fallen through the cracks, a mother ad father question not only their parenting skills, but whether or not they are doing the right thing by their daughters. A heavy emotional tale that pulled me in and kept me engaged on every page. Jodi Picoult raised the question that parents sacrifice too much such as their family to keep one of their daughters alive when in the end, it truly is a crap shoot. Our fate lies in the hands of powerful forces that we cannot control though sometimes as parents we think we can. An ironic ending that was real and believable.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

The School of the Family: A Renaissance of Catholic Formation by  Chantal R. Howard

book jacketThis book is an excellent guide for parents who find raising children in today’s culture challenging. It provides many tips for training our children to be holy. It reminds the reader that the parent is the child’s first and most important teacher.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

The anatomist’s apprentice : a Dr. Thomas Silkstone mystery by  Tessa Harris

book jacketThe setting is 1780s, England and Dr. Thomas Silkstone is the young physician studying from the masters. He realizes that postmortem analysis can be very revealing as to the cause of death. And, so, he begins trying to solve the mystery of how the young earl died. But, as the story line develops, there is more mystery and intrigue. Just when you think he’s solved the mystery, more developments occur! I loved this book and read it from cover to cover,without stopping, in one 24 hour period. Easy and delightful read.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

Let Nothing Trouble You by  St. Theresa of Avila

book jacketThis is a book of short daily devotionals to remind us that we have no need to worry or fear if we trust in God. It sets a good tone at the start of the day and gives the reader something to take comfort in when dealing with adversity.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

The Reverend’s Wife : a novel by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Book JacketThis book describes the ups and downs of fidelity within a clergy family. The pastor has had affairs with other women, the wife has had affairs with other men – all while being married to each other. The theme of forgiveness is woven through-out. In the end, they both forgive each other and begin to rebuild their marriage. However, their teenage son who watches and knows what’s going on with his parents, ends up dating a young woman (both just graduated from high school) and the book ends with the revelation that she’s pregnant. I did not enjoy this book; the plot was so simplistic and predictable. Don’t waste any time reading this. I think the author wants to write a sequel – why else would she throw in the scene about the pregnant girlfriend. I can’t imagine how this book ever got through the publishing mill to end up as a book.

Rate your book: 1 star

 

Flirting with Danger by Suzanne Enoch

Book jacketSamantha meets the man of her dreams with a bang—literally. There are a few hurdles to overcome and a mystery to solve before the happily ever after, of course. The first one is that Samantha is a thief, and she meets millionaire Rick Addison while in the process of breaking and entering to rob him. They meet in the hallway, where she saves his life when she spots a trip wire and pushes him to safety.

This is the first in a series, followed by Don’t look down, Billionaires prefer blondes, Twice the temptation, and Touch of Minx. These are perfect summer romances, with snappy dialogue and quirky secondary characters—lots of fun!

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

Vision in white by Nora Roberts

Book jacketVision in white is the first in this very popular author’s Bride Quartet series, depicting the friendship four women have shared since childhood, the wedding planning business they run, and the romance each of the women find in turn. Vision in white is wedding photographer “Mac” Elliot’s story.

I love Roberts’ writing; her characters have depth and appeal, her settings are inviting, and the romance at the center of each story is well crafted. It’s always a treat when she creates a series. When you finish one book, you can sigh, grab another cup of tea or dish of ice cream, and start on the next one.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

Stealing home by Sherryl Woods

book jacketIn this romance, recent divorcé Maddy struggles to build a new life after her husband’s very public affair, while helping her oldest son work through his own issues. She has help from her best friends and her son’s baseball coach (along with some unexpected sparks).

This is the first book in the Sweet magnolias series. This gentle romance has a small town atmosphere, strong friendships and a “starting over” appeal.

Rate your book: 3 stars

 

Murder on the Carolina by Conrad Allen

book jacketThis a cleverly written mystery that takes place in 1908 aboard a trans-atlantic ocean liner going from New York to England. The two detectives, Genevieve Masefield and George Dillman, work for the cruise line undercover. Their main job is to watch for pick-pockets,pocker cheats, stateroom burglars and drug runners. However they get involved with Scotland Yard who are transporting two fugitves back to England. This was an enjoyable mystery.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Book jacketAutobiographical book about Tina’s life and upbring by stern Greek parents in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Explores Tina’s exposure to diverse groups, gays etc. and culture due to her demographic. Talks about how she got started at a little theater working the box office. Witty, humorous (literally every paragraph), motivational. A must read!

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

 

Come home by Lisa Scottoline

Your review: I enjoyed the family dynamics. The mother bear mentality finally won out in the end. Her Sherlock sleuthing was a little far-fetched; however, her tenacious spirit made the reader feel that everything would work out in the end. It was wonderful to see that the husband-to-be finally got on board with what family can mean.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

 

Flying crows by Jim Lehrer

Your review:Interesting novel based on real events. Insight into insane asylums of the 1930’s. Great descriptions of Union Station in Kansas City.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Your review:Loved this book. Written as letters. Characters well developed and delightful. Good history on occupation of Guernsey Island during WWII

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

 

 

Let Nothing Trouble You : 60 reflections from the writings of Teresa of Avila

Your review:This is a book of short daily devotionals to remind us that we have no need to worry or fear if we trust in God. It sets a good tone at the start of the day and gives the reader something to take comfort in when dealing with adversity.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

 

The Story, by Joyce Meyer

Your review: The Story portrays the Bible as one continuing story of God and his people. It does this in an easy to read format that allows the reader to envision every detail. Every bible verse used in this book is understandable and easy to memorize for future reference. It actually reads like a novel filled with drama, conflict, forgiveness and redemption. Even poems in the book jump off the pages and stick with you. I would highly recommend this book to all. No matter what beliefs you hold in your heart, this book will give you insight into Christianity.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

Kisses from Katie, by Katie Davis with Beth Clark

Your review:What a wonderful book! This very young woman with a world full of faith. She has the gift to listen to what God wants her to do with her life. Minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day, week to week, month to month and now year to year to follow God’s plan for her. What an impact she has made in Uganda. Truly inspirational!

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

The ROOK by Daniel O’Malley

Image of itemYour review: Fans of television shows like Fringe and Supernatural will feel right at home reading The ROOK by Daniel O’Malley. The story starts out in London with our heroine standing in the rain, surrounded by bodies, sporting two black eyes, and having no idea who she is or how she came to be there. Her only clue is a letter she finds in her jacket pocket written by herself, to herself, giving instructions on how to find temporary safety. From there, she must follow the clues she left for herself to uncover who is responsible for her amnesia and attempted murder, all the while she works to protect Great Britain from supernatural invasion! Oh, and she can’t let anyone discover the fact that she has no idea who she is or what she is doing. All in all, this was an interesting adventure and mystery, with a myriad of creative characters and situations. At times the text was a little heavy on the exposition, but if you can stick with it through the explanations, the story is well worth the ride!

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

Pure by Julianna Baggott

Image of itemYour review: The first in a planned trilogy (the second book, Fuse, is scheduled for release in February 2013) Pure takes place in a dystopian future where the world has been divided after an apocalypse. Those who were chosen to, and managed to make it in time, live in the Dome – a protected world. Those outside the Dome suffered the effects of the detonations, horrifyingly devastating blasts that often fused the person hit with whatever they were in contact with at the time. Those that survived the detonations are now either wretches, trying to survive in the remains of what is left, or Pures, those inside the Dome who are free from scars or deformations. This book follows the story of two characters – one wretch and one pure – who both are struggling to survive, discover who they are, and uncover the truth about the apocalypse. This story is weird and wonderful, tender and tragic, hopeful and horrifying, and I just could not put it down! Baggott’s characters are so human – their imperfections making them just so perfect. Not for the feint of heart, as some of the descriptions can be brutal, but definitely a great read. I also read that Fox has already purchased the movie rights to the book.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

Mrs. Kennedy & Me by Clint Hill

Image of book jacketYour review:  Clint Hill is the Secret Service Agent assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy during JFK’s Presidency. He reluctantly takes the detail and tells an intimate tale of his years at her service. This book really gives you a glimpse at the woman Jackie was. The middle seems to slow down a bit as he continues to tell similar stories. If you are looking for “dirt” on this Presidency, you won’t find it here. Mr. Hill tells his story with honor and reverence for the Office. Worth a read!

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

 

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Image of itemYour review: This is about the life of a Chinese girl and her mother, who immigrate from China to NYC. Although it may seem to take place in the early 20th Century, it takes place in the 1970’s on. I found the book fascinating and disturbing. It was almost unbelievable that things like this still happen in our society in today’s world. This is the type of book that stays with you long after you finish reading it.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

Under The Dome by Stephen King

Image of itemYour review: A small town suddenly becomes isolated under a type of dome that cannot be penetrated. One of Stephen King’s best! This was a wonderful story with great writing. Science Fiction (and a little horror) by one of my favorite writers.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

 

 

Honeymoon by James Patterson

Image of itemYour review: Not one of his best. Very predictable, but enjoyable for a summer read.

 

 

Rate your book: 3 stars

 

Lunatics by Dave Barry & Alan Zweibel

Image of itemYour review: Two men go back and forth telling their story that begins with a minor disagreement and escalates to major world affairs. This is a hilarious book. It is completely outrageous, but very “Dave Barry”. Warning: it is full of foul language, but that’s part of what makes it so funny.

 

 

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

Calico Joe by John Grisham

Image of itemYour review: A change from the typical legal thriller, John Grisham tells a fairly straightforward tale of events surrounding major league baseball. Told from the perspective of the son of a pitcher, Grisham mixes copious baseball stats with family drama and a tragic on field career changing event. A good light read if you like baseball and lots of baseball stats sort of extending the story line. Not my favorite Grisham. I hate to criticize, but sometimes when authors crank out mass produced books annually they aren’t quite as well done.

 

Rate your book: 3 stars

 

underthebridge.com by Paul Martin

Your review: This book was written by a friend of mine; we went to high school together so I was very excited to read it. Set in the beautiful Virginia mountains, a cast of characters emerge to tell the story about a young dot-com business man who finds himself welcomed into the loving arms of a simple country family. It is told from the man’s perspective – his life living under the bridge, and then his life living with the family in their country home. Many stories emerge about each of the characters and you find yourself thinking about them, long after the book is finished. It is written so well that the characters become your friends, as well. I really enjoyed this book and hope you do, as well. No library carries it in the CWMars region, so if you’d like to read it, either buy it from a book seller or have the head librarian get in touch with me and I’ll let you borrow my copy! The author has been awarded the Fellowship for Fiction by the WV Dept of Culture and History.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

A Simple Murder by Eleanor Kuhns

Image of itemYour review: This is a who-done-it and written following the Revolutionary War. William Rees, the protagonist, finds that his son has run away to join the Shaker community in Maine. Rees follows him there, only to discover that a young woman has been killed. He is asked to solve her death, which he believes shows that she’s been murdered. The Shaker community is in an uproar over this and the more Rees finds out through various clues, the more he realizes that it is not an isolated murder. Slowly, he rebuilds the trust between himself and his son while solving the murders. He also realizes, for the first time since his wife’s death, that he may be able to love again. I really enjoyed reading this mystery as the setting was so different than the other CSI books I’ve read before. It was fun to see the historical scientific clues helped him solve the murders. I found myself rooting for him to win back his son’s trust, solve the murders, and throw his heart to his new lady friend. A really good take with a great setting and time period.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

Image of itemYour review: This book, written about a young black Southern man in jail during 1940s, describes how he is sentenced to death for the killing of a grocery store owner. While in jail, his grandmother and godmother recruit a young black teacher, Grant Wiggins, to go talk to their relative. These talks are suppose to give him the confidence to die like a man. Wiggins is reluctant to go visit him in prison, but feels compelled to go to satisfy his elderly relatives wishes. The book describes each visit and the conversations that do or don’t take place. The book is written in the Southern dialect of the time and reads very slowly by the repetitive nature of the words and phrases used. I liked this book and the insights from this time period. The author seems to capture the Southern time period with his words and plot. I would recommend this book be read by high school students as it reaches an understanding by both men about resisting and defying expectations.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

Heart and Soul by  Maeve Binchy

Image of itemYour review: A new heart clinic has been established in Dublin and Dr. Clara Casey has agreed to head it up. She throws herself into setting it up, hiring new people, and making it a superbly run clinic. Along the way, she discovers a lot about herself – her dreams for herself, for her children and for those who all work at the clinic. Each chapter brings on new situations for the people involved in the clinic and Binchy weaves their stories together, seemlessly. I enjoyed this book; it was easy to read and I found myself really looking forward to what would happen next to the characters in the book. I laughed and cried and was sorry the book was over.

 

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by  Kathleen Flinn

Image of itemYour review: After being let go of her corporate job, Ms. Flinn decides to chase her dream – that of enrolling as a cooking student at the famous Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. The book is an insider’s guide to the school, recipes she cooked, chefs who inspired and friends she met. It describes a typical day, the daily grades of the chef tasting and critiquing her dishes and her continual romance with her then boyfriend-fiance-husband. One of her recipes follows at the end of each chapter. If you like to cook or like to imagine cooking at this level of expertise, you would enjoy this book! It’s written in an easy to follow style and I liked hearing about the techniques as much as I liked reading about the friends she met at the school. Good, easy summer read.

 

Rate your book: 4 stars


The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

Image of itemYour review: A teenage boy writes a letter to his youngest sister outlining the last couple of years with their abusive mother. Although listed as an adolescent novel, I found it very compelling with excellent writing. You get to know the characters very well and sympathize with their plight.

 

 

 

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by  Syrie James

Image of itemYour review: A little slow in the beginning. However very enlightening as to how women became published in the literary world. How narrow the scope of expectations were for women. These three sisters lived in somewhat of a forward thinking family. I would give it a 3 stars.

 

 

 

Rate your book: 3 stars

 

The Conviction by Robert Dugoni

Image of itemYour review: Fast moving read. A lot of graft and greed in this novel. This is about two young men who get in trouble in a strange town, arrested without due process and sent to a juvenile facility. It’s their story of survival as well as their fathers fighting the corrupt system. Entertaining and a little frightening.

 

 

 

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli

Image of itemYour review: This novel is about a family of thieves. The children are all named after species of dogs. We have one family member trying to have honor amongst all the thievery. This author takes us from a death row brother who is weeks away from lethal injectiion to family members doubting their own sanity into the despairing Alzheimers. Un clear as to what the Last Kind Words were im thinking none at all.

 

 

Rate your book: 3 stars

 

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Book jacketYour review: This is Tina Fey’s autobiographical explanation of her rise to stardom and co-producer of the comedy/drama series blockbuster 30 Rock. Fey started out as a very shy, awkward girl in Philadelphia who was born to a very driven Greek mom and dad. After college she moved to Chicago and worked for the YMCA. During a trip with a local theater where she also worked, she met her husband and honed her theatrical comic writing and performance skills. This book is a must read. It will make you laugh while at the same time give you a learning tool for any aspiring entrepreneurial  professional.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

The Red Mist by Patricia Cornwall

Image of itemYour review: A typical Scarpetta novel – intrigue, suspense, current and topical, which gets totally wrapped up in the last few chapters! Scarpetta lovers will read about Benson – her husband now, niece Lucy and Lucy’s ex, and the steady and lovable Marino. The setting is a woman’s prison in the outback part of Georgia. A death row inmate is being questioned but previous, seemingly unrelated murders, are inevitable. Good read, typical Scarpetta.

 

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Image of itemYour review: The storyline chronicles the day to day events of Grace Winter, a survivor from the sunken Empress Alexandra in 1914. She has just eloped with her rich banker husband and is taking a voyage on this impressive boat for their honeymoon. She makes it on the last lifeboat before the entire ship sinks but doesn’t know if her husband manages to escape, or not. Day by day, other survivors in the same lifeboat are introduced and the story describes their interactions. Food and water become immediate problems and then the sides of the lifeboat crashes and a gaping hole fills with rushing ocean water. Different personalities are portrayed and under the stress, people react differently until a mutiny is mounted against the seafarer who has been in charge. The book begins – no spoiler alert needed – by telling the reader that Grace Winter, the main character, is 22 years old, is both a newlywed and widow, and on trial for her life. Great read! I read it in a couple of hours and was surprised by many of the background tidbits that were revealed toward the end of the book.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

Glamorous Powers by Susan Howatch

Image of itemYour review: This second book in the series concerns the monk, Jon Darrow. who has an interesting career in the Church of England in the 1940s. His “glamorous powers” include a mystical approach to spiritual direction, as he counsels the monks in his monastery and other Anglican priests. As the book progresses, we learn all about his life before he was a monk, when he was married and the father of two, and further into his life as he approaches his 60th birthday. It’s full of surprises as Howatch weaves in, chapter by chapter, his life and those other characters in the book. The 1st book in the series is Glittering Images, and I would advise to read it first, before this one. I couldn’t book it down and when I had to stop reading because my eyes were tired and it was past midnight, I couldn’t wait to see what developed next!

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

Growing Up by Russell Baker

Image of itemYour review: Growing Up, the Pulitzer Prize winning autobiography by Russell Baker, is the story of Baker’s life growing up in America during the Depression. It’s the story of the challenges of that time and his early years growing up in Virginia, New Jersey, and finally the urban landscape of Baltimore and the family that influenced his early life. I found this story to be poignant, heart warming, funny, and moving. Baker paints portraits of his family that make them leap off the page. It brings the reader back to a time of great struggle and lets you see how everyday families got through adversity with courage and love. This is one of my favorite books.


Rate your book: 5 stars

 

Growing Up by Russell Baker

Your review: Growing Up, the Pulitzer Prize winning autobiography by Russell Baker, is the story of Baker’s life growing up in America during the Depression. It’s the story of the challenges of that time and his early years growing up in Virginia, New Jersey, and finally the urban landscape of Baltimore and the family that influenced his early life. I found this story to be poignant, heart warming, funny, and moving. Baker paints portraits of his family that make them leap off the page. It brings the reader back to a time of great struggle and lets you see how everyday families got through adversity with courage and love. This is one of my favorite books.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

In Revere, In those days by Roland Merullo

Image of itemYour review: This autobiographical story of a young Italian boy who is raised by his grandparents after his parents were killed in a tragic plane crash on a short flight from New York to Boston demonstrates the love and the culture of an ethnic community and how the people interacted to support, nurture and enrich one another every day. Tonio Benedetto is introduced to hockey by his grandfather after the patriarch encounters a hockey buff while he is hospitalized after a mild heart attack. When Tornio goes away to Phillip Exeter Academy and later to Brown University,he realizes more and more how precious his childhood had been and how much his family had given him. Merullo recounts the story beautifully with an appreciation for Italian culture and undertones of gratitude and humor woven throughout.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

The ALCHEMIST by Paolo Coehlo

Image of itemYour review: This delightful book is about a young shepherd who know and loves his sheep. When he learns that a fortune awaits him at the Egyptian pyramids, however, he sells his sheep to begin the journey from Spain to Cairo. He loses all of his possessions to a thief and works diligently for a crystal merchant who has lost his joie de vivre because he never followed his dream. In his travels he meets a beautiful girl and promises himself-and her-that he will return to marry. When he reaches his destination, he marvels at the grandeur of the great edifices and finds that his treasure is buried near a sycamore tree in Spain right near the spot where he slept with his sheep each night! I really enjoyed Coehlo’s tale that showed that we have our treasures with us every step of the way and it’s the events that happen along the way to make our lives rich and beautiful.

Rate your book: 5 stars

 

Golfing with God by Roland Merullo

Image of itemYour review: Our hero is a professional golfer who has died and gone to heaven! He enjoys tee-times with some of the greatest spiritual men and women in history. One day he is given the option to return to earth for a short time to complete some unfinished business. Throughout his stay, we learn about golf and , more importantly, we learn about God’s many faces and trials. The reader will contemplate the hereafter, the concept of reincarnation, and how to be the best version of himself that he can be. Merullo shows us his own interpretation of Jesus and how he wants us to live.

 

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo

Image of itemYour review: This delightful novel will make you laugh and change your life at the same time. Otto travels to South Dakota to settle the estate of his recently deceased parents. His intention was to take his only sister with him. Instead, he is hoodwinked by her to take a friend of hers instead. Over the course of the journey, Otto comes to respect this unusual companion as he learns more and more about himself, the universe, relationships and what is important in life. There are gems of wisdom scattered throughout the book which I truly enjoyed. The ending was a bit anti-climatic I thought.

 

Rate your book: 5 stars

One Summer by  David Baldacci

Image of itemYour review: This is a story of a family suffering through death and loss to reach a new level of understanding and intimacy. That’s it. Not much here. I had read rave reviews about this author and the first few chapers grabbed my attention, but then things seemed to fall flat. I found myself reading to finish and start something new.

Rate your book: 2 stars

 

 

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Image of itemYour review: Another winner by Barbara Kingsolver depicting life and nature in rural Southern Appalachia. The author’s narrative style brings to life the prodigious elements of the human and natural world over the span of one summer. I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful details of the natural world and the character depth that this author created Truly, I could visualize the farms, orchards, birds, trees and wildlife. I would have given 5 stars, but I really did not appreciate the sexual behavior and scenes.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards

Your review: Bio/Autobiography from the 1800’s regarding the life of David Brainerd, a missionary and pastor to Native Americans in Western MA. and Delaware. Using diary entries and personal knowledge, this book reveals an honest soul seeking God, being found by Him and changed, and then serving Him with all of his strength. Written in “old English” in the Puritan style, this short piece will challenge one to move beyond surface religion to a deep, personal relationship with the Eternal God. Definitely worth reading and personal “soul searching”.

Rate your book: 4 stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today's Date

Tuesday, October 21 st, 2014