Week 11 – 2018

Hi All! Greetings from Boston! I’m going to just jump right in. Week 11 covers March 12 – 18. As always, your feedback is encouraged.

Tank Girl: Two Girls One Tank by Alan C. Martin and Brett Parson – I actually bought this as an actual book. It’s Martin & Parson’s Tank Girl Trilogy #1. This is somewhere between a graphic novel and a comic. I love Tank Girl. I have seen the movie a ridiculous number of times. I thought I’d give one of the comics a try. In this, Booga and Barney have “lost” the tank and Tank Girl comes up with a plot to get it back. First they will need money. The tank appears with someone posing as Tank Girl at the controls. If you’re not familiar with these characters, this may seem a little weird. I love the illustrations. The story is goofy and entertaining. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This one took a while for me to really get into. It is really the story of Lucia and the lives around her that she touched in some way. They author has incredible insight as to what it might be like to have a mental illness and what that might feel like from the first person perspective. She also has a really good grasp of what it might feel like to be an immigrant living in America, both legally and illegally, to feel anxious that you might be caught and sent away, that you might never see your loved ones again. There are a lot of different cultures at play in the novel and I also enjoyed that aspect a great deal. The ending is really worth reading the entire novel. I’m giving it 4 stars.

White Houses by Amy Bloom – I received this as an actual book via a Goodreads giveaway. This one was really good. The author used the letters between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok to create a novel about their love affair. Hick, as she was called, lived in the White House as Eleanor’s companion. The only trace left behind of her existence in the White House is the correspondence in the Roosevelt library. She was cropped out of all of the photos and any record of her presence was removed. This was a different era. The president had mistresses and was unable to walk due to polio, but the American public was kept unaware of all of this. They would not have been able to hide these things now with the way the media is. At the same time, people are hopefully more accepting of differences than they were at that time. I thought this was lovely. I definitely recommend it. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris – I received this as an e-bok from the publisher via NetGalley. This was really good. Finn’s girlfriend Layla went missing 12 years ago and now he is about to marry her sister. They are very different people. It’s difficult to compare the relationships, despite the fact that they are sisters. When it seems like Layla may have returned and starts leaving messages for them to find, Finn starts questioning everything. I couldn’t put this down. I really enjoy this author’s books. Things are never quite what they appear and I find it fun to guess what’s really going on. Because they aren’t predictable. It took me quite a while to figure out what was going on in this book, which is how I prefer for it to be. The author has an incredible imagination. I’m giving this 4 stars.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. It is YA fiction about a girl who feels she has lost everything. When her best friend comes to visit during winter break, she is forced to confront reality and what she believes to be true versus what is actually true. This is a really compelling story and I think young people should definitely read it. It shows a girl dealing with loss and grief and in the end she comes to realize that there are people in her life that care for her very much. It also shows the struggle of coping with a parental figure that is severely mentally ill. I definitely recommend this. I’m giving it 4 stars. (It should probably be 5.)

 

And that is it for Week 11. Let me know what you think or if there are any books that you think I should be reading next.

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Week 10 – 2018

It is a really hot day here in Boston. It’s only appropriate that I write a blog post about what I was reading during the dead of winter (March was especially awful this year.). Just kidding. I really wish I was caught up enough to be writing a post about what I read last week. Week 10 covers March 5 – 11. As always, your feedback is encouraged.

Munich by Robert Harris – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. I think this was one of my recommendations. This is one of my favorite authors. This is about the meeting between Chamberlain and Hitler in the hopes that they can avoid another world war. Chamberlain was a pacifist of sorts and was desperately trying to avoid the coming conflict. Ultimately, his failure lead to his replacement by Winston Churchill who was decidedly more aggressive. The book is also centered around the secretaries from both sides who knew each other as teens. One will struggle with the conflict of betraying ones country over doing what they believe to be right. It was really interesting and I really enjoyed it. I felt like I learned something. I’m giving it 4 stars.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. One of my friends loved this. Another hated it. This is one of those creepy books that makes me want to stay out of the woods. But it turns out that nothing is creepier than going to a hen party for someone you haven’t seen in ten years. This character makes some really weird choices and then we have to all pretend to be surprised when something awful happens. But who is orchestrating all of this? Is it the bride? The bride’s creepy clone? Some equally creepy stranger that is breaking into the cabin? This will keep you on the end of your seat until you actually figure out what’s going on. This is a really well plotted psychological thriller. I’m giving it 4 stars.

The Crypt Thief by Mark Pryor – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This is Hugo Marston #2. My mom introduced me to this series. She also pointed out the this one is set in Père Lachaise Cemetery which was on my planned list of places to visit with my aunt in Paris. So obviously that is why I picked this one up. And I definitely recommend this to anyone that is going to visit, or anyone that has already been. It really helps to visualize the action. In this, someone is digging up craves and stealing body parts. Gross, right? Wait until you find out what they are being used for. During the first theft, an American and another tourist with suspected ties to a terrorist, which prompts the ambassador to send Hugo to find out what is really going on. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer – I actually bought this as an actual book. It’s wires and Nerve #1 and it’s part of the Lunar Chronicles. This is a graphic novel. It’s about Iko and her quest to round up all of the rogue wolf hybrid soldiers on Earth and return them to Luna. Cinder fears for her safety and pairs her up with one of her guards despite the fact that Iko is not happy about it. There is a really aggressive soldier on the loose who is rounding up an army to take on Cinder and all of her pals. This sounds really kooky, but I really like these characters and the graphic novel format really works in this case. This is probably considered young adult. But I really enjoyed it and I’m giving it 4 stars.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This was also recommended to me. One friend loved it and another friend hated it. The same friends who had strong opinions about this author’s other book except opposite. The one that loved this hated the other and vice versa. Lo is given the opportunity to write a travel article about a high end cruise liner. Then she sees someone murdered next door. Except there is no one in that cabin. And no one appears to be missing. Did she have too much to drink and imagine the entire thing or is there something else going on here? I enjoyed this. And I didn’t figure it out right away, which is good. I’m also giving this one 4 stars. I’m beginning to question my rating system.

And that is it for Week 10. Let me know what you think or if you have suggestions for what I should try next.

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Week 9 – 2018

As usual, I’ve gotten even further behind. Last weekend I was at the US Open, because a friend called and asked if I wanted to go. The answer to that question is always yes. I had a lovely time. I didn’t get any books read and the blog didn’t get updated and no laundry was done, but I had a most excellent time.

Week 9 covers February 26 – March 4. As always, your feedback is encouraged, even if it’s just to hit the like button. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye – I borrowed this as an actual book from the Boston Public Library. This is a gothic retelling of Jane Eyre. In this, Jane is a bit of a monster or at least that is what she is lead to believe. Instead of humbly accepting the events around her, she rights wrongs and sticks up for the people she cares about. If a little murder happens here and there along the way, well, they had it coming, didn’t they? When the new master of her childhood home moves in and has need of a governess, Jane comes out of hiding (admittedly disguised as a governess) and seeks to discover what her rights are and what exactly was going on all those years ago in her family setting. I liked it. It was an interesting take on the original. The idea that Jane actually gets to defend herself in this version is an interesting concept. I’m giving it 4 stars.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn – I bought this as an actual book. My work friends started a book club and this was the first book that they picked. The wait list was impossibly long so I just bought it. And when I was done, I gave it to my boss and we may never see it again. I swear this author got this idea from Rear Window, the old Alfred Hitchcock movie with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. But the author takes this all to a new level by making the narrator an unreliable witness. A woman, an agorophobe who takes a lot of drugs and drinks a lot, sees one of the neighbors being murdered, except the neighbors insist that the woman doesn’t exist, or at least does not live there. Anna tries to figure out the truth because she thinks she knows what she saw and no one believes her. It will totally suck you right in. I’m giving it 5 stars.

And that is it for Week 9. Let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions as to what I should try next.

 

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Week 8 – 2018

Let’s see how far I can get with this today…. Week 8 covers February 19 – 25. As always, your feedback is encouraged.

The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This one was pretty stunning. The Wilde sisters are being sent to their aunt and uncle’s country home. Their cousin (their only daughter) has been missing for several years. Margot is determined to find out what happened to her cousin. In the present, Jesse is trying to find a house outside of London to make a new life with her family. They are dealing with their own set of issues. I like this type of book that tells a story in the past and one in the present. Both of the story lines are really good and the author successfully draws you into both. I’m giving it 4 stars.

 

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. I honestly don’t remember this one all that well. I think it’s either dystopian or the characters are all witches or something. One character is mad for science and creates a two second time machine. Because he can. I’m pretty sure that they are either trying to destroy the world or to save it. How obscure is that for a description? I’m giving it 3 stars. It was solidly ok. That’s not exactly high praise in my mind.

 

 

The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell – This was an actual book and I have no record of where it came from. It came in the mail. That’s all I’ve got. This was a great story. At times it is very sad. But it draws you in completely. I would have given it a better rating if there wasn’t quite so much religion in this. It’s sort of full of it. But the story is so good that I found myself reading it anyway. Amanda is chaperoning a field trip in New Orleans with her best childhood friends. When one has to leave, Amanda is left in charge of her friend’s daughter. Who is then kidnapped. This also deals with Katrina and surviving the suicide of a loved one and recognizing abuse when it is happening to you (not just to others). This book has some really powerful themes. The story was amazing. I’m giving it 4 stars.

P.S. from Paris by Marc Levy – I borrowed this as an actual book from the BPL. This was actually a really cute book. It caught my eye because of my planned trip to Paris. In this, Mia is an actress looking to take a break from real life and her cheating husband. She goes off to Paris to stay with her friend that owns a restaurant. Paul is an American author and the two meet when a friend makes a profile for Paul on a dating website. The two become friends. My favorite part is when he takes her to the Palais Garnier for a special tour. The famous opera house has been on my to visit list since I found out that there is a mural by Marc Chagall on the ceiling of the theater. This is a light, quick read and I definitely recommend it. I’m giving it 4 stars.

And that’s it for week 8. Let me know what you think or if you have any recommendations.

 

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Week 7 – 2018

In the interest of eventually catching up, I am posting another week. Plus the book I am currently reading has really short chapters and I’m sick of cleaning. Only in my mind are all of these things correlated. Anyway, Week 7 covers February 12 – 18. Feedback, as always, is encouraged, treasured even.

The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore – I actually bought this book and went to the book signing. This is definitely one of my favorite authors. I was a little sad to have missed his latest book signing, but I wasn’t exactly going to put off going to Paris to get a book signed. Anyway… this is Fool #2. I thought this was hilarious. I love this character. I already stated that I love this author. I would definitely recommend reading the first book and then this one. This one mixes the plots of The Merchant of VeniceThe Cask of Amontillado (Edgar Allen Poe) and Othello, but with a lot more jokes and from the perspective of the fool from King Lear. I know you’re intrigued. I’m giving it 5 stars.

The Living Room by Graham Greene – I borrowed this as an audiobook from the Boston Public Library. It is a full cast production of a play. Sometimes these are a little weird. Plays are really visual and in this case, you are relying on the actors’ voices to tell the entire story. I liked this and I thought it was really interesting. It basically examines sin and superstition. The characters block off rooms as someone dies in them. Finally there are no rooms left and they need to either alter their superstitions or move (literally) to another house. I’m giving it 3 stars.

 

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This one was really good. An Internet blogger decides to investigate an old solved murder. She questions what really happened the night that Charles Buhrman was murdered and if the right person is currently in prison. Josie and Lanie are twins and they haven’t spoken in years. Josie even changed her name and never mentioned to her partner that her father was murdered or that she had a sister at all, let alone a twin. When their mother commits suicide, Josie is forced to actually deal with this life that she used to have as well as the fact that she never told anyone in her new life what happened to her family. I don’t normally do a synopsis. Sorry. This was good. The story is compelling. The only thing that I found weird about it was that the mother of the convicted killer and Lanie are both named Melanie. It’s like naming all of your characters Mary and then calling them all by their middle names, which I think only happens in real life, not in stories. I’m just curious why the author chose to do this. I’m giving this 4 stars.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This was a book club pick. I believe it was also on my list of really good novels that aren’t very long. This is another one of those immigrant stories that have become vastly more popular recently. In this, a family moves to Delaware in order to get schooling for their daughter who experienced a traumatic brain incident when she fell off a ladder. She is still her original beautiful self, but her brain isn’t quite where the rest of her remains. The boys in the neighborhood become interested in her and her parents go to extreme lengths in order to keep her safe. This is just part of the story. The neighbors also get to tell all of their unique situations. I’m giving this one 4 stars.

Year One by Nora Roberts – I borrowed this as an actual book from one of my book club friends. I believe she actually won this in a Goodreads giveaway. This is Chronicles of The One #1. This is dystopian fantasy. In this, there is an event that causes the latent magical powers of some of the population to awaken. A global plague takes out most of the population in the meantime, presumably saving the ones with new found powers as well as some people that continue to be normal. As people head west in an attempt to recover some semblance of normalcy, they encounter all manner of challenges along the way until they band together in a community, but are they really ever safe? And what lies in store for the next generation? This was really very good. It is definitely a new genre for the author as well. I’m interested in finding out what happens in the next book. I’m giving it 4 stars.

And again, let me know what you think or if you have any recommendations.

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Week 6 – 2018

Hi All,

Greetings from Boston! I’m just starting to get caught up on sleep after my vacation. My reading pace has been seriously affected by the tiredness. Also, I totally messed up my Week 5 post. It appears as a page instead of a post. That’s how beyond tired I was last week. Anyway, Week 6 covers February 5 – 11. As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated.

The English Wife by Lauren Willig – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. I thought this was pretty great. It’s historical fiction and a mystery at the same time. Annabelle and Bay seem to have everything, but Janie and Anne find Bay stabbed and Annabelle missing during the ball at their new estate. Then it turns out that Annabelle may not be who they thought she was. The novel goes back and forth between their story and Janie’s quest to find out the truth about what happened during the ball and why. I definitely did not have this one figured out in advance. That is probably a spoiler, but I’m leaving it in. I definitely recommend this. I’m giving it 4 stars.

 

Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This was just okay for me. The characters weren’t particularly likable. You already know who the murderer is. It’s more a matter of whether the real murderer will be held accountable and/or whether the accused will be released and also whether the accused might deserve to be punished for their actual crimes. I maybe understand why this was lost in obscurity over time. I’m giving it 3 stars.

 

 

Extraordinary Adventures by Daniel Wallace – I received this as an actual book via a Goodreads giveaway. This was just okay for me. I think it’s because the narrator was so freaking awkward. It’s a good story. Edsel Bronfman wins a contest, a beach vacation for him and a plus one. Bronfman has never been on a date. He endeavors to find a girlfriend to take on vacation before the deadline. It’s awkward. It’s also hard to not watch the car wreck. I am also giving this one 3 stars.

 

 

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. I really liked this thriller. Jake and Alice are asked to join The Pact upon returning from their honeymoon. It seems pretty straightforward at first, but turns out to be a cult. The punishments for not following the rules can be severe. I couldn’t put this down. I had to know if they would disentangle themselves from the pact or if they would end up dead. It was pretty surreal, but we live in a world with Scientologists, so really anything is plausible. I definitely recommend it. I’m giving this 4 stars.

 

And that is it for Week 6. Let me know if you have any suggestions as to what I should read next. I definitely appreciate your feedback.

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Week 4 – 2018

I had better get rolling with this. I’m going to Paris on Monday! Not to rub it in, but I’m super excited and I’m really looking forward to going. So Week 4 (because I’m totally behind, as usual) covers January 22 – 28.

The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. I loved this book. It’s about an American who finds herself in Paris during WW2, married to a Frenchman and struggling to find a way to help her adopted city to win the war and help the people she encounters to survive the war. I sort of fell in love with all of the characters and I couldn’t help but to hope that all of them would survive, or at least that my favorites would make it. I do not want to give away anything. It is a story of love and family and the struggle to fight adversity and survival. I thought it was well written and the character development was exactly what it should be. I definitely recommend this. I’m giving it 5 stars.

The Waking Land by Callie Bates – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is The Waking Land #1. This was pretty good. Elanna has a way with plants and other living things and magic powers that she must keep hidden in order to protect her life. When the king, who is holding her hostage, is murdered, she needs to run. Because her enemies are trying to cover their misdeeds by framing her. It goes from there. They flee, are pursued, captured, freed, escaped, jailed, etc. It’s quite a riveting story. If you like fantasy, this may be just the thing for you. I’m giving it 4 stars.

 

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. This was a book club pick. I believe that I actually suggested this one. The thing that I like best about this is that it’s sort of a memoir but also not. She writes about her early life and how transient her family was but then she talks about all of the different people she ended up meeting as a result of the path her career took and why it was possible for her to be so adaptable. She doesn’t drive, but she manages to go anywhere she likes because she figures it out. I also found it sort of stunning that she wasn’t that comfortable with public speaking. She’s basically an activist for civil rights, not just for women, but people from different cultures and backgrounds and genders. This definitely gets my recommendation. I’m giving it 5 stars.

And that’s it for Week 4. I need to go do some laundry, but I may (hopefully) be back later. Let me know what you think or if you have any recommendations.

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