Friday, February 16, 2018

Deep Freeze (Virgil Flowers, #10)Deep Freeze by John Sandford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not a murder mystery, more a how to find a killer. John Sandford stories are filled with memorable characters doing interesting things. Even the crime is interesting. I love the fact that the same old character can give me new and interesting plot lines and stories. This book is a real page turner and hard to put down.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisHillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not a favorite of mine, a bit disjointed and repetitious. It does illuminate the mores of a large segment of our population. A whole group of Americans who do not really share in the American dream. Although not surprising, this book does shine a bright life on the hillbilly ethics and lifestyle.
Incredible that this group has found a voice in the white house.

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Manhattan BeachManhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is right in my wheelhouse. The subject, style and plot were totally what I like. Enjoyed the read and even looked at maps and researched some of the locations because I felt like I was there. Wonder how people lived in NYC during the war, this is a book for you.
This story unfolds beautifully. Egan is a master storyteller. Characters come alive and you can imagine their breath and smell. I love her style. No friends of mine are saying, why only 4 stars? I hated the ending. I wish she would continue the story. The characters are too interesting to drop. Please, write a sequel, and then four more...... when the little gent becomes nightclub owner?

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

The WidowThe Widow by Fiona Barton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quite a book, great story, well told. Ms Barton is a master story teller bringing all the pieces together in a smart well constructed story. I must say I had figured it out but the end was well done. Hard to put down. The characters were well developed and kept the reader in the story 'til the end. No spoilers here because this is a book club book that I get to discuss with friends next week.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

A Replacement LifeA Replacement Life by Boris Fishman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book club selection that I plodded through. I thought I hated it but in truth, I just hated the characters. That must give it points because after the book club meet I saw the value of the story and the author's clever tools, duh.... the characters.

Beautifully written, sometimes seeming like poetry. Certainly worth the read and I might zip through it again to see what I missed not liking it.

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Unbound (Stone Barrington #44)Unbound by Stuart Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As always, Stuart Woods gives me a giggle and a pleasure. I love his books. The characters are just real enough to enjoy and just fanciful enough to be fun. The plot is convoluted and the ending is just what I expected. I so enjoy these books. They are just plain fun to read.

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Monday, January 8, 2018

The Midnight Line (Jack Reacher, #22)The Midnight Line by Lee Child
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lee Child has outdone himself with this book. Not only is it a clever and well constructed story but... it helps one to understand some of the intricacies of our current drug crisis. His commentary and treatment of the subject is excellent and woven into a great story. This is a must read and could be a stand alone.

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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Books Read, 2017

1.     The World Beneath (Joe Tesla #1) - Rebecca Cantrell
2.     A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles
3.     Norwegian by Night - Derek B. Miller
4.     Deep Blue - Alan Judd
5.     Below the Belt (Stone Barrington #40) - Stuart Woods
6.     The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto - Mitch Albom
7.     The Man From Berlin (Gregor Reinhardt #1) - Luke McCallin
8.     One Man’s Flag (Jack McColl #2) - David Downing
9.     The Traitor’s Wife - Allison Pataki
10. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk - Kathleen Rooney
11. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jami Ford
12. Fast and Loose (Stone Barrington #41)  - Stuart Woods
13. We Never Asked for Wings - Vanessa Diffenbaugh
14. Prussian Blue (Bernie Gunther, #12) - Kerr, Philip
15. Golden Prey (Lucas Davenport #27) - John Sandford
16. Nighthawk (NUMA Files, #14) - Clive Cussler
17. The Tea Planter's Wife- Dinah Jefferies
18. Indecent Exposure (Stone Barrington #42) - Stuart Woods
19. Nutshell - Ian McEwan
20.  House of Spies (Gabriel Allon #17) - Daniel Silva
21. Barely Legal (Herbie Fisher #1)  - Stuart Woods
22. Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
23. The Late Show - Michael Connelly (Renée Ballard, #1)
24. The Martian Ambassador - Alan K. Baker
25. Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders (unfinished)
26. The Cuban Affair - Nelson DeMille
27. The Extra - A.B. Yehoshua
28. Commonwealth - Ann Patchett
29. Enchanted Islands - Allison Amend
30. The Romanov Ransom - Clive Cussler
31. Everyone Brave is Forgiven - Chris Cleave
32. Waking Lions - Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
33. Quick and Dirty - Stuart Woods (Stone Barrington #43)
34. Secrets of a Charmed Life - Susan Meissner

Favorites were A Gentleman In Moscow and Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Secrets of a Charmed LifeSecrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book club book that I wanted to love. The story was interesting and engaging but I was somewhat unconvinced. A bit far fetched and stretched. Characters were interesting and seemed full and rich but I had a little trouble buying the story.
What I did like was seeing the lives of children who were removed from their homes. The image of London devoid of children gave to me another dimension to the blitz. Thanks Susan, as I write this review I'm going to add a star for what I learned about the blitz from a new angle.
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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Quick & Dirty (Stone Barrington, #43)Quick & Dirty by Stuart Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stuart Woods always pleases me. His stories are fast paced and inventive. The characters are a mixture of old favorites and new faces. The plot is intricate, fanciful and fun. I love this guy. He might be my favorite author.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Waking LionsWaking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another book club book. Hard to read, uncomfortable story. I guess it takes me out of my comfort zone and exposes several human frailties that we may all have and not know how to deal with. What if we were faced with a life changing event and choose to lie and cheat to stay out of trouble.
Honesty may or may not be the easy way out and the punishment might be extreme. Quite a powerful examination of ethics from an odd point of view.

Hated reading it but I'm glad that I did. The book club discussion was stimulating and cast a whole new light on the book. That's what a discussion is for, right?

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Everyone Brave is ForgivenEveryone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book. Its my kind of story and it is set in a time I like to read about. In the end I fell in love with it but the courtship was a little long. Don't take the story lightly, its about war and the things it does to those who live through it. Its clear that the Blitz was war and the people of London were among the soldiers and they suffered beyond our imagination. This is the backdrop for an unlikely look at Britain and British society before and during the war and a complicated love story.
I found the writing beautiful and the characters, for the most part, rich and complex. The conflicts are remarkably clear but often unstated. I guess the author considers us smart enough to figure things out. The resolutions are also complex and leave one to think about what it must have been like during those harrowing three years. I also wonder how people managed to put their lives back in place.... but they did.

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