Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

My rating: 4.9

While flying a plane from Paris to England, American Pilot Rose Justice is forced by the Nazis to land her unarmed plane.  What ensues is a vivid gripping account of her time in the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp.


I loved the first book Code Name Verity and I think, if possible, this may have been even better (yes, I know others disagree with that and I even waffle with which one I loved more). You don't have to read them in order as they work as stand alones. It is graphic and uncomfortable but such an amazing read. While the characters were fiction, the events were real...oh so horrifically real. This one will stay with me for quite a while. Definite recommend.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

My rating: 5.0

Pino Lella is a normal Italian teenager, obsessed with music, food and girls when WWII breaks out. This is based on the amazing true story of Pino Lella who is still alive and well today living in Lesa Italy.


If you like historical fiction or if you loved All The Light You Cannot See, The Nightingale or Unbroken or are just a fan of great writing, then you need to read this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed and have already gotten several friends to read it and they feel the same way. I am sure this will be made into a movie. Definitely makes my 'Best of 2017' list! 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bookmarks Magazine

It is Saturday and in my mailbox I discovered my latest edition of Bookmarks magazine. Nothing is as delicious as getting my Bookmarks and having time to delve into it right away.

On first pass, these are the books that have jumped out at me and I will be adding to my queue:

      


  

These are already in my queue and now I am really anxious for them to come in on my library hold list...well, except Into The Water which got a poor review but I will still give it a try:

      

There were quite a few 'short story' compilations that I am sure others would love but I have learned that 99% of short stories don't appeal to me

If you get Bookmarks, please share any of your picks that I missed. Happy reading!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Secrets You Keep by Kate White

My rating: 2.8

Bryn was in a car accident and has amnesia. She is trying to piece together what happened and her wonderful supportive husband Guy suddenly seems to lose patience with her. Is he tired of her fragility or is he doing things behind her back? Then a woman who caters their party is murdered. From there, things unraveled very quickly for me.


What should have been a page turning fast paced thriller was a slog that was difficult to get through and turned out to be extremely predictable and boring. I waffled between 2 and 3 stars.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

My rating: 3.0


Ann is Wade's second wife.  Ann attempts to piece together what happened to Jenny, Wade's first wife who is now in prison. This is told in alternating perspectives at it flashes back to what happened when Jenny, Wade and their two girls went out to chop wood.



While the writing was beautiful, I had such a difficult time connecting with any of the characters. Both Jenny and Ann have such extreme psychological issues that I not only didn't like them but I didn't trust their perspective at all. It started out fairly well but quickly went downhill. As another reviewer said, the characters were so bizarre and unrealistic it felt like you fell down the rabbit hole. Not one relate-able character makes it difficult to enjoy.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

An Unseen World by Liz Moore

My rating: 3.7

Ada is raised by her father David. David is a brilliant, socially inept single father who runs a science lab and home schools Ada.


For myself, while this wasn't a must read, it was a very intriguing read for the first half but the second half dragged. I thought it was a fairly solid read overall and have to admire Moore's writing and deft handling of this topic.


Monday, June 5, 2017

The Dry by Jane Harper

My Rating: 4.7

Federal Police Investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra Australia for the funeral of his childhood friend Luke.  This resurfaces memories for Aaron of 20 years ago when, in high school, he was accused of the murder of Ellie, and Luke was his alibi. The investigation of Luke's murder overlaps with the past and everything unfolds.


A very well written mystery that flashes back and forth in time and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.

Friday, June 2, 2017

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

My rating: 4.4

Madeline/Mattie, also knows as Linda, lives in the Minnesota woods in abandoned commune cabins with her parents. For this, she is an outsider at school who is labeled as 'Freak' or 'Commie'.  A teacher at school is charged with child pornography as well as something that may or may not have happened with a student. Linda becomes the babysitter for the Gardner family across the lake who are devout Christian Scientists.


This book is disjointed as it is how a teenager thinks. Linda is trying to fit in and yet isn't quite sure what is ok and is trying to absorb and figure out clues of how to act with everything around her.  We all have those odd moments from our childhood that stand out (I think that was what Mr Grierson was for Linda) and other moments that define you and even set the course for your life.

This may not be for everyone but, for myself, I had to just read and enjoy without trying to figure out where this was going. I got lost in the beautiful writing. Wow. Such beautiful readable writing had me so enamored that I didn't realize what was looming. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

My rating: 2.0

Tate moves in with her brother who's apartment is across the hall from Miles. Miles doesn't want love and she doesn't have time for love so they embark on a casual affair.


This was a Harlequin Romance with better developed characters and slightly better writing.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Before I Go by Colleen Oakley

My rating: 2.0

On the eve of celebrating her four year cancerversary, Daisy gets diagnosed for the second time with cancer and, this time it is terminal. Daisy makes it her mission to find a new wife for her husband.


 I liked the characters, the writing was ok but I didn't care for the plot line.  It was cheezy and completely implausible so it lost me. This implausible plotline that I couldn't connect with then made me notice the writing which felt very formula. This went from an interesting story line to so boring. I really enjoyed Oakley's novel "Close Enough To Touch" so found this very disappointing. Glad that this was written prior to Close Enough To Touch as that says Oakley's writing is improving as are her plot lines so, I hold out hope she may have more books to come that will continue to be solid.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Black & White by Dani Shapiro

My Rating: 4.6

Clara returns to New York to see her ailing mother, the controversial photographer Ruth Dunne who became famous through her discomforting nude photos of young Clara. This is uncomfortable and captures so many levels of emotion. Definitely not a plot driven book. I found that it evoked so many emotions in me for Clara and her situation, both as a child and an adult.


I really enjoyed Shapiro's writing style of leaving sentences unfinished and somehow conveying the emotions with even more punch. This is not for everyone but I enjoyed it.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Private Life of Mrs. Sharma

My rating: 4.5

Mrs Sharma is a 37 yo woman who's husband works in Delhi to provide the family with a better life. She lives with her in-laws along with her 15 yo son Bobbie who has dreams of becoming a chef despite his mother's dreams of something grander for him.


This first person narrative captured me and despite the continued gradual twisted twists in her thinking I continued along with it as it almost seemed as natural to me as it was to her (ok, not quite but, I still enjoyed the journey).  This captures Indian culture and I loved her voice. I believe that this captures many Mrs. Sharma's although hopefully without the twist.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir

My rating: 4.9

This is my second Alison Weir book and I am so in love with her writing. This starts from when Elizabeth is three years old and progresses into her early adult years. You really feel like you know and understand her and your heart goes out to her and you admire her for all of the situations she has to face at such a young age and handles with dignity.

Fabulous writing combined with so much true drama that it doesn't need embellishment. WONDERFUL!  I can't wait to read the next in this series.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Close Enough To Touch by Colleen Oakley

My rating: 4.9

Jubilee, is allergic to human touch...yes, she could die from simply being touched by another person. She has a humiliating near fatal accident in high school and becomes an unplanned recluse in her home...for nine years! When her mother dies and she needs to be financially independent, she is thrust back out in to the world to fend for herself.


This took a couple of chapters to grab me but, then it did.  All of the characters grew on me with every turn of the page where I was cheering for each of them.  Eric, Aja, Madison, Ellie and most especially Jubilee where all flawed characters that I fell in love with and wanted so much for and had me rooting for them. I drew comparisons to JoJoy Moyes writing when I was telling my friends about this...before I read the descriptions. It is a fun fast read that will capture your heart and stay with you.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Separation by Katie Kitamura

My rating: 3.8

Christopher and his wife agree to separate but to not tell anyone. Then his wife gets a phone call from Christopher's mother inquiring into his whereabouts. Writing about the painful end of a marriage is so difficult and, this captures it so beautifully.  The eloquence and depth of emotion is so beautiful. There is not doubt that Kitamura is an incredible writer capable of capturing so much. I can't emphasize enough how beautiful the writing is...and can understand the comparisons to Elena Ferrante...yes, it is that gorgeous of phrasing.




I also completely understand that this was 'too much'.  It was every single thought articulated to the point of being boring. It is also an extremely depressing topic that there is no 'happy ending' to but, for me, Kitamura's beautiful writing still shone through. This was difficult for me to rate as, even though this wasn't a 'readable' novel it captured so much and was amazing in it's writing. Definitely not one for the masses though.