Monday, December 26, 2016

Redemption Road by John Hart

My rating: 4.9

Ex-con and former cop Adrian Wall who is to be released from prison after thirteen years. On the same day, fourteen year old Gideon Strange, the victim's son, is determined to kill Wall in retribution for murdering his mother. Thirteen year veteran cop Elizabeth Black is the common thread between all of the characters.

The storyline of this book is quite far fetched at times and yet the writing and character development were so rich, I couldn't get enough. I love when there isn't simply a protagonist and an antagonist but, a lot of well developed characters (without being overwhelming) that we come to know and understand their back story and how they became who they are.  Hart does an amazing job of character development that I was sad when this story ended. I will definitely be reading more by him.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

My rating: 1.0

Maybe I have worked with too many battered wives and understand domestic abuse too well that it made me critical of this book.  No one is all good or all bad and, they definitely don't 'flip a switch' going from beyond belief good to being all bad. It doesn't happen like that. There was so much about this book that I found completely inplausible.

From the very first page, I could see what was going to happen and I hate predictable books. If that wasn't enough, I felt that the characters were very flat and had very little dimension to them.  Definitely not a book I would recommend to anyone as there are so many books in this genre that do it better.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Daughters of Paletine Hill by Phyllis T. Smith

My rating: 5.0

After Emperor Augustus defeats Marc Antony and Cleopatra he returns to Rome bringing their daughter Selene as a companion to his daughter Julia. Augustus' wife Livia is a devoted wife who understands the politics and needs of the country and tempers her husband.  This book is told in varying chapters by Julia, Selene and Livia covering arranged marriages, affairs, family loyalty and so much more.

Wow!  Who knew reading about Ancient Rome could be so delicious. I could not get enough of this book.  It was like a guilty soap opera as it unfolded seeing who was marrying

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Bookmarks Magazine Jan/Feb 2017

"Another long day at work" + "Bookmarks Magazine in my mailbox" = All is right with the world!

I was happy to stay up late combing through the latest magazine. I always research the books on Goodreads and this month decided to ignore many of the Bookmarks recommendations including Swing Time but, even though it wasn't in this issue, reviews on that book got me to put this book into my queue:

My newest guilty pleasure is Crime/Thrillers:

My literary picks are.

I am not sure how all of these were already in my queue (from a previous issue?):

Let me know either your picks that I missed from this month's magazine or any great books you have read lately.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

My rating: 5.0

The Editor-In-Chief of Elle magazine is the victim of a rare stroke that leaves him with only his mind and his left eye functioning. This book was written, one letter at a time, by him blinking. If that isn't amazing enough, the prose, humor and grace of this incredible man telling his story is phenomenal.

I couldn't image being in his position let alone having joy, laughter and wit about his circumstances. It left me incredulous at his amazing spirit.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kisscut by Karin Slaughter

My rating: 4.5

Kisscut is the 2nd in the Grant County Series. It quickly progresses from the opening scene of high school kids at a skating rink to Jenny, a high school girl, threatening a high school boy with a gun and has a horrible ending. This sets in motion a complex investigation into the youth of Grand County with every twist and turn leading to an even darker horrid place.

As with other Slaughter novels, the writing is horrifically graphic at times and always beautiful. Since this deals with child pornography and abuse, it was particularly uncomfortable 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Confabulist by Steven Galloway

My rating: 2.0

This is the life of Harry Houdini - as well as the reveal behind each of his tricks. He tells of Houdini's magic (and how he did each trick) as well as his marriage and possibly his exploits as an international spy.

I loved Galloway's The Cellist of Sarajevo novel but found that this novel just didn't capture me. This was fiction but was written as non-fiction. Unless you are interested in the magic behind the tricks, I don't think this book had much to offer.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

My rating: 3.5

A coming of age, love story between two quirky boys. Ari (Aritstotle) is a young Mexican-American boy with few social attachments, dealing with his distant war-haunted father, his parents who refuse to talk about why his older brother is in jail and other secrets. Dante is a wise cracking boy with loving parents who has a unique perspective on the world.  When Dante & Ari meet at the local swimming pool, they gradually discover they have more in common than just being loners.

 I think listening to this on audio helped negate the "cheeziness" that others complained about as it came across more poetic. I struggled with how to rate this as I enjoyed so much of this book (especially the portrayal of the parents and the capturing of 'family') but the main characters vascillated between feeling too mature or too immature and the inconsistency was a bit irritating. All in all, I did enjoy it.