WarEagle78 dives into 2015

Snak100 Books in 2015 Challenge

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WarEagle78 dives into 2015

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Redigeret: dec 7, 2015, 5:35pm

7Okay, I only made it to 88 in 2014 but I think I will make 100 this year. My plans are :

100 books read in year

1. Thunderhead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs
2. Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Tóibín
3. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
4. The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
5. The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar
6. For All Time by Jude Deveraux
7. China Dolls by Lisa See
8. Some Luck by Jane Smiley
9. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
10. Sphere by Michael Crichton
11. Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge

12. Silent Partner by Jonathan Kellerman
13. The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank
14. The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
15. Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt
16. Gap Year by Sarah Bird
17. The King's Curse by Phillippa Gregory
18. The Web by Jonathan Kellerman
19. Noah's Wife by T. K. Thorne
20. Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
21. The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
22. Eden in Winter by Richard North Patterson
23. The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
24. Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
25. The Escape by David Baldacci (Bingo #19 - recommended)
26. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

27. The Forgetting Tree by Tatjana Soli
28. Sonoma Rose by Jennifer Chiaverini
29. The Arsonist by Sue Miller
30. Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick
31. Charlotte Temple by Susanna Rowson (Bingo #22 - before 1850)
32. What is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman
33. Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose
34. Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian
35. There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me by Brooke Shields

36. Gray Mountain by John Grisham
37. The Look of Love by Sarah Jio
38. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
39. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
40. Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah (Bingo #7 - African author)
41. Violets in March by Sarah Jio
42. Morning Glory by Sarah Jio
43. A Season for Martyrs by Bina Shah (Bingo #11 - Middle Eastern author)

44. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (Bingo #23 - written this year)
45. Angels at the Gate by T. K. Thorne
46. Come to the Table by Neta Jackson
47. The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio
48. Four Friends by Robyn Carr
49. Orchard House: A Memoir by Tara Austen Weaver
50. Divergent by Veronica Roth
51. A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker (in progress)
50. Divergent by Veronica Roth
51. A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker
52. Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris
53. Miracle at Augusta by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge
54. Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

55. Love's Winning Plays by Inman Majors
56. The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
57. Deadline by John Sandford
58. We'll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark
59. Diamond Spur by Diana Palmer
60. 2nd Chance by James Patterson and Andrew Gross
61. The Martian by Andy Weir (Bingo #17 - Sci-Fi)
62. The Cavendon Women by Barbara Taylor Bradford
63. The Memory House: A Honey Ridge Novel by Linda Goodnight
64. The Moment of Everything by Shelly King

65. In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar
66. Vanessa and Her Sister: A Novel by Priya Parmar
67. An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
68. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
69. The Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels
70. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
71. The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly
72. Serena: A Novel by Ron Rash
73. First Family by David Baldacci
74. Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer
75. In Between Days by Andrew Porter
76. Valley of Ashes by Cornelia Read

77. At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
78. Secret of a Thousand Beauties by Mingmei Yip
79. The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell by William Klaber (Bingo #5 GLBTQUI)
80. Weightless by Sarah Bannan
81. The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar {Bingo #6: Asian author)
82. The Road Home by Rose Tremain (Bingo #15: Orange)
83. Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney

84. The Submission by Amy Waldman
85. Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by Kristen Iversen
86. Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
87. Gathering Prey by John Sandford
88. Grace Keepers by Kirsty Logan
89. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

90. Last One Home by Debbie Macomber
91. The Color of Light by Emilie Richards
92. Hope to Die by James Patterson
93. The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand
94. The Go-Getter by Peter B. Kyne
95. Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus
96. The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati
97. The President's Shadow by Brad Meltzer
98. Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius

99. The Girls of Michief Bay by Susan Mallery
100. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini

Twelve BookCrossing books
1. Thunderhead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs
2. Charlotte Temple by Susanna Rowson
3. We'll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark
4. Diamond Spur by Diana Palmer
5. 2nd Chance by James Patterson and Andrew Gross

Twelve non-fiction books
1. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
2. Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge
3. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron
4. There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me by Brooke Shields
5. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
6. Orchard House: A Memoir by Tara Austen Weaver
7. Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney
8. Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by Kristen Iversen
9. The Go-Getter by Peter B. Kyne
10. Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus
11. Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius

Take notes as I read
Tally and review in timely manner
Consolidate my various wish lists

I gave up on Bingo...

Happy reading, everyone!

Redigeret: jan 5, 2015, 1:13am

My first book for 2015 was Thunderhead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs. 3*

Redigeret: jan 5, 2015, 1:14am

Now a very brief summary of my 2014 reading.

My top book of the year was Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

The most haunting was Leaving Time by Jody Picoult. Wasn't that crazy about the storyline but the elephant images still remain vivid.

The book that made me the most angry in 2014 was Cycle of Lies by Juliet Macur. I loved Lance Armstrong and his victories in the Tour and like a gullible child I believed his every denial. Grr.

Finally, the book that had the most impact on me in 2014 was easily Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. It forced me to face several bad habits and take control over issues I preferred to ignore.

Here's to finding more books that make an impact in 2015!

jan 5, 2015, 5:05pm

2. Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Tóibín

A beautifully written story of Eilis, a bright young Irish woman. Set in the late 40's, early 1950's, Eilis is studying bookkeeping but unable to find work. Her older sister Rose manages her immigration to American as the story opens. The author takes us deftly into the mind and spirit of the young girl, traveling alone in third class, settling into a boarding house, finding her first work. Her homesickness is artfully developed, as is her recovery and blossoming into a new life. Her first days in Ireland on a visit after Rose's death are also beautifully crafted, and when the lure of home is set against her new life in Brooklyn, the reader is drawn in the fight for Eilis' heart and loyalty.

This is a graceful story, nothing overstated, nothing dramatic, but a pure glimpse into the heart and mind of a young woman in particular circumstances at a particular time. Recommended.

jan 7, 2015, 12:49am

Oh, Brooklyn is great, there's a movie adaptation coming out this year: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2381111/

Welcome back for 2015!

Redigeret: feb 9, 2015, 1:42am

3. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

I picked this book up on a random stroll through the new non-fiction books at my local library. I had not heard of the book, and frankly was expecting a fairly excited bit of environmental hand-waving. What I got was something completely different.

Kolbert brings a clear head and eye to today's world. Looking at the juxtaposition of geologic history and past extinction events, she walks the reader through the whys and ways that we are losing a frightening number of species from the earth, and quickly. Is it global warming and pollution? Well, somewhat. However in many instances extinctions come simply because we have become a more mobile society. A fungus common in some parts of the world and on some amphibians travels with people and agriculture to another area of the world, and tropical frogs disappear. Ocean temperature and oxygenation variations change dramatically the ability of certain animals to survive, of shells to form and stay strong. According to the author, changes caused by mobility, combustion of fossil fuels, pollution, deforestation etc are moving the world towards an extinction event similar to the five previous ones in geologic history - at a rate slower than a meteorite hitting the earth but thousands of times faster than geologic change alone, and at a rate too quick for species to evolve.

I found her work fascinating and varied, covering a wide variety of ecosystems and events/causes. The New York Times listed this as one of their best books for 2014, and I understand why. Recommended.

jan 7, 2015, 3:53pm

I re-read Dave Ramsey every year, just to keep myself gazelle-intense.

Great review of The Sixth Extinction. I want to read that!

jan 8, 2015, 2:18am

4. The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

Grabbed this one off the sharing library shelf at my local coffee shop while waiting on my lunch, and finished it before the evening was over. An engaging read.

Anne is engaged but wondering if she's missing the passion her best friend Kitty always talks about. So Anne and Kitty take their new nursing degrees and join the Army Nurse Corps in Bora Bora during WWII. The island is beautifully described, and the characters realistic. Kitty, the romantic, finds herself hotly pursued but Anne finds a soldier who captures her very heart in a little Gauguin bungalow. As their enlistment period expires, the group splits up and Anne seems to lose both her love and her best friend forever.

Anne captured my heart in this story and I rooted for her with every turn of the page.

Not great literature, but enjoyable. Recommended.

Redigeret: maj 23, 2015, 11:30am

5. The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar

The story of Araceli, a Mexican housekeeper for a Orange County family, who finds herself in an untenable situation when the nanny is fired and the parents abandon her for several days with two young boys. The abandonment was not intentional - each parent thought the other was at home - and when they return to find Araceli and the boys gone, self-protection wars with fairness as they watch Araceli arrested for kidnapping.

The book deftly contrasts the two cultures - the immigrant Mexican community and the wealthier "Anglo" community - although in a side twist not deeply explored, the father is also of Mexican descent. The story also is a study of the American family. With high standards and goals for their children, a home too large to maintain without help, the expectations of the Torres-Thompson family are being battered by poor investments and an unfulfilling job for Scott. The book also moves into the treatment of illegals in the California judicial system, and the racism found in some groups in the region.

But did I enjoy it? Mostly yes. Araceli is an unusual character, artistic, wary and insightful into her observations of southern California life. The older son Brandon was fascinating as the imagination of the well-read boy was piqued by his journey through Los Angeles with Araceli. Recommended.

jan 16, 2015, 12:20am

6. For All Time by Jude Deveraux

Deveraux is usually just the thing for a quick romance read and I've enjoyed many of her books over the years. This was not one of them. The start was right down the expected, pleasurable, path - a bridesmaid in a snit at a groomsman at an upscale Nantucket wedding. But before you know it, the story becomes outlandish. Wait, the groomsman is secret royalty? He has a twin brother who can take his place? The house across the street is haunted? TIME TRAVEL? Are you kidding me? To me it was more of a farce than anything else, and kept my eyes rolling despite how much I liked the heroine and how lovely the description of the clothes were. No no no no no no no.

jan 16, 2015, 12:28am

7. China Dolls by Lisa See

Zipping through my latest haul from the library, I found this gem. The story is centered on three Asian-American young women in pre-World War II San Fransisco. They all have different stories - Helen is the daughter in a wealthy Chinatown family, Grace has fled to SF to escape an abusive father, and Ruby is hiding her background. They bond and make it dancing in the pre-war Chinese nightclub Forbidden City. The story follows them until shortly after the end of World War II. The nightclub life and performing life were entertaining, but what makes the story is the will of these women. The story takes us through racism, poverty, friendship, deceit and love in a renewing journey. Recommended.

jan 25, 2015, 4:37am

8. Some Luck by Jane Smiley

The first in an upcoming trilogy, Some Luck takes us back to the Iowa farm life Smiley has inhabited in her past works, including her A Thousand Acres that I read in 2014. But while A Thousand Acres follows a family that begins normally and veers into pathology, the family in Some Luck is far less dysfunctional. The Langdons of this story are normal, hardworking, respected. Although the oldest son leaves the farm for college and life beyond, they live the life expected in the community, and Smiley documents it well. Like the osage orange hedge near the barn, life is strong, thorny and inconvenient but has its strengths and charms. The book uses the convention of one chapter for a year, which provides a pace and structure that moves steadily.

What I found most puzzling in Some Luck was the lack of emotion the author shares. Beyond laconic, she steps back from any scene where passions might flare and tells them as a recounted memory, or some other device. For example, when a young woman begs her neighbor to love her and marry her instead of her older sister, the scene is recounted through the dispassionate point of view of a young girl who listened from the hallway. The roaring emotion from A Thousand Acres is nowhere to be seen. I missed it.

jan 25, 2015, 4:41am

9. The Burgess Brothers by Elizabeth Strout

Another disfunctional family read, based in Maine and New York City. The life of a brother and his younger twin brother and sister are contrasted to the struggles of immigrant Somali in the small Maine town of Shirley Falls when the sister's son tosses a pig's head into a mosque.

jan 31, 2015, 2:33pm

10. Sphere by Michael Crichton
11. Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge

Nothing much to say about #11.

I'm amazed that I either never read or can't recall Sphere, it's been around the house for years in Mount TBR. It was typical Crichton - a science-based thriller, with enough science to make the implausible, perhaps plausible. This one involved a ship that time-travelled through a black hole, and mismanaged its return, arriving in a different time. I enjoy Crichton, just let myself go along for the ride.

feb 4, 2015, 2:34am

12. Silent Partner by Jonathan Kellerman
13. The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank

Silent Partner was early Alex Delaware, enjoyed as I usually do.

The Hurricane Sisters was fun, great quirky Southern characters set in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Three generations of family, a mother who works for a woman's shelter, a daughter venturing into a dominated relationship, a grandmother who can't let go of the perfection of her dead daughter -- Charleston drama, well written, thoroughly enjoyed.

Redigeret: feb 4, 2015, 2:53am

Must add that I'm jumping up and down today at the prospect of another novel by Harper Lee! Scout (from To Kill a Mockingbird) as an adult, cannot wait to read.

feb 4, 2015, 1:25pm

I used to the love the Alex Delaware books. Is he still writing them?

feb 5, 2015, 9:43pm

Love all of Dorothea Benton Frank's books, most set in the south.

feb 7, 2015, 2:14pm

>17 jfetting: jfetting, Alex Delaware books are still churning out regularly, a new one is due out this month, in fact. I don't search them out any longer, but I'll usually pick one up at the library when I see it.

Redigeret: feb 7, 2015, 2:37pm

14. The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg

I don't know if I have the insight to review this one adequately, but it was a thoughtful story. The Middlesteins are a family of Chicago Jews, and Edie, the mother, is fat. The story opens with an illustration of her mother using food to show love, and throughout her life Edie - a smart, formerly attractive lawyer - shovels food in her mouth to feed her emotional needs far more than her body. Edie's obsession with food is the theme of the story, and how it effects her husband, her daughter, her son and his family is the story itself. The author shows the Edie's love story for her food with wonderful descriptive paragraphs. The wreckage of her family is inevitable when the mother is eternally obsessed with something other than her family, and that is explored in depth.

The story is told from multiple points of view - all of the immediate family members, occasionally the daughter-in-law, and one chapter from a generalized eye of long-time family friends. The timeline of the story veers between memory and present and it takes a bit of alertness on the part of the reader to figure out where the author is, but not so much as to be annoying.

As someone who is an emotional over-eater, the story was sobering and painful. Who is that person who sneaks food at night, who eats a multi-course Chinese dinner virtually by herself? Who is the woman who eats with such fervor and intensity that it is painful for others to watch? Who blithely ignores diabetes, legs becoming unusable, multiple surgeries, and keeps the food addictions intact? In the final analysis, who prefers the love of food to the love of people? Edie is a strong and good woman at her heart, loves helping others and cares about those who see the woman rather than the 350 pounds of fat. In the end, is it enough?

feb 7, 2015, 5:37pm

Nice review of The Middlesteins. Loved the character of Edie, with all her faults and problems, she remained true to herself.

feb 16, 2015, 3:25am

15. Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt

This book came recommended but I was not as impressed as some others had been. The story has strong women, eccentric characters and the plot moves along, and those things I liked as I always do. However, as a Southern woman (Southern U.S.) I found the book to play upon many of the worst characterizations* of our region in a way that I have not personally found to be true. While not descendent of a wealthy Southern landowning family claiming descent from a Confederate general, I live close enough to that world to say that I don't see the Confederacy worship, genteel yet gothic darkness, and not even quite the keeping-face hypocrisy that the book celebrates. With the story primarily set in the 1960's, I'll admit that I'm a bit young to be an expert on that time, but still it read more like a celebration of stereotype than anything else. However I admit it was entertaining.

*I have to add that the worst characterization of the South, that of racism, was not present here. In fact the key family had an accepted interracial sort-of couple.

Hard for me to recommend but others might enjoy.

Redigeret: aug 29, 2015, 2:50pm

16. The Gap Year by Sarah Bird

What a wonderful book. Single mom Cam is urgently holding it all together during daughter Aubrey's senior year of high school. With the prospect of college and future physical separation breathing down her neck, it's escaping her attention that her once-close relationship with her daughter is unraveling. Aubrey, on the other hand, is growing out of her band-geek persona and develops a friendship with the captain of the football team that she is wants to hide from her mother. As a reader you want to shake them both before locking them in a room together with instructions to talk it out, but that never happens in real life and didn't happen here. I rooted for both of these wonderfully strong and unique women as the senior year flies by. Their voices were unique and resonated with me as the story unfolded. Recommend.

feb 23, 2015, 3:36pm

17. The King's Curse by Phillippa Gregory
18. The Web by Jonathan Kellerman

Neither of these need long reviews. Each is true to their author's style, English royal history for Gregory and Alex Delaware mysteries for Kellerman. Enjoyed both, will read the authors again as I have in the past.

feb 25, 2015, 12:00pm

19. Noah's Wife by T. K. Thorne

I have been blessed with some outstanding books in February, and even then, this one is a standout. A first novel by local author T. K. Thorne, the story is an exploration into the life of an unusual young woman. Very little is actually known about Noah's wife, of course, but Na'amah of Thorne's imagination is a fascination. Damaged in the birth canal and killing her mother, the girl was lucky that her grandmother Savta fought for her life. She is drawn with Aspberger's Syndrome, a savant of the local sheep and uneasy around most people despite her beauty.

The story follows her from childhood through the adulthood of her own sons. I was intrigued by the description of the places and mores of her tribe, and the results of her capture and return. I do not have first-hand experience with Aspberger's so cannot gauge the accuracy of Na'amah's experiences, but watching her grow to handle her instincts because of her love of others was worthwhile. Na'amah may be my favorite heroine this year.

Highly recommend.

feb 25, 2015, 12:10pm

20. Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella

If you're familiar with Becky and the Shopaholic series, you know where you are going with this one. Becky is her lovable self, charging off with her great capacity for self-deception that is eventually overwhelmed with a dose of common sense (from someone else) and a return to reality. That this episode happens in Los Angeles makes it different from the rest, but not much. There is a side order of New Age and a full snifter of celebrity chasing added to Becky's obsessions, but the basic premise of the series holds. Either you love Becky or she annoys you without end... but if it was the latter you would never have picked up the book, would you?

feb 25, 2015, 12:25pm

21. The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

From the frothiest of fluff to The Paris Architect in one rainy Sunday hour - quite the change in scenery.

Lucien is a young architect in Nazi-occupied Paris, growing desperate for a way to show his talent and, of course, to eat. He considers himself an atheist and was raised to hate Jews. So when a wealthy aristocrat who has turned to business offers him a commission with a potentially fatal catch, he wars with himself. Monsieur Manet is collaborating with the Nazis, refitting his automotive engine plants into war machinery plants, and helping the Nazis to build more. The pay for these fabulous opportunities is small, but the buildings will stand as testament to Lucien's skill. But to get these commissions, a price must be paid - clever hiding places built for the Jews Manet is helping to save. These commissions must be done before Lucien will be awarded the plant designs. They come with staggeringly generous fees, but if he is discovered, he will be tortured and killed by the Nazis.

The story is a study of how Lucien works through and grows in this moral thicket, and how it changes him over time. The architectural descriptions were compelling, the views of war-time Paris readable, and the characters worth knowing. It's inevitable that the reader ends with soul-searching. How would I have behaved in similar circumstances?

A worthwhile read, highly recommend.

Redigeret: feb 25, 2015, 12:33pm

22. Eden in Winter by Richard North Patterson

I did not realize when I scooped this up at the library that it was third in a series. Luckily, I had read the first two, but it doesn't make things very compelling when I tell you it took me a while to realize that fact.

I empathized for the main character, Adam Blaine, and loved his brother Teddy and his father's mistress Carla Pacelli. The characters are deep and thoughtful. There is nothing light about the book, which is mostly about Adam's struggles after the murder of the man who raised him as a father, novelist Benjamin Blaine. There is nothing lighthearted here, but the story is well-told.

mar 1, 2015, 3:59am

23. The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

Another story of World War II and Nazi collaboration, this time set in Tuscan Italy. Someone is killing the family of a marquese one by one in a gruesome manner. The answer certainly seems tied to the family's actions during the war, years before - but how?

The novel is more of a mystery than anything else, and deals far less with the moral conundrums of dealing with Nazis and collaborators than my previous read The Paris Architect. Instead it details the war years in a more romantic light, drawing believable characters and situations without puzzling overly much with their motivations. A counterpoint to the titled family being hunted is the attractive female investigator who is working the murder case. Orphaned in the war and working with the Resistance, she remembers little of her injuries at the end of the war but knows she was in the same area as the family villa.

I appreciated the author's characterizations. The women were clearly differentiated and gracefully drawn even when their actions were not particularly sympathetic, although I thought the men were less well known. I also love the descriptions of the Italian cities and countryside. In the end, it was worth reading and a lukewarm recommendation.

mar 1, 2015, 4:08am

24. Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

A gritty and often painful story of the Atlanta police force in the changing years of the 1970's. The struggle between the existing "good ole boys" system and forced diversification of the city and the police force forms a rich background for this story of two female police officers, their struggles and successes. One, Maggie Lawson, has joined the department as along with her uncle and her brother, neither of which are pleased to have her there or willing to support her efforts. She is joined by new recruit Kate Murphy, a beautiful widow from a wealthy Buckhead family, who is trying to prove to herself that she can survive on her own.

The story opens with an officer, the partner of Maggie's brother, being shot on the job -- apparently the work of a serial cop killer. The twist and turns of the women working the case make for excellent reading.

Redigeret: mar 1, 2015, 4:29am

25. The Escape by David Baldacci

The third military police thriller focusing on John Puller, Jr, Chief Warrant Officer, Criminal Investigation Division (CID). This time he is investigating the escape of a prisoner from the military prison at Leavenworth. This is unlikely for two reasons. First, there has never been a breakout from Leavenworth - it's deemed impossible. The second reason is that the escapee is his older brother, Robert Puller, convicted of treason.

The story is fast-paced and was interesting, at least to me. John Puller is joined on the case by Veronica Knox, a beautiful agent from the Army's Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). (Trust me, the book will keep you busy with acronyms.) Their search for John's brother, and the brother's attempts to find out why he was framed, intersect when all realize that greater espionage is at stake and attempt to find and stop it.

This sort of military/detective thriller draws a fairly specific and loyal audience, and those readers will enjoy the book. I only occasionally delve into the genre but found it worthy of a cold Saturday.

mar 1, 2015, 5:13am

26. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

Ephron herself reads this series of essays on being a woman, most specifically about being a New York woman. She is insightful and funny, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, in telling of her cooking, her body issues, decorating, apartments, and friends. It struck me clearly, though, what she considers normal is so far out of the daily routines of the women I know that it makes her seem almost a different species. And no, although I'm getting older I've never looked with hatred on my neck and don't know a soul who gives competitive dinner parties. So in some ways, not only was it amusing but it was culturally enlightening.

mar 7, 2015, 10:28pm

You have some good sounding books I am adding to my list.

Redigeret: jul 24, 2015, 4:59pm

27. The Forgetting Tree by Tatjana Soli

The book is lyrical, mystical, yet was to me very difficult to read. In fact, I put the book aside and read about three more before I made myself return and finish. The story centers around Claire, a wife, mother and hard-working farmer in a citrus and avocado farm in California. When her children are grown and gone, and her husband settled with a second wife, she develops cancer. While not really a story focused on her cancer, The Forgetting Tree watches her life develop or degrade during her cancer journey.

Because neither of her daughters are willing or easily can provide the daily care and support Claire needs due to her cancer, the younger, flighty daughter produces a young Caribbean woman to provide live-in care. Despite the fact that she has found this person recently fired from a coffee shop, and despite the lack of references, the family lets Claire take Minna into her home and with supervision only from the sick woman, leaves the two of them largely alone. For this reader, this crucial event stretched the imagination.

Minna begins as an ideal caregiver, loving, supportive, doing everything Claire might need - and Claire falls a bit in love with the mysteries of Minna. However, with time Minna becomes less grateful and more resentful of the bounty available through Claire and become flightly, unreliable, and perhaps even dangerous.

The deft hand of Soli makes us feel we know Claire intimately, but through three-quarters of the book we only see Minna through Claire's eyes, Claire's eyes of chemo fog and perhaps more. The end of the book tells the story of Minna and we come to understand the roundedness of the story and Minna's motivations.

I loved the setting of the orchard and its rootstock tree, and the insights into the citrus and avocado cultivation were new to me and interesting. Soli helped me to enjoy all the sensory experiences of the orchard, and that was wonderful.

I found the climax of the book to be frustrating and unnecessary. Why was there no intervention? Why did things get to the point they did? But it was well-crafted and dramatic, no doubt.

So to me, the book was a mixed bag. I found the key relationship of the story unrealistic and the ongoing actions frustrating. On the other hand, I found Claire and Minna to be fascinating women, and their interactions full of wonder and meaning.


Redigeret: mar 9, 2015, 3:20am

28. Sonoma Rose by Jennifer Chiaverini

Another lovely addition to the Elm Creek Quilt series. Some of the Elm Creek books have wandered to stories only loosely connected to the Elm Creek group itself, and this is one that shares only a loose connection with the Pennsylvania roots of the series. The storyline is strong, including spousal abuse, adultery, and children with chronic disease. The story is set in the Prohibition years, and the survival of the Sonoma vintners is another theme.

Like most of Chiaverini's works, the book provides us with a warm story of strong women and families. If you enjoy the Elm Creek series, you will enjoy this one. I did.

mar 9, 2015, 3:28am

29. The Arsonist by Sue Miller

A really beautiful and thoughtful story of a woman returning from years of relief work in Africa to her parent's home in a small New Hampshire community. Uncertain of her own future, Frankie finds herself becoming more involved with her parents (with her father's onset of dementia) and with the owner of the town's newspaper. The comfort of belonging is counter to her need to be of greater use, of "having a life of her own."

Miller gives us a deep understanding of Frankie and her conundrum, as well as those of her mother and of Bud, the newspaper editor. She understands motivation, desire, and regret, and helps the reader do the same.

The story is set against a backdrop of a series of arsons in the small town, houses belonging to summer people. Usually unoccupied, occasionally not, the town drama hints at but leaves largely unexplored the potential of resentment between the townspeople and the summer people, and the bridge status of those like Frankie's parents, who turned a summer home into a permanent retirement solution. I wish more had been done with this underlying theme.


mar 9, 2015, 3:57am

30. Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick

A small, placid Virginia town in 1948 is the setting for this tale of torching passion. Charlie Beale arrives in town looking for a place to call home. Having wandered for years after the war, something calls to him in Brownsburg that leads him to settle down - first in a field by the river, and later getting a job in the butcher shop and buying his own home. He becomes a second father to the butcher's son Sam, who adores him and follows him everywhere. Charlie is on his way to building a life of approbation and belonging, with the reader following along in appreciation, until he sees Her.

She is Sylvan, the beautiful wife of the town's richest and least liked man, Boatie Glass. She is a damaged soul from Blue Ridge poverty, with dreams of glamour and longing for ... something, she isn't sure what.

The combination is explosive, and Goodrick leads the reader through it, both through the eyes of Charlie and of Sam. I found the viewpoint of Sam is especially wrenching, in the midst of secrets and drama he cannot understand. Goodrick does a masterful job of telling the story with sympathy for all.


Redigeret: mar 10, 2015, 12:29am

31. Charlotte Temple by Susanna Rowson

Remorse with a side dish of guilt is the tale of Charlotte Temple, a US bestseller before the term existed. The theme is universal - a lovely, well-brought-up, moral young woman takes a tiny step astray with the encouragement of a seeming friend. Guilt from taking the small step keeps her from admitting the error, and makes it easier to continue to move in a direction that she knows to be wrong. The morality tale is drawn to show the young female reader how easy it is to become a Fallen Woman, and how difficult to recover. While the tale is set in the 1700's, the theme is just as relevant today although the situation itself would not raise as many eyebrows.

mar 19, 2015, 12:10pm

32. What is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman

The story of a man's life, told in retrospect through the device of a letter to his long-unseen daughter, Marlais. Wyatt Hillyer wants to share his story with Marlais, feeling that may be the most important thing he has to leave her. Set in Nova Scotia, the story begins when the Wyatt's parents commit suicide, separately but on the same day, because they are each in love with the same woman. From this start it seems inevitable that the story will veer into florid emotion, but it never does. Despite being a tale of love, loss, rage and heartbreak set against the background of World War II, it is shared in a dispassionate voice that encouraged the reader, well at least encouraged me, to build my own emotions into the reading.

The orphan Wyatt is taken in by his Aunt Constance and Uncle Donald. Immediately he falls in love with their adopted daughter Tilda, and this is his driving emotion during the story. Unfortunately, Tilda is not taken with Wyatt, and before he can declare himself, she falls in love with a German college student. This drives her father, already obsessed about the war, to dangerously instability. It's obvious that this will end badly, and it does.

Wyatt is a sympathetic character throughout, never moaning his losses, taking life as it comes, enjoying his scones or his pub visit but never to excess. He and his story will stay with me for quite a while.

mar 30, 2015, 4:34pm

33. Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose

Richly textured story of the life of Lou Villars in 1930's Paris and during World War II. Using multiple viewpoints, Lou is explored by famous photographer whose book cover is graced by her photograph, the photographer's wife, the wife's self-proclaimed grand-niece, the photographer's benefactor who hires Lou to race for her family's automobile company, and an American writer who is the photographer's best friend. Like the many viewpoints. Lou can be described by many labels, of which neglected daughter, abused sister, athlete, lesbian, race car driver, performer, lover, Nazi collaborator and mechanic are a few. All of this hints at but cannot fully describe Lou, who longs for love and acceptance and falls deeply in the thrall of anyone who appears to provide those things - only to time and time again find herself rejected and alone.

The side stories too are fascinating. Hungarian photographer Gabor Tsenyi si a compelling character, and his drive, creative process and life are fully explored in much of the novel. His patron the Baroness Lily de Rossignol and his wife Suzanne are as well. I found the landscape of Paris between the wars compelling, with its air of license and debauchery and its magnetism for artists of all sorts. The title comes the photograph Gabor takes of Lou and her lover at the time, Lou in a tuxedo and Arlette decidedly feminine, taken in a recreation of The Chameleon Club, a nightclub where cross-dressing is one of the normal behaviors. In many ways the photograph serves as a fulcrum for Lou's story, highlighting the point where she is confident in her persona, and in love, although grasping to hold on to a lover who is inching away and who will become her nemesis through the animosity of her next lover, a policeman and gangster. The photograph will also abet her demise as a race car driver, which ultimately attracts her to Nazi Germany.


mar 30, 2015, 4:47pm

34. Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Such a sad and powerful story. When the nuclear power plant in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom melts down and explodes, Emily Shepard is in school. Herded out in mass evacuations, she realizes that with both parents working at the power plant, she has no one to take her in but even more terrifying, she may have been orphaned. It gets worse, much worse, for Emily. Quickly the fingers start to point to her father as the key problem in the disaster, with his past employment record including a suspension for being at work drunk helping to focus the public hatred. Fearing universal hatred and possibly interrogation about her father's habits, she runs and changes her name. The story is more a tale of a homeless teen - shelters, prostitution, living by the river in an igloo of leaf-filled trash bags, drug use, and despair-driven behaviors - as it is of nuclear disaster, but the meltdown provides an impetus and a framework within which Emily explores and explains herself.

Bohjalian's voice is on point with this run-away and screw-up girl that the reader quickly loves. We applaud her self-awareness, her struggle not to be sucked into the whirlpools of homeless life, the way she protects and cares for the young boy, Cameron, who comes into her care. We ache with her grief and understand her final resolution. Beautifully done, highly recommended.

apr 4, 2015, 2:27pm

35. There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me by Brooke Shields

Brooke Shield's story of her mother Teri, who was both much better and much worse than her public persona. On the one hand she was portrayed in the media as a manipulative controlling stage mother, and according to Brooke's recounting, she was not. Brooke saw Teri as far more relaxed, letting Brooke do roles that seemed fun or interesting, or that would give them a good experience. Brooke felt she was never pushed, and in fact walked away from projects that did not appeal to her with no pushback from her mother.

What the real story of Teri and Brooke was, however, was alcoholism. Teri's alcoholism ruled their world, and Brooke is a classic codependent. The book is actually a very good depiction of this type of relationship. Brooke and a friend staged an intervention at one point and Teri agreed to go to treatment facility, but she was unwilling to admit she had a problem. Through the gauze of alcohol (and because she had no real training or drive to learn), Teri was an awful manager, and Brooke eventually had to break away as a young adult in order to manage her career and her finances.

Most of all, this is a love story between a mother and a daughter. Despite the problems, there was a deep and unyielding love between Brooke and Teri, and despite the codependent problems there were lovely pieces of their relationship.

apr 13, 2015, 1:08am

36. Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Grisham has a new lawyer to follow, and this one is a woman. Samantha Kofer's high-flying life as a real-estate attorney in a big NYC firm takes an abrupt pause when she is furloughed at the height of the real estate bubble burst in 2008. Promised a year of benefits and a potential call back to work, she takes an unpaid position as an intern at a West Virginia legal aid firm. Always a child of the big cities, Samantha learns quickly what life is like in a small town, and the horrors wrought by coal companies who surface mine.

I generally enjoy Grisham, but had trouble reading this one. I loved the characters, but reading of the environmental and personal tragedies of strip mining just hurt too much to enjoy.

Redigeret: apr 30, 2015, 12:22am

37. The Look of Love by Sarah Jio

What if when you see two people truly in love, you could tell? This is the dilemma facing florist Jane Williams. She has been cursed from childhood with a vision defect for which doctors have no explanation - from time to time her vision goes fuzzy, sometimes dramatically so. The night before she turns 22, she is summoned by an unusual stranger who explains the "gift" and gives her an assignment to complete before she turns 30. The story of her 29th year is warm, touching, peopled by diverse and likable characters, and worth the investment of a few hours of my time. This is the second book by Jio that I've read in 2015, and they are nothing alike. Am interested to see where her next book will take me.

Redigeret: apr 30, 2015, 12:24am

38. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

I had read interesting things about the first book in the series, The Rosie Project, and in fact meant to read that one first. I'm not sure it would have made any difference. Don Tillman and his wife Rosie Jarman are not your normal high-stress, super-busy New York couple. Don appears to have Asperger Syndrome, or some other disorder that characterizes by social awkwardness, difficulty in reading cues from others, and a need to control his environment as much as possible. When Rosie announced she is pregnant, it is quite a struggle for Don to adjust, although he truly does his best. My description so far makes it sound like a gloomy read, and it is anything but that. The book is told in Don's voice, and his view on the world is intelligent, naive, and humorous. Don is somewhat aware to his lack of social eptitude, but his viewpoint is similar to that of Sheldon Cooper in the television show The Big Band Theory - logical, earnest, and unwittingly funny.

i'm not sure I will continue to read the series, but I did enjoy this one.

Redigeret: apr 30, 2015, 12:34am

39. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

I have been an Amazon customer since at least 1996, and I didn't realize how early to its inception that placed me. I've enjoyed the convenience, but never known much about the structure itself. Add to the mix my fascination with young tech types who have the vision to make new things happen, and I was poised to love The Everything Store. In many ways, I did. The story of the start-up was everything I had hoped, and Bezos' vision was intriguing. However, as the book moved on and the company grew, the story (and company) changed to a ruthless competitor and Sigma Six efficiency striver pushed by Bezos' endless vision. Optimist that I am, it made me like Amazon less. It seems to be an unpleasant workplace and Bezos a difficult boss, but its success has been staggering. It seems that the author had deep access to Bezos and other Amazon insiders, and the story seems candid. Certainly it was readable. There is a lot to learn here about the enterprise that started as a bookstore kept afloat by not holding inventory to a merchandising and warehousing behemoth. If you like this type of story, go for it.

apr 30, 2015, 1:56am

40. Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah (Bingo #7 - African author)

Lyrically beautiful story of Bella, a famous photographer, returning to Nairobi to care for her niece and nephew after the death of her beloved older brother. The descriptive quality was excellent - geography, city life, and food came alive, for example. I loved the photography, and how Bella elected to use it to develop a stronger bond with her charges. The teenaged children were well drawn with distinct and nicely nuanced characters. However, there is a strange distance between the reader and the adults in the story, whose emotions seemed strangely sterile. While the story had the potential for much drama, it was really very narrative and calm. At times it seemed to be driving towards some decision, but it ended with no climax and only assumed resolution. Much to like, but there was a potential for more.

apr 30, 2015, 2:03am

41. Violets of March by Sarah Jio
42. Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

This is my year of Sarah Jio, and these were quick, romantic stories based around a modern woman recovering from heartbreak coming to the Seattle area to heal. Emily in Violets in March and Ada in Morning Glory each stumble upon a mystery from an earlier generation that intrigues and distracts them. Ultimately both find new life in the Seattle area. By reviewing them together I've made them sound very formulaic, but it's less so than it seems. The women are different, the situations are different, but most striking is that the supporting characters are quite unique.

Redigeret: apr 30, 2015, 2:05am

43. A Season for Martyrs by Bina Shah

A beautiful novel of Pakistani history, weaving together through the generations the feudal Pir background of reporter Ali Sikander and the history of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The novel moves between 2007, when Bhutto returns from exile in Dubai, and historical vignettes illustrating the history of the two families. I knew little about Pakistan before reading this novel and found it fascinating. The novel is also an excellent coming-of-age story for Ali. Watching him move from a self-centered, frivolous young man into a politically aware person willing to heal his parental relationships was gratifying.

maj 7, 2015, 1:19am

44. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

The story of a family and the story of a house. Will try to do a review later, consider this a placleholder.

maj 11, 2015, 12:17pm

Have this on my my Nook for the summer.

maj 17, 2015, 6:15pm

45. Angels at the Gate by T. K. Thorne

My second book by this local author, and I am enjoying her work. This is the story of Lot's wife, who in the Biblical tale looked back at their home as the family fled Sodom, and turned to a pillar of salt. The story, as imagined by Thorne, was far more enjoyable. Adira is raised as Adir, a boy in a traveling caravan. After losing her mother at birth, her father chose to keep her with him rather than leaving her with relatives Sarai and Abram to raise. The story opens during her caravan days, and follows Adira through the death of her father, her attempts at revenge, and her history with two "angels" - Mika and Rafe. The story is a well-crafted adventure, full of drama and history, and difficult to put down.

Eventually Adira finds herself injured and bows to her father's dying wish - to return to Sarai and Abram, and follow Sarai's urging. This is how she finds herself married to Abram's cousin Lot, living in the bitterly unfriendly city of Sodom.

Without question Thorne has been given the gift of storytelling, and is becoming a master. She removes the reader from the comfort of their reading spot into the heat of the desert, into the smells and sights of Babylon and Sodom, smelling the stench of pitch and sulfur from the Dead Sea, feeling the jostling of the crowd and the sting of a stone. The Biblical parallels are interesting, but Thorne's novels go far beyond the limited facts given in the Old Testament and flesh out a life of a wonderful woman.

Redigeret: maj 17, 2015, 8:00pm

46. Come to the Table by Neta Jackson

A second novel from the SouledOut Sisters series that is a spin-off from the popular "Ya-Ya Prayer Group" series. The story focuses around three friends sharing a summer apartment downstairs from Ya-Ya veterans Avis and Peter Douglass. Added to their group is the Douglass' daughter and grandson, who had been estranged from them and living on the streets until she was found in an earlier story. So our apartment dwellers are Chicago Christa University students Bree, Kat and Nick, plus Rochelle and her son Conny.

The story is fun and easy to read, with budding love interests, Nick starting work as a pastoral intern at SouledOut Community Church, and Kat's drive to teach nutrition blooming into a God-led desire to feed people. As always in Jackson's work, the Christian element is well integrated into the story and very strong - it's one of the most inviting parts of her work for me.

Redigeret: maj 17, 2015, 8:00pm

47. The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio

My favorite so far in my (unintentional) Year of Sarah Jio reading.

The story revolves around the elusive Middlebury Pink, a camellia supposedly propagated from a rare tree much loved by the Queen of England before it was hit by lightning. Rumors persist that the cutting was sold to the owners of Livingston Manor, and that it still grows on the grounds. The story flips between two young women - Flora, who was hired to come to the Manor in 1940, as a flower thief under the guise of governess, and Addison, a garden designer with a hidden past whose in-laws purchased and plan to renovate the Manor. The parallel mysteries kept me eagerly turning the pages. While locals think the manor haunted, the truth lies hidden in the camellia orchard - pain and sadness, and possible madness. But from whom?

I loved the story. That I have had a life-long fascination with camellias certainly helped, but Jio's work continues to be enjoyable.

maj 17, 2015, 6:47pm

48. Four Friends by Robyn Carr

A quick read focusing on the lives and marriages of four neighboring women. I found the women interesting and believable, and honestly wanted to be part of their group! The story dealt with some fairly fractured personalities, but with grace and warmth. The role of sex in marriage plays a fairly large part in the story, and was interesting without being shoddy.


Redigeret: jun 5, 2015, 12:41am

49. Orchard House: A Memoir by Tara Austen Weaver

I loved this story of a single woman searching to build a warm and nourishing family structure through gardening. When her mother buys a house in Seattle with a huge yard, Tara joins her in restoring the yards into vegetable gardens, orchards, fruit vines, and meadows. I don't usually use cover blurbs, but this one is so perfectly descriptive: " For everyone who has ever planted something that they wished would survive - or tried to mend something that seemed forever broken -- Orchard House is a tale of healing and growth, set in a most unlikely place."

I love the promise of a garden, but like Tara I rarely think ahead to the pounding work of the summer garden, the urgent cry of fresh produce needing attention, the relentlessness of the weeds. Like Tara I am seduced by the promise of beauty and sustainability, the taste of the fresh tomato, and joy of a child eating strawberries. This book resonated with me because I could see myself getting sucked in to this huge, time-consuming project. I can see myself falling for the magic.

Recommend this book to anyone who loves the garden, is interested in the food culture of Seattle, or who would like to heal a family.

jul 24, 2015, 12:46pm

I have been awful about posting my books this summer! Not going to try to review, see the summary in the first entry to my tally. Have read too many e-books, if they aren't physically around to input I never remember!

Hope your summer is full of happy memories and good books, everyone. (At least, all of our Northern Hemisphere members!)

aug 7, 2015, 3:17pm

I retired last week, and promised to devote Week 1 to reading and rest. Here's where I am so far:

65. In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar

A lovely novelization of the story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz.

66. Vanessa and Her Sister: A Novel by Priya Parmar

Striking novel about the Bloomsbury Group, with eldest sister and artist Vanessa Stephen Bell at its center. The story is told primarily through journal entries by Vanessa, but is enriched by viewpoints of others in the group by letters and telegrams. The daring modernity of this group of Edwardian writers, thinkers and artists exposes the eternal values of loyalty and honor as the foundation of trust. Sister Virginia's incipient madness possessive manipulations are a constant thread through Vanessa's life and the story. Well written, interesting.

67. An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

A study of solitude. Aaliya Saleh, divorced with no children, unloved by her family of birth, ignored by her neighbors, with a memory of one close friend now long dead, contemplates her advanced age. Aaliya ran a bookstore for years, and decided to use her spare time to interpret books into Arabic - translations unseen by anyone, that she holds to her fiercely, in boxes throughout her apartment. She only translates books from English or French translations, which often means holding the original work at some remove.

Aaliya's telling of her story is enriched with insights and quotes from the books she has loved, and her tastes have been profligate yet elevated. It is the rare book that forces me to look up a word, but I recommend a dictionary at hand for this! In the end, human connection is forced on her, and changes contemplated. It is a beautiful book, gritty is the scenes it sets yet lyrical and profound in the study of Aaliya herself.

68. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

When a man shows up that makes your sad mother smile, who treats you with affection and respect, and who can cook, it's hard to care that he's an escapee convicted of murder. Isn't it? Told from the viewpoint of thirteen-year-old Henry, the story explores the answering of loneliness, the fear of change, and regret. Enjoyed very much.

69. The Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels

A tangled story of love and loss wrapped in Native American mysticism. When Jo Beth Dawson returns to Huntsville, Alabama, for the rodeo, she comes in drunk, unrooted, defensive. As she parks her trailer in the campground, she finds the tiny body of Pony Jones, murdered, and covered in deeply fragrant Cherokee roses. The body haunts her, but not in the same way as the deaths she witness and feels she should have prevented in her time on the Huntsville Police Department. Rather, this is the haunting of heart-deep recognition and loss - and some literal haunting by Pony's spirit, as well.

While the ending is too tidy to be believable, the story is beautifully wrought, with characters that will be in my memory for some time. Recommend.

aug 8, 2015, 9:00am

Congrats on your retirement! Looks like you picked a great collection of books to start it off.

aug 18, 2015, 10:37am

70. Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

Imaginative and thoughtful novel exploring choices taken and the impacts they have over the course of a life. While at first I found it difficult to keep up with the thread, before long the reader expects the timeline to loop around and double back upon itself.

The premise is fascinating. Small choices and chance occurrences make the path of the Ursula's life swing wildly. Beginning in Edwardian England, the story takes us through both World Wars, following Ursula and her family in a number of ways. Will Ursula be a battered, frightened wife? Will she be a member of the glittering Berlin set, with an opportunity to keep the second world war from erupting? The author's building of the characters was masterful, and the sense of place detailed without being tedious. The impact of small events over the course of a life was - at least for me - sobering. This one is well worth the time.

80. The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

Jurassic Park with dragons and Chinese party officials. The reader knows where the story is going from about the third page.

Redigeret: aug 18, 2015, 10:38am

>59 jfetting: Thanks! I'm loving it so far, but have fallen back on the cliche - how did I ever find time to go to a job every day??

aug 19, 2015, 11:43pm

72. Serena: A Novel by Ron Rash

Haunting story of timber barons in early 20th-century North Carolina. On a trip to Boston George Pemberton is enchanted by and marries young orphan Serena. She is lovely and strong, but soon her strength in consolidating their holdings and their personal life moves into uncomfortable. She earns the respect of the loggers with her timber knowledge, but when she brings an eagle into camp and becomes more solemn and remote, What are the borders between strength and psychopath?

As a lover of the North Carolina mountains, I don't think this story will slip from my mind any time soon -- but it was a bit stilted. I cannot wholeheartedly recommend, but to be completely fair the stiltedness nicely parallels the innate dignity of the people of the region.

aug 29, 2015, 3:00pm

May I say that I love retirement?

73. First Family by David Baldacci
74. Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer

73. First Family by David Baldacci

The kidnapping of the First Lady's niece Willa proves to be an insight into the history and character of the First Family. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell return to investigate at the First Lady's request. Imaginative plot but the story got long.

74. Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer

Another book that got long before it was over. Beecher White, an archivist at the National Archives, is with security guard Antonio and Clementine, a crush from his younger days, when they stumble across an odd book hidden in the study carrel used by the President. When Antonio suffers a seizure and dies the next day, Beecher realizes he is in trouble - but from whom?

aug 29, 2015, 3:10pm

75. In Between Days by Andrew Porter

A study of an American family in painfully difficult circumstances. Cadence and Elson have recently divorced, and what is painful and unresolved between them is magnified and destructive to their children. Chloe has left Houston for college on the East Coast, where she has finally overcome her problems with acceptance and is in love with Raja. Her devastation at the news of the divorce sets of a chain of events that have found her suspended for the rest of the school term and Raja in legal trouble. Her brother Richard remains in Houston, but is floating in a miasma of purposeless drinking, drugs and relationships while he tries to find his way. The story gives perspectives of each family member as it covers their lives from Chloe's return from school. The angst and confusion were achingly real, the pain palpable, the results not completely expected. Worthwhile read, recommended.

aug 29, 2015, 3:24pm

76. Valley of Ashes by Cornelia Read

There have been other Madeline Dare books that I have not read, but I will be searching them out when our library reopens.

Madeline is a stay-at-home mother with one-year-old twin girls, while her husband Dean travels extensively for work. The story starts as a caustically funny motherhood tale as Madeline adjusts to their new community of Boulder and tries to find friends among the New Age granola-ish mothers of Colorado. When she finally is hired to write restaurant reviews and the occasional news piece for a local free paper, it is a welcome opportunity to talk to adults again. One of her first assignments is profiling Mimi, the local fire investigator working on a string of arsons. Mimi becomes a friend, and Madeline becomes more involved in the arson investigation. Is this going to become a crime novel? Well, somewhat, but there is more than enough in the motherhood/friendship/marriage components of Madeline's story to keep the reader fascinated.

I found Madeline to be a remarkably well-developed heroine. Her voice was true, her situations funny but recognizable by most mothers, and her heartbreaks revealed honestly without cloying sentimentality. I want Madeline for my best friend.


okt 15, 2015, 2:48pm

Have not been posting for the most recent books I've read, although some have been quite interesting. Trying to get back on board:

84. The Submission by Amy Waldman

The book is based on an intriguing question - what if there was a blind competition for the 9/11 Memorial, and the competition was won by a Muslim?

The story explores the reactions from the viewpoints of several survivors: a well-off widow, a Muslim widow whose husband was a janitor and illegal alien, and the combative brother of a firefighter. The politics of the fight surrounding the memorial were addressed. The most touching part, to me, was the designer himself, an architect, an American, his religious inclinations nominal at most. How he changes over the course of the public outcry and debate were poignant and well-written.

okt 15, 2015, 2:58pm

85. Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by Kristen Iversen

This book broke my heart, and robbed me of an innocence that I probably should have lost decades ago. A coming of age memoir of the author is combined with the history of her neighborhood - Rocky Flats, next door to a factory where plutonium pits for bombs were produced. Upwind of Denver, the plant's history of poorly handled waste, covered up emergency releases of radioactive smoke, and even an undocumented meltdown cast the families in the surrounding community in grave danger while the local, state and national government was touting how great the plant was for the economy, and how safe. Very readable, the science is good but not overwhelming to the non-technical audience.

nov 3, 2015, 3:47pm

I'm reading right along, although not writing much by way of reviews. Here are the most recent:

86. Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
87. Gathering Prey by John Sandford
88. Grace Keepers by Kirsty Logan
89. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
90. Last One Home by Debbie Macomber
91. The Color of Light by Emilie Richards

All had something to commend them. Not surprisingly, The Invention of Wings was the most thought-provoking.

nov 11, 2015, 2:55am

A few more this week:

92. Hope to Die by James Patterson - an Alex Cross novel
93. The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand - adultery and gardening on Nantucket
94. The Go-Getter by Peter B. Kyne

dec 7, 2015, 5:35pm


98. Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius
99. The Girls of Michief Bay by Susan Mallery
100. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini

dec 8, 2015, 1:39pm

Yay! Congrats on reaching 100!

dec 9, 2015, 3:26pm

Well done, and plenty of time for more 2015 reads !

dec 10, 2015, 10:43pm