Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Anti-communist Manifesto: John Fleming

"To be a good writer, you must first be a good person" Philip Sidney This is a collection of four books; Darkness at noon, Out of the Night, I Choose Freedom, and Witness. All the books explore communism in a different way and expose the fear and mistrust of everyone within communism and the cold war.

Hitler Youth: Susan Campbell Bartoletti

This was a really good book about like under Hitler's rule. It focused on how the children were targeted and used as a tool, but did a great job showing the mindset and fear that existed at the time. You couldn't trust anyone, not even your family. The book explores the different programs for the children, from farm workers to the Hitler youth. It also talks about the resistance like the white rose. Very well written and very interesting.

Ace of Shades: Amanda Foody

A cute mystical young adult book that is just enough sci-fi to be fun and not lose the reader. Enne goes to the "City of sin" (think dystopia Las Vegas) to find her adoptive mom who never came back from there. She takes her mother's advice to seek out Levi Glaisyer to help her. Only when she gets to the city she finds nothing is as she pictured. Levi is about her age and a street lord. Enne does find out what happens to her mother, only it was too late, she was murdered the night before Enne arrived in the city and Enne is about to die playing the same game. Enne and Levi work together to try to survive in a city that succeeds in ruining everyone.

The Moth Catcher: Ann Cleeves

This was an interesting Who-dunnit in a small town where they can't make a connection between the 3 murdered people. Two men of different ages were murdered in a house where one of them was house sitting, other than they were both interested in moths, there seems to be no connection between the men. Vera Stanhope, the detective investigator is an awesome character, she is like Sherlock Holmes, but likeable. She is no nonsense and describes as an older heavy unattractive woman. Vera and her workers solve the crime and save a young criminal from also being murdered.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

This Will be My Undoing: Morgan Jenkins

It was interesting how the author chose to write this, in stream of consciousness where she talks about things as they come to her and it is all over the place. I am not sure if she intentionally wanted to alienate her readers but she definitely works the shock factor. Everyone who reads the book knows waaay more about her vagina then they wanted...I started the book thinking it was about racism, but once finished was just sort of...lost? I know you can only view the world through your eyes, but a lot of the experiences she has are just human, not because she is black. She is very opinionated and seems to only grabs facts that support her claims (which I guess is normal for a non-scientific read) and you feel like if you don't agree with her, she would continue talking until you did or you would be wrong. I am not sure how I felt walking away from the book, there were some interesting points and I did learn some things, but I guess it wasn't as impactful as it could have been. I felt several chapters took away from the book and could have been omitted.

Orphan Train Rider: Andrea Warren

This was an interesting story of an event in history I didn't know about. Once orphanages started on a large scale and adopting became "acceptable". There was the practice of shipping trains full of orphans to the west to have the children adopted help with farming and housework. The story followed the story of 1 family where the mother died and the 2 eldest children were kicked out of the house and the baby was given to family, the two middle children were put in the orphanage. Once the 2 middle children were getting shipped west, the dad brought the baby and told the older one to keep everyone together. Of course that didn't happen and the 3 boys were given different homes, no one seemed to want the older boy. The people that adopted the older boy did arrange for the brothers to all spend a week together every summer so at least they would still know each other. By the time the entire family got back together the sister, father and one of the three boys(Vietnam) had died. I wish the story was a little bigger as it just provided a speckling of what happened and left me more curious, but the people involved are almost all nearly dead.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Darkness At Noon: Arthur Koestler

A Russian political prisoner spends his time between interrogations using Morris code to talk to his cellmates and thinking back on all the lives he ruined in an attempt to either save himself or for the "good" of the party. He is told of his next mission, that he will die as a scapegoat for the party, though he hasn't done anything wrong really. He does die for the party.

Oroonoko: Aphra Behn

This was an older text I had never heard of about a slave being brought to South America. He was a prince and was betrayed by his own grandfather, who took his love he was going to marry and sold her into slavery, telling Oroonoko she was dead. Years later He was tricked onto a slave boat and he and his men became slaves. By chance he was sold to the same area as his love and they met up, they were both still mourning each other. They get together though they are still slaves and he kills his love and unborn child so they won't lie in slaver, they tries to kill the slavers, but is tortured to death.

Games of Thrones, The Noble Houses of Westeros

This was a guide to the major families in game of thrones, where they were located, what they contributed to the kingdom and included a family tree. It was pretty interesting, but the latest seasons have changed the trees a bit.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Find You in the Dark: Nathan Ripley

This was an original and thrilling! I especially loved the line about the types of creeps, some write scary books, some commit murders etc, as I have wondered how thriller writers can come up with such stuff :P Although I read them, so I guess that also puts me in that category. Since retiring early, a man has started looking into old murder cases with the help of a cop who sells him interviews the police have had with the killers. With this information he is able to find where the young girls (victims) bodies are and gives the families some closure. As the story progresses you learn the protagonist is a bit creepy himself. He stalked his wife (and has a police file for doing the same to some girls n school)before marrying her because her sister was the victim of one of the serial killers he is working to uncover the victims. His good deeds make him the target of a serial killer as he uncovers the body of a fresh murder on top of the victim he was unburying. Unknown to the police 2 decades ago, the killer they sent to jail was working with a partner who has been quiet until now. The protagonist's daughter is kidnaped by the killer and he does end up killing 2 men in trying to keep his family safe.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Greetings from Colorado: JC Leacok

This was a collection of historical facts and a travel guide for Colorado. I learned a lot and have a list of places I now want to visit.

Lady Be Good; Amber Brock

This book was set in the 1950's. The only child of a hotel mogul is told she can ether learn the business and inherit it or marry the manager of the business and just be supported by the company's earnings. She ends up falling in love with a Jewish musician, which is taboo in her elite circles. She has dedicated her life to trying to marry above her station because her mother died when a DR claimed to be out of town, but later that day she saw him entering the town of a wealthy family. She learns who she is after trying to manipulate everyone's life to suit her own and losing her best friend. This was a coming of age novel set in a time where it would work, semi-modern Romeo and Juliet...not really my thing :P

The Girl in the Well is Me: Karen Rivers

This was a kids book and an excellent introduction into stream of consciousness for young readers. Usually not taught until "The Tell Tale Heart" or "The Sound and the Fury, which are more middle- to high school reads, it was really cool to introduce it to younger readers. A little girl starts telling her story while she is stuck in a well and between her thoughts and panic we learn her story and how she got in the well. Her father went to jail for embezzling from a children's miracle organization and they are living in a trailer in a new town near the prison. Desperate to find friends, the girl goes through "initiation" into the cool group, which entailed one of them chopping off her beautiful hair and then she had to stand on a rotting board above the well and sing a song, of course the board broke and she fell in. While forced to sort through her thoughts she realizes she doesn't want to be friends with the girls any more and is stronger than before since she now knows herself.

Back from Tuichi; Yossi Ghinsberg

I watched the movie first, but really enjoyed the book. Especially knowing that I probably wouldn't have survived a couple days. I appreciated the honesty through the whole book and how the author didn't look back at the experience with bravado, but with how he was actually feeling so you can feel how frightening the experience was. The part with the jaguar...well and the worms...and termites were TERRIFYING. I should probably recap. A young man makes 2 new friends in Bolivia and when he is approached by an Austrian convict who wants to lead them into the forest on the adventure of a life time. Halfway through the trip they realize they aren't going to have the supplies to make it all the way and Marcus's feet are in too terrible of shape with a fungus to make it all the way. Karl's stories keep changing and the plans keep getting altered as well. Kevin and Yossi take the raft and plan on coming to a village and coming home from there, Karl and Marcus were going to walk back. Karl and Marcus are never seen again. Yossi and Kevin get separated. Kevin goes back into the river and eventually drifts down the village meeting a hunting party, who bring him back to town. Yossi encounters all sorts of animals, sinkholes, and weather phenomenon and believes he is further down the river than his is. After the flooding everything is unrecognizable and Yossi is weak and spends a day trying to repair his feet and dry out...he hears a buzzing on the river and Kevin comes out of a boat with some locals he talked into helping him search for Yossi. Marcus then shares his survival story and they spend the rest of their lives looking for Marcus.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Baby Thief: The Untold STory of Georgia Tamm:Barbara Bisantz Raymond

This book uncovered the corruption of adoptions a generation ago and how one woman got away with stealing and abusing children and then selling them into adoption. The impact is so huge that families are still facing dead ends when trying to find one another.

Girl Last Seen; Nina Lauren

This was a creepy turn of events/ you didn't see it coming mystery thriller. A woman was kidnapped and she is still haunted psychologically but the event and the man whom she never saw. while working at a grocery store, trying to get her life in order she learns another girl has been kidnapped who looks like she did and is the same age she was when she was taken. She learns the little girl is actually her daughter who she gave up for adoption as it was her rapist/kidnapper's child. The story twists where her daughter's adopted father was therapist and his wife hide the girl because she realized he was raping her.

Being A Dad is Weird: Ben Falcone

This book was hilarious. It was not only a tribute to Ben's Father, but to his daughters giving him the gift of fatherhood. The book is a collection of stories of his father and growing up as well as the funny things that have happened to him as a dad. A great book to cheer you up and appreciate parents.

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

This book was spot on and extremely helpful with dealing with growing up with someone who you spend your life trying to please. Very therapeutic!

The Burgler who counted the Spoons: Lawrence Block

This was the first book I have read of this author and I LOVED it. It was witty and entertaining. I must admit, as soon as it was revealed that the client collected buttons, I knew he had stolen the one off Mrs. Oscar Myers' coat- but nothing was force fed to you. The protagonist wrapped everything up in the end (It was in one of those atmospheres where the thief/ murder must tell all and how they did it. A bookstore owner who is a burglar on the side gets a proposition to steal a manuscript from a museum. After being successful he gets a few more jobs from the same man, who is obsessed with anything related to buttons. There are a lot of funny conversations and happenings throughout, but at the end he sort of rights his wrongs. One person keeps the stolen goods, one gets their stolen spoon back and another gets sent to a museum.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Secret Scripture: Sebastian Barry

I actually had never heard of this book and came across the Movie, which struck a chord in me like Gone With the wind and The Thornbirds. The movie was powerful because of the depth of desire in the characters, I searched out the book and read it in two days assuming it would be even more powerful than the movie...but it was basically a different story, the only thing remaining the same was the woman was in a mental institution and her son was her doctor. I don't understand why everything was changed so much. The story takes place during the Irish Civil war. A girl of about 12, Rose, is sitting with her father, the undertaker at Father Gaunt's church, when 3 boy bring in a dead by, who is on of their brother's. Rose is told to fetch Father Gaunt, who is upset because he doesn't know what to do. Then some soldiers barge in and take the boys, who believe Rose ratted them out. When Rose is 16, her mother goes insane and her father is killed, but she repressed what happened and believes he committed suicide. Father Gaunt comes to her with a proposition that she marry Mr Brady, who took over her father's job before he was demoted to rat catcher and is about 50 yrs old. Rose refuses. Rose finds work with a Quaker woman who owns the Café Cairo and she meets and falls in love with a musician, Tom, whose Parents both work at the insane asylum. He has 2 brothers, who both evidently love her. One of the boys from the night in the cemetery shows up and for a reason unknown to her, she meets him- thinking she could reminisce about her dad since he knew him. He tells her he is going to have his son, who is 15 watch over her. Father Gaunts comes upon them talking and assumes she was having relations with him. Father Gaunt and Tom's brother Jack null Tom's marriage and she never sees him again. She lives in a tin shed for a while and one day Tom's brother Eneas shows up and they have sex, Rose conceives, but never sees him again. She goes to Tom's parents when she is ready to have the baby, but they turn her out and later put her in the asylum. Rose gives birth on the walk home and when she awakens, cannot find the baby. The Doctor realizes the man who took the baby(himself) and put him in the orphanage is the janitor and the Rebel's son who was sent to watch over her. After watching the movie, the book seems sort of hollow with minimal character development.

Why My Third Husband will be a Dog;Lisa Scottoline

This was a funny collection of stories or rather musings and observances on life. She includes her daughter as a guest writer at times.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Everywhere that Mary Went:Lisa Scottoline

Mary is a lawyer who is grieving her husband who was killed by a hit and run the year before. She is being stalked and doesn't know who to trust. she finds love again only to suspect him. Her secretary, who is gay is killed by a hit and run, right in front of her as he was walking beside her. Her stalker presents herself, he was a judge who was jealous that she was with any other man than him and didn't realize the secretary wasn't a lover. She accidently shoots him and he dies. She and a girl friend end up becoming partners in their firm and decide to branch off and start their own firm.

Honor Girl: Maggie Thrash

This is a semi- biography told like a play (I listened to the audio tape) which was really cool. A teenage girl goes to a summer camp every year and one year falls in love with a camp counselor realizing she is bisexual. She is in turmoil the entire summer and finally confirms that the counselor, who is in college and an adult, feels the same. When she returns the next year the counselor isn't there and the summer isn't quite the same. she does find her later in life and the magic they felt during the summer at camp is no longer there. It is a story of love and loss, excitement and heartbreak.

The Girl with No Name: Marina Chapman

When picking up this book I was thinking it was going to be a bit unbelievable, but it wasn't!! This book was fascinating, I really wish Marina would have find her biological parents at the end, and that she would have been able to see her monkeys again. Marina was kidnapped as a child and then left in the jungle to fend for herself or die. She ended up wandering terrified for days before coming across some monkeys and watching what they ate and mimicking them. She lives with the monkeys for years after trying to be taken in by a band of natives who make it clear they don't want her. Eventually she shows herself to some trappers and without saying goodbye to her monkeys they throw her in a truck with animals they have taken from the jungle and drop her off at a brothel. Marina eventually runs away to the city and becomes a street kid, then works for a mafia family. She goes from misfortune to misfortune. The mafia family decides she knows too much and must be killed and the neighbor helps her escape to an orphanage. Marina is miserable there and runs away. The neighbor sends her to a daughter in Bogota and that is where the story ends. I really want to know how she ended up in England!!!

Famous Father Girl: Jamie Bernstein

This was a heartwarming memoir to composer Leonard Bernstein, written by his daughter. She talks of the magic her father held for her as a child, the stress of never being good enough for him as a teen and the frustration and embarrassment of some of his behavior. Anyone with a parent will be able to relate.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Monsters; A Love Story: Liz Kay

This was a cute love story about a widow with two children who makes her living as a poet. One of her collections of poetry is being turned into a movie and she is brought on board to help with the adaptations. She ends up falling in love with the actor who was behind the project and at the end of the book they end up together. As with the typical love story there are a bunch of twists and turns and being old I leave the book thinking " I give it 2 years tops".

The Wind Though the Keyhole: Stephen King

This was a strange book that was in the middle of the series, I think I will have to start in order as it was too sci fi to keep up when all these new ideas nd characters get added with special abilities.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

We Know It Was You: Maggie Thrash

This was an adorable book aimed at a teen reader. The book takes place at a boarding school where some students are looking for some action away from the mundane daily school activities. Outcast Benny Flax wants to be a detective and starts a mystery club in order to gain a following. Instead he has one member, Virginia Leeds, who is also an outcast, but more popular and invited to things. Benny has solved one mystery, of a missing instrument and much to his horror is now called "Scoobie". At a Friday night football game that both Benny and Virginia attend, the mascot runs from the field into the woods where it throws itself off a bridge. Benny and Virginia solve the case, it was another student who hypnotized the mascot, but winter break happens, the student never comes back and she is never arrested for causing one death and almost completing another. It was kind of unfulfilling though in that the perpetrator is never brought to justice, but like real life in many cases.

The Fangs of Freelance: Drew Hayes

I liked the idea of this story, it was pretty original, I just had trouble getting into it. The narrator, Fred, is a vampire and works for a "parahuman" agency as an accountant. His girlfriend is "wild and exciting" and he is rather dull. He takes on a new assignment and he and his team have to stop a ghost from bringing unfathomably evil beings into the world. He also negotiates his girlfriend's earnings. The writer completely captures the dullness of the narration with the dullness of the character, but a lot of the dialog is...well...dull, I just kept waiting for something to happen. Actually lot of the action is unique and cool, but it's like listening to my dad (who is also an accountant) tell a story and my mind wandered a LOT.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Finders Keepers: Stephen King

Another Great King book. A writer who hasn't published anything in 20 years is murdered by one of his fans, Morris, who didn't like the way his trilogy ended. Morris had two accomplices who just want the money the author has squirreled away, but Morris wants the moleskin journals he has been writing since "retirement". After the murder Morris decided to murder his accomplices at a roadside rest and then goes home to read the journals. Before he has time to finish them he ends up in jail for raping a woman, which he doesn't remember because he was drunk. He spends the next 40ish years in prison. In the meantime a new family moves into his old home where he has hidden his stolen loot. They have fallen on hard times and the son, Pete, finds the chest and gives the money to his parents little by little until it is gone. He reads all the journals and falls in love with the author, deciding to be a writer himself. He finds a company called "Finders Keepers" and tries to sell the journals to them to generate more money for his family. About that time Morris is released from jail and finds his treasure is missing. He tracks down Pete and Pete naroowly escapes death with the help of a detective. In the end the journals are all burnt and Morris dies trying to save them.

11/22/1963: Stephen King

An English teacher in a small ton befriends AL, a man who owns a dinner that apparently has a portal in which he can travel in time. Al asks Jake to come to the dinner the next day because he has a proposition for him. When Jake shows up, Al looks years older and is dying from cancer (because he has been in the portal for years and it only shows up as 2 mins in present day. Al wants him to use the portal and go back to save JFK from being assassinated. Jake accepts and along the way affects many other's lives, he hopes for the good. He kills a father to keep him from murdering his family, then occupies man that would have had a hunting accident involving a neighbor girl, then falls in love with a librarian, Sadie, as he waits for the years to pass before he kills Lee Harvey Oswald. This part of the book is very slow and seems to go on forever as we wait for time to pass...Sadie is almost murdered by her ex-husband and gets a huge scar on her face. Jack succeeds in stopping Oswald, the secret service shoot him, but Sadie is killed in the process. Jack is obsessed with going back to the portal to go back in time to save Sadie. When he gets back to present time the world is in a nuclear haze and evilness has spiraled out of control. He meets a person who tries to protect the portal and explains to him that every time he enters the portal a time string is created and going back doesn't "reset" history. Jack realizes he can't save anyone and maybe things were supposed to happen like they did because every life he saves has to be balanced by a death. He comes back to present day and finds Sadie, who is now 80 years old and has had a good life. He dances with her and she can't help feeling she knows him, Sept 9th 1958.It was a very long story as you wait for time to pass until Jack tries to save the president. in a way King explains Deja vu. I missed something in the book because the "jump rope girls" evidently moved away, yet when he moves he waves goodbye to them- there must have been some significance there?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Killer's Mind: Mike Omer

I LOVED this book, the characters were likeable, it was suspenseful and super-creepy, but original. Two detectives are paired together to help the police stop a killer who is embalming woman and then leaving them across the city. Initially the two detectives don't like each other, but after Zoe is nearly murdered they start working together. They do catch the killer who is embalming women by some clever thinking. The book ends with the man who almost killed Zoe sending a picture to her of him and her sister in a photo he had taken. I was bummed that the hometown killer was never caught and the boy who committed suicide cleared of the charge, but I assume that will be in the next book?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

You are Old: Scott Dikkers

This was awful, I kept reading this train wreck out of morbid curiosity that it would have a redeeming feature- his attempt at humor is way off and the part about shooting people was just distasteful- who would publish something like this? Wishing I hadn't read it because now I am just disturbed.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Skin Tight: Carl Hiiason

Another hilarious book by Hiaason, that explores the underground around plastic surgery. A retired-ish investigator, Mick, tries to solve one of his older cases where a woman had plastic surgery and then disappeared.They closed the case as a kidnapping, but Mick doesn't buy it that some would kidnap a woman who was all wrapped up and looked horrible. He uncovers "Dr Graveline's" scandalous scheme and believes the missing woman was fed to the doctor's brother's wood chipper. Just like in life, each character has a life filled with humor and stress. Excellent book where gruesome moments are broken up with humor.

We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe: Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson

This book explain how much is unknown about the universe, by how much we do know, basically, the more we understand, the more we don't understand. The authors try to break up a dull text book like read with humor to keep people alert, but the book is interesting on its own.

Specimen 313: Jeff Strand

This story is narrated by Max, a biologically engineered Venus fly trap. His mad scientist creater brings vagabonds into the greenhouse in a rush to show them the plants, but feeds them to the venus fly traps.The doctor is delighted with Max because he can rip limbs off people, until he replaces Max's neighbor iin the greenhouse with specimen 313, a female who can bend over to grab prey.the doctor then brings in a young woman who we assume to be his daughter- in- law as he soon after brings in a baby who the plants believe to be his grandson.in the end the doctor decides to not just kill max, but torture him with acid, as he starts digging max up, specimen 313 eats him.

Monday, June 25, 2018

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool: Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

This was hilarious! It's a mom and daughter duo where they note things that they have experience and put their spin on it when they tell the story. Mom is at the age where she is fearless and wants to seize the world, she puts a a funny spin on everything and anything. The daughter is more timid and reminds me of myself sort of trying to find her voice and place in the world. She talks about her freezer not working, but maybe the lazy repair man is right that it is working as designed? Clearly it was broken, but she has that hesitation we all get. It was an adorable read and I couldn't help thinking of my mom through it all.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

You Are a Badass; How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life: Jen Sincero

This was a great book, she coupled things you expect to hear and have been said before with some really great advice, which everyone can use. I was actually reading it to see if it would be a good gift and got a lot out of it myself. (It would make a great gift)I love that she quotes herself and was in a good place when writing the book as that shines through at the end.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Nuremberg Interviews: Leon Goldensohn

This book was comprised of the notes taken during personal psychiatric evaluations of the people tried at Nuremberg. It was surprising that many of the people tried and sent to prison were merely generals, translators, and other professionals that had nothing to do with the extermination camps. Of course I am seeing it in hindsight. It was interesting to learn that the Russians were the ones asking for a trial, not the British and Americans. The Germans on trial thought the trials would make martyrs out of them and create an environment where the Germans would hate the British and Americans, but that didn't happen.

Flat Broke with Two Goats:

This was a cute book that at first seemed to haphazardly jump from topic to topic, but the further along you read, you realized the book was about finding meaning in you life, similar to the book. Heartwarming.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Marie Antoinette: Helene Delalex

This was a large hardback book filled with paintings of Marie Antoinette and family as well as things in Versailles that were hers. The story told of Marie's increasing unpopularity with the French and how she became the queen they needed at the end of her life. The one thing I never find an answer to I what happened to their daughter, their one remaining child.

Blacksad: Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido

This graphic novel follows John Blacksad, a detective for the police...and a cat. He solves kidnappings, deals with racism and Nazis and keeps the book interesting. The illustrations are really cool.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Last Survivor: Timothy Ryback

A little unfocused, this book was mostly about the city of Dachau and how the stigma of having the first concentration camp has affected the city 50 plus years later. The residents take their children to Munich to be born so they won't have Dachau on their birth certificates and get their cars registered there too because it you drive to another city with Dachau plates you are harassed as "jew killers". The book also searched for some confirmation that Martin Zaidenstadt / Mjetek Zaideta was in the Dachau concentration camp as he claimed to be because parts of his story seem off and he is not in any of the registries. Martin goes to the crematorium daily to tell his story to the tourists and makes a little money from tourists who don't know what to say. The Author wants Martin to be the real thing and not a con artist, but gets downhearted when he can't confirm anything Martin tells him. Until one day he learns of the village of Jedwabne and the barn burning of their jews by the townspeople. He then finds a photo of Martin's father, the grain dealer. All other documents seem lost as the townspeople burned them too. In the end Martin admits he lost his wife and daughter to the fire and breaks down. The author realizes the screams Martin hears from the gas chamber are probably the hauntings of his family at the barn burning.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Glitter: Aprilynne Pike

An interesting teen book about a girl who sets her sites to far and her fall. Danny is born into the Sonoma Versailles life, which is a modern take over of Paris Versailles by a powerful company that names themselves king and queen. Danny is set to marry the young king due to blackmail on her mother's part because they witnessed the king murder a young girl. Danny starts selling drugs as a way to fund her escape, but after her drugs kill her mother and best friend, she realizes the cost has been to much and she must escape only she gets taken back to the place for her marriage.

Pegasus Bridge: Stephan Ambroise

This was the story of the WWII capture of Pegasus Bridge and other bridges by the Allied forces.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Army at Dawn: Rick Atkinson

This was the first in a 3 part series covering the different theatres in WWI.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Day of Battle: Rick Atkinson

This book was about the WWII battles in Italy and the major players. Devastating story of Monte Casino.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Burial Rites: Hannah Kent

This was a great book telling the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir of Iceland from her side of the story. She was beheaded in 1830 for the murder of her employer and another man, the legend makes her a cold blooded killer, this story shows her as human and at the wrong place at the wrong time. It is a really quick red as you want to learn she is innocent and can't stop turning the pages.

The Longest Winter: Alex Kershaw

This was a well written sort of summery of some events in the European theatre of WWII where it switched from place to place and from person to person as it progressed.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Citizen Soldiers: Stephen Ambrose

This book highlighted several units during WWII and the battles in the European theater. It was a very good book and hit on the highlights of stories he had uncovered.

The Ones That Got Away: Stephen Graham Jones

This is a collection of short horror stories, some were really good (like the first one) and some I didn't understand, like The Meat Tree.

Old Fashion Corners of Paris: Christopher Destournelles

This was a cute little book about visiting Paris and the novel things you should do that aren't actual tourist attractions.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Burnt Offerings: Robert Marasco

Creepy! Marian is bored with her life in the big city apartment and insist her husband Ben take them and son David away for the summer. She finds a mansion for rent for the summer and the old inhabitants say the place really comes alive in the summer. Marian is taken with all the valuables in the house and though David gets hurt the first day and Ben is uneasy about the place Marian pouts until they move in. They Bring Ben's aunt and immediately everyone but Marian is uneasy about how they are changing in the house as they start to deteriorate the house is like a snake shedding it's old skin and becoming renewed. Marian is tasked with feeding an old lady that lives upstairs, but isn't well enough to leave the room. Marian comes under a spell and after the Aunt dies she has a few periods of alertness that pass before she can scream for help. She becomes an unreliable character as she appears to be doing and seeing more than she remembers. At the end Ben is in a comma and David is drowned in the pool along with Ben. As everyone dies their picture appears in the old lady's room and there is a massive collection of photos. Marian then gains access to the mother's room in the house and whatever she sees is so terrifying she cannot scream. She then becomes part of the house like all the other visitors.

Ghost Medicine: Andrew Smith

Tis was a fabulous coming of age book for boys. Troy Scotts Mother dies and that summer he leaves his childhood behind. Troy and his two best friends Tom and Gabriel make an enemy out of the new sheriff's son Chase. This book follows the 3 boys for the year before Troy turns 17.Troy falls in love with Gabe's sister, Luz, and is nearly killed by a cougar that has killed Troy's animals. He comes in second in a shooting match to Chase and after Chase tries raping Luz, the Sherriff threatens them and the boys realize Chase is untouchable. At the end of the book Chase kills Scotts colt and tries killing Tom and Troy but Gabe throws a rock that knocks Chase into a river where he drowns. Gabe becomes a hero getting the boys out of the mountains to safety, but Tom dies from his wounds. Gabe tries to commit suicide and the boys try to heal physically and mentally.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Ghost Story: Peter Straub

This was written around the time of Steven King's "Salem's Lot" but it was nearly the same book, just expanded. Five friends in their 70's gather regularly as part of the "Chowder Society" where they share basically ghost stories from their past. The meetings start off with the question of "what was the worse thing you have done, but by the end of the book we understand why they never speak on the worst thing they have ever done because they were all involved in the murder of a woman when they were in their 20s. Meanwhile a "Manitou" has come to town and the men try to battle it before the entire town is murdered. Things I had trouble with in the book- These men are in their 70s and they are CONSTANTLY going up and down stairs and doing all other things with the ease and energy of a 20 yr old. Peter the child hero in the book calmly and rationally asks his mom about happiness, trying to touch on the affair she is having with one of the 70 yr olds right after seeing his friend consumed by a monster?! Why does it take seemingly 2 years for the Manitou to kill the men. There was action and then months and years go by and then more action, what is happening in the meantime?

Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice: Curtis Sittenfeld

This was a cute retelling of "Pride and Prejudice" in modern day. Elizabeth Bennett is a magazine writer and Mr Darcy is a Surgeon. One should probably reread the original before diving in, because I had forgotten all the sister's and friend's personalities.

Before We Were Yours: Lisa Wingate

This was a fabulous story about children being stolen from their parents and placed at horrible orphanages until adopted. This story follows the lives of the five fictional Foss children who lived on the river with their parents in the 1930s. The mother "Queenie" is taking to the hospital to give birth to twins because she was having trouble giving birth on the boat. The Children are taken by "the authorities" and the twins are immediately adopted. The eldest daughter tells the story on how they are all separated, the second child is raped and apparently dies from either abuse or malnutrition. She takes 2 other river children under her wing until the little girl is adopted and then she is adopted with her one sister. Their mother dies from a broken heart and the father drinks himself to death. Later in life 4 of the seven children find each other and reunite. The story interweaves between the girls and the one woman's granddaughter who is trying to figure out who she is. For a while we think the one sister could be Camille, but figure out she is the twin taken at birth and Camille did die in the orphanage.

Friday, February 2, 2018

It Didn't Start With You: Mark Wolynn

This was a fascinating book. At first it seemed like his cases were examples of reincarnation, but then the later examples were unique. Studies show that a female fetus grows her reproductive organs during her 5th month, so the babies she will go on to have will carry with them the experience of their mother in their grandmother's womb, any stress, grief etc. on top of their experience in their mother's womb. Once married a person will experience the unhappiness their parents may have had in their marriage unless they are able to recognize it and deal with any weight that they have unconsciously been carrying from the unhappiness. A woman's feeling of unhappiness in a marriage may stem from how close they feel to their parents.

Fatelessness: Imre Kertész

This story follows 15 year old Imre and his time in multiple concentration camps. He talks about the strangeness of time, where the first few day of his imprisonment seem longer than the years he spent in camp because it was so terrifying, and then he becomes numb and has no desire to live. He f\didn't get the arm tattoo because he was moved to two other camps where he and the boys he was taken off the bus with can't recognize one another because they change so much. This was a very educational story. Imre seems to become an experiment in the concentration camp hospital where they try to work on the boils on his legs. He survives the camp and then can't relate to the relatives who weren't kidnapped and has trouble adjusting to freedom.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Blight: Alexandra Duncan

This was a great Young adult book about a world where Monsanto basically rules the agricultural land and children are raised in societies to protect the genetically modified foods. suddenly there is an explosion and a blight destroys the one facility and continues to spread. Tempest Torres is one of the only survivors and struggles with what to do next, work with the next facility or become a fugitive and try to warns small farms of the spreading doom.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Turncoat's Gambit: Andrea Cremer

My Empire of Dirt: Manny Howard

This was an amusing story of one man's journey to feed himself for one month from only his suburban "farm" which I think was 40 feet. He battles with first his yard, which is clay and seemingly toxic based on his neighbor's soil sample, and then the animals. He is frustrated with his inexperience of farming and at times I feel sorry for him, until he kills the rabbit out of anger because it is biting him- there seem to be so many useless deaths that is was heartbreaking. It was also bizarre that his wife is so upset with him during his "experiment" but then there was the picture of the maggot infested rabbit on their kitchen floor that I realized he really didn't understand why his wife was upset. I would have been even madder than she was as I assume there were a lot of those type episodes, dragging all kinds of crap in the house. In the end I think he is able to get through the month after a week of food poisoning, and then a tornado destroys most of his plants. I especially liked his relationship with Caleb while they try to figure out what to do at times. This was an enjoyable read, but not for one who is knowledgeable in animal husbandry as they'd feel extremely helpless, sort of like Manny.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Edible Exhile: Carl Hiaasen

This was a very short story about the racketeers during the Nicaraguan revolution and the Iran-Contra affair. The head man's side kick happens to meet another black market person who is able to actually get food to the freedom fighters when his boss couldn't. Suddenly he realizes his boss is pocketing most of the money. He takes his boss and his boss' banker and drops them in the ocean.