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What Are We Reading and Reviewing in November 2018 ?

Read it, Track it! (& 12 x 12 Challenge)

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Edited: Nov 14, 8:11am Top

Carol is Thankful For These Reads in November and That She's NOT a Turkey

✔ 11//18 -★

Group Reads
Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton - 11/7/18 - 4★
The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry - 11//18 -★

Blind Date With A Book
The River at Night by Erica Ferencik - 11//18 - ★

The Gathering: Shadow House by Don Poblock - 11/9/18 - 4.5★
Rooms by Lauren Oliver 11/12/18 -2★
The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson - 11//18 - ★
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore 11//18 - ★
Porch Talk by Phillip Gulley - 11/1/18 - 4.5★
Elevation by Stephen King - 11/2/18 - 4.5★
The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood - 11/11/18 - 3★
Those Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero - 11/14/18 - 3★
Holy Ghosts by Gary Jansen - 11/8/18 - 3★
The Sleeping and The Dead by Ann Cleeves - 11//18 -★
The Black Book by James Patterson & David Ellis - 11//18 -★

Edited: Nov 13, 4:37pm Top

Duty's TBR for November
SF/F reads

Michael Chabon - Yiddish Policemen's Union
Becky Chambers - A Closed and Common Orbit
Kim Harrison - Ever After ✔
Vernor Vinge - Deepness in the Sky
Timothy Zahn - The Domino Pattern
Simon R Green - Hell to Pay ✔
Karen Chance - Shadow's Bane ✔

from other genres
Anne Fine - Flour Babies ✔
Nicci French - Friday on my Mind
Quintin Jardine - A Brush With Death ✔
Joy Masoff - Fire! ✔
Sjowall & Wahloo - The Locked Room
S S Van Dine - The Scarab Murder Case ✔

Oct 28, 9:38pm Top

Lynda and Oliver's November Reading Plan


99 Red Balloons - Elisabeth Carpenter
Burn - Linda Howard
The Cat Who Could Read Backwards - Lillian Jackson Braun
Dark in Death - J. D. Robb
Death on Demand - Carolyn G. Hart
Fatal Promise - Angela Marsons
Fool Me Once - Harlan Coben
Into the Fire - Suzanne Brockmann
Jesuit Papers - A. B. Fowler
Liar Liar - M. J. Arlidge
Long Road to Mercy - David Baldacci
Now You See Me - Sharon Bolton
Past Tense - Lee Child
Patriot Threat - Steve Berry
Reckless - Amanda Quick
Say You're Sorry - Melinda Leigh
Secrets in Death - J. D. Robb
Storm Murders - John Farrow

Other Than Mystery

Darkest Hour - Tony Schumacher
Fire - Sebastian Junger
Illuminae - Arnie Kaufman
Paper and Fire - Rachel Caine

Edited: Nov 1, 6:13am Top

>2 dustydigger: I’ve just started Friday On My Mind.

Nov 1, 6:14am Top

Group Reads
Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton, #1 in the Lacey Flint Series - Start Date Friday 2nd November
The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry, #10 in the Cotton Malone Series - Start Date Wednesday14th November
Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben Start date Saturday 24th November

Friday On My Mind by Nicci French
Saturday Requiem by Nicci French
Circe by Madeleine Miller
Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King
The Storied Life of A J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Tara Road by Maeve Binchy
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Still Life by Louise Penny
Broken by Karin Slaughter
Save Me by Lisa Scottoline
One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
Prince of Fire by Daniel Silva
Watermelon by Marian Keyes
Death of a Dreamer by M C Beaton

Nov 1, 2:59pm Top

Porch Talk by Phillip Gulley

Beloved American storyteller Philip Gulley evokes a time when life revolved around the front porch, where friends gathered, stories were told, and small moments took on large meaning. In today's hurry-up world, Gulley's observations are frank and funny, reminding us of the world we once shared, and can again. With poignancy and humor, Gulley writes about small-town life, things he thinks about while sitting in his Quaker meeting, and why Donald Trump should pay more taxes. Porch Talk is a tribute to common folk, including Charlie the hardware priest, the Bettys at the newspaper, and other paragons of decency not many people know, but should.

I loved this book. Phillip Gulley relates to the heart of the matter with humor and a deeper message. The first chapter reminded me of my childhood and the house that I grew up in. We had a front porch and many a summer day the adults spent many hours sitting out there and talking, while we kids played in the yard and tried to pick up bits and pieces of the conversation. In this bright, warm-hearted little book, he lets us go along with his memory journey and meet his friends and neighbors...the hardware store owner that knew everyone and knew how to repair anything and everything. The owner of the local Dairy Queen that spent his days sitting in a chair in back of the store and never wore a watch. His veterinarian friend that led him to his dog Zipper. Mr. Gulley may be correct when he says that the entire world should have a front porch and spend many hours on it. The world would surely be a better place for it.

Nov 1, 10:13pm Top

Mennonite In a Little Black Dress – Rhoda Janzen
Digital audiobook narrated by Hillary Huber

From the book jacket: Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside-down. From the outside, it seemed that she had everything she wanted: a fulfilling job, a beautiful lakeside home, and a brilliant husband of fifteen years. But then her husband announced he was leaving her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com – and that same week a car accident left her with serious injuries. Under circumstances like these, what was a gal to do? Naturally, Rhoda crossed the country and returned to the land of Borscht, Zwiebach, and corduroy-covered Bibles.

My reactions
I’m not sure what I was expecting. I hadn’t read the book jacket blurb. I had noticed a few Goodreads friends had read and enjoyed the book, and I’m sure one or more of those reviews is what landed this on my TBR list. In any case, I’m not sure how I feel about the book.

One the one hand, Janzen is able to look at her life and the choices she made honestly and without (much) regret. She chalks things up to experience and moves on with life. She seems to genuinely like and cherish her family, though she has left behind the teachings and restrictions of her childhood faith. I particularly loved the relationship she had with her mother, who is cheerfully optimistic about everything.

On the other hand, I’m not so sure Janzen was truly over her husband’s having left for a guy he met on Gay.com. Why do I think that? Mostly because Janzen mentions this fact every few pages. Reminds me of a woman I know who left her husband some 20 years ago and STILL manages to bring him up every time I run into her with a not-so-casual, “Oh, what do hear from X lately?” She may have divorced him, but she’s never LEFT him.

In summary, I enjoyed much of it and found her sense of humor about her own situation refreshing, but I didn’t love it.

Hillary Huber does a marvelous job voicing the audiobook. She set a good pace and has just the right tone for the self-deprecating humor, and to convey the tender love Janzen finds in her family home and community.

Nov 3, 9:00am Top

Elevation by Stephen King (Novella)

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

The book description is almost longer than the book itself:) it's not a bad story...good... but not great. In 147 pages it doesn't really have the time to have been either one. There's going to be a host of readers that are going to slam and down-rate the book for not being longer...stating on the front cover that it's a novel when in actuality it's a novella...or treading very close on the heels of another of Stephen Kings books... Thinner. Overall, in spite of the length, it was a good story. I liked the main character of Scott Carey and his attitude to a situation that would have certainly made most people at least paranoid if not down right out of their minds crazy. Read it if you aren't looking for something on the order of Salem's Lot or It... you will enjoy it. After all the "King" of Horror" wrote it.

Nov 4, 3:50pm Top

Daughter of Moloka'i / Alan Brennert
4 stars

This is a sequel to “Moloka’i”, to be published early in 2019. This one follows Ruth, the daughter of Rachel and Kenji, both who have Hansen’s disease (leprosy) and were sent to Molokai to live their lives. Rachel is Hawaiian and Kenji, Japanese. Ruth was born in the early 20th century, and was taken away from her parents. At 5 years old, she is adopted by a Japanese couple, so Ruth is raised learning her Japanese culture. They move from Hawaii to California when Ruth is still young to help her uncle on his farm. Things do not go well for Ruth and her family, along with over 100,000 Japanese Americans when Pearl Harbour is bombed in 1941.

I really liked this, though I have to admit, I wasn’t as interested later on in the book when Rachel came back into the picture. Maybe that would have been different if it hadn’t been so long since I’d read the first book, I’m not sure. It was interesting learning about the Japanese culture, as Ruth learned, and later there was some about the Hawaiian culture, as well. The most interesting parts of the book to me was when Ruth and her family were in the internment camps. That wasn’t completely new to me, but it was the best part of the book for me. I do feel like this one could stand-alone without having read the first book.

Nov 4, 11:58pm Top

Red Heart Tattoo / Lurlene McDaniel
3.75 stars

Morgan is the class president, and her boyfriend, Trent, is a football star at school. Morgan’s best friend, Kelli, is a cheerleader and her boyfriend is also a football star. Roth was orphaned young, and lived in foster homes until his uncle returned from military service and took him in. His Uncle Max is now married, so it feels like he has a real home with people who love him, even though Max doesn’t really know how to be a parent. Max runs a tattoo shop and Roth is on the edge of being in trouble, but never anything overly serious. Outsider Liza is Roth’s best friend. They are all seniors when someone sets off a bomb at their school. Some die, and some are injured.

I’d give this 4 stars for the story, but 3.5 stars for going through the story so quickly and leaving out a lot more detail. However, it is a YA book, so maybe the 4 stars is still justified. I really liked the story. I sympathized with most of the characters, but it helped that we see the events from many different characters’ viewpoints. Definitely good YA.

Nov 7, 11:41am Top

Dark of the Moon – John Sandford

Sanders is perhaps best known as the author of the Lucas Davenport mystery series set in Minneapolis / St Paul MN. Now he gives one of Davenport’s colleagues his own series. Virgil Flowers has been in the Army and the St Paul Police. Now Davenport has recruited him to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, promising him “We’ll only give you the hard stuff.”

This case begins as Flowers heads to the western end of the state, to help the local police solve a grisly murder. As he approaches the town, he notices a glow in the sky which can only be a fire. In fact, it is the mansion of a well-known man – Bill Judd – which has erupted in flames, with Judd trapped inside. Not too many people are sorry to see Judd go; years ago he perpetrated a scam involving Jerusalem artichokes which resulted in many farmers losing their land, and one or more suicide. Flowers is curious but doesn’t begin to notice a pattern until yet another murder happens.

Sandford crafts a tight plot with several twists and turns, plenty of suspects, a little love interest, and a skilled, likeable lead detective. I like the way Flowers pieces together the puzzle. He’s deliberate and cautious, but aggressive when questioning a reluctant witness. He’s an astute observer and is careful when drawing conclusions, keeping his theories to himself until he is more certain both of the person he might confide in, and of who the culprit is. If he has a fault, it’s that Virgil is a bit more of a ladies’ man than I like, but he’s always honest about his intentions and women seem to willingly go along for the ride. The supporting characters seem to be a good match for Flowers; they hold their own and support/challenge him as they see fit (including the women).

Nov 7, 3:00pm Top

Now You See Me by S.J. (Sharon) Bolton
Lacey Flint series Book #1
4 ★

One night after interviewing a reluctant witness at a London apartment complex, Lacey Flint, a young detective constable, stumbles onto a woman brutally stabbed just moments before in the building's darkened parking lot. Within twenty-four hours a reporter receives an anonymous letter that points out alarming similarities between the murder and Jack the Ripper's first murder—a letter that calls out Lacey by name. If it's real, and they have a killer bent on re-creating London's bloody past, history shows they have just five days until the next attempt.

No one believes the connections are anything more than a sadistic killer's game, not even Lacey, whom the killer seems to be taunting specifically. However, as they investigate the details of the case start reminding her more and more of a part of her past she'd rather keep hidden. And the only way to do that is to catch the killer herself.

Lacey Flint is a young detective constable who literally walks into the first victim seconds before she bleeds out. Lacey has a secret...a secret that she has fought to keep deeply hidden... but now thanks to a set of unpredictable circumstances, it may bring her life crashing down around her ears. The Jack The Ripper copycat portion of the book was interesting, informative but extremely gruesome...as can be expected since history has told us Jack wasn't "The Tooth Fairy", thus this may not be a topic that everyone will want to explore. The biggest set back for me with the book was that it didn't always give the reader even a minor explanation of why the events transpired as they did. I really enjoyed the authors writing style and I believe the series has a great deal of promise if it continues with these same characters.

Nov 7, 8:01pm Top

The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah
Book on CD performed by Julia Whelan

Ernt Allbright is a damaged man; a former Vietnam POW he is prone to fits of anger and depression. When one of his fellow POWs dies, he wills his land in Alaska to Ernt. So Allbright takes his wife, Cora, and 13-year-old daughter, Leni, to a remote village on Alaska’s Kenai peninsula, accessible only by plane or boat to homestead the land he has inherited. They are woefully unprepared, though optimistic and not afraid of hard work, and the local residents of Kaneq welcome them and rally to help them survive their first winter. But Ernt can’t accept help without rancor. He’s offended that people think him unprepared, and is likely as not to accuse anyone offering help of thinking him incompetent. He’s angry that a “rich man thinks he can buy my friendship” by offering the use of his tractor to help clear the land. He’s certain that the government is out to get him and he’s determined to show that he needs no one, and his family doesn’t either. As winter approaches and the hours of daylight diminish, Ernt’s depression worsens, as does his tendency to violent outbursts.

I was engaged and interested in the story from the beginning, but … I quickly grew tired of Cora’s constant excuses for her sorry husband. She seemed to never take seriously the signs that he was a danger to her … and to their child! I found myself yelling at the CD player over and over as she and Leni made one poor decision after another. I could perhaps forgive Leni, who was a teenager after all, but I never could forgive Cora. Yes, I know that women who are abused frequently feel powerless and unable to extricate themselves from the abusive relationship. Yes, I know that even when there are children involved, many such women stick with their abusers (and that time after time, abused children want to be reunited with the parent who has been abusing them). I know this reality, but I don’t have to like it. And in this novel, it irritated me no end.

Additionally, I thought that what happens to Matthew was manipulative on the author’s part, trying to force tears and heartache on the part of the reader (not successfully in my case). And I thought the ending was far too pat and neatly tied up in a pretty rainbow.

On the plus side, I really did enjoy the depictions of the majestic natural beauty of Alaska. This is set in the mid- to late-1970s, before all the cruise ships brought thousands of tourists every summer. I liked the self-sufficiency of many of the characters, and particularly liked the strong women of the community – Large Marge, Geneva Walker, Natalie Watkins and Thelma Schill.

Julia Whelan does a fine job performing the audio version. She has a gift for voices and makes these characters come to life. I particularly like the way she voiced Cora, Large Marge, Ernt and Tom Walker. Too bad she didn’t have better material to work with.

Nov 7, 11:24pm Top

Breaking Out of Bedlam / Leslie Larson
3.5 stars

Cora is upset with her children (one daughter and two sons), because they’ve contrived behind her back to get her into an assisted living home. She doesn’t want to be there; she wants to be at home with her dog Lulu. She was given a notebook, so she starts writing in it. Via this notebook, the reader learns about Cora’s life – both currently, and the life she lived to this point. One positive thing to come out of this, though: in the home, she meets a new man. But, she still wants to go home!

This was good. Cora was feisty and I (mostly) liked her. She sure had some troubles, though. I also felt really bad for her, for multiple reasons, past and present. I loved Marcos, who worked in the home and watched over Cora. He was fun!

Edited: Nov 8, 6:55am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Nov 8, 2:54pm Top

Holy Ghosts or How a (Not So) Good Catholic Boy Became a Believer in Things That Go Bump in the Night

The extraordinary true story of a Long Island household haunting that forced a respected writer to confront the truth about life, death, his childhood home, and his town's past.

I really love a good ghost story and this one had a catchy title that caught my attention...so it got to go home with me. Gary Jansen tells the story of his childhood home, and the strange things which happened there. Coincidence piles on coincidence, until the prospect of the supernatural can no longer be ignored...not even by the skeptical Jansen. At the heart of this story is the story of a human being coming to terms with the fact that the world may not be as black and white as he once thought. I don't know if it's true or not...it's entertaining and it's true as far as the Jansen family is concerned.

Nov 9, 12:12pm Top

Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand
3/5 stars
This is an interesting but extremely long fictional book about the need for entrepreneurs and the problems of government regulation especially concerning the railroad which instead of promoting business tears apart the country with businesses shutting down and workers losing their jobs and business owners leaving. The story was very good but at times there were extremely long sections that went on and on about the issues and could have been shortened.

Nov 10, 9:44am Top

The Gathering: Shadow House by Dan Poblocki
Shadow House series Book #1
4.5 ★

Some houses are more than just haunted... they're hungry. Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi don't know this at first. They each think they've been summoned to Shadow House for innocent reasons. But there's nothing innocent about Shadow House. Something within its walls is wickedly wrong. Nothing -- and nobody -- can be trusted. Hallways move. Doors vanish. Ghosts appear. Children disappear. And the way out? That's disappeared, too... enter Shadow House... if you dare.

To begin with...it's a Young Adult book...but it is one of the best ghost/haunted house stories I have read in some time. Five kids...all with a special talent...all underdogs in their home life and their schools...all receive invitations to what they thought was a school that would enhance their talents. Once they arrive they are apprehensive but they can't go back...so they go in. The problem is they can't get out. Continued action and twists at every turn make this a readable, chilling, adventure that makes you just need to read one more page. It's a series and I hope I can get the other 3 books...if not...this one was well worth the time. It's recommended for 3rd -7th grade but I wouldn't recommend it for anything below 5th grade due to some real frightening events in the story.

Nov 10, 4:59pm Top

Buried In Bargains – Josie Belle

Book 3 in the Good Buy Girls Mystery series, has the quartet – Maggie, Ginger, Claire and Joanne – faced with another murder close to home. Joanne and Michael are expecting their first child, and she’s feeling fat and unattractive, especially since Michael hired the pretty young, blond Diane as an assistant at the deli. When Diane is found strangled in the back room, Michael and/or Joanne are immediate suspects.

This has all the elements of a successful cozy mystery series: a group of friends who serve as amateur sleuths, a villainous temptress “mean girl” who is the bane of their existence, a handsome sheriff with a definite interest in widowed Maggie, and a lovely small community with a high murder rate.

I identified the culprit the first time said culprit made an appearance in the book. But it was still fun to watch everyone else catch up. The one thing that really annoys me is the relationship between Maggie and her former high-school rival, Summer. These two forty-year-olds act like they are still in junior high, throwing tantrums and all but wrestling one another to the ground. Grow up, ladies! Seriously.

Cozy mysteries are my reading comfort food, and as winter approaches, I’m sure I’ll be reading more of them.

Edited: Nov 10, 5:44pm Top

>6 Carol420: I believe it was Ray Bradbury who said in Farenheit 451 that humanity began to break down when houses were built without porches. My humble home in the Atlanta area has a porch as do many of these early 50's era homes, and sitting on my front porch (in good weather) has been an integral part of my adult life. Glad to see storytellers are getting the word out about front porches again!

Edited: Nov 10, 7:17pm Top

>20 threadnsong: I loved my grandparents front porch and the hours I spent curled in the swing with my grandmother while she told me about her life in Ireland and how much she missed it and feared for her beloved country. We may not have solved the world's troubles there but sure made our own seem insignificant.

Nov 10, 8:55pm Top

Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account / Miklos Nyiszli
3.5 stars

Miklos Nysizli was a Hungarian Jew taken to Auschwitz with his wife and daughter. He was a doctor and was taken on to work in the crematoriums, primarily doing autopsies. Most of the Jews who worked in the crematoriums were killed, but luckily for Nyiszli, he made it through.

I imagine when this book was originally published, in 1960, it was quite shocking. It still is, but I’ve read so much about the Holocaust, that there wasn’t a lot new, though there was some. I feel badly that I’m not rating it higher. I didn’t feel as much of an emotional connection (usually) as I thought I might. I’m not sure if it was written in a more detached way; both as a doctor and just trying to force himself to get through it all to survive, I’m sure he had to do his best to try to detach. He did say at the start of the book that he is a doctor, not a writer, so maybe that was part of it, as well (though it was definitely “readable”). Still, a worthwhile read, for sure.

Nov 11, 2:27pm Top

The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood

Plenty of legends surround the infamous Boulder House in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin, but nobody takes them seriously. Certainly nobody believes that the original owner, Maxwell Cartwright Jr., cursed its construction—or that a murder of crows died upon its completion, turning the land black with their carcasses. If there were truth to any of the local folklore, River Red High wouldn’t offer a field trip there for the graduating class. Five very different seniors—Violet, Paul, Ashley, Dylan, and Gretchen—volunteer, each for private reasons, none of which have to do with trip itself. When they’re separated from the group, they discover that what lies within Boulder House is far more horrifying than any rumor they’ve heard. To survive, they’ll have to band together and ultimately confront the truths of their darkest selves.

The book started off to be really interesting and that was before they ever went on the field trip. These are kids that diffidently needed some discipline. Their language was atrocious. They each had secrets that they didn't want reveled. Boulder House, being a lot more than mere bricks and stone...senses this and the trouble begins. The things that happened on the trip through the house didn't make much sense nor did I ever really learn what made the house evil to begin with. It doesn't offer much to adults but I suppose if I was 15 years old...I might be scared.

Nov 11, 11:22pm Top

Die Trying – Lee Child
Digital Audio read by Johnathan McClain.

Book # 2 in the Jack Reacher series has Reacher inadvertently caught up in a kidnapping, when he stops to help a woman on crutches manage her dry cleaning. He notices that she is strangely calm and collected. Holly Johnson is an FBI agent … and also the daughter and god-daughter of two powerful men.

Gosh but these books are addictive! Reacher is former military police, and now is roaming about taking odd jobs. He’s certainly got his hands full this time. With no advance warning or preparation, he’s thrust in the middle of a madman’s plan to MAKE A STATEMENT. He has the skill and opportunity to escape several times but refuses to leave Holly behind. Sometimes he uses brute force, other times psychological manipulation. I like that in this book, Holly Johnson is a strong female …. She may be on crutches, but she is far from helpless. Brava!

Implausible though it may be, Child gives the reader a fast-paced thriller full of action and intrigue.

Johnathan McClain does a fine job narrating the audio. He sets a brisk pace, has clear diction, and I loved the voice he used for the villain!

Nov 11, 11:22pm Top

Yellow Crocus – Laila Ibrahim
Book on CD performed by Bahni Turpin.

From the book jacket: Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come.

My reactions
Good historical fiction set in 1837 to 1860 Virgnia. The novel explores the ways in which family bonds are formed regardless of biological connection. Mattie is a young woman when she’s taken “into the big house” to become Lisbeth’s wet nurse. It’s heartbreaking to witness her all-too-brief Sunday visits with her young son, who has begun to bond with another slave who is caring for him. At the same time, she nurtures the white child, Lisbeth, teaches her songs and tells her stories, helps her become a young lady. Eventually their close bond must be tested and Lisbeth’s naïve attitudes are challenged as she is forced to confront the ugly truth of slavery.

I loved Mattie. She’s a strong woman who works hard and smart, watching and learning skills that will help her and her family find their way to freedom someday. I did not like Lisbeth too much for most of the book. Although she was a much better character than some of the “friends” she had among the other plantation daughters. It’s not until she has a rude awakening that she begins to show some gumption and independence of thought.

The ending is both heart-wrenching and hopeful.

Bahni Turpin is fast becoming a favorite audio performer. She has a wonderful voice and was able to interpret the various characters in a way that made it easy to follow.

Edited: Nov 12, 6:18am Top

Rooms by Lauren Oliver
2 ★

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance. But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb. The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

The description sounded interesting and promising but either it didn't deliver or I just didn't understand it. I tried listening to the audio version but there are 5 different readers and most of it was mumbled. So...I thought I'd give the book a try. Frankly I can't remember when I have been more bored with a book.

Nov 12, 10:38am Top

Anne of Ingleside – L. M. Montgomery

This is the sixth book in the series that follows the irrepressible Anne Shirley as she grows from a young orphan to adulthood. NOTE: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read this far in the series

This book focuses on Anne and Gilbert’s six children, who seem to all share their mother’s gift of imagination and tendency toward fantasy. The chapters focus on different children and their adventures / flights of fancy. Their dear mother, Anne, as well as housekeeper Susan hold the book together.

However, I really missed Anne in most of the book. Yes, it was fun to watch one child after another learn from his/her mistakes or be scared of shadows or foolishly believe a tall tale or relish a summer day playing in the valley and letting their imaginations soar. But, I read the earlier books in the series for Anne, and she wasn’t as prevalent in this episode. I’m not sure I’ll continue reading the series at all.

Nov 12, 3:48pm Top

Into the Storm / Reed Timmer
4 stars

Reed Timmer is a meteorologist and storm chaser. (Apparently, though I didn’t know this before I picked up the book), he also hosts a tv show on Discovery Channel called “Storm Chasers”. He grew up in Michigan, but being the weather geek he was, he moved to the middle of “Tornado Alley”, Norman, Oklahoma, to go to college to become a meteorologist. While there, he became fixated on chasing storms, mostly tornadoes, but he also went after a couple of big hurricanes (including Katrina).

I really liked this. He does really stupid things, but hey, I’ll live vicariously through his stories! I love watching storms, and though I’m not even close to being a risk-taker, I think it would be fun to do a tornado chasing holiday one day (but with a more conservative chaser, not Reed Timmer)! The book included some photos, and as part of the footer at the bottom of the page, there were small tornado photos, as well; those stayed the same through a small portion of the book before changing to new photos. I just thought that was a nice extra touch.

Nov 13, 4:34pm Top

Heidi – Johanna Spyri
Digital audiobook performed by Johanna Ward.

This classic of children’s literature tells the story of Heidi, a young orphan girl who lives with her gruff grandfather up on a Swiss mountain. She befriends Peter, the goatherd, and becomes beloved by all the villagers.

I’d seen the Shirley Temple movie about a million times when I was a child and absolutely loved it, but I had never read the book. It’s a wonderful story about a child who has lost much but relishes all that she has. She’s intelligent, open-minded, hind-hearted and has a great generosity of spirit. She comes across several mean-spirited (and downright nasty) people, but her cheerfulness wins over many people and she eventually prevails.

I listened to the audio performed by Johanna Ward. She does a marvelous job, with clear diction and a pace that isn’t too fast for younger listeners to absorb.

Nov 13, 10:11pm Top

The Value of Nothing / Raj Patel
4 stars

This book looks at why things cost what they do. The author, mostly, does a decent job with examples to explain what he’s trying to explain, but much of the actual economics/finance discussion went over my head. He really tried to “dumb it down”, and it’s probably enough for some, but unfortunately, it wasn’t always enough for me. Again, though, his examples were good and made it easier for me to follow. But, economics is just not my interest, so I’m leaving it with an “ok” rating.

Nov 14, 10:39am Top

Those Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
3 ★

In 1977, four teenagers and a dog—Andy (the tomboy), Nate (the nerd), Kerri (the bookworm), Peter (the jock), and Tim (the Weimaraner)—solved the mystery of Sleepy Lake. The trail of an amphibian monster terrorizing the quiet town of Blyton Hills leads the gang to spend a night in Deboën Mansion and apprehend a familiar culprit: a bitter old man in a mask.

Now, in 1990, the twenty-something former teen detectives are lost souls. Plagued by night terrors and Peter's tragic death, the three survivors have been running from their demons. When the man they apprehended all those years ago makes parole, Andy tracks him down to confirm what she’s always known—they got the wrong guy. Now she'll need to get the gang back together and return to Blyton Hills to find out what really happened in 1977, and this time, she's sure they're not looking for another man in a mask.

It was just okay...hense the 3 stars. I found the entire concept of kids 11-13...and a dog...let's not forget the dog...solving a crime a bit hard to work into any concept of reality. I actually expected Scooby-Doo to materialize at any moment. Then thirteen years later as adults, one of the kid detectives decides that their solution was wrong so they all need to reconnect and correct it. I can't find fault with the writing. It was well written although a bit too descriptive. If you are satisfied with a a little mystery with your mysteries then you will probably really like this one.

Nov 14, 11:34pm Top

A Bridge Too Far / Cornelius Ryan
2 stars

This is about Project Market Garden, a battle during WWII in Holland where the Allies were meant to capture some bridges. It didn’t happen.

I feel terrible rating this so low. The only other book I’ve read by this author, I rated 5 stars and have recommended it multiple times (his book on D-Day). I am blaming this on the audio. I think it’s tough subject matter for audio, anyway, so I probably shouldn’t have tried it in this format, but I did. Unfortunately, I found the narrator very monotone, so to be honest, I just missed the majority of what was going on. It didn’t hold my attention, so I wasn’t paying attention. I do not like rating this so low, but given how much of it I “missed”, I just can’t give it a higher rating.

Today, 12:09am Top

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards / Lillian Jackson Braun
3 stars

Qwilleran, a reporter, has taken a job writing an art column at a newspaper, though he knows nothing about art. He moves in underneath another art reporter who has a Siamese cat who he says reads the newspaper… backwards. Qwilleran often ends up taking care of the cat, Koko. Some time after Qwilleran has met and interviewed the owner of a local art gallery, that owner is murdered.

Have to admit I was a bit disappointed. I kept wondering where the cat from the title was! He was introduced about 1/3 of the way in to the book. Then, his name (Kao Ko-K-something); sadly, when I want to shorten a long name like that, I tend to use initials – not so good in this instance. The main character, luckily, shortened it to Koko, but every time I saw the name written out entirely, my head went to KKK. Then, the murder didn’t happen until ½ way through the book. By then, I was also questioning whether or not this was actually a mystery of some type! Anyway, I thought it took too long to get going. Once the murder finally happened, it got a bit more interesting, but I’m going to leave it as “ok” and I don’t have current plans to continue the series.


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