Friday, December 18, 2015

Review: All Inclusive

All Inclusive All Inclusive by Farzana Doctor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book that I have read by this author. Excellent! She can get into a situation, almost as if she is living it herself and knows exactly how the characters feel and act. Ameera is from Hamilton Ontario and is working as a tour representative at a resort in Mexico. She never knew her father but is interested in finding out about him if possible. Her mother has only very limited information about him.

Very good read.



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Monday, December 14, 2015

Review: The Illegal

The Illegal The Illegal by Lawrence Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Two fictitious countries situated in the Indian Ocean. One, Zantoroland, a very poor dictatorship and the other, Freedom State, a rich nation. If I hadn't known this was fiction, I would have believed the story.

Keita Ali is a runner who has fled Zantoroland after his father, a famous journalist, has been murdered. Freedom State doesn't want refugees and sends them back in boats as soon as possible. There is corruption everywhere within the political parties.

This story is a tiny window into what it is like to be hunted in your own country and trying to be accepted in a country that doesn't want you.

Excellent read.



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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Review: The Crossing

The Crossing The Crossing by Michael Connelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harry is back, just this one time according to him. His half brother Mickey Haller has asked him to help him to find evidence to clear a client who he is sure is innocent of the charge of murder.

Harry is not happy about being on the opposite side, defense, after his life of prosecution and makes it clear that it is only going to be this one case. Harry is very thorough with investigative procedures.

A very enjoyable read, especially for lovers of crime and courtroom.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Review: Career of Evil

Career of Evil Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The third book in the series of the detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin. In this installment, Cormoran solves a very high profile case of a serial killer who takes parts of his victims as trophies. Robin and Cormoran don't always see eye to eye so it isn't a surprise when they clash.

A very enjoyable read.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Review: Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was reading this for a book group and now I am just leaving it after about 40% read. It really is not my cup of tea at all and since reading time is time that we are supposed to enjoy ourselves, this book is just not for me.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: Rogue Lawyer

Rogue Lawyer Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent read. Sebastian Rudd is a lawyer who takes on the really tough defense cases. Most of his cases involve some really bad criminals. He also has an ex wife and a son whom he doesn't see often because his wife is always fighting him.

In this series Sebastian manages to gain information regarding the abduction of the daughter of the chief of police. What should he do with that information seeing as how its considered privileged information between a lawyer and his client.

Sebastian reminds me of Harry Bosch in the Michael Connelly series, one of my favourites.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: Payback

Payback Payback by Fern Michaels
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second installment in the Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels. The stories revolve around a group of women who have had terrible things happen to them and where the law has not helped them. With the help of Myra, a lady of substance, herself having lost a daughter through a hit and run driver with political immunity, the women plot their revenge. Myra's companion is an ex MI6 spy so he has the credentials and Myra has the cash.

A satisfying read.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review: A Complicated Kindness

A Complicated Kindness A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I don't feel qualified to give a review of this book. It was not my cup of tea at all. I believe that Miriam Toews was raised in a Mennonite community and has an inside view. Unfortunately I was not drawn into the story. There were no conclusions and we never had answers on what happened to Trudi and Tash.



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Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: Burnt Paper Sky

Burnt Paper Sky Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly Macmillan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely astounding debut novel. A psychological thriller with all the boxes ticked.

Rachel has been a single mother for almost a year, her husband having remarried. She is giving her son Ben the best childhood that she can. One day during an outing in the park, Ben disappears after Rachel had taken her eyes off him just for a few moments.

The book takes us through the next week and we meet all the people who could possibly have abducted him. With each suspect you are pulled along in the belief that "yes, this is the one".

Ms. Macmillan has devised the means to let us in on the inside thinking and procedures of the police and their investigation. Brilliant!


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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Review: Orphan Train

Orphan Train Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have never heard of orphan trains. Children were advertised as needing homes and were transported to the states on trains. This practice continued for about 70 years.

This story is about one girl, Niamh, from Ireland who becomes orphaned and also whose whole family dies in a fire. When she is a ninety year old, well to do lady, a girl, Molly, who is a charge of the children's aid, comes to her home to help sort out her attic in order to do her community hours.

In working on the attic project, Molly learns about the sad young life of Niamh, whose name was changed twice in her lifetime.

A very interesting, excellent read.



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Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: Weekend Warriors

Weekend Warriors Weekend Warriors by Fern Michaels
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Imagine that something so terrible happened to you, as a woman. This terrible thing ruined your life up to that point making it very hard to move on. It changed your life in a way that you have lost your spouse, or your career, or your family or other things that are making it absolutely impossible to move ahead with your life.

You have gone to the law but have been disappointed by the let down from that source. What do you do, if anything.

Myra, a lady who is not hurting money wise, has lost her daughter by a hit and run driver, a Chinese diplomat with immunity. Two years later she is still grieving. With the help of her long time good friend, and former spy, she forms the sisterhood.

This sisterhood is comprised of women who need closure with the terrible things that have occurred in their lives. At their first meeting they decide to draw names to see who will be the first.

Weekend Warriors was a good read and I am looking forward to the next in the series, Payback, to see who will be next and what punishment these victims will come up with for their aggressors. The ladies are already on the mend with just having the close friendship and bond in taking each other into their confidence and putting their faith in each other.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review: Small Island

Small Island Small Island by Andrea Levy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At first I was a bit confused with the style of writing but when I realized that each chapter is written in the first person of each different character, I became involved and engaged.

The book opens with the story of Hortense, a Jamaican girl who, it is implied, is illegitimate. She is sent from her mother to be raised by another family of relatives and becomes very close to her cousins.

The story takes us from the warm breezes of Jamaica to the streets of London before, during and after WWII. One surprise was a description of English soldiers being sent to India just after the war was over.

The prejudice displayed by the English people toward the Jamaican immigrants was unbearable and very hard to read. Rarely is a writer able to depict this as well as Ms. Levy.

A thorough and satisfyingly excellent read.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Review: Tell

Tell Tell by Frances Itani
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a disappointing read for me. I expected much more, especially from an award winning book. I didn't feel that the village of Deseronto was portrayed accurately. I do have knowledge because my father was 8 years old, living in Deseronto in 1919 and told me many stories. Also, I spent years of my life between Deseronto and Belleville.

From the standpoint of the characters in the book, I did feel an accuracy, especially from the returning soldiers. My grandfather was a returning soldier from WWI and my mother always told me that he never spoke of what he endured there or what he witnessed.

Even the ending was unrealistic, but I will let you make that decision for yourselves.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review: Passing Through Perfect

Passing Through Perfect Passing Through Perfect by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Passing Through Perfect was a lovely story and a return to Wyattsville, the place we experienced in the first two books. It was lovely to see how Paul and Jubilee were getting along.

Benjamin, when a young fellow, fell in love at first sight with Delia. Of course her parents objected due to her young age, but that didn't keep the two young lovers apart.

This is a story of love, sadness and inspiration.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Review: The Stranger

The Stranger The Stranger by Harlan Coben
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A disappointing book for a Harlan Coben story. The idea of internet secrecy was a good one, but it just didn't come together IMO. The characters didn't "add up" and the whole story was very convoluted. It just didn't make sense.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Review: Our Souls at Night

Our Souls at Night Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a beautiful story about two people, Louis and Addie who are widowed and lonely. Addie is tired of being alone and makes a move to deepen the friendship between herself and Louis. They become very close and spend their nights together.

Addie's son disapproves of the relationship and stops them, and removes his mother to an assisted living facility.

This gives us all food for thought. Addie doesn't want to lose her family but really, doesn't she have a right to be happy?

It is a small book with an important message for everyone, no matter what your age.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Fragile

Fragile Fragile by Lisa Unger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a great read. At first I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of characters, but soon things begin to take shape. Each person and their experiences fit into one large picture. It is amazing how each person's life somehow connects to others like a giant puzzle.

A young girl goes missing after sending her boyfriend, Rick, a break up note. It is believed that she has ran away to New York to become a musician, but has she? That is the question.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Recently my mom died and this was the last book that she read and she really enjoyed it. I read the book in honour of my mom who I miss so much it hurts me every minute.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Review: The Dinner

The Dinner The Dinner by Herman Koch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For the first time I wanted to give 3 1/2 stars. I didn't feel right about giving it four stars.

A very complex situation between two brothers, their wives and their children. An extreme moral dilemma arises in the behaviour and actions of their children and the question, although never actually spoken out loud, is whether to "turn the children in" or allow them to get away with a terrible crime. Granted, the children are only 15, but they know right from wrong perfectly well at that age.

This book gave me food for thought and I won't forget it any time soon.



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Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: Broken Promise

Broken Promise Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story takes place over a period of a couple of days and is fast paced. Marla was told that she lost her baby at birth and that it was a girl. This was not the case and there was a conspiracy that nobody would have guessed.

An excellent read and I am looking forward to the next installment.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The High Road by Terry Fallis

The High RoadThe High Road by Terry Fallis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the conclusion of the first book, The Best Laid Plans. Angus and Daniel are now properly elected to the federal government and have been given the task of discovering why a bridge that crosses from Ottawa to Hull has collapsed. Angus, ever the engineer, takes the task very seriously.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

A Memory of VioletsA Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A story about the little flower sellers in London at Covent Garden. A pair of orphaned sisters are separated from each other and the elder of the two spends the rest of her life searching for her little sister.

I was very excited about reading this book because it takes place in many of the places that I have been including Covent Gardens and Grasmere, Preston and most of the Lake District in England. It was a "nice" story, but I felt that it failed to reach its potential. It was too "clean" and mapped out, hardly touching on the real nitty gritty streets of London and failing to teach the true atmosphere surrounding London in the late 1800's.



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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

Necessary LiesNecessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had never heard of the eugenics program and I am so appalled at this that it is hard for me to write a review.

It is a story of the very poor in South Carolina. The government had a program to sterilize the young, poor and what they call mentally infirm.

A new social worker arrives on the scene to discover this program and she disagrees with it entirely and tries to change it, putting herself into serious trouble, and even landing in jail.

An interesting read, a good fictional story based on true policies.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

The Burning Room (Harry Bosch, #19)The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Of course I like to give every Harry Bosch novel five stars, but this story was good, but not as good as some others. An interesting twist in that one cold case was never solved, but the victim lived for ten more years. When he did die, they recovered the bullet from his spine, which they could not do previously. Meanwhile Harry and his new, young partner were working another cold case "on the side" which involved a fire where nine people including children had died. In the end Harry is suspended from duty for some minor infraction and you have to wonder if it was all a set up. Will Harry be back?

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens

Rush Home RoadRush Home Road by Lori Lansens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A beautiful first novel for Ms. Lansens. The story starts with heartbreaking episode where a toddler baby girl is abused by her too young mother. You might think that the story is not for you at this point, but read on. Its a lovely story which moves between the present and the past of Addy, a lady who had a very hard life but seemingly took it all in stride.



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Friday, May 1, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very suspenseful story. A girl travels every day on a train through London and sees many things each day. It seems very innocent at the outset but as the story deepens we begin to see another side of the issue.

A very enjoyable read.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

The Best Laid PlansThe Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very enjoyable, satisfying read. A political aide wants out of government and to go into the teaching field. Before he is released however, he is forced to run a losing campaign in a riding that has been conservative "forever" and without any hope of every changing.

He makes a deal with another teacher/engineer, Angus, to run in the riding and he will take a teaching assignment that the older Angus wants to drop in exchange. There will be not problem because of there being no hope whatsoever of being elected to this riding!!!

Lovely humour surrounding interesting characters. A must read.



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Monday, March 23, 2015

419 by Will Ferguson

419419 by Will Ferguson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a story about a man who was duped by a Nigerian scam artist. I was immersed in this story from the beginning. So vivid was it that I could smell and taste Nigerian as I was reading.

I think we all have received these types of letters and emails, usually from someone calling himself "Mr." The story is realistic to the point that you wonder if this has truly happened.

For anyone who uses the internet, this is a must read.



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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Seconds Away by Harlan Coben

Seconds Away (Mickey Bolitar, #2)Seconds Away by Harlan Coben
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second in the Mickey Bolitar series. An enjoyable sequel to Shelter. A motley crew of characters has been introduced and their discovery of an "organization" that was formed to rescue children from harm.

I am lookingforward to the third installment.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

The Homecoming of Samuel LakeThe Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A disappointing book. The story had great potential in the beginning but developed in a very scattered way. It went back and forth between angelic and demonic.

In the beginning, and sporadically throughout, it was very simple family life. I am not a fan of domestic violence, child abuse and animal abuse, and found the themes one dimensional and over simplified for the gravity of the situations.

A disappointing read.



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Friday, February 6, 2015

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

A Tree Grows in BrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I understand that this is an important "document" regarding the life and times during the years around 1900-1910, but, I found the book to be excessively detailed about day-to-day life in Brooklyn. Taking a page and a half to describe in detail the buying of a pickle is just more than my patience can handle.

A good story, but not my type of book.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew

The Dry Grass of AugustThe Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A well written, realistic story. Starts off slowly and sleepily throwing you off the track. It builds gradually at first until you begin to realize the enormity of the story regarding the way of life in the south and the injustices.





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Saturday, January 10, 2015

What Matters Most by Bette Lee Crosby

What Matters MostWhat Matters Most by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Louise and Clay are middle aged and Clay is tired of working at the bank. He receives a letter in the mail notifying him that his uncle has died and left him his house in Florida and his bank account. Almost right away Clay decides to retire and move them to the house in Florida. The one little problem for him is that his wife is very happy where she is, with friends and family and a nice house and a routine that suits her and she is not happy about moving.

An excellent read, loaded with the types of problems that we all face.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg

The Pull of the MoonThe Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an epistolary, which is one of my favourite styles of writing. A woman is turning a certain age and is waking up to the fact of her life. Many things have dawned on her about herself, not the least of which is that she has always done what her husband has wanted and never actually been her own person.

She sets out on a road trip, on her own, to try to think about her life and discover the missing element. Some people say that Nan is a spoiled woman who has everything and is still not satisfied. I disagree with the description of her. She has done her "duty" and now wonders what happened and why she feels so let down.

Along the way she meets people and takes time to get to know and understand them. Nan uses a journal to track her thoughts and movements and writes letters to her husband, Martin, to try and let him understand what has happened to her. My own fear is that he will just say "oh, its women's problems" and disregard most of what she is telling him.

I found this story very typical of women born during the 40's and 50's, especially in North America. I was disappointed when the story ended because I wanted to know what would happen when she returned home.

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Review: The Alice Network

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn My rating: 5 of 5 stars In an enthralling new historical novel from nati...