Saturday, July 20, 2024

Review: The Convict's Wife

The Convict's Wife The Convict's Wife by Libby Ashworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Molly Holden's husband, Thomas, is convicted of being a Luddite on the word of a secret informer, he is sentenced to be transported to Australia. Left with their baby daughter, Molly must find work to survive. But the man who informed on Thomas is a former suitor of Molly's, and Isaac believes that with Thomas out of the way she will return to him... Yet Molly is determined to join her husband and decides to raise the sum to pay for passage, first turning to the coal pits and then teaching herself how to weave quilts, all the while trying to stay one step ahead of Isaac's nefarious interferences. A gripping and inspiring Lancashire saga of one woman's journey of love, family and survival.

Very enjoyable read, especially finding out at the end that it is based on real people. The
authentic letters are being kept from that time period in Preston Lancashire archives.


Saturday, July 13, 2024

Review: What the Dead Want

What the Dead Want What the Dead Want by M.J. Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

They are waiting for death. He is waiting to kill them. In May 2020, fourteen-year-old Andrew Golding went out for a walk following a row with his mum. He was never seen again.

Four years later, when the press discovers police errors in Andrew Golding's case, DI Ridpath is called in to investigate.

As Ridpath delves into the case, he slowly discovers something much bigger and far more brutal than he ever expected – a murderer from the past who threatens his career and the lives of those close to him. Can he unravel the secrets before the killer strikes again?

Friday, July 5, 2024

Review: Between You and Me

Between You and Me Between You and Me by Lisa Hall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

They say every marriage has its secrets.
But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
And sometimes those doors should never be opened …

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.

Contains a surprise ending.


Sunday, June 30, 2024

Review: A Great Country

A Great Country A Great Country by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I felt it was well written. Have read every book from this author. Unfortunately though, for some reason, I felt that the real issues were "sort of" skimmed over in this book. It is a topic that needs to be written about, but with the actual true events being brought out.

I do completely understand the author's need to write about this issue though and give her a lot of credit for giving it a try.

From the New York Times bestselling author, a novel in the tradition of Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere, exploring the ties and fractures of a close-knit Indian-American family in the aftermath of a violent encounter with the police.

Pacific Hills, California: Gated communities, ocean views, well-tended lawns, serene pools, and now the new home of the Shah family. For the Shah parents, who came to America twenty years earlier with little more than an education and their new marriage, this move represents the culmination of years of hard work and dreaming. For their children, born and raised in America, success is not so simple.

For the most part, these differences among the five members of the Shah family are minor irritants, arguments between parents and children, older and younger siblings. But one Saturday night, the twelve-year-old son is arrested. The fallout from that event will shake each family member's perception of themselves as individuals, as community members, as Americans, and will lead each to consider: how do we define success? At what cost comes ambition? And what is our role and responsibility in the cultural mosaic of modern America?

For readers of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, A Great Country explores themes of immigration, generational conflict, social class and privilege as it reconsiders the myth of the model minority and questions the price of the American dream.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Review: The Alice Network

The Alice Network The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the "queen of spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth...no matter where it leads.

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Sunday, April 28, 2024

Review: Someone Else's Shoes

Someone Else's Shoes Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A story of mix-ups, mess-ups and making the most of second chances, this is the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You and The Giver of Stars.

Who are you when you are forced to walk in someone else’s shoes?

Nisha Cantor lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband announces a divorce and cuts her off. Nisha is determined to hang onto her glamorous life. But in the meantime, she must scramble to cope--she doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.

That’s because Sam Kemp – in the bleakest point of her life – has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag. But Sam hardly has time to worry about a lost gym bag--she’s struggling to keep herself and her family afloat. When she tries on Nisha’s six-inch high Christian Louboutin red crocodile shoes, the resulting jolt of confidence that makes her realize something must change—and that thing is herself.

Full of Jojo Moyes’ signature humor, brilliant storytelling, and warmth, Someone Else’s Shoes is a story about how just one little thing can suddenly change everything.

Review: The Library Book

The Library Book The Library Book by Susan Orlean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.

In The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago.

Along the way, Orlean introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters from libraries past and present—from Mary Foy, who in 1880 at eighteen years old was named the head of the Los Angeles Public Library at a time when men still dominated the role, to Dr. C.J.K. Jones, a pastor, citrus farmer, and polymath known as “The Human Encyclopedia” who roamed the library dispensing information; from Charles Lummis, a wildly eccentric journalist and adventurer who was determined to make the L.A. library one of the best in the world, to the current staff, who do heroic work every day to ensure that their institution remains a vital part of the city it serves.

Brimming with her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, The Library Book is Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books—and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country. It is also a master journalist’s reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they are more necessary than ever.


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Review: The Exchange: After The Firm

The Exchange: After The Firm The Exchange: After The Firm by John Grisham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What became of Mitch and Abby McDeere after they exposed the crimes of Memphis law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke and fled the country? The answer is in The Exchange, the riveting sequel to The Firm, the blockbuster thriller that launched the career of America’s favorite storyteller. It is now fifteen years later, and Mitch and Abby are living in Manhattan, where Mitch is a partner at the largest law firm in the world. When a mentor in Rome asks him for a favor that will take him far from home, Mitch finds himself at the center of a sinister plot that has worldwide implications—and once again endangers his colleagues, friends, and family. Mitch has become a master at staying one step ahead of his adversaries, but this time there’s nowhere to hide.


Thursday, March 28, 2024

Review: The Flight Girls

The Flight Girls The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A stunning story about the Women Airforce Service Pilots whose courage during World War II turned ordinary women into extraordinary heroes

1941. Audrey Coltrane has always wanted to fly. It's why she implored her father to teach her at the little airfield back home in Texas. It's why she signed up to train military pilots in Hawaii when the war in Europe began. And it's why she insists she is not interested in any dream-derailing romantic involvements, even with the disarming Lieutenant James Hart, who fast becomes a friend as treasured as the women she flies with. Then one fateful day, she gets caught in the air over Pearl Harbor just as the bombs begin to fall, and suddenly, nowhere feels safe.

To make everything she's lost count for something, Audrey joins the Women Airforce Service Pilots program. The bonds she forms with her fellow pilots reignite a spark of hope in the face war, and--when James goes missing in action--give Audrey the strength to cross the front lines and fight not only for her country, but for the love she holds so dear.

Shining a light on a little-known piece of history, The Flight Girls is a sweeping portrayal of women's fearlessness, love, and the power of friendship to make us soar.


Sunday, March 17, 2024

Review: What We Buried

What We Buried What We Buried by Robert Rotenberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Toronto homicide detective is attacked at his doorstep when his investigation into possible links between the Nazi occupation of Italy and the murder of his brother decades later gets too close to the truth—in the new crime thriller from bestselling author Robert Rotenberg. Perfect for fans of Scott Turow and David Baldacci.

It’s been years since Daniel Kennicott’s brother, Michael, was shot and killed the night before he was about to depart for Gubbio, Italy. The case, never solved, has haunted Daniel ever since. Long suspecting the killing was tied to Michael’s planned trip but overwhelmed with grief, Daniel has put off going there—until now, the tenth anniversary of the murder.

As he’s about to leave, Daniel learns that his two mentors, detectives Ari Greene and Nora Bering, have been more involved in the investigation of Michael’s murder than he ever knew. And they’re concerned about Daniel’s safety. But why? Is Daniel risking his life—and those of others—by trying to uncover the truth?

When Daniel arrives in the bucolic Italian hill town, he learns the past has not been put to rest. Residents are still haunted by the brutal Nazi occupation, the brave acts of the local freedom fighters, and the swift savagery of German retribution.

And as Daniel delves into his family’s deadly connection to Gubbio, Ari Greene searches for a killer closer to home.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Review: The Paper Palace

The Paper Palace The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It is a perfect July morning, and Elle, a fifty-year-old happily married mother of three, awakens at "The Paper Palace"—the family summer place which she has visited every summer of her life. But this morning is different: last night Elle and her oldest friend Jonas crept out the back door into the darkness and had sex with each other for the first time, all while their spouses chatted away inside.

Now, over the next twenty-four hours, Elle will have to decide between the life she has made with her genuinely beloved husband, Peter, and the life she always imagined she would have had with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn't forever changed the course of their lives.

As Heller colors in the experiences that have led Elle to this day, we arrive at her ultimate decision with all its complexity. Tender yet devastating, The Paper Palace considers the tensions between desire and dignity, the legacies of abuse, and the crimes and misdemeanors of families.


Sunday, February 11, 2024

Review: A Place for Us

A Place for Us A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautifully written. When a book can bring me to tears several times I know that the writer has everything just right.

What I mostly got from the book, as well as the story of course, is the message to always do everything you can, especially with your children. Spend the time with them and let them know how special they are. There may come a time when they are not there for whatever reason and the worst thing a parent faces is the guilt of thinking that you didn't do enough when you had the opportunity.

A wonderful read.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Review: The Trickster's Lullaby

The Trickster's Lullaby The Trickster's Lullaby by Barbara Fradkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars



A winter camping trip turns deadly as two missing teenagers, a twisted love triangle, and the spectre of radicalism create turmoil in the remote Laurentian wilderness.

Amanda Doucette’s cross-Canada charity tour is in for a cold snap when she organizes a winter camping trip for inner-city young people in the stunning setting of the Laurentian Mountains. With a view to bridging cultural divides, she brings along a mixture of Canadian-born and immigrant youth.


Trouble begins when two of the teenagers disappear into the wilderness during the night: Luc, a French/English-Canadian with a history of drug use, and Yasmina, an adventurous young woman from Iraq who dreams of becoming a human rights lawyer. Although frantic, their parents are strangely secretive amid suspicions of drug use and forbidden romance. But when a local farmer turns up dead and terrorist material is found on Luc’s computer, the dangers turn deadly. Now in a battle against both the elements and police, Amanda and Corporal Chris Tymko discover a far greater web of secrets and deception.


As Amanda races to save the young people from danger, she finds herself fighting for stakes far higher than their own lives.

Review: The Convict's Wife

The Convict's Wife by Libby Ashworth My rating: 4 of 5 stars When Molly Holden's husband,...