Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

My rating: 4.8

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique listens as Evelyn tells all from her start in the 1950's to her exit in the 1980's along with her flings and marriages along the way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. With HollyWeird how it is today, this was a throwback to the 'glamour days' which also included a lot of politics and scheming but somehow was more "pure" (wrong word to describe the sordidness but, you hopefully know what I mean). Even though Evelyn is a blonde haired Cuban girl, I couldn't help picturing Liz Taylor throughout the whole book. This tackled some serious topics and handled them beautifully. A quick read that I utterly enjoyed and I had no idea of the ending.

Monday, January 8, 2018

All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

My Rating: 4.4

10 years ago, Nicolette's best friend Corinne went missing. Nic comes back to town to deal with her ailing father when a second girl, Annaleise, goes missing.

This being written backwards - from Day 15 to Day 1 - is either something you will love or hate. I loved it. I felt there could have been better character development but it was definitely enjoyable and kept me on the edge of my seat. I had no idea about the ending which is always great.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

My rating: 2.0

Detective Lottie Parker is in charge of investigating a string of murders including a woman who is found dead in a cathedral and a young man who is found hanging dead from a tree in his yard. Are they related?  How?  Detective Parker has to figure out how they tie together and the possible motive.

There was so much I didn't like about this book.  For starters, the inconsistencies. Lottie gets extremely upset with her daughter in one scene and in the next gets upset with someone else and the author says "it is not at all like her to be upset"  HUH? Did she forget that Lottie flies off the handle and gets rattled often? There were so many character incongruities that irked me. The characters were very shallow (the bad men were all bad and their personalities felt very superficial). I didn't like any of the characters and found myself wanting it to be over. Wishing I would have stopped reading this but thankfully, it is completely forgettable.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

My rating: 4.4

Typical Slaughter style, this starts off with a shockingly explosive scene of what happened to the Quinn family in their small rural home. Flash forward almost 30 years and Charlie, the good daughter, has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer. Then, another shocking tragedy unfolds that pulls the whole town into the nightmare.

I loved so many of the characters. As with all Slaughter novels, this isn't for anyone squeamish as she doesn't spare the graphic details. I loved the unexpected ending.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens by Becky Albertalli

My rating: 2.5

Simon is a high-school boy who is gay but not open about it .He has an anonymous gay email penpal  that things are getting flirtatious with....and the email falls into the wrong hands so Simon is now getting blackmailed.

This book was 'cute' at best but VERY juvenile and had a simplistic plot line. Definitely not following the current trend of "mature young adult". I wanted to like it a lot more than I did. I am not sure where the high ratings are coming from (teens?) as this wasn't near as good as Carry On and the emailing plot line paled in comparison to "Tell Me Three Things" that did it so beautifully.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Best Books of 2017

I love reviewing my year in books and looking at my 'Best of 2017'. It is hard to believe that I had 20 books this past year that made my 'Best of 2017' list - that is over one a month! It honestly felt like a 'good' book year but not a 'great' one...until I reflect on the list. As I look back on each book, it brings the memories of the characters and storyline that swept me away. It makes me want to reread each one!

Please share below with your stand-out books from 2017. I hope that 2018 is amazing and holds many fabulous books for us, as well as the time to savor them.





Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

My rating: 3.2

After a woman walking her dog retrieves something more sinister than a stick, four friends reunite when one sends a message saying "I need you". This flashes back and forth between their boarding school days and present day. It helps you to understand their lying game, close bond as well as the mysterious disappearance of a teacher (who is also one of the girl's father).

For me, this was marginally better than The Woman In Cabin 10. I am adverse to whiny unlikable female characters. Sorry to all of you who loved this but I think that I am just not a Ruth Ware fan.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bookmarks Jan/Feb 2018

For a change, I seem to be the last one to get my Bookmarks Magazine. It was worth the wait. Even though there aren't as many books as previous months, I am excited about their descriptions and can't wait to read them.



Let me know if you have read amazing books lately or, if you also get Bookmarks, let me know your picks!  Merry Christmas and I hope Santa brings you some fabulous books :-)

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

My rating: 3.0

Down and out Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide in London. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. His new secretary/sidekick Robin has contagious enthusiasm for detection.

This Murder/Mystery is by J.K. Rowling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.Everyone knows that J.K. Rowling is an incredible writer. I really enjoyed the characters of Cormoran Strike and his lovable assistant Robin. The story line however left a lot to be desired and seemed to add so many irrelevant details that I was glad to have it done.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Odd Child Out by Gilly MacMillan

My rating: 3.2

Best friends Noah Sandler, a British boy, and Abdi Mahad, a Somalian refuge, have always been inseparable. But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol's Feeder Canal, Abdi can't--or won't--tell anyone what happened.

Unfortunately, this wasn't as good as the first book in this series. The characters were very flat and one dimensional.  Noah's family is not especially sympathetic and despite having a terminal disease, it was hard to feel compassion for Noah. There was no mystery here ...just the usual refugees are good and white people are bad. I am tired of these political agenda one dimensional books that seem to be all the rage lately. Definitely do not recommend.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

My rating: 4.8

This is about 2 very different Muslim families and how they choose to show/display their Muslim beliefs as well as how they are perceived.  It revolves around three siblings who never knew their jihadist father before his death. When their mother dies, Isma has to step in and raise her younger siblings. They are now 18 years old and Isma is free to leave London and pursue her education in America. She leaves her siblings, twin sister and brother, back in London never imaging what will unfold.

I have to admit that the first 2/3rds of this book dragged in spots for me.  Then the last portion was so riveting I couldn't put it down. After I finished it, I understood why the first portion built so many details that were relevant later on. The ending was ....well, you will have to read it but, I had so many varying thoughts on 'who knew what' with the ending. Wow. I think this would make an amazing book club discussion.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Never Coming Back by Alison McGhee

My rating: 5.0

After being gone more than a decade, Clara is moving back home to the Adirondacks to take care of her mother Tamar. Tamar has early onset Alzheimers.

This is a beautiful slow moving story that is meant to savored. As it unfolds, you flash back and forth between Claire's childhood, college years and present day. You gradually understand the many threads that weave into the years of the mother / daughter relationship as well as Claire's friendship with Brown and Sunshine. This is not an action or plot based book. It is very beautiful, honest and emotional look at the nuances and assumptions that are made and only when re-examined, can we see things differently. I want to rate this higher. Definite 'Best Of'. Incredible writing and I will be buying this for Mum (which is one of the highest accolades a book can get from me).

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

My rating: 3.2

Noa gets pregnant by a Nazi officer and her family tosses her out in disgrace. She is forced to give up her baby and then rescues a Jewish infant out of a boxcar of children headed for a concentration camp. She flees with the baby to a German circus and ends up in a trapeze act and forms a friendship with the other woman.

I wanted to like this better than I did. It is a book about WWII and it had an ok story line. The flaw was in the writing and lack of character development (and perhaps the audio voice?) The characters were flat and not plausible and a lot of the story was VERY contrived. So many details were explained (as apparently readers are stupid and can't think) that it was frustrating. I did enjoy parts of this but there are so many books out there that I wouldn't recommend this one.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

My rating: 3.2

Many women have drowned in a river that runs through town. Now another woman turns up dead in the river and her teenage daughter and sister are looking for answers.

This had WAY too many characters for my liking. Still, I went with it and it sort of came together (but not entirely). The pieces I enjoyed were the understanding of miscommunication and needing to make a reality that someone could deal with and also how parents, even when they are wrong, do things to protect their children. Definitely not a must read but then, I didn't care for Girl On The Train either so maybe you will like this one?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

My Rating: 4.9

Naomi is known as the Child Finder and frequently called in when all other avenues have been exhausted. Madison disappeared when she was 5 years old and her family took her out to a remote wooded area of Oregon to chop down a Christmas tree. Madison would now be eight years old and the family calls in The Child Finder in a last ditch hope of finding their daughter.

This was quietly suspenseful and very well told. Yes, it is heavy and disturbing and yet it is also hauntingly beautiful. There are so many touching scenes including Naomi's childhood with Mrs. Cottle and things that the snowgirl says. Wondrous. I am buying this book for Mum. Stunning writing yet so readable.