RaveBook ReporterBrilliant and addictive. While it begins slowly as Penny is creating the backstory, that narrative becomes all-important later in the novel when the action and the connections are so fast and furious that it\'s almost impossible to put the book down ... As longtime fans of Penny know, we expect elegance in her writing, and we certainly are not disappointed ... The writing is filled with reflection and deep truths about life, especially when it comes to women ... Can a novel be elegant and beautiful yet horribly violent? Penny achieves that juxtaposition just as she forces us to feel the gamut of human emotions ... As I turned the last page, I had mixed emotions. I was satisfied that Gamache had managed to prevail, but I also wanted to go back and reread the whole book to see what clues I had missed about the outcome ... The story is so filled with details and characters that it would take a meticulous reader to catch everything.
PositiveBookreporterThe narrative is vivid as Zamora relates remembered (or recreated) dialogue and description ... A non-Spanish-speaking reader might be nonplussed by the plethora of Spanish in the text. I wish there was a section at the end of the book with translations for some of the frequently used words...On the other hand, the liberal use of Spanish and Spanish slang does make Solito feel more authentic. And we do feel as if we are immersed in the trip, living in the smoke-filled small rooms as the group of six waits days and even weeks for the next leg of their journey ... While Solito is a moving account of a child\'s perilous journey, it\'s also a reminder of how we can find compassion and family where we least expect it.
RaveBook ReporterCleeton’s tender narration makes clear the warring factions of our (women\'s) emotions as we make decisions that will affect social standing, not letting our family down, feelings of helplessness, and our own best interests...There is also the idea that women of a certain class are held to a higher standard as to whom they are \"allowed\" to marry. Young men also are expected to marry within their social class...Cleeton\'s writing is mostly focused on action and dialogue to move the plot forward. But she also expresses complex thoughts extremely effectively...Here she writes about the audacity of creating art and hoping that others will find meaning in it...Book clubs that discuss Our Last Days in Barcelona will have a plethora of themes and topics to explore...Feminism, women in history, war, the fight for independence and our role in society are all ideas that will engender some serious conversations...It\'s a lovely and entertaining read, but it\'s also so much more.
PositiveBookreporterTo say that this is a dark book is a gross understatement ... The symbolism of the daughters\' names is apparent and powerful ... While this novel is certainly not about abortion per se, it\'s clearly about the loss of control that women have suffered through, often with fatal results and always with psychological harm. If a woman dares to experience emotions that aren\'t in line with those of her husband\'s or society\'s, the simple and expedient solution is to have her committed to a sanatorium. For her own good, of course. It\'s not a coincidence that the only women who survive to any degree are those who really aren\'t interested in men at all. Walker\'s premise is powerful and horribly depressing.
PositiveBook ReporterDavid Rosenfelt\'s latest book should come with a warning: Reading it most likely will cause you to have a new, can\'t-miss series on your hands...Rosenfelt often includes truly depraved villains in his books, and this novel is no exception...Although he doesn\'t reveal all the clues until the very end, there are definite hints along the way regarding the nature of the crimes here. Citizen K-9 is a hit in terms of being a twisty mystery with subtle humor throughout, featuring characters whom we grow to admire...And, of course, there are the dogs.
RaveBook ReporterIt\'s often through reading that we are exposed to people whose lifestyle, culture or religion is vastly different from ours. In The Sign for Home, Blair Fell accomplishes this sometimes difficult task in a seemingly effortless manner ... Through this very expressive narrative, we learn—to the extent that any seeing/hearing person can—what it feels like to live unable to hear sounds or see the world around you ... Fell shares their thoughts and feelings, and we are privy to their innermost secrets. It\'s impossible to convey the brilliance of the writing—the emotion, the insight, the heartbreaking plot—in a short review ... Reading The Sign for Home will cause you to experience many emotions, from indignation to horror to heartbreak. Ultimately, though, this is a novel about the power of love—not just romantic love but the love that evolves from friendship. It\'s a beautiful story that’s powerfully told.
PositiveBook ReporterTouching ... This is a tale about women --- women at different times in our history, women from different social classes, women whose relationships with each other are confusing but also loving and supportive. What keeps us engrossed is our interest in finding out how they all come together and exactly what their relationships are ... At times, The Way From Here is a bit confusing because of the mixed timeline, but with a modicum of effort, it\'s not difficult to keep the storyline straight. We end up really caring for Margaret and her daughters, and we are happy that their lives are ultimately enriched thanks to Susie\'s efforts.
PositiveBookreporterEngaging ... An easy read ... We come to like Megan even as we acknowledge her faults, youth and lack of judgment. She reminds us of ourselves when we were young, and we understand her naiveté. We also get to know Helen and Jocelyn, both of whom are savvy and successful, each in her own way.
RaveBookreporterWithin the first few pages, I was fascinated by the characters, the setting and the mystery ... Hallett does a fabulous job sharing insights into the various traits of her characters through their correspondence ... a fascinating, thrilling and complex novel. I suggest bookmarking the list of names to make it easier to refer back to when a new one pops up. By the end, we realize that there is one character who is a hero, one who has been duped, several who are truly reprehensible, and many good people. But Hallett keeps those answers close to her vest until the very end. Justice is served.
Lyn Liao Butler
RaveBookreporter... captivates readers from the very first sentence ... part of the beauty of the plot and the careful creation of Tam\'s character is how we see her grow and come into her own in spite of --- or perhaps because of --- the trauma she has endured ... From the food to the celebrations, from superstitions to the treatment of orphans, be prepared to immerse yourself in a different culture as you navigate these pages. You\'ll love every minute of it.
RaveBookreporter... a perfectly charming paranormal mystery that features a slightly flaky but quite personable protagonist ... You will read late into the night for two reasons. You must find out which of the quirky characters is the murderer. And you will want to learn more about Grady and his sassy daughter, as well as Leda and her trusty sidekick, Niki. This combination makes the whole experience just too much fun to stop. You will want to keep reading Priest\'s marvelous metaphors and delightful dialogue to the last drop—or rather to the last page ... you\'ll be on the waitlist for the next book.
Charlie N. Holmberg
PositiveBookreporterSuspension of disbelief is required ... The romance is sweet and tender, which is everything one might hope for. Is the ending tied up a bit too neatly? For those who like \'happily ever after,\' it will be perfect.
PositiveBookreporterEach woman\'s story is connected to other stories by strands that we sometimes miss as they are almost buried in the narrative. It\'s later that we read a passage and think, \'Wasn\'t there something about that before?\' Some connections are more apparent ... Like a master puppeteer, Beard also manipulates some strings that appear again and again ... Beard does not prettify these women ... In fact, she shows us women who are at the center of the violence as they allow it to happen or act in a manner that causes the violence.
RaveBookreporterThis story is filled with lots of love in the best tradition of any romance novel, but it\'s so much more. Meltzer provides us with an inside look at a protagonist who is strong and successful while struggling with a chronic disease ... Meltzer is an expert at describing ME/CFS because she, like Rachel, has it ... The plot isn\'t especially creative, but in some ways, romances are all the same. We know there will be a happy ending and lots of misunderstandings from the first time the couple meet until they declare their love for each other. What makes a romance stand out is all the in-between: the setting, the personalities of the characters, the type of problems they face. And it\'s here where Meltzer\'s writing shines ... This holiday romance will go down as easily as a perfectly made matzah ball and will sweeten your day like a chocolate rugelach. But be warned: it also will make you crave Chinese food, which is a Jewish staple during Christmastime. The characters partake liberally of Kung Pao Chicken and spring rolls over the course of the book. Really.
RaveBook ReporterJenny Colgan creates characters who seem so real and approachable that we end up feeling as if we know them ... From the onset, we are engrossed in Marisa\'s life. Her job as a registrar is quite interesting, especially as it\'s so different from anything we have in the US. We sympathize with her when her grandfather dies suddenly, and it\'s fascinating to see Italy from Marisa\'s eyes ... Colgan poignantly and lovingly explores mental illness as we see both Marisa\'s struggle to return to normal life ... Colgan also writes beautifully and humorously about friendship and romance ... An unforgettable setting, quirky characters and food for thought are all guaranteed.
PositiveBookreporter... the story is intriguing, and Collins plumbs the depths of human depravity as we learn more about what really occurred when the Lighthouse siblings were younger. Who is the killer? The author provides many clues and red herrings, but when we finally learn the truth, it\'s not a complete surprise. Still, there are plenty of truths to be discovered here, and some of them will be shocking and heartbreaking ... The Family Plot will draw you into what seems like a spider\'s web of death, and instead of trying to break free of this insidious lair, you will follow each silken thread as each path leads to one devastating truth after another until we see what is at the center of the trap—because some members of the Lighthouse family were truly trapped in that web and could see no way out. You will be tempted to read the book twice to see what you missed the first time. The clues were there, but the answers lay frustratingly out of reach.
Tess Gerritsen and Gary Braver
PositiveBookreporterIn Choose Me, Tess Gerritsen and Gary Braver examine how different people respond after experiencing betrayal and abandonment ... Gerritsen and Braver don\'t pull any punches ... This solid mystery forces us to consider not just the significance and validity of the #MeToo movement but also the aftermath of such an affair. What about vengeance? What is justice? ... Can the characters here forgive others for acts of betrayal? These kinds of questions and reflections make us better individuals. How much should forgiveness play a role in our lives? What would we have done if we were in the same situation as those in Choose Me?
PositiveBookreporter... not for the faint of heart ... We come to admire Dolly as we see how hard she works to earn money for her freedom and that of her family. She faces so many obstacles to getting ahead in life ... heartrending ... This is a story of subjugation but also of triumph. And make no mistake about it, Dolly is triumphant in the end.
PositiveBookreporterA little jewel of a book ... While wildlife rehabilitators usually don\'t name their charges, Montgomery explains how she convinced Brenda to make an exception in the case of these two hummers. She reveals why they were named Maya and Zuni, and how a number of cultures view these tiny warrior birds who fight desperately and fiercely to protect their own. We learn not only about their physical properties, but also about their personalities as they must find their way in a world that can be frightening for a pair of youngsters who don\'t have a mother to teach and protect them. When Maya and Zuni are set free, we find ourselves truly caring about their fate. We want them to survive and be strong. Hummingbirds, as it turns out, are easy to love.
PositiveBookreporter... engaging from the beginning, and while the cast is large, an omniscient third person narrator means that we know what many of the various characters are thinking. It all works to help us understand what is going on. In addition to Kara, Matt and Michael, there is Ryder, whose ability to unravel threads of paperwork to find the culpable is almost magical. We meet others who we know will appear in future installments of the series, and we can\'t wait to get better acquainted with them. Those who enjoy thrillers and detective novels with lots of action will appreciate the multiple possibilities that Brennan presents before sharing who the bad guys really are.
Sarah Beth Durst
RaveBookreporterThe Bone Maker features twists that we expect and turns that are completely unexpected. But aside from being an action-filled fantasy, it forces us to consider our own mortality. What do we live for? What would we sacrifice to keep our loved ones alive? Whose life is most important? Read this book and revel in becoming immersed in yet another imaginary world from Durst where croco-raptors attack, constructs help people, and magic assists humans in performing impossible physical tasks. Admire these five individuals who could walk away from danger and hope that someone else takes the reins, but who risk it all for the good of others. It might prove constructive to consider the choices we would make if we were in their shoes. We certainly could use more stories with silver-haired heroes who sport wrinkles.
RaveBookreporter... gripping ... There’s a reason that James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author and the recipient of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction ... His writing veritably reeks of authenticity, and the courtroom scenes are perfectly believable. Jack’s struggles with what he can and cannot divulge to his wife are also realistic, as is her refusal to share certain information with him ... By the climax, the intrigue and action become engrossing thanks to Grippando’s skill and talent. And while there are 16 previous Jack Swyteck novels, I didn’t feel out of the loop at all for not having read any of them. Twenty certainly works well as a stand-alone title, but it also will inspire readers to delve into Grippando’s backlist, so be prepared.
RaveBookreporter... an enjoyable read...Loftis keeps the excitement going from the first page of the prologue ... Like many successful mystery writers, Loftis frequently leaves us hanging at the end of a chapter, forcing us to keep reading so we can find out what someone is hiding or who the person behind the curtain really is ... a meticulously researched, beautifully crafted work of nonfiction that reads like a James Bond thriller ... a story that is filled with humor, authentic dialogue, historical information about WWII and the Spanish Civil War, a glimpse into the Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner of the CIA), and fascinating details about how the rich and famous lived almost a century ago.
RaveBookreporterIt’s always a treat to read a thrilling first book in a new series and know that there will be many more good reads to anticipate. That is exactly what Alice Henderson’s A Solidtude of Wolverine\'s is ... crackles with exciting and engaging suspense, and you won’t want to put the book down as Alex races against unknown enemies to save not only herself, but also several animals in danger. A fascinating main character, a touch of romance, lots of action and a mysterious sniper who we know will be in future books all make this a mystery series you will want to keep reading.
RaveBookreporterNot only is Goodnight Beautiful an engrossing story, we grow to really like Sam and Annie, and we want everything to work out for them. But Molloy masterfully creates one cliffhanger after another, and we keep reading, intent on discovering how it all will turn out. The homage to another author, perhaps the master of thrillers, is superb, but disclosing his or her identity would be a huge spoiler. This is a lovely and well-put-together story that is qualitatively different from other psychological thrillers and may very well leave you feeling darn near joyful.
PositivebookreporterThere are many red herrings here, along with a plethora of clues. It’s not that difficult to figure out who the kidnapper is, but that doesn’t take away from the constant emotion of fear that pervades the novel as Fern tries to bring back the repressed memories that tease her dreams and engulf her days. And when she finally does discover the abductor’s identity, will that help Astrid? Collins provides an unexpected twist to keep us guessing until the very end. Behind the Red Door is not a happy beach read. There are some very dark themes of child abuse and bullying throughout these pages. But ultimately, this story of redemption and overcoming cruelty will linger in our minds as we consider our own memories and how accurate they really are.
PositiveBookreporter... this charming story begins like a lovely overture, an introduction that gets you used to the rhythm and feeling of the piece. Slowly you become entranced and rapt in the characters and plot of this beautifully composed novel ... Poeppel does a lovely job narrating the story through the third person points of view of not just Bridget and Will, but also their children and many other fascinating characters ... a lovely look into the world of classical music. There is romance, intrigue, secrets that need to be aired, and an ending that isn’t a surprise at all, but rather is a lovely finale to a beautifully played concert.
RaveBookreporterThe story, the characters, the setting and the situation all lead to a thrilling climax. Cleeton does a magnificent job describing the fury of the hurricane, right down to the stinging sand moving at such a velocity that it causes bleeding on the skin. Roofs ripped from houses, whole buildings flung around like paper, railroad cars tossed in the water --- it’s all so vivid as we feel like we’re experiencing the storm firsthand. We can see, taste and smell the salt air on the beach, as well as the stagnant rotting in the veterans’ camps. We see the beauty of the Keys, the worst side of nature, and the fortitude of women who must stand up for themselves.
RaveBookreporterThis book is truly difficult to put down. While Cassie acts in some ways that will make readers cringe (like when someone goes down into the dark, boarded-up basement, and you just know there\'s going to be something bad at the bottom of the stairs), she\'s only human. And stress and emotion make people act in ways that are occasionally not completely logical. Cassie doesn\'t give up, and we are rooting for her the whole time ... If you enjoy books that keep you on edge, wondering how things will work out, then No Bad Deed is perfect for you. There are twists, followed by more twists, and plenty of excitement and mystery. It\'s like riding a rollercoaster --- you really don\'t want to get off until the whole terrifying ride is over.
RaveBookreporterReading Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West was a perfect way to escape from staying home and to remember days gone by when children actually went to school and we could see each other in person. In this book, we meet several people—each of whom is imperfect in some way—and we grow to, if not like them, at least understand and sympathize with them ... The plot, the dialogue from teachers and parents, and the students themselves all ring true ... impressive. West deftly balances multiple perspectives and brings together Julia and Isobel in a completely believable manner. This is a book that needs to be read by book clubs, parents and, yes, even teachers.
PositiveBookreporterAs secrets build on secrets --- some of which are pretty horrifying --- readers will begin to suspect what is really going on here. But even when Jones reveals part of the truth, there are still more twists to be unraveled.
PositiveBookreporterMuch of the story is plot-driven, with plenty of dialogue to advance the action. Harris gives Lizbeth a folksy way of talking, and she veers from speaking correctly --- especially around her mother, a school teacher --- to using colloquial language, which can be jarring at times...Readers may accept those kinds of language disconnects as part of the novel’s charm. Others may find them distracting ... All in all, though, A Longer Fall is a fascinating and unique combination of action and fantasy.
PositiveBookreporter[A] clever and twisty psychological thriller ... Twists, surprises and characters who are not what they appear to be make The Wives a quick and enjoyable read. The situation is so unusual, and so distasteful to most of us, that we really want to know how it all ends.
PositiveBookreporterThere\'s much to enjoy here. Aside from the main characters (and dogs), the supporting players are well drawn and fascinating, including the wealthy scion of a Vermont family whose friends from prep school are not all they appear to be, including the scion’s wife. The Vermont setting is also depicted in detail, making non-New Englanders want to become \'peepers,\' as the visitors who come to see the autumn colors are called. Mercy\'s grandmother, Patience, is a veterinarian, and her calming presence helps keep her granddaughter’s life in order ... The plot is intricate ... In this delightful book, there are subplots and mysteries within mysteries galore, along with a touch of romance. Above all, there are dogs --- lots of dogs doing wonderful things, like keeping children safe, following bad guys and finding a long-buried murder victim. Readers will look forward to the next installment for the chance to solve another mystery with Mercy and hear about the developments in her relationship with Troy and Susie Bear.
PositiveBookreporterAs the suspense builds and builds, we can\'t put the book down. As in all of Isaacs\' work, we truly like the protagonist and are happy to go along on this adventure with her step by step. Read this combination character study/action novel slowly. Get to know Corie, because Isaacs\' website informs us that Takes One to Know One is the beginning of a series. Rest assured that all of us will want to read more of Corie Geller\'s excellent adventures.
RaveBookreporter... simultaneously will make you gag and smile, but won\'t make you die laughing ... Doughty\'s writing is unusually conversational in tone for a book with subjects that can be considered taboo. Not only does she manage to make it extremely informative, throughout she includes her comments with sometimes profound thoughts, real humor and a significant dose of brilliant wit ... While children asked these questions, this book is written for adults. But there\'s nothing in these pages that would preclude those curious kids from finding answers here. It might give them nightmares, but children are often hardier than parents think. Reread some Grimm’s fairy tales, and you will realize that those stories are grimmer than anything in the pages of Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?
PositiveBookreporterThis domestic thriller will keep you thinking about the characters and what happens long after the last page is turned. Savvy readers will pick up clues along the way about what might transpire, and some of those do lead to the final denouement. But for many, it\'s only in retrospect that they will see how everything adds up. All is mysterious and deceiving; all is logical. Brilliantly done, The First Mistake is a pleasure to read.
RaveBookreporterThe setting almost becomes a third main character in the story ... In some ways, the two stories --- seemingly independent --- mirror each other. And the conclusion is where Jio brilliantly brings these tales together. Filled with emotion and wonderfully written, All The Flowers in Paris shows that love transcends age and that sometimes, out of the mouths of babes, great truths are spoken.
RaveBookreporterGoldin\'s writing is engrossing, and it\'s truly difficult to put the book down. You start the first chapter, and suddenly you need to find out what\'s going on and how it all ends. While part of the conclusion is revealed at the start, it\'s still not clear exactly what happened, and Goldin carefully shows the shallowness of those who work long hours for the ability to buy more ... While the reader will guess part of the mystery before the end of the book, the fun is in turning page after page to see how bad it gets in the elevator and how good revenge can be ... A clever, insightful look at Wall Street, The Escape Room is thrilling, well written and just plain fun to read.
PositiveBookreporterAkhtar ambitiously covers a wide range of animal issues ... She gives us story after story, each of which demonstrates that animals can break down walls we build around ourselves to protect us after traumatic experiences ... In addition to the anecdotal, Akhtar provides science that makes every presentation much more than just a story ... While the topics and examples in the book are far-reaching, Akhtar keeps things connected with the continuing flashbacks and stories of her childhood dog, Sylvester, and the abuse from her uncle. The effect is that, while she\'s telling us this compelling story about her young life, she\'s also sharing important information about animals and how they help us in many different ways. Some of it is hard to read.
Rachel Howzell Hall
PositiveBookreporter\"The reader travels with Miriam from sunny California to Mexico, and—thanks to Hall\'s writing—becomes immersed in what she is thinking and experiencing. While much of the book is a lovely murder mystery à la Agatha Christie, there are also some beautiful metaphors about the people and the situation and life ... The ending is strangely satisfying and horrifying at the same time. Does a much-changed Miriam make it back to her family and a new life? Read the book. You won\'t regret it.\
RaveBookreporter\"... gripping ... The romance is beautifully written, and the spy story feels authentic. The reader will experience Bay of Pigs (the failed attempt to oust Castro from Cuba) and wonder who exactly was to blame for the horrible disaster. There is a cautionary tale here as well: Be careful what you wish for ... Those not previously informed about what happened in Cuba’s history will find When We Left Cuba to be an enlightening read as well as an emotional one.\