Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Frankie Presto is an accomplished musician, but with a sad, complicated, painful, yet beautiful, life story. And his story, appropriately enough, is narrated by the talent he embodies, Music. From his beginnings as an abandoned baby, to an orphan, to a guitar student, to an immigrant, to a musical success phenomenon (possibly better than Elvis!), the reader is swept away with tales of his life with preeminent musicians, to his battles with memories and addictions.
I loved this story and was constantly nudging minutes out of the day to read. I wasn't ready for it to end.
This was our book club choice for February - and served as a reminder why I love book club: this is a book I would never have read on my own, or voluntarily picked up to read. I was gloriously rewarded.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A stunning, elaborate, fantastical fairytale about the power of love and loss. I loved the characters - from the creatures, to the humans, to the witches - I cherished my time with them.
A beautifully written story.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Review: The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland

The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Remarkable stories of the people of Gander, Newfoundland who cared for the thousands of stranded passengers from grounded 9/11 planes. Rudimentary, repetitive and unremarkable writing.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Review: The Gilded Hour

The Gilded Hour The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An atmospheric, romantic, late 19th century novel weaving family, immigration, advances in modern medicine, women's health and serial killer into one extended story.
Loved the relationship between Anna and Jack. Loved the descriptions of Lower Manhattan in the 1880s. But too many story lines created a disjointed narrative. Plus there is a major cliffhanger at the end that could have easily been resolved in the defined pages of the book.
Additionally, I thought this was a stand alone novel -- but many of the characters and their history are descendants from characters from the author's Into the Wilderness series. I've read the first one, but not any others in the series and in many parts the author assumed you should know historical information from the previous novels and characters. I was confused most of the time and had to go to the author's website to find a genealogical chart just to figure out where everyone fit it in.
For the two weeks it took me to read this, I wish I had liked it better than 3 stars.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just Mercy is nothing short of just brilliant.
A raw look at the lives of wrongly convicted death row inmates, and the lawyer who is fighting for their freedom and lives.
Racism is alive and well in our courts.
White privilege is real.
Witnesses lie. Prosecutors coerce. Judges overrule.
Avoid being arrested in Alabama at all costs.
Surely we as a society can do better than this?
Should be required reading.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One Sunday.
One tryst.
One tragedy.
One aged writer's flashback.
One odd, quintessential British romance.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review: Into the Wilderness

Into the Wilderness Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Epic, post-Revolutionary family drama, located in Indian territory and colonists' settlements of upstate New York.
Vivid characters.
Great dialogue.
Beautiful landscape.
Romance, tragedy, hostility, conflict.
Huge plot twist at the end.
Book 1 of a 6 books series.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Review: Truly Madly Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2.5 stars
I love her books -- just not this one.
Nothing happened until page 370.
It was like mucking through endless, muddy, anticipatory narrative.
Even the denouement was disappointing and predictable.
Thank goodness I don't host BBQs.



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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Review: The Liars' Club: A Memoir

The Liars' Club: A Memoir The Liars' Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A memoir of abuse, neglect, child endangerment, sexual abuse, alcoholism, mental illness - but somehow the author (and her sister) survived.

Adroitly written, but not for the faint of heart. This was a tough one to get through.

*Adult content.



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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Review: I Let You Go

I Let You Go I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A five year old is dead after a speeding car hits the child and does not stop for help -- a fatal hit and run.
Who was at the wheel? Where is the car? Were there any witnesses?

This novel had intrigue, twists and turns, multi-layered storyline - but also a level of abuse that left me very unsettled.

In the end, I didn't like it.



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