Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review: Words in Deep Blue

Words in Deep Blue Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars
This is a hard one to review.
Things I loved: Henry and Rachel's love of books; their letter writing; the bookshop; their deep discussions of poetry and literature; their friendship; her grief over Cal; the final letter from Frederic -- wow, it was beautiful.
Things I didn't love: She was really awful to him in the beginning; Amy; Greg; the overabundance of Fbombs -- like, on every page -- I grew so weary of reading that word.



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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Review: The Garden of Small Beginnings

The Garden of Small Beginnings The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars
I only bought this book only because I had a "Cartwheel" coupon from Target that made the purchase a bargain $8. Well worth my literary money.

This is a quaint, witty novel about a woman who is still trying to recover and find balance after the death of her husband. It's about complicated family dynamics and unexpected friends. It's about relationships and overcoming fear. And it's about growth and change -- much like the gardening that anchors the book.

I loved the multiple characters and the sharp, bantering dialogue. It made me want to take a gardening class.

A perfect summer novel.

*Language including the Fbomb


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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Review: Dark Matter

Dark Matter Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars
A family of three goes on a mind-bending, physics-altering, time-warping, metaphysical journey thorough time and space, and the reader is along for the nail-biting ride. Wow!

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Review: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Currently, Pawhuska OK is most famous for Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, and her Mercantile Store, that brings as many tourists/shoppers to this small town as it has residents.

But at the turn of the century, Pawhuska was knows for oil. And lots of it. And it was owned by the Osage Indian tribe.

In riveting and engrossing detail, author David Grann, details the nearly systematic elimination of the Osage by Whites because of money. Nothing else. The Osage had it. The Whites didn't. By means of murder, poison, explosion, anything to get the "headrights" to the Osage's land and mineral rights.

Growing up, my dad use to tell me stories of the Osage and their wealth -- one I remember was that when one of their cars would run out of gas, instead of filling up the tank, they'd discard it and buy a new one...true or tale, who knows...but as a Oklahoman, I had a vague knowledge of the Osage wealth. I had no idea that many attempted to kill them off because of it.

An extraordinary book. One I could easily start over from page one and read straight through again.


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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Review: Alex and Eliza

Alex and Eliza Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alex and Eliza sitting in a tree...
K I S S I N G...
First comes love...
Then comes marriage...
Then comes Hamilton's scandalous affair with Maria Reynolds, and lastly, his death at the hands of Aaron Burr.

But before that, in this YA fictional account, they were the Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy of the Revolutionary set.

I adored this book (and the musical), even if it's a work of fiction and Hamilton turned out to be an adulterer.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Review: Under a Painted Sky

Under a Painted Sky Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Annamae and Samantha are both on the run: Annamae as a runaway slave, Samantha as a fugitive after killing her attempted rapist. Both find refuge with a trio of cowboys: Cay, Peety and West. What transpires is their quest across the plains, and the "band of brothers" they form as a quintet.

An atmospheric novel, with lovely prose, well developed characters, and a page turner - I had to suspend belief on much of the story line: an abundance of food and water on their trek (have I read too many Donner party accounts?), miraculous escapes from the law, lightening strike survival, among others, that I was often eye-rolling some of the narrative.

That being said, I loved both Annamae and Samantha and their relationship. True Friends.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Review: Princess Cora and the Crocodile

Princess Cora and the Crocodile Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A delightfully silly story about a Princess and her pet crocodile, who causes all sorts of trouble and likes to eat cream puffs.


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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Review: Daughter of the Pirate King

Daughter of the Pirate King Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars
Pirate map ✔️
Prisoners ✔️
Swashbuckling ✔️
Mysterious island ✔️
Pirate romance ✔️
Highly entertaining pirate escapade - first in a series.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: We Were the Lucky Ones

We Were the Lucky Ones We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the invasion of Poland by the Germans at the onset of WWII, the Kurc family was forcibly scattered, abused, detained and imprisoned across Europe and Asia because they were Jewish. For the entirety of the war, most family members don't know the others whereabouts or whether they are dead or alive.

This was an epic family drama. Author Georgia Hunter vividly tells her family's history during the war. However, the written narrative didn't always excel at telling what was truly a remarkable story. The timeline was often confusing, as well as keeping track of each individual family member and where they were at any given point in time. One of my biggest literary peeves was the use of rhetorical questions, "Were they alive?" "Where are they?" "Would I ever see them again?" were repeated over and over again...

Initially I was only going to give this book 3 star rating -- but the ending was such that I gave it the benefit of the doubt based on the truly miraculous nature of the author's ancestry.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On New Year's Eve 1984, Lillian Boxfish decides to walk her Manhattan neighborhood and reminisce about her long life (she's now 84 or 85 depending on what date she's willing to claim). What transpires is a glorious narrative of accomplishments, family, friendships, travel, regrets, unhappiness -- everything you'd find in a life well lived.

I loved this book. I loved the writing - full of wit, repartee, reflection, emotion -- I would reread passages because they were so beautiful. I was so caught up in Lillian's life and her experiences that I felt like she was REAL, only to discover that this book was influenced by life and career of the late Margaret Fishback, a successful advertising writer prior to WWII. Now I'm dying to read Margaret's original work, only to discover that they are all out of print (all published in the 1930s, so that makes sense) and not available at the library.

This was an absolute treat to devour.

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