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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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was unintentional that I picked this book, set in 1917, to read for the first time in 2017, but it ended up being the absolute right choice.
I loved everything about this book: Francie, her family, her home, her experiences, her hardships, her education, her employment -- I savored this book for three weeks, because I didn't want it to end.
An emotional, satisfying reading experience.

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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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