Thursday, June 30, 2016

Review: Ink and Bone

Ink and Bone Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really felt like I had read this book before, so if it reminds you of a book you've read in the past, let me know.

Everything strange happens around a town called The Hollows--people disappear, people see and hear paranormal things, and 20-year-old Finley is drawn there, just like her grandmother was. They both end up working with a private investigator to solve crime. Girls are going missing, but it isn't until a real estate broker goes missing, too, that there is a break in the case. Finley sees and hears dead people, and tattoos them onto her skin as a way of recognizing them and holding herself together (what other book is this in?).

I loved Finley's tale, but wasn't too thrilled with the chapters about the parents of a missing girl, Merri and Wolf. Without their whiny parts (sorry, but I just didn't relate to them), this could have been a good YA novel or a better adult novel (I wanted more of the grandmother's story).

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: Between the World and Me

Between the World and Me Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even if you already read this book in print, listen to the powerful audio. My eyes have been opened in the past few years (mostly due to YA books, librarians & authors) about white privilege, and I know now that I'm privileged to be comfortable in my cisgender, WASP, thinking-I'm-white identity. Thanks to Coates, I understand a bit more about the world I'm in. He rocks. This is a must-read for classrooms in America.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Secrets of Sloane House

Secrets of Sloane House Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

By Disk 4 of the audiobook, I had had enough of the main character's "I'm from Wisconsin" routine. The typical shy do-gooder from Wisconsin in the late 1890's wouldn't go running off to the big city of Chicago to find her missing sister. It just wasn't believable. As much as I wanted to enjoy a historical fiction mystery about a Michigan Avenue rich family, I just didn't want to finish it.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: An Olympic Dream: The Story of Samia Yusuf Omar

An Olympic Dream: The Story of Samia Yusuf Omar An Olympic Dream: The Story of Samia Yusuf Omar by Reinhard Kleist
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Somalian Samia Yusuf Omar may have received last place in her heat in the 200 at the Beijing Olympics, but she still is training for the London Olympics. Stuck in her war torn country with not enough food and improper training facilities, she decides to join the exodus for Europe. But, thanks to the human traffickers who exist to ruin lives and take money, she never makes it. Depressing but necessary read about European immigration, but Omar never gives up hope of her Olympic Dream.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review: Take It As A Compliment

Take It As A Compliment Take It As A Compliment by Maria Stoian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh, this was a rough read, but I'm very glad this book is out there for teens to find. Each chapter of this graphic novel tells a different story of sexual abuse, assault, harassment or rape. Love how it's diverse and shares a wide range of experiences. Very powerful and some of the chapters really hit close to home. I intended to have my daughter read a few of these, but I just can't yet--hopefully I can protect her for another year or so. Includes a notes section at the end with advice to listen, support, watch, stop, and reach out.

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Review: Mr. Churchill's Secretary

Mr. Churchill's Secretary Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not the most well written mystery in the world, yet I stayed up until 1:30 am last night to finish it! I kept casting the characters with my favorite BBC actors and actresses....

Maggie Hope is a smart mathematician, yet only manages to snag a job as a typist for Winston Churchill when she's visiting England from America. She becomes much more than that when she cracks a secret code, survives a kidnapping, and finds out who her father really is. Surrounded by the IRA, German sympathizers and other people who want to do Britain wrong, she must use her wits to survive and kick some mental butt.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Review: Beautiful Country

Beautiful Country Beautiful Country by J.R. Thornton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Chase isn't dealing well with her older brother's death, and his father is absent and too busy making business deals, so he is sent off to Beijing for a year to play tennis. While there, not much happens unfortunately, so there isn't an incentive to keep reading. While the author drew on his own tennis playing in China when he was young, there wasn't much of a conflict in the novel. However, I loved reading about Beijing--took me back to visiting there last year.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Review: Rare Objects

Rare Objects Rare Objects by Kathleen Tessaro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

1930's Boston. Maeve has always been a "fast" girl--she runs off to New York City to recreate herself but ends up running back to her Irish mother when she ends up spending time in a mental hospital. Back in Boston, she tries her best to be independent, but falls under the spell of a sneaky man again. Luckily her new friends help her crawl out from under the spell of gin and low self-esteem.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Review: The Marching Season

The Marching Season The Marching Season by Daniel Silva
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michael Osbourne is back in Book #2--trying to save the life of his father-in-law. Both sides aren't happy with the Northern Ireland peace accords that his father-in-law is instrumental in and so a radical Protestant group wants to take him down. Of course, Michael Osbourne interrupts their plans, but he soon learns that things are bigger than he thought. There's an evil group called the Society that is stirring war up all over the world in order to make money. The sad thing is that I think this sounds totally reasonable in our world.

Fast action, a sweet, lovable kick-ass CIA operative, and Ireland--everything I want in a thriller!

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Review: Lilac Girls

Lilac Girls Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book will be popular with public library book clubs! Each chapter is written about one of three women--Caroline, a NYC socialite who volunteers at the French consulate and falls in love with a married Frenchman; Herta, a German doctor who takes the only job she can get--at a women's "reeducation" camp; and Kasia, a Polish teenager who works at a movie theater. Time passes very quickly in this novel and World War II changes their lives dramatically.

This is a fast read, but for some reason I didn't come to love any of the characters. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger, so I felt like I was reading a Dickens novel, but the suspense only irritated me, instead of encouraging me to keep reading.

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Review: The Secret Place

The Secret Place The Secret Place by Tana French
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew--this books makes me glad to be an adult, because those Irish boarding school teenage girls are mean, sneaky, little twerps. Basically the entire book is one day--Cold Case Detective Moran is visited by another cop's daughter and given a card that says "I know who killed him." Referring to a murder of a Colm's student the year before that was never solved, the card is a mystery. Who put it on the Secrets Place board?

Det. Moran is lucky that Dublin's Murder squad detective Conway lets him tag along to interview the girls--she made a good call. The entire book is interviewing the girls--multiple times in one day because they keep lying and barely releasing the information that is needed. There are also chapters that flash back to the year before and the events leading up to Chris Harper's death.

Just woah. I don't want to be friends with these girls.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Review: I Will Find You

I Will Find You I Will Find You by Joanna Connors
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even though I was exhausted last night, I stayed up way too late to start AND finish this book. It's a quick little read, but, oh, so good.

Joanna was 30 years old when she was raped by a stranger. He was tried and convicted and she told herself and her husband that she was okay. Now, years later, with her marriage going kaput and her kids off to college, she decides that she finally needs to investigate her rape a little more closely. Years of failed therapy hadn't helped her--she insisted that she was "over it," even though she was paranoid, over-protective of her kids, depressed, and pulling out her own hair. She needed help, and, since she was a reporter, she decided that reporting might help her. And, so, with the encouragement of her team of women at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, she interviews her rapist's family members. And she discovers a lot. This is her story of recovery, as well as her rapist's story of how he became a rapist.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Review: The Fireman

The Fireman The Fireman by Joe Hill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review to come in SLJ AB4T

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Review: Titans

Titans Titans by Leila Meacham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love a huge historical epic that reads quickly! Thanks to a long day of softball, I read this book over the weekend.

Texas history of longhorns and oil come together when twins are born to a mother who doesn't want them. The twin girl is adopted by a loving family and the twin boy is left at home in a family with a mother who never liked him. The two grow up and, of course, their lives come together as one searches for her birth parents and the other meets his real father.

I loved the Texas history details, but the whole "I've got a secret" thing grew old. But the 600 pages flew by, which is a good thing. I'll take a look at her other novels.

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Review: The Gilded Hour

The Gilded Hour The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I tried the audio, but was bored. I'll have to try reading the print sometime so I can read through it faster. I need my audios to be fast-paced so they keep my interest. This one moves slower, but I really want to know what happens to the sister doctors.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review: In the Morning I'll Be Gone

In the Morning I'll Be Gone In the Morning I'll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These audiobooks are getting better and better! Can I marry Inspector Sean Duffy, please?

After getting kicked out of the RUC, Duffy is recruited to help MI5 hunt down one of his childhood friends, Dermont McCann. McCann broke out of prison and was recently being trained in Libya with other IRA bigshots. And so the hunt begins. Duffy is dragged back into the lives of some of his childhood friends and some of his love interests from previous books, and the shit hits the fan when Thatcher is in Brighton in 1984.

LOVE this series! And Gerald Doyle, the narrator.

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