Jill B. (jillmgtexas) - Reviews

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The After Party: A Novel
The After Party: A Novel
Author: Anton DiSclafani
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.3/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 5/9/2017


This book was interesting but also annoying. I understand how close friendships can be but this character was obsessed and she never seemed to be able to move on. How the story unfolded was done very well and held my interest all the way through in spite of the fact that the main character made me want to shake her and tell her to wake up! :)


All We Know of Heaven: A Novel
All We Know of Heaven: A Novel
Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 1/8/2015


I liked this book but didn't love it. There were to many plot points that came together too easily for me. I love the premise of the book and some of the conflicts were really interesting but it sometimes felt like solutions came too easily so as to make it easier to transition to the next event.


The Almond Tree
The Almond Tree
Author: Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 2/3/2014


I won this book through the Goodreads First-reads giveaway.

I assume you have read the description of this book so I will not summarize the plot.

This was a hard book to read and even harder to put down. It's not a light read - there is violence and heartbreak and sadness but that's what makes it so engaging. I don't know if a reader can come away from this book without feeling more aware of how much harder life can be. At he same time the lead character has so much love and honor and compassion that it makes you want to try harder to be a better person. As a person who was raised catholic with a Jewish aunt, uncle and cousins as well as an Arabic best friend, this book open my eyes even more to Middle Eastern conflicts and tragedies and I would definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone.


And the Mountains Echoed
And the Mountains Echoed
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 131
Review Date: 12/27/2013


As was the case for other Khaled Hosseini fans, I was nervous to read this because I loved his first two books and I didn't know if he could pull it off a third time. Well have no fear - this book is just as hard to put down as the others!

He is such a master at weaving story lines together and connecting the characters with differing but equally engaging tales. Every story is connected to a fictional village named Shadbagh in Afghanistan. The 1st chapter begins in the fall of 1952 and the last chapter in the winter of 2010. In that span of nearly 60 years you will meet many people and revisit some in various stages of their lives - sometimes as told as a part of another person's tale.

This book is never slow and always hard to find a stopping point, but it is truly one of my newest favorites. Enjoy!


Bellweather Rhapsody
Bellweather Rhapsody
Author: Kate Racculia
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 3/21/2014


I received this book as a Goodreads first-reads winner.

The main characters throughout the book are teenage twins Alice and Bert "Rabbit" Hatmaker. Both are selected to attend and perform at a district event - Alice in theater and Rabbit in orchestra - at the Bellweather hotel. A terrible act of violence occurred in the hotel years prior and the events and characters introduced in the story are all affected directly or indirectly by that tragedy.

I really enjoyed reading this book. The characters are well developed and the plot is interesting and unpredictable from beginning to end. No one in the story is perfect and some aren't even likable, but thy are all believable. I would definitely recommend!


Big Trouble
Big Trouble
Author: Dave Barry
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 41
Review Date: 12/1/2009


This book was very similar to those written by Carl Hiaasen. Its humorous and is a light, beach-type of read. I enjoyed it - didnt love it...


Black Chalk
Black Chalk
Author: Christopher J. Yates
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 4/6/2014


I received this book as a Goodreads first-reads winner.

This is a hard book to review. I thought it started off a little slow but the premise of the story kept me going. When it got to the "meat" of the story where the characters were playing the game, it definitely got better. The changes to each of the six players as individuals and as a group were realistic and true to human nature if not enjoyable to read. I really liked the way the author told the story. I didn't rate it higher because I don't love the book - not because it wasn't good - more because it was hard to watch these young men and women do the things they did. I would recommend this book just not as a light summer beach book. I'm glad I got the chance to read it.


Body Surfing
Body Surfing
Author: Anita Shreve
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 259
Review Date: 2/24/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This is the story of a young woman - Sydney - who spends the summer tutoring a girl named Julie while staying with the girl's family at their beach house. Julie's brothers come to visit and the realationships that form between Sydney and the brothers as well as those she has with the other family members is what the story focuses on.

I love this author and this book stays with her usual page-turner style of writing.


The Boleyn Deceit (Boleyn, Bk 2)
The Boleyn Deceit (Boleyn, Bk 2)
Author: Laura Andersen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 3/12/2014


Really enjoyed this second book of the triology and excited to read the 3rd and final !! Another author to add to my favorites list!


The Boleyn King (Boleyn, Bk 1)
The Boleyn King (Boleyn, Bk 1)
Author: Laura Andersen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 1/26/2014


I have really fallen in love with historical fiction in the last few years so I was excited to discover a new author. The Boleyn King is the first in what I believe is a trilogy. The author takes a unique angle at telling the Boleyn story - she writes it as a "What if" scenario as in, what if Anne Boleyn's final pregnancy had not ended in a miscarriage ?
This book tells the story of William Tudor, Son of Anne and Henry, as he turns 18 and becomes the next king of England. It is told mostly from the perspective of Genevieve "Minuette" Wyatt who was born on the same day as William to Anne's best friend Marie. Marie died when Minuette was very young so she has spent the majority of her life being raised alongside Elizabeth and William. Together with their good friend Dominic, the foursome have been a tight knit group for most of their young lives.
I really enjoyed this book. I am not a huge history buff so I wasn't bothered by the way events changed to fit the alternate storyline. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series to see what's in store for all these characters. No matter which HF author I read, they all seem to depict this era as a time filled with selfish, double crossers !


The Book of Jonah: A Novel
The Book of Jonah: A Novel
Author: Joshua Max Feldman
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 3/28/2014


I received this book as a Goodreads first-reads winner.
I requested to read it book because I was interested in how the biblical story of Jonah would be transferred into a modern story. After finishing the book, I don't feel like it really achieved that end. The main character is named Jonah and he has some strange visions that he eventually determines can only have been sent by God but I really didn't feel like there were any other parallels to the biblical story. The book is pretty good and held my interest but maybe largely because I wanted to see how it would end. For me, the end was kind of scattered. Maybe I wold have enjoyed this more if I had just read it as a story and not expected more.


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Author: John Boyne
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 204
Review Date: 5/25/2010
Helpful Score: 8


I read this book with my 11-year-old son. Reading is not his favorite subject but this book held his interest from beginning to end. I would NOT classify it as a children's book and would recommend that if your child does read it, you read it 1st because they will have questions. Once we got to the end, he took it from me and read all the author's notes, interviews, etc. Its a good book but its not a book that you want to read if you are looking for something light and/or entertaining. Its a great book to open a dicussion with older children about the Holocaust. Hope this review helps!


A Change in Altitude
A Change in Altitude
Author: Anita Shreve
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 11/9/2011


I loved this book! I don't like all of her books but this one drew me in from beginning to end. Its one of those stories that I think about occassionally even after I've finished reading it and wonder where the characters are now.


Cleopatra's Daughter
Cleopatra's Daughter
Author: Michelle Moran
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 113
Review Date: 4/11/2013
Helpful Score: 3


Philippa Gregory made me a historical fiction fan but I have read most of her books so I have been looking for someone else who does it as well as she does. Enter Michelle Moran! I am happy to say that she is now on my list of favorites.

This book held my attention from beginning to end. At the start of the book, there is a listing of all the "characters" and why they are important to the story. When I read that, I was thinking there were way too many people to keep track of and the book would be confusing. That was not the case. The author does a good job of telling the story and helping you remember who is who.

The story is told from the point of Selene - Cleopatra's daughter. Its very well done and I think I might have learned something about an era that I never really took much interest in.

Enjoy :)


Criminal Enterprise (Stevens and Windermere, Bk 2)
Criminal Enterprise (Stevens and Windermere, Bk 2)
Author: Owen Laukkanen
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 4/2/2014


I received this book as a Goodreads first-reads winner and I'm so glad that I did!

This is the second book in the author's Stevens and Windermere series (the 1st was the Professionals). I am now officially a fan of this series and the author.

This story focuses on Carter Tomlin. Carter lives with his family in a very affluent neighborhood in a very expensive home with his expensive cars, etc. Carter has recently been laid off and is struggling to pay the bills. He eventually turns to robbing banks and the story takes off from there. It is interesting how the author intertwines the stories of Carter with Windermere and Stevens who are not partners now that the Pender case is closed.

While I liked The Professionals a bit more than this book, I still had a hard time putting this one down and I'm really looking forward to reading the 3rd book in the series - Kill Fee. I definitely plan to read everything Owen Laukkanen writes!!


Dark Places
Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 351
Review Date: 10/23/2013


I read "Gone, Girl" first and really liked it. I like this book even better. Gillian Flynn's style of writing has me hooked. The reader doesn't have to wait until the end of the book for something major to happen. Crazy stuff occurs from beginning to end. After having read GG, I knew to expect a twist that would change what I thought I knew and thats exactly what I got!


Defending Jacob
Defending Jacob
Author: William Landay
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 129
Review Date: 12/17/2013
Helpful Score: 2


I loved this book and I will probably read it again some day knowing what I do now!!

I'm guessing you've read the book description so I won't go into the whole plot. I will tell you that the author describes the emotions of each character so amazingly that I felt everything right along with them. Jacob is a 14 year old kid - my son is 15- the agony, fear, anger, etc. that these parents experience as they watch their child suffer and learn things about him that they never knew before made me sick to my stomach but I could not put this book down. Landay is an expert at weaving a tale where you think you know and then you find out you don't.

I will be reading his other two books and I will recommend this one to everyone!


The Dog Who Rescues Cats: The True Story of Ginny
The Dog Who Rescues Cats: The True Story of Ginny
Author: Leonore Fleischer, Philip Gonzalez
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 32
Review Date: 11/9/2011
Helpful Score: 1


This is an interesting book and a quick, easy read. It is not a religious book but you will definitely see the hand of God at work in this man's life. I plan to give it to my 13-year-old son to read next.


Dollbaby: A Novel
Dollbaby: A Novel
Author: Laura Lane McNeal
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 5/10/2014
Helpful Score: 2


I received this book as a Goodreads first-reads winner.

It it set in New Orleans in the late 60s as the south is experiencing desegregation . Although the book is named "Dollbaby" which is the name of a main character in the book, it mainly focuses on the experiences of Liberty "Ibby" Bell as she is left by her mother at a grandmothers house after her father passes away.
The story is enjoyable and the characters are well developed. While the book touches on issues of civil rights, it's definitely not a hardcore look at those experiences. While the characters do find themselves in racial situations, most are "solved" with little or no conflict. What made me like this book is the background stories and how they are woven together. I would recommend this book to people who like reading about the old south and the relationships that are built between families and the people who work for them.


Emory's Gift
Emory's Gift
Author: W. Bruce Cameron
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 8/14/2015
Helpful Score: 1


I am a huge fan of W. Bruce Cameron and his books "A Dog's Purpose" and "A Dog's Journey". While I liked this book, it didn't affect me in the same was as those 2 books did. I felt more like this was a young adult novel. It was still a page turner (I read it in 3 days) and I will continue to read everything this author writes.


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