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A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
reviewed on + 929 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2


This book covers a lot more than the one incident the cover illustrates. It is about the kind of men who formed the American bomber crews and and flew the German fighters in World War II. The two officers pictured on the cover serve as the thread all the other stories branch from.

I found this book engrossing. The highlights were the description of the central incident and the last chapters dealing with the attempts of the two men, after forty years, trying to find out what happened to the other.

As a veteran myself, I found my eyes misting up as the two men finally contacted each other.


The House We Grew Up In: A Novel
reviewed on + 374 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


This book disturbed me and I wasn't sure I would finish it. It is a depressing story about a dysfunctional family and I disliked all but one of the characters. However, the writer pulled me in and I kept reading since I had to finish to see what happens to them.

What bothered me the most is the way the time frame jumped all over the place; from present, back to many different years in the past, That was confusing as I had to backtrack to see what ages the four children were at that particular time.

After I finished the book, I kept thinking about the mentally ill mother and it turned my stomach! She never wanted her family's help and only cared about her "things", as she became a real hoarder. I just couldn't relate.

I gave this book 4 stars because the writer kept me involved enough to finish in two evenings.


Castle Cloud
Castle Cloud
Author: Elizabeth Norman
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


I could not finish this book. The main character was tedious, the plot lines were redundant, the pace dragged. I read the last chapter after suffering through half of the book hoping the main character would finally do something to aid her own cause. Really disappointing book.


Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir
reviewed on + 144 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


Having been born in Hillbilly country myself, I had to read this book and see just what it was all about. I can relate to some of the circumstances that J. D. writes about and to a degree he and I have similar lives, but I did not go to Harvard Law School, but I did escape the circumstances that surround this Hillbilly culture. However, I too still embrace the significance of having grown up in this culture. Its a warmly, refreshing and heartwarming story and the author take great pride in his heritage. If you (or someone you love dearly) are from this culture, you owe it to yourself to read this book.


Don't Say a Word (Strangers Series)
reviewed on + 229 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


This book was all you could want in a murder/suspense and then some. It had the best twisty ending that I've read in ages. This is one of those books that even if laid down, it's constantly on your mind. I didn't realize that this was book 3 in a trilogy until writing the review so it can definitely stand by itself. Now though, I get to go back and read the first two books in the series.


Possession (The Steel Brothers Saga)
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Helpful Score: 1


I was frustrated when I finished this. I like the story, I liked the characters, but it's dragged out entirely too long. Three books and it's still not over! If the ridiculous amount of sex scenes had been cut in half the actual story could have been finished in this book. As much as I want to find out what happens, I won't be spending the time to continue with the series, as I have no interest in Jonah's story.


Anthem for Doomed Youth (Daisy Dalrymple, Bk 19)
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Helpful Score: 1


I don't read Dunn's mysteries one right after the other. So I forget how good she is. I'm not sure how Dunn does it, but after I am a couple chapters into most of her novels, it becomes a page-turner, as I need (emphasis on the 'need') to find out how the case is solved. It also helps she makes reading about Britain-between-the-wars as interesting as she does.


Rogue Warrior: Domino Theory
reviewed on + 49 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


I had read a couple of his early books and was impressed by this true American Hero. His early experience as a Seal was fascinating. That said, one had to look with a very jaundiced eye as his stories became more outrageous and self aggrandized. I had not read any of these novels after the first couple of autobiographical books, I didn't care for it, it was like a teen aged fantasy with the author as the hero. It would be an OK book, just pretend that the hero is completely fictionalized and you will be OK.


Early Warning
Early Warning
Author: Jane Smiley
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


I like Jane Smiley's writing style, so even though there were moments of confusion as to who was who, there was the enjoyment of the stories within the story. The book is long and the print is small, but stick with it because it is a tells great saga.


Not Lost Forever: My Story of Survival
reviewed on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


This book really touched my heart. Carmina is a strong, courageous woman to share her story of such unbelievable horror. I had a hard time putting the book down. I enjoyed the way the book went back and forth from the past to the present but in a flowing narrative, not confusing the reader. Although it was painful to read about Carmina's suffering and the agony she went through, I could sense the strength and hope in her writing. I highly recommend this book but you will cry for sure.


Norse Mythology
Norse Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on + 404 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


I tried to read the tales of the Norse Gods as told to us by Edith Hamilton. I could not get into the stories. Perhaps it was because I felt like Ms. Hamilton was talking AT me instead of TO me; perhaps it was because they were confined to the end of "Mythology", after we had already read about the major Greek and Roman gods, and the minor Greek and Roman gods, and the really minor Greek and Roman gods, and the second cousins and casual acquaintences of the really minor Greek and Roman gods ...

Noted fantasy writer Neil Gaiman has decided to take his turn at telling us the tales of the Norse Gods. While he may also be talking at us, he has adopted the persona (in spirit and tone, at least) of a trusted elder telling us tales that were told to him many years ago, rather than as a college professor earning their paycheck by providing lectures to the undergraduates.

Like me and so many of us, Mr. Gaiman was first exposed to the gods of the Scandinavian people courtesy of their modern-day adaptations by Stan Lee, Larry Leiber, and Jack Kirby of Marvel Comics. (Those who automatically picture Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in their minds when "Asgard" is mentioned indirectly share this experience.) As such, Mr. Gaiman can identify with us and relate the original stories in ways that the modern audience can understand and appreciate.

Special mention must be given to his final chapter on Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods. Mr. Gaiman cleverly alludes to many ways that modern man has been warned that he may destroy the earth in describing how the final war between the beings of Norse mythology may witness their world's end. Could it be nuclear war / nuclear winter? Perhaps global warming? While these modern concepts are never mentioned, it does not take much of an imagination to draw a parallel between the book's descriptions and those that have been described in the Science section of the newspapers.

As always, Mr. Gaiman has excelled. His newest effort is definitely worth a look.

RATING: 5 stars

P.S. I loved the short exchange in which Sif questions why Thor automatically assumed that Loki was responsible for the loss of her hair. Thor replies "... when something goes wrong, the first thing I think of is, it is Loki's fault. It saves a lot of time."

DISCLOSURE: I was awarded a free copy of this book in a random draw. No requirement of a review was made, let alone any conditions on the tone / content of a review, however, it was suggested that "an honest review would be appropriate".


Autumn Return
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Helpful Score: 1


While I enjoyed the story, this is an aggressively Christian book and I was very put off by being preached at constantly. This constant hammering of the author's fundamentalist Christian view really detracted from a sweet story of redemption. If these are your views too then you will enjoy this book...if they are not, you will most likely be offended by them as I was.


Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
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Helpful Score: 1


Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is told to Poldi's nephew who comes to visit each month from Germany. His aunt is a force of nature, and he is often appalled at some of her antics.

Already familiar with Sicily from Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano mysteries, I enjoyed reading a mystery set on the opposite side of the island where the shadow of the Etna volcano looms over all.

Giordano's setting is good, so is the mystery, and the food is mouthwatering. There are flashes of humor throughout the book, especially where they concern the mishaps Poldi has with her wig.

This first book in a series is good but for me, the story didn't really shine. I don't know if this is due to the translation or awkwardness because the nephew tells us the story secondhand. What I do know is that I'll be reading the next book in the series to see what happens next.


The Lonely Hearts Hotel: A Novel
reviewed on + 155 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


I'm not at all sure how I feel about this book. The main characters, Rose and Pierrot, meet as orphans in the same orphanage and immediately form a life lasting bond. They are different than the other children as Rose fancies herself a clown and Pierrot can play the piano like no other. Unfortunately, they are destined to grow up during the great depression in Montreal and face unbelievable hardships. I enjoyed most of this story. It did get a bit weird for me, a bit drawn out, I felt the story seemed to drag and lose its center. Some of the hardships the 2 face are tough to stomach. If I wasn't reading this for First 2 Read I might have stopped after 100 pages.


Hitler vs. Roosevelt: The Undeclared Naval War
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Helpful Score: 1


An excellent discussion of the undeclared naval war of 1939-1941 between the United States and Germany. I've long wanted to read a book on such and have finally done so. It answered many of the questions I had, based on references in other books I've read.

The authors also make the point that Roosevelt really didn't want a declared war against Germany, just wanting to provide the weapons Britain and the Soviet Union could use to fight the Nazi menace. I'm not sure I agree with that.

One of the authors was a career officer in the U.S. Navy during this period.


Ghosts of the Titanic
reviewed on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


This book was the answer to (almost) everything I ever wondered about the Titanic. This is a book of immense detail and overlapping accounts of survivors to paint a thorough picture of the events that occurred. It is a more scientific telling (or puzzle piecing) than a novel so many will not like the excessive detail. I enjoyed it, even though I did have to take breaks at times to read something lighter because this story was so sad. It isn't really a story to "enjoy" but it is fascinating to read some of the stories and I also enjoyed the details about the wreck and how they were able to use it together with science to answer questions about how and why things happened.


Firestorm (Anna Pigeon, Bk 4)
reviewed on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


Another impressive Anna Pigeon book. The details of the fire sweeping over the fire fighters was chilling. I would highly recommend this book.


The Bone Witch
The Bone Witch
Author: Rin Chupeco
Genre: Teen & Young Adult
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


It takes a lot for me to dislike a book. Not to say that I didn't like this book, but the majority of the backstory is pretty much a repeat of "Memoirs of a Geisha". Without discussing the differences (yet), here are the similarities I noticed:
*a young girl being "adopted" into a house
*an older, stern "mother" who doesn't think said girl has *potential, also a financial guru
*young girl needs to earn her keep by doing chores
*young girl will debut at some point
*young girl will go to "school" and learn the arts of her trade
*young girl provided a wardrobe specific to her, which she will pay back once she earns money
*will eventually "buy" her freedom once she pays back her house
*even the main dance (you all remember that scene, right?) is in this book!

If you've read/watched "Memoirs of a Geisha" that sounds familiar, right? That is why I was particularly disappointed with the backstory details. It is for this reason alone that "The Bone Witch" deserves a 3 star rating.

For the FULL review please visit:
https://quitterstrip.wordpress.com/2016/12/30/do-not-let-the-prejudices-of-a-few-people/


The Light Between Oceans: A Novel
reviewed on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


This book is very well written, and the story is full of good people, bad decisions, courage, love, loss and healing.

I had a very hard time putting it down, but unfortunately, sometimes you just don't have the time to read, no matter how good a book is.

I highly recommend this book, but I will warn you...there is sensitive subject matter, in regards to miscarriages, and that could be hard for some readers.

I found myself putting it down and wondering what I would have done in Isabel's place? In Tom's or even in Hannah's?


Deeper Than the Dead (Oak Knoll, Bk 1)
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Helpful Score: 1


This was my first Tami Hoag book. I started this book with the expectation that it would be good after reading previous reviews. The reviews did not do thus book justice. Excellent edge of your seat reading. It is the first book in a long while that I could not walk away from. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a book that will keep you guessing and at times hoping you are not correct. It does have some pretty graphic material included in the description of the crime scenes. For me it only added to the drama! Great book.


The Dead Assassin (The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bk 2)
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Helpful Score: 1


I really enjoy books which have a tie-in with Sherlock Holmes, but not this one. On more than one occasion the author requires you to accept what happens, even when it doesn't make sense. I'm not talking about the use of 'zombies' in the plot, but other events taking place.

For example, a prominent person associated with the government is brutally killed. Conan Doyle finds about it when he sees a newspaper headline. He then goes across town to find a suspended police inspector, so that inspector can get him into the crime scene. Then they have to travel to the crime scene. For whatever reason, after all this, they still somehow beat the police commissioner to the crime scene.

And how does a disembodied monkey's head become so smart as to---well, that's a minor plot-giveaway.

Then there are the references to child sex, which really weren't necessary, but we won't go there.


The Orphan's Tale
The Orphan's Tale
Author: Pam Jenoff
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 276 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


Five stars all the way to the top!
Ive had great luck with picking books to read so far this year. Just when I thought the last book I read would be my fav of the year, along came this one.

I was totally entranced, mesmerized by this tale. Beautifully written. I love stories from WW2, and this one will stay with me for many years to come.
This books end brought tears from me in the school parking lot today. I was not at all expecting the books outcome. Once I closed the cover, I felt only a small portion of the the pain that people felt back then in whatever situation they were presented with.

Touching, memorable, harsh, real and just plain ole magnificent story.

I had never read a book about the circus in connection with WW2 and how it provided an opportunity to hide individuals from the Nazi's. Though the story is fiction, some things are true. One thing that was true and that will stay with me is the train car full of only infants..babies..shipped off to a concentration camp. This will be a tough read for anyone but delicately so.


Dolley
Dolley
Author: Rita Mae Brown
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on + 929 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


I am a big admirer of Dolley Payne Todd Madison and thought reading this novel would be enjoyable. It wasn't. I stopped reading it before I was one-quarter of the way through. The book is actually a disservice to Mrs. Madison, one of the great women, and influential First Ladies, of American history.

For her true story, I suggest you read "A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation."


Conspiracies
Conspiracies
Author: F Paul Wilson
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book Type: Audio CD
reviewed on
Helpful Score: 1


I listen to books on CD on the 45 min drive to and from work. This is the worst book I remember ever listening to. If you like conspiracy theories, monsters from another dimension and monkeys that can talk that aren't really monkeys, you will like this.
For me it was impossible to suspend disbelief in this tale and I am a science fiction fan. I kept waiting for it to get better and it just didn't.
If I could give it zero stars, I would.


Redemption Road
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Helpful Score: 1


Wow what a book; what a story; what a writer!!
I can't say enough about a book like this. It is a must read, absolutely "unputdownable", I found myself doing chores with book in hand, unwilling to put it down.

All the characters are flawed, but oh what characters! They constantly invade your thoughts as you wonder what awful thing can happen next. All the while, a killer lurks in the background, killing young girls. It took me three quarters into the book before I guessed who it was.

This is a dark, disturbing story about torture in prison, a corrupt warden and prison guards, a good cop who was framed and gets out after 13 years and followed where ever he goes, a girl who loves him since she was young and becomes a cop herself, a 14 year old boy who wants to kill the person he thinks killed his mother, an 18 year old sharpshooter who was kidnapped and runs away from her affluent family when rescued, only to find herself in the clutches of the killer.

All these people matter and the writer pulls you into their lives. You really care about them and rejoice in the ending.

Highly recommended.


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