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In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II
reviewed on + 1395 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2


Rhys Bowen has painted a broad canvas, and it's filled with action, suspense, and the period detail and fascinating characters that she's known for. With a length of almost four hundred pages, I am happy to report that I wanted it to go on for at least another hundred. There are many characters in this story, and although I didn't have a speck of trouble keeping them all straight, inevitably one or two whom I was most interested in got (what felt like) short shrift.

Two of the period details that I really appreciated were Bowen's giving readers a feel for living in an English country house during the war, and how there were so many clandestine agencies at work in England-- and they were all trying to keep what they were doing secret from all the other agencies.

Even though there's not really anything trailblazing in In Farleigh Field, it is such a joy to read that it doesn't matter. Danger. Spies. Traitors. Romance. Everything combines for an absorbing read that is finished much too quickly. Readers can pit their skills at playing Catch the Spy and form their own close attachments to one or more of the characters. My favorites? The youngest daughter, Phoebe, and her partner-in-crime Alfie, a young Cockney boy evacuated to Farleigh Place due to the Blitz.

Are there any fellow fans of Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series reading this? I think you'll love In Farleigh Field (and so will most of the rest of you)!


Behind Her Eyes: A Novel
reviewed on + 2125 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2


I agree with Barbara completely--this is a boring, dull, stupid book. Take out all the unnecessary descriptions and bad language and condense the book down to just the main storyline you'd have about 150 pages and even that isn't worth the time or money for this disaster.

I looked back at some of hers I've read in the past and you just can't know from one book to the next if it's worth it so get it from the library and it won't cost you a dime, I've disliked so many of her books that I'll probably drop her from 'must read' list.


The Fireman
The Fireman
Author: Joe Hill
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on + 573 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2


This was quite a riveting story and I really enjoyed it. I became a fan of Hill with Heart Shaped Box and that is still a favorite. While I have enjoyed all of his books, it seems to me he resorts to the gimmicks of his dear old Dad (which drive me crazy) more in each book. Despite some eye rolling, over the top parts, it is well done and entertaining. I hope he will write more with his own style and voice in the future.


The House We Grew Up In: A Novel
reviewed on + 384 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.


Lost Among the Living
reviewed on + 411 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


Would have been enjoyable even without the supernatural angle (which in a way is a little too much.) Jo is an intelligent heroine -- one who doesn't keep things to herself and then later live to regret it. Characters are for the most part well fleshed out and stay true to their nature.


The Bone Witch (Bone Witch, Bk 1)
reviewed on + 31 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 Dead Assassin (The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bk 2)
reviewed on + 938 more book reviews
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 + 283 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.


Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson,  Bk 7)
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Helpful Score: 1


This is the 7th book in the Charley Davidson series; the 11th book in the series was released in Jan 2017. This was a great continuation of this series! I love how we are learning more and more about the Twelve, the story just keeps getting more interesting.

I listened to this on audiobook and these audiobooks are incredibly well done. I would highly recommend this whole series on audiobook if you enjoy audiobooks.

There is a ton action and things are getting more and more intriguing. Each book has a number of different story elements that come together to form a cohesive whole. This book was focused more on Charley and the Twelve than on individual investigation of ghosts...and to be honest I liked this format even more than previous books.

Charley's powers continue to expand in new and interesting ways; she does a lot of new things with her power and learns a lot about herself in this book. She is just as goofy and silly as ever but in general this book had a more serious tone to it than previous books in the series.

Of course Reyes, Cookie, and all our other favorites are in the story as well. There are some interesting developments with Cookie's daughter, Amber. I am also enjoyed that the deva Osh is in the story a lot more as well.

Things tie up at a good spot for the book. However, I am incredibly eager to see what happens next in the series.

Overall this was an amazing continuation of this urban fantasy series. I love the new characters being introduced and am really enjoying seeing Charley discover her new and interesting powers. I would definitely recommend this series to those who enjoy lighter urban fantasy novels.


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.


The Elegance of the Hedgehog
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Helpful Score: 1


I found this book to be a beautiful well-written fable-like story. It was very unusual but at the same time clever and witty. The main characters are two intellectuals. Renee Michel is a 54 year-old concierge in a Parisian apartment house. She decides to become what society expects her to be. Paloma Jesse is a 12 year-old resident who merely wants to be average but she decides she's going to commit suicide on her 13th birthday because she thinks life is meaningless. When Kakuro Ono, a Japanese businessman, moves in their 3-way friendship causes Renee and Paloma to see life differently.

The book is mainly about relationships and having people in our lives that make us feel comfortable to be ourselves and not what other people expect us to be. It also teaches us to find those special moments that give us a reason to live. I found myself really enjoying the ending and would have to say that looking back on the book it was very thought provoking. I would highly recommend this novel to those who love books that make you think about the meaning of life.


Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs
Author: Richard Russo
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 157 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


Emotionally rich. It's rare to encounter a novel so full of good-heartedness and wisdom about people. Many of the main characters live in a small town, but their lives are not constricted by that circumstance. Even the poorest and most unfortunate characters in this story are knowing and able to express what they know, or not quite know, in a believable and convincing fashion. Highly recommended. Can't wait to read the author's other works now!


Purgatory Road
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Helpful Score: 1


This was an intriguing story, this must be his debut novel and it is a good one.

The story is different than what I usually read but it held me to the end and I read it in one day. I don't know the genre you'd find this under, I saw it listed on the new releases at the library and took it first thing, glad I did.

The story follows a teenage girl running away from home only to get kidnapped, and a couple on vacation in Vegas driving into the desert 'to get away', actually a desert hermit saves all of them but there is a hidden message in this story so hope you can find it-I did.


Bookman Dead Style (Dangerous Type, Bk 2)
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Helpful Score: 1


Paige Shelton's "Star City" setting in the mountains of Utah sparkles in this second book of her Dangerous Type mystery series. Readers get to see the town filled with skiers intent on conquering the slopes and movie stars hoping that their latest films do well in the festival. Clare Henry isn't the type to become starstruck, which makes her favorable reaction to superhero star Matt Bane even more profound. There's something not-quite-right about how new police chief (and Clare's ex-boyfriend) Creighton is handling the arrest and that gives Clare even more incentive to conduct her own investigation.

Bookman Dead Style has the feel of a book that's filled with insider information about its setting, which is a fictionalized version of Park City. Super secret parties thrown by a Hollywood megastar. Allusions to a world-famous author who rents an unusual space where she goes when she needs peace and quiet to write. Getting tickets to the various films being shown. In addition, there's always something new to learn about business facets of The Rescued Word. This time, it's ribbon tins-- the packaging typewriter ribbons came in back in the day. The tins figure in a separate crime, and now that I've seen them I understand why people would want to collect them.

Shelton brings in a character who's a "sister wife"-- a member of a polygamous family-- and since the character had little to do with the plot, I have to wonder if she'll figure in a future book in the series. I'll just have to wait and see, albeit a bit impatiently because I'm certainly enjoying this series!


Death in Advertising
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Helpful Score: 1


Laura Bradford's new series set in St. Louis comes out of the gate strong. Animal lovers are going to enjoy the pet shop angle, and lovers of wit and words are going to enjoy the ad slogans Tobi comes up with. Fans of good mysteries are going to be tickled pink, too. The mystery in Death in Advertising is a good one-- I didn't have it figured out, but once the killer was revealed, I could see the trail of breadcrumbs that had been left for everyone to follow.

As with all good cozy series, the cast is the most important thing and these characters shine. I really liked Tobi's voice, even though I wasn't enamored of her slogan for the closet company. She's just the sort of character readers would choose as a friend. Smart, funny, compassionate, willing to help, and she has an excellent support system.

Sam is the teenage photographer that Tobi likes to work with for her ad agency clients, and she works with his mother in the pet shop. Ms. Rapple and her dog are the neighbors from hell, and closet king Andy Zander is mouthwatering as a possible love interest. Perhaps the best secondary character of all is Tobi's Grandpa Stu, although I wish he'd find another term of endearment for his granddaughter besides "Sugar Lump." He called her that so often that it began to grate on my nerves. My belief that being called a lump isn't a good thing is probably just a personal quirk. (All readers have them.)

Lumps or no, Bradford's first Tobi Tobias mystery is a winner, and I'm certainly looking forward to book two.


The Asylum
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Helpful Score: 1


An engaging, well-written story, but with a very weak, anticlimactic ending. Also, the heroine has a habit of fainting dead away at the most convenient moments. At one point, it happens twice in the span of four pages. It made the ending feel excessively contrived. Still, the writing was good enough that I'll be looking for more by Harwood.


The Knocker on Death's Door (Inspector George Felse, Bk 10)
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Helpful Score: 1


The first chapter left me in confusion and I wondered if this was really by Ellis Peters. Then everything turned right and it ended up being another fascinating mystery with Inspector Felse.

However, the inspector has two very able non-police assistants, who, while they keep him informed of their actions, often after their discoveries, use their own initiative to help solve this perplexing case.


The Whistler
The Whistler
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


I love my mysteries and like to switch my favorite authors up now and then. Some of my favorites are C.J.Box, William Kent Krueger, Catherine Coulter, and Jonathan Kellerman. Of course John Grisham has always been on the list, but to be honest I hadn't revisited his writing of late, as I have been frequenting some of the others like Krueger whom I have read all of his books, and Box who I can't get enough of. Now that has drastically changed by the reading of "The Whistler" not since the "The Firm" have I been so rivited to one of Grisham's books. This one was very intense and quite frankly I couldn't put it down. The last few days I have been totally immersed in this book. I loved the main character Lacy Stoltz who was brillant, she was an underdog left out to the wolves as an investigator for the Florida Board on Judical Conduct. Grisham unwinds the story as Lacy and others start to investigate a judge who may have taken bribes. Little did she know what she was about to embark on was bigger than anything ever imagined, full of danger. Grisham ratchets the story in a way I can only compare to the thrill ride he gave us in the past with his novel "The Firm", that was the book that got me hooked on his writing years ago. I would say he is back in full force and up to the task when he gave us "The Whistler"!! Kudo's Mr. Grisham and welcome back to the top of your genre, I loved every minute that had me engulfed in this roller coaster ride, as intense as it was and costing me my precious sleep. The funny thing is this was a Christmas gift from my Nephew and his family. One of the best gifts I have had in years and you have the best gift of all to pen something that gives so many of us the gift of reading. I can't wait to see what you have in store for us next!!


Rather Be the Devil (Inspector Rebus, Bk 21)
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Helpful Score: 1


Writing reviews on the Rebus books I read is getting to be rather repetitive, but that's a good problem to have. These are all very enjoyable stories, and all for pretty much the same reasons. Rankin is an excellent writer whose dialogue, setting, and characters are top-notch. In Rather Be the Devil, the retired but never retiring Rebus once again inserts himself in ongoing investigations being conducted by Malcolm and Siobhan, and once again comes up against Big Ger Cafferty. I recommend this series highly to fans of crime fiction and terrific writing.


The Cupcake Caper
reviewed on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.com in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

I like cozy mysteries... especially ones with cats or dogs or other adorable pets who get involved with solving crime. You need to engage in a little willful suspension of disbelief when it comes to cozy mysteries. Some of my favorite mystery solvers are librarians, pet store managers, retirees - ordinary people who have a knack for sorting out clues to figure out whodunnit. I found Ms. Riley's choice of a scientist for her Sherlock-esque heroine, Dr. Bree Mayfield-Watson, in this book to be inspired. You really could see someone who is very analytical tackling solving a mystery for the sheer sake of discovery! This first in a series has the ubiquitous plot device of our main character being a suspect in a murder case - a story line often used to get an ordinary person involved in solving a crime in order to clear their name. Given how logical and left-brained Bree is, I think she could become engaged in figuring out who murdered her boss without that particular plot device.

I was annoyed - put off, maybe? - a little by a couple unlikely choices Bree made, particularly when she withheld information from the police. Given that she endangered herself at almost every instance of this, I hope our main character learns in future additions to the series! The plot twist at the end was fun and is definitely setting up for a new twist on the cozy mystery genre with this series. I will definitely read the next book in the series when it comes out (no date given yet).

I can't forget to mention Sherlock - and I don't mean Bree. Sherlock is the cat Bree winds up with. Sherlock helps Bree solve the mystery. He is one smart kitty. I definitely hope we see as much and more of him in future installments. So, yes, even with our analytical, scientist heroine, there's a cute pet involved. There is no romance yet in the series either though there is potential for it. I do like to highlight when there is "sexy" content in a book and there is none in this book. Just some possibly too-goofy ogling of two men in Bree's life.


Etched in Bone (Others, Bk 5)
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Helpful Score: 1


This is the fifth and final book in The Others series by Bishop. Bishop said in her blog that there are plans for future books set in this world, but that this book ties up the storyline involving Meg and the Lakeside Courtyard. Although the story takes a bit to get going; this book did a wonderful job of tying up the series. It ended up being an amazing conclusion to all the elemental events that started happening in the last book.

As I mentioned it took me a bit to get back into the story. In the last couple books the story has gotten so broad, spanned so many areas, and added so many characters that it took me some time to get my head around it all when I started reading this book. However, once the story started focusing a bit more on the Courtyard and the people there I got sucked right back into it.

This book does jump around quite a bit and there are multiple storylines going on. There is the broad storyline about the Elders and their decision on which humans should live and which shouldn't. Then there is the more localized storyline about Montgomery's brother coming to Lakeside and causing a boatload of trouble. Of course in between all of this is the story about the blood prophets and how those girls are recovering. The storylines end up coming together well in the end; but much of the book feels a bit scattered.


We meet some new characters in this book which was fun. We also get to see a lot more of the Elders and the Elementals; these creatures are fascinating. Meg goes through a lot in this book, as do all the residents of Lakeside Courtyard.

I love how detailed, unique, and filled out the world in this series is. That is one of the main reasons I kept reading this series; because I loved the world-building so much.

Things are tied up very nicely in the end. I would have liked to see a bit more happen between Simon and Meg; maybe we can get a novella or something about their life after all these events and how it progresses.

Overall this was a wonderful conclusion to this series and was very well done. The story does start out a bit slow and at times seems a bit scattered because it jumps around so much. However, once I got back into the story (after the first 25% or so) I was completely sucked in and engaged in this world again. I would recommend this series to those who enjoy fantasy written in an urban fantasy tone that has intricate world-building and engaging characters. I look forward to seeing what future stories Bishop sets in this world!


The Demon in the Freezer : A True Story
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Helpful Score: 1


This is a true and very scary story about smallpox, and peripherally about anthrax. It's information worth having, uncomfortable and gruesome as some of it is. I wish that Preston had done a better job with the writing, however. It's often amateurish and disjointed, with unclear timelines, too many acronyms to keep track of, and masses of technical detail that can be hard to wade through. The story can't seem to decide whether it wants to emphasize its more thriller-like aspects or just relate a straight factual and scientific account of events. Preston settles on an uneasy mix that is somewhat disappointing.


Independence Day
Independence Day
Author: Richard Ford
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 923 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


Dense, turgid, and essentially unreadable tale of a 40-something divorcee trying to juggle a stalled real estate career, a tottering relationship with his girlfriend, and the needs of his troubled adolescent son over a long holiday weekend. Took me 3 days to get through the first 150 pages, at which point I decided I really didn't care.


Britt-Marie Was Here
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Helpful Score: 1


I liked this book but some parts were boring. You have to laugh and cry with Britt-Marie and her OCD and feel sorry for her. She left her cheating husband and was on her own the first time in her life. She decided she had to get a job in case she died and no one knew would find her.

None of Fredrik Bachman's previous books were as good as "A Man Called Ove", which won me over completely. This one was just okay in my opinion.


Scandal Takes a Holiday (A Marcus Didius Falco Mystery)
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Helpful Score: 1


The last 75 pages of this book were page turners. However, almost the opposite could be said of the first 290 pages. The author builds the plot very slowly with lots of extraneous material added. If the book had 50-75 fewer pages I would have enjoyed it more.

I notice this a lot with authors, as their popularity grows they think we are losing sleep awaiting their next book and love reading their meanderings. And to some extant they are right. However, a longer book also means it costs more and returns more profit to the author and publisher. Thank God I obtain these books second hand.


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