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Donna R. (donnar) - Reviews

1 to 20 of 23 - Page:
1929
1929
Author: Frederick Turner
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/7/2014


I'm an Iowan who's been to the "Bix" fest in Davenport, not actually knowing his history. I'm so glad I found this book. It's a wonderful well-written account of his life during the turbulent 20's; the mobsters, the flappers, speakeasies, and the beginning of the jazz age. Bix was a man driven by his desire to not be mediocre in his genre-always striving to perfect himself while becoming alcoholic on the rot-gut gin in the process. I love that era anyway and learned so much more about what it was actually like. Though some of the 20's jargon was a bit slow-going for me to understand, I quickly caught on and was swept into the story quickly. It was hard to put down.


All the Stars in the Heavens
All the Stars in the Heavens
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 1/25/2020
Helpful Score: 1


An entertaining novel about Loretta Young during the Golden Age of movies and beyond. It's hard to remember this is a work of fiction while reading it, Trigiani does such a good job blending fact and fiction.
I love Trigiani's novels. This one is a bit different from her others, but I liked it just a much!


Amagansett
Amagansett
Author: Mark Mills
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 70
Review Date: 3/11/2014


Loved it!


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Author: Michael Chabon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 426
Review Date: 9/11/2012
Helpful Score: 1


The cover of the book enticed me-I will read anything about NYC! It started out slowly, as there is quite a bit of vocabulary the average person might not understand; once I got past about 100 pages it became more readable and interesting. The theme of the book surrounds the history of the comic book; 2 cousins from different backgrounds meet in NY to combine their artistic/imaginative talents to create a highly successful series of comics.
Set in the WWII years, it also involves Joe Kavalier's family who are Jews trying to escape the Nazi's.
The story is humorous, sad, and historic. I enjoyed it and recommend it!


The Calligrapher's Daughter
The Calligrapher's Daughter
Author: Eugenia Kim
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 10/29/2017


A well-written fictional account based on fact of what it was like to grow up as a female in early 1900's Korea during the Japanese occupation. During the Westernization of Korea in that time period, many older Koreans still held on to the traditional ways. This story is about a royal calligrapher's daughter who was brought up in this strict, traditional style and how it affected her life as she grew and the country changed, especially when Korean's women began taking more control of their lives during WWII.
This book was hard to put down creating some late nights!


City of Light
City of Light
Author: Lauren Belfer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 65
Review Date: 11/9/2015


This book had everything I like-history, intrigue, mystery...it was hard for me to put down!
It's set in early 1900 in Buffalo, during the rise of the electrical plants and businesses by the Niagara Falls. A young single woman is hiding a secret, while dangerous situations arise surrounding the controversial electrical power plant being built.
Written beautifully by first-time novelist Lauren Belfer, who is a native of Buffalo. She used some true characters and places, which helped enrich the historical value of this book.


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
Review Date: 2/13/2011


As a big fan of big city architecture and history/suspense, this book was a great find. My brother loaned it to me, and then I went and bought my own copy.
Erik Larson writes wonderful historic novels about real calamities; this one is at the top of my favorites list. He entwines 2 stories together beautifully; the building of the Worlds' Fair in late 1800's Chicago along with the tale of a maniac who preys on women.
It's one of those books I didn't want to put down. As a result I've purchased all the books Mr. Larson has written!


Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, Bk 2)
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, Bk 2)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 1028
Review Date: 10/31/2011


I have fallen in love with the Outlander series. The stories are easy to get into and are vivid and entertaining. I love the characters and the historic aspect. Sometimes love stories become far-fetched and silly-not these books.
I look forward to reading the rest!


Electric Barracuda (Serge Storms, Bk 13)
Electric Barracuda (Serge Storms, Bk 13)
Author: Tim Dorsey
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 4/9/2011


I've read all of Tim's books so far, and this one doesn't disappoint. In fact, I'd say this one was less confusing and hardest to put down. Serge is on the move again with sidekick Coleman, and an added surprise! We get to see more of a certain detective and ultimately what makes him tick.
If you haven't read Tim's books before, it's easiest if you start with the first he's written in the Serge Storms lineup. All are hilarious-I could easily see a movie being created about Serge...


The Forest
The Forest
Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 93
Review Date: 8/6/2011
Helpful Score: 1


A good historical novel, if you can keep reading at it every day. The book is about the families of the Forest and their lives down through the ages from 1099 through 2000. It's a very interesting and informative read. Altho the characters are fictitious I believe the history of the forest is roughly true. There's some humorous aspects in the book as well.
As always, Edward Rutherford writes a great historical novel; very entertaining and informative.


The Good Thief
The Good Thief
Author: Hannah Tinti
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 87
Review Date: 1/30/2015


This book won awards, and for good reason. The story is set in the 1800's-young orphan boy with one hand is adopted out of a poor orphanage by a man of who says he's his brother; from then on a string of events occurs that makes the boy question his past, worry about his future, and finds his strengths and weaknesses in the process. I'm quite picky about my books, and it takes a good writer to keep my interest..this kept me awake wondering happens next. The story is written in a straight-forward, fast paced style that is highly enjoyable.
I really hope the author comes out with more books!


House of Sand and Fog
House of Sand and Fog
Author: Andre Dubus III
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 812
Review Date: 1/24/2014


Thoroughly engrossing book-was hard for me to put down.


The House of the Spirits
The House of the Spirits
Author: Isabel Allende, Magda Bogin (Translator)
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 398
Review Date: 8/24/2016


Another wonderful Allende book!


Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey
Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey
Author: Alison Weir
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 193
Review Date: 1/22/2015


Very well written fact-based story of Jane Grey. Kept my interest till the end. As far as historic fiction goes, this was one of my favorites. Alison Weir is just as good a writer as Philipa Gregory.


Life with My Sister Madonna
Life with My Sister Madonna
Author: Wendy Leigh, Christopher Ciccone
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 36
Review Date: 2/24/2011


I read this out of curiosity; I never could see Madonna as behaving like a normal person to anyone. I was not surprised about what I read..she's portrayed as a narcisstic bitch by her brother, whom she apparently treated like garbage. I about lost interest in finishing the book because he became a whiner about being treated so badly, yet continued to be at her every beck and call. I hope he has grown a spine since he wrote this!


London : The Novel
London : The Novel
Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 148
Review Date: 11/19/2013


Fascinating (but long) book of London and its origins, spanning the ages since BC. For me, there were almost too many characters to remember (but my memory's not the best). However, since I've always been fascinated by London it was an informing and entertaining saga, explaining the origins of so many things-(Ring Around the Rosy comes from the Black Plague!) If you like a good long book to sink your teeth into and you love history, this is a great one!


Night of the Avenging Blowfish : A Novel of Covert Operations, Love, and Luncheon Meat
Review Date: 3/16/2012


A story about a Secret Service Agent, Doyle Coldiron, hopelessly in love with a White House secretary, Natelle. Doyle spends most of his time being depressed about being alone and pining after Natelle. However, Doyle has a nutty sense of humor and I found the book hilarious at times (laughing out loud to myself while reading in bed next to my snoring husband), especially when Doyle gets together with his fellow agents. There's other stuff going on in Doyle's life; a softball game to be played by flashlight against the CIA agents (thus the team name "The Avenging Blowfish"), his assignments to protect an tiny island's president, and a dangerous gunfight.
I found it a fast, humorous read, and a good break from all the big novels I've been reading lately!!


Old Friends
Old Friends
Author: Tracy Kidder
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 1/21/2016


A great read-a story about a nursing home and its residents; particularly 2 men named Lou and Joe. It describes their physical and mental struggles and how they deal with them. Lou and Joe start to depend on each other's friendship to get them through their days, with laughter, stories of their past, and dealings with the other residents. I loved these characters, and the story has stayed with me after I finished the book.


The Queen of the Big Time
The Queen of the Big Time
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 161
Review Date: 3/8/2011


Ms. Trigiani's books are some of my favorites, and this is no exception. Queen of the Big Time is set from 1910-1971, following the life of Nella and her Italian family in a rural area in Pennsylvania.
Right away the reader is drawn into the story and involved with the characters. You can't always tell what may happen next.
I recommend this one to Adriana fans!


Sarah's Window
Sarah's Window
Author: Janice Graham
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 28
Review Date: 3/23/2012


I enjoyed this book. I don't like to reveal plots in my reviews; but I will say that the author keeps you very involved. There are twists in the plot you don't expect. When a book keeps me wanting to read all night it's a good one!


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