Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff -- I read a couple of her books last year and enjoyed them. My library only had the 2 so I put a couple more on my Amazon Wishlist, and I got those for Christmas. Jenni is a ghostwriter and she especially enjoys delving into people's lives as they write their memoirs. When asked to write for a client's upcoming 80th birthday, Jenni returns to a place in Cornwall where she went on holiday as a child. Something terrible happened and she never went back. As Klara tells her story of growing up in Java as part of the Dutch colonials who worked as planters on rubber plantations - and the terrible thing that happened to her family during World War II (the Japanese took over and imprisoned them), Jenni confronts her past. This was a good way for me to learn more about the civilians who were interred in camps during World War II as evil reigned in the earth.
The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner -- I'm continuing my crime thriller books this year so far, it seems. This one also features detective D.D. Warren of the Boston police department. In this book, newspaper reporter Jason Jones comes home one night and finds his young wife and middle school teacher, Sandra, missing. Their 4 year old daughter, Ree, is asleep in her bed, but Jason swears his wife would never leave their child alone like that. Of course, Jason is person of interest #1 in his wife's disappearance, but there is also that neighbor who proactively introduces himself to Jason knowing he, too, will be suspect. Who really is to blame here?
Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy -- Have you ever wondered about Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, the siblings made famous by author Lucy Maud Montgomery in her Anne of Green Gables series? This author takes us back to when Marilla was a young teen growing up in Avonlea, her friendship with Rachel and John Blythe, her relationships with her parents and the community. A rather cute book.
Find Her by Lisa Gardner -- I believe the first book I read by this author featured vigilante Flora Dane. This book tells her story; of how she was kidnapped and held for over 400 days, and how later this influenced her to find other lost women. This book also features Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren as she and her Boston PD look for a couple of missing girls in the area.
The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen -- A good find on the New Books shelf at the local library; Gemma owns her own real estate agency somewhere in England, and happens to meet up with a client at a conference several miles away. She drinks too much and ends up forgetting what exactly happened to her while there. A few weeks later, she starts receiving photos and messages and videos which frighten her. Tied into this are issues from 15 years ago when she was at a graduation party, got drunk, and fell asleep on her hostess's bed while waiting for her friend. A good book, and one that made me thankful that I don't drink alcohol or use mind-controlling substances.
The Romantic by Barbara Gowdy -- After her mom leaves, Louise is attracted to the Richter family. More specifically she wants to be part of it, and have Mrs. Richter love her. Later her attention shifts to Abel, the adopted son who is about her age. This book is part present day, part way back, and part what happened to her and Abel's friendship over the last years. An OK book.
Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce -- I found this on the New Books shelf the other day, and wasn't sure when I first started reading it because I found the Random Capitalized Words throughout the sentences to be a bit Distracting. But I soon got (mostly) used to that, and started enjoying the story of Emmeline (Em or Emmy) and her flatmate Marigold (who goes by Bunty) in London during World War II. Emmy has dreams of being a war correspondent, and thinks she is on her way there when she answers an ad for what she believes is a local newspaper. Ends up being the Woman's Friend magazine division and she's tasked with screening letters for the advice column. This was a rather cute book.
River Bodies by Karen Katchur -- This "thriller" was on the New Books shelf so I decided to give it a try. It was just OK; nothing terrible, but not great either. Becca notices suspicious activity from a relative of sorts as she jogs along the river trail one day. When she returns home (across the Delaware River to the Pennsylvania side), she learns of a body in the river. Not only had the man been shot, but he was gutted like a hunter does to animals. A bit of a mystery, but nothing too thrilling.
Love You More Lisa Gardner -- Since I've read most of these books out of order, I was glad to finally read the story of Tessa Leoni since it was mentioned in other books I've read. Now I know why she was accused of murdering her own husband, and the story behind her six-year-old daughter going missing.
Our Little Secret by Roz Nay -- This book was a fast read, and pretty good although I didn't really like the main character ... which was probably the point. Angela is picked up and questioned for the disappearance of her high school boyfriend's wife, an Australian named Saskia. HP - the former boyfriend whose name is Hamish Parker if you wondered what the HP stood for - and Saskia had invited Angela to stay with them for a few weeks at one point. Such a weird relationship. But anyway, Angela is telling her story to the Detective throughout this book. It was ..different.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
On my November books post I noted this:
Note to self: put Becoming on hold -- 16th in line as of November 14, 2018; I want to see how long it takes me to get it from the library
And on January 14, 2019, I got the email that it was my turn to pick up this book from the library. I had noted just a day or two before that I was 4th in line, and wondered how I had jumped to ON HOLD status so quickly. Turns out my library system has 7 copies of Mrs. Obama's book. That's how!
Kind of neat to be reading Mrs. Obama's memoir on the day she turned 55. We were on our way to the beach on January 16th, and I was curious how old she was and Google informed me that her birthday was January 17th - the next day. I read her book while sitting on the beach and in the car on the way and back from the beach, and both nights when we were in our room. I did other stuff at the beach, of course, but it's darker earlier this time of year so while Andrew enjoyed cable TV channels, I read. And I read parts of it to Andrew. We were both amazed and interested about many aspects of her story. I'm not really a proposal-of-marriage person, but I really liked theirs! Made me smile. I also liked how Mrs.Obama was there for her dad as he was hospitalized, and later how she tried to speak at graduations for colleges and universities that wouldn't normally get a FLOTUS there. Her outreach to children and women and people of color, her encouragement to others...I loved all that. Even her epilogue and acknowledgements were good.
and how weird is it that when I picked up the above book...there was this other 'becoming' story on the New Books shelf . . .
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan -- the story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis, who became dear friends through letters and later met several times; These two ended up marrying which I guess the title gave away, and this book is fiction but based upon historical records and the author's interest in both of Joy and "Jack."
The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos -- A story that takes place during the time when Romania joined forces with the Nazis to get rid of Jewish people. A little girl was left alone and sent to an orphanage where she was adopted by a rich, young couple. This story was based on the author's mom's story. Her mom was the little girl left behind though she doesn't know the story about her blood relatives. However Anton and Despina from the book are her (true) adopted grandparents. And what an interesting story about their lives during this time and after when the Communists took over Romania. What a life! This book was a little disjointed (for me) at times, but overall it was interesting especially learning more about Romania during this time in world history.
The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen -- book 3 in the Tales from Ivy Hill series; this book focused more on Mercy, who was forced to close her in-house school when her brother takes a bride and they come to live - and essentially control - life in the house Mercy grew up in and had her school in. Mercy takes a governess job, educating her former in-house pupil Alice, the daughter of James Drake who owns the area's large hotel.
The Union Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini -- I probably wouldn't have read this book at this time except that I brought it home from my mom's house the other day so I could return it to the library for her. I finished my other library book so I figured I'd read this one, too. This is part of a long series (Elm Creek Quilts) and towards the back end of it so there were a lot of characters and history there that I got in a very summarized form. This book focused on a group of ladies and their spouses in Pennsylvania as the men - except for Hans the pacifist - prepared to fight for the Union army and the women did their parts at home.
The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel -- Hope runs the family bakery on Cape Cod; her preteen daughter helps her as Hope did for her own mother and grandmother. Mamie (Hope's French-born grandmother) has Alzheimer's, but on one "good day," Mamie instructs Hope to go to Paris to find out what happened to certain people on a list. Hope finds out Mamie's family was Jewish and most or all of them did not survive the Nazis. A good story.
The First Love by Beverly Lewis -- Maggie deals with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and prays for her healing. An easy read from the New Books shelf.
Catch Me by Lisa Gardner -- Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren is called to a crime scene where a pedophile has been murdered. While heading back to her car, she sees a note on the windshield and a person fleeing - Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant aka Charlie. Charlie, a 911 operator outside of Boston, tells D.D. that she wanted to see the detective in action because in a few days, on January 21, she expects to be murdered just as her childhood BFFs had been murdered the last two years on that date. This was an exciting, good read if you enjoy detective/mystery books. I liked reading more about Charlie's job as well.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris -- "based on the powerful true story of love and survival;" The story of Lale and Gita, Slovakians who met while imprisoned by the Nazis. Lale got a job as a tattooist, and he used that position to help others survive. Here is a short (9 minute) interview from their son Gary Sokolov. They took the last name of Lale's sister's husband, a Russian soldier surnamed Sokolov, in order to fit in better with the Russians who took over their country after the war. The family went to Australia after some conflicts arose with the Soviet authorities. BTW, in the interview, the lady says Lale like "la lee" unlike how I was saying it "layl."
The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini -- So I decided to find the first book in this Elm Creek Quilt series and try out the series from the beginning. Since the last book I read (mentioned above) covered the Civil War, I expected this to go way, way back. I was surprised when it was a fairly modern (mid-1990s) story although I later found some familiar characters as Mrs. Compson told the backstory of her home, Elm Creek Manor. Mrs. Compson being the former Sylvia Bergstrom because some of them (Hans and Anneke Bergstrom) were mentioned in The Union Quilter's which I read a few days ago. Sarah and her husband Matt move to a small Pennsylvania town so that Matt can work as a landscaper. He lands a job restoring the gardens and orchards of Elm Creek Manor, and he invites Sarah along for the initial meet. The elderly Mrs. Compson soon offers Sarah a job helping her ready the inside of the manor so she can put it up for sale. Not super-exciting, but a decent, "sweet" book.