"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Saturday, January 30, 2021

January Books


A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell -- A thriller/mystery type book centering on Aidan, a local whom Caroline sees staring at her house from the beach. Caroline is a weekender, who comes up to Aidan's hometown. After a fling, Aidan deems himself in love with Caroline, who is 15 years older, while Caroline finds his ways stalkerish. But the two of them have varying accounts of what is going on.

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel -- Eva is a Jewish lady who lives in occupied France. When she finds her artistic skills come in handy for forging papers, the Resistance puts her to work! Good story.

Piecing It All Together by Leslie Gould -- first in the Plain Patterns series; Modern day Savannah Mast travels back to her Amish Mammi's house in Indiana after her wedding is called off. While there she gets involved in the community and enjoys the story of an early Amish widow who arrived in that part of the country in the 1800s. The book draws a few parallels between Savannah's experiences and that of her great-something grandmother Emma. Pretty good story. 

The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz -- A pretty good story of Ellie and Brick along with their children Samantha and Reilly during various decades in the 1900s as women's roles were changing beyond marrying and staying home with the babies.

Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia -- Nora is a forensic accountant asked to investigate the ultra-pricey gym she happens to attend. She's enamoured with Logan Russo, the kickboxer celebrity, but her investigation puts her into a role having to find out if Ms. Russo has a devious side. Pretty good story.

To Steal a Heart by Jen Turano -- Parts of this book were cute, but overall it was just OK. This is the first in the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency with a lot of women in a boarding house making up the agency. And some of them are cute characters, but it might be too many characters which I guess is good for a long series (plenty of characters to focus on.) This one dealt mostly with Gabriella who was reunited with her childhood friend Nicholas Quinn. They grew up on the streets until she was sent to an orphanage and lost track of him.

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans -- I received this book along with another of RHE's books last year, but never got around to reading this one. Maybe it's because I knew it was her last that I'd read - new book anyway, as I may read her books again. I sat looking at her face on the back cover last night thinking, "I can't believe she's dead!"  Another good book here! I enjoy her thoughts on the Bible, Jesus, Christianity, faith, skepticism, and so much more.

They're Gone by E.A. Barres -- Cessy Castillo and Deb Thomas lose their husbands on the same night. Both men gunned down in similar fashion. These two women meet and discover they are being hunted down because they might know too much. Not the best "stunning, dark, evocative thriller" I've read, but OK. It was fairly easy to read through though not the most interesting book of this genre.

The Stone Wall by Beverly Lewis -- Anna gets a job as a tour guide in an Amish community two hours from home. She's attracted to a fellow tour guide as well as an Old Amish widower. An ok story; an easy read. 

Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French -- part of the Frieda Klein series; in this book Frieda is asked to help the local police after a social worker discovers one of her clients has a dead man in her house. A dead man that she's been taking care of including offering him tea and iced buns. Pretty good story.

How to Raise An Elephant by Alexander McCall Smith -- I found the newest (2020) book in the series about Mms Ramotswe and the gang. There was one night I was reading a bit out loud to Andrew and I was dying laughing. It probably was not that funny to him, but it struck me funny. Pretty cute story.

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson -- "the true adventure of two Americans who risked everything to solve one of the last mysteries of World War II" -- Andrew saw this book at Barnes & Noble, and checked it out of the library. He kept saying, "you'd like this book" so when he finished, instead of returning it, I figured I'd start it...and, yes, I did like this book! What a fascinating sport (deep-wreck diving), and the mystery for the unidentified U-boat was neat. I realize this book is rather old, but I'd not heard the story or seen the documentaries and shows about it, so it was still a nice (true) mystery for me.

Before She Was Helen by Caroline B. Cooney -- A pretty cute murder mystery featuring Clemmie who lives in Fort Mill, SC, in a retirement community. When she goes looking for her neighbor who hasn't checked in as usual, she finds a beautiful glass piece which her greatniece and nephew discover is stolen. Somehow Clemmie gets involved in this murder, but she's also frightened that her past life will be discovered.

Brontë's Mistress by Finola Austin -- An imagined story of Lydia Robinson and her family. Pretty interesting way to learn more about her and a possible way she and Branwell Brontë met.

Falling Home by Karen White -- a bit long, but easy-to-read book with enough little "mysteries" to hold my attention. Not the most exciting book/mystery, but decent. Cassie is summoned to her home in Georgia when her father gets ill. She ran away from her small hometown fifteen years ago, and it's quite something being back in the South after years in New York City.

The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor -- Maggie's cousin Erin disappeared 23 years ago while she was living in Ireland. When a possible fresh lead is discovered, she now a detective, travels back to Ireland from her home in New York. A pretty good mystery from a new-to-me author.

A Midwife's Song: Oh, Freedom! by Patricia Harman -- I've read most of her Hope River novels, but hadn't gotten this one so I put it on my Wishlist and received it for Christmas. This book deals with Patience Hester and her friend Bitsy, but also delves into the backstory of Gracie Potter, the old nurse/midwife whom the ladies looked up to when they were new midwives in the area. Pretty interesting story!

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole -- A "thriller" by an author I had never read, but a friend sent me this book for Christmas so I read it. Sydney is part of a Black neighborhood in Brooklyn that is seeing big changes as more and more of her longtime neighbors are being forced out of their homes. When a white guy who just moved in across the street offers to help her research for her walking tours, Sydney agrees Theo can work for her without pay (part of his "reparations.")  An interesting look at gentrification and evils done to Black communities.

A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klasen -- I was delighted to see this standalone novel on the new books shelf the other day. While I like her Ivy Lane series well enough, I couldn't always remember the characters from past books so I didn't enjoy them as much as if I just waited until the whole series was finished and then binge-read them. But her standalone novels are great, and I enjoyed this trip to Cornwall and learning about shipwrecks and people washing ashore. The locals are a pretty interesting lot, too!  This book deals with Laura who helped save a man's life after a shipwreck. Good story.

Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins -- A fast-paced book about the Frost family: Barb the town's selectman; Sadie who left her love Noah because he wanted to stay in small-town Connecticut while she wanted to be an artist in New York City; Juliet, the perfect daughter and mother who feels like life is falling apart; and John the husband and father who brings everyone together when he has a stroke while riding his bicycle. Pretty good story.