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

Monday, May 31, 2021

May Books


A Million Reasons Why by Jessica Strawser -- When Caroline's husband was in charge of the family Christmas gifts, he opted for DNA tests. How fun! But when a DNA Match reveals a half-sister living hundreds of miles away, Caroline isn't sure how to handle that news. Eventually she meets her half-sister, Sela. An OK story.

Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane -- When Lila's husband Aaron, a beloved teacher, is missing, police investigators focus on her. Meanwhile Lila tries to solve the mystery of what really did happen to her husband, because he's not where she last saw him (presumably dead!)  Pretty good story.

Eternal by Lisa Scottoline -- A very different book for this author as it goes back in time to the Fascists and Nazis in Italy. The story of Sandro and Marco and Elisabetta, three best friends, who are caught up in life under Mussolini and later the Nazi-occupation of Rose. Some videos about the book.

Little Pieces of Me by Alison Hammer -- Paige's life takes a twist when she gets an email from a DNA website that she had a new match - a parent/child match. How is that even possible? Her beloved father died two years ago. A pretty good story.

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly -- A tale from the Civil War as told by Georgy, working as a nurse part of the time; Jemma, an enslaved woman on a tobacco plantation in Maryland; and Anne-May, the Louisiana-born lady who inherited Peeler Plantation where Jemma lives. Pretty good book.

Day of the Dead by Nicci French -- last of the Frieda Klein series; In this book a student is doing her dissertation and a professor suggests the student do it on Frieda. Lola goes to Frieda's workplace, home, to her friends and family, and realizes Frieda is missing. Pretty good series.

The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff -- Sadie and Ella come from two very different areas of a Polish city, but the two young women meet in an odd place when Ella is on a quest to find cherries for her stepmother's dinner party. Pretty good story.

The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul -- I've read a couple other books by this author so I put more of them on my Amazon Wishlist and I got this one for my birthday. It explores the possibility that Maria, one of the Romanov children, escapes the execution of her family, and a more modern story of Val Doyle, whose Russian father is dying at a care facility in Australia. Pretty good story.

The Wedding Thief by Mary Simes -- When Sara goes home to Connecticut, she thinks she's going to find her mother wasting away on her deathbed. Instead her mom is cooking and singing as she did in usual times. Looks like her mom's plea for Sara to come home was just a ploy to get her to reconcile with her sister, Mariel, who stole Sara's boyfriend and plans to marry him. A bit silly at times, but a light read and easy book to finish.

Forgive Me by Susan Lewis -- This book was OK, it got a little long-winded or something for me. When Marcy, her daughter, and granddaughter flee Claudia's husband and seek new lives in another part of England, they meet a nice group of friends. This book is also about restorative justice.

The Secret Wife by Gill Paul -- Another book about the Romanov daughters - this one about Tatiana and her sweetheart Dmitri Malama. An imagined tale of what could have happened if Malama's quest to free the Romanovs had happened....or if not the whole family, at least his beloved one. Decent book; I like the other one (above) a bit better.

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson -- This book was way different from the only other book I've read by this author. It was somewhat entertaining with interesting and sometimes funny characters, but at times it seemed all over the place with backstories and such. Apparently it's a series starring Jackson Brodie and I stepped into it some place way down the line.

Up From the Blue by Susan Henderson -- I thought this book seemed familiar, but not enough that I stopped reading it. Tillie speaks of her military family and troubles they faced because Tillie had a hard time settling down, her dad was too impatient and tough on them, and her mom just checked out of life most of the time. 

The Affair by Gill Paul -- A book based on the 1960s film Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor which was filmed in Rome. The author interviewed a few people who were there, and made a novel about it. An OK story. I liked the character Diana's knowledge as a historical researcher.

If A Tree Falls by Jennifer Rosner -- Last year I read a story by this author, and then saw she had a memoir of sorts about her daughters being born deaf. My library didn't have that book, but I got it for Christmas and finally read it. Part of it is imagined - as the author processes the fact that several of her ancestors were deaf. Since their stories are mysteries to her, she makes up tales for Nellie and Bayla, and their mom's struggles with having two deaf daughters.

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth -- Since her own mother died when Lucy was just 13, Lucy wants so badly to have a close relationship with her husband's mother. Unfortunately Diana isn't made for close relationships and Lucy struggles with Diana's standoffish ways, and unhelpfulness, and impractical gifts. When Diana is found dead, the police investigate whether or not it were truly a suicide, or if Diana were killed. Good story.

The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard -- When their college-aged son and brother is killed in a freak accident. Olivia and her parents struggle (understandably.) Her mom eventually leaves for her hometown halfway across the country, while Olivia chooses to stay with her dad in California. A decent story.

All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson -- Harry returns home to Maine after his father slips off a cliff and dies. He lives with his young stepmother, Alice, while things are sorted out because the police aren't sure Harry's father fell to his death. Pretty good, thriller-type book.

The Making of Biblical Womanhood by Beth Allison Barr -- "How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth"; The author uses her knowledges as a medieval historian to make the case that "biblical womanhood" shouldn't include the patriarchal view that is prevalent in many conservative churches today.  I first heard about her on NPR, and decided to get her book for my birthday.

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese -- Molly has lots of social media followers who watch her makeup and hair videos, but when she's urged to find a cause in order to boost her follower count, she meets Silas who runs a ministry for young adults who have aged out of the foster system. Pretty good story though it ran a bit long, but overall a good message here.

Piece of My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke -- I really should have read the first book in this series because there was a lot of backstory going on, but when I saw this book at the library the other day, I picked it up. It is the last book MHC wrote before she died in early 2020, and I had it on my list to read. So I did. Marcy and Andrew were with their young children in the Hamptons when their son went missing. Who has Johnny and how can they get him back?

Monday, May 3, 2021

April Books


Desperate Hours by Richard Goldstein -- "The Epic Rescue of the Andrea Doria" ; in books we've read about shipwreck divers, this ship has often been mentioned. Andrew found this book at the library, and, you guessed it, told me that I'd like this book so I just read it. Pretty interesting tale.

The Prince of Spies by Elizabeth Camden -- book 3 in the Hope and Glory series features Luke Delacroix and his chance meeting of Marianne Magruder. Unfortunately for them, their families are arch-enemies. Luke joins part of the government-sponsored Poison Squad, young men who volunteered to be part of a study about chemicals in foods. Pretty good book.

Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear -- This book referred back to so many things from past novels in the Maisie Dobbs series that it would have been much better to me if I knew those things already. I knew that might be the case reading this book out of order, but I'd gotten this book at one of those Little Free Libraries, and decided to read it. As the title suggests Maisie is tasked with going to Munich during a time when the Nazis are coming to power. Her job is to bring home a man who was arrested, as well as finding a young lady who went to Munich and never came home to her family. An ok story.

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown -- A father and daughter struggle with the death of their loved one who never came back from a solo hiking trip. Did she truly die there, or did she fake her own death and disappear? And if she left them, why did she do that? Jonathan and Olive look for clues in the disappearance of Billie, thinking maybe she was alive after all.  Is she being kept somewhere against her will?

If You Were Here by Alafair Burke -- As a former prosecutor-turned-magazine writer, McKenna Jordan has been asked to write about the 10 year anniversary of when a police officer shot a young black man. This story ended her career, and now her second career is at stake. A friend who has been missing might be back in town now. What role does Susan have in everything going on? Not my favorite of hers, but an OK suspense novel.

Friday on My Mind by Nicci French -- another in the Frieda Klein mystery series; Frieda tries to solve the mystery of who murdered her former boyfriend whose body was found floating in the Thames. Pretty good.

The Ever After by Sarah Pekkanen -- Josie thought her marriage was going pretty well until the morning her husband went into Starbucks to get them all their favorite treats. Josie asked to use her husband's phone to call in a prescription when she noticed incriminating emails. So the whole book was about Josie working through her husband's affair. It was a bit much at times since it was the whole book, but it wasn't a terrible book by any means. Just that topic. Decent story.

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins -- Emma London is a single mother of a teenage daughter, living with her grandpa in a suburb of Chicago. One day her wealthy Connecticut grandmother calls her with a tale about her dying of brain cancer, can Emma come out and take care of her, and she will leave her inheritance to Emma's daughter, Riley. Did I mention that Rich Grandma kicked Emma out of her house and life when Emma got pregnant just before her high school graduation? This book is told from a variety of perspectives, some of which made me teary. Good story.

A Necessary End by Holly Brown -- Adrienne is desperate to become a mom, so when a birth mother finally contacts her, she agrees to the terms Leah sets forth. Basically Leah will live with Adrienne, her husband and the baby for a full year after birth, and then the baby will be signed over to the adoptive family. What could go wrong with that plan?

Bubbles Unbound by Sarah Strohmeyer -- I've read some of this author's more recent work so I decided to check out this mystery series from when she first started her writing career. This book was light, rather cute, and silly, but what do you expect with a heroine named Bubbles Yablonsky, a hairdresser who tries her hand at investigative journalism?

As Night Falls by Jenny Milchman -- Sandy and Ben were just cleaning up after dinner when their door burst open. Two men recently escaped from a prison work crew bound into the room. Pretty good story.

Who Is Maud Dixon?  by Alexandra Andrews -- Florence is so excited when the mysterious author who goes by Maud Dixon chooses her as an assistant and the two head off to Morocco for a research trip. After an accident in which Florence winds up in the hospital with only "Maud's" ID, she contemplates taking on this new identity since "Maud" is missing and Florence fears she died in the accident. A bit bizarre, but an OK book.

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger -- Charlie Silver wants to take her tennis game to another level and actually win some major championships. She fires her long-time coach and friend in order to hire a man who wants to rebrand Charlie's good-girl image and make her into a Warrior Princess. An OK story especially if you enjoy learning more about or know something of tennis.

The Orphans of Race Point by Patry Francis -- Took me a while to get into this book, but I kept on reading and it turned out pretty good. It's about Hallie and her friends Neil and Gus, and a tragic event that shaped their lives...well, serieses of events really. Later on the book is written from the perspective of Mila, whose mother was killed when she was six.

The Mystery of Mrs.Christie by Marie Benedict -- For eleven days Agatha Christie was missing, and when she reappeared, people were trying to figure out where she had been. Amnesia or a fugue state were suggested. This book explores a possible reason. Pretty good story.

Gravity Is The Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty -- This book was one part oh-goodness-she's-so-literal-it's-funny, one part fairly-interesting story line regarding her brother and marriage and child, and other parts what has THAT got to do with anything filler material. Thankfully, for being a rather long book, it was divided into sections that made it easy to get through. A decent book. I prefer sister Liane's books.

The Drowning Girls by Paula Treick DeBoard -- Phil, Liz, and Danielle move into a 4,000 foot house in an exclusive community. The only way they could afford to live here is, well, Phil is the guy all the rich folks complain to when things don't go their ways. The house and HOA fees (hundreds per month) were a perk of the job. But Liz is used to being a single mom living in a small apartment so she feels out of place. When Danielle, her slightly nerdy kid, suddenly becomes BFFs with one of the most gorgeous teens around, Liz wonders where this friendship is going. Pretty good book told from the perspectives of both Liz and Phil.

Dark Saturday by Nicci French -- another Frieda Klein novel; I rather like these. In this one Frieda is asked to check into a case involving a lady who was committed to a hospital due to being declared insane after her mom, stepdad, and brother were found murdered. Hannah was accused, but as Frieda investigates, she comes to believe Hannah has been wrongly committed these last thirteen years.

The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen -- A good tale of English Juliet Browning's trips to Venice first with her aunt Hortensia, and later as a chaperone with the school girls studying art. Each time she happens to meet the loveable Leo. Years later Juliet dies and leaves her sketchbook with her great-niece Caroline who travels to Venice to learn more about her aunt's younger years.

The Survivors by Jane Harper -- Kiernan and his partner Mia return to the place they both grew up, where The Storm changed things 12 years ago, and where a seasonal worker is found dead on the beach. Who did this, and why?  Was it a local, or was it some stranger passing through?

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner -- Sophie Whalen traveled from New York to San Francisco after answering an ad for a widower with a small child. She and Martin marry within minutes of her arrival, and Sophie soon cares deeply for her new stepdaughter Kat, although she can't seem to get her new husband to show any interest in her. This book takes place around the time of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the fire that broke out because of it. Pretty interesting story!

Sunday Silence by Nicci French -- I've almost finished the Frieda Klein series; this one has several of Frieda's close friends being hurt or abducted when someone is copying a madman who has been in her life for awhile.