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

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

January Books


My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa -- I started this near the end of December, and then Zach and Sophie came to visit so I didn't read much as we were too busy riding the carousel and visiting the arboretum's little play area (so fun). Paloma was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage at age 12, and 18 years later, she is being blackmailed by her roommate who claims to know her secret. This story alternates between Paloma of today, living in California, to when she was getting ready for her adoption. I kept reading this book because I wanted to see how it ended, but the author uses a lot of off-putting language if you don't like the F word (no kidding) sometimes three times in one sentence. I think it detracts from a book, but I am a fuddy duddy type like that so ... Someone who got this book before me, crossed out nearly all the g--d---s in the book as I guess that particular word offended the reader a lot.

Puppet by Joy Fielding -- Amanda is loving her life as a defense attorney in Florida when she picks up the phone and her ex-husband in Toronto calls saying her mother is accused of murder. Amanda hasn't talked to her mom in eight years, but duty calls and she heads north to see what she can do. This book was OK. A quick read anyway.

Family Trust by Kathy Wang -- A story told from the perspectives of Stanley, the Chinese-America patriarch who is dying from pancreatic cancer; his ex-wife Linda, who is the better investor and also looking for a new love on a dating app; Mary, the much younger second wife; and Fred and Kate, the children of Stanley and Linda. This book was OK; nothing special.

The Marsh Queen by Virginia Hartman -- Loni is working as a bird illustrator for the Smithsonian when she gets a call from her brother urging her to come home because her mom is struggling with a broken wrist and dementia. Loni is reluctant to go back to north Florida, but takes a few weeks to do so. While there she looks for answers about her father's death when she was twelve years old. Pretty good book by this new-to-me author.

The War Librarian by Addison Armstrong -- Two storylines in this book: one with Emmaline, who travels to France to cheer the troops with books during World War I, and the other with Kathleen in 1976 as she begins training at the Naval Academy. This book was a bit ho-hum at times, but later got pretty interesting. Not the best book, but not bad.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland -- I enjoy this author's books: fast-paced and pretty exciting though they leave me skeptical of some of our intelligence employees. Vivian is a CIA counterintelligence analyst working to uncover Russian sleeper cells. When her algorithm works, she discovers something very close to home that threatens life as she knows it.

The Blame Game by Sandie Jones -- Naomi is a psychotherapist who often allows relationships with clients to blur the line. This time she's helping Jacob leave his abusive wife by allowing him to rent a flat that she and her husband own. Only she didn't tell her husband (yet) as she knows he doesn't like her blurring those lines. Additionally she offers to allow Anna to stay with them for a few days while she sorts out where to live - her husband is abusive after all. Anyway...this was a fast read and pretty interesting though maybe a touch confusing there towards the end.

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese -- Perhaps a bit too predictable, but I ended up liking this one pretty well. At one point, I thought it was going to be a total yawner, but it got more interesting as the story progressed. Lauren is a first grade teacher who is hoping to adopt a child from China, as a single woman. It's part of the contract that she is single yet the long-term substitute teacher across the hall, Joshua, is making this difficult. A sweet book with some good reminders for me.

The Liar's Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard -- Alison moved to the Netherlands after her freshman year of college ended disastrously. Her boyfriend Will was charged for the murder of five girls who were drowned in the canal. Ten years after Will's incarceration, another college girl is found killed in the same manner. Is this a copycat? Will wants to tell Alison something, but will she come back to Ireland? Pretty good book.

Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica -- Nina and her husband, Jake, had a fight, but she didn't expect him to not come back home. Or show up for work. He loves his job! Meanwhile Lily and Christian are trying to figure out what to do because Lily might have accidentally killed Jake. Huh? Pretty good story if you like these types of books.

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen -- Rebecca returns home to help her brother John who hasn't been quite right since a childhood fall caused a brain injury. When John suggests she stay at the abbey-turned-hotel because the house is not prepared for her visit, Rebecca becomes embroiled in a bit of a mystery involving an author who is writing a novel while staying at the hotel. A pretty good story though not my favorite from this author.

The Last Invitation by Darby Kane -- This book seems similar to another book I read. I almost thought perhaps I'd read it before, but I guess not. There's the secret organization of powerful women who take justice into their own hands when the system fails (which happens quite often.) This alternates between Gabby and Jessa, two lawyers - one practicing, the other not. Pretty good, but not my favorite of hers.

Monday's Lie by Jamie Mason -- This book was OK; not a favorite, but not awful. Dee's mom is like a superhero government spy or something...it's never very clear for us - or Dee herself. Because her childhood was so extraordinary, Dee marries someone who is perfectly boring. Yet when things start going wrong with Patrick, Dee thinks back to her mom and lessons she learned from her.

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin -- I enjoyed this look at the lives of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh through the eyes of Anne. The book begins when Anne was a college student visiting Mexico where her father was an ambassador. Charles Lindbergh was a hero to many, and he was visiting her family in Mexico at Christmas! The book follows their courtship and marriage. Interesting people!

The Widow by Fiona Barton -- I read one of her more recent books last year so I decided to get some others from the library. This is her first one and some characters from the other book I read - that fleshed them out more - are in this one. Kate Waters is the reporter sent to get the story from the widow of a man charged with kidnapping a two year old girl. Fast-paced book

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