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

Sunday, April 30, 2023

April Books


The Perfect Daughter by DJ Palmer -- Grace is stunned when her teenage daughter is arrested for murdering her birth mother. Penny is hospitalized due to her dissociative identity disorder (DID), and Dr. Mitch does his best to figure out if Penny - or one of her alters - is guilty. Pretty interesting and informative since I wasn't very familiar with DID.

Where are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark -- I saw on the online catalog that the library would soon be getting a book with a similar title and it mentioned this book which I decided to read. It was kind of interesting reading a book where those leaving the US for Canada in order to avoid the Vietnam war was a current event. Nancy's children are missing and the Cape Cod town that she fled is finding out that this happened to her before. Did she create a new family only to murder her children again?

Survive the Night by Riley Sager -- After the murder of her best friend, Charlie is ready to go home mid-semester, and amazingly (stupidly??) accepts a ride through a university ride-share option with a strange man. Because she quickly sized him up and thought he looked trustworthy and not like a murderer. While on their trip from New Jersey to Ohio, Charlie finds out things about Josh that make her suspect he's lying about his connection to the university, and makes her suspect she won't get out of this alive - unless she can kill him first.

Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid -- This book starts with Hannah Martin on her way from New York City to Los Angeles where she grew up and is returning because all the other places she lived so far just haven't felt quite right. Early on Hannah has the choice of staying with Ethan, her long, lost love, or going back to her best friend Gabby's house. Then the book has alternate chapters about her choosing Ethan over Gabby and vice versa. I've read another book or two that had this design and it is pretty entertaining and different.

Any Other Family by Eleanor Brown -- Imagine a couple who had four children - a single girl, boy-and-girl twins, another single girl, and because this couple can't keep their children, they have kept the children together by having the three families who adopted their children get together regularly as if they are one big extended family. Did you follow that?!  Tabitha (mom to the twins) hopes to create what she didn't have growing up - a family who do adventures together, sisters to enjoy while Ginger (mom to the oldest girl and an introvert) finds it oh so overwhelming at times. Elizabeth (mom to the youngest) who struggles with her infertility, realizes she's not really loving being a mother after all. Maybe the universe was trying to tell her something all those times IVF failed and she miscarried!  A different book, but pretty interesting.

Choosing Africa: A Midlife Journey From Mission to Meaning by B. Susan Bauer -- After serving in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for eleven years, the author and her husband, a Lutheran pastor, decide to take a sabbatical and serve at a Lutheran seminary in Africa. They are sent to Namibia which has a high concentration of Lutherans due to past German and Finnish missionaries. The Bauers enjoyed their three months there, and later decide to do a longer-term stint.  My mom read this awhile back (November 2021) and enjoyed it so I had it on my "to read" list. I love when I saw that they were in Namibia because Andrew and I are currently watching Season 5 of Itchy Boots when she went to southern Africa after the covid lockdowns were lifted in some of those countries. Anyway, she is currently in Namibia - and has been for several episodes - so as I read about the Bauers' adventures, I was like, "yeah, I've heard of this city or this feature of the desert, or that animal" or "I can totally picture that desolation that you mention because I saw it in Noraly's videos just last week!" 

Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle -- Kat's son is on an overnight camping trip with his classmates when a police officer shows up at her door informing her that Ethan is missing! Meanwhile Stef, the mayor's wife, gets a phone call about her son, the intended kidnapping victim.

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen -- After her father dies, Joanna is cleaning out his home when she finds some curious things from, she suspects, his time in Italy during the war. She knew he'd been a pilot who was shot down, but didn't know the details. While in Italy, she meets people whom she hopes have answers for her. This book alternates between Joanna's story and her father, Hugo's, time in Italy and back in England.

The Stranger Inside by Laura Benedict -- When Kimber returns home from a lake retreat, she is stunned to find that all of her locks have been replaced and someone is living in her house. He says she signed a lease for him to rent it for six months, and has a copy to show the police. As Kimber tries to figure out what has happened, she enlists the help of her ex boyfriend who is a lawyer, Gabriel, as well as some other people in her life. Pretty good.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz -- Jacob Finch Bonner had one successful novel, but when he finds writing another good book is, well, difficult, he takes a job where he meets aspiring writers. In comes Evan Parker who has a fantastic plot twist, and years later Jacob looks for Evan's book, but instead finds that his former student died a couple of months after they met. Jacob decides to use Evan's plot for his own novel and it is a runaway success! But...then he starts getting messages about knowing this story was stolen. I rather liked this book.

Little Paula by V.C. Andrews -- Faith and Trevor were adopted from foster care. Though they weren't biological siblings, they became a family and were raised as siblings. Their Mama was very influential in controlling them while she was alive, and even after she was dead because Trevor thought Mama talked to him. Anyway...this book was different. Little Paula is their daughter who was sold to a rich couple in town. Faith and Trevor make plans to get her back.

Think of Me by Frances Liardet -- I read this book while alternating with a bigger Bill Bryson book so this took longer to read than it should have. James is a vicar who served as a pilot in World War II. While in Egypt, he met Yvette, an Alexandrian, whom he later married. This book alternates between Yvette's story - that which she journaled before her death from leukemia when she was in her late thirties - and James in current times (actually the mid-1970s.) Pretty good story.

Made In America by Bill Bryson -- This is dubbed "an informal history of the English language in the United States" and was a nice mixture of U.S. history and how different aspects like our founding, place names, military, sports, radio, TV and such contributed to the language we speak today. This book was amusing in spots because it was published in 1994 and a few things have changed since then. Like the author concludes the book with something about how much the average American household has now. Included were two telephones (landlines, no doubt) and a VCR! Also he discusses shopping malls in a way that malls were back then: as in, still existing with anchor stores.  I don't know about you, but in my experience, most of those malls are not thriving. And something not mentioned: online shopping which is likely one reason malls and even stand-alone department stores have faltered in the last decade or so. I enjoyed much of this book and even shared some of it with Andrew. Also I took a picture of one paragraph to send to an American friend who lives in the Netherlands. She had recently commented on a Facebook post about her getting marked down for using "tidbit" instead of "titbit." She (and I) had never heard of titbit, but this book mentioned that, and Sarah said it was "fascinating" to learn.

The Hidden Man by David Ellis -- Jason is a lawyer asked to defend a childhood friend who is up for murder. One problem is, Sammy's trial is in a few short weeks, and the person who hired Jason said he couldn't ask for a delay of trial. This person - who goes by Smith - also has very strict instructions and how everything should go down. Decent book. Not a favorite, but not terrible.

The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society by Beth Patillo -- When Eugenie, the head librarian, finds Hannah has torn out pages from a book, she punishes her by having her help clean the library and join the handful of town ladies who meet monthly for their knitting/book club. Esther, Ruthie, Merry, and Camille aren't quite sure about this troubled teen being part of their group. This was a sweet, easy read. One my mom recommended.

Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo -- A couple of Army guys along with a runaway wife, a teenager who lost her family, and a militia man somehow come together and make their way to Lagos where adventure awaits as they try to survive in this Nigerian city.  A bit confusing at times, but interesting in learning a bit more about this African country.

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz -- Alex is thrilled when she earns the opportunity to go to a four week retreat hosted by her favorite author, Roza Vallo. Unfortunately her former best friend is also there, but Alex is determined to enjoy the retreat anyway. She enjoys getting to know the other ladies, but then it gets weird when one of them goes missing and the others find her identification - and she's not who she says she is.What is going on?

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