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

Sunday, March 31, 2024

March Books


The Book Club Hotel by Sarah Morgan -- Every year three friends spent a week in a hotel in order to connect and discuss a book. Most years they meet in the summer, but this year they postponed their gathering until December. Elaine usually chooses something in the city and definitely not cute and Christmassy so Claudia and Anna are surprised when she chooses a quaint inn in rural Vermont decked out in Christmas finery. They soon find out why, but I won't tell you here. Pretty cute story though maybe a bit too much dialog for me at times. What's funny is that this book was written by a lady living in London and though the book is mostly about American women, it's peppered with what I consider Britishisms. 

For instance one of the ladies was crying so her friend pulled out a pack of tissues. Take the "lot," she told her friend. In my experience, an American would be like "here, take them all" or "keep the whole pack." Another was talk of a bookmark being a good stocking filler rather than what I've always heard, a stocking stuffer.

Also, there is the constant lack of "that" such as a sentence like: "Now I checked Delphi is okay, I will check on the guests." Though we are known for dropping extra letters like "u" in color, neighbor, and labor, we add words like "that." (I would write that sentence more like, "Now that I checked that Delphi is okay....")

Also, someone said "reckon***." Hahaha. And "Shall we do this?" instead of the more American, "Do you want to do this?"

As the story involved the ladies going to a local book shop, there was much talk of "cookery books," too.

*** I'd give "reckon" a pass if these were Southern friends, but Northeastern ladies.... nah!

The Women by Kristin Hannah -- I enjoyed this look at the Vietnam war through the eyes of Frances "Frankie" McGrath who served two years there as a nurse. First the reader gets a glimpse of what life was like over there, and then as Frankie returned to the US where she was spat upon and flipped off, and where she struggled to survive the mental anguish that memories of Vietnam gave her.  Good story!

Just a Regular Boy by Catherine Ryan Hyde -- When Remy is five, his dad takes him to a remote property where they can mostly live off the land and be free from all that's happening in the country. All goes well (kind of, but not really because that is a strange way to live) until one night when Remy's father doesn't return from his hunting trip. Meanwhile Anne is a foster mother who loves a challenge. She wants the children most people would pass over. Good story!

Beyond That, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash -- Scared about bombs dropping in London, Reg and Millie decide to send their eleven-year-old daughter to America to live out the war years. She lives with Ethan, Nancy and their two sons Wiliam and Gerald. Beatrix fits in age right between the boys, and she's the girl Nancy always wanted. Bea loves her new family and the experiences she has with them. Meanwhile Reg and Millie miss their girl and see her growing up through pictures and read about her adventures in letters. A good story.

Don't Look for Me by Wendy Walker -- Molly is driving home from her son's football game when her car runs out of gas just a few yards from the station. Unfortunately it's closed due to a hurricane coming through the area. When someone stops his pickup truck and offers her a ride, Molly accepts. Molly had been thinking she might just run away from her family. After all, her husband seems to prefer someone else, her daughter hates her, and her son ignored her even though she traveled several hours to see him. Pretty good.

In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward -- Decades after two young girls went missing and one stayed missing while the other returned, the police are looking into that case again due to some recent developments. Rachel is the girl who returned, now she's a woman who looks into family histories. Connie and Sadler are detectives looking into the case. Pretty good.

First Lie Wins Ashley Elston -- Evie Porter is on assignment, cozying up to a boyfriend. Hey, he even invited her to move in with him!  Only problem is that Evie Porter doesn't exist. She's on assignment from "Mr. Smith" to infiltrate her target's world. But then things get interesting...

The Lace Widow by Mollie Ann Cox -- A bit of historical accuracy mixed with a made-up mystery involving Eliza Hamilton only a couple weeks after her husband was buried. When her son, Alexander Jr., is accused of murder, Eliza seeks information to clear her son's name. An OK book.

Overkill by Sandra Brown -- Though their marriage ended acrimoniously years ago, Rebecca never wavered from wanting Zach to make end-of-life decisions for her. Zach is stunned when his ex wife is left in a vegetative state, and he is required to decide on her fate: remove the feeding tube or keep it. Eban Clarke, the man who put Rebecca there, is up for release though an ADA informs Zach that Eban can be retried for murder if Rebecca is allowed to die. What a thought!  I really kind of hated this book, and not for this ethical dilemma; rather the ADA and Zach.

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson -- Nine people are sent lists with nine names printed on them: their own plus eight strangers. When one by one these individuals are dying, police rush to figure out the connection and why they've been targeted by a killer. Interesting story.

Die For You by Lisa Unger -- Isabel tells her husband goodbye as he's off to work, but he never comes home. When she goes by his workplace, it's ransacked and many more strange things happen. What happened to Marcus, her husband of five years?  Not my favorite of hers, but not bad.

Last Night by Luanne Rice -- Hadley is on her way to see her sister and niece during a New England blizzard, but neither is there to greet her. Maddie left a note that she had a quick meeting, but should be back soon. Hadley is concerned about Maddie and CeCe, and goes to look for them only to stumble over her sister who is lying dead in the snow. CeCe is nowhere to be seen.

Bring Me Back  by B.A. Paris -- After Finn's girlfriend disappeared, he eventually gave her up as dead and over time, met Layla's sister Ellen and asked her to marry him. But then weird things started happening as tiny Russian dolls were left on the wall outside their house, and Finn gets emails from someone asking about a cottage where he and Layla once lived.

The Fury by Alex Michaelides -- Elliot Chase is a playwright telling one final story: the story of his soulmate Lana and their last outing to her Greek island. Along with Elliot and Lana are Lana's son and husband and best friend, and, well, a murder happens.

Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major -- Emma is way too busy, and once again, she's forgotten the importance of this Monday, but she is too busy to rectify things between her and her husband Dan. When the day ends tragically, she cries herself to sleep only to wake up and have a fresh Monday where she knows what happened the day before yet no one else does. It's Groundhog Day in a book!

American Ramble: A Walk of Memory and Renewal by Neil King, Jr. -- This journalist takes a walk from his home in Washington, D.C., to New York City talking about people he met along the way and interesting sights. I tend to like books like this, though this one was a bit more boring than some. I really miss Tony Horwitz's books!  He was great!

The New Couple in 5B by Lisa Unger -- Rosie and Chad are stunned when Chad's uncle dies and leaves them his Manhattan apartment worth a small fortune, but life in this old New York City building is odd. First there is the doorman who seems to always know what is going on because the apartments have intercoms, and cameras are everywhere. Also, he's almost always on duty. A good, fast read if you like this type of book.

Oath and Honor by Liz Cheney -- A Memoir and a Warning ; I saw someone mention this book on Facebook so I decided to check it out since my library had it. I knew much of this, but I learned more about the January 6 committee and the things leading up to the insurrection. Sobering read, especially since Donald Trump, despite his numerous lies, is still so popular among many Republicans. I don't understand his appeal.  Blah.

The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan -- Rachel is a law student doing a summer stint with the DA while her husband, Jack, is a defense attorney who despises the lady Rachel is working for. This makes life interesting. 

The Guest by B.A. Paris -- After seeing a teenager die after an accident, Gabriel and Iris take a trip to get away from things. When they come back to their house, they realize their Parisian friend Laure has made herself at home. It's fine; this is how close their friendship is, except Laure won't leave, and after weeks, it's a bit much. Meanwhile Iris makes friends with a new couple in town, who along with their gardener, make up most of the cast of this story. Pretty good.

Like a Mother by Mina Hardy -- After Sarah's husband Adam dies from cancer, she is stunned to meet a lady claiming to be Adam's mom. Adam always told her his parents were dead, but Candace looks like Adam and says things the same way he always did. In a desperate situation, Sarah decides to move in with Adam's mom, but finds her new residence quite odd. Pretty good.