Book Review: Flashmob by Christopher Farnsworth

Flashmob (John Smith, #2)Flashmob by Christopher Farnsworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 stars.

Second in the John Smith series. This was a Goodreads Giveaway, I’d like to thank the author, HarperCollins Publishers, and GoodReads for the opportunity to read this book.

In preparation for reading this, I read Killfile, the first in the series. I could not put it down and highly recommend it. Flashmob has a great premise, but didn’t hold my attention as much. Though, after saying that, I did read this in two days.

Read: 6/6-8/18

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Book Review: Killfile by Christopher Farnsworth

Killfile (John Smith, #1)Killfile by Christopher Farnsworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars.

First book in the John Smith series. Got it because I’ve gotten the second book in the series as a giveaway, and I don’t like to read books out of sequence if I can help it. Especially second books; so much character background is typically included in the first book of a series that is missed if that book isn’t read.

My first impression, that remained throughout the book, is that the voice reminds me of Dean Koontz, but grittier, sharper writing.

This was a page turner, I finished in one sitting. Can’t wait to read the next book!

Read: 6/6/18

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Book Review: The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

The Forsyte Saga (The Forsyte Chronicles, #1-3)The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars.

The great Forsyte Saga… I’m so glad I’ve finally read it. Some books deserve to be classics. John Galsworthy caught the essence of the periods he was writing about while telling a captivating story.

After a false start in 2015, I read parts 1 & 2 10/17-12/5/16 and part 3 4/16-25/18.

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Book Review: The High Season by Judy Blundell

The High SeasonThe High Season by Judy Blundell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Solid 4 stars.

Advanced Reader’s Copy. Thank you so much to Random House and the author Judy Blundell for this advanced reader’s copy. It was a delightful surprise in more than one way.

Though set in modern day New York (the tip of Long Island and NYC), the author creates a reality so foreign to the 99% that it might as well be fantasy. This Hampton’s 1% is woven into the daily life of a small shore town, and a wonderful world is created. Added to this are well developed characters, enabling me to completely immerse myself and feel empathy for each character – both “good” and “bad”.

Followers of “high society”, the art community and artists, the Hamptons, and small New England/New York towns will especially enjoy this book.

My only complaint is the cover.

Read 6/1-3/18.

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Book Review: Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg

Confessions of the FoxConfessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 stars.

Giveaway, I’d like to thank the author and publisher for this Advanced Readers Copy.

Great story of the repressed and disenfranchised. Style, possible historical document with modern day editors notes, keeps niggling at my brain, but I can’t remember what book it reminds me of. Certainly nothing similar in topic or time period.

A passage that I particularly like, page 163: “Spinoza once ask’d himself the question of whether or not ’twas acceptable for a person to lie to save his own life. Do you know what he said? … He said that it is immoral for free individuals to limit another person’s power to be free, to act freely, to make free choices. No matter the circumstances. … You’re free. You freed yourself. You’re free. And anyway … I’ve seen people much free than you hold fast to honesty. Even in the face of death.”

By page 262, I decided this is a brilliant and complicated book.

Like all the best historical fiction, the novel has a comprehensive “Resources”, aka bibliography. I also believe that the acknowledgements (page 319) are worth reading.

Read 3/29-4/14/18

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Book Review: The Obsidian Chamber by Preston & Child

The Obsidian Chamber (Pendergast #16)The Obsidian Chamber by Douglas Preston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars.

Number 16 in the Pendergast series.

Though this is set in current day, the characters and world are quite developed. This is a series I highly recommend reading from the beginning. A series I highly recommend.

Read 3/11-13/18

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Book Review: The Second Winter by Craig Larsen

The Second WinterThe Second Winter by Craig Larsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars.

Giveaway from the author; thank you very much Craig Larsen for sending me this review copy.

I found the book mesmerizing. It tells of the gritty side of World War II for Polish and Danish civilians. Three separate story lines converging at unanticipated junctures, with a sad, but satisfying, ending.

Read 2/26-3/7/18

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Book review: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

How to Walk AwayHow to Walk Away by Katherine Center
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars.

ARC from the publisher, thank you very much St. Martin’s Press for this early edition; also to Shelf Awareness for the opportunity.

This first person narrative is lovely and real. If I were ever to write fiction, this is a style and voice that would appeal to me.

I *knew* I shouldn’t start this after dinner. As much as I wanted to sleep, “One more chapter, please?” If you start in the morning with an open day, you might be able to tuck this away in one sitting. I’d recommend that, if possible.

Being chronically ill for the last nine years, using a cane or wheelchair for all outings and being in almost constant pain, this book hit home. Life can change overnight (or in an instant) and one has to appreciate the good and live in the moment as much as possible.

From the publisher letter:
“Life can change in the blink of an eye.
But strength is found in weakness.
Laughter lives in the darkest moments.
And love shows up when you learn to move on.”

I can attest to the truth of this.

This book made me laugh out loud, cry more than once (and I rarely cry), and smile wistfully while my heart sang.

Thank you Katherine Center, for a difficult, but beautiful, book.

Read: 3/8-3/9/2018

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Book Review: boston noir edited by Dennis Lehane

Boston NoirBoston Noir by Dennis Lehane

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 stars.

Collection of short stories by different authors, all taking place in and around Boston.

From mom.

Like many short story collections, I found some of these exceptional and some were “eh”, thus the four star rating. Though Boston is definitely a subject I could read about all day, after reading these tightly written, well constructed, stories, I have discovered Noir is not a good genre for me. Give me a standard 500 page murder mystery or a Victorian tome with a happy ending.

Read 1/27-2/10/2018
From GoodReads:

Brand-new stories by: Dennis Lehane, Stewart O’Nan, Patricia Powell, John Dufresne, Lynne Heitman, Don Lee, Russ Aborn, Itabari Njeri, Jim Fusilli, Brendan DuBois, and Dana Cameron.

Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, The Given Day) has proven himself to be a master of both crime fiction and literary fiction. Here, he extends his literary prowess to that of master curator. In keeping with the Akashic Noir series tradition, each story in Boston Noir is set in a different neighborhood of the city—the impressively diverse collection extends from Roxbury to Cambridge, from Southie to the Boston Harbor, and all stops in between.

Lehane’s own contribution—the longest story in the volume—is set in his beloved home neighborhood of Dorchester and showcases his phenomenal ability to grip the heart, soul, and throat of the reader.

In 2003, Lehane’s novel Mystic River was adapted into film and quickly garnered six Academy Award nominations (with Sean Penn and Tim Robbins each winning Academy Awards). Boston Noir launches in November 2009 just as Shutter Island, the film based on Lehane’s best-selling 2003 novel of the same title, hits the big screen.

Dennis Lehane is the author of The New York Times bestseller Mystic River (also an Academy Award–winning major motion picture); Prayers for Rain; Gone, Baby, Gone (also a major motion picture); Sacred; Darkness, Take My Hand; A Drink Before the War, which won the Shamus Award for Best First Novel; and, most recently, The Given Day. A native of Dorchester, Massachusetts, he splits his time between the Boston area and Florida.

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Book Review: The Magic World by E. Nesbit

The Magic WorldThe Magic World by E. Nesbit

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars rounded up.

A delightful collection of children’s stories first published in 1912, but timeless. I wish I’d read these as a child; I love Ms. Nebit’s book The Railway Children, I read and reread when I was young.

Read 1/31-2/10/2018

From GoodReads:

A thoughtless boy learns a lesson from his cat; a magic telescope brings two boys a fortune; a crow, a cat, a fish, all whisk away disgraced children to castles; sensible princes and princesses outwit curses ..
1 The Cat-hood of Maurice
2 The Mixed Mine
3 Accidental Magic
4 The Princess and the Hedge-pig
5 Septimus Septimusson
6 The White Cat
7 Belinda and Bellamant
8 Justnowland
9 The Related Muff
10 The Aunt and Amabel
11 Kenneth and the Carp
12 The Magician’s Hear

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