Sunday, May 22, 2022

Haiku Reviews...


The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

Bree is his best friend
but Nathan wants more. Can he
make Bree love him back?

Romantic comedy .... 292 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(I loved how Nathan's football friends tried to help him get out of the friend zone!)

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Two ex-cons, one black,
one white, team up to avenge
their murdered sons.

Crime fiction .... 319 pages .... 3.5/5 stars.
(If this book was a movie, it would definitely be Rated R for language and violence.)

An Unorthodox Match by Naomi Ragen

Leah's found her way
back to God, but will the ultraorthodox
of Boro Park welcome her in?

Contemporary fiction (with a touch of romance).... 322 pages .... 4.5/5 stars.
(A lovely and informative immersion into Jewish culture.)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

A 5-star nonfiction read!

 Question:  How do you dig a tunnel into the most heavily guarded country in the world?  

I remember watching on TV as the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, but I wasn't even born when it went up in 1961. Still, I've always found accounts of it fascinating. And I have to say, this is the best book I've ever read about the lives of East Berliners and their desperate determination to be free. 

In Tunnel 29, Helena Merriman tells the story of Joachim Rudolph, whose family unsuccessfully tried to escape the Red Army in 1945. He grew up in East Berlin, but managed to escape East Germany in 1961, crossing a dark field on a moonless night with his friend. Then he got his mom and sister out. But his story doesn't end there. In May 1962, he and several other university students living in West Berlin began digging a tunnel under Bernauer Strasse that would end up being 135 meters long. They dug night and day for over four months. They dug through thick clay. They evaded Stasi spies and risked their lives. And on Sept. 14, 1962, they broke through the floor of a cellar in East Berlin and helped 29 people escape to freedom. 

I absolutely loved this book! It's eye-opening, informative, heartbreaking, compelling, extraordinary and life-affirming. And it will definitely be on my favorites list at the end of the year. 

Happy Reading!

Similar fiction read:

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Something funny...

These novel crossovers by John Atkinson at Wrong Hands totally made me laugh. I hope they make you smile, too. 

Have a great day...
and happy reading! 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Suite Spot by Trish Doller

I loved Float Plan by Trish Doller, so when I saw she had a new book out I was very excited to read it. And The Suite Spot does not disappoint.

The plot:  Rachel Beck is a single mom--her daughter, Maisie, is almost four. She works as the night manager at a luxury hotel in Miami and it's a job she really loves. Until the night she gets fired. And when she realizes that Maisie's father is never going to step up and be the man she wants him to be, she decides to accept a job at a new brewery/hotel on Kelley's Island in Ohio. Only the lodgings there haven't even been built! And her new boss, Mason Brown, isn't the most outgoing or friendly guy. (Although he's very handsome when he does smile.) Somehow he convinces Rachel to stay and help him get The Limestone up and running. And things slowly start to fall into place for all of them. 

My thoughts:  I really liked how Rachel takes a chance and creates a new life for herself and her daughter. And Mason's own journey, as he deals with his grief over the death of his daughter a year ago, felt very real; his interactions with Maisie were especially poignant and sweet. These two characters are both so easy to like and root for. I loved watching their relationship deepen first into friendship, then into love. This book is a charming and fun romance. And I liked it a lot. 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

May's Bookish Art...

Henri Lebasque -- Le Cannet Madame Lebasque Reading in the Garden

"It's a great blessing if one can lose all sense of time, all worries, if only for a short time, in a book." 

--Nell Last

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

 The beginning:
"Having been born a freeman, and for more than thirty years enjoyed the blessings of liberty in a free State--and having at the end of that time been kidnapped and sold into Slavery, where I remained, until happily rescued in the month of January, 1853, after a bondage of twelve years--it has been suggested that an account of my life and fortunes would not be uninteresting to the public."

 The middle:
"Oh, how heavily the weight of slavery pressed upon me then. I must toil day after day, endure abuse and taunts and scoffs, sleep on the hard ground, live on the coarsest fare, and not only this, but live the slave of a blood-seeking wretch, of whom I must stand henceforth in continued fear and dread....I sighed for liberty; but the bondsman's chain was round me, and could not be shaken off. I could only gaze wistfully towards the North, and think of the thousands of miles that stretched between me and the soil of freedom, over which a black freeman may not pass."
The end:
"I looked in the direction indicated, and as my eyes rested on his countenance, a world of images thronged my brain .... all the friends of other and happier days, appeared and disappeared .... until at last the perfect memory of the man recurred to me, and throwing up my hands toward Heaven, I exclaimed, "Henry B. Northup! Thank God--thank God!" In an instant I comprehended the nature of his business, and felt that the hour of my deliverance was at hand."
Solomon Northup's eloquent and moving narrative of his life speaks for itself. His story is powerful, haunting, and unforgettable. I've never see the movie version of his life, but I'm so glad I read this book. It counts as my Nonfiction Classic for Karen's Back to the Classics Reading Challenge.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 5, 2022

The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

 "Since the dogs began going missing, wandering the fields after dusk was frowned upon. Even before then, we had stayed away from the woods. There were stories."

Rituals, secrets and superstitions. Rowan's Glen is full of them. And sixteen-year-old Ivy Templeton knows them all, from the whispered stories of the murderous Birch Markle, who supposedly still haunts the woods, to knowing how to protect against the evil eye with a bit of red thread. Her cousin, beautiful and free-spirited Heather, on the other hand, scoffs at all the old ways. But she has secrets of her own, things she won't even tell Ivy. Then, on May Day, Heather goes missing. Ivy feels guilty for not doing something more to keep Heather safe; she's also determined to find out what really happened to Heather, though she fears that it was Birch Markle, and that he will be coming for her next.

"The worst predators of all were humans."

Have you ever read a novel where the main character freezes up when she needs to run, even when someone's tugging at her hand? Or who's a bit too passive when she needs to speak up and be more proactive? Or whose mind is always drifting off? Ivy does all of those things. Fortunately, not all of the time. I liked her, but I also found her frustrating. But then, this YA mystery was an uneven read all around. It has several good moments of suspense, Ivy's friend Rook is very likable, and I loved the atmospheric setting and all the Ozark superstitions; but the mystery itself got muddied and overly complicated at the end. And there were too many characters with big secrets that I felt were revealed all at once. So despite the intriguing premise, this one wasn't as compelling or as good as it could have been. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. 

Happy Reading!