Book Reviews

Currently Reading

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Because We Are: A Novel of Haiti

When a mother and her infant are murdered on the outskirts of Cité Soleil, Haiti’s most infamous slum, two unexpected detectives emerge: Libète, a brash and headstrong girl of ten, and her brilliant but impoverished friend Jak.

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Looking for a good book to read? Below are a few of my book reviews (I read widely: classics, contemporary, and indie!). You can find many more of my reviews and recommendations here.

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graham greene

Complete Short Stories by Graham Greene: Oh my goodness…so many fabulous stories by a master storyteller! Whether you just love to read stories (especially short ones!) or you are a story writer yourself, this is an excellent example of superb storytelling.

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2-16-2014 10-09-12 AM

First presented as a series, this is the omnibus edition. Priced under $3 and well worth the price.

There are a few typos here and there that would only annoy an editor such as myself; they do not detract from the story itself. Turkot gets a bit long winded now and again, and I found myself skimming, but the storyline is a good one.

No zombies – thank you! Plenty enough action and conflict in this post-apocalyptic world of never ending rain.

The story continues in Snow. The first two episodes are out and the third is on the way this week (2/21/14). I am eagerly awaiting the next episode, so that should tell you something!

Every bit as good as Hugh Howey! Visit the author’s website here 

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2-16-2014 10-17-17 AMWhat would happen if you could change your past? If you could change THE past?

Life after Life shows a woman doing just that – but she doesn’t realize she is doing it. No spoilers here, just would you would read on the dust jacket anyway.

Ursula Todd is born, she lives and then she dies. And then she is born again. Into the same self but events change…sometimes just a little, sometimes a whole heck of a lot. She lives and dies, and lives and dies, and it is so fascinating to watch her different kinds of lives.

It really left me wondering, “If I get to enter this life again – as me – can I maybe get it right the next time? Or the time after that?” This book brings alive what it means when people talk about someone having ‘an old soul’.

Loved this book and plan to save it to read again after I ponder all the what-ifs now rattling around in my head.

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2-16-2014 10-19-17 AMA perfect choice of narrator for this story.

A reminder of the power of the written word to move hearts and soothe spirits.

I could (and will) read this over and over again.

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2-16-2014 10-21-02 AMI simply have never read a novel so bittersweet and powerful.

Reading these pages pulls you into every reality of life and love there is.

You will recognize yourself on every page.

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2-16-2014 10-22-05 AM

 

This book has become my new favorite book.!

It is thought provoking and enchanting; I simply wanted the story to continue.

I will definitely read more books by this author!

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download (3)Godforsaken Idaho by Shawn Vestal

This collection of short stories is powerful and engaging. Reading Vestal’s work makes me think of all the stories swirling around me that are demanding to be written! Love it!

 

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

I wanted very much to love this book as much as I loved The Passage, but it’s just not happening. For one, there were many typos (surprising for a big publisher to miss those!), and secondly, the characters just seemed to be trudging through the same old stuff. It has gotten great reviews, so I suspect that I am just getting pickier or that, as an editor, the typos turned me off. If you liked The Passage, you should read The Twelve though.

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Again in a Heartbeat, a memoir of love, loss and dating again [Kindle Edition] Susan G. Weidener

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Sudden Independents by Ted Hill

An interesting post-apocalyptic story of children and teens trying to survive after all the adults 18 and over die of a mysterious plague. The teens approaching 18 try to lead the younger ones while the specter of death hangs over their heads. The story was engaging and the characters were interesting enough, if a bit clichéd. This is a good read for the younger set. Older readers might become bored with the sometimes clichéd teenage characters. The star of the show is ‘six or seven’ year old Catherine and I honestly thought I might scream if she called someone “silly” one more time. Also, as an English teacher, I can’t help but get bogged down by grammar issues (‘were’ instead of ‘we’re’; missing punctuation; etc.) There were not many, but there were enough to interfere with my reading pleasure. Overall, I liked the story though and will read the next one by this author.

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The Bloodletter’s Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia) [Kindle Edition] by Linda Lafferty

The Bloodletter’s Daughter tells the story of the mad Hapsburg prince. Set in 17th century Prague, the citizens of small hamlet in Bohemia are forced to deal with the horror and depravity of King Rudolf II’s insane illegitimate son living in the castle. The local bloodletter is called in to bleed the prince in the hopes of balancing his bad humors, taking along his pretty daughter, Marketa, as his assistant. When the mad prince becomes obsessed with the girl, all hell breaks loose.

Based on a true story turned local legend, the tale is artfully woven into a fictional tale. The author did a superb job in bringing these historical characters to life. I could not put the book down until I reached the last page! One word of advice though – you will be mightily tempted to rush off to Google and look up these characters and events. Resist the urge! I was so mad at myself for looking them up and knowing the ending before I finished reading the novel. Although, the author does add in some hair raising twists!

http://www.amazon.com/Bloodletters-Daughter-Novel-Bohemia-ebook/dp/B007R6WCJC

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Step Aside, Stephen King!

A review of Yesterday’s Gone by Sean Platt and David Wright

If you are a Stephen King fan, you MUST hop over to Amazon and start reading the stories from Sean Platt and David Wright.

They are currently finishing up Season 1 of White Space (buy them by episode or wait till next week for all 6 episodes in one).

There are TWO seasons worth (12 episodes..each @100 pages long) available of Yesterday’s Gone at Amazon….you can get the first two episodes for FREE. That is enough to hook you!

I read A LOT and I am a MEGA King fan – I’ve never found stories as good as King until now!

READ THESE BOOKS!

You won’t be be able to put them down! Visit their website http://collectiveinkwell.com/ for more information.

I’ll be adding a full length and in depth review of both books here soon.

Until then….READ THEM NOW!

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Review of The Leopard Tree

I am forever in search of good novels for my students to read, and this one fits the bill perfectly! While it is geared towards younger readers (middle/high school), the novel reaches across age boundaries and is a simple and inspiring read for all ages. I loved the way the African children use The Wizard of Oz as their guide to bringing change to their world. The author did a wonderful job weaving Dorothy’s story with the story of three children from Africa on a quest to find help for the children of their country.

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Review of The Midwife of Hope River

The Midwife of Hope River was a delightful read. The author artfully wove heart wrenching scenes of childbirth in the heart of West Virginia with scenes from the midwife’s struggles to survive in poverty. Set during the Depression years, the tale shows the struggles of the era, the plight of the coal miners, and the racial inequality of the times. I was drawn into the lives of the characters and cried along with Patience as she tried to help these women in the worst of circumstances. I highly recommend the novel!

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Review of Chicago’s Headmistress

I found this novel to be an excellent story with some very dynamic characters. I did feel that it read more like a first draft however. There were many places where I felt the scenes were rushed and could have used further development. The book would also benefit from some good proofreading (I read the Kindle version); there were many glaring errors and typos. Despite the sometimes underdeveloped plot lines and the spelling/grammar issues, I read the novel to the end because I very much enjoyed the story as a whole. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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