Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Tiny Americans by Devin Murphy

Started: 12/30/18
Finished: 1/7/19
Year: 2019
Pages: 238
Genre: Literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: review for LibraryThing.com
Blurb (from back cover): "Western New York, 1978: Jamie, Lewis and Connor Thurber watch their parents' destructive dance of loving, hating and drinking. Terrance Thurber spends this year teaching his children about the natural world: they listen to the heartbeat of trees, track animal footprints, sleep under the star-filled sky. Despite these lessons, he doesn't show them how to survive without him. And when the season of trying and failing to quit booze and be a better man are over, Terrance is gone.
"Alone with their artist mother, Catrin, the Thurber children are left to grapple with the anger they feel for the one parent who deserted them and a growing resentment for the one who didn't. Catrin withdraws into her own world, Jamie throws herself into painting while her brothers smash out their rage in brutal, no-holds-barred football games with neighborhood kids. Once they can leave-Jamie for college, Lewis for the navy and Connor for work-they don't look back.
"But Terrance does. Crossing the country, sobering up, and starting over has left him with razor-sharp regret. Terrance doesn't know that Jamie, now an academic, inhabits an ever-shrinking circle of loneliness; that Lewis, a merchant marine, fears life on dry land,; that Connor struggles to connect with the son he sees teetering on an all-too-familiar edge. He only knows that he has one last chance to build a bridge, through the years, to his family.
Opinion: Not a bad book to start off the New Year. Each chapter is a different character's perspective of their life and how it interconnects with each other's. Characters were likeable but unlikeable at the same time. Enjoyed how it ended and gave hope that more families could come to this type of conclusion.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Wittgemstein's Mistress by David Markson

Started: 12/29/18
Finished: DNF
Year: 1988
Pages: 240
Genre: Literary Fiction
Grade: F
Reason for reading: borrowed from Booksfree.com
Blurb (from back cover): "Wittgenstein's Mistress is the story of a woman who is convinced-and may ultimately convince the reader as well-that she is the only person left on earth. Presumably she is mad. And yet so appealing is her character, and so witty and seductive her narrative voice, that we will follow her hypnotically as she unloads the intellectual baggage of a lifetime in a series of irreverent meditations on everything from Brahms to sec to Heidegger to Helen of Troy. And as she contemplates aspects of the troubled past which have brought her to her present state, so too will her drama become one of the few certifiably original fictions of our time."
Opinion: Hated it. It is an exampled of a long writing class assignment of just write something for 10 minutes without stopping. None of it usually makes sense or is connected. This is just a very long example of this type of exercise. Painful to read.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Affliction by Beth Gutcheon

Started: 12/15/18
Finished: 12/28/18
Year: 2018
Pages: 353
Genre: Mystery
Grade: C
Reason for reading: review for MyShelf.com
Blurb (from back cover): "As the chair of a team sent to evaluate the faltering Rye Manor School for Girls, Maggie Detweiler expects to be as welcome as a case of Ebola virus. Yet upon the group's arrival on campus, no one seems keener for all to go well than Florence Meagher, a star teacher who is loved and respected despite her affliction-she can't stop talking.
"The following morning, Florence fails to show up for class and her husband seems more annoyed than alarmed at her disappearance. Florence's sister, however, is distraught. There have been tensions in the marriage, and during their last visit, Florence had warned, 'If anything happens to me, don't assume it's an accident.' Two days later, Florence's body is found in the campus swimming pool.
"Maggie obviously knows schools, but she also knows something about investigating murder. She and her madcap socialite friend, Hope Babbin, solved a mysterious death in Maine the previous year. Soon Hope, who was looking for a reason to ditch her book club anyway, has joined Maggie at Rye Manor to try to uncover what on earth is going on in this idyllic town that seems to have more than its share of secrets. Is this a garden-variety marital murder? Could it have something to do with a school trustees real-estate schemes? Or is it possible that someone killed Florence just so she'd finally shut up?"
Opinion: This book just kind of ended...….no real solution to some of the suspects-like how they weren't a suspect anymore.  Great premise of a story but too many loose ends and how/why people would be involved in the first place. For a more complete review, please check out MyShelf.com

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley

Started 11/1/18
Finished: 12/14/18
Year: 2018
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: review for LibraryThing
Blurb (from back cover): "Two unsolved murders seventeen years apart become personal when Detective Rachel Sloan discovers a connection to her own mother's death in a burglary-gone-wrong. Can she solve the cases before she becomes the next victim?
Opinion: This was a well developed story until the ending. The ending seemed very rushed and brought down my grade. The mystery had a nice twist and made it interesting. This is the 3rd book in the series and I will be looking to get the previous ones in the series.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun

Started: 11/1/18
Finished: 12/1/18
Year: 1986 (this edition)
Pages: 191
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: bookray through www.bookcrossing.com
Blurb (from back cover): "The world of modern art is a mystery to many. But for Jim Qwilleran it turns into a mystery of another sort when his assignment to cover the art beat for the Daily Fluxion leads down the path to murder. a stabbing in an art gallery, vandalized paintings, a fatal fail from a scaffolding-this is not at all what Qwilleran expects when he turns his reportorial talents to art. But now Qwilleran and his newly found partner, Koko the brilliant Siamese, are back in their element-sniffing out clues and confounding criminal intent on mayhem and murder.
Opinion: I thought that I had read this one but I hadn't. Good mystery with Koko solving the crime. Love the descriptions of Koko-makes it able to imagine his antics. Hadn't realized that this series being in 1966.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Started: 10/23/18
Finished: 10/29/18
Year: 2017
Pages: 444
Genre: Fiction
Grade: B
Reason for reading: participating in bookring through Bookcrossing.com
Blurb (from book jacket): "Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police office. Khalil was unarmed.
"Soon afterward, Khalil's death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr's best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr's neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
"But what Starr does-or does not-say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life."
Opinion: For a debut novel, this is intense. The dialogue reads like you are in the different communities and reacts accordingly. A powerful book.

Intent to Kill by James Grippando

Started: 9/10/18
Finished: 10/26/18
Year: 2009
Pages: 375
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: off the TBR shelf
Blurb (from back cover): "Accidents happen...Ryan James' promising baseball career was derailed before it even got started-when a hit-and-run driver killed his wife, Chelsea, leaving Ryan alone to care for their beautiful little girl. Now, three years later, he's a popular sports radio host in Boston, still haunted by a tragic crime that was never solved.
"But this was no accident Then, on the anniversary of Chelsea's death, Ryan receives a chilling message from an anonymous tipster: 'I know who did it.' The shocking revelation that it may have come from Chelsea's autistic younger brother sets Ryan on a twisted path toward a shattering truth that threatens Ryan, his daughter, and everyone around them."
Opinion: I continue to enjoy reading Grippando's works. Even though it took a while to read, it was still fast paced and gripping. Life got in the way of my reading it quicker.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon

Started: 8/28/18
Finished: 10/21/18
Year: 1991
Pages: 631
Genre: True Crime
Grade: A
Reason for reading: grabbed off TBR shelf
Blurb: David Simon was hesitantly welcomed into Baltimore's Homicide Division for a year. This is his account.
Opinion: When I discovered the TV Show "Homicide" several years ago, I loved it. I enjoyed the writing and saw David Simon's name attached. I discovered that he had written this before the show. This makes readers feel like they are with the homicide detectives when they are called for a new murder and the attempts that they take in order to solve the mystery. If you are a fan of police procedural TV shows, you should take a look at this book.