Newest Reviews

Books are reviewed on a 4-Star system

See Drop Down menu for previously reviewed books.

New Books reviewed since last update                    
Title Author Type Rating Description Date Reviewed          
I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced Non-Fiction Nujood Ali **** I am rating this book as a 4-star, not because it’s a great book but because everyone should read it. It is the story of 10-year old Nujood, who is given by her father into an arranged marriage to an abusive husband. Finally presented with an opportunity to escape, she makes her way to the courthouse where she insists on seeing a judge. Eventually, she finds help and is granted a divorce. But it is a very disturbing story about what goes on in many parts of the world today and the tragedy is that most girls and women have little or no chance of escape.  2014-06          
On the Edge of Survival Non-Fiction Spike Walker **** Great story of the daring rescue by the US Coast Guard of the crew of a tanker which became disabled in the Bering Sea. Walker does a great job of re-creating the scenes and did extensive interviews with many of the key figures in the story. I hope to continue to read stories in this genre, but truly hope never to star in one! 2014-06          
Twelve Years a Slave Non-Fiction Solomon Northup & Dr. Sue Eakin **** (Bradley)This book has to stand out as one of the most important books of our history, and should be required reading for all high school students in the US – if not the world.  There is not much I can say about this book that has not already been written.  This book along with the likes of “The Diary of Anne Frank” “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” “Night” and (pick your own), has changed the world.  This is not an easy read and creates very painful and graphic images in your minds eye.  Notwithstanding that, this must be the next book on your reading list.  (Kathy) I concur with Bradley’s review! 2014-06          
The Corps Series (Books 1 to 10) Historical Fiction W.E.B Griffin **** (Bradley) This is not a series of books that will appeal to all.  However, having grown up as an Army brat, and experiencing the recent  passing of my father, I enjoyed this series on two levels.  One, it is a fascinating story, that while told in fiction has much truth in it.  It brought back many memories of the subtleties  of living on a military base, where so much is determined one’s father’s rank and job.  It tied together much of how my sister and I were raised by my father, his approach and even some of his words of wisdom.  Two, and more important to most readers, I felt it provided a realistic look at the war years and just what the brave men and women of are military faced during WWII.  I also believe it was honest in exposing the politics of our military,that is even more evident and harmful today to our country.  I shudder to think that as the apparent accuracy of the books improves, my confidence in our civilian leaders declines – particularly those in congress.  Definitely a worth while but time consuming easy read. 2014-06          
David and Goliath Non-Fiction Malcom Gladwell *** Like most of Gladwell’s books, this presents some very interesting scenarios which, if nothing else, encourage thinking and discussion. The subject of this book is Little Guys vs. Big Guys or why disavantages are sometimes helpful while advantages sometimes are the cause of failure. The book covers a wide range of scenarios, from war to education to raising children, to overcoming many kinds of obstacles. Some good stories and good observations. Well worth a read 2014-06          
Streisand – Her Life (1995 Edition, new release in 2013) Non-Fiction James Spada *** (Bradley) Disclaimer – I am a fan of Barbra’s music and acting and I have always thought she was a wonderfully attractive woman.  I thought Spada did a good job of presenting all aspects of Barbra in a fair and objective light.  I for one could not live with the type of public scrutiny hoisted upon her by our worthless Tabloid press and even some of the main stream media.  I believe strongly that each of us, regardless of our role in this world deserve a private life.  For someone like myself who does not follow Hollywood at any level, this was an interesting read, but I think Spada spent a little to much time on BS of hollywood.  The book could have been 100 pages shorter and a better read without the detail of which producer quit in the middle.  Who cares – it is the end product that counts.  Over all if you enjoy her music and acting I recommend reading or skimming.  2014-06          
A Fatal Grace Fiction Louise Penny *** Second in the Inspector Gamache series, the town of Three Pines in Quebec is once again the scene of a murder and Inspector Gamache and his team are there to solve it. The story is good but I especially enjoy the narrator (audiobook) and the French-Canadian flavor of the characters. A fun and easy read.  2014-04          
Double Cross Fiction James Patterson * Not sure why I even started this book as I have found many of Patterson’s tales to be excessively gruesome and not very believable. I stuck with this one for a little while before finally realizing I wasn’t enjoying it at all – while I enjoy a good mystery, I don’t enjoy the sick, graphic details in these books.  2014-06          
Previously reviewed books                    
Title Author Type Rating Description Date Reviewed          
Frozen in Time Non-Fiction Mitchell Zuckoff **** This is the story of US air bases in Greenland during WWII, the crash of two planes and subsequent efforts to locate and rescue the survivors, more attempts to rescue the rescuers, and finally the modern day attempts to locate the wreckage and remains of those who did not survive. A well documented story that alternates between the past and present, with the author actively involved in the expedition to locate one of the rescue planes that crashed, the book provides some great history, personal stories of courage and survival, and insight into the difficulties of dealing with such a harsh envinronment as Greenland. As we are planning to visit Greenland by boat, this book was of particular interest and serves as a reminder that you don’t want to get caught in a survival situation, especially in the winter months!  2014-05          
The Aviator’s Wife Melanie Benjamin Historical Fiction **** (Bradley) In the Author’s Note at the end Melanie establishes a key goal for herself when writing Historical Fiction – “The most gratifying thing to hear is that the reader was inspired, after reading my work to research these remarkable people’s lives further. “  She clearly accomplishes this goal in Aviators Wife, a historically accurate fiction of Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  This is not normally within my reading genre, as she spends a lot of time on flowery descriptions and emotional speculation, but I found my self unable to put the book down and I plan to read other non-fiction books on Anne Lindbergh.  I must admit a very strong disrespect for mr. lindbergh, who was a very outspoken anti-Semite and early supporter of hiltler.  This books provides some wonderful insights into the generation of our Grandmothers and to a lessor extent our mothers and the extra challenges they encountered in life.  Would like to hear others thoughts on the book.  2014-05          
The King’s Speech – How one man saved the British Monarchy Mark Logue & Peter Conradi Non-Fiction **** (Bradley) This is a fascinatingly interesting true story of how an Australian, Lionel Logue, a pioneer in the field of Speech Therapy, impacted the future of the British Monarchy.  When Edward VIII abdicated, his brother became the King of England, in a critical period before WWII began.  King George had a life long stammer that made giving speeches and public specking extremely difficult for him.  I found this story to provide some wonderful insights into the British Monarch that we do not usually see, including just how hard the King and Queen worked at their job of providing leadership and guidance to the British empire.  This book is definitely worth your time to read and provides greater insight & detail than the move.   2014-05          
Whatever You Do, Don’t Run Peter Allison Non-Fiction *** The author spent many years as a guide leading safaris in Botswana and other parts of Africa. The book is a collection of stories of his time as a guide. A good combination of humorous and serious anecdotes, the book is an easy and quick read. If you’ve been on a wildlife safari or have an interest in going, this book will give you some good insight.  2014-05          
The Eighty Dollar Champion Elizabeth Letts Non-Fiction **** Along the lines of Sea Biscuit, this book recounts the story of Snowman, a horse literally rescued from a slaughterhouse truck and taken home to become a school horse for teaching students at a girls school. When Snowman is sold to a neighbor, he keeps turning up back “home”, despite a series of high fences between properties. When it becomes clear that Snowman is jumping these fences on his own, he begins training as a show jumper and soon captures the heart of the nation. Snowman was a champion jumper in the late 1950’s, a little before my time, but I remember him as a legend during my equestrian days and many of the characters in the book who make up the US Equestrian Team were my childhood idols. I truly enjoyed the details of the story.  2014-04          
Boy Alone Karl Taro Greenfield Non-Fiction *** The authors story of growing up with a severely autistic brother. It is a heart wrenching personal tale of the toll that this special needs child brings on the whole family and especially the impact it has on the author, who at once loves his brother but also longs to have a brother who he interact and share his life with. The book takes an unexpected twist which will have you on a bit of a roller coaster. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more about autism or about the realities of caring for a severely disabled child. 2014-04          
Into the Light  Dave & Jaja Martin Non-Fiction *** (Bradley) As a sailor and adventurer, I enjoyed Dave & Jaja’s exploits.  It is a well written and fun book to read, especially for anyone interested in northern latitude sailing.  It also provides those who do not seek adventure offshore, an accurate look at some of the challenges faced.   Yes, their boat may have been a little on the small side and less complex to operate than the average ocean cruising boat, but we have met people who crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific on even a smaller boat with a 3 to 6 year old.  I can also say, that while some people might unfairly be critical because they did all of this with 3 children, I have yet to meet any boat children who are not light years ahead of their peers in intelligence, maturity and personality, while still being children appropriate to their age.   My only criticism is that in this day and age, there were not a few more pictures or at least a valid link to current website.  This book is worth your time to read if you enjoy real life adventure. 2014-04          
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot   Non-Fiction *** A well researched and detailed account of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman whose cervical cancer cells were the first human cells to be successfully grown in a laboratory and subsequently revolutionized medical research. It is also a sad story of Henrietta’s family, who were never told the truth about the cells and the lack or privacy and regulation over patients rights during that time. The book is a bit tedious at times, but overall a very well done story.  2014-04          
The Sandcastle Girls Chris Bohjalian Historical Fiction *** Beautifully written historical fiction novel covering the story of several people in Armenia during the genocide in 1915 and the granddaughter of two of those people who knew little of the events of that time until she began researching her family history. Somewhat autobiographical, this is an engaging story set in a very real and brutal time. Well worth a read.  2014-04          
Dressed for Death Donna Leon Fiction *** Set in Italy, a detective is assigned to investigate the death of a transvestite. Refusing to believe the obvious conclusions, he becomes obsessed with finding the truth. A nice change from the standard US murder mystery as this introduces a different culture but with some great characters.  2014-04          
The Last Refuge  Chris Knopf Fiction *** A reclusive and cynical resident of a small town is thrust into an investigation when his neighbor dies and he assumes responsibility for administering her estate. Good characters and well told story. An enjoyable read.  2014-04          
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight Alexandra Fuller Non-Fiction ** Author’s memoir of growing up white in Africa during turbulent times. Colorful and interesting, the book focuses mostly on personal issues and tragedies within a somewhat eccentric family with the historical events of the times in the background. Personally I would have enjoyed the historical events to be in the forefront, but otherwise enjoyed the book.  2014-04          
Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness Eric Metaxas Non-Fiction ** Eric Metaxas approaches his topic with such a personal agenda and religious bias, that I felt he was unable to objectively define what makes great men.  He elected to write 7 short Bios’ on George Washington, William Wilberforce Jackie Robinson, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Eric Liddell, Pope John Paul II and Charles Colson.  While I will grant him the first three, and stand on the fence regarding Bonhoeffer, the last three do not qualify as great men.  They may have done a great deed or two, but they certainly did not lead an exemplary life. Part of my issue with his selection process is Eric’s putting on a pedestal those men who were able to recruit new believers in his religion.  While I gladly accept anyone’s personal belief structure, I feel this need by most of the worlds major religions to continue to prove themselves by actively and sometimes force ably recruiting new converts is one of the fundamental problems the world faces today. In addition I felt Eric missed several men who had a far greater positive impact on the world than Colson, Pope Paul II, Liddell and Bonhoeffer. What about Sam Adams, Benjamin Franklin,  Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill; just to name a few of the more obvious candidates.     2014-04          
Killer Jonathan Kellerman Fiction ** I love Kellerman and his Alex Delaware series but this one just didn’t do it for me. A fairly obvious perpetrator with a pretty unbelievable (silly) motive overcomes the characters and otherwise good writing. 2014-04          
  1. #1 by click here on October 17, 2013 - 10:41 pm

    Everyone would benefit from reading this post

    Like

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