Newest Reviews

Books are reviewed on a 4-Star system

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New Books reviewed since last update
Title Author Type Rating Description Date Reviewed
The Boys in the Boat Daniel James Brown Non-Fiction **** (Bradley) Brown’s book about nine young men from Washington State, who came to dominate the eastern sport of 8 oar crew, and go on to triumph in the 1936 Olympics is one of the best books I have  read.  It’s a fascinating story about the struggle of nine young men, who felt theimpact of the Depression, overcoming incredible odds to dominate the sport. I found myself reading for two hours in the middle of night because I couldn’t  put it down.  But if you read carefully, this is more than the story of 9 very common young men overcoming incredible odds.  It is the story of the world ignoring the rise of “hitler” and the German people’s agenda at a cost of 70-85 MILLION war related deaths.  Brown shows several examples in great detail of the lies, misrepresentation and agenda of the nazi party, long before Kristallnacht.  One glaring example was an attempt to win the final race of the 8 oar crew by rigging the final race against the British and American boats.  Throughout the western world, with the singular exception of Winston Churchill, the world ignored each calculated action of the nazi regime.  I bring this up because I am worried about the true agenda of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.  While I do not advocate war, I think we as a nation need to understand countries true agendas and not fool ourselves into wishful thinking or procrastination.  If this book does not move you to an emotional involvement in the story, then no book will.  There is also a PBS special about this story I hope to watch at some point.   I hope you enjoy the read and find as much wisdom in it as I did. 2016-11
The Second World War: Milestones to Disaster Winston Churchill Non-Fiction **** (Bradley) This is the first of a four book series Churchill condensed from his original 6 book series. The original written version first book is called, The Gathering  Storm.  (I only read/listen to non-abridged books.)  For anyone interested in history, concerned about world events today, and worried about evolving world politics, Churchill is an absolute must read.  He is such a gifted writer, bring piercing insight, gifted satire, hilarious humor and most importantly brutal honesty to critical historical events.  All this from an extremely unique perspective of being both in and out of government and correctly predicting the future of Europe for 10 years before Germany’s actions proved him accurate.  “On top of all these remarkable qualities of the book itself, this particular audio version is superbly read by narrator Christian Rodska, who sounds eerily like Churchill and gives a rather good impression that Churchill himself is telling us the story of the war. I’ve compared Rodska’s narration with clips of Churchill’s actual speeches, and the accent, cadence, and inflection are spot-on, while the pitch and tenor of voice are not identical but similar enough to pass.” from Amber’s review on Amazon.  This has become one of my 10 most important and favorite books and I will most likely return to it someday in old age.  Please put this on your reading list and encourage others to read it. 2016-11
The Wright Brothers David McCullough Non-Fiction **** McCullough creates a fascinating page turning biography, even though we all know the outcome.  He brings to life the struggles, adventure, risk and absolute brilliance the Wright brothers brought to the challenge of flying.  This is a great story to read to our children, that may help them open their horizons and understand what hard work and self-reliance can accomplish.  This story demonstrates how a resilient belief in a scientific approach to an un-imaginable task leads to breakthroughs against conventional wisdom.  At the time, most great minds did not believe flight in a “heavier than air” machine was possible.  McCullough provides great insight and detail as to how two unmarried bicycle mechanics overcame huge scientific and financial hurdles to master flight and create a completely new group of industries.  This is a must-read book. 2016-11
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Fiction **** I had read this in high school when I had no real clue what it was about. I’m really glad I decided to revisit it. It’s a wonderfully written book that deserves its staus as a classic. 2016-11
Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America Linda Tirado Non-Fiction *** Tirado, who lives on the edges of poverty, explains what it’s like to try to make ends meet when you are one paycheck away from homelessness. Her writing is homorous, yet serious and will shed light on how difficult is it, even for those capable and motivated, to lift themselves up by their bootstraps. A recommended read for everyone. 2016-11
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Bryan Stevenson Non-Fiction *** The author, a Harvard educated lawyer, did an internship as a law student which exposed him to death row. That became his life’s mission – to fight the inherent injustice of our justice system. While I do believe in some cases capital punishment is warranted, this book highlights the many problems with how it is administered in this country. Another recommended read for all. 2016-11
Trial By Fire J. A. Jance Fiction *** From the Ali Reynolds series, a woman is badley burned in a fire at a house under construction. Ali must learn why she was there and who tried to kill her. Good read. 2016-11
The Hiding Place Corrie Ten Boom Non-Fiction *** Corrie ten Boom was the daughter of a highly respected Dutch watch maker, who become a watch maker in her own right, but more importantly a heroine of the Dutch resistance. Not only was she a survivor of a concentration camp, but she went on after the war to become an incredible role model as an evangelist.  This is a story with two important tracks that should be read by all, as the number of concentration survivors dwindle, we must not forget.  Regardless of ones religious beliefs, this is a story we should all read. 2016-11
Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way Jimmy Wayne Non-Fiction *** Jimmy Wayne was abandonded by his mother at age 13 and struggled to make a career in the country music industry after spending time in the foster care system. As a teenager, he finds an elderly couple who befriend him, giving him a chance to learn a different way of life and pursue his dreams After his initial success, he plans a walk from Nashville to Phoenix to raise awareness for homeless and foster kids. A heartwarming story, worth reading. 2016-11
The Nightingale Kristin Hannah Historical Fiction *** Two sisters with very different personalities, are thrust into the midst of Nazi occupation of France. They each struggle with their choices, and each goes in a different direction. A gripping and well-written book. 2016-11
Betrayed Lisa Scottoline Fiction *** Second in the Rosario and DeNunzio series, each book focuses on a different central character, female lawyers all part of the same firm. This book features Judy, a young associate, who embarks on a mission to find the killer of her aunt’s housekeeper. I enjoy this series and will continue to read it. 2016-11
Damaged Lisa Scottoline Fiction *** Another in the Rosato and DeNunzio series, this one features Mary, who is called on to assist a young boy accused of attacking a school aid. The boy, a small, shy, good kid, lives with his grandfather. When the grandfather is found dead in his bed, questions arise and Mary must solve the riddles. I enjoy this series and will continue it. 2016-11
Fool Me Once Harlan Coben Fiction *** Maya, a former combat helicopter pilot, lost her sister to murder many years ago. Home after a disastrous tour of duty, she is with her husband when he is murdered in Central Park. Or was he? I’m a fan of Coben and this book, while not my favorite, was a quick, easy, and engaging read. 2016-11
Missing You Harlan Coben Fiction *** NYPD cop Kat Donovan is single and a friend signs her up for an online dating site. As Kat browses, she comes across her former fiance and reaches out to him. His response is odd, and followed by more odd things, leading of course to a bunch of riddles and thrills. Another solid Coben offering. 2016-11
Simple Genius David Baldacci Fiction *** Third in the King and Maxwell series, a brilliant but autistic girl may hold the key to a mystery which involved potential cyber terrorism, government over-reach, drug smuggling, and much more. A good thriller, but has way too many plot lines and loses a bit because of that. 2016-11
The Heist Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg Fiction *** FBI agent Kate O’Hare finally nails notorious con-man Nicolas Fox. Fox then makes a deal with the FBI to help track down some major bad dudes, and  Kate is assigned to work as his partner/handler. A fun and entertaining thriller. 2016-11
The Last Mile David Baldacci Fiction *** Amos Decker, introduced in Memory Man, is now part of a special task force. They take on the case of a convicted murderer about to be executed, when another man confesses to the crime. Brining back memories of Decker’s own experience, he sets out to find the truth. Another page turner by Baldacci 2016-11
Isaac’s Storm Erik Larson Non-Fiction ** The story of the early days of meteorology and weather forecasting, this is the story if Isaac Cline, weather forecast for Galveston, TX leading up to the deadliest hurricane in US history, resulting in more than 8000 deaths. Though not as engaging for me as Larson’s other books, this was indeed interesting, especially for those who live on boats and pay such close attention to weather! 2016-11
The Boat Lothar-Gunther Buchheim Non-Fiction ** (Bradley) This was a difficult book for me to read, as I kept hoping that the german sub was sunk, as one can imagine.  While there were some sections of the book that were interesting and provided a good picture of what life was like on a sub during WWII, I clearly did not feel any pity for the men on board.  This is an old book and was written by an artist who joined the german war effort.  He also did not appear to have any major problems with how the Nazis treated Jews and other “non aryan” beings used and killed by the Nazis.  As I sit here and write this review, I am not even sure why I elected to finish reading the book. 2016-11
The Fold Peter Clines Fiction ** A well-regarded science fiction book involing the ability to transport people from one place to another (yes, like in star trek). But after much success, some troubling things are happening and a super bright high school teacher is recruited to get to the bottom of it. It’s a pretty good book, just not my thing. 2016-11
The Girl in the Ice Robert Bryndza Fiction ** First book in the Erika Foster series, these books are set in London and feature a detective whose previous error in judgment resulted in her husband’s death. On her first case back on the job she must track down a serial killer. I’m always on the search for a good series I know I can count on. This was for me was so-so. I may try the next one but haven’t decided for sure. 2016-11
Go Big or Go Home Scotty McCreery Non-Fiction ** American Idol winner writes a book about his life. A bit lightweight and with little info about the American Idol experience, its OK and what you might expect from a very young college student. 2016-11
All the Missing Girls Megan Miranda Fiction ** Two girls go missing ten years apart in a small town. The best friend of the first missing girl returns to care for her ailing father when the second girl disappears. There is a connection between the two, which is unveiled bit by bit with plenty of twists and turns. ] 2016-11
An Innocent Client: Joe Dillard Scott Pratt Fiction ** In my continuing hunt for a new series, I tried this legal thriller. At best it was so-so for me. A well meaning defense attorney bemoans the fact that most of his clients are indeed guilty. He longs for just one innocent client. Just as he decides to give up defense work and go to work as a DA, a brutal murder brings him his possible dream case. Book was OK, but not great for me. 2016-11
Best Kept Secret Jeffrey Archer Fiction ** Third in the Clifton Chronicle series, and likely the last for me. These books are designed to end with cliff hangers that make you want to immediately read the next one – they are like chapters rather than stand alone books. I don’t like to do that, and found that I had forgotten much of what happened in book 2. Since there are 4 more in the series, I’ll stop now. 2016-11
Blindsighted Karen Slaughter Fiction ** First in a series, this book about a small town medical examiner and police force is much too graphic and there are way to many convenient coincidences for it to be completely believable. It was an OK read, but I don’t plan to continue the series. 2016-11
Corrupted Lisa Scottoline Fiction ** This book in the Rosario and DeNunxio series, features senior partner Bennie, who is requested by an accused murderer. Iher client turns out to be a young man who Bennie has met before – when he was sent to juvenile detention for fighting back against a bully in school. It’s that bully who is now dead, and the book relates a troubling story about the juvenile justice system as Bennie seeks to find the truth about the murder. A good legal thriller. 2016-11
Furious T.R. Ragan Fiction ** Faith McMann is a schoolteacher who comes home to a nightmare – her husband and children are prisoner in their home and she is soon taken too. She watches as her husband is killed in front of her and her children are abducted. Left for dead, she survives and sets off to find her children. When the police don’t live up to her expectations, she explodes and attacks, leading to a mandatory stint in an anger management class where she earns the nickname Furious and meets some fellow angry folks who help her on her mission. This is a series meant to expose the horrors of the sex trafficking industry. It was good, but I’m lukewarm on whether I want to continue with the series of the the topic. 2016-11
Heaven, Texas Susan Elizabeth Phillips Fiction ** I didn’t choose this book – it was given to me by a friend and I didn’t have great expectations. Though not totally believable, I found myself enjoying it much more than I intended! A famous athlete whose playing days are over hires an assistant – a plain Jane midwest girl – leading to a variety of adventures, and – surprise – romance! 2016-11
It’s Murder My Son: A Mac Faraday Mystery Lauren Carr Fiction ** Former DC detective Mac Farady learns he is the son an heir to a successful author’s fortune. He moves to a small town to become a rich playboy and soon is embroiled in a complicated series of murders. For me, there were so many problems with this book, I was ready for it just to be over. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was quite annoying. Add to that too many characters to keep straight, an out of control dog that’s smarter than all the humans, and well, I won’t continue this series. 2016-11
One Plus One JoJo Moyes Fiction ** Jess is a single mom raising her ex-husband’s son, a nerdy boy who is constantly bullied, and her own daughter, a math whiz. Struggling to make ends meet, Jess works as a cleaning lady for rich folk, most of whom don’t give her a second glance. When her daughter has a chance to participate in an event that could change her life, it brings together two worlds, and the results are heartwarming and heartbreaking. A good story about class differences and well developed characters. 2016-11
The Shoemaker’s Wife Adriana Trigiani Fiction ** Two brothers, abandoned by their mother, are taken in by a monestary in the Italian Alps. The elder chooses a life in the priesthood, while the younger, after witnessing a troubling event, is sent to America where he becomes an apprentice shoemaker. There, he is unexpectedly reunited with his first love, who has also traveled to the US. An interesting book but a bit tedious at times, and full of frustrating “near misses” – like a heartfelt letter that arrives one day too late that have a profound impact on the story. However, a pretty good read 2016-11
The Sins of the Father Jeffrey Archer Fiction ** Second in the Clifton Chronicles, the saga continues as WWI breaks out and the primary character ends up in the US after being rescued following an attack by a German sub. Full of lies, deception, and really bad people, this is a typical Archer book, ending with a cliff hanger that sets up the next book in the series. 2016-11
Behind Closed Doors B. A. Paris Fiction * Jack and Grace are the perfect couple, living in a perfect house. Jack is a lawyer who represents abused women and also a psycho. Grace is – well,  an idiot who I think is meant to be smart and endearing, but really isn’t. Good ending, but not a book I would recommend. 2016-11
  1. #1 by Glen Peters on June 8, 2016 - 10:21 pm

    Hello Kathy, This is the first time I have messaged you and may I first say how much pleasure I have received reading your blogs and of course watching your videos over the years (although I personally don’t believe there are enough of them). As for reading material I believe you would enjoy An Island To Oneself by Tom Neale. Tom Neale spent sixteen years alone on Suwarrow Island and the book is about his life and times and is a testament to what a person can achieve with ingenuity and common sense, if you enjoy this you can also read his diaries. This book is available as a PDF and his island Suwarrow is often visited today by travelling sailors,,,,, just to tidy up and keep it clean for him.

    Like

  2. #2 by click here on October 17, 2013 - 10:41 pm

    Everyone would benefit from reading this post

    Like

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