First line:Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.
Summary: Vesta, a seventy-two year old lady, is walking her dog through the woods when she finds a note about Magda. She is dead. But there is no body. Vesta is intrigued by the note. She is sure that she is smart enough to figure out who killed Magda.
My Thoughts: I immediately wanted to read this with the description and the cover. It seemed like something I would absolutely love. As soon as I started it I was confused and wasn’t sure how to feel. It was just intriguing enough to keep reading but I never knew what was truly going on.
Vesta is a solitary old woman who decides to solve a mystery. She knows no one in the area so she just makes up names and characteristics of the suspects. Everything plays out in her head. And over time things start to change. Her remembrances change. Her views on reality change. I just do not know what I just read. It did keep me reading until the end but I was disappointed in its ending.
Summary: Pete is a stay-at-home dad while his partner, Maddie, works. One day after arriving home from dropping his son, Theo, off at the daycare he gets a visit from a man who tells him that Theo is his son. It is a lot to take in. Miles tells him that there was a mix-up at the NICU when Theo was born. It seems that Pete and Maddie’s son was switched with Miles’ son. They have each been raising the others’ child for the last two years.
As the couples meet and discuss the situation they feel like they got lucky that each is so amendable. They are getting along well and working out the details. But can they trust this other couple with their son? As time goes by they see that things going on in the Lambert’s house is not as they seem.
My Thoughts: I think this is Delaney’s best book so far! It was really fast and had a good story. It’s terrifying but a real worry that sometimes mistakes like this may happen. With understaffed hospitals and so many children to be taken care of, it could easily happen.
I knew from the beginning when everything was going so well that there was going to be a lot of drama hitting Pete and Maddie soon! It kept me guessing and shaking my head as more craziness continued to appear. I was so shocked with the way every little interaction was spun and twisted to fit the needs of the Lamberts.
And I loved the ending. It wasn’t exactly mind-blowing but it was satisfactory and gave perfect closure. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a book they can easily finish in a weekend. It is easy to lose yourself in the drama and need to find out what happens next.
FYI: Check out J.P. Delaney’s other books for more great reads!
First line: “There are places you can go,” Ariana tells him, “and a guy as smart as you has a decent chance of surviving to eighteen.”
Summary: A Second Civil War was fought over the rights of reproduction. Under the new Bills of Life children between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can be unwound which means their organs will be harvested and given to patients who need new parts. Every part of the Unwind will be used so technically they are still “alive” but just in another form.
Connor has been trouble for his parents for years but he never thought that they would actually choose to unwind him. Risa is a ward of the state. She lived her whole life in a state home learning how to play classical piano but when it comes time to test her she does not measure up to the set standards. Lev was raised knowing he was born to be an Unwind. He is called a tithe. But on one fateful day these three get thrown together and their lives will change forever!
My Thoughts: I absolutely love everything that Neal Shusterman has written (at the last the ones I’ve read so far)! He is a genius. He writes books that really make a person think. It is great that there are books like this and his other series, Scythe, for kids to read. The stories deal with tough topics and decisions. And the worlds he builds are just unreal. I am blown away by his story telling and his plots.
It is easy to get caught up in the story. I was listening to this as I took a trip to Kansas City and one of the discs had trouble loading and I was yelling at it to start working. I needed to know what happened! Luckily it started playing.
Each of the characters is unique and have difficult stories to tell. Shusterman brings in minor characters that give even more insight into life in the days of Unwinds and the recipients of the organs. And at one point we get to experience the consciousness of an Unwind while he is being unwound. It was disturbing.
I cannot wait to start the next book and see how the story continues. It is scary, realistic and very thought provoking. I highly recommend this.
FYI: It does have some graphic moments and can be a little disturbing for some people.
Summary: Laura Lyons and her family had recently moved into the superintendent’s apartment in the New York City Public Library. It seemed like a dream come true to be surrounded by so much history and knowledge. But even with everything seeming so perfect she knows something is missing. She takes a chance and applies to Columbia Journalism School. When she is accepted she doesn’t realize how much her life will now change.
Eighty years later, Sadie, Laura’s granddaughter is working in the same library. She has been preparing an exhibit when books, very valuable books, begin to disappear. As she helps search for them she worries that the blame may be put on her because of her family’s past. It seems that the past is repeating itself.
My Thoughts: I am so happy that Davis went back to her old style of writing. I love her stories that have intertwining stories from different time periods. She does them so well. I was really disappointed in the Chelsea Girls when she diverged from this format. It did not have the same magic as her other books have had.
The author does a wonderful job of bringing the landmarks she writes about to life. They almost become a character in the story as well. These buildings have so much history. I would love to one day be able to visit them. And the fact that there are all these secrets or unknown parts of each building are fascinating. Who knew that there were apartments in the New York library? I for sure didn’t. It would be a dream to live in such an iconic location.
I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a gentle read with a little mystery thrown in. The history and story are easy to get lost in.
FYI: Perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen and Beatriz Williams.
Summary: When their grandfather dies, he leaves a dying wish. He wants his grandchildren to recreate and follow the same road trip they took together 20 years before. He wants his ashes taken with them and scattered in the desert where their trip ended.
Family road trips can be stressful. But made even more stressful when everyone is hiding a secret. However, in order to earn their inheritance, they must complete his request. Money is a motivator. So even with all the fighting and secrets they know they must finish the road trip at all costs.
My Thoughts: This book was messed up! It was one crazy twist after another. When you think you’ve seen it all you are proven wrong. At the end I kept flipping the page over because I couldn’t believe the book ended as it did. It was a wild ride. I did not like any of the characters. They treat each other terribly and most of the people they meet. It’s like watching a train wreck and you can’t look away. I had to know what was going to happen next. The one critique I had was the cigarette situation. It seemed so petty but that may have been the point. It made me dislike the characters even more.
I did like though that the sites they visit are real. Take a look. They are pretty neat actually. I would even add them to my next road trip.
First line: If great talent can arise from adversity, mine must have been forged in the cauldron of my childhood.
Summary: The most famous actress of her time, Sarah Bernhardt, rose from obscurity to stardom in France. She was the daughter of a high-class courtesan. She is raised in a convent until her mother decides to start her in the family trade even though Sarah has hopes of being an actress. With the help of influential men like Alexandre Dumas she gets her chance to shine of on the stage and become a worldwide superstar. But even with stardom comes tragedy too.
My Thoughts: Before reading this I had never heard of Sarah Bernhardt but after finishing it I want to know even more. Her life had so many ups and downs. She achieved so much in a time when women still had very little power. She used her skills and strong will to rise. She may have had help but she knew who she was and what she wanted and took it. And she used her influence to help others like during the Franco-Prussian War, another event that I knew very little about.
Unfortunately, most of Sarah’s work was on the stage and before motion pictures and sound but there are a few examples from early recordings that can be found on Youtube. Even though her acting would be out of date in the present at the time it was revolutionary. She changed the way actors spoke to the audience and portrayed the characters on stage. We are lucky to have any piece of her and her skills available for us to see.
Gortner is a phenomenal historical fiction author. He really makes the story gripping. He brings the women he writes about to life. I learn more about the time period then I have ever known while being entertained by the story.
FYI: I highly recommend Gortner’s last book, The Romanov Empress, about the mother of Czar Nicholas II of Russia.
First line: It’s the cooling bathwater that wakes me.
Livia has been planning her fortieth birthday party for twenty years.
She wants it to be perfect. Everything is in place and it looks like it
is going to be a beautiful day. She does not want anything to spoil it.
But she has a secret she has been keeping from her husband. She knows
she should tell him but she doesn’t want to ruin the day. So she decides
to wait until after the party.
Adam, Livia’s husband, wants
Livia to have a great birthday especially since she has been planning it
for so long. He has a big surprise for her but when he learns something
that may ruin her life he has a dilemma on whether to tell her or wait
until after the party.
My Thoughts: This wasn’t a thriller
in the traditional sense. No one is murdered. It is just lots of
miscommunication and secrets that cause problems throughout the plot. I
really enjoyed it. I was very anxious about how it would end. I made
myself not look at the end so I didn’t find out what happened. It was
hard not to. I needed to know. This is a book that I really had to put
down so I could sleep. Even after that I kept thinking about it. So
immediately I had to finish it in the morning.
I did get a
little annoyed with the characters and their misunderstandings. So many
secrets involved in this. Lots of messed up relationships. But it gave
the book a lot of shock factors. I know I gasped a few times. B. A.
Paris is a really good author for a fast paced thrill ride. Give her
books a try if you haven’t already!
First line: Katheryn was seven when her mother died.
Katheryn Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, lead a very scandalous
life before her marriage. She grew up as a charity case, living off of
the kindness of family. However, she got the great chance of living with
her step-grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. While there she
meets several men who she falls quickly in and out of love with. And
then one day she earns a place among Queen Anna of Kleves household
which puts her in the path of the King. She is delighted but when the
King sets his sights on her she begins to worry that her past will catch
up with her.
My Thoughts: I have enjoyed all of Weir’s
Six Wives books. I think she did a great job bringing Katheryn’s story
to life. Unfortunately the girl made some terrible mistakes and had to
pay for them so dearly. I learned more about her earlier life. I was
fairly familiar with her time in the Duchess’ household and in Henry’s
court but before that was a mystery to me.
It’s sad that she was
pushed around from house to house. It makes it easy for me to see why
she was constantly looking for someone to love and love her back. Out of
all the women I think her story is the saddest. She was so young. She
was being maneuvered by her family into the King’s life. She had very
little choice over her life. I am looking forward to the final novel
about Katherine Parr.
FYI: There are several intimate scenes throughout her story.
I picked this book out for Amelia solely on the cover. She
absolutely loved looking at it, and I’d catch her browsing the pages
when I wasn’t reading it to her.
This book is about a shelter dog named Rudy, and some life lessons
we can all learn. Something that truly hit me was when it said “it
doesn’t matter what kind of dog you are…you can create the life you
want.” I thought that was so powerful. Amelia loved
when Rudy saw his shadow, and was trying to balance on the ball.
This book was inspired by the real life story of a shelter dog
named Rudy and his owner Corrine. The back of the book has a little bio
about them which made me enjoy the book that much more.
If it’s any indication as to if Amelia liked this book, we kept it the full 3 week checkout!
First line: The kitchen faucet makes the most bizarre sounds.
When a severe drought hits California people are forced to make extreme
choices in order to survive. Cutting back on water usage sounds doable
until the water runs dry. As people start to experience life threatening
thirst they become animals. Life has become a war zone and people are
going to die.
Alyssa, a high school student in California, is
shocked when the faucets stop working. Her family try to stay calm and
find new water sources. However, when they don’t return from a water run
Alyssa decides that she has to take matters into her own hands to keep
herself and her younger brother alive. With the help of the neighbor
boy, and his prepper family, she thinks that maybe they will survive the
Tap-Out until one night when the rest of the neighborhood turns on
My Thoughts: This story felt oddly familiar. I feel
like in a way we are living this reality right now. People are scared.
The world has changed. Life is almost unrecognizable. I don’t know if
this made the book even more intriguing or scarier.
I have to
say that I learned a lot about dehydration and how the human body needs
water for survival. Hopefully this will never become a reality because
it is terrifying. I found myself drinking a lot more water while reading
I enjoyed the characters. There were some I liked and
others not. I liked how the author incorporated news casts, snapshots
into other people during the crisis and then sometimes gave those
snapshots bigger parts later in the story. My heart was pounding and I
could not put the book down during the last 150 pages. I had to know if
Alyssa and her crew were going to survive.
I love that
Shusterman brings important issues to teens. Water conservation is
something we need to be careful about and plan for at one point. I
highly recommend reading this. It gives a scary but realistic view into
what could be a future world disaster.