The Books That I Read

I’m a big reader and by that I don’t mean that I plow through 1,000 books a year. No, I’m a slow reader–a deliberate reader–but I’m always reading something.

please comment on YOUR favourites
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I have a question for my book lovers……

Has this happened to you?. You pick up a book – maybe it’s a favorite author, maybe it’s someone new – and you dive right in expecting to like it, but … you’re just not hooked.

For whatever reason you decide to stick with it, so you give it another 20 pages, another 50, another 100 … until you find yourself stuck in the last third of book, trying to convince yourself that you HAVE to finish it. I mean, you’ve come this far, right? But really, you can barely force yourself to read another paragraph.

Do you finish it? You’re so close. Do you plow through to the end? Or do you let go? It’s a book lover’s dilemma.

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

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Aug 2017
The One Man
by Andrew Gross
1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war, or end it.
Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the U.S. suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, he is Semitic looking, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Polish ghetto. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man.

The One Man, a historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross, is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely compelling.

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Best Book I have read this year.
July 2017
Beneath a Scarlet Sky
by Mark T. Sullivan
Based on the true story of a forgotten hero during one of history’s darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

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July 2017

The Color of Our Sky
by Amita Trasi

A sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends—one struggling to survive the human slave trade and the other on a mission to save her—two girls whose lives converge only to change one fateful night in 1993.

India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old girl from the lower caste Yellamma cult of temple prostitutes has come of age to fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute. In an attempt to escape this legacy that binds her, Mukta is transported to a foster family in Bombay. There she discovers a friend in the high spirited eight-year-old Tara, the tomboyish daughter of the family, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to a different world—ice cream and sweets, poems and stories, and a friendship the likes of which she has never experienced before.As time goes by, their bond grows to be as strong as that between sisters. In 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s room.

Eleven years later, Tara who blames herself for what happened, embarks on an emotional journey to search for the kidnapped Mukta only to uncover long buried secrets in her own family.
Moving from a remote village in India to the bustling metropolis of Bombay, to Los Angeles and back again, amidst the brutal world of human trafficking, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and redemption—which ultimately withstands the true test of time.

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June 2017
The Women in the Castle

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resistor murdered in the failed July, 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First, Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naïve Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resistor’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

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April 2017
From Sand and Ash
by Amy Harmon
Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.

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Feb 2017
Faithful
by Alice Hoffman

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

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Feb 2017

The Little Paris Bookshop
by Nina George

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

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Jan 2017
The Painter from Shanghai
Jennifer Cody Epstein

Pan Yuliang was a girl with no dreams. Her parents were taken from her at a young age, then her uncle sold her into prostitution; it was enough for many years just to cope and survive. One day, fate places a kind gentleman
in her path, and she begins to discover the city outside the brothel
and the world beyond China’s borders. As a larger canvas of life emerges, Pan realizes that she has something of value to say — and a talent through which she can express herself. From Shanghai to Paris, Pan is challenged by the harsh realities in politics, art, and love, and must rely on her own strength to develop her talent. In so doing, she takes a relatively ordinary life and makes it extraordinary.

A work of fiction — but based on the life and work of a real artist.

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Dec 2016

Flip-Flops After 50: And Other Thoughts on Aging I Remembered to Write Down

by Cindy Eastman

Flip-flops After 50 will amuse, enlighten, and provoke readers to think about the topics that affect all of us. Who hasn’t dealt with the emotions from family events, stress from lousy jobs, or the bittersweet feelings when the kids leave home? Not to mention body image, high school reunions, and parenting. Eastman’s conversational style and easy humor tackle the sublime and the ridiculous, the sacred and the profane. After a certain age—and it’s no secret that it’s 50—Eastman argues that attitudes change for the better. Making decisions gets easier, although there’s no guarantee that life does. Even so, her writing allows us to take a look at our own issues with the reassuring handholding of a confidante

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Nov, 2016

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce

Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old friend in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance.

Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie–who is 600 miles away–because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die.

So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. Along the way, strangers stir up memories–flashbacks, often painful, from when his marriage was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father, and of his shortcomings as a husband.

Ironically, his wife Maureen, shocked by her husband’s sudden absence, begins to long for his presence. Is it possible for Harold and Maureen to bridge the distance between them? And will Queenie be alive to see Harold arrive at her door

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Oct 2016

A House Without Windows
by Nadia Hashimi

For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Nearly catatonic with shock, Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Her children swear their mother could not have committed such a heinous act. Kamal’s family is sure she did, and demands justice. Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed.

Awaiting trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have led them to these bleak cells: eighteen-year-old Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an “honor killing”; twenty-five-year-old Latifa, a teen runaway who stays because it is safe shelter; twenty-year-old Mezghan, pregnant and unmarried, waiting for a court order to force her lover’s hand. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young women wonder, or has she been imprisoned, like them, for breaking some social rule? For these women, the prison is both a haven and a punishment; removed from the harsh and unforgiving world outside, they form a lively and indelible sisterhood.

Into this closed world comes Yusuf, Zeba’s Afghan-born, American-raised lawyer whose commitment to human rights and desire to help his homeland have brought him back. With the fate this seemingly ordinary housewife in his hands, Yusuf discovers that, like the Afghanistan itself, his client may not be at all what he imagines.

A moving look at the lives of modern Afghan women.

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Sept 2016

The Light in the Ruins
by Chris Bohjalian

1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.

1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood—Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.

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Aug 2016
I Let You Go
by Clare Mackintosh

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating

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Aug 2016
The Japanese Lover
by Isabel Allende
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco’s charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years

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July 2016

Beach Music
by Pat Conroy

The story of Jack McCall, an American expatriate in Rome, scarred by tragedy and betrayal. His desperate desire to find peace after his wife’s suicide draws him into a painful, intimate search for the one haunting secret in his family’s past that can heal his anguished heart.

Spanning three generations and two continents, from the contemporary ruins of the American South to the ancient ruins of Rome, from the unutterable horrors of the Holocaust to the lingering trauma of Vietnam, Beach Music sings with life’s pain and glory. It is another masterpiece in PAT CONROY’S legendary list of beloved novels.

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July 2016
The Time In Between
by Maria Duenas

Let me begin by…..This is one of the best books I have ever read. Duenas is a masterful storyteller. The plot is woven in such a way that I had to keep reading. (The book was written in Spanish and translated to English by Daniel Hahn.) The historical events that took place in Spain during this period were unknown to me, and the push and pull between German and British interests was intriguing. I have the feeling Duenas could write about ANYTHING and make a completely captivating story.

Suddenly left abandoned and penniless in Morocco by her lover, Sira Quiroga forges a new identity. Against all odds she becomes the most sought-after couture designer for the socialite wives of German Nazi officers. But she is soon embroiled in a dangerous political conspiracy as she passes information to the British Secret Service through a code stitched into the hems of her dresses.

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The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
by Edith Hahn Beer, Susan Dworkin

Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman studying law in Vienna when the Gestapo forced Edith and her mother into a ghetto, issuing them papers branded with a “J.” Soon, Edith was taken away to a labor camp, and though she convinced Nazi officials to spare her mother, when she returned home, her mother had been deported. Knowing she would become a hunted woman, Edith tore the yellow star from her clothing and went underground, scavenging for food and searching each night for a safe place to sleep. Her boyfriend, Pepi, proved too terrified to help her, but a Christian friend was not: With the woman’s identity papers in hand, Edith fled to Munich. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi party member who fell in love with her. And despite her protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity secret.
In vivid, wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells of German officials who casually questioned the lineage of her parents; of how, when giving birth to her daughter, she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she might reveal her past; and of how, after her husband was captured by the Russians and sent to Siberia, Edith was bombed out of her house and had to hide in a closet with her daughter while drunken Russians soldiers raped women on the street.
Yet despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith Hahn created a remarkable collective record of survival: She saved every set of real and falsified papers, letters she received from her lost love, Pepi, and photographs she managed to take inside labor camps.
On exhibit at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents form the fabric of an epic story – complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.
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June 2016
The Age of Reinvention by Karine Tuil,

It is not often book comes out that sweeps the reader away both by the story and the writing. “The Age of Reinvention” is such a book.

There are three principal characters in the book.
Samir Tahar a Tunisian immigrant is living in a run down area of Paris, France. He pulls himself out of squalor and earns a law degree. He finds himself unable to get a job and believes it is due to his ethnicity. Samir changes his name to Samuel and presents himself as a Jew. He not only finds work but is transferred to New York to head its firm in the Big Apple. He marries into a prominent Jewish family and the world is his oyster – until his life is ruined, primarily due to the false life he has invented for himself.
Samuel Baron is a roommate of Samir and has failed out of law school but has ambitions of being a novelist. He also, unfortunately, fails at being an author. His identity is used by Samir, but Samuel thinks little of it because, at the time, it has no bearing on his life. It is only after years later when he finally pens a best selling book and must come to Samir’s rescue that his identity comes into play.
Nina, who is irresistible to both men, chooses Samir over Samuel, but finds that even though Samir provides everything that she could possibly want, discovers that there is something her life is lacking.

A magnificent read that contains all the elements of a great book, deceit, romance, mystery, and great writing.

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June 2016
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island. Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.
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May 2016
Lilac Girls
by Martha Hall Kelly

Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this debut novel reveals a story of love, redemption, and secrets that were hidden for decades.

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

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May 2016
Glory Over Everything
Beyond the Kitchen House
Kathleen Grissom

From the author of the New York Times bestseller and beloved book club favorite The Kitchen House, a novel of family and long-buried secrets along the treacherous Underground Railroad.

Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, has a deadly secret that compels him to take a treacherous journey through the Underground Railroad.
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Mar 2016

White Dog Fell From The Sky

Eleanor Morse

In apartheid South Africa in 1976, medical student Isaac Muthethe is forced to flee his country after witnessing a friend murdered by white members of the South African Defense Force. He is smuggled into Botswana, where he is hired as a gardener by a young American woman, Alice Mendelssohn, who has abandoned her Ph.D. studies to follow her husband to Africa. When Isaac goes missing and Alice goes searching for him, what she finds will change her life and inextricably bind her to this sunburned, beautiful land.
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Feb 2016
The Boys In The Boat
Daniel James Brown

Nine Americans and Their Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

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Jan 2016
The Girl Who Wrote in Silk
by Kelli Estes

Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt’s island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara’s life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core — and force her to make an impossible choice.

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Nightfall over Shanghai
by Daniel Kalla
Jan 2016

It’s 1944 and the Japanese are losing the war, but Shanghai is more dangerous than ever, particularly for the Adler family. After fleeing Nazi Europe, Dr. Franz Adler and his teenage daughter, Hannah, have adjusted to life in their strange adopted city, but they are now imprisoned in the Shanghai Ghetto for refugee Jews.

Franz is compelled to work as a surgeon for the hated Japanese military, while struggling to keep the city’s woefully undersupplied refugee hospital functioning. Meanwhile, his beloved Eurasian wife, fellow surgeon Sunny, delivers a baby boy born to a neighborhood teenager who wants nothing to do with the child; Sunny is determined to raise him as her own. When an enigmatic priest arrives at the hospital with an injured man who turns out be a downed American pilot, Sunny is recruited into a spy ring, providing crucial information to the Allies about the city’s port. Inadvertently, Hannah is drawn into the perilous operation, just as she becomes drawn to the controversial movement of Zionism and a Jewish homeland in Palestine. When the Japanese launch a major new offensive against the Chinese, Franz is forced to do the unthinkable: he is sent inland to work as a field doctor on the frontlines. There, he must contend with his tangled loyalties, aerial bombings overhead, and his uncertain feelings for a vulnerable Canadian nurse.

In 1945, American B-52s begin bombing Shanghai in strategic raids, putting thousands of Chinese citizens and refugees in grave danger. While the war seems to be winding down in the Far East, many questions remain unanswered for the Adlers. As the bombers circle ominously overhead, they must now struggle for more than simple safety. For the first time in many war-riven years, they now face the challenge of re-envisioning their lives, and the prospect of forging a hopeful path forward for the future—if they can first survive.

A satisfying conclusion to this excellent trilogy.

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Dec, 2015

Lunch with Charlotte
by Leon Berger
Born in Vienna just after World War I, Charlotte survived the Nazi invasion, escaping on the Kindertransport to England and then to Canada.

Every Friday for the last 25 years of her life, I had lunch with Charlotte and each week she told me more of her extarordinary story. To all appearances, she was a strong and dignified survivor, with old-world courtesies, a twinkling sense of humor and a lilting Austrian syntax. Yet deep within, she’d been scarred by a profound personal trauma.

Finally, just before she died at the age of 91, she chose to entrust me with this dark secret and all at once I understood how it had affected her entire adult life. This is not just the true story of a remarkable woman and our extraordinary friendship but also an epic saga set against the backdrop of history.

A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS FROM EACH SALE OF THIS BOOK WILL BE DONATED TO THE HOLOCAUST MUSEUM OF HOUSTON.
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Dec, 2015
The Rent Collector
by Cameron Wright

While reading this book I Liked it, didn’t like it, hopeful, sad, depressing, uplifting, even funny at times. It starts off really good, then slowed a bit in the middle (why I dragged reading it) but then took a turn I didn’t see coming & I loved it again! I had never heard of Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in Cambodia, where people actually live. And that is the setting for this beautiful story between Sang Ly & the rent collector, Sopeap Sin. Imagine paying rent to live in a dump. Life is hard for Sang Ly & her husband & sick child. Without revealing too much, Sang Ly begins a journey with Sopeap when she finds a book in the dump that will change her life. This is a story about hope, redemption & second chances.

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Nov, 2015
A Man Called Ove
Fredrik Backman
This book had me laughing out loud one moment and crying the next and I LOVED LOVED LOVED it! And after reading A Man Called Ove, I am quite convinced that there is a little Ove in all of us.

In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Ove, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

A feel-good story, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.
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The Golden Son
by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Nov 2015

Anil is the cherished son of a large family in rural India. As the eldest boy, he is expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes, dispensing wisdom and good advice. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain they inhabit and her close-knit family. As childhood friends, they are inseparable—but as adulthood approaches, they grow apart.

Anil is the first person in his family to leave India, the first to attend college, the first to become a doctor. Half a world away in Dallas, Texas, he is caught up in his new life, experiencing all the freedoms and temptations of American culture: he tastes alcohol for the first time, falls in love, and learns firsthand about his adopted country’s alluring, dangerous contradictions. Though his work in a gritty urban hospital is grueling, Anil is determined to carve out his own life in America.

At home, Leena dreams of marriage, a strong and true love like the one shared by her parents, and leaves her beloved home to join her new husband’s family in a distant village.

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Oct 2015
Chateau of Secrets
by Melanie Dobson
A courageous young noblewoman risks her life to hide French resistance fighters; seventy years later, her granddaughter visits the family’s abandoned chateau and uncovers shocking secrets from the past. Gisèle Duchant guards a secret that could cost her life. Tunnels snake through the hill under her family’s medieval chateau in Normandy. Now, with Hitler’s army bearing down, her brother and several friends are hiding in the tunnels, resisting the German occupation of France.

But when German soldiers take over the family’s château, Gisèle is forced to host them as well—while harboring the resistance fighters right below their feet. Taking in a Jewish friend’s baby, she convinces the Nazis that it is her child, ultimately risking everything for the future of the child. When the German officers begin to suspect her deception, an unlikely hero rescues both her and the child.

A present day story weaves through the past one as Chloe Sauver, Gisèle’s granddaughter, arrives in Normandy. After calling off her engagement with a political candidate, Chloe pays a visit to the chateau to escape publicity and work with a documentary filmmaker, Riley, who has uncovered a fascinating story about Jews serving in Hitler’s army. Riley wants to research Chloe’s family history and the lives that were saved in the tunnels under their house in Normandy. Chloe is floored—her family isn’t Jewish, for one thing, and she doesn’t know anything about tunnels or the history of the house. But as she begins to explore the dark and winding passageways beneath the chateau, nothing can prepare her for the shock of what she and Riley discover…

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Sept 2015
The Girl in the Spider Web
David Lagercrantz continuing Steig Larsson’s Millennium Series

Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series books were intense, violent, and moving. Lisbeth Salander has such a complicated backstory which fully explains her bizarre behavior and gifts. While the original trilogy was complete in itself, there was one loose end: Salander’s sister. This book — written by David Lagercrantz — explores that loose end. Camille is just as talented and warped (tho’ in a different way) as Salander.
The story features a computer genius, his autistic savant son, the NSA, the Swedish security, and, of course, the Millenium staff. At the heart of it are the possibilities of technological sabotage and the rapid development in computer capabilities. The book is tense, but not as intense as the originals.

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Sept 2015
Kitchens of the Great Midwest
by J. Ryan Stradal

When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine—and a dashing sommelier—he’s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He’s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter—starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience.

This book was disappointing. it had so much potential and fell short for me. The book started out great but didn’t really have anything to do about cooking. Then each chapter was a different story…different characters and how they knew the main character. But then the chapter would end with no closure. You never found out what happened to these characters or how they influenced or shaped the main character’s life. The book got good again near the end – and the ending didn’t do it for me.

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Aug 2015
The Marriage of Opposites
by Alice Hoffman

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things: a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro; the Father of Impressionism.

Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel’s mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel’s salvation is their maid Adelle’s belief in her strengths, and her deep, life-long friendship with Jestine, Adelle’s daughter. But Rachel’s life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father’s business. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Fréderick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.

Once forgotten to history, the marriage of Rachel and Fréderick is a story that is as unforgettable as it is remarkable.

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Aug 2015
The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Depressing people, depressing lives, depressing relationships, lots of time shifts. The most creative aspect of this for me was the perspective from the train – imagining of people’s lives from this distant brief view and observing the minute changes day to day.

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Aug, 2015

Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain
Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

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July 2015

The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah
This is one of those books that hits pretty much every area I love: historical fiction set in World War II; two stories told side by side that both intertwine and inform in different ways; strong, brave, resilient, amazing women who act out of love for their families, their friends, and their country. There were a number of “grab a tissue quickly!” moments toward the end, and it is never easy to read about the atrocities endured by people during wartime, but I truly loved this book.
FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

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July 2015

Middlesex
by Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex tells the story of Calliope Stephanides, and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City and the race riots of 1967 before moving out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal.

The book is slow. Slow to the point, where I didn’t really care what was happening to the characters. Cal, the protagonist, had no personality at all other than the fact he/she (depending on where you are in the book) is a hermaphrodite.
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June 2015
I Know This Much is True
Wally Lamb

The novel tells the story of Dominick and Thomas Birdsey, identical twins dealing with very fraternal problems, namely that Thomas is schizophrenic, and Dominick is almost his last remaining caregiver. The novel is about many things, but most of all, as told from Dominick’s perspective, it is about forgiveness, family, and of the past.
I couldn’t put this down! Don’t let the length scare you…I burned through the pages, just wanting to see what happened next! After a shocking stunt in public by his schizophrenic twin brother Thomas, Dominick realizes he needs to do more to help his brother. The struggle to keep Thomas protected, being his brother’s keeper leads Dominick on a journey thinking of his past and trying to learn from it, wondering why his marriage failed and his current relationship is unstable, learning about himself, learning how to love.

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may 2015

At The Water’s Edge
by Sara Gruen author of Water For Elephants.

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind. To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war. Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants. The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

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May 2015
When the Cypress Whispers

This novel is about Daphne, the daughter of Greek immigrants, who is returning to the Greek island of Erikousa to be married. Daphne’s parents moved to America with hopes of improving the chances for their daughter’s life and spent decades working in a diner. Although Daphne’s first husband died, she is now a successful chef and marrying a wealthy New Yorker. However, her fondest memories are of her childhood summers spent on the island with her Yia-yia. Returning makes Daphne question the path her life has taken.

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may 2015

The Septembers of Shiraz
by Dalia Sofer

In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, rare-gem dealer Isaac Amin is arrested, wrongly accused of being a spy. Terrified by his disappearance, his family must reconcile a new world of cruelty and chaos with the collapse of everything they have known.

As Isaac navigates the tedium and terrors of prison, forging tenuous trusts, his wife feverishly searches for him, suspecting, all the while, that their once-trusted housekeeper has turned on them and is now acting as an informer. And as his daughter, in a childlike attempt to stop the wave of baseless arrests, engages in illicit activities, his son, sent to New York before the rise of the Ayatollahs, struggles to find happiness even as he realizes that his family may soon be forced to embark on a journey of incalculable danger.

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April 2015
Bittersweet
Colleen Mccullough

Two sets of twins rush into womanhood in the 1920’s and 1930’s in Australia. All four enroll in a training program for nurses and encounter challenges that speed them to a new maturity and independence. They meet men from all walks of life which help them make the major decisions about their lives.
This book was so boring for me, I didn’t connect with the characters at all and didn’t care for the story, I expected so much more from Colleen Mccullough who wrote The Thorn Birds.
Very disappointing.
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Jan 2015
Be Careful What You Wish For
Jeffrey Archer

It is a extremely irritating, leaving the reader hanging for a year. I read the first three books, the first two were great, the third I found a bit boring and the forth… Yawn. . Now I wait another year for the fifth, I hope its the last.
This book was about Sebastian, and Jessica and a bunch of new characters whom you don’t fully get. What are they doing in the book? Harry gets not more than a couple of passing mentions and Giles, some. You tend to forget the back story of the characters from the previous books. Why is Don Pedro Martinez so bent on destroying the Barringttons? Who is Alex Fischer and why is he the bad guy? What’s Lady Virginia still doing in this book? And then you have to think hard to remember the Rodin statue and some war thing and a messy divorce that happened in one of those other three books. Everything is very superficial.

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Jan 2015
The Garden of Burning Sand
Corban Addison

This was another good story by Corban Addison. I liked his first novel A Walk across the Sun better, this is a story of injustice.

A Down Syndrone child is brutally raped and left wandering the streets in an African city. When she is found the police and prosecutors try to piece together how and who is responsible for this despicable act.

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Dec 2014
If Today be Sweet
By Thrity Umrigar

I picked up this book and put it down, pick it up again and stopped after 100 pages. It just didn’t hold my interest. The story was about an Indian woman who was living in America with her son and his family. She has lost her beloved husband and not sure where she should live. America or India. I didn’t care enough about the characters. This was a boring book for me.

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Dec, 2014

The Baker’s Daughter
Sarah McCoy
The heart of the book is Elsie, the beautiful baker’s daughter who reaches womanhood in Germany just as WWII is coming to an end. She is pragmatic, self assured, and warm-hearted, traits that lead her to see the faults at the heart of Nazi ideology. One night, a young Jewish boy turns up on her doorstep, and she makes a split second decision to save him. Through her eyes we see the tragedies that beset her family, her efforts to save Tobias (the Jewish boy), and the things that she must do to survive after the war.

In the present day, we meet Reba, a reporter in El, Paso Texas. Reba is tasked with interviewing Elsie (now the owner of a local bakery) for a Christmas article. As Reba becomes close to Elsie and her daughter, we learn that the ghosts of Reba’s past are poisoning her happiness with Riki, a border patrol officer.

I saw quite an interesting variety covered within a relatively short book- mental health, suicide, family secrets, illegal Mexican immigration, Nazi Germany, true love, one’s purpose in life, etcetera etcetera.

I give this 3/5, good but not great.

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Nov 2014
Family Matters
Rohinton Mistry

Family Matters tells a story of one middle-class family in Mumbai (Bombay), India. The grandfather, Nariman, suffers from Parkinson’s disease. His two step-children, Coomy and Jal, live with him and are their caretakers. Roxana, Nariman’s real daughter, lives a happy life with her husband, Yezad, and her two children, Murad and Jehangir, in a small flat at Pleasant Villa. Coomy is blames Nariman for her mother’s death and tries to get out of taking care of Nariman. She pushes the care-taking duty onto Roxana, putting a lot of stresses onto her family who is living in already tight quarter.

The book started out slow and never really picked up the speed for me.
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Nov 2014
The Invention of Wings
Sue Monk Kidd

I feel like I’ve missed something with this book, ratings have been 4 and 5, I liked it but just never felt drawn into it. It’s a good story with nice characters with a hopeful ending and I had a very hard time getting to the end.

On Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
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Oct 2014
Rising Sun, Falling Shadow
by Daniel Kalla

World War II Shanghai in Dan Kalla’s historical novel Rising Sun, Falling Shadow, the sequel to The Far Side of the Sky.

I struggled to get through this one,342 pages and it took me 3 weeks, It just didn’t have the same “hold” as the first in the series, but I will read the third which he is currently working on.

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Sept 2014
A Fine Balance
by Rohinton Mistry

This magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers–a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village–will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.

As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state.

Absolutely the best book I have read in years, and I have read some excellent books.
An incredible journey about 4 very different people trying to survive in India’s corrupt society. The book focuses on how discriminating and unjust society and politicians in India are towards the lower caste people. A very sad but very real story – a captivating novel, I highly recommend this book.
You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair.” Brilliant. A book to be read again.

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Aug 2014
The Lowland
Jhumpa Lahiri

Two brothers bound by tragedy; a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past; a country torn by revolution. A powerful new novel–set in both India and America–that explores the price of idealism and a love that can last long past death.

Growing up in Calcutta, born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead of them. It is the 1960s, and Udayan–charismatic and impulsive–finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty: he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.

But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family’s home, he comes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind–including those seared in the heart of his brother’s wife.

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Aug 2014
A Perfect Heritage
Penny Vincenzi
I read Wicked Pleasures by Penny Vincenzi,and could not put it down, in the case of this book, it was put down more than it was read. I just found it quite tedious, with no real page turning moments. It was disappointing.

The House of Farrell – home of The Cream, an iconic face product that has seen women flocking to its bijoux flagship store in the Berkeley Arcade since 1953. At Farrell, you can rely on the personal touch. The legendary Athina Farrell remains the company’s figurehead and in her kingdom at the Berkeley Arcade, Florence Hamilton plies their cosmetics with the utmost discretion. She is sales advisor – and holder of secrets – extraordinaire. But of course the world of cosmetics is changing and the once glorious House of Farrell is now in decline, its customers tempted away by more fashionable brands. Enter Bianca Bailey, formidable business woman, mother of three, and someone who always gets her way. Athina and Bianca lock horns over the future of the House of Farrell but it is the past that tells its devastating tale of ambition and ego, passion and wonder. Here is a tale of survival … and a perfect heritage.
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Aug 2014
The Cellist of Sarajevo
by Steven Galloway
In a city under siege, four people whose lives have been upended are ultimately reminded of what it is to be human. From his window, a musician sees twenty-two of his friends and neighbors waiting in a breadline. Then, in a flash, they are killed by a mortar attack. In an act of defiance, the man picks up his cello and decides to play at the site of the shelling for twenty-two days, honoring their memory. Elsewhere, a young man leaves home to collect drinking water for his family and, in the face of danger, must weigh the value of generosity against selfish survivalism. A third man, older, sets off in search of bread and distraction and instead runs into a long-ago friend who reminds him of the city he thought he had lost, and the man he once was. As both men are drawn into the orbit of cello music, a fourth character- a young woman, a sniper- holds the fate of the cellist in her hands. As she protects him with her life, her own army prepares to challenge the kind of person she has become.

This book richly conveyed the terror, and uncertainty of living in Sarajevo during its siege in the mid-1990s and I especially enjoyed the powerful, honest, and flawed internal narratives of the main characters. However, I have mixed feelings about this book. Have you ever read a book and, when it ends, your first thought is “Was that the end?” This book had no clear plot, no conflict and resolution. It was more or less a description of a day in the life of people in Sarajevo.

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July 2014
City of Women
by David R Gillham

This was a fascinating look at Germany in WWII from the eyes of a German woman. In the beginning Sigrid sees herself as just the wife of a German soldier but that changes quickly. First she takes a Jewish lover. But what changes her is her relationship with Erika Cole, a young woman assigned a nanny in her building who works for the underground, getting Jews and others out of German. Sigrid is at first reluctant to get involved. Not because of the danger but for disinterest. But then she realizes that it is the wife and children of her lover that are in hiding and suddenly these people become real. Sigrid takes several lovers over the course of the novel and she feels deeply for each of them for different reasons. A very different take on the war.

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July 2014
In A Far Country
Linda Holeman

An Unputdownable read,
I belonged to India, and it to me…’ Bombay, 1880. In the cool of the day, standing by the sea, a woman remembers a journey. From a humble medical mission outside Lahore to the winding alleys and colourful bazaars of Peshawar; from respectable missionary’s daughter to prostitute; from child of tragedy and bloodshed to daughter of hope. An extraordinary woman, a remarkable journey, a once-in-a-lifetime read.

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June 2014

The Samurai’s Garden
by Gail Tsukiyama
A Beautifully written story about a young Chinese man who spends a year recuperating from tuberculosis at his family’s vacation home in a small fishing village in Japan. This story reveals the political relationships between China and Japan in 1937 & 1938, as well as the relationships between the young Chinese man and his Japanese friends in the small Japanese fishing village.

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June 2014
All The Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr

One of the most beautifully written, touching stories I’ve read this year is “All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr This is the story of a blind Parisian girl, Marie-Laure, and an orphaned German boy, Werner. It is set during World War 2,
in Germany and France
Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

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June 2014

The Kill Switch
James Rollins & grant Blackwood

I loved this book. Tucker and Kane are such great characters!!! The story line was very exciting and kept my attention the whole way through. I can’t wait for the next Tucker and Kane adventure!!
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May 2014
The Last Chinese Chef
by Nicole Mones

When Maggie McElroy, a widowed American food writer, learns of a Chinese paternity claim against her late husband’s estate, she has to go immediately to Beijing. She asks her magazine for time off, but her editor counters with an assignment: to profile the rising culinary star Sam Liang.

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May 2014

The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt
771 pages woohoo! finished

The Epic tale of a bird, a boy, and a bomb.

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March 2014

The Museum of Extraordinary Things
Alice Hoffman

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman is set in New York in the early 1900’s.
Coralie Sardie lives with her father, the Professor, in his Museum of Extraordinary Things on Coney Island. The museum is really a freak show where her father displays natural curiosities while taking advantage of his human marvels for his side shows. Due to her webbed hands, Coralie has been in training her whole life to be the mermaid in his show. The Professor is an abusive man who exerts absolute control over his daughter. If not for Maureen, the house keeper and her mother figure, Coralie would not be shown any love or attention.

Eddie (Ezekiel Cohen) has left his birth name, religion, and his father behind him to become a photographer. He felt that his father was a coward and weak. Eddie is distancing himself from his emotions as well as his past while he pursues his photography. But Eddie also has a reputation as someone who can find missing people which eventually leads him to meeting Coralie.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things is part mystery and part love story . The mystery comes into play when Eddie begins searching for a missing girl. And the love story is, obviously, when Coralie and Eddie are almost mysteriously drawn to each other through dreams.

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Feb 2014
City of Thieves
David Benioff

Lev Beniov is seventeen and on his own during the siege of Leningrad. Thrown into jail for trying to loot a dead German soldier, Lev meets Kolya, an alleged deserter from the Red Army. Expecting to be executed, Kolya and Lev are instead assigned by a high-ranking colonel to locate a dozen eggs for the colonel’s daughter’s wedding in the starving city of Leningrad. Kolya and Lev then undergo a series of harrowing adventures trying to locate the eggs and dodge the German soldiers.

This book has all the makings of a coming of age movie (makes sense, the author is also a screenwriter). I can actually picture the movie in my head. It’s something I would watch. It’s both funny yet certain parts remind me of the horrors of war still thriving within the city.

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Feb 2014
Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein

A quick read, I definitely enjoyed A Dog’s Purpose more.

Enzo, the lovable mutt tells this story. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: most dogs love to chase cars, but Enzo longs to race them. He learns about racing and the world around him by watching TV and by listening to the words of his best friend, Denny, an up-and-coming race car driver, and his daughter, Zoë, his constant companion. Enzo finds that life is just like being on the racetrack—it isn’t simply about going fast. And, applying the rules of racing to his world, Enzo takes on his family’s challenges and emerges a hero. In the end, Enzo holds in his heart the dream that Denny will go on to be a racing champion with his daughter by his side. For theirs is an extraordinary friendship—one that reminds us all to celebrate the triumph of the human (and canine) spirit.

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Feb 2014

Transatlantic
by Colum Mccann

Newfoundland, 1919. Two aviators—Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown—set course for Ireland as they attempt the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, placing their trust in a modified bomber to heal the wounds of the Great War.

Dublin, 1845 and ’46. On an international lecture tour in support of his subversive autobiography, Frederick Douglass finds the Irish people sympathetic to the abolitionist cause—despite the fact that, as famine ravages the countryside, the poor suffer from hardships that are astonishing even to an American slave.

New York, 1998. Leaving behind a young wife and newborn child, Senator George Mitchell departs for Belfast, where it has fallen to him, the son of an Irish-American father and a Lebanese mother, to shepherd Northern Ireland’s notoriously bitter and volatile peace talks to an uncertain conclusion.

These three iconic crossings are connected by a series of remarkable women whose personal stories are caught up in the swells of history. Beginning with Irish housemaid Lily Duggan, who crosses paths with Frederick Douglass, the novel follows her daughter and granddaughter, Emily and Lottie, and culminates in the present-day story of Hannah Carson, in whom all the hopes and failures of previous generations live on.
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Feb, 2014
Best Kept Secret
Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer is a wonderful storyteller. This is the third in a series known as The Clifton Chronicles. The first two were “Sins of the Father” and “Only Time Will Tell.” These books are a very entertaining saga of the Clifton and Barrington families from just before World War I through the late 1950s. I look forward to the fourth book in this series.
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Jan 2014

The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion

Don, a most engaging and delightful character, is a genetics professor at a Melbourne university. Brilliant, athletic and handsome, he follows a rigid schedule ruled by logic. He is into a timetable that allows him 94 minutes a week to clean his bathroom, and a “Standardized Meal System” that dictates what foods he eats on what nights and how long it takes to prepare them.

Living life according to unbendable rules written on whiteboards hasn’t helped Don, 39, find a woman to love him. He’s “tall, fit, and intelligent, with a relatively high status and above-average income,” but for some reason never makes it past the first date. He may look like a young Gregory Peck, but he knows “there is something about me that women find unappealing.”

Not one to give up, Don tosses Internet dating sites, speed dating and matchmaker-designed dinner parties into the dustbin of ineffective partner-seeking methods in favor of his very own “Wife Project.”

Hilarious! I laughed out loud 🙂

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Jan 2014

The Lion Seeker
by Kenneth Bonet

Historical fiction is a favorite genre of mine–being immersed in another place and time. This journey through an immigrant Jewish community in South Africa in the 1940s was certainly revealing–and heart-wrenching as the protagonist is beaten down again and again. Family relationships are central to this sage. I stumbled over the large amount of Yiddish, Hebrew and Afrikaaner phrases through the dialogue–this made the pace very slow for me. The transition in Isaac’s life leading into the ending didn’t play out in detail like the rest of his story did, so I found myself losing interest toward the end.
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Dec 2013

The Mask Carver’s Son
by Alyson Richman

Set in turn of the century Japan in the world of the Noh theater, and in Paris during the heady days when French Impressionism was the avant-garde, this heartbreaking, beautifully written novel tells of a young Japanese artist who sacrifices everything: family, love and wealth for his art.

A Master Noh mask carver dedicates his life to his art, turning his back on love after a series of tragic events leaves him devastated. Kiyoki, his only son, defies his father and the demands of cultural tradition to follow his dream of becoming a painter in the western style. Kiyoki journeys to Paris, where he lives the life of an exile, unable to break the bonds of tradition, until he finds his heart leads him back to Japan, where he at last discovers himself as an artist.

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Nov 2013
Women Of The Silk
Gail Tsukiyama

Women of the Silk tells the story of a young girl’s journey of self-discovery among a fellowship of the women silk workers. The novel is set in an industrial, rural China around the early twentieth century, leading up Japanese invasion of the country. Pei is full of life and radiates optimism and acts as the main protagonist. Unlike her stoic family, she is naturally affectionate and is always innocently asking them questions to feed her over-imaginative, curiosity but is seldom ever answered. With her sister Li, their father takes them to the village fortuneteller to see what is to become of them. Pei’s future is predicted that she will be loved by more than one with many difficulties along the way to face. Since Pei becomes designated as non-marrying, as her father assumes, he decides to sacrifice his daughter to the silk work.
At the tender age of eight, Pei is sent away to work at a silk factory in the Yung Kee village to raise money to support her family. After the shock and sadness of being left by her father subsides, she becomes enlightened by the silk work. The experience as a silk worker brings Pei and her friends independence and freedom that they could hardly dream of back in their own homes. Their idol is the goddess of mercy, Kuan Yin, who went against her family’s objections to become a nun. After observing two of her friends, Pei joins Lin in the hair dressing ceremony that will swear them off marriage. The belief that a woman is either dedicated to her work or to a marriage, but not both, was highly supported by their society.
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Oct 2013
The Far Side of the Sky
by Daniel Kalla

November 9, 1938—Kristallnacht—the Nazis unleash a night of terror for Jews all across Germany. Meanwhile, the Japanese Imperial Army rampages through China and tightens its stranglehold on Shanghai, a city that becomes the last haven for thousands of desperate European Jews.

Dr. Franz Adler, a renowned surgeon, is swept up in the wave of anti-Semitic violence and flees to Shanghai with his daughter. At a refugee hospital, Franz meets an enigmatic nurse, Soon Yi “Sunny” Mah. The chemistry between them is intense and immediate, but Sunny’s life is shattered when a drunken Japanese sailor murders her father.

The danger escalates for Shanghai’s Jews as the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Facing starvation and disease, Franz struggles to keep the refugee hospital open and protect his family from a terrible fate.

The Far Side of the Sky focuses on a short but extraordinary period of Chinese, Japanese, and Jewish history when cultures converged and heroic sacrifices were part of the everyday quest for survival.

Good historical fiction. The Jews in Austria who wanted to leave after Kristallnacht had no where to turn, as most nations had closed their borders to them. Only Shanghai had open doors. Many fled there and survived the war only because the Japanese held held them in high regard and protected them.
Could not put this book down. A doctor and his young daughter escape Vienna after realizing that they are not untouchable, no matter how unreligious, assimilated or lack of belief. Alternatives are few and they end up in Shanghai where their lives continue. Based on some true stories this is one of my top picks for this year!!!
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Oct 2013

Songs of Willow Frost

Jamie Ford

Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese-American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday—or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday—William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.

Determined to find Willow, and prove his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigates the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive, but confront the mysteries of William’s past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen.

Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford’s sweeping book will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home

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Oct 2013

Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes

I smiled, I laughed and I cried.

Will Traynor lived a full adventurous life, until it was cut short one rainy London day. Will is a quadriplegic who needs round-the-clock care for his physical ailments, but for his emotional state-of-mind his mother has hired Louisa Clark to be a companion to Will.
Louisa is a simple girl who has lived her entire 26 years in the shadows of Stortfold Castle. She likes to wear colourful clothes and bumble bee tights. She just lost her job at a café; her family relies on Louisa for income so she accepts a job as Will’s care giver for a six month time period.

What happens in this six month time period is the heart of this story. It is about two families and how they deal with what life has dealt them. It is about choices and being allowed to choose. It is about awakening and discovering life and all there is to take from it and not be afraid to really love and live.

There are so many beautiful moments in this book, it was worth the tears!
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Oct 2013

Wicked Pleasures by Penny Vincenzi

This book follows one family and their unique twists of fate. A woman who has three children by different man, but in love with her husband, a man so obsessed with his title and home, that he will do anything to protect it….. Rich and privileged, but all haunted by some unhappiness. A really good, long book. I really enjoyed.

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Aug 2013

The Vision of Emma Blau

by Ursula Hegi

At the beginning of the twentieth century Stefan Blau flees Burgdorf, a small town in Germany, and comes to America in search of the vision that he has dreamed of every night. The novel closes nearly a century later with Stefan’s granddaughter, Emma, and the legacy of his dream; a once-grand house filled with the hidden truths of inhabitants both past and present.

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July 2013 The Eye Of God
A sigma force novel
James Rollins

James Rollins has done it again!! Eight books ago I started the Sigma series, I found a group of unusually real and likable characters, edge if you seat action with technology and history.

The crash of a U.S. military research satellite in the remote wilds of Mongolia triggers an explosive search for the valuable cargo it holds: a code-black physics project connected to the study of dark energy, the energy connected to the birth of our universe. But the last blurry image from the falling satellite captures a chilling sight: a frightening look into the future, a view of a smoldering eastern seaboard of the United States in utter ruin.

At the Vatican, a mysterious package arrives for the head of Pontifical ancient studies, sent by a colleague who had vanished a decade earlier. It contains two strange artifacts: a skull scrawled with ancient Aramaic and a tome bound in human skin. DNA testing reveals both are from Genghis Khan—the long-dead Mongol king whose undiscovered tomb is rumored to hold the vast treasures and knowledge of a lost ancient empire.

Commander Gray Pierce, and Sigma—joined by a pair of Vatican historians—race to uncover a truth tied to the fall of the Roman Empire, to a mystery bound in the roots of Christianity’s origins, and to a weapon hidden for centuries that holds the fate of humanity

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July 2013
And The Mountain Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini

An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.

Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.

In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.

Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

I finished this book and I was Speechless,
teary eyes
Bitter sweet feeling
Craving for more time to spend with the characters

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July 2013

The Storyteller
by Jodi Picoult

Sage Singer befriends an old man who’s particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone’s favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret – he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who’s committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? And most of all – if Sage even considers his request – is it murder, or justice?

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June 2013

The Hour I First Believed
by Wally Lamb

Who would think that with 750 pages you dont want it to end!

It has about 5 different story lines going on,each of them are intriguing. Gives you alot to think about. The Columbine story hooks you instantly, the mental illness, prescription drug dependance and family relations. A great read!

I am just blown away by the storytelling of Wally Lamb. He introduces us to a wide range of characters. What I like about the characters, especially Caelum, is they are just average people, trying to make sense of a world that is wrought with tragedy.

To me the theme throughout the book is that life isn’t easy and neat. Terrible things happen to people for unknown reasons. This story filled with tragedy portrays the strength of the characters to overcome the tragedies of their lives and find hope and purpose for in their lives. Don’t we all have tragedy in our lives at some level? It is all about our journey through the tragedy and who we are on the other side. One can only hope we continue to find hope in life after it is all said and done. It was heartbreaking and inspiring to follow Caelum, Maureen and Violet in their journey to hope after an imaginable amount of tragedy.

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May 2013

The Covenant

by Naomi Ragen

It is 2002 and pregnant Elise Margulies receives the news that her husband , Dr Jonathan Margulies , a cancer specialist at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, and their five year old daughter Illana have been kidnapped by Hamas who threatens to execute both of the hostages unless their insane demands are met.

When her ‘Bubbee’ Leah in Brooklyn , hears about this she gathers together three of her old friends , all survivors of Auschwitz , to fulfil an oath they made in the death camp, to always act as one.

The Covenant is a story of how the People of Israel love life -theirs and those of others (such as the many Arab patients treated by Dr Margulies) .

It is a story of reality.

It is a story of the strength of the Nation of Israel.

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March, 2013

The Blood Gospel

James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

I’m a fan of James Rollins’ Sigma Force books (scientists with guns), so I bought this book as soon as it was published. This story goes a long way beyond the science of the Sigma Force books and into the realm of vampires, werewolves, and the living dead. The action starts when an earthquake breaks open the mountain of Masada in Israel, releasing a mysterious gas that kills everyone but one teenaged boy. An archaeologist on a dig in Cesearea, and American ranger squad, and a Roman Catholic priest are airlifted onto the damaged Masada and the adventure begins. They are trying to find the Gospel said to have been written by Jesus himself in his own blood that was believed to have been entombed at Masada. The action is nonstop, but puzzling, and it is never clear what the American teenager Tommy, who survived the killing gas and was cured of melanoma by it, has to do with the story. The Roman Catholic priest is a member of the Order of the Sanguines, priests who have been bitten by vampires, but live on. They subsist on the consecrated wine of communion, and battle the forces of darkness believing that if they are killed in that holy battle their souls will be restored to them. I had a really hard time with this premise. It is clear when the book ends that the story has not ended, the The Blood Gospel is only the first in a series. Rollins usually ends his books with an afterword that explains what is scientific fact in the story. It’s one of the things I really like about his Sigma Force books, but it was missing here, so I would put this book in the realm of fantasy.
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Feb, 2013

The Imposter Bride
Nancy Richler

I was excited to read this book. I love historical fiction but… the first 100 pages were good. I liked the writing style and it was well written. But as I continued to read I started to get a bit bored, The story seemed to drag on and on and on…… the last 100 pages made up for it.

When a young, woman arrives in post-war Montreal, it is immediately clear that she is not who she claims to be. Her attempt to live out her life as Lily Azerov shatters as she disappears, leaving a new husband and baby daughter, and a lot of unanswered questions. Who is she really and what happened to the young woman whose identity she has stolen? Why did she leave and where did she go? It is left to the daughter she abandoned to find the answers to these questions as she searches for the mother she may never find or really know.

I also read this book because it was shortlisted for the Giller prize,
There was so much I enjoyed about this book, but it somehow lacked the punch I would have expected from a prize finalist.

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Jan 2013

419: A Novel
by Will Ferguson

A car tumbles down a snowy ravine. Accident or suicide?

On the other side of the world, a young woman walks out of a sandstorm in sub-Saharan Africa. In the labyrinth of the Niger Delta, a young boy learns to survive by navigating through the gas flares and oil spills of a ruined landscape. In the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims.

Lives intersect, worlds collide, a family falls apart. And it all begins with a single email: “Dear Sir, I am the son of an exiled Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help …”

419 takes readers behind the scene of the world’s most insidious internet scam. When Laura’s father gets caught up in one such swindle and pays with his life, she is forced to leave the comfort of North America to make a journey deep into the dangerous back streets and alleyways of the Lagos underworld to confront her father’s killer. What she finds there will change her life forever.

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Dec, 2012

The Bracelet
by Roberta Gately

In Geneva, Switzerland, Abby Monroe is being prepped for her work with the UN in Peshawar, Pakistan as a nurse. During an early morning run, she sees a woman fall to her death from a hotel balcony, and doesn’t know if she has witnessed a murder, a suicide, or an accident. She notices an unusual and elaborate bracelet made of precious stones on the dead woman’s wrist. When a man shouts at her from the balcony and rushes down to confront her, Abby fearfully hides from him and hurries away.

In Peshawar, Abby once again sees the unusual bracelet. Abby is puzzled by this and feels she is being observed and followed. She tries to see if she can recognize the man from the balcony.

During her work as a UN nurse, Abby also meets New York Times reporter Nick Sinclair, and they both try to discover who is behind a far reaching human trafficking ring that preys on women and girls from the villages. This provides further drama and explosive action in the novel.

I enjoyed the suspenseful plot surrounding the unusual bracelet. It was a good story and an excellent vehicle for the novel to describe human trafficking of women and girls taken or lured from their villages and then forced to work under demeaning conditions. The descriptions of women shelters and camps are realistic, even more convincing when I learned the author was a nurse and humanitarian aid worker in several war zones, from Afghanistan to Africa

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Dec,2012

A Hundred Flowers
by Gail Tsukiyama

A novel about an ordinary family facing extraordinary times at the start of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

China, 1957. Chairman Mao has declared a new openness in society: “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend.” Many intellectuals fear it is only a trick, and Kai Ying’s husband, Sheng, a teacher, has promised not to jeopardize their safety or that of their young son, Tao. But one July morning, just before his sixth birthday, Tao watches helplessly as Sheng is dragged away for writing a letter criticizing the Communist Party and sent to a labor camp for “reeducation.”

A year later, still missing his father desperately, Tao climbs to the top of the hundred-year-old kapok tree in front of their home, wanting to see the mountain peaks in the distance. But Tao slips and tumbles thirty feet to the courtyard below, badly breaking his leg.

As Kai Ying struggles to hold her small family together in the face of this shattering reminder of her husband’s absence, other members of the household must face their own guilty secrets and strive to find peace in a world where the old sense of order is falling. Once again, Tsukiyama brings us a powerfully moving story of ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances with grace and courage.

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Nov, 2012

The Secret Keeper
by Kate Morton

Moving between WWII and current day England, Morton delves into the lives of the Nicholson family. Laurel Nicholson, an accomplished actress, is haunted by a decades old memory of her mother,Dorothy, ruthlessly killing an unknown man who seemingly just wanders on to the Nicholson property. As Laurel’s mother is nearing death, Laurel realizes she must solve this mystery so her mother can die in peace. Morton skillfully weaves Laurel’s quest with the historical account of Dorothy Smithans and Vivien Jenkins, both of whom have lost their families under tragic circumstances. The way each child deals with loss is explored. Dorothy’s and Vivien’s lives are intertwined amidst the London blitz, which serves as an appropriate background for the turmoil that inhabits and surrounds each of the women.
I found the first half of the book slow, but I was really grabbed by the last quarter of the book. By then, there really was a mystery to be solved and I was actively thinking along. And close to the end, there is a shocking revelation, that changed my whole idea about the story (which is why I read some of the beginning again) and finally made me decide this was a good novel after all

This is an excellent story for those who like strong female characters and historical fiction.

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Nov, 2012

The Headmaster’s Wager
Vincent Lam

Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lam is a story of the father-and-son relationship as represented in the characters Chen Kai and Chen Pie Sou (or as he is better known by his English name in the novel, Percival Chen); and Percival Chen and Dai Jai.

An epic story of a Chinese man, the headmaster of an English school in Vietnam during the Vietnam war. A fascinating and horrifying story of the life of a civilian in those years of war and turmoil, a man who is himself an immigrant in a country occupied by Americans. A complex love story, a heart-rending family saga. Highly recommended.

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Oct, 2012

The Light Between Oceans
M.L Stedman

The Light Between Oceans was a moving novel about what happens when good people make bad decisions. The story takes place in the town of Point Partageuse, Australia during the 1920s. The story begins when a light house keeper (Tom) and his wife (Isabel) find a life boat with a dead man and live baby in it on the beach and have to make tough decisions regarding the baby’s future.

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Aug 7 2012

Bloodline
James Rollins

I could not put this book down, when you find an amazing, edge of your seat, suspense thriller, you have to finish it.

you are in for an action-packed roller coaster ride from the beginning. Trying not to give away too much, this novel blends a little DaVinci Code, National Treasure, Indiana Jones, Mission Impossible and a twisted bit of Science Fiction into this one, so if you have an interest in any of those, you will just LOVE this one.

The basis for this novel begins with the Knights Templar and ancient history involving a priceless icon that holds a mysterious and terrifying power that promises to change humankind forever. Here’s just a sample of what is going on:

“On February 21, 2011, the cover of Time magazine declared: 2045, The Year Man Becomes Immortal, that might seem a wild claim, but other scientists have made similar statements.

We are living in an exciting time when advances in medicine, genetics, technology, and a myriad of other disciplines are opening the newest frontier for mankind: eternity.

With the presidents daughter kidnapped, it’s only a matter of time before they discover who she really is, and what she is carrying within her that will make her one of the most valuable people in the entire world. If only SIGMA, a unique special operative groups, can locate her before her secret is uncovered, and she becomes a pawn in a shattering act of terrorism with dark repercussions and one that SIGMA may not even be prepared to deal with.

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Aug 1 2012
Beautiful Ruins
by Jess Walter

This story spans a 50 year period and many love stories, including the famous, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and many fictional. With a huge cast of characters and interweaving story-lines, this is one of summer 2012’s great reads.

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July 1 2012

A Dog’s Journey
another novel for humans
by W.Bruce Cameron

I thought A Dog’s Purpose (the first in this series) was much better. Was curious about the sequel & was an OK read, but didn’t have the same novelty & emotion as the first.

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June 2012

A Walk Across The Sun
by Corban Addison

An excellent story of tragedy, resolve, faith and triumph. A tsunami hits the coast of India and Ahalya and Sita find themselves as young orphaned girls. Thinking they are trusting a family friend to offer a ride to a church for sanctuary, they instead find themselves thrown into a sex trafficking scandal that focuses on the exploitation of minor children. Split apart, the girls maintain strength as they face their difficult life. A moving, story of amazing courage.

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June 2012

The Gift of Rain
by Tan Twan Eng

The Gift of Rain spans decades as it takes readers from the final days of the Chinese emperors to the dying era of the British Empire, and through the mystical temples, bustling cities,and forbidding rain forests of Malaya.” In 1939, sixteen-year-old Philip Hutton – the half-Chinese, half-English youngest child of the head of one of Penang’s great trading families – feels alienated from both the Chinese and British communities. He discovers a sense of belonging in his unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat who rents a nearby island from his father. Philip proudly shows his new friend around his adored island of Penang, and in return Endo teaches him about Japanese language and culture and trains him in the art and discipline of aikido. But such knowledge comes at a terrible price. As World War II rages in Europe, the Japanese savagely invade Malaya, and Philip realizes that his mentor and sensei – to whom he owes absolute loyalty – is a Japanese spy. Young Philip has been an unwitting traitor, and he is forced into collaborating with the Japanese to safeguard his family. He becomes the ultimate outsider, trusted by none and hated by many. Tormented by his part in the events, Philip risks everything by working in secret to save as many people as he can from the brutality he has helped bring upon them.

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June 2012
The Shoemakers Wife
Adriana Trigiani

The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza’s family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.
Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.
From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.

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May 2012

The Invisible Bridge
by Julie Orringer

Although daunting (at almost 800 pages), Julie Orringer’s first novel is by far one of the most beautiful stories I read in 2012. Hopefull, naive, heart-wrenching, and disastorous at the same time, Orringer’s look into the life of Andras Levi leaves nothing to the imagination. Andras, a Hungarian Jew studying archticture in 1930’s Paris, stands at the center of this novel on love and loss. Diving deep into his mind and the lives of his loved ones, the reader grows attached to, and becomes one with, this young man. There is the omnipresent sense of doom for the reader, as the anti-Semetic laws slowly go into place and the far-away futuristic reader senses what is in store for this Eastern European Jew. But Orringer’s power is in her ability to stay focused on the individuals of the story, from Andras, to the love of his life, to his aging parents, and young brothers. While the most horrific acts of the 20th century take place in the setting, the reader still feels deeply connected to the story at hand. Orringer steers clear of the over-reaching horrors of the Holocaust, and stays focused on how it affected one small family. The beauty of her writing and character development make the book impossible to put down.

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April 9 2012

The Midwife Of Venice
by Roberta Rich

This book is about Venice in the mid 1500’s, the Jewish ghettos and early midwifery. Hannah, the midwife is a very likable though I do wish there had been more midwifery and a little less drama. The plague is present as well and takes a horrific toll on the people of Venice. Fast-paced and interesting for a historical fiction.

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April 2, 2012
Lost and Found
by Jacqueline Sheehan

A fast read. Rocky, the main character, has just lost her husband. Devastated, she takes a leave from her job, travels to Maine and finds a job as an animal control officer. One day she finds a dog who is seriously injured. Rocky is intent on finding out who hurt the dog while at the same time, falling in love with the animal. Without realizing it, the dog helps Rocky heal.

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The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman

In pre-war Prague, the dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi invasion. Then, decades later, thousands of miles away in New York, there’s an inescapable glance of recognition between two strangers. Providence is giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life in Prague before the Occupation, to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit- and the strength of memory

I really loved this book, it is intense, romantic and beautifully written The book as it says on the cover begins at the end, at a wedding where 2 people recognize each other….the story then goes back though the decades to the beginning of WII where we meet Lenka and Josef in Prague and each of their stories unfold, stories of struggle and strength and heartbreak.

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My friend Susen sent me this today by Neil Gaiman

“Don’t ever apologize to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that’s what they’re there for. Use your library). Don’t apologize to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend’s copy. What’s important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read… ”

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Only Time Will Tell
Jeffrey Archer

I love his books and this was thoroughly entertaining. It’s the first in a trilogy about a family starting in the 1920’s in England. It centers around a young boy finding out that his father isn’t who he thinks he is. The story moves along and I was hooked from the beginning. It’s not heavy reading and I couldn’t put it down as I had to see what was going to happen to this young man. The novel ends at the beginning of WWII with England entering the war. Can’t wait for book 2.

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Wildflower Hill
by Kimberley Freeman

A compelling and poignant family saga that parallels the story of Beattie Blaxland, a Scottish girl who emigrates to Australia in 1929, with the story of her granddaughter, Emma Blaxland-Hunter. Linking the generations is the old house, Wildflower Hill, in Tasmania. A love story, and a story about making the best of what life throws at you, this is a book where the pages just seem to turn themselves.
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The Bungalow
by Sarah Jio

Twenty-one year old Anne who has trained as a nurse and is newly engaged, decides to spend a year as a nurse in Bora Bora during the war in 1942. She goes with her best friend Kitty and there she finds a new love, and a beach hut said to be haunted by the locals and once owned by the famous painter Paul Gauguin. What follows is a scandal and a murder that is never resolved until many years later when she is telling her story to her granddaughter and at last returns to Bora Bora to find closure.

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The Dovekeepers

by Alice Hoffman

Captivating tale of the dovekeepers of Masada. The characters, each special in her own way, tell their story of how they came to be in Masada and their days seeking freedom from the Romans.
I loved this book. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt such emotion for the characters and story. Thanks Alice Hoffman for giving Masada a voice.
One of the most thoughtful & well-written books I’ve ever read. Definitely one of my top 10 favorites of all time. I highly recommend it, I couldn’t put this one down.

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Once We Were Brothers
by Ronald H. Balson

Balson takes the reader on an emotional ride, with some of Ben Solomon’s story very vivid and heart wrenching. This was a book I could not put down and finished in 3 days.
* From the back cover:
From Nazi-occupied Poland to a Chicago Courtroom.

The story is a tale of two boys and a family that struggles to survive in war torn Poland. It is also the story of a young lawyer who must face not only a powerful adversary, but her own self doubts.
Two lives, two worlds and sixty years all on course to collide in a fast paced legal thriller.

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The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

I’m so disappointed in this book. I was expecting it to be one of those great experiences where you’re just sucked into the story and you never want to put it down. I actually had to push myself to get through it.
I never felt invested in the characters. I never particularly cared about what little plot there was. I kept waiting for something to grab my attention, but it never happened.
Celia and Marco had been groomed since youth by their mentors to be fierce competitors in a magical game where only one would be left standing. I thought I was going to read this amazing book that was going to build up to a great confrontation between two mysterious mystical magicians! And I kept reading…and waiting…and reading…and waiting… until the story was over and I’d been totally cheated out of time I could have spent reading an actual GOOD book. The story ended up dragging on and got to the point where I had to re-read several pages then wondered why I even bothered, sadly, this story about The Big Top ended up being a Big Let Down.

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The Hundred-Foot Journey
by Richard C. Morais

This book caught my eye because it combined two loves, food and reading.

This was a Wonderful story of Family, Food, Friendship and Finding ones way. The only down side, I was hungry the entire time I was reading! and realized this story would be best read on a full stomach!

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Island Beneath The Sea
Isabel Allende

The history of 1770- 1810 Haiti and Louisiana is told through the eyes of a mulatto house slave on a sugar plantation. The story follows the lives of her children and her master. Not my usual reading. Very interestering, very sad, but I am glad I read it. I am also glad I am finished it. It was Good but very long and very slow.

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The Street Of A Thousand Blossoms

Gail Tsukiyama delivers a compelling read!

From back cover:

“Japan, 1939. Two orphaned brothers are growing up with the loving grandparents who inspire them to dream of a future firmly rooted in tradition. The older boy, Hiroshi, shows early signs of promise at the national obsession of sumo wrestling, while Kenji is fascinated by the art of Noh Theater masks. But as the ripples of war spread, the brothers must put their dreams on hold-and then forge their own paths in a new Japan.

Meanwhile, the two young daughters of a renowned sumo master find their lives increasingly intertwined with the rising fortunes of their father’s star pupil, Hiroshi.

In an exquisitely moving story that spans almost thirty years, Gail Tsukiyama draws us into an unforgettable world of tradition and change, loss and renewal, and the enduring strength of family ties in the face of war.”

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The Holcroft Covenant
Robert Ludlum

I love this book. The plot… actually simple: an ordinary man, named Noel Holcroft, whose job as an architect never dreamed that someday he would be face to face with the ultimate choices, the one that will altered his life forever. Starting with him receiving a letter from some authority in Swiss Bank who told him that his father, his bioligical father, the one he and his mother abandoned for almost 30 years left him a great sum of money a total of $780 million dollars to be inherited by him and two other strangers. The three of them are direct descendants of Nazi’s generals who back in 1945 tried and failed to to overthrown Hitler. And so these 3 generals thinking there might be away to redeem what the German have done to many of the Jews all over German by embezzled money from Treasury department and kept them in a bank in Swiss to be opened 30 years later by their descendants.
For Noel Holcroft turns out this to be not an easy job. Aside from tracking the other two descendant, Noel soon enmeshed in deadly trap spun by the Sonnenkinder – The Children of the Sun – who will stop at nothing to stop Noel, get the money and ressurrect The Fourth Reich.
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The Devil Colony
by James Rollins

I love books by James Rollins. Specifically, I love the books in his Sigma Series. Having said that, I think that this book is one of the best in his Sigma Series. Over the course of the series, you are introduced to characters who have pretty much reappeared throughout every one of the seven books. What I especially love, is that no one character is the main focus of the novel where he/she single-handedly solves the worlds problems and holds off the evil foe. Each of the main character’s in this series has their specialty and individual talents and they use them to form one hell of a team.

James Rollins is the author of six thrillers in the bestselling Sigma Force series Sandstorm, Map of Bones, Black Order, The Judas Strain, The Last Oracle, and The Doomsday Key.

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A Prisoner of Birth
by Jeffrey Archer

Danny Cartwright is doomed by circumstance. After 4 Cambridge friends decide to make him the patsy for a murder one of them had committed, illiterate Danny is tried, convicted, and sentenced to 22 years at Belmarsh Prison. Mind-tormenting incarceration gives him ample opportunity to polish his reading skills and plot his taste for revenge.

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State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett

Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug, the development of which has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina’s assignment is easy: not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marina’s research partner Anders Eckman, died before he could complete his mission. Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor as well as answers to several troubling questions about her friend’s death, the state of her company’s future, and her own past.

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A Little Love Story: by Roland Merullo

A love story written from the man’s point of view. His new love interest has cystic fibrosis – an agonizing terminal disease. Even though the story is sad, Merullo has an odd sense of humor which I loved.
Janet Rossi is very smart and unusually attractive, an aide to the governor of Massachusetts, but she suffers from an illness that makes her, as she puts it, “not exactly a good long-term investment.” Jake Entwhistle is a few years older, a carpenter and portrait painter, smart and good-looking too, but with a shadow over his romantic history. After meeting by accident – literally – when Janet backs into Jake’s antique truck, they begin a love affair marked by courage, humor, a deep and erotic intimacy… and modern complications

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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Amazing – simply amazing! I couldn’t put this down. I loved Henry, a Chinese-American boy during WWII, trying to figure if he’s Chinese or American, really being neither, and falling for a Japanese American girl. Beautifully written.

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Let’s Take the Long Way Home:
A Memoir of Friendship
by Gail Caldwell
It started with this line “It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.” This book grabbed my heart and I stayed up later than I should have to finish this beautiful telling of a friendship between two literary women (Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp, The friendship was intense, long-lasting, and built on shared interests including the very tender bonds that they have with their dogs, their past alcoholism, and their love of rowing. Grab your best friend and read the book together.
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Fortune is a Woman by Elizabeth Adler
The three met in the aftermath of San Francisco’s devastating 1906 earthquake — the Mandarin Lai Tsin, a runaway American heiress, and a young Englishwoman. Against all odds they made their dreams come true, building one of the world’s largest trading companies and most luxurious hotels… They had only each other — and bloody secrets to bury even as they rose to dizzying heights.

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A Dog’s Purpose by W.Bruce Cameron

This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here?
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Green City In The Sun by Barbara Wood
Set in Kenya, in 1919, this book is of a British family, the Trevertons, who settle on an estate on the homeland of Kikuyu and the antagonism that develops between them and the tribe’s own medicine woman, whose powers they disregard
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Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Alice Howland – Harvard professor, gifted researcher and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children. One day, Alice sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. It’s a route she has taken for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Is her forgetfulness the result of menopausal symptoms? A ministroke? A neurological cancer? After a few doctors’ appointments and medical tests, Alice has her diagnosis, and it’s a shocker — she has early-onset Alzheimer’s diseasea.
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The Forgotten Garden
by Kate Morton
I REALLY liked this novel on many levels. It was a sweeping epic, sweeping between continents and among generations. We start with a young girl, abandoned aboard a ship from England to Australia. Through the course of the book, we make our way back a generation and forward two; from Australia back to London and out to the Cornish coast. I found the jumping about disconcerting at first – you spend a chapter or two in 1907, then to 2005, then 1975, then back again.
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Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

This is an historical fiction novel set in Germany during World War II. Anna is an eighteen year old girl who falls in love with a Jewish doctor and finds the courage to finally stand up to her domineering father, a Nazi sympathizer and altogether unkind man, and hide her lover in her own home. When her father turns him over to the Gestapo, Anna leaves and lives and works with a woman who works with the Resistance Movement.

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Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen
Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski’s ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own na…moreThough he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski’s ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.
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Ape House
by Sara Gruen

I loved WATER FOR ELEPHANTS and unfortunately can not say the same thing for this book. Although is was an entertaining read and obviously well researched, it did not have the character and flow of her previous book. there were too many topics in this book … animal research, animal rights, reality television, prostitution, pornography, meth labs, the “Hollywood experience” and one too many relationship issues.

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Cutting For Stone
by Abraham Verghese

Marion and Shiva Stone are identical, formerly conjoined twins born in Ethiopia to an Indian nun who dies in childbirth and an English surgeon who abandons them. They are raised in the Ethiopian hospital where they were born by two doctors and a cadre of servants, nuns and priests. They grow up to become surgeons like their biological father and adoptive parents.
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The Linnet Bird
by Linda Holeman
Linny Ingram seems the perfect society wife: pretty, gracious, subservient. But appearances can be deceptive. Linny Ingram was born Linny Gow, an orphan raised in the gray slums of Liverpool. Sold into prostitution by her stepfather when she was only eleven, Linny clung to the belief that she was meant for something more, something better, than life on the cold, dangerous streets.

A stroke of luck granted Linny the chance to re-create herself as a proper middle-class young lady, allowing her to join “the fishing fleet”—young women of good birth who sailed to India in search of husbands.
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Let The Great World Spin
by Colum McCann

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

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The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls

is a memoir written by gossip columnist Jeanette Walls, which details her unconventional childhood growing up with an alcoholic father and a mother who seems to be mentally ill. Walls begins the book by explaining what has prompted her to write about her family: after she has “made it” and become a successful writer living in New York, she comes across her mother picking trash out of a dumpster and, in shame, slinks down in her taxi seat and pretends not to see or know her. Later, Walls confronts her mother, asking what she is supposed to tell people about her parents, and her mother replies, “Just tell the truth. That’s simple enough.”
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
was a charming and touching novel. The book is written in the form of letters by a colorful and likeable cast of characters. It was interesting to learn a little bit about life on the British Island of Guernsey during its German occupation of WWII.
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The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
by Kim Edwards

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is a story about a secret–a terrible, life-altering secret running central to the story and in the lives of the characters. In spite of spanning only twenty-five years, it has an epic feel. A lot happens. We first meet Norah and David Henry on the stormy night she gives birth to twins. The boy, Paul, is born healthy. The second, an unexpected daughter, is born with Down’s Syndrome. While his wife lay unconscious, David, a doctor who presides over the deliveries because their doctor is unable to get to them due to the snowstorm, makes the decision to tell his wife the second child died. Trying to spare his wife the pain and suffering of having a child who, in his mind would surely die an early death, hands the baby to his nurse, Caroline Gill. He instructs her to take the child to an institution. Caroline finds she cannot leave the baby in this place, moves away and raises “Phoebe” on her own. This sets the stage for the terrible secret David must live with and the consequences it has on his family.
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Beat the Reaper
by Josh Bazell

Great mix of medical thriller and mob revenge tale. Main character is a foul-mouthed and very funny former hit man who’s hiding out as a doctor in a run-down hospital. If his former boss/mentor finds him, it means he’s probably dead. I was hooked immediately and especially liked his hilarious and ironic footnotes.
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A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog
by Dean Koontz
Loved this book! I haven’t read any of Dean Koontz’s books, but was given this one from my son.
What a great story and he wrote this story so well. It made me laugh in so many places and I felt like I knew his furry daughter, Trixie. I think his insights to dogs and their intelligence (and everything) is really so incredible. I have been a dog lover and mom for most of my life and I share in many of his experiences with Trixie.

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The Given Day by Dennis Lehane

tells the story of two families—one black, one white
Boston.. at the end of the First World War, unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the crossroads between past and future.
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The Disappeared by Kim Echlin

Although this story takes place against the backdrop of the devastating Pol Pot genocide in Cambodia, it is not so much a social commentary on that dark era as it is a beautiful, haunting, tragic love story. It’s a story of love and loss, reunion and separation, loyalty and betrayal, sacrifice, secrets and longing.

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Roses by Leila Meacham
This is what I call a good old-fashioned read. Leila Meacham’s family saga, set in East Texas covering the years from 1914–1985, tells the story of Mary Toliver,a 16-year-old heiress, who is completely and wholly devoted to her family’s cotton plantation for her entire life. This book has been compared to a Texas “Gone with the Wind” and I must say that Mary could truly be compared to Scarlett.
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27 Responses
  1. Linda Farber says:

    All the books I read are given to me by Blima. When Blima tells me a book is good I know I will enkoy it!!!!!!!!

  2. Roslyn says:

    Hi Blima,

    I am Linda’s cousin. Several of my friends and I read the books that you and Linda recommend. We without your knowledge are part of the ‘book club’.

    We have some books we think you and Linda will enjoy reading.

    The Birth House (sorry that I can’t remember the author)

    The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich

    The Halifax connection (sorry I can’t remember the author)

    Have a good day!

  3. Blima says:

    Thank you Roz, I will check them out.

  4. Roslyn says:

    Blima,

    After you read the Halifax Connection by Marie Jakober, goggle Dr. Luke P. Blackburn. I did and his story during this period of history is very interesting.

  5. Blima says:

    Thank you Roz.

  6. Linda Farber says:

    After looking through your list of books I realized that I have read a lot of books. I still see titles there that I have not read yet. Reading has become another of my favorite past times.

  7. Linda says:

    Sisters by Danielle Steel. I did not epect to like this book but I did. It is about a family and how they help eachother out during difficult times. It is a fast read but worth it.

  8. Linda says:

    I just finished reading A Dog’s Purpose. I give this book 5 stars. If you have ever had a dog, and had to put your dog to sleep this book will remind you of all the special moments you spent with your pet. The book will make you giggle & make you cry(make sure you have kleenex around). I don’t think I will ever look at a dog the same way. It is a page turner as well. It is a very enjoyable read. Thanks again Blima! Now on to the next book.

  9. Roslyn says:

    Hi Blima,

    Hope you are well.

    I loved the Island Beneath the Sea.

    Just finished the Virgin Cure by Ami McKay. Same author of the Birth House. I loved it! This book reminded me of the Linnet Bird.

    Have a good evening.

  10. blima says:

    Hi Roz,
    Did you read her first book The Birth House?
    I just read about this book at Chapters, It is going on my list for sure, The Linnet Bird was one of my all time favorites.

    Linda is half way through Island Beneath the Sea.

  11. Roslyn says:

    Hi Blima,

    I read the Birth House first (last summer). It is a really good book with factual information. The story is based in Canada (Maritimes). The Virgin Cure is based in the USA (New York). Also very factual information.

    As much as I enjoyed the BIrth House, The Virgin Cure might be a bit better read. There is no connection between the books, so it doesn’t matter which book you read first.

    The Island Beneath The Sea, along with Fortune Is A Woman are two of my alltime favourite books.

  12. blima says:

    I have another book that is going on my all time favorite list, I just started it and I cannot put it down. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. The story of four women each of whom has come to Massada by a different path. Nine hundred jews held out for months against the armies of Romans on massada, According to ancient historians two women and five children survived.

    I will let you know when I finish it.

  13. Carol says:

    Blima, you seem to love dogs, have you read The Art of Racing in the Rain. It is so good—LOVE THE DOG!

  14. Roslyn says:

    Hi Blima,

    So glad Linda is reading the Secret Keeper. I loved it. This book reminded me of Fortune Is A Woman and I too went back to read the beginning of the book. Did you ever read the Virgin Cure by the same writer of The Birth House?

    After you read it, google the title of the book. It is quite fascinating and very sad.

    Happy reading!!

  15. Roslyn says:

    Hi Blima,

    I just finished reading the Legacy of Secrets by Elizabeth Adler. The beginning and middle of the book was very good and ‘hard’ to put down. But then the last 100 pages or so was a ‘letdown’ as it seemed to become more of a ‘soap’ opera type of theme. I would recommend reading it but I didn’t think it was that well written compared to Fortune Is A Woman’.

    Linda told me the other night that her three favorite books are Fortune Is A Woman, Dovekeepers and Invisible Bridge. I would agree with her. They too are my three favorite books. Jodi Picolut’s new book looks like it will be a ‘good’ read too.

  16. Blima says:

    Thanks for the heads up, it is on my list for my next order, maybe I will wait with this one, it is an older book so maybe I will send Linda to her second hand book store. On Goodreads this book got 4 and 5 stars.
    I agree with you and Linda about our three favorites.

  17. Arlene Farber says:

    Books that I recommend. I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovitz, Clouds Across The Sun by Ellen Brazer, Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano, The Girl in the Green Sweater by Krystina Chiger,The Invisable Bridge , The Linnet Bird by Linda Holman, The Other Half of my Soul Bahia Abrams, Pictures of the Past Debbie Eisenberg, Trilogy- Tea Rose, The Wild Rose, Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly, War Brides by Helen Byan.

  18. blima says:

    Waving….Hi Arlene, thanks so much, we …Linda and I 🙂 have read some and looking forward to reading the others.
    Please stay in touch here now that you know how to post.

  19. Linda says:

    Reading Wicked Pleasures. Great Read. The nites there is nothing good on T.V. This is a great book to make a cup of coffee and sit in your favorite chair and read. I was looking over books we have read . One of my favorites is a Dogs Journey. Great book for anyone who has a dog or had a dog. Very good for the heart!

  20. Linda says:

    I just finished reading Wicked Pleasures. Great Book! I really enjoyed it. Now I will read And the Mountains Echoed. I am excited I have been looking forward to reading this book.

  21. Linda says:

    The Far Side Of the Sky and Songs of Willow Frost, two must reads. really enjoyed the two books. I recommend these books!!!

    Thanks

    Blima

    What would I read or eat without you!

  22. blima says:

    Linda, that last line cracked me up, very funny.

  23. Roslyn says:

    Hi Blima,

    Hope you are well.

    I just finished reading a very good book. The title is The Valley Of The Amazement. the author is Amy Tan.

    This book reminded me of another book, Fortune Is A Woman.

    Have a good evening.

    Roz

  24. blima says:

    Hi Roz,

    All is well here, thank you.

    Thanks so much for reminding me about this book, It was on Goodreads and they also gave it a great review, Amy Tan wrote The Joy Luck Club a few years ago, also a good book.

    What else have you been reading?

    • Roslyn says:

      Hi,
      Mostly mayham, murder and mystery. I have become a huge fan of Jo Nesbo, a Norwegian writer, Over the last several months I managed to read all of his books. Also a huge fan of Henne Mankall. A Swedish writer, same types of stories.
      Right now I am reading The Orenda by Joseph Boyden. Karen suggested it to me. Very informative but difficult to read without ‘breaks’.

  25. Roslyn Cicalo says:

    Hi Blima,

    Hope all is well!

    Just finished reading A Fine Balance. ‘Hands’ down one of the most depressing books I have ever read. I felt that it ‘screamed’ despair from beginning to end.

    My next book to read is All The Light We Cannot See. Thought I would check out your comment on the book and write a quick line or two on the Fine Balance.

    Have a good evening.

  26. blima says:

    Hi Roz, I don’t think I have read anything so heartbreaking either. I loved all the character development. I think part of the reason why this book has such a punch is because you feel that you really know the characters. You can’t help but want a fairy-tale ending for them, but unfortunately this book is a glimpse of how cruel life can be.

    All the Light we cannot see was another amazing book, please let me know.

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