|A traveller in time [electronic resource]
This is the story of Penelope Taberner who goes to stay in a country farmhouse, Thackers, a manor house once inhabited by the Babington family of 1582. The Babingtons were supporters of Mary Queen of Scots and wanted her restored to the throne. Penelope finds she is able to slip back in time to the Elizabethan era and becomes involved with inhabitants of the manor house and the plot to liberate Mary Queen of Scots from the nearby Wingfield Manor. She slips effortlessly between the past and the present. It is a bittersweet story because Penelope is aware of the fate of both the Queen and the Babington family and that she will not be able to change the future. The book is written for children but it was written in the 1930’s and the language is very formal and somewhat old fashioned—I don’t think this is a book that would be enjoyed by younger children or even teens. Even I had a hard time finishing the book though I found the topic intriguing. A 2.5 out of 5 stars. posted May 14, 2013 at 3:42PM
|The physick book of Deliverance Dane |
by Howe, Katherine
Set in Cambridge and Marblehead, Mass , this novel alternates between Connie Goodwin, a 20th century PhD candidate in history searching for an original primary source, and the story of a group of 17th-century outcast women who are accused of witchcraft (which may or may not be true). After moving into her grandmother's house to get it in shape for sale, Connie comes across a small key and piece of paper reading only Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest—to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact: a physick book or “receipt book” which may really be a witch’s shadow book. The novel gives an interesting look at not only the Salem witch trials, but the process of research and discovery.. Similar to another book I read recently, Ghostwalk, this novel was much better written, well told, fast paced, engrossing, and interesting. A 4 out of 5 stars. posted May 9, 2013 at 3:48PM
|The girl who played with fire |
by Larsson, Stieg, 1954-2004
The second book of the Millennium Trilogy—the book is set 2 years after the Wennerström affair and Lisbeth Salander is enjoying the benefits of her “acquisition” of wealth, traveling, purchasing an apartment and changing her appearance. She returns to Stockholm and soon becomes embroiled and framed in the murder of two writers working with Mikael Blomkvist (her former lover) and her guardian Nils Bjurman. The investigation leads Lisbeth to confront her violent childhood and the resulting tragedies. I enjoyed the fast paced action of this novel—though I enjoyed the first book more. The one thing that I didn’t like as well in this novel was the lack of real interaction between Bloomquist and Salander—which was one of my favorite parts of the first novel. A 4 out of 5 stars. posted May 6, 2013 at 2:47PM
|Shadow of night |
by Harkness, Deborah E., 1965-
Shadow of the Night is the second book of the All Souls Trilogy. It continues the story of Diana Bishop, a historian and witch, her love, a vampire, Matthew Clairmont and the mystery of a book, Ashmole 782. Beginning where Discovery of Witches left off, Diana and Matthew have time travelled to Elizabethan England in search of Ashmole 782 and someone to teach Diana the skills of being a witch. Along the way, we meet many of Matthew’s friends, including Marlowe, Raleigh, as well as the head of the Clairmont family, Phillipe. The novel also leads us to 16th century France and Prague. During the course of the novel Diana discovers her true talent as a “weaver.” As with the first book I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and the characters—and also the way “time and setting” affect the characters of Diana and Matthew. Deborah Harkness brings Elizabethan England to life using her professional knowledge and extensive and detailed descriptions. Only one caveat—because there had been sometime between reading the first and second book I found myself returning to the first book to refresh my memory. 5 out of 5 stars. posted May 1, 2013 at 3:27PM
|The Eyre affair : a novel |
by Fforde, Jasper.
The Eyre Affair opens in an alternative universe--Great Britain in 1985, where England has been at war with Russia over the Crimea for 130 years, time travel is routine, cloning is a reality and literature is taken very seriously. Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Ops literary detective, who pursues literary crimes such as forgery, plagiarism, manuscript theft, and the abuse of literary characters. Thursday is put in charge of the investigation, but soon Jane Eyre and Rochester are also involved in the adventure—literally! Usually I love the alternative history, time travel and fantasy genres—but I found this novel to drag on. So much of the book deals with the “set up” of Thursday’s world that I felt that the plot was somewhat thin. However, the end of the book does move along more quickly—and is more satisfying. A 3 out of 5 stars. posted Apr 17, 2013 at 11:45AM
|White Fang [compact disc] |
by London, Jack, 1876-1916
A classic by Jack London, White Fang could be considered the companion to London’s Call of the Wild, except in reserve. Whereas Buck from Call of the Wild finds his wild nature—White Fang finds his human love and is able to integrate into domestic life. White Fang is born in the wild to a wolf father and a half wolf mother. When he is made captive by humans, he is outcast from the other dogs because of his wildness. He learns to fight for his life. Finally, he has an opportunity to experience a new life away from the violence and savagery—but will he learn to embrace it is the question. I loved this book despite the violence and the brutality of the life led by White Fang—and the cruelty of the humans he encounters. A 4 out of 5 stars. posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:02AM
|The cost of hope : a memoir |
by Bennett, Amanda.
When Amanda Bennett meets Terence Foley while on assignment in China, the last thing she expects is to marry him. Their marriage brings with it great passion, deep love and respect, two children, and a life together over two decades. Then comes a terrible illness, and the fight to win a longer life for Terence. This memoir chronicles the extraordinary measures Amanda and Terence take to preserve not only to save Terence's life but also the life of their family as well as their ongoing hope for life. After his death, Bennett uses her skills as investigative reporter to determine the cost of their mission of hope. What she discovers raises important questions many people face, and vital issues about the intricacies of America's healthcare system. At first I was reluctant to read this memoir—anticipating a deep sadness, but at times I found it surprisingly joyful. I believe that this memoir along with the Times article on the cost of heathcare by Steven Brill will help readers understand the complexity of our healthcare system both financially and emotionally. 4 ½ out of 5 stars. posted Mar 26, 2013 at 10:43AM
|Mistress of the art of death |
by Franklin, Ariana.
In 12th century England, Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, a female doctor and forensics expert with a strong sense of herself, is summoned by King Henry II to investigate a series of gruesome murders which the town has accused the Jews of committing (and preventing Henry from receiving his taxes from his biggest contributors). Adelia is accompanied by Simon, a Jewish investigator, and Mansur, a Muslim eunuch who is her bodyguard. It becomes clear that one of the pilgrim's they traveled with is the likely murderer, and as they close in on the killer, the chase takes some unexpected twists and turns, including a budding romance for Adelia with the King’s tax collector Sir Rowley Picot. The story combines, crusader knights, questionable nuns, suspicious monks, and a sly King Henry II. In addition, the book offers well researched period details not only about twelfth century England and way of life of the crusaders, but also Henry’s relationship with the church and the establishment of common law. The book is a well written, highly satisfying historical mystery. 4 out of 5 stars. posted Mar 21, 2013 at 3:38PM
|The inquisitor's key |
by Bass, Jefferson.
The Inquisitor's Key, the seventh entry in the Body Farm series, finds Dr. Bill Brockton and his graduate assistant Miranda Lovelady not only investigating ancient bones, but dealing with ancient relics, church and art history and the South of France. In the Palace of the Popes, a stone chest is discovered, inscribed with the crest of Jesus of Nazareth. Could the bones found inside possibly be the remains of Christ himself? How do the bones relate to the Shroud of Turin? These are the questions that Bill and Miranda try to answer, despite being hampered by relic collectors and the Church itself. The chapters bounce between medieval and present day Avignon—which helped enhance the understanding of the present. I have really enjoyed others of this series—and this one was no exception. Fast paced, full of twists and turns—a really great read. A definite 4 ½ out of 5. posted Mar 18, 2013 at 11:41AM
|The thin man |
by Hammett, Dashiell, 1894-1961.
The last of Dashiell Hammett's novels, it centers on Nick (a former PI) and Nora Charles who are reluctantly pulled into a case involving an old client who appears to have shot his assistant. The Thin Man is a hard-boiled noir mystery classic—with heavy drinking, casual adultery, parties, speakeasies and hard-nosed cops and crooks. I loved the 1940s Thin Man movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy—but I found the book somewhat dated and “politically incorrect”. 2 out of 5 stars. posted Feb 27, 2013 at 7:37PM
|Journey to the center of the earth |
by Verne, Jules, 1828-1905.
A classic novel by the father of science fiction Jules Vernon. Written in 1864, the eccentric scientist Professor Hardwigg finds directions to the center of the earth in an old book and sets out, with his nephew Henry and the guide Hans, to Iceland where they find the mountain and the shaft that allows them access to the depths of the earth. There they find an expansive ocean, huge creatures, giant mushrooms and insects, a herd of mastodons, prehistoric humans and more. This was a fun read--I was expecting it to be somewhat dated because of its age, but was pleasantly surprised how contemporary it felt. 3 out of 5 stars. posted Feb 26, 2013 at 9:23PM
|The ruby in the smoke [compact disc] |
by Pullman, Philip, 1946-
This young adult novel, opens with 16 year old Sally Lockhart visiting her deceased father’s shipping firm and accidentally causing one of his associates to die of a heart-attack when she ask him if he knows of the Seven Blessings. The phrase was on a piece of paper dictated by her father before his death and sent to her in secret. Believing that her life is in danger, Sally seeks to determine why her father died, who would like to see her dead, and where to find a mysterious ruby. The novel is set in Victorian London, and quickly Sally becomes entangled in a web of mystery involving murder, illegal opium trading, and a stolen ruby. She also meets a variety of characters along the way--both good and bad--including Frederick and his sister Rosa ( photographer and actress respectively) and Jim, a plucky office boy. Sally is a wonderful character--brave, smart, realistic and pragmatic. Lots of twists and turns keep the reader wanting more. 4 1/2 out of 4 stars. posted Feb 19, 2013 at 6:13PM
|Ghostwalk : a novel |
by Stott, Rebecca
A Cambridge historian, Elizabeth Vogelsang, is found drowned, clutching a glass prism in her hand and thus begins the novel Ghostwalk. Her son, Cameron, asks his former lover, Lydia Brooke, to ghostwrite the missing final chapters of his mother’s book on Isaac Newton and his early involvement in alchemy at Trinity College. Lydia agrees and moves into Elizabeth’s house. Lydia is soon entrenched and entangled in the deaths of five people in the late 1660s that may or may not be connected with several modern-day murders that have taken place; as well as an animal-rights group, who may or may not be killing animals in and around Cambridge. Ghostwalk has all the elements of a modern gothic mystery novel: murders, secrets, passion rekindled, and ghosts. However, after a promising beginning I simply had a difficult time sustaining my interest in the various storylines. This is one novel I would have a difficultly recommending—1 out of 5 stars. posted Feb 8, 2013 at 9:07PM
|The adventures of Pinocchio |
by Collodi, Carlo, 1826-1890.
The Adventures of Pinocchio is a novel for children by Italian author Carlo Collodi. It is about the mischievous adventures of Pinocchio a marionette; and his poor father, a woodcarver named Geppetto. Pinocchio was created as a wooden puppet but dreamed of becoming a real boy. Its main theme is that of a naughty child who must learn to be good, not just for his own sake but for the sake of others around him too. The thing to keep in mind is that this is not your Disney’s Pinocchio. This classic flirts with death and disasters that Pinocchio can’t seem to stay away from. At various points in the story Pinocchio is hung from a tree until he dies, he bites a cat's paw off, his leg is caught in a bear trap, he gets arrested and he is turned into a donkey. Oh My! Despite this and the moral lessons being “taught”—the adventures are really quite fun. Despite some of moralizing and the gruesomeness of the story I found myself really liking this tale. 4 out of 5 stars. posted Feb 8, 2013 at 2:46PM
|On beauty |
by Smith, Zadie.
On Beauty is about two families on opposing sides of the culture war: The atheist, liberal Belseys on one side and the ultra-religious, ultra-conservative Kipps' on the other. It's also about race and racial identity: black versus white, academic life and intellectualism and the hypocrisy of those the "firm ideals". Though I found the book well written I found it difficult to like many of the main characters, particularly Howard and Zora. These two characters show the hypocrisy of their lives and beliefs and their lack of real emotional intelligence or empathy. The characters I was able to connect with were Kiki, Levi and Carlene--who show real growth and understanding of their lives. They were the real redemption of this novel. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. posted Feb 1, 2013 at 3:45PM
|The Devil's bones |
by Bass, Jefferson.
The Devil’s Bones is the third novel in the Body Farm forensics series. This time Dr. Bill Brockton is involved in a number of plots that involve remains, bones and fire including charred remains found in a burned-out car, and a disreputable Georgia crematorium that simply dumped bodies on its grounds. I enjoyed this novel (I have read several others of the series) though I found the flow somewhat disjointed because there appeared to be little real connection between the different plots. It was interesting to learn about the science about how fire consumes flesh and bone. In addition to these mysteries, Dr. Brockton is also dealing with his nemesis Garland Hamilton who has escaped from prison. Though I have enjoyed others in this series more, the Devil’s Bones was still a good read--3 1/2 out of 5. posted Feb 1, 2013 at 3:41PM
|The Secret history |
by Tartt, Donna.
The Secret History is the story of a closely knit group of six classics students at a small Vermont college, involved in the murder of one of their own. This is not a spoiler—we know this from the beginning, the question becomes why. The majority of the novel explores the circumstances and lasting effects of Bunny's death on the group, particularly the narrator Richard—more an observer than a member of the group. I found this book interesting yet very disturbing at the same time. These characters are not very likeable—though you do feel sorry for both Francis and Richard is some ways—but they do expose some of the flaws of being human. Some parts of the novel do drag on a bit—but worth the effort. A 4 out of 5 stars. posted Jan 15, 2013 at 11:00AM
|The girl with the dragon tattoo |
by Larsson, Stieg, 1954-2004
Forty years ago Harriet Vanger, a member of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden disappeared and her uncle Henrik wants to know the truth about what he believes was her murder. Henrik hires a disgraced Mikael Blomkvist to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance. Along the way Mikael is aided by Lisbeth Salander a tattooed genius hacker to get to the truth. The novel moves along quickly weaving together many plots and themes, including the disappearance of Harriet, Nazism in Sweden, abuse of women and wealth and fraud. I had seen the movie prior to reading the book--which I enjoyed--but really found the book much more satisfying. Would strongly recommend this novel. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. posted Nov 30, 2012 at 3:01PM
|The spy who came in from the cold |
by Le Carre, John, 1931-
A 1960s Cold War spy novel John le Carré, this book introduces us to Alec Leamas, a British spy who is sent to East Germany supposedly to defect, but in fact is there to spread disinformation about his nemesis Mundt. In the end however he learns that we are all just part of the game. This is not really my type of "mystery"--it is much more a thriller--though I found it slow going. I would give it a 2 1/2 out of 5 stars. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:28PM
by Grossman, Lev.
Edward Wozny, young investment banker, is sent to help one of his firm's most important clients. His task is to search their library for a medieval codex, a book kept sealed away many reasons. Edward meets Margaret Napier,an academic, who he enlists to help him to solve the mystery of the codex-to understand its significance to his clients, and to decipher the seeming parallels between the legend of the codex and an obsessive role-playing computer game, MOMBUS, that has absorbed Edward's time and mind. I found the plot intriguing and the history of the book collection fascinating. Still unsure of the ending--in someways it was a surprise, and at the same time somewhat disappointing. Still I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars. posted Nov 4, 2012 at 11:29AM
|The bean trees [sound recording] |
by Kingsolver, Barbara.
In Barbara Kingsolver’s debut novel, she presents us with a unique heroine Taylor Greer, a young woman from Kentucky determined to avoid becoming a pregnant teen. Taylor leaves home in a beat-up '55 Volkswagen bug, on her way to nowhere in particular. But when a Cherokee woman drops a baby in Taylor's passenger seat and asks her to take it, she does. Taylor names her "Turtle," because she clings with an unrelenting grip. With Turtle in tow, Taylor lands in Tucson with two flat tires and decides to stay. Here she meet a wonderful cast of characters, Maddie the owner of tire store, Lou Ann a divorced mother of a young boy and two undocumented workers from Guatemala. The novel presents issues of motherhood and parenting and friendship. Interestingly, though the book was written 20 years ago—the issues of undocumented people remain the same. A wonderful book—4 out of 5 stars. posted Nov 2, 2012 at 9:30AM
|Behind the scenes at the museum |
by Atkinson, Kate.
Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her family and its secrets. Ruby investigates the lives of the men and women in her family starting with her great grandmother in pre-WWI England and ending with her and her sisters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book--dispite the dysfunction in her family (and there is plenty)--Ruby survives and thrives. The book does bounce back in forth in time--but I thought this was done in an effective manner(through "footnote chapters"). I would strongly recommend this book--4 1/2 out of 5 stars. posted Oct 13, 2012 at 7:24PM
|Olive Kitteridge |
by Strout, Elizabeth.
Described as a novel of stories (13 in fact), this winner of the Pulitzer Prize tells the stories of some of the inhabitants of Crosby Maine. The character of Olive Kitteridge is woven into each of these stories, sometimes as the main character, sometimes a minor one. Olive, a retired teacher, is not a likeable woman. She is strong, rude, bossy, resolute, set in her views. Olive is also capable of great gentleness. She can touch lives with a heart that proves to be extremely kind, and although she brutally honest with herself and others, aging is making her see things differently. The book explores the topics of loneliness, the lack of understanding between people, how behavior can damage relationships and chase people away, aging and life and death. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this novel, but the character of Olive grew on me, to the point where I admired the damaged broken Olive. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. posted Sep 17, 2012 at 9:57PM
|Suite francaise |
by Nemirovsky, Irene, 1903-1942
I just couldn't finish this book--I found it boring. So following the Nancy Pearl rule of 50 I decided to put it aside for now--maybe another day or maybe never! posted Sep 11, 2012 at 3:48PM
|To kill a mockingbird |
by Lee, Harper.
Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Through Scout's eyes and story telling the issues of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up are explored. What I love about this story is how the Lee shows that everyone is human and multi-faceted. Mrs Dubose, a bigot who screams insults at the Finches, is also a courageous woman who kicks her morphine addict and dies “beholden to nothing and nobody”, Miss Caroline Fisher who has compassion for the Jews of Europe but none for blacks of her own community--even Scout herself who can't understand why they shouldn't play games involving Boo Radley. The language of this book may not be appropriate for younger children--but it is a must read for all. 5 out of 5 stars. posted Aug 24, 2012 at 11:41AM
|The help |
by Stockett, Kathryn
The Help is about a young white woman in the early 1960s in Mississippi who becomes interested in the plight of the black ladies' maids that every family has working for them. She writes their stories about mistreatment, abuse and heartbreaks of working in white families' homes, all just before the Civil Rights revolution. Each chapter is narrated by the three principal characters...Minny and Aibileen, two black maids, and Miss Skeeter, a young, white woman newly graduated from college. Though the book deals with race and the South, I think the book was more about each of the main characters finding their own voice. Engaging and enjoyable--3 1/2 out of 5 stars. posted Aug 14, 2012 at 11:25AM
|Anansi boys |
by Gaiman, Neil
As he is preparing for his upcoming wedding, Fat Charlie Nancy’s father passes away. When Fat Charlie reluctantly attends his father’s funeral he discovers that his father is Anansi, the Spider god of Africa. Anansi is also a god of telling stories and naming things, something he happened to steal from another ancient African god, Tiger. Charlie also discovers that he has a brother Spider, who has inherited their father’s godly abilities and magic. Fat Charlie life begins to spin out of control as Spider comes to stay with him to get to know him better. A series of events send the brothers on a series of adventures that change both their lives. This is a wonderful book—another winner by Neil Gaiman. He has created a complex family story—in the environment of fantasy, mythology and comedy. Five stars out of five. posted Jul 6, 2012 at 8:59PM
|A discovery of witches |
by Harkness, Deborah E., 1965-
I loved this book and can't wait for the second one to come out. In the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, Diana Bishop calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Diana is descended from a distinguished line of witches, but Diana wants nothing to do with magic; so she banishes the book back to the stacks. But her discovery has already set things into motion--and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only one who can break its spell. A combination of fantasy, historical fiction, romance and thriller--this is definitely one to read. 5 out of 5. posted Jul 2, 2012 at 10:39AM
|The bone thief |
by Bass, Jefferson.
The fifth installment of the Body Farm series, Dr. Bill Brockton has been called in on a routine case, to exhume a body and obtain a bone sample for a DNA paternity test. But when the coffin is opened, Brockton is stunned to see that the corpse is missing some of its bones. Soon Brockton finds himself drawn into the dangerous business of black market body parts when the FBI recruits him to bring down the postmortem chop shop-using corpses from the Body Farm as bait in an undercover sting operation. In addition, Brockton struggles to help his friend Eddie Garcia deal with the loss of his hands due to his exposure a near-lethal dose of radioactivity. I found the plot interesting--though it had much more medical detail than previous installments. I did however feel that the Gracia secondary plot was extended a bit too long. I found the Bones of Betrayal a better read. 3 1/2 out of 4 stars. posted Jun 19, 2012 at 3:04PM
|Animal farm |
by Orwell, George, 1903-1950.
The novel Animal Farm is a satire/fable of the Russian revolution and Stalin, and generally any totalitarian society. The novel addresses not only the corruption of the revolution by its leaders but also how greed, indifference, and ignorance corrupt the revolution. The novel highlights the reality of what can happen when absolute power is placed in the hands of a few. ultimately we learn that "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." 4 out of 5 stars posted May 24, 2012 at 3:19PM
|Pudd'nhead Wilson ; and, Those extraordinary twins |
by Twain, Mark, 1835-1910.
Pudd'nhead Wilson can be described as Mark Twain's attack on racial prejudice in the guise of a mystery. The novel begins with a young slave woman, fearing for her infant's son's life, exchanging her light-skinned child with her master's. From this rather simple premise Mark Twain has created an entertaining, funny, yet biting novel. On its surface, Pudd'nhead Wilson possesses all the elements of a mystery: reversed identities, a horrible crime, an eccentric detective, a suspenseful courtroom drama, and a surprising solution. Yet it is not a mystery novel. This book reveals the real criminal--society, and racial prejudice and slavery are the crimes. 4 out of 5 stars. posted May 23, 2012 at 10:49AM
|The graveyard book |
by Gaiman, Neil
The winner of the 2009 Newberry award, this book tells the tale of Nobody Owens, a young boy, who, after his family is murdered, is adopted and raised by the occupants of a graveyard. I loved this fantasy filled with memorable characters - living and dead. Humor helps soften the bittersweet exploration of life and family. The tension ratchets up as Bod's opponents track him down and all the threads weave together to a wonderful resolution.The scariest parts aren't the ghosts and ghouls in the graveyard, but the dangers that lurk outside the gates. I wouldn't recommend this for anyone younger than middle-school age. 5 out of 5 stars. posted May 21, 2012 at 11:33AM
|The seven-per-cent solution : being a reprint from the reminiscences of John H.|
by Meyer, Nicholas, 1945-
In this discovery of an "unpublished" Holmes adventure, we find Sigmund Freud attempting to cure Sherlock Holmes of his cocaine addiction, forcing him to deal with his issues regarding Professor Moriarty, and Freud getting involved in Holmes' case of a young woman with amnesia, complete with battle on the roof of a train. What more could you ask for? 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. posted May 17, 2012 at 2:03PM
|A red herring without mustard : a Flavia de Luce mystery |
by Bradley, C. Alan, 1938-
Flavia de Luce returns in her third mystery, investigating a long-ago missing child, the brutal attack on a gypsy fortune-teller, and a murdered local thug. Flavia continues to use her chemistry knowledge and sleuthing skills to discover the truth behind all of the mysteries presented. What I especially like about this book is that you get more of the inner story of Flavia. What you discover is a young girl who who misses and grieves for her mother, is hurt by her sister’s hatred towards her, and really needs a young friend (besides Dugger). I loved this book and can't wait to pick star reading the next one in the series. A definite 5 out of 5. posted May 1, 2012 at 1:26PM
|Al Capone shines my shoes |
by Choldenko, Gennifer, 1957-
A children's novel about a family who lives on Alcatraz at the time when gangster Al Capone was a prisoner there. A sequel to Al Capone Does My Shirts, Capone wants a favor in return for the help that he secretly gave Moose in that book. I would recommend this book for children 8 to 12 years old or for families to enjoy together. 3 out of 5 stars. posted Apr 12, 2012 at 10:06PM
|Death comes for the archbishop |
by Cather, Willa, 1873-1947.
The story of a French priest who goes to New Mexico and with another priest and "wins" the Southwest for the Catholic Church. After forty years, he dies -- the Archbishop of Santa Fe. I found this book very contemporary even though it was written in 1927. Issues that we continue to deal with today, the environment, diverse cultures, issues of power, the Church both good and bad all find their way into this wonderful book. A definite 5 out of 5. posted Apr 8, 2012 at 4:25PM
|The Yiddish policemen's union : a novel |
by Chabon, Michael.
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union is a detective novel that takes place in an alternative history setting. The novel’s protagonist, Meyer Landsman, is a detective who has lost his way. In this world, America has provided the Jews with a temporary settlement in Sitka, Alaska, in 1940. Jews who settled in Israel after World War Two, lost the Arab-Israeli War. Now Sitka is to be returned to the US and the Jews of Sitka must again find new homes. Within this landscape a man has been murdered in Landsman's seedy hotel home. He is told to let it go--but that is not something he can do. This book combines sci-fi/fantasy, with 40s detective genre with religion and the nature of redemption. And guess what--it works! The book was funny, entertaining, and at times heartbreaking. Worth the read--4 1/2 out of 5. posted Apr 4, 2012 at 9:22PM
|Thus was Adonis murdered |
by Caudwell, Sarah.
The first mystery in Caudwell's series featuring amateur investigator Hilary Tamar and a cast of young London lawyers. When a young man is found dead in Julia Larwood's bed, her lawyer friends are the only ones who can uncover the truth of this murder. What I found most interesting about this book is that we are never really at the murder scene--only through a series of letters do we get clues. I would give this book 3.5 out of 5. posted Apr 2, 2012 at 4:14PM
|The book thief |
by Zusak, Markus.
How do the characters of Death, a book thief and her foster parents, a boxing Jew and young German boy who wants to be Jessie Owens make a wonderful reading experience—I am not really sure but they do. When I began to read this book I wasn’t sure I would enjoy Death as the narrator in the setting of World War II, but somehow it works. Death tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a 13-year old girl and “book thief” who has lost her family in the early stages of World War II. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. I loved the characters, I adored the way the book was written and the plot was brilliantly conceived—5 out of 5 stars. posted Mar 20, 2012 at 9:29PM
|Cleopatra : a life |
by Schiff, Stacy.
With all the press and attention this book has received, I was hoping to really, really like it. However, I really, really did not. By chapter 3, I decided to close it up for good. The writing style is affected, distracting and frequently flippant. I decided to take the Nancy Pearl's “rule of fifty,” and stopped the boring endeavor!I really can't give this book any stars! posted Mar 8, 2012 at 2:53PM
|The necromancer |
by Scott, Michael, 1959-
This is the fourth book of Michael Scott's series "The secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel". As with the first three books, the Necromancer is fast-paced and filled with a variety of different story-lines and even more famous historical immortals are introduced to the reader. Continues the story of Sophie and Josh and their journey of saving the world from the Dark Elders, though now there is friction between the twins, and their belief in the Flamels. 4 out of 5 stars. posted Mar 2, 2012 at 2:21PM
|The year of magical thinking |
by Didion, Joan.
"Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant." Joan Didion's husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, died of a heart attack, just after they had returned from the hospital where their only child, Quintana, was lying in a coma. This book is a memoir of Dunne's death, Quintana's illness, and Didion's efforts to make sense of a time when nothing makes sense. I found this book profound in its description of death, grief and ultimately love. At times a little detached, but definitely a compelling read. 4.5 out of 5. posted Mar 2, 2012 at 1:49PM
|The body in the library : a Miss Marple mystery |
by Christie, Agatha, 1890-1976
The body of a young blonde is found in the library of Colonel and Mrs. Bantry. The Bantry's call in their old friend, Miss Marple, to investigate the crime and Miss Marple is her brillant, shrewd self. It is discovered that the murdered girl was a young dancer at the resort in Danemouth. The cast of characters included a family with a tragic past, the tennis pro and a partying film producer. Only Miss Marple, with her knowledge of human nature and her suspicion of all, is able to sort it out. Even though this book was written in 1924, it felt fresh, fun and full of surprises. A great read; 4.5 out of 5. posted Feb 22, 2012 at 8:31PM
|A morbid taste for bones |
by Peters, Ellis, 1913-1995.
A Morbid Taste for Bones is the first Brother Cadfael mystery. When a fellow monk by the name of Brother Columbanus falls ill, he’s taken in a pilgrimage to St Winifred’s Well in North Wales and returns cured. The cure is attributed to St Winifred. Prior Robert, Cadfael (needed to translate) and a small party travel to the village of Gwytherin in Wales to claim the saint’s relics; against the will of the local community. Tempers rise, and murder is the result. It’s up to Brother Cadfael and to Sioned, a local young woman, to find out what really happened. This book is a fun read--things move along quickly. 3.5 out of 5 stars. posted Feb 20, 2012 at 9:50AM
|The Hunger Games |
by Collins, Suzanne
A young adult novel, The Hunger Games presents a post-apocalyptic vision of the future of North America, now the nation of Panem. In Panem,—The Capitol—rules mercilessly over 12 outlying districts. Each year, The Capitol requires that each district select two teenagers by lottery—one boy and one girl—to represent the district at the annual Hunger Games, as “tributes”. The Games are a cross between the reality show Survivor and the Roman Colosseum: the 24 teens must fight to the death on live national television in a huge outdoor arena. The Capitol stages the Hunger Games as a continuing reminder of the districts’ subservience, and as a brutal warning about how rebellion is dealt with. Katniss Everdeen—heroine of the novel—becomes one of the tributes from District 12, the poorest of the districts, along with Peeta Mellark. The bulk of the book features Katniss and Peeta’s violent struggle for their survival, and their interactions with other tributes, citizens of The Capitol and with each other. I found this book well written and fascinating. I think it explores our fascination with "reality TV", celebrity and violence. Though it is a YA novel--it is extremely violent so I would not recommended it for the young teen. 4.5 out of 5 stars. posted Feb 14, 2012 at 12:44PM
|The diviner's tale |
by Morrow, Bradford, 1951-
While divining (searching for water) in upstate New York, Cassandra Brooks discovers the body of a young girl hanging from a tree. When she returns with with the authorities, the body is gone. However, when she returns the following day with the sheriff, another girl emerges from the woods, unhurt. I expected from the description of this book that this novel would be a sort of spiritual mystery. I was disappointed. It really is more about the diviner's self exploration--with a little mystery thrown in. The last third of the book could have been edited significantly. I would this novel a 2.5 out of 5. posted Feb 13, 2012 at 3:10PM
|Going Home : Finding Peace When Pets Die |
by Katz, Jon
Written by Jon Katz, the author of the Bedlam Farm stories--this book deals with the loss of a pet, through his personal experiences of loss. What I particularly liked was his discussion of not just the loss but planning for the loss--so that when the time comes, which it will, there will be a plan. This could almost be an advanced planning or end of life planning for our pets. The stories are sweet and sad, and the advice well thought out. 4 1/2 out 5 stars. posted Feb 4, 2012 at 1:29PM
|Bones of betrayal |
by Bass, Jefferson.
A novel featuring forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton looking into an unusual death. A man’s body is pulled out of a swimming pool in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The autopsy reveals that he appears to have died after ingesting a highly radioactive pellet. Brockton discovers that the victim was a key player in the Manhattan Project—he realizes that to solve the crime, he must dig into the secret history of the Manhattan Project itself. I found this book fascinating--lot of twists and turns. No one is really who they seem. Highly recommended. 5 out of 5. posted Jan 20, 2012 at 11:54AM
|The sisters who would be queen : Mary, Katherine, and Lady Jane Grey : a Tudor t|
by De Lisle, Leanda
This is a non-fiction account of the story of Lady Jane Grey and her lesser known sisters, Katherine and Mary. All I can say is that I can't believe that I finished the book. I found parts of this book boring, confusing and too many characters were introduced without explanation or any real comment. Unless you are a real Tudor history nerd I wouldn't recommend this book. 1 out of 5 stars. posted Jan 12, 2012 at 1:53PM
|Their eyes were watching God : a novel |
by Hurston, Zora Neale.
This novel is the story of fair-skinned Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, racism, discrimination and loss. I found the novel interesting and enjoyed the character of Janie. What a resilient woman. I would give this a 4.5 stars out of 5. posted Jan 3, 2012 at 2:16PM
|The weed that strings the hangman's bag |
by Bradley, C. Alan, 1938-
Flavia de Luce, eleven-year-old "chemist" and amateur sleuth, is back again in the second book of this series. Flavia sets out to solve the murder of a beloved puppeteer--though she finds out that he was not as beloved as let on. This eventually leads her to previous death in the village and the tie the binds these two deaths. Again Flavia is a charmer--the book is a fun and fast read. Highly recommended. posted Dec 7, 2011 at 4:29PM
|The body in the gazebo : a Faith Fairchild mystery |
by Page, Katherine Hall.
A fun cozy mystery, featuring Faith Fairchild a minister’s wife, caterer, and amateur sleuth. In this book Faith is dealing with secrets in all forms, both from the past and the present. As Faith must help her friend Ursula "solve" a mystery from the Depression, she also feels a need to expose an embezzler who has framed her husband. I have read a number of books from this series and find them an easy fun read--this book was no exception. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. posted Nov 28, 2011 at 10:29AM
|The sign of four /|
by Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir, 1859-1930
The story is set in 1887. The Sign of Four has a complex plot involving service in East India Company, India, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, a stolen treasure, and a secret pact among four convicts and two corrupt prison guards. The "mystery" was interesting, but what I really enjoyed about this book is watching Holmes use his powers of deduction--always a pleasure! Highly recommended-4 1/2 out of 5 stars. posted Nov 21, 2011 at 9:53AM
|The midwife's apprentice |
by Cushman, Karen.
A Newberry Award winner, this book tells the tale of Alyce (Dung) with no name, no home, and no family. Curled in a dung heap, the village midwife finds her there and takes her in as a helper and an apprentice. Alyce begins to learn skills of midwifery, begins to make friends and finds her self worth. However, one day, when Alyce is summoned to deliver a baby, she fails and runs away, believing she is too stupid to become a midwife. Alyce must then learn to value herself again. A 4 out of 5 stars. posted Nov 21, 2011 at 9:38AM
|The daughter of time |
by Tey, Josephine, 1896 or 7-1952.
Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating in the hospital, becomes fascinated with the portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the evil hunchback, murderer of the young princes. Could such a noble face actually belong to one of the world's most heinous villains -- one who would murder children to secure the crown? Or was Richard really the victim--slandered by others. Grant determines to find out once and for all, what kind of man Richard III was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower. This was a fascinating twist on the historical mystery--a definite 5 out of 5. posted Nov 13, 2011 at 3:57PM
|The railway children [sound recording] |
by Nesbit, E. 1858-1924.
A wonderful children's book, written more than 100 years ago. It is the story of 3 siblings Roberta (Bobbi), Peter & Phyllis who must move to a small cottage in a little town when their father is mysteriously taken away. They meet many of the town's folk; including Perks the railway Porter and the Old Gentleman, a rider on the train. While their mother writes stories to support them, they go off and have many wonderful adventures. What I especially enjoyed about this book is how real these children were; they argue, fight, make up and behave like "regular" siblings. I would recommend this book for children 8 to 12 years old or for families to enjoy together. 5 out of 5 stars. posted Nov 9, 2011 at 8:19PM
|Iron Lake : a Cork O'Connor mystery |
by Krueger, William Kent.
The first in the Cork O'Connor mystery series, Cork is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota (part of Northern Minnesota), and separated from his wife. Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, he has lost his job as sheriff because of a previous tragic incident. When a young Indian boy goes missing at the same time a local judge appears to take his own life, Cork finds himself right in the middle of an investigation. I enjoyed this book, particularly the Northern Mnnesota setting, being for the state myself and the references to the Anishinaabe culture. The mystery had a number of twists and turns and kept me interested until the end. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. posted Nov 9, 2011 at 2:46PM
|The hundred penny box |
by Mathis, Sharon Bell.
A lovely book about the relationship between a young boy and his 100 year old great aunt. She shares the history of her life with him through her 100 penny box-one penny for each year of her life. The illustrations are beautiful "sepia toned" watercolors. 5 out of 5 stars. posted Oct 31, 2011 at 11:39AM
|The ritual bath : a novel |
by Kellerman, Faye.
The first of Kellerman's Peter Decker & Rina Lazarus series this book involves the investigation of a rape at closed Jewish community and school in California outside the mikvah, the bathhouse where women perform their cleansing ritual. Detective Peter Decker of the LAPD is called upon to investigate with the help of a young widow Rina Lazarus. She helps guide him through the religious laws that hinder him from finding the truth. Though the investigation was interesting, the best part was exploration of the Orthodox Judiasm and its impact on the case. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. posted Oct 21, 2011 at 2:07PM
|Roll of thunder, hear my cry |
by Taylor, Mildred D.
This fictional novel is based on an African-American family, the Logans, struggling in Mississippi during the 1930s. The narrator of the story is Cassie, their only daughter, who is outspoken and self-confident. The portrait of racism, bigotry is stark, realistic and at times shocking. This is also the story of Cassie learning the "ways of the world" but still maintaining her dignity despite the humilitation she has to endure. I think that is what makes it a great novel. Meant for young readers I would say that this is really a young adult novel and would recommend it for the older reader (13+). 5 out of 5 stars. posted Oct 19, 2011 at 4:10PM
|The death instinct |
by Rubenfeld, Jed, 1959-
The more things change the more they stay the same. This novel deals with a bombing in New York--in 1920! There are themes with hatred of immigrants, PSTD following war & the use of attacks on our soil to initiate war against another country--I suppose it could be the present decade. Though I thought the there were interesting elements to this book--I felt there were too many plots to deal with in one book. At times the book just dragged. I had enjoyed Interpretation of a Murder so I was excited by this new book--somewhat of a disappointment! 2 out of 5 stars. posted Oct 5, 2011 at 11:52AM
|Esperanza rising |
by Ryan, Pam Munoz
Inspired by the author's grandmother, this young reader's novel tells the story of Esperanza, child of a wealthy landowner in Mexico, who with her mother must start over in the fields of California during the depression. A wonderful book, that looks at the issue of immigration, change and starting over, poverty and hope, and connecting to your roots. I would give this 5 out of 5 stars, perfect for the young reader. posted Sep 29, 2011 at 9:30AM
|A light in the attic |
by Silverstein, Shel.
Wonderful Shel Silverstein. We meet many of the inhabitants of his wonderful imagination. Entertaining for both child and adult. 5 out of 5 stars. posted Sep 20, 2011 at 2:01PM
|The zookeeper's wife : a war story |
by Ackerman, Diane.
This non-fiction book tells the story of the Antonina and Jan Zabinski, keepers of the Warsaw Zoo and their actions in using the zoo to hide their Jewish neighbors. At times a little bit too detailed (I really didn't need to read in detail about a beetle collection), all in all a very fascinating book about the people of Poland, the Polish underground, and the effects of war on the Polish citizens. I would give this book 3 1/2 stars out of 5. posted Aug 29, 2011 at 3:40PM
|The book of names |
by Gregory, Jill.
Reviews had listed this book as another DaVinci Code. Not quite. Some interesting content/mystery based on the Kabala, but a pretty start forward mystery. Does have a pretty fast pace. 2 1/2 stars out of 5. posted Aug 24, 2011 at 3:03PM
|Jacob have I loved |
by Paterson, Katherine.
A Newbery award winner--telling the tale of two twins and angst of being the twin in the shadow. Generally I enjoyed the book--but did think that the resolution came too quickly. I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars. posted Aug 24, 2011 at 11:52AM
|Death dance |
by Fairstein, Linda A.
3.5 stars out of 5 posted Aug 4, 2011 at 3:37PM
|Cat sitter among the pigeons : a Dixie Hemingway mystery |
by Clement, Blaize
I have read all of the Cat Sitter's series and have enjoyed all. Lots of humor a little romance and lots of animals and a little mystery. What more could you want. 3 out of 5 stars. posted Aug 4, 2011 at 3:36PM
|The book without words : a fable of medieval magic |
by Avi, 1937-
2.5 stars out of 5 posted Aug 4, 2011 at 3:33PM
|Heresy : a thriller |
by Parris, S. J., 1974-
Based loosely on the life of Giordano Bruno, this mystery is set in the time of Queen Elizabeth in the setting of Oxford University. Though the premise is somewhat interesting, the killing of members of community, based on the deaths of saints, I found the pace very slow. I would give it 2 out of 5 stars. posted Aug 4, 2011 at 3:30PM
|Number the stars |
by Lowry, Lois.
Great book for the young reader, 8-12. Tells the tale of a young girl Annemarie who lives in Denmark, who is indirectly & directly affected by WWII. Shows the effects of war, the heroism of people during dangerous times & the cruelty of man against others. It is written in a way that lets young readers understand the times without providing the gruesome details. Highly recommended. posted Aug 3, 2011 at 2:59PM
|Silent mercy |
by Fairstein, Linda A.
This is a typical Alex Cooper mystery. The "mystery" plot is a little thin, but as in all of this series the best part is history and the involvement of locations in New York City. This time it is some of the religious buidlings found in the City. I would give this one 3 out of 5 stars. posted Jul 20, 2011 at 11:03AM
|Enter three witches : a story of Macbeth |
by Cooney, Caroline B.
Interesting book for 8-12 year old readers. Basically retells the story of MacBeth from the view point of a young woman in the castle. Many of the chapters center around the lines of the play. posted Jul 7, 2011 at 10:50AM
by Fey, Tina, 1970-
Love Tina Fey--highly recommend this book. Though not quite a memoir--it is very funny and reveals alot about what is like for a woman to work in an environment that is usually reserved for men. posted Jul 7, 2011 at 10:44AM
|Heads you lose |
by Lutz, Lisa.
Loved this book. I have enjoyed the Spellman series so thought I might enjoy this. The main "plot" is a series of murders that take place in a small California town--and 2 pot growing siblings (brother and sister)who get tangled up in the investigation of the murders. Though the main plot was interesting the best part was the interaction between the two authors. This book was a collaberation between Lisa Lutz and former boyfriend David Hayward. The comments that they make on each others chapters are hilarious--as well as their reaction to the comments in their writing of their chapters. Highly recommended. posted Jul 7, 2011 at 10:41AM
|Abraham Lincoln : vampire hunter |
by Grahame-Smith, Seth.
A little bit of history (sort of) and a lot of gory sci-fi. It was a fun read--great summer read. posted Jul 7, 2011 at 10:35AM
|The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde |
by Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894.
I hadn't read this book in many years but decided to read it again this year. I read it in one afternoon--it was fantastic. Highly recommend it for those who love both sci-fi and mystery. posted Jul 7, 2011 at 10:33AM
|The last days of Ptolemy Grey |
by Mosley, Walter
As some one currently dealing with family members in their own journey with dementia I found this book a wonderful gift. posted Jul 7, 2011 at 10:28AM
|A lonely death |
by Todd, Charles.
I have not read any of the Inspector Rutledge books in the past but after reading this book I plan to start the series from the beginning. I received this book as part of the Early Reviewers program. I loved the character of Rutledge--as well as the description of his torment of his experience in the war. I think that part of the book, especially in light of our current wars, made it most relevant to me. The book finds the Inspector investigating a series of killings in a small Sussex village. In nine days, three men have been garrotted. As interesting as the "mystery" was, the part I found most interesting was Rutledge dealing with the impact of the war on two friends. How war can push men over the edge in so many ways was fascinating. The only thing that I would have changed is the subplot of the Stonehege murder. I don't think that it added anything to the story and was somewhat convoluted. All in all I would highly recommend this book posted Jul 7, 2011 at 10:25AM
|Marsap's Book Lists|
|100+ book challenge 2013 (102 titles)
| Book challenge 2011-2012 (62 titles)