Tuesday, July 28, 2020

"Brave Like That" by Lindsey Stoddard

Brave Like That by Lindsey Stoddard is about Cyrus, a sixth grader who finds himself telling lies and faking things in order to keep his secrets. I think this is a good book for kids because it's about accepting yourself and not trying to be something you aren't.  It's about being brave enough to do the right thing and not worry about what others think.  I enjoyed it because of the boy's relationship with Parker, the dog and his grandmother who had a stroke.  It's a happy little story with a good message.
(Karen's review, 4 stars)

Gerard's review 7/28/20:
In Brave Like That by Lindsey Stoddard, Cyrus is a young teen boy whose life changes when a stray dog comes into it.  Cyrus goes against his father's wishes by keeping the dog a secret, but for how long?  When the secret is exposed, will Cyrus be brave enough to stand up for what he wants?  I thought this book was pretty good even though it is geared to children.  If you enjoyed the movie and book Wonder, you will enjoy this one.  It is a quick read.
(4 stars)

Teaser from page 6:  Tears burn behind my eyes because it doesn't feel right to just leave him here.  It's now where he belongs.

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"The Daughter" by Jane Shemilt

The cat's face tells you what I thought of this one!
When I read The Playground by Jane Shemilt, I saw she also wrote The Daughter so I decided to read that too.   Unfortunately, I got sick of the writing style with jumping from the past to present in every chapter and all the description.  Perhaps had I not read it right after The Playground, I may have enjoyed it more.  However, it moved along extremely slowly which caused me to give up on it even before getting half way through it.  The daughter went missing practically from the start of the book, but after that, the action ended.  This is one I do not recommend.
(Karen's review, 1 star)

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

"The Playground" by Jane Shemilt Lives up to the Hype

The Playground by Jane Shemilt takes place in London and is about three families, one with three children, one with two kids and one with an only child.  They all meet and socialize through having one of their kids being tutored by Eve.  The parents have no clue what their kids are up to.  Each family has some sort of problem, some worse than others!  

Several different issues are packaged in this book:  marital abuse, mental illness, alcoholism, friendship and rape.  The interaction among the characters is what moves this book along.  I would have enjoyed it more if I actually liked more of the characters.  As it is, I only really liked three, Eric, Grace and Charley.
(Karen's review3 stars) 

Gerard's review7/6/20:
The Playground by Jane Shemilt centers on three women, Eve, Melissa and Grace.  They all have children and over time, they become close and socialize along with their husbands.  The children go off to play on their own.  What could possibly go wrong with that?  I flew through this book because I enjoyed the interactions between the adults and the children so much.  The ending was the best!  This is a great read!  (5++ stars)
Teaser from page 30:  She wishes she had some of those earphones that cancel out noise.  She'd cancel out her whole family if she could.

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Monday, July 20, 2020

"When You See Me" by Lisa Gardner (Both Liked This One!)

When you See Me by Lisa Gardner is about how a small town is a center for evil.  This book focuses on the good guys following up on old murder cases when they keep finding skeletons of dead bodies buried in shallow graves in the Appalachian Mountains and stumbling on something even more complex.  One of the main characters is a young teenage girl who watched a bad man kill her mother with a bullet when she was just six that went through her throat and also hit the girl, taking away her ability to talk.  She is a big help to the task force working on solving these crimes.

This book is well written in that in spite of all the different characters, I was able to keep them all straight and never once felt confused.  I felt sad for the little girl (Bonita).  I liked that the task force included a couple civilians as well, one a computer analyst and the other a survivor of rape and kidnapping by a serial killer (Keith and Flora).  This book kept my interest from start to finish. 
(Karen's review, 5 stars)

Gerard's review 7/20/20
In When You See Me by Lisa Gardner, bodies are starting to pile up in the hills of a small town in Georgia.  Now it's up to detective D.D. Warren and her crew to find answers and put an end to it.  There are lots of characters in this book and lots of action!  It flows well with an exciting final part.
(5 stars)

Teaser from page 9:  I fly like the wind, I want to believe.  I hurtle myself into her arms.

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Monday, July 13, 2020

"The Girl Beyond the Red Rope" by Ted and Rachel Dekker

In The Girl Beyond the Red Rope by Ted and Rachel Dekker, Grace lives in Haven Valley.  She is safe, she is told, while the rest of the world is filled with evil.  Grace's brother tells her that he has gone out into the world and there is nothing to fear.  Does Grace believe that?  If so, what will she do?  Will her brother, Jamie, pay the price for going outside the valley?

I thought this book was very good.  I enjoyed all the characters and it flowed along well.  For most of the book, I had no idea what was going to happen!  The ending had me turning pages quickly, so good.
(Gerard's review, 5++ stars)

Teaser from page 14:  "I'm stuck," I whispered.  "I think I made a terrible mistake.  I think I betrayed Rose and now Jamie's in trouble."

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Friday, July 10, 2020

"The Kingdom of Back" by Marie Lu

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu is historical fiction that centers on Wolfgang Mozart and his sister, Nannerl Mozart.  They are both very talented when it comes to playing music on the piano.  Nannerl wants fame but in this book fame comes at a cost.  Will she be willing to pay that cost?

Marie Lu is such a talented writer!  I enjoyed reading about both the brother and sister very much and look forward to her next book!
(Gerard's review, 5+ stars)

Teaser from page 7:  I closed my eyes.  In the darkness, with only myself, I searched for the pulse of the music and let my hands find it.

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

"Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is about motherhood and secrets.  I found this story to be thought provoking and heartbreaking.  It contrasts the lives of a rich upper class family of six, the Richardsons, with a single mother, Mia, who is an artist and struggles to provide for her and her teenage daughter.  Then another story line is about a Chinese birth mother who gave up her baby and now wants her back from the nice, well-to-do couple who has started the adoption process.  There is lots of emotion wrapped up in this book.  I think this would be an excellent book for a book club to discuss.  I enjoyed reading this but was a bit disappointed with the ending that was kind of left up in the air.  I think women would definitely enjoy this one more than men.      
(Karen's review, 4 stars)

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

"Devoted" by Dean Koontz is Really Good!

In Devoted by Dean Koontz, Woody has not said a word in his 11-yr.-old life.  He believes an evil was the cause of his dad's death and that evil is still out there, coming for his mom and him!  He needs special help.  Can a gifted dog bring him that help? 

I thought this book was very good with the good and evil going after each other, Koontz style!  Wood was a good character, but Kipp, the dog is what makes this book so good in my eyes!
(Gerard's review, 5+ Stars)  

Teaser from page 36:  As he circles the room, he tries to recall when and where his life went wrong, not regarding the events at the labs, but prior to that.  When had he last been truly happy?

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