Thursday, October 18, 2018

Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit / Amy Stewart / 303 pages

This is the fourth book Amy Stewart has written about Constance Kopp, New Jersey's first female deputy sheriff in the early 1900's.  Constance lives with her two sisters, older sister Norma and younger sister Fleurette, on their farm outside of town.  This book centers around Constance rescuing an escaped prisoner from the river, exposing the unjust asylum commitment of a woman, and the election of a new sheriff.  These books are based on real people and events.  Very enjoyable stories and it is interesting to see how far women have come!

Abdictation / Juliet Nicolson / 342 pages

Abdictation is a novel set in England just prior to the abdictation of the king to marry Wallis Simpson.  The story is centered around two main characters, nineteen year old May Thomas and American spinster Evangeline Nettlefold whose lives intersect with the the storyline of the king and Wallis Simpson.  May and her brother, Sam, are born and raised in Barbados, but move to England for a better life.  May gets a job as a secretary and driver for Sir Philip Blunt.  Evangeline is a girlhood friend and classmate from Baltimore of Wallis Simpson.  Enangeline's mother passes away and she finds herself in financial need and relying on relatives when Wallis reaches out to her and invites her to visit. The king's story is a backdrop to the stories of May and Evangeline.

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine / Gail Honeyman / 325 pages

Eleanor Oliphant is a 30 year old single woman working in an office.  She struggles with appropriate social skills and says exactly what she thinks.  Her routine is very structured and she does not have any friends.  Then she meets Raymond, an IT technician at her work, and her life begins to change as their friendship develops.  The author slowly reveals the events in Eleanor's life that shaped her into the person she is. There is excellent character development and  the reader vividly experiences the journey of change and acceptance that Eleanor lives through in the book. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Romanov Sisters/513 pgs/ Helen Rappaport

This non-fiction takes a look at diaries, letters and accounts of the Romanov family before they were cruelly murdered in 1918.

Although the title focuses on the Romanov sisters, I felt that the book itself really looked at the mother (Alexandra) and the two older daughters (Olga and Tatiana) while mentioning the younger daughters (Maria and Anastasia), brother (Alexey) and father (Tsar Nicholas) here and there. The book shows how normal this royal family was and levelheaded, even in the midst of a revolution against them. The author does not go into their execution as she has a previous book that delves more into it.

Here are some things that really interested me:
The Russian people really did not like Alexandra, they felt she was distant and cold. She was also German and English which they didn't like. They also shamed her when it took forever to produce a male heir.

Alexandra suffered from a lot of illnesses and barely left the house. But it amazed the Russian people how she was very modern for their time (breastfeeding her own kid, dressing her kids in plain clothing...)

The children were VERY sheltered and didn't leave the house often. This was mainly due to Alexandras fear for their safety but also her being overprotective. Those who met the children found them to be out of touch with reality and naive.

Alexandra relied heavily on seers and mysticism. She worshipped Rasputin (a shady self-proclaimed holy man). Her closeness with Rasputin was a threat to the Romanovs.

Overall I found this book to be really interesting and it humanized the family. One can see how they were just a regular family but the old fashion ways couldn't evolve with the times and the family was sadly killed.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Bonnie & Clyde: The Making of a Legend/KarenBlumenthal/250 pages (True Crime)

Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a LegendBonnie and Clyde:  The Making of a Legend is a new young adult book about one of America's most notorious couples.  The book opens when Bonnie and Clyde are in their teens and have not yet met.  From there it takes you (in chronological order) through car heists, robberies, murders, gun battles and prison breaks all the while portraying our pair as a nice young couple that seemed to get in trouble a lot.  Our author must have used family interviews for her book.  She seems intent on correcting some falsehood about Bonnie and Clyde and includes sections that let you know Bonnie was quite a poet and Clyde liked hot chocolate with marshmallows!  This is a very readable account of these famous outlaws.  The photos are a real bonus.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Trick or Treat Murder/Leslie Meier/245 pages

Trick Or Treat Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery)   Just in time for Halloween--this is a light mystery with a homey setting and delightful characters. 

Lucy is busy with three kids (including a new baby!) but still has time to bake dozens of cupcakes for the local Halloween party, collect donations from the towns people, help her neighbors in various ways at various times and investigate the recent string of arson in her small town.  Lucy is no stranger to amateur sleuthing.  This time, its Halloween night and the big celebration in one of the oldest homes in Tinker's Cove has just ended.  Lucy makes a late night trip back to the mansion to collect a forgotten diaper bag and winds up solving the case and landing in the hospital.  Is it a little far fetched?  Of course.  A   tad unbelievable?  You betcha!  A fast and easy good read?  YES!

Treachery in Death/J.D.Robb/375 pages

     Eve Dallas is the lieutenant of the homicide division in New York City in the year 2060.  She has been working side by side with her partner, Delia Peabody, for years now so when Peabody comes to her shaken after an incident in the police locker room, Eve believes her without question.  Peabody overheard an argument between what were obviously two policemen on the take.  Not only were they talking about the murder of one of their informants but they alluded to an involved scheme to skim money and drugs from the cases in their department and it appears to have been going on for a long time.
     Eve goes through channels to investigate the allegations, using Finney her original mentor, her husband Roarke, Commander Whitney and Peabody's boyfriend, McNab.  She struggles with the dishonesty of the police involved but when its time to take down the head of the illegals department who has been skating on her father's reputation and dishonoring all those wearing the uniform, Eve has no sympathy for the offenders.
     I grabbed this book on CD for a weekend drive and loved the reader, Susan Erickson.  She made each of the characters sound exactly the way I imagined they would sound!
     Every "in death" book is different.  Sometime you know who has done the crime, sometimes you are trying to figure it out along with Eve.  They are all well-written, thought provoking, entertaining stories.  I especially love all of the returning characters--you know all the players from the very beginning.  Each book is a stand-alone novel if you haven't read any of the others and you shouldn't let the fact that it is set in the future keep you from reading them.  Loved it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Up In Flames/Heather Graham/445pages (Author's last name ends in "M")

Up in Flames     Blue Heron was a super successful rock band that disbanded 10 years ago when the lead drummer, Keith, died of a drug overdose and perished in a house fire.  Jordan and his then wife, Kathy, divorced soon after.  Neither stopped loving the other but there were too many lies and too much distrust.  Now the old gang is getting back together for a benefit performance and it appears nothing has changed.  Jordan and Kathy are still in love and still fighting.  The mystery of Keith's death is hanging over everyone and someone is making threats!
     This is a reprint of an old Heather Graham novel.  She is a better writer now than she was then but she has a good story, great characters and I loved the ending!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Noise Downstairs/Linwood Barclay/356 pages

A Noise Downstairs is a murder mystery that keeps you guessing to the end.  Paul Davis is a college professor that witnesses a colleague, Kenneth, trying to bury the bodies of two murdered women.  Kenneth attacks Paul with a shovel before being caught by the police.  Kenneth is tried and convicted of killing the two women after he forced them to type a confession of adultery.  Fast forward eight months and Paul is battling PTSD while recovering from his severe head injury.  He is seeing a therapist to help him get on with his life.  His wife buys him an antique typewriter that Paul has always wanted.  Paul plans to use it to write about his experience.  However, he begins to hear the typewriter keys clacking in the middle of the night.  He finds messages written on the paper that he believes are from Kenneth's victims. With the help of his therapist, wife, and best friend Paul tries to discover what is happening.  There are a lot of twists and turns and a surprising event in the story.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Hating Game/Sally Thorne/290

This was a hilarious, fast read. It's a romantic comedy about two enemies who fall in love with each other. Lucy and Josh work in the same building and sit right across from each other. Everyday is a battle of wit and snark. Both make it clear of their hatred of one another. Once they realize that they actually don't really hate the other, a promotion comes up that pits them as rivals again.

This is my second time reading this and it still makes me laugh. Worth the read for sure!