Monday, July 15, 2019

Once Upon a Secret/Mimi Alford/202pgs

Surprise, another Kennedy book! So this book is about how the author, Mimi Alford, had a secret affair with JFK while she was an intern at the White House during his presidency, when she was only 19 yrs old.
Mimi talks about how she got the White House internship to how her affair with JFK started and then the aftermath of her life after his death.
After JFKs death, stories of his affairs came out, including Mimis, hers most notable because of her young age. Although,  in the 60s everything was hush hush.
I thought the story was interesting, and as far as I know, has historical backing.

Friday, July 12, 2019

America's Reluctant Prince/Steven Gillon/671pgs

As an avid history reader, especially when it involves the Kennedys, I was excited to read this newly published book about John F Kennedy Jr. The author, historian Steven Gillon, was close friends with John and was also his professor when he went to Brown University.
I thought this book was ok. It was really repetitive and I felt that the author just took information from other books and just copied it into his book, especially the first few chapters. It all wasn't new information to me. I did like the last few chapters, especially when the author told snippets about his and John's interactions.
Overall, JFK jr was such an interesting person and fun to read about. He was unfailingly polite and really well spoken. It's sad he did not get to live a long life.
But i do recommend this book for anyone who wants to read about him.

Pretty Girls/Karin Slaughter/396 pages

Pretty-Girls-by-Karin-Slaughter-Used         Pretty Girls is a really different kind of suspense novel.  The basic story is about a family where a teenage girl went missing and afterwards, her two young sisters became estranged for over
20 years.  Claire married well and leads a life of shopping, tennis, and social functions.  Lydia is 17 years sober and drug free raising a child as a single parent struggling to make ends meet.  The riff so long ago started when Claire's husband, Paul,attempted to rape Lydia--and no one believed her. Now Paul has been murdered and Claire is finding files and folders and videos of a violent nature in
Paul's space.  The FBI and police are at the door and acting
suspiciously.  Could Paul have been involved with the disappearance of young girls?--the filming of their rape and
torture and murder?  Its all too much for Claire to handle so she 
re-connects with her sister, knowing that she is the one person
that will understand and believe and help her make sense of the
whole mess.
          Some of the descriptions in this book are pretty disturbing
but then, so is the subject matter.  The chapters written by the girls' father are hauntingly beautiful and sad.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Luckiest Lady in London / Sherry Thomas / 276 pages

This is one of those books that the man and the woman don't ever express themselves and if they did, so much heartache could have been avoided. It seems somewhat trite, but it worked here. My only complaint is that I think when it comes to romances, I like my male leads to be nearly perfect. There were times when I wanted to slap the male romantic lead and thought the "luckiest" lady in that book would be better off with someone else.

Louisa is approaching spinsterhood when she is sponsored by a distant relative to be introduced in London as a debutante in circa 1885. She hopes to bag one of two possible matches, neither of whom she is romantically attracted to, but both with enough money to support her mom, her sisters (one of whom is epileptic) and herself. She doesn't want much, but she wants enough that she has a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. What she didn't count on was the most eligible bachelor in London making passes at her and asking her to be his mistress. Could she give up a respectable life and be a mistress to the best looking man in all of England in exchange for her every creature comfort taken care of, or will she turn him down to remain respectable in the eyes of society?

The Art of Racing in the Rain / Garth Stein / 321 pages

I wasn't sure what to make of this book at first. After having read A Dog's Purpose and loving it, and knowing this book also is from the POV of a dog, it's hard to not draw comparisons. So, while in the former book the dog lives multiple lives, always striving to be a good dog and love its master, the dog in this book, Enzo, lives only one life and is striving to be more human. This makes Enzo into some sort of sage and philosopher, extremely self-aware, and not nearly as lovable as the dog in the former book.

In fact, the book really didn't take off for me until halfway through when the story of the family that Enzo lives with took one bad turn after another. Enzo's master is a race car driver, one who is really good at driving in the rain, and his young wife becomes sick. What happens after is something you need to discover on your own as you read about the human family that is at the center of Enzo's world. By the end, I was very happy with the book and how it ended, but it took a while to get there.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Last Time I Saw You/ Liv Constantine/ 308 pgs

If you are looking for a book similar to Mary Higgins Clark's suspense novels, this is the one for you. Wealthy people, family dysfunction, murder, revenge, the ingredients are all there. Dr. Kate English's mother has been murdered just before Christmas. All of the suspects are laid out neatly in the first few chapters--Kate's possibly unfaithful husband, Kate's father who had an argument with her mother, Kate's estranged best friend, Kate's nanny. To top it off, the alleged killer is sending Kate threatening messages and dead animals. I wish we had seen a glimpse of Kate at work because I found it hard to believe she's really a doctor. The twist at the end doesn't really add to the story. If you haven't already read Constantine's first book, The Last Mrs. Parrish, I would recommend that over this one.

Planetarium: Welcome to the Museum Series/Raman Prinja/95 pages

Planetarium: Welcome to the Museum                                                          Planetarium is a beautiful book!  It contains all the facts mixed in
                                                     with legend and science about the galaxies, the planets, black
                                                     matter, the Milky Way, black holes, constellations and more and it is
                                                     presented in a very readable form with absolutely beautiful
                                                          What started out as a book for two of my grandkids to look at
                                                     when I brought this home morphed into them reading aloud to me
                                                     because they were so fascinated and rushing to show me each new
                                                     picture as they turned the pages and ended with me taking the book
                                                     when they had left and reading it non-stop until I finished.
                                                          It contains more facts and statistics than anyone could remember
                                                     but also enough history and legend to make it fascinating--especially with the gorgeous illustrations!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Birthday/ Meredith Russo/ 288 pages

       Morgan and Eric have been best friends since birth and have become very close over the years. In this novel we see them once a year on their birthday and learn how they have grown. We see the changes they make for themselves in order to become who they truly are while they also learn how much they need each other. 

          This story was so sweet. I feel like it is a must read and be prepared for tears. You grow so attached to these characters and Meredith Russo did such an amazing job at creating such a realistic novel. I absolutely loved this one.


Verity/ Colleen Hoover/ 333 pages

           Verity Crawford was a  famous author when she suffered an accident leaving her unable to finish her series. Verity’s husband, Jeremy, hires Lowen Ashleigh to come stay at the Crawford home to look through Verity’s notes and complete the series for his wife. While Lowen is staying with them she discovers an unfinished autobiography that Verity was working on and learns some bone-chilling secrets about the Crawford family. 
           This book is a fast read that you won’t be able to put down. Such an addicting story that leaves you speechless.

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating / Christina Lauren/ 309 pages

Hazel Bradford can be a lot to handle with all her pets and spunky personality.  Josh Im knew Hazel through college but they lost touch after. Now ten years later they cross paths and become great friends. They are determined to set each other up on dates until they find the right one for the other. However, they soon start to realize the reason they continue to set each other up is because they enjoy spending time with each other.
This book is so adorable and a must read for any fans of the show New Girl! Christina Lauren never fails to get me laughing out loud while I’m reading and always writes such cute stories. If you are looking for a sweet romance give this one a try!

The Sound of Glass by Karen White / 448 p.

The Sound of Glass

Merritt Heyward has been a widow for two years and unexpectedly receives news that she has inherited a home from her late husband's (Cal's) family located in Beaufort, SC. Merritt leaves her home in Maine to hopefully begin a new life in South Carolina.
    Merritt's stepmother (also a widow) shows up in SC with a 10 year old step brother Merritt barely knows.  There's so much that she doesn't know and Merritt wants to keep it that way.  Unfortunately, her stepmother is there to stay and so much family history is about to enter her life.
     I enjoyed the Southern customs and her stepmother's constant positivity. In the end it is Merritt's half brother and Cal's brother (who Merritt didn't know existed) that bring her to a new place in her life.

American Dutchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt by Karen Harper / 357 p.

American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo VanderbiltBased on the life of Consuelo Vanderbilt, this fictionalized novel of her life was interesting. I don't know how accurate it is, but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless.
Consuelo was an only child. Her mother was strict and arranged a marriage for Consuelo with the Duke of Marlborough in England that would profit both families - a title of Dutchess for Consuelo and Vanderbilt money for the Duke. It was a loveless marriage, however Consuelo produced two male heirs (and heir and a spare) that pleased everyone and provided the love Consuelo was missing from her husband. She was well-received in England and used her status and wealth to help the common people. Consuelo did find her voice and strength later in her life. She also found love, redemption and forgiveness for her mother.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek / Kim Michele Richardson / 299 pages

This historical fiction novel takes place in 1936 in Kentucky.  The author uses a program created by President Franklin Roosevelt, Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, to create her story.  Cussy Mary Carter is a traveling librarian for Troublesome Creek.  She travels by mule over treacherous territory to deliver books to her patrons every day.  The town is a coal mining town and lives are greatly affected by the Depression.  Cussy also faces prejudice because of a hereditary blood condition passed on in her family that causes her skin to be blue.  The author gives the reader a true feeling of what it was like to live in this time of history.  Great character development and historical research made this a wonderful book to read.  I always like it when I can learn something new from reading a book!

Asylum/Madeleine Roux/313 pages

Asylum                                                                 Asylum is the story of three young adults who have enrolled
                                                            in a 6 week summer school before college that takes place in an
                                                            institution with dormitories that are attached in what use to be
                                                            part of a sanitarium.  Daniel is the main character.  He is a
                                                            typical teen with worries about fitting in and having friends but
                                                            after arriving at the asylum also questions his sanity--so many
                                                            bad dreams, de ja vu, disappearing emails and sleepless nights.
                                                            Abby is the pretty, artistic one who pairs up with Dan but seems
                                                            to have past ties to the asylum--maybe an aunt was once
                                                            confined there?  Jordan is the tad rebellious one--just
                                                            announcing that he is gay and then not going to the summer
                                                            school his parents arranged for him!  Sometimes our trio are exploring off limit places and find things they shouldn't--other times they are trying to be good and doing exactly what is expected of them and weird things just happen.
     This is a very unnerving story.  There are mind games at play that make it hard to know what is real--and just when you think you have it all figured out, there is one more clue that shows you that you really have NOTHING figured out!
     Good story.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Cape May/Chip Cheek/257 pgs

This novel is set in the 1950s and focuses on young newlyweds,Effie and Henry, as they take their honeymoon for 2 weeks in Cape May. The couple grew up together and start to get used to each other as a married couple. They find the town almost deserted except for another pair, Max and Clara and Max's young sister, Alma. Pretty soon Henry and Effie and drawn to the wild pair and Henry finds himself attracted to Alma. As the story unravels, Henry and Effie must confront some problems in their 2 week marriage and Henry must make the decision about what kind of husband he wants to be.
I thought this was a pretty good but with some slow moving parts

Friday, July 5, 2019

A Prince on Paper/ Alyssa Cole/ 377 pgs

This is, I think, the final book in Cole's Reluctant Royals series. This is a super sweet romance between an allegedly playboy "prince" and a sheltered young lady with an intense past. Johan is not exactly a prince. He is, however, the stepson of the king of a fictional European country and the stepbrother to the heir, Lukas. Johan has spent most of his life playing the outrageous playboy, in the hope of distracting the media from focusing on his brother, a nice gesture to say the least. Nya is related to the royal family of a fictional African country. Her mother died giving birth to her. Her father used her mother's death to emotionally abuse Nya and he even poisoned his daughter to keep her submissive. Johan and Nya are thrown together at a royal wedding and decide to forge a fake engagement afterwards, for a number of reasons. These characters are so lovely, as is their romance. There's a little palace intrigue going on here, as well as navigating familial relationships. My only disappointment was that several plot threads seem to lead nowhere, though I hope that one involving two secondary characters might mean this isn't the last book in the series:-)

Anna Dressed In Blood/Kendare Blake/316 pages

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, Book 1) (Anna Dressed in Blood Series)                                                               Anna Dressed in Blood is a young adult horror story that deals
                                                          with Cas Lowood's quest to seek out the ghost Anna Dressed in
                                                          Blood and (using the anthem that was his father's before him)
                                                          dispatch her to the afterworld.  Anna has murdered many, many
                                                          people--any that wandered into her house--and needs to be
                                                          stopped.  Of course, she doesn't go willingly and during the
                                                          process Cas learns Anna's story and the mission changes to one
                                                          of "saving" Anna.  Then trouble shows up in the form of a flesh
                                                          eating ghost that killed Cas' father!
                                                               This is a great YA book.  I loved all of the characters and the
                                                          situations were scary but somehow believable!  There is love,
                                                          suspense, mystery and fun in this story and you can't wait to see
                                                          how it is going to end!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Big Kahuna/Janet Evanovich/303 pgs

This is the sixth book in the O'Hare/Fox series.  Evanovich had previously written the series with Lee Goldberg, but this book was written with her son, Peter. I could tell the difference, but still liked the book.

Off on another wild bad guys chase, Kate and Nick, mostly Nick, push the boundaries of following the rules and keeping a budget.  They are searching for a Silicon Valley billionaire who has disappeared.  His wife and a former business associate are also on the trail of the mystery man.  The Big Kahuna, the name everyone calls him, realizes that other billionaires are being targeted and killed.  And he goes on the run with the help of his grown son and eventually, Kate and Nick.

The trail leads The Big Kahuna, Kate, and Nick to Hawaii, New Zealand, and finally Prague.  Along the way, things are blown up, cars are destroyed, and a couple of businesses are unfortunate victims of destruction and/or cars crashing into them.  And in the end, the good guys win.  

The Rule of Law/John Lescroart/322 pgs

The Rule of Law: A Novel (Dismas Hardy)
This is one of the books in the Dismas Hardy series.  And it did not disappoint.  In this story, Hardy’s reliable and trusted secretary/assistant, Phyllis, misses a couple of days of work.  The next thing Dismas knows, Phyllis is arrested as an accessory to murder.  Plus, Dismas finds out that she has been part of ring for getting illegal citizens to safety from deportation.  But Phyllis assures him that she was not an accessory to the murder.  Nor was the woman Phyllis was helping and who is being accused of the murder.  Hardy soon finds that the new district attorney, to whom Hardy’s new law partner recently lost an election, is working hard to make sure there is a conviction in the case and has rushed the case to the grand jury.

The writer adds the twist that Phyllis’s brother, who was recently released from prison, has come to stay with Phyllis, but we soon find out that he has much to gain at his sister’s expense.

The Lost Girls of Paris/Pam Jenoff/359 pgs

This is a must read if you love WWII fiction.  With the recent 75th Anniversary of the Normandy invasion, this book is very topical.

The story begins in Grand Central Station in New York City when Grace Healey finds a seemingly abandoned suitcase.  She opens the case to find several photographs of women inside.  Curiosity about their identity peaks when she realizes that a woman who was killed outside the station was the owner of the suitcase.  Grace decides to learn more about the women in the photos.

The trail leads Grace to Paris where she learns that the women in the photographs, were recruited to be a part of a network of women who were sent into occupied towns in Europe by the British.  The women underwent vigorous training to prepare them for their missions.  The training focused on the women being radio operators who send and receive information to help the Allied causes preparation for the allied Normandy invasion.  A well written fictional story about the brave women of the Special Operations Executive or SOE.