Book Reviews–December 2018

Welcome!  I have large stacks of books TBR (To Be Read) on my nightstand, plus electronic stacks of books lined up in my Kindle, as well as books on hold at the library.  As I read these books, I love to share my thoughts and opinions of what I’ve read here in this space, because I enjoy sharing my passion for books with others.  I do have an eclectic taste in books, and will choose books based on my mood, or what’s going on in my life that week.  (Disclosure I use Amazon affiliate links to help pay for the costs of this website.  Any and all posts on this site may contain affiliate links (which will not affect your cost).  Finally, the page numbers I list here reflect the number of Kindle pages, not paper pages.  Thank you!)  I hope you enjoy this series.

Book #1: 

All These Beautiful StrangersAll These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth (Length: 448 pages).  This book has been on the top of my TBR pile for awhile–I’m not sure why.  Maybe the private boarding school was the hook, as I’m a product of a boring public school.  😉  The plot in this suspense novel is very interesting (involving a murder at a boarding school with a private, very elite social club), but I did find the characters to be one-dimensional.  Because of this, I did figure out the plot twist very early on (which is a bit of a bummer).  I would still recommend this book but maybe only as a Kindle Daily Deal or as a library check-out.  If you’ve read it, what did you think of it?

From the publisher:

One summer day, Grace Fairchild, the beautiful young wife of real estate mogul Alistair Calloway, vanished from the family’s lake house without a trace, leaving behind her seven-year old daughter, Charlie, and a slew of unanswered questions.

Years later, seventeen-year-old Charlie still struggles with the dark legacy of her family name and the mystery surrounding her mother. Determined to finally let go of the past, she throws herself into life at Knollwood, the prestigious New England school she attends. Charlie quickly becomes friends with Knollwood’s “it” crowd.

Charlie has also been tapped by the A’s—the school’s elite secret society well known for terrorizing the faculty, administration, and their enemies. To become a member of the A’s, Charlie must play The Game, a semester-long, diabolical high-stakes scavenger hunt that will jeopardize her friendships, her reputation, even her place at Knollwood.

As the dark events of past and present converge, Charlie begins to fear that she may not survive the terrible truth about her family, her school, and her own life.

Book #2: 

I'd Rather be ReadingI’d Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel (Length: 161 pages).  I LOVED this book!  I’ve been an Anne Bogel fan for a long time.  I’m an avid reader of her blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, and I subscribe to her podcast, What Should I Read Next?  A lot of my book picks are a result of reading her blog and/or listening to her podcast.  I grabbed this book as soon as it went on Kindle sale (it still is!), and I’m glad I own it as I know I’ll re-read it in the years to come.  These essays on reading life range from the author’s personal history of reading, to how one can organize their bookshelves and to bookstores and libraries.  She also talks about “book twins” (I’m lucky to have a few!), as well as bookworm problems.  I always feel the stress of never having enough time (or years) to read all of the books that I’d like to read.  I absolutely enjoyed every minute of this book, and I know you will as well!

From the publisher:

For so many people, reading isn’t just a hobby or a way to pass the time–it’s a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can’t imagine life without them.

I’d Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.

The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone’s life, I’d Rather Be Reading will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.

Book #3: 

A Great DeliveranceA Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George (Length: 431 pages).  A “book twin” recommended this author and award-winning Inspector Lynley series to me several months ago, so I finally picked up the first installment in this (19 book?) series.  I’m a HUGE British mystery buff (books and TV series), and I’m obsessed with Scotland Yard, so I was very hopeful this would be a new series I’d plow through. The writing is absolutely exceptional . . . definitely a thinking person’s mystery novel.  For me, I found new vocabulary words on each page (many from the 19th century), so reading the Kindle version with its easy dictionary look-up is a must!  The main characters especially  are drawn with very detailed strokes, and the mystery in this first novel is well-constructed.  I will say the subject matter is very heavy (child molestation/religious overtones), but if you can stay the course, it’s worth it.  I’m not sure this series will be up there with Louise Penny/Three Pines/Armand Gamache for me, as it’s not as heartwarming but I will keep moving forward in the series for sure.  Heads up that this book is on deep Kindle sale right now!  

From the publisher:

To this day, the low, thin wail of an infant can be heard in Keldale’s lush green valleys. Three hundred years ago, as legend goes, the frightened Yorkshire villagers smothered a crying babe in Keldale Abbey, where they’d hidden to escape the ravages of Cromwell’s raiders.

Now into Keldale’s pastoral web of old houses and older secrets comes Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton. Along with the redoubtable Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, Lynley has been sent to solve a savage murder that has stunned the peaceful countryside. For fat, unlovely Roberta Teys has been found in her best dress, an axe in her lap, seated in the old stone barn beside her father’s headless corpse. Her first and last words were “I did it. And I’m not sorry.”

Yet as Lynley and Havers wind their way through Keldale’s dark labyrinth of secret scandals and appalling crimes, they uncover a shattering series of revelations that will reverberate through this tranquil English valley—and in their own lives as well.

Book #4: 

Yes PleaseYes Please by Amy Poehler (Length: 352 pages).  I enjoyed this memoir a lot.  (I have to say it was more enjoyable for me to read that her bestie Tina Fey’s book BossyPants.)  I enjoyed Poehler’s witty tone, her excellent writing, and her vivid storytelling.  Anything about Saturday Night Live will keep me reading.  This memoir has less written slapstick and gags as others in this genre, and more intelligent humor (a la David Sedaris).  I definitely recommend this read!

From the publisher:

Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

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