Tag: Book Review

“If the Creek Don’t Rise” by Leah Weiss

“If the Creek Don’t Rise” by Leah Weiss

Genre: General Fiction

A moving story of poverty and desperation! Sadie Blue lives in Baines Creek, NC, a small town deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Baines Creek is full of secrets. Sadie is married to Roy Tupkin who takes pleasure in beating her up, but violence has always been a part of Sadie’s life. This story is told by several members of the community who each gradually reveal the town’s secrets. In a place where people depend so much on each other for survival, betrayal runs deep.

I was completely captivated by this story. The characters are carefully crafted and they develop in the reader’s mind as the story grows. I thought that the author’s choice to tell the story through the eyes of different members of the community, each revealing their part, was very clever and engaging. This story is dark at times but it captures well the life of the residents. This is a beautiful debut novel and I highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

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“Saving Abby” by Steena Holmes

“Saving Abby” by Steena Holmes

Claire and Josh and trying to come to terms with their infertility. After years of trying everything, they have been told that they just won’t be able to get pregnant. Now they are near the end of a European tour and Claire is nervous about rejoining her everyday life. Her emotions still feel so raw. Back home, they throw themselves into the next series of the children’s books that they write and illustrate, but Claire starts having crippling headaches and spending much of the day sleeping. Her best friend Abby is also her doctor and when Abby gives her a diagnosis, it will rock their world to the core.

Well, I just loved this couple. The author has created two beautiful people in Claire and Josh and you can’t help but be drawn into their little world and cheer for them. I also really enjoyed how the storybook character, Jack, that they have created is incorporated into the larger story of their lives. The whole story just feels very natural and flows beautifully. The story progresses at a very comfortable pace and I liked how different chapters relate the story from the perspective of the characters. Some are narrated by Claire, some by Josh, and some by Claire’s mother, Millie. I really appreciated the way that Josh supports Claire during the story and never makes her feel like she is a burden. That being said, they do have some friction which they each handle in a very mature way. There is some marriage guidance hidden in the pages of this one. This one has romance and daily life, happiness and sorrow, and it’s a really good story. The setting is contemporary, if that’s something you look for. This would be a great summer read.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“The Brethren” by John Grisham

“The Brethren” by John Grisham

In a Federal prison in Florida sit three former judges, who call themselves “The Brethren”. They run their own little court to settle internal prison disputes, and spend the rest of their time in the law library. Together, they have come up with an extortion scheme to bilk money out of rich guys who don’t want their secrets exposed. Their dead-beat lawyer serves as the courier of the letters that they busily scribble all day. Aaron Lake is a presidential candidate who is sweeping the race. Then his handlers discover a letter written to him by Ricky. They need to know who Ricky is, and they’ve got “The Brethren” in their sights.

I absolutely loved this story. I found “The Brethren” to be a really fun bunch of characters. Their scheming and personalities reminded me of a couple of offbeat uncles I was knew. But “The Brethren” are not the only ones scheming in this story. Aaron Lake’s handlers are doing plenty of their own plotting. At first, the two story lines didn’t seem to have anything to do with each other, but keep reading because the plot becomes very thick. Overall, I found this to be thrilling but also very humorous. I highly recommend!

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“Where Dead Men Meet” by Mark Mills

“Where Dead Men Meet” by Mark Mills

Looking for a little jaunt across pre-World War II Europe? Want a few thrills along the way? Then this is the book for you. “Where Dead Men Meet” reads like a spy story with lots of action and suspense. Luke is an RAF pilot who has been grounded and is stuck behind a desk in Paris. Pippi is a young woman, who along with 2 thugs, is smuggling Jews out of Germany. Ivan is an aging hitman whose job is to kill Luke, until he has a change of heart. Throw in some German military officers and a mysterious adoption story and the bullets soon start to fly.

Spy stories aren’t my usual thing but this one sounded like a good one and I was not disappointed. I took an instant liking to Luke and then to Pippi, and even though their first meeting was less than ideal, you could tell these two liked each other. Luke has a very mysterious past and suddenly it catches up to him and places him on the wrong side of a gun. Ivan has a suspicion about who Luke really is and decides to help him escape the men that are trying to kill him. This proves to be easier said than done. I was particularly impressed with the author’s descriptions of the various villages and cities where the story takes place. This story has lots of interesting twists but none of them feel contrived. There’s bad guys, and good guys, and some for whom it’s hard to tell. Bottom line: this is a great story that I highly recommend.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating  4 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“The Road to Jonestown” by Jeff Guinn

“The Road to Jonestown” by Jeff Guinn

Disturbing and fascinating at the same time! The tragedy that took place at Jonestown in Guyana has continued to haunt American history since it took place in 1978. I had just entered my teens when it took place and I have always wondered why. What would make a man orchestrate the mass suicide of his devoted followers? I found some answers in this book. The author traces the life of Jim Jones all the way back to his childhood, which was strange in itself. The reader sees him grow up to be a man of high ideals and charming enough to draw others in to his vision of what society should look like. He always had a desire to improve the lives of the downtrodden, especially blacks, and in his early years as an adult his followers are deeply involved in their communities and in establishing programs that will improve lives, such as operating nursing homes for the elderly or drug rehabilitation programs. Many of his programs were applauded for their effectiveness.

As Jim Jones approaches middle age, he becomes very paranoid about conspiracies against him and this transition seems to mark the beginning of the end. I found this book to be very enlightening and the depth of the research the author conducted is to be commended. This is not just hearsay evidence being presented but actual accounts from survivors and Peoples Temple documents. I am highly recommend this book to readers whether you’re interested in Jonestown as an historical event, or looking for a greater understanding of what made Jim Jones the leader he was.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating  5 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“Norse Mythology” – Audiobook by Neil Gaiman

“Norse Mythology” – Audiobook by Neil Gaiman

Narrated by Neil Gaiman

Fun and fascinating! “Norse Mythology” is just what it sounds like, a retelling of the Nordic mythological tales. But it was so much more at the same time. This is my first adventure with Neil Gaiman and my first audiobook in way too many years, and I am now hooked on both. I do occasionally enjoy mythology and I was intrigued by this one because I was pretty much clueless about the Nordic myths. When I started listening I thought maybe I’d gotten in over my head because there were a lot of characters with names that I had no reference point for. However, the more I listened, the more the characters came together in my mind and the stories were just fascinating. The characters in these tales somehow seemed more human and less god-like than, say, the Roman or Greek gods. Of course there is Thor with his mighty hammer, but I found myself most fascinated by Loki, who can be quite devilish at one moment, and in the next be the one who has the perfect solution. There are some pretty violent scenes in these stories that might not be appropriate for younger children. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Neil Gaiman is a perfect narrator, not overly dramatic, but able to bring out the characters as individuals. You should give this one a try.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-5-star-rating  4.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“Deadly Alibi” by Leigh Russell

“Deadly Alibi” by Leigh Russell

This is book 9 in the DI Geraldine Steel series. In this installment, Geraldine is on the hunt for a murderer who left his victim in a trash bin outside a charity shop. The husband is the immediate suspect, but when his mistress disappears, Geraldine is not so sure that the obvious choice is the right answer. In the midst of this, her birth mother has died and Geraldine finds out she has a twin sister who is very needy. Trying to balance all this proves to be a great challenge.

I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series but I did not, while reading, have the sensation of having missed out on the backstory. The parts of the previous stories that you needed to understand this one were definitely there. I liked Geraldine as a detective but wasn’t quite as impressed with her as a person. She makes some choices in this story that felt out of character to me and made the story a little hard for me to believe. I’m sure that fans of this series will enjoy this episode but overall I didn’t find anything in this story that “wow-ed” me.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 3 star rating  3 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“The Principal’s Daughter” by Russ Katz

“The Principal’s Daughter” by Russ Katz

My deepest thanks to Russ Katz for bringing this story to life! In “The Principal’s Daughter” we are introduced to Kim, whose father is the principal of the school in the South Vietnamese village they live in near Saigon. Kim grows up during the war and her village becomes the center of the Tet Offensive when she is still a young girl. She endures the deprivations of the war and subsequent Communist regime with the hope of one day emigrating to America.

I found this story to be very moving and enlightening. Reading Kim’s story opened my understanding of the Vietnam War in a new way, and introduced me to a culture I previously had no knowledge of. I was also very impressed with the author’s writing. This book was fairly easy to read, although there is use of Vietnamese language, particularly names, which threw me a bit in places. As I understand it, this is the author’s second book and first piece of non-fiction, and I just have to say, “Job well done”. The personalities of the people come through in a way that I felt as if I was sitting with them hearing the story from their lips. I think that stories like this go a long way towards helping us as individuals to see the people of other cultures as not just different but as fellow humans on a journey to fulfillment. I hope that many people will read this book and allow it to give them new insight.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Dog Ear Publishing for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

“The Yorkshire Witch” by Summer Strevens

“The Yorkshire Witch” by Summer Strevens

This book is about the life and trial of Mary Bateman. She was hanged on March 20, 1809 after being convicted of murder just days before. But Mary’s crimes began many years earlier when at the age of 5 she stole a pair of shoes. She became a very clever con-woman and thief, and while she was convicted of one murder, there were several other unusual deaths within her circle of influence over the years. The author has compiled the known facts about Mary and the society she lived in, in order to tell the story of this infamous woman’s life from childhood to her death.

I found this book to be very well written. The author has organized the chapters so that each covers a section of her life and her activities during that time. We get to see how her crimes escalate over time. Mary apparently employed the use of fictitious personas to lure her victims into her schemes. She was somewhat educated and knew how to read and write, this gave her a leg up on the neighbors that she was able to use to her advantage. Mary was married and had several children but the knowledge or involvement of her husband has never been definitively established and remains a mystery. I really enjoyed reading this book and history buffs or true crime addicts should enjoy it also.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“Dead Watch” by John Sandford

“Dead Watch” by John Sandford

Senator Bowe has gone missing and his wife Madison wants to know why. So does the President. Jake Winters is a researcher that the President calls on when he needs help with special situations. This is one of those situations. When the Senator is found dead in the woods, Jake and Madison are thrown together in order to determine exactly what happened, but they may be in for more than they bargained for before they get their answers.

As with other novels by this author, this is a thriller with some graphic violence. I liked the characters of Jake and Madison, though I did take a little while to warm up to Madison. The story is political in nature and has some engaging twists and turns. Unlike most of this author’s books, this is a stand-alone and not part of a series which is a little disappointing since I would love to see these characters developed further. Overall, this is a good story, but I didn’t find it as engaging as other books I’ve read by this author. That being said, I’m not a big fan of political stories, so that makes it hard for me to be objective.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  3-5-star-rating 3.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

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