Reviews by Diane S.

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Minding Frankie: A Novel
by Maeve Binchy
Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy (3/13/2011)
Reading Maeve Binchy is like coming home after a long time away, or drinking a hot toddy after a stressful day, so satisfying and comforting. In Minding Frankie we meet cousin Emily who proves a catalyst for many changes on the Crescent, as well as many characters and places from her other books. Binchy does a wonderful job of making the reader feel as if they are part of the sorrows and joys of this village and the characters lives. She gives true meaning to the phrase "It takes a village" and it is a village I would be honored to live in. I wish this book had been longer, I wasn't quite ready to leave.
The Tudor Secret: The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles
by C. W. Gortner
The Tudor Secret by C. W. Gortner (3/12/2011)
I love historical fiction and the Tudor period. This book is a worthy addition to that genre. Brendan Fraser is an foundling who ends up being raised in the Dudley household. He comes embroiled in the intrigue and conspiracies at court concerning King Edward's death and the Dudley's attempt to put Lady Jane Gray and the Dudley's youngest son on the throne, disinheriting Mary and Elizabeth. This book did a wonderful job relaying the atmosphere and characters of this time period, also adding a mystery concerning Prescott. Anyone who likes historical fiction, spy stories and intrigue will enjoy this novel.
The Janus Stone: A Ruth Galloway Mystery
by Elly Griffiths
The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths (3/6/2011)
Ruth Galloway is a forensic anthropologist, bone lady, and in this the 2nd mystery by Griffiths, Ruth is embroiled in a mystery when bones of a young child are found while tearing down a former children's home. These are character driven, very atmospheric mysteries taking place along England's salt marshes.
The storyline is actually secondary to the characters, but the characters are exceptionally portrayed, from Druid and Celtic practitioners to a rugged policeman. I highly recommend this series.
The Death Instinct
by Jed Rubenfeld
The Death Instinct by Jeb Rubenfeld (3/3/2011)
Sequel to the Interpretation of murder taking place ten years later, a fantastic historical mystery centered around the Wall Street bombing of 1920. The First World War has ended, Freud has become famous and Madame Curie and her discovery of radium has had an impact on the medical field as well as used for a great deal of profit by nefarious industries. Centered around 3 main characters, taking place in America and Austria this is a wonderful story. I absolutely loved it.
A Box of Darkness: The Story of a Marriage
by Sally Ryder Brady
a Box of Darkness (2/24/2011)
While I was reading the first half of the book I thought Sally Brady was either stupid or a saint. Upton Brady was in turn either delightful to be around or destructive. But by the end of the book I applauded her courage in staying in a marriage that was difficult to say the least and in finding a way to get her husband to accept help for his problems, while finding herself and helping her come to terms with her marriage. She loved him with an unconditional love and it is just sad that he was incapable of knowing or feeling this.
The Metropolis Case: A Novel
by Matthew Gallaway
The Metropolis Case (2/9/2011)
First of all I am far from an opera lover, and yet this book really made a strong impression on me. What an amazing idea to center a group of interesting characters lives around the opera Tristan and Isolde. Although a lot of the story you can piece toGether along the way, the ending surprised me. Well done Matthew Galloway. Looking forward to reading more from this author.
Secrets to the Grave
by Tami Hoag
Secrets to the Grave (1/17/2011)
I really enjoyed this novel as a whole, liked the characters and the story but the ending tried to cram to many bad things happening in too short a period of time. Loved Anne the child advocate and her little charge Halley, who had been through and seen things no four year old should ever have to experience. Would definitely have rated this book a five if not for the ending which stretched credibility.
The Sherlockian: A Novel
by Graham Moore
The Sherlockian (1/7/2011)
This book was published by a press which only published one book a month so I expected a lot from this book and that is what I received. Loved this book and anyone who likes Sherlock Holmes will also. The book is about a real club of Sherlock aficionados who try to find a missing part of Conan Doyle's diary which is missing. This diary covers the period after he kills of Holmes and than has him return years later. In the course of this investigation a key member of the group is killed. Amazing characters and I loved how the author went back and forth in time without confusing his reading audience. Great read.
The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World
by Laura J. Snyder
the Philosophical Breakfast Club (1/3/2011)
Absolutely fascinating book about the birth of modern day scientists. Four friends who changed and invented everything from standardized testing to prison reform. They touched on so many different subjects. I just wish I could have attended some of their meetings. Very readable book that even non scientific people such as myself could relate to. I especially like that their personal lives were covered as well as their professional, made these brilliant men more human.
The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe
by Glynis Ridley
The Discovery of Jeanne Baret (12/26/2010)
I have to admit when I first started this book it reminded me of reading a college thesis, but the more I read the more interesting it became. I really enjoyed reading all the background material on Paris and the trivia on tea as well as the fascinating study of herbal medicine. Would like to have known more about Baret but the author explained that there is not a lot of her to be found in the reports send back by the others on the expedition. She was, however, by all accounts a remarkable woman and deserved more than she received by her mentor and lover Commerson. This book will appeal to those interested in botany, expeditions and strong woman historical figures.
by Philip Roth
Nemisis (12/21/2010)
I love Philip Roth and this book is one of my favorites. It was a time when children played outside, read books, played softball games in the schoolyard, and girls jumped rope to silly rhymes. Neighbors sat outside and gossiped after dinner because there was no air conditioning and this was the way they caught a breeze and stayed abreast of the happenings in their neighborhoods. Yet that summer, the war almost over, another war is being waged at home: An insidious killer comes calling taking seemingly healthy children one day and turning them into corpses virtually overnight. No one knows what causes it, where it come from or how to stop it and yet polio will change Bucky's life in way he never imagined. The threat of polio also changes the neighborhood, making people suspicious of the very things they once held dear. Virtually flawless depiction of an era that was both sentimental and yet heartbreaking. Highly recommend this book.
Three Seconds
by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom
Three Seconds (12/2/2010)
Drugs, Drug mules, prison guards and the police force are at the core of this novel. I found the police officers Gren and Winters were intriguing characters and was surprised at the extent of the drug problems in the prisons. Found the going back and forth between characters and scenes a bit confusing but all in all it was a well written book. Did like very much the fact and fiction excerpt by the author at the end of the book. Also thought that the book was a bit too long.
Raising Wrecker: A Novel
by Summer Wood
Wrecker (11/1/2010)
We first meet Wrecker when he is three and from the beginning he tugs at your heartstrings. The characters in this book are wonderful, loving but filled with secrets and flaws that they work through by coming together to give a little boy a home. In doing so they find the answers and the way forward in their own lives.
Adam & Eve: A Novel
by Sena Jeter Naslund
Adam & Eve (9/15/2010)
While I enjoyed the characters of Lucy and Adam, I have to admit that I found this book to be a bit confusing. Even though it encompasses the subjects of religion and science which is much discussed during our own period of history it requires the reader to suspend belief to a level which I found difficult. The theories the book proposes are interesting, the book is very well written and anyone involved in the science vs. religion debate will find this novel stimulating.
Body Work: V.I. Warshawski Novel
by Sara Paretsky
Body Work (9/10/2010)
Sara Paretsky has done what many authors have trouble doing, keeping the long running Warshawski series fresh and captivating. She has in fact, gotten better with every novel. In body work she has mixed the Chicago art scene with the Iraq war and the problems Iraqi veterans have when returning to a regular life. One also learns interesting facts about Chicago along the way.
City of Veils: A Novel
by Zoë Ferraris
City of Veils (9/2/2010)
I absolutely loved this book! The setting in Saudi Arabia gives one the chance of seeing into a culture that is so different from our own. A culture where the religious police have as much power as the official police. Where woman are sequestered from men and basically shut away. Where walking a dog is considered a flirtatious device. Yet in this novel there are strong woman characters who attempt to succeed despite these obstacles. The storyline is strong and the mystery behind it is well thought out. Absolutely fascinating!
Strangers at the Feast: A Novel
by Jennifer Vanderbes
Strangers at the Feast (8/17/2010)
I quite enjoyed the way the author let his characters tell their own stories. By book end the reader has a thorough understanding of how the characters have ended up where they are and why they have reacted the way they do. This is a very well written novel with an important message as well as a precautionary tale showing how people sometimes pursue things without thinking of possible consequences.

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