Reviews by Suzanne G. (Tucson, AZ)

Power Reviewer  Power Reviewer

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Dirt Creek: A Novel
by Hayley Scrivenor
Great mystery (4/2/2022)
"Dirt Creek" is a mystery with an ending that I never guessed. The characters were many and often. Sometimes I'd have to revisit previous pages to put a character in its place. This book has such a rhythm with words, I often reread a part aloud just to hear how the words combined with one another. I liked the story very much.
New York, My Village: A Novel
by Uwem Akpan
In order to keep reading this book, and therefore needing to concentrate, I seemed to have a time keeping the plot straight. The use of another language (and having little sense of translation) was a frequent aggravation. Bedbugs seemed irrelevant most of the time and didn't add much to the story. But, I did find myself laughing with some events during the progression of the book, so I did find some humor. I honestly can't report I liked NEW YORK, MY VILLAGE.

And I must say I was certainly unaware that African tribes still were warring. Maybe I need to go somewhat beyond my comfort zone to educate myself—
Morningside Heights: A Novel
by Joshua Henkin
Morningside (4/17/2021)
The story kept my interest with the characters intertwined with love and consideration. It was a plot that was hard for me to read as our family is beginning to deal with my husband's similar dementia. The book introduced me to a concerning progress situation that has nowhere to go but backwards. I certainly gave Pru credit for control; I end up with anger at times. I will recommend Morningside Heights to my book club — much we can discuss.
Of Women and Salt
by Gabriela Garcia
Mothers, daughters and migration (1/12/2021)
I was glad a family tree was included so that characters could be identified within their respective relations. I liked that the name, location, and date was the introduction at the beginning of each chapter. I did find the story disjointed and I had some difficulty merging the characters within the chapter. This book could reflect the immigration of mothers and daughters from any country or area. I enjoyed this book, although I put it down often as it didn't hold my interest for long periods.
Migrations: A Novel
by Charlotte McConaghy
Many migrations (4/21/2020)
This novel is one of the better books that I've read in a long time; it even may be a look into our environmental future. Franny with her migrations is moving from one interesting and eventful situation to another. Always there is a surprise when she reaches the ending of a migration. I'm hoping Migrations will receive many honors. It is a special book.
Daughter of the Reich: A Novel
by Louise Fein
A historical journey (4/16/2020)
There is no doubt this book was duly researched. The plot was unlike other "Daughter of" books popular now. I was glad to realize that.
I felt there was too much belaboring all dialogues. Sometimes on-and-on explanations do get tiring and I found myself skipping parts of long paragraphs. This was so when Hetty began writing in her diary. The ending was interesting. But after much detail in the previous story it seemed hurried. Many early readers enjoyed the book and I believe bookclubs will be eager to read and discuss Daughter of the Reich.
I Want You to Know We're Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir
by Esther Safran Foer
A great memoir (11/19/2019)
This book was informative and interesting. I give credit to the author for the research and traveling to find the truth of her family. I did find the people described in the book hard to keep track of. That the names weren't familiar to me didn't help the remembering as to who was who and why. But I found a way to combat that—I read it again and it was much easier to follow. I hope the finished book will have informational captions. I learned a great deal concerning the Jewish faith. I will recommend the book to my reader friends.

Anyone who denies the Holocaust needs to read this, but we realize they never will.
Father of Lions: One Man's Remarkable Quest to Save the Mosul Zoo
by Louise Callaghan
Not a typical story— (10/19/2019)
This book has a story that is not only informative but interesting and has been well written. The research is evident. I had no problems understanding this is a true story. It confirmed the frightening times those who worked with the Father of Lions had while saving the zoo animals. The character listing was appreciated since the names were so unfamiliar. Learning about the region gave me a better knowledge of the citizens of the Middle East. I liked the book and found there was often humor. I think most anyone can enjoy it.
You Were There Too
by Colleen Oakley
Love story (8/14/2019)
To begin, I'm not enthusiastic about the romance genre. In YOU WERE THERE TOO there seemed to be so many accounts of unnecessary facts through out the story, it hampered the reading flow. The author does have an interesting imagination and good descriptions of her characters. This book was a hard for me to finish.
Travelers: A Novel
by Helon Habila
First-rate Writing (4/28/2019)
TRAVELERS is the perfect title for this book. It is a poignant story connecting the lives of refugees leaving African countries for better living conditions in Europe. The author's empathy is so evident. This is a beautifully written book. It did take me some time to understand how each character connected. Sometimes I got a person's name mixed up and had to go back to see who was who.

I believe this will become a sought-after novel. Also, the story is relevant to the current migration situation our own country is experiencing.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls
by Anissa Gray
First-rate Writing (10/6/2018)
This is such a significant story. The author is destined for a great writing future. These characters are so vivid from the very first paragraph and they never fade as the book progresses. The plot is unique and kept me reading. I thought I could figure out each turn, but I was almost always wrong. The title is pertinent, deliciously evident when finished with the book. I laughed and cried—and then when I finished I spent awhile—just thinking of the people I'd met along each page.
Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces
by Dawn Davies
First-rate Writing (9/11/2017)
I loved, loved, loved this book. I laughed, I cried, and I was sympathetic to the pain and angst that Dawn Davies had throughout her life. The love she had for her family was evident at every turn. This book was so honest that it is obvious that the author created a work of art with her elegant and well crafted writing. This is not only a memoir but also a look at a life that any woman might experience. There are countless reasons that a book club could gain much from a discussion of this story.
The Resurrection of Joan Ashby
by Cherise Wolas
Joan and Cherise's Problems (6/5/2017)
This book began as an interesting story—a very different approach than other books I've read. But by the time I was half way through, I began to feel there was something lacking and I kept backtracking to see what was happening. The storyline became many disjointed plots. I found myself wandering while trying hard to keep absorbed in this overly long book. There were too many descriptions that only made more words to sift through. I have doubts that even the aggressive marketing will make this a best seller.
My Last Lament
by James William Brown
An interesting story (3/13/2017)
This was an enjoyable book. I felt a connection to the characters; they were real. The despair of each one talked to me throughout the whole story of Aliki about happiness and sadness created in her life. Decisions she and others made in a time of such unrest and sorrow provided the plot. I looked forward to each chapter written in the form of tape recordings she narrated, describing the war and aftermath of the many events taking place within her life. I'd not known about the Greek tradition of lamenting so that information was a plus. The ending was a surprise but not unexpected.
Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 - A World on the Edge
by Helen Rappaport
Revolution Action (10/18/2016)
This would be the go-to nonfiction book for anyone wanting to learn the observations of foreigners living in Petrograd, Russia during the 1917 Revolution. The extensive research is vividly viewed with a timeline representing the progress of the experiences of these personalities.

Before attempting to read such a publication, it would help to have prior understanding of the history of the players and circumstances in such an uprising. I feel I might have grasped more had I spent time familiarizing myself with that. The book flowed and was interestingly written.
The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey
by Rinker Buck
Rinker Buck's Jaunt (7/29/2016)
For me, this was one of the most interesting true-story history books I’ve read in a long time. And, the author is not shy when he is telling us about the real-life adventures he and his brother, Nick, and the Jack Russell, Olive Oyl, experience while on their covered wagon trip along the Oregon Trail. He gives us colorful and laugh-out-loud scenes as they travel across the country.

The writing shows abundant research and beautifully composed rhetoric. I learned some things I’d not known—mainly, the Mormon’s journey and their consequential failures. There is a complete index that is convenient and many photos throughout the pages. The ending was so sincere it brought tears. I enjoyed this book.
The Life of the World to Come
by Dan Cluchey
Not a strong book— (4/12/2016)
In my opinion the story tended to jump around, and I said a lot of "What?" It would take awhile to put two and two together and then I'd hit another wall and have to try to decipher what the author was saying. The story itself was interesting and the author certainly shows an ability with words; he only needs to work on the flow of those words. In a way it reminded me of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, having the same kind of tongue-in-cheek humor. I'm not sure I'd recommend this book. It would be hard to explain the premise of the story.
Crazy Blood
by T. Jefferson Parker
Crazy Blood (12/21/2015)
Years ago T. Jefferson Parker was a favorite of mine, and not having read his books for some time, I was looking forward to Crazy Blood. I liked the method he applied to begin the book by using a character in the first person tell her story and then continuing that method throughout the book. However, I was disappointed as I read. There was much description about the skiing, terrain and associated aspects of the sport—and I did appreciate the amount of research that was done. But having little interest in skiing and boarding, I become bored quickly. There were too many subplots that I had to track. Possibly a winter sport enthusiast would get more out of the book than I did.
House of Echoes: A Novel
by Brendan Duffy
A good story-- (2/14/2015)
This was another book that held my interest and definitely some angst. The innocent family gave me the feeling that something fearful might happen just around the corner. I had trouble putting it down; I needed to know what was going to happen. I wouldn't recommend House of Echoes to anyone not liking thrillers! For me, this book had the ultimate with its exciting plot.
Glitter and Glue: A Memoir
by Kelly Corrigan
If you love love your mother, don't miss this one . . . (12/6/2013)
This story, a memoir of a young woman and the disparity with her mother, shows how in actuality mothers and daughters are often so very much alike. Kelly tells it like it is. My mother and I had much the same relationship for years. It wasn't until after she died I was able to see who she was. I am my mother's daughter! There may not be too much to chew over for a book club; it is a short book but written so well it could go on forever.
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