MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reviews by Mary O. (Boston, MA)

Power Reviewer  Power Reviewer

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Letters from Skye
by Jessica Brockmole
The Lost Art of Letter Writing (7/9/2013)
As you pick up Letters from Skye and get engrossed in the love story against the backdrop of war, you suddenly realize that written letters are no longer the preferred method of communication. This is a captivating novel told through letters. You instantly are transcended to Elsbeth's and Davey's individual worlds and feel like you are writing the letters and living their lives. You grow to love the characters through their writing. I highly recommend this book - I LOVED IT!
Children of the Jacaranda Tree
by Sahar Delijani
Heart and soul (3/21/2013)
My favorite books are typically debut novels and this one captured my heart. Beautifully written in a poetic sense showing the depth of Sahar's soul and spirit. It describes post revolutionary Iran through the eyes of 3 characters with past and present intertwined. Highly emotional, both sad and uplifting, at times heartbreaking, but you come away feeling the resiliency of the characters and a true sense of hope. I highly recommend that all read this!
The Spy Lover
by Kiana Davenport
A true delight! (1/9/2013)
I LOVED this book! Set in the Civil War, it portrays three main characters - a Chinese immigrant Union soldier, his daughter who is an army nurse in search of her missing father, and a Confederate officer who falls in love with his nurse. Beautifully written, it describes all the horrific aspects of war as well as the complications of love and human emotion. I highly recommend this book to all. It is an absolute pleasure!
The Edge of the Earth
by Christina Schwarz
Disappointing (10/24/2012)
I love historical fiction and couldn't wait to read this novel. I must say I was disappointed in the character development and the book did not keep me engaged. "Drowning Ruth" is one of my all-time favorites so maybe my expectations were unrealistic.
Sentinel: A Spycatcher Novel
by Matthew Dunn
Page turner (7/7/2012)
Will Cochrane is a memorable Cold War character and you feel like you know him as you are ensconced in the book. A typical British spy thriller that makes you want to read it in one sitting. A perfect summer beach read!!
Tides of War: A Novel
by Stella Tillyard
Daunting! (12/20/2011)
I love historical novels where I can embrace the world at that particular time and place. Tides of War is beautifully written and I enjoyed it from the first page on. The characters are well developed especially the strong female characters. You are totally drawn into the brutality of the bestiality and brutality of war and the lives of the soldiers at the front. I highly recommend it as an engrossing and entertaining novel
A Bitter Truth: A Bess Crawford Mystery
by Charles Todd
a historic yarn (8/22/2011)
I highly recommend this historic novel for perfect summer beach reading! It is a well written description of a complicated family situation during World War I with murder as the backdrop. There is good character development and twists and turns that make you love and hate some characters at the same time! It would make a great discussion for a book group. ENJOY!
The Daughter of Siena: A Novel
by Marina Fiorato
Intriguing historical read (6/10/2011)
I found The Daughter of Siena to be a very enjoyable read and good story - perfect for summer beach reading or a book club! I must preface my comments by saying that I am a sucker for romantic historical fiction or any novel set in Italy, especially Tuscany or Umbria! The author does a great job of weaving the Palio race and its rivalries, the city of Siena and its history and art with romance and intrigue. Definitely a quick, worthwhile, and enjoyable read!
The Devotion of Suspect X
by Keigo Higashino
Haunting (1/14/2011)
This is truly a murder mystery or "whodunit" page turner! It is an engrossing read where you don't want to take a break when you are reading it. This book continues to haunt you after you finish the last page. It is a book about love, blind devotion, sacrifice, truth and justice. With some surprising twists and turns, the question remains "does justice prevail?"
The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai: A Novel
by Ruiyan Xu
the haunting way language taunts us (11/9/2010)
This is a debut novel that paints a very haunting picture of loneliness, love and pain. The sing song lyrical quality of the prose reads almost like poetry. It evokes emotional isolation from page one and captures you until you finish the last page - I couldn't put this book down! It truly shows how silent and verbal communication, language and culture bond people together and painfully break them apart. A great debut for a highly talented author -
The Doctor and the Diva: A Novel
by Adrienne McDonnell
a perfect diva (7/5/2010)
The Doctor and the Diva captured my interest from the start. It is a book that is hard to put down and a perfect page turning "summer beach read". The twists and turns all point to how passion drives the soul. You feel like you are a world traveler embracing each character's life and journey. A great read!
Pearl of China: A Novel
by Anchee Min
Remarkable friendship (2/1/2010)
The ups and downs of Chinese history are very painful but a great backdrop to this story. It is a beautiful story about an enduring friendship between two very different souls that defied all odds. It brought tears to my eyes as it explored the changes in China as a result of Maoism and the unrelenting persecution of dissenters. What is most gripping is that the author was a first hand participant in China as it was going through the red revolution. An excellent read!
Alice I Have Been
by Melanie Benjamin
Alice fact or fiction? (10/20/2009)
When I picked up 'Alice I have been", I feared I would not be engrossed in the story and would be disappointed. Instead, I found the book immensely readable and I was hooked from page 1! It made me want to read "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" again. Who was Alice? Was she tired of living with the "Alice I have been" or was she always that Alice? Ironically as her life plays on from childhood through her elderly years, you see how her fate was sealed at age 10 and her life then changed forever by her actions and choices. Clearly she is haunted by being "Alice" for the rest of her life and life beyond the rabbit hole was just as fascinating, traumatic and adventuresome as the storybook tale. "Alice I have been" blends fact and fiction in a tale about the "real person" who inspired Lewis Carroll. Who is the REAL Alice is left to the power of human imagination.
Burnt Shadows: A Novel
by Kamila Shamsie
Riveting! DON'T MISS IT! (5/3/2009)
In light of our global world and its problems today many hinging on war and its consequences, ALL SHOULD READ THIS! I thought the book was phenomenal - beautifully written, fast paced and most of the time a real page turner. I couldn't put it down and it has haunted me since I finished it. From Nagasaki to Delhi, Pakistan, NYC and Afghanistan it tracks cultural differences so often misunderstood as well as the effect of circumstances of history. It truly shows what brings people together and what also separates us and the unintentional results of our actions. I LOVED this book!
The White Tiger: A Novel
by Aravind Adiga
OUTSTANDING (10/28/2008)
By far the BEST BOOK I have read in 2008. Extremely creative, at times funny, and a good luck at what it takes to be a "successful entrepreneur".
Green Monster: A Sam Skarda Mystery
by Rick Shefchik
Spotlight on Red Sox Nation (8/4/2008)
This is a great beach read - fast paced and a quick summer read! All baseball fans will love this mystery. The characters are multifaceted and there are good twists and turns not all predictable. I found it to be a very enjoyable page turner, sheer enjoyment not "great literature"! As a Red Sox fan, I loved the familiar players and local places and anyone from Boston especially would love to read it!
The White Mary: A Novel
by Kira Salak
A True Heroine, The White Mary! (7/31/2008)
This is a riveting, and sometimes harrowing, adventure tale which at times I found to bounce between a love story and a "nail biting thriller". Marika is a gutsy heroic journalist and a fearless survivor who attacks the harsh realities of war zones and untamed jungles. She is a hero to inspire all adventure "junkies - a character you will never forget! This book is all fast paced action and for me was mesmerizing - I definitely felt like I was under a spell and couldn't wait to read the next page. I read the book all in one sitting! It is obvious that Kira Salak as a reporter herself has lived through similar adventures and that is how she can capture the beauty of exotic places like Papa New Guinea at the same time as the violence of war zones and political upheaval. I can't recommend this book enough - I LOVED IT!!!
Evening Is the Whole Day
by Preeta Samarasan
Evening is the Whole Day (4/22/2008)
Preeta Samarasan's debut book is an energizing and colorful painting of a family's complex web of lies and secrets. Personally, the reason I read fiction is to escape and become a part of someone else's reality. Here I found myself so taken in by Malaysia, the place, the people and utterly caught in the "high drama" of the family history of the Rajasekharan's. Her story comes to life in each of the characters with a refreshing sense of humor. I couldn't wait to read each page!
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