Reviews by Carol T. (Ankeny, IA)

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The Right Sort of Man
by Allison Montclair
The right sort of book (6/25/2019)
Everything the early reviews claimed. Question is, can Montclair write quickly? We need more!
The Widows of Malabar Hill: A Mystery of 1920s Bombay
by Sujata Massey
Average read (6/23/2019)
This came so highly rated, but I was disappointed. If you're interested in Bombay in the 20s, you might like it.
The Spies of Shilling Lane
by Jennifer Ryan
What a hoot! (6/17/2019)
Loved it! Cannot recommend it highly enough! (And can't wait for Jennifer Ryan's next foray.)
How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States
by Daniel Immerwahr
Well worth reading - but allow time (6/15/2019)
Long and involved. Be ready to find out things about the US that you didn't know.
Resistance Women
by Jennifer Chiaverini
Disappointing (6/15/2019)
I had high hopes for Resistance Women, but it was not to be. Three of the characters are real women, one is fictional. Only the fictional has any depth to her; the real ones are forced, probably to accommodate their actual lives and any diaries. While we all know the plot line for WWII and what happened in Germany, we could have a little basic tension. With so many WWII-based novels available, I'd rather spend my time on one or two that truly sing.
Wunderland
by Jennifer Cody Epstein
Pulled me in and held me (6/10/2019)
Wunderland is one of the best WWII-based novels I've read in so many ways: historical accuracy, believable characters, great pacing. I'm oh so tempted to just turn it over and start again.
Becoming
by Michelle Obama
Pleasantly surprised (6/4/2019)
By the time my name came up to get this from the library, I was more than a little burned out on political autobiographies, so started this half-heartedly. Boy was I wrong. This really is a page turner. I expected Obama to write well (yes, I know she had a ghost writer to help her) and she does. Her voice is so good that I had the feeling she was talking directly to me. I nearly cried with her at the tragedies of friends' deaths, her father's death, the Newtown shooting, and even the 2016 election results.
Courting Mr. Lincoln
by Louis Bayard
Disappointing (6/4/2019)
Perhaps knowing a lot about the Lincolns is a disadvantage. This fictionalized account is pallid and flat. There are better, more interesting actual biographies. I doubt that I'll read anything else by this author.
The American Agent: A Maisie Dobbs Novel
by Jacqueline Winspear
Best of the series (4/10/2019)
I admit, some of Winspear's early Maisie Dobbs entries were too "preachy" and not enough action. But at 15, she definitely has this one right.
Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen
by Mary Norris
And ode to language lovers (4/10/2019)
I've always loved Mary Norris' writing. She makes all things understandable. Nearly a 5 star, but I wasn't as enamored of all the travels as I was of the language sections.
A Deadly Divide: A Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Mystery
by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Could happen anywhere (4/4/2019)
Timely. This mosque massacre really could have come from today's news. I just hope when the Nazis attack my town my officials handle it as well.
D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II
by Sarah Rose
Suprising women (3/25/2019)
Concise, easy to read history of the women spies in WWII France. Excellent notes and bibliography. For the most part, I was able to keep the women straight - no small feat when there were many. I'd have liked to know more about each of them, but that would have taken a MUCH longer book, making it harder to read. Rose did not "pad" for length as so many non-fictions writers seem to do, repeating themselves ad nauseam, making this an easy-to-finish book, too.
We Must Be Brave
by Frances Liardet
Excellent Debut (3/16/2019)
Exactly the right twists and turns; lovely language. A keeper in the WWII home front genre. Also a super debut. Looking forward to more from Frances.
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
by David Wallace-Wells
Almost a novel (3/15/2019)
If you weren't afraid of climate change before you read this, you definitely will be afterward. Note Wallace-Wells' ability to use word choice, sentence structure, and pacing to pull you in and keep you hooked.
The Last Year of the War
by Susan Meissner
Superb (2/13/2019)
I couldn't put it down! An excellent rendering of a little known fact - German-American internment. Elise and Mariko are so real that they could live next door. I'm off to learn more. Thanks to Berkley and Read It Forward for the ARC.
My Lovely Wife
by Samantha Downing
Drew me in (10/12/2018)
My Lovely Wife started slowly. In fact, I found the first third quiet slow and fairly predictable, but then it drew me in and I raced to the end. Rainy day read.
Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
by Keith O'Brien
Fly away, girls... (6/2/2018)
This "good" book could have been excellent. Unfortunately, O'Brien is of the "just the facts, ma'am" school and failed to make any of the women come to life. While they, and most of the people who knew them, are long gone, surely someone's diary captured the real women who gave up so much just to fly.
The Heart's Invisible Furies: A Novel
by John Boyne
So so (6/17/2017)
This was OK. If you like John Irving, it might be down your alley.
My Last Lament
by James William Brown
Like listening to a story (3/20/2017)
I know my review title seems a little silly since this is a novel, which makes it, by definition, a story. However, it is so well-written that I felt like I was listening to Aliki (the lamenter) tell her story - she drew me in and I didn't want to put it down.
The Typewriter's Tale
by Michiel Heyns
Very.... Jamesian.. (1/1/2017)
If you are fond of Henry James, you'll find The Typewriter's Tale to be just the ticket; full of long, delicious, delectable sentences, themselves filled with admirable adjectives, fulsome feelings, and sensitive sensibilities. A good weekend's read.
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