Reviews by Donna W. (Wauwatosa, WI)

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Mrs. March: A Novel
by Virginia Feito
Mrs, March (4/18/2021)
This was a great book from the very first page to the last! The writing was extremely descriptive and I could picture Mrs. March in each scene as I read.

I went through so many emotions as I read and the character was so intriguing that I was carried along at a fast and increasingly suspenseful pace. I found my opinion of her changing back and forth as I read.

I couldn't put the book down, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fast paced thriller. A really delightful book!
The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World: A Novel
by Laura Imai Messina
At The Edge of the Haight (12/21/2020)
There was beautiful language and lovely thoughts and messages throughout the book. The 2 main characters dealing with grief was sensitively handled, and the road to the joy and happiness that was to come was quite believable.

For me though, the timeline was off. In parts it felt rushed, and in other parts things seemed to go very slowly. This left me with a feeling of unevenness. On the whole it was a difficult topic well handled, and worth the read.
At the Edge of the Haight
by Katherine Seligman
At The Edge of the Haight (9/27/2020)
This book started with an interesting concept but, unfortunately, the elements of the story were not put together very well and I had trouble relating to both the story and the characters.

The events seemed jumbled together, and the characters were so one dimensional that I didn't like most of them. If the main characters had been fleshed out more, it would have helped draw me in. As it was, I ended up not caring what happened to them. While the idea of street people was interesting, this book was not written in such a way that I felt sympathetic.
Migrations: A Novel
by Charlotte McConaghy
Migrations (3/30/2020)
This was a very powerful story! The book was written in such a beautiful way that it touched my heart, and I was really sorry to see it end. There is a bit of a mystery about the lead character's background and this adds to the strength of book.

I was profoundly touched by this book: The author did an excellent job writing such a moving story. I highly recommend this book.
The Madwoman and the Roomba: My Year of Domestic Mayhem
by SandraTsing Loh
The Madwoman and the Roomba (3/23/2020)
This book was funny and quite a good read. I'm of an age that much of what the author said was totally relatable. However, I think mothers of any age will be taken by this book.

She is very clever, and has a humorous way of looking at situations we can all relate to. While the book on the whole is a fun read, it is also touching and a bit sad in places. It presents the perfect combination of feelings that leads to a thoroughly enjoyable book. I recommend it highly.
The Secrets of Love Story Bridge
by Phaedra Patrick
The Secrets of Love Story Bridge (1/2/2020)
I had a hard time with this book. The characters were so poorly developed, and the story buildup was so rushed that I just couldn't relate to any of them. They were all so unappealing that I had a hard time finishing the book. The story had unbelievable events, some statements seemed to be contradictory, and the timeline didn't ring true. Unfortunately, I didn't like this book.
Father of Lions: One Man's Remarkable Quest to Save the Mosul Zoo
by Louise Callaghan
Father of Lions (10/5/2019)
This was a very interesting book. As I started reading, I thought I would be reading a book devoted entirely to animals. Instead I was thrown into the horrors associated with the Iraqi war. I learned a lot about the history, traditions, and people of Iraq.

I enjoyed the book. I had trouble getting into it, and never really formed an attachment to the main characters, but it told a riveting story. The book's main focus was on saving the Mosul zoo and it's animals, and the telling of this event led to a moving and satisfying conclusion.
The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt: A Novel
by Andrea Bobotis
The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt (6/21/2019)
This story starts simply, relating Judith's life presently when she is in the her 70s. Then it reverts to her life as a 15 year old. The story continues as it weaves back and forth between these 2 time periods, and unravels the family secrets related to 1 critical day.

I was drawn into the story quickly and the transition between the two time lines flowed smoothly. The tension built and kept me wanting to see what happened next. I liked the characters and enjoyed the beautiful language. It was a quick, easy read, and thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end.
The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel
by Jeanne Mackin
The Last Collection (2/19/2019)
This was an easy read, and I learned a lot about the fashion scene in Paris in the era of the war. Schiaparelli and Chanel came across as interesting and complicated women. Unfortunately, Lily, the main character wasn't quite as appealing.

She seemed superficial and for the most part not that interesting. It was hard for me to believe she would have come to be so closely involved with both of these fashion icons in such a short period of time.

The book really was more an historical fiction story about the war and the fashion industry was only a side note.

That said, I enjoyed the book, and anyone interested in that era in Paris would like the book.
Gone So Long
by Andre Dubus III
Gone So Long (9/17/2018)
This author paints such beautiful pictures with his words, that everything is clearly seen. The images are so vivid and the characters are so real that anyone who enjoys character driven books will enjoy this novel. The book is not an easy read though, and the story is not at all uplifting.

Even though the imaging was terrific, the over-abundance of it throughout the whole book slowed the story down a bit for me in the middle. It did pick up again in the end, and on the whole was a good read.
Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
by Keith O'Brien
Fly Girls (5/30/2018)
I found "Fly Girls" to be a fascinating account of a little known time in the field of aviation. Other than Amelia Earhart, all the other female flyers were unknown to me, and the struggles they encountered continue to be relevant. This book brought not only their stories, but the story of aviation in general, to life for me. Very interesting book.
French Exit
by Patrick deWitt
Comic Tale (2/8/2018)
French Exit is a truly engaging book. The characters are unique, the story borders on crazy, and everything fits together in such a delightful way that the book is a great comic read. A quick easy read and lots of fun!
Other People's Houses
by Abbi Waxman
Other People's Houses (11/27/2017)
The book started out with snappy, clever language and made me laugh, but that soon gave way to so many crude words and such annoyingly "clever" phrasing that it grew tiring.

I didn't particularly care for any of the characters, and there was not enough of a story to keep me interested.
Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
by Heather Harpham
Happiness (6/1/2017)
This was a great book! The author gives the reader a glimpse into the life of a family with a sick child. It is touching, sad, funny and such an incredible look into her life that I thank Heather Harpham for sharing her story.

Heather has such an expressive way with words that feelings and pictures are easily conveyed to reader. I couldn't put the book down. A must read!
The People We Hate at the Wedding
by Grant Ginder
The People we Hate at the Wedding (4/4/2017)
The front cover and blurbs on the back cover led me to believe that I was going to be reading a funny story. Instead, I read a story that looked into the lives of totally unlikable , unpleasant characters. I guess the inane jobs, and unsatisfactory relationships were supposed to lead to humor. Unfortunately for me, they did not. The writing was good, and some scenes were clever, but on the whole the book just didn't come across well.
Extraordinary Adventures
by Daniel Wallace
Extra-Ordinary Adventures (1/30/2017)
This was a good book with an appealing, likeable main character. After an unexpected telephone call, Bronfman, a lonely, gentle man who has not experienced much in his 34 years, finds himself in need of a traveling companion.

By beginning this search for a friend, Bronfman opens himself up to all the things life has to offer. We meet many other broken people along the way, and through it all I was routing for Bronfman to succeed. "Extra-Ordinary Adventures" was an enjoyable and quick read.
Castle of Water: A Novel
by Dane Huckelbridge
Castle of Water (11/23/2016)
The novel begins in a very intriguing way, and swept me into the story so strongly that I was immediately hooked. The author was able to add something extra to a story about 2 castaways and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It is necessary, however, to overcome disbelief at some of the events, and instead just enjoy the beauty of the story.
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin
Victoria (10/8/2016)
This was very good historical fiction. It was clearly written with great detail so that I got a good feeling for, not only, Queen Victoria and the early years of her reign, but also what late 1830s England was like.

However, this detail also proved to be a distraction for me, and I finished the book with the feeling that it was about 50 pages too long. That said, the book was good, and those lovers of historical fiction will enjoy this book.
North of Crazy: A Memoir
by Neltje
North of Crazy (5/24/2016)
Neltje very calmly and matter-of-factly writes her memories of her life, and it is a fascinating one! She gives a vivid account of her life growing up, her life as a young adult and young wife and mother, and her later life as an artist. In the background of all this rests the Doubleday fame and fortune.

The book is very interesting. However, because it is written in a "memory recall" fashion it is sometimes rambling, and often out of sequence. Also, the author seems to want to give mention to, and therefore honor to way too many people, thereby leaving the reader to read through many names, without adding any value to the real story of her life.

The book is quite good however, and gives some insight into the world of book publishing, and also the world of art. This memoir paints a picture of a fascinating person!
Miss Jane
by Brad Watson
Miss Jane (3/23/2016)
This book was beautifully written with lovely characters. The author made the characters so real that I cared for each of them: Jane, the main character born with a birth defect that made her life different, her mother, who was beaten down by the hardness of farm life, and her own personal loss, her hard working father, who was trying to do the right thing, and the caring gentle doctor who takes care of Jane.

I was immersed in the words and the feelings of the characters, and the thoughts of the world around us. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good character study.
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