The Best Recent Reader Reviews posted at Bookbrowse

The Best Recent Reader Reviews

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  • (02/12/19): She is candid and talks about her struggles to protect her girls from papparazi, and surprisingly, to buffer them from the intrusive Secret Service. I'd never considered how it would feel to have SS men shadowing me everywhere--she was inventive and designed a few 'work-arounds'. She manages to get them out of their black suits, shoes and ties to change into shorts, tees and tennies, and to swap out their black earpieces for white headsets, so the girls and their friends would feel more comfortable. I deeply admire her healthy agenda for children and believe that she's had a tremendous impact on our culture and awareness. I only wish that she liked politics more--perhaps she can use her significant influence in other constructive ways.


  • (02/08/19): I have been reading articles about Up Lit and books that fall into that category of uplifting, but not sugary sweet. The Lost for Words Bookshop fits into that mold. First, as a reviewer on Book Browse notes, what's not to love about a story set in a bookstore! Loveland's story is tragic and yet she comes out of a terrible situation and builds a life of her own. Over time, she learns about developing warm, loving relationships with a number of people. I thoroughly enjoyed The Lost for Words Bookshop!


  • (02/06/19): 4.5 stars I loved this book. It not only attests to the excellent story telling of the author, but it held me in awe of it's mastery of detail and readability. I felt that the story was enthralling, but the attention to detail and story follow up, along with the touch of magical realism, was wonderful. Setterfield's style and technique is above most. Wonderful folklore about the Thames River. Mostly set in the Swan Inn, where tales are told. Until that frightful night that an unknown man staggers in with a lifeless girl in his arms. Splendid, charming story, told in an enchanting way, by an excellent story teller.


  • (02/05/19): Loved it. Easy to read. Original plot. Well developed characters came across as believable people. In the time frame set, all the discriminatory thoughts and acts are believable and realistic. Yet the book is not judgemental not does it try to form the reader’s opinions, as I find in so much modern fiction. It also does not find “fault” or “blame” for the character’s situation. How refreshing to have a book where folks are troubled, yet find satisfaction with their situations in life. Although justice is vigilante, the reader is held to keep reading to find out the conclusion.


  • (01/30/19): I am completely mesmerized by Meet me at the Museum. I could hardly put the book down--and not because it is a thriller that causes me to turn the pages breathlessly. I wanted to read the next letter and the next letter. The story is one of calm, yet it also details some of the writers' most tender and vulnerable moments. Read Meet me at the Museum!


  • (01/20/19): An American Marriage has been on my TBR list for some time. The librarian who leads our local book club at my branch library chose An American Marriage for our Feb discussion. I already had a copy, so I began reading it following our last meeting. I was unable to put the book down. The characters tugged at my heart; they are well-drawn and they quickly became people I cared about. They find themselves in a terrible situation through no fault of their own. The story is heartbreaking and redemptive at the same time.


  • (01/15/19): Girl Waits With Gun is the first book in the Kopp Sisters series by NYT best-selling American author, Amy Stewart. When, on a fine July day in 1914, silk factory heir Henry Kaufman recklessly drives his motorcar into the buggy conveying Constance Kopp and her sisters to town, the ladies suffer minor injuries but the buggy, their only means of transport, is wrecked. Henry and his thuggish friends make to drive off, but Constance refuses to be intimidated, vociferously insisting that he accept responsibility for the damage, which astonishes onlookers and annoys Henry. By November, the Kopp sisters have been the target of verbal abuse, written “Black Hand” threats, damage to their home and attempted arson, and Constance’s sister Norma is convinced that withdrawal would have been a better course of action. Of course, sixteen-year-old Fleurette, so far protected from the world, just finds it all terribly exciting. It’s not just the demands for reparation that have attracted the ire of young Kaufman: Constance also seems to have involved herself in a possible kidnapping case in which Kaufman is implicated. And even with Sheriff Robert Heath allocating deputies to protect the sisters, they seem to be in dire straits when the latest threat arrives. Readers new to the Kopp Sisters series may be surprised learn from Stewart’s Historical Notes and Sources that Constance Kopp and her sisters were real people, much as described, as are quite a few of the other characters. Many of the events that form the plot also occurred, if not always when stated. Stewart takes the known historical facts and fleshes them out into a marvellous tale. What won’t amaze is the utter dependence and powerlessness of women at this time in history. Stewart effortlessly portrays the characteristics of everyday life of the early twentieth century and clearly demonstrates how different life was over a hundred years ago. Miss Kopp, however, is clever, resourceful and persistent, although not even these qualities can protect her from some adverse events. Her fierce protectiveness of her sisters adds to her appeal. The print column headlines to which the sisters continuously draw each other’s attention, or occasionally invent to suit their particular situation, are often a source of humour. There is some first-rate detective work done, and the last line will have readers eager for the next instalment, Lady Cop Makes Trouble. Excellent historical crime fiction.


  • (02/12/19): She is candid and talks about her struggles to protect her girls from papparazi, and surprisingly, to buffer them from the intrusive Secret Service. I'd never considered how it would feel to have SS men shadowing me everywhere--she was inventive and designed a few 'work-arounds'. She manages to get them out of their black suits, shoes and ties to change into shorts, tees and tennies, and to swap out their black earpieces for white headsets, so the girls and their friends would feel more comfortable. I deeply admire her healthy agenda for children and believe that she's had a tremendous impact on our culture and awareness. I only wish that she liked politics more--perhaps she can use her significant influence in other constructive ways.


  • (01/13/19): “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl can go from pauper to princess or princess to pauper in the mere seconds it takes for her to accept a proposal.” – the opening sentence of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen This delightful Pakistani re-telling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE starts out with ninth-grade teacher Alys Binat asking her female students to rewrite the opening sentence of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Their writings nakedly reveal their societal status and how they have been taught that marriage is their ultimate goal. Alys’ heart sinks each year as her students, with their brilliant minds, never consider exploring the world and paving their own ways through life instead of seeing “marrying young and well” as their only options. Yet each year she uses the reading of Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE to show how the mother and the protagonist start out with similar views and goals and where and why they begin to separate in those views. Alys Binat says she will never marry but, like Elizabeth Bennett, life just did not turn out that way when Darsee entered her life. Kamal manipulated the characters’ names to somewhat match the name of the characters in the classic telling. Some of the nicknames were hilarious – Rum, Gin, Hammy, Dracula. I especially loved the characters of Sherry Looclus (Charlotte Lucas) and Farhat Kaleen (Mr. Collins). Sherry is the kind of friend you want by your side through good and bad. The story was utterly delightful and the writing impeccable. Charming and funny with relatable characters, this unique re-telling of the classic story PRIDE AND PREJUDICE looks at love, sisterhood, class, and marriage with a fresh twist. Kamal provided awesome insight into human relationships, especially within the Binat family of five daughters and their parents. (“O’Connor, Austen, Alcott, Wharton. Characters’ emotions and situations are universally applicable across cultures, whether you’re wearing an empire dress, shalwar kurta, or kimono.”) Some conversations are pretty much universal, heard in families whatever the culture may be. Example: “Both of you, shut up,” Mrs. Binat said. “For God’s sake, is this why I went through your pregnancies and labor pains and nursed you both and gave myself stretch marks and saggy breasts? So that you can grow up and be bad sisters? How many times must I tell you: Be nice to each other, love each other, for at the end of the day, siblings are all you have.” Tell me you haven’t heard some version of that from your own mother. I enjoyed the historical tidbits about the partitioning of Pakistan and India and the involvement of the English empire. I suspect she used much farce in her descriptions of modern-day Pakistani culture. A truly delightful story. I end with a quote from the book that I think should be highlighted: “We know that friends can be made anywhere and everywhere, regardless of race or religion.”.

  • The Long Way Home
    A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, #10
    by Louise Penny

    (01/10/19): I am a huge L.P. fan and belong to a book club that has read all of her books in order and together attended an author appearance. That said, no one In our group liked this book. The idea that the chief of Police would let 3 women with no police expertise lead a mission to find Peter was specious at best. And the journey, both theirs and Peters less than interesting. I was glad this was not the first book of hers I had read or I would have missed all the excellent others in her series.


  • (01/08/19): From the moment I heard the buzz that surrounds this book I had to read it to find out if it was really as good as almost everyone was saying that it was! I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but it really drew me in and knew this would be a book that I would be hooked and oh was I right! While it may be cliché to say I really believe that this story is a true page turner, I read it almost in one go which is very rare for me I have to say! I loved the style of the book with the short chapters, made me keep saying 'just one more' until I just couldn't stop I needed to know what happens next. The depth of the story is beautiful, it is thrilling and exciting but also makes you think of the deeper issues such as family, loyalty and honesty.


  • (02/05/19): Loved it. Easy to read. Original plot. Well developed characters came across as believable people. In the time frame set, all the discriminatory thoughts and acts are believable and realistic. Yet the book is not judgemental not does it try to form the reader’s opinions, as I find in so much modern fiction. It also does not find “fault” or “blame” for the character’s situation. How refreshing to have a book where folks are troubled, yet find satisfaction with their situations in life. Although justice is vigilante, the reader is held to keep reading to find out the conclusion.


  • (01/02/19): This was an excellent book and portrayed the characters in this time era well. I didn’t want to stop reading once I started. The story line made one think about that particular time in history and how it affected the characters lives and the lives of their children later in life.


  • (12/25/18): I very much enjoyed this book on many different levels. Our family lived in an 1880’s historical home that we lovingly named “the money pit,” as everything was in disrepair. The modern day story that was told was very similar to our family - especially the mother/daughter relationship. I so could relate to Willa. Now that my husband and I are of retirement age, going through the boxes of family history was exact - down to owning a Navajo rug that was my grandparents. I love BK and her stories. She’s one of the best writers of our generation.


  • (12/20/18): This memoir will give you all the feels. It is a touching story of a boy trying to find his way, under the care of his aging grandparents, as his mother fades in and out of his life. His mother is a heroin addict, and the author struggles to understand the addiction his family lives under the shadow of. In the meantime, he finds tough but real love from his grandparents and finds direction in life through his artistic talent. A timely and emotional read.


  • (01/07/19): I found this book to be interesting from the first page. It was one of the fastest reads I can remember. The plot was carried us along for a treacherous outing in the woods. The disappearance of Alice presents more questions than answers. The dual timeline keeps the story going in an interesting fashion. I did not see the ending coming...always a good sign for a thriller.


  • (12/12/18): Me Before You is the first book in the Me Before You series by award-winning British author, Jojo Moyes. Louisa Clark’s café wages are much relied-upon: her mum, Josie is the stay-at-home carer for Granddad; all of her sister Katrina’s pay goes to bringing up her own young son; and her dad Bernard’s job at the furniture factory is looking less secure every day. So when the Buttered Bun closes down, Lou needs another job pronto. She’s never worked as a carer before, but the pay’s better than at the chicken processing plant, and Lou’s been assured there’ll be no wiping of, you know, required (there’s a trained carer for that stuff). Camilla Traynor has told Lou she’s basically needed as a companion for her son, Will, who is a quadriplegic since a traffic accident two years ago. But Will’s anger, his mercurial moods, his negativity, these are an unpleasant, if understandable, surprise for Lou. She’s determined to stick it out: she can’t afford to lose this job. But Camilla hasn’t been entirely honest. Before long, Lou discovers the truth, and finds herself doing her utmost to bring enjoyment into Will’s life. For anyone who has even glanced at the remarks on the cover of later editions of this book, the trajectory of the story and the ending will be predictable, but such is the quality of the characters Moyes creates, and their dialogue, that most readers will not be able to resist reading to the end, although this, as many advise, is best not read in public. And before that end is reached, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and the odd surprise or two. The novel is mostly a first-person narrative told by Lou, but with occasional (clearly denoted) chapters from the perspective of other significant characters. Moyes tackles several topical and divisive issues: voluntary euthanasia and the right to die; how quality of life is dependent on perspective; the stigma attached to being disabled, the patronising attitudes encountered and the attendant, if unintentional, discrimination suffered. Ultimately a heart-wrenching love story, this novel is also funny and thought-provoking.


  • (12/06/18): 3.75 stars Man, what a crappy family. Each person in this group of people has a problem, and one that supersedes the problem that they are all drawn together to solve. There is not one character in this whole novel that is likable. Some of their actions are very understandable, given the circumstances, however they were probably not the correct actions. The whole premise surrounds a cold, horrendous act of violence that was carried out by 3 teenage boys, the sons of the adults drawn together for this dinner. During the gathering each of the 4 adults thought-process, motives, and insecurities come to light. Decisions are made. Lives are changed. There were places in this book that I feel could easily have been eliminated. Paul, the story-teller, I felt went way too deep into his own background and his profession. Totally unneeded for the plot of this story. It quickly became boring. But once through all the nonsense, the basis of the book was very good. I don't agree with how the adults handled the situation, but I can understand it. This book was translated from Danish and won multiple awards. Worth the read.


  • (01/07/19): I found this book to be interesting from the first page. It was one of the fastest reads I can remember. The plot was carried us along for a treacherous outing in the woods. The disappearance of Alice presents more questions than answers. The dual timeline keeps the story going in an interesting fashion. I did not see the ending coming...always a good sign for a thriller.


  • (12/25/18): I very much enjoyed this book on many different levels. Our family lived in an 1880’s historical home that we lovingly named “the money pit,” as everything was in disrepair. The modern day story that was told was very similar to our family - especially the mother/daughter relationship. I so could relate to Willa. Now that my husband and I are of retirement age, going through the boxes of family history was exact - down to owning a Navajo rug that was my grandparents. I love BK and her stories. She’s one of the best writers of our generation.

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