The Best Recent Reader Reviews posted at Bookbrowse

The Best Recent Reader Reviews

To write your own review, find the book you want to review and click "Reader Review". You can only post reviews of books that are listed on BookBrowse (approximately 14,000 at the time of writing).


  • (03/21/17): This one snuck up on me! I didn't realize how emotionally invested I was until I had tears in my eyes while reading the last chapter. Each chapter is titled after a group of specific birds, "An Exaltation of Larks", "A Murder of Crows", etc. with a description of the type of bird & usually an example of the phrase being used in literature or the symbolism of the bird in mythology. It's an extremely clever device that foreshadows what will occur in each chapter & provides additional context information related to both the plot line & ornithology. And...let's not forget the crows! I enjoyed reading about Meridian's studies of a murder of crows over the course of the years. Her studies are another clever plot device that enhanced the book. They're extremely social animals with a high level of intellect including extremely impressive memory & communication skills. I have both a fascination & a tiny fear of crows so I found Meridian's studies of crows to be quite captivating.


  • (03/21/17): This book is so much deeper & better than I thought it was going to be. So very grateful to BookBrowse for providing me with a copy to read & discuss with their online book club. This book has been on my to read list since it's publication but I probably wouldn't have gotten around to reading it anytime soon had a copy not been provided to me. Oh how I love little literary surprises!


  • (03/13/17): As a former treatment foster parent, I can testify to the validity of the experiences "Fish" had in his foster homes. There are great foster homes and there are no so great foster homes. I have seen them all. Of the approximately 17 teens I fostered, all of them had been abused by their parent(s) and all of them were still searching for the approval of their parents. The foster sons who have stayed in touch with me are all reunited with their families in spite of extreme neglect and or abuse. Some of them are what I call a success in that they have jobs they enjoy and they are good employees who show up on time and don't abuse sick days. One young man in particular had come to me from our state youth correctional facility and now is a dad with a successful dog training business and a teacher of martial arts. I learned something about myself from each one of my foster sons and I would do it all over again.

  • Idaho
    A Novel
    by Emily Ruskovich

    (03/08/17): When you read a book about murder especially a horrific murder you expect a resolution, an explanation, something to ease the pain. In Idaho Emily Ruskovich gives you none of that. Ann knows when she married Wade that he has early on-set dementia and that his first wife murdered one of their children. The beauty of the story is not about the murder, but how Ann goes about bringing closure to an act that was so brutal. We don’t often get a glimpse of the aftermath of a tragedy, it goes against our sensibilities not to know what happened but the author is more concerned with how life continues after such a tragedy. The book spans a thirty year period, moving from present to past, back and forth from character to character each giving us just a bit of insight always moving forward never back. Idaho is beautifully written book but, challenging as it does not move in the direction you expect, it will move you from comfort zone.


  • (03/02/17): While the elite class and the middle class battle, the lowliest and least respected rise to leadership. A "foreign" untouchable sanitation worker preservers to become a respected leader bringing change from the least expected sect. I read a print version while listening and had to keep pausing the audible version while annotating my print copy. Some lovely language throughout. Lots of interesting tidbits for gardeners and want-to-be bee keepers or regular folk wanting to provide habitat for pollinators. Provocative take on some social concepts and behaviors... I think this would make an interesting book group choice paired with Animal Farm, Handmaid's Tale or even The Giver trilogy


  • (02/28/17): WOW!! Kudos to Laurie Frankel, author or "This is How it Always Is". The genre of this book is Fiction, but in the author's notes she courageously writes that the motivation comes from her living with a family member with the same issues. Rosie and Penn have five children. Rosie is a Physician and Penn is a writer, and tells the children made up fairy tales. The baby of the family Claude is different. Claude loves to wear dresses, play with dolls, wears jewelry, Barrettes in his hair,and approaches life differently than his brothers.Claude is happiest when can do this.Rosie and Penn want to see their children happy. Claude draws himself with long hair and dresses.At first his parents feel that all children go through phases. This is a controversial topic that ?is spoken about currently, but I feel that many of these issues just have always existed but never were addressed as openly. Children(and adults) can be devastatingly cruel, be bullies, and do not accept whatever the "norm" should be. It is not often that we speak of transgender children, sometimes as young as three. Laurie Frankel gives me much to think about. Should answers be black and white, yes or no? Does a person have to make up their mind if they feel they are a girl/boy? Is it so simple? Should society force families to keep a "secret" if their feelings don't conform to what is supposedly expected? I love the way that Laurie Frankel writes about family, love, support and acceptance I also feel that the hardest job in life is to be a parent. Of course, we want to see our children happy, but can we admit that we have certain expectations that might be or not be in our children's best interest? I highly recommend this intriguing novel. It is so very different and unique, and Laurie Frankel's descriptions are amazing!


  • (02/24/17): “There was around him an exhausted emptiness, an impenetrable void cloaked this most famously collegial man, as if he already lived in another place – forever unravelling and refurling a limitless dream or an unceasing nightmare, it was hard to know – from which he would never escape. He was a lighthouse whose light could not be relit” The Narrow Road to The Deep North is the sixth novel by award-winning Australian author, Richard Flanagan. Despite his humble beginnings in a remote Tasmanian village filled with “verandah-browed wooden cottages”, Dorrigo Evans is clever enough to get scholarships for high school and university. He leaves the locale where he used to “smell the damp bark and drying leaves and watch clans of green and red musk lorikeets chortling far above. He would drink in the birdsong of the wrens and the honeyeaters, the whipcrack call of the jo-wittys…” By 1940, he is a promising young surgeon, engaged to Ella Lansbury, a girl from the right sort of family, when he joins the army. Stationed near Adelaide while awaiting dispatch overseas, Dorrigo’s chance encounter with his Uncle Keith’s young second wife, Any Mulvaney, results in a liaison he could neither have anticipated nor resisted. A few years on, Dorrigo Evans is a Prisoner of War, in command of a thousand men charged with building the Burma Railway, where cruelty and death were unwelcome, but commonplace: “They had smoked to keep the dead out of their nostrils, they had joked to keep the dead from preying on their minds, they had eaten to remind themselves they were alive…” Dorrigo is constantly wracked with feelings of inadequacy, but “He could do this, he told himself… He had no belief he could do it, but others believed he could do it. And if he believed in them believing in him, maybe he could hold onto himself” The survivors return home to a life that feels alien: “He didn’t fit with his own life anymore, his own life was breaking down, and all that did fit – his job, his family – seemed to be coming apart”. Dorrigo goes through the motions, marries, has three children and “Occasionally, he felt something within him angry and defiant, but he was weary in a way he had never known, and it seemed far easier to allow his life to be arranged by a much broader general will than by his own individual, irrational and no doubt misplaced terrors” A celebrated surgeon and a war hero, Dorrigo despises the society of which he is part: “He did not believe in virtue. Virtue was vanity dressed up and waiting for applause”. From those who have been there, he sometimes hears words of wisdom: “Adversity brings out the best in us, the podgy War Graves Commission officer sitting next to him had said… It’s the everyday living that does us in” Using multiple narrators, Flanagan examines the well-known cruelty of the Japanese captors from both sides. He also exposes the staggeringly selfish attitudes of POW officers, the sometimes secretive, sometimes selfish and sometimes extraordinarily generous behaviour of enlisted men, and also the postwar politics of punishment. With descriptive prose that is exquisite, it is no wonder that this novel is a winner of several awards and a nominee for many more. Profoundly moving.


  • (02/23/17): A good storyline for all ages. No matter how/why you may believe life should be lived, this story will show one author's take about a "different" lifestyle than the "norm". It is not a preachy book about how the rights or wrongs about life, especially in high school, should be/ not be lived by any individual, nor about how one should react to any individual and their lifestyle choice, it is simply a story about a girl, and how she must handle her choices made during her high school years and beyond. It does not delve too heavily about medical operations, or about the way of life in the early years, or about the relationships created in a new high school. This story just is. It would really have a multitude of subject matter for any book club.


  • (02/16/17): One of the best writers around today is Michael Chabon. I really enjoyed "Wonder Boys" and "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay", so when I heard about "Moonglow" I was very excited. "Moonglow" is written as a memoir, with Chabon telling the story of his grandfather's last days during which he told Chabon much about his life (which he had not previously shared.) Chabon's grandather (who is not named) lived a very interesting life, which included serving in World War II. His wife (Chabon's grandmother) fled Europe after the war with her daughter in tow. Throughout their marriage they dealt with many difficult things. It is hard to describe more than that without giving away the plot. Suffice it to say, the book is very well written and very interesting. If you like Chabon's other books you'll like this one. You'll also like it if you like historical fiction, especially set from World War II on, or if you like books with lots of characters.


  • (02/09/17): I LOVE the author's "old style" of descriptive yet insightful and intelligent story telling. This book is not one you can breeze through immediately, you have to take your time and savor each chapter. I have now become enamored of ghost ships and their legends in history. The characters of the book come alive, and I am transported back into a time when there was no "electronic" instant media, but to a time when everything was organic, lived, and more soulful. I can't wait to read more of the author's publications. I love historical novels and this is a "must read"!

  • The Universe Within
    Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People
    by Neil Shubin

    (02/06/17): I often find myself wondering about what is out there in the world, beyond what our mere human form can reach. How did everything come to be? Why does the universe function the way it does? Is there any connection between the human body and the universe we were drawn from? If any of these questions have ever floated through your head...this is the book for you. The works that Neil Shubin covers range from the rotation of the planets to how the mammal brain perceives time to firsthand accounts of his archeology digs and how his discoveries relate to other planets in and past our solar system. I found this book a bit difficult to get into at first, but once I was a few pages in, I was captured by Shubin's tales and explanations. Some passages are written with such learned vocabulary that I had to reread them, but once I could comprehend the message, I was in awe. Not only in awe of the subjects but also of how Shubin is able to explain and put a new twist on how things connect in our world. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone with an itch of curiosity about the universe, the earth, and people. It is an eye-opening read!


  • (02/02/17): To say Ove was set in his ways would be a gross understatement. But Ove’s wife loved him and he loved her. Life was good until tragedy struck – twice. Now Ove is alone and wishes to kill himself, but life intervenes in the guise of neighbors, friends, enemies and Ove himself. Strong characters, a sure sense of time and place and a plot that meanders to a well thought out conclusion combine to make a tale well worth reading. Book groups will find plenty to talk about – lonely people, compromise of principle, suicide, anger, family, friendship, neighborliness, and Ove’s signature statement – “What is right is right” always – maybe. 5 of 5 stars


  • (01/28/17): “There was nothing remarkable about the Whitshanks. None of them was famous. None of them could claim exceptional intelligence. And in looks, they were no more than average…. But like most families, they imagined they were special. They took great pride, for instance, in their fix-it skills… all of them were convinced that they had better taste than the rest of the world…disappointments seemed to escape the family’s notice, though. That was another of their quirks: they had a talent for pretending that everything was fine” A Spool of Blue Thread is the twentieth adult novel by award-winning American author, Anne Tyler. The Whitshank House on Bouton Rd, lovingly, carefully and painstakingly built by Junior Whitshank for Mr. Ernest Brill, was eventually home to Junior, Linnie Mae and their children, Merrick and Redcliffe. Later, Red and Abby brought up their four, Amanda, Jeannie, Denny and Stem, within its walls. It was built for a family and stood the test of time. And here is where the family gathers when Red and Abby begin to cope less well than they always did. The issue of how to manage ageing parents is something common to most families; after their first solution fails, another is decided upon, but frictions arise between siblings when the (sort of) black sheep turns up to help. Old jealousies and frustrations surface, and in the course of events, certain secrets are revealed. Tyler has a singular talent for taking ordinary people doing ordinary things and keeping the reader enthralled and endeared. Her pace is sedate, her descriptive prose, gorgeous, her dialogue, realistic. The narrative is split into four parts: the first tells, from multiple perspectives, of present day events in the Whitshank family, with plenty of references to the immediate (and less immediate) past; the second is from Abby’s viewpoint, and details the day she fell in love with Red; the third gives Junior’s point of view of events surrounding his early encounters with Linnie Mae and the start of their family life; the last, again from several perspectives, describes the present-day leave-taking from the Bouton Rd house. Another novel that is characteristically Anne Tyler: funny, moving, thought-provoking and, again, quite brilliant.


  • (01/23/17): Julian Barnes' novel The Sense of an Ending is an intriguing,well written reflection by a man exploring his past relationship with a school chum and an ex girlfriend. "I’m not very interested in my schooldays, and don’t feel any nostalgia for them. But school is where is all began, so I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty. If I can’t be sure of the actual events any more, I can at least be true to the impressions those facts left. That's the best I can manage." Tony Webster and his two best mates meet up one day with a new student, Adrian Finn. Adrian is immediately recognized as brighter, more philosophical than most, and no one is surprised when he wins acceptance to Cambridge. Tony, capable enough, goes to Bristol and eventually graduates to a humdrum life of art administration, a failed marriage and a fleeting relationship with his daughter, Susie. But his peaceful retirement is interrupted when he receives a letter from an old girlfriend's mother. In her will she left him money and Adrian's, diary; the problem is that the old girlfriend, Veronica, who ditched Tony long ago in favor of Adrian, will not give it to him. Thus starts the emails and meetings between the two which provide for the building tension in the novel. I will welcome reading more from this Booker Prize winning author. Good passages: "Does character develop over time? In novels, of course it does; otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story. But in life? I sometimes wonder. Our attitudes and opinions change, we develop new habits and eccentricities; but that’s something different, more like decoration. Perhaps character resembles intelligence, except that character peaks a little later: between twenty and thirty, say. And after that, we’re just stuck with what we’ve got. We’re on our own. If so, that would explain a lot of lives, wouldn’t it? And also-- if this isn’t too grand a word--our tragedy." "How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but--mainly--to ourselves." "We could start perhaps with the seemingly simple question. What is History? Any thoughts, Webster? 'History is the lies of the victors,' I replied a little too quickly.' Yes, I was rather afraid you'd say that. Well as long as you remember that it is also the self-delusions of the defeated...'


  • (02/02/17): To say Ove was set in his ways would be a gross understatement. But Ove’s wife loved him and he loved her. Life was good until tragedy struck – twice. Now Ove is alone and wishes to kill himself, but life intervenes in the guise of neighbors, friends, enemies and Ove himself. Strong characters, a sure sense of time and place and a plot that meanders to a well thought out conclusion combine to make a tale well worth reading. Book groups will find plenty to talk about – lonely people, compromise of principle, suicide, anger, family, friendship, neighborliness, and Ove’s signature statement – “What is right is right” always – maybe. 5 of 5 stars


  • (01/28/17): This book did contain an interesting story; however, it was exhausting to read Paul's ramblings and run-on sentences that seemed to continue for days. Many times I realized I was seeing words but thinking of anything else. I did not enjoy reading the book, but the story will stay with me.


  • (02/04/17): Lillian is a delightful, insightful octogenarian who walks her hometown (New York City) on New Year's Eve and encounters the good, the bad and the ugly with the opened mind that only a person of much life experience can do. The author's use of adroit similes and other literary devices is right on. Loved Lillian. Loved the book.


  • (01/15/17): Lovely, Dark and Deep was an amazing read. Every book I had read I would finish and put down but two years later I still find myself coming back to it and reading it more and more. Amy McNamara did a fabulous job in description and portrayal of emotions and events. I was so drawn in to the story I could count off all the events that happened down to the little ones in order. Hands down my favourite book, so far nothing else has come to match it.


  • (01/14/17): If you love history, you have to read this book. If you think this historical era is not your cup of tea, also try this novel. We meet a young lady who is not stucked up. We meet a lady with a heart of courage and fortitude. The author, Daisy Goodwin,writes this story as you have discovered a new best friend. The author makes you feel you are with Queen Victoria when she takes her carriage rides. When she has to choose with love, you would want to be with her and help her though. Again, this author really connects you with the Queen. The book also has a character named Lord Melbourne. As the Queen calls him Lord M for her heart has fallen. Despite the age differences and despite his past, it is through Lord Melbourne that he teaches the Queen. He teaches by being direct. He taught her not only the policies of being a queen, but lessons that life give us. He also shows her respect. Do not forget the historical era this book is in. A queen as a women was rare. There was only one queen before her. His teachings helped her be a better queen. This book is historical fiction, with romance, and suspense. This writer takes these three subjects and interwoven into one of the best historical fiction novels. This is a book that you will always remember.

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