The Best Recent Reader Reviews posted at Bookbrowse

The Best Recent Reader Reviews

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  • (12/01/16): This is a quirky and engaging story starring almost believable characters. It has everything I like in a novel--a clever and original plot that doesn't get too wrapped up in philosophical lectures--reader has to figure out the subjective, underlying meaning, if any.


  • (11/25/16): Tremaine us one of my favorite authors. She digs in deep with her characters and we live their troubles, thoughts, and triumphs. Exquisite reading to lose yourself in.


  • (11/23/16): You just have to read it. I have a fairly high level for praise, having read many, many okay books. This book challenges my capability for awe and appreciation.


  • (11/19/16): “When a thing has always been forbidden and must live in darkness and silence, it’s hard to know how it might be, if allowed to thrive.” A Place Called Winter is the sixteenth novel by British author, Patrick Gale. In early 20th century England, shy and stuttering Harry Cane, nurturing older brother to the infinitely more confident Jack, is rather surprised to find himself married to Winnie, and before long, a father to Phyllis. Even more surprising, the obsessive infatuation for another that forces him to abandon his family, England and the bulk of his wealth for the hardship, privation and loneliness of the Canadian prairielands. Harry is befriended on the ship by a strangely charismatic man, a Dane named Troels Munck, who commandeers his life and steers him to a land plot near the remote Saskatchewan town of Winter. The narrative alternates between two time periods: Harry’s life after he leaves a mental asylum and joins the therapeutic community run by the unconventional Dr Gideon Ormshaw at Bethel; and the events of his life from when his father died, events that led up to his admission to the asylum. Based on story of his own great-grandfather’s life, Gale’s story portrays the reality of pioneering in the Canadian wilderness. It also touches on accepted therapies for mental illness at the time and the dangers of being a homosexual in this era. Gale has a marvellous talent for making the reader feel true empathy for his main character: it is virtually impossible not to feel Harry’s heartache, his anxiety, his anger and his fear, but also his love. Gale’s descriptive prose is a pleasure to read: “She looked after the geese and ducks and was an excellent shot, regularly bagging wild duck…. She also shot rabbit and the occasional hare. These she would pluck or skin herself in an efficient fury all the more self-righteous for being unapplauded and unregarded” and “As Troels came to stand beside him, Harry smelt the musk of his sweat and something else, something threatening, if threat had a smell” and “There were stars, a seamless, spangled fishnet of them from horizon to horizon, coldly lighting the land and lending the farm buildings, outlined sharply against them, an eerie loveliness” are just a few examples. Fans of Gale’s work will not be disappointed, and newcomers to his work will want to seek out more of it. This beautifully written novel is incredibly moving and completely captivating. With thanks to Hachette and The Reading Room for this copy to read and review.


  • (11/13/16): I am an avid reader and read all types of books. I grew up in NY, I am of Jewish descent, and my grand parents were immigrants from Russia. I loved the story, could relate to the family to some extent, though horrified by others, and got lost in her life. To me, that makes a good book.


  • (11/11/16): I almost passed on reading this book because of the tragedy involved in the story. So glad I didn't. This is one of the best pieces of fiction I've read in awhile. Great storytelling and really wonderful character development. I highly recommend it.


  • (12/01/16): This is a quirky and engaging story starring almost believable characters. It has everything I like in a novel--a clever and original plot that doesn't get too wrapped up in philosophical lectures--reader has to figure out the subjective, underlying meaning, if any.

  • Evicted
    Poverty and Profit in the American City
    by Matthew Desmond

    (11/03/16): The rental market is rigged, it is especially so for the poor. I don’t know how one of the most basic of necessities has become so abused. Are there any reputable landlords out there, I think not, especially in poor communities. The book follows eight families and two landlords experience with renting and renters in Milwaukee, it is not a pretty story. We tend to forget the depth of poverty in this country. The vacancy rate for cheap housing is in the single digits, it’s a landlords market and they know and exploit it. Very sad, heart wrenching read, but also a necessary read.


  • (10/28/16): I recently just finished The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls for my outside reading book in my English class. Getting straight to the point, this has for sure been one of my most favorite books I have ever read. I could not only relate to many of the events and feelings that take place but also I love the way Walls expresses each character. Each individual has their own unique personality. Walls does a great job on making all the characters have different views and beliefs as well and making them all clear to see and understand. Just in this one family, there was such a wide variety of different types of people. At first I didn’t know what a memoir was, and I didn’t really bother to look it up until after I finished the book and relooked at the author’s name. I noticed that it was the same from the girls in the story. After this, I looked up the definition and I was in awe at all the extreme hardships that she had to go through. In the future, I am going to look more into this genre that I didn’t even know existed. I definitely think it is very interesting. I first picked up this book because I was at a loss of time and it was the 1st thing I saw. I didn’t think I would like it. It’s really not the type of book I would usually pick to read in my spare time but because I didn’t have many options, I stuck with it. Fortunately for me, the book turned out to be 100 better than I thought. When I read the back, I thought it was going to be a long boring and depressing story. Though at parts it got sad and or depressing, it never managed to get boring to me. Even in the sad parts, there was always some sort of strong emotion that would make me think why? I tend to think about everything. It’s a blessing and a curse. I loved that in this book because every thing each person did made me question who they were growing into and becoming throughout the story. In my English class, we are working on building a reading habit. I’m not going to lie, I really don’t enjoy reading that much anymore. In the past, it was one of my favorite things to do but as I have gotten older I find that a lot more distracts me when trying to read and I can never seem to find a book that I really like. This book was a real breakthrough to me. It actually helped me to make a reading habit for myself and slowly but surely I am enjoying reading more and more. I know that it probably seems like I am exaggerating quite a bit but I just want to make it clear to everyone how much I really did enjoy this book. Take it from someone who doesn’t even enjoy reading, yet couldn’t put it down. That must mean it’s good. I suggest you give it a go and see for yourself.


  • (10/25/16): This is an episodic novel that weaves the events in Lucy Barton's life into a diary-like first person account. These events included glimpses of how poor Lucy grew up, five in the family, living in a garage until a relative's death lands them better shelter. "Lonely was the first flavor I had tasted in my life, and it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth, reminding me." At the center of this recollection is a visit that Lucy's mother makes to the hospital when Lucy has complications from an appendix surgery. For five days her mother sits at the foot of her bed and they tell each other stories about people they know from their hometown of Amgash, Illinois, mostly these are stories about failed marriages. (A daughter and her mom gossiping about people they knew is the premise of Strout's Burgess Boys as well.) On the fringes of all these episodic stories is a terrible past that is not talked about, her father suffered from war trauma is the brief excuse given but certainly Lucy is scarred. Her mother is unable to tell her she loves her , but does seem to admire that Lucy moved on and did something with her life. She got away , unlike her two siblings. These brief scenes also reveal glimpses of her marriage and her experiences as a mother with two daughters of her own, and of her career as a successful writer. Lucy records these thoughts; she writes about her life as an observation, little emotion is detailed. It's a thoughtful portrait. As Lucy grows as a novelist, taking a class in Arizona, her teacher/mentor summarizes "This is a story about a mother who loves her daughter. Imperfectly. Because we all love imperfectly. But if you find yourself protecting anyone as you write this piece, remember this: You’re not doing it right.” She did it right.


  • (10/20/16): This is a wise book. The story of an old man who has lost all his worldly possessions in the Civil War and now reads the newspapers to folks who cannot read or have no access to papers and the 10-year-old returning Kiowa captive girl who has now lost two families in heart wrenching circumstances is also a tale of love, hope and the unbreakable human spirit. Told in spare prose, the story is itself spare, and that moves the reader more than more florid words could. Doris, one of the supporting characters says of Johanna and other returned captives, “our first creation is a turning of the soul…toward the light. To go through another, tears all the making of the first… to bits…they are forever falling.” (pg.56) Good and evil live in this book. Good wins and we are gladdened. A lovely book that I can highly recommend. 5 of 5 stars


  • (10/14/16): I loved the book. Very well written. It did get a bit confusing as it went back and forth from times before and after. I finished it in one day. Very intriguing. Showed life as it used to be. But I am very confused. I did not understand the last chapter. Was she reliving the past in her mind or was it happening. It made me uneasy as I don't understand the end. Could someone please explain it for me?


  • (10/10/16): “She wasn’t going to look at him again, no, she wasn’t….. Then she did look and the same sensations hit again, like a row of dominoes toppling into each other: the towering sense of recognition, the disbelief that she doesn’t somehow know him, the ridiculousness that they do not know each other, the impossibility of them not seeing each other again” This Must Be The Place is the seventh novel by British author, Maggie O’Farrell. Claudette Wells is Daniel Sullivan’s second wife. Even after several years of living together in a remote corner of Donegal, and fathering two children with her, he still finds it hard to believe that this eccentric, occasionally crazy, reclusive and beautiful ex-film star ever agreed to marry him. Later, he will remember this, and wonder what possessed him to put all that at risk. But now, a chance snippet of a radio broadcast, heard on the way to the train, sets him on a path to his past. Daniel heads off to New York, to his (not at all beloved) father’s 90th birthday party, makes an unplanned detour to California see the son and daughter from whom he has been kept for nine years by a vindictive ex-wife, then detours again to Sussex. What he learns there has such a profound effect on him, it threatens to derail the best thing in his life. O’Farrell has done it again! This extended family, this cast of characters, they pull the reader in. She draws each of them so well, with all their flaws and foibles, that the reader cannot help but find them appealing, hoping that things will turn out okay for them, laughing with them when they do and shedding a tear or two when they don’t. The story is told by many different characters: the perspective of some is given numerous times; others share their perceptions only once; conveniently, each chapter is clearly marked with the character and the time period; as well as contributing to the main story, these alternate views give vignettes of other, associated lives; most are conventional first-person or third-person narratives, but there is a second-person one, one with footnotes, a transcript of an interview, and even an auction catalogue with images; the chapter headings are phrases lifted from the text therein, producing a tiny resonance when they are read in context. O’Farrell’s descriptive prose is wonderfully evocative: “An amount of time later – he isn’t sure exactly how much – Daniel is walking in through the gates of the cemetery. He comes here at least once a day. It gives him an aim, a kind of routine. He makes his way along the gravelled path, letting his eye rest on the hundreds and hundreds of gravestones, watching the way they pull themselves into diagonal columns as he passes, then unpeel themselves, then line up again. An endless process of arrangement and disarrangement” is one example. “He thinks of his grief over his sister as an entity that is horribly and painfully attached to him, the way a jellyfish might adhere to your skin or a goitre or an abscess. He pictures it as viscid, amorphous, spiked, hideous to behold. He finds it unbelievable that no one else can see it. Don’t mind that, he would say, it’s just my grief. Please ignore it and carry on with what you were saying” is another example. Fans of O’Farrell’s earlier novels will not be disappointed. Readers new to her work are sure to seek out her backlist. Yet another O’Farrell novel that is an unadulterated pleasure to read.


  • (10/07/16): This book is a real page-turner! Guilty or a victim himself? An insightful look into the role of parents in the lives of their children. How much would you sacrifice? I liked the presentation of new scientific research which made you stop and think what you would do as a juror in a trial. The ending is a shocker! Very well researched and well written. One of my all-time favorite books!


  • (09/29/16): Unfortunately, this kind of story cannot be written in any other way to make this who had to read this book in English class like it. Obviously, those readers are young and privileged to not be able to sympathize or empathize for the main characters in this book. This was a reality for A LOT of children and families all over Central America, who are STILL trying to heal from these horrible events. To have to wrap this shit up in a fancy ribbon to get young people's attention or to keep their attention says more about the ones reading it than it does about an author. This book is fascinating and incredible to read. Nothing is sugar coated, nothing is coded - all is there bearing it's soul to the reader. If you have trouble sympathizing with people then don't read this book, but if you are interested in learning a bit of history and possibly getting insight of a reality outside of your own - this is your book.


  • (09/28/16): I could not put this down. The heroine's war against a rich young man who thought he was entitled to ride roughshod over the rights of women had a true flavor of being from another era.


  • (09/22/16): Very seldom have I read a book that I couldn"t put down, but "Last Scream" was it! This book is so in-depth, and so engrossing it totally draws you into the story. There is a killer stalking women who have already suffered abuse in their home lives. Try as hard as you may, you still won't be able to figure out who this is until the explosive ending! There is a titillating love affair between an F.B.I. Agent and and Texas Ranger. But what is so beautiful, you get to use your imagination. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery/thrillers. Snatch this book off the shelf, or for your Kindle, as quick as you can, of you will be missing one of the best books of the season!


  • (09/15/16): This book is amazing to teen readers because it deals with school problems and how to face them. It's overall an inspiration to teens to keep you head up and always smile!!


  • (09/12/16): I really liked this book. The characters were well written and came to life easily. Not having read anything else about Beryl Markham - however knowing who she was - this book did a great job of starting her life at a very young age and traversing all the changes she had to endure as she matured. In doing this, you are able to get a very clear picture of not only who Markham was, but also a great introduction to the people who shared her life. I felt that I got a great deal of information from this book, ended up knowing and liking Markham, and it also peaked my interest in some of the other members of her life - such as what happened to Jock Purvus, Ruta and his family, and a desire to know more about Denys Finch Hatton. Paula McLain does a great job of research and story telling.


  • (09/22/16): Very seldom have I read a book that I couldn"t put down, but "Last Scream" was it! This book is so in-depth, and so engrossing it totally draws you into the story. There is a killer stalking women who have already suffered abuse in their home lives. Try as hard as you may, you still won't be able to figure out who this is until the explosive ending! There is a titillating love affair between an F.B.I. Agent and and Texas Ranger. But what is so beautiful, you get to use your imagination. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery/thrillers. Snatch this book off the shelf, or for your Kindle, as quick as you can, of you will be missing one of the best books of the season!

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