The Best Recent Reader Reviews posted at Bookbrowse

The Best Recent Reader Reviews

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  • (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...'


  • (01/21/17): He introduces his characters a little at a time and doesn' t spoil their quirks by giving too much information about them too quickly. One of my favorite books in a long time!


  • (01/21/17): As a white reader I do not feel adequate to review the satire, wit, humor, and irony displayed in this novel or the stereotypical behavior of black culture, politics, and entertainment which are all tackled by the author in flashbacks, other than the Prologue and Closure. I read this during MLK weekend and during the appearance of The Slants before the Supreme Court which in turn influenced my review. The setting is the "agrarian ghetto" in Dickens, CA supposedly based on actual documents from Compton, CA in which the narrator (Me or Bonbon) tries to reestablish slavery and segregated schools and buses. This white reader in Trump Nation has decided to be more open to racial references and their needs, but post- racial America is a distant dream.


  • (01/19/17): Within the first few pages, I needed to highlight a sentence Ms. Rooney coined. Her writing was breathtaking and her choice of character was impeccable. I have been recommending this book to everyone. Even non-bibliophiles. I know this is a book that I will read over and over and over. Thank you for allowing me to travel with Ms. Boxfish.


  • (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.


  • (01/07/17): An #1 Indie Next Pick, this beautifully layered novel features Paula Vauss (aka Kali Jali) who spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited mother, Kai. Her mother was a Georgia storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern tales to reinvent their family’s history. Soon the mother-daughter bond is fractured landing her mother in prison and Paula into foster care system. As the story begins Paula is now a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. Even though she hasn’t seen her mother in fifteen years, she does continue her obligation by sending her monthly support monies until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a cryptic letter containing words about a final journey, death, and a new beginning when we met again. Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and deep in her heart. With the help of an ex-lover and her newly discovered younger brother, she now has to figure out how the other missing family pieces are put back together. I am a huge fan of Southern writers such as Jackson. In this book she delivers another one of her quirky, Southern-based, character-driven novels that combines writing with a vivid and imaginative storyline. This novel is an intense look at broken people and how they heal themselves and each other through forgiveness, love, and the power of “stories.” “The Opposite of Everyone” has been a bright spot in my last few months of leisure reading. Jackson hits both this reader’s emotional nerve and the funny bone by using evocative language and creating memorable characters to carry her story.


  • (01/06/17): I am a big fan of fairy tales and folklore in the vein of the Brothers Grimm. This tale has been told over the centuries with variations from country to country. But this current retelling, which is based in the Alaskan wilderness of the 1920's, tugged at me because I grew up in Alaska. The author captures the era and landscape vividly, and the story of the childless couple who create a snow child from a snowman feels fresh and new. Mabel and Jack's tale of longing and love will whisk you away to a beautiful, barren, faraway place and leave you pondering the power of our mind's capacity to fill the voids in our lives. Perfect for curling up next to the fire on a cold winters day and reading in one sitting.


  • (01/03/17): The plaudits for this book are fully deserved. It is a great read and every bit as thrilling as the critics say. I read this book not long after it came out in hardback and thoroughly enjoyed it. I decided to read Gillian Flynn's earlier books it was so good. I recommend this book strongly


  • (01/02/17): Great plot, well written story. Other than sleeping at night, I couldn't put my copy down until I had reached the end. I'm puzzled that the translator didn't check his German translation. For example,in Chapter 7, p87 in my copy, "Spater, spater" should have "a Umlaut", or at least be written as spaeter.. Rainbow is Regenbogen, not Regenborn. Unless there is some kind of old-German, used in Russia. No need to post this review, as I just wanted to make a comment on Andrew Bromfield's German translation. He has done a fantastic job of translating Russian to English.


  • (12/22/16): A fiction book that reads like a nonfiction, very unusual, almost like a self help book for people living in loving relationships. I learned more about my marriage from this book than about the main characters. My best read in 2016.


  • (01/07/17): An #1 Indie Next Pick, this beautifully layered novel features Paula Vauss (aka Kali Jali) who spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited mother, Kai. Her mother was a Georgia storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern tales to reinvent their family’s history. Soon the mother-daughter bond is fractured landing her mother in prison and Paula into foster care system. As the story begins Paula is now a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. Even though she hasn’t seen her mother in fifteen years, she does continue her obligation by sending her monthly support monies until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a cryptic letter containing words about a final journey, death, and a new beginning when we met again. Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and deep in her heart. With the help of an ex-lover and her newly discovered younger brother, she now has to figure out how the other missing family pieces are put back together. I am a huge fan of Southern writers such as Jackson. In this book she delivers another one of her quirky, Southern-based, character-driven novels that combines writing with a vivid and imaginative storyline. This novel is an intense look at broken people and how they heal themselves and each other through forgiveness, love, and the power of “stories.” “The Opposite of Everyone” has been a bright spot in my last few months of leisure reading. Jackson hits both this reader’s emotional nerve and the funny bone by using evocative language and creating memorable characters to carry her story.


  • (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.

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