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).


  • (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.


  • (12/05/18): For anyone who has ever groaned (audibly or mentally) about team-building exercises in the work place or corporate retreats to hash out (yet again) job or co-worker issues, then Jane Harper's novel will instantly strike home. However, no matter what one's occupation may have been or is now, this book is sure to keep you reading, even if you do not categorize yourself as a reader of mystery books, per se. The relationships between all of the office employees are on edge as they deal with a rigorous corporate retreat which involves hiking and map reading and compass usage to - supposedly- bring them all together. It is clear from the start that many f these people tolerate each other rather than like or respect one another; their personal competitiveness is a realistic aspect of this book. In fact, the title iForce of Nature/i also applies to and is a sad commentary on human nature: the 'keeping up with the Joneses' syndrome, the one up-manship and the facade of perfect lives that people create on social media. However, intertwined with Harper's characters are a domineering company president, parenting concerns with sexually active teens, sibling rivalry intensified by substance abuse and failed job prospects, as well as very realistic fears about the remote setting itself. There are a few points at which readers might think they have the outcome figured out, but the author continues to maintain the suspense. What's lacking are the stereotypes that can turn off a reader to the mystery genre: no super heroes with imaginary skills in solving crimes that stump anyone else; no miraculous personality changes that save the day. Anyone who is not familiar with the works of Ms. Harper will most likely want to read other works by her at the completion of this book.


  • (12/05/18): Great book. The drama of this novel is enhanced in its telling by its setting in the world of nature and scientific inquiry. As a nature lover, gardener, and one who esteems science I couldn't have stumbled upon a better choice when perusing the books at my small town local library.


  • (11/29/18): I felt emotional throughout this entire book. I am pleased that Reese’s Book club chose this novel. It was a beautifully written, heartbreaking yet inspiring account of having a trans child. Luckily in my state, in the recent mid term election, the candidate that will be our new Governor will not discriminate against individuals such as Poppy. I am proud of Kansas at this time. Novels such as these are vastly important. I look forward to discussing this with my book club this weekend. It will be a growing and learning occasion for all. I am very thankful to have read Laurie Frankel’s work.


  • (11/25/18): This book kept me entertained from beginning to end. It was captivating and I think that some of the things that Danny goes through are definitely relatable to my life and the lives of my peers. The way that Gilbert foreshadowed made it easy to make basic predictions, but there were definitely still surprises and plot twists. This book is really like no other to me: it's full of representation, which while there is now more of, it's still hard to find a good book that properly represents people of different identities. Gilbert writes two complicated and deep characters who are LGBT without making that the focal point of who they are, which is something I think we need more of in YA literature. I would definitely recommend this book, it's a good story and worth the read.


  • (11/25/18): Lord John and the Private Matter is the first novel in the Lord John Grey series by popular American author, Diana Gabaldon. As he waits for his next posting, Lord John Grey, a Major in His Majesty’s 47th Regiment, learns of the death of a Sergeant well known to him. Something is off when he pays the widow a condolence visit, and his friend, Colonel Harry Quarry reveals that Sergeant O’Connell was suspected of being a spy. The man they had shadowing him has disappeared and Grey is set the task of investigating. At the same time, quite by chance, Grey comes across a disturbing fact about the Hon. Joseph Trevelyan, the prospective husband of his niece, Olivia Pearsall. As Grey makes enquiries to confirm or dismiss his concerns, he discovers more alarming details, and the boundaries between his two fields of investigation begin to blur. Before Grey finally learns what has transpired, he will visit a brothel and a molly house, examine two dead bodies, acquire a new valet, suffer mercury poisoning, encounter cross-dressers, drink quite a bit of German wine, adjudicate in a fight over a corpse, and board a ship headed for India. There are plenty of twists and turns before the exciting climax of this rather enjoyable piece of historical fiction.


  • (11/19/18): Reading this book brought a revelation. It also made me very sad that it was not available to read 70 years ago. I grew up in logging country and lived in Humboldt County during the 70s, 80s and 90s when all the timber wars took place. If I had had this book to read then, I would have joined the protestors and 'tree huggers' without reservation. What a mess we humans have made. We just never know when to let well enough alone!


  • (12/05/18): For anyone who has ever groaned (audibly or mentally) about team-building exercises in the work place or corporate retreats to hash out (yet again) job or co-worker issues, then Jane Harper's novel will instantly strike home. However, no matter what one's occupation may have been or is now, this book is sure to keep you reading, even if you do not categorize yourself as a reader of mystery books, per se. The relationships between all of the office employees are on edge as they deal with a rigorous corporate retreat which involves hiking and map reading and compass usage to - supposedly- bring them all together. It is clear from the start that many f these people tolerate each other rather than like or respect one another; their personal competitiveness is a realistic aspect of this book. In fact, the title iForce of Nature/i also applies to and is a sad commentary on human nature: the 'keeping up with the Joneses' syndrome, the one up-manship and the facade of perfect lives that people create on social media. However, intertwined with Harper's characters are a domineering company president, parenting concerns with sexually active teens, sibling rivalry intensified by substance abuse and failed job prospects, as well as very realistic fears about the remote setting itself. There are a few points at which readers might think they have the outcome figured out, but the author continues to maintain the suspense. What's lacking are the stereotypes that can turn off a reader to the mystery genre: no super heroes with imaginary skills in solving crimes that stump anyone else; no miraculous personality changes that save the day. Anyone who is not familiar with the works of Ms. Harper will most likely want to read other works by her at the completion of this book.

  • I Contain Multitudes
    The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
    by Ed Yong

    (10/26/18): I listened to the audiobook version of I Contain Multitudes on my commute to and from school four days a week. I'm a biotechnology major so I have some background in some of the things Ed Yong was talking about which may have increased the enjoyment I got out of the book. It was detailed, expansive, and glorious. The reach of microbes outside of humans is also well discussed and truly fascinating. I admit to crying a little in my car at the end of the book at the miraculous nature of microbes. Sometimes I cry watching really sad commercials too so maybe don't put too much stock in that last bit. It's still an excellent book.


  • (10/21/18): The writing style of George Saunders is unlike any other author I have ever read. His words sear, touch your heart like few things ever have. He has captured a beloved son's thoughts and a father's grief, completely. Highly recommend. Beautifully executed, unforgettable.

  • A Well-Behaved Woman
    A Novel of the Vanderbilts
    by Therese Anne Fowler

    (10/12/18): Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont was anything but a well- behaved woman. Left near-penniless as she approached marriageable age in the 1870’s, she set her aim for a wealthy man. William Vanderbilt, a younger son in the ultra-wealthy but socially ignored family, caught her eye, as she caught his. This fictionalized account of her life as a philanthropist, suffragette activist, society hostess and intelligent, opinionated woman is a bit too long, but is vastly entertaining. Alva, her sisters, her children, her husbands, the Vanderbilts, the Astors and others of upper crust New York society are clearly, and unsparingly, drawn. The day to day life of Gilded Age society is the backdrop and conformingly repressive constraint her friends and “frenemies” endured. Told with clear eyed sympathy, the novel follows Alva from age 17 to her death in 1933. Book groups will enjoy discussing the differences between women today and the women who found themselves painted, pampered, polished, packaged and utterly controlled by their fathers and husbands. 4 ½ of 5 stars


  • (10/07/18): Many moons ago, when I was a junior in high school I read a book for my contemporary history class, called, Johnny got his gun. Several years back I read a novel called, Never let you go, and I had such a strong, visceral reaction to those two books that they haunt me to this day. This book will join that list. In this slim, relatively short book, Ackerman has penned a powerful narrative on the horrible cost of war. Centering this story, that I'm sure is a reality for some, on only a few people, and limiting the setting to only what is necessary, he has created an insular novel, from which it is hard to look away. The narrative voice, a friend of Edens, takes us back and forth, but only as far as what the reader needs to kno. How Eden got here, and how his wife and daughter, Tangled their lives together. We also hear the inner thoughts of Eden as he lays in his bed. Waiting, the many who wait, for news of their loved ones, for lives to restart, for healing, moments of grace, and of course waiting for death. The terribly, high costs of wars that seem to gain do little, but cost so much. The author also employed what I consider another masterful stroke, a repeating description of something that brings out the human side of Eden, making him personal and memorable to the reader. In the novel, She rides Shotgun, the author used a teddy bear that talked and emoted, I won't forget that detail and hence for me it made the book unforgettable. Here,the detail is not as innocuous or harmless as a teddy. I won't tell you what it is but it is equally if not more so memorable. This is not a happy, little book, but a necessary one. A wake up call, a shock if you will to those of us lucky enough not to be waiting, not to be personally involved in the horrible effects or after effects of war. Those of us who can sit on our couches and just watch various scenes play out on the television. I won't forget this incredibly powerful and moving story.


  • (10/17/18): When World War I breaks out, Lucius Krzelewski, only son of a Polish aristocrat, is a second year medical student. His father, a former cavalry man, wants to use his connections to get his son a glory-seeking position at the front, but Lucius instead enlists in the medical corps, hoping to gain some hands-on experience. He finds himself assigned to a remote village--as the only doctor on staff. The hospital is run by a young nun, Sister Margrete, whose practical education under the last doctor has taught her more than Lucius could imagine, including how to amputate limbs and drain pressure on the brain. Determined to help and protect injured men, he soon learns that his task is to heal them just enough to send them back to the front lines. Mason does a fine job of recreating the horrors of war and the physical and mental toll it takes on the soldiers. Lucius is particularly haunted by one man, a Hungarian named Horvath who produces beautiful drawings but can't speak; instead, he produces a loud, constant hum. The characters are very well developed, including the resourceful and independent Margrete, her orderlies, and the hospital cook, as well as Lucius and his patients. I was a bit put off by the love story that dominates the second half of the book. Then again, I can imagine that in such an environment, young men were happy to cling to any hope of a better world. Like many of them, Lucius is haunted by people and events from his war experience that he just cannot shake. Although I did enjoy this book, I feel that The Piano Tuner was better. Still, a recommended read for those interested in World War I from an Eastern European standpoint who are not too squeamish.


  • (11/01/18): I would not have finished this book except I am in a book club and I wanted to be able to discuss it with the group. I did not feel it was adequately researched for a historical fiction book. The author made Cathy out to be a weak woman by having her always fawning after a man. I bet the real Cathy wanted nothing of the sort in the Infantry. The author makes Cathy out to be the best marksman in the unit, even gets a medal for it, but never describes a situation where Cathy kills anyone to deserve that medal. That is because it would be politically incorrect because the Buffalo Soldiers were killing native American Indians and 4 million bison (to starve the Indians). She gave Cathy a modern day attitude that didn't fit the 1800's story. It could be a good middle school book, but it has an unnecessary female gay sex scene that comes out of no where, and talk of soldiers masturbating etc. I hope another author picks up this story and does Cathy justice, writing a more factual, true to the day narrative.


  • (10/02/18): First, the book is generally well written and informative. I read it at one sitting and do not begrudge the time required. Second, the major idea I drew from the book was Adiga’s metaphorical usage of the “rooster coop” to explain most of India’s socio-economic problems. Entending the metaphor I reviewed my own experiences and came to an unpleasant conclusion. The “rooster coop” phenomenon has in various guises, in differing circumstances, but fortunately with much less deadly consequences, made its own appearances within my own life, within my own family. My thanks to the author for the unintended reflection to which he has led me.


  • (10/17/18): When World War I breaks out, Lucius Krzelewski, only son of a Polish aristocrat, is a second year medical student. His father, a former cavalry man, wants to use his connections to get his son a glory-seeking position at the front, but Lucius instead enlists in the medical corps, hoping to gain some hands-on experience. He finds himself assigned to a remote village--as the only doctor on staff. The hospital is run by a young nun, Sister Margrete, whose practical education under the last doctor has taught her more than Lucius could imagine, including how to amputate limbs and drain pressure on the brain. Determined to help and protect injured men, he soon learns that his task is to heal them just enough to send them back to the front lines. Mason does a fine job of recreating the horrors of war and the physical and mental toll it takes on the soldiers. Lucius is particularly haunted by one man, a Hungarian named Horvath who produces beautiful drawings but can't speak; instead, he produces a loud, constant hum. The characters are very well developed, including the resourceful and independent Margrete, her orderlies, and the hospital cook, as well as Lucius and his patients. I was a bit put off by the love story that dominates the second half of the book. Then again, I can imagine that in such an environment, young men were happy to cling to any hope of a better world. Like many of them, Lucius is haunted by people and events from his war experience that he just cannot shake. Although I did enjoy this book, I feel that The Piano Tuner was better. Still, a recommended read for those interested in World War I from an Eastern European standpoint who are not too squeamish.


  • (10/07/18): Many moons ago, when I was a junior in high school I read a book for my contemporary history class, called, Johnny got his gun. Several years back I read a novel called, Never let you go, and I had such a strong, visceral reaction to those two books that they haunt me to this day. This book will join that list. In this slim, relatively short book, Ackerman has penned a powerful narrative on the horrible cost of war. Centering this story, that I'm sure is a reality for some, on only a few people, and limiting the setting to only what is necessary, he has created an insular novel, from which it is hard to look away. The narrative voice, a friend of Edens, takes us back and forth, but only as far as what the reader needs to kno. How Eden got here, and how his wife and daughter, Tangled their lives together. We also hear the inner thoughts of Eden as he lays in his bed. Waiting, the many who wait, for news of their loved ones, for lives to restart, for healing, moments of grace, and of course waiting for death. The terribly, high costs of wars that seem to gain do little, but cost so much. The author also employed what I consider another masterful stroke, a repeating description of something that brings out the human side of Eden, making him personal and memorable to the reader. In the novel, She rides Shotgun, the author used a teddy bear that talked and emoted, I won't forget that detail and hence for me it made the book unforgettable. Here,the detail is not as innocuous or harmless as a teddy. I won't tell you what it is but it is equally if not more so memorable. This is not a happy, little book, but a necessary one. A wake up call, a shock if you will to those of us lucky enough not to be waiting, not to be personally involved in the horrible effects or after effects of war. Those of us who can sit on our couches and just watch various scenes play out on the television. I won't forget this incredibly powerful and moving story.


  • (10/17/18): When World War I breaks out, Lucius Krzelewski, only son of a Polish aristocrat, is a second year medical student. His father, a former cavalry man, wants to use his connections to get his son a glory-seeking position at the front, but Lucius instead enlists in the medical corps, hoping to gain some hands-on experience. He finds himself assigned to a remote village--as the only doctor on staff. The hospital is run by a young nun, Sister Margrete, whose practical education under the last doctor has taught her more than Lucius could imagine, including how to amputate limbs and drain pressure on the brain. Determined to help and protect injured men, he soon learns that his task is to heal them just enough to send them back to the front lines. Mason does a fine job of recreating the horrors of war and the physical and mental toll it takes on the soldiers. Lucius is particularly haunted by one man, a Hungarian named Horvath who produces beautiful drawings but can't speak; instead, he produces a loud, constant hum. The characters are very well developed, including the resourceful and independent Margrete, her orderlies, and the hospital cook, as well as Lucius and his patients. I was a bit put off by the love story that dominates the second half of the book. Then again, I can imagine that in such an environment, young men were happy to cling to any hope of a better world. Like many of them, Lucius is haunted by people and events from his war experience that he just cannot shake. Although I did enjoy this book, I feel that The Piano Tuner was better. Still, a recommended read for those interested in World War I from an Eastern European standpoint who are not too squeamish.


  • (09/24/18): It doesn't get much better than this. Bookish books, lovely characters, the perfect plot, a book shop on a beautiful, lone island, and of course an aging and evolving character that is both crusty and cantankerous but which readers fall in love with anyway. Mr. A. J. Firky, that is. I wasn't expecting to fall in love with this novel, I truly wasn't. I usually find books about book stores a bit cliche to be candid, but this one here is one for the books. Pun intended. It has the perfect amount of everything you could want out of a novel. Like having just the right amount of baking ingredients for that perfect Lemon Pie. Some few hundred pages to the end made for quite an eloquent read, not too long not too short, again just right. Most of all, the quirky references to all time favorite titles, seemingly made in jest at the start, were impeccable. I certainly cannot stress how much I recommend this book. It has now become one of my all time faves. If you believe in book hangovers, well this one definitely left me in a deep state of one. Happy reading.

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Educated
    Educated
    by Tara Westover
    Voted 2018 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Tara Westover had the kind of ...
  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Voted 2018 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Towards the end of Madeline Miller...
  • Book Jacket: Children of Blood and Bone
    Children of Blood and Bone
    by Tomi Adeyemi
    Voted 2018 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    What would you do if, in a ...
  • Book Jacket: Where the Crawdads Sing
    Where the Crawdads Sing
    by Delia Owens
    Voted 2018 Best Debut Novel Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Where the Crawdads Sing was a ...

See all Award Winners & Top 20

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Ladder to the Sky
    by John Boyne

    A seductive, unputdownable psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The 7 ½ Deaths of
Evelyn Hardcastle

"Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day...quite unlike anything I've ever read." - A. J. Finn

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.