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The Girl Who Played Go
Shan Sa, Adriana Hunter
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
Malcolm Gladwell
Someone: A Novel
Alice McDermott

Sadness is a white bird

Sadness Is a White Bird: A Novel - Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Once in a while if we as readers are lucky, pick up a book that effects us profoundly. For me, it was this book, I kept putting it down, to think about what I was reading, and yes even to let my emotions level out. The subject is a complicated one, Jewish and Arab relations in Isreal, but the author gives us a personal viewpoint, using three friends, two Arab, one Jewish. When the book opens, Jonathan sits in a jail, he is our narrator and their story is revealed as Jonathan writes to his Arab friend, Laith.

Using a letter, we are privvy to Jonathan's most personal thoughts and experiences, essentially placed inside his mind. His conflicted thoughts, as now shortly after his nineteenth birthday, he is in the military, something all Isrealis of this age must do, but can't figure out where his loyalties lie. Do they like with the country he has sworn to protect, his grandfather insists the Jewish people are his family and that is all he needs to consider. What about his derp friendships, love for Laith and his twin sister? Where does this fit in, and how can he fight against a people who he can't hate. Learning the back stories of his own grandfather and the grandmother of the twins, leads him to only more doubt.

As far as novels go this is short in pages, but large in content. It is powerful and intense. The author presents all sides in this conflict, and it is these many sides that Jonathan tries to solidify into a cohesive hole. It is a novel of a deep friendship, and a young man who feels greatly. I sometimes wonder what would happen if the young people on both sides of this conflict, well any conflict really, put down their guns and refused to fight any longer. No longer wanting to watch their friends die, their families and countries torn apart. Just said no more to following leaders blindly. It will never happen, but wouldn't it be wonderful if it did?

Another read with Angela and Esil, this book probably the best one we have read together. I cherish these reads and the thoughts we share.

ARC from Edelweiss.

The blood card

The Blood Card: Stephens and Mephisto Mystery 3 (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery 3) by Elly Griffiths (2016-11-03) - Elly Griffiths

This is the third installment in this series by the creator of The Ruth Galloway series, which I love. The more I read of this series, the more I am liking this one too. Taking place in post war Britain, a short time before the coronation of Elizabeth, DI Stephens and Memphisto set out to solve another mystery. This time it concerns someone highly respected and close to them to n the past.

The atmosphere of the times is vividly rendered, the ending of variety shows at theaters, and the introduction of these shows being televised, where Memphisto along with Ruby take part. Ruby excited, Memphisto, hesitant. Anarchists abound, and trouble is everywhere. The Romany and fortune telling also play a part. Di Stephens will for the first time travel to America to track down a lead in the person of Wild Bill Hitchcock. Will they be able to stop whatever is planned before the coronation?

I love these characters, they are so varied and likable. Enjoy the blend of history with a non gory mystery. Enjoyed the afterward where the author explains what places were real and what was not. Found it fascinating that she wrote her first story at she eleven, and her lead character was Edgar Stephan's. Perseverance pays off.

ARC from Edelweiss.

The Trust

The Trust: A Novel (Liam Taggart and Catherine Lockhart) - Ronald H. Balson

Liam Taggert hasn't been back to his home in Ireland for seen years. He became estranged from his family, the aunt and uncle who raised him, feeling betrayed when they found out what his actual job was. It was the time of the Trouble, an intense time, a time when nothing could he counted on and there was danger everywhere. Now married, with a young son, he returns to Ireland, after a phone call from his cousin Janie, informing him his Uncle's had passed. What he finds in Ireland, opens them all to hidden danger, he being informed his uncle was n fact murdered. He himself has been appointed the executor of his Uncle's trust, a trust that cannot be dispensed to the heirs, until the murder is solved.

This one was fantastic, a wonderful mix of history, character and thriller. Who is picking off members of this family? Is it one of the family members, or someone from the past, a revenge motive? Everyone is in danger, and the stress begins to tell on the family. There is much going on here, but it is seamlessly interwoven into the storyline. Interesting characters, family dynamics, and it was quite suspenseful. I have read all but one of this series, and this was by far my favorite. Definitely exceeded my expectations.

ARC from Netgalley.

The Stolen Marriage

The Stolen Marriage - Diane Chamberlain

3.5 I am not going to rehash the summary of the plot for this book, you can read that on your own. This was another sisters read and my review is just what I wrote as my final analysis on the sisters thread for final thoughts. The year is 1944, and takes place for the most part in Hickory, South Carolina.

I definitely think the last third of the novel was the best, we got to finally know the characters and what they are made of. Such different times, choices for women so limited. At least Henry proved honorable in the end. Still though for me this was way too dramatic, too many things thrown in,made it unbelievable. Definitely reminded me of a soap opera. Yes, she did a vast amount of research but it seemed as if everything she found out she just had to include..
Did like the parts about polio, the hospital, those seemed very real. The happy ever after ending, nice but maybe too good to be true.
My rating will be a 3.5. as I did like the last part. In fact the book was very likable for me, just not more than that. Know I will probably be in the minority here.

Turned out I wasn't the only one who felt this way about the book, we ended up split down the middle. It is important to mention, as the author did at books end, that this hospital for those inflicted with polio, did in fact exist. Most amazing of all is that is was actually put together and functional within a matter of days. I don't think I was the ideal reader for this book, but I did enjoy the historical elements of this, just not the piling on of things that went wrong.

ARC from Netgalley.

Zig Zag girl

The Zig Zag Girl - Elly Griffiths

Brighton, 1950, variety shows are on the way out, magic shows not as popular as they had been, television soon to make its appearance. After the war Edgar wanted to make a difference in people's lives so though he was expected to return to Oxford, he decided instead to become a policeman. When a body is delivered to the station in pieces, it becomes Inspector Edgar's case, a case that will bring him to Max Memphisto a famous magician and a man that Edgar served with in a secret unit called the Magic Men.

The atmosphere of this novel is authentic and wonderful. So much about magic shows and the theater, even knowing that a magicians greatest friend is misdirection did not help me solve this case. I did have a few ideas but I guess I am just not clever enough. The characters are colorful, Max and Diablo alternately amusing or melancholy. Secrets from past, clues to follow left by the killer, murders done in ways mimicking magic acts, all leaving a trail, but remember red herrings and misdirection. The historical details are an additional bonus, all helping to immerse the reader in both this case and the time period.


A brilliant start to what I hope is a new series, by Galloway.

Gold, Fame, Citrus

Gold Fame Citrus - Claire Vaye Watkins

The American Southwest has completely run out of water. The new ocean covering vast areas is now made of sand, mountains are sandstone, and Californians who once came for fame, gold or citrus are now called Mohave. Many moving Eastward are taken to relocation camps, but not all leave. Luz, once known as baby Dunn, a poster child form failed conservation movement is one. She meets Ray and forma while they live in an abandoned stars mansion, until they misappropriate a child and want a better chance at life.


I finished this a while ago and am still shaking my head. What have I just read? Wildly imaginative or prescient, original and devastating. A cult like leader who is a dowser and his followers in the desert, a haven or a threat? What a brilliant concept this book is, even to the point where Watkins manages to come up with new supposed insects and animals that are living in this new sand ocean, adapting and changing to thrive in their new environment. But are they real?  There is so much to this book, descriptions and feelings, almost a hallucinogenic mind game with characters who change and evolve Prose that is brilliant or sometimes seems overwritten but to great effect. So incredibly addictive and immersive.


ARC from publisher.

Slade House

Slade House: A Novel - David Mitchell

Magically (and creepily) delicious. Loved every minute of this one, just wish I has read it closer to Halloween. Not overtly scary, yet what is accomplished in this short novel did send a few shivers my way. So many lines can be taken in more than one way, little humorous tidbits scattered here and there. A haunted house but so much more, original and brilliant in its own way. Actually this will make a good book for re-reading, which is just what I will do.

ARC from publisher.

Fortune Smiles

Fortune Smiles - Adam Johnson

Short stories seem to have once again surged in popularity, if one is to go by the many that have been published this year. Seems more and more novelists are either turning or returning to this form. I have never read Johnson's novel so this is my first experience with his writing and it was a successful one. Some of these stories were exceptional, but there really wasn't one I didn't like.

The themes of technology and imprisonment are a common theme among many in this eclectic collection. How we live with, how it can interfere or how we can use it for solace. Imprisonment in ones' own body, in a communist regime or in an actual prison also covers three of the stories. In the title story the author returns to North Korea to tell the story of three asylum seekers in South Korea. They have escaped for various reasons, the twist is that one of them misses North Korea and wants to go back. If he will, why and how he will is the story.

All in all am very good collection, super writing and a wide range of locales.

ARC from NetGalley.

The Wtich of Bourbon Street

The Witch of Bourbon Street - Suzanne Palmieri

Yes, some of this novel was very predictable and yes, some of the lines were a bit corny but this was the prefect beach read. I mean you have the Sorrow Family, a family said to be witches and to have mysterious powers and then Bourbon Street and a crumbling down mansion with a mysterious past. On top of that you have a long past mystery of a whole family, at that mansion, that was found dead, a missing child, and a current family that is as strange as they are interesting. The pat will affect the present in pressing ways and finally the truth of what happened cannot be denied. Loved every inch of this novel and could have read on. Butt like all good things it ended and so did my beach vacation.

The drowned boy

The Drowned Boy - Karin Fossum

So glad that Fossum has decided to return to the Inspector Sejer series. In this one he becomes involved in the case of a drowned 15 month old boy with Down Syndrome. Although on the surface the death looks accidental, something just doesn't sit well with the mother's explanation.  Enter, Carmen, the nineteen year old mother, who seems to view everything with rose colored glasses. Added to this is that in her father's eyes Carmen can do no wrong. Nicolei, the father of the boy sees things differently, he is seriously grieving.

This is a slow paced, psychological twisty novel. Is Carmen telling the truth or could a more nefarious purpose have been her intent? Good story about the secrets people hide, how those with little or no conscience can make their way through life with nary a blip. How will evidence be found, if in fact Carmen is lying? What is the truth and what is a lie, and how can we tell the difference? Very interesting case and well mixed with the private health travails of Sejer.

ARC from publisher.

Beautiful Bureaucrat

The Beautiful Bureaucrat: A Novel - Helen Phillips

I just finished this and am still not sure of what I read. A fever dream, a hallucination, possibly a nightmare, maybe all of them? All I know is that I started reading this and was hooked, wanted to find out what was going on.

Josephine and Joseph move to the city from the hinterlands where they were unable to find jobs. At first in the city things do not seem much better, but than miracle of miracles they both find jobs. Josephine, hired by someone whose face she cannot clearly see, a face that seems like no face gets a job sitting at a desk inputting numbers into a Database. Boring pink walls, strict rules, anfew if any co-workers that she can see, though she eventually makes the acquaintance of one. Stacks of files daily, ennui sets in, the only saving grace her husband Joseph and the few surprises he provides. But than she begins questioning what she is inputting and from there, well that is the rest of the story.

Wildly inventive, strange and inviting all at once, this is so different from what I usually read that I am still thinking about it.  Novella length, more than a novel but it contains quite a bit in a small package. Am still shaking my head, though I have to admit this might not appeal to some like it did for me.

In the dark places

In the Dark Places: An Inspector Banks Novel (Inspector Banks Novels) - Peter Robinson

Another series that I have read since the beginning, though that really isn't necessary because this book would be fine if read alone. I did, however, find out that I missed one which I now must go back and read. Don't quite know how that happened. Anyway in this installment three different incidences, with three different teams investigating all come together by books end. A stolen, very expensive tractor, blood in an unused warehouse and a missing young man send the team scrambling for answers.

Love the character of Inspector Banks, he is so interesting, his children though he doesn't see them often enough, loves classical music and relished his solitude though he is at present dating a woman younger than himself. In this case he is not front and center, it is more Annie's and Winsome's case, the women take the lead. Good case, the last 10% of the book the most exciting, had me holding my breath at times. One warning: after this book if you are not already, you might just becomae a vegetarian. Think abattoir.

ARC from publisher.

Pretty is

Pretty Is: A Novel - Maggie Mitchell

Two twelve year old girls are kidnapped, found and rescued, this is their story . The novel follows the girls kin the future as well as filling in their back stories. Separated after they were released the girls grew up to follow two very different paths. The story is narrated alternately by each of them. Why did one of the girls go with the kidnapper willingly? Why did he choose these two girls from different parts of the United States? Why did they identify so much with their kidnapper?


Interesting concept, Stockholm Syndrome, kidnapping, in parts a book within a book and yet the pace was unbelievably slow. Seemed like there was much more filler than there needed to be. Also wasn't altogether sold on the ending and I finished with many questions unanswered. A good novel that I thought could have been better.

ARC from Netgalley.

Harriet Wolf's

Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders: A Novel - Julianna Baggott

A wonderful book about mothers and daughters, their complicated relationships and how easy it is to misunderstand each other. Three generation of women, Harriet, who has died had written a series of six best selling books, there is a rumor that a seventh exists. Professors, scholars and book, aficionados the world over are anxiously waiting for it to surface.

Eleanor her daughter who has made many mistakes, holding tight to her daughter Tilton after letting Ruth run away at sixteen. Interesting characters all the story is told by each character in alternating chapters. It is Harriet's story that I loved the most, of course her story is from the missing seventh book. Even the side characters are diverse and add much to the story. Some of these characters and places throughout the novel actually existed.

I could tell, how much the author loved these characters and it helped me love them too. Flawed for sure but all hoping for something better. Loved Tilton and her unique perspective of the world and her family. By books end I felt as if I had melted and I am very glad I read this book.

ARC from publisher.

The Child Garden

The Child Garden: A Novel - Catriona McPherson

 I know this author writes the Dandy Gilver series, but I am not a big cozy reader, so my first experience reading her was the novel [book:As She Left It|16249308]. I loved her writing style in this standalone and loved it in this novel as well. She manages to combine an eeriness, some follklore and superstitions with some amazing characters and many elements of the traditional mystery.

This outing features a woman who becomes embroiled in a mystery, who done it when a friend from her earlier school days lands on her doorstep. So she investigates suspect by suspect, with some pretty coincidental discoveries. She is also the divorced mother of a seriously handicapped young man who is her top priority. Loved the trail she sets off on and also liked that though there are many people involved she takes them one by one. A good solid mystery and I certainly hope McPherson keeps writing her stand-alones.

ARC from NetGalley.

Church of Marvels

Church of Marvels: A Novel - Leslie Parry

When I first started reading this I found it hard to follow, four different story-lines and I was confused, couldn't figure out what was going on nor who was who. My advice is to just enjoy the story let it lead where it takes you, don't try to figure out where it is going. Eventually that is what I did and soon found myself feeling like I was in the dark underbelly of New York at the turn of the century. The atmosphere of this novel is very dark, a part of the city that is inhabited by baby sellers, children for hire, dog boys who clean out privies, opium dens, freaks of all kinds and a journey to the insane asylum. Not a pretty, clean spruced up city.

The characters though are amazing, full of depth, flawed and anguished, searching for a better life. Capable of great kindness and a great capacity for love. The twists, seriously did not expect most of them, couldn't have guessed for all the money. They kept coming, especially in the last third of the book, and I was amazed at the author who put this all together. Totally different from any other book I have read.

A very good read, though dark, be warned and some of the things are not easy to hear or read, though not horribly graphic. Found it memorable and am very glad to have read it.