Raymie Nightingale by Katie DiCamillo

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I have loved many books by Katie DiCamillo so of course I needed to read Raymie Nightingale and it was everything I expected it to be. 

Raymie needs to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire pageant. She enrolls in baton twirling lessons and there meets Louisiana, who also needs to win, and Beverly who intends to sabotage the contest. These three girls become friends and though vastly different in some ways they depend on one another. Each of the girls is going through things that will make you feel for them, laugh with them, and cheer them on as they take their futures and situations in their own hands. 

DiCamillo is a wonderful writer that develops great characters that are just quirky enough that I feel like they are real people that I would know. I loved the situations she places the girls in and I loved the friendship they develop. 

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

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Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward starts in a small town in Kansas with a call to 911 by a woman with a desperate plea for help. When the police arrive they find a very bloody scene, one dead body and evidence that there is a child in the home. From there the story goes back and forth between the police at the crime scene, a few weeks previously, and many years previously. Through these timelines we come to know Maddie, her friendship with Joanna, and her relationship with Ian. We travel mostly between Kansas and Eastern Europe, though there are stops in Iraq and New York. This is a psychological thriller so I think it is best not to say much more than that. 

I enjoyed the parts that took place in Bulgaria. Maybe not so much for the story as there was a lot of partying and drinking and behavior that felt like high school, I wanted the characters to act more like adults. I did though enjoy reading the descriptions of  Bulgaria and what it was like there. The writing was such that I could easily picture Bulgaria. 

Except for Bulgaria, Beautiful Bad felt like a story I have read before. It pretty much felt like lots of psychological thrillers that are out there and I didn’t feel like it brought anything new. Things are revealed in the end that I think were suppose to be a surprise but they weren’t. The story pretty much kept me engaged, it just wasn’t a shocking thriller. 

My copy of Beautiful Bad was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

0B08BD98-6084-4084-AA4B-935B443032A9In Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, ten guests are invited to a private island. Their host is unknown and also nowhere to be found. Just like in the poem Ten Little Indians found in the house, one by one the guests fall to a demise similar to that found in the poem. 

It was fun trying to guess not only who was killing all these house guests and how they were all connected but also who would be next and how the poem would play out for them. It is a quick read and I was busy trying to figure things out the whole time. When the murderer is discovered at the end I had guessed that person. Though to be honest I had guessed everyone at some point

The Alchemist’s Daughter by Mary Lawrence

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The Alchemist’s Daughter is the first book in the Bianca Goddard Mystery series by Mary Lawrence. It take place in London in 1543 during King Henry VIII and takes place among the commoners. Bianca uses the knowledge she received from her mother of herbs and medicinal plants and her father of alchemy to make remedies for the many diseases found in the slums of London. When her friend Jolyn comes to visit and dies in Bianca’s home, Bianca finds herself trying to prove her innocence using her knowledge. 

I found the look into the slums of London in 1543 really interesting and not a time period or people I have read much about. As this is the first book in a series I felt like I was just getting to know Bianca but wasn’t quite there yet. The story moved along well enough to keep me interested not only in this book but also in continuing the series. 

Huge warning!!!! Lots and lots of rats and not in a cute Ratatouille way. I was pretty creeped out in a few parts. 

Bluegate Fields by Anne Perry

6FBBB71C-E287-4C13-9046-DB0629A3FB69 In Anne Perry’s Bluegate Fields, the sixth book in her Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series, she tackles the topic of child boy prostitution when an upper class boy is found dead in a dangerous part of London. Inspector Pitt is receiving a lot of pressure to solve the murder and with the help of his wife, Charlotte,  continues working on the case until he uncovers the truth. 

What I loved the most about this book was the help that Charlotte and her sister, Emily try to give to people who live a very different life style than they do. They saw prostitution differently than many in their social class and realized that help needed to be given. It was a problem that they aren’t able to solve themselves and so they took the matter to people who did have the power to find solutions and change the climate of social opinion. I enjoyed reading their example of empathy and kindness. 

Wise Guy by Guy Kawasaki

9132AC4B-DFB7-46B3-905F-BCAB0B8AE4E2 My husband has loved Apple since the very beginning. I read Wise Guy by Guy Kawasaki because he worked for Apple and my husband has read many of his books. So I guess I read this book for my husband. 

This book is not a memoir but a compilation of stories from his life. In each chapter he shares a bit about his life and the lessons he learned from those experiences. I enjoyed the histories more than the lessons and it was interesting learning more about him since I have heard so much about him from my husband. 

My copy of Wise Guy was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

 

The Masked Ball at Broxley Manor by Rhys Bowen

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The Masked Ball at Broxley Manor is a short prequel to the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen. In this novella we are introduced to Lady Georgina who has just had an unsuccessful season out in society. She feels she will never be able to attract a suitable man but decides to accept an invitation to a masked ball anyway. At the ball there is an attack on a prince and Lady Georgina is kissed by a charming masked man. 

Though short I enjoyed getting to know Lady Georgina and I felt that the characters were developed. I look forward to reading more In the series.

Traitor by Jonathan de Shalit

1381C497-D4B9-42C1-983E-1EA2886B4A6C In Traitor by Jonathan de Shalit an Israeli man walks into an American embassy and offers to betray his country and become a spy. Many years later a top secret team is put together because there is a hint that there may be a spy in a high position of the Israeli government. 

I don’t want to give to much more of the premise away but I think it is an intriguing premise. However, I found the beginning a bit confusing and it took me awhile to figure out what was going on. There was also very little character development and I felt the story could have been more intriguing had I known more about the characters and understood them and why they did some of the things they did. 

I did enjoy reading about how spy’s work, some of the tricks they use, how they communicate with one another, etc. and I found that all very fascinating and it is probably what kept the story engaging for me. 

Saving Sophie by Ronald H. Balson

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Saving Sophie by Ronald H. Balson is the second book in his Liam Taggart & Catherine Lockhart series. $88 million dollars has been embezzled and Liam is hired to find the money. He soon discovers this isn’t just a simple case of embezzlement but a case involving a kidnapping and a terrorist cell from Palestine. 

I thought the book was good. It moved at a good pace and kept me engaged. However, I did not feel as connected and drawn to the characters or the story as I did in Once We Brothers

Cape May by Chip Cheek

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I have thought a long time about whether or not to post a review about Cape May by Chip Cheek. It was the worst, most horrible book I have ever read and I have so many problems with it. I don’t want anyone to see it and without reading the review think I am encouraging anyone to read it. The cover of this book gives the feeling that this would be a great, relaxing summer read and so I decided I wanted to at least let people know that that is not the case and hope they read at least a bit of this review and not just look at the picture. 

In 1957 Henry and Effie go to Cape May for their honeymoon. The town is almost deserted and there is not much to do. The story starts with them getting it know one another in intimate ways and trying to find things to do in this town where not much is going on. They discover some people in a house where multiple people are coming and going and there is a huge party every night. They are soon caught up with these people and their parties. 

That may sound like a nice enough plot but really all that this book is about is sex. It really is just the story of a horny guywho has sex with more than one other woman on his honeymoon and thinks this is ok. He says he loves his wife but his actions show he really doesn’t. I felt like this book showed a false side to what love is. Love is not wanting to have sex with someone. I thought maybe this would be a coming of age story and that Henry would grow up and learn about love. But nope, Henry spends his life thinking it is not only okay but also perfectly normal to continually cheat on his wife. I also had a big problem with the idea that boys will be boys and all men cheat on their wives. This story was only about sex and it was very explicit in showing this. I also thought this was totally unnecessary. I got the idea that Henry was a jerk who was more concerned about having sex than about the feeling of others.  I didn’t also need to read in detail about the sexual experience. I skipped through those scenes and would skip through pages and pages before there was something else happening. Henry often talked about how the feeling to cheat would rise up and take over and control him. I also did not like this idea being promoted. This is a completely false idea. We do have control over our thoughts and we do not need to act on every impulse we have. The last thing that really bothered me was that there were absolutely no consequences to Henry’s actions. He goes on to have a good life in his view. I don’t like the idea of people reading that it is ok to do what you want be be completely selfish without it ever affecting you.

I have tried hard to figure out why this book is called literary fiction. I just can’t come up with any reason and I don’t think anyone should read it.

My copy of Cape May was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review