If you read the title from my review last month, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, you will probably like Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons by Denise Grover Swank. Although there really isn’t much mention of said reasons, it has the same feel as the first book. The same cast of characters appears in this story, as well as some new friends for Rose.
When Rose gets a summons for jury duty and is chosen, things take a turn for the worse. She has a vision and knows that the person accused of murder in the trial, is not guilty. Her run-ins with the Assistant DA and the judge will keep you amused, and as usual, Joe shows up to bail Rose out of trouble.
This is an easy, quick read, although in my opinion – not quite as good as the first. But see what you think….and let me know.
Sweet Caress: the Many Lives of Amory Clay by William Boyd is such a comprehensive book that I thought it was a novelization of a real photographer’s life. Instead Boyd used “found” photographs and was able to weave a story around them. He had Amory photographing many of the pivotal events of Great Britian’s modern history. She was prosecuted for indecency for her photographic exhibition of pictures she had taken of prostitutes in Berlin. She was beaten up while photographing a demonstration of Brownshirts, an English fascist group prior to WWII. She was able to be a war photographer from WWII to Vietnam. Amory’s emotional life was as dramatic as the situations that she was a part of. She comes across as a vibrant, gutsy woman. The story is similar to that of several women who were early pioneers in the photographic field, but it is Amory’s imagined personal life that makes the novel one that is hard to put down.
All Together Now is the phrase generally used by a conductor when he/she wants a choir to begin a song. Gill Hornby’s novel with that title is about a community choir in Bridgeford, England. The local choir is getting ready for the yearly competition when the longtime director is involved in a serious car accident. The choir membership has been stagnant for a number of years and the average age is increasing. Without a leader, the group realizes that they need new members. One new recruit is Tracey, a single mother in her forties. She is not a typical choir member because she only listens to rock. Her voice is a real surprise to the group though. Other new members are a recently divorced and unemployed man, a young waitress who hopes to become a reality star, and a group of young petty thieves. The way this group comes together creates an intriguing novel that has almost all types of family struggles. It has some sad and some sweet surprises.
The Russian Bride by Ed Kovacs is an updated spy novel for the modern era. Russia and the US are still adversaries, but instead of struggling over territories, control of electronic data is the ultimate goal. Major Kit Bennings is in Moscow attempting to uncover a mole at the American Embassy. Unfortunately, he is compromised by one of the new Russian Mafia figures, Victor Popov, and is forced to marry a Russian bride. Popov wants something from Kit and the violent things that happen to Kit’s family members are all a part of that plot. Character development isn’t a strong point in this novel, but the action level is constant. Each side has cunning high tech ways to overcome the other. The book reads like the action movie that if feels destined to become.
Postcards From the Past by Marcia Willett seems to begin as a light, romantic novel about Tilly, a young woman attempting to find a good job and an enduring relationship. The book develops into something much more. Although the Cornwell setting is picturesque and comfortable, the family past of Ed and Billa had a character that is sending them unsettling postcards. Their past had unusual and heartbreaking events that they were able to overcome, but is the man behind the postcards going to destroy their security and happiness?
Erik Larson’s Dead Wake tells the story of the sinking of the Lusitania. This was one factor that precipitated America’s entry into WWI. I believe this author writes a nonfiction book in the same way that people think about an event. We want to know what led to the conflict, why it happened and what are the tools that the adversaries used. This book isn’t only about the sinking, but informs the reader about ocean crossings, early submarines, and British naval spying.
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Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey begins with Jessica Moran escaping an abusive boyfriend and sheltering in an abandoned London house in 2011. When a letter arrives for a Mrs. Stella Thorne she wonders about who lived there, since all the items seem to belong to someone named Nancy. Thus begins the love story of a WWII American airman and an English lady. Stella Thorne is a very unhappy wife when she meets Dan, a B-17 pilot. Their attraction is immediate. Their letters are found by Jessica, who feels driven to try to reunite the lovers. The story is often heartbreaking, but it demonstrates how love can endure. Wartime England seems very real, and all the characters, except the villains, are so endearing.
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