Sunday, March 26, 2017

A modern terrorist-themed thriller!

The Ulterior MotiveThe Ulterior Motive by Jack Coleston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book in almost a single setting because I couldn't put it down! It is a debut novel and I thought Jack Coleston did a first-rate job! I found the story to be very contemporary and very realistic about what COULD happen in the US. Stanley Carmichael, the main character, has just been appointed Deputy Director of the CIA. His wife, Anna, is a well-known CIA operative. A revengeful Caliph wants to destroy the US for accidentally killing his family during the first Gulf War with an errant bomb. This terrorist and his followers need to be found and stopped. There are many twists and turns in this book and some gruesome beheadings, but the plot is well- written and thought out, in my opinion. I was literally holding my breath in parts and excitedly waiting to see what would happen. The book did not disappoint and the ending has an unexpected twist. The best part, there will be more books about the Carmichaels in a series by the author!! I highly recommend this book and am going to make my husband read it, too!

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Monday, March 6, 2017

A very different sort of World War II book

War, Spies & Bobby SoxWar, Spies & Bobby Sox by Libby Fischer Hellmann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book by Libby Fischer Hellmann depicted a different view of World War II, by characters in the United States, in three different stories. In The Incidental Spy, Lena is sent to the U.S. by her parents to keep her safe. She leaves behind the boy she loves (she's 16) and moves to Chicago with a cousin/aunt and becomes a secretary in the Physics lab at the University of Chicago, where scientists are working on secret plans in the nuclear weapons project. She eventually meets and marries Karl, one of the scientists, and they have a son. Then life becomes dangerous for Lena, she is forced to become a spy, and she has to decide where to align her loyalties. The ending was not what I expected as there was an unexpected twist!

The second story is P.O.W. and is about a young girl, Mary Catherine, who lives on a family farm in Illinois, outside Chicago. German POW's are sent to the farm to help with apple picking (who knew the US housed POWs during WWII??). One of the prisoners, not a good guy at all, catches Mary Catherine's eye. She is forced to make choices that do not end well for anyone, and is she is forced to leave home and move to Chicago and take care of herself.

The third story is The Day Miriam Hirsch Disappeared is about a Yiddish actress in Chicago during the war years, who is forced to gather information about a German sympathizer. This was my least favorite story.

But, taken together, this trilogy of stories, brings together part of what was happening in the U.S. during the war years. The book is extremely well-written, a quick read, very interesting, and well-researched. I highly recommend all of Ms. Hellmann's books that I've read so far!

***I received an e-book copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review but I also purchased a copy for my library.

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Another winner in the Edward series.

Edward AdriftEdward Adrift by Craig Lancaster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This 2nd book in the Edward trilogy was just as good as the first book! It continues his story with his old and new friends and his mother, after the death of his father. The same narrator read the book, and he is perfect for the story. Edward still keeps his daily logs, still has his routines and rituals, still has extreme OCD and suffers from Asperger's, but he is loving, smart, giving, and a wonderful man. In this book he takes a trip from Billings, MT to Boise, ID to a little town in Colorado, close to the Wyoming border. There he meets a new friend, Sheila, the owner of the hotel he ends up staying at. I won't give away any spoilers! I wanted this story to go on forever, and was delighted to hear there was a book 3 (which I promptly downloaded and started when I finished this book). My daily commute was enhanced 100-fold by listening to this book and I highly recommend it!

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My, oh, my, what a wonderful audio book!

600 Hours of Edward600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have two hours left on this audio book, and what a delightful surprise this book is! I got it on one of Audible's sales, and I'm glad I did. Can't wait to read the sequel to it immediately after. I'll write a longer, more detailed review when I finish, but it is a good good book, that I highly recommend!

I just LOVED LOVED LOVED this book and I loved Edward! Edward was 39 years old, had Asperger's Syndrome and extreme OCD. He lived alone in a house his father bought for him. He does not work anymore (with his condition he hasn't been able to for awhile). He pretty much doesn't interact with anyone except his parents occasionally when he goes over for dinner. His father mainly communicates with Edward through letters from his lawyer, rather than just talking to him. Edward writes daily "letters of complaint" that he never sends - about almost EVERYTHING and to everyone and to anyone that he finds fault with. He keeps a daily log of the weather and other items. He does not like conjecture, only facts. He loves vocabulary words and I really connected with him on that level, ha ha. When a single mother, Donna Middleton, and her 9 year old son, Kyle, move in across the street Edward's life is changed as they worm themselves into his life and become his friend. I loved seeing Edward's growth throughout the story.

The writing is delightful and I just couldn't wait to listen to the book every day. It is definitely in my top ten books read in 2017! I immediately downloaded the 2nd book in the series the day I finished this book and started listening. The narrator is perfect for the book, kudos to him!

I HIGHLY recommend this book!

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Another good psychological thriller! Soon to be a major motion picture by Ron Howard!!

The Girl BeforeThe Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is about an extremely modern house for rent, the different women who rented it, the strange architect who built it and his strange rules for those who rented it.It took me awhile to figure out that Emma and Jane lived in the house at two different time periods (at first I thought they were both applying to rent a room/apt in the same house), and then it all made sense. I liked how it went back and forth between the two women and it did keep me guessing at what really happened and what was going to happen. I did NOT guess what really happened and I was surprised! I do have a question about the ending - someone please email me and tell me what Jane decided about the baby!! I think the only character I sort of liked in the book was Jane; I did not like any of the others.

The book is well written and organized and I recommend it. It will probably become a talked-about book in 2017, and maybe even be made into a movie.

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