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review 2014-04-01 02:55
Where'd You Go Bernadette?
Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel - Maria Semple

Bernadette Fox, the namesake of this book marches to the beat of her own drum and she doesn't apologize for it. She is an award-winning architect and moves with her Microsoft genius of a husband Elgin to Seattle to raise a family. After years of trying, finally their daughter Bee is born and she is Bernadette's whole world. No longer working she proves to be the most eccentric stay-at-home mom ever. They live in a house that was previously a home for wayward girls and it is falling into serious disrepair. Diplomacy is not a quality that Bernadette possesses and dealing with the seemingly mundane parents of Bee's school always seems to land her in trouble. Once Elgin has had enough of Bernadette's escapades he decides to take matters into his own hands but not before she gets wind of it and disappears first.

 

This book is laugh-out-loud funny and you will at moments find yourself wishing you could be as bold as Bernadette in how she handles life. Formatted in the way of letters and emails made this book a breeze to read. I was especially pleased to find references to both my favorite saint, Bernadette of Lourdes and children's book, Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown mentioned in this book.

 

I think anyone would find this book highly enjoyable.

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review 2014-03-10 20:05
Excellent Cozy Mystery series start
Blue Blood - Susan McBride

Trigger warning: There is a scene in the beginning of the book that is a sexual harassment/attempted rape and stalker behavior.  There are also references to videotaping of consensual sex without permission of one of the participants.

 

I really liked this first book in the series after taking a chance and buying it for a buck. The story takes place in the world of Dallas, Texas contemporary rich society, but the MC and sleuth is a down to earth, bucking the society standards web designer Andrea Blevins-Kendricks. I love Andrea; she is smart, funny, and loving with friends and family alike. Unlike many cozy mysteries, the MC is not quirky or clumsy; she is natural in character right from the get go. Her mother, the high matron of Dallas rich society, was eye-rolling superficial and cliché for the first 25-30% of the book, then Cissy does something that just freaking endeared me to her; by the end of the book, I didn't know who to love more, the daughter or mother. The cast is rounded out by Andrea's childhood friend (and accused murderess) Molly, Molly's six year-old son David (who was more than a plot device, but quite the quiet kid), and Brian Malone, attorney and love interest.

 

I freaking loved the scenes with Andrea and Brian - there was a real connection that at times made me think this was a romance and not a cozy mystery. Brian is a great beta hero - something I needed to balance out all the alphas I read in historical romances. Andrea is a blend of alpha and beta heroine, so their relationship is based on equal terms.

 

There is no slut-shaming or women-slamming; Andrea defends the women at Jugs and Molly's background from such shamers/slammers, and since Andrea is the daughter of high society matron Cissy, her words carry a lot of influence. There is a bit of classism coming from Cissy, as she refers to Molly as "that scholarship girl"; however, after taking care of David, Cissy understood that Molly was more than that and she helped Molly get a better job.

 

I bought the second in the series at the same time as the first because it was also a buck and I wanted to give the author a chance to develop the world and characters past one book. Yesterday I finished the first book and immediately bought the other books in the series (there are five total so far). I am spacing out reading the series so that I can savor the stories. This is the first really satisfying read of 2014. 5/5 stars.

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review 2013-12-01 16:03
My Mother's Secret
My Mother's Secret: A Novel Based on a True Holocaust Story - J.L. Witterick

I was selected to review this book as LibraryThing.com EarlyReviewer.  This beautifully profound story takes place in the tiny town of Sokal, Poland during World War iI. Based on the true story of mother and daughter, Franciszka and Helena Halamajowa and their courageous efforts.

 

Franciszka is first approached by a Jewish construction worker who asks if she would be willing to hide he and his family. She readily agrees and finds them a place in her hayloft. Next she is approached by her friend, the wife of a well-respected Jewish doctor, and is asked the same thing. Again, she readily agrees and the doctor digs his family a shelter under the floorboards of Franciszka's kitchen. Finally, a German solider, not of the Nazi belief nor the heart to harm anyone asks Franciska for her help. she finds a space for him in her tiny attic. 

 

This woman's heroic bravery is evidence that human kindness does exist. A story easily readable by anyone. Told in brief vignettes by each of the characters perspectives it was difficult not to read in a single sitting.

 

Highly recommended if wanting an inspirational read.

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review 2013-08-31 05:50
The Wednesday Daughters
The Wednesday Daughters - Meg Waite Clayton

When I requested this book to review for LibraryThing I apparently missed the fact that this was a sequel to The Wednesday Sisters which was a story about of five friends who gather and talk of raising kids, marriage, etc. it sounds like a book I would might have read. Now, will I go back and read it? Probably not. Had I read it first I think I would have like the daughters' version more so. There was no summary to lead you into the sequel as to what transpired in the first story so I spent most of the time grasping for clues as to who, what, when, why, where the story was going. There was some reflecting in the past but that was confusing too because that was a character from the first book having imaginary conversations with a dead woman. I felt as if were driving with no directions to a place I'd never been. Sigh.

 

While it was a bit of a struggle, I did enjoy the English setting as well as the scenery descriptions were lovely. Verses from Beatrix Potter stories headed each chapter which was sweet nostalgia.

 

I wish I had read the first book.

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review 2013-07-08 04:28
Those Who Love Us by Jenna Blum
Those Who Save Us - Jenna Blum

I have always had a strange obsession with the Holocaust. A fascination that is yet to be satiated. This story of Anna and Trudie has been a generous and satisfying portion for that hunger. This story told in past and present by mother and daughter of their experience in wartime Germany and present day Minnesota is heart-wrenching and horrific. Anna is desperately hiding the truth while Trudie is determined to find it. Be warned of repeated detailed sexual scenes throughout the book that some readers may find distasteful. Aside from that, if you liked Sarah's Key you will also enjoy this book. I give this book 4 stars because of my huge interest in the subject matter.

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