Tag Archives: fiction

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

alexie

by Sherman Alexie
Art by Ellen Forney

Rating:  ◊◊◊◊♦ 5 stars

Junior, 14 years old and living on a reservation, attends an all-white school in a neighboring town.
Imagine the issues!

I howled with laughter at the cartoons. This is a quick read.  For me, the cartoons tell the story and the words fill in the gaps. The cartoons bumped my rating from 4 to 5 stars.

Employing wit and imagination, Alexie touches on bullying, racism, poverty, etc. – without belaboring it. The point isn’t to immerse the reader in the problems, but to follow Junior through them to his next challenge.

This is the only Alexie book I have read, and probably the only one I will read. But I will almost certainly read this one several times.

If you like this book, you may also enjoy Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and Rez Road Follies by Jim Northrup.

Far Away

Far Away by Victoria Blake
Troubador Publishing Ltd / Matador
(c) 2015
Genre: History, Fiction

Rating: * * *

Two soldiers captured in Africa in WWII meet in an Italian prison camp. Along the homeward journey, they write journals: one a memoir, the other a fairy tale. Interspersed with the soldiers’ story is the story of the soldiers’ grown children years later, unraveling the war experience they didn’t hear firsthand from their parents.

What I like about this story: I knew next to nothing about Italy or the Italians during WWII, and this book filled in some details.

Thank you to NetGalley and Troubador Publishing for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.

At Home in Last Chance

At Home in Last Chance (A Place to Call Home #3) by Cathleen Armstrong

Rating: * * * *

I love this book!

Kaitlyn has made her mistakes, but if you think you get to rub her nose in ’em, you got another think comin’. And then there’s feckless Steven, with a definite penchant for putting his foot in his mouth. I tut-tutted right along with Steven’s grandmother, watching Kaitlyn and Steven bump their way past the misunderstandings and ruffled feathers to a very satisfying ending.

I will definitely be adding this book to my collection.  If you like this book, you may also enjoy The First Boy I Loved by Cheryl Reavis.

Thank you to Revell Publishing and NetGalley for the Advance Reader Copy I received in exchange for an honest review.

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The Godforsaken Daughter

The Godforsaken Daughter by Christina McKenna
March 2015, Lake Union Publishing

Rating: * *

Nicely stitched together. Quite an unusual set of circumstances leads to the intersection between Ruby, Jamie, and Henry in a little town in Northern Ireland.

The incidental characters like the attorney who reads the will are so neatly drawn I can see them clearly in my minds eye.

The main characters have victim written all over them, which is the reason I rate the book 2 stars. The sundry side characters, however, are enormously entertaining and prevent the story from sliding into melancholy. Were they the main characters, I’d rate this 4 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.

As the Crow Flies

As the Crow Flies (DI Nick Dixon Book One) by Damien Boyd

Pub. 1/20/2015
Thomas & Mercer
Rating: * * *

Detective Inspector Nick Dixon suspects his former climbing partner’s death is not the accident it initially appears to be. Drawn into the investigation, he learns his friend had become involved in illegal activities with dangerous and unscrupulous associates. The body count rises as Dixon unravels the web of lies and cover-ups.

As the Crow Flies holds the interest and moves along quickly. The other investigations in the story – Dixon’s day job – are every bit as interesting as the climbing death investigation (perhaps more so). The ending plays out differently than I anticipated.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the copy I received in exchange for a review.

Norwegian by Night

Norwegian

Norwegian by Night By Derek B. Miller
(c) 2012. First US edition 2013

Rating: * * * * *

Norwegian by Night is full of unexpected little gems like a magic dust bunny carefully transported in a hobo pack.

A grumpy old man living in an unfamiliar world rescues a traumatized little boy from his mother’s abuser. Meanwhile, we ponder. What is dementia, and who decides if someone has it? What and who are family? If we talk to someone who isn’t standing beside us, does that mean he isn’t there?

Is this an adventure story? An account of an existence heavily defined by being Jewish?  A tale about relationships and our expectations of others? A commentary on the after-effects of war? A treatise on aging? A sweet story of caring for a child one has just met? Yes.

I can’t say what drew me to this book. Not the cover picture, although that has a charm all its own. Suffice it to say that the books I find hardest to explain are the ones I most enjoy.

If you like this book, you may also enjoy The Last Ferryman by Gregory Randle.

Superior Justice

Superior Justice, a Lake Superior Mystery
by Tom Hilpert
(c) 2008 Tom Hilpert

Rating: * * * *

Daniel Spooner died on a Tuesday in early May, just as the lunch hour was ending in Grand Lake.

The lunch hour part made me chuckle and ensured I would continue reading. And what a fun read this is!

Meet Rev. Jonah Borden, Lutheran pastor in a small town on Minnesota’s North Shore, who fuels his day with copious amounts of coffee and gourmet food and listens to rock music and goes fishing as often as time permits.

Jonah cracks wise as he tries to help clear a man he knows to be innocent of a vigilante murder, only to find himself charged with murder. And other unscrupulous dealings.

Superior Justice is thoroughly entertaining and a quick read.

The Sheriff of Yrnameer

Yrnameer

The Sheriff of Yrnameer by Michael Rubens

Read by William Dufris

Rating:  * * * *

If the freeze-dried orphans hadn’t gotten me to pick up this book, then IPR (Intergalactic Public Radio) or “Kids…exploding out of the crates like popcorn” or “a dozen ululating marketing trainees” would have.  Sci-fi like you have never heard it before!  I could go on an on, but I won’t.

Let me just leave it at this:  I highly recommend the audiobook when you’re looking for a snort-worthy romp of a story.  William Dufris is a master at reading stories like this one:  wacky, absurd comedy with a plethora of characters, each one more quirky than the last.

 

Stormbreaker

Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1) by Anthony Horowitz
Rating: * * * *

Somewhere between James Bond and The Hunger Games

Thrown headlong into the world of MI6 and covert intelligence, 14 year old Alex’s mission is to investigate a philanthropist who seems too good to be true. Complete with gadgets and super-secret communication channels, Alex’s adventure speeds along with just the right mix of details, background, and hyperbole to make it enjoyable for its target audience, teenagers, as well as adults.

Being generally behind the times on movies, I have just learned a movie was released in 2006 based on this book. After checking out a trailer for the movie, I can say with confidence that the movie is vastly different from the book.

Guilt by Degrees

Guilt by Degrees (Rachel Knight #2) by Marcia Clark
Copyright 4/30/13
Mulholland Books
Rating: * * *

What I like…The snark:  Rachel and her ‘tude are a hoot.  The dialogue is reasonably believable.  The story moves right along and there’s always more than meets the eye, lots of twists and turns and realizations and re-examinations of the evidence.

What I don’t like…The length:  the book is 450 pages.  The constant name-dropping of L.A. restaurants/eateries/bars, expensive vodkas, etc.  If the book were shorter and had fewer details about lunch and drink orders, I would rate it 4 stars.

The long and short of it…I enjoy the Rachel Knight series, at least books 1 and 2 (I haven’t read the others yet).  The office politics in the district attorney’s office, as well as the interplay between the police and the D.A.’s office, make for good reading, especially when enlivened by Knight’s brand of sarcastic wit.

Thank you to Mulholland Books and NetGalley for the copy I received in exchange for a review.

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