Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Book Review Tuesday

Oops! Almost forgot! …continued from last Tuesday…

1. The New Neighbor, by Leah Stewart. Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is content hiding from the world. Stoic and independent, she rarely leaves the Tennessee mountaintop where she lives, finding comfort in the mystery novels that keep her company, that is, until she spots a woman who's moved into the long-empty house across the pond. Jennifer Young is also looking to hide. On the run from her old life, she and her four-year-old son Milo have moved to a quiet town where no one from her past can find her. In Jennifer, Margaret sees both a potential companion in her loneliness and a mystery to be solved. But Jennifer refuses to talk about herself, her son, his missing father, or her past. Frustrated, Margaret crosses more and more boundaries in pursuit of the truth, threatening to unravel the new life Jennifer has so painstakingly created and reveal some secrets of her own. 

The Bug Says: Read this one for book club. This was psychological study. It was well written, and did not end the way I expected it to. For one thing, I ended up totally disliking Jennifer Young. I gave it 3 stars.

2.  The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

The Bug Says: This was another one for book club. It was a page turner for me, but in the end it left me slightly flat. I gave it 3 stars.

3. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan. The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.

The Bug Says: I enjoyed this romp through secret societies and Google – it was a fun read. I gave it 4 stars.

4. Wicked Charms (Lizzy & Diesel #3), by Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton. Murdered and mummified more than ninety years ago, bootlegger Collier “Peg Leg” Dazzle once found and re-hid a famous pirate’s treasure somewhere along the coast of New England. A vast collection of gold and silver coins and precious gems, the bounty also contains the Stone of Avarice — the very item reluctant treasure seeker, Lizzy Tucker, and her partner, Diesel, have been enlisted to find. 

The Bug Says: As usual when Janet Evanovich is involved, this book was a light & fluffy hoot. Definitely for when you’re feeling silly. I gave it 3 stars.

5. When Will There Be Good News?, (Jackson Brodie #3), by Kate Atkinson. On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason's family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna's life is changed forever... On a dark night thirty years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound... At the end of a long day, 16-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little TV. Then a terrifying noise shatters her peaceful evening. Luckily, Reggie makes it a point to be prepared for an emergency...

The Bug Says: I enjoyed this Brodie book just as much as the other two in the series. I gave it 4 stars.

6.  Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1), by Danielle Paige. “They say [Dorothy] found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe. My name is Amy Gumm - and I'm the other girl from Kansas. I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I've been trained to fight. And I have a mission.”

The Bug Says: I had to check out what all the hoopla was about, and I must say that this is a pretty interesting universe that the author has created. I got a little tired of Amy being clueless, but it was fun to see Oz in a completely different way. I gave it 3 stars.

7. The Nature of the Beast (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #11), by Louise Penny. Hardly a day goes by when nine-year-old Laurent Lepage doesn't cry wolf. From alien invasions, to walking trees, to winged beasts in the woods, to dinosaurs spotted in the village of Three Pines, his tales are so extraordinary no one can possibly believe him. But when the boy disappears, the villagers are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have been true. And so begins a frantic search for the boy and the truth. What they uncover deep in the forest sets off a sequence of events that leads to murder, leads to an old crime, leads to an old betrayal. A monster once visited Three Pines. And put down deep roots. And now, it is back. 

The Bug Says: I had waited quite a while for the next book in the Gamache series, and this one did not disappoint. I gave it 4 stars.

8.  The Doll (Vanessa Michael Munroe #3), by Taylor Stevens. On a busy Dallas street, Munroe is kidnapped by an unseen opponent and thrust into an underground world where women and girls are merchandise and a shadowy figure known as The Doll Maker controls her every move. While trusted friends race to unravel where she is and why she was taken, everything pivots on one simple choice: Munroe must use her unique set of skills to deliver a high-profile young woman into the same nightmare that she once endured, or condemn to torture and certain death the one person she loves above all else.

The Bug Says: I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as I did the previous 2 books. It was still pretty darned exciting though. I gave it 3 stars.

9.  The Cut (Spero Lucas #1), by George Pelecanos. Spero Lucas has a new line of work. Since he returned home after serving in Iraq, he has been doing special investigations for a defense attorney. He's good at it, and he has carved out a niche: recovering stolen property, no questions asked. His cut is forty percent. A high-profile crime boss who has heard of Lucas's specialty hires him to find out who has been stealing from his operation. It's the biggest job Lucas has ever been offered, and he quickly gets a sense of what's going on. But before he can close in on what's been taken, he tangles with a world of men whose amorality and violence leave him reeling. Is any cut worth your family, your lover, your life?

The Bug Says: The protagonist in this book is a 29 year old young man who loves his mother, goes to church sometimes, and seems to go to bed with every young woman in his path (I’m exaggerating – it was just two women). It’s an interesting look at a culture I don’t usually read about. The mystery was so-so. I gave it 3 stars.

I finished The Little Paris Bookshop today, but you'll have to wait until next time to hear what I thought about it. What are you guys reading?


  1. I'll have to look for the new Evanovich book. and I'm still trying to get through Atkinson's that I am reading. It's good, just I don't seem to have time to read these days.

  2. Dorothy Must Die sounds like an interesting twist on a familiar tale.

  3. I always read books about bookstores, having run one for 7 years. I'll check out Mr. Penumbra and I have the little Paris Book Shop on hold at the library but I'm 20th on the list so it will be awhile. Right now I'm trying to read A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer.

  4. I'm intrigued by The Girl on the Train...I used to ride the train to school and can relate to what Rachel experiences, seeing the same things every day (well, without seeing the "something shocking" part).

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Pernumbra and the new Louise Penny one. Like you, Girl on a Train really held my interest but after reading it I wondered what was so fascinating about it. And it did get a bit ridiculous near the ending. Right now I'm reading Fates and Furies. Very well written but a bit heavy and dark and the main characters are not terribly likable. But it is a good read.


Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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