Friday, May 29, 2020

The Library of LegendsThe Library of Legends by Janie Chang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I rate this somewhere between 3½ and 4 stars.
While I have 3 books by Janie Chang on my shelf—the covers are beautiful!—I've never read one until now. One reason is that I thought I had a trilogy here and thought I had to read the other books in order. In case you were wondering, you don't. This one is a stand-alone. It got off to a slow start for me, possibly because it is set in a period I have no familiarity with. It took place in China just before WWII, but became in many ways it felt like I was reading about ancient times! I won't repeat the synopis here, but the book is historical fiction with elements of fantasy; stories about Gods and Spirits. While the book started slow for me, about 40% of the way through, it really clicked. I became attached to several of the characters, particularly the servant girl, Sparrow, and finished to book quickly.

I won this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.

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Friday, April 10, 2020

Her Last FlightHer Last Flight by Beatriz Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read Beatriz Williams before, so I expected to like this book, but I did not expect to love it as much as I did! This book was fantastic! I’ve read and enjoyed many books about female aviators, but most have been about women in the WACS era. I’ve also always been intrigued by Amelia Earhart, who served as inspiration for this book, so this was a must read for me.

The story is centered around two women and the man they loved. The man, Sam Mallory was an early aviator. Irene Foster was his protege who disappeared on an attempted circumnavigation flight. Janey Everett is a young photojournalist who has always been a fan of Sam’s, and now wants to write a book about him, but to do that, she needs the story from Irene, who she finds living in Hawaii.

The book is written in alternating times; present day 1947 and the years from 1928 until Irene disappeared. I found it interesting one chapter tells the present day story from Janey's point of view, then the next chapter is a chapter from Janey's book telling Irene's story from her point of view. Until I figured this out, I did have a little bit of an issue because the voice of Irene and the voice of Janey was very similar, but I think that is because the women were so similar; both strong women who knew how to get what they wanted.

The story had so many twists! I can’t tell you how many times I put the book down for a moment to say “Wow! I did NOT see that coming!” I can’t think of a thing I would have changed about this book. It’s early in the year, but I won’t be at all surprised in December if I say that this is the best book I read in 2020!

I won an advanced copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Mrs. EverythingMrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm rating this one about 3¾. I liked it a lot, but there were times when it really seemed to drag. I also got caught up in some of the inaccuracies. In her attempt to portray 'the 60s', it seemed that the author shifted the time line a bit so that everything in her story was happening 3-5 years before it really happened. One glaring example is when she talked about the girls being on the Michigan campus and the fashions there—bell bottom jeans and long hair. She set this in 1962, which was still pretty much the 50s and the tail-end of the beatnik era. Kennedy was still alive and the Beatles weren't really a thing yet. They were around, but the hadn't made their US tour and they certainly didn't look like hippies. Another example is the Vietnam War protests—she had them too early, during Kennedy's term. They didn't get going until after LBJ took office and escalated the war. There are other examples of facts she placed at the wrong time, or inconsistencies, and you can find some of those mentioned in other reviews.
That said, once I got into later parts of the book, the errors were't so glaring and the story moved along pretty quickly. I did enjoy the book.

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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Review: The Eulogist

The EulogistThe Eulogist by Terry Gamble
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For me, this book was ‘meh’; ok, but nothing special. I didn’t quite get what I was expecting. I thought the book was going to be about the immigrant experience in the early 1800s. This was a family who immigrated from Ireland ca 1819. The mother immediatedly died in childbirth, and the father abandoned the remaining children soon after. From here, the story could have been about any family of struggling orphans of that time, whether or not they were recent immigrants. Instead the main focus of the story was about slavery; the injustice, the people risking their lives to either escape or aid escape. It was interesting, but I’d been looking forward to the immigrant story.

The focus aside, I found the book difficult to get through. At times the story would pick up steam, only to veer off again into a s-l-o-w moving portion. There were a lot of characters in the story; some with no real purpose. One example — after one brother attains some financial and social success, a cousin comes over from Ireland with proposition. It really didn’t add much to the story, and could have been omitted, allowing the story to progress more smoothly.

There was an epilogue of sorts; a chapter that jumped several decades into the future. Much of it was a rehash of the story, and much of it was confusing. It wasn’t satisfying in the way most epilogues are, but just made me antsy to get through it.

This wasn’t a terrible book; it just wasn’t one I was in the mood for. It may hit you differntly than it did me and become your ‘book of the year’ so give it a try!

I won a copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.

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