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CaitlinR

CaitlinR

Joined January 2018

Retired Librarian, Friend of Bill W, "Whatever's not full makes noise. Whatever is full is silent"
review
CaitlinR
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Pickpick

Enjoyed this spooky book enormously: discussions of love, dreams, madness, and death.

“I hope that maybe the worst of this world is imagined, and the best is assured. It is so easy to be fearful when you are alone in the dark. When the sun emerges in the East and the last of the darkness recedes, it is possible to believe that too much weight is granted to fear, and too much allocated to hope. This is, of course, the gift of dreams.” (p.387)

CaitlinR Photo from The National Geographic Society. 4d
sprainedbrain Great review! 4d
16 likes1 stack add2 comments
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CaitlinR
Moonflower Murders | Anthony Horowitz
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Mehso-so

I almost bailed when the second novel appeared in Horowitz‘s latest Susan Ryland book. I wasn‘t sure I cared enough to follow the embedded clues. I‘m glad I stuck with it. Certainly, writing “Atticus Pünd Takes The Case” was a clever device, one that leads us to the golden-age-of-mystery like conclusion. Weary at the end, it is also true that I agreed with Andreas‘ suggestion that the pages be burned as a sacrifice to the gods.

CaitlinR Photo from “The Times” review of 2/25/21; ROBERTO RICCIUTI/GETTY IMAGES 2w
28 likes1 comment
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CaitlinR
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Pickpick

John Connolly is best when he has a subject to research in preparation for a novel. The Nameless Ones clearly shows this talent. Framed around Serbian atrocities and war criminals, and featuring Louis and Angel, the novel explores themes of vengeance and retribution. Jennifer Parker and an otherworldly creature (Zorya) round out the cast of characters who give us a wonderful entry the Parker series. Thank you Mr. Connolly!

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CaitlinR
A Snake Falls to Earth | Darcie Little Badger
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Pickpick

“A place where the water binds two world; where coyotes confide in monsters; where hawks and mockingbirds discern revelations from ancient trees; where my best friend basks in the sun beside me; and where I can spend long days in the company of new family, as I search for the family I left behind.” (p. 373)

A charming, wonderful, timely story. Ms Little Badger is enormously talented. Very highly recommended!

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CaitlinR
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed Ms King‘s latest, although I agree with others that it is not her best. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are in Roumania at the behest of Queen Marie whose daughter, Ileana, has been threatened. There are also rumored problems with Strigoi (vampires). Absurd, but all is explained to some degree of satisfaction.

My Library borrowed copy has a very unfortunate romance-like cover, but issued during the pandemic allowances must be made?

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CaitlinR
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Pickpick

The creeping sense of dread that oozes from this novel is so pervasive, so successful, that there were times I needed to set it down and walk away. Beautifully crafted.

A story of individuals, linked through mundane and terrible events at the Lupine Valley Arts Collective. Everyone, everything trapped by their relationships with poor, doomed Coral.

“Art outlasts us all”

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CaitlinR
Glass Hotel | Emily St John Mandel
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A novel about the choices we all make as we move through life: some banal, some tragic, some cataclysmic. The characters throughout the story are linked through their actions, or through the actions of others. Beautifully written, but full of aimless souls who lack a moral core.

If you expected Station Eleven redux, you‘ll be disappointed, but Mandel is wrestling with those same themes here — even though the characters are more challenging.

29 likes2 stack adds
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CaitlinR
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“On the morning Perveen saw the stranger, they‘d almost collided.”

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CaitlinR
Guest List | Lucy Foley
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Panpan

Well that‘s a few hours I‘ll never get back. The best I can say about reading The Guest List is that I finished it; but only because it was all I had with me during a road trip.

Multiple narrators, time and space adjustments— all writing devices done to death. Mainly, though, I didn‘t like or remotely care about any of the characters. A dismal read. A Reese‘s Book Club pick. I‘ll be reluctant to follow her recommendation again.

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CaitlinR
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Pickpick

Written with grace and humor, which is a marvel given that the base story is about a vampire-like creature preying on folks in Charleston. I loved the section division heads: book titles that introduce the action to come. Hendrix is a clever author … need to read more of his work. The ending is not for the faint of heart.

“She didn‘t regret any of it. What had been destroyed made what remained that much more precious.”

23 likes1 stack add
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CaitlinR
Invited | Jennifer McMahon
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Mehso-so

Helen and Nate have left their secure live to build the house of their dreams on land near a small New England village. As a former history teacher, Helen is excited by her ability to investigate stories that the land is haunted, and to include relics from previous owners in the design of their house. Then they begin to see things they can‘t explain.

Not her best, but entertaining.

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CaitlinR
Lightning Strike: A Novel | William Kent Krueger
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Pickpick

If you‘re a fan of Krueger‘s Cork O‘Connor, you‘ll love this. If you enjoy a well-written mystery, you‘ll love this. If you enjoy a great coming of age story, you‘ll love this. In short, highly recommended.

In Lightning Strike, we meet Cork as a 12 year old. He and his friends stumble on the apparent suicide of Big John Manydeeds. Striving to find the truth leads Cork to an understanding of his Objibwe heritage and his place in the world.

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CaitlinR
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Pickpick

Alice Vega tries to make sense of a fractured life by searching for children who have been taken from their homes and lives. Max Caplan works as a PI after resigning from the police department. Jamie Brandt‘s daughters, Kylie and Bailey have disappeared, seeming into thin air. What Cap and Vega find in their search is pure evil.

A great thriller!

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CaitlinR
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Pickpick

Tuesday Mooney is a prospect researcher, preparing dossiers on potential donors for hospital. At a charity auction, one of the wealthiest man in Boston, drops dead. He‘s left behind a legacy and instructions for a wired treasure hunt.

Racculia has crafted a fantastic story: part adventure story, part puzzle quest, part ghost story. Wonderful characters I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

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CaitlinR
Harlem Shuffle: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Mehso-so

I never thought I‘d feel this way about a Whitehead book, but my overall impression is meh! Harlem Shuffle doesn‘t quite work, either as a chronicle of ‘60s Harlem, or as a caper story. he problem is that for the first time Whitehead‘s characters are predictable caricatures. The historical references are interesting. The third section is the most successful; too little, too late. I‘ve always loved Colson‘s writing. This is a disappointment.

CaitlinR Image from Harlem World Magazine: “Young Boys, Harlem Style, 1960‘s” 3mo
15 likes1 comment
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CaitlinR
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Mehso-so

Well , I finished this, but I‘m not sure why. I‘ve enjoyed Hoffman‘s Owens Family books, but was disappointed by Magic Lessons. The book serves as a prequel to Practical Magic, telling us the us the early tale of Maria Owen and her daughter Faith.

Not much depth. The narrative is quite repetitive and tells us little that we didn‘t already know from the other books in the series. A disappointment.

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CaitlinR
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Pickpick

This puzzling, thought provoking and beautifully written novel explores human interactions, family ties, love, and what it means to be human. Our guide through the story is Klara, an Artificial Friend: man-created to serve as child companions in a society where work and status have made relationships transactional. Like many of Ishiguro‘s flawed, lonely characters, Klara is a true Virgil, a Dante-like guide. She‘s wondering, and wonderful.

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CaitlinR
The Other Emily | Dean Koontz
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It‘s been awhile since I‘ve read Koontz. He‘s a great story teller, and I highly recommend this one, which is a great blend of thriller and the seemingly impossible.

David Thorne is a writer who lost the love of his life ten years ago to a horrible act of violence. One rainy night he meets Madison who looks, behaves and entices exactly like Emily. Koontz takes us through David‘s journey to discover the truth.

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CaitlinR
The Golem and the Jinni | Helene Wecker
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Pickpick

Two magical creatures find themselves adrift in New York in 1899. The Golem, created to be a bride, is incapable of independent life, and capable of great violence. The Jinni was enslaved by a wizard. Mistakenly awoken from his vessel imposed slumber, his nature makes it impossible for him to know the detrimental effects of his actions on those around him. They meet, and secrets are revealed. A remarkable morality tale; very well written.

23 likes1 stack add
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CaitlinR
Master of Djinn | P Djeli Clark
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Set in Cairo (1912). A being, claiming to be the legendary Djinn master al-Jahiz, immolates the members of a secret brotherhood devoted to his honor. Fatima el-Sha‘arwi, an Inspector in the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, & Supernational Entities investigates. She is assisted by her new partner, her lover (part-Djinn) among others. Great super-beings, lots of steampunk details. Very well written; otherwise it would be silly. I loved it!

23 likes1 stack add
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CaitlinR
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Pickpick

Now this was a hoot! Imagine the Napoleonic War … with dragons! Add in Novik‘s prodigious writing talent, and you‘ve got a great read.

In a naval battle, the HMS Reliant captures a dragon egg. When it hatches, the young creature chooses Captain Laurence as his caretaker and handler. Together, they join the Aerial Corps, learning combat skills, and fighting battles with other dragons protect Britain.

I‘m hooked and will now read the series.

wordslinger42 I haven't finished the series, but loved book one, too! 5mo
CaitlinR @wordslinger42 I put a hold on the 2nd at the Lib. Can‘t wait 5mo
26 likes2 comments
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CaitlinR
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Pickpick

I love Finch‘s historical mysteries featuring Charles Lennox. Set in Victorian England, they are cleverly written, full of witty dialogue and the plots never disappoint.

I‘d love to hear your recommendations for similar series.

Happy Friday to you all.

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CaitlinR
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“One of them is wise and wary, with her red-eyed owl perched on her shoulder like a demon escaped from Hell … She doesn‘t look like a librarian anymore.

One of the is strong a seething, with her osprey on her arm and death in her eyes … She doesn‘t look like a mill-girl anymore.

And Juniper herself, wild and wicked … newly healed from the two fires she‘s survived so far. She wonders what the third one will cost her.” (p. 437)

20 likes2 stack adds
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CaitlinR
Between Shades of Gray | Ruta Sepetys
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Ruta Sepetys‘ novels expose us to the worst acts perpetrated against the powerless, but also stand as powerful monuments to hope. In this novel we share the the horrors of Stalin‘s Balkan deportations, perpetrated to “purify” the new Soviet state; 1/3 of the population of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia died. We see these horrors through the eyes of young Lina Vilkas and her family. A painful story, but one we must read to honor the dead.

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CaitlinR
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John Rebus, now medically retired, investigates the murder of his daughter‘s life partner who was obsessed with an historical POW camp on the northern coast of Scotland. Could old secrets be involved?

At the same time Siobhan is investigating the murder of a Saudi student who was linked to a big real estate deal. Her temporary partner is meeting with a gangster in an attempt to hush up a scandal.

In short, the usual great plot and twists.

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CaitlinR
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Bailedbailed

At the half-way mark: bailed. The story is like an overwrought Hallmark movie … with witchcraft. A debut novel with some nice, albeit trite images. Maybe Ms Fox will grow into her craft.

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CaitlinR
A Murderous Procession | Ariana Franklin
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Pickpick

I have been enjoying Ariana Franklin‘s Mistress of Death historical mysteries. This one takes place during the progression of the 11 year old Princess Joanna from England to Palermo to wed William II. Adelia and Manseur have been sent by Henry II to insure her health, but they are being stalked by an evil presence from her past.

The only disappointment is that I‘m reaching the end of the series … one more to go.

vlwelser I really liked this series. I wish there had been more of them. 6mo
CaitlinR @vlwelser Reading buddies! 6mo
24 likes2 comments
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CaitlinR
Witch's Heart | Genevieve Gornichec
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A wonderful debut from an author who “got as close to majoring in Vikings as she possibly could …” (author blurb) love these modern sagas. Highly recommended.

The Pic-Collage image quotation from p.293 of the book.

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CaitlinR
Tombland | C. J. Sansom
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I really enjoy the Mathew Shardlake books, and recommend Tombland to you. Set in 1549, when King Edward VI, at eleven years old ruled through his Regent, Edward Seymour, (Sommerset). Shardlake, Jack Barak and Nicholas Overton have been tasked by Elizabeth with the defense of a distant kinsman accused of murder. Set during the Kett rebellion the book offers excellent history and wonderful characterizations. A long book, but very worth reading.

CaitlinR Image: “Meeting of the East Anglian rebels” www.aka may.com. From Cassell's illustrated history of England published circa 1896. 6mo
24 likes1 comment
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CaitlinR
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Mehso-so

An interesting historical account of James Strang who claimed to be the anointed prophet successor to Joseph Smith, ultimately seizing of Beaver Island, establishing an independent kingdom of saints.

Harvey has a willingness to confess that documents are lost to history, while at the same time telling us exactly what happened. He also has an unfortunate tendency to sneer.

Dutiful read for a Michigander, but not great scholarship.

Andrea313 This is on my TBR, dutiful Michigander that I am. 😂 6mo
CaitlinR @Andrea313 Nice to meet another person from the Mitten. 6mo
27 likes2 comments
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CaitlinR
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Pickpick

What a beautiful story! Linus Baker has been sent by The Department in Charge of Magical Youth to an island orphanage to determine whether the children there are at risk, or more important for the Department risky. Among the Gnome, the Wyvern, the Sprites, the “monster under the bed” (not), the Shape Shifter and the Antichrist — all children, and most of all Arthur, Linus finds where he belongs.

“Wish you were here” and I want to be there.

Traci1 Love this book so much. 7mo
Bookish_Gal Loved this story! It has to be the most heartfelt book I‘ve read in a long time 7mo
47 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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CaitlinR
Mountains Sing | Mai Phan Que Nguyen
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This is a beautifully written, powerful novel that recounts the experiences of the Trần family during the Việt Nam War.

I hold such grief and guilt for the terror we inflicted on Việt Nam. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, born the year I graduated high school, has given me the gift of understanding, as have the novelists whose work preceded this publication.

Trần Diệu Lan and her granddaughter, Hương, shared their love with me and give me hope.

CaitlinR Photo of the author by the Tuesday Agency. 7mo
27 likes1 comment
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CaitlinR
Hour of the Witch | Chris Bohjalian
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Mehso-so

Although I finished this, it left me dissatisfied. Set in 17th Century Boston. Living among the Puritans, Mary Deerfield is married to a brute who abuses her physically and emotionally. When her amazing attempt to divorce him fails, she contemplates other means to be free. The story discusses threats to women who challenge societal norms. Unfortunately, it falls flat, and the ending is rushed, glib and unconvincing. Certainly not his best.

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CaitlinR
The Women of the Copper Country | Mary Doria Russell
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“In labor disputes, a business can speak with a single loud, clear, well-paid legal voice, while each employee is alone … The are prevented from joining together in a single legal voice—unless and until the employer recognizes their union …”

From The Women of Copper County. Mary Doria Russell‘s excellent historical novel about the the Copper County mining strike (1913-1914). Gripping read and great depiction of characters. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

CaitlinR Photo from http://mihistory.leadr.msu.edu showing picket line in Calumet, 1913 7mo
25 likes1 comment
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CaitlinR
Dead Man Dancing | John Galligan
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Pickpick

Heidi Kick has been elected Sheriff in this, the 2nd of the Bad Axe County mysteries set in Wisconsin. Horrible things are happening during the Syttende Mai festival, including he brutal murder of a tuba player.

Cage fights, white supremacists, and acid attacks abound, and as axe throwing competitions take place, someone is hacking off body parts. Heidi‘s family is also in trouble.

Not for the faint of heart, but I read every word.

CaitlinR Photo from “Brainy Actz Escape Rooms” 7mo
19 likes1 comment
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CaitlinR
Bad Axe County: A Novel | John Galligan
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Pickpick

Heidi Kick is acting county sheriff of a rural area with a semipro baseball team. Players and boosters largely control the town. During a flood-stage storm, Heidi tracks corruption and sexual trafficking. Aaron Beaver has also returned to accuse the Rattlers who raped and murdered a young girl, framing his father. Following the baddies she may discover who murdered her parents, covering the up the crime. Some gratuitous stuff, but an OK read.

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CaitlinR
Survivors | Jane Harper
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In the first few pages of Harper‘s latest, I was worried that she was trudging into the formulaic, but then it took off. Set in Tasmania, this book is as great as the first three!

Everyone in town is haunted by events related to a terrible ocean storm years ago. Now there‘s been another death. Survival permeates the story — survival that is not always a gift. Although set at the edge of vast sea, there is a claustrophobia here that horrifies.

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CaitlinR
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“Ev squats on a heap of garbage, one hand on the edge of the dumpster to keep her balance, listens for ghosts.”

13 likes1 stack add
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CaitlinR
Before She Was Helen | Caroline B. Cooney
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Pickpick

This mystery was a hoot! I‘ve not read Carolyn Cooney before — a mistake I‘ll rectify quickly.

Clemmie live in Sun City, a senior gated community. She has her friends, her card parties, her part-time position teaching Latin, and suddenly, a dead body in the garage of her weird next door neighbor and Clemmie has a past she‘s desperate to hide.

Deliciously complicated twists and turns keep you guessing. Well worth the quick read.

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CaitlinR
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Bailedbailed

I wanted to love this book as much as I loved News of the World. Unfortunately, although the early scenes are interesting, there‘s just not much of a story here.

The premise: the fiddler Simon Boudlin forms a motley crew of musicians who attempt to survive in post civil war Texas. After a single meeting, Simon is obsessed with an Irish governess, Doris, and sets out to become her worthy man of property. Wish there was more “there, there”

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CaitlinR
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The latest in the Giordano Bruno mystery series. Bruno has returned to England and has been tasked by Walsingham to infiltrate the latest group of conspirators who want to put Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne. Impersonating a Spanish prince, Bruno is also seeking the apparent murderer of Robert Poole‘s sister.

As always, Parris gives us great depth of historical detail. I love this series.

CaitlinR Image from MOMA. 8mo
16 likes1 comment
blurb
CaitlinR
The Hollows: A Novel | Jess Montgomery
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“For near on ten miles, the old woman walks without ceasing.”

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CaitlinR
The Widows | Jess Montgomery
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Pickpick

The sheriff of Kinship, OH has been murdered. His wife, Lily has been asked to step into his position. The mine owner and those who control him think she will be easily manipulated, but Lily has her own agenda. Marvina Whitcomb took on her husband‘s role as union organizer when her husband dies in the mine. She has a personal quest too. The two widows ultimately join forces but the forces against them are strong.

Pretty good historical fiction.

Ruthiella I just got this book for my mom...it‘s a first in a series. I‘ll definitely read it once she‘s done! (edited) 9mo
23 likes1 comment
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CaitlinR
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Mehso-so

Malcolm Kershaw, a co-owner of the Old Devils Bookstore once posted a list of perfect fictional murders on the store‘s blog. Now, according to an FBI agent, someone is replicating the list through actual murders.

This is an ok unreliable narrator mystery, but the bookstore theme is done to death (pun intended) through other lists of favorite (uninspired) reads and the death of one of those “customers from hell.” The cat was fun though.

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CaitlinR
No Title | None
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— I rarely reread. The Big Book is a constant companion and I read Tolkien‘s LOTR several times when I was young.

— I love the serendipity of finding new books on library or bookstore shelves, and good cover art certainly plays a role. But a blurb, or an intriguing title works too. To be honest, these days I read based on reviews/recommendations.

— This Tender Land (Krueger). Nature is like a separate character.

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CaitlinR
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Pickpick

What a story! The Irish, in all their glory and absurd contradictions as seen through the eyes of Cyril (“not a real”) Avery. The novel is dedicated to John Irving and Cyril reminds me of Owen Meany. Wickedly funny, except when it isn‘t. Our adventure begins with the denunciation of a young pregnant girl in 1945 (Shame) carries us through the AIDS plague years in NY (Exile) bringing us full circle back to Dublin (Peace). Joins my best of the year

Ruthiella In its mix of humor and tragedy I was also reminded of John Irving! The dedication makes sense. 9mo
Chelsea.Poole Love this! 9mo
32 likes2 comments
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CaitlinR
Dirty South | John Connolly
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I‘ve read everything that John Connolly has written and I love them all. In this fascinating story, we meet a younger Charlie Parker. The murder of his wife and daughter a more recent tragedy, the ghost of his daughter less substantial, Charlie is following atrocities in hopes of finding the killer. Set in Arkansas, political corruption looms large.

A great addition to the Parker series!

(Photo from Getty Images)

CaitlinR I‘d also like to recommend to you two other Connolly books. Not Charlie Parker, but both his best (IMHO). Be sure to read: The Book of Lost Things and the wonderful He: A Novel. 9mo
20 likes1 comment
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CaitlinR
The Hazel Wood | Melissa Albert
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I loved this book!

23 likes1 stack add
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CaitlinR
The Island Child | Molly Aitken
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Pickpick

I recommend this powerful novel to you. The story begins and ends in Ireland and tells of complicated, and damaged family relationships. We see the story largely through Oona‘s eye as she strives to survive her Mam‘s apparent hatred and later acts of ultimate violence by a friend. Unable to forge health relationships, Oona is now seeking her runaway daughter, and redemption.

A wonderful debut novel. I look forward to more from Ms Aitken.

Come-read-with-me This sounds like a compelling read. Thanks for sharing. 10mo
22 likes1 stack add1 comment
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CaitlinR
The Skull Mantra | Eliot Pattison
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I believe that a good story exposes me to a place, a culture, a people, or a philosophy that I knew little about. A great mystery gives me all of those things and Pattison‘s The Skull Mantra is a great story.

With skill, and I believe an abiding love, we are transported to Tibet. Through the eyes of the imprisoned Inspector Shan, we experience the horror of the Chinese policies designed to wipe out the Tibetan Buddhist culture.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️