Friday, August 26, 2016


The goal I set for myself was to read and review 71 books between Oct., 2015 and Oct. 2016. Including the four books reviewed below, I've read 46 books, 65%, and submitted the reviews to my Goodreads "My Books" page. With 25 more books to read before October 22, 2016, I'd better get cracking!

The books I read in August are:

JUST ADD WATER Jinx Schwartz

Jinx has written an entire series of "JUST" novels that I look forward to reading. I don't think she's finished with the series yet, so I can rest easy, knowing it will be some time before I reach the end.

In JUST ADD WATER, I met and sailed with Hetta Coffee as she edged her way into a new life of living on the water. How many times have you wished you could make a clean slate of your life and start over, with you in the driver's seat? Expectations of independence are much more lax now for women. But it wasn't that many (decades) ago that men did most of the driving. That's why it can be so much fun for readers of a certain age to immerse themselves into the story.

Just imagine the wind in your hair as you take control of the wheel of your very own yacht. That's independence!

Can't wait to dive into JUST ADD SALT!

*****     *****     *****

THE IMMACULATE by Marian McMahon Stanley

I was lucky to win a copy of THE IMMACULATE in a blogsite contest giveaway earlier this year. After receiving the book in the mail, it took some time for me to add it to my schedule. When I found a few days open, I sat to read the book and finished in less than two days. To me, that is a sign of a well-written novel. The story line is straightforward and the characters are delightfully fleshed out and likeable. Even the villains are 3-dimensional in their un-likeability.

What I especially appreciated about the story was how the protagonist related to the other characters, on a unique and individual basis. As the main character, Rosaria O'Reilly had an emotional connection to every situation and the sensitivity she portrayed in each scene grounded the story in reality.

*****     *****     *****

THE LIFE WE BURY by Allen Eskens

This book was recommended to me by my sister. It deals with a grittier topic than I was expecting, that of a man convicted of the crime of rape and murder who has been released from prison during his last months before dying. The Netflex series Making of a Murderer comes to mind while reading the story. But the project assigned to the protagonist, Joe Talbert, is to interview this stranger and write a short biography of the man. Of course, the plot thickens as Joe does his research and interviews the man.

Ultimately, the story gives readers an opportunity for inner debate on where they stand concerning certain issues arising in today's society. Granted, during an election year, we have no lack of issues to consider, but this one is more hypothetical and therefore more of an
exercise. Without being personally invested in the final decision, the story can also be entertaining for the reader.

*****     *****     *****


THE CITY & YTIC EHT by China Mieville

This is a book club choice for the group that meets at Coffee Talk in Kaimuki on the first Saturday of each month. This book, chosen by David Jones, helps to illustrate just how diverse our selections are from month to month.

I'm not sure I could have made it through this novel without the help of an online chapter-by-chapter synopsis. I certainly recommend that a reader consult an in depth synopsis before tackling the story unless you are already a great fan of eccentric world building and appreciate learning all the intricate details as the story unfolds.

In the world of THE CITY & YTIC EHT, best-selling author China Mieville takes us on a tour of two cities which overlap one other. These are not two dimensions, existing side by side, but two cities existing simultaneously on the same spot with residents of each expected to ignore the other. This is, of course, a simplistic explanation of a world that grows increasingly complicated as the story evolves.

This story presented many unusual twists. The mystery aspect of the plot is almost incidental as the reader is given ongoing updates of how these particular worlds work, or in some cases don't work. Big Brother is definitely involved, regardless how the story unfolds. One thing is certain, the book club choice will make for interesting discussion.

*****     *****     *****

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