Month: October 2013

Book Review: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride


Rating: 4.5 / 5

Henry Shackleford is a young  twelve-year-old slave in the Kansas area when John Brown arrives.  John Brown is a notorious abolitionist, going from town to town with the goal of freeing all slaves.  While his cause is a worthy one, it is rife with problems; Brown lacks a sufficient army, as the people fighting with him are neither trained nor driven, and Brown makes decisions on a whim instead of planning and preparing for fights.   (more…)

Book Review: No Way Back by Andrew Gross

no way

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Wendy Gould had an argument with her husband, and in a moment of spontaneity, goes up to the hotel room of a random guest she just met at the hotel’s downstairs lounge.  Knowing this is a mistake, she backs out, and as she is preparing to leave, witnesses the man get murdered.  Although she escapes, she has left behind evidence of who she is, and is now on the run, for the murderer, who she ended up killing, had a badge from Homeland Security. 

Lauritizia Velez has been hiding in the US for years.  She is a nanny to an affluent couple with two kids, and has never told them the truth about her past.  All of her siblings have been murdered by a notorious drug lord to keep her father from testifying against him.  Nobody knows of Lauritizia’s past, but is it catching up with her, as a random day at the mall ends with an attempt on her life.   Both Wendy and Lauritizia’s fates are tied, and they must work together to clear their names and protect themselves.

No Way Back was not what I was expecting.  It was fast paced, suspenseful, and the plot changed on a dime a few times. I also enjoyed the duality of having the story told from both Wendy and Lauritizia’s points of view.  My only gripe is that the plot was somewhat unbelievable.  As an ex-cop, I expected Wendy to be smarter and make better decisions; it would have made more sense had her previous career been something other than law enforcement.  I think No Way Back makes a good airplane read or lazy summer beach read; the unbelievability aspect turned me off but overall it was a decent book. 

Book Review: The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton


Rating: 4.5 / 5

Reeve LeClaire is slowly trying to rebuild her life.  Ten years ago, when she was 12, she was kidnapped and held in captivity for nearly 4 years.  It is purely a fluke that she was rescued, and has spent the past six years working through the trauma.  Dr. Lerner is her therapist, and although Reeve’s father thinks she ought to  stop her sessions, she depends on Dr. Lerner, and in reality, Dr. Lerner is about the only relationship outside of her family that she can manage.   (more…)

Book Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight


Rating: 4.5 / 5

Kate Baron doesn’t have the perfect life, and she knows it.  However, she tries to make the best of what she’s got, which includes being junior partner at a prestigious law firm, and her teenage daughter Amelia.  Although she works long hours, she tries to carve out as much time for her daughter as possible, and vowed to never be like her own mother.  Amelia is shy and quiet, preferring to curl up with a book rather than hang out with classmates, so Kate is stunned when she gets a phone call from Amelia’s school claiming that Amelia has plagiarized her English paper. (more…)

Book Review: The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood


Rating: 4 / 5

In The Survivors Club, Ben Sherwood interviews and profiles dozens of survivors to discover how they made it through various ordeals and situations, from plane crashes to mountain lion attacks to car crashes, and many more.  Sherwood lays out how to be better prepared for adverse events, and why people don’t survive when they should.   (more…)

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith


Rating: 3.5 / 5

Private investigator Cormoran Strike is barely making ends meet. His business is far from thriving, and he has a loan officer hounding him for repayment.  On top of that, there is no new business, and his relationship with his girlfriend is on the rocks.  Then temporary worker Robin arrives due to a miscommunication, and Cormoran now has an extra expense.  Then John Bristow walks in, and seemingly saves Cormoran’s business.   (more…)