Category The Bookshelf

Salt to the Sea — a Book Review

I think I can safely say that this is the best book I’ve read all year………      

                                                                                                                                   ……so far, anyway!  

Ruta Sepetys’ book, “Salt to the Sea” takes place in East Prussia as World War II is drawing to a close.  Thousands of refugees are desperately attempting to get to the Baltic Sea where they hope to be evacuated in ships and escape the approaching Russian army.  The story is told through the eyes of three refugees….. Joanna,  a Lithuanian nurse, Emilia, a Polish teenager, Florian, a Prussian young man and  Alfred, a sailor on the Wilhelm Gustloff.  

This is historical fiction at it’s fin...

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The Homecoming of Samuel Lake — A Book Review

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake came out in 2011 and I don’t know how I missed it because it is completely my cup of tea.  

Samuel Lake is a preacher who finds himself without a congregation.  He returns with his wife and family to their hometown and his wife’s family farm.  The deceptive thing about the title of this book is that you expect it to be about Samuel Lake……and, it is.  But, he’s really not the primary focus.  The main characters are really his kids similar to how the kids are the main characters in “To Kill a Mockingbird”.  

I believe this is Jenny Wingfields first novel but she is already a successful screen writer. That made sense to me after I discovered that about her as the entire time I was reading this I could totally visualize it as a film...

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Fallen Land — a Book Review

I can easily say that Taylor Brown’s debut novel, “Fallen Land”, is the best thing I’ve read all year.  Of course, it’s only February.  But, I will bet that by the time December rolls around it will remain one of my top picks if not THE top pick.  See, when I finished reading the last page I was sorry there was no more, certainly didn’t want to return it to the library and was tempted to go back to the beginning and start again!

Fallen Land

 The story takes place during the last days of the Civil War, in the devastated south, at the time of Sherman’s march to the sea.  This is not a story of the Civil War but rather a story of surviving the dangerous, lawless land left in its wake.  A land left with little resources and filled with groups of marauders looking to take advantage of the vulnerable...

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The Martian by Andy Weir — A Book Review

I don’t read Sci Fi.  Because I’m married to Greg I’ve WATCHED a lot of Sci Fi television and movies (and I mean A LOT!) but, I don’t read it.  So, what am I doing reading this book?


Well, this is definitely NOT your average Sci Fi.  I’d say it’s “plausible” Sci Fi.

the martian

The Martian, by Andy Weir, is the  story of  Mark Watney, a team member on the first manned mission to Mars.  A horrific sand storm arises that requires the team to evacuate the planet in a hurry.  In the process, an accident befalls Mark which, not only causes him to be physically lost from his crew, but also causes his bio meter to read him as lifeless……but he’s not!  He awakens to find himself all alone on Mars...

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All The Light We Cannot See….. A Book Review

A Blind girl in 1940’s France……a brilliant orphan boy in 1940’s Germany….a rare diamond and a Nazi officer obsessed with finding it….an old, reclusive Frenchman with a powerful radio hidden away during the Nazi occupation…..  


All the Light

“All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr is the story of this diverse cast of characters (along with a numerous supporting cast as well) and the circumstances which cause their lives to intersect.  

I loved this book.  The chapters (which are brief) are told in alternating voices and bounce from the past to the present.  The writing is beautiful, the characters are vivid and the story engrossing.  What more could you ask for in a novel?



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Left Neglected — A Book Review

My friend, Nancy, sent me an email recommending this book.  She said she had found it “fascinating”.  So, I added it to my request list at the library and it came in right before our spring camping trip at Sycamore Ranch.  

Left Neglected

“Left Neglected” is the story of Sarah Nickerson, a career driven, super-mom, living in an affluent Boston suburb.  She thrives on balancing the heavy demands of her job and the hectic schedules of her three children, priding herself on never letting a single minute go to waste.  Then one rainy drive to work, trying to take advantage of what she considered to be a spare minute to make a call, results in a tragic car accident leaving her with a traumatic brain injury.

The title of this book, “Left Neglected”, is the name of the brain injury Sarah suffers...

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Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

I went to our public library’s web site a while back to look for Stephen King’s latest release “Revival” and in the process discovered “Mr. Mercedes”.  I didn’t like the title and I didn’t like the cover.  Yes, I know we are not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover…..and I don’t.  But, isn’t it nice when the cover is appealing?  Anyway, “Revival” had a long wait list of which I joined and “Mr. Mercedes” was a bit shorter.  I was running out of reading material so I requested it as well.  

I got an email in mid-February from the library saying it was my turn for “Mr. Mercedes”…it was there waiting for me to pick it up.  This turned out to be perfect timing.  I didn’t feel so great that day but the next morning woke up with a miserable cold...

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Unbroken — a Book Review

This is the true story of Louie Zamperini and I promise it will amaze and inspire.


Louie was a hell-raising, hooligan of a child who managed to channel his inexhaustible energy into running. His talent brought him all the way to the Olympics in Berlin.  After WWII broke out Louis became the hooligan turned Olympian turned Army Air Corp bombardier and from there a POW.

While on a search mission for another lost plane the engine on his bomber failed and crashed into the ocean. The story of Louie and his crew mates floating in a raft for over a month on the ocean is enough material for a captivating book all on its own.  But, when they finally reach land they are captured and taken prisoner by the Japanese.  Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire!

I read this book a couple...

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Big Little Lies

If you want a book to get lost in during a weekend away, this is it.

Big Little Lies

Liane Moriarty’s latest release, Big Little Lies, sucks you in, holds you captive and delivers to the last page.  It begins by revealing that a tragedy has occurred during a parent event, Trivia Night, at the local elementary school that involved a death.  But what exactly took place at Trivia Night is slowly revealed via police interviews of those attending the event that are dispersed throughout the book.  Theses interviews are wrapped around the stories of three women, Madelaine, Celeste and Jane who all have kindergartners in the same class.  Madelaine and Celeste are old friends and Jane is the young, single mother new in town.

In true Liane Moriarty fashion the story is full of twists, turns and new revelation...

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The Glass Castle

This memoir will knock your socks off….if you’re wearing any!

GC 2

Jeanette Walls’ memoir titled “The Glass Castle” is a completely gripping tale that I found extremely hard to put down.   She tells the story of a childhood spent living with parents who are both eccentric and neglectful.  Her dad is a brilliant and creative alcoholic who can’t hold onto a job.  Her artistic mother is more interested in painting than making sure her children have food and shelter.  This combination guarantees the necessity for Jeanette and her siblings to raise themselves.  They have a somewhat nomadic existence, moving from place to place until they end up in a backwoods town in West Virginia...

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