Read w/links

Not updating the books that I have read on this page as of July 2010. I will continue to display what I am reading now.

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I am a serious bookaholic. These are just a few of the books that I have read in the past year or two. Rather than give you a full rundown of the stories I am linking to Barnes and Noble for a synopsis of the book. I mentioned several of these in an earlier posting but this time you can read the synopsis to decide if it is a book you would enjoy. Of course I have read some real stinkers too but I am mostly just sharing the good reads with you.

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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain ****

I love Tony and his true grit writing style.  If you ever thought that being a chef is a glamorous job Tony puts that thought to rest. The book is remarkable for its insistence in deglamorizing the professional culinary industry.


The Gate at the Stairs – Lorrie Moore ***

OK, not a real exciting read. Kind of slow but had some interesting moments.

The Swimming Pool – Holly LeCraw **

Predictable storyline. Kind of depressing and sad.

The Lotus Eaters –  Tatjana Soli ****

VietNam – a young women becomes the first combat photographer. The story is about war, love and devotion. I really liked this book.

Men and Dogs – Katie Crouch ***

A quick easy read. The characters seemed real. A funny yet sad story of a missing father and how it effected the lifes of his two children. Told in the past and current 25 years later.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest - Steig Larsson ****

Final book of the Millennium series. I love it. Lisbeth Salander is a new female hero. Doctors who are bad guys, hackers who are good guys. Lots of intrigue and suspense.

The Girl Who Played With Fire - Steig Larsson ****

Excellent, fast moving story. Hard though to keep the Swedish names all straight since many of them end in sson. Lots of good guy and unexpected bad guys. Read it and see what I mean.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Steig Larsson ****

The first few pages are kind of slow and hard to follow. The author was laying out the family, characters and history. Once it got going I really liked this book. There was violence, maybe a bit too much but that was a big part of the story. Kind of  twist and surprise as to who the serial killer was.

Every Last One – Anna Quindlan *

Disturbing, senseless murders. Sad and depressing.

The 9th Judgement (Women” Murder Club series #(9) – James Patterson & Maxine Paetro *****

Sgt. Lindsay Boxer SFPD homicide office is my hero. A couple of intersecting crimes solved by Lindsay and her team.

Island Beneath the Sea – Isabel Allende ****

Very good. I learned a bit of history of Haiti and New Orleans.

The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown ****

Some history, some real twist and all around good read. Quite often I found myself taken mental notes to Google some of the topics referenced in the book.

Handle With Care - Jodi Picoult *

A good story with a really cheap bad ending. This book got a lot of criticism for being too much like the author’s earlier book “My Sister’s Keeper”. At first  I liked the story but then about 1/2  into  it went downhill.

Changes in Altitude – Anita Shreve **

The setting in Nairobi and climbing Mt. Kenya was interesting. The story itself was a bit predictable and had too much going on at once. The story would have been better if there had been less multiple dramas.

Serena – Ron Rash ***

Proof there are some people who are truly evil!

The Girl Who Chased the Moon – Sarah Addison Allen ****

Enchanting story set in a small southern town where unusual things happen. Charming!

Shattered – Karen Robards **

Pretty predictable but still had somewhat of a twist at the end.

Caught – Harlan Coben ***

A good fast moving mystery, who done it.

The Day the Falls Stood Still – Cathy Marie Buchanan ***

A bit of history about Niagara Falls, a love story and adventures all rolled into one book.

Deeper Than the Dead - Tami Hoag ***

Trying to track down a serial killer in the early days of forensic science with no DNA. Intriguing and surprising twists.

Domina – Barbara Wood ****

Another historical fiction about a woman in the late 1800’s aspiring to become one of the first women surgeons.

Greetings from Somewhere Else - Monica McInerney ***

A fun read about a woman trying to run a B&B, learning to cook and trying to get her relationship back on track.

Julia’s Chocolates – Cathy Lamb ***

Wacky but likable characters as in all of Lamb’s books. Except for the abusive ex boyfriend. But he gets what is due him in the end.

Nasty Bits - Anthony Bourdain ****

If you like his show No Reservations you will like this book Tony writes like he talks. No holds barred. Interesting travel stories and food.

Secrets of Eden – Chris Bohjalan ***

I liked it. All of Bohjalan’s books are a bit suspenseful and usually have a surprise ending as did this one.

Brava Valentine – Adriana Trigiani ***

Good easy to read story. Not as good as Very Valentine. This was a pretty predictable story.

South of Broad – Pat Conroy ****

This book was very well written and was a great read. The characters each had their own descriptive identity and you could not help but feel a part of their lives from the first paragraph. Leo was my hero!

The Help – Katrhyn Stockett ***

This was a well written story. Set in Jackson, MS in the early to mid 1960’s. Customer reviews have been mixed. Some loved while other hated it. I was somewhere in the middle.

U” is For Undertow – Sue Grafton ****

Another great job done by Kinsey Millhone solving an older murder case and getting the bad guys in the end.

The Lacuna – Barbara Kingslover ****

Interesting story. A lot of it set in Mexico which I of coursed like. What’s not to like about a story that includes the main character intermingled with the famous people of the times like Frida and Diego?

Last Time I Was Me – Cathy Lamb ****

Hilarious!  A funny story with some interesting characters. I like that this story takes place in Portland and surrounding areas.

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily P0nder - Rebecca Wells ***

By the author of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. This was a nice story, funny and sentimental with the Mississippi Delta as the background.

Sweet Life - Mia King **

Sappy, predictable story but it was Ok for a beach read.

The Summer Kitchen – Lisa Wingate ***

I liked this one. This was the first book that I read by this author. I will look for more books by her.

Vital Signs – Barbara Wood ****

Another good book by this author. She tells the story of three women and their challenges full filling their dreams of becoming doctors in the late 60s, early 70s.

Wishin’ and Hoping: A Christmas Story- Wally Lamb ***

A short, funny story. The boy telling the story was a year or two older than me so it was fun reading about the 60’s and what was going on back then.

The Farmer’s Daughter – Jim Harrison **

Three novellas that were all a bit odd but somewhat interesting. This is the first book I have read by this author and might have been the last except I have another of his books on my pile of “to read”.

The Other Queen – Philippa Gregory **

Interesting mix of history and fiction. As with the other two  books by Philippa Gregory’s that I have read it read like it was written to be made in to a movie. I am done reading anything by this author .

The Blue Notebook – James Levine *****

I absolutely agree with the statement below.

A haunting yet astonishingly hopeful story of a young Indian prostitute who uses writing and imagination to transcend her reality.”

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski ***

This was a good story of a mute boy and his faithful companion, a dog who watched over him. There was an evil character and some supsense. It could have been a little shorter and it ended in a way like I never would have imagined.

Her Fearful Symmetry –  Audrey Niffennegger ***

Entertaining yet somewhat disturbing story of mother and daughter twins, deaths and ghosts. Author wrote The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Bird in Hand – Christina Baker Kline *

Too similar to other stories I have read. Two couples, a tragedy, marriages break up, adultery, blah, blah, blah.

The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks *

Drone, why do I keep buying his books? This was written for a made for TV movie I am sure. Predictable story of young love and a teenager’s relationship with her parents, estranged father mostly.

Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz – Belinda Acosta ***

Not as light hearted as I thought it would be. I liked it and especially reading it while in Mexico.

Henry’s Sisters – Cathy Lamb ****

Crazy, quirky dysfunctional family. I laughed and I cried. A local Oregon author that I will read again.

Still Alice – Lisa Genova ****

Heart wrenching story told from the perspective a of a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s.

The End – Salvatore Scibona

No stars. One of the worst books that I have ever read. But I did read it until the bitter end.

Up Island – Anne Rivers Siddons **

Typical Siddons story. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t one of her better books.

The Girl With No Shadow –  Joanne Harris **

Would have been better if I had just recently read the pre-quel. I had a bit of a hard time  remembering the previous storyline.


Very Valentine-  Adriana Trigiani ***

Quirky and lovable heroine and her slightly wacky family. Can’t wait for the sequel.

The Dark Tide – Andrew Gross **

Typical story of the good guy is really not so good and the bad guys are really bad. As one of the co-authors of James Patterson’s books it read a lot like a Patterson story. I did like it, it was an easy enjoyable read.

Goldengrove – Francine Prose ***

Sad story but it turned out oK. This author at times reminded me of Alice Hoffman.

The Hour I First Believed – Wally Lamb ***

700+ pages, many stories wrapped into one. Sometimes a bit much. Some of the story-lines could have been a stand alone book. I liked the book but occasionally found myself wondering if I was ever going to finish it.

Dune Road – Jane Green **

Not as good as the previous book of Green’s that I read. It was OK, a good story with some twists and turns a couple of nasty characters.

Into the Beautiful North- Luis Alberto Urrea ****

Interesting story of a young Mexican woman who goes NOB to bring back men to repopulate her small village.Once again Urrea brings his characters to life with his vivid descriptions.

The 8th Confession (Women’s Murder Club Series #8 – James Patterson and Maxine Paetro ***

It was a good easy read. Not one of the best of the series but Lindsay Boxer is still my hero. A woman working in a man’s world and leading a homicide team.

The Story Sisters - Alice Hoffman****
Whimsical yet it has its dark side.
“Alice Hoffman’s prose is nearly gorgeous enough to console us for the tragedies The Story Sisters. It is a book about demons and family bonds; it is very much a work about sisterhood. Jealousy figures in, as do loyalty, protection, friendship, and shifting alliances.”
Home Safe – Elizabeth Berg ***
An emotional and sentimental story about a mother and daughter’s relationship.
Mudbound – Hillary Jordan **
Set in the deep south after WWII. I know that people behaved differently back then but the racism was hard to read about. It was a pretty well written story but not one that I felt good about reading.
Telex from Cuba - Rachel Kushner ***
Interesting bit of fictional history about Americans living in Cuba during the Castro revolution.
The Beach House - Jane Green ***
Predictable but a good easy beach read.
Soul Flame – Barbara Wood ****
Another excellent story by this author. A young woman who is a healer travels through out the mid-east in ancient times.
I See You Everyhwere - Julia Glass ***
A story of two very different sisters and their interwoven lifes.
Not one of her better books. There were some funny parts though. It’s time that Evanovitch needs to change out some of her routines and come up with something new. Enough of the blown up cars and nut cases. New orignal characters please.
Very well written story of two sisters and their escape from China in 1937 and the hardships they endured in their new country, the US pre-WWII.
Testimony- Anita Shreve *
Nobody came out a winner. Every character lost something. Depressing as all get out. Not one of her better stories.
True Colors – Kristin Hannah **
Nowhere near as good as the first book I read by this author, Firefly Lane. Too predictable. But it did have it’s moments and was sentimental at times.
Life Sentences – Laura Lippman **
Not nearly as intriguing as the synopsis lead me to believe it would be. It was OK but not a “can’t put it down” story.
The Dreaming – Barbara Wood ****
Another excellent book by this author  set in the “wilds” of Australia in 1870. The book weaves together the stories of a several very different women and the lives, loves and hardships they endured in the early days of Australia.

Taken by Storm– Tami Hoag *

I didn’t realize when I ordered this book that it was a reprint of one of the author’s early 90’s romance novels. Hoag is a good author of thrillers and I thought there would be some of that aspect in the book.

Virgins of Paradise – Barbara Woods ****

This was the 2nd book I read by this author. She is a great story teller. This is a magnificent saga about the women in a rich, aristocratic Egyptian family and the different lifes they lived. You get to learn some Egyptian history too.

A Good Yarn– Debbie Macomber ***

Good clean reading about a woman in Seattle who opens a yarn shop after her second round of cancer and chemo.

Desirable Daughters– Bharati Mukherjee ****

The story of three Brahmin sisters and the very different lives they live in India and the USA.

Halfway House – Katharine Noel ***
It was a good story about a family dealing with mental illness. However it was a bit depressing.

Hungry Woman in Paris – Josefina Lopez ****

Hysterically funny book about a young Mexican American woman who dumps her fiance and moves to Paris where she has a great time at a cooking school and lots of sex.

Midnight Club – James Patterson ***

Typical Patterson story. Easy beach read.

Off Season- Anne Rivers Siddons ***

Definitely a chick book. Another one that was a good read but somewhat depressing.

The Shack – William P. Young *

I didn’t read the synopsis very well before I bought this one. Too “born again” for my taste.

Three Cups of Tea- Greg Mortenson *****

What a great inspiration and motivating story. Greg promises to build a school for the children in the remote mountain village in Pakistan for the people who saved his live. I really liked this book and highly recommend it.

Belong to Me- Marisa de los Santos ****

I liked this book a lot. Many different characters telling their story. It made me laugh, it made me cry.

Lima Nights- Maria Arana **I can’t say that I really liked this book or not. It was kind of sad and pathetic.

The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee ****

Nicely developed characters. Set in Hong Kong right before, during and ten years after the WWII Japanese invasion. A bit of history, love story and mystery.

The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman ****

You don’ know it when you begin the book but there are three stories about three women that are all in someway related going back in time. I enjoyed this book as much as I have many other of Alice Hoffman’s stories.

Earthly Joys – Philippa Gregory **

I enjoyed reading about John Tradescant’stravels to find rare and exotic plants and curiosities for his collection. Like with The Other Bolyen Sister I don’t think that Gregory stays true to the time period. I found some of her writing to be to modern for the 1600s. A good read though if you interested in that period in time and the English royalty.

Woman of a Thousand Secrets- Barbara Woods *****

I had only read the synopsis when I ordered this book. It sounded intriguing.I had no idea that the story was set in the Yucatan in the 1300s. There was a lot about the Mayan culture and ancient cities. It was fun to read about a lot of places that I have visited even though it was way before my time.An excellent story!

An epic of magic and intrigue – This is the story of Tonina. She came from the sea, found floating in a basket by a childless couple. Unlike the fellow villagers in her adoptive home, she is tall, lean and light-skinned. When she turns nineteen, her parents know they must send her back to her people. And here is where Toninas tale of survival and sacrifice, of luck, magic, intrigue, danger, romance and betrayal begins . . .

Cooked: My Journey from the Streets to the Stove - Jeff Henderson ****

I enjoyed reading about Jeff’s early years and how he pulled himself out of a life of dealing drugs to become a famous chef and motivator.

Flirting-with-Forty - Jane-Porter ***

A fun chic read. Your standard story of a woman turning 40 and falling for a much younger man with a very different life style. However, the author’s writing style is very humorous. Mostly set in Hawaii and Seattle. Two places I know very well.

Nights in Rodanthe – Nicholas Sparks **

Typical Sparks story. It made for a good beach read though since I could people watch and talk while reading.

The Last Time I Saw Paris – Elizabeth A. Adler ***

Another chic read about a women who thinks she has a great marriage only to discover her husband is having an affair. She meets a young man and takes him with her on her what was supposed to be her and her husband’s 2nd honeymoon in Paris. I enjoyed this book because of the setting more than anything else. Carmel, CA, Paris and the French countryside.

The Smart One and the Pretty One- Claire LaZebnik ***

A very funny book. Predictable but fun. The sisters were as different as night and day. Kind of like me and a couple of my sisters.

The Lucky One – Nicholas Sparks **

An easy, light fluff book. To quote my daughter on why she does not read Sparks’ books “Didn’t I already read this one? No wait, they are all alike”. It has been awhile since I read one of Sparks’ books but yes, they all do follow pretty much the same pattern. I needed something like this after reading EPL.

Dakota- Martha Grimes ***

This was a very good book. Lot of suspense. I thought Andi was going to finally solve the mystery of who she is and where she came from. Almost… but then there wouldn’t be another book to follow

Synopsis

Grimes’s beloved Andi Oliver returns, on the run from her past.

Biting the Moon – Martha Grimes ****

This is the first book I read by this author. I really enjoyed it. Grimes did a very good job describing the countryside where Andi wandered.

The Gift of Rain - Tan Twan Eng *****
I can tell you that this is a wonderfully written story. It was educational and at the same time it was a very moving story. I cried many times while reading this book. The characters had such a place in my heart and seemed so real to life. This is a book that I will loan out but ask to be returned so I can loan it to more friends to read. I loaned this book to a man that I work with and he couldn’t stop talking about how much he liked this story.
It is interesting that two of the best books I have read in the past few months have both been sent during the 2nd World War but continents apart. The other best one being Skeleton at the Feast. The stories both had to do with war but more to do with the hardships, perseverance and the courage of the characters involved.

T is For Trespass by Sue Grafton *****
Over the past 25 years, Sue Grafton’s #1 bestselling alphabetical mystery series starring Kinsey Millhone have become a culture phenomenon. They are all set in the 1980s but that does not mean that they are out of touch. It just brings back memories of those years. T is For Trespass may be the best of the series. I have read them all beginning with A.

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich ***
The latest in the Stepahnie Plum series. Stephanie is a New Jersey bond enforcement agent. This series has had its good books and bad books. They all are silly, goofy and sexy. Even the bad ones made me laugh.

Water For Elephants– Sara Gruen *****
Excellent read. The characters seemed so real. Both a touching and funny story.

Change of Heart- Jodi Picoult ***
This was a very interesting book. As with most of this author’s stories it was somewhat disturbing and very thought-provoking. Murder, sexual abuse of a young girl, prison, aids, death sentence, heart transplant, Jesus returning to earth…

Julie and Julia : 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, & Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living . *****
This was a very funny book and a bargain online at Barnes and Noble for only $5.98. It made me laugh! It might even be funnier to someone who does not cook.

Skeletons at the Feastby Chris Bohjalian *****
This was a very well written book. The story was not your normal storyline by this author. I highly recommend it. The characters were so well defined I felt like I really knew them.

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen ****
A most excellent book. I loved it as much as her earlier book Garden Spells
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen ****
Southern women authors always seem to have three names. A wonderful enjoyable chick book.

James Patterson – Women’s Murder Club series All were between **** & *****
OK, so I am did this backwards. I read 7th Heaven first then I bought 1 – 6. I have read all of them now. 7th Heaven was easy beach reading material. I love women detectives, police and murder mystery solvers. Lindsay Boxer is one tough chick but she has a softer, romantic side. She is great! I say that as if she were a real person. After reading all 7 of the books all the characters seem real to me.

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald ***
I really liked this story even though it was pretty predictable. It was while reading chapter 5 I knew what the outcome of the book would be. However, I enjoyed reading the rest of the book. The other students in Tami’s ESL class were interesting as well. I like stories that educate me about other cultures and Veil of Roses certainly did that.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory ***
I recently read this book. I enjoyed it as it had very interesting politics and scheming. I couldn’t help but think that this book was written with the intent to have it made into a movie. At least 3 or 4 times a man referred to a woman as ‘hot”. Did they really use that term back in the 1500s?

Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani ****
A very good read. I love to read about woman who survive hardships and overcome oppression.

Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner. ***
This was the first time I read anything by this author. I really enjoyed this book.

Peony in Love – Lisa See ***
I read Lisa See’s book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. Not only is Lisa great story teller but she researches the area and I have learned about Chinese history from both of these books.

Tender Bar: A Memoir by J. R. Moehringer. ****
Another great read. The description of some of the characters made me laugh out loud. This was one of those books that I just had to read some of the great lines out loud to my friends. A woman that I work with recommended the book since she knows the author otherwise I may have never come across it.

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills ***
I read this author’s first book Amagansett. It was very good. Both books have a lot twists and turns, secrets and murders. Both books are excellent.

Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende ***** Actually this one was far above my rating scale of 1 – 5 *s
An excellent read! I loved it. Another brilliantly written book by Isabel Allende. She has taken a true story of the conquest and founding of Chili and made it into a wonderful story. http://www.aarpmagazine.org/books/allende_interview.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inés_de_Suárez

Run- Ann Patchett ****
Suspenseful and stunningly executed, Run is ultimately a novel about secrets, duty, responsibility, and the lengths we will go to protect our children. The story takes place over a period of only 24 hours. However, you learn about the history of all involved in the story. There were some funny lines and there were some very sad ones. I loved it!

Saving the World – Julia Alvarez ***
Another really good book by Julia Alvarez. This novel within a novel presents the radiant stories of two women swept up in campaigns against the scourges of their day.

Becoming Finola, Vol. 2 bySuzanne Strempek Shea ***
Great characters and an overall good story about overcoming a tragedy in one’s life.

Selling the Lite of Heavenby Suzanne Strempek Shea ****

A hysterical but somewhat sad story about a jilted bride to be. How about almost being left at the altar by the groom who decided to become a priest? I laughed until I almost cried.

The Senator’s Wife - Sue MillerNot one of Sue’s better books. The characters were pretty well defined but somewhat pathetic people. Shock, deceit, desire and despair come together at once in a way that feels simply like fate.

Her Last Death- Susanna Sonnenberg.I am not sure what intrigued me when I first came across this book but I wish I hadn’t wasted my money on it. Once I start a book I read it until the end or in this case the bitter end.Susanna changes all the names but her own. I did some web searching and discovered her mother and father’s real names, Ben Sonnenberg and Wendy Adler. I have never heard of her Wendy Adler but I had flashbacks to another book I read that seemed to have been written about her life. I don’t remember the name or the author but I know it was fiction.

Sundays At Tiffany’s – Jame Patterson, Gabrielle CharbonnetA total fantasy! A good beach read as it doesn’t take much concentration to get through. Not well written for a James Patterson book though.

The View From Mount Joy -Lorna Landvik ***TI really liked this book maybe because the main characters are the same age as me. Some of it might be kind of silly but overall the book was very well written. I really got to know the characters of the story.A few years ago I tried to read the book by this author titled ‘”Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons” but couldn’t get beyond the first couple of chapters. So I was glad that I really enjoyed this book.

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At one time this list was on a separate page titled “Future Reads”. I no longer am updating so I combined this list with “Have Read” page.

Linked to Barnes & Noble to the book’s synopsis pages.

A Soft Place To Land – Susan Rebecca White

Beachcombers – Nancy Thayer

Between Friends – Kristy Kiernan

Blood of Paradise – David Corbett

Childsong – Barbara Wood

Chill Factor – Sandra Brown

Eternal on the Water – Joseph Monninger

Hardly Knew Her: Stories - Laura Lippman, George Pelecanos (Introduction)

Look Again – Lisa Scottoline

Lowcountry Summer – Dorothea Benton Frank

Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook – Anthony Bourdain

Sacred Ground – Barbara Wood

Sanibel Flats – Randy Wayne White (I should have taken this one with me when I went to Sanibel Island last June)

Sarah’s Key – Tatiana de Rosnay

Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum Series #16) – Janet Evanovich

Swimsuit -James Patterson, Maxine Paetro

The Broker - John Grisham

The English Major – Jim Harrison

The Shop on Blossom Street – Debbie Macomber


When Crickets Cry – Charles Martin

Wrapped in Rain: A Novel of Coming Home – Charles Martin

One Response

  1. Thank you so much for the suggestions on books! So very helpful! I am always looking for a good read! Love your blog too!

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