Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

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The Paris Architect
Charles Belfoure

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages:  390
Copyright: 2013

In 1942, Lucian Bernard, an architect in war torn Paris, accepts a job that will bring him a lot of money.  He is asked to design a hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man.  He must design a place that will never be found by the Gestapo.   Needing the money, he takes the job.   The job proves to be a real challenge and lives depend on him.  One hiding place leads to many more rescues. Bernard also becomes the main architect for the German Reich in Paris and he is asked to design factories to make munitions for the war effort.   Bernard struggles to make sense of it all and how can he do his part to save his beloved city of Paris.  

I enjoyed the book,  Another look at what people did in terrible times to live and help those in need.

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

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The Girl in the Spider's Web
David Lagercrantz

Publisher:  Knoph
Pages: 416
Copyright:  2015

This is the 4th novel in the Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series.  Mr. Larsson died before completing this novel so it does follow the format of the previous editions and the same main characters, it can stand alone as a separate novel.

Mikael Blomkvist, Millennium journalist, finds himself being pushed out of Millennium when it is taken over by another company.   Blomkvist must find that one story to make him relevant again in the world of jounalism.   Lisbeth Salander has been in near seclusion but always relevant in the world of computer hacking.  

Mikael learns that a "superhacker" has information vital to the United States that has been hacked from the NSA.  As the "Web" tightens  - Mikael and Lisbeth join forces to save a little boy from Spider and the secrets he holds.  Spies, cybercriminals, and governments from around the world are all part of the web that Mikeal and Lisbeth must get through to protect the innocents.

I enjoyed this book but I think that it does not have the impact of Larsson's trilogy.  The character's in Larsson's stories seemed to have more electricity and depth and left an impact on the reader.  I would recommend reading the book but the reader will know that they are not reading a Larsson story.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thursday, Oct 8, 2015


A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

A Kiss in Time 
Alex  Flinn

  •  388 pages
  •  April 28, 2009
  • HarperCollins Publishers

From Publishers Weekly

In the same vein as Flinn's Beastly, this clever and humorous retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" follows an aimless American boy who awakens a princess who has been slumbering for 300 years. Jack is on a European tour mandated by his parents ("What they don't tell you about Europe is how completely lame it is") when he breaks an ancient curse by kissing the slumbering Princess Talia. Instead of rejoicing, she and other awakened members of their magical kingdom are confused and perturbed to find themselves in the 21st century. In order to escape the wrath of her father, who blames her for causing the curse, Talia flees with Jack to his home in Florida. While acclimating to the modern world-cell phones, television, Jell-o shots-the princess manages to charm everyone she meets and help Jack sort out his life. Alternating between the teenagers' distinctive points of view, Flinn skillfully delineates how their upbringings set them apart while drawing parallels between their family conflicts. Fans of happily-ever-after endings will delight in the upbeat resolution, which confirms the notion that "love conquers all." 

Comment:  I loved this book!  It was a refreshing twist on the classic fairy tale.  The chapters alternate between the two main characters.  I will be reading the authors other fairy tale titles!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline

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The Way Life Should Be


Christina Baker Kline

William Morrow
Pages:  320

Christina Kline, the author of the Orphan Train, takes us to Maine.  We follow Angela as she is trying to "find herself".  Angela is looking for love and decides that the Internet may be the best place to look. After losing her job, she wonders if going to Maine where a handsome sailor awaits may be the best answer for her. Thinking "Yes", she  loads up her old car and heads to Maine for the next adventure in her life.

She finds Maine to be a lovely place but her adventure does not take the same road as she had planned.   Like in life, Angela is finding out that all roads do not lead where your expect and sometimes detours are life changing.

I enjoyed this book, it was light reading but a good story.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

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The Girl You Left Behind
Jojo Moyes

Penguin Books
Pages:  369

This novel is two stories in one written around the Edouard Lefevre's portrait of Sophie.

World War I in France is the setting for the beginning of this novel about Sophie's fight to save her family from the Germans who have taken over their city.  Edouard, Sophie's husband has gone to fight the German and becomes a POW.  Sophie struggles to keep the family hotel open by serving meals to their German captors.  Food is always in short supply and with the German's eating at the hotel, they are supplied with some extra food and fuel to survive.

Edouard, a known artist, painted Sophie's portrait before their marriage and it catches the eye of the local Kommandant.  Sophie wants to find Edouard and she hopes that the portrait may help her find Edouard with the Kommandant's assistance.  Sophie's world is turned upside down by the war.  How will she save her family?

Liv Halston is given Sophie's portrait as a wedding present from her dead husband.  Liv is attached to this portrait and it becomes that central element of a trial to return stolen art to the rightful owners.

Who truly owns the portrait?  Will the real story be told?

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

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Some Luck


Jane Smiley

Pages:  416

Some Luck begins in the 1920's on Walter Langdon's 25th birthday in Denby, Iowa.  Walter and Rosanne and their son Frank are just beginning the life as a Midwestern farm family.  They have purchased a home near their families and here they will raise their family.  The story follows the family through the depression, the Dust Bowls days, World War II and modernization of the family farm.

We see Frankie, Joe, Mary Elizabeth, Lillian, Henry, & Claire as they grow from babies to adults.  As in most families, each child is his own person and we learn how they all are important in the parts of this farm family.  With the birth of each child a new chapter is written and each child brings a unique aspect to the family.

This is the first novel in a proposed trilogy that will follow the Langdon family.

I enjoyed this book, I have enjoyed other Jane Smiley novels and this one did not disappoint.  I was fun to follow the Langdon family as they go through life. It will be interesting to see how the second generation of Langdon children fare in the next volume of the trilogy.

Mrs. SInclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters

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Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase
Louise Walters

G. P. Putnam's & Sons
Pages:  288

Roberta, a 34 year old salesperson working in a used book store, is given a suitcase that was her grandmother's. In the suitcase she finds a mysterious letter that hints at things she knows nothing about and she thinks that the letter may shed some light on her family history.   The story of Roberta's grandmother, Dorothy is set in England during the Second World War.  

Dorothy marries beneath her class ends up estranged from her family and eventually is left by her husband when he goes off to war without a word to her about his whereabouts. Having to fend for herself, Dorothy  takes in two girls from London and also meets a handsome Polish pilot.  Dorothy must make some life altering decisions that will live with her through life.  Will she make the right ones?

From the  book jacket:  Gripping and utterly absorbing, Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase is a spellbinding tale of two worlds, one shattered by secrets and the other by the truth.

I enjoyed the book very much.  Dorothy's story based in England before and after World War II was wonderful and Roberta's search for the truth was fulfilling.