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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.

Book Review: Exhibit Alexandra by Natasha Bell

Do you think all secrets hope eventually to be discovered? I think the loneliest thing in the world might be to never be known.

This was a seriously unusual story, and will happily concede that from the outset I did NOT see things going where they did… I could tell early on that I was in for a weird ride, and that the twists and turns would be thick on the ground, but I did not see the particular whirls or whorls until they were upon me and spent much of the book off-kilter and on the very edges of my seat. Once things came together, there was a little bit of an “Ohhhh” moment, in which I could see how and where many of my questions and guesses took slightly wrong turns, guided oh-so-gently toward false assumptions and misunderstandings. Sometimes this irks me, because I feel like I missed something – here, it actually pleased me because the overall ride was so topsy-turvy. The stomach-bottoming-out feeling was intentional, as were my false starts and early stops – and they all combined together to create a sense of disjointedness that kept me turning pages in a hunt for answers that mirrored Marc’s. Continue reading Book Review: Exhibit Alexandra by Natasha Bell

Book Review: Second Strike by Peter Kirsanow

I just LOVE this series… Mike Garin is such a great hero – he’s Superman who thinks he’s Everyman, except when he doesn’t. And in this second installment, he finally seems willing to (grudgingly) admit that he is not like everyone else.

The action is thick on the ground, the pacing is great, and the characters are very compelling. I love the black/white, good/evil comparisons between Garin and Toras Bor. Rarely, these days, is it so easy to know who the good guys are – and it is unusual to have a bad guy who is so unrepentantly, irredeemably bad. I keep waiting for Kirsanow to try to humanize him – at which point I’ll roll my eyes and stop reading. I like the old-school spy thriller conflict of Good v. Evil; it’s engaging, entertaining, and there are enough other characters and opportunities for the “who are they, are they *really* good/bad/indifferent” drama that keeps you guessing from page to page. I really enjoy having the contrast between that ambiguity and the Garin/Bor dichotomy. Continue reading Book Review: Second Strike by Peter Kirsanow

Book Review: The Boy From Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis

This was a really excellent story. It started a little slower than I wanted, but picked up fairly quickly and I’m so glad I stuck with it, because it was lovely! What lonely little kid hasn’t imagined they might one day stumble upon a friend, someone who would understand them and help make them feel more at home in their own skin? Now imagine if you could *actually* make such a friend – not an imaginary one, but one who is altogether real, albeit separated from you indefinitely by time and space?

Such is the magic of The Boy From Tomorrow.
Continue reading Book Review: The Boy From Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis

Book Review: Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

At the time I’d been happy for her to have Finn. But now it was time to give him back.

I REALLY enjoyed this one! I will admit that I basically saw the Big Reveal coming (not in its exact detail, but the gist) from about the mid-point, but that did nothing to lessen the enjoyment I found in watching things play out. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this particular plot contrivance at work, but it was managed well and so I didn’t mind – the book was engaging, and even when the characters were behaving bizarrely or things seemed a little too coincidental or pat, the writing kept me enough in the story to keep rapidly flipping pages to see what would happen next.
Continue reading Book Review: Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

Book Review: The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

What a magical book this was – and to think, I struggled in the beginning and almost put it down!

I love misfit-makes-good stories, and when you add in a little semi-contemporary history and family drama, it usually marks something I will enjoy. This was that, but so much more. The writing is lovely, evocative and tough to read at times because of the emotion and stress it evokes. Sam Hill’s life is anything but ordinary, from the day he first opens his red eyes to the final pages of the book – what makes it extraordinary is the masterful way that Dugoni manages to translate his life into a series of relatable events, even when they don’t resemble anything the reader has actually experienced… Continue reading Book Review: The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni



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