Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino

Swear on This LifeSwear on This Life by Renee Carlino
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cute story but just misses the mark for me. Too cute. All the loose ends wrapped up perfectly. Not my cup of tea.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

CommonwealthCommonwealth by Ann Patchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very well written and so very clever. The author uses the reader's power of deduction to tell the story. There are many protagonists but none too similar to have to double check. The author leaves a trail of bread crumbs to link the chapters and the story together. Do not put the book down for too long or you will miss some of the more delightful bread crumbs. The book covers decades and the cast of characters is basically introduced in the first chapter; some concretely, others abstractly but by the end the reader knows every one of them.

Completely enjoyable book. In part, because of the clever way it is told.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Last OneThe Last One by Alexandra Oliva
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Great premise. Cross between Survivor and Hunger Games and an Apocolypse book. What is real? I can honestly say that I really didn't know until well into the book. I understood Amy's reasoning for the way she approached every new challenge. The story unfolds in such a way that the reader is as much lost as Amy until the reader makes a decision whether or not it is real or not. 

Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson

Karolina's TwinsKarolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a book I could not put down. I have read many accounts of the Holocaust but this one had a fresh perspective. Told by an 89 year old survivor, the protagonist provides a personal narrative that reeled me in.

Lena was a youth in a small Polish village when the Nazis arrived. Her experiences are unique because she spends time hiding, she lives in a ghetto, she finds love, works with the Resistance, and is sent to a concentration camp. The narrative lacks the violent and disturbing details of abuse that is often included in books on the Nazis during WWII. It isn't absent, by any means, but the story is gentrified by innuendo. Regardless, it's still a difficult read knowing the subject matter.

The court case was interesting and well presented. I thought that Arthur's character was flat and predictable. But the core of the book, Lena's narrative, made the book impossible to put down. Well timed, it never drags and stays true to historical events.

The most striking moments were Lena's recollection of returning to her village after the Russians liberate them. Her description of the town square nearly broke my heart. How she returned to the concentration camp that was emptied and deserted. Very moving.

Highly recommend this book.