The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

IMG_20180111_090239_900.jpg“The Forbidden Library” by Django Wexler is the first book in a thrilling middle grade series. Alice is a 12 year old who always loved reading. After witnessing a strange scene between her father and a fairy in her kitchen Alice’s is turned upside and suddenly being a “reader” takes on a whole new meaning.

This book is exciting and does contain some mild violence. Magic is everywhere and there is a there are a couple of talking cats. Read this book (and series) if you like Harry Potter, cats, books about books or libraries, fantastic beasts or adventure quests. (4 of 5 stars)SELRES_ed654b10-65d7-4375-9bed-a0607427329dSELRES_ed654b10-65d7-4375-9bed-a0607427329d


New Shoes by Sara Varon


New Shoes by Sara Varon is a fantastic book that explores the ideas of fair trade, business ethics and creative footwear. It also give a little insight into the different types of animals who live in the jungle. New Shoes not only teaches but also inspires the reader to take an adventure and try something new. It is sweet and insightful. This graphic novel will be interesting to a wide range of readers from Children to Adults. (4 of 5 stars)

Lending a Paw by Laurie Cass

Lending a Paw (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery, #1)Lending a Paw by Laurie Cass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The secret to finding a good cozy mystery series is finding one where the hero/heroine does something you are deeply interested in and what could be better than a librarian who drives the bookmobile? Minnie Hamilton is a diminutive librarian who just so happens to have a cat with the knack for sniffing out crime. On their first outing with the brand new bookmobile Eddie the cat discovers the murdered body of their bookmobile benefactor, Stan Larabee. The lists of suspects is long , so long that even the librarians are under suspicion. Minnie with Eddie’s help, vows to find the killer before the wrong person is sent to jail.

This is the first in the series but like many cozies it can stand alone as well. Fun to read, full of possible suspects and has a satisfying conclusion. Plus our heroine is a librarian! Recommended to those who like cozy mysteries, libraries, bookmobiles and cats. Or if you just want something quick and fun to read.

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Big Law by Rob Liebman

Big LawBig Law by Ron Liebman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Carney Blake thought he had his big break when his firm’s chairmen asked him to represent the plantiffs in a big class action lawsuit. He was wrong. Instead of rising up in the firm he digs himself a deep hole that threatens to swallow him up.

The novel starts in the present with Blake and his brother waiting for a verdict to come in… his own. It turns out his big break was the beginnings of a revenge plot for the old college roommate of the firm’s chairman, Carl Smith and Blake was just a pawn.

The novel is written in memoir style from the perspective of Blake. At first I thought this would be a bit annoying, and it would have been if Blake wit and humor were not engaging. They book is fast paced and has a surprising ending (don’t worry I will not give it away).

“Big Law” is being recommended to readers who like John Grisham. While there are similarities (e.g. it is a legal thriller) the characters are a little less developed and the details are not as in depth as they would have been in a John Grisham novel. However, that being said, “Big Law” has merit. It was fun and informative and I look forward to future books from Liebman.

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Note: I was given this book to review by the publisher. In no way did that effect my opinion or review of the book. (Publication Date: January 10,2017)

West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan

West of SunsetWest of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan is a fictional biography of the last three years of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life. Early on we see Fitzgerald struggle to maintain hope and loyalty to Zelda as she struggles to maintain her sanity. All action in this novel revolves around Fitzgerald’s attempts to stay relevant, stay in love, and stay sober.

While I have read most of Fitzgerald’s work (Tender is the Night is my favorite of his novels), I have to admit that I knew little of his life. Reading biographies (even fictional ones) has been somewhat of a let down in the past so I tend to shy away. Knowing too much about my favorite authors can sometimes taint my view of their works that is why I was surprised at how enthralling I found West of Sunset. I felt as if I was there often dreaming of the characters after a long night of reading. Drunken fights, Hollywood stars, sorted affairs and stunning prose, this novel has it all. If you read one fictional biography this year, make West of Sunset the book.

I received this novel from the publisher to review. In no way did that influence the opinions expressed in this review.


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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Crooked Letter, Crooked LetterCrooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel, is a story about two friends struggling to forgive one another for wrongs committed when they were children. The story is set in rural Mississippi and weaves between the late 1970s and today. In the late 1970s Larry Ott, a young white boy in a lower- middle class family, and Silas “32” Jones, the son of a poor, single black mother, find each other one day when Larry’s father offers them a ride. Secretly they kept their friendship going until one night Larry takes Cindy Walker on a date and she never returns. Her body was never found and Larry never admitted to her murder but the entire town and surrounding areas labeled him as “Scary Larry” and believed him to be a murder.

Twenty-five years later, Larry is an outcast from society and forced to live a solitary life. Silas returns to Mississippi as the constable but never reconnects with Larry. For the most part no one bothers with Larry until another local girl goes missing and immediately everyone believes that Larry has struck again. It is when bodies start to show up and Larry, always at Ottomotive never makes it to work one day that the two men are brought back together and the truth that was long hidden finally is revealed.

This is the first crime drama that I read where I did not immediately know “who did it” after only reading the first few chapters. I was engaged with the story after the first chapter. While the pace was slow and meandering it fit the mood of the town that Franklin tried to portray in the novel. I am typically not a reader who enjoys novels with violence and murder in them, but this one was not gory and dealt more with the feelings of people after crimes than explaining the gory details of the crime, therefore making it a more engaging read and worth the time.

As for as the downfalls of the novel, many do not like the pace of the book. Yes this book is not action packed and at times not a page turner, it meanders and deals with the psychology of characters. So if you are looking for an action packed crime novel you may want to pass this one by. Also the story seemed to fizzle out in the last couple of chapters leaving with an ending that was not as good as it could have been. My biggest grip and the reason this book received four of the five stars is that the major issue in this book is never publicly resolved. We find out whether or not Larry killed Cindy Walker and we are set to have a huge public drama, but it never happens. The ending is uneventful in respects to the Cindy Walker case and I thought Franklin could have done more with this plot point.

Downfalls aside this book is a good read and worth your time if you enjoy character self reflections, stories about boyhood friends, or a good mystery.

Novel Moments:
“Time she gets off work she don’t do nothing but sit in front of the TV watching reality.” (Kindle Location 313)

“Wallace’s visits had shown him that being lonesome was its own fast, that after going unnourished for so long, even the foulest bit could remind your body how much it needed to eat. That you could be starving and not even know it.” (Kindle Location 2768-69)

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