Saturday, March 30, 2019

DESOLATION MOUNTAIN by William Kent Krueger

DESOLATION MOUNTAIN  by William Kent Krueger
I have not read any of Krueger’s Cork O’Conner mysteries, but I am a huge fan or Ordinary Grace.  DESOLATION MOUNTAIN did not disappoint. 
The characters were refined and true to character as the book progressed.  The area of Minnesota was so clearly utilized it was almost a character.
The plight of the Ojibway Indians and their reservation was clear even though really not a pivotal part of the plot. The mystery leaked out slowly, just enough to keep my interest and the menacing terror growing. 
Although there were many deaths, this was not a gruesome book.  There is minimal foul language.  The plot and all its permutations were neatly concluded in a satisfying way.
A very good mystery by a very good writer.
5 of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

NEVER HAVE I EVER by Joshilyn Jackson

NEVER HAVE I EVER  by Joshilyn Jackson
If you are looking for a fast read that starts slowly, but builds to a thrilling conclusion, Then this is the book for you.  The characters are pretty stock and the conversations stilted.  The situations have way too many coincidences and barely believable occurrences, but for an escapist afternoon or two this one fills the bill.
Amy was a wild child with a past who worked on rehabilitating herself. Then a newcomer crashes her book group, takes over and threatens (nicely) everyone present.  The newcomer seems to have the goods on Amy and then the fun begins.  If you think there are too many cliques in this post, don’t read NEVER HAVE I EVER.
3 of 5 stars

Monday, March 18, 2019

THE BLUE by Nancy Bilyeau

THE BLUE, A Novel   by Nancy Bilyeau

Using actual people and events as the basis, Bilyeau has written an engrossing tale of spying, treachery, art, porcelain making, kings and kingdoms.  Blue is a difficult color to create for artists and porcelain makers. It was on of the last colors to be made for artists (late 28th century) and was greatly prized.

Genevieve, an English Huguenot who desired to be an historical artist, is the well-developed main character. She is surrounded by chemists seeking the color blue, spies seeking the color blue, kings and pottery makers seeking the color blue and those willing to kill to help or hinder them. The intricate plot is thick with chicanery and populated with such personages as Madame de Pompadour, King Louis XV, and the founders of Sèvres  and Derby porcelain.  Of course romance blooms as well.

Book groups who are interested in history, art, or romance will find this tale engrossing and will lead to good discussions.

5 of 5 stars

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Singapore Sapphire by A M Staurt

In the mood for a multiple murder/gem smuggling mystery with a bit of romance and family drama and a fair amount of diverse culture?  Then this is your book.
Harriet, newly arrived in Singapore in 1910, is the richly nuanced main character. Most characters are well developed, although a couple surprises near the end seem a bit “out of the blue.” The culture of colonial Singapore is clearly drawn. The main characters are mainly upper class British, with the requisite native servants and lower level functionaries.
I read an e-book before publication and there was no glossary – one is sorely needed. The plot is fast moving and well developed. The writing is clear and expressive. The character listing helps keep the many persons straight. There are several murders, but not too much gruesomeness.  The sex is merely alluded to. There is no foul language.
4 of 5 stars

Daughter of Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

DAUGHTER OF MOLOKA’I   by Alan Brennert
The long awaited sequel to MOLOKA’I is here!  Rachel’s daughter Ruth, taken from her the day Ruth was born, is the main character in this family tale that extends from Hawaii to California to Japanese internment camps and back to California.
Brennert excels in incorporating actual people and events into his stories.  DAUGHTER OF MOLOKA’I is no exception.  The discrimination against Japanese (Rachel is adopted by a Japanese couple) in the early part of the twentieth century, the difficult life of “foreign” farmers in the lush farmland of California and the internment of hapless Japanese during WWII make up the bulk of this novel.  The final portion relates the difficulty of adoptees and their birth parents in locating each other and the repercussions that follow.  Brennert’s empathy finds expression is his clearly drawn characters, skillful conversations and deft handling of conflict.
Book groups will love this historically accurate account of difficult episodes., especially those who have read and loved MOLOKA’I.  Groups interested in immigration/emigration issues will find much to discuss.
5 of 5 stars