The Library Book is one of the best books I have read in months! Susan Orlean's new book (release date 10/18) about the LA Public Library fire in 1986 is non-fiction that reads like fiction.  I was working in a public library at the time of this fire and I never heard of it!

Orlean's love of libraries coupled with her ability to tell a fascinating story make for a compelling read.The facts and figures are incredible. I'm glad my husband is patient, as every few pages I just had to share another tidbit I had just read.  Beyond the facts and figures, the writing is excellent.  I gave my Kindle highlight feature a workout while reading this.  There were just so many lines I didn't want to forget.

The fire is covered in Chapter 2.  I wondered as I was reading, how is she going to fill an entire book about this and keep me hooked? Silly me, I should have known better.  It is Susan Orlean...of course she will keep me hooked.

One of my favorite book-nerdy features was how she used book titles and call numbers to introduce each chapter.  Clever.

This is a must-purchase for public libraries, high-school libraries, and any book groups who enjoy literary non-fiction.  It begs discussion!

Thank you #NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the ARC ebook for my unbiased review.
#LibraryBook #SusanOrlean

Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
     I began the first three weeks of my retirement by plowing through books 6,7, and 8.  As each book in the series is at least 800 pages, this was quite a feat!  Thankfully, the weather has been miserable, so I haven't felt too guilty spending time with Jamie and Claire in 1700s Scotland and America.
     After years of reading YA books for work, it has been a pleasure to read books for grown ups once again.  These books are absorbing, well-researched and well-written, and they provide an escape into a fascinating time and place.  Books 2 and 5 were not my favorites (with 5 being one where I skipped to the last third of the book), but the others were page-turners.  I am looking forward to book nine, which hopefully will be published in 2018.  What to do until then?

Historical Fiction

(Goodreads Author)

Let me start by saying do not read this on a plane. Not that it has anything to do with flying, it’s just that when you start uncontrollably crying the flight attendants wonder about you.

This was a fascinating story. The characters were very likable and believable, but I felt a bit of the story was lifted right from The Nightingale. The writing is not as rich as that in The Nightingale; in fact it feels a little more young adult in its depth and delivery.

I thought it would be predictable, but it was not. It was an emotional journey and I’m glad I spent time in The Room on Rue Amelie.

I received this as an advanced preview copy from Net Galley. 


 I absolutely loved The Nightingale so I was excited to receive a preview copy of The Great Alone from Net Galley. I dived right into it and started enjoying the narrative and description of life in Alaska. It was fascinating and beautifully written. Kristin Hannah has a delightful way with words.

Unfortunately something happened 2/3 of the way through the book and it started feeling more like young adult romance fiction. Some of it became predictable and it felt too wrapped up with a bow.

I took a while to write this review because I still found myself debating whether Leni and her mother would have become that close after all they had been through and what happened to Matthew could have been avoided had Cora made different choices. Granted, had Cora made better choices, things would’ve been entirely different for everyone, but I understand domestic abuse in that era (and even today for that matter) is not exactly easy to prove or to escape, so I am still conflicted. 3.5 stars.

(Goodreads Author)

I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an unbiased review.

This is my first Catherine Coulter book and overall I did enjoy it. It started out with a bang and kept on running. It was a page turner in that respect, but I felt the storylines were choppy and never really meshed until the very last page where the author summed it up in a rush. I prefer to have my multiple storylines tied together a little more through the plot rather than through a rushed explanations the very end.

I didn’t realize that this was the 21st book in a series and maybe having read some of the earlier books would’ve helped me understand the connection with Sherlock and Savich. I felt the relationship with the new FBI agents was rushed and contrived.

For a quick beach read, this book fit the bill. 

This book was an advanced reader copy from the publisher through NetGalley for an unbiased review.

This story was written in two different time periods and tied together beautifully. The characters were strong and nuanced and you really wanted the best for them. At one point I felt the orphanage scenes were tropish and over-the-top, but then I learned that it’s partially based on a true story. That absolutely floored me and haunted me for days afterwards.

This book reminded me quite a bit of Orphan Train, another historical fiction book that I fell in love with. I highly recommend this read. It was well written and I think it’s important to honor the memory of the children who went through these horrors by spending some time in their shoes.

I’ll be reading more books by this author. Well done.

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