Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An incomplete revenge : a Maisie Dobbs novel by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie goes to the country with the Beale family to pick hops and have a busman's holiday.  Her new boyfriend James Compton has asked her to check out a property that his company would like to buy.  She discovers that the local village has a guilty secret.  During the war, a Dutch family died when their bakery burned to the ground.  Why didn't the villagers help them? What does a caravan of Gypsies know about the secret? 306 pages.

Messenger of truth : a Maisie Dobbs novel by Jacqueline Winspear

This time out Maisie investigates the murder of WWI veteran and artist, Nicholas Bassington-Hope.  He fell from a scaffold while preparing a new work for exhibition.  His twin sister Georgina, herself a WWI journalist, will not accept that his death was an accident.  Maisie searches for clues to his death among the artists, fascists, and smugglers in Nicholas's circle of family and friends. 322 pages.

Birds of a feather by Jacqueline Winspear.

Maisie Dobbs has moved into her new office and has a full-time assistant, Billy Beale.  Her latest assignment is to find the run-away daughter of a wealthy grocery chain owner.  In the course of her investigation, Maisie discovers that three of the daughter's friends have recently died.  Coincidence?  Maisie doesn't think so.  She digs deeper to find that during the war the women all participated in the shameful practice of giving white feathers to men who were not serving in the military.  Is someone killing the women for revenge? 336 pages.

The Language of Bees by Laurie King

It's been awhile since I've read Laurie King's Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series.  I had a few books to catch up on and when I started reading The Language of Bees it was like meeting an old friend.  Her books are so enjoyable-likable, interesting characters and puzzling plot-lines.  The Language of Bees takes off from the mystery of an abandoned bee hive.  Why did the bees leave and where did they go? How do bees communicate with each other? Does the language of families share the mysterious qualities of bee communication? Mary Russell ponders these questions as she helps Sherlock Holmes try to find his estranged son's wife and child. 715 pages.

"Notorious Pleasures" by Elizabeth Hoyt

Book two in the Maiden Lane series finds Lady Hero Batten engaged to the staid, reliable, and dull Marquis of Mandeville.  They appear perfect for each other until she becomes friends with his younger brother, Griffin Remmington, Lord Reading.  Griffin escorts her to a house for orphans that she is sponsoring in the dangerous St. Giles neighborhood, the same part of town where he is running an illegal gin mill.  Hero can't believe that she's starting to fall for such a cad, but she soon discovers that Griffin and his brother both have secrets.  This was another lovely, well-written book by Hoyt, one of the best authors in the historical romance genre, in my opinion.  Both lead and secondary characters were unique and easy to imagine, and the action scenes were well done.  I'll be reading the next in the series.  382 pages.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Summary: "Budding costume designer Lola lives an extraordinary life in San Francisco with her two dads and beloved dog, dating a punk rocker, but when the Bell twins return to the house next door, Lola recalls both the friendship-ending fight with Calliope, a figure skater, and the childhood crush she had on cricket."

The sweetest surprise of this book is the reappearance of 2 favorite characters from Anna and the French Kiss! I love that Stephanie Perkins is connecting her lovely characters in a cute, easy fashion. It's nice to have familiar faces in an unfamiliar setting. This book moves even faster than Anna, but it's even more heartwarming in its tale of the triumph of first loves. It's so sweet and fluffy, it might give you a tooth-ache. 

338 pages

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Richard Mayhew, a transplanted Scot, has a rather dull, routine existence in London. He has a good job, a fiancée, and a decent flat. Then one day a street child lying hurt in the gutter begs for help. Although his fiancée demands he walk away, Richard picks her up and takes her to his flat, thereby entering the world of London Below.

London Above is the world most of us live in; London below is a world of demons and angels, monsters and rats. In London Below, Door's family has been murdered, and she is determined to avenge them. In order to find out who is responsible, Door  must find her way through London Below to the environs of the Angel Islington.

When Richard tries to make his way back to London Above, he discovers that he is now an invisible man; his office has been dismantled, and his flat is occupied by another family. He returns to London below and goes with Door on her quest. He fight monsters, talks with rats, and kills a monster, thus becoming 'The Warrior' of London Below.

He ultimately finds his way back to London Above and resumes his former life (his Warrior status gives him the right to reclaim it), but now  finds it rather bland, dull and boring. Should he return to the netherworld and a much harder existence or continue to live his uninteresting life Above?

If you like fantasy and mystery, this book may be for you.

400 pages

I forgot to remember by Su Meck

Imagine waking up every day to a whole new world. That's what happened to Su Meck when she was 22 years old. She had a husband, a two-year-old son, and an eight-month-old baby. No one is really sure how the accident happened, because her husband's back was turned, and she can't remember, but she was hit in the head by a ceiling fan. The injury didn't look bad; just a one-inch cut, but it knocked her out and  she was bleeding profusely, so she was taken to the hospital. Her brain had bounced around inside her skull, and when she awoke she had no memory of her life up to that point.

After three weeks, she was sent home with a husband she did not know, to a house and children she had no memory of. The doctors had decided she was faking her memory loss, and she got no more therapy. But she couldn't read or write, couldn't find her way home if she went more than a few blocks, and had to idea how to care for her children. She was thrust abruptly back into the life of a suburban housewife, with no help and very little sympathy. She was essentially a child raising two other children.

This memoir was written to help people understand more about traumatic brain injury. Even the medical profession doesn't have a lot of knowledge about it, although it is better now than in 1988, when this happened. And family, friends, neighbors...she was treated with pity, disdain, contempt, and exasperation. She wanted to understand more about the whole issue herself, and she wanted others  to know what life is really like with this type of injury. She had a co-writer, and they went through her medical records, and did a lot of research on TBI. She explains the different types of memory, and how it works.

A very interesting, thought-provoking book.

280 pages

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is an aspiring film critic and normal teenage girl who is forcibly relocated by her novelist father to spend her senior year of high school at an American boarding school in Paris, France. Anna is reluctant to leave her family, friends and crush behind, but she soon adjusts to her new life in Paris. She struggles to learn French and navigate a new city, but she luckily finds a welcoming group of friends, including the charming Etienne St. Clair.

Anna and the French Kiss is 100% fluffy and feel-good. It moved quickly and kept me entertained, enough that I requested Perkins' next book: Lola & the Boy Next Door (which I'll put on here as soon as I finish it!). 

372 pages

The Kitchen House


By Kathleen Grissom

384 pages

Summary  "Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family."

As both a tender depiction of line-shattering family love and a brutal reminder of the reality of American slave life, I found myself drawn in to Lavinia and her adopted family's story.  A sad and sweet story.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wonder Woman: Ends of the Earth by Gail Simone

Wonder Woman: Ends of the Earth was amazing! It definitely had some of my favorite Wonder Woman moments ever in it. Tom Tresser, aka Nemesis, also makes an appearance on Themyscira to meet Hippolyta, Diana's mother. It has a great "boyfriend meets the parents for the first time" amusement to it. 

This graphic novel combines 4 different stories, which is both awesome and confusing. Wonder Woman faces off against the devil and the Queen of Fables. She also visits Hollywood to review the set of a Wonder Woman movie in the making - which is a clever disguise by the evil Queen of Fables. The movie set scenes are hilarious with Diana's reactions to the way certain moments from her life are portrayed. 

Definitely a must-read for any Wonder Woman fan.

142 pages

Sycamore Row by John Grisham

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

A very rich, old recluse hangs himself but leaves 90% of his millions to his caretaker.  The will hopefully makes up for injustices in his family’s past. 

Audio:  18 hrs. 27 min.
Print:  656 pages