Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell by William Klaber

One day in 1855, Lucy Lobdell cut her hair, donned her brother's clothes, and went off to live her life as a man.  Her husband had left her pregnant and penniless, leaving her to move back in with her family, who treated her as if she was the reprobate, not him.

Lucy lived at a time when women did not commonly travel unescorted, carry a rifle, sit down in bars, or have romantic liaisons with other women. She wanted to wear what she wanted, work and be paid what men were, and love whomever she chose.

She was found eventually found out, arrested and tried for the crime of wearing men's clothes. This is a fictionalized account of her story.

308 pages

The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis

The Malice of Fortune brings together Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli to solve a horrific crime plague the Italian countryside.  The science of observation and the science of understanding men will be challenged and tested as they race against time to find a serial killer and stop a war from breaking out.  Very good historical fiction.  394 pages paperback.

The Killing Club by Marcie Walsh and Michael Malone

Eleven high school outcasts create a club that came up with ingenious ways to murder those who annoyed or hurt them.  A decade later members are dying in the way they once stated they would murder their enemies.  At first no one remembers but as the bodies start piling up it becomes obvious no one in the club is safe.  Great story leaving you guessing until the end.  290 pages paperback.

The Black Stiletto Stars and Stripes by Raymond Benson

Book two of the Black Stiletto series takes us into the second year of the Black Stiletto's crime fighting in New York City, the need for her son to protect her identity and the realization his daughter is a lot like her grandmother.  This volume tells the son about his mother's cooperation with the FBI and how helping a friend lead to taking down a major crime lord with connections to the city.  The son of a man she put away in jail tries to profit by revealing the Black Stiletto's identity and Martin calls in on one of his mother's friends in her previous life to help him.  In the meantime Martin's personnel life is falling down around him and he finds his daughter has been attacked.  282 pages hard back.

The Black Stiletto by Raymond Benso

The Black Stiletto is a nice distraction with characters written in a manner that you develop empathy for them.  The main character is plodding through life with the frustrations of caring for a mother with Alzheimer disease when he is given a rare gift of her memoirs.  Through these diaries and mementos he learns about a life his mother had hidden from him.  The story flips from present day to the 1950's and how a young woman transforms herself out of misfortune.  266 pages hard cover.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Love, Janis by Laura Joplin

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

Her sister Janis was a hippie at heart, a blues singer, and a loyal and loving member of her family at home.  Many stories from the time she left home to her death. 

Audio:  14 hrs. 16 min.
Print:  394 pages

If You Were Here by Alafair Burke

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

She is a reporter who thinks the lady who saves the life of a person from a subway train may be an old military associate of her husband. Lots of intrigue before this story ends.

Audio:  12 hrs. 50 min.
Print:  400 pages

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, read by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for the Time Being is about many things: bullying in Japan, WWII, depression, loss, community, and time.  Ozeki is playful with language while dealing with some pretty heavy subjects.  Nao (pronounced Now) is a young Japanese school girl whose family has relocated from the Silicon Valley back to Japan.  Her father cannot get a job, she is being horribly bullied at school, and only her grandmother, an aging Buddhist nun is able to help.  Meanwhile, across the ocean, a few years ahead, a writer is struggling to write her mother's biography.  One day on the beach she finds a Hello Kitty lunch box.  Was the lunch box washed away by the 2011 Japanese Tsunami?  How did the watch of a Kamikaze pilot get into the box?  An engrossing story that will keep you guessing what will happen next. 432 pages.  14 hours 43 minutes.

The Bridge: the life and rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick

Everything you wanted to know about President Obama but were afraid to ask.  I really had to slog through this biography but it was worth it.  I feel I have a better understanding of who President Obama is from reading about where he came from and what he's done to be elected President of the United States.  What are my takeaways from this biography?  Obama is above all a pragmatist.  He almost left politics because of his need to secure his family's financial security.  So he wrote two books, Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope, to make it possible to generate more income, gain more exposure, and stay in politics.  He alienated some folks in the Democratic party on the way to the Presidency because he refused to follow  protocol and "wait his turn."  Early on he attracted the attention of people with lots of money who made it possible for him to build an effective campaign organization.  He's not afraid to surround himself with the best and brightest minds.  I guess history will  judge how effective Obama has been as President.  Remnick's biography makes it clear that whatever his legacy, Obama is following in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt-a complex man who brought a unique set of personal qualities and professional skills to meet the national crisis of his time. 672 pages.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Slave Narratives by Federal Writers Project Missouri

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

Realistic account of slavery in Missouri and the impact it had on the United States.  Working in the fields and in the big house sometimes from sunrise to sunset.  After the war, being able to buy and work their own 40 acres that they bought for twenty dollars.  161 pages.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"When You Dare" by Lori Foster

This is the first book in the "Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor" series and was pretty good.  Dare Macintosh is a mercenary who has been to Mexico to free the sister of his best friend from sex traffickers, but she is not the only woman he has brought back; Molly Alexander was there, too.  She had been kidnapped and held for a different reason, which forms the backbone of the plot of the story.  She wasn't taken for sex trafficking, so why and who did it?  Molly is a successful fiction writer and the daughter of a rich and successful businessman, but she and her father barely see each other as he doesn't approve of her vocation and plain lifestyle.  Dare is drawn to her inner strength and courage and vows to protect her until he can find the answers to her kidnapping.

This is an above average romantic suspense story with an unusual alpha male who calls his dogs "his girls" and lives on an isolated estate in Kentucky.  He and Molly quickly develop feelings for each other, almost too quickly it seemed to me.  Molly has been badly battered but her spirit is never broken.  Dare is likable and isn't afraid to show his feelings to his gay assistant, his best friend's sister, Molly, or his dogs (who both had district personalities).  The secondary characters were well drawn and made me want to know them better.  448 pages.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Being unequipped by her ‘expensive, athletic and prolonged’ education for earning a living, Flora writes to all her relatives asking them to ‘take her in’. She receives an affirmative reply from her cousin Judith at Cold Comfort Farm, and goes off to the Sussex countryside to join the household.

She finds a farm in decay, full of miserable family members. In her no-nonsense way, she takes the farm and its inhabitants on as a project and proceeds to make their lives into what she perceives they need to be.

This book is a parody of the romanticized, often doom-laden accounts of rural life popular at the time this novel was published in 1932.

260 pages

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"The King" by J.R. Ward

This is the 12th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and mostly focuses on the couple from the first book, "Dark Lover."  Wrath, the last pureblood vampire, is now completely blind yet continues in his role as king of his people.  Beth is his half-vampire/half-human shellan (wife) and is desperate for a baby, but Wrath refuses for several reasons, the foremost of which is that many female vampires die in childbirth.  Wrath is also under pressure from the glymera, the aristocrats of his people, to better protect them from the Lessening Society, undead humans who want to kill as many vampires as possible.  Ward also furthers the storylines of other, newer characters - Trez, Selena, iAm, Xcor, Layla, Assail, Sola, and more.

This book started off slowly for me but eventually picked up pace as things got more compelling.  Still, it took me two weeks to finish it because it just did not hold my attention as well as previous books.  Beth and Wrath have never been one of my favorite couples in the series, and, while going back to focus on them and their relationship 11 books later was interesting, I still would liked to have seen more about the other brothers and their mates.  Some of them were not even mentioned at all (Cormia? Mary?), but we got plenty about newer characters that I just can not get excited about.  Oh well, that's what Ward did in the last book, "Lover at Last," so I knew it would happen here, too.  Still, it was well written, quite suspenseful, and ended on a high note, although with enough lose ends for more books in the series.  573 pages.

Friday, April 18, 2014

"Aftermath" by Cara Dee

Austin Huntley and Cam Nash, along with eight other men, were kidnapped and held in cells in a basement for five months before escaping.  They now bear physical and psychological scars and must learn how to live back in the normal world.  This book begins one month after their escape and both men are suffering the effects of PTSD.  But even though Cam and Austin are very different (Austin is an accountant, and Cam is a mechanic with Aspberger's), they developed a strong bond during their time locked in a cell together and come to depend on each other for strength and support when no one else understands their short tempers and nightmares.  Will they ever recover enough to feel normal again?

This was a well written thriller that takes place in present day but shows the men's confinement in flashbacks.  Even though the reader knows that Cam and Austin escape, we are not aware of why they were kidnapped and what happened to them for five months until near the end.  About halfway through the story, their relationship takes a dramatic turn that changes them both and how they view themselves.  This book is not for the squeamish.  211 pages (Kindle edition).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014