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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.

Book Review: The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

What a magical book this was – and to think, I struggled in the beginning and almost put it down!

I love misfit-makes-good stories, and when you add in a little semi-contemporary history and family drama, it usually marks something I will enjoy. This was that, but so much more. The writing is lovely, evocative and tough to read at times because of the emotion and stress it evokes. Sam Hill’s life is anything but ordinary, from the day he first opens his red eyes to the final pages of the book – what makes it extraordinary is the masterful way that Dugoni manages to translate his life into a series of relatable events, even when they don’t resemble anything the reader has actually experienced… Continue reading Book Review: The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

Book Review: The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp

This was an EXTRAORDINARY story, full of magic and symbolism and snarky bad actors (and even snarkier good ones). There were secrets and betrayals and surprises around every corner, as well as life lessons and good old-fashioned storytelling… The writing was excellent. The pacing was excellent. The characters were brilliantly-executed. The plot was original and engaging and fun to read through all its myriad twists and turns. There honestly isn’t a single bad thing I can say – except that it ended, and I’m not sure if/when there will be a sequel! Continue reading Book Review: The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp

Guest Post: Q&A with Roberta Silman, Author of Secrets and Shadows

Q&A with Roberta Silman

Why were you interested in writing about the effects of The Holocaust?
As a first generation American Jew (my father came from Lithuania and my mother was born here) I was given a sense that geography was destiny, and even as a child I wondered what it might have been like if my father had not come to New York in 1922 as he did. I also felt, especially as I matured that those people I knew who had escaped the Nazis were marked in some way and I needed to try to understand that better.

You started your career as a science write at The Saturday Review, but soon switched to fiction. Why do you prefer fiction?
Fiction is a wonderful way to help people figure out how to live. I also believe that fiction is far more valuable than memoir which has been flooding the bookstores, because fiction has to be shaped into art and can’t be slapped on the page. Continue reading Guest Post: Q&A with Roberta Silman, Author of Secrets and Shadows

Book Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

“Don’t be like me and settle for the ease of an almost-ending, when you could have the true ending.”
“I’m not sure I understand what that even means,” Tella said.
“It means most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worse, where the situation feels hopeless. But that’s when hope is needed most.”

Oh. My. Goodness…

I LOVE this series – Garber has created such an original, magical, horrifyingly off-kilter world, and populated it with a cast of characters that is truly unique and wildly inventive. She has the perfect writing style for this type of story – clear and concise, but with just enough detail to bring the world she’s created into Technicolor glory. She is also terribly witty, and there are a number of one-liners that are offered as throwaways, but that often steal the scene. Garber plays with language and imagery the way that Legend plays with people, and the result in both instances is delightfully dark and deliciously funny.

I enjoyed the introduction of the Fates as an entirely new set of players, because they offer so many opportunities for intrigue. But I also really enjoyed the deepening of Legend’s character- he’s still an enigma wrapped in a riddle, but for very different reasons (as a result of several reveals in this book), and it’s fantastically unclear – STILL – whether he’s the hero or the villain of the piece… Continue reading Book Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Book Review: The Best Looking One Always Wins by Ryil Adamson

In honor of the Fourth of July here in America, I’m bringing you an exploration of politics and political elections throughout history. It’s as much a “history of America” book as any I’ve read lately, with snark and goofiness thrown in for good measure (and couldn’t we all use more of THAT in American politics lately? – she said, tongue firmly planted in cheek). Enjoy – and then go outside, have a picnic, barbecue, go to a parade, or do something patriotic!

This is a cute look at American politics and elections with a humorous theoretical twist – that the best looking candidate is always the winner. It’s set up as a study that begins because of the author’s concerns about the 2016 presidential election, and from there runs throughout the history of American presidential elections. Continue reading Book Review: The Best Looking One Always Wins by Ryil Adamson



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