2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.
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Book Review Blurb: Revolutionary Brothers by Tom Chaffin

My father is the American history fanatic in our family; I’m a bit of a dilettante. I enjoy gathering bits of knowledge and fun facts from different eras, but don’t (typically) read to an obsessive level of detail. I prefer reading the stories behind important people and events to a recitation of the detailed facts of each. As such, this one both hit the mark for me and shot to the left of center. On one hand, it’s relatively brief (for non-fiction history) and offers a solid look at two very important men in our history without spending 100 pages describing their favorite breakfast foods or how they cut their toenails. On the other, the story behind their relationship isn’t a huge part of the book, and that felt odd to me given how it was billed and titled. There are solid biographies here, at a level of detail I found appropriate, but not as much story-behind-the-story as I was hoping to see…

My review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. The title releases in the U.S. on November 26, 2019.

Book Review: The Noriega Tapes by Lance Karlson

Wow. This was a fantastic find – well, technically it found me, but either way…

I am a child of the ’80s and was certainly familiar with Noriega and Panama and the misdeeds that surrounded both, but in no way was I aware of the extent of the corruption or the U.S. spillover. Lance Karlson has done a marvelous job bringing a little-examined component of history to light, and done so in a format that is compelling, fast-paced, and informative. Continue reading Book Review: The Noriega Tapes by Lance Karlson

Book Review: The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes

This was a wonderful find that arrived, quite literally, on my doorstep. I was sent a review copy by the good folks at Meryl Zegarek Public Relations. I hadn’t heard of the book or of Harriet Monckton, but was immediately drawn to the tale both by the blurb and the cover (mine is different than the one Amazon lists – and, I think, much more evocative; it is the one I’ve included as a result). My instincts proved strong on this one – I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, even despite it’s being a bit more drawn out than I think it had to be AND it’s being in a variety of narrative formats all presented as one tale. Continue reading Book Review: The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes

Book Review Blurb: The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe is goofy (in the best possible way) and charming and engaging and endearing – he is who he is and does and says what he wants, and that is what I’ve always loved about him and his shows. The book reads exactly the way I imagined it would – it is full of fun facts, odd tidbits of history and pop culture, and anecdotes that tug at the heartstrings in a genuine and moving way, while providing surprising bursts of insight, self-awareness, and humor. I loved the way he spun the perspective of the tales he told so that it was often not clear until the very end (if at all!) who the story was actually about – it was a clever way to tell tales and meant that I was engaged throughout even if I was already familiar with the story being told. It was an entertaining and quick read and one I would definitely recommend!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.

Book Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Well, THAT happened…

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I felt throughout a lot of this one. Jewell has crafted a bizarre, Shirley-Jackson-esque gothic family drama with cults and lost children and murder and suspicion and secrets and guilt and a host of other things that are almost overwhelming in their entirety but somehow work (mostly) seamlessly. The blurb led me to expect something very different – and while that’s usually a recipe for disaster, here it worked out better than expected.

The tale unfolds in three alternating voices. I don’t always like that as a construct, although in a complex tale like this one, where every narrator is unreliable either intentionally or unintentionally, it is probably the only way to tell the story without resorting to massive telling (as opposed to showing) along the way. Continue reading Book Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

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