Book Sharing

You know the stereotype of the Italian momma who feeds anyone who comes in the door and sends them home with food? In my family, it’s books that are sent home.

I recently visited my 86 year old mom and between her and my older sister, I was given at least 20 book titles of “MUST” read book suggestions.BooksFromCarroll

They both grabbed books off their shelves and wouldn’t take no for an answer.  I agreed to taking three home to add to my already high pile of “to read” books. The last — and only — John Grisham book I’ve read, was “The Firm” and was given to me by my mom back in the day.

Here are the books I scored this past visit. Tell me if they are worth reading.

UPDATE: I read, “Secrets of a Charmed Life,” and it was good. I very different point of view for WWII.

SecretsOfCharmedLifeSecrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meisser. Amazon’s description is . . .
Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades…beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden — one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, hundreds of thousands of children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed…

CaptiveCaptive by Brighton Walsh.  Brighton Walsh’s website says . . .

He’s the most dangerous man she’s ever met…and she’s falling in love with him.

Madison Frost is desperate to escape her life. Daughter of a prominent businessman, she has everything a girl could ask for. Except for a family who’s present in her life, and anyone to talk to outside the four walls of the prison she calls home. Madison dreams of one day leaving her life behind. She never thought being kidnapped is how it would happen.

Now she’s being held captive by a man who’s as frightening as he is sinfully gorgeous. Enormous, muscular, and filled with secrets, the man they call Ghost is an enigmatic mercenary, and Madison is trapped with him. She doesn’t know who hired him or why, but the more time she spends at his mercy, the more she realizes he’s not what he seems. Beneath his rough exterior lies an unexpected gentleness and a heart as broken and battered as her own.

But as Madison lets down her walls, Ghost holds tight to his, hiding secrets that could destroy everything.

CominoCamino Island by John Grisham. Goodreads says . . . A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars.

Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts.

Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable’s circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets.

— Namaste

Books I’ve Read Lately

Lately, many of the books I’ve read, or attempted to read, have not been recommendable.

I used to be a reader that would always finish the book — no matter what.  But my book club instigated a 50-page rule. If a book doesn’t grab your interest in 50 pages, you can stop reading. Most of the times, I’ll read further than 50 pages, but I will certainly put a book down now. Life is too short and there are too many great books out there to struggle to keep reading a badly written book!

However, I have finished three books I can recommend. They are:

fishBowlfish bowl by Bradley Somer.  I read this because my book club selected it and I really enjoyed it.  I’d describe it as a modern day, “Rear Window.”

Throughout the book, a goldfish is falling from a high-rise balcony. As he falls, he takes the reader on a journey witnessing the residents intertwined lives.  The characters are interesting and fresh.  It’s a quick read for when you don’t want to think too hard but enjoy the human condition.

GrapesOfWrathGrapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I hadn’t ever read this book and on a recent discount book store run, I picked up a copy for my house.  I enjoyed this book, but skipped over the philosophical chapters. They showed their age.  If you’ve already read this book, hope you can grab another classic book out there that you haven’t been able to read.


CuckoosCallingThe Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling). I had read that this was the weakest of the three books in this crime drama trilogy. It may have been the weakest, but it was a great book. The crime genre is not my favorite but this was a good book. Cormoran Strike is an ex-military, private investigator with a complicated personal life and a fledgling business. If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought of this.

— Namaste

Top 3 Books

I’ve been in the same book club for over 15 years. It started, with me logging into MeetUp to find like-minded readers.  The people I interact with once a month are like no others in my circle of friends and that is what makes them so special to me.

They have become friends, but the only thing I know about some of them is their first name and what they think about the books we read. The discussions are always invigorating. If you are a reader and aren’t in a book club yet, seek one out. It is well worth the effort.

I’m a constant reader and Goodreads user. Here are some “book club” books I’ve read in the past three months. If they look good to you, check them out. (See what I did there.) 🙂


Ready_Player_OneReady Player One took me back to the 80’s with the descriptions of the computer/video games. It was smart and thought provoking story based in the year 2044. The lonely world  depicted, can be compared to the present day trends the world is moving towards. It combines nerdy computer speak with likeable characters. I really enjoyed the read.

The_MiniaturistI’m not going to suggest the next book because although I enjoyed it, it wasn’t a knock out. Also, the majority of my book clubbers had a strong dislike for the book. The Miniaturist is set in Amsterdam and this is what saved it for me. It was nice to learn about the city in the 18th century. The second half was disappointing and the ending was a LARGE disappointment.

The_Relic_MasterIf you want to laugh at a great book, pick the Relic Master. This is about a sixteenth-century relic hunter and the artist Albrecht Dürer who conspire to fabricate Christ’s burial shroud. The history is amazingly correct, but the dry humor is the BEST. I highly recommend this book.