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Sheila's Reads

I love to read. I am very eclectic in my reading but I especially enjoy erotica and erotic romance. I also like movies, live theater and concerts, hockey, and counted cross-stitch.


Ariane, Jeune Fille Russe - Claude Anet

I have an English translation of ARIANE, entitled LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON.  Used as the basis for the movie of the same name, the flavor of the book is in the movie but, except for the last scene in both, they are different stories.  Ariane is a young woman who gets involved with an older man.  Both try to deny they are in love but truth wins out in the end.


I liked this book.  It is romance but so much more.  There is a freedom in Ariane's thoughts toward sex and love that changes her and Constantin.  He hears her words but does not look beneath them until the end.


I liked the writing.  It is intelligent and made me think.  The words were not trite.  I am definitely going to read more of Claude Anet.  It was such a pleasure to read a book that I needed a dictionary at times.


The Vegetarian: A Novel - Han Kang

I'm not sure what I feel about this book.  It is three points of view about Yeong-hye (husband, brother-in-law, and sister.)  I liked it but I have questions which will probably be answered or discussed in my book club.  The first part I wanted to smack the husband upside the head because of how he dealt with Yeong-hye.  I found the second part sensual and erotic.  The third part as the sister tells her tale made me wonder why they didn't just let her go.  This is not a book that easily can be forgotten.


Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America - Jill Leovy

Putting names to the murdered young black men in LA she tells the story of one, a cop's son, and gives us more vignettes of others around the same time as his.  She also takes us into the detectives' lives who are handed these murders and how they solve them.


I liked this book.  While there was a lot of statistics and history of what lead up to the high murder rates of young black men, she puts names to them.  They are not statistics only.  She shows what the detectives do and how invested they are to find their killers.  There were times I cried as she talks about the Tennelle family and tells of funerals and the fears many of the young men have of not living to be 21. 


Though a few years old, it is still timely.  Well worth the read.


Born in Death - J.D. Robb, Susan Ericksen

While Dallas has two murders in an accounting firm to deal with, Mavis comes to her about a missing friend who is in her childbirth class.  Eva takes on the case to keep Mavis calm and happy.


I liked this story.  I liked seeing Eve and Roarke freaked out about Mavis and her impending childbirth.  I liked how Eve feels pressured into doing the right things for Mavis but lets Peabody do the actual work.  Though dealing with death and kidnapping, I liked the lightheartedness of the impending baby stuff.


Eight Hundred Grapes: A Novel - Laura Dave

Georgia is at her final wedding gown fitting when she spots her fiancé walking down the street with a woman and child.  Learning that her fiancé has been less than open with her, she runs back to her childhood home only to learn that her parents are splitting and selling their family vineyard to a competitor.  Georgia has a lot to sort out.


I enjoyed this book.  There are a lot of family secrets that come out when Georgia returns home.  Accusations are made and Georgia has to face up to some of them as others in the family have to face up to theirs.  It makes for interesting reading as Georgia keeps putting her problems on the back burner to deal with others' problems only to have them force her to face her own problems.  She needed their insights.


I liked most of the characters but not all.  I wasn't crazy about her fiancé, her brother Bobby, or her mother.  They were not warm, fussy people.  The ending is what was right for Georgia.


The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America - Richard Rothstein

Interesting book on how the government ignored the Constitution to create segregate communities of African-Americans and Caucasians.  I learned a lot and much made me angry.  He gives the history of how and when this happened and remedies to correct the past.  At times I didn't understand but he wrote so that I could understand the concept.  He documents everything.  I especially liked the FAQ section.  Worth reading.


Never Dare a Wicked Earl (The Infamous Lords) - Renee Ann Miller
  Hayden is shot by a woman who wants to be his wife. Sophia is his nurse. They are at odds from the beginning on his treatment. He suggests a bet that she will not stay 10 days. And they are off.

I enjoyed this story. Hayden and Sophia are well developed characters. At times they are funny as they fight about his treatment. I am glad that they learned to communicate and tell the truth rather than keep secrets. Both have secrets that weigh them down with guilt. Celia, Hayden's daughter, is a doll. I liked the acceptance both find with the other and within the family.

This is a good set up for the series, Infamous Lords. I look forward to more of the books


Taking Out the Trailer Trash - Janice Ivy

Charlene is a writer making a living managing a trailer court.  She has an array of tenants that make for a wild ride especially when they start dying.  Turns out peoples' pasts are coming back at them.


This book held my interest.  The characters are some of the best I've read.  They are well defined and you know who they are.  The story was good.  I wanted to know what secrets were being hidden.  I loved Charlene.  She thinks she is a mild mannered good woman but, wow, when she needs to defend herself, she can. 


I look forward to more of the series.


ONE SHINGLE TO HANG by Deann Smallwood

One Shingle to Hang - DeAnn Smallwood
  Lil leaves her family in Denver to move to Chesterfield, Colorado, to open her own law practice. She's one of a handful of lady lawyers in the country. Before she has even opened for business she has her first two customers, one a local rancher accused of cattle rustling. She figures out a way to save him and ends up falling in love with Drew.

I loved this story. The characters are well defined. Lil is outspoken and feisty. Drew is a product of his times but he begins to see where he may be wrong. Around them they build a family but not a traditional one. The villains are hiss worthy. Her parents are a piece of work. I loved when she stood up to them. There is a subtle humor running below the surface. I felt happy while reading this. The only thing missing was a clear resolution on the rustling charge but it doesn't change the story or my feelings towards the tale.


A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler - Jason Roberts

An interesting man who went from being a naval lieutenant who suffered from joint pain then became blind and traveled the world alone.  Fascinating!  And this all takes place from 1787-1857.  James Holman was an apothecary/shop owner's son who was destined to follow in his father's footsteps when family fortunes changed.  He goes to the Navy at 12 and expects to be there for the rest of his life but his health turns bad and he must retire on half-salary.  He becomes a Naval Knight of Windsor to retain his half-salary.  He absents himself a lot from his duties as he travels the world.  What is does and how he learns his way around with short funds and limited language skills is remarkable. 


I loved that the history of the time is explained and that what is happening in the countries he explores is also given.  That he often is on naval vessels and helps is remarkable.  I also enjoyed seeing the societal downsides of his times.  He is a remarkable man.  I am glad the bookseller recommended it as I was checking out.  Excellent read!


Brea And The City Of Plastic - Michelle Gamble-Risley

Brea moves to Los Angeles to be a screenwriter and gets involved with men from home and LA.


I did not like most of these people at all.  Brea and Drew (as well as Drew's many "friends") were so shallow that I was disgusted by them.  All Brea worried about was clothes and sex.  She was raped but went along with it instead of calling the cops especially with Drew.  He is a whacked out job.  I truly could not relate to her.  I was in shock that she tells Drew off but never goes to the cops. She finally finds a good guy and she messes it up.  I liked Kale and Maya.  They seemed the only ones who were realistic and down-to-earth.


The author can write (which is why I finished the book.)  She had me feeling emotions towards the characters (probably not the ones she wanted me to feel.)  She also writes good sex scenes.  I would like to see her write a book with less shallow characters who care about something or someone rather than how people or events affect/serve them.  I probably will not read the next book of the series because I only want to know what happens between Brea and Kale and the blurb for the next book mentions Kale but he's in a list with others.  I will, however, look for other books by her because I liked her writing style.


Holly & Hockey Boots - V.L. Locey

Short Christmas read of Adam, a minor league goalie, and Cason, a man who brought his nephew to a game.  Eyes meet and they click.  So Adam does something stupid and it backfires.


I liked Adam.  He is quirky and fun.  I also liked his aunt and uncle who bring stability to his life.  His roomie and teammate, Rob, is a quirky as he is.  They have a good relationship.  The secondary characters were good.


The story was so-so.  It was predictable.  The characters made the story and were well-developed which is why I finished it.  Not her best book.

LONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult

Lone Wolf - Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is an excellent writer but I always hesitate to pick up her books because her subjects are so weighty yet timely.  Lone Wolf is the same.  It deals with euthanasia.  Not a pretty subject, but one that will touch most people at some point.  I liked the story.  I liked how it was written from each character's point-of-view so you get a well-rounded view of Luke.  I especially liked Luke's sections as he talks about wolves and their packs.  I learned a lot. 


The characters were well developed.  I had strong feelings about some of them.  I could understand Luke well.  Cara, I just wanted to turn her over my knee and paddle her.  She was so bratty.  She was my least favorite character.  I liked Edward.  Yes, he had to grow up more but he did manage to create a life for himself and survive.  I liked also the input of some of the peripheral characters.  It was interesting to see what outsiders thought of Cara, Edward, and Luke.


This was a good book.  It flowed well.  It read quickly because I never got bogged down in one character's emotions because of the changing points-of-view.  I read it in one day basically.  I could not put it down.


Murder at the Book Group - Maggie King
  Hazel's ex-husband's current wife dies at their book group's meeting. Did she commit suicide as it looks or was something else going on?

There are so many characters introduced in this book that I was confused as to who did what and how did they fit in. After I figured it out the book got better. I enjoyed the mystery. I had no idea the who or what until it started being explained to me. I liked the characters especially as they got weeded out and it seems as if there will be fewer characters in the next book. I enjoyed watching Hazel working to figure out who was involved and why. When she did it was an epiphany. I look forward to more of her.

MERRY MURDER by C. S. McDonald

Merry Murder: A Fiona Quinn Mystery (Volume 2) - C.S. McDonald

Set at Christmas, Fiona's Uncle Wilbur, who plays Santa at the mall, is murdered.  Why?


I enjoyed this book more than the first one in the series.  I had a better sense of the characters and liked the dynamics between Fiona and Nathan.  I liked Uncle Wilbur.  The short time he was in the book, I could see him as Santa.  I also enjoyed her kindergarten class, especially Lincoln.  Don't know if I wanted him around much but he is the kid who enjoys ruining things for others.  I figured out the why but not the who until the end when it was going down.  The mystery was good and made sense.  There was humor in it.  It was fun and I look forward to more Fiona.

MOONRISE by Erin Hunter

Moonrise - Erin Hunter
  The cats now have to return home to tell the message they must bring to the Clans. As they journey home, they meet a Tribe where they learn more hunting techniques and the importance of working together. Meanwhile, the Clans have to deal with the Twolegs destroying more of their territories.

I enjoyed this book. I liked the interactions between the travelers and the Tribe and how they learned new things and realized that there is more than just them in the world. There was the edge of the seat thrills and action. I still have questions about a whole lot of things especially Leafpaw and her promise. I look forward to reading the next book.