Books I am reading

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fives and Twenty-Fives

I received a review copy of this book through NetGalley in return for writing a review. This is my true and personal opinion.

This book will be published on Aug 26, and, with the current events in Iraq, could not have come at a more opportune time. The author, Michael Pitre, served two combat tours in Iraq, and while the story is not autobiographical, it has been enriched by his first hand experience.

This is the story of a Marine platoon assigned to fill potholes, usually created by IEDs that have exploded. But before they can begin their road work, they must first make sure there are no additional bombs in the area or in the hole. Everyday brings tension, and gut-ripping fear. Each person in the unit handles the pressure in their own way.

Told in flashbacks intermingled with current problems adjusting to being back in the States, this gripping story kept me on the edge of my seat for 4 days as I read. I cannot imagine the psychological, physical and spiritual toll this kind of terror must wreck on the soldiers who are in country for 12-18 months at a time. Watching friends explode in front of you, or be shot by snipers as you work to make the road safe for future transit. The mundane silliness of friends when you return home, who have no idea what you have seen and experienced while you were gone. 

There is also a gut-wrenching story of the unit's interpreter, Dodge. What happened to his family when Iraq was invaded by the US, how he survived and eventually came to be an interpreter, and what transpired when the unit returned to the states.

If you want to better understand what has happened in Iraq, this is a must read. Well told with terrorizing action, poignant moments of humanity, and gallows humor, Fives and Twenty-Fives is a record of a war no one wanted, and even fewer understand.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Matter of Mercy by Lynne Hugo

I received a free copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for writing a public review. This is my personal and truthful opinion of this book.

This is a mystery that takes place on Cape Cod and focuses on the aquaculturists that "farm" the shallows for shellfish. As a big fan of Philip R Craig's Vineyard Mystery Series, I decided to give this a try.

Mercy explores the lives of two people who grew up on the island, their intertwined stories as a storm throws them together with long-term consequences.

Caroline Marcum has returned to the island to care for her dying mother. Ridley Neal is a former high school acquaintance who works a grant that is in front of Caroline's home. A wealthy "weekender" has filed a lawsuit against Rid and two of his fellow aquaculturists for use of their grants, claiming he owns the land and they interfere with his view.

Land rights, traditional vrs progressive land rights, death and dying,  shell fishing, and love all play a part in this touching and at times scary story of life and love on Cape Cod. The fact that it is based on a true story, make it all the more compelling.

A well-written novel that digs deep into your emotions and the circumstances of life fore Caroline and Rid. I highly recommend this book.

The Competition by Marcia Clark: A "keep-you-guess-until-the-very-end" book

I received a free e-book copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review of the book. This review is my free and honest opinion.

This is the fourth book in the Rachael Knight series. I had not read any of the previous books, but I plan to now. I admit, I didn't read any of Marcia Clark's books because I thought she had done a very poor job of handling the OJ case. But her writing skills are very good, and she uses her legal knowledge to create excellent stories! I am now a fan.

Rachael Knight is an LA special trials prosecutor. She teams with her best friend, Bailey Keller, an LAPD detective, when a Columbine-style shooting takes place at a high school in a San Fernando Valley. This is a study in stereotyping, troubled youth, and what makes kids kill.

Very quickly Rachael and Bailey believe they have the suspects. In their search for them, and for hard evidence, things do not add up. Just when I thought they finally had a handle on the case, another twist would rear it's ugly head.

I could not put the book down. This is a great team of tough, intelligent women who struggle through trying to have close relationships, a fulfilling life, and a harder than nails career. If you like police and legal procedurals, you will love The Competition.

The Summer Wind: A great read for the last days of summer

I received this book as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for agreeing to write a review. This is my true and honest opinion.

The Summer Wind (A Lowcountry Summer, Book 2)
By Mary Alice Monroe

I did not read Book 1 in this series, and while I am sure it would have added greater understanding if I had, I enjoyed this as a stand alone book.

This is a story of the family matriarch, steeped in Southern history and tradition, her life-long servant turned personal friend, and the matriarch's three granddaughters. Mamaw has brought the three half-sisters together to help them renew their childhood friendship. Mamaw is planning to sell the family home, but wants this one last chance to strengthen the bonds of these young women. 

Dora has fled a crumbling marriage with her young son, diagnosed with autism. Carson has returned from Florida in order to sort through her life and make decisions about her future. Harper has returned from New York, trying to decide if high-flying corporate life is what she want for her life.

During all this inner searching, there are new and renewed friendships to consider, Lucille has a health scare, Marietta (Mamaw) is reminiscing over the years spent on Sullivan's Island and hoping her plan to draw the three sisters together doesn't backfire.

This is a very enjoyable summer read, fairly light and easy, but with some interesting elements on what abuse is, how to interact with special needs children, out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and race relations on a small southern island.

I highly recommend this and will definitely be reading Book 3 when it is published. I give this 4 stars out of 5.