Beth's Book Review

October 19, 2018

The Liberators: America’s Witnesses to the Holocaust by Michael Hirsh (Bantom Books, 2010)   “It was bad. It was very, very bad,” said Jay Dakelman, a medic with the 3rd Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. He was describing to me the first moment that he stepped into a concentration ...

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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Anchor Books, 2013)   Crazy Rich _________________. Fill in the blank with almost any ethnicity on the face of the earth, and the story will probably be similar from culture to culture. At the economic apex of every society one can expect to have the ...

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The Race to Save the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport (St. Martin’s Press, 2018) On July 18, 1918, amidst the backdrop of the First World War and violent revolutions occurring within Russia, the entire Imperial Romanov family was executed while in captivity. As the 100th anniversary of the horrific ...

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The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin (Bantam, 2016)   Just a few months ago I published a Retro-Review of In Cold Blood, written by one of the greatest 20 century American authors, Truman Capote. For those of us who remember seeing the more than eccentric writer, who was chased by ...

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The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation  by Ian K. Smith, M.D. (St. Martin’s Press, 2018)   Dr. Ian K. Smith has written a delightful and easy to digest new book, The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation. Unlike many diet books that are mired in technical language ...

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The Rooster Bar by John Grisham (Dell, 2018) Three law students, Todd Lucero, Mark Frazier, and Zola Maal, are about to start their final semester of the not so prestigious Foggy Bottom Law School in Washington, D.C. However, the shocking suicide of their friend, Gordy, who has been driven to a ...

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Gods of Wood and Stone by Mark Dionno (Touchstone, 2018)   The two protagonists of Mark Dionno’s brilliant first novel are as different as two men could be in most facets of their lives. Joe Grudeck is a recently retired pro-baseball player, on his way to the Hall of Fame; Horace Mueller is a ...

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The Outsider by Stephen King (Scribner’s, 2018) He’s the Boogeyman who hides under your bed or in your closet when you are a child. Sometimes he lurks in the dark attic of your home, so it’s a place that you avoid at night. He is Big Foot who skulks the woods in Alaska, or he is Grendl, brought ...

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All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffen (Ballentine Books, 2018) How much is “too much” to give our children when raising them today? When we buy them the latest pair of sneakers, a cell phone when they are ten years old, or give them an expensive car when they turn seventeen, what are we teaching ...

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Camino Island by John Grisham (Dell, 2017) John Grisham is a very good story teller. His writing style is engaging, characters are usually well draw. But, somehow Camino Island, published in 2017, falls short of the rest of Grisham's work, and seems amateurish. The novel begins with the heist ...

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People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little (Dog Ear Publishing, 2015)   Rich Little is a national treasure; a living encyclopedia of movie stars, comedians, and former presidents all wrapped into one dynamic package. Recently, my husband and I had the good fortune to see ...

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Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)   If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is ...

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The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure by Mike Blue (Available on Amazon)   Imagine that you could just say, “Chuck it,” and walk away from the bonds that keep you tied to what Mike Blue, author of The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure, defines as the restrictive ...

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Koko's Kitten, Koko's Story, The Eduction of Koko all by Dr. Francine Patterson   Last night when I heard about the death of Koko, the lowland gorilla who was educated to communicate through American Sign Language by Dr. Francine Patterson, I went numb with grief. I have followed the life of ...

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The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)   A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I ...

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When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015) Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with ...

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            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually ...

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Together: A Journey for Survival by Ann S. Arnold (Avalerion Books, 20160)   At the March meeting of the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust, Mark Schonwetter, a survivor of the horrors of the 1930s and 40s, and his daughter, Ann S. Arnold, introduced the Commission to Ann's publication of ...

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The Devil Amongst the Lawyers by Sharyn McCrumb (St. Martin's Press, 2010)   Years ago, when I attended my first Malice Domestic convention, I met Sharyn McCrumb, author of three beloved series, including the Elizabeth McPerson, the Ballad, and the St. Dale series. Malice Domestic, which ...

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th Seduction by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown, and Co., 2017) For those who love hard core suspense fiction, what could be better than a fast paced novel with a psychopathic villain? The answer is, a book with two psychopathic villains! And that is exactly what famed author, ...

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The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg (Random House, 2016)   What happens to us when we die? Does everything stop and our bodies just turn to dust? Or do our souls continue to exist in some ethereal form? Are we able to see what happens to our loved ones; are we reunited with those who ...

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Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca (St. Martin's Press, 2016) At the turn of the 20th century, the thrilling, fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, had captured the imaginations of both British and American readers. In those days, when sleuthing as a career was ...

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2014)   Liane Moriarty is a great story teller and Big Little Lies is one of those engaging books that the reader doesn't want to end because it is such a riveting read. Although written in 2014, Moriarty's novel has been adapted recently ...

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The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman (Grove Press, 2016) I admit it. I am a Tudor junkie. So when I espied The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman on the shelves of our local library, I clutched it to my breast and ran to the check out counter. Can I recite every British ...

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Usually this column reviews both non-fiction and fiction books. Today I would like to digress and inform you about a true New Jersey gem, the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, located at 100 Grant Avenue, Deal Park, NJ. Nestled in a suburban area, just a couple of miles from the Atlantic Ocean, this ...

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Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman ( Penguin Random House, 2017) “Thalia Mars's wide amused mouth was augmented by meticulously applied coral lipstick. Her eyes were clear brown. Shoulder-length hair tinted the ivory of old piano keys had been whipped into a meringue of waves. Nearly a ...

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Without Mercy: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass (Harper Collins, 2016) In James Patterson's Master Class, an online course which I recommend highly to aspiring authors, Patterson talks about the validity of writing with a partner. Patterson notes several well respected creative teams like ...

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The Glory Years of the Pennsylvania Turnpike by Mitchell E. Dakelman and Neal A. Schorr (Arcadia, 2016) “Our story begins in the early 1960s with two young boys who had never met. One grew up near Pittsburgh, the other in central New Jersey,” writes Neal A. Schorr in the Introduction to The ...

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Food, Health, and Happiness by Oprah Winfrey (Melcher Media, 2017) In the Introduction to Food, Health, and Happiness Oprah Winfrey includes a photo of herself in size ten jeans, toting a red wagon loaded with fat. The caption with the photo reads, “Me, my Calvins, and that infamous wagon of fat ...

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Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (Ballantine Books, 2016)   When the last thing we notice Is the color of skin, And the first thing we look for is the beauty within; When the skies and oceans are clean again, We shall be free. Garth Brooks and Stephanie Davis   Small ...

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