Beth's Book Review

May 26, 2020

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben. (Grand Central Publishing, 2020)   A feral child, a missing teenage girl, and a wise-cracking, sharp-tongued television criminal attorney, and her teenage grandson, Matthew, are the central characters of Harlan Coben’s newest best-seller, The Boy from ...

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The Good Neighbor by Cathryn Grant (Inkubator Books, 2020)  Recently I was at a doctor’s appointment and my physician asked if I had read anything good lately. Then she offered a tip to read The Good Neighbor by Cathryn Grant.  The Good Neighbor starts off with an intriguing Prologue. In ...

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Food for Thought: Food History & Science Cooking Techniques  by Mark Vogel.   ( 2020). Are you suffering from cabin fever, having  been on “lockdown” for a week, facing a future of being housebound for who knows how long? I have a suggestion to help you pass the time in a productive and ...

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The Good Neighbor by Cathryn Grant (Inkubator Books, 2020)  Recently I was at a doctor’s appointment and my physician asked if I had read anything good lately. Then she offered a tip to read The Good Neighbor by Cathryn Grant.  The Good Neighbor starts off with an intriguing Prologue. In ...

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The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown, 2018)   Who is “the perfect couple”in Elin Hilderbrand’s novel The Perfect Couple. Is it Greer Garrison Winbury, famous mystery author, and her husband, Tag, the owners of the Summerland estate on Nantucket? Is it the Winbury’s son, Benji ...

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Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham  (Doubleday, 2015)   Quirky lawyers as protagonists make for fun reading if they are three-dimensional and believable. Take Mickey Haller, “the Lincoln lawyer,” from Michael Connelly’s series. Haller, a defender of bottom feeders like drug lords, bicycle gang ...

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Chaos: Charles Manson the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties. John  O’Neill and Dan Piepenbring  (New York: Little Brown, 2019). It took me three weeks to read Chaos:Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties. Although fascinating, with its detailed analysis of the ...

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Retro Review: Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk (Doubleday, 1955) A coming of age story, set in 1933, Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk is a novel that still speaks to us. Written in 1955, Wouk’s strengths are in his character development, themes, and elegant prose. What is especially ...

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The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (Scout Press, 2019)   “3rd September 2017 Dear Mr. Wrexham, I know you don’t know me but please, please, please you have to help me.”   With this intriguing opening, Ruth Ware launches her fifth  novel, The Turn of the Key, a mystery reminiscent of ...

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 In my last review of Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates, I wrote that Ms. Oates had died last year.  Ms. Oates is alive and well. This is an error that needs correction, and apologies go to Ms. Oates for the error.   Tidelands by Philippa Gregory (Atria Books, 2019) What separates Tidelands ...

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Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Dial Press, 2019) On a road trip to Florida in 2000, my husband asked me what I was reading that was causing me to laugh out loud. “I am reading a new book by Sophie Kinsella called Confessions of a Shopaholic,” I replied. “Shauna gave it to me to read.” ...

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Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates (Harper Collins, 1995)   In the study of deviant behavior, there has been a continual debate over what causes people to be evil. Is it their upbringings by parents who abuse them? Or, are sociopaths just born bad? There are all kinds of arguments on both sides of ...

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America’s First Daughter  by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (William Morrow, 2016)   Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, was a complicated man. The narrative of America’s First Daughter, told in the voice of Jefferson’s adoring daughter, Patsy, gives us ...

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Thou Shalt Not - Production by Thinkery & Verse   On September 16, 1922, the bodies of an Episcopal priest, Edward Wheeler Hall and a member of his choir, Eleanor Reinhardt Mills, were discovered in a field near the New Brunswick-Franklin Township border. The bloody, butchered bodies ...

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Law and Disorder by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker ( 2013)   The premise of Law and Disorder by John Douglas, long time FBI profiler and his long time writing partner, Mark Olshaker, is this, “Whenever theory supersedes evidence, and prejudice deposes rationalism, there can be no justice.” ...

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Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarity (Flatiron Books, 2018)   The title of Liane Moriarity’s 2018 novel, Nine Perfect Strangers, is quite clever as it is a double entendre. The nine people who gather at Tranquillum House have never met before; they are, in fact, perfect strangers to one ...

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Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018)   Where the Crawdads Sing is Delia Owens’ first novel, although she and her husband have published three internationally acclaimed non-fiction books about Owens’ experiences as a wildlife scientist in Africa. Where the Crawdads ...

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Clean and Lean by Ian K. Smith, M.D. (St. Martin’s Press, 2019)   I have battled the bulge my whole life. Most people have, especially as they get older. To help people like me, and to provide new information to those who have achieved the ideal body weight and muscle tone, Ian K. Smith, M.D.

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The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker (William Morrow, 2019)   Why + How = Who The formula above represents the manner in which criminal profilers assess the suspects in a serious crime. In the gripping new Douglas and Olshaker book, The Killer Across the Table, the ...

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Clean and Lean by Ian K. Smith, M.D. (St. Martin’s Press, 2019)   I have battled the bulge my whole life. Most people have, especially as they get older. To help people like me, and to provide new information to those who have achieved the ideal body weight and muscle tone, Ian K. Smith, M.D.

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Cari Mora by Thomas Harris (Grand Central, 2019)   Hannibal Lecter . . . Just the name sends chills down one’s spine. Lecter, who had a penchant for dining on human brains and “fava beans with a nice Chianti,” was first mentioned briefly in the 1981 novel The Red Dragon. However, Lecter takes ...

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Cari Mora by Thomas Harris (Grand Central, 2019)   Hannibal Lecter . . . Just the name sends chills down one’s spine. Lecter, who had a penchant for dining on human brains and “fava beans with a nice Chianti,” was first mentioned briefly in the 1981 novel The Red Dragon. However, Lecter takes ...

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Farewell, Herman Wouk   The author of my favorite novels, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, Herman Wouk died at the age of 103 on May 17, 2019 at his home in Palm Springs, California. As one of the warriors of the “greatest generation,”  Wouk enlisted in the Navy following the ...

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My Fair Lady directed by Barlett Sher   Robert Stevens, the great drama director at Highland Park High School, was an inspiring teacher, who had a great capacity for encouraging young thespians to achieve the most in their performances. In the late fall of 1962, Mr. Stevens traveled to New ...

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10% Percent Happier by Dan Harris (Harper Collins, 2014)   My beloved sister-in-law, Betty Lenart, passed away last year. She faced death with a unique serenity, deeply dedicated to her Catholic faith. Each year Betty would go on a religious retreat, often located at the Jersey shore, where ...

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The Weiss Sisters by Naomi Ragen (MacMillan, 2013)   Naomi Ragen made her mark in the literary world with the wonderful novel, Sotah, published in 2001. Since then I have followed her career, reading every work. Ragen’s novels are generally about the complicated lives of Orthodox Jews and the ...

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Then She Was Gone  by Lisa Jewell (Atria, 2017)   Then She Was Gone  by Lisa Jewell gets top marks in delivering the creep factor to those of us who like psychological thrillers that would have ended up being films directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Reminiscent of the classic The Collector by John ...

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Seven Deadly Sins: Lust.  A Scribophile Anthology, 2019. Twenty-one aspiring writers, who critique and assist other writing neophytes on Scribophile, were selected to have their short stories published in Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, the final volume in the Seven Deadly Sin collection. The other six ...

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Hungry Girl Simply 6 by Lisa Lillien (St. Martin’s Press, 2019) The woman who created a chocolate oatmeal recipe that is so good you are convinced that it is a gourmet chocolate mousse, Lisa Lillien (or Hungry Girl), is back with her 13th cookbook, and it is the best one yet!  Hungry Girl Simply ...

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And Every Word is True by Gary McAvoy (Literati, 2019) Some books you can’t wait to finish; some books you never want to end. For me, Gary McAvoy’s rivetting new book, And Every Word is True, was so intriguing that I did not want it to finish it. Granted, true crime is my favorite genre, and any ...

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