Hot Reads for Cold Nights Book Reviews

Looking for reading inspiration? Check out these book reviews submitted as part of our Hot Reads for Cold Nights winter reading program.

*Reviews are published as submitted by the author. The views and opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the official policy or position of East Central Regional Library.

Last updated: 1/28/2019

 

Book Title: The Mirk and Midnight Hour

Author: Jane Nickerson

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: Pleasant read, trying for the Alice Hoffman metaphysical touch but not quite getting there.

 

Book Title: The Daily Show

Author: Oliver Wyman

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: An oral history of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Spans the entire run of the show from before Stewart through his retirement. It was enjoyable to learn about how the show was made from the inside.

 

Book Title: Mrs. Polifax and the golden triangle

Author: Dorothy gilman

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: I enjoy the shenanigans that ensue on mrs. Polifax’s assignments. In this one, Cyrus is kidnapped… in thailand.

 

Book Title: She’s no faerie princess

Author: Christine warren

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: I enjoyed this book. It was a story with demons and werewolves and fae. True love beats all… always a good theme.

 

Book Title: Passing Through Paradise

Author: Susan Wiggs

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Sandra is married to a politician who dies in an accident leaving Sandra under suspicion.
It’s a page turner.

 

Book Title: Nora roberts land

Author: AVA MILES

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: It started slow, but half way through i was anxious to see what was next. The end predictable but ok

 

Book Title: Night of Miracles

Author: Elizabeth Berg

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: This is a sequel to THE STORY OF ARTHUR TRULUV. Berg continues to develop the characters that we loved. Arthur has died but his neighbor, Lucille, begins to build a new life after the death of her long-time love, Frank. Maddy is grown up, finishing college and about to get married. Her daughter, Nola, is growing up, too. Tiny, Monica and Jason and Abby are new characters skillfully woven into the story.

 

Book Title: Night of Miracles

Author: Elizabeth Berg

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: I really enjoy Elizabeth Berg’s books. This one is set in a small town in Missouri – and has a cast of characters of all ages. The over arching idea is that life is worth living and the possibilities of love and meaning and belonging are there even when the possibilities appear limited. New starts, new friendships, hope.

 

Book Title: Between Two Worlds

Author: Roxanna Sabari

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Insightful look into Iranian Prison experience.

 

Book Title: Hungry like a wolf

Author: Christine warren

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: My favorite of the series so far… I did see the surprise villian coming, though. I really enjoyed listening.

 

Book Title: Drive me wild

Author: Christine warren

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: This was the story of a supporting character from previous books. It was good to see him get a happy ending.

 

Book Title: Mountains Beyond Mountains

Author: Tracy Kidder

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: This biography of Dr. Paul Farmer takes its title from the Haitian proverb expressing the people’s history of vast layers of problems lying beyond any problems that may have been solved. From Farmer’s unconventional Florida childhood to his finding a “hometown” in rural Haiti, Kidder takes us along as he follows the doctor through school, across seas, into medical training and practice, and onto meeting the epidemiological challenges of this age. Farmer may loom larger than life in both reputation and deed but Kidder finds the man underneath.

 

Book Title: The End of Temperence Dare

Author: Wendy Webb

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: Scary novel set in Minnesota.

 

Book Title: The Quotidian Mysteries

Author: Kathleen Norris

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: In this volume, taken from the Madeleva Lectures in Spirituality, Kathleen Norris illustrates the possibility of great blessing arising from the mundane of daily life. “Laundry, Liturgy, and ‘Women’s Work’” is full of testimony from both historical figures and Norris’s personal life. She shows us not only that God’s attention is fixed on the little things but how the minutiae constitute that which becomes most vital to our ability to live well.

 

Book Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Unique perspective on WWII era experiences. Hard to get into at first (with Death as the narrator) but after a bit it was a great, engaging read

 

Book Title: The Rosie Project

Author: Graeme Simsion

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: A man with Asperger’s begins a journey to find a wife. He has a view of humanity that is different and fresh. During his journey, as he takes us along, we find about love and human relationships that adds to our own understanding.

 

Book Title: On the prowl

Author: Christine warren

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: I enjoyed the book. Listened to it in one day. Surprise villian.

 

Book Title: Breaking dawn

Author: Stephanie meyer

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: Best book of the series. Love that they wait for marriage. Quite a bit of angst in the beginning. Good action.

 

Book Title: Eclipse

Author: Stephanie meyer

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: Classic love triangle… just add vampires and werewolves. Good action… keeps you reading.

 

Book Title: New moon

Author: Stephanie meyer

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: Bella’s character is stated to be very mature… but she goes into a deep decline when her relationship breaks up… the action kept me reading, though.

 

Book Title: Against the law the raines if wind canyon

Author: Kat martin

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Interesting challenge to find the adopted child of Larks deceased younger sister. Leads to interesting not so good experiences for the child

 

Book Title: Against the law the raines if wind canyon

Author: Kat martin

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Interesting challenge to find the adopted child of Larks deceased younger sister. Leads to interesting not so good experiences for the child

 

Book Title: How I Live Now

Author: Meg Rosoff

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: Credulity was stretched multiple times but the story kept my interest anyway. The author manages to paint a vivid picture of a rather dark time in the lives of the characters.

 

Book Title: What Alice Forgot

Author: Liane Moriarty

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: I really enjoyed this book. Really interesting story line. I liked how the reader learns along with Alice on all she has forgotten. I was hoping for a good ending, and I was more than pleased with how it ended. This is the third book I’ve read from this author and I can’t wait until I read another.

 

Book Title: The silver star

Author: Gilbert morris

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: Slow moving book. The story seemed too easy. Each challenge was easy to solve and something good always resulted. Just to easy to predict.

 

Book Title: The Postmistress

Author: Sarah Black

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: This story is set during WWII and goes between a small town at the tip of Massachusetts and London, England. Though the time period may seem long ago it’s theme is very timely. The question it poses is: How do you bear (in both senses) the news. It’s about the lies we tell to protect others and the lies we tell ourselves in order not to acknowledge what we can’t bear: that we are alive and eating lunch, while bombs are falling, and refugees are crammed into camps, and the news comes toward us every day, every hour of the day. And what, in the end, do we do?

It’s a thought provoking read, and it was worth it. I may not agree with author’s conclusions entirely but I understand the question.

 

Book Title: Run

Author: Ann Patchett

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: In her signature style, Ann Patchett weaves a complex tale of intersecting stories, themes and characters. With elegance and smart metaphor she creates suspense that turns pages. Though the setting spans mere miles and the timeline just twenty-four hours, Patchett’s plot reveals the great dichotomy of poverty and and wealth in our midst. She portrays the constructed worlds of work and community, arising of interest, talent and need, choice being the benefit of privilege. An expert in the diagramming of social constructs, Patchett allows us to feel the universal push and pull of family and self.
The importance of relationship, inherited or created, remains a vital message. We understand that life’s losses and gains are never quantifiable and are common to us all.

 

Book Title: Girl, Wash Your Face

Author: Rachel Hollis

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: A very easy read about the lies we tell ourselves. Love her stories that go with each chapter. Many hit home, even though they are not new concepts. I love the growth mindset she has. A book I want my daughter to read when she is a bit older.

 

Book Title: The Inn at Rose Harbor

Author: Debbie Macomber

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: If you like to read Debbie Macomber I recommend this book . You will love it.

 

Book Title: Rock chick. Redemption

Author: Kristen ashley

What did you think?: Deceitful (1 fox)

Review: Roxie meets hank nightingale. Hank falls for roxie but roxie fights her feelings because she comes from the wrong side of town she believes. But hank won’t give up even when things gets dangerous.

 

Book Title: Law man

Author: Kristen ashley

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: Shy Mara is in love with her neighbor, mitch. Things heat up and they end up getting together and trying to stay safe while they rescue mara’s neice and nephew.

 

Book Title: Jacob

Author: Day

What did you think?: Deceitful (1 fox)

Review: Jacob God love you kiss

 

Book Title: The Shunning

Author: Beverly Lewis

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: I always love reading about the Amish. This was my second tine reading this one.

 

Book Title: Bird Box

Author: Josh Maler

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Very suspenseful

 

Book Title: The last crusie

Author: kate christensen

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: Liked the development of the 3 main characters. Didn’t care for the ending, seemed too abrupt. Perhaps there will be a sequel?

 

Book Title: Look Alive Twenty-five

Author: Janet Evanovick

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: Even though this is book 25 of this series, Look Alive Twenty-five made me laugh as always. I love the characters and all the crazy things that happen. This may have been slightly less outrageous than usual, but still a fun read and a welcome change from the darker books I lean towards.

 

Book Title: This is Where I Leave You

Author: Jonathan Tropper

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: The disconnected Foxmann family returns home to sit shiva for their deceased father.
Told from a very male point of view – the family reunion traverses through every configuration of family drama possible, at first amusing to observe (and, thankfully, not be a participant) but I found myself wondering just how long the seven days and nights of shiva could possibly be…

A good read if you are looking for something that requires little mental effort, and have the stomach for over-done plot twists and a heavy dose of stereotypical characters.

 

Book Title: Not you ordinary fairytale

Author: Christine warren

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: This book was interesting. Several attacks and a surprise villian. I enjoyed it.

 

Book Title: GoodNight Stories for Rebel Girls

Author: Francesca Cavallo & Elena Favilli

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: Loved reading about strong women in history with my daughter. We were both impressed by so many women that were included in this book, many of which we never heard of! We are excited to read the 2nd book together soon!

 

Book Title: Orphan Train Girl (Young readers’ edition)

Author: Christina Baker Kline

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: A worthwhile read! I have had the adult version on my to-read list, but kept noticing it in my school library. So, I read the young readers’ edition. It was interesting to learn about a topic in our history that I don’t think many know much about. I have heard of the orphan trains, but that was about it. I am sure the adult version goes into much more detail, so I will still keep it on my to-read list.

 

Book Title: The Proposal at Siesta Key: Amish Brides of Pinecraft, Book 2

Author: Shelley Shepard Gray

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: I love reading these books. It is a nice series of Amish stories.

 

Book Title: Simply Clean: The Proven Method

Author: Becky Rapinchuk

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Loved all of the tips and forms available to help in organizing

 

Book Title: The Traitor’s Wife

Author: Kathleen Kent

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: At first I found the jumping around between different perspectives difficult. Martha was my favorite and it was difficult to not skip ahead to the chapters with her focus. Kent uses many formats like letters and diary entries as well but in the end the story weaves together.

 

Book Title: Their virgin princess

Author: Lexi blake

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: This book was slow in the middle, but had good action with a plane crash, attempted murder, and love.

 

Book Title: Black woman magic

Author: Christine warren

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: I enjoyed this books twists and turns. The title however is a little weird.

 

Book Title: Stephanie the Starfish Fairy

Author: Daisy Meadows

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: Fifth books in the Ocean Fairies series. Rachel and Kirsty find the golden conch shell and the magic starfish, but Stephanie is in trouble. Can they help their fairy friend escape the goblins?

 

Book Title: I, Alex Cross

Author: James Paterson

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Excellent writing. Some areas too graphic for me but needed for the story. A mix of detective work and family relationships. Suspenseful with difficulty to guess the next happenings

 

Book Title: Lands of Lost Borders – A Journey on the Silk Road

Author: Kate Harris

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: I thought the first part of the book was a slow start because it was a lot about her college life before the journey. Her descriptions about the ride, the countries she traveled through, her adventures and the people she met was interesting. But, at times it was a slow read due to her inserts of topics and quotes from other authors and historical people. Torn between giving a it 2 or 3 rating.

 

Book Title: Prince charming doesn’t live here

Author: Christine warren

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: I enjoyed this book. It was fantasy at its best.

 

Book Title: Test the Sea Turtle Fairy

Author: Daisy Meadows

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: Rachel and Kirsty work with the fairy Tess and her magical sea turtle to find a piece of the golden conch shell before Jack Frost’s goblins do. Plus, they work together to help the baby turtles get to the ocean.

 

Book Title: Mercy

Author: Jodi Picoult

What did you think?: Deceitful (1 fox)

Review: The description of deceitful for this rating system’s score of just one out of four is appropriate as I finally reach the end of a long and tedious read. Clearly Jodi Picoult has honed her skills and attracted outstanding editors in the decades since her novel “Mercy” was published. Her use of literary devices, beautiful imagery, and masterful way with words shine through “Mercy” to create a fictional world alive with people. However, there are far too many disjointed themes, sub stories, and fleshed out characters. There is history and geography, there are ghost stories, there are love affairs and betrayals, all of which radiate out from what may or may not have been the primary story line. The emergence of computer systems producing virtual realities in the early 1990s is even included in what read like an endless stream of vignettes. I slogged through simply because I had time, running a low fever and resting in bed. Hoping to see everything come together concisely, I kept turning pages. I was disappointed, lured by my enjoyment of her later work. I did find it interesting to recognize that some of the psychology introduced in “Mercy” is explored in greater depth through her more recent book “The Pact.” She doesn’t let go of a great idea!

 

Book Title: Created to be His Help Meet

Author: Debi Pearl

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Amazing marriages are attainable! This is the I think 4th time that I’ve read through this book, and new facets stand out each time. There are so many helpful stories and examples, as well as stern warnings that I’d like to learn from.

 

Book Title: Submission is not enough

Author: Lexi blake

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: I enjoy this series, but… this was a flashback book and seemed very long in certain places. The end was very good, though.

 

Book Title: Animal Farm

Author: George Orwell

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: Reading with the current political environment in perspective, it is actually quite scary.

 

Book Title: Before we were Yours

Author: Lisa Wingate

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Lots of unexpected twists and a very intriguing plot. Scary to think about the events being possible! Gave me nightmares.

 

Book Title: The winds of catawaba

Author: Laurie stahl

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Moved quickly with lots of action. Mix of lite romance with dealing with slave ownershop controversy. Blemdong of life between England and America.

 

Book Title: Mrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong buddha

Author: Dorothy gilman

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: I love the adventures of mrs. Pollifax. They are quirky and fun with some international history and fun characters.

 

Book Title: The Lost Hero

Author: Rick Riordan

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: First book in the 2nd Percy Jackson series, and I am glad my son kept pushing me to read it! It is very confusing, but only because the characters are confused. By the end, we get some answers, but I will need to continue reading the series. Like learning a bit more about Roman mythology.

 

Book Title: Small Animals

Author: Kim Brooks

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: Non fiction account of a mom being shamed and judged for leaving her child locked in a car while going for a short visit in a store was very compelling and complicated. I had mixed feelings and totally felt her grief being a mom myself.

 

Book Title: The five people you meet in heaven

Author: Mitch albom

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Great book, that makes you smile at the end and teaches you that even though you don’t think you’re doing much with your life everything you do leads to something better.

 

Book Title: You Don’t Own Me

Author: Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: An entertaining “Under Suspicion” novel.

 

Book Title: Pia the Penguin Fairy

Author: Daisy Meadows

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: Rachel and Kirsty help Pia find a piece of the golden conch shell and the penguin from Fairyland before the goblins do. They are free trying to help find all 7 pieces of shell so the ocean creatures go back to their normal routines.

 

Book Title: The Keepsake

Author: Tess Gerritsen

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: I enjoyed the plot twists and easy to listen to. Interesting archaeological details makes for an unusual who-done-it.

 

Book Title: The Woman Who Smashed Codes

Author: Jason Fagone

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: The subtitle of this book is “A true story of love, spies and the unlikely heroine who outwitted America’s enemies”. That is a good summary. Really interesting read about the husband and wife team who were pioneers in codebreaking. Their work became the foundation of the present day NSA.

It spans the first World War and goes through to the present day but most interesting is the time period leading up to and through WWII and Elizabeth’s role in defeating the Nazi regime.

 

Book Title: The women of catawba

Author: Hilda Stahl

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Deep thinking story about coming to America and the struggles women faced plus differences in views about slavery. The tug and pull between brothers determined to each share land with different dreams of its use.

 

Book Title: A Pocketful of Crows

Author: Joanne M Harris

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Beautiful book-masterfully written. Combines fairy tales, mythology, magic – both dark and light.

 

Book Title: Tricksters point

Author: William kent Kruger

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: Very good book, I Absolutely love this author

 

Book Title: The Silkworm

Author: Robert Galbraith

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: No spoiler alert here: One book written by “Robert” before the world knew the true author. But that doesn’t spoil the reading. JK Rowlings is a clever (canny!) writer and the detective and sidekick in this series are unusual enough to keep your attention. A wonderful tromp around modern London as well.
One alert, though: this series is adult reading and adult, often gruesome topics.

 

Book Title: 1776

Author: David McCullough

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: Reading the details of American history as presented by David McCullough is always a pleasure. He makes his account of the Revolution a page turning drama of personal human stories without losing the epic proportions of this intense time of war.
His portrayal of Washington is compelling, as are the portraits drawn of young leaders like Nathanael Greene and Henry Knox, without whom victory may have been out of reach. The turns of weather and the creativity and collaboration of common folks surprised me with their impact on outcomes of battles that led to our independence. McCullough leaves a testimony of what a few sacrificed for many.

 

Book Title: Handle With Care

Author: Jodi Picoult

What did you think?: Artful (4 foxes)

Review: This complex story of a family wading through the challenges of life made more difficult by the severe genetic disability of a young daughter drew me in quickly. Willow survived birth with fractures sustained in utero and lives with osteogenesis imperfecta which means her bones lack enough collagen and break very easily.  Picoult expertly explores not only the fragility of a growing girl with this devastating diagnosis, but also that of marriages, friendships, and mental health strained by unrelenting stress. She will surprise you, as is her trademark, with unexpected twists and endings.

 

Book Title: Dominance never dies

Author: Lexi blake

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: I like this series by Lexi Blake. It’s an intriguing mix of dominant sex and spies.

 

Book Title: Five days in Paris

Author: Danielle steel

What did you think?: Tricky (2 foxes)

Review: This was an easy read. OK but slow times. The ending was very satisfying. Both main characters stayed ethical and lived as you would hope those in politics and working with drug companies would.

 

Book Title: And the Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: A good read, although not as good as his other books. Each chapter follows a different character, but it all intersects. A worthwhile read.

 

Book Title: The Perfect Couple

Author: Elin Hilderbrand

What did you think?: Canny (3 foxes)

Review: So many twists in the story I never guessed who was the person who committed the crime.

 

Book Title: Naked in death

Author: Nora Roberts

What did you think?: Deceitful (1 fox)

Review: Very good book