House of Thieves by Charles Belfoure – Book Review

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I loved this book. Belfoure really knows how to make us sympathize and understand each character. The emotional connection I felt to each character, but especially John Cross and his daughter, Julia made the book that much more interesting.

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The book pivots on the gambling debts accrued by Crosses son, George, that John himself is forced to pay in the most intriguing way possible. As with his previous book, The Paris Architect, John Crosses’ very life, and the lives of his family, depend on his knowledge of the architecture of the houses and banks of the Gilded Age elite.

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While the rest of his family goes about their business unaware of the extreme danger they are in, John lives a double-life as a master thief for the gang known as “Kent’s Gents”. But John’s double-life is not the only one in the family. Julia wants out of her gilded cage; George finds relief in gambling, and the youngest son, Charlie makes friends with a newsboy and learns about life in the stews of New York.
I won’t tell you any more, just say that this is a very good book, with the background of the Gilded Age adding to the story. I highly recommend it.

The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley – Book Review

The Book of Lost and Found is one of those books that immediately brings you into it’s world. The book alternates between 1989 and the 1920’s and ‘30’s in an effortless way. Kate Darling, daughter of a renowned ballerina is mourning her mothers’ loss while taking care to visit her grandmother on a daily basis, when she is told of the vast “lie” that her grandmother is guilty of. Kate’s mother, an orphan who was taken in by the woman who becomes Kate’s grandmother, has died never knowing that her own mother had been trying to contact her for years.

The book tells the story of Kate’s biological grandmother’s life, while also telling us the story of Kate and her life. I really liked the back-and-forth story-telling. The attention to detail of the 1930’s and 1940’s wartime Paris was quite good; as was the more modern story of Kate.

This is quite an intriguing story of love and loss, and love regained. I highly recommend it for those of you who are looking for something engrossing to read.  Very well done!

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon – Book Review

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is the latest novel in the Outlander series, and as such continues the story so far. I must say that I really like this series; the attention to detail, the character development and the exciting scenarios really help move the story along. If there was an issue for me, it’s that now we’ve got so many plot lines going that it’s hard to spend enough time on each.

That being said, every time Gabaldon switches focus, I do tend to get completely caught up with that plot and actually forget about the rest of the characters. It’s only when we switch back that I realize “oh yeah, what is going on with these other characters?” This to me is one of the hallmarks of a good novel. I find I’m completely absorbed in this one time-line and I manage to stop wondering obsessively over the others.

This novel is still focusing on the American Revolution, and in the next one, I hope that we get the rest of Brianna and Rogers’ story. I kept hoping that we would switch back to their family, but I’m assuming the next novel will fill in those details. I actually read the series almost back-to-back, so now I’ll have to join all the other fans and wait for the next installment with bated breath. I highly recommend all the novels in this series!

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – Book Review

I really liked this book, however, I must say that this fantasy also includes a great deal of horror. The main character, Carolyn, is likable but leaves us wondering what is wrong with her.  It takes much of the book to figure out her motives and once we do, we finally get some understanding of her actions.  I liked that we weren’t told the entire story at the beginning, as it made the book that much more interesting.

Carolyn and her siblings, twelve in all, were adopted, under mysterious means by the all-powerful figure they call Father.  If there was a contest for bad parenting, Father would win it, hands down.  The children become what Father calls Librarians; and learn everything there is to know under their own “catalogue”. Carolyn learns languages; her brother David learns war; while another sister learns all there is to know about death. All twelve of them become exceedingly proficient at their catalogue (for if they don’t the consequences can be dire).

Father is the figure of ultimate power; he is a god who has control of the entire universe. As such, his word is law and all his children must obey. There are plenty of mysteries to be solved, and I found Carolyn to be an interesting character. I really liked the character development and the fantasy-world building. This novel is well-written with plenty of mysteries that lead to obsessive reading. I really enjoyed how all the small strings were tied up at the end. It was well worth the trip into the fantasy. and I highly recommend it.