MostlyFiction.com Book Reviews


Hello, MostlyFiction.com readers!

19 new reviews were posted to MostlyFiction.com today. Click on the book cover to read the review; click on reviewer's name to learn more about the reviewer.

If you are wondering why you have not received a newsletterin the mail for some time; let me tell you what happened. I sent the last newsletter in October. I had been having difficulty getting it to send for the past month but was relieved when it seemed to go through. But then, moments later, I realized that MostlyFiction.com was totally gone; the only evidence it existed was a strange message about checking e-mail. Since this was all happening after 11 at night, I had to wait until morning to resolve it and worse, I had to wait until California started its business day. Basically, my web host server changed the rules on me and thus I had inadvertenly violated my contract. To get MostlyFiction.com back, I had to promise to never, ever send another newsletter through my web host. Unfortunately, time has been tight and I did not have chance to research alternatives until this weekend -- so fingers are crossed that this new solution works.

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HEDWIG AND BERTI
by Frieda Arkin
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

This is a saga of the totally unlikely marriage of a grandly Teutonic woman, Hedwig Kessler, and her diminutive cousin Berti, two upper-class German Jews forced to leave their homeland during the rise of the Nazis. The characters are subtle, and finely-honed, and their story is told with grace and unexpected humor.

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BAKER TOWERS
by Jennifer Haigh
Reviewed by Olivia Boler

Born and raised on Bakerton's Polish Hill, the five Novak children come of age during wartime, a thrilling era when the world seems on the verge of changing forever. This is a family saga and a love story, a hymn to a time and place long gone, to America's industrial past and the men and women we now call the Greatest Generation.

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THE EMPIRE OF THE WOLVES
by Jean-Christophe Grangé
Reviewed by Jana Kraus

French reporter turned author Grangé has come up with a real page-turner in his fourth book. This terrific suspense thriller delves into contemporary Turkish politics, exploited Turkish immigrant workers in Europe, the ins-and outs of the French police system, neurological research and experimentation, plastic surgery, serial killers, amnesia, and memory erasure or distortion.

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IMPROBABLE
by Adam Fawer
Reviewed by Judi Clark

David Caine is a compulsive gambler who can calculate amazing calculations in his head. He also suffers from seizures. He is offered an experimental drug to control his seizures and finds himself tapping into a collective unconcious or the everywhen. An action-packed thriller with big ideas: Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, Einstein's theory of relativity, Schrödinger's cat, Laplace's demon and probability theory.

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THE FALLS
by Joyce Carol Oates
Reviewed by Carisa Richner

A haunting story of the powerful spell Niagara Falls casts upon two generations of a family, leading to tragedy, love, loss, and, ultimately, redemption.

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DOUBLES SHOT
by Diane Mott Davidson
Reviewed by Shannon Bloomstran

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on to the snowy streets of fictional Aspen Meadows, Colorado, *POW!*, another murder rocks the small town. Luckily it happens to be the home of America’s #1 crime-fighting caterer, Goldy Schulz.

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WIVES & SISTERS
by Natalie R. Collins
Reviewed by Jana Kraus

When Allison Jensen was six, she and her best friend were playing in the woods near home. One moment her friend was beside her; then she was gone. Now, years later, trying to fill in the gaps of a patchwork memory, to make sense of the senseless, Allison still can get no answers from the Mormon community in which she lives.

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PERHAPS SHE'LL DIE
by M. K. Preston
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Chantalene Morrell, a Gypsy from Tetumka, Okla., returns in search of the men who lynched her father and caused her mother to disappear. She gets a whiff of what she's up against when the butcher offers her information and ends up murdered, but a dauntless Chantalene, aided by a local boy back home for a visit, plumbs the depths of the hostile town and her own memories.

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THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY
by Tony Eprile
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Eprile fuses a searing political and cultural satire with a haunting coming-of-age story to render South Africa's turbulent past with striking clarity.

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BIG BREASTS & WIDE HIPS
by Mo Yan
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Jintong, the only son of Shangguan Lu, tells the story of his remarkable mother, his eight sisters, and their families as they live through these seminal events. This family saga is set in rural Gaomi, in northeast China, and vividly portrays political and historical events--most of them bloody--over the course of the twentieth century.

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A SPECTACLE OF CORRUPTION
by David Liss
Reviewed by Sebastian Fernandez

Benjamin Weaver, the quick-witted pugilist turned private investigator, returns in this sequel to the Edgar Award–winning novel, A Conspiracy of Paper.

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STATE OF FEAR
by Michael Crichton
Reviewed by Judi Clark

Once again Michael Crichton gives us his trademark combination of page-turning suspense, cutting-edge technology, and extraordinary research. State of Fear is a superb blend of edge-of-your-seat suspense and thought provoking commentary on how information is manipulated in the modern world.

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MULETRAIN TO MAGGODY
by Joan Hess
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Way down south in Maggody, Arkansas, Police Chief Arly Hanks must keep the peace when the Civil War -- or a darn good replication -- masks a modern-day murderer!

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DOUBLE PLAY
by Robert B. Parker
Reviewed by Hagen Baye

It is 1947, the year Jackie Robinson breaks major-league baseball's color barrier by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers-and changes the world. This is the story of that season, as told through the eyes of a difficult, brooding, and wounded man named Joseph Burke. Burke, a veteran of World War II and a survivor of Guadalcanal, is hired by Brooklyn Dodgers manager Branch Rickey to guard Robinson.

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DOWNTOWN: MY MANHATTAN
by Pete Hamill
Reviewed by Jana Kraus

A rich historical and personal portrait of Manhattan from the bestselling writer who is for many the living embodiment of the city.

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MARILYN'S LAST WORDS: HER SECRET TAPES AND MYSTERIOUS DEATH
by Matthew Smith
Reviewed by Jennifer Leblanc

Marilyn Monroe's death in August 1962, apparently a suicide, shocked the world. The coroner's report stated that her death was due to a massive overdose of Nembutal capsules. Looking back at thousands of documents, many never before published, and interviewing dozens of sources, Smith argues strongly for a startling new version of events.

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THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB
by Karen Joy Fowler
Reviewed by Jana Kraus

Six Californians join to discuss Jane Austen's novels. Over the six months they meet, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her finely sighted eye for the frailties of human behavior and her finely tuned ear for the absurdities of social intercourse, Fowler has never been wittier nor her characters more appealing. The result is a delicious dissection of modern relationships.

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JANE AUSTEN IN BOCA
by Paula Marantz Cohen
Reviewed by Jana Kraus

Jane Austen centered her classic novels around "three or four families in a country village." So does Paula Marantz Cohen in this witty twist on Pride and Prejudice---except this time the "village" is Boca Raton, Florida.

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THE RED AND THE GREEN
by Iris Murdoch
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

One of the very best things that Amazon.com and the Internet in general has done for us readers is to make out-of-print books accessible and affordable. As such, we appreciate Mary Whipple's review of a book from an author who should not be forgotten --even if her book is not longer available through a publishing house.

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Here are the previous newsletters, in case you missed them:

January 5, 2004 - PB

December 19, 2004

November 7, 2004

October 17, 2004 - PB

October 13, 2004

September 16, 2004

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Keep reading!

Judi Clark
MostlyFiction.com

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