“The Girl in the Spiders Web” by David Lagercrantz

Book CoverThis is the 4th novel in the series with protagonists tech genius Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Author David Lagercrantz takes over from previous author Stieg Larsson who died. Although the critics were not thrilled, I’m glad I gave the book a chance. It’s a bit slow to start, but the last 100 pages were action packed excitement. Blomkvist is contacted by a tech genius who is the victim of industrial espionage. When he arrives for the interview, he finds the man dead and his autistic son traumatized. He enlists Salander’s help to uncover the murderer and protect the man’s son.

Evaluation: 4 out of 5

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

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This book is historical fiction based on the life of Beryl Markham, who was born in Britain, but grew up in Africa as an adventurer, author (her best-known book was “West with the Night”), and the first female horse trainer in Africa. In my mind, however, her most notable claim to fame is that she was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean from east to west.

Evaluation: 5 out of 5

“The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd

Book CoverThis book is historical fiction which takes place in the early 1800s, and focuses on sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimke, who were raised in a slave-owning southern family, but who fought for the abolition of slavery and for women’s rights. They were two very forward-thinking women who were definitely ahead of their time.

Evaluation: 5 out of 5

“Dead Wake” by Erik Larson

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This book details the sinking of the Lusitania by a German u-boat, shortly before the United States entered World War I, with the loss of almost 2,000 people, and only 764 survivors. Many of the passengers were very prominent people, and the book tells the stories of many of them, both casualties and survivors. It also recounts President Woodrow Wilson’s personal life, and how he was conflicted about whether this country should enter the war. I found it very interesting and informative about a subject of which I previously knew very little.

Evaluation: 5 out of 5

“Ashley Bell” by Dean Koontz

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This latest novel by the masterful Dean Koontz does not disappoint. This is a very imaginative and intriguing story of a young woman in her 20’s with supernatural abilities, who is in a fight for her life in two different realities. If you are a fan of the author, you’ll enjoy the book.

Evaluation: 5 out of 5

“This is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of The Grateful Dead” Edited by Blair Jackson

An interesting account of the history of The Grateful Dead, coming firsthand from the mouths of the band members (both alive and dead), producers, drug-dealers, roadies, and soundmen who helped turn the dead from a cult hippie jam band to one of the biggest stadium acts in the world. I’m not even a fan and I thought this was a fairly compelling read. Add a star if you’re a deadhead.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

“All the Stars in the Heavens” by Adriana Trigiani

Book CoverThis book is historical fiction set primarily in 1930s Hollywood, detailing the scandalous affair between Clark Gable and Loretta Young. Many other well-known movie stars of that era, among them Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy, David Niven, and Hattie McDaniel, are also prominent characters in the book. I think that anyone interested in the Golden Age of Hollywood and the stars of that time will love reading this book.

Evaluation: 5 out of 5

“The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters

Book CoverIn post WW1 England, a widowed woman and her daughter take in a married couple as tenants to help defray home ownership costs. The daughter becomes entangled in to the couple’s relationship, causing much havoc. This was an engrossing novel, giving the reader a glimpse of life for a lesbian woman, at a time when there was little acceptance of the lifestyle.

Evaluation: 4 out of 5