Category Archives: Fiction

“The Covenant” by Naomi Ragen

Book Cover

Tragedy hits a Jewish family living in the settlement area of East Jerusalem when a father and his young daughter are kidnapped and held for hostage by Hamas terrorists. Meanwhile the wife/mother who is in her third trimester of pregnancy fights to keep her unborn child alive despite her emotional stress and grief. The young woman’s grandmother calls upon friends she met while a prisoner at Auschwitz to assist in locating her kidnapped family members. This was an emotional story which impacts the reader like a ton of bricks. Truly sad, yet uplifting at times.

Evaluation: 5 out of 5

“The Chemist” by Stephanie Meyer

Book Cover

A former top secret government scientist teams up with a former government black ops agent to unravel the conspiracy that is targeting both of them for assassination. The plot gets a bit unrealistic at times but the conclusion gives the reader some satisfaction. Pretty typical of the genre. Nothing very special to me.

Evaluation: 3 out of 5

“Below the Belt” by Stuart Woods

Book Cover

Attorney Stone Barrington is asked by his close friend, former US President Will Lee, to pick up a brief case filled with classified information. Stone soon finds his life threatened by those who seek the contents of the case. As the story unfolds, politics, power, and the super rich people who are entwined in both, become central to the plot. This is a typical Stone Barrington (the man who can never do wrong), easy to read, with an under tone of humor, type mystery. If the reader is familiar with past books, it’s more of the same.

Evaluation: 3 out of 5

“The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead

Book Cover

This book graphically describes the horrors of slavery, and the cruelty and deprivations suffered by slaves at the hands of their masters. But the real twist in this book is that the Underground Railroad is a real railroad, with tracks, locomotives, station platforms, conductors, etc., and transports slaves as they try to escape to “free” states. The lives of the slaves are portrayed realistically, but other aspects of the book are figments of the author’s imagination.

 Evaluation: 4 out of 5

“A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman

Book Cover

The central character in this book is a curmudgeonly old man, recently widowed, who sets himself up as the overseer of his neighborhood, and is known as “the bitter neighbor from hell”. But when a young family with two small girls and an outgoing wife moves in next door, his world is turned upside down. Although the book has comical aspects, it also deals compassionately with serious social issues, such as grief, suicide, terminal illness, same-sex relationships, and more. I found it to be a very interesting read, and a thought-provoking discussion book.

Evaluation: 4 out of 5

“Cross the Line” by James Patterson

Book Cover

Alex Cross and his partner Sampson investigate the murders of multiple criminals by a gang of vigilantes. At the same time, his wife Chief of Detectives Bree Stone investigates the murder of her former boss, his girlfriend and a disgraced former colleague. This latest Alex Cross novel is typical of those that came before it. Easy, action filled reading.

Evaluation: 3 out of 5

“After You” by Jojo Moyes

Book Cover

This is the sequel to the novel (and movie) Me Before You and is best appreciated after the reading the first book or watching the movie. Caregiver Louisa Clark struggles to move forward with her life after the death of the man she was hired to assist. This is a story of learning to cope with profound grief and the impact of a loved one’s death. It is a bit over the top at times, but does an excellent job of allowing the reader to share in the emotional healing process.

Evaluation: 4 out of 5

“Small Great Things” by Judi Picoult

Book Cover

An African American nurse is put on trial for murder of a baby of a white supremacist couple who dies in the hospital a few days after birth. Although this book is technically about a baby’s death, it’s real focus is the racism that still exists in our country, both overt and insidious. The story is told from the different points of view of the main characters. It is emotionally charged and well written. I had a hard time putting it down.

Evaluation: 5 out of 5