Sunday, August 30, 2020

Fast Girls


Author: Elise Hooper 

Publisher: William Morrow Books

Year:  2020


Fast Girls is a fictional account of three real life US Olympians competing in the 1936 Berlin Games. But it is not Jesse Owens’ story. Instead it is the story of Betty Robinson, Louise Stokes, and Helen Stephens. 

Betty Robinson was a member of the first US women’s track and field team at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. She stunned the games by winning the gold medal in the 100 meter dash. She missed the 1932 games because she was recovering from a horrific plane crash. She was determined to make the team for the 1936 games. 

Louise Stokes was a Black teen from New England when she qualified for the 1932 Los Angles Olympics. Unfortunately she never got the compete because of racism. She qualified for the 1936 team and once again wasn’t given the opportunity to compete. 

Helen Stephens grew up dirt poor on a hard scrabble farm in Missouri. She was a tall, awkward girl and was always an outcast - until a coach recognized her athletic potential and started her on the path to the Berlin games. She won two gold medals. 

Author Elise Hooper does a remarkable job weaving their stories together. These ladies had to face sexism, racism, poverty and physical injuries to achieve their dreams. I rarely read historical fiction but I’m happy I picked this up. Great for readers who enjoy historical fiction, sports or who are just looking for something inspirational. 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Under a Dark Sky

Author: Lori Radee-Day

Publisher: HarperCollins

Year/ 2018


Eden Wallace is grieving the complicated death of her husband Bix when she checks in to the guesthouse of a dark sky park in upper Michigan. Her husband had made the reservation for the trip months before his death and Eden decided to keep the reservation in hopes of easing her grief and to try to get over her fear of the dark.  Eden developed the phobia when Bix died. Now she’s going to a super dark place. 

When Eden gets to the guesthouse, she discovers she’s not alone. The guesthouse is communal and houses other guests.  Eden won’t have the quiet dark place to herself as she assumed she would. 

The other guests turn out to be a group of college friends celebrating an anniversary of their own. The group of friends also have their own secrets and one of them is murdered the first night of their reunion. 

Everyone is a suspect including Eden. As the sheriff investigates, Eden does her own snooping to clear her name. As more tragedy strikes members of the college friends, their secrets are exposed. Eden also must come to terms with the secrets surrounding her husband’s death as she fights to find the killer. 

The group of friends aren’t very likable characters. There seemed to be a lot of jealousy in the group. Hard to imagine them as a close knit group back in the day. 

The highlight of book for me was one character- Officer Cooley. Cooley spent the most time with all the murder suspects. She could be sarcastic and judgmental one minute, but then understanding the next. She liked dogs more than people. I wanted to hear her backstory of how she chose a career in law enforcement and her exploits on the job. 

The book was just okay for me. It’s a good read for fans of a locked room mystery. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Behind the Red Door

Author: Megan Collins

Publisher: Atria Books

Year: 2020

⭐️ ⭐️⭐️ 

Publisher’s description: When Fern Douglas sees the news about Astrid Sullivan, a thirty-four-year-old missing woman from Maine, she is positive that she knows her. Fern’s husband is sure it’s because of Astrid’s famous kidnapping—and equally famous return—twenty years ago, but Fern has no memory of that, even though it happened an hour outside her New Hampshire hometown. And when Astrid appears in Fern’s recurring nightmare, one in which a girl reaches out to her, pleading, Fern fears that it’s not a dream at all, but a memory.

Back at her childhood home to help her father pack for a move, Fern purchases a copy of Astrid’s recently published memoir—which may have provoked her original kidnapper to abduct her again—and as she reads through its chapters and visits the people and places within it, she discovers more evidence that she has an unsettling connection to the missing woman. With the help of her psychologist father, Fern digs deeper, hoping to find evidence that her connection to Astrid can help the police locate her. But when Fern discovers more about her own past than she ever bargained for, the disturbing truth will change both of their lives forever.

My take: I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t. I think it’s because I didn’t like any of the characters. Fern suffers from major anxiety caused by her parents all while she was growing up. Her mother pretty much ignored her. Her psychologist father spent her childhood scaring the living daylights out of her all in the name of research. Her parents have no redeeming qualities. I couldn’t even like Fern’s perfect husband because he seemed too perfect! Astrid, kidnapped as a teen and then again as an adult, is also a horrible person. 

The book is well written and the author does a nice job with the setting. Fern’s childhood home is next to a creepy forest. And in the end I was rooting for Fern and her happiness. 

This psychological thriller definitely didn’t thrill me! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A New Adventure


My name is Kris and I'm a retired high school librarian. I've been a reader for as long as I can remember. I was always the kid who spent the most money at the elementary school book fair every year. I went to a high school that assigned students to read five books every summer. While everyone else complained about it, I loved it. Reading and books have always been my number one hobby. Other hobbies have come and gone over the years, but not reading. I love books and talking about them. I love borrowing them from my local public library and i also spend an outrageous amount of money buying books. I'll read in any format-print, ereader or audiobook. My favorite genre is mystery and thriller. This blog is a new adventure for me and it will probably take me a little while to iron out all the bugs. So be patient and bear with me!

Happy reading!

Under Your Spell

  Author: Laura Wood Narrator: Ellie Heydon Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Year: 2024 🎧𝗔𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗼𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗥𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄🎧 Many thanks...