2014 Summer Reading Book Reviews; Adult Fiction

These are reviews for adult fiction books from last years summer reading program.
Clicking each will bring you to the full book review on our Facebook page.

Bitter Tide by: Ann Stamos (Rating: 4/5)

Changing Habits by: Debbie Macomber (Rating 4/5)

In a more innocent time, three girls enter the convent. Angelina, Kathleen and Joanna come from very different backgrounds, but they have one thing in common—the desire to join a religious order. Despite the seclusion of the convent house in Minneapolis, they’re not immune to what’s happening around them, and each sister faces an unexpected crisis of faith. Ultimately Angie, Kathleen and Joanna all leave the sisterhood, abandoning the convent for the exciting and confusing world outside. The world of choices to be made, of risks to be taken. Of men and romantic love. The world of ordinary women….

Great Expectations by: Charles Dickens (Rating 3/5)

In this unflaggingly suspenseful story of aspirations and moral redemption, humble, orphaned Pip, a ward of his short-tempered older sister and her husband, Joe, is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dares to dream of becoming a gentleman. And, indeed, it seems as though that dream is destined to come to pass — because one day, under sudden and enigmatic circumstances, he finds himself in possession of “great expectations.” In telling Pip’s story, Dickens traces a boy’s path from a hardscrabble rural life to the teeming streets of 19th-century London, unfolding a gripping tale of crime and guilt, revenge and reward, and love and loss. Its compelling characters include Magwitch, the fearful and fearsome convict; Estella, whose beauty is excelled only by her haughtiness; and the embittered Miss Havisham, an eccentric jilted bride.

The Great Gatsby by: F Scott Fitzgerald (Rating 4/5)

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Heist by: Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (Rating 5/5)

Nicolas Fox is an international con man, famous for running elaborate scams on very rich and powerful people. He knows that the FBI has been hot on his trail for years—particularly FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare. But just when it seems that Fox has been captured for good, he pulls off his greatest con of all: He convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with O’Hare. Their first assignment takes them to the side streets of Berlin, the California desert, and remote Indonesian islands as they team up to catch Derek Griffin, a corrupt investment banker charged with stealing millions from his clients. Finding Griffin on his private island is going to test O’Hare’s patience and Fox’s skill. High-speed chases, pirates, and Toblerone bars are all in a day’s work . . . if O’Hare and Fox don’t kill each other first.

Summer on Blossom Street by: Debbie Macomber (Rating 5/5)

They’re both about beginnings—and endings. That’s why Lydia Goetz, owner of A Good Yarn on Seattle’s Blossom Street, offers a class called Knit to Quit. It’s for people who want to quit something—or someone!—and start a new phase of their lives. First to join is Phoebe Rylander, who’s trying to get over a man. Alix Turner and her husband want a baby, so she has to quit smoking. And Bryan Hutchinson needs a way to deal with the stress of running his family’s business. Then there’s Lydia’s friend Anne Marie Roche. She and her adopted daughter, Ellen, have finally settled into a secure and happy routine—when a stranger appears asking questions. Meanwhile, Lydia and her husband, Brad, have their hands full with the angry, defiant twelve-year-old who unexpectedly becomes their foster child….But when your life—and your stitches—get snarled, your friends can always help!

A Woman’s Place by: Lynn Austin (Rating 5/5)

They watched their sons, their brothers, and their husbands enlist to fight a growing menace across the seas. And when their nation asked, they answered the call as well. Virginia longs to find a purpose beyond others’ expectations. Helen is driven by a loneliness money can’t fulfill. Rosa is desperate to flee her in-laws’ rules. Jean hopes to prove herself in a man’s world. Under the storm clouds of destruction that threaten America during the early 1940s, this unlikely gathering of women will experience life in sometimes starling new ways as their beliefs are challenged and they struggle toward a new understanding of what love and sacrifice truly mean.

Time Is A River by: Mary Alice Monroe (Rating 4/5)

Recovering from breast cancer and reeling from her husband’s infidelity, Mia Landan flees her Charleston home to heal in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. She seeks refuge in a neglected fishing cabin belonging to her fly-fishing instructor, Belle Carson.

Star Trek Into Darkness by: Alan Dean Foster (Rating 4/5)

Months after the dramatic events seen in the 2009 blockbuster film Star Trek, the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise—including Cap­tain James T. Kirk, First Officer Spock, Doctor Leonard McCoy, Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, Lieu­tenant Hikaru Sulu, and Ensign Pavel Chekov—is called back home. But an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has declared all-out war on Starfleet and everything it stands for, leaving Earth in a state of crisis. Now with a personal score to settle as a result, Kirk must lead a covert manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruc­tion. As these valiant heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Captain Kirk has left: his crew.

Silver Linings Playbook by: Matthew Quick (Rating 5/5)

Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending–the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!

Red Dragon by: Thomas Harris (Rating 4/5)

A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened ?The Tooth Fairy.? Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation?Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retirement. Now, Graham must turn to Lecter for help.

A Proper Pursuit by: Lynn Austin (Rating 4/5)

A young woman goes to Chicago to find her mother, but newly exposed to a bigger world, discovers herself.

Pigs is Pigs by: Ellis Parker Butler (Rating 3/5)

This hilarious tale of bureaucracy run amok at the Interurban Express Company, and exponential growth of the Guinea pig population shows what can happen when ignorance and bureaucrats get together and decide its fate when anyone with just plain common sense can solve the problem in less than one minute.

Outlandish Companion by: Diana Gabaldon (Rating 4/5)

For anyone who wants to spend more time with the Outlander characters and the world they inhabit, Diana Gabaldon here opens a door through the standing stones and offers a guided tour of what lies within.

Out of Circulation by: Miranda James (Rating 5/5)

The Ducote sisters are in a tiff with Vera Cassity over the location of this year’s library fundraising gala, and Charlie would rather curl up in a corner than get into the fray. It seems everyone–even his housekeeper Azalea–has it in for Vera. And at the gala, she gives them good reason, with a public display of rancor aimed at anyone who gets in her way.

Murder Past Due by: Miranda James (Rating 5/5)

Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows librarian Charlie Harris-and his Maine coon cat named Diesel that he walks on a leash. They also know his former classmate-turned-famous bestselling novelist, Godfrey Priest. But someone in Athena took Godfrey off the bestseller lists- permanently, and with extreme prejudice. Now, Charlie and Diesel must browse through the history section of the town’s past to find a killer.

The Last Original Wife by: Dorthea Benton Frank (Rating 4/5)

Leslie Anne Greene Carter is The Last Original Wife among her husband Wesley’s wildly successful Atlanta social set. But if losing her friends to tanned and toned young Barbie brides isn’t painful enough, a series of setbacks shake Les’s world and push her to the edge. She’s had enough of playing the good wife to a husband who thinks he’s doing her a favor by keeping her around. She’s going to take some time for herself—in the familiar comforts and stunning beauty of Charleston, her beloved hometown. And she’s going to reclaim the carefree girl who spent lazy summers with her first love on Sullivans Island. Daring to listen to her inner voice, she will realize what she wants . . . and find the life of which she’s always dreamed.

The Joy Luck Club by: Amy Tan (Rating 4/5)

Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s “saying” the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. “To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable.” Forty years later the stories and history continue.

The Hit by: David Baldacci (Rating 5/5)

Will Robie is a master of killing. A highly skilled assassin, Robie is the man the U.S. government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst-enemies of the state, monsters committed to harming untold numbers of innocent victims. No one else can match Robie’s talents as a hitman…no one, except Jessica Reel. A fellow assassin, equally professional and dangerous, Reel is every bit as lethal as Robie. And now, she’s gone rogue, turning her gun sights on other members of their agency. To stop one of their own, the government looks again to Will Robie. His mission: bring in Reel, dead or alive. Only a killer can catch another killer, they tell him. But as Robie pursues Reel, he quickly finds that there is more to her betrayal than meets the eye. Her attacks on the agency conceal a larger threat, a threat that could send shockwaves through the U.S. government and around the world.”