Adult Summer Reading Reviews

We are only a few weeks into the Adult Summer Reading Challenge and have all ready received many great book reviews. It was hard to choose, but here are five thoughtful reviews for you to ponder. Many thanks to the writers and stay tuned for more published reviews as the summer progresses.

Bootlegger’s Daughter by Margaret Maron   (Reviewed by Glendha L.)

Deborah Knott has decided to run for district judge in Colleton County, NC and is smack-dab in the middle of the good-ole boys’ network. In the midst of her campaign, she is persuaded to investigate an 18-year-old murder that puts her in the big middle of old secrets. This, in turn, causes someone to use smear tactics to defeat her election to the bench. And this only serves to make her more determined to find out “who dunnit”! This mystery is so well written and so seamlessly smooth, it was almost impossible to put it down long enough to fill my coffee cup. Hurray for Margaret Maron– keep those mysteries comin’ girlfriend!

Insurgent by Veronica Roth   (Reviewed by Sarah L.)

Insurgent is Roth’s second book in the Divergent series, which follows the actions of Beatrice Prior (Tris) in a futuristic Chicago. The society is divided into 5 sections (factions) – Erudite, Amity, Abnegation, Dauntless, and Candor, and also contains the factionless; those who do not fit within a faction, or who left their faction. Tris and her friends must find out why Erudite has begun to destroy the members of the other factions, mainly Abnegation, without becoming victims themselves. Although the overall plot was a bit predictable, the ending was not what I expected it to be. I also enjoyed Tris as a strong main character, who shows her age of 16 as she learns more about herself and others throughout the book. It was refreshing to find characters who focused on helping others before themselves, rather than acting in a self-serving manner.

The Murder of Jim Fisk for the Love of Josie Mansfield by H.W. Brands   (Reviewed by Curt E.)

Jim Fisk’s life and death in the aftermath of the Civil War in New York is the subject of this short history monograph. Written for a popular audience rather than historians, the study tells the story of Fisk’s stock manipulations and business dealings in concert with Jay Gould and Boss Tweed. It shows how their actions and Fisk’s relationship with a young woman in her early twenties, Josie Mansfield, lead to his murder by Ned Stokes, the third in the love triangle.

The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson   (Reviewed by Jolyn Y.)

This book is about the search and eventual finding of King Tut’s tomb and the cause of his death. I have always been interested in Egyptology and in particular King Tut’s mystery. This book proffers a plausible explanation, based on current scientific research, as to the life and death of King Tut. It is very well written and leads to a very possible conclusion that involves a conspiracy of murder. A very interesting read, full of facts woven into an intriguing story.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon   (Reviewed by Sue T.)

The central plot is about a young boy who comes across a book that enthralls him and follows his efforts to uncover the mystery of its author and why someone else is trying to obtain the book in order to burn it.  This book has a little bit of it all – mystery, thriller, romance, history, and humor. It is well-written and the author is a captivating storyteller.  However, about half way through, all the complicated and detailed back stories start to weigh it down and take away from the story. In addition, after a masterful buildup throughout the book with lots of plot twists and turns, everything is explained in a long letter at the end, which is somewhat of a letdown. Still, overall, the book is an enjoyable read.

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