Stories 1 to 5 of 161

BOOKENDS REVIEW: Based On A True Story

Based on a True Story Elizabeth Renzetti Fiction SYNOPSIS: Augusta Price is a has-been actress in England, most famous for playing a barmaid on a night-time soap opera. After years of abusing alcohol and pills, she has no job or relationship left in her life. Her biggest recent success is her memoir, which is based on her life… but is not quite accurate. When Augusta finds out that her ex is writing a book that could reveal her life story as a web of lies, she employs young journalist Frances Bleeker to help her stop him. Their journey takes them to California, where Augusta’s mysterious past unravels.   MY THOUGHTS: What Elizabeth Renzetti has done best is create an unforgettable character that brings out a variety of emotions from the reader. Augusta Price is both infuriating and irresistible. She exacerbates her own flaws, as if she’s begging for the train wreck (what else will get her the attention she wants?). For the most part, Augusta gets under your skin. Then there are unexpected moments when she makes you laugh. Before you know it, you’re rooting for her, hoping she can get her life together. Augusta is one of those characters ... Read more

BOOKENDS REVIEW: The Silkworm (J.K. Rowling)

The Silkworm Robert Galbraith (aka. J.K. Rowling) Fiction / Murder Mystery SYNOPSIS: Private detective Cormoran Strike is famous for solving a murder case that London’s Metropolitan Police couldn’t crack themselves. That’s why Lenora Quine goes to him when her husband Owen, a writer, goes missing. But as far as she’s concerned, her husband’s disappearance is not a homicide. Owen has taken off before; so many times, that Lenora doesn’t want to report his latest disappearance to police. She just wants to find him. As Strike investigates, though, the case becomes more complex and disturbing. Quine had just written a book that at least half a dozen people did not want published because it highlights their embarrassing quirks and reveals their secrets. They are the ones who show up on Strike’s suspects list when Quine’s tortured body is found. (This is the second Cormoran Strike novel. The first, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was published in 2013. You don’t need to read the first one to enjoy the second.) MY THOUGHTS: J.K. Rowling is an entertaining writer and The Silkworm has a bit of everything that a murder mystery needs. The narrative is fast-paced. The writing is descriptive in classic Rowling fashion. The ... Read more

BOOKENDS REVIEW: The Quick by Lauren Owen

The Quick Lauren Owen Fiction SYNOPSIS: When James Norbury moves to London in 1892, he is introduced to aristocratic society by his roommate. He spends night after night writing poetry, drinking, and visiting drawing rooms with his new friends. Just before he is to escape London with a star-crossed lover, James disappears. His sister, Charlotte, comes looking for him is led to a mysterious club called The Aegolius. With the windows always covered and visitors barred from entering, no outsider knows what happens within the club’s doors. Charlotte soon learns, though, what it takes to become a member – you have to agree to the Exchange, the process of becoming a vampire. As she tries to save her brother from the dark hallways of the secretive club, Charlotte gets involved in a battle between two groups of the undead fighting for control over London’s streets. MY THOUGHTS:  I find it interesting that the publisher decided not to mention on the jacket that this is a vampire novel. Some readers will get quite the surprise about one-fifth of the way into the book. It certainly doesn’t give anything away to let you know that you’ll be reading about the undead, and ... Read more


The Perfect Keg: Sowing, Scything, Malting My Way to the Best-Ever Pint of Beer Ian Coutts Non-fiction ABOUT THE BOOK: Ian Coutts is a craft beer lover who decided to try to make his own perfect keg. He spent a year growing, sowing and brewing. He tried to do as much as possible from scratch, as in, there was no beer-making kit involved. He grew his own barley and hops, made his own malt, captured his own yeast. Coutts concentrated on making a local beer using historic techniques – he researched how beer was made centuries ago, before the industrial days. After a months-long adventure, he was finally able to see his project come to fruition and taste a delicious beer he made himself. MY THOUGHTS: If you’re trying to give yourself a break from growing a beer belly, then this book isn’t for you. I say that because as soon as you open it up, The Perfect Keg will make you thirsty… constantly thirsty for another cold, delicious pint of beer. Ian Coutts will make you appreciate the complexity of each sip you take. He makes you realize just how difficult it is to make a single drop of ... Read more

BOOKENDS REVIEW: Keep Your Friends Close

Keep Your Friends Close Paula Daly Fiction SYNOPSIS: Natty cherishes her friendship with Eve. They’ve been best friends since university. So when Natty’s younger daughter ends up in hospital during a trip to France, she doesn’t think twice about jumping on a plane and leaving Eve with her husband, Sean, back home. Natty never expected that her life could implode over the two weeks she spends at her daughter’s bedside.   When she returns home, Sean tells her their marriage is over. He’s fallen in love with Eve. All of a sudden, Natty’s life is spinning out of control and she is forced to try to piece it back together. Then she gets an anonymous note that says: “Eve has done this before, more than once. Don’t let her take what’s yours.” As Natty starts to take a closer look at her friend’s past, she learns that she doesn’t know Eve at all. MY THOUGHTS: This is the kind of book I recommend to my girlfriends when they’re looking for something to read over a weekend. There’s intrigue and suspense. There are broken relationships that need to be mended. There’s friendship ruined by betrayal and deceit. Paula Daly will remind ... Read more