Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Janel”

Janel’s #CBR4 Review #65 Trust No One by Gregg Hurwitz

6085668I picked up this back list title after reading Hurwitz’s latest book (You’re Next) a few months ago.  True to his previous books, Hurwitz knows how to keep his readers on their toes.

This book reads like a 24 plot line with more back story on the main characters. Corruption among the different government agencies is not new, but Hurwitz knows how to bring a fresh take on the idea. There is even a romantic subplot which leaves the reader guessing if Nick and his ex-girlfriend will get back together.

If you are looking for a good thriller with some touching family and personal moments this book is for you.

Janel’s #CBR4 Review 64 The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

13227454This book was the first book I read after being in the hospital for 6 weeks.  I started it during the Thankfully Reading Weekend over the Thanksgiving holiday.

In a lot of ways, this book reminded me of the book Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand as they both have an elderly gentleman as the main character.  But it is not just the age of the character, but the sense that the character breaks out of his shell and tries to change his life. The concept of a modern day pilgrimage is one that we don’t hear of very often and yet we all can relate to the determination and longing that Harold Fry demonstrated that one morning.

It is hard to read about a long standing marriage that has turned into a convenience without looking for similar marriages in our own lives. I appreciate the sensitivity the Joyce provides around Maureen realizing that Harold is her one true love and how she encouraged him to keep going even at her own heartbreak and longing for him to be back at home.

Harold’s stubbornness is endearing as he tries to stay true to his original mission even when others capitalize on his failure.  His desire to live just on what he is offered along the pilgrimage takes his quest to a new level. Joyce delivers a touching and poignant story that will stay with the reader even after they finish the book.

Janel’s #CBR4 Review 63 Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

It took me a while, but I finally got a chance to read this book.  I was impressed how Hillenbrand’s book read like a fiction book even though it was non-fiction. I was captivated with this book and I think my nurses could tell as I would rush right back to the book as soon as my testing was over. The chapters about his time in the prison camp did drag a bit for me.  I was amazed how he dealt with his POW days when getting back home and how he had an interest in returning back to Japan.

I appreciate learning about a different front of World War II. It is clear that Hillenbrand’s seven years of research paid off in helping the reader experience the trials and joys that Louis did.  This book is definitely one that you should not miss out on.

Janel’s #CBR4 Review 62 The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

My husband is from North Carolina, so anytime I see a book set there I add it to my TBR.  This book is the second one by Sarah Addison Allen that I’ve read.  I liked this book better than The Peach Keeper.

Allen writes touching love stories which are intertwined with a good mystery/fantasy plot.  The small town vibe draws the reader in and Allen focuses on how past generations actions can impact future generations actions. Overall this book is quaint and a good read that you’ll find it hard to leave the characters and the town of Mullaby behind.

Janel’s #CBR4 Review 61 In The Woods by Tana French

I read Broken Harbour a few months ago and didn’t really enjoy it, but I got recommendations to read this book before giving up on Tana French.  I’m glad I followed those recommendations, because I enjoyed this book much better. The characters were more likeable or maybe there was less “backstory” to understand.

Overall this book was an excellent mystery and kept me on the edge of my seat.  I wish there was more discovered about the older case, but perhaps that is a future book for French.  The local town atmosphere played into the plot well. There was good dynamics between the main characters as well.  French’s writing style is similar between the two books.

Janel’s #CBR4 Review 60 A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

I haven’t read Sarah’s Key, but the cover of this book really drew me in.  I loved the way the book was setup, drawing the reader in with the “event” that started everything and then working up to and past that “event”.

I was surprised by the plot had so much push and pull about life and death as well as how family members survive and move on after death. I definitely didn’t expect the characters to face more death throughout the book.  In a way, I could see similar plot structures to a crime drama series – just as the characters figure some part of the puzzle out a whole another twist of fate happens.

I enjoyed watching Antoine grow as a character from the beginning to the end.  This book is full of mystery and intrigue as well a heartwarming family centered story.

Janel’s #CBR4 Review 59 Small Wars by Sadie Jones

I read Jones’ latest Uninvited Guests earlier this year and I wasn’t thrilled over the story, but I had put this book on my TBR based on a recommendation from another book blogger.  I’m glad I gave Jones’ another chance, because I enjoyed this book more.

I didn’t know much about England’s “war” in Cypress/Greece in the 1950s so I enjoyed the historical aspects of the book.  The relationship between Clara and Hal is sweet and timeless.  Jones’ paints a good portrait of how war impacts more than the soldiers, but their families as well.

Jones’ is a good storyteller and left me as the reader invested in the characters, even though some of the minor characters that were part of the base in Cypress disappear in the later half of the book. I was frustrated at times with Hal because of his hot and cold emotions towards Claire.

Overall I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it.

Janel’s #CBR4 Review #58 The Jewel of St Petersburg by Kate Furnivall

I appreciated the way Valentina was a rebel within her own family and how she looked for a way to better herself even if that wasn’t expected of her.  Furnivall writes a lovely love story intertwined with the story of the revolution.  She challenges the characters to make decisions they never thought they would have to make.

I was impressed with how now matter what was going on with Valentina she kept going back to the one family that she met during one of the worker’s strikes.  I like to think that unlikely meeting that morning, grew Valentina as a character and opened her eyes to much more.

Even though the ending of the book left the reader wanting more (and in turn this book is a prequel to one Furnivall’s other books), the plot wasn’t left hanging.

Janel’s #CBR4 Review 57 You’re Next by Gregg Hurwitz

This book reminded me of a cross between Ocean’s Eleven and the Bourne movies.  It was hard to stop reading this book and I found myself reading chapter after chapter instead of eating my lunch.

The reveal of why Mike was being targeted was a little disappointing to me, but I did appreciate how Hurwitz pulled happenings from Mike’s past into his current day.  The body count is high in this book, but the reader will be hooked from the beginning.  Hurwitz takes an interesting look at how local businesses, law enforcement and politics are intertwined at all different levels.

Janel’s #CBR4 Review 56 The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick

This book was the first historical fiction book I have read in a while. This book interested me because it covered a period of English history I wasn’t familiar with. I liked Emma and was impressed with her strength and courage to manipulate and maneuver when needed.

I did get tired of the book halfway through because each chapter just brought the same people constantly switching sides and loyalties. I appreciated Hollick’s author note which explained what was fiction versus history.

I feel my patience with longer historical fiction books is waning. I had a similar tired feeling when reading Queen By Right.

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