“Crooked Letter Crooked Letter” by Tom Franklin

crooked letter crooked letter by tom franklin

crooked letter crooked letter by tom franklin

From the first paragraph of “Crooked Letter Crooked Letter”, Tom Franklin had me hooked. I was so captured by the characters in his novel I didn’t want to put it down. At the same time, I didn’t want it to end, and I put it aside a few times to make it last longer.

When you reach the last page, this quote will really ring true;

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” ― Paul Sweeney

Description from the publisher:

“In the 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas “32” Jones were boyhood pals in a small town in rural Mississippi. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry was the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, black single mother. But then Larry took a girl to a drive-in movie and she was never seen or heard from again. He never confessed . . . and was never charged.

More than twenty years have passed. Larry lives a solitary, shunned existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has become the town constable. And now another girl has disappeared, forcing two men who once called each other “friend” to confront a past they’ve buried for decades.”

World Book Night spreads the love of reading from person to person

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On November 24, 2013 the Word Book Night organization announced the addition of three book titles for book givers to choose from because of overwhelming demand. The number of books to be be given away will increase to 550,000.

According to the Carl Lennertz, Executive Director of World Book Night U.S.,  “Sadly, the call for books for at-risk teens across the country is growing, from underfunded schools to foster homes to tutoring programs, but it’s encouraging that our givers are seeing that need and want to reach out with a book. “

The additional WBN US picks for 2014 are:

(Click on the book title or book cover image for more information)

Zora and Me Me and Earl and the Dying Girl The Raven's Warrior

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews (Amulet/Abrams)

Zora and Me” by Victoria Bond and T.S. Simon (Candlewick)

The Raven’s Warrior” by Vincent Pratchett (YMAA Publications)

World Book Night U.S. is part of an ambitious campaign to encourage light and non-readers to read. A half million free paperbacks will be handed out across America April 23, 2014 by 25,000 volunteer book lovers.

The online giver application process opened on October 24, 2013 and continues through January 5, 2014. Applicants must state where and to whom they intend to give out their 20 WBN special paperbacks.

The 35 World Book Night U.S. titles for 2014, alphabetical by author, are:

(Click on the book cover or title below for more information)

Bobcat and Other Stories Bridge to Terabithia pontoon Catch-22 Code Name Verity

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Enchanted Hoot Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Kitchen Confidential Miss Darcy Falls in Love

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Presumed Innocent Same Difference Sunrise Over Fallujah Tales of the City

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The Botany of Desire The Dog Stars The Lighthouse Road The Perks of Being a Wallflower The Ruins of Gorlan Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1

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The Tipping Point The Weird Sisters The Zookeeper’s Wife This Boy’s Life Wait Till Next Year

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Young Men and Fire Wild Where’d You Go, Bernadette When I Was Puerto Rican Waiting to Exhale

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The Zookeeper’s Wife” by Diane Ackerman (W.W. Norton)

Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain (Ecco)

The Weird Sisters” by Eleanor Brown (Berkley)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky(Simon & Schuster)

After the Funeral” by Agatha Christie (William Morrow Paperbacks)

The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1” by John Flanagan (Puffin Books)

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford (Ballantine Books)

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” (in Large Print) by Jamie Ford (Thorndike/Gale; Cengage Learning)

The Lighthouse Road” by Peter Geye (Unbridled Books)

The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay Books)

Wait Till Next Year” by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster)

Catch-22” by Joseph Heller (Simon & Schuster)

The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller (Vintage)

Hoot” by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf)

Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon” by Garrison Keillor (Penguin Books)

Same Difference” by Derek Kirk Kim (First Second Books)

Enchanted” by Alethea Kontis (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Miss Darcy Falls in Love” by Sharon Lathan (Sourcebooks)

Bobcat and Other Stories” by Rebecca Lee (Algonquin Books)

Young Men and Fire” by Norman Maclean (University of Chicago Press)

Tales of the City” by Armistead Maupin  (HarperPerennial)

Waiting to Exhale” by Terry McMillan (New American Library)

Sunrise Over Fallujah” by Walter Dean Myers (Scholastic)

Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson (HarperTrophy)

The Botany of Desire” by Michael Pollan (Random House)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs (Quirk Books)

When I Was Puerto Rican” by Esmeralda Santiago (Da Capo)

Cuando Era Puertorriqueña” by Esmeralda Santiago (Vintage Español)

Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple (Back Bay Books)

Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple in Large Print (Thorndike/Gale; Cengage Learning)

Wild” by  Cheryl Strayed (Vintage)

Presumed Innocent” by Scott Turow (Grand Central Publishing)

Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein (Disney Hyperion)

This Boy’s Life” by Tobias Wolff (Grove Atlantic)

100 Best-Loved Poems” edited by Philip Smith (Dover)

Trilogy Books ~ by Amy Lyn

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I was just reviewing my most recent books read on my Good Reads list and I noticed I’ve been reading a lot of trilogies lately. It started when I finished the  Jack Reacher series by Lee Child and I was looking to try something new.

I’d heard a lot of buzz about the “Millenium Trilogy”  and thought I’d give it a go. This was well before the Americanized movie version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was released.

Español: La protagonista de la controvertida &...
Noomi Rapace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I actually read the first book then watched the Swedish version of the movie starring Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander on Netflix. Noomi is fantastic and totally convincing in her role. I then read the second book, watched the movie and the same with the third. I can not imagine anyone playing it better and refused to watched the American version, even though I am a fan of Daniel Craig.

I must admit though, after the first 25 pages or so of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” I almost gave up on the book. It was so boring talking about the magazine and finances blah blah blah. I scanned forward about 50 pages and BAM, there she was kicking ass and taking names. So I flipped back to where I had stopped and pushed on and it was soooo worth it. My advice, skip the first 50 or so pages then dive in head first.

beverly lewis

The next trilogy I read was “The Heritage of Lancaster County” by Beverly Lewis. I came upon this set of books when I was looking for the most recent book in the “Elm Creek Quilts” series of books by Jennifer Chiaverini. The one I was looking for was out and someone had mis-shelved the first book in this series “The Shunning“. 

This was a really captivating tale of mystery, longing, heart-break and romance. A truly eye-opening view into the Amish way of life and the emotional aftermath of a shunning.

But, I’m not much for the romantic novels and needed something meatier to sink my teeth into after that tear jerker trilogy. Honestly I didn’t set out to read another trilogy. But it just so happened that I spotted the name Guillermo del Toro on the new book shelf and immediately thought, “Oh this is going to be good.”

the strain trilogy guillermo deltoro chuck hoganThe “Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan was a vampire story like none I’ve ever read. I hadn’t read a really good, scare your socks off horror in a loooong time. So a big THANK YOU to the authors for scaring me sleepless and making me jump at every little bump in the night.  This set of books will be getting a review all their own from me soon. I read all three in January, I just couldn’t put them down. Now that the images aren’t so ingrained in my head, I think I’ll go back for another bite and read through them again.

The Books of History Chronicles by Ted Dekker
Rounding out my trilogy reading was “The Books of History Chronicles” by Ted Dekker. According to the author this trilogy was a “circle book”. Meaning you could start with any of the three books and still be able to follow the story.

I picked one of the books and read the author’s preface that said he recommended starting with “Sinner” first then “Saint” then “Showdown”. But, after reading all three books I would have read them in the opposite order. By starting with “Saint” I felt like I was working my way counterclockwise around the story. “Showdown” really introduces you to the characters and lays the groundwork for the why of it all.

These books are a fantastical story of good versus evil with lots of biblical references and what if scenarios. What if there were books you could write in to change the path of history?

“The Affair” Book Review

The Story

Take a step back in time to 1997 and Jack Reacher‘s last job as a Military Police Officer and learn why he left the military.

An, incredibly beautiful, young woman is found dead in a small town that houses a large military base.

Reacher is send undercover to determine the situation, contain local law enforcement and then disappear. Unfortunately for the Pentagon, Jack Reacher never sees things that simply and peels back the layers of a government/military cover up to uncover the truth and bring his own brand of justice to the situation.

My Impression

This novel is supposed to give the back story of why Jack Reacher left the military. I had hoped it would maybe give a little more insight into what makes Reacher tick. I feel that The Enemy: A Reacher Novel does a much better job of explaining Reacher’s background and I would love to see a novel dedicated to his mother’s story.

I’m not saying The Affair: A Reacher Novel  wasn’t a good read. It was a very exciting, sexually charged, murder mystery filled with enough twists and turns to give you whiplash. But, this time Reacher seemed more like a brutal killer letting the wrong head lead his investigation. He killed several times, not as acts of self defense, but of vengeance and without remorse. It just didn’t seem like how Reacher has been portrayed in all the other novels.

I also found it strange that Lee Child didn’t really stress Reacher’s size as he has in all the other books. In one scene, when Reacher is waiting in line at the Pentagon to go through security Child wrote “I stretched up tall and peered ahead and tried to get a look at their shoes.” Seriously, Reacher is 6’5″. If he stretched up tall he’d be like 7-feet tall and I doubt a person 6’5″ ever has to stand on his tiptoes  to see over someone’s head, unless he’s surrounded by NBA players.

I’m a fan of the Jack Reacher series and yes, I know he’s a man-whore but this book seemed like it was written with the main intent of turning it into a psycho-sexual murder mystery staring Halle Berry as Sheriff Deveraux. I can’t help but wonder how many readers decided to “park” by the train tracks after reading this book.

Speaking of turning Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels into movies…There has been a lot of talk amongst fans on Goodreads, IMDB and other fan pages regarding Lee Child “selling out” by literally selling the screen rights to his Jack Reacher books to Tom Cruise, who is portraying Reacher in the soon to be released movie One Shot. I’ve never been a fan of Tom Cruise, and no matter his box office draw,which Hollywood exec still strangely he has, I don’t think he can play a believable Jack Reacher. There are so many other actors who could bring this character to life, physically, emotionally and mentally better than Cruise. But, what’s done is done and I, like many other Reacher fans, will not be seeing this movie.

But, I digress. The The Affair: A Reacher Novel  is a suspenseful thrill ride and does show you the dark underbelly of the Jack Reacher character. I recommend reading all of the Jack Reacher novels. According to The Washington Post The Affair is “a thriller that takes Reacher—and his readers—right to the edge . . . and beyond”, and I would have to agree.