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Saturday, April 23, 2016

#17 - The Likeness - Tana French

Title:  The Likeness
Author:   Tana French
Read by:  Heather
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  2008
Dates:  3/27/16 – 4/23/16
Cds/Hrs:  20/22.5

Recommended for April’s read by Tom Nissley is The Likeness by Tana French.  French’s first book, Into the Woods, won an Edgar and this is the sequel.  We find detective Cassie Maddox investigating a killer stalking a small hamlet near Dublin, Ireland.
Awhile back, Cassie and her boss Frank Mackey created a persona named Lexie Madison as a disguise for an undercover drug sting.  Now a young woman answering to this name is found stabbed to death. In a surreal twist, the victim looks enough like Cassie to be her twin.  Cooking up a scheme to root out the murderer, Frank sends Cassie into the fray as an undercover agent.  Taking on Lexie’s identity will put Cassie directly in the sights of a ruthless villain.  As Cassie becomes entangled in this chilling tale, she has her own secrets to keep from Frank and learns just how wise this move may be. 
Narrator Heather O’Neill coolly voices each character in this gripping tale.  As Kirkus Reviews says – “Police procedures, psychological thrills and gothic romance beautifully woven into one stunning story.”  I couldn’t agree more!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

#16 - Does My Head Look Big In This? - Randa Abdel-Fattah

Title:  Does My Head Look Big in This?
Author:   Randa Abdel-Fattah
Read by:  Rebecca Macauley
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  2005
Dates:  3/31/16 – 4/11/16
Cds/Hrs:  8/9

Set in present day Melbourne, Australia, Amal Abdel-Hakim, a seventeen year old narrates her high-school experiences from the time she decides to wear her hijab in support of her Muslim faith.  As she says, “It’s hard enough being cool as a teenager when being one issue behind the latest Cosmo is enough to disqualify you from the in-group.  Try wearing a veil on your head and practicing the bum’s up position at lunchtime and you know you’re in for a tough time at school.
“Luckily my friends support me, although they’ve got a few troubles of their own.  Simone, blonde, gorgeous and overweight – she’s got serious image issues, and Leila’s really intelligent but her parents are more interested in her getting a marriage certificate than her high school certificate!
“And I thought I had problems …”
This story is well done and gets to the heart of the matter of high school peer pressures.  Amal stands by her beliefs with integrity, even when questioned about her faith and her debate skills kick in when she explains why she isn’t into even kissing.  Amal is a young lady to be reckoned with yet admire for her ability to be a role model for others in her class.   As she says "What's faith without action."

Friday, April 1, 2016

#15 - Alice's Drive - Alice Ramsey and Gregory M. Franzwa

Title:  Alice’s Drive
Author:    Alice Ramsey
Genre:  Memoir/Non-Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  2005
Dates:  3/18/16 – 3/29/16

What a unique story!  Actually Alice Ramsey wrote a book entitled Veil, Duster, and Tire Iron originally published in 1961 which is republished in this book with annotation and “Chasing Alice” by Gregory M. Franzwa.  The year is 1909 and Alice’s husband has bought her a Maxwell DA because she loves to drive.  The location is Hackensack, New Jersey, USA where they live.  Alice decides she would love to drive across the nation and be the first woman to accomplish such a feat.  As Alice relates “Back in 1909 when I was the first woman to cross the continent at the wheel of a motor car, my day’s run was anywhere between 4 and 198 miles.  …June the ninth, 1909, was the actual date of the start of my historic automobile trek from New York to San Francisco.”  Forty-one days later Alice and three friends accomplished the feat.

Fast forward one hundred years.  On June 9, 2009, Alice Ramsey’s Centennial Drive was recreated as closely as possible.  The really cool part of this story is that a 1909 Maxwell DA was rebuilt by Rich Anderson of Monroe, Washington.  He thought it would be a kick to replicate Alice’s original cross-country trek.  His daughter, Emily Anderson, about the same age as Alice at the time of the original endeavor, also accomplished the task.

One of the fun parts for me in reading the book was to hear about the New York towns surrounding Tarrytown, Ossining and Albany that are so rich in history, not to mention parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California.  Much of the roads ran parallel to what would become the Lincoln Highway.  There is so much more – Franzwa’s account of what Alice omitted from her book – things like what hotel did they sleep in, where did they buy their gas.  For a short book he crams into it many footnotes, maps, pictures and advertisements and gives homage to all who helped him fill out the details.