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Blog: 350 Book Reviews on ThisIsMyTruthNow

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After I finished looking at all the updates on Goodreads, WordPress and my other social media accounts this morning, and posting today’s 365 Daily Challenge blog, I began writing up a few reviews for books I’d read in the past. When I finished, I realized I’d written 350 book reviews in the last 9 months. I was shocked I’d gotten that far already. Just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for reading and providing feedback on all the reviews. I’m about 75% complete with finishing prior reads and hope to finish by the end of June. Below are some statistics as well as a link to the Book Review section here. This will help give you some insight into the different authors, books and genres I’ve read in case you want to go poking around in previous posts.  Thank You!

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Welcome to my collection of book reviews. My favorite genres are thrillers and historical fiction. I’ve broken the categories into the following 11 genres: (1) children’s literature, (2) classics [pre-19th century], (3) cozy mystery, (4) fantasy & science fiction, (5) general fiction, (6) historical fiction, (7) non-fiction, (8) other & about TV shows, (9) thriller & suspense fiction, (10) young adult fiction and (11) alternative fiction.

As May 2017, there are over 350 book reviews on my blog and website, ThisIsMyTruthNow. Within each menu, you will find all the books I’ve written a review for organized by genre. I first post the book review on Goodreads and then send it over to this site, where I explore more about the genre, book series and authors. Since I only started publishing book reviews in October of 2016, I have been trying to catch up on everything I’ve read to date. As a result, there are two types of book reviews being posted.

Book Review Type 1 – Full & Detailed

  • For any book I’ve read since I started this website and blog in mid-2016, there is a full and detailed book review containing the following items: author, title, genre, rating, year published, overview of the story, initial thoughts, characters, strengths, areas for improvement, similar books by this author or another author, why I chose the book and some final thoughts. There are also pictures and graphics to help provide a fun and informative review.

Book Review Type 2 – Short Summary

  • Although I have a good memory when it comes to books and authors, I can’t possible remember everything about all 500+ books I’ve read in the last few decades. For anything before 2016, if I don’t have a vivid recollection, I have a shorter version of the review with some general thoughts, the good and the bad of what I remember, ratings, and some recommendations on similar items. These are generally only 1 paragraph long and do not have pictures or graphics.

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Thanks for stopping by and perusing the site. If you aren’t sure which genre the book falls into, you can also search by author in the next menu category called “Genre/Author/Series” or you can enter the book into the “Search” box on the main home screen. If you have any feedback, please share… I love to hear from everyone, as well as get book recommendations. To see my profile on Goodreads, click here.

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. <i>Note</i>: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Top Reads – Age 13 to 24 – Mystery

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Now that I’ve been blogging about books and writing a review for everything I’ve ever read, curiosity brewed over how people choose to read what book at which age, especially when they are younger and getting familiar with different genres. With so many genres out there and so many places to look for books, I thought I’d put together my own list of when I would recommend choosing a certain book.

Of course, everyone has a different maturity level and might be ready to read certain books sooner than others, as well as vice versa. It’s only meant as general guidelines with a fun spirit — and not any sense of indicating someone isn’t capable of reading something sooner. Since mystery fiction is my favorite genre, I am starting here with the best age to start reading a mystery… and it was not easy… there are so many to choose from! I tried to pick classics to show different styles, but also have a few more current ones. Maybe it should be a “3 per age” with a vote in the future…

Rules

  1. Pick a genre. You can get very detailed and go into sub-genres, e.g. cozy, classic, etc. I’m starting general and may work my way down into the details.
  2. Pick an age range, roughly covering 12 years. You can add more or start with less, but I figured twelve ages seemed like a good one to start with.
  3. Pick a book for each age that you’d recommend to get someone situated with the genre.
  4. You can’t repeat an author within that age range.
  5. Explain why that author, book and age.
  6. Either show a book cover or provide a link to the book on Goodreads, or if you’ve read it and have a review, link your review.
  7. Start a discussion with everyone, e.g. is it the right age, is something missing…
  8. Tag others if you’d like, but I open it to everyone.

Age / Book / Author

  • Age 13: The Tower Treasure with the Hardy Boys by Franklin Dixon
    • The introduction should start with something where someone young is doing the investigating, as it will help build the connection between the reader and the investigators in a book. This one offers a good, clean introduction to the world of mystery.
  • Age 14: The Secret of the Old Clock with Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
    • It’s only fair that if you have a team of boy investigators, you also need to have a girl investigator. I put the Hardy Boys first only because it was a family doing the investigating… now it’s time to branch out on your own and understand things from the opposite perspective.
  • Age 15: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
    • Once you’ve got the basics under your belt, let’s add a mystery that adds the fear without being too overwhelming. And if you’re gonna read in this genre, you need to learn all about the potential for ghosts and the after-life.
  • Age 16: Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
    • Families keep secrets. But that’s not the first thing you should learn. Once you start investigating, you need to understand what happens when you don’t even realize there is a mystery going on until far too late… plus there are a few touchy topics (incest, poison) that probably require a bit older of an audience.
  • Age 17: The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
    •  The master needs to be incorporated, as well as the true intentions of a murder. A true mystery, an introduction to the concept of a morgue and where dead bodies go for an autopsy… the stage is set for horror to grow from here, too. It’ll help you determine if you like a little bit of gothic gore or you want to stay far away from it.
  • Age 18: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
    • The Queen of the mystery is perfect right as you’re graduating from high school. When you’ve got 10 potential killers all locked on a single island with no escape, you need to learn how to deduce the killer before you are killed yourself. You survived high school but now you’ve got a world to conquer without a real sense of who to trust.
  • Age 19: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
    • Many don’t think of Henry James as a mystery writer, but he’s a classic, and often taught in first year English college courses. This one takes the leap into the psychological aspects of a family wondering if there is a ghost or if someone is just playing games. At 19, you need to be careful who you allow yourself to be around, especially when you go out on your own… time to learn some lessons here about “what you see isn’t always what you get.”
  • Age 20: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
    • Ah, the classics. Before 20, you’re often not very interested in anything that’s nearly a century old.  This isn’t always true, but for folks just getting introduced to the genre or even reading, it likely could be accurate. Yes, many of the others on the list are fairly old, but this one is one of the earliest introductions to the <i>classic</i> private investigator of the 1930s, where the format and formulas were established and the movies were in the Golden Age of mystery. It’s great to kick back and read a classic one weekend when you don’t want to focus on your job or studies.
  • Age 21: Who’s Body? by Dorothy Sayers
    • Now that you’ve read the hardcore PI style with Hammett, take a gander at the counterpart with the British version of the classic detective. Plus you have an opportunity to to learn more about the concept of body doubles, perception and the art of throwing off red herring clues. With a focus on British government, structure and the slightly cozy direction, you’ll know if you want to stay this route or go a little more dark. Plus, once you can legally drink, this one may just push you there a little bit sooner.
  • Age 22: A Study in Scarlet with Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Another fine classic, possibly something you should watch even younger, but I’ve saved it for the early 20s when you’re mind is sharper, you’ve had some solid reading under your belt and it’s time to decide if you’re ready for a true series with multiple film adaptions or you’re more of a solid single stand-alone mystery. Having dual sleuths is an important introduction, too, as well as the art of the foil when you “meet” Moriarty.
  • Age 23: Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
    • The truest form of a psychological mystery at nearly 100 years old. You’ve had a few of these ghostly books under your belt by now, but this one will truly ignite a passion for how a mystery book is narrated. Do you want first or third person? Do you know who the narrator is? Is he or she reliable? You’ll determine if you want to continue down the fantasy and sci-fi mystery realm, or look towards the cozy or the thriller suspense.
  • Age 24: Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    • And when you choose the thriller and suspense route, I can think of none better than something you can relate to… we all have a good and bad side to us, but which will win out? And though Brown’s works are more fun-reads, rather than a true-to-form traditional investigator solving crimes, it’s the introduction you need to the fast-paced, page-turning read you won’t be able to put down. And then you’re ready to head into formal “adulthood” with the next step of books that will rock your mid 20s to your mid 30s.

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About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: Guiding Light: The Complete Family Album

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Guiding Light: The Complete Family Album Book Review
Guiding Light: The Complete Family Album by Julie Poll

I adored this book, even though it was a compilation of so many things I’d already read or seen on the TV show. It brought back great memories, revealed a few new facts and helped understand a lot of history I’d only known a little bit about. If you are a fan of the show, you must give it a read thru. It’ll make you smile over and over again. If you’re not a fan of the show, no point in reading it. That said, the author does a great job with the family tree history, keep character history and highlights of the best of the best and the worst of the worst. I was very sad when the show ended, but I also knew it was time to go… it had gotten so far off track. My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Killer Pancake

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Killer Pancake Book Review
3 of 5 stars to the fifth entry in the “Gold Bear Culinary” mysteries, Killer Pancake, written in 1995 by Diane Mott Davidson. As we’ve all come to expect, Goldy’s off searching for the killer in another crazy story line. In this one, she delves into the seedy cosmetic business where too much pancake makeup (just kidding, sort of) has claimed the latest victim. And this time, it’s the girlfriend of my favorite character, Julian. So much death, such a small family. How does this happen time and time again? Oh, that’s right… it’s fiction, to I really shouldn’t give that a second thought. Reliable author. Good characters. Decent story, but a bit weak from a reasoning and character likability perspective. Goldy’s getting a little too narrow-minded and preachy about a few things, and I wish this would have gone a little more open-minded and fresh, but it’s still always a fun read. But I want more with Marla! She brings the laughs.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Lost in a Good Book

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Lost in a Good BookBook Review
Jasper Fforde had a stroke of brilliance with the “Thursday Next” series of adventure books. Lost in a Good Book is the second release in the series and I’ve given it a very high 3 of 5 stars. As it’s a very difficult book to truly wrap your head around, it couldn’t get a 5 from me. When I compared it to the first one, The Eyre Affair, I had to give it a slightly lower rating just because I enjoyed the first one more. A few really cool things about these books:

1. Thursday is a literary detective who can jump into a book to try to solve whatever crime has occurred within the book.

2. Crimes can include changing plot lines, removing characters, introducing chaos…

3. You have to be mad or brilliant, or both, to come up with these kinds of stories. In this one, “The Raven” and “Flopsy Bunny” are major character arcs. Can you imagine dealing with that?

4. The book has footnotes on every page, but they’re not real footnotes. They are commentary or thoughts about what’s being said in the book that the person talking wouldn’t necessarily know, but the reader needs to know them. I’m sure you’re confused if you’ve never read one of these books. So am I from time to time, and I’ve read three of them.

5. It’s such a great concept, and sometimes well-executed. And it’s got your typical romance component in it too.

6. But it can get very confusing if you don’t read slowly and think about every single action. There are so many made up words, actions, histories… it’s an alternative fantasy universe and you never know what might actually happen.

7. At times, I think it’s one of the best stories I’ve read. At others, it’s still confusing me. But I focus on the little parts surrounding the realities of the characters and what they are doing.

Phew…. complicated to write this review. It can’t be a normal one without it going on for pages about what is actually going on. All you need to know is if you have a huge imagination, don’t need structure, and love books… you must give it a chance.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Two for the Dough

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Two for the DoughMy rating: 3 of 5 stars to book #2 in the Stephanie Plum mystery series, Two for the Dough, by Janet Evanovich. Since I’m going back to complete reviews on all the books I’ve read, and there are over 20 in this series, it would be too boring to do a normal review… so I’ll keep it short. A few fun things about this one:

1. We’re still getting to know how crazy Stephanie Plum is compared to everyone else. She’s neurotic in a fun way — sort of like I am.

2. This one is all about her libido with Joe Morelli. What’s more important… getting lucky or catching the criminal? She can’t decide but Evanovich presents many funny romantic situations in this edition.

3. Stephanie’s cousin is hilarious. He’s a creep. And I would not want to meet him in reality. But he provides necessary humor.

4. Not knowing how to properly catch a criminal can really get her in hot water. The situations she finds herself in are just laugh out loud. I don’t know how the writer keeps on coming up with them.

5. We’re learning a bit more about the dangers of Ranger. And I like it! He’s someone you just never know what to expect… it could be good or it could be the good kind of bad.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Strega Nona

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Strega NonaMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review
Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola is the first book in a classic children’s literature series from the 1970s and 1980s. It was eventually made into a cartoon and several other children’s merchandise, all fun and educational toys as kids grew up. I enjoyed the premise of the books but only read the first one, and maybe the second or third (can’t remember). Caldecott award winner!

Strega Nona means “Grandma Witch,” and she helps the townspeople with all their problems through her magical pasta pot. One day, she has to go away and leaves Big Anthony in charge. And even though he was told not to use the pot, he doesn’t listen and causes all sorts of wacky situations.

These books were meant as little lessons for children. It all comes down to teaching the 4 to 8 range why it’s important to listen, what harm can happen if you don’t and how to always be honest and truthful. Valuable stuff… and when it’s in a picture book format, it’s quite strong.

Of all the picture books, these weren’t my super-high favorite ones, but they were still very good. I liked the idea of a witch teaching children, but at the same time… if you want this to be a listen, did she have to be a witch? Couldn’t she just have been a grandma with some magical powers? I suppose it’s a good way to show that not all “witches” can be bad. But I bet kids learned to eat a lot of pasta from them!!!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews