Tuesday Top Ten

top ten history

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week’s challenge was to pick a particular setting and then list our favorite books in that setting.  Since my book choices tend to be all over the place I chose to list my favorite books that take place in the past, that have some type of historical setting.

  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Masterfully crafted (in case I haven’t said it enough!) story that takes place in Germany during WWII.
  2. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys – Moving story about a Lithuanian family taken by the Russians during WWII.
  3. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – I loved the characters in this novel that takes place in French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950.
  4. Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra – Beautiful yet horrible story about the wars in Chechnya.  OK, so much of the story does not take place too far back in history (1994-2004), but there is much to be learned about the history of the area through this novel.
  5. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty – A great look at the early twentieth century as Cora becomes a chaperone to the young Louise Brooks in New York City before she becomes a silent film star.
  6. A Good American by Alex George – An epic novel following three generations of a family beginning with their immigration in 1904.
  7. Thieves of Book Row by Travis McDade – An amazing story of a ring of book thieves during the Great Depression.
  8. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power  by Jon Meacham – One of my favorite figures in American history and a engrossing portrait of his life.
  9. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick – A masterful work of art and a touching novel which travels back and forth between New York City in 1927 and Minnesota in 1977.
  10. Onion Street by Reed Farrel Coleman – A gritty detective novel set in 1960’s Brooklyn by one of my favorite mystery authors.

Tuesday Top Ten

topten2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week’s challenge was to list the top ten list of books that I’ve read so far in 2013 – I am just limiting myself to those for which I’ve written reviews, so these are actually my favorites since I started my blog in February (and in no particular order)!

  1. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – Funny and touching story set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950.
  2. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – A fun and quirky adventure melding the ancient with the latest technology.
  3. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger – A mystery and a coming-of-age story set in 1960s small town Minnesota.
  4. With or Without You by Domenica RutaA searing memoir of the author’s relationship with her drug-addled and irresponsible mother and her own struggles with addiction.
  5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – A touching and endearing story of young love between two unique individuals.
  6. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham – An amazing story of this founding father, a complex and fascinating man.
  7. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson Unique storytelling style combined with an up-close look at life in England during the two world wars.
  8. Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra – A difficult yet beautiful novel set during the wars in Chechnya.
  9. Screwed by Eoin Colfer – A well-told story – gritty, violent, and raunchy – but great characters and a lot of fun!
  10. Onion Street by Reed Farrel Coleman – Another installment in this wonderful detective series!

Onion Street

onionstreetI am a huge fan of this series by Reed Farrel Coleman.  These gritty novels follow the life of former NYPD-turned PI Moe Prager through a number of cases, romances, marriages, tumultuous relationships with his brother and his daughter, and ultimately with himself.  Onion Street is a prequel of sorts to the rest of the series.   After attending the funeral of his childhood friend, Bobby Friedman, Moe relates the story of his youth to his daughter, detailing the series of events that led him to a life as a detective.

The story he tells takes place in 1967 Brooklyn with Moe as a directionless college student, wandering through his days.  That all changes when his girlfriend is mugged, ending up in a coma, and it becomes apparent that Bobby’s life is also in danger.  Enlisting his friend Lids (a drug-dealing genius who has suffered a nervous breakdown), Moe sets out to find out what’s behind these attacks.  His inquiries will take him to a run-down appliance store, the airport, Brighton Beach, and the Catskills.  Along the way to discovering the truth Moe encounters grieving parents, radical college students, mobsters, Holocaust survivors, drug addicts, and police detectives.

I have been waiting for the next Moe Prager novel for a long time and Onion Street did not disappoint.  The descriptions of 1967 Brooklyn are dirty, dusty, dangerous, adding to the grittiness of the story.  As with all of the Moe Prager novels, as in life, people are not always who you thought they were, right and wrong are not easy to discern, the answers do not come easily. It is a world of gray.

“No, this was Brooklyn. We liked our scars. We wore our failures with pride. We lived in a world of what used to be and what would be no more.”

Title:  Onion Street
Author: Reed Farrel Coleman
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 320
Publication: Tyrus Books, May 2013