Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Last Mile by David Baldacci, 417 pages

This is book #2 in the Amos Decker series by Baldacci.  Amos played professional football for about 30 seconds.  He was injured in his first pro game and that injury left him with a condition, hyperthymesia, which translates into never forgetting anything.

In this outing, the FBI puts Amos and his extraordinary memory to work on a special team working on cold cases.  Amos lobbies the team to take up the case of Melvin Mars, a gifted college football player who ended up on death row instead of playing in the NFL.  Right before Melvin is to be executed someone else confesses to the murders for which he was convicted 20 years ago.

Typical Baldacci fare, which frankly is exactly what I like.  And, I 'd like to throw out a big kiss to David Baldacci for making a library book very important to the story! 

Friday, May 20, 2016

In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward 311 pages

I usually enjoy reading debut novels.  It is sometimes a great way to discover a new favorite author.  However, I found this novel to be a disappointment.   In my opinion, the characters were not fleshed out enough for me to identify with.  The story did not draw me in.  Overall, a thumbs down.
In Derbyshire, England, in 1978, two young girls are kidnapped on their way to school.  One is found several hours later, traumatized, but otherwise unharmed.  The other is never found. Fast forward thirty years later.  The mother of the missing girl commits suicide.  Days later, a teacher from the school ( not the girl's teacher) is found strangled in the woods.  Rachel, the surviving girl, is now a genealogist.  She uses her research skills to see how the recent deaths could be tied to the kidnapping.  In the process, she also uncovers some family secrets.  Has she also put herself in danger?

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, 355 pages

When Lara Jean is over a crush, she writes the boy a love letter and stores it in her hatbox.  She never intends to send the letters.  One day without her knowing, the letters are sent and suddenly her former crushes are back in her life and she doesn't know what to do!

I book talked this to a group of middle schoolers last week and I hadn't really finished the book yet.  It was checked out immediately.  I hope whoever checked it out enjoyed it as much as I have.  It was a a very sweet read and I think many young girls would easily relate to it. 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, 323 pages

It is 1999 and Y2K is on it's way.  Lincoln takes a job at a newspaper working systems security.  He's tasked with checking flagged emails and sending out warnings if your email is inappropriate.  Not exactly the job he thought he'd be doing.

Meanwhile, Beth and Jennifer email all day long.  They know their email is being checked, but that doesn't censor them.

Lincoln starts looking forward to reading these exchanges between Jennifer and Beth.They are hilarious and the bright spot in his otherwise dull shift.  Eventually he realizes that he has feelings for Beth, but he doesn't know what to do about them.  How can he ask a girl out after reading all these messages?  Knowing all these private details of her life?  Not to mention the fact that she already has a boyfriend.

This is my second Rainbow Rowell novel and she is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Blackout by David Rosenfelt 274 pages

I really enjoy David Rosenfelt's books and this one did not disappoint!  Doug Brock is a New Jersey State Police Officer who suffers a traumatic head injury while conducting an investigation " off the books." The fact that he cannot remember the last 10 years does not diminish the pull of the investigation.  He knows it was huge, he knows he was close, and he knows and trusts that his partner Nate and his ex-fiancĂ©, Jessie, will help him get back on track.  Gangsters have partnered with terrorists to wreak catastrophic damage and worse yet, they have help from the inside.  Can Doug and friends  unravel it all in time?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Deceptive Homecoming by Anna Loan-Wilsey, 304 pages

This is book #4 in the Hattie Davish cozy mystery series by Anna Loan-Wilsey.  Two of the library's book clubs are reading the book this year because it is set in St. Joseph. 

It is 1893 and traveling secretary and amateur sleuth Hattie Davish has returned to her hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri to attend the funeral of her friend's father.  But . . . all is not as it should be in good ol' St. Joe. 

I am not a big fan of cozy mysteries, I guess I like a bit of grit and gore.  However, this was a fun book because it was set it St. Joseph and our heroine visited Mt. Mora Cemetery, the Lunatic Asylum, Lover's Lane and many other familiar places.  And not to worry, she also solved that pesky mystery along the way.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Boys in the Trees: A Memoir by Carly Simon, 376 pages

I experienced this book the best way possible, I think.  I listened to it read by Carly Simon.  The audio-book includes music in the background and even a few songs.  About half-way through listening to the book I checked out the print copy to see the pictures which I figured, correctly, would be there.

Carly Simon is the 3rd child and daughter of Richard and Andrea Simon.  A son, Peter, was born a few years after Carly.  Her father was a co-founder of the publishing company Simon & Schuster, though he was ousted in later life.

Both Carly and her father suffered from anxiety and depression.   I have always admired Carly Simon and enjoyed her music and never really considered she has the same worries and demons as everyone else.  The book is a very candid look at her life and marriage to James Taylor.  No surprise, she has a way with words.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender, 312 pages (2016-2017 Truman Readers Award Nominee)

In Famous Last Words, Willa is an angst filled teenage girl who has just moved to Hollywood with her recently remarried mom and her new famous movie producer stepfather.  As if starting a new school and making new friends weren't hard enough, Willa harbors a dark secret.  She killed her father.  Willa wants nothing more than to get in touch with her father and tell him how sorry she is for the fight they had and how she didn't mean to hurt him.  Though her spiritual attempts to contact her father never seem to work, Willa gets these crazy headaches and starts having visions of terribly frightening things.  There's a dead body in her swimming pool, messages on walls, and other things only she can see or hear.  Meanwhile, there's a serial killer loose in Hollywood who is targeting young actresses and reenacting famous death scenes and Willa starts to realize her hallucinations might be tied to the murders and that someone or something might be trying to send her a message. 

Of course, it's not all ghosts and murders in this story.  Willa makes a few new friends.  Marnie, a Hollywood kid like Willa, Reed, her stepfather's handsome young assistant, and Wyatt, a serious guy who is obsessed with the Hollywood Killer.  When Willa realizes the magnitude of the trouble she's in she needs someone to help her, but who?

I can't say much more without spoiling it.  I will say I never would have picked this up had it not been an award nominee.  Mysteries are fine, but ghost stories are not my cup of tea.  Fortunately for me this was creepy, but not too scary.  The story itself moved quickly and I stayed up too late finishing it last night and then stayed up even later watching something silly to counteract the creepiness.

Friday, May 13, 2016

As Time Goes By by Mary Higgins Clark 278 pages

I love Mary Higgins Clark!  It could have something to do with the huge emerald ring she wears...or it could be that she writes solid, clean mysteries.  Stories that hold your interest without all the sex and violence drama.  They do not call her the Queen of Suspence for nothing.  This one is the newest in the Alvira and Willy series.  Television journalist Delaney Wright is covering the sensational trial of Betsy Grant, accused of murdering her husband who had been suffering from early onset Alzheimer's.  Betsy is a very sympathetic character who truly loved her husband  and took excellent care of him.  But did she do it? Or was it the step-son who is deep in debt and stands to inherit $15 million?
Meanwhile, Delaney asks her friends Alvira and Willy to help her find her birth mother.  What they uncover is a bit shocking!  Will everyone live happily ever after?

The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris 439 pages

This is the second Kristina McMorris novel I have read and, honestly, it took me a while to get into this one, but it was worth it.  The author flips back and forth from the present to pre-WWII, even using different print fonts!  Audra is a young widow trying to raise her son, Jack.  Jack has night terrors and seems obsessed with WWII.  When finally asked by his therapist how he knows so much about WWII, Jack replies, " Because I was there."   On the flip side we have Vivian, daughter of an American diplomat living in London.  Vivian is having a secret affair with a German student, Isaak, but when war begins to break out, Vivian returns to the United States and Isaak must return to Germany and try to help his family escape the Nazi's.  What is the connection between these two stories?  Ah, you don't really expect me to tell you, do you?  That would spoil the read for you!  Just be sure you read the Author's Notes at the end.  Discussion questions are also included so this would be perfect for a Book Club.  Caution:  this was an Interlibrary Loan.  SJPL does not own this book.