Thursday, July 31, 2014

Without Warning by David Rosenfelt 295 pages

Wow!  I could use that one word to describe this book, but really, it deserves a few more:  amazing, thrilling, spine tingling, page turner!  Read it!

David Rosenfelt is one of my favorite authors for the Andy Carpenter series he writes.  This title is a stand-alone and in case you could not tell, I loved it.  It takes place in small town Wilton, Maine.  There has been a flood and it is decided to unearth the town time capsule to make sure nothing is water logged.  Much to their surprise, they discover a human skeleton on top of the capsule.  Not only that, but there is an extra box of predictions, all with clues to murders, past, present and to come.  Local town Chief of Police Jake Robbins goes from hero to suspect as things begin to unravel.  He has a complicated relationship with Newspaper editor Katie Sanford and even that is threatened.  Who is trying to frame Jake and put Katie in jeopardy?  Prepare to stay up late reading.  Rosenfelt mixes just the right amount of humor in with the terror.  You can't decide if you want to laugh or scream!

No One Could Have Guessed the Weather by Anne-Marie Casey 304 pages

No One Could Have Guessed the Weather is a book about four women living in New York City. The author jumps from story to story and that can be hard to follow, but the book is a good read.  The women’s lives and marriages are all in a state of flux and change, as are their friendships with each other.

While not providing any earth shattering revelations, this was an entertaining book and I think it would provide good discussion for a book club.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Shooting Star by Peter Temple 232 pages

I pulled this off the Newbooks shelf because it looked like it contained a lot of short, snappy dialogue and I was not disappointed in the writer’s style. This was a fast, satisfying read. I had not heard of Peter Temple before picking this book up but I intend to investigate his other books.

Shooting Star is about the abduction of a wealthy family’s 15 year-old daughter.  Not too far into the book it becomes apparent that this family has a lot of secrets and skeletons.  The investigator who is called in, Frank Calder, is an ex-cop and ex-serviceman with secrets and skeletons of his own.

Frank enlists the aid of a colleague named Mick Orlovsky whose background is similar to Frank’s background.  Of Mick, Frank muses “he was neatly dressed and clean-shaven but he always managed to give the impression that he’d escaped from somewhere”.  Orlovsky does not disappoint as a sidekick to Frank.

Together Mick and Frank look into the girl’s disappearance and the family secrets and eventually find answers.  As I said, this is a fast, satisfying read.

By the way, Peter Temple is an Australian author.

A Child Out of Alcatraz by Tara Ison 264 pages

A Child Out of Alcatraz is an interesting book.  I did not realize until I read this book that the families of prison employees lived on the island in state provided housing.  School age children took the ferry back and forth to San Francisco on a daily basis.

This book is about one of those families, and the chapters about them alternate with chapters about the history of Alcatraz.  Vivian and Arthur are the parents of Olivia and her older siblings, Stella and Jerry.  The story is told from Olivia’s point of view, and is as much a story about the changing roles of women in society in the 40's, 50's and 60's as it is about what Olivia is going through, growing up in the shadow of her siblings.

Vivian eventually starts seeing a therapist and starts taking mood enhancing drugs, something a lot of mothers in those years were doing.  Olivia reports again and again that Vivian will participate in family events and decisions if she is “Up. To. It.”, her code for “capable of coping with reality”.  In some ways Olivia becomes the parent as Vivian’s coping skills diminish.

The outcome of the story is unsurprising, but it was a very good read, nonetheless.  I really liked this book and Tara Ison’s writing style. 

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding, 496 pages

Helen Fielding is a great comic writer.  In this story, Bridget Jones is now 51 and a single mother.  Her husband, Mark Darcy, died five years ago when son Billy was 2 and daughter Mabel was 2 months old.

Bridget is just emerging from her grief and trying to live again.  I read other reviews on Amazon and Good Reads and many people disliked this book.  I didn't.  I also did not read the other two Bridget Jones books, though I really enjoyed the movie version of "Bridget Jones."

During the book Bridget loses 40 pounds and begins dating a 30 year old Toy Boy named Roxster.  They are perfect for each other, except for the 21 year age difference.  I laughed out loud a lot as I listened to the book.  Bridget is not perfect, but she is perfect for her kids and her life.  I give this a definite thumbs up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore 326 pages

Someday, if my dream comes true, Christopher Moore will ask me to be his proofreader.  That way I will get first looks at all of his books and I won't have to wait until they are published!  I love his books so much. This one, like Fool was inspired by some pretty heavy Shakespearean works.  Fool was kind of a retelling of King Lear from the fool's perspective.  Serpent has Pocket (the fool from Fool) back for more crazy, witty antics (and some pretty gnarly revenge involving a man-eating sea serpent), but inspired this time by The Merchant of Venice and Othello.  Only Moore could weave two completely different stories (make that three, because there was another work that inspired him for this one) and make it not only make sense, but have you giggling at others' demise.  I have never been disappointed by Moore, I just greedily wait for the next book.  Write faster, Christopher!!!

One For The Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt 224 pages

Carley is one unlucky kid.  She thinks that might be because there are 13 letters in her name.  Or maybe it was some other superstitious thing that cursed her.  Whatever it was, it must have been bad, because now she's stuck with the "perfect" family and she feels anything but perfect.  The longer she stays with the Murphys, the more she realizes that this kind of family is not only perfect, it's what she wants.  How can she face going back to the life she's known when she sees how great her life can be?  This was a fantastic book that really captured all sides of a foster family situation.  I loved the characters and felt all the hurts and joys they did.  Get your tissues ready!  This is a current Truman Award nominee.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Target by David Baldacci, 342 pages

"The Target" is the third book in the Will Robie series by Baldacci.  Will Robie and Jessica Reel are highly skilled assassins for the CIA.

They were very busy in this book.  First they were recruited for an ultra-secret mission to kill a bad world leader on the QT, then they had to rescue a young friend who was kidnapped by a Neo-Nazi group tied to Jessica's past, next they were asked to rescue some people in another country, finally they got a cushy assignment that turned out to be the hardest one yet.  Wow, from hit man/woman to all around go-to people for the biggest guy in the US government, in between their own personal missions.

Obviously the story was a little far fetched, but it was fun.  There is another storyline that involves an assassin in a totalitarian state.  That part of the story is not wham bam, and parts are actually quite serious.  However, overall this is an action-packed book full of making bad people pay the price for their badness.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What We've Lost Is Nothing by Rachel Louise Snyder 296 pages

This book takes place in the two days following burglaries which occur one afternoon in an affluent neighborhood of Chicago.  The chapters alternatively recount the reactions of the residents of Ilios Lane as they deal with their shock and sense of violation.

The McPherson family is at the center of the novel.  Mary Elizabeth McPherson has skipped school and is home during the break-in, high on ecstasy with her Cambodian neighbor, Sofia.  They are making too much noise to notice that a crime is being committed in another part of the house.

Everyone’s belief systems are shaken when fingers are pointed at different racial groups and suspects are discussed.  Neighbors who were proponents of diversity find themselves questioning their previous ideas.

Interspersed with the chapters are emails and blogs discussing the crimes.  I found this addition to be disruptive and hard to follow.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed this book and how the story unfolded.  I was reminded of the 2004 movie, “Crash” while I read this book.  I think it would be a good book club book.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Invisible by James Patterson and David Ellis 399 pages

In typical James Patterson fashion, this book is a real page turning thriller! Emmy Dockery lost her twin sister, Marta, in a fire.  Using her talents as a FBI research analyst, she has a theory that a string of fires across the US, including the one that killed Marta,  are not accidental at all, but the work of a killer.  Just when Emmy and her FBI team think they are on the right track, the arsonist throws in a twist.  Intertwined in the story are excerpts from the killer's "Graham Sessions", detailing the murder. Just one part of the book that will leave you on the edge of your seat!  This book has more twists and turns than a ride at Worlds of Fun.  Fasten your seat belts and hang on!