Friday, August 29, 2014

The Hen of the Baskervilles by Donna Andrews 308 pages

Meg Langslow is at it again in this goofy mystery.  This time, she is a co-chair for a local festival where the soon-to-be-ex husband of a friend is murdered.  It's up to Meg to prove her friend's innocence, but that's not going to be easy with a neighboring police force mucking things up for everyone.  Llamas, chickens and wine makers all get in on the fun.  These are really great books for light reading, and I almost always laugh out loud at certain parts.

Some Like It Hawk by Donna Andrews 344 pages

This isn't even a guilty pleasure.  I love these books by Donna Andrews.  They remind me of the Thin Man series or some Cary Grant screwball comedy type thing.  Anyway, they are the perfect book to take to the beach or to read if you need something light and fun, but are a fan of mysteries.

This particular title in the series takes place around the 4th of July, which is lucky, since the entire town is trying to keep a secret tunnel with a squeaky door secret from the organization that is trying to buy up all their land and buildings.  Meg Langslow does her part making as much noise as a blacksmith as possible during the town's celebrations, so that people can get in and out of the tunnel without arousing suspicion.  At the other end of the tunnel is the ex-town clerk, who has barricaded himself in the court house and has successfully prevented the "Evil Lenders" from completely railroading the entire town.  A murder occurs and the clerk is prime suspect, but Meg and her motley crew are going to do their best to make sure the murder isn't pinned on the wrong man.  These mysteries are just pure silly fun.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mean Streak by Sandra Brown 409 pages

Sandra Brown has done it again!  As with her book "Lethal", I could not stop reading this thriller! 
Dr. Emory Charbonneau is a runner, a marathon runner who pushes herself to the extreme.  "Push on, Emory.  Place one foot in front of the other. Eat up the distance one yard at a time."  While she is on a training run on a mountain trail, she is attacked and left for dead.  She awakens in a remote cabin where a reclusive man, who will not even tell her his name, nurses her back to health.  Is he the one who attacked her?  Will she ever be able to escape and reunite with her husband, Jeff?  All is not as it seems and as Emory begins to heal, she sees a side of her rescuer she finds very attractive.  Wrong becomes right until
Emory realizes the man with no name may be the one who rescues her from many different kinds of deception.  A definite must read!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen 344 pages


Tess Gerritsen is an author in which I have long been interested, but never took the time to read. The TV series, Rizzoli and Isles, is based on these books and I enjoyed the television programs. Of course, the book was not a disappointment. Detective Jane Rizzoli has not yet recovered from the trauma of being a victim and she has the scars to prove it. She put away serial killer Warren Hoyt, but now, less than a year later, the killings have begun again. Hoyt has an admirer, a sick, twisted admirer, and for Rizzoli, the nightmares haunt her again. Then, Hoyt escapes from prison. In order to solve the murders and capture the maniacs, Rizzoli must let herself rely on the men in her squad and the FBI agent too attractive to let herself trust. I cannot wait to read the next in this series.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The First True Lie by Marina Mander 143 pages

The premise of this book is pretty awful.  Ten year old Luca’s mother dies one night and because he is terrified of being an orphan (his father left long ago), Luca keeps her death a secret.  Her decaying corpse is in her bedroom.

The story is told inside Luca’s head and, while some of it sounds like the words of a child of ten, I felt like a lot of it was too mature for someone that age.  He gets himself to school and back and has interactions with some of his friends, but his existence is bleak and sad.

In addition, the story ends abruptly without a resolution.  Do we assume Luca is found out and the corpse removed and he goes to an orphanage?  This is not made clear.

I was skeptical of the plot before I started this book.  It was kind of a creepy read, overall.

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom, 256 pages

Lucky Us is a quick listen or read.  It begins in Ohio in 1939 with 12 year old Eva being left at her father's house after his wife dies.  Eva is used to seeing her dad, Edgar, once or twice a week, but Momma is ready to move on.

Eva meets her half-sister Iris, who is a 16 year old beauty and they have a rocky beginning but when Iris decides to try and make it in Hollywood after she graduates from high school she takes Eva with her.

Circumstances bring the girls back East with their friend Francisco and surprisingly, Edgar.

I really enjoyed this book and found it humorous and sad.  Family, and what makes a family, is a very strong theme throughout this book.  My favorite quote from the book (spoken by Eva) "The pain in my chest I'd had since I'd been left on the front porch eased up.  It wasn't grief, it was being broke and badly dressed and now I wasn't."  That pretty much sums up Eva.  She is one tough, but good hearted cookie.

This goes on my "you bet I'm recommending it" list.  Listen, if you can, the reader is fabulous.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Number of Missing by Adam Berlin 269 pages

I admit it, I am fascinated with novels written about New Yorkers and their lives post-9/11.  The Number of Missing is just such a book and did not disappoint in any way.

David was near the towers when the planes hit.   David’s friend, Paul, was at work in one of the towers when the planes hit and his body was never recovered.  The book is about David and Paul’s widow, Mel,  and how they are coming to terms with their grief.

There are references to what went on in NYC immediately after the attacks and there are descriptions of what must have been taking place in the burning towers before they collapsed.

At one point David is talking to a Russian woman about the aftermath.  He says he has been having a hard time.  She says Americans are not used to hard days and he replies that after 9/11 we are.  The woman says “It’s your first.  There are many 9/11s.  Yours are not so special.”

In that context, when one considers the unrest, fighting and bloodshed all over the world in the past 20 years, Americans have been lucky.  However, it does not erase the horror of the two planes flying into the twin towers.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, 464 pages

Oh was this book enjoyable.  It is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith, otherwise known as JK Rowling.

Cormoran Strike is a private detective with baggage.  He is a former military investigator who lost his right leg below the knee in an IED attack in Afghanistan.  His father is a famous singer who he's only seen twice.  He's also trying to get over a 16 year relationship with the beautiful, but very flawed Charlotte.

He has a fledgling detective agency that is going well, thanks to the notoriety of his solving the case detailed in the first book in the series "The Cuckoos Calling."  He's working his tail off, trying to pay off a loan he reluctantly took from his deadbeat famous dad.  He has an excellent assistant in Robin, who began as a temporary secretary in book one and is now on full-time and interested in getting more involved in detecting.

Cormoran is hired to look for a missing author, Owen Quine, by his wife. Quine's newly finished but unpublished book has ticked off a lot of people. Cormoran finds Quine, but the search turns into a messy murder investigation.

Galbraith/Rowling is a terrific storyteller and author and I hope he/she keeps giving us more Cormoran Strike books.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Boy21 by Matthew Quick 250 pages

This book is another 2014-2015 Gateway Readers Award Nominee.  While I have some issues with this book, I will say I would have no problem recommending it to a male reluctant reader.  It is about 2 boys, one white, poor, and the very talented point guard on his all black high school basketball team.  The other boy is black, comes from a wealthy family, and was a student at a prep school, where he was the only black basketball player.  Tragedy throws them together and they both learn life lessons about friendship, family, loss, and things more important than basketball.

Down the Shore by Stan Parish 276 pages

Down The Shore is an entertaining look at the world of the rich, both the nouveau riche and the inherited wealthy.  I really liked the characters even though they are almost all narcissistic to a fault and they all engage in casual sex, drug use, bouts of drunkenness and poor life choices.  After all, however, they are 18 years old and is that not the time of life when engaging in those activities is expected of a person?

Tom Alison is a scholarship student at an expensive prep school back east and is busted for selling drugs.  He chooses to spend a year in Scotland at St. Andrews University, where Americans go to hide out and get a second chance.  In the process he becomes friends with Clare Savage, the son of a financier who is on the run, internationally, for absconding with funds and ruining the lives of investors.  Clare’s dad is a wanted man.

In addition to the friends Tom makes in Scotland, he spends time with his childhood friends on the Jersey shore.  They eventually join him in Scotland for a short time and all his acquaintances intermingle, with interesting results.

I really liked this book and would recommend it.  I was reminded of Nick Carraway and his fascination with Gatsby and his lifestyle. Tom Alison, however, seems less needy than Nick, and more capable of reading people.  I look forward to more books by Stan Parish.

The Confidant by Helene Gremillon, 245 pages

The Confidant by Helene Gremillon is a selection this year for the library's book clubs.  It begins in Paris in 1975 with an unnamed protagonist who receives an unsigned letter in the mail not long after her mother dies.  The letter seems to be the beginning of a long story.

We eventually learn the protagonist's name: Camille, and the writer of the letters: Louis.  Louis is writing to Camille about Annie, Louis' first love and things that happened during World War II.  Camille has no idea why she is receiving these letters but eventually begins to suspect there is a reason Louis keeps sending her letters, diaries and stories.

The story is told through short snippets from Camille and the letters she receives from Louis.  I found this book very intriguing and a fast read.  I am a person who reads the end of books before I've finished the whole thing.  I tried to do that with this book, but the ending makes no sense until the entire book is read.  I can't wait to talk about this book with other people.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Power Play by Catherine Coulter 391 pages

This is the next great installment in the Sherlock and Savich FBI series.  It does not disappoint.  Blessed Blackman has escaped and is determined to get Sherlock as revenge for the loss of his mother.  Not only that, but the Ambassador to England, Natalie Black, had returned to the U. S., her job in jeapordy.  But if the rumors are true and she had had to leave her post in disgrace, why is someone trying to kill her and targeting her daughter, Perry, in the United States.  Good thing hunky Special Agent Davis Sullivan is on the case. This is a definite page turning thriller.

First Meetings in Ender's Universe by Orson Scott Card, 208 pages

"First Meetings" is a collection of a few short stories, all related to Ender Wiggins. The book begins with the story of Ender's parents, John Paul and Theresa and their first meeting.

We also get Ender's first meeting with the computer program, Jane and a story of his time at Battle and Command schools.

These short stories give great additional information into Ender's life. Definitely a recommend for fans of the Ender Wiggins' series, of which I am one!