Saturday, November 29, 2014

Game by Barry Lyga 528 pages

It has been a month since Jazz helped to capture the Impressionist. It has also been a month since Billy Dent, a famous serial killer, escaped from prison. After a series of murders by the Hat-Dog Killer in New York City, Jazz is recruited by a police detective to help solve the murders. Using his serial killer knowledge that he learned from Billy, Jazz agrees to help.

While in New York, Jazz gets pulled into the game, where he learns that there are two killers Hat and Dog, where they both have a unique way of killing their prey. Jazz believes that his father is behind it, and as he fights to prove his theory, Jazz ends up in a jam.  

Will Jazz, Connie, and Howie survive this new set of killers?

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen 256 pages

Cole Matthews is being sent to a remote island off the coast of South Alaska. Cole is to stay on the island for a year as a banishment that was handed down by Circle Justice, an alternative to jail.

Peter Driscal is an innocent boy who turned Cole in after hearing that he robbed a hardware store. When Cole found out what Peter had done, Cole beats up Peter.

Garvey, Cole’s parole officer gets the ball rolling for Circle Justice and comes up with the idea of banishment. He tries to help Cole, so that both Cole and Peter may heal.

Touching Spirit Bear follows Cole as he learns that there are consequences in life that he has to live with. Will Cole and Peter be able to come to terms with the abuse that both boys have had to deal with? Can they heal?

Monday, November 24, 2014

"A" is for Alibi by Sue Grafton 307 pages

This is the first in Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone Mysteries series.  We meet Kinsey, a woman who quit the police force because the politics and restrictions limited what could actually be accomplished for the sake of justice.  She has been working as a private investigator for a while, mostly for the insurance company with whom she shares office space.  Running down false insurance claims is quite a bit different from the case presented to her by Nikki.  Nikki has just finished serving time for her husband's murder and she wants Kinsey to find out who really killed him.  Kinsey is intrigued.  If Nikki had really murdered him, it seems unlikely she would bother hiring a P.I. to track down a phantom murderer.  Unfortunately, every time Kinsey follows a good lead, someone else dies.  If she makes it out of this alive, she might make it to "B" is for Burglar.  This is a fun little book and I like Kinsey as a character, especially as the series matures.  I listened to this book on CD read by Mary Peiffer, who was adequate, but nothing special as a reader.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To all the boys I've loved before by Jenny Han 355 pages

This is a young adult novel.  Sixteen- year-old Lara Jean has written love letters to 5 boys.  Boys she, at one time or another, thought she was in love with.  Letters she kept, never intending to mail. Now, her younger sister Kitty, as an act of revenge, has mailed the letters.  Whoa!  It took me a really long time to get into this book.  It ended up being a story about high school reputations.  Are you a cool jock?  Are you the school slut?  Are you a quirky nerd?  Are you the mean girl?  What happens when the quirky nerd starts going out with the school jock, the ex-boyfriend of the mean girl?  Can she swim with the sharks?  It also illustrates how easily a good reputation can be ruined by a mean rumor.  Will I recommend this  book?  Doubtful.  It was okay, just not something to get real excited about.

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams 307 pages

It had been years since I read this book, but I remembered it so fondly, I had to have a go at it again.  It did not disappoint.  Adams has a way of writing that feels like you're just sitting listening to someone tell a funny story.  Dirk Gently and his holistic detective agency were on the case when one of his clients ends up beheaded.  The plot got thick as jam when Thor, god of thunder, etc., got involved...not with the beheading, but with a massive explosion at Heathrow, which resulted in a ticket girl (Dirk's ex-secretary) being turned into a soda machine.  Is this book silly?  Oh, my, yes.  Is it a rollicking good time?  A million time, yes!!!  If you like a funny, irreverent mystery, and especially if you enjoy British authors, you must read this book.  I give you this colorful sentence to prove a point: The daylight shouldered its way in like a squad of policemen and did a lot of what's-all-thising around the room, which, like the bedroom, would have presented anyone of an aesthetic disposition with difficulties.

It's true love.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout 178 pages

Finding myself without an audiobook to listen to while I did dishes, I turned to recent purchases from our library book sale.  Hooray!  I found a Nero Wolf book I had forgotten I'd purchased.  This one was not read by Michael Pritchard, who is my favorite reader of these books, but it was still very good.  Nero is hired by a woman to get J. Edgar Hoover's FBI men to leave her alone.  Her crime is that she bought many copies of a book called The FBI Nobody Knows and distributing them to people she thought should read it.  Wolf's ego can't turn the job down and the massive payment check piques his interest, as well.  It turns out that he may be able to accomplish the job for his client and solve a murder in the process.  Only a genius like Wolf would be able to bully the FBI into doing as he wished, but he couldn't be the effective genius he is without wise-cracking Archie Goodwin doing all the legwork.  As always, an enjoyable book from the Nero Wolf series!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Faithful Place by Tana French 400 pages

Faithful Place is the name of a neighborhood in Dublin and this novel is a book about going home. Frank Mackey is a Detective in the Undercover department of the Dublin police.  Back when he was 19, he made plans with his girlfriend, Rosie, to run away to England.  You see, theirs was a Romeo and Juliet romance.  The Dalys hated the Mackeys and visa versa.  But on the night they were to leave, Rosie disappears.  Everyone assumes she went on to England without Frank.  Frank does not return home either, choosing to make his way in life on his own.  Fast forward 22 years.  The old house where they used to meet is being torn down and a suitcase is found stuffed up the chimney.  Frank is sucked in to the investigation although no one really wants him there.  The "Place" does not like cops, the Dublin police think he will choose loyalty to family and community and Frank's dysfunctional family holds too many secrets to want a cop hanging around, even if he is a long lost son.  This is another great Tana French novel.  I am hooked!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sight Unseen by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen 324 pages

This novel is the latest in the Kendra Michaels series.  Kendra was once blind, but due to an experimental surgery, has regained her sight.  However, she has kept her heightened senses and extraordinary powers of observation.  She is invaluable to law enforcement.  However, this most recent case is like a blast from the past, a blast into hell, that is.  Someone is committing murders that mirror Kendra's most notorious past cases.  She is forced to re-live those horrific crimes and the pain they caused the families.  The closer she gets to discovering who this sicko is, the closer the danger comes to her family and those she cares about.  Can she solve case before it is too late?  You will have to read to find out!

Monday, November 10, 2014

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen 342 pages

This is the story of a young orphan who is purchased to take part in the most dangerous scam imaginable.  Sage has been at an orphanage for years and is only about one year away from being able to strike out on his own, when a nobleman, Connor, purchases him.  This is an outrage for Sage.  He is extremely independent and self-sufficient.  Connor's plan is an attempt to thwart civil war by masquerading Sage, or one of the other 3 orphans he has acquired, as the country's long-lost prince.  Sage learns too soon that the losers in this game are doomed, but he doesn't want to be a part of it.  In the end, he decides that some prizes are worth fighting for and the truth is sometimes the hardest battle to fight.  This was a really solid story.  The characters were believable and the story was engaging.  I enjoyed listening to it as an audiobook read by Charlie McWade.  This title is a current Truman Award nominee and book one in the Ascendance Trilogy.

The Likeness by Tana French 466 pages

You know, they say everyone has a twin in this world.  Cassie Maddox discovers hers murdered, in an abandoned cottage in the country.  Not only that, she has an ID with Cassie's undercover name on it.  You see, Cassie is a Detective in Dublin and she used to work undercover.  Her undercover name was Lexie Madison.  Now, Cassie is asked to go back undercover, again as Lexie, to try and flush out the murderer.  She manages to return to the dilapidated country mansion Lexi shares with 4 roommates.  It is a complicated life full of complicated relationships.  Cassie finds herself becoming emotionally involved with this group of misfits while the investigation goes on, not only trying to discover just who killed Lexie, but Lexi's true identity.  Tana French weaves a great mystery, and seduces you into her tale with wonderful descriptive phrases.  Her pen is like a paintbrush.  I have found a new favorite author!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James, 304 pages

Death Comes to Pemberley is a murder mystery written by the famous British author, P.D. James.  It is also a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

It is six years since the marriage of Elizabeth Bennett to Fitzwilliam Darcy.  They are happily settled on Darcy's estate Pemberley, with two young sons.  There is a murder on the estate the night before an annual Fall Ball and the still dastardly George Wickham is the prime suspect.

This was my second listen of the book because the Downtown Library Book Club will be discussing it in November.  I could barely finish it the first time but did better this time.  I expected it to be more Jane Austenish than it was and found the "stiff upper lip" dialog got old quickly.  However, it is a good story and I kept my ear out for the irony this time and found more of it.  I would recommend this book to fans of P.D. James but tell Jane's followers they can pass on it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Charleston by Margaret Bradham Thornton 320 pages

This was a lovely book.  The story revolves around the city of Charleston and anyone who read and loved Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil might like this book as much.  There is so much history of the city, the families, the houses, and the customs of Charleston in the pages of this book.  Many of the characters remind one of the characters in Berendt’s book.  If they were not actual living citizens of Charleston, Margaret Bradham Thornton has done a wonderful job in making them seem as if they were.

In the book Eliza and Henry meet again after being apart for ten years.  They were madly in love until Henry made an error in judgment which caused Eliza to leave him and Charleston.  Both of them have matured and led full lives but in reuniting they find that they have not grown apart and the story continues from there.

The author does a good job of putting the reader into the spirit and atmosphere of Charleston.  I really liked this book.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling, 652 pages

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is book 6 in the seven book series by J. K. Rowling.

Harry is sixteen and Professor Dumbledore is working with him this year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, to help prepare Harry for the showdown he is destined to have with the greatest dark wizard of all times, Lord Voldemort.

The only problem with finishing this great book is in knowing that there is only one book left and when I'm done with that one, I officially have to put the magic of Harry Potter away for awhile.

Private Down Under by James Patterson adn Michael White 345 pages

This book should come with a caution: "Warning, the book you are about to read contains graphically violent scenes.  Be prepared to skip over some pages."  Yes, I realize this is a murder mystery, but WOW!  But I will say, in typical James Patterson style, it is a quick read and a page turner.  Young, beautiful women from the same wealthy suburb are being viciously murdered, their faces disfigured and a fistful of copied $100.00 notes stuffed in their vaginas, a Chinese gang has kidnapped and murdered a powerful businessman's son, and a famous rock star is trying to avoid the "twenty-seven club".  They all need the help of the newest Private office in Australia.  Although some Patterson die-hard fans will love this book, it is not one I would recommend.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison 355 pages

One day I found myself without anything to read at lunchtime.  I went out and did a quick scan of our shelves down here in the Children's Department and this book jumped out at me.  It's the story of a girl, Tanya, who can see fairies, but that's not a good thing.  If she tries to tell anyone or get proof, they punish her.  These fairies aren't friendly, flitting from flower to flower nymphs.  They can be cruel and sadistic.  After a particularly aggressive reprimand from them, Tanya's mother decides she's too much of a handful for her, so she sends her to her grandmother's home for a couple months.  This is not a good thing, as far as Tanya is concerned.  She gets the distinct impression that her grandmother dislikes her and doesn't want her in her home.  Additionally, her grandma lives in the country and her home and its surrounding area are packed full of fairies.  Tanya has to navigate through all their mischief and try not to bring any more attention to herself than can be helped.  However, a strange gift from a local "witch" and a 50-year-old mystery are about to draw Tanya into more dangers than she ever would have imagined.  This is an excellent book that older kids and adults young at heart who enjoy the fantastic will really appreciate.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gray Mountain by John Grisham 368 pages

In this, his latest book, John Grisham has taken on the strip mining companies and it is not pretty! Imagine, a pristine mountain in the Appalachians, colorful trees, lots of animals, just completely destroyed. The top sliced off to get to the vein of coal underneath. Trees, dirt, debris just pushed off into the valley. Workers' unions busted, miners dying because of too much coal dust in their lungs, their benefits denied. Rules are broken, regulations ignored, and communities divided. Bribes, corruption, you name it. Into this scenario lands Samantha Kofer. Samantha was born and bred to be a big time New York attorney. Both her parents are attorneys and she has been slaving away for several years now at a huge firm in New York. Then the bottom falls out and she is sent to a small village in the Appalachian Mountains to work pro bono at the Mountain Legal Aid Clinic. Samantha has never even been inside a court room, but she learns quickly that even small towns have their big secrets and litigations soon turns deadly. Will Samantha high tail in back to the big city or stick around to "help real people with real problems"? You will have to read to find the answer to that one!

Blood Magick: Book Three of the Cousins O'Dwyer Triology by Nora Roberts 304 pages

I love Nora Roberts' books.  I know, I know, her trilogies are pretty much like other authors' series in that they follow a set pattern.  There are always three:  three sisters, brothers, cousins, friends, who share a business or task and in each book of the series one of them finds their soul mate, falls in love and lives happily ever after.  I don't care....I still like her trilogies!  I especially like the ones that take place in Ireland, like this trilogy.  In this book, it is finally Branna and Finbar's turn to be together.  Though they fell in love long ago, they avoid each other because of Finbar's bloodline.  Finally, in this book, that issue is resolved.  A great read for a rainy day. Relax, let the mist surround you, have a glass of wine, put on a little fiddle music and let the O'Dwyers take you away.  They do put on a fine Craic!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Rainey Royal by Dylan Landis 246 pages

Rainey Royal is fourteen when this book opens.  Her mother left to live in an ashram and Rainey lives in Greenwich Village with her father, a famous jazz musician named Howard.  Howard welcomes all sorts of aspiring musicians and acolytes into the home (and his bed) at all hours of the night and day.

Rainey is an artist who challenges and tests every boundary and rule at school and at home.  She is cruel and bullying to teachers and classmates but she is also fiercely loyal.  Her best friend from her teen years, Tina Dial, and another friend named Leah vie for Rainey’s attention and love throughout the book.  The story ends when Rainey is in her early twenties.

This book is set in the 70s and the author does a good job recreating the chaos of the free love movement and of that time.  I would recommend this book and I think it would be a good book club book.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit 160 pages

Winnie Foster led a sheltered life. She was never allowed to leave her fenced in yard. However, one day she decides to run away. Across from her house is a wood, where Winnie runs to. In the wood, Winnie sees a young man drinking from a spring. Winnie was never to see the spring, no one was ever to see the spring.

Jesse Tuck has not aged in 84 years and he looks as if he is just 17. Once Jesse spots Winnie as he is hiding the spring, he calls for Mae & Miles Tuck, his mother and brother. They decide to take Winnie back to their home for a couple of days, while they tell her their story and to make her understand why she should never tell anyone about the spring.

The Tuck family, Angus, Mae, Miles, and Jesse, explain their story to Winnie and how the spring has effected all of them. While staying with the Tucks, Winnie understands the Tucks and begins to care for them. An accident happens at the Tuck’s house and Mae gets arrested. Winnie and the boys must help get Mae out of jail before their secret in revealed

The Misadventures of Edgar and Alan Poe: Once Upon a Midnight Eerie by Gordon McAlpine 192 pages

Identical twins Edgar and Alan Poe are now in New Orleans to star in a film as their great-great-great-great uncle, Edgar Alan Poe. While working on the set, the boys meet twin sisters Em and Milly Dickenson, great-great-great-great nieces of Emily Dickenson. After filming one night, Edgar, Alan, Em, and Milly decide to take a cemetery tour and end up meeting two ghosts, Clarence and Genevieve Du Valier, who were killed by two famous pirates, Pierre and Jean Lafitte. Before the ghosts can move on from this world, their crimes must be solved.

Edgar Alan Poe, from the Great Beyond, is still trying to send messages to his great-great-great-great nephews, but gets in trouble when adding to the films script using the words of his supervisor William Shakespeare. After having a conference with the great poet Homer and Shakespeare, Poe gets demoted to the animal room. The place where everyone dreads.

Once Upon a Midnight Eerie takes place right after The Tell-Tale Start. Once again, Edgar and Alan find themselves solving a mystery as well as having to save their lives, as someone else is wanting the boys dead.

This was read by Arte Johnson.

Marry Me by Dan Rhodes 174 pages

Is Marry Me by Dan Rhodes what is known as “flash fiction”?  If so, I confess that I am not much of a fan.  Some of these short stories are only a paragraph long. The longest is three pages long.  They are all told from a man’s point of view and describe the various stages of a relationship: meeting, dating, falling in love, planning nuptials, breaking up, etc.  Sometimes these were funny, sometimes brutal, sometimes sad. 

The book was a quick read, but I found myself putting it down and reading it in small doses instead of reading the whole book in one sitting.  It is not that I did not like the book, maybe I just did not “get it”.  

Your Fathers, Where Are They? and the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers 212 pages

Dave Eggers writes this newest novel in the form of conversations held between Thomas and several people he has kidnapped and brought to a deserted army base.  All the victims had connections with Thomas’ past and with an unfortunate incident involving a friend of his, Don Banh.

Thomas may or may not be insane, but his interrogation of these individuals (including his own mother) are intense.  It seems he feels that the excuses being made for what our society has become are feeble and that there is no incentive for the young to have ambitions and/or goals.

Some of the ideas in this novel are similar to The Circle, which I think might be my favorite Eggers book so far.  This newest book is unsettling because it is so raw and it feels like time is ticking away on any hope for a cure for what ails society today.