Saturday, January 30, 2016

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) by Robert Galbraith, 512 pages

Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym of J.K.Rowling, made famous by writing the Harry Potter series.  This is the 3rd very adult book about the modern day private detective Cormoran Strike, who is based in London.  I listened to this and it is expertly read by gravelly voiced, Robert Glinister.

In this outing, Strike and his secretary/assistant/partner, Robin Ellacott are targeted by a serial killer who likes to stab his female victims and keep parts of their bodies as souvenirs.  The killer has a grudge against Strike and sets his sights on Robin. 

Darkness and danger and suspense ensues and I loved every bit of it.

Monday, January 18, 2016

X (Kinsey Millhone #24) by Sue Grafton, 403 pages

Sue Grafton is up to "X" in her alphabet series of books featuring private investigator, Kinsey Millhone.  The books are set in the 1980s, pre-internet, pre-cell phones.  Kinsey makes full use of phone books and payphones.  Ahh, those were the days.

I never did figure out why this book was called "X" except that is the letter Grafton had to work with.  There were three stories happening here:  Kinsey and her landlord Henry have some new neighbors who turn out to be a nightmare; Kinsey is following up on cases from Pete Wolinsky, a private eye who died in "W is for Wasted" and ends up tangling with a very nasty man indeed and finally she plays reluctant marriage counselor to a feuding rich couple.

 I listened to this book and enjoyed it.  Sue Grafton has kept me interested and engaged through 24 letters of the alphabet and I'm looking forward to finishing the journey with "Y" and "Z".

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman 352 Pages

Elizabeth has taken a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, a rather unusual library that loans out a variety of objects with historical value. In the basement of the Repository, sits a special room – The Grimm Collection. Any object that has magical properties resides in this room.

When objects start to go missing from the Grimm Collection, Elizabeth along with her fellow pages, go on a dangerous journey to recover the stolen pieces. Elizabeth begins to learn that fairy tales are not just stories anymore.

This was read by Julia Whelan. 

Nightmares! by Jason Segel 400 pages

Charlie Laird recently lost his mother and his father has remarried. He believes that his stepmother is a witch, she dresses funny and makes him eat green pancakes. Ever since Charlie, his dad, and brother moved into the purple mansion, he has been wrecked with horrible dreams. He believes that a witch, who looks similar to his stepmother, wants to eat him. 

Nightmares become a reality for Charlie when his is tricked into going to the Nightmare World in search of his brother. Charlie and his friends need to face their fears if they want to make it back home. Along the way, Charlie makes some allies with some of the scariest monsters.

This was read by Jason Segel. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Figment by Cameron Jace 260 pages

Alice is having a hard time telling reality from insanity ever since dealing with the Cheshire. Professor Pillar hasn’t been much help, he hasn’t contacted Alice since they returned from the Vatican. All over London, kids are being found with their heads cut off and stuffed into watermelons, this only means that only Wonderland monster has shown up.

The Pillar and Alice are trying to stop the Muffin Man from killing all of London, but Alice must return to Wonderland to see why the Muffin Man is the way he is. The Muffin Man is set out to hurt the Queen of Hearts after she made him sneeze so hard, his eye popped out as well as leaving his three children to starve to death. Alice, along with Lewis Carol, try to change the past by saving the Muffin Man’s children.

On top of everything else, Jack keeps reappearing and it is causing Alice to think she really is insane. After turning to the Pillar, she learns the real identity of Jack Diamonds. 

Insanity by Cameron Jace 246 pages

Alice Wonder is a patient at the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum after she killed her classmates. Everyone believes that Alice is insane, except for Professor Pillar, another patient in the asylum. The professor believes that Alice is the real Alice from Wonderland and she is meant to fight in the Wonderland Wars.

Professor Pillar is able to talk to the director of the Asylum, who allows Alice to leave the asylum and has Alice pose as a student at Oxford University. Alice is tasked with finding the serial killer, The Cheshire, however no one knows what he looks like in human form - all of the monsters from Wonderland have come back as modern day criminals.

While trying to stop The Cheshire, Alice meets Jack Diamonds who seems so familiar, he looks just like her dead boyfriend whom she killed. Alice and the Pillar travels from London to the Vatican in search of The Cheshire and to provide that Alice is sane.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff 272 Pages

Growing up, 12-year-old Rump always heard that your name was your destiny. However, Rump never knew his whole name. I mean, what kind of name is Rump? It is a name that will make you the butt of everyone’s jokes. When he finds his mother’s old spinning wheel, things seem to change for Rump. He learns that he can spin straw into gold. However, magic can be a dangerous thing.

Rump, on mission to break the spinning spell, travels to Yonder and Beyond, encounters trolls, pixies, poison apples, and a foolish queen. With the help of his friend Little Red Riding Hood, Rump learns of his true name and the power that it holds.

This was read by Maxwell Glick and a final nominee for the Mark Twain Awards. 

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas 211 pages

Mark Nolan has become the sole guardian of his six-year-old niece Holly, after her mother died. He didn’t know how to be a parent, but he was left with the instructions from his late sister – There’s no other choice but you, just start by loving her, the rest will follow. It’s not hard to love Holly, but it is hard to communicate with her. Holly hasn’t spoken is the night her mother died.

Maggie Collins moved to Friday Harbor to start a new life. After the death of her husband, she decided to open a toy store but is afraid to open her heart to love again. When she meets Holly, Maggie tries to add a bit of magic into Holly’s life. By doing so, Holly begins to talk again.

Christmas is near and magic is in the air. Holly writes to Santa for a new mommy. Anything is possible with Mark and Maggie growing closer. 

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer, 309 pages

I listen to most of the books I blog about, but my sister suggested this book to me and we had a print copy, but not an audio version, so I read this one.

This is a quirky book about Sunny, her husband Maxon, and their son Bubber.  Sunny was born with a condition that makes her completely bald.  Maxon and Bubber are both on the autism spectrum.  Sunny and Maxon have been in love since they were children.

Sunny is about 9 months pregnant, Maxon is on his way to the moon on a NASA mission and Sunny's mother, Emma is in a hospital dying.

Sunny and Maxon live in a perfect suburban house in a perfect suburban neighborhood and no one there knows Sunny is bald.  She took to wearing wigs before Bubber was born.  Sunny is holding it together until there is a car accident and her wig flies out the car.  The whole neighborhood now knows perfect Sunny isn't so perfect after all.  Will they still love her? 

Sunny and those of us lucky enough to read this story learn that we all have secrets we're glad the whole world doesn't know and no one is perfect and yes, we're still lovable anyway.

Brush Back (V.I Warshawski #17) by Sara Paretsky, 459 pages

Sara Paretsky is one of my favorite authors of female detective stories.  This is #17 in her series about Chicago private investigator, Victoria (VI) Warshawski.  I don't know if her stories are far enough apart that they all seem unique or if Ms. Paretsky is just an excellent author, but I haven't read a bad VI Warshawski yet, and I'm pretty sure I've caught all 17.

These are gritty, adult books.  Meaning, Paretsky has a large vocabulary and isn't afraid to use it.

In this outing, VI is contacted by an old high school boyfriend who never made it out of the tough south Chicago neighborhood where they grew up.  He asks VI to help exonerate his mother of a crime for which she spent 25 years in jail.  VI reluctantly visits his mother, Stella Guzzo, and the meeting doesn't go well.  VI is sucked back into the old neighborhood, the 25 year old murder case of Stella's daughter and worst of all, dirty Chicago politics.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool 306 pages

This was such a great book.  I wasn't really expecting much and nearly passed it by.  Several of our young library patrons were telling me that it was so good, I decided I'd better check it out.  Totally worth it!  Following the death of his mother, Jack has to go to a boys' military school.  His father is an active officer in the military and this is shortly after WWII.  Going from Kansas to Maine is a huge transition in and of itself, coupled with a new home with nothing to tether him there.  It's not terrible, but Jack isn't exactly happy.  Then he meets Early.  Early is a most unusual boy, routines dictating his life, a too-loud voice that speaks with authority on every issue, usually to the bemusement of everyone around him.  Jack is fascinated by Early and Early helps Jack learn a new way of life, a more water-based life for the landlocked Kansan.  One thing that completely draws Jack in is Early's story about Pi.  He insists that the numbers aren't running out, as a renowned mathematician of the day posits.  In fact, his story makes Pi into a living breathing person, going off to see the world, following the North Star.  Early is convinced that his brother was not killed in the war, as the government told him, but is merely lost.  Jack and Early set off on their own adventure, seeking Early's brother and experiencing some remarkable coincidences to Early's story of Pi.  This story will suck you in.  What a fantastic book for 4th grade and up!  I listened to it read by Robbie Daymond and Mark Bramhall.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber 256 pages

Ashley Davison is trying to make it home for Christmas, but things are not going her way. Dash Sutherland is heading to Seattle for a very important interview. After being turned away at the airline counter, both Ashley and Dash head toward the car rental counter. With only one car left, they decide to share the rental. There is just one problem, they can’t seem to get along.

On their journey from San Francisco to Seattle, Ashley and Dash have to deal with puppies, bikers, and teen boys who steal their license plates. Throw in a snow storm and karaoke, feelings start to change. Unknown to Ashley and Dash, the FBI is tracking them. When Ashley had tried to get an airline ticket, her name came up on the no-fly list as a known terrorist. Through everything, Ashley makes it home for Christmas and Dash gets to his interview on time.  

The Lake House by Kate Morton, 593 pages

Kate Morton did it again.  She wrote another spellbinding novel set in England about complicated family secrets.  This story focuses on the Edevane family and the tragedy of the disappearance in 1933 of their youngest child Theo, at 11 months old.

It is 70 years later and Sadie Sparrow is a young detective living in London who is forced to take a month's leave after a botched missing person's case.  She retreats to her grandfather's house in Cornwall and stumbles on an abandoned grand house during a jog in the woods.  Her curiosity is sparked as she wonders what would make a family abandon the home. 

Intrigue, secrets, loyalty and love.  Oh, and don't forget fun!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber 256 pages

Carrie Slayton, a society-page columnist, is tired of attending parties with people she doesn’t know who are trying to get their names in the paper. She moved to Chicago, away from her family, to be a reporter.  In attempting to resin from her position, her boss hands her the ultimate article – find Finn Dalton, the famous survivalist author, and get an interview from him. However, Finn does not want to be found.

Carrie is able to track down Finn outside of Fairbanks, Alaska, but due to a storm, she gets stuck with him for two days. All Carrie is wanting is a quick interview with a man that everyone is talking about, but Finn is having no part in it. However, after being trapped together and playing a few games of cribbage, feelings change.

After returning home, Carrie cannot get her mind off of Finn. If Carrie and Finn want to move on with one another, they must overcome their past relationships. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber 255 pages

Harry Mills, a guardian angel is sent to help Addie Folsom. He poses as a teacher at the local community college so he can keep an eye on Addie and help guide her.

Addie returns home after being away for six years, with the hope of spending the holiday season with her mother, after the death of her father. Things don’t go as planned for Addie, as her mom and next-door neighbor decide to take a cruise for the holiday.

Addie’s neighbor Erich was a tormentor for Addie when they were kids, but when he breaks both of his wrists in a car accident, Addie offers to help. As Christmas nears, feelings between Addie and Erich grow, but the two must overcome their pasts to move on with their futures.

Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber 256 pages

Christmas has never been the same for Jake Finley, who lost both his mother and sister on Christmas Eve, when he was little. As manager of the toy department of Finley’s Department story, he decided to buy 500 robots for the big Christmas rush. He is in need of a miracle, which comes in the form of Emily Merkle, or as her name tag reads “Mrs. Miracle.”

Holly Larson also needs a miracle. After becoming the guardian of her nephew Gabe while his father is fighting overseas, Holly is trying to make Gabe’s Christmas as best as she can. Gabe’s wish for Christmas is to have the toy robot from Finley’s.

After running into one another at Starbucks, fate keeps bringing Jake and Holly together or is it a little bit of angelic intervention. 

Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber 322 pages

Seth Webster is still mourning the death of his wife. As Christmas draws near, Seth’s life seems to be in chaos. He has lost another nanny for his 6-year-old twin boys. When he is in need of a miracle, in walks Emily Merkle or as the kids call her “Mrs. Miracle.” Everything has changed since Mrs. Miracle arrived.

Reba Maxwell has been hurt by love before and she refuses to let it in. After being volunteered to help with the Christmas pageant, Reba meets Seth, who she has admired from her travel agency’s front window.

With angelic intervention of Emily Merkle, Seth and Reba grow closer but they must overcome their pasts so that they may move one with one another.