Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Guilty (Will Robie #4) by David Baldacci, 422 pages

Will Robie is a CIA assassin who has a problem on an assignment and immediately asks to go back into the field but is unable to fulfill his next job. 

His boss tells him to take a vacation and take care of the personal business that could be at the root of his problems.  That personal business is returning to his hometown of Cantrell, Mississippi, the place he left 22 years ago and never planned to return.  That business also includes finding out why the father he hasn't talked to in 22 years, a judge, is now accused of murder and in jail.

Secrets, lots of shooting and plenty of adventure follows.  This was a typical Baldacci thriller and I wasn't disappointed.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22) by Janet Evanovich, 292 pages

Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter not-extraordinaire, and her crew are at it again.  All the zany characters we know and love from the other 21 Stephanie Plum novels are here including Lula, Grandma Mazur, Joe Morelli and Ranger.

To be fair, Stephanie really is improving as a bounty hunter, as she should be after so many outings.

Listening to another Stephanie Plum book is similar to spending the afternoon with an old friend.  There won't be many surprises but it will be a fun afternoon with laughs.

Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy, 327 pages

Let Me Die in His Footsteps is set in Kentucky's tobacco country in 1952 and 1936.  Annie Holleran turns 15 1/2 in 1952 and local legend has it if she gazes in a well at midnight on her 15 1/2 birthday, she will see the face of the boy she will marry.  Instead, she and her 14 year old sister Caroline find a dead woman.

In 1936, Kentucky is suffering from drought and the nationwide Depression.  Juna, Sarah and Dale Crowley live with their father on a failing tobacco farm.  A stranger comes by and events are put in motion that change their lives forever and make enemies of neighbors. 

The book was inspired by a true story of the last lawful public hanging in the United States.  The novel was full of darkness and light and I never mind the darkness when there are rays of light too.  This is a book club book and I'm looking forward to the discussion the book will inspire.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Butler: a Witness to History by Wil Hagood, 112 pages

Wil Haygood is a writer for the Washington Post and his article about Eugene Allen, published around the time that Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, inspired both a movie and this book.

Real-life White House butler, Eugene Allen, was the inspiration for the fictional character of Cecil Gaines in the 2013 movie, "Lee Daniels' The Butler."

Eugene Allen worked for 8 Presidents, beginning with Dwight D. Eisenhower and ending with Ronald Reagan.  This book delves into his story and the story of making the movie that fictionalized his life.  His is a great story and this book tells it well.  

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, 353 pages

This was my first Ann Patchett book.  My excuse is that there are just so many excellent authors out there and so little time. After reading "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert, which referred to this book, I finally took the plunge.

Dr. Marina Singh, is a research scientist who gets unwillingly sent to Brazil and the Amazon jungle to check on the status of a fertility drug after the first scientist her company sent dies somewhat mysteriously.  That's the plot in a nutshell, but it is so much more than that.  Thumbs up and multiple stars and now I have to go back and read all of Ann Patchett's books because, wow.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, 288 pages

Elizabeth Gilbert, yes, yes, author of "Eat Pray Love" has written a nonfiction book about living life fully in creativity.  I would not recommend this book to someone who doesn't like Elizabeth Gilbert, this book will just annoy you.

However, if you are a fan of Gilbert, or happen to have not read anything by her in the past and don't have preconceived notions, then by all means read this little gem.  It is one big pep talk about doing what makes you creatively happy and not worrying if you don't become acclaimed or have to keep your day job in order to pay the bills.

I never actually thought about my job as a creative expression of myself, but after listening to this (read by the author) I have more confidence that I am doing exactly what I want  and am supposed to be doing and am completely blessed to have the opportunity to do so.  And . . . my next book to read is "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett.  Anyone who reads or listens to this book will know why.