Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Special Ones by Em Bailey, 319 Pages

This book caught my eye because I have a weird interest in cults, and it seemed like a short read, so I picked it up and finished it in less than 24 hours because I couldn't put it down! It's just the right amount of creepy, and the last few chapters were very suspenseful.

Four teenagers have been kidnapped, and are now being held in a farmhouse. They are referred to as The Special Ones by "him"- someone they've never actually seen, but controls their every move and thought. Their lives are broadcast via the internet for a group of followers, and any slip ups in the characters they're forced to be results in a "renewal". Esther realizes that she's not who "him" says she is, but is in survival mode knowing her only chance of escaping is continuing in her role.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) by Ann Hood, 256 Pages

I've been looking forward to reading this one for months, and it was finally released earlier this week! This is classified as juvenile fiction, but I think anyone would enjoy it- especially a Beatles lover, like me! I grew up loving The Beatles, and can remember the first time my dad played a Beatles album for me, and this book really captures that feeling and put it into words.

Twelve-year-old Trudy Mixer is a Beatles fanatic. She starts up the first Beatles Fan Club of Rhode Island, and everyone quickly joins, catapulting Trudy to the top of the social ladder. Unfortunately, the club fizzles out and even her best friend, Michelle, leaves the club to join the Cheerleading Club. Things start to perk up when Trudy realizes that The Beatles are coming to Boston, and her dad buys 4 tickets for her, her mom, her dad and her now ex-friend, Michelle to attend. Things once again start to go downhill when Michelle turns down the offer to go, Trudy's dad is forced to leave for a business trip overseas days before the concert, and Trudy's mom breaks her leg, leaving her bed-ridden. Trudy is devastated, thinking she'll have to miss the concert, until she creates a plan to not only go to the concert with the remaining (and extremely unpopular) members of the club, but they're going to meet the one and only Paul McCartney.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, 259 pages

I was recommended this book by my cousin and a librarian friend I have from Kansas City. They both went on and on about how beautiful the writing is in the novel and once I read it, I completely understood what they meant. Not only is Gaiman's writing beautiful, it's haunting at the same time. I've already recommended this to two of our regular patron's and I'm anxious waiting for them to return it and tell me what they think!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Silent Speaker by Rex Stout 271 pages

This is one of the best Nero Wolfe mysteries.  It is full of intrigue, and an awful lot of flirtation.  If you love excellent dialogue and mysteries that keep you guessing, you won't be disappointed.  When a powerful government official scheduled to speak to a group of millionaires turns up dead, the business world clamors for a solution and Nero Wolfe takes the case.  There’s really not a lot more to tell…Archie is irresistibly charming, as always.  Wolfe gets sick of having too many clients and warring agencies constantly crashing his office calm.  Another fantastic Nero Wolfe mystery read by Michael Prichard!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Misery by Stephen King, 433 pages

This was actually my first book I've ever read by King. I've always found his stuff to be very intimidating, mostly due to his writing style and also the length of his novels. A lot of people recommended Misery to me, so I finally gave it a try. It was borderline to gory for me, but I also found myself on the edge of my seat for a lot of it, especially the ending!

Paul Sheldon is a best-selling author and recently woke up utterly disoriented after a car accident. He is being tended to by his number one fan, Annie Wilkes. After finishing his most recent novel and realizing that he killed of the main, beloved character, Annie quickly switches from Paul's carer to his captor. She is willing to go to grisly lengths to force Paul to write the next book in the series, and bring back the character that she can't live without.

If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin, 384 pages

This was an interesting read for me. I originally picked it up about a month ago, and only got through a few chapters before I decided to give up on it. I was on hold for the e-book and it became available on one of my "I HAVE NOTHING TO READ!!!" days, and I recently bought a new Kindle Paperwhite that I've been itching to use, so I decided to give it another try. This time, I was able to finish the book and actually enjoy it! I talked to one of our regular patron's at my branch and she had the same experience, where she attempted to read it, gave up and read something different, and then was able to complete it and enjoy it the second go-around.

Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent, 320 Pages

This book was kind of slow for me, but I was hooked from the very first line. It picked up as the story went on, and I couldn't put it down once I got to the last few chapters!
"My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it."
Lydia Fitzsimons has it all. But, "all" includes a major secret that is causing things to quickly unravel around her after her son, Laurence, finds out about it. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Fallen by David Baldacci, 432 pages

This is book #4 in Baldacci's Amos Decker series.  In this outing Amos and his friend and co-worker, Alex, are supposed to be on vacation.  They go to Barronville, PA to visit Alex's sister and her family.

Unfortunately, the vacation turns into a working vacation because people keep dying.  This is a typical Baldacci story, and frankly I enjoy a typical Baldacci story.  There is action, suspense, a quick pace and the bad guy typically gets his in the end.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell, 277 pages

Oh, this is a well written, but sad, story.  Esme Lennox is a high strung young woman from a good family who does not conform easily to her parents wishes.  It is sometime in the early 1930's in Scotland and "difficult" women can be locked away in a mental institution for really no reason at all, with no prospect of release.

The story involves three women: Esme, her older sister Kitty, and Iris, the granddaughter of Kitty.  Sixty-one years after Esme is locked away and forgotten by her family her grandniece, Iris, learns of her existence.  The story of what really happened all those years ago unfolds slowly through the voices of Esme and Kitty, who now has Alzheimer's disease.  The book has a satisfying ending but I am unsure if it is a happy ending.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon, 352 Pages

This was a fast-paced thriller, and hit a nerve with me and what we're currently dealing with in society today. This story seemed like something that could really happen, which was terrifying to me. 

Michael and Julia Swann are loving parents, who would do anything for their two boys. Julia, a stay-at-home mom, is waiting for Michael to get home from a job interview and calls him to find out when he's due to arrive home. When their call suddenly drops, and Julia is unable to reach him again, she can't help but have a bad feeling in her stomach. Trying to distract herself, she sits down to watch a baseball game with her sons, but it ends up being interrupted by breaking news- a bomb has been detonated at the subway station Michael was last at. Julia frantically begins the search for Michael, but finds out that the situation has somehow gotten even worse, and Michael is now the prime suspect of the bombing. Determined to get to the bottom of things and trusting no one, Julia goes to great lengths to not only find Michael, but to prove his innocence. 

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen, 304 pages

The novel is set in a tight-knit, upper class neighborhood in modern day New York City.  The neighborhood has beautiful old houses and coveted parking.  The people living in the houses are all white, while the people working in the houses are not. 

From the outside it is an idyllic neighborhood.  However, when a handyman is brutally attacked, cracks begin to appear.  So much so, that a seemingly perfectly happy middle-aged couple, Nora and Charlie Nolan, might end up losing their marriage. 

Not my favorite Anna Quindlen book, perhaps because it is very much a love story to New York City, a place I've only visited a few times.  However, any Anna Quindlen book is worth reading, in my opinion.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell, 342 page

Fabulous summer read that is set mostly on the coast of England, in the little coastal town of Ridinghouse Bay.

A man is seen sitting for a day on a rainy beach in Ridinghouse Bay and it turns out he has no idea who he is.  Meanwhile, in London, a young newlywed is frantic because her husband is missing . . .

Sound like a great set up to a fast paced mystery adventure?  Yep, it is.  Enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, 336 Pages

THIS. BOOK. WAS. SO. GOOD!!!!! This is definitely a contender for my favorite book of the year. I couldn't put it down and was honestly sad that I finished it so quickly!

The Angel's are seemingly the perfect couple. Jack, a successful lawyer, and Grace, the doting housewife, seem to have it all- a perfect house used for lavish dinner parties, lots of money, and true love. But digging deeper, there's something "off" about them. Grace is never anywhere without Jack, doesn't answer the phone, and is constantly cancelling plans at the last minute that don't involve Jack. In this case, Grace's fairy tale lifestyle really is too good to be true. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman, 320 Pages

While I found some of the information in this book interesting, I honestly found a lot of it appalling. I understand that the contestants sign up for the show, and "know what they're in for", I don't believe that they sign up with the intention of being publicly humiliated and manipulated by the producers and overall production company. Many interviews from past and current employees of both The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise painted the production company in such a horrible light, and openly talked horribly about the "cast". Most of the book discusses how producers often manipulate cast members into drinking and then corner them for a one-on-one "in the moment" interview to get what they need for ratings. Like I said, I know that these are consenting adults, and maybe I'm naive for watching the show and thinking the behind-the-scenes wasn't that bad. I'm not a huge fan of The Bachelor or Bachelorette, and I'm especially not now. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Don't Trust Me by Joss Stirling, 400 Pages

I didn't love this book. It had the potential to be fantastic, but the author wrote such an unlikeable character (in my opinion) that I struggled to finish it. I will say, I didn't see the ending coming, which helped with my overall opinion of the book, but this is not one that I would recommend to patrons. The main character suffers from ADHD, and I don't feel like they painted her or her mental illness in a good light. 

Jessica and Michael return from an unfortunately bad vacation with their relationship on the verge of crumbling. Jessica returns to work only to no trace of the company, as if it never existed. This doesn't help her situation with Michael, who didn't believe her job was real in the first place, instead chalking it up to another one of her fantasies he swears she comes up with. To make matters worse, their apartment is ransacked, and the only thing's stolen are items that belong to Michael's late-wife, Emma. All signs point to Jessica, and he quickly places the blame on her. But, things quickly take a turn for the worse when Jessica finds a dead body, and things begin to unravel around her. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, 356 Pages

This was another fast-paced thriller that I enjoyed. I did find it pretty predictable in some aspects, but it didn't ruin the book for me. 

Ten years ago, Laurel Mack's life was turning upside down when her 15 year old daughter, Ellie, went missing. Laurel's life has basically been at a standstill since, never giving up hope that Ellie will some day come home. Her marriage imploded due to the stress of losing their daughter, and Laurel has been alone ever since, until she meets Floyd in a cafe. They are soon inseparable and taking major steps in their relationship, which includes meeting Floyd's daughter Poppy, who is shockingly similar to Laurel's missing daughter at that age. Now Laurel is forced to face the past again, and unanswered questions she long ago buried are back at the surface. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Hardcore Twenty-four by Janet Evanovich, 320 page

I think I've read everything Janet Evanovich has published since the first Stephanie Plum book "One for the Money."

We're now on book 24 in the series and not much has changed in Stephanie's life.  Since about book eight, I typically read and then complain that it wasn't that good.  Guess what?  I liked this one.

The same formula and all the regular zany characters are here but I enjoyed this one more than most.  Thanks Janet.

Artemis by Andy Weir, 305 pages

I am a huge fan of Andy Weir's first book, "The Martian" and was excited to get the chance to listen to his second book, "Artemis."

Artemis is the name of a colony on the moon.  It's a great place to visit but can be an uncomfortable place to live if you are not a gazillionaire and main character Jazz Bashara is doing pretty much anything she can to make some serious cash.  And that gets her in serious trouble.

I enjoyed this sci-fi action romp adventure, but had to mostly ignore lots of technical information that literally went in one ear and out the other.  I ultimately liked this book, but had to make myself stick with it at first knowing I'd get to parts I could comprehend and enjoy.

Mairzy Doats by Glory Fagan, 206 pages

"Mairzy Doats" is a semi-autobiographical fiction book written by local author and librarian Glory Fagan.  It begins from the perspective of a character who has been dead for 20 years but is still around.  She is reflecting back on her life and a good bit of it was spent in St. Joseph.  I got a little thrill every time a St. Joseph location was mentioned and I knew exactly where it was or is.

This is a really delightful read.  I was a little worried about it, because I had no idea how to pronounce the title.  Don't worry, fair reader.  Even before the story starts we learn the title is from a novelty song written in the 40s and to pronounce it "mares eat oats."  Ahh, that allowed me to sit back and enjoy the story about Dazy who lived life fully and with love.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Listen to your heart by Kasie West, 329 pages

I have adored this author ever since I received one of her books in a book box last year. Lucky for me she tends to publish 2 books a year. This particular book is a cute, quick, summer read. I may have snorted at one point in this book. It has some hilarious scenes. I applaud the author for not going with the stereotypical story line that she could have with this book but instead does an interesting spin on it. It's hard to describe without giving spoilers. This is definitely the teen equivalent of a beach read. With a lake setting it made me wish I lived on the lake. 

The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George, 692 pages

Elizabeth George gives us another enigmatic title and fabulous story to go along with it in the 20th installment of her Inspector Lynley series set in England.

Does the title refer to Sergeant Barbara Havers, whose job is on the line?  Could it be her boss, Isabelle Ardery, who continues to struggle with addiction?  Or is it one of the many women in the seemingly quiet little historic town of Ludlow where Havers and Ardery are sent to follow-up on the apparent suicide of a church man while in police custody?

Read or listen to this great mystery and then lets talk.