Saturday, August 1, 2015

Just Jennifer

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow)

In this stand-alone thriller, Karin Slaughter takes all of the usual tropes of psychological thrillers and ratchets them up to unimaginable heights with the story of two sisters estranged by an event that destroyed their family and reunited by unthinkable evil that changes everything.  Claire appears to live the perfect life: her husband adores her, they are financial well-off and she enjoys herself.  Just below the façade, however, there are cracks and fissures from her past from which she has not broken entirely free.  In a dark alley one night, Claire’s life changes forever when her husband is murdered.  Before Claire has a moment to grieve, a chain of events is set in motion that lead Claire on a trip down the rabbit hole where she finds a most unexpected ally but one who had been there all along if she had just asked.

Lydia has had to fight and struggle with and for everything most of her adult life.  She is off drugs but still carries a little extra weight; her daughter Dee is a typical teenager and she is in a relationship with a man to whom she cannot quite commit, but who is patient with and supportive of her.  When her past slams her in the face, she must make a decision, one that could cost her everything or one that might have unexpected positive results.  An edge of your seat thriller, Karin Slaughter pulls you into places you don’t want to do and never waned to be but can’t help yourself.  Though graphic and disturbing, these characters will get under your skin and from whom you will not be able to look away.  Just when you think you’ve got all the answers, there is one more unexpected twist.  It doesn’t get much better than this.

Just Jennifer

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (Riverhead, September 2015)


This book is like talking with your wisest friend: intimate and conspiratorial, genuine and friendly, often self-deprecating, but never arrogant. Gilbert offers advice on being open to living a more creative life, be it in the arts, sciences or sports (she focuses mainly on writing) without fears holding you back.   Gilbert discusses her own creative process and her belief that inspiration and ideas are in the air for the taking, but that if we do not care for them and nurture them they will leave us and find someone who will.  Gilbert approaches her writing as something that she needs to care for and to nurture and something she hopes, in return, will care for her.  Above all, Gilbert’s tone makes you want to believe that you can do it, whatever it is: return to a long overlooked, but dearly loved hobby from an earlier time, write your novel or just be more open to new ideas.  There is something for everyone in these pages.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Just Jennifer

A Modern Way to Eat Anna Jones


Trained by Jamie Oliver, cook and food writer Anna Jones has created and compiled a book of recipes for how we wish we could eat if we had the time and if healthy food tasted good.  Using seasonal and surprising ingredients, Jones takes vegetarian eating to an entirely new level being mindful of the environment, your economics and above all, taste and feeling satisfied but not overfull.  Jones explains the way she puts together a recipe in a simple chart starting with the “hero Ingredient” and how to cook it, what ingredients will play a supporting and accent role, add flavor, an herb, some crunch and finally, a garnish.  These easily arranged charts appear throughout the book demystifying smoothies, seasonal herbs, pasta, pesto and hummus, soups, salads and more.   Drawing her flavors from all over the world (from maple peanut California wraps to dosa-spiced potato cakes to walnut miso broth with udon noodles) Jones makes each meal interesting and flavorful; her ingredients are easy to find and she offers substitutes to suite your individual taste.  Fun ingredients turn up in unexpected places, such as popcorn in tacos, adding an element of whimsy.  Most recipes can be prepared in advance or quickly on a busy weeknight but are still elegant enough to be served at a dinner party.  A “what to do with weird stuff” chart will be helpful for Community Supported Agriculture members when they peak into their weekly produce box or for those more adventurous eaters.  After pages of healthy vegetarian recipes, Jones doesn’t forget the sweets, focusing again on seasonal ingredients and high flavor spices allowing for more healthful recipes.  Beverages, jams and other tasty condiments round out this useful compendium.  Colorful photos, short introductions to each recipe combined with Jones’s easy but  earnest style, along with over 200 accessible, healthful and tasty recipes are sure to make this cookbook an new classic.  FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Zoo

Author: James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
Stars: 3
Review by: farmette

I always like to read books used to make movies and TV shows...saw the first episode of Zoo on TV and had to read the book. . disappointed in the book..one of the few books where I have less interest the more I read.  Many books catch me, and I have to read more as I 'get into' the book...not so here. Zoo is essentially the story of animals communicating, in some fashion with each other, and attacking humans in an attempt to take over the world. ..sort of planet of the animals, not just apes.. we have massive HAC...human animal conflict.  I actually think the TV show is better...my interest in Zoo has increased as the episodes go on.. by the time, the book got to the point where the cure for the animal take over was to eliminate cell phone use, and electricity I began to get off the boat.. even more so when the politicians began to use cell phones and electricity, bring the animals back into conflict and moving the world HQ to Greenland.???  The TV show actually has more nuance...additional characters and a shift from NYC to LA has actually helped the story.. continues my disappointment as authors franchise themselves.. LOVE Patterson's Alex Cross.. disappointed big time here..

White Sister

Author: Stephen J. Cannell
Stars: 3
Review by: BigDa

Like a cat with 9 lives.
 

Heart and Soul

Author: Maeve Binchy
Stars: 4
Review by: Ada

Listened to this book.  I have read all of hers and love them.
 

Saving Grace

Author: Jane Green
Stars: 3
Review by: Ada

Kept me interested, but a rather weird premise.

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover: The Second Rule of Scoundrels

Author: Sarah MacLean
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati

Ok, so I am reading this series in reverse. I know the secret, but I still really like the series. This series still had the same general flow of most text of this genre. I just love having a woman scientist bucking the system.  Enjoy!

The Oracle Glass

Author: Judith Merkle Riley
Stars: 4
Review by: Chris L.

Historical fiction based in seventeenth century Paris centers around a naive fortune teller who rubs elbows with witches, poisoners and abortionists surrounding the court of Louis XIV.  I had no idea this sort of thing had actually taken place! Fun read, good summer page turner.
 

Rules of the Game: A Stardust, TX Novel

Author: Lori Wilde
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

Even though I am reading these books in a reverse or odd order, I still enjoy them. There is a nice mix of campy humor and seriousness that makes this series worth wild. I hope others just enjoy this nice, summer read!
 

Transforming Classroom Grading

Author: Robert J. Marzano
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati

This is a how to book for changing the way you assess, evaluate and grade your students. There are a lot of examples, but if you are me you are locked into a system. It did provide me with concrete examples I can use within my standard system. This book is only worthwhile if you want to change or defend a better way to grade.
 

Developing Grading & Reporting Systems for Student Learning

Author: Thomas R. Guskey & Jane M. Bailey
Stars: 5
Review by: Saraswati

This book is a must for Teachers who care.  I always thought grading, grades, report cards, etc. had a lot of issues.  Why is it that there are usually less then 10 points that determine an A - yet 69 points to get an F. The general system of grading is geared towards failure 70 points to fail and only 30 points to pass. I always wondered how a single Valedictorian can be determined, at the 5th decimal point, if all the grades are A, B, C... It didn't make sense. This book will explain why and a whole lot more. It made me rethink how I grade and what I can do to make the grades mean more than just an end product. A serious read for teachers that care.
 

Dead Ice: An Anita Black Vampire Hunter Novel

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Stars: 2.5
Review by: Saraswati

This is the latest Anita Blake book and again I am disappointed. The last book was an end of the world - but I heard it before story and this... This is the aftermath of the "end" and the start of the new beginning for Anita and her beau's.  Very light on the drama and more character development for I guess the future take on this series. The beginning of the book as Anita whining about everything and anything. I was afraid it would be the entire book, but she does calm down a bit. I keep reading and hoping.  I hope you do too.
 

Sense of Deception: A Psychic Eye Mystery

Author: Victoria Laurie
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is the latest book in this series. Our main character, Abby, is thrown in jail for contempt of court. While there she encounters an inmate that is on death row. Her psychic senses tingle and she decides to help this woman show that she is being unjustly found guilty. A few good twists and turns. Enjoy this read!

Feta Attraction: A Greek to Me Mystery

Author: Susannah Hardy
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati

I took this book out after reading the post from a fellow Summer Reader. This is a first in a new series about a woman who is helping her Mother-in-law run a Greek restaurant in 1000 Island, NY. I have stayed in that area and it was fun to read and go "I was there or I remember that."  Her Hubby has disappeared. She goes on a hunt for him and runs into trouble everywhere she looks.  A nice intro and the book contains unique recipes.  Enjoy this read.

Earth Bound: A Sea Haven Novel

Author: Christine Feehan
Stars: 2.5
Review by: Saraswati

This is the latest book in this series with a new one coming out soon. I enjoyed it per se but it kept on repeating the same things over and over and ....again. This sub-series of the original Drake series has a group of "Sisters" that are all working together to rebuild their lives. There are a group of brothers, Prakenskii's, that involved through out this series and the latest brother is here for Lexi. A battle of good vs evil is waged.  Who will be the victor?  A light, easy summer read.

No Ghouls Allowed: A Ghost Hunter Mystery

Author: Victoria Laurie
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

I believe this is the latest book in this series.  M.J., her boyfriend Heath and her BFF Gilley are back in her hometown for her Dad's wedding. Easy time off for our Ghost Hunters - of course not.  The Bride-to-be's new home has strange things happening while the workers are renovating.  Good thing M.J. is back. Evil spirits bring up the past and tough choices. Will M.J. be able live with what she learns of her family?  Enjoy and find out.
 

Deal Breaker

Author: Harlan Coben
Stars: 5
Review by: farmette

Another trip back to a first book.. Harlan's character is Myron Bolitar, a former jock, lawyer turned sport's agent that solves crime and catches bad guys.  I have read several of the Bolitar books.. saw this one on the shelf, and grabbed it..it is the first book of the 10 book series.. loved it... probably a male oriented book, or at least a jock oriented book.  Wonderful characterization of what it might be like for a sports star.. all state.. all American..national championship BB player that turns pro, and prior to his first season, has a freak injury that takes him out of the game, and out of his planned career...nice set of buddy characters in Winthrop, his rich Brahmin friend, also a black belt and weapons expert...both come in handy in this book..and Pocahontas, his assistant, a former pro wrestler...her past career also comes in handy.  The bad guys here are painful for Myron.. not only does he get beat up several times in chasing them.. BUT.. the real bad guy is his first top blue chip athlete, that he signed to the biggest, richest rookie pro football quarterback ever...cost Myron millions.. another BUT.. he solved the mystery of his former GF's sister that disappeared.. and her father's homicide.. he may have reunited with his former GF.. maybe a net positive...maybe.. good read..
 

London Transports

Author: Maeve Binchy
Stars: 3
Review by: Smudge

A series of short stories, deftly told.
 

The Virgin's Daughter

Author: Laura Anderson
Stars: 4
Review by: BusyMom

A new historical fiction to follow up the Boleyn Trilogy with a continuation of the same families - new generations.  The writing is just as rich and puts you in the period quite well.
 

Carry the One

Author: Carol Anshaw
Stars: 2
Review by: BusyMom

This was a sad story about how a careless tragedy impacts the lives of those involved throughout their lives.  If you enjoy reading about dysfunctional relationships, this one's for you.
 

The Boleyn Reckoning

Author: Laura Anderson
Stars: 4
Review by: BusyMom

Part 3 of a thoroughly enjoyable historical fiction trilogy. Characters were so believable.  I was sorry to see it end.

The Boleyn Deceit

Author: Laura Anderson
Stars: 4
Review by: BusyMom

Part 2 of a thoroughly enjoyable trilogy -- what if Henry the XIII had a son who survived to rule?
 

The Signature of All Things

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Stars: 3
Review by: BookDancer

I would give it a 5 for beautiful, lyrical writing and its grand sweep of places, settings and events, but a 2 for ridiculous, implausible characters and their interactions.  Another 2 for its sheer length and tedious botanical descriptions. Have I missed something here?  It has been optioned for MASTERPIECE by the BBC, so it's worth the slog.  The sets alone will be sumptuous.
 
 
 

Leo Tolstoy

Author: Leo Tolstoy
Stars: 3
Review by: Miss Lucy

From the "Stories for Young People" series, this charmingly-illustrated children's book contains five short stories, although they do not seem appropriate for young children. I enjoyed reading these, especially "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" and "Three Questions." The first story, "God Sees the Truth, but Waits," is actually adapted from a story that one of the characters told in War and Peace.
Don't get this book confused with Tolstoy's other children's book, The Lion and the Puppy: And Other Stories for Children. That book is terrible.

Dark of Night

Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Stars: 4.5
Review by: farmette


Suzanne continues...the Agency continues as the boogey man..James Nash has been blackmailed to continue his black ops with the Agency...we fake his death, and Decker goes after the Agency and, perhaps not obviously, wins.. he also surprises all by falling for the TSI receptionist Tracey!!  We all thought he was in love with Olivia.. who now is pregnant by Dave..!!..the James Bond nerd..the books are now focused much more on the relationships with people.. I like it...we still have bad guys to kill, and sex with our one and only.  Suzanne does NOT do casual sex.

Stern Men

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Stars: 2.5
Review by: mysterylover

This book was a bit better than OK.

China Dolls

Author: Lisa See
Stars: 5
Review by: bookmaven

The story centers around the complicated and intricate lives of 3 Chinese women in San Francisco, 1938. Ruby, Grace, & Helen meet by chance & become dancers at the Forbidden City nightclub. Their friendship survives the good & the bad over many years. They have many challenges & disasters. It is a page turner. Grace, Ruby, & Helen experience the travesty of war.
 

Into the Fire

Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Stars: 4.5
Review by: farmette

Suzanne the romance suspense author is back.. this is book 13 of the series..in the previous 2 books Suzanne was taken over by the loving mom, that saw the Grace of God, give her a gay son that she loved...very much.. book 12 came out 3 months after book 11, and it was almost too much to celebrate a gay marriage in the same book as the death of the only homophobe in her book series... not almost...it was too much.
 
Into the Fire comes roaring back as the sexy suspense thriller that I have enjoyed.. central to this book is the husband of the only previous death in her books.. he went over the edge with the death of his wife, only to be brought back by his previous, and still best friend who has always loved him.. he discovers he has always loved her, they have fantastic sex, and get married, after shooting the bad guys. The bad guys here are from the Agency, a super secret black ops group with government funding.. in actuality, the bad guys are Agency agents that have gone rogue.. that is never good.. the book was very good.
 

Summer Shift

Author: Lynn Kiele Bonasia
Stars: 3
Review by: Smudge

A light summer read.

Again the Magic

Author: Lisa Kleypas
Stars: 4
Review by: bandit

GOOD ROMANCE.
 

Day Four

Author: Sarah Lotz
Stars: 4
Review by: pmastro

It's about a cruise vacation that's gone terribly wrong. Has a touch of supernatural in the form of ghosts. A little creepy, but good story.

Eight Hundred Grapes

Author: Laura Dave
Stars: 3
Review by: pmastro

A good summer read. Takes place in the California wine country. A woman questions her up coming wedding and goes back to the family vineyard and finds out her family is having struggles.

Smokin' Seventeen

Author: Janet Evanovich
Stars: 4
Review by:  Jess L.

I love the Stephanie Plum novel series. Every book is a new adventure with her being a bounty hunter in New Jersey!

Sense of Deception

Author: Victoria Laurie
Stars: 4
Review by: SummerShandy

This is another story in the Psychic Eye Mystery series.  Always a fun read as Abby uses her psychic insights, and the assistance of her friends, to help solve murder and other mysteries.  So, if you like 'lite' paranormal, I recommend you give this series a try; and while each book will work by itself, starting at the beginning lets you watch the characters, both the good guys and the bad guys, grow.
 

The Shape of Snakes

Author: Minette Walters
Stars: 4
Review by: Jeanette

Minette Walters always manages to surprise me with some of the intricacies of her novels and their characters.
 

Four Blind Mice

Author: James Patterson
Stars: 4
Review by: schipluvr

I enjoyed this book very much.....couldn't put it down.  This is an Alex Cross thriller and the action keeps you on the edge of your seat 'til the very end.
 

Day Shift

Author: Charlaine Harris
Stars: 4
Review by: schipluvr


I enjoyed this book more than the first one.  There are a couple of the characters from some of her other series here, which was fun.  I enjoy her as an author and she doesn't disappoint.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Congratulations to...

... our Week #9 Prize Winners:
  • Bookwormmuncher
  • farmette

Progress So Far

Click on image to enlarge.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

Author: Lady Fiona Carnarvon
Stars: 3
Review by: queenbee

I got into Downton Abbey a little late, but I am all caught up. This was an interesting read. If you like the show, and ever think you might be in the UK, you should do your homework and read this book. Lady Almina, being head of the household and taking on the responsibilities she did at 19 were very impressive. At nineteen I was squishing potatoes at Ponderosa Steakhouse wearing a cow-boy hat and an orange tie. Go Countess.

At the Water's Edge

Author: Sara Gruen
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee

This book got mixed reviews which made me reluctant to read it, but I loved it!  It takes place in Scotland during the end of WWII.  There's a little mystery (involving Nessie), a little romance, a little history, and a lot of interesting characters!

Beyond the Shadows

Author: Jess Granger
Stars: 2
Review by: BKF

A futuristic romance... not my usual choice of reading material, but I thought I'd give it a try. It was OK. However, I don't think I'll read another any too soon.

Juliet's Nurse

Author: Lois Leveen
Stars: 3
Review by: Smudge

Nurse, in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, speaks the most lines, yet the story is not about her.  This is her story.

Rag and Bone: A Journey Among the World's Holy Dead

Author: Peter Manseau
Stars: 2
Review by: MandyApgar

The author's account of his travels to relics of various faiths, the relics themselves, and how key similarities can teach us certain things about religious structure and belief. It has his moments, like in discussing the umpteen bits of X particular saint that all claim to be the same piece (there are several saints with this attribution) or in the author's visit to a monastery. It just didn't seem as insightful as I had hoped from the description on the back cover.

Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey

Author: Holley Bishop
Stars: 1
Review by: MandyApgar

I did not absorb a single thing from this book. It started with personality, but very quickly got extremely boring, harping on about bees instead of the product itself. Some of the recipes at the end have slight promise though.

Civil War Quilts

Author: Pam Weeks & Don Beld
Stars: 3
Review by: MandyApgar

An examination of the history, conservation, and making of Civil War quilts as focused on 13 of the 15 prime examples of the craft from Northern states. A brief history of each is given along with particulars of the soldiers and makers involved. The photography is extremely well done and the writing very clear and respectful, something which I sadly find to not be the common case with anything dealing with folk art. A fair portion of the book is devoted to making period authentic quilts, with a large section in turn containing patterns.

Wildwood-by-the-sea

Author: David W Francis, Diane DeMali Francis & Robert J Scully Sr
Stars: 3
Review by: MandyApgar

A century spanning history of the Wildwood area (and the beach towns of coastal NJ) from about the 1880s to roughly the 80s. Although Wildwood is mostly the focus, several other towns and areas are covered as well. Focusing on the region's noted amusements, it covers well the history leading to its establishment as an entertainment mecca. Things go fairly well til the 50s, at which part the book has a tendency to gloss over the bad to over emphasize the good. Little is mentioned of changes in later society, and the book ends very abruptly with almost nothing from the last decades of history (it was written in 98).

Big Little Lies

Author: Liane Moriarty
Stars: 5
Review by: bookmaven

The story takes place in a seaside community filled with ex-husbands, second wives, mothers, daughters. scandals, & murder. The three main characters are stupendous. They help a new young mother who moves into their community. It will keep you in suspense. I couldn't stop reading it & wanted it to go on.

Robert B Parker's Cheap Shot

Author: Ace Atkins
Stars: 4
Review by: farmette

Robert Parker was the first author that compelled me to read a lot of his books.. his main character is Spenser, with his girlfriend Susan, sidekick Hawk and new protégé Zebulon Sixkill.  Spenser was a TV show for a time. Robert passed away in 2010, and Ace has taken over the franchise.  Robert wrote novels about 4 different characters...Spenser is the richest, with almost 40 books, and I have read most of them, along with his other 3 characters.  I generally stay away from writers that take over the franchise.. saw this book and made the move anyway .. glad I did. Ace has done a good job of picking up Spenser's style and his characterizations. In this one, a major NFL player has his son kidnapped, and Spenser saves the day.  Enjoy the interactions with his girlfriend... the monogamous love of his life that he does not live with.  It is fun to see her as a Harvard trained psychiatrist, in a relationship with a PI.  In this book she plays a far more active role as she helps the ex-wife of the football player hold together. I think I will go back to catch any Robert's books I may have missed and the 3 written by Ace.  Robert's estate selected Ace for the Spenser series but not the other 3 characters...interesting...

The Amber Keeper

Author: Freda Lightfoot
Stars: 4
Review by: queenbee

I love historical fiction and this was a pretty good one. A shorter book, so not as intimidating as some of the mammoth volumes of this genre, but an enjoyable read. Just enough description to feel like you are in the UK and in Russia. My only complaint was the ending was rushed. More time could have been used to end the story to match the rhythm of the first three-quarters. I felt like the author suddenly ran out of time and zipped it out to send it to press. Nice find.

All the Presidents' Menus

Author: Julie A. Hyzy
Stars: 3.5
Review by: LZ99

Fun. The first one that I've picked up from this series, so I missed any back story, but that didn't keep me from being able to enjoy a quick mystery.

Dexter Is Dead

Author: Jeff Lindsay
Stars: 4
Review by: Scrappy3

It's the end of the line for the Dexter series-one of my all time favorites! I'm sorry it's over, but the author created a more satisfying ending for the book series than the TV show!  A must read!!

A Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemic

Author: Marilyn Wedge
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee

A fascinating non-fiction title by a family therapist who rationally explains how ADHD may be non-existent.  We are medicating children who have situational problems that cause symptoms known as ADHD.  Family trauma, lack of sleep, lack of structure, food sensitivities...doctors are not investigating causes...just diagnosing symptoms.  Very interesting expose on Big Pharma in the U.S.

Mean Streak

Author: Sandra Brown
Stars: 4
Review by: bandit

Typical Sandra Brown!

The Naked Eye

Author: Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen
Stars: 4
Review by: Betsy

Great suspense.

Grasshopper Jungle

Author: Andrew Smith
Stars: 2
Review by: BigDa

Good prep for adolescent foreplay.

Time Salvager

Author: Wesley Chu
Stars: 4
Review by: SummerShandy

Time salvager James Griffin journeys through time for ChronoCom, a salvage company picking technology from old earth.  With many years still to go on his contract, he gets a deal for a salvage from one of the solar systems largest corporations that will reduce his contract time by years.  However, during that salvage he breaks the number one Time Law.  Lots of action centered around old earth and a bleak crumbling future earth.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Author: Betty Smith
Stars: 5
Review by: Bob E

A classic that stands the test of time, a great view of Brooklyn and New York at the turn of the century and the attitudes that shaped my parents upbringing.

Her Amish Man

Author: Erin Bates
Stars: 5
Review by: Sallys cats

The copy I read is Large Print!  This is a murder mystery where shunning is practiced!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Congratulations to...

... our Week # 8 Prize Winners:
  • Mama Reader
  • BookWorm2

Progress So Far

Click on image to enlarge.

Just Jennifer

The Invisibles by Cecilia Galante (William Morrow)


Nora has living a quiet life the past fifteen years since she left her three best friends and Turning Winds home for girls: she lives alone but in the same town, works as a librarian and takes the same walk everyday with her dog Alice Walker.  On the morning of her 32 birthday, she receives a call from Ozzie, the most outspoken of their group, dubbed the Invisibles, out of the blue.  She has not spoken with Ozzie, nor Grace nor Monica since they left Turning Winds fifteen years ago.  Ozzie has received a call from Grace’s (now Petal) husbands asking that the three women travel to Chicago to help Grace who has recently given birth and since attempted suicide.  Nora is reluctant to go, but Ozzie is persuasive.  When the women reunite in Chicago, Nora is surprised to see that Monica has remade herself physically, but her insecurities from the past still linger.  Grace is a talented artist with a caring a supportive husband and beautiful baby girl but continues to battle depression.  Ozzie, who was the one who always spoke her mind and seemed so sure of herself has three young children but an abusive husband.  When the women realize that not only is Grace in distress but Monica is in trouble with the law, they take a road trip to New York City where they renew their bonds and face the anger toward each other each has held onto and learn to accept not only each other for what they are, and to forgive each other, but to accept themselves and forgive themselves.  

Sharp Objects

Author: Gillian Flynn
Stars: 4
Review by: Mitchie L.

Debut thriller from Gillian Flynn, author of GONE GIRL. Chicago newspaper reporter, Camille Preaker, returns to her small hometown in Missouri to report about the murders of two young girls. She also has to deal with her own demons.  I could not put this book down!

The Gray and Guilty Sea

Author: Scott William Carter
Stars: 4.5
Review by: Anne P.

Fast reading mystery on the Oregon coast.

In the Unlikely Event

Author: Judy Blume
Stars: 5
Review by: bookmaven

It takes place in Elizabeth, NJ. in the early 1950's. A young girl Mira Ammerman experienced the nightmare of the 3 planes that crashed close to her school & home. The book tells about her family. friends, & strangers whose lives were forever impacted by these tragic crashes. Mira is only fifteen & has nightmares also. It is a must read. I couldn't put the book down. It reminded me of my young life in the 50's minus the plane crashes.

Grey

Author: E.L. James
Stars: 5
Review by: Rachel D.

I could not put it down. It tells the Fifty Shades of Grey in the view of Christian Grey. If you loved the other books, you will love this!

Dating Down

Author: Stefanie Lyons
Stars: 5
Review by: Rachel D

A young high school girl who dreams of being an artist, loses her mom at a young age and now has a new family.  It is the typical girl meets boy story and she finds herself in the process.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Firefly Summer

Author: Maeve Binchy
Stars: 4
Review by: NancyW

This is an old book, from 1987, but the story is good and Ms Binchy always thoroughly develops her characters and plot.

Our Souls at Night

Author: Kent Haruf
Stars: 5
Review by: berta

I have loved his earlier books, Plainsong, Eventide, and Benediction among others. So spare and lovely all set in the high plains of Colorado. Above all, memorable characters. This, his last sadly, does not disappoint. Tale of companionship and love late in life

Through Black Spruce

Author: Joseph Boyden
Stars: 5
Review by: berta

I am on a Canadian Indian quest. Such a sad story for them being wrested from their families and having their culture erased by forced education in the government schools. This story is told in alternating chapters from the point of view of an aging former bush pilot comatose after a beating and his beloved niece who is struggling with a missing sister. So well done and informative about the Native life. What a good writer no one in the USA has ever heard of.

Medicine Walk

Author: Richard Wagamese
Stars: 5
Review by: berta

The writing blew me away. So moving and poetic. Canadian Indian teen, raised by a wise white farmer is summoned by his dying, lost, alcoholic father to take him to the mountain and give him a warrior's burial. During the journey they each discover each other.

The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries

Author: Marilyn Johnson
Stars: 3
Review by: MandyApgar

I read this after seeing it mentioned multiple times in Johnson's librarian themed book. Known for writing about lesser acknowledged professions, this time she turns to obituary writers. And there really are a surprising lot of them, with quite a hierarchy too. She recounts her own personal appreciation of the art of the obituary - finding the right balance of nostalgia and sympathy without being sycophantic, and travels with professionals to various conventions as well. At one two members burst in all a twitter that Reagan had just died and the room erupts into a hive of activity. Johnson's appreciation for the field makes this the best I think of her books, and she is quite lively at times recounting histories and presenting noted (or infamous) obituaries.

The Pink Suit

Author: Nicole Mary Kelby
Stars: 3
Review by: Barb

Interesting insight into some behind the scenes activities at a New York boutique, and reminders of a time gone by.

Orphan Train

Author: Christina Baker Kline
Stars: 4
Review by: bandit

Very good book, but ended too abruptly.

Finding It

Author: Valerie Bertinelli
Stars: 3
Review by: Shapoppa

It was better than her first book which focused on her failed marriage. This time, she goes into more detail about her weight loss journey with some interesting discoveries about herself along the way.

The Ladies Room

Author: Carolyn Brown
Stars: 4
Review by: Patti K

I was looking for a fun, easy summer read and this fit the bill!  Enjoyed it ~ great beach (and before bed) read.

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

Author: Diana Gabaldon
Stars: 1
Review by:  Faye S.

That's what I get for not reading the back of the book.

Closer to Home

Author: Mercedes Lackey
Stars: 5
Review by: Faye S.

Love this author!  Delivers again!

Dust and Decay

Author: Jonathan Mayberry
Stars: 5
Review by: Faye S.

Fantastic!

Life As We Knew It

Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Stars: 3
Review by: Faye S.

Interesting plot, but a bit repetitive.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Author: Khaled Housseini
Stars: 3
Review by: Faye S.

Well-written, but very sad.

Candide

Author: Voltaire
Stars: 4
Review by: Brian S.

If you love satires, then you will love this take on optimism.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Author: Khaled Hosseini
Stars: 4
Review by: Brian S.

Very sad, but a great read!  I definitely recommend it if you're interested in the Middle East.

Cutting For Stone

Author: Abraham Verghese
Stars: 5
Review by: Anne P.

Long 658 pages. Well worth reading. The story of identical twin boys growing up in Ethiopia and their subsequent careers in the field of medicine.

All Through the Night

Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Stars: 3
Review by: farmette

This is essentially the story about the marriage of 2 men...Jules and Robin..one minor bad guy that they easily dispatch..easily because the Troubleshooters and FBI characters are all in Boston for the wedding.. another character enters and falls in love.. much about the challenges gay men face as they put together life and careers..
 

I did not discuss an issue from the most previous book.. almost all the characters in these books have been shot or been in explosions.. several extensive hospital and rehab stays, and one guy was shot twice on one op.. despite this, only one death, and that was the wife of a  marginal FBI character that immediately dropped off the grid and has not been seen or talked about since..in her last book, a FBI death occurred..it was Jules's supervisor, and the ONLY homophobic significant character in this series... fortunately the director of the whole unit was solidly on the side of Jules as a gay man, and his all his supervisor could do was to make things slightly uncomfortable... SOOO...she transferred to another FBI unit, and was killed in action.. a pretty heavy message.. the combination of that death and the book on the gay wedding is mos def over the top.. too far over the top..

The Goldfinch

Author: Donna Tartt
Stars: 3
Review by: Shapoppa

I know it won the Pulitzer Prize and I know there are those who think it's a masterpiece, but... for me, the ending fell flat. In fact, about three-quarters into the book my interest started to wane, but I forged ahead.

Echo Park

Author: Michael Connelly
Stars: 4
Review by: BigDa

Another peerless Harry Bosch thriller.

The Summerhouse

Author: Jude Deveraux
Stars: 2
Review by: summerfun

Author wrote too long to make a point.  I started skipping paragraphs to get to the end!!!!

Love May Fail

Author: Matthew Quick
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee

A simple story well told!  I loved it!

A Seamless Murder: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery

Author: Melissa Bourbon
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is the latest book in this series, but a new series to me. I like paranormal based reads so I went for it after I saw "Magical" in the title.  This series is about a family that descended from Butch Cassidy & Texana Harlow.  The women of this family each have a magical gift.  In this case, Harlow's sewing creations allows the wearer's deepest desires to come true.  I learned about fashion designing & sewing since I really have no clue about it.  Harlow finds herself trying to solve the murder of her neighbor without getting herself in trouble. Enjoy this fun, summer read.

Home of the Braised: A White House Chef Mystery

Author: Julie Hyzy
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is the next to the latest book in this series.  I found out I missed it after I read the latest.  Olivia and her beau Gav are looking into the mysterious death of a friend and wind up saving the President. Enjoy this fun, summer read.

Ghost of a Gamble: A Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery

Author: Sue Ann Jaffarian
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is one of the latest books in this series and is still fun to read.  The Granny ghost interacting with the rest is like having a comic choir in the background.  The main character, Emma finds herself in Las Vegas helping her friend and mentor Milo.  The story has a lot of twists and turn as she tries to solve the mystery of "Lenny the Light bulb."   Enjoy this fun, summer read.

A Healthy Homicide: A Blossom Valley Mystery

Author: Staci McLaughlin
Stars: 2.5
Review by: Saraswati

Book 4 in this series has the main character, Dana Lewis, taking a rather backseat to a murder in her town.  She does get involved, but not as much as usual.  There appears to be a chance at more character development, but it read kind of thin.  It is just a cozy so I should not expect too much.  Just another easy summer read.

Love Me to Death

Author: Allison Brennan
Stars: 4.5
Review by: farmette

I ran out of Brockmann books...library wants this book back so I read it. Allison was one of the authors on my to do list. I came across one of her Lucy Kincaid books and decided to go back to book one.  Lucy is part of my serious crush on female good guys...she does not compare with Sam from Marie force, or Dallas from JD Robb or DD Warren...author escapes me right now.. but she is very interesting and I enjoyed the read very much.  Lucy was captured and raped 6 years ago and it was  broadcast on the internet.. since then she has prepared herself academically, and with work experience, to become an FBI agent.  In this book she helps capture a retired FBI agent that had become a vigilante killing rapists that had completed their prison terms, and in the process is captured...again...by one of those rapists. While doing this she falls in love with Sean and enjoys wonderful sex for the first time.. her family and Sean's are many in number and all involved as FBI types, or a private security firm, with Sean and Lucy's brothers...they end up rescuing Lucy before she was raped, and the book ends as Lucy gets invited to an interview as a FBI agent.. Allison's web site does a wonderful job of outlining her Lucy character and all the friends and family for her and Sean...I actually printed it out and used it to keep track of the people in the book.. just the good guys..

Cat's Lair: A Leopard Novel

Author: Christine Feehan
Stars: 2
Review by: Saraswati

This book is about Cat Benoit, a leopard shifter on the run.  Due to her upbringing she does not know much about being a leopard and is running scared.  Along comes Ridley (aka Eli) to save her.  A lot of repeat reading and standard story lines for this series.  An easy summer read.

Castles of the World

Author: Gianni Guadalupi & Gabriele Reina
Stars: 4
Review by: MandyApgar

A large, coffee table type introduction to various castles organized by country of origin. The selection is a bit too prosaic which is what bumped this to a four, but past that it is readable, well done, and has excellent photography.

Alternative Kilns and Firing Techniques

Author: James C. Watkins & Paul Andrew Wandless
Stars: 1
Review by: MandyApgar

Rather pointless really. Instructions are given on how to build kilns that are for the most part insanely complicated (and I professionally trained with this for years) and little detail is given on obtaining or mixing glazes. Certainly not for anyone near to beginner, and a bit redundant for those with experience. The open pit firing section was good, but that was about it, as details on various firing methods are given but little is spoken of their origins or actual methods. Just "stick the pot in here and light the crap on fire" sort of, nothing on what to do if something goes wrong, or any commonplace details that could help beginners - like they never mentioned not glazing pots to a certain level so they do not stick, hints like that. If they wrote a baby book they probably expect the kid to come out quoting Macbeth.

Civil War (Eyewitness book)

Author: John Stanchak
Stars: 3
Review by: MandyApgar

OK, but certainly not the best of the series, and especially in light of what was left out. A basic, readable book on the conflict from the normally excellent series. It glossed over the origins a bit too quickly, covered very little actual battles (Antietam did not even get an entry), and focused more so on life during the war instead of the actual war itself. Plus it stated the Booth yelling "sic semper tyrannus" myth after Lincoln's assassination, which is so untrue that Ford's Theatre has a giant sign when you come in saying how it irritates them so. Clara Barton and cultural attitudes are all fine and good, but it is rather pointless to have a book on war when the reader is given so little about it. Still however, it is a nice place to start.

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures

Author: Robert K. Wittman
Stars: 5
Review by: MandyApgar

A very good combination biography / case history of the founder of the FBI's art crimes team. The problem with the field is that too many consider it small time in comparison to say drugs or weapons, but art and antiquities theft is a  growing problem that contributes to and quite possibly outstrips either. Born to a veteran of Korea and his war bride, Wittman grew to appreciate justice after being subjected to childhood prejudice. After he was nearly tried for the accidental death of his partner (their blood alcohol levels were accidentally changed when they were in a crash where Wittman was the designated driver) he officially began investigating crimes involving stolen art. Rescuing stolen Rockwells, Rembrandts, a mesoamerican back flap, the Bill of Rights (seriously), and exposing Antiques Roadshow as a fraud to rob Civil War collectors, among other things, Wittman finally retired from the FBI due to increased bureaucracy hampering the work and is now involved in private consulting.

Tara Road

Author: Maeve Binchy
Stars: 3
Review by: Smudge

I prefer her short stories.

The Liar

Author: Nora Roberts
Stars: 3
Review by: DeckReader

Quick read, kept my interest.  Surprise ending.

The Rumor

Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Stars: 3
Review by: Barb

This was an easy summer beach read. Nothing startling.

Body Guard

Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Stars: 3
Review by: farmette

Quite disappointing.. been reading SB's Troubleshooters (TSI) series...finished book 12 of 18. I thought it would be interesting to go back  to the actual beginning...this is  SB's second book...before TSI...nowhere near as interesting. There is much more typical romance...much less suspense...good guy meets reluctant woman...good guy is actually also reluctant...they have sex, catch bad guy and fall in love..no biggie.

Girl With a Pearl Earring

Author: Tracy Chevalier
Stars: 4
Review by: Bob E

Great book about the Dutch masterpiece painting, set in the seventeenth century in Delft.  This first person novel was worth far more than its 100,000 words.

Death Comes as the End

Author: Agatha Christie
Stars: 4
Review by: Couch Potato

It was a really good book!  Trying to be objective here; personally I love all things ancient Egyptian, so it was a 5 for me , but others may not have the same interest in the subject.   A young Egyptian woman returns to her family after the death of her husband, expecting everything to be the same, but discovers that it is not.  As the story develops, she changes, too, in ways she doesn't expect.  Not the typical Agatha Christie tale.

The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins
Stars: 5
Review by: bookmaven

It took a little time to get into the story, but then I couldn't stop reading it. Rachel Watson is divorced from Tom Watson. She is still in love with him, but Tom has married Anna & they have a young daughter, Evie. Rachel constantly calls Tom & also takes the train to his house. Anna has the police issue a restraining order against Rachel. Then something very tragic happens a few doors down from Anna & Tom. They all become involved in the tragedy. The suspense keeps building up & Rachel is in the center of it.

The Nightingale

Author: Kristin Hannah
Stars: 5
Review by: Ann Mc

Excellent novel about 2 sisters, Vianne and Isabel during WWII as citizens of France.

Catch-22

Author: Joseph Heller
Stars: 5
Review by: Julia W.

Although Catch-22 got off to a shaky start in my opinion because of the lack of a singular cohesive storyline, it was easy to adapt to the book's meandering nature. I came to enjoy Catch-22 because of it's highly satirical nature and whimsicality.

Force of Nature

Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Stars: 4
Review by: farmette

More of the same, but still a fun read. Each book (this is #10) introduces a new couple that falls in love, has the most wonderful sex ever, gets married and then has babies. SB does not do casual sex.. in this book we have our new couple, as Ric and Annie in Sarasota, FL.  Ric is a PI.. recently a cop... and Annie is the kid sister of his best friend.  A kid sister he has been attracted to since she turned 16 about 12 years ago.. they are 4 years apart age wise.. destined to help catch the bad guys and fall in love. The good guys in this book are primarily FBI...the TSI people are their to help..and even more primarily, Jules, our gay FBI guy as he runs into the  movie star he is seriously in love with.. Robin.  Robin was in gay denial when J first met him several books ago...he now admits to being gay, but uses his alcoholism to hide it.. he and J ignite their love.. and Robin finally comes out, and loses his 3 picture movie deal.  J tells him no relationship until he goes to rehab..in the meantime they catch the bad guys.. Robin is a hero, and the book ends as he goes off to rehab.  They might live happily ever after...Ric and Annie go to work for TSI.  SB maintains this is the first romance novel to feature a hero and a hero, in a gay love affair....

The Daring Ladies of Lowell

Author: Kate Alcott
Stars: 4
Review by: Ada

Interesting reading about women who worked in the mills of Massachusetts before health regulations.

Family Pictures

Author: Jane Green
Stars: 4
Review by: Ada

I had read this before quite a while ago.   Liked it the second time as well as the first.  All about families with a twist.

The Phantom Tollbooth

Author: Norman Juster
Stars: 5
Review by: Shapoppa

What a delightful and clever classic! If you are a lover of puns, idioms, oh heck, the English language in general, and if, like me, you haven't read this book as a youngster, do yourself a favor and read it. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

China Dolls

Author: Lisa See
Stars: 5
Review by: Sallys cats

This is quite a story of 3 women and their story - right before WWII and life as they intertwined.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

You

Author: Caroline Kepnes
Stars: 2
Review by: queenbee

I had high expectations and I was disappointed. This book was featured in our local book store and I saw it recommended and part of a giveaway on the Goodreads website, which I love, so I bought it. If you are looking for a run on story about a NYC psychopath stalker then maybe it's one for you. I felt it dragged on and on and on... Maybe a good short story, tall tale or magazine fiction like Good Housekeeping used to do, but not worth buying for your library.

Modoc

Author: Ralph Helfer
Stars: 3
Review by: BKF

Subtitled The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived, this was a an entertaining read, but "true"? I highly doubt it. If you investigate further you'll find a lot of discrepancy online regarding how factual the story is. It follows the same-day birth of a boy and an elephant, their 78 years of life together and apart. Although I did like the book, I found it a little too sappy.

The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins
Stars: 4
Review by: mysterylover

A good paced story that kept your attention all the way through.

How to Start a Fire

Author: Lisa Lutz
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee

A novel about 3 women and the friendship they share over a twenty year time period.  Lisa Lutz wrote the Spellman Files series which I love, but this book blows the Spellmans out of the water!  I loved every minute...quirky, touching, sad, funny...everything you want in a book and more!

The Swan Thieves

Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Stars: 2
Review by: Pam

Renowed artist Robert Oliver, who has faced mental issues in his past, tries to stab a painting at the National Gallery. He is taken to a psychiatric hospital where Andrew Marlow becomes his psychiatrist.  Robert refuses to speak or aid Marlow in his recovery or treatment.  Marlow then has to uncover, on his own, the reasons for Robert's actions.

The book is perfect for art lovers.  There is a tremendous amount of detailed information about art history, how to paint and painting techniques.  There is a secondary love story told through old letters that runs throughout the story which you don't understand how it fits in.

The book is 599 pages.  Everything is solved, explained and wrapped up in the last 20 pages - some of which has nothing to do with what you read in the prior 579 pages.

Good story.  Too long.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail

Author: Cheryl Strayed
Stars: 3
Review by: Mitchie L

I thought many parts of this book were moving and interesting. Strayed shared many parts of herself and her life that were brutally honest. She is brave for that and very brave for hiking the Pacific Coast Trail.  However, there were times that I found this book a little monotonous and I could not wait until I finished it...But I am glad I did.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win Word War II

Author: Denis Kiernan
Stars: 4
Review by: Smudge

In 1942, as part of the Manhattan Project, the government created the city of Oak Ridge in Tennessee.  This is the story of Oak Ridge and the stories of some of the women that worked there.

Touchstone

Author: Laurie R. King
Stars: 4
Review by: Chris L.

Intriguing Post WWI novel follows an American FBI agent to England in pursuit of a terrorist bomber. Good read especially leading to the heart pounding conclusion.

Fall of Giants

Author: Ken Follet
Stars: 5
Review by: Barb

Epic first book in the Century Trilogy. This was a very good, long read, with great character development. Many characters, but I could keep track of them in my mind. The story takes place in the years leading up to and during World War I and follows several families and their connection to one another. A great read and I most certainly will follow up with the next two.

Let Me Be Frank With You

Author: Richard Ford
Stars: 4
Review by: Barb

I really enjoyed listening to this book that reflects on life after Superstorm Sandy from the eyes of protagonist Frank Bascombe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Just Jennifer

The Story of the Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith


Much has been written about the Mid-Atlantic and New England states during the time after the American Revolution and much has been written about the American South during the period, Reconstruction, after the Civil War, but less has been written about the American South during the years following the American Revolution.  In the small coastal North Carolina town Beaufort, ten-year-old Tabitha already has the sea and the responsibility of her family’s land in her blood. Her mother Helen died when Tabitha was born and she was raised, as was her mother before her, by her widowed father who stopped sailing after the death of his wife to raise his daughter and to run the plantation Asa had raised his daughter Helen to run.  John, Tabitha’s father, of whom Asa never approved, wants to do what is right by his daughter; when she is stricken by a fever, his heart tells him the sea will cure her and make her well again.  When it doesn’t, he returns to bury his daughter next to her mother and the story turns back in time to when Helen meets John before he leaves to fight in the war, returning to her after escaping from an enemy ship.  A third woman’s sorrows, those of Helen’s slave Moll, are echoed as she watches her only son Davy head west to the frontier with John, taking from her the second thing she loved.  With gorgeous prose and beautiful language, Smith, paints a portrait of a new America with all its hope and despair, using this family where the daughters were brought up to be strong and capable, but who were never given the chance, foreshadowing the greater horror and devastation that will befall the South almost one hundred years hence. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Legacy from the Past: A Portfolio of 88 Original Williamsburg Buildings

Author: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Stars: 3
Review by: MandyApgar

Nice, but with little meat. I am guessing that this is an older version of their current tour book. Beginning with a brief history of the town's rehabilitation under Rockefeller and its general history, it soon gets into the architecture of Williamsburg itself, a town that I adore insanely. Many of the usual engravings are shown here, with a few lesser known prints as well, as complements to current photos of standing structures dating from the period of the town's founding. A functional history of the building is given alongside that as well.

Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need

Author: Dave Barry
Stars: 1
Review by: MandyApgar

What ever made me read this I have no idea. The book consists of various sections, all consisting of rehashed political and ethnic stereotypes that get very, very tiring. Calling the French cowards stopped being original decades ago, and it wasn't funny then either. Also including a section on the US, with entries on the different states, it covers both international and domestic worries. More of the same there as well. A much older book of the author's and for certain not his best - I still like "gift guide to end all gift guides" the most.

Wuthering Heights

Author: Emily Bronte
Stars: 4
Review by: Julia W.

Before reading the book, I had high expectations, most of which were fulfilled. The book started off quite oddly, but once the backstory of Wuthering Heights's inhabitants, the beginning clicked into place and the book's pace picked up. I enjoyed the journey the book took you on, flashing between real time and the past. I especially enjoyed the closure provided the end of the book with a flash forward six months later. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone interested in reading an American classic. The only thing that I didn't like about Wuthering Heights was that it was difficult at times to keep straight all the relationships between characters, as in who was whose child vs. nephew vs. great niece, because of all the inbreeding between the three families (Earnshaws, Lintons and Heathcliffs).

The Promise of Palm Grove

Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Stars: 4
Review by: summerfun

This light-hearted book is a delightful read.  A heartwarming story and uplifting book.

FaceOff

Author: David Baldacci (editor)
Stars: 5
Review by: farmette

who knew.???..the International Thriller Writers, or ITW... a group of writers in the thriller genre that was formed in 2004..now over 2,500 members holding an annual thriller fest in July...rather than charge dues, they put out books with all the proceeds going to the ITW.. this is the 8th in the series. You can bet I am going after the other 7...be still my heart. In this book we have 22 authors and therefore 22 characters.. double WOW.. in 11 stories we have each of their characters 'facing off' with another character. We have Reacher, Davenport, Bosch, D.D. Warren and Alexandra Cooper among 17 others..!! A wonderful read.. might quibble with the title...the characters are working together to solve a crime, or catch a bad guy, or in one case exact well justified revenge.. 'strange bedfellows' would be a better title...a must read for thriller types.

A Curious History of Food and Drink

Author: Ian Crofton
Stars: 5
Review by: MandyApgar

Was very well surprised by this. The title lent me to think that it was some sort of culinary history, but technically it was not. A Ripley's catalog of the odd and unusual of edibles and epicures arranged by time order, it was quite well balanced (in terms of food type and area) with a mix of old and new tales. Some of which were rather funny in their own way, especially the Greco-Roman period. Usual stories, like the invention of the ice cream cone, are given, in addition to the obscure.

Bunnicula: a Rabbit Tale of Mystery

Author: Deborah & James Howe
Stars: 5
Review by: MandyApgar

Another old favorite of mine. The first of a semi-ongoing series for juniors, it sets up our basic premise - that cute, cuddly Bunnicula is really a vampire. At least that is what Chester the cat swears by. After he and his canine buddy Harold's family come home from a trip to an area spooky oldie double feature having found a shivering rabbit in a show box with "take care of my baby" written in an obscure Transylvanian dialect, mysterious things begin happening. Vegetables drained of their color. The rabbit vanishing from his cage without a trace. Chester, an avid reader of horror novels, concludes a vampire stalks them. Harold, from whose viewpoint our story is told, does not quite believe him - at first. As Chester gets to be more erratic, he eventually gains Harold's grudging approval and the two team to see if the seemingly sweet bunny is friend or enemy.

Mythological Creatures: A Pictorial Dictionary

Author: Paulita Sedgewick
Stars: 5
Review by: MandyApgar

Cute, compact and utterly charming. One of my favorites 30 years ago and it still is. A rather old title, it is a dictionary of folkloric creatures culled from various faiths and backgrounds. Sort of like a medieval bestiary. Acephali to zombie pretty much with all sorts of others in between - but with a nice balance, not too much say Greco Roman in favor of another background. Illustrations are not always the best, but are a good, basic pen and ink and fit the text quite well. Kudos to the public library of Wichita, from where this was discarded many years ago before I acquired it.

This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

Author: Marilyn Johnson
Stars: 3
Review by: MandyApgar

I am giving this a 3 as, although I would like to rate it lower, it is noble in principle. A defense of our blessed librarians, (get it now? "overdue?" yes, that's the extent of humor here) especially a defense of their importance in today's digital age. The author is very sincere and has an excellent approach, but her point falls a bit wide. Many positions are fraught with internal conflict from outside technology, just not that of librarian. Lots of people are in danger of losing jobs to being considered irrelevant, and so some of her points fall a bit wide. I thought it quite odd too that a lot of her recommended blogs and websites were defunct even before the book was printed - kind of ironic granted her stance on having to change with the science. Showing that librarians are information professionals, computer scientists, is a novel way to approach things, but she just doesn't hit it right. Too many stereotypes harped on time and again, goes out of her way to find "renegade" members to bolster a certain claim, and just plain dull sometimes.

Never Die Alone

Author: Lisa Jackson
Stars: 3.5
Review by: farmette

I went  back to an earlier author...have been reading favorite authors back to their first books for over a year now...one of these is Lisa Jackson...she has written several different series of characters. I have read 3 of them.. I think..one of them is Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya, 2 detectives in New Orleans. In Never Die Alone we  have a  new case that is populated by twins...the bad guy turns out to be a twin to one of the good guys.. a twin he did not knew existed. I did not enjoy this as much as earlier books...it was confusing with all the twins, or it might be I have been away from the characters for a time.. the series might be coming to some sort of turning point. Rick and Reuben are now married with kids...Rick is getting pressure from his wife to retire...she is concerned with  his safety.. yet...a killer they thought they had killed has resurfaced. I can't imagine Rick retiring before that bad guy is caught.. again. This book is Lisa's 2015 book, so we shall see...

All the Light We Cannot See

Author: Anthony Doerr
Stars: 4.5
Review by: BookDancer

A beautifully written and deeply moving account of a brief encounter between 2 unlikely people, set during World War II. It will stay with you long after you finish reading it; in fact, it begs to be re-read so you can fully savor the riches within.

The Camouflaged Heart

Author: Susie Guckin
Stars: 3
Review by: Bookworm mamma

Local author and music teacher at RFIS. Interesting read.

Understanding Islam (audiobook)

Author: Huston Smith
Stars: 3
Review by: ILovemyDaisy

This is a great audio book for anyone interested in learning about the basic history of Islam in 70 minutes.

Gray Mountain

Author: John Grisham
Stars: 4
Review by: bookmaven

It was a very good read, kept me in suspense. Takes place in Appalachia, Brady, VA.  A young lawyer is dismissed from her job & works for the Legal Aid Clinic until she get her job back in NY. She helps miners & others who cannot afford legal aid. It has many twists & turns.

Midnight Rose

Author: Lucinda Riley
Stars: 5
Review by: queenbee

Just looking at this 600+ book made me put this on my nightstand to read while home for 6 weeks recovering from surgery, BUT, I couldn't put it down and read it in under a week, whenever I was awake. Love historical fiction, a love story, interesting locations and bit of family mystery that keeps you guessing until page 654?...then this is for you. Loved it, stayed up much too late tonight determined to finish and now sad it's done. Passing it on to my friend ASAP to get her opinion.

Every Fifteen Minutes

Author: Lisa Scottoline
Stars: 4
Review by: Ada

Kept me guessing.  Had to keep reading.

The Bone Bed

Author: Patricia Cornwell
Stars: 5
Review by: Mrs. D.

If you like crime thrillers, and forensics, you will love Patricia Cornwell's books.  This one is particularly exciting, a very fast read even though it's quite thick.

Portrait of a Spy

Author: Daniel Silva
Stars: 4
Review by: Dolores P.

It was a little slow starting, but I love Daniel Silva's books.

Bad Blood

Author: John Sandford
Stars: 5
Review by: Dolores P.

Kept my attention the whole story.  John Sanford is my favorite author.

Mad River

Author: John Sandford
Stars: 5
Review by: Dolores P.

John Sandford's Virgil Flowers holds my attention through the whole book.  I saw the frustration of growing up in a small town with limited options for the future.  I almost felt sorry for the couple who went on the murder spree.  I highly recommend the book.

Death of a Dentist

Author: M.C. Beaton
Stars: 4
Review by: Dolores P.

I love M.C. Beaton and her light cozy mysteries.  I especially love Hamish MacBeth.  It is a light slice of the highlands of Scotland.

The Truth and Other Lies

Author: Sascha Arango
Stars: 4
Review by: BigDa

Different. A satirical murder non-mystery.

Fatal Mistake

Author: Marie Force
Stars: 4.5
Review by: farmette

I love these books...read 2 in 2 days..!!!...this is the 6th book in Marie's FATAL series...our top good guys are a Washington DC homicide LT by the name of Sam...most definitely a female Sam..and...what started out as a fantastic one night of sex 6  years ago with Nick, a senate staffer, brought them together over a homicide just over 8 months ago now has them married and adopting a 12 year old boy.. and led her husband to be a senator and in the conversation as the next vice president!!! I love  her character...she compares to JD Robb's Dallas.. a lot more sex and more likely a more romance oriented novel than Dallas...but I love both of them.. competent, smart women bosses...really like the interactions between these women and their staff and the rest of the world. The bad guys that Sam catches are unbelievable, but fun...they include top government staff and elected officials and in this book the female owner of a DC newspaper, with her husband owning the DC baseball team..her husband was innocent. Evidently he and most everyone knew his wife was a b*#ch, but did not realize she also was a killer..Sam caught her...2 more books are scheduled, books 7 and 8.. and I learned that Marie has signed a contract for 2 more.  I do not understand the publishing world...these books came out in e-books first.. now paperback only in the 5$ range...can't wait, however...
 

Fatal Deception

Author: Marie Force
Stars: 4.5
Review by: farmette

 I love these books...read 2 in 2 days..!!!...well, it was raining.. will talk more in review of next book.

Just One More Thing

Author: Peter Falk
Stars: 4
Review by: jamBob


First book in a long time I did not want to put down. Not because it a literary masterpiece, far from it, but a walk down memory lane with an actor who created great characters in film and on TV. This is an autobiography of a man who stumbled into show business and had a great time in the process. My two favorite comedies are It's a Mad Mad Mad World and The In-Laws. Falk was in both of them, one a bit part the other a comedic lead. These are my therapy videos when life gets too serious. 
 
But who can forget the one and only Columbo! Episodes spanned nearly 30 years. People threw Columbo parties. And in the country of Romania he was their #1 favorite actor- detective. So much so that he had to appear at the behest of the Romanian government on Romanian TV to let the public know he only filmed 6 episodes / year as the Romanian people thought their government was controlling the amount of American TV they could see. They did have strict quotas, but they were not intentionally limiting Columbo. That's all there were. 
 
The book is written as if he is in the room having a pleasant conversation with you and sharing his memories. Delightful! Sadly Mr. Falk passed away in 2011 after dementia became Alzheimer's . Sadly too there was some disagreement between his children from  his first marriage and his second wife toward the end of his life. I believe they initiated some lawsuits regarding the rights of children to visit a sick parent.
 
Despite the loss of one eye at the age of 3, Peter was a charming successful actor in a tough business. In many of his films he was not the top actor, but every director seemed to want him in their film including a bit part in the Godfather that just was too small for him to take. To this day I enjoy the Columbo series and happily watch repeats just to relive how how he unravels a case and nails the murderer with the tiniest of clues.He is always understated and polite and as he exits the scene something comes to his mind before he reaches the door, he turns and says....."Just one more thing!"
 

The Wright Brothers

Author: David McCullough
Stars: 4.5
Review by: BKF

Amazing. OK, so we all know the Wright Brothers invented the airplane, right? After reading this book I found out how much I didn't know about all the years it took to finally get the world sold on the fact that man can fly. The brothers' focus, dedication, rejection, determination, family support.. all this and more. David McCullough's book was terrific.

The Lost Symbol

Author: Dan Brown
Stars: 2
Review by: ILovemyDaisy

I listened to this (audiobook) for 22 hours while driving back and forth to my parent's house. It kept me awake - but that's about the only positive comment I can muster. I found some of the voices really annoying - it took away from the story - which just seemed to go on forever!

Congratulations to...

...our Week # 7 Prize Winners:
  • Pace
  • Nanibev

Progress So Far

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Bookerfly

from Mary NK:
Affectionately known as the Pole Farm to locals, because of the "forest" of telephone poles that once "grew" here, this part of Mercer Meadows in Lawrenceville, NJ was the hub of all overseas phone calls before the advent of satellites. Former sites of pole arrays are pictured in concrete; and the Last Pole Standing proudly guards the entrance, preserved by the historically-savvy farmer who last owned these fields.