Friday, July 21, 2017

In Dreams

Author: Nora Roberts
Stars: 3
Review by: Ntiva


I enjoy Nora Roberts usually more than this book.  She has a standard format, but usually they are more exciting or well-written.  Maybe it was because this was a book on CD, or one of her earlier works, but it was a little too predictable.

Last to Die

Author: Tess Gerritsen
Stars: 4
Review by: Ntiva


I have read all the Pizzoli & Isles books.  This was similar in vein to the rest of the series - enjoyable and action-packed.  It you enjoy Tess Gerritsen, you'll enjoy this book.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra

Author: Colm McElwain
Stars: 2
Review by: Tara C.

This is a hybrid of Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. Might be a decent precursor for a kid who is not quite up to reading the HP series.

A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song

Author: Steve Turner
Stars: 5
Review by: Shapoppa

If you love the Beatles and want to know how they came up with songs and lyrics, this book is for you.

Shadow of an Angel

Author: Mignon F. Ballard
Stars: 4
Review by: JLB

Mystery with an Angel involved.







Every Body on Deck

Author: G.A. McKevett
Stars: 3
Review by: mysterylover

Cozy mystery with a few twists.






The Whistler

Author: John Grisham
Stars: 4
Review by: Nancy w

I like the way Grisham lays out the facts in this book. Easy to read with enough intrigue to keep me interested.





Camino Island

Author: John Grisham
Stars: 2
Review by: BKF

 Mr. Grisham changed his usual "lawyer story" to a "theft story" involving the theft and recovery of five original F. Scott Fitzgerald handwritten manuscripts from Princeton University. Not one of his best books...very slow moving. I'm a huge Grisham fan but after this I think I've decided to stick to his courtroom stories!

Finding our Forever

Author: Brenda Novak
Stars: 5
Review by: a 'Retired Cat'-who likes to read!

First book in the Silver Springs series.

Love Story

Author: Karen Kingsbury
Stars: 5
Review by: a 'Retired Cat'-who likes to read!

The author says that you don't have to read all the Baxter family books, but I find that I need to go back to the beginning of John & Elizabeth's story and go from there!

The Gold-Threaded Dress

Author: Carolyn Marsden
Stars: 4
Review by: Brooke S

Read this to follow and discuss with my 9 year old. Was a good young reader book - easy to understand being left out, while also discussing diversity of cultures. My daughter was a bit bored with it, but may be due to her being a bigger reader (approp. for 6-8 if reading to/with child).

The Trial Lawyers

Author: Emily Couric
Stars: 3
Review by: argee17

I learned helpful winning strategies. Wish the bios of these high earners were more complete.






The Garden of Small Beginnings

Author: Abbi Waxman
Stars: 4
Review by: LZ99

Light, but touching read. Enjoyable.






A Piece of the World

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

It started out slow, but by midway I had to finish it in one night. This is from the author of Orphan Train. It's an "imagined fictional memoir of the woman in the famed (Andrew) Wyeth painting, Cristina's World."

The Identicals

Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Stars: 5
Review by: Goetz

Started off a little slow then I couldn't put it down. Excellent book.

Elementary She Read: Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery

Author: Vicki Delaney
Stars: 3
Review by: jambob

Ok new series. A little slow at times. A satisfying finish.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fodor's Travel Boston

Author: Fodor
Stars: 4
Review by: SandyJ

Love the map!

The Year of the Hare

Author: Arto Paasilinna
Stars: 4
Review by: SandyJ

This is a Finnish adventure tale that pokes fun at modern life and all its commercialism. It has been translated into 27 languages and is the most sold Finnish book. I felt like trying something out of the ordinary and liked it.

The Etiquette of Illness : What to Say When You Can't Find the Words

Author: Susan Halpern
Stars: 5
Review by: SandyJ

The majority of us at some point will have a family member or friend go through a difficult illness. It can be difficult to see the situation through the eyes of the sick. We tend to try to meet our own needs and forget to listen closely to the wishes of those who are ill. I've always turned to books for answers. This book came into my life at the right time. Highly recommend.

Nightingale

Author: Kristin Hannah
Stars: 5
Review by: SandyJ

Fantastic - I listened to this book on my 11 hour drive back from Indiana and it made the drive fly by. Great narration on the audiobook. This is very important to me - the wrong voice can ruin the book.

A Sky Full of Stars

Author: Samantha Chase
Stars: 3
Review by: Dorman

Good fun read for the summer.

The Lost Boy

Author: Camilla Lackberg
Stars: 3
Review by: ReadsWithCats

I enjoy her mysteries, mostly for the reoccurring characters, in particular the police detective and his wife. They live in a small waterfront town in Sweden.

Command and Control

Author: Eric Schlosser
Stars: 5
Review by: ReadsWithCats

A history of nuclear weapons in America, emphasizing the lack of safety, lack of security and general mismanagement of the most dangerous weapon systems every developed. It also includes an in depth description of a Titan II nuclear missile than blew up in its silo in 1980. A film about the Titan II accident is on PBS and YouTube.

A Trick of the Light

Author: Louise Penny
Stars: 5
Review by: BookDancer

I will hopefully read my way through all Louise Penny's mysteries and then move to Three Pines, Canada! What a charming, complicated and irresistible universe she has created.

Station Eleven

Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Miss Lucy

Apocalyptic tale that takes place in Northern Michigan. I coincidentally listened to it as I was actually traveling to Northern Michigan.

Beartown

Author: Frederick Bachman
Stars: 4
Review by: Spring J

This is the third book I have read by this author. I enjoy his conversations in the book they ring true to life for me. This book can make you laugh and brings tears. The characters could be from any small town.
If you like ice hockey that will be a bonus as this book centers around the A team of the local league. The could have been taken from the headlines of the news.  Jon Krakauer did a book, Missoula, as well on athletes and violence against women.

The Inn at Rose Harbor

Author: Debbie Macomber
Stars: 4
Review by: BeachBarb

Finally got around to listening to and finishing this first of the Rose Harbor Inn series. Just nice, uplifting, easy summer (or anytime) read.

All the Single Ladies

Author: Dorothea Benton Frank
Stars: 4
Review by:  BeachBarb

 I thought this a bit different than the usual Dorothea Benton Frank books, but just as enjoyable. A bit more mystery and humor in my opinion. A good summer read about the LowCountry.

The Memory Box

Author: Eva Lesko Natiello
Stars: 5
Review by: Maryellen

What happens when you google the internet about yourself and found something shocking? This book is an absolute page turner with constant twists and turns right up until the final chapter!

Beautiful Day

Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Stars: 4
Review by: PattiK

It's a good book but I had already read it. Since it was the only book I brought along for a two week vacation I re-read it. Enjoyed it the second time around too probably because I kept telling myself maybe the second time around it would end differently :)

Saving Gracie

Author: Carol Bradley
Stars: 5
Review by: PattiK

This is an important book for any animal lover. That's all I'm going to say. It's an IMPORTANT book for any animal lover or anyone who wants to educate themselves dogs, rescue and the world of puppy mills and commercial breeders. Presented in a readable and engaging format. Need I say it again? This is an IMPORTANT BOOK for any animal lover or human being.

Descent

Author: Tim Johnston
Stars: 4
Review by: Diana

A Great Thriller.....a family torn apart by a devastating experience while on vacation.

My Left Foot

Author: Christy Brown
Stars: 4
Review by: BKF

A truly exceptional life, as told by a truly exceptional man.

The Little French Bistro

Author: Nina George
Stars: 5
Review by: Catdob

Beautifully written, the author weaves magic, history, and a fun storyline in this dramedy.

Time of Fog and Fire

Author:Rhys Bowen
Stars: 5
Review by: Bookworm52

A thrilling Molly Murphy Sullivan mystery that is a quick read you can't put down.

50 Great Ghosts

Author: Edited by John Canning
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

An anthology that is more so irritating than great. Although I sadly don't have the space to recount the five or so decent ones here - some works of literary art, others drawn upon from accounts of hauntings - a few were quite good. Out of the unique ones I liked Hardwick's 'The Whiskered Sailor of Portsmouth,' about a soldier whose hostel room is haunted by the ghost of a man whose murder was covered up, the best. The problem is is that many are based on 'true' stories and they often get basic facts wrong. I do not know if that is poor choice on Mr. Canning's part, but when one has a ghost anthology and a leading story can't get basic things on Anne Boleyn right then I wonder why it was chosen and question the talent and integrity of those involved.

Lion

Author: Saroo Brierley
Stars: 5
Review by: KM

I saw the film Lion first and thought it was great. It is an amazing story, uplifting and inspiring, filled with heart. The book is well written and gives the reader many more details which I found highly interesting. A truly extraordinary story!

Cards on the Table

Author: Agatha Christie
Stars: 4
Review by: Lizzytish

What a set up! Four sleuths and four potential (?) murders are playing bridge, while their host sitting nearby gets murdered! I'm so glad one doesn't really need to know bridge to enjoy this mystery. Once again I thought I had nailed it, and Christie got me in the end.

The Devil's Feast

Author: M. J. Carter
Stars: 3
Review by: Lizzytish

Third in the series of Avery and Blake. We are in Victorian London visiting the kitchens of real life chef Soyer. People at the Reform Club ( which also was a real place) are literally dying to eat the chef's food. Soyer was a fascinating and flamboyant figure who also was a great inventor of the gas stove, among many other things. Politics of the Whigs and liberals are also on the table. It's up to Avery and Blake to discover the poisoner before the big feast for the Prince of Egypt.

The pacing was slow and the descriptions of the food and workings of the kitchen had me quite weary. It was good to see Matty again from the second book.

A Lowcountry Heart

Author: Pat Conroy
Stars: 4
Review by: BeachBarb

Having read a Pat Conroy book or two years ago, I don't recall being particularly fond of his writing. Visiting Beaufort, SC this spring I realized he was a hero in that town and thought I would purchase one of his books as a souvenir and reminder of this great vacation. There wasn't much of a selection in the local book store, so I purchased this one before realizing it was a collection of short snippets of his thoughts. I really enjoyed reading Conroy's thoughts and ideas, as well as what others thought of him. Now to go back to one of his books and/or movies. This was a good read.

A Man Called Ove

Author: Fredrik Backman
Stars: 5
Review by: Marianne S.

A charming read featuring a lovable grump.

Lost Birds

Author: Birute Putrius
Stars: 5
Review by: Marianne S.

I don't cry over books. Ever. The ending of this collection of linked short stories made me cry. Highly recommended.

Words of Silk

Author: Sandra Brown
Stars: 3
Review by: August Mom

A lot of lust and passion. Happy ending and male/female roles are typical stereotyped. Good for a distraction and break from the real world.

My Hollywood - when both of us were young / the Hunchback

Author: Patsy Ruth Miller / Philip Riley
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

Two books in one - the last part of the 'Magic Image Film Books' series on the silent 'Hunchback of Notre Dame,' consisting of the shooting script (with Xs showing the scenes they cut out), stills and promotional material. The first half is a memoir of the actress that portrayed La Esmeralda in the film. I think she did a bad job honestly but I only watch it for Lon Chaney - whom she describes as very talented, kind, and other choice words. I say that as in the Riley section they mention how his first wife hated him (he did tell their son she died, but in his defense she caused a scandal that almost destroyed them all) and supposedly he was cruel to his son (a charge his descendants deny). So I do think it disturbing that he should be brought up in one part and then shamed in another.

Irish Wonders - popular tales of giants, leprechauns, banshees, fairies, witches, and other marvels of the emerald isle

Author: DR McAnally Jr
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

 A selection of 15 folktales featuring spectral interference, the wily Pooka (he is 'neither here nor there,' after all), giants, and even the outsmarting of Satan himself on more than one occasion. Yes, it is an archetype to make the Irish look smart, but it is kind of odd at the same time to be hemming and hawwing about his evil influences in other stories. And in the title page there's a big list of the paranormal critters about to sally forth and included towards the end is a rather peculiar inclusion - 'widows.' An odd selection at times but decent reading.

Best. State. Ever. a Florida man defends his homeland

Author: Dave Barry
Stars:4
Review by: MApgar

 I hadn't read anything by Barry in years as it seemed to me like he lost his touch, but here he was back to basics - Florida, oh Florida. Whether it be investigating a senior living community with a swinging sex culture, chasing after the elusive skunk ape, getting pressured into buying his wife a sponge (the real, formerly dead, kind), and visiting several other varied and penny flattening roadside attractions -and places that ought to be- he has a decent sense of timing again, with good interaction between himself and his subjects, and the sense to pick a variety of places to visit.

Jefferson - architect of American liberty

Author: John Boles
Stars: 1
Review by:  MApgar

Sign 1 of a potentially bad book - it has really large print. In a biography that means that it has little to say or has no idea how or what to interpret, which is what happened here. I went past the 521 pages of this in about an hour. Yes, I can speed read, but this was deadly dull. And if anyone would bring up a point in Jefferson's life that seemed shady the author did the literary version of heaping teddy bears and unicorns on the problem. Sally Hemmings? Oh Lord, he was all over the map with her. Didn't seem to have a focus. Thank God this was over so fast.

Monty Python's Flying Circus' Hidden Treasures

Author: Edited by Adrian Besley
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

One of those things where they have replica memorabilia in the book, I have an I Love Lucy one and that is quite good. This one is...passable. The general info is given - how the group formed, a little on the planning of the films, series and specials. The inserts though are kind of random. And I don't mean 'silly walks' random, I mean like I really do think they could've done better. From the boring and predictable (replica tickets) to the even more so, there just wasn't that much unique. Could've used more Gilliam art, movie scenes and such in there, it is Monty flipping Python - why bother just with 'oh, let's put in a ticket' when you can do so much better?

Rustic Homes

Author:The editors of Country Living magazine
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

I don't know why I read these things - photo books of houses sometimes with floor and design plans that Elvis could barely afford. But I do, and in my defense, at least these are more tasteful than Graceland. A selection of cottages, houses, etc. selected by the editors for fitting into the mystique of the magazine. A lot of beach houses (literally), and some barns, not always too big but often a bit on the larger side.

All the gallant men - an American sailor's firsthand account of Pearl Harbor

Author: Donald Stratton
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

I really really hate to say this about an Arizona survivor, but his writing is rather dull. He is an American hero and an honor to his country but the book just wasn't very focused and frankly, he isn't that interesting of a guy to hold a memoir until that key moment. It is the only memoir of an USS Arizona survivor, and probably the only one we'll ever have, and for his account of Pearl Harbor itself the book is fine. It is when he goes into his early life, and random things after, that he sort of loses himself and the focus of things.

Movie comics - page to screen / screen to page

Author: Blair Davis
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

This author has that all too common ability to take a varied subject and, via dry academic interjection in what I can only reason was a vain attempt to make the erudites take his book seriously, make it as unappealing as watching moldy paint dry. At times it just sounded like he was reciting back a Wikipedia article. OK, so I've been in the field almost 30 years, but I didn't learn a single thing. He just rehashed old facts as he discussed early serials, radio projects, and TV series. (Many of which, I'd like to point out, fall under the category of 'pulp' characters instead of actual comic books per se. But that's nitpicky. Point being, a lot of the people he yammers on about the average person will know little of and have no interest in.)

The wars of the Roosevelts - the ruthless rise of America's political family

Author: William Mann
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

 I liked this with limitations. The author had a tendency to, while talking up one Roosevelt vs another (and they really were a freaking messed up bunch, sure enough) to conveniently brush past or not mention certain things that defended the battered party. And that happened back and forth quite a lot, really this was like a near 550 page version of 'The National Enquirer - early 1900s edition.'

Patina Farm

Author: Brooke and Steve Gianetti
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

 Another one of the faceless drone 'we live sooooo much better than you - here's the proof!' books. The authors are designers and the title (which is kind of degrading I think - like a farm is just supposed to be all Ikea esque neat and charming instead of fully functional and at times dirty) isn't really explained well.

Wonder Woman - the art and the making of the film

Author: Sharon Gosling
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

 Better than the movie, which I have no idea why people seem to like so much. The effects weren't very good and the villain looked like he stepped out of Hogwarts. At least here you got to see some of the designs and ideas - in other words, the little piddly stuff that fell by the wayside as all those bright, shiny explosions went off.

House of Lies

Author: Linda Rosencrance
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

The usual - we've heard a lot of it before. Girl meets boy, they get married, she develops an addiction to painkillers, and then dumps his strangled body in a closet when he dares to say that she's an unfit parent in their divorce proceedings. It isn't that she cares about the kids per se, it is that he dares to suggest that she has gone crazy. One of those cases where the idiot did everything to arrest herself except hang a neon sign above her head saying 'I did it!'

The China Collectors

Author: Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar
This was concerned with the ebb and flow of fascination with Chinese art and antiquities in American culture. From being thought 'heathen, quaint' or any number of adjectives, to the rare and pricey times where it really was in vogue and all the blue bloods competed for pieces. Book seemed to focus more so on pottery than textiles or paper works, perhaps because that is what persons are more familiar with (Ming vases, etc. from detective lore and movies).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Congratulations to...

... our Week #6 Prize Winners:
  • Just Ada
  • BNbook

Progress So Far

Click on image to enlarge.

Until I Say Goodbye

Author: Susan Spencer-Wendell & Bret Witter
Stars: 4
Review by: Veronica


A mom's journey of joy, living with ALS, making the most of the year with her family & friends, travelling, etc.  Great insights!

Congratulations to...

... our Week #5 Prize Winners:
  • ExLibris
  • Linda

Progress So Far

Click on image to enlarge.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Mysteries for the Dog Days of Summer!


Whether you like your mysteries with a touch of humor and animals, dark and brooding, or with an historical setting, Minotaur has something for everyone this August!  Visit old friends and make some new ones.  Thanks to #Kugel for making this posting possible!

Dead, to Being With: A Dan Rhodes Mystery by Bill Crider
After two dozen mysteries, Sheriff Dan Rhodes is still at the top of his game in Clearview, Texas.  Reclusive Jake Marley, oil heir, has finally reemerged into the community, heading up the restoration of the Clearview Opera House where A Christmas Carol is scheduled to be the first play in the newly renovated theater.  Jake, once thought by the community to be a ghost gets his chance when he falls to his death on the stage.  Rhodes is certain it was not an accident but murder and finds suspects galore as he investigates in this mystery with a cozy, down-home feel.

Gone Gull: A Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna Andrews
Donna Andrew’s twenty-first zany bird themed mystery finds Meg Langslow, sans her husband and twin sons, summering at the Biscuit Craft Center, helping her grandmother Cordelia get it up and running.  Between teaching blacksmithing and helping Cordelia with the business end of the center, Meg keeps an eye on her grandfather who is tracking for an elusive, rare gull.  When vandalism at the center turns deadly, Meg suspects her grandparents’ two causes are more connected than it first seems.  Full of slapstick comedy and sidesplitting scenes, and an engaging plot, Gone Gull is sure to please readers looking for a light, but still well written mystery. 

Kill the Heroes: A Charlie Henry Mystery by David Thurlo
The writing duo of David and Aimee Thurlo have written over seventy mystery novels separately and together including Ella Clah, a Navajo FBI agent, and the Sister Agatha Mysteries.  This is the fourth mystery to feature Iraq war veteran and Albuquerque pawnshop owner Charlie Henry.  Honored to be an invited guest at the dedication of a memorial at a local park, Charlie is distressed when gunshots are fired and veterans and first responders are injured.  He is incensed that someone would shoot into a crowd, but takes it personally that someone would take aim at military heroes.  Together with his sidekick Gordon, Charlie takes matters into his own hands and is once again on the trail of a would-be killer, not for honor and glory, but for justice.  The hot, arid setting adds to the atmosphere of this fast-paced mystery.

The Stasi Child: A Karin Muller Thriller by David Young
In 1975, the Berlin Wall still stands as a reminder of the dual ideologies in what is ostensibly one city.  Oberleutnant Karin Muller is summoned when the body of a teenage girl is found at the base of the wall; the thing that strikes Karin first is that it appears the girl was attempting to escape from West Berlin, something Karin finds hard to fathom.  The Stasi tell Karin to only identify the girl and close the case, but things aren’t making sense to Karin and she begins to investigate further than The Ministry for State Security would like, putting her own life in jeopardy in this novel set in the not so distant past, an historical setting that many will still remember.

Ordeal: A Thriller by Jorn Lier Horst
Into the ranks of the ever-popular sub-genre of Scandinavian thrillers comes Inspector William Wisting in the fifth book to be translated into and published in English, the tenth in the series.  A short forward of sorts catches readers up on Wisting’s career and personal life making it easy for anyone to dive into this book and feel as comfortable as one can with what is at stake.  Single mother Sofie Lund has inherited a house from her grandfather, a man whose presence and memory she all but removes from the house so she and her one-year-old daughter can live without the ghosts of the past and make new memories.  There is an old safe bolted to the basement floor that Sofie is unable to remove, the contents of which prove to be the missing pieces Wisting may have been searching for in two deaths: half a million kroner and a gun that may implicate her grandfather, known as the Smuggle King in life as well as in death.  Wisting is anxious to revisit what is already in evidence in the cold case deaths of Elise Kittelsen and Jens Hummel, hoping to arrive at satisfactory conclusion, one that can provide closure to the families and justice for the victims.  Wisting’s investigation propels this narrative, keeping tensions high in what could have otherwise been simply a solid, dependable Scan thriller, helping it rise above with the plot, pacing and nuanced characters. 

Shattered by Allison Brennan
Allison Brennan is the author of almost thirty novels with two solid series, one featuring investigative journalist Max Revere and the other featuring FBI agent Lucy Kincaid; the pair team up in this crossover when an old friend whose wife sits in jail accused of their son’s murder approaches Max for help.  Max is hesitant at first until he realizes that over the last twenty years there have been three other boys kidnapped from their homes, suffocated, and left close to home in shallow graves.  Max approaches the first victim’s father and appeals to him: Justin Stanton’s father agrees to help as long as his former sister-in-law Lucy works on the case as well.  The unlikely pair does not want to work with each other, FBI agents and reporters are natural enemies, but each knows that together they can form a formidable team, bring a killer to justice, offer closure and comfort to four families, and prevent any more deaths.  Individually Brennan’s two series are solid and dependable, but her two main characters in one book pack a punch that won’t soon be forgotten and sets the stage for future collaborations between the two.

Dark River Rising by Roger Johns
First time novelist Johns is a former attorney with two law degrees and first-hand knowledge of steamy, sultry Louisianan, being born and raised there.  The bayous in and around Baton Rouge are filled with snakes, but when Police Detective Wallace Hartman finds one sewn into the belly of a murder victim, she knows her day-and probably her life-just got worse.  Wallace feels her life is already in the dumps; her partner is out on leave and has been just assigned a new partner, known as Medicate Mike, not an auspicious beginning to her investigation.  The victim, Ronnie Overman, was a major cocaine distributor for a Mexican cartel so Wallace isn’t terribly surprised when Federal Agent Mason Cunningham arrive; to Wallace’s surprise, however, he’s not there to take over the case but to work with Wallace.  When another man disappears from a government lab, the unlikely pair realizes each needs the other’s knowledge and connections if they hope to solve the murder and stay alive.  Thickly plotted and murky like the bayou itself, Wallace is a well fleshed out character and a welcome addition to the ranks of fictional female police detectives.  A fast, compulsive read, this debut will leave readers eager for a sequel.

And finally…the book you’ve been waiting for #kugel

The Dog Dish of Doom: An Agent to the Paws Mystery by E.J. Copperman
E.J. Copperman as himself and as Jeff Cohen has written several popular mystery series including the Asperger’s Mysteries, the Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries, and Mysteries Detective Mysteries; this first in a new series introduces animal talent agent Kay Powell who is desperate to find the next big star; with a new production of Annie being planned she thinks Bruno is just the man---er dog---for the job.  Except: Bruno’s people are stage parents extraordinaire and Les McMaster, the director, is no fan of Trent, Bruno’s man.  A knife in Trent’s back, literally, takes care of that problem but leaves McMaster with a new set of problems: suspect in Trent’s murder.  Kay quickly learns that while she has a knack being an agent placing animals her true talent may be for solving crimes.  E.J. Copperman is as funny as they come; he is a keen, wry observer of human (and canine) behavior.  A great cast of supporting actors and a hip, comfortable coffee shop with a charming barista, along with plenty of inside stage info make this a great first act to a series that is sure to have a long run.  It will play in Peoria for sure!






Coming in August

Whether you are looking for a psychological thriller, an engrossing mystery, family drama or historical fiction, there is sure to be something coming in August for you!


Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
Aviva Grossman worked hard as an intern for Florida Congressman Aaron Levin.  She also had an affair with the married man and blogged about it on the internet during the fledgling years of blogging.  Once the affair is revealed, in part by her own mother, Aviva sees no alternative than to reinvent herself and start over again as an event planner in a small Maine town.  But the internet has a long memory as Aviva, now Jane, learns when she attempts to run for local office.  Jane weathered the storm once and is confident she can do it again when her past indiscretions come to light, but she is unprepared for the effect this will have on her 13-year-old daughter.  Ruby has always believed her father is dead and that her mother is her best friend, but is now unmoored as Jane’s past and present collide and her deceptions to her daughter are revealed.  Aviva’s story unfolds in parts: her slightly overbearing mother, her daughter, Congressman Levin’ wife, and Jane herself.  As each woman, strong in her own way, tells the story, double standards come to light as does the love we feel for our families, even those who hurt us most deeply.

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
Karen and Tom Krupps appear to have the perfect life until a phone call one night threatens everything they know including their very selves.  Karen is making dinner and waiting for Tom to come home when she receives the call and dashes out of the house, waking up in the hospital after a terrible accident, no memory of the past few hours.  Tom is kind and patient, though now slightly wary of Karen, but confident she’ll eventually regain her memory and that she isn’t keeping anything from him.  No one is more shocked then Karen when the police knock on her door asking what she knows about the man who was murdered in the part of town where Karen’s  accident occurred, a neighborhood neither she nor Tom visited before.  As Karen’s memory slowly returns she finds what she learns hard to believe; Tom stands steadfastly by her, but the police think she knows more than she is telling and even her best friend begins to doubt Karen.  As Karen’s story unfolds, she learns there are secrets her husband and her best friend are keeping from her and she still isn’t sure about what happened that night…or is she?  Surprising and full of unreliable, untrustworthy characters, this story never loses momentum and keeps readers off balance until the very end and beyond.

The Address by Fiona Davis
This sophomore novel by the author of The Dollhouse featuring the history of the Barbizon Hotel during two different eras does the same thing for the famed Dakota apartment building only this time the stories are a century apart.  In 1884, the architect of the Dakota, Theo Camden, lures Sara Smythe, who is the head housekeeper at a luxury hotel in London to Manhattan after saving his young daughter’s life.  Predictably, Sara becomes involved with Theo and ends up, pregnant, in the famed insane asylum on Blackwell Island after she is accused of stealing jewels that belong to Theo’s wife.  One hundred years in the future, interior designer Bailey has just returned from a stint in rehab but learns she is no longer welcomed at her design firm.  Turning to her pseudo-cousin Melinda, who has inherited an apartment in the Dakota through her lineage connecting her to Theo Camden, Bailey takes over the restoration of Melinda’s apartment, but in trying to learn the history of the building, an encouraging Melinda not to completely destroy the integrity of the once apartment now condo, Bailey stumbles across some artifacts and memorabilia that lead her back to Theo and Sara and may turn Bailey and Melinda’s modern day life upside down.  The plot shifts back and forth between the past and present offering a great deal of interesting history about the development of Manhattan and the evolution of the Dakota.  Sara’s story unwinds in both the past and the present, though there is a lot crammed into her story, including being rescued from the asylum by Nellie Bly and some unseen, perhaps unnecessary, plot twists as Bailey’s story comes to its conclusion.  Nonetheless, this historical novel is rich in detail and will appeal to readers of light, historical fiction, especially those who enjoy Manhattan during the Gilded Age.

The Party by Robyn Harding
Kim and Jeff Sanders appear to have it all: a gorgeous San Francisco home, a great marriage, and two well-behaved children.  They have agreed to throw a sweet-sixteen sleepover for their eldest, Hannah, with the proviso no drugs, no alcohol, no boys.  Hannah readily agrees and invites four friends over for pizza, movies, and a sleepless night.  But Hannah wants to be popular and has invited two girls who she feels are her entree into the popular crowd including a new boyfriend.  Things go terribly wrong at the part and one of the guests, Ronni, ends up drunkenly crashing through a glass coffee table, eventually losing her eye  Things spiral out of control as Kim tries to spin the best possible story about the incident and pretend like all will be well; Jeff copes with his own guilt, having provided the girls with a bottle of champagne, and Hannah deals with the aftermath of her friend’s accident, the anger of her friend’s mother, and the way her new friends turn on Ronni when she returns to school.  Though there are a lot of topics covered, cyber bullying, the important of social status for adults and children, and sexting and teenage crushes, there is a lack of depth to the characters, and an unexpected turn for Hannah at the end of the book.  Adolescent angst is well portrayed and the narrative is compelling enough to continue reading; most readers will be left with the relief that they are no longer teenagers.

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
In this third stand-alone thriller, sisters Charlie and Sam are forced to relive the terrifying night when, thirty years earlier, as teenagers, they watched their mother murdered and Sam is shot and left for dead.  Charlie has stayed in their Georgia hometown where their father, Rusty Quinn has been an unpopular defense attorney for as long as the girls remember; Charlie too practices law, and finds herself in a school shooting that results in the death of a young girl and the principal.  Rusty is hired to defend the Goth girl holding the gun but when he is stabbed at his mailbox, he entreats Charlie to step in for him.  Calling Sam to come home to visit her father, the girls are thrown thirty years back reliving the horror that lead up to their mother’s murder, and the trial and conviction that followed; but not everything is as it seems and the closer Charlie looks at things, the more she feels the narrative they have been telling themselves all these years is far from what really happened.  Various plot lines told from different points of view and angles eventually all converge and form a much different picture of Sam and Charlie’s past, a picture that may finally help them heal individually and as a family.

The Burning Girl by Claire Messud
Julia and Cassie have been inseparable best friends in small-town Royston, Massachusetts since pre-school, though their lives could not be different: Julia lives at home with two parents, her father a dentist who practices in the family’s converted barn, and Cassie, whose more free-wheeling mother Bev often leaves Cassie feeling adrift.  As the two enter seventh grade, they begin to drift apart: Bev falls in love, and moves in with, the straight-laced Dr. Shute who tries to impose rules and order on Cassie’s life.  As Cassie begins to head toward a more troubled crowd, Julia is at a loss how to help her friend and how to get her back to where they were at one time.  More of a character study and a study of a friendship, this story could easily fall apart in less skilled hands, but Messud balances the girls’ friendships, their lives, and their aspirations, along with their realities, with heart-breaking results.  

If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss
Sadie Blue is pregnant and a little over two weeks ago married Roy Tupkin with the hope that she might be able to break the cycle of abuse and despair and perhaps even get out of her small Appalachian town of Baines Creek.  A new teacher arrives in the town, a woman unlike any that the people of Baines Creek have ever seen, but one who will change everything for not just Sadie, but for everyone in the town.  Told from the points of view of Sadie, the preacher, his sister, the new teacher, and Sadie’s grandmother, Sadie’s story is slowly revealed, each person with their own hopes and disappoints, each with something to contribute not only to Sadie’s story but the story of the town and its forgotten people.  Sadie Blue will pull at readers’ heartstrings as her story is told simply, amidst the abject poverty of a small Appalachian town in the 1970’s, hovering in the shadows of others’ stories and histories as joy is found in the most unexpected places and desperation turns to hope.  A welcome new voice to Southern Fiction, Leah Weiss has created an unforgettable cast of characters.

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
Emilia Nightingale has been flitting from country to country, currently teaching English in Korea, returns to her Cotswolds home when she learns her father Julius is dying.  Promising Julius she will continue to operate his lifelong enterprise Nightingale Books, above which Emilia and her single father lived for her entire life, is easy enough to do but when reality sets in, Emilia feels overwhelmed as she learns of the debt the store is in and a real estate developer who will pay top dollar for the building and location.  Little by little, stories, many of them love stories, connected with the bookshop begin to reveal themselves and Emilia comes to understand how embedded her father was in the community but also how important Nightingale Books was and remains, as a touchstone.  This is a light, pleasant read that will charm any romantic bibliophile who has whiled away the hours in their favorite bookshop.

Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman
A Minnesota woman, Maggie Somerville, is found dead in her bed covered, as is her house, with the detritus of hundreds of vacuum cleaner bags.  Private eye Nils Shapiro is hired by a former police colleague to assist in the investigation, something Nils hopes will help take his mind off his ex-wife.  The mounds of dirt and debris serve to eliminate any DNA evidence but also indicate to Nils that the murder was planned well in advance.  A parallel FBI investigation means that there are limits to how the police can investigate; not so Nils who continues to leave no stone unturned even after being warned away by the Feds.  This is a nice alternative, or addition, to Scandinavian police procedurals complete with the frozen landscape, plenty of red herrings, and an investigator with a good sense of humor along with a strong sense of right and wrong and justice, no matter what the cost.

Girl in Snow by Donna Kukafka
Three narrators tell the story of fifteen-year-old Lucinda Hayes who is found murdered on a playground in a small Colorado town in this debut. All signs point to the first narrator, Cameron Whitley who, from all appearances, has been obsessed with and stalking Lucina; Jade, from a dysfunctional family hates Lucinda and may not have directly murdered Lucinda, but that book she has found, and has been putting to use, on witchcraft might have led someone else to do the deed.  The third narrator is Russ, the police officer who was Cameron’s father’s former partner; why Cameron’s father is no longer a police officer and where he is seems irrelevant even after the dark past is revealed and the connection seems only to serve as a vehicle for Russ to press harder looking for a suspect other than Cameron.  The action happens over the three days after Lucinda’s death it seems much longer at times.  Jade’s narrative is often told in the construct of a screenplay, perhaps allowing the character to speculate and comment on things she mightn’t otherwise.  The murderer is fairly easy to figure out but there are enough unanswered questions and the characters flawed enough to continue propelling the plot forward.

Fast Falls the Night by Julia Keller
Ackers Gap, West Virginia prosecutor Bell Elkins is in a race against time as over the course of twenty-four ours there are over thirty heroin overdoses, three resulting in death, in the county.  Bell, along with Sheriff Deputy Jake Oakes, follows the trail of heroin through the small town and tries to shot down a ring that has found its way to the Appalachian town, but there is a local dealer who must be found and stopped before more deaths occur.  Fans of Louise Penny will enjoy this series with the rich setting that juxtaposes the beauty of the rural area with the harsh realities of poverty and imperfect characters trying to do the best they can as they make their way in this world.  Add the urgency to the plot owing to the shortened time frame and this is an outstanding addition to the series.  Two twists at the end of the day will leave readers gasping for more.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker  
One night seventeen-year-old Emma goes missing off the Long Island Sound and with her her fifteen-year-old sister.  Three years later, Cass returns home without Emma and tells the story of a remote Maine island and a seemingly altruistic couple who held the girls hostage for three years and essentially kidnapped the child to whom Emma gave birth even as the five continued to live together.  FBI Special Agent Abby Strauss worked the case when the girls first disappeared and remains troubled by being unable to locate the girls. Abby is brought in to interview Cass with the hopes of fitting all the information together and finally finding Emma and solving this crime; Cass doesn’t give Abby much to go on The more answers Cass gives, the more questions Abby has, including the feeling that something was very wrong in the house in which Cass and Emma grew up, starting with their self-centered mother.  Abby, an expert on narcissism, knows that beneath all of Cass’s stories the truth lies, but just where that truth is, Abby is not certain.  The layers of each character are slowly revealed until the truth is uncovered… this thriller, with many unreliable characters, will keep readers off-kilter and uncertain, even after one final twist and not disappoint.  



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Remembered Death

Author: Agatha Christie
Stars: 5
Review by: MApgar


Flightly, idiotic heiress Rosemary Barton apparently commits suicide at a party. Shortly before her sister Iris' birthday not long after her widower begins getting messages saying that she was, in fact, murdered. Against the wishes of Iris and his old friend Colonel Race, George attempts a trap at a new party - where yet another body turns up. So, although it is now fairly apparent Rosemary did not kill herself, the question now becomes - who did?
 

What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!

Author: Agatha Christie
Stars: 5
Review by: MApgar

When the fairly sleepy holiday shopper Elspeth McGillicuddy is startled by the sight of a woman being strangled, she is even more startled when nobody believes her - nobody, that is, but her friend Jane Marple. The latter sets Lucy Eyelesbarrow to the task - a brilliant Oxford educated young woman who found out she had a talent for managing people and went into a career of domestic goddess / helper, she takes a post at a crumbling estate where Marple thinks the body was hidden. Run by an bitter old man with a squadron of sons possessing various character defects and a daughter well on her way to being the village 'old maid,' Lucy tries to figure which one (if any of them) was involved. And that was before even more bodies began piling up-
 

Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks

Author: Ben Goldacre
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar


Good when he stays on topic. Goes into detail about how various studies have been erroneously attributed to things, done wrong, etc. (vaccines linked to autism is probably the big one, also climate change). Explains how all to often studies are taken apart and persons wanting to prove a point counter to what the study actually says wheedle their way around the information. Also goes into the science behind what certain 'woo' things actually do - cleanses, for example, only turn the water brown because it is an oxidation reaction - not because the friggin crap is coming out of your feet.

The Art of the Japanese Garden

Author: David and Michiko Young
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar


Various plans of specific gardens, with what goes where, along with accounts of how they were built. There is a brief background of how the art form came to be, but not as much as I would have liked.
 

A Curious History of Food and Drink

Author: Ian Crofton
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar


A sort of Ripley's Believe it or Not style, fairly loosely organized, of random culinary historical trivia.
 

Founding Gardeners: the Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation

Author: Andrea Wulf
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar


The horticultural habits of the founders and how it impacted the early environs of DC and such. It was very selective in an odd way though - very odd. Went into a lot on Mount Vernon and was quite detailed, but as to the actual 'point' of the book it wasn't as concise. Like it said almost nothing about Dolley Madison, with all she did to establish the White House grounds. I did learn that Jefferson brought Belgian Shepherds to this country though, and my neighbors have long wondered that at least. Little details such as that it brings up, but as to the actual establishment of the DC landscape it was not as focused.

Shake the Devil Off

Author: Ethan Brown
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar


This was good up to a point, at which the author attempted to be all deep and analytical - then he totally lost all control of it. Zack Bowen found himself some focus in Iraq - the father of two small kids he fathered impulsively on a stripper he met, he had little sense of responsibility til that came along. His wife leaving him while he was out on duty, he returned home to New Orleans and worked several odd jobs but the pair never divorced. He did, however, meet Addie - a local artist. For a while they seemed fairly happy, and better matched than he was with his estranged wife. Until he strangled Addie, chopped her to bits, left the pieces around the apartment and in pots, and then leapt to his death from a nearby building. So. The author then goes on this huge PTSD journey filled with metaphors, rarely focusing back on the primary subjects. This takes up a sizable portion of the book, and although it is certainly a very important struggle that many veterans go through to automatically go 'oh, he had PTSD' and then wax poetic about it was rather insulting almost. Maybe the guy was just nuts.
 

The Road to Jonestown

Author: Jeff Guin
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar


An account of the early life of Jim Jones and how that life took him to found Jonestown. He was...rather nutty to say the least. Fifty fifty combination of snake oil salesman and serial killer. Gave a fairly decent and logical attempt at understanding why so many people would willingly kill themselves for a total fruit they knew so little about.

Three Stones Make a Wall

Author: Eric Cline
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar


Good Lord this was dull. The 'story of archaeology' essentially. OK for beginners only, maybe people with less than a year or two's worth of interest or accumulated knowledge in the field. Because for being an adult's book, A. the print in this is huge, B. the silly line drawings make it look childish, and C. the author says little of consequence and merely summarizes key points.
 

Last Night a Superhero Saved My Life

Author: editors: Neil Gaiman, Jodi Picoult
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

To quote Sabretooth - "I didn't know whether to break out the violin or bust a gut laughing." The principle is good. A bunch of people get together and share how comics have impacted their lives. Problem being, some of these people - no offense folks - came off sounding really emo and whiny. A papercut would've impacted them. Just grow the crap up, quit blaming other people for your problems, yes - Silver Age Marvel is best, and learn how to spell.

Four Princes

Author: John Julius Norwich
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar


To paraphrase the one subject-

'I like him not!'

And by 'one subject' I mean 'one subject' because all he freaking talks about here is Henry VIII. Yes, compare him to Sulieman, Charles V, and Francis I (or really much anyone) and he still stands out) - but seriously mate. There are other subjects you got. Mention them for @#$% sake. 

Kathy Griffin's Celebrity Run Ins

Author: Kathy Griffin
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

An A-Z index of some of the people that the not-so-D-lister has pissed off. Includes those whom deserved it and a good smack upside the head elsewise (Taylor Swift, whom apparently has gone on the record several times as hating her), those whom should've just been shot (The Night Stalker, long story), friends whom took her as their one plus to meet others (Joan Rivers to be introduced to the English Royals), multiple Cher encounters, and quite a few really nice people whom she simply just liked meeting - various industry legends. 
 
 

My Jewish Year

Author: Abigail Pogrebin
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar


When author Pogrebin, feeling disconnected from her Jewish heritage, decides to celebrate all the holidays on the calendar - her family and friends are a bit amused if anything. Are we going kosher? Will you be orthodox, etc.? After ordering a shofar off Amazon (and doing a hideous job of blowing the thing) she finds her way in bits and starts in various holidays - many of which she did not celebrate before. The parent of two teenagers, one of which was about to leave for college, she often found herself reflecting on how she should have took her journey earlier so that her family would have enjoyed it more as children.
 

Still Life

Author: Louise Penny
Stars: 4
Review by: BookDancer

The very first in the Inspector Gamache series. Once you've started, you can't stop! They just get better and better.

The Book of Polly

Author: Kathy Hepinstall
Stars: 4
Review by: Just Ada

First book by this author. She does an excellent job. Odd family, but they sure keep your interest.

The Other Einstein

Author: Marie Benedict
Stars: 3
Review by: BeachBarb

I knew nothing about Albert Einstein's first wife Mileva Maric when this book came up on the elibrary site and was available to all. She was an interesting woman ahead of her time in intelligence and direction, but not assertive enough as a wife. I would never leave my child for anyone, and felt for Mileva when Lieserl died. I thought she should have left Einstein long before she did. I also wonder if Einstein really loved Mileva or just wanted to exploit her in the ways she could help him advance his own career. It seems like she was much smarter than he was, and kinder. This was a good read.

Sunshine Beach

Author: Wendy Wax
Stars: 5
Review by: Pixie Tirade

Great read.

Summer at Willow Lake

Author: Susan Wiggs
Stars: 4
Review by: Pixie Tirade

Another good one. Half way through The Winter Lodge.

With Every Breath

Author: Maya Banks
Stars: 4
Review by: Pixie Tirade

Looking forward to reading more of her books.

What Happens in Texas

Author: Carolyn Brown
Stars: 3
Review by: Pixie Tirade

Hard to keep the characters straight in the beginning.

Once Upon a Wine

Author: Beth Kendrick
Stars: 4
Review by: Pixie Tirade

Very cute.

Whispered Lies

Author: Kathleen Brooks
Stars: 3
Review by: Maryellen

New series by Kathleen. Good book, but leaves you with cliffhanger. I won't be pursuing the storyline.

The Other Einstein

Author: Marie Benedict
Stars: 5
Review by: Maryellen

Excellent book about Mileva Maric, Einstein's wife. She was a fascinating, brilliant physicist in her own right. It shows her contribution to the physics world and how she lived in Einstein's shadow. Fascinating book.

The Last Anniversary

Author: Liane Moriarty
Stars: 4
Review by: Maryellen

Another winner from Liane.

Remember Me

Author: Lynda Renham
Stars: 4
Review by: Maryellen

Good psychological suspense for those of you that are fans of this genre.

The Promise Girls

Author: Marie Bostwick
Stars: 4
Review by: Maryellen

Very interesting, fast reading book about the Promise family. Minerva Promise set out to have genius "test tube" children with her 3 daughters: pianist Joanie, artist Meg, and storyteller Avery. This book starts out about their early life as prodigies then quickly into adulthood and what becomes of their lives. A very good book.

I've Got a Duke to Keep Me Warm

Author: Kelly Bowen
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

I was on a Bowen streak so I read this one too. This is a companion book to the Season for Scandal series, but is a series onto itself. This is about a woman that staged her death to escape an abusive husband and what she needs to do to prevent him from marrying again. Enjoy!

Duke of My Heart

Author: Kelly Bowen
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

I read this one second, but it did not impact the story. This is about a Duke that would rather be a Captain at sea than handle his ducal duties. He comes home to find scandal and his sister missing. The Ladies of Chegarre & Assoc. come to the rescue. Enjoy!

A Duke to Remember

Author: Kelly Bowen
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This a fun period romance series of a group of ladies working together to try and help other women during that time period. This is the story of one of those ladies assigned to find a missing duke to help the family from ruin. What happens when the Duke does not want to be found? Read and find out. Enjoy!

Just Jennifer

Footsteps: From Ferrante’s Naples to Hammett’s San Francisco: Literary Pilgrimages Around the World ed. Monica Drake

Monica Drake has mined The New York Times travel column “Footsteps” archives and has assembled almost forty columns, each examining what influence a particular geographical location had on an author, or in some cases, following in the footsteps of that author to learn why a specific place was so important in their body of work, or perhaps one particular book.  These essays have been then divided into three categories “The United States”, “Europe”, and “Beyond” allowing the reader to choose a reading order that best suits them.  The United States stretches from Hawaii (Mark Twain) to the Northwest (Jack Kerouac) to the Northeast (Rachel Carson) to the Deep South (Flannery O’Connor).  While some of the geographical influences may be more obvious, such as Hammett in San Francisco, some essays expound on the author’s delights of an area.  In Europe, novelist Charlie Lovett finds Alice in Oxford, James Baldwin’s days as an expatriate in Paris are recounted, and one essay depicts David G. Allen’s search for Hansel and Gretel in the woods of Germany.  “Beyond” essays take readers to the Canada of L.M. Montgomery, the South America of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, and Pablo Neruda; an essay of Pushkin’s St. Petersburg nestles between one of Arthur Rimbaud in Ethiopia, and Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul.  Whether read cover to cover, coast to coast, continent to continent, or just skipping around as the mood or travel itinerary dictate, this collection will not only broaden understanding about favorite authors but encourage readers to seek out some new horizons.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.


Someone to Love

Author: Mary Balough
Stars: 3
Review by:  Saraswati

This was an interesting period romance. A family trying to hide a secret after the death of the Duke finds out they are on the wrong side of the blanket, so to speak. This story is about the woman whose wishes appear to come true but, as the saying goes, be careful of what you wish for. Enjoy!

Wife by Wednesday

Author: Catherine Bybee
Stars: 3
Review by:  Saraswati

This was a fun romance to read. A bachelor needs a wife to help secure his career so he hires a dating service. When he meets the owner/representative of the service he decides to chose her. Read and see what happens. Enjoy!

Until You

Author: Denise Grover Swank
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

I read book 1 about 2-3 months ago and since I was in a Swank mood, I decided to read this one too. This series is about a trio of guys that have not had much luck in the romance department. In fact, they had some pretty close calls with scary relationships. They get together and make a pact to swear off dating for a while. In typical romance format this pact does not take long to break down. This is a nice, easy summer romance. Enjoy.

The Gambler

Author: Denise Grover Swank
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is the third and final book in this series, but there are spin off series if you want more. The last of the trio thinks she knows what will happen on her wedding day, but like most things it doesn't work like she planned. Read to find out what happens. Enjoy!

The Player

Author: Denise Grover Swank
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is book 2 in the series and now the 2nd of the trio is on the hot seat for true love. Fun, easy summer read. Enjoy!

The Substitute

Author: Denise Grover Swank
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati

This is about a a pact that three young ladies made in their early 20's after a psychic reading told them about their love lives. Years later one of the ladies is suppose to be getting married, but broke up with her fiance. She is too ashamed to tell her parents so she comes home to see how she can salvage the situation. On the way home she meets a stranger that is willing to help her out because it will benefit him too. There is more to it, but it's a fun and easy summer read. Enjoy.

Wild Horse Spring

Author: Jodi Thomas
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This was fun twist on a Cinderella story of sorts. A local law enforcement officer finds a sparkly boot in the road and goes on the search for its owner. Great summer romance. Enjoy!

My Fair Duchess

Author: Megan Frampton
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This was a fun period romance because it has a female "Duke." The book explains that during that time the majority of titles and inheritance went to the closest living male,  but it did occasionally go to a female. Enjoy!

Welcome to Paradise

Author: Rosalind James
Stars: 3
Review by:Saraswati

This is a fun summer read about a group selected for a reality show based on homesteading in 1885. It's a romance, but it also reflects on what is really important in one's life and what one should do about it. Enjoy!

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Stars: 5
Review by: Saraswati

This is another one of those suggested books for me that I didn't think I would like but I decided to take a chance. I started reading and still didn't know if I would like it, but I couldn't put it down. I didn't love it, but I couldn't stop reading it. It's a novel about a very small town bookstore owner and all his trials and tribulations. The blurbs stated that this is a book that reminds us of why we read books. I strongly recommend it because I want to know what others think about it. I think it may have too much - heartbreak, love, surprises, mystery, tragedies, more heartbreak, more love and a lot of life. It made me laugh and cry. I still discuss this book with others and think about it a lot, but I still don't know why I couldn't put it down. Let me know what you think.

Split Second

Author: Douglas E. Richards
Stars: 5
Review by: Saraswati

I saw this book on my Prime reading suggestions for a little while and it kept coming up as suggested in multiple venues so I decided to read it. It was wonderful. This is a time travel, romance and suspense book all in one. I love sci-fi but I usually have issues with time travel. (It's the geek-nerd in me.) This didn't have issues. Unfortunately, I think the same people that did not like the Martian, because it's too sciency, will probably not like this. This book has a lot of depth especially when discussing the ethical issues of just because we can, should we? I hope you take a chance too and read this book this summer. The "Note from the Author" at the end is a great look into scientific ideas in sci-fi and I love the plug for the movie Idiocracy. Enjoy!

Banana Cream Murder

Author: Joanne Fluke
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati

 I agree with MysteryReader, this book was more of a cliff hanger than usual. It picks up right after Hannah's honeymoon and has the usual cozy start but...you'll have to read it to find out!

Away in a Manger

Author: Rhys Bowen
Stars: 3
Review by: Bookworm52

A mystery that is well written and a quick read.

Spouse on Haunted Hill

Author: E.J. Copperman
Stars: 3
Review by: BNbook

A fun book that takes place in NJ.

Death in the Floating City

Author: Tasha Alexander
Stars: 3
Review by: jambob

A 19th century amateur detective and her husband solve a murder with clues from a 15th century romance all taking place in beautiful Venice!

The Opposite of Love

Author: Julie Buxbaum
Stars: 4
Review by: Just Ada

First book by this author. Good read, many emotions, different generations.

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Author: Timothy Snyder
Stars: 5
Review by: Mitchie L

This is a a quick read about how to avoid the pitfalls of tyranny in government. The author makes historical references and gives examples that parallel today's current events. A good book if you like history and politics.

The Husband List

Author: Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly
Stars: 3
Review by: JLB

Enjoyable read about the Vanderbilt Era.

Moment of Truth

Author: Lisa Scottoline
Stars: 4
Review by: Diana

An attorney returns to his home and finds his wife lying dead on the floor of the dining room. Thinking it is his daughter who murdered her mother, he decides to confess to killing his wife. Throughout the story we wonder how he plans his defense.

The Night Gardener

Author: Jonathan Auxier
Stars: 5
Review by: Infonerd

Great scary story for middle school.

The Stand

Author: Stephen King
Stars: 5
Review by:kellyham

Second time reading this ...this version had stuff included that was left out of original... I'm a sucker for Stephen King.

The Flying Circus

Author: Susan Crandall
Stars: 3
Review by: Just Ada

Good book about early flying aces. Mystery and love story included.






The Blue Star

Author: tony Earley
Stars: 2
Review by: Just Ada

I listened to this book in my car otherwise I do not think I would have finished it. More like a teen age read.





Are You Anybody?

Author: Jeffrey Tambor
Stars: 4
Review by: BookWorm2

My best recommendation is to listen to this as an audio book read by the author. Mr. Tambor is engaging and truly grateful for his life and career. Well written.






His Cowboy Heart

Author: Jennifer Ryan
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is book 6 of the series, but reads on its own. It's about a woman coming back home as an injured Vet. It's a strong story of love and perseverance. Enjoy.






All Summer Long

Author: Dorothea Benton Frank
Stars: 4
Review by: BeachBarb

Interesting characters and story line ending up with a good happy ending. A good summertime read.






The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories

Author: P.D. James
Stars: 5
Review by: Bookworm52

Last mysteries from the author that have shrewd plots and characters with true human natures.







The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

Author: Kelli Estes
Stars: 3
Review by: Brookhouse

Beach read. Engaging story. Well plotted. Alternating chapter set in late 19th century and present. Location is Orcas Island and Seattle. Chinese people were being forced out of America by the government and the whites. One young woman is saved from drowning by a man who marries her. Years later descendants of a killer and the couple meet cute and solve the mystery of the island. Contrived.

Rhythm Ride: A Roadtrip though the Motown Sound

Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Stars: 5
Review by: Maureen M

Absolutely loved it. Fun, enjoyable. Great pictures







The Most Dangerous Duke in London

Author: Madeline Hunter
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is another light, fun summer read. This is one of three dukes' story about trying to get revenge, but finding love instead. A strong female role for a period piece. Enjoy.

Killer Jam

Author: Karen MacInerney
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is the first book in this cozy series. The main character takes a buyout from her job and uses the money to buy back an old family farm. In the cozy tradition there's some murder, mystery and romance. A nice, lite summer read.

Dark Money

Author: Jane Mayer
Stars: 5
Review by: Mitchie L

This book is about how billionaires influence our political system and elections. It is a well written and well researched book by veteran award-winning journalist Jane Mayer.

The Gunslinger

Author: Stephen King
Stars: 4
Review by: Spring J

The movie is coming out in August so I had to 'read' the book again. I listened to the audiobook. I loved the person reading it. For those that don't like Stephen King this is your chance to see him outside the horror genre. This book rings of the old western and is part of a larger story. Roland is an interesting character in my mind's eye he harks back to Clint Eastwood in the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I can't wait for the movie.