Friday, December 30, 2011

Kill Alex Cross By James Patterson

I have become a fan of James Patterson, I don't normally read Patterson's books but I do love to listen to them on CD. This was an enjoyable, easy book listen to. The President's children are kidnapped, terrorists from the Mideast are causing havoc and turning up dead. Are the two connected? Detective Alex Cross is on the case. I felt this book lacked a little in depth and the plot wasn't as intriguing as I've come to expect from Patterson. However, I will continue to listen to Patterson's Alex Cross Series but hope the next book delivers a little more punch

Monday, December 5, 2011

Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah

In this book the main character Mikaela has a horse accident and is in a coma. Her husband Liam, a doctor, is in charge of the family and the children along with his mother-in-law Rosa. Nothing Liam does seems to help Mikaela come out of her coma. So he decides to make a call to Mikaela's first husband, a famous movie star named Julian True. His voice brings her out of her coma, but with no momory of her life with Liam or her children. Over a period of time, she regains her memory and remembers that she does indeed love her husband and promises him they would be together forever. As with all of her books it was a very enjoyable read.

The Sacred Acre By Mark Tabb with the Ed Thomas Family

Whether you knew who Ed Thomas was or not, whether you are a football fan or not, this book is an excellent and easy read. Ed Thomas was much more than a high school football coach. He believed in teaching his students and his athletes about life! His motto was "faith, family and football." Although he would have been the first to say he was not perfect, he practiced what he preached. From the tornado that ripped through Parkersburg, Iowa to the tragic shooting that claimed his life, I had trouble putting this book down. I highly recommend this book.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I have always enjoyed reading books that relate to World War II. The Book Thief shows a different side of what children and those living in Germany endured during that time. I thought the book was slow moving and repeated a lot during the beginning of the book, but as the book progressed, I found myself starting to enjoy it more and wanted to continue to read. The book tells the story of Liesel, abandoned by her mother and taken in by foster parents. As the story starts, Liesel does not know how to read and so her connection with her foster father begins as he teachers her to read. Liesel’s passion for reading and doing anything she can to keep reading is what helps her survive. The teen group, LEMMINGS, discussed this book and the majority of the group really enjoyed it and recommended it for all ages.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

This is the story of several women who are all involved in the conception and eventual existence of one baby. You learn about the lives of Jules, India, Annie, and Bettina. Women who are vastly different from each other in social status and wealth, they all have their own reasons for becoming involved. One is a woman wanting a baby, one becomes an egg donor, one a surrogate mother, and one a half sister. An interesting take on a modern issue with a touching ending, I recommend this as a good read to all.

Monday, November 7, 2011

If Morning Ever Comes by Anne Tyler

Tyler's first published novel was set in the small town of Sandhill, North Carolina in the 1960's. The story is told from the perspective of Ben Joe Hawkes, who grew up in a household of eccentric women, six sisters, mother and grandmother. His father has abandoned the family...
During Ben Joe's first semester in Columbia law school, he returns home when his eldest sister has left her husband and comes home with her child. Is Ben Joe worried about his sister, or is it an excuse to escape the boredom of school? While back home, he reconnects with his high school sweetheart Shelley...
The story plot seems mundane at times compared to Tyler's later works, but she delves into the nuances of ordinary daily lives so spectacularly that I was drawn to the characters. There is also an interview with the author at the end of this paperback edition for the readers to enjoy.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bye Bye, Baby by Max Allan Collins

Max Allan Collins is an author from Muscatine, Iowa who went to high school with my dad. Bye Bye, Baby is Collin’s fifteenth book featuring private detective Nate Heller. In this volume, Nate is in Los Angeles and has been hired by Marilyn Monroe to tap her phones. Soon after taking the case, however, Nate learns that he isn’t the only person tapping Marilyn’s phone! Three months later, Marilyn is dead and the authorities are calling it suicide, but Nate isn’t convinced. The more Nate learns about the powerful and dangerous people Marilyn was involved with, the more he is certain that her death wasn’t a simple suicide. If you like historical fiction or if you’re interested in Marilyn Monroe, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book.

On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah

Winter Garden (2011) and Night Road (2011) were the first two books I read by Kristin Hannah. She quickly became one of my favorite authors. Although On Mystic Lake is not a new book, I enjoyed it. Annie Colwater has always tried to be the perfect wife and mother, to the extent she has lost a sense of who she is. When her daughter leaves for school and her husband announces he has found someone else, Annie flees to the small Washington town she grew up in: Mystic. There she tries to regain a sense of the women she once was. As the story develops, there are a few twists and turns that keep the reader guessing as to the outcome. Another good read by Kristin Hannah.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

A current trend in books lately is adult fiction authors writing for children. John Grisham is the latest in this trend. Grisham’s newest series is titled, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. The book is set around Theo, a son of two lawyers, who has not passed the bar but knows more about the legal system than many graduating law students. While other junior high students are worried about the next assignment or upcoming dance, Theo is giving legal advice to kids who might be in jeopardy of losing their home or who have possibly witnessed a murder! I didn’t have the highest hopes for this legal thriller but Grisham was able to put in suspense and keep the reading turning pages to the end. There is a second book, The Abduction, and I think this will be a continuing series.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

A stylish black and white circus that is only open at night is the setting for this luminous and enchanting novel. Behind the scenes of the unusual circus, a dangerous duel is taking place between two powerful magicians who don’t realize the stakes of their competition. The Night Circus is deceptively simple, beautifully written and completely absorbing. I loved, loved, loved this book!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Heartland: The Cookbook By Judith Fertig

I love cookbooks, in fact we have to move to a larger house due to my ever growing cookbook/recipe collection. Although I found several recipes I liked in this cookbook, what really caught my interest is the author's chapter introductions. Ms. Fertig paints a beautiful word picture of the Midwest and many of the things I love about living in the Midwest. This book is worth reading just for the author's beautiful narrative and beautiful pictures (some of Pella)! Can you find them? This is a good read if you like cookbooks or if you don't. There is a little something for everyone in this book.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin's fans have waited 6 years for this fifth installment of his great Song of Ice and Fire series. Many readers were disappointed by this book, but I'm not one of them! Although no major plot points are resolved, the story continues to be absorbing. This book concentrates on some of my favorite characters from the series: Tyrion, Jon Snow and Daeneyrs. I remain amazed at how the author has assembled this terrific cast and continues to arrange and manipulate the various story lines like pieces on a chessboard. Since the first book (Game of Thrones) was made into an HBO series, and the filming of season two is underway, I am hopeful George R.R. Martin will finish this wonderful story. Let's hope it doesn't take another six years!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield

Stella Hardesty is a fifty year old woman who has made a name for herself. But maybe not in the way you might think. Since ridding herself of an abusive husband, she has come to help others in similar situations. She is a scrappy gal who doesn't let her age get in the way of what needs to be done - even if it is a little left of the law.
In this book, Stella's client, Chrissy Lardner, seeks Stella's help in finding her little boy, Tucker. What Stella doesn't know is that Tucker has gotten himself tangled in the mess of a mafia family. As Stella and Chrissy try to figure out who might have taken the boy and why, they develop a bond and work together to solve the case.
It appears that this is the first book in a new series. I look forward to the next installment of Stella and her crime stopping efforts.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen

I love a good murder/mystery, and Tess Gerritsen is a good murder/mystery writer. The latest installment in the Rizzoli & Isles series has Jane Rizzoli, a Boston homicide detective, called to China town to investigate a murder. This murder seems to have ties to a murder/suicide that took place 19 years ago. That murder was solved...Or was it? As Jane investigates with the help of coroner Maura Isles the investigation widens to include 2 missing girls. With a good dose of old Chinese proverbs and shadowy China town figures, this book had me guessing until the end. An excellent read.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts

Parker Brown turned the quartet's childhood game of wedding day into their dream jobs. Now she's the face of Vows-the one who meets every bride's demand, keeps every event on schedule and brings Emma's flowers, Laurel's treats and Mac's pictures all together in one glorious package. She know how to make dreams come true. Then mechanic Malcom Kavanaugh steps into her life. He loves figuring out how things work, and Parker Brown is no exception. But as a good friend to Parker's brother, Mal knows that moving from minor flirtation to major hookup is a serious step. This was a great conclusion to this series of books.

Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts

The third book in the "Brides Quartet" was about Laurel, the wedding cake maker, and Del who is Parker's brother. Lauren has been in love with Del all of her life, but she always thought that Del thought of her as nothing more than a sister. Lauren reacts to Del's behavior in a way that he wasn't expecting. The two start dating and have many ups and downs in the relationship. Mainly with Lauren's insecurity about their relationship and the fact that Del is wealthy and a member of a prominent family. After a run in with Mac's mother things heat up a bit. In the end I wasn't disappointed and would highly recommend this book.

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

The second in her "Bride Quartet" series once again didn't fail in providing me the escape I was looking for. The book follows Emma, a florist in her partners wedding business, as she overcomes her single girl ways to catch the man of her dreams. It just so happens that this man is also an old friend of the extended family at Vows. I would certainly recommend it to any reader who enjoys strong friendships and decent romance.

Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay

This was an interesting, rather quirky read. A bit of a different approach to the story of a woman who can't find the right man. Jesse is dreaming of the day when she will finally meet Mr. Right. When God shows up in the flesh, she discovers that her way is not necessarily the best way.

Good Grief by Lollie Winston

This is a fun easy read about a woman who lost her husband to cancer. The book follows her through the first 18 months after his death. You get to go through the grief process with her. The story is told with so much insight and humor that you fall in love with Sophie the widow. In her own words, she desperately wants to be a good widow-graceful and composed. She will break your heart as you see how she falls apart and then rebuilds her life. The story is told with so much humor that you have to laugh out loud.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenrider

Have you ever thought, "We just have too much junk"? I've been thinking about cleaning some problem areas in my house and checked out this book for fresh ideas and to get in the mood for cleaning. I found that this book provides much more than cleaning room to room. It suggests adopting a frame of mind - from creating a family purpose statement to becoming debt free. In a nutshell, the author seeks to make all of life clutter free. I found the book was particularly meant for young families. Even though my family is older, I still found it to be quite inspirational.

The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier

Every so often I get the itch to clean house. My method is to pick a room, a closet, or a drawer to work on, depending on how much time I have. This book has great formulas for making your own cleaning solutions with natural ingredients that are environmentally friendly. The first thing that caught my eye was a mold and mildew remover. There are formulas for anything you can think of. You'll find hints for the garage to the patio and every room in between. Reading through this book is a great motivator to start cleaning.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

A delightful novel that takes place in England. Major Pettigrew, a proper English gentleman, and Jasmina Ali, a 50ish Pakistani woman who runs a shop in the village, find themselves sharing a love of literature and a similar world view. Having both lost their spouses, they begin with a friendship, which gradually grows into something more.
The community around them can't quite handle the relationship because of the difference in cultures and religion. So the couple are treated to gossip and prejudice, and they try to figure out how to handle it.
It is a light-hearted book, but still touches on some big issues. In the end it is a story of perseverance in the face of hardship. Great for all of us who don't want to give up on life and love.

Maggie Rose by Sharlene MacLaren

The second book in the "Daughters of Jacob" series, it is about the scond daughter, Maggie Rose. She feels she is called by God to work with orphans in New York. She is amazed and touched by the orphans' struggles, and seeks to help them by placing them with caring families thoughout the Midwest via the Orphan Trains.There is also a love interest for Maggie in the form of Luke Madison, a jaded reporter, who comes to do a story on the orphanage where she works.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Vison In White by Nora Roberts

Vision in White is the first book in the Brides Quartet. The books are about a group of friends that have been friends since childhood. As childred they played a game called "wedding day". Even when they were young, each one of the girls had a special part of the game. Now that they are all grown the girls formed a wedding coordinating business called "Vows". Each of the women takes what their passion was when they were younger and develpos it into a career. In the first book, the story is focused mainly on Mackenzie, the photographer. Mackenzie recieved her camera from her parents when she was little. Mackenzie deals with a wacky mother and a man that has had a crush on her since high school. This was a light hearted book that makes the reader long for the kind of friendship that is presented in this book.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas

During World War II, many people of Japanese ancestry living on the west coast of the United States were relocated to internment camps. This is a historical novel based on this time in American history. The story involves a family and the rural town and community near this camp called Tallgrass. There are many prejudices and the Japanese are treated cruelly. The Stroud family does not agree with much of the areas prejudices and shows kindness to the Japanese employing several to work on their beet farm. Rennie Stroud, a thirteen year old girl, the main character of this book and told from her viewpoint, is confused by these changes in her life especially after a friend is murdered. Blame is placed on the Japanese: times are difficult. I enjoyed this book and the historical elements along with the humorous moments and mystery involved.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fear No Evil By Robin Caroll

If you are a fan of Dee Henderson, Colleen Coble or Terri Blackstock you will enjoy Robin Caroll. This is the first book in a series of 3 Christian suspense novels. The other 2 books are Deliver Us From Evil and In the Shadow of Evil. Fear No Evil introduces us to helicopter rescue pilot Brannon Callahan. Brannon and her partner Lincoln Vailes have anything but a normal rescue. In a raging blizzard, with time ticking on a donor heart for a star witness in child sex trafficking and sniper fire, you have a recipe for murder and suspense. A very enjoyable read.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Once Upon a Time, There Was You by Elizabeth Berg

Though long-divorced, Irene and John share the custody of their daughter Sadie. When Sadie disappears from a rock-climbing trip, Irene and John come together to find their daughter...
Berg has weaved suspense and darkness into her latest novel, along with the celebration of friendship and the ups and downs of life. The ending of the story is a bit flat compared to her previous books, but it is still a good read if you are a Berg fan.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Smokin' Seventeen is the latest installment in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. This is an excellent series if you like a good measure of humor mixed in with your mysteries. It features Stephanie Plum, accidental bounty hunter, and her crazy family and friends. Smokin' Seventeen finds Stephanie working out of a bus after her Uncle Vinnie's bail bond office burns down. A serial killer is dumping bodies on the construction site of the new office. The cops are on the case, but when it looks as though the killer is sending Stephanie a message, she has to get involved. Stephanie tracks the killer in her usual haphazard style. Meanwhile, Stephanie's family has decided she needs a new man and attempts to set her up with an old high school classmate, with disasterous results.

This book is much the same as the other Stephanie Plum mysteries. They are formulaic but funny. The characters are hilarious. If you liked the others, you'll probably like this one too. If you haven't read the series, start with the first book: One for the Money.

Friday, July 15, 2011

If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't) By Betty White

In Betty White's latest book she writes about things that mean something to her or things that she just wanted to get straight before it was too late. I had not ready any of her previous books, so all of her stories were new to me. I laughed and cried while listening to this book and fell in love with Betty White more than ever. After listening to this book , I respect her as a person and not just some actress on the TV. The library has this title in both audio and hardcover. I am glad I listened to it, as it is White reading it. Whenever there is an option of listening to the author read their own book, I take it. I feel that you get more out of the book by listening to an author saying their own words than just reading them off the page. This is especially true with White, as she often talks about timing when telling a story. If you are looking for a quick read or going on a road trip with others, this is a great book!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The judgment by Beverly Lewis Book 2 of the Rose Trilogy

Beverly Lewis was one of the first of the Amish Christian Fiction Writers and in my opinion remains one of the best. Her stories flow well but are not always predictable leaving the reader hungry for more. Her characters have depth and complexity. In the Judgment we continue to follow the Kauffman family. Rose is engaged but can not forget Nick Franco, who left the Amish community under a cloud of suspicion. Rose's Mother is paralyzed from an accident years ago and her condition is going down hill. Also Hen; Rose's sister has returned home after leaving her "Englisher" husband. I can't wait for the final book in this series. Another winner for Beverly Lewis!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Heartwood:A Novel by Belva Plain

This book is the final book by Belva Plain. It is a sequel to the characters that were first met in Evergreen, a book I greatly enjoyed many years ago. This author delves deeply into relationships: in this book especially between parents and their adult children. Iris and Theo Stern, a Jewish-American couple, are well-educated and have a devoted marriage. Though their sons have been a worry to them they've always depended on their daughter, Laura. However, when Laura has marriage difficulties and returns to New York to establish herself in a career, her choices are questioned.

Also, a long-held family secret is discovered. Iris remains strong amid family difficulties. This book is more simplistic than Evergreen but was enjoyable. Remembering the characters of books read long ago in this series and what has happened in their lives was interesting.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark

I have read a few of Mary Higgins Clark's books and I found this one to be really slow going. This is a typical Mary Higgins Clark book. It was very predictable. I was able to predict the criminal in the first 100 pages. I wasn't disappointed in my conclusion. In this book the main character Zan has a lot on her plate. She is a working mom trying to make a name for herself in the interior design business when her son is kidnapped. She spends every spare penny on trying to find him. Then she becomes a victim of identity theft putting her in even more financial trouble. The story take many twists and turns but in the end it was there was an obvious outcome.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Ridge by Michael Koryta

A lighthouse in rural Kentucky? A policeman in love with the woman who shot him? These seemingly odd elements add up to a very suspenseful read. For years, the town eccentric has operated a lighthouse in the Kentucky woods. When he is found dead, strange things begin to happen, and more deaths follow.

Koryta is one of my new “must read” authors, and this is his best book yet.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Room by Emma Donoghue

This is the story of a boy named Jack. He is five years old and tells about his life in "room". It is home for Jack, but is a prison for his mother who has been kept there for seven years. She tries to make life fun for him in the confines of this small space. She realizes that they can't go on like this forever.
This was an interesting read told from the point of a child - read it and find out what happens in the end.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This book is not new and I had been told by many that I must read it. I finally got to it by listening to the book on CD. I heartily recommend this book.
If you haven't read it yet put it on the top of your list! I also recommend listening to the book on CD; the reader does an excellant job with the accents. This book is set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960's. It is a story about white women and their black maids but really the story goes much deeper than this. Stockett develops her charachters well and you really feel like you are part of these women's lives. A movie based on this book comes out this summer, I hope it can do justice to this well written book.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Wow, I can not remember ever being so comsumed by a book. I literally didn't want to put it down. I replayed the book over and over again in my head for days after finishing it. I felt truly connected with the characters and the things they were going through. Night Road is a beautiful story of tragedy and heartbreak, growing up, falling in love and how people deal with grief. I was impressed by Kristin Hannah's ability to develop her characters into seemingly real people. I highly recommend this book, you might want a box of tissues on hand however.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sixth Man by David Baldacci

Investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are brought in on the case of Edgar Roy, an alleged serial killer awaiting trail. Roy's attorney is Sean's old friend and mentor, Ted Bergin. Before their first meeting with Bergin, Sean and Michelle find him murdered. King and Maxwell work to solve Bergin's murder and to determine whether or not Edgar Roy is the killer he is accused of being.

Although I enjoy Baldacci and his conspiracy theories, I would rate this book as average. Although it is suspenseful, the characters are one-dimensional and the plot is disappointing.

A Heart for Home By Lauraine Snelling

This is the 16th book about the Bjorklund family set in the fictional town of Blessing, North Dakota. After 16 books the characters seem like family and I await news from the Bjorklund family as if it were my own. In this book Astrid Bjorklund returns home as a fully trained physician. Will she marry Joshua or is her profession coming between them? The town of Blessing at the turn of the century is growing and changing with the times. The overall theme of the Blessing series is God's faithfulness through good and bad times. This book also deals with life on an Indian Reservation and some of the horrors that occurred to Native Americans. While there are some life lessons in this book, overall it is just a good fiction read about characters I have come to know.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee

Friendship Bread is an uplifting book set in the fictitious town of Avalon, Illinois. Julie Evarts is in mourning for her young son Josh, who died under the care of her sister Livvy. The two sisters were estranged until a bag of Amish Bread starter and a baked loaf were left on Julia's front porch. Who started this unstoppable baking-chain?
Darien Gee introduces her readers to a group of interesting people, including a famed cellist Hannah de Brisay, a career-driven journalist Edie, an energetic laundromat attendant Connie Coll and a wise tea salon owner Madeline Davis. The novel celebrates community, friendship and overcoming the past. It also includes many bread recipes and website information.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Friends borrow a lot of things; boyfriends should not be one of those things! Darcy and Rachel have been best friends since childhood, but on the night of Rachel's 30th birthday that changes. Dexter, Darcy's fiance and Rachel's best friend from law school, start something more than a friendship. The story is much more than someone stealing a boyfriend. It is about friendship and how some friendships, although long in length, can be toxic to both people and not a true friendship. Something Borrowed is told from Rachel's point of view and the story does continue in Something Blue, told from Darcy's point of view. Both are a fast, quick read for someone looking for a good chic lit book! Look for Something Borrowed in the theaters in May.

Mockingjay by Susanne Collins

This is the third and final book in the Hunger Games series. In this book Katniss is struggling with how she was betrayed by Hamage and the other tributes that were in the arena with her. Peeta was taken by the capitol and brain washed to the extent that he wanted to kill Katniss every time he saw her. The districts joined together with an unexpected "area" to try to over throw the capitol. Over all it was a wonderful series. The last book was a bit disappointing. It seemed to drag somewhat but it did bring everything together at the end.

Monday, April 11, 2011

How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg

This interesting book is not for the squeamish! It tells in detail how 19 famous people died. Before the time of modern medicine dying could be a messy business. Throughout history we have been told the accomplishments and achievements of famous people but the truth of how they died has been glossed over. I was amazed at how long bleeding a person was thought to be helpful. George Washington went through several "treatments" that were supposed to help him, but in the end I think they just increased his misery. Interesting stuff about Julius Caeser to Beethoven to Einstein. I enjoyed reading the whole thing and learned some history as well.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman

A young woman goes missing in a small town in upstate New York and her body is found five months later right outside of town. Obviously the murderer is one of the locals, but when the newspaper reporter, an "outsider" from Cleveland, tries to get to the bottom of the story, no one wants to talk. The book is difficult to follow at first because the narrative changes point of view and time period with every short chapter. I stuck with it and found the story and characters compelling, and the book well worth reading. I will be thinking about this one for a long time.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Decision Points by George W. Bush

The book was about the decisions President Bush made before his political career and during his Presidency. I thought this was a very difficult book to get through. He went into so much detail about every choice made that it was difficult to continue with knowing that not every one of his decisions were actually as good as he claimed them to be. I listen to this book on cd so I was unable to skip through these parts. The reader of this audio did a good job, his voice was fairly close to President Bush's voice so it was easy to think he was actually telling the story.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

I really enjoyed this particular title. It had a jaw dropping ending. It took a while to get into but by the end I wasn't able to put it down. The book is set in the present day but takes the reader back and forth from the present to WWII. It gave some insight to what it was like in Leningrad during the war. It is a love story with some dramatic twists.

the Pioneer Woman Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond

Ree Drummond's Blog "The Pioneer Woman" is a very popular blog destination. This book comes from her dating and marriage story she wrote about on her blog. Expanded from the blog, fans and newcomers will like this well written story. I laughed and I cried as this city gal "Ree" fell in love with a cattle rancher. Told with Ree's distinctive style I hearily recommend this book.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

I picked this book up to read about the famous Tiffany lamps and how women were treated in this time period of the turn into the twentieth century in the work force. The story follows Clara Driscoll, an artist who received very little credit for her work of designing lamps for Mr. Tiffany. I almost stopped reading this book several times as I grew tired of all the information about glass cutting and what all went into designing items. I kept reading it, however, and enjoyed reading about the life of women at this time and about life for the poor in New York City.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson is the grim reaper. From the day she was born, she could see dead people and help them to “cross over”. To pay the bills, Charley works as a private investigator and consultant for the police. She uses her gift to help solve murders and other unexplained deaths. She is aided in her work by her assistant Cookie, her uncle the cop, a rival private investigator, and any number of ghosts. But when the case heats up, it’s Charley who takes the beating.

This book was a fun, sexy read. Charley reminds me of Stephanie Plum with superpowers. She has great instincts, but ultimately makes a lot of stupid decisions that get her into trouble. I recommend this book to fans of the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris and the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Walking to Gatlinburg by Howard Frank Mosher

Morgan Kinneson, a Vermont teen involved in the Underground Railroad, makes a fatal mistake and one of his charges is killed. He heads South to find his older brother, who has been reported missing in action at Gettysburg, and also to solve the riddle of a mysterious carved stone given to him by the escaped slave. A strange and murderous band of escaped convicts are after the stone and attempt to intercept him along the way. Morgan's travels and travails make for a wonderful thriller, coming of age story, and adventure yarn. Morgan struggles with the concepts of justice, forgiveness, faith and love in his own quest and also in light of the bloody war that has torn his country apart. I loved it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Peril at Somner House by Joanna Challis

Have you ever wondered what your favorite author’s life is like? This book is a fictionalized account of the life of author Daphne du Maurier. This second novel featuring Daphne finds her stranded at Somner House, on an island in Cornwall. Soon after her arrival, her host is found dead and his wife is found in the arms of her lover.

This novel was an intriguing period piece that kept me guessing to the end. I recommend it to British mystery fans.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman

The Red Garden begins in 1750 with the founding of the rural Massachusetts town Blackwell/ Bearsville. Hallie Brady loves Nature and befriends a bear... Thanks to the resourceful Hallie, who saves the settlers from starvation during the harsh winter expedition when everyone including her husband William has given up.
Why does Hallie's garden have blood red soil and every plant grow into the color red? Hoffman has spun 14 interlocking stories tying them with history and the intricate web of Nature with the descendants of the first settlers to the present. It is a haunting yet magical read.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Rose Revealed (Amish Farm Trilogy Book #3) By Gayle Roper

Gayle Roper is a newer author in the plethora of Amish Christian Fiction. Ropers characters are rich and lifelike. This book deals with forgiveness, forgiving others and ourselves. Roper deals with these topics realistically.
Rose the main character witnesses a murder and hides out in an Amish household while the search for the murderer goes on. While in the household she is reacquainted with Amish raised paraplegic Jake Zook. Rose also meets 16 year old Becky, a single Amish Mother, shunned Sam Hershberger and Davy and Annie Stoltzfus. Rose demonstrates grace and forgiveness, while doing this she also comes to grip with her own need for forgiveness. I found this book to be a good story and an easy read with lessons in it that I could benefit from.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Kate Morton's debut novel, The House at Riverton, is a compelling must-read for historical fiction fans. Set in England during the early 20th century, it is the intriguing story of the loves and losses of the entitled Hartford family. Told from the perspective of Grace, who was once a housemaid in the Hartford's Riverton House, the chilling details of the mysteries surrounding the family are slowly revealed. In present day, frail and elderly Grace remembers her time as a young woman at Riverton House in a series of flashbacks. Even after the passing of so many years, there is still a sense of Grace's continuing love for and fierce loyalty to the family as she reminisces about the events that led to the tragic downfall of the Hartfords. In The House at Riverton, as well as in her subsequent novels, The Distant Hours and The Forgotten Garden, Morton's vivid characters, historical details, and suspenseful storytelling transports the reader back to a different time and place.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cypress House by Michael Koryta

Two itinerant workers become inadvertently caught up in the corrupt politics of a tiny town in southern Florida during the Great Depression. They find themselves unable to leave because they are captivated by the beautiful owner of a struggling inn. Set during the depression, Cypress House is moody, atmospheric and suspenseful. It's a good story with a touch of supernatural.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tick Tock By James Patterson

The latest James Patterson thriller features New York cop Michael Bennett ("Run For Your Life"). Bennett, the widowed father of 10 adopted children, throw in one Irish Nanny/Housekeeper and a grandfather who is a Priest! Detective Bennett teams up with FBI agent Emily Parker to solve a horrific stream of bombings and murders that seem to be copying famous crimes from the past. As the case heats up so does Bennett's interest in both his children's nanny and agent Parker. Tick Tock as the clock winds down will Bennett and Parker catch the killer or killers in time. A good read.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stolen Children by Peg Kehret

Amy has just finished the babysitting course at the community center. The class has taught her basic first aid, changing a diaper and games to play with the children but it didn't teach her what to do when two thugs break in to the house. Amy is left in charge three year old Kendra for a few hours while her mother is out. The story continues with Amy and Kendra being kidnapped and what happens in the days that follow. Like many of Kehret's books there is suspense and action, but in the end it usually turns out alright. As a former babysitter (and sometimes current!) I had to think back to my teenage years and if I would have been as brave as Amy.

Typically readers of this blog read reviews of adult books, but because as the Youth Services Librarian, I read kids books! For those looking for a very quick read for themselves or their children this was a good read.

This Glittering World by T. Greenwood

In Flagstaff, Arizona, Ben bailey, a bar-tender and adjunct history professor, struggles with the murder of a 19-year old Navajo man, Ricky Begay, who laid dying on Bailey's front yard the morning after Halloween. Consumed by finding the killer(s), Ben neglects his fiancee Sara, and their relationship begins to unravel.
Ben is attracted to Ricky's sister Shadi. Could Ben free himself from his hidden childhood sorrow by helping Shadi solve her brother's murder?
Greenwood has weaved a tragically beautiful story. Her imagery of This Glittering World's snow and ice is mesmerizing. It is a thought provoking page-turner.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

100 Cross Stitch Patterns by Jane Greenoff

After Christmas in the long days of winter I always get the yen to do some stitching, sewing, crocheting, or knitting. My crocheting and knitting skills are limited as I have never made it past the scarf stage. Cross stitch and embroidery are a little more easy for me to do.
Working at the library I often see books come across the desk on these subjects and I love to take them home and at least look at all the fun and colorful projects afforded by different authors and companies. Some books are truly beautiful and show real works of skill, artistry, and craftsmanship.
This book on cross stitch offered simple motifs and alphabets that could easily be incorporated into bookmarks, so I stitched up 2 bookmarks. I stitched one bookmark with the letters of my sister's name and will send it to her in Arizona with a Valentine's Day card. The other one is for my daughter's boyfriend who is going into the Navy soon. I am thinking about doing a couple of other simple things because I like the bees, the flowers, and the cottages. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a project that can be finished in a day or two.

Make It Wild! 101 Things to Make and Do Outdoors

Here we have a book by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield that explores what you can do with raw materials - snow, leaves, sticks, rocks, sand, etc. Although it was written to be used with children I think many adults would enjoy these activities as well, especially if you are a nature lover who enjoys creation.
Some of the projects are simple and just for play while others are more complicated and long lasting. I was particularly interested in the winter projects since it is winter right now. One of the projects I actually completed is on page 40 (Outdoor Ice Lanterns). Simply made with 2 containers with water between the layers and then frozen. Take the ice out of the containers and put a lighted tea candle in the middle. It makes a pretty centerpiece for a special dinner. I thought I would repeat this idea for dinner on Valentine's Day using a crystal rose tray for the ice candle holders. Red candles will add just the right amount of festivity.
I also thought the paper making looked interesting, as well as the rock and leaf projects - these will have to hold off until warmer weather.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos

Sing Them Home is a lovely, lyrical novel set in the small Nebraska town of Emlyn Springs. At the opening of the novel, Llewellyn Jones is struck by lightning and dies. We then learn the stories of his long-time mistress, Viney, his three children (Larken, Gaelen and Bonnie), and his wife (Hope) who was lost to a tornado long ago. The story of the town is revealed as well, and its rich Welsh cultural and historical ties. It's a long novel, but well worth the time because of beautiful writing, quirky and complex characters, and the portrait of small town life. Sing Them Home is the 2011 All Iowa Reads selection.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz

When a 14 year old boy kills his family in a fashion that eerily echoes the style of an earlier serial killer, Detective John Calvino fears for his own family. This book has lots of likable characters, a truly creepy villain, a fast-paced plot, and a touch of the supernatural. It's classic Koontz!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

Before getting too far into this post, I should warn you. I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. My father gave me a used copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes when I was 12 years old and I've been hooked ever since. So this new fiction book by Graham Moore was right up my alley.

The Sherlockian follows two plotlines and alternates between the two every chapter. The first plotline follows Sir Arthur Conan Doyle beginning in 1893 and ending in 1900 as he assists Scotland Yard in an investigation of the murder of a young woman killed in a bathtub. The second plotline is set in the present day and follows Harold White. Harold is a newly inducted member of the Baker Street Irregulars, a Sherlockian secret society. Harold is hot on the trail of a volume of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's diary, which has been missing since his death. The search leads him from New York to London and then all over Europe in company with the beautiful but secretive reporter, Sarah.

This book explores the nature of fame and asks the question: Can the answers to the great mysteries of life ever be as satisfying as the mysteries themselves?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although the change in perspectives was frustrating at times. If you love a good mystery and are a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and/or his alter ego Sherlock Holmes, I'm sure you will enjoy it too.

Plain Truth By Jodi Picoult

If you don't normally read Jodi Piccoult but enjoy stories about the Amish I found this to be a fascinating read. It was very easy to identify with the main characters and the story made me wonder what I would do if I was confronted with the issues they faced. Part mystery, part love story you realize that often issues aren't black and white but can be grey. A hidden pregnancy, a dead baby and a defense lawyer with issues of her own set the stage for a good read with a surprise at the end.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Faithful Place by Tana French

As with French's first two Dublin Murder Squad mysteries, In the Woods and The Likeness, I was hooked by Faithful Place right from the beginning. The story focuses on undercover detective Frank Mackey (a secondary character in The Likeness), who is drawn back to his childhood home and dysfunctional family by the discovery of some disturbing evidence related to the mysterious disappearance of Frank's girlfriend Rosie Daly twenty-two years earlier. He never knew what really happened to Rosie on the night that the two of them were planning to run away together. Frank is driven to find the answers, even if it means becoming entangled again in the toxic dynamics of the family he left behind. French is a creative storyteller, and her riveting dialogue and plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end of Faithful Place.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks was a romantic thriller that kept the readers engaged through out the book. This was a very enjoyable read. I enjoyed the suspense of this novel. The book took place in the south. It was about a woman who was trying to escape an abusive relationship. It goes into what she had to do to get away from her husband who was a policeman in a neighboring community. She had to make a very detailed plan and completely change her identity to be able to escape from him. The book took her to a small town in the middle of nowhere. The main character "Katie" as she was now known lived a quite life in isolation with the exception of a very friendly neighbour named Jo. Then Katie meets a widower with 2 small children. The book takes the reader through the development of their relationship and how she finally opens up enough to trust someone again. Until her abusive husband finds her and the story takes some unexpected turns.

Monday, January 3, 2011

On Christmas Eve by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer

This is a pleasant read anytime of the year. Charlie and Lucy take in a rebellious runaway girl despite Charlie's disapproval. She is sick and Lucy cares for her helping her get better physically but also helping her emotionally. She tries to give her a real family.

Betty is alone but meets a special Santa and helps him do a lot of good in the community. She also meets a successful doctor who is very interested in her and she feels pushed to have a serious relationship with him. She is still hurting from her past divorce and wants to make amends with her son. It is a busy time of year catering Christmas parties and trying to figure out her life.

I've read all of the books set in this town of Cape Light. Different families are focused in different books but many of the characters are tied together in each book making it fun to revisit them.

The Brave by Nicholas Evans

The Brave spans around 50 years time. It switches back and forth between the past and what is happening in the present. Tommy Bedford is sent to a strict English boarding school and has a difficult time there. He is removed by his sister, Diane, who turns out to be his real mother. He and his mother end up in Hollywood as she pursues a movie star career. She becomes involved with Ray, an actor in a western show. Tom has always adored "cowboys and Indians". The relationship between Diane and Ray turns rocky. A shocking act of violence occurs that changes their lives. Many years later Tom's son is accused of murder in Iraq. Events from the past resurface. Father and son reconnect. It is a story of guilt, torment, and struggles. Some of the events and characters in this book were not always believable to me. I still enjoyed this book but preferred other books I have read by this author.