Thursday, April 28, 2016

Coming Soon to a Book Store Near You

On my TBR List for summer - what do you think?

Don't Believe a Word; Patricia MacDonald
Severn House - June-2016

A daughter sets out to discover the truth about her mother’s death in this absorbing novel of psychological suspense.

Eden Radley had a strained relationship with her mother ever since Tara deserted the family nine years before to run off with her much younger lover. But when she’s told that her mother has killed herself and her severely disabled young son, Eden’s half-brother, Eden is ridden with guilt. For her mother had tried to get in touch with her on the night she died, and Eden had ignored her text. Was Tara calling for help?

Heading to Cleveland, Ohio, for the funeral, Eden discovers there was so much she didn’t know about her mother, nor about her enigmatic, troubled stepfather Flynn Darby. And the more she learns, the more convinced she becomes that Tara’s death was no suicide. Could Flynn really be guilty of murder …?

Gallery - June 2016


You will be scared. But you won’t know why…

I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always.

Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”

And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.

In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about KevinI’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page…and never lets you go.

The Captive Condition - Kevin Keating
July - Pantheon


From a thrilling new voice in fiction comes a chilling and deliciously dark novel about an idyllic Midwestern college town that turns out to be a panorama of depravity and a nexus of horror.

For years Normandy Falls has been haunted by its strange history and the aggrieved spirits said to roam its graveyards. Despite warnings, Edmund Campion is determined to go there and pursue an advanced degree in literature. At first things proceed wonderfully, but Edmund soon learns he isn't immune to the impersonal trappings of fate: his girlfriend Morgan Fey smashes his heart, his advisor Professor Martin Kingsley crushes him with frivolous assignments, and his dead end job begins to take a toll on his physical and mental health.

One night he stumbles upon the body of Emily Ryan, a proud and unapologetic "townie," drowned in her family pool. Was it suicide, Edmund wonders, or murder? In the days following the tragedy, Emily's husband Charlie, crippled by self-loathing and ultimately frozen with fear, attempts to flee his disastrous life and sends their twin daughters to stay with the Kingsleys. Possessed with an unnamed, preternatural power, the twins know the professor seduced their mother and may have had a hand in her death. With their piercing stares, the girls fill Martin with the remorse and dread he so desperately tries to hide from his wife.

Elsewhere, a low-level criminal named The Gonk takes over a remote cottage, complete with a burial ground and moonshine still, and devises plans for both; Xavier D'Avignon, the eccentric chef of a failing French restaurant, supplies customers with a hallucinogenic cocktail he makes in his kitchen; and Colette Collins, an elderly local artist of the surreal and psychedelic, attends a New Year's Eve retrospective that is destined to set the whole town on fire.

Delving into the deepest recesses of the human capacity for evil, Kevin P. Keating's masterful novel will hold readers captive from first to last.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Orphan #8; Kim van Alkemade

Orphan #8; Kim van Alkemade
William Morrow - 2015

The story centers around Rachel Rabinowitz who was placed in an orphanage, the Hebrew Infant for Jewish children, at the age of four in 1919 in NewYork City.  Rachel was one of several children used in medical experiments by Dr. Mildred Soloman. Rachel is used as Dr. Soloman’s test case for new X-ray equipment. She’s continuously overexposed to radiation which left her bald, browless and disfigured. When she get’s a bit older she is sent to another home, the Orphaned Hebrews Home, where she is taunted by other children.

As an adult Rachel works in the nursing profession back in New York. As a nurse at the Hebrew home for the elderly she crosses paths with Dr. Soloman who now happens to reside there.  Forced to relive the past Rachel must decide whether to make peace with the past or seek revenge.

I’m not a huge fan of historical novels but, coming of age and orphan stories do have some appeal with me.  Overall, Orphan #8 a tough read. In retrospect, I should have picked a more upbeat story. This one just made me angry at times especially after learning that it was in part based on true happenings.

3/5 stars
(print version sent by publisher)

Bull Mountain; Brian Panowich

Bull Mountain; Brian Panowich
Recorded Books - 2015
(read by Brian Troxell)

Bull Mountain is a debut novel that I had passed on at first glance but, after reading several rave reviews I decided to give the audio a try.  It's very gritty yet so well written.

Set in Georgia, the story focuses on the lawless Burroughs family who for generations have been the kings of Bull Mountain, pretty much doing whatever they pleased. They sold moonshine, weapons, pot and now meth. Halford (Hal) is the elder brother who continues in the illegal operations following in his family's footsteps.

Clayton Burroughs, Hal's younger brother, took a different path after getting married, he is a county sheriff.  Clayton is torn between doing what's right and betraying his family.  Somehow the brothers have managed to stay out of each others business up until now but, when an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco and Firearms asks Clayton for his help things heat up.  The ATF want's Hal's help to shutdown a large scale gun and drug running operation out of Florida.

This story was very different from the kind of stories I'm usually drawn to. It's gritty with a lot of violence.  There are quite a few characters but, even on audio it was fairly easy to differentiate between them.  There were some unexpected twists in this story which surprised me as well.  I must say that the heavy accents were a bit rough at times so I listened to this one in shorter segments than I normally would.  I think if I had it to do over, I would have chosen the print version. Panowich is a talented new author to try. 

4/5 stars
(library audio)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Passenger; Lisa Lutz

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where I share the first paragraph sometimes two, of a book that I'm reading or plan to read soon. 

The Passenger; Lisa Lutz
Simon & Schuster - 2016

Tanya Dubois
Chapter 1

"When I found my husband at the bottom of the stairs, I tried to resuscitate him before I ever considered disposing of the body.  I pumped his barrel chest and blew into his purple lips.  It was the first time in years that our lips had touched and I didn't recoil.

I gave up after ten minutes. Frank Dubois was gone.  Lying there all peaceful and quiet, he almost looked in a slumber, but Frank was noisier asleep than he was awake.  Honestly, if I had know what kind of a snorer he was going to turn into, I never would have married him.  If I could do it all over, I would have never married him even if he slept like an angel.  If I could do it all over again, there are so many things I would do differently.  But looking at Frank then, so still and not talking, I didn't mind him so much.  It seemed like a good time to say good-bye.  I poured a shot of Frank's special bourbon, sat down on Frank's faux-suede La-Z-Boy, and had a drink to honor the dead."

What do you think -- keep reading or pass? 
(Feel free to join in this week by posting your intro below?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fool Me Once; Harlan Coben

Fool Me Once; Harlan Coben
Brilliant Audio - 2016

In this stand alone Coben thriller Maya Stern is a former Special Ops pilot suffering from PTSD.  She is also a grieving widow, her husband Joe was brutally murdered a few weeks earlier.  To ease her stress where her two-year old daughter is concerned, she discreetly installs a nanny cam to monitor the happenings of her daughter and the caregiver while she is away.  Soon after Maya sees what appears to be her dead husband sitting on the sofa with their daughter.  Are her eyes playing tricks on her or, is Joe still alive? After all, she never saw his body after he was supposedly murdered.

Fool Me Once was a very good thriller that held my interest all the way to the end, and it even managed to surprise me.  Maya is a spunky character who was fearless and determined to find out what was really going on.  The audio version was read by January LaVoy who did a very good job. I also had the eGalley so I was able to read as well as listen. Readers who enjoy a good thriller should give this one a try.

4/5 stars
(library audio & eGalley)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Family Man; Elinor Lipman

Family Man; Elinor Lipman
Sound Library - 2009

Henry Archer is likable, old-school type guy. He retired early from his Manhattan law practice so he can enjoy life, as he expects to die young like his father before him.  Henry's also gay, but was married briefly to Denise, who had a daughter, Thalia, that Henry had adopted.  Henry reluctantly gave up custody rights when the couple divorced and Denise remarried.

Now when Henry learns that Denise's most recent husband (#3) has died, he is anxious to reconnect with Thalia who is now 29 and an aspiring actress.  The two begin having lunch together and as their relationship grows there are unexpected perks,  joy and love to be experienced by both. 

This is another dialogue driven novel (not my favorite style) but, it's rather enjoyable for several reasons.  It's a comedy of manners -- lots of wit with quirky characters who are easy to root for. Henry is so real and unassuming.  If you are looking for an upbeat story that will leave you smiling, try this one. The audio was read by Jonathan Davis who did a great job.  Although this wasn't my favorite book by Elinor Lipman, I'm still happy I gave this one a try.

3.5/5 stars
(library audio)

The Children; Ann Leary

The Children; Ann Leary
St. Martin's Press - 2016

The Children is a story about blended families and family secrets told from the POV of 29 year-old Charlotte (Lottie) Maynard, a reclusive mommy blogger who has never been a mommy but makes a decent living pretending to be one.

"Lake Side" is a somewhat rundown, sprawling lake side home in Connecticut that had been in Lottie's stepfather's family for generations.  When her stepfather, Whit Whitman, passed away three years earlier, the trust allowed for Lottie and her mother Joan to remain in the house even though Whit's sons Spin and Perry now own the property. The brothers never lived there when their father was alive and had only visited on weekends. Lottie's sister Sally also grew up at Lake Side but left years earlier for a job in NYC. Sally's stability is questionable and after losing her job in the city, she returns to live at Lake Side.

Things heat up when Spin returns to Lake Side with his fiancee Laurel Atwood. The sisters, especially Lottie, are intrigued by Laurel and try to find out as much as possible about her on various social media sites. The sisters feel there is something about Laurel that isn't quite right but, who in this family is really harboring the most secrets?

This story took me a while to get into this story. I did love the very different personalities of this blended, quirky family.  There is a lot of conversational dialogue going on throughout which doesn't always work well with me, but overall I felt the story was a nice mix of funny, heartbreaking and drama with but of psych thriller thrown in the mix.  Although the ending seemed rushed, I do think readers who tend to enjoy family drama and dysfunction will want to try this one.  After absolutely loving this author's debut novel, The Good House, I have to say, Leary's latest book, The Children, left me somewhat disappointed.

3.5/5 stars

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Orphan #8, Kim Van Alkemade

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where I share the first paragraph sometimes two, of a book that I'm reading or plan to read soon. 

Orphan #8, Kim Van Alkemade
William Morrow / Harper Audio - 2014

Chapter One

"FROM HER BED OF BUNDLED NEWSPAPERS UNDER THE kitchen table, Rachel Rabinowitz watched her mother's bare feet shuffle to the sink.  She heard water filling the kettle, then saw her mother's heels lift as she stretched up to drop a nickel in the gas meter.  There was the sizzle of a struck match, the hiss of the burner, the whoosh of catching flame.  As her mother passed the table Rachel reached out to catch the hem of her nightdress."

What do you think -- keep reading or pass? 
(Feel free to join in this week by posting your intro below?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Coming Soon to a Book Store Near You

(3) new "coming soon" books that caught my eye. 

This Too Shall Pass; Milena Busquets
Hogarth - May - 2016


A “literary tsunami”* that is taking the world by storm—already sold in over 30 countries—about one unforgettable woman’s search for a meaningful life
Blanca is forty years old and motherless. Shaken by the unexpected death of the most important person in her life, she suddenly realizes that she has no idea what her future will look like.
To ease her dizzying grief and confusion, Blanca turns to her dearest friends, her closest family, and a change of scenery. Leaving Barcelona behind, she returns to CadaquĆ©s on the coast, accompanied by her two sons, two ex-husbands, and two best friends, and makes a plan to meet her married lover for a few stolen moments as well. Surrounded by those she loves most, she spends the summer in an impossibly beautiful place, finding ways to reconnect and understand what it means to truly, happily live on her own terms, just as her mother would have wanted. 
A fresh, honest, and ruefully funny story about love, sex, marriage, grief, friendship and parenthood, THIS TOO SHALL PASS is an irresistible novel that is fast becoming an international phenomenon. 

The City of Mirrors; Justin Cronin
Ballantine - May-2016


“A thrilling finale to a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.”—Stephen King
You followed The Passage. You faced The Twelve. Now enter The City of Mirrors for the final reckoning. As the bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale, Justin Cronin’s band of hardened survivors await the second coming of unspeakable darkness.
The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?
The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future.
But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.
One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.

June; Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Crown - May 2016

From the New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet comes a novel of suspense and passion about a terrible mistake made sixty years ago that threatens to change a modern family forever. 

Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in rural St. Jude, Ohio, mourning the loss of the woman who raised her—her grandmother, June. But a knock on the door forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary matinee idol Jack Montgomery's vast fortune. How did Jack Montgomery know her name? Could he have crossed paths with her grandmother all those years ago? What other shocking secrets could June’s once-stately mansion hold?

Soon Jack’s famous daughters come knocking, determined to wrestle Cassie away from the inheritance they feel is their due. Together, they all come to discover the true reasons for June’s silence about that long-ago summer, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack’s lives were forever altered by murder, blackmail, and betrayal. As this page-turner shifts deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The One-in a-Million Boy; Monica Wood

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - 2016

"I didn't mean that librarians in general are rats in the weeds.  I'm sure your mother is very nice. Most librarians are." [referring to "the boy's mother Belle]

The "One-in-a-Million Boy" was just eleven when he died (we learn that in the first few pages of the novel),  but in his very short life he made a lasting impression on the lives of those he touched.  Sadly, we never even know this amazing child's name, he is simply referred to as "the boy."He  leaves behind his mother, Belle, a librarian and father Quinn.

As part of a Boy Scout project, "The Boy" spent Saturdays helping 104 year old Ona Vitkus, an immigrant from Lithuania, who now lives in Portland, Maine.  He helps her around the house, interviews her and records her life, a life she has managed to keep private until she meets "the boy." "The Boy" is obsessed with the Guinness Book of World Records and can recite all sorts of figures and facts. When he learns Ona's age, he is determined to find out more and get her into the world record book.

When a week goes by and "the boy" doesn't show up, she feels he was just another one who has disappointed her.  A week later his twice-divorced, guitar playing father Quinn shows up at her door to explain that his son has died and he would like to help Ona out.  Quinn was an absent father who regrets not being the kind of father his son deserved. The result is an unlikely friendship which transforms both their lives in unexpected ways.

This novel is not so much about a young boy who has died, but, a story about those that he leaves behind and the positive impression he left on the lives he touched.  A truly inspiring story with fully realized characters, themes of community, friendship grief and isolation, The One-in-a-Million Boy, will warm your heart and leave its mark. Be sure to read it.

4.5/5 stars
(review copy)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Britt-Marie Was Here; Fredrik Backman

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where I share the first paragraph sometimes two, of a book that I'm reading or plan to read soon.  (This is Backman's third novel. If you love quirky characters, be sure to check all of his books out).

Britt-Marie Was Here; Fredrik Backman
Atria - May 2016

"Forks. Knives. Spoons. In that order.

Britt-Marie is certainly not the kind of person who judges other people. Far from it.  

But surely no civilized person would even think of arranging a cutlery drawer in a different way from how cutlery drawers are supposed to be arranged?

We're not animals are we?"

What do you think -- keep reading or pass? 
(Feel free to join in this week by posting your intro below?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Turn of Mind; Alice Laplante

Turn of Mind; Alice Laplante
Brilliance Audio - 2011

Have you ever listened to "Playaway"Audiobooks? I love borrowing them from our library system, they are so compact and are perfect for walks, exercising and bedtime listening.  All you need to do is plug in your own earphones and (1) AAA battery (sometimes the batteries even come with them).  I remember wanting to try Turn of Mind when it was released in 2011 and, finally 5 years later - mission accomplished.  The audio was very enjoyable and the story pretty good as well (read by Jean Reed Bahle).

Jennifer White's best friend Amanda has been murdered. Her disfigured body had four fingers neatly severed from her right hand.  Jennifer has Alzheimer's and is a now retired hand-surgeon.  Could Jennifer have murdered her best friend, and, if so, why?

As the story begins Jennifer is living in her own home along with Magdalena, her caregiver.  She uses a journal to help her remember and, she is lucid enough to realize that she may not be able to remain at home much longer.  Her son James, 29 and daughter Fiona, 24 have her transferred to an assisted living facility where she is questioned about her friend's murder.  Although she is the prime suspect, she doesn't know whether she did it or not.

This was an extremely interesting story to listen to on audio.  Sadly, Amanda's character is never fully developed and the reader only learns about Amanda through Jennifer's recollections. Both women were high achieving women with strong personalities and mean streaks.

This was an addictive murder mystery.  Readers who like stories with unreliable narrators should try this one.  It kept me guessing and provides a twist or two as well. Unfortunately, something happens at the end that didn't seem to fit that spoiled it a bit.  Despite that the story does come across as a realistic look at what Alzheimer's does to ones mind.

4/5 stars
(library audio) 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Blatherings

(My amazing kiddos in the late 70's)

I  spent some time last week taking pics of old pics with my iPhone and was pleasantly surprised by the results.  This was one of the pics (above) which wasn't in the best of shape to begin with.  When I sent it to my son and daughter, they didn't forget to remind me about the 7 stitches my son got in his forehead around that time -- honestly it wasn't my fault (LOL)

This is another week that flew by in a flash. I was very busy all week between errands taking a loved one to some medical appointments for an, as yet, undiagnosed medical issue. She is having more tests next week as well.  Today we are off for a long ride and a late lunch somewhere.  What's going on with all of you today?



Have a Great Week Everyone!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Beautiful Birds; Jean Roussen and Emmanuelle Walker

Beautiful Birds; Jean Roussen & Emmanuelle Walker
Flying Eye Books - 2015

Targeted for the Grades 1-4 group this is a stunning book that covers birds of the alphabet from A (Albatross) through -Z (Zosteropidae). Each page features a beautiful bird (or two) and a one-line rhyming phrase about the bird(s).  The 4 - year old loved this book as they are studying birds in science at preschool. This one is a keeper for the permanent bookshelves (although it's one of those taller books that may require a higher shelf space. Gorgeous book - BUY IT (or at least ask your library to purchase this one) !

5/5 stars
(library book)

The Duckling Gets a Cookie !?, Mo Willems

2012 - Hyperion

 Our granddaughters are huge fans of Mo Willems books. They love the Piggy and Gerald series and now are fans of the Pigeon series as well.  

This is another example of an author developing a successful pattern of creating a fun story with not too many words and funny pictures that children end up loving and begging to have you read them to them.   Being polite, asking nicely, remembering "please and thank you" are important here.  Of course, the key to enjoying these books to the max require you to master your own special Pigeon and Duckling voices to get the most giggles out of your little people audience. With minimal words these books are great to help little ones recognize certain words and experience the joy of both memorizing a story and learning to read. 

Mo's books are very funny and a tad sarcastic as well making them a hit with big and little people alike. This one wasn't my absolute favorite but, still tons of fun.

4/5 stars

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

All the Light We Cannot See; Anthony Doerr

Simon & Schuster Audio - 2014
(read by Zach Appelman)

“Somewhere, someone is figuring out how to push back the hood of grief, but Marie-Laure cannot. Not yet. The truth is that she is a disabled girl with no home and no parents.” 

I'm not a fan of war stories but, because this one won the Pulitzer I knew I wanted to give it a try.  The novel covers a period of about ten years (1934-1944) and for the most part involves two characters, Marie-Laure is a  French girl who became blind at the age of six of a degenerative eye disease and Werner Pfenning is German who grew up in an orphanage with his sister Jutta.  

Marie-Laure's father is the head locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. He cares deeply for his sightless daughter and wants her life to be as normal as possible so he constructs a mini village out of wood of the neighborhood where they live so that she can practice navigating the village until she has it comfortably memorized.  She loves visiting the museum where her father works and hearing stories about all the strange and wonderful things housed there.  The museum is home to a rare gem which is said to be cursed bringing misfortune whomever possesses it. 

Werner Pfenning was just a young boy at the orphanage when he developed a talent for electronics and radio repair. His skill to fix most anything gets him enrolled into Hitler's Army tracking the resistance.  After a bombing in Saint-Malo on the coast Brittany, Werner and Marie-Laure's lives converge. She's now a teenager who is hiding in the attic of her great uncle's house. The uncle is hiding a secret which could endanger their lives. 

The story is told in a series of flashbacks, which initially was a little confusing on audio, but fortunately the chapters are short even though the book itself is long (over 500 pages). The writing is beautifully done and many of the scenes and phrases left their mark with me. The book's title and references to "light and darkness" are emphasized throughout the story.  The author does a terrific job describing what Marie-Laure was thinking, feeling and imagining as a blind girl.  It was also fascinating learning about the brainwashing Hitler's recruits experienced and how Werner reacted.

All the Light We Cannot See is story of family, friendship, courage and loyalty told from the POV who those who lived through the horrors of war. A gripping and emotionally charged story that was both absorbing and haunting.The audio version was excellent.

4.5/5 stars
(library audio book)

Shelter; Jung Yun

Shelter; Jung Yun
Picador - 2016

Kyung Cho is a 36 y/o Korean American who lives near Boston with his Irish American wife
Gillian and the couple's 4 y/old son Ethan. Kyung's life is falling apart. He's a mediocre professor at a
university nearby, the couple's finances are a mess, owing more on their house than it's worth and 
mounting credit card debt to boot. Kyung also feels like a failure as a husband and a father. To make 
his stress even worse is the fact that for years he has had a strained relationship with his parents who live 
in an upscale neighborhood nearby.

Kyung's father is a highly respected professor and inventor who pulls in lots of grant money for the 
university he works for. His father Jin is wife beater and his mother, Mae a child abuser. Needless to say, 
despite being given every material advantage as a child, the emotional scars and hostility he feels toward
his parents have never been forgiven. He's pretty much severed contact with his parents, but hasn't 
totally cut them out of the picture yet.So when a violent home invasion turns his parents life upside down,
Kyung isn't sure how to react. The scars of childhood are ones he can't seem forget.

Shelter is a terrific character study, seen mostly from Kyung's POV, although we do get insight from the 
other characters as well. It isn't really clear until the end as to the extent of abuse that has occurred 
to make him harbor so much resentment and blame others for all his current problems.

This story wasn't perfect but I did enjoy it very much. Readers who enjoy suspense filled stories and
reading about family dysfunction should make sure they add this to their lists. Jung Yun is a promising 
debut author to watch for.

4.5/5 stars
(review copy)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Children; Ann Leary

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where I share the first paragraph sometimes two, of a book that I'm reading or plan to read soon. 

The Children; Ann Leary
St. Martin's Press - May 2016


"One August morning in 1956, Whit Whitman sat down to a breakfast of soft-boiled eggs and toast with his grandmother Trudy.  They dined outdoors on the wide front porch of Lakeside Cottage.  Whit's father had an early golf game that morning.  His mother and sister had gone for a sail on the lake.  Although he was only eight at the time, Whit would always remember what he and his grandmother talked about during their breakfast.  First, Trudy had described her displeasure at finding the family cat on her bed when she awoke.  She had thought it was her sweater and was alarmed when it sprang from her hands.  Then they had discussed the weather."

What do you think -- keep reading or pass? 
(Feel free to join in this week by posting your intro below?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Missoula: Rape & the Justice System in a College Town; Jon Krakauer

Random House Audio - 2015

Missoula, Montana, population 70,000 and home of the University of Montana's highly successful football team, the Grizzlies.  This book delves into the highly publicized rape scandals that took place between 2008 and 2012 at the University involving members of the football team.  It also highlights the outcomes of the Department of Justices year long investigation of these allegations.

The author shares several stories where rape and even gang rape perpetrated by football team members were reported.  Not all of the incidents were reported immediately, because the victims were reluctant to speak up for a variety of reasons. Some of the attackers were acquaintances and once the rape investigations were underway the victims were interrogated in a manner that made it seem that they were at least partially to blame for the attacks.  

Missoula, was hard to listen to at times and, it is a story that will likely anger many readers or listeners.  They story seemed well-researched and included actual transcripts and recordings. It's an important story about a growing problem on colleges campuses today.  The audio version was fantastic but the material disturbing as well.  Narrated by Scott Brick and Mohan Marno - both were excellent.

4.5/5 stars
(library audio)

The Guise of Another; Allen Eskens

The Guise of Another; Allen Eskens
Seventh Street Books - 2015

Alexander Rupert is a Minneapolis, MN detective with a professional career that looks like it's on a downward spiral.  Once a Medal of Valor winner, now he's suspected of corruption in a drug case.  Reassigned to the Fraud Unit, he's miserable at work and his home life is a mess as well as he suspects wife Desi, is cheating on him.

Things heat up for Alexander when he is charged with investigating an automobile accident involving a Lexus and a Porsche.  The drive of the Porsche, James Putnam is dead but, he was using a fake ID.  So who is the dead man and what happened to the real James Putnam?  The investigation takes Alexander to NYC with links to a fifteen year old murder case.

The Guise of Another is a multi-layered story with great characters, including a crazed assassin from the Balkans. The story is highly charged with a few twists to keep things interesting and a satisfying ending.  Readers who enjoy crime and murder mysteries should try this one.  The author knows how to hold the reader's interest.  Although I liked this story, his debut novel, The Life We Bury was a favorite of mine. Be sure to try this author, you'll be glad you did.

3.5/5 stars