Friday, December 29, 2006


I read PANIC by Jeff Abbott (Onyx, c2005, ISBN 0-451-41222-2) kind of on a dare.

For those who don't know me, I am a pessimist. I see the glass half-empty so that I'm not surprised when someone comes along with a pitcher and fills it up for me. And I never believe the people who tell me, "This book has non-stop action!" or "It is the funniest movie ever!" because I got suckered into watching NAPOLEON DYNAMITE exactly this way, and never again will I believe.

But someone, on a list-serv that I belong to, said that this book had the qualifying "non-stop action" and although I was in the mood to prove somebody wrong, they weren't that far off.

The book begins:
The phone awoke Evan Casher, and he knew something was wrong.

Now, I won't lie. This book doesn't have "non-stop action" because eventually they sleep or get knocked out or something, and action has to stop. But it was pretty eventful I would hazard to guess about 98% of the time. For the first time in a long time, I did not feel cheated by reading a book with a qualifier.

The plot in a nutshell:
Evan Casher gets a call from his mother one morning and finds out that his entire life is pretty much a lie. Now, the bad guys are after him and he better figure out the truth quick-like or he could end up dunzo.

I've never read any espionage type thrillers so I was really surprised that I liked this. It's full of CIA secret stuff and travel, travel, travel,travel! (Which is code speak for 'running for your life!')
It also made me want to go see this movie but most importantly, it left me wanting to read more of Abbott's books!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Code Name Cassandra

I got CODE NAME CASSANDRA by Jenny Carroll (Pocket Pulse, c2001, ISBN 0-7434-1140-4) after reading GRAVE SIGHT by Charlaine Harris because I was interested in the whole struck by lightning phenomenon and the end results. Unfortunately, I did not realize this book was the 2nd in a series of books until after I started reading it.

Oh well.

In this book, Jess Mastriani or "Lightning Girl" is working the summer at Camp Wawasee, a camp for the "musically gifted" on Lake Wawasee in upstate Indiana. She is working with 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU to help track down missing kids which was the "gift" she got when struck by lightning, although she apparently told the Feds in the first book that she lost her ability.

When a man shows up at the camp begging her for help in finding his daughter, she sleeps on it and then does what she knows she has to do.

Meanwhile, one of her campers goes missing while she is out in the big city with Rob, a total hottie who Jess would like to call her boyfriend. When she returns to camp to total pandemonium, once again she is forced to use her powers to locate the missing camper, even though he's a total pill, and maybe even own up to her true calling.

The book begins:

I don't know why I'm doing this.

Young readers of THE PRINCESS DIARIES will enjoy these books because if they don't know it, Jenny Carroll and Meg Cabot are the same person.

Killer Insight

The book I finished this morning was KILLER INSIGHT by Victoria Laurie (Signet Mystery, c2006, ISBN 0-451-21933-3), the 4th book in the Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye series.

It starts in Royal Oak, Michigan, home to Abby, her mini dachshund Eggy and Dutch Rivers, her hubba-hubba boyfriend. After a fight with Dutch, Abby leaves for Denver, Colorado to assist with the wedding of her childhood friend, Ellie McGinnis. But being a psychic is never easy and when one bridesmaid after another disappears, Abby tunes in and things aren't looking favorable - for them or for her.

The book starts out:
As I looked down the black barrel of the .38 pointed directly at my chest, and into the familiar eyes of my killer, all I could think was, I'm a friggin' psychic, for Pete's sake! Why didn't I know it was you all along?

This was a fun installment in this series with some great new characters (Ellie, Duffy and Aunt Viv) who I'd like to see more of in the future.

Look for Victoria Laurie's new books WHAT'S A GHOUL TO DO: A GHOST HUNTER MYSTERY in April 2007 and the new Abby Cooper book CRIME SEEN in June 2007.

To read her blog, click here.

New Rules

We had a book donated to our library without a cover which we will not add to our collection because of that very fact. I did however, take it home and read it and laughed out loud several times, irritating my husband with, snicker*, "Listen to this, honey..."

The book was NEW RULES: POLITE MUSINGS FROM A TIMID OBSERVER by Bill Maher (Rodale, c2005, ISBN 1-59486-295-8) and it is just a book of funny musings (and not at all polite! Where did that come from?!?) on different topics written in encyclopedic form.

First sentence:
No more books by talk show hosts.

My three favorites:

Your hamburger can't be bigger than your ass. Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania is offering a new burger that weighs 15 pounds. One sign your portion may be too large: if one of the health risks is a back injury.

MISSION IMPLAUSIBLE (This has pictures of Scott Peterson, OJ Simpson, and Robert Blake)
High-profile murder suspects have to try harder. "I left my gun at the restaurant"? "I was golfing at night"? "I went fishing on Christmas Eve"? From now on, alibis for wife killing have to be at least as plausible as the argument for the Bush tax cuts.

No breast-feeding in public. Some women think it's okay to openly breast-feed in the restaurant while I'm trying to eat. They say it's healthy and natural. Well, so is my date's libido - but you don't see her blowing me next to the dessert cart.

I'm not the new me

FAT GIRLS UNITE! Okay, so I needed to yell that since I finished reading this book and I am soooo glad I got that outta my system!

I'M NOT THE NEW ME by Wendy McClure (Riverhead Books, c2005, ISBN 1-59448-074-5)is a memoir.

From the back cover:
This book is the author's odyssey - online and off - through the Valley of the Shadow of Her Really Big Ass.

Snort inserted here.

First sentence inserted here:
You need to be brave to tell it.

In a nutshell, this book is about weight loss and gain, love lost and gained, blogging and trying to live through it all to tell about it all.

Hilarious! And I now subscribe to her blog and here is one of herother websites.

Thanks for the laughs Wendy!

PS--Wendy lives here which is not too far from here.

A garden of vipers

Next up was Jack Kerley's A GARDEN OF VIPERS (Dutton, c2006, ISBN 0-525-94952-6).

It begins:
Are you sure he ran this way?

Set in Mobile, Alabama, Carson Ryder and Harry Nautilus are back in the third book in this series.

Also in this book is DeeDee Danbury and Clair Peltier from previous books and the Kincannon family, new to this story. The Kincannon's are scions of Mobile - with tons of money and a whack-job on the loose. People are dying right and left and Carson and Harry are stuck right in the middle of it all.

This was a good installment in the series even though I still liked THE HUNDREDTH MAN best. That being said, I look foward to the next book, THE BROKEN SOULS.

The memory keeper's daughter

First up in December for me was the breathtaking THE MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER by Kim Edwards (Penguin, c2006, ISBN 0-14-303714-5).
The book's first sentence is:
The snow started to fall several hours before her labor began.

The book begins in Lexington, Kentucky during a freak snowstorm in the winter of 1964, when David and Norah Henry give birth to twins: Paul and Phoebe. The first born, Paul, is healthy. The second, Phoebe, however, is born with Down's Syndrome and Dr. David Henry makes a split second decision that will change his life forever. He sends the inflicted child away with his nurse to a home and tells his wife the child died. When Caroline, the nurse, sees the condition of the place, she can't bear it and runs to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the child and raises her as her own.

This book is about bad decisions, memories, and secrets that can destroy. It's also about love, shame and redemption. Most importantly, it is a beautiful story that deserves to be read and I believe it will be a favorite among book discussion groups this year and years to come.

Pale Immortal

The last book I read in November, was PALE IMMORTAL by Anne Frasier (Onyx, c2006, ISBN 0-451-41224-9).

It begins:
The car moved through the night, the two occupants staring silently out the windshield as the road unfolded before them.

From her website:
Welcome to Tuonela, a sleepy Wisconsin town haunted by events of 100 years ago, when a man who may have been a vampire slaughtered the town's citizens and drank their blood. Now, another murderer is killing the most vulnerable...and draining their bodies of blood.

Evan Stroud lives in darkness. The pale prisoner of a strange disease that prevents him from ever seeing the light of day, he lives in tragic solitude, taunted for being a "vampire." When troubled teenager Graham Stroud appears on Evan's doorstep, claiming to be his long-lost son, Evan's uneasy solitude is shattered.

Having escaped Tuonela's mysterious pull for several years, Rachel Burton is now back in town, filling in as coroner. Even as she seeks to identify the killer, and uncover the source of the evil that seems to pervade the town, she is drawn to Evan by a power she's helpless to understand or resist....

As Graham is pulled deeper and deeper into Tuonela's depraved, vampire-obsessed underworld, Rachel and Evan team up to save him. But the force they are fighting is both powerful and elusive...and willing to take them to the very mouth of hell.

YEP...that describes this book completely! Loved it, loved it and I love that it works on so many levels. Horror, romance, police procedural, this book has it all and could really appeal to the masses. I hope it does because Anne Frasier should be read!

All the way, Bubbles

Next, I read BUBBLES ALL THE WAY by Sarah Strohmeyer (Onyx, c2006, ISBN 0-451-41227-3), sixth in the Bubble series.
Set in Lehigh, Pennysylvania, Bubbles is helping her best friend at the House of Beauty when a woman keels over, murder by latex. Next thing she knows, Bubbles is surrounded by dead people and she doesn't have time for it--she is in love with Steve Stiletto but is being blackmailed by her ex-husband, Chip "Dan" Ritter into remarriage and she has a wedding to plan.

It starts:
Debbie Shatsky was the kind of woman that I, Bubbles Yablonsky, loved to loathe.

This was a cute book, written in first person, but with a lot of characters to keep track of. However, if you've followed the rest of the books in the series, and I have, it wasn't bad.

I'm thinking this may be the end of the line for Bubbles. Does anybody know?


THANKSGIVING by Janet Evanovich (Harper Torch, c1988 & 2006, ISBN 0-06-059880-8) is one of those twelve reprints that she is doing.
Set in Williamsburg, Virginia, Megan Murphy, a potter and Patrick Hunter, a pediatrician are the main characters of this story.
It begins:
Megan Murphy scuffed through a layer of autumn leaves in her round-toed, black leather, gold-buckled shoes.

When a young woman abandons her baby with Dr. Hunter with nary an explanation, and in the presence of Megan Murphy, Megan agrees to help look after the child and quickly (and boy, do I mean quickly!) falls in love with both the baby and the good doctor. However, both have commitment issues and it has only been less than a week so true love may or may not prevail.
This book has a pesky rabbit unlike her other books with the quirky dogs, but you get the gist.
This was not my favorite Evanovich book, or even my favorite of her reprinted Seaswept books, although it was a cute, holiday read.

Good Grief

Well, as usual it's not that I've been remiss in my reading but just in my posting. I always say, "I gotta blog this book," and then it turns into, "I'll do it tomorrow," which inevitably ends up three weeks later. I'd love to hear from those who blog regularly how you keep yourself on track with everything else that goes on in life...

So, this read was GOOD GRIEF (Warner Books, c2004, ISBN 0-446-53304-1) by Lolly Winston and I absolutely loved it once I got beyond the strikingly parallel similarities it had to my own life.

The book begins in San Jose, California in the Silicon Valley but the main character, Sophie Stanton soon moves to Ashland, Oregon, where she finds love and baked goods, not necessarily in that order. Read this book just to drool over the description of savory cheesecakes.

The first sentence?
How can I be a widow?

This book is Lolly Winston's debut novel (had I not read that it was her debut novel, I never would have guessed) and it is written in first person (which I normally don't like but not in this case). Sophie Stanton is a 36-year-old woman who has just lost her husband, Ethan, to Hodgkin's disease, and she is dealing with her grief as best as she can, even if it means Oreos must be involved.

This book, at times - hilarious, at others - very depressing, is a very swift-moving book with great character development. Sophie was very real to me and I felt for her (and related to her being a 36-year-old newlywed myself) throughout her grieving process.
Bring some Kleenex.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Three Dog Life

A THREE DOG LIFE: A MEMOIR by Abigail Thomas (Harcourt, c2006, ISBN 0-15-101211-3) is a story of love, life, tragedy, and coping with a few furry friends thrown in for understanding.

The book starts out:
This is the only thing that stays the same: my husband got hurt.

On Monday, April 24, 2000, Abigail was called by the door watchman to inform her that her husband, Rich, had been struck by a car just down the street from their New York City home. As a result, he suffered a traumatic brain injury and Abigail must learn to do all of the aforementioned things which she does with the help of her dogs (my favorite is Rosie, half dachshund/half whippet).

Because I have this "thing" about learning something from every book I ever read, I was afraid that it would be a challenge with this book because:
A)It's a memoir; and
B)It's very short (182 pages)

However, I was thrilled to learn about "Outsider" Art. Outsider Art, a synonym for Art Brut (which translates as Raw Art or Rough Art) describes art created outside the boundaries of official culture; creator of the label, French artist Jean Dubuffet, focused particularly on art by insane asylum inmates.

Google it. It's an interesting topic.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Childhood memories

The other day I had an experience that flashed me to a book from my childhood. I was in the bathroom of a public building and a very important meeting was about to happen. As I stood in the bathroom, I began to wonder if I could hide out in there and if anybody would notice. I wondered what I could get away with if I wasn't discovered by anyone. And I knew, as an adult, that people would notice that I'd not emerged and come looking to kick me out.

As I went to regail my stealthy behavior to friends standing outside, I called it my FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER by E.L. Konigsburg (Aladdin Books, c1967, ISBN 0-689-71181-6)moment and I remembered reading that book as a child, which prompted me to check it out again and reread it, if only for nostalgia sake.
The book, the 1968 Newbury award winner, is about Claudia and Jamie Kincaid who run away to New York City and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art by hiding out in the bathroom until the museum is shut up for the night. While there, they learn about Angel, a statue that may or may not have been a work of Michelangelo. They strive to learn all about the statue and decide they must meet Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the donor, to learn the secret about Angel--who has some secrets of her own.

The first sentence of the book is from a letter written by Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler:

"To my lawyer, Saxonberg:

I can't say that I enjoyed your last visit.

On a local note and to read about our own artist, Paco Rosic, who created Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel with spray paint on the ceiling of a downtown business here in Waterloo, click here and here. His work is astounding and growing in popularity across the country.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fatal Instinct

I set out to read the entire Jessica Coran series after reading about one of them on a listserv to which I belong. This is the second and I liked this book better than the first.
FATAL INSTINCT by Robert W. Walker (Diamond, c1993, ISBN 1-55773-950-1) is set in New York City and Dr. Jessica Coran is working alongside Alan Rychman to help them solve the case of "The Claw" where women are being brutalized by a madman who is disemboweling them and feasting on their innards. Will Jessica be next?
Probably not, because I think I have ten books to go in the series, but I always love how reviewers end paragraphs with questions like that so I thought I'd try it.

This book starts out:

Each day that Gerald Ray Sims awoke in the Federal Penitentiary for the Criminally Insane, he was amazed at having survived another night locked up with Stainlype.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Motor Mouth

MOTOR MOUTH by Janet Evanovich (Harper Collins, c2006, ISBN 0-06-058403-3) is the second in the series featuring Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby, the mechanic, and Sam Hooker, NASCAR driver extraordinaire. This book also features, Beans, a food lovin' Saint Bernard.

Set in Miami, Florida, Barney and Hooker get into trouble when they steal a chip from a competitor's racecar that is worth a lot of money; it appears it is worth more than their lives!

Written in first person, this book is a very simplistic read with a lot of supporting characters (almost too many for my taste) and I like the Stephanie Plum series better, but that doesn't stop me from reading every book this woman writes. I'm an addict, what can I say?

The book begins:

Sometimes there's a decision to be made between winning fairly and cheating for a good cause.

That's a good first sentence that can relate to many things in life, although I am a 'winning fairly' kind-of-girl. I don't lie, cheat or steal--I sound like a country song. Could this be why I'm a country girl at heart?

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Angels Fall

Normally, I do not read Nora Roberts. Or Danielle Steel. Or Sandra Brown. Or any other author who writes a typical romance. I don't like them.
However, some of these authors have leaned lately towards the romantic suspense which I enjoy from time to time. Some I've outright loved and this one was one of the better ones I've read.
In Nora Roberts, ANGELS FALL, (GP Putnam's Sons, c2006, ISBN 0-399-15372-1)Reece Gilmore has come to Angel's Fist, Wyoming and decided to settle down, temporarily.

Reece was the sole survivor of a brutal massacre in Boston where she lived (side note: I lived in Weston, MA working as a nanny a lifetime ago, which is just about 15 minutes from Boston-- a very cool place to live) and worked as a chef.
She's been running from her nightmares when she lands in Wyoming and takes up a job as a cook in a local diner. While out one day she witnesses a murder and sinister things begin to happen. Is she going crazy or is someone out to gaslight her?
This was a good, quick read with enjoyable characters and a setting that seems exotic to my cornfields and small town politics, although Roberts' grasp on small town living was dead-on. Her love interest, Brody, a sexy, brooding author type is a definite plus as well.
The first sentence:
Reece Gilmore smoked through the tough knuckles of Angel's Fist in an overheating Chevy Cavalier.

I have her book, NORTHERN LIGHTS, on my shelf to read soon as well as the rest of the Eve Dallas books of the IN DEATH series.

Grave Sight

GRAVE SIGHT by Charlaine Harris (Berkley Prime Crime, c2005, ISBN 0-425-21289-0) is different from her other books, which isn't necessarily a bad thing...only different.
In this book, the first in a series, Harper Connelly and Tolliver Lang, step-siblings are in Sarne, Arkansas for a job. When Harper was a teenager, she was struck by lightning and now has the ability to 'feel' dead people. She and Tolliver travel cross-country as consultants using her abilities in a free-lance style.

This book has an interesting premise to it although I'm not sure yet how I feel entirely about the characters. It's also written in first person which has never been my favorite, however, I will read the second book before passing judgement.

On the other hand, her Sookie Stackhouse books are also written in first person, and I adore those, but if I remember correctly, it took me until book three of that series before I swore I would read each and every one forthcoming. So there may just be more to these characters that I'm not grasping, yet. We'll see how it goes.

This book begins:

The silent witnesses lie everywhere, passing from one form of matter to another, gradually becoming unrecognizable to their nearest and dearest.


STRIPPED by Brian Freeman (St. Martin's Minotaur, c2006, ISBN 978-0-312-34044-5) is the second book in his series featuring Jonathan Stride and Serena Dial.

In this book, Jonathan is working the streets of Las Vegas where he landed at the end of his last book. He is involved with Serena and working with Amanda Gillen, a cop on the force, who nobody seems to care for, but Jonathan likes her.

The story centers around the mysterious death of Amira Luz, a Vegas showgirl in the 1960's who was murdered. Someone is avenging her death, present day, and working his way up the ladder.
This book is told in four parts and I enjoyed the fluid writing although this book has a great many characters to keep track of. I preferred his first book, IMMORAL, better but only because of the Midwest element (and I'm a Midwest girl), however the supporting characters in this book were more real to me, so it's a draw. I'll just look forward to the next book to serve as the deciding the vote. I am glad I found Freeman upon his debut and I look forward to his next book, whether it be an installment in this series or something new.

This book starts out:

She slipped the robe off her shoulders, and the white silk gathered in a pod of accordion folds at her feet.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I am a participant in NaNoWriMo every year (except for last year when I was too lazy) and every year I have a great time with it.

I've actually only "won" it twice, in 2003 and 2004 but I've been participating since 2001.

For those who are not familiar with it, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and during the month of November, the goal is to author a novel with 50,000 words in the thirty days. And the motto? No problem.

I will probably not get a lot of reading done. But I will get a lot of writing done.

I'll post my progress occasionally, here.

Thursday, October 5, 2006


HURRICANE by Karen Harper (Mira, c2006, ISBN 0-7783-2307-2) blew me away!
Set in Gladesport, Florida near the Florida Keys and the Everglades, Julie Minton and Zack Brockman are in search of their teenaged children who went missing while on a Jet Ski ride. Normally there'd be no problem, but a hurricane is moving in...and fast.

Unfortunately, evidence leads the two to suspect foul play and as the hurricane moves closer and closer, it becomes a race against the clock and Mother Nature.

It starts with a radio broadcast:

All right, heads up everybody out there on this lovely morning.

This book was fast moving and I think the setting had everything to do with that. The tension that the hurricane caused and the fight to find their children in time caused for great suspense, despite the ubiquitous romance that popped up right in the middle of the ratrace. This was a very fun book to read and I am excited (and dismayed!) that I have found yet another author of whom I will be reading more. How tall can a stack get before it topples and buries a person? Are there any mysteries written about a body found buried under books?

The Perfect Family

THE PERFECT FAMILY by Carla Cassidy (Signet Eclipse, c2005, ISBN 0-451-21390-4) surprised me.

Set in Cass Creek, Missouri (a suburb of Kansas City) Marissa Jamison is trying to piece her life back together. A little over a year ago her husband, a member of the local fire department, was run down in a grocery store parking lot after stopping to get some milk. Now, raising two kids alone, Marissa thinks things are getting back on track when Alex Kincaid, her highschool sweetheart, comes back inter her life.

And then the "Gift Bow Killer" strikes and the victims all relate to Marissa somehow. Someone wants to be a part of Marissa's life and it looks like they will stop at nothing to make--the perfect family.

This book surprised because I found it in the trunk of my car, which is not uncommon but I think it jumped to the top of a stack or something because I don't recall buying it, putting it there, nothing. I was meeting my husband for lunch and he was on a call and told me it'd be a while so I went looking for something to read while I waited at the station and found this book in the corner of my trunk by an author I'd never heard of before let alone read, but, it had a purple cover and I like purple. So, I picked it up and by the time my husband called to cancel lunch, I had read 150 pages of it and didn't want to put it down. It had really great timing with the suspense and I will definitely search out more books by this author. I will recommend this book to my patrons who enjoy Mariah Stewart and Allison Brennen as I saw several similarities.

The first sentence:

It was a perfect evening.


SMITTEN by Janet Evanovich (Harper Torch, c1990 and 2006, ISBN 0-06-059887-5) is a re-release of one of her earlier books.

Lizabeth Kane is living in Chase Mills, Pennsylvania and takes a job working for Matt Hallahan with his construction company, even though she knows absolutely nothing about construction. Her house is in need of much repair, her Aunt Elise Hawkins (the prototype for Grandma Mazur) has come to watch over her two boys for the summer and there's a flasher streaking thru the neighborhood and has his sights (and other body parts) aimed at Lizabeth while she has her sights on Matt.

This book was good for a quick, typical fluffy read; it was very entertaining but had little substance. I had to actually peruse it before writing up my review in the book that I keep because from the time I finished it and went to jot down my thoughts about it, I had forgotten all of the key elements to the plot.

However, as I said, it was typical for her re-releases (not the best of hers I've read but definitely better than some other authors I've tried)and since she is my guilty pleasure, I enjoyed myself while in between the covers of this book.

The first sentence:

When Lizabeth Kane was five years old she wanted to grow up to be a fairy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Killer Instinct

I was a virgin to Robert W. Walker's books but that's not a bad thing because now I'm not any longer and I really enjoyed myself. A LOT.

KILLER INSTINCT (Diamond Books, c1992, ISBN 1-55773-743-6)is the first book in Walker's Jessica Coran series. Dr. Jessica Coran is an FBI medical examiner, brought into a case by Otto Boutine, featuring a killer who is draining his victims of their blood in vampire-like fashion across the Midwest.

The book begins:

Something akin to a fetid spirit moved past the sheriff and his deputy when the warped cabin door creaked open, revealing a black crypt.

For me, this was a fast-paced story with interesting characters and a good, solid plot. The only thing I didn't care for was Walker's overabundant use of ellipses (you know...the dot dot dot...thing) which distracted me to a great degree but I continued on to enjoy the story, trying to ignore the punctuation until I was finished with the reading. Sometimes I succeeded...sometimes not.
I loved that the book featured the Midwest (Wisconsin, Iowa City, IA and Chicago, IL)since this is where I make my home. I always find it refreshing to see in print a book that isn't set in New York, California, Florida or Texas.
I have given the author the benefit of the doubt as this book was published fourteen years ago and writing styles change as an author continues with his/her craft. Because of that, I will read the next book in the series because I truly enjoyed Dr. Coran's story.
She's the kind of gal with which I'd get together to drink coffee and discuss disembowelments. That's my kind of girl.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Karin Slaughter is darker, bleaker and better with this stand-alone, TRIPTYCH (Delacorte Press, c2006, ISBN 978-0-385-33946-9), in my opinion.
The book begins:

Detective Michael Ormewood listened to the football game on the radio as he drove down DeKalb Avenue toward Grady Homes.

John Shelley is newly paroled from prison after doing a stint of 25 years after his conviction for the rape and murder of 15-year-old Mary Alice Finney. But there's a problem for John: similar murders are occuring and the similarities could land John back to prison, someplace he does not what to go.

Angie Polaski works undercover for the Vice Squad and meets John while working the streets and Will Trent is an agent with the GBI,(Georgia Bureau of Investigation) brought in to work on the cases in question.
The three make up the triptych of the story, their lives paralleling each others in more ways than one.

Okay, so this book is not for the weak-stomached. I have written before that I thought I was jaded to violence in books, grit and gore, that nothing seemed to bother me anymore in the books I read.

This book bothered me. On several levels. And there was one scene...I was reading on the couch and my jaw literally dropped because the revelation sucker-punched me right in the head and I had to read it again just to make sure I read it correctly. And then I read it one more time, just to make sure.

This book is not recommended for people who won't read about crimes against women or crimes against children and I wouldn't call the graphic violence gratuitous, but be warned that there is quite a bit of it. I would recommend it however, to everyone else. Even those people who really like her Grant County series.
Just leave a light on for this one.

Snow Blind

SNOW BLIND is the latest book by PJ Tracy (GP Putnam, c2006, ISBN 0-399-15339-6) and wowzer, this book, the 4th in the Monkeewrench series, is one zinger of a book.

Set in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it starts with the discovery of two police officers murdered and rolled up into snowmen during a snowman building contest. When another cop is found in the same fashion several towns away it becomes apparent that something is afoot. Grace McBride and the rest of the Monkeewrench gang team up with their computer sleuthing skills to aid Leo Magozzi, Gino Rolseth and Iris Rikker, the new sheriff to Dundas County, by trying to find a common denominator to the slain police officers before it becomes too late.

The book begins:

They had to sit for a time after dragging the body so far in the heat-two young women in sleeveless summer dresses, hugging their knees on the hillside while the hot wind danced in their hair and crept up their skirts and a dead man lay behind them.

There are many positives about this book including the break-neck pacing and the mystery wrapped up in a mystery. If there was anything negative to be said about this book, it would be that the Monkeewrench only plays a small part in this book as opposed to the others. If you're looking for a Monkeewrench book, this isn't it. But if you're looking for a great read, check this one out.

Sleeping with fear

Well, I've been reading them one right after another.

First up, is SLEEPING WITH FEAR by Kay Hooper (Bantam, c2006, ISBN 0-553-80318-1). Set in Hazard County, Opal Island off of South Carolina, Riley Crane, a clairvoyant, wakes up one morning with no memories of the past weeks and her clairvoyance lost to her as well. Riley was on assignment to investigate occult activity when a bloody murder occurs. Her lover and local DA, Ash Prescott plays a significant role in the book as well and I wouldn't be suprised if we saw him again.
This book was the third book in Hooper's FEAR trilogy, another Bishop FBI psychic book which I look forward to each and every time.
This book, although quick paced and high in suspense took me a while to read but I think my at-the-time upcoming wedding had a lot to do with that. I anticipate Hooper's next endeavor as usual.

It begins:

Even before she opened her eyes, Riley Crane was aware of two things.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Gone to the chapel

Okay, so it's been almost a month since I've posted but as you can see, I've got a very good reason...I married my long-time love on August 19th and life is just starting to settle down after post-wedding stuff.

I've read a couple of books since my last post; I just haven't had the time to write my thoughts about them but I promise that it is one of my top priorities and I look to flood my blog (Ha!) with posts in the upcoming couple of days.

Please don't give up on me. I've not given up on any of my readers. I've just been preoccupied for the past couple of months but now my life will get back to normal.

Weddings are crazy...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Copycat killin'

The book, COPYCAT by Erica Spindler (Mira, c2006, ISBN 0-7783-2312-9) was a good escapist read while I prepare for my wedding happening this Saturday. I tried reading THE GIRLS WHO WENT AWAY but it was just to intense for me to finish, what with everything going on in my brain as the countdown continues. It is waiting for me until after my wedding is complete.

COPYCAT'S blurb:
Five years ago, three young victims were found dead, posed like little angels. There were no witnesses. Strangely clean scenes. The Sleeping Angel Killer called his despicable acts "the perfect crimes."

The case immobilized the close-knit community of Rockford, Illinois, and nearly destroyed homicide detective Kitt Lundgren's career—and her life. During the investigation, Kitt tragically lost her own child to illness. She was devastated by the death of her daughter; and the final blow was the crushing realization that she let the killer get away.

Familiar with every nuance of the cold case file, Kitt knows there's something different about this new rash of killings—a tiny variation that opens terrifying new possibilities. Is the Sleeping Angel Killer really back, or is a copycat killer re-creating the original "perfect crimes"?

But Kitt has no authority in this investigation. Young, ambitious detective Mary Catherine Riggio is heading up the Sleeping Angel Killer case. M.C. knows that Kitt wants back in and she's smart enough to realize that Kitt's obsession with the case has given the detective an insight that M.C. lacks. But M.C., intent on proving herself, fears Kitt will blow the investigation—again.

Then Kitt starts receiving disturbing phone calls. It's him—the Sleeping Angel Killer—and he makes Kitt an unthinkable offer: help in finding his copycat. Forced to rely on each other, Kitt and M.C. must decide whether to place their trust in a Murderer risk becoming victims of a fiend who has taken the art of the perfect murder to horrific new heights.

The first sentence:
The girl's hair looked silky.

My thoughts:
This was a good installment from Spindler. I always recommend her to library patrons who like MH Clark, Carlene Thompson and Wendy Corsi Staub. This book kept me guessing right up until the end and caught me by surprise with the killer, however I was a little disturbed by some of the actions taken by both main police officers in this book but then I got over it. It could be just my frame of mind.

This book is not recommended for people who don't like violence against children books.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Skinny bitch

I finished SKINNY BITCH by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin (Running Press, c2005, ISBN 0-7624-2493-1) this afternoon after reading the whole thing in small bites over the course of a month.

Honestly, it was not what I expected.

I thought I was getting a book with humorous diet tips. This book included chapters about slaughterhouses, the government's lies that are effecting your weight, and A LOT of vegan lifestyle information, which I am not and never aspire to be, no matter how much weight I'd like to lose. I like cheese too much. (I know, I's all about the casein.)

However, just because it wasn't what I was looking for in a book, I did finish it and years ago I made it a point to bring something away from every book I read. With this book, I copied down some of the recommended reading suggestions from the end of the book. In addition, my favorite chapter was "Don't be a pussy" where the girls talk about vice items which I struggle with regularly and sometimes succumb to and sometimes not.

Their advice with these diet smashers was this:
         If you decide to partake in a vice item [after thirty days], it cannot be out of weakness or for lack of preparation. You should never be somewhere and just say, "Fuck it." It should be a calculated, scheduled, premeditated choice. The portion should be decided on beforehand, should be smaller that you would normally have had, and served on a plate.

That's pretty sound advice and one that I will take on my future journey with weight loss. (Down 48 pounds since February 2006.)

I probably could have appreciated this book more if it had been written by someone other than a model agent and former model. For example, maybe by someone who was ever larger than a size 14. But then, that's just me. Form your own opinions.

This book will not sit well with my readers who do not appreciate cuss words in their readings.

The first line of the book:


No really, that is the first sentence...

Have a good weekend and happy reading!

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Who wants tetnus?

J.A. Konrath has penned the third novel in the Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels series, RUSTY NAIL (Hyperion, c2006, ISBN 1-4013-0088-X) and it was a fun read.

Jack Daniels in a lieutenant with the police department in Chicago, Illinois and has had some tough years dealing with a psychotic named "The Gingerbread Man." This time around, Jack receives some snuff films that look like the work of the Gingerbread Man but she knows it couldn't be him. No, this time it's even worse.

Jack's partner, Herb Benedict is here along with her ex-partner and thorn-in-the-side Harry McGlade. Harry is getting married to Holly Frakes, a bombshell who is good with a gun and totally misunderstood.

Although there were some highly improbable moments, quite a bit of graphic (and some may say gratuitous, but not me!) violence and I figured out who the bad guy was right away, it's Konrath's killer humor that will always have me coming back for another round of Jack!

It starts:

The sound begins.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Out of sight

Okay. So, I loved this book!

NO END IN SIGHT: MY LIFE AS AN IDITAROD RACER by Rachael Scdoris and Rick Steber (St. Martin's Press, c2006, ISBN 0-312-35273-5) blew me away and I'll tell you why in a minute.

First things first. The book starts:

I am a sled dog racer.

Phew! Now that I got that taken care of, I can tell you about Rachael. She was diagnosed with congenital achromatopsia at a young age which caused her legal blindness. But let me tell you, this girl didn't let that get her down. She got up and went. Whereever she could. Her big thing was she wanted to race sled dogs. Her father raised them, she helped with the young pups and she wanted to race them. And her father finally let her. At the age of 11, her father hooked up a sled to two sled dogs and allowed her to run a one-mile course. The rest is history.

This book follows her trials both on and off the racing circuit. A lot of it focuses on her blindness and the politics she had to contend with regarding her blindness. And although being blind is not WHO Rachael is, but a facet of her overall makeup, the adversity she faced was hard to comprehend at times. Mind you, these are prejudices she faced just in this decade.

Rachael's goal was to run the Iditarod. Did she make it? You'll have to read more.

*****Click here if you have to know! After reading the book, I did!


In Norma Howe's THE ADVENTURES OF BLUE AVENGER (Harper Tempest, c1999, ISBN 0-06-447225-6), David Schumacher is living his life in Oakland, California. On his 16th birthday, he changes his name to Blue Avenger and things begin to happen that impact his life, like his association with Omaha Nebraska Brown, the girl in school that he likes and the results to his quest for a perfect, weepless merigue for his lemon meringue pie.

According to her website, this is the first book in a trilogy. I may search out the remaining books when I have some free time but they aren't on my 'must read now!' list.

The book begins:

Scientists say that in human males, a single seminal emission contains something in the neighborhood of 300 million spermatazoa.

An interesting first sentence for a book geared toward the tweenagers...although definitely a hook!

Friday, July 14, 2006

A hidden gem


I finally found a YA book/series that I am excited about.

Sunday, I read AMONG THE HIDDEN by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Aladdin Paperbacks, c1998, ISBN 0-689-82475-0) and was so into it I was disappointed that I had not checked out the rest of the series to read over my days off. This was the YA book I was looking for...the one that sparked the same kind of passion that I read in reviews, mentioned a couple of posts back.

In this book, the first in a sequence, Luke Garner is a shadow child or third born in a world where it is illegal to have more than two children. His family lives on a farm and Luke had always had a certain amount of freedom until the woods around his property are taken down to make room for housing for 'the barons', richest of the rich. Now his family is in constant worry that the population police will find him out which could result in his death.
In the book he meets Jen Talbot, another shadow child belonging to one of the Baron families and they become friends. Her passion is a protest that she is waging against the President, fighting for the right that allows third children to exist. Along the way, Luke learns many things about his government, family, friendship and himself.

I absolutely adored this book and I look forward to reading the rest in the series. I was surprised because, again, this has some futuristic, science fiction-type overtones and I DON'T LIKE SCIENCE FICTION!

Is it possible my reading tastes are changing?
Do your reading tastes change along with your tastebuds?

It starts:

He saw the first tree shudder and fall, far off in the distance.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Rookie Club

The ROOKIE CLUB (New American Library, c2006, ISBN 978-0-7394-6829-6) is the newest book by Danielle Girard.

It starts out:

Emily Osbourne stepped out of the darkened sex crimes department and closed the door behind her.

Set in San Francisco, the Rookie Club is a group founded 15 years prior by a group of rookie women police officers struggling to gain the respect of their male counterparts on the department. The main character, Jamie Vail, was one of those founding members. Now, female officers are being brutally attacked and raped and Jamie, who is an inspector for the Sex Crimes division, is working the cases.

The book was a quick read for me and the only thing that I didn't like was the mounting number of characters in the book. They just continued to be introduced and by the time I was to page 250, I was having to go back to refresh my mind on who was who. There were also several "main" characters because there were several different storylines to keep track of. This little picadillo of mine, however, will not keep me from reading Girard's future books.

I recommend her to people looking for read-alikes for Mary Higgins Clark but I do not recommend this book to readers who shy from books containing graphic acts of violence against women.

Sharp as a tack

Janet Evanovich's newest book, 12 SHARP (St. Martin's Press, c2006, ISBN 978-01-312-34948-6) starts out innocently enough:

When I was twelve years old I accidently substituted salt for sugar in a cake recipe.

In this, the twelth installment of the Stephanie Plum series, havoc is happening everywhere in the Burg (just a stone's throw from Trenton, New Jersey).

Someone is posing as Ranger and wants to fill his shoes. His daughter has been kidnapped and the hunt is on. Stephanie is still battling her heart and loins over the two men in her life and things aren't looking good but they sure are feeling good. Lulu joins a band with Sally Sweet and it's chaos. Stiva's funeral home was bought by two unsuspecting individuals who have no idea what they're in for and grandma, as usual is up to no good. Joyce Bernhardt is back and a new guy, Melvin Pickles, the perv, is introduced.

Ahh, to have Stephanie's life. This was your typical Evanovich romp and now I've got to wait another year for 13.

It just isn't fair!

For those of you who read the series, out of curiosity are you a 'Ranger Babe' or 'Morelli Girl'?

Friday, June 30, 2006


In the fourth book of Mary Janice Davidson's undead series, UNDEAD AND UNRETURNABLE (Berkley, c2005, ISBN 0-425-21081-2) 'tis the season for madness and mayhem.

Betsy Taylor and Eric Sinclair, both undead, are planning their wedding and Betsy is trying not to go crazy while dealing with her role as Queen of the vampires, her stepsister Laura (daughter of the Devil), and a gnat of ghost who needs help stopping her murderer, the Driveway Killer.

It starts with a clip from a newspaper:

From the Saint Paul Pioneer Press

December 15, 2005

Third woman found slain.

These books are simplistic, campy and oh, so much fun. Set in the Twin Cities, they are much lighter than say, the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.

I'm currently reading Janet Evanovich's latest, 12 SHARP, which, unlike the last three books I've read, starts out with a complete sentence. Novel idea!

Out of this world

MJ Rose's newest book THE VENUS FIX (Mira Books, c2006, ISBN 0-778-32317-X) is the third book in the Dr. Morgan Snow Butterfield Institute series. Set in New York City, Dr. Snow is once again treating patients, this time those who are addicted to Internet Webcam porn. When the women being watched start dying online it's only a matter a time before it comes full circle to Morgan and her patients. Once again, Noah Jordain is the cop doing the investigating and he's trying to get even closer personally to Morgan - a physician bound by a law who can't tell him a thing. Even if it endangers her life.

For starters, the beginning of a letter from the killer:


After all these months, I'm willing to succeed.

This was my favorite thus far, although I've enjoyed all of her Morgan Snow books. I confess I've yet to read any of her others. Morgan is such a 'real' character for me and I enjoy the relationships that she has in the books whether they be with Noah, Nina or her daughter, Dulcie. Truthfully, I never imagined I'd enjoy a series with a main character as a sex therapist because I don't like romance stories which involve a lot of sex and reading about sex bores me, so I thought there'd be a lot of that to contend with but nope...not the case at all and MJ Rose has become one of my "must-read" authors over the years and not because she signs and sends me the books before they are published, although I truly appreciate it. This book comes out tomorrow. Look for it at a bookseller near you. Also, check this out!

Don't you dare read this...oh, okay

In the book for young adults DON'T YOU DARE READ THIS, MRS. DUNPHREY by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon Pulse, c1996, ISBN 0-689-87102-3) Tish Bonner, a 16-year-old student is And Tish's life sucks! When Tish is assigned to write in a journal in Mrs. Dunphrey's class. The teacher has promised that any entries they mark as DO NOT READ will be honored with that and when Tish's life goes downhill her journal becomes her closest confidante.

The entire book is written in journal form starting with:

August 28

All right, Mrs. Dunphrey, you said we had to do these journals, but if we wanted to write something personal and private we could mark an entry, "Do not read."

This has probably been my most favorite YA read to date. I'm still having a hard time finding that 'perfect' young adult book and I truly feel that it's because I started reading novels at such a young age (Stephen King, age 9). I read about others who just LOVE YA books.

What am I missing?

Am I trying too hard?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Shelf Life

The book SHELF LIFE: STORIES BY THE BOOK (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c 2003, ISBN 0-689-84180-9) is a book edited by Gary Paulsen and contains short stories, each of which has the lives of young people in different circumstances changed by their encounters with books.

My favorite of the ten stories was FOLLOW THE WATER by Jennifer L. Holm which surprised me as it's set on Mars and you know me and science fiction/fantasy...

The first sentence:

I'm floating in water.

I have yet to find a young adult book that really grabs hold of me and won't let go. I think that this is probably why I was such a mature reader as a child (I did read all of the Trixie Belden mysteries but I read my first Stephen King novel at age nine and never looked back!)

I'm reading THE VENUS FIX by MJ Rose right now but next I'm going to attempt a couple of Margaret Peterson Haddix's books.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Inside Out

Next, I read INSIDE OUT by Terry Trueman (Harper Collins, c2003, ISBN 0-06-447376-7), a young adult book about schizophrenia.
Set in Spokane, Washington at the Sunshine Espresso, Zach Wahhsted is one of 9 patrons when "Stormy" and "Frosty" aka Alan and Joey Mender hold the restaurant up. Only problem is...Zach has adolescent onset schizophrenia and the hold-up is making him late for his medication.

The story jumped around telling the story from Zach's viewpoint with blips from his doctor and mother and occasionally Rat and Dirtbag, the voices in his head.

I found this to be a touching, sometimes funny story with a bittersweet look at mental disorders. I enjoyed this book but liked STUCK IN NEUTRAL by Trueman better.
The foul language would have me recommending this book to ages thirteen and up.
The first sentence:

"You're worthless," Dirtbag says.

The Kill

I've been late in posting my most recent reads because I've been so busy with wedding preparations.

First, I read THE KILL by Allison Brennan (Ballantine Books, c2006, ISBN 0-345-48523-8), the third book in her trilogy.

In this book, Olivia St. Martin is tormented by the kidnapping and death of her sister 34 years ago. Present time, the man Olivia helped send to prison has been released because DNA evidence proved that he was not the man responsible for the death of Olivia's sister. When Olivia starts piecing together similar crimes, it looks like her sister's killer is still out there and Olivia feels responsible for this so she goes to Seattle where the "Seattle Slayer" is still killing, unofficially, to offer her knowledge and expertise. Zach Martin is the hunky detective that Olivia hooks up with in Seattle, Washington.

Once again, Brennan provides us with a solid, romantic suspense book with good likeable characters, a creepy bad guy and quick pacing. This book is not for people who detest books with children characters that are brutalized in one form or another. I know several readers who feel strongly about this and feel that I should include a warning to my own readers.

I've read all three books in this series and imagine I'll read the next trilogy when it's complete.

The first sentence:

Livie tilted her head toward the late-afternoon sky and frowned, wrapping her arms around her stomach.

Up next are two young adult books...

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

A perfect match (again!)

Well, as I mentioned yesterday, I was going to read PERFECT MATCH by Jodi Picoult (Atria Books, c2002, ISBN 0-7434-1872-7)but when I got about 20 pages in, I thought to myself, I think I've read is very familiar. So I went back to my book logs and sure enough, I read this book back in 2002. Unfortunately, it was before I kept detailed accounts of my books read but I skimmed through the book as a refresher and looked at my notes pertaining to this book. It said, "EXCELLENT NOVEL, THE PERFECT GAME, MATCH and POINT FOR PICOULT." And I gave it 4 1/2 stars out of 5. I'm guessing I really liked it.

The first sentence is:

When the monster finally came through the door, he was wearing a mask.

In Biddeford, Maine Nina Frost works as an assistant district attorney prosecuting child molesters. She's seen first hand how the system often fails these children and must come to grip with this when her own child, her miracle child, is rendered mute and it comes out that he too was a victim of sexual molestation. How far will a mother go to protect her child?
Read this book and find out.

Picoult weaves her magic again and again...

Monday, June 5, 2006

Under the Knife

Today's finish was UNDER THE KNIFE by Tess Gerritsen (Mira, c1990, ISBN 1-55166-611-1), one of her older books that I had not read and came across so I picked it up.
First things first, the first sentence:
Dear God, how the past comes back to haunt us.

So my take on the book? Well, you can definitely tell it was one of her first books and her writing has improved greatly over the past 16 years. There were a couple of times that I wanted to pitch the book across the room but I kept reading.
Dr. Kate Chesne, an anesthesiologist in Honolulu, Hawaii, is sued for malpractice when a patient and coworker dies under her care. David Ransom is the attorney representing the plaintiffs. He's a lawyer with a hard-on for doctors and is determined to bring her down. But then it appears there is a conspiracy of sorts, murders are rackin' up and in just three days time he believes her, becomes her protector and they fall in love, argh!

So much of it was just so implausible, but I kept reminding myself that this was one her first books, but I'm not sure that I want to revisit any of the other 'firsts' that I've missed.

I just started reading PERFECT MATCH by Jodi Picoult. It's looking very promising...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Glory Be

The second book in JD Robb's fantastic IN DEATH series is GLORY IN DEATH (Berkley Books, c1995, ISBN 0-425-15098-4) and I enjoyed it as much as the first, Naked in Death.

The year is 2058 in New York and Lieutenant Eve Dallas is on the trail of a murderer. Cicely Towers, a prominent prosecuting attorney, is found in a seedy part of town with her throat slashed. Then an upcoming actress is found murdered, same MO. The only problem Eve is having is that both victims link to her love interest, Roarke, and that is never a good thing.

Eventually the killer is revealed and it had kind of a Scooby Doo moment for me (A-ha! So you're the killer! Wink! Wink!) but I enjoyed the book nonetheless.

I think my favorite aspect of these books is Eve Dallas. She is one tough character, although Roarke continues to try, and sometimes succeeds, to bring out her softer side. I like that she is cold and indifferent but she goes to bat 100% for her victims, a quality I find very endearing in a futuristic cop. I'll be reading the rest of this series.

It starts:

The dead were her business.

Next up for me are an older book by Tess Gerritsen, UNDER THE KNIFE and Jodi Picoult's PERFECT MATCH.
Stay tuned...

The Hunt

THE HUNT by Allison Brennan(Ballantine Books, c2006, ISBN 0-345-48024-4) is the second book in her fast-paced trilogy.

In this book, set in Gallatin County and Bozeman, Montana, Miranda Moore must come face to face with her bogeyman. Twelve years earlier Miranda survived the attack of the Bozeman Butcher, serial killer. She has spent the past decade doing search and rescue work, especially for victims of the Butcher, always hoping to come face to face with her long-time tormentor.

When another woman goes missing, the FBI comes in. The lead investigator, Quinn Peterson, was once Miranda's love but he broke her heart. Can she let bygones be bygones or will Quinn break her heart again and will the Butcher finish off the one woman he couldn't kill?

First sentence:

"I don't want to die."

Saturday, May 20, 2006


What happens when your mouth runs faster than your brain?

Well, in David Lubar's book, PUNISHED (c2006, Darby Creek Publishing, ISBN 1-58196-042-5) Logan, the main character finds out it's not always good.

This was another book written in first person that I didn't mind. Logan and his best friend Benedict are engaged in a game of tag in the library when Logan runs smack into a mysterious man. When he doesn't show enough remorse, the man "punishes" him by causing him to speak only in puns. Only by finding seven examples each of oxymorons, anagrams and palindromes in the time frame allotted will fix the curse.

The book starts:

"This is a terrible idea," I told Benedict as we walked up the stone steps toward the huge wooden door.

This is a cute book for kids ages 9 and up, appealing strongly to my love for the English language.

Open and Shut

This is the book I finished last weekend. Written by David Rosenfelt,(c2002, Warner Books, ISBN 0-89296-748-X), it was a wonderful debut book and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to read it!

Set in Paterson, New Jersey, Andy Carpenter is a defense attorney who takes on an appeals case for Willie Miller, the man Andy's father put in prison seven years earlier. After his father dies abruptly, Andy finds out about some dirty little secrets that make his father's past and Andy's present collide in a maelstrom of dirty money, death threats, attempts and resolutions.

The first sentence:

The Lincoln Tunnel is a scary place.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed about this book was that I liked the majority of his chapters' first sentences. And although written in first person, which I typically avoid, this book was refreshingly different. Andy Carpenter is a sarcastic attorney in an affable sort of way. He's quick witted with one liners that had me chuckling, sometimes snorting with guffaws.
OPEN AND SHUT was a quick read and I'm looking forward to more of David Rosenfelt's work.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Totally Joe

This past Friday, I finished reading TOTALLY JOE by James Howe (c2005, Ginee Seo Books, ISBN 0-689-83957-X), a wonderful book for young adults.
For Joe Bunch, growing up in Paintbrush Falls, New York can really blow. When a school project is assigned, to write an alphabiography, the story of his life from A to Z, Joe takes on the task by writing about friendship, family, school, disappointments and joys, and growing up and coming out as a gay teen in a small town. It has great supporting characters like Joe's Aunt Pam who is totally cool with Joe being gay and actually gives him his first gay pride things (I snicker here--Like a shirt to sleep in that says "I'm not gay but my boyfriend is.") and some very understanding friends like Addie, Skeezie and Bobby (especially for a small town--unlike one I've ever seen, but I imagine they exist.)

The book starts out with a letter to the teacher assigning this:

Dear Mr. Daly,

       Okay, I admit it.

Little Boy Blue Come Blow Your Horn

One of my most recent reads was Mary Higgins Clark's newest, TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE (c2006, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-7432-6490-8). It was a typical MHC book, fast moving yet predictable. Set in Danbury, CT and Cape Cod, the book starts out with the kidnapping of two twin girls. When only one of them is returned after the ransom is paid the worst is assumed. But mommies knows best and with a little twin telepathy from the returned, they embark to find the other missing girl.

It starts out:

"Hold on a minute, Rob, I think one of the twins is crying."

Dr. Einstein, I presume?

Michael Paterniti's book, DRIVING MR. ALBERT: A TRIP ACROSS AMERICA WITH EINSTEIN'S BRAIN (c2000, The Dial Press, ISBN 0-385-33300-5) was extremely interesting subject material albeit a little dry in parts.
The author volunteers to chauffer the pathologist, Thomas Harvey, who autopsied Einstein and then kept his brain for over 40 years in a Tupperware container in his house, across country from New Jersey to California to meet Einstein's granddaughter. In the trunk of a Buick, stowed away in a duffel bag, Einstein makes the cross country journey with these two men. Part travelogue, part biography of Albert Einstein, part autobiograpy and part roadtrip express, this book gave me some laughs, some yawns, but rarely a dull moment.

First sentence:

I thought the road trip would be a caper.