Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Duchess by Night / Eloisa James 384 p.

Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, has been rusticating in the country, dispensing her version of justice to the people of her county seat.  Widowed two years before when her husband committed suicide, she is ready for a change.  Opportunity is presented when her friend Isadore decides to lure her absent husband home (see When the Duke Returns) by visiting an scandalous house party hosted by Lord Justinian Strange.  Two noble women cannot just go alone, so Harriet becomes Harry, a young mama-protected cousin of Villiers, (see Duke of Her Own). Strange find himself strangely attracted to Harry.  And Harry finds herself attracted to him too.  But with the Harry's male persona, Strange is fighting it.  James is wonderful at weaving in characters from her other books.
3rd in the Desperate duchesses series.
Duchess by Night / Eloisa James 384 p.
If you like Mary Balogh, try Eloisa James. For the Desperate duchesses series start with Desperate duchesses.

Affair before Christmas / Eloisa James 400 p.

Four years after a romantic marriage, Perdita and her husband, the Duke of Fletcher, split.  She moves in with her friend Jemma, the Duchess of Beaumont.  Poppy feels Fletch has fallen out of love with her and is turning to a mistress.  She reflects that perhaps the problem may be more with her as her mother pushed her to marry a duke.  She is amazing naive, insecure, with a dominating mother full of idea about marital relations that she never hesitates to proclaim to Poppy.  No wonder Poppy has bedroom trouble.  Fletch realizes he misses Poppy and that he still loves her and is willing to compromise to get Poppy back and his mother-in-law out of his house.

2nd in James' Desperate duchesses series.
Readers of Mary Balogh's historical romances may enjoy these by Eloisa James
Affair before Christmas / Eloisa James 400 p.

Popular: Vintage Wisdom For a Modern Geek / Maya Van Wagenen / 259 Pages

I had read an except from this book many months ago and was intrigued by what this middle school girl was doing. When the book was nominated for the Truman book award, I had to read it. She found a book about being popular that her dad bought at a thrift store. The book was written in the 1950s to help young girls be popular. Maya's mom gave her the idea that she should try the ideas in her own life. Each month she used information from a different chapter to try to change her life. It was an interesting experiment, and Maya learned a lot about herself and her classmates.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Girls/Emma Cline/355 pgs.

In her debut novel, Emma Cline creates a novel reminiscent of the Charles Manson cult in the late 1960s. Evie Boyd, 14 years old,  bored, and with minimal parental supervision, becomes part of a culture of young men and women living on a ranch in northern California. The head of the ranch, Russell, basically brainwashes the girls to do his bidding. It's a time of free love, hippies, drugs, and anything anti-establishment. Anyone familiar with the Charles Manson cult will see the similarities almost from the start of the novel. Recommended.

Scrapbook of Secrets / Mollie Cox Bryan / 293 pages

I picked this book up from the paperback section of the library to take on vacation. It was a good beach read. It is the first in a series. I like mysteries, and I like to scrapbook, so I tried it out. The book centers around a group of women from a small town who get together once a week to scrapbook. When there is a murder in their town, they begin piecing together what may have happened, trying to solve the crime. Detectives, they are not. It was an easy, fun read for vacation.

14th Deadly Sin / James Patterson / 349 pages

This novel keeps you guessing as to whether or not the group committing violet crimes are part of the San Francisco Police Department. The video capturing the crimes show the assailants with SFPD windbreakers, but are they really part of the police department? This installment of the Women's Murder Club mysteries moved more slowly than some of the others in the series.

Unlucky 13 / James Patterson / 384 Pages

I'm catching up on the Women's Murder Club books by James Patterson. This is one of his better books in this series. There are several mysteries going on at once, which I like. The main crime centers around a series of people exploding because there have been bombs put into restaurant food. As Lindsey Boxer is working to solve this crime, her friend is on a cruise where she is involved in a pirate-type situation. Although, I feel many of Patterson's books mirror one another, I still enjoy the fast mystery read.

Girls on Fire/ Robin Wasserman/ 356 pages

Finally, I completed a book again!  Gotta say I was a little disappointed it was this one.  I couldn't put it down, because I wanted to know what happened.  But, this is a book for an "If you liked The Diner by Herman Koch" list.  Only this time the teens are girls and not boys. I'm not sure what else to say.  If you like a mystery and don't mind some gritty scenes, then go for it, because you will want to figure out how everything finally works together in the book. But, if you area  cozy mystery fan, you won't find much to enjoy.

Sister/Rosamund Lupton/319 pgs.

Bee receives a phone call from her mother that her younger sister, Tess, has gone missing. Bee feels certain that Tess will soon reappear, because, after all, Tess is the "flighty" one. Nevertheless, Bee returns to London to await her sister's return. When Tess turns up dead, the police rule it a suicide. Bee doesn't accept this, and sets out to prove that Tess was murdered. Told in Bee's voice, this book grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go until the end--with a surprise thrown in to wrap it up. Highly recommended!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Nine Women, One Dress/ Jane L. Rosen/ 257 pages

Morris Siegal has created the pattern for 'The Dress', meaning the little black dress that will be the hottest seller of the season.  In her debut novel, Nine Women, One Dress, Jane L. Rosen follows the dress as it passes through the hands of nine very different women.  Starting with the runway model and passing to the department store clerk, the snob, the Hollywood star, the secretary, the detective, the liar, the 'mean girl' and more, the dress changes lives in amazing ways.  Rosen weaves an enjoyable story as the reader follows the dress to each wearer.

Fatal Judgement/ Irene Hannon /338 pages

Fatal Judgement is the first book in Irene Hannon's Guardians of Justice series.  US Marshall, Jake Taylor has just returned to St. Louis.  He is on his way home from the airport when he is called on to guard Judge Liz Michaels.  Jake and Liz have a history.  Liz was married to Jake's best friend.  The judge's sister has been murdered.  Was it the sister's abusive husband,  a break in, or was the judge the target?   Jake does his best to guard the judge and keep his distance at the same time.  The story has some interesting twists and will keep the reader's interest.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Standing in the Rainbow (Ballantine Reader's Circle Series #2) / Fannie Flagg / 493 pgs

My Brown Bag Book Discussion's August book is Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg. I read it a bit early, because I was in some sort of slump and couldn't figure out what else to read. I really enjoyed the story of a small fictional town in Missouri and some of its funniest, bravest, loveliest citizens. The book begins in 1946, just after the end of WWII and ends in the 1990s. You'll meet Dorothy, the hostess of one of the most listened to morning radio shows in the Midwest; her children, Bobby and Annalee; hairdresser Tot Whooten; the Oatman Family Singers; politician-in-the-making Hamm Sparks; blind songstress Beatrice Woods; and many fabulous other Missourians. Standing in the Rainbow is the second book in a trilogy, but do not let that keep you from reading the book out of order. I had never read a Fannie Flagg book before and had no trouble figuring out who the characters were. It seems the books are written a little out of order anyways. From what I read, the first book takes place solely in the 1970s.

Although I love this book and highly recommend it to anyone, I would remiss without pointing out the big inaccuracies that are in the book concerning Missouri geography, history, and politics. Twice, the Gateway Arch is mentioned as already existing despite it's only the 1940s and 1950s in the book. Missouri State University is mentioned even though that name was never used for a university until 2005. Also, it's stated in the book a couple of time that the governor appointed a lieutenant governor and an attorney general, when in reality, both of those positions have been elected positions since the 19th century.

Fannie Flagg is from Alabama and although her look at small town Missouri life was so good, she apparently didn't quite do enough internet research in 2002 to prevent making those mistakes in her book. If you're like me, you'll be almost tempted to let that keep you from enjoying the book. Don't make that mistake.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Because of Miss Bridgerton/Julia Quinn/291 pgs.

It's 18th century England, and the Bridgerton and Rokesby families have been not only neighbors, but close friends, for years. It has been expected that Sybilla "Billie" Bridgerton would eventually marry one of the Rokesby brothers. Billie, now 23 years old, is not your typical "genteel" daughter: she helps run her father's estate, wears britches when riding on the estate, and doesn't enjoy society life. The only thorn in her side is George Rokesby--five years older than Billie, and the oldest of the Rokesby brothers. The plot is rather typical, but Quinn's characters are entertaining, making for a fast, enjoyable read.

Vinegar Girl/Anne Tyler/237 pgs.

The subtitle of the novel tells it all: the taming of the shrew retold. This book is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project whose purpose is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's works. In Tyler's version, Kate Battista is being encouraged by her widowed, researcher father to consider marriage to his foreign research assistant, Pyotr. Pyotr is getting close to being deported--marriage to Kate would solve the problem. I really like Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew," and don't feel that Anne Tyler does the original characters justice.

The Last One / Alexandra Oliva / 304 pgs

Wow! I devoured this book in less than 48 hours, it was so good. I really enjoyed this debut novel by Alexandra Oliva, just published this past month, and thought she did a tremedous job with a very original concept.

A married lady who has had a lot of adventures in travel before setting down to get married decides to do one last crazy thing before trying to get pregnant with her husband. She is cast on a reality survival  type show with 11 others and put in a wilderness to do all kinds of crazy, strenuous challenges. Two weeks into filming, she and the contestants who are left are sent on a solo challenge, but the fatique and hunger has altered her judgment abilities and what she thinks is fake might be real. All of the contestants have nicknames based on their occupation (sometimes even their race). So, the married lady is named Zoo because she works with animals

I don't want to give too much away, but the book does shift between Zoo's present and when the reality show first began, giving you an idea just why Zoo may think that everything she sees around her isn't real despite the overwhelming evidence. My only complaint is that when the book mentions the 12 contestants, they are always referred to by their nickname, but when Zoo is thinking specifically about them, she refers to them by their first name, which can be really confusing. Otherwise, the book is spectacular, definitely a thriller, slightly dystopian, and all around a fun read.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, and Kate and the Throne/ Christopher P. Andersen/ 341 pages

Game of Crowns, written by Christopher P. Andersen is a light read regarding the three highest ranking ladies in the British Monarchy.  The author begins with the premise of what will happen the day that the current Queen passes away.  The remainder of the book is a re-hash of previously published information and interviews with a few fun details added in.  It's clear from the author's tone that he is not a fan of Charles and Camilla, but does believe the fate of the monarchy rests in the hands of William and Kate.  For those who like royal trivia there are some interesting bits revealed, but the bulk of the book is the same old, same old.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Off Season / Anne Rivers Siddons / 11 hrs. 29 min.

This audio book was read by Jane Alexander - an actress I have enjoyed in the past. Her reading was almost the reason I would have given this 4 stars, however, the last part of the story was unfulfilling. The journey of Lily through her present grieving process took us to back to her past. The story had wonderful description and character development - I really knew who these characters were and could easily picture them. Lily loves so completely that her very self is lost when Cam, her husband, dies suddenly. Lily goes back to her childhood summer vacation home to heal in the only way she knows connecting to her past. It is when the author brings us to Lily's present life when unsettling information becomes known to Lily and she does not pursue it. Why the author chose to finish her novel this way is a mystery to me. Seems like it was time to wrap it up, I guess.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu/ Joshua Hammer/ 278 pages

In the Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu Joshua Hammer introduces the reader to life in Mali before and after an attempted take over by jihadist.  Abdel Kader Haidara and his team of cohorts are the heroes in this story.  The reader learns of Haidara's long struggle to acquire centuries old manuscripts from the families in Mali.  Many of these manuscripts had been hidden away, some buried in the sand to keep them out of the hands of previous insurgents.  With grants, donations and various financial aid, Haidara builds a library to house, repair and preserve the collection.  In 2012 armed conflict with Tuareg rebels aided by Al Qaeda posses a threat to the manuscripts.  Working in secret Haidara and friends take on the monumental task of packing and transporting tens of thousands of manuscripts to safety.  As Hammer tells the tale of the librarians he also gives the reader a sense of how Al Qaeda and it's followers are responsible for terrorism not only to Western Nations,but to Islamic Nations as well.

The Obsession/Nora Roberts/453 pages

As a young girl, Naomi Bowles discovers a horrible secret about her father.  In an effort to disassociate herself from the darkness of his deeds , she changes her name.  She becomes a photographer, which allows her change location often. She avoids establishing relationships, until she settles in a small town.  Life is good until women in the town begin to disappear.  I read this book right after I finished "Pretty Girls" by Karin Slaughter. This was a better mix of light and dark.

Pretty Girls/Karin Slaughter/396 pages

After young college student Julia disappears under suspicious circumstances, her family falls apart. Several years later, another young girl disappears.  As the story continues, Julia's sisters reunite to investigate their sister's disappearance.  The story is disturbing and shocking with plenty of plot twists and turns.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Ice Queen / Alice Hoffman / 224 pgs

I feel a bit like I just got off of a roller coaster. This book started out so slow and pessimistic and biting. The main character, who is also the narrarator just sounds like she has the biggest chip on her shoulder. Obviously, she had to deal with a lot of loss, but I've never heard as much bitterness in someone's voice as I did listening to the narrator (who by the way, is actress Nancy Travis).  The story got good as the mystery surrounding Lazarus Jones built, but the answer to the mystery was a bit of a let down. Still the story got good again towards the end when it turned towards the narrator's brother and sister-in-law.  In all, the title of the book is very apt.

The main character is a small town librarian in New Jersey who has lived the existence of an icy woman, one who never feels and is obsessed with death, ever since her mother died on an icy road when she was little. The librarian is invited to move to Florida to be near her brother and his wife, both college professors. There, she is struck by lightning and has to live with the permanent feeling of ice in her chest and the inability to see the color red. She meets a fellow survivor, a man called Lazarus Jones, who was dead but came back minutes later. He is her exact opposite, all fire and heat, and she is fascinated with his ability to cheat death. Will their romance be enough to melt her icy heart?

Earl Takes All / Lorraine Heath 378 p.

Twin brothers are interested in the same lady.  She weds the heir, the Earl of Greyling.  When tragedy strikes, Edward Alcott honors his dying brother's request to pretend to be Greyling until his countess delivers their child.  He vows, though, to not take advantage of the situation.  With three miscarriages, he, too, wants his brother's child to be born healthy.  However, long tamped down desires come to life.  And the countess finds herself falling more deeply in love with her husband.  To complicate this romance, Edward's previous behavior to the countess convinced the ton and her husband that he could not stand her.  This steamy romance is the second in the Hellions of Haversham.  The secondary characters beg to have their story told.

Earl Takes All / Lorraine Heath 378 p.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Orphan #8/Kim van Alkemade/400pgs.

As children, Rachel Rabinowitz and her brother, Sam, are orphaned--their mother is dead, and their father abandons them. This results in their placement in the Hebrew Infant Home. I don't want to give too much of the story away, so suffice it to say that the book follows their lives--particularly Rachel's--from the present day (in this case the 1950's) back to their childhood. Rachel is the narrator of this powerful tale--a story that will stay with the reader past the last page. Highly recommended!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Light on Snow / Anita Shreve / 6 hrs. 36 min.


Nikki Dillon and her father are trying to put their life back together after a tragedy strikes their family. They move to a new small town to escape memories and heartache. As part of their daily routine they take walks in the woods after Nikki comes home from school. One day, they hear a small cry that they soon discover is an abandoned newborn wrapped in a sleeping bag. Nikki and her dad rescue the baby and soon find themselves deeply involved in the incident.
I enjoy Anita Shreve's writing and have read many of her books. This one is different in that it doesn't take place in the house on the East Coast like so many of her other stories. It is a story that illustrates how  the decisions we make have a domino effect on the lives of others. Nikki is 12 years old and the story is told from her point of view with misconceptions, innocence, naivete and wishful thinking that are part of that mixed up time in everyone's life. She is still a child, but forced to be caught in very grown-up circumstances. This could be a good book club selection.

The Last Time They Met / Anita Shreve /

I am a fan of Anita Shreve. This book was written going backwards in time so I was a bit confused until I hit the ending. Linda and Thomas meet in high school and share a deep devotion and love for one another. Beginning at a writers' festival in 2000, the novel accelerates backwards and ends on a June night in 1962, taking in Toronto, Nairobi and Massachusetts, and exploring the ravages of life and the need for forgiveness.The way the author chooses to reveal their relationship in backwards time frame is interesting and sometimes confusing...until you get to the surprising end.

Memory Man / David Baldacci / 13hrs. 16 min.


This is my first time reading a book by David Baldacci. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. The twists and turns were interesting and although I thought I had figured out the "who-done-it" part at one point: I was wrong. I enjoy finding out about personality or human conditions that I previously possessed only surface knowledge. In this case it was Hyperthymesia - extraordinary memory capabilities. I listened to this on e-audio. It was performed by two people which was much more enjoyable to have a woman doing women's voices and a man doing men's voices. Easy to follow along.

The Outliers/Kimberly McCreight/336 pgs.

If I had realized that this was the beginning of a new YA series, I wouldn't have been so surprised by the ending! That being said, this book grabs you from the first page. Teenage Wylie receives an ominous text from her best friend, Cassie, asking for help. That might not seem so unusual except for a couple of things: Wylie and Cassie have been on the outs for quite awhile, and the request for help comes from Cassie's boyfriend, Jasper (who Wylie can't stand), and Cassie can't tell them her exact location. Cassie's mom and Wylie's dad are out looking for Cassie when Jasper shows up on Wylie's doorstep with the above information. On top of all of this, Wylie is still  coping with the death of her mother. If this seems jumbled up, it's because this book travels at a breakneck pace--I read it in two days because I wanted to see where it would all end. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the next installment! Highly recommended!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Middlesex / Jeffrey Eugenides / 529 pgs

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver's license...records my first name simply as Cal."
I just finished 2003's Pulitzer Prize winning fiction book "Middlesex" for the transgender category for BookRiot's #ReadHarder challenge and I really enjoyed it. The book is long, and I listened to the audiobook, so that was 21 hours for the book. Nevertheless, I didn't feel too daunted and the story of Cal, and Cal's grandparents and parents, was really interesting. Jeffrey Eugenides builds a story that feels like it had to be an actual true story, by using real events in the Greco-Turkish War, the beginnings of the Nation of Islam, and the rise and fall of Detroit. 

However, that is only the first half of the book. The second half focuses solely on Callie/Cal and the journey Callie takes to learn of her origins and sex. Since the book was published in 2001, some words like "hermaphrodite" have fallen out of fashion in favor of "intersex." Also, the book is about someone who is intersex, raised as a girl, but finds that their chromosomes are definitely that of a male. According to the moderators at #ReadHarder, this book still fit in the transgender category since it is about someone who changed their gender identity and had gender dysphoria. Bear that in mind if a patron is looking for books on transgender individuals. Otherwise, I highly recommend it!
Morning Star/Pierce Brown/524 pages

Morning Star is the brilliant conclusion to Pierce Brown's trilogy, which began with Red Rising. and Golden Son.

Mankind has spread throughout the solar system and has evolved into a color based caste system. Each color evolving physically and mentally according to the role they play in Society. Golds rule supreme and Reds occupy the lowest level in this future Society.

Darrow, who is a Red, has been chosen to rise to the top, become Gold, and infiltrate their caste.  He has become "The Reaper", and everyone's hope for freedom.

The third book, lets us know, that although Darrow is dedicated to a worthy cause, it can not be acquired without a price. 

The Nest/Cynthia d'Aprix Sweeney/353 pgs

The Nest is an interesting story about four siblings who have been promised a great deal of money, or "a nest", upon the youngest sibling's 40th birthday.

Jack, Leo, Melody and Bea have orchestrated their whole lives upon receiving their share of 'the nest'.  Melody has a huge mortgage and owes college tuition, Jack has banked his antique shop, and Bea is living by the skin of her teeth; all of them anticipating the saving grace of the long awaited money.

Unfortunately, there is a hiccup in their plans.  Their oldest brother, Jack, who is the family's black sheep, commits a crime and must be bailed out or go to jail.  Without the other siblings, knowing, their mother turns over a large chunk of  'the nest' to keep Jack from sinking.

With the money gone, Jack, Leo, Melody and Bea have to discover new ways to interact and communicate.

A Head Full of Ghosts/Paul Tremblay/286 pgs

Ok.  So you want to read a scary book, but you are tired of old school vampires and zombies. You want a book that might compete with the new horror genre out in Movie Land, ie "The Conjuring" and "Paranormal Activity".  Well, I think I might have something for you.  It's called "A Head Full of Ghosts" by Paul Tremblay.

"A Head Full of Ghosts" sneaks up on you.  You begin by reading about an everyday family, the Barretts, that has everyday troubles.  A father who has been laid off for some time, and a mother trying to to keep the family together, both financially and mentally.  Two daughters, Marjorie, age 14, and Mary, age 8.  Could be home, right?  Until it's not.

Marjorie starts acting, well, a little odd, and mom and dad become concerned.  The more her parents fight over how to address the issue, the more bizarre Marjorie's behavior becomes.  As a last resort to save their daughter, the Barrett's decide to have an exorcism perform on Marjorie; and to save them financially, they agree to have it filmed.

There's something for every reader.  There's the mix of Religion and Psychology,  making an emotional cocktail.   There's new media for "new horror" readers and references of "classic horror" for the traditional readers.  It's not so much gory, as creepy.  And the ending?  Well, you'll just have to find out for yourself!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Nature of the Beast/ Louise Penny/376 pages

The Nature of the Beast is the eleventh novel in the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny.  Now retired, Inspector Gamache pursues a quite lifestyle in Three Pines.  A young boy with a big imagination goes missing in Three Pines.  This time what sounds imagined is real and does not bode well for the young man.  As physicists and spies descend on Three Pines, Gamache, Beauvouir and LaCoste search for a murderer, a weapons designer all the while trying to figure out how a notorious murder fits in the mix.  While part of the plot is slightly difficult to believe, it was still an interesting read of what could have been.

Murder in Time/ Julie McElwain/ 498 pages

Murder in Time written by Julie McElwain was Overdrive's Big Read in July.  The books begins with a gruesome murder in a historical setting.  Kendra Donovan is an FBI agent betrayed by a colleague.  She sets out to right the wrong that has occurred.  While in the process she is transported to 19th century England where she is faced with solving a murder using primitive methods and hampered by being a female.  The story is ok, but what makes it difficult to accept is the author's lack of research into the historical setting.  This book would appeal to people who like Regency historical fiction and Gothic romance.  

Potent Pleasures / Eloisa James 455 p.

Young Charlotte Daicheston attends a masked ball at a small town where she falls for a  handsome masked footman and "ruins" herself .  She elects to bury herself in her hobby, painting.  Several years later, she decides to make her debut.  She becomes very sought after on the marriage mart.  There she runs into her footman, learning that he doesn't remember her.  But is he attracted to her.  Alex pursues her in this steamy Regency romance that has several ups and downs.

Potent Pleasures / Eloisa James 455 p.

Thief of Shadows / Elizabeth Hoyt 367 p.

Lady Isabel Beckinhall charitably stops to pick up an injured man in a Harlequin costume while a mob rages a few blocks away.  He refuses to remove his mask while she treats his wounds.  Little did she know that she has the Ghost of St Giles in her home.  The Ghost is St. Giles version of Robin Hood going about making his London neighborhood safe.  Winter Makepeace is the stoic headmaster of a home for foundling children, a home his family established.  Winter depends on generous donations and finds himself having to accept the tutoring in the ways of the nobles of society by Lady Isabel.  Lady Isabel has no idea of the Ghost's identity and Winter plans to keep it that way even though at night their passions are revealed.

Thief of Shadows / Elizabeth Hoyt 367 p.

Three Weeks with Lady X / Eloisa James 388 p.

Thorn Dautry, bastard son of a duke, has decided it is time to marry.  He has found a good prospect in Laetitia, but he has not told her yet.  First he must do more than gentrify himself, he needs to go farther and be acceptable to the blue bloods of society.  To make it happen he hires Lady Xenobia India whose specialty is creating just such an atmosphere.  She takes on rehabbing the dilapidated estate, hiring all the servants, redecorating in the most exquisite taste, and doing it all in three weeks.  But love has a way of throwing one a curve ball.  Even though Thorn has found a woman who fulfills his qualifications love may send him down a different path in this steamy romance.

Three Weeks with Lady X / Eloisa James 388 p.

Clandestine / James Ellroy 175 p.

Fred Underhill is a young LAPD cop in the early 1950's.  He aspires to make detective fast, faster than anyone else.  When his one-night stand ends up a murder victim,  he uses his "inside" knowledge she shared with him to get him onto the big guys murder investigation.  There he participates in the sweating out of a confession that crosses into brutality.  When he tries to take the credit, it blows up in his face and he is kicked out of the force.  He runs into another murder that takes him back to the original case.  He goes out on his own to investigate and finds a very grim conclusion.  The characters are rather unsavory and rather uninteresting in this hardboiled fiction showing the seamier side of both the police and the criminals.

Clandestine / James Ellroy 175 p.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The View from the Cheap Seats:selected nonfiction/Neil Gaiman/507 pgs.

This is a collection of essays by Neil Gaiman on a variety of topics: authors that inspired his writing; speeches given at various award ceremonies; forewords to other authors' works; etc. One of my favorite sections of the book was made into a separate book, and illustrated by Chip Kidd: Make Good Art. I have never been a big science fiction or fantasy fan, but after reading this book, I feel that I have a better understanding and appreciation for these genres. I can't recommend this book highly enough--Neil Gaiman has acquired another fan!