Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Summer I Met Jack/ Michelle Gable/ 524 pgs

This adult fiction is about a young woman named Alicia Darr, a refugee from Poland, who finds herself in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts a few years after WWII. There she meets a young Jack Kennedy, who is on the rise in the political arena. She falls in love and wants to start a life with him, however, his family disapproves of her and forbids Jack from furthering the relationship. Eventually, Jack marries Jackie Bouvier.

I thought this book was kind of cheesy and I give it 2/5 stars. The character of Alicia is based off of a woman named Alicia Corning Clark who claimed to have had an affair with JFK and had a child, although none of it is actually proven.

The Witch Elm/ Tana French/ 509 pgs

Tana French is an exquisite writer. Her details on every level wrap around you and pull you into the story. However, this book required some fortitude to get through. Toby is a 20-something Irish guy who has skated through life rather easily. After a night out with his pals, two guys break into his house. When he gets out of bed to see what's going on, they beat him to within an inch of his life. After a long hospital stay, Toby, who now finds it hard to concentrate and can't remember much about events prior to the attack, moves in to the old family home to care for his dying uncle, Hugo. Later rather sooner, Toby's cousin's kids find a human skull in the wych elm tree out in the back garden. So, who killed this person and stuffed their body down the trunk of a tree? It's a long road to get to this answer and we only have Toby as our guide. Toby is not a likable person. He's selfish and obtuse. Neither are his two cousins, who are also key players. But Uncle Hugo? Him, I would have liked to know more about. This is a long, circuitous story. The author does bring us back around to the beginning but I wish there would have been a shorter route to get there.

The Key of Erebus/Emma Leech/618pgs

Jehenne Corbeaux is a young girl who has grown up thinking that monsters and the supernatural were nothing more than a fairy-tale. Out of nowhere she is put into a world full of magical creatures but also one filled with more danger than she could ever imagine. Through out the first book she is consistently uncertain of who to trust; her grandmother that has been lying to her, the sexy shifter, or a vampire that seems to want to kill her first ad protect second. This book is the first of The French Vampire Legend series. I couldn't put the book down honestly and it had me hoping for the vampire Corvus to be the guy she ends up with.

The Wife's Secret/Kerry Wilkinson/317 pages (British Author)

The Wife's Secret: A gripping psychological thriller with a heart-stopping twistCharley Willis was the daughter of two television celebrities, only 13 years old, when both of her parents were murdered and the killer was never found.  A few years later her sister Martha dies when their parent's home mysteriously burns to the ground. And thus, the "Willis Curse" is born.  Charley has moved on and now, 15 years later, its her wedding day.  The ceremony is barely over and Charley disappears.  More Willis Curse?  New husband Seth is put through the ringer but slowly, in a flashback style of writing, the whole story comes out its not what I expected.
Loved, loved, loved this book!  I understand the author has written another book about Charley and Martha and I MUST find and read it.  A great psychological thriller!                                                                


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Out of Darkness/Graham, Heather/250 pages (Author's Last Name ends in "M")

     Out of Darkness is a fairly good romance novel with a serial killer theme.  Did I catch your interest?
     Six high school seniors are out for fun on Halloween night.  Sarah, the cheerleader, Tyler, her football playing boyfriend, Sean, Suzie, Hannah, and Davey.  Davey, who has Downs Syndrome, balks at going into a spooky house so Sarah and Davey stay behind while the others go inside and encounter a real life murder scene--blood everywhere, severed heads, and a knife wielding killer still threatening.  The killer is taken down by police and the teens are all traumatized and drift off their separate ways.  Now it is 10 years later and one of the six is brutally chopped apart and the group comes back together to solve the mystery.  I thought the ending was pretty standard but it came about 40 pages before the end of the book.  Little did I know that the author had a trick up her sleeve and it took until the last few pages of the book to solve, resolve and get everybody the ending they deserve.  Good read!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Adult Time/Kirkman, Rick/205 pages

Adult Time: A Baby Blues Collection
     Adult Time is an entertaining collection of baby blues cartoons.  Anyone familiar with the cartoon strip knows that they feature a stay at home mom who is parenting a sweet little girl who hates her little brother and takes every opportunity to torment, snitch on and tease him (the way most siblings do).  The little boy likes anything loud or yucky and doesn't like school, homework or wearing clothes.  There is a toddler girl that doesn't sleep, makes messes and keeps dad from hanging with the guys.  Does all this sound familiar, parents?  Yes--anyone with kids has lived through all of these same situations and its funny when you look back on them and they are happening to someone else!  Enjoy a funny couple of hours reading--great to relax and just enjoy!


Monday, December 10, 2018

Warriors: Into the Wild/Erin Hunter/272 pages

Into the Wild is the first book of the Warriors series by English authour Erin Hunter.  It follows the journey of Firepaw (formerly known by his old name Rusty), who is a housecat seeking more out of his life by leaving his old home for the wild.  He first encounters three cats from a group called "ThunderClan", one of the four cat "Clans."  Firepaw joins ThunderClan, and he spends most of the time training to become a "warrior" (a cat who is older than six moons who can fight and hunt), building trust among his Clanmates (wildcats have something against housecats, and a few of them believe Firepaw to be "soft" for being born one), and making his own moral code by taking care of an outsider and protecting his friends from an unjust deputy of ThunderClan.  I've really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is curious about this series-- after all, it is the first book!

The Wildling Sisters / Eve Chase / 320 pages

This story takes place in England and has two interacting story lines.  The first story line takes place in 1959. It is told by fifteen year old Margot. Margot and her three sisters are being raised by their widowed mother.  They go to spend the summer with their father's brother and his wife at their country estate while their mother travels for a job.  The aunt and uncle are still dealing with the sudden disappearance five years ago of their ten year old daughter, Audrey.  The sisters meet two young men from a neighboring estate and they spend the summer flirting with each other.  This puts a strain on the sisters' relationship and starts to divide them.  However the mystery of their cousin's disappearance brings them back together.  The alternating story line involves a young woman, Jessie, living in London fifty years later.  Jessie is married to a widower who has a teenage daughter.  Jessie and her husband have a toddler daughter.  Jessie and her husband buy a house in the country and move out of London.  The house they buy is the estate of  Margot's aunt and uncle.  Jessie and her step daughter have a strained relationship.  The two of them become involved with the mystery of Audrey's disappearance.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Stone Devil Duke/K.J. Jackson/262pgs

Set in London, this book is about a woman named Aggie who witnesses her father being murdered and sets out to kill her fathers killers. One night while out trying to find some of the men she comes across a Duke, who helps her fight off some of the men and save her life. Hoping that that would be the end of it, she drops him off and goes home. But she soon realizes that she will not be able to get rid of him that easily and the two make a deal to work together to find the remaining men. As the story progresses the two eventually come to realize their true feelings towards one another and they get married. But the peaceful life they thought they were going to have comes to an end when the leader of the group of killers kidnaps Aggie and tries to slowly kill her. This book was one I could not put down until i finished it. If you are someone that enjoys romances, thrillers, adventures, and a strong female character this book is definitely worth a read.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Night of miracles : a novel/Elizabeth Berg/267pgs

The Night of Miracles is a very sweet novel about friendship featuring the lively senior citizen Lucille, from the bestselling novel, "The Story of Arthur Truluv" also by Elizabeth Berg. The setting of the novel is in Missouri, which I really enjoyed. Lucille is an extraordinary baker and has started teaching cooking classes in her community. She has new neighbors who are dealing with a family health crisis. They also have a young son who befriends Lucille.
This was a very quick and heartwarming  read and I think many people would enjoy it especially over the Holiday Season.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

City of Bones/Cassandra Clare/485pgs

The City of Bones is the beginning of a captivating series full of magic, supernatural creatures, and the fight against those that would abuse their power. The story follows Clary, a young teen who emerges into a world she never knew even existed. All her life she thought she was a normal teen but when fate intervenes she learns the truth. She is part of a secret world of downworlders and shadowhunters. Hunters that kill and fight demons and keep supernatural creatures in check to protect unknowing humans. Through out the book, Clary is continuously faced with truths, each one greater than the other. You almost wonder how she handles them all and still stays focused on her main goal; to save her mother from an evil man named Valentine. A shadowhunter to kill all downworlders no matter good or evil. This series is definitely for those that enjoy storys with a good amount of twists and turns. Recommended highly to young adults/teens.

Too Far Gone/Brennan, Allison/490 pages

Too Far Gone (Lucy Kincaid Novels)

     Too Far Gone is actually two stories presented side by side, connected but different.  Security expert Sean Rogan has recently discovered he has a 13 year old son, Jesse.  They are enjoying a 6 week together time when Jesse becomes a target for kidnapping.  Finding out who is behind it and stopping harm from coming to his new family is Sean's top priority.  Meanwhile, Sean's wife, Lucy Kincaid, is knee deep into an investigation concerning one of the head researchers at a lab who becomes unbalanced, takes hostages and must be taken out by police.  Figuring out who is behind the kidnapping and what really happened becomes a tangled story that grabs the reader from page one.
     Great story telling, masterful plot execution, wonderful characters--something for everyone in this new suspense thriller!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Year of No Clutter: a memoir by Eve Schaub 290 pages

     This is the latest in the clutter/cleaning/hoarding books.  This author previously wrote The Year of no Sugar   where she apparently changed everything for herself and her family by not consuming sugar.  I cannot even imagine doing this, but I digress.
     Eve had a problem.  It was a large upstairs room known as the Hell Room.  It was totally hoarded up with stuff.  Her project for the book was to clean this room and write about it.  The writing she did was very effective and really dug into the reasons for keeping many different types of things.  Her actual experience of cleaning out the room was quite challenging to her and she finally published the book without the room being entirely "finished".  She also explores her past and how her parents contribute to her hoard - literally.  She helps her father deal with his hoarded house and returns home with trunks of photos.  Her mother downsizes, but "gives" her many, many things that Eve then has to deal with in addition to her own project. 
     Her reflections are the real treasure in the book.  It really puts in words on the page how many people may feel about the "stuff" in their lives.  She also references Marie Kondo, founder of the Kondo method of organization.  Many readers have read about the Kondo method and how few items that author keeps.  Few can do this.  Eve Schaub is a realist.  She knows her limitations and she really examines what it means to keep things and the struggle it is to find the "right" place for unwanted items to go.  This is where she really connects with the reader; in her struggle.  It is a really interesting and fun book.  (Now, I'm trying hard not to buy it.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If You Ask Me: Essential Advice from Eleanor Roosevelt/Binker, MaryJo (editor)/245 pages

     If You Ask Me is a compact book full of advice from Eleanor Roosevelt (pulled from a question and answer  column she responded to for years) on everything from picking political candidates to raising children.
     I selected this book because I have always admired Eleanor Roosevelt--
she was a strong woman who lived in uncertain times.  She was incredibly
If You Ask Me: Essential Advice from Eleanor Rooseveltadvanced in her thinking and remarkably knowledgeable on almost every subject.  I continued to read this book because the advice is timeless.  Some of the topics she covers are abortion, women's rights, corruption in politics. term limits, foreign policy and more.
     I very much enjoyed this book.  It is not the type that you pick up and read straight through; its one you read a little now and put it down and then read some more and put it down.  I have already recommended this book to several of my friends that I know will enjoy it.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Hugs from Obama/Sweeney, M (ed.)/122 pages

Hugs from Obama: A Photographic Look Back at the Warmth and Wisdom of President Barack Obama
     Hugs from Obama: a Photographic Look Back at the Warmth and Wisdom of President Barack Obama is a very sweet collection of photographs of former president Obama during his time in the White House.  EVERY shot is of the president hugging someone.  Accompanying each photograph is a quote from one of Obama's speeches.
     I would like to say that this was a special collection, but truthfully it is not.  Some of the photos are great--they show Obama hugging kids or an elderly medal recipient--and they just make you smile!  Others are just not noteworthy.  The quotes are super!  It is easy to forget how many wonderful speeches we heard while Obama was president.  An interesting book but not one you are going to rave about or recommend to everyone.


You Don't Own Me/Clark,Mary Higgins/271 pages

     You Don't Own Me is the newest Mary Higgins Clark suspense novel written with Alafair Burke.  Those familiar with this duo's other novels will remember Laurie Moran and her television program "Under Suspicion" which takes a cold case and looks into all of the possibilities and hopefully solves the case before the end of the program.  Their current case if the murder of a doctor who is shot in his garage.  The wife is the likely suspect because she was under the influence of drugs when the crime occurred but the evidence does not support it.  Laurie (while house hunting, planning her wedding and juggling her career) quickly has a longer list of possible killers.  Oh, and did I mention someone is trying to kill her?
     Classic Mary Higgins Clark--great read--and a surprise ending!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Elevation / Stephen King / 146 pages

This story takes place in Castle Rock, Maine - a favorite setting for many of Stephen King's stories.  Scott Carey is a slightly overweight, middle aged divorced man who suddenly finds himself losing weight according to his scale, but not his appearance.  After getting a clean bill of health from his doctor, Scott seeks the aid of a friend who is a retired doctor.  Throughout the book Scott continues to lose weight without showing it in his appearance.  With the help of a small group of friends Scott deals with his condition, culminating with a touching ending.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway / Ruth Ware / 368 pages

This is Ruth Ware's fourth novel.  I have read her previous three books and this one seemed more intricate, developed and challenging.  I enjoyed reading it more.  Harriet Westaway is a young woman struggling to support herself after the sudden death of her mother.  She has never known her father.  She receives a letter from a lawyer informing her that she has been given a substantial inheritance from her grandmother, her mother's mother, who has just passed away.  Harriet was told that her grandparents passed away over 20 years ago, so this does not make sense to her.  However, she is in dire need of money so she travels to the English countryside where her "grandmother"'s estate is and attends the funeral.  The lawyer meets her there and introduces her to her three uncles.  While staying in the family home she slowly pieces together and solves the mystery of her inheritance.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating/ Christina Lauren/ 309 pgs

This is contemporary romance that was a ton of fun. Hazel and Josh knew each other in college. Josh is one of those steady, academic types who never puts a foot wrong. Hazel is one of those crazy, spontaneous types who blurts out things she shouldn't and wears weird fashions. Hazel humiliates herself a few times in front of Josh and then they go their separate ways after graduating. They meet up again in Portland seven or eight years later. Hazel is an elementary teacher and Josh is a physical therapist with his own practice. When her apartment floods, she ends up moving in with Josh. They both think they could never be The One for the other but they do form a cute, close friendship that eventually turns into something more. This is a funny, sweet story of loving someone for who they are, inside and out. Also--gorgeous cover!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Part of Your World: A Twisted Tale/ Liz Braswell/ 475pgs

This particular book is definitely for those that have a love for Disney princesses. Liz Braswell was able to take the happily ever after that we all know and dream of and change it into a what if we all probably wondered about at one point in time. What would happen if Ariel never defeated the evil sea witch Ursula, and she was able to take over the kingdom by fogging everyone's mind to forget all about the little mermaid. In the book Ariel has been made Queen of the sea by her sisters due to her being the cause of why they lost their father in the first place. She has learned to use sign language, since Ursula kept her voice due to her failing in winning the princes heart, but she luckily still has Sebastian and Flounder to help her in speaking and taking care of all she is in charge of. She soon learns that her father is still alive and being held prisoner by Ursula, also known as Princess Vanessa. When Ariel finds this out she is determined to do everything she possibly can to save her father, the prince, and the princes people from the clutches of Ursula's tentacles. The book is worthy of a glance and I am anxious to begin reading another one of Liz Braswells twisted tales.