Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Deepest Grave/ Harry Bingham / 475 pgs

This is book 4 in Bingham's Fiona Griffiths series. Fiona is a police officer in Cardiff, Wales and she's quite the character. She has an interesting background (abandoned then adopted as a child, suffered a bizarre mental episode in her teens, father is an alleged criminal though never convicted) and she has an outside-the-box way of thinking. In this latest installment, an archaeologist is found beheaded and her body pierced by three spears. There are very few clues to go on but soon Fiona is on her way to figuring things out with the help of her new friend Katie and a vicar. The murder mystery focuses on Arthurian legends, which I mostly found fascinating although sometimes it got a little tedious. The ending was different in that the main criminal who did the dirty work was caught and arrested on the page but the mastermind behind the crime was arrested off-page in a throwaway line.

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: a Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal/Jen Waite/260 pgs.

Jen Waite thought she had found her soul mate when she met Marco. It isn't until early in their marriage, and the birth of their daughter, that Jen discovers that Marco isn't being honest with her--to say the least. This is Jen's journey through her marriage to a psychopath--and the steps she takes to get her life back on track. It's an interesting read.

The Good Daughter/Karin Slaughter/515 pgs.

Charlotte (Charlie) and Samantha (Sam) are sisters, who 28 years ago, suffered an unspeakable crime against each of them. Both became lawyers: Charlie working with her father, Rusty,a defense attorney in their town of Pikeville, and Sam, a patent attorney in New York. Charlie and Sam are estranged, but are brought together when a school shooting occurs in Pikeville. In typical Karin Slaughter fashion, there are twists and turns--it's hard to put the book down. Highly recommended.

Fates and Furies/Lauren Groff/390 pgs.

Lotto and Mathilde have a whirlwind courtship and marriage. They are young--just out of college--and the world and all that it holds is in front of them. The author takes the reader through decades of their marriage--and all is not what it appears to be on the surface. There are secrets and revelations told from each of the main characters' perspectives. I found it fascinating--but I'm sure it's not everyone's cup of tea. I think out book club will have fun this one!

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry/ Gabrielle Zevin / 260 pgs

I read this book based on a recommendation from a coworker. So glad I did. This is the story of A.J. Fikry, a widowed bookstore owner. Drinking too much and barely living, A.J. has lost his way after the death of his wife. He hits a new low when he passes out one night and has a rare, expensive book stolen from his home. Soon, though, a young toddler is abandoned in his store, he adopts her, and he's back among the living. A.J. is grumpy, at least on the outside, the kind of character I love. Despite its depressing beginning and ending, this is an uplifting book about the power of love and friendship.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dukes Prefer Blondes/ Loretta Chase / 372 pgs

I loved some of Loretta Chase's earlier books but I haven't really been interested in her most recent  series. I think I read the first book and decided not to read any more. However, the premise of this one intrigued me. Clara is a duke's daughter, a very beautiful duke's daughter, who feels constrained by the way a lady is supposed to act. She feels she cannot ever be herself and she really just wants to live. She is also disillusioned with all the gentlemen who propose to her, despite not knowing anything about her. The hero is Oliver Radford who, in my opinion, is given the ridiculous nickname Raven. He freely admits that he's an obnoxious know-it-all but since he became a barrister, he's put all that arrogant intelligence to good use. It was a little difficult to like Oliver but I enjoyed the witty dialogue between him and Clara and the way he treated her with such respect. This essentially sums up the book for me. It was very uneven. First half was full of plot, sharp dialogue, mutual attraction. Second half, by which time Clara and Oliver are married, was slow and repetitive, and ended in a silly argument. Still, I couldn't help but enjoy Chase's writing. She is a master.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

True Tails of Baker & Taylor/ Jan Louch / 274 pgs

My second non-fiction book of the year:-) This is the biography of two cats who worked at a small public library in Minden, Nevada. The book was written by one of the librarians who initially brought these two Scottish Fold cats, Baker and Taylor, into the library. The cats were extremely popular with the patrons and staff alike and it was great fun to read about their antics and their different personalities. What sets these felines apart from other library cats is that they became world famous. For those not familiar with libraries, Baker & Taylor is a book distribution company. The cats were named after the company because the librarians were familiar with it. However, once the company caught wind of their furry namesakes, they wanted to use them for advertising. Baker and Taylor grudgingly submitted to photo shoots for posters and promotional items and soon their adorable faces were known the world over. People from across the country even visited the library just to see the cats.

The story of the cats' lives was interesting. At times the librarian veered off into the story of her own life and I have to say I did not find that part as fascinating. Of course, about halfway through the book it dawned on me that cats born in the early 1980s...well, they would no longer be with us:( So by the end I needed a box of tissue. But I have no regrets about reading their story.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Come Sundown/Nora Roberts/466 pgs.

The Bodine ranch and resort are in Montana, and cater to folks who want a ranch experience, but want their creature comforts, too. Bodine Longbow runs the resort part, while other family members run the ranch--a family operation that's been in existence for years. Life is relatively calm until one of the resort's female bartenders is murdered. In addition, there is the family history of Alice Longbow who ran away decades ago at the age of 18, never to be heard of since. These two incidents merge, creating a story of horror and suspense. Since it's a Nora Roberts novel, there is also romance to add to the mix. One her better efforts. Recommended!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Rescuing Rose/ Nicola Marsh / 304 pgs

This is the story of Rose, a single mother trying to get her life back on track, and Caden, a guy who looks like he has it all together but really he’s still letting his mother run his life. Obviously Rose and Caden both have issues. For the most part, they deal with them as adults. This was a decent romance although I found myself wishing there was more doing than talking. The secondary characters are well-fleshed out but I almost think they got too much screen time to discuss their problems instead of focusing on Rose and Caden falling in love.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Smell of Other People's Houses/ Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock/ 227 pages

This book was hard for me to get into, but once I did.  I loved it.  Perhaps, if I had the ability to devote time to reading books for me each day, it would have been easier to get into.  But, it's the story of a group of teens in Alaska and how their lives interconnect.  It gets really good at the end.  The characters don't have easy lives, but they have good hearts.  It really is an uplifting book in the end.

The Deepest Grave/ Harry Bingham / 475 pgs

This is book 4 in Bingham's Fiona Griffiths series. Fiona is a police officer in Cardiff, Wales and she's quite the character. She...