Friday, September 19, 2014

Wolves of the Calla / Stephen King / 714 pages

This is the 5th book of King's The Dark Tower series.  We continue to see characters from King's other books leaking into this story, most notable is Father Callahan from Salem's Lot.  Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy the billy-bumbler come in a small town (which King now calls a Calla) named Calla Bryn Sturgis.  The town is upset because they have just learned the wolves will be back within a month and the wolves always take one of every set of twins.  Considering the women in this town almost always have twins, this results in about half the town's children being taken.  About a month later the children return, but are roont.  Roland and crew decide whether to help and then bear the consequences.

The House of Hades / Rick Riordan / 596 pages

This is the 4th book of the Heroes of Olympus series.  Riordan's writing style is again superb in the blending of details with the action of the story.  The heroes continue their trek to the Doors of Death, Percy and Annabeth through Tarturus and the rest over land and sea.  We find out why Nico has been such a loner the last few years.  Mild parent warning here, you might want to read this book before letting your kids read it.  I am anxiously awaiting The Blood of Olympus to finish out this series.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer / John Grisham / 263 pages

This is the first John Grisham book tha I have read.  There is a plot, but so much more.
There seem to be complete tutorials on the court system, mortgages, forclosure and bankruptcy law, how to beat a drug arrest or dui and much more.  Maybe this is John Grisham's mission in life to prepare kids for the world legally, but none of it actually advanced the small plot of the murder trial.  It was not my usual book choice. The "How-to's"
in the books I read are more on the order of how to build a log cabin or get supplies for winter in the 1800's.  On the whole, the book was ok.  When I need to learn more legal stuff, I'll check out book 2.  I understand that it will be everything you want to know about abduction.

Circle of Bones, Christine Kling, 526 pages

Maggie Reilly is enjoying the Caribbean on her sail boat.  In a week she will be working on a new job in Dominica.  What a surprise when she rescues a naked man in the middle of the sea.  Maggie and Cole, now clothed, work together to solve the mystery of a long missing French submarine that is somehow tied to the Skull and Bones secret society.  Along the way many secrets are revealed about Maggie's family and their connection to the sub.  Of course the book has a villain or two or three to complicate matters.  This was an enjoyable read and a good page turner.  Having been twice to the Caribbean including Dominica, this was a fun book to read.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Picture of Dorian Gray/ Oscar Wilde/ 221 pages

I have to say this is the worst book I have read in a long, long time.  If it had not been for book club, I would have put the thing down before I finished the first chapter.  I can't even say at this point that I'm glad I made myself read it.  It's boring and slow and I think people were maybe trying to have it banned because it was so painful to read not because of Wilde's personal life.

Heroes Are My Weakness / Susan Elizabeth Phillips 367 p.

Annie Hewitt moves into her late mother's place on a Maine Island.  She arrives during a snow storm.  She's broke.  She needs a place to recuperate from an illness.  She aspires to be an actress.  At 33 that looks like it won't happen.  She is working as a children's ventriloquist.  Even though her puppets are packed in their red suitcases, they pepper her with advice, comments, and taunts.  She returns to the island where Theo Harp lives; the same Theo once tried to kill her.  And the girl who saved her, Jaycie Mills, works as his housekeeper.  All Annie wants is to find her mother's legacy and leave without meeting anyone.  She is drawn into the island life and especially to a very young mute child.  She realizes that the teen Theo Harp is different from the adult Theo.    This is a contemporary romance that sparkles with humor.  It has shades of the Gothic novels like Whitney, Stewart, and  Du Maurier, the villain lives alone and secluded in a castle atop a hill.  And who's sister died sailing.  The puppets are characters in themselves.  They take on helping the mute girl.  They, through Annie, convince Theo that he isn't the villain but a hero in disguise.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Colorado Kid / Stephen King / 184 pages

I picked up this book because the television series Haven was so heavily advertised as being based on it.  In that I was disappointed.  The characters Vince and Dave are roughly the same, but no one else from the series makes an appearance.  The town is similar, though in the book it is called Moose Lookit.  The Colorado Kid is about a young upcoming journalist who is completing her internship in this backwater Maine town.  She must decide whether to stay and convince the two owners of the paper that she is worth keeping.  They share a mystery that has perplexed the two of them for decades.  Spend an afternoon reading about the mystery and see if you can be the one who solves it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Black Hour/Lori Rader-Day/331 pgs.

Sociology professor, Dr. Amelia Emmert, is returning to her college classroom after having spent the last ten months recuperating from a gunshot wound that left her walking with a cane, and the shooter, Leo Lehane, dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound. The most puzzling item for Amelia, is that she didn't know Leo Lehane--he wasn't in any of her classes, and had no reason to shoot her. Amelia acquires a new teaching assistant, Nathaniel Barber, who is new to the college, but also has his own agenda in wanting to be Amelia's assistant. The story is told in alternating chapters through Amelia and Nath's voices. As the book moves along, more background information is provided, and additional characters muddy the water. Just when you think you have it all solved, a new piece of information enters the mix. This is a great mystery/suspense book from a very promising debut author. Highly recommended!

Margot/Jillian Cantor/338 pgs.

Imagine Anne Frank's sister, Margot, survived the Holocaust, moved to the United States, and assumed a new identity. That is the premise for Jillian Cantor's Margot. Margot Frank, now known as Margie Franklin, has been living in Philadelphia, working as a secretary for the law firm of Rosenstein, Greenberg and Moscowitz. Her boss is Joshua Rosenstein, the son of Ezra Rosenstein. The year is 1959, and movie, The Diary of Anne Frank, has just been released. No one knows that Margie Franklin is Jewish, let alone the sister of Anne Frank. The book is told through Margie's voice, and depicts her struggles with survivor's guilt, shame, all the while trying to make a new life in a new country. On the one hand, Margie wants to forget her past, but on the other hand, she realizes that her past helped shape her present. It's a very engrossing book, but the ending was just a little too "pat" for me.

Old World Wisconsin, Kathleen Ernst, 325 pages,

Chloe Ellefson is trying to start her life over.  As the new Collections Curator, she is responsible for the artifacts at Old World Wisconsin, a living history museum (that really does exists  A missing ale bowl sets Chloe on an adventure that takes her away from her museum duties and involves her with Officer Roelke McKenna.  This book shares some of the behind the scenes goings on in the living history museum as well as the care given to artifacts.  It was an enjoyable read, and being the first in a series there were many potential bad guys.

Big Little Lies/Diane Moriaty/460 pages

Something terrible happens at the primary school's annual trivia night. The police have been summoned and are investigating. But, first we must go back 6 months before to trace what really happened or, at least, why. It all begins on kindergarten orientation day when Jane, the newcomer to the community, meets Madeline, one of the alpha moms. Their fateful meeting and subsequent friendship is just the beginning of the story. Soon all the moms, and even some of the dads, are taking sides after Jane's son Ziggy is accused of choking and then bullying a little girl in the class. Ziggy unrelentingly denies all charges, and since no one ever sees him near Amabelle (that's not a typo), the school cannot take sides, but the parents can and do. Soon Jane and Ziggy are shunned by one group while Madeline takes up for her new friend.

Another delightful story from Moriaty! Anyone who has or had children in school can relate to this situation and can recognize the parents in the story. I stayed up much too late just to finish it and then was sad when it was over. Now who knows how long I'll have to wait for her to publish another one.

The Gods of Gotham/Lyndsay Faye/414 pages

Set in New York in the 1850s, this is the story of Timothy Wilde who was one of the first
"copper stars" or police officers in the newly forced police force. His older brother, Valentine, is politically connected and himself a volunteer firefighter and pulls strings to get his brother on the force after a huge fire burns down not only Tim's residence but also his place of employment. The police force is untested and unwelcomed by part of the community as the beginnings of a police state. Almost immediately, Tim gets pulled into a murder investigation that delves into the seediest part of the city.

Eventually, the story gets moving, but the first 55 pages are excruciatingly slow. When Faye finally around to the plot, the writing gets more economical. Every so often, she falls back into too many words to tell the story, but then she gets back on track. Faye did a lot of research, and I can appreciate that, but I place the story above the setting, so this book sometimes drags for me.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

School Spirtis / Rachel Hawkins / 297 pages / 12 Drummers Drumming December Challenge

For centuries the Brannicks have hunted Prodigium, magical creatures - vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches.  Fifteen year old Izzy Brannick is the last of the line and not nearly as adept at the family business as her missing sister, Finley.  Izzy's mom decides to give her the comparatively easy job of ridding a high school in Ideal, Mississippi of its resident ghost who has recently stepped up her manifestations to include violence.  Izzy has always been home-schooled so she and a four hundred year old warlock who is trapped in a mirror in her house watch videos to help Izzy cope with the rigors of high school.  Luckily (?) the school has a ghost hunting Club, PMS (Paranormal Management Society), and Izzy quickly becomes friends with its three members, especially Dex, who may or may not be a prodigium.  This is an amazing page-turner, spiced with clever dialogue, and a heroine who puts friendship and safety above business.  Unfortunately, it is also spiced with inappropriate language.  While the ending is satisfying although a bit unbelievable, loose threads suggest a continuation of the story in future books.

"Books were the best for research.  Even the Internet can't know everything."

Gateway Award Preliminary Nominee 2015-16

Tandem: Book 1 The Many Worlds Trilogy / Anna Jarzab / 428 pages / 5 Gold Rings December Challenge

This book grabbed me from the very beginning with its fairy tale like prologue and a princess escaping her planned marriage to the enemy and her difficult stepmother.  When Thomas goes through the Tandem in search of the princess's analog, Sasha, he takes with him Toggles - a sweet chocolate candy with a fruit center, and he meets his heroine in the parallel universe of Chicago in a bookstore, two of my favorite things - chocolate and bookstores.  Thomas is a universal transporter and Sasha is the princess's analog.  She is a look alike for Princess Juliana, but because of her different setting and experiences, is a different person.  Sash's parents were killed in an accident when she was small and she lives a quiet life with her physicist professor grandfather.  She has always had somewhat enigmatic dreams about a princess.  Turns out that princess is Juliana.  Thomas has come t form Aurora, exchanging places with an acquaintance of Sasha's.  He invites her to prom then whisks her away to Aurora where she is to stand in for the runaway princess for six days, meeting the princess's betrothed.  She is promised a return home if she co-operates.  The switch is called Operation Starling, involves the KES, and is represented in the provocative cover art.  Although this book is intriguing, given the age of the protagonists and the rather mature language, I think this book inappropriate for Truman readers (grades 6-8), but would recommend it for Gateway (high school.)

Truman Award Preliminary Nominee 2015-16

The Naturals / Jennifer Barnes / 308 pages / 7 Geese a Laying December Challenge

Seventeen year old Cassandra is not normal.  She's a natural and the FBI wants her.  She's what is known as a profiler.  She pieces together tiny details and uses them to read people - to make highly accurate, intuitive predictions about the person's personality, who they are, and what they want.  The FBI has five such young people who they are training to work cold - or unsolved, cases.  Cassie is highly motivated because her own mother's murder is yet unsolved.  When a serial killer begins mimicking the MO of her mother's murderer, Cassie, of course, wants to work the case.  The twists and turns at the end, the surprises, and the satisfying ending make this well worth the read.

Gateway Award Preliminary Nominee 2015-16

Sidekicked / John David Anderson / 373 pages / 7 Swans a Swimming December Challenge

Andrew Bean belongs to his "school's highly selective environmental club, otherwise known as the Highview Environmental Revitalization Organization, or H.E.R.O.  There are only six in the club.  Basically it's a training program for would-be sidekicks, who would then become would-be Supers for kids with kids with powers who hope to use them to someday fight the forces of evil..."  Drew was born with hypersensatia.  He "possessed super senses.  His magical hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet.  He's literally the sensitive kid in school.  He is a sensationalist."  Unfortunately, his Super, Titan, has abandoned him, and turned to drink, let himself go to fat, and ceased to be a crime fighter.  When the suits, three Jacks, escape from prison with the believed-to-be-dead Dealer's assistance, all sidekicks are placed on ready reserve status.  They are almost immediately disbanded as their ID's are compromised and their Supers are kidnapped or MIA.  Only Jenna's Super, Fox, is left.  She is in favor of relieving the sidekicks.  She claims she can handle the problem.  Although Margaret Peterson Haddix raved about this book on the jacket endorsement, I was a bit disappointed.  The beginning was a bit slow...She is right, however, that the middle and end "will make you wish you could turn pages faster than a speeding bullet."

"You can't pick and choose which rules you live by."

"Every gift has a price."

Truman Award Preliminary Nominee 2015-16

The Neptune Project / Polly Hollyoke / 341 pages / 8 Maids a Milking December Challenge

Global warming has wreaked havoc and devastation around the world.  The Tyrox outbreak killed most of the population of the LA over forty years ago.  Nere Hanson's mother was abandoned as a baby in the chaos following the Eugenics War.  It was assumed that one of her parents must have been a genetically altered supersoldier which resulted in Nere's and her mother's telepathy.  "If anyone in the government ever found out they are both telepaths, they'd end up in a Western Collective work camp, or worse.  Nere's mother is a scientist, with a secret illegal lab, computer, and radio.  She and Nere work and communicate with, and train dolphins.  Her father was washed overboard in a storm two years ago and his body was never recovered.  Her brother disappeared one year later.  when the government announces that all citizens of Goleta are to be moved further inland and the fishing fleet is destroyed, Gillian (Nere's mom) informs Nere that she, Robry (Cam's brother), and Lena (Nere's former best friend) are part of the Neptune Project.  They have been genetically altered to live in the sea.  They are to flee their home and make their way to a colony founded by her father for the Neptune kids.
This is an action-packed adventure filled with facts about the sea and spiced with romantic tension that will spark controversy on the ethics of eugenics, global warming, and biological research.

Truman Award Preliminary Nominee 2015-16

Rogue: a Novel / Lyn Miller-Lachmann / 290 pages / 12 Drummers Drumming December Challenge

"The X-men are mutants who don't fit into society.  They're like [Kiara Thornton], but all of them have special powers.  [Kiara's} trying to find [hers]."  She has Asperger's and has recently been suspended for hitting a fellow student with a lunch tray.  She desperately tries to strike up a friendship with every new kid but so far hasn't met with success.  Her mother, Mami, used to tell her how to act but she has left after the family band collapsed to perform as a back-up signer.  Kiara asks Mr. Internet how kids with Asperger's can find friends.  He has 255,000 answers for her.  Unfortunately, her newest prospect for friendship, 7th grader Chad, a new neighbor whose family moved into what used to be the Mackenzie Music Store, has a father who is making meth and uses Chad to procure Sudafed.  He is a musician like her father and together they make awesome music.  Kiara is faced with a dilemma.  She had to be a superhero like her heroine, Rogue, one of the X-men.  Will Chad be her Gambit?
This is a moving, insider's view into the ramifications of having Asperger's  Syndrome, the minefield of middle/high school  friendship, and one young girl's determination to do the right thing, make the world a better place, and to a friend...and a hero.

Truman Award Preliminary Nominee 2015-16

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Weight of Blood / Laura McHugh / 302 p.

I was drawn to this book by a review because of it's setting in rural southwest Missouri, an area with which I am familiar. Mid-way through I was excited to learn that the author would be making an appearance at one of our branches in the near future. I also recognized the news event from which I am sure the author got the idea for this novel.

It is a good debut novel set in the Missouri Ozarks. Teenage Lucy has always had questions about her mother's disappearance when she was just a baby. When a classmate goes missing, Lucy begins to make disturbing connections between the two. Because the dangers that often face women are real, I found some of the book to be more "horrifying" than a Stephen King novel. The mystery plays out well. The community is realistically clannish and secretive. But I was somewhat dissatisfied with the ending. Lucy behaves heroically; still I expected a bit more.

I think the setting makes it of interest to most Missourians.  Mystery readers would also like it as well as those interested in women's issues.  Recommend for those who enjoyed Gone Girl and Room.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Midnight Before Christmas, William Bernhardt, 224 pages

Lawyer Megan McGee has plans for a quiet Christmas with her adopted bulldog when Bonnie Cantrell shows up at her office.  Claiming to be a battered wife, Bonnie wants a restraining order to keep her ex husband Carl away from her and her son.  When the reader meets Carl he seems to be everything that Bonnie describes.  As Megan interacts with Bonnie and Carl, she develops some doubts about the couple.  This book was a interesting read with some twists and turns that the reader may not see coming.

His Kidnappers Shoes, Maggie James, 334 pages

Laura Bateman is in custody in a mental health facility.  Daniel Bateman, her 'son' is very angry.  The reader follows parallel stories of Laura's past and Daniel's present.  We learn that Laura kidnapped Daniel when he was four years old.  From Daniel's story we learn that he can no longer be with the person he loves now that his past has been revealed.  The story presents a thought provoking look at abuse and it's effects through generations.  Daniel meets someone who helps him come to terms with his past, and he in turn helps Laura come to terms with her present.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Unwanteds / Lisa McMann / 390 pages

     This 2014 Mark Twain award winner reminded me of Harry Potter.  The "unwanteds" are children (teens and tweens) who live in a magical world and learn magic from various odd teachers.  They even have an old mage rather than a wizard for the Dumbledore role.
     The unwanteds are any children who show creativity and don't fit into the Quillian world where there is extreme lack of goods, water, and technology which was apparently lost at some point.  The unwanteds are sent to off to die, but Marcus, the mage, actually has made the magical world to save them in.  The inevitable conflict will arise between rigid Quill and the magical world.
     While quite interesting, it still wasn't Harry Potter even though a British guy did the CD and could aproximate a Draco Malfoy voice for one of the characters.  I guess I still miss that thrill of a new Harry Potter book coming out.

Mark of Athena / Rick Riordan / 586 pages

In the third book of the Heroes of Olympus series, we finally learn what Annabeth's mom, Athena, said to upset her.  We find out she has the "Mark of Athena" and that it just might destroy Rome if the prophecy is correct.  We get to see all seven heroes in action as they learn more about their powers and each other.  Can Greeks and Romans put a 2,000 year-old grudge behind them or will they start a new civil war?  Can Reyna forgive Jason for leaving her behind?  This installment of Heroes of Olympus is the best yet.

Son of Neptune / Rick Riordan / 560 pages

This is the 2nd book in Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series.  In this book, Percy Jackson is back, but remembers nothing except Annabeth.  Percy suffers a Hera-induced amnesia similar to Jason Grace's in The Lost Hero.  Percy slowly makes his way to the Roman version of Camp Half-Blood, called New Rome.  Will Percy accept his fate as a Roman hero and forget Annabeth and the Greek Camp Half-Blood?  Read this book to find out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Star in the Forest / Laura Resau / 144 pages

    This is a very timely book about an 11 year old girl who lives in a run down trailer park in Colorado.  She is in fifth grade and wants to have friends and tries to fit in.  Her name is Zitlally and she is an illegal immigrant from Mexico.  Her family is far from rich, but they are together until that fateful day when her father is pulled over for speeding and is deported.  
    This begins to tear the family apart.  Her mother has to start two jobs and is not able to watch the kids as well.  Some men must move in to help with the rent so the family spends most of the time in the mom's bedroom.  Zitlally's older sister is absent and edging toward trouble.  Her younger sister is with a babysitter.  Zitlally is lost.  She can't focus at school.  She has no one to talk to about her father and her deep pain over his loss.
    She finds a dog chained in the junkyard behind her trailer park and this dog becomes the help for her life.  She also finds that another trailer park girl, Crystal, is a true friend despite her many issues.  This story makes a very satisfying circle where all elements tie in together by the end.
      On the author's website There is also a teacher's guide for this book.  She is not writing out of the blue.  She spent 2 years in Oaxaca as a teacher and anthropologist and then 10 years in the southwest teaching English to immigrants.  The issue of illegal children living in the U.S. is not going to go away.  Reading this book would be a good way to start the discussion.

Plain Girl / Virginia Sorensen / 151 pages

    This thoughtful book written by Newbery winner Virginia Sorensen gives an insight into the Amish life.  Although the book was written in 1955, most of it would be true today as the Amish community hasn't changed that much.  
    The conflict is the daughter Esther who has other thoughts than the approved thoughts for Amish girls.  She questions things, wants to go to school with "English" children, and even would like to try on an "English" dress.  She is devastated that her brother Daniel has left the Amish and cannot return unless he is willing to be "Amish".  Even if he returns, can there be forgiveness by the family?  Esther hopes so.
    It is a good book with a good ending.

For All Time/Jude Dexeraux/383 pages

This is the second book in the Nantucket Brides Trilogy.  The story begins at a wedding where the groom’s cousin, Prince Graydon Montgomery of tiny Lanconia, meets bridesmaid Toby Wyndam.  Toby is able to tell Graydon apart from his identical twin brother, Rory, and according to Lanconian legend, this trait indicates that she is his true love, even though he is practically engaged to another woman.  There is some "time travel" in this story - characters returning to an earlier time - which I really don't like too much.  Otherwise the story is pretty predictable but enjoyable.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Someone Else's Skin/Sarah Hilary/405 pgs.

This is the start of a new series, and already I can't wait for the next installment! Detective Inspector (DI) Marnie Rome and her partner, Detective Sergeant (DS) Noah Jake, are searching for Ayana Mirza--an abuse victim living in a women's shelter. Upon reaching the shelter, they find the door unlocked, and one of the other abused women, Hope Proctor, holding a bloody knife in her hand. She is standing over the bloody body of a man, Leo, her husband. There are several witnesses, but each tells a different story; however, they believe Hope acted in self-defense. Both Hope and Leo are taken to the hospital--Leo recovers from his injuries, while Hope escapes from the hospital with help from another women's shelter resident, Simone Bissell. While the search for Hope and Simone is on, someone abducts Ayana from the shelter. There are multiple story lines in this debut novel--each giving insight into the main characters. The book is wrought with suspense, twists and turns, and very strong, flawed, main characters. Highly recommended!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Downtown Green (Gone to Green Series), Judy Christie, 258 pages

This was the fifth book in the series, but was able to stand alone.  Lois Craig has relocated from Dayton, Ohio to small town Green, Louisiana.  Along the way she has bought the local newspaper, gotten married and has just given birth to her son.  The challenges facing Lois and Green include a thick weed cover choking the local lake and a down turn in the downtown business now that the bypass has opened.  Lois takes on a new project of saving the old ice cream shop in an effort to revitalize the down town area.  This was a quick read without much complexities.  The story revolves around the lives and deaths of the towns people.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Lesson Before Dying / Ernest J. Gaines / 256 p.

Wrong place and wrong time? Or guilty as charged? Doesn't matter. For a young black man in the South in the late 1940's the outcome of the trial was a forgone conclusion. Jefferson has been sentenced to die. Then a young teacher, Grant Wiggins, has been asked to help mentally prepare the young man for his execution.  Despite having gained an education, Grant feels the weight of inequality and oppression and questions his ability to help this young man--or any of his students for that matter. 

Her Last Whisper/Karen Robards/333 pgs.

Not realizing that this is the third in a series, I was still able to get a handle on the characters. Dr. Charlotte "Charlie" Stone is an expert in the psychology of serial killers. Evidently, Charlie narrowly escaped death in a previous novel, and is already back at work in Her Last Whisper. Girls have gone missing in Las Vegas--one of them being FBI agent Lena Kaminsky's sister, Giselle. She has requested Charlie's help--Charlie can, for some reason, communicate with the dead; she has also started hearing voices. On top of all of this, Charlie has Michael Garland, a ghost, who has to be in proximity to her. I'm not opposed to paranormal novels, but having the main character in love with a ghost--a hunky one at that, is a lot to swallow. It was an entertaining read, but I don't know if it was good enough for me to want to read the two previous books in this series.

The Girls of August/Anne Rivers Siddons/223 pages

The original "girls of August" were the wives of four med students/doctors. Although their husband's careers took them to different cities, the women vacationed each year in a beach house until one was tragically killed one winter. After that loss, the remaining three could not bring themselves to reunite each summer. Three years later, the widower remarries and wants the girls to reinstate the tradition with his new wife on her family's property on a remote barrier island off the South Carolina coast. The three reluctantly agree, and they begin to reacquaint themselves with each other and learn to like the new, much younger, member of the "girls of August."

This was a delight to read. I enjoyed the antics of the women fending for themselves on this remote island. I've always wanted to visit this part of the country, so the setting appealed to me. I wish Siddons had fleshed out the situations more. The story could have easily filled another one hundred pages. I find myself thinking I need to finish the book when, in fact, I already have.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Until We Touch/Susan Mallery/376 pgs

This is another entry in the "Fool's Gold Romance" series--a series I really enjoy. Larissa Owens is Jack McGarry's personal assistant; Jack is a partner in a public relations firm. She runs the aspects of his life involving charitable activities, in addition to being the firm's masseuse. They are good friends--he depends on her and enjoys her company; she doesn't mind being "one of the guys" and enjoys the friendship they share. This is fine until Larissa's mother claims that Larissa will never find someone to settle down with until she leaves Jack's employment, since it's obvious Larissa is in love with Jack. Her mom asks Jack to fire Larissa so that she will leave town and have a chance at love and marriage. From then on, Jack and Larissa begin seeing each other in a different light. It's obvious how this is all going to turn out, but the fun is watching them get from point A to point B in their relationship. This series has more depth of character than that of other contemporary romance series.

Cut and Thrust/Stuart Woods/307 pages

Stone Barrington saves the day for Katharine Rule Lee who is seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination. He also is instrumental in helping his friend Ed Eagle take care of an ongoing personal problem. What would the country do without Stone?

Woods' formula for Stone is tried and true. If you have a spare 5 hours and enjoy Stone's ridiculously easy life, you'll love this one.