Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Like Christmas in My Mailbox Today

When I went to check my mailbox today there was a suspicious package addressed to me.  I wasn't too worried because it came from St. Martin's Press.  I honestly didn't remember ordering anything and I wasn't expecting an ARC so I anxiously opened the box.

What a great surprise!  When I saw the contents I remembered entering a giveaway but didn't know I was a winner..

The box contained a pound of "Eve Dallas Roast - Dublin Roasters" coffee.  Mmmmmm!  Now I get to taste what all the fuss is about in J.D. Robb's "In Death" books when Eve looks forward to drinking her "real" coffee that Rourke procures for her.  When I opened the package the aroma was amazing.  And BONUS ... it's free trade and organic!  Of course I had to brew some right away.  It tastes as good as it smells and I had some cookies stashed away from baking I did on the weekend.  Perfect!



I am going to be quite greedy and squirrel this away for me.  Okay ... I'll share with my BFF who is also a huge J.D. Robb fan.



Thank you very much to St. Martin's Press and Dublin Roasters for the delicious surprise.



30/30





Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Vanishing Valazquez - A Review


THE VANISHING VALAZQUEZ by Laura Cumming

John Snare purchases a portrait of Prince Charles with the suspicion that the artist is Diego Valazquez.  As the subtitle of this book suggests that painting became his lifelong obsession and ultimately his ruin. 

This book has three main themes; John Snare’s obsession with the painting and the impact it has on his life, art history featuring the times and works of Valazquez and the history between England and Spain.  All of them interesting in their own right and the research Ms. Cumming did is obviously extensive.  She goes into great detail for all three of the themes.  I found each interesting and enjoyed Ms. Cumming’s writing. 

The flow of this book is where I had some issues.  It jumped around a little too much.  I understand wanting to intersperse the history of the painting with Snare’s story but often the information didn’t quite mesh coherently.

That aside it was an interesting read and anyone interested in Diego Valazquez and his works will enjoy this book.  I would highly recommend purchasing a physical copy of the book because it does include photographic reproductions of the paintings that an eReader does not do justice.  (I ending up reading the book and googling the paintings)

I received this book at no charge from the publisher, Scribner 
via Netgalley in the hopes of an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (her Simon and Schuster author page)

Laura Cumming has been the art critic of the Observer since 1999. Previously, she was arts editor of the New Statesman magazine, literary editor of the Listener, and deputy editor of Literary Review. She is a former columnist for the Herald and has contributed to the London Evening Standard, the Guardian, L’Express and Vogue. Her book A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits was widely reviewed to critical acclaim.









29/30



Monday, 28 November 2016

The Obsidian CHamber - A Review


THE OBSIDIAN CHAMBER by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

This installment in the Pendergast series starts off at almost the exact point the last book (Crimson Shore) ended.  Pendergast is still missing and presumed dead, Constance goes into self-imposed exile in the chambers beneath the mansion and Proctor is standing guard.  Standing guard until it seems as if Constance is kidnapped.  A wild, cat and mouse chase starts the action moving in a non-stop, breath-stopping manner.  When we discover that the chase is in fact a wild goose chase we return to the manor to find strange things afoot.

It’s no secret that A.X.L.’s brother Diogenes has returned from the (presumed) dead, this has been clearly hinted at in the last two books; the Obsidian Chamber confirms his return.  To all outward appearance he comes back as a changed man.  Is it too good to be true?

Reports of Agent Pendergast’s demise are also found to be premature as he fights for his life after being fished aboard a boat manned by drug runners who know the bargaining power of having in F.B.I. agent in their grasp.

Individually those three plot lines make up approximately half this book.  Each plot line is suspenseful and interesting, so much so, that it kept me avidly reading to find out what happens.  Unfortunately when the plot lines converge the story seems to lose some its momentum.  I usually enjoy the novels that feature Constance at the center of the action and in the last two books it seemed that Constance had finally come in to her own.  Obsidian Chamber seems to set her back a few steps and she becomes a strange hybrid of shrinking violet and ninja warrior.  I still believe that Pendergast is one of the more original “agents” in thriller books and I enjoy his quirkiness and resourcefulness – almost a cross between prim and proper Mary Poppins with her magic bag and McGyver with all the tricks up his sleeve.  In this book I almost feel the book would have progressed better if he had just shown up and the end … everyone relieved that he was alive.

Constance’s decision at the end of the book almost seems a step backwards and I fear the books will become a bit of a “rehash” with names changed to disguise repetitiveness.  I hope not because I enjoy the series but the word “stale” popped into my mind on more than one occasion while reading this one.

Overall it’s not a bad read but holds nothing in comparison to the early books in the series.

I received this book at no charge from the publisher, Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley in the hopes of an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS (from www.prestonchild.com)


Douglas Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1956, and grew up in the deadly boring suburb of Wellesley. Following a distinguished matriculation at a private nursery school-he was almost immediately expelled-he attended public schools and the Cambridge School of Weston. Notable events in his early life included the loss of a fingertip at the age of three to a bicycle; the loss of his two front teeth to his brother Richard's fist; and various broken bones, also incurred in dust-ups with Richard. (Richard went on to write The Hot Zone and The Cobra Event, which tells you all you need to know about what it was like to grow up with him as a brother.)

He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. In 2011, Pomona College conferred on Preston the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa. He is an avid skier, mountain climber, and hiker.

He counts in his ancestry the poet Emily Dickinson, the early sexologist Robert Latou Dickinson, and the infamous murderer and opium addict Amasa Greenough. He divides his time between New Mexico and Maine.

Lincoln Child was born in Westport, Connecticut, which he still calls his hometown (despite the fact that he left the place before he reached his first birthday and now only goes back for weekends).

Lincoln seemed to have acquired an interest in writing as early as second grade, when he wrote a short story entitled Bumble the Elephant (now believed by scholars to be lost). Along with two dozen short stories composed during his youth, he wrote a science-fiction novel in tenth grade called Second Son of Daedalus and a shamelessly Tolkienesque fantasy in twelfth grade titled The Darkness to the North (left unfinished at 400 manuscript pages). Both are exquisitely embarrassing to read today and are kept under lock and key by the author.

A dilettante by natural inclination, Lincoln's interests include: pre-1950s literature and poetry; post-1950s popular fiction; playing the piano, various MIDI instruments, and the 5-string banjo; English and American history; motorcycles; architecture; classical music, early jazz, blues, and R&B; exotic parrots; esoteric programming languages; mountain hiking; bow ties; Italian suits; fedoras; archaeology; and computer MMORPGs.



28/30

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Saturday, 26 November 2016

The Other Einstein - A Review


THE OTHER EINSTEIN by Marie Benedict

Mitza Maric was an anomaly in her hometown.  She was a young woman with a handicap that made her “not marriage material” in everyone’s eyes and she was intelligent, which in her time period also seemed to be a strike against her.  She was, however, fortunate enough to have a father who not only adored her but nurtured and applauded her intelligence.  So, when other young girls her age were marrying and starting families Mitza was moving to Zurich to attend the University to study physics.

While it took her a long time to fit in with most of her fellow (all male) students she did find kindred spirits in the other girls residing at her boarding house, other females also pursuing an education.  Her professor continued to single her out and often ridicule her but the other students begin to understand her intelligence and reluctantly accept her … particularly one young man name Albert Einstein.

Friendship soon turned to more and after many obstacles to their relationship they married.  With two such brilliant minds the physics theories couldn’t help but flow freely.  But were the ideas all Albert’s or did Mitza have a significant contribution to his brilliance?  That is the question Ms. Benedict poses in this work of historical fiction.

As is expected much is known about Albert Einsten, but Mitza seems to have been ignored by history books in favor of her husband and his second wife.  Ms. Benedict writes a very believable and entertaining story based on the supposition that Mitza not only contributed to Albert’s genius but also may have come up with some of the theories always accredited to him.  She also gives plausible explanations as to how this may have come about.  All these things combined made for a very interesting read.

Historical fiction is by its very description supposition involving dialogue that no one could have recorded and private moments that can only be guessed at.  Ms. Benedict seamlessly blends these fiction aspects into the time period and what is known about Einstein.  While reading “The Other Einstein” I never once shook my head with the thought “no way!”  In fact, often the opposite was true and I found myself getting angry at the circumstance Mitza endured.  Much in the same way one cannot imagine one’s parents as young lovers, where I had to suspend disbelief, the most was with the descriptions of the wild haired genius as a young man passionately pursuing the woman he loved.  Of course, given his history with women Ms. Benedict did an admirable job of that side of Einstein as well.

Science was a major part of their early relationship and commonality, but Ms Benedict approached that aspect in a very readable manner.  Sometimes the theories were out of my grasp but that in no way bogged down the story instead only served to emphasize just how brilliant Mitza was.

Good historical fiction read. I would certainly not hesitate to seek out another of her books.

“I received this book at no charge from the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, via Netgalley in the hope of receiving an honest review.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from www.authormariebenedict.com)

Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a litigator at two of the country's premier law firms. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College with a focus in History and Art History, and a cum laude graduate of the Boston University School of Law.

While practicing as a lawyer, Marie dreamed of a fantastical job unearthing the hidden historical stories of women -- and finally found it when she tried her hand at writing. She embarked on a new, narratively connected series of historical novels with THE OTHER EINSTEIN, which tells the tale of Albert Einstein's first wife, a physicist herself, and the role she might have played in his theories. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also published the historical novels The ChrysalisThe Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare.




26/30

Friday, 25 November 2016

Underground Airlines - A Review


UNDERGROUND AIRLINES by Ben H. Winters

The “Underground Airline” is the present day version of the “Underground Railway”.  Why would this be necessary?  In this alternative representation of present day the Civil War never happened.  Most states banned slavery on their own, except for four states calling themselves the “hard four”.  With Slavery still in place of course there are runaway slaves which necessitates the existence of bounty hunters to return slaves to their owners.  With cell phones, computers, the internet and modern transportation the occupation of capturing runaway slaves bears a much different description than in the past.

Victor is a very clever and extremely resourceful black man working for an anonymous voice at the other end of his cell phone, trying to infiltrate an abolitionist cell.  His case is to track and apprehend Jackdaw, a man someone desperately wants to capture.  Along the way he happens across a young woman and her son, who may be able to help Victor in his pursuit.  But something is wrong … why is Jackdaw so important and what is the government’s stake not only in this pursuit but in maintaining the “hard four”.

As a rule I do not normally read “alternative history” but the description of this book proved too hard for me to resist.  Interestingly, where I normally read this type of book and enjoy the story despite the alterations to history, in this book Mr. Winters intrigued me with his imaginative version of America.  He gave an interesting “alternative” reality – a United States that left the United Nations because of the constant pressure to outlaw slavery resulting in many countries placing trade embargoes against the U.S.  Interesting scenarios about what would happen to the U.S. when it slips from being a world leader. 

The thriller/story part of “Underground Airline” is where I felt a little let down.  The first part of the book left me confused.  It took me a while to sort out who the good guys were.  Then my interest picked up when Victor met an unusual young woman and her son in a hotel lobby.  The middle pages turned quickly as I became immersed in the story and then … what happened? 

I got a feeling that there might be a sequel in the works but the ending cannot even be described as a cliff hanger … it just wrapped up quickly and in a rather disappointing manner.  I know others raved about this book and while the writing was good and the premise intriguing I’m not convinced I would visit Mr. Winter’s version of the United States again if a sequel were published.

I received this book at no charge from the publisher, Mulholland Books, via Netgalley in the hopes of an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from www.benhwinters.com)

Ben H. Winters is the author of nine novels, including most recently the New York Times bestselling Underground Airlines (Mulholland Books). His other work includes the award-winning Last Policeman trilogy, which concluded in 2014 with World of Trouble (Quirk), a nominee for an Anthony Award and an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Countdown City was an NPR Best Book of 2013 and the winner of the Philip K. Dick Award for Distinguished Science Fiction. The Last Policeman was the recipient of the 2012 Edgar Award, and it was also named one of the Best Books of 2012 by Amazon.com and Slate.
Ben’s other books Literally Disturbed (Price Stern Sloan), a book of scary poems for kids; the New York Times bestselling parody novel Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (Quirk) and a novel for young readers, The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman (HarperCollins), which was a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of 2011 as well as an Edgar Nominee in the juvenile category.
Ben has also written extensively for the theater, and was a 2009-2010 Fellow of the Dramatists Guild; his plays for young audiences include The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere , A (Tooth) Fairy Tale and Uncle Pirate, and his plays for not-young audiences include the 2008 Off-Broadway musical Slut and the “jukebox musical” Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, which is produced frequently across the country and around the world.  Ben’s journalism has appeared in The Chicago Reader, The Nation, In These Times, USA Today, the Huffington Post, and lots of other places.
Ben grew up in suburban Maryland, went to college at Washington University in St. Louis, and has subsequently lived in six different cities—seven if you count Brooklyn twice for two different times. Presently he lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife Diana, a law professor, and their three children.




25/30

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

An Evening with Kathy Reichs


Kudos to KPL for always bringing in great authors.

Last evening I was lucky enough to attend “An Evening with Kathy Reichs” at my local library.    I have to start off this post by saying I am not really a Kathy Reichs fan – okay, that’s a bit cold – let’s say I do not read Kathy Reichs.  I went to this event because my BFF is a fan (of both the books and the television series) and since she had never been to an author event (shocking – I know) she asked if I would accompany her to this one.  It didn’t take much arm-twisting since these library events are always free of charge and, I know from previous experience, always interesting and entertaining.  Ms. Reichs was no exception.

Ms. Reichs is a wonderful speaker. 

She began the evening by explaining to her audience a little bit about what a “forensic anthropologist” actually does for a living.  Given her many work obligations, her numerous humanitarian efforts, her charitable work, being a producer on “Bones” and enjoying her six grandchildren I am surprised she has any time left to write her popular books at all.  Now, I must say that the topic of forensic anthropology, especially accompanied by graphic slides, could be a little tummy-churning but Ms. Reichs handled it gently and with a sense of humor that, for some reason, I was not expecting.  I’m sure had a been one of her readers I would not have been as surprised because, as she explained, she does try to incorporate humor into both her books and television series to lighten things up once in a while.  I couldn’t help but notice that each of her slides during the presentation had a little skeleton somewhere on the screen doing somersaults, dancing, or just walking back and forth.  I tried to capture him in a picture but failed.  The image will give you the idea though.

Ms. Reichs also admitted to frequently thinking “That's sooo cool!” when other folks not in her line of work might be thinking “Ewwww!”  She did try to convince the audience, while explaining the importance of entomology to her line of work, that maggots were cute.  She even brought a slide of a maggot magnified under a powerful microscope.  Yeah … I wasn’t buying into that one!

I am sure that I was the only person in the audience that was not familiar with every one of her books but she went through a few of them, starting with “Deja Dead” and explained which of her real-life cases the idea for the book came from.  Often it was a compilation of two cases or a “what-if” thought she had when puzzling out a forensic problem.  Even with authors whose works I do read I find the back-story of where the idea was born is always fascinating.  Ms. Reichs, taking the time to explain where the ideas for the books came from may have earned you a new fan … it definitely made me want to go out and pick up a copy.


Ms. Reichs also introduced the “Virals” series, YA books she writes with her son, Brendan Reichs.  Wow, that series sounded really good to me.

VIRALS (from her website)

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage “sci-philes” who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot-if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends- they’re a pack. They are Virals.



Ms. Reichs next segment was about “Bones” the television series.  She did touch slightly on the fact that the show doesn’t follow the books too closely.  I had been people watching and eavesdropping (as I am wont to do while standing in line) on the people waiting to go into the auditorium and one of the major things I noticed was the division between fans of the show and those of the books.  Only a slight few seemed to like both?  One group of fans enjoyed one or the other enough to make the 260-mile trek from Rochester, NY to attend the evening.  Ms. Reichs does write one show each season and I had no idea the amount of time, from idea conception to final production, went into getting just one episode on the air.

As her talk was wrapping up she did introduce two upcoming books.  One, a compilation brought to readers by the Mystery Writers of America in which she teamed up with Lee Child to write a story where the action features both Jack Reacher and Temperance Brennan.  Interesting!  Her next book (I didn’t catch the slide in time to show you the cover image) but it’s titled “Two Nights” and will NOT feature Temperance Brennan.  The only tidbit she would share was the main character’s name – Sunday Night.

The enjoyable evening ended with a Q&A from the audience where were learned that she enjoyed reading murder mysteries, those on the darker side, such as Jo Nesbo, Clive Cussler and, with a sly smile, she emphatically assured the audience that she had never heard of Patricia Cornwell.

A very well deserved round of applause ended the evening and we went out to meet Ms. Reichs in the lobby of the library to get our books signed.  Yes, I purchased her newest book “The Bone Collection” because Ms. Reichs won me over and this book is composed of four novellas.  Ms. Reichs explained that they were intended to be short stories but she has a little problem with the “short” part of that description.  I thought this would be a good introduction to her characters for a newbie like me.  My BFF was quite excited to note that “First Bones”, included in this book and never published anywhere before, is a story that reveals how Tempe became a forensic anthropologist, leaving behind the world of academia and moving “into the grim but addictive world of criminal investigation”.





























23/30

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Saving Houdini - A Review


SAVING HOUDINI by Michael Redhill

Bloom the Beguiler – that “great mystifier” – is performing at the Canon theater and Dashiel Woolfe is excited to be attending the show.  The show commemorates the 85th anniversary of Harry Houdini’s death.  Dash was surprised that his mom managed to snag tickets since the show usually sold out a year in advance.  However, when it came time for the finale, “The Great Soap Bubble Vanish”, Dash was really hoping he would not be the one picked to go up on stage … of course, he was chosen.  Dashiel had his own reasons for not wanting to be up on stage but had he known the history of the “Soap Bubble Vanish” he would have been even more apprehensive.  It was only performed once before and that night was never spoken of again.  Dash soon enough found out why when the last thing he remembered was standing inside a giant soap bubble and now he was alone on the stage … in 1926.  The first thing he did was throw up!

How would he get back to 2011?

With the help of a new friend, a washed up magician and, maybe, Harry Houdini himself they may be able to recreate the trick and get him home.  Maybe?  To make that happen Dash and his friend Walter need to get from Toronto to Montreal, convince Houdini that his “time travel” story is true and build the machine for the soap bubble.  And, as only Dash knew, Houdini’s death loomed only a couple of days away.  Simple, right?  What if Dash could save Houdini too?  Quite the page turning adventure ensues.

Being a bit of a sucker for things “Houdini” I picked up this book in my recent “use up my gift card” book-shopping spree.  It’s written for young readers and I can certainly see them becoming quickly caught up in this well written and entertaining story.  I certainly was.  There is edge of your seat suspense, the conundrum of time travel, some breath stopping escapades, humor and of course, a little magic thrown in every now and then.

I think this book would definitely appeal to ‘tween readers of both genders but particularly boys.  The (mis)adventures that Dash and Walter get up to would certainly make a young man’s imagination run wild as well as tickle that pre-teen funny bone.  Mr. Redhill did an admirable job of describing the differences between 2011 Toronto and the same city in 1926.  “Saving Houdini” also contains a great message about friendship between it’s pages.

If you have a young (or young at heart) reader who likes adventure stories this would make a wonderful gift.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from the book jacket)

Michael Redhill is a fiction writer, playwright, and poet, and is the co-editor and former publisher of the literary magazine “Brick”.

His first novel, “Martin Sloane”, a finalist for the Giller Prize, won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and the Books in Canada First Novel Award.  His novel “Consolation” received the Toronto Book Award, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and was the winner of the Keep Toronto Reading “One Book” campaign.

A father of two, Michael Redhill lives in Toronto.  Saving Houdini is his first book for young readers.



 22/30

Monday, 21 November 2016

What makes a good bookmark?

I HATE dog eared pages so in a pinch I've used some pretty strange things as bookmarks ... and being a loyal library patron I've also found some strange things used as bookmarks.



Except this ... although it too has happened at my house on a few occasions.









21/30



Sunday, 20 November 2016

All is Not Forgotten - A Review


ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN by Wendy Walker

If one of the worst things imaginable happened to your daughter and you had something within your grasp to make the memories of it go away, wouldn’t you use it?

In the affluent town of Fairview Connecticut the rape of Jenny Kramer was shocking.  Things like that just did not happen there and things like that absolutely did not happen to the Kramer family.  Benefit dinners, fundraisers and country club luncheons are the things that happen to the Kramers. When their daughter was raped they really didn’t know how to cope.  Then the doctors offered them an experimental “magic pill” which erases memories, tested on veterans suffering from PTSD.  Jenny’s mother Charlotte jumped at the chance to pretend the rape had never happened.  Her father, Tom, was not so sure it was the right thing to do.  The drug was administered but the magic in the pill was not quite complete … yes Jenny’s memory of that night was erased, but everyone else knew about it and Jenny felt different.

Jenny starts visiting a psychiatrist – who happens to have his own agenda, the police investigation carries on – but of course now Jenny can’t help, the Kramer’s marriage starts to show cracks that they had previously hidden and, what happens when the rapist is apprehended?

Most of this book is written in the first person, almost as journal entries, by whom we discover about a third of the way in, is Jenny’s psychiatrist.  Not long after we discover the narrator’s identity we also learn that he is a most unreliable source because he has an agenda of his own … less traumatic but almost as shocking as Jenny’s rape.  This made the book uncomfortable to read.  Not so uncomfortable that I wanted to stop because by that point I was so involved in the lives of the (very well developed) characters I HAD TO KNOW what would happen at then end.  Ms. Walker did an admirable job bringing this difficult story to a satisfactory, if not necessarily a happy, conclusion. 

As much as I enjoyed (can one enjoy a book that centers around the rape of a 16-year old girl?) my 4-star rating stems from feeling that the flow of the book was interrupted too frequently by multiple retellings of the same story line.  And, while I could understand the friendship Jenny developed with a young, troubled soldier who had also received the same drug for his PTSD, I felt it was almost a different book during those parts.

Overall, despite the difficult subject matter, it was a worthwhile read for the unusual take Ms. Walker brought to it in this book.

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for providing my with this book 
in the hopes I would provide an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from www.wendywalkerbooks.com)

Wendy Walker is a family law attorney in Fairfield County, Connecticut who began writing while at home raising her three sons. She published two novels with St. Martin’s Press and edited multiple compilations for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series before writing her debut psychological thriller, All is Not Forgotten.

Wendy earned her J. D., magna cum laude, at the Georgetown University Law Center where she was awarded  the American Jurisprudence award for her performance in Contracts and Advanced Criminal Procedure.  She received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University and attended The London School of Economics and Political Science as part of her undergraduate studies.

Prior to her legal career, Wendy was a financial analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co., in the mergers and acquisitions group. She has also volunteered at the ACLU, Connecticut Legal Services and Figure Skating in Harlem where she served on the Board of Directors for over twelve years.

Wendy is currently writing her second thriller while managing a busy household.








20/30

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Outfoxed - A Review


OUTFOXED by David Rosenfelt

In this, the 14th installment in the Andy Carpenter series, Andy is once again indulging his passion for the Tara Foundation instead of “lawyering” but, as so often happens in Andy’s life, the two soon overlap.  Andy has started a program allowing prisoners to work with the foundation’s dogs.  Brian Atkins has served three and a half years of his five-year sentence on a fraud conviction.  Andy trusts the instincts of the dogs and Boomer, a neglected rescue, has taken to Brian so much so he hopes Boomer can find his forever home with Brian after his release.  Alas, Brian succeeds in escaping from jail – unfortunately – he does so on the same day his ex-wife and ex-business partner are killed.  Naturally Brian is the prime suspect despite the fact that that he proclaims his innocence.

Andy believes him and agrees to represent him, not knowing just how dangerous this case may turn out to be.

Once again Mr. Rosenfelt delivers a fun, quick read featuring self deprecating, sarcastic Andy in a story that held my interest, made me laugh and kept me turning the pages even though I knew that Andy would once again prevail in court.  I also had my suspicions that Brian and Boomer might just end up together.

Formulaic?  Maybe.  Familiar?  Definitely.  But visiting with Andy, et al is like eating comfort food.  It’s a “go to” when you need a pick me up and although familiar it’s much loved and seldom fails to satisfy.  Looking forward to his next Andy Carpenter adventure.

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for providing my with this book in the hopes
I would provide an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from www.davidrosenfelt.com)

I am a novelist with 27 dogs.

I have gotten to this dubious position with absolutely no planning, and at no stage in my life could I have predicted it. But here I am.

My childhood was relentlessly normal. The middle of three brothers, loving parents, a middle-class home in Paterson, New Jersey. We played sports, studied sporadically. laughed around the dinner table, and generally had a good time. By comparison, “Ozzie and Harriet’s” clan seemed bizarre.

I graduated NYU, then decided to go into the movie business. I was stunningly brilliant at a job interview with my uncle, who was President of United Artists, and was immediately hired. It set me off on a climb up the executive ladder, culminating in my becoming President of Marketing for Tri-Star Pictures. The movie landscape is filled with the movies I buried; for every “Rambo”, “The Natural” and “Rocky”, there are countless disasters.

I did manage to find the time to marry and have two children, both of whom are doing very well, and fortunately neither has inherited my eccentricities.

A number of years ago, I left the movie marketing business, to the sustained applause of hundreds of disgruntled producers and directors. I decided to try my hand at writing. I wrote and sold a bunch of feature films, none of which ever came close to being actually filmed, and then a bunch of TV movies, some of which actually made it to the small screen. It’s safe to say that their impact on the American cultural scene has been minimal.

About fourteen years ago, my wife and I started the Tara Foundation, named in honor of the greatest Golden Retriever the world has ever known. We rescued almost 4,000 dogs, many of them Goldens, and found them loving homes. Our own home quickly became a sanctuary for those dogs that we rescued that were too old or sickly to be wanted by others. They surround me as I write this. It’s total lunacy, but it works, and they are a happy, safe group.







19/30

Friday, 18 November 2016

Dark Matter - A Review


DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch

Jason Dessen had a more than promising career in quantum physics.  When he met, fell in love with and married his (then pregnant) girlfriend he made the difficult decision to give up research and go into teaching.  He never regretted the decision but on the night his former colleague is receiving a prestigious award for research he doesn’t want to go to the celebration because he doesn’t want to deal with the “what ifs”.  Unfortunately, life does not always follow along with one’s feelings and on his way home he is abducted and taken to confront the physical realization of his long ago theoretical project.  Given no choice, Jason steps into the machine and soon realizes that his life will never be the same again.

I requested this book on the strength of Mr. Crouch’s name.  I have enjoyed many of his previous works, the Pines series in particular.  I knew this book contained time travel elements, which is not a deal breaker for me.  I also knew it would be “science heavy”, also not a reason to pass up on the book.  What I didn’t expect was that the time travel element would take such an unusual course – linear rather than back to the past or into the future.  Interesting!  The science was, admittedly, a little daunting in this one.  I had to take it on faith because I was lost in the quantum physics.  Don’t let that stop you from picking up this page-turner.

My rating of 3 ½ stars stems from the middle part of the book.  Without giving away too much of the plot suffice it to say it was a little “overpopulated” which I found more confusing than the science.  Just as my mind was beginning to moan at the task of reading this book the action turned and I became fully engaged in the story again.

In my opinion, the ending was a little open leading me to wonder whether we would be visiting with the Dessen family again … in another world? 

“I received this book at no charge from the publisher Crown Publishing via Netgalley
 in exchange for an honest review.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from www.blakecrouch.com)

Blake Crouch is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of the novel, Dark Matter, for which he is writing the screenplay for Sony Pictures.

His international-bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy was adapted into a television series for FOX, executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, that was Summer 2015's #1 show. With Chad Hodge, Crouch also created Good Behavior, the TNT television show starring Michelle Dockery based on his Letty Dobesh novellas.

He has written more than a dozen novels that have been translated into over thirty languages and his short fiction has appeared in numerous publications including Ellery Queenand Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Crouch lives in Colorado.







18/30

Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Lie - A Review


THE LIE by C.L. Taylor

Jane Hughes is happy with her life.  She has a new boyfriend, an animal shelter job she loves and a tiny cottage she calls home.  Although it’s the life she made for herself its not really her life because she is not really Jane Hughes.  Jane Hughes is someone she made up when she couldn’t cope with her life after what happened on a horrendous holiday that should have been “the trip of a life time” and ended up being the worst nightmare she could have imagined.  Four friends left for the vacation and only two returned.  Someone knew her secret, but who was it?  When she begins getting strange messages, texts and calls she begins to suspect everyone.  Is she going to lose the life she worked so hard to create?  Is she going to lose her life?

There were many aspects to this book that I enjoyed.  The exploration of how Jane’s friendship with her traveling companions began to break down was interesting.  The mystery itself was a good one and like Jane I suspected everyone along the way.  I didn’t figure things out until the big reveal … then all the clues started to fall into place.  The writing was good; the terror and angst the girls felt was palpable.

Despite all that I felt the pace of the story could have been a little faster.  I didn’t mind the story being told in two time lines, but what happened on that mountaintop just seemed to drag out.  Yes, there was always something going on but some of the action was repetitive … the same situation happening to different characters.  Although I knew the past mystery was going to be revealed and possibly the answer to Jane’s current mystery was to be found in what happened on that mountain but even that couldn’t stop me from tiring of the tale of the spa/commune.

Credit where credit is due – the last quarter of the book did have me turning the pages quickly, anxious to find out the truth and what would happen to Jane.  There was even a little twist that I really didn’t see coming.

Three and a half stars for this one. 

“I received this book at no charge from Sourcebooks Landmark via Netgalley in the hopes of that I would give the book an honest review.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from www.cltaylorauthor.com)

CL Taylor is the Sunday Times bestselling author of three psychological thrillers – THE ACCIDENT, THE LIE and THE MISSING.

C.L. Taylor was born in Worcester and spent her early years living in various army camps in the UK and Germany. She studied Psychology at the University of Northumbria and went on forge a career in instructional design and e-Learning. She now writes full time and lives in Bristol with her partner and young son.









17/30


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Doll's House - A Review


THE DOLL’S HOUSE by M.J. Arlidge

After a night out and, admittedly, a few too many drinks Ruby collapsed into her own bed in her own flat … and then woke up in a strange room staged to look cozy.  What happened and how?  Who is this man that abducted her?  And, why does he keep calling her Summer?

At almost the same time a family enjoying a lovely day at the beach make a grisly discovery while digging in the sand to make a sandcastle.

When she gets the separate cases DI Helen Grace suspects that, once again, she has a serial killer case on her hands.  While she is diligently working to catch this predator her team is falling apart, cliques are forming and alliances are divided between herself and her nemesis (and boss) Ceri Harwood.  Is this anyway to run an investigation?

I’ve been enjoying this series and this installment is no exception.  The crime is always an interesting (and gruesome one), the behind the scene dramatics and conflicts at the police station add an interesting layer to the books and even three books in I feel that there is so much about DI Grace that readers have not been told.

Looking forward to picking up the next one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from Publisher's Weekly)

I’ve already done two “About the Author” on Mr. Arlidge on my blog so here’s an excerpt of an interview he did with Publishers weekly.

How do you maintain the reader’s interest (and your own) in an ongoing series?

By creating an amazing set of characters who have massive personal journeys to go on, and remembering to refresh each novel, so it seems somehow different, bigger and more surprising than its predecessor. If you are not bored, hopefully your readers will not be either.

Is your choice of a strong, independent female protagonist a political statement or purely a literary decision?

Actually it is both. I love writing female characters and am naturally drawn to them, but I also feel it is time for the women to lead. We have had enough boring, middle-aged white male coppers. All the best fictional detectives of recent times are female—Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, The Killing’s Sarah Lund, The Bridge’s Saga Noren, and more besides. It just feels that the world is changing, and that finally it might be time for the women to take center stage.







16/30