Skip to main content

February 5, 2010 - February 18, 2010

Last contest period's winners were CharlesDonnaJudy O.Kimberlyand Sal, who each received a copy of SECRETS OF EDEN by Chris Bohjalian, SHADOW TAG by Louise Erdrich and WINTER GARDEN by Kristin Hannah.

 

Ruth
A Simple Christmas by Mike Huckabee
Rating: 4 Stars
The former governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate recounts 12 Christmas stories from his personal life.
 
Ruth
While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky
Rating: 4 Stars
Family members grieve and struggle together as they uncover secrets and learn the meaning of "letting go."
 
Ruth
The Woman Who Is Always Tan and Has a Flat Stomach by Lauren Allison & Lisa Perry
Rating: 4 Stars
Just what the doctor ordered --- 29 bite-sized doses of humor that most women can relate to (unless you're that "perfect woman").
 
Julie H.
From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
Rating: 4 Stars
Harris continues to astound me with her series about Sookie and her interesting friends. A brewing Were battle and a possible takeover by Nevada Vamps create more energy and excitement in Bon Temps.
 
Julie H.
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
Rating: 3 Stars
Leaning a little bit more to the traditional darker side of fairytales, our main characters Cam and Morgan were born on the same day, grew up together (next door neighbors) and became a couple in high school. As plans for their joint 16th birthday party come to fruition, Cam's "cousin," Pip, appears with a tale that's difficult to bear. Cam was switched at birth by those sneaky fairies and now is needed back in Otherworld as the heir to the fairy throne. While I really appreciated Balog's ability to tell this story in only the one book, I thought the addition of Morgan's "power" to be distracting to the main tale. Wasn't she special enough as a teen learning to grow and deal with what could be a huge loss in her life?
 
Cindy
South of Broad by Pat Conroy
Rating: 3 Stars
Well-written book about the city of Charleston and the lives of different characters. It was slow reading at first but then picked up and held my attention to the end. Deals with everyday life issues, but the author does an excellent job of writing about the Southern life of high school friends.
 
Lou
The Forever Gift by Elizabeth August
Rating: 3 Stars
This Christmas novella was just what I was looking for: a quick and easy --- yet heartwarming --- holiday story. Kane Courtland went from a bachelor to father (of an orphaned niece) to husband all in a short time and was thankful for the transition.
 
Louise
Undercover Christmas by B.J. Daniels
Rating: 4 Stars
A cute plot wherein a successful businessman and rancher is approached by a girl he swears he's never met... a girl who says she is pregnant with his baby. He had previously suffered from a mild case of amnesia but is still certain that he does not know her.
 
Debbie (delphimo@yahoo.com)
Strange Affair by Peter Robinson
Rating: 3 Stars
In this Alan Banks mystery, Alan is recovering from his brush with death and the destruction of his cottage by fire. Annie and Alan have not resolved their differences due to Phil Keane. The story starts with the death of a young woman, and a puzzling message left for Alan from his brother Roy. The story takes many turns when Alan arrives at Roy's house "in the mews." As usual, Robinson builds a moving story, but he also explores the injustices of life. In this story, he uncovers the young girls stolen from various war-torn areas bought to England for the sex trade. The story ends with a surprise involving one of the prostitutes. Also, I feel certain the Phil Keane will soon reappear.
 
Debbie (delphimo@yahoo.com)
The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith
Rating: 2 Stars
This is a continuation of the 44 Scotland Street series set in Scotland. As usual, Smith presents many, many endearing characters. My favorite character is Bertie, and his adventures are limited in this story. In this story, egoistic Bruce has decided the change himself, but I for one do not believe this is possible. Elspeth and Matthew marry and honeymoon in Australia only to see Matthew washed out to sea and miraculously saved by a dolphin. I miss Pat who has gone back to live with her parents. So many adventures: cub scouts for Bertie, a priceless painting for Matthew, six puppies for Angus, etc. Smith delivers a believable story in the lightness of scones with disaster floating on the top but never allowed to enter the baking. Throughout the story is a love of Scotland and a brief history of the troubled past.
 
Brady (bradylee@myway.com)
Shake The Devil Off by Ethan Brown
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a true crime story, but you know who the killer is close to the beginning. This is really the story of the city of New Orleans before and after Katrina hit (most interesting) but even more so about two soldiers after the Iraq War and how the war affected them as well as eccentric citizens of New Orleans that spice up the story. The variations of the human condition are endless, and this is one most interesting to read about.
 
Lou
A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr
Rating: 4 Stars
I had never read Robyn Carr, I but won this book in one of her contests. It is enough to prompt me to get the rest of the Virgin River series and read them as well. Virgin River appears to be a most wonderful place to live.
 
meme
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Rating: 5 Stars
Robert Langdon and Peter Solomon's lives continue to intersect in Brown's newest work, but the situations are driven by the "new" character of Mal'akh as well as the CIA. The reader will have many "oh my God" moments.
 
Georgia
The Devil's Paintbox by Victoria McKernan
Rating: 5 Stars
This is an excellent teen historical novel. Set in Kansas in 1865, two starving orphans are offered the chance to join a wagon train to Seattle.The first page sets the tone when both brother and sister are eating dirt and sharing one toasted grasshopper for dinner. The details are realistic and the characters come alive during the five-month trip across the United States.
 
tamera walters
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Rating: 4 Stars
I lead a 5-6 grade book club, and all of the students love this!
 
Marjorie Clark (marjorie_clark2000@yahoo.com)
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Rating: 4 Stars
Still tackling this large book (1,000+ pages) but still enjoying every page of it.
 
tamera Walters
Just Don't Fall by Josh Sunquist
Rating: 5 Stars
The best memoir I've read in a while!
 
Louise
Seven Days of Rage by Paul LaRosa & Maria Cramer
Rating: 3 Stars
I usually enjoy the true crime stories, but there just wasn't enough material to this one to make it interesting. The case was cut and dried from the beginning; no surprise twists or turns came up, etc.
 
tamera walters
One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni
Rating: 3 Stars
Not liking it as much as her other works.
 
Marsha
Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb
Rating: 5 Stars
This is Catholic School for 10-year-old Felix, and his interpretation of his surroundings. It is hilarious, and anyone that had fun in grade school will enjoy his version of things.
 
Tanya
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Rating: 4 Stars
A wonderful story of lost love between a Chinese-American boy and a Japanese-American girl in the 1940s. Henry and Keiko's story will touch your heart and stay with you long after you finish the book.
 
Sherman Hughes
Highest Duty by Capt. Sully Sullenberger
Rating: 4 Stars
A engaging memoir about the pilot who landed his plane in the Hudson River saving all passengers aboard. From growing up in Texas and starting flying crop dusters to flying in the military and then to commercial flying, he holds back nothing on the commercial airlines and the problems they still have today. A great book by a great pilot!
 
Lou
Everything's Coming Up Rosie by Kasey Michaels
Rating: 3 Stars
Kasey Michaels books are always fun, but this one fell a little short for me. Too predictable, I guess. However, as I read, I kept seeing the scenes in a movie and think it would be great (and a riot) in that medium.
 
Debbie (delphimo@yahoo.com)
A Mind to Murder by P.D. James
Rating: 3 Stars
P.D. James is an excellent writer. This Adam Dalgliesh mystery was written in 1963, and the book is still interesting and relevant. The scene is a psychiatric clinic in London, and the office administrator has been murdered. The clinic director has the peace of mind to lock all the doors and wait for the police to arrive, so presumably the killer is still in the building. As Adam interviews each of the clinic's workers, secrets begin to emerge. Is the crime related to Enid Bolam's money? The book and solving of the mystery is delicious fun. James brings in various psychiatric treatments such as the use of LCD.
 
Lou
Watch Me by AJ Holt
Rating: 4 Stars
Interesting concept. More than one law enforcement person (i.e. FBI) is looking for different serial killers around various parts of the country, and the cases all meet up. Every time the heroine was told she couldn't do something --- even when confronted by one of the killers --- she said, "Watch me!"
 
Sallie Dumigan
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
Rating: 5 Stars
Great Book! The author's grandmother was quite an incredible woman with amazing spirit.
 
Marsha
Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Rating: 3 Stars
If you enjoyed THE NANNY DIARIES, this continuation of the events in Nan's life is for you. She becomes involved with her former charge --- who is now 16 --- and his very dysfunctional family while dealing with her own problems at home. So begins her further adventures.
 
Marisa
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Rating: 5 Stars
This is one of the best books I've ever read about the Salem witches. The author beautifully blends the story of the Salem witches with a modern-day grad student's research into their stories. The hunt for the "Physick Book" takes the protagonist to some unexpected places, and she discovers exactly where she came from and who she is. I loved Connie's relationship with her mother, and the romance with Sam was very sweet and turned out to be quite pivotal. The historic details are wonderful. I loved the magical twists and turns. This is definitely a book that requires the suspension of reality, but if you can do that, this book is major fun and very hard to put down, especially during the final third of the story. A great "escape from reality" book, but the timeless themes still shine through, just what great books should do.
 
Alexandra
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
Rating: 3 Stars
I enjoyed the inventiveness of the topsy-turvy, color-obsessed world the author created. I really liked his Thursday Next series, and this world is just as clever. I am always less impressed with the people Fforde creates. It might just be part of the genre, but his characters are always mildly likable, and he sacrifices all depth and emotionality for plot development and show. I'm not sure I'd read on in this series, but I enjoyed my brief visit to his new world none the less.
 
MJB
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Rating: 5 Stars
A beautiful, well-written debut novel about a 12-year-old girl who has to face the tragic death of her mother. Left alone with a father who is distant and wanting to move on without her, she moves to Savannah to live with her Great Aunt Tootie. She is taken under the wing of Oletta Jones, Aunt Tootie's cook and housekeeper, and begins to learn about life in the South. She meets some interesting characters that are neighbors and friends, and she learns something from each of them. It is steeped in old Southern charm and wisdom and told with humor. Hoffman describes the homes and gardens of Savannah, leaving you wanting to take a trip South.
 
Chris
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Rating: 3 Stars
Funny and touching debut by someone who obviously understands a Southern upbringing. Sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, this story also has some serious themes, but the utter lack of good men here was a turn off.
 
Sharron
Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach
Rating: 4 Stars
A true memoir of a newspaper columnist who decides to spend several months living in different cities in Europe. It was a fascinating tale of adapting and observation. She managed to meet many different kinds of people and live out of various hotels and B&Bs, traveling alone, seeing the sights, and eating and drinking with the "natives."
 
Nadine Wanek
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Rating: 5 Stars
A lot of insight about human behavior. Easy and enjoyable read. Should be a good discussion book.
 
Sharron
Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
Rating: 3 Stars
Not her best novel but an interesting character study of a middle-aged divorced man who looses his job and tries to downsize his lonely life. He realizes if he really lived his life, he had forgotten most of it. It took an "incident" to make him want to remember and "live" his life to the fullest.
 
Kahy Vallee
What's a Ghoul to Do by Victoria Laurie
Rating: 4 Stars
I found this series by accident and really liked them.
 
Bonnie
Continental Drift by Russell Banks
Rating: 4 Stars
This novel tells the story of Bob Dubois, a hard luck guy who moves his family from New Hampshire to Florida, and Vanise Dorinsville, a poor Haitian woman looking for a better life, and how their lives intersect is a revelation. We get into the mind of Bob --- and it's not pretty. It's a frustrating world they both inhabit, and by the time the book is finished, I felt like I'd lived their lives. Very well written and jarring. The ending takes you by surprise yet is altogether right.
 
Paula
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
Rating: 4 Stars
This book was so good. Very intense and suspenseful. It is a detective story about a island that houses a mental institution for the criminally insane. A patient is missing and detectives come to the island amidst a brewing hurricane. The book has lots of twists and turns and ends not at all like I could have ever dreamed. I am anxious to see the movie now!
 
Sandy
Shelter Me by Juliette Fay
Rating: 3 Stars
Was torn between 3 and 4, so it should be 3 1/2. Four months after her husband's death, Janie remains undone by grief and anger. Her mourning is disrupted, however, by the unexpected arrival of a builder with a contract to add a porch onto her house. Stunned, Janie realized the porch was meant to be a surprise from her husband --- now her last gift from him. Not bad, but not great.
 
Renee
Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Rating: 5 Stars
I heard this novel being reviewed on Mn. Public Radio and agree that it is a stunning piece of fiction. Great storytelling, Gothic mysteries, suspended reality... why we all fell in love with reading! A wonderful Spanish author weaves a complex and compelling tale.
 
Katy
Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
Rating: 4 Stars
If you liked Twilight, then you will love the Morganville Vampire series.
 
Jon
No Great Mischief by Alistair Macleod
Rating: 5 Stars
Tremendous writing by an under appreciated Canadian writer. Pick this up, then get prepared for hours of enjoyment. Highly recommended.
 
T. Thomas
A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh
Rating: 4 Stars
Delightful, fast-moving romance novel with a twist. Perfect Sunday afternoon read.
 
Diane LaRue (bookchickdi) (laruediane2000@yahoo.com)
Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani
Rating: 4 Stars
Fans of Trigiani's BIG STONE GAP series can rejoice! Her second book in theValentine series, BRAVA VALENTINE is every good as the first novel in the series, VERY VALENTINE. 
No one writes about big, loving Italian families like Trigiani. The love, they eat, they fight, and the Roncalli family is one that we would all like to know.


Trigiani writes her characters with love and a clear eye; her protagonist Valentine, is looking for true love, but is unwilling to open her heart to it completely.


Even the minor characters: June, the former hippie-turned-fabric cutter, Gabriel, Valentine's gay best friend, and Pamela, the sister-in-law who doesn't fit in --- are all well drawn and realistic.


If you liked Meryl Streep's It's Complicated and Sex and the City, this book is for you. It's got fabulous shoes (made by Valentine), gorgeous scenery (Italy, Argentina) and an extreme home makeover of Valentine's apartment described so vividly you can see it clearly (and want to live there!). Someone needs to make an HBO miniseries out of these books.

 
Kaye DeMaio-Hays
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Rating: 3 Stars
I would have given this novel 2 stars, except for the 3 or 4 really good moments between Clare and Henry. I got confused about what Clare had or had not experienced that Henry had and who was who when Henry met himself. I finished it only to see how it could possibly come to a satisfactory ending.
 
Tanya
Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani
Rating: 4 Stars
A family saga about an Italian family who has made wedding shoes for centuries. The characters are colorful and have a great story to share. This is the first book in the trilogy and is an entertaining read.
 
Helen P
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
Rating: 4 Stars
Engrossing story about the time of the Salem witch trials.
 
elizabeth pappas
The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a great story of an American Librarian who travels to Africa. She travels to remote villages and intends to expand lives with books. There are some unintended consequences that occur. Conflicts arise between those that want modernization and those seeking to maintain traditional ways.
 
Susan
Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline
Rating: 5 Stars
A fun book that I've been reading slowly to savor each story --- that is a collection of editorials written for a newspaper. I find myself chuckling a lot. Lisa tells a lot of personal stories about herself and her family. All are enjoyable.
 
Peggy
The Gates of the Alamo by Stephen Harrigan
Rating: 5 Stars
Stephen Harrigan makes Texas history live again in THE GATES OF THE ALAMO. This historical novel was very well researched, and the reader comes to know real people like Jim Bowie and Santa Ana as well as the fictional characters. It's beautifully written and interesting from the first page.
 
Phyllis
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Rating: 5 Stars
Another intriguing book by Sarah Addison Allen. Emily Benedict comes to Mullaby, NC after her mother dies, and she finds a town of mystery and wonderful misfits. I was mesmerized by the characters and their stories.
 
Kellie (acountkel@bellsouth.net)
Lamb by Christopher Moore
Rating: 3 Stars
This was one of the most unusual books I have ever read. Moore takes the story of Jesus Christ and comes up with his own version of Jesus' life from his early years after birth (about six) to age 30. He invents a character, Biff, who becomes Jesus' (known as Joshua in this book) best friend. Biff is resurrected in modern times by an angel who takes him to a hotel and tells him he is to write his "gospel according to Biff." He writes about his friendship, travels, and relationship with Mary Magdalene (Maggie) and the apostles during this mysterious time of Joshua's life. The humor in this book is quite good. Many times I found myself laughing out loud. There is some great banter between Joshua and Biff. Some of the names of Balthasar's concubines are hilarious! The humor of a genius is what comes to mind when I think about this author's talent. What an incredible imagination this guy has! I believe the focus of this novel weighed heavily on the humor and sarcasm; this took away from character development and plot. The Bible reference is prominent, but the plot that was created by Moore is some what choppy and hard to follow. Don't get me wrong though, I would recommend this book to anyone just for the humor alone. To those who may be hesitant thinking this book was meant to challenge one's faith, Moore says, "If one's faith can be shaken by stories in a humorous novel, one may have a bit more praying to do."
 
Teresa F
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Rating: 3 Stars
This classic is our current book club choice. It is getting more interesting as I read. It will be interesting to see what we all have to say in a couple weeks during our discussion. Now back to my book!
 
MH
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Rating: 3 Stars
While I liked the plot of the novel and learned a lot about the roundup of the Jews in France during WWII, I found the writing style of this book to be rather simplistic. It also seemed repetitive that there were two 11-year-old girls whose mothers "collapsed," with the girls taking over their roles. The ending was predictable although I admit that I anticipated a different fate for Michael, expecting him to be hidden/adopted and to emerge as Eduoard (or another family member).
 
Diane LaRue (bookchickdi) (laruediane2000@yahoo.com)
Game Change by John Heilemann & Mark Halperin
Rating: 4 Stars
Now that election fatigue is over, this is a good time for a reflection on the 2008 campaign.

The authors spoke to many people intimately involved in the 2008 election, and they give the reader a good perspective on the players and events.


The book reads like a novel, the pace is quick, and although the reader knows the outcome, one races through it to get to the end.


It's the insider's view of the Clintons, the Obamas, the McCains, the Edwards, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin that captivate the reader. I found their individual motives for running for the highest elected office fascinating, and the different manner in which they ran their campaigns enlightening.


This is a must-read for anyone interested in politics.


 
Eileen Quinn Knight
Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
Rating: 5 Stars
I've read every book of Anne Tyler and have never been disappointed. The story of this book is the 61-year-old teacher who gets fired and meets up with some interesting people as well as his 'move in' daughter as he begins his new stage of life. Tyler's dialogue is that of a person who is likely to be sitting in your kitchen. She has fine tuned her writing style with finesse!
 
Annette
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Rating: 2 Stars
I can honestly say this wasn't a favorite book of mine. I had actually read good reviews. I made it through to the end, but don't waste your time. This is a story about a woman who answers a newspaper ad to marry a widower. Just depressing.
 
Beth Wilson
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Rating: 5 Stars
A delightful mystery from first time author Bradley. Flavia is just 11, but she keeps the reader entertained to the last page! The second book in the series is due out in March. Can't wait!!
 
Vickie
Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag
Rating: 5 Stars
Death in a small idyllic town and suspects abound. The FBI gets unofficially involved, and a fifth grade teacher may be in danger. An engrossing read with lots of suspense!
 
SallyAnn
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
Rating: 5 Stars
We read historical fiction of the Middle Ages, the Victorian era, and modern times, all filled with their heartache and wars, but not very much in the Ancient times. This fills the gap with the wonderful story of Marc Anthony and Cleopatra's end and starts with their daughter, Selene. You are transported to the ending of the war with Octavian and the beginning of Selene with one foot as a prisoner and one foot as a noble in Rome.

In this book we feel that time stands still and the problems of long ago are still our struggles of today, unwanted children, war, immigrants and more.


 
Carol G
Vision in White by Nora Roberts
Rating: 4 Stars
Excellent escapist reading. I started it yesterday, and because of the weather, was able to read for many hours. I've almost finished it. As she often does, this is the first of four books in a group, and it follows a pretty standard format --- but, what the heck,everyone needs a little standard romance at times!
 
Audrey Anderson
Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
Rating: 2 Stars
Maybe this is cheating as I could not get very far into this book. Possible the problem was it was an audio CD and the narrator was really bad. I looked at who it was later so I would be sure never to get another with that narrator just in case that was the main problem, and it turned out to be the author! Someone told me it might be that I didn't like it because it had too many recipes. Actually the recipe and cooking were the only interesting parts. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was a cookbook being read. If you are planning to read it, please do as it really could have been the author's voice that made it so dull. I think I'm going to try the movie; that may be more appealing in this instance.
 
Debbie (delphimo@yahoo.com)
Playing With Fire by Peter Robinson
Rating: 3 Stars
SPOILERS. This is another of the Alan Banks series set in England. In this story, an arsonist is setting fires and killing people, and the police cannot find a connection. The first fire consumes two old river barges that contain squatters. The second fire engulfs a caravan and the man living there. Is the arsonist destroying old eyesores, or is there another reason? Annie Cabot dates the man responsible and unknowingly lets him know about the investigation. And in the final chapters, Phil Keane, the arsonist, tries to kill and burn Alan Banks. The story covers much ground: drug addiction, child incest, the art world, and, of course, the music that Alan enjoys. Robinson explains the many aspects of fires and the damage to objects and people.
 
Julie H.
Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke
Rating: 2 Stars
A murder at the Lake Eden Christmas Tree lot and more new cookie recipes that you can shake a stick at, that's the sum of Hannah's life in the 12th mystery she has tried to solve. The Norman/Mike situation heads toward absolutely no resolution as Fluke decided to drop in (without any explanation or fleshing out) and a third possible love interest from Hannah's past.
 
Julie
What They Didn't Teach You About World War 11 by Mike Wright
Rating: 4 Stars
If you're into history and facts about World War II, this is a great book. It made me so interested in the subject I wanted to learn more. It has interesting chapters on spies, POWs, censorship, and the building of the atomic bomb.
 
Helen from Buffalo,N.Y.
Unfinished Desires by Gail Godwin
Rating: 4 Stars
A wonderful novel set in a all girl convent boarding school set in the mountains in North Carolina. The chapters go back and forth into several time periods: the 1920s, the 1950s and 2008. The story revolves around the relationships of different generations of women, and a mystery that links all of them. Our book club read it and loved it..
 
Nikki
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Rating: 4 Stars
Great novel that kept me on the edge of my seat! Very well-developed characters and sensual descriptions abound. Enjoy.
 
Judy O. (joswood@msn.com)
I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak
Rating: 4 Stars
Ed Kennedy is living the most ordinary life. He drives a taxi, lives in a dumpy little house, doesn't get along with his mother, worships Audrey from afar, and plays cards several times weekly with his friends. One day he receives a mysterious note in the form of a playing card: the ace of diamonds. The card seems to be impelling him to contact the addresses on it, but he doesn't know why. This is the beginning of Ed's time as a "messenger." He does not know who sent the card, but he uses it to do something good for the people whose addresses are included. Three more ace cards arrive in the next several months, and Ed also taps into the needs of those people. This is a very interesting and novel book by the author of THE BOOK THIEF, one of my favorites.
 
GladysMP
The Time of My Life by Patrick Swayze
Rating: 3 Stars
My daughter danced in Patsy Swayze's Jazz-Ballet Company for a few years and knew the family and had this book. I enjoyed reading it. I had known that Patrick had hurt his knee playing high school football, but never dreamed it hindered his entire career. Patrick is pretty honest in admitting his faults and boasting of his talents and self-confidence, and anyone interested will learn a lot about Patrick's life in this book.
 
GladysMP
One Night in Boston by Allie Bonieface
Rating: 5 Stars
I have not completed reading this book, but have found it hard to put down. A reviewer warns that it is a "tear jerker," but I haven't reached that part. The author truly makes the characters real and the story is intriguing. I keep wanting to read instead of checking email.
 
Ilene
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
Rating: 5 Stars
Lillian, a restaurant owner, teaches Monday night cooking classes as much for herself as the students. Each chapter has a story about one of the students, and each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. It makes me want to get back in the kitchen and start cooking again.
 
Ilene
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Rating: 5 Stars
The Japanese internment of WWII comes alive in the timeless story --- set in 1940s Seattle --- of the power of the human heart to rise above hated and bigotry. With likable characters, you will remember for a long time.
 
Kalle Reader
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larsson
Rating: 5 Stars
The second in this trilogy written by the Swedish author --- who died before the books were published --- is a wonderfully written modern thriller. Hated to finish it and am looking forward to the last installment. Highly recommend.
 
Karen Barash
A Happy Marriage: A Novel by Rafael Yglesias
Rating: 5 Stars
I could not put the book down. It was so real and insightful to me. It resonated with my own experience as caretaker for my husband who was diagnosed with cancer. I was not at all surprised to see, upon looking at the author's bio, that this story was autobiographical. But best of all, I loved what a wonderful caretaker Enrique was and that it is called A HAPPY MARRIAGE despite the inevitable bad times in every marriage.
 
Connie Schmucker
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Rating: 5 Stars
The book has everything: suspense, danger, mystery, ghosts, and so much more. Once you start to read it, you cannot put it down.
 
Tamara Randi (sewradical@gmail.com)
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrel
Rating: 5 Stars
Wonderful lyrically written book/memoir about a family escaping the horrid wet August weather in 1930 England and going to Greece. An old, little villa with amazing gardens and Gerald's exploration of natural history and family adventures characterize this novel. Sunshine and Greece...a far cry from wet England.
 
Catherine (dbinpgh@aol.com)
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Rating: 5 Stars
Excellent book! Great writing and lots of spiritual insight! I felt like I was right along with her when she went to Italy, India, and Indonesia. Now I want to read her new one and also her short stories!
 
Pat Hill (pattiberr@aol.com)
American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson
Rating: 4 Stars
Informative book on the evils of alcoholism. He has now been sober 18 years and has a late night talk show. Tells of his struggles.
 
Kathryn Andrews (txtiger@verizon.net)
Everglades by Randy Wayne White
Rating: 4 Stars
Another of this author's many books of Florida history, flora and fauna and sea life woven around a mystery/thriller. I always enjoy his writings as I learn more each time about the state and this is more about the Indian tribes, the porous limestone under the entire state, the swamps --- just very interesting things to know, just in case you are ever on Jeopardy! Really good!
 
Dale
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Rating: 4 Stars
Wonderful read. You realize education is very important and maybe will help with these no nonsense wars. I am a little disturbed though thinking after all his work some of these schools may have been destroyed. Greg is a wonderful man as you learn one person can make a difference.
 
Dale
Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout
Rating: 5 Stars
Loved this book, even though there is much sadness and abandonment, you fall in love with Olive. Wish she was in every chapter but still found it to be a great read
 
Susan
Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
Rating: 3 Stars
Not quite finished but this is the amazing, tragic, and hopeful story of a man who escaped Burundi during the massacres. I think the story could have been better written, but it is a worthwhile read nonetheless.
 
Jean M
Chosen To Die by Lisa Jackson
Rating: 5 Stars
Very suspenseful. This book has murder and romance. What more could one ask for?
 
Sandra Hughes (s.hughes@rocketmail.com)
The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson
Rating: 4 Stars
A story about two brothers growing up and completely different. One is favored by his mother; the other follows in his father's footsteps in farming the land. They both vie for the same girl with disastrous results. This is the second novel for Mary Lawson, and if you didn't read her first, CROW LAKE, you will want to after this.
 
Miriam
Burt Reynolds My Life by Burt Reynolds
Rating: 2 Stars
I enjoyed it because I have always liked Burt Reynolds, but the content read more like an adolescent's diary. So much of it was about intimacies and women and comparingly so little on the content of his well accomplished performance career. It also kind of jumped in its chronology, and I really find that frustrating in a read. One part of a chapter he's talking about a current starring role and love affair then all of the sudden he's back to before he became a celebrity, etc.
 
Coral Harrison
Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Rating: 4 Stars
I had not read THE NANNY DIARIES, so it was hard to get into the book, but it is a good, fast-paced read about Nanny's life and one of the families she had worked for as a nanny 12 years before.
 
Coral Harrison
Trial by Fire by J. A. Jance
Rating: 5 Stars
This is another story about Ali Reynolds. This is probably the best story by Jance, and I really like her books. This one is a different type of book. A woman is found in a burning house and saved by a fireman. The way this story plays out is remarkable. Ali Reynolds is a consultant for County Sheriff.
 
BookFestival
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
Rating: 4 Stars
I'm only on page 82 of this very detailed book. I'm expecting it to really get interesting once Grann reaches the Amazon.
 
Rebecca Booth
The Guardians: Loving Eyes Are Watching by Richard Williams
Rating: 5 Stars
The author has been active in Christian Ministry for over 28 years. The book is a romance mystery where two people's (a sister and brother) lives are turned upside down, and they find out where true help comes from. Two dogs will help them find their way back to the path of God's love.
 
Mary
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a collection of stories about various people from India living in the US.
 
Tanya F
The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the sequel to NEFERTITI. I liked NEFERTITI better because of the family relationships, but this historical novel was well worth the time. It was another soap opera, but this one had a happier ending. I can't wait to read Michelle Moran's next book, CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER.
 
Jaime
Fugitive by Cheryl Brooks
Rating: 1 Stars
Uh oh. Not good. This is going to be a "did not finish" review. I found the idea behind the story awesome. I love off-world paranormal romances and was really, really excited for the opportunity to read FUGITIVE by Cheryl Brooks, which is her latest installment of her popular Cat Star Chronicles series. This is the first time I read anything by this author, so I was pretty excited. 

I am sure you are wondering why I did not finish this book. Very simple: the prologue ruined the entire book for me, enough so that I couldn't get in to it enough to put self through the hours I would need to read this. The issue I had is that Manx, the male hero, is outside somewhere near Drusilla's temporary home and is masturbating to her "scent" while he "knows" that she knows he is watching her. He doesn't even know the color of her eyes YET he "knows" they WILL become mates. I just couldn't get over that. All I could think of was those perverts in city parks masturbating in the bushes while people walk by, or the pervs who stalk outside women's homes masturbating while they watch. 

I have to say, I feel like I am a prude about sex or something. I am not. I have no issues with it in books, TV, movies, music, etc. I have an issue when it's distracting. This was distracting so much to the point I had no desire to read further than 50 pages in. I thought Manx was creepy just from this initial part of the book.


I don't want anybody to be deterred from this book. I am sure it's a good book but for myself personally, it was ruined right off the bat. I am not putting any kind of rating associated with this book as it would not be fair as I was unable to finish it.



 
Jaime
The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox
Rating: 3 Stars
First off, KUDOS, Victoria! One of my favorite kinds of books to read when I was a kid were fantasy adventures, a real fantasy book with a kid (an underdog, to be exact) as the hero/heroine with grand adventures. Well, Kristina is a true underdog and THE MAGIC WARBLE is a truly magical adventure full of fantasy. Kristina is a likable character; you just want her to succeed as the chosen one and overturn the evil queen! Okay, I am adult, and I wished I was Kristina going through her adventure!

The entire story flowed smoothly from start to finish. A quick, fun, and enjoyable read!


It has truly been a while since I read a book that has made me feel "excitement" and THE MAGIC WARBLE has done it. If you want to feel like a kid again, pick this up!


 
Linda M. Johnson (tcheer4life@yahoo.com)
Beowulf on the Beach by Jack Murnighan
Rating: 4 Stars
This book was written by a professor of English encouraging people to attempt what he considers 50 of the best novels ever written that many of us would avoid. The book covers from THE ILIAD to Toni Morrison's BELOVED. There was only one book included that I had never heard of and 11that I have read, including three of the four Russian novels noted. The author explains what to look for and what to skip in the reading. Enlightening. Oh, and he likes big words --- as I do, so I read with my dictionary.
 
Loraine Alcorn
Rough Country by John Sandford
Rating: 4 Stars
I enjoyed this book. I love John Sandford and am so happy he decided to start a new series of books with detective Virgil Flowers as the lead. I like Virgil and hope he writes many more books like this. This was a very good mystery with interesting characters and atmosphere.
 
Loraine Alcorn
Ghost Monster by Simon Clark
Rating: 4 Stars
This was a really good ghost story even if the title sounds like a kids book. 
I love a good spooky ghost story and this one has it all: lots of thrills chills and a spooky atmosphere. This book is very horrific so its not for the timid. This is one of the better horror books I have read in the last six months and well worth the read

 
Kathryn Andrews (txtiger@verizon.net)
Sunflowers by Sheramy Bundrick
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a novel based on Vincent Van Gogh's life with a woman he loved and painted for, his times in and out of sanitariums, and his dependence on his brother, Theo. It also tells much of his paintings and why he painted two and three of the same subjects, and the enormous patience his lover must have put forth. I kept my art books at my side to look at the pieces as I read as now they each mean a little more to me when I view them.
 
Jo from Staten Island, NY
The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival by Ken Wheaton
Rating: 4 Stars
From the attention-grabbing title to the unique characters to the tiny Louisiana town to the elephant, this is the story of a parish community unlike any other. At times laugh-out-loud funny, at times sad, at times offensive, at times thought provoking, this is a book I enjoyed very much and recommend.
 
Kathryn Andrews (txtiger@verizon.net)
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
Rating: 4 Stars
This was enjoyable from the historical standpoint, primarily. The study of ammonites was new to me, and it touches on feminism and beginnings of Darwin's studies and theories, etc. Then you can Google the Lyme Regis area in the UK and see where Mary Anning lived and plan to visit her families' shop and "hunt" for yourself!
 
Dorothy
A Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult
Rating: 5 Stars
I thought I had read all of Jodi Picoult's books but evidently I had missed this one, which I think is the best. It had all kinds of twists and turns and was a real page turner right to the very end. A five-year-old boy stops talking. His mother, a prosecutor, takes him to a psychiatrist and learns that he has been molested. She is determined to do everything she can to protect him --- even committing murder. A great read.
 
Sharon
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Rating: 4 Stars
Set in Nazi Germany in late 1930's. Liesel, unable to read or write, steals a book on grave digging. Later, she learns to read from her foster father. Reading opens up a world quite different from that which she inhabits. The narrator is Death.
 
Sharon
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
Rating: 5 Stars
The story of Dr. Paul Farmer's work in curing infectious diseases in Haiti. I finished this the day before the earthquake! Inspiring story on how one person can make a tremendous difference in the world.
 
Cheryle Fisher
The Missing by Chris Mooney
Rating: 4 Stars
It has been a while since I read any of Chris Mooney's books. I am about half way through THE MISSING and find it difficult to put down. The plot is very intriguing in that the author takes several different perspectives: the friend of one of the victims as well as the perpetrator.
Thankfully, it is the weekend, and I am looking forward to some "quality" time with the last half of this book!

 
Jackie W (JFWisherd@aol.com)
A Little Yellow Dog by Walter Mosley
Rating: 4 Stars
To celebrate Black History Month, my book club picked Walter Mosley's books to read. I rather enjoyed this mystery and really liked Mr. Mosley's writing style. If you've never read his books this is a good one to start with. I'll read more of his wonderful writing.
 
Donna Cruze
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Rating: 3 Stars
I'm not quite halfway through this. It was a "Big Read" choice last year. It's certainly different.
 
Bridget
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Rating: 2 Stars
One of my New Year's resolutions is to read a classic novel each month, one that I somehow missed in my school days or teaching days. I decided to start with this one, and I am sorry to say I was very disappointed. It's a nice enough story, but not my cup of tea.
 
LuAnn (lbelock@fuse.net)
Alter of Eden by James Rollins
Rating: 4 Stars
A fun read. I enjoyed his new characters and storyline. Non-stop action from start to finish!
 
LuAnn (lbelock@fuse.net)
I. Alex Cross by James Patterson
Rating: 4 Stars
Very good. Don't know how he writes so many books a year, but his Alex Crossseries is my favorite, and this one was great!
 
LuAnn (lbelock@fuse.net)
Impact by Douglas Preston
Rating: 4 Stars
Great book --- fun read, good characters. Kept you on your seat until the last page!
 
LuAnn (lbelock@fuse.net)
Among Theives by David Hosp
Rating: 4 Stars
Great read. Loved the characters and storyline!
 
Jaime
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
Rating: 4 Stars
Following the young life of Cleopatra Selene, Michelle Moran has once again brought history and leisure reading together in a fascinating tale beginning with the death of Marc Antony and Queen Cleopatra's suicide by snake venom following Selene from age 12 to 15. The only ones left of the Queen's line are Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios, and they are kept "prisoner" by the Roman Caesar. 

I have always been a big fan of Cleopatra and Egyptian history. I loved the name dropping and introductions of key players in history. An easy and enjoyable read,CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER satisfies both young adults and adults alike. Not as powerful as NEFERTITI but a good book. My only disappointment is that this book ends at Selene's 15th year of life and with a small blurb on her life with Juba. For personal tastes, I would prefer to have had more of Selene's adult life, but I definitely enjoyed the story of her adolescence and precociousness.

 
Judith Vianna
Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris
Rating: 4 Stars
A death brings us a look inside Saudi Arabia's society and the vast differences between the worlds of it women and men. Excellent characters and a mystery with many twists and turns.
 
Jenelle
Deeper than the dead by Tami Hoag
Rating: 4 Stars
Tami Hoag always delivers a good read and this one does not disappoint. The story has a lot of underlying plots that make it interesting.
 
Janice Hoaglin (jhoaglin@sbcglobal.net)
Fire in Beulah by Rilla Askew
Rating: 5 Stars
Rilla Askew is a wonderful and powerful writer even when building a story around ugly pieces of our history. In this book, she tells of early 20th century Oklahoma with the boom of the oil industry and the racial tensions that culminate in the race riots of Tulsa in 1921. The central figures in this story are Althea Whiteside, seemingly well-to-do wife of an oil speculator, and Graceful, her black maid. Although this book takes place in Oklahoma, the incidents recounted are reminiscent of our shared history as lynchings and racial violence occurred in many towns and cities all over the country. Although in many ways disturbing, this is a beautifully written book.
 
Maryann
Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkuf
Rating: 5 Stars
I just finished reading this book and it was fabulous and to think this the author's first book. I look forward to her next book. The story is about a young girl Calli (a select mute) who disappears from home. The story is told by voices of the characters in the book --- including Calli's.
 
Jeanette Saunders (thebrat_68@hotmail.com)
The Endless Forest by Sara Donati
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the sixth book in a series. Just the opening sucks you back in to Paradise and wraps you up in all the people, this series pull you and and make you laugh, cry, and yell at the people on the pages.
 
Sharon
Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
Rating: 5 Stars
Doing the opposite of what she's always done brings healing to Margaret Hughes and many others. Broken and redeemed. Delightful book, impossible to put down.
 
Donna Tanner
Angels of Destruction by Keith Donohue
Rating: 5 Stars
The author of THE STOLEN CHILD did it again --- she got me hooked on the first page! Is the main character, Norah Quinn, an enchanting little girl gone sinister? Or not? We'll all have to read it to find out. I am only halfway through this novel and I am giving it five stars NOW!
 
C. Stewart (clstewart185@hotmail.com)
Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
Rating: 5 Stars
Kostova, who wrote THE HISTORIAN, also researched this novel deliciously and impeccably. I'm enjoying the painters history as well as the main character because of this attention to detail. Relax and just let the story unfold its surprises and secrets in its own way!
 
Asha Smith
Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky
Rating: 5 Stars
This is Barbara at her best. This is a situation most mothers face.
 
Asha Smith
Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
Rating: 5 Stars
We all know a Liam, maybe we are Liam. Being honest helps make this book relatable.
 
Kimberly Keith
Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff
Rating: 5 Stars
I couldn't tear myself away from this book even long after my bath went cold and my Coke went flat. A breath-taking love story you won't soon forget!
 
Jaime
Death in The Stocks by Georgette Heyer
Rating: 5 Stars
I am sitting here scratching my head wondering how in the world I have missed out on such a fantastic author. I had not even heard of Georgette Heyer until I started blogging. How is that possible? She has obviously influenced many, many authors, and yet I am so dumbstruck on missing out on such a gem that I have now wish-listed nearly every book she has ever written!


A DEATH IN THE STOCKS, in my opinion, is the epitome of a cozy mystery with eccentric, humorous characters, Scotland Yard Superintendent, and the murders of two half brothers and an inheritance being the possible motive. Antonia and Kenneth were so insanely, hysterically eccentric that I caught myself laughing out loud many times. A perfect "whodunnit" that kept me guessing right up to the last chapter. Who murdered Roger and Arnold Vereker? The answer just may shock you. Curl up on your couch with a cup of tea and this book for a perfect night of reading.


 
Marisa
When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
Rating: 5 Stars
Any fan of basketball must read this fascinating book. Bird and Magic started out as bitter enemies, slowly began to know each other, and a genuine friendship resulted. But this book is about so much more than the friendship. This book is testimony to the love these two very unique athletes felt for the game they excelled at. Magic and Bird were not just unique to their era but to all those that have come since. Their love for the game and their passion for winning translated into raising the level of everyone they played with. Read about a time when professional basketball was pure, and men played for the love of the game.
 
Sally B., San Antonio TX
Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
Rating: 2 Stars
2.5 stars. I listened to the unabridged audiobook. A once-divorced and once widowed woman goes to live in a home on the New Hampshire coast to tutor a not-very- smart 18 year old for her SATs. Very poor character building, hence, some unrealistic events.
 
Booksmith
The Red Gate by Richard Sutton
Rating: 4 Stars
For readers --- whether adult or YA --- who enjoy ancient Celtic mysteries and family sagas, this book is highly recommended and a lot of fun to read. It's set in Ireland in 1911, and shows how even an uneducated shepherd can find out that his place in the world is much larger than he expected. Full of great characters, devious antagonists and a real sense of place. It was hard to lay down.
 
F Tessa Bartels
Better by Atul Gawande
Rating: 5 Stars
An excellent sequel to COMPLICATIONS. Gawande continues with his thoughtful and thought-provoking essays on the art of medicine.
 
Eve P
The Last Child by John Hart
Rating: 3 Stars
I read such raves for this but was not as impressed as I wanted to be. Interesting story but not great writing, somewhat illogical and just plain 'goofy' at times.
 
F Tessa Bartels
The Cutie (a.k.a. The Mercenaries) by Donald E Westlake
Rating: 4 Stars
4.5 stars. Westlake is just a master of the double cross. This work leaves us with more questions than answers. Gripping. Exciting. Characters we care about. Great writing. 

 
Barb K
Day After Night by Anita Diamant
Rating: 5 Stars
This story was riveting! I couldn't put it down. I was amazed to learn that after WWII so many people were kept in detention camps after all they had already been through.
 
G.C. (g_chevalier@rogers.com)
Altar of Eden by James Rollins
Rating: 4 Stars
There are never any surprises or disappointments with any of James Rollins books. I have read them all now. His characters all seem real, and they draw you to them, pulling you further into the novel and keeping your interest until the very end. I look forward to the next one. This is not his best to date but up there near the top as usual.
 
Jane Squires (jrs362@hotmail.com)
From the Back of the House by Gary L. Rockey
Rating: 4 Stars
When I agreed to review this book, I wasn't prepared for how easy it would be to read. It makes you laugh at how you the customer is viewed by those who work in the restaurant, and you might change some of your behavior. As my daughter was a waitress for a year, I can actually remember some of the comments given and overheard them many times. It is not like reading a history book about Jim's Steak house but reading about a family and their adventure.
 
.kathleen
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
Rating: 5 Stars
As per usual, more than one excellent mystery story that Kinsey ties all together. A very good read.
 
Phyllis
My Zombie Valentine by Katie MacAlister, Angie Fox, Marianne Mancusi, Lis
Rating: 4 Stars
Cute stories about finding love while surrounded by zombies.
 
Marisa
Vampire of New York by Lee Hunt
Rating: 3 Stars
I really wanted to love this book, unfortunately, it never lived up to its potential. It is in no way a romance. It is somewhat Gothic, suspenseful, gory at times, and very historical. The historical aspects of the book were very good, but the characters needed to be more developed and it would have been nice to have had some insight into the minds of the vampires. This book could have been a lot better because the premise was very good. I'd recommend this only for die hard vampire fans.
 
Julie H.
Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
Rating: 2 Stars
Alice Liddell was one of the young daughters of the Dean of Christ Church at Oxford during the reign of Victoria. Her family seemed well off, mingling with both royalty and many other famous deans and professors. This, the story goes, is how Alice crossed paths with the man who would be Lewis Carroll and became the Alice of the famed story. Alice grew up and spent most of her life ignoring her famous connection. I did read the note from the author before beginning the book, so I was surprised to learn how historically correct Benjamin's jumping off points for the novel were. Victorian times were still so dark, and Mr. Dodgeson's (Carroll's) penchant for young girls did seem ominous and warranted that the Liddell sisters accompany one another in his presence along with governess "Pricks." The story is rich in descriptions of Oxford and Mrs. Liddell is a fierce mother as on alert for matches for her many daughters as Mrs. Bennett, only not as nicely. Really, more of a 2.5 if I could, but it wasn't quite what I expected.
 
Sean From Ohio
The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy
Rating: 3 Stars
Clancy's first Jack Ryan novel is so detailed I'm pretty sure I could pilot a Russian submarine. It's pretty amazing some of the knowledge that he was able to attain and included in the novel in a way that fit in and didn't read like a manual. The cast got too huge at times but overall a good book, just a little dense.
 
Jean
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Rating: 2 Stars
Dark, intense, strange book filled with characters that you couldn't like. Read for book club. Can't wait to hear what others thought.
 
Julie H.
All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
Rating: 4 Stars
Really liked this Sookie story where she accompanies the queen of LA to a vampire summit. A radical arm of The Fellowship of the Sun is up to no good and Sookie hooks up with her old pal, Barry to help save the vamps in time.
 
Ed Hahn (ed_hk@yahoo.com)
Murder of Quality by John le Carré
Rating: 3 Stars
Really more of a novella than a novel, this story doesn't involve espionage or spies, which is what Le Carré is noted for.

The plot is simple. George Smiley is asked to look into a seemingly senseless murder at an exclusive boys' boarding school where all the major suspects have alibis. Making it interesting for Smiley is the fact that one of the school's tutors is the brother of a close friend and colleague who died in the war.

Smiley manages to cut through all the false trails and eventually confront the real murderer.

Le Carré's ability to make fun of British class consciousness while merely appearing to describe what is being said and done raises the book above the usual "Whodunnit".

At only 157 pages, it's a one-day read and well worth giving up a Saturday or Sunday to immerse oneself in a different culture at a different time.

 
Sherri Kamin
Tragic Love by Tammy Rockett-Box & Mary J. Rockett
Rating: 5 Stars
This book keeps you captivated all the way through, from beginning to end. It truly is an electrifying story. I recommend this book.
 
Fran
Swan Maiden by Jules Watson
Rating: 1 Stars
For some reason I could not get past the first chapter of this book. I kept losing interest in the story line. I plan to try again because the blurb on the cover sounds interesting.
 
FOH
The World I Live In by Helen Keller
Rating: 4 Stars
In Helen Keller's own words, she describes her world via the sense of touch, smell and taste. I love how she just describes her life, never feeling sorry for herself or longing for the senses that she does not have. I've read other accounts of her life, but this one was quite unique.
 
Kathy (kathyrivera@live.com)
South of Broad by Pat Conroy
Rating: 5 Stars
Charleston, S.C reveals the power of the old Gentry and how it is only based on names, not money or accomplishments. Those who are not part of The Power of a Name, show the power of friendship, acceptance of those who choose to live their lives, without shame, and rise above their differences to accomplishments that can be dangerous, as well as outstanding. Conroy's writing makes the reader see the beauty of friendship, as well the strong characters who surround their friends with unending strength. Conroy is a master of making the reader see and feel the many sides of Charleston, S.C. He makes the reader wish it would go on.
 
Tanya
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Rating: 5 Stars
CeeCee is a young girl with a troubled family. The book tells the story of the summer that transforms her life. The characters are wonderful and the Southern charm is just as good. I highly recommend this book. It is a joy to read.
 
Angela Satalino
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Rating: 4 Stars
Who would think a story about kidnappers and hostages would be so sweet and enthralling. Ann Patchett's story is a beautifully written love story that keeps you wanting to read more and more.
 
Becky
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Neffennegger
Rating: 5 Stars
I recently finished reading THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE for my book club, and I cannot wait to discuss it! This book deviates from the "normal" theories of time travel. It also presents a unique and touching love story. . . definitely worth reading!
 
Ed Hahn (ed_hk@yahoo.com)
Airframe by Michael Crichton
Rating: 1 Stars
When Michael Crichton is good he is very, very good but this effort is just plain horrible. The only reason I finished it is due to my obsession about not wanting to miss anything. I found myself reading the first sentence of paragraphs and skipping the rest to move more quickly to the end. I don't think I missed anything doing it that way.

The characters are stereotyped beyond belief: the hard working but put upon single mother, the brusque and impatient boss, the techy nerds, the debonair test pilot, the slimy industrial spy, the good-hearted mentor, the young, overly ambitious news producer, and on and on.

The plot involves an incident on a Norton Aircraft passenger liner that is complicated by a pending sale of the same model to China, a union action to stall manufacturing offsets going to China as a condition of the sale, internal company politics, and a pending "Newsline" story about unsafe Norton aircraft. There may have been others. Chrichton had to do something to fill 400+ pages.

I had pretty much figured out how it was going to end about 150 pages in. Except for some details, I made a pretty accurate guess. There were a few surprises but overall it was a predictable story with a predictable ending. I wonder if the aircraft industry subsidized Chrichton's efforts.

On the positive side, I did learn some things about the aircraft industry, how accidents are investigated, and more than I wanted to know about the acronyms used in the industry.

If you are a died in the wool Crichton fan or are stuck on a long flight with nothing else to read, I can recommend this book to you. Other than that there are just too many good Michael Crichton books as well as books about the aircraft industry. You would be better served reading those.

 
Ed Hahn (ed_hk@yahoo.com)
Term Limits by Vince Flynn
Rating: 2 Stars
I was hoping for Mitch Rapp, Flynn's usual hero, instead I got Congressman Michael O'Rourke.

The story revolves around two assassination plots, one by the "good" guys killing evil politicians, hoping to force needed changes in the government and one by the "bad" guys, hoping to consolidate their power.

The biggest failing of the novel is Flynn's cardboard characters, the weak President, the petulant Chief of Staff, the slimy National Security Advisor, the brave congressman, the beautiful reporter, the beleaguered but honorable FBI, CIA and Secret Service personnel, etc.

The plot is the strongest part of the story and carries the reader along right up to the last 100 pages or so when, in an attempt to tie up all the loose ends, Flynn comes up with a number of impossible and unbelievable scenarios. 

Fortunately, I was traveling so I zipped through the first 75% of the book before I realized I had a clunker on my hands. I read the last 100 pages after arriving and by that time was driven by my usual obsession to finish any book I start. 

If you are able to suspend your disbelief, this could be a fun read. I prefer the Mitch Rapp books because my expectations are so much lower.

 
Kathy Hazel (kathyrivera@live.com)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Rating: 5 Stars
Again, the violence is part of their lives, yet has always been a part of their lives. Their friendships and rituals are iron strong, because life needs them to survive and to keep sanity, love, and a feeling of strength that defeats losing their honor as human beings.
 
Kathy Hazel (kathyrivera@live.com)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Rating: 5 Stars
Again, the violence is part of their lives, yet that has always been a part of their lives. Their friendships and rituals are iron strong, because life needs them to survive and to keep sanity, love, and a feeling of strength that defeats losing their honor as human beings.
 
Kathy Hazel (kathyrivera@live.com)
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Rating: 5 Stars
Hosseini draws you in to the beauty and violence of the people of Afghanistan. The struggle of the people from the poor as well as the rich is wrenching as well as the power of friendship and love necessary to survive. The book is about the people and their need for ritual and respect for their history. It also is an excellent source of history for the reader who enjoys the mystery of such different cultures.
 
Debbie (delphimo@yahoo.com)
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
Rating: 4 Stars
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the many characters: the 70+ Ruth and her duck Rosa; the couple Peter and Clara, who are both artists; the gay couple-Olivier and Gabri; the retired psychologist and only black female in this small village near Quebec, plus the many other minor characters. Of course, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team from the homicide department of the Surete du Quebec, are amazing in their cases. They search the past for the answer to the present murder. This tale involves a small village with a hodgepodge of people: a fast track corporate couple, escaping the city for a life of ease in the country; the group of Czechs escaping the problems of a changing government; the artist couple trying to find a Muse; the old, battered poet trying to find peace; the Hermit with his stolen treasures; and many others who escape the city to find peace in the quieter life of the country. So many issues are introduced: homosexuality, Down Syndome, politics, poetry, native Canadians, land preservation, the arts, and trust. I would like to read Penny's earlier works.
 
Brandy (littleb171@yahoo.com)
Push by Sapphire
Rating: 2 Stars
I suppose I would give it 2 1/2 stars if that were an option. It's the book the movie Precious was based off of. It's a quick, easy read, but buyer beware it is very graphic and disturbing! It's about a young girls struggles with incest and abuse at the hands of her parents. If you can handle heavy books, it does inspire throughout and has a good ending.
 
Laura Ann Adams (Laura.Adams@ky.gov)
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
Rating: 3 Stars
Very different book about a housekeeper sent by an agency to work for a professor who has been in an accident and his short term memory only lasts for 80 minutes and then he has to start all over meeting her and her son again, etc. He is a math whiz (used to be a brilliant math professor) and teaches her and her son much about math. A tale of a bizarre friendship.
 
Laura Ann Adams (Laura.Adams@ky.gov)
The Handmaid and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg
Rating: 4 Stars
Interesting read about the life of Mary and Joseph before Jesus.
 
Eve Phipps
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Rating: 5 Stars
Not sure how I missed this book when it was published but what a quirky, interesting story. It traces a family through generations from Greece to Detroit. What secrets a family can hold.
 
T. Thomas
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Rating: 4 Stars
Well written with an unusual twist. You will figure it out before the end, but still a good read.
 
A. Brim
Copycat by Erica Spindler
Rating: 4 Stars
Detective Kitt Lundgren did not catch the serial killer and it almost destroyed her career. Then five years later he comes back and contacts her --- she is still fragile from losing her daughter and her marriage. A fast-paced story and easy read with a surprise ending.
 
Harriet Stay (hstay@hughes.net)
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the last of the Swedish translated Millennium trilogy, UK edition. I could not wait for the US edition to find out what happens to Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. This begins when Lisbeth arrives at the hospital with three gun shot wounds, the most serious being the one in her head. If she survives, she is set to stand trial for murder.


You must read all three of Larsson's books to appreciate the entire story, and because they are all outstanding in storyline and writing skill. It is sad there will be no others. As an aside. I was fortunate to meet his translator, Reg Keeland, at Bouchercon 2009.



Enlightening background given. Keeland is the pen name for Steven T. Murray, translator of some of the Henning Mankell mysteries.


 
Harriet Stay (hstay@hughes.net)
Hollywood Moon by Joseph Wambaugh
Rating: 5 Stars
Oh my, I had not read Wambaugh in eons, so when I read a recommendation for his newest book, I took the plunge. Wambaugh is an expert when it comes to police procedures, and his writing is seasoned and expert. This story was especially timely because it deals with a couple who are masters at ID theft and a countless number of scams. I could see invisible "beware" neon signs blinking. The officers are a kick in the pants, funny at times, brave, ordinary people who are doing their jobs and loving it (that is not to say all are perfect). And it's a tear-jerker. 


I discovered two more...it was part of a trilogy of the Hollywood detectives: HOLLYWOOD STATION and HOLLYWOOD CROWS. The set-up was so similar in all three that it felt like overload, at least for me. I should have given some time between them.


 
Gretchen
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Rating: 5 Stars
This book was awesome! It had great character development, and the murder-mystery plot was novel and left the reader eager to read more. Highly recommend this book! I'm looking forward to his next in the series.
 
Tanya
Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay
Rating: 4 Stars
I was lucky to get an arc of this book. It is about a woman who disappears, and all the evidence points to her husband killing her. There is way more to the story than meets the eye. It will keep you guessing and wanting to read until the end. I highly recommend NEVER LOOK AWAY. Much better than FEAR THE MOST by the same author.
 
Laura Ann Adams (Laura.Adams@ky.gov)
Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs b by hundreds of contributors
Rating: 4 Stars
Very interesting. Book of compilations of six-word memoirs submitted by people from around the world. Fun to see how people sum up their lives in six words. Makes you try and think of what six words you would use to sum up your own life.
 
Marge Hottmann (hottmn@charter.net)
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Rating: 4 Stars
Great book!
 
Phyllis
An Expensive Education by Nick McDonell
Rating: 5 Stars
Nick McDonell mixes college, national and global politics in a fast-paced tale.
 
Laura Ann Adams (Laura.Adams@ky.gov)
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
Rating: 4 Stars
Very interesting read about the daughter of Cleopatra and what her life may have been like.
 
Carolyn Waring (carolynwaring@comcast.net)
Husbands May Come and Go but Friends Are Forever by Judith Marshall
Rating: 5 Stars
This is "hen lit" at its best! The protagonist, Liz, is an executive in her late 50s who has just been laid off from a job and given an ultimatum from her long-term boyfriend when her dearest friend dies in a mysterious accident. Liz and her five buddies, women who've gone through high school, divorces, and menopause together work to solve the mystery of their friend's death. The women also help Liz make some tough decisions. Readers of the YAYA SISTERHOOD will enjoy this novel.
 
Frankie
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Rating: 5 Stars
A friend highly recommended this book, and I put off starting it because of its length. It is well worth the time. It is not typical of most of Follett's books, but worthwhile in its own way.
 
Jennifer Z
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
Rating: 4 Stars
Emotionally satisfying book with characters that come to life and resonate within you. As these eight characters are seated around Lillian's tables at her cooking school, they learn and revisit important lessons about life, love and friendships. Everyone should have a "Lillian" in their life --- it's essential!
 
Gail
Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson
Rating: 5 Stars
This book continues the story told in THREE CUPS OF TEA. It is a moving, inspiring and hopeful tale of the trials, tribulations, and determination of the author and his crew to bring education to Afghanistan.
 
T. Thomas
The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by by A. J. Jacobs
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the only book I've read by him, and it was quite good. I think the part about outsourcing his life to India was my favorite.
 
S. Evans
An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
Rating: 5 Stars
Excellent story. The best audio book I've ever listened to. Looking very forward to the rest of this series.
 
Serena
Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
Rating: 4 Stars
This is an interesting read. The author researches marriage in various cultures and various time periods. I wish the author had included a bibliography to support her information.
 
SHARLENE RIEKE
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Rating: 5 Stars
A great read. You won't be able to put it down. Gives you a new look on being homeless.
 
Laura Ann Adams (Laura.Adams@ky.gov)
Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky
Rating: 3 Stars
Interesting but nothing special. Deals with a white couple who have a child that is biracial and the questions, problems, etc. that come from this.
 
Laura Ann Adams (Laura.Adams@ky.gov)
Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
Rating: 4 Stars
Very interesting book about the "speculated" (but not proven) female that lived in the medieval era as a male and rose to the position of pope.
 
Laura Ann Adams (Laura.Adams@ky.gov)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wrobleswki
Rating: 4 Stars
Very good read about a mute boy growing up. The family breeds and trains dogs, which was a very interesting part of the book.
 
Sharlene Rieke
True Colors by Kristin Hannah
Rating: 4 Stars
A great book to curl up with.
 
SHARLENE RIEKE
The Sculptor by Gregory Funaro
Rating: 5 Stars
You won't be able to put this one down until you finish it. A real thriller!
 
Candice
Eye of My Heart by Barbara Graham, editor
Rating: 4 Stars
I'm so excited that I'm going to be a grandmother this coming July! I'm reading about other women's experiences with grandmotherhood. Some are sweet and happy, others sad, but all are honest portrayals of what I think will be "the best job in the universe."
 
Jon
Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason
Rating: 5 Stars
Wonderful mystery set in Iceland. This is a suspenseful story that will keep you on the edge of your reading chair. Highly recommended.
 
Candice
Girls Like Us : Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Ca by Sheila Weller
Rating: 4 Stars
I am just a few years younger than Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, so this book on CD is a trip down memory lane for me. Amazing, talented women! I wish the CD included songs, but it is, after all, a book.
 
Sheila Dixon
Still Life by Louise Penny
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the first in the Three Pines series, mysteries set in a charming Canadian town. I came to this book reluctantly, but fell in love the characters, as well as Penny's insight and wit. A good read that has led me happily to the rest in the series.
 
Hedi
The Lacuna by Babara Kingsolver
Rating: 4 Stars
I have already read a great deal about the two painters and the witch hunt by congress, so there was really not a lot new for me, history wise. But I surely fell in love with Mrs. Brown. What a great, strong woman. She made the story much more believable, and I love the description when they went to view the ruins in Mexico. They are very awe inspiring to see, and when you do get to the top --- it is exactly the feeling that was written about.
 
Renee
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
Rating: 5 Stars
We picked MIDWIVES for our book club pick of January 2010. We will be seeing Chris Bohjalian in February at a bookstore reading. I now wish I had more time to read all of his novels, which I hear are even better than this one. MIDWIVES was not put down once when I started reading it!
 
Mary B
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
Rating: 4 Stars
Lovely story of a Japanese housekeeper and her young son who form a relationship with her client, an elderly mathematics professor whose memory only lasts for only 80 minutes. A touching story and even more enjoyable to read if you like mathematics.
 
Christine Schiedel
Below Zero by C.J. Box
Rating: 5 Stars
Love C.J. Box's novels! They are edge-of-your-seat entertainment!
 
Julie towson
The Greatest Generation Speaks by Tom Brokaw
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a wonderful book of letters and reflections by people who read THE GREATEST GENERATION and sent letters to Mr. Brokaw telling him of their sons, fathers, uncles, etc., war stories. These letters cross generations as they give voice to lives forever changed by war.


This is really worth reading. Especially if you liked THE GREATEST GENERATION.


 
Tanya
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Rating: 5 Stars
I was lucky to receive and arc of this book. The book is about two sisters who have never understood why their mother has remained distant to them their entire lives. After their father dies, they decide to get to know their mother no matter what it takes. The characters are wonderful, and the mother's story will touch your heart. I highly recommend reading WINTER GARDEN. Kristin Hannah has written another wonderful book.
 
Cynthia Baxter
Wife in the North by Judith O'Reilly
Rating: 5 Stars
This memoir is full of goodies --- a great story about a city mom of three moving out (way out) to the country with all of its trials and tribulations. Never mind the culture shock and absence of television and cell phone reception, Judith also must go it alone for long periods as her husband must travel back to her beloved London to work. Funny and poignant, O'Reilly experienced the British version ofGreen Acres and lived to tell about it!
 
jmarmour
The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine
Rating: 5 Stars
This is an amazing book about sexually exploited children Even though it is a novel, I have a feeling that it could be true.
 
M. Archer
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Rating: 4 Stars
A small town suddenly totally cut off from the outside world and no one knows why. Things quickly get out of hand. There is a large cast of interesting characters and a lot of action. On the other hand, it was lengthy (over 1000 pages), and I found the ending (without giving anything away) a little unsatisfactory.
 
Pat
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Rating: 4 Stars
Just got around to this one. I can see why it was so popular. The author/narrator is extremely likable, and her story is interesting and fun to read.
 
Pat
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
Rating: 4 Stars
Such a good read. A page-turner with quirky characters and lots of fun. I loved this book.
 
Linda M. Johnson (tcheer4life@yahoo.com)
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Rating: 4 Stars
Twins Marion and Shiva Stone are born to a nun who was impregnated by the surgeon at an Ethiopian hospital. The nun dies in childbirth, and the distraught father abandons his boys. They are raised by the only other two doctors at the hospital. The boy's lives are entwined despite completely different psychological make-ups. Verghese is a doctor and occasionally gets bogged down in the minutiae of surgery and doctor-speak. Otherwise a beguiling read. Reads quickly for a very thick book.
 
Marsha
First Rule by Robert Crais
Rating: 5 Stars
Crais usually writes about "the world's best detective," Elvis Cole. But Elvis has a partner, Joe Pike, who works outside the sanctioned rules. In this novel, Joe takes on organized crime gangs of the former Soviet Union, and he is out to avenge the death of one of his former mercenary pals. Plenty of action and a real page turner.
 
Ali
Remembering the Bones by Frances Itani
Rating: 4 Stars
Excellently written book about an elderly woman who is in an automobile accident on her way to share a birthday celebration with the Queen of England. Fabulous insights into aging.
 
Hedi
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
Rating: 3 Stars
It was okay but it left me not really sure who the ghost was and the reasons for its anger. Also, I really did not warm up to the narrator at all. He just seemed like a major pain, and every thing was always about poor him.
 
Michelle Miller (miller4plusmore@bellsouth.net)
Winter's End by Jean-Claude Mourlevat
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a dystopian YA book. It is a tale of a suppressed society where the children of a resistance movement have been kept in boarding schools that are not much better than prisons after their parents are dispatched. At the heart of the story is the suppression of arts and freedom. It takes the daughter and son of the resistance movement's most beloved figures to start the movement in motion once again. An exciting read containing inspiration and the triumph of the human spirit.
 
Michelle Miller (miller4plusmore@bellsouth.net)
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Rating: 5 Stars
The Lovely Bones is more than just a story of the tragedy of a murdered girl. It is the story of a family and how the aftershocks of such a tragedy can rend and tear at the fragile threads that hold it together. For anyone who has children, this is an especially difficult read because there are predators in this world, and this story is something that could really happen --- albeit without the fantastical elements. I really liked the way Sebold had Susie in heaven, and yet she was able to watch her family and almost make them feel her presence. The story was really a parallel of a family that needed fixing and a girl who needed to move on to her afterlife. Only after the family was able to heal (at the level that healing is possible when something like this happens) was Susie able to realize her peace. The book is also very suspenseful and holds one of the most vile characters I have ever had the displeasure of reading. I recommend this book for its beautiful writing and its cautionary tone. Teach your children to keep their trust close --- there are monsters in this world, and they can live right across the street.
 
Bonnie
The Gray Man by Mark Greaney
Rating: 4 Stars
Rip-roaring tale of a moral hit man (is there such a thing?) and his quest to save a family through unbelievable odds.
 
Peggy
The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the third time I am reading this book. A wonderful time travel, love story, historical fiction packed book. Set in Scotland beginning in 1743, you are on a journey into the Highlands. This is the first in a series of seven books, the last of which I just finished called ECHO IN THE BONE.
 
T. Blair
You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs
Rating: 5 Stars
Stories for Christmas --- for adults only! Very funny revelations that only Burroughs could recount with such honesty and twisted humor. This book is about Christmas and how, from his childhood through his adulthood, the author has dealt with the Santa figure and everything it stands for. Hilarious!
 
Glenn
Breathless by Dean Koontz
Rating: 3 Stars
This started out great and had promise, but the ending left me confused as it seemed like it was incomplete and didn't wrap things up properly, almost like some pages were missing at the end. I wasn't sure if that was how others felt, so I checked other reviews, including those on Amazon, and a few others mentioned something very similar.
 
Sharon
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Rating: 3 Stars
The story of two black women and one white woman set in Mississippi during 1962. The two black women are maids in rich white homes while the third is the daughter of a rich family who cannot accept the discrimination of the time.
 
John Pratt a.k.a. "the last man" (johnpratt@ecologyfund.net)
Gabrielle's Awakening by Alexandra Adams
Rating: 5 Stars
Unexpectedly widowed, Gabrielle, a sexually inexperienced author/historian, turns for emotional support to her late husband's closest friend, a courtly cosmopolite who radiates masculine appeal. When Michael reveals that he desires a slave willing to exist solely for his pleasure, his shocking invitation resonates on some gut level within the woman married for 14 years to a man afflicted by periodic bouts of impotence. Trained by Michael to submit and obey, Gabrielle grows to crave both the pain and the pleasure he uses to lift her to astonishing heights of ecstasy. 


Just as she rejoices in having learned how to please him, a magnetically appealing stranger enters her life as Micheal's guest. Raoul levies a bold demand that Michael considers himself obligated to grant. Both virile, dominant lovers strive with all their skill at erotic art, all their compelling mastery, to win the slave's permanent favor. Ever more emotionally distraught, Gabrielle achieves a startling new insight into her own sensual nature that enables her finally to resolve the dilemma tormenting her.


 
Cindy
Dying Scream by Mary Burton
Rating: 5 Stars
Great book. The ending seemed like it should of continued, so maybe there will be more books coming with the same characters.
 
Bea Carroll
The German Bride by Joanna Hershon
Rating: 3 Stars
Great author. I didn't care all that much for this story, but I will read others by her. The story was about German Jews who came to America in the 1800's and lived in the American West.
 
Anita Nowak
The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly
Rating: 5 Stars
I really liked this book, however I think the first one in the series, THE LINCOLN LAWYER, was better. It was a good mystery with a few surprises which is always nice, and the book was fast reading. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who likes a good mystery.
 
Janey
Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky
Rating: 4 Stars
I'm a fan of Barbara Delinsky books, and I was excited to read her latest. A single mother of a 17 year old learns that not only is she pregnant, but she tried to become that way as well as two other of her best friends to purposely become mothers. It's with a lot of heartache and dismay that the mother works through this news, as well as the judgment of many others who decide this all reflects on how good of a mother she actually is for her daughter. It was almost like reading Jodi Picoulti, another favorite of mine.
 
Phyllis
The Miracles of Archangel Michael by Doreen Virtue
Rating: 4 Stars
Stories about the Archangel Michael and the guidance and protection he has given people.
 
Pam
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Rating: 4 Stars
A poignant look at the tremendous burden of survivor's guilt experienced after the Holocaust but intertwined with the story of a modern woman's search that becomes a soul search. Well written.
 
David Rudy (daverudy@aol.com)
Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
Rating: 5 Stars
An excellent story of faith in practice. Several portions of the book I underlined as the text really hit home in my thoughts and in my heart. Mitch relates a Christian faith walker and a Jewish faith walker is equal portions. He also talks about the impact on his own life and thoughts.
 
Nancy
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Rating: 4 Stars
I found his theories very interesting and based on good research, particularly "The Matthew Effect," which explained why people with certain birth dates had advantages over others in school, sports, and other areas of life.
 
Linda H. (linda604b@yahoo.com)
The 8th Confession by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Rating: 5 Stars
As reporter Cindy Thomas writes about a homeless man known as Bagman Jesus, she becomes obsessed with finding out his real name and pesters her pals Sergeant Lindsay Boxer and Detective Rich Conklin to help find the murderer. But homeless people are not the police department's priority, especially when millionaires are being killed and the medical examiner can find no cause of their death. If this were not enough, a school bus explodes at a stop killing occupants of nearby cars. The police found no children but did find the remains of a meth lab. So Lindsay and Rich had their hands full with the new cases and were not able to provide much assistance to Cindy in her investigation. I always enjoy James Patterson's books and this was no exception.
 
Alma Hudson
Checkered Fences by Alma Hudson
Rating: 5 Stars
I loved this interracial romance set in the early '70s. It takes you into the life of a young militant black girl growing up during a period of racial divide and what led her to a different type of love she couldn't deny.
 
Cindy
Kisser by Stuart Woods
Rating: 2 Stars
This was an okay book. The plot was dragged out and somewhat boring. Not a lot of suspense or mystery to keep your attention.
 
MsAnnie
The First Annual Grand Prarie Rabbit Festival by Ken Wheaton
Rating: 4 Stars
Impulse buy for sure. I had a gift card and was using it for things I wouldn't normally buy, and I loved this book! Funny, irreverent, a little bit Fannie Flagg, a little bit Ellen Gilchrist, with a sprinkling of YaYas, a real enjoyable gumbo of a book. I was happy to see that Book Reporter is featuring it. I will recommend it to my friends most surely.
 
Linda H. (linda604b@yahoo.com)
Dead Before Dark by Wendy Corsi Staub
Rating: 5 Stars
The serial killer known as the Night Watchman has not been heard from in 30 years. He has been in prison biding his time. Now he is out and back to his killing spree. Lucinda Sloan is a psychic who has assisted police on numerous cases. The killer sees her on a television show and fixates on her and how he will kill her. It will not be an outright murder --- it will have to be a game. As murders continue, clues are left for Lucinda and the detectives to solve. Will they catch him in time? Or will Lucinda be a victim? A great book that will be hard to put down.
 
Perennialreader
My Life in France by Julia Child & Alex Prud'Homme
Rating: 4 Stars
Charming book about Julia Child and how she got started with French cooking. Good companion book to the movie Julie and Julia,
 
Kellie (acountkel@bellsouth.net)
Absolution by Meriam Herin
Rating: 4 Stars
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I thought it was very well written. The story is about a woman who becomes a widow after her husband is shot in a drugstore. The prosecuting attorney assures Maggie the trial will be a slamdunk, but when the defense attorney turns out to be a controversial blast from her past, Maggie is not so sure --- especially when she starts to learn some disturbing things about Richard's tour in Vietnam during the war. 


The author does flip back and forth between the present and the past, but she does it in a way so the reader is not unsure. The main character, Maggie, is complex. She was actually a anti-war demonstrator back in the sixties. She was in love with another demonstrator who disappeared after an event in D.C. The lack of "closure" in this relationship seemed to effect her for years. Maggie is not a character that you immediately feel compassion for. She makes her own mistakes. But her life is extremely interesting, and I was compelled to understand what drove her. I was very intrigued about the references to the Vietnam War. I haven't read many books about it, but I found it very interesting. It was neat reading about local places when the storyline took the plot through the local Charlotte area. I also liked the fact the author recognized our local Novello and Charlotte Mecklenburg library system in her acknowledgment at the end. I wish there were more books to read by this author, I would definitely be interested in reading something by Herin again.

 
Judy O. (joswood@msn.com)
Rainwater by Sandra Brown
Rating: 5 Stars
I loved this book, and I can see why it has become so popular. Ella Barron runs a boarding house in Texas in 1934 during the drought and depression. Times are very hard, and Ella works night and day taking care of the house, her renters, and her small autistic son. Enter David Rainwater, a charismatic new renter. This book has such an appeal to all who love reading and the twists and turns of life.
 
Janey
Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky
Rating: 4 Stars
I'm a fan of Barbara Delinsky books, and was excited to read her lastest. A single mother of a 17 yr. old learns that noy only is she pregnant, but she tried to become that way as well as two other of her best friends on purpose to become mothers. It's with alot of heartache and dismay that the mother works through this news, as well as the judgement of many others who decide this all reflects on how good of a mother she actually is for her daughter. 

It was almost like reading Jodi Picoulti, another favorite of mine.

 
Linda H. (linda604b@yahoo.com)
Malice by Lisa Jackson
Rating: 5 Stars
This book deserves much more than 5 stars. Lisa Jackson knows how to reel you in with a great story. In this one, New Orleans police detective Rick Bentz is lured back to Los Angeles thinking that his first wife Jennifer is still alive. He has seen her and followed her, but she always disappears, and he is beginning to wonder if he's going crazy. He enlists the aid of his old LAPD partner Jonah Hayes. As Rick meets with old friends of his ex-wife's, he finds out that he didn't really know Jennifer at all. Then, these friends are being murdered, which points suspicion to Rick. At the same time as Rick returns to LA, the 21-killings begin again. Rick was investigating the murder of a set of twins who were killed on their 21st birthday, but he turned in his badge and left LA before the murders were solved. Now, another set of twins have been murdered, also on their 21st birthday. Some of the police are looking askance at Rick. Did he set this off with his return to the area? You won't be able to put this one down.
 
Linda H. (linda604b@yahoo.com)
Three Weeks to Say Goodbye by C. J. Box
Rating: 5 Stars
Jack and Melissa McGuane have been the adoptive parents of Angelina for nine months when they find out that her birth father never signed away his rights. Now, he and his father are demanding return of the child. The boy's father is a famous judge who has aspirations to the Supreme Court and knows everyone from the local mayor to the president. Needless to say, he has a lot of clout. As Jack, Melissa, and their friends help find out more about the backgrounds of Garrett and his father Judge John Moreland, they find links to pedophiles. Yet Judge Moreland's hand runs wide as a pedophile case handled by one of Jack's friends is dismissed by the judge. This book is very suspenseful and will be hard to put down until you know the outcome.
 
Phyllis
The Shroud by Harold Robbins and Junius Podrug
Rating: 4 Stars
Entertaining story in Harold Robbins' style of sex, adventure, and exotic settings.
 
Jill
Outcasts United by Warren St John
Rating: 3 Stars
What an enlightening education to read about these children --- from so many war-ravaged areas of the globe --- who come together in a small Georgia town, united by the game of soccer.
 
Linda H. (linda604b@yahoo.com)
Loitering with Intent by Stuart Woods
Rating: 3 Stars
Stone Barrington and his pal, NYPD detective Dino Bacchetti, travel to Key West to get the signature of an elusive young millionaire on a deed of sale. However, Evan doesn't want to be found and it takes many calls from Stone and Dino to eventually find him. Evan refuses to sign and accuses his father, Warren, of murdering his Uncle Harry and putting Warren's father into a nursing home to get control of the business. This sends signals to Stone and Dino, who place calls to their fellow police friends to investigate the death of Harry. Before they can get to Warren, he is found dead. Who is behind the death?
 
JZ
True Colors by Kristen Hannah
Rating: 3 Stars
Above average writing paired with a predictable plot. In much the same way that a Lifetime movie can be a guilty pleasure, so is this novel. Despite its predictability, I still wanted to experience how the events unfolded and see the characters through to a satisfying conclusion.
 
Janet P Bedell
The First Rule by Robert Crais
Rating: 5 Stars
Loved the protagonist, Joe Pike, a real man's man with a deep sense of morality even though he has killed before.
 
Joan
Tainted by Brooke Morgan
Rating: 2 Stars
Smoothly told story, but alas, I had figured out the bad guy by page 10. So that just left the question of how did he do it, how was he caught, and what happened then! Enjoyable enough, I guess, but not suspenseful.
 
Joan
I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci
Rating: 3 Stars
Interesting story, great recipes! So why does the author end up losing Mr. Almost Right? Maybe a story for the next book!
 
suzannefromtexas
The Weight of Silence by Heather gudenkauf
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the story of unspoken family secrets and a little girl who is rendered mute by the weight of those secrets.
 
Debbie (delphimo@yahoo.com)
Cover Her Face by PD James
Rating: 3 Stars
This is the first Adam Dalgleish mystery and a little difficult to obtain at the library. This story involves a working girl and unwed mother, Sally, strangled while working as a maid in a manor. Of course, the whole family and visiting friends are suspects in this caper. I love the way that James develops her characters ---- the family and the friends. The discovery of the actual killer is surprising in the end.
 
Lisa
A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin
Rating: 5 Stars
This book takes place in Chicago at the World's Fair. It is a wonderful story of a young 20-year-old girl Violet Hayes. It is so much fun, and you won't regret reading it. You will smile and say, "That was a great book."
 
Fran
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
Rating: 5 Stars
Wow.... this book was amazing. It depicts the wonderful things that can happen when people step outside their box and do something kind for one another. An art dealer befriends a homeless former slave at the request of his wife and both lives are changed forever. I experienced their joy, their grief, and sorrows and was only sorry that this book had to end. Everyone should read this book.... renews your faith in the power of doing something good.
 
Sue
Rainwater by Sandra Brown
Rating: 5 Stars
A very different type of book for Sandra Brown. Romance, mystery, and several twists at the end that caught me by surprise. I loved it!
 
Susan J.
Tears in the Darkness by Michael Norman, Elizabeth Norman
Rating: 4 Stars
4 1/2 stars. "The Story of the Bataan Death March And Its Aftermath" is more than just that. It tells of the situations leading up to the march on Luzon in the Philippines and a bit after the end of the war. It is also the story of Ben Steele, a cowboy who endured the march. This is not just a cold history, but is up close and personal, giving names and faces to the stories. It is hard to believe that after so many centuries, humans can still be so incredibly cruel to one another. The story is about courage and cowardice, kindnesses and selfishness, and throughout, incredible suffering. The book is very well written and researched. Occasionally, the prose was a bit flowery for my taste, but that is minor. Some of Ben Steele's drawings are included and add greatly. There is a map of the Bataan peninsula, but the map is incomplete and does not include all the places discussed. A think that more maps, one of all of Luzon and one of the larger area at a minimum, would have been helpful. This is a great read, very touching and informative.
 
Barbara B.
The Lotus Eaters by Tajana Soli
Rating: 4 Stars
A novel about a female photojournalist during the Vietnam War and her drive for one more shot. The descriptions of war and the beautiful country of Vietnam are so real, I actually felt as though I were there.
 
Eileen Quinn Knight
The Museum of Innocence by Orham Pamuk
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a delightful translation of Pamuk's work. It is a love story par excellence! It is a love story that is filled with obsessions. It is written with such fine attention to detail. By the end of the book, one feels as if the characters are family members.
 
Jan Berg
Rough Country by John Sandford
Rating: 4 Stars
Sandford has lots of fans, and that's not hard to believe. He always writes great books and keeps you interested from start to finish.
 
Deborah Montuori
The Drowning Room by Michael Pye
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the story of an amazing 17th century woman who will do anything to thrive and survive in Dutch society, first in Amsterdam and then in the New World.
 
Susan Kuchta
Behind Closed Doors by Tara Taylor Quinn
Rating: 5 Stars
Laura and Harry Kendall are a happily married interracial couple. Until one night of terror shatters their happiness. Two men invade their home and make it clear that the incident is racially motivated. An act that helps to fuel the argument from her conservative parents on the subject of marrying a black man. Laura is in denial that this was not a random incident. Harry sees the reality in front of him and vows to bring the two men to justice no matter what the cost --- even if that cost is his own life. Harry's obsession and the emotional backlash of such an incident keeps pulling Laura and Harry farther apart. Harry sends Laura to her parents to keep her safe. They may have never approved of him, but they all can agree on Laura's safety. Detective Daniel Boyd, a man faced with his own demons, is determined to close the case. Together Harry and Daniel fit together the puzzle pieces, pieces that bring them closer to the Ivory Nation, a white supremacist group. How are Laura's parents connected?

 
Beverly
The Boat by Nam Le
Rating: 4 Stars
Wonderful collection of short stories which were set in different geographical locations. Very well developed characters. The common theme that connected the stories was that each of the major characters had to make a choice/decision based on a life situation presented to them. It was about each of them taking charge of their destinies.
 
Mary
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Rating: 5 Stars
I really wasn't expecting to like this book because I'm a little tired of books centered around WWII; however, I ended up liking it very much. It had a little different twist because it centered around an event in France. The story starts with the events from the past and then interweave with the present day as someone discovers there is a family secret connected to the past events.
 
Mary
Heat Wave by Richard Castle
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the book from Richard Castle of the Castle TV show. It was very entertaining just like the show and had a lot of the witty dialogue and narrative that the show has.
 
Beth Cummings (mtc350@gmail.com)
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
Rating: 5 Stars
Enjoyable story of Wall's grandmother, Lily C. Smith, as she grows up in Arizona, works in Chicago, and goes back to ranching in Arizona.
 
Sandy Sizemore
Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
Rating: 5 Stars
What ever happened to the real Alice, the girl whose childhood inspired ALICE IN WONDERLAND? Melanie Benjamin uses historical fact and imagination to weave a story that is interesting and compelling. This book sent me to the computer to find out more!
 
Beth Cummings (mtc350@gmail.com)
Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Sto by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor
Rating: 4 Stars
This mother/daughter pair create a fascinating journey, both a travelogue of Greece, France, and other stops and a spiritual journey that helps each of them a their phase in their lives and also to connect them with each other.
 
Beth Cummings (mtc350@gmail.com)
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
Rating: 3 Stars
Our book group read this, and we generally found that while we liked it, the book wasn't a favorite. It is a bit of a mystery/thriller, but tends to be so convoluted that by the time the surprise ending is revealed, the reader really doesn't care all that much about it.
 
Charles J.
Why New Orleans Matters by Tom Piazza
Rating: 4 Stars
A well-written, engaging little book about what makes New Orleans unique. It has insights into the music, the food, and the town beyond the tourist traps. Piazza also gets personal in writing about the effects of Hurricane Katrina. If you enjoy New Orleans, it provides some added insight.
 
Tanya F
Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
Rating: 5 Stars
I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction, but this is Target's latest Bookmarked Club Pick, and their picks never disappoint. It was one of the most intriguing soap operas if ever read. I liked it so much, I'm reading the sequel, THE HERETIC QUEEN.
 
Ozarks Reader
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Rating: 4 Stars
A book about two sets of identical twins --- the moms and the daughters. Sounds interesting but until you read this book, you can't imagine just how interesting this situation is. I'm really not into ghost stories or the supernatural, but this book grabs the reader from page one when we learn of the death of one of the older set. There are lots of twists and turns, and you may have to go back and review to catch on to the sudden development or which spirit/person is speaking. Take your time and enjoy.
 
Renee
Vienna Blood by Frank Tallis
Rating: 3 Stars
Found this series and author beginning with A DEATH IN VIENNA. Loved the setting and story in book one, but now I'm wondering about the 50 page rule...
Why are authors SO OBSESSED with murdering and mutilating women? Might be a great book, but I don't know that I will continue with it on the grounds that violence and evil are not where I want to place my reading energies.

 
Rosemary Sobczak (rosemarysobczak@hotmail.com)
Cat in a Topaz Tango by Carole Nelson Douglas
Rating: 4 Stars
Midnight Louie is a great antidote to winter blues!
 
Rosanne Sharkey
Saving Cicadas by Nicole Seitz
Rating: 5 Stars
Without a doubt, SAVING CICADAS is the best book I have read in years. It will be hard to write an adequate review of this impressionable novel and even more difficult not to include spoilers. It is a book that captured me from the first page and left me in awe at the last page. It took twists and turns that kept surprising me and when I thought I couldn't be further surprised; I was surprised again.


Priscilla is a woman who is haunted by her past, depressed about her future and in turmoil regarding her present situation. She is a single mother of a special needs child, and she finds herself pregnant again. Her spirit appears broken; her life in chaos. She takes off with her family in search of answers. The journey she takes is unplanned and spontaneous. It is a trip that will forever change her life and those she loves.



The story is told in a child's voice with a child's prospective on life. She is wise beyond her years; she is innocent and untouched by prejudice. She is the most powerful character you will ever meet in a novel. The impressions she leaves on the reader will never be forgotten.


Absolutely everyone must read SAVING CICADAS. I am recommending it to everyone I know. Regardless of what they may think they know about love and life, I am sure they will be affected by this incredible story forever.


 
Teresa (steinertt@aol.com)
U for Undertown by Sue Grafton
Rating: 4 Stars
Grafton writes a good read, and I love Kinsey's low then sleuthing of the '80s.
 
F Tessa Bartels
361 by Donald E. Westlake
Rating: 4 Stars
4.5 stars. Some of the characters from THE CUTIE reappear here. More double crosses and a wonderful anti-hero. Again, we're left with questions and wanting to know what comes next. Tight crime writing.
 
Janice Hoaglin (jhoaglin@sbcglobal.net)
Don't Look Back by Karin Fossum
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the first in a mystery series by this Norwegian author and is well plotted with each step --- or misstep building --- on the last and with crimes solved by educated intuition, insights into human psyche, and solid police work. There is very little use of modern technology or forensics. What starts as the search for a missing child is quickly resolved, but it leads to a murder investigation with no seeming motive or suspect. Characters are very well developed and interesting. I will continue this series.
 
Barbara LH (BHpurple@aol.com)
Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
Rating: 4 Stars
Gilbert herself acknowledges how difficult it is to write to please all those readers of her bestseller, EAT PRAY LOVE. Does COMMITTED, a book about marriage, hold up to the scrutiny? I'll hedge here --- in some ways, yes. Gilbert's turn-of-phrases and journalistic perspective again grace the pages of her writing. She's (thankfully) lost some of the hysteria and naivete exhibited in EAT PRAY LOVE. But the approach is a bit less compelling --- her study of marriage to assuage her misgivings about her own decision to re-marry.
 
Barbara LH (BHpurple@aol.com)
One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Rating: 3 Stars
The "one amazing thing" is that this book is getting such good press. I am disappointed with it, and have liked previous work by the author.
The "gimmick" of writing about a group of disparate folks and somehow having each tell their story and get some resolution is wearing thin (think cooking class from THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS or crafters at the THE KNITTING CLUB).

 
Teresa (steinertt@aol.com)
Nothing But Trouble by Susan May Warren
Rating: 2 Stars
Was easy to read but no real substance. My book group thought they could have written a better novel.
 
Judy O. (joswood@msn.com)
31 Hours by Masha Hamilton
Rating: 3 Stars
Jonas Meitzner has seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. His parents and girlfriend are looking for him frantically in New York City. Jonas is in a safe house under the Brooklyn Bridge, ready to commit an act of violence. Can he be stopped? This book was gripping, but the end really let the reader down. My opinion anyway. It ended so abruptly that I didn't like this ending at all. Hamilton is the author of THE CAMEL BOOKMOBILE --- a great book.
 
 
Trade Wind by M M Kaye
Rating: 3 Stars
3.5 stars. An epic historical romance from the author of THE FAR PAVILIONS. This one is full of international politics, the slave trade, Arabian sultans, and princesses, revolution, pirates, natural disasters, espionage, and intrigue, all set against the backdrop of 19th century Zanzibar. Wonderful escapism.
 
Pat L.
Breakfast in Bed by Robin Kaye
Rating: 5 Stars
Nice story, funny --- hero learns how to cook and clean very successfully. His mama did all that stuff for him, so it made for good dialogue. Hero was both sure of himself but willing to admit his flaws.
 
kathy
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Rating: 5 Stars
Engrossing and twisting. Best I've read in a while.
 
Susan, Saratoga springs
Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen
Rating: 4 Stars
I'd watched a PBS documentary based on this book & was curious to learn more about Olcott. Her family lived around Boston/ Concord Mass. & were "transcendentalists" --- a type of utopian philosophy popular during that time. Louisa's father was close to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathanial Hawthorne. Though Louisa's father had noble ideas, he wasn't good about putting bread on the table. Louisa ended up working to support the family, who lived in a series of increasingly poverty-stricken circumstances. I will never again think of Louisa as just the author of the popular children's book LITTLE WOMEN. She (and her family) were very complex people who lived in very interesting (though difficult) times.
 
Sandra Greathouse (Muzzley56@aol.com)
Deeper Than Dead by Tami Hoag
Rating: 5 Stars
Another winner from Tami Hoag! I couldn't put it down.
 
Sandy Greathouse (Muzzley56@aol.com)
A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve
Rating: 5 Stars
I have read a lot of Ms. Shreve's books and always enjoy them. I really liked the characters in this book and her storyline.
 
Barbara B.
Dropped Dead Stitch by Maggie Sefton
Rating: 2 Stars
A cozy mystery that centers around a yarn shop and knitters. I like reading about the knitting aspects and all of the wonderful yarns, but the dialogue was very weak as was the story line.
 
Elizabeth (meadowmist@comcast.net)
Bird in Hand by Christina Baker Kline
Rating: 4 Stars
Two couples, friends, an accident, a change in lives.


BIRD IN HAND seemed to be more about the relationship between Ben and Claire and Charlie and Alison than about the accident that happened at the beginning of the book.


The book was well written, but I thought it would be more about how Claire was dealing with and healing from what happened in the accident she was in.


I enjoyed the book, though. I was also amazed how Alison's mother could read Charlie, Alison's husband, better than Alison herself and how she knew an affair was going on and Alison didn't.



I will give it a rating of 4 out of 5 only because I did like how the book was written with the back and forth in time, and Kline did do a good job with the events that were going on. The ending really had a lot of good advice and thoughtful insights.


 
Susan Kuchta
The Christmas Lamp: A Novella by Lori Copeland
Rating: 4 Stars
Nativity, Missouri is a small town full of Christmas tradition, tradition that always brought in much needed revenue. The once thriving town is starting to go under due to the pressure of the current economic times. Their Christmas spirit is nowhere to be found. 

Roni Elliot manages the City Administration office. She is a native resident who loves every tradition and decoration that goes with the city's namesake. She is reluctant and upset when the current financial situation is threatening to destroy the traditions and spirit of her beloved town. 

Jake Brisco is called upon by his grandmother to come and save her beloved town from financial ruin. He has to make the tough decisions to keep the city from going under. Decisions that does not make him a fan of the town's residents or of Roni's. 

Together they all come together to learn the true meaning of Christmas. Saving the town in the process. 

A heart warming story that brings to light what Christmas really means. The love of family, friends and the birth of a Savior. Includes a touching sentiment to the movie "A Christmas Story" that many of us know and love. 


 
Elizabeth (meadowmist@comcast.net)
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Rating: 5 Stars
Oai deki te ureshii desu --- How are you today, beautiful?


That quote from the book says it all. What an incredible, heartfelt, interesting story. This book is set during during World War II and is about the childhood love of a Japanese girl and a Chinese boy that takes place specifically during the encampment of the Japanese people who lived in Seattle, Washington. It will keep your interest and teach you some history.



It also is about the conflict between Henry and his Chinese father and the beauty of friendships. It also has some music facts in it for all you jazz fans.



I don't want to give too much away, but it is a nostalgic book and one you will want to tell others about. It is similar to SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS.


You will absolutely enjoy it and love it. I loved the story and the lessons learned.

 
Sean From Ohio
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Rating: 4 Stars
I always heard that this book was a classic and must be read, blah, blah, blah. Well, I finally did and its all that and more. I'm actually upset that I didn't read this in high school because Holden Caulfield reminds me of myself at that age. Salinger's voice of a the teenage main character is so on point its really amazing. Every college freshmen, especially males, should be made to read this. Classic!
 
Jane Squires (jrs362@hotmail.com)
Valentine Bride by Christine Rimmer
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the best book I have read of the Bravo family. I am so drawn into it; I cannot put it down. Love comes to couples in different ways, and this book sure has it totally in a different way than one would imagine.
 
G C Wilson
Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
Rating: 5 Stars
If you haven't yet become acquainted with the Stephanie Plum series, it's high time you did! FEARLESS FOURTEEN has it all: love, passion, hilarity, a heck of a good mystery, and characters that will have you looking for other books in the series. Why are people digging up Morelli's yard, why is Stephanie blue, and what has Lula got against monkeys? All excellent questions, and I think you will have an excellent time finding the answers!
 
Ann Patrice
Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Niven
Rating: 5 Stars
Well written, good character development, and a very good story.
 
Coral Harrison
Rainwater by Sandra Brown
Rating: 5 Stars
An entirely different book for Sandra Brown. A very well written and a wonderful love story. It is during the time of strife with blacks and whites.It has the worst people and the best. Very good book.
 
BookFestival
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Rating: 3 Stars
The book takes place in Wisconsin in the winter of 1907. It's about a very rich man who is lonely, so he advertises for a reliable wife. The woman who shows up at the train station is not the woman whose picture he was sent, and she's unreliable.


There is a lot of sex in this book.


 
Ana Carul
Quantum Woman, Celestial Man by Kamelia Sojlevska
Rating: 5 Stars
Opening new spaces of the mind and soul through transcendental and eternal love, creating a world of harmony, awareness, understanding, and exploring the unknown is the gain when you read this book. I highly recommend this book if you want to explore your own internal being and to learn about possibilities of humanity. Enjoy it as I did!
 
BookFestival
The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
Rating: 5 Stars
THE LIGHTENING THIEF is like a Greek God/American Harry Potter. My book club is reading this and we're going to see the movie. The main character is a 12 year old half Greek God/half human boy with ADHD and dyslexia. The reason he has dyslexia is because his brain is wired to read Greek, and English gives him dyslexia.
 
Sal Williams
Fool by Christopher Moore
Rating: 5 Stars
Moore is a fine fun author and FOOL is the retelling of William Shakespeare's King Lear through the eyes of his sardonic jester. Moore has a great time twisting the Elizabethan language and there is plenty of horseplay, but be warned, it is quite a bawdy tale. It is difficult to concentrate on Lear's plight when his jester's remarks make you laugh out loud as you read.
 
paula harris (paulaharris@cox.net)
The Cat Who Saw Red by Lillian Jackson Braun
Rating: 3 Stars
An easy read, and if you are an animal, lover it is obvious from the title that there are two cats that help solve crimes. The main character, Quilleran, writes a food column for the local newspaper while solving crimes, so there are several enticing food descriptions as well.
 
Pattie Hill (pattiberr@aol.com)
Homer & Langley by Doctorow
Rating: 5 Stars
Two eccentric brothers living in NYC in the 1930s and '40s. Their house becomes piled high with newspapers, bicycles, a Model T car, and other items by hoarding. Langley is mentally ill as he continues to hoard until his death.
 
Renee
Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle
Rating: 4 Stars
I'm on a mission to read everything she has written. This is an inspirational essay on her insights of faith, art, and best of all, how she writes and creates. Heavenly!
 
Jud (jbates510@comcast.net)
Outliers by M. Gladwell
Rating: 3 Stars
Only so-so. Interesting, but I'm not certain his conclusions are correct.
 
Anna R.
The Piano Teacher by Janice A.K. Lee
Rating: 4 Stars
The unusual plot and the setting in Hong Kong made THE PIANO TEACHER a book hard to put down. Having no idea about what live was like in Hong Kong during WWII made this book not only a great story but a great history lesson.
 
Diane R
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Rating: 5 Stars
Excellent book, well-written with great characters. Great book for book clubs to discuss.
 
Ilene
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Rating: 5 Stars
All about New York and characters that come together who were affected by the Vietnam War. Each character's story is described in the various chapters. These stories are very compelling.
 
Ilene
Sunfowers by Sherany Bundrick
Rating: 5 Stars
A beautiful love story about Vincent Van Gogh and his love. The description of all his paintings are worth reading the book alone. What a troubling soul he was.
 
Vickie N
Open by Andre Agassi
Rating: 4 Stars
I know very little about tennis, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. I learned a lot about the struggles and torments of his life as well as the successes. Very good.
 
Dorothy Lechmanick
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Rating: 5 Stars
When I first started SARAH'S KEY, I thought, "Oh, it's just another Holocaust story," but once the past and the present became linked through the secret of this apartment, it was impossible to put down. I'm looking forward to another novel by this author.
 
Joan
Possum Living by Dolly Freed
Rating: 2 Stars
I only gave the book two stars because I have many doubts about its authorship. Supposedly written by a 17 year old girl who lived with her father without money, school, or work while gardening and raising rabbits and chickens for food in their basement. I guess a 17 year old could do this, but the opinions are those of an old curmudgeon and moonshiner! Still, it was entertaining. I've almost never read anything like it --- maybe SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON when I was a child!
 
Joan
Living Oprah by Robin Okrant
Rating: 4 Stars
This was a lot of fun. The author decided to spent a year following all of Oprah's advice...with mixed results. After all, most people are not operating with Oprah's budget, a fact the author recognizes before she starts. Very, very interesting! I love this book format, whether it's a year of cooking only in a slow cooker or a year of living Biblically!
 
Kay
Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark
Rating: 5 Stars
Another wonderful novel! There are lots of family secrets in this Cajun country story set in Louisiana. The dialogue is very realistic and the Cajun French words and phrases are accurate. The story involves old ties to the expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia, oaths, and a treasure. This is a wonderful mystery, and I was sorry when the book ended.
 
Linda
Montana Rose by Mary Connealy
Rating: 5 Stars
Widowed one day, married the next, that's life in the West in the old days, where a woman by herself seldom makes it. This is a heartwarming book about two different marriages for Cassie, how Red (second husband) helped her become real, and the dangers of other men who wanted her and why.
 
Chris
A Song I Knew By Heart by Bret Lott
Rating: 3 Stars
Nice interpretation of the biblical story of Ruth and Naomi...with a twist or two. Lott's descriptive writing style adds to the emotional weight of the story. We read this for our book club and had lots to discuss!
 
Anna R.
The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Rating: 5 Stars
My book discussion group chose this book for our January meeting. We all felt we learned so much about a period of our history that very few of us knew anything about. We all felt the internment camps for the Japanese were left out of our history books. This was a "must read."
 
Angie Lindell
Maximum Ride 4: The Final Warning by James Patterson
Rating: 2 Stars
As someone who loved the first three Maximum Ride books, I was sadly disappointed by this fourth novel. It is far too preachy, lacks a solid plot, and something that was there before that I can't seem to put my finger on seems to be missing.
 
Michael (mfrasier31@gmail.com)
Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
Rating: 4 Stars
Fascinating sequel to WICKED. This novel continues the story of the son of theWicked Witch of the Oz series.
 
Sally B., San Antonio TX
Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the sequel to THE BRONZE HORSEMAN, a historical romance set during WWII Russia.
 
Dale
Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger
Rating: 4 Stars
Wonderful love story. Even with the end of the book told in the first chapter, you still cry at the end because you have really come to enjoy the characters. I had no idea of the symptoms of Huntington's Disease and was astonished at what people with this awful disease have to endure.
 
Jean M
Manhattan Is My Beat by Jeffery Deaver
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the first of a trilogy featuring Rune, a young woman in NYC. She stumbles into a crime which she tries to solve. This is a fun book, a quick read.
 
Dale
The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
Rating: 4 Stars
A book I probably would not have picked to read if it weren't for my book club. Very good and even with the length of 700 pages, I never felt it dragged on. I am from Massachusetts, and that is were it took place, so was neat to read and actually know the streets they make reference to.
 
Stella
Every Fixed Star by Jane Kirkpatrick
Rating: 4 Stars
Took a long time to get through this book that is based on a true story. The main character, Marie, as well as the family members are tested for faith, survival skills, and surviving tragedy every page. The frontier days of 1814 are detailed as they cross the Rocky Mountains.
 
Jean
Espresso Shot by Cleo Coyle
Rating: 3 Stars
I have always enjoyed these Coffeehouse Mysteries starring Clare Cosi. However, ESPRESSO SHOT is not as good as the others. That said, it is still an entertaining read.
 
Kaye DeMaio-Hays
Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste
Rating: 5 Stars
Beginning in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this is the heart-wrenching story of an eminent doctor, Hailu, and his family just before and after the downfall of Haile Selassie. During the revolution, each person's familial loyalties and political beliefs are explored and tested. Those who enjoyed KITE RUNNER will love this novel. Mengiste's voice is both harsh and poetic. This is an outstanding first novel.
 
Kaye DeMaio-Hays (dkhays@centurytel.net)
Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
Rating: 3 Stars
This is an interesting story of an over-sized young woman trying to find her place in a skinny- and appearance-focused world, complicated by a father who abandoned her, a mother who discovers she's a lesbian, and an ex-boyfriend who uses their relationship to further his career. There are some good moments, but much of the novel seems contrived and almost schmaltzy.
 
Nikki (gramanik2001@comcast.net)
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Rating: 5 Stars
I'm rereading this wonderful book after seeing the movie this past weekend. After being very disappointed by the screen adaptation of Jodi Picoult's MY SISTER'S KEEPER, I should have known better than to expect anything from the movie of THE LOVELY BONES. Because the movie was so poor, I had to reread the book to reinforce my first opinion of the book. At the end of the movie, I told my grandson to always read the book first because the movie very seldom does the book justice, and I would never want him to miss a great book based on the review of a movie.
 
Linda Bentzen
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Rating: 5 Stars
THE POWER OF ONE is set in South Africe in the 1940s and is about a young boy who struggles to realize his individuality in a society divided by racial hatred and conflict. I could hardly put it down.
 
Jud Hanson
Warrior Class by Dale Brown
Rating: 5 Stars
Oil magnate Pavel Kazakov is determined to return Russia to its former greatness by rebuilding the Soviet Union using oil. He plans to use the Russian army to retake former Soviet Union countries. However, he doesn't count on McLanahan and his array of high-tech toys coming to the rescue of those countries.
 
Ivy (ipittman26@yahoo.com)
Hardball by Sara Paretsky
Rating: 4 Stars
A little long and drawn out, but it eventually picks up speed. Overall, a good mystery about a detective, her family's connection to a racial riot during the civil rights movement, and her pursuit for justice.
 
Marjorie Clark (marjorie_clark2000@yahoo.com)
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Rating: 4 Stars
1,000+ pages, heavy to carry around (but I do). The King is back with reminders of such goodies as THE STAND and others. Only up to 200+ pages but loving it already. It can only get better!
 
Karna Bramble
Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilde by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Rating: 4 Stars
I thoroughly enjoyed this nonfiction book. The author uses crows as a means of discussing the presence of nature in our backyards. She also focuses on the nature of crows, and after reading this book I found a new appreciation of the crows in my own neighborhood.
 
Ann
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michele Moran
Rating: 4 Stars
My book club loved this book and it inspired a great discussion and desire to know about the history of the time.
Very interesting. We all learned a lot and enjoyed doing it!

 
Marsha (marshanee@roadrunner.com)
Iron River by T. Jefferson Parker
Rating: 4 Stars
Continuing with characters from his previous book, THE RENEGADES, Parker addresses the problem of America's obsession with drugs and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms task force that patrols the "iron river" where illegal guns flow from US dealers to the Mexican drug business. The violence is rampant, and cartel wars along the border continue to pose an insurmountable problem for our ATF officers.
 
mickey
The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers by Lillian Jackson Braun
Rating: 4 Stars
I always enjoy The Cat Who books. They're a quick read and a good way to get away from it all.
 
Gina
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
Rating: 5 Stars
Only a third of the way through this novel and loving it! Having read all of the letters in the Kinsey Millhone series, I can say without a doubt that they get better every time. Storyline gets you from the beginning!
 
Margie B.
Permission Slips by Sherri Shepherd
Rating: 4 Stars
I wasn't sure if I would like Sherri Shepherd's combination memoir and advice book, but it was a fun read and gave insight into what makes Sherri tick.
 
Sharon
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
Rating: 5 Stars
In a world where one hears of stolen identities, this book "hooks" the reader from the first line. This selection of three separate story lines tells how one can escape from his past and emerge as someone else. I loved the book and recommend it to everyone, especially those who love to connect the dots.
 
Donna Cruze
It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh
Rating: 4 Stars
I'm hoping this book either flips a switch in my head or I find a magic wand hidden in the pages.
 
Betty Kakavis
Moonlight in Odessa by Janet S Charles
Rating: 4 Stars
The story is a bit too contrived. But it was very interesting to read a candid view of the Ukraine and mail order brides. An easy read.
 
Betty Kakavis
Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
Rating: 5 Stars
Another Tyler winner. It is the story of a 61-year-old man who is forced to retire. After a short memory loss, he is is forced to rebuild a relationship with himself with his daughters.
 
Reva Wamsley (prwamsley@roadrunner.com)
Target by Catherine Coulter
Rating: 4 Stars
I love the FBI series by this author. They are call romantic suspense, but they have enough suspense for anyone. In this one, a federal judge on vacation in Colorado finds a little girl in the forest who has been abused and raped. He takes her to his cabin and starts earning her trust. Her mother comes along and thinks that he's the one that kidnapped her.
 
Carol H.
Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
Rating: 4 Stars
A retired schoolteacher moves to a new apartment in a new town and wakes up in the hospital the next day with no memory of what happened. Anne Tyler readers will enjoy this novel about his lonely life, his family, and his desire to unravel what had happened to him.
 
SANDY
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell
Rating: 4 Stars
A novel really about two sisters and how getting what you want can destroy the life of another. Not uplifting but a good read.
 
Linda Bentzen
The Soloist by Steve Lopez
Rating: 4 Stars
This true story is about a homeless, mentally ill man who plays violin on the city streets. The author, a reporter, decides to write about this man and to try to help him. I found the story interesting and do not want to see the movie.
 
Kay
Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a terrific read! An original story set in New Orleans involving murder, mystery, romance, and a treasure. Does it get any better than this? The author writes like she's from Louisiana, too. I'm so glad I picked up this book, and after I finished it, I got another one by this author and it, too, was terrific!
 
Diane
The Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle
Rating: 4 Stars
For anyone who likes wine and France, this is a light, entertaining, fast read!
 
Diane R
True Blue by David Baldacci
Rating: 5 Stars
Mr Baldacci's latest book with a new cast of interesting and likable characters. Very good book and very fast moving. It held my interest all the way. There will be more in this series, I hope!
 
A. Brim
Crown Jewel by Fern Michaels
Rating: 4 Stars
Ricky Lam is a Hollywood playboy who has it all. After his brother dies accidentally, he is forced to grow up. He gets to know his illegitimate sons and dedicates himself to running his brother's empire and learns the secrets that his brother kept from everyone.
 
A. Brim
Envy by Sandra Brown
Rating: 4 Stars
A story about two college roommates who study to be writers. They move to Key West to pursue their writing dreams --- one gets a book published first and everything starts to fall apart after that. Then the story moves up years and publisher Maris Reed receives a manuscript that she really likes. She contacts the author, and things moves fast from there on. A story of envy and revenge.
 
Betty Kakavis
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Rating: 5 Stars
Beautifully written book. Poverty , prostitution, Vietnam, death, and and a man whose calling is to help those in need are are tied together by a tightrope walker who walked between the Twin Towers in 1974.
 
Debbie (delphimo@yahoo.com)
Close To Home by Peter Robinson
Rating: 3 Stars
Another Alan Banks mystery set in England, this time Alan returns home to help with an investigation of bones belonging to a childhood friend who disappeared 35 years ago. While Alan is reviewing the past, Annie Cabot must investigate the case of a local 15-year-old lad missing. Both the cases deal with sex: the older case as forbidden and illegal homosexual sex in 1965, and the current case of a 15-year-old lad and his older female teacher. The 1965 case involves a cover-up by the policeman in charge of the investigation, and all the ramifications of corruption during that time. After reading THE CREATION OF EVE, which stated that Michelangelo was a homosexual, we tend to forget that in the past this type of sexuality was illegal.
 
FOH
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Rating: 5 Stars
With all the current vampire craze in today's scene, I thought it would be fun to visit the classic, original vampire story. Wow. Did not expect to like it as much as I did! Wonderful! No wonder it is a classic!
 
Trudy
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Rating: 5 Stars
Absolutely loved this book and didn't want it to end. Told through the viewpoint of three different women dealing with the issue of racism in Mississippi around 1963.
It would be a great movie.

 
Bonnie (bgluhani@aol.com)
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Rating: 5 Stars
Jim Crow, war, family, the South...all come together in this masterpiece. I can't remember when I was so touched by a novel. This will keep you thinking long after you're finished. Excellent book.
 
Maureen
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larrson
Rating: 4 Stars
This is an excellent sequel to THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. A real page turner.