Monday, September 30, 2013

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Lexi has been in and out of the foster care system her whole life. Her mother was an addict.  After her mother's death, her social worker found her Aunt Eva.  Lexi moves to Washington state to live with her.  On the first day of school, she sees a boy. It's like she is hit with a brick. She has feelings for him. Who is he? At lunch she sees a girl sitting by herself.  She asks to sit with her. Then she finds out that the boy is the girl's brother.  Mia tells her if you are interested in getting to Zach, you can't sit here or be my friend. Lexi wants a friend more than anything.
Lexi and Mia become best friends until a tragedy happens at the end of their senior year. It changes all of them.

Synopsis from the author's site:
For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.
Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.
On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.
Vivid, universal, and emotionally complex, Night Road raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.

Excerpt from the author's site:


She stands at the hairpin turn on Night Road.

On either side of her, giant evergreens grow clustered together, rising high into the blue summer sky. Even now, in midday, this stubbled, winding ribbon of asphalt holds the morning mist close.

This road is like her life; knee deep in shadow. Once, it had been the quickest way home and she’d taken it easily, turning onto its potholed surface without a second thought, rarely noticing how the earth dropped away on either edge. Her mind had been on other things back then, on the miniutae of everyday life. Chores. Errands. Schedules.

She hadn’t taken this route in years. Just the thought of it had been enough to make her turn the steering wheel too sharply; better to go off the road than to find herself here. Or so she’d thought until today.

People on the island still talk about what happened in the summer of ’04. They sit on barstools and in porchswings and spout opinions, half truths, making judgments that aren’t theirs to make. They think a few columns in a newspaper give them the facts they need. But the facts are hardly what matter.

If anyone sees her here, just standing on this lonely roadside in a gathering mist, it will all come up again. Like her, they’ll remember that night, so long ago, when the rain turned to ash….

“Midway upon the journey of our life

I found myself within a forest dark,

For the straightforward pathway had been lost.”

—The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
Chapter One


Lexi Baill had studied a Washington State map until the tiny red geographical markings shimmied in front of her tired eyes. There was a vaguely magical air about the place names; they hinted at a landscape she could hardly imagine, of snow draped mountains that came right down to the water’s edge, of trees as tall and straight as church steeples, of an endless, smogless blue sky. She pictured eagles perched on telephone poles and night skies filled with stars. Bears probably crept through the quiet subdivisions at night, looking for places that not long ago had been theirs.

Her new home.

She wanted to think that her life would be different there. But how could she believe that, really? At fourteen, she might not know much, but she knew this: kids in the system were returnable, like old soda bottles and shoes that pinched your toes.

Yesterday, she’d been wakened early by her caseworker and told to pack her things. Again.

“I have good news,” Mrs. Watters had said.

Even half asleep, Lexi knew what that meant. “Another family. That’s great. Thanks, Ms. Watters.”

“Not just a family. Your family.”

“Right. Of course. My new family. It’ll be great.”

Ms. Watters made that disappointed sound, a soft exhalation of breath that wasn’t quite a sigh. “You’ve been strong, Lexi. For so long.”

Lexi tried to smile. “Don’t feel bad, Mrs. W. I know how hard it is to place older kids. And the Rexler family was cool. If my mom hadn’t come back, I think that one would have worked out.”

“None of it was your fault, you know.”

“Yeah,” Lexi said.  On good days she could make herself believe that the people who turned her away had their own problems.  On bad days—and they were coming more often lately—she wondered what was wrong with her, why she was so easy to leave.

“You have relatives, Lexi.  I found your great aunt.  Her name is Eva Lange.  She’s sixty-six years old and she lives in Port George, Washington.”

To read more click the link above.

Pages: 385

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Journey by Danielle Steel

I needed a book with "J" as a title for two challenges. I searched my library database and came up with this story. Maddy Hunter is a successful anchorwoman at her husband's network. He rescued her years ago from an abusive husband after he bought the TV station she worked at.  He recommended her to the First Lady's commission on battered women.  After a meeting led by a psychiatrist, Maddy realized that she was in another abusive relationship.  A man does not have to hit to be abusive, she learned. Read the book to find out what she did to survive.

Synopsis from the author's site:
Everyone knows Madeleine and Jack Hunter. Maddy is an award-winning TV anchorwoman. Jack is the head of her network. To the world, theirs is a storybook marriage. But behind the doors of their lush Georgetown home a different story emerges. Maddy has always tried to deny Jack’s subtle put-downs, control, and jealousy. She has no bruises, only the daggers of fear, humiliation, and isolation – as powerful as the gun or the fist, the wounds as deep. It seems impossible that a woman the nation idolizes lives in degradation and fear. Maddy’s secrets are well kept, even from herself. Maddy’s healing begins when she joins the First Lady’s Commission on Violence Against Women. There, she hears eerily familiar stories from terrified wives and girlfriends. And there she comes to know Bill Alexander, a distinguished diplomat. Bill suspects that something is terribly wrong in Maddy’s marriage and begs her to open her eyes. As she takes the first steps toward freedom, a remarkable series of events unfolds … a stranger from Maddy’s past reappears … White House headlines bring the nation to a standstill … and a devastating tragedy forces Maddy to realize how much has been taken from her. Faced with the most difficult choice of her life, Maddy finds a strength she never knew she had and a gift that will change her life forever. With wisdom and compassion, bestselling novelist Danielle Steel reminds us that no one is exempt from the effects of abuse, in its subtlest forms. But at its core, Journey is a book about hope, about change, and about daring to be free.

Chapter One
The long black limousine pulled up slowly, and came to a stop, in a long line of cars just like it. It was a balmy evening in early June, and two Marines stepped forward in practiced unison, as Madeleine Hunter emerged gracefully from the car in front of the east entrance to the White House. A brightly lit flag was fluttering in the summer breeze, and she smiled at one of the Marines as he saluted. She was tall and thin, in a white evening gown that draped elegantly from one shoulder. Her hair was dark and swept up in a neat French twist which showed off her long neck and single bare shoulder to perfection.

Her skin was creamy, her eyes blue, and she moved with enormous poise and grace in high-heeled silver sandals. Her eyes danced as she smiled, and stepped aside as a photographer flashed her picture. And then another, as her husband stepped out of the car and took his place beside her. Jack Hunter was powerfully built, a man of forty-five, he had made his first fortune in the course of a career in pro football, invested it brilliantly, and in time had traded and sold and bought first a radio station, then added television to it, and by forty owned one of the major cable networks. Jack Hunter had long since turned his good fortune into big business. And he was very big business.

The photographer snapped their photograph again, and then they swiftly disappeared into the White House. They made a striking couple, and had for seven years. Madeleine was thirty-four, and had been twenty-five when he discovered her in Knoxville. Her drawl had long since disappeared, as had his. Jack was from Dallas, and he spoke in powerful, clipped tones that convinced the listener instantly that he knew exactly what he was doing. He had dark eyes that pursued his quarry to all corners of the room, and he had a way of listening to several conversations at once, while still managing to seem intent on the person to whom he was speaking. There were times, people who knew him well said, when his eyes seemed to bore right through you, and other times when you felt he was about to caress you. There was something powerful and almost hypnotizing about him. Just looking at him, sleekly put together in his dinner jacket and perfectly starched shirt, his dark hair smoothly combed, he was someone one wanted to get to know and be close to.

He had had the same effect on Madeleine when they met, when she was barely more than a girl in Knoxville. She had had a Tennessee drawl then, she had come to Knoxville from Chattanooga. She’d been a receptionist at the television station where she worked, until a strike forced her into doing first weather, and then news, on camera. She was awkward and shy, but so beautiful that the viewers who saw her sat mesmerized as they stared at her. She looked more like a model or a movie star, but she had a girl-next-door quality about her that everyone loved, and a breathtaking ability to get right to the heart of a story. And Jack was bowled over when he first saw her. Her words as well as her eyes were searing.

 “What do you do here, pretty girl? Break all the boys’ hearts, I’ll bet,” he’d said to her. She didn’t look a minute over twenty, though she was nearly five years older. He had stopped to talk to her when she came off the air.

 “Not likely,” she laughed. He was negotiating to buy the station. And he had, two months later. And as soon as he did, he made her co-anchor, and sent her to New York to teach her first everything she needed to learn about network news, and then how to do her hair and makeup. And the effect, when he saw her on the air again, was impressive. Within months, her career was off and running.

It was Jack who helped extricate her from the nightmare she had been living, with a husband she’d been married to since she was seventeen, who had committed every possible kind of abuse on her. It was no different from what she had seen happen in Chattanooga as a child, between her parents. Bobby Joe had been her high school sweetheart, and they’d been married for eight years when Jack Hunter bought the cable network in Washington, D.C., and made her an irresistible offer. He wanted her as his prime-time anchor, and promised her that if she came, he’d help her sort her life out, and cover all the most important stories.

He came to Knoxville himself in a limousine. She met him at the Greyhound bus station, with one small Samsonite bag and a look of terror. She got into the car with him without a sound, and they drove all the way to Washington together. It took Bobby Joe months to figure out where she was, and by then she had filed for divorce, with Jack’s help, and a year later, they were married. She had been Mrs. Jack Hunter for seven years, and Bobby Joe and his unthinkable abuse on her were a dim nightmare. She was a star now. She led a fairy-tale life. She was known and respected and adored all across the country. And Jack treated her like a princess. As they walked into the White House arm in arm, and stood in the reception line, she looked relaxed and happy. Madeleine Hunter had no worries. She was married to an important, powerful man, who loved her, and she knew it. She knew that nothing bad would ever happen to her again. Jack Hunter wouldn’t let it. She was safe now.

The President and First Lady shook hands with them in the East Room, and the President said in an undervoice to Jack that he wanted to catch a private moment with him later. Jack nodded, and smiled at him, as Madeleine chatted with the First Lady. They knew each other well. Maddy had interviewed her several times, and the Hunters were invited to the White House often. And as Madeleine drifted into the room on her husband’s arm, heads turned, people smiled and nodded, everyone recognized her. It was a long, long way from Knoxville. She didn’t know where Bobby Joe was now, and no longer cared. The life she had known with him seemed entirely unreal now. This was her reality, a world of power and important people, and she was a bright star among them.

Read more here.

Pages: 323

Swimming in the Moon by Pamela Schoenewaldt

Fourteen year old Lucia and her mother work for a Countess in Naples.  Teresa is a little unstable. The Count has a bad bout with malaria and conspires with the doctor that Teresa is crazy and needs treatment. Lucia and her mother escape to America and restart their lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Lucia gets to go to high school instead of having to work. Her dream is to go to college.  Through some unfortunate incidents, Lucia has to leave college after a few days.

I enjoyed this book.  It was well written.

Synopsis from the author's site:
Naples, 1904. Servants in a magnificent seaside villa, Lucia and her very young mother, Teresa, must escape to America, landing in Cleveland after Teresa’s volatile temper puts them in danger. Teresa’s voice, tender and passionate as her moods, brings her a respite on the vaudeville stage before her demons plunge them into turmoil. Lucia struggles to balance her mother’s vast needs with her own growing call to join the workers’ desperate fight for justice.

Chapter 1
Singing to Vesuvius
I spend hours in trains now or shivering in borrowed Model Ts, bouncing down rutted roads between towns strewn like rocks across frozen fields. I wash in sinks and eat at roadside stands or from china plates, served by ladies with more wealth hung on their bodies than I’ll ever hold. I speak in parlors and parks, taverns, churches, and drafty union halls in the great Midwest. I can’t go home to Cleveland yet. “Believe me. You can win,” I tell those whose bodies are deformed by long hours in factories and mills. My voice grows ragged and rough, harsh as a crow’s. Who would guess my mother was the Naples Nightingale?
I ask for water, clear my throat, and say: “This is 1913. Your lives can change. Think of your children.” Workers stare, disbelieving. When their doubts claw me, I hear my mother whisper: “Lucia, even crows must breathe.” So I take a breath, plant my feet as singers do, and go on. When women kiss and thank me and men’s work-roughed hands press mine, then the torments of this path, the jail slabs where I’ve slept, the betrayal of friends, and the ache for those abused when I’d sworn they’d be safe, all these things have their purpose.
If our maps show rivers, lakes, or canals, I ask to see them, even when the shallows reek and oil slicks the water. I stand on shorelines and feel my body easing after so many hours of work. Inside laced shoes, my feet are bare again. I’m wading in the Bay of Naples, that warm scoop of blue held in a green embrace, watching the bright bob of fishing boats and hearing peddlers’ cries. It’s my last summer in Italy, and I’m still Lucia Esposito, passing out of childhood and content enough with my life. Mamma and I are servants to Contessa Elisabetta Monforte in her rosy villa that juts into the bay. I was born in the kitchen and never in my fourteen years slept anywhere but on a narrow cot with Mamma.
Where else would I go? Lemon, orange, fig, and golden plum trees filled the orchard. Lilacs and bougainvillea climbed our walls. On Sunday afternoons, our half-days off, we took bread and wine to the great flat rock turned like a stage to the cone of Vesuvius. If Nannina, the cook, was in good humor, we’d have chunks of cheese and earthen bowls of pasta with beans. Tomatoes and sweet peppers that birds had nibbled were ours. Ripe lemons dropped from trees; we scooped them in our skirts.
“I saw lemons at the fruit market,” says a young man from the union hall.
“Were they as big as two fists, with dimpled skin?” I ask. “Heavy as melons and nearly as sweet? Were the skins warm from the sun and the flesh inside cool as a sea breeze?”
“No,” he admits, “nothing like that.”
It would be hot on those afternoons along the bay, but not the heavy, coal-thick heat of American cities. Summer in Naples brought a soft, wrapping warmth. Our linen shifts, thin with age and damp with sweat, pressed like veils against our bodies. Mamma was beautiful at twenty-eight, with gentle curves, creamy skin, almond eyes, and waves of tumbling glossy black hair. Young men with baskets of mussels cut from the cliffs of Posillipo rowed by our rock, calling: “Come out with us, Teresa. You can bring your sister if you want.”
She ignored them or answered back so brusquely that once I asked if it was a mussel diver who had pushed her into the seaweed when she was just fourteen and made her pregnant with me. “No, it was someone from a costume ball. The bastard wore a mask.”

Read more here.

Pages: 341

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle

I like reading about the Tudors. This book is about Henry VIII's last wife, Katherine Parr. Katherine was married very young the first time.  Her husband died. Then she was married again to John Neville, 3rd Baron Latymer.  He was an old man, got sick and died. When Henry found out that her husband passed, he decided she would be his next wife. They were married 2 months later. Kit did not want to marry the King. She was already in love with Thomas Seymour.

I enjoyed this book but I felt the story dragged sometimes. I felt bad for Kit. Women were just used to further the men's power.

From the author's site:
The court of Henry VIII is rife with intrigue, rivalries and romance – and none are better placed to understand this than the women at its heart.

Katherine Parr, Widowed for the second time aged thirty-one, is obliged to return to court, but, suspicious of the aging king and those who surround him, she does so with reluctance. Nevertheless, when she finds  herself caught up in a passionate affair with the dashing and seductive Thomas Seymour, she believes she might finally be able to marry for love. But her presence at court has attracted the attentions of another.

Captivated by her honesty and intelligence, Henry Tudor has his own plans for Katherine and no one is in the position to refuse a proposal from the king. So with her charismatic lover dispatched to the continent, Katherine must accept the hand of the ailing egotistical monarch and become Henry's sixth wife - and yet she has still not quite given up on love.

Click here to read an excerpt.

Pages: 424

Friday, September 27, 2013

Blood Memory by Margaret Coel

Another great story by Margaret Coel. Catherine McLeod is an investigative journalist.  She was given a tip on a story by an Arapaho man.  She learned and wrote about the Sand Creek massacre. One evening after work, she is out walking her dog and she realizes that someone is following her.  She acts like nothing is going on and quietly slips into her house.  She is freaked out and calls her friend/lawyer Maury and then the police.  Maury arrives and she opens the door, he is shot by an intruder.  He is about to shoot her and hears the police sirens and runs off..  Why is someone after her?  She uses her investigative skills and eventually figures the whole thing out.

Synopsis from the author's site:
Someone is trying to kill Catherine McLeod.

Catherine is an investigative reporter for a major Denver newspaper. At first she thinks someone wants her dead because of what she must have written for the paper. But soon she realizes that she has been targeted for death because of what she might write in the future. She has no idea of what that might be.

As an assassin closes in, Catherine finds herself in a race for her life to uncover the story that someone is determined to keep hidden. Soon she realizes the story revolves around a massacre of Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians in 1864—the Sand Creek Massacre—and the efforts of the tribes to build a 300 million dollar casino on the plains close to Denver. But behind the headlines, Catherine comes to understand, is the real story of what happened in the past, a story buried for one hundred and fifty years.

And behind the facts of that story is someone who wants her dead.

The race to uncover the truth takes Catherine through the streets and neighborhoods of Denver to the power centers of Washington, D.C. Desperate to stay one step ahead of the assassin stalking her, Catherine sheds her old identity and everything familiar in her life, gradually becoming someone else. Along the way, she must come to terms with her own past and the Arapaho blood that she had never acknowledged. But only by facing the past can she write a story never before told and, ultimately, save her own life.

Blood Memory is page-turning suspense, and Margaret Coel is at the top of her game.

Read an excerpt here.

Pages: 305

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wool by Hugh Howey

I enjoyed this dystopian book but I felt the story lagged severely in the middle. I found out later that this is actually a series of novellas/stories made into a book.  People are living in a silo, only they do not know it's a silo. They are segregated into classes by jobs.  If the people start questioning anything or start to come apart mentally, they are sent to "clean" outside. Cleaning equals death.  The story starts with the sheriff wanting to get outside due his grief because his wife found out some things 3 years earlier and she demanded to be let outside. She died. The mayor and the deputy sheriff need to replace the sheriff.  They pick a mechanic, Juliette, from the lowest levels.  The IT department does not agree.  A lot of things happen, you will need to read the book.

Synopsis from amazon:
In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising.

Wool is the first novel in the bestselling Silo series that also includes Shift and Dust.




The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do. While they thundered about frantically above, Holston took his time, each step methodical and ponderous, as he wound his way around and around the spiral staircase, old boots ringing out on metal treads.
The treads, like his father’s boots, showed signs of wear. Paint clung to them in feeble chips, mostly in the corners and undersides, where they were safe. Traffic elsewhere on the staircase sent dust shivering off in small clouds. Holston could feel the vibrations in the railing, which was worn down to the gleaming metal. That always amazed him: how centuries of bare palms and shuffling feet could wear down solid steel. One molecule at a time, he supposed. Each life might wear away a single layer, even as the silo wore away that life.
Each step was slightly bowed from generations of traffic, the edge rounded down like a pouting lip. In the centre, there was almost no trace of the small diamonds that once gave the treads their grip. Their absence could only be inferred from the pattern to either side, the small pyramidal bumps rising from the flat steel with their crisp edges and flecks of paint.
Holston lifted an old boot to an old step, pressed down, and did it again. He lost himself in what the untold years had done, the ablation of molecules and lives, layers and layers ground to fine dust. And he thought, not for the first time, that neither life nor staircase had been meant for such an existence. The tight confines of that long spiral, threading through the buried silo like a straw in a glass, had not been built for such abuse. Like much of their cylindrical home, it seemed to have been made for other purposes, for functions long since forgotten. What was now used as a thoroughfare for thousands of people, moving up and down in repetitious daily cycles, seemed more apt in Holston’s view to be used only in emergencies and perhaps by mere dozens.
Another floor went by – a pie-shaped division of dormitories. As Holston ascended the last few levels, this last climb he would ever take, the sounds of childlike delight rained down even louder from above. This was the laughter of youth, of souls who had not yet come to grips with where they lived, who did not yet feel the press of the earth on all sides, who in their minds were not buried at all, but alive. Alive and unworn, dripping happy sounds down the stairwell, trills that were incongruous with Holston’s actions, his decision and determination to go outside.
As he neared the upper level, one young voice rang out above the others, and Holston remembered being a child in the silo – all the schooling and the games. Back then, the stuffy concrete cylinder had felt, with its floors and floors of apartments and workshops and hydroponic gardens and purification rooms with their tangles of pipes, like a vast universe, a wide expanse one could never fully explore, a labyrinth he and his friends could get lost in for ever.
But those days were more than thirty years distant. Holston’s childhood now felt like something two or three lifetimes ago, something someone else had enjoyed. Not him. He had an entire lifetime as sheriff weighing heavy, blocking off that past. And more recently, there was this third stage of his life – a secret life beyond childhood and being sheriff. It was the last layers of himself ground to dust; three years spent silently waiting for what would never come, each day longer than any month from his happier lifetimes.

Pages: 509

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown

I thought I would try this one even though I had heard it wasn't very good.  It wasn't very good. The whole premise of this story is ridiculous. I don't know if I will ever read a book by him again. Maybe I have moved beyond Dan Brown.

Synopsis from amazon:
In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

You can download an excerpt here.

Pages: 463

Monday, September 23, 2013

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Last month I read Blake's first book - Anna Dressed in Blood.  I really liked it. It was a great horror book but I did not find much horror in this book.  Cas wants to free Anna from Hell.  Everyone is telling him not to.  His quest takes him to London to find Gideon and some cult that "created" the athame. Thomas goes with Cas and later Carmel shows up. They all end up in Scotland at the cult's home.

I wanted to like this book but it was just not as interesting as the first. I finished it only because I was hoping it got better.  Just when it started to get a little interesting, it ended.  Maybe the next one will be better.

Synopsis from the author's site:

Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas
more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

I think I killed a girl who looked like this once.
Yeah. Her name was Emily Danagger. She’d been murdered in her early teens, by a contractor working on her parents’ house. Her body was stuffed into the attic wall and plastered over.
I blink and mutter a vague answer to whatever question the girl next to me just asked. Emily’s cheekbones were higher. And the nose is different. But the shape of the face is so similar, it’s like I’m staring at the girl I tracked into the upstairs guest room. It took the better part of an hour, hacking with the athame at wall after wall as she seeped out of it, quietly trying to get behind me.
“I love monster movies,” says the girl beside me whose name I can’t remember. “Jigsaw and Jason are definitely my favorites. What about you?”
“I don’t much care for monster movies,” I reply, and don’t mention that neither Jigsaw nor Jason is technically a monster. “I like explosions, special effects.”
Cait Hecht. That’s this girl’s name. She’s another junior at Winston Churchill. She has hazel eyes, sort of too big for her face, but pretty. I don’t know what color Emily Danagger’s eyes were. By the time I met her, all the blood had leaked out of them. I remember her face, pale but not sightless, materializing through faded flower-print wallpaper. Now it seems dumb, but at the time it was the most intense game of dead-girl whack-a-mole ever. I was covered in sweat. It was a long time ago, when I was younger and more easily rattled. It would still be years before I’d go up against ghosts of any real strength—ghosts like Anna Korlov, the girl who could have torn out my spine anytime she liked, but wound up saving me instead.
I’m sitting in the corner booth of a coffee shop off Bay Street. Carmel’s across from me with two of her friends, Jo and Chad, who I think have been a couple since seventh grade. Gross. Beside me, Cait Hecht is supposed to be my date. We just saw a movie; I don’t remember what it was about but I think there were giant dogs in it. She’s talking to me with oversized gestures, cocked eyebrows, and teeth made perfect by a childhood full of retainers, trying to keep my attention. But all I can think is how much she looks like Emily Danagger, except far less interesting.
“So,” she says awkwardly, “how’s your coffee?”
“It’s good,” I reply. I try to smile. None of this is her fault. Carmel’s the one who talked me into this farce, and I’m the one who went along with it to shut her up. I feel like an ass for wasting Cait’s time. I feel like a bigger ass for secretly comparing her to a dead girl I killed four years ago.
The conversation stalls. I take a long drink of my coffee, which really is good. Full of sugar and whipped cream and hazelnut. Under the table, Carmel kicks me and I almost spill it down my chin. When I look up she’s talking to Jo and Chad, but she meant to do it. I’m not being a proper date. There’s a tic starting underneath her left eye.

Read more here.

Pages: 332

The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand

I chose this book for the Monthly Key Word Challenge. Key Word: Club

This is the story of the Nantucket Beach Club owned by Bill and Therese. 12 years ago Bill hired Mack who has been at the club every summer since then.  Mack left his farm in Iowa after his parents were killed in a car accident. This year the farm manager is retiring and the lawyer wants to know what Mack will do. Mack has some things to figure out.  Bill and Therese's daughter just graduated from high school.  they want her to take over the the club when she graduates from college. Cecily wants love.  She runs away from the club to Brazil. What do these people learn from this summer??

Synopsis from Macmillan:
Gorgeous Nantucket is an island where memories are made, friendships begun, passions ignited. Now, during one unforgettable summer, the exclusive Nantucket Beach Club and Hotel will shape the fates of the men and women who walk through its doors...

Mack Petersen escaped the past and started over in a hotel that has become his life. This summer his secrets can't stay hidden...

Love O'Donnel, a glamourous Aspen native, takes a job at the Beach Club to implement her daring find a man to make her pregnant...

Vance Robbins has his African-American pride and festering resentments. This season, a gun and a woman offer him a chance to get even with the man he hates most...

Cecily Elliot, the owner's daughter, wild and beautiful at eighteen, is about to do something to break her parents' hearts.

Lacey Gardner, the Grande Dame of the Beach Club for 45 years, knows about the desperate desire...and about the storm coming that will change everything at...The Beach Club.

Read an excerpt here

Pages: 357

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Windfallen by Jojo Moyes

This book is also called Foreign Fruit. This is the story of Lottie and Celia. They live in a small town in England.  An actress and her friends move into a beautiful house named Arcadia in Merham. Celia wants to meet these people.  The girls sneak over there.  Eventually they get caught.  Celia is sent to London to do a secretarial course.  When she comes home, she brings a fiance. Everyone's life changes.....

I really liked this story. If you like Maeve Binchy or Marian Keyes, you will love this author. I really felt so bad for Lottie.

Synopsis from Harper Collins:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You comes a breathtaking drama of two women whose lives entwine through a lovely English seaside house
For Lottie Swift, Arcadia has always been magical. The breathtaking art deco house perched above the shoreline of the well-ordered village of Merham seems to stand still throughout the years. It has never changed, not really, but Lottie's fate and fortune have been inextricably linked with those of the beautiful house, and it will forever be fixed in her mind as a symbol of adventure, youth, and loves lost and gained. Even as her life—and the house—falls into disrepair.
Years later another young woman comes to Merham. A designer hired to make over the now-empty Arcadia, Daisy Parsons seeks a new beginning, as Lottie once did. Fleeing a broken relationship and now facing being a single mother, Daisy finds refuge in the house, and something more—a love she thought she would never know again and a friendship unlike any she's experienced before.


Chapter One

Freddie had been ill again. Grass this time, apparently. It sat in a foaming, emerald pool in the corner by the tallboy, some of the blades still intact.
"How many times do I have to tell you, you dolt," shrieked Celia, who had just trodden in it while wearing her summer sandals. "You are not a horse."
"Or a cow," added Sylvia helpfully from the kitchen table, where she was sticking pictures of domestic appliances laboriously into a scrapbook.
"Or any bloody animal. You should be eating bread, not grass. Cake. Normal things." Celia picked her shoe from her foot and held it by two fingers over the kitchen sink. "Ugh. You're disgusting. Why do you keep doing this? Mummy, tell him. He should at least clean it up."
"Do wipe it up, Frederick dear." Mrs. Holden, seated in the high-backed chair by the fire, was checking the newspaper for the timing of the next broadcast of Dixon of Dock Green. It had provided one of her few compensations since the resignation of Mr. Churchill. And that latest business with her husband. Although of course she mentioned only Mr. Churchill.
Both she and Mrs. Antrobus, she told Lottie, had watched all the episodes so far, and thought the program simply marvelous. Then again, she and Mrs. Antrobus were the only people on Woodbridge Avenue with televisions, and they took some delight in telling their neighbors quite how marvelous nearly all the programs were.
"Clean it up, Freddie. Ugh. Why do I have to have a brother who eats animal food?"
Freddie sat on the floor by the unlit fire, pushing a small blue truck backward and forward along the rug, lifting the corners as he did so. "It's not animal food," he muttered contentedly. "God said to eat it."
"Mummy, now he's taking the name of the Lord in vain."
"You shouldn't say 'God,'" said Sylvia, firmly, as she stuck a food mixer onto mauve sugar paper. "He 'll strike you down."
"I'm sure God didn't actually say grass, Freddie dear," said Mrs. Holden distractedly. "Celie darling, could you pass me my glasses before you leave? I'm sure they're making the print smaller in these newspapers."
Lottie stood patiently by the door. It had been rather a wearing afternoon, and she was desperate to get out. Mrs. Holden had insisted that she and Celia help her prepare some meringues for the church sale, despite the fact that both girls loathed baking, and Celia had somehow managed to extricate herself after just ten minutes by pleading a headache. So Lottie had had to listen to Mrs. Holden's fretting about egg whites and sugar and pretend not to notice when she did that anxious fluttery thing with her hands and her eyes filled with tears, and now, finally, the horrid things were baked and safely in their tins, shrouded in greaseproof paper, and -- surprise, surprise -- Celia's headache had miraculously disappeared.
Celia placed her shoe back on her foot and motioned to Lottie that they should leave. She pulled her cardigan around her shoulders and straightened her hair briskly in the mirror.
"Now, girls, where are you going?"
"To the coffeehouse."
"To the park."
Celia and Lottie spoke at the same time and stared at each other in mute accusatory alarm.
"We're going to both," said Celia firmly. "Park first, then for a coffee."
"They're going off to kiss boys," said Sylvia, still bent over her sticking. She had pulled the end of one plait into her mouth, and the end, which emerged periodically, was silkily wet. "MMMMMMwaahhh. Mwah. Mwah. Eeyuk. Kissing."
"Well, don't drink too much of it. You know it makes you go all unnecessary. Lottie dear, make sure Celia doesn't drink too much of it. Two cups maximum. And be back by six-thirty."
"In Bible class God says the earth will provide," said Freddie, looking up.
"And look how sick you got when you ate that," said Celia. "I can't believe you're not making him clean it up, Mummy. He gets away with everything."
Mrs. Holden accepted her glasses and placed them slowly on her nose. She wore the look of someone who was just about managing to stay afloat in rough seas by insisting against all evidence that she was actually on dry land.
"Freddie, go and ask Virginia to bring a cloth, will you? There's a good boy. And Celia dear, don't be horrid. Lottie, straighten up your blouse, dear. You've gone peculiar. Now, girls, you're not going off to gawp at our new arrival, are you? We don't want her thinking the residents of Merham are some kind of peasants, standing there with their mouths hanging open."
There was a brief silence, during which Lottie saw Celia's ears flush ever so slightly pink. Her own were not even warm; she had perfected her denials over many years and against tougher interrogators.
"We'll come straight home from the coffeehouse, Mrs. Holden," said Lottie. Which could, of course, have meant anything at all.

Pages: 383

Blow Me Down by Katie MacAlister

This is a really cute piratey romance. I really liked it.  It's a bit different than the usual boy meets girl story. Amy's daughter Tara says Amy never has any fun so she convinces her to try a virtual realty game.  Tara is testing a game called Buckling Swashes.  Amy has to stay in the game until she becomes an officer on Bart's ship. Amy says she will just to prove her daughter wrong about never having fun.  She gets into the game, starts falling love and cannot get out of the game because of a real life rivalry that has invaded the game play.

Synopsis from the author's site:
In the Internet virtual reality game Buckling Swashes, Earless Erika and Black Corbin are two of the most deadly pirates to sail the online seas. And now they’ve met their matches: each other.
But fearless Earless Erika is really just Amy—a financial analyst with little time in her life for anything but work. And Corbin is none other than the man behind the game—the programmer and owner of the company. He’s intrigued by Amy, the only buccaneer to best him in this test of digital testosterone, while she just wants to take his arrogance down a peg. But soon the two find themselves comrades in arms against a merciless rival bent on Corbin’s destruction—both on the virtual high seas and in real life. Only by setting aside their differences can they locate the actual people behind the swaggering swashbucklers—and along the way find that love can tame even the most fearsome of pirates.
Shiver me timbers…

Chapter One
A pirate.
A very contemptible line of life,
with a premium at a high rate.

—Gilbert and Sullivan, Pirates of Penzance, Act I
“You know what your problem is?”
I waited for the rumble from a distant clap of thunder to fade away into nothing before answering. “Yes. We can’t get the legislature to understand why their repeal of the roadless act is going to devastate this country’s wild forests to the point where they will never recover.”
Tara sighed. “No, that’s not it.”
“Ah, then it must be the blatant disregard of the Clean Water Act by the cement industry, and the subsequent poisoning of several hundred streams and the countless generations of salmon who spawn there.”
Another sigh, drawn out and martyred as only a sixteen-year-old could make it, followed. “No, not that either.”
I frowned at the computer screen, giving Tara only part of my attention as I typed up a press release that would be sent out the following day. It sounded like a storm was coming, and I wanted to finish before I had to turn off the electronic equipment. “No? Hmm. Well, you must be talking about the fact that our state legislature took a step into the dark ages when they caved to the pesticide industry’s pressure by removing hazardous pesticides from the program to eliminate toxic chemicals from the environment.”
“No! I’m not talking about that! And you’re not even listening to me.”
Another rumble of thunder stopped conversation for the count of five. “You wouldn’t by any chance be referring to the fact that I have a daughter who doesn’t understand the concept of not disturbing her mother while she’s working?”
“N-O spells no. Besides, you’re always working.”
“Pays the bills, pays the mortagage, and pays for you to hang out at the mall rather than working at a local McDonalds. Hand me that paper, honey. No, the Indigenous Streams of the Pacific Northwest one. Are the stereo and TV off? It sounds like that storm is heading right for us.”
“Yes, and you didn’t answer my question,” the spawn of my loins answered after she passed me a bound collection of environmental position papers, hands on her hips, thick straight brown brow, so much like my own, furrowed as she glared at me.
“I did. Four times, in fact.”
“Hmm?” I double checked a couple of statistics in the fact sheet, adding them to the press release in hopes they would be quoted verbatim.
“I asked you a question.”
“And I answered it.” The silence that followed, pregnant and pointed, chafed at me enough to disrupt my train of thought. I took my hands off the keyboard and swiveled in my chair to face Tara. “All right. You have my undivided attention. For…er…” I glanced at the clock. “Forty five seconds.”
The blue flash of lightening and a subsequent loud crack of thunder were perfectly timed with Tara’s “Mom!”
I heaved a martyred sigh that rivaled hers, fighting to keep the smile from my lips at her look of righteous indignation. She might have my eyebrows, but her flair for dramatics came straight from her actor father. “Very well. I’m prepared to be generous. You have two minutes. Use them as you will.”

Read more here.

Pages: 359

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shade of the Tree by Piers Anthony

Josh and his two children are moving to Florida.  Josh's uncle has died and left him a house with some land. Josh's wife died and they need a new start. They reach the new place and find the house is not complete.  It has been built around a tree. He gets a weird vibe from the place. Josh gets the house finished.  They move in. Then weird things start to happen.  His son sees a bad man chasing a young woman.  The housekeeper sees a ghost at the sink.  She quits.  More things happen.  Then they find out just what is happening!

I liked this book.  I did not know what to expect from this author. He is a science fiction/fantasy author.  I have never read anything by him before.

Synopsis from amazon:
The estate was Joshua Pinson's inheritance from his oddball uncle Elijah: isolated in the deep Florida woods, with a half-built solar house stocked with enough supplies to weather a siege. Josh decided it was time to take his two young children away from New York and the memories of their murdered mother. Time to make a new life in sunny Florida. There was just one thing that Josh hadn't counted on.

The place was haunted.

For an excerpt, click here.
Pages: 348

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Knit Fast, Die Young by Mary Kruger

I got this book for the Monthly Key Word Challenge.  Key Word: Fast

I enjoyed this cozy mystery. This is the second A Knitting Mystery. Ari stumbles onto Felicia out in the rain at the Wool Festival. Felicia has been stabbed with a knitting needle.  Who did it?  The police suspect Ari and a few other ladies. Felicia was not a very nice person but did she deserve to die? Ari helps the police to find the killer.

Synopsis from goodreads:
She found the body. Again. Sensing a pattern?
Ariadne Evans swore her sleuthing days were over after her very own knitting shop became a crime scene a few months back. But she hadn't anticipated that the Freeport Wool and Yarn Festival would become the site of another murder -- with hers truly as a prime suspect. Since Ari was the one to find the body of Felicia Barr -- the much detested and influential owner of Knit It Up magazine -- with a knitting needle stuck in her back, the cops are needling Ari for answers. In a stitch, Ari dons her hand-knit detective cap and helps her on-and-off boyfriend, Detective Josh Pierce, untangle the day's events and solve a very woolly crime -- before the killer strikes again....
For an excerpt, click here.

Pages: 293

Monday, September 16, 2013

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina

I liked this book. I am going to read everything by this author.  If you like Tana French or Deborah Crombie, you will like this author.
Sarah is murdered.  Alex Morrow is the DCI in charge of this case.  She wants to find the murder.  Her boss is trying to point the investigation in another direction but Alex knows it is the wrong way. Through her determination the right killer is found!

Synopsis from the author's site:
Sarah Erroll has jetlag. Lying in bed in the mid afternoon, savouring a glorious sleep in her childhood nursery, she thinks she hears a noise downstairs. But it’s a big house, an old house and floor boards snap, walls creak and sag, timbers groan. She doesn’t like it. She leaves the radio on when she’s here alone to mask the sounds but the radio is off. Then she hears a woman’s voice on the stairs.
There are two of them and they come into her room, menacing, angry, clearly not here by mistake. But she’s never seen either of them before and doesn’t know why they’re so angry
Alex Morrow is called at her father’s funeral and ordered to the house but the officers below her are worried: strong men can’t look at what they did to Sarah Erroll. Scene of Crime officers can’t cope with what they did.
Meeting an old friend from her school days Morrow gets drawn into a world of obvious answers, but Sarah Erroll was not who she seemed to be and Morrow has to fight for the chance to investigate the many other lives of a woman no one seemed to have known.

The silence startled Sarah from a hundred-fathom sleep. She opened her eyes to the red blink of the digital bedside clock: 16.32.
The yips of small dogs came from one of the gardens downhill, insistent, ricocheting off the ceiling and around the curved room.
Quiet. Sarah routinely left the radio on in the kitchen when she was here, tuned to Radio 4. The conversational coo took the edge off the emptiness. Heard from another room it gave the impression that the house was full of charming, chatty people from Hampshire. Burglars might find that strange in Glasgow but it was plausible in the exclusive village of Thorntonhall. Sarah left strategic lights on too: hall, stairs, anywhere that couldn't be seen into. She had a talent for making things seem.
Quiet. This was not the burgling hour. The house was at the top of the hill, visible in day light, especially at this time when neighbors were out in their grounds, critiquing the gardeners’ work or goading fat pedigree dogs around. A thief would have to be very confident or very stupid to break in now.
Exhausted and desperate to sleep, she considered an innocent explanation: either a fuse in the kitchen had blown or the old radio had finally stopped working. Everything in the house was old and needed fixed.
So she decided that the radio had died, smiled and shut her eyes, curling up under the crisp duvet, almost glad to have woken up for the delicious tumble back to sleep.
Her mind slid softly into the dark warm.
A sudden crack of  floorboard at the bottom of the stairs. Her eyes snapped open.
She raised her head from the pillow, the better to hear.
A shoe scuffing over carpet, amplified by the stairwell and a hissed two word instruction. A high voice. A woman’s voice. “Go on.”
Sleep-befuddled, Sarah sat up, imagining her mother on her stair lift, her whirring, inexorable rise to the landing. Her mother, pinch-mouthed and imperious. Her mother wanting answers: why did they fixed on that care plan? Why was Sarah never there to bathe her? Why didn't Cardinal Geoffrey conduct her funeral service?
She threw the duvet off and swung her feet the floor, attempted to stand up but her drowsy knees failed her and she toppled back, landing awkwardly on the bed with an undignified bounce.
Exasperated with herself she realized that she was defenseless because she was at home. Sarah had been in strange places, scary places and managed to stayed alert and calm. She always mapped the fire exits on the way in, arrived in charge and stayed in charge, but here she was defenseless.
This was different than those stranger rooms because here she was a normal householder. She could call the police, ask them to come and help her.
Relieved, she flopped forwards over her knees, reached into her handbag at the side of the bed. Her nervous fingers fumbled past tissues and receipts and passport to the cold metal back of her iphone. She pressed the button as she pulled it out and was delighted to see the face light up. She had turned it on as she stood in the aisle of first class, waiting to get off at Glasgow airport. She didn't always. Sometimes she left it off for twenty four hours until she’d had a sleep. Now, using both hands to concentrate on the screen, she slid it open, selected phone, selected keyboard, jabbed 999 and pressed ‘call’ just in time to hear movement outside her bedroom door.
It was more of a sensation than a sound, air shifting on the landing. A body brushed the wall by the door, low down, as startling as cold fingers to the small of a bare back.
She shoved the iPhone into a little cave in the duvet and stood up.
The door moaned softly as it fell open.
It was not the ghost of her mother but two teenage boys, gawky, awkward. They wore baggy black jogging trousers and matching T shirts, inside out, the seams showing all the way down the legs, along the arms. They wore the same black trainers too. The strange uniform made them look like the members of a cult.
Tentative at first, shuffling, they occupied the doorway. Not desperate but confident, boys on a dare.
She almost laughed with relief, “What are you doing in here?”
One of them was tall, shaven headed. He couldn't look at her and squirmed slightly at the sound of her voice, stood sideways in the door, his shoulder out on the landing as if he’d like to leave.
“ Look,” she said, “Get out of my house. It isn't empty this house...”
The other boy had longer hair, jet black and thick, but he wasn't tentative. He was angry, standing square to the door frame, looking straight at her, taking in her face.
Sarah knew she wasn't very pretty but she made the best of herself, was slim, had a good haircut. In a kind light she could be thought attractive. This boy wasn't finding her so. He was disgusted by her.

Read more here

Pages: 390

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes

I really liked this story. Joy is unhappy with her life.  She goes to a Coronation Party for Elizabeth II.  She gets drunk by accident goes outside for some air and meets a man.  He visits her the next day.  They go riding and realize they are meant for each other.
Then the story skips to 16 year old Sabine and her mother Kate.  Kate has just broken up with her latest boyfriend.  She sends Sabine to her parents in Scotland. Kate feels Sabine should not be around while Kate and her boyfriend break up.  Sabine is very resentful and is having a hard time with her grandparents that she barely knows.  Joy is her grandmother.
The rest of the story is how the family starts to forgive each other for the slights that they feel they received from other family members.

Synopsis from Moyes' site:

On Coronation night the ex-pat community in Hong Kong gathers for a celebration party, and while they strain to listen to the wireless, twenty-one-year-old Joy falls in love at first sight. She is engaged within 24 hours, but will not see her fiance again for a year. 
In 1980, eighteen-year-old Patricia's rebellion is to run away to from County Wexford with her illegitimate child. 
Fifteen years later Sabine leaves trendy Hackney to visit the grandparents she doesn't know, and finds that time in Wexford seems to have stood still. When Sabine, her mother and grandmother are brought together, not only is a deeply buried family secret is discovered, but also some fundamental truths: about the conflict between love and duty, about women's choices, and about mothers and daughters.

For an excerpt, click here.

Pages: 358

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

I have been waiting to get this book from the library. Boy, was I disappointed. I felt no sympathy for Frannie. She seemed totally checked out of her own life. She wants to be an actress but she does not seem to know how to go about it. She stumbles around at auditions. Maybe I am too old for this book.

Synopsis from amazon:
It’s January 1995, and Franny Banks has just six months left of the three-year deadline she set for herself when she came to New York, dreaming of Broadway and doing “important” work. But all she has to show for her efforts so far is a part in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters, and a gig waiting tables at a comedy club. Her roommates―her best friend Jane, and Dan, an aspiring sci-fi writer―are supportive, yet Franny knows a two-person fan club doesn’t exactly count as success. Everyone tells her she needs a backup plan, and though she can almost picture moving back home and settling down with her perfectly nice ex-boyfriend, she’s not ready to give up on her goal of having a career like her idols Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep. Not just yet. But while she dreams of filling their shoes, in the meantime, she’d happily settle for a speaking part in almost anything—and finding a hair product combination that works.
Everything is riding on the upcoming showcase for her acting class, where she’ll finally have a chance to perform for people who could actually hire her. And she can’t let herself be distracted by James Franklin, a notorious flirt and the most successful actor in her class, even though he’s suddenly started paying attention. Meanwhile, her bank account is rapidly dwindling, her father wants her to come home, and her agent doesn’t return her calls. But for some reason, she keeps believing that she just might get what she came for.
Someday, Someday, Maybe is a story about hopes and dreams, being young in a city, and wanting something deeply, madly, desperately. It’s about finding love, finding yourself, and perhaps most difficult of all in New York City, finding an acting job.

Read an excerpt here.

This story was reported a month ago.   Lauren Graham's Book Adaptation Lands at CW With Script Commitment.....maybe it would be a better tv show than a book.

Pages: 340

Friday, September 13, 2013

Search The Dark by Charles Todd

This the third in the Inspector Rutledge series.  Once again, Rutledge is sent away from London to find two children whose mother was murdered by their father.  But Mrs. Mowbrey and her children died during the war.  Mr. Mowbrey is certain that he saw them at a train station.  He searched and searched the town and was ranting and raving about finding his family.  Then a woman is found dead.  The local police arrest him. Rutledge realizes after some investigation that the dead woman is not Mrs. Mowbray.  She is another woman.  The local police do not believe his theory.  His boss, Bowles, sides with the locals and tries to get Rutledge off the case.  But he stays and follows it through until he gets the murderer.

One thing like about these books is that I can never figure out who the killer is. It was not who I suspected!!

Synopsis from the author's site:
SEARCH THE DARK, the latest in his post- World War I series featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge, sends the war-damaged detective to a small Dorset town to locate two missing children. The body of a woman, assumed to be their mother, has been found. The local police have a suspect, a mentally unhinged veteran who believes he has glimpsed his wife and children on a railway platform there, even though he’d been told they’d died in an enemy bombing.
Face-to-face with a darkness more profound than that in his own mind, and goaded by Hamish, his jeering omnipresent demon, Rutledge goes beyond his authorized mission to find the answer to the questions that torment him. Is the poor devil in the local jail guilty of murder? If not, who is? And still gnawing at him and his superiors is the question: What has become of the children?
In his most moving and gripping work yet, Todd has created a tale so engrossing that he is sure to enthrall his devoted readers and send new ones back to the bookstore to find the first two books of the series.
For an excerpt, click here.
Pages: 279

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lady and the Vamp by Michelle Rowen

This is the third book in the Immortality Series.
We are following the story of Quinn, Barkley, Lenny and Janie from the last book.  They are in search of the Eye. Quinn wants it for himself and Janie needs it for her boss. Quinn and Janie are trying to fight their attraction for each other, unsuccessfully.

Synopsis from the author's site:
She fights.
Janie Parker’s a supernatural assassin - not by choice, but what’s a girl gonna do? The only thing standing between her and decapitation at the hands of her hellish boss is a magical artifact called The Eye. To get it, all Janie has to do is find a dark, broody vampire named Michael Quinn and take it. Easy, right? Except if Quinn keeps kissing her that way, she just might lose her head…in more ways than one.
He bites.
Former vampire hunter Michael Quinn is determined to become human again. If he grabs hold of The Eye and makes a wish – then boom, everything’s good with the world. But now Quinn has a sassy tagalong with a long, delectable neck and orders to stake him on sight. He just hopes his first bite won’t be Janie’s last moment on earth…

C h a p t e r   1
It was none of his business, but that never stopped him before.
Quinn watched from the shadows as two hunters moved stealthily through the dark parking lot of the roadside restaurant until they had their prey cornered. He wanted to ignore what he was seeing, turn away and head back to the car, but that wasn’t going to happen.
He silently approached from behind.
“Need any help?” he asked.
The two hunters spun around to face him. One was large with thick forearms and a scruff of beard that looked to be there more from laziness than fashion sense. The other was younger, thinner, with round glasses that magnified his eyes to twice their size. At first glance, a rather unlikely dynamic duo.
“Get lost,” the large one said.
Quinn shrugged. “I can take a hint. No problem.”
He turned.
Just walk away, he told himself. You’ve got more important things to deal with.
But then he glanced at the pair of vampires who’d been trapped in the Burger King parking lot near the garbage Dumpster-a male and female who could have been anywhere from 20 to 200 years old, in his opinion.  You just couldn’t tell about that sort of thing.
“Please, help us,” the female pleaded.
She was cute. Small and blonde. Looked like a college student out on a date with her dark-haired, wide-eyed boyfriend who was attempting to shield her from the hunters with his own body. Almost couldn’t see his fangs unless you were looking for them.
Quinn laughed. “Help a vampire? Why would I want to do a crazy thing like that?”
“Hey-” the younger hunter moved the wooden stake to his other hand. “I think I know you. Don’t I? You’re Roger Quinn’s kid, Michael. Yeah, we met a couple years ago. Toasted a nest of vamps up in St. Louis.”
Quinn tried to see the face behind those large glasses. He didn’t look familiar. Then again, he’d drunk a lot when he was in St. Louis. Bad month and a half. Beer had helped. “Sure. Good to see you again.”
“Yeah, you too, man.” He absently scratched at his leg with the stake. The vampires eyed the sharp weapon with fear. The hunter turned to his friend. “Quinn here’s one of the best hunters I’ve ever seen. Got a nose for vamps. Can smell them in any corner they try to hide.”
Quinn waved his hand. “Aw, you’re just saying that.”
“I’m Joe, remember? This here’s my buddy Stuart. Listen, you can totally help us out. These are our first two tonight. I figure they were lying in wait for victims coming out of the restaurant.” He poked the male vampire in the chest as his magnified eyes narrowed. “That what you’re doing? Looking for a little snack, you bloodsucking freak?”
“Go to hell.” The vampire set his jaw and tried to look brave. It wasn’t working very well.
“Well, you know vamps.” Quinn eyed the restaurant as a car exited drive-thru. “Evil to the core.”
“You live around here?”
He shook his head. “Just passing through town. Stopped for a bite.”
“Hey,” the larger hunter spoke up. He was frowning. “You’re Michael Quinn?”
“That’s right.”
Read more here.

Pages: 351

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Shades of Grace by Barbara Delinsky

This is another book for the Monthly Keyword Challenge. Key Word: Shade

Grace is The Confidante, which is a newspaper advice column. She feels herself starting to slip. After she gets into a car accident, her doctor tells her daughter that Grace has Alzheimer's.  Francine, her daughter, is devastated. Her mother is the center of her life.  Sophie, Grace's granddaughter is also stunned. this story is about the family coming to terms with Grace's situation and trying to be happy at the same time.

I enjoyed this book very much. I liked the way everyone came together. I could not put it down.  I had to force myself to close the cover and go to bed!

Synopsis from the author's site:
Widow Grace Dorian, a famous and wealthy advice columnist, is the very model of a domineering matriarch. Divorced daughter Francine has spent a lifetime in awe of her mother, but rebellious granddaughter Sophie, twenty-three and diabetic, continually fights back.
Following a car accident, Grace is forced to reveal that she has Alzheimer’s disease, but Francine refuses to accept this prognosis for her ultra-competent mother. As Grace’s condition deteriorates, Francine must find her own untapped pool of inner strength, both to deal with her defiant daughter and to take over her mother’s career. Gradually accepting the truth of Grace’s fate, Francine searches for clues into her mother’s cloudy past, leading to one climactic night, when Grace herself reveals the puzzle’s missing piece.

Read an excerpt here.

Pages: 353

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

I got this book because I really liked Graveminder by this author. This book is a paranormal type book. Aislinn has the sight.  She can see faeries.  Her Gram says don't let them know.  Then two of them start following her.  Keenan is the Summer King and he wants her.  He thinks she is the Summer Queen and can save all of Faery and the human world.  Is he correct?  What will the Winter Queen , his mother.

I liked this book enough to order the next one.....

Synopsis from the author's site:

Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.
But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faerie intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning 21st century faery tale.

Chapter One
"Four-ball, side pocket." Aislinn pushed the cue forward with a short, quick thrust; the ball dropped into the pocket with a satisfying clack.
Her playing partner, Denny, motioned toward a harder shot, a bank shot.
She rolled her eyes. "What? You in a hurry?"
He pointed with the cue.
"Right." Focus and control, that's what it's all about. She sank the two.
He nodded once, as close as he got to praise.
Aislinn circled the table, paused, and chalked the cue. Around her the cracks of balls colliding, low laughter, even the endless stream of country and blues from the jukebox kept her grounded in the real world: the human world, the safe world. It wasn't the only world, no matter how much Aislinn wanted it to be. But it hid the other world—the ugly one—for brief moments.
"Three, corner pocket." She sighted down the cue. It was a good shot.
Focus. Control.
Then she felt it: warm air on her skin. A faery, its too-hot breath on her neck, sniffed her hair. His pointed chin pressed against her skin. All the focus in the world didn't make Pointy-Face's attention tolerable.
She scratched: the only ball that dropped was the cue ball.
Denny took the ball in hand. "What was that?"
"Weak-assed?" She forced a smile, looking at Denny, at the table, anywhere but at the horde coming in the door. Even when she looked away, she heard them: laughing and squealing, gnashing teeth and beating wings, a cacophony she couldn't escape. They were out in droves now, freer somehow as evening fell, invading her space, ending any chance of the peace she'd sought.
Denny didn't stare at her, didn't ask hard questions. He just motioned for her to step away from the table and called out, "Gracie, play something for Ash."
At the jukebox Grace keyed in one of the few not-country-or-blues songs: Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff."
As the oddly comforting lyrics in that gravelly voice took off, building to the inevitable stomach-tightening rage, Aislinn smiled. If I could let go like that, let the years of aggression spill out onto the fey . . . She slid her hand over the smooth wood of the cue, watching Pointy-Face gyrate beside Grace. I'd start with him. Right here, right now. She bit her lip. Of course, everyone would think she was utterly mad if she started swinging her cue at invisible bodies, everyone but the fey.
Before the song was over, Denny had cleared the table.
"Nice." Aislinn walked over to the wall rack and slid the cue back into an empty spot. Behind her, Pointy-Face giggled—high and shrill—and tore out a couple strands of her hair.
"Rack 'em again?" But Denny's tone said what he didn't: that he knew the answer before he asked. He didn't know why, but he could read the signs.
Pointy-Face slid the strands of her hair over his face.
Aislinn cleared her throat. "Rain check?"
"Sure." Denny began disassembling his cue. The regulars never commented on her odd mood swings or unexplainable habits.
She walked away from the table, murmuring good-byes as she went, consciously not staring at the faeries. They moved balls out of line, bumped into people—anything to cause trouble—but they hadn't stepped in her path tonight, not yet. At the table nearest the door, she paused. "I'm out of here."
One of the guys straightened up from a pretty combination shot. He rubbed his goatee, stroking the gray-shot hair. "Cinderella time?"
"You know how it is—got to get home before the shoe falls off." She lifted her foot, clad in a battered tennis shoe. "No sense tempting any princes." He snorted and turned back to the table.
A doe-eyed faery eased across the room; bone-thin with too many joints, she was vulgar and gorgeous all at once. Her eyes were far too large for her face, giving her a startled look. Combined with an emaciated body, those eyes made her seem vulnerable, innocent. She wasn't.
None of them are.

Read more here.

Pages: 328