Sunday, June 29, 2014
In this latest book of the William Monk series, Anne Perry takes up the question of how we respond to the impartiality of the law. Oliver Rathbone is now a judge. He's been assigned to preside over the case of a popular preacher accused of misappropriating funds. The prosecuting attorney is losing the case, thanks to the damning testimony of a defense witness. Rathbone has photographic evidence that the defense witness is not reliable. Should he break the law and leak the photograph to the prosecuting attorney so that justice is served? Or should he obey the law and see a guilty man go free? 362 pages.
Specter of the Past is the first book of the two book series, The Hand of Thrawn. It's been a few years since the Rebel forces destroyed the Death Star. Now former allies are starting to compete for power and to seek punishment for those who collaborated with the Empire. Sound familiar? (Post WWII anyone?) Luke Skywalker has begun to realize that he doesn't know enough about using the force to help keep the Alliance together. Han and Leia Solo are trying to balance their official responsibilities with their private family life. Will they manage to keep the Alliance together? 400 pages.
I picked this book to read because of its title. I would love a ten year nap! But in this case the nap refers to the time spent as a stay at home parent. The book follows four New York friends who have chosen to stay at home with their children and who are now contemplating a return to paid employment. Understandably, they have mixed feelings about going back to work. Have they fallen too far behind? What if they don't want to go back? Just to make it interesting, Wolitzer interleaves each friend's story with her mother's during the Women's Liberation movement and lets the husbands tell their stories too. 383 pages. 13 hours 39 minutes.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
You probably heard the story about a teenage Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls. This is her story co-authored with Christina Lamb, a British author. Malala's father owned and ran the school she attended, and is also a promoter of education for all and fair and free government. This is a convincing and heartfelt story of a young girl's growth as she comes into maturity in a turbulent time. She gives first hand accounts of the terror wreaked by the Taliban as they took over her part of Pakistan, and the ineffectual response of the government. This inside view is very compelling. Malala comes across as a normal girl, interested in Western TV and music - she loved the Ugly Betty series - who was also acutely aware of the need to bring attention to girls' education. For this, the Taliban targeted her, and she was shot in her school bus on the way home from school. Due to some miraculous surgeries and some good luck, she has survived and is recovering in London, where the family still lives, as they are afraid to return to Pakistan. 352 pages.
I confess to having read this several years back. On second read it was easier to follow the very involved plots that follow several characters from different angles. The 'Dragon Tattoo' series started the craze for Nordic mysteries written in a rather dark style. Larsson has created a very unusual heroin in Salander, a tough chic, regarded as somewhat slow because of her extreme introversion, who is an expert computer hacker. She is just 5 foot tall, tends to dress in Goth style, and quite able to fend for herself. She makes a living as a contract investigator for a security firm. The story involves solving two sets of mysteries at once - the first, the disappearance and possible murder of an heiress to an industrial empire who disappeared forty years ago. The second is a more mundane uncovering of crime and misdeeds by a respected financier. Both stories revolve around Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist and founding co-editor of a leading financial journal, who has been convicted of libel related to the second mystery. Salander is called on to assist Blomkvist with the investigation of the disappearance, and is integral to uncovering key facts about the long-dead case. She then also puts her skills as a hacker to work on the investigation of the financier. A fare share of violence and sexual abuse; definitely NOT a cozy mystery. Well-written, if a bit slow paced at times. 644 pages, paperback.
Friday, June 20, 2014
When Cleo's mother becomes the prime suspect in the murder of her church-lady rival, Cleo seeks to prove her innocence. Likeable characters and a fast-moving plot puts this series into the recommend for light summer reading category for me. 347 pages.
This is the first book in the Dekker Cozy Mystery series. I mainly chose it because I have read books 2 and 3 and wanted to see how the series started. The summary reads: "An elderly woman is found poisoned in the upstairs bedroom of her home whose from door stands 52 steps above the street in an old-fashioned whodunit that blends clues, red herrings, suspects, and humor." The mystery is pretty good, but I quickly got tired of the mean-spirited humor and of the main character as well as the all-to-frequent references to food. 221 pages.
Sabre Orin Brown is a child advocate who takes her job to heart. When several of the children on her caseload disappear, Sabre rallies the troops to figure out what is going on. The story focuses more on Sabre and the children and less on the supporting cast in this third book in the series, so I didn't find it quite as enjoyable as the first two. Still, it was a fine summer read. 342 pages.
I picked up this book because it was free and sounded like fun. In Foreclosed, we are introduced to Mitzy Neuhaus, a real estate agent who tries to stay upbeat despite a flagging economy. She is at loggerheads with real estate rival Alonzo Miramontes as they both decide to pursue the purchase of a recently foreclosed, Victorian home. Turns out inside the home there may be a hidden treasure of jewels! I really, really wanted to like this book for its perky cover alone. But the old adage holds true: you can't judge a book by its cover. The plot and dialogue were okay. The characters were flat. An editor might help. 244 pages.
Hannah Matthews is a single mom, a public relations whiz, and a cancer survivor on a brief hiatus when she returns to her sleepy hometown of Seaview Key to try to talk her grandmother into moving into a retirement home. Luke Stevens, a friend from high school, returns to Seaview Key to recuperate from an injury he sustained in Iraq as well as cope with an unexpected divorce. Friendship turns to love in this gentle, contemporary romance. A pleasant, non-taxing read for a summer day. 394 pages.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
(Posted for Paul Mathews)
West coast jewel robbery of the mob is fenced on the east coast and that place is robbed. This means the robbers are now being hunted by the mob, the FBI and local police. The action never stops.
Audio: 11 hrs. 26 min.
Print: 368 pages
Friday, June 6, 2014
(Posted for Paul Mathews)
A wagon train leaves Kansas City late in the year with a load of pioneers going to Montana. The great challenge of outlaws, Indians, prairie fires, winter weather are some of their challenges.
Audio: 9 hrs. 58 min.
Print: 416 pages
Thursday, June 5, 2014
She was a sniper in World War 2 on the side of the Russians. She raised the fury of the two powerful leaders. Half the book tells her story and half tells about Bob Lee Swagger who seventy years later is hired to find out how and why she just disappeared. At the end he found out she escaped to a country down under and lived out her life in peace. 414 pages.
(Posted for Paul Mathews)
A listener at Neetsa Pizza has been chosen to save the world. He meets a woman he loves in this mystical world of ideas. She is to be a leader of her people; Barba cuties, flame throwers, Dotta Diner hash-slingers, Ludite bakers, fryers, optic researchers, librarians and policemen.
Audio: 6 hrs. 56 min.
Print: 256 pages