Sunday, December 31, 2017

Review: The Astonishing Thing

The Astonishing Thing The Astonishing Thing by Sandi Ward
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My goodness what a great book. I am already looking forward to the next book from this wonderful author.

I absolutely love books written from the POV of an animal and this one certainly did not disappoint. Here we have the cat named Boo who observes everything that happens in the family. As the story opens there is a husband and wife, two teenagers and a newborn baby, plus a small dog. The wife is unhappy and seemingly is falling into a very low point.

With Boo writing this book we get a different perspective on how things that we do appear to our pets. The story goes through many phases including mental illness, child abuse and single parenthood.

Trying to not put spoilers in here is a bit difficult because I really want to tell everyone about this book.

An excellent read.

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Review: Damaged

Damaged Damaged by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have just recently discovered Lisa Scottoline and have already finished two of her books. Her writing is enjoyable and intriguing.

In this episode Mary DiNunzio, a lawyer and partner in her firm, is two weeks away from her wedding to Anthony. She was widowed a few years ago and she is looking forward to settling down with her wonderful guy. But meanwhile Anthony is away on business and Mary is hired by Edward, a senior who has custody of his ten year old grandson Patrick.

There are a lot of twists and surprises in the story and enough to make you keep right on reading. A very interesting story

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Review: One Perfect Lie

One Perfect Lie One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to the audio of this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It might be more like four and half stars but lets face it, if a book can bring out emotions such as crying then it must be good.

Chris or Kurt (real name) has been hired for a teaching position and an assistant coach at a highschool. We do know right from the start that Chris is not his real name and that something untoward is going down. It isn't until the last quarter that we finally know who he is and what is happening.

Along the way he meets a lady, Heather, that he finds attractive and he wonders that with his lifestyle that he would be able to have a normal family.

A great read.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review: Big Girl Panties

Big Girl Panties Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a cute and well written story about a widow who meets a personal trainer, Logan, on a flight. He offers to help her get into shape and that is where the story starts. The characters are all quite likeable and especially Logan's friends Chase and Amanda.

A good lighter read.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Review: 15th Affair

15th Affair 15th Affair by James Patterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another JP winner. Lindsey is an operative and her husband is also special forces. When an airplane was blown up on landing they are drawn into a mystery/conspiracy.

Lindsey begins to have very strong doubts about her husband and his fidelity plus trying to keep her little family together and keep a very high profile job.

The story contains some complicated issues that Lindsey herself has some problems sorting out.

Highly recommended if you like action.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Review: The Chalk Man

The Chalk Man The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy of this book.

In 2016 Ed is still living in his childhood home and has his career as a teacher plus shares his home with a boarder. One day he receives a letter in the mail that contains a drawing of a chalk stick man. He is a bit disturbed by this letter and more so when he learns that his friends have also received one.

We are taken back to 1986 when Eddie and his friends were twelve and four of them were very close. Back then there had been a murder and there was always a mystery surrounding it, namely when body parts were discovered and with parts missing.

The story goes back and forth between 1986 and present and has a feeling of innocence and gore all at the same time.

The story held my attention right to the twisted end.

Highly recommended.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Review: The Murder House

The Murder House The Murder House by James Patterson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was quite the ride. Police and abducted children from years ago, old houses and rich people. There were chases and killers but to tell the truth I got lost in this story. It was a bit over the top and way too unbelievable.

After having said that, I did finish it and it did conclude in a satisfying way.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Review: Ford County

Ford County Ford County by John Grisham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a book of seven shorter stories revolving around the same area, Ford County. I listened to the audio of this book which was narrated by John Grisham and thoroughly enjoyed every story.

The stories are: Blood Drive, Fetching Raymond, Fish Tales, Casino, Michael’s Room, Quiet Haven, Funny Boy.

At this point in my review I wanted to talk about my favourite of the stories but that is impossible because I loved them all. In some there was a bit of humour, but in all there was also a note of sadness. from the fellows leaving their town to go to the city to give blood right down to the poor wee soul who has returned home to die.

A thoroughly enjoyable book.

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Review: The Child Finder

The Child Finder The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book by this author that I have read. The language is absolutely beautiful. She can assemble her story and make you believe it is happening before your eyes.

Naomi, the child finder was a missing child herself. She trained in every possible way, self defence and detective work, in order to become a person who can find missing children. this is the story of Madison, a young captive girl and her captor, also a captive once himself and who called himself Mr. B.

An excellent read.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review: Not My Father's Son

Not My Father's Son Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How could you not just absolutely love Alan Cumming. He is so honest and sincere. He raised himself up from a horrible childhood of abuse and pain. He bared his soul to us and we must hold his story gently and respectfully in our hearts.

As well as having a father who was apparently deranged, his mother's family had a mystery in not knowing what had happened to her father after WWII. Much of that untold story was brought to light in the celebrity genealogy show. Thankfully Alan now has put paid to the past and is happy to move on with his life

I personally first saw him on the Masterpiece theater as a presenter and I was very taken with him. My next encounter was in the series The Good Wife. I loved the role he played and he was my favourite character on the show. I am looking forward to seeing more of his work.

I listened to the audio of this book and thoroughly enjoyed his voice and especially that humanity of his story.

Highly recommended.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Review: I Let You Go

I Let You Go I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is my favourite genre so I was probably going to love it sight unseen. The story opens with a little boy dying from a hit and run. The driver is not found things go cold. On the anniversary of the accident the police decide to go over the evidence and make an appeal for witnesses again to see if something shakes loose.

The book deals with domestic abuse and a lot of people will say things like "why didn't she do this; or that". Until you have been a victim of this type of violence yourself you really have no idea of the depth of control that one person can have over another.

The writing is what I call comfortable and believable. It just feels like you are talking to someone or that you are there watching things unfold. I am excited to get my hands on more from this author.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Review: Cross Justice

Cross Justice Cross Justice by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Terrible things happened in Alex's family when he was young. He left the south and went to live with his nana mama in Washington DC where he was educated and prospered.

Now he has returned to his home after thirty five years basically to help his cousin who is a lawyer, defend another cousin who has been accused of terrible crimes.

They say that you can never go back, but in Alex's case you actually can go back. There are surprises for Alex that he never imagined.

A very enjoyable read.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Review: Mistress

Mistress Mistress by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are many reviews that are not very flattering for this book, but I listened to the audio and thought it was fantastic. Possibly listening to it like I did gives you a better interpretation of what the author was trying to impart.

Poor Ben is asked by "the love of his life" to put surveillance cameras in her condo because she said that she was worried "about something". Ben took on the responsibility without question and was probably happy to be able to do this little thing for the woman he adored.

I got the feeling that Bed has a bit of an issue such as OCD or something similar. He can relate almost everything that is happening to a movie or movie star. He also references Seinfeld episodes.

Soon, actually only minutes, after he completed the task and left her building, her body is plunged to the pavement from an apparent suicide.

This is the start of a chase of unbelievable magnitude which includes high government officials, spies from various countries and even the first lady.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Review: The Grownup

The Grownup The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A well written short story. Usually I am not a fan of the shorter story because it can leave you wanting more, and in this case, you surely do want more. You wonder if Ms. Flynn will continue this story at some point.

I won't exactly say that it was a cliff hanger, but it left you wondering which story was the right one. I won't give it away, but just to say that the two sides are completely different and yet completely believable.

And very creepy.

A good read.

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Review: Turbo Twenty-Three

Turbo Twenty-Three Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this episode we have a dead body falling out of an ice cream truck, covered in frozen ice cream and sprinkles. Stephanie is hired by Ranger to infiltrate the ice cream plant to determine if anyone is in the frame of mind to sabotage the ice cream factory and try to find a reason and suspect for the murder.

In the meantime we still have Briggs and Lula who want to break into show business. Their idea of a nude play didn't work so now they have the idea of nude bungee jumping. Well, poor little Briggs is ushered up a very high bridge, nude and blindfolded and for some reason gets his cue wrong and jumps before the cameras begin to roll. Of course Lula backed down on the bungee jumping and you have to wonder what people would think about Stephanie and Briggs (nude) going into a pub for a drink. apparently nobody actually paid a lot of attention to him.

A very funny read.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Review: Tricky Twenty-Two

Tricky Twenty-Two Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been on a roll with the Stephanie Plum books and having a good time with them. In this episode Stephanie starts off quite upset because Morelli has decided to call their relationship off. Of course we go on to another madcap adventure involving fleas and bubonic plague.

Another enjoyable and entertaining novel.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Review: Top Secret Twenty-One

Top Secret Twenty-One Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Another enjoyable mad cap adventure with Stephanie and Lula. This time we have Briggs, a little person who has been targeted and Stephanie is delegated to protect and hide. On top of that there are ten chihuahuas to be cared for.

The Plum series is lighthearted and enjoyable.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: Takedown Twenty

Takedown Twenty Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A whole lot of fun and mayhem. Little old ladies are being murdered and left in dumpsters. Meanwhile, Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter, is on the trail of Uncle Sonny. Stephanie doesn't earn money unless she produces.

Lula, also works in the office and is such a colourful character that you just have to laugh at the very thought of her. In this episode it seems that Lula is one of the few people who keeps seeing a giraffe running loose in the town and she has named him Kevin.

Stephanie is "almost" engaged to Morelli and is still very attracted to Ranger. How will it all end? Who will she marry?

A thorough enjoyable and fun light read. Everyone needs a good laugh.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Review: Invisible

Invisible Invisible by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A serial killer is on the loose but nobody seems to realize that until Emmy Dockerty, whose twin sister was a victim, starts to see a pattern. There are no weapons used except fire, and a very specific fire at that, that until Emmy makes a connection all the fire departments deem as accidental.

This was a very spooky story that kept me on the edge until the very end.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Review: L is for Lawless

L is for Lawless L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

L is for Lawless, another winner by writer Sue Grafton. I am very attached to Kinsey Millhone and always look forward to another of her madcap adventures. In this episode Kinsey has been asked by a friend to just have a little talk with a friend whose father has died. The friend wants to find his father's Army number or his social security number in order to get help with the $450 expense that the cremation incurred.

The little apartment over the garage that the dad occupied was burgled and Kinsey witnessed two people leaving with a duffel bag. She decided that she would follow them and the adventure started.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Review: We Are Water

We Are Water We Are Water by Wally Lamb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful! I listened to the audio version of this book and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Wally Lamb himself took the part of Orion and it worked so well as did all the other players in the story.

The book was written in my favourite first person version with each person giving their own accounts. In this way I find that you can get deeper into the characters and have a more personal relationship with them.

The story itself was a bit hard to read in its emotional content but it did work well. Reading what had made each person into what they are now was nothing short of genius writing. All were great but especially the backstory of Kent, the pedophile.

It opens with a family getting ready to attend the wedding of a mother and wife, Annie, to a woman, Viveca. As each member enters we go deep into their own stories, some of which are very difficult to swallow.

Wally Lamb is more than fantastic as a writer and I have loved every book of his that I have read so far.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Review: Troublemaker

Troublemaker Troublemaker by Linda Howard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This started off as a promising story. Morgan, an operative for a security operation of some kind, has been shot and they need to find out by whom and why. The head man has a sister and he sends Morgan to her to hide him and to nurse him. So far so good. Bo, the sister also has a lovely golden retriever dog named Tricks.

At this point I had started to enjoy the story and look forward to what was happening regarding who wanted to kill Morgan and etc. However, I should have remember that Linda Howard writes very descriptive sex scenes that go on and on for several pages. I had to skip over those parts and then the story became convoluted.

Not a recommendation.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Review: The Time Keeper

The Time Keeper The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Father Time has been punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift and is banished for centuries. He is forced to listen to the voices of people begging for more time.

Quote from the book:
There is a limit to why God limits our days. Why?
To make each one precious.

He is brought to the present time where time is an issue. In order to save himself for eternity, he must help two people. One is a teenaged girl who has given up on life and the other an elderly man who wants to live forever.

An interesting and thought provoking read.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: The Breakdown

The Breakdown The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book and read it in almost one sitting. I loved her first book, Behind Closed Doors and had looked forward to this, her second book.

Cass is a married school teacher who inherited quite a large sum of money from her parents. She has a best friend, Rachel, who spent a lot of time at her home when she was growing up because her mother worked long hours and she was considered a second daughter to Cass' parents.

Since Cass' mother had early onset dementia, Cass was concerned that she had inherited the gene and of course before long she is exhibiting the symptoms. Put this together with a murder of a friend very near her isolated home and you have the makings of a great psychological mystery.

An excellent read.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Review: Deep Down

Deep Down Deep Down by Lee Child
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are classified talks going on in Washington regarding plans for a new, state of the art sniper rifle. Unfortunately there are leaks to the plans of the rifle. Jack Reacher is brought in under cover to try to suss out the culprit. There are four women, any one of which could be "it".

An interesting, shorter story.

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Review: Second Honeymoon

Second Honeymoon Second Honeymoon by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are two serial killers on the loose. One is killing newlywed couples and the other is killing all men named John O'hara. John O'hara is the name of the FBI agent, a father of two young boys, who is on sick leave of sorts as he has not come back well following the death of his wife. Another John O'hara is just coincidentally the name of the brother in law of the president.

This was a fast paced, excellent read.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: 113 Minutes

113 Minutes 113 Minutes by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This shorter story involves a young boy who has died from a drug overdose. His mother and her brothers take matters into their own hands with a very ingenious plan that actually kills two birds with one stone.

An interesting read.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Chase

Chase Chase by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Michael Bennett is now a widower. He has a girlfriend but his priority is his ten children. Its not easy but he has the help of his grandfather/priest and his nanny, now his girlfriend as well.

A man is found dead and seems to have committed suicide by jumping off a building but all is not as it seems.

Chase is an interesting shorter story featuring Michael Bennett who is searching for a reason for the dead man's murder.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Review: Step on a Crack

Step on a Crack Step on a Crack by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michael Bennett has ten adopted children, its Christmas, and his wife is in the hospital with terminal cancer. To add to his problems there has been a major crisis in a cathedral in Manhattan. A hostage taking at the funeral of a former first lady.

Bennett is a negotiator with the police and FBI and must help to get this horrible thing under control, and still be with his wife in her final days and give his children a Christmas.

An enjoyable, fast paced read.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Review: The Late Show

The Late Show The Late Show by Michael Connelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Renee Ballard is a new character in a new (hopefully) series by one of my favourite authors, Michael Connelly. Ballard is a tough cop who is working on the night shift with her partner Jenkins. This is not her choice of assignments because her goal was to become a detective, but due to a sexual harassment case she is being punished.

One night Renee is called to two cases; one where a transgender person has been confined (Renee believes) and a shooting at a nightclub of a waitress. She doesn't want to hand these cases over to the crime division and so she works them during the day and keeps up with her night shift work.

Personally, we don't have a lot to go by with Renee. Her father was a surfer in Hawaii who was lost during a surfing expedition and subsequently her mother abandons her. After a year of being on her own as a young teenager, Renee's grandmother went to find her and take her back to the US. She doesn't seem to actually have a home now and I am hoping that we will learn more about her in the future.

A thoroughly satisfying read and I am looking forward to the next in the series.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Review: First Comes Love

First Comes Love First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This will be a hard book to review and to remain "civil". By that I mean that for starters there was not one single character that I liked or that I thought had any intelligence or even morals. At first I thought it was because I am an older person, but then realized that these people are not that young. They are nearing their forties and IMO should have had more sense.

Josie and Meredith are sisters who fifteen years earlier had lost their brother in an accident. This terrible accident defined their family from that day on and it seemed that family and friends never actually moved on, and I actually got the feeling that they blamed their actions and bad decisions on that terrible night.

Jodie, the eldest sister is a teacher but makes decisions rashly and Meredith is a lawyer and has always made wrong decisions.

If there was one word that I could use to describe this story I would say ENTITLEMENT. This generation has everything, nice homes, good family, good education, nice lives. Now they think they can have absolutely everything immediately whenever they want it. Like Josie wanting a baby and, on the spur of the moment, deciding to use a sperm bank. And Meredith accepting a proposal of marriage just because she thought that her dead brother would like it.

It was a mixed up story.

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Review: The Affair

The Affair The Affair by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jack Reacher, a Major in the Military Police is sent undercover to a small town that is located near an army base. There have been murders committed and the army wants to know if the crimes are civilian or army related.

Reacher breezes into town in his under cover mode but is immediately "made" by the chief of police, a woman named Elizabeth Devereau. She is former army herself and recognizes the fact that the army will be investigating the murders, therefore a stranger in town is very suspicious.

Not to give the story away, but there are some interesting scenes involving the midnight train. It reminded me of the song, Midnight Train to Georgia.

A great story and I will be looking for more Jack Reacher novels.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: Heart of the City

Heart of the City (Detective Greene, #5)Heart of the City by Robert Rotenberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Touchstone for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

This is my fifth Robert Rotenberg book and they just keep getting better all the time. Since he writes about Toronto, and I am a Torontonian, I find it comforting to read about the places where I actually "walk" and his truly "Canadian Speak" voice.

Ari Greene is back after an extended visit to England and he has brought back a surprise. He is finished with the police detective business and has a job on a construction site. But that seems about to change when he discovers the body of the project owner who has been murdered on the job site.

It looks like Ari is back on the job and I suspect that he will be partnering with Kennicott again. Now I am looking forward to the next in the series and I am still hoping that the killer of Kennicott's brother will be discovered, or at least we get some information on the killer's identity.

A great read and Mr. Rotenberg has become my favourite crime author.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Review: My Husband's Wife

My Husband's Wife My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is truly a story that peels like an onion, layer by layer. Just when you think you know what its about, they bring in another element. I wouldn't say that it was necessarily a thriller but is was a dark story of psychological intrigue.

Lily a new lawyer marries Ed, who shortly after their marriage loses his job. His passion is art and he wants to do it full time. The marriage is not a passionate one and you get the impression that Lily has just "settled" as she considers herself unlovely.

In the same building lives a single mother with a little girl name Karla. Lily and Ed do some babysitting for Karla and the story begins, bit by bit. Each character is examined carefully and we learn things about each of them that are the parts of ourselves that we don't show to others.

It was a very good story and it kept me reading. I couldn't get close to any of the characters in the book and it is rare that a story can be so full of unlikeable people.

All in all a good read.

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Review: The Silent Wife

The Silent Wife The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jodie has been Todd's common law wife for twenty years where she took excellent care of him in every way, almost to the point of a Stepford Wife. They do seem to love each other even though Todd does have the odd meaningless indiscretion.

All goes well until Todd encounters his best friend's daughter and they begin an affair.

Jodie is a therapist and really quite "different" to the point of being unlikeable. At the end of the story we get a hint of what may have been some of the cause for her strangeness.

An enjoyable read.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: Camino Island

Camino Island Camino Island by John Grisham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Back with my favourite author again and his new book. Not his usual crime/legal story, but a crime nevertheless.

A gang has broken into the Princeton Library in quite an ingenious way and made off with some of the original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts. The loot was insured for 25 million dollars, but Princeton wants the manuscripts returned and are not very concerned about the money.

Bruce Cable owns a bookstore on Camino Island and is also a dealer in rare books. I actually liked Bruce a lot and his lifestyle regarding books and his reading habits. Well, his personal life was a different story though.

The main concern is that the insurance company find the manuscripts and have them returned before the full amount is due to be paid out and they come up with some excellent ideas and schemes to locate the manuscripts.

For me this was an excellent read. It was not a loud, shoot em up or scary mystery, but a more genteel and quiet way to be immersed in the story.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Review: If The Creek Don't Rise

If The Creek Don't  Rise If The Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this wonderful book.

The story is filled with many colourful characters. Sadie Blue is a young teenager who when pregnant, marries Roy Tupkin and its only about two weeks before he starts beating her at every opportunity.

Roy and his sidekick Billie are moonshiners in quite a big way as well as very dangerous drunks and generally boys that you should steer very clear of.

Pastor Eli Perkins has managed to lure a new teacher to the area in the form of Kate Shaw who was fired from her previous position. Really Pastor doesn't worry about that because they just can't keep a teacher in Baines Creek. Pastor has his own cross to bear in the form of an ungrateful spinster sister who lives with him and doesn't seem to have an ounce of charity in her.

The story is like a snapshot into the lives of some mountain folk that is very real. I learned some very interesting facts about moonshine and its transport and manufacture.

A thoroughly enjoyable read and I would highly recommend this book.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Review: Two Nights

Two Nights Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book pre publication.

Sunday Night is a retired police officer, her early retirement due to an incident that left her with a disability involving her eyesight. She is also a decorated military soldier who served in Afghanistan. Sunny now lives a self imposed reclusive existence on a small island with very little contact. Oh, did I mention that she has a twin brother who is her constant backup.

It takes a lot to get Sunny off her island, but when she hears about a fatal bombing of a Jewish School a year earlier, and that one of the victims, a young girl, went missing, she feels compelled to do whatever she can and use the skills that she has trained for all her life.

A wonderful page turner. I put this book down long enough to sleep and that was about all. My first Kathy Reichs book and she is now on my favourite authors list.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Review: Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A lovely story. It has been ages since I have read a true love story and this was just a wonderful read. This story brought me back to my own teenage years and the first love and first kiss.

Eleanor is a product of a broken home and her mother is now married to a complete waste of space named Ritchie. She has four other siblings and they are abused and neglected.

On the first day of travel to her new school, Eleanor sits beside a boy named Park on the bus. For quite some time they ignore each other but eventually it turns into a friendship and then love.

The story follows their relationship right the way through and is an excellent read.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Review: Into the Darkest Corner: A Novel

Into the Darkest Corner: A Novel Into the Darkest Corner: A Novel by Elizabeth Haynes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just gave myself up to this book and didn't come up for air until I was finished. psychological thriller it certainly is.

Cathy Bailey is a young woman whose parents had died in a car accident and she was on her own without any other family. Most likely because of this, she was making some decisions that might not have been for the best. She was doing a lot of drinking, partying and admitted to taking drugs. She also was not adverse to one night stands and this made her even more vulnerable.

Cathy was a professional woman with a degree and is an HR executive. Basically, I guess you could say that she was looking for love and a good relationship. Until the night she met Lee Brightman, a policeman and a very handsome and seemingly wonderful catch.

The story moves back and forth between 2003 and 2007 seemlessly and in a way that allows the story to unfold brilliantly.

An excellent read.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Review: Fifteen Dogs

Fifteen Dogs Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

a moral fable, especially one with animals as characters.

I listened to this audio book that was narrated by the author. Hearing the voice of the author helps tremendously in understanding what the he wanted us to take away with us through the story. I especially loved the setting of the story as it was where I was raised and went to school in Toronto, the Beaches area. The streets named were all familiar to me and especially their mention of Prince at the end who moved in with a family on Neville Park, which was my street in my primary years.

The story itself was amazingly imaginative. The gods Hermes and Apollo make a bet regarding dogs and how they would react if they were given the intelligence of humans. They took fifteen dogs from a veterinary hospital and allotted them human abilities.

It was not actually a huge stretch for me in believing what the dogs could do because I have been the very lucky owner/companion of four dogs in my lifetime and have always been aware of how smart dogs truly are.

The book made me laugh at times and it brought me to tears more than once.

I loved this story.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: Into the Water

Into the Water Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story was a murder mystery. It started out as three suicides over a period of thirty years, but eventually the plot changed.

It was written in my favourite way in that each chapter was written first person from each character in the story. This is a great way to really know the characters and what makes them tick.

I love the setting which is in a rural area in England and you can just picture the beauty while reading the book. I didn't see any sign of the previous book by this author, The Girl on the Train.

In the early stages I felt that it was slightly scattered, but then I remembered that you should just immerse yourself in your book and trust that the story will unfold as we go.

A very good read.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Review: Bossypants

Bossypants Bossypants by Tina Fey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to the audio version of this book and I loved it and got quite a kick out of it as well as learning many different things about the television business. Tina was very open and sharing about her life. there was a nice mix of personal and professional themes and with a humorous tone.

In the seventies I watched SNL with my children but I confess that I never watched 30 Rock. But I still could understand what she was saying about it and I am thinking of looking it up on older tv channels and have a look.

We are Canadians here and she did call us a bad name, but I have a sense of humour and it was all in fun.

It was good to re listen to the episodes where Tina portrayed Sara Palen. Like I said, we are Canadians and not too involved in the politics of other countries, but we can see humour in these skits and got a great laugh from it all.

It seems to me that Tina is a woman that would make a wonderful friend. She appears to have all her priorities in line and that is the type of person that I find I admire.

All in all an excellent read/listen.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review: Home

Home Home by Harlan Coben
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Win is Back! He needs Myron's help and of course Myron is always ready to help his best friend. Win is even more than a best friend so they say. It is called a bromance.

Ten years ago there were two young boys kidnapped, one being the young cousin of Win. At the time of the kidnapping they were being cared for by an au pair who was found tied up in the basement of the home where the kidnapping took place.

After all this time, Win received an anonymous email regarding the boys whereabouts and of course Win is right on the trail.

So off we go on another trip with Win and Myron plus all the usual cast including Zorra the crossdresser, who really gives me a laugh.

A great read as always with the Harlan Coban novels.

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Review: At the Water's Edge

At the Water's Edge At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first started this book I thought, oh no, I won't like this. Mainly it was due to the spoiled, rich, entitled, Gatsbian characters, Maddie, Ellis and Hank. I thought I would just keep reading for a bit longer. Before long I was pulled into the story and what a delicious story it was.

The three, Maddie and Ellis (husband and wife) plus their friend Hank head off from the US on a search for the Lock Ness monster. What makes this extremely awkward, and there are many issues, is first of all it is during the war with bombing and fighting all across the Atlantic. Secondly, Ellis and Hank had managed to avoid war duty by means of lies and trickery to their families and their doctors.

The marriage of Maddie and Ellis is really not a normal union and it is implied, but very secretly, that possibly Hank and Ellis are more than just good friends. Maddie feels that she became married to Ellis due to a coin toss by the two men.

In Scotland they basically abandoned Maddie to search out their monster.

The Scottish backdrop and Inn are wonderful venues for our madcap story. There are some unanticipated events that were a surprise to me.

An excellent read, or should I say "listen" and it was an audiobook.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Review: The Nature of the Beast

The Nature of the Beast The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listen to this series via audio book recordings and had fallen in love with the voice of Ralph Cosham. I actually identified Inspector Gamache with that voice and always felt that I was "home" when listening to him.

It was with deep regret that I learned that Mr. Cosham had passed away. Ms. Penny needed a new and wonderful voice for these recordings. I was very happy to hear the voice of Robert Bathurst in the seat. Mr. Cosham's were big shoes to fill.

Mr. Bathurst is well knows to my husband and I as he has played in many shows and series originating from Britain. He can be funny and also very serious and even a villain. It was wonderful listening to his in this recording. On this side of the ocean you might remember him from his role in Downton Abbey where he played a suitor for Edith, an older fellow who just didn't cut it for poor Edith.

Ok, the book; it was a surprise for me, a Canadian, to learn that Gerald Bull was a real person, a Canadian scientist and an arms designer. During the mid 1990's he had designed a missile launcher and it was installed in the eastern Quebec province on the border of the US. It was named Baby Babylon. It was thought that this had been built for Saddam Hussein, however this launcher didn't work. They built an even bigger one called Big Babylon. We take it that it also didn't work.

Gerald Bull was murdered (assassinated) in Europe with five bullets to his head and it was thought that is was connected to this non working missile launcher.

Anyway, the story of The Nature of the Beast is built around the assumption of a gun in the woods near Three Pines. What a wonderful ride to listen to this story.

Excellent read.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Review: Swimming Lessons

Swimming Lessons Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I couldn't engage in this story. The characters left me flat and I had to keep turning the pages back to see if I had missed something. I may try this book again later, but for now I guess it's just not my cup of tea. I was probably the only one that found Gone Girl the same.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace Amazing Grace by Lesley Crewe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This writer impressed me. She could take a very horrible topic and bring us to the brink, but then turn it around to the point that we felt hope.

Amazing Grace has lived for fifteen years in a trailer with her friend, Fletcher. It is a platonic relationship, but she is contented.

Over the many years she has often tried to find her estranged sister and mother, having been abandoned in a commune when she was a child.

The story takes us through Grace's life and its turmoils. I love how no matter how bad things seem, Grace always can pull herself up and make the best of things.

A great read.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: Flee, Fly, Flown

Flee, Fly, Flown Flee, Fly, Flown by Janet Hepburn
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Audrey and Lillian have alzheimer disease and are living in a long term care home in Ottawa Ontario. They are fed up and decide they would like a holiday.

They have a plan to get a car and escape and have a nice holiday away from the humiliations of the nursing home.

Their plan was all but over until they met up with an unsuspecting young fellow named Rayne whom they ask to drive them. Since his father is in BC, he offers to drive them there and in so doing also has transportation to get himself home to reconcile with his family.

It was awhile before the innocent Rayne became aware of the two ladies memory issues but by that time he was under their spell and felt responsible for them and their care. The police caught up with them in Saskatchewan and this is when the ladies discovered that they were not prisoners and had not done anything wrong and didn't have to answer to anyone.

My feelings were very mixed; at times funny, if it wasn't for such a sad disease. I could put myself in the shoes of Carol, Lillian's daughter, who was out of her mind with worry for her mom.

This was an excellent debut novel. I know that some people found it humorous, and it could have been cute, except for the seriousness of the topic.

An excellent read.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Review: High Five

High Five High Five by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was quite a mad cap story. Stephanie Plum Rides Again. Stephanie's uncle Fred goes missing after he had an altercation with the garbage department.

If you have been reading the series, you would get quite a laugh out of this story. Even gramma is involved and what a funny scene when Stephanie is hired to chauffeur a sheik to the aiport.

The story involves all the usual players, Joe Morreli the undercover cop, Ranger the bounty hunter and we have the homicidal rapist Benito Ramirez. And then of course we have Lula.

An enjoyable and fast paced story.

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Review: The Other Side of the Bridge

The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson My rating: 5 of 5 stars A beautifully written novel. A book ...