What a sweet story and an unexpected departure from thriller writer, David Baldacci! I want to travel cross country with these characters on their fic...moreWhat a sweet story and an unexpected departure from thriller writer, David Baldacci! I want to travel cross country with these characters on their fictional trains: The Capitol Express and the Southwest Chief.
Tom is a wanderer. He is a journalist traveling to Los Angeles from Washington, D.C. to spend Christmas with his on and off girlfriend. He plans to write a story about train travel while he's on board. He tells himself that he taking the train as he promised his father he would in honor of Samuel Clemons - a distant relative. But the truth is that he has been banned from flying, at least within the lower forty-eight. And he runs into the one that got away - the only woman he truly ever loved.
Eleanor is on the train because a well known director wants to do a film centering around a train. A wedding? A murder? A Thief? She is to write the script. The director runs into Tom and decides Eleanor needs a co-writer. A thief is also on board both trains as well as two young people who plan to marry on the Southwest Chief against the pair's parents. A winter storm is brewing, too. But it is Christmas time and magic always happens.
A fitting end to a career of writing wonderful stories about strong women and of Ireland. A Week in Winter is the story of Chickie Starr, an old spins...moreA fitting end to a career of writing wonderful stories about strong women and of Ireland. A Week in Winter is the story of Chickie Starr, an old spinster lady, and members of Chickie's family renovating an old family home to be a small hotel in western Ireland. Chickie hopes that Stone House and Stoneybridge will bring her guests some peace and quiet healing of what ails them. And most guests do experience a lifting of their spirits as well as Chickie and her family members.
Each chapter is told from a family member or guest POV. And their stories move the book along, seamlessly one vignette ends another starts as we learn of Stone House's first week in business. Maeve Bichy had a strong sense of her characters and that sense is strongly displayed here. These characters will stay with me for a while. I'm saddened that there will not be any more heartfelt and warm stories from Binchy, since she died last year. (less)
I had forgotten how well Ernest Hemingway wrote short fiction. I loved the two Big-hearted River stories. I'll have to dust off my copy of his The Nic...moreI had forgotten how well Ernest Hemingway wrote short fiction. I loved the two Big-hearted River stories. I'll have to dust off my copy of his The Nick Adams Stories. Nick Adams is always good to read. Another story that broke my heart was the one with the old jockey and his son.(less)
Dead Run really creeped me out - Key West, a missing Pastor, Keystone cop types, grisly murders, possible serial killer, Demons, hurricanes,...more3.5 Stars
Dead Run really creeped me out - Key West, a missing Pastor, Keystone cop types, grisly murders, possible serial killer, Demons, hurricanes, wild hedonistic teen cult. Maybe a little too much going on in the novel. But Erica Spindler knows how to write a page turner. Recommended.(less)
Renowned Art Restorer and sometimes Israeli Agent and Assassin is in Venice restoring a Benini Altarpiece when word comes to him that his friend and f...moreRenowned Art Restorer and sometimes Israeli Agent and Assassin is in Venice restoring a Benini Altarpiece when word comes to him that his friend and fellow Office Agent has been murdered in Munich, Germany. Beni is also the son of Gabriel Allon's boss, Ari Shamron. His mission is to sanitize Stern's apartment and find his killer. The killer is The Leopard - a man with no face, a mercenary for hire, a myth to most countries' Intelligence Services. He works for a super secret group within the Catholic Church - the Crux Vera - who is more powerful than the Pope, and their mission is to protect the universal Church from all of its enemies within and with out the Church, even the Pope himself. A few religious have already disappeared - 2 elderly priests and an elderly woman who left a cloistered Order after WWII. Something happened at that convent in Brenzone on the shores of Lake Garda, Italy that could destroy the Church. The Pope is going to Jewish Synagogue in Rome in a few days to announce that the Vatican Records of Pope Pius XII will be made open to scholars and to a Commission that will include high ranking Catholic and Jewish Prelates that will report to the world and Pope Paul VII its findings. Crux Vera can't let that happen, even if they have to sacrifice the newly elected Pope Paul VII. Allon must race all over Italy with a few side trips to France, London, and Munich to stop The Leopard and silence Crux Vera which one reporter has dubbed the KGB of the Vatican. But will he after he learns the Church's dark and shameful secret?
For decades the controversy of Pope Pius II silence on the Holocaust during WWII has raged on these 70 years. Besides the 6 Million Jews whom were killed by the Nazis, 3 Million Catholics were also executed - including both priests and nuns. Pius XII silence is quite deafening to say the least, and unfortunately there were Antisemitic Catholics living in Germany and Nazi occupied countries at that time in history. I've read books both supporting and denouncing Pope Pius XII. May be that is why he has not been Canonized and probably will never be in my life time. As both a Statesman and leader of a religion that has billions all over the in its flock, I can understand the Pontiff wanting to stay silent, but the morality of that silence is against the vary teachings of the Church. I don't know what to believe about this controversy like the historians who have researched this subject. Probably the truth died with Pius XII and only he and God know the truth. But it does make a good political conspiracy novel. Job well done Daniel Silva.(less)
I'm really surprised that Anne Rivers Siddons had such an adult content thrown upon a little girl as impressionable and lonely as her protagonist is....moreI'm really surprised that Anne Rivers Siddons had such an adult content thrown upon a little girl as impressionable and lonely as her protagonist is. Lulu is just despicable - an alcoholic and a sex addict. What was Siddons thinking? That's just too much for a a little girl to handle. Emily is totally ignored by her father and her living brothers. Her only friends are her dead older brother's ghost and the beautiful Lowcountry Boykin hunting spaniels. She is a dog whisperer. And her loneliness and interactions with her lost brother and the dogs are beautiful.
Rivers Siddons is a good author. I almost always like her stories, but this one is like Tennessee Williams on steroids. Sweetwater Creek had great potential for being a 5 Star read: lonely and sensitive girl child who is a dead ringer for her mother who abandoned the family after her oldest brother death who comes back to Emily. This could have been a wonderful coming of age story with Ghost Whisperer touches, but Rivers Siddons soiled it with Lulu's presence in Emily's life too long in my opinion. (less)
Easy narrative style that can be read in a few short hours is The Sins of the Fathers. Matthew Scudder is an ex-cop who does "favors" for people and r...moreEasy narrative style that can be read in a few short hours is The Sins of the Fathers. Matthew Scudder is an ex-cop who does "favors" for people and receives "gifts" in return. He also gives "gifts" to a few of his former NYPD brethren - the cost of a new hat or a few drinks or cab fare home. In this way when Scudder investigates something, he is free from contracts, reports, billing, and taxes as a proper licensed P.I. must do. He always tithes 10% of his gifts and makes sure the Captain "gets a new hat" for referring the favor to him.
The favor is simple. The grieving girl's father wants to know his child at the time of her death. It's obvious that his little girl was a hooker. But why was she? What happened to her? Why did her roommate kill her in such a brutal manner and run to the street covered in her blood seemingly in shock and shrieking bizarre things. Behavior very out character for the shy and sensitive minister's son. His subsequent suicide closes the case for the cops. His death is interpreted as his final act of a guilty conscience. But Scudder finds more questions than answers as he investigates the dead girl and those questions lead him to the secret sins of both Wendy and her roommate's fathers.
Matthew Scudder is a breath of fresh air as a protagonist. He is slightly lazy. He doesn't blink at graft and corruption in the 1970's NYPD. He "gifts" readily and accepts monetary gifts with a graceful ease. He polices, he tries and sentences the bad guys. I was surprised there. I don't think this is my only introduction to Lawrence Block(less)
Adam Dalgliesh, Kate Mishkin and her new partner fly in to a remote island frequented by the rich and famous to investigate a murder. A wealthy and re...moreAdam Dalgliesh, Kate Mishkin and her new partner fly in to a remote island frequented by the rich and famous to investigate a murder. A wealthy and renown author has been found hanging in the Lighthouse. There is no love loss among the island's residents and guests; the writer was a despicable man and no one but no one is mourning his loss. Dalgliesh and his team have a wealth of suspects as well as great digs. His boss wants the case contained - no press. But something else is present on this beautiful island getaway that could threaten each person, and it is deadly.
This was and still is my introduction to the novels of P.D. James. She is surprisingly easy to read and knows how to keep the reader turning the page. She is a master at building suspense and well developed characters. I thought what she used to contain the people on the island was slightly way over the top though. That said, The Lighthouse is a very good whodunnit!(less)
I didn't quite love my fourth foray into the Alexandra Cooper Series, but I did enjoy Cold Hit. This time I have to admit that a lot was going on in the novel. Open rape cases, a current case being prosecuted by Alex, and a new murder of a wealthy Gallery owner and Art collector. She has been bludgeoned to death. Her body tied to a ladder and found in the water off Manhattan. Evidence collected gets a hit - a cold hit - in the new DNA database. But the hit is of an unknown perp.
Alex, Mercer Wallace, and Mike Chapman are thrust into the Art World. And that world is not as beautiful as its paintings and sculptures. Denise's very wealthy (and connected) husband has motive to kill her, so do her two lovers, as does her ne'er do well Gallery partner. Another death is suspicious. And there is indications that the elderly renowned art restorer was murdered. Could the deaths be connected? And could they lead back to stolen Nazi Art or back to a great art theft that left those in that world gum-socked ten years ago? And some people want Alex and Mercer dead. Are the threats to them related to this new major case or to one or more of the cases The Sex Crime Division is currently working on? One thing is for sure is that one of three friends and working partners will be sitting on the sidelines for a while after this case is resolved.
Fairstein is a great story teller. Her prose is easy to read. She has a knack to build suspense one chapter after another. She still uses the final Jeopardy question as a comic relief - and I love that signature trait of her novels. And she knows how to skillfully twist the plot in directions that surprised me. Yet, as I stated earlier, Cold Hit has just a tad too much going on in it, but don't let that stop you from reading it. It is quite enjoyable from start to finish. (less)
Pat Conroy tells the story of his year as a teacher on a small island off the coast of South Carolina. The people are very hard working but yet poor....morePat Conroy tells the story of his year as a teacher on a small island off the coast of South Carolina. The people are very hard working but yet poor. They are black and are very distrustful of the new teacher "Mr. Conrack." Racial tensions burn in this memoir. And I'm glad to say that some of its brutal flames were extinguished at the book's end. This is non-fiction, but reads like a novel. Conray has a natural gift of wonderful literary prose.
Did Scott Turow REALLY write this book!?! Where is the easy storyteller that whispers in my ear when I read Turow? AND WHERE IS SANDY STERN????????
I r...moreDid Scott Turow REALLY write this book!?! Where is the easy storyteller that whispers in my ear when I read Turow? AND WHERE IS SANDY STERN????????
I really wanted to like Identical, but it was just plain awful. The book structure was really bad and I felt nothing for the characters, except for Tim and Evon. I kept reading this god awful novel just to see what happened to them.
I read an excerpt of Innocent, and immediately saw the Scott Turow I came to know and love years ago. I should have read that novel instead. Can I get my money back?
A very insightful read into how The Factor host developed into the man he is and why he holds the views he has. I was struck by some si...moreSolid 3.5 Stars
A very insightful read into how The Factor host developed into the man he is and why he holds the views he has. I was struck by some similarities to my own upbringing. I laughed quite a few times, too. (less)
I was a Senior at Spring Hill College and working for the CBS affiliate in Mobile, Alabama when this occurred. I was undergoing a transformation in my...moreI was a Senior at Spring Hill College and working for the CBS affiliate in Mobile, Alabama when this occurred. I was undergoing a transformation in my politics also at this time. Having met and listened to Ronald Reagan for over 3 hours in September of 1976, I fell in love with both the man and his ideas; I became a Reagan Democrat turned Republican, and never turned toward the left again. I voted for the former President in the 1976 Republican primary rather than Gerald Ford. I proudly cast my vote for Reagan again in 1980, mainly because of this hostage situation and the feckless handling of this situation by the Carter Administration. My schoolmates and station friends were constantly discussing the hostage situation among ourselves. Uncle Walter words were repeated ad nauseam as I recalled. I wasn't surprised than the hostages were freed as Reagan took his Presidential Oath of office. Leaders of nations understood that a new sheriff was in D.C. and were afraid as they should've been. We cheered in the studio as the News Bulletin aired.
When I first read this book a couple of years ago, I was horrified by actions of the hostage takers. It is still horrific to read, but this time I was also repulsed by their actions. I was very surprised by how ineffectual Carter was; there is never guarantees that military action will succeed or be doomed to fail. Everything must be on the table and everything must be tried to save American lives - i.e. Benghazi in 2012. Carter was more involved with the decision making than I believe he should of been, but Mark Bowden gives readers much more details of the Washington front than the network news departments did in 1979 - 1980. And I found that fascinating. Bpwden retells stories of bravery, endurance, and resistance from the survivors. There's even a traitor in their midst.
I can't believe that I haven't read The Prince of Tides before now, nor have I seen the movie. I seriously doubt that I will watch it too; it could ne...moreI can't believe that I haven't read The Prince of Tides before now, nor have I seen the movie. I seriously doubt that I will watch it too; it could never do Pat Conroy's literary masterpiece justice. Conroy paints each scene with such exquisite detail, none is too small nor too big. His character development of Lowenstein, Bernard, and the whole Wingo clan was absolutely superb. I hated Lila and Henry from the start, but Henry did redeem himself in my eyes somewhat at the very end. Savannah is a truly despicable human being - lunacy not included. I found her to be a very manipulative bitch like her mother, Lila. I absolutely loved Luke - the Prince of Tides. Grandpa Wingo was wonderful and even Tolitha had her moments. But, Tom Wingo? I can't really decide about him. He is feckless and strong at the same time, He is average with no false presumptions about himself. He both cares and feels deeply. He is an island unto himself and he is the lone survivor of the Wingo "family loyalty." Hell, just surviving the Wingos is a huge victory.
It is the Southern way to not speak of unpleasant things, unless that thing can bring down another person down a notch. The South places real value on Honor, God, family, and where one belongs in society. Conroy explores each of these in great detail. His description of issues like child abuse, rape, and mental illness is heartrendingly beautiful as it is sensitive. The reader feels like he or she is sitting on Tom's shoulder all through the novel, an invited interloper to the devastation of Colleton, S.C. and the Wingo family. But what rises from the ashes is glorious and this reader wanted to shout in pure joy with Savannah, "Do it again, Mama." (less)
I love Cedar Cove. I'd love to live there. In this installment, we follow Sheriff Troy Davis mostly. He still has yet to identify the skeletal remains...moreI love Cedar Cove. I'd love to live there. In this installment, we follow Sheriff Troy Davis mostly. He still has yet to identify the skeletal remains that were found by Shaw and Tanni Bliss in the cave. He's still pining for Faith Beckworth and is determined to get her back. But someone wants Faith to leave town, but why? Her home, garage, and car are vandalized. The mayor has a dust up with Gloria. Mack is living next door to the girls he loves with all of his heart. James Wilbur is back in town. Teri Bolcher is ready to pop. She's having triplets. And poor Rachel, her step daughter Jolene is causing some difficulties with the newlyweds.
I love Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove Series, and I wasn't sure if I'd like this new series. I did. But I miss my favorite characters from Cedar Cove. J...moreI love Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove Series, and I wasn't sure if I'd like this new series. I did. But I miss my favorite characters from Cedar Cove. Jo Marie Rose is very likable - just enough sadness to make her vulnerable and a wonderful, warm heart. Her Inn will indeed be a place of healing for all of her guests (and Rover too.) I picked up this edition because it contains the novella When First They Met to get a clear idea of who the young widow is. Jo Marie and Paul's story brought both smiles and tears to this reader, as did the novel.
After Paul Rose was killed in Afghanistan, Jo Marie quits her job at the bank and moves to the other side of Puget Sound. She has bought a locally established Bed & Breakfast and renamed it Rose Harbor Inn after her husband and the peaceful feeling that his spirit is with her. She has found a peaceful harbor. And the Inn has several surprises - one of which is the handyman she has hired to make a new sign and garden for the B & B.
Jo Marie's first guest arrives at her inn with conflicted emotions. Josh Weaver's step-father may be near death. The two have never got along, and Richard threw Josh out of their home soon after his mother's death. Weaver hasn't been to Cedar Cove since his step-brother's funeral and only wants a few things that belonged to his mother. With the help of a childhood friend, Josh discovers that it is never too late for forgiveness and love. But his step-father apparently disagrees.
Her other guest is Abby Kincaid. She left Cedar Cove 15 years ago with a hefty weight on her shoulders. She was driving the car when the accident happened. She lived, her best friend did not. While recovering from the accident, Angela's parents and others in Cedar Cove blamed her, and she has been stuck in her grief and guilt all these years. The only reason she is back here is her only brother is getting married. Can she finally leave her guilt behind her when she leaves Cedar Cove this time? And will its citizens forgive her for driving rather than Angela on that dark, icy December night?
Macomber does allow a few cameo appearance of some favorite characters like Peggy Beldon, Olivia Griffin, Brace Harding, and a few others. I wanted more old faces, but I realize this is a new series. And a wonderfully warm series it is going to be. (less)
A truly heartwarming story of a handsome horse trainer,his mini - Rosebud - and the sister who wants Rosebud for a service animal for her you...more4.5 Stars
A truly heartwarming story of a handsome horse trainer,his mini - Rosebud - and the sister who wants Rosebud for a service animal for her younger blind brother, Luke. In the Fall of 2009, the current DOJ stripped miniature horses from the list of service animals under the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Shame on them!!! What happens to those disabled individuals who are afraid of dogs. A mini horse is about the same size of a German Shepard, so why are the little horses now banned? I thought the ADA was to help those of us who are disabled, not to further isolate other disabled people. As a disabled woman, I think this is an outrage!
Luke Pajeck is a little manipulative shit when we readers first meet him, but as the storyline develops his character changes and grows. He blames his older sister, Mandy, for the accident that took his sight and punishes her by not trying to make himself more independent. Luke can do many things that he hides from his sister. Mandy Pajeck allows herself to manipulated by Luke and her past. The siblings past plays a major role in this lovely novel. Zach Harrigan is a world renowned horse trainer. He is handsome and a womanizer, but when he sees a man purposely trips a blind man in a bar, he beats up the offender and lands himself in the hoosegow. Now 2 years later, he is training Rosebud - a mini horse - to assist a blind person. He dearly loves the little horse and will only give her to the "right" person. Enter, the Pajecks. Things start badly, but Mandy Pajeck is determined to get Rosebud for her brother, Luke. Sparks fly between Harrigan and the Pajecks - some good, some bad.
This is a love story on two levels. Horses and humans as well as humans and humans. It is also a nice coming of age story. It is also a mystery of what happened to the Pajecks' mother. It is a tear-jerker (I'm glad I had a box of Kleenex by my side.) It is a story that will warm hearts. Christian Fiction is not a genre I normally read, but don't let fears of the genre keep you from reading this lovely story. Its message is universal to any faith or belief system. (less)
A sweet novel, but a little too long. Ms. Whalen takes her sweet time to get to the heart of the story. And the storyline flows well when Macy, Max, E...moreA sweet novel, but a little too long. Ms. Whalen takes her sweet time to get to the heart of the story. And the storyline flows well when Macy, Max, Emma, and Macy's mother get there. I loved figuring out who was the mystery artist that Macy had been communicating with. A deep bond formed between the two, and I was wrong in whom I thought was her artist, but I really liked who it turned out to be. (less)
I know, I know...a bad rating. But I I never liked Alice when I was young and now as an adult, I like less than I ever did. I would rather watch paint...moreI know, I know...a bad rating. But I I never liked Alice when I was young and now as an adult, I like less than I ever did. I would rather watch paint dry than to re-visit Alice's exploits ever again. It is not my kind of book - I prefer C.S. Lewis's Narnia and L. Frank Baum 's Oz tales. (less)
I love Kinsey Millhone and have read all of Sue Grafton's books, but this was my least favorite novel in her alphabet series. Something was j...more2.5 Stars
I love Kinsey Millhone and have read all of Sue Grafton's books, but this was my least favorite novel in her alphabet series. Something was just off and I can't quite figure out just what the "it" was that threw me off. Like U is for Undertow, V is for Vengeance is told from multiple POVs. That did not bother me, though changing to Kinsey's 1st person voice seemed jarring at times - not as seamless as is usual from Grafton. I kept on reading only because I wanted to find out what happened to Millhone's poor battered face.
Grafton introduces quite a few mini-stories that eventually all tie together, but it is not until about a 1/3 way into the novel that we readers see the possible connections. And maybe, that is my problem with not quite liking V is for Vengeance.
In the opening scene, a young man with a gambling problem borrows money from a loan shark, loses said money, and for his sin of nonpayment, the kid is thrown off the roof of a Las Vegas parking garage. Now we jump to 2 years later on Millhone's 38th birthday. Her face is swollen and battered, her nose has been reconstructed. She tells us that we need the back story and tells us that it is long and complicated. Boy, was she right! It starts when Kinsey spots a couple of shoplifters in Nordstroms. She helps catch one while the other woman evades capture. Kinsey follows the younger woman to the parking lot and is almost runned down by the thief. Odd that the fleeing Mercedes has no plates. She'll let the police handle the incident, though she believes she has stumbled upon an organized theft ring.
She leaves the case alone until she sees in the newspaper that the older woman, Audrey Vance, is dead. The 63 year old had jumped from a bridge and her fiance is not buying that version and hires Millhone to find out the truth. Loan sharks, theft rings, Pinky, and a possible dirty cop stand in the way of our beloved PI - not to mention Diana Alverez is printing some nasty things about Kinsey. We know Kinsey survives, but will she get the bad guys? Or is her battered and bruised face the result of her failure to get them? (less)
A beautifully written story about a brother and sister revisiting their childhood summer place, searching for memories of their mother and tr...more3.5 Stars
A beautifully written story about a brother and sister revisiting their childhood summer place, searching for memories of their mother and trying to discover who she was. But since her death, all reminders of Clarisse have been erased. There is a secret in the family. And while driving back to Paris, Melanie has a haunting memory of her. But before she can tell her brother, Antoine, what is it - the car veers off the road severely injuring Melanie.
Antoine is consumed both with guilt and curiosity of what Melanie remembered about their mother. He is very unsure of himself. He has just gone through a divorce, his children barely speak to him, his father is still unapproachable, and he is very lonely, until he meets a lovely mortician. With her help, Antoine begins to live life again and finds the strength to find out his mother's secret and perhaps to learn more about the mother who died young when then the two siblings needed her the most.
I took a half star off because I didn't like Antoine Rey until the end of the novel. I found him to be weak and whiny - traits in a man I truly detest. The story of Clarisse is really hauntingly beautiful and I loved her and her secret. (less)