Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Crossing Places

The Crossing Places

Elly Griffiths

5 out of 5

Loved this book. Hope that it is the first of many in a very intriguing series.

Finally an author brings to the reader a very down to earth "normal" lead character. A later 30'ish college professor who is more at home with her cats and radio then out in bars or quilting bees. Granted she is a little quirky in her total devotion to archaeology and living on a rather isolated salt marsh, but Ruth Galloway is a woman who thinks she knows what she wants and thinks she is leading the right life for her.

When bones are found nearby, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson calls upon Ruth to help identify if they are human and if they happen to be those of a missing child. Lucy Downey has been missing for ten years and since that time, Nelson has been receiving very strange letters involving philosophy, poetry, archaeology and generally bizarre stuff.

Unfortunately, the bones date back to the Iron Age, but that doesn't stop Ruth, especially when a second child disappears. Ruth's old friends and lovers appear on the scene and a wicked storm comes up and traps Ruth and a killer on the salt marsh.

Though a third of the way in I thought I had the killer pegged, Grifiths' does a remarkable job in leading the read down many a winding path only to have them question their own conclusions. This book makes you think, cheer on the characters, laugh at their plights and also gasp at a very intriguing conclusion that has you waiting for the next book in the series.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

No Corner for the Devil

No Corners for the Devil

Olive Etchells

4 out of 5

Sally Baxter and her family decide that owning a small round house on the peaceful Cornish coast would be a great place to open a bed and breakfast, that is until the day that their first guests are to arrive and the body of a young village girl is found washed up on their beach.

Now Sally find she is in for the fight of her life to protect one son and to defect another all the while trying to find out things about her husband and the other villagers that will leave her wondering if there really is solitude to be found.

Though this is a mystery, the who done it part is rather easy to figure out, but the interplay between the characters is what makes this a more interesting read.

First in the DCI Shannon series.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Gift of an Ordinary Day

The Gift of an Ordinary Day

Katrina Kenison

3 out of 5

What began as a book that I had looked forward to reading, quickly turned into a book that I thought would never end.

Like Kenison, I too was having a child go off to college and another starting high school, a job in transition, financial instability, the prospect of selling a home and moving into a new area. I felt that finally, a here is a woman’s book that I could relate too. But, unfortunately, this memoir has shown me that no two people live the same life. There was no learning or empathy for what she had gone through. Her bemoaning grew tiresome and quite irritating when she put more pages into a friend with shingles that needed her , which I still question, then into a friends child that was killed. The balance just wasn’t in this book.

Though memoirs can be a bit self indulgent, this one rattled on a little too long . What exactly was Kenison trying to convey to the reader. That you too, while living under someone else’s roof can send your children to private schools and build the home of your dreams. Sorry, but the oh poor me attitude was totally lost on me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reservations for Murder

Reservations for Murder

Tim Myers

3 out of 5

Unfortunately after the second book, this series has run it's course with me. No real spark or endearing characters that make you want to dive into the next one.

Alex Winston runs a bed and breakfast that has the distinction of having a replica of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and its outbuildings. What's so curious about that, well, there is no water around just a lighthouse sitting in the foothills of North Carolina.

While embroiled in the daily duties of running the inn and trying to bring the lighthouse back to its glory, Alex agrees to let Shantana run the Golden Days Fair on his property. Things seem to be going smoothly, that is until a local blacksmith is found impaled with a very unique piece of metalwork and everyone seems to be a suspect.

This story quickly bogs down and by the time the killer is revealed, it really doesn't matter because my attention is no longer on the book. My mind has wandered and I was trying to figure out what I was going to read next. Not a good sign.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Confections of a Closet Master Baker

Confections of a Closet Master Baker

Gesine Bullock-Prado

4 out of 5

To have a passion and be able to pursue it is a blessing, to be able to bring joy to others with that blessing - that is a gift. This is the life of Gesine Bullock-Prado. It doesn't matter who your famous family or friends are, what matters is the sweet luscious scent of chocolate or fresh baked bread. This is what is important in life and if you are taught by your much adored mother- well then- that's all the better.

Bullock-Prado describes her life before owning her own shop and her life after. There is no comparison, when you hate what you are doing, but make a gazillion dollars you still hate what you are doing, but when you are building a business, getting up at 4am and trudging through snow and ice to do it, well, then life is good. So, you don't have a gazillion dollars, but you do have coffee and delicious fresh pastries.

Owning your own business and meeting your new neighbors in a new town 3,000 miles away, well, you just have to see life an adventure. So the building is falling down and has to be rebuilt, the suppliers don't deliver soy on demand and the town has a few odd-balls. That's ok, there are always croissants.

This book is a delicious gastronomic pleasure. But my words of advice - get over the whole name thing. People are going to pronounce it wrong. And not everyone is going to have a subtle sigh when they say it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog

Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog: The Amazing Adventures of An Ordinary Woman

Lisa Scottoline

5 out of 5

Sometimes it just terrifies me to think what must go on in this woman's mind. But what I think is even more terrifying is that we see real estate ads in the same way. But, I have been pulled back from that precipice by knowing that I don't have to discuss shaving with my mother. Yeah, I know, but you will have to read the book to fully understand that one.

So goes this fun little book by the author of the Rosato and Associates series. Combining articles from her Philadelphia Inquirer columns, Lisa brings us into her world of fun with a sense of humor that has you laughing from beginning to end. From having a dog in your bed with restless leg syndrome to having a child grow up and discovering life on her own, to a tiny Italian mother who hasn't had to buy a razor in years because there is nothing left to shave, has the reader both fascinated in an ordinary life, I don't know who she is trying to fool with that one, and mesmerized by the fact that she is still able to get out of bed in the morning and spend a full day writing a highly admired series.

I hope Lisa continues to write this type of book, to include the rest of us in her remarkably ordinary life. To entertain us when we need a good laugh and to remind us that

Monday, November 9, 2009

Merry Merry Ghost

Merry Merry Ghost
Carolyn Hart
4 out of 5
Though all the characters do not return from the first book, enough do to give the series the kind of continuity that is appealing to series reader.

Even though Bailey Ruth has a hard time following all the rules that are set forth by the Department of Good Intentions, she is given a second chance to help out the family of a little boy who is abandoned on the doorstep of a home in Adelaide, Oklahoma.

Susan Flynn, the family matriarch, never knew that her son Keith had fathered a child before his untimely death. Now all has changed for this ailing woman and it's her desire to change her will and provide for this sweet little boy. Unfortunately, that will not settle well with the hangers on in her life and one of them decides that Susan has already lived too long and it's time to dole out the wishes of her original will and get what they rightly deserve.

With Bailey Ruth's help, the local police department is guided into realizing that Susan's death was no accident and and that there just might be an ulterior motive for all the strange goings on.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saving Ben

Saving Ben

Dan E. Burns

4 out of 5

Though small, this book packs quite a punch. Dan Burns in determined to “recover” his son from Autism. In the early years, Dan knew that Ben was different, but it wasn’t until the exact title of autism was placed on his son that Dr. Burns buckled down and with sheer determination and very little support from his family set out to find the son that he knew was lost inside the autism spectrum.

Not all stories in this field have a happy ending, but sometimes happiness comes in small step, a twinkle, a nod of understanding, sometimes you have to find your own giant leap and that is what I think Ben found. He has a father that loves him unconditionally, a mother, that in her own way, is trying and a grandmother that might not have been able to stomach what her beloved grandson had to endure, but was there for him in the best way she could.

If you are looking for a step by step plan to “cure” an autistic child, then this isn’t the right book for you, but if you are looking for a book the details one families struggle, then take a look. See how another family is battling the giant bureaucracy and see that there just might be a middle ground. A place where a family can find some peace and understanding. Where a child can grow and learn with enough love and patience.