Tuesday, June 28, 2011

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

The Quickening
Michelle Hoover

Chapter 1

My boy, you might think an old woman hasn’t much to say about the living, but your grandmother knows when a person does right by her and when they don’t. In this bed, I have little else to do but scratch my life down with this pencil. And I have little left to me but the thought of you my grandchild who I’ve known only in the warmth of your mother’s belly under my hand. Even if you never come home, you should understand the way our life once was, your grandfather, your mother, and I, and all the little things that make its loss so very terrible in my mind. The Morrow family, they were a worry to ours from day one. And once you know what they took from us, you might just understand the kind of people you come from.

Full Description:

In the upper Midwest of the early 1900s, two women struggle to make a living on neighboring farms. For one, their hardscrabble life comes easily, while the other longs for the excitement of the city. Though they depend on one another for survival and companionship, their friendship proves as rugged as the land they farm. While the Great Depression looms, the delicate balance of their relationship tips, pitting neighbor against neighbor, and exposing the dark secrets they hide.

In The Quickening, Michelle Hoover explores the polarization of the human soul in times of hardship and the instinctual drive for self-preservation by whatever needs necessary. A novel of lyrical precision and historical consequence, this debut reflects the resilience and sacrifices required even now in our modern troubled times.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Dana Haynes

I am sure that a person with a professional understand of aeronautical investigations will see this book differently than I did, but what I can tell you is that Dana Haynes has written a book that has kept me engaged from beginning to end.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is called out to investigate the crash of a Vermeer passenger jet that had gone down minutes after leaving the Portland International Airport.

Each member of the Go-Team “Crashers” has their own individual specialty all lead by Leonard Tomzak, a man who in the past failed to find a cause for a crash leaving his team and superiors wondering as to his ability to lead any further investigation.

As two storylines come together, you see the crash team struggle with the facts and each other until an undeniable truth reveals itself. Will the crashers be able to save the next flight before an unknown terrorist strikes again? What if it is a homegrown terrorist – is America read for this again?

This is a compelling read. Would not do it if I was planning any air travel in the near future, but with your feet firmly on the ground, it is a gripping narrative from beginning to end.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Main Corpse

The Main Corpse
(A Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery, #6)

Diane Mott Davidson

Now I understand that when you read this genre, you have to take a giant step away from reality, but when a caterer kidnaps a jail inmate while she is being transported to a medical facility – not all should be forgiven just because your husband is a member of the local police department.

That really was my only complaint about this book. I enjoy Goldy Schultz and the crazy antics that she gets herself into. Really, who else is called to cater a company luncheon in an old mine that four wheel drive vehicles have a hard time getting to but her old trusty catering van has no trouble with. Goldy really does have the golden touch, not just with food, but apparently with terrain also.

Goldy’s best friend Marla is now out of the hospital after suffering a heart attack and has invested in the Eurydice Gold Mine. On a deeper look, boyfriend Tony Royce and financial advisor Albert Lipscomb may have something to hide. When a fraud is discovered and the partners are missing, Goldy rushes to her friend’s aid, but this time Goldy may have gone too far and has managed to put not only herself, but her loved ones as well, in great danger.

In this book, you will say goodbye to one character and hello to another. I will miss one, who always brought a smile to my face and will I withhold judgment on the new addition. There is real potential in this young man, but we will see where Ms Davison goes with him.

Once again, I suggest that you start this series from the beginning so you can appreciate all the quirks that are Goldy. She is quite an endearing character, and one that you will enjoy coming back to time and time again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Virgin River

Virgin River

Robyn Carr

When I was reading this book, I kept getting it tangled up in my head with the Shenandoah Series by Emilie Richards. There is something about this book and that series that will forever have me thinking that they are by the same author and take place in the same community.

That is not the case. I guess I am saying that if you like one of these series, by all means, check out the other.

In response to an advertisement for a mid-wife / nurse practitioner for a very small community, Melinda Monroe leave her empty life behind and grabs at the chance to move on. Little did she know at the time, but life was going to slap her right in the face and if she was strong enough she would make it in this backwoods town - but only if she was willing to stand up to the local doctor that didn’t want her, a band of gypsies, impatient babies that want to be born and impassable muddy road.

I guess you could call this a pseudo-romance. There is of course a love interest, since that seems to be what every woman needs to get her life back on track, but it is also a community saga. There are babies galore, all sorts of people in need and a woman at the heart of it that has found an area to call home.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure
Alice Kimberly

Chapter 1

“We killed him!”

I was beside myself. In a frantic state of hand wringing and headshaking, I paced the length of the bookshop’s aisle from Christi to Grafton and back again.

“Calm down, dear,” said my aunt, her slight frame tipping the Shaker rocker back and forth with about as much anxiety as a retiree on a Palm Beach sundeck.

“How can I calm down?” I asked. “We killed a best-selling author on the first night of his book tour!”

Full Description:

Penelope Thornton-McClure manages a Rhode Island bookshop rumored to be haunted. When a bestselling author drops dead signing books, the first clue of foul play comes from the store's full-time ghost-a PI murdered on the very spot more than fifty years ago.

Is he a figment of Pen's overactive imagination? Or is the likable, fedora-wearing specter the only hope Pen has to solve the crime?

Monday, June 20, 2011

The House at Sea's End

The House at Sea's End

Elly Griffiths

To be up front about this book is to state that I did not like it as much as the previous two. Not to say that it is a bad story, but I think I had my hopes up as to what it would be and didn’t take the time to realize that Elly Griffiths would be growing her characters and therefore the plotline was not going to be the main focus of this book.

The story of six unearthed bodies due to the erosion of a cliff is what draws Dr. Ruth Galloway away from the recent birth of her daughter and once again into the demanding job of a forensic archaeologist. Not that she is truly complaining since motherhood is much more difficult then she had imagined and she is convinced that her newborn daughter does not like her very much.

Back with a team of students and professionals, Ruth with DCI Nelson, are drawn to a case where the bones that have turned up are traced back to the war years and the Broughton Sea’s End Home Guard that once patrolled the coastline of Norfolk in search of German invaders. What was Operation Lucifer and what exactly did it have to do with the bones that have been discovered.

As I said before, to me, this book was less about moving the archaeological plot forward, but in bringing more flesh to the steady cast of characters that inhabit Ms Griffiths’ books. Discovering secrets and sustaining lies is what keeps this book moving forward. Each character has a story to tell so the reader must pay attention and not discount even the minor statements or characters. This is a book about diversion. Who’s secrets will be kept and at what cost?

I do suggest that you pick up the first book in this series The Crossing Places so you can get to know Ruth, Nelson, Cathbad and the cast of characters that make this series so enjoyable from the beginning and draw your own conclusion as to the direction that this series is taking.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

The Bone House
Brian Freeman


Six Years Ago

Glory Fischer lay atop a mattress on the floor with her brown eyes wide open, smearing the mosquitoes that landed on her face and listening to the moths beat their wings madly against the screen. Her skin was filmy with sweat. Her nightgown clung to her scrawny legs in the dampness. She waited, chewing her fingernails, until the house was dead still. At one in the morning, she finally decided it was safe to sneak away, the way she had done for the past five nights.

No one would hear her leave. No one would hear her come back.

Chapter 1

The girl in the bikini pirouetted on the wet sand.

She was a hundred yards away, and all Mark Bradley could see was the sheen of her bare skin in the moonlight. She danced like a water sprite, with her head thrown back so that her hair swept behind her. She had her arms extended like wings. The dark water of the Gulf was as calm as glass, barely lapping at the beach. The girl splashed and kicked at the surf, sometimes running deeper into the warm water until it rose to her knees.

Full Description:

Hilary and Mark Bradley are caught in a web of suspicion.

A year ago, accusations of an affair with a student cost Mark his teaching job and made the couple into outcasts on their island home. Now another girl has been found dead, and Mark faces a hostile town convinced of his guilt.

Hilary Bradley is determined to protect her husband, but digging into the murdered girl's secrets proves lonely and dangerous. Her only ally is a quirky Florida detective named Cab Bolton.

Hilary and Cab are both outsiders in a place that doesn't trust strangers, and they're running out of time to find out what's buried in the ashes of the past. There are people willing to kill to keep the truth hidden - and to make sure Mark pays the ultimate price for a young girl's murder.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Girl She Used To Be

The Girl She Used To Be
David Christofano

I wish I had known what book I was reading. One placed referred to this book at a Young Adults, which if it was, the wording and dialogue style would have been wasted on a young teen, but yet, if the book was designed for the regular adult demographic – the story was too simplified and downright unbelievable. So, that leaves me unable to say exactly what it was that I read.

When Melody Grace McCartney was a young child, she with her parents, witnessed a Mafia style killing and was placed in the Witness Protection Service (WITSEC). After her parents were subsequently murdered because of a careless mistake on Melody part, she has now been bounced around with multiple names and occupations - none of which seems to suit this angry young woman.

This is where the proverbial train has left the tracks. A YA book would have you believing that the kindhearted son of the murderer has tracked down Melody and acting like her knight in shining armor, will bring her back to his family and all will be forgiven when it came Melody’s family testifying against them. However, the adult genre would have you scratching your head as to how a seemingly inept misguided young man could actually outwit the federal agents. Yes, I was scratching my head also.

As for the ending – complete hogwash. Totally unrealistic in an adult world where two people who do not really know each other act out a Romeo and Juliette-esque finale, but at the same time, offer a pseudo-happily ever after ending that young adults craves.

To be honest, I have no idea what I read. I do not suggest that you waste your time on trying to figure out this wreck, but just smile and nod and know that there are a few out there that loved it – maybe they love their mundane with a cherry on top, who’s to say.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

The Coffins of Little Hope
Timothy Schaffert

Chapter 1

I still use a manual typewriter (a 1953 Underwood portable, in a robin’s-egg blue) because the soft pip-pip-pip of the typing of keys on a computer keyboard doesn’t quite fit with my sense of what writing sounds like. I need the hard metal clack, and I need those keys to sometimes catch so I can reach in and untangle them, turning my fingers inky. Without slapping the return or turning the cylinder to release the paper with a sharp whip, without all that minor havoc, I feel I’ve paid no respect to the dead. What good is an obituary if it can be written so peaceably, so undisturbingly, in the dark of night?

Full Description:

Essie, an octogenarian obituary writer for her family's small town newspaper. When a young country girl is reported to be missing, perhaps whisked away by an itinerant aerial photographer, Essie stumbles onto the story of her life. Or, it all could be simply a hoax, or a delusion, the child and child-thief invented from the desperate imagination of a lonely, lovelorn woman. Either way, the story of the girl reaches far and wide, igniting controversy, attracting curiosity-seekers and cult worshippers from all over the country to this dying rural town. And then it is revealed that the long awaited final book of an infamous series of YA gothic novels is being secretly printed on the newspaper's presses.

Monday, June 6, 2011

One Call Away

Brenda Warner

One Call Away

When it came to writing this review, I have been procrastinating. For what this woman has been through, I do not want to be another thorn in her side, but I truly did not like the person that Brenda Warner was putting forth.

By mid-book, I was fed up with her self-involved selfishness. Me, me, me, I, I , I, me, me, me. You have to do everything her way. You had to have her faith, you had to agree with her priorities, and you had to stop everything you were doing to comfort her. Geez, she was raised a fragile princess and pretty much milked that for all it was worth. Even after her parents died, she was more concerned with who would bail her out of her next predicament then to actually pull herself up and be responsible.

If you ever wanted to jump through the pages of a book and shake someone, this is your girl.

I will admit that Brenda’s life is not easy - a single parent of a disabled son and a young daughter, an ex-husband that is more hindrance than help, parents that have been taken from her life when she was unable to cope and the biggest burden of all, apparently, was being the girlfriend and then wife to a respected NFL Quarterback.

“Until then, I had always been the spiritual teacher in our relationship. I could pick and choose the lessons I wanted him to learn, like how to love your wife and what forgiveness meant.

For a person who is constantly flinging her beliefs in your face, she sure does not seem of have much faith. She wants it her way and she wants it now. God better step-up and he better do it NOW.

With a hundred pages to go, I was really hoping that the tides would have turned and that I would begin to like and respect Brenda, but that did not seem to be the situation. That is unfortunate. She admits to pushing away family when they wanted something from her, but all those years before when she wanted something, they were there. No questions asked, this jealous insecure woman could not let go of her controlling need to just deal with it. No wonder she earned a negative reputation.

I doubt that that this book set out with the intention of turning the world off Brenda Warner, but unfortunately, for me, that is exactly what it did. She whines about others being ungrateful, about not thinking that she is pretty enough, about how others had a hard time being emotionally supportive of a multimillionaire when they themselves were having a hard time paying their bills.

“When our friends and family were still struggling to pay their bills—just as I had for so many years – they didn’t know how to be emotionally supportive of a multimillionaire. And I didn’t know how to be supportive of them.”

Brenda, you are hop-scotching on my last nerve.

This self-aggrandizing book serves no purpose other than to garner yet again more attention for an insecure little girl that refuses to grow up and take responsibility. Her repetitiveness in saying that she is confident and comfortable in who she is has turned into a running joke. Anyone with her insecurities is neither comfortable nor confident; and now Kurt’s winning has validated something inside of her? Really?

I had wished that this book was more inspirational. That Ms Warner would have used her platform to talk to other women about how to face life’s challenges. How to garner strength from those around you and how to use the gifts that we have been given to get ourselves and our loved ones through emotionally and spiritually difficult times. That is not what she did. Guess she was just too self-involved to be an inspiration.

Book Source: Advanced Reader Copy - Netgally