Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

It took me two weeks to finish this book - pathetic! It just didn't grab me at first, perhaps because the setting of Kansas is not all that thrilling to me. However, the writing and character development are superb, so I can see why Pickard has such a large following.

In The Scent of Rain and Lightning, Jody Linder has just been informed by her three protective uncles that the murderer of her father and possibly her mother, whose body was never recovered, has just been released from prison and is coming back to his home in Rose, Kansas.

As a young man, Billy Crosby was a hired hand on Hugh and Annabelle Linder's ranch, as Hugh senior has a habit of employing young boys with troubled pasts in hopes of straightening them out and worked along side the Linder's three sons, Chase, Bobby, and Hugh-Jay. However, when Hugh senior catches Billy abusing his cattle, High resolves to fire the often inebriated and irresponsible Billy. Little did he know the retaliation that would follow. The following day Annabelle discovers a cow slaughtered and the fence cut down.

Not too long after the cattle fiasco and on a night of a damaging storm, Hugh sends Hugh-Jay to their Colorado ranch to investigate some questionable bookkeeping. Meanwhile the boys, Chase, Bobby, and Meryl, who is daughter Belle Linder's boyfriend, as well as Belle and Laurie, Hugh-Jay's wife, are at Bailey's for a drink and are forced to stay overnight in town due to the storm. The next morning, Annabelle drives into town to collect her family for breakfast when she discovers Hugh-Jay shot to death at the house, and Laurie is now where to be found.

Everyone suspects Billy Crosby, the only one in town with a grudge towards the Linder's, and Jody spends her life despising the man who killed her family. However, sending the wrong man to prison can have serious repercussions twenty three years later.

I have to give Pickard credit, as I totally guessed wrong on the killer's identity. So, readers looking for a mystery with unsuspecting plot turns will find The Scent of Rain and Lightning to be a real treat.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts

Laurel McBane loves baking. Cakes are her specialty. At Vows, the wedding business she runs with her three best friends-Parker, Mac, and Emma, Laurel's creations come to life. And then there is her other love, Delaney Brown. He is Parker's brother and he has no clue that Laurel has been in love with him forever. He has also looked at Laurel like a sister. Well maybe not always. He has noticed that she grew up nice. It definitely all changes when Laurel loses her temper and kisses him.

Now Laurel and Del decides to give dating a chance. Laurel falls more in love and Del starts to fall. But Laurel has to get over her issues. The big one is money and power. Del grew up wealthy and his family his very well known, Laurel's childhood was scandal ridden because of her parents. She has to realize she is good enough for Delaney and he will do everything to show her.

Savor the Moment is the third book in Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet. Another great one. The last book Happy Ever After comes out in November.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 5/25/2010

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Anthropology of an American Girl
by Hilary Thayer Hamann
Bodily Harm by Robert Dugoni
Blockade Billy by Stephen King
City of Fear by David Hewson
The Confessions of Catherine De Medici by C.W. Gortner
Cross Roads by Fern Michaels
Dangerous by Diana Palmer
Fade to Midnight by Shannon McKenna
Fate of the Jedi by Christie Golden
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
God Ain't Through Yet by Mary Monroe
Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger
Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness by Tilly Bagshawe
The Silent Places by James Patrick Hunt
The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Feed by Mira Grant

Finally! Some new zombie fiction for those hungering for the real thing!

Feed take us into the post "Uprising" world of 2039, and follows 2 journalists, brother and sister Georgette and Shaun, as they join Presidential hopeful Peter Ryman on the campaign trail.

When a campaign event is attacked by zombies, the bloggers fall into a conspiracy that will have them going up against the CDC, a vice presidential candidate, and others who stand to lose big if Ryman wins.

This compelling and suspenseful story gives an interesting and intriguing look at our world after the zombie takeover, and even gives a reasonable explanation for the virus spreading. The book isn't super gory, and the story line is great, so even if you're not a super zombie freak like me, I think you'll enjoy the book as much as I did.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 5/18/2010

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

61 Hours by Lee Child
Amandine by Marlena De Blasi
Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth
Risk No Secrets by Cindy Gerard
A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh
Storm Prey by John Sandford
Supreme Justice by Phillip Margolin
The Whole Wide Beauty by Emily Woof

Monday, May 17, 2010

Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay

Linwood Barclay is my new favorite thriller author! I was hooked from the very first page of Never Look Away when someone's had gets cut off to detach it from a briefcase, and it only gets better from there.

David Harwood, wife Jan, and four-year-old son Ethan spend a Saturday at Promise Falls's new amusement park. Jan sends David and Ethan into the park while she goes back to the car to get the backpack she forgot. After meeting up with her family, when David goes to get an ice cream and Jan turns away briefly, Ethan has suddenly disappeared. Frantic, the two split up in search of their son. David eventually locates the stroller and upon his approach, sees a bearded man take off. Relieved that Ethan is safe, David calls Jan to tell her everything is okay, but he cannot contact her.

In fact, Jan isn't with the park security or at their meeting place. With the police involved, they review the security cameras and there is no evidence of Jan even entering the park at all. Taking the police's advice, David returns home but doesn't feel he can stay idle while is wife is missing. He remembers a birth certificate he found behind the baseboard in their linen closet who listed who Jan's parents are, who Jan has been estranged from before they even met. Wondering if Jan somehow contacted her parents, David goes to Rochester to meet them and discovers that their daughter, Jan Richler, died in an accident when she was a child. Then who is his wife?

Meanwhile, David, a reporter for the local paper the Standard Times, is being harassed by the owner of a private prison who is trying to build a new location in Promise Falls. David has a lead regarding the owner paying off councilmen to get the prison approved. Could they somehow be involved in Jan's disappearance?

I stayed up until 12:30 am last night to finish this book because I couldn't put it down. Can't wait for your next book Mr. Barclay!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Perfect Poison by Amanda Quick

The Perfect Poison by Amanda Quick is the sixth book in the Arcane Society series, and takes place in late Victorian London. This is also my favorite book in the series that takes place during this era.

Lucinda Bromley has an unusual psychic talent that allows her to detect poison, even in trace quantities. Her advice is sought after by a London detective, but she is also suspected of having poisoned and murdered her fiance after her father committed suicide. This make her ostracized by most of polite London. When Lucinda discovers that a lord has been poisoned using a plant that was stolen from her, she hires Caleb Jones to investigate the theft and prove her innocence.

Caleb Jones has the rare psychic ability to piece together puzzles and solve mysteries and conspiracies. He has founded a psychical investigation society which is primarily concerned with unearthing and destroying a cabal bent on acquiring psychic power. When Lucinda hires him, he begins to realize that there is a connection between the cabal and the theft of her plant. He is also attracted to her, and comfortable with her in a way that he rarely is with people. Slowly they begin to piece together the links between the theft and the cabal, and discover that they make excellent partners in more ways than one.

Lucinda and Caleb are unique individuals that struggle to fit into society. Both powerful psychics and passionate about their vocations, they immerse themselves in their work until they meet one another. Once this happens, they have to reconcile their careers and tendency to go it alone with their new romance. Their relationship and partnership is witty, engaging, and fun to read.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard

Mitch Newquist is about to get lucky. One problem no protection. So the 18 year old sneaks downstairs to his girlfriend, Abby Reynolds, doctor dad's office to get a condom. Just as he thought the coast was clear, Abby's dad shows up. Mitch hides just in time. But what happens next he will never forget. The sheriff appears with a dead girl. The doctor proceeds to smash the girl's face in so no one will recognize her. But Mitch already has and now he has to disappear.

Eighteen years later, Abby Reynolds still thinks her boyfriend Mitch left town because of her. And to this day no one knows who is buried in the cemetery. She is just know as the Virgin of Small Plains and can grant miracles. But know Mitch is back and ready to tell the the truth. But before he can he has to come to terms with his own angry and regret. And before all is said and done, there will be more death and a murderer revealed.

I really enjoyed The Virgin of Small Plains. It kept me guessing until the end. Nancy Pickard's next suspense novel, that has just be released, is The Scent of Rain and Lightning.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 5/11/2010

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

The Ark by Boyd Morrison
Arm Candy by Jill Kargman
The Big Bang by Mickey Spillane
Climate of Change by Piers Anthony
A Curtain Falls by Stefanie Pintoff
Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb
Executive Intent by Dale Brown
Falcon Seven by James Huston
Fever Dream by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
The Good Son by Michael Gruber
The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
House of Secrets by Richard Hawke
Intercept by Patrick Robinson
The Legions of Fire by David Drake
The Marrowbone Marble Company by M. Glenn Taylor
Much Fall of Blood by Mercedes Lackey
My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer
The Other Side of the Door by Nicci French
The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron
The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis
The Seven Year Bitch by Jennifer Belle
Strip by Thomas Perry
Through the Cracks by Barbara Fister

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler

Comedian Chelsea Handler delivers another laugh-out-loud and lewd series of personal stories in this third book. I find people who can share stories about things most individuals are too embarrassed to talk about refreshing, and Handler does just that.

Like Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea? Handler leaves nothing to the imagination as she talks about, in graphic detail, some of her wild and outrageous antics. Many of the stories center around her live-in boyfriend and CEO of the E! channel, Ted, who Chelsea likes to prank on a regular basis. In one example, she convinces Ted that she committed canine homicide by feeding a friend's dog shellfish at a dinner party. She even goes as far as suggesting that the autopsy reveals that the dog did not die of natural causes, that Chelsea is the main suspect, and forces Ted to attend the funeral.

In another series of stories, Chelsea talks about her insane Jewish father and his propensity to rent out their uninhabitable beach home to unsuspecting families for an exorbitant amount of rent. He sees nothing wrong with advertising their cellar as a bungalow and leaves squid in the fridge for the next tenant, who thought it was fish bait and not calamari!

In addition, what Chelsea Handler book would be complete without stories of masturbation and farting? This quick and fun book is recommended for readers looking for good chuckle who aren't offended by vulgarity. I hope she keeps writing because I can hardly wait for her next book!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Third Circle by Amanda Quick

The Third Circle is the fourth book in the Arcane Society series. As evidenced by the Amanda Quick pen name, this one is not set in modern times. Instead, it takes place in London during the late Victorian era.

Leona Hewitt meets Thaddeus Ware when they both try to steal the same psychic crystal from a London mansion. After obtaining the crystal, they escape, but not before Thaddeus is poisoned. Leona saves Thaddeus from insanity and death, and then leaves him at an inn to recover. Once he is well, however, Thaddeus will stop at nothing to find Leona and protect her from the danger she is in. He knows that the crystal is being sought by a cabal determined to gain power with the Arcane Society and he knows that Leona will be their next target.

Leona and Thaddeus are strong willed and powerful psychics who have struggled to be accepted all their lives. They acknowledge the strong attraction they have for each other, but both individuals are so used to being rejected or underestimated, that it takes awhile for them to realize that this case is different. The story of how they resolve the issue of the crystal and its true owner, as well as their developing relationship is fast paced, witty, and enjoyable.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 5/4/2010

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Ark by Stephen Baxter
Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
Deceiver by C.J. Cherryh
Half Price-Homicide by Elaine Viets
Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart
Innocent by Scott Turow
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
The Map of True Places Brunonia Barry
Private Life by Jane Smiley
Red Hats by Damon Wayans
The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
State Fair by Earlene Fowler
Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark

I have to confess that I was a bit disappointed in MHC's latest, The Shadow of Your Smile. I usually don't stress out about keeping track of all the excessive amount of characters and subplots because I know it will all come together in the end. However, in this one I found myself rereading chapters so that I could keep up with it all. I will do my best to explain the plot here, which will demonstrate what I mean.

Octogenarian Olivia Marrow has been given only a few weeks to live by her physician, who also happens to be a long time family friend, Clay Hadley. Olivia is content with her death sentence but is concerned about a secret she has kept regarding her cousin Catherine, a nun who is being considered for beautification by the Catholic Church. The secret involves an illegitimate child Catherine conceived and consequently gave up for adoption.

Pediatric doctor Monica Farrell knows nothing of her father's history, as he was adopted, even though Edward Farrell spent his whole live trying to trace his birth parents. Out of the blue, she receives a phone call from Olivia Marrow saying to meet with her because she has some important information to share about her family.

Unfortunately, Monica arrives too late. Olivia has passed only moments before she arrived and Dr. Hadley may have contributed to her death. Dr. Hadley is a board member of the Gannon foundation, a philanthropic organization that has recently been involved in insider trading and could declare bankruptcy if something isn't done soon.

There is an additional subplot involving the neglectful parent of one of Monica's patients. Monica is also connected to Catherine's beautification in the Catholic Church, as she is asked to testify about a patient who Monica treated who should have been terminal, but survived because of the mother's prayers to Catherine.

No disrespect to Mary Higgins Clark, a seasoned suspense writer who has entertained readers for decades. This just wasn't one of my favorites, but I certainly will read her again!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

Harrison Shepherd is a man caught between two worlds. He was born in Washington DC to an American father and a Mexican mother in 1910. When his mother runs away to Mexico with another man, she takes Harrison with her.

As he matures, he spends time in both Mexico and America, but never feels quite at home in either. As a youngster, he finds work as a plasterer for painter Diego Rivera, and later becomes part of the household as a cook. There, he also befriends Frida, Diego's wife, and some of Diego's other friends, including Lev Trotsky, who is hiding out from assassins.

On coming to the US after his father's death, Harrison settles in North Carolina, and becomes an acclaimed writer. But his past comes back to haunt him when Communist fever breaks out, and his associations come to light.

Kingsolver has masterfully captured the feeling of the times, and has once again given us a novel that will not only stay with us, but it will make us examine our own views.