Thursday, July 31, 2014

I've Got You Under My Skin by Mary Higgins Clark

Laurie Moran is moving on with her life. It's been five years since the murder of her husband and the threat that the killer would be coming after her and her son, Timmy. She is producing a new reality show about cold cases. The first one is the mysterious death of Betsy Powell twenty years ago.

Betsy's daughter, Claire, was graduating from college. Betsy and her husband Rob decided to throw a big, swanky party for Claire and her three best friends, Alison, Regina, and Nina. The next morning Betsy is found dead in her bed. The only suspects are the four girls, Rob and the maid. There was never enough evidence to charge anyone.

Now they have all agreed to reunite in the Powell house. We soon learn that each one of the girls had motive to kill Betsy. But then again so did her husband and the maid. And let's not forget the man she was having an affair with. All these suspects no wonder the case was never solved. And the killer from Laurie's past is back and ready to finish the job.

This was a good mystery by MHC. Of course there were a million characters but surprisingly this time they weren't that hard to keep track of. There were a couple of subplots that could have been fleshed out more but overall I enjoyed it. Her next book, The Cinderella Murder,  is co-written with Alafair Burke and will continue with Laurie and the cold case tv show.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Fiction 7/29/2014

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Swan Point by Sherryl Woods
Back Channel by Stephen L. Carter
Invincible by Diana Palmer
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
Texas True by Janet Dailey
Fast Track by Julie Garwood

Saturday, July 26, 2014

If You Were Here by Alafair Burke

While investigating the story of teenager who was rescued from a Subway station by an unknown hero, New York City Magazine journalist McKenna Jordan receives a video from one of the witnesses. She swears that the unknown woman in the the video clip looks just like her friend, Susan Hauptmann, who disappeared 10 years ago.

The unknown woman also has a pin on her backpack from a bioenivormental group. Susan was a West Point graduate, so the pin is perplexing but it really is the only lead she has. She looks to Detective Scanlan, who handled Susan's disappearance case all those years ago, for help in finding Susan.

McKenna used to work for the D.A.'s office but quit after she was ostracized for suggesting that a beloved cop who gunned down a black kid, Marcus Jones (reminiscent of the real-life Trayvon Martin case), planted a gun on the victim to justify the shooting. Needless to say, no one is eager now to assist in reopening Susan's case, but McKenna becomes even more tenacious after the video mysteriously disappears from the website, suggesting that someone doesn't want Susan found.

The multiple legal plot threads engage the reader and converge expertly by the time you reach the conclusion. I wouldn't say this book is stellar, especially when compared to Lisa Scottoline or Linda Fairstein, but enjoyable enough that I would consider reading another one of her books.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

When Cormoran Strike is enlisted to help track down missing author Owen Quine by his concerned (if not odd) wife, he soon finds himself embroiled in case that is not as it appears.  Quine, known for his attention seeking behavior and petulant disappearances, has just penned a scathing, vaguely concealed diatribe of a novel involving just about everyone he knows in the publishing world.  As the characters of his new manuscript scramble to keep the work under wraps, Strike discovers Quine has been brutally murdered in the same bizarre manner as his main character.  Soon, every “character” is a suspect as Strike works feverishly to discover the killer’s identity before it’s too late.

For fans of J.K. Rowling, her ability to weave an incredibly intricate, complex story is nothing new.  I’m not generally a fan of murder mysteries, but I finished this off in record time.  The story is fantastically interesting – a definite page turner.  Though dark and, at times, exceedingly gruesome, it’s an incredibly readable story.  I highly recommend for those who love a good detective story, or anyone looking for a summer read you won’t want to put down.  And, if you haven’t read it, check out the first in the Cormoran Strike series – The Cuckoo’s Calling.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Fiction 7/22/2014

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Bravo by Greg Rucka
A Perfect Life by Danielle Steel
Remains of Innocence by Judith A. Jance
New Frontiers by Ben Bova
Last to Know by Elizabeth Adler
Hounded by David Rosenfelt

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich

A lot of the same old, same old in this latest series entry in Evanovich's bestselling series. This time Trenton bounty hunter Stephanie's FTA (failure-to-appear) is Jimmy Poletti, a car dealership owner who was busted for sex trafficking.

Besides Lula, Stephanie has another sidekick along for the ride this time, little person Briggs (a character we were introduced to in Notorious Nineteen), who turns to Stephanie when a rocket launcher landed in his apartment and destroyed it. Briggs is Poletti's accountant, and he is convinced Poletti is trying to kill him since he knows about Poletti's money stash in Mexico, especially since some of Poletti's other colleagues have recently been killed.

Stephanie is also worried about Ranger ever since a man he was holding captive for extradition to Florida released polonium in the air at Rangeman. Although the release was faulty, both the perp and one of Rangeman's employees are in critical condition, and the Rangeman offices can't be used until they are decontaminate. Ranger suspects it has something to do with a Russian with a vendetta from his military days.

The expected shenanigan transpire, from Stephanie's car's being wrecked to Grandma attending the latest funerals to stops for chicken from Cluck-in-Bucket. Stephanie is still romantically caught up in both Ranger and Morelli, so no new developments on that score. This was entertaining enough but not laugh out loud funny like this series sometimes is, although I did enjoy the gang of chihuahuas. Also, the repetition from book to book is really wearing thin. I hope book 22 can offer something new or that she ends the series altogether.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dangerous Refuge by Elizabeth Lowell

Shaye Townsend has just come across a dead body. Unfortunately she knows the victim, Lorne Davis. They had been working together to make his ranch part of a conservation. His death looks like natural causes. He was eighty after all. Shaye is even more upset because the last time they talked they argued. Lorne thought the organization that Shaye works for was trying swindle him but Shaye was sure that was wrong.

Tanner Davis is a LAPD detective and nephew to Lorne. He arrives at the ranch and realizes some family gold was missing and is sure Lorne's death isn't an accident. He teams up with Shaye to find out what happened. Almost immediately they are attracted to each other but also suspicious of one another.

Shaye's boss, Kimberli, wants her to work as close as possible to Tanner since he is the heir. She wants to make sure that the ranch comes to their organization. Shaye doesn't mind sticking close to Tanner. After finding another dead body, they are more determined then ever to find the killer.

I always enjoy Elizabeth Lowell's books and this one did not disappoint. The story kept me interested and guessing who the killer was until the end.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Fiction 7/15/2014

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Sight Unseen
by Iris Johansen
Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke
Shots Fired by C.J. Box
Days of Rage by Brad Taylor
Cut and Thrust by Stuart Woods
Last Orders by Harry Turtledove
The Catch by Taylor Stevens
The Heist by Daniel Silva
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Owen's Daughter by Jo-Ann Mapson
Close Call by Stella Rimington
Sentinels of Fire by Peter T. Deutermann
Enemies at Home by Lindsey Davis
The Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron
The High Druid's Blade by Terry Brooks

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Up to Me by Christi Barth

Owner of Mayhew Manor in New York’s Finger Lakes, Ella Mayhew never wanted to be a hotel proprietor, but after the death of her parents, this became her family’s legacy she was obligated to honor.

When sexy Gray Locke books a two week stay at the Manor, Ella is instantly smitten by the chemistry she feels. The two agree to “non-date” and Gray is both enamored and perplexed by her friends and the small town antics, and this is the first time he desires more than just a hook up.

Gray, however, has been lying “by omission” to Ella, as he is actually undercover as a corporate realignment specialist; in other words, his job is to determine if the Manor is a good investment for his company to either take over or destroy. If Ella discovers the truth behind Gray’s visit, she will never forgive him, even though he wants nothing more than to maker Ella happy and help her save the Manor that means so much to her.

The quirky small town atmosphere of Barth’s (Aisle Bound series) first of a planned trilogy delights, and the community journal where town members weigh in on a dilemma you pose only adds to the charm. Even though the outcome is predictable, the journey getting there is romantic and affecting.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, July 31, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

“Your mother has been committed”. So starts Tom Rob Smith’s new book, The Farm.  Daniel, the only child of a Swedish mother and English father, lives his entire life secure in the knowledge that his idyllic childhood was unmarred by conflict of any kind. His parents are undeniably well-suited; they never fight—never even disagree. Neither parent has any real extended family, so Daniel spends his youth firmly at the very center of this seemingly healthy and doting family.

When his parents leave London to retire to a small working farm in Sweden, everything begins to fall apart. Things he hadn’t known about them start bubbling to the surface; even more troubling are the claims each parent begins making about the other’s behavior in their new land. While Daniel’s mother Tilda was born and lived in Sweden until the age of 16, she’s treated like an “utlänning”, or foreigner when she returns. The townspeople encourage this feeling by seeming to shun her.

Secrets are a perpetual undercurrent running throughout the book; Daniel struggles with how to finally “come out” to his parents while living with Mark, his partner of 3 years.  Tilda meets and grows close to the adopted teenaged daughter of a Swedish patriarch; then mysteriously, the girl disappears.

This well-written, disturbing psychological thriller by the author of the Child 44 Trilogy will leave you questioning everything—motives, suspicions, alibis--until the very end. Mind games and manipulation abound, and situations can be interpreted in many different and varied ways, depending on the “lens” one is using to view them. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New Fiction 7/08/2014

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.


The Competition
by Marcia Clark
Stormbird by Conn Iggulden
Power Play by Catherine Coulter
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Christopher Bohjalian
Half A King by Joe Abercrombie
The Confessions of Frances Godwin by Robert Hellenga
The Sweet Spot by Stephanie Evanovich
Road Ends by Mary Lawson
The Cat Sitter's Nine Lives by Blaize Clement
The Good, the Bad, and the Emus by Donna Andrews
The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo
The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hate to Love You by Elise Alden

With a past fraught with abuse in which her sister Caroline is to blame, eighteen-year old Paisley turned to drugs and alcohol to ease her pain. When her sister’s fiance spends the night, Paisley poses as Caroline in the dark and has a night of the most erotic love making with uppity attorney James Scott-Thomas.

On the night of Caroline’s wedding, Paisley reveals to everyone that James is the father of her baby, even though she knew she was already pregnant when she fooled around with another guy shortly before her tryst with James. Once the baby is born, she gives up all parental rights to James knowing she would only be an unfit mother to her son Ryan. Paisley escapes to Spain to drown her sorrows and sober up.

After seven years, Paisley feels like it finally time to reclaim her son and come clean to James in hopes of fixing the lives she destroyed all those years ago.

Despite Alden’s attempt to elicit sympathy from Paisley’s screwed up childhood, it is hard to feel any compassion for such a self-destructive character who never really grew up, even though she claims otherwise. Alden’s debut also adds a paranormal element by giving Paisley the ability to read minds but even this element does nothing to revive her unconvincing story.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, August 15, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Imagine Pride and Prejudice from a different point of view – that’s exactly what Jo Baker does in her novel Longbourn.  The familiar story is told through the eyes of Longbourn’s servants: Sarah, an orphaned housemaid with a yearning for more out of life; and Mrs. Hill, the cook and housekeeper, who watches all while guarding her own secrets.

In a world marked by order and routine, Sarah and Mrs. Hill find themselves thrown for a loop when a stranger is hired as footman for the house.  James Smith, quiet and dedicated, looks to lose himself in work and avoid memories of his troubled past.  Sarah, at once intrigued and exasperated by James (and the events that brought him to Longbourn), finds herself also drawn to the handsome Ptolemy Bingley, the footman from Netherfield.  The closer they get, the more uneasy Mrs. Hill becomes, and the more the reluctant James begins to realize he has his own feelings for Sarah. 

While the events of Pride and Prejudice play out in the background, intertwining with and gently guiding the story along, the real focus is on the lives of those “downstairs.”  Some have called it Pride and Prejudice meets Downton Abbey, and I can’t say I disagree.  I found the story really engrossing – especially as a historical fiction and an Austen fan myself!  I couldn't put the book down.  I especially liked that Baker doesn’t sugarcoat some of the difficult realities facing people in that time period – it felt more real and made the characters more relatable and honest.  I’d definitely recommend this book to Austen fans (maybe not the faint of heart though), and fans of historical fiction, romance, and those just wanting a captivating read for the summer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Fiction 7/01/2014

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Eden in Winter by Richard North Patterson
The Death of Pie by Tamar Myers
The City by Dean Koontz
The Night Searchers by Marcia Muller
Take Me Home by Dorothy Garlock
Inside Man by Jeff Abbott
The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross
Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett
The Visitors by Sally Beauman
The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
Peter Pan Must Die by John Verdon
For All Time by Jude Deveraux
Strangers by Bill Pronzini
Born of Fury by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Don't Talk to Strangers by Amanda Kyle Williams