Thursday, November 6, 2014

Many,Many Books 7-24


Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy

The lives of the residents of Chestnut Street are revealed in this collection of stories. 
Bucket Maguire, the window cleaner, who must do more than he bargained for to protect his son.
Nessa Byrne, who's aunt comes to visit from America for six weeks every summer and turns the house-and Nessa's world-upside down.
Lilian, the generous girl with a big heart, and the fiancé not everyone approves of.
And Melly, who's gossip about the neighbours lead to trouble in the form of the fortune teller, Madame Magic...


All For You by Sheila O'Flanagan

When Lainey Ryan awakens to the sound of torrential rain on her best friend's wedding day she isn't a bit surprised.
As TV's favourite weather forecaster, she'd already warned Carla what to expect.  But what she doesn't forsee is that her own life is about to hit a stormy patch.  With a string of failed relationships behind her, surely history isn't about to repeat itself with her beloved Ken?
To add fuel to the fire, her estranged mother announced that she's returning to Dublin.  A famously strident feminist, Deanna has always been dismissive of Lainey's choices-particularly in men-even though she's had very little contact with her over the last thirty years.  And Deanna's lectures are the last thing Lainey needs now.
Yet is there more to her mother than she knows?  Uncovering some long-concealed family secrets, Lainey begins to reassess her life.  Is the happy-ever-after she's always dreamed of really what she wants after all?

Things We Never Say by Sheila O'Flanagan

Abbey Andersen is the last person to go looking for change.  Yes, it's tough that she barely sees her mother these days-but in San Francisco she has great friends, a steady relationship, and a job she enjoys.  If she has regrets, she's dealing with them.
When Abby is contacted by Irish lawyer Ryan Gilligan, she discovers that everything she believed about her roots is a lie. She travels to Dublin to find out more-but she's scarcely off the plane when she's plunged into a new crisis.  One that will change everything not just for Abbey but for the family in Ireland who had no idea that she even existed.
Now Abbey has to make a choice that will affect everyone she knows.  How can she be sure she makes the right one?  And can life ever be quite the same again?

Spadework by Timothy Findley
On a summer evening in Stratford, an errant thrust of a gardener's spade slices a telephone cable into instant silence.  The resulting disconnection is devastating.  With the failure of one call to reach the house, an ambitious young actor becomes the victim of sexual blackmail.  The blocking of a second call leads tragically to murder.  And when a Bell Canada repairman arrives to mend the line, his innocent yet irresistible beauty has explosive consequences.

How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan
If your looking for some angst-free fiction with a West Indian setting, this is a brash, sparkling fairy tale about a hard-charging black professional woman who brings a little tropical paradise home with her.This novel tells women it's okay to let go, follow your heart, take a chance and fall in love, even if that love comes from a place you'd least expect.

The Prodigal Wife by Marcia Willett
The Keep-that beautiful ancient family home where the Chadwick family has lived for generations-is still a haven from the heartbreaks and storms of life.  Jolyon Chadwick, a famous television presenter, takes his new girlfriend, Henrietta, home to meet his extended family-and also to meet Maria, the mother who deserted him and his father many years ago, and who has now reappeared and seems to want forgiveness-although his father, Hal, now married to his cousin and childhood sweetheart, feels a lingering guilt about Maria and wants them all to be friends.  And Henrietta, still vulnerable from the breakup of her own parents' marriage, is not sure whether she can move on.

 Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs
 The bones of three young women are unearthed in the basement of a Montreal pizza parlor, and forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan has unsolved murder on her mind as she examines the shallowly buried remains.  Coming up against a homicide cop who is convinced the dead have been entombed on the site for centuries.  Tempe perseveres, even with her own relationship with Detective Andrew Ryan at a delicate turning point.  In the lab, the clean, well-preserved bones offer few clues.  But when Carbon-14 dating confirms her hunch that these were resent deaths, despite the antique buttons found near the bodies, Tempe's probing must produce answers quickly to stop a killer whose grisly handiwork has seen the light of day.

 Marrying the Mistress by Joanna Trollope
Merrion Palmer was Judge Guy Stockdale's mistress.  His Honour's totty, as the Clerk to the Court so succinctly put it.  Guy had been having an affair with her for seven years, and neither Laura, his wife of forty years, nor his two grown-up sons, knew anything about her.  Guy and Merrion enjoyed a blissful, uncomplicated relationship in stolen moments in Merrion's Bayswater flat, but to the rest of the world Guy seemed to be the model husband, father and grandfather,
Now the time had come for Guy to move on.  Conscious of the passing years, of the wasted opportunities, he didn't want to keep Merrion a secret any more.  He wanted to share her with his family, with the world.  He wanted, dammit, to marry her.  And he was quite unprepared for the painful storm which followed.

Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie 
Nell Dysart's in trouble.  Weighed down by an inexplicable divorce and a loss of appetite for everything, Nell is sleepwalking through life until her best friend finagles a job for her with a shabby little detective agency that has lots of potential and a boss who looks easy to manage.
Gabe McKenna isn't doing too well, either.  His detective agency is wasting time on a blackmail case, his partner has decided he hates watching cheating spouses for money, and his ex-wife has just dumped him...again.  The only thing that's going his way is that his new secretary looks efficient, boring, and biddable.
But looks can be deceiving, and soon Nell and Gabe are squaring off over embezzlement, business cards, vandalism, dognapping, blackmail, Chinese food, unprofessional sex, and really ugly office furniture, all of which turn out to be the least of their problems. Because soon there are murders.  And shortly after that, Nell and Gabe start falling in love...

Daddy's Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark 
What was Kate Connelly-a tall, glamorous CPA-doing in her family's antique furniture museum when it exploded into flames in the middle of the night?  Why was Gus, a disgruntled retired employee, with her?  Now Gus is dead, and Kate lies in a coma, unable to explain the tragedy's mysterious link to a decades-old missing persons case.  Nor to warn her sister what could happen next.  In this dazzling and suspenseful mystery, Mary Higgins Clark presents readers with a fascinating cast of characters-one of whom may just be a ruthless killer.

Friends and Lovers by Helen MacInnes 
When Oxford student David Bosworth takes a holiday job tutoring a family in Scotland, he meets and falls in love with Penny Lorrimer.  But Penny comes from a rigidly respectable Edinburgh family, and in 1932 such girls were not supposed to fall in love with penniless students from the wrong kind of family...

The Codex by Douglas Preston 
"Greetings from the dead," declares Maxwell Broadbent on the videotape he left behind after his mysterious disappearance.  A notorious treasure hunter and tomb robber, Broadbent accumulated over a half a billion dollars' worth of priceless art, gems, and artifacts before vanishing-along with his entire collection-from his mansion in New Mexico.
As a final challenge to his three sons, Broadbent has buried himself and his treasure somewhere in the world, hidden away like an ancient Egyptian pharaoh.  If the sons wish to claim their inheritance, they must find their father's carefully, concealed tomb.
The race is on, but among Broadbent's treasures is an ancient Mayan codex that may hold a secret far more important than the wealth of riches among it, and Broadbent's sons aren't the only ones after it.

Fair Haven by Joann Ross 
Erin O'Halloran has witnessed the atrocities of war firsthand.  But when she travels to Western Ireland to attempt to save a dying friend and mentor, she faces her greatest challenge yet.  And when she happens to meet the love of her life, matters become unexpectedly complicated.
After spending years capturing war's horrors in his camera lens, photojournalist Michael Joyce escapes to his Irish family's farm, yearning to shut out the world.  But fate has other plans for him-including unbidden feelings for Dr. O'Halloran and the unexpected rewards of fatherhood.
Surrounded by Ireland's magic, Erin and Michael begin to see nightmares replaced by dreams.  But it will take more than one miracle before they discover the answers to their deepest questions...the ones they had never dared ask.

Fear in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope 
Following a string of disastrous house-sitting assignments, and an equally troubled personal life, Thea Osborne is understandably apprehensive about her latest commission: a wintry month in an isolated house with only an assortment of animals, including her loyal spaniel Hepzie, for company.
With the summer lushness of the Cotswolds turned icy grey, Thea spends her first few days exploring the beautiful hamlet of Hampnett, meeting some of the locals.  But then the weather turns extreme, and so do events.  When she stumbles across a man lying dead in a snow-covered field, Thea finds herself once again at the heart of a mystery...

A Whisper in the Dark by Linda Castillo 
Until now, no one has suspected the truth about down-to-earth bookseller Julia Wainwright.  But the arrival of six threatening letters indicates someone has discovered her secret-and wants her to pay for her sins...
Ever since he accidentally killed a fellow cop, John Merrick has been tormented by the mistakes of his past.  Now, called upon to repay a favor, he will do anything to keep Julia Wainwright safe.  To do that, though, he'll first have to figure out what the gypsy-eyed beauty is hiding...
As the threats escalate, Julia and John must find a way to trust each other.  Because if they don't, a twisted stalker will make sure all the gruesome things he's promised will come true...

The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy 
A secretary's silent passion for her boss meets the acid test on a business trip...An insecure wife clings to the illusion of order, only to discover chaos at the hands of a house sitter who opens the wrong doors...A pair of star-crossed travelers take each other's bags, and then learn that when you unlock a stranger's suitcase, you enter a stranger's life...In their company are more journey's of hope and discovery-unforgettable slices of life.

Dead Wrong by Mariah Stewart 
It was inescapably chilling, as if the murderer was methodically working his way down a page torn from the phone book.  The three victims brutally killed in their own homes had one thing in common:  They were all listed as M. Douglas.  The fact that Mara Douglas is next on the list has her jumping at shadows, until FBI agent Aidan Shields shows up to make sure she doesn't become the fourth victim.
Aidan has been out of commission since an undercover operation went bad more than a year ago.  Back on the job, his razor-sharp instincts are returning.  But it will take all of Aidan's wits to stay one step ahead of the elusive killer who has engaged him in a deadly game-a game in which Mara's life is the prize.  A game only one can win...

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger 
When Henry meets Clare, he is twenty-eight and she is twenty, Henry has never met Clare before; Clare has known Henry since she was six.  Impossible but true, because Henry finds himself periodically displaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future.  Henry and Clare's attempts to live normal lives are threatened by a force they can neither prevent nor control, making their passionate love story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.  This is a story of fate, hope and belief, and more than that, it's about the power of love to endure beyond the bounds of time.

The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen 
Present day:  Julia Hamill makes a horrifying discovery on the grounds of her new home in rural Massachusetts: a skull buried in the rocky soil-human, female, and, according to the trained eye of Boston medical examiner Maura Isles, scarred with the unmistakable marks of murder long ago...
Boston, 1830:  To pay for his education, medical student Norris Marshall has joined the ranks of local "resurrectionists"-those who plunder graveyards and harvest the dead for sale on the black market.  Norris now finds himself the prime suspect in a series of grisly murders.  Joined by a sardonic young man named Oliver Wendall Holmes, Norris sets out to prove his innocence and track down a maniacal fiend-part of the dark mystery reaching across centuries to the present-day world of Julia Hamill.

Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy 
Baby Frankie is born into an unusual family.  Her mother is desperate to find someone to take care of her child and she doesn't have much time.
Noel doesn't seem to be the most promising of fathers but despite everything, he could well be Frankie's best hope.
As for Lisa, she is prepared to give up everything for the man she loves; surely he's going to love her back?
And Moira is having none of it.  She knows what's right, and has the power to change the course of Frankie's life...but Moira is hiding secrets of her own.

I've Got You Under My Skin by Mary Higgins Clark 
Five years after watching his father get brutally gunned down, eight year old Timmy Moran is still haunted by a killer's piercing blue eyes.  His mother, Laurie, is troubled by the man's threat as he fled the scene:  "Tell your mother she's next, then it's your turn..."
As the producer of a true-crime television show, Laurie is no stranger to murder.  Her new series will feature the twenty year old unsolved case of a socialite who was found suffocated in a bed following a graduation gala for her daughter.  The sensational murder made news nationwide.  Reopening the case in its lavish setting with the cooperation of the fatal night's surviving guests.  Laurie is sure to have a hit on her hands.  But when filming begins, it becomes clear her subjects are hiding secrets...small and large.

Phew, 18 books.  Some were really good, some not so much.  We'll see what the next batch has to offer!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Books 2014 1-6

 
Tell Me Lies by Jennifer Crusie
Maddie Faraday's life would be perfect-if it weren't for...
her cheating husband
her suspicious daughter
her gossipy mother
her secretive best friend
her nosy neighbours
and that guy she lost her virginity to twenty years ago who is now back in town...
Suddenly, life in southern Ohio just got a little more scandalous.
 
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be.  By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood.  The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate-a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now.  Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers she has always been defined in terms of her sister-so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves. 
 
A woman's Place by Barbara Delinsky 
Everything Claire Raphael has she's earned.  On her own.  The hard way.  She built her part-time business up from nothing and made it successful through her imagination, creativity, and hard work.  She has two great children and Dennis, a husband she loves completely.
Then, one evening, when Claire returns from a difficult business trip, Dennis hands her divorce papers along with a court order to vacate their house.  Claire is devastated.  She had no idea her marriage was on the brink of disaster, that Dennis had been planning this ambush for weeks, if not months, or that her hectic but happy life was about to come crashing down around her.
Claire doesn't know where to turn or whom to trust.  But in a few short weeks she learns what so many women have had to discover-that when the going gets tough, a woman's as tough as she needs to be.
 
Bones of the Lost by Kathy Reichs 

An unidentified teenage girl is struck down and left to die along a stretch of Charlotte, North Carolina, highway.  In the lab, the bruise patterns tell Tempe that this hit-and-run was no accident.  Meanwhile, Tempe must analyze a bizarre shipment confiscated by U.S. Customs-mummified Peruvian dogs, antiquities that may have been smuggled in by a Desert Storm vet.  Two disparate cases, too many mysteries, and turmoil in her personal life push Tempe to the brink.  Then a chilling link emerges between the South American artifacts, the death of a prominent local businessman whose name turned up in the dead girl's purse, and the nightmare reality of human trafficking...and Tempe must race to protect her community, her family, and herself.
 
12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

This is a riveting true account of a free man captured and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War South.  His narrative explores one of the darkest times in American history and captures in vivid detail the brutal realities of slavery.
In 1841, the educated musician Solomon Northup, a freeman living in New York, is cruelly deceived by the promise of a job in Washington.  Drugged, kidnapped and sold into slavery, Solomon arrives in New Orleans, where he is given a slave name.  Denied his freedom and ripped away from his family, Solomon spends twelve emotionally and physically gruelling year on a Louisiana  cotton plantation enduring the hardships and brutalities of life as a slave.  When he eventually finds a sympathizing friend, a daring rescue is attempted that could either end in Solomon's death or restore his freedom and reunite him with his family.
 
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
 
The Sheedy sisters had lived in Stone House for as long as anyone could remember.  Set high on the cliffs on the west coast of Ireland, overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean, it was falling into disrepair-until one woman, with a past she needed to forget, breathed new life into the place.  Now a hotel, with a big, warm kitchen and log fires, it provides a welcome few can resist.
Winnie is generally able to make the best of things, until she finds herself on the holiday from hell.  John arrives on an impulse after he missed a flight at Shannon.  And then there's Henry and Nicola, burdened with a terrible secret, who are hoping the break at Stone House will help them find a way to face the future...
 
That's all for now.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Last of the 2013 Books 22-28

Finally getting around to adding the last of the books I read in 2013

Bones Are Forever by Kathy Reichs
In a run-down Montreal apartment, Tempe finds the heartbreaking evidence of three innocent lives ended. The landlord says Alma Rogers lives there-is she the same woman who checked into a city hospital as Amy Roberts, then fled before doctors could treat her uncontrolled bleeding?  Is she Alva Rodriguez, sought by a man who appeared at the crime scene?  Heading up an investigation crackling with the sexual tension of past intimacies, Tempe leads homicide detective Andrew Ryan and police sergeant Ollie Hasty along the woman's trail and into the farthest reaches of mining country-an unforgiving place where the grim industry of unearthing diamonds exacts a price in blood.  And where the truths the unlikely trio uncovers are more sinister than they could have imagined.

Under the Dome by Steven King
On a beautiful fall day, a small New England town is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field.  Planes crash into it and rain down flaming wreckage.  A gardener's hand is severed as the dome descends.  Cars explode on impact.  Families are separated and panic mounts.  No one can fathom what the barrier is, where it came from. and when-or if-it will go away.  Now, a few intrepid citizens, led by an Iraq vet turned short-order cook, face down a ruthless politician dead set on seizing the reins of power under the dome.  But their main adversary is the dome itself.  Because time isn't just running short.  It's running out.
Few things about this book.  It weighs a ton, it's oversize and has 1074 pages.  Very difficult for reading in bed.  If you saw the tv show it is very different from it.

The Beachcomber by Josephine Cox.
The windswept village of West Bay is hope, an escape, and a future for Kathy Wilson, who dreams of turning the empty cottage she inherited into a home free of the pain and scorn she suffered back in London.  As the summer slowly passes, she puzzles silently over her fascination with an enigmatic wanderer who strolls the beach below her window.
Tom Marcus needed a place to hide when the life he knew was brutally destroyed.  Inexplicably drawn to this captivating loner, Kathy feels a bond forming that will radically change them both.  But the shadows that haunt them will not be dismissed-until they can find the courage to open their hearts.

The Kissing Gate by Pamela Haines
The kissing gate is at the heart of village life, and marks the beginning of the Squire's land.  It is the rescue of Squire Ingham's son by the Irish servant-girl which creates the uneasy bond between Sarah, the respectable family into which she marries, and the Squire's family.  But it is Kate, the foundling Sarah adopts, whose doomed, forbidden love for the young Squire forces the families into explosive confrontation.
One of the very few books that I gave up on.  It has 704 pages and I read about 200 but I just was so bored with it that I gave up.  I think the story was so drawn out, it could have probably been condensed into about 300 pages.

Full Circle by Mary A. Larkin
Annie has been happily married to Sean Devlin for several years when the telegram arrives: her sister, Rosaleen, is coming home to Belfast from Canada.  Annie is full of misgivings about the reunion with her beautiful sister-for many years before Sean and Rosaleen had a brief affair with far-reaching consequences.  Though their love kept Annie and Sean together, the affair nearly destroyed them.  And she is right to be wary of Roseleen's visit.  For Roseleen finds herself as attracted to Sean as ever.  But does he feel the same?  And could either of them betray Annie again?

A Painted House by John Grisham
Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie.  But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers-and two very dangerous men-came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm.  And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke's world.  A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion.  A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions.  A fatherless baby is born...and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboard of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white.  And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives-and change his family and his town forever.

Hurricane Bay by Heather Graham
                                     
The private investigator found a photo under his door-a picture of Sheila, strangled with his tie and posed on the beach of his private island in the Florida keys.  The crime appears to be the handiwork of a serial killer currently terrorizing the Miami area.  Now Dane knows he is being set up to take the fall for the killing.  He just doesn't know why.
When Kelsey Cunningham's best friend goes missing, she confronts the one person she thinks will have information-Dane, Sheila's former lover and a man from Kelsey's own past.  Kelsey follows Sheila's tracks into a dangerous world of sex, violence and drugs, with Dane right behind her.  But the tentative trust between them shatters when Sheila's body is discovered-and Kelsey recognizes Dane's tie.
Now Kelsey doesn't dare trust anyone.  Especially a man she can no longer deny she has always loved.  Because here on Hurricane Bay, a devastating storm can hit without warning, and whether it's a tempest of unbridled passion or the desperate fury of a killer, nothing-and no one-is safe.

Well, that's it.   It doesn't seem like very many books, but I only read when I go to bed, so I guess it's not too bad.  Now if I could count all the blogs I read during the day and evening the number would be waaaay bigger!!!