Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More Reading

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
During a picnic at her family's farm in the English countryside, sixteen year old Laurel Nicolson witnesses a shocking crime, a crime that challenges everything she knows about her adored mother, Dorothy.  Now, fifty years later, Laurel and her sisters are meeting at the farm to celebrate Dorothy's ninetieth birthday.  Realizing that this is her last chance to discover the truth about that long ago day, Laurel searches for answers that can only be found in Dorothy's past.  Clue by clue, she traces a secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds thrown together in war-torn London-Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy-whose lives are forever after entwined.  
 Mother of Pearl by Maureen Lee
1939.  Amy was just eighteen when she met Barney and they fell deeply in love.  Their romantic, passionate marriage was a match made in heaven-and then war came.  Barney volunteered to fight, and when he returned to Liverpool after VE Day everything began to change.  But what was it that made Amy kill her adored husband-and what happened to their five-year-old daughter Pearl?
1971.  Amy has been released from prison.  But her freedom changes the lives of everyone-not least Pearl.  Now twenty-five, she was brought up in a very happy home by her aunt, and has no idea of the terrible secret hidden in her past.  As the truth unravels, both Amy and Pearl are caught up in the shocking fall-out of one family's tragedy.

Liverpool Annie by Maureen Lee
Annie Harrison's Liverpool childhood is full of contrasts.  From the happy, crowded atmosphere of her uncle and aunt's house to the lonely seclusion of life with her reclusive mother, she eventually goes to live at the Grand Hotel with her rich school friend, Sylvia.  Yet life is full of excitement, too, as she discovers rock 'n' roll at the Cavern Club, and hears the Beatles play live for the first time.
Then just as Annie seems to be settling down to a comfortable life of marriage and motherhood, fate deals her an unexpected blow, leaving her to draw on resources she didn't know she possessed.  As she struggles to cope among almost overwhelming odds, a chance meeting leads to events she has no control over.  Could this be Annie's chance for happiness?

Live the Dream by Josephine Cox
Luke Hammond:  handsome, rich, charismatic,cursed by private tragedy.  Amy Atkinson:  humble and kind with a good-but wounded-heart.  When they meet by chance in a cafe run by Amy's best friend Daisy, a spark of love takes hold of their hearts.  But neither are sure that they can dare to love again.  And what of Luke's public life, hidden from Amy?  The owner of a large factory, he is a pillar of the community, married-though in name only.  But Luke is also a sensitive and emotional man, whose greatest joy is retreating to his woodland cabin, nestled deep in the Ribble Valley, where he creates powerful paintings.  Amy is torn between her head and her heart, but her sense of honour is paramount-and when she discovers his true identity she is thrown into even greater turmoil.  Then disaster strikes the factory-and with it Daisy.  Suddenly, the future looks troubled indeed.

Second Opinion by Francis Roe
Dr. Simeon Halstead, New Coventry Medical Center's brilliant brain surgeon, performs miracles in the operating room.  Outside that high tech arena, his uncompromising personality, along with his refusal to cover up other doctor's mistakes, has earned him dangerous enemies.
When Simeon meets with teenage Andy Markle and his mom, Fiona, the diagnosis he has for young Andy is grim: a deadly brain tumor.  Despite Simeon's usual reluctance to get close to his patients, he is determined to try anything to save the boy.  While ignoring his private life and his wife's shocking betrayals, he also tries to deny his growing feelings for Fiona.  For Simeon, the only person who counts now is Andy, as the doctor races against time to find a controversial treatment that is the boy's only hope.  And even when a hospital rival threatens to stop him, Simeon is ready to risk everything-his career, his reputation, his future-to give Andy a fighting chance with one unforgettable act of healing.

Journey's End by Josephine Cox
It has been over twenty years since Vicky Maitland set foot on English soil.  Twenty years since she left Liverpool with her three children, bound for a new life in America, leaving her beloved husband Barney behind.  But this long journey home is the hardest of all.  She is here in search of the truth, afraid of what she may find.  Why did Barney turn against his family so suddenly, so cruelly?  Only her old friend Lucy Baker knows what happened.  And Lucy promised Barney she would never tell his secret.  Is it time she broke her silence and explained the events of so long ago?  As the past weighs heavily on Lucy's heart, other ghosts are stirring, intent on revenge.  Will they finally catch up with Vicky and Lucy?

That's all for now.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Starburst by Robin Pilcher
Every summer, the Festival attracts celebrated artists, musicians, comedians, and actors to the beloved Scottish city.  This year marks the arrival of six unique individuals:  Angelique, the beautiful violinist whose fame hides her secret heartache; Tess, a member of the Festival marketing team and a newlywed struggling with her own secrets; Roger,  whose dazzling fireworks display will be the grand finale of the festival and his career; Leonard, the aging cinematographer who wants one last time to shine; Rene, the feisty comedienne who is reaching for the stars; and Jamie, the handsome young flat owner whose search for love has a strange way of bringing everyone together as they all try to discover what destiny holds in store.

Friday's Girl by Charlotte Bingham
When Napier, a famous portrait painter, comes across a beautiful woman, Edith, working in a London inn, he determines to marry her.  Spirited away to his country house, Edith soon discovers that Napier has no use for her except as his muse.
Meanwhile, Napier's best friend, Sheridan, has eloped with Celandine to Cornwall, drawn there by the vibrant community of artists and dramatic light.  It is here that the two couples meet.
So shocked is Celandine by Napier's treatment of Edith that she sets about trying to help the troubled marriage, but her good intentions bring nothing but tragedy.

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Who wouldn't want this job?  Struggling to graduate from NYU and afford her microscopic studio apartment, Nanny takes a position caring for the only son of the wealthy X family.  She rapidly learns the insane amount of juggling involved to ensure that a Park Avenue wife, who doesn't cook, clean, or raise her own child, has a smooth day.
When the Xs, marriage begins to disintegrate, Nanny ends up involved way beyond the bounds of human decency or good taste.  Her tenure with the X family becomes a nearly impossible mission to maintain the mental health of their four-year-old, her own integrity, and, most important, her sense of humour.  Over nine tense months, Mrs. X and Nanny perform the age-old dance of decorum and power as they test the limits of modern-day servitude.

Out of Season by Gabriella Kramer Mautner
At the seaside town of Rimini, Italy, thirteen year old Nicole Steiner, vacationing with her parents, meets a charming young man of vague background and vague intentions.  Dario Ventura, who introduces himself as a count, becomes a constant guest of the Steiners.  Nicole soon forgets her girlhood pastimes for hours spent in his company.
For the next three years, Dario is the focal point of Nicole's life.  She falls in love with him and painfully begins to suspect that though he returns her affections he may also have become her mother's lover.  The relationship is complicated all the more by the strong tie between mother and daughter.  Nicole's affection for her mother is alternately coloured by love, hate, jealousy, and compassion.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Books 8-11
The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark
Just Weeks after discovering a letter that may have been written by Jesus Christ himself, biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons is found shot to death in his study.  Police suspect his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer's, murdered him in a jealous rage.  But the priceless parchment is missing, and Jonathan had recently confided to a family friend his suspicions that someone he once trusted had designs on the ancient document.  It is up to his daughter, Mariah, to clear her mother of murder charges and unravel the real mystery behind her father's death-before her own revelations become her last.

8 Sandpiper Way by Debbie Macomber 
Emily Flemming thinks her husband, Dave, might be having an affair.  She found an earring in his pocket, and it's not hers.  She's also worried because some jewelry was recently stolen from an old woman-and Dave used to visit her a lot.  He's a pastor, and a good man.  She can't believe he's guilty of anything, but why won't he tell her where he's been when he comes home so late? 

Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber
There's a new shop on Seattle's Blossom Street- a flower store called Susannah's Garden, right next door to A Good Yarn.  Susannah Nelson, the owner, has just hired an assistant named Colette Blake, a young widow who's obviously hiding a secret-or two. 
When Susannah and Colette both join Lydia Goetz's new knitting class, they discover that Lydia and her sister, Margaret, have worries of their own.  Margaret's daughter, Julia, is the victim of a random carjacking, and the entire family is thrown into emotional chaos.
Then there's Alix Townsend, whose wedding is only months away.  She's not sure she can go through with it, though.  A reception at the country club, with hundreds of guests she's never met-it's just not Alix.  But, like everyone else in Lydia's knitting class, she knows there's a solution to every problem...and that another woman can usually help you find it!

The Yard by Alex Grecian
Victorian London is a dangerous and cruel city-a cesspool of crime.  Countless bodies wash ashore on the banks of the Thames each week with their throats slit, and Saucy Jack has, spectacularly, eluded capture.  Londoners have only contempt for their police protectors.  Enter Sir Edward Bradford, the Commissioner of Police, who creates a special team of twelve detectives, and call them the Murder Squad.
Detective Inspector Walter Day is new to the Murder Squad, a country constable who moved to London to provide a more suitable life for his new wife.  When a body is found in an abandoned steamer trunk, it is Day who is called to Euston Square Station.  To his shock and horror, the dismembered corpse belongs to one of his fellow Murder Squad detectives:  Inspector Christian Little.  One of the twelve, now gone.
Little's death galvanizes his comrades at Scotland Yard, and Sir Edward places top priority on solving the case.  Inspector Day, in over his head, solicits help from an unlikely source-Dr. Bernard Kingsley, a coroner at University College Hospital.  Kingsley is a forensic pioneer, but his advancements are ignored by the overworked police force-until Day pays attention.  Meanwhile the killer is not finished with the Murder Squad.  But why?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The start of 2013 books

The first seven!!

The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes
The year is 1946, and all over the world young women are crossing the seas in their thousands en route to the men they married in wartime, and an unknown future.  In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other brides on an extraordinary voyage to England-aboard the Victoria, which still carries not just arms and aircraft but a thousand naval officers and men.  Rules of honour, duty, and separation are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier's captain down to the lowliest young stoker.  But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined in ways the Navy could never have imagined.  And Frances Mackenzie-the enigmatic young bride whose past comes back to haunt her thousands of miles from home-will find that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.

The Litigators by John Grisham
The partners at Finley & Figg-all two of them-often refer to themselves as "a boutique law firm".  Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous.  They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who've been in the trenches much too long making way too little.  Their specialities, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in.  After twenty-plus years together Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.
And then change comes their way.  More accurately. it stumbles in.  David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm.  Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he's suddenly unemployed, any job-even one with Finley & Figg-looks okay to him.
With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice law.

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
A pilot's wife is taught to be prepared for the late-night knock at the door.  But when Kathryn Lyons receives word that a plane flown by her husband, Jack, has exploded near the coast of Ireland, she confronts the unfathomable-one startling revelation at a time.  Soon drawn into a maelstrom of publicity fueled by rumours that Jack led a secret life, Kathryn sets out to learn who her husband really was, whatever that knowledge might cost.  Her search propels this taut, impassioned novel as it movingly explores the question, How well can we ever really know another person?

Half Broken Horses by Jeannette Walls
"Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did."  So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, Jeanette Walls's no-nonsense, resourceful, and spectacularly compelling grandmother.  By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses.  At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town-riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job.  She learned to drive a car and fly a plane.  And, with her husband, Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona.  She raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle.
Lily survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy.  She bristled at prejudice of all kinds-against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn't fit the mold.  Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette that she was like her grandmother, and in this true-life novel, Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit. 

The Delta Ladies by Fern Michaels
Cader Harris returns to his hometown of Hayden, Louisiana, with the big time behind him and his fortunes depleted.  The time has come for him to face the mistakes of his past and the tempestuous women who still hold his heart:  Irene Hayden, whose father paid Cader to vanish from town some eighteen years ago... and Sunday Waters, the soul mate with whom he once shared a white-hot connection.  Now, under a sizzling Southern sun, Cader will discover how much can change when youthful desire reignites as a blazing passion too hot to handle.

Brothers & Sisters by Joanna Trollope
Nathalie and David have been good and dutiful children to their parents.  Now that they are both settled, with partners and children of their own, they are still close.  Good friends.  Brother and sister.  Except they aren't-brother and sister, that is.  Each of them had been adopted when their loving parents, Lynne and Ralph, found that they couldn't have children of their own.  And Nathalie and David have always sworn to each other, and to their families, that it didn't matter.  But it did matter, of course, and when Nathalie discovers a deep need to trace her birth parents, she insists that David makes the same journey.  She also discovers that sometimes the answers-to who we are and where we come from-are harder than the questions...
The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks
Volunteer fireman Taylor McAden is driven to take terrifying, heroic risks to save lives.  But there's one leap into the unknown he can't bring himself to make:  He can't fall in love.  A man who likes to rescue troubled women, he inevitably leaves them as soon as they want more from him.  Then, one day, a record-breaking storm hits his small Southern town, and Taylor comes across a young single mother named Denise Holton in a crashed car.  When she revives, Taylor finds himself looking for her missing son-and involved in a rescue different from all the others.  This one will require him to open doors to his past slammed shut by pain.  And, with Denise's help, dare him to make the greatest commitment of all:  Love someone forever.  

That's it for now.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


I just changed the picture in the header.  This was a beautiful sunset taken in Arizona last month.  We were driving back from the Grand Canyon back to San Tan Valley, south of Phoenix. This picture will take my mind off the 2 feet of snow that is still on our front lawn!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Books 2012

Blogger is finally allowing me to upload pictures and so I can finally get this post written

A Wise Child by Elizabeth Murphy
 Born at the turn of the century, in a dilapidated house in Bootle, near the Liverpool docks, Nellie Williams endures a childhood of drudgery and ill treatment by her mother.  She escapes into domestic service with a kindly employer, but when he dies, she is taken on by Joshua Leadbetter.  He rapes the innocent girl and she flees home.
Nellie's mother is dead but old Janey, a scheming lodger, quickly arranges a marriage between the girl and Sam Meadows, a seaman who once befriended her.  The rape is concealed from Sam and when Nellies' son is born eight months later, there is a doubt about his parentage.  Suspicions on Sam's part and guilt on Nellie's spoil their happiness every time Sam comes ashore.
The child, Tommy, is the pride and joy of both his parents, but Nellie's ambitions for their son makes Sam feel that the boy is growing away from him.  False friends fan these insecurities and after a prolonged drinking bout Sam sails for America.  As a result of a further misunderstandinn, Sam jumps shi[-abondoning all he holds dear.
Believing herself a widow, Nellie works hard to support herself and her child.  Too late, she and Sam, so far apart, realise the depth of their love and Sam bitterly regrets his doubts.  Many years pass before the mystery of Tommy's parentage is solved in a most unexpected way.

Home Song by Lavyrle Spencer
Principal Tom Gardener comes face-to-face with a past indiscretion when a new student transfers to his school:  Kent Arens.  Tom only has to look at him to see that this teenager is the son he never knew he had, the result of a one-night stand on the eve of Tom's wedding years before.  Though impressed with the intelligent, athletic, and polite young man, Tom is devastated by the effect of Kent's presence on his family.  To Tom's wife, Claire, Kent is the symbol of an act of betrayal so wrenching she cannot forgive her husband.  To their daughter, Chelsea, he is the boy she begins to fall for-until she learns the truth.  And to their son, Robby, he is a rival in the classroom and on the football field-and the force driving his parents apart.  As the Gardners careen toward disaster, they test the foundation of trust and respect that their family was built on...and learn that love leaves no choice but forgiveness.

The Grafton Girls by Annie Groves 
 When Diane Wilson leaves Cambridge for Liverpool, to work as a teleprint operator, she is intent on mending her broken heart.  But will hundreds of miles ease the pain of her betrayal?
Meanwhile, mean-spirited Myra Stone awaits her new roommate.  From the moment she sees Diane, she knows they aren't kindred spirits.  But soes Myra's bitterness belie a secret heartche?
Ruthie joins the munitions factory, where it's tough, relentless work.  But she is befriended by lively Jess Hunt, who injects fun into the drab surroundings.  Until, one day, a troublemaker tries to undermine the friendship...
All four women are brought together at The Grafton, the local dance hall favoured by American GIs as well as the local servicemen.  In this heady, uncertain time, infatuation and passion blossom.  But will each girl find true love-or true heartache?

Whitehorn Woods by Maeve Binchy
 The people of Rossmore are divided, particularly since the road will go right through the Whitehorn Woods and the well dedicated to St Ann-a well thought by some to have near spiritual properties, and by others dismissed as a superstition.  No one is more concerned than the honest and well-meaning curate Father Brian Flynn, who has no idea which faction to support.  Surely Neddy Nolan's family should take the compensation being offered for the land?
But wasn't Neddy's mother given a cure at the well many years ago?  And what about the childless London woman who came to the Whitehorn Woods, begging the saint for help, with the most unexpected consequences? 

Break no Bones by Kathy Reichs
 Summoned to South Carolins to fill in for a negligent colleague, Tempe is stuck teaching a lackluster archaeology field school in the ruins of a Native American burial ground on the Charleston shore.  But when Tempe stumbles upon a fresh skeleton among the ancient bones, her ole frien Emma Rousseau, the local coroner, persuades her to stay on and help with the investigation.  The body count begins to climb.  Tempe follows the trail to a free street clinic with a belligerent staff, a susspicious doctoe, and a donor who is a charismatic televangelist.  Tempe's love life is also complicated.  Ryan, her current flame, has come down to visit her from Montreal, and Pete, her former husband, is investigating the disappearance of a local woman-and he and Tempe are staying in the same borrowed beach house.  Ryan and Pete compete for her attentions, and Tempe finds herself more distracted than she expected by her feelings for both men.

Pretty Woman by Fern Michaels
Meet Rosie, an overweight woman who sets out to improve her life by losing fifty-five pounds-and ends up changing much more than her dress size...
Rosie Gardener fell under the spell of handsome Kent Bliss, and not even her best friend Vickie could persuade her that her fance was a two-timing cad.  Now it's her third wedding anniversary, and Rosie, overweight and fed up with Kent's mistreatment, realizes her ex-best friend was right about Kent.  But the day after kicking him out and beginning a diet and ezercise regime, amother life-changing event occurs:  She wins $302 million in the Wonderball lottery.
With her ex lurking in the shadows to claim a share of her money, Rosie needs her friends more than ever=and when Vickie returns to Savannah, Rosie learns the power of forgiveness.  Under the eye of sexy personal trainer Jack Silver, a new Rosie emerges.  Now, no one will stop this pretty woman from jumping into life and love with a passion she didn't know she possessed

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913.  She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book-a beautiful volume of fairy tales.  She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own.  On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to traceher real identity.  Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomes Mountrachet family.  But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell's death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
It starts with a letter, lost for half a century and unexpectedly delivered to Edie's mother on a Sunday afternoon.  The letter leads Edie to Milderhurst Castle, where the eccentric Blythe spinsters live and where, she discovers, her mother was billeted during World War II.  The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives caring for their younger sister, Juniper, who hasn't been the same since her fance jilted her in 1941.
Inside the decaying castle, Edie searches for her mother's past but soon learns that there are other secrets hidden in its walls.  The truth of what happened in "the distant hours" has been waiting a long time for someone to find it. 

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
Grace Bradley was just a girl when she began working as a servant at Riverton House.  For years, her life was inextricably tied up with the glamorous and eccentric Hartford family's daughters.  Hannah and Emmeline.  Then, at a glittering society party in the summer of 1924, a young poet shot himself.  The only witnesses are Hannah and Emmeline, and only they-and Grace- knew the dark truth.
Many years later, when Grace is living out her last days in a nursing home, she receives a visit from a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer.  The directoe takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories of the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege, of the vibrant twenties and of a stunning secret that Grace kept all her life.
Phew, that's it for 2012.