Thursday, September 29, 2016

(82)Home by Harlan Coben


Rhys and Patrick are just six years old when they are abducted from Rhys's suburban home.  The nanny was left alone with them, but she was found tied up in the basement.  Now it is ten years later and there may be a break in the case.  Rhys's uncle calls his best friend,  Myron Bolitar, to help bring the boys home.  A trip across the pond and into some dangerous territory and Myron finds one of the boys, Patrick, involved with some dangerous guys.   Rhys is nowhere to be found and then things get weird when they get Patrick home.  He won't talk to anybody, his parents are refusing to let him talk to anybody, and he seems to be cozy with a young woman on Park Avenue.   What are  Patrick and his parents hiding?  And where is Rhys?

It was great seeing our old friend Myron Bolitar again.  There were even some appearances by Myron's nephew, Mickey, known for his own Young Adult series.  It feels like it has been a while since Myron made an appearance, but he hasn't lost any of his exceptional talent for solving mysteries.   Honestly, I don't remember Win, Rhys's uncle,  from earlier novels, but he may not have been around in earlier novels.  He and Win seemed to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, but they worked well together.  There was good reason for Myron to be suspicious of Patrick and his parents. - CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS.  In the end the truth came out and it was more heartbreaking than I could have imagined.

Bottom line - Harlan Coben is such a talented author.  I enjoy everything that he writes.  Home is no different and it is great to connect with old friends.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

(81)The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter


Will Trent and Faith Mitchell are back.  They have been called in on a case that hits a little too close to home for Will Trent.  There is one dead body and enough blood to indicate that there should another body somewhere.  Evidence points to the fact that the other body belongs to Trent's ex, Angie.  When her car turns up at a local mortuary they are positive that she is dead.  Then there is the letter that Trent gets from Angie that says "Of you are reading this I am dead."  What is her connection to the ex-cop they found dead at the scene?  And what is Angie's connection to one of Atlanta's most famous residents, an NBA star who is already on Trent's radar for rape.  Faith and Amanda are desperate to find Angie - dead or alive- for the not knowing is going to destroy a man they love.

I have been reading about Will Trent and Faith Mitchell for years now.  They are great characters who are flawed in their own ways, but are loyal to a fault.  Especially Will Trent.  He had a pretty brutal childhood and the only constant from that life is Angie.  Even now that Will is in a happy, healthy relationship with Sara Linton he can't permanently let go of Angie.  For the first time, that I can remember anyway, a portion of the book is told from Angie's viewpoint.   She is bat-shit crazy, that can't be denied, but she has a pretty good reason for getting involved in the mess she is in.  - CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS - .  In the end Will Trent gets the best possible resolution for him and his future with Sara.

Bottom line - The Kept Woman is Karin Slaughter at her best.   While there is a lot of history between the characters in The Kept Woman, a new reader is not going to have problems keeping up.  A great read if you are looking for a mystery to keep you entertained.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

(80)Leave Me by Gayle Forman


Maribeth Klein is like millions of other women.  She is juggling a career, a husband, and twin four-year-olds.   She pushes off her chest pains as indigestion.   But it isn't just indigestion, it is a heart attack and that night she finds herself in the emergency room.  She ends up needing a bypass and her life was hanging on by a thread.  Her recovery is more stressful than she had hoped as her husband, Jason, doesn't really step up to help out like she expected.  Maribeth has to deal with her own mortality, taking care of her family, and trying to recover.  It is as a double dose of lice that puts her over the edge.  Again with no help from her husband.   She is done.  She packs a bag, withdraws some money, and heads off in search of herself.  She finds herself in Pittsburgh where she searches for her birth mother and tries to come to grips with her marriage, her life, and her possible death.   Will she be able to heal without the daily stressors of her life?  Will leaving Jason and the twins cause irrevocable damage to her marriage?  And does she even care if her marriage is irrevocably damaged?

I think Leave Me is one of those novels that a lot of women are going to be able to relate to on a very basic level.  What woman hasn't had day-dreamed about driving past home and into a new life?  Maribeth was an easy character to like and Jason was an easy character to dislike.  The way he left Maribeth to take care of everything all the time was frustrating to me as the reader, I can only imagine the frustration Maribeth felt. But it happens all too often in marriages.   I don't agree with the way she ran away, but I completely understand it.  What I think it boils down to is Maribeth and Jason were so mired in the muck of their everyday life that they forgot the importance of communication.  Not communication about what's for dinner, but communication about their feelings, their hopes, their dreams.   In the end, it was the distance between them that gave them the gift of communication.  But is it enough to save their marriage?
Bottom line - Leave Me is a cautionary tale about the importance of communication in a marriage.  Leave Me is one of those books that will stick with you long after you finish the last chapter.  A must read for any woman who feels overworked and underappreciated!


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Monday, September 12, 2016

(79)Modern Lovers by Emma Straub


Elizabeth, Zoe, and Andrew have been friends since they attended college together in Ohio and had a band together, Kitty's Mustache. Another friend, and bandmate, of theirs Lydia, went on to be a star, using the song Elizabeth wrote to propel her to superstardom.  Tragically, Lydia overdosed at the age of twenty-seven, leaving their fame in the past.  Now it is more than twenty years later and Elizabeth and Andrew are married with a teenage son, Harry.   They live in the same neighborhood as Zoe, her wife Jane, and their daughter Ruby.   A movie producer has been coming around trying to get them to sign away the rights to their story for a movie about Lydia.  It stirs up all the old memories from those days.  Zoe and Jane are struggling to keep their marriage together.   Andrew and Elizabeth are struggling with the day-to-day routines of marriage and the ruts a couple who have been together so long are known to fall into.  Then there is Ruby and Harry.  They basically grew up together, but now that they are teenagers, and they are exploring the nuances of teen love.   The three couples are faced with the same questions, the same troubles, the same decisions that all couples have to face at some time or another.  Will the three different couples be able to work through the problems and come through the other side intact?

Modern Lovers was an intricate story with six main characters and many different layers.  The kind of intricacy that you come to expect when people have known each other for decades.  The history between Elizabeth, Zoe, Andrew, and Lydia had many layers to it, too.   Some of  their story  isn't even known to all of them until almost the end of the book.  And that revelation has major implications for all of them.   I loved the new romance between Harry and Ruby.  They were such opposites, that I found their romance to be adorable.  Harry was this dorky, awkward kid.  While Ruby was this exotic beauty. And together they  were adorable.  Of all of them, Andrew was my least favorite character.  He was - I don't know - flaky?  Inconsiderate?  I felt like he didn't deserve Elizabeth.    I was pleased with the way the story ended.  I always love it when an author does an epilogue with updates on characters years down the road.  It leaves me feeling as if the story is truly complete.

Bottom line - Modern Lovers spent most of the summer on everybody's "Must Read" list and know I understand why.   Emma Straub has written an intelligent, entertaining read about relationships and what it means to grow up.   Definitely worthy of being on the "Must Read" list.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

(78)She Made Me Laugh - My Friend Nora Ephron by Richard Cohen


I want to be like Nora Ephron when I grow up.  According to one of her closest friends, Richard Cohen, she was everything I strive to be like.  Funny, brilliant, fiercely loyal and fiercely devoted to her family and friends.

I have seen Nora's movies, in fact, You've Got Mail is still one of my all-time favorite movies.  I have read her books like I Remember Nothing. She had a way of making her fans believe that good things, like love, could happen to good people.  What I didn't know was that her first husband was Carl Bernstein of the "Woodward and Bernstein" duo, you know, the Watergate scandal that brought down a president.  I also didn't know that Joe Fox was based on an old boyfriend of hers.  Or that her third husband wrote the book that Goodfellas was based on and he also wrote Casino.   There have been many rumors floating around that the author of this book, Richard Cohen, was the basis for Harry in When Harry Met Sally, but he denies it.

Bottom line - I like many others, was devastated when we learned of Nora Ephron's death. We didn't know then that Nora had kept her Leukemia from many of her friends. She lived a full and busy life right up to the very end and her passing has left a hole in the hearts of many.

Details:
  • She Made Me Laugh, My Friend Nora Ephron by Richard Cohen
  • Pages:320
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication Date: 9/6/16
  • Buy it Here!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sunday, September 4, 2016

(77)Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner


It is the week before Christmas when Edith Hind goes missing.  Her boyfriend had arrived home after a weekend away to find Edith the door unlocked, blood in the flat, and Edith missing.  Edith's father is the personal physician to the Royal family and feels that should afford special consideration when trying to solve the case. Detective Mannon Bradshaw is on the team trying to find out what happened to Edith, but she is preoccupied with her own issues.  As a single thirty-nine-year-old woman, the loneliness of being chronically single is a distraction from the case.  She turns her phone off to go on bad dates and misses some critical information about the case.  As the case unfolds a picture is painted of the young Edith that is not what anybody who knows her expected.   Why was she calling the convicted felon?  Was she having an affair with her best friend?  How is her disappearance connected with the body of the teenaged boy that was just found?  Mannon and her team exhaust every lead, but will it be enough to find Edith Hind?

Missing, Presumed is a methodical, sharply-written mystery novel.  Mannon Bradshaw is the main character of the book, but the story is told from her perspective, the perspective of her colleague, Davy, and from the perspective of Miriam, Edith's mother.   The three different narrators gave unique perspectives of the story.  Edith obviously came from an affluent family and her family was willing to pull out all the stops to find her.  While it was easy to understand why they were pulling strings, it made it difficult to like her dad.   Mannon was easy to like and maybe even pity.  Her loneliness could be felt with every bad date she went on. She was so desperate to find love that it did interfere with her work. That made her appear to be so obviously flawed.   It was sad, but as someone was single for a very long time before getting married, I get it.  I get her desperate need to find somebody to call her own and can forgive her, even if she can't forgive herself.  The end was pretty much a shock to me.  I kept expecting this one character to be tied to Edith and Taylor (the boy), but I was way wrong.  I like being wrong when it comes to mystery novels.  CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS. 

Bottom line - I love it when an author can "fool" me with their story.  With most mystery/suspense novels, the obvious guess is usually the correct guess.  That was not the case with Missing, Presumed.   Susie Steiner has written an intricate tale that will keep you guessing!

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Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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