In the beginning...

...there were The Flyaways, a family who traveled in their miraculous flying machine having daring adventures with Goldilocks and Cinderella. The first in the 3-book series by Alice Dale Hardy was published by Grosset and Dunlap in 1925 and copies are almost extinct. Few people remember Ma and Pa, Tommy and Susie Flyaway now.

I became acquainted with them on my grandfather's lap, my dear Grandpa Baker who read and read and read to me every evening for as many years as I can remember. I would hold my breath as each chapter ending neared, hoping he would not stop. I would keep begging for "just one more" chapter until his voice got so hoarse I would have to run to his room to get his throat lozenges.

Over the years we covered all of Uncle Wiggly and Honey Bunch, the Bobbsey Twins, the Five Little Peppers, the Wind in the Willow series, some of them more than once. He read to me until long after I could read everything for myself, until I was into Beverly Gray, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I was safe and happy snuggled up on the couch with him and that feeling has never left me. I still read and read and read, and it still makes me feel safe and happy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A long list

Hide - Lisa Gardner Bobby Dodge is back, investigation the newly uncovered underground room with the bodies of six young girls, good one.
The Ranger - Ace Atkins New miliatry hero, Quinn, home on leave for his uncle's funeral, good
A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion - Ron Hansen Excellent historical fiction about murderess Ruth Snyder and her lover, well researched and presented
Flowering Judas - Jane Haddan
She Walks in Beauty (poetry) - Caroline Kennedy
77 Shadow Street - Dean Koontz (too long, dragged)
5th Victim - Zoe Sharp (yes)
Darkness My Old Friend - Lisa Unger
Eyes Wide Open - Andrew Gross
Never Love a Stranger - Elizabeth Brundage (Slingerlands author, like her a lot)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Okay, okay...

...so I haven't blogged in two months. There's been a lot going on here - house buying, many moves, cancer scare, lots of doctors, pain, retirement, frustration. I haven't stopped reading, just not writing about it. Here's a little catch up.

Another great Chevy Stevens Never Knowing. Susan finds her birth mother and her birth father turns out to be serial killer.

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb - fiction but well researched and fascinating by Melanie Benjamin.

Disturbance by Jan Burke. Reporter Irene Kelly and dectective husband Frank in another go-around with killer Nick Parrish who pulls off a prison escape goes after Irene.

This was an unusual offering from Roland Merullo. The Talk Funny Girl, sheltered in a rural home with strange parents involved in a cult and speaking their own dialect, accepts her abuse as normal until she is hired to assist a quiet young stonemason who is building his own cathedral.

More child abuse in this one - two boys are abandoned and incarcerated in a terrible institution until one is adopted by the wife of a prominent politician and the other runs away under the cloud of a murder accusation. More murders happen over the course of 15 years, the boys, now grown men, are reunited and the murders are solved.
Iron House by John Hart.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Greg Iles again

I don't know why this guy hasn't skyrocketed to the top of the charts - unless he has and I missed him. Just finished my second of the summer by him and it was just as satisfying as the first. Deep Sleep is a crime novel revolving around paintings of dead women, featuring photographer Jordan Glass and John Kaiser, her new FBI love interest. Good one and another on the pile to begin.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mother California

This was a totally excellent book by Ken Hartman, who was convicted at the age of 19 for murdering a man in a park, and sentenced to life without parole. He has traveled throughout the California prison system - Soledad, San Quentin, Folsom and others - and remains incarcerated 30+ years after his conviction. He met and married and fathered a child now in her teens who he adores. The quality of his writing displays talent, intellectual curiosity and a refreshing honesty about his own situation and the corrections system in general. Really, really good read.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ghosting

Rich, arrogant neurosurgeon Jack Scales buys a fancy boat and pressures his fractured family into sailing with him to Bermuda. Before they even leave the dock, troubles begin, and the voyage escalates into a nearly unbelieveable nightmare of violence and terror. This was a real page turner if you don't mind brutal and bloody. Written by David Poyer.

The Silent Girl, another Rizzoli and Isles novel by Tess Gerritson, is a cop novel set in Chinatown involving missing girls and ancient Chinese secrets.

Laurel Shields' doctor husband goes berserk in Third Degree, imprisons her in their home and threatens mayhem if she doesn't give him the name of her lover. Her denials serve to infuriate him more and more until he has killed his business partner and endangered all their lives, including their children. Who will rescue them? Hmmm...could it be her lover? Good one by Greg Iles.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Just a darn good read

Good characters, good writing, good plot: Betrayal of Trust by J.A. Jance. Not spectacular, just good solid cop stuff. JP Beaumont and Melissa Soames investigate the suicide of the governor's teenage ward. Jonas also uncovers details about his own father's life and family.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On the train from Dobb's

Not a bad Kindle read: The Abduction - a 99 cent special that was a little choppy with flashbacks to Viet Nam but I liked it. Vet's granddaughter is kidnapped by military group in Idaho mountains for a complicated reason. I liked the grandfather/hero Ben Brice.

Before I Go To Sleep

Despite its current popularity, I thought this was a dumb, dumb book. Like the movie 50 First Dates, woman forgets everything when she falls asleep and must relearn her whole history every day. Her husband turns out to be an imposter, best friend did not move to New Zealand, her grown son did not die in Afghanistan. The whole plot was such a stretch it was not believable and irritating as hell to read. Author S.J. Watson. They must have paid LeHane a bundle to "like" this one.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Beach House

This novel by Jane Green got off to a promising start. I loved the first pages about Nan, the aging eccentric on Nantucket and the subsequent set up chapters about the lives of disparate people who end up together in the island community. However, the tale spiraled into a cliche-ridden drama, drama, drama with a predictable sappy ending. Too bad.

The Tattoo Artist

What a unique and poignant novel by Jill Ciment. A Jewish shopgirl falls in love with a tall, blonde, handsome avant-garde artist and becomes his protegee in the Bohemian art world of 1920's New York. When Philip loses his fortune in the crash, they embark on a South Seas adventure which leaves them stranded on a remote island. It will be 30 years before Sara is "rescued" and returns alone to a new world in which she has no place. The book details the art of primitive tattooing, its origins and meanings. It is a journey through the art world, a world war, and an intense love story. I loved it.

Michael Koryta has written a story which wanders a bit through some hard to digest plot lines that include bargaining with the devil in an isolated area called The Ridge (Blade Ridge, Kentucky). I didn't much like the devil connection but did like the big cat sanctuary and the characters. It was okay.

Scared to Death by Wendy Corsi Staub had a blurb by Jeffrey Deaver which led me to read it. The plot was a bit of a stretch, involving the biological and adoptive mothers of a boy who was kidnapped. Fifteen years have gone by and another adoption is threatened by a number of murders. This was also okay, but not great.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Story of Beautiful Girl

Aptly title novel by Rachel Simon, this was a great read about two residents of an institution in 1968, a deaf black man and a pregnant girl, who flee the horrors. Soon after taking shelter with the newly-born baby in the farmhouse of a lonely widow, the authorities find them. She is captured, the man flees and the widow hides the baby. A forty year journey through their lives.

More Chevy Stevens

Really like this author. Never Knowing is not as gripping as Still Missing, but great premise, fast read: woman searches for birth parents and finds her father was a serial killer. I'll be watching for more by this author.

Slash by David Klein
Suburban PTA mother Gwen's world erupts when she is arrested for pot possession after a car accident. Under extreme pressure, she confesses she bought the pot from an old boyfriend who later turns up dead.

Leave Reads

Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER by Paul Austin
Memoir by ER physician

Postcard Killers by James Patterson and somebody
Another cookie cutter by Patterson who I vowed not to read again but was desperate

The Girl's Guide to Homelessness: A memoir by Brianna Karp
Didn't like this needy woman much, hated her vulnerability to mean boyfriend

The Confession by John Grisham
This was a good one, been on my shelf for a while, capital punishment gone awry

Monday, July 4, 2011

July has been good so far

'Roid freak Erik Crandell is out of prison and out to get one of the policemen who put him there and stole his drugs. Cop Will Bennett is now off the force and working security for the LA Dodgers, clean and sober. After the death of his first child, Will is expecting another baby with wife Laurie, and must protect them and his golden retriever from the crazed parolee. East on Sunset by Ken Mercer shines a light on the LAPD in the wake of the Rampart scandals.

Fantastic story

Still Missing - I think this one was better than Emma's Room, altho similiar in plot and tone. Real estate saleswoman is abducted after an open house and held in an isolated cabin by a non-descript-appearing guy she calls The Freak. Her boyfriend, her best friend, her mom, all searching. She is beaten, raped, subjected to bizarre rituals and one unimaginable horror. Author Chevy was spot on with her descriptions, emotions, explanations, and pace setting. I truly couldn't put this down but didn't want it to be over. Amazing plotting and ending.

Marcus, a misstep?

Marcus Sakey - risen to the top of my favoirtes list. It doesn't hurt that he is young and handsome. Newest book was well worth waiting for, disappointing only in the realm of love scenes. I'm sorry, Marcus, but it soundeds like a Harlequin romance. I almost wrote him a letter. Might still.

June 28

Anna Mayhew has written a rich novel about a white Southern family with a black nanny which is reminiscent of The Help. Race relations, family relations, coming of age and death. It is a page turner, dramatic and readable and emotional. Oh, the title – The Dry Grass of August.

I am fascinated with hoarding and enjoyed Jessie Sholl’s memoir called Dirty Secret, A Daughter Comes Clean about Her Mother’s Compulsive Hoarding. Found Jessie pretty annoying.

Robert Parker, I love you, and I love the new character Zebulon Sixkill in the book of that name. Sixkill seems to be filling in for Hawk who is off on a mission someplace. Wonder if someone will take over writing Spenser now that Parker is gone. Haven’t heard anything.

O.J.’s DA Marcia Clarke is turning her hand to writing fiction and this legal thriller is obviously well researched as DA Rachel Knight investigates the murder of her pal and associate Jake Pahlmeyer in Guilt by Association. Not exactly a page turner, but worth a read.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Meeting VZandri

was an enlightening event. He spoke about ebook publishing from his vast experience with a list of successful ebooks on Amazon. I had some questions answered and enjoyed Zandri and his significant other, Gina, who is an art instructor at Saint Rose.

Reading this week included Lost by Michael Robotham (a British cop drama featuring Vincent Ruiz, who has sustained both a bullet wound and a case of amnesia about how he got shot).

J.A. Jance entertained with a good read about a cyber stalker who turns up dead with a long trail of duped women in his cyber stable. Ali tries to salvage her friend Brenda from a life of alcohol and suspicion of murder. Fatal Error.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Three Mysteries

Coming Back, a good Sharon McCone, by Marcia Muller. Sharon is recovering from a gunshot to the head and trying to get her life back with the help of the staff. Adah is kidnapped and Craig is beside himself with grief.

The Terror of Living by Urban Waite. Besides having a neat name, this author wrote a readable narrative, made interesting by the fact that the bad guy is really a pretty good guy and wins the sympathy of the sheriff pursuing him. Hey, he loves horses and he loves his wife.

On Borrowed Time by David Rosenfelt, the golden retriever guy. I think I love him. This is not an Andy/dog book but a very good stand alone novel about a guy who loses his fiancee - or, is he loseing his mind? I had a few doubts about the plot line, but really liked the story.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shangri-La

The success of Unbroken led me to explore more true WWII stories and I found this one - Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff. A transport plane crashes in the wilds of New Guinea with 24 US soldiers, including WACS, aboard. The three survivors - one beautiful, injured WAC, a burned man with a vicious head wound, and a lieutenant whose twin brother died in the crash, must survive in the uncharted and inaccessible jungle, surrounded by cannibals, until they are found and rescued. Totally good one. Complete with real pictures of naked women and men with penis gourds.