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.

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.