The books I have read in 2012.
Killer In High Heels, by Gemma Halliday This is number two in the High Heel Mysteries Series of five. The series is wonderful, especially for a quick and fun break from something longer and heavier. Fun, fast, humor-filled. I am looking forward to the next one which is awaiting me for the next time I need a break!
The Best Of Me, by Nicholas Sparks I enjoyed this one. It was different and yet very Nicholas Sparks. True love. What a concept. The one and only love…if you believe there is such a thing, I suggest you read this one.
The Drop, by Michael Connelly The latest Harry Bosch novel. They keep getting better and better. I didn’t think it was possible but this one is not to be missed.
The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides. Many of the reviews are negative for this one but I read it anyway. I’m glad I did. Eugenides gets a lot right in this one. I kept finding myself nodding as he described what it was like for two of the main characters to be at a prestigious private university (Brown) where everyone came from privileged homes, except them. They were the outsiders; the ones that somehow never belonged. I could identify with that. That’s how I felt when I was at Stanford. Eugenides also gets mental illness right. So many don’t understand clinical depression. It’s not being depressed. It’s totally different and it is a lifelong, chronic condition. He got it right. The relationship analysis is excellent as well.
Zero Day by David Baldacci. This is a new protagonist for Baldacci and I liked him, a lot. I can see John Puller returning for a second, third, fourth, and beyond, adventure. I will look forward to meeting up with him once again.
Migration by Zoe Lee. Excellent. I think this may be the author’s debut novel and if it is, I know we’ll be hearing more from her. This is an excellent story, so much so that even I was able to overlook a few errors which I am pretty sure were merely typographical. The story grabs you and you just cannot put it down. Even after finishing the story, I am not sure how I feel about Colin. Part of me understands Colin. Part of me doesn’t. I won’t go in to the plot but this one gets a strong recommendation from me.
John F. Kennedy, A Life by Editors of New Word City. I’ve read a lot about the Kennedys. You could say it is both a fascination and an obsession with me. This ebook is what I would call an outline of John F. Kennedy, not a thorough treatment of his life at all. One thing that bothered me is that it is not chronological. Instead, it is mostly taken as a topic by topic discussion of different aspects and chapters of the late president’s political life. I would still recommend this, not as a complete work but as a starting point for futher reading and research.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Very interesting read. I don’t usually choose to read anything that is sci-fi or fantasy but I have enjoyed a couple of Murakami’s previous works so I thought I would give it a try. It is very good. It’s different from most of what I have read. There are some parts that I thought were too “quaint” the way they were written but you have to keep in mind that this was written in Japanese then translated so it may be a matter of the translation. I do recommend it. If you want to know more about it, let me know and I will write more about this…maybe an entire blog post. There’s a lot to discuss and think about with this one. This one is actually three books in one cover, 1184 pages. They were published separately as three stand alone books in Japan then when published for the American market, they were combined as one book with three distinct “parts”.
Hotel Vendome by Danielle Steel. At one time Danielle Steel was one of my favorite authors. Her work is slipping, a lot. I’m not sure I will read anything else by her. Sad.
Crossroads: 1969 by John Cassell. This is a memoir of a young man who graduated from college in 1969 just as the college scene was filled with unrest and protests and confusion. Interesting. I wouldn’t call it a “polished” work but it could have been much worse. There was a lot of interest in this and the telling wasn’t all bad.
Hollywood Secrets by Gemma Halliday. I was a little disappointed by this one. This is the first in the Hollywood Mysteries series that I have read, having read three of the High Heel Mysteries previously. There were lots of errors in this one and I’m not sure they were all typos. It was distracting. The main character in this one, Cam Dakota, is too much like the characters in the other books I have read and I think the humor was forced. Too much time was spent on trying to be funny instead of on telling the story and it took away from the enjoyment of the novel.
The Lucky One by Nicolas Sparks. This one is pretty good. It wasn’t predictable, or not completely. Logan finds a photo while in Iraq and although he posts it on a bulletin board so that the owner can claim it, it goes unclaimed. His friend, Victor, tells him that the picture is his lucky charm and that he should always keep it with him for luck. Logan doesn’t believe him but he does keep the photo in his pocket. Little by little, events occur that reinforce Victor’s belief that the photo is a lucky charm. This we find out through flashbacks. The main story, however, is what happens after Logan gets home from Iraq. I recommend this one.
The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings. I usually read the book before I see the movie but this time around, I hadn’t heard of the book until I saw the movie and found out it was based on the novel. I really enjoyed this book. The movie followed the novel pretty much as it is written but the book really filled in on some of the narrator’s unspoken feelings and the reasons behind some of his actions that were not made clear in the movie. Excellent first novel.
House Of Thieves by Kaui Hart Hemmings. This is a collection of short stories, one of which was a part of her novel, The Descendants. Each story builds believable characters, some of which overlap stories, and engaging plots. I hope that Ms. Hart Hemmings is fast at work on another full length novel, perhaps one based on one of these short stories!
Chocolate Covered Murder by Leslie Meier. This is a series and the second I’ve read. They are fun and engaging quick reads. Lucy Stone, the main character is a reporter for a small town newspaper (the kind that publishes once a week) and has a knack for getting involved in murder cases during the course of her every day life.
Angle Of Investigation by Michael Connelly. This is a collection of short Harry Bosch stories. They take place during different parts of Harry’s detective experience. Very interesting and engaging. They give us food for thought, as do most of Michael Connelly’s works.
Divine by Karen Kingsbury. This is Christian fiction. Not the best I have read but certainly not the worst. I did find the background stories interesting and even inspirational. Not for everyone.
Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult. Excellent. I love Jodi Picoult’s novels. This is her most recent and, in a lot of ways, her best. The story involves the falling apart of a family and the mending. It involves life and death decisions. Moral decisions. Legal decisions. It involves wildlife and human life
Blood Work by Michael Connelly. This is not a Harry Bosch book. Instead, we have a former FBI agent named Terry McCaleb who has retired from the FBI due to health reasons and subsequently undergone a heart transplant. While he is still recovering, he is contacted by the sister of a murder victim who persuades him to try to find her sister’s murderer. What happens during this investigation takes Terry back to a case he worked years before.
Three Days In Seattle by Debra Burroughs. Quick read. Kate is a photographer in Los Angeles until she receives a phone call from her sister’s roommate in Seattle saying that her sister is missing. Kate hops a plane to Seattle and becomes involved in the case to find her sister AND a romantic relationship, all during a three day period. Nice story.
Chasing the Dime by Michael Connelly. Henry Pierce is an award winning scientist on the brink of a discovery that will revolutionize not only computer technology but the medical field as well. However, it doesn’t happen easily. First his girlfriend breaks up with him and he ends up giving her his house on prestigious and ritzy Amalfi Drive in Malibu while he moves out to an apartment in Santa Monica. Then his world is turned upside down when he gets involved in the world of prostitution and the sex trade while trying to help a woman he knows only by messages left for her on his phone which used to be hers. Very interesting. I don’t know how the science part of this holds up but I thought that was a very engaging part of the story.
The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly. This is the second Mickey Haller novel, the first being The Lincoln Lawyer. It is another riveting legal drama which also includes my favorite Connelly character, Harry Bosch. Great stuff! It was wonderful to see the two characters interact and as always, Mickey Haller’s inner battle between his role as a top notch attorney and personal ethics makes an appearance. Really great stuff!
Divorced, Desperate and Delicious by Christie Craig. This is the first in the Divorced and Desperate series. I had previously read Divorced, Desperate and Dating so I was familiar with the series but in this first installment, I was surprised to find some very explicit and steaming scenes. Not sure if the rest of the series is like this but I know Divorced, Desperate and Dating was not. It was a quick and fun read but a lot of the sex scenes could have been toned down, unless Ms Craig intends to continue this tone in the rest of the series.
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly. This a Jack McEvoy novel. Jack is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and covers crime. At the opening of the book, Jack is notified that he is being laid off and that management wants to have him train his own replacement, allowing him to stay on for an extra two weeks. It seems that they are trying to cut costs by firing the higher paid reporters and replacing them with new and low paid employees. Jack decides that in the two weeks he has left, he will find a story to write that will shake Los Angels and the newspaper and he will go out with a bang…and possibly a Pulitzer Prize winning story. What happens in the next to weeks wasn’t what he was expecting or planning but it sure does knock everyone for a loop!
The Reversal by Michael Connelly. Private defense lawyer, Mickey Haller is hired as a special prosecutor to retry Jason Jessup who is convicted child murderer and has been incarcerated for 24 years but a recent ruling by the California Supreme Court has ordered his conviction vacated due to a DNA report done 24 years after the crime was committed. Mickey hires Maggie MacPhearson, his ex-wife and current Deputy D A as his second chair and his half brother, Detective Harry Bosch, as his investigator. With these three as a team, the rest of the novel sets off in many directions. Not to be missed.
A Week At the Beach by Virginia Jewel. Nice read. Good, fast paced, fun. Cami accompanies her best friend on a one week vacation at her friend’s step father’s beach house only when they get there, they find out that there are two guys at the house because the step dad forgot to check to see if the house was empty. The four each have different ideas and different needs from this vacation. The week is interesting, to say the least. But does what happens at the beach stay at the beach like it’s supposed to?
Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I saw the movie first. I usually don’t like to see the movie until I have read the book but that didn’t happen this time. For once, I think the movie was preferable to me. The book is confusing at best. There are so many voices and we, for the most part, are not given any clue as to whose voice we’re reading. There is a lot to think about in the book and I liked that. However, I think I like the movie much better.
Solomon’s Oak by Joanne Mapson. This novel is quite interesting. It doesn’t involve any super hero or heroine. It involves a number of people…every day people…with small stories which intertwine. First, there is the widow who struggles to make ends meet after her husband died a sudden death, leaving her unprepared for the financial struggle of being a widow. She ends up allowing her property to be used for weddings, which she caters, to bring in money. Then there is the teenaged girl who has been abandoned by her father after the family suffered a number of tragedies. She ends up in the foster system and on the widow’s doorstep (the widow and her husband had been foster parents in the past). Joseph, an out of town former policeman, comes to town to sell his late grandmother’s property and recuperate while taking photographs. He ends up on the widow’s property to take photos of an oak tree (Solomon’s oak from the title) which is a one of a kind historic California white oak. Not only do their paths cross but they end up leaning on each other. There is a lot in this novel. It has something for everyone. However, one thing that threw me was the use of Spanish language in the text. The author uses Spanish words and phrases wrong. She uses the wrong conjugation and words that, while they could be considered correct, don’t fit the character or the situation. It is clear that she has taken English words and done a direct and literal translation into Spanish. That was disappointing and for me, it detracted from the book. I would still recommend it, though.
The Woman by David Bishop. Good story, however it is way too long. The author seems to be creating things as he goes along, just to add pages to the book. There were also some problems with some of the basics in the book. It takes place in Oregon. In one instance, the main character is driving from the coast to Portland. She gets to Salem and the text says that she is three hours from Portland. Ha! I live in Portland and have made that Salem to Portland drive many times. It is a 56 minute drive! No way is it three hours! Later in the novel, there is another one of these mileage problems. The characters leave Weed, California in the early morning hours (I’m guessing 7ish because they got up at 5 to have breakfast) and drive to “just south of Sacramento” on I-5. They don’t arrive until 11 PM. Ha! That drive, again one I have made about 100 times, is less than four hours! The author needs to check his facts. Yes, it’s just fiction but if the author wants to have any credibility with the other parts of the novel, then he’d darn well better be credible about the “little things” and not just create distances and time frames that fit into his writing. Not smart. Not sure if I’ll pick up anything by this author again.
Chick Lit For Foxy Hens. This is a collection of four stories which all involve main characters in their 50’s and 60’s. All the stories take place in Tulsa, Oklahoma and share a certain kind of atmosphere. They were, at least three of them were, interesting and plausible although I was surprised at some of the language coming from these 50 something women. I know I don’t use that kind of language but I guess that’s me. I would probably pick up more writing by these authors.
Calico Joe by John Grisham. Not your typical Grisham novel. I loved it, though. While it is fiction, it has the feel of non-fiction. I found it believable although I’ve read reviews that say it’s not very believable. Calico Joe is a novel which is told through the eyes of Paul, the son of a Mets pitcher that wasn’t very good although he had some luck in the majors. Paul’s father, Warren, was a really mean spirited and bitter man. He was cruel both on and off the field. The novel told alternately from the point of view of Paul as an adult and Paul as an eleven year old child, deals with Paul’s fascination with a young rookie player for the Cubs, Joe Castle, known as Calico Joe because he came from an Arkansas town called Calico Rock. For six weeks, Calico Joe rules sports talk. Then something happens and Paul is in the middle of it all. Highly recommended.
Mrs. Kennedy & Me by Clint Hill. I’ve been fascinated by anything and everything having to do with the Kennedy family since I watched JFK campaign when I was a child then when I watched him be inaugurated and of course all the coverage of the assassination and the aftermath. I’ve read a lot about the assassination from various “eye witness” accounts. However, this one is different. I think this captures not only the dedication of the Secret Service Agents on the Presidential Detail and those protecting the First Family, but it also captures a lot of the Jackie that the American people didn’t know. It’s not a great piece of literature. It is, however, written as an honest account of what this one Special Agent saw first hand. There is a lot of criticism about what is not in the book but I think, or at least I got the sense, that Clint Hill wrote this from what he knows to be true while still protecting the memory of the First Lady and her privacy. Even beyond his tenure protecting her and even beyond her death, Clint Hill is still protecting Mrs. Kennedy.
First Lady Down by Daniel Adams. This was very good. I got it for free from the Kindle Store even though I wasn’t sure it would be up my alley. I was very surprised, not only at the plot, but also at the quality of the writing. Excellent. I’ll have to look for more work by Daniel Adams. In this one, it opens with what is presumed to have been a hired gunman having missed shooting the president of the United States and hitting the First Lady instead. However, during the investigation, at least one agent feels that the obvious suspect is being framed and goes on to theorize that the First Lady was indeed the target, not the the president. And the chase is on. And I meant chases…more than one. Lots of action. Highly recommended.
Knockers by by Ellyn Oaksmith. I got this based on the reviews. I normally would not buy a title with this name or with this cover. However, I’m glad I did get it. I enjoyed it. It is a great mix of humor, romance, and food for thought. Molly goes into the hospital for plastic surgery to remove scar tissue on her neck and chest from injuries suffered in a car accident. Her friend accompanies her to the day surgery and proceeds to faint. The confusion results in the wrong chart being placed on Molly’s bed which results in her waking up in the recovery room to find she has been given breast implants…very large ones. The error cannot be corrected right away. It has to go before a review board which will take about 8 weeks. In the meantime, Molly has to live with her new chest and all the perks and problems it brings. It’s not all bad. The new physique brings new opportunities for Molly and several chances for bigger changes in her life. I really enjoyed this and will look for more work from this author. One thing that can be improved is the errors. Lots and lots of them as the book progresses. Silly errors where there is either an extra word in the sentence or a word missing. There are also a few instances where the times don’t really synchronize and distract from the storyline but not enough to ruin the work as a whole.
Kissed In Paris by Juliet Sabanet. I found myself reading this one night when the power went out and I couldn’t read on my Kindle because it has no back light. So I had to see what was on my Kindle Fire. I couldn’t download anything because the internet was out with the electricity. The only book I had on the Fire was this one so I started reading it and by the time the outage was out three hours later, I was hooked. It turned out to be a nice, quick read full of humor and adventure. Not sure if it was all believable but I didn’t care. I wanted to get to the end to see what would happen! It was definitely not a waste. It was a fun read and I’ll look for more by this author.
The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly. Excellent. This is the third in the Harry Bosch series. I’ve read a few but not in order and I love the character. It was also interesting to see how the character has evolved, this being number 3 and my having read mostly the latter ones, including the most recent, The Drop (Harry Bosch #15). Full of action…fast paced.
Rain by Leigh K. Cunningham. I’m divided on this one. The story is a downer. More of a downer than any I have ever read. I kept expecting something positive to happen but it didn’t. Just when you think it’s getting better for the character, they are hit with something even more terrible. I guess life is like that sometimes but why would I want to read about that? It’s often difficult to read because it’s written in a very old fashioned English…and Australian English at that. It gets better as we get into the 70’s and out of the 60’s. So that’s good. I guess the bottom line is that although it has some very engaging characters and situations, in the end, if I had it to do over, I would not pick this one up again.
The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch #4. Another wonderful episode in the on again off again career of Detective Harry Bosch. In this one we read about Harry fighting many forces, including nature which has taken his home from him during a devastating Los Angeles earthquake. Harry fights the department during a forced leave of absence in which he must see a psychologist before he is cleared to return to work. And he fights himself.
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch #5. In his first case back to work after his forced leave of absence, Harry Bosch is made the lead on a three person homicide team investigating the death of a body found across from the Hollywood Bowl during the middle of a concert, in full view of thousands of concert goers. It is first thought that it could be a mob hit but the Organized Crime Investigation Department passes on it, saying it isn’t anyone under their surveillance. Harry and his team are lead back and forth between Los Angeles and Las Vegas in search for the truth behind the murder.
Angel’s Flight by Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch #6. Another gripping Connelly novel. This one explains a lot about how Harry got to be who he is by the time he gets to the latter novels.
Ashes To Dust by Rex Kusler. This was really more pleasing than I thought it would be. I had previously read Punctured, the first in the series, and had enjoyed it. This one is much better. It’s a quick read. Likable characters. Nice plot and twists. But what I liked most about it was the humor in it. Jim Snow is hilarious. He can make you laugh out loud in the middle of investigating a gruesome murder. And he did, several times.
Desert Drop by Rex Kusler. Quite enjoyable. Punctured was the first of Rex Kusler’s books that I read. I enjoyed it enough to want to read more by him. Yesterday, I picked up Ashes To Dust and enjoyed it thoroughly. Today I picked up Desert Drop and finished it in less than a day. It was quite satisfying and I am looking forward to another installment in the series. There is a definite plot. The two main characters are trying to solve the abduction and murder of Alice James’ (one of the main characters, a PI) half sister. During the course of the investigation we join them as they come upon one “promising” suspect after another, only to find that they have a verifiable alibi. Eventually, we find out who the surprising guilty parties are. Along the way, we encounter some shady characters and some very likable ones, as well as humor, tension, and some very good writing.
Arcadia by Lauren Groff. I think this book started about 200 pages into the text. I really didn’t care for the beginning. Or the middle. However, the last part was worth dredging through the first 200 pages. I think.
Four Days With Hemingway’s Ghost by Tom Winton. I loved most of this book. The really fun part was the first half. In the second half, the tone of the book changes completely. No more humor. The Christian aspect of the book takes over completely in the second half and while I am fine with Christian literature, I think the drastic change in tone does not hold up well and it is not fair to the reader who probably stuck with the novel through the first part, expecting that the second would be at the least similar. Don’t get me wrong. I am glad I read the book. It’s good writing…the first half anyway. I even enjoyed the second half but I think that the second half could have been either cut a bit or it could have had a less drastic change in tone from the first half.
An-Ya And Her Diary by Diane René Christian. This was really good. An-Ya is an 11 year old Chinese girl who was left at the gate of an orphanage when she was a newborn. She lives in the orphanage for eleven years, never giving up on the idea that her parents will come back for her. Then one day she is adopted by an American family and taken to the United States to live. The one possession her parents left her with was a blank diary. She never writes in it during the eleven years she is in the orphanage. When she goes to America, she ends up using the diary as a way to link her feelings about the present with the feelings of leaving the orphanage and all hope of finding her real parents. We are let into her heart and learn things we would never imagine a child was thinking or linking. Wonderful work. I highly recommend this one.
Summer Of Firefly Memories by Joan Gable. This was good but the ending almost trashed this one for me. It ends in the middle of a phone conversation which is not an ending at all. It smacks of a sequel and goes on to promote the next book which is actually a book written by the main character of this novel. It is not an ending at all and leaves you with a feeling of “why did I just bother to read this if there’s no ending”. I’m okay with abrupt endings but this one is not okay. They at least needed the main character’s reaction to the revelation or some thought to sum up her feelings.
Virtually Yours by Joanne Huspek. This did not sound like it was something I would like but I got it anyway because a friend wrote it. I was pleasantly surprised. I did enjoy the book. The plot was believable and although I felt there were too many characters thrown at the reader, those characters were likable. It was rather difficult to keep track of who was who. I did figure out the “secret” fairly early into the book, way before the 49% point when it was revealed. After that, I just kept reading to see how the secret was revealed to the characters. Satisfying ending? Eh. Not sure how I would change the ending but I felt like everything was tied up too soon. Every character had their loose ends tightened at the same time, in the space of a few pages. Although there are numerous errors, most of which I believe were the typist’s errors (errors of omitting words in sentences and of leaving extra words in), it was definitely readable. More annoying were the subject-verb problems and the tense issues but if you are willing to overlook that, this is a good choice when you’re looking for something to read.
A Darkness More Than Night by Michael Connelly. This book is less a Harry Bosch novel than the others. It begins and ends with Terry McCaleb. Harry plays a significant role but not like in the other Harry Bosch novels. I enjoyed it but I missed it being all Harry. And now I’ll look forward to the next Harry Bosch.
How I Got This Way by Regis Philbin. This is a series of short chapters, each on a different person who was instrumental or inspirational in Regis Philbin’s career. They are written as if he is telling them to his audience. They have that quality. The chapters include Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Donald Trump, Claudia Cohen, Kathie Lee Gifford, Joe Di Maggio, Jack Nicholson, etc., etc. There were three consecutive chapters on football coaches at Notre Dame. It got a little bit too much because of their placement, one after the other. One of the things that made it tedious is that each story is told independent of the others so he back tracks, chronologically, and ends up repeating himself a bit when the stories overlap. In any case, it was a good collection of stories and personalties and it does give one an idea of how Regis got to be Regis. If you are a Regis fan, I recommend this. If you are not, then skip it.
Still Life In Shadows by Alice J. Wisler. This is a quiet little story that leaves us with big questions to ponder. The characters are ordinary people – the kind you might know or run into during the course of your day. They’re well written, likable, and imperfect. It’s those imperfections that allow us to identify with them and like them and root for them and cry with them and for them. Realistically written, it’s the story of Gideon who left his Amish life at the age of 15 and made his way to rural North Carolina where he makes a life for himself and also helps others escape the grip of their Amish life. And it’s the story of Kiki who is a 13 year old autistic girl who loves to work on bicycles and ends up working for Gideon in the auto shop he runs. Their two paths join through an unfortunate mishap. From that point on, their lives influence each other more than either knows. There are other people in the story but the main characters are Gideon and Kiki. They are the ones that teach us the big lessons that this book offers. I can’t recommend it enough. It is powerfully written and although it has Christian values as a back drop, it is not over done. You don’t have to be Christian to enjoy it or learn from it.
Rock And A Hard Place by Bonnie Blythe. It was slow starting but once it got going it was engaging. I love the details about the local areas, including the roads and the vistas. If I could, I would travel to the area (John Day, Oregon) just on the basis of the descriptions in this novel. Faith, the main character, is the oldest of three sisters. The younger two are twins. Faith quit high school to work two jobs to support her sisters when their mother became ill and later died. This is almost all that we are told and I think there is a story there. We just get that as the background information and that she doesn’t know anything about her sisters who left town years before. This doesn’t quite ring true to me. I think this is where the story lies, perhaps a prequel is needed.
Drop Dead Diva by Christine Lynxwiler, Sandy Gaskin, Jan Reynolds. Quick read. Lighthearted mystery with some laughs and romance. This is the second of the Sleuthing Sisters Mystery Series. I’ve not read the others but if they are like this one, I wouldn’t mind reading them. The main characters are Jenna Stafford and her older sister, Carly. Jenna has a nose for mystery and solving local murders and where Jenna goes, so does Carly. It was a fun read.
Claire DeWitt and the City Of the Dead by Sara Gran. To say that this was “good” would be an understatement. There is so much to tell about the book; so much I really liked. It was one you don’t put down til you’ve finished. I think Claire DeWitt, reminded me of Lizbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. She is good at what she does; she’s rough around he edges; she doesn’t scare easily. She sets off to find the answer to the mystery and doesn’t stop until she has found it, even when she is fired. And I would have to add that the real main character of this novel is not Claire but the City of New Orleans (post Katrina). Without that backdrop, much of what happens in this novel wouldn’t have happened. This is a not to be missed novel and I truly hope we will be hearing more from Claire DeWitt!
City Of Bones by Michael Connelly. I had missed Harry, not having read any of his novels in a few months. It was great to read him again. City Of Bones was another heartbreaking crime mystery. This one involved a 20+ year murder of a 12 year old boy who was subsequently dumped in a very shallow grave up in the woody hills. One day a dog goes up to the hills and comes down with a human bone. That’s how the boy’s body and the crime are discovered. Everyone surrounding the crime has a sad story and in the end, the resolution is not satisfying. Not that the book is not satisfying, it’s just that in the novel, as part of the plot, the resolution is not satisfying to the case. Another not to miss Connelly novel.
Lost Light by Michael Connelly. In this episode, Harry has turned in his LAPD badge and his gun and has been sitting around for months when an old colleague from the police department calls him and gets him involved in trying to solve a murder that Harry had worked on four years prior. On his own, with no LAPD to back him and no standing in the case, Harry sets out to solve the murder and embarks on unsuspected multiple angles and facets of the case.
The Innocent by David Baldacci. What happens when a professional assassin stumbles upon a teenaged girl running from a killer? What happens when he takes her safety and makes it his business? What happens when it turns out that his meeting the teenager was actually orchestrated as part of an elaborate plan? Another excellent and not to be missed Baldacci novel!
Split Second by David Baldacci. This is the first of the Sean King and Michelle Maxwell (both former secret service agents) series. I had read a couple previously but not the first. It’s another pager turner from Baldacci who really knows how to keep the reader involved and wanting to know more.
Don’t Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde. First grader, Grace, is the force that brings together the neighbors in her building who otherwise would not have come together. Billy Shine, a 37 year old agoraphobic former dancer who has not left the apartment in 12 years, wants to know what’s wrong when Grace suddenly becomes a fixture on the front step of the apartment building. Raylene, Billy’s across the hall neighbor, also becomes involved to prevent Grace from being put in the foster care program/system. Felipe, a lonely young hispanic who has been dumped by his fiancé, Mr. Lafferty, an older man who lives alone and is mean to everyone, Mrs. Hinman who is in her 80’s and has no one to take care of her, all band together to help Grace whose mom is a drug addict and can’t wake up long enough to take care of her daughter. Together, the unlikely group becomes friends and supporters of Grace and of each other. Each life is changed because they cared about a little girl more than they cared about themselves.
Death By Chocolate by Julia Ann Linds. This was good but I didn’t find the protagonist funny, likable, or even anywhere near realistic. I don’t think I’ll pick another by this author.
The Queen Gene by Jennifer Coburn. I really liked this one. It is actually a sequel to Tales From the Crib which I read after this one. I’m glad I read them in that order because had I picked Tales From the Crib first, I might not have grabbed this one. The Queen Gene was very good. It had likable characters. A lot of humor but it was not tasteless or inappropriate. It kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next.
Tales From the Crib by Jennifer Coburn. Not as good as The Queen Gene. In my opinion, the author tried too hard to be funny at the expense of what is appropriate to be funny about!
Void Moon by Michael Connelly. Again, I am floored by Michael Connelly’s writing. This is not a Harry Bosch novel but it is just as riveting. I’d like to see this character (Cassie Black, thief) again in other books.
The Black Box by Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch. Need I say more? No, but I will. I loved this one. It deals with an old, twenty year old, case from the L.A. Riots. It has always bothered Harry that it was not solved then it comes to the Unsolved Unit and Harry grabs it and runs with it, even though his bosses try to get him to drop it. In the end, he solves it. I think this is the closest I have seen Harry come to crossing that uncrossable line.
Letters From Alcatraz by Michael Esslinger. Behind the scenes stories told by a former Alcatraz prison guard. We get a peek into the prison that is so fascinating.
The Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult. What happens when a newborn baby is found dead and hidden under a stack of clothes in the barn of an Amish family? Riveting.
O Little Town by Don Reid. I actually read this one last Christmas but it was so wonderful that I’ve decided to re-read it each year. It’s excellent.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach. I have had this one for a while and hadn’t gotten around to it. I’m glad I did get to read it. It’s quite good. It provides a lot to think about. What happens when elderly British people are forgotten by their families and left all alone? An enterprising Indian man begins a business with his cousin, a medical doctor in London, and soon the Marigold Hotel becomes a “residential hotel” filled with elderly residents, each with their own story and their own baggage. There are lots of characters here but each one adds to the story in a way that enriches the entire novel. Personally, I felt the end was a bit lacking but it was an end. Overall, a very good read.
A Storm Hits Valparaiso
Addicted To Love by CJ West. Okay, I may return to this one but for now, I’ve given up on it (12% through). Too many unbelievable/unrealistic sex scenes. The MC is actually thinking about sex with his new girlfriend, very graphically thinking about it, while at the scene of a murder he is investigating…a very bloody murder of an older man he had known since childhood. This one may not be for me. I might come back to it but with so many other books out there, I might not.
One Summer by David Baldacci.