Friday, September 30, 2011


When she was in high school, Lizzy was abducted.  Somehow, she managed to escape.  But, she's not free.  She lives in terror that it will happen again.  Now, she's in her thirties and runs a private investigation business.

One day her old boyfriend, who is now a detective, calls her to consult on a missing teen.  Together they must solve the mystery of who he is before any more girls go missing.  And, in the process, she must solve her own mystery.

Formulaic but a real page turner!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blood Wounds

What makes a happy family?

That's one of the questions this book proposes.

Willa and her mom escaped from Texas and Willa's abusive father.  In Pennsylvania, her mom met Jack, married him, and they all live together with Jack's two daughters.

And they all actually get along and like each other.  Oh, there are issues, of course.  Jack's ex-wife is rich so Willa's step sisters get lots of expensive clothes and trips and lessons.  But Willa doesn't seem to mind.  Or does she?

Maybe that is why she sneaks down to the cellar to cut herself.

When Willa's biological father murders his new wife and two of Willa's half sisters then abducts the other child and heads to Pennsylvnia to find Willa, she finds out what her present family is made of.  She also finds out what she is made of.

Susan Beth Pfeffer has written a YA novel that explores the workings of a blended family and has created a memorable character in Willa who is forced to find and stand up for herself.  So many teenagers, nowadays, must deal with broken families.  It's nice to see a book deal with modern issues featuring a strong female character.

My own daughter and her husband have split up and I worry how that will affect Kylie.  She's only five, now, but it's bound to have some repercussions on her as she gets older.  This is one book I'll be recommending she read in a few years.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jane Was Here & The Language of Flowers

I've been reading such good books lately!  And this one is no exception.  I didn't really like the cover but I'm glad I gave it a try, anyway.

Jane has escaped from a mental hospital and is now searching for her home...not the home where her biological parents live, but the place she was the 1800s.  Jane has images of another existence from another era and will stop at nothing to discover who she really is.

This novel is filled with great characters and the writing is down-to-earth...until it hits us with the supernatural.  Sarah Kernochan does a superb job of making the extraordinary feel ordinary. 

Holy tearjerker!  I haven't read a novel like this, where I had to have a box of Kleenex nearby, for quite some time.

This book flips back and forth between Victoria Jones as an angry, emancipated eighteen-year-old living on her own to ten-year-old Victoria, damaged by foster care, living with Elizabeth who wants to adopt her.  We know it's not going to happen right from the get-go but what transpired to force Victoria back into the system is what keeps this story moving.

Elizabeth is the one who taught her all about the language of flowers and Victoria is able to use that knowledge to help her begin a new life.  But, first, she has to learn how to live without hating everyone and everything.

I'm a sucker for flowers, anyway, so this book with its many references to them  was right up my alley!  I stayed up late last night reading and wiping tears away!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Maine and Good Poems: American Places

I promised myself no more detours while reading this book.  Luckily, it rained here most of last week so I had lots of time to finish it.  And it wasn't difficult.  There's just something about the characters in this novel that made me want to keep turning the pages.

The Kelleher family has beachfront property in Cape Neddick, Maine.  (That's only about twenty miles from me so I'm familiar with the area.)  The patriarch, Daniel, won it in a bet.  For years they've enjoyed vacationing there.  Now, Daniel is dead and his widow must decide what to do with it.

The book centers on four female characters:  Alice, the matriarch, who was totally unsuited for motherhood and who has a devastating secret she's held inside for years; Kathleen, her daughter who has never gotten along with her; Maggie, Kathleen's daughter, pregnant and alone; and Ann Marie, Alice's son's wife, the only other family member Alice can stand.

They all gather at their summer home for a two-week period and sparks fly.  These characters are so well drawn that even when you hate them, you love them.  Told with humor and insight, this book and these people will stay with me for a long time. 

I ordered Good Poems: American Places in the spring and have been slowly making my way cross country poem by poem.

Garrison Keillor collected poems of place about America and compiled them into this book.  He's so smart!  He knows how to pick poems that are easy to understand but have literary value, also. 

I really enjoyed this road trip!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blood, Bones, & Butter and Kill Me If You Can

My friend, Deirdre, gave me the book Maine as a retirement gift a couple weeks ago.  I love it!  But I haven't finished it yet.  Why?  Because it's a real book and too big to take on the motorcycle with me.  Instead I had my iPhone with the Kindle app on it when the bike broke down on the side of the road.   While my husband was fixing it, I started reading Blood, Bones, & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef.  It was a quick read so I finished it before going back to Maine.

Gabrielle Hamilton grew up with a French mother who made exotic dishes that Gabrielle loved.  She never forgot them.  But, it took her many years and many mishaps to actually do something productive with her love of good food.  She is now the owner of Prune, a restaurant in NYCity. 

She's also a great writer!  Each page is filled with delicious food and metaphors.  Yum!

Then I returned to Maine. 

But, it happened again!  This time we were at the bait shop and I was waiting.  So, I found a shady spot to sit outside and started another book on my iPhone. 

I knew I'd zip right through this James Patterson novel.  And I did.

Matthew Bannon is an art student.  One day he finds a bag full of diamonds and decides to keep it.  But some really bad people want those diamonds back and will stop at nothing to get them. 

This is a typical Patterson thriller complete with surprise plot twists and a satisfying but intriguing ending. 

Now, I'm going back to Maine.  That's the beauty of it; it's the type of book I can leave for a few days but, when I return, it's like greeting old friends again.