Sunday, January 31, 2010


Hush by Mark Nykanen
Sick Shit

Davy Boyce is referred to a childrens' center in rural Oregon because he is mute and becomes a violent biter when annoyed. Celia Griswold is an art therapist at the center. Her new boss is not a big proponent of art therapy. As Davy slowly responds to the art therapy his drawings get more and more bizarre, leading Celia to suspect the very worse of situations. She suspects abuse and very severe emotional trauma. Can she get anyone else to see her suspicions?

Celia has her own problems. Her husband is becoming more and more remote and just at a time when she wants to start a family. Celia and her husband live in a remote although beautiful area but a scary shepard had moved his herd into the area causing Celia some concern.

Then there is Chet, Davy's stepfather, the most scariest of men. What he has planned for Celia and Davy is the sickiest and grizzliest of scenarios.

First Line: "Davy Boyce climbed on top of another gray stump and fired again."



Thursday, January 28, 2010

An Irish Country Girl

An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor

This is the story of Kinky Kincaid, a housekeeper for two doctors in the northern Irish town of Ballybucklebo. Kinky was born Maureen O’Hanlon to a farmer and grew up in the county of Cork far to the south.

It is Christmas afternoon when Kinky gathers a group of children into the lounge for a story about her adolescence. It all started the year she was fourteen on a wintry day. Connor MacTaggart, their neighbour had helped with a sheep instead of hauling in more peat to keep himself warm. Connor was 'seeing' Maureen's sister Fidelma. Instead of accepting some peat from the O'Hanlons and being 'beholden' to them Connor decides to cut down a blackthorn tree. Mrs. O'Hanlon warns him to appease the Banshee and not cut the tree down or he will be cursed.

Of course Connor doesn't believe in fairies, dark or otherwise and cuts the tree down and immediately is beleaguered by a vixen, a spider and the cry of the Banshee. All this leads to Connor's death on the Feast of Steven or Boxing Day. Fidelma is devastated but Maureen starts hearing Connor's pipes and even starts seeing his ghost. Her mother who also has the sight helps her though this terrifying experience and Maureen eventually accepts her gift.

The second half of the story Kinky relates as she is cooking the Christmas dinner. She reminisces about a time 2 years past the incident with Connor. She thinks about her aspirations and her passions and how torn she was between the two. Maureen wanted to get her Leaver's Certificate and become a teacher but she fell in love with a man who did not want his wife to work. In the midst of all this angst were the insights into the future she would occasionally get. What did it all mean? Would she follow her heart or her head?

An Irish Country Girl is part of the Irish Country series but can be read stand-alone. I very much enjoyed Patrick Taylor's story-telling. Pull up a blanket and a cup of tea and prepare to be mesmerized and charmed.

First Line: ""Run along, make your calls, and enjoy His Lordship's hooley," said Mrs. Maureen Kincaid, "Kinky" to her friends, as she knelt in the hall and sponged Ribena black-currant cordial from a small boy's tweed overcoat."



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Green Calder Grass

Green Calder Grass by Janet Dailey

Jessy waited forever for Ty Calder as she knew what she wanted. Ty finally divorced Tara and now Jessy and Ty are expecting twins. Happily ever after, right. Not quite as Tara's beloved father dies suddenly and Tara doesn't know what to do but to turn to Ty. Well she does know and knows exactly what she is doing as she is very manipulative and she wants Ty back.

Ty seemingly becomes more and more 'pulled' in as Tara helps to plan The Calder's auction barn and then buys the piece of land entirely enclosed by Calder ranch. The Calders have been trying to buy that land for a long time. How did Tara come by it so easily?

This series almost reads like a mystery as someone in every book is either killed or injured severely. Just another love story where the good girl wins in the end HOORAH!

First Line: "The grass ocean rippled gold under a strong summer song."



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Darker Domain by Val McDermid

A Darker Domain by Val McDermid

Detective Sergeant Karen Pirie is a cold case detective from Fife, Scotland. She's got a sharp mind, a boss that's out for himself, and a suppressed lust for her partner. When new developments are made in a twenty year old kidnapping case, Karen is brought in to examine the evidence. The case involves the kidnapping of a daughter and grandson to a wealthy Scottish businessman. The two were ransomed but the handover was botched and the daughter of Brodie Grant was killed, the grandson never to be seen again. Grant still wants to find his grandson, stopping at nothing to get more information, including not giving Karen access to all of the information she needs to know about the case.

Adding to Karen's case load is Misha Gibson, who reports her father Mich Prentice as missing even though he left his family over 20 years ago during a national miners strike. Many in the village believe he went scabbing with strike-breakers, abandoning his family. But the other men that left claim that Prentice never went with them. Karen sets out to solve the mystery without telling her boss that she's working in the field again.

It's refreshing to have such an ordinary person as the main character of the book. Karen Pirie explains herself as a little chubby and has a great whit and quick brain. She is a little self-conscious but doesn't let it affect her professional life (just her personal life!). McDermid bills A Darker Domain as a stand alone novel but I'd really like to see the return of Karen Pirie. She's right up there with Tony Hill as great McDermid characters.

The mystery is a typical McDermid-style mystery. You have some inklings on what may happen but you're still surprised at what ends up happening. This novel was a page turner, just as expected. If you've never read a McDermid book before but are a general mystery fan I suggest you pick this book up. If you are a McDermid fan, this is another great work. Either way, I suggest getting this book as it doesn't disappoint.

Browse or buy this book.

First Line: "The voice is soft, like the darkness that encloses them."



Rules of Prey

Rules of Prey by John Sandford

Maddog has been killing women in the Minneapolis area and leaving only one clue behind in the form of a rule 'Never kill anyone you know'. This is a killer that knows all the ins and outs about leaving behind evidence and the case will be very hard to solve. Enter Lucas Davenport, cop, video games inventor, seasoned veteran who operates almost on his own.
It takes dogged hard work to catch this guy and just a bit of luck. An interesting twist on the popular mystery as you know who the bad guy is and are waiting throughout the read to see when he will trip up.

This is the first of the series. I read this third and wish I had read it first as a lot of background was provided about Lucas. His relationship with women is kind of cold. The way he plays with the media is fascinating and the reader wants to applaud his handling of them. This is a gory read but I love the series.

First Line: "A rooftop billboard cast a flickering blue light through the studio windows."



Saturday, January 23, 2010

Blue Shoes and Happiness

Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith
cozy mystery

This is the seventh book about the lives of Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency; her assistant, Grace Makutsi; and her husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, proprietor of Tlokweng Speedy Motors.

In this book the ladies discover a cobra in their office, a nurse comes to Mma Ramotswe because a doctor is giving patients false blood pressure readings,a nearby game preserve has some problems and the cook at a local college is feeding her husband and being blackmailed because of it and her assistant cook stands to lose her job.

In addition Grace Makutsi may of scared of her fiancee Phuti Radiphuti because of her frankness.

As always the solutions are as unique as the books. The pace is slow and although these books are a mystery they can almost be called comforting. The advice handed out is sage. I will be looking forward to the next in the series.

First Line: "When you are just the right age, as Mma Ramotswe was, and when you have seen a bit of life, as Mma Ramotswe certainly had, then there are some things that you just know."



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Red Queen by Margaret Drabbel

The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble
Historical Fiction

Drabble writes the story of the Crown Prince of Korea and his Red Queen. The book is split into two: the princess' story and a modern day parallel. The princess married the crown prince while she was still a girl and had many pressures put on her shoulder as a kid. She also had to deal with the strained relationship between her husband and father in law, which eventually led to her husband going crazy.

This section of the story was interesting but I felt that the princess was detached, which made me detached. I also felt that Drabble spent too much time at the beginning telling the reader where the story would lead. A hint here and there is usual but she was telling the reader that the crown prince would go crazy every page.

The second half of the book followed Dr. Babs Halliwell who had lost a son and her husband had also gone crazy. She flies out to Seoul for a conference and reads the princess' diary on her flight over. She feels a connection with the princess instantly, but this is where I lose touch with what Bab's story has anything to do with the princess. She starts an affair with a prominent academic and makes friends with a doctor that specializes in strokes.

Then Drabble makes the mistake of trying to write herself into the story. It seems more like an afterthought and doesn't fit in to the story.

The first half of the book was interesting, but it could have ended there and been more satisfactory.

First Line: "When I was a little child, I pined for a red silk skirt."



Witness in Death

Witness in Death by J. D. Robb

Eve Dallas is enjoying a rare night out with her husband Roarke at the theater. The leading man is stabbed right in front of the audience. Eve not only is the cop in charge but also a witness. She has a whole audience full of witnesses.

I loved all the twists and turns in this book. Another in a great series. Bring on the next one!

First Line: "There was always an audience for murder."



Calder Pride

Calder Pride by Janet Dailey

Cat Calder is a Calder though and though, stubborn, proud, intelligent and slightly haughty. When her fiancee is killed in a car accident. Cat spends her last night at school drinking and then in the arms of a stranger. Nine months later she has a baby.

When Logan Echohawk comes to town she is in major trouble. He happens to be the stranger and he has not forgotten that night any more than she has. How does Cat preserve her first love and come to grips with her developing love for Logan?

Calder pride is a love story in the series of love stories about the clan. A nice easy read.

First Line: "A north breeze swept across the private airstrip and rustled through the grass at its edges."



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

McNally's Chance

McNally's Chance by Lawrence Sanders
Genre of book

In Florida, popular romance writer Sabrina Wright hires private investigator Arch McNally to find her missing husband. But Sabrina really has a much different reason for involving Archy. Her daughter Gillian recently learned that her mother who she thought had adopted her is really her biological mother. Gillian seeks her biological dad.

When the news leaks out among the rich and richer, three males try to hire Archy to keep a lid on the story. Sabrina had affairs with all three at about the time she became pregnant and each one has since been paying under the table child support to keep the author quiet. Now that the story is becoming public, someone kills Sabrina. Will Archy be next??

We also get a glimpse of Binky. Binky works as a messenger at Archy's father's firm. Binky decides it is time to move out and moves into a trailer right next to the beautiful Bianca, With Both Archy and Binky vying over Bianca and Al Rogoff the police next door, life gets complicated.

This book again plays off the irreverent Archy and although a mystery packs a few laughs in. The only negative is that Archy is not as tolerant of Binky as before but actually a bit mean.

First Line: "Sabrina Wright. She was perched on a faux leather stool at Bar Anticipation looking exactly as she id in her author photo on the jacket of her bestseller, Desperate Desire."