Saturday, October 31, 2009

It Must be Love by Rachel Gibson

It Must Be Love by Rachel Gibson

Gabrielle Breedlove (doesn't this just set the tone for the entire book?) co-owns an antiques shop with her friend Kevin, is in to aromatherapy, and believes that people have auras and karma. When Gabrielle notices at bulky man following her for a week, she takes the man down with a can of hairspray only to find out it's property crimes detective Joe Shanahan. Shanahan believes that Kevin has stolen a Monet painting and needs Gabrielle to help. Shanahan poses as her boyfriend and does some carpentry work in her store so he can keep his eye on Kevin. Typical to any romance novel, the two can't stand each other at first but desire always wins out and they fall in love.

This book is nothing more than fluff as a break from the more serious books I've been reading. It's not written all that well, though I have definitely read worse romance novels. And the fight between hate and lust started to annoy me after the first 150 pages or so. Yes, I understand you hate him but he's soooooo dreamy - insert the eye roll here. There were a couple steamy scenes near the end, which I guess, in more ways than one, is the climax of the book? HA!

First Line: "Detective Joseph Shanahan hated rain."



Friday, October 30, 2009

Isabel's Daughter

Isabel's Daughter by Judi Hendricks

Avery James was a foundling. Brought up in institutions and foster homes she leaves at the age of 13 to find her own way. At first she stumbles upon Cassie who teaches her about herbs and healing.

She eventually finds her way to Sante Fe where she is an assistant to a caterer. Working at a wealthy art dealer's party she comes upon a painting of a woman who is her mirror image. Avery has found her mother. What follows is a search. Her mother died in a tragic accident 8 years ago. Avery initially declines wanting to know anything about her mother but she ends up wanting to know all about her. From her lover and friends, her enemies and even her isolated cabin and journal she finds out about her mother and herself.

First Line: "The first time I saw my mother was the night she died."



Monday, October 26, 2009

Loyalty in Death by J.D. Robb

Loyalty in Death by J.D. Robb

The stakes are high in this installment of the "In Death" series. Eve Dallas is called in to what looks like an open and shut case of a jealous woman killing her lover. Then Eve gets discs of people claiming to have a political cause and threaten to blow up parts of the city if their demands are not met. Are these two cases to linked? When Dallas' aide's brother comes in to town and starts to build cabinets for the deceased's brother, Dallas doesn't like the coincidence. Then a hotel lobby blows up and Eve must focus on stopping this group.

There seemed to be much more on the line for Eve this time which made the store more gripping. The previous wars that Robb had thought up were interesting to read about. This includes an Urban War and some unimaginable terrorism events. Unfortunately, the story was ruined by horrific dialog between Zeke, Peabody's brother, and the wife B.D Branson, the deceased's brother. This part read out like a low quality romance novel and I almost had to put the book down.

First Line: "On this particular night, a beggar died unnoticed under a bench in Greenpeace Park."



Sunday, October 25, 2009


Taft by Ann Patchett

John Nickel manages a bar in Memphis. He was a musician but has gotten a job to prove to his girlfriend, Marion, he can provide for her and their son, Franklin. Marion, however has moved away taking Franklin with her. John now worries that his son is not getting some paternal guidance in his life.

John hires Fay, a young white waitress who lied about her age in order to get the job. Fay has a brother Carl who is into drugs. Fay and Carl's father has recently died of a heart attack and they have come to Memphis to live with their aunt and uncle.

John finds himself consumed with the idea of Taft, Fay and Carl's father and he soon envisions scenes between the family members. In the meantime Fay becomes more and more attracted to John and Carl begins to bring his druggie friends to the bar.

This was a strange book for me with really no satisfying ending. An okay read but nothing special.

The cover is very strange with a baby being thrown in the air. Any parent would know that it is too high and frankly dangerous. Goes in the category of What were they thinking?

First Line: "A girl walked into the bar."



Friday, October 23, 2009

The Summer Kitchen

The Summer Kitchen by Karen Weinreb

Nora Banks has the perfect life. She is wealthy and well-liked. Her boys attend a prestigious private school and her eighteenth century house is renovated to immaculate and tasteful perfection. Nora's life is filled with volunteering, driving her boys to school and getting together with the other mothers to gossip.

When Nora opens her door before dawn one morning to find federal agents there to arrest her husband Evan for a white collar crime, she is astounded. She never expected this to happen. All the other mothers snub her. What is she to do?

Nora decides with the help of her nanny Beatriz to go back to work. She starts off by doing a midnight shift in a bakery. Soon she decides to indulge her passion and start baking her own goodies to sell.

Nora is furious with Evan to the point of being barely able to talk to him and take the boys to visit their father in jail. She feels the isolation and finds herself encouraging an affair with her lawyer. The lawyer besides helping her with the legal mess her husband has left her with is also trying to help himself to Nora's house. Nora is also dealing with a mum who is determined to run her out of town and out of business.

I loved this book. It brought back what values are really important in life. Nora finds out eventually what is really important in life: family, love and real friends. Sometimes books have a profound effect on their readers. That is what happened to me as I realized what a deep love my husband and I share. Thanks to Weinreb for making me think about my important things in life and realizing what I truly have and can cherish

First Line: "It was raspberry season in Bedford, New York."



Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Edgar Sawtelle lives with his parents in Wisconsin on a farm that sells Sawtelle dogs. Between Edgar, his dad Gar, and his mom Trudy, they manage to train the pups until they are ready for placement with families. Each one of the is responsible for a different part of the process. Edgar is a mute who communicates through his own form of sign language. The only one who seems to really understand Edgar is his dog Almondine. She has been his friend since birth and is always by his side.

When Gar brings his brother Claude back to the farm after being released from jail, the dynamics change. Claude and Gar argue a lot and Edgar doesn't quite understand why. When Gar dies, it's up to Edgar to help keep the business alive and learn everything he can about his grandther's vision for the Sawtelle dogs. Claude starts moving in and taking Gar's place in the family which pushes Edgar to his limits. What results is a story of finding oneself in adversity and the journey required to get there.

This book is divided in to different sections and within each you get the perspective of different characters. I really enjoyed Almondine's perspective. She is such a wise and loyal dog and it was amazing how she understood that Edgar couldn't communicate as soon as he was brought home. These chapters seemed like some of the most important ones in the novel.

This novel was definitely a page-turner. Yet there were some passages that I didn't quite understand. At first I wasn't sure if it was because I was reading the book too quickly but I went back and re-read and still couldn't get a clear picture of things. Maybe the author left some of these items partially explained because he wanted the reader to use their imagination?

I really enjoyed this book even though I hated some of the characters and didn't feel too good about where the book was going. But that's part of what makes a book so good I guess!

First Line: "After dark the rain began to fall again, but he had already made up his mind to go and anyway it had been raining for weeks."



Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell

The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
Historical Fiction

A short time in to Queen Elizabeth's reign, a stranger shows up at her door with a diary. The stranger claims to have been one of Queen Anne Boleyn's ladies in waiting during her last days as she waited in the Tower of London for her death. Elizabeth only knows what others have told her about her mother. This diary gives her a look in to her mother's most private thoughts from before her courtship with Henry, her engagement, marriage, and subsequent demise.

The book gives a great history lesson of both Anne and Elizabeth's early days. Having watched the TV show The Tudors, I already had a rough idea of the history and recognized most of the names that Anne wrote about. I think it would have been harder to pick up on who was who without this background.

The most enjoyable part of the book was how Elizabeth was affected by reading the diary. She didn't know much of her mother and seemed to learn a lot by her mother's past experiences and mistakes. Elizabeth draws on this to help her make an important decision that parallel's Anne's life.

First Line: "'God's death!' roared Elizabeth."



Friday, October 02, 2009

Shadow Prey

Shadow Prey by John Sandford

Sam and Aaron Crow have a motive when they send out three Indians equipped with ceremonial obsidian knives to kill a person in NY, one in Oklahoma and one in Minnesota. The motive is that each of these people have committed injustices against Indians.

Lucas Davenport and Lily Rothenberg, a NY cop, must determine what is going on before an important FBI person is murdered.

The Crows have a son, Shadow Love. He is a psychopath who has his own agenda and it involves Lucas and Lily.

Sandford writes a gritty police mystery. Lucas is a rich cop who invents and sells games during his off hours. Lily is the perfect reluctant love interest.

First Line: "They were in a service alley, tucked between two dumpsters."



The Shop on Blossom Street

The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber
Women's Fiction

Lydia Hoffman has opened up a yarn shop on Blossom Street. She wants to affirm her life now that she is cancer-free. In order to gain some business Lydia offers beginners a lesson on "Knitting a Baby Blanket". Three ladies show up.

Jacqueline who is a high society snob dislikes her daughter-in-law and now finds out she is to be a grandma. This blanket will show 'good faith'.

Carol who has been through two IVFs is about to begin another set which will be her last. She believes this is a sign of a pregnancy without mishaps.

Alix who was caught with her roomie's drugs will do this for community service. Maybe knitting is a way to control her anger.

Each of the ladies is completely different and they end up learning about themselves and forming deep friendships.

First Line: "The first time I saw the empty store on Blossom Street I thought of my father."



The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

This novel tells the story of three people trying to survive in Sarajevo during the siege.

One day a shell lands and kills twenty-two people waiting in line for bread, as the cellist watches from a window in his apartment. He vows to sit in the hollow where the mortar fell and play Albinoni's Adagio once a day for each of the twenty-two victims. Arrow, a female sniper, is asked to protect the cellist from a hidden shooter who is out to kill the cellist. Until now Arrow has been able to pick her own targets. She is now assigned a target and her whole life changes.

Kenan must navigate the dangerous streets to order to get water for his family and an elderly neighbour. At each intersection Kenan is paralyzed with fear as he watches people crossing get picked off by the snipers in the hills.

Dragon is out on the streets to go and get a free meal if he can only get there. His family has escaped the city. As he waits at an intersection he meets an old friend only to watch her get gunned down.

This novel brings the horrific and scary aspects of war and strife to the forefront. It is truly amazing what the people of Sarajevo endured. I found the ending of the book unsatisfying as there really was no ending.

Aside: It is very interesting that a Canadian author with an 'English' last name is writing so intensely about a war in Sarajevo.

First Line: "It screamed downward, splitting air and sky without effort."