Saturday, August 31, 2013

Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King

Started: 8/27/13
Finished: 8/31/13
Year: 2012
Pages: 361
Genre: Non fiction
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court when he become embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change to course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life.
"In 1949, Florida's orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day's end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as 'the Groveland Boys.'
"And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as 'Mr. Civil Rights,' into the deadly fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the 'Florida Terror' at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink form the fight-not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall's NAACP associates involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual threats that he would be next."
Opinion: An interesting case where it continues to amaze me the closed mindedness of others, just based on a person's skin.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Started: 8/20/13
Finished: 8/27/13
Year: 2008
Pages: 270
Genre: Fiction
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer's eyes, it's in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama-desire, despair, jealousy, hope and love.
"At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn't always recognized the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive's own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse."
Opinion: This was a heartfelt collection of short stories all intertwined around Olive Kitteridge.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout

Started: 8/13/13
Finished: 8/16/13
Year: 2006
Pages: 294
Genre: Literature
Grade: C
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "In the late 1950s, in the small town of West Annett, Maine, a minister struggles to regain his calling, his family, and his happiness in the wake of profound loss. At the same time, the community he has served so charismatically must come to terms with its own strengths and failings-faith and hypocrisy, loyalty and abandonment-when a dark secret is revealed."
Opinion: I had read an interview in The Writer magazine and thought that I would enjoy her books. This one left me disappointed. It wasn't horrible but I was expecting a little more. I will read her other ones before I totally write her off.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

Started: 8/9/13
Finished: 8/13/13
Year: 2012
Pages: 324
Genre: literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Chikcy is finally ready to welcome the first guests to Stone House's big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. John, the American movie star, thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian are forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, have been shaken by seeing too much death practicing medicine; Anders hates his father's business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone's relief; the Walls are disappointed to have won this second-prize holiday in a contest where first prize was Paris; and Freda, the librarian, is afraid of her own psychic visions."
Opinion: Very typical Binchy. Great character development.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shadow Woman by Linda Howard

Started: 8/8/13
Finished:  8/9/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 319
Genre: mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Lizette Henry wakes up one morning and makes a terrifying discovery: she doesn't recognize the face she sees in the mirror. She remembers what she looks like, but her reflection is someone else's. To add to the shock, two years seem to have disappeared from her life. Someone has gone to great and inexplicable lengths to keep those missing years hidden forever. But the past always finds a way to return.
"Strange memories soon begin to surface and, along with them, some unusual skills and talents that Lizette hasn't a clue about acquiring. Sensing that she's being monitored, Lizette suddenly knows how to search for bugs in her house and tracking devices in her car. What's more, she can elude surveillance-like a trained agent.
"Enter a mysterious and seductive stranger named Xavier, who claims he wants to help-but who triggers disturbing images of an unspeakable crime of which Lizette may or may not be the perpetrator. With memories returning, she suddenly becomes a target of anonymous assassins. On the run with nowhere to hide, Lizette has no choice but to rely on Xavier, a strong and magnetic man she doesn't trust, with a powerful attraction she cannot resist. As murky waters become clear, Lizette confronts a conspiracy that is treacherous and far-reaching and a truth that, once revealed, may silence her and Xavier once and for all.
Opinion: Not a bad mystery. Had me trying to figure out who Lizette was and how she fit into the prologue.

Haunted Theaters by Tom Ogden

Started: 8/6/13
Finished: 8/7/13
Year: 2009
Pages: 256 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): "The hard part isn't finding theaters that are haunted-it's finding theaters that aren't. Haunted Theaters comprises thirty-five suspenseful stories of spooky visitations and supernatural happenings in historic theaters, opera houses, and other stages from Broadway to America's many regional theaters, from Canada to London's West End. Each tale is guaranteed to entertain-and have you clenching your teeth."
Opinion: Some very interesting stories about some haunted theaters. Was interesting to read about the ones that I've actually been to.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Poppet by Mo Hayder

Started: 8/2/13
Finished: 8/6/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 378
Genre: mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Something is not right at the Beechway psychiatric unit. First one resident turns violently to self-harm, then another to suicide-both of them recalcitrant patients with no prior history of self-directed violence. Whispers between the inmates have traveled to the staff that the place is being terrorized by a creature called The Maude. Clinic higher-ups dismiss this as superstition, but the surviving victim certainly saw something. And what of the drawing the dead woman left behind, showing the creature wearing the sweater of a recently released patient? Staff nurse AJ LeGrande calls on Detective Jack Caffery to investigate, and what he learns about what's going on inside and outside the hospital will shock readers and place even individuals beyond the ward walls are in danger. And what of Flea Marley, the police diver whose dark secret Caffery has been keeping? Can he save her from herself, or will she take him down with her?
Opinion: Caffery and Marley seem to take a backseat to AJ and the happenings around the hospital. Definitely a good plot twist at the end that reminds me that everyone is a little abnormal in order to try to be normal.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Started: 8/1/13
Finished: 8/1/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 323
Genre: mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "It's a hot, muggy evening, and the last thing Hannah wants to do is squeeze into a pair of pantyhose for the Grand Opening of the refurbished Albion Hotel. But with Hannah's famous Red Velvet cupcakes being served in the hotel's new Red Velvet lounge, she can't bring herself to back out.
"The party starts off with a bang with the unexpected arrival of Doctor Bev, a Lake Eden legend who left town in shame after she two-timed her fiance one too many times. Bev's splashy appearance on the arm of a wealthy investor is the talk of the night. But the gossip comes to a screeching halt when a partygoer takes a mysterious dive of the hotel's rooftop garden.
"The victim is the sheriff's secretary, Barbara Donnelly, and she is barely clinging to life. The question is, did she fall-or was she pushed? As the police investigate, the only one who isn't preoccupied with the case is Doctor Bev. She's too busy trying to stir things up with her old flame Norman, who's reunited with Hannah.
"Just as Hannah's patience with Bev runs dangerously thin, her rival is found dead at the bottom of Miller's Pond. The only clue the police have is the Red Velvet Cupcake Bev ate right before she died-and the tranquilizers someone seems to have baked into it. To everyone's shock, Hannah is now the unlikely target of a murder investigation-and she's feeling the heat in a way she never has before..."
Opinion: Even though I haven't heard any of Fluke's books in several years, I haven't felt like I've missed any part of Hannah's life. Predictable little cozy mystery with several great sounding recipes which I might try.

The Kill Room by Jeffrey Deaver

Started: 7/25/13
Finished: 8/1/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 477
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "It was a 'million-dollar bullet,' a sniper shot delivered from over a mile away. Its victim was no ordinatry mark: he was a United States citizen, targeted by the United States government, and assassinated in the Bahamas.
"The nation's most renowned investigator and forensics expert, Lincoln Rhyme, is drafted to investigate. While his partner, Amelia Sachs, traces the victim's steps in Manhattan, Rhyme leaves the city to pursue the sniper himself. As details of the case start to emerge, the pair discovers that not all is what it seems.
"When a deadly, knife-wielding assassin begins systematically eliminating all evidence-including the witnesses-Lincoln's investigation turns into a chilling battle of wits against a cold-blooded killer."
Opinion: Another great Rhyme/Sachs book by Deaver. Not predictable but follows the characters along nicely.