Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bones & All; Camille DeAngelis

Bone & All; Camille DeAngelis
St. Martin's Press - 2015

Maren's mother realized her daughter was no ordinary baby sometime during that first year of life.  One day when she leaves Maren with, Penny Wilson, the babysitter, she returns home to find no babysitter, just her baby daughter and a small pile of bones.  Maren, from this early age has had difficulty dealing with signs of affection.  If anyone gets too close, she can't resist the urge to "consume" them --"bone & all".  The babysitter was just her first, later, there was a boy from summer camp, then the son of her mother's boss, at a party.  As a result Maren and her mother moved frequently, yet Maren & her mother didn't talk about the reason.

One day after a special 16th birthday dinner, Maren's mother abandons her. She wakes the following morning to find a note saying that she can't protect her daughter anymore when it's really other people she should be protecting. She leaves Maren her birth certificate revealing the name of her father, and an envelope full of cash.   [Maren] --"a birth certificate is sort of a sacred document for the person in question, even a monster like me."

So Maren sets out to find the father she never knew, meets some interesting people along the way, and discovers a bit more about who she is and why she is the way she is in the process.

Bones & All is a somewhat twisted story, and as disturbing as it may seem, it was easy to fall in love with Maren, the flesh-eating protagonist and her story.  She is an extremely sympathetic character. She's someone who longs for closeness, yet she feels compelled to consume the people who try to get too close to her. Plus --Maren loves books! [Maren] - "When I read a book I can be somebody else.  For two to three hundred pages I have the problems of a normal person--even if that person is traveling through time or fighting with aliens." --I ran my hand over The Master and Margarita. I need books, they're all I got."

I really enjoyed this story and suggest that anyone who loves a story with a strong, sympathetic, female protagonist (even if she does consume flesh), read Bones & All.  The ending was great as well and not what I was expecting.

4.5/5 stars

Friday, January 30, 2015

There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me; Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields - Dutton / Penguin Audio - 2014

There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me is a somewhat gritty story of Brooke Shield's complicated relationship with her mother Teri. Teri who passed away in 2012 at the age of 79. One obituary notice about Brooke's mother was so filled with misinformation, that she felt it was important to set the record straight by writing this book.

Brooke describes her mother as an insecure, complicated woman who drank way too much. Teri was married only briefly to Brooke's father, who unlike Teri, came from a family who had money. Even after Brooke's parents were divorced, her father did take an active interest in his daughter's life.

Teri always envisioned a big, fabulous life in New York City and moved there in her early 20s from Newark, taking most any job that would allow her to meet interesting and powerful people, which included Brooke's father. As a child Brooke claims she was often left alone, and Teri drank a lot, she never talked about her feelings and kept her inner pain hidden. Teri loved being in the limelight whenever possible, and when people commented on what a beautiful baby Brooke was, she ran with the chance to get her baby involved in modeling and then acting. Brooke was just 11 months old when she began to model and later her mother encouraged her, at the age of 12, to play a child prostitute in the film Pretty Baby. Brooke more or less defended her mother's push for her with this film saying it was "mild" in comparison to movies filmed today.

Brooke also write about her second marriage to Chris Henchy, and the birth and mothering experience of their two daughters.  I thought she sometimes came across as self-centered and in need of some soul searching. She mentions being jealous of one of her daughters, and tended to drone on about her mother being and alcoholic, and talking a bit about difficulties she has had with personal relationships.

The audio book was read by Brooke Shields, and I felt it was just okay. This story seemed way too long and it left me feeling sort of cold toward Brooke, whereas her earlier memoir, Down Came the Rain (2005), about her postpartum depression, really evoked some emotion. Overall -- this one was just okay.

3/5 stars
(audio book)

The Tiny Wife; Andrew Kaufman

The Tiny Wife; Andrew Kaufman
2011 - The Friday Project

I can't recall which blogger mentioned how much they loved this book, but I did purchase it (and it wasn't easy to find) when they mentioned it. Of course this is one of those books that I bought and then it sat on my shelf a few years unread.  Well all that changed on recent snow day, and I'm so happy I finally read it. It's a charming, imaginative fable-like novella, complete with illustrations.

One day a flamboyantly dressed bank robber walks into a Canadian bank. He's not looking to rob the bank or hurt the (13) victims, instead he asks each person to surrender the one item in their possession that has the greatest sentimental value for them.  One person gives him a picture of their small children, another a cheap watch, one give a book, another a calculator and so on.  The robber then says, "Listen, I'm in a bit of a rush, so let me conclude. When I leave here, I will be taking 51 percent of your souls with me.  This will have strange and bizarre consequences in your lives.  But more importantly, and I mean this quite literally, learn how to grow them back, or you will die."

Almost immediately the victims lives begin to fall apart. The woman who surrendered her calculator literally begins to shrink :the tiny wife". A man turns into a snowman, a baby begins to poop paper bills, and more.

The Tiny Wife is a short, touching and thought provoking tale that engages and entertains, and it's also a story that makes the reader think about what they consider most precious to them. Less than 100 page, it's one of those rare books that made me wish the story was longer when I turned the final page.  Try this one -- I think you'll be glad you did.

4.5/5 stars
(personal copy)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Coming Soon to a Book Store Near You; The Room; Jonas Karlsson

Here's my "Coming Soon to a Book Store Near You" pick for today.  What do you think?

The Room; Jonas Karlsson
Hogarth - February - 2015

Funny, clever, surreal, and thought-provoking, this Kafkaesque masterpiece introduces the unforgettable Bjorn, an exceptionally meticulous office worker striving to live life on his own terms.
Bjorn is a compulsive, meticulous bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works--a secret room that no one else in his office will acknowledge. When Bjorn is in his room, what his co-workers see is him standing by the wall and staring off into space looking dazed, relaxed, and decidedly creepy. Bjorn's bizarre behavior eventually leads his co-workers to try and have him fired, but Bjorn will turn the tables on them with help from his secret room.

Debut author Jonas Karlsson doesn't leave a word out of place in this brilliant, bizarre, delightful take on how far we will go--in a world ruled by conformity--to live an individual and examined life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Girl on the Train; Paula Hawkins

Riverhead - 2014

I read The Girl on the Train during lunch each day over the course of a week or so. It was one of those stories which was somewhat of a "train wreck" itself, yet when lunch was over, I just wished I could have read a few more pages.

Rachel rides the same commuter train to and from work in London each day.  She's somewhat of a mess since her divorce from Tom, and she is still obsessed with him, his new life with wife Anna, and their daughter Evie. Rachel also has a drinking problem which she tries to hide from her roommate, but she manages to drink on the train to and from work and pretty much any other time she has the urge. Even after she is fired from her job after a drunken outburst, she continues drink and to ride the train to keep up her routine.

One day Rachel notices a couple who lives in a house which abuts one of the commuter stops. Each day she looks for them, and wonders what their life is like. She sees them having coffee on their patio, another day embracing, and one day they appear to be arguing. Each day the highlight of the train ride is looking for the couple who she has even named -- Jason and Jess.  At the same time she looks for the couple, she tries to avoid looking a few houses down where here ex-husband Tom lives with his new family.  When Rachel reads that the girl shes seen many times, whose real name is Megan, is missing, she thinks she may recall something she's seen that might be significant.  Unfortunately, Rachel is not a credible witness, especially since she was heavily intoxicated when she "might" have seen something.  Just how far will Rachel take things playing amateur detective to find out what happened to Megan, before she places herself at risk?

The story is told in alternating chapters by three women whose lives become entwined: Rachel, Megan and Anna.  The characters are all unlikeable, yet well drawn and interesting to read about, and for me this psych thriller was less about solving the mystery and more about the characters.  It's one of those stories that reinforces how little we really know about others based on outward appearance.  Overall a very good debut novel.

4/5 stars

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy; Rachel Joyce

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon.

Rachel Joyce - Random House - March 2015

First Letter

St. Bernadine's Hospice
Monday, 11 April

Dear Harold,

This may come as a surprise.  I know it is a long time since we last met, but recently I have been thinking about the past.  Last year I had an operation on a tumor, but the cancer has spread and there is nothing left to be done.  I am at peace, and comfortable, but I would like to thank you for the friendship you showed me all those years ago.  Please send my regards to your wife.  I still think of David with fondness.

With my best wishes,

Q h


What do you think, would you keep reading?  Care to join us? If so, post your link below.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Blatherings

Morning Readers. Sitting here with my second cup of coffee and watching the weather channel -- possible blizzard here Monday evening through Tuesday, and we just got 4" of snow yesterday.  I was just bragging about what a mild winter we've had:)  I actually LOVE snow, when I just can sit home and watch it from the comfort of my home.

It's been a fast week -- work-wise as we had Monday off.  I finished a few books (some were started a few weeks ago) -- The Girl on the Train; Paula Hawkins (very good debut) -- Calling Me Home; Julie Kilber (very good) and The Tiny Wife; Andrew Kaufman (a quirky short book which I really liked). Now, I just need to motivate myself to write about them -- ughhhhh

New Books

 (Loved the Book and the Movie)
Little Ones

Left to Right - Potty Trained Princess; 6-toothed cutie and adorable snow baby 

Have a Great Week Everyone

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Coming Soon to a Book Store Near You - The Harder They Come; T.C. Boyle

Here's my "Coming Soon to a Book Store Near You" pick for today.  What do you think?

The Harder They Come; TC Boyle
Ecco - March 2015

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author T.C. Boyle makes his Ecco debut with a powerful, gripping novel that explores the roots of violence and anti-authoritarianism inherent in the American character.

Set in contemporary Northern California, The Harder They Come explores the volatile connections between three damaged people—an aging ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran, his psychologically unstable son, and the son's paranoid, much older lover—as they careen towards an explosive confrontation.

On a vacation cruise to Central America with his wife, seventy-year-old Sten Stensen unflinchingly kills a gun-wielding robber menacing a busload of senior tourists. The reluctant hero is relieved to return home to Fort Bragg, California, after the ordeal—only to find that his delusional son, Adam, has spiraled out of control.

Adam has become involved with Sara Hovarty Jennings, a hardened member of the Sovereign Citizens’ Movement, right-wing anarchists who refuse to acknowledge the laws and regulations of the state, considering them to be false and non-applicable. Adam’s senior by some fifteen years, Sara becomes his protector and inamorata. As Adam's mental state fractures, he becomes increasingly schizophrenic—a breakdown that leads him to shoot two people in separate instances. On the run, he takes to the woods, spurring the biggest manhunt in California history.

As he explores a father’s legacy of violence and his powerlessness in relating to his equally violent son, T. C. Boyle offers unparalleled psychological insights into the American psyche. Inspired by a true story, The Harder They Come is a devastating and indelible novel from a modern master.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Station Eleven; Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven; Emily St. John Mandel
 Random House Audio

I tend to shy away from dystopian / post apocalyptic stories, it's just not my thing, but this book has been receiving such favorable reviews that I wanted to give it a try. The audio book, read by Kirsten Potter is so well done and easy to follow.

The story opens with a well know actor performing King Lear on stage.  The actor, Arthur Leander is stricken with a heart attack on stage. An EMT in the audience, Jeevan Chaudhary jumps to his aid to perform CPR, but is unable to save him.  Although the curtains close while this is happening, a young eight year old actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror.

In another part of the town at the exact same time people are dying of an unusual flu outbreak. Before too long, 99% of the population had died off. Meanwhile, Jeevan and his brother are holed up an apartment, hoping to steer clear of the virus.

Fast forward fifteen years and the child actress Kirsten, now a young woman is performing with a Traveling Symphony. The group travels to various locals to perform for some individuals have managed to survive the pandemic. In one particular village they cross paths with a violent prophet who believes the pandemic was a sort of cleansing, and that he and his followers are the light of what is left of the old world.

The story moves back and forth in time, describing life before and after the outbreak. The author shines in her descriptiveness of the characters and the events which have occurred, and the overall feeling is mostly optimistic. It's a story about the relationships that keep us going when all seems lost. Station Eleven gives readers plenty to think about.  I'm happy I gave this one a try.

4/5 stars
(audio book)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph ~ Tuesday Intros - Bones & All; Camille DeAngelis

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon. (This one sounds quirky and fun and has been receiving positive reviews as well.)

Bones & All; Camille DeAngelis
St. Martin's Press - March 2015

"Penny Wilson wanted a baby of her own in the worst way.  That's what I figure, because she was only supposed to watch me for an hour and a half, and obviously she loved me a little too much.  She must have hummed a lullaby, fondled each tiny finger and toe, kissed my cheeks and stroked the down on my head, blowing on my hair like she was making a wish on a dandelion gone to seed.  I had my teeth but I was too small to swallow the bones, so when my mother came home she found them in a pile on the living room carpet."

What do you think, would you keep reading?  Care to join us? If so, post your link below.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

First Snow; Peter McCarty and One Snowy Night; M. Christina Butler and Tina McNaughton

First Snow; Peter McCarty
Balzer & Bray/Harper Collins - 2015


First Snow is all about "first" experiences for little ones, which most of us know can be a scary thing for some children.  In this story little Pedro comes from a place where he has never seen snow, but is visiting his cousins who live in snow country.  Pedro views the snow as new and strange, but the other little ones, bunnies, chickens, and other animals, keep encouraging him to try new things like sledding and making snow angels.

I thought this book's appeal was more about the adorable illustrations than the story itself.  The animals, the way they are dressed, and their facial expressions are terrific. The gorgeous illustrations are done in ink and water colors.  The author/illustrator is a Caldecott award winner, and his artistic talent shows through in this book once again.

4/5 stars

One Snowy Night; M. Christina Butler and Tina McNaughton
Good Books - 2004

In One Snowy Night, Little Hedgehog wakes up on Christmas morning to find that Father Christmas has left him a warm, red, wooly hat which makes him very happy because he is very very cold.  Unfortunately, the prickles on his head make it difficult for this hat to fit just right.

Hedgehog give the hat to his friend rabbit, but the hat is too big. Rabbit gives it to badger, and it fits great but he can't hear, so he gives it to fox who puts two holes in it for his ears.  In his travels Fox finds a baby hedgehog shivering in the snow, and puts the baby inside of the red hat, using it as a blanket to keep it warm and it soon falls fast asleep.

One Snowy Night is a "touch and feel book" that I fell in love with.  Vivid colors and the fuzzy feel of the red hat, in addition, to the wonderful story of sharing and caring, make this book a winner all around.

5/5 stars

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Coming Soon to a Book Store Near You - The Same Sky; Amanda Eyre Ward

Here's my "Coming Soon to a Book Store Near You" pick for today.  What do you think?

The Same Sky; Amanda Eyre Ward
Ballantine - Jan 2015

From the acclaimed author of How to Be Lost and Close Your Eyes comes a beautiful and heartrending novel about motherhood, resilience, and faith—a ripped-from-the-headlines story of two families on both sides of the American border.

Alice and her husband, Jake, own a barbecue restaurant in Austin, Texas. Hardworking and popular in their community, they have a loving marriage and thriving business, but Alice still feels that something is missing, lying just beyond reach.

Carla is a strong-willed young girl who’s had to grow up fast, acting as caretaker to her six-year-old brother Junior. Years ago, her mother left the family behind in Honduras to make the arduous, illegal journey to Texas. But when Carla’s grandmother dies and violence in the city escalates, Carla takes fate into her own hands—and with Junior, she joins the thousands of children making their way across Mexico to America, facing great peril for the chance at a better life.

In this elegant novel, the lives of Alice and Carla will intersect in a profound and surprising way. Poignant and arresting, The Same Sky is about finding courage through struggle, hope amid heartache, and summoning the strength—no matter what dangers await—to find the place where you belong.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Life Drawing; Robin Black

Life Drawing; Robin Black
Random House - 2014

(Intro) - "In the days leading up to my husband Owen's death, he visited Allison's house every afternoon.  I would watch him trudge over the small snowy hill between our two properties, half the time away from me, half the time toward me.  And I would wonder what he thought about as he went.  Wonder too if Allison watched him from a window of her own, and whether the expression she saw on his face as he approached was different from the one I saw as he came home."

From the very first paragraph of Life Drawing, it is clear that Owen is dead.  Yes, the reader is curious how he died, but once I began this story,  I so so enthralled by the beautiful writing and memorable passages that getting to the actual event didn't seem as important to me.

The story is told by August (Gus), 47, after her husband's death.  The novel is their life story, a marriage of 20 years.  August is an artist and Owen was a writer.  The couple moves from the city to the countryside in rural Pennsylvania for a fresh start after Gus's affair with the father of one of her students.  The two hope that the solitude of the country will help heal the wounds of betrayal, as well as inspire their creative talents.

After the couple settles in they meet a new neighbor across the way who has moved to a rundown home there. Allison is around the same age as the couple, divorced with an abusive ex-husband and a daughter. She's on sabbatical and hoping this change in locale is just what she needs as well. Soon the quiet isolation the couple hopes for becomes steeped in tension as the friendship intensifies.

Life Drawing is a wonderful debut novel. It's a beautiful portrait or a marriage --warts and all. The writing is very literary and each character is fully explored.  The story is tension-filled from the very first page. With a few unexpected twists, most of all, Life Drawing, it is a story of love, secrets, betrayals and jealousy, and a story that sticks with you.

4.5/5 stars

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph ~ Tuesday Intros - Dollbaby; Laura Lane McNeal

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon.

Dollbaby; Laura Lane McNeal
Pamela Dorman Books - 2014

Part One

Chapter One

"There are times you wish you could change things, take things back, pretend they never existed.  This was one of those times, Ibby Bell was thinking as she fell back against the car seat and stared bug-eyed out the car window.  Amid the double-galleried homes and brightly painted cottages on Prytania Street, there was one house that didn't belong."

What do you think, would you keep reading?

Care to join us? If so, post your link below.

Monday, January 12, 2015

RED 1-2-3; John Katzenbach

RED 1-2-3; John Katzenbach 
 Mysterious Press / Highbridge Audio - 2013

RED 1-2-3 is a page turning thriller with a psychopath who calls himself the Big Bad Wolf calling the shots -- at least initially that is.

The Wolf's targets are (3) red-headed women who live in the same general area, but who seem to have nothing more in common other than their red hair.

  • Red - 1 - is a 51 year-old doctor. She's single and secretly does comedy gigs in her free time.
  • Red - 2  - is a 33 year-old teacher whose husband and young daughter were killed in an accident.  She's a mess, drinking and over-medicating herself way too much since the tragedy.
  • Red - 3 - is only 17 and lives in a dorm at a private prep school.
The other character that adds some interest to the plot is Mrs. Big Bag Wolf.  She seems like a pushover, but when she becomes suspicious and curious about her wanna-be writer husband's work, she does a little snooping and certainly finds more than she bargained for.

One thing the Big Bad Wolf did not plan on was the resourcefulness and tech savvy of his targets.

Red 1-2-3 had the potential to be a fantastic nail biting thriller. The author did a terrific job of hooking you early on.  The audio book reader, Donna Postel is wonderful.  Unfortunately, the story drags on and on way too long (11+ hours on audio). The author spends a lot of time developing the REDS, but not much time on the Wolf himself or his wife.  Despite this it was still enjoyable, and it's another story that takes place in Western Massachusetts a place I've fondly called home,

3.5/5 stars
(library audio book and eGalley)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Book Blatherings

Brrrr Baby it's been so cold outside. I didn't get any outdoor walking in during the work week, and there is one more week of these frigid temps awaiting us.  Spending more time indoors did allow for more reading time though and I've been enjoying the books I've reading. 

I've finished (4) books in the new year, but (2) were started at the end of Dec:
  1. The Hanging Judge; Michael Ponsor (arc) - 4/5 (Jan)
  2. Lost and Found; Brooke Davis (arc) - 4/5 (Jan)
  3. Red 1-2-3 ; John Katzenbach (audio) (library) 3.5/5 - (no review yet)
  4. Life Drawing; Robin Black (library) - 4/5 - (no review yet)
In progress: (both very good)
A few new books arrive by mail that sound really good.  Have you tried any of these?

Have a Great Week!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Lost & Found; Brooke Davis

Lost & Found; Brooke Davis
Dutton - 2015

In Lost & Found, three unlikely characters forge an unexpected bond.

Intro --  Millie Bird

"Millie's dog, Rambo was her Very First Dead Thing.  She found him by the side of the road on a morning when the sky seemed to be falling, fog circling his broken shape like ghost.  His jaw and eyes were wide open, as if in mid-bark.  His left leg pointed in a direction it normally didn't.  The fog lifted around them, the clouds gathered in the sky, and she wondered if he was turning into rain."

It was only when she dragged Rambo up to the house in her schoolbag that her mother thought to tell her how the world worked."

So begins the sad tale of seven year old Millie Bird whose mother left her in the Big Ladies Underwear department, telling her she would be right back, shortly after the death of Millie's dad. This was a lie of course.

Millie meets eighty-seven year-old Karl, The Touch Typist, who has just escaped from the nursing home his son left him at, a place he probably didn't really need to be just yet.  Karl deeply misses his wife Evie, the love of his life, who has passed on. Karl, meets Millie at the department store coffee shop where he is hanging out.

Millie's neighbor, Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, is a miserable, bitter, old woman who became a recluse after her husband Ron, who she never seemed to care about, dies.  When Millie later returns home, and comes to Agatha's house hungry, Agatha ventures outdoors for the first time in months to bring Millie some cookies and tea.

There are many touching things about this story of lonely people who are brought together. Millie, for example keeps, "a book of dead things", her dog is #1 and her dad is #28.  Wherever she goes, she leaves signs for her mother, hoping she comes back: "in here mum" or "be right back, mum".

The story takes place in Australia and I thought that the writing style, a bit choppy at times, took some getting used to. The story is told from the third person POV and, the author does a wonderful job getting deep into the heads of the characters. When I was finished reading, I felt like I really knew each character. Lost & Found is story will pull at your heartstrings, as well as make you laugh. Readers who enjoy stories of love, loss, loneliness and abandonment, should give this quirky debut novel a try.  The cover is just perfect, IMO, as well.

4/5 stars
(review copy)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Coming Soon to a Book Store Near You - Half Brother; Holly LeCrawHalf Brother; Holly LeCraw

Here's my "Coming Soon to a Book Store Near You" pick for today.  What do you think?

Half Brother; Holly LeCraw
Doubleday - February - 2015

A passionate, provocative story of complex family bonds and the search for identity set within the ivy-covered walls of a New England boarding school.

When Charlie Garrett arrives as a young teacher at the shabby-yet-genteel Abbott School, he finds a world steeped in privilege and tradition. Fresh out of college and barely older than the students he teaches, Charlie longs to leave his complicated southern childhood behind and find his place in the rarefied world of Abbottsford. Before long he is drawn to May Bankhead, the daughter of the legendary school chaplain; but when he discovers he cannot be with her, he forces himself to break her heart, and she leaves Abbott—he believes forever. He hunkers down in his house in the foothills of Massachusetts, thinking his sacrifice has contained the damage and controlled their fates.
But nearly a decade later, his peace is shattered when his golden-boy half brother, Nick, comes to Abbott to teach—and May returns as a teacher as well. Students and teachers alike are drawn by Nick’s magnetism, and even May falls under his spell. When Charlie pushes his brother and his first love together, with what he believes are the best of intentions, a love triangle ensues that is haunted by desire, regret, and a long-buried mystery.

With wisdom and emotional generosity, LeCraw takes us through a year that transforms both the teachers and students of Abbott forever. Page-turning, lyrical, and ambitious, The Half Brother is a powerful examination of family, loyalty, and love.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Hanging Judge; Michael Ponsor

The Hanging Judge; Michael Ponsor
Open Road Media - 2013

I was initially attracted to the novel because the story takes place in Western Massachusetts, an area I grew up in. It's a debut novel that examines the death penalty in a state where the death penalty has long been abolished and a double homicide murder trial that just may warrant such a sentence. The case has been moved to the Federal Court system so that a death penalty sentence, if convicted can be imposed.

Federal US District Court judge, David Norcross with just over two years in the position, presides over the murder trial. The trial involves a gang related drive by shooting in Holyoke, MA., which kills a Hispanic drug dealer and an innocent bystander, a white nurse on her way to work.  The shooter is identified as an African American former gang member, and now stands trial.

As with true court television dramas, the novel has a full cast of characters: attorneys, witnesses, police, court clerks, family members of the accused and even a romantic interest of the judge. The story gives the reader plenty to think about, including a true death by hanging case from some 200 years earlier in Massachusetts history. For the most part the characters felt convincing, except for when the author explored the pro-death penalty argument. In my opinion, the individuals did not feel very intelligent or convincing. Overall, I was very happy I gave this legal thriller a try, it's a tad long, but worth reading if you enjoy procedural law.

The author has been a Senior US District Court judge in Western Massachusetts, and in 2000 presided over the first capital murder case in Massachusetts in fifty years.
4/5 stars
(review copy)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Red 1-2-3; John Katzenbach

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon.

 Red 1-2-3; John Katzenbach
Highbridge Audio - 2013



"Red One was standing helplessly watching a man die when her letter was delivered to her isolated house in a rural part of the country.

Red Two was dizzy with drugs, alcohol and despair when her letter was dropped through the mail slot to her front door of her split-level suburban home.

RED 3 was staring at failure, thinking that more and far worse failures were awaiting her when her letter arrived in the mail depository just down the stairs from her dormitory room."

What do you think, would you keep reading?
Care to join us? If so, post your link below.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday Blatherings

Well, my (17) days off are over, it's back to work tomorrow...the time passed in a blur. The holidays were really special, we went to the movies to see: Unbroken, Wild and Big Eyes -- all movies were very good, but honestly, Big Eyes was my favorite -- all (3) were based on true stories. We also visited the museums, went out to eat a lot, tried a few new recipes at home and I even managed to get some exercise as well.  The sad thing was that I only read (1) book  in the last week with all that time off.  My first book of 2015 is Lost and Found; Brooke Davis - started out strong, but not perfect.

Today we have a 50th anniversary party to attend so I won't have to cook, and then well it's Monday.  I am looking forward to starting some yoga classes beginning on Thursday.

New Books
(acquired over the last 2 weeks)

Have a Great Week

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year - Things to Remember

If this post looks somewhat familiar, it's because I posted it in 2010. Since it conveys the way I feel, I wanted to use it once again (and of course most of you know that I adore cats).
 As we say goodbye to 2014 and welcome in the New Year, I wanted you to know that I am wishing you a year filled with peace, love, happiness and the best of health.

May you never lose you ability to think outside of the box and to see life's bigger plan for you.

May you always have the perfect friends to see you through the rough times in life.

May you never forget to show your appreciation to those who mean the most to you.
May you be happy with yourself just the way you are.

 Tell others they look beautiful, even when they might look ridiculous.

May you always remember those less fortunate, and give a little something to those in need.

Happy New Year to My Friends!