Thursday, May 21, 2015

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline narrated by, George Newbern


Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline narrated by, George Newbern


Also in-house in Hardcover

Dr. Eric Parrish is the Chief of the Psychiatric Unit at Havemeyer General Hospital outside of Philadelphia. Recently separated from his wife, Caitlin, he is doing his best as a single dad to his seven-year-old daughter Hannah. His work seems to be going better than his home life, however. His unit at the hospital has just been named number two in the country and Eric has a devoted staff of doctors and nurses who are as caring as Eric is. But when he takes on a new patient, Eric's entire world begins to crumble. Seventeen-year-old Max has a terminally ill grandmother and is having trouble handling it. That, plus his OCD and violent thoughts about a girl he likes makes Max a high risk patient. Max can't turn off the rituals he needs to perform every fifteen minutes that keep him calm. With the pressure mounting, Max just might reach the breaking point. When the girl is found murdered, Max is nowhere to be found. Worried about Max, Eric goes looking for him and puts himself in danger of being seen as a "person of interest". Next, one of his own staff turns on him in a trumped up charge of sexual harassment. Is this chaos all random? Or is someone systematically trying to destroy Eric's life?


My Review:

Scottoline does it again with another great standalone thriller. This one had me guessing all the way through and when the reveal/reveals came I was caught completely unaware, never would I have guessed who wanted to ruin Eric’s life.

Eric Parrish doctor extraordinaire has a lot going for him he was just named #2 psychiatric doctor but he also just got divorced and is trying to spend a little more time with his daughter Hannah. When he gets a consult about a young man, Max, with possible OCD and who may be a suicide risk Eric agrees to take him on as a patient. But Max says some things that make Eric a little nervous and when Max goes over the edge he seems to take Eric with him. Eric’s life gets turned upside down but is it all a coincidence or is there something more sinister going on? Is someone deliberately trying to take Eric down?

This was a great edge of your seat thriller, there were times though that I wanted to yell at Eric, Stay Home! Don’t Go! But that would have made for a boring story and this was anything but boring. I really felt Eric’s confusion and felt for him as he was trying to save not only himself but Max too.  I love Scottoline’s writing and this one was hard to stop listening to.


George Newbern has got a new fan in me this is the second book in just a month or so I have listened to that he has narrated and I really like his narrating style. He will be a go to for books if he is narrating I will pick the audio version.

This book is for fans of a good thriller that keeps you guessing.


4 ½ Stars

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway


Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway narrated by, Ellen Archer

Available in-house in Hardcover and on Library2Go on audio (this review is for the audiobook version)

Synopsis fromGoodreads:
Hanna Schutt never suspected that her younger daughter's happiness would lead to her husband's death and the destruction of their family. When Dawn brings her new boyfriend home from college for a visit, her parents and sister try to hide their doubts because they're glad that Dawn - always an awkward child - appears to have grown into a confident, mature young woman in her relationship with Rud. But when Hanna and her husband, Joe, are beaten savagely in their bed, Rud becomes the chief suspect and stands trial for Joe's murder.

Claiming her boyfriend's innocence, Dawn estranges herself from her mother, who survived the attack with serious injuries and impaired memory. When Rud wins an appeal and Dawn returns to the family home saying she wants to support her mother, Hanna decides to try to remember details of that traumatic night so she can testify to keep her husband's murderer in jail, never guessing that the process might cause her to question everything she thought she knew about her daughter.

My Review:  (of the audiobook)
This was quite a story it kept me on the edge of my seat, especially when you listen to it as a mother and wonder what would you think and feel? Would you also stand up for your daughter even when everyone else thinks she’s guilty? There’s no way you could have raised a daughter who had a hand in killing her father and left you severely beaten and left for dead. Yes, your daughter has always been a bit odd and was bullied and teased as a child because of a lazy eye but she isn’t a monster right??!!??

I had a hard time putting this one down, I needed to know if Hanna was right or if she had just let one of her attackers back into her home. Yes there were times when I thought Hanna open your eyes and listen to what everyone is telling you but then when you look at it from a mother’s perspective of always defending and protecting your child I could understand where she was coming from.

I also liked the way this is written almost from inside Hanna’s head who doesn’t remember anything about the night of the attack but that night when a police officer asked her who did this she implicated her daughter Dawn and her boyfriend Rud. Rud ends up in prison but Dawn is never indicted because her roommate gives her an alibi. A lot of the book is Hanna going through memories of Dawn’s life, I think in her own way trying to justify why she said Dawn did it because she can’t come to terms with the possibility that her daughter had anything to do with it. There are times in these memories when you feel so bad for Dawn and how her classmates and even her own sister, Iris, treated her but there are other times especially in the present day that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and wonder if Hanna is wrong about everything.

Okay I will stop now before I give anything away; this is a taut psychological thriller that I think would be fabulous for a book club because right now I wish I had a friend who had also read this book so I could talk to them about it. This is a powerful story and especially as a mother will pull at your heartstrings and leave you with a lot of “What if this happened to me?” questions.

Ellen Archer’s narration was very well done I thought the tones and sarcasm she gave Iris were perfect and also her narration of Dawn showed us that she really never grew up and seemed stunted as a child/teen. And with Hanna so much of the book is inside her head and I liked that I could tell when she was speaking to someone or just remembering things. I would definitely listen to this narrator again.

This was my first read by this author and I am now curious about her other books and will search them out.


4 ½ Stars

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott narrated by Cassandra Campbell


A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Available in-house in Hardcover


Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Julie Crawford leaves Fort Wayne, Indiana for Hollywood, she never imagines she'll cross paths with Carole Lombard, the dazzling actress from Julie's provincial Midwestern hometown. Although the young woman has dreams of becoming a screenwriter, the only job Julie's able to find is one in the studio publicity office of the notoriously demanding producer David O. Selznick —who is busy burning through directors, writers and money as he begins filming Gone with the Wind.    

Although tensions run high on the set, Julie finds she can step onto the back lot, take in the smell of smoky gunpowder and the soft rustle of hoop skirts, and feel the magical world of Gone with the Wind come to life. Julie's access to real-life magic comes when Carole Lombard hires her as an assistant and invites her into the glamorous world Carole shares with Clark Gable—who is about to move into movie history as the dashing Rhett Butler.

Carole Lombard, happily profane and uninhibited, makes no secret of her relationship with Gable, which poses something of a problem for the studio as Gable is technically still married—and the last thing the film needs is more negative publicity. Julie is there to fend off the overly curious reporters, hoping to prevent details about the affair from slipping out. But she can barely keep up with her blonde employer, let alone control what comes out of Carole's mouth, and--as their friendship grows - soon finds she doesn't want to. Carole, both wise and funny, becomes Julie's model for breaking free of the past.



This review is of the audiobooks
First off I need to tell you I am a huge classic movie fan; I think movies made before 1950 are the best movies out there. That is why I requested this book from edelweiss but then I saw that Cassandra Campbell narrates it so I waited for the audiobook.

I loved all the insider info into the fights, casting, script writing, censors and producers that went on during the filming of this movie. I am so glad Louis B. Mayer didn’t get his way and that David O. Selsnick filmed the ending he wanted because it was the best ending possible!

Julie Crawford a young writer from Indiana comes to Hollywood to write for the movies, on her first job she doesn’t get a message to one of the directors of Gone With the Wind fast enough and is fired on the spot, however she has just met a beautiful woman who says she will help her out. When someone asks if she knows who the lady is she admits she looks familiar but can’t place her; the woman turns out to be Carole Lombard soon to be wife of Clark Gable who stars and Rhett Butler in the film. What I found a little weird about these scenes was if you are going to Hollywood to write for the movies wouldn’t you at least know a little about the stars you hope to write for? But she and Carole become very good friends and I loved all the scenes of them together Carole seemed like a very down-to-earth person. Also on that day she meets Hank Weinstein and they start a relationship even though he is Jewish. This is 1938-39 so Hitler is starting his holocaust of the Jewish people including Hanks grandparents so he is having a tough time of it.

I was impressed with Gable’s civil rights ideals (I really hope they were true) when he sees that the bathrooms and other places are segregated he has a fit and fights for their rights of non-segregation. Including almost not going to the premier because Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen would have to use a back door and sit in the colored section, even though it was Hattie who convinced Gable to go even when she boycotted the event.

This was a fun book it was such an insider’s look into old Hollywood and especially Carole Lombard & Clark Gable’s relationship. I did think Julie could be quite na├»ve but it was the 30’s and she grew up in Indiana so …

Cassandra Campbell’s narration was as always fabulous, I like how she made Clark gruff but didn’t try to imitate his voice, every character had their own cadence and tone and you were never left guessing as to who was talking.


If you are a fan of old Hollywood, and /or Gone With the Wind I think you will enjoy this book very much. I have enjoyed all of Alcott’s books so if you haven’t read anything by her before give her a try you’ll be glad you did!


4 ½ Stars

Monday, April 20, 2015

At the Water’s Edge by, Sara Gruen


At the Water’s Edge by, Sara Gruen


Synopsis from Goodreads:
In her stunning new novel, Gruen returns to the kind of storytelling she excelled at in Water for Elephants: a historical timeframe in an unusual setting with a moving love story. Think Scottish Downton Abbey.

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind. To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war. Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants. The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

My Review:
Rich party kids Ellis, his wife Maddie and their best friend Hank could care less that there is a war going on, all they want to do is party, but when a night of partying goes a bit too far and Ellis causes his parents some embarrassment they are tossed from the family home. To try to get back into his parent’s good graces the threesome decides to travel to Scotland to find the great monster that caused quite a stir when Ellis’ parents were involved in the search years ago. What starts out as a whim turns into something completely different.

Both Ellis and Hank are exempt from fighting in the military Ellis is color blind and Hank has flat feet so they both seem so oblivious to the fact that there is a war going on that they travel by ship into Nazi infested waters to the great Loch ness but what they see on the ship and in Scotland still has no effect on the two men but Maddie is starting to see the world, her husband and his friend with very different eyes. Once in Scotland we see a very different side to Ellis and it is not a pretty side he seemed like a happy-go-lucky party boy but there is a dark side a very dark side and Maddie does not like what she sees.

I loved Maddie's journey throughout this book from party girl without much will of her own to a strong woman on her own two feet. I really enjoyed this book and read it very quickly, I enjoyed the growing friendships Maddie made in Scotland and the side stories about the locals.

The writing of this book, the descriptions of Scottish countryside and how the war affected the locals were so good it gave a bit of a day in life of these people so affected by the war. Plus we have the loch ness monster and who doesn’t enjoy a loch ness story.

All in all I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it.


4 Stars

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran


Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

Available In-House and on in Ebook from Library2Go

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the 1850s, it expects a quick and easy conquest. After all, India is not even a country, but a collection of kingdoms on the subcontinent. But when the British arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, expecting its queen to forfeit her crown, they are met with a surprise. Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male, one female—and rides into battle like Joan of Arc. Although her soldiers are little match against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi fights against an empire determined to take away the land she loves.

Told from the perspective of Sita, one of the guards in Lakshmi's all-female army and the queen’s most trusted warrior, The Last Queen of India traces the astonishing tale of a fearless ruler making her way in a world dominated by men.


My Review:

Wow Michelle Moran does it again. Such an amazing story about a time and place I really knew nothing about and am now completely mesmerized with. I want to read anything else I can find about this time period, even though they probably won’t compare to how this is written.

These were absolutely amazing women and as always with Moran's books it made do more research the first thing I searched was images of the clothing how gorgeous they must have been. The way they dressed was amazing and seeing the pictures even made it more real. The freedom these women had in Jhansi was extraordinary especially compared to the village women who could never leave the house, which is how Sita grew up plus she had an overbearing grandmother to add to the stresses of daily life. Having a girl child in India in the 1800’s was not a happy occasion if it was not a son then it just didn’t matter, girls were sometimes killed, given away to who knows where and kind of horrible circumstance they would end up in. (prostitution, slavery, nunnery etc.) But Sita was lucky her father loved her even after her mother dies her father never thinks of getting rid of her in one of these horrible ways, though his mother has other ideas (she is an awful person!), so to keep his mother from doing anything bad to Sita he decides she should become a Durga Dal for Queen Lakshmi or the Rani as she is called. The Durga’s are women soldiers and guards of the Rani who dress in beautiful silks but fight better than most men. This is such a fascinating chunk of history that I knew nothing about and if you love books with strong female characters look no further than this one.

Every character in this book is drawn to perfection, there are no one dimensional characters to be found, everyone has a distinct personality and background. There are some great characters in this book even the ones you don’t like; you will find you are still fascinated by their actions. Sita is the person telling the story of what happened during those fateful times when the British decided to just take over India and India and their culture and traditions be damned they just wanted it. The end of the book is heartbreaking, well, so are a few parts in the middle!

I of course had to love that Sita loved to read and because in her Village women didn’t leave the house very rarely going outside this is called purdah, but Sita lived many lives through books she read as she says, “Even prisoners can escape if they have books.”

I was completely and thoroughly enthralled with this story, I learned so much and felt completely immersed in the sights, sounds and clothing of this time. Michelle Moran always writes so beautifully that you feel like you are there with the characters and this book is no exception.


5 Stars

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mademoiselle Chanel by, C.W. Gortner



Mademoiselle Chanel by, C.W. Gortner

Available in-House
And as an E-Book on Library2Go

Enthralled, captivated, fascinated, enamored, I'm not even sure if these words come close to explaining how great this book was and how captivated I am with this woman. This book was impossible to put down I needed to know more and more and more. This is one of those books that when you get finished you want to go back to the beginning and start again because you don't want it to end.

She was definitely a woman before her time she was an absolutely fascinating woman, what she did, not only as a designer but as a single woman in France in the early 1900’s is awe inspiring, she did what she had to do and look what she accomplished, and when you learn where the famous trademark stems from and the origins of her famous perfume it is so interesting. Her rise and how she got there and the people she met along the way is so interesting I am just awe-struck by this woman. I am far from being a fashionista but I want to go see these older dresses and see more of her life.

This book also made me look up everyone she meets along the way and to look at her styles and the scary lobster dress by her rival Schiaparelli . I love Chanel’s more conservative simple dresses; really without her we wouldn’t have the little black dress. And that she stopped women from wearing fruit and birds on their heads that was a great thing.

But above all she was a woman ahead of her time; independent, opinionated, beautiful and rich, but she didn’t start out that way and everything she had was from her hard work, yes, yes men helped her along the way but she paid every one of them back and without her talent she would have never become the icon that she became.

The life she lived and the people she knew is a who’s who in the artistic world of the time, she was accepting of everyone from the snobs of the British aristocracy, to gay men and women, to the drug addled artists, dancers and musicians, she accepted everyone despite their flaws, she was also a very caring woman though her outward attitude didn’t seem that way I believe from this book that if Coco liked you she would do just about anything for you. Some of the things she did during the war are tough but I believe this version she never wanted to hurt anyone and a person had to survive. I do hope that she was able to find some peace and love at the end of her life.

Okay, I could go on and on about this book but I will stop now and just say read this book the minute it comes out, you will not be disappointed!

5 Stars (if I could give it more I would)

This review is crossposted on MissSusie’s Reading &Observations



As I have said in previous reviews I love a historical fiction book that makes me want to do research and boy howdy did this book make me want to look stuff up, everything from pictures of the clothes to learning about the people she met along the way so here are some of the sites I found with great picture of Coco and her crowd:


CW Gortner's--- Pintrest page:



Pic of Chanel is from:  http://www.dmoda.uy/coco-chanel/

This is a great site to see pictures of some of the people and places you will meet in this book

An article about Coco and the ballet with a picture of her and Serge Lifar

A neat tribute to Misia Sert as muse to so many artists in the early 1900’s

Picture of Boy

This is a great site to see some pictures of some of the people and places you will meet in this book

Bendor

Monday, February 9, 2015

Crash & Burn by, Lisa Gardner


Crash & Burn by, Lisa Gardner

Synopsis from Goodreads:

My name is Nicky Frank. Except, most likely, it isn’t. 

Nicole Frank shouldn’t have been able to survive the car accident, much less crawl up the steep ravine. Not in the dark, not in the rain, not with her injuries. But one thought allows her to defy the odds and flag down help: Vero.

I’m looking for a little girl. I have to save her. Except, most likely, she doesn’t exist. 

Sergeant Wyatt Foster is frustrated when even the search dogs can’t find any trace of the mysterious missing child. Until Nicky’s husband, Thomas, arrives with a host of shattering revelations: Nicole Frank suffers from a rare brain injury and the police shouldn’t trust anything she says.

My husband claims he’ll do anything to save me. Except, most likely, he can’t.

Who is Nicky Frank, and what happened the night her car sailed off the road? Was it a random accident or something more sinister given the woman’s lack of family and no close friends? The deeper Wyatt digs, the more concerned he becomes. Because it turns out, in the past few months, Nicky has suffered from more than one close accident. . . . In fact, it would appear someone very much wants her dead.

This is my life. Except, most likely, it’s not. Now watch me crash and burn

My Review:
Man alive this woman knows how to write a I can't put this down, edge of my seat thriller. I devoured this book in one day I could not stop reading.

This book once again features Tessa Leoni and Wyatt and also features DD Warren in an interesting side story which makes me anxious for the next DD book to see where her life goes after this book. We also get an update on Bobby Dodge & Annabelle.

This was such a different story, it kept me guessing even though I was able to figure out a couple things that didn't stop my complete enjoyment of this book.

Is it memory or delusion or a bit of both? What do you do when you can't trust your own mind and what it is telling you about your life? We have a completely and wholly unreliable narrator in Nicky Frank the book starts out with a car crash and her complete belief that a little girl named Vero needs saving and was with her but does Vero even exist? Nicky doesn’t seem to know what is real, what is a memory or is it a delusion, she has had 3 concussions in a short amount of time and her brain is mixed up she keeps looking for the girl Vero is she lost, gone, dead or just a figment of her imagination. Was Nicky her savior or her killer? And what of Nicky’s husband Thomas is he the caring husband he seems to be or is there more behind the 3 “accidents” that have happened to Nicky, her car crash being just the latest.

This case starts out with a bang and gets weirder and weirder and poor Wyatt can’t seem to make heads or tails out of the information he is being given by Nicky while he investigates her car accident. Hopefully Tessa can help him out but she seems a little on edge and won’t tell Wyatt what is going on however they do work well together as they did on the last case that they have to put their personal feelings aside to try to get to the bottom of this very odd case. They even bring DD in to help them out.

This book will grab on and not let you go but that’s okay, just hang on, and enjoy the ride. Lisa Gardner does it again with another fantastic thriller!


5 Stars