Nancy's Reviews

After working in several word-related fields: copy writing, editing, freelance voice talent and theatre--followed by a long career as a stay-at-home mom I started working at the bookstore almost nineteen years ago, and was fortunate enough to be the manager for eighteen years. From my first day at work I had a sense of being home among the books and fellow book-junkies and that feeling only grew with the ensuing years.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a terrific team of booksellers and customers, and I am especially indebted to my fantastic family who supported my choice of jobs despite work hours that were definitely not conducive to family and social activities. I'm just now learning what all the fuss about weekends is all about!

My thanks to all of you who supported the store, who mourned its closing, and who asked us to establish this forum so that we can continue our tradition of exchanging opinions and ideas about books.


 Author:  Andrew Grant                    Fiction                        

Over the objections of his pacifist father, Paul McGrath has made a successful career out of the Army, learning skills not generally taught in private industry. In fact, most of what McGrath did in the service would land him behind bars were it not for the special dispensation given to members of the military to eliminate problems in particularly final ways. Now discharged, McGrath is given a letter from his estranged father written two years earlier and lost in the abyss of the army's mail system, a letter, surprisingly, seeking to repair their damaged relationship. Arriving at his childhood home, McGrath discovers that he is too late to see his father, who died six months previously, following an argument with the man his dad had partnered into the firm and who had been caught altering the firm's financial reports, a crime that landed him in court. When McGrath finds the man has disappeared after missing evidence resulted in his case being thrown out, he takes a job as one of the invisible people: a janitor at the courthouse, where he uncovers corruption so widespread that he uses all the tactics at his disposal to find and eliminate those involved.

As usual, Grant has written a really good thriller, except that the ending, which leaves plot lines dangling unresolved, is rushed and tepid. So, a decent read, as long as you don't mind filling in the plot resolution yourself.



 Author:  Jessica Barry                            Fiction       

Surviving the plane crash was only the first hurdle for Allison. Injured, stranded alone in the mountains, Allison knows that it wont be long until they'll realize that the only dead body at the site is that of the pilot, and at that point they'll track her down and kill her. Her only option is to keep moving long enough to find a place to hide, because, ultimately, she has no one left to turn to. Her friends are gone, her father dead, her mother Maggie cut off years ago. Desperate, Allison begins the long trek across the Rockies. Maggie may never outlive the guilt she's created by alienating Allison, but she will not believe she's dead. Even though she knows the likelihood of anyone surviving the crash is minimal, she's convinced that Allison is safe and begins to fill in the pieces of Allison's life that she’s missed in the last two years. Some she finds online, some things she hears from a man she may or may not be able to trust. Regardless of the efforts by Allison and Maggie, it may be too late to save either of them from a determined killer.

If I were standing next to you in a bookstore, this is the book I would hand you to read! A real adrenaline rush…I loved it!


Watching You                                 

 Author:  Lisa Jewell                    Fiction                           

Melville Heights isn’t the kind of town where anything ever happens. But the arrival of Tom Fitzwilliams, the new headmaster of the local school, has changed that. There's not a person in the village who hasn't reacted to him: his students adore him, the town's women blush around him, the men want to be him. He just has such an impact on everyone, and has, so it's said, every place he's been assigned to bring sub-par schools up to standards. There are, of course, with a man like Tom Fitzwilliams, unfortunate passions that create difficulties: gossip, jealousy, misunderstandings, typical small-town situations. Not so typical, though, is murder, and with so many suspects, so much passion, this murder may be very hard to solve.

Nicely paced and twisty, Watching You is absolutely a must-read!


 Author:  Laura Sims                   Fiction                           

From the beginning of Looker, there's a sense of dread as the unnamed woman at the center of the story becomes less and less attached to her own life as she filters her reality through the life and movie roles of the (also unnamed) actress in the brownstone two doors down: the beautiful, confident woman with a doting husband and three perfect children (was Nathan ever “doting,” even before the years of failed fertility treatments wore them out and reminded them both of how useless she was as a woman, as a potential mother)? She remembers (doesn't she?) the joy of the love they had, before Nathan left, abandoning her to a life alone, with her students and the cat (Nathan's cat, really, but he must not have cared about Cat, since he didn't even give her a name). She's sure, really sure, that if she studies the actress intently enough, she will become the woman the actress needs her to be, so that she, too, can become perfect.

This short novel packs a real punch, as we watch the unraveling of this woman's identity as her minute upper body grows. A perfectly crafted psychological thriller!

An Anonymous Girl                                       

Author:  Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen                        

Jess was sure that she would be one of the few who succeeded in New York as a make-up artist for Broadway plays, but here she is, slogging from one assignment for BeautyBuzz to another, creating perfect faces for college students off for an evening at whatever the hottest club is, and frazzled moms out for a date night with their equally exhausted husbands, never expecting that her next visit would change her life. Jess overhears one of her clients, an over-indulged student, decide to skip out on a psychological study created by a professor at the college, a study paying an amazing five hundred dollars! Jess figures that she is as capable of spending a few hours at a computer answering boring questions about morality as anyone, but the experience escalates into something much more complex, much more sinister, than she had thought. Soon, Jess finds herself divulging her most horrifying secrets, putting herself at the center of a sadistic plan. Jess can't be sure who to trust, and aligning herself with the wrong person could cost her her life.

A ho-hum thriller with a predictable plot and contrived ending. I expected so much more from this writing team.