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.

Someone Like Me                                           

 Author:  M.R. Carey               Fiction                        

After years of abuse at the hands of her husband Marc, Liz Kendall is relieved to be divorced and mostly safe, although she dreads the confrontations that almost invariably occur when Marc picks up Zac and Molly on his weekends. His refusal to wait in the car means that she has to face him, has to try not to antagonize him, has to prepare herself for his rage. Sometimes it works, but it hasn’t tonight. Tonight, Liz thinks, might be the night he kills her because, in spite of the promises she makes to herself to fight back, Marc's uncontrolled violence always defeats her. Convinced that she's going to die, Liz is unprepared for the feeling that overcomes her: the sensation that her body no longer belongs to her, that someone stronger, more rage-filled is in charge. Liz feels like a spectator as she watches her hand lift and shatter a bottle before plunging it into Marc's face.

Fran Watts is and has been sure she's crazy, and the world seems to agree with her, at least the part of the world that includes her classmates, who all know the story of her abduction. Sure, she was only six when it happened, and she's sixteen now, but some memories never lose their power. More powerful than those, however, are the holes in her memory; somehow she's lost the ability to remember her time in the terrifying Perry Friendly Motel, or the death of her mother. Fran's only comfort is her fox, Jinx, and even Fran knows that Jinx is probably imaginary.

Part horror, part poignant family connection, Carey's weirdly convincing novel is definitely a must-read, especially for fans of Dean Koontz. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Out of the Dark                          

 Author:  Gregg Hurwitz                             Fiction       

From the time he was twelve years old, Evan Smoak was raised to serve his country as part of a Black Ops program so secret that even its members didn’t know one another, so clandestine that, instead of names, each was assigned a number, preceded by the name of the group. Evan, the tenth recruit, was given the identifier Orphan X, as each of the team members was without family to whom they were tied. It took seven years of immersive training before Evan was ready for his first solo challenge: a series of murders in a foreign country that, twenty years later, will put a ruthless man in the White House, a man with power so great that that finding and destroying the remaining orphans from the now obsolete program is as simple as a surreptitious command. To stop the slaughter will take all the skills Evan has honed. To kill the most heavily protected man in the world will demand all the imagination and cunning that Evan can muster.

Out of the Dark is not only the best in this fantastically fast-paced, gritty series, but also the best thriller I've read in a very long time! Hurwitz is one hell of a writer; Evan Smoak is one hell of a character. This series, and this book, are absolute must reads.


Look for Me                                 

 Author:  Lisa Gardner                     Fiction                           

Roxanna Baez was only eleven when her mother's drunkenness finally forced the kids into foster homes, but by then Roxanna had been caring for her younger siblings for years. The over-crowded foster system made it impossible for them to stay together so, while little Manny was placed alone, Roxanna and Lola found themselves at the mercy of the predators lying in wait for them. Miraculously, their mother finally sobered up enough to get the kids back and for awhile it seemed as though they were safe from the terror and abuse, until their mother met Charlie and moved in with him, forcing the girls back into the same schools attended by their tormentors.

When Detective D.D. Warren gets the murder call to Roxanna's house the scene is aa bad as anything she's seen: four dead, including the two adults and Roxanna's siblings, but sixteen year-old Roxanna is missing. At first, it seems that Roxanna has killed her entire family and fled, but as more people are targeted, it's obvious that the pool of suspects has not only widened, but become much more murky.


 Author:  Caroline Hulse                    Fiction                           

Claire and Matt have been divorced long enough that their relationship, rather than rancorous, has settled into a comfortable familiarity. Each has found someone new…Claire has married Patrick, Matt has moved in with Alex, and the couples, while not friends, are only awkward together. The issue among them is Scarlett, the only child of Matt and Claire: Matt is convinced that Scarlett would benefit from time away with the four adults, to provide her with assurance that even though her parents have split up, they can all be a happy family of five. Six, if you count Scarlett's imaginary rabbit, Posey. So flighty, disorganized Matt suggests to Claire that all of them spend Christmas vacation at lovely Happy Forest Inn, enjoying the activities and getting to know each other. Things get off to a rocky start when Posey tells Scarlett that Alex the scientist kills animals for research, information that isn't true, but which definitely taints the festive air the adults were hoping for.

Hulse's characters are thoroughly real, and she builds an interesting anticipation by telling her story through the eyes of each of them. I’m looking forward to more by her!