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Jeff Abbott

Title: Collision  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Dutton
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this unfortunate attempt, Abbott weighs in with a completely disorganized spy thriller, with misunderstood good guy and CIA killer Pilgrim pursued by ruthless businessman Sam Hector as Hector tries to manipulate international terrorism. Despite a trail of bloody bodies and chase scenes, this book manages to be boring as Pilgrim and his unlikely sidekick Ben slash and shoot their way through enemies on all fronts in their effort to save the world. Even a contrived surprise ending can't save this one.

Title: Fear  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Onyx
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Abbott has come a long way from his early mysteries and has pretty much arrived with this one. Miles Kendrick is in the federal Witness Protection program, seeing a shrink and sharing his life with the nagging ghost of his best friend (whom, he's pretty sure, he killed) when he's offered the chance to participate in an experimental test to treat victims of post-traumatic stress syndrome. All bets are off, however, when his doctor is murdered and Miles seems to be the next target. A little overly wordy, but all in all a very good read.

Marc Acito

Title: How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Frienship and Musical Theater
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Broadway Books
Copyright: Reprint 2005

Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: 17 year old Edward Zanni's plan to attend Julliard hits a snag when his father's new wife convinces him not to pay for college. Edward,a somewhat feckless fellow, turns to his misfit friends to carry out a scheme of embezzlement, money laundering, forgery and blackmail. This farcical coming-of-age story is highly entertaining.

 

Elizabeth A. Adler

Title: The House in Amalfi  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Lamour Harrington, a young woman widowed 2 years earlier, returns to Italy to recapture the memories of her childhood and to discover the real circumstances surrounding her father's death. After deciding to relocate there she must also deal with her attraction to the neighboring father and son. Although somewhat pat and predictable this is a pleasant read.

Mitch Albom

Title: For One More Day (Review #1)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Hyperion
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Mitch Albom, author of "Tuesdays With Morrie" and "The Five People You Meet In Heaven" weaves a fable about a broken man who gets to spend one more day with his deceased mother. In the course of that day he learns of her sacrifices and love and what he might do to put his life back together.

Title: For One More Day (review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Hyperion
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Patty

Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This book from Mitch Albom, author of The Five People You Meet In Heaven tells the take of a man who has hit more than rock bottom. Here you meet Chick, a man at his most desperate hour finds that he gets to spend one more day with his deceased mother. During this day he understands how much she loved him and what he could do to turn himself around.

Title: Have a Little Faith: A True Story 
Classification
: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher:
Gale Group
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:
From the author of "Tuesdays With Morrie", Mitch Albom's latest non-fiction effort is an 8 year journey with 2 extraordinary men, 2 faiths and 2 widely different communities. Struggling with questions: who is God, why does man suffer, etc, he comes to realize that all men find comfort in believing in something bigger than self. There is a striking sameness in diverse religious beliefs. The rabbi and the homeless preacher are engaging and fascinating in their own individual ways. A well crafted and surprisingly easy read considering the subject.

Randy Alcorn

Title: Safely Home  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Copyright: July 2001
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is a novel written about two college friends who meet up after years of being graduated. The story takes place in China when Ben comes over with a business proposition and stays with his friend Li Quan while he's in the country. Ben learns about Christian persecution in China in a very personal way as he goes with Li Quan to meetings in underground churches and witnessed other ways Li Quan reaches out to people. The authorities hear of what Li Quan has been doing and throws Li Quan in jail. Ben then begins to realize that he's learned much more than business during his stay.

Title: Treasure Principle: Discovering the Secret of Joyful Giving 
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: Multnomah Publishers
Copyright: 2001
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is a bite-sized hardcover, one of those slender, quick little reads. It challenges the Christian to examine his or her heart towards giving, and encourages an eternal perspective.

Alan Alda

Title: Never Stuff Your Dog: And Other Things I've Learned 
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Alan Alda's biography is well written, amusing and enlightening with lots of childhood and off screen experience which formulated his personality and career.

Sarah Addison Allen

Title: Garden Spells (Review #1)  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In her first novel Sarah Addison Allen has written a tender book about sisters reconnecting and the security of family and love. With their special gifts and their garden of somewhat mystical spells, the family comes together in a lovely story to change their lives and those around them. Reading "Garden Spells" gives you a touch of Sue Monk Kidd, Alice Hoffman or Rebecca Wells.

Title: Garden Spells (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A thoroughly charming book about the Waverleys, whose garden has, for generations, produced magical plants.  Claire and Sydney are sisters, abandoned by their mother years ago, who find themselves together again in the family home.  Claire, the town caterer, has made a life out of hiding herself, while Sydney has spent years running from man to man.  Thanks to their enchanted apple tree (you'll find out) and to their Aunt Evanelle, who finds herself compelled to give things to people, the sisters come to grips with their history and their future.  A wonderful, wonderful book.  Don't miss it!

Title:  Girl Who Chased the Moon
Classification: Fiction
Publisher:
Bantam
Copyright
2010
Reviewer
: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:

When Emily’s mother dies, she discovers a grandfather she never knew existed and a side of her mother she can’t believe was true. In Mullaby, North Carolina, though, there are a lot of things that only exist in a Southern town: wallpaper that changes of its own volition, the sweet scent of cakes that acts as an aphrodisiac, and a powerful family whose men carry a secret hidden for generations.

Allen has, once again, created an enchanting story of love and mystery that allows you to gladly suspend belief in the mundane.  All that’s missing is the sweet tea.

Title: Sugar Queen (Review #1)  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Josey Cirrini is twenty-seven years old and still living with her cold, controlling mother. Her only solace is her secret closet stash of candy and romance novels which is where she's heading when she finds Della Lee Baker...a local waitress with a shady reputation who has apparently chosen Josey's closet as her hiding place. Why she's there, and how Josey's life begins to change as a result, are all part of another magical Allen read; this is one author who hasn't suffered sophomore slump with her second book! Don't miss it.

Title: The Sugar Queen (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
27 year old Josey Cirrini, plain and plump, is caring for her difficult widowed mother when she discovers local waitress Della Baker living in her bedroom closet. Little by little Della is able to make Josey recognize her self worth and begin to live outside her stifling home environment. She also meets and bonds with Chloe who works at the local sandwich shop, and who is continually finding unexplained books by her side. As in "Garden Spells", Allen's first novel, there is a mystical and captivating effect in "the Sugar Queen".

Madelyn Alt

Title: A Charmed Death  ____
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Copyright: 2006

Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The second book in the Enchanted series is even more disappointing than the first.  Again, all the characters from The Trouble with Magic are back sans one; the most interesting, Enchantment owner Felicity Dow.  She makes an appearance midway through the book but is rather inconsequential to the mystery of finding out who has killed the local entitled teenage princess thought to have committed suicide.  The book focuses more on teaching us about the New Age witch world and the stumbling of new witch Maggie O'Neill than creating a good murder mystery. 

Title: Trouble with Magic  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: First installment of the Bewitching Mystery series: a crime mystery with a little magic. Maggie O’Neill literally falls into a New Age-type life when she meets Felicity Dow, owner of the haberdashery Enchantments and local witch in the small Midwestern town of Stony Mill, Indiana. The characters, as well as the mystery itself, are a bit predictable, but the book is still charming. Most likely, I will read the next Bewitching Mystery book when it is released to see what is happening with Maggie and Felicity.

Bill AmendBill Amend

Title: How Come I'm Always Luigi? A FoxTrot Collection  
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Humor/comic strip. If you love FoxTrot, you'll love this book as much as all the previous ones. I'm mainly including mention of it here so you will know there is a new book out, because it either suits your sense of humor or it doesn't. I love it and it makes me laugh. One of the top comic strips in my opinion.

Joan AndersonJoan Anderson

Title: A Walk on the Beach 
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Broadway Press
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the third, and best, in a biographical series, but stands alone. During her friendship with a wise and thought provoking friend, the author learns much about herself and life in general.

Ilona Andrews

Title: Magic Bites 
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: ACE Fantasy
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A new dark urban fantasy series set in Atlanta, Georgia where magic has reentered the world and destroyed most modern technology.  The city is chaotic, caught between magic fluctuations which temporarily disable all technology, and trying to function the rest of the time in a war torn landscape as if magic doesn’t exist.  When the magic is up, a number of magic patrolling agencies, including knight-protectors and mercenaries, are responsible to keep order.  Kate Daniels, not a team player and member of the mercenary guild, finds herself caught in the middle of a bizarre murder mystery involving the death of her guardian, a number of necromancers who control vampires, and a group of paramilitary shapeshifters.  The story is action-packed and full of interesting characters that will make a great series.  However, unlike other dark urban fantasy stories, this series’ setting relies on rules borrowed from science fiction, and for that reason alone, the story merits a 4 instead of a 5.

Julie Andrews

Title: Home: A Memoir of My Early Years  
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Hyperion
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"Home", Julie Andrews' memoir, starts with her birth in England in 1925 and continues through 1962. Born to an aspiring vaudevillian mother, Julie began her professional career at 12 with an astonishing voice. Throughout the first half of the book she recounts her difficult childhood during the war and traveling to performances with her mother and stepfather. The latter half of the book deals with the more technical aspects of musical theater and anecdotes about many famous performers including Rex Harrison and Richard Burton. "Home" is a bit dry and written with a reserved style one might expect from Andrews.

Mary Kay Andrews

Title: Blue Christmas  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Mary kay Andrews brings the reader back to Savannah with "Weezie" Foley, from "Savannah Blues" and "Savannah Breeze". This contrived holiday story is cute but has a really weak plot compared to the earlier "Savannah" novels.

Title: Deep Dish  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Gina Foxton, star of her own local cooking show, is devastated when her sleazy producer/lover sleeps with the sponsor's wife and her show is cancelled. Not all is lost, however, when Gina finds herself on a national reality show, competing against hunky rival Tate Moody for a shot at the big time. A cute, fluffy read, but wait for paperback.

Title: Deep Dish 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Local Georgia chef Gina Foxton decides to compete for a national TV spot. Enter Tate Moody, host of an outdoors man cooking show. Everything, and everyone, heats up as they vie for the same position. Romance and fun and pretty typical of Andrew's books.

Title: Savannah Breeze  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Unknown
Copyright: Unknown
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Weezie and BeBe (from the author's earlier "Savannah Blues") are back, this time tracking a sexy embezzler who has seduced BeBe and stolen back her family's fortune. A light, fun read.

Toni Andrews

Title: Beg For Mercy  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Mira
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: After a life-time of being labeled a freak, Mercy Hollings, a twenty-ish Southern Californian loner decides to use her "gift" of suggestion to open a hypnotherapy practice. Not only does she find friends in the most unlikely places, she becomes an unwilling leader of a "gang" of amateur sleuths. This first book in the Mercy Hollings series is a welcomed addition to the urban fantasy genre.

A. Manette Ansay

Title: Good Things I Wish For You  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:
Recently divorced Jeanette Hochmann is stuck--in life and in her writing. Despite her passion for her subject (a novel about nineteeth-century pianist and composer Clara Schumann's relationship with Johannes Brahms), Jeanie has hit a wall until she meets Hart. Soon she is living a life that parallels Clara's; loving a man who can love only himself even though he provides the passion that fuels her creativity. Unfortunately, in a style unlike Ansay, the development of the relationship is awkward, while the characters are too stiff too be believable. Definitely not up to the promise of Ansay's Vinegar Hill.

Piers Anthony

Title: Apprentice Adept
Classification
: Fantasy
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Two worlds co-exist: Proton, where everything relies on logic and science, and Phaze, a fantasy world governed by magic where science doesn’t exist. Unnecessarily graphic scenes in some of the books marred my enjoyment of this series, but it has an interesting story line.

Title: Crewel Lye  
Classification:
Fantasy
Publisher: Ballantine
Copyright:
1984
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
This is my favorite book in the Xanth series; it's one of the few books I have literally read to pieces and had to re-purchase. Great literature it's not, but it is great fun. A not-too-bright barbarian heads out on a quest with mixed-up magic to "help" him, and the object he seeks is more than he bargained for. It's a good thing his magical talent is healing himself, because he gets killed and maimed on a regular basis. But death shall not deter him from his quest...or will it? Jordan the ghost recounts the story.

Title: A Spell For Chameleon 
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Copyright: 1977
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the first book in Anthony's "Xanth" series. Follow the main character Bink as he sets out on a journey seeking answers about his unidentified magical talent.

Jennifer Apodaca

Title: Dating Can Be Murder  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books
Copyright: May 2002
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
#1 in the Samantha Shaw series. This fun, light mystery is a good read to pass the time while you're waiting for another Evanovich. This author isn't on the same level, of course, but with her own style provides elements of humor, romance, and adventure, starring a single mom with two sons and a dating service business that serves up more trouble than bliss. Add in a mom who disapproves of everything her daughter does, a grandpa who enjoys life, and a couple of romantic interests (which will she choose?), not to mention a dog with a drinking problem, and you have a very enjoyable read. Unfortunately, this is out of print at the time of this review (9/06), so look for it in libraries or at used bookstores.

Title: Dying to Meet You 
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is another Samantha Shaw mystery. Trapped under a dead body until calling 911 to be rescued, kidnapped with a can of oven cleaner by the murder victim's husband, and peed on by the same victim's pet kitten - Sam's just starting the investigation into the death of one of her former Heart Mates dating service clients. Good, fun light mystery.

Kelley Armstrong

Title: Exit Strategy  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Growing up in a family of police officers gives Nadia her sharp edge. No surprise she became a police officer. However, Nadia finds herself forced into retirement when she took justice into her own hands. Now, she runs nature lodge in Canada. At least that is what she does when she isn’t killing for hire. When a serial killer strikes terror across the U.S., Nadia’s contact recruits her to help hunt down this growing threat to their profession. Getting a group of hired killers to work together, even if its for the ‘greater good,’ is almost an impossible task as they struggle to keep their own identities private, yet try to trust one another to work together in a profession where trust usually gets you killed. The suspense and tension keeps you turning the page as Nadia and the gang hunts an aging hit man who is taunting local and federal law enforcement as he carries out his bloody retirement exit strategy.

Lori Armstrong

Title:  No Mercy
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Touchstone
Copyright: 2010
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments: Mercy Gunderson is home on her family’s ranch after her father’s death, trying to deal with her loss and with the problems presented by her sister and her troubled nephew when a body is found on her land.  So far, so good.  Mercy is a career Army sniper, one of the few women in the field, and she’s a rough, tough woman (but beautiful, of course) who has traveled the world killing people. Why is it, then, that she now chooses to pursue a killer while leaving her gun at home, getting drunk, and falling (weeping) into the arms of the big strong (and handsome, of course) lawman? Armstrong needs to stick to romance and if she’s thinking about making this a series I hope she changes her mind.

Keri Arthur

Title: Full Moon Rising (Review #1)  
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Bantam Dell/Random House
Copyright: February 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Werewolf/vampire fantasy. I liked the main character and her interactions with those around her. It had some really interesting plot twists. I hope the author continues this story line as a series.

Title: Full Moon Rising (Review #2)
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Bantam Books
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Riley and her twin brother, Rhoan are rare vampire/werewolf hybrids who work for an Australian organization created to police the supernatural. This new dark urban fantasy adventure is full of action and the story moves along with such a fast pace I read it in one long sitting! Arthur sets up the story for a sequel and I can only hope this book is the first in a series. What an exciting addition to the genre!

Title: Kissing Sin 
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Dell
Copyright: February 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Australian twins Riley & Rhoan Jenson are back in the second installment from the RILEY JENSON GUARDIAN series. Riley finds herself prisoner in another facility run by the group of genetic engineers who tormented her brother in Full Moon Rising.  Their attempts of crossbreeding paranormal DNA to create the perfect warrior puts everyone in the Guardian force at risk as it becomes more apparent there is a mole within the force.  As Riley’s vampire traits begin to surface, her identity as a werewolf is beginning to shatter and she finds herself becoming closer to joining the Guardian force her brother works for as a governing assassin policing the paranormal community.  Keri Arthur is technically a romance writer but these novels are strong on suspense and short on romance. The sexual exploits, although at times rather graphic, of Arthur’s characters are more integrated into the story with far more finesse and are less gratuitous than Laurell Hamilton has been able to achieve with her paranormal characters.  This series is thrilling and hypnotizing, and with the plan to release a paperback book a month in 2007, we won’t have to wait to enjoy the dark urban fantasy adventures of these unique vampire/werewolf twins.

Catherine Asaro

Title: Alpha  
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: September 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A female android designed to be the ultimate killing machine is falling in love with her target. A very good sequel to “Sunrise Alley.” This story is a fast-paced, truly enjoyable read which provides an interesting view of the possible interaction between humans and artificial intelligence. Also has an interesting exploration of the possibility of immortality.

Janet Asimov & Isaac Asimov

Title: Norby Chronicles
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A series of short science fiction novels for young teens. These are the delightful adventures of fourteen years old Jeff Wells, a Space Academy cadet and Norby, his second-hand robot with unusual abilities. Enjoyable reads for preteens on up to adults. Fun!

John Assaraf

Title: Having It All: Achieving Your Life's Goals and Dreams  
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Atria Books
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: I actually won a copy of this book at a business networking event I attended last month. If I had to compare this book to something similar, I would say it was a cross between The Secret and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This author shares the belief in attracting things to you like The Secret and he also talks about seven ‘power factors’ that highly successful people use.  While somewhat interesting, I feel like I’m re-reading a slightly altered version of Stephen Covey's book.  If you have never read either book mentioned above, then this would be a decent cross that covers both subjects of attraction and habits.

Nancy Atherton

Title: Aunt Dimity
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In today’s modern day world, you aren’t likely to find a more gentle mystery series. Sometimes nobody even gets killed. The main character, Lori Shepherd, talks to her deceased Aunt Dimity through a journal which was bequeathed to her. Aunt Dimity serves as the foil for her thoughts and sometimes is able to help with the cases.

Title: Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea (Review #1) 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is #11 in the series which began with "Aunt Dimity's Death." Main character Lori Shepherd and her 5-year old twin sons, Will and Rob, are sent to stay with a rich friend of the family on an island off the coast of Scotland when "Abaddon" --a lunatic, obviously--threatens her husband Bill. This is about as tame as it gets in a modern mystery series, so if you like that, as I do, you'll enjoy this story. Aunt Dimity is a ghost friend who communicates with Lori through a journal, but she doesn't figure into this particular story very much.

Title: Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea (Review #2)
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The 11th novel in the Aunt Dimity series finds Lori Shepard and her children hiding out in a castle on a secluded Scottish Island after a series of death threats. But even there she is drawn into a possible smuggling plot and has to call on Aunt Dimity's supernatural power to save herself and her family. Atherton's cozy amateur sleuth books are both whimsical and suspenseful.

Kate Atkinson

Title: Case Histories  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Kate Atkinson just hasn't found a way to write a bad book, and this entry in the Jackson Brodie series is more evidence of that. Three unrelated crimes, spanning a period of twenty-four years, are woven together in an unlikely but inevitable way when former cop Brodie investigates. Atkinson, as always, convincingly establishes the strength of coincidence as the quirky Brodie wanders through the clues. A terrific read.

Title: One Good Turn  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A very intriguing novel about how one moment influences life, how "One Good Turn," can alter future events. Retiring, asocial author Martin Canning is witness to a brutal example of road rage. Without thinking, he throws his laptop at the aggressor and saves the victim, who just happens to be a hitman. Does this action save the intended target? Or does it widen the circle of violence? A taut, riveting story.

Title: When Will There Be Good News?  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Little Brown
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
British author Atkinson delivers another top-notch mystery with the return of Jackson Brodie (Case Histories, One Good Turn) as he is reluctantly drawn into the investigation of a missing doctor who has already survived one brutally violent attack. Since the man who murdered her family has just been released from prison, is her disappearance related, or has she been taken by someone else? Is she on the run to save herself and her baby? A tightly woven book, with the coincidences that mark Atkinson's novels and keep us turning pages. I loved this one!

Jean Auel

Title: Earth’s Children
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Ayla is one of the first modern humans living during the Ice Age. The series begins with Ayla’s traumatic childhood living among the Neanderthal Cave Bear clan whose skills and physical features are radically different from her own Shunned as an adult by the clan, the books follow Ayla as she journeys through the harsh and threatening prehistoric world. The first three books are excellent; the last two books were terrible. Check out the reviews below on the individual books!

Title: Clan of the Cave Bear 
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Never judge a book by its movie. The book is one of my all-time favorite reads; the movie is an abomination. Ayla is a prehistoric child rescued by a separate race of humans destined to die out. She struggles to fit in with a culture that doesn't suit her intrinsic nature, as they struggle to accept her. As Ayla grows up, she discovers an inner strength that transcends her environment. This first book in the Earth's Children series is the best of all of them.

Title: Mammoth Hunters  
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this third book in the Earth's Children series, Ayla and Jondalar stay with a group of people who hunt mammoth. The sex scenes in this book become a bit overbearing; it's more of the same, yada yada yada, let's get back to the plot. However, Ayla wins my heart again as the larger-than-life, innovative heroine, still triumphing over adversity and fighting against prejudice. Lots of cultural conflict to spice up the plot.

Title: Plains of Passage  
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This fourth one is the absolute worst book in the entire Earth's Children series. Ayla and Jondalar travel on and on...and on...and ON...and by the time they reach their destination, it's the end of the book. What a gyp! Here's the plot: they travel. They have sex. They watch animals have sex. Shall I ever recover from reading the mammoths' sex scene? I may be in therapy for years. I should sue. Plus there's a rather nasty exploration of a group of women's abusive domination of men. Ick. Jean Auel, why did you put us through the "Pains" of Passage?

Title: Shelters of Stone 
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The good news is that the fifth book in the Earth's Children series is better than the fourth. Instead of being offensively bad, it's just boring. We waited ten years for this? I was reluctant to be disappointed; I wanted so much to love it. But it's anticlimactic. Ayla and Jondalar FINALLY reach his home, and have a very lovely life together. Lovely to live, but boring to read. Nothing much happens. Apparently the author couldn't think of an exciting plot. She should have asked her fans for ideas during her decade of writing this book. Is her imagination tuckered out? It seems that Ayla's story is over; Jean Auel might do better inventing something entirely new, and taking a refresher writing course. Give us a new legend!

Title: Valley of the Horses 
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this second entry in the Earth's Children series, Ayla meets Jondalar, who becomes her lover. The first book is still the best of the best, but the sequel is still wonderful, although slower-paced.

Jane Austen

Title: Sense and Sensibility 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Books
Copyright: August 2004
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: If you liked "Pride and Prejudice", you'll probably like this one as well. Includes an introduction, footnotes, and end notes.

Lori Avocato

Title: Deep Sea Dead  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Avon
Copyright: April 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Another episode in the Pauline Sokol series. This time Pauline gets called in for a case involving medical insurance fraud. Only two problems - it's on a cruise ship when she's afraid of deep water and she has to return to nursing undercover once more time. Another lighthearted romp insues when Pauline finds her roommate stabbed to death in their cabin.

Trezza Azzopardi

Title: Hiding Place  
Classification: Fiction
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A stark, brutal novel of an impoverished family in 1940s Wales and, ultimately, a story of redemption. Powerfully and wonderfully written.

Title: Remember Me  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: "Remember Me" begins with the central character, an older homeless woman, who has been robbed of all her very few worldly possessions. In her search to recover these stolen items she recounts the events of her life. Not until the surprising ending does she (and the reader) come to terms with her existence. This is very well written and a compelling read.

 
B
 

Ney Bailey

Title: Faith is Not a Feeling: Choosing to Take God at His Word 
Classification Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Told in first person, the author provides her own real life examples of how to apply the Bible in a world that often doesn't make sense. In the first chapter she relates how, although she herself and some others survived, seven of her friends died in a flood that hit while they were attending a Christian women's retreat. She is very honest about her struggles and mistakes. This book is encouraging, informative, and thought-provoking. A twelve week Bible study guide is included in the back of the book.

David Baldacci

Title: Simple Genius  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Warner Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Baldacci began his writing career with Absolute Power, a great suspense novel. Since then, he has floundered his way through eleven more books without coming close to reaching the level of the first. But in Simple Genius, about the super-secret CIA installation at Camp Peary in Virginia, he shows the same promise we've been waiting for. If it's spies and rogue agents you're looking for, this is the book for you!

Donna Ball

Title: Smoky Mountain Tracks 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Signet/Penguin
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Raine Stockton dog mystery series #1. The main character is a dog trainer, Raine Stockton, who participates in a search and rescue operation for a missing child and mother, with unexpected repercussions. Her golden retriever, Cisco, is young and inexperienced, but the other SAR dog teams are hours away, and every minute counts when there are lives at stake. An animal psychic friend adds an unusual element to the story. I liked it well enough that I plan to read the sequel (currently scheduled for release Dec. 2006) but it isn't as good as dog mysteries by Laurien Berenson, Susan Conant, and Virginia Lanier. I rate this one a 3 1/2.

Linwood Barclay

Title: Bad Guys  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Barclay is back, and he's proved he isn't a one-book author...Bad Guys is up to the standard set in Bad Move, complete with overprotective husband/father, sassy kids and smart wife; even the move back to the city can't save the hapless dad from his obsessive worry. Fortunately for us, it's really funny.

Title: Bad Move 
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Okay, gang, take Carl Hiaasen, move him to the suburbs, keep all the humor and whacked characters, and you've got Barclay. This is a terrific new voice in mystery...don't miss it.

Title: Fear the Worst  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer
: Nancy  
Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:
When his seventeen year-old daughter doesn't come home from her summer job, at first divorced dad Tim Blake thinks she's in a snit over the minor argument they'd had. But when the staff at the motel where she's been working tell him they've never seen her and her absence stretches into days, then weeks, Blake's investigation opens a whole new world to him. The question is: has Syd left on her own or has she uncovered something that cost her her life? And can he stay ahead of the police long enough to find out? Another fast-paced Barclay success.

Title:  Never Look Away
Classification:
Mystery
Publisher:
Delacorte
Copyright: 2010

Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

David Harwood is worried about his wife Jan, who has been showing signs of depression, but he is encouraged by her plans for them to take their four year-old son to a nearby amusement park for a family day.  David’s optimism turns to horror when first Ethan, then Jan, disappear and all the evidence implicates him.  The police want to know why only two tickets to the park were bought and why no one else has noticed any changes in Jan’s behavior. 

Fast-paced and riveting, Never Look Away is another winner from Barclay!

Title: No Time For Goodbye  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Fourteen year-old Cynthia Bigge wakes, hung over and confused.  Granted, her parents were livid last night to find her in a parked car with the town bad boy, but surely not enough to have taken her brother and left.  However, twenty years go by without a word from her family and Cynthia has resigned herself to the fact that they're all dead.   But after all this time, why would the killer come after her?  If you're looking for a great, fast-paced suspense read in the tradition of Harlan Coben, then this is your book!  Don't miss it!

Title: Stone Rain  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Bantam Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Barclay does it again, in this, his fourth entry in the Zack Walker series. Walker, in his own hapless way, finds himself drawn into a murder when he's asked for help by his former neighbor and professional dominatrix Trixie Snelling. Trixie has kept her life a secret until now, when she is exposed by an article in the local weekly newspaper. The reporter is found in her home, strapped to a restraint device, and very dead. Zack and Trixie find themselves suspects in the crime, and pursued by really bad people from Trixie's past. Barclay is always worth reading and this book proves no exception.

Title: Too Close To Home  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Seventeen year-old Derek Cutter has a plan. He'll hide in his best friend's house until the family leaves on vacation, then have a perfect place to see his girlfriend while they're gone. But when he hears the family return, and he hears the shots that kill them, Derek knows that he is the perfect suspect. Is there a chance that the wrong people were murdered? Is his own family next? In true Barclay style this is a quick, page-turning thriller.

Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln

Title: Holy Blood Holy Grail 
Classification: History
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday
Copyright: 1982
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Historical interpretation. An oldie but currently topical, especially since the authors are currently suing Dan Brown over his Da Vinci Code. A controversial book about Christianity which could shatter our traditional beliefs. One of Dan Brown's main resources and, as such, an important read. Very thought provoking.

Tiffany Baker

Title: Little Giant of Aberdeen County  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Truly is easily the biggest baby ever born in Aberdeen County, so it's understandable that her mother died in the process. When her father, drunk, bored and broken-hearted dies, too, Truly and her sister (the breathtakingly beautiful Selena Jane) are farmed out to local families where they continue the paths already established for them...Selena Jane the cherished trophy daughter, Truly the dutiful workhorse. Nicely written, with a story that reminded me a little of Garden Spells and Lace Reader; a very good first novel.

Nina Bangs

Title: A Taste of Darkness  
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Leisure/Dorchester
Copyright: May 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: 3 1/2. Vampire romance. Interesting interaction between the vampires and the shape shifters. The main vampire character, Reinn Mackenzie, has the job of keeping vampires and shape shifters from intermarrying, a job he hates but has to do. Unfortunately for him, he's just fallen in love with a woman who happens to be a "were-." Her problem is that her animal form is an uncontrolled saber-tooth tiger. I really liked it!

Linwood Barclay

Title: Lone Wolf  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Bantam Dell/Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this, the third in the Zack Walker series, Zack is working as a feature writer for the Metropolitan when he gets the call informing him that his father is dead. Not just dead, but eaten-by-a-bear dead. When he arrives at his father's camp he finds, not a bear, but a group of survivalists who are armed to the teeth and whose artwork on the walls features a picture of Timothy McVeigh. At least his father isn't dead, but a lot of people might be if Zack can't find out just who is being targeted by this group and stop them before it's too late. Maybe a notch less funny than the first two, but still a must-read.

Abby Bardi

Title: Book of Fred 
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is a great book to provide discussion for reading groups. The main character, teenage Mary Fred, is removed from her parents due to their participation in a detrimental mind-control cult (her siblings die from lack of medical attention). This is the story of her life once placed with a foster family: how she affects them and how they affect her. The book starts out telling the story from Mary Fred's perspective, and then switches to the foster mother, the foster sister, the foster uncle, and then back to Mary Fred again. Very interesting as the story progresses told from the perspectives of different characters. We don't all live in the same world, in a sense, and this book illustrates that.

Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer

Title: Garden of Vegan 
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Copyright: 2002
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This book not only offers great tasting recipes, but also party ideas, and vegan beauty tips. The authors are sassy and hysterical. This is a sequel to "How it All Vegan".

Brett Battles

Title: Cleaner  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Dell
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this very good debut, Battles chooses an unlikely hero: Jonathan Quinn, who makes his living cleaning up after killers have done their work. Just back from vacation, Quinn is sent to tidy up the details following a fatal fire but what he finds convinces him that this is no ordinary job, a conviction strengthened when the killers come for him. Full of spies and counterspies, this is a solid beginning to this new series.

Title: Deceived  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
With this, his second in the Jonathan Quinn series, Battles has firmly established himself as an excellent suspense writer. When cleaner Jonathan Quinn is hired to dispose of a body in a shipping container he is shocked to find that his friend Steven Markoff is the dead man. And when his attempt to notify Markoff's girlfriend of his murder sets off a series of attacks on him, Quinn is drawn into a tangle of international intrigue and a shadow group whose purpose is to influence the U.S. government. Battles is at the top of his form with this one; I can't wait for the next.

Title: Shadow of Betrayal  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In an abandoned Irish church Jonathan Quinn and his apprentice Nate wait. As a cleaner, Quinn's job is to clean up and dispose of any mess that might be left after this meeting...not to participate. However, when an unanticipated and definitely uninvited guest arrives all hell breaks loose, leaving four men dead and the two cleaners up to their necks in an international plot that threatens to disrupt governments at their highest levels. A harrowing, tightly plotted book, this third in the Quinn series races with roller coaster speed.

 

Erica Bauermeister

Title: The School of Essential Ingredients  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: In the spirit of great reads such as How To Make an American Quilt and the Jane Austen Book Club, the School of Essential Ingredients is about a group of individuals from all walks of life that come together once a month to Lillian's restaurant to not only learn how to cook, but to recapture and celebrate/mourn past memories in their lives. Journey back with Lillian and her eight students in this poetic, delectable read that ends far too quickly.

L. Frank Baum

Title: The Land of Oz
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Various
Copyright: 1900
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: There are fifteen books that visit the Land of Oz in L. Frank Baum’s 1900 modern fairy tales of the adventures of Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Woodsman, the Scarecrow and others. This classic children’s fantasy series has a timeless message for all children about friendship, compassion, courage and wisdom. All fifteen stories can be found in one volume called, 15 Books In 1: L. Frank Baum’s Original “Oz” Series (2005) Shoes & Ships & Sealing Wax, Ltd. Publishers. My personal favorite is Ozma of Oz. Ages 8 and up.

Title: Little Wizard Stories of Oz 
Classification: Children's
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Copyright: 1913
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This book in the Wizard of Oz series was written for a younger reading level than all the rest. I didn't read this one as a child (the only one I missed), but from an adult perspective this book is not that great. The best of the stories were only okay. Compared to the rest of the Oz books, this one lacks magic. It is probably due to being written for younger readers and because it is a collection of six short stories, which are rarely as good as a full-length novel. This book isn't worth reading; the other books are much better.

Alison Bechdel

Title: Dykes To Watch Out For  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Firebrand Books
Copyright: 1986
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
As an old school classic, this graphic novel takes you back in the day of the 80's. The graphics are as lewd as the 80's. Dykes To Watch Out For covers everything like the ABC's of lesbians to humorous comics of life as a dyke.

Title: More Dykes To Watch Out For  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Firebrand Books
Copyright: 1988
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Alison Bechdel did it again. This graphic novel might be from the 80's; giving an interesting perspective on life as a lesbian in the crazy 80's, but even in 2006 I can find myself and certain friends in the characters portrayed in these humorous graphic. Bechdel brings back some old characters from her first graphic novel, "Dykes to Watch Out For" and also some fresh faces.

Laura Benedict

Title: Isabella Moon  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Although a moderately well-written first novel, Benedict makes the fatal mistake made by too many authors caught up in their own plots: she fails to write an ending.  The story is fairly interesting...small town, missing child, but far-fetched ghostly apparitions and somewhat stilted dialogue mar the book.  Here's wishing for better next time.

Linda Berdoll

Title: Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Pride and Prejudice continued! Brilliantly written, this book is hilarious take on life with the Darcys. A must read, no doubt!

John Berendt

Title: City of Falling Angels  
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
John Berendt, author of "Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil", chose Venice Italy in this true crime investigation surrounding the 1996 fire that destroyed the famous opera house La Fanice. Berendt introduces us to dozens of famous and influential people who had their own personal and political agendas. I got bogged down with all the names, but found the Venetian lifestyles and history very interesting.

Alex Berenson

Title: Faithful Spy (Review #1) 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: American CIA agent John Wells has successfully infiltrated al Qaeda and has lived as a part of them for ten years. Guilty over his failure to prevent 9/11, he is committed to making sure there is never another attack on his homeland, but plans are in place that even he doesn't know about...and his superiors in Washington have stopped trusting him. As events unfold it is obvious that al Qaeda won't be satisfied with just one more attack and that this time many more thousands will die. This may be the best spy novel I've ever read; Berenson's style is riveting!

Title: Faithful Spy (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
Political thriller.  John Wells is a CIA operative who has managed to infiltrate al Quida after years of building his cover.  He has met Bin Laden several times but his handler is Omar Khadri, the man in charge of planning and orchestrating attacks on America.  Now John is coming back home for a secret mission, but since Khadri doesn’t fully trust him, no details have been revealed.  The CIA doesn’t trust him either because of his lack of communication with them.  After two vicious attacks are carried out, the CIA has even less trust in John and, forced out of the information loop; he strikes out on his own.  Meanwhile, he still is being tested by Khadri with tasks which begin to reveal parts of the terrorist’s plan.  This will be the big one-“one which will make 9/11 look like a picnic”-involving some kind of biological, chemical or even nuclear weapons-and it is up to John to stop it.  Twists, turns and non-stop action make this a page turner you won’t want to miss.

Title: Ghost War  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Putnam
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: John Wells is back in Berenson's second novel as he tries to prevent war with China.  Patriots and megalomaniacs abound as Wells goes first to Afghanistan to defeat a threat there, then travels to China to save the world.  Despite a world-class first novel in Faithful Spy, Berenson suffers sophomore slump here by making Wells the kind of super hero usually found only in comic books.  Here's hoping for better next time.

Title:  Midnight House
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Copyright: 2010
Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:

In another so-so thriller featuring John Wells who has already saved the world more than once, Wells is called in to investigate when members of a super-secret military torture team start to turn up dead.  Along the way, Wells finds a trail of missing money, corrupt government officials, Middle Eastern assassination plots, a covert house of torture and a lot of generally whacked-out bad guys.  Unfortunately, there’s little suspense and the dead people seem to have gotten what they deserve, so the book turns out to be a whimper and not a bang.

Title: Silent Man  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this, the third in the John Wells Series, Berenson continues the promise he showed in the first (Faithful Spy), despite the serious disappointment of the second (Ghost War). The theft of two nuclear warheads from a highly secure Russian depot, in addition to a stunning attack on Wells, drives this high-octane thriller as Wells tries to track down the location of the bomb before it's too late. Cleverly plotted, this is another terrific read!

Laurien Berenson

Title: Melanie Travis Mysteries
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A dog lover’s mystery series featuring standard poodles and Melanie Travis, thirty-something single mother and Connecticut teacher.

Title: Chow Down  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books
Copyright: September 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Another good read in this dog-lover's mystery series. Newly married Melanie Travis finds herself--or rather, her standard poodle, Faith--a finalist in a dog food contest they didn't enter. (Young children should not have unsupervised access to the Internet. See what can happen?) There is fierce competition for the $100 thousand grand contract as official "spokesdog." When one of the human competitors falls to his death, Melanie is suspicious and starts asking questions. This series usually is centered around the conformation dog show world, so a new main context helps to keep it fresh, although the story still features dog shows so devotees won't be disappointed. Laurien Berenson is a very good author in this sub-genre.

Title: A Pedigree To Die For 
Classification: Mystery
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Dog lover's mystery. First in the amateur sleuth Melanie Travis series. She's a single mom who enters the world of show Poodles and discovers an aptitude for solving crimes.

Elizabeth Berg

Title: Dream When You're Feeling Blue  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This story is about the Heaney sisters, Kitty, Louise and Tish at the time of World War II. A time where USO dances, metal drives, and the sense of patriotism is the everyday norm. It is not long before Kitty and Louise tearfully see their boyfriends off to fight in the war and the worry whether or not they will make it back begins. This tale follows the girls as they correspond with their men. As time goes by, their beliefs, strength and love about everything they know is tested and pushed to the limit. Elizabeth Berg writes a charming story that transports the reader back in time.

Title: Never Change  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2001
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The title of the book reminded me of one of those tag lines written in a high school yearbook. That just about covers the life of Myra Lipinski. Myra grows up to become a visiting nurse. A job she finds satisfying. One day she receives news of a new patient, Chip Reardon, with an incurable illness who has opted not to continue treatment. Myra soon learns that this new patient is someone from her high school that she’s had a crush on for years. Dealing with the illness together, Myra and Chip forge a tight bond that leads both of them into uncharted territories. It’s a sweet story which requires a box of tissues.

Title: We Are All Welcome Here  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Unlike Berg's past works, this book is a fictionalized story of one of her reader's mother. This mother is like no other. She contracted polio while pregnant with her daughter and gave birth while in an iron lung. And what does this mother do? She makes the choice to raise her daughter by herself instead of giving it up for adoption. This story takes the true portions of this mother's life and sets it in a different time and place using fictionalized characters. I found this story very moving and a strong testament of dedication this mother had in taking on the challenge to keep her baby. A definite tale to give you inspiration!

Elaine Bergstrum

Title: Austra Family
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Various (Some out-of-print)
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:The Austra Family vampires are unique.  They are members of an ancient race, separate from humans.  Although the stories are set throughout Europe, they tell the story of the family members living in Cleveland, Ohio.  As a Clevelander, it is so interesting to see the city through a vampire’s eyes.

Berlitz Publishing Staff

Title: Hide This French Book 
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Berlitz
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Think you learned all your French skills in the classroom? Think again! This book is excellent for language lovers who want to learn French slang. But be warned, it is uncensored!

Janet Berlo

Title: Quilting Lessons: Notes from the Scrap Bag... 
Classification: Biography
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The title is deceiving because this book isn't really how to quilt but about creativity and overcoming an artist or writers' "block".

Anne Bernays

Title: Trophy House  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2005
Reviewers: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Set mainly on Cape Cod, "Trophy House" is the story of children's illustrator Dannie Faber in the year following 9/11. Living a good life with husband Tom, her life begins to unravel, especially her marriage. Sharp-tongued, yet smart and funny, Dannie struggles with the balance between family and friends and her need for solitary creativity nurtured at her beach house.

Steve Berry

Title: The Templar Legacy 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments: Thriller. According to historical tradition, the Knights Templar amassed untold treasure and wealth, all of which was lost when the Templars were destroyed by the Inquisition on Friday the thirteenth of October, 1307. Since that time, various groups and individuals have sought to uncover the secrets and find the treasure for themselves, leaving a multitude of clues, guesses and documents--but no answers. Stephanie Nelle, a supervisor in the area of National Security in the Justice Department, has been gathering Templar information and takes vacation time in an effort to crack this centuries old mystery. But others are involved in the same quest and have no qualms in attempting a violent attempt to rob Stephanie of information critical to the project. She calls for help to Cotton Malone, once her top agent, now enjoying life as an antiquarian book dealer in Copenhagen. But, the more involved Malone becomes, the more he realizes that the Templar mystery involves far more than just a search for riches and power. Discovery of the secret and its' publication could be devastating to the civilized world. The answer, while thought provoking, is truly radical and potentially far more controversial than that found in Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code. Don't miss this one!!


Annie Berthold-Bond

Title: Clean & Green: The Complete Guide to Nontoxic and Environmentally Safe Housekeeping
Classification: Self-help 
Publisher: Ceres Press
Copyright: 1990
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: If you care about the environment, your health, and/or your wallet, this book is for you. It details a multitude of safe, natural cleaning solutions and applications, so you'll never again have to use the harmful, expensive cleaners found in stores.

Sarah Bilston

Title: Bed Rest  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: British born Quinn "Q", married to an American and living in New York City, has to spend the last three months of her pregnancy on bed rest. While confined she ponders her checklist of "The Modern Woman's List of Things to Do Before Hitting Thirty". The couples extreme self-absorbtion renders the characters somewhat dull although there is some soul searching and emotional growth as the story ends.

Sarah Bird

Title: How Perfect Is That  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A Knopf
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: I'm still yawning after reading this ho-hum novel about poor Blythe Young, former caterer to the stars, former wife to millionaire Trey Dix; current drunk, druggie and all around loser. Please only buy this book if you're up for three hundred pages of failed attempts to produce sympathy for this completely unlikable character, or if you're a masochist. Otherwise, pass.

Mark Bittner

Title: The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill  
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Harmony Books
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
On the cover of the book it says, "A Love Story....with Wings." There really is no better way to describe this amazing book. Mark Bittner is an old soul living in San Francisco; down on his luck he discovers a flock of wild non-native parrots and falls in love with them. The story teaches about fulfilling dreams, trust and love. By the end of this book you'll be wishing to live on Telegraph Hill watching these beautiful creatures that could show the work what it is to really live and love.

Benjamin Black

Title: Christine Falls  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Set in the 1950's, this excellent crime drama explores murder and black-market adoption in Dublin's Catholic culture. Dark and wonderfully written with a convincing protagonist, this book could be the best of its genre this year. When medical examiner Quirke wanders into the morgue after a night of partying he finds his brother-in-law, respected physician Malachy Griffin, altering a file he has no right to even be reading. With his curiosity piqued, Quirke sets out to determine just what makes the death of Christine Falls worth the risk Griffin has taken and discovers a network of arrogance and deceit...a network that involves his own family. The first book written under the Black pen name of Booker Prize winner John Banville, this is a debut not to be missed.

Title: Silver Swan  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Henry Holt
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this, Black's sequel to the excellent Christine Falls, pathologist Quirke is asked by a long-ago classmate to forgo an autopsy on his wife, dead by what seems to be suicide. The curious Quirke agrees, knowing that he won't honor the request and, when he finds a puncture mark in the dead woman's arm, sets out to find the truth about her death. In a meandering, Columbo-like plot, Quirke discovers hidden lives including the one being led by his estranged daughter. Unfortunately, Black dozes off and at the end of the book forgets his own murder sequence, which throws the whole thing into a shambles. Well-written, but not for true mystery readers who will be appalled by this slip.

Title:  Elegy for April
Classification:
Mystery
Publisher:
Henry Holt
Copyright: 2010

Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

Quirke is finishing his stay at St. John’s where he has managed to dry out after a barely remembered binge when his fragile daughter Phoebe comes to tell him that her friend April is missing. Shaky but determined to help, Quirke checks himself out and quickly finds himself involved not only with April’s friends but also with April’s cold and powerful family. Is it that these people are unable to help with the search, or is it that they’re hiding some terrible secret?

A completely riveting, chilling new mystery set in moody Dublin, this is another winner from Black!

Lisa Black

Title: Evidence of Murder 
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: Harper-Collins
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
Cleveland forensic scientist Theresa MacClean, uneasy over the police report on the death of a young woman, goes out on her own to find more evidence to support her suspicions. This sequel to "Takeover" is suspenseful and will definitely appeal to fans of forensic thrillers like those of Reichs and Cornwell.

 

Amy Bloom

Title: Away: A Novel  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: "Away" is the epic story of Lillian Leyb, a young Russian immigrant, in the 1920's. Upon finding out that her little daughter might still be alive back in Russia, she embarks on a monumental journey from NY City up to Alaska and along the Telegraph Trail to Siberia. Hardship, wit, romance and heart back come together in this unusual yet compelling novel.

Giles Blunt

Title: Black Fly Season  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In Canada's Algonquin Bay, few brave the outdoors during black fly season. So when a beautiful redhead wanders into the local bar covered in bites and with no memory of who she is there's reason for the police to be suspicious. When a bullet is found in her brain their suspicions are confirmed. But with their only witness unable to remember who shot her, or why, will they be able to stop him before he tries again? A very good read.

Title: By The Time You Read This  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Henry Holt
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Blunt, the author of Black Fly Season, is back with another great read! John and Catherine Cardinal have been married for years, so he knows when his wife's bipolar syndrome is reaching the blackness of depression. He's devastated when, on a routine photography outing, she throws herself off the tallest building in Algonquin Bay. Despite overwhelming evidence that her death is a suicide Cardinal sets out to prove that it was murder and uncovers the dark and twisted truth. Don't miss this one!

Title: Forty Words For Sorrow  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Copyright: 2001
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: One of the most surprising things about this author is that he isn't front and center on bookstore displays. In fact, I had to special order this: and it was worth the wait! This is the first in the Algonquin Bay series featuring cop John Cardinal, and is as absolutely great as the others. Cardinal's bipolar wife Catherine is hospitalized, his daughter Kelly away at school, when he's called out to view the most unusual results of a murder: the victim is frozen in a block of ice. Missing for months and almost dismissed as a runaway, young Katie Pine has been found. Set in Canada, this book will chill you as Cardinal tries to find the killer and as he hides a shameful secret. My recommendation? Read this book!

Corrie Ten Boom

Title: The Hiding Place 
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Written in 1971, this religious biography is a very compelling account of the author's and her family's WWII holocaust experience.

Stephen Booth

Title: Blind to the Bones  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Blind to the Bones, a contemporary mystery set in a small English village, pairs detectives Diane Fry and Ben Cooper. Their personal and professional relationships converge as they find the common denominator in two murders. Booth's plot features interesting characters but is somewhat ponderous getting to the point and conclusion.

Title: The Reluctant Fundamentalist  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Harcourt
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Two men sit at a table, one a young Pakistani named Changez and the other an unnamed American. Only Changez speaks as he relates his promising career in America and his rocky romantic relationship with Erica, a beautiful fellow Princetonian. Then come the attacks of 9/11 and his identity is forever fractured. Returning to his homeland, he struggles with allegiances which bring his story to an ominous end.

Michele Andrea Bowen

Title: Church Folk (Review #1) 
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the story of a Southern African American woman in the early 60s who falls in love with, and eventually marries, a Christian pastor. Life as a pastor's wife is far from smooth sailing, sometimes hilariously so. Don't expect a stained-glass depiction: this novel is usually shelved in regular fiction instead of religious fiction. It has blunt speech and plenty of references to sexuality. This book was a #1 Essence bestseller.

Title: Church Folk (Review #2)
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Stereotypical, racist, this book might have been considered realistic before the civil-rights movement, but today is just insulting. Blech...should have been called "Church Folk in Black Face."

Title: Church Folk (Review #3)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Warner Books
Copyright: June 2001
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This was a fun book about a young pastor in the south in the early 1960's. He has a weakness for women until he finds the right one, but one woman of his past tries her hardest to keep him from moving on.

Title: Second Sunday  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Walk Worthy Press/Warner Books
Copyright: June 2003
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Romance, faith, struggle, sorrow and joy--these elements combine to portray a sense of real people making their way through real life. This novel features the lives of church members in an African American Baptist Church in 1975 St. Louis. There are those in the church with their own agendas which might endanger the church as a whole as its centennial anniversary approaches. This second novel by Ms. Bowen, although definitely humorous in parts, didn't make me laugh out loud as much as when I read her first book, "Church Folk". But I liked the storyline of this one better. It is not necessary to read "Church Folk" first, although there are a few references to characters and events from the first book. Very good read. Again, be aware this contains blunt speech and sexual references.

John Bowker

Title: World Religions  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: DK Publishing Inc.
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A beautifully illustrated guide to the religions and faiths of the world. Each religion is deeply explored and explained.

Patty Boyd with Penny Junior

Title: Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton & Me 
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Harmony Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Growing up in the 60's, I believed Pattie Boyd lead the most extraordinary and charmed life. She was a fashion super model before there were super models. She married two of the eras greatest rockers-George Harrison and Eric Clapton. She was one of the school girls in the first Beatles film. She was a rock muse, inspiring both Clapton and Harrison to pen some of their most signature songs (i.e.; Layla, Wonderful Tonight, Old Love, Something, to name a few). Her family and friends read like a Who's Who in the fashion, and rock 'n roll world. What a delight to finally have her tell her story! The book is very British in tone, and if you aren't familiar with all the key players from the 60's British Invasion into the music and fashion scene, the book may be a little difficult to follow. I couldn't wait to read about this icon; yet by the end of the book, I realized she was just a normal person who was truly just lucky to be in the right place, at the right time-over and over again.

William Boyd

Title: Restless  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: As a child, Ruth heard her mother's admonitions that "You'll wake up one morning and I'll be gone. Disappeared. You wait and see," as nothing more than attempts to get her to behave. But when, as an adult, she is given pages of her mother's memoirs, she learns that her mother lived a secret life and that even now she is in danger. After decades of living quietly in the English countryside Sal Gilmartin has been found by the network of spies for whom she worked (and killed) during World War II. A convincing, believable spy novel.

John Boyne

Title: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas  
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Written by the author as a book for anyone, U.S. publisher Random House presents "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" as teen fiction. Residing in Berlin in 1942 8yr old Bruno and his family move when his father is promoted to head a concentration camp. Naive and unknowing, Bruno wonders about the other side of the fence and all those people who wear "striped pajamas". While exploring he meets, through the barbed wire fence, a boy from inside the camp with whom he forms a friendship, but with devastating results.

 Alan Bradley

Title: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Classification:
Mystery 
Publisher:
Random House
Copyright: 2010

Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

The first in a new series (Flavia de Luce series) "Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" introduces 11 year old Flavia, an extraordinary and precocious child of a well to do English family in the 1950's. Her snooping leads to finding a body in their garden, an old episode of death from her father's school days and her own life threatened. Brilliant and incorrigible, Flavia is a character the reader will want to meet again.

Shelley Bradley

Title: Bound and Determined 
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Berkley (Sensation)
Copyright: January 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This story's plot was not well developed and only served to get the main characters together. It seemed as though too much time was spent on the sensual sex scenes - can you say that about romance?? While well written, I found myself wanting to skip to the action and found myself disappointed when it didn't deliver these scenes as well.

Kate Braestrup

Title: Here if You Need Me: A True Story  
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Little Brown
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Author Kate Braestrup's heartfelt narrative is insightful, funny and moving. After the tragic death of her husband Braestrup decided to pursue his dream of becoming a minister. Mother of 4 young children, she successfully became a Unitarian minister and the first female chaplain for Maine's Game Warden Service. With simple but somewhat unorthodox faith she provided comfort to both the wardens and families in distress. A memoir definitely worth reading.

Kelly Braffet

Title: Josie and Jack  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Although I read this a couple of months ago, I've had to mull over my feelings about it. Braffet writes well (as she did in Last Seen Leaving), but she has chosen a disturbing subject (think Flowers In the Attic, but brutal) and presents it in such a creepy, uncompromising way that I was tempted to avert my eyes as I read. A dark, moody book with perfectly drawn, disturbing characters, but definitely not for everyone.

Title: Last Seen Leaving (Review #1) 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: When her pilot husband is killed while flying a mysterious mission for the government, Anne Cassidy is devastated and spends the next twenty years trying first to find out what happened, then trying to reconnect with him through meditation and crystals. Their daughter Miranda, shut out of her mother's life, drifts from one man to another...then vanishes. Anne, desperate not to lose her child, is forced to come to grips with what she meant to her husband, and what her daughter means to her. A well-written, though somewhat predictable story.

Title: Last Seen Leaving (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A suspense novel in which a mother and daughter, estranged for several years, examine their divergent lifestyles. Their father/husband's unexplained disappearance 20 years before and the daughter's current involvement with a possible serial killer create an engrossing page-turner.

Ann Brashares

Title: 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows 
Classification
: Teen
Publisher:
Random House
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer
: Carol
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
The author of "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" offers us 3 new girls, just entering high school, who have been friends since childhood. Drifting apart over the summer, they are dealing with divorce, unmet expectations and boys. In the end though they find the bond of friendship is strongest. A nice story for tweens and young teens

Title: Forever in Blue: The 4th Summer of the Sisterhood  
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: "Forever in Blue", the fourth Traveling Pants novel series, continues the lives of Tibby, Carmen, Bridget and Lena as they try to balance love and friendship in their ever expanding lives. As the girls are now in college the themes become more mature.

Title: Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood  
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the last summer after high school and the girls are making plans for college. Everyone is in town this summer except for Bridget. She found her grandmother and goes out to discover more about her mother's past. The rest deal with summer jobs, loves, and family. The series continues on a feel good way. It's a pleasant read.

Title: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Review #1) 
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Random House
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the first in a fiction series (3 so far) of stories involving four teenage girls whose lives are forever connected. Teens, moms and grand moms would enjoy this series.

Title: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Review #2)
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Random House
Copyright:
2001
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This first book in the series introduces you to Carmen, Bridget, Lena, and Tibby. Four girls who are best friends since they were born. These girls have been inseparable until this particular summer.  Carmen is going to go visit her father, Bridget is attending soccer camp, Lena is going to visit her grandparents in Italy, and poor Tibby is left at home working at Wallman’s.  The girls are anxious yet excited about their summer plans. By chance, Tibby notices a pair of blue jeans purchased at a thrift store by Carmen. These are not just ordinary jeans, but very special jeans.  Despite their different shapes, the jeans fit them all perfectly. The girls believe it is a sign of great experiences awaiting them over the summer and they determine to use them as a connection to each other while apart. The book follows the jeans progression as it passes from one girl to the next.

Title: The Second Summer of the Sisterhood  
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Random House
Copyright:
2003
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The second book in this series find the girls spending another summer apart. This time Tibby goes to a film program at a college in Virginia and Bridget travels to her deceased mother’s home town to uncover the mystery of her absent grandmother, leaving Lena and Carmen at home working summer jobs. Once again, the girls pull out their magical jeans. This time the jeans do not seem to carry the same magic they did during the first summer. Each girl has to face difficult times and the pants serve as comfort more than anything else. By the end of the summer and the jeans makes the rounds a second time, the magic is back and the girls learn valuable lessons.

Marie Brennen

Title: Doppelganger 
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Warner Fantasy
Copyright: April 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This story revolves around a unique concept - anytime a witch is born a doppelganger is created. Normally, this twin is killed before the body is filled with a soul. However, Miryo discovers that her doppelganger is still alive when her testing ceremony does not complete as expected. She must find and kill her twin in order to "master" and use her skills safely. This is easier said than done - her twin is Mirage, a trained warrior. The book spends equal time between each of their stories. It is easy to become attached to both characters (each is given their own rich, unique personality) ...but don't worry, the author finds a way to resolve the issue and end the book without disappointing the reader.

Patricia Briggs

Title: Blood Bound ____ 
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night

Publisher: ACE Fantasy

Cop
yright: 2007
Reviewer Gayle
Book Ratin
g:
Reviewer Comments:
The second book featuring Mercy Thompson (Moon Called first introduced Mercy in 2006).  Mercy finds herself again caught between fae, werewolf, vampire, and police politics as the Tri-Cities area finds itself swimming in a senseless bloodbath created by a rogue vampire sorcerer.  Mercy is at her best and is just as engaging as she was in the first book of this remarkable dark urban fantasy mystery series.   For those that have lost hope in Anita Blake, Mercy’s tales will surely restore faith that there are interesting heroines still around in this genre. 

Title: Iron Kissed  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: ACE Fantasy
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: This gripping, page turner is the fourth novel in the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy finds herself trying to clear the name of her friend and ex-boss who has been accused of a series of gruesome murders. Mercy is charming, tough and independent, and not afraid to take on any monster that threatens her or her friends. These stories are some of the best in the lycanthrope urban fantasy genre.

Title: Moon Called (Review #1) 
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: ACE Fantasy
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Mercy, mercy, mercy…its Mercy Thompson, a shape-shifting mechanic who was raise by werewolves. I really hope this book is just the first of a series! Mercy has attitude, strength & brains. All the characters that interact with Mercy have such depth it makes you wish Briggs would write a separate novel about each of them. It’s been a long time since I have read such a good werewolf story. Dark urban horror at its finest!

Title: Moon Called (Review #2)
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Ace/Berkley/Penguin
Copyright: February 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Urban fantasy. A stand-alone read. I liked the story and the way the characters interacted. I was tickled by the concept of the main character being a female shapeshifting mechanic, and I really liked how she made friends out of the rest of the paranormal community (i.e. werewolves, vampires and witches) who should have been her natural enemies.

Title: On The Prowl 
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: You will find this dark fantasy collection in the Romance section. I am baffled as to why Patricia Briggs dark fantasy series, featuring Mercy Thompson is classified as Romance. Most likely, I would have passed by this book if not for Briggs. Her short story entitled, Alpha and Omega is a great addition to the unique lycanthrope world she has created and a must read for all Mercy Thompson fans. The rest of the short stories provide an introduction to some of the emerging paranormal fantasy writers.

Emily Brightwell (aka Sarah Temple)

Title: Mrs. Jeffries
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The mysteries aren’t hard to figure out, but I enjoy the characters and the gentleness of the series (not gory, graphic, or intense). Inspector Witherspoon is not nearly as talented at detecting as his housekeeping staff, but I won’t tell if you won’t.

Title: Mrs. Jeffries Appeals the Verdict 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkely/Penguin
Copyright: May 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: #21 in the Mrs. Jeffries series. I typically enjoy this light Victorian mystery series featuring an Inspector whose detective work is helped out considerably by his household staff. However, this one did not particularly engage me, probably because I so recently read the previous book in the series, and the stories are too much alike after awhile to read one right after another.

Title: Mrs. Jeffries and the Silent Knight 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Copyright: October 2005
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Inspector Witherspoon is a gifted homicide detective: gifted in having a household staff, headed by housekeeper Mrs. Jeffries, accompanied by a few friends, who enjoy secretly helping him catch murderers and thus enhance his reputation. In this 21st entry in the series begun by "The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries", set in Victorian England, Witherspoon continues to be charmingly puzzled by "his" brilliant ideas. If you like your mysteries tame, without extensive blood/gore/unwelcome insights into the twisted minds of psychotic killers, you'll be safe with this entertaining series.

Andrew Britton

Title: The American  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Kensington
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Ryan Kealey is called back to work with the CIA to stop an anticipated assassination attempt on the President. The assassin, aligned to Middle East terrorists, is an American who once was Kealey's trainee. Many characters and sub-plots create an exciting techno-thriller filled with personal and political confrontations.

Geraldine Brooks

Title: March (Review #1) 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: An interesting look at the father of Louisa May Alcot's "Little Women". Brooks follows March as he leaves home to aid the Union cause during the Civil War. Flashbacks to his younger days and early relationships round out the events that shaped his marriage and beliefs.

Title: March (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this wonderful book, Brooks brings to life the absent March father from Alcott's Little Women as she follows the itinerant preacher through the early part of the Civil War. Our knowledge of Marmee and the girls provide a context for understanding their haunted, conflicted husband and father as he confronts a reality far removed from the safety of philosophizing about the evil of slavery and war. This is a nearly-perfect period novel.

Title: People of the Book  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penquin
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In 1996 Hannah Heath, a rare books expert, travels to Sarajevo to conserve a priceless Jewish Haggadah. As she discovers tiny artifacts (an insect wing, salt crystals, a white hair, wine stains) to help her determine its provenance the story moves backward in time, following the history of the codex. Each time segment gives the reader a glimpse of anti-semitism and women's struggle for independence. Intertwined with this long cast of characters are Hannah's personal struggles and relationships. Brooks, author of the Pulitzer Prize winner"March", again combines popular fiction with serious themes.

Title: Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague 
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher:
Penguin Group
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer
: Carol
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
From the author of Pulitzer Prize winner "March" this novel is based in 1666 in the actual English town of Eyam, Derbyshire during the bubonic plague. At their minister's plea the citizens pledged to totally isolate themselves from everyone outside, thinking they could slow the spread of the plague in their rural area. As the illness took its victims the town is gripped with fear and hysteria, sacrifice and sorrow. Many intricate subplots wind through the tale which keeps the reader  intrigued.

Sigumund Brouwer

Title: The Mars Diaries
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Tyndale Kids
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating: 4
Reviewer Comments: In the year 2039, Tyce Sanders, a 14-year-old virtual reality specialist and atheist, finds life at the experimental Mars community difficult. As he explores his strange surroundings, he finds the mysteries of the red planet point to his greatest discovery-a relationship with God. This series is a Christian science fiction for teens.

Dan Brown

Title: Angels and Demons (Review #1) 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Pocket Books
Copyright: 2000
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Almost as good as Da Vinci Code--some (not I) would say better. This time our intrepid hero is in Rome. My only complaint was with the ending which I couldn't quite buy, but maybe it was just over my head.

Title: Angels and Demons (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Pocket Books
Copyright: 2000
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Dealing with a secret, ancient brotherhood and a plot to annihilate the Vatican city, this book is absolutely perfect for those of you who love fast-paced, thrilling adventure stories.

Title: The Da Vinci Code 
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: What can you say about this phenomenal best seller! Controversial, illuminating and thought-provoking. If you haven't read it--go get a copy and get it read before the movie comes out this spring. You know the movie is never as good as the book.

Title: Digital Fortress  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is a fantastic book. Lovers of "Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" must read "Digital Fortress" - a techno-thriller with non-stop adventure.

Jeffery Brown

Title: Aeiou - Any Easy Intimacy  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Aeiou is a cute graphic novel about a relationship. Based on the one of the author's previous relationships; it offers humor to what everyone goes through in the beginning of a relationship and even through rocky times and sadly the end. The pictures themselves are humorous, almost rough sketches.

Title: Clumsy  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Copyright: 2002
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Clumsy is an very honest graphic novel about the author and one of his past loves. As his debut of many graphic novels, Jeffrey tells it all with elementary drawings. He is naive, jealous, obsessive but all so loveable and honest. He's my new anti-hero.

Title: Unlikely  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Jeffrey Brown has done it again, in his tell all graphic novel about his first girlfriend. From the start you know they're all wrong for each other. But Jeffrey's hope for his first love is hopeful and vulnerable. After reading three of Brown's graphic novels I wonder if he is doomed for life in the love department.

Miranda Bruce-Mitford

Title: The Illustrated Book of Signs and Symbols  
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Books
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A brilliantly descriptive guide to signs and symbols including religious, nature, and people. This book is fascinating!

Bill Bryson

Title: Life And Times of the Thunderbolt Kid  
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In his funniest book since Lost Continent, Bryson recounts his early life growing up in Iowa in the fifties and recalls for all of us the innocence, the simplicity and the hope of the time. Not that his descriptions are always idyllic; he reminds us that "Only one thing came close to matching the fear of teenagers in the 1950s and that was of course Communism. Worrying about Communism was an exhaustingly demanding business in the 1950s." Whether reminiscing about the development of the hydrogen bomb ("One possibility was that it might ignite all the oxygen in the atmosphere"), or protesting the day each summer that he had to spend at the Riverview Amusement Park (of whose roller coaster he says: "People didn't even scream on it; they were much too petrified to emit any kind of noise"), Bryson is hysterically accurate. Whether you lived the fifties, or the fifties are ancient history to you, you must read this book. If you give it as a gift, make sure to buy one for yourself, too!

Jimmy Buffett

Title: Swine Not?
Classification: F
iction
Publisher:
Little Brown & Co.
Copyright:
2009
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

 

Ellie McBride, her twins and their pet pig Rumpy move into a New York hotel when Ellie is hired as the pastry chef. Unfortunately the hotel does not allow pets, so what is a talented sensitive pig to do?
Meant to be a satirical view of American culture it missed the mark for me.

 

Jim Butcher

Title: Proven Dead  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: ROC & Penguin Group

Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the eighth book in the Harry Dresden series.  It is great to be back in Chicago with the amazing P.I. wizard, Harry and his side kick, Bob, the talking skull.  However, this adventure seems slow to start and lacks the excitement and adventure found in previous stories.  I found myself having to refresh my memory by re-reading the last book in order to follow what was happening with Harry in this book.  If you like the series, you will love catching up with Harry and friends in this book.  If you are new to the series, this book is not the place to begin.  Feels more like filler than a stand alone adventure.  

Title: Dresden Files
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: ROC & Penguin Group
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: These are the dark urban fantasy adventures of Harry Dresden, Chicago’s wizard extraordinaire and struggling Private Investigator. Harry comes up against vampires, witches, and werewolves on a daily basis. There is action, adventure, and humor all at the right spots. As the series progresses, so does Butcher’s writing skills. Although there are only a few story lines dependent on reading the series in order, there are not many spoilers if you read a book out of order.

Beverly Butler

Title: Gift of Gold 
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this sequel to "Light a Single Candle", Cathy, now a college student, faces more difficulties as a blind person with a desire to become a speech therapist. In addition to trying to find her place in the world, she's trying to decide which man she'll let find a place in her heart.

Title: Light a Single Candle 
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This story is about Cathy, a 14 year old who goes blind and must learn how to adjust. After awhile, she gets a German Shepherd guide dog, Trudy, and attends public high school. The author of this novel was blind herself and therefore well able to express the friendship difficulties that Cathy experiences. There is a sequel, "Gift of Gold."

Rhonda Byrne

Title: The Secret  
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This book is all about the power of positive thinking and visualization!  The contributing writers have a lot of insight about how you can attract positive influences in your life. Topics covered include finances, love, health, and success. These contributing writers all have something to say and it is worth reading despite recent criticism regarding this book. You never know what you can achieve in your life with a little positive thinking. Several people I’ve talked to about this book all had stories of things that happened after reading this book. I am no exception. I also have experienced a few wonderful surprises. I highly recommend this book. The way it is written makes it a fast and easy read. It is one that you could read repeatedly and pick up some new detail you missed before. There is no guarantee of success but it opens the door to possibilities.

 
C
 

Meg Cabot

Title: Big Boned: A Heather Wells Mystery  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Avon Trade
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The plus-sized, ex-pop star, now dormitory Assistant Director Heather Wells is back! As hard as it is to believe, another dead body has turned up in her dorm The police, her ex-con father, the school officials, and her P.I. roommate want her to stay out of this murder investigation. Her life may be getting complicated, but Heather seems to piece evidence together better than any one else and she can't stay out of it. The story is light, moves quickly and keeps you guessing.

Title: Jinx  
Classification: Teens
Publisher: HarperTeen
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Sixteen-year-old Jean Honeychurch finds herself living with relatives in Manhattan after a prankish spell went awry, forcing her to leave her Iowa home. Nicknamed Jinx by the attending physician at her birth, Jinx believes she has had nothing but bad luck all her life. When Jinx arrives in Manhattan, she finds her cousin has radically changed, believing she inherited magic powers from their ancestor and tries to force Jinx to join her high school coven. When Jinx falls in love with the neighbor boy her cousin has a crush on, her cousin takes to revenge. However, only one woman per generation actually inherits magical powers and the story takes on a ‘good witch,’ ‘evil witch’ until the true witch emerges. Meg Cabot is one of the best tween/teen writers being published today. The stories are contemporary, and always seem to appeal to young women and this new entry is a delightful addition!

Title: Missing You:  1-800-Where-R-You  ____
Classification: Teen

Publisher: HarperTempest
Copyright: 2006

Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The fifth and final installment from the 1-800-Where-R-You series and the first of these books released without the author’s alias, Jenny Carroll.  Jessica Mastriani is all grown up, attending Juilliard after spending a year in Afghanistan “finding” things for the government.  She has lost her powers as the “Lightening Girl” to find missing persons due to a severe case of PTSD.  Life is just getting back to normal when her old boyfriend finds her in NYC and needs her help to find his lost sister.  This book is a fantastic finale to great young adult series. 

Title: Prom Nights From Hell  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Harper Teen
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A collection of paranormal prom stories by five of the genre�s most popular authors. Kim Harrison's short-story, Madison Avery and the Dim Reaper gives new meaning to the age-old warning, "Don't get into a car with a stranger!" There are things worse than the Grim Reaper
.

Title: Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery  ____
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Avon Trade
Copyright: 2006

Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
Meg Cabot is an amazing young adult writer (The Princes Diaries; 1-800-Where Are You series; The Mediator series) but her adult series are lacking. The mystery in this book is juvenile and the main character redundant. Heather Wells, ex-shopping mall pop star, has taken a job as an assistant residential director at a New York college. Between two murdered coeds and people recognizing the now plump ex-pop star, Heather rants on and on about her crush on her ex-boyfriend's brother and no one taking her seriously in her new role as assistant director. The murderer is apparent from the beginning and the focus on elevator surfing among young college students is boring. Although I will read almost anything Cabot writes, I am not holding my breath in anticipation for the next Heather Wells Mystery.

Title:Size 14 Is Not Fat Either 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: I never thought I would pick up this second book in the Heather Wells Mystery series after my disappointment with the first book, Size 12 Is Not Fat. However, Meg Cabot is such an entertaining writer, that when I wanted to be just entertained, I decided to find out what was happening with pop-star-turned-resident-hall-administer, Heather Wells. Set in a fictional college in New York City, this dormitory has more bizarre collegiate murders than any I believed imaginable. If you can get past the unrealistic setting, and the first person narration of a 29 year old whose intellect is more like 14 year old, then you will find this mystery has just the right balance of suspense, humor and character interest. Heather's dad is out of prison and now trying to make up for the 20 year absence in his daughter's life. He seems to have forgiven Heather's mother, who skipped town with all Heather's money when the child pop star grew up and failed to land her last recording contract, and now wants Heather to do the same. Heather is trying to get an education and working as an assistant resident administrator while living with her ex-pop star boyfriend's estranged brother. She finds herself in the middle of these strange murders; this one involving a cheerleader's head found boiling in the dormitory kitchen. Heather seems to have an uncanny knack at getting information and figuring out what is going on before the police, but in the end, she never seems to get the props she desires.

Chelsea Cain

Title: Heartsick 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Heading a three-state Task Force, Detective Archie Sheridan spent ten years tracking a beautiful, bizarre female serial killer. However, in the end, she caught him and tortured him for ten days before she let him go. Now, two years later, he has finally returned to work; she is in prison for life; and another serial killer is loose in Portland, Oregon. Archie is once again heading up the police task force, and is being shadowed by an up and coming newspaper reporter, Susan Ward. The gruesome story is gripping and this police thriller is somewhat unique with its detail of a rare female serial killer. Normally I shy away from this genre because it is just too easy to figure out what the characters have problems seeing. This story had enough flash backs to the origins of the task force and unique details regarding the horrific, rare female serial killer to keep me reading and overlook some of the obvious clues the trained police kept missing.

Joseph Caldwell

Title: The Pig Did It  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Delphinium Books
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Heart broken New Yorker Aaron McCloud travels to his aunt's home in western Ireland to suffer a failed romantic relationship. He encounters a pig along the road which adopts him, follows him to Aunt Kittys and precedes to dig up a corpse. Sounds promising, and it is witty, but I found it choppy and too bizarre.

Bebe Moore Campbell

Title: 72 Hour Hold  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: 72 Hour Hold is overall a good read about a mother's struggle to save her child from the strangle hold of mental illness. As her child turns 18 Keri can no longer control her child's whereabouts and 72 hour holds are the only thing saving her child and herself from her child's Bipolar disorder.

Lorenzo Carcaterra

Title: Chasers  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine/Random House
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
With his first foray into fiction with Apaches, Carcaterra introduced ex-cops Boomer and Deadeye in a gruesome, riveting book about illegal drug smuggling. Unfortunately, in this long-awaited sequel, he drags in so many stereotypical, boring characters that, even if the plot were interesting (which it isn't) I found myself wallowing in a sea of them. Even the dialogue ("No place to go, nobody to see, and before you can say needle and spike some lard-ass loser who looks a lot like you has her living off the pipe") is unbelievable and forced. My advice: don't waste your time or your money on this one.

Mary Carlomagno

Title: Give It Up! My Year of Learning to Live Better With Less 
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: William Morrow
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Sounds good, right? Don't waste your time. This wealthy socialite toys with the novelty of giving up such vital necessities as alcohol, cell phone usage, and taxi cabs. She plays at each deprivation for a month, then is relieved to pretty much return to her previous lifestyle. It seems to me that when she tries to come up with "something deep and meaningful to say," it's only an attempt to make the book have enough of a point to get published, not because she actually gained real insight. Wow. I didn't know people could really have that shallow of an existence. She's kidding, right? Am I on Candid Camera?

Jennifer Lee Carrell

Title: Interred With Their Bones 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Shakespeare scholar and theater director Kate Stanley embarks on a high stakes race to solve a string of deadly murders involving numerous literary clues. The ultimate solution- did William Shakespeare really write the many works attributed to him? This debut thriller has lots of twists and a great deal of Shakespearian history.

Tori Carrington (pen name of Lori & Tony Karayianni)

Title: Dirty Laundry: A Sophie Metropolis Novel  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: "Dirty Laundry", second in a series, takes place in the Greek-American community of Astoria, Queens. New P.I. Sophie Metropolis takes on several cases involving old high school friends, neighbors and even her family. Add Aussie heartthrob/bodyguard Jake Porter to a long list of endearing characters. However, the investigations are thin and Sophie is a bit too naive to be seriously believed as an investigator.

Title: Sofie Metropolis  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Copyright: June 2005
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: I might have enjoyed this more if it weren't so obviously a Stephanie Plum wannabe. I'd be more willing to overlook its lack of originality if it had made up for it by providing sufficient humor. It was interesting to learn a bit about Greek American culture. While waiting for another Plum mystery, I'll probably read the next Sofie ("Dirty Laundry" due out May 2006) but it will be like eating a diet cookie.

Linda Castillo

Title: Sworn To Silence  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:
Kate Burkholder was fourteen years old when she killed the man who raped her and for sixteen years she's lived with the guilt, although his death brought an end to the murders that paralyzed the tiny town of Painters Mill. Now the chief of police, Kate is forced to revisit that event as more killings occur bearing the same signature. Is this a new killer or did she shoot the wrong man all those years ago?

Michael Chabon

Title: The Final Solution: A Story of Detection  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon intertwines history and legend in this short tale of compassion, intrigue and wit. An old sleuth comes out of retirement in 1944 England to solve a murder surrounding a missing parrot which may hold a secret German SS code. Do we have reason to believe the detective is Sherlock Holmes? As usual Chabon writes in a superb and extraordinary style.

Noah Charney

Title: The Art Thief 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Aimon & Schuster
Copyright: 2007

Reviewer
: Carol
Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments: Three art thefts are being investigated simultaneously in 3 cities - London, Geneva and Paris. The investigators and several well known art collectors are enmeshed in an implausible plot. Heavy in art history, which might have been interesting, this fictional intrigue attempt is full of trite phrases, overly technical and confusingly convoluted.

Lynne Cheney

Title: A Time for Freedom 
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: For ages 9 and up. A timeline of American history for kids. Well done but seemed to have omitted some things I would have included.

Jennifer Chiaverni

Title: The Lost Quilter 
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer
: Carol

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
 

This volume, #14 in the Elm Creek Quilt Series, takes a different turn from Chiaverini's other novels. Sylvia, of Elm Creek, and her staff find a stash of old pre-civil war letters written by Joanna, a runaway slave woman, who is captured, sent further south and eventually on to Charleston. The story  recounts  her life, her needlework skills, her struggles with white masters, and her desperate desire to be reunited with her family.

This one is definitely for the quilter or anyone with a love of history.

Title: The New Year's Quilt  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Jennifer Chiaverini again features master quilter Sylvia, who, newly married, must overcome the sorrows of her relationship with her new daughter-in-law as well as memories from youth of her late sister. Most of the Elm Creek Quilt series are appealing but this one seems to be a forced plot produced just to have a holiday offering.

Title: Quilter's Legacy  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
One of the Elm Creek Quilters series in which the main character is in search of her mother's quilts which were sold years before. Although not the best in the series this one alternates back and forth to the turn of the 20th century so the reader enjoys two intertwining stories.

Lee Child

Title: Bad Luck and Trouble  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this, the eleventh in the Jack Reacher series, Reacher shows a small chink of humanity after one of his ex-military buddies is found dead. Reacher reassembles the remaining members of his elite group to hunt down and eliminate those responsible and destroy a harrowing threat to America. As are all of the Child books, this is a fast-paced, tightly-written thriller; a real can't put it down read. Don't miss it!

Title: The Hard Way  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Child has done it again in this, the tenth of the Jack Reacher series! Former military guy Reacher is asked by the leader of a mercenary group to find his kidnapped wife and step-daughter. But who's the bad guy here? Tight, intense, this is another great read from the writer of just about the best suspense books around.

Title: Nothing to Lose  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Wow! Jack Reacher is back, bigger and better than ever as he uncovers the secrets in a small Colorado town where strangers are definitely not welcome. When the cops are called in response to Reacher's request for coffee at the local diner he's determined to discover what really goes on in the metal recycling plant owned, as is everything else in the town, by businessman and apocalyptic preacher Jerry Thurman. In a heart-pounding race Reacher has to take on the entire town to prevent a disaster of astonishing proportion. I couldn't put this one down!

Mark Childress

Title: One Mississippi  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Childress is back in the South, but the quirkiness of "Crazy In Alabama" is missing in this book set in the early days of desegregation. There's a manic feel to both the characters and the action, with Daniel Musgrove, the teenage protagonist, caught between the bleakness of his family and the darkness of his best friend's madness. Definitely not up to the standard set by "Alabama" and "Gone For Good," but okay.

Laura Childs

Title: The Jasmine Moon Murder 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is one of the "Tea Shop" mysteries where main character, Theodosia Browning, an amateur sleuth, finds herself trying to solve the murders without becoming a victim. She runs a Charleston tea shop so there is the added touch of southern recipes and "tea" tips.

Margaret Cho

Title: I Have Chosen To Stay and Fight 
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Riverhead
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A bit current affairs, a bit political, and a whole lot of Cho humor to make this one of the most entertaining reads in a long time.

Paul Christopher

Title: Michelangelo's Notebook  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Onyx Books
Copyright: June 2005
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: It seemed a bit too similar in nature to Dan Brown's stories. A startling discovery leads to a desperate race to expose a secret from the final days of WWII.

Marla Cilley

Title: Sink Reflections  
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: FlyLady Press Inc.
Copyright: March 2002
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This book is very encouraging for everyone who struggles with CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). The FlyLady website is also very helpful (FLY means Finally Loving Yourself). This inspirational guide to uncluttering and cleaning house offers practical and motivational help for those of us apparently born without "the clean gene." We are not alone, and we are not hopeless. Change is possible! I've read about every book there is on housecleaning and uncluttering, and this is one of the best.

Tom Clancy

Title: The Bear and the Dragon 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Putnam
Copyright: 2000
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Political thriller. Russia and China on a path toward war with each other? Unfortunately, President Jack Ryan can't sit back and watch because you know if it's by Clancy, it's going to be a whole lot more complicated. Extraordinary realism and razor-sharp suspense are expected and you won't be disappointed.

Margaret Goff Clark

Title: Freedom Crossing  
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Scholastic
Copyright: February 1991
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This juvenile historical novel is full of secret passages and hiding places during an escape through the Underground Railroad. Great for children ages 9-12.

Mary Higgins Clark

Title: Daddy's Little Girl  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2002
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Ellie Cavanaugh has lived a very difficult life since her older sister Andrea was murdered. Ellie knew Andrea was seeing an older wealthy local boy but kept the secret from her parents. Several years after the trial and conviction of the wealthy boyfriend, he is released from prison still professing his innocence. Enraged, Ellie returns to her hometown to prove once and for all that he is the one responsible for her sister's death. In true Mary Higgins Clark style, the story goes back and forth to did he or didn't he. You'll have to read the book to find out! It is truly enjoying to be able to read a book and not guess the ending until it comes.

Title: I Heard That Song Before  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: In usual Mary Higgins Clark style, the 'who done it' novel is full of twists and turns which I am grateful for as I hate it when I can guess the ending of the story halfway through. This story centers on Kay Lansing Carrington, the latest “Mrs. Carrington”. The ultra rich husband, Peter, has a sordid past. A previous dead wife and missing and presumed dead girlfriend…which Peter is suspected of being behind but it can’t be proven. When the body of the girlfriend is found on the property, Kay and Peter’s lives are focused on proving his innocence.  The diligence of a hired private detective by the dead girlfriend’s mother searches for the truth of did he or didn’t he do it.

Title: No Place Like Home  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
As a child, Liza Barton lived through the pain of the death of her father and watched as her mother remarries a dangerous man. When her mother finally realized the grave mistake she made in marrying Ted, it set the wheels in motion for a tragedy. One night Ted was trying to bully Liza's mother into not getting a divorce. Liza, trying to protect her mother, threatened Ted with her father's gun. Instead of shooting Ted, Liza accidently kills her mother. That night began Liza's nightmare. Although deemed an accidental shooting, Liza had to endure the cruel jokes of "Lizzie Borden" because of the name similarities. Liza moves away to adoptive parents who change her name to Celia in attempt to erase her past. But really...who can really successfully change their past? As you can guess, Celia gets married and by a freak of circumstances of a surprise gift by her husband, buys her childhood house (where the shooting occurred). This obviously distresses Celia as her husband does not know about her past. Then things happen to let Celia know that someone in town recognizes her and is setting out to torture her. The book is very good in twisting the story around so it keeps you guessing on what happens next all the way to the end.

Title: Where Are the Children?  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 1975
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: I ran across a paperback copy of the 30th anniversary edition of this book. The first suspense novel Clark ever wrote. This story follows the secret life of nancy Harmon who fled across the country to get away from her past and the death of her two children. Time has passed and Nancy remarries and has two more children. Then suddenly on her 32nd birthday, both children disappear. The nightmare for Nancy is beginning all over again. There is someone out there who doesn't want Nancy to ever feel safe and secure again. While the story is very good, I'm glad that Clark continued to mold her craft into the books published today.

Title: Where Are You Now?  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: This latest mystery by Clark centers around Carolyn MacKenzie. Her older brother Mack mysteriously vanishes one day from his college ten years ago and only contacts his family on Mother's Day with a quick phone call. After the latest Mother's Day call, Carolyn resolves to find her missing brother and figure out why he disappeared. Along the way, a young college girl suddenly disappears and calls her family and tells them that she'll call them again on Mother's Day. A coincidence? Could it be related to Mack's disappearance? A very good read!

Brock Clarke

Title: An Arsonist's Guide To Writers' Homes In New England  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: At the age of eighteen Sam Pulsifer burns down the home of Emily Dickinson.  It's an accident, as much of Sam's life is.  After serving his time in a minimum-security prison with lawyers and bond traders, Sam marries and finds a job with the intent of putting his past behind him, but his parents, the bond traders and those persistent accidents come together to keep his life in its inevitable downward spiral.   Reading about Sam is like waiting for a train wreck: you know it'll be hard to watch but you just can't help yourself.  A quirky, deftly written book.

Susanna Clarke

Title: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury, USA
Copyright: August 2005
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: An epic that follows the endeavors of a magician to prove that magic still exists, the story takes place in early 19th century England. Though sometimes dark, this book is exciting, suspenseful, and witty.

Jane K. Cleland

Title: Consigned To Death (Review #1)  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: First time novelist Cleland does a creditable job with antiques dealer Josie Prescott, who lost her job in the auction-house scandal but has gone on to create a successful business in New Hampshire. Everything is going well for Josie until she finds herself the chief suspect in the murder of an elderly potential client who, it turns out, had paintings stolen during the Nazi regime. A little heavy on the advice from Josie's deceased parents, and not quite enough detail about antiques, but a good read nevertheless. I'll look forward to Cleland's next.

Title: Consigned to Death (Review #2)
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Josie Precott has left New York and opened her own antiques auction house in a small New Hampshire coastal town. She is thrilled with the possible contract for the contents of a huge old house full of beautiful and valuable antiques. But when she goes to sign the final contract, no one answers the door. This turns out to be least of Josies' problems as she learns that the owner is dead -murdered- and Josies' is the last name is his appointment book. The police chief, whom Josie has noticed is a superbly eligible bachelor, considers her the prime suspect, so Josie feels she must somehow solve the crime and maybe, just maybe, even manage to secure the auction contract after all. Then, of course, there's also the attraction to the police chief. All in all, this is a great first novel with interesting characters, well drawn plot and lots of antique description. You'll enjoy it, especially if you like antiques.

Andrew Clements

Title: Frindle  
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Copyright: September 1996
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is a must read for 4th or 5th graders. This is an encouraging story of a boy with a most difficult language-arts teacher and his idea to rename the word "pen" to "frindle". The wood catches on with the students and eventually travels throughout the entire country. An elementary school librarian recommended this book to me and I'm so glad she did.

Title: Things Not Seen 
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: 15 year old Bobby wakes up and finds himself invisible. This entertaining book continues with Bobby and his family searching to find out why. In the ensuing time he meets a blind teenage girl. They both struggle to overcome their respective conditions. Written in the first person, with humor, the story is well done and appeals to more than just its teenage audience.

Jackie Clune

Title: Man of the Month Club 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
At age 39 successful British business entrepreneur Amy Stokes decides she has one year to find a man to father a child. Meetings with various "donors" are humorous, but the entire story is somewhat mindless and predictable.

Harlan Coben

Title:  Caught
Classification:
Mystery
Publisher:
Dutton
Copyright
2010
Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

Dan Mercer is on his way to help a teenage girl in trouble when he walks into the glare of television lights and his life is forever changed.  Wendy Tynes is the TV reporter who has made a name for herself by exposing pedophiles and who thinks Dan is no different from any of the others she has nailed.  This case is not the same, though, and with heart-pounding speed Coben races through twists as more people are caught in the maze of murder and retaliation. 

Move this one to the top of your must-read list, and be sure not to schedule anything until you’re done.  Absolutely fantastic!

Title: Hold Tight  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Dutton
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Coben does it again! Following the suicide of a teenage boy, Mike and Tia Baye are worried about their son...so worried that they install spy wear on his computer to monitor his activities. Their discoveries lead them into a new culture of drugs and murder and the fear that they will be too late to save their son. Although not quite as tightly-written as Tell no One or Gone For Good, Coben paints a fairly convincing picture of the potential for terror in today's tech-driven world.

Title: Long Lost  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: Dutton
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
My apologies to Coben. For years I've groused about his Myron Bolitar series while praising his stand alone novels. But, at least with this entry, he's made a convert of me. Bolitar gets a call from a woman with whom he shared a passionate escape years ago. She's in France and says only: "Come to Paris." Despite warnings from his friend and partner, he goes, to be caught up in a flurry of murders, terrorists and red herrings that lead to a chilling conclusion. A really terrific read!

Title: Promise Me  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Dutton
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Coben is back with Myron Bolitar and the gang in the series he left for the terrific stand-alone "Tell No One." I honestly haven't missed Myron, and am not delighted to have him back, although this book about missing teenagers is mildly entertaining. Too many pointless twists and stereotypical characters and way too much superhero stuff by Myron. It's time to retire Bolitar for good and for Coben to get back to the stuff he does well.

Title: Tell No One 
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: His first book not in the Bolitar series, Coben nails this one! When a couple goes away on their annual anniversary trip only one of them comes home. Great read!

Title: The Woods  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Dutton/Penguin Group
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Twenty years ago Paul Copeland was a camp counselor when his sister and three friends were murdered. Now, as a county prosecutor, Paul is asked by police to identify another body...a body that he is sure is that of one of the murdered boys. And if Gil survived, what of his sister? In what may be his best book since Tell No One, Coben races through a riveting series of seemingly unconnected events to a wrenching conclusion. Don't miss it!

Paulo Coelho

Title: Alchemist  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 1993
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
There's good news and bad news about this book.  The good news is: if up til now you've based your life philosophy on fortune cookies and the horoscope in the morning paper, this is for you.  A bunch of hokey, "wishing will make it so" pop-psych mumbo-jumbo.  The bad news is: if you want a thoughtful, well-written book about life's challenges and mysteries, this book is a bunch of hokey, "wishing will make it so" pop-psych mumbo-jumbo. A poor shepherd boy travels from Spain to Egypt while following the quest for his "personal legend," encountering mystical (and shallow) characters on the way who give him advice like "The Soul of the World is nourished by people's happiness.  And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy.  To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation.  All things are one."  And on and ON in this vein.  What a waste of time.

Joseph Colicchio

Title: Trouble With Mental Wellness 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bridge Words Publishing Company, Inc.
Copyright: April 2004
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This book was poorly written with mindless dialogue and action. The characters sotires were all intertwined with the main character, Nicky who had converted his parent's meat shop into a mental wellness center. There are only a few people who visit his center and when an elderly lady he has been consulting is found dead after an overdose of sleeping pills, Nicky is accused of not giving her adequate psychological help. Each character in this novel deals with many problems and is just as confused as the next. There is also little resolution at the end of the story.

Susan Coll

Title: Rockville Pike 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Oh, please, just what we all need: another book about a woman whose life is out of control and she does nothing about it but whine. Of course there is the contrived, silly happy ending in which all Jane's problems are solved, but this book is a definite pass.

Nancy A. Collins

Title: Sunglasses After Dark  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Copyright: 1989
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Meet Sonja Blue, a street-wise, sensuous vampire’s vampire. She feeds off others of her kind instead of humans. This book has been in and out-of-print since its release in 1989. Luckily, for all those who enjoy the vampire genre, the compete collection of Sonja Blue novels are back in print.

Title: Wild Blood (Review #1)  
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: White Wolf, Inc
Copyright: Reissued 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: For all of you that came to the store and were frustrated when I recommended my favorite out-of-print werewolf novel, sound off a cheer! Here it is; reissued in January 2006. This is the story of Skinner Cade, a loner from Chotaw County, Arkansas, who sets out on a journey of self-discovery but finds himself hooking up with a rock band that leaves a path of mayhem, violence and madness wherever they go. At least they understand the thrill of the hunt and the taste of blood that has haunted Skinner throughout his life. Collins is best known for her Sonja Blue vampire tales, but Wild Blood and her voodoo tale, The Tempter (1990) have always been my favorite.

Title: Wild Blood (Review #2)
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Two Wolf Press/White Wolf Publishing, Inc.
Copyright: September 2005 (reprint; previously published 1994)
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Didn't like it at all. Couldn't finish it, and I've read some real dogs.

Natalie R. Collins

Title: Wives and Sisters  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Farmington, Utah, is the setting; the Mormon Church is the subject of this excellent first book. Allison Jenson is six years old when she sees her eight-year-old best friend abducted. Her family and her community refuse to discuss this tragedy with her and she grows up obsessed with finding the truth, blocked at every step by the rigid, patriarchal culture in which she lives. A dark, convincing story of faith shattered by man and one woman's struggle to survive. A must read.

Jessica Conant Park and Susan Conant

Title: Steamed 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: First book in the new Gourmet Girl series. The main character, Chloe Carter, is a college student whose blind date (from an Internet dating service) is murdered during their first meeting. Then she dates the main suspect, chef Josh. The first half of the book is hilarious; I laughed out loud. The second half became a bit more predictable and run-of-the-mill, losing that fabulous humor. Susan Conant was never this funny in her own wonderful dog mystery series, so I think the great humor comes from her daughter's writing. I look forward to the next book and hope to see that humor throughout the next time. These gals could definitely give Evanovich a run for her money if the humor makes a more consistent appearance in their future novels.

Susan Conant

Title: A New Leash on Death 
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the first book in my favorite dog lover's mystery series. The unofficial sleuth, Holly Winter, is a writer of dog articles who shows Alaskan malamutes in competition. Her dogs are real dogs and act like it: they misbehave, even though they are well trained. Fun! Plus I learned tons about the dog show world.

Michael Connelly

Title: Brass Verdict  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Little Brown
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Connelly brings back Mickey Haller from Lincoln Lawyer in this, the second in the series, which he shares with longtime protagonist Harry Bosch. Mickey is forced out of his hiatus from practicing law when fellow lawyer Jerry Vincent is murdered, leaving his practice to Haller. Among the cases is that of Walter Elliot, accused of killing his wife and her lover...a case in which Haller is convinced the defendant was framed. Was Vincent's murder connected to this case? And is Haller in the killer's sights? Although there are a few too many obvious red herrings for this to be a great read, it's still enjoyable.

Title: Echo Park  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this, the twelfth in the Harry Bosch series, Harry is still working in the Open/Unsolved Unit when he is notified that there has been a confession in one of his cases; a thirteen-year-old murder that has haunted him. The confessed murderer is leading him and other officers to the burial site when everything goes wrong and Harry has to deal with the possibility that his partner, Kiz, might die...and with the certainty that the killer is not who it seems. Connelly's Bosch series continues to be convincing and tightly-written, and this entry is one of his best.

Title: Lincoln Lawyer  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Connelly breaks out of the serial killer genre to write a courtroom drama and does a fairly good job, although I hope this isn't a permanent change. It's just a little too pat with the "should a lawyer sell his soul" question.

Title: Nine Dragons  
Classification
:
Fiction
Publisher
:
Little, Brown
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:
In this, the fifteenth of Connelly’s Harry Bosch series, Harry is called to the scene of the murder of a Chinese shopkeeper--a man he met years ago.  All the evidence points to a gang killing which takes on an international twist when Harry’s daughter in Hong Kong goes missing and Harry finds himself against an impossible deadline to rescue her and find the murderer. 

 Only so-so, Connelly’s rush to finish the book neglects to build suspense.  I’m not so wild about Harry anymore.

 

Title: Overlook  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Bosch is back and better than ever as he investigates the murder of a physician with access to hospital supplies of cesium. He finds himself not only in a race to find the killer, but also in a battle against the FBI and his former girlfriend, agent Rachel Walling, who have been tracking a terrorist plot to use the radioactive material. A roller coaster read with a cliffhanger ending; Connelly has written a book with a real adrenaline rush!

Pat Conroy

Title: South of Broad
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

Pat Conroy, in "South of Broad" writes again of Charleston, this time in 1989, with a cast of characters led by Leo King, whose social core is made up of friends from childhood. They date, marry, work and care a great deal for each others good and bad times. A great mix of personalities and situations keep the reader entranced till the very end. Conroy always writes a great story, ultimately about forgiveness.

Dawn Cook

Title: The Decoy Princess  
Classification:
Fantasy
Publisher: Ace Books/Berkley/Penguin Books (USA) Inc.
Copyright:
December 2005
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
Good storyline of a princess who discovers she’s just a security stand-in for the real princess—quite a shock! Life gets more interesting as enemies make their moves, and even friends can be more than they seem. This story did make me laugh occasionally, but overall it was not well done. The author kept throwing in odd, jarring elements. Like sour notes that don’t flow well with a melody, the cumulative effect was of a good song badly played.

Susan Cooper

Title: Dark Is Rising
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 1970s
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This fantasy series begins when Simon, Jane & Barney Drew discover an ancient map in the attic of their vacation home. Soon they are on the search for the Grail. The five books that make up the sequence see the children battle between the Dark and the Light in a world full of Arthurian and Celtic mystical settings. Very popular and well-known series, but didn’t do anything for me. Of course, I’m not a big fan of this type of setting. Ages 12 and up.

Robert Cormier

Title: I Am the Cheese 
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Reminiscent in tone of Flowers for Algernon, this teen read is a dark look at reality versus nightmare. I highly recommend it.

Patricia Cornwell

Title: At Risk  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
I feel as though I should wear a black armband to mourn the loss of trees that were sacrificed in the printing of this disaster of a book. Cornwell muddles along without even the Scarpetta angst in this novella, which wouldn't have had a chance at being published without her name on it. One word: Blech.

Title: Book of the Dead (Review #1) 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
One of the things you'll notice right away in this book is that Cornwell now writes in the third, rather than the first, person...probably because even Kay Scarpetta can't stand to be herself any more.   The novel, of course, begins with Kay's trademark angst about Benton, Marino and Lucy and throws in a convoluted, unsatisfying series of murders with a predictable murderer.  And, please, after all these years together, can't Kay and Benton learn to relate to each other as adults rather than as insecure adolescents?  Grow up, Kay...and while you're at it: you're a doctor.  Write yourself a prescription for Zoloft; you'll feel much better. As for me, I'm done. A cereal box is a better read.

Title: Book of the Dead (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
I typically would rate a Patricia Cornwell book a 4 or 5, but unfortunately, I can't with any good conscience rate this any higher than a 3. As much as I love the Kay Scarpetta series, I'm beginning to wonder if this series should just end. The story lines are not as strong and captivating as they used to be. The case they are working on is interesting but once she throws in the character's personal issues, it just muddles up the story. For the first time ever, I actually put this book aside to read another one and then came back to it.

Title: Scarpetta (Review #1) 
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The question is, who is behind Gotham Gotcha, and who is putting Scarpetta's most personal information on the smarmy internet gossip site? Further, could this site be connected to a rash of murders, or to the paranoid fantasies of the main suspect? When Cornwell focuses on crime and forensics she's great, but she suffers from the same syndrome that James Patterson does: they write badly and stiltingly about relationships, while insisting on including way too much awkward nuance and far-fetched dialogue in their novels, a habit that bulks up the pages but slows down the plot. Wait for paperback.

Title: Scarpetta (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The latest in the Scarpetta series finds Kay called in to work on an investigation of a little person. The possible suspect, the victim's boyfriend, requests Scarpetta specifically to conduct the examination. While everyone suspects his guilt, Kay investigates the case and begins to have doubts about his guilt. All the while, someone with a grudge against Scarpetta, publishes some very personal about her on a trashy Internet website. While pretty decent, the story runs a little slow at times and a few parts seem unnecessary to the storyline.

Catherine Coulter

Title: Born to Be Wild  
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Jove
Copyright: August 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This book seemed more mystery/thriller than romance, but elements of all three were combined in a very good, humorous story: Mary Lisa Beverly - an Emmy winning soap-opera star - gets help from friends and family to find out who is trying to kill her.

Title: Born to be Wild 
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The world of soap-operas presents Mary Lisa, a three time daytime Emmy winner whose fun and active life is turned around when someone tries to run her over. Is she being stalked by a photographer or a deranged fan? The D.A. and local police chief come to the rescue and provide the necessary romance. Coulter includes interesting soap opera trivia between chapters.

Douglas Coupland

Title: All Families Are Psychotic  ____
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Copyright: 2001

Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: One of my favorite Coupland books, this is the darkly humorous, soap opera tale of the Drummond family. The situations in Coupland books sometimes seem far-fetched, frequently absurd yet he always seems to be able to comment on the human condition in a way few contemporary authors can.  No matter which Coupland book you grab, most likely you will find at least one line to quote that accurately reflects where you find yourself in life.

L.B. Cowman; edited by James Reimann

Title: Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: Zondervan
Copyright: original 1925; updated 1997
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This is my favorite Christian daily devotional, excellent especially for encouragement during times of suffering. I recommend the "Updated Edition in Today's Language" edited by James Reimann, who did an excellent job in making this classic clearer and more understandable for the modern reader. The isbn for the edition I have is 0-310-21006-2. Get one for yourself and one to give away.

Harvey Cox

Title: When Jesus Came to Harvard: Making Moral Choices Today 
Classification: Religion
Publisher: Houghton Mufflin Co.
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In response to Harvard realizing that most of their graduates were ethically deviant; the faculty introduced in the early 1980’s the requirement that all undergraduates must complete course work in moral reasoning. Cox was brought on board to teach a course examining the role Jesus of Nazareth had as rabbi regarding moral responsibility. This book is his memoir reflecting on twenty years of teaching this extremely effective and always packed class set in a theater forum. The book is informative, contemporary, and challenges readers to consider how ethics and morality is developed.

Lynne Cox

Title: Grayson  
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Knopf
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Lynne Cox, author of "Swimming to Antarctica", tells the story of her miraculous encounter while long distance swim training with an 18 foot baby gray whale which had gotten separated from its mother. Wonderful descriptions of ocean life add to this mysterious magical story.

Robert Crais

Title: Chasing Darkness  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Several years ago Elvis Cole cleared Lionel Byrd of murder, so when Byrd's body is found with evidence linking him to that crime and others since, Cole determines to find out if Byrd could have been guilty. His investigation leads him to a sleazy city official, a deputy police chief and a cover-up...all threatening to keep him from discovering the truth in time to prevent more deaths. Crais continues to keep us turning pages in this solid entry in the series.

Title: First Rule 
Classification
:
Mystery
Publisher:
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Copyright:
2010
Reviewer
: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:

In this, the second in the Joe Pike series, Crais has the deadly Pike hunting the home-invasion gang that killed his friend and former mercenary. When it becomes evident that this is no low-level drug-addled group, Pike finds himself up against the powerful Russian mob in a thriller that races its way through deceit and double-cross and has Pike calling in all his favors as he tracks a killer who is almost as lethal as he.
Whether he features Joe Pike or his business partner Elvis Cole, Crais almost always nails it…this one is no exception.
 

Joe Pike series:
Watchman
First Rule

Title: Two Minute Rule 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A departure for Crais with uneven results. I was hoping for something great with this one and didn't get it, but it's worth a read.

Title: Watchman  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Joe Pike takes center stage in this great thriller about a spoiled rich girl involved in a car wreck and then targeted for death. As Pike and Elvis Cole race to find her would-be assassin, they find themselves caught up in a world of international greed and murder. One of the best Crais books, this is a must-read.

Michael Crichton

Title: Next  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Copyright: November 2006
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This was a science fiction tale. Crichton takes his readers on a slippery slope of the dangers of genetically modifying nature and mixing our genes with other organisms. I found his information questionable, and his story line did not come together in the end. There were loose ties that needed to be finished, closure needed on the many characters he introduced, and further explanation of just what was his conclusion with all of this.

Dawn Christine Crowther

Title: Cinderella Not: An Everyday Fairytale 
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Publish America
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This is a good book written for teen girls who have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) or for anyone wondering what it may be. Crowther discovered this for herself in a very personal way and sought to give girls another outlet by fictionalizing parts of her own struggle with PCOS.

Jennifer Cruise & Bob Mayer

Title: Agnes and the Hitman 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Cruise and Mayer have created a complex plot of romance, sex, mob members and government agents. Filled with a ridiculous number of dead bodies and improbable scenarios, this one however is funny and engaging.

Title: Don't Look Down 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: April 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the first collaboration between these authors...and hopefully not the last! The book is a good blend of humor, suspense, action, and a touch of romance. Lucy Armstrong, a commercial director hired to complete the last four days of an action movie shoot, stumbles into a money-laundering scheme on the set. To protect her niece, sister, and the rest of the cast and crew from the Russian mob, Lucy and JT Wilder (a Green Beret hired by one of the actors to act as a consultant/stunt double) work together to flush out the bad guys.

Elaine Cunningham

Title: Changeling Detective Stories
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: TOR
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Ten-year veteran of the Providence, Rhode Island, vice squad, Gwen Gellman is forced to retire after a sting turns into a bloodbath. She starts her own P.I. firm specializing in family problems but finds herself uncovering her own mysterious and mystical past. The books read like police suspense stories more than fantasy stories. Gwen may be a member of the Fae race but barely realizes this fact and the rest of the world within the novels are a mirror of our own world.

Title: Shadows in the Darkness 
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: TOR
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The first in the Changeling series featuring ex-vice cop Gwen Gellman, now P.I. specializing in family problems. Although the story is classified as fantasy because Gwen finds out she is Fae toward the end of the book, it reads like a suspense police thriller. The book sets up storylines for future books in the series.

 
D
 

Sandra Dallas

Title: Prayers for Sale  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Eighty-six-year-old Hennie Comfort has lived in Middle Swan, Colorado, since just after the Civil War and has forged a life in the mining town, in a house with a weathered sign in the front yard offering prayers for sale. When lonely young Nit Spindle hands Hennie her last nickel for a prayer, their friendship begins and, through stories shared over quilts and coffee, the two women share their lives. What a wonderful read!

Title: Tallgrass  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
It's 1942 and thirteen-year-old Rennie Stroud is watching with the rest of Ellis, Colorado, as Japanese-Americans arrive from California destined for Tallgrass, the detention center built to house them for the duration of World War II. Raised in the safety and shelter of her small farming town, Rennie is unprepared for the hatred she sees in her neighbors and tells her story with wry, poignant observation. This is the author's best book since The Diary Of Mattie Spenser; I highly recommend it!

Title: Tallgrass  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
During WWII a small Colorado town becomes the site for a Japanese internment camp. When a young girl is raped and murdered suspicion centered on the Japanese splits the town. 13 year old Rennie, the daughter of compassionate and wise parents, struggles to rise above the town's bigotry. In addition to memorable characters author Dallas again emphasizes the need for women to create strong emotional networks.

Shirley Damsgaard

Title: Ophelia & Abby Mysteries
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Avon
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Thirty-something librarian Ophelia Jensen and her charming granny Abigail are both witches with paranormal powers. Trying to flee her personal demons, Ophelia moves to small town Summerset, Iowa to be close to Abby and the two of them find themselves in the middle of murder and mystery.

Title: Charmed to Death 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Avon
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Book 2 in the Ophelia & Abby Mystery series. Ophelia again stumbles upon a dead body in the small town of Summerset, Iowa. Now, she has to deal with her emerging psychic gifts alone since grandmother Abby is indisposed and the town is full of person’s from her past trying to link her to previous murders. A quick read murder mystery where the secondary characters, at times, seem more interesting than the lead character. The series makes you wonder if living in a quiet, small town might be more dangerous than city life.

Title: The Trouble with Witches  ____
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Avon
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
The third novel in the Ophelia & Abby Mystery series finds librarian Ophelia and her psychic grandmother Abby on the road to Minnesota to find a missing girl who recently got involved in a cult-like psychic research group.  All the main characters are back and there is an interesting Native American shaman introduced but this story is slow, lacking the suspense and interest found in the other Ophelia & Abby mysteries.  It seems the author is more interested in having these charming psychic ladies embrace their witch heritage than telling a good story.  It wasn’t until the last chapter that the original mystery of the missing girl comes to light.  I actually forgot the story was about finding her.   More like a 2-1/2.

Title: Witch Hunt 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Avon Mystery
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The fourth installment in the Ophelia and Abby Mystery series focuses on Ophelia, the librarian-turned-amateur-sleuth as a new parental figure to a young teenager.  Abby has taken on the role of mentor, teaching the youngster the ways of old and again murder and mayhem has rocked the “quiet” small town of Summerset.  Witches, motorcycle gangs, corrupt cops, and ghosts fill this installment with wit and suspense.  Although this book is not my favorite, the series keeps getting better and I can’t wait to read the next mystery adventure of this remarkable multi-generational team.

Title: The Witch is Dead 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Avon Mystery
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In the fifth installment of this quirky, small town mystery series, librarian Ophelia and her charming grandmother, Abby are set to adopt the fourteen year old medium, Tink, when a visit from elderly Aunt Dot, eager for an adventure away from her stagnant life in the Appalachian mountains, throws all the witches in the middle of a neighboring town’s murder mystery.  Trying to keep up with Aunt Dot’s antics, balancing her responsibilities at the library and dealing with the emotional angst of a teenaged medium, Ophelia tries to avoid becoming involved in yet another murder investigation.  As in all the adventures of these amateur sleuths, the generational witches grow in their understanding of the craft as well as their skills at working with the authorities to solve crime.  The mysteries in this series are captivating and the characters have grown endearing to the point that I look forward to brewing a little tea for their visit.

Title: Witch Way to Murder (An Ophelia & Abby Mystery) 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Avon
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This story is the first in the series involving Librarian Ophelia and her grandmother, Abby. Both have paranormal abilities but Ophelia is a too uptight to let her skills flourish. The mystery is great but I found it hard to tolerate Ophelia’s aloofness. What will get me to read the next book in the series is her delightful grandmother, Abby. Another small town mystery where murder and conspiracy shakes up the normally tranquil world of Summerset, Iowa.

Casey Daniels

Title: Chick and the Dead 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Cleveland ex-socialite Pepper Martin, now a reluctant sleuth hired by those who reside at the historic cemetery where she is employed as a tour guide, solved the cold case murder of a mafia Don in her first adventure (Don of the Dead) and he has past on to the great beyond, but not before he refers a murdered 1950’s poodle-skirted Didi Bowman to Pepper.  Now Pepper finds herself in the middle of a huge media frenzy at the cemetery and working to debunk the center of all that attention.  Funny, fast and full of heart, this second book in the Pepper Martin Mystery series is a delight.

Title: Don of the Dead 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Cleveland ex-socialite Pepper Martin finds herself having to rely on her art history degree after her surgeon daddy was convicted of fraud and her wealthy fiancé dumped her.  She takes a job as a historic tour guide in a legendary cemetery. After a head injury from landing on a headstone, Pepper finds she is able to communicate with the dead in need of help, and slowly becomes a reluctant sleuth solving crimes long gone cold.  This first murder mystery in the Pepper Martin Mystery series is funny, charming and full of life.  The fact that the story takes place in Cleveland, Ohio made it even more delightful for this ex-Clevelander. 

Title: Tombs of Endearment 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Pepper Martin is a historic cemetery tour guide in Cleveland, Ohio and recently found herself private investigator to the deceased. In this third Pepper Martin Mystery series. Pepper finds herself trying to find out who is channeling a 1970's rock icon that died of an overdose and threatening the remaining aging members of his band. As the mystery unravels, Pepper finds that she needs to come to terms with her own past before she can truly take a chance at getting involved with the living. She realizes her life is no different than these aging rockers and their groupies, who failed to move forward in their lives when the party was over. These mysteries are smart, equally mixing humor and suspense, and are just fun to read.

John Darnton

Title: Black and White and Dead All Over 
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A Knopf
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A completely entertaining novel about the newspaper business. When loathsome editor Theodore Ratnoff is murdered, no one is upset by his death (well, almost no one), but when the murders don't stop there the entire staff gets pretty edgy. And when reporter Jude Hurley, stymied at every turn in his attempt to write the story, is targeted by the killer he only becomes more determined to find the truth. A nicely ironic, well-crafted book.

Mary-Janice Davidson

Title: Dead and Loving It (Review #1)  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: O.K., so she is a romance writer and writes like one! This collection of four novellas about the Wyndham werewolves and Queen Betsy Taylor’s Undead series vampires are funny, engaging and way too brief. They need to be longer or Davidson needs to write faster.

Title: Dead and Loving It (Review #2)
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: MaryJanice Davidson writes just about the best humorous paranormal romance...and this book is no exception. A word of warning, if you are a devoted fan - the first three stories were originally published in e-book format. The fourth in this series and final tale is new and features George the Fiend, so Betsy and gang are all included! (Watch for another "Gorgeous" book in May and "Undead" series).

Title: Dead and Loving It (Review #3)
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Copyright: April 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Romantic fantasy by the author of the Undead series. This is a collection of 4 short stories with characters from her other novels. You can enjoy these without having read her other books. Each one is a different way for the characters to fall in love. 3 1/2.

Title: Drop Dead Gorgeous 
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Brava
Copyright: May 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the second book in the Gorgeous series (Hello, Gorgeous was the first book). Jenny Branch helps Kevin Stone go back undercover into the Snakepit to disrupt their evil plans. It's the author's typical humorous romp with romance.

Title: Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace (Review #1) 
Classification
: Teens
Publisher: Berkley Trade (JAM imprint)
Copyright: August 2005
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This young adult novel series introduces the reader to Jennifer at a pivotal point in her young life. She has just turned fourteen and discovered a secret that her parents have kept from her too long - she is a weredragon like her father and grandfather. The authors have penned a humorous, yet realistic look of her trials as she tries to cope with her large lizard-like body, its new powers, and the betrayal she feels about her parents' secrets. She isn't given too much time to adjust before she must try her new wings and help her mother find her father before he is killed. This is a book that all ages can enjoy.

Title: Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace (Review #2)
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Jennifer Scales is full of teen-aged angst and then some; particularly after finding out that she is a weredragon. I picked this book up after reading Venus’ review and was thrilled to see such a delightful teen tale written by the only paranormal romance writer I enjoy reading. Although the series is written for young adults, I bet some “old adults” would find it a fun and engaging read.

Title: Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace (Review #3)
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Copyright: August 2005
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Enjoyable series about a teenage girl who finds she can turn into a dragon, and the misadventures she gets into trying to come to terms with this ability. She learns that the world is a much stranger place than she ever thought it was.

Title: Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace (Review #4)
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Copyright: August 2005
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Teen fantasy series. Move over, "teenage werewolf," here comes "I was a teenage weredragon." Great read. I definitely look forward to reading more of Jennifer's adventures. She's got the attitude, AND she breathes fire! Look out, world, this sassy shapeshifter is just getting started!

Title: Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light (Review #1)  
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Berkley Publishing

Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the second Jennifer Scales book written by the husband and wife team, and what a mystery this team weaves for young adults!  Full of were-dragons, were-spiders and warriors sans the horror normally found in books of this genre.  Jennifer and friends are dealing with normal adolescent problems common among most teens.  Throw in some very unique anthropomorphic changes and you wonder just how they hold it together.  The story focuses on maintaining friendships regardless of the dramatic personal differences that try to tear this group apart.  Also, it is great to see Jennifer find common ground between her diverse parents.  Anyone, regardless of age, who appreciates a good lycanthrope story, will enjoy these books.

Title: Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light (Review #2)
Classification:
Teens
Publisher: Berkley Jam Books
Copyright:
June 2006
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The second in the Jennifer Scales series is also a very good read. At first I found the somewhat soap-opera-ish plot to be a bit much even for a fantasy, but once I accepted the drama I thoroughly enjoyed it. This series is marketed for teens but is a good read for adults as well. Jennifer is being trained in her mother's heritage and struggling with friend and family relationships, while trying to avoid being killed. Who says teenagers have it easy?! Especially half-weredragon teenagers facing a lot of secrets. I look forward to the third book!

Title: Mysteria  
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Copyright: July 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Fantasy romance. A very interesting short story collection centered around a town that is a sanctuary for magical and supernatural beings who live there along with regular humans.

Title: The Royal Pain 
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Brava
Copyright: November 2005
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The sequel to The Royal Treatment brings the cast of Baranov characters back to tell the Princess Alexandria's story. This amusing romance develops as Dr. Sheldon Rivers, a marine biologist at the North Dakota Institute for Sea Life, helps Alex find a cure for her insomnia. Another fun read that makes you wish the next one comes soon!

Title: The Royal Treatment 
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Spunky Christina Krabbe loses her job aboard a ship and is forced to disembark in Alaska. But that's okay, since she has made friends with Al (who turns out to be the reigning king of Alaska and matchmaking for his son). The rest of this alternative reality is a hilarious chronicle of the romance between Christina and Prince David, their marriage, and her adjustment to life as a Princess. This book is the first in a series and like her "Undead" novels, it is filled with the author's usual quirky, comical yet realistic characters and their penguins.

Title: The Silver Moon Elm 
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Berkley Jam
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
I love this series and this third installment does not disappoint.  Jennifer, weredragon/beaststalker, has to rely on her newly discovered skills as the Ancient Furnace to survive the onslaught of a universe filled with were-spiders.  The adventures of Jennifer and her growing circle of unlikely friends will entertain any one who loves a witty, fast-pasted adventure involving unusual lycanthropes.  Although I love Davidson’s charming and witty writing in most of her series, her characters can be quite dimwitted at times.  That is not the case in this series and the skill at weaving this tale most likely relies on her husband Anthony Alongi’s contribution.

Title: Sleeping with the Fishes  
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Jove/Berkley
Copyright: December 2006
Reviewer:
Gayle
Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments
: This book only gets a three if you are: a.) looking for an extremely quick read; b.) love the only romance writer I read; and c.) want a hearty laugh.  This is the story of Fred, a mermaid working for the aquarium in Boston, and an array of her friends and love interest (similar in personality and their antics to those who follow Betsy the Vampire Queen around in Davidson’s Undead series).  Fred is on a mission to find who is poisoning the Boston Harbor and even though she is half-mermaid, she can’t swim in her human form, is allergic to eating fish, and gets remarkably sea sick on boats.  This new entry is light on the typical romance themes (thanks God) and more of a mystery than any of her other books. However, at times the writing is choppy most likely because she avoids her familiar first person narrative and appears to have some difficulty switching storytelling between multiple characters.  Still, Davidson makes me laugh and as long as she writes about paranormal protagonists, I will look forward to meeting her quirky, comical characters.  

Title: Swimming Without a Net  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Jove
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The second book in Fred the Mermaid series finds Fredrika Bimm off to the Cayman Islands at the request of the royal merfamily. She is finally going to meet those from her absent father’s side of the family. She is a mermaid who can’t swim, has food allergies which prevent her from eating fish, and a best friend who is complicating her life by dating her boss. This charming romantic comedy is a quick read and will keep you entertained as Fred and her gang help the merpeople come ‘out of the closet.’

Title: Undead and Uneasy 
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Light, fluffy and funny is the best way to describe this sixth installment from the Undead and…series about the trials and tribulations of the most self-centered vampire queen history has ever known.  Betsy the Vampire Queen is so absorbed in final wedding plans she can’t see her world collapsing all around her.  The series is always entertaining and an extremely quick read, but never worth the price of a hardback.  Borrow from a friend or from your local library if you can’t wait until it comes out in paperback next year. 

Title: Undead and Unpopular (Review #1)  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley Sensation/Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright: June 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: #5 in the Undead romance series. The continuing adventures of the new Queen of the vampires as she deals with European royalty. Wasn't as funny as some of the other books, but still good. 3 1/2.

Title: Undead and Unpopular (Review #2)
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Betsy the Vampire Queen is funnier than ever in this new addition to the Undead and … series.  A light humorous summer read with all new adventures for everyone living with the Queen as she gets ready for her wedding and her first birthday since becoming the Queen.  A higher recommendation would follow sans this story’s brevity.  Betsy’s adventures would be better handled as “penny dread” installments rather than as expensive annual hardbacks.

Title: Undead and Unreturnable 
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Copyright: November 2005
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Romantic fantasy by the author of the Undead series. Funny, enjoyable characters getting into really silly and ridiculous predicaments. A true joy to read. Laugh-out-loud funny.

Title: Undead and Unwed 
Reviewer
: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Okay, so this one is on the low side of "liked"...an Evanovich wannabe with vampires. Cute, but a little heavy on the sex scenes with fangs.

Title: Undead and ...
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The hilarious adventures of Betsy the Vampire Queen who would rather be buying shoes than handling vampire politics! They are short, quick stories and can be found in the Romance section of any bookstore. Luckily, the first four novels now appear in a single volume entitled Betsy the Vampire Queen (2005). Best to read in order.

Title: Wyndham Werewolves
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Amazingly funny preternatural stories from romance writer Davidson. This time she focuses on werewolves and their romantic yet difficult interactions with humans. Derik’s Bane, the only novel thus far in this series involves a werewolf hooked on Rachel Ray and her cooking shows. The rest of the Wyndham werewolves tales are shorts in omnibus collections.

Sarah Zacharias Davis

Title: Confessions From An Honest Wife  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: Revell/Baker
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This book is well suited for use in stimulating discussion in premarital counseling or marriage studies. Anyone planning on getting married or those already married would benefit from reading it, although it is all from a woman's point of view so it will probably hold more appeal for women to pick up. The author is the daughter of Ravi Zacharias, in case you are familiar with his books. This book is put together from interviews with several anonymous Christian women. Each chapter is a different woman's voice candidly expressing what she has struggled with and learned in her own marriage. The only thing I really didn't care for was one of the last chapters in which a woman justified what sounded to me like an unjustifiable divorce. Of course, I don't have the full story to know for sure, and one of the things she complains about are how hard Christians frequently are on those who are going through the pain of divorce. Hmmm...I better think about that one. So even though I don't agree with her viewpoints on this issue, the book is still good; the point of the book is not to necessarily find agreement with everything you read, but to stir up discussion in groups so people can learn from listening to other perspectives.

Sallie Day

Title: Palace of Strange Girls  
Classification
:
Fiction
Publisher:
Grand Central
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating
:

Reviewer Comments:

At the second- or third-rate beach resort where they vacation every year, the Singleton family struggles with their younger daughter's illness, their older daughter's sad search for love, and their parents' distance.  Their mother, Ruth, wants nothing more than a home with status, while their father, Jack, is obsessed with the letter he carries from the woman he loved during the war. 

Set in 1959, this is not a nostalgic book, but one painted in sorry shades of gray...even the ocean is cold and unwelcoming.  A tough look at an unloving family.

 

Jeffery Deaver

Title: Bodies Left Behind  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Now, this is the suspense thriller we've been waiting for! Emma and Steven Feldman, she a lawyer, he a social worker, are planning a quiet weekend at their isolated getaway place when two armed gunmen storm the house. Are their murders connected to a high-profile case Emma was working on or to something else altogether? Can Brynn McKenzie find out in time to save herself and her family from the killers? A high octane read; a great breakout from the Lincoln Rhyme series. Don't miss this one!

Title: Broken Window  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In what may be the ultimate Big Brother novel, Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are on the trail of a rapist/murderer with a twist: he is able to frame innocent people because he knows everything about them. Further, he can manipulate computer data to set up his own alibis and to impede his pursuers. This, the eighth in the Lincoln Rhyme series, is an absolutely terrifying look at just how vulnerable we all are in an age of cyber data, and one of Deaver's best books ever! Don't miss it.

Title: Cold Moon 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the seventh in the Lincoln Rhyme series, and the best since Bone Collector, with all of Deaver's fully fleshed-out characters and convoluted plot turns. When two murders occur on the same night, Rhyme calls Amelia Sachs away from her primary investigation to hunt down the "Watchmaker" who has left clocks at his crime scenes; but all, of course, is not as it seems. Why would such a meticulous killer make huge mistakes that allow his next victims to escape? Is Sachs dealing with a serial killer, corrupt cops, or something larger and more sinister? A really gripping read!

Title: Garden of Beasts: A Novel of Berlin 1936  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"Garden of Beasts" takes American hitman Paul Schumann to Berlin to assassinate one of Hitler's top men. Finding himself the victim of a double-cross, Schumann must choose between saving himself and completing his mission. "Garden of Beasts" is intriguing, fast-paced historical fiction.

Title: Sleeping Doll  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Nine year-old Teresa Croyton is sleeping in her bed filled with toys when her family is murdered by a group patterned after the Manson family. Years later, the family disbanded and its leader in prison, she has been spirited away by her aunt and uncle and kept safe...until the cult leader escapes. Led by FBI agent Kathryn Dance, law enforcement agents race to find him as he pursues Teresa and the former members of his "family". Although this lacks the polish of Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme novels, it still moves well and provides a few surprises.

Title: Twisted  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Although short stories are not usually a format I enjoy, this is a very good collection. From the first, in which a wife mourns her husband, through the interesting story featuring Lincoln Rhyme and company, to the last in which a father pursues his daughter's stalker, Deaver continues to enhance his reputation as a master of plot twists and startling endings. If you've enjoyed his suspense novels, as I have, give this a try.

Ted Dekker

Title: Showdown 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A small, isolated town and a monastery hidden in the mountains in Colorado are the settings for this suspenseful religious thriller.  A number of orphans from all over the world have been taken to the monastery and are being raised, isolated from all societal influences, as part of a theological experiment into the nature of good and evil.  However, the story of these philosophical geniuses is somewhat sophomoric in delivery, reminiscent of a Disney-styled Boys from Brazil. The havoc these children cause on the nearby town demonstrates more about what self-indulged children can do than it demonstrates the nature of good and evil in humanity.

Mark del Franco

Title: Unshapely Things 
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: ACE Fantasy
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A new dark urban fantasy that begins the tales of The Convergent World where Conner Grey, ex-Guild druid finds himself living in the seedy, run down Boston neighborhood called the Weird.  Grey has lost his druidic powers, finding himself ousted from the Guild, a druid policing force over fey activities.  He is unemployed and relies on his disability checks and some meager consulting fees from the human police.  Just like any person of power who loses their status that defines their lives, Grey has to rethink his worth, his friendships and his abilities while he tries to save the world and stop a serial killer who targets fey prostitutes. The author has created a rich tale involving fairies, elves, trolls, druids, and flits that mingle with human politics and history.  If you like the Harry Dresden series and John Taylor series , you will welcome the adventures of Conner Grey to this intensely rich dark urban genre. 

Nelson Demille

Title: Gate House  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
After several blockbuster suspense novels (Night Fall, Plum Island, Lion's Game), DeMille tries to bore us to death in this, the sequel to Gold Coast. Ten years after John Whitman Sutter's wife killed her lover, and ten years following their divorce, Sutter returns to his old stomping grounds on Long Island's Gold Coast where he spends the better (or worse) part of almost 800 pages mouthing what I think is supposed to be amusing repartee. Unfortunately it isn't. Amusing. At all. Or entertaining, or well-written or engaging. For an author who can usually be counted on to turn in a must-read, DeMille has, this time, given us a mustn't-read. Pass.

Title: Night Fall (Review #1) 
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Based on the downing of flight 800 off Long Island, this is the best suspense book I've read in a long time! The main action begins in the summer of 2001; the tension builds not only as the plot develops, but as we inevitably approach September and the event none of the characters knows is coming. Masterfully and tightly written, this is one of Demille's best!

Title: Night Fall (Review #2)
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Warner Books
Copyright: November 2004
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Thriller concerning filght TWA 800. One of my big, big favorites. Be aware that is begins with a very explicit sex scene which is critical to the plot. Fortunately that's the only such scene. Don't miss this one!

Title: Wild Fire  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Warner Books
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
John Corey (Plum Island, Night Fall) returns in this breathtakingly suspenseful novel about the ultimate post-9/11 conspiracy. Can a group of powerful Americans succeed in their plot to destroy much of the Middle East by sacrificing millions of American lives? And just how far from reality might this scenario be in a paranoid world fearful of another attack on our shores? This compelling, chilling book is being released on Tuesday, November 7. If you haven't reserved your copy yet please hurry...this one isn't to be missed!

Marianne de Pierres

Title: Code Noir  
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: Roc/Penguin
Copyright: 2004; July 2006 in U.S.
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Interesting second book in the Parrish Plessis series; best to read in order. 3 1/2. When Parrish takes over as a warlord while infected with an alien symbiont, the Cabal gives her the task of finding out who's stealing the shamans.

Kiran Desai

Title: The Inheritance of Loss  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Copyright: January 2006
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This was a tale of a bitter judge, his estranged granddaughter and his cook. Set in the Himalayas, there is political unrest, not to mention the judge getting used to having his granddaughter, Sai living with him. The cook also has a son in America and so the story at times follows the trials of the son, Biju trying to be successful in a land of opportunities.

Jude Deveraux

Title: Knight in Shining Armor (Review #1) 
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Written in 1989, this romance has the added twist of "time travel" sequences to create more interest.

Title: Knight in Shining Armor (Review #2)
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Contemporary woman meets 14th century knight and the rest is fabulous. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll lust. I thought this was great.

Pete Dexter

Title: Spooner  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments: In this wonderful book, Spooner, who survives his better-looking twin at birth, makes his hapless and convoluted way through life. Raised by his
hypochondriac mother and Calmer, the stepfather who was mustered out of the navy after shooting and sinking the coffin of a U.S. Congressman, Shooter gives up on trying to measure up to his brilliant sister and the even more brilliant brothers who follow and takes, instead, to urinating in people's shoes.  A terrific, memorable book, Spooner is a character to whom life happens with little interference on his part.  This is a must read, and a great selection for book clubs!

Susan Dexter

Title: Warhorse of Esdragon
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: First, the remarkable adventures of Leith, Prince of the Isles and his amazing black stallion, Valadan. Next comes the story of Leith’s descendants, Druyan. The final book has Titch, a reluctant knight. These are stand alone books with a common thread, Valadan, the magical Warhorse of Esdragon. I love these stories all the way through.

Title: The Winter King’s War
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Tristan, a wizard’s apprentice, a princess caught in enchanted sleep, a wonder horse, a guardian dragon and lots of adventures. I really loved the first two books, but the ending was a bit weak.

Joan Didion

Title: The Year of Magical Thinking (Review #1) 
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Knopf
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"The Year of Magical Thinking", Joan Didion's memoir, is in her words an "attempt to make sense of the weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I had about death, about illness . . . about marriage and children and memory . . . about life itself". In 2003, as their adult daughter lay hospitalized and near death, Didion's husband suffered a fatal heart attack. With passion she explores the year following these momentous events."The Year of Magical Thinking", a must read, speaks directly to anyone who has ever loved, and lost, a spouse or child.

Title: Year Of Magical Thinking  
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Vintage Books
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Didion writes about the death of her husband and her first year of widowhood in such a clinical, detached way that at the end of the book I felt that I knew neither her or her husband any better than I did at the beginning.  Which is to say, not at all.  Perhaps she is numbed by grief, but Didion has no trouble at all describing her dinners out, her travels, or quoting (at length) her earlier books while failing to give a sense of humanity to the man she ostensibly loved.  When all was said and done I found I just didn't care about him, or her, either.

Isak Dinesen

Title: Out of Africa  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
Copyright: 1989
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"Out of Africa" is the fictionalized biographical account by Isak Dinesen of her 17 years as a coffee plantation manager in East Africa. If you remember the movie based on this you'll find some differences in the book. But, her wonderful prose and gift of story telling brings out her love for Africa and it's people.

E.L. Doctorow

Title: March  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Lyrically written, as are all of Doctorow's books, this account follows Sherman's march through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, with convincing depictions of actual and fictitious characters and events. As the South falls, Sherman becomes more obsessed with his own importance and power and more disengaged from the war's human factor while those around him struggle with the new reality the war is creating. Moving and poignant, this book brings to life the battle of two cultures becoming one country.

Keith Donohue

Title: Angels of Destruction  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Twenty years ago Erica Quinn vanished with her boyfriend to join an anarchist group, leaving her mother Margaret to mourn. So...when a child appears at Margaret's door in the middle of the night of course Margaret takes her in. And of course she makes up a story about the child being her granddaughter. And, of course, when complaints come to her from the school about the girl's strange behavior, she ignores them. This book asks the question: are angels real? And after having slogged through these pages the answer is: who cares?

Title: The Stolen Child  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: "The Stolen Child" is the story of Henry Day, a 7 year old boy stolen by changelings, a secret group living in the nearby forest. A changeling boy then morphs himself into Henry and they essentially change places and lives. Narrated with alternating voices of each character, this is a classic tale of their long obsessive search for their original identity.

Ian Douglas

Title: Star Corps  
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: EOS/Harper Collins
Copyright: April 2003
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This first book in the Legacy Trilogy is a good work after his previous Heritage trilogy. Military SF. Marines are sent to deal with aliens who keep humans as slaves. A fast read.

David Drake

Title: Lt. Leary Commanding 
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen Books
Copyright: June 2001
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the second book in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy series, which began with the title "With the Lightnings". Fast, fun read. Military space opera. Lt. Leary has to overturn a conspiracy and stop an invasion.

Title: Other Times Than Peace  
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: August 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
3 1/2. This is a good collection of short stories, some previously published in books and magazines. I liked most of the stories but not all. I recommend this for anybody who likes military science fiction. You will find something to like.

Title: Some Golden Harbor  
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Copyright: September 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Fun, fast read in the RCN series. I enjoyed the way the characters overcame obstacles presented to them. Leary's success has created enemies in the upper ranks, and they have conspired to give him an impossible mission: to stop a planetary war with little or no resources.

Alan Drew

Title: Garden of Water  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"Garden of Water", a debut novel, takes place in a small town outside Istanbul. Following a devastating earthquake Sinan Basioglu, his wife, 15 year old daughter and 8 year old son, are forced to survive in an American missionary tent camp. The culture clash between Islam and Christianity, conservative traditionalism and modernity, love and honor, and age and youth creates devastating situations both sensitive and thought provoking.

Robert Dugoni

Title: Damage Control  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Warner
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Donna Hill, rising star in a prestigious law firm, finds her life shattered by a life threatening illness, an unfaithful husband and the murder of her twin brother. Detective Michael Logan becomes her ally in his effort to stop a string of murders following her brother's death. "Damage Control", an exciting techno thriller, will keep you reading to the conclusion.

Daphne Du Maurier

Title: Rebecca 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Hearst
Copyright: 1994

Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Rebecca is a classic suspense novel. Filled with great twists and surprises, I read this book in one night!

Margaret Dumas

Title: How to Succeed in Murder 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments: A slick, funny and light amateur sleuth story involving a newlywed couple who infiltrate a software company where an alarming number of executives turn up dead. The characters, Charley and Jack, are an appealing and clever couple.

Sarah Dunant

Title: Birth of Venus 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Renaissance Italy is the setting for this wonderfully written story of 15 year old Alessandra who finds love and artistic fulfillment despite the boundaries of an arranged marriage and the Medici political turmoil of the times.

Jerry Camarillo Dunn, Jr.

Title: The National Geographic Traveler SAN FRANCISCO  
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: The National Geographic Society
Copyright: 2000
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This travel guide had awesome photographs, great maps, and tons of history; however it lacked decent sources of things to do. The hotel suggests section was a few pages stuffed in the back. Restaurant suggests were pretty much non-existent. So if you'd rather have a full history and not get lost opposed to knowing what to do in San Francisco this is your travel guide.

Sarah Dunn

Title: The Big Love 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Sarah Dunn's first novel is the entertaining story of Alison Hopkins whose love life and professional career fall apart simultaneously. Written with dry humor this one is fresh and better than most of the current "chic-lit".

John Dunning

Title: Booked to Die  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Pocket/Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 1992
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway loses his badge after dispensing some questionable justice to Jackie Newton, a sleazy murderer with a talent for avoiding prosecution. This time the murder is of a book scout known to Janeway because of his own passion for collecting rare and first edition books, making the capture a very personal goal. Janeway opens his own bookshop while continuing to search for evidence but soon, volumes of a prized book collection begin to appear along with dead bodies. Suspenseful and well plotted with memorable characters with lots and lots of interesting information about books and the workings of the rare book business.

Jeanne Duprau

Title: The City of Ember 
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: May 2003
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: For fans of The Giver, this book follows in a similar fashion. The city of Ember is run completely on electricity with no need for the sun. At night the town is plugged into complete darkness once the lights are turned off. The problem is the townspeople sense that the electricity is starting to fade. Common occurrences of blackouts worry them and one girl, Lina begins to wonder if there is something beyond the city in which she lives. She enlists the help of her friend Doon to search out the truth.

 
E
 

P.D. Eastman

Title: Flap Your Wings  
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Beginner Books a division of Random House, Inc. Scholastic Book club edtion
Copyright: 1969, 1977, 2000
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Another Dr Suess "I can read it all by myself beginner book," offers lessons and entertainment. A misplaced lost egg finds a home with family of birds to be raised. No matter what the baby may or may not be the mom and dad bird raise the baby as their own. And one day the baby must learn to fly! It's a quick book, good for a bedtime story even for a 25 year old.

Clyde Edgerton

Title: Bible Salesman  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Little Brown
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
At twenty, Henry Dampier is out in the world for the first time, peddling Bibles as he travels. Raised by his Uncle Jack and his very religious Aunt Dorie, Henry is not prepared at all for the likes of Preston Clearwater, the con man who gives him a lift and a job. Innocently, Henry helps his new employer recover "stolen" cars until the truth becomes evident...an event that comes too late.

Kim Edwards

Title: The Memory Keeper's Daughter  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: It all begins in a snowy blizzard night in March 1964. A physician and his pregnant wife try to make their way through the snow to get to the hospital to have their baby. Unfortunately they are no match for the snow and instead of the hospital; they go to the physician’s office. David, the husband and physician, calls his nurse to come and help.  The nurse, Carolyn makes it to the office in time to help David sedate his wife and deliver his own baby.  Much to their surprise, his wife Norah was carrying twins. After the twins (a boy and a girl) were born, David recognizes that his daughter showed sure signs of having Down Syndrome. The decision he makes next changes all of their lives forever. The book is about living with the choices you make and how the lies, secrets, and deceit can have lasting repercussions on all those involved.

Margaret Elphinstone

Title: Light  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Canongate Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Light is a family drama set in 1831 on a tiny island off the Isle of Man. Two sisters-in-law and their children, who operate the lighthouse, are thrown into turmoil when two surveyors arrive to arrange for construction of a more modern light. The replacement will force the families to leave their island home since only men are allowed to operate a government lighthouse. In "Light" the author has created an empathetic and compassionate tale.

P.N. Elrod (Editor)

Title: My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding  ____
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: St. Marin’s Griffin
Copyright: 2006

Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This collection of supernatural stories about marriage and the wedding ceremony is one of the most anticipated collections among preternatural genre followers.  What a major disappointment!  Some of my favorite series (Sookie Stackhouse series, Harry Dresden series and Jack Flaming, Vampire Files series) authors contribute to this collection.  However, the stories are brief and lack substance.  Many stories in the collection are from paranormal romance writers, a growing presence within the collection of authors that usually contribute to the horror genre dominated by vampires, urban fantasy, lycanthropes and such.  They should stick to romance and leave horror to the masters who have some command of the English language and understand a tormented soul.  The reason it gets a 3 instead of a 2 is due to the really cool wedding cake as cover art.  When you are at the store, admire the cover but don’t waste your money for what is inside.

Hallie Ephron

Title:  Never Tell a Lie
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Harper
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

Prone to miscarriages, hugely pregnant Ivy Rose is excited and apprehensive about the chances for carrying this baby to term.  But first, she and husband David are cleaning out their Victorian house with a yard sale that is attracting a satisfyingly large crowd, including another very pregnant woman who introduces herself as a former classmate. David agrees to let her tour the house, but when she disappears all the evidence points to murder, with David the prime suspect.

This is Ephron’s first novel, but if she continues to write like this I certainly hope it isn’t her last.  A great read!

Janet Evanovich

Title: Back to the Bedroom 
Classification: Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 1989, 2005
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Once again, here is a story with those amazingly quirky Evanovichian characters, truly making this book worthy of a two. However, the ridiculous narration and dialog that makes this book a romance novel is pathetic and only worthy of eye rolling. If the book had been two-thirds shorter, it would have been bearable. Skip it unless you want to see some early character development Evanovich probably used for her Stephanie Plum series.

Title: Fearless Fourteen  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
It just wouldn't be summer without the new Stephanie Plum ...there's something about the Morelli/Ranger indecision that lends itself to a front porch and iced tea. This one is no exception, as Plum takes on temporary custody of a client's kid while helping Ranger protect a has-been singer and trying to keep Grandma Mazur from digging up Morelli's yard. (Well, she DOES think the nine million dollars is buried there). Add to the mix a kidnapping, a homemade cannon that shoots potatoes and a dog that eats underwear and Stephanie is pretty busy. No big guffaws, but lots of little giggles.

Title: Fearless Fourteen  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Once again Stephanie Plum and her cohorts try to solve a local mystery. This time $9 million dollars from an earlier bank robbery is the center of their search, and it may be buried at Joe Morelli's house. Lula and Ranger add to the humor and romance, as well as a raft of other crazy characters. "Fearless Fourteen" is a fun light quick "beach" read.

Title: Full Scoop 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Full Scoop is the sixth in their Full Series and with each book, the stories and characters from Beaumont, South Carolina keep getting better. This novel has more suspense and action than mystery, but humor is in all the right places. A quick, fun read.

Title: Lean Mean Thirteen (Review #1)  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Stephanie Plum is back and as funny as ever as she juggles Morelli and Ranger while trying to solve the disappearance of her scumbag ex. Lula is in rare form as she and Stephanie track down a no-show for the bond office in a trailer inhabited by a monster python and through a cemetery in the dark, and as they try to apprehend a taxidermist afraid to leave his house. Evanovich is dependably hysterical...it would be great if she gave up on her other series and gave us more Plum!

Title: Lean Mean Thirteen (Review #2)
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Stephanie Plum and the gang are back in this 13th addition to one of the funniest mystery series ever written.  Nothing new develops; no major character development; just Stephanie, Grandma, Lulu, Ranger and Joe dealing with murder, a missing ex, wrecked cars, funeral showings and family dinner at the Plums.  As long as you don’t expect something new, enjoy another funny, totally fluffy romp around New Jersey with Stephanie, the inept bounty hunter.

Title: Love Overboard  
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Harper Torch
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In the intro, Evanovich sums up the merit of this book when she states Love Overboard was initially published as Ivan Takes a Wife (1989) and immediately went out-of-print. The characters are cute, the story is cute and those that find it hard waiting for a new Stephanie Plum story are likely to be the ones who will read this book. I know it is the only reason I read the reprinted stories by Evanovich. Hurry up, Stephanie before I become bored silly!

Title: Manhunt 
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Harper Torch
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Janet Evanovich sums up the merit of this book in the introduction by stating Manhunt is one of nine stories initially published between 1988 and 1992, and they immediately went out-of-print. I can see why this one was taken out of circulation. It surprises me anyone would want to reprint it, even if it is Evanovich! The characters’ personalities and the incredible Alaskan setting are wasted on this ridiculous story. Truly not worth reading, even if you are desperately awaiting a Stephanie Plum book.

Title: Motor Mouth (Review #1) 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby series, first introduced in "Metro Girl", returns in this fun and sexy multi crime mystery. NASCAR driver Hooker and the Cigar Ladies Felicia and Rosa add to the cast of characters for a light quick read. Evanovich continues to create supporting characters who add immensely to her books.

Title: Motor Mouth (Review #2)
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Okay, so this isn't Stephanie Plum, but it's still laugh-out-loud funny. Barney is back , working for (and trying to resist) Nascar Guy Sam Hooker. When another driver races to the win, Barney is convinced that he's cheating. And when bodies start to turn up, Barney and Hooker have to race against the clock to find the murderer before they end up in jail...or dead.

Title: Motor Mouth (Review #3)
Classification:
Mystery
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Copyright:
2006
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
I care zip about car racing, but I still laughed my way through this book. Mechanic Alexandra Barnaby, more commonly known as Barney, and racecar driver Sam Hooker start out to help a friend and end up on the run from the bad guys, with hilarious results. This sequel to Metro Girl is much better than the original, in which 'NASCAR Guy' talked about himself in the third person and was as appealing as Jar Jar Binks. Thankfully, the authors have divested him of that habit in this second appearance. The crack-up character Lula from the Stephanie Plum series does not appear in the Barnaby books, but I felt that her spirit was there in the pages of it.

Title: Motor Mouth (Review #4)
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: I heard so much about this NASCAR themed series, and love most of Evanovich’s witty characters, I felt compelled to read this second installment of the series about mechanic turned sleuth Alexandra Barnaby and her on-again-off-again love interest, race car driver Sam Hooker.  What a major disappointment! The characters are so ridiculous and the story so far fetched from reality, it became harder and harder for me to turn the page.  At times I wonder whether the main character, an educated mechanical engineer, was just acting stupid or whether her exposure to the NASCAR scene made her so.  She would find a dead body, discuss whether or not to have sex, dispose of the body, discuss whether or not to have sex, hunt down hired killers, and hide out from a major police hunt with her sex-crazed ex-boyfriend while they tried to figure out who and why dead people kept getting in their path.  Who cares!  I would rather have dust on my shelf than this book and it gets a two only because Evanovich, even at her worst, can write. 

Title: Plum Lovin'  ____
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Copyright: 2007

Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Stephanie Plum is back in this “between the numbers” short novel that is so brief in length, it is just a tease.  Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching and Stephanie finds herself having to aid a match maker complete her tasks before she will allow Stephanie to take her in on her bond violation. There is no one quite like Stephanie and Evanovich should focus on the entertaining, laugh-out-loud characters in her Plum books instead of wasting time writing her other, sappier romance stories that have hit the shelves of late.

Title: Plum Lucky (Review #1)  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Well, I have to say, this little between-the-numbers novella has all the hilarity of Evanovich's full-length Plum novels, with Grandma Mazur finding a bag full of money and heading for Atlantic City with Stephanie in pursuit. The entire cast of regulars is here, although in abbreviated form, and Stephanie's quirky style has rarely been more evident. A terrific read that will tide us over until the next book!

Title: Plum Lucky (Review #2)
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A Between-the-Numbers Stephanie Plum novel. This thin 'novel-light' falls between number 13 and number 14 in one of the funniest, charismatic mystery series out today! Yes, Stephanie and most of the gang are back; this time with a little person who believes himself to be a leprechaun. The gang's antics will make you laugh out loud as they descend on Atlantic City to find grandma and a horse being held hostage by a local gangster.

Title: Plum Spooky  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In her first full-length "Plum" book, Evanovich nails it! Weird sexy Diesel is back, along with Carl the Monkey and the rest of Stephanie's gang as they track a white-collar criminal who wants to rule the world (and get girls). Although this series within a series is usually skimpy, this entry is fleshed out and funny...maybe enough to keep you laughing until June, when Fingerlickin Fifteen is released!

Title: Stephanie Plum
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Most likely, you will laugh-out-loud at the comedy in these novels and forget they are mysteries. For sheer entertainment, this series is the one to read. Stephanie is an inept bounty hunter who is too petite for the job but has bills to pay, so she finds herself working for her sleazy cousin with an ex-prostitute, Lulu and her grandmother as occasional side-kicks. Her love life bounces between her old flame, Joe who is now a cop and the mysterious bounty hunter, Ranger.

Title: 11 on Top 
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Latest Stephanie Plum series novel with the usual hilarious exploits of the lovable but inept bounty hunter and her wacky family and friends.

Title: Plum Lovin'  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The second in the Evanovich Diesel sub-series, this short-story sold as novel is about as good as Visions Of Sugar Plums (the first). Although it's mildly amusing, Evanovich risks alienating her fans by asking them to spend money on something that would be better as a part of a collection of short pieces. Cute, but who cares?

Title: Twelve Sharp (Review #1)  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This, the twelfth in the Stephanie Plum series, reinstates Evanovich as the freshest, funniest mystery writer around. All the regular gang is here, with Stephanie in the middle of the action when Ranger's daughter is kidnapped, Lula joins a rock group, and Grandma connects with the new owners of the funeral home. I look forward every June to an evening of laughing out loud with Evanovich, and this one didn't disappoint; in fact, there's more laughter here than in the past few.

Title: Twelve Sharp (Review #2)
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: June 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: I was a bit disappointed by this latest in the Stephanie Plum series. Don't get me wrong: it was a fast, enjoyable read; but I expected more humor. I laughed less with this book than with any of the previous ones (excepting the weird holiday story "Visions of SugarPlums"). Long live Grandma Mazur, who was in fine form as usual. But Stephanie seemed too serious and straightforward to me. Not enough zany high jinks. Perhaps it is because of the plot: a missing child is no laughing matter. But I missed laughing all the way through the book as I usually do with the Plum series. I have very high expectations for this series which were not met in this book. I'm still giving it a 4 because I enjoyed it enough to zip through it very fast, staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish it.

Title: Twelve Sharp (Review #3)
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
No one entertains quite like Evanovich with tales of Stephanie Plum and her bounty hunter co-workers.  This new addition to the series has grandma, Lulu and Sally signing off key in a rock band for the senior set, Ranger on the lamb, and new funeral parlor owners who bakes the best cookies!  For the first time, Stephanie’s father delivers dialog as close to a soliloquy as a New Jersey taxi driver stuck in this family can get.

Nicholas Evans

Title: The Divide  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In "The Divide" author Nicholas Evans presents the story of a family trying to understand the events leading to the death of their daughter. How did their golden child become a wanted woman accused of terrorism and murder? The answers are revealed in a compassionate and gripping novel.

 
F
 

Linda Fairstein

Title: Bone Vault
Classification:
Mystery
Publisher
: Simon & Schuster
Copyright
: 2004
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating
:

Reviewer Comments:

Assistant D.A. Alex Cooper, in her 5th mystery novel, is called upon to find the killer of a Metropolitan Museum of Art intern whose body is found in an ancient sarcophagus. A controversial combined exhibit with the Museum of Natural History provides several possible suspects. Alex teams up again  with homicide cop Mike Chapman as they search behind the scenes through museum politics as well as miles of backrooms and shadowy halls.

Title: Death Dance: A Novel  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Pocket Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"Death Dance", Linda Fairstein's 8th novel in her Alexandra Cooper series, teams Assistant DA Cooper with longtime friends Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace of the NYPD. Their investigation into the mysterious disappearance at Lincoln Center of a world famous dancer takes them behind the scenes into the artistic world of Broadway theater. Fairstein continues her series with interesting characters and intriguing plots.

Patricia Falvey

Title:  The Yellow House
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Center Street Pub.
Copyright
2010
Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:

"The Yellow House", set in Northern Ireland in the early 1900's, features young Irishwoman Eileen O"Neill and her family which is torn apart by war, disease and political unrest. Determined to reclaim  her ancestral home, Eileen struggles for years to earn enough money in the local textile mill. Irish nationalist James and wealthy British officer Owen comprise much of the plot as well as Eileen's difficult life.

A good blend of history and romance to keep you reading.

Walter Farley

Title: The Black Stallion 
Classification:
Children's
Publisher: Random House, Inc.
Copyright:
1941
Reviewer
: Mariah
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
The beginning of an excellent series featuring a boy and the wild horse who loves him. Shipwrecked together, the pair later become famous at the racetrack for the Black's incredible speed and spirit. A perfect read for boys or girls who love horses.

Nancy Farmer

Title: The House of the Scorpion 
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Thompson Gale
Copyright: April 2003
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: For readers who enjoy a bit of science fiction mixed with what life would be like if human cloning were possible and drug lords reigned between the US and Mexico to establish some semblance of order. This was an intriguing book.

Jim Fergus

Title: One Thousand White Women 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: ?
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Historical Fiction. In 1854, a major Cheyenne chief proposed a plan to ensure a future between whites and Indians: trade 1000 white brides for his warriors in exchange for 1000 good horses. Since children were raised by the mothers, a generation would be raised with white customs and values while retaining Indian heritage, thus ensuring peace. Predictably, this noble idea was met with horror and disgust and the exchange never happened. In the novel, a group of women do volunteer to be brides and their experiences are followed through journals written by one of the women. An interesting insight into the Indian culture as well as the attitudes of the women, who arrive at the reservation convinced of the superiority of their own culture and disdain for the "savages" and their "heathen" life style. Gradually they learn to understand and even admire much of the culture which, sadly, in today's world, no longer exists.

Jasper Fforde

Title: Lost in a Good Book: A Thursday Next Novel  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Pengun
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this second volume literary sleuth Thursday Next ventures through several literary classics to get back her "eradicated" husband and, perhaps, save the world. Fforde's novels are inventive, witty, fun and sometimes confusing, but this one will especially appeal to "literary" readers.

Title: Something Rotten  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Viking Adult
Copyright: August 2004
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: As the final installment in the Thursday Next Mysteries, this book certainly has a grand finale. Set in an alternate world where time travel is possible, pet dodos are the norm, and there are certified literary detectives, anything can happen.

Joy Fielding

Title: Charley's Web (Review #1)  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Although the suspense here is just a notch below See Jane Run or Mad River Road, Fielding continues to keep us turning pages in this book about Charley Webb, controversial newspaper columnist and single mom whose children are being threatened. Additionally, Charley has decided to write the story of a convicted child murderer and is trying to establish relationships with her long-absent mother and resistant siblings. Although there is a lot going on here, Fielding handles her characters and plots deftly as always and hands us a surprise at the end, as well.

Title: Charley's Webb (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Another great page turner from Joy Fielding. This novel features a newspaper columnist who has neighbors who dislike her because they think she is writing about them, a mother who disappeared when she was a child to suddenly appear back in her life, two sisters who are bigger successes than she is, etc. Her big break to step into the limelight appears when a convicted child killer contacts her to write her story. And to top it off, Charley receives disturbing emails from someone threatening her children. Fielding manages to weave all these things together into a great book with one of those shocking endings.

Title: Heartstopper  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Although certainly not in the same league as Fielding's See Jane Run and Mad River Road, this is a pretty good (but very predictable) suspense read. When pretty, popular Liana Martin goes missing everyone in this small, dysfunctional Florida town becomes a suspect. (Except, of course, for the real killer). Fairly interesting characters, but without the depth and darkness in some of the author's earlier books; this would make a good, quick beach read.

Title: Mad River Road 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Without a doubt her best since See Jane Run. Don’t miss it!

Title: Puppet  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Atria
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
I really enjoy Fielding's books. I have to admit that when I first started reading this one, I thought the story line was a bit of a cross between an episode of Ally McBeal or Murder She Wrote. Before I could become really disappointed, the book finally picked up momentum and the Joy Fielding style emerged. While the main character reminded me a bit of a 'woe is me' Ally McBeal, the twists and turns made up for it resulting in an enjoyable read.

Title: See Jane Run 
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A woman standing on a street corner in Boston. Her dress is covered in blood, her pockets are full of money, and she doesn't know who she is. As Jane discovers her lost identity, she also finds out what horrific event caused her to forget in the first place. A must read!

Title: Still Life  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
After a horrible accident, Casey Marshall wakes to realize that, while she can hear, she is in a coma and might not live. Surrounded by her family and friends she begins to understand that what happened to her was no accident...and that someone she loves won't stop until she's dead. A roller coaster read from one of the best in the business--this is a top notch, can't miss book!

Title:  Wild Zone
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Atria Books
Copyright: 2010
Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating
:

Reviewer Comments:
 

Although Fielding can, and has, written much better books than this, she still manages to create a sleazy level of suspense in Wild Zone.  Brothers Will and Jeff haven’t seen each other in years and there was little affection between them even as children, but when shy, socially awkward Will needs refuge he turns to Jeff and Jeff’s friends in Florida.  Totally out of his element, Will is surprised when a fragile, beautiful woman chooses him over his handsome brother, but he can’t control the violence threatening her. 

Tightly written, with interesting twists and lots of smarmy characters.

Joseph Finder

Title: Power Play  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Finder is another of those authors who promises more than he delivers, and he does so again with Power Play. I slogged through the first third of the book while the characters and plot were set up (diligently, but with little excitement), then really started to get involved when the action picked up with the capture of a group of high-powered executives on an off site meeting. Good stuff here. Then...the end. What? Wait for paperback.

Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating
:

Reviewer Comments:

Author Joseph Finder explores the aerospace industry in this fast paced thriller. Jake Landry and fellow executives of Hammond Industry, attending a corporate conference at a secluded lodge, are invaded and held hostage by a group of local hunters. Jake, using all his wit and talent, tries to keep them all alive. A combination of intelligence, cynicism and timing create a good nail-bitter.

Title: Killer Instinct  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
When mid-level manager Jason Steadman wrecks his car, tow-truck driver and former Special Forces guy Kurt impresses him. Jason invites him to join his softball team and arranges a job in security at his company. To repay him, Kurt starts doing "favors" for him, but when terrible things begin to happen to Jason's business competitors, Jason knows he's dealing with someone much more (and much worse) than a friend. Tightly written and compelling...a definite must-read.

Rodes Fishburne

Title: Going to See the Elephant 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Dell
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This debut novel tells the story of would-be writer Slater Brown as he travels around San Francisco. After finding employment with a down and out newspaper he eventually becomes the toast of the town due to his journalistic prowess. A beautiful chess champion, a corrupt mayor and a wacky inventor add dimension to this unusual novel.

Fannie Flagg

Title: Can't Wait To Get To Heaven 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
If you liked Flagg's "Standing In the Rainbow," you'll enjoy this! The town of Elmwood Springs is stunned when their friend Elner Shimfissle is stung by wasps and killed in a fall from a ladder. While they grieve, they rediscover all the large and small ways Elner has touched their lives, and are delighted when it appears a mistake has been made at the hospital and Elner isn't dead after all. Elner has died, however, and been sent back to Elmwood Springs from heaven, a fact her niece Norma encourages her not to share. A really charming little read.

Mathew Flaming

Title: The Kingdom of Ohio
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

"The Kingdom of Ohio" mixes time travel, early 1900's history and a bit of romance into an adventure which is bizarre, occasionally intriguing and certainly unusual. Including the lost kingdom of Ohio (Toledo), the power struggle of Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla, the financial influence of J.P. Morgan and the plight of a NY City subway laborer and an Ohio woman who has traveled 7 years through time this novel has way too many subplots to do any of them justice.

Julia Spencer Fleming

Title: In the Bleak Midwinter 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Copyright: 2002
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A remarkable first novel which won 6 major book awards, due no doubt to the depth of plot and character development. Clare Fergusson, former Army chopper pilot and a woman with a "mind of her own" seems a little odd to the members of the conservative St. Albans Episcopal Church where she has just been assigned. Ideas to improve services to the community are met with resistance and seem to indicate a lack of confidence in the new priest. Then a newborn baby is found on the church steps with a note requesting that he be given to a certain couple in the congregation. Clare finds the congregation solidly behind her in her effort to fulfill this request. But it's not just a simple matter, as Sheriff Russ Van Alstyne informs her. The parents must be identified and other legal matters addressed.In the search for the mother the seemingly peaceful setting of the town is shattered as deceit, betrayal and murder are discovered. Resolution of the several conflicts is found but shock and sadness accompany the truth. Well written with characters you will love, the novel is well worth reading and I look forward to subsequent books in the series.

Eric Flint and David Drake

Title: The Dance of Time 
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Baen Publishing
Copyright: February 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the sixth and final book in the Belisarius series, which began with "An Oblique Approach". It tied everything together well; I highly recommend it. It is military/historical/alternate timeline.

Erick Flint and Ryk E. Spoor

Title: Boundary 
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen/Simon & Schuster
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Hard science fiction. A paleontology expedition on Earth finds the remains of an alien along with the dinosaurs the alien killed. The clues they find in their excavation site lead them eventually to Mars and the remnants of alien civilizations. I liked the relationships as they build between characters in spite of their occupations -- such as between a paleontologist and a technophile.

Elizabeth Flock

Title: Everything Must Go  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: MIRA Books
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
An odd and awkward book by the author of Me and Emma about the life of Henry Powell, former high school football star, who dreams of being a recording star and fantasizes about his biography. Maybe it's too much for me to ask, but if an author is writing a book that is supposed to be "moody," could we at least have characters about whom we care? Or situations that engage us? I suppose there's a need for books through which we must slog, but we shouldn't have to pay for them. Pass.

Bill Floyd

Title: Killer's Wife  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Young bride Nina Mosley has no reason to be suspicious when her husband returns from a business trip covered in scratches. After all, he explains, he helped fellow passengers subdue a drunk on the plane. But when Nina realizes that Randy's injuries correspond with the timing of horrific murders, she is forced to face the possibility that she is married to a killer. This is a tight, stunning debut novel in the tradition of Harlan Coben and Joy Fielding. Don't miss it!

Gillian Flynn

Title: Sharp Objects  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Shaye Areheart/Crown
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Okay, so when I heard that this first novel was written by the TV critic for Entertainment Weekly, I almost passed, which would have been a mistake. This woman can write! When two girls in her Missouri hometown are murdered, Camille Preaker's editor sends her there to cover the story, despite her reluctance to return to her family. As the story unfolds, we are drawn into a bleak world of ugly secrets and vicious relationships, with murderousness masquerading as love. A riveting read; don't miss it!

Vince Flynn

Title: Executive Power  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Pocket Books
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Political thriller. Outed undercover agent Mitch Rapp now is on the kill list of terrorists across the globe and has been reassigned as a CIA Advisor. While investigating the ambush of a Navy Seal team, he uncovers a probable leak within the State Department. In addition, powerful Middle Easterners are plotting to ignite a global war to further their evil goals of world domination. Political intrigue on an international level. Great.

Title: Memorial Day  
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Thriller. A really suspenseful thriller with terrorists and nuclear bombs loose in the U.S. Flynn always is good and this one is no exception.

Jamie Ford

Title: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Chinese American Henry Lee is caught up in the prejudice of Americans against Japanese citizens in Seattle after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. His childhood friend and first love Keiko is sent with her family to an internment camp. Forty years later events rekindle Henry's search and contemplation of his own family dynamics. Ford's first novel is, like the title, both bitter and sweet.

Alan Dean Foster

Title: Lost and Found  
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A man and dog are kidnapped by aliens. This story has a talking dog in it, and I still didn't like it. That's bad. I didn't like the development of the plot, the characters, or the author's writing style (too pompous). I know he can write better than this. What happened? Needless to say, I won't be reading the sequel.

Earlene Fowler

Title: Fool's Puzzle  
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the first in a mystery series you'll recognize by the quilt on the cover. In addition to a good "light" mystery, the books take you through several changes in the life of the main character, Benni Harper.

Dorothy Benton Frank

Title: Bulls Island  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Dorothy Frank once again writes about her beloved Carolina Low Country. Two local families, of slightly different "class", come head to head again after 20 years. Family estrangements, star-crossed love and high finance all merge in Benton's latest novel. I think this one is a bit too predictable, but the reader steel feels the attraction of that wonderful area.

Title: Full of Grace  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Full of Grace, set mostly in North Carolina, features 32 year old (unmarried) Grace, daughter of an old fashioned Italian family. Over the years her faith has waned, she loves and lives with a man doing stem cell research and she's trying to fit into her family who are strongly influenced by her traditional grandmother. Filled with wacky compassionate characters, this poignant story is a little different from Frank's usual books.

Title: The Land of Mango Sunsets  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Once again Dorothy Benton Frank has written about Sullivan Island in the Low country of South Carolina. Quasi socialite Mariam Swanson of New York City, divorced and estranged from her sons, learns what is really important in life, thanks to a cast of interesting characters. Not the best of Frank's novels, but a nice light story.

Title: Shem Creek  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
If you love the Carolina Low country Shem Creek will make you want to return. As always Frank beautifully describes the area as the setting for another of her friendship, family and love stories. Although Sullivan's Island remains my favorite, this was a nice read too.

Ariana Franklin

Title: Grave Goods 
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Penguin Group
Copyright
2010
Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

Gastonbury Abbey, England, 1176, where the remains of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere are reported to have been found. In "Grave Goods" King Henry II again calls upon Adelia Agular to investigate. Rich with family, friends and an assortment of locals this is a terrific blend of history and mystery in Franklin's 3rd "Mistress of the Art of Death" series.

Series:

  1.  Mistress of the Art of Death

  2.  The Serpent's Tale

  3.  Grave Goods

  4.  A Murderous Procession (coming soon)

Charles Frazier

Title: Thirteen Moons  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright:
2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
As he did in "Cold Mountain", Frazier beautifully writes about nineteenth century America. 12 year old Will is sent into the Indian Nation to run a trading post. As he grows into an influential man he comes to love and identify with the Cherokee Indians. Tirelessly he works to keep their land and prevent the government from sending them west. His passion for literature and learning, the Indians and the woman he loves creates a powerful well written story.

Margaret Frazer

Title: A Play of Dux Maraud  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: August 2005
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This is a mystery of a different flavor. The stage is set the 1400's and a wedding is about to happen. A theatre troupe has been sent to the celebrations to discover all the dirty secrets surrounding the event and figure out if there may be any truth to the feeling that the groom is in mortal danger.

Michael Fredrickson

Title: Cinderella Affidavit  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Forge
Copyright: 1999
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A fairly entertaining legal thriller about a crooked cop and a lawyer with a conscience, but for all of you (and you know who you are) who say you don't want a book with too many characters, this is not for you. And, after all the characters and all the plot twists, the ending is anticlimactic. Pretty well-written, though, so I'd give the author another try.

Benedict & Nancy Freedman

Title: Mrs. Mike  
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Historical fiction set in the early 1900s, about an Irish woman from Boston who marries a Canadian Mounty and travels to live in the wilderness with him. This character (based on a real life person) battles astonishing hardship, and I felt ashamed for ever having complained about something as trivial as the weather. Not my usual type of read, but very worthwhile and still in print as of 2006.

Castle Freeman, Jr.

Title: Go with Me  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Steerforth Press
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this unassuming little book, Freeman's timing is flawless, his ear for dialogue  perfect.  Divided between good ole boy conversation in an all-but-abandoned Vermont logging camp and the almost certain to fail trek into the mountains in search of a killer, the humor leavened with intensity, Freeman's minimalist prose is dead-on.  A definite top pick!

James Frey

Title: A Million Little Pieces  
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Double Day, Random House
Copyright: April 2003
Reviewert: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Even with all the controversy surrounding this book, this is a fascinating story of one man's road back to a restored life.

Stephen Frey

Title: Protege  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Not up to the standards Frey set with Day Trader, but still worth a read.

Esther Friesner

Title: The Chick is in the Mail  
Classification: Fantasy
Author: Esther Friesner
Publisher: Baen Publishing/Simon & Schuster
Copyright: October 2000
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Humorous short story collection in the Chick series. Fun, easy, enjoyable read. Almost all the short stories are very good.

Title: Turn the Other Chick  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Baen Publishing/Simon & Schuster
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Actually, I would give it a 4 1/2 book rating. A great collection of short stories. Humorous and very entertaining. Each one was unique. The author did a very good job at portraying strong female characters. I've liked every one I've read so far in this series.

Jean Fritz and Tom Clute

Title: Champion Dog: Prince Tom  
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this chapter book (about fourth grade reading level), we meet Prince Tom, a golden cocker spaniel who excelled at obedience, tricks, and hunting competitions. A novelization of the true story of Tom Clute's champion dog. Very enjoyable read for young dog lovers.

P.R. Frost

Title: Hounding the Moon  
Classification
: Fantasy
Publisher: Daw Books/Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright: September 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Tess is a grieving widow. She's also a fantasy writer with a secret: as a member of the Sisterhood of the Celestial Blade Warriors, she fights real demons. On the course of her quest to rescue a girl from a magical beast, she runs into two attractive men who seem to know more about her than they should. Interesting tie-in of Native American myths with the more conventional supernatural elements. This is the beginning of a series; the sequel will be "Moon in the Mirror."

Brian Froud

Title: Good Faeries Bad Faeries  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Editions
Copyright: 1998
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A cult classic for all Faerie lovers. Froud's work has continued to inspire and intrigue all New Age readers. His works include "The Goblins of Labyrinth" and "Rune of Elfland". He also had collaborated with Jim Hensen on the movies "Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth".

Charles Fuge

Title: I Know a Rhino  
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Sterling
Copyright: 2002
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A new book to add to the classic's list. These are the cutest illustrations I've seen in a long time. It's a great board book for toddlers, but also a favorite for adults.

 
G
 

Diana Gabaldon

Title: Dragonfly in Amber  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Dell
Copyright: 1992
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The second book in the Outlander series, Dragonfly in Amber, continues the saga of Claire Randal and Jamie Fraser in their quest to thwart a doomed scottish Highlander uprising. Starting 20 years later with Claire and her grown daughter, the story moves back again to Claire's time in eighteenth century Paris and Scotland. Intrigue, romance and history are skillfully combined in Gabaldon's novels.

Title: Outlander  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Dell Publishing
Copyright: 2000
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: "Outlander", the first in a time travel series begun several years ago, is the story of Claire Randall who, when traveling in Scotland in 1945, is suddenly transported back to 1743. Torn between desire for two vastly different men, she is enmeshed in the historic Jacobite uprising. Many readers have recommended Gabaldon's series; I can't believe I waited this long to read it!

Title: Voyager  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Dell
Copyright: 1994
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this next (3rd) novel in the "Outlander" series Claire gives birth, lives and works in England for 20 years but the lure of Jamie is strong enough for her to risk time traveling again. "Voyager" is yet another one of Gabaldon's terrific historical romance series.

Patricia Gaffney

Title: The Saving Grace  
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Tender story about four very different women who, nevertheless, are very special friends. Charming and heartwarming, you may want to have a box of tissues nearby.

Debra Galant

Title: Rattled  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: I think Galant is trying for Hiaasen here, but there's no mystery. Another good, but wait for paperback, book.

Lisa Gardner

Title: Alone  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Another of Lisa Gardner's intense thrillers, "Alone" entangles a police sniper, a beautiful abused woman and her sickly child and a vengeful killer into a convoluted plot of intrigue and suspense.

Title: Gone  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Gardner is a consistent page-turner who needs to be discovered by a larger audience. This one is no exception...

Title: Hide (Review #1)  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A pedestrian thriller about a woman (she's had so many names that I'm loathe to include one)whose family picked up and moved a LOT when she was a child. We're left to determine whether those moves were a result of her father's paranoia or a consequence of his job (wow--maybe an FBI agent?) or perhaps even because he was a serial killer. By the time I reached the end, I really didn't care. Ho-hum.

Title: Hide (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
When six mummified corpses are discovered policeman Bobby Dodge is drawn back into an earlier case of deception and intrigue. "Hide" isn't one of Gardner's best but I did finish it to see how she pulled everything together at the end.

Title:Say Goodbye  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A middle-of-the-night phone call is never good news, but this one is just puzzling. Although FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy has never heard of her, a just-arrested prostitute is claiming to be her informant and is demanding to see her to report that her friend, another prostitute working for the same pimp, is missing. When it becomes evident that not one but many women are unaccounted for, Quincy and her team find themselves pursuing a man who not only kills for pleasure, but insists that his victims select his next prey: it has to be someone they love. This is unquestionably Gardner's most gruesome, most riveting novel to date...not to be missed! One note, though: this is not for arachnophobes.

 

Meg Gardiner

Title:  Dirty Secrets Club
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Signet
Copyright: 2008

Reviewer
: Nancy
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

When assistant U.S. Attorney Callie Harding drives off a bridge after leading police on a high-speed chase, forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett is called in to determine what would have made the woman kill herself and the others she took with her. It isn’t long before Jo discovers that this isn’t the first violent death of high-profile members of a clandestine group who call themselves the Dirty Secrets Club.
A decent read, but overly long as if the author decided to be done (several times) and then realized she had more ideas to include. This one would have benefited by some ruthless editing.

James B. Garfield

Title: Follow My Leader  
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this chapter book (about fourth grade reading level), Jimmy is eleven years old when he loses his sight in an accident. He learns to read Braille, walk with a cane, and goes to a special school to get his guide dog, a German Shepherd named Leader, and learn how to work with him properly. In addition to coping with his new way of life, Jimmy must learn to cope with his feelings towards the boy who threw the firecracker in his face.

P. L. Gaus

Title: Blood of the Prodigal  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Copyright: ?
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Subtitled A Ohio Amish Mystery, this is a worthwhile read not only in terms of being a good mystery but also as a glimpse into the lives and customs of a strictly observant Old Order Amish Community (Ohio, by the way, is home to the largest Amish and Mennonite communities in the world). Bishop Eli Miller has enlisted the help of Professor Michael to find his kidnapped grandson, Jeremiah. Mike is puzzled as to why the bishop has asked an "English" (non Amish) to conduct the search and why the police are not to be involved. With little help from the bishop, the mystery becomes murky and involves murder, greed and treachery, at the same time revealing that a relatively closed community still is vulnerable to many of the same problems found in society at large. Ohioans reading this will find references to numerous familiar Holmes county communities as well as to Port Clinton, Marblehead, Lakeside and the islands of Lake Erie.

Stephanie Gayle

Title: My Summer of Southern Discomfort  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Natalie Goldberg, daughter of famed civil rights attorney Aaron Goldberg and a lawyer herself, moves to Georgia to work for the district attorney's office where she is assigned to prosecute a death-penalty case. Cautious about establishing relationships following a disastrous affair Natalie slowly finds herself caring more about her work and about her co-workers than she expected to. A readable, though slightly disorganized, read.

Kathleen and Michael Gear

Title: People of the Lakes  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Tor
Copyright: 1994
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Prehistoric novel. One of the first North American series by this husband and wife team of archaeologists, this one deals with the people of our area - the Great Lakes. Fascinating, illuminating and throughly enjoyable.

Title: People of the Raven  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Tom Doherty Assoc.
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Historical fiction. Another in the fascinating First North American series. This time the setting is the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. Recent (1996) discoveries of Kennewick Man and other Caucasoids have sparked great interested in a previously unknown 9000 year old civilization. Archaeologists Kathleen and Michael Gear weave an intriguing tale about the lives and culture of people of that era. Survival during massive environmental change is uppermost, but basic themes of human life including power, war, peace, lust and love are as prevalent in this ancient society as they are in ours today. Another outstanding addition to this remarkable series.

Anne George

Title: Murder On a Girls' Night Out (Review #1)  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Avon/Hearst
Copyright: 1996

Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The first in the Southern Sisters mystery series, this is a delight. The series features Sister and Mouse, two elderly Southern sisters who sleuth. The relationship between the women rings absolutely true and the supporting characters are fun, too.

Title: Murder On A Girl’s Night Out (Review #2)
Classification:
Mystery
Publisher:
Avon/Hearst
Copyright:
1996
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
First in the Southern Sisters series. A mildly entertaining story about two very different sisters who become involved in a murder case when the former owner of a Country Western bar is murdered right after one sister buys it from him.

Elizabeth George

Title: With No One as Witness  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Harper Torch
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Another superb psychological thriller from one of the best authors in the genre featuring familiar characters Detective Superintendent (Sir) Thomas Lynley, his wife Helen (now pregnant), partner Barbara Havers, and others. Thomas is on the case of a serial killer who murders little boys and who becomes more and more personally involved with Thomas. Issues of politics, race, class and forensics plus attention to detail and plot development make this another outstanding read from George. The shocking conclusion will leave you stunned.

Tess Gerritsen

Title: Body Double  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: August 2004
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: For anyone who enjoys Gerritsen's other novels or just looking for a good suspense novel, this is certainly one not to miss!

Title: Bone Garden  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In a dramatic departure from her series, Gerritsen tells the haunting story of a series of murders in the 1800's while describing the grisly details of nineteenth century medical science. Rose Connolly watches her sister die of childbed fever, then flees with her newborn niece to protect her from her abusive brother-in-law. As people from the hospital begin to die, however, it becomes apparent that the baby is being sought by someone more sinister, and more powerful, than Rose can imagine. This is, without a doubt, one of the best suspense books out this year and confirms that Gerritsen is a powerhouse. Don't miss it!

Title: Keepsake  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
When a well-preserved mummy is found in the basement of the Crispin Museum, it generates a lot of interest in scientific circles, but when it's discovered that "Madam X" is actually a recent murder victim Detective Jane Rizzoli is called in. As she pursues a faceless killer she finds herself caught in a tangle of horrors; is it possible to catch the murderer before anyone else dies? This is Gerritsen at her best...tight and terrifying suspense!

Title: Mephisto Club  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine/Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Although Gerritsen includes her regular cast of characters, she has written a rather mundane book trading on the popularity of Biblically-based evil-doers. This plot has been done before(and much better), so unless you need another rip off of Dan Brown et. al., skip it or wait for paperback.

Title: The Sinner  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: August 2003
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles waste no time getting into the thick of things. This time two nuns have been brutally attacked at a convent with one in critical condition and the other dead. What would motivate someone to commit such violence in a peaceful convent? Maura's ex-husband also shows up after three years of being separated wanting to rekindle the romance. Rizzoli finds out she has her own personal complications to deal with as well. There are hidden secrets that come forward with every chapter. Gerritsen does a wonderful job weaving together an intriguing story that keeps going right until the very end.

Title: Vanish  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Jane Rizzoli, who has appeared before in Gerritsen's books, is back--this time pregnant and held captive by a madwoman who faked her own death. I thought this was a very good read!

Laura Anne Gilman

Title: Curse the Dark  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Luna/Harlequin
Copyright: July 2005
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Wren & Sergei #2. Urban fantasy. For their own protection, Wren and Sergei have agreed to become part of a super-secret magic monitoring organization. Wren then finds the organization trying to separate her partnership, so together they jump at an opportunity to look for a missing artifact, about which they have no information other than that it's deadly. In this book, Wren and Sergei's relationship is heating up.

Title: Staying Dead (Review #1)  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Luna/Harlequin
Copyright: August 2004
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Wren & Sergei #1. Urban fantasy. Wren is a "retriever"--she finds things that have gone missing, no questions asked. With the help of her partner Sergei, and other friends, she can find and retrieve almost anything, but sometimes people don't want her to find what's been missing. Interesting. I like the interaction between Wren and Sergei.

Title: Staying Dead (Review #2)
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Luna
Copyright: June 2006
Reviewer: Venus

Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Wren Valere is a Retriever, a freelance mage who specializes in bringing things back with help from her business partner Sergei. In her world, magic and technology coexist but sometimes not well. This book was a good mix of thriller and fantasy.

Mark Gimenez

Title: Abduction  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This may be the best thriller I've read this year! I loved this author's debut novel, Color Of Law, and this book, about the kidnapping of the granddaughter of a former Vietnam Green Beret, is just as good. The power of coincidence is striking as Ben Brice, despite all evidence to the contrary, is convinced Gracie is alive and sets out to find her. Don't wait for paperback...a year is too long to wait to read this!

Title: Color of Law  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Wow! Great new author, great new read. Although legal thrillers are pretty easy to find, discovering one that's well-written is becoming difficult. I can't wait for Gimenez to write another one!

Newt Gingrich

Title: Gettysburg  
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Alternative History. What if Lee had won at Gettysburg? This first of a trilogy explores that possibility. Certainly plausible, you don't need to be a Civil War buff to enjoy this one.

Debra Ginsberg

Title: Blind Submission  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Shaye Areheart/Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Okay, so someone tell me how Ginsberg got away with this. And, moreover, how she got it published with this title when it should have been called "I'm Plagiarizing The Devil Wears Prada." Not an original thought or description in the book; badly written, badly edited. Pitiful.

Cathy Glass

Title: Damaged  
Classification
: Nonfiction
Publisher: HarperElement
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: In this true first hand account of a foster carer to an 8 year old little girl named Jodie. It seems that the foster care system oversights that happen in the US also happen in the United Kingdom. How disheartening to read the tale of such emotional and sexual abuse that Jodie went through at the hands of her own parents. Despite the help she is receiving, her future seems really bleak on being able to function within a normal family environment. As sad as the story is, it is a captivating account of what one person can do to help Jodie when everyone else turned their backs when she became too difficult to handle.

Julia Glass

Title: The Whole World Over  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
From the author of "the Three Junes" comes the story of Greene Unquote, a woman who is struggling with the love of family,the demands of friends and a search for her sense of self. With a rich mix of compelling characters, the novel leads the reader to a satisfying, but not necessarily expected, ending.

Melissa Glazer

Title: A Fatal Slip: A Clay and Crime Mystery  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Potter Carolyn Emerson's husband is the prime suspect in a local murder. She and her sleuthing friends conspire to clear his name in this middle book of a series. Author Glazer really had to stretch to find a plot in this weak and unmemorable mystery.

Lee Goldberg

Title: Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Signet
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: If you like the TV show "Monk", featuring a brilliant detective who is crippled by extreme obsessive-compulsive disorder, you'll enjoy this paperback novel by one of the show's writers. In June 2006, Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii. I can't wait!!

Title: Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Signet/Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright: July 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This second book in the Monk series is sure to delight the fans of the t.v. show. Full of depictions of Monk's obsessive-compulsive habits, this story had me laughing out loud. My one complaint is that the mystery was too easy. If I could figure it out, a genius like Monk certainly should have caught on sooner. But I found it very enjoyable just the same. Now we have to wait until Jan. 2007 for the "Blue Flu" to be released. I'm getting my order in early!

Myla Goldberg

Title: Bee Season  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
Copyright: 2000
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Nine year old Eliza doesn’t get much attention from her teachers, peers, or father until she win’s her school and regional spelling bee’s.  Eliza possesses such a talent for letters that she is surely a child prodigy!  While Eliza and her father devote hours and hours of study time for the National Spelling Bee, Eliza’s teenage brother steps outside his Jewish faith and begins experimenting with several other religions.  The most intriguing storyline however, has to do with Eliza’s intelligent, yet distant mother who has been leading a secret life for eighteen years!

Title: Wickett's Remedy
Classification: F
iction
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Copyright:
2006
Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating
:

Reviewer Comments:

"Wickett's Remedy" takes us to Boston in the early 1900's where Irish shopgirl Lydia meets and marries med student Henry Wickett. After deciding to forego med school Henry and Lydia concoct and produce an elixir which will eventually become a popular soft drink. When the 1918 influenza epidemic engulfs Lydia's friends and family, as well as the world, she feels compelled to help in some way.  Each chapter ends with newspaper articles and letters and voice quote sidebars which give insight to the times. A novel both unusual and historically interesting.

 

Edited by Paula Goldman Foreword by Isabel Allende

Title: Imagining Ourselves - Global Voices From A New Generation  
Classification
: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: New World Library
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
I truly wanted to love this book. How could any feminist not love a book about Women and how they're changing the world? It's a great idea, and many different women are listed throughout this book. But I found most stories, poems or blogs uninteresting, uninspiring. I had a hard time trying to understand the overall point of the book. There are several women posted in the book with great art, or ideas; even several more women associated with the International Museum of Women, where the books idea flows over too. However, the book was a let down. I personally know women who would have made the book better, provided the books objective was more clear.

William Goldman

Title: Princess Bride  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A gutsy, beautiful princess, a handsome, hapless prince...this is one terrific story!

Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Title: The Secret Language of Destiny  
Classification
: Self Help
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 1999
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: This interesting book is based on the principles of Personology. Never heard of that before but I was intrigued. You basically look up your birth year and then the month. It then directs you to the pages of information about your Karmic path. After looking my information up, it appears that my Karmic Path is the 'Way of Electricity'. It tells me that my gifts are brilliance, innovation, and charisma. Hmmm.. okay tell me more. Based on this information, I also have the joy of planting seeds of positive change towards people. I do admit that I read some pretty cool things in there but I do not necessarily believe all of it.

Allegra Goodman

Title: Intuition  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Dell Publishing
Copyright: February 2006
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This was a fascinating look into life in scientific research, jealous postdoctoral students and possible research fraud. Sandy and Marion run a tight laboratory at the Philpott Institute. Little did they know that their big breakthrough in cancer research would cause them big problems. Were their results too good to be true or was the doubt a personal vendetta started by a jilted lover? The descriptions of life in a laboratory were so close to reality that it was scary at times. Whereas the plot of possible scientific fraud was a bit overdrawn, the story continued to move at a pretty good pace right up until the very end.

 

Carol Goodman

Title:  Arcadia Falls
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Ballantine
Copyright
2010
Reviewer
: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:

Left in debt when her husband dies, Meg Rosenthal accepts a position teaching at Arcadia, where she can continue her doctoral dissertation about fairy tales and her artistic daughter Sally can go to school. Founded in the 1930’s as an artist’s retreat, the school is now a haven for artistic students who like Wiccan ceremonies and for odd instructors who can’t get jobs anywhere else.

Although it sets out to be a Gothic mystery, the plot here devolves into a soap opera-like mix of murder, mistaken identity, infidelity and romance in a book that goes on far too long.  This is another example of an author who just can’t make up her mind to wrap it up and be done; instead she throws in several additional plot twists after what should have been the end of the story.  Tedious.

Robert Goolrick

Title: Reliable Wife  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"I am a simple honest woman," begins the letter to Ralph Truitt in response to his ad for a wife. But the letter does not begin to tell the true story of Catherine Land and, as the two of them start a complex and painful relationship, their sad and lonely lives come to light in this dark story of attraction and obsession set at the beginning of the twentieth century. A wonderfully written book.

Steven Gould

Title: Jumper  
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: Starscape/Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
Copyright: 1992
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
Sci fi fans take note: this will be appearing as a movie in 2007, so read it now and avoid the rush. This compelling story of a boy who discovers he has the ability to teleport makes a good read for older teens and adults. Sadly, I've seen it marketed for elementary school age children, which is totally inappropriate in light of a scene in which a gang of truckers attempt to rape Davey while he's on the run from his alcoholic father. This is a growing-up story of self-discovery, survival, adventure and learning to love. The sequel is titled "Reflex."

Title: Reflex  
Classification
: Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor/Tom Dohertry Associates, LLC
Copyright:
2004
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This sequel to "Jumper" was disappointing. Of course, anytime one enjoys a novel, it's interesting to see what happens next to its characters. In this case, "Jumper" is a stand-alone read, so it isn't necessary to read "Reflex" as a follow-up if you don't care to. On the whole I thought "Reflex" was rather boring and pointless. It will probably also be made into a movie at some point, so if you prefer to read the books first, you may still want to pick this one up just so you can compare the film version to its original.

Sue Grafton

Title: Kinsey Millhone Mysteries
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Kinsey is a tough, independent female private eye. If you like this series, also try Sara Paretsky.

Title: "S" is for Silence  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: ?
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Grafton is back on track with this latest Kinsey Millhone mystery series.

Title: T Is For Trespass  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Putnam
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Kinsey Millhone is back with the cast of Santa Teresa as she finds herself investigating crimes against her elderly neighbor Gus while tracking down a witness with a shady past. Timing is critical as Gus grows weaker and his caretaker carefully isolates him from help. Grafton continues to demonstrate the reasons this series has staying power; Kinsey has become an old friend we haven't seen for awhile, but one with whom we sit down and pick up where we left off as though our last visit were yesterday. I'll be really sorry when she comes to the end of the alphabet!

Title: U is for Undertow  
Classification
:
Mystery
Publisher
:
G. P. Putnaml
Copyright
: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:

Unfortunately, Kinsey seems a little tired in the newest entry from Grafton and when she’s approached by a new client who is convinced that he saw two men bury a murder victim when he was six years old she spends a lot of time in her car making right and left turns.  Mixed in with her efforts is a story set twenty years earlier, during the sixties, with the requisite hippies and dopers searching for free love.

 All in all, a let-down.

 

Sara Gran

Title:Come Closer  
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Okay, so Amanda is slowly and insidiously being possessed by a demonic thing. She's acting really weird, but no one seems to notice...even her adoring husband. He even overlooks it when she takes up smoking and jams a cigarette into his hand. Too bad for him, because we know he's gonna be dead (and he is). But the worst, the absolute worst, is that even when Amanda gives herself over to the demon completely and is totally no longer a person, she continues to write in a sane and reasoned voice. This, quite possibly, is the weakest horror book ever written. Blech.

Andrew Grant

Title: Even  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Minotaur
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:
David Trevellyan has just finished a job in New York and is returning to London tomorrow, so after treating himself to a nice dinner he decides to walk to his hotel. After all, he does prefer the city at night. It's his discovery of the body, however, that delays his departure for home--that, and the fact that the police and the FBI immediately nail him as the killer. David is not the telecommunications engineer he claims to be, though, and his experience makes him more than capable of dealing with not only the bad guys but the inept good ones as well. Although he is (maybe unavoidably) influenced by his older brother Lee Child, don't sell Grant short--he's written a page-turning, heart-pounding thriller of his own. Don't miss it!

Jane Graves

Title: I Got You, Babe  
Classification
: Romance
Publisher: Ivy/Ballantine Books
Copyright:
September 2001
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
For some irrational reason, a book that can be purchased for a bargain price holds more appeal than a book that can be read for free at the library. That is my explanation for why I subjected myself to reading this awkwardly written contemporary romance. Having finished it, my verdict is: I want my 34 cents back. The plot revolves around Renee Esterhaus, innocent fugitive, versus John DeMarco, vacationing cop. The author had a promising premise but her execution of the story killed it.

Emily Grayson

Title: The Gazebo  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow & Co.
Copyright: 1999
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Don’t we all wish we could pitch the “have to’s” in life to do what we want to do for a change?  That’s exactly what Claire and Martin decide to do when they grow weary of always putting their love for one another on hold because of their responsibilities.  For six incredible, adventurous months in Europe, life is unbelievably blissful and fulfilling for the couple until life’s “have to’s” is no longer unavoidable. WARNING:  Keep the hankies on hand!!

Jane Green

Title: Dune Road 
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher:
Penguin Group
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
 

A Connecticut beach community during the recent economic downturn is the setting for Green's latest novel. The stories of three strong women intertwined provide a "beach read" type of book which is pleasant, often moving and entertaining.

Simon R. Green

Title: Hell to Pay: A Novel of the Nightside #7  ____
Classification: Fantasy

Publisher: ACE
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: John Taylor is back finding things in the Nightside after the Lilith War.  This time he has to find the heir of the immortal self-proclaimed ruler of Nightside and he has to search the old fashion way since someone or something is interfering with his special skill of “finding” things through his Third Eye.  After the six-book story arch, it was questionable whether Green could continue the urban noir fantasy series set in Nightside but this 7th novel proves he is just as creative as he was in the beginning.  Too bad he doesn’t write longer mysteries more frequently because the Nightside is one of the most interesting places in this genre. 

Title: Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth  
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: ACE Fantasy
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The sixth novel in the Nightside series. It is also the conclusion to the six book story arc surrounding John Taylor’s return to the Nightside and his quest to find a way to stop his mother from destroying the Nightside. John Taylor, born in the Nightside: a place somewhere within the city of London; created by his mother, Lilith (Adam’s first wife) where heaven and hell have no control over the human and inhuman occupants: and where it is always 3 A.M. What an adventure John and his friends tackle in this book! Now we know what happens to the future of Nightside that John has been dreading all these years. It will be exciting to see what future tales Simon R. Green will spin from the Nightside. Rumor has it there will be three more Nightside novels, and John Taylor will still be there finding whatever is lost.

Terisa Green

Title: Ink: The Not-just-skin-deep Guide to Getting a Tattoo  
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: New York: New American Library
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
If you are thinking about getting a tattoo for the first time you MUST read this book. This guide book goes over every thing you need to know to get a safe, and beautiful tattoo. It covers the history of tattooing, the myths of the tattoo world, types of tattoos, flash, picking your artist, picking the right tattoo for you, placement, aftercare and do's and don't's. It even gives tips for those annoying questions like, "Did that hurt?".

Chris Marie Green

Title: Night Rising  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: ACE
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The first entry of the proposed Vampire Babylon series featuring
stunt woman Dawn Madison who returns to the city of her haunted past, Hollywood to find her missing alcoholic father.  She lives in the shadows of her mother’s violent death when she was 2 months and finds herself working with an eclectic group of vampire hunters who are searching for her missing father, a dead child star who has popped up on a recent film shoot and answers to why a new vampire breed is trying to kill them.  The characters are interesting but the story is choppy, never answering the questions the book purposes, opting to set up future stories.  The concept has potential and if the author works on her writing, this series may eventually be a welcomed addition to the dark urban fantasy genre, but misses at this venture. 

Simon R. Green

Title: The Adventures of Hawk & Fisher
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Swords and sorcery; magic and creatures of the night. These are the adventures of Hawk and Fisher, a law enforcement husband/wife team who believes they can make the world better in the extremely corrupt town of Haven. As uncorrupt as they are, their methods of enforcement are questionable. In their fight against injustice, they seem to leave behind a path of blood and mayhem. These dark urban fantasy books are set in an altered-reality medieval time, but Hawk and Fisher’s crusade against corruption seems timeless.

Title: Blue Moon Rising  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: ROC & Penguin Group (USA)
Copyright: 1991
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Once upon a time, Prince Rupert was sent out on a doomed quest to slay a dragon. No one expected the brave Prince to return. Little did he know he would face dangerous battles with loyal and honorable allies that should have been foes. He found the distressed dragon and the dangerous damsel. Together, it became their quest to save the Prince’s financially crippled kingdom from the encroaching evil spreading from the Darkwood. And they lived happily ever after. What a whimsical and entertaining fantasy adventure; full of magic, dragons, unicorns and heroes! Blue Moon Rising is the first novel in Green’s Darkwood Universe collection.

Title: The Man with the Golden Torc  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: ROC
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: The first book in a new series (Shaman Bond) from the urban fantasy author that spins reality bending stories usually set in the London area.  Meet Eddie Drood, known to the world as Shaman Bond, member of the oldest family in England whose job is to protect humanity from the forces of darkness.  The Drood’s are what is left of the Druid tribe and they keep their secrets close.  Eddie operates within the family guidelines but is truly a rebel at heart.  The story is so close to the amazing world of the Nightside series that it is difficult at times to picture London like the world of Nightside but without the altered dimension.  The character is just too close to the protagonist in that series, making Eddie less original and entertaining.  If you are a die-heart Green fan, then this series is a nice addition.  If you want to know what an amazing urban fantasy world Green can spin, start with the Nightside series.

Title: Nightside
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: ACE Fantasy & The Penguin Group (USA)
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: John Taylor, a detective who has the ability to "find anything" sets up his shingle in the dark heart of London called the NIGHTSIDE, where it's always 3 A.M., and heaven and hell have no place among the human and inhuman occupants. These books are dark urban noir, filled with horror and a little humor. Best to read in order; especially #4, #5, #6 due to spoilers that are part of the main story line. Rumor has it there may be three more Nightside novels even through book #6 ends a particular story arc in the series.

Title: The Unnatural Inquirer  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: ACE Books
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Welcome back to the Nightside; a macabre world existing somewhere deep in London where it is always 3 a.m. When a controversial DVD recording of the afterlife goes missing, the local gossip newspaper hires the legendary P.I., John Taylor to find it. John can find anything when he uses his third eye. This time, some supernatural power is interfering with his abilities and he finds himself working the old fashion way; wearing out shoe leather with an overly zealous reporter at his side. Green's Nightside novels are extremely macabre urban fantasy mysteries; yet full of humorous and charmingly dangerous characters. This novel could stand alone, but the intriguing story arch developed throughout the first six novels makes reading the series in order so much more delightful.

Jill Gregory & Karen Tintori

Title: The Book of Names  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Another Da Vinci Code-like plot, this intriguing if somewhat unlikely thriller melds Jewish mysticism with modern mystery and murder. Georgetown University professor David Shepherd, haunted by strange images of names, must try to save his stepdaughter and ultimately the world. Israeli archaeologist Yael HarPaz, the female interest, adds to the lengthy list of characters and sub-plots.

Philippa Gregory

Title: The Boleyn Inheritance  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
After being intrigued by The Other Boleyn, I decided to read another Greggory novel. I found that I enjoyed this book more than the first one. Again, the book uses historical research and continues the tale of the wives of King Henry the Eighth. I think I liked it more because the book looked at the same time period from different perspectives. Instead of taking the reader through the main character's viewpoint, Greggory shows us perspectives from Anne of Cleaves, Katherine Howard, and Jane Rochford. I think this gave the book more feeling to it as it showed how much each woman risked as their families pushed them in front of Henry in their hopes to gain family the status ranking they desired and only King Henry could give.

Title: The Constant Princess  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Touchstone
Copyright: December 2005
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Historical fiction. Catherine of Aragon was married to Arthur, crown prince of England for only a few months before he died, but they had made many plans for the future of England. Catherine promises her dying husband that she will marry his brother Harry and achieve the plans she and Arthur had made. Her struggles to become and remain queen of England provide intriguing sights into court life during Henry VIII's reign as well as little known facts into the tragic life of Catherine of Aragon.

Title: The Other Boleyn Girl (Review #1) 
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Historical fiction. Now here's a real favorite. The story of Anne Boleyn's sister who was Henry VIII's mistress before Anne interfered. A spicy and delicious look at court life. Great read!

Title: The Other Boleyn Girl (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Avon
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Once I got past the run-on sentences (has the author not been introduced to the semi-colon?), I liked this one. I think, though, that it belongs more in the romance than the general fiction genre. Lots of sexual plotting to snare Henry the Eighth by women desperate to give him the male heir he wants, some historical fact to give it "weight" and fiery characters make this an enjoyable read. However, Gregory constructs her chapters in a formulaic way that becomes tedious with repetition so that the book begins to drag toward the end. A little ruthless editing would have improved it tremendously.

Title: The Other Boleyn Girl (Review #3)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Avon
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: I normally do not read historical fiction and picked this book up on a whim. Gregory spins an interesting tale using as much fact that is available for that era. The focus is on the Boleyn family who works to position one of their daughters to snare Henry the Eighth and give their family higher status and power. I found the characters intriguing enough to wonder how on target Gregory was on how she portrayed them. I found the book enjoyable to read.

Title: The Queen's Fool  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Touchstone
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Gregory takes us on another journey in this historical fiction novel. Unlike her other books featuring the time of King Henry VIII, it is now after his death and his son Edward is now king of England. But this 15 year old boy is sickly and it looks as though the crown will be passed on to Henry's first daughter Mary. The story is told from the viewpoint of Hannah, a young Jewish daughter of a printer. Because of her ability of 'sight', she soon finds herself at the bidding of Robert Dudley and is sent to court to spy and report back. Her loyalties tend to flip flop as she becomes close to every person she is sent to spy on. Overall I found the story line pleasant but there were times where it did drag somewhat.

Lois Greiman

Title: Unplugged  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Dell
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the second outing for cocktail waitress turned psychologist, Christina McMullen. She attempts to find her best friend/secretary's missing boyfriend and gets herself into and out of several humorous scrapes. Not quite as good as the first book - but still worth the read!

Emily Griffin

Title: Something Blue  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This "beach read" type of book was so predictable; the main character so incredibly shallow; the entire story so unlikely.

James Grippando

Title: Got the Look  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Good, but probably worth waiting for in paperback. It’s on my shelf, but the second one down.

Title: When Darkness Falls  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Harper/Collins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A decent but not fabulous suspense novel about a homeless man and his mysterious past and the convoluted but unconvincing reasons that 1: he has $200,000 in an offshore safety deposit box and 2: why he needs to talk to the mayor's daughter. I always expect a lot from Grippando, but he has yet to deliver a top-notch thriller.

John Grisham

Title: Appeal  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Although I rarely (if ever) include a book here that I couldn't finish, I felt I needed to mention this one since, after 100 pages, I was bored, bored, bored.  It's just another example of Grisham choosing a position on an issue and beating the reader over the head with it.  In this case, a mega-corporation dumps chemicals into groundwater (shades of Three-Mile Island and Erin Brockovich), leaving a small law firm and its clients to stand up against the injustice.  In Grisham's black-or-white world the characters are all good or all bad which makes for very dull reading, which this is.  Pass.

Lauren Groff

Title: The Monsters of Templeton  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: ?
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
28 year old Willie Templeton returns home in disgrace at the same moment an enormous dead sea monster surfaces in the local lake. As she searches for her unknown father she discovers many local secrets though journals, historical accounts and old newspapers. The whole story seemed too contrived, too slow and too rote to keep this reader's attention.

John Grogan

Title: Marley and Me (Review #1)  
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This book has been floating just below my radar for awhile, but I thought it might be a great read during the holidays. After all, what could be more heartwarming than a dog book? So, having now read it, I can tell you: almost anything but this. Poor Marley. Brought into a family that wants to practice parenting on a dog before having children and treated by them as though he should have been born knowing good behavior, this poor dog wanders from one disaster to the next. The cover of the book proclaims Marley is "the world's worst dog," but misses the fact that the Grogans may be a dog's worst family. The charm of this book eludes me...it's like reading a TV sitcom. Pass. PS: AND...the dog dies.

Title: Marley and Me (Review #2)
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Marley is a light hearted, amusing tale with its share of chuckles along the way!  Follow Marley’s mishaps and adventures from his puppy days into adulthood.  Every dog lover will relate!  Be warned…this book is not for readers with a weak stomach!  The author does not hold back on giving graphic details to the truly gross Marley behavior!

Lev Grossman

Title: Magicians  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Viking
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments: Lev Grossman may, at one time, have had an original idea, but none of them is in this book about a teenager who discovers he's a magician and is transported to a mysterious, magical school. Sound familiar so far? Grossman borrows heavily from Rowling, C.S. Lewis and L. Frank Baum as well as J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan and Carroll's Through the Looking Glass as protagonist Quentin dreams of escaping to the fictitious world of FIllory from the books of his childhood. A thinly-veiled revamping of other people's work (he even includes a mythical white stag), this dreary book fails not only because of its unoriginality but because its author believes himself to be in the same realm as much better writers. He is not.

 

Sara Gruen

Title: Water for Elephants  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Jacob Jankowski is ninety (or ninety-three), recovering from a broken hip and resenting that his life has come to this: "the monotony of bingo and sing-alongs and ancient dusty people." After all, Jacob had been with the circus! Living a tough, gritty life that, despite its image, is anything but romantic. Finding unlikely friendships while discovering hard and surprising truths about love and life during the depression. Gruen writes a novel of nuanced proportion, with unsympathetic characters and an unusual heroine, for a very good read.

Phillip Gulley

Title: Home to Harmony  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 2000
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This religious fiction novel is the first of the "Harmony" series. If you liked the "Mitford" books you might like this series, although it lacks "Father Tim's" warm humor.

Beth Gutcheon

Title: Five Fortunes  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Unfortunately the format of this book (chapters divided by character) doesn't allow for full development of the characters. I was left with the feeling that I didn't get to know any of them. A ho-hum read.

Title: Leeway Cottage  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006

Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Sydney Brant, daughter of the wealthy Dundee ME summer colony Brandts, struggles through a difficult childhood. Her marriage to gifted Danish pianist Laurus Moss is challenged by his return to Denmark to help his fellow Jewish Danes during WWII. A combination of wartime history and summer house fiction make this a layered compelling read.

David Guterson

Title: The Other  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
From the author of "Snow Falling on Cedars" "The Other" is his new novel about 3 men, friends for over 35 years, whose paths lead in different directions, but who maintain their close relationship. Blue collar Neil becomes a high school teacher, husband, father. Blue-blood John William becomes a hermit in the Olympic Mountains. Ultimately "The Other" is a story of idealism, responsibility and the definition of the "good life".

 
H
 

Margaret Peterson Haddix

Title: Double Identity  
Classification
: Children's
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright:
2005
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
An entirely too predictable “thriller” about a 12 year old girl, Bethany, who searches for the truth about her identity after her parents inexplicably leave her at a stranger’s house and then send thousands of dollars along with four different birth certificates for her with four different names. 2 ½. Perhaps an okay one-time read for the younger set, but rather slow-paced and hardly mysterious. A lot more could have been done with this topic, but perhaps that would have made it too adult for its preteen audience. Overall a disappointing and rather pointless story.

Mark Haddon

Title: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This book hits the mark on all counts: it's well-written, it's funny, it's poignant, it's fabulous. A wonderful story, told through the eyes of a fifteen-year old autistic boy.

Title: Spot Of Bother  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This little book by the author of the really excellent "Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" is definitely quirky, but just doesn't live up to the promise shown in the earlier one. George Hall is retired, living a quiet life with his wife, when he discovers a small lesion on his hip. Convinced (despite his doctor's diagnosis of eczema) that it's cancer, George begins a descent into compulsive hypochondria which is exacerbated by the discovery that his wife is having an affair. That, combined with his daughter's on-again, off-again wedding plans and his reluctance to accept his son's homosexuality, sends George over the edge. Although a mildly entertaining read, this lacks the charm and innocence of "Incident."

Jennifer Haigh

Title: Baker Towers  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
By the author of "Mrs. Kimble", "Baker Towers" is set in coal mining Pennsylvania during the industrial boom following WWII. Centered around the Novaks, a family with 5 children, the saga explores life's tragedies and happiness. Quirky characters abound.

Title: Condition  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Haigh's insight is at work again in this, her third novel, as she follows the McKotch family through their troubled relationship to one another. Frank and Paulette are driven apart by their daughter Gwen's diagnosis of Turner's syndrome, but the book title comes from much more than that. Years of repression and deceit have created what son Billy calls the "System..." a way of compartmentalizing people and places constructed to protect the fragile family, a condition that enables them to maintain the facade of closeness until real emotion forces each of them to face truths long buried. A wonderful read.

Title: The Condition  
Classification: History
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Jennifer Haigh, author of "Baker Towers" and "Mrs. Kimble", tells the story of the McKotches, a proper New England family in the 1970's through the 1990's. Traditional and rigid Paulette married to warm but self-centered Frank, parents to 3 children; one gay, one ADD and one seriously inflicted with Turner's syndrome. (Daughter Gwen has the chromosome deficiency which keeps her from developing physically in puberty). This emotional and multi-layered novel explores the power of family mythology in a well written format.

Carolyn Haines

Title: Bones to Pick  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: Kensington
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
PI Sarah Booth Delaney and her partner Tinkie are involved in solving several local deaths attributed to a serial killer. Nearly becoming victims themselves draws Sarah Booth's (unavailable) lover to the scene. The "Bones" series generally are well done, but this one has less humor and is too easily solved by the reader.

Title: Fever Moon  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Haines’ remarkably descriptive writing style that always seems to capture the texture of small town southern life works against her in this murder mystery set in the war-robbed small town of New Iberia, Louisiana in 1944.  I tried more than once to get through the book but to no avail-the characters just weren’t interesting enough and the story moved way too slow.

Title: Ham Bones  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Kensington
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This seventh installment in The Bones series gets a four solely based on the return of some of the most endearing Southern Daddy’s Girls that ever tried to solve crime-Sarah Booth, Tinkie, Cece and the Dahlia House haunt, Jitty.  As soon as Sarah makes a New Year’s resolution to put her past behind her, it slaps her in the face when her New York acting associates bring the theater and murder into her life.  Charged with the murder of an old nemesis, Sarah is self-absorbed and lacks the strong lead she usually commands in most of the series’ stories.  This murder mystery is hardly a mystery and the characters seemed posed to survive without Sarah by the end of the book.  The series receives a five; this story is the weakest installment and is only worthy of a three.

Title: Judas Burning  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: River City Publishing
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Carolyn Haines is amazing at capturing the live-style and flavor of the Mississippi Delta and you can almost feel the mosquitoes buzzing around Jexville, Mississippi in this murder mystery. However, there are too many mysteries surrounding each of the characters and the story doesn’t always appear connected or cohesive. Lacks the whimsical, light-heartedness found in Haines’s Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries. Still, I would recommend it if you are in the mood for a well-written Southern small-town murder mystery.

Title: Bones Series
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Meet Sarah Booth Delaney, current resident and owner of Dahlia House in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Sarah is forced to start a detective agency to prevent loosing her family estate. Between solving cases, Sarah finds herself entwined with romantic interludes and nagging advice from Jitty, the ghost of her great, great grandmother’s nanny regarding how she lives her life. These books are great mysteries with lots of humor and quotable wisdom from Jitty. No one captures the mood and texture of the Mississippi Delta like Haines. If you like the Stephanie Plum series, you will love this series with stronger mysteries and a more competent main character.

Title: Bones to Pick  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Kensington

Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The newest installment in the Bones series featuring Sarah Booth Delaney, Southern Belle and P.I.  All the quirky characters are at it again to solve another murder mystery.  Again, Haines paints the Delta with so much texture you smell the flowers and feel the temperature change as you read.  If you enjoy Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, you should give Haines’ Bones series a try.  The mysteries have more depth and the relationship between the characters is much more believable than you find in Evanovich.  Highly recommend this series.  Best to read in order but not necessary since each book has an independent story line that could be followed.  

 

Freeman Hall

Title: Retail Hell  
Classification
:
Biography
Publisher:
Adams Media
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:

After having read this book, all I can say is: Thank you to all the wonderful customers who shopped in my store and who are not the customers Freeman Hall describes.  Although moderately entertaining, Hall suffers so much as a self-described "retail slave" that I can't imagine him working for twenty minutes, let alone twenty years, in a field that requires daily interaction with people.  This book might have worked better if the author had included even one wonderful customer (because there must have been some) instead of whining about all the crazy psychos who ruined his life by expecting some (drum roll here) customer service.

 The retail world is certainly better off without Hall, and I'm not sure the publishing world is better off with him!

 

Tate Hallaway

Title: Dead Sexy  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: This second book in the Garnet Lacey series lacks the charm and wit found in the first book, although the same endearing characters are back, along with a persistent FBI agent looking into the coven/Vatican hunter killings. Garnet is still trying to keep control over the goddess Lilith who possesses her, as well as trying to figure out who is populating the town with zombies, in addition to fulfilling her responsibilities as the book store manager. But, Garnet seems so easily distracted by the three men in her life in this book and the result makes this story choppy, somewhat silly, and generally lacking direction.

Barbara Hambly

Title: The Emancipator’s Wife  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments: Historical fiction. A fascinating and intimate portrayal of Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, whose faults and temper led many to conclude she was insane or, at the very least, impossible to deal with rationally.  Growing up in the wealthy and prominent Todd family, she was used to having everything she could want but still harbored secret anxieties and fears.  She often would strike out at friends and family, being horrified at what she heard herself saying but not able to stop herself.  Marriage to Lincoln did not remedy these outbursts which, along with increased and more severe migraines made her less and less capable of managing her life.  After the deaths of Lincoln and three of their four children, her behavior became so irrational that her remaining son, Robert, had her committed to an institution.  The novel moves back and forth between her time in the institution and earlier parts of her life.  While this style of writing often is a distraction to readers, in this case it serves to explain her character and deepen an understanding of this unique and fascinating woman.  A wonderful read.

Laurell K. Hamilton

Title: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: ACE Books & Penguin Group (USA)
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In my family, when we talk about Anita Blake, it’s as if she is a close and personal family friend. Sometimes we love her and sometimes we want to send her to her room. Lately, she needs to stay in her room until she gets a grip on her life. However, no matter what she does, we can’t wait to hear about it in the next book. Anita’s character is never stagnant, unlike so many main characters that reappear in series books. Anita Blake is one of the best urban horror fantasy series in print.

Title: Dance Macabre  ____
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley

Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Anita Blake, necromancer, animator-for-hire and merciless vampire hunter is back in this 14th installment of the series.  Unfortunately, the savvy, talented Anita found in the early mystery-thriller novels is long gone.  Instead, the new Anita is a prisoner to preternatural porn.  The story in this latest installment takes place over a forty-eight hour period with Anita test driving a handful of potential lovers to add to her happy household of seven paramours. With the exception of the first scene (where Anita and friend, Ronny are discussing Anita’s fears of being pregnant) and one of the last scenes (where Anita, bodyguards, and a hand full of her lovers are at the hospital waiting the verdict regarding her pregnancy), this book reads like a modern day Anis Nin dollar-a-page porn exposé.  Hamilton can write and now we know Hamilton can write porn.  It is a shame she had to destroy one of the most exciting characters in this genre to prove she can write smut.

Title: Guilty Pleasures  
Reviwer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: First in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter fantasy series. I read this book because I know many people who like this author and this series, but it isn't surprising that I hated it because I don't like vampires! What was Ithinking? To me, Vampires + Erotica = Yuck.

Title:The Harlequin  
Classification
: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating: 0
Reviewer Comments:
Here it is; released in June 2007, the 15th installment in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series.  Anita Blake died for me after Obsidian Butterfly (Book 9), although I kept re-reading her obituary in the next five books, not willing to walk away from one of the most memorable female characters to capture the hearts and minds of millions of dark urban fantasy readers.  Not any more.  This book is the first Anita Blake adventure I did not buy or read.  Actually, I read the first two chapters and was excited to find Anita back at work and off her back.  I hesitate to continue reading for fear I would be disappointed.  I have read approximately 50 reviews of Harlequin and, without exception, was assured that the animator, necromancer, vampire executioner and endearing penguin hugging bad ass that was Anita in the first 9 books is truly gone.  Most say this story once again has a plot, although the rambling dialogue and bizarre sex/torture scenes still overshadows the story.  Most say they are hoping some “new” Anita may emerge in future tales, but all seem somewhat resolved that one of the best paranormal urban fantasy protagonist who dominated our imaginations in the first 9 books in the series will never grace the pages again.  I once heard Hamilton speak at a book signing, claiming that the sexy reworked cover art of her early books was her publisher’s attempt (not hers) to tantalize and reach out to a new audience.  At that signing, Hamilton claimed her then upcoming Meredith Gentry series would appease her publisher’s request to give a fantasy protagonist to the romance reading audience without compromising Anita.  Hmmm. Laurell K. Hamilton now writes like a self-righteous, out-of-touch narcissist.  Her stories now contain unexplained character inconsistencies and an amazing amount of grammatical errors. Maybe her proof-readers (if she even has any) are so bored with her writing they are just skimming or too busy rolling their eyes as they turn the pages.  Rest in peace, Anita or at least give your “piece” a rest! 

Title: A Lick of Frost  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Hamilton continues her overly-erotic adventures of the Unseelie Princess Merry and her merry elfin consorts in this sixth book in the Meredith Gentry series. With Merry and the men back in Los Angeles, the story has more substance and intrigue that the last few books. Merry finds herself trying to protect her many men, three who have been accused of raping the Seelie Queen. Caught in a legal struggle between the two courts and the threat of losing her beloved Killing Frost, Merry is re-evaluating the personal cost of becoming a Queen. If you still read Hamilton, this is one of the better novels of late. If you are not familiar with Hamilton's new foreboding erotic style of writing, skip this book and read some of her best storytelling in the early Anita Blake series novels
.

Title: Merry Gentry
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Random House Publishing, Inc.
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Meredith NicEssus (aka Merry Gentry, supernatural crime P. I.) is the kind of faerie princess that makes Walt Disney roll in his grave. If you love Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake books, most likely you will read her stories about Merry as she tackles Fey politics and tries to balance her many lovers. These urban fantasy horror stories get better as the series progress, but they are not among of the best out there. It seems like the Merry Gentry series could be a Romance reader’s introductory guide to fantasy horror.

Title: Micah (Review #1)  
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The thirteenth book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, and the first of what Hamilton calls a “novel-lite” entry. That is what this book is: a short filler. The story takes Anita and Micah out of town and alone for the first time. She is leaving behind the entire vampire and shape-shifters politics, as well as most of her bed partners. Anita is filling in for a friend to raise a zombie for the F.B.I. The book attempts to bring back the exciting, suspenseful, mysteries that Anita Blake (vampire hunter, animator, necromancer and all-around badass enforcer) tackes in earlier books by keeping out the confusion of having to balance all the men in her life. Come on, Anita! Remember when you were the kind of woman that made even Edward, the assassin, fear. You need to know that you can only stay in bed (and describe what happens there, thrust by thrust) so often before you lose credibility as the powerful force keeping the monsters at bay. This book is more of a 2-1/2 than a 3…it may make my shelf because it is Anita Blake, but leaving a space for dust may be the better choice.

Title: Micah (Review #2)
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Jove/Berkley/Penguin
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Vampire Fantasy. This is the thirteenth book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. Series began with "Guilty Pleasures". There is a reason this new release was put directly into paperback; it's disappointing.

Title: Mistral's Kiss  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Ballantine Books/Random House Inc.
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Here is the fifth book in the Merry Gentry series, and Merry is back having lots of sex and then more sex.  The sex creates wild magic and chaos explodes in the land of faery.  Once again, Hamilton is destroying her wonderful characters with senseless smut.  However, in this way too short installment of the Gentry series, she does get back on track with some plot.  The book ends giving us some hope that Hamilton will bring Merry back in the next novel on her feet instead of keeping her in a “prone” position, and for this reason alone, the book gets a two.

Title: Strange Candy (Review #1)  ____
Classification:
Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Co..

Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
After five disappointing novels from Hamilton , it was a delight to read this collection of short stories from her.  They remind me of how captivating the original Anita Blake series was to read! The collection contains the first Anita Blake short story, predating her vampire executioner days where she is just an animator-for-hire.  A few of the stories are set in the world of Hamilton ’s lesser known novel, Nightseer and there is even a science fiction short included.   This hardback book doesn't get a 5 because it’s rather thin and pricey for a short story collection.  However, as brief as it is, these stories are better than the last few novels in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter or Merry Gentry series.

Title: Strange Candy (Review #2)
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright: October 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This is Laurell K. Hamilton writing the way I truly enjoy. This is a collection of short stories. Some of my favorites are situated in the “Nightseer” world.

Steve Hamilton

Title: A Stolen Season  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
During an unusually frigid summer in Michigan's Upper Peninsula Alex McKnight becomes enmeshed with gun smugglers, drug dealers and murderers. In the end he has to face his own revenge demons in a plot which occasionally becomes a bit tedious.

Charlaine Harris

Title: All Together Dead  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The seventh installment in the Sookie Stackhouse series takes psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse out of town to a vampire summit.  Although she is working for the Queen, she finds comfort and friendship with another vampire hired psychic.  This book is more of a mystery than the others, and focuses on Sookie and her skills rather than the crazy conflicts she has had with her neighbor Bill, the vampire.  Can’t wait for the next installment and to see what HBO will do with the T.V. series based on these amazing books due out sometime this fall!

Title: An Ice Cold Grave  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Harper Connelly and her stepbrother/manager, Tolliver head to Doraville, NC to find a missing boy in this third story from the Harper Connelly Mystery series. What they find is a frozen grave yard of young boys who have been tortured, abused and murdered over the years. The find is shocking, considering so many young boys have gone missing in this small town and most of the locals just assumed they ran away. Add a personal twist in the relationship between Harper and Tolliver, and this story becomes even more unbelievable. The series is dark, full of suspense and quirky characters that keep you coming back. However, if the characters continue to vacillate between professional competence and whinny personal trauma, this series could go down hill fast.

Title: Sookie Stackhouse
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: ACE Book & The Penguin Goup (USA)
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Sookie Stackhouse works at a bar in the quirky small-town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. She has a special psychic gift allowing her to read minds, which has kept her somewhat of a loner until Bill the vampire walks into the bar one night. Sookie finds she is working for a lycanthrope, dating a vampire, and frequently stuck in the middle of vampire and were politics. This urban fantasy series is full of horror, action and mystery with well placed humor and romance to ease the tension. Best to read the series in order, although there is only one major story line that relies on reading the books in order. Sookie also appears in a few Fantasy anthology collections where Harris is a contributor.

Title: Definitely Dead  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Ace
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Sookie Stockhouse is stuck again between the vamp wars in New Orleans and shape-shifter business. This new addition to the series is a superb supernatural murder mystery with startling personal discoveries for the Bon Temps, Louisiana telepathic waitress. Could be read alone but best to read the series in order to truly understand the dynamics between all the characters.

Title: Grave Sight  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Gayle Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Harper Connelly is a twenty-something woman, who after being hit by lightening is able to find dead people. She is for hire and travels around the south with her step-brother, Tolliver, acting as her emotional protector and business manager.  This story is darker and lacks the endearing characters usually found in Harris’ other books.  Harper may be good at what she does, but seems somewhat wimpy and a little too whiney for a lead character.  If you like murder mysteries with a slight supernatural twist, you may enjoy meeting Harper and Tolliver in this first book. (The second installment, Grave Surprise, is set for release in November, 2006, and I hope Harper gets a grip on her unique skill by that time.)  

Title: Grave Surprise  ____
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Copyright: 2006

Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Well, it seems Harper Connelly has gotten a grip on her unique skills in this second mystery featuring Harper and her brother Tolliver Lang.  Harper Connelly is a twenty-something woman, who after being hit by lightening is able to find dead people and knows how they died.  She is for hire and travels with her step-brother, Tolliver who acts as her emotional protector and business manager.  Both siblings are sharp and on top of their game as they as they tie up loose ends from the first book in the series, Grave Sight  If you like murder mysteries with a slight supernatural twist and a touch of deadpan wit, you will enjoy reading about these sibling sleuths in Harris’ new series.

Title: Many Bloody Returns: Tales of Birthdays with Bite  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Author: Edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner
Publisher: ACE Books
Copyright: 2007
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: 
Another anthology containing vampire birthday stories by popular urban fantasy writers.  Most are good but way too brief.  Again, this particular anthology series has cool cover art and that seems to be what always draws me in-the vampire-themed birthday or wedding cake. 

Kim Harrison

Title: Rachel Morgan
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Harper Torch
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Rachel Morgan - Cincinnati's witch and recently independent bounty hunter. She finds herself living in an old church with a "living" vampire and a family of pixies. These stories are urban fantasy/horror with humor and suspense. The characters continue to develop throughout the series. Best to read in order; there are a few spoilers if you read out of order.

Title: Dates From Hell  ____
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Harper-Collins

Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A supernatural anthology introducing various characters from different series written by four different authors.  “Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil,” by Kim Harrison is the reason I read this book.  Ivy and Kisten (the living vampires from the Rachel Morgan series) are having one rough night. This short story takes place shortly after Ivy begins working for the I.S., and ends with Ivy finding out her new partner is the loose-cannon I.S. witch, Rachel Morgan. 

Title: A Fist Full of Charms  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Harper-Collins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Move over Anita; Rachel Morgan from the Hallows in Cincinnati is evolving into one mighty powerful witch! This book is the fourth in the Rachel Morgan series and each book keeps getting better and better.  This time, Jenks, Rachel and Ivy are off to Michigan to find Jenks’ wayward son.  Rachel finds herself juggling her feelings for Ivy, her vampire roommate; Kisten, her vampire lover; and Nick, her ex-boyfriend who sold her out to a demon.  With help from Ceri, an elf demon familiar, Rachel charms into a were and morphs Jenks from pixy to human size.  The story moves at a rapid pace, making it hard to put this book down.  Best to read the series in order to see the character evolution, although each book has a unique, independent storyline. 

Title: For A Few Demons More  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Fifth book in the Rachel Morgan-The Hollows series and first to be released in hardback.  Move over Anita Blake; Rachel, Jenks and Ivy are truly the new stars of dark urban fantasy fiction!  Like the other books in the series, this book starts with a bang and although slower paced than the others, the Cincinnati, Ohio story of the ley-line witch, her pixy partner and living vampire roommate is captivating and rich in content. Keep the books coming Kim, because there are no better characters around in this genre!

Title: Holidays Are Hell  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A collection of short stories featuring popular urban fantasy writer's series characters. I picked up the book for Harrison's prequel Hallows story featuring a collegiate-aged Rachel Morgan in "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel." An added bonus was Pettersson's Zodiac short story, "The Harvest", with a significant back story which sheds light on the series' protagonist, Joanne Archer. Nice fillers for the year long wait between novels.

Title: The Outlaw Demon Wails  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Welcome back to the Hollows; that area of Cincinnati full of magic and mayhem; home to bounty hunter and witch, Rachel Morgan. Rachel, Ivy and Jenks are back in this sixth installment from the Hollows series, and each one of them is struggling to maintain order with all the events affecting their happy home. Its Halloween and the celebration is now a week long in the Hollows since the Turn, the time when humans found out they were not the only race occupying the world and when eating tomatoes became a crime. The celebration has turned troublesome when Rachel�s demon nemesis, Al, is out gunning for her every night after dusk, keeping her stuck at home and Rachel finds herself tormented by a shocking family secret. The elves are struggling for survival, the vampires have a new leader, and Jenks is trying to keep his wife alive another winter. We need more than one yearly visit to the Hollows, so write faster, Kim! This is one of the best dark urban fantasy series out today!

Carolyn G. Hart

Title: Dead Days of Summer  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow/HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This 17th book in the Death on Demand series offers a new twist: Annie's Max has been set up to look like a philandering murderer. Could it be true? Of course not, with their true love! I love the depiction of their stable marriage and enjoyed this new plot in this series. Annie and her friends must prove Max's innocence before he is convicted, and before the murderer gets away forever.

Title: Death on Demand  
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the first in the Death on Demand series starring Annie, who owns her own mystery bookstore, and her handsome, wealthy boyfriend Max. This well-written series is a good pick for those who prefer mysteries which don't make you feel like you're watching the news or a horror movie. Somewhat suspenseful but not enough to make you afraid to be alone in the house on a dark night.

John Hart

Title: Down River  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Adam Chase is an angry man, but who can blame him since, after his acquittal on murder charges, his entire family (and his entire home town) turned their backs on him. Five years later, during his exile in New York, he gets a call from his best friend who needs him to come home and, despite reservations, he goes...only to discover that the old hatreds are still there and the real murderer from his past is still on the loose. A worthy second novel (following King Of Lies) from an author in the style of Greg Iles and the early Stuart Woods. Definitely worth a read!

Title: King Of Lies  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:This is the legal-thriller debut of the year! When Ezra Pickens is found murdered, his son Work is the prime suspect despite a town full of people who loathed the victim. A terrific book filled with great characters set against a Southern-gothic backdrop. If you've been wishing for THE mystery to read this summer, this is it!

Hartley

Title: The Mask of Atreus  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A good action-adventure thriller. Between stolen antiquities, mythological heroes and murders, this book is fast paced and enjoyable.

Michael Harvey

Title:Chicago Way  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Vintage Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In a dynamite debut, Harvey introduces Michael Kelly, Chicago cop turned private eye who is hired to investigate a cold case. When his client turns up dead, Kelly finds a trail of bodies, all systematically murdered, all connected to the case, and he realizes that he can't trust anyone...even his friends. This is one of the best detective thrillers I've read this year! I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

Title: Fifth Floor  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Alfred A Knopf
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Harvey is back, with the second in the Michael Kelly series, and he proves that his terrific first book wasn't a fluke! Kelly is hired by an old lover, now married and a punching bag for her influential husband, and Kelly finds himself up against the powerful Fifth Floor...the seat of Chicago's city government and home of Mayor Wilson in a mystery that starts with the Great Chicago Fire. Another great read from Harvey!

John Hassler

Title: New Woman  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A sweet little book about moving into a retirement home. Wait for paperback, though; there’s not enough to it to justify the hardcover price.

Sheridan Hay

Title: Secret of Lost Things  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Anchor Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
After the death of her mother, Rosemary leaves her native Tasmania and travels to New York where she finds work at the Arcade, a sprawling bookstore staffed with strange and thoroughly unlikeable people. It's not long before she finds herself in love with one of them, loved by another, and caught in a smarmy relationship with both of them while trying to find Herman Melville's lost manuscript. The unfortunate thing about this book is that Hay misses the reality of working in a bookstore: the love of books and the immediate link between booksellers and their customers. Hay portrays booksellers as petty and mean, while describing their customers as incipient thieves. This may be fiction, but it reads like fantasy. Pass.

Title: Secret of Lost Things  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
18 year old Rosemary arrives in New York from Australia with little money and a love of books. Upon being hired at the Arcade bookstore she finds herself working amid an odd and eccentric cast of characters. Her involvement in their search for a priceless lost manuscript by Herman Melville makes the Secret of Lost Things an intriguing read for the bibliophile in all of us.

Barb and J.C. Hendee

Title: Traitor to the Blood  
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Roc/Penguin
Copyright: January 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Fantasy. I liked the characters but was not impressed with the story. I got too dark for my taste. This is the 4th book in the Noble Dead series which began with "Dhampir."

Dee Henderson

Title: The O'Malley's
Classification: Religion (Fiction)
Publisher: Multnomah Publishers, Inc.
Copyright: Various.
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: What a delightful series involving seven people who were raised in an orphanage and made themselves into a family. Each book focuses on one of the O’Malley’s as they deal with their unique profession, the family and friends that touch their lives. The series is a great read for someone who likes romantic Christian fiction with suspense. Although the prequel could be read independently, the series should be read in order to avoid major spoilers.

Joshua Henkin

Title: Matrimony  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Starting in 1986 when college freshman Julian meets Mia this novel follows them for the next 20 years through love, friendships, money issues and ambitions. With no great themes "Matrimony" is however lifelike and likable.

Joan Hess

Title: Damsels in Distress  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Bookstore owner Claire Malloy finds herself reluctantly drawn into the lives of a strange group of folks who have come to town to put on a Renaissance Fair. Murder, confusion and intrigue as usual. This is the 16th in this series by Hess who also writes the Arly Hanks Maggody series.

Carl Hiaasen

Title: Hoot (Review #1) 
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Copyright: September 2002

Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Hiaasen's first foray into children's books is a hit! The humor and quirky characters in his adult mysteries, although obviously less irreverent here, are still completely enjoyable even for adults. And, of course, since it is Hiaasen, there's an ecological plot which involves and empowers the kids. Read it with your kids or read it for yourself, but read it!

Title: Hoot (Review #2)
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Copyright: September 2002

Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This is actually a book I had on my recommendation shelf at the bookstore, but with summer here and the movie having come out I think this is a great book to read. This is a story about standing up for something you believe in which in this case in some small part involves leaving alligators in port-o-johns and other pranks. For any readers of "Holes" who have not read "Hoot" yet, be sure to pick this one up this summer.

Title: Nature Girl  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf/Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Hiaasen does it again! When Honey Santana answers the phone to sleazy telemarketer Boyd Shreave, it's the last straw for her...she enlists the help of her computer geek son to give him a taste of his own medicine. With a full cast of quirky Hiaasen characters (although missing the governor), this is terrific. Add it to your must-read list!

Homer Hickam

Title: Rocket Boys (aka October Sky)  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The first in Hickam's series of autobiographies, this is just about the best I've ever read. Set in Coalwood, West Virginia, it's the coming-of-age story of a group of boys around whom the town rallies when they start to build rockets at the beginning of the space race. It's about family, community, poverty and mountains; it is not to be missed.

Title: Sky of Stone  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A worthy second sequel to "Rocket Boys" (skip "Coalwood Way"), this is set during Hickam's first summer home after going away to college when he finds himself, reluctantly, working in the mines he fears.

Joe Hill

Title: Heart-Shaped Box  ____
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night

Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: February 2007

Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
What an incredible thriller and remarkably scary debut novel!  I could not put the book down yet found myself so terrified, at times I was unable to turn the page.  This is the story of aging hard rocker Judas Coyne, collector of all things bizarre and grotesque.  His collection includes a used hangman’s noose, a cookbook for cannibals, a snuff movie, and a pencil holder made out of a human skull and he goes through twenty-something Goth girls he names for what state he meets them in…all in an effort to feel alive.  One day he finds someone selling a ghost on the internet and naturally he needs to have it…only this item is for real…and suddenly he is fighting for his life.  Seldom does a novel scare me but this one had me looking over my shoulders as I ran around the room to make sure all the lights were on!  This thriller never slows down and as tormented as the characters are, you see their humanity shine through in touching ways as they come to terms with their past “ghosts” in order to survive the real ghost.  If you like Dean Koontz and Stephen King, most likely you will love this novel…if you don’t like Koontz or King; most likely you will love this novel!  After all, Joe Hill spins a horror thriller for the new generation and does it with more depth and emotional honesty than you will find in most of his famous father's horror novels.

Tami Hoag

Title: Deeper Than the Dead
Classification:  
Mystery
Publisher:
Penguin Group
Copyright:
2009
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

"Deeper Than the Dead" opens with 4 fifth graders stumbling onto a murder victim. When it becomes apparent a serial killer is responsible FBI profiler Vince Leone is brought in. While trying to consul the kids teacher Anne Navarre is also drawn into the center of the investigation. Suspects include two of the parents, one a well respected dentist and the other a local sheriff's deputy. Thrown in is a little romance with the mystery to keep your interest to the very end.

Title: Prior Bad Acts (Review #1)  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Suspenseful with lightning fast action. A bit gory but if that doesn't bother you, it's great.

Title: Prior Bad Acts (Review #2)
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Tami Hoag brings back the detectives from one of her prior books ("Dust to Dust"). Anyone who enjoyed that series of thrillers will be happy to know that this book also brings back the detailed layers of suspense - it will keep you guessing exactly who is trying to kill Judge Carey Moore (the escaped prisoner? Judge Moore's cheating husband? a burned-out police detective? or the victims' family?)

Maryanne Hochadel

Title: AARP Guide to Pills  
Classification: Self-Help
Publisher: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This book is my new best friend! Each of the 1,200+ entries have full color photographs and clear, readable descriptions. Looking for the perfect gift for that Baby-Boomer in your family? Look no further. As Baby-Boomers turn 60 years old this year, they may find themselves needing such a wonderful guide to take them into those Golden Years!

Beth Hoffman

Title:  Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Copyright: 2010

Reviewer
: Nancy
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

In this debut novel evocative of Secret Life of Bees, twelve year-old CeeCee Honeycutt watches her mother sink further into madness as her father becomes more and more distant. Far from family, CeeCee has no one to turn to until the day she finds herself being rescued by a great-aunt she’s never heard of and whisked away to an extended family of women who give her the chance to grieve and rediscover her childhood.
A sweet story, filled with Southern grace and quirkiness.

 

Jillianne Hoffman

Title: Plea of Insanity  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
When a mother and her three children are horrifically murdered, Assistant State Attorney Julia Vacanti is tapped by her charming boss (and new lover) to sit second chair on the prosecution team EVEN THOUGH Vacanti has never tried a murder case. Oh, geez, and she's afraid people will think she slept her way to this plum assignment? Of course there's more AND more, all of which lead poor Julia to sob her way through most of the book. Honest emotion is one thing, but when an author uses tears to fill the pages that's quite another. Pass.

Ann Hood

Title: The Knitting Circle  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Mary Baxter is like most mothers who grieve the unexpected loss of a child. She withdraws from her job, pulls away from the people who care about her and basically holds a one person pity party for herself. Finally one day, Mary listens to her mother and joins a knitting group. She slowly gets to know each of the women in the group and learns that everyone in the group has suffered a tragedy during their life. The healing power of knitting and these women help pull Mary back into facing life without her beloved daughter.

Jason Hook

Title: Where's the Dragon  
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Sterling Press
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This hard cover picture book, with wonderful illustrations and a story to challenge a youngster's power of observation, would be appropriate for children ages 3 to 6.

Jerry Hopkins & Daniel Sugerman

Title: No One Here Gets Out Alive  
Classification: Biography
Publisher: Warner Books
Copyright: 1980
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This book is the definitive account of the complex singer, poet, and front man for the Doors, Jim Morrison. Even those who were not around during the late sixties and those who were around but doing other things besides listening to great music, could learn from this story just how close genius and madness really are. Jim, if you are out there, you have been dead too long.

Khaled Hosseini

Title: The Kite Runner  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher
: Penguin
Copyright: May 2003
Reviewer:
Leigh
Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments: This is the story of Amir, who while living in Afghanistan with his father makes decisions that will follow him throughout the rest of his life. Hosseini does a great job setting the scene for Amir and touches on the political clashes that occur in Afghanistan. While the subject matter is serious, this is a very well written novel that certainly hold your interest until the very end.

Jim Hougan

Title: The Magdalene Cipher  
Classifcation: Fiction
Publisher: Avon
Copyright: 2000
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Previously published as Kingdom Come, this conspiracy suspense novel is fast-paced and thrilling, until the end. For some reason, Hougan (a.k.a. John Case) writes some of the most fascinating novels but seems to have problems ending his tales. Still, it is worth a read and truly gives a twist that makes you think about the C.I.A., Carl Jung, religious fanaticism, and the U.F.O. government cover-up in a totally unique way.

Silas House

Title: Clay's Quilt  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2002
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the story of a young coal miner in southern Appalachia who finds love, family and meaning to his rather desperate life. The author melds together a very interesting cast of characters.

Pam Houston

Title: Cowboys Are My Weakness  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Unknown
Copyright: Unknown
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This redundant collection of short stories is a look at women giving up their identities to live through men who don't care about them. It includes such overblown lines as "...I held myself there unbreathing, like waiting for the sound of hooves on the sand, like waiting for a tornado." Huh? Despite the title, this collection concludes with the obligatory story of the woman friend dying of breast cancer to attract the Kleenex set. Pass.

Katherine Howe

Title: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Voice
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:
Doctoral student Connie Goodwin is in Marblehead to prepare her grandmother's decrepit home for sale. She discovers evidence of a book of spells and potions belonging to 17th century Deliverance Dance, a reported Salem witch. The intrigue element concerns her university advisor and a young man who tries to help in her search. A bit slow to be the thriller it's purported to be, the story does have an interesting historical backdrop.

Susan Hubbard

Title: The Society of S  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This is the story of twelve-year-old Ariella Montero, who has grown up in the orderly, intellectually structured home of her scientist father.  It is the story of a child coming of age and wanting to find the mother who abandoned her the day of her birth.   A rich philosophical tale that weaves the words of Bertram Russell and Edger Allen Poe into Arielle’s journey to find herself and the truth about her parents; it is truly a study of how people cope with abandonment.  This story does not resemble a “traditional” vampire story in any way.  The only supernatural nature of this captivating book is found in the S patterns in these characters lives, such as Sanguinists (environmentalist human rights vampires), synesthete (a person who sees words and letters in colors), and the cities that bring luck (all beginning with the letter S).  Overall, a great book until the abrupt and somewhat dull ending. 

Mary Hunt

Title: Debt-Proof Living  
Classification
: Self Help
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
Copyright: 1999
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: In these tougher economic times, getting back to the basics on your finances is not a bad idea. Even though this book is a little older, it still holds some great information to help people work towards saving money. Her ideas on saving can even help those people who live paycheck-to-paycheck.

Title: Debt-Proof Your Marriage: How to Achieve Financial Harmony  
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Copyright: September 2003
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
This was a great practical way to not only get out of debt, but also to stay out of debt and increase savings. This book offers priceless strategies to help you understand where your money goes each month and how you can end up saving for the long term. This was a gift to my and my husband for our wedding, and I wish I had read it and started putting it to use earlier. Now that we've both read it, we're looking forward to having a better financial plan for our lives.

Dave Hunter

Title: Along Interstate 75 (13th Edition)  
Classification
: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Mile Oak Publishing Inc.
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
For those who travel along Interstate 75 quite often or are just merely taking a family vacation. This book has everything, including an easy to read map for North or South on 75. It lists in detail every exit, historical points of interest, rest stops, speed limits, speed traps, detours, construction and everything else imaginable to keep you entertained and educated for your travels. The only set back is the lack of Florida, this book takes you from the North of 75 in Michigan to just a few miles south of Georgia. Florida is in a separate book which makes it difficult for Florida snow birds.

Jeffrey Hunter

Title: Darkly Dreaming Dexter  ____
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Vintage Books
Copyright: 2004

Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
There are very few books that translate better on the screen but this first book of the Dexter series truly comes alive as the new SHOWTIME series “DEXTER.”   I would have put this book down somewhere into the second chapter if I hadn’t been hooked on tuning in weekly with macabre fascination to watch this horrific serial killer hide among humanity.  It’s dark and challenges what we consider heroic characteristics for a leading man.  The story is almost identical to the series but on T.V., the characters and story come alive through excellent cinematography and lighting that makes Florida the perfect place for a cold-blooded serial killer to hone his craft in a much more realistic way than the book could ever accomplish.  If you like the series, you may want to wait until the SHOWTIME first season series airs its last episode before reading this background novel that inspired it…there are a few spoilers. 

Elisabeth Hyde

Title: The Abortionist's Daughter  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Knpof Publishing Group
Copyright: June 2006
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This book had great potential to be a suspenseful novel. A well known abortion doctor is found dead in her pool, and the question remains of who killed her. Was it her husband who had come home earlier in an angry rage, the coroner who had previously had an affair with the husband, or the pastor who leads a group of protestors outside her office? The story focuses on the daughter of the abortionist (thus the title) and how she copes with her mother's death. There didn't seem to be much character development and the sequence of events was rather far fetched and choppy. If you want a good book to keep you on the edge of your seat, this is not quite the one.

 
I
 

Greg Iles

Title: Devil's Punchbowl  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Scribner
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer
: Nancy  
Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:
A terrific entry from Iles as Penn Cage serves his second year as mayor of Natchez, Mississippi, troubled by his failure to change its school system and by its loss of industry. In fact, his only major success has been to attract the Magnolia Queen, a floating casino which dumps lots of money into the town...until Cage hears from his oldest friend that horrible things are being sponsored by the casino, things that are awful even beyond the laws they violate. When the friend is tortured and killed, Cage realizes that he and his family are next in the killer's sights. This is the best Iles book in a long time!

 

Title: Third Degree  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Scribner
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Married for years to a successful doctor, Laurel has always been faithful...until a year ago, when she started an affair.  Now Laurel's husband is under investigation for Medicare fraud at the same time she discovers she's pregnant, probably by her lover who has left her. Things get really dicey when Laurel's husband finds a hidden love letter and goes on a murderous rampage.  Although not nearly as well-written as Dead Sleep or Quiet Game, this is a fast read similar to Iles' 24 Hours.

Title: True Evil  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Scribner/Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
As FBI hostage negotiator Alex Morse's sister lies dying of a stroke, she makes a startling accusation: she's been murdered by her husband. Further, she pleads with Alex to save her son from his father. In the subsequent investigation Morse discovers a trail of victims killed not by bullets, but by cancer and other diseases and in all cases the victim leaves a spouse wealthier by far. As she races to save the next target, Morse finds herself caught between the killer and her superiors at the FBI. This is the best Iles since Dead Sleep, and brings back characters from his earlier books in a riveting, convincing medical thriller.

Title: Turning Angel  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Scribner
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: With the same characters as were in Quiet Game, this should have been great. Sigh…it missed, but is still worth a read.

Susan Isaacs

Title: Past Perfect  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Scribner
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Susan Isaacs is at the top of her form in Past Perfect, the story of successful Katie Schottland who has written and published the best-selling book Spy Guys which goes on to become a tv series. Katie is happily married, with a son she adores and with plenty of money. So what could be wrong? Fifteen years ago Katie was fired without cause from the CIA: no warning, no explanation. And for fifteen years she's needed to know why. So when a former colleague calls and promises to give her the reason in return for Katie's help in a matter of "national importance," Katie can't help but be intrigued...especially when her colleague disappears. A fun read with enough twists to keep you guessing, this is Isaacs' best book since Shining Through!

Walter Isaacson

Title: Benjamin Franklin  
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A delightful portrait of probably the most interesting of the founding fathers. Inventor, entrepreneur, ambassador, patriot and ladies' man--what more could you want.

 
J
 

A.J. Jacobs

Title: The Know-It-All  
Classification: Humor
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
If you can't imagine how reading the Encyclopedia Britannica could be entertaining, you haven't read this book. The author may not have succeeded in "becoming the smartest person in the world," but he is certainly among the funniest. His quotes and observations make reading the encyclopedia sound not only bearable, but fascinating. I found that I couldn't read this book in public without drawing stares from people around me as I laughed out loud. From "a-ak" (see gagaku), through "kappa...a vampirelike lecherous creature from Japan that's obsessed with cucumbers" to the anticlimactic "Zywiec...a town in south-central Poland," this is a great read!

Title:Year of Living Biblically 
Classification
: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Jacobs, who chronicled his attempt to become the smartest person in the world as he read the Encyclopedia Britannica, is back...this time trying to follow, literally, all the laws of the Bible. From the just plain silly (stoning an adulterer) to the almost impossible (not sitting on a surface that may be unclean) to the uncomfortable (disciplining his son), Jacobs is determined to follow all the rules. While he seems enthusiastic about the Old Testament, Jacobs is obviously out of his comfort zone with the new and sort of runs out of steam in the last third of the book, either from lack of commitment or from exhaustion (his twin sons are born as he begins this phase). An entertaining read, but a notch less than you might expect.

T. D. Jakes

Title: Not Easily Broken  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: Warner Books, Incorporated
Copyright: October 2006
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
After a car accident that leaves Clarice Johnson recovering physically, her and her husband Dave realize that they have more than the accident to work through. This was a feel good story about a relationship that came back from being on the verge of a breakup.

Marianna Jameson

Title: Big Trouble  
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Signet
Copyright: May 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Naomi Conner is not your typical digital security consultant. She is Southern, blond and beautiful. She makes sure she gets the opportunity the lead the internal security audit of Brennan Shipping so she can make partner in the firm and she can right a wrong from her hacker past. This leads to some major relationship hurdles with Joe Casey, one of the family members that own Brennan and acting chief technology officer responsible for the current security system. A good blend of intrigue and romance!

Cheryl Jarvis

Title: The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment That Transformed Their Lives 
Classification: Self Help
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"The Necklace" is the true story of 13 California women who each contribute money to buy a $37,000.00 16 carat diamond necklace. The woman, from vastly different backgrounds, came together regularly and took turns wearing their necklace. What started as a social experiment on ownership grew into more as they shared issues of personality, relationships, health, child rearing, etc. An interesting concept but Jarvis never gets across the appeal of the necklace in the first place and doesn't delve deep enough into the social issues.

Robin Jarvis

Title: The Deptford Mice Trilogy
Classification: Children
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A great read for kids who liked The Secret of Nimh or the Redwall series (the talking animals). This series features mice vs. rats. Ages 9 and up.

Pam Jenoff

Title:  Almost Home
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Copyright
2010
Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:

"Almost Home" is the story of American Jordan Weiss, a state department intelligence officer, who returns, on assignment, to London 10 years after her studies at Cambridge. When there she had fallen in love with fellow rower Jared, who unexpectedly died, apparently a suicide. Now questions arise as to the real cause of his death. Seemingly connected to her international assignment, the plot twists, friends become targets and possible suspects and Jordan must rush to find the truth.

 

Carolyn Jessop & Laura Palmer

Title: Escape  
Classification
: Biography
Publisher: Broadway
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Wow. The life story of how Carolyn Jessop was born and raised with the values and beliefs of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) is unbelievable. As a young child, Carolyn idolized her grandmother and faithfully believed the stories told to her about their lifestyle. But as she grew up and her grandmother passes, her independent thinking takes hold and her eyes open to the corruption within the FLDS. Carolyn is forced to become the fourth wife to a man over thirty years older than her. After fifteen years in this family, she bears eight children with him. During those fifteen years, Carolyn is psychologically abused and scrutinized by the other three wives. One night, Carolyn knows she has to flee and that it has to be now. With her husband hot on her heels, Carolyn and the children make it to freedom. This story is truly courageous and a must read in my book!

Edward P. Jones

Title: The Known World  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Amistad Press
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: If you enjoy historical fiction, particularly Civil War Era history, you may like this Pulitzer Prize novel. It is, however, somewhat slow paced as it relates to pre-civil war slave activity, not military action.

Lloyd Jones

Title: Mister Pip  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Dell Publishing Co.
Copyright: 2007
Reviewers: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"Mister Pip" follows the early years of 13 year old   Matilda on a remote Pacific island. As military rebellion forces the men of the island to leave, the children are left without a teacher until Mr. Watts, the only white man on the island, agrees to step in. He uses Mr. Pip from Dickens' "Great Expectations" to present themes of estrangement, personal metamorphosis, escapism, conviction and strength of the human spirit. After the rebels burn all the books and the schoolhouse Mr. Watts and the children recreate the story from memory, all the while continuing to learn life's lessons. Matilda is torn between her admiration of Mr. Watts and her fiercely religious mother. Extreme violence in the end forces Matilda to make difficult decisions in this fable-like novel.

Chris Jordan

Title: Taken  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: MIRA
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Widow Kate Bickford has managed to survive the death of her husband, but when her son Tommy disappears after a Little League game she sees the end of her world. Then, when she arrives home, she finds the kidnapper in her home demanding that she transfer all her money to an overseas account to assure Tommy's release. This kidnapper, however, has a more sinister motive than money and Kate is caught up in a terrifying effort to not only find her son, but to save his life. A great first adult novel by Rodman Philbrick ("Freak the Mighty"), writing under the Jordan pen-name.

 
K
 

Cynthia Kadohata

Title: Kira-Kira 
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Teen-Fiction. This is one of my favorites. It's the story of a Japanese family. It is the life and adventures of two very close sisters. One sister becomes terribly ill, and it's up to the other sister to help her family as her parents work on a minimum wage.

Lesley Kagen

Title: Land of a Hundred Wonders 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
20 year old Gibby McGrae, somewhat mentally challenged due to an auto accident, is an engaging young woman caught up in the broken lives of friends and family in a small Kentucky town in the 1970's. Trying to become QR (Quite Right) she is the highlight of Leslie Kagen's compelling, funny and poignant southern novel.

Susan Kandel

Title: Not a Girl Detective  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow/HarperCollins
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
I collect all the hardcover reprints by Applewood Press of the original Nancy Drew stories, so I hoped to enjoy this contemporary mystery with its Nancy Drew theme. Sadly, this book is not worth reading unless you struggle with insomnia. I don't know how the author manages to turn such interesting topics into dull, tedious, mind-numbing, "is-it-over-yet-please" stories. I only finished reading it because I wanted to give the book a fair shake for its review by reading it all the way through. I dreaded the chore and celebrated when I finally finished reading this extremely boring story. I felt the same way about the author's first book, "I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason," and I LOVE the Perry Mason mysteries. Two strikes and this author's out. The boring-ness of her first book was not a fluke; it's a trend. I will not read Susan Kandel again. On the other hand, it's cheaper than sleeping pills.

Jan Karon

Title: Home to Holly Springs: The First of the Father Tim Novels 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penquin
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"Home to Holly Springs" features the beloved Father Tim from the "Mitford" series. At 70 and retired as an Episcopal clergyman, Father Tim returns to Holly Springs, his childhood home, where he confronts the longtime demons concerning his father and the abrupt departure of his loving housekeeper. Anyone who has enjoyed the Mitford series will continue to enjoy this new Father Tim story.

Title: Light From Heaven 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In Light From Heaven, the final volume in the Mitford series, Karon ties together everyone from Father Tim's many years of ministering in rural North Carolina. You can't help but love this wise gentle man who serves his flock with love and humor.

Marshall Karp

Title: Rabbit Factory 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: MacAdam/Cage
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Several years ago, Larry Brown wrote a wonderful book called "Rabbit Factory" so, when this book was released, I just had to read it to see how it would compare (which is a risk that occurs when books share a title). Karp is not nearly the writer that Brown is, but has written a pretty good mystery featuring detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs, two cops who are called to investigate the murder of a pedophile who has landed a job playing Rambunctious Rabbit at Familyland. At first it seems to be a revenge slaying, but when more killings follow, Lomax and Biggs realize that someone has it in for the owners of Familyland and anyone who has anything to do with the company. Like many first-time authors, Karp has a hard time wrapping things up and the book goes on about three chapters too many, but the characters show promise for a sequel. Worth a read when it comes out in paperback.

Karen Katafiasz

Title: Grief Therapy  
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: Abbey Press
Copyright: 1993
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This tiny paperback, which leads the reader through grief and beyond, would be an excellent and thoughtful gift for anyone experiencing grief.

Lee Charles Kelley

Title: Dogged Pursuit  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: Avon Books/HarperCollins Publishers
Copyright:
July 2006
Reviewe
r: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
#5 in the Jack Field dog mystery series. I don't agree with the main character's views on just about anything, but the stories and characters are interesting and distinctive. In this story, Jack, kennel owner, dog trainer, and former cop, interviews a man accused of being a serial killer, which I found particularly interesting. Jack & Jamie are preparing for their wedding, but their lives get more complicated with a killer on the loose and one of their employees missing. The sixth book in the series is due out March 2007.

Rachel Keener

Title:  Memory Thief
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Center Street Publishing
Copyright: 2010

Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

Angel burns her family’s rusted-out trailer and escapes into the tobacco fields, taking with her only the memories of her drunken mother and her selfish father in a search to find her history and the love she’s never had.

Hannah goes with her parents, wearing the clothes that mark her as different, to the Carolinas to bring bridges and religion to the South where she finds her first love—one that shatters her life.

In their separate  journeys both Angel and Hannah find salvation despite the madness of mothers and years of loneliness. 

An absolutely wonderful read.

Julie Kenner

Title: California Demon  
Classification:
Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Kate Conner is back on the Vatican payroll as a demon-hunter in the second book of the Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom series.  Her family is clueless and the list of quirky characters who know her secret is growing.  The story and writing style are much more consistent and believable in this book.  The story ends setting up the next installment and I can’t wait to read more Kate Conner adventures. 

Title: Carpe Demon  
Classification:
Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The first book in the Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom series.  Picture Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all grown up, retired and living in the suburbs and you have a general idea of the life of Kate Conner, mother of two, retired demon-hunter living in San Diablo, California.  Raised and trained as a demon-hunter in Vatican City, Kate has retired and settled into “normal” life as a mother and as a wife of an aspiring politician.  Things change when a demon crashes through her kitchen window and she finds herself trying to balance demon-hunting and mall shopping.  The story and characters have lots of promise but the writing is sophomoric at best.  There are certain events that occur in the story that make the protagonist seem somewhat naïve for someone who, since the age of 4, has dealt with the evil in the world.  Hopefully, the writing will improve because the story is the closest thing to revisiting “Sunnydale” as you can get.   

Title: Demons Are Forever  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Berkley
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Kate Conner is now back demon hunting; a profession she conveniently retired from to start a family, in this third installment of the Confessions of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom series.  Her teenaged daughter knows what she does when she isn’t carpooling and wants to grow up to be just like her.  Kate’s dual identities as a demon hunter and suburban wife have gotten more complicated when she finds herself in possession of an antique item every demon around is trying to get their hands on.  As the series progresses, these fast-paced and witty adventures of this demon hunter remain engaging, yet seem to be developing a sophisticated story arc that keeps the potential fluff from invading a series with such a light-hearted title.

Title: Tall, Dark & Dead  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Wow…the goofy title, cartoon-ish cover art and publisher’s classification of this book as “Romance” certainly caused me to pause.  Was I glad I overlooked all that!  This story rocks!  Garnet Lacey is hiding as a Goth poseur in a Wisconsin occult bookstore after the Vatican Hunters killed her Minnesota coven. She is possessed by the goddess, Lilith, after she carelessly called upon her to revenge the slaughter of her friends.  Now, she finds herself back in the world of magic and mayhem with an ancient day-walking vampire, her ex-who is also a vampire and the Vatican witch hunters who have business in this normally quiet Wisconsin town.  Yeah, this is a Romance writer spinning the tale but she seriously knows how to incorporate her characters into an enthralling dark urban fantasy adventure. 

Gayle Keeney Canfield

Title: Crossing Jordan  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Publish America
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
A good first novel (and the first in a series). Main character (and author) tries unsuccessfully to locate information about an important ancestor through traditional genealogical sources. Traveling to New York, she encounters the grandson of Albert Einstein, who offers to send her back in time through his perfected form of his grandfather's time travel machine. Accepting his offer, gayle finds herself in colonial America. This site, however, is a prologue to her reminiscences of the past 45 years which comprise the rest of the book. A it goes along, the story becomes even more compelling as she finds herself the actual ancestor she has been searching. drawn into the plot the reader develops an idea, small at first, but becoming ever more compelling. Could this actually happen? Did it happen? Is this really fiction? Or autobiographical? See what you think?

 

Garrison Keillor

Title: Life Among the Lutherans
Classification: F
iction
Publisher:
Augsberg Fortress
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments
:

If you are a Garrison Keillor/Lake Wobegon fan you'll love this latest collection of humorous stories about Lutheran life in small town Minnesota. You don't have to be Lutheran or mid-western to appreciate Keillor as a master story teller.

 

Stephen Kenson

Title: Fallen Angels  
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: ROC/Penquin
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is #3 in the new Shadowrun series. There are a lot of older, out-of-print Shadowrun books, but you don't have to read them to enjoy this new series. The first one is "Born to Run" and the second is "Poison Agendas." I give the whole new series a "5" rating. It's really science fantasy. Kellan Cost is back, and this time she's on the trail of her heritage, trying to find out more about her mother, her father, and the mysterious magical amulet that was given to her. She has to escape from deep inside enemy territory. She makes her way through the shadows, trying to accomplish her mission and avoid being betrayed at the same time. A lively and entertaining case of characters--including the people who might or might not be villains.

Kathleen Kent

Title: The Heretic's Daughter  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: When I first picked up this book, I was excited that the book was written about the author's distant relatives who lived during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. The premise of the book was based on old documents found that talked about that time. I was kinda disappointed. The story wasn't what I thought it would be. It dragged on in parts while other ares were good. If the book would have been written in diary form, I think it would be better. The author weaved a story based on information contained in the documents and I think the story could have been better. It's still worth a read if you want more information about the time period.

Steven L. Kent

Title: Rogue Clone  
Classification
: Science Fiction
Publisher: Ace Books/Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright: October 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The continuing story of Lt. Wayson Harris as he deals with both the knowledge that he’s a clone and the deteriorating political and military climate that he finds himself in. It’s a good read with lots of action but it’s kind of difficult to follow some of the plot twists. Sequel to “The Clone Republic;” must be read in order.

Alexander Key

Title: The Forgotten Door 
Classification:
Children's
Publisher: Scholastic
Copyright:
1965
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
Jon fell through a gateway from his world to ours. This telepathic boy with a love for animals suffers from amnesia and is unable to recall much about his world other than that it is a peaceful place. He finds a good family to help him, but faces enemies in the community who aren't inclined to tolerance for anyone different. An excellent and gentle science fiction story on a fifth grade reading level.

Watt Key

Title: Alabama Moon  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A really poignant book about ten-year old Moon Blake, who has lived his entire life in a shelter in the woods with his paranoid father. When his dad dies, Moon starts out for Alaska, where his father has said there are "lots of people like us." It isn't long, however, before he realizes that being alone isn't easy, and that friendships are worth sacrificing for. A very nice little book.

Laurie R. King

Title: The Art of Detection  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Bantom
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
San Francisco detective Kate Martinelli and her partner Al Hawkin are called to investigate the death of Philip Gilbert, member of a group of serious Sherlock Holmes aficionados. The discovery of a manuscript, possibly written by Sherlock Holmes, intrigues the detectives because the victim's death mirrors that of the victim in the manuscript. Who had read the text?

Stephen King

Title: Cell  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Scribner
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Thriller with a little sci-fi (or is it). At 3PM on a sunny afternoon in October afternoon, everyone using a cell phone suddenly goes mad, reverting to the basest form of life - bestiality. The Pulse, as it comes to be known, erases everything else in the brain. People begin killing each other, tearing limb from limb with their teeth. As survivors try to escape to somewhere safe, they begin to notice a herd or flock quality to the phoners who seem able to communicate with one another telepathically. When survivors find that the phoners are using tools and seemingly planning activities, they realize that that the damaged brains are rebooting, just as a computer does.The journey to some sort of safety is fraught with dangerous encounters and near encounters and no real resolutions ever occur. The plot is somewhat intriguing but extremely gory. Typical Stephen King who, by the way, does not own a cell phone.

Title: Duma Key  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Scribner
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Edgar Freemantle beat the odds and survived a crane accident at his company's job site. He lost his right arm in the accident and lost a lot more during the recovery. His behavior caused his wife to leave him and alienate one of his two daughters. Feeling suicidal, Edgar takes his shrink's advice and moves to Duma Key, Florida. There he discovers a talent for painting that he never knew he had. He becomes friends with his landlord and her care giver and not long after, happenings related to his landlord's childhood starts to emerge. Another long novel by Stephen King but pretty decent compared to Lisey's Story. For the Stephen King fans who don't mind the less horror direction he is going towards these days, they will like this one.

Title: Just After Sunset  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Scribner
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: This book showcases fourteen short stories by King. The stories are pretty decent though a few run a little flat and off the mark. But there are a few that I wouldn't mind seeing as a full blown novel! I hope the next book out by King is another full length novel.

Title: Lisey's Story  
Classification: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Scribner
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: The story talks about the widow of a novelist who died a few years ago. Lisey finally works up the nerve to start cleaning out her husband’s office where he wrote his books. While she begins to tackle this project, her dysfunctional family problems start showing up.  She has one sister who blames her for leaving town when she was a young woman.  Another sister who self mutilates herself and continually walks the edge of her sanity.  Once Lisey finally gets into cleaning, strange things start happening. A strange man starts calling and threatening her, Lisey thinks her dead husband is trying to communicate with her, flashbacks of the past start happening with greater frequency, etc. The threats become life threatening and Lisey is forced to confront her husband’s past and get past her own fears to save herself and her sister Amanda. It's no wonder why Stephen King's novels are so long. The last few King books I've read, it seems to take a good 100 pages before you get to the good part where Stephen King’s flair shows up. This book is no different. There were several times during these first 100 pages where I thought I wasn’t going to bother because it was very tedious but I kept plucking along and I’m glad I did.  Once I got through the character background set up period, the rest of the book picked up speed and excitement.

Kate Kingsbury

Title: No Clue at the Inn: A Special Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this late Victorian British mystery Cecily Sinclair Baxter and her husband, returning to manage the Pennyfoot Hotel for the Christmas holidays, become involved in solving two mysterious disappearances. An enjoyable read somewhere between "light" and intense.

 

Sophie Kinsella

Title: Twenties Girl  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Dial Press
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Lara never knew her great-aunt Sadie, so she's a little miffed when she's made to go to her funeral. After all, Sadie was 105 years old so it shouldn't have come as any surprise to anyone that she died. Lara is still a little (okay, more than a little) obsessed with the boyfriend who just dumped her, so when Sadie's ghost starts yelling at her, Lara is sure she's finally gone off the deep end. A charming book about the unlikely friendship between a modern woman and a ghost from the 1920's.

Jane Kirkpatrick

Title: Mending at the Edge  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Based on the true story of German-American Emma Wagner Giesy, this is the fictionalized account of her life in a communal society established in Oregon in the 1850s.Working through the grief of her first husband's death and the anguish of an abusive 2nd husband Emma questions her relationships, spirituality and artistry within the framework of the communal good.

Sandra Kitt

Title: Between Friends  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 1998
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Come on girls...ever have that one guy that you and one of your best girlfriends end up competing for? Well this is exactly the scenario that plays out between Dallas and Valerie. Best friends since grade school. Then walks Alex, an ex-Navy SEAL. The two best friends start competing for Alex's attention and during the process, secrets about Dallas's past comes to light along with some ugly truths about Valerie's daughter. Kitt writes a good story about the bonds of friendship.

Katrina Kittle

Title: Kindness of Strangers 
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A somewhat predictable but well-developed story of a widow who discovers her closest friend is harboring a terrible secret. Not for those who can’t read books in which bad things happen to kids.

Lisa Kleypas

Title: Devil in Winter 
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Avon
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In the third of four in the "Wallflower" series, Evie Jenner and Lord Sebastion St. Vincent's marriage of convenience evolves into true love. This is a sweet story, but I liked the previous book a little better. Still worth a read.

Chuck Klosterman

Title: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs*  
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Scribner
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Schizophrenic, opinionated but humorous; Chuck Klosterman is a highly intelligent writer with many thoughts but none all too serious. From media, to breakfast cereal, to a Guns-N-Roses tribute band you'll be angry and laughing at the same time.

Angela Knight

Title: Jane’s Warlord  
Classification
: Romance
Publisher: Berkley Publishing/Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright: June 2004
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Science fiction romance. Jane Colby is a reporter for a local paper. She’s now covering a grisly series of murders. What she doesn't know is that she’s next on the killer’s list. Baran Arvid is secretly from the future; his one assignment—to save her life. The problem is she doesn't want to be guarded. Unbeknownst to both, the killer is also targeting the warlord. The time travel element of the story was very entertaining.

Title: Master of the Moon  
Classification
: Romance
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright: May 2005
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Paranormal romance. Second in the series. She’s a werewolf in charge of a city. He’s the king of Sidhe. They’re both after a vampire who is killing people in her town. Alone, neither of them is its match; together, they can be. Now all they’ve got to do is learn to work together. I enjoyed the funny situations when the irreverent werewolf meets the proud and stubborn king of the fairies.

Title: Master of Swords  
Classification
: Romance
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright: October 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Paranormal romance. Fourth book in the series. The witch Lark McGuin survived a vicious vampire attack. The last thing she wants is to be partnered with a vampire knight to hunt the evil ones. The last thing Gawain, the vampire knight, wants is to be training and trying to protect a novice witch while in the midst of the hunt. I liked the interaction between a contemporary woman and a man who’s been around since the time of King Arthur and the Round Table.

Elizabeth Kolbert

Title: Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change  
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In a clear, concise, and unbiased voice, journalist Kolbert presents her findings on the current status of the melting polar ice caps due to the buildup of carbon dioxide. This catastrophic problem, first brought to light in the 1970’s, may be closer to effecting irreversible climatic changes than we realize. The book is easy to read, avoiding cumbersome scientific terms and concepts, and sobering in its delivery. Using examples such as floating houses and migrating butterflies, and explaining the politics of global warming as it relates to science sheds light on the reality of “what we know and what we refuse to know” about global warming. Highly recommended for anyone trying to grasp understanding of the most serious threat we face to our way of life.

E. L. Konigsburg

Title: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler 
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Atheneum
Copyright: 1967
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Every child fantasizes about having an adventure. The siblings in this book live it for you as they run away from home and live in a museum. As usual, the novel beats out the movie any day.

Dean Koontz

Title: Breathless  
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Bantam
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments

Koontz delivers again with this page-turner about new life forms, chaos theory, good and evil, created around rural furniture builder Grady Adams and his Irish wolfhound Merlin. 

 On a day that begins with a walk in the woods, with murder, and with animals aware of some new creation, the story effortlessly weaves science together with fantasy as humanity, in fear or wonder, accepts that it may be neither evolution nor creationism which holds the answer to life.

 A definite must-read!

 

Title: Brother Odd  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Dell/Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
It's no secret that I love Koontz and this, the third in the Odd Thomas series, has given me one more reason to feel this way. Odd has retreated to a monastery to heal after losing his true love Stormy and to reflect on his ability to see dead people. It soon becomes apparent that there is no refuge even here and he is caught in a race to save the handicapped children who live there. This is Koontz at his best, with the humor and humanity that are his trademark, and, of course, with a dog. If you haven't read this series, start with the first (Odd Thomas), and if you have, buy this without delay!

Title: Darkest Evening Of The Year  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Called in the middle of the night to a house filled with violence, Amy Redwing finds a battered family and the dog she has come to rescue. This dog, however, sparks a recognition in Amy...something beyond her love of goldens, something  "noble and solemn," something that promises changes both terrible and wonderful. Koontz has written a novel of evil, of salvation and redemption and healing, a book about dogs and children...the people they save and the people by whom they are saved.  A must-read.

Title: Forever Odd  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: While not as good as the first book featuring Odd (Odd Thomas), this is still Koontz and, as far as I'm concerned, still worth a read. Even at his worst, Koontz is better than a lot of authors at their best.

Title: Good Guy  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Stonemason Tim Carrier stops by his favorite bar after work where a stranger hands him an envelope containing ten thousand dollars and the picture of a young woman with assurance another ten thousand will be delivered "when she's gone." Knowing that it's up to him to prevent the murder, Tim finds Linda, the targeted victim, and they find themselves running from an assassin with powerful forces on his side. In a shadowy world where it's impossible to identify the bad guys Tim discovers a conspiracy that reaches to the most influential people in the world. Can he stay alive long enough to destroy it? Once again, Koontz has written a tense, riveting thriller that will leave you breathless!

Title: The Husband (Review #1)  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Koontz remains the master of suspense with this novel of an unassuming gardener whose life is forever altered with the abduction of his wife Holly by kidnappers who are masterfully framing him for her murder. Twist follows heart-pounding twist as Mitch finds himself face-to-face with violence and evil. This is a don't-wait-for-paperback book! If your bookstore or library is open, grab your keys and leave now.

Title: The Husband (Review #2)
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Bantam Books
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Thriller. Landscaper Mitch Rafferty is in the middle of planting annuals in a client's garden when his cell phone rings. On the other end of the line, a voice says "We have your wife. You can get her back for 2 million - cash." Whomever is calling is unimpressed with the fact that Mitch has no possible way to raise such a sum, saying that he'll find a way - if he loves his wife enough. This intense thriller will keep you in it's grip from the shocking beginning through the labyrinth of plot twists to the astounding conclusion. Dean Koontz at his very best.

Title: Lightning 
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Koontz usually writes horror, but this is more science fiction. This is one of my favorite books of all time. I can't imagine why this fantastic story, with its elements of action, romance, and suspense, hasn't yet been made into a blockbuster movie. Nothing will ever beat the book, though: Grow up with Laura Shane and wonder, as she does, who her guardian angel is, and what could be his purpose, as he unpredictably appears and disappears throughout her life, yet never changes...

Title: Odd Hours  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Koontz returns with his fourth in the Odd Thomas series and seems to be a little tired of this protagonist. Odd has left his hometown of Pico Mundo and is working for former movie star Hutch Hutchinson when he meets Annamaria, a pregnant woman who promises to play a major role in Odd's premonition of a coming holocaust. However (and this is very unlike Koontz), the story of Annamaria remains unresolved and the rest of the plot meanders through a swath of fog and bodies. Even Odd himself, with his companions Frank Sinatra and Boo the ghost dog, fails to be as appealing or convincing as before. Time to wrap this up.

Title: Odd Thomas  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: One of the most interesting and charming of the characters in the Koontz books, Odd Thomas is afflicted (or blessed) with the ability to interact with the dead; once again Koontz has managed to create a story that is gripping and human. I loved this!

Title: Watchers (Review #1)  
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is my second favorite Koontz book, and a great read for dog lovers. I could do without the twisted evil killer, but the brilliant, charming dog makes the story worthwhile. Einstein is an escaped military experiment, a genius dog running for his life from another experimental soldier, an unreasonable baboon.

Title: Watchers (Review #2)
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: My all-time favorite Koontz, this book is a classic tale of the battle between good and evil, with jabs at early DNA research by the military. Fast-paced and scary, this book will keep you turning pages well into the night.

 

William Kotzwinkle

Title: The Bear Went Over the Mountain  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Holt McDougal
Copyright: 1997

Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A black bear in Maine finds a manuscript, names himself Hal Jam, gets a suit of clothes and heads to the big city to find an agent. Outrageous you say? Yes, but this older novel is a hilarious satire and timely still today.

Harley Jane Kozak

Title: Date You Can't Refuse  
Publisher: Broadway Books
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Kozak delivers another solid entry in her Wollie Shelley series as greeting card designer and date extraordinaire Wollie serves on a jury, then is approached by the defendant with a job offer: come to work for him and he'll pay her enough to keep her erratic brother in the care facility he needs. Things get hectic when the FBI encourages her to go undercover for them and become even more complicated when Wollie's on-again, off-again boyfriend shows up. Definitely worth a read!

Title: Dead Ex  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: Doubleday
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this, the third in the Wollie Shelley mystery series, the greeting card designer and muralist finds herself head-over-heels in lust with FBI agent Simon Alexander when she finds out an ex-boyfriend has been murdered. But who would kill a terminally ill man, and why? Wollie is caught up in the weird world of soap operas and reality TV as she tries to prove her best friend innocent of murder and as she herself becomes a target. A really fun mystery.

Jon Krakauer

Title: Into Thin Air 
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 1997
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is a fascinating account of one man's journey to the top of Mount Everest. Krakauer recounts his tale from the point of view of a reporter who loves t climb. Little did he know of the tragedy that awaited his party and others as they reached the summit.

Rochelle Krich

Title: Now You See Me  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Los Angeles crime reporter Molly Blume is asked to find the 18 year old run-away daughter of a rabbi who was once Molly's teacher. The investigation leads her into the world of chat rooms, exam cheating, sexual harassment. Midway through the story the girl returns home, only to be led into a tangled murder plot, which Molly must solve. This is the 5th of the Molly Blume series (but the first one I've read) and I'm looking forward to going back and reading more.

 
L
 

Mercedes Lackey

Title: The Fairy Godmother  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Luna Books
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A hilarious look at what happens when "fairy tales" don't happen the way they're supposed to. The story follows a young woman who was supposed to be the "Cinderella" of her kingdom.

Title: One Good Knight  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Luna-Books/Harlequin Books
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A Tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. The magic system in this universe makes logical sense because every action has an equal or opposite reaction. Princess Andromeda is trying to save her kingdom from marauding dragons and an evil power behind the throne. She teams up with a most unlikely champion, George, to solve the mystery behind the dragons and why there is a barrier around the country keeping other champions out. I liked the interaction between the Princess and her champion, and how they deal with their adventures along the way, especially as they're trying to make their traditions work for them instead of against them. A fun, easy read.

Title: Sanctuary  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Daw Books
Copyright: May 2005
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the 3rd book in the Dragon Jousters series. The escaped Dragonriders have found sanctuary, are taking in refugees from both countries, and are trying to stop the needless war being brought on by the Magi (evil magic-users who steal life forces). I fell in love with the heart-touching relationships between the dragons and their riders.

Karol Ladd

Title: The Power of a Positive Wife  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: Howard Publishing Co.
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This sounds like a fluffy, easy read, but in my life I have never read a more challenging marriage book than this one. Guess being positive doesn't always come easy. You Christians out there will know what I'm talking about when I say this book made me mad in a good way. When God puts His finger on something in my heart that shouldn't be there, I tend to get sulky; I got plenty sulky reading this. It took me a long time to get through because I kept getting mad and saying, "I'm not reading this any more!" But it's good medicine and of course, I kept coming back to it. If you want an easy read, this isn't it. But if you want God to change your heart, this is an excellent tool. Read with prayer.

Tim LaHaye & Bob Phillips

Title: Babylon Rising: The Edge of Darkness  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the fourth book in the Babylon Rising series featuring Michael Murphy, professor of Biblical Archeology at Preston University in North Carolina. Methuselah, 'The Seven' and Murphy's nemesis, Talon are all back to challenge Murphy's quest to find another lost Biblical prophecy. The series has all the action, adventure and intrigue of an 'Indiana Jones' story, but with the added feature of an intellectual Biblical scholar as the protagonist. Most of the Michael Murphy novels could stand alone, although there is a dominant story arch running throughout, and this entry contains a spoiler.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Title: Interpreter of Maladies  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Copyright: May 2000
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is a great collection of short stories revolving around relationships. The beauty of the novel comes from the progression of each individual story in the scheme of the novel as a whole.

Title: Namesake  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Copyright: September 2003
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This is the story of adaptation and defining oneself as an individual. This is the story of Gogol Ganguli and his life. The tale travels from his parents moving to the United States from India, his birth and onto his maturity into an adult. This was a fascinating look into Gogol's life and his struggle with his roots and his desire to adapt to an American lifestyle. This novel is filled with vivid descriptions of episodes throughout his life including various love affairs and family decisions.

Virginia Lanier, J.A. Jance, Chassie West, and Lee Charles Kelley

Title: Bark M for Murder  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This collection of 4 short stories was enjoyable, but nothing to write home about. Short stories are rarely as fun to read as a full-length novel, so part of the handicap is the format. For die-hard dog lovers, this will be a must-read. All others can probably take a pass. The short stories are: 1) Red Shirt and Black Jacket by Virginia Lanier; 2) Nightmare in Nowhere by Chassie West; 3) The French Poodle Connection by Lee Charles Kelley; and 4)The Case of the London Cabbie by J.A. Jance. Lanier and Kelley are dog lover's mystery series authors; for Jance and West, this is their first foray into this area. I particularly enjoyed Maddy Watkins with her golden retrievers, featured in the Jance story. Maddy's old but spunky and full of life. I hope to see more of her.

Lori Lansens

Title:  Wife's Tale
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
 

At three hundred two pounds on the eve of her silver anniversary, Mary Gooch is two pounds past the weight at which she had promised herself that she would die, but when her husband doesn’t come home for the anniversary party they’d planned she finds that neither death nor food holds any appeal. And as Mary sets out on a quest to find her husband she discovers truths about herself, about love and about compulsion that help her discover herself instead.

Another wonderful read from the author of Rush Home Road and The Girls.

Cathy Lamb

Title: Julia's Chocolates  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Kensington Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Almost-bride Julia Bennett has left her abusive boyfriend and run away, leaving her wedding dress hanging from a tree in North Dakota while fleeing to the safety of her Aunt Lydia in Oregon. Lydia, who hosts a weekly Psychic Night (Breast Power Psychic Night; Your Hormones and You) and who has large concrete pigs in her yard named after men who have made her mad, is the sane one in Julia's family which gives you an idea of the rest of them. This is a warm, wonderful book in the tradition of Billie Letts and Rebecca Wells...I highly recommend it!

Wally Lamb

Title: The Hour I First Believed  
Classification
: Fiction
Author: Wally Lamb
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2008
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In the ten years since his last book (I Know This Much Is True), I've thought often about Lamb and wondered not only if he would write again but if he could match the eloquence of his first two books. With The Hour I First Believed he has...and he does. In a first-person narrative told by Caelum Quirk, Lamb manages to include the Columbine massacre, the Civil War, the penal system, Miss Rheingold and much more, and he manages, out of all that, to create a vortex of a story, a book about hate and love and violence and redemption. This is another nearly perfect book by this author; a must read.

Title: I Know This Much Is True  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copyright: 1998
Reviewe: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A long, but great read. Lamb's book will make you believe you know the protagonist personally as he journeys through life with his challenging twin brother. For those of you who like happy endings, this is a must read. Also, this novel has been included on Oprah's book list

Title: Wishin' and Hopin'  
Classification
:
Fiction
Publisher: Harper

Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:

It’s hard to believe that Wally Lamb could have written this so-so book, which is a much less entertaining tribute to elementary school Christmas pageants than The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and a much less funny account of growing up than The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

As he meanders through mildly amusing anecdotes about fifth-grader Felix and his friends, Lamb tries to create the warmth and familiarity of the sixties but, until he reaches a pretty good epilogue, mostly just strings together a series of not-very engaging vignettes. 

If you’re a fan (as I am) of Lamb, I think you’ll find this a disappointment.

.

Lorna Landvik

Title: View From Mount Joy  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
If you like a book with unimaginative characters, a boring, disorganized plot and an ending without resolution, you'll love this one. Kristi Casey is the golden girl of her high school and engenders lust in the hearts of all the boys, especially new guy Joe. Yadda, yadda...years pass. Kristi re-enters the picture, more lust; more yadda yadda. Kristi becomes an evangelist. Who cares? Blech.

Lori Lansens

Title: The Girls  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Canadian author Lansens (Rush Home Road) has done it again in this wonderfully written story of conjoined sisters. From the opening sentence: "I have never looked into my sister's eyes", we are drawn into the rich lives of Ruby and Rose, their family and their neighbors, and follow them for thirty years of their unique but universal experiences. A must read, and one well-suited for book club discussion groups as it explores the world through a view both rare and familiar.

Title: Rush Home Road  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The wonderful, wonderful story of how a seventy-year old woman and a five-year old girl become family to each other when the child is abandoned by her mother. Although set in Canada, it could fit in the "dysfunctional Southern family" category. A not-to-be missed book!

Erik Larson

Title: The Devil in White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America (Review #1)
Reviewer: Marilyn  
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The 1893 Chicago World Fair (Exposition) is the setting with parallel plots of America's first known serial killer juxtaposed with the fair. Striking examples of how brilliant minds can choose to use their talents for good or for evil. Horrible acts of depravation occur, but you'll mostly remember all the examples of inventions created for the fair which are now a part of our everyday lives. You'll be amazed.

Title: Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America (Review #2)
Classification: History
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2002
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Who would have thought that one event; the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, could change the cultural, social and economic landscape of America. Oh yeah, the event also allowed America’s first serial killer, H. H. Holmes to lure young women to their deaths. This well-researched historical account reads like a novel. There is the development of the skyscraper; the first Ferris wheel; the modern gardens of Olmstead; the beginning of the labor laws; the beginning of modern police investigation; a social climate where women travel for the first time without chaperones; the development of modern electricity and so much more filling every page. The way Larson alternates between events involving the White City (the location of the Fair) and changes occurring in the surrounding chaotic city of Chicago, keeps the book interesting and hard to put down. Every year there is one book I give at the holidays and this book has been my pick since its publication.

Title: Isaac’s Storm: A Man, A Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History  ____
Classification: History
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Copyright: 2000
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
I had no interest in hurricanes nor desire to read about a storm that occurred in 1900.  That said, this is one of my favorite books.  It’s the story of the 1900 hurricane that wiped out Galveston , TX and killed almost 10,000 people.  Meteorology was in its infancy and two weather-watchers, Isaac and Joseph Cline viewed themselves as having scientific proof to forecast the weather-one recommends evacuation and one insists the residents should stay.  Lawson makes history come alive by recounting the events before and after the storm through the journals of those involved in the early science and from the accounts of the storm’s survivors.  Highly recommend for anyone who enjoys reading history from an investigatory point of view. 

Title: Thunderstruck  
Classification: History
Publisher: Crown
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The technique of parallel plots is once again employed by this author (see The Devil in White City in archives). Guglielmo Marconi spent all of his energy and all of his time trying to perfect his invention of the wireless. He, of course, succeeds while alienating his wife and colleagues until his obsession is all that remains. But wait - he's the good guy, isn't he. The other main character is a doctor, described as mild and pleasant who, nevertheless, murders his wife, eviscerates her, buries what's left in the basement then escapes with his secretary. The ensuing search for the fugitives becomes a case of such notoriety that it is surpassed only by the Jack the Ripper murders. The two stories merge toward the end and, of course, Marconi's invention plays a part in the satisfactory conclusions. Dr. Crippen is caught, tried and convicted. Marconi is highly successful and receives all the accolades and place in history that he deserves.

Kirby Larson

Title: Hattie Big Sky  
Classification: Teens
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Alone in the world, 16 year old Hattie moves to Montana in 1917 to "prove up" her deceased uncle's homestead claim. Her backbreaking challenges are lightened by several neighbors as she learns the true meaning of home. Akin to the "Little House" series grown-up, this would appeal to any teen reader with an interest in an historical period setting.

William Lashner

Title: Marked Man  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow/HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Attorney and media darling Victor Carl stops by his favorite bar for a drink and wakes up the next morning with more than a hangover; he has a tattoo of a woman's name on his chest. Who is she? And does she have any connection with the elderly Greek woman who begs him to bring her fugitive son home? Is Carl investigating one crime or two, and just how is his father involved? A pretty well-paced mystery, with a cast of interesting characters, but worth waiting for paperback.

Stephanie Laurens

Title: All About Passion  
Classification
: Romance
Publisher: Avon Books/HarperCollins Publishers
Copyright: September 2001
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Historical romance. The beginning was slow and the plot implausible. Didn't finish it; not worth it.

Will Lavender

Title: Obedience  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Professor Williams's Logic and Reasoning class begins with the words "There's been a murder," and his fifteen students find themselves challenged to find the victim. For, as Williams explains, the murder has not yet occurred and only they can prevent it by asking the pertinent (logical, reasonable) questions and solving the mystery in time. As the semester progresses, however, it becomes clear that there is more going on than a teacher's attempt to hone his students' logical thinking...no one is who he seems to be and there is no line between lies and the truth. This is a fine debut novel!

Joyce and Jim Lavene

Title: Pretty Poison  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Though not strong on riveting suspense, this mystery was well written and made you read to the end to see if you had correctly figured out "who done it".

Stephen Lawhead

Title: Hood: Book One in the King Raven Trilogy  ____
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: WestBow Press

Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A thoroughly researched historical novel setting the Robin Hood legend in the 11th century as William II allows the Normans to violate the peace and encroach into Wales.  Like most Lawhead projects, his command of the English language is almost poetic and this is the first book of a proposed trilogy.  His focus on historical detail in setting up “hero” legends gives his books an air of authority unlike any other storyteller.  However, unlike his previous works, this story gets a little slow midway through the book and at times, the story arc detailing the invading Normans gets boring.  All in all, a great read. 

Title: Pendragon Cycle Series (#1-3) Boxed Set  ____
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Crossway Books
Copyright: 1989

Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This box set includes the first three of five novels making up the Arthurian legend Pendragon series.  For me, Lawhead should have stopped after the first three novels.  All three novels are remarkable and Lawhead’s poetic writing style is hypnotic.   His spin on this legend becomes definitive and every few years I pull out these books, cuddle up in front of the fireplace and follow the adventures of Taliesin (Book 1), Merlin (Book 2) and Arthur (Book 3).

Mary Lawson

Title: Other Side Of the Bridge  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Dial Press/Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Wow! After Crow Lake, her wonderful debut, I was hoping Mary Lawson could do it again...and she did. This is a mesmerizing book, set in Canada, although the themes and characters are universal, with a story beginning before World War Two and continuing into the 1960's. It is the story of staid, dependable Arthur Dunn and his irresponsible (perhaps evil) younger brother Jake; the hired hand, Ian, and the lovely, haunted Laura. This is a must-buy, must-read book!

Stewart Lee Allen

Title: The Devil's Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History  
Classification
: History
Publisher: Soho Press, Inc.
Copyright: October 1999
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Allen has taken it upon himself to travel the world in search of the perfect cup of coffee and along way has begun to examine the role coffee has had in history. He travels from Yemen, to Calcutta, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Paris, and finally, the good ol' USA. Whether his speculations on coffee's influence on history are truly fact or not remains to be determined, but he does present lots of facts and lore from his various visits that will leave you speculating. For anyone who is a coffee lover, I would recommend this book. It will make you want to truly seek that perfect cup and appreciate what coffee has to offer.

Dennis Lehane

Title: Coronado  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow/HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Since the publication of "Drink Before the War," there has been no doubt that Dennis Lehane is a terrific writer. However, like many novelists who try their hand at short stories, Lehane needs more pages than are available in short fiction to make that evident. Just when your curiosity has been piqued, the story is over, leaving you wanting him to finish what he's started. He pads this collection with the title piece: a play that didn't leave me with a desire to buy tickets. We've been waiting for years for more Lehane, but with this, we'll have to wait some more.

Title: Given Day  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A big, brawling, sprawling historical novel, set during the first part of the twentieth century as the country tries to find its way during the First World War. In his first novel since Shutter Island, Lehane weaves together the life of Luther Laurence, a black man running from his past, with those of Danny Coughlin, a Boston cop, and Babe Ruth, less hero and more human than you'd expect. This is a terrific book, one with both historical and contemporary importance. Don't miss it!

Dr. Kevin Lehman

Title: The Birth Order Book  
Classification
: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Copyright: 1998
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This is one of my favorite books. I have never read a book that helps you get to know the traits of people based on their birth order. I love this book so much that it is has become my standard baby shower gift because it is so insightful. It amazes me how every time I pick up the book, I'll learn something new because there is so much to absorb that you don't get all of it the first couple time around. The way the chapters are separated makes the book a quick read because you don't necessarily have to read the whole thing. You can skip around to the chapters that apply to your own family.

Laura Leist

Title: Eliminate Chaos  
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: Sasquatch Books
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The book's subtitle is: "The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life." Perfectly decent but unexceptional book on organizing. The author walks you through organizing different areas of your home, using some photos of rooms in people's homes she worked on as a professional organizer. This book is adequate and will work fine if you're just looking for the basics, but if you devour "domestic goddess" books by the handful, don't expect to learn much of anything new. Plus this book does not delve much into the psychology of clutter. I found it really very plain vanilla. Fine, but far from fantastic.

Erika Lenkert

Title: Frommer's SAN FRANCISCO 2006  
Classification
: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Frommer's
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Frommer's is always a safe bet for travel guides. It offers photographs, and maps for each neighborhood mentioned, and one big tear out map of the city in the back of the book. The restaurants and hotels mentioned are always rated and so far I have never been let down. Chapters are split up by hotels, restaurants, shopping, and fun things to do; under each neighborhood. There are tons of website and contact information. The best feature for this book is the maps that offer the cable car, muni, and bart schedules; for those of you who are planning to walk and rely on public transporation. Frommer's always has so much info and always offers gay travel inforamtion.

Harriet G. Lerner, Ph.D.

Title: The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships
Classification: Self-help  
Publisher: Harper & Row Publishers
Copyright: 1986
Reviewert: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Ok, so I am not someone who has a lot of respect for self-help books. I think, most of the time, self-help books perpetuate “emotional/medical disease-of-the week” discussions rather than anything helpful. That said, I have recommended this book from the author who dances with lots of emotions (The Dance of Anger, The Dance of Intimacy, The Dance of Connection, The Dance of Deception & The Mother Dance) to friends who are finding it difficult to deal with the dichotomy of an angry woman.

John Lescroart

Title: The First Law  
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Thriller. Tight and suspenseful action. I thought it a good read from another favorite author.

Title: The Hunt Club 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Dutton
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: When the body of a federal judge is found shot to death alongside his equally dead mistress, homicide inspector Devin Juhle assumes it's a simple case of wifely jealousy. Investigation, however, reveals that the judge had many powerful enemies. Meanwhile, Juhle's best friend, private investigator Wyatt Hunt has become enamored with Andrea Parisi, a beautiful lawyer, who is a commentator on Trial TV, and who has ambitions of making the big time in New York. But hunt soon discovers that Andrea also had a connection with the murdered judge and, furthermore, that Juhle considers her the prime suspect. Then Andrea disappears which Juhle feels strengthens his case. Hunt fears she has been kidnapped or even become another victim. As the investigation continues, Juhle is adamant that everything be done by the book and fears Hunt may get in the way and jeopardize his case. Hunt just wants to find Andrea alive. He gathers a loose group of friends and associates -the hunt club- who don't mind bending the rules to achieve their goals. Intricate plotting and superb characterization make this an excellent read.

Billie Letts

Title: Made in the U.S.A.  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Lutie McFee and her brother Fate are living with their father's former girlfriend, Floy, when Floy drops dead at the local Walmart. Afraid of being taken to foster homes they steal Floy's car and head to Las Vegas to look for their father, convinced he's living the good life and that he will be thrilled to see them, despite the fact that he abandoned them. Once in Vegas, really ugly things happen to them BUT, conveniently, they are rescued by a disabled circus star. How coincidental that Lutie is a gymnast and that their rescuer takes them to the winter quarters of the circus where she discovers the high wire. Happy, happy, right? Unfortunately, no...just contrived and trite. What a shame that Letts, who made such a promising start with Where the Heart Is and Honk and Holler Opening Soon, has lost her touch with Shoot the Moon and this one.

Paul Levine

Title: Solomon Vs Lord  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A fun lawyer read with enjoyable romantic sparring between the main characters.

John Levitt

Title: Dog Days  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: ACE Fantasy
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: When Mason walked away from his responsibilities as a magic enforcer for the San Francisco area to play his guitar full-time, both he and his magical dog, Louie never expected to be drawn back into the world they left. But someone is tampering with the magical practitioners and their pets, and Mason finds himself in the thick of it. It takes a minute to adapt to the urban fantasy world Levitt creates, but once you are in, you are hooked. Charming characters, elaborate details, and fast moving action make this new urban fantasy entry a must read.

Pam Lewis

Title: Perfect Family  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this, her second novel, Lewis fulfills the promise she showed in Speak Softly, She Can Hear. The Carterets have always seemed, to outsiders, to be perfect. A successful father, a lovely mother and four talented children. Even Pony's pregnancy by a man she refuses to name fails to tarnish the perfect facade. But when Pony dies after a mysterious phone call to her brother the facade begins to crumble, revealing hidden truths and secrets that threaten all their lives. An excellent, tightly written book...I highly recommend it!

Title: Speak Softly, She Can Hear  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Awkward Carole Mason and her best friend, the sharp-edged, erratic Naomi have made a pact: they will not go to college as virgins. And after the horrifying night that Carole succeeds in her promise, a night in which she loses not only her virginity, but also her innocence and trust, she flees. There is no escaping the past, however, and after ten years of hiding she has to confront her worst nightmare again. A very good psychological thriller!

Henry Lincoln

Title: The Holy Place  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: Arcade/Time Warner
Copyright: 1991
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Subtitled Sauniere and the Decoding of the Mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau, I had thought this might be another book exploring one of the topics found in The Da Vinci Code. It is not and instead concerns natural and man-made phenomena of the area. Filed with charts and graphs which become tiresome after a while, it nevertheless is interesting in its own way.

Jeff Lindsay

Title: Dexter In The Dark  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Wacky forensic guy/serial killer Dexter is back ; this time cut adrift from his "Dark Passenger," that little internal voice that tells him who to kill, and who has killed. Caught up in wedding plans, Dexter is also faced with a series of murders and with a sense that there is a force darker than he that he must face, all while mentoring his soon to be stepson who shows signs of possessing his own "Dark Passenger."  A fun, ironic read.

Title: Dexter by Design  
Classification: Mystery 
Publisher: Doubleday
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The fourth in this darkly funny series has Dexter, forensic expert during the day, serial killer by night (but he only kills really bad guys), returning from his Parisian honeymoon to confront a brutally imaginative murderer who views death as performance art. When Dexter goes after the killer he finds his family and himself the next target and, despite the advice of his "Dark Passenger," it looks as though the bad guys might win. As always, an entertaining read from Lindsay.
.

 

Johanna Lindsey

Title: Captive of My Desires  
Classification
: Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Copyright: June 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
As the latest "Mallory" book, this novel has quite a few of the characters from past books. The focus, however, is on Drew Anderson - Georgina's brother. Gabrielle Brooks meets Drew when she is sent back to England by her father (a pirate) to have a proper season and arrange a marriage. He sends her to James Mallory and the conflict between Drew and Gabrielle starts from there.

 

Sophie Littlefield

Title: Bad Day for Sorry  
Classification
:
Mystery
Publisher:
Minotaur
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer
: Nancy
Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:
Stella Hardesty is overweight, menopausal, and runs a sewing machine shop.  So why are grown men terrified of her?  It probably has something to do with the fact that she killed her abusive husband with a wrench and, in her spare time, is fully prepared to do just that to any other man who beats up on women.  Roy Dean Shaw is proving to be a tough case, though, and when Stella discovers that he’s not only not learned his first lesson but has also gotten himself in a whole other world of trouble, she escalates her effort to reform him--or else.

 Littlefield, a fresh, fun new voice in mystery makes her debut here in what I’m hoping will be a series. I’d like to see a lot more of her, but until then, don’t miss this!  A must-read. 

 

O. Z. Livaneli, Cigdem Aksoy Fromm

Title: Bliss  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"Bliss", set in Turkey, is a story of three lives shattered by the constraints of traditional and modern society. Their paths unexpectedly cross on a journey of hope and second chances. Particularly interesting is the attention drawn to human rights violations against women in the Middle East.

Morgan Llywelyn

Title: 1916  
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Historical Fiction. First in a series of books about 20 century struggles for Irish independence. Concerns that lead up to the Easter Rising and the aftermath of its failure. Subsequent books (1921 and 1949) continue the struggle as well as the lives of the main characters. Very good read, even if you aren't Irish.

Mary Logue

Title: Poison Heart: A Novel of Suspense  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this mystery Deputy Sheriff Claire Watkins delves into a history of lies, deceit, arson and poison in a small Wisconsin farm community. A collection of varied individuals and family settings contribute to an enjoyable read.

John Lombardo

Title: A Fire to Win  
Classification: Biography
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Unquestionably complicated and controversial, Woody Hayes' stunningly successful coaching career made him a legend. Five national titles, two national coach of the year titles, eight rose bowl appearances, thirteen Big Ten championships, and a lifetime record of 238-72-10 leave no doubt of his talent. This biography takes an honest and sensitive look at his entire life, how he became the man that he was and why he is so revered even today. This should be a must read, even if you aren't a Buckeye Fan.

Julia London

Title: Extreme Bachelor  
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Copyright: May 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the second Thrillseekers Anonymous book ... Michael Raney is working as a stunt coordinator in a feature film and one of the actresses with a minor role turns out to be the woman he could never forget. But Michael broke Leah's heart and his reputation as the Extreme Bachelor doesn't make it easy for him to rebuild their relationship. This book has some humor, some adventure and some romance.

Jennifer Louden

Title: Women's Comfort Book: A Shelf Nurturing Guide for Restoring Balance in Your Life  
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 1978
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A women's self-help bible. The Comfort Book is full of ideas to unwind, relax, heal and to add comfort to your life.

Lisa Lutz

Title: The Spellman Files  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Meet 28 year old "Izzy" Spellman, private investigator and member of the quirky Spellman family investigators. Deciding that she needs a change, Izzy takes on one last job, a 15 year old missing persons"cold" case. As good as she is at her job, her personal life is littered with ex-boyfriends and personal problems. This loony Spellman family is endearing and will no doubt appear in future novels.

 
M
 

Katie MacAlister

Title: Even Vampires Get the Blues 
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Copyright: May 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Another story about a Dark One (vampire without a soul) and his Beloved (the only woman who can redeem his soul). Paen Scott doesn't believe in the "Beloved" concept so he rejects the fact that half-elf Samantha Cosse is his when he hires her to help find the Jilin God relic to repay a family debt. Sam has troubles keeping their relationship on a professional level - she's convinced she is Paen's "Beloved". She works to find the statue and give him back his soul. This romantic tale has amusing characters and lighter moments to go along with the sensual relationship between Sam and Paen.

Roger MacBride Allen

Title: Cause of Death (BSI: Starside #1) 
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: Bantam/Random House
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Hard to follow. Too convoluted for my taste. A lot of political infighting, which really does not interest me. An okay one-time read.

Debbie Macomber

Title: Twenty Wishes  
Classification
: Romance
Publisher: Mira Books
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"Twenty Wishes" is the story of four friends, recently widowed, who decide to make lists of the 20 things they have always dreamed of but never done. The main character, Anne Marie, acts on one of her wishes (doing good for someone else) by volunteering at the local school as a lunch buddy for 8 yr old Ellen. The relationship becomes far more important than she ever dreamed. Finding love features importantly for all 4 women. Macomber's characters move through their relationships with unrealistic speed but "Twenty Wishes" is an easy pleasant read.

George MacDonald

Title: The Princess and the Goblin  
Classification
: Children's
Publisher: Random House, Inc.
Copyright:
1911
Reviewer: Mariah

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:
A gentle fantasy by a Christian author featuring a brave princess, her great grandmother, a miner boy, and some ill-intentioned goblins (are there any other kind?). One of my absolute favorite reads. The sequel, also excellent, is "The Princess and Curdie."

Karen Mack

Title: Version of the Truth  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Dell
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Cassie Shaw is a 30 year old widow, dyslexic, who barely finished high school. Desperate for a job, she fabricates a college degree and is hired in the office of the psychology department of the local university. Using her new identity Cassie works diligently to transform herself while becoming involved with her new co-workers and her boss. Both humorous and winsome, "Version or the Truth" is an enjoyable read.

Debbie Macomber

Title: 50 Harbor Street  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Gale Group
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
As in all her novels, Macomber tackles the daily challenges of ordinary women - difficult relationships, health problems, impulsive children. There is a touch of mystery in this one but all ends well. Predictable as usual.

Madonna

Title: English Roses  
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Juvenile picture book. In this story I find that Madonna has nothing meaningful to impart to children. What a surprise! Your time and money are better spent elsewhere.

Gregory Maguire

Title: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister  
Reviewer
: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Very loose retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale. The author wrote "Wicked", which becomes a hit Broadway musical, but this stand-alone novel did absolutely nothing for me. The premise sounded good but the story itself was a big disappointment. I kept hoping it would get better, but I didn't enjoy it at all. Phooey!

Bill Maher

Title: New Rules:  Polite Musings from a Timid Observer  ____
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A hysterically funny and politically poignant collection of “New Rules” from the HBO show Real Time host, comedian Bill Maher.  The show is one of the best on television today, mixing humor and political debate as a panel of celebrities and political personalities discuss the week’s current events.  The most popular segment of the show is Bill’s “New Rules,” where his intelligence and wit combine to make any headline or topic of concern the subject of his rant.  New Rules will make you laugh out loud and view what is happening in our world today in a different light.

Naguib Mahfouz

Title: The Harafish  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group
Copyright: September 1997
Reviewer:
Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This story follows the generations of the al-Nagi family. The story is set in a village in Egypt where each generation of the family makes their own way through the pages of history. Some of the family are noble characters who stand up for the poor while others use the power they make for themselves to influence the rich. There are twists and turns to each person's story. This novel was full of memorable characters.

Susan Mallery

Title: Delicious  
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Harlequin (HQN)
Copyright: April 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Penny Jackson gets the best kind of vindication when her ex-husband, Cal Buchanan, must hire her as chef to help save his family's restaurant. As they work together, she discovers the true reasons he let her leave. Unresolved feelings lead to a second chance at romance. The author has always been adept at showing both sides of complex relationships and breathing life into characters who remain compelling even though they have all too realistic flaws.

Title: The Marcelli Bride  
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Pocket (Star) Books
Copyright: May 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: If you are familiar with the author's Marcelli family series, this is the story of the brother Joe. If not, don't worry ... this book stands on its own. In it Joe must protect the president's daughter, Darcy, while she is hidden at the Marcelli Winery. The author takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions as she presents the complex relationships between this couple and their families.

Merrill Markoe

Title: Walking In Circles Before Lying Down  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Villard Books
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Let me begin by saying that I love dogs. I especially love MY dog, who is just about perfect. Okay, she's completely perfect. And I talk to her. But she doesn't talk back. Markoe's heroine, Dawn, talks to dogs who talk back and whose conversation varies from "Just pick up the ball and throw it" to "My memory is burdened by chaos and cacophony." (Huh)? What is the matter with this woman that she can't just love dogs as they are, without pretending they're furry humans? My advice is, if you like dogs, talk to one yourself and pass on this book.

Doug Marlette

Title: Magic Time  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this tedious, way-too-long book, Marlette examines the angst of newspaper reporter Carter Ransom whose teen love Sarah was killed in a civil-rights church bombing twenty-five years ago. The opening alone (a terrorist bombing in New York) is jarring in its insignificance, and is overshadowed by Ransom's return to his Southern roots for the trial of the Ku Klux Clan member suspected of ordering the murder of his girlfriend and three other civil-rights workers. This plot has been done so well before (Greg Iles' Quiet Game), that Magic Time pales in comparison. Definitely not worth the time it takes to slog through.

Michael Marshall

Title: Intruders  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Marshall is back with another creepy thriller in the tradition of his first two: Straw Men and Upright Man. Jack Whalen has stopped being a cop and become a writer, enjoying life with his wife and trying to decide if he has another book in him, when he gets a call from a high school classmate ...someone with whom he was never close, someone he has hardly thought of in years. It's a surprise, then, when Gary Fisher asks him to look into the disappearance of a scientist and the murder of the researcher's family. Giving only vague details, Fisher leaves Jack with a nagging interest in the case; an interest that becomes an obsession as he realizes his wife is involved and that intruders can enter your life in more ways than one.

Title: The Straw Men  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Jove (paperback)
Copyright: July 2002
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Talk about suspense. What does a killing spree at a McDonalds, the death of a man's parents, and the kidnapping of a teenage girl have in common? Not much, you might think, but think again. Who are the Straw Men? You'll just have to read to find out. This book had me turning page after page right until the end.

Yann Martel

Title: Life of Pi (Review #1)  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Hancourt
Copyright: June 2002
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This was an interesting story of a man's survival on the open sea with only a tiger as his companion. The ending was unsatisfactory, however.

Title: Life of Pi (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Harcourt
Copyright: 2002
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This extraordinary novel is the unlikely story of a 16 year old boy adrift in the Pacific on a life boat for 227 days with a Bengal tiger. Not only must he survive the elements and starvation but he must dominate the tiger as well. The "Life of Pi" is really an imaginative story of struggle, religious belief and the nature of truth itself.

Charles Martin

Title: Where the River Ends  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Broadway Books
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Loving soul mates for 14 years, Abbie and Dos take one final journey after every treatment fails to halt the spread of Abbie's cancer. The 130 mile canoe trip from Georgia through Florida is fraught with danger as well as with caring individuals. Written with alternate chapters about their earlier years, the plot, though somewhat stereotypical, presents strong characters and a couple totally committed to one another to the end.

Lee Martin

Title: The Bright Forever  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This book kinda reminds me of The Lovely Bones but without the narration of the dead child. Katie Mackey, a nine-year old girl disappears while returning library books on her bike. The anguish of the family and towns people as they try to search for Katie and get the answers they seek on what happened. They question whether one of their own be responsible for the disappearance. The book is heart warming and looks at the situation through the perspectives of different people.

Bobbie Mason

Title: Atomic Romance  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this novel, her first in over a decade, we meet the main character who is dealing with radioactive contamination, and ailing mother and a girlfriend who won't commit to a serious relationship. The underlying story of an aging atomic plant and its effect on the surrounding community is timely and thought provoking.

Daniel Mason

Title: Piano Tuner  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Vintage/Random House
Copyright: 2002
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Even moments of lyric prose can't save the mind-numbing boredom of this book, about a piano tuner who is chosen to travel from London to Burma to repair the piano belonging to an arrogant officer in the British army of 1886. It felt as if it took as long to read this as it did for the main character to make the singularly uninteresting trip, and by the end I felt nothing but relief. This one deserves an entirely new category: "For Insomniacs".

Cathy Maxwell

Title: In the Bed of a Duke  
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Avon
Copyright: May 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this historical romance, Charlotte Cameron is socially ruined by Phillip Maddox, the Duke of Colster after she encourages her sister not to marry him. Both of them must work through these differences when they face some dangerous circumstances after being forced to travel together into Scotland. Charlotte was a strong heroine and the book does well when she is pitted against Phillip. Less interesting was intrigue surrounding Phillip's twin and Lord McKenna.

Frances Mayes

Title: Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life
Classification:  T
ravel writing / memoir
Publisher:
Broadway Books
Copyright:
2010
Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

Francis Mayes ("Under the Tuscan Sun") continues to delight us with this new memoir, "Every Day in Tuscany". Written in seasonal experiences she tells of the joys and difficulties she and her husband experience living in Bramasole and in their "new" second home, a centuries old falling-down cottage on a rugged slope. Much travel description follows as she searches for works by her favorite Italian  Renaissance artist. Recipes are included at the end of each section. Mayes, also a poet, reveals that skill in the evocative, almost sensual way, she presents this travel narrative. You can see, feel and almost taste the back roads and small towns in Tuscany.

Peter Mayle

Title: Vintage Caper 
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

Peter Mayle's (A Year in Province) latest novel takes wine expert Sam Levitt to France to investigate the theft in L.A. of a very valuable wine collection. Interspersed with much wine information and decadent french cuisine the crime is, of course, eventually solved. Think fun and "To Catch a Thief".

Title: A Year in Provence  
Classification
: Biography
Publisher: Knopf
Copyright: 1991
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
After 15 successful years in advertising Peter Mayle and his wife decide to escape that lifestyle by moving to Provence France and renovate a 200 year old farmhouse. What follows is a funny warm-hearted account of quirky characters and many mishaps. This has been one of my favorites for years.

James McBride

Title: Song Yet Sung  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
James McBride, author of "The Color of Water", tackles the issues of slavery in the 1850s on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Escaped slave Liz Sopcott's and retired slave catcher Denwood Long's paths cross as she tries to reach safety by following the "code" of the Underground Railroad. Social commentary on contemporary America is presented through Liz's dreams. Dealing with the Chesapeake Bay area gives a different perspective of slavery from the usual southern plantation story.

Alexander McCall Smith

Title:  44 Scotland Street
Classification:
Fiction
Author:
 Alexander McCall Smith
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Copyright
2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

Originally published by The Scotsman in serial form, this charming, old-fashioned novel focuses on the separate but inter-woven lives of tenants in an apartment building in Edinburgh.  Pat, the student working in a small gallery while taking her second “gap year” from college;  hunky, shallow Bruce, the Adonis who may be the first person to ever wear out a mirror; and Irene, the prototypical pushy mother and her gifted, angry son Bertie are all richly described here as they deal with their efforts to find recognition, acceptance and value.

An absolutely delightful book!

Title: Blue Shoes and Happiness  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: Pantheon Books/Random House Inc.
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This 7th entry in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series is a delight from start to finish. As always, it is less a mystery than a peek into Precious Ramotswe's life in Botswana. Simple, charming, refreshing.

Title: The Good Husband of Zebra Drive  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: Knopf
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's leading, and only female detective, continues to solve mysteries in her quiet thoughtful way. This 8th book in "The No 1 Ladies Detective" series also features her husband and office manager, both of whom try their hand at new ventures. McCall Smith's mysteries, although not fast paced or dramatic, are sprinkled with compassionate wisdom.

Title: The Kalahari Typing School for Men  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Copyright: April 2003
Reviewer:
Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Book four in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Precious is still waiting for a wedding date from Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and solving mysteries meanwhile. Mma Makusti has decided to start her own business venture teaching men how to type. Will this lead to romance for Mma Makusti? This light story ties in with the flavor of the other books in the series. A nice light read.

Title: Morality for Beautiful Girls  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Copyright: September 2001
Reviewer:
Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The third novel in the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series finds Precious Ramotswe in a bit of a bind. Her fiance Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has given up any desire to work and maybe suffering from what the doctors in Botswana call depression. Mma Makutsi is now in charge of the car garage while Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni gets better as well as having a case of her own regarding beauty pageant contestants. Precious on the other hand uses her common sense to solve other mysteries that are brought to her such as a wilderness boy and another case of a jealous wife. Again, another good, light read in this series.

Title: The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 1998
Reviewer:
Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Precious Ramotswe has decided to become the fist lady detective in Gaborone, Africa. She has no formal training in being a private detective, but uses her intuition and observation to creatively help people solve their problems from cheating husbands to missing children and curious doctors. I really enjoyed this first novel in the series and look forward to reading more from McCall Smith.

Title: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is a gentle and enjoyable series, really more fiction than mystery. A woman, Precious Ramotswe, sets up her own detective agency in Botswana. This series is a lot about her life, her relationships with people and her relationship with the land. It’s very interesting to hear the different perspective from another country, and hard to believe the author is a man.

Title: The Sunday Philosophy Club
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Various
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Amateur sleuth Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher, Editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, and host of The Sunday Philosophers' Club at her house in Edinburgh. Not nearly as good as The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

Title: Tears of the Giraffe  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Knpof Publishing Group
Copyright: September 2002
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This was a nice second novel in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series. Here, Precious Ramotswe has been asked by a mother to find out where her son disappeared to over ten years ago. There is also a suspicious husband, a scheming maid (my favorite part), and a persuasive owner of the Orphan Farm. While there is always time for tea, Precious has enough business to keep her going throughout the day.

Robert McCammon

Title: Boy's Life  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A wonderful coming-of-age story of a twelve-year old boy growing up in Zephyr, Alabama, in the early sixties. Similar in feel to "To Kill a Mockingbird" this is a departure from McCammon's horror books, and a genre he should have pursued because this one is fabulous! Not to be missed!

Erin McCarthy

Title: Heiress For Hire  
Classification: Romance
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Copyright: January 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A funny, fast read. A rich woman learns there is more to life than money when she is disinherited.

Joni McCoy

Title: Misery Moms: Living on One Income in a Two Income Economy  
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: Bethany House
Copyright: 1994, revised 2001
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Even those of us who aren't parents can appreciate the thrifty advice in this book. For more recipes, see her cookbook, "Misery Meals: Healthy, Tasty Recipes Under 75 Cents per Serving", published 2002.

Sharyn McCrumb

Title: Hangman's Beautiful Daughter  
Classification: Mystery
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Set in the mountains of Tennessee, this book weaves a haunting Appalachian story of murder, suicide, history, and prescience. Much more than a murder mystery; it's a moody, moving story of the deep rural south.

David McCullough

Title: 1776 (Review #1)  
Classification: History
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The account of events surrounding the writing of the U.S. Constitution and the colonial break from England is well written and easily understood. There are lots of footnotes and references at the end for the true history buff.

Title: 1776 (Review #2)
Classification: History
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copyright: May 2005
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Another book on our founding fathers by a master in the genre. It's amazing that we evenutally won the war with all of the disasters suffered during that first year. I knew it had been difficult but had no idea just how bad it really was. I think you'll be surprised.

Title: John Adams  
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Another great McCullough book. This one about an opinionated, obnoxious, socially inept man who also was one of the greatest and brightest patriots of the revolution.

Kelly McCullough

Title: WebMage  
Classification
: Science Fiction
Publisher: Ace Books/Berkley/Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright: August 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This science fantasy story features a really interesting magic system which uses computer programs to cast spells. Ravirn is a computer hacker, which also means he can do magic. He is asked by one of the Fates to fix a spell (i.e. a program) she created. He refuses because he finds out the spell would take away all free will. Now he has to deactivate the spell before anyone else fixes it, and he has to survive the Fates being mad at him. Fast-paced. Novel and interesting interaction with mythical characters.

Alice McDermott

Title: Child of my Heart  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Picador
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The beautiful and precocious daughter of older parents, 15 year old Theresa is highly sought after as a summer babysitter in their oceanside community. Included among her charges is her 8 year old cousin who Theresa discovers is seriously ill. Theresa creates a magical summer for her cousin while coping with several other children from problem families. The premonition of despair makes a strong counterpoint to this sweet and touching story.

 

Chaz McGee

Title:  Desolate Angel
Classification:
Mystery
Publisher:
Berkley Prime Crime
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:

Kevin Fahey was a terrible husband, a terrible father and a terrible cop, but now that he’s dead he is determined to fix the mistakes he made when he was alive. It isn’t his former partner, the drunk and unreliable Danny whom he chooses to help correct the disasters he left, but a new cop…the gritty and talented Maggie Gunn. When Fahey realizes that it was his indifference to the truth that left an innocent man imprisoned and another victim dead, he decides to join forces with Maggie as they pursue the killer and, with any luck at all, stop him before he gets to Maggie.
An interesting beginning to this new series by Katy Munger, writing as Chaz McGee.

 

Mary McGarry Morris

Title: Last Secret  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Twenty-six years ago Nora Hammond ran away with her sociopathic boyfriend in an act of teenage rebellion. Now wealthy and married, mother of two, Nora has crafted a life for herself that certainly doesn't include doping, drinking and what might have been murder. What she hasn't counted on is the return of Eddie, the homicidal boyfriend who seems bent on ruining her life. As Nora's fear escalates she discovers that she isn't the only one with terrible secrets that threaten her carefully constructed life. Although a little long on the angst-filled, helpless female angle this is a pretty good read.

Dr. Phil McGraw

Title: The Ultimate Weight Solution  
Classification
: Self Help
Publisher: Pocket Books
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: It's that time of year again when people are thinking about their New Year's resolution. Weight loss seems to be one of the most popular resolutions with the people I know. As a professional dieter, I do read weight loss books. I finally came across one worth mentioning. Dr. Phil's book focuses on the Seven Keys to what he calls 'Weight Loss Freedom'. The keys are practical and insightful. My only complaint about this book is the condescending tone he writes it in. It is a tad too direct but if you can get past that, the information contained in the book is quite valuable.

Ami McKay

Title: The Birth House  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The "Birth House" is a story of Dora Rare, a young woman in Nova Scotia during WW1, who apprentices and then becomes the local midwife. However, the interesting details of women's health matters and women's rights create a deeper sensitive story line.

Jennifer McMahon

Title: Island Of Lost Girls  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
It happens so quickly: Rhonda Farr stops for gas and, in an instant, sees what might be a hallucination. There's hardly any other explanation for a white rabbit kidnapping a little girl from a parked car. If it weren't for the fact that this is not the first girl to go missing, and for the fact that at least one of them is dead, Rhonda could almost pretend it didn't happen. And, of course, her childhood memory of her own white rabbit. A pretty good read, with only a few needless detours.

Gil McNeil

Title: Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Voice
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Recently widowed and almost divorced Jo Mackenzie moves with her 2 little boys from London to the seaside where she takes over her Gran's knitting shop. Charming, witty, uplifting and miles ahead of the "community of women" books so in vogue at the moment. I loved it!

Jon Meacham

Title: American Gospel  
Classification: History
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments: This is a remarkable and important book, but one which is hard to describe. According to the author, "The point of the book is to explore the role faith has played in the Republic" and "The founding Fathers understood the dangers of mixing religious passions with the ambitions of politics." No, this is not a treatise for or against a particular interpretation of the First Amendment's separation of Church and state. Rather, it travels from the first colonies to the present day revealing through the words and actions of leaders both religious and political, the essential ideas of what it means to be an American. Benjamin Franklin wrote of public versus private religion, private being that of the individual, the home and the church (or other place of worship). Public religion referred to the innate sense justice, fairness and respect for all human beings. In other words, our public and private faith. These ideas were included in both the Declaration and the Constitution because the Founders believed fervently in the ability of men to govern themselves rather than by others. This was a new concept and one which required that men have the freedoms given to them by providence, regardless of their individual interpretation of that term. The Founders believed that freedom of thought and deed would promote reason and therefore to appropriate choices and decisions in both public government and in private life. Thus our deeply held belief in human rights. The danger of political corruption due to fanaticism of one sort or another was expected to be held in check by the common sense of the more reasonable and larger majority. Through the ages this has proven to be true. Mistakes and omissions can be changed when people have the rights to think, express and act freely. This is a must read book. Its power from extensive research and clearly written examples of the faith of the people of this country and what makes Americans so different from other countries--and we are.

Title: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House  
Classification
: History
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Meachum's "American Lion" is a biographical portrait of 7th president Andrew Jackson. Much of the book covers his presidency but we learn about his formative years and personal relationships as well. With a strong faith and responsibility towards family, friends and country, Jackson changed not only the presidency but the direction of American politics.

Richelle Mead

Title: Succubus Blues  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
The first in a proposed series featuring Georgina Kincaid, a fashion-obsessed Succubus living in Seattle and working for a middle-management demon who is enthralled with John Cusack.  At least her day job working at a local bookstore gives her something to look forward to each day - free books and all the chocolate mochas she can drink.

Diane Meier

Title: The Season of Second Chances
Classification:
Fiction 
Publisher: Henry Holt
Copyright:
2010
Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments:

"The Season of Second Chances" is about just that- the chance to finally experience personal and professional growth. 48 yr. old Joy Harkness  leaves Cambridge University and New York City where she had chosen to live isolated and distant. Impulsively moving to Amherst College in Massachusetts she finally comes alive to allow herself friends, feelings, love and a more meaningful future.

Maile Meloy

Title: Family Daughter  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Scribner/Simon & Schuster
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
After Abby sleeps with her uncle she tries to manufacture a way he might be her first cousin instead. Oh, please...like that would make a difference? Another book full of rationalizations for unacceptable and smarmy behavior, and peopled by a family too boring to be called dysfunctional. Yuck.

Gavin Menzies

Title: 1421  
Classification: History
Publisher: William Morrow
Copyright: January 2003
Copyright: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Rewrite the history books! According to this author, fleets from China sailed and charted the entire globe decades before Columbus, De Gama, Magellan and all the rest. Very convincingly written. See what you think.

D. R. Meredith

Title: Tome of Death  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This paperback mystery format was interesting with dual plots, contemporary forensics and 19th century Native American history.

Joyce Meyer

Title: "Me and My Big Mouth!" Your Answer is Right Under Your Nose  
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is an excellent Christian book about the importance of our words from a spiritual perspective. Filled with practical advice. Worth re-reading on a regular basis.

Title: "Tell Them I Love Them": A Message Bringing Revelation of God's Love For You  
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This Christian booklet expounds on the personal love of God for every person, including you. A simple and profound message about the basis for spiritual growth: a personal, ever deepening understanding of God's love.

Stephanie Meyer

Title: Breaking Dawn  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: The final book in the Twilight saga series brings us some more drama for Bella and Edward. Let's say more than they ever bargained for... Bella's friendship with Jacob is put to the test as her decision on whether she is going to become a 'true' Cullen comes to the forefront. Bella faces a lot of hard decision as this story of Bella and Edward draws to a close. I have to say that Meyer does leave the door open at the end and it wouldn't surprise me if another book comes out in the future.

Title: Eclipse  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Edward and Bella are back together in this third book in the series. Their relationship is back on track but the threat of newbie vampires may bring their peacefulness to an end. To complicate matters more, Jacob and Edward are competing for Bella's attention.

Title: New Moon  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: The second book in the Twilight saga series picks up after the first book left off. Bella's love for Edward reaches down to her very soul and when he leaves to protect her from danger, Bella spirals down into a depression. She withdrawls from everyone around her. Her friend Jacob helps her begin to heal and pick herself up again and as soon as she does, an emergency involving Edward spurns Bella into action and another country to save him.

Title: Twilight  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Bella Swan's new life starts out like any other ordinary teenager living in a small town like Forks. But ordinary is not in Bella's vocabulary. She seems to attract more than she bargained for when she meets and falls in love with Edward who she finds out is a vampire. Most girls would go running and screaming away, but not Bella. She falls deeper and deeper and finds herself in numerous situations where she is over her head. A very delightful read in the first of the Twilight Saga series!

Randy Susan Meyers

Title:  Murderer’s Daughters
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
St. Martin’s Press
Copyright: 2009
Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating
:

Reviewer Comments:

Sisters Lulu and Merry,  shattered by the murder of their mother and the near-killing of Merry, spend years being shuffled from one place to another, never belonging, always the daughters of the man who killed his wife. Lulu builds a wall of denial, refusing to visit or talk about her father while Merry begs to see him, hoping to discover why her father tried to kill her.

As the years pass and the day of their father’s release from prison looms, the fear that has driven both their lives threatens to destroy them both. 

An impressive debut…don’t miss it!

 

Donald Miller

Title: Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christianity  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Copyright: June 2003
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This was the best book I have read in months. It was very encouraging to hear Miller's story of being honest with himself and others about doubts, feelings, and passion for who Jesus Christ is. He has a refreshing view and talks about the struggles he has had throughout life with himself, friends, and God.

Title: Searching for God Knows What  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher: Nelson Books
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: I loved Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. In this book, he continues to examine faith without the trappings of organized religion by writing essays as if he is keeping a journal. He is an amazing writer; vulnerable and honest in presenting his thoughts on spiritual living.

Title: Shadows in the Starlight  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: TOR
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Book two in the Changeling Detective series. Picking up where the last book ended, Gwen Gellman, P.I. and ex-vice cop, is investigating another missing person case which is entwined with her past case and her Fae heritage. It’s getting harder for her to see who her friends are, and just as difficult for her to come to terms with her emerging changeling “Qualities” and the human values she was raised by. The book ends setting up the storyline for the next Changeling Detective installment.

John Miller

Title: Too Far Gone  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Dell
Copyright: 2006

Reviewer: Carol
 
Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments: Louisiana, as Hurricane Katrina approaches, is the setting in which FBI agent Alexa Keen must race through to solve the mystery of a missing man. Her search leads back to a 25 year old murder. Keen is somewhat the typical tough single female cop, but the secondary characters lead to occasional surprises and an interesting end.

Sue Miller

Title: The Senator's Wife (Review #1)  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A Knopf
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This voyeuristic, slightly smarmy novel is a look at two marriages, both of them unidimensional and tediously explored.  The Senator and his wife, long-married, have lived apart for years, his many infidelities making a life together impossible although his wife, Delia "loves" (read "lusts after") him still.  Meri and her husband Nathan are newlyweds who seem to have little connection beyond sex when they move into the house next to Delia.  Years pass, with Meri's unwanted pregnancy and the Senator's stroke the main focus until their final betrayal of their respective spouses. Miller allows a happy ending for one couple, while only hinting at the lonely and loveless end the other endures.  Pass.

Title: The Senator's Wife (Review #2)
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A Knopf
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Sue Miller's latest offering deals with loyalty and betrayal within marriages and friendships. Newly married Me ri and Nathan buy half a duplex owned by Senator Tom Naught on and his wife Delia. What bonds keep couples in love; what infidelities can be accepted? Four potentially interesting characters, not fully developed, within a story too slowly paced.

Tova Mirvas

Title: The Ladies Auxiliary  
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Life in a tightly knit Orthodox Jewish community in Memphis, Tennessee is disrupted when a recently widowed and newly converted young woman and her daughter move to town. A very interesting window into an almost cloistered setting.

Title: Outside World  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Set in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, this book is a warm and poignant look at family and community, at faith and relationships. Mirvis keeps getting better; her first book "Ladies Auxiliary," was an impressive debut and "Outside World" proves she is a talent to be watched!

L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

Title: Cadmian's Choice  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Copyright: April 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This book (#5 in the Corean Chronicles series) and the one preceding it are actually prequels to the rest of the series, but it still makes more sense to read them in the given order. This book tells of the continuing struggle between the Alectors, the Ancients and the humans who now inhabit the world of Corean. The Ancients are the original inhabitants. The Alectors have to feed on the life force of the planet and they brought the humans to this world to serve as cattle, i.e. food. The Ancients struggle to kick the Alectors off the world, the humans struggle to get their freedom, and the Alectors struggle to take over the planet because their previous planet is dying. I like this series very, very much. The characters are strong but not invincible; they make mistakes and they learn from them. Well-written.

Title: Scepters  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Copyright: July 2004
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Third book in the Corean Chronicles series, which began with "Legacies". The reluctant hero is back and being forced to take on even bigger challenges.

Sue Monk Kid

Title: Mermaid Chair  
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Oh, woe, this woman has a perfectly nice life, a perfectly nice (though rather bland) husband, but when her daughter goes off to college she is drawn home to her estranged mother where she just HAS TO have an affair with a monk from the monastery next door. Oh, please, yadda, yadda, yadda. What a dismal follow-up to "Secret Life of Bees."

Theresa Monsour

Title: Cold Blood  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In the style of Gerritsen and Lisa Gardner. I'm looking forward to reading more of her.

Title: Dark House  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: St. Paul homicide detective Paris Murphy is involved with murders that threaten her family and future in this intense suspense.

Elizabeth Moon

Title: Engaging the Enemy (Review #1)  
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine/Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Military science fiction. Strong characters, interesting interactions, and really interesting plot twists. An embattled survivor of a shipping clan must turn to privateering to combat the pirates who have destroyed her family. This is #3 in the Vatta's War series which began with "Trading in Danger".

Title: Engaging the Enemy (Review #2)
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine/Random House
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Venus
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is the latest adventure of Kylara Vatta. Picking up after the capture and executive of the family traitor who instigated the destruction of the Vatta family and much of its holdings, this novel chronicles the survivors efforts to protect what is left, reorganize their remaining forces and start the difficult task of hunting down the rest of the pirate fleet. The book ended too soon for me because now I'm back waiting for the next in the series to come out!

Christopher Moore

Title: Bloodsucking Fiends  
Classification: Vampires, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: Spike/Avon
Copyright: 1995
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: I don't know why this was published. The way the vampires played games made no sense to the story. The characters were weak and flat. I've got nothing good to say about this book.

Title: Dirty Job  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Christopher Moore ("Stupidest Angel," "Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove," "Lamb") is as whacked as ever in this rib-splitting novel about a man whose wife dies, leaving him with an infant daughter. Doesn't sound like a plot that would have you gasping in laughter, but in Moore's hands even Death Merchants are hilarious. Definitely a book to read right away...don't wait for paperback for this one!

Title: Fluke  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Marine biologist Nathan Quinn has made a career of studying whale songs and, after twenty-five years, has come to believe that their meaning will forever elude him. His career takes a surprising turn when, on an ordinary day, a whale dives displaying this on his tail: the words "Bite Me." This experience, followed by a request from the same whale for a pastrami sandwich, begins this journey into the weird world of Christopher Moore's novel of whales, humans, and a strange mix of both. As always from Moore, an odd, surreal book... thoroughly enjoyable.

Title: The Stupidest Angel  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Seven year old Josh thinks he saw Santa Clause killed and so prays for Santa's return. Enter Archangel Raziel, sent to earth, but who botches his mission and causes Christmas chaos. Moore's novels are definitely quirky and hilarious.

Title: You Suck  
Classification
: Vampire, Horror & Other Creatures of the Night
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: In this sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends, Moore continues his over-the-top style with writer wannabe Tommy who has been turned into a vampire by his undead girlfriend Jody. If you haven't read "Fiends," make sure you do before reading this one...the characters are too numerous, and have too much of a history, for this to stand alone. Still, for those of us who like Moore's irreverent humor, and who refuse to miss any of his off-the-wall books, it's worth a read.

Title: You Suck: A Love Story  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Once again Christopher Moore delivers a very funny mixture of characters.In this case- vampires, a mercenary hooker (dyed blue), a street person with a huge cat named Chet, druggie grocery store baggers and a goth teenager. If you like Moore's other books you'll like this one too!

Lorrie Moore

Title: A Gate at the Stairs  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher
: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Copyright
: 2009
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating
:

Reviewer Comments:

Shortly after 9/11 college student Tassie becomes nanny for an older couple who are adopting a bi-racial baby girl. Also enjoying her first love, with a Brazilian student, Tassie's suspicions mount that things are not quite right with the family or her romantic situation. Secondary characters float in and out including her own family who face tragedy. Slowly paced and melancholy but perceptive and beautifully written.

 

Moira J. Moore

Title: Resenting the Hero  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Ace Books/Berkley/Penguin
Copyright: March 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The cover is misleading; I'm happy to say that the woman never, ever has to shine the man's boots. Because of the cover picture, I expected this book to be silly camp with exaggerated characters and humor, but it's more just regular fantasy. I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish reading it. This is the first in what looks to be a future series. Character driven, not a lot of action, but very interesting. I very much enjoyed the portrayal of the villain and/or villainess (don't want to give anything away). This is mostly a story of a man and a woman who have to learn to work as a team although they are not much alike. The woman is a "Shield" who protects the man's life (who is a "Source") when he magically deflects natural disasters. I look forward to reading the sequel.

Toni Morrison

Title: A Mercy  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: This story takes place back in the 1680's where slavery is common practice. Toni Morrison, the author of Beloved, writes a poignant story from the perspective of the main characters. It flips back and forth between the past and present. The slaves are sadded about the death of Sir who has been a very kind master to them. He has died of the pox and now Mistress has it. They have no surviving children and the three slave girls are scared if she should succumb to the pox. They take matters into their own hands and work to save their Mistress. The story is heartfelt and talks about the bonds of friendship.

Laura Moriarty

Title: The Rest Of Her Life  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Hyperion
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this, her second novel, Moriarty looks at family dynamics when daughter Kara accidentally runs down and kills a schoolmate. It is in this context that Leigh, her mother, is forced to come to grips with her own past and to examine the mistakes she has made in an effort not to repeat the cycle of neglect and lovelessness with which she was raised. Cast with mostly unsympathetic characters, this book doesn't reach the potential of Center Of Everything but does raise some interesting questions about parenting and relationships.

Diane Mott Davidson

Title: Dark Tort 
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Wm. Morrow/Harper Collins
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Latest in the Goldy Schulz series. Goldy's catering business gets a boost when she is hired to provide special breakfasts and snacks at a prominent law firm. Arriving at 10:30 one evening to prep for the next day's breakfast, she stumbles (literally) over the dead body of her friend and neighbor, Dusty Proutt, who works for the firm s a paralegal. Although Goldy's husband, Investigator Tom Schulz, is on the case, Goldy can't help becoming involved, especially since she's promised the victim's mother that she would. A fairly intricate plot with well drawn characters and luscious recipes makes this a good read. But, after being well-paced, the book suddenly races to it's conclusion in a short period, leaving the reader somewhat disappointed in it's abruptness.

Robert Muchamore

Title: The Dealer  
Classification
: Teens
Publisher
: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Copyright: October 2005
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This second book in the Cherub series was only okay, but not as good as the first one. This series is designed especially for teenage boys who like action adventure. The main character, James Adams, is recruited into a secret agent organization that uses children as operatives. As an adult, this story was an alright read, but I wasn't thrilled with the mixed messages sent to teens in this story about drugs. James goes undercover as an illegal drug delivery person in a sting designed to catch a rather sympathetically portrayed drug lord.

Title: Maximum Security  
Classification
: Teens
Publisher
: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Copyright:
June 2006
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
#3 in the Cherub series. This time young teen James Adams goes undercover in a juvenile prison to engineer a prison break for the son of a most-wanted criminal, as bait for the big fish. His sister Lauren, also an agent, joins him for the first time on this mission. This story had a more exciting and intense plot than the 2nd one, but still I feel my enthusiasm for this series dimming. The violence and harshness encountered by the children as part of their missions bothers me because children shouldn't be expected to deal with adult complexities. The fact that "survival of the fittest and toughest" is presented as admirable and necessary is also disturbing to me. I just don't think these stories send the best messages to kids. However, this story might help to "scare straight" anybody on a cross course with the law: the depiction of the juvenile prison should make anyone reconsider ending up there. Okay one-time read overall, but definitely not a favorite.

 

Katy Munger

Title:  Bad Moon on the Rise
Classification:
Mystery
Author:
 Katy Munger
Publisher:
Thalia Books
Copyright: 2009

Reviewer:
Nancy

Book Rating
:

Reviewer Comments:

Although it’s been years since the last in the Casey Jones series, Munger must have spent the time honing her skills, because this is far and away the best so far.
When Casey is hired by Corndog Sally, local character and businesswoman, to find her grandson and his drug-addicted mother, Casey uncovers a nasty plot that forces her to confront her own terrors. Despite the help of all the men in her life and the complications of a new relationship Casey is running for her life as she fights to bring Sally and her grandson together before it’s too late.
A terrific read!


Casey Jones series:
Legwork
Out of Time
Money to Burn
Bad to the Bone
Better off Dead
Bad Moon on the Rise

 

Pam Munoz Ryan

Title: Becoming Naomi Leon  
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Scholastic
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This juvenile fiction novel has a warm multi-cultural story and would be appropriate for kids 8 to 10.

C. E. Murphy

Title: Thunderbird Falls  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Luna
Copyright: May 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Urban fantasy. The disappointing sequel to "Urban Shaman." It just didn't read well, and I expected better.

Title: Urban Shaman  
Classification: Fantasy
Publisher: Luna/Harlequin
Copyright: June 2005
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Urban Fantasy. Tells of a new shaman just getting her powers and way over her head in trouble.

Lauren Myracle

Title: ttyl  
Classification
: Teens
Publisher: Amulet Books/Harry Abrams, Inc.
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: If they were giving an award for shallow stories, this book should win. Three teenage girls instant message each other, which in this case makes for the kind of reading that kills off brain cells. Recommended only for masochists and "blondes."

 
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Sena Jeter Naslund

Title: Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Historical Fiction. At 14 Marie Antoinette is sent to France to marry the 15 year old dauphin in order to establish a political alliance between Austria and France. The book follows her life from that moment to the final unfortunate end. Toinette, as she preferred to be called, is quite a different person from the selfish, uncaring woman history has portrayed. But then, history always is written by the victors. She always is kind, courageous and empathetic, while also often being reckless and astonishingly naive. Beautifully written, the novel is both powerful and heartbreaking. Toinette and her husband, Louis XVI, both are victims of their own personalities - his of a lack of leadership, hers of naivety. The horrendous acts of the mobs are the results.The book brings the people and the times to life in a way you will find fascinating. Don't miss this.

Karen Neches

Title: Earthly Pleasures  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Skye Sebring is a greeter in the Hospitality Section of Heaven with no aspirations for promotion.  After all, that would mean an assignment to earth and she has no interest in THAT, thank you very much.  However, there is that guy, Ryan...the one all the other women (even the angels) tune into on the Earthly Pleasures tv station.  The one who is married.  The one Skye can't stop thinking about.  The one she is certain she knows.  But how?  Skye is a "new soul," one who has never died, never lived on earth.  Neches' quirky heaven (all the lessons in life are contained in the words of five Beatles' songs) and irreverent characters (the newest angel wears a spiked collar with her white gown) combine to make a thoroughly enjoyable read. A very sweet debut that avoids being saccharine...a completely entertaining book.

Jenny Nimmo

Title: Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors  
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc
Copyright: May 2005
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
For anyone still looking for a Harry Potter substitute, the Charlie Bone series is a good one. Charlie is a gifted boy who can jump into photographs. He has other friends at Bloor's Academy, where he attends classes and manages to get into plenty of trouble. In this story, Charlie is convinced that a horse containing the spirit of an evil ancestor and brought about by the wicked Bloors and Charlie's great aunts is out to get him. He also learns who his true friends are all the while unraveling the story behind the children of the Red King and trying to discover if, in fact, his father is still alive.

Title: Charlie Bone and the Hidden King  
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc
Copyright: May 2006
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This is the best in the series so far. What better way to begin the book than to wake up and find that all of the animals have disappeared. Pets, birds, squirrels and anything else has vanished. What does the animals leaving have to do with the children of the Red King? Could something or someone have frightened the animals away?

Oliver North

Title: Jericho Sanction 
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Political military thriller. Lots of suspense, high tech action and all that good stuff you expect in this genre.

Andre Norton

Title: Beast Master's Quest  
Classification
: Science Fiction
Publisher: TOR/Tom Doherty Associates
Copyright: June 2006
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: #3 in the Beast Master series. The main character, Laris, and her telepathic alien cat friend, Prauo, both orphans, are trying to find the cat's people. Laris recently inherited a space ship to use in their search. Well-written, good read, just like any Andre Norton book.

Title: The Solar Queen  
Classification: Science Fiction
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Copyright: December 2003
Reviewer: Joe
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is an omnibus edition of two previously published books, "Sargasso of Space" (c.1955) and "Plague Ship" (c.1956). These are the first two stories in a four book series. A second omnibus includes the next two books, "Postmarked the Stars" and "Voodoo Planet." This is classic space opera which set the standard for future writers of this type. Everybody who likes science fiction should read it. It's stories like these that got me hooked on science fiction.

Laurie Notaro

Title: There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Villard Books
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Maye and Charlie move from their home and friends in Phoenix to Spaulding, Washington, where Charlie has a job teaching at the local college and Maye has...nothing. Despite her efforts to make friends, the best she's been able to come up with are a Gothic Book Club (honestly, she thought they read Gothic literature), and a Vegan Club (she's not a vegetarian). Desperate, Maye signs up for the town's annual talent show and decides to teach her dog to (okay, yes this is ridiculous) play the piano. A pretty cute, light, entertaining read.

 
O
 

Lorna Oaks

Title: Ancient Egypt: An Illustrated Reference 
Classification: History
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Books
Copyright: September 2003
Reviewer: Beth
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This non-fiction illustrated guide to Ancient Egypt is nothing short of fascinating. Even for those who don't like to read every detail, the photographs and illustrations are beautiful.

Joyce Carol Oates

Title: The Falls  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"The Falls", set against the background of Niagara Falls in the mid-twentieth century, is a rather dark novel about a dysfunctional family affected by suicide, murder and the corruption of the "Love Canal" contamination. Oates writes extremely well but the story seemed unending with new characters and situations continually added in.

Kate O'Beirne

Title: Women Who Make the World Worse 
Classification: Social, World & Cultural Studies
Publisher: Sentinel/Penguin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Secular conservative political book. The author is the Washington editor of National Review Magazine. The subtitle is: "And How Their Radical Feminist Assault is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports". In addition to these topics, she talks about day care, wages, the gender gap in politics, and abortion. Her basic argument is that it is harmful to deny the existence of general differences between men's and women's abilities and interests.

Mel Odom

Title: Apcalypse Left Behind Military
Classification: Religion (Fiction)
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The Apocalypse series parallels the popular Left Behind saga with stories involving military persons dealing with the world changed by the Rapture. If you enjoyed the Left Behind series, most likely you will enjoy this series which is much better written than the original.

Title: Left Behind Political
Classification: Religion (Fiction)
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright: Various
Reviewer: Gayle
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Neesa Hart’s series parallels the popular Left Behind series with stories of political and governmental personnel dealing with the world changed by the Rapture. If you enjoy the Left Behind series, most likely you will enjoy this series which is better written than the original. The stories are full of political intrigue but not as captivating as the military series by Mel Odom.

Nuala O'Faolain

Title: Almost There: Onward Journey of a Dublin Woman 
Classification: Memoir
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2004

Reviewer: Carol

Book Rating:

Reviewer Comments
: Nuala O"Faolain, now approaching 60, continues from her earlier memoir "Are You Somebody" to explore her understanding of who she is and why. Well into her middle years, still single after several failed relationships, no longer impoverished and unknown, she considers how her Irish Catholic roots, her unconventional and alcoholic parents and her 7 siblings have all affected her emotional growth. Part of her decision: live on and forge ahead.

 

Maggie O'Farrell

Title: Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Iris has never heard of Esme Lennox, so she is certain that Esme can't be her great-aunt despite convincing proof that she is.   How is it possible that neither Iris's mother nor her grandmother has ever told her about Esme?  An aunt who has spent an astonishing sixty-one years locked away in a psychiatric institution (hospital is too kind a word)?  An aunt not once acknowledged by name or nuance?  This is a powerful book of hopelessness, told in several haunting voices, that will stay with you.

Robert Olmstead

Title: Coal Black Horse  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Copyright:
2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"Coal Black Horse", by Robert Olmstead (of Ohio Wesleyan), is the powerful Civil War story of a 14 year old boy's journey to Gettysburg to find his father. The horse guides him through the bloody countryside, where the boy is forever transformed by what he sees and must do. Well written, violently graphic but hauntingly unforgettable.

Karen E. Olson

Title: Sacred Cows  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: Warner Books
Copyright: 2005
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Annie Seymour, jaded newspaper reporter,investigates the murder of a woman who is a college student moonlighting as a call-girl.   When it seems as though the story is reaching into the lives of the city's most rich and powerful, Annie is warned off by the paper's owner, who also happens to be sleeping with Annie's mother.  Hmmm...a little too conveniently contrived for me, but this s a decent-enough "filler" read.  Low end of "liked".

Carol Anne O'Marie

Title: Death Takes Up a Collection: A Sister Mary Helen Mystery  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: St Martins Minotaur
Copyright: 1999
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Once again Sister Mary Helen delves into solving a crime - this time it's the poisoning death of Monsignor Higgins. Somewhat in the vein of Mrs. Pollifax or Miss Marple, the spry Sister Mary Helen approaches each crime with good humor and cleverness. However, you'll figure out who the murderer is long before she does.

Stormie Omartian

Title: The Power of a Praying Wife  
Classification: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher
: Harvest House Publishers
Copyright: April 1998
Reviewer:
Leigh
Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:
I love this book because each chapter is relevant and it really does start to make a difference. I would recommend this as a gift for newlywed couples as they start to learn those different quirks about each other.

Patrick O'Brian

Title: Master and Commander  
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A classic in sea-faring books by a master novelist. There are 17 books in this series, all so well done that you can almost smell the salt breeze and hear the flapping of the sails. Truly an enjoyable read.

Maggie O'Farrell

Title:  Hand That First Held Mine
Classification:
Fiction
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Copyright: 2010

Reviewer: Nancy

Book Rating
:
Reviewer Comments:

O’Farrell doesn’t set out to write a suspense novel but, although there are no murders, no international plots and no weapons she keeps readers turning pages to discover if the worst will happen.  After the birth of their son, Elina gets through her own recovery only to see her boyfriend Ted start to experience “episodes” that include flashbacks to a history he doesn’t remember.

O’Farrell creates a pervasive sadness while managing to offer the hope of a happy ending…wonderfully written.

Jamie O'Neill

Title: Kilbrack  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Scribner
Copyright: 1990
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
A strange story about a man who remembers nothing of his life before a serious accident which occurred at age 25. He becomes obsessed with Nancy Valentine, the author of a book called Ill Fares the Land, and decides to visit the setting- Kilbrack. There he finds all the people described in the book, but they all are alive unlike their portrayal in the book. Characters are well drawn and quirky, if not zany, and the writing is enjoyable up to a point. Then it seems the author has a deadline to meet or becomes bored with the story or something. In very short order, all the conflicts are resolved and the story concludes. How disappointing.

Bill O'Reilly

Title: O'Reilly Factor for Kids  
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: For ages 12 and up. Frank but gentle discussions about life for kids. Parents also should read it first to be able to discuss with their children.

Sharon Owens

Title: Tavern on Maple Street  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The "Tavern on Maple Street", in the style of Maive Binchy, is the story of a quaint Victorian style pub which is threatened with replacement by a modern shopping mall. The owners decide to expand their business in order to save it and thus become entwined with new employees, new friends and longtime customers.

 
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Ann Packer

Title: Songs Without Words  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Liz and Sarabeth grew up across the street from each other and are the best of friends. One day Sarabeth's mother commits suicide and Liz's family takes in Sarabeth. Fast forward to their adult lives. Liz has a wonderful husband, athletic son and a seemingly fine daughter. Sarabeth's life is a mess with her fascination with having affairs with married men and otherwise self destructive behavior. Then one day, Liz's content life is shattered when her daugther attempts suicide. Everything that Liz once believed is put into doubt and as she tries to put her family back together, her friendship with Sarabeth is also put into question. Ann Packer weaves an interesting tale of self discovery.

Paffrath, Grasdal, & Mcree

Title: Wedding Favors & Decorations  
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: Quarry Books
Copyright: 2004
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: The book had some decent craft ideas. Some of the suggested wedding favors aren't practical. If someone was having a small wedding some of the decorations might be affordable and practical. I could see Martha Stewart cringing.

Katherine Hall Page

Title: The Body in the Bookcase  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 1999
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is one of many Faith Fairchild mystery series. While catering a lavish wedding weekend she is drawn into solving a murder as well as a break-in in her own home. Witty, complex and recipies to boot!

Robin Paige

Title: Death at Bishop's Keep  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Copyright: 1994
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Robin Paige writes several mystery series; this is the first of a series set in Victorian England. An actual historical person is drawn into each book to add depth and interest to a "light" mystery solved by the somewhat unconventional couple.

Michael Palmer

Title: Fifth Vial  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Palmer explores the terrifying possibility that medical labs could establish a data base of subjects for organ transplants by drawing an extra vial of blood from unsuspecting patients, then tissue-matching them as unwilling donors. The powerful men and women who run the organization defend their actions based on Plato's philosopher kings and justify killing "producers" to protect their self-proclaimed Guardians of the Republic. A little predictable, but a good, quick suspense read.

Title: First Patient  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
In this edge-of your-seat thriller, small town doctor Gabe Singleton is recruited by his long-time friend, president of the United States Andrew Stoddard, to replace the president's personal physician who has gone missing. To complicate matters, Stoddard himself is experiencing strange and terrifying psychotic symptoms. From his first day in Washington, Singleton is caught in a vortex of conspiracy and murder that races through a web of politics and technology. A not-to-be missed read, one of Palmer's best!

Orhan Pamuk

Title: My Name is Red  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: Faber
Copyright: January 2002
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: I include this book to warn you. I hated it! The topics of art and life in pre-renaissance Europe might have been interesting had the gimmicks used been omitted. I mean, come on, chapters narrated by a tree, dog, mirror, etc? I was so annoyed that I didn't care anything aboutthe story.

Christopher Paolini

Title: Eldest  
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: August 2005
Reviewer: Leigh
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This was a great companion to Eragon, just as well written and full of adventure.

Title: Eragon (Review #1)  
Classification: Children's
Author: Christopher Paolini
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Leigh

Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: This is a fascinating tale of when a dragon finds a boy and leads them on adventures that takes them in the presence of kings, elves, and dwarves. This is the best book that has come out since the Harry Potter books have been around. I would recommend this to anyone who loves Harry and/or the Lord of the Rings.

Title: Eragon (Review #2)
Classification: Children's
Author: Christopher Paolini
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: If you like fantasy, this is a great book! It's a battle between a boy and the Empire, with a powerful King. This book is exciting and intriguing, a book I would definitely have on my shelf.

Dr. Richard Passwater, Ph.D.

Title: Live Better, Longer
Classification
: Health
Publisher: Basic Health Publications
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This book is the perfect size without becoming a boring medical book. A mere 100 pages, Dr. Passwater reveals the science behind a revolutionary free-radical antioxidant fighter that helps people live longer. The interesting thing is that it helps with so many ailments such as allergies, Alzheimer's, ADD, Asthma, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, high blood pressure... basically you name it and this free-radical fighter combats it. It is even good for your skin and helps fight against the effects of aging. I've tried it and by golly, my allergies and sinus pressure headach

Ann Patchett

Title: Run  
Classification: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
First, the mother dies. Then Patchett, as she describes in tedious detail the singularly uninteresting lives of the remaining Doyles, including the oldest, wastrel, son and his nearly perfect adopted siblings, along with their distant father, manipulates the story until she is able to kill off all the other mothers. Just about the only thing in this book that I could relate to was the particularly terrific snowstorm, since I felt that I, like the pitiful characters, spent the entire time slogging. Pass.

James Patterson

Title: Cross Country  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Little Brown
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Here is the latest in the Alex Cross series. I welcome this latest book with open arms as it re-ignited my interest in the series. The last book (Double Cross) was decent but it was a little predictable for me. This time Alex tracks a killer called 'the Tiger' all the way to Africa to search for him to. The Tiger killed Alex's old girlfriend and her family and he is on the case to bring justice. This change of scenery made for an interesting ride as we follow Alex around Africa as he searches for the Tiger.

Title: Double Cross  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Lilttle, Brown & Co.
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: In this latest installment of the Alex Cross series, James Patterson sticks to a familiar story line formula found throughout the series. One could find this predictability boring, but Patterson seems to keep finding ways to keep it interesting. For all of your Alex Cross fans, this book should keep you satisfied until the next installment.

James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet

Title: Sundays at Tiffany's  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Patty
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments
: Jane is a lonely little girl with just one friend, Michael, who just happens to be imaginary. They do everything together and Jane finds Michael to be a great comfort as well as confidant. Then suddenly, on her ninth birthday, Michael tells Jane he has to go. Michael tells her that after her birthday, she will forget all about him. Now fast forward over a couple of decades. Guess what? Jane has never forgotten Michael like she is supposed to. Then comes the fateful day when Michael is in between imaginary friend assignments and who does he happen to see by mere accident? Jane, of course! This collaborative book is amazing. It's touching and true to the spirit of what can happen when you experience true love. I loved this book!

James Patterson & Howard Roughan

Title: Sail  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Little Brown
Copyright: 2008
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Widow Anne Dunne, with her 3 children, takes an elaborate sailing vacation to help bring the family back together again. Catastrophe happens on board and survival is only one of their concerns. "Sail", though not as well written as Patterson's early non-collaborative efforts, has lots of twists to keep you reading through to its conclusion.

Richard North Patterson

Title: The Race  
Classification
: Fiction
Publisher: Henry Holt
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
If you aren't already dreading the long and nasty campaign season ahead, or if you aren't already tired of political infighting, then you might like this book. Nearly perfect senator Corey Grace (after MUCH soul-searching) decides to run for president against weak Senator Marotta and popular evangelist Bob Christy. Lots of debate about values, with Grace making lots of speeches.  Whoa: another terrorist attack, which gets about three pages and allows Grace to look presidential.   Then not another mention of it.  What? This is not important?  A rambling, disorganized and slightly boring read. Pass.

Trina Paulus

Title: Hope for the Flowers  
Classification
: Religion & Philosophy
Publisher:
Paulist Press
Copyright:
1972
Reviewer:
Mariah
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
This is a picture book for adults which depicts the lives of 2 caterpillars on their way to becoming butterflies. A nonreligious, inspirational story about there being more to life than climbing to the top of the heap no matter what the cost, and about learning to value the beauty in oneself and others.

Richard Peck

Title: Here Lies the Librarian  
Classification: Children's
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2006
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
Set in rural Indiana in 1914, this offbeat novel features 14 year old Peewee (Eleanor), her big brother Jake and their dreams of auto mechanic glory. Motoring down the road comes Irene, a young librarian, whose plans astonish and alter their lives forever. This book, for ages 9-12, is folksy, funny and unexpectedly moving.

Title: Long Way From Chicago  
Classification
: Children's
Publisher: Puffin
Copyright: 1998
Reviewer: Nancy
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
It's 1929 when Joey and his sister Mary Alice begin their annual August visits with their grandmother...a train trip away in miles from their home in Chicago, but even farther in experiences.  Peck chronicles their visits in a series of short stories covering nine years and captures the feel of small town life during the depression, although I'm not sure how interesting the details will be to a young reader. Nicely told,but be prepared to discuss topics like prohibition, Al Capone and Hupmobiles with your kids.

David J. Pelzer

Title: A Child Called "It"  
Classification: Self-help
Publisher: Health Communications
Copyright: 1995
Reviewer: J
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: A sad but true account of one boy's struggle through one of the worst accounts of child abuse. A definite tear jerker. Pelzer has written several other recovery books.

Louise Penny

Title: Still Life  
Classification
: Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2007
Reviewer: Carol
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments:
"Still Life", a Debut Dagger honor book in the UK, introduces Canadian Inspector Monsieur L'Inspecteur Armand Gamache, a modern day combination of Inspectors Morse, Daglish and Poirot. The setting is a small French Canadian village; the victim a retired school teacher found shot to death with and arrow. Was it an accident or deliberate murder?

Anne Perry

Title: Cater Street Hangman  
Classification: Mystery
Author: Anne Perry
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: First of the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt Victorian mysteries. Well written with great character and plot development. I particularly enjoyed the Victorian setting with all strict (and quirky) rules of "proper" behavior.

Title: Seven Dials  
Classification: Mystery
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2003
Reviewer: Marilyn
Book Rating:
Reviewer Comments: Victorian mystery featuring Thomas and Char