Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tempting Fate

Fiction by Jane Green

Tempting Fate

This novel is about a happily-married woman who meets a new man. He's someone who makes her wonder if she's so very happily married. And she finds herself "tempting fate," with some unexpected results.

It was a good story, although I sometimes wanted to throttle the protagonist and yell at her to make better choices. (You know that watching-a-horror-movie thing where you try to advise the characters: "Don't go check out that noise in the attic. DON'T!!" It's kind of like that.)

But still a fun read.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Headmaster's Wife

Fiction by Thomas Christopher Greene.

The Headmaster's Wife

An interesting story that begins with the headmaster himself being picked up for indecent exposure; he was walking through Central Park naked in the snow.

It had a surprising twist as well.

Monday, July 28, 2014

I've Got You Under My Skin

Fiction by Mary Higgins Clark.

I've Got You Under My Skin

This is classic Mary Higgins Clark. which means it's an engrossing story that's fun to read.

I recommend almost everything she's written, most recently Daddy's Gone A-Hunting.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pieces of the Heart

Fiction by Karen White.

Pieces of the Heart

For some reason, I couldn't get interested in this book.

It is about a woman who has to leave her high-powered job because of panic attacks and recuperate at her mother's house. There she must face the past she's been running from. Oh, and she makes quilts.

That sounds like a story I would really like, but I really didn't. Sorry.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Surviving the Angel of Death

Subtitled: the True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz
Nonfiction by Eva Mozes Kor

Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz

This a harrowing true account from an Auschwitz survivor. This woman and her identical twin sister were singled out (along with thousands of other sets of twins) for "special treatment" by Dr. Mengele, which was namely a series of  incredibly unethical medical experiments.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Retail Hell

Subtitled: How I Sold my Soul to the Store: Confessions of a Tortured Sales Associate
Nonfiction by Freeman Hall.

Retail Hell: How I Sold My Soul to the Store

This is a really funny book about the crazy things a salesman at a high-end department store goes through while he tries to sell handbags.

Lesson number one: They aren't purses; they are handbags. Your Mee-Maw carried a "purse." This is a high-fashion designer accessory that costs three thousand dollars.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Come Home

Fiction by Lisa Scottoline.

Come Home

This was a thriller about a woman who tries to discover if her ex-husband was murdered. The story also included well-drawn characters and the relationships gave you something to think about.

It was an interesting plot as well, and I would have given it two-thumbs-up except for one thing: The protagonist suffered from a common problem that happens to the main character of thriller novels. I'll call it Hell-Bent Syndrome.

This is where the protagonist spends the majority of the book Hell-Bent on solving/getting to the root of whatever the problem of the story is (to the exclusion of everything else in his/her life), while EVERYONE else tells him/her to STOP IT. Many times this path involves the main character getting (or coming perilously close to being) fired, evicted, divorced, disowned, and/or bankrupted, all in pursuit of the elusive TRUTH that he/she is SURE is about to be found.

In real life, this would land our friend the protagonist straight in the looney bin. Think about it: When EVERYONE else's version of reality is the polar opposite of yours, that is called, "You're crazy, dude." (In layman's terms.) But not in the world of the Thriller Novel.

In the Thriller Novel, the sufferer of Hell-Bent syndrome is inexplicably and against all odds proven right in the end, and gets to say "I told you so!" to all the nay-sayers in his/her life who thought he/she was nuts. And then he/she magically recovers everything lost during the downward-spiral portion of the story, like the proverbial country song played backwards. ("You get your wife back, your truck back, your job back...")

So... Although in most ways I really liked this book, it spent a good third of the story with the main character in full-on Hell-Bent mode, and I am forced to dock it down to one-thumb-up.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Fiction by Dean Koontz.


This is an older Dean Koontz book, but I don't remember reading it before. (I've read nearly all of his books.) Breathless was strange, but pretty good.

I liked the new one better, though. (See The City.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bless Me, Ultima

Fiction by Rudolfo Anaya.

Bless Me, Ultima

This is on my 17-year-old daughter's summer reading list for school, so I decided to try reading it.

As the cover tells you, it's a classic. I think you can also tell it's a classic by the number of characters who die tragically in it.

So, it was a good book, but not exactly cheerful....

Monday, July 14, 2014

Little Mercies

Fiction by Heather Gudenkauf.

Little Mercies

This is the full novel that I read the prequel of a little while ago. (See Little Lies.)

It was about a social worker, following the tragedies she sees and the children she helps. But... something unexpected happens in this book.  I recommend it highly.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The City

Fiction by Dean Koontz.

The City

This was an interesting story about a 10-year-old boy in the sixties searching for his destiny. There was a strange twist, of course.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Bear

Fiction by Claire Cameron.

The Bear

This is a story written in the voice of a five-year-old girl who survives a bear attack in the woods.

It was suspenseful and interesting; also I really thought the child was an authentic narrator.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Dangerous Mercy

Fiction by Kathy Herman.

Dangerous Mercy

This was a thriller/murder mystery. Unfortunately, I discovered after I'd started reading that it was book TWO in a series.

I hate it when that happens. The worst example of my accidentally reading Book #2 first was back in 1999 when I read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  That was back when I'd never heard of Harry Potter. Man, that almost killed me!

Still, this book was pretty good.