A Great Reckoning

I love Louise Penny. I think her characters have a sophistication and wit that I love reading. In A Great Reckoning, Gamache, no longer Chief Inspector, takes on the Surete Academy with the hopes of ridding it of the bad apples that had been graduating rotten officers for the last several years. He makes so many changes and creates such chaos that the existing students don’t trust his motives, while the new students are being indoctrinated into the new and old ways simultaneously.

And then a professor of the old ways is found murdered in his room. Many secrets are exposed while Gamache has to sit aside and let others run the investigation. In order to protect a group of students, Gamache squirrels them away to Three Pines to solve a lesser mystery of a map hidden in the bistro’s walls.

Penny is able to tell a story from two perspectives as the students begin to learn who their new Commander Gamache is and what he stands for.

Great read!!

Read February 2017

How to be a Woman

How to be a Woman is part memoir and part feminist educational material. Caitlan Moran is a British journalist and she uses this memoir to explore her relationship with her own womanhood and help define feminism for woman who may be uncomfortable with that term. She sums it up basically saying if you have a vagina and want to  be in charge of it, you’re a feminist! I can’t disagree but was surprised that it took this comedic look at feminism to admit that they were feminists. A little disappointing in some friends, but at least they learned.

Anyway, this was a funny look at all things woman: from waxing, periods, pregnancy, how society views women, aging, and so much more.

I was amused throughout the book and thought Moran’s personal history was worthy of a book by itself. Her relationship with her sister cracked me up!

Great read!!

Read February 2017

Finding Me – A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings

Michelle Knight survived the unimaginable. She was held captive by a lunatic for over 10 years in deplorable conditions. In Finding Me, she tells her story of survival from childhood abuse, kidnapping, rape, beatings, abortions, and so much more. Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus were held captive by Ariel Castro in a normal neighborhood where family members and band mates came and went from the same home.

This is a disturbing story for so many reasons, most of which is how alone Michelle is. She came from a large dysfunctional family and when kidnapped spent years chained to the same bed as another person, and now that she’s out, she’s utterly alone. How can anyone cope with what she endured? How can anyone trust? Michelle had very few good things happen in her life that it seems amazing that she’s functioning at all, yet she seems ok. She’s not nearly as resentful as I think she should be. She has a childlike quality to her writing and stories, which makes some of the horrific things weirdly easier and harder to read. This is not someone with a depth of knowledge of the world and yet she knows how horrible people can be and still walks one.

Interesting read. I wouldn’t recommend due to the highly disturbing contents of her life, but I hope writing this book helped her.

Read January 2017

If She Only Knew

Lisa Jackson’s If She Only Knew digs into the upper class of San Francisco after Marla Cahill crashes on a dark stretch of highway. She wakes up having forgotten everything around her. Slowly, her husband reveals their relationship as strained, as is the one with her teenage daughter. Nothing seems familiar to Marla, and everything that she begins to remember doesn’t match her life.

Marla’s brother in law is brought back into the fold to help Marla with her memory and to help the struggling family empire which appears to be on the brink of bankruptcy. Marla was driving someone else’s car, with an unknown friend, to an unknown destination when the car crashed. No one is able to help Marla figure out what happened. It isn’t until her memory starts coming back that the pieces start to fit together, but it threatens her life.

I bought this to read at the beach, and it was perfect for that. Barely scratches the surface of social issues, but the twists kept me entertained.

Read January 2017

The Lost Girls of Rome

Donato Carrisi’s The Lost Girls of Rome tells the story of a secret Vatican investigative department that uses questionable techniques and highly trained priests to uncover evil in the world. Someone is arranging crimes to allow victims to have either vengeance or justice, depending on what they need.

A forensic investigator helps uncover these mysteries while investigating her husband’s mysterious death. Through secret codes, her husband’s final pictures leave clues that Sandra can follow.

There’s a bit tangled together in this novel, but Carrisi lays everything out for the reader to follow. The crimes and investigations travel the world, but mostly stick to the streets of Rome.

Well told mystery.
Read January 2017

I Let You Go

Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go is a mystery broken into 2 parts all defined by a dark night one November night in Bristol when a Jacob dies in a hit and run accident. How does anyone cope after loosing someone they love.

After that night, we see Jenna Gray escaping from the death by running and hiding from everyone. She ends up in a small coastal town where she rents a secluded cabin. She slowly starts to allow people into her life while still grappling with her nightmares.

Far from the shore, in Bristol, the hit and run investigation hits a stand still. DI Stevens and his subordinate Kate, have a hard time letting go of this crime after no leads are found. Their relationship also changes throughout the investigation as Stevens sees Kate as the young, optimistic officer he and his wife used to be.

Mackintosh brings the reader into this world and then mid way through changes the entire back story of the characters. While we no longer see Jenna as an innocent mother in this case, her story becomes even more sad and pathetic.

Great read with an unexpected twist to the story. All the characters are fully flushed out and have a depth to them not common in mysteries.

Highly recommended.

Read January 2017

Here’s to Us

Elin Hilderbrand uses her characters and sense of place to help her story transform from an ordinary tale of family members mourning their father, husband, ex-husband. Deacon Thorpe died at his beloved Nantucket home leaving behind 2 ex-wives, 3 children, and a current wife. All are thrown together for a weekend to throw his ashes and learn that Deacon left all 3 women a part of the house and a debt that only one of them can afford.

Each woman hates another and there is a lot of blame for the end of each of their marriages. Laurel, his high school sweetheart. Belinda, a movie star who stole Deacon from Laurel. And Scarlett, Belinda’s former nanny and Deacons current wife. Each had one child with Deacon. All 6, along with Buck, Deacon’s best friend, are sharing the home and history with each other. There stories spread across decades and showcase a man larger than life who left a big hole in each of their hearts.

Great, moving story.

Read December 2016