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