Home

In Home, two men with incredible wealth behind them are able to break into an underground sex business with a lot of death and explosions and leave completely unharmed. Harlan Coben’s characters are over the top masculine, with sensitive spots for the women they love.

Home was a quick, fun read where Myron Bolitar and his friend Win are able to rescue a boy kidnapped 10 years earlier and solve the mystery of what happened to his friend. They are able to do things outside the law without any repercussions and set things right according to what they deem is right. All the time, traveling on private jets and cars, they are whisked around the world to find out what happened to Win’s nephew and friend 10 years ago.

The whole story is so unbelievable, but an enjoyable read, even with the ridiculous masculinity oozing from the Batman-like characters.

Read April 2017

Revolver

What a great novel! Duance Swierczynski ties so many different things together in Revolver. This is a story about race relations in Philadelphia in the 1960’s, the evolution of criminal science, how family history affects everyone and their choices, overcoming racism in a race-seperated world, police officers relationships, Polish and Black culture in America, and so many relationships that are tied together between two different families.

Revolver is set in 3 different time periods and Swierczynski rotates between the 3 with 3 different narrators for each. In 1965, we meet Stan Walchek, a police officer, and hear his story that will lead up to his death. In 1995, we meet Jim Walchek, Stan’s son and also a police officer, who in addition to another major crime investigation, he is trying to revenge his father and partner’s murder. In 2015, we have Audrey Kornbluth, Jim’s adopted daughter and a Criminal Science student, who begins researching Stan’s murder as part of her final project. In each generation, intertwined are the stories of George Wildey, Stan’s partner; George Wildey Junior, George’s son; and Lieutenant Ben Wildey, George’s grandson. The Walchek and Wildey’s stories bounce off each other in ways that even the characters don’t know about. These families have been connected to one another for decades and both have police as well as criminals in them.

This was such an enjoyable book to read and to experience an intermingling of cultures during a turbulent time in American history.

Read April 2017

Three Sisters, Three Queens

I’ve read other Philippa Gregory novels and really enjoyed them. It was difficult for me to get through Three Sisters, Three Queens and I’m trying to determine what it was.

On one hand, Gregory takes the mostly unknown story of Queen Margaret of Scotland and makes her a feminist icon by having her marry whom she wanted, not who she was dictated to marry. She fought hard for the legacy of her son, the heir of Scotland and England and even battled against her 2nd husband for her reign.

On the other hand, Gregory makes Margaret out to be a petty, superficial, entitled brat who does nothing but compare herself to her sister, Queen Mary of France, and her sister-in-law, Queen Katherine of England, All of these women fought hard for their own rights, but are capricious with no further thought than themselves.

The story starts when Margaret is young and not married, and she shortly loses several members of her family. She’s married off, still quite young, to a much older King of Scotland to help broker a peace between the England and Scotland. Much of the history of this time period, that I know, centers on King Henry VII and his upheaval of the Catholic Church in England. Part of that story is in this novel, but more about what leads up to it from a Queen’s point of view. While I found many aspects of the period of time fascinating, I had a hard time getting past the pettiness of Queen Margaret.

Read April 2017

Whispers in the Mist

Lisa Alber writes about a quaint little village on the Irish coast that has an annual Matchmaker festival where the town is inundated with romantics looking for love and so many others taking advantage of the festive occasion. When the grey skies start rolling in, the myth of Grey Man starts scaring the children and when a stranger shows up dead, it begins to scare the adults as well. Whispers in the Mist was a great read with so many unique characters who all have history with one another, as happens in small towns.

The clues left along the way seem to cloud the story even more, but the ending was suspenseful and unexpected.

Enjoyable read. March 2017.

Among the Wicked

In Among the Wicked, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder needs to infiltrate a strict Amish community in upstate New York. Having been raised Amish, Burkholder knows how to befriend and investigate members of this exclusive group after a young girl dies mysteriously.

Linda Castillo weaves an incredible story in Among the Wicked. Her characters have to simultaneously live in multiple worlds and portray very different traits depending on whom they are talking with. Kate Burkholder is just one of many people living in different worlds and its up to her to find out about the secrets everyone is hiding.

This was a great glimpse of Amish life mixed with some cult-like traits of their leader. Great conclusion to this novel with unexpected twists.

Read February 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

Marriage, Monsters, and Murder

Marriage, Monsters, and Murder is a mystery with a chick lit flair. While I enjoy both genres, the combination in Sara Rosett’s book is too much for me. Almost everything about the wedding, the activities, the wedding planner’s involvement in the investigation, how people treat each other felt contrived and silly.

While an easy read and the setting was well written, I didn’t much enjoy this book.

December 2016