Quick Review: 10th Anniversary by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

I’ve read all of Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club books and was so glad to snatch this one up from the new release shelf at the library. As with the others, I found it a quick, fun read – I finished it the day after I got it.

In this installment, SF police detective Lindsay Boxer is getting married to her beloved Joe, but a serial rapist is loose in SF. “Babies” are also a theme in this book – with a victimized young girl who has apparently sold her baby and a high-profile murder case of a mother with young children who accused of killing her husband taking up Lindsay’s time, along with her own desire to be a mother. Lindsay gets involved in the murder trial and comes up against her dear friend Yuki, who is the prosecutor. At the same time, Lindsay is determined to uncover what happened to the teen’s baby. Cindy, the news reporter, gets a little too involved with chasing after the rapist as well.

There is a lot of tension in this novel, along with the camaraderie of the ladies. The events are non-stop action, and with Patterson’s short chapters, this was an easy read for me.

What’s on my Christmas list this year…

I can hardly believe that it’s almost Thanksgiving, which means Christmas is not far behind. I just love the holiday time of year! My kids are busy making their lists for Santa Claus, and here are the books that have made it onto mine:

1) “V Is for Vengeance” by Sue Grafton:

If you know me you know I love, love, love Sue Grafton’s alphabet series and have read them all. This one I have to read, but truth be told, I have ordered it for my husband – he’s read them all, too;  and – best of all – his copy is signed by Ms. Grafton (squeal!). I’m sooo very excited for this (and um, thankful that he doesn’t ever read my blog!).

2) “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese:

I’ve had so many people ask me if I’ve read this book and when I say I haven’t, they tell me that I NEED to – it’s awesome – I would love it. So it made the list!

3) “I Am Half-Sick of Shadows” by Alan Bradley:

I am a HUGE Flavia fan, following the first book in this series “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”. I was less enthralled with the plotting in the next two books but am willing to give number four a look-see.

4) “Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark” by Brian Kellow:

I always loved to read Pauline Kael’s movie reviews in the New Yorker magazine. I mean – did that women like anything?? She was no-nonsense and cut right to the chase. I had put this on my list and then, to my great good luck, scored it from Net Galley to review. Woo-hoo!

I’m sure there are more titles to make my list, but these are the ones on for now.

 What’s on your holiday list for reading in 2012?

QUICK YA REVIEW: The Hangman in the Mirror by Kate Cayley

“The Hangman in the Mirror” by Kate Cayley is a historical fiction piece, set in New France (Canada) in the 1700’s. Francoise Laurent is a destitute 17-year-old washerwoman, left orphaned when her parents die of small pox. She takes a job as a lady’s maid to a wealthy woman, but is accused of thievery and sentenced to hang. She must use her considerable wits to save herself – or die trying.

While this book was written for young adult readers, I think adults would enjoy it, too. The most amazing thing about it is that it is based on true events. I enjoyed the writing, the story, and the characters.

Thanks, Net Galley, for my copy!

REVIEW: Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard

A Net Galley find, “Everything We Ever Wanted” by Sara Shepard tells the story of a family broken by crisis, and examines the ties that bind people together. Sylvie Bates-McAllister is a widowed mother of two grown sons: Charles, the upright businessman (who is considering having an affair) and Scott, the adopted son who’s a bit of rebel. Sylvie’s family history is tied closely to the prestigious independent school that her grandfather led and where she serves on the board. Her son Scott is a wrestling coach there. Disaster looms when Sylvie is notified of an unexpected student death at the school, possibly related to hazing on the wrestling team. This is the type of thing that can bring a school, a family, and an individual down, and Sylvie struggles to keep her head above water, while Charles fights his own demons and Scott maintains his independence. Added to this is the shadow of a supposed illicit affair that Sylvie’s husband had before his death- an affair that Sylvie seeks to know more about, yet wants to pretend never happened. All things tie together at the end of this well-written and compelling story.

I enjoyed reading this novel. My history in independent schools always puts me in line to read a novel set in one. While I related to the sense of identity that the characters felt in relation to the school, the thing that stood out to me was the stark emptiness of the character’s emotional well-being in this novel. They were all pretty much miserable: Sylvie, Charles, Scott, and Charles’ wife Joanna. Joanna’s intrepid and over-the-top mother was another unique but pathetic character as well. I found this book very grey – when I imagined the action, the setting, the mood, it all seemed overcast to me (until the end).

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about independent schools and women’s lives. I really liked Sara Shepard’s writing as well.

Thanks, Net Galley, for my copy.

This author is the author of the “Pretty Little Liars” series for YA readers, so I may pick that up to check out!

Where Has Beth Been?

Well, this has been a crazy couple of weeks around here! As most of you know, I live in New England, and the recent storm knocked us for a loop. We were without power for several days and had to move to a hotel. We didn’t get internet back for a while after that. Then I got sick. I am finally able to say that things are back to normal!

While all this was going on I read four great books which I’ll be reviewing soon! Stay tuned!