Book 26 for 2013 – The Other Woman – Hank Phillippi Ryan

The Other WomanJake Logan is a Boston city detective and Jane Ryland an ex-TV newswoman now working as a newspaper report for The Register. Together they form the tandem that is the basis of a new series from Award Winning mystery writer Hank Phillippi Ryan,(Agatha Award for Best First Novel, Anthony Award for Best Short Story, Macavity Awards for Best Short Story) Ms Ryan is an investigative reporter for Channel 7 News on WHDH-TV, the NBC-affiliate station for Boston, Mass so she obviously knows her way around investigations like the one portrayed in  Book 26 for 2013 The Other Woman.   The first book in the series and I hope there are many more to come.

Jane Ryland is a disgraced TV journalist. After Jane refuses to revel a source and Arthur Vick a Boston grocery store magnate wins a libel suit against Jane and her employer Channel 11 with a one million dollar judgment, Jane is labeled :Wrong Guy Ryland” and loses her job. Jake, her friend (lover?), helps her get position with The Register.and now she’s writing “puff” pieces about a candidate for Senate former Governor Owen Lassiter’s wife, who has gone missing on the campaign trail. While her office mate Tuck covers the hot story about the murder of two young women left by Boston bridges. The news teams are quickly ready to dub the killings the work of the “Bridge Killer” but Jake, who is baffled by the case doesn’t think that the cases are related.

Soon Jane in an interview with Lassiter’s wife Moira Jane is confronted with the possibility of another women in Owen’s life. As events unfold on the drive up to the election, Jane and Jake soon realize that their investigations are intertwined and they may be facing a killer who will stop at nothing to keep the truth from being known, while others plot to convince Moira that “The Other Woman” in her husband’s life does exist and wants to bring down his campaign!!!

There are lots of twists and turns in this book and while I didn’t think that the book was non-stop suspense until the last hundred pages. I did like the characters and the story kept me turning the pages. I thought that the problems associated with a relationship between a cop and a reporter was interesting and handle well. So I’m looking forward to Jake and Jane’s next investigation and the development of their relationship!!

I’ll leave you with the words of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner::

A rocket ride of  a thriller! Ryan effortlessly captures the frantic pace of colliding lives, cutting-edge journalism, and killer secrets, as only a true insider would know. Brava!!

 

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Book 38 of 2012 – Sign of the Cross – Chris Kuzneski

I first met Jonathan Payne and David Jones on their fourth adventure The Lost Throne  for Book 3 of 2012, I traveled back in time to their second adventure Sign of the Cross. Both books sprout from the mind and pen of a terrific writer Chris Kuzneski. From his website:

The first victim is abducted in Italy then crucified over a
thousand miles away. The next day, the same crime
is repeated—this time in Asia and Africa.
Three different continents but one brutal pattern:
someone is reenacting the execution of Christ.

While visiting Spain, Jonathon Payne and David Jones
are arrested for crimes they committed during their
military careers. Fortunately, the CIA brokers a deal on
their behalf: all charges will be dropped if they help
catch Dr. Charles Boyd, a master thief who has stolen
some of the finest treasures in Europe.

With little choice, the duo begins their pursuit, only to
realize that Boyd is more than a criminal. He is one
of the world’s top experts on Ancient Rome and is
close to making a discovery that threatens to rewrite
the basic foundations of Christianity.

From its breathtaking beginning to its mind-blowing
conclusion, expect the unexpected with Sign of the Cross.

This is the type of book I love, one that blends history and action into one terrific story! At the end of these types of stories many others tell you what is actual fact and what the author made up, at the end of this one Chris didn’t say. He writes in the Author’s Notes: ” I have no intention of telling anyone (including my mother) which details are true and which are make-believe. I mean, that’s one of the reasons I chose to become an author. I longed for the opportunity to blur the line between fact and fiction without ever having to explain myself”

Well in this book he certainly did blur those lines, and he left me wondering about the events surrounding Christ’s crucifixion! I love the book and the characters of Jonathan Payne and David Jones. I read on Chris’ website that he almost killed Jones off in the FIRST book, boy, are all his fans thankful he didn’t do that!!

the series is now up to Book 7 so I have a lot of catching up to do and for all of you who haven’t spent time with Payne and Jones believe me it’s time well spent!!

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Book 37 of 2012 – Michael Robotham – Say You’re Sorry

The first Michael Robotham book I read was Suspect. I was introduced to one of the best characters in the mystery-thriller genre Joe O’Loughlin, who not only battles wits against the bad guys but also battles Parkinson’s disease. Since that first books I’ve followed all of Joe’s adventures and Book 37 of 2012 Say You’re Sorry  is the fifth book in the series that just keeps getting better.

In this installment while in Oxford to give a conference speech, Joe is enlisted by the police to aid in a double murder a man and woman have been brutally murdered in their farm-house. Soon the body of a missing girl Tash McBain is found frozen in a lake not far from the farmhouse. Tash is one of two missing teenagers known as The Bingham Girls. Tash and Piper Hadley went missing three years earlier. The farmhouse where the murders occurred was her former home!! Soon joe and his friend former police detective Victor Ruiz join the hunt for Piper before it’s too late!!

Along the way the story of their disappearance is told through Joe’s investigation and the writing of Piper. Once again Robotham’s characters are great. Joe moves through the story battling his personal problems and his family problems which includes a separation from his wife, that was the result of a former case! The book is a fast paced fun book to read, I enjoy Robotham’s writing as much as any of the authors that I read!

Recently Michael was named as one of the Top 100 most Influential People in Sydney. and Michael wrote, “I’ve been named among the 100 most influential people in Sydney. I’m not even the most influential person in my house. My daughters think it’s hilarious.”

Stephen King included Say You’re Sorry among his :2012 Best Books of the Year: Stephen King Lists His Favorite Reads of 2012

So check out his work, you won’t be sorry!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book 36 for 2012: State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind

So my goal for the Goodreads Reading Challenge was 40 books this year. For the longest time it looked like I would come nowhere near that total but a good October and November has brought me within 4 of that total. Now the trick will be to get 4 more books reads before the end of the year. December is always a challenging reading month, with so much to do getting ready of Christmas and then I usually am working more at Target, etc, so it will be tough but maybe doable!!

A good aspect of this year’s reading is that a third of the books that I’ve read (12/36) have been non-fiction. Certainly more than in previous years! Book 36 for the year is one of those non-fiction books State of Confusion:Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind by Dr. Bryant Welch.  Welch makes the case that many Americans have been manipulated by the Right with actions that are akin to “gaslighting” From Wikipedia:

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity. It may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

The term “gaslighting” comes from the play Gas Light and its film adaptations, in which a husband secretly dims the gas lights in the house and, when his wife remarks on it, he claims that she is mistaken. This is done to convince the woman that she cannot trust her own judgment, and so will not be believed if she tries to report other strange things that are genuinely occurring, which the husband wishes to keep secret. The term is now also used in clinical and research literature.[1][2]

Bryant makes a valid case that, that is just what the Right does and the three prime States of Confusion are Paranoia, Sexual Perplexity, and Envy. All states that the Right uses to divide and confuse the nation! Chapter 6 is titled “Gaslighters: Architects of False Realities” sounds like the bubble world that many of the right live in- doesn’t it!! The Gaslighters include Fox News, and The Religious Right! The last chapters deal with the assault on Professionalism, Policy Implications and The Politics of Reality!

I thought that the book was well written and highly informative about what has gone on in America particularly over the last decade! Here’s what Robert Shrum says about the book:

“Bryant Welch makes a fascinating and compelling case that right-wing politics has subverted our democracy by infecting us with a form of political neurosis. This book unmasks the politics of fear-the deeper chords touched by campaigns to the dark side”

It’s a short book that took me way to long to read, but it is really worth reading!

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Book 35 of 2012 – The Black House by Peter May

The island pictures above is An Sgeir (pronounced An Skeer). The island is about 30 miles north of the Isle of Lewis, which is part of The Outer Hebrides, located off the northwest coast of Scotland. It is the home of 30,000 Gannets (Guga) of which 2,000 of the young are harvested each year by the men of Lewis. (See photos here.) The tradition goes back 400 years and is one of the center pieces of Book 35 for 2012 Peter May’The Black House. 

Fin MacLeod, grew up on the Isle of Lewis and couldn’t wait to leave when he turned eighteen. Now many years later MacLeod is an Edinburgh detective, with a loveless marriage  that is crumbling due to the death of his only son. MacLeod is sent to Lewis to aid in the solving of a grisly murder that resembles a murder he has investigated in Edinburgh. But when he gets there he has to not only hunt the murderer but also face his own past!

The story is told via flashbacks to Fin’s early life in Crobost his home town. The reader learns of his turbulent relationship with the on and off love of his life Marsaili, his best friend Artair, the rest of his friends and family on the island, and his fateful trip to An Sgeir, which almost cost him his life!  The characters in the book certainly come alive and in the end the whole story is unforgettable!  I’ve written before that I don’t read classic literature, but this book comes damn close to being just that – a classic! A native of Scotland Peter May now lives and writes in France and the French, like me, love his work!

“The Blackhouse”
wins top French Literature Award
The CEZAM Prix Litteraire Inter-CE 2011

 Readers voted via the WHSmith website for their favourite read from the eight titles in Richard and Judy’s Autumn 2011 Book Club and the winner for 2011 was The Blackhouse.

Peter said, “I am absolutely delighted that readers of The Blackhouse have voted it the best read of the Richard and Judy Autumn Book Club. It is a fantastic vote of confidence in the choices made by Richard and Judy, and in the prominence which WHSmith gives to their promotion. Nothing is more satisfying for a writer than to receive the plaudits of his or her readers. I am honoured and humbled.”

Here’s some more press about  The Black House 

“thrilling …bleak, wild, atmospheric novel …400 pages of pitch-perfect dialogue and creepy, spine-tingling storytelling.” - The Scotsman

“…beautifully written, haunting and powerful …an outstanding page-turning murder mystery”  – The Independent (Ireland)

“unique and cutting edge …probably like nothing you have read before.”
The Big Thrill

If anyone pays attention to the Currently Reading picture on the right sidebar of my blog they have seen that it says I have been reading The Lewis Man. Obviously that is not the case. The Lewis Man is the second of the Lewis Trilogy which begins with The Black House. While it has been published to rave reviews in Europe it will not be published in the US until January 2013 and I can’t wait!

 

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Book 34 for 2012 – The Prophet – Michael Koryta

Book 34 for 2012 is the latest from Michael Koryta The ProphetI have read a couple of the books in the Lincoln Perry  series and really liked the series! I also started one of Koryta’s stand-alone novels So Cold the River, got bogged down in the middle, and never finished it, so I’ve stayed away from some of his other books, passing them up for other reads. Well, I’m sorry that I have and will need to go back and make up for that after reading The Prophet. 

The Prophet revolves around brothers Adam and Kent Austin. Twenty-two years ago, Austin was supposed to take his sister home from school, he didn’t, he went to be with his girlfriend, Chelsea who was leaving town. What could go wrong it was only three blocks. lots she didn’t make it! Several days later her body was found and a family was shattered forever. Twenty-two years later, Adam is marking time as a bail bondsman, while Kent is the successful head coach of their high school football team the Chambers Cardinals, who are on their way to an undefeated season and a state championship, that is until the girlfriend of the teams star receiver is found brutally murdered. Soon the murder is tied to the Austin brothers and Adam and Kent who through the years have not even spoken must now work together to not only solve this crime, but deal with the memories of their sister!

The book was a couldn’t put down page turner for me, with characters that I think will stay with me for a long time! It was a starred Kirkus review. From the review:

Friday Night Lights meets In Cold Blood in this powerful tale of distant brothers whose torment over the murder of their sister when they were teens is compounded by the murder of another targeted teenage girl–a killing one of the brothers is determined to avenge even if that means committing murder himself.

Author Elin Hilderbrand says:

A delicious read, intricately woven, with characters who are impossible to forget. Michael Koryta excites and satisifes on every level. 

So check out The Prophet. As for me,  The Cypress House and The Ridge that have been added to my to be read list!!

 

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Book 33 of 2012 – Rebuild the Dream – Van Jones

Book No. 33 of 2012 is Rebuild the Dream by Van Jones.  You may remember Van from his stint in the Obama administration as, Special Adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality , before he was driven from the White House because of his beliefs and actions in his early years. Since then the Yale Law graduate has been busy building his grassroots organization – Rebuild the Dream. In addition he has authored this fine book. The aim of this book is to provide a framework for building a coalition that can Rebuild the Dream for ALL Americans! Here’s the preamble of A Contract for the American Dream.

We, the American people, promise to defend and advance a simple ideal: liberty and justice . . . for all. Americans who are willing to work hard and play by the rules should be able to find a decent job, get a good home in a strong community, retire with dignity, and give their kids a better life. Every one of us – rich, poor, or in-between, regardless of skin color or birthplace, no matter their sexual orientation or gender – has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is our covenant, our compact, our contract with one another. It is a promise we can fulfill – but only by working together.

Now back to Rebuild the Dream! The book is divided into three sections. In the first section Jones discusses the three movements that have developed over the last six years. First, the movement that elected Barack Obama the first black President of the United States. Next, The Tea Party movement, and finally the Occupy and 99% Movements. Jones analyzes the success and failures of each of these movements. In the second section, Jones develops and discusses The Heart Space/Head Space grid which highlights the emotional or non-rational dimension of social change. He also discusses the roles that villains, threats,heroes, vision and patriotism have in moving the American public. In the last section, Jones provides possible pathways towards creating a movement that is powerful enough to rescue the 99%!  Here’s what some others have said about the book and about Van Jones!

“Van Jones is back with a message for disappointed progressives, Occupy Wall Street and other ‘post-‘Hope’ Democrats still looking to President Barack Obama for the change they voted for in 2008: Get over it. . . . Jones’ new book, “Rebuild the Dream,” [is] his blueprint for grassroots action to restore the economy as well as attempt to turn Obama into the kind of president they want. The book is a companion piece to Jones’ activities since leaving the White House — and his new rock-star status within the progressive movement.”
—Politico

“Van Jones, one of the most effective organizers and strategists on the left, is out with a new book. Rebuild the Dream, which debuted last week on the New York Times bestseller list… seeks to harness the insurgent energies expressed by the Occupy movement into lasting institutional reform.”
—Rick Perlstein, Rolling Stone

“Van Jones is an American treasure … one of the few Americans in recent years to have generated powerful new ideas that are creating more jobs here.”
—Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President, on CNN.com

So read the book! Visit Rebuild the Dream.com  and sign A Contract for the American Dream, get inspired and maybe over the next four years we can move America forward and set about really – Rebuilding the American Dream!

 

 

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Book 32 of 2012 – John Scalzi – Redshirts

Book 32 of 2012 is a bit of a departure from my normal reading, kind of a throwback to an earlier era when I read a lot of science fiction. The book Redshirts by John Scalzi is actually a semi-mystery. Not a murder mystery, more of a why are all the little people getting killed mystery!

When Ensign Andrew Dahl is assigned to Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, he is thrilled! He was assigned to the xenobiology lab, and would have a chance to serve on “Away Missions”, along with the ship’s senior officers. He soon discovers that on every “Away Mission” the ships officers face some kind of deadly confrontation, while some members of the senior crew , particularly Lieutenant Kerensky get badly wounded. They always seem to survive, while one low-ranking member of the crew is killed!

Dahl soon learns, that one of the crew members actually monitors the movement of the senior crew, so that other members can hide to avoid being selected for the missions. In an attempt to discover what’s happening, Dahl makes contact with the elusive Jenkins, whose theory is the that ship is actually…….That sets Dahl and his friends on a mission to save his ship mates!!

John Scalzi is a terrific writer and blogger. His blog Whatever is great (Note to self read blog more often) The first Scalzi book I read was Old Man’s War, which I loved. I followed that quickly with The Ghost Brigades also great, then I got sidetracked and  The Last Colony is still on my to be read pile!

But back to Redshirts, which is a funny and cleverly written book, that keeps your interest up to the touching ending! Here’s what some others have said about the book:

“I can honestly say I can’t think of another book that ever made me laugh this much. Ever” Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind”

Scalzi takes apart the whole Star Trek universe and puts it back together for more plausibly – and a lot funnier , too”  - Levi Grossman, author of The Magician

So check out Redshirts or for that matter any John Scalzi book and enjoy!!

 

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Book 31 of 2012 – Wild Fire – Nelson DeMille

 

So it’s been 22 years since I read my first and only Nelson DeMille book The Charm School, and in the intervening years DeMille introduced the main character in Book 31 of 2012 John Corey. Book 31 is Nelson DeMille’s 2006 release Wildfire. To be precise, John Corey was first introduced in DeMille’s 1997 novel Plum Island. Wildfire is Book 4 in the series. Corey is an ex-NYC Homicide Detective working as a special contract agent for the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force, under the supervision of his wife FBI Agent Kate Mayfield.

In this installment, John and Kate are sent to the Adirondacks to investigate the disappearance of their colleague and friend Harry Muller. Harry was sent to perform survellience on the Custer Hill Club an exclusive hunting lodge whose members include some of America’s most powerful business, military and government leaders.  Prior to his disappearance, Harry is captured and forced to sit through an emergency meeting of the Custer Hill Club’s executive board as they make plans to active a US government retaliation plan known only as Wild Fire! Wild Fire involves nukes and ELF waves and John and Kate have to figure out the plan to be launched by the Club’s leader Bain Maddox before the it’s implemented, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance!

Again, this is my first meeting with John Corey, whose antics leave both his wife and his supervisor at their wit’s end. I really enjoyed his character and look forward to going back to Book 1 in the series Plum Island and catching up on Corey’s other adventures! Overall the book had a lot more humor than I thought it would have and just the right amount technology and policy injected into the story to teach me something and to scare me! Here’s what DeMille says about the book:

“This work of fiction is based on a rumor, repeated on the Internet about a government plan very much like the one I call Wild Fire. Hopefully, the story I am about to tell will play out only in these pages….”

If you want to start at Book 1 and you have a Kindle, the Kindle version of Plum Island   is only 99 cents!!

 

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A Happiness Project Update and Books 28 and 29 of 2012

So I’ve learned one thing during the first month of my happiness project, I suck at keeping track of my resolutions by marking a chart each day!! But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been working on the resolutions.  Over the last 20 days, I’ve been exercising regularly, running three times a week and trying to eat a little better. I’ve had whole wheat bagels with cream cheese a couple of times for breakfast and started putting walnuts back on my cereal in the morning, I also switched to natural waffles!

Additionally, I’ve tossed, stored and reorganized, including making a start at getting rid of some paperback books that I know I’ll never read! gasp! I also took down a bookshelf in my room and am going to put it back up where it will be kinda’ less noticeable! The main reason for the move is that I think always seeing those books that I want to read and never get to does not make me happy!!

Let’s see I’ve tackled a couple of nagging tasks including getting the rest of my mom’s stuff from the home ! What I haven’t done well at is going to bed earlier, but I have been acting and then being more energetic!

In addition to  all the above  also finished two books this week that will hopefully have an impact on my happiness! Book 28 of the year was The Evelyn Wood Seven-Day Speed Reading and Learning Program Stanley D. Frank. I bought this book at Barnes and Noble the other week. It was in the 75% off bin – total cost of the book $1.86! (See the price of the book already made me happy) I’ve looked at this book for a while but never bought it. Anyway, the theory is that something that would make me happy would be the ability to read faster, that way maybe I could get to read some of those books on the soon to be relocated bookshelves!!! A lot of this book had to do with the Learning Program and would be most helpful if I was still in school, but hey you never know, maybe I’ll create my own course or maybe something on-line. The tips on how to speed read were good and with practice I think that I can greatly improve my overall reading speed whether I can get of the 800-900 words a minute range I don’t know, but I’ll be happy trying!!

 

Book 29 for 2012 is Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: 10 proven ways your favorite music can revolutionize your health, memory, organization, alertness and more. written by Galina Mindlin, MD, PHD. an assistant professor of Psychology at Columbia, Don Durousseau, MBA a cognitive neuroscientist and author Joseph Cardillo, PHD in the words of Sting…

Your Playlist shows you how to use your favorite songs to enhance your overall mental and physical performance. This book provides an easy and effective way to bring positive change into your everyday life.

Using some of the ideas in the book I’ve already started to make some playlists for different activities, one to calm me down, lots of R. Carlos Nakai and Gary Burton with a little contemplative folk music thrown in. The other is designed to pick me up with a few tracks from Greensky Bluegrass, Ten Years After, and Faces! I look forward to making my next one for memory, with lots of songs that have a deep personal connection and positive memories associated with them, like “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” and “Morning Has Broken” from our wedding or “The Stranger Song” by Leonard Cohen associated with our first date, and “Elvira” from the Oak Ridge Boys associated with my oldest son dancing when he was little! So I really look forward to rounding out that playlist and moving on to others!!  The one bad thing is that the book is a library book…but I do have birthday money at Amazon???

 

 

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