Friday, August 20, 2010

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a wonderful story. This book is very rich in Afghan culture and traditions. It goes through several decades including the take-over from the Taliban. The characters find themselves faced with many challenges that wars and killing brings. Throughout the book the characters show amazing strength, love and devotion to each other and to their war-torn country. This book is well written and well-worth reading.

Watered your mind? yes e
"61 Hours" by Lee Child

This cliffhanger follows Reacher, the hero of many of Child's novels, as he assists the police of a frozen, frigid South Dakota town after being stranded there by an accident. Fully developed and interesting characters held my attention while events seem to spin out of control. A strange but somehow believable climax enthralled me. Another winner from this prolific author.

Watered your mind? yes e

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Diana: A Tribute" by Tim Graham

This book about Diana was interesting because Tim Graham has watched Diana from the beginning of her public life- to her tragic end-

Watered your mind? yes e
"The Sheen on the Silk" by Anne Perry

I wonder if all the information is based in fact or just sounds good- the book list at the end looks very heavy- Very very different from her other books.

Watered your mind? yes e
"The Search" by Iris Johansen

It starts off interesting, goes a little slow. But then stick with it because it is so inspiring with determination and mystery, you won't put it down until the last page. Very good.

Watered your mind? yes. b
"The Maze" by Catherine Coulter

This book keeps you moving from page to page. Each one seems a suspect but you won't find out until the end. An excellent mystery with some romance and lots of twists. A great read. Excellent!!

Watered your mind? yes b
"The Taken" by Inger Ash Wolfe

It's good to read a book about a police woman in her 60's who is as sharp as a tack and gets the job done, even while recuperating from back surgery. Just goes to show you we're not getting older just better. Very Good.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Silencing Sam" by Julie Kramer

Very Good!

Watered Your mind? yes b

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Hannah's List" by Debbie Macomber

Definitely a woman's story. Although some characters from the Blossom Street books are mentioned, this is the story of a widower who is trying to resume his life style when he receives a letter written by his deceased wife a year after her death. It was a pleasure to follow his journey while following his wife's suggestion. A "feel-good" book.

Watered your mind? yes e
"The Search" by Nora Roberts

A good read, a mixture of romance and mystery. Good character development and developing suspense. The author also included - painlessly - dog training and search-and-rescue teams using canines.

Watered your mind? yes e
"The Wild Marquis" by Miranda Neville

This is a regency historical with an interesting and different plot. Aside from the budding romance, there is a hint of mystery and a great deal of information on book collecting to the extent of addiction. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

Watered your mind? yes e
"Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady" by Diane Gaston

This is a story set in Regency England, but what makes it different and interesting is that the characters are not members of the elite, but ordinary persons (an actress, a painter.) The characters are well-drawn and some details from the Napolionic War are woven seemlessly into the story.

Watered your mind? yes e
"The Ninth Judgment" by James Patterson

The Women's Murder Club is one of my favorite story themes. Even though there was less "club" in this plot, it helped tie the threads of two mysteries together. This is the first mystery I can recall that I was glad a perpetrator "escaped" ; I was glad that justice was served in the second case. This was a quick, interesting read and ended with an enticing situation which makes me anxious for the next volume in the series.

Watered your mind? yes e

Friday, August 13, 2010

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson

This book was great. I couldn't put it down. This book was a satisfying end to Larsson's trilogy. Lisbeth Salander was one of the most original characters I have encountered in a work of fiction. She and Mikael Blomkvist made a great team. I will never forget them or this book.

Watered your mind? yes e
"American Music" by Jane Mendelsohn

This book was interesting because it was different. As Honor, a physical therapist, massages the back of an injured soldier, all these images and stories of people from the past emerge to haunt both of them. The stories are intriguing and mysterious, and the author is adept at writing great descriptions.

Watered your mind? yes e
"Cheerful Weather for the Wedding" by Julia Strachey

This book is a funny romantic comedy which tells the story of the wedding day of Dolly Thatcham to Owen Bigham. As the guests arrive, Dolly's mother absentmindedly assigns all of them to the same room- one of the guests constantly has mismatched socks, and Dolly drinks too much rum and tries to hide the bottle in the folds of her dress. In a way, the story is bittersweet and has an unexpected twist at the end.

Watered your mind? yes e
"Queen Victoria's Descendants" by Marlene Eilers

This is interesting because it shows how Queen Victoria can really be called "Grandma of Europe." It also shows the good and the bad, that can be traced throughout Europe - the family ties are very interlocked - never realized to the extent they are.

Water your mind? Yes. e
"Countdown" by Deborah Wiles

This book was great. It's an intelligently written docu-novel about the 1960's. The author has written an engaging story about 11 year old Franny Chapman and her family. Throughout the book there are excerpts from speeches, pictures, headlines, and song lyrics that all relate to the 1960's.
I would recommend this book to anyone, and for people who lived during the 1960's it's a must read. Luckily, for fans of this book, this is a trilogy, so I anxiously await the next two books.

Watered your mind? yes! e
"Sizzling Sixteen" audiobook by Janet Evanovich

I don't know where she draws her characters from but Janet Evanovich creates characters you can almost visualize. I enjoyed this audiobook as I have all of her others in the Stephanie Plum series. There is a mystery to be solved with laughs along the way.

Watered your mind? yes e
"The Broker" audiobook by John Grisham

The author builds the story slowly but the ending is worth waiting for. Marco Lazari aka Joel Bachman is the Broker and numerous parties want him dead including the CIA. How he gets out of Italy is an interesting tale. This the 4th Grisham work I've listened to and definitely one of his better novels.

Watered your mind? yes e
"Cleopatra" by Duane W. Roller

I discovered several new pieces of historical information - I did not know before - the Battle of Aktion, her visit to Greece- the book was very well written, also explained many events rather than just stating that they happened!

Watered your mind? yes e

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Heart of the Matter" by Emily Giffin

This is a beautifully written, emotionally powerful story. It will resonate with every woman who has ever been cheated on by someone she loves and trusts.
Emily Giffin's skill to tell the story of emotions beyond control, the ensuing pain, and the ability to understand and forgive is outstanding.
You won't forget these characters and their hope for the future for a long time. Although the book is fiction, it will go straight to the heart of anyone who understands from experience just how fragile life can be.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Victoria and Albert" Edited by Jonathan Marsden

This is an excellent book. There is a great deal of historical fact - Also a great view of the art and culture and social history of the time of Victoria and Albert. Especially interesting, their very early years together. A very, very intersting book!!

Watered your mind? yes e
"New Jersey, a History" by Thomas Fleming

This book is part of a series on the states and the nation, published for the Bicentennial. It tells the history of NJ from late 17th century thru the early 1970's. NJ, as small as it is, was once East Jersey and West Jersey. It is a story of differing loyalties, ethnicities, religions etc. NJ's view of our ties to Britain was totally different from that of New England. We were not all that keen on breaking with Britain. Fleming shows us that the squabbling and disagreements have never ended with the state and yet in spite of the diversity and quarreling, and the many mistakes of the past, he says that perhaps our state motto should be "divided we stand." This book , in spite of being only 205 pages long, gives an excellent overview of our state's history.
While reading this book I also watched the DVD called "New Jersey Legacy," a ten part documentary covering the 1600's until modern times. These half hour programs by public television were not make to go with the book, but they complemented each other, especially the one program about Jersey City politics and the boss of bosses, Frank Hague. That episode was narrated by Thomas Fleming, whose father was a ward leader at that time.

Watered your mind? yes! e
"Lucid Intervals" by Stuart Woods

This is a mystery with plenty of excitement and danger to make it a page turner. It is by a NY Times best selling author. It has Stone Barrington as a main character. It takes place in NY in which Stone is a lawyer and also in Maine at his summer home. It is about his two clients; one is Herbie Fisher who has just won the lottery and the other is Felicity, who happens to work for the British government. It has a great deal of intrigue.

Watered your mind? yes b
"The Taming of the Duke" by Eloisa James

I really enjoyed this light book. Rafe was a very interesting hero - one who battled a serious problem, alcoholism, and came out of it alive and stronger. Imogen is the perfect mate for him - strong, witty, and unafraid to tell him exactly what is on her mind. The side characters are all charming and dearly familiar, reappearing from past novels. The best thing about James' novels are that she makes time in the story for the lives of other characaters to unfold alongside the main ones - and we, as readers can glimpse into their lives as well.

Watered your mind? yes e
"Evidence of the Afterlife" by Jeffrey Long, M.D.

I love these books and this was a good one. A few too many statistics in some chapters, but first hand excerpts were fascinating. A fast read. Held my interest throughout.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Whiplash" by Catherine Coulter

This is a mystery featuring FBI agent Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock his wife. It is an exciting book that is two mysteries occuring- one about the attempts on a life of a senator and one about a cancer drug and its shortage. It was an interesting and exciting book that kept my interest from page one to the end.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Infinities" by John Banville

A fantastic allegory. Banville is a very intellectual writer. I appreciated the journey, but I don't know if I truly understood all the "Gods" and "Mortals" rules all the time.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Almost Wanted man" by John LeCarre

John LeCarre's talent starts with his excellent writing. He draws the reader into knowing his characters. The plot weaves from them.

Watered your mind? yes b
"All You Need is Love" by Carole Matthews

Carole Matthews is one of my favorite British authors. She always delivers a fun read - and she has a good website.

Watered your mind? yes b
"The Woods" by Harlan Coben

Six teenagers, three girls and three boys, go into the woods near their summer camp. Two come out to rejoin their families. Within a short time, two are found dead in different parts of the woods, a half a mile apart. Two have disappeared, presumed dead. Their graves have never been found. The dense woods is large. None of the families will ever be the same again. They go their separate ways.
Twenty years later, the one surviving boy, Paul Copeland, now a successful county prosecutor for Essex County, NJ tells the story. His sister's grave, which his father sought obsessively, has never been found. Two NY police detectives have come to NJ to question Palu's connection to a recent murder victim, a man roughly Paul's age, who had papers on him linking him to Paul. The man's name is totally unfamiliar to Paul. And so the quest begins. What really happened that summer night? Whatever became of Paul's girlfriend, Lucy, the other survivor?
As soon as you think you have the story figured out, something else is revealed, and it is highly plausible. The plot twists and turns and this is a book that is hard to put down.

Watered your mind? yes e
"Learning to Breathe" by Karen White

Definitely summer reading. Kind of hokey, but the mystery of who would marry who, and who was whose mother/son/daughter kept me reading until the end.
Main character Brenna. 1) Mother died when she was 6. 2) had a mean father. 3) lost her high school "true love" when he went to college. 4) had four much older sisters who raised her. Ya da, Ya da......

Caused a drought. b
"The Forty Rules of Love" by Elif Shafak

The more praise that I give for this book, it would still not be enough. I have read thousands of books in my life, but this is one of the few that you will truly remember for all of your life as the one that changed an aspect of your life. I constantly had to put it down to grasp and let soak in the poetry hidden with the prose. This is a masterfully told "story within a story" that will make you cry, laugh, and come to learn a bit about your own self. A must read for sure!

Watered your mind? yes yes yes! e
"Pursuit of Honor" by Vince Flynn

Vince Flynn brings fast-paced action and consistently good "reads."
The plots make sense and are really enjoyable.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Corduroy Mansions" by Alexander McCall Smith

This is a story about London and the cast of characters who live in a building in this part of London. It is interesting and told with humor. There is a clever dog who is also a character. It is enjoyable.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Brooklyn" by Colm Toibin

Even though this book was highly praised by the critics, I thought it started out very slowly. It got such good reviews that I kept reading. It was divided into 4 parts and the story got more interesting in parts 3 and 4.
I like Eilis and Tony, but I didn't like where the author took the story between Eilis and Jim. I also had mixed feelings about the ending.

Watered your mind? yes e
"Winter Garden" by Kristin Hannah

While I have read all the novels written by Kristin Hannah, I have to say that this one is my favorite. I couldn't put it down. It was so moving and I got so invested in the characters. The story Anya tells her daughters had me riveted to my chair. I am amazed that each and every one of Kristin's books is very different. You never know what kind of story is next. She is a very talented author.
A slight comment also - I always look at the cover of the book, and sometimes it helps me to choose. The cover has to be pleasing to the eye for me. This one was beautiful.
This might be a novel, but I feel like I got a history lesson, which I could use as it wasn't my favorite subject in school.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Wrecked" by Carol Higgins Clark

This was a mystery using the same detective team that is associative with her mysteries. It is the first anniversary of Jack and Ragan Reilly. They go to Cape Cod and stay in his parent's home to have a quiet weekend even though it is April and nobody is around. It is set in a spring storm, which hits the Cape. A woman who has rented a neighbor's house for the winter disappears. No one knows who she is so Regan and Jack look into whom she is. It is light and a great vacation read.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Back on Blossom Street" by Debbie MacComber

This book ws a follow up to the "Shop on Blossom Street." Again, it was a pleasant read with some mild drama. It was nice because there was no violence or questionable content. An easy quick summer read.

Watered your mind? yes e
"A Little Bit Wicked" by Kristin Chenoweth

First let me say that having seen Kristin Chenoweth in the lead role of a play on Broadway called "Promises Promises," I had to go to the Internet to find out all about her. So I took out this book that she wrote with Joni Rodgers. It was fantastic! She is so funny and adorable that I wish I could meet her. I'll be looking for her other works in TV and movies. This tiny 4 ft. 11 inch dynamo with a very powerful voice can sing, dance and act.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Potent Pleasures" by Eloisa James

One of my favorite Eloisa James novels! I loved the dark and brooding hero paired with the gorgeous but down-to-earth heroine. The love story between them was more realistic than most romance novels seem to be-- with moments of sweetness and moments of anger and misunderstanding. Good dialogue and intelligent writing overall.

Watered your mind? yes e
"The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo" by Stieg Larsson

Interesting and "different" characters. The story was original in its mixture of mystery and life in a small area of Sweden. (The Swedish film was excellent and Isabel was brilliantly portrayed)

Watered your mind? yes b
"Alexandra Gone" by Anna McPartlin

Another favorite author of mine. This one from Dublin, offers up a mystery this time. Interesting characters- good story. I've read all her books and enjoyed them.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Fever Dream" by Preston & Child

This book ws exciting! It was everything I hoped for from Preston & Child as well as the lead character Pendergast. The story was filled with suspense! At no point could I predict what was going to happen next. If you like suspense, unusal subject matter and a clever lead character this book is for you!

Watered your mind? yes e
"Innocent" by Scott Turow

This book was a sequel to his other book, which was written a few years ago called "Presumed Innocent." The lawyer in both was tried for murder of his girlfiend and later his wife. His wife in the first book admits to him that she killed his girlfriend and he does not tell authorities. In the second book the same PA tries him for the death of his wife. The story line keeps moving.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Much Ado About You" by Eloisa James

Definitely not my favorite tale from the Essex Sisters Quartet! I read the series out of order, and was very much looking forward to reading about Tess and Lucius. However, the story failed to catch my attention, and it took me days to finish the book, whereas it only takes me hours when I am truly captivated by a story.

Caused a drought. e
"The Light of Day" by Eric Ambler

Haven't read Ambler in many years. I realize he's wonderful. His characters are extremely well drawn. But they are not your typical "heroes." What makes them unique has a lot to do with survival rather than noble deeds.

Watered your mind? yes b

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Lowcountry Summer" by Dorothea Benton Frank

Dot Frank is a wonderfully talented author who writes mostly about the lowcountry, entertaining the reader throughout with witty tales, humerous banter, and always an enfolding plot that you can't wait to be resolved. There is lots of laughter and a few tears in this book. Her characters are fascinating. All her books are wonderful. You can always count on her for a great read.
I met her once at a book signing- fabulous lady!

Watered your mind? yes b
"Far Cry" by John Harvey.

Very good page turner.

Watered your mind? yes b
"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson

Okay, but not the winner of his first book. There seemed to be a lot of "shock" repetition. Character nuances were lost. Comic book "Wonder Woman." A pastiche of his first two books.

Caused a drought. b
"One Dance With the Duke" by Tessa Dare

I enjoy Tessa Dare's books, especially her series before this one- but I can't say that I enjoyed the first installment of her stud club series. The characters, especially the Duke, seemed stilted and under developed throughout the story. I was not left very satisfied at the end.

Caused a draught e
"Family Ties" by Danielle Steel

The character of this book is a young bright architect who takes over her sisters children and raises them after her sister and husband die in an airplane crash. It is the story about her nieces, and nephew who are now grown and making their own life. She must learn to let go and at the same time be there for them. She has her career and must pick up her social life. This book takes place in New York, Paris and the Middle East. It is a good book to read and give you some information on how the Middle East influences the Muslim world.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Half Broke Horses" by Jeanette Walls

A wonderful memoir (written as a novel) of the author's Grandmother. The author had written a memoir of her own life entitled "Glass Walls."

Watered your mind? yes b
"Scarlet Nights" by Jude Deveraux

Not my favorite of the 3 Edilean Series so far (Lavendar Morning & Days of Gold are far better) but still enjoyable for a light summer read. More history is revealed about the mysterious older generation of this town while introducing members of the latest generation and their lives in small town Edilean, Virginia.

Watered your mind? yes. e
"Sizzling Sixteen" by Janet Evanovich

A good story, fun to read, many chuckles along the way. If you want an easy read & a few laughs along the way this is the book for you.

Watered your mind? yes b
"It All Began in Monte Carlo" by Elizabeth Adler

What a good read, very entertaining and fast.

Watered your mind? yes b
"The First Tycoon" by T. J. Stiles

A truly comprehensive biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Full of detail and well written. Everything you could want to know about the man and his time.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Die Twice" by Andrew Grant

If you're into plots, deception and traitors this is a good read.

Watered your mind? yes b
"The Hole We're In" by Gabrielle Zevin

Watered your mind? yes. b
"Night Passage" by Robert B. Parker

Jesse Stone has been dismissed by the LAPD because of his escalating drinking problem after the breakup of his marriage. Surprisingly, even to Jesse, he is recruited to be police chief in Paradise, Mass. It is especially surprising, because he was drunk during the interview.
As you get to know Paradise, it doesn't live up to its name. There is an armed white supremacist militia, a triple homicide, a town run by a single man with his own twisted agenda, the town psychopath who has set his sights on Jesse, gun running and much more.
Parker's chapters are short, the language is to the point and yet the plot and the characters are well developed and the story moves along quickly, mainly because the book is hard to put down.

Watered your mind? Yes. e
"Worst Case" by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

This is a mystery and murder story. It is set in New York with Michaael Bennett as the detective. Since he has 10 children of his own he cannot understand how a person can kill kids (only rich ones), which are kidnapped and later killed. The FBI is involved and Mike and the FBI agent get involved in a love life. This is a thriller and interesting.

Watered your mind? yes b
"The Burning Wire" by Jeffery Deaver

Watered your mind? yes b
"Their Eyes were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston

Enjoyed this book! Found it in the "classics" section at Borders. Had to get used to the dialect in first few pages, but no problem after that. Story of Janie finding her real self and love, over-coming obstacles. A good "woman's" story. Surprised it was written in 1937!

Watered your mind? yes b
"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Watered your mind? yes b
"Four Souls" by Louise Erdrich

Four Souls is a story of revenge and its unintended consequences. It centers around Fleur Pillager, an Ojibwe Indian who seeks revenge against John James Mauser, a lumber baron whom she holds responsible for the loss of Indian land and the destruction of the forest in northern Minnesota. Although Four Souls is part of a series and the reader would understand a lot of the story better if he or she had read the earlier books, the book can be read, understood, and appreciated on its own.
The story is told by three characters - Nanapush, a tribal elder, Margaret Kashpaw, Nanapush's common law Indian wife and Polly Elizabeth Gheen, the spinster sister-in-law of John Hauser. Fleur is not the only one whose emotions lead to actions with unintended consequences. Nanapush and Margaret seem to be out to destroy each other even though they actually love each other very much. Fleur's vengeance verges on self destruction.
The story is hauntingly beautiful, shocking, heartbreaking, and funny. It takes the reader through the twists and turns and the ups and downs of life. People are wealthy. They lose everything. People we dislike at first meeting we come to love. It is the story of life itself, beautifully told.

Watered your mind? Yes! e
"The New Christians" by Tony Jones

This book ws recommended by the Minister at my church to the whole congregation, to be followed by a series of discussion groups (not held yet.) It describes a movement among Christians called "emergent" that is rooted in in conversation, friendship and acceptance of all peoples. It is worldwide and relies not only on face-to-face conversation, but use of all the new communication methods email, facebook, blogs, twitter etc... available to a global community. It was interesting and I'm sure the discussion groups will be as well.

Watered your mind? yes b
"The Shop on Blossom Street" by Debbie Macomber

This was a pleasant summer read, somewhat predictable. The content was light with some "drama."

Watered your mind? yes e
"Where the God of Love Hangs Out" by Amy Bloom

The only book I had read written by Amy Bloom- a real winner - different.

Watered your mind? yes b
"The Three Weissmans of Westport" by Cathleen Schine

Dampened the mind... Formula without much interest-grabbing. b
"Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man" by Bill Clegg.

Watered your mind? yes. b
"Pleasure for Pleasure" by Eloisa James

This is the final installment of the Essex Sisters Series by Ms. James - and a conclusion that I was greatly looking forward to. The characters are well-known by now and I was very excited to finally see the Earl of Mayne meet his match. Wonderful characters, good plot, andd a sweet romance!

Watered your mind? Yes. e
"The Last Child" by John Hart

Very good mystery involving kidnapping.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Sizzling Sixteen" by Janet Evanovich

Enjoyed Stephanie Plum in this novel. Also Lulu is very funny. A good mystery with a few laugh out loud throughout the book.

Watered your mind? yes b
"Whiplash" by Catherine Coulter

Watered your mind? Yes b
"The 9th Judgement" by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

This book was a mystery and the story line kept moving. It is the story of Lindsey Boxer who is a policeman who is trying to save children and their mothers from being killed by a killer plus the murder of a movie star and a jewel thief. There is plenty of danger and action to help the mystery.

Watered Your Mind? Yes e
"Buckingham Palace Gardens" by Anne Perry

Watered your mind? Yes e