Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Pages: 261
Date: 30/12/2009
Grade: 4.5
Details: no. 7 Kinsey Milhone Mystery

I'm way behind o this series and I'm not sure why that is the case since I'm really enjoying these books. At least I own the next few in the series, so I won't have to go hunting when I want to read the next one.
This instalment starts on Kinsey's 33rd birthday, when three things happen.
The repairs on and renovation of Kinsey's apartment are finished and she gets to move back in.
She gets hired to find an old woman in the Mojave Desert.
And finally, she's informed that she's on Tyrone Patty's hit list and somebody has already been hired to kill her.
Unable to take the death threat completely seriously, Kinsey sets off in search of the old woman. A search that turns out to be complicated than expected and to have far reaching consequences.
The trip also brings home how serious the death threat actually is as Kinsey finds herself very close to an early end. A few more heart-stopping moments are to follow for Kinsey, but so is a very interesting bodyguard.
This was a fast paced, sexy and funny read for me. I really shouldn't let so much time pass between two books in this series.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Pages: 309
Date: 29/12/2009
Grade: 5
Details: Stand-alone

Before I start my review of this book, I should share the story of how it got to be in my possession in the first place.
I am a nightmare to buy books for. I need to keep lists for myself to make sure I don't bring home something I already own or have read. So, if it's hard for me, imagine what it must be like for my husband. Yet, Dermot likes his presents to be surprises, and this year he outdid himself because he succeeded not only in finding me a book I hadn't read yet, but also a book by an author I had never heard of before Christmas day.
Apparently he walked into the Cavan Book Centre (a secondhand bookstore) and asked the lady there for help; he needed a book for his wife, who was really into murder and had read close to everything known to men. The lady told him she thought she had just what he wanted, but is was in her home. If he could just hang around for about three hours, she'd pick the book up and sell it to him. So, Dermot hang around Cavan Town for three hours and the lady rushed home on her break in a determined effort by both of them to get me a good and totally unexpected book for Christmas.
Boy, did they succeed.
I have a confession to make though. I'm a huge fan of mysteries and thrillers, but in general and for reasons I don't quite understand I'm not usually into legal thrillers, which is exactly what this is. So I was a bit worried when I started The Defense. After all the thought and effort that had gone into getting me the book, I really wanted to love it, but would I?
The answer to that question, as my grade indicates, is an unqualified YES!
This is the story of defense attorney Joseph Antonelli who hasn't lost a case in his career and has no qualms about getting the guilty off. After all, that's his job.
When he receives a phone call from Judge Leopold Rifkin, a good friend of his, asking Antonelli to defend a man who has been accused of raping his young stepdaughter, he takes the case and does what he does best; he gets the man off, well aware that the man is almost certainly guilty.
For years afterwards, Antonelli doesn't give the case another though, and then a murder is committed. And although he doesn't know it, that is the moment Antonelli's past comes back to haunt him and his friends. Subsequent events will upset several lives.
This was not a fast-paced, thrill a minute sort of book. In fact, it is a rather hard and cynical look at the American legal system. The author worked as a defense attorney for ten years before turning to writing, so it's hard not to think that there has to be, at the very least, a grain of truth in that point of view.
A point of view that is very close to the reasons I had for not wanting to be a practising lawyer, even though I have a law degree.
The other amazing thing about this book is that although there's very little in the way of action or cliff hangers, I still couldn't stop myself from turning the pages in a desperate need to find out exactly what was going on, and how it would all end.
Now I'll have to find more books by this author, and soon.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Pages: 249
Date: 26/12/2009
Grade: 5
Details: Non Fiction

What is it about Mitch Albom and dying men?
Why is it that they turn to him, or he to them, in their final days, months, years?
Whatever the reason, Albom is getting a lot out of these meetings and talks as far as insight, wisdom and hope is concerned, despite the ultimate heartbreak at the end. And I, as a reader of his books, am grateful that on both occasions (in "Tuesdays with Morrie" and in this book) he decided to share his experiences. I can't read his books without a notebook and pen close by to write down passages I want to remember.
This book starts with the Rabbi from Mitch's old hometown asking him to write his eulogy. The Rabbi is 82 at the time of the request and a man Mitch has always been in awe of. Reluctant to grant the request and unsure why he was asked in the first place, Mitch insists that he has to get to know the man better first.
And so begin eight years of talks about life, death, and faith. Years during which  Mitch doesn't only get to know the Rabbi better, but also starts to question the disconnect between him and the faith of his childhood.
During this time, Mitch also meets Henry Covington, former criminal, drug addict and jailbird and now Pastor of a dilapidated Church in Detroit where he tries to look after the poor and homeless.
The two religious men couldn't be more different, but between them they teach the author a powerful lesson; Just what can be achieved with a little faith.
I found lots of food for thought in this highly inspirational book.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Pages: 424
Date: 24/12/2009
Grade: 4.5

This was John Boyne's first novel, and its a very well written debut, definitely an indication of what was to come; numerous good novels.
This is the story of Matthieu Zela, as told by himself in 1999, over 250 years after he was born in Paris.
In 1758 the teenager Matthieu Zela flees Paris with his young half brother Tomas, after having witnessed his stepfather's execution for murdering Matthieu's mother.
On the boat to England Matthieu meets Dominique, who will be his first love, the cause of several difficult situation and the first of several doomed affairs.
Before the 18th Century ends, Matthieu discovers that he has stopped aging, and so he becomes a witness to history. He is present for the French Revolution, the Wall Street crash, and McCarthy-ism to name just a few events. And through all that time he's keeping an eye on a succession of nephews, all called Tomas or a variation on that name, and all dying at an early age, living only long enough to produce their successor.
Now, with Matthieu about to enter his fourth century, Matthieu tells his story as he resolves that this time he'll safe his nephew from an early grave.
This was a fascinating story, very imaginative and with lots of interesting tidbits without turning into a history lesson.
And I really liked the ending, which seemed to point a change in Matthieu's fortunes, but left it up to the reader to decide if that's actually the case.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Pages: 374
Date: 16/12/2009
Grade: 5-
Details: no. 16 Alex Cross Mystery

Yes! This is Alex Cross as I like him. A mystery that is close to his heart and his private and family life are in the picture as well. And it has the sort of ending that  made me wonder "what if" and what would have happened afterwards.
Alex is having a birthday party with his family and Bree when he receives a phone call informing him that the remains of his niece, Caroline, have been found. Caroline had died a horrific death, and Alex is determined to find whoever is responsible.
He soon discovers that Caroline was a call girl working in a very exclusive club from which other people have disappeared as well.
Almost from the start of his investigation though, Alex runs into obstacles. But it isn't until he's invited to The White House that he realizes what he might be up against. He might be dealing with a murderer who is above the law, and surrounded by people who will do almost anything to keep the secret safe.
And while this difficult investigation is in full swing, and should be getting his full attention, 90 year old Nana gets seriously ill, adding a different layer of fear and stress.
A wonderful page turner and a joy to read.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Pages: 499
Date: 14/12/2009
Grade: 5-

It doesn't happen often that a book with a main character I dislike as much as I did Dr. Faraday in this one, ends up with a mark this high. But Faraday being the way he is, is essential to the story. Had he been a different character, this would have been a different book.
The time is just after WW II when Dr. Faraday is called out to Hundreds Hall, and old Georgian house in decline where the last members of the Ayres family are trying to keep things going in some form.
But as much as the Ayres are struggling with the changing times, their past and tensions in the family, something else seems determined to destroy them.
As disaster after disaster befalls the family they become convinced that house is possessed and determined to harm them. Faraday, being the cool headed scientist that he is, is convinced the family is suffering from stress and imagining things.
But with the family and the house falling apart, even Faraday has to question if it's possible that the house or something in it is out to cause harm.
This was a good ghost story, especially because there are no clear answers, leaving it up to the reader to draw their own conclusions as to what exactly has happened.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Pages: 337
Date: 11/12/2009
Grade: 4+

This book was send to me, together with another title by the same author, by Cindy M. a good online friend. I was very grateful with I received the books, and I'm even more grateful now because this is a good thriller.
It is the story of Josh Michaels, whose car is forced of the road and ends up in a river. It might have been an accident, except that when Josh looks back from his sinking car he sees the man driving the other car giving him the thumbs down gesture. Someone wants Josh dead, and he has no idea who or why, and the police don't believe him.
At the same time, someone from his far from faultless past, resurfaces in Josh's life, determined to punish him for pain caused.
With his marriage at risk and his life about to implode as well as "accidents" continuing to happen and killing others, Josh needs to find out who wants him dead and why, before it is too late.
Like I said, this was a good thriller. The only reason it didn't score higher is because it was made clear to the reader fairly early on who was behind the attempts, and why. I prefer my thrillers to either keep their secrets until the end, or come with a big twist in the tail.
This minor complaint doesn't stop me from looking forward to reading my other book by Simon Wood in the near future.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Pages: 279
Date: 06/12/2009
Grade: 4.5

"You can always start again, all it takes is a new thread."
This book made me wonder when you'd call a book "chick-lit" and when it is a novel about women.
As a rule, I don't like chick-lit. I'm not quite sure why that is, although I think it has something to do with that genre seeming to formulaic, often appearing to be trying too hard for my liking.
Whereas a good novel (about women or otherwise) doesn't appear to be trying to be anything at all. It just is; a good story, with realistic characters, that you just want to know more about.
This is the story of Kate Robinson, who flees from Seattle to Ireland when her life falls apart. Having recently lost her mother and seen her relationship ended in the most cruel way, she needs to get away.
By accident she ends up in Glenmara, a village on the western edge of Ireland, slowly dying away.
When she meets the women who together make the most beautiful lace, Kate sees an opportunity to put Glenmara on the map and bring some badly needed income to the village.
But all is not plain sailing. Through work, love loss, strong opposition, personal tragedies and doubt, Kate and her newly found friends cling together to save the village as well as themselves.
A beautiful book that brought tears to my eyes on several occasions and left me feeling completely satisfied when I'd read the last words.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Pages: 380
Date: 04/12/2009
Grade: 4-
Details: no. 1 The Granville Family
              Large Print

This really was a bit of fluff, but quite enjoyable fluff. It also reminded me a bit of the "Cazalet Chronicles" by Elizabeth Jane Howard, although I seem to remember the Howard series as having a bit more depth and character development than this book.
The story in this book starts in 1935 when Rosie and Juliet Granville, the eldest two of five Granville daughters, are getting ready to make their debut.
Only a year apart in age, both girls are beautiful as well as members of a very wealthy family. A life long rivalry between the two girls gets even deeper once they enter society. And the pressure from their mother for them to make good marriages does nothing to ease the situation.
The girls attract attention from the start, but before long they find they are also facing heartbreak, scandal and unhappy marriages.
Meanwhile the world is gearing up for a war, and by the end of the book the start of WW II seems to guarantee that life will never be the same for any of the Granville's.
I liked this book enough to want to read the next two, provided I can find them in a library.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Pages: 352
Date: 02/12/2009
Grade: 4
Details: no. 4 Odd Thomas

The Odd Thomas books seem to be getting odder as the go on. But, Odd himself remains an endearing and funny character and the books are a delight to read. And that despite the fact that Odd keeps on finding himself up against the darkest forces imaginable. Although, it has to be said that there is little graphic detail in these books.
In this book Odd Thomas finds himself in Magic Beach, California. He was drawn there by the forces that govern his life, but after a month he still doesn't know why he is there. The dreams he is having are very disturbing and seem to predict a major disaster, but don't explain what lies ahead.
However, once he meets Annamaria, a very mysterious young pregnant woman with secrets and powers of her own, events start to unfold fast. Odd finds himself with only hours to stop a conspiracy more devastating than anything he could ever have imagined.
It's a shame there's no sign of a fifth Odd Thomas book coming anytime soon. The ending of the book seems to indicate that there is more to follow though. I hope that will prove to be the case.