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Baby Afghan for Tracy's Baby Boy

>> Sunday, April 29, 2007

main color - Lion Brand Baby Soft - Navy
border - Lion Brand Jamie - White


Lost Lake by Phillip Margolin

Publication Date: 2005
Genre: Mystery, Legal Thriller
Pages: 435

Margolin is a former attorney who lives here in Portland, Oregon. One of the things I enjoy about his books are the familiar local settings. This one is not as gory as some of his earlier books have been, and is more thriller than murder mystery.

From the back cover:

On a summer night in Portland, Oregon, violence erupts at a Little League game -- and attorney Ami Vergano watches in horror as the quiet, gentle artist she recently befriended does the unexpected and unthinkable . . .

In a cheap motel room in Washington, D.C., Vanessa Kohler -- ex-mental patient, supermarket tabloid reporter, and estranged daughter of a powerful general running for president -- views a news broadcast of the bizarre incident and believes she's found the only witness to a deadly conspiracy.

Caught between a possible madwoman and a confessed mass murderer, between reality and delusion, Ami races to unearth the terrible truth about dark events that may or may never have happened twenty years earlier in a secluded cabin on Lost Lake.

I think I changed my mind at least six times while reading this one about who was lying and who was telling the truth. I’ve really enjoyed most of Margolin’s books and a few have been just OK. This one was good at first, but in the last third seemed to be repeating itself a bit in rehashing the same parts of the story over again. I’d call this one a decent vacation type read, but I've read better by this author.


Finalizing Non Fiction Five Choices

>> Friday, April 27, 2007

The deadline is approaching and it's time to finalize my NF5 choices. First of all, thanks to my good friend Joy, over at Thoughts of Joy for sponsoring this one. I'm really looking forward to reading all the books on my list. This one is scheduled for May – September, so that gives me plenty of time to read the 5 I've scheduled and also a good chance of getting to the ones I've listed as possible bonus reads. There was no way I could whittle this list down to less than 10. I want to read all of these.

Planning to read:
Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris (I'm already planning to read this for the Chunkster Challenge so I'll overlap just this one book for both challenges)
The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai by John Tayman

Possible Bonus Reads:
Refuge Denied: The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust by Sarah Olgivie and Scott Miller


A Fountain Filled with Blood by Julia Spencer-Fleming

>> Thursday, April 26, 2007

Publication Date: 2003
Genre: Mystery series
Pages: 371

This is the second of a series I’m really enjoying. The main character is an unusual one for a mystery series. Clare Fergusson is a former Army helicopter pilot who is now an Episcopal priest in a small town in Northern New York. The local Police Chief, Russ VanAlstyne is both her friend and a complication in her life. This is a series that should not be read out of order.

This book opens with a couple of assaults on local men. Then a partner in the development firm that’s building a new and controversial resort outside of town is found dead. Is this a series of hate crimes directed at local gays, or is there something else going on? Reverend Fergusson and Chief VanAlstyne both help each other and get in each other’s way as they search for answers. Despite the gory sounding title (taken from an old hymn), it’s not a nightmare inducing gory book, just a good, well-written mystery with great main characters. Like the first one (In the Bleak Midwinter) the tension filled action near the end had me dreading the end of my lunch hour reading time because I didn’t want to put this down.

One of the things I like about this series is that even though Clare is a priest, they’re not preachy – it’s just a part of her character, and at times an amusing part.

“God,” she said, “I believe you brought me here to Millers Kill for a reason. But so far, I mostly seem to be screwing up my own life. Please help me out here. I need to know what it is I’m supposed to be doing.”

Somewhere beyond the open double doors, the phone rang.

Clare raised her eyebrows and rose from her seat on the porch steps. In her experience, God didn’t respond to prayer with a phone call outlining His thoughts and expectations, but she was willing to keep an open mind. She tossed the newspaper on the sofa and went into the kitchen to pick up the phone.

I also love Clare’s memories of her grandmother.

What had Russ said to her last night? “Your version of the truth”? There’s I’m right and there’s you’re right and there’s what’s right, her grandmother Fergusson had always said. You can’t have but one of them. Which one will it be? The only way she was ever going to be able to face Russ again was if she let go of “I’m right” and went looking for “what’s right.”

Good book, good series, I’m looking forward to reading the next one.


Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

>> Sunday, April 22, 2007

Publication Date: 1994
Genre: Historic Fiction, Romance, Time Travel
Pages: 1059

This is my 4th book for The Chunkster Challenge.

I really do enjoy this series. The combination of historic fiction, romance, and time travel is fun. I originally started reading this series in the early 90’s, when both Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber were the only ones published. I remember I had to wait for this one to become available in paperback before I bought my copy and read it. I eventually read as far as the 4th book in the series (Drums of Autumn). It took so long for The Fiery Cross to get to print in paperback (in 2002) that I decided that I would re-read the first four books in the series before moving on. I’ve re-read both Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber and thoroughly enjoyed them for the second time. Bookfool’s Chunkster Challenge inspired me to get on with it and re-read Voyager and then re-continue with the series.

It had been thirteen years since I read this and although I remembered a lot of what happened, there was a lot that I’d forgotten. There are some of the characters that I really enjoy (Claire and Jamie, of course, but also Fergus, Jenny and several others). I think I laughed more this time through. There is one beach wedding scene that made me giggle.

One passage I marked is what I see as Gabaldon’s defense of the lengths of her books. This comes in Chapter 11 during a discussion of books between two of the characters.

"True. I have heard the point made, though, that the novelist's skill lies in the artful selection of detail. Do you not suppose that a volume of such length may indicate a lack of discipline in such selection, and hence a lack of skill?"

Fraser considered, sipping the ruby liquid slowly.

"I have seen books where that is the case, to be sure," he said. "An author seeks by sheer inundation of detail to overwhelm the reader into belief. In this case, however, I think it isna so. Each character is most carefully considered, and all the incidents chosen seem necessary to the story. No, I think it is true that some stories simply require a greater space in which to be told."

I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading this one after so long and will soon be re-reading Drums of Autumn before continuing with the rest of the series that I have not yet read.


Total Control by David Baldacci

>> Monday, April 9, 2007

I’m a late arrival to the party when it comes to David Baldacci’s books. This is his second book and my second of his that I’ve read. This is also my 4th book for the TBR Challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed this complicated twisty turning thriller. Sidney Archer is a wife, mother and attorney who finds herself smack in the middle of a dangerous mystery. The plane her husband was scheduled to take has crashed, but beyond dealing with her grief over his death, she finds herself searching for answers. Was her husband responsible for the sabotage of the plane? why is she learning all sorts of things that he’d apparently lied to her about? Who can she trust?

FBI agent Lee Sawyer, charged with the investigation of the plane sabotage finds his case expanding and soon he is asking the same questions as Sid Archer.

Some of the technology and internet discussion in the book is a bit dated – 11 years is forever in terms of changes in that realm, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying the book. This one was definitely a page turner and seemed to be much shorter than the nearly 700 pages it was, because it moved so fast and kept me wanting to ‘just finish this one more chapter’.


Audiobook – Miss Julia’s School of Beauty by Ann B. Ross

>> Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I had a bit of a problem at the beginning of this audiobook because the reader was someone different than the other’s I’d listened to. It took me most of the first CD to get used to the new voices. Some I liked better, some not so much.

The title of this entry in the Miss Julia series is misleading. I was kind of hoping that Miss Julia was helping Hazel Marie start a new career, but she ends up helping her put on a beauty pageant for Miss Abbot County Sheriff’s Department. It’s the usual Miss Julia comedy of manners, with most of the drama being either Miss Julia’s own doing or all in her head.


Hangman’s Root by Susan Wittig Albert

>> Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Number three in the China Bayles Herb Shop series.

From the author’s website:

Hangman's root is known more commonly as catnip. It can be brewed as a tea to relieve coughs and upset stomachs, or to relax before bedtime. According to Colonial American folklore, the root could cause anger and aggression, so it was brewed as a tea and served to hangmen before they went out to do their dirty work.

In this installment, Lawyer turned herb shop owner China Bayles finds herself drawing on her legal experience. A prominent and disliked animal researcher is found hanged in his office. The apparent suicide is soon being investigated as a murder and the prime suspect is Dottie Riddle. Dottie is also known as the ‘cat lady of Pecan Springs’ who rescues and cares for stray cats. The dead man, Miles Harwick, was not only her neighbor, but also a fellow professor at the local university whom she had clashed with both professionally and personally.

China convinces a friend from law school to defend Dottie, and also recruits her friend Ruby to help with the investigation. In the meantime the complicated personal lives of both China and Ruby are never really smooth sailing.

It’s a fun, light mystery series.


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