Category Archives: williammorrow

Once again I am late to the party.

Image not available   So William Morrow Publishing sends me this book — To Dwell In Darkness by Deborah Crombie.  I quickly discovered she writes a series of detective/murder mystery novels.  Cool.  I like those.  Then I think….”hmmmm, I wonder what number this is?  3…maybe 4.”  No, it is her 16th book in the series.  I am not mad at her…just sad I did not know about detectives Gemma and Duncan…married couple…but maybe they have not been married in precious novels.  Maybe, there was some romance or sexual work tension that I have missed out on.  So now, I am going to have to go back and see just what occurs in those 15 other novels.

Let me clarify one thing….this book (To Dwell In Darkness) was a pleasure to read without having read any of the others.  I loved the characters which is such a crucial part of enjoying a story.  If I don’t care about them, then I do not care about the plot — no matter how intense the plot.  The stories revolve around detective superintendent Duncan Kincaid  and detective Gemma James…..married with children and living in London.  This novel focuses on two investigation.  The main focus is on the events that enfolded at the historical site of St. Pancras International Station involving a deadly bombing that stems from a group of 20 year-old protesters.  The action moves quickly…the suspense is intense and the characters were people who I would like to know better.  I am going to have to schedule a trip to the library to get her first few books.

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Dark and erotic vampire tale

dark heroine   I know by now most of us are familiar with Bella and Edward in the Twilight series.  Well, this book, The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire, takes the idea of love and vampires in a different direction.  Author, Abigail Gibbs, takes the concept of the world of vampires to a different level.  We meet young Violet Lee who is left alone in Trafalgar Square late at night.  She is dressed seductively and vulnerable.  This is when she witnesses a massacre by vampires….she is the sole witness to their carnage and is kidnapped by their Prince….Kaspar Varn.   She is brought back to their mansion and introduced to their life…to their world.  She is disgusted and not intimidated by Kaspar or any of the vampires…which as you can imagine makes her all the more desirable to them.

She wonders why she was not killed…why her life was spared.  She soon discovers the reason.  A war is about to break out and she plays a vital role in the war.  Her life will never be the same as she is seduced by vampires…..and finds she cannot resist the one who she seems to resent the most….Kaspar.  Can she accept the path that her life has taken….will she give in to passion she feels?  If she does, she will have to sacrifice the life she once knew.  All your questions will be answered.

This book is not for young adults…it is more explicit than the Twilight series….just a warning.

 

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A tragedy in three voices

land more kind I was wrapped in an afghan made by my husband’s grandmother while sitting in an antique orange chair in my library when I read the final page of this debut novel by Wiley Cash.  I have had the uncorrected proof for some time, and I had not picked it up because it did not have a cover (hence the reason for the upload amazon picture).  I wish I could say I don’t always judge a book by its cover….but I would be fibbing.  There are times when I am influenced by the cover even though I am perfectly aware that the cover does not always foretell the quality of the inside of the book.    I am ashamed of this fact; even more so, since I tell my own students not to do what I am guilty of myself.

I read this book in quick spurts not wanting to stop.  The story takes place in North Carolina in the 1960’s and is told by three artfully drawn characters:  9 year-old Jess, the town sheriff,Clem Barefield,  and the town midwife, Adelaide Lyle.    Their three distinct voices come together to tell the story of the tragic events that befell  their town, and I ate up the story.  I was truly struck by the endearing relationship between Jess and his older brother nicknamed Stump.  Stump is mute and has been since birth, and Jess seems to be the only one who truly understands and accepts Stump as he is.  The two brothers love each other with a strength that cannot be explained.  I was in awe of them.  It is something I want for my own sons…that bond.  Stump is naturally curious and likes to snoop…this will prove most disastrous.

Adelaide leads the book off with a story of the town preacher….Pastor Chambliss.  He has cast a spell over the town and has convinced them he has the power to heal through Jesus Christ….not all buy into his theatrics, and yet most have frighteningly  fallen for his  charisma.  And after Adelaide witnesses a tragedy during one of his prayer service, she vows to take the children out of the church and provide her own services to them.  She deems Pastor Chambliss not appropriate for the children.  She is able to keep the children safe for ten years….

The reader is taken through various generations blending families and their own tragedies together to see that this tiny town is filled with remorse, sadness, regret, and fear.  All these experiences explode into the horrific events of this story leading to a hint of hope.

A powerfully constructed debut novel…I will be looking for more by Wiley Cash.

 

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Proof of Guilt

charles todd   This is an Inspector Rutledge Mystery….he is an inspector from Scotland Yard in the 1920’s, and he apparently has solved multiple mysteries.  This is my first experience with him.  This mystery takes place in parts of London and the surrounding area….we meet two wealthy families who produce and sell the famous Madeira wine that is sold world-wide.  And tragedy has hit these families.  The war has ended, and many surviving soldiers have returned and life is not what is once was.  Some have lost their lives such as Michael French.  He was the older brother and part partner in the Madeira wine business.  There are now two remaining partners….Matthew Traynor, a cousin to Michael, and Michael’s younger brother Lewis.  Both men go missing, and an unidentified body turns up with Lewis’ pocket watch, but the body is not his.

No one has seen either men….Lewis’ sister and fiancée have not seen or heard from him….no one at the firm knows their whereabouts…..it is a true mystery.  And to think this is in a time before cell phones and state of the art technology, so there is no “find my iPhone app” to locate them….no GPS tracker….nothing.   In fact, there were only a select few who had telephones in their own homes….shocking, I know.

Enter Inspector Rutledge who has a keen sense for figuring people out.  Thank goodness for that since I provided no help for him!  Believe me, I tried.  I took notes the entire time I was reading the crimes as they unfolded.  I had the same clues as Inspector Rutledge, but that did not help.  I have pages after pages of my theories and notes as I jotted down suspects, clues, possible motives, etc.  It did me no good…..for a while I thought I was on the right path, but unfortunately I was not to be successful.   It was probably a good idea that I nixed my 8th grade dream of being a police detective and became a librarian instead.  Yet, I do try, and I will try again I am sure.  I am a sucker for Agatha Christie and Frank Mackey and Sherlock Holmes and now Ian Rutledge.  Good luck to all you mystery lovers, and let me know if you solve this one.  Thanks!

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A trip into the world of organized crime during the Prohibition Era

  The only disappointing thing I have to write about this novel is that I left it sit on my shelf for far too long before I picked it up.  I picked it up approximately 24 hours ago and quickly read 300 pages, and then decided to head to bed last night.  But I was not fooling anyone, after Dave had fallen asleep, and Ruby began to snore softly at my feet.  I grabbed my slippers and threw on my robe (no, this is not The Night Before Christmas) and headed downstairs to find out what happen to Joe Coughlin.

The book is called Live By Night, and it is by bestselling author Dennis Lehane.  I have not read anything about him before, so this was my first intro to his writing talent.  He hypnotized my into the world of organized crime from page one.  The story starts in Boston in 1926 where we meet Joe Coughlin, a 19 year-old who has lead a life of crime since he was 13.  He is the son of a policeman and has turned from his family for a different career choice.  Joe is a wonderfully developed character that I could not help rooting for and falling for….not so much in love with, but something else.  He is flawed and one cannot help but love his flaws.  We follow Joe throughout his career….he falls in love, he robs banks, he goes to prison, and  he plays the game of organized crime very well…maybe too well.

The book is filled with many dicey scenes…. multiple murders, sexual encounters, and much violence.  Normally, I am not an explosion, car chase, shoot-em up kind of gal, but I ate this book up right until the last page.  At the end, I held the book and did not want to retire it to my shelves just yet, and I thought who might like this book.  I first thought of my old friend Pete (not that Pete is old….just that I have known him for a long time). Pete, if you are reading this….this is one for you (I think).  I also thought of my parents who have long been fans of The Godfather, so I believe this afternoon, I will be driving this book over to them.  Enjoy!

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Clever and witty love tale

   OK….maybe I should not have labeled this a “love tale” because it is not along the lines of Nicholas Sparks or a Harlequin Romance.   Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace is ever so much more clever…more original….more real than any of that.  This is the tale of Jason Priestley (not THAT Jason Priestley) who has found himself unengaged to the “love of his life” and unemployed by choice due to a brief tragic moment in his professional life.  He finds himself living with his best bud Dev in an apartment.  Said apartment is located over the video game exchange shop that Dev owns and operates in London.  Jason finds himself working for the free city magazine London Now  writing reviews for restaurants people would never eat at, watching movies no one wants to see and attending art shows with no artistic talent.

And then (you knew there was a “and then”), Jason has a chance encounter with a strikingly beautiful woman…not only once….but twice.  Both encounters are brief, but enough to take over his thoughts.  During one of the encounters, she drops several packages and he helps her pick them up.  However, in the commotion, she leaves behind a disposable career in Jason’s hands.  He now struggles with trying to find her to return the camera, develop the pictures and learn more about her or just throw the camera away and forget the whole thing.  Luckily, for you he does not do the latter.  This is where the story turns interesting.

With surprising support and encouragement from several characters, Jason develops the pictures that lead him on a hunt of sorts to find the beautiful girl in the blue coat and red shoes.  It could seem like stalking and a bit creepy….or it could simply be a boy following his heart based a chance encounter in order to complete this “love tale”. It answers the questions for all those people who may have walked by someone on the street and made eye contact or saw someone on a train or a bus…..and thought “maybe she is the one?”  Yet the moment passes and there is no way of knowing and you go on with your life.

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Would you start over….if you could?

  I flew through this book !  This is the book Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie which tells the story of 30-something Emma Tupper….a successful lawyer ready to become partner when her mother’s health begins to fail.  Her mother has dreamed of traveling to Africa for years; however, that dream does not look like it will become reality.  So Emma promises her mother that she will take the trip in her place.  After her mother’s funeral, she inherits a ticket to Africa…and Emma decides to go alone.  She leaves behind a handsome and accomplished lawyer as well as postponing her shot at partner for a while.

It is on this trip that Emma takes ill….very ill.  She is to be gone one month, but what tragedy strikes…she is gone 6 months without any contact with her friends or work.  They assume she has died.  The proper measures are taken in the event of her “death”.   When she finally returns, her apartment has been rented to someone else, her office has been taken by her mortal enemy….and her boyfriend…well…..let’s just say he has moved on.

Emma has a chance to start over….because she has no choice.  Emma is a strong character, and she is not about to fall to piece.  She finds a way to carve herself a new life….a better life..for herself.  The expressions “Things Happen for a Reason” is heard often, but truly do we heed its message?  Sometimes we have to sit back and allow for life to take us on our path….and not to fight it so much.

I love this book and plan to read others by her.  I found myself carrying the book around to read it whenever there was a break in the action, and I took it to bed and read while my husband softly snored beside me….I felt like I was 12 years old and reading Christopher Pike in my bedroom with a flashlight while the rest of the world slept on.  My own little place of distraction.

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