Aug 222016

I think all the characters in this book either began to channel their teenage selves, are constantly black-out drunk or have lost their minds. I’m enjoying the story, especially the villain, but the interactions between characters are head-scratchingly bizarre. Everyone is moody, angry and stomping around like fit throwing teenagers. 

Strange that I’m still enjoying the story and I already want to read the next one in the series. I just hope the characters calm down some in the next book.

I’m reading them out of order so maybe there’s something in the book before this one that explains the actions of the characters in Black notice

Patricia Cornwell delivers a high-stakes Kay Scarpetta novel with an intrigue that will take Kay an ocean’s length from home. The nightmare begins when a cargo ship arriving from Belgium at Richmond’s Deep Water Terminal is discovered to be transporting a locked, sealed container holding the decomposed remains of a stowaway.

The autopsy performed by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta initially reveals neither a cause of death nor an identification. But the victim’s personal effects and an odd tattoo take Scarpetta on a hunt for information that leads to Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon, France, where she receives critical instructions: Go to the Paris morgue to receive secret evidence and then return to Virginia to carry out a mission. It is a mission that could ruin her career.

In a story that careens across international borders, Black notice puts Dr. Kay Scarpetta directly in harm’s way and places her and those she holds dear at mortal risk.

Summary from

 Posted by at 6:23 am
Aug 152016

I don’t usually read romance novels. I enjoy them from time to time, but I have a habit of sticking to the genres I enjoy most. I’m trying to change that habit and read a little bit of everything these days, which means more romance, too.

I’ve read Karen Robards before and enjoy her writing. In Paradise County, I’m enjoying the slow build, but she seems to describe the physical characteristics of the main characters in the same way multiple times. It feels like the author is afraid I’m going to forget what her characters look like or doesn’t want me to form my own picture in my head. I did anyway, but I won’t tell you who the male lead looked like to me. If you read it and want to see if we came up with the same person, contact me and we’ll compare.

I’m enjoying Paradise County and I love the setting. I know I need to read a larger variety of authors, but Karen Robards delivers a story that draws me in with some steam on the side. I’ll be looking for more of her novels when I need another romance fix.

Oh and Simpsonville, Shelbyville and a character named Homer? I think she’s a fan.

The rolling fields of Shelby County are home to some of the finest horseflesh and bluest blood in Kentucky. With its rural beauty and tranquil lifestyle, it is easy to see why the locals call it Paradise County. But beneath the serene exterior lies a dark underside, and an evil that threatens everyone who touches it.

Alexandra Haywood and her younger sister, Neely, have always loved Whistledown, the family’s magnificent Shelby County horse farm. After their billionaire father’s sudden and tragic death, the devastated Alex returns to Whistledown to try to make peace with her memories — and to oversee the selling of their gorgeous home. For the family fortune is now a shambles and, like almost everything else the Haywoods own, Whistledown has to go. But Joe Welch, the sexy, handsome farm manager, refuses to cooperate. When Alex fires him, he tells her he has an unbreakable contract and can’t be let go.

For years Joe has worked to make Whistledown’s stables flourish while he struggled to keep his own dreams alive, and no rich rhymes-with-witch is going to threaten his livelihood — or his family life. Ever since his wife betrayed him years ago, Joe has raised his three kids alone and did it damn well. Now, his always dependable sixteen-year-old son Eli has become hopelessly infatuated with teenage wild child Neely. Joe refuses to let his boy get caught up with Neely — a nose stud and penchant for illegal substances among her less desirable traits — and he tells Alex in no uncertain terms.

Sparks of rage give way to a fiery attraction when Joe and Alex meet head-on. But just as a volatile passion begins flaring between them, the discovery of a shocking murder with ties to the past rocks the county — and cuts frighteningly close to home when Neely and Eli disappear.
Alex and Joe have only each other to rely on as they search frantically for their loved ones. What they don’t know is that they are racing against time, too. Because the evil that lurks beneath the bucolic surface of Paradise County has once again raised its gruesome head — and now Alex is targeted as the next victim.

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 Posted by at 6:23 am
Aug 082016

A gripping vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has become one of the most powerful and most widely read novels of our time.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules.

Like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale has endured not only as a literary landmark but as a warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.

Summary from

There are several things about Atwood’s writing style that I don’t care for. For instance, when she’s writing about the past and people are speaking, she doesn’t put quotes around the speech. This makes it less clear what is spoken and what isn’t. While a quick reread clears things up, it pulls me out of the narrative.

There are also several instances when she changes from present to past in the same paragraph. The instance that most stands out, a person in the present lights a cigarette, then in the next sentence she says “we climbed into the car” (not exact wording). It wasn’t until a few sentences later that I realized she was talking about herself and people from her past climbing into the car. I don’t understand why the person in the present lighting a cigarette was tied to that paragraph. Maybe the short-lived confusion was part of the point, but I was always under the impression that anything that pulled the reader out of the story was baaaaaaad.

It would have been easy to make a story with this subject matter more of a horror story or an “all men are evil” story with terrible and fantastical things happening around and to the main character, but the author went with a more realistic approach which made it chilling in a different way. It was easy to step into the main character’s shoes and see how something like this could really happen. I could feel the paranoia, dread and the overall sense that while things were bad, they could be worse, so let’s just follow along.

I heard recently that they’re going to be making The Handmaid’s Tale into a movie. There’s so much happening inside the main character’s head that I wonder how they’re going to explore everything, but that’s a pretty common problem with turning a book into a movie. It’s also why some movies based on books are just flat awful. I’m anxious to see it. I’m always curious to see how they tackle these types of issues and it’s part of the reason I like to read the book before watching the movie.

 Posted by at 11:23 pm
Aug 012016

My husband saw the cover of this book and decided that I had to have it. I don’t know if he read the back cover or not before deciding that I must own it, but I understand why he would buy it based on the cover alone. I love big cats, leopards especially, and a leopard with a typewriter head? Nice!

I’m finding the book charming so far and I’m enjoying Jansma’s writing style. My hubby did well even if he picked the book for the cover alone. I don’t read a lot of literary fiction. I’m learning that I need to pick up a few more. I should read more than genre fiction.

Truth and lies. I wonder how it’s all going to end…

Back to reading!

“F. Scott Fitzgerald meets Wes Anderson” (The Village Voice) in this inventive and witty debut about a young man’s quest to become a writer and the misadventures in life and love that take him around the globe

From as early as he can remember, the hopelessly unreliable—yet hopelessly earnest—narrator of this ambitious debut novel has wanted to become a writer.

From the jazz clubs of Manhattan to the villages of Sri Lanka, Kristopher Jansma’s irresistible narrator will be inspired and haunted by the success of his greatest friend and rival in writing, the eccentric and brilliantly talented Julian McGann, and endlessly enamored with Julian’s enchanting friend, Evelyn, the green-eyed girl who got away. After the trio has a disastrous falling out, desperate to tell the truth in his writing and to figure out who he really is, Jansma’s narrator finds himself caught in a never-ending web of lies.

As much a story about a young man and his friends trying to make their way in the world as a profoundly affecting exploration of the nature of truth and storytelling, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards will appeal to readers of Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists and Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize–winning A Visit from the Goon Squad with its elegantly constructed exploration of the stories we tell to find out who we really are.

Summary from

 Posted by at 11:23 pm
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