Thursday, December 20, 2012

Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

By Todd Burpo, with Lynn Vincent

In the opening prologue, we meet the Burpo family as they face a revelation that their three-year-old son, Colton, who nearly died from surgery after his appendix ruptured, had died and gone to Heaven and returned to share details of what it was like.

As the book progresses, Colton shares more and more details of his time in Heaven with Jesus, the angels, his stillborn sister, and his grandfather (a youthful version of himself).

This was our Tuesday Night Book Club book for December and I was looking forward to reading it; however, as I read it I began to doubt many of Colton’s “revelations” as written by his minister father. The boy's story became more specific over the years, and in some ways stranger.

We had a terrific discussion about this book and our concepts of Heaven, the validity of Colton’s account, his father’s influence and motivation for the book, and the negative reviews about the book.

It is worth reading as a starting point for a discussion about the afterlife.

~ Paula

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dying to Know You

By Aiden Chambers

Young Adult Book

Budding writer Fiorella asks shy Karl, who is in love with her, to answer a series of questions in a letter. He convinces her favorite author to help him. The results are, of course, not what anyone expects; and misunderstandings lead to new revelations, near tragedy, and transformation.

~ Sue

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beautiful Winter: Holiday Wreaths, Garlands & Decorations for Your Home & Table

By Edle Catharina Norman

This little book is full of sweet ideas for holiday wreaths and adornments. The author gives complete supply lists and detailed instuctions. Even if, like me, you are not a craft-y person, you will enjoy the photos of these nature-inspired creations and may be tempted to try one or two.

~ Linda

Monday, December 17, 2012

Juliet in August

By Dianne Warren

Juliet in August takes place on one summer day in a small town in Saskatchewan. The author takes us to Juliet for a short visit and introduces us to the people who reside there. Everyone knows everyone, perhaps more than they should. Though nothing earthshaking happens, the overlapping stories of the town people are full of joy, sorrow, and life's complications. The author has mastered the art of interweaving the life stories of the residents of Juliet. The result is an engaging account of one day in the life of remarkable, ordinary people who could well be your neighbors.

I am glad I got to spend a day in Juliet.

~ Kathy

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dear Me: A letter to my sixteen-year-old self

By Joseph Galliano

This book is a bit older than those we typically blog about (first published in January 2011), but I just discovered it hiding on our adult non-fiction shelves: 808.883 DEA. Dear Me is a collection of letters written by seventy-five celebrities to their sixteen-year-old selves. These letters contain advice, words of warning, and encouragement. Some will make you laugh, and some will make you cry. With the span of entertainers from singers and musicians to writers and actors, both young and old, you will recognize several people featured in the book regardless of your stage in life. J.K. Rowling has written the forward.

Every letter is visually different with some neatly typed and others handwritten on notebook paper with accompanying doodles. This book is humorous and touching for adults and would be very appealing to teens as well.

~ Paula

The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy

By Nora Roberts

If you are ready for a little escape from reality, these quick, feel-good reads are just the ticket. The Inn Boonsboro is an old, dilapidated inn in the town of Boonsboro, Maryland. In the first book of the trilogy, The Next Always, the inn is being beautifully renovated by the 3 gorgeous Montgomery brothers. There is romance in each book as each brother falls for one of three women best friends. Clare owns the book store, Avery owns the pizza shop, and Hope is the innkeeper hired to run Inn Boonsboro. The characters are kind, good, hard-working people and the plots move along quickly. There is even some Civil War history and a sweet ghost thrown in. The second book is The Last Boyfriend and the third title is The Perfect Hope.

~ Linda

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


By A. C. Gaughen

A YA Novel

Robin Hood’s right-hand man is, unbeknown to most, a female; a female handy with throwing knives. Known as Scar for the long scar down her face, she hides herself well- as well as she hides secrets. Unfortunately, the arrival of Guy of Gisbourne not only brings many more hardships for the local citizens and consequent challenges for Robin and his small band, but may be Scar’s undoing; her personal secrets may have to be sacrificed to save Robin.

~ Sue

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Raven Boys

By Maggie Stiefvater

Written for young adults, The Raven Boys is the story of Blue Sargent, a 16-year-old girl from Henrietta, Virginia who lives with her single mom plus her mom's friends, all of whom are psychics. Though Blue is not a psychic, she was born with the ability to enhance psychic energy. Blue lives near the exclusive boys' high school Aglionby and has always prided herself on staying away from those rich boys. Through amazing circumstances, Blue becomes friends with four of those Aglionby boys and is especially drawn to Gansey, who is obsessed with a supernatural quest. But, Blue has been told her whole life that she can't ever kiss her true love because she will cause him to die. I really liked Blue and her gang of boys and enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

~ Linda

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Notorious Nineteen

By Janet Evanovich

I don't think there's a single Stephanie Plum book I don't like, reading one is like eating a candy bar--it's quick and really great while it lasted. With over 20 books in this series, there does emerge a recurring pattern but the characters are so enjoyable I don't really mind. Nineteen was no different, with bounty hunter Stephanie (and Lula) chasing after FTAs (failure to appear) and getting all her cars blown up. If you've never read any of this series you could jump right in the middle and not be too lost, but it is so much more satisfying to begin with "One for the Money" (once you get past the whole Jersey attitude thing). In Nineteen, Stephanie does a little more self-psychology on her place in life, and I get the feeling that we may not see too many more of the Plum series. The book doesn't "end" but there is a weird cozy finality to it that made me feel that way--it could end here and I'd be happy. But who knows, there may be many more due to the release of the movie "One for the Money."


~ Becky

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Casual Vacancy

By J. K. Rowling

The fictional village of Pagford is the setting for J. K. Rowling's much-anticipated first novel for adults. "The Casual Vacancy" begins with the sudden death of parish council member Barry Fairbrother, which unearths the bitterness of political turmoil that has been present for forty years. The story is very dark as it reveals the secrets of each family in the village. Not intended for the young fans of Harry Potter, it contains murder, rape, drug addiction, and child neglect in addition to the explicit language and graphic descriptions of sexual acts. While I typically enjoy Rowling's writing and the worlds that she creates, this book was too dark and severe for me.

~ Paula

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shadow and Bone

By Leigh Bardugo

YA Book

Orphaned in the border ward, Alina and Mal grew up best of friends. Even as cartographer and tracker for the army, they still have each other’s back. When Aline saves Mal using a dormant power, the Darkling notices and whisks her off to train with the magical elite because he believes her to be the Sun Summoner who will work with him to save the country, or so he says. However, Aline discovers his true intent which will enslave her to help bring not only their own country, but all the neighboring countries as well, under his power. Can she escape, and will the army’s best tracker, Mal, be her undoing? Will they be able to save each other- again?

~ Sue

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Band of Sisters

By Cathy Gohlke

It’s 1910 in New York City. Maureen O’Reilly is running from a difficult and shameful life in Ireland. All she wants is to have a respectable job and to care for herself and her younger sister. Joshua Keeton is a young man from her hometown who sails to America on the same ship and wants to help and watch out for them. Maureen doesn’t want to depend on anyone else to succeed. She finds that not only is it a struggle to get through Ellis Island, soon she discovers that their benefactor is deceased and his family wants nothing to do with her. Maureen falls into a trap of lies to secure a position at a department store, only to learn that it is a front for a human trafficking ring. She finds herself in a very dangerous position and she has to step out in faith to trust Joshua and her new friends to help her and her two missing co-workers.

~ Dixie

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Keeping the Castle

By Patrice Kindl

A YA book

Althea accepts the fact that she must rely on her wits and beauty to catch and marry a wealthy man in order to support her family and retain the family’s tumbling down castle for her younger brother. There is a decided lack of such suitors in her small 19th century Yorkshire town, and she managed to bungle the closest prospect. The new neighbor, Lord Boring, is a likely candidate, but his bungling cousin keeps getting in the way, and her stingy step-sisters must be tricked into paying for a new roof (with the help of some healthy rats).

~ Sue

Monday, October 29, 2012

San Miguel

By T.C. Boyle

Off the coast of California lies San Miguel Island. It is a harsh, rainy, hilly piece of land suitable only for raising sheep. The author creates a tale of the lives of 3 women who lived on this desolate little island.

The novel has 3 parts. The book starts in the 1880's and tells of island life into the 1940's. It centers on the satisfactions and frustrations of the women who live at different times on San Miguel. Some enjoy the rugged life, others do not. Their stories are gripping, the characters real, and the writing is beautiful.

~ Kathy

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Darth Vader and Son

By Jeffrey Brown

A Children's & YA Book

While this book is listed in the children's graphic novel section, it can be appreciated just as much by a Star Wars adult fan. Let's be honest, I was laughing out loud and running off to find my husband to read some of the pages to him. In the book, Darth Vader is going through the usual trials of raising and taking care of his young son Luke--not quite keeping with the Lucas timeline but it doesn't matter. What makes it funny is every page has a reference to one of the Star Wars movies mixed in with well-known banter you have with a child. Any Star Wars fan will love this tiny book. It is such a unique perspective that I haven't seen before in all the Star Wars material out there.

~ Becky

A Confusion of Princes

By Garth Nix

YA Book

Prince Khemri grows up knowing that he, with all his enhanced, nearly immortal powers, will be the next Emperor of the vast Intergalactic Empire. However, when he comes of age he quickly realizes that he is but one of thousands who must compete with and battle each other if he can escape assassination attempts by the other competitors. He survives long enough to be sent on a secret mission where he has to battle aliens and space pirates, meets a young human woman Raine and learns more about the inner workings of the empire and of humanity. Can he escape his destiny? Can he retain what he still has of his humanity?

~ Sue

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Unexpected Houseplant

220 extraordinary choices for every spot in your home

By Tovah Martin

ISBN 9781604692433

This is a wonderful book about alternatives to the standard houseplant. Martin looks at each season and how it affects growing plants indoors. Beautiful pictures help inspire. Part of her creed is about the beauty/appropriateness of the container. Taking a poor looking supermarket item with a plastic pot and finding it a new home that will be the proper setting for the beautiful plant it will become. Some of the plants that are listed, we usually consider for our garden outside. She shows you how to use these beautiful and colorful plants as works of natural art in your home.

I had forgotten how plants can change a home.

~ Rochelle

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Third Gate

By Lincoln Child

Audiobook format

World-famous archeologist Porter Stone has assembled a team of experts on a top-secret search for King Narmer’s Egyptian tomb and the legend “double crown” of Egypt. The tomb is located in the Sudd, a tangled and treacherous swamp land in the northern Sudan. Professor and paranormal investigator Jeremy Logan has been added to the team after unexplained accidents have begun to happen at the site. One team member who has had a near death experience is being used for receiving communications from the dead, making her a valuable asset, as well as a threat, to this mission.

The pacing of the story keeps the listener interested as the mystery unfolds. Are the unexplained events the result of a five thousand year old curse, or is it sabotage?

~ Paula

How to Make Stuffed Animals

By Sian Keegan

ISBN 9781592537990

This book contains modern, simple patterns and instructions for 18 adorable projects. All you need is just a ¼ yard of fabric to produce these cute little stuffed animals to give your favorite little ones. My favorites are the spring dear (love her flower necklace), the hedgehog mobile, raccoon and fluffy sheep. Make them for gifts, decorations or just for fun. These little animals will become family treasures.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Complete without Kids

An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance

by Ellen L. Walker, Ph.D.

This book analyzes the pros and cons of having a childfree life whether it is by choice, happenstance, or circumstance. It is written by a psychologist who compiled interviews of childfree adults of all ages and pulled out repetitive themes these people experienced. As she points out in the book, we live in a society that celebrates the idea of having children and the idea that this is a choice is not discussed often, if ever at all. This book gives those who are starting their lives out a guide of what this childfree path is like--the reasons some people choose it and how some cope with it.

I found it to be very accurate, while avoiding any negative dialogue against those who chose to have children. The ideas go against what is considered normal in our culture, and it is refreshing to hear a different perspective.

~ Becky

The Tiger’s Wife

By Tea Obreht

While living in a nameless Balkan country, a grandfather shares the stories of his life through tales of the “tiger’s wife” and “deathless man” with his young granddaughter, Natalia. After her grandfather dies alone in a strange place, Natalia realizes that these childhood tales were about events in his life and unlock a secret that she has been searching for. The descriptions of the people and the countryside are rich and vibrant and the story and dialog are refreshingly original.

Our Tuesday night book club recently read this novel and the reviews were mixed. Several of our members felt that the story was too long and moved back and forth through time so often leaving the reader feeling confused. I enjoyed the audiobook format of the book which was performed by two very talented readers who portrayed Natalia and her grandfather.

Téa Obreht, the youngest of The New Yorker’s twenty best American fiction writers under forty, has won several awards for “The Tiger’s Wife”.

~ Paula

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gone Missing

By Linda Castillo

This is the 4th novel at Police Chief Kate Burkholder of fictional Painters Mill, in Holmes County, Ohio. Kate is a former Amish woman who left her faith and family after a horrific experience during her teen years. She is a dedicated police officer, though often takes matters into her own hands when she should wait for back-up! In this story, the police are just realizing that there is a pattern forming concerning the disappearance of Amish teen girls in Northeast Ohio and western PA. Part of the investigation even takes place in Geauga County. I think Linda Castillo has become a better writer over the course of this series - the plot was tighter, the characters better developed and the violence less graphic. The series is an interesting mix of police drama and Amish culture in our area.

~ Linda

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Born of Silence

By Sherrilyn Kenyon

The latest of the League series focuses on Darling Cruel, one of the many members of the Sentella (an otherworldly group of ex-assassins out to protect the innocent from a corrupt intergalactic government). While the story could be read without the previous novels it would be more enjoyable to know the background of the characters first, so starting the series from the beginning book is highly recommended.

Darling's character follows the same storyline that all the League Assassins have, which is the physically abusive past, secret assassin double life, and the girl who betrays him. The interesting twist is we have previously been led in the other books to believe that Darling is a homosexual, and this book gives us the intricate story of what Darling's true preference is. While the basic underlying story is almost a carbon copy of the previous books, Kenyon still is able to make it exciting enough to keep reading and rewards us with a jaw-dropping ending.

I loved it!

~ Becky

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Juno’s Daughters

By Lise Saffran

I felt transported to the island community of San Juan in the Pacific Northwest, where single mom Jenny and her teenage daughters get involved in a local summer Shakespearian production of Tempest in a Teapot. Jenny's relationship with her daughters forms the heart of this novel and provides plenty of tension throughout. I appreciated Jenny’s growth as a mom and a person as her daughters began to negotiate their own journeys.

~ Sally

I, Michael Bennett

By James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Michael Bennett is a widower, father of ten ethnically diverse children, grandson of a priest and a member of the NYPD. Bennett is given information that Manuel Perrine, a notorious drug kingpin, is coming to New York. During the attempt to apprehend the criminal, police officers and a bystander are killed. While waiting for trial, Perrine orchestrates additional attacks against the legal establishment from his jail cell. To get away from the chaos, Bennett takes the kids, grandfather and nanny to the family cabin in upper New York. Before long, he realizes that trouble has followed him there. The continuing conflict between Bennett and Perrine gathers momentum, ending with a cliffhanger.

Terrific read. I can’t wait for the next book.

~ Rochelle

Wallflower in Bloom

By Claire Cook

Another sweet beach read! If you have ever felt taken for granted, Deidre is just the heroine to help you get yours back! This story is a really fun mix of pop culture and real life, including a spot on Dancing With the Stars.

~ Sally

Thursday, July 26, 2012


By Chris Cleave

Just in time for the London Olympics, Gold tells the story of two Olympian cyclists. Zoe and Kate have a difficult relationship. They are best friends, yet Olympic rivals, making their lives on and off the track complicated. The story revolves around their polar opposite personalities, the choices they make, and the effects these have on their lives both on and off the track. Gold succeeds not only in its absorbing description of the drive, discipline, and ambition necessary to be an Olympian, but also because of its realistic and eye-opening account of the cost this determination has on families as the athletes pursue their dream of winning the Olympic Gold. A great read – perfectly timed for the upcoming Olympics!

~ Kathy S.

Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed

By E. L. James

In the first book of this incredibly popular trilogy (more than 2200 holds in CLEVNET!), we meet Anastasia Steele, a young woman close to college graduation who is preparing to go into the field of publishing. Due to her roommate’s illness, she agrees to interview the wealthy, powerful, and attractive Christian Grey, owner of Grey Enterprises, for the school newspaper.

From the first moment, Christian is enthralled by Anastasia and must have her as his own. She quickly learns of Christian’s “alternate lifestyle” in the area of masochism and erotic “play”. Ana is faced with the decision of whether she should pursue this relationship (as one in a long line of Christian’s contracted submissives) and see where it leads, or to run in the other direction. Ana decides to continue the relationship, but defines many of her own rules. Throughout the trilogy, we witness the blossoming love between Ana and Christian as Christian battles to overcome his tortured past.

Despite all of the erotic and dominant/submissive elements and hundreds of creative usages of the “f” word, this is basically a love story. I found myself rooting for the characters to overcome their many obstacles: Christian’s early childhood trauma which leaves him mentally and physically afraid of true intimacy; his beginnings as the submissive of a much older woman (and family friend); those set on vengeance to hurt Christian; and Anastasia’s innocence and desire for true love.

I will not give away the ending, but it follows the basic formula of a love story: boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. While this is not my usual type of reading material, I thoroughly enjoyed this series.

~ Paula

Close Your Eyes

By Iris and Roy Johansen

This mother and son duo has written another tight action-paked story.

Kendra was blind at birth. She developed her other senses to extraordinary levels. When her sight was restored, she learned to notice details others often overlooked.

Because of these skills, Kendra was drawn into helping the FBI solve cases. She stopped when the emotional stress became too much. When the FBI agent she worked with disappears while working a case, Adam Lynch from the Justice Department asks for her help. The investigation gets tense, dangerous and complicated.

A wonderful thriller anyone can enjoy. Great audio book for a couple on a road trip.

~ Rochelle

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gypped (A Regan Reilly Mystery)

By Carol Higgins Clark

Also available in audio book format.

Private investigator Regan Reilly takes a trip to Los Angeles with her husband, Jack, head of the NYPD Major Case Squad. While Jack attends meetings with the LAPD, Regan shops and sees the sites in LA. Coincidentally, she bumps into an old acquaintance, Zelda, who she has not seen in seven years since their joint appearance on the game show “Puzzling Words”. Zelda shares with Regan that she inherited 8 million dollars a year ago from a neighbor whom she barely knew.

Regan’s interest is piqued after a series of curious events begin happening to Zelda while she is spending the week in a rundown Hollywood mansion that she had won as a prize: a butcher knife is found in the woods outside the mansion; Zelda’s financial advisor gives her some tea (which makes her feel groggy) and pushes her to sign documents; her father marries a near-stranger in Vegas. Of course, Regan wraps up all of these seemingly unrelated events into a neat package and solves the mystery.

I would not recommend this book; the characters are shallow, the dialog unnatural, and the plot line is very weak. It was easy to figure out “whodunit?” early on in the book. This is the first Regan Reilly Mystery that I have read and I truly feel “Gypped”.

~ Paula

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Born to Darkness

by Suzanne Brockmann

This book is a departure from Brockmann's popular Troubleshooters series about Navy Seals. It takes place in Boston, sometime into the future, when our country is still gripped by the second Great Depression and the divide between the haves and have-nots is greater than today. People even have to pay the police to file reports and investigate crimes.

The heroes are a team of super-people from the Obermeyer Institute somewhere outside of Boston. Called "Greater-Thans," the team members all have different enhanced abilities and are trained to control their powers and use their talents for good. At this future time in our society, evil has definitely gotten the upper hand! The book jacket talks about Brockmann's "talent for sexy, action-packed storytelling" and this story definitely fits the bill. 

~ Linda

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Quiet: The power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

You know you are an introvert if ….you prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; you favor working on your own, over brainstorming in teams. Author Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She examines both brain science and psychology to show how introverts move through the world.

Quiet offers advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships, to how to empower an introverted child when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert." You may find yourself in this book, or perhaps someone you know.

Regardless, it is an interesting read, and I recommend this book to introverts and extroverts alike.

~ Sally

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Seriously...I'm Kidding

by Ellen DeGeneres

Audiobook format.
Also available in print and large-print editions.

Talk show host, best-selling author, and 12-time Emmy winner, Ellen DeGeneres has written her third book in which she updates the reader, or listener in this case, on the new events in her life and career since her last book, “My Point…and I do have one”, was released in 2007. Some of these happenings include: marriage to Portia De Rossi, “Cover Girl” status, American Idol judging, and her colonoscopy.

This 3-CD audiobook set passes very quickly as it narrated by DeGeneres herself. I was surprised by the amount of material that has been added specifically to the audiobook version, such as a meditation while you are driving, special sound effects, and chapter 29. The print version of the book doesn’t include numbered chapters as it is a series of short essays, but Ellen (May I call you Ellen?) announces each chapter number in the audiobook. Don’t let the fact that there are 57 chapters worry you – some chapters contain only a word or two.

The book and audiobook are done in classic, tongue-in-cheek “Ellen” style where her warmth and positivity shine through. Having said this, if you love Ellen, you will love this. If you don’t, skip this one.

~ Paula

Monday, May 7, 2012

Daily Coyote

The Daily Coyote: a Story of Love, Survival, and Trust in the Wilds of Wyoming by Shreve Stockton

Shreve Stockton describes her first year raising a coyote and living in Wyoming. This is a love story really, about a young woman and her new home, new boyfriend, and a coyote pup named Charlie. She takes this task seriously and provides training while respecting the unique nature of this wild animal.

Not only is Stockton a great writer, but a fantastic photographer as well and the natural beauty of the land (and Charlie) shines through. If you love animal stories like I do, check this book out.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Imagine by Jonah Lehrer

“The imagination is vaster than we can imagine. We just need to learn how to listen." “Imagine” by New York Times best-selling author, Jonah Lehrer (“How We Decide”), is an exploration into the world of imagination and creativity through the areas of artistic inspiration, brain function, mental illness, and amphetamines.

Many artists, writers, and musicians from the early Greek through present day, have suffered from bi-polar disease or depression, which can generate feelings of melancholy triggering intense concentration and creativity. Artists and musicians are not the only ones to take advantage of creativity as a tool for productivity. The leaders of 3M and Pixar inspire creativity in their workforce through physical building arrangement, collaboration with those outside of the company, and group dynamics.

Lehrer encourages the reader to look at the world from a different vantage point. Think like a child. Talk to someone new. Travel.

Although this book is very thought-provoking, Lehrer sometimes jumps from topic to topic without providing a smooth transition. While I would not call this a casual read, the science of creativity is explored and those interested in the topic of imagination and inspiration will be intrigued.

~ Paula

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Basketful of Broken Dishes

A Basketful of Broken Dishes: a true story
By Naomi Mullet Stutzman

The author, Naomi Stutzman tells the story of her parents, Simon and Sue Mullet, a couple from Geauga County, who leave their Amish way of life early in their marriage. Naomi is their youngest child and the only child in the family not born Amish.

Even from a young age, Simon struggled with following the strict Amish rules. Simon and Sue marry, both having joined the church making their vows to keep the Ordnung, but Simon continues to question everything. He joins the military, which is forbidden and Sue is now stuck between the Bishops and her husband. Who was she to obey?

Together they set their family free from the bondage of “religion” although their freedom brings a heavy price - the Bann – shunning. Naomi relates how her mother loved unconditionally and lived courageously looking forward to her divine inheritance and how it was hidden in her earthly inheritance, a basketful of broken dishes.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Love in a Nutshell

Love in a Nutshell
by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly

Kate Appleton seems to be on the receiving end of bad luck. She recently divorced her cheating husband but the final straw was losing her job as editor of a magazine. Kate decides to move to her parents’ summer vacation home in Michigan and turn it into a bed and breakfast. For extra cash, she finds a job bartending but is fired for serving bad beer. The only other alternative is to find employment at a local brewery owned by Matt Culhane.

Mr. Culhane finds out Kate lacks sufficient experience but makes a deal with her . . . pay the hourly minimum wage and if she finds the culprit that is sabotaging his company, there will be $20,000 bonus. After being hired, that is when problems begin for Kate and the brewery.

Even though the style of writing for this novel is a little different than the norm for Evanovich, it still is entertaining and fun to read.

- Rose

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


by Kristin Hannah

“All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost. . . .”

Michael and Jolene Zarkades are in a marriage in trouble. Jolene is in charge of the family and does not know how to share family responsibilities with her husband. Michael’s reaction is to spend more and more time at work and less and less time with the family. They are falling apart as a couple, and then… Jolene’s National Guard Unit is deployed to Iraq. The home front changes Michael, just as surely as war changes Jolene.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Red Mist

Red Mist
by Patricia Cornwell

In Red Mist, Cornwell is at the top of her game. At the request of a female prisoner, Scarpetta goes to Savannah for a visit. The request was a lure to manipulate Scarpetta into an investigation that involves multiple deaths taking place over a decade.

Nice to see Cornwell return to more of her earlier style. Great read.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Portlandia (DVD)

Carrie Brownstein, punk rocker, and Fred Armisen, SNL comedian, star in this hilarious take on all things Portland, Oregon. Season 1 of this TV series has some very funny segments including "The Women and Women First Bookstore" and "The Mayor is Missing". Cameos from Colin Meloy from the Decemberists and the actual mayor of Portland, made the series more entertaining.

Filmed in Portland, it is an homage to the city. I felt like I was visiting. If you need a laugh, you can't go wrong.