Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Songs without Words

Songs Without Words
by Ann Packer

This book took me about six months, maybe longer to read.  It's definitely not a "can't-put-it-down" book.  But I did want to finish it so I can't say I hated it, either. 

The story centers around two women who have been friends since childhood.  Their adult lives are very different from each other, but they have remained friends.  An event in one of their lives stresses the friendship to the point of breaking. 

The story is more of a psychological portrait of the two women and their relationships. I kept waiting for the big bang to come but it never really did.  Even the resolution of the story was captured within the last five (or less) pages and brought the book to a fizzle of an ending. Not my favorite read. 

I give this book a two of five shots rating.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Calling Me Home

Calling Me Home
by Julie Kibler

In Texas, an elderly Caucasian woman, Isabelle, asks her much younger African-American hair dresser to drive her to Cincinnati for a funeral.  It appears to be a rather odd request but Dorrie agrees to take some time off and do it.  

During their time on the road the story weaves through Isabelle's past and Dorrie's present. Isabelle grew up in Northern Kentucky just across the river from Cincinnati.  She and a local black boy fell in love and planned to share their lives together.  While Isabelle's story unfolds we also learn about Dorrie's life as a single mom and her issues learning to trust.  

I was fascinated with the story of the "illicit" love in the early 1900's. While the black boy was so aware of all the horrible things that could only come of their love, Isabelle was so naive and could only imagine they'd have a wonderful life together no matter how far they had to run from the world to have it. 

All throughout the trip to Cincinnati, Isabelle withholds who's funeral she is attending. From the stories Isabelle is telling it's easy to make a guess, but don't be surprised if it's not who you think. 

I really enjoyed this story and give it 5 of 5 shots.

Monday, June 15, 2015


by Stephen King

I listened to this story as an audio book on a cross country trip from Kentucky to Oregon.  I have to say I absolutely loved it and the time flew by in the car. 

As the "King" of horror stories I was pleasantly surprised that this fantasy story wasn't full of horror.  In truth is had a little bit of everything from fantasy to mystery to romance.  I was happy to have so much time to listen because I did not want to "put it down." 

*It's been a few months since I listened to the book so please forgive me for any vagueness here.   

The "hero" of the story is told of a gap in time where he can return to the late 50's early 60's. No matter how long he is gone he will always return to the same time he steps through that gap.  He is persuaded to return in time and save Kennedy, although it will mean spending several years in the past.  The bulk of the story is about those years and when things go right and when things go wrong.  

I was expecting a story all about how Kennedy was saved and what the world was like as a result. Instead the story is about the years our hero lives in the past marking time until the assassination.  Then ultimately what the assassination means to him personally and what is most important.  

King tells an awesome story of time travel and the implications of time in years that flash by in micro seconds. This book is high on my must read list. So high that I am considering reading it now that I've listened to it.  I hope you agree. 

Any surprise that I give this five of five shots? 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Body Double

Body Double
by Tess Gerritsen

I've been grabbing audio books to listen to in my car recently.  I get rather addicted to them once I start.  Maybe even to the point that I try to think of someplace I need to drive just so I can listen some more. 

Body Double is a Crime/Mystery/Thriller.  Little did I know that it's one of the Rizzoli and Isles stories that the TV series is based on.  I think I may have been expecting another thriller that would have been the basis for the 1984 movie with the same name, Body Double.  

This book starts with a murder in which the victim is a spot on look-a-like for Dr. Isles.  So much so that the investigative team is pretty shocked when she shows up wondering what is going on.  

Dr. Isles discovers she had a twin sister. They were separated at birth and adopted by different sets of parents.  (What a way to make such a discovery!)  Since the victim is killed right outside Dr. Isles' home, the question becomes who is/was the real target?  

The twists and turns in this story and satisfying and unexpected. I give it 3 of 5 shots.  I enjoyed the story a lot but it's not my usual genre. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Husband's Secret

The Husband's Secret
by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty is quickly rising to the top of my pool of favorite authors.  The Husband's Secret is the third of her novels I've read and it looks like I have three more to go before I run out.  I hope she can write faster than I can read. 

The Husband's Secret follows the lives of three women at different places in their lives. Cecilia is the busy mom who is involved in everything and does everything seemingly perfectly.  Little does she know that her husband has a secret, until one day she stumbles upon an envelope addressed to her from her husband. The instructions on the envelope indicated it should only be opened upon his death. 

Rachel is a secretary at the small Catholic school Cecilia's children attend. She is a widow who's daughter was murdered years earlier. When she's not working or caring for her grandson she is grieving for her daughter and searching for the proof she needs to have the 'boy' who murdered her put away. 

Tess has just arrived in Sydney with her young son to stay with her mother.  Her husband and cousin/best friend have just announced to her that they have fallen in love.  She needs time to digest this news and decide what she must do.  Unexpectedly meeting up with an old boyfriend seems to make the adjustment easier. 

The husband's secret is not revealed until far into the book.  It's a secret that could be devastating to their lives, and indeed creates a disastrous situation. I don't know what surprised me more; the secret or the results of the secret coming to light. 

I easily give this story five of five shots. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Family Affair (Truth in Lies #1)

A Family Affair (Truth in Lies #1)
by Mary Campisi

I picked up this book from the Apple Store as a free book I could read on my phone.  Probably 'free' because it's part of a four part series.  I doubt I'll read parts two through four. 

The story revolves around the heroine, Christine Blackstone, an ambitious young woman who works tirelessly to earn her place in her father's world of finance.  Her father is killed in an auto accident while away on a monthly retreat at his cabin. Thus the scene is set for Christine to discover the woman and child her father spends four days a month with; his "other" family.

She sets out to find who this other family is and what they meant to her father.  She discovers that her father was not entirely the successful business oriented man she knew and adored, but rather a man who loved a simpler life with another woman and their daughter. She tries to make sense of this "new" side to the man she worshiped and reconcile it with the side of the father she knew. 

It was an entertaining read, easy and uncomplicated.  I give it three of five stars.  A book that I liked but will probably not remember in the future or rave over.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans
by M.L. Stedman

Set in Western Australia in the early 1900's, The Light Between Oceans actually deals with issues that still are with us today. The issue of child custody in which there are never really any winners.

Living on a remote rock of an island are the light house keeper, Tom, and his young wife, Isabel. They love their life together in this quiet remote place.  Unfortunately, though, their efforts at starting their family fail as each pregnancy ends with a miscarriage or stillborn birth. 

One day, while tending to the graves of her lost children, Isabel can't believe she's hearing the cries of a baby.  On the beach she discovers a boat has drifted ashore in which she finds the baby she heard crying along with a man who has died.  The baby seems to be the answer to her prayers. There is no identification on the man or baby and no indication of what caused the man's death.  Having recently suffered another miscarriage, no one from the mainland would ever suspect that this is not the child she had been carrying.  She pleads with her husband not to report the incident of the boat drifting ashore with it's unusual cargo and allow her to keep and raise the child as their own.  Tom is torn between the right and honest thing to do and his love for his wife and desire to end her pain. Ultimately he keeps quiet and destroys any evidence of the boat's arrival.

In time they come to find out who the baby is and how she came to be in the boat with her father.  But years have passed and the child is healthy and happy and a delight to both Tom and Isabel.  They know the child's mother continues to mourn the loss of both her husband and child.  Without answers as to what ever became of them, time has not been able to ease her suffering.  Tom wants to assure her that her child is alive and well, but could lose his job and marriage by doing so. Eventually the truth comes out. 

What kept me interested and drawn to this story is the question of the right thing to do at this point.  When a child only knows two people as his or her parents, do you rip the child away from loving people and place him/her with a stranger, even though the stranger is the real parent?  I don't believe there is a right answer to that question.  Did Tom and Isabel hurt the child by keeping her and loving her?  Did they act ethically?  

I can't give away the story, but no matter which way it goes, there is not a winner.  Similar stories appear in the news today regarding children of surrogacy or adoption where a natural or birth parent changes their mind.  It's a very difficult issue and this story dealt with it well.

I give this book 4 of 5 shots.  It dealt with a difficult subject and caused me to reflect on it well beyond the last page.  However, I did have some trouble at the beginning of the book getting into the story.