Books – 2-Star

Title Author Genre Rating Description Date Reviewed
81 Days Below Zero: The Incredible Survival Story of a World War II Pilot in Alaska’s Frozen Wilderness (Unabridged) Brian Murphy, Toula Vlahou Non-Fiction ** The story of Leon Crane, the sole survivor of a B-24 plane crash in remote Alaska during the winter of 1943. Crane survives for nearly three months through perserverance and a bit of good fortune. An interesting story, though Crane’s tale is not quite meaty enough for an entire book. As a result the authors weave in a bit of history and other related stories. Interesting if you enjoy these kinds of stories. 2016-06
Orphan Train Kristina Baker Kline Fiction ** In the early part of the 20th century, children orphaned in the eastern part of the US were often put on trains and sent to the midwest where they were adopted, often to be used as cheap labor. This is the story of one such orphan, now in her 90’s, and a modern day foster child. Obligated to perform community service for a minor offense, the foster child agree to help clean the elderly lady’s attic. This leads to an unlikely friendship and the unfolding of both characters’ stories. 2016-06
The President’s Shadow Brad Meltzer Fiction ** Third part of the Culper Ring series, these books feature mysteries solved by archivist Beecher White, and Indian Jones type hero. While I find the stories and plot so-so, I greatly enjoy the historical trivia that the author adeptly works into the book. Many time I find myself thinking “wow, that’s interesting” and wanting to do more research to verify some of the things he puts forth – some are actual fact and some are speculation based on available evidence, but many, many intersting historical tidbits. 2016-06
Accused Lisa Scottoline Fiction ** Attorney Mary DiNunzio has just been made a partner in her firm when a 13-year old girl from a wealthy family asks her to investigate the murder of her sister six years earlier, a crime for which a man has been convicted and is currently serving a sentence. Over the objections of her parents, the investigation proceeds, leading to questions about the girls mental health and her obsession with the convicted killers innocence despite his own confession and the facts. A good story for this genre. 2016-05
After You JoJo Moyes Fiction ** A sequal to Me Before You, this book details the life of Louisa Clarke following the suicide of the paralyzed man she took care and came to love.  An interesting follow up, but this book does not rise to the same level as its predecessor, which succeeded in framing some great moral dilemmas involving rights of individuals to control their own destiny. 2016-05
Breakdown Jonathan Kellerman Fiction ** In this latest Alex Delaware novel, the psychologist is called when a former TV actress is murdered. A woman with an emotionally unstable past, Delaware was once called on to evaluate the well-being of her 5 year old son, a boy who is now missing. Drawn into the murder and an obsession to find out what happened to the boy, Alex and his pal Milo proceed to uncover the truth. As a fan of this series I enjoyed it. 2016-05
Bullseye: A Will Robie/Camel Club Short Story David Baldacci Fiction ** Two of Baldacci’s well known characters come together during a bank robbery. A fun and easy read for fans of either or both series 2016-05
Dance of the Bones J. A. Jance Fiction ** 2016-05
Eyes On You Kate White Fiction ** A so-so psychological thriller. A TV star receives a variety of subtle threats. Is she doing it herself to create attention or is there a real threat? Who can she trust? 2016-05
Fifty Shades of Grey E. L. James Fiction ** Young woman falls for rich older guy with peculiar sexual desires. She allows herself to be used and abused before finally making the right decision. Much graphic detail. 2016-05
Hour of the Hunter J. A. Jance Fiction ** I’m a J.A. Jance fan and this book, one of her first and recently re-released, isn’t her best. It is, however, interesting as it includes many fables from the native Papago culture. The story is so-so, using flashbacks and lackluster characters, but it’s still an interesting read. 2016-05
Memory Man David Baldacci Fiction ** A new Baldacci character, Amos Decker had a brief career as a professional football player. However, he suffered a head injury on his very first play, a trauma that left his brain altered so that he can never forget anything. After his second career as a police detective, he comes home one night to find his family has been brutally murdered, leading to his steady decline until he loses his job and ends up on the streets. When someone comes forward to confess to the murders, Decker is brought in to the investigation and begins the journey to resurrect his life – and learn what happened to his family. Interesting and well done story 2016-05
Only Time Will Tell Jeffrey Archer Fiction ** First of the Clifton Chronicle Series, Harry Clifton is the son of a dock worker who he believed was killed in WWI. His mother is forced to live with her brother, a rough and tumble dock worker who has done some time in jail. Harry is befriended by two men who become his mentors, and discover his remarkable singing talent which leads to a scholarship to an exclusive boys school. Here Harry becomes friends with boys from a different world, but soon is led to explore his own family’s past, including the question of who his father really is. A fun book, I look forward to the next in the series. 2016-05
The Girl in the Spider’s Web David Logercrantz Fiction ** Fourth book in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, written by a new author following the death of the original creator. This book is entertaining, though the central character, Lisbeth Salander, is a bit underplayed. 2016-05
The Light Between Oceans M. L. Steadman Fiction ** An Australian WWI vet returns home and becomes a lighthouse keeper at a very remote station. When a boat with a dead man and a child wash up on shore, they begin a journey that will affect many lives. I greatly enjoyed the wondeful writing about the light house and some of the accompanying history. Though the premise of the plot was interesting, I had little sympathy for the central characters. 2016-05
Yellow Crocus Laila Ibrahim Historical Fiction ** A young slave girl is assigned to act as wet-nurse for the plantation owner’s newborn daughter. This begins a life-long relationship between the two, illustrating the many complicated facets of life and relationships during the times of slavery. A well written story. 2015-11
A Rule Against Murder :ouise Penny Fiction ** Inspector Gamache and his wife book an anniversary trip to a remote Quebec retreat but soon are embroiled in a murder in the midst of a family reunion. Good story and the audio version of the book is quite good – the narrator’s authentic French-Canadian accent really adds to the story. For those who like murder mysteries, this series is a nice alternative to the American versions of the genre. 2015-11
Motive Jonathan Kellerman Fiction ** Book 30 in the Alex Delaware series. While making no progress on a cold case, a new case develops when a recently divorced woman is murdered. Suspects include lawyer and ex-hubby. As the case unfolds, there are also clues to a long ago cold case revealed. Its hard to maintain a series for this long, but I find the characters still entertaining and the stories reasonably satisfying. 2015-11
Still Alice Lisa Genova Fiction ** A psychology professor begins to have trouble remembering things and is diagnosed with early onset Alhzheimers. Told from the professor’s point of view, the book attempts to chronicle the journey, the effects of the disease and its impact on family and friends. 2015-11
The Inner Circle Brad Meltzer Fiction ** The hero, Beecher White, is an Indiana Jones type character – an archivist at the National Archives charged with safeguarding the Nation’s treasured documents. But when he stumbles across a special dictionary, filled with secrets codes, he embarks on an adventure filled with intrique and, of course, murder. First in the “Culper Ring” series, its a fast paced, enjoyable read. 2015-11
Hand of Evil J. A. Jance Fiction ** Third in the Ali Reynolds series, this book focuses on two unrelated murders, though a witness to one has some subtle ties to the other. Not a bad book – fun, easy read, though can’t justify more than two stars 2015-10
The Murderer’s Daughter Jonathan Kellerman Fiction ** I’m a long time fan of Kellerman and his Alex Delaware novels and was glad to see him create a story about a completely new character, psychologist Grace Blades. Following her parents murder-suicide, Blades is placed in foster care, eventually having the good fortune to attract a mentor who changes her life. Many years later, she becomes embroiled in a murder mystery, bringing back many aspects of her past. Enjoyable book for those that like this genre. 2015-10
Agent 6 Tom Rob Smith Fiction ** A Soviet secret police investigator tries to exist while still maintaining a sense of humanity. Personal tragedy leads to a series of events which span the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and other events during the cold war. Not a bad story, but feels a bit dated. 2015-07
The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins Fiction ** If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll probably like this book. For me, it wasn’t bad enough to give up on, but I couldn’t wait to be finished with it. I felt no empathy for any of the sorry cast of characters. The main character, a divorced drunk who was fired from her job but continues to commute to the city every day rather than to tell her friend/roomate constructs a fantasy about a couple she often sees through the window of the train. When the woman goes missing, she becomes involved in the investigation, leading to a long and complicated series of events meant to keep you guessing who did what to whom. 2015-07
The Kitchen House Kathleen Grissom Fiction ** An orphaned Irish girl is consigned to indentured servitude on a Virginia plantation, lives alongside the slaves and works in the Kitchen House. As her circumstances and status change, she tries to maintain these ties to her “family” but with increasing difficulty. The are some real flaws in the story, but it is interesting. Personally I would have preferred that it incorporate a bit more of the politics and events of the time – this was pure fiction with not much history evident, though the author in her notes talks about the extensive reseach she did in order to accurately portray the conditions. 2015-07
The Astronaut Wive’s Club Lily Koppel Non-Fiction ** This story centers on the wives of the original Mercury Seven astronauts. Ill-prepared to be thrust into the sudden spotlight they found themselves in, they did their best to cope, helping each other while at times succumbing to pettiness and jealousy. Interesting, especially for those interested in the Space Program, but not great. 2015-04
Deja Dead Kathy Reichs Fiction ** This is the author and book that the TV show Bones is based on. This book is the first of the Temperence Brennan series and she has just moved from NC to Quebec. While examining some dismembered remains, she believes there is a serial killer out there, but is unable to convince the police who she works with. A good rea, but the character is not exactly the Bones portrayed on the TV show. 2015-04
Let Me Survive Louise Longo Non-Fiction ** (Bradley) A true tale of the very sad story of a Mom, Dad and 5 year old who decide to take a sailing trip together.  The book is a very quick and easy read, but very emotional.  It also drives home for any sailor or cruiser, that you never, ever get into a life raft until you are stepping up into it, as the boat is literally sinking.   From an experienced sailors perspective, Louise does not address many of the key questions, and as it happened before internet in 1994, there is not a lot of other information out there.  It is a great read for those cruising to drive home some key points on preparing for the worst.  It is also a very good read for the non sailors, to get a sense of the true challenges of cruising. 2014-10
Sailing A Serious Ocean John Kretschmer Non-Fiction ** (Bradley) John is an extremely well respected sailor author, but this book has two faults in my opinion.  One, it is written almost exclusively for those who are serious sailors or those thinking about purchasing a boat and heading offshore. This book not for the general public  Two and more importantly – I disagree with so much of what he says and how often he ends up in bad weather.  That is not to say that for those thinking of purchasing a boat, there is not some excellent information and insights in the book.  It is just that I fear those just joining the cruising world might get the wrong idea on some critical issues.  I also believe John missed a key cruising sailboat, Oyster, that have clearly demonstrated they are ocean capable.  I do not believe there is any other brand of boat that has so many circumnavigations under its hulls.  Why he elected to leave this boat out, I do not know, but I suspect it may be a price issues.  There are far better sailing books to spend one’s time on. 2014-10
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn Fiction ** This one was interesting for awhile but in the end became so whacky and far-fetched I just couldn’t wait for it to be done. For me, this had great potential but did not live up to it. 2014-10
The Buffalo Soldier Chris Bohjalian Fiction ** I really enjoyed The Sandcastle Girls and hoped for a similar experience with this book. Although it was enjoyable, it was much more pure fiction, with only tangential references to the real Buffalo soldiers. A family loses twin daughters in a tragic flood and several years later takes in a foster child, a young African American boy. A fairly engaging story and easy read, but I was a bit disappointed that the story of the Buffalo soldiers was not more entwined in the story. 2014-10
Killer Fiction Jonathan Kellerman ** I love Kellerman and his Alex Delaware series but this one just didn’t do it for me. A fairly obvious perpetrator with a pretty unbelievable (silly) motive overcomes the characters and otherwise good writing. 2014-04
Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness Non-Fiction Eric Metaxas ** (Bradley) Eric Metaxas approaches his topic with such a personal agenda and religious bias, that I felt he was unable to objectively define what makes great men.  He elected to write 7 short Bios’ on George Washington, William Wilberforce Jackie Robinson, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Eric Liddell, Pope John Paul II and Charles Colson.  While I will grant him the first three, and stand on the fence regarding Bonhoeffer, the last three do not qualify as great men.  They may have done a great deed or two, but they certainly did not lead an exemplary life. Part of my issue with his selection process is Eric’s putting on a pedestal those men who were able to recruit new believers in his religion.  While I gladly accept anyone’s personal belief structure, I feel this need by most of the worlds major religions to continue to prove themselves by actively and sometimes force ably recruiting new converts is one of the fundamental problems the world faces today. In addition I felt Eric missed several men who had a far greater positive impact on the world than Colson, Pope Paul II, Liddell and Bonhoeffer. What about Sam Adams, Benjamin Franklin,  Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill; just to name a few of the more obvious candidates. 2014-04
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight Non-Fiction Alexandra Fuller ** Author’s memoir of growing up white in Africa during turbulent times. Colorful and interesting, the book focuses mostly on personal issues and tragedies within a somewhat eccentric family with the historical events of the times in the background. Personally I would have enjoyed the historical events to be in the forefront, but otherwise enjoyed the book. 2014-04
Inferno Dan Brown Fiction ** Robert Langdon, hero of the DaVinci Code, races to piece together a mystery based on Dante’s Inferno. At times the book seems more of an art history lecture than a thriller but it has its good points. A bit disappointing at the end, but a good read. 2013-12
King and Maxwell David Baldacci Fiction ** Former Secret Service agents King and Maxwell take on a young client whose father has disappeared following a secret mission in Afghanistan. Working both with and against other agencies, not know who to trust, the pair help to unravel a deadly mystery. A decent read. 2013-12
The Forgotten David Baldacci Fiction ** The second in the John Puller series, the hero. a military investigator, is on leave to recover from events in the last book when he learns his aunt is dead. Riuled an accident. Puller learns from his father that his aunt wrote a letter telling of some strange happenings in the town of Paradise. Puller sets off to investigate and uncovers some very strange things indeed. While there are some holes, its a good book for this genre and a likable and believable hero. 2013-12
We are All Welcome Here Elizabeth Berg Historical Fiction ** Though a work of fiction, this book was inspired by a true story. Set in Tupelo. Mississippi in the 1960’s, a woman contract polio during her last month of pregnancy and delivers her daughter while confined to an iron lung. Paralyzed for life from the disease, she raises her daughter as a single mom, with the help of a part time caregiver. A good story, well told with good characters, a few laughs, and plenty of emotion and inspiration. 2013-08
Bittersweet Rain Sandra Brown Fiction ** Like the other Sandra Brown books I’ve read, this one is not believable, filled with characters who are completely inconsistent from one interaction to the next, lots of sexual tension between characters, a silly plot, but lots of fun. Her books are not literary classics, and you may not want to admit you read them, but when the next one comes along, you read it anyway. 2013-08
Edge of Evil J.A. Jance Fiction ** I enjoyed this author’s JP Beaumont and Joanna Brady novels but this one wasn’t quite the same caliber. The hero, a female TV anchor who is fired for being too old finds out her husband is a schmuck and starts writing an online blog. There is a mysterious death and the book seems to dance around a bunch of women’s issues, but is not entirely choesive. It’s OK, a good summer beach book, though you can probably do better. 2013-08
The Hunters W.E.B . Griffin Fiction ** I have enjoyed Griffin’s Badge of Honor and The Corps series, and this is the third book in his Presidential Agent series. For me, the whole series is just OK. It seems to be less historical and more fictional, relying on characters and a story that don’t have the same feel of reality as his other works. This was an OK continuation of an OK series. 2013-08
The Tiger’s Wife Tea Obreht Fiction ** An interesting debut novel by a young author, this story is set in a fictional Balkan state recovering from years of war. Told through the eyes of a young woman doctor and her grandfather, the story combines interesting characters, stories of war and its effects, elements of supernatural/fantasy, a a tiger. While the writing style is engaging and the characters all interesting, the book ends without a strong conclusion/moral/central theme. This author has great potential and I look forward to her future works. While this book was enjoyable, it wasn’t great for me. 2013-08
The Web Jonathan Kellerman Fiction **  While his house is being renovated, Alex Delaware accepts an invitation for an all expense paid trip to a Pacific island to assist in a research project. Lo and behold, a mystery starts to unfold, featuring some local murders and long ago intrigue. Not my favorite of the Delaware series, but still a good read 2013-08
Zero Day David Baldacci Fiction ** A new series featuring John Puller, a combat veteran who is now an investigator for the Army’s Criminal Investigation unit. This case involves a trip to rural West Virginia where some mysterious murders lead down various false paths until the truth is learned. Decent story – good entertainment if you enjoy this genre. 2013-08
The Kill Artist Daniel Silva Historical Fiction ** First in the Gabriel Allon series, this is the story of a former Israeli assasin who tries to retire but gets called back to help with a terrorist who is an old nemesis. Meant to help illustrate some of the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, Silva gives good background on both sides. A bit violent but a decent story with some educational value. 2013-01
The Hostage W.E.B Griffin Fiction ** Second in the Presidential Agent series, this story involves the kidnapping of a US Diplomat’s wife in Argentina and subsequent murder of the diplomat. While not one of Griffin’s best, it’s still a good read. 2013-01
The Wrecker Clive Cussler Historical Fiction ** Second in the Isaac Bell series, set in the early 20th century during the era of the railroads, detective Isaac Bell is on the trail of a killer known as The Wrecker who is out to destroy the railroad and its tycoon owner. Reasonably interesting, but not as good as the first book in the series. The good guys win in the end, but certainly have their shares of missteps and errors along the way. 2012-11
The Crime Writer Gregg Hurwitz Fiction ** Interesting murder mystery. Drew Danner, a crime reporter, wakes  up in a hospital with no memory of the night before. His ex-fiance is dead and he was found with her body covered in her blood. Learning he has suffered from a brain tumor, he has no idea if he is guilty or innocent. This begins a quest for the truth, with many twists and turns along the way. Good story, well developed plot. 2012-09
Best Kept Secrets Sandra Brown Fiction ** I have to admit, Sandra Brown is my guilty pleasure, Like her other books, this one is completely unbelievable. Sexy heroine lusts after unsuitable guy, silly plot, lust develops into love, mystery is solved. Intellectually, this is a really dumb book, but it really is fun. I like Sandra Brown when I’m in the mood for a mindless, stress-relieving story. 2012-07
Golden Fox Wilbur Smith Historical Fiction ** I have never read Wilbur Smith before, but there are a dozen of his books that came with this boat so I finally tackled one. It is historical fiction and though I am not sold on the story line or the charaters, the background events – turmoil in Africa during the 60’s and 70’s – is fascinating. 2012-05
Devil’s Claw J.A. Jance Fiction ** Another in the Sheriff Joanna Brady series. Good story, doesn’t require too much concentration. A good diversion and entertaining. 2012-05
Divine Justice David Baldacci Fiction ** The fifth of the Camel Club series. Not bad, but this series seems to be losing steam. The plot centers around Camel Club leader Oliver Stone going back to work for the US Government in the wake of a bomb explosion in Lafayette Park. The government naturally is full of horrible people who conspire at every turn, only to be outwitted by Stone. Some high points – Baldacci’s characters are always interesting and the plot involved enough to keep you guessing – but if there is a sixth in this series I’ll probably skip it. 2012-02
The Alibi Sandra Brown Fiction ** Interesting story that keeps your interest and keeps you guessing. An enjoyable read, though now that I’ve read several books by this author, her characters all seem to suffer from Love at First Sight and confusing lust for love. Not entirely believable, but a goot entertaining yarn. 2012-02
The Deadhouse Linda Fairstein Fiction ** Murder mystery involving a college faculty and excavation of a former insane asylum. Written by a real-life district attorney, it’s good enough to finish and OK for this genre. 2012-01
Ricochet Sandra Brown Fiction ** A judge’s trophy wife shoots a home intruder – was it self defense or something else? A plot that has you guessing throughout, this is an entertaining read. The lust/love scenario between the detective and the main suspect is a bit overdone and not too believable, but still a good escape for a few hours. 2011-11
Death in Holy Orders PD James Fiction ** A spate of deaths occurs at a seminary and a visiting detective sorts through a host of suspects to find the killer. Entertaining. 2011-10
Justice Denied J.A. Jance Fiction ** Detective Beaumont, still working for the Special Homicide Investigation Team, teams up with his partner/lover to investigate several cold cases which end up tying together. Not the strongest plot of the series but the characters and story make it a pleasant diversionary read. 2011-10
Relic Douglas Preston Fiction ** A combination Jurassic Park/mystery features FBI Agent Pendergrass on the heels of a suspected brutal serial killer, or is it a strange new life form? Intersting book with just enough credence to be believable. Put aside a few annoying bits – such as every law enforcement agent who is not one of the “heros” breaks down in tears at the first sign of troubel – and its a fun book. 2011-10
Reliquary Douglas Preston Fiction ** Sequel to Relic and continues in the same vein. Same main character reunited for a recurrence of brutal deaths, must solve the mystery and save the city from evil. Good page turning fun. 2011-10
Three Cups of Tea Greg Mortensen Non-Fiction ** A mountaineer gets stranded in rural Pakistan and then spends his life helping to build schools to educate children, mostly Muslim, in poor areas where education is not possible. Some critics question the truthfulness of all the accounts, but nevertheless it is a worthwhile read if you want to gain a better understanding of the “real world” and a Muslim country where things are very different from the USA. 2011-07
Animals in Translation Temple Grandin Fiction ** The author suffers from austism, yet has earned a PhD and is a specialist in animal behavior because of her ability to “think in pictures” and see the world the way animals do. She has now designed over 50% of the country’s meat slaughterhouse facilities to provide more humane treatment of cattle. There is also a movie about the author which is well worth seeing. 2011-07
By Order of the President W.E.B Griffin Fiction ** A new series by the author of popular series about the Marine Corps and NYPD. This is a solid and entertaining novel about a young special forces major who helps his superiors and the President avert a terrorist attack. 2011-07
Deception Jonathan Kellerman Fiction ** Yet another Alex Delaware novel, this one involves the murder of a teacher at an exclusive prep school. Typically entertaining Kellerman fare, with a decent story. Great beach book. 2011-07
Enquiry Dick Francis Fiction ** A jockey and trainer are stripped of their licenses after being falsely accused of throwing a race. The jockey launches his own investigation, which leads to lots of intrigue. Standard Dick Francis fare – good story, not too much violence, and lots of horse stories. 2011-07
Evidence Jonathan Kellerman Fiction ** Alex and Milo (this is another Alex Delaware novel) investigate a double murder at an unfinished building site that leads them down several rabbit holes before finally solving the case 2011-07
Laws of Our Fathers Scott Turow Fiction ** Hippes and revolutionaries from the 60’s grow up to become judges, lawyers, and politicians embroiled in a murder mystery. Interesting, but not my favorite of Turow’s works 2011-07
Long Lost Harlan Coban Fiction ** Another Myron Bolitar murder, this time Myron goes to Paris to help his former lover solve the murder of her husband. Fun and entertaining, it’s a good blend of humor and bad things (a la the Sopranos). 2011-07
Palindrome Stuart Woods Fiction ** Set on Cumberland Island off Georgia, the story concerns a woman who is hiding from her violent husband on Cumerland Island, where a years old mystery unfolds. We recently visited St. Mary’s, just near the real Cumberland Island, so that made the book more interesting to me. Solid beach reading material 2011-07
Pleading Guilty Scott Turow Fiction ** Another legal mystery, this time involving the disappearance of a law partern along with millions of dollars. Mack Malloy, the central character, is a cop who eventually got his law degree and is assigned to figure out what happened. He is not expected to solve the mystery, but of course he does. Very entertaining with good characters 2011-07
Promise Me Harlan Coban Fiction ** Myron Bolitar returns with a new love interest who has a teenage daughter. Bolitar makes her and a friend promise to call him if they are every tempted to drive while drunk. That call does come, but the girl ends up missing and it’s up to Bolitar to find her. Good entertaining story. 2011-07
An Eagle Named Freedom Jeff Guidry Non-Fiction ** Billed as the tale of a remarkable friendship between a man an an eagle, this is more a book about the author’s battle with cancer and how his attachment to an eagle at the wildlife rehab center he worked at helped him through. An interesting book, but not the inspirational story it was billed to be.  And I’d be curious to hear the eagle’s version of the story. 2011-04
Scent of the Missing Susannah Charleson Non-Fiction ** True story of search and rescue dogs. The author works as a volunteer with a search and rescue team and eventually gets her own puppy to train as a rescue dog. Some good insights, but many of the actual searches described are lacking details and conclusions. Interesting and worth a read, but not written by a real professional writer and it shows. 2011-04
The Invisible Bridge Julie Orringer Historical Fiction ** A novel about various members of a Hungarian Jewish family at the start of WWII. At times interesting, at other times very slow moving. The strength of the book is in showing the effect of the coming war on what had been a normal family. 2011-04
24 Hours Greg Iles Fiction ** Thriller about a child kidnapper. Good page turner and reasonably well written 2011-04
Alone Lisa Gradner Fiction ** This book at times show great promise but degenerates into a violent, how many people can be senselessly murdered ending. 2011-04
Backspin Harlan Coben Fiction ** Another in the Myron Bolitar series of murder mysteries. Poor Myron, a sports agent, becomes involved in more murders than you can imagine! But the stories are good and reliable. Good characters and plenty of plot twists to keep it interesting. 2011-04
Boom Mark Haddon Fiction ** Actually a children’s book but I loved this author’s other works. This was interesting but not his best. Short, but definitely more appealing to a young audience. 2011-04
Death Match Lincoln Child Fiction ** A computer uses artificial intelligence to match up compatible couples with great results – until some of the super couples turn up dead. Good technological thriller. 2011-04
Killing Floor Lee Child Fiction ** Former militray policement Jack Reacher is wandering and gets off the bus in a small town in Georgia where he quickly becomes embroiled in an intricate scheme involving counterfeiting and murder. A good character, this is the first book of a series and I’ll probably read some more of them. 2011-04
Minor in Possession J.A. Jance Fiction ** A JP Beaumont mystery where the hero finally checks himself into an alcohol rehab facility, taking him away from Seattle to Phoenix. His roomate, an annoying kid, disappears, setting the stage for another mystery. A decent story. 2011-04
Name Witheld J. A. Jance Fiction ** The 13th book in the J.P. Beaumont detective series. Guess I like them if I’ve read this many! 2011-04
Taking the Fifth J.A. Jance Fiction ** This is the 4th book in the J.P. Beaumont series. He is a homicide detective and the books are all entertaining and good page turners. There are 14 books in the series so it’s always reliable when you just want a fun murder mystery. 2011-04
The Burden of Proof Scott Turow Fiction ** Another legal thriller from Scott Turow. Interesting plot and great characters. A great story with no violence or murder, yet still a page turner! 2011-04
Trial by Fury J.A. Jance Fiction ** Another in the J.P. Beaumont series, this one is as good as the rest. Good, fun whodunnit. 2011-04
True Evil Greg Iles Fiction ** An FBI agent works outside the system to unravel the mysterious deaths of spouses of a particular divorce attorney’s clients. A good suspensful thriller. 2011-04
Whiteout Ken Follett Fiction ** Bad guys try to steal a deadly virus from a research facility in Scotland. Good story – not Follett’s best, but even so, he’s still better than most. 2011-04
Black White & Jewish Rebecca Walker Non-Fiction ** Autobigraphy of a woman with a black mother and white Jewish father and the trials and tribulations of her childhood. Interesting, but in the end her childhood doesn’t seem much more difficult than the average person. 2010 or before
Blue Latitudes Tony Horwitz Non-Fiction ** The author sets out to visit many of the places discovered by Captain James Cook in the 18th century. He alternates his travel adventures with great information about Cook’s voyages. Unfortunately the author doesn’t seem to like any place he visits and his attempts to be humorous (a la Bill Bryson) fall flat. Despite that, the book is worth reading for a better understanding of Cook’s navigational and exploratory skills. 2010 or Before
Brunelleschi’s Dome Ross King Non-Fiction ** The story of the daring design and successful building of the dome of the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence in the 15th Century. A short book (160 pgs) and an easy read, but quite a bit of technical detail. Architects and engineers would enjoy this book. 2010 or before
Caddie Sense Michael Carrick Non-Fiction ** Written by Tom Kite’s caddie of many years. Moderately interesting but only for one who likes golf. 2010 or before
Dragon Hunter Charles Gallencamp Non-Fiction ** The true story of the Central Asiatic expeditions to Mongolia led by Roy Chapman Andrews in the 1920’s. Part science, part biography, part adventure story, part world history, the book provides a great look at all that was involved in mounting one of the most famous scientific expeditions in history. You will revel in the scientific finds and share the frustration of dealing with the Chinese buearacacy to obtain permission. A good book well written, but full of science and fact, so don’t expect a page turning thriller. 2010 or Before
Elizabeth – The Struggle for the Throne David Starkey Non-Fiction ** The story of the early life of Elizabeth I and how she ultimately became queen, with tons of historical information on Henry VIII and what was going on in England at the time. A worthwhile book full of interesting information, but a bit slow at times. Recommended for anyone with a real interest in the subject. 2010 or before
First You Have to Row a Little Boat Richard Bode Non-Fiction ** A book about sailing as a metaphor for life 2010 or before
Growing Up Russell Baker Non-Fiction ** Autobiography about growing up in the depression. Interesting read. 2010 or before
High Exposure David Breashears Non-Fiction ** Biography of well known climber and film maker who was on Mt. Everest during the huge storm in which many climbers died. Maker of the IMAX film Mt. Everest. A good book if you like this genre. 2010 or before
Keep Australia on Your Left Eric Stiller Non-Fiction ** Two guys attempt to circumnavigate Australia in a kayak 2010 or before
Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Bill Bryson Non-Fiction ** Bryson’s memoir about growing up in Iowa in the 1950’s. Entertaining and insightful but not as funny as some of his other stuff. If you’re a Bryson fan, you’ll like it. If you haven’t read him before, try one of his other books first. 2010 or Before
Lionheart Jesse Martin Non-Fiction ** Story of a 17 year old Australian boy who becomes the youngest person to sail singeld handed, non-stop, and unassisted around the world despite not having much sailing experience. 2010 or before
Lost on Everest – The Search for Mallory & Irvine Peter Firstbrook Non-Fiction ** George Mallory and Andrew Irvine were part of a British expedition in 1924 which attempted to climb Mt. Everest. They set off for the summit and never returned. There was much speculation as to whether this pair was in fact, succeesful in reaching the sum 2010 or before
One Christmas in Washington David Bercuson Non-Fiction ** The story of a series of meetings between Winston Churchill and FDR in which Churchil convinced FDR to enter the war. Well researched, contains a number of personal stories about both men. Will appeal to those with an interest in history. 2010 or Before
Riding Lessons Sara Gruen Non-Fiction ** Story quite similar to the Horse Whisperer, but not nearly as well written. Of interest to horse lovers or those wanting a light, quick read. 2010 or before
Saving Monticello Marc Leepson Non-Fiction ** The story of Thomas Jefferson’s home after his death until it became a national treasure over 100 years later. It focuses on the role of the Levy family, who owned the mansion for over 80 years and likely saved it from complete ruin. Worth reading if you enjoy history or are a Jefferson fan. 2010 or before
The Dinner Club Shannon Henry Non-Fiction ** Washington Post reporter Shannon Henry tells the story of the Capital Investors, a group of high tech millionaires who meet monthly and invest in small companies. A must read for anyone in the DC tech industry and an interesting story for all. 2010 or Before
The Dogs Who Found Me Ken Foster Non-Fiction ** A man in Manhattan adopts a dog from the pound, then develops a knack for finding and rescuing stray dogs. Though he seems a bit misguided at times, he does relate some heartwarming stories and it a book that most dog lovers will enjoy. 2010 or before
The Irish Game Matthew Hart Non-Fiction ** Story of major art theft in Ireland in the 70’s. Somewhat interesting, but seems like it was a stretch to make it into a book. 2010 or before
The Perfect Season Tim McCarver Non-Fiction ** Tim McCarver, former major leaguer, makes the case that 1998 was the greatest season in baseball history. From the McGwire-Sosa home run battle, to David Wells perfect game, to Cal Ripken’s ending of The Streak, to several magnificent team efforts includi 2010 or before
Caine Mutiny Herman Wouk Historical Fiction ** 1952 Pulizter Prize winning novel about life on a warship in WWII 2010 or before
Girl with a Pearl Earring Tracy Chevalier Historical Fiction ** Good story set in the time of the artist Vermeer. 2010 or before
On Secret Service John Jakes Historical Fiction ** Historical Fiction about the Civil War, Pinkerton, and the beginning of the Secret Service 2010 or before
Punk’s War Ward Carroll Historical Fiction ** Written by a former Navy fighter pilot, the story is set on an aircraft carrier in the Persian gulf. It provides a good portrait of life as a fighter pilot and is worth reading for that. The story is not real strong, but good enough to hold your interest. 2010 or before
Alley Kat Blues Karen Kijewski Fiction ** A fun and entertaining murder mystery thriller featuring female private eye Kat Colorado. 2010 or Before
Angels and Demons Dan Brown Fiction ** The prequel to the Da Vinci Code, this is another thriller featuring symbology, science, and the Catholic Church. Much better than Digital Fortress and Deception Point, almost as entertaining as the Da Vinci Code, this book at least will make you think ab 2010 or before
Animal Dreams Barbara Kingsolver Fiction ** A well written and enjoyable book about a woman who moves back to her small hometown and embarks on a journey to find herself. The characters all have flaws which make them believable but at times unlikeble too. A good read. 2010 or Before
Atonement Ian McEwan Fiction ** Set in England just before WWII this is a story of a big misunderstanding that changes a bunch of peoples’ lives forever. Well written and easy to read but not much point to it. 2010 or before
Blood Memory Greg Iles Fiction ** A murder-thriller whose hero is an alcoholic forensic dentist who is pregnant by her married lover. After suffering a panic attack at a crime scene, she returns to her childhood home where she is soon consumed by new evidence about the mystery of her father’s death. Though the plot is a bit convoluted at times, there is a serious underpinning to it having to do with childhood sexual abuse, which plays a role in the primary crime. The book does a good job of weaving a serious subject together with a decent story in a well-written thriller. 2010 or Before
Blood Orchid Stuart Woods Fiction ** Decent murder mystery set in Florida featuring a female private eye. Plot’s a little obvious, but otherwise entertaining. 2010 or Before
Bones Jonathan Kellerman Fiction ** Another in the Alex Delaware series, this was not one of my favorites. The story seemed weak. It evolves around a series of murders – but the serial killer in the end hardley seems believable. Nevertheless, it’s a typical Kellerman page turner, with enough interest to justify reading on a nice beach somwhere. 2010 or before
Compulsion Jonathan Kellerman Fiction ** Another Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis murder mystery. Psychologist Delaware consults to the police and helps to nab a killer. Kellerman never seems to write a bad book – they are reliably entertaining, though I’ve probably just read too many suspense thrillers this summer, so I wasn’t overwhelmed by this one. 2010 or Before
Day of Atonement Faye Kellerman Fiction ** Mystery thriller featuring an L.A. police detective investigating a missing teenage family member in New York. The family is Orthodox Jewish and the book is a good view of their life wound around a good, page-turning plot. A worthwhile read 2010 or Before
Deception Point Dan Brown Fiction ** Mystery thriller about a meteorite found in the Artic. Well written and pretty believable page turner. 2010 or Before
Digital Fortress Dan Brown Fiction ** First book by the author of the Da Vinci Code. An interest holding page turner, but not nearly as sophisticated or as believable as his most current effort. 2010 or before
Double Cross James Patterson Fiction ** Detective Alex Cross chases two serial killers in a thrilling but excessively violent story. 2010 or Before
Exit Wounds J. A. Jance Fiction ** A small town sheriff investigates the murder of a local woman and her 17 dogs. The sheriff is also pregnant and running for re-election while trying to solve what becomes a multiple murder. A good and entertaining thriller which will occupy a few hours. 2010 or Before
Last Man Standing David Baldacci Fiction ** Mystery thriller involving an FBI agent and a psychiatrist. Good action, reasonable page turner, with a so-so plot and a less than satisfying ending. A fine beach book to kill some time. 2010 or before
Reversible Errors Scott Turow Fiction ** Lawyer takes on a death row inmate and comes to believe he is innocent. Murder, love, intrigue, not totally believable, but a good book for the beach. 2010 or Before
Rusty Nail J. A. Knorath Fiction ** Another murder mystery thriller featuring a female detective, Jacqueline (Jack) Daniels. A decent read, but at times has excessive, graphic violence, interspered with humor – sort of like the Sopranos I guess. The author is acquiring a good reputation with this genre and will probably do well. If you like gruesome murder mysteries this won’t disappoint you. 2010 or Before
Skipping Christmas John Grisham Fiction ** A satirical tale of a couple, daughter off on an adventure to a faraway land, who decide to skip Christmas and go on a cruise instead. Subject to scorn and ridicule from all their friends, associates, and neighbors, they stick to the plan almost to the end. Funny and unfortunately all too true – it brings to light the materialism and lunacy surrounding many people’s approach to this holiday. Short and entertaining. 2010 or before
Skull Session Daniel Hecht Fiction ** A well written suspenseful novel with a hero who suffers from Tourettes syndrome. A good page turner although the ending is just a little too bizarre. The end also gets pretty violent 2010 or Before
Step on a Crack Richard Patterson Fiction ** Michael Bennett is a NY detective and hostage negotiator with ten adopted children and a wife dying of cancer. He becomes the lead negotiator in a meticulously planned mass kidnapping/hostage situation. Good enough to be believable, this is the first in what will likely be a good series. Unlike some Patterson books, this one is not horribly gruesome. 2010 or before
Stolen Season Alex McKnight Fiction ** Retired cop and private investigator Alex McKnight spends his summers in Upper Michigan where he becomes involved in a complex and dangerous case involving guns and money. Many twists and turns in the plot and some really bad things happen to the good guys, who I found to be pretty realistic – that is, they make mistakes, aren’t always smart, and sometimes have bad things happen to them. But in the end the bad guys of course get their due. Not a bad book for this genre. 2010 or before
The Book of Fate Brad Meltzer Fiction ** A cheap take off of the Da Vinci code. The story involved a hard to believe conspiracy between highly placed US agents who happen to be Masons. Just good enough to keep you reading – just bad enough to make you glad to finish. 2010 or before
The Last Coyote Michael Connelly Fiction ** A good murder mystery featuring detective Harry Bosch who attempts to solve the 30 year old murder of his mother. Will hold your interest and keep you turning the pages. 2010 or Before
The Lincoln Lawyer Michael Connelly Fiction ** Solid murder mystery starring a lawyer whose office is the backseat of a Lincoln. Not Connelly’s best, but entertaining and worth the read if you’re just looking for a good page turner for entertainment. 2010 or Before
The Lion’s Game Nelson DeMille Fiction ** A strangely frightening book written before Sept 11 featuring a Libyan terrorist, a hijacked airplane, and numerous references to the World Trade Centers. It’s a good page turner of a book, but the ending leaves a lot to be desired. Events of the past cou 2010 or before
The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold Fiction ** A young girl is murdered on her way home from school one day. The story is told from her perspective, mostly from heaven looking down on her family and friends and what happens to them in the aftermath of the murder. A creative and different perspective, 2010 or Before
The Millionaires Brad Meltzer Fiction ** Brothers who work at a bank plan a white collar crime but get in the way of some mean people. An adequate time passer. 2010 or before
The Overlook Michael Connelly Fiction ** Another in the Harry Bosch detective series. Nothing earth-shattering – the author almost always provides and interesting and well told story that provides some good entertainment. 2010 or Before
The Smoke Jumper Nicholas Evans Fiction ** By the author of the Horse Whisperer. I found this one a little disappointing. It was OK to pass the time and held my interest fairly well, but it was much more of a soap opera about classic star crossed lovers than about firefighting. 2010 or before
Ties That Bind Phillip Margolin Fiction ** A good page turner mystery. A little on the dark side and not truly believable, but a good read nonetheless 2010 or Before
Total Control David Baldacci Fiction ** Thriller with a plane crash and scheme revolving around federal reserve rate changes. Not really plausible, but a good time passer. 2010 or before
Trunk Music Michael Connelly Fiction ** A Harry Bosch murder mystery. Not his best, nor his worst. Good, entertaining story – if you’ve liked this series you’ll probably enjoy it. 2010 or Before
Wild Horses Dick Francis Fiction ** Typical, entertaining Dick Francis novel 2010 or before
Zero Game Brad Meltzer Fiction ** Reasonably interesting thriller about staffers on Capitol Hill and a game they play that turns deadley. Not particularly memorable, but passes the time and not a disappointment. 2010 or before
Two for the Dough Janet Evanovich Fiction ** Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter who is chasing a bail-skipper who it turns out is involved in much more than the assault for which he was arrested. Good characters and a fun book. This is a popular series and I will order some more!
  1. #1 by fds on November 24, 2015 - 8:01 am



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