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The 17th Suspect (Women's Murder Club, Bk 17)
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From my point of view, of all the Woman's Murder Club novels written by Patterson with the collaboration of Maxine Paetro, and I have read them all with the exception of their most recent, The 17th Suspect is definitely their best. Both of the mystery plots that kept the story moving at a blistering pace I found most intriguing, so much so that even when I ought to have put the book down and get some much-needed sleep, I could not do it. Wait. Let me amend that statement. On one occasion I did. I turned off the lights, got all covered up in a comfortable sleeping position, closed my eyes and laid there wide awake thinking about Assistant DA Yuki's trial in progress and the fascinating predicament of which Seargent Lindsay Boxer found herself squarely in the middle. Finally, after some five or ten minutes, I gave up the notion of sleeping, threw my bed cover aside, turned on the lights, grabbed the half-read book from my nightstand and continued reading until the wee hours of this morning when it was finished. Now that's what I call a 5-star read!


Thirteen: The serial killer isn't on trial. He's on the jury
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It is difficult to find a good legal thriller these days, but this is one. I added it to my wishlist after rave reviews, not realizing it is the 4th entry of a series. I usually try to read series books in order, but this worked fine as a standalone. The court room scenes were excellent, with a lot of twists. Some of the twists with the killer I saw coming, but this book was a lot of fun nonetheless.


Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir
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I bought this from the sale shelf at the branch library, along with half a dozen others that were on the wish lists of PBS comrades. I had time to read a few pages and found it to be a quite introspective autobiography, reading first the part about when he opened his footlocker thirty years after it was shipped home from 'Nam. Unfortunately, I then looked through the photos. Mr. Timburg was badly burned on active duty and has made a fantastic recovery. I am glad that he got a decent pension and good medical care. The pension is a big help when one wants to pursue a career as a writer!


A Girl Called Justice
A Girl Called Justice
Author: Elly Griffiths
Genre: Children's Books
Book Type: Paperback
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Since I am a long-time fan of Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway mysteries, how could I resist reading her first mystery for children? As you can see, I couldn't, and I found a delightful story that many adults are bound to enjoy.

Justice's voice pulled me right into the story, which includes blueprints of the school, her journal entries, and secret messages. Griffths has created a good mystery to solve, and I have to admit that when the villain was revealed, I couldn't believe that I missed the clues that had been planted along the way.

A Girl Called Justice isn't all about the mystery, however. Readers watch Justice as she learns how to exist as part of a group, and they may even laugh in sympathy as she discovers she has no skill at athletics. In addition, the setting is superb; I think I was frozen solid the entire time I was reading it-- which brings up a question. Why on earth (in so many British-set books that I've read in my lifetime) do people insist that living in icy conditions will "toughen a person up"? Especially when most of the students being toughened up were suffering horrible colds. It makes no sense to me.

But no matter. I loved the setting, the mystery, and the character of Justice Jones. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I read the next book in the series as well!


One War at a Time: The International Dimensions of the American Civil War
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I've been reading about the Civil War for over 59 years. If your interest in this war extends beyond the battlefield, then this book is a must read. It explains much of the politics behind numerous international events. Plus, it is a well written book and an easy read.

The author gives you a better understanding of why the U.S. and Britain almost went to war over the Trent and Alabama, how both countries profited from the millions Britain paid the U.S. to settle the Alabama claims, why Lincoln supported the Mexican liberals but didn't militarily intervene against the French, and several other "incidents" you probably read about but don't understand why they were settled the way they were.


Sharpe's Fortress (Sharpe, Bk 3)
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I thought this was the best book in the series so far.


My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir
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I was curious about his traveled road to the Supreme Court, and I enjoyed the memoir of Judge Clarence Thomas immensely. What an amazing story about the influences that shaped his life.


It Devours! (Welcome to Night Vale, Bk 2)
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I love unusual books, and this one takes the cake. Set in a town, where there is no natural law and absurd things happen and are not considered out of the ordinary. As I was reading I was imagining this could be a world made up of eight year old's and designed by eight year old's. The hilarious one liners put in unexpected places, events that make you go back to reread just to make sure you read it right and weren't just imaging as your mind wanders. I was so sad when the story was done, but then I realized, there is a podcast set in the town and now I can not wait to listen and keep up with my friends in the unusual town. This is a must read for sure, especially if you love the strange and unusual.


The Duchess in His Bed
The Duchess in His Bed
Author: Lorraine Heath
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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Make yourself comfy because Aidan and Selena undertake an emotional roller coaster of red-hot desires, tough choices, obligations, and painful secrets. Still, their story isn't unbearably angst-y but seasoned with just the right amounts of heartbreak and redemption to make it a balanced and emotionally rewarding romance. It's the type where you'll want to cheer in the end; even the epilogue will leave you happy. If this is your first taste in the Sins for All Seasons series, pick up the earlier ones, too; there simply isn't one bad book in the bunch. 4 stars.


Murder by the Minster: Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries 1 (The Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries)
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Trilby-wearing Kitt Hartley is definitely a character to watch. She's got all her librarian scowls and stares down pat as well as a sharp tongue that she's not afraid to use. It's also good to see that Helen Cox has given her main character an excellent mystery to solve. Any time that I haven't put all the pieces together-- or at least some of them-- is a rare day, and I was certainly kept guessing as I read this book.

There was only one thing wrong with Murder by the Minster for me-- and it may be the one thing that makes this book perfect for some of you-- it went way overboard on the romance. Once Kitt has seen the handsome detective inspector, her thirty-five-year-old hormones go into hyperdrive, and when the attraction heats up a notch, I found myself skimming a page or two. But, as I said, this may make this book the perfect cup of tea for some of you.

Even though I turn up my nose at romance, the author has done such a good job with her setting and the story that I'm willing to read the next book in the series. Maybe Kitt will have her hormones in therapy...


Heretics Anonymous
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Having been exposed to all 5 religious back rounds of the kids in the story, I was happy to see that all were portrayed in a truthful and respectful light. When my book club decided on this book, we were not aware it was a book for teens, and some of the ladies did not enjoy it for that reason. I found it to be refreshing and fun. It also had lessons to be learned on many levels, respect, faith, consequences, and friendship. I would recommend this book to any body at any age level.


Passing Strange (Detective Inspector Sloan, Bk 9)
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Catherine Aird's books are full of twist & turns, snappy dialogue, dry wit, and tight plots.  This one is no different.  I like to just sit back and let the language flow over me because the wit and wrangling are so funny.  I've read all of Aird's books at least twice; they are a delight to the senses.

In this story, the village nurse, a spinster, is strangled behind the fortune-teller's booth at a community flower show.  Everyone loves the nurse, so why was she killed?  It is up to Sloan (with Crosby in tow) and without much help from his supervisor, to find the guilty party.  There are plenty of red herrings and people who look guilty.

Sloan and Crosby Mystery 
1. TheReligious Body (1966)
2.Henrietta Who? (1968) 
3. TheComplete Steel (1969)     aka The Stately Home Murder
4. A LatePhoenix (1970) 
5. HisBurial Too (1973)  
6. SlightMourning (1975)
7. Parting Breath (1977) 
8. Some Die Eloquent (1979) 
** 9. Passing Strange (1980) 


Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit
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I adore this book. It really puts humans in their place. We need to change our way of thinking about the resources of our planet and go from being harvesters of anything we want to protectors of what we have been gifted. This book is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was written over 25 years ago, especially with the rain forests being burned for business and islands of plastic floating in the oceans. Are we really as smart as we think we are? Would the world be better if humans ceased to exist? The actual story is meh, but the message is amazing.


First Degree (Andy Carpenter, Bk 2)
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I don't know what kept me from this series for so long; it pushes all the right buttons for me. Nice, convoluted mystery, humor, dogs, and a wonderful cast of slightly oddball characters. I may not know what kept me from this series, but I do know that I intend to savor every single one. Who knows? There may be an Andy Carpenter Week (or two) in my future.

In this second book of the series, Andy is gathering together a first-rate "family." We're introduced to the very scary Marcus, whom Rosenfelt admitted he modeled after Robert B. Parker's Hawk in his Spenser series. Willie Miller, whom Andy defended in an earlier trial, makes himself at home with Andy and Laurie, and then there's the brilliant lawyer Kevin Randall who quit practicing because he couldn't face the possibility of either sending an innocent man to prison or letting a guilty man go free. And then there's Tara, the golden retriever that only seems to leave Andy's side... for Laurie's. This is ensemble casting at its best, ready and willing to expand for characters like Barry Leiter, a young man with a short role who punches a hole straight through your gut.

I would imagine that all true dog lovers like me roll their eyes whenever a normally well-behaved dog starts barking up a storm and its human ignores all the fuss. Well, that happens in First Degree, too, and I'm hoping that Andy learns to pay attention.

First Degree has a marvelous cast, laugh-out-loud humor, and a fun mystery with plenty of twists. As I read, I knew the identity of "Mr. Big," but I certainly hadn't filled in all the particulars. Now that I've read the first two books in the series, all I can say is that I'm looking forward to book three with a definite twinkle in my eye. Haven't made Andy Carpenter's acquaintance? There's no time like the present!


The House We Grew Up In: A Novel
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You start out thinking you're going to read about this big happy fun family. Things take a turn. A BIG turn. Makes me want to rent a dumpster and clear the place out. None the less, it is a good read, family dynamics are a funny thing.


Highland Jewel (Royal Highlander)
Highland Jewel (Royal Highlander)
Author: May McGoldrick
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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Excellent continuation of the Royal Highlander series. While this book can be read as a stand-alone, the experience will be richer if you read Highland Crown first. One of my favorite things about both books is that they deal with events outside the usual Society life. Indeed, the upper crust of Society is shown in an entirely different light. The setup of the book is a little different also. It starts in the middle of the story, goes back to the beginning to catch up, then continues in the present. Part of the story also takes place at the same time as the previous book, but from Maisie's point of view rather than Isabelle's.

There are two sides to Maisie. One is the quiet, docile girl who doesn't seem to have a thought in her head. This is the side that her family sees, and the reason for it is heartbreaking. Outside of the home, she shares with her family, Maisie is just the opposite. She is an activist, working for the rights of women and the ordinary people of Scotland. She has formed a Women's Reform Society with her best friend, Fiona, where they meet to talk about issues, plan protests, and recruit new members. Unfortunately, the British government is cracking down on what it considers to be subversive activity.

Niall is Fiona's brother. He recently retired from active service, disturbed by the things he's been called to do since the end of the war with Napoleon. All he wants now is a stable, quiet life with his sister and nieces. He is dismayed to discover Fiona's double life, knowing from experience the danger she is in. When a rally turns dangerous, Fiona begs Niall to save Maisie too. From that moment on, there is an undeniable connection between Niall and Maisie.

I liked the development of the relationship between Maisie and Niall. Though he was a soldier for a long time, there is also a softer side to him that comes out around Maisie. She understands that the things he's seen haunt him. I liked the way that she listens to more than just the words when he talks. Niall is also just as protective of Maisie as he is of Fiona and I ached for how he worries about them both. The feelings between them grow rapidly, but there are obstacles to overcome. Maisie's brother-in-law has taken a dislike to Niall, and she has to find a way to overcome that. She also needs to tell them about her other life. But before she can do that, Fiona is taken by the authorities.

There is more behind Fiona's capture than either Maisie or Niall is aware of at first. Niall is blackmailed into accepting a dangerous mission for the Crown. Accepting the danger to save his sister, Niall refuses to drag Maisie into it. Instead, he frees her from their commitment, breaking her heart. He never expects to see her again, but fate has other plans. The intrigue and intensity ramp up when Niall shows up in the Highlands under suspicious circumstances. There are multiple twists and turns that put Niall, Maisie, and even Cinead and Isabelle in danger. I was glued to the pages as each event played out, and I found myself rooting for the best outcome. I loved seeing Niall and Maisie come together despite the turmoil around them. I especially enjoyed Niall's words to Maisie at the end about their future and life together.

The story arc that runs through both books, and will continue into book three, is an intriguing one. I love seeing more of the world outside London, and the realistic look at the social problems of the day. The story of Cinead and his mother is especially intriguing. I ached for Caroline and what she went through. I was somewhat familiar with her as a historical character, but these books provide a different look into her life. The ending brought tears as Caroline finally got her dearest wish. It will be interesting to see where it goes in the next book.

The secondary characters were terrific as well. My favorites were Fiona and Morrigan. I liked Fiona's determination to make a better world for her daughters. She and Maisie made an excellent team, each with their own strengths. My favorite was Morrigan. I liked seeing her relationship with Maisie change from adversarial to the closeness of sisters. She is just as committed to her cause as Isabelle and Maisie are. I look forward to the next book and seeing what is in store for her.


Corsets and Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances
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I just finished Wild Magic by Ann Aguirre this morning and I loved it!


Stardust (P.S.)
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I got very frustrated with the beginning of the story, as it seemed to spend too much time on Tristran's origin. It got much better after that and then things came together even more in the end


Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things
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This book helps you understand the difference between hoarders and people who just have too many things or don't keep up with housework (i.e. most of us.) It also explains the little they do know about the disorder and how much further they have to go to understand it. There is often, but not in all cases, overlap with OCD, isolating behaviors and/or high levels of creativity


My Book About Me (Classic Seuss)
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"I hit someone, YES. I kicked someone, YES. I pulled hair, YES. I'm sorry I did it, NO!" This what my sister and I say whenever we see this book. The illustrations are so good. It is a perfect activity book for the kid who is always bored


Thick as Thieves (Queen's Thief, Bk 5)
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Normally I do not like stories that take place on a journey because they devolve into a series of random encounters with kooky characters. Thick as Thieves did not devolve at all. The relationship between the two main characters evolved and enriched the story.


The Disappearing: A Novel
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When you get to pages between 75-100 and the story is slow as a snail and boring you to tears, it's time to put it down and go on to something else, that is what this one did to me plus it's written in a format I'm very tired of---it has POV of several different people and I find that mostly irritating, confusing and just boring overall


The President Is Missing
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Excellent! Exciting! Riveting! Great characters with a plot that moves at a fast pace and keeps you guessing.


Kindred (Black Women Writers Series)
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I enjoyed this book far more than I thought I would. It is a bit sci-fi but I would not really put it in that category. I think it is a great book in terms of placing a modern Black woman into a time of slavery, and how she handled that.


Deadly Assessments (Fred, the Vampire Accountant)
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This installment was a bit disappointing to me. The entirety of the story was Fred being assessed by a member of the Blood Council, who are the leaders of the vampire community. There was a question as to whether he was a capable clan leader, thus the need for assessment. But really the council just wanted to know if Fred and his clan, with their powerful allies were a danger to them. The assessor was not completely awful, but not really likeable either.

I just didn't like the direction this book took. Most importantly there was violence against animals, which I just can't stomach in my old age. Personally this took away from my enjoyment of the book. Thus the low star rating. Judging by the conclusion of the book, there is likely another sequel in the works. I hope the author gets back on track or I may have to break-up with this series.


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