Monday, September 7, 2009

Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Prime Time is the first in the Charlotte McNally series by Hank Phillippi Ryan, a Boston investigative television reporter. Coincidentally, Charlotte is a 40-something investigative TV reporter for "Channel 3" in Boston; and in Charlotte’s character, Ryan has struck a perfect balance between a too-smart-for-her-own-good and too-ditsy-to-be-believable crime solving protagonist.

Product Description from Amazon
In the cutthroat world of television journalism, seasoned reporter Charlotte McNally knows that she'd better pull out all the stops or kiss her job goodbye. But it's her life that might be on the line when she learns that an innocent-looking e-mail offer resulted in murder, mayhem and a multimillion-dollar fraud ring.
All too soon her investigation leads her straight to Josh Gelston, who is a little too helpful and a lot too handsome. Charlie might have a nose for news, but men are a whole other matter. Now she has to decide whether she can trust Josh…before she ends up as the next lead story.

An opening that pulls you right nto Charlotte’s story:
Between the hot flashes, the hangover and all the spam on my computer, there’s no way I’ll get anything done before eight o’clock this morning. I came in early to get ahead, and already I’m behind.

Describing a co-worker:
Her real name is Margaret Isobel DeRosiers Green, but on the radio she’s Maysie Green, sports reporter extraordinaire. She can hold her own in any locker room, and amazingly for the news biz, doesn’t possess a backstabbing bone in her body. She doesn’t care if the glass is half-full or half-empty—she looks forward to the fun of drinking the rest of it, and then the fun of filling it up again.

The Universe IMs:
I put the mirror back on its pushpin holder, and give it a conspiratorial wink. “Wish me luck, magic mirror on the wall,” I implore. It falls and crashes to the floor, scattering jagged shards of glass all over the rug. Ha-ha. Breaking news. The universe now has instant messaging.

Prime Time was a great first in the series, and I’m looking forward to the next two installments: Face Time and Air Time.

Finished: September 6, 2009
Rating: 4 (Mystery Scale)
Pages: 288
Publisher: Mira
Copyright: 2009
Format: Kindle

Dune Road by Jane Green

Having read The Beach House by Jane Green last summer, I was eagerly looking forward to Dune Road. While it did have some interesting characters and plot lines (one of which could have been fleshed out a little more successfully), Dune Road didn’t live up to my expectations.

Publishers Weekly
In the latest inviting summer read from bestseller Green (The Beach House), divorced mom Kit Hargrove learns about family, love, and the price of secrets while rediscovering passion for life and her small Connecticut beach town. As the off-season begins, Kit is still recovering from the breakup of her marriage (to solicitous but work-obsessed Adam), working for famously reclusive author Robert McClore, and practicing yoga with her new friend Tracy. Upheaval soon arrives in the form of a mysterious new boyfriend and a long-lost sister, as well as a scandalous secret regarding Kit's much-desired employer. Green's newest has all the right elements for a sun-baked afternoon of reading: sandy locales, hints of sex and scandal, and lots of strong female characters. With three main plots, however, Green tries to pack in too much story, ultimately shortchanging her characters and her readers.

Edie on her colorful house (haven’t we all passed by one of these and wondered???):
“I’m Edie,” she said. “I live next door in the purple house.” Tory caught Buckley’s eye and suppressed a grin—they had been wondering who lived in the bright purple eyesore next door. “And before you ask, no, I won’t paint it. I love the color purple and you’ll get used to it.”

I agree with Publishers Weekly. Kit’s story was strong enough to stand on its own without distracting me by giving equal plot weight to what should have been background stories. But then, perhaps I’m just miffed that I totally missed an obvious twist which, when revealed, made me wonder, “Why?”

Finished on September 5, 2009
Rating: 3.5 (Fiction Scale)
Pages: 341
Publisher: Viking
Copyright: 2009
Format: Hardcover
Dedication: For Heidi With blessings and love

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Filling in the Gap

About a year ago, the company I work for closed its brick and mortar home office. Many of my co-workers were dispersed into little used corners of store locations. Because of the nature of the work I do, I ended up in a little used room in my home where I happily set up my office. The plus is the commute is easy--the only traffic back-up is the cat stretched out in her morning sunny spot which just happens to be between my "office" and the coffee pot in the kitchen. The downside is that there is no commute--no official separation between the work day computer time and personal computer time. Thus, the huge gaps in posting on Owl's Feathers and lack of consistency in posting about what I have read. So, in summary...

Over the past few months, I've read several good stories--Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani; The Diary by Eileen Goudge; The Wildwater Walking Club by Claire Cook; Water, Stone Heart by Will North; Summer House by Nancy Thayer; Driftwood Summer by Patti Callahan Henry. Several mysteries caught my reading attention: Bleeding Hearts by Susan Witting Albert; Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon by Nancy Atherton; A Spoonful of Poison by M. C. Beaton. There was even a Danielle Steele (One Day at a Time) thrown in for good measure. All of these were good and rated 3.5's or 4's on my subjective reading scales.

I also went on a Robyn Carr binge and read the last four of her Virgin River books: Whispering Rock, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, and Paradise Valley. All good romances with the requisite too-good-t0-be-true men, predictable predicaments, and the guaranteed from page one Happily Ever After endings.

There were a few standouts on which I hope to write individual posts in due time: The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister; Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton; The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand; Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg.

So while I haven't been posting, I have been reading...and working. Now I'm thinking that a late afternoon walk around the block might just be the perfect commute substitute!