MAYBE THIS TIME by Jennifer Crusie
3.5/5 (Fiction Scale)
Hero and heroine were vintage Crusie. Just enough of a woo-woo element to be interesting and not put the book into the fantasy category. All in all, a good afternoon's read.
PAINTED LADIES by Robert B. Parker
4.5/5 (Mystery Scale)
Reading Painted Ladies after a long stretch of no Spenser/Robert B. Parker reminded me how much I love Parker's writing style. Or, perhaps more specifically, how much I love Parker's writing Spenser and Susan Silverman. In interviews upon the release of Painted Ladies, Joan Parker indicated that there is still one more Spenser to be published next year. So we readers get to stay the inevitable last Spenser just a little while longer.
LEGACY by Danielle Steel
3/5 (Fiction Scale)
You know what you are getting when you open a Danielle Steel novel to page 1. Sometimes, the reading experience is exactly what you need at the time. This time, however, the details fell in place a little too obviously and tidy. Not sure why I keep reading her books--maybe just the comfort of the known.
INFAMOUS by Suzanne Brockman
3.5/5 (Romance Scale)
This was the November selection for the local Barnes & Noble Romance Readers group. Take one legendary U.S Marshal and an historic shootout in a saloon and mix well with a wronged descendant (our hero), a historian (our heroine), then toss in a ghost who knows the story behind the story, read 'til done, and you have Infamous. Some obvious social opinion preaching from the author; otherwise, a fun read.
THE HEALER by Carol Cassella
3.5/5 (Fiction Scale)
Healer tells the story of Claire and Addison Boehning and their daughter Jory and what happens when their lives fall apart around them--how each of them adjusts to the new financial reality facing them, but better still, how each of them opens up to new opportunities. A short, quick read that takes you into the core of this family in transition.
BUSY BODY by M.C. Beaton
3.5/5 (Mystery Scale)
Another visit with Agatha Raisin and her detective crew--a visit much more rewarding than the last (There Goes the Bride). And, what's this? Agatha pondering a la Stephanie? Camp James or Camp Charles?
STILTSVILLE by Susanna Daniel
4/5 (Fiction Scale)
This is a book where nothing happens and everything happens. It is the simple, complex story of Frances Ellerby and Dennis DuVal, their marriage, their families, their friends, the lives--all set against the vividly written background of Miami, South Florida, and Biscayne Bay. My favorite passage from the book: This is what it means to be part of a family. There are no maps and the territory is continually changing. We are explorers, traveling in groups. And how's this for a word picture: She'd done more packing after getting home: there was a row of three suitcases just inside the room, facing the door like eager dogs waiting for it to open. Les of Lesley's Book Nook has written a wonderful review of Stiltsville. Click here to enjoy her review.
YOU HAD ME AT WOOF: HOW DOGS TAUGHT ME THE SECRETS OF HAPPINESS by Julie Klam
3.5/5 (Non-fiction Scale)
I can't help myself. As soon as I hear about a new dog or "amazing" animal book, it immediately goes on my library reserve list. And I know I will have to read it with a box of tissues handy because no matter how upbeat and happy the owner and [insert animal name here] are, there always is that inevitable sadness. But, as in most animal books, when things are good in You Had Me at Woof, they are very, very good. If you've been around dogs at all, you'll laugh and giggle your way through Ms. Klam's experiences with her not always well-behaved pack.
THE BLESSINGS OF THE ANIMALS by Katrina Kittle
4/5 (Fiction Scale)
Another family in transition spun into motion by a sad man. A large Italian family ("the Sopranos without the guns"), a small Indian family, assorted relatives and friends, and best of all a home and barn filled with an ever-changing assortment of animals--each bringing special blessings. A favorite character for me was Muriel, the goat.
I STILL DREAM ABOUT YOU by Fannie Flagg
4/5 (Fiction Scale)
Well, bless her heart. Maggie Fortenberry has the weight of her world on her shoulders and is contemplating very drastic action to alleviate that weight. Then there's the pressure of being a former Miss Alabama--the crown and that sash, you know. Oh, and don't forget the other characters: Brenda Peoples, Maggie's best friend; Hazel Whisenknott, founder of Red Mountain Realty (who died five years before the story begins); and Ethel Clipp, Red Mountain realty's purple-haired, of-a-certain-age office manager. Why did I like this book? Because, like watching It's a Wonderful Life every year, it just felt good.
DAYS OF GOLD by Jude Deveraux
3/5 (Romance Scale)
This was the December selection for the local Barnes & Noble Romance Readers. Days of Gold, Book 2 in Jude Deveraux's Edilean Series, takes us to Scotland 1766 where we meet the ancestors and founders of Edilean, VA, featured in the contemporary romance, Lavender Morning. The story of Angus McTern and Edilean Talbot is told with a humor that easily carries you through the many pages where the lovers at first sight waste so much time saying, "I hate you" countered with "I hate you more." Convenient and somewhat obvious plot devices lead us to the inevitable happily ever after ending.
I REMEMBER NOTHING by Nora Ephron
3/5 (Non-fiction Scale)
Not as good for me as I Feel Bad About My Neck…maybe because of the "inside baseball" presentation of some of the essays. However, the more general essays hit the mark--especially the closing lists of "What I Won't Miss" and "What I Will Miss" or "Twenty-five Things People Have a Shocking Capacity to Be Surprised by Over and Over Again" (e.g., 16. Mary Matalin and James Carville are married). This passage sums up my current state of mind: I have been forgetting things for years, but now I forget in a new way. I used to believe I could eventually retrieve whatever was lost and the commit it to memory. Now I know I can't possibly. Whatever's gone is hopelessly gone. And what's new doesn't stick.