"A unique take on the Salem Witch Trials - what if witches were real? The plot alternates between 1690s and 1991. Connie, a Harvard student, is cleaning her dead granna's home on summer break. She is soon on a hunt for the magic book of Deliverance Dane, a find which could make her academic career! A novel of self-discovery. Things are not always what they seem."
"This 'nonfiction thriller', coauthored by Patterson & Dugard, offers their theory on the great mystery of King Tut's death - murder! The timeline varies between Tut's life in Ancient Egypt, Howard Carter's tomb discovery in 1922 and Patterson's writing process. I learned much about Egyptology by simultaneously scouring the web to sort fact from fiction while reading this entertaining hypothesis."
"Book 3 in the Millenium Trilogy. Since this book isn't released in the US yet, I bought it on a trip to Europe. The plot focuses on Lisbeth's trial defense to acquit her of various murders & rescind the declaration of incompetence. Once again Millenium uncovers major scandals - this time with the aid of the police & prime minister! Loose ends are neatly tied up, and the conclusion is satisfying."
"Jane Green is British chick-lit royalty. First book I've read by her, and I plan to read more! The plot focuses round a group of 30-somethings who became friends at university 10 years earlier. Bookends is the bookshop / cafe which the main character opens to pursue her lifelong dream. The story is told from an authentic voice that one can easily identify with."
"Book 1 in a new police series with a twist: sisters! Beth is the DC police chief - methodical & by the book. Mace is an ex-cop, unfairly convicted & stripped of her badge. She is instinctual & tough. They team with Ron, the obligatory lawyer, to lock-up the bandits. Fast-paced. I couldn't put this book down even though it was just mediocre. The clues were too easy & the plot too unbelievable."
"A brilliant historical mystery, which travels backwards in time from London to Paris to Venice, to unravel the death of the wealthy capitalist John Stone and the whereabouts of his unknown child which has frozen his will. Espionage, arms-dealing, financial creativity, it's all in this book. Written well in the spirit of Victorian prose. I will definitely seek out the author's other novels."
"This book is about the differences in how men & women approach stress. It covers hormones, brain-wiring & diet. It also addresses how to recognize when your partner is stressed and constructively work together to resolve differences. It especially focuses on the modern stresses of dual-income families. I did grow tired of the OTT promotion of the Mars & Venus website."
"A young Englishman pursues a career at the Paris Natural History Museum and falls in love with a beautiful thief who steals his coral samples. Set in 1815, as Napoleon is exiled to Saint Helena, it was as delightful for its historical lessons regarding Napoleon's impact to arts & sciences as much as the excellent imagery. I would have preferred the narrator's character to be more developed."
"Edgar Allen Poe is the progenitor of modern detective and crime fiction. The three ratiocination tales of the eccentric C. Auguste Dupin, as told by his nameless narrator friend, are the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. The Murders in the Rue Morgue is the first detective mystery; The Mystery of Marie Roget is the first crime fiction; and The Purloined Letter is considered the best of the three."
"Fantastic! I read this book straight through! A Guernsey farmer contacts London author Juliet Ashton after finding her name in a C. Lamb book. Thus begins a flurry of letters in 1946 post-war England. The heart of the story is the Guernsey Literary Society, born of necessity during the German Occupation. The characters are enchanting, each with a unique perspective on what books they chose & why."
"This book was perfect for a light & entertaining chick-lit escapade! Type-A Seattlite Cassie Moore is laid-off from her job & returns home to find an eviction notice on her door & her fiancee in bed with his ex. In a fit of drunken spontaneity she books a trip to Buenos Aires for 6 months. She meets new friends & discovers life is neither a Tom Hanks movie nor an Excel spreadsheet."
"This conservative author has written several books on Iran & other current events. This book supposes that Israel is ready to strike pre-emptively against Iran to destroy their budding nuclear capabilities before it's too late, even without the help of the US & the Obama administration. The info is not new, but it was a quick refresher of recent events sure to be headlines in 2010."
"Fforde fans will delight in this imaginative novel about a dystopian society, The Collective. It's as if 1984 were written by Douglas Adams! One's citizenry worth is valued by the ability to see a given color. Society takes Great Leapbacks where technology is abandoned during De-Facting. Protagonist Eddie Russet falls in love with Jane Grey who awakens him to challenge their world."
"This book was quite interesting considering today's economic crisis. However, published in 1997 it leaves one wondering what would be the author's viewpoint of this past decade. The book is divided into 3 parts: coins, paper & electronic money. Written by an anthropologist, the book focuses on money's influence on society which captures the reader's attention more than a dry academic paper."
"John Wells Book #3. John's fiance, Jennifer Exley, has been shot in a failed murder attempt by his nemesis from Ghost War, arms dealer Pierre Kowalski. Elsewhere Russian nuclear warheads have been stolen and transported to New York. Kowalski & Wells strike a truce. But is it in time to prevent the terrorists from unleashing their bomb in the name of Allah at the State of the Union Address?"
"If you have trouble understanding Shakespeare, then this book is an easy way to familiarize yourself with plots, characters and themes before tackling the real thing. Published in 1807, 20 famous tales - Tragedies & Comedies - have been reconstructed by English siblings Charles & Mary Lamb into simpler prose while remaining true to Shakespeare's original language."
"Fabulosity - the ability to live grandly to your own rules! I positively enjoyed this highly motivational guide to embracing your inner godess & diva with passion. Kimora speaks to you as if she's your best girlfriend. Topics range from self-esteem to business tips to style to charitable giving to love and finances. Quite impressive! Kimora's not just another vapid celebrity."
"Flavia de Luce Book #1. Set in post-WW2 1950 on a crumbling English manor. Precocious 11-yr old Flavia, with a flair for the macabre, discovers a dead body in her cucumber patch. Her father, a stamp collector, is charged with murder. Is he guilty? Who is the dead man? She must use her chemistry skills and quick wit to help the bumbling police and free her father. Can't wait to read Book #2."
"One of the most comprehensive books about the 2008 Elections. Includes several insider quotes generating controversy since the book's release. There are 250pp on the Democratic primary, 50pp on the Republican primary and 100pp on the General Election. The authors remain fairly objective, covering strengths & weaknesses of all. One exception is no mention of Joe The Plumber."
"Ethan Gage Book #1. Historical fiction likened to Indiana Jones. An American, former assistant to Franklin, wins an ancient medallion in a card game. Framed for murder by those who covet his prize, he escapes Paris as a savant on Napoleon's 1798 campaign to invade Egypt. Is his medallion the key to immortality? Can he unlock the mysteries of the Great Pyramid before his adversaries kill him?"
"The Women's Murder Club is back in action and new member/lawyer Yuki features prominently when her mother dies at San Fran Medical Center after a minor collapse while shopping. Is it genuine medical error, gross malpractice or worse - murder?! Lindsay's romance with Joe is at breaking point - will they or won't they commit? Still enjoyable but not as good as previous books."
"The final, unfinished book of Charles Dickens. Who killed young Edwin Drood? His uncle? A rival lover of his fiance? Is he really dead? We'll never know! Dickens died before the final installments. Fortunately there are enough clues, and Dickens left plot hints with friends, that one can make a reasonable guess and still feel semi-satisfied with the aprubt ending to the book."
"Poirot Mystery #17. Poirot is on holiday: a steamship cruise on the Nile. But he cannot escape crime! Beautiful, rich, newly-married socialite Linnet Doyle is murdered in her cabin. Christie unveils an eccentric cast of travelers (or murder suspects) on board the SS Karnak in this whodunit classic. Poirot is assisted by Colonel Race who is trailing another murderer - or is it one & same?"
"The author's tone is pretentious and some strategies employ dubious ethics. The foundation of his get-rich-quick scheme to fund mini-retirements is Definition, Elimination, Automation & Liberation. If you already know how to define meaningful goals & utilize the 80/20 rule, then skip this book. If you want to setup a website selling t-shirts or fat-burning pills, then this book is for you!"
"A Victorian sensation novel, one of the earliest and best-known English detective stories. A yellow diamond is stolen as war booty from an Indian idol in 1799 and 50 years later inherited by the thief's niece on her 18th birthday when it disappears from her bedroom. The hunt for the missing (and rumored to be cursed) diamond is told by alternating narrators from the events that each witnessed."
"An interesting introduction into the world of rare book collectors and sellers. The story alternates between the psychological motivations of prolific book thief, John Gilkey, and the hunt to catch him by the AABA security chair, 'bibliodick' Ken Sanders. Warning: this book is about the criminal mind driven to collect & steal rather than a man who is passionate about the words inside the books."
"Bourne Book #6. Jason is in pursuit to discover the terrorist target of the Black Legion, a Muslim group created as an arm of the Nazi regime and still in secret existence. He is tracked in Moscow & Munich by Leonid Arkadin, an assassin every bit his equal match, as well as the NSA. Back in DC the NSA is attempting to takeover CI from newly appointed director Veronica Hart."
"2004 Edgar Award Winner for Best Fact Crime. A nonfiction thriller about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair that interwines the tales of 2 men: leading architect Daniel Burnham & psychopathic serial killer H H Holmes. Larson does a fantastic job of capturing the mood of a growing city on the cusp of modernity in the gilded age and of civic honor in proving America's strengths to the rest of the world."
"Michael Pollan is a journalist not a scientist. Took me just over an hour to read this book, and it did raise my interest in his other books. I can't say I learned much new, but it was still a worthwhile easy read. The author's philosophy is "Eat Food. Mostly Plants. Not too much." Words we could all live by for a better diet and smaller waist-size!"
"A short YA read about 18 yr-old Whit and his 15 yr-old sister Wisty who are kidnapped by the New Order gov't and imprisoned for being Witch & Wizard. They discover their hidden magical powers and unite with other kid outlaws to take back society. Not much meat but typical Patterson bitesize chapters keep the story flowing. The prologue to a new series. Hopefully Book 2 is more promising?"
"This book was quite enjoyable! The main plot is how swashbuckling botanist Robert Fortune snuck into China to steal their tea secrets (IP). He transported the seeds & cuttings to India where Britain developed their own plantations and broke dependence on China. Also interesting was the science of how tea is produced and the explanation of Chinese customs."
"Ben Hope Book #1. A former élite SAS-man, Ben is hired to save the life of a young girl by finding a lost document by famed alchemist Fulcanelli rumored to contain the formula for the elixir of life. Ben teams up with American scientist Dr Roberta Ryder and bullet-ridden escapades ensue in Paris & the French Languedoc. More testosterone than ancient mystery. Good, quick-paced writing."
"This novel weaves Thomas More's family with the Reformation. It is framed by 2 family portraits painted by Hans Holbein: 1) as More is rising to be Henry VIII's Chancellor & 2) as More has fallen from royal grace soon to be executed. I have mixed feelings because the voice of his adopted daughter Meg was so irritating. But the uniqueness of blending Holbein into the plot made the read worth it!"
"More historical fiction about the War of Roses. This book alternates between orphaned, present-day historian Una and the voices of Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of Kind Edward IV, and her brother Anthony, uncle of the doomed Princes in the Tower. Must say I couldn't stand Una's self-absorbed character, and the story would've been better sticking to the past."
"American cybersleuth Gil must help beautiful, ex-Israeli operative Sabbie to translate an ancient Dead Sea scroll that allegedly points to treasure. Powerful organizations who believe the scroll will support (or refute) Christianity are in pursuit. A decent airplane read. But, characters like Gil whose role is based on their smarts and then are too dense to understand events irritate me!"
"I was persuaded to read this book after hearing a talk radio interview with Kitty Kelley, a bestselling celebrity biographer. I am neither an Opraholic nor an Oprahater. Kelley writes a very detailed book, primarily composed of Oprah's own words through video & print archives. She has direct quotes from relatives, including Vernon Winfrey who raised Oprah as his daughter. An interesting read."
"Good book! Collins is a master of Christian "seatbelt suspense". Many times I held my breath in anticipation! Kaycee writes a national column about overcoming fears. She's terrorized by a stalker or is it paranoia personified? Her friend's daughter is missing - runaway or kidnapped? Lorainne & 4 y.o. Tammy are running from the Mafia after a bank robbery goes bad. How will their fates intersect?"