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The Dark Tide
The Dark Tide
by Andrew Gross
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $9.74
116 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars THE FLOTSAM CARRIED IN BY THE DARK TIDE, July 30, 2015
I listened to THE DARK TIDE by Andrew Gross on a cross country trip, so one could say I was a captive audience since it was either the book on CD or listening to talk radio or some inane hip hop music station (and no, I don’t have Sirius radio).

At any rate, the book began with an interesting premise and could have been fairly compelling read (or listen) had it not been for some of the following: (1) the author repeated the same information over and over again as I trying to fill up pages (maybe he gets paid by the word), (2) the antics and downright stupidity of the “betrayed” wife began to wear on me about half way through the story as did her redundant and numerous inner dialogs and couldn’t or refused to see what was right in front of her face, (3) the “romance” between Karen and Detective Ty Hauck was at best improbable and at worst unbelievable, (4) as a seasoned Detective, Hauck’s behavior as he investigated was more in line with what readers came to expect from a 30’s or 40’s noir novel where the “hero” did whatever it took , B&E to murder, to apprehend the bad guys (rules, ethics and legalities be damned) (4) the inconsistencies in the story were myriad and I found myself listening just to have yet another “aha, gotcha” moment when the ages of children changed or a character’s hair or eye differed from one chapter to another.

I could go on ad nauseam (as does the novel) with my observations but suffice to say that unless you are stranded on a desert island and THE DARK TIDE is the “only game in town”, you would be best served to move on to something that is worth the time and energy you have expended.


The Truth According to Us: A Novel
The Truth According to Us: A Novel
by Annie Barrows
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.70
93 used & new from $10.55

4.0 out of 5 stars WHAT DEFINES US, July 28, 2015
Annie Barrows spins an excellent yarn about a Southern Community and provides her readers with a very human context for the larger event that was The Great Depression. As a young woman, Layla Beck, a Senator’s daughter and Washington socialite finds herself exiled (in a manner of speaking) to Macedonia West Virginia after angering her father by refusing to marry his choice of husband and finds herself living as a boarder in the home of one Jottie Romeyn.

After having been unwillingly hired as part of the Federal Writers Project sponsored by the WPA, Layla has been somewhat is commissioned to gather background information and write the history of Macedonia. Of course, everyone she interviews has their own version of the town’s history and their family’s place in it which they are eager to share. Independent Layla, however, prefers to conduct her own investigation and is instrumental in digging up the true history, romance, deception and family tragedies of years gone by.

While Layla investigates the town’s history, twelve year old Willa Romeyn has a mission of her own that involves some investigating (or spying if you prefer) on various family and community members in an attempt to discover secrets long held by her father Felix and his sister Jottie. Her junior Sherlock Holmes persona is equal parts endearing and annoying.

Overall, Annie Barrows tells an engaging tale rooted in real life with a handful of characters, some personable and others repellent with some prone to selfish and self-serving actions while others are selfless and noble.

Nothing beats a books’ power to transport us to a different place and time and until we master time travel, books like THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO US are a great way to explore and understand a different era in our countries history. It also provides an inside look at the inner workings and eccentricities of life in a small southern town.


A Dog's Journey: A Novel
A Dog's Journey: A Novel
by W. Bruce Cameron
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.53
159 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A SECOND HELPING, July 21, 2015
First W. Bruce Cameron gave us A DOG'S PURPOSE, a story that vibrated with its own special magic as it told the story of a dog who never truly died but returned again and again in many incarnations as it sought to fulfill what it saw as it's purpose. The story now continues with the sequel, A DOG'S JOURNEY which, while poignant in places, doesn't quite live up to the first book as it continues the spiritual journey of Buddy/Molly, Max, et al as he/she relentlessly helps a young woman to chart a course through her abysmal childhood and adolescence and directs her toward a promising future.

Once again Cameron, via his four legged protagonist, teaches lessons in perseverance, trust, unconditional love and second chances. While this second offering is a bit more melodramatic than the first it does serve to illustrate two important things - (1) that dogs tend to bring out the best in most of us and (2) that those we love are never truly gone since they continue to live on as long as there is someone who remembers them.


Die For Me: A Bragg Thriller
Die For Me: A Bragg Thriller
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DISCOVERY, July 5, 2015
Peter Bragg is a guy who gave up his job on a San Francisco newspaper and is now pursuing his career as a private detective. Suddenly his past has caught up with him and now Marianne, a woman he once saved from a dive off the Golden Gate Bridge, is calling to request his help. She has discovered she has a “gift” and is now working as a psychic consultant. Recently she has had a vision of the hillside burial site of victims of violent unsolved crimes. The only problem is that in that same vision she has also seen her own future as it relates to this case and that future is pretty grim. Marianne is not really sure of where the bodies are buried but has a general "feel" for the area. With the help of Sonoma County Sheriff’s Detective Barry Smith, Bragg sets out to discover the elusive burial site and when they do what they discover is nothing short of mind boggling.

This is an above average tale featuring an old school detective. While the damsel in distress story line is familiar, author Jack Lynch has managed to give it a new spin and make it new utilizing equal parts imagination and forceful literary skills. To reveal more would be a crime but for lovers of the books of Dashiell Hammitt and James M. Cain this is a perfect page turner to start your summer.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2015 10:11 AM PDT


The Uninvited Guests: A Novel
The Uninvited Guests: A Novel
by Sadie Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.31
222 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars SOCIAL STATEMENT DRESSED UP AS A GHOST STORY, July 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Horace Torrington, once owner of an 18th century manor house called Sterne, is dead and his widow Charlotte and their children now occupy the house. Charlotte, much to the chagrin of her children, has now married Edward Swift who, as the story opens, is departing the estate in hopes of acquiring a loan to save the family manor.

Set in England in 1912 the Torrington-Swift family is preparing to celebrate the 20th birthday of middle daughter Emerald. Even though the family is in dire need of funds and obviously living far beyond their means, an over the top celebration has been orchestrated with family and friends invited to the festivities. Plans go awry when a train accident occurs nearby and some of the individuals involved, most of whom were “third-class” travelers, arrive at the estate seeking assistance and disrupting the flavor of Emerald’s special evening. Among the uninvited guests is Charlie Traversham-Beechers, a malevolent character from Charlotte’s rather questionable past who shows up claiming to be a survivor from first class.

An ensuing storm, uncooperative guests and an unusual parlor game add tension and threaten the evening in this tome that takes extreme delight in dissecting the pretension and stagnant social mores prevalent in Edwardian England.

While Sadie Jones writing is descriptive and delves into the minutia of everything from the servants to the preparation of the dinner being served, it is also much in keeping with the behavior of the residents of Sterne and overall tone of the story – stuffy.


Siggió Hammered Mugs - Nickel Lined - Solid Copper Moscow Mule - Set of 4 Mugs - 16 Oz Capacity - 100% Pure Copper Barware - Novelty Copper Drinkware Cups for Mules, Beer, Camping, Water - Authentic Moscow Mule Mugs with Nickel Lining or Lacquer Finish and Lifetime Guarantee
Siggió Hammered Mugs - Nickel Lined - Solid Copper Moscow Mule - Set of 4 Mugs - 16 Oz Capacity - 100% Pure Copper Barware - Novelty Copper Drinkware Cups for Mules, Beer, Camping, Water - Authentic Moscow Mule Mugs with Nickel Lining or Lacquer Finish and Lifetime Guarantee

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE BIG CHILL, July 2, 2015
I received one of the nickel lined copper mugs in return for an honest review and here it is.

On the plus side, these are a nice weight and the hammered look is aesthetically appealing. These would be a great eye-appealing addition to use and display, if you have a formal bar area in your home. The mug is also ideal for hot summer days when you are looking for something cold and refreshing to quench your thirst since it keeps your drink icy cold for hours. One small problem is the bottom, which is not completely flat. I’m not saying it rolls around like a child’s “tippy” cup but it does rock ever so slightly.

Be sure to use this cup for cold items only because, just as the copper keeps things very cold, it also keeps them very hot. Do not make the mistake, as my husband did, of pouring a cup of coffee into this cup. Not only does the surface of the cup stay hot, hot, hot – so does the handle. (ouch!)

No dishwasher for these babies either. Only hand wash and (excuse me if I’m stating the obvious) don’t use any abrasive cleaners or you may cause some permanent damage to the beauty of the copper.

Overall, I was pleased with this product and I would say these cups would be an appropriate wedding, anniversary or birthday gift for friends or the perfect addition to your own home.


Another Night, Another Day
Another Night, Another Day
by Sarah Rayner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.01
43 used & new from $13.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LIFE'S ELEVATOR, July 1, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There is a great tradition of mental illness in fiction. We all remember books like Jane Eyre with the crazed Mrs. Rochester neatly tucked away in the attic. The last few decades have brought improvement in the way mental illness is treated and the way it is portrayed in literature and more recent works like Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone or Judith Guests Ordinary People have attempted to more realistically portray mental illness.

In ANOTHER NIGHT, ANOTHER DAY by Sarah Rayner the common thread of mental health issues confronting both male and female characters are examined with sympathy and insight. Initially focusing on three characters, Karen, a woman attempting to come to terms with the deaths of her husband and her father; Michael, a man dealing with the failure of his life’s work, and Abby, mother of an autistic child whose husband has basically washed his hands of the situation and left her to cope with their child on her own. All these lives intersect at the Moreland Psychiatric Clinic where each has come seeking help in dealing with various emotional issues ranging from panic attacks to anxiety and depression. There is also a supporting cast whose back-stories, illnesses and coping mechanisms are almost as compelling as those of the central characters with each individual’s reaction to their circumstances molding them into who they are.

At times I found the book unnerving and even a bit depressing, but ultimately came to the conclusion that this novel is attempting to warn each of us that we should never judge another's actions or motives nor assume that we know what is going on in someone else’s life.


The Lost Garden (Tales from Goswell)
The Lost Garden (Tales from Goswell)
Price: $10.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TWO WOMEN, TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS, June 25, 2015
Deftly weaving dual narratives, exploring the complicated emotions of grief, anger, sadness, duplicity, even joy, THE LOST GARDEN features interchangeable tales of two women who have both suffered loss and seek solace by undertaking the restoration of a walled garden.

In the present day, Marin Ellis and her fifteen year old half sister Rebecca need a new beginning following a family tragedy so they leave their home in Hampshire for a charming village on the Cumbrian Coast where they purchase Bower House, a cottage on the grounds of the local church. After discovering a locked garden on their property and becoming intrigued by a photo of the garden in its previous incarnation, Marin engages the services of Joss Fowler, a local gardener to assist with investigation and restoration.

Ninety years earlier Eleanor Sanderson, a vicar's daughter, is mourning the wartime death of her brother and seeks comfort in creating a memorial garden. She is assisted in her endeavor by an itinerant gardener hired by her father. While Jack Taylor, is more than willing to assist Eleanor and share his knowledge of horticulture, he is less inclined to share any information about his past. Needless to say Eleanor, against the advice and wishes of her sister, finds herself more and more drawn to Jack.

What links these two storylines are the often querulous relationships between the siblings and the vast difference in expected social behavior in each era, the way in which both Marin and Eleanor become fixated on the gardeners who come into their lives and finally, the role of the garden itself plays is helping each individual come to terms with the grief and guilt in their lives.

Author, Katherine Swartz skillfully ushers us between the worlds of two women separated by time, but connected by chance, fate and a piece of earth that is instrumental in allowing their lives to blossom. 4 1/2 stars
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2015 8:20 AM PDT


A Set of Lies
A Set of Lies
Price: $7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DID HE DIE, OR DID HE SPY??, June 23, 2015
This review is from: A Set of Lies (Kindle Edition)
HISTORY IS A SET OF LIES AGREED UPON. The title is a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte… not a man respected for his honesty, yet this statement is pregnant with truth. Exactly how much of the history we accept unquestioningly is fact and how much is fiction. What part of reality is hidden by myth?
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On Sunday, 15 July 1815 the French fought the British under Wellington and, against all odds the battered Prussian army arrived on the field of Waterloo just in time to turn the tide of battle against Napoleon Bonaparte, who reluctantly surrenders to the British. The question now is , “Was he really stripped of every vestige of power, and exiled to the stifling, windswept island of St. Helena to fight the endless boredom awaiting him there or was that the fate of an unknown and here-to-for unnamed double? Was Napoleon, in fact, given a new identity and under the guidance of a British agent named Bernard Lacey, hidden in plain sight on the Isle of Wight in order to assist the English in establishing and maintaining peace by putting an end to the perpetual threat of war with France (the two countries had been at war almost continuously from 1066 to 1815).

Author Carolyn McCrae has offered a fresh perspective on this oft-told story by imagining for us an alternate version of the life of Napoleon in her gripping historical novel that portrays him not as a prisioner but as a family man, friend and neighbor as she takes the fate of this well known historical figure and modifies everything we thought we knew about him.

Moving smoothly between the 1800’s and the present day and utilizing themes of family secrets, dangerous deceptions, conflicting loyalties as well as spotlighting the duplicitous political double talk and paranoia that has survived throughout the centuries we are transported back and forth in time as modern day historians attempt to unravel the secret chronicles compiled by Bernard Lacey and discovered quite by chance some 200 years later.

Entering into this narrative and enjoying it does not depend on having an interest in Napoleon nor an in depth knowledge of history . This book should appeal to a plethora of readers since it is a richly imagined novel of ”what ifs” that reads like part biography, part family saga, part mystery and part modern romance. What more could you ask for?


Saint Mazie: A Novel
Saint Mazie: A Novel
by Jami Attenberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.03
59 used & new from $11.32

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE TICKET TO AN ENJOYABLE AFTERNOON READ, June 19, 2015
This review is from: Saint Mazie: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg is a nostalgia trip as well as a requiem for a long gone era as it examines 90 years in the life of Mazie Phillips-Gordon, Queen of the Bowery.

Ms. Attenberg paints the course of an entire life not only through the musings of her protagonist but as viewed through the eyes of those whose who loved her and whose lives she touched.

While Saint Mazie is a narrative devoted in large part to the plight of its "underdog" characters during a particularly difficult time in American history it also serves as a heart-breaking look at one woman's hard-knocks childhood and the "missed connections" in her life that made her the woman she was.

In her romantic life Mazie is definitely no saint, but in her compassion for others, from her sister Rose to the homeless strangers she tries to assist, she definitely earns the title.

Attenberg honors and humanizes not only Mazie with heartfelt and touching prose but also gives the reader a look at the times and wonderfully diverse citizens of The Great Depression - - and while portions of the book are not particularly gripping, the over-all construction of the story provides the reader with a great afternoon read.


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