Unlucky 13 by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audiobook,  7.5 hours
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Unlucky 13 by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro has the women of the murder club scrambling away from terrorists and searching high and low for a killer bent on revenge.  San Francisco Detective Lindsay Boxer is enjoying her motherhood, even as her job continues to be demanding and murderers and terrorists remain on the loose in the city.  The FBI becomes involved in a belly bomb case that threatens the city, but Boxer is like a dog with a bone — she won’t let go and insists on investigating despite the restrictions.  Even this routine investigation is turned upside down as Mackie Morales reappears in an FBI photograph — she’s the one that got away and she’s been on the run since Boxer and the police killed her lover.

This is another spectacular audio production by Hachette with music and audio gunfire.  I enjoy listening to this adrenaline pumping series on audio more than reading them.  I tend to enjoy them for their pure entertainment, but this one had an oddball case that ensnares Yuki Castellano and her new husband while they are on their honeymoon.  The plot did not seem to be as well thought out, and it seemed like the resolution was a bit too out of character with the stories in this series.  Other than that, Unlucky 13 by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro is a fun listen when your doing the chores.

About the Author:

James Patterson is a prolific author of thrillers, mysteries, young adult novels and more. His first successful series featured psychologist Alex Cross.

About the Co-Author:

Maxine Paetro collaborates with best–selling author James Patterson, co–writing The 4th Of July, The 5th Horseman, The 6th Target, The 7th Heaven, The 8th Confession, The 9th Judgment, 10th Anniversary and The 11th Hour, just released in May 2012. All are New York Times #1 best–sellers in the Women’s Murder Club Series.

Doll God by Luanne Castle

Source: Poet Luanne Castle and Poetic Book Tours (my online tour company)
Paperback, 82 pages
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Doll God by Luanne Castle reflects on the passage of time and the impressions we leave behind.  Imagine the dolls you or your sisters or friends had as children and how much they were loved and cared for … imagine the stories that were created for them and the lives they shared.  Now, imagine what has become of those dolls, where are those talismans of hope and joy?  Are they buried in an attic or a closet, were they left behind in a field to become so much detritus?  Is that all they are?

from “Debris” (page 57)

And now, I can’t get the image
out of my mind:
dried paint chipping,
the spread of mold pockmarks,
velour paper edges fraying, canvas rips, a gradual
flaking into sand, then dust sifting down
to be layered over by debris
of another generation
always the shifting sand
like a dust storm

Castle asks these questions and more in her collection, seeking answers to how our pasts are shaping us even now and how those pasts have faded with the passage of time.  From large toddler dolls to doll gods, Castle evokes an adult sensibility within a child-like wonder, and the anxiety that raises up in the verse is tangible, just as the fear of time passing too quickly can hit us when we least expect it.  She causes us to reflect on our triumphs, our past joys and innocence, as well as to let it go into the ether to be rewritten by future generations.

This emotional collection will take a toll on its readers, but the journey will leave them changed in terms of perspective and renewed in that they will want to live more fully and enjoy each moment in the moment.  Reading these poems once will reflect one meaning, but upon subsequent readings, the poems leave readers to ruminate on their own lives.  Doll God by Luanne Castle is multi-layered, with bright spots in the darkness of loss.  Castle has a wide range and more great things are sure to come from this poet.

About the Poet:

Luanne Castle has been a Fellow at the Center for Ideas and Society at the University of California, Riverside. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside; Western Michigan University; and Stanford University. Her poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in Barnstorm Journal, Grist, The Antigonish Review, Ducts, TAB, River Teeth, Lunch Ticket, Wisconsin Review, The MacGuffin, and other journals. She contributed to Twice-Told Children’s Tales: The Influence of Childhood Reading on Writers for Adults, edited by Betty Greenway. Luanne divides her time between California and Arizona, where she shares land with a herd of javelina.  Follow her on Twitter.





Chicken Soup & Homicide by Janel Gradowski

Source: Janel Gradowski, the author
Ebook, 223 pgs
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Chicken Soup & Homicide by Janel Gradowski is the second in the Culinary Competition Mystery series, but readers can jump right into this series without worrying that they have missed something in previous books.  Amy Ridley is paired with Sophie from Riverbend Coffee in the Chicken Soup Showdown charity competition against some of the more polished chefs in Kellerton, Michigan.  Chet Britton has been a star chef in town and he has the ego to match, but his employees and many others in town find his demeanor abrasive.  He’s left a lot of scorched earth behind him in his rise to fame, but Amy isn’t there for the competition with him.  She’s in the competition to win money for her charity, as are many of the other competitors.  When Chet Britton ends up dead, Amy is thrust into the thick of it as a suspect.  Her best friend, Carla, is on the top of the list when a new detective takes over, and even dating a local cop Shepler doesn’t help.

“She should start wearing skull-and-crossbones patterned aprons to warn others of the possible dangers of competing with her, even though she certainly wasn’t the one committing the murders.”

“‘I honestly can’t figure out what that detective is doing.  This is a high-profile case, and the police department seems to have assigned some kind of bumbling idiot to it.  Shouldn’t my relationship with Chet have raised a red flag? Beyond that, I humiliated him a few weeks before he was murdered by demoting him at the restaurant he built.  I’m not sure if that detective hasn’t found that information or if he’s afraid of me.'”

Gradowski has a great sense of comedic timing.  Her one-liners will have readers laughing out loud.  Amy Ridley is a spunky character who has no qualms about hiding behind laundry bins to overhear conversations and also tends to be very careful when waging into her own investigations of town murders.  Should this cook be looking for killers among her friends, family, and fellow residents, probably not, but that doesn’t stop her.  Even as she’s investigating crimes, she’s thinking up recipes and reaching out to troubled friends.  She even finds the time to reach out to her vanishing husband.

Chicken Soup & Homicide by Janel Gradowski is fun and mouth-watering.  Readers will be looking to their kitchens longingly as the recipes are brewing and stewing, but never fear, there are recipes to try out in the back of the book.

About the Author:

Janel Gradowski lives in a land that looks like a cold weather fashion accessory, the mitten­-shaped state of Michigan. She is a wife and mom to two kids and one Golden Retriever. Her journey to becoming an author is littered with odd jobs like renting apartments to college students and programming commercials for an AM radio station. Somewhere along the way she also became a beadwork designer and teacher. She enjoys cooking recipes found in her formidable cookbook and culinary fiction collection. Searching for unique treasures at art fairs, flea markets and thrift stores is also a favorite pastime. Coffee is an essential part of her life. She writes the Culinary Competition Mystery Series, along with The Bartonville Series (women’s fiction) and the 6:1 Series (flash fiction). She has also had many short stories published in both online and print publications.  Check her Website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.  Check out her books.

Other books by this author, reviewed here:





Enter her giveaway here. (available through March 8, U.S. residents only)

12th of Never by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audiobook, 7 hours
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12th of Never by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, narrated by January LaVoy, is a prime audio production with sound effects and music. This is like watching a fast-paced thriller without the images — but those images clearly come to mind.  There are occasions when the narrator forgets what voice should be used, but it is so rare, that readers will forgive the little slips.  This is how I prefer my Patterson these days.  These are adrenaline filled novels that will have readers eager to finish the books in one day.

While some books in the Women’s Murder Club series have fallen flat or have had too many mysteries going at once, 12th of Never is fantastic.  There was a great balance between the personal lives of the women and the cases they were working — from the case of the corpse missing from the morgue to the case of the husband on trial for murdering his wife and daughter.  Lindsay Boxer is on the sidelines for a big chunk of the book because of her family issues after the birth of her baby, but Cindy and Richie are front and center with their personal issues.  Claire is facing professional problems since the disappearance of the body, and Yuki is juggling her personal life with the high-profile trial of a husband who may have killed his wife and daughter.

12th of Never by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, narrated by January LaVoy, is a wild ride!  I was riveted from the beginning, probably because I’m invested in Boxer and her family.  I wanted to know what was going to happen with her and Joe and their baby, while I was disheartened by Cindy and Richie’s troubles.  Yuki is the only character I still am on the fence about, and that could be because I instantly liked the former assistant district attorney Jill Bernhardt from earlier in the series.

About the Author:

James Patterson is a prolific author of thrillers, mysteries, young adult novels and more. His first successful series featured psychologist Alex Cross.

About the Co-Author:

Maxine Paetro collaborates with best–selling author James Patterson, co–writing The 4th Of July, The 5th Horseman, The 6th Target, The 7th Heaven, The 8th Confession, The 9th Judgment, 10th Anniversary and The 11th Hour, just released in May 2012. All are New York Times #1 best–sellers in the Women’s Murder Club Series.

11th Hour by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audiobook, 7 hours
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11th Hour by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro pits Lindsay Boxer against a couple of killers, and the Women’s Murder Club is on the case again.  The first killer, Revenge, clearly has skills and insider knowledge, but the second killer is obscured by the mysterious myths of an estate and its infamous owner.  From drug dealer bodies piling up on the city’s streets to the heads being turned up in the garden, Lindsay has no shortage of gruesome crime scenes to investigate.  As her personal life seems to fall apart, Lindsay has little choice but to throw herself into her work.

While there is more personal interaction between Lindsay and the girls, readers will likely be disappointed that her fledgling marriage is already on the rocks and the law enforcement group bends the rules in order to get a reporter off their backs.  The audio has some great effects, like gunshots, and the narrator does a good job differentiating between the girls.  Like all Patterson novels, it is heavy on plot but even that is not as well put together as it could have been.  There seems to be an overemphasis on drama, rather than on the reality of police procedures — particularly regarding pregnant police and bending the rules to get reporters out of the way (for which there should be real consequences).

11th Hour by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro is heart pumping and full of tension, and there are moments when the women are working really well together and their characters are evolving.  This series seems to have lost a lot of spark in terms of dynamic interactions and well thought out plots that aren’t too convoluted or ridiculous.

About the Author:

James Patterson is a prolific author of thrillers, mysteries, young adult novels and more. His first successful series featured psychologist Alex Cross.

About the Co-Author:

Maxine Paetro collaborates with best–selling author James Patterson, co–writing The 4th Of July, The 5th Horseman, The 6th Target, The 7th Heaven, The 8th Confession, The 9th Judgment, 10th Anniversary and The 11th Hour, just released in May 2012. All are New York Times #1 best–sellers in the Women’s Murder Club Series.

Short Story Friday: Christmas Canapes & Sabotage by Janel Gradowski

In a renewal, I’ve been reading some short stories in collections, and I really love Janel Gradowski‘s writing.  Her cozy mysteries are always full of food and fun.  One of her latest stories was published in the Cozy Christmas Capers: Holiday Short Story Collection.  I wanted to share a little bit about why I am enjoying these cozy mysteries from Janel and why we as a community should support more writers like her.

Christmas Canapes & Sabotage by Janel Gradowski is part of the culinary competition mystery series of books — her new one is coming out this month, Chicken Soup & Homicide — that find an amateur cook embroiled in a deadly mystery at local food competitions.  Amy is a winner when it comes to these amateur cooking competitions, but she is always humble about her skills, even if she is as inventive in the kitchen as some professional chefs.  Why do I gravitate to these books?  1. food 2. humor.

“‘Old Man Winter can ease up any time now.  It isn’t even Christmas, and I’m tired of the deep freeze.  I think the girl who handed my my registration packet had blue fingernails, and the color wasn’t from nail polish.'”

“‘You’re like a foodie super hero, saving the masses with a pot of tea.'”

Janel is the queen of the instant one-liners, and she’s a book blogger who has made her writing dreams a reality.  She started with flash fiction pieces published in online journals, and from there dove into more challenging, longer projects.  I love her spunk in tackling larger projects that challenged her, and I think that she’s found a great niche.

Have you found other book bloggers who’ve entered the world of authorship?  Have you read their books?  I’d love to hear about it.

To enter Janel’s party giveaway, go here.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audiobook, 12.5 hours
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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin, was our February book club selection.  Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who felt something was wrong, some lump was growing insider her, and that lump she had was eventually diagnosed as a kind of cervical cancer.  Her treatment commenced, but she bore it all on her own, telling very few in her family about it.  She also continued to bear children throughout the process.  Lacks has since become immortal in that her cancerous cells were collected and cultivated by scientists and renamed HeLa.  Those cells were used in the fight against polio and a number of other diseases.  While she was unable to see the fruits of her cells’ labors, she is in a way immortal.

Rebecca Skloot injects herself into this narrative, which becomes part memoir as she recounts her interactions with Lacks’ children, especially Deborah.  Skloot discovered that this family had been bombarded by requests for information long before she decided to write a book about Lacks and her cells, which had made them less than willing to speak to her.  Despite the many set backs and the paranoia that often ruled Deborah’s reactions to her questions, Skloot made headway and even took family members on road trips in ways that brought the true past of their mother back to the family.  In many ways, this is not just a story about Henrietta Lacks, how her cells helped science and cured disease, or about medical ethics, but it also is a story about a family regaining its connections and its past.

The audio production was well done, especially differentiating between Deborah’s thoughts and that of the author, making them easily discernible.  This audiobook also included an interview with the author about her research and her interactions with the Lacks family, as well as her writing process, which was fascinating.  And although the story shifts from the past to the current research, the book’s narrative flows well and is immediately engaging for those with an interest in science, medical research, and the history of HeLa.  But even then, this is a human interest story about how a family struggles to learn about their mother and her cells and what happened in the past.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin, packs a punch — hitting the heart of medical research and the debate about who cells belong to, what rights patients have to their own cells, whether there should be more restrictions on their use, and whether compensation should be offered to those who donate their cells.

About the Author:

Rebecca Skloot is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Her award winning science writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many other publications. She specializes in narrative science writing and has explored a wide range of topics, including goldfish surgery, tissue ownership rights, race and medicine, food politics, and packs of wild dogs in Manhattan. She has worked as a correspondent for WNYC’s Radiolab and PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW.

Book Club had to be postponed due to a snowstorm, but I cannot wait for the discussion in March!

The Trigger by Tim Butcher (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audiobook, 10 hrs.
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The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War by Tim Butcher, narrated by Gerard Doyle, is a mixture of travelogue and a sort-of-biography of Gavrillo Princip, the man who killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand and set the wheels in motion for World War I.  Princip has been considered a radical in many texts, but Butcher seeks to remedy that image and bring to life a more rounded view of the assassin, who eagerly sought the unification of the Slav people in a single nation of their own.

Butcher travels as Princip had traveled from his days growing up and in school and until he joins a group aimed at creating a unified nation free from foreign rule.  Moving from the feudal frontier village of his birth through the mountains in the northern Balkans to Belgrade and Sarajevo where Ferdinand was murdered.  While the story of Princip is engaging, the constant reflections on Butcher’s life as a war reporter in the 1990s during a more modern war in Bosnia draws parallels while pulling readers out of the story about the assassin.  Butcher meets some well-meaning people on his journey and some have no information about Princip, while others have pre-formed perceptions of the teen.

Doyle does an excellent job narrating and maintains the readers attention with his inflections and enthusiasm for the subject.  Butcher’s reminiscences about growing up in Britain after WWI and reporting on modern war are distracting.  The most interesting parts of the story are obscured by the travelogue for the most part and could have been reduced significantly to ensure the history shines through.  Readers interested in the history of the region and why Princip assassinated Ferdinand would be better served by another account of the man’s actions.  The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War by Tim Butcher, narrated by Gerard Doyle, takes too much time outlining the travels of Butcher and his past, focusing merely one-third on Princip, how he was shaped, and why he assassinated the archduke.

About the Author:

Tim Butcher is a best-selling British author, journalist and broadcaster. Born in 1967, he was on the staff of The Daily Telegraph from 1990 to 2009, covering all major conflicts across the Balkans the Middle East and Africa. Recognised in 2010 with an honorary doctorate for services to journalism and writing, he is based with his family in the South African city of Cape Town.

Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale With a Down Syndrome Twist by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Claudia Marie Lenart

Source: Loving Healing Press Inc.
Hardcover, 44 pgs
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Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale With a Down Syndrome Twist by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Claudia Marie Lenart, is a revised Grimm fairy tale in which Hansel has Down’s Syndrome.  Like most families with a disabled child, there is one parent that is overly protective and another who is eager to let the child explore their abilities and take on more responsibility.  The mother is the protective parent here, as many would expect, and the father is willing to allow his son some freedom from parental supervision, at least on an outing with his sister, Gretel.  Like the pastel image of the cover, each picture is depicted with a similar softness.

In this dark tale, Hansel is made fun of by the witch and her toad, but he’s smarter than they expect.  He grabs her broom so she cannot fly away, and she has little choice but to hear out his demands.  In this twisted tale, the witch learns that there are some things she has not experienced in her long life.  The family is surprised by Hansel’s resourcefulness and the witch is surprised by his kindness.

Kats has created a tale that touches upon the prejudices inside and outside the family home of the disabled and seeks to teach children that opportunities are endless no matter what challenges they face.  Moreover, Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale With a Down Syndrome Twist by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Claudia Marie Lenart, illustrates how one act of pure kindness can benefit all, even a witch.  Another great teaching tool from this children’s author.

About the Author:

Once a teen runaway, Jewel Kats is now a two-time Mom’s Choice Award winner. For six years, Jewel penned a syndicated teen advice column for Scripps Howard News Service (USA) and The Halifax Chronicle Herald. She gained this position through The Young People’s Press. She’s won $20,000 in scholarships from Global Television Network, and women’s book publisher: Harlequin Enterprises. Jewel also interned in the TV studio of Entertainment Tonight Canada. Her books have been featured in Ability Magazine (USA) twice. She’s authored eight books-five are about disabilities. The Museum of disABILITY History celebrated her work with a two-day event. Jewel has appeared as an international magazine cover story four times! Recently, her work was featured in an in-depth article published in “The Toronto Star”. Jewel’s work has also appeared as an evening news segment on WKBW-TV and on the pages of “The Buffalo News”.

Scent of Butterflies by Dora Levy Mossanen

tlc tour host

Source: TLC Book Tours and Sourcebooks
Paperback, 288 pgs
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Scent of Butterflies by Dora Levy Mossanen is a novel of vengeance as an Iranian Jewish woman, Soraya, convinces her husband, Aziz, to let her go to America on an assignment.  As with many revenge tales, Soraya spends a great deal of time building her trap, complete with sweet nectar, only to find herself ensnared in her own web.  Readers will be holding their breath as she weaves her garden of plants in America, making it lush and beautiful to attract her prey.  She spends most of her days cultivating the land around her and taking photographs of American and Iranian men to make her husband jealous.

“Humans get buried under earthquake rubble, break their bones in tornadoes, drown in stormy seas.  Butterflies, despite their fragility, are hardly affected by most of these natural disasters.  Not only that, they are capable of migrating unimaginable distances.  They simply float with the wind, staying on track with uncanny tenacity until they arrive at their intended destination, just as my friend did.”  (page 50)

Growing up in Iran and enjoying certain freedoms, Soraya is taught to become independent, but once those freedoms are taken away following the revolution, she has little choice but to obey the strict tenants of her religion.  Her Baba has called her an artist since she was a little girl, but like many things in her life, there is an undercurrent of deception.  As she flees Iran and her pain, she tries on new identities before settling back into her own.  Readers will be at once baffled by her actions and heartbroken for her, but will they understand that this passionate woman has lost her entire world when her husband betrays her with another woman?  Sympathy from the reader can be a tough balance in a story of revenge, but Mossanen has created a character bucking the repression of her culture and the tumultuous nature of a country with conflicting identities.

Scent of Butterflies by Dora Levy Mossanen is complex and a lush novel for the senses that will have readers debating how far a woman scorned would go to right a betrayal and how far she would go to retain her freedom.  Very well written and absorbing, readers will be attracted by the decadent honey in Soraya’s web.

About the Author:

Dora Levy Mossanen was born in Israel and moved to Iran when she was nine. At the onset of the Islamic revolution, she and her family moved to the United States. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of California-Los Angeles and a master’s in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.

Dora is the bestselling author of the acclaimed novels Harem, Courtesan, and The Last Romanov. Her fourth and most provocative book, Scent of Butterflies, was released January 7, 2014. She is a frequent contributor to numerous media outlets including the Huffington Post and the Jewish Journal. She has been featured on KCRW, The Politics of Culture, Voice of Russia, Radio Iran and numerous other radio and television programs. She is the recipient of the prestigious San Diego Editors’ choice award and was accepted as contributor to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Dora Levy Mossanen’s novels have been translated into numerous languages world-wide.

One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

Source: A gift
Hardcover, 272 pgs
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One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart, which will be published in April, has crafted a testament to artistry and the adaptability of the human mind.  Set in Florence, Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance, Kephart transports readers across the ocean from Philadelphia, Pa., to the cobbled streets of Italy.  Nadia Cara is a young teen who builds nests by weaving seemingly incongruous materials together, making things of beauty.  She’s an artist on overdrive as other parts of her life disappear and flounder amidst the detritus of memory.  She knows that she’s struggling, she knows that she is becoming someone she does not want to be, but she also knows that she is powerless to stop it.

“On the bridge a pigeon flutters.  The pinked sky is fatter now, and the birds are awake, and I remember something Dad read to me once about the flooded River Arno.  How when it filled with broken thingstrees, bridges, mirrors, paintings, wagons, housesit looked like it had been nested over by a giant flock of herons.”  (pg 10 ARC)

“Every nest is a miracle.  It is something whole. A place to hide. A rescue.”  (pg 76 ARC)

Her father, a professor, and her mother, who works with at-risk kids, have brought the family to Italy, hoping that things will improve, that her father can finally write his book about the flood of the River Arno, and her brother earns credits for his cooking-related independent study.  Nadia has little to cling to beyond her family and her nests of stolen things, but she soon is bowled over by a young man, Benedetto, on a Vespa with a pink duffel.  Like the birds flying, Nadia longs to be free — not free from her family — but free from the confines of her damaged mind.  She struggles with her memories and drifts among them when she least expects it, and her nests are the fruit of her labors, helping her to be at ease with her situation and her loss.

Kephart has the ability to transport readers into her settings, showing them the corners of the cities her characters live in and visit like a tour guide.  She is careful to keep her descriptions informative and beautiful to ensure readers are not bogged down by a list and are seeing these locations for the first time — absorbed in the painting created.  Her affinity for birds is multiplied in this novel as Nadia has an affinity for creating beautiful nests out of found and stolen things.  These birds and these nests represent the beauty of Nadia’s life but also the precarious nature she faces and strives to overcome through artistry and building new connections with Benedetto, her family, and Katherine, a mud angel who came to Florence to help it recover from the 1966 flood.

One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart is the best of what it means to be a poetic novelist, and her young adult novels are challenging in word choice, theme, and symbols, but she never speaks down to her readers.  Her novels transcend age boundaries and foster contemplation among her readers, urging them subtlety to look past the surface into the heart of her characters and their stories.  Another Kephart novel bound for the Best of List!

About the Author:

Beth Kephart is a National Book Award finalist and winner of several grants and prizes, is the author of One Thing Stolen, Going Over, Handling the Truth, Small Damages, Flow, and numerous other novels, memoirs, and young adult novels.


10th Anniversary by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Source: My Mom
Hardcover, 395 pgs
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10th Anniversary by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro brings the ladies of the Women’s Murder Club together for a wedding that Lindsay Boxer, herself, didn’t think would happen.  But shortly after the wedding, the ladies are caught up in two mysteries — a missing baby and the death of Dr. Candace Martin’s husband.  Patterson and Paetro continue to build on this franchise, and while Patterson’s style is sparse, clipped sentences to ramp up the action, these books will have readers turning the pages quickly on a lazy, rainy afternoon.  Boxer, Washburn, Thomas, and Castellano are always up to their necks in some murder mystery, but each of them brings a unique talent to the table.

“Now, the warm, salty air embraced me.  The great lawns flowed around the shining white gazebo and down to the bluff.  The Pacific crashed against the cliff side, and the setting sun tinted the clouds a glowing whiskey pink that you could never capture on film.  I’d never seen a more beautiful place.

‘Take it easy, now,’ Jacobi said. ‘No sprinting down the aisle.  Just keep step with the music.'” (page 8)

Lindsay is a no-nonsense cop, and she’s always unraveling a mystery using her gut instincts, but Castellano often relies on the hard facts of a case to get the convictions she needs for the district attorney’s office in San Francisco.  Washburn brings heart to the cases and reminds the ladies that there is a human element to every story, while Thomas seeks out the sensational headlines among the mix.  I’ve been reading this series a long time, and while some of the novels are less stellar than others, I was captivated from the start by this one.  I can always rely on Patterson to give me some junk food for the mind when I need something less burdensome to focus on.

10th Anniversary by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro is a race against time to save a missing child and sheds light on what it means to be a mother and protect her children.  Is it an innate instinct a mother has, or is it something that can be learned and cultivated? And can a woman who is not a biological mother feel that instant connection with a child she never carried?  These are the questions explored, but Patterson and Paetro keep the focus on these strong women and how they can reach out and grab their dreams.

About the Author:

James Patterson is a prolific author of thrillers, mysteries, young adult novels and more. His first successful series featured psychologist Alex Cross.

About the Co-Author:

Maxine Paetro collaborates with best–selling author James Patterson, co–writing The 4th Of July, The 5th Horseman, The 6th Target, The 7th Heaven, The 8th Confession, The 9th Judgment, 10th Anniversary and The 11th Hour, just released in May 2012. All are New York Times #1 best–sellers in the Women’s Murder Club Series.