Book Reviews October 11th, 2010

MeMe Smith

Dust by Patricia Cornwell

Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta is on the case, and no stone is left unturned in order for her to uncover the truth.

An unidentified body is found inside MIT and appears to be murder. The female corpse is covered with an unknown, ultraviolet substance in wild colors, leaving the forensics team with more questions than answers.

Bring in Kay’s husband, Benton, her niece, Lucy and their friend, Detective Pete Marino, and you have the characters for another extraordinary novel by Cornwell. Going deep into the world of criminals, designer drugs, drone technology and shocking corruption at the very highest levels, the reader will be enthralled with this latest novel.

Stop in at the Schuyler Public Library and pick up this and other Cornwell novels. Available in large print, regular print and Cd audio editions. Also available as an ebook download from Nebraska Overdrive, http://nebraska.lib.overdrive.com.  D.Nadrchal

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Killer by Jonathan Kellerman

A few little twists and tangles keeps the reader engrossed in Kellerman’s new story about two sisters. One is the upstanding, highly regarded business woman and the other, a previous junkie? Or band groupie? It really doesn’t matter, as long as her sister can besmirch her reputation and get the child that is in the middle.

Alex Delaware is brought in on the case to figure out the world of both women when a murder changes everything.

Once again, the author keeps things moving and scrambled, just enough to keep things interesting to the very end. Start your summer reading with this new Kellerman novel.

Available at the Schuyler Public Library in regular print and CD audio editions. Also available as an ebook or audio download from Nebraska Overdrive, http://nebraska.lib.overdrive.com.  D.Nadrchal

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King and Maxwell by David Baldacci

One of the best stories by Baldacci! It is a non-stop read with seemingly easy answers, but no one can predict the whys and hows of this novel.

A soldier crosses into enemy territory and cannot complete a secret mission, so the army claims he died in battle. But his son thinks otherwise. Tyler Wingo received a text message from his father supposedly after he was dead. Did someone else send it, pretending to be his father; and why would anyone want him to think his dad was still alive?

Sean and Michelle, private investigators, are hired by Tyler to find out the truth. They couldn’t know what trouble lies before them when they have to go up against the military…. or is it the military?

Find out in this latest thriller by Baldacci…it is a non-stop read to the very end. Pick it up at the Schuyler Public Library, and start your summer with a thrilling novel! Available in regular print and CD audio editions. Also available as an audio download from Nebraska Overdrive, http://nebraska.lib.overdrive.com.  D. Nadrchal

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Private L.A. by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

The family that everyone looks up to…. generous, loving, magnanimous and worthy of loyalty. The Harlows have disappeared. Investigators Jack Morgan and Justine Smith work together to find the Harlows and what may have happened to them. No hints, no clues, no signs of anything except what wonderful people they are.

But Jack and Justine keep digging, and soon find out there is more to this famous couple than meets the eye. They discover a dark side unknown to the rest of the world and a few conspirators that have kept secrets that will disrupt lives and the fortunes that have been accumulated.

Great reading by great authors. Patterson and Sullivan have created another enthralling story that draws the reader in until the very last word.

Make sure to pick up a copy at the Schuyler Public Library soon. Available in large print, regular print and CD audio editions. Also available as an audio download from Nebraska Overdrive, http://nebraska.lib.overdrive.com.  D. Nadrchal

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The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

A little bit mysterious, a little bit charming and a lot attractive! Unfortunately, that’s the way the notorious criminal, Nicolas Fox comes across to FBI Agent Kate O’Hare, when she isn’t busy mistrusting and wanting him behind bars.

Janet has done it again! Draws in the reader with a great mystery story, but keeps it light and fun when she reveals that her characters are just human.  And making Nicolas and Kate partners in crime…. actually they are supposed to be solving a crime, was truly an inspiration.

Readers who like it a little on the light side, fun and creative, will love this new Evanovich book.  Available as an audio book  from the Schuyler Public Library.   By D.Nadrchal

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The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag

The cops call her Zombie Doe… and she is likely the 9th victim of a serial killer dubbed Doc Holiday. The victims seem to be chosen at random and they all were found dead…except Zombie Doe. She was alive when the trunk opened up and she fell out. So, was she still alive and the Doc made a mistake this time? Or wasn’t he done with her yet?

Tami Hoag has done it again! She keeps the reader on the edge just long enough and then throws in a dud after leading up to who the killer is and why he’s doing what he’s doing.  No disappointment in this story. Great author and the reader, David Colacci does an excellent job defining the characters.

This audio book is available from the Schuyler Public Library. Check it out today!   By D. Nadrchal

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Guilty Wives by James Patterson and David Ellis

What started out as a fun-filled long weekend in Monte Carlo for the four friends, ended in tragedy, heartache and pain.  Abbie Elliot and her three girlfriends are on trial for murder- not just any murder—the victim being none other than the president of France. This had to be a huge mistake. None of these women were capable of such a heinous act……. or were they?

Winnie had kept a really big secret from all of the friends. Serena didn’t even bother to hide what was going on between her and the gorgeous guy at the bar on the first night they got there. And Bryah had disappeared for over an hour and never told any of them where she had been. What was happening?? This couldn’t be real.

Imprisoned in a French maximum security jail with the worst of the worst housed there and the guards worse than the inmates, was a living nightmare. They would never survive.

One of Patterson’s best stories yet; and the reader, January LaVoy is outstanding. Make sure to grab this bestseller at the Schuyler Public Library; available in large print, standard print and audio book.  By D.Nadrchal

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Chasing Midnight by Randy Wayne White

A beautiful resort on one of Florida’s private islands; a reception grand enough for royalty…. until the lights go out! Someone has taken over the banquet hall and the hotel. No, it’s the whole island, possibly part of the mainland. No electricity and the generators aren’t kicking on. Chaos is about to break loose when gun shots are heard. Several gunshots.

Russian mob members or extreme environmentalists trying to protect the sturgeon from becoming extinct. The sturgeon that produce the best caviar in the world; the caviar that the makes the biggest profit for the black marketers.

Doc Ford is taken prisoner just as he was about to get off the island and get help. So now the only way of escape is by using his wits. His captors are taken off guard when he defies them to try to get to the lodge where the reception was held in order to get everyone out of there because of the bomb at midnight. But there’s no getting off the island, and time is ticking away. How is he ever going to stop this and keep anymore people from becoming victims?

Find this title in hardcover or audiobook at the Schuyler Public Library.  By D.Nadrchal

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Private Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

The 2012 Olympic Games are being held in London and the opening ceremony is just hours away. Before anything can get started, Peter Knight, investigator, is called in to the murder scene of a high-ranking official of the games. But, this isn’t going to be the only victim.

Karen Pope, newspaper reporter, receives a letter from the person taking responsibility for the murder and projects more to come. Is he just a hack or a madman out to ruin the games? Will there be more killings and how can the officials possibly cover every inch of the stadium?

Suspenseful and fast-moving, this new book by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan takes you through the highlights of the Olympics and inside the mind of a killer. The authors take the reader on a whirlwind journey to uncover this monster out to wreak havoc on the famous games while trying to protect the athletes as well as the spectators.

Pick up this book in large print or the unabridged audio at the Schuyler Public Library.  By  D.Nadrchal

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Sleepwalker by Karen Robards

Micayla Lange has been kind enough to housesit for her uncle Nicco. Of course, it’s a mansion, with every convenience a girl could want but then again it is New Year’s Eve and Mick doesn’t have a date. That is until  she gets caught up with the thief that is robbing her uncle’s safe. Mick is a cop, and there’s no way this guy is getting out of the house with the suitcase he’s carrying. But, things went slightly different than she had planned. The thief left with the case and with Mick.

Mick and Jason have to run for their lives away from the house and away from uncle Nicco’s thugs. They don’t want the money near as much as the pictures that Jason took…. pictures that Mick saw and incriminated Nicco in several homicides. If they got caught, would her uncle actually have her killed? One thing was for sure, he would kill Jason, and try as she might to disregard him, it just wasn’t possible. He was nice. Other than the fact he was a thief. And he was kind and gentle. But he was a thief and she was a cop and nothing was going to stand in her way when she got the chance to arrest him. Before uncle Nicco found them. She was just going to have to figure something out.

Don’t miss out on this fun and exciting novel from Karen Robards available at the Schuyler Public Library in both large print and audiobook.  By D.Nadrchal

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Blue Heaven by C.J. Box

Little Annie and her brother William are on the run. After witnessing what they both believed was a murder, the children realized they have been seen by the men committing this crime.  Running as hard as they could through the forested area, the children found refuge with a man that used to be a friend to their mother.  Finally they were safe, or so they thought.

Suspenseful, heart-pounding thriller and true-to-life, unforgettable characters, C.J. Box brings his story about greed, corruption and self-preservation to the reader. Between the run-away children, suspicious strangers and not knowing whom to trust, the story leaves the reader wanting more from this author. Blue Heaven is available in an audio book from the Schuyler Public Library. By Deb Nadrchal

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The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

The Night Season was the first book that I have read (listened to) by Chelsea Cain and it contained the requisite bad guy, the nice guy hero, and on-again-off-again romantic tension.  A kidnapped youngster, a city in crisis because of local flooding, and a strange case of poisoning provide backdrop and detail to the story.  Detective Archie Sheridan and reporter Susan Ward are fairly well developed protagonists and are accompanied by less developed but interesting supporting characters.  This is an engrossing read and one that was a serendipitous choice for me considering that flooding in the State has been so much in the news.  By MeMe Smith

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I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark

I’ll Walk Alone also contains a storyline with a kidnappedyoungster.  This is where the similarity between the two stories ends.  While The Night Season took place in Portland, Oregon, I’ll Walk Alone is set on the opposite side of the US in New York. Zan Moreland has been trying to locate her missing son since he was kidnapped from his stroller while his young babysitter slept on the ground next to him in Central Park.  Although the police have considered Zan to be a suspect in the abduction, they have had little to back that up until a photo is published in a “tell-all” magazine that shows her lifting the toddler from his stroller. A concerned ex-husband, a disgruntled former employer, and friends who are supportive but hesitant to proclaim her innocent of the deed contribute to the cast of characters.  This is an entertaining novel even though it sometimes seems a bit repetitious.  By MeMe Smith

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

For those who enjoy Nebraska authors and may or may not be familiar with Rainbow Rowell who writes for the Omaha World Herald, her first novel Attachments is an entertaining diversion after a busy day.  As a long time reader of Rainbows columns, I was looking forward to reading her novel.

Attachments is written primarily from the perspective of Jennifer Scribner-Snyder and Beth Fremont as they email each other at work each day from their desks at the Courier.  Unbeknownst to them, their e-mails are read on a daily basis by Lincoln O’Neil.  He has been hired as the new Internet Security Officer and finds himself being selected as the guy expected to monitor the use of company e-mails.  Both ladies have disregarded the memo about the policy and Lincoln sometimes finds it difficult to enforce the rules.  Thus begins the silent but inevitable trail to an unexpected romance.

Well-developed characters, humorous and sad experiences, and the Nebraska setting contribute to a satisfying reading experience for those who gravitate towards the comfort of the customary.  Readers are likely to feel intimately involved with the characters as they realize that it is easy to relate to the circumstances with which they deal on a daily basis.

I enjoyed the lightness of this book but also feel that it provides a wake-up call to people who trivialize the chances for others to delve into their personal experiences via today’s technology.  Even though I personally found the book to be enjoyable, I wish that I had the time to reread it to determine if the lapses in editing that I noted were simply my misinterpretation of particular sentences.  By MeMe Smith

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No Biking in the House Without a Helmet by Melissa Faye Greene

No Biking in the House Without a Helmet authored by Melissa Faye Greene is filled with the humorous recollections about a family that grew significantly when Melissa and her husband decided to adopt a child from Bulgaria and went on to adopt others.  Over 300 pages long and with somewhat small print, the family experiences and tales in this book are appealing enough to keep the reader hooked till the last paragraph.  By MeMe Smith

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The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin wrote The Happiness Project after deciding on a city bus ride, that “The days are long, but the years are short.”  After conducting more than a little research, Rubin came to the conclusion that yes, she could make herself happy, and went on to chronicle her expectations, activities, and results.

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Ice Pop Joy by Anni Daulter   

Ice Pop Joy joins our collection of cookbooks although it is not exactly about cooking.  Written by Anni Daulter, this title will appeal to anyone who is trying to be sneaky about adding enticing and nutritional ingredients to a traditionally yummy, but not necessarily healthy, favorite summertime treat.  By MeMe Smith

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The Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond   

The Pioneer Woman has received a lot of press.  With the sub-title Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, it is not surprising that this non-fiction book reads like a fictional romance.  For anyone who realizes that love comes when least expected, that life provides many surprises, and that most of us can step up to more challenges than we can imagine, this book will amuse and entertain.  By MeMe Smith

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The Hot Mom’s Handbook  by Jessica Denay

I’m way past the point of needing to think about the subjects addressed in The Hot Mom’s HandbookHowever, after looking at this book I can see where those with young families will find this book to be the perfect pick-me-up after a frazzling day of trying to balance work, family time, and personal needs.  By MeMe Smith

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The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

In The Chosen One, young Kyra lives a quiet life with her loving family within the compound of an insulated polygamist cult.  As she grows up, and limitations on personal activities become more restrictive, Kyra begins to question the practices and constraints imposed within her community.  She especially misses being able to read anything other than the Bible and sneaks away to borrow books from the regional book-mobile.

Her less than idyllic home life erodes even further when she learns that  ”The Profit” has pronounced that she has been chosen to become the seventh wife of her 60 year old Uncle.  As Kyra’s fear and loathing of this situation intensifies, she contemplates the possibility of trying to escape from the community.  She knows that she will miss her family, that her siblings will suffer for her actions, and that she will not easily fit in in the outside world.  Kyra’s initial attempt to extricate herself from this oppressive situation with the help of the bookmobile driver is stressful, deadly, and ultimately unsuccessful.

This gripping and emotional tale has received good reviews from local library users as well as from professional reviewers from School Library Journal, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly.  Written and recommended for Young Adults from 7th grade and up, the characteristics of this book will send a chill up the backs of readers of any age.  By MeMe Smith

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Room by Emma Donoghue

In Room, Donoghue is able to place herself in the mind and soul of Jack and his Ma who have spent Jack’s whole life in a small room hidden away from the world and accessed only by Old Nick when he brings supplies or visits Ma at night.  Jack and Ma have developed a routine for entertainment, education, and exercise that they follow on a daily basis, along with their afternoon “scream time.”  Only when he grows up will Jack understand the significance of “scream time.”

As compelling as The Chosen One, Room projects the challenges of trying to maintain a normal life while living in fear and isolation.  Donoghue provides in-depth development of her characters providing readers with a strong basis on which to relate to their feelings.  As Jack’s curiosity grows about the stories and events he witnesses on a small TV, Ma becomes more restless and determined to rescue them both from the prison that has been their home for so many years.

Reminiscent of true life imprisonments, this novel also addresses the struggles and challenges faced by Jack and Ma upon their terrifying escape and introduction to a world so different from that found within their own four walls.  Highly acclaimed by numerous reviewers and chosen as an Amazon best of the month for September 2010, Room is one novel that shows the resourcefulness of the human spirit. By MeMe Smith

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My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliviera

A book about Women’s Rights that also deals with sibling rivalry, historical aspects of the Civil War, and personal determination, this tale also provides a subtle underlying romantic theme.   Mary Sutter’s desire to become more than a celebrated midwife; to become an accepted surgeon during an era when females were given secondary status,  propels her into a period of drudgery and deprivation with constant tension and unrelenting conflict.

With well defined characters and gruesome historical details, My Name is Mary Sutter, propels readers into a hostile world defined by the challenges of the time.  Battlefield depictions, graphic descriptions of midwifery procedures, and operating room portrayals may be a struggle for the week-kneed reader.  However, the sentiments of family loyalty, being true to one’s chosen vocation, and fortitude against all repressions, are themes which make this a powerful and engrossing read.

This is a book I can see being popular from one generation to the next because of the author’s ability to present history in such a graphic manner and in her ability to address the joys, challenges, and frustrations found in families and larger society.  Oliveira’s ability to develop her characters and impart in them characteristics that we can all recognize, makes this a book that transcends time and place. By MeMe Smith

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The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

One of the new unabridged audio books at the Schuyler Public Library is by the bestselling author, Patricia Cornwell. This most recent novel, The Scarpetta Factor, is the seventeenth involving the Kay Scarpetta character. The major players are reunited in New York City, only to find one of their own may be involved in a kidnapping or worse, and another one of them is being targeted by an unknown person or persons.

News media are all over the disappearance of Hannah Starr, presumed dead by many, and Lucy may be right in the middle of things. Trouble between her and Jamie Berger is keeping her distant and edgy, and finding out about a possible bomb that was sent to her Aunt Kay isn’t helping the situation any.

Throughout the story, expect the unexpected as Cornwell throws in twists and turns to keep her readers on the edge. In her incomparable style, Patricia Cornwell will keep readers enthralled and entertained as they try to figure out, ‘who done it’.   By Deb Nadrchal

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New York: The Novel, by author Edward Rutherfurd and read by Mark Bramhall, celebrates America’s greatest city from the time when Manna hata (Manhattan), was a tiny Indian fishing village, from when New York was originally named New Amsterdam, and from the time when the British, Dutch and French all wanted their share of New York.

Rutherfurd tells this irresistible story through the lives of families, rich and poor, native and immigrant, whose fates rose and fell with the city’s fortunes. He gives insight as to why New York has become the city it is today, heartache and triumph, from its very bucolic beginnings all the way through to the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Bramhall does an excellent job portraying the many characters from different ethnic backgrounds and social standings. This audio book contains eight compact discs and is approximately 9 1/2 hours long. The Schuyler Public Library also has the full version of the novel available for checkout.

Worth every listening moment or every page, you will be glad you experienced, New York.  By Deb Nadrchal

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 Deception by Jonathan Kellerman

Elise cries for help, but no one listens. She dies at the hands of three sadistic tormentors, found too late to be saved, evoking too many unanswered questions.

Los Angeles is the home to one of the most prestigious schools in the country and it is up to Dr. Alex Delaware to break the code of silence that surrounds the faculty and students. Someone has been murdered and before any more damage is done, he must discover what Elise had to do with it and why she is dead.

In the usual enthralling style of Jonathan Kellerman, he brings another bestseller to the literary world. The unabridged production of Deception, leaves the reader in that “can’t wait to turn the next page” mode as John Rubinsteinonce again does a fabulous job differentiating between the characters.

A copy of this audio book is available at the Schuyler Public Library as well as the book in large print. By Deb Nadrchal

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Showing Up for Life: Thoughts On the Gifts of a Lifetime by Bill Gates Sr.

(Unabridged Random House audio)I wasn’t sure, when I picked up this audio book, just what I might learn from it.  It contained only three CDs and I was looking for a short book to occupy my mind during a short drive.  Because the Schuyler Public Library, and libraries across the US, have been beneficiaries of resources provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, of which Bill Gates, Sr. is the co-chair, I thought that this might provide a little more insight into the welcome philanthropy.

This well-thought-out book contains a collection of narratives advocating the importance of volunteering, giving back, and stepping up in a local community and in the broader world.   More appealing than a long-winded memoir, this enjoyable book provides illustrations of a humble but generous and loving family.  Gates recounts summers of family fun and provides insights gained from people close to him and from his extended acquaintances and comrades.

Lessons learned from his late wife, experiences with his children, activities with his current wife, and undertakings across the globe, offer models and set examples of a life open to the possibilities in the international community.  (Unabridged Random House audio) By MeMe Smith

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