Sunday, May 9, 2021

Not just a summer romance...


Ben and Anna had a plan to sail the Caribbean together. But then Ben took his own life and Anna now has to figure out how to live without him. Only it's not working. So on the day they were supposed to set sail, Anna decides to take Ben's boat and make the trip alone. But Anna's never sailed without Ben, so she hires a professional sailor to show her the ropes.

Keane is grieving, too. He lost his lower right leg in a car accident a year ago and now no one will hire him to race with their crew, even though he has a prosthetic leg that makes it possible and sailboat racing is the thing he loves most in the world. Until he meets Anna.

My thoughts:  Float Plan by Trish Doller is one of those poignant and charming reads that had me hooked from the first page. I really felt for Anna as she grieved Ben's death and the loss of all their dreams. I also admired her resilience as she found new hopes and dreams for herself.
"I'm starting to understand how sadness and happiness can live side by side within a heart. And how that heart can keep on beating."

Her relationship with Keane as they went from polite strangers to caring friends to more was a touching journey. There's a lot of humor and heart in this book. I also really enjoyed reading about all the different islands they visited; it made me want to set sail around the Caribbean myself. All in all, Trish Doller has written an amazing story that I loved a lot.  

Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Girl With No Name by Lisa Regan


The plot:  Josie Quinn's life just got more complicated. Not only is she now the chief of police in Denton, Pennsylvania, but she's getting married soon. Only Luke, her fiance, has been cold and distant lately, and she's just been called out on a case involving her ex-husband's girlfriend. The former stripper was attacked at home, her newborn baby taken. Only she's too hurt to identify who attacked her. Then Josie discovers that Luke is also missing, and the mysterious young woman who was discovered at his house claims not to remember her name. What is going on? Josie thinks the two cases might be connected, but she isn't sure how. And she's worried that Luke might be in real trouble.

My thoughts:  This is the second Josie Quinn novel that I've read, and I liked it as much as Vanishing Girls, the first book in this series. It's fast-paced, with the suspense constantly building, and the mystery is compelling, with some good twists and turns along the way. Another plus is that the main characters are very likable, especially Josie Quinn. She's got some secrets in her past that I'd really like to read more about! Police procedurals sometimes bog down for me, but this one never did. It's an entertaining thriller. And I'm looking forward to reading the remaining books in this well-written series.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

A French Classic...

Published in 1883, Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Delight) by Emile Zola centers around Octave Mouret's dazzling new department store in Paris, and all the lives it effects, both for good and bad. No one has seen anything like Mouret's seductive store which draws in scores of women and convinces them to buy more than they need because the prices are so low, while at the same time driving all the smaller competitors nearby out of business.

Mouret is a brash and energetic man who takes big risks for big rewards, and who loves to charm and 'conquer' his customers...and the other women he meets. And he's not shy about it. "I'm a passionate man, I don't just sit back and let life go by. ... It's wanting something and acting on it, you see, creating something, in short. You get an idea and you fight for it, you hammer it into people's heads, you see it grow and triumph."

Then there's Denise Baudu, a provincial young lady who comes to Paris with her two younger brothers. Needing work, she gets a job at Au Bonheur des Dames as a salesgirl. But life there isn't easy; her first day ends in tears. "From that day on, Denise showed great courage. Beneath her emotional crises, there was an intellect always at work and the bravery of someone weak and alone who was cheerfully determined in pursuit of the tasks she had set herself. She made little fuss, but went directly ahead towards her goal, taking any obstacles in her stride--and she did all this simply and naturally, because her whole nature was in this invincible gentleness. ....Her willingness to endure pain and her dogged determination kept her upright and smiling even when she was on the point of collapse, entirely exhausted by work that would have finished many men."

It is her modesty and gentle sweetness that draws Mouret's interest. His attraction deepens to love. (And almost obsession.) But no matter what he offers her, Denise refuses to become his mistress. Even though deep down, she loves him, too. Their lives revolve around Au Bonheur des Dames and its triumphal success.

Zola had a lot to say about consumerism and instant gratification in this novel, and how one man and one store can manipulate society so easily. But I enjoyed it mostly for his characters and the personal journeys each one takes. In many ways, Denise reminded me of Jane Austen's Fanny Price, quietly determined to do what she believes is right no matter what. Mouret's morals, on the other hand, weren't so admirable, but his business acumen was impressive. No one else believed his department store would be so successful. Except for Denise. These two make quite a pair. And while I found the ending a bit anti-climatic, I ended up liking this French classic (which counts as my Classic in Translation for Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge.)

Happy Reading!

P.S. The Penguin version I read was ably translated by Robin Buss.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Two books I recently read and loved...

Here are two more of my favorite reads this past month that I'm not going to review, but am going to recommend. (With thanks again to Rachel @ Waves of Fiction for the idea.) 

Prodigal Son is Gregg Hurwitz's latest Orphan X novel. It's the 6th book in this series, which makes it tricky to review without accidentally spoiling things that happen in previous books. Just know that Evan Smoak is one of my all-time favorite characters, and I absolutely LOVE this series. All six books. They're awesome. My review of his first three books can be found here and here.

The Breaker is the latest book in Nick Petrie's Peter Ash Series. It is also book #6. I love this series, and this character, too. Every time I finish one, I can't wait for the next one to come out. If you want to read my review of the first book in this series, check it out here. 

So there you go, two more books I loved and highly recommend.
Happy Reading!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Without Mercy by Jefferson Bass

 In explaining my fascination with forensic cases, and especially my ability to stomach gruesome details such as dismemberment, I often told students and police this: "I don't see a murder as a death; I see it as a puzzle. If I have the skills to solve that puzzle and bring someone to justice, I've done a good job."

Dr. Bill Brockton is a forensic anthropologist and the head of the Body Farm in Knoxville, Tennessee. When skeletal remains are found in the woods near a ghost town in Cook County, Bill is the one they call. The case is a disturbing one. It appears the male victim was chained to a tree for almost six weeks before dying. It's hard for Bill to determine more than the sex of the victim because not only is the skull missing, but most of the other bones are, too. And his graduate assistant, Miranda Lovelady, has just finished her dissertation and is now applying for jobs elsewhere, which doesn't make him happy either. But things get much worse when Nick Satterfield, a sadistic serial killer, escapes from prison. He wants revenge, not just on Bill, but on everyone Bill holds dear.

I've read the first six books in this series and have enjoyed each and every one. (This one is #10.) I find Bill Brockton to be an engaging and likable narrator, and all the forensic science fascinating. The case involving the skeletal remains in this book is both interesting and sad. Then there's the threat of the serial killer, which heightens the tension and makes the ending very suspenseful. I liked this one a lot. In fact, Without Mercy feels like the perfect way to wrap up this entertaining series. 

Happy Reading!

Other Bill Brockton books I've reviewed:

Thursday, April 22, 2021

April's bookish art...

Jean George Ferry -- Two Woman Reading in an Interior

" whatever you read. Enrich your life with books of any type.
If you aren't enjoying a book, try another---life is too short."
--Jenny Colgan