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SACTOKAREN's Photo SACTOKAREN Posts: 27,304
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The Lady-Matador’s Hotel by Cristina Garcia **** 4 stars

Intersecting stories of several characters revolving around Suki, the lady matador.


50 is the new 30.


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The White Monkey and A Silent Wooing by John Galsworthy *** 3 stars

Part of the Forsythe Saga.


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The Petting Zoo by Jim Carroll **** 4 stars

A famous artist struggles with doubt and relationships.


50 is the new 30.


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End of an Era by Robert J. Sawyer ***** 5 stars

A time machine and a mysterious diary entry. This book tells how the dinosaurs became extinct and how that event changed the future.


50 is the new 30.


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SACTOKAREN's Photo SACTOKAREN Posts: 27,304
2/4/11 3:44 P

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Driving on the Rim by Thomas McGuane *** 3 stars

A doctor may have caused the death of his ex. A lot of back story and not much held my interest.


50 is the new 30.


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2/4/11 3:43 P

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Wedding Cake by J. Lynne Hinton *** 3 stars

A bit too neat and clean; several mini stories but no mystery in how each will turn out. Light romance.


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SACTOKAREN's Photo SACTOKAREN Posts: 27,304
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Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman **** 4 stars

As readers, you’ll probably enjoy these essays about collecting books, combining collections and how they touch our lives.


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Skippy Dies by Paul Murray **** 4 stars

Skippy dies in the first chapter, but the back story builds up to a somewhat surprising conclusion.


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The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley **** 4 stars

I quite enjoyed this book.


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The Kreutzer Sonata by Margriet de Moor **** 4 stars

Engaging and interesting story of love and obsession.


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2/4/11 3:42 P

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Seize the Day by Saul Bellow *** 3 stars

Ok, not my cup of tea.


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2/4/11 3:42 P

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Feed by M. T. Anderson **** 4 stars

A YA novel about a future where our brains are plugged into the Feed (all of the IM and info currently on the Internet.) People don’t read or write and conversations are very superficial. This story is about what happens when this way of life short-circuits for one teenager, who already is different because she reads, writes and has real conversations with her father.


50 is the new 30.


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2/4/11 3:42 P

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Closing Arguments by Frederick Busch **** 4 stars

Written as if you were seeing testimony or being cross-examined, many pieces come together to the final end of Closing Arguments. While I figured one part out fairly easily, another came as a complete surprise.


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The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela **** 4 stars

Hailed as the greatest novel of the Mexican Revolution. An engaging and brief story.


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Funny Little Monkey by Andrew Auseon **** 4 stars

Young adult story of a high school boy whose stunted growth and the almost equally abnormal largeness of his twin brother make for discord and dysfunction at home and school.


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Ghosting by Jennie Erdal *** 3 stars

A ghost writer who takes on more than just ghosting during her tenure with her wealthy employer.


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The Terra Cotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri *** 3 stars

A mystery of sorts, but one that didn’t hold my interest. Set in Italy.


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Secrets of the Tsil Café by Thomas Fox Averill ***** 5 stars

Recipes galore in this story of competing cooks within the same family.


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The Sound of One Hand Clapping by Richard Flanagan **** 4 stars

An involved story of a couple of generations within a family and how the events of the past can affect how you deal with the future.


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ANOTHERTAG's Photo ANOTHERTAG Posts: 450
2/4/11 2:35 P

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1. "Before and Again" by Doris Mortman

**** 4stars

long story about how you can have memories that belong to an ancestor of yours..I was disappointed in the end since it did not clarify the lineage enough for my satisfaction. There were too many unbelievable stuff happening, though this is a novel I just could not go with it.

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2/4/11 12:20 P

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THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett 6 stars

This is about a southern girl who is a recent college grad, unmarried and not yet starting a career and her interaction with "the help". Set in the late 1950's before mandatory integration.

The circumstances that sets her on a mission to write about the stories of the black women in the area and how they are viewed and treated by the ladies they work for.

For those of us not from the south, it is an eye-opener as to how the people of color were viewed and treated by their employers. However, the children that were cared for by these ladies were not color-blind while being cared for, but were expected to treat their care-givers differently once they were grown up.

Had a hard time putting this book down and hope to see this first time author in print again.
Per the author's web page: http://www.kathrynstockett.com/index.htm this book is to be made into a movie. I'll be sure not to miss it.

Deanna in Dacula, GA







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2/4/11 11:57 A

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damage by john lescroart- 5 stars

From Publishers Weekly
San Francisco homicide chief Abe Glitsky takes on a particularly nasty villain in Lescroart's hair-raising 16th novel featuring Glitsky and lawyer Dismas Hardy (after A Plague of Secrets). After Ro Curtlee serves 10 years of a long prison sentence for the rape and murder of one of his family's housekeepers, an appeals court orders a new trial and his wealthy and powerful parents post bail of million for his release. Cocky and ruthless, Curtlee eliminates one of the witnesses who testified against him and threatens Glitsky's family, while his parents, who own San Francisco's #2 newspaper, and their favorite columnist, Sheila Marrenas, apply other kinds of pressure to new DA Wes Farrell, among others. Either influence or lack of hard evidence frustrates every move Glitsky and his colleagues make to try to nail Curtlee. What at first appears to be a stunningly stark black-and-white portrayal reveals many subtle shadings by book's end.

FORGET WILLPOWER.

"Losing weight is not about willpower--it's about moments of bravado, like the moment when you ask your waiter to take the bread away from the table right away." ~~Jillian Michaels


~~we don't see things as they are, we see things as we are-- anais nin




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2/4/11 10:48 A

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5* A Woman's Place by Susanne O'Leary

This story is based on the author's real life great aunt and her daughter and on the letters, postcards, and diaries they had written.
In 1899, Julia, who was 20 and living in Sweden, became pregnant by a man who left her to go work in the U.S. (He was unaware at the time of the pregnancy.) She traveled to the U.S. to find him, and to get him to marry her; very unusual for a woman to do at that time, as most in her situation would have gone away somewhere to have the baby then put it up for adoption.

Her daughter Sonja was born in the U.S., but spent most of her younger years in Finland, brought up by step father when Julia remarries. Sonja has the same courage and independent spirit as her mother, and her love of travel takes her to Paris, then on to New York, where she lives a Great Gatsby kind of life for awhile during the Depression.

I really enjoyed this book, and reading about these two woman and their lives. You can see photos of the real Julia and Sonja at the author's website, www.susanne-oleary.com. The author is also working on sequel, which I look forward to reading, to see what happens to Sonja.



My name is Shari; I have been a Sparker since July 2006, I am now in hospice care for metastatic breast cancer, but I'm not letting cancer stop me from Sparking!

Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

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LAURA1152's Photo LAURA1152 Posts: 519
2/4/11 10:48 A

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"Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon - I'm not sure if we're supposed to post books we've already finished or those we're reading now, and I'm reading this one now. I give it 6*, just because I'm enjoying it so much!

I'm listening to "Wizard's First Rule" by Terry Goodkind on audiobook (I always have a paper book and an audiobook going at once), and I'll give it 4* - the writing isn't fantastic, the viewpoint is all over the place (I prefer first-person narration, which this does not have), but I'm enjoying it because my son is reading the same series at the same time.

Do what you can. Want what you have. Be who you are.
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RED_AUGIE Posts: 562
2/4/11 10:32 A

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Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine 6*

Edited by: RED_AUGIE at: 2/4/2011 (10:32)
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2/4/11 6:39 A

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Room by Emma Donoghue (on Kindle) 6 stars!

This is one of the best new fiction books I have read in awhile. Told from the view point of a 5 year old boy who has spent his entire life in "room" with only his mother. Their only visitor is "old Nick" who comes late at night after Jack is already in bed. I was unable to put this book down, I had to keep reading to the end.

Edited by: BAREADER at: 2/4/2011 (06:42)
Barbara from Texas

"It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that."
J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"









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DESERTDREAMERS's Photo DESERTDREAMERS Posts: 49,664
2/4/11 6:04 A

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2) With This Ring by Amanda Quick 3 stars

A period piece in Victorian England - Beatrice is a widow, and writes "horrid novels" under the name of Amelia York. Altho a popular author, if it were to be known she writes the books, her reputation would be ruined. She is investigating the mysterious death of her uncle, and the loss of valuable rings. She consults with the "Mad Monk", the Earl of Monkcrest, and wins his interest and passion.

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Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.
Muhammad Ali

�When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department generally uses water."


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BECOMINGDEB's Photo BECOMINGDEB Posts: 4,275
2/3/11 8:11 P

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Naked Heat by Richard Castle 4 stars

Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook end up working together to solve the murder of a hated gossip columnist.

"It is never too late to be what you might have been." -George Eliot



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2/3/11 3:04 P

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Fever Dream" by Preston & Child ****

Special Agent A. Pendergast has mourned the death of his wife in a hunting accident in Africa for twelve years. When he finds that her death was actually a carefully crafted murder, he sets out to discover who and why, only to find a side of his wife completely unknown to him before - a passionate interest in the life and works of the great naturalist J. J. Audubon. Moving from the African veldt to the Louisianan swamps, to NYC's Bedlam Hospital, Pendergast follows a bewildering trail of clues (and bodies) searching for the truth. Fast paced action/mystery that poses as many questions as it answers.

Carol


Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you will land amongst the stars.


Nothing changes when nothing changes.



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2/3/11 1:17 P

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Third World America by Ariana Huffington.

Augh, this book is hard to read. The info and the statistics are just heartbreaking. It is a must read for everyone. There has to be some way to change our path in the US.
This book does not seem to take a side (Dem vs Rep) but points out the machinations of Wall Street and politicans, etc.
Haven't finished yet. Hoep she has some good ideas for changing things.

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“The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives”
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2/3/11 1:12 P

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cold paradise by stuart woods- audio- 3 stars

From Publishers Weekly
In the seventh thriller featuring cop-turned-lawyer Stone Barrington and his old sidekick NYPD Lt. Dino Bacchetti, the prolific and urbane Woods is at the top of his consistently bestselling form. In the middle of a New York City blizzard, Thad Shames, a wealthy computer tycoon, offers Stone a small fortune and the opportunity to escape the arctic cold if he will fly to glitzy Palm Beach, Fla., and find a femme fatale Shames knows only as Liz. With the help of Callie Hodges, Shames's sensual young Girl Friday, Stone wastes little time finding Liz, but discovers she is really Allison Manning, a woman he saved from the gallows a few years back (Dead in the Water, 1997). Now known as Elizabeth Harding, she fears her first husband a murderer who Stone believed had been executed is alive and may be stalking her. Not to be deterred from wooing and wedding Liz, Shames asks Stone to protect her. Stone himself is besieged by women: first, the delectable Callie, then his old girlfriend Arrington Calder (L.A. Dead, 2000) and finally, Liz, who suggests a m‚nage … trois with Callie. In the midst of these amorous adventures, Stone consults Dino back in New York, trying to ID a man who fits the stalker's description, and Dino flies in just in time to be involved in a shootout in a Worth Avenue restaurant. Loaded with perfumed sex, sleek jets and yachts, lavish homes, boutiques, gourmet cuisine, quirky twists and nonstop action, Woods's pulpy pedestrian plot is grand fun.

FORGET WILLPOWER.

"Losing weight is not about willpower--it's about moments of bravado, like the moment when you ask your waiter to take the bread away from the table right away." ~~Jillian Michaels


~~we don't see things as they are, we see things as we are-- anais nin




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DASARMEHASEN's Photo DASARMEHASEN Posts: 356
2/3/11 12:54 P

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Fear & Trembling by Amélie Nothomb. B-

This book was too short. The plot is about a Dutch woman who works in Tokyo for an international corporation for a year. The protagonist (and I think it might be somewhat autobiographical) comes across as ineffectual and I felt she gave up halfway through. There are some funny bits and I did enjoy it but really I wanted more.

ALOHACYL's Photo ALOHACYL Posts: 5,093
2/3/11 9:22 A

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"The Wheel of Darkness" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. A "5". This is a Mystery/Thriller and a continuation of the Agent Pendergast series. The book has a touch of mystery and the supernatural. You never know who is going to get it but FBI Special Agent Pendergast is there with his brilliance and special way of handling crimes of an unusual nature. One thing about Preston and Child is you will be on the edge of your seat by the final chapters. This book is no different. I couldn't put this book down!

Edited by: ALOHACYL at: 2/3/2011 (09:23)
You can't wait for motivation to strike; sometimes you need to dig deep into yourself and find the motivation on your own.


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2/3/11 6:25 A

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The Lady Most Likely.... by Connie Brockway, Julia Quinn and Eloisa James -
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Historical romances don't always make me laugh out loud, but this one, about a house party where multiple matches are made, had hysterical dialogue. All 3 authors were at the top of their game.

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2/3/11 1:03 A

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1) Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubbble by H. P. Mallory 3 stars

Paranormal romance about a witch, learning her powers, and the warlock boss she's got the hots for. Cute, but sometimes I wanted to smack her in the head.

Dropped my Kindle and broke it (thank goodness Amazon has an excellent replacement policy!) Had to finish reading this on the Kindle app on my phone.

Edited by: DESERTDREAMERS at: 2/3/2011 (01:04)
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Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.
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�When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department generally uses water."


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2/2/11 8:41 P

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Cast in Chaos by Michelle Sagara. 4 stars. Solid fantasy genre read in a really interesting world setting and a very appealing protagonist. Part of a series, which in my view makes it even better!

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REENEY2 Posts: 302
2/2/11 8:05 P

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i have been reading the lakeside chronicles series susan wiggs so little time and so many books to read

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2/2/11 4:01 P

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The last two of the related series of stories about the Manning family by Debbie Macomber.

Bride on the Loose - 4*

Same Time, Next Year - 4*

Jo Ann
Starfish - (CST)
Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still. - Chinese Proverb



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SACTOKAREN's Photo SACTOKAREN Posts: 27,304
2/2/11 3:30 P

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Love, Loss and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman **** 4 stars

A book of what was going on in the author’s life and what she wore through the decades.


50 is the new 30.


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The Man in the Window by Jon Cohen ***** 5 stars

A simple story about a man scarred in a fire and the woman who sees beyond his disfigurement.


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2/2/11 3:30 P

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Her Secret Garden by Nancy Friday *** 3 stars

This is a book of the sexual fantasies of women. Unfortunately, it was written in the early 70s and is very dated. Not that I’m the queen of kink, but most of the fantasies were uncreative or just plain weird (or borrowed from Anais Nin.)


50 is the new 30.


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2/2/11 3:29 P

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The Light of Day by Eric Ambler **** 4 stars

Even though the book has incredibly long paragraph and little white space, it’s a very fast read. Intense and suspenseful.


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Sever Year Switch by Claire Cook *** 3 stars

Light reading. Husband abandons wife and child only to return after 7 years. Wife has a potential new love interest.


50 is the new 30.


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The Tapestries by Kien Nguyen **** 4 stars

Story of Dan Nguyen set in historical Viet Nam.


50 is the new 30.


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South of the Border West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami **** 4 stars

Don’t fall in love in a Murakami book – it could kill you. Obsessive love and longing for what doesn’t exist.


50 is the new 30.


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2/2/11 3:28 P

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Giovanni’s Gift by Bradford Morrow **** 4 stars

Mystery surrounding Giovanni’s death, weird nocturnal happenings at the Fulton’s property and Grant’s directionless life.


50 is the new 30.


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2/2/11 12:10 P

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House Rules by Jodi Picoult - 6 stars

Jodi Picoult is my favorite author, so I was excited to read her newest book. House Rules follows the story of an autistic boy, Jacob, and his family. When a gruesome murder happens in town, all evidence points to Jacob. The book takes us through his trial, both at home and in the courts.

I loved this book! I'm an educator, so it was interesting for me to read about autism. It was a very accurate representation. I'm a person who likes to know the outcomes of EVERYTHING, so the ending bothered me a little. It left a lot open to your own interpretation. Overall, I highly recommend it!

"The smallest gesture can have a devastating or amazingly positive impact" -Sonia Nieto


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2/1/11 6:27 P

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Shakespeare's Landlord (Lily Bard Mysteries, Book 1) - by Charlaine Harris

3.5 stars - It was good but not as good as her Sookie Stackhouse series.

While on a late-night job in tiny Shakespeare, Ark., Lily Bard, 31, sees a furtive figure placing large plastic garbage bags in the local park and, untying one, discovers the body of her former landlord. In a quick but anonymous phone call (she is determined to avoid any questioning), she reports it to the police chief. With skill and wry wit, Harris, the author of the Aurora Teagarden series, soon reveals the horrific facts in Lily's background that explain why she is solitary, confrontational, obsessed with self-defense—and why she chooses, despite a first-rate education, to eke out a living as a cleaning woman. Realizing, however, that her fingerprints on the body of the dead man might make her a suspect, Lily subtly and insightfully queries her customers, some of them tenants of the murdered landlord, in the process meticulously evaluating their closets, drawers and motives. The renters are a well-defined lot: a happily promiscuous idler; a sanctimonious and hypocritical reverend; and an aging couple with much to grieve about. As Lily investigates, she develops a wary but cordial relationship with the police chief and forms a warmer tie with her karate instructor. But at the same time, someone has discovered the unspeakable facts about Lily's past and has begun stalking her.

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2/1/11 11:45 A

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Goodnight, Beautiful - Dorothy Koomson 3.5*

I enjoy this author but found I didn't enjoy this book as much as the others. The last 1/3 enjoyed better than the beginning, which to me was a bit confusing with all the jumping around.

the library summary:
Incredibly moving, honest, and brave, "Goodnight, Beautiful" is an amazing novel about love overcoming all odds. A dramatic heart-tugging tale of love, pain, and survival.--"The Daily Record."






Naomi a/k/a Nomi
from New York State
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2/1/11 11:06 A

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Here we are!
All posts need book title, author, and stars; 0 being the worst and 6 being very special.

I want to thank our Librarian for this month, CROOKDHKR for volunteering.

I would encourage you to comment on books that others have read by sending them a sparkmail. This topic is just to list books read in December for the team.

This is a thread where we list all the books that we read during the month and rate them by the system listed below. Please note that you need to list title, author, and your rating for it to be counted. Also, please give a description of the book and how it appealed to you. This is a great way to find new books and authors that you might be interested in. Everyone is welcome to join.
If you started a book in January (or any prior month); but finish in February, it counts for February. DO NOT list books STARTED; only books FINISHED.
Rereads count, audios count, electronics count. Our minimum word count is 25,000.
Book Ratings
0 stars- Fit for only lining birdcases.
1 star-Agent was better salesman than author was writer.
2 stars-Some parts had promise.
3 stars-Solid read in its genre. Take it on plane.
4 stars-Better than average. Don't lose it on the plane.
5 stars-Recommended. Top 10% of books in its genre.
6 stars-Strongly recommended. Beg, Borrow, Buy, or Steal It.



Jo Ann
Starfish - (CST)
Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still. - Chinese Proverb



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