Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Sentry by Robert Crais

Joe Pike meets Dru Rayne when he assists her uncle, Wilson, who's been badly beaten by two guys in his restaurant. Enchanted by her, Pike feels the need to keep Dru and Wilson safe. When they go missing, Pike decides he must find out what happened to them. With the help of his best friend, private detective Elvis Cole, Pike discovers that Dru and Wilson are not who they appear to be, but, as usual with Pike, he's all in to find out what's really going on. While The Sentry is a page turner, it lacks the good story with increasing momentum that Crais' most recent novels have (The First Rule, Chasing Darkness, and The Watchman) and you really don't have any sympathy for Dru and Wilson after awhile.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt

Isabelle is driving on a foggy day--leaving her husband, Luke, for good--when she hits and kills April, who was standing in the middle of the road. Isabelle is devastated by the accident, but partially relieved by the fact that April's son, Sam, 9, was not seriously injured. April's husband, Charlie, wonders where April was going, so far from home with Sam in the car. Sam, meanwhile, refuses to talk about the accident. Isabelle slowly finds herself unable to stop thinking about Sam and Charlie. Sam sees Isabelle as an angel looking over him. How will Isabelle, Sam, and Charlie find the strength to move on with their lives after this unspeakable tragedy and live with the bond that connects them? In Pictures of You, Caroline Leavitt has written another novel with rich, unforgettable characters. It's been way too long since her last book, Girls in Trouble, was published in 2004. If you enjoy novels about family relationships, give Caroline Leavitt a try.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Sarah Nickerson juggles a demanding, high-paying job with being a mom to three young children and a wife to her husband, Bob. One day, she crashes her car and suffers a traumatic brain injury called Left Neglect, which means she has no awareness of anything on the left side of her body or to the left of her. Through months of therapy, Sarah struggles to relearn the simplest tasks like walking and reading. Sarah's accident also causes her mother, from whom she's been distant with for years, to come back into her life. Will Sarah be able to resume her life as it was and, if so, does she really want to? In Left Neglected, Genova has written another unputdownable novel about a woman facing a unique illness and the effect it has on her life as a wife and mother. If you like books by Jodi Picoult, give Lisa Genova a try.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

At 50, Dr. Alice Howland is at the top of her game, professionally. A psychology professor at Harvard, she travels the world, speaking about her research. Her world is turned upside down when she receives the news that she's suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's. Alice and her family (husband, John, and adult children, Anna, Tom, and Lydia) are stunned by the news and have to learn to cope with the diagnosis and how it will change all their lives. Told through Alice's eyes as she descends into dementia, Still Alice is a powerful, poignant story of that journey.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Favorite Books of 2010

Two psychological page turners, one utterly charming novel about an aging Englishman, and two books about family relationships (albeit with very different tones) comprise the list of my favorite reads in 2010. Interestingly enough, all the books are by female authors.

In alphabetical order by author:

Blacklands by Belinda Bauer

A disturbing cat-and-mouse game between a killer and a child who wants closure for his family.

The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley

An unique plot--a bird flu pandemic arriving in the U.S., seen through the eyes of a mother fighting for her family's survival.

Island by Elin Hilderbrand

Hilderbrand doing what she does best--fabulous sense of place, combined with interesting female characters.

I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

Lippman's best ever standalone novel. About a woman whose traumatic past comes back to haunt her as an adult.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

An enchanting, yet quirky story about a man's second chance at love.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French

Marylou Ahearn has finally tracked down Dr. Wilson Spriggs. More than fifty years ago, he gave Marylou a radioactive cocktail while she was pregnant. Marylou's daughter then died at age 8 and she's blamed Spriggs ever since. Finding him in Tallahassee living with his daughter Caroline, her husband Vic and their three teenagers (Otis, Ava, and Suzi), Marylou masquerades as their new neighbor Nancy Archer. Vowing to murder Wilson, Marylou involves herself in the family's lives--including their eccentricities and unhappiness --and finds things might not turn out as she expected. The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady is an entertaining, quirky character-centered novel told from the point of view of all the participants. It will be published next month.