Tuesday, June 21, 2016

GROUNDHOG'S DILEMMA






    Do I really believe that when the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2 it is a determination of whether or not we’ll have six more weeks of winter?  Not quite sure, but it is fun to think about and young readers will have much to think and laugh about in this delightful yarn centering on a perplexed groundhog.

    The problem is that groundhog likes each one of his forest friends and would like to make all of them happy, but half of them want six more weeks of winter while the other half wants spring.      What to do?  This dilemma has groundhog losing sleep at night.  Plus the animals have decided that they might get what they want if they bribe groundhog, so he is showered with treats, and invitations to baseball games, picnics and bonfires. 

    He is in a real quandary so he tries to make everyone happy which is an impossibility.

    Youngsters will thoroughly enjoy Faulkner’s vibrant highly detailed paintings and the interactions between the animals.
                           
    Suggested for ages 3-7.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

NORA ROBERTS COLLECTION




Can’t get enough of stories by top romance author Nora Roberts?  Well, few of us can, so here’s the perfect solution - three of her best in the Nora Roberts Collection beginning with The Villa performed by Laural Merlington.   Giambelli wines have been at the top of everyone’s list for three generations.  Whether in California or Paris or Italy these wines are highly recommended in restaurants and served in luxurious private homes.  However, things may definitely change as Tereza, the family matriarch has announced a merger with the MacMillan family’s winery.

    For Sophia this is a challenge as she is a savvy business woman and she knows she must teach Tyler MacMillan the ins and outs of running a successful winery.  However, Tyler has a few things to teach Sophia.  She is torn between his physical attractiveness and professional rivalry.

    Next you’ll hear Midnight Bayou performed by James Daniels.  This is quite a change of venue for listeners as we move to New Orleans and meet Declan Fitzgerald, a maverick in every sense of the word.  He buys Manet Hall, a once  regal but now run down mansion on the outskirts of the city.  He may have bought more than he bargained for because mysterious things are happening at the Hall as Declan begins the onerous task of renovating one room at a time.  He is determined to restore the mansion to its former glory, and is also determined in regard to the lovely Angelina Simone.  However, Angelina has a surprising connection to Manet Hall that is disclosed when a hundred year old secret is revealed.

    Three Fates performed by Bernadette Quigley is the third offering and what a tale it is!  As the world knows when the Lusitania sank over one thousand lives were lost.   However among the survivors was one man who perhaps saw his survival as an omen, a second chance.  He gave up his former life as a petty thief and kept a small silver statue that would be a family heirloom for future generations. 

    Now, almost 100 years have passed and the treasured heirloom, one of a priceless set of three, has been taken from the family.   Malachi, Gideon and Rebecca Sullivan are prepared to do whatever is necessary to recover their great, great-grandfather’s treasure, reunite the Three Fates and make their fortune.  That’s quite an order!

    This Nora Roberts Collection provides 40 hours of intriguing listening.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

MURDER ON THE QUAI by Cara Black





    Fans (and there are countless)  of Cara Black’s mega selling Aimee Leduc novels will relish the opportunity to learn how Aimee first became a detective.     After 15 mysteries in which she is the heroine it is the perfect time to step back and discover how Aimee became an outstanding private investigator in Paris.  Murder On The Quai answers that question in spades!

    It was November of 1942 when a truck loaded with Nazi gold disappears in a French country village.  It is guarded by five soldiers, four of whom are killed by French farmers in order to take the treasure for themselves.  Evidently the fifth soldier escapes.  How does this affect Aimee some 60 years later?

    An elderly man is killed while on his way home from dinner with friends in Paris and his body is left under the Pont des Invalides.  His daughter, Elise Peltier, appeals to detective Jean-Claude Leduc, begging him to find her father’s killer.  However, Jean-Claude has something else on his mind - his fugitive wife American wife, Sidonie, is in trouble and he is about to leave for Berlin to try to help her.  So, in his absence daughter Aimee decides to investigate.  She is totally unaware of the ramifications of that decision - dangerous ramifications.  However, she is in her first year of college at an outstanding medical school and fears she may fail, her boyfriend, Florent, is soon to announce his engagement to another woman - what does she have to lose?

    All she has to go on is a woman’s name and phone number found on a matchbook from Le Gogo in the dead man’s pocket.  As she pursues this slim lead she meets her future partner in the detective agency, adopts a stray puppy whom she names Miles Davis, and another elderly man is murdered.

    Murder On The Quai is a terrific stand alone mystery and would be an ideal way for first time Leduc readers to be introduced To Aimee and Jean-Claude.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

THE GOD'S EYE VIEW by Barry Eisler





    When Barry Eisler was asked where he got ideas for his books he said, “Direct from the U.S. government.”  A former CIA insider Eisler knows of what he writes.   Combine that with the ability to create timely, riveting stories filled with what could be tomorrow’s headlines plus state of the art technology and you have a blockbuster thriller - The God’s Eye View.

    We meet intelligent, intuituve NSA analyst Evelyn Gallagher, a single mother and sole support of her young deaf son, Dash.  Little knowing that her boss, NSA Director Gen. Anders,  has his own frightening scenario she warns him that her worldwide spy system may be undergoing a major security breach due to a meeting in Istanbul between a senior NSA official and an investigative reporter.  She further shares her suspicion that NSA has somehow been involved in removing these people.  Her trust is definitely misplaced as Anders now sees her as a threat to his God’s Eye, a data program that collects everything the government wants to know about anyone.  Not mundane things such as addresses, amount of debt, but “God’s Eye only looks at what people are trying to hide.  “It only listens when people are trying to whisper.”

    To protect his program Anders has a team of murderous enforcers - Thomas Delgado, a sadist who derives pleasure from inflicting pain and Marvin Manus, a strong man with skills that can kill and is also deaf.   Anders cannot let the public know about God’s Eye, but now that there has been a breach and information gathered that could destroy the program stored on a thumb drive, he must find out who has the thumb drive and have that person killed.  The lengths he will go to in order to shift attention from what he is doing are horrendous.

    Eisler makes prime use of his knowledge of spying and hand-to-hand combat to propel his story at a rapid pace.  The God’s Eye is a timely thriller that may cause readers to wonder just how much of Eisler’s tale is fiction and how much might be fact.

Monday, June 13, 2016

I ALMOST FORGOT ABOUT YOU by Terry McMillan Audio Edition




    You could almost say this story is about a mid-life crisis but in the hands of the inimitable Terry McMillan it’s far too zesty, earthy, fresh and intriguing to simply be that.  Rather it is a heartwarming story for those who believe in dreaming, love and second chances.

        Georgia Young is a 54-year-old optometrist with a successful career, good friends and family yet that is not enough.  She feels restless, stuck, bored and wants to move on.  So, after two failed marriages she decides to make some dramatic changes in herself and will do this by reexamining the loves she left behind.  She quits her job, sells her house and travels Canada by train in the hope of discovering what it is she really wants in life.  Now, this sounds like an excellent plan but you know what they say about “the best laid plans of..,”   Georgia’s meditative journey is interrupted by her feisty 81-year-old mother who has definite thoughts on love, her two stubborn daughters, her frighteningly frank best friends, her business partner, and an assortment of old and new loves.           

    For those of you who have enjoyed McMillan’s books filled with strong, complex women
in contemporary times, here’s another to treasure and what a treat to be read by McMillan herself!  For those who have yet been introduced to this author’s fictional world, don’t waste another minute!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

BEER MONEY by Frances Stroh






    A fascinating but sad American story Beer Money is inextricably linked with the deterioration of Detroit, a once great city, the Stroh Brewery Company, at one time the third largest beer maker in our country and holder of the largest private beer fortune, and the Strohs themselves,  a dysfunctional family.  Frances Stroh writes candidly and honestly in this moving memoir that readers will not soon forget.

    As a child Frances appeared to be her father’s darling, accompanying him to New York and London where she was treated to visits to her favorite toy store and to watching her father spend incredible amounts of money on his collection - guitars, guns, cameras.  While in truth her alcoholic father appeared to care more about his things than his four children - brothers Charlie, Bobby, Whitney and Frances.  The family lived in the upscale community of Grosse Pointe, Michigan in a home bulging with valuables that they were forbidden to touch.  Their world was one of wealth and power as the money kept rolling in although their mother, Gail, warned them it would not last and worried about their extravagant way of life.  Father Eric continued to drink and spend while Gail bought clothes for Frances at a thrift shop in order to save.  It was a losing battle.

    When Detroit and the automobile industry declined so did the Stroh family’s fortunes. While the children had been warned that the money would run out which imbued each of them with a fear of loss, they were ill prepared for the actuality and the personal tragedies that would follow.  Already torn apart by disagreements over the family business and the use of whatever money they had left the family was further fractured by the parents divorce, Charlie’s drug addiction, and father’s remarriage to one of Frances’s classmates.

    While writing Beer Money was surely arduous  for the author as she relived     painful memories it is often difficult to read as we are presented with a sorrowful sometimes shocking picture of familial dysfunction.  If only instead of great wealth there had been love.

Friday, June 3, 2016

ALL SUMMER LONG by Dorothea Benton Frank







    Whoever said opposites attract must have put a bee in this author’s ear because that is precisely the case with lead characters Olivia and Nick.  She is a sophisticated New York interior designer with an A list client list.  He is a retired professor and historian who doesn’t care whether or not there’s a Rigaud candle in the room but is happy doing his research.  When the couple married she promised they would return to his beloved Sullivan’s Island in Carolina’s low country when the time came and that time is now. Unfortunately the time may be now but it is not ripe as Olivia’s business has sharply declined and she hasn’t shared this information with Nick.

    However, in the meantime while Olivia frets they’re invited to join mega rich friends on a yachting trip.  Mega rich doesn’t quite cover it as Bob has not only a luxurious fully staffed yacht, but his own fleet of planes, a submarine at the ready and a roving eye.  He is the proud father of little Gladdie who appears to be spoiled to the nth and is  presently wed to Maritza who had once worked in the galley of the yacht.    Gladdie’s nanny is Ellen who is evidently having an affair with Bob and planning on being his next Missus.  The other guests on the yacht may be well off but the females are among the rudest to be found.

    So, thanks to wild and wealthy friends Olivia and Nick are treated to trips to exotic locales as well as champagne and caviar (both beluga and Osetra)  laced meals, all of which readers can vicariously enjoy.  Now, add to this Olivia’s financial troubles plus worrying that the house she bought on Sullivan’s Island being too much, her assistant’s attraction to a young workman, someone falling into a towering wedding cake, and a missing passenger just to keep things moving.

    Truth be told there’s never a dull moment in All Summer Long.  However, for this reader the constant sniping among several female characters tended to grow wearisome.  Nonetheless would surely recommend it as an entertaining beach or hammock read.