Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

This mystery has been getting a lot of pre-publication press, and a lot of positive reviews, so I was first in the list to grab it when it arrived at the library.

Kate Burkholder is the female, curse-word-using, gun-toting Chief of Police for Painters Miller, Ohio, a small bucolic town that is half Amish and half "English". So when a series of violent murders of young women - all linked by gory details - rocks the town, Kate is square in the middle of it, battling time, the weather, her city council and her own past to solve the murders - and her own past harbors a dark secret that could affect the case...

Oh, and Kate used to be Amish.

All these elements together combine for an engaging cast of characters - especially Kate - and a twisty and turny mystery as the police race to find the killer. Interestingly, I figured out who the murderer was about halfway through...and I NEVER figure out the murderer until the page when it's revealed! Still, though I had my suspicions of the murderer, it didn't lessen my enjoyment of Kate's struggles and of the setting of Painters Mill, even when the killer was revealed (I was right, even!)

I'm glad to see Castillo is writing a new Kate Burkholder novel - I'll be in line for it!


...The Loud Librarian is there. :-)

I was surprised and honoured to discover I had been nominated as Posey County's "Good Neighbor of the Week". I got interviewed by the Posey County News, got a glamor shot taken, and voila! My fifteen minutes of newspaper fame! :-)

(Click to imbiggen)

good neighbor

I love how I'm listed as a single parent of Zoe. Hee!

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A few random thoughts for the day...

  • I am extremely disturbed by that chick in the Palm Pre commercials. Those commercials just creep me out. I don't know why. *shudder*

  • Just finished watching Torchwood: Children of Earth. And I AM.NOT.HAPPY. How could you do that to me? *wails*

  • For the first time in my life, I have been certified in adult CPR. I feel all superhero-y now. :-)

  • Why does my dog have to go through the bratty adolescent phase NOW?

  • MotoGP in a few weeks! No one at work seems to understand...until I explain about hot boys in hot leathers. ;-)
That is all. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

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The Summer Kitchen by Karen Weinreb

Nora Banks lives an idyllic life in Bedford, New York - huge renovated home, great kids, solid marriage, and all the trappings of a rich, kept wife with no worries in the world, though the rigidity of "fitting in" in Bedford has always bothered Nora somewhat.

But all that changes when the doorbell rings, and the feds take away Nora's husband for white collar crimes - two years in the pen, and suddenly Nora is left alone in the shark tank of Bedford.

As her possession disappear, her dignity takes a hit, and her children have to transfer to public school, Nora transforms from a fairly shallow, kept character into one of strength and more depth - doing what she needs to do to keep her remaining family intact, while keeping her head up. Enter her baking skills and a growing business...

Weinreb's writes so convincingly about the "lives of rich wives", because this novel is based on her own experiences (husband and all). I really enjoyed the "peek behind the curtain" at that type of lifestyle, though at times I found the writing a bit dense for the story it was telling.

Overall, this is an ultimately hopeful story with a great setting and engaging characters. Reminds me why I'm NOT cut out for life in places like Bedford!


Time for another fast 'n feisty reading round up...let's go!

Candy Everybody Wants by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

I adore JKP's memoir (I Am Not Myself These Days) so I was eager to grab his fiction debut. Filled with snappy dialogue, laugh out loud moment, and oodles of 80s pop references, but also has a darker tone (homelessness, coming out in the 80s, heartbreak, drugs, etc), which diluted the funny, but was still wonderfully written...

Lady Killer by Lisa Scottoline

After hearing Scottoline speak at ALA, I'm on a quest to read all her titles. I listened to Barbara Rosenblat's amazing narration of this title, which is the first of read of Scottoline's "Rosato & Associates" law firm. Two thumbs up for great characters, great pacing, great plot!

Hot Pursuit by Suzanne Brockmann

Love anything by Brockmann, including this one. Sam and Alyssa may be everyone else's favorites, but I like my boys better - now adding Gilligan to the list. ;-) Great action, great sexual tension, great writing, great characters, great series!

Miss Harper Can Do It by Jane Berentson

This wasn't what I expected, but I really enjoyed it. Annie Harper's boyfriend has just been deployed to Iraq, so she decides to keep a "wartime memoir" of her own life back home, complete with stories of her students, her best friend Gus, a chicken, an elderly lady, and a lot of soul searching. Didn't end how I expected, but I really loved Annie's "voice" (and footnotes!). Great!

The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow

Molly Marx is sarcastic, loveable, the mother of a 4 year old girl, somewhat happily married, successful...and dead. This is narrated by Molly (in present and past days) as she watches from "The Duration" while her family mourns her loss and tries to solve her murder/suicide/accident (?). Sort of like The Lovely Bones without the gut wrenching and tear inducing. I really liked Molly!


595725627_d5d52da87b_o100 Best Beach Books Ever! And I've actually read a lot of them, which gives me an odd sense of accomplishment (I hate reading those lists of "1000 books to read before you die!" only to discover I've read, like, four.)

Any favorites on YOUR beach list?

(the ones I've read are in bold - 51 in all!)

1. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
4. Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding
5. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
6. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
7. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
9. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg
10. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver

11. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
12. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
13. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
14. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
16. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
17. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
18. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
19. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
20. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

21. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
22. The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver
23. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith
24. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
25. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
26. The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy
27. Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel
28. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
29. The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler
30. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

31. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
32. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
33. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
34. Beach Music, by Pat Conroy
35. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
36. Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier
37. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
38. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
39. The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough
40. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon

41. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
42. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
43. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice
44. Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
45. Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
46. Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes
47. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
48. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins
49. I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb
50. Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie

51. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
52. The Stand, by Stephen King
53. She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb
54. Dune, by Frank Herbert
55. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
56. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
57. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
58. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
59. The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
60. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

61. Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver
62. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
63. Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner
64. Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
65. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
66. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
67. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
68. Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut
69. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
70. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler

71. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
72. The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy
73. Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns
74. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
74. Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe [tie]
76. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
77. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
78. The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher
79. Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver
80. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett

81. Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck
81. The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve [tie]
83. All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
84. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
85. The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
86. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
87. One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich
88. Shogun, by James Clavell
89. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
90. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera

91. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow
92. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
93. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
94. Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris
95. Summer Sisters, by Judy Blume
96. The Shining, by Stephen King
97. How Stella Got Her Groove Back, by Terry McMillan
98. Lamb, by Christopher Moore
99. Sick Puppy, by Carl Hiaasen
100. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Here's my review from Crucial Pop about Lisa Scottoline's Look Again...


Last week was the American Library Association meeting in Chicago.

Picture, if you will, 30,000 librarians, thousands of vendors, the city of Chicago and more sessions, books, products and walking than you can shake a stick at…

And that still doesn't give you the scope of this annual conference.

I lugged home oodles of books, galleys and information from various vendors, and also had the pleasure of meeting several authors - but one of the highlights for me was meeting bestselling author Lisa Scottoline – a firecracker of a speaker and an effusive personality.

Scottoline gave an author talk, then spent ages autographing books and chatting with librarians, and was as complimentary of our profession as we were of hers.

Scottoline was also signing and giving away her most recent novel, Look Again, a stand-alone novel just released in April.

Journalist and working mother Ellen Gleeson is casually checking her mail one day when a simple white card jumps out at her: one of those "have you seen me?" cards featuring kidnapped children with age progressed photos to help find missing children.

And the child on the card looks exactly like her adopted son, Will.

Two years ago, while investigating a story for the newspaper where she works, Ellen fell in love with Will, a child in the hospital with a heart problem who was put up for adoption by his young, unwed mother. She legally adopted him, and they have been happy together ever since. But the more she ruminates on that card, the more the questions start to pop up in her mind, making her wonder about Will’s true past. As any investigative journalist would, Ellen begins to look further into Will's history...and uncovers secrets she never wanted to find.

This is a tightly written, fast-paced story, filled with Scottoline's trademark wit and vivacity, and once again set in Philadelphia (as are all her novels). Ellen is a likable protagonist, and the short chapters pull you further and further into the story, each one ending and forcing you to read just.one.more!

Scottoline has also written a series of novels revolving around Rosato & Associates, an all-female law firm in Philly, as well as several stand-alone novels, all of which feature strong female protagonists, snappy dialogue and fast paced action. Likewise, if you enjoy listening to audiobooks, you cannot do better than Scottoline’s novels, narrated by the incomparable Barbara Rosenblat (who has been likened to audiobooks the way Meryl Streep is to film).

Thanks for the author talk, the free novel, the autograph, and the hug, Lisa. You’re a rock star!