Monday, April 30, 2012

Books I've Read In April 2012

1) The Widows Of Eastwick, by John Updike
More than three decades have passed since the events described in John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick. The three divorcées—Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie—have left town, remarried, and become widows. They cope with their grief and solitude as widows do: they travel the world, to such foreign lands as Canada, Egypt, and China, and renew old acquaintance. Why not, Sukie and Jane ask Alexandra, go back to Eastwick for the summer? The old Rhode Island seaside town, where they indulged in wicked mischief under the influence of the diabolical Darryl Van Horne, is still magical for them. Now Darryl is gone, and their lovers of the time have aged or died, but enchantment remains in the familiar streets and scenery of the village, where they enjoyed their lusty primes as free and empowered women. And, among the local citizenry, there are still those who remember them, and wish them ill. How they cope with the lingering traces of their evil deeds, the shocks of a mysterious counterspell, and the advancing inroads of old age, form the burden on Updike’s delightful, ominous sequel.


2) The Christmas Wedding, by James Patterson
The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married--and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day--she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays. 

But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise--she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever. With deeply affecting characters and the emotional twists of a James Patterson thriller, The Christmas Wedding is a fresh look at family and the magic of the season.



3) The Lucky One, by Nicholas Sparks
In his 14th book, bestselling author Nicholas Sparks tells the unforgettable story of a man whose brushes with death lead him to the love of his life. 

After U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman buried in the dirt during his tour of duty in Iraq, he experiences a sudden streak of luck -- winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph -- his lucky charm. 

Back home in Colorado, Thibault can't seem to get the woman in the photograph out of his mind and he sets out on a journey across the country to find her. But Thibault is caught off guard by the strong attraction he feels for the woman he encounters in North Carolina - Elizabeth, a divorced mother -- and he keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate love affair, his secret soon threatens to tear them apart -- destroying not only their love, but also their lives. 

Filled with tender romance and terrific suspense, THE LUCKY ONE is an unforgettable story about the surprising paths our lives often take and the power of fate to guide us to true and everlasting love. 



4) The Resolution for Women, by Priscilla Evans Shirer
Written in partnership with Sherwood Pictures' film, COURAGEOUS, in The Resolution for Women, popular speaker and author Priscilla Shirer challenges all women to be intentional about embracing and thriving in God’s beautiful and eternal calling on their lives. 

Like the men in the movie who resolve to fully accept their responsibilities before God, Shirer explains how today's women can and should live out their own resolution. It is "a defining banner that hangs over your life, written in the ink of your own choices." A woman's banner should be an accurate reflection of who she desires to be-someone completely Christ-centered who blesses and changes things in her world for the better. 

The Resolution for Women inspires women with intentional, spirit-filled living from three unique angles. Section one, entitled, "This Is Who I Am," helps a woman define herself as "authentically me, purposefully feminine, surprisingly satisfied, and faithfully His." Section two, "This Is What I Have," invites her to value "my best, my blessing, my honor, and my heart." And Section three, "This Is What Matters To Me," focuses on joyfully honoring God as a wife, mother, and family member while resolving to live with the grace that leaves a godly legacy. The Resolution for Women is designed to inspire a revolution.



5) Good Christian Bitches, by Kim Gatlin


The GCBs of Hillside Park Presbyterian are praying for Amanda Vaughn--or so they claim. Will their evil gossip destroy her reputation, or will she show them exactly how to turn the other cheek
Amanda Vaughn needs some heaven-sent help. She’s divorced her cheating husband and fled, along with her two teenagers, back to her hometown, Hillside Park, a Dallas suburb so upper-class that the question isn’t where to bank, but whose family owns the bank. Amanda is thrilled to be back in Texas—after twelve years in Southern California, she’s ready to leave behind her shallow, Godless life and return to the welcoming Christian world where she grow up. Or at least that’s the plan . . .
But when she arrives, she’s met with some Texas-sized trouble. Her old friends, neighbors, and fellow church members treat Amanda like a long-lost friend . . . until her back is turned. Then the claws come out. Amanda finds herself trapped in a world of salacious rumors, secret affairs, and Bible-study sessions gone terribly wrong. And what’s even more puzzling is that a secret admirer is sending Amanda lavish gifts. Why, she wonders, would anyone send a Mercedes when a simple dinner invitation would do?
Packed with schemes, drama, and a Southern setting more fun than a barbecue at Southfork, Good Christian Bitches has humor, sass, and an unforgettable cast of characters.


6) Don't Look Behind You: Ann Rules Crime Files #15, by Ann Rule
Walking home on a dark night, you hear footsteps coming up behind you. As they get closer, your heart pounds harder. Who is closing in with dangerous intent—a total stranger? Or someone you know and trust? The answer is as simple as turning around, but don’t look behind you . . . run. Ann Rule, who shared her own nerve-jangling account of unknowingly befriending sadistic sociopath Ted Bundy in The Stranger Beside Me, chronicles other fateful encounters with the hidden predators among us in this riveting collection, fifteenth in the bestselling series drawn from her personal files. First in line is a stunning case that spanned thirty years and took a determined detective to four states—ending, finally, in Alaska—where he unraveled not one but two murders. A second case appears to begin and end with the hunt for the Green River Killer, focusing on a Washington State man who was once cleared as a suspect in that deadly chain of homicides. But the millionaire property owner believed he had successfully buried his own murderous past and the awful truth behind his young wife’s disappearance. She vanished soon after she left for a day at the Seattle World’s Fair, and her three small children grew up believing their mother had abandoned them. But one amazing witness remained—the missing woman’s best friend, who heard her last words in a frantic phone call—“He’s coming!”—before the line went dead. Only since Robert Hansen’s suicide has the monster within been revealed. In another true story, a petite woman went to a tavern, looking only for conversation and fun. Instead, she met violent death in the form of a seven-foot man who had seemed shy and harmless. You’ll feel a chill as you uncover these and numerous other cases of unfortunate victims who made one tragic mistake: trusting the wrong person—even someone they’d known intimately, or thought they knew.


7) The Best Of Me, by Nicholas Sparks
"Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She'd believed in it once, too, back when she was eighteen."

In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.

Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew -- about Tuck, about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear -- was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?



8) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.


9) Toys, by James Patterson and Neil McMahon
James Bond and Jason Bourne have just been topped! A battle for the world is set into unstoppable motion and Hays Baker is the only one who can save it.

Hays Baker and his wife Lizbeth possess super-human strength, extraordinary intelligence, stunning looks, a sex life to die for, and two beautiful children. Of course they do--they're Elites, endowed at birth with the very best that the world can offer. The only problem in their perfect world: humans and their toys!

The one with the most toys--dies

The top operative for the Agency of Change, Hays has just won the fiercest battle of his career. He has been praised by the President, and is a national hero. But before he can savor his triumph, he receives an unbelievable shock that overturns everything he thought was true. Suddenly Hays is on the other side of the gun, forced to leave his perfect family and fight for his life.

Now a hunted fugitive, Hays is thrown into a life he never dreamed possible--fighting to save humans everywhere from extinction. He enlists all of his training to uncover the truth that will save millions of lives--maybe even his own. James Patterson's Toys is a thriller on a hyper plane--with a hero who rivals both James Bond and Jason Bourne.



10) Explosive Eighteen, by Janet Evanovich
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.
 
Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.
 
Only one other person has seen the missing photo—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.
 
Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?

Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii.  And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.




Goal for 2012: 60   Total so far: 22

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