Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Books I've Read In July 2012

1) Cocktails For Three, by Madeleine Wickham 
Roxanne: glamorous, self-confident, with a secret lover -- a married man

Maggie: capable and high-achieving, until she finds the one thing she can't cope with -- motherhood

Candice: honest, decent, or so she believes -- until a ghost from her past turns up

At the first of every month, when the office has reached its pinnacle of hysteria, Maggie, Roxanne, and Candice meet at London's swankiest bar for an evening of cocktails and gossip. Here, they chat about what's new at The Londoner, the glossy fashion magazine where they all work, and everything else that's going on in their lives. Oralmost everything. Beneath the girl talk and the laughter, each of the three has a secret. And when a chance encounter at the cocktail bar sets in motion an extraordinary chain of events, each one will find their biggest secret revealed.

In Cocktails for Three, Madeleine Wickham combines her trademark humor with remarkable insight to create an edgy, romantic tale of secrets, strangers, and a splash of scandal.


2) Dead Or Alive, by Tom Clancy and Grant Blackwood
After almost a decade, Tom Clancy returns to the world he knows better than anyone: a world caught in the crossfire of politics and power, placed on the edge of annihilation by evil men.
But there are those who are honor-bound to protect their homeland by any means necessary. Those men work in the covert force known as the Campus.
Led by Jack Ryan, Jr.-son of the legendary Jack Ryan-they are the best line of defense against a terrorist mastermind who has vowed to destroy the West...

3) Rasputin's Daughter, by Robert Alexander
Called “brilliant” by USA Today, Robert Alexander’s historical novel The Kitchen Boy swept readers back to the doomed world of the Romanovs. His latest masterpiece once again conjures those turbulent days in a fictional drama of extraordinary depth and suspense. In the wake of the Russian Revolution, Maria Rasputin—eldest of the Rasputin children—recounts her infamous father’s final days, building a breathless narrative of intrigue, excess, and conspiracy that reveals the shocking truth of her father’s end and the identity of those who arranged it. What emerges is a nail-biting, richly textured new take on one of history’s most legendary episodes.

4) Butterfly Garden, by Annette Blair
Amishwoman Sara Lapp, all but shunned for studying with the local doctor to become a midwife, is shocked that, after months of waiting, her first call comes from “Mad” Adam Zuckerman, a self-appointed outcast. Adam doesn’t want her to attend at a birth, but to tend to his children because his wife has died in childbed. Adam wants to love his children, but he is afraid he will hurt them in the way his father hurt him. Without his late wife, Abby, to protect them, Adam must find someone else to care for the girls. He can think of only one woman brave enough, Spinster Sara Lapp, the little midwife whose passion for things beyond her control is greater than is good for her. Though Sara knows the four little girls belong with their father, how can she leave them with a man who seems not to care for them? As much as she loves and wants the girls, she will only take them long enough to teach Adam to love them. Then Adam falls from the barn loft and Sara moves in to look after him. But in the Amish community a man and woman living together must marry or be shunned. The Bishop takes a stand and Sara and Adam are forced to face the greatest challenge of their lives.

5) Dead Until Dark (True Blood, Book 1), by Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse lives with her grandmother, Adele, and has an older brother, Jason. Early in the book, Sookie falls in love with a vampire, a Civil War veteran named Bill Compton. After first meeting Bill, Sookie saves him from some "drainers", people who steal blood from vampires. Bill returns the favor several days when the drainers attack Sookie.
Several murders occur in Bon Temps, and Bill becomes a suspect because many of the bodies have fang marks. Sookie's brother Jason is romantically linked to two of the victims, prompting the Bon Temps police to arrest him. Wanting to help her brother, Sookie asks Bill to take her to a vampire bar called Fangtasia, which is owned by Eric Northman, a vampire sheriff much older and more powerful than Bill.
Eric realizes that Sookie's telepathy can be useful and commands Bill to direct Sookie to use her ability to determine the identity of the one embezzling from Fangtasia. Once Sookie identifies Long Shadow, who is Eric's partner and also a vampire, a confrontation ensues that nearly kills Sookie. Eric saves Sookie's life by staking Long Shadow when he attacks her. Meanwhile in Bon Temps, Adele is murdered within the family kitchen.
Bill, concerned with Eric's power over him and Sookie, decides to improve his own position within the vampire hierarchy. He asks Bubba, a dim-witted vampire, who was "the man from Memphis", to protect Sookie while he is gone. Sookie discovers that her boss, Sam, is a shape-shifter when she lets a stray dog sleep on her bed and finds a naked Sam in the morning.
While Bill is gone, Sookie discovers that the murderer is her brother's friend Rene Lenier. He almost kills her, but she fights back. Badly injured, Sookie wakes up in the hospital and finds the police by her side, telling her Rene has confessed to the killings. Bill appears later that night and tells Sookie that he has become his area's investigator, working under Eric.


6) Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King
When a master of horror and heebie-jeebies like Stephen King calls his book Full Dark, No Stars, you know you’re in for a treat--that is, if your idea of a good time is spent curled up in a ball wondering why-oh-why you started reading after dark. King fans (and those who have always wanted to give him a shot) will devour this collection of campfire tales where marriages sway under the weight of pitch-black secrets, greed and guilt poison and fester, and the only thing you can count on is that "there are always worse things waiting." Full Dark, No Starsfeatures four one-sitting yarns showcasing King at his gritty, gruesome, giddy best, so be sure to check under the bed before getting started.

7) Living Dead In Dallas (True Blood, Book 2), Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse likes living in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and she likes working as a cocktail waitress at Merlotte's. But she is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face-to-face with a beastly creature which gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Vampires suck the poison from her veins, saving her life.
When one of the vampires asks for a favor, she obliges, and soon Sookie is in Dallas using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She is supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave, and let the humans go unharmed. That is easier said than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly.


8) One Summer, by David Baldacci
It's almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie's death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie's childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begin to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more.


Goal for the year: 70   Year to date: 44

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