Friday Morning Bookclub

September 12, 2016

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Audio Book?? The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Everyone dreams. Some of us remember our dreams, others do not. But what happens when your dreams seem so real that you no longer are sure what is real and what is the result of an overactive imagination?

the-bookseller-pic

When Kitty opened her eyes and looked around the sage green bedroom, she had no idea where she was. The last thing she remembered was painting her bedroom a sunny yellow. This bedroom had beautiful coordinating bedding, nothing like the mismatched sheets and blankets she was accustomed to. Surely this was a dream and if she closed her eyes she would soon find herself in some other imaginary place.

But the gentle touch of a hand on her shoulder and the sound of a strange male voice told her otherwise. Someone was waking her up. Someone was calling her Katharyn.”Get up Katharyn love, your daughter needs you.”

Her daughter? Kitty Miller did not have any children. Nor was she married. But this was only a dream, and a pleasant dream at that. Why not go along? What choice did she have? She got up and walked down the hall to find her imaginary daughter, a daughter named Missy who apparently needed her. In real life Kitty did not know the first thing about taking care of a child, but in this dream world Katharyn knew exactly what to do. In this dream world she was called Mommy.

And then as quickly as it began, the dream was over. Kitty was back in her sunny yellow room. But unlike her typical dreams, this had felt real and she liked this dream world of hers. What was not to like? The Katharyn of her dreams had a beautiful house, a loving husband and children. She had everything 38 year old Kitty had ever wanted.

But when the dreams began to return and time after time, Kitty found herself living in this alternative life, it became even more confusing. Was she Kitty, or was she Katharyn? Did she own a book store or was she a stay at home mother with a handsome husband and children. Neither Kitty or Katharyn’s lives were perfect. Neither were without their heartbreaks and challenges. Could she choose which life was real? And if so which would you choose?

The Bookseller will keep you guessing until the last moment. It is a thoroughly entertaining read and a wonderful audio book!

Do you listen to audio books? Are there any you would like to recommend?

November 22, 2014

Another Great Audio Book: The Hidden Child by Camilla Lackberg

The Hidden ChildHow is it possible that I have never heard of Camilla Lackberg? It was just by chance that I picked up The Hidden Child while browsing the shelves of playaways at my local library. The story sounded intriguing and I was not disappointed.

Erica Falck and Patrik Hedstom are a modern-day couple. Erica, a crime writer is working on a new book and her husband Patrik, a homicide detective is on paternity leave. It is his turn to take some time off from work to care for the couples one year old daughter Maja.

Playing Mr. Mom does not come naturally to Patrik and although he means well, he does not always make the best decisions when it comes to caring for Maja. Who could blame Erica for being slightly perturbed to find out that Patrik and Maja had taken a little detour during their afternoon walk to visit the scene of a murder?

As it turned out this was not just some random murder. Not only did Erica know the victim, she had recently met with him at the very place he had been murdered, seeking his advice. His name was Erik and he was a retired history teacher and an expert on WWII Nazi memorabilia. When Erica had found a Nazi medal wrapped in a blood stained baby outfit as well as an incomplete set of diaries in her mother’s attic she was left with many questions and it was Erik she had gone to for answers. Perhaps if she knew more about the medal and who it had belonged to she would have a better understanding as to her mothers past and why she had always been such a cold unloving person. Now days later Erik was dead, and Erica was no closer to learning the truth.

The story alternates back and forth between present day Sweden and 1940’s Sweden. Chapter by chapter, piece by piece we learn about all of the people who played a part in Erica’s mother’s past and about the secret that would ultimately come back to haunt each of them. A secret that would lead to murder.

The Hidden Child is the fifth book in Camilla Lackberg’s Fjallbacka detective series. It is an exciting, suspenseful story and an excellent audio book. I look forward to listening to the rest of the series and this time I am going to start with number 1:The Ice Princess!

A four omelet audio book!

The Hidden Child (Patrik Hedström, #5) – Goodreads

Have you listened to any good audio books lately? If so, I would love to hear about them!

September 5, 2014

We Are Back………and………..This Month’s Book is The Paris Architect By Charles Belfoure

arch - Copy It is time for the school kids and The Friday Morning Bookclub to hit the books. This month’s book, The Paris Architect will grab you from the very first page. It is exciting, full of surprise and impossible to put down. What better way to kick off the season!

“In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money – and maybe get him killed. But if he’s clever enough, he’ll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won’t find it.”

Please join us in reading……….and discussing The Paris Architect!

The Paris Architect – Goodreads

April 6, 2014

Playaways Are The Best! The Silent Wife By A.S.A Harrison…Another Entertaining Audio Book!

silentPlayaways have become my best friend. They accompany me wherever I go. They are a multi tasker’s dream. Life has been hectic lately and by the time I settle down in the evening I have been too tired to pick up a book. No matter how busy or how tired I am there is always time to listen to a book and playaways make it so easy to do. Do I sound like an advertisement?

The Silent Wife is a “he said, she said” book. In this case the titles of the chapters alternate between Him and Her. Him is 40 some year old Todd, Her is 40 some year old Jodi.

The couple met  twenty years earlier in a most unusual way. In fact the first words out of Todd’s mouth after his car clipped the side of Jodi’s rented van was “You crazy bitch”. Perhaps that was an omen as to what was to be, but the couple began to date, fell in love and although they never officially married had been living together ever since. Jodi, a therapist was content with her life. She knew that Todd had been unfaithful at times, but was willing to over look it. She enjoyed getting up in the morning, walking their golden retriever and preparing gourmet meals for Todd. Things were not perfect but Jodi was ok with that. But when Todd falls in love with a younger woman and Jodi’s whole life as she knows it is threatened, Jodi is driven to do things even she did not know she as capable of.

At only 8 hours,The Silent Wife will not disappoint. Somewhat like a short, less convoluted  Gone Girl, The Silent Wife is a quick, fun thriller. Perfect for those who need to be doing something as they go about their day.

A 3 omelet book

March 27, 2014

Touch & Go By Lisa Gardner…..Sheer Entertainment!

Touch And Go was just what I needed. Exciting from beginning to end!

touch Although Libby and Justin Denbes appeared to have it all, their marriage was in trouble. Justin had been having an affair with a younger woman and Libby knew all about it. Libby, the product of a broken marriage wanted more for her teen age daughter and was willing to try to forgive and work things out. It was date night, and after a somewhat awkward dinner the couple returned to their beautiful home in a prestigious Boston neighborhood to find their house unlocked and unarmed. Had their daughter Ashlyn forgotten to put the alarm on again,something she had been warned about numerous times? Unfortunately it was something much more sinister.

When investigator Tess Leone arrived at the Denbes’ home she found signs of a struggle, taser confetti and a pool of vomit. What she didn’t find were the Denbes. How could an entire family disappear and why? Was it something to do with Justin’s multi million dollar company or was it something much more personal?

The dynamics of the Denbes’ family was fascinating as every one of them had secrets, and Tess Leone  had an interesting background as well. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy a good old fashion mystery. Touch and Go was exciting, full of twists and turns and kept me guessing  up until the very end.

The audio book was read by Elizabeth Rodgers, and although I found the Boston/ northern accents a little strange (what do I know). I quickly adapted to them.  The 15 hours flew by and I plan to head to the library as soon as possible to pick up another playaway. I hate to be without one!

A 4 Omelet audio book!

 

October 24, 2012

Ransom River By Meg Gardiner….I Sure Didn’t See That Coming!

Filed under: Audio books,Ransom River — susanbright @ 12:40 pm
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Rory Mackenzie had good reason for leaving Ransom River, California. Unfortunately when the non profit organization she was working for lost its funding and she was out of money, she had no choice but to return to the town she grew up in, only to find a jury summons awaiting.

Rory was juror #7 and in a town where nothing ever happened, this was a high-profile case. A murder trial. Two officers were accused of shooting  and killing a 16-year-old intruder who just happened to be the son of Gregor Mirkovic, a powerful man with his own connections to the crime world.

As the jury watched a video of the shooting caught on tape by a neighbor’s security camera, the courtroom door swung open and in came two masked men, dressed in green fatigues and carrying guns. Everyone was ordered to the ground, all cell phones were collected and they bolted the door behind them. These men meant business and it was clear that people were going to get hurt. As Rory and several others were singled out and taken hostage, Rory’s thoughts went to Seth Colder, her ex boy friend who was an ex cop and the main reason she left Ransom River in the first place.

Fortunately Rory does make it out of this dangerous situation, however she quickly realizes that in the police’s mind she is not a victim. They actually believe that she is an accomplish. Video tapes from inside the court room show that she was not randomly selected as a hostage. Was she the target of a kidnapping gone bad? Why would anyone want her? Could this actually have something to do with something she and Seth had witnessed when they were only 9 years old?

Ransom River is a fast paced read with lots of twists and turns and yes, one major….I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING MOMENT. If you enjoy mysteries, this is a quick, entertaining read. I enjoyed listening to it in Playaway form as I went about my daily activities.

I don’t know what I did before my library started carrying Playaways! Any other Playaway lovers out there?

Meg Gardiner – Welcome to the official site of thriller novelist Meg

September 27, 2012

Missing By Shelley Shepard Gray

I guess I should have read the tiny writing on the cover of the Playaway box BEFORE I started listening to this book.  Although you practically need a magnifying glass to read it, it clearly says The Secrets of Crittenden County Book 1. Yes, there are two more books and I guess I will have to read all three if I want to know what happened to the missing, or in this case dead boy.

Missing takes place in a small Amish Community in Kentucky. The missing boy is Perry Borntrager, and until his body turns up at the bottom of an abandoned well, it was assumed that he had no longer wanted to be Amish and had simply run away.  This people could understand, but a murder in Crittenden County?  Now that was shocking!

The town Sheriff, Mose Kramer had been raised in an Amish family in Crittenden County himself, but had left the community to study Criminal Justice at The University of Cincinnati. When he was offered a job in his home town he was happy to accept the offer. He soon discovered, however that there were “complications in becoming sheriff in a town you grew up in.”  He knew too much and people were just not willing to answer his questions. He was getting no where in his investigation of the Borntrager murder. Thinking that the towns people may be more willing to spill the beans to an outsider, he recruits his friend Luke to help with the investigation.

Luke could understand Mose’s frustration as he too felt that people knew more than they were willing to divulge. Everyone had secrets, but who had the key to solving the murder? First there was Abby Anderson, one of the three “Englishers” who discovered Perry’s body. Abby didn’t know why she was with these girls in the first place when she should have been in school at the time. She never felt like she quite fit in anywhere. Then there was Lydia Plank, Perry’s  Amish ex- sweetheart. What was the real reason for their break up?  And Walker Anderson, an Englisher who at one time was Perry’s best friend, although at the time of Perry’s disappearance they were no longer on speaking terms.

Missing is a mystery with a little romance thrown in and is an entertaining audio book. Each chapter opens with a quote about Perry, which I think is a nice touch. Although by the end of the book people were definitely starting to open up and secrets were revealed I still have no idea what happened to Perry.  Book two is titled The Search and book three Found. The good news is that all three have been published. The bad news is that I have to read (or listen to) all three to find out “who dunnit!”.

August 31, 2012

Still Alice By Lisa Genova………What A Book!

Filed under: Book Recomendations,Still Alice — susanbright @ 9:00 pm
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I resisted reading this book for months. Yes, I heard wonderful things about it, but the subject matter turned me off. In fact it down right scared me. A 50-year-old woman who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Why would I read this book? Why would I do that to myself? I guess I had a weak moment. I was at the library looking through their selection of Playaways and there was Still Alice. I picked it up and read the back as I have done on several other trips to the library. This time I did not place it back in its spot on the shelf. This time I took it home with me, popped in a triple A battery and pushed play.

Dr.Alice Howland lived in Cambridge with her husband John and had 3 grown children. She was a Harvard professor, loved her early daily runs and enjoyed walking to work.  When Alice started misplacing things, especially her blackberry she was not too concerned. After all she was 50 years old. When she googled Menopause she was reassured that forgetfulness was a common complaint among women her age. But when she began to forget words and even became disoriented during one of her runs she decided that it would be a good idea to see a doctor. What could it hurt, surely her doctor would just confirm that, yes, it was Menopause and it was normal.

John Black

42 West Street

Brighton

But it was not normal. Alice could not remember and could not repeat the name and the address the doctor had told her just minutes before. Alice received the most devastating news she could imagine. She had Alzheimer’s and she was smart enough and with it enough to know exactly what was going to happen to her and to her family.

John Black

42 West Street

Brighton

Still Alice was a beautiful book and yes I am glad that I read it. It seemed to give a very realistic picture of this terrible disease, how it progresses and how it affects the entire family. It was a wonderful audio book and probably one of the most touching books I have listened to in a long time. I laughed and I cried along with Alice and her children. I took the memory tests along with her and have to admit that I began to get a little paranoid. After all, I misplace my phone all of the time and am terrible with names. Should I be worried or is it just Menopause? I will probably never forget this book or John Black and his West Street address.

Still Alice…. a 5+ omelet book. Did you read it? I would love to hear your thoughts!

July 22, 2012

Death Match By Lincoln Child

Filed under: Audio books,Death Match — susanbright @ 10:22 am
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Who needs Match.com, Harmony or JDate, when there is Eden? Eden’s sophisticated hi tech computer Liza did all the work for you.  Yes, the computer had a name! For $25,000. Liza would find your perfect match. Guaranteed! No scrolling through pictures, no emailing back and forth and no painful first dates.  Sure, you had to endure a thorough physical, as well as psychological examination, answer a multitude of personal questions, but who wouldn’t do that in order to find their soul mate?

Lewis and Lindsay Thorpe were one of Eden’s many success stories.  The Thorpes were actually a special Eden match. They were one of the supercouples, couples that matched on every single criteria.  They were the first supercouple in the history of the high-tech dating service and they were approaching their one year anniversary. Lewis and Lindsey had a beautiful baby and couldn’t have been any happier.

Eden followed their couples and was proud of their success rate, so when the Thorpes were found dead in their living room, an apparent suicide, alarms went off in their corporate office. What could possibly have caused this perfectly matched couple to take their own lives? Eden must find out quickly and without any negative publicity. Christopher Lash, a  forensic psychologist was the perfect person to get to the bottom of these mysterious deaths. Of course Lash was still looking for his perfect match and had his own questionable past which only added to the intrigue.

Undercover as a potential Eden client, Lash undergoes the same testing as the Thorpes, and every other Eden candidate.  Lash is introduced to Richard Silver, the friendly yet reclusive genius behind Eden and even meets Liza,  who looks nothing like Lash was expecting. How could one little computer accomplish such an amazing task? And more importantly, what else could Liza do?

Unfortunately the mystery escalates quickly when a second supercouple is found dead as they too reach their one year anniversary. Death Match is a fast paced story with lots of twists and turns. Nothing earth shattering, not too complex, just pure entertainment.  Although the ending is predictable it was an enjoyable audio book.  Just what I was hoping for.

June 15, 2012

The Red Queen By Phillipa Gregory

The Red Queen was a page turner up to the very last page, or in this case the very last battle. This is the story of Margaret Beaufort, the Grandmother of Henry VIII. By the age of 5, Margaret believed that she was a “special child in the sight of God.” Margaret was obsessed with the stories she had heard about Joan of Arc and felt that like Joan she was born for greatness. By the age of 10, she knew that she wanted to be a nun and proud that she had saints’ knees.

“Saints’ knees, praise God, I have saints’ knees. I have prayed so much, and on such hard floors, that the skin of my knees is becoming hard, like the callous on the fingers of an English long bowman.”

At the age of twelve Margaret was married off to Edmund Tudor, a man twice her age. Edmund paid little attention to his young bride and wanted Margaret for only one thing, he needed an heir.  Eventually Margaret gave birth to a son, but unfortunately Edmund did not live to see the birth of his child. Although Margaret was told by her brother-in-law Jasper to name the boy Edmund, after his father, Margaret had another name in mind. She named her son Henry, a name fit for a king and was determined to do whatever was necessary to put Henry on the throne as the rightful Lancaster heir.

Margaret was not a likeable character. She was a plotter. In fact she was the ultimate manipulator. She was quick to justify her actions, no matter who was hurt or even killed in the process as in her mind it was “God’s will”.

Once again Phillipa Gregory has managed to bring history to life in the most entertaining way. The Red Queen follows Margaret as she navigates through life in an attempt to see her son crowned as the King of England. Although I have read several of Gregory’s books (the Other Boleyn Girl being one of my favorites), this is the first time I listened to one. It was like listening to a show on Masterpiece Theatre. I found The Red Queen thoroughly entertaining, but have to admit that I had to do a bit of rewinding from time to time as the story covered quite a bit of time and there were a lot of names to keep straight. This is one disadvantage of audio books and one of the reasons I tend to listen to easy, uncomplicated books!  The Red Queen is book two in the Cousin’s War Series. Book one, The White Queen, centers on Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of Edward IV. If you like historical fiction, you will enjoy the many books by Phillipa Gregory.

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