Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Thousand Tomorrows by Karen Kingsbury

          A Thousand Tomorrows by Karen Kingsbury is the story of two rodeo riders. Cody is a champion bull rider, an angry man not looking past his next eight second bull ride.  Ali is a champion barrel racer with a secret; she suffers from cystic fibrosis, a terminal lung disease. 

          I didn’t want to like this book. From the moment Ali’s disease is revealed, I knew how this was going to end, and I just didn’t want to go there. I like happily ever after and it wasn’t going to happen. 

          As Ali’s career reaches its height, so does the progression of her disease. Her dream of becoming national champion is dashed, just as it seems to be coming true.  But she finds something even better, the love of a good man. 

          Cody is a good man, albeit an angry one.  His beloved father walked out on his family one day leaving a prepubescent Cody literally standing on the corner watching him as he moved out of sight.  The anger he felt at his father for leaving and his mother for “letting” it happen fuels his talent for bull riding.  He too is at the top of his career when Ali’s disease leaves her unable to compete.  He also discovers that he is a compatible match to help give her the lung transplant she needs to survive for a while longer. 

          Cody loves Ali enough to walk away from bull riding to help ensure neither injury or death can prevent him from giving her a lung.  And, that love helps him let go of his anger and reunite with his family.   

          The title, A Thousand Tomorrows, refers to the three years of additional life that a lung transplant will give Ali, and the three years of additional love she and Cody can share.  When the inevitable end does come, it is sad, but sweet. 

          I’m glad I hung in there to the end.  While I didn’t get a happily ever after, I did get a love conquers all.  And, that’s almost as good.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cross Fire by James Patterson

          Cross Fire by James Patterson is the latest in a series about detective/psychiatrist, Alex Cross.  This edition has multiple bad guys: a pair of snipers killing business and political elites, a serial killer preying on homeless young men and etching mathematical formulas into their bodies with a knife, and an escaped killer that Alex has put away once before looking for revenge. 

          In a way it’s a shame this wasn’t set up as three novels. Each of these criminals could support a story on their own.  The main bad guy, Kyle Craig, the escaped killer has the most well developed story line here.  He even goes so far as to kill the serial math murderer so Alex will have more time to spend on dueling with him. And the sniper team story line leaves a lot of unanswered questions hanging out there even though both perpetrators end up dead.

          A lot goes on in this novel. In between closing three high profile cases, Alex manages to get married.  He may be a better organizer than me!  As usual, this is a fast paced, exciting episode in the Alex Cross lexicon.  I highly recommend it to fans of James Patterson, Alex Cross, police thrillers and murder mysteries. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber

          The people of Cedar Cove know how to celebrate Christmas…Beth Morehouse expects this Christmas to be one of her best…But…someone recently left a basket filled with puppies on her doorstep…And…her daughters Bailey and Sophie have invited their dad, Beth's ex-husband, Kent, to Cedar Cove for Christmas. The girls have visions of a mom-and-dad reunion dancing in their heads. “

          The excerpt above from the review sets the scene well.  And, of course, since this is a Harlequin Romance offering, everything ends happily. 

          According to the note from Debbie Macomber at the beginning of the book, this is the last in the Cedar Cove series.  While it is not an especially novel story, you do get to see most of the area’s inhabitants one last time as the neighbors do their Christmas visiting. 

          And, most importantly, by the end of the story, all the puppies have loving forever homes. 

          Speaking of puppies finding forever homes, I’d like to mention the Animal Rescue Site, a part of By going this site and clicking, you can authorize the site’s sponsors to make donations to a number of good causes including helping animals in shelters.  This site is a quick and easy way to help others.  If you are looking for a way to do more good in the world this holiday season, consider stopping by each day and clicking on to raise funds.

          The Animal Rescue Site helps animal shelters keep their residents warm and fed.  They also sponsor a Shelter Challenge wherein the shelter that garners the most votes gets a sizeable cash reward.  You can vote for your local animal shelter, or if you wish, you may vote for my favorite – The Humane Society of Monroe County, Waterloo, IL.  They have plans to expand their no kill shelter to hold more dogs and cats while they wait for their forever homes.  You can find out more about the shelter and the animals they have available for adoption and fostering at  Thank you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Only His by Susan Mallery

          Only His by Susan Mallery is a cute little romance featuring one of a set of identical triplets.  It is set in a small mountain town called Fools Gold with a population heavily weighted with females. 

          This couple, Nevada and Tucker have a past - one drunken night a decade earlier – a serious debacle.

          When Tucker’s construction company arrives in Fools Gold to build a casino complex, Nevada applies for the job of construction foreman.  As she is the best candidate for the job, the pair agrees to forget the past and work together.

          Passion ensues as the two realize the past might not have been as big a mistake as they’d thought.

          The thing I liked best about this book was the side stories.  There are lots of colorful characters with lives and loves of their own.  It made what could have been a pretty run-of-the-mill romance into a more complex, layered and interesting tale. 

          If you’re a fan of the romance genre, you’ll like this one.  Curl up and enjoy!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood

          The Ideal Man is the latest fun and exciting romance/thriller from Julie Garwood.  This one is set in St. Louis, near where I grew up. It is always great fun to read about locales with which I am familiar.

          Julie loves setting her heroines up with FBI agents.  This FBI agent arrives in a St. Louis public park from Honolulu chasing international arms dealers.  The lovely lady is an award-winning trauma surgeon jogging through that park where the gun runners are planning to make a deal.  The ensuing gun battle between agents and smugglers leaves one of the good guys in need of surgery, and the game is afoot. 

          Keeping Ellie away from a hit man hired by the gun runners and a violent stalker from her past while she is in her home town for her sister’s wedding, keeps Max busy, but not too busy to notice how attractive she is. And, what girl can resist a knight in shining armor (or agent with shiny badge) who is not only keeping her safe and alive, but falling in love with her at the same time?

          If you are a Garwood fan, you will be well pleased with this book. It has similarities with her recent thrillers, and retains the fun of her earliest romances.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One Summer by David Baldacci

               This ain’t your daddy’s Baldacci novel.

               Yes, there’s a lovely, driven young woman. Yes, there’s masculine yet vulnerable man.  Yes, there’s a courtroom scene.  But One Summer by David Baldacci is different than any other of his works I’ve encountered. And, as talented as he is, this is, without question, my favorite.

               At first I didn’t think I was going to be able to read it.  The book begins detailing the slow, agonizing death by cancer of the main character.  Having watched my sister be slowly eaten alive by brain cancer last year, I spent most of the beginning of the book in tears.  I started to put it aside, but after a day or so, picked it back up.  Baldacci did such a good job of relating the emotion and stress of both the patient and his family; I realized the writing was excellent.  I decided I didn’t want to pass up what could be a wonderful story by letting my grief over Jennifer get in the way. 

               I am very glad I went back to it.  If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know that some of my criteria for an excellent book are that it makes me cry, laugh out loud, and stay in my mind after the cover is closed for the final time.  One Summer did all those things for me.  I really cared about the characters and would love to spend some time at the Palace and Lizzie’s Lighthouse.   

               I recommend this highly, although it will be some time before I read it again.  The emotions hit me very strongly.  And, that is one of this book’s greatest strengths.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Listen to Your Heart by Fern Michaels

          Listen to Your Heart by Fern Michaels is a sweet little romance set in New Orleans. 

          One of a pair of twin sisters who run a catering business finds true love when a man arrives to hire them to cater a mother’s day celebration.  The man’s large dog runs amok devastating her office and totally charming the caterer’s own puppy.  The two canines become inseparable and eventually their humans do too.  

          The story ends happily with a family reunited and a double wedding for the twin sisters.

          It’s slightly too fluffy for my taste, and a little too sweet as well.  There is also not enough detail to bring the characters fully to life.  This was a very short novel, though.  And, maybe at some point in the future Ms. Michaels will be able to fill the story out and make a full-length, full-strength story.  I’d love to see it then!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Son of Stone by Stuart Wood

          Another Stuart Wood title made it onto the New York Times best seller list.  I mustered the patience to get through this one.  I didn’t get too far into Bel Air Dead before I threw in the towel.  I read Son of Stone in print rather than listening to an audio book. I think a part of my dislike for Bel Air Dead was the voice of the reader.  But Stuart Wood will likely never make my list of favorite authors.

          Son of Stone is another installment in the Stone Barrington saga.  In this one he marries his long time love Arrington Carter and acknowledges their teenage son, Peter. 

In theory, I should like the Stone Barrington stories.  They are tales of rich jet setters and their dramas and deaths.  The stories can concentrate on the action because there is no need to worry about money and influence can get them where they need to be in the action.  But I just cannot connect with these folks.  Perhaps it is the very short chapters.  They make the books seem more like bare bones journal entries than storytelling.  I don’t connect to the characters; I don’t “see” the scenes; there is very little emotion anywhere.  Perhaps Wood writes to a more masculine audience.  I just don’t “get” him.