Monthly Archives: February 2014

North of Boston by Elizabeth Elo *Review*

north of bostonWhen the fishing boat Pirio is on is rammed by a freighter, she finds herself abandoned in the North Atlantic. Somehow, she survives nearly four hours in the water before being rescued by the Coast Guard. But the boat’s owner and her professional fisherman friend, Ned, is not so lucky.

Compelled to look after Noah, the son of the late Ned and her alcoholic prep school friend, Thomasina,  Pirio can’t shake the lurking suspicion that the boat’s sinking—and Ned’s death—was no accident. It’s a suspicion seconded by her deeply cynical, autocratic Russian father, who tells her that nothing is ever what it seems. Then the navy reaches out to her to participate in research on human survival in dangerously cold temperatures.

With the help of a curious journalist named Russell Parnell, Pirio begins unraveling a lethal plot involving the glacial whaling grounds off Baffin Island. In a narrow inlet in the arctic tundra, Pirio confronts her ultimate challenge: to trust herself. 

Pirio is the kind of character I like,  tough as nails on the outside, but with a warm heart on the inside especially when it comes to her sensitive,  ten-year-old godson,  Noah.  Even though she doesn’t feel like she’s cut out to be a parent, not now, not ever- she’s sucked in when Noah’s father dies and her best friend Thomasina can’t seem to stay sober  long enough to be there for him.

Determined to do what’s best for Noah, Pirio starts to investigate the boat “accident” that killed Ned and left her for dead and hypothermic in the cold ocean waters.  Convinced this was no maritime hit and run, Pirio starts to uncover clues that convince her she’s on to something bigger than she thought.  When people start getting hurt and lives are threatened, she decides to infiltrate the business that just may be responsible for Ned’s death…and more.  North of Boston is a skillfully written, captivating debut thriller.  I look forward to more of Elizabeth Elo’s writing.


Mailbox Monday 2-24-2014

mailbox mondayMailbox Monday is a great place to take a peek at other peoples loot without breaking into their homes!!  It’s a central place where book lovers can link their posts on what they received from the mailman (or UPS, or Fed Ex…) this week.  Stop by the host of Mailbox Monday and link up, if you like, or just drool over what other bloggers were lucky enough to nab.  I have to warn you though,  you’ll want to add these titles to your “I HAVE to read that” list!

Some weeks it’s feast some weeks it’s famine!  I only received 1 book in the mail this week.  One lonely, lonely, book.  No matter how many times I trotted out to the mailbox nothing more appeared.  Usually when I post my Mailbox Monday books I pick which book I received that week that excites me the most.  This week is kind of a no brainer!  But seriously, even if I had received more, I think this one would still have been my pick.  It looks so intriguing!!

when shadows fall

Dear Dr. Owens, 

If you are reading this letter, I am dead and I would be most grateful if you could solve my murder… 

Forensic pathologist Dr. Samantha Owens thought life was finally returning to normal after she suffered a terrible personal loss. Settling into her new job at Georgetown University, the illusion is shattered when she receives a disturbing letter from a dead man imploring her to solve his murder. There’s only one catch. Timothy Savage’s death was so obviously the suicide of a demented individual that the case has been closed. 

When Sam learns Savage left a will requesting she autopsy his body, she feels compelled to look into the case. Sam’s own postmortem discovers clear signs that Savage was indeed murdered. And she finds DNA from a kidnapped child whose remains were recovered years earlier. 

The investigation takes Sam into the shadows of a twenty-year-old mystery that must be solved to determine what really happened to Timothy Savage. Nothing about the case makes sense, but it is clear someone is unwilling to let anyone, especially Samantha Owens, discover the truth.

What did I tell you??  Looks good doesn’t it?  Well, I’m off to check out what the rest of you found in your mailboxes this week.  Have a great week and happy reading!

Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd *Review*

hunting shadowsHunting Shadows is a classic eerie mystery whose main character is not Inspector Ian Rutledge as the book synopsis would have you believe, but the thick, cloak of fog that envelops the town so completely that you can’t see your way home. The type of fog that hides a killer walking as he maps his escape and the squeak of a bicycle is all that alerts you that you are not alone.

Inspector Rutledge from Scotland Yard is assigned to the small English village of Cambridgeshire to help solve the murder of Captain Hutchinson who was gunned down while attending a society wedding. A second murder occurs not far from the first, another man shot in cold blood while campaigning for office in the public square. Nothing links the two men together. However, a witness to the second shooting initially claims she saw the shooter, or rather, the monstrously grotesque appearance of something with a gun in an upper window. Something that terrifies her so much that she clams up and refuses to repeat her initial story.

Inspector Rutledge interviews local townspeople and the constables who have so far failed to solve this case in order to come up with any clue that can link these two murders together so he can come up with a common suspect. Full of 1920’s intrigue, crank up cars, windmills, horses and sniper shots, this was a good under the covers read with a sinister tone.

Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan

glitter and glueWhen Kelly Corrigan was in high school, her mother neatly summarized the family dynamic as “Your father’s the glitter but I’m the glue.” This meant nothing to Kelly, who left childhood sure that her mom—with her inviolable commandments and proud stoicism—would be nothing more than background chatter for the rest of Kelly’s life, which she was carefully orienting toward adventure. After college, armed with a backpack, her personal mission statement, and a wad of traveler’s checks, she took off for Australia to see things and do things and Become Interesting.
But it didn’t turn out the way she pictured it. In a matter of months, her savings shot, she had a choice: get a job or go home. That’s how Kelly met John Tanner, a newly widowed father of two looking for a live-in nanny. They chatted for an hour, discussed timing and pay, and a week later, Kelly moved in. And there, in that house in a suburb north of Sydney, 10,000 miles from the house where she was raised, her mother’s voice was suddenly everywhere, nudging and advising, cautioning and directing, escorting her through a terrain as foreign as any she had ever trekked. Every day she spent with the Tanner kids was a day spent reconsidering her relationship with her mother, turning it over in her hands like a shell, straining to hear whatever messages might be trapped in its spiral.
This is a book about the difference between travel and life experience, stepping out and stepping up, fathers and mothers. But mostly it’s about who you admire and why, and how that changes over time.

I have always had a fantastic relationship with my mother.  She’s always been my best friend, the one I confide my fears in, my idea bouncer, and my advice giver.   I know for some women, that’s not always the case.  I have friends who have very tenuous relationships with their mothers and I feel bad that they don’t have the same relationship that I was blessed to have.

And sometimes, that appreciation of who your mother is and what she has done for you does not come until you’re older and have children of your own.  Such was the case with Kelly Corrigan.

I loved the way Kelly wrote.  With her mother’s euphemisms sprinkled liberally throughout the book (in italics so there was no mistake who these words of wisdom came from) I felt like I was sitting in the Corrigan’s Philadelphia kitchen listening to her mother utter them herself.  Sayings I could reach back in time and hear my own mom speak.

It was interesting to watch Kelly journey around the world to finally discover herself right there at home.  Relatable for daughters and mothers alike, you’ll be nodding your head throughout this memoir.

Mailbox Monday 2-17-14

mailbox mondayMailbox Monday is a great place to take a peek at other peoples loot without breaking into their homes!!  It’s a central place where book lovers can link their posts on what they received from the mailman (or UPS, or Fed Ex…) this week.  Stop by the host of Mailbox Monday and link up, if you like, or just drool over what other bloggers were lucky enough to nab.  I have to warn you though,  you’ll want to add these titles to your “I HAVE to read that” list!

This week was a good book week for me.  Here is what I scored:


A Lifetime to Die by P.S. Meronek

The Isolation Door by Anish Majumdar

Evening Stars by Susan Mallery

Poison Town by Creston Mapes

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris   (isn’t this one totally different!  I’m most excited about this one this week!)

The Diet Fix by Yoni Freedhoff, M.D.

So in other words, this week I received books about the Russian mob, schizophrenia, complicated sister relationships, a cancer causing chemical leakage,  a stolen identity, and a self-help book to make your diet more effective..  Now really,  what more does a girl need?  🙂

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes *Review*

me before youLou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Having never read Jojo Moyes writing before, after finishing this book, I had to ask “Why?”  What has kept this author off my radar?  Primarily, I believe it’s because the description of her novels always sounded like just a sappy, romantic love story.  I can assure you, Me Before You is not just a sappy love story, and if the rest of her books have depth like this one does then I will assuredly add them to my book shelf.

Me Before You not only broke my heart, but opened my mind as well.  What do you do when you all choices are taken from you?  Do you adjust…can you adjust?  And what problem does falling in love add to the equation?  I urge you to read this book and tell me that there is only black or white, yes or no answers.  A beautiful story of love and life, Me Before You deserves to be treated as more than a romance book.

Mailbox Monday February 10th, 2014

mailbox mondayThank God for books.  Seriously, what else is there to do in a cold Minnesota winter like this?  The weatherman on channel 11 news just said we have had 43 days in a row of zero or below zero temperatures.  Sometimes opening my mailbox and seeing a padded envelope which I know contains a book is the only bright spot of my day.  That being said, here is what graced my mailbox this week:


The Fitness Fun Busy Book  My granddaughter and I should have fun with this one!

A Little Help From My Friends  Hmm..young adult romance…we’ll see

The Plover  Looking forward to this one the most this week!

The Sun and Other Stars  Only seen a few reviews for this one so far, but they’ve been good ones!

If you’d like to link up to mailbox Monday and show off what you got this week just click here.

The rest of my week after work is very tame, which is good because with wind chills in the -25 to -35 range, I don’t want to go anywhere.

Monday, I’ll be working out with my cousin Janeen, Tuesday I have my TOPS meeting and a book club meeting  (I’m in charge of dessert for book club and have no clue what I’m bringing yet), Wednesday the men’s Olympic USA hockey game will be on (USA! USA!)  Thursday is another workout with Janeen, Friday I’m making a special surf & turf Valentines dinner for my family whom I heart very much, Saturday I’m hosting a birthday party for my mother (Happy 68th mom!) and Sunday I serve at church in the morning.   GULP!  Maybe not as tame of a week as I originally planned!  🙂

Regardless, you know I’ll be fitting in a little reading time here and there throughout as well.  Have a great week!