Friday, December 26, 2014

A Virgin River Christmas, by Robyn Carr

Product DetailsLast Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband, Bobby. This Christmas she wants to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him.

Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby's shattered body onto a medical transport four years ago, then disappeared once their unit arrived stateside. Since then, Marcie's letters to Ian have gone unanswered.

Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River and finds a man as wounded emotionally as Bobby was physically. As Marcie pushes her way into his reclusive life, she discovers a sweet soul beneath a rough exterior.

Ian doesn't know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into his painful past and the uncertain future. But it is a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it's time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

Virgin River must be a wonderful place to live.  Worth Reading!

393 pages

The Cabin, by Carla Neggers

Product DetailsTexas Ranger Jack Galway knows his wife Susanna loves him, so when their marriage hits a rough patch, he supports her decision to take their two teenaged daughters to Boston for a break. But when a few weeks turns into several months, Jack heads to Boston to get his family back.

Packing up the girls and her grandmother, Susanna heads to her cabin in the Adirondacks, trying to escape her fears, her secrets and even the man she loves. Little does she know she's being followed, not just by her husband but by a murderer….

Ex-convict Alice Parker left a mess back in Texas, and she'll never forgive Jack Galway for killing her dream of becoming a Texas Ranger herself. Obsessed with revenge, she's got her sights set on Jack's family.

Trapped in the mountains, Jack and Susanna must find strength in each other if they hope to keep their family together and escape the cabin alive.

This was a great book!

479 pages

Blood Ties by Sharon Sala


Savannah Slade is not the person she thought she was. The reading of her "father's" will has led her to a world-shattering revelation: her sisters are not her blood kin—and she may be the heiress to a massive fortune. Her not-quite-fiance Judd doesn't if it doesn't care where she came from—he only wants her by his side. But the primal need to uncover her past wins out, and Savannah trades the Montana ranges for Miami's moneyed oceanside enclaves.

The wealthy and powerful Stoss family is less than overjoyed to find that Gerald Stoss's daughter has emerged from the past. But theirs is a clan seldom troubled by…inconveniences. They've always had the means to eradicate any blemish on their perfect lives. One more won't make a difference.

I really enjoyed the three book in this series.

491 pages

Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

The Silent Sister
Diane Chamberlain

St. Martin's Press
Pages:  352

My mother died shortly after I graduated from high school, so although I would never stop missing her, I was used to her being gone. It was strange to be in the house without Daddy, though. As I put my clothes in my dresser, I kept expecting him to walk into the room and I had trouble accepting the fact that it was impossible. I missed our weekly phone calls and knowing he was only a few hours away. He’d been so easy to talk to and I’d always felt his unconditional love. It was a terrible feeling to know that there wasn’t a soul in the world now who loved me that deeply. 

He’d been a quiet man. Maybe one of the quietest people to ever walk the earth. He questioned rather than told. He’d ask me all about my own life, but rarely shared anything about his own. As a middle school counselor, I was the one always asking the questions and I’d enjoyed being asked for a change, knowing that the man doing the asking cared deeply about my answers. He was a loner, though. He’d died on the floor of the Food Lion after a massive heart attack. He’d been alone and that bothered me more than anything.

Bryan had suggested I have a memorial service for him, but I wouldn’t have known who to invite. If he had any friends, I didn’t know about them. Unlike most people in New Bern, my father hadn’t belonged to a church or any community organization, and I was certain my brother wouldn’t show up at a service for him. His relationship with our father had been very different from mine. I hadn’t even been able to find Danny when I got to New Bern after Daddy’s death. His cop friend Harry Washington told me he’d gone to Danny’s trailer to give him the news, and I guess Danny just took off. He’d left his car parked next to the trailer, and Bryan and I hiked through the forest looking for him, but Danny knew those woods better than anyone. He had his hiding places. Now, though, he had no idea I was in town, so this time I’d surprise him. I’d plead with him to help me with the house. I knew better than to hope he’d say yes.

The above paragraphs were taken from the beginning of "The Silent Sister" and this is only the beginning of Riley McPherson's questions with very few answers.  Riley is faced with daunting job of cleaning out her father's home and clearing ups mysteries many decades old.

Riley and her long lost sister weave for us a novel with with many twists and turns.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

The Burning Room
Michael Connelly

Little Brown and Company
Pages:  400

Cold case detectives, Bosch and Soto in LA are trying to solve a murder that turns out to be politically sensitive even after 20 years.  The victim of a shooting who has had a bullet  lodged for years in the his spine dies and they must pull new leads from years-old evidence, to reveal that the shooting was anything but random.
As their investigation progresses, it leads to another unsolved case with even greater stakes: the deaths of several children in a fire that occurred twenty years ago. But when their work starts to threaten careers and lives, Bosch and Soto must decide whether it is worth risking everything to find the truth, or if it’s safer to let some secrets stay buried.
My Thoughts:  I enjoyed the story - another book in the Harry Bosch story.  Harry is paired with Lucy Soto, a young hot-shot detective, who seems to be a perfect partner for Harry.   The crime scenarios are interesting and the fast-paced work of Bosch and Soto kept me wanting to know how the crimes were going to be solved.  With a twist at the very end.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg

The Auschwitz Escape
Joel C. Rosenberg

Tyndale House
Pages:  480


As the Nazi war machine rolls across Europe, Jacob Weisz if forced to flee Germany and join an underground resistance group in Belgium.  In occupied France, assistant pastor Jean-Luc Leclerc and his wife find themselves the accidental organizers of a relief movement involving their entire town, as Jews from all all over Europe arrive at their door, hoping for shelter from the growing threat from the Nazi war machine.

WWII finds both  Jacob and Jean-Luc living in a nightmare, both ending up in Auschwitz and sentenced to hard labor.   The unlikely pair, a Protestant pastor and the Jewish freedom fighter, are chosen to to risk a most daring and dangerous feat - escape from Auschwitz.  How will they get out, only a handful of escapees have made it in the past. In their quest to tell the world about the Nazi's Final Solution, they will risk it all.

My Thoughts:

I found this novel to be very compelling - a real page turner.  Jacob and Jean-Luc are both very believable characters and one that you really cared about.  Rosenberg did a wonderful job of creating a fictionalized account of a truly horrible time in the lives of the Jewish people in Europe.  The trip thought Auschwitz and the Nazi machine was horrific and very close to factual accounts of the concentration camps.  Mr. Rosenberg used the true stories to create and his fictionalized account of life inside Auschwitz very successfully.

You very much wanted and anticipated the escape of Jacob and Jean-Luc to succeed to end the horrors of Auschwitz.

The Boy On the Wooden Box: a Memoir by Leon Leyson

The Boy on the Wooden Box:  a memoir 
Leon Leyson

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Pages:  231

This powerful memoir of one of the youngest boys on Schindler’s list deserves to be shared. Leon Leyson grew up in Poland as the youngest of five children. As WWII breaks out, Leyson’s ingenuity and bravery, combined with the kindness of strangers and a bit of serendipity, save his life, time and again. The storytelling can at times meander, and the various reflections of his life in Poland during the war can result in a certain patchiness, but Leyson’s experiences and memories still make for compelling reading about what it was like to suffer through the Holocaust. This memoir is a natural curriculum addition to WWII units for upper-elementary- and middle-school readers. Be sure to have additional materials on hand about Oskar Schindler, as readers will want to do more research into Leyson’s story. Grades 4-7. --Sarah Bean Thompson. (BOOKLIST)

My Thoughts:

I loved this book.  I had previously read Schindler's List and found the book very compelling but this memoir is a true remembrance from one of the Jewish workers actually saved by Mr. Schindler.   Leon was just a young boy when the Nazis invaded Poland and the story tell of how his family survived during this time in Poland and how decisions made before the war begins and during lead to some of the family surviving and other not.   Leon became a real face to the many stories that I have read about the Holocaust.  

SILENT SISTER by Diane Chamberlain

SILENT SISTER by Diane Chamberlain
copyright 2014
ISBN:  978-1250010411
343 pages

THE SILENT SISTER is a novel of love, loss, and the bonds among siblings.

Riley MacPherson has lived her whole life believing that her older sister committed suicide.
Now, more than twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Caroline, cleaning out his house, when she finds evidence that what she has always believed is not the truth.  Lisa, her sister, is alive and living under a new identity.  But why, has she been on the run all those years?  What secrets are being kept now, and what will happen if those secrets are revealed?

This book has a lot of twists and turns.  It will really hold your interest to the very end.

Monday, December 8, 2014

SECOND NATURE by Jacquelyn Mitchard

539 pages
ISBN:  978-1611732030

Sicily Coyne was just thirteen when her face was disfigured and her firefighter father was killed in a school fire.  Twelve years later, a young doctor offers hope in the form of a new surgery that may give Sicily back the facial functions she has lost. This could turn out to be her second chance.

At first Sicily rejects the offer, but when a secret surfaces that shatters her world, she changes her mind and has the radical procedure.

Her beauty restored practically overnight, Sicily embraces her new life by seeking new experiences,
adventures and love. But, she soon discovers that her new face carries with it risks that she could have never imagined. She is soon confronted with a personal moral and medical crisis that quickly becomes a matter of life and death.  She is surrounded by experts and her family, but the choice that will transform her future--for better or worse--is one she must make alone.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle: A Memior
Jeannette Walls

288 pages

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor. (

My Thoughts -  This is one of those books that really opens up your eyes to another way of life.  We know that we all have issues that we do not like to discuss in public but Jeannette Walls's life as a child was a nightmare in my eyes but somehow she learns to survive and learn from the trials and tribulations that we associate with homelessness, addiction, and mental illness.  Her parents were a contradiction in how they saw their roles as parents.  They were always teaching their children something but in the next paragraph they were sleeping in a car and going hungry.  Family was very important but at the same time the parents were very selfish and thinking only of themselves.  In spite of the life the children were forced to lead, they grew up to be successful with some damage but  generally healthy adults.

I read this book for a book discussion group and it lead to many very good conversations.  I think that we all went away with a different vision of homeless people.