James Patterson & Peter De Jonge’s Beach Road

Overview: Tom Dunleavy once was a star basketball player in his youth. But, basketball wasn’t in the cards. Good thing that East Hampton needs another lawyer. Sure his clients don’t need much, but that leaves enough time to play a few pick-up games at Willie’s. However that last game had a few unfortunate results. Now Tom has to defend the opposing team’s star player. Who killed Tom’s friends? Have the police made a rush to judgment?

Story Telling: This is a cross between a suspense novel, and a court drama. As James Patterson had a hand in this novel’s development, pay close attention to the chapter headings as these will let you know who you are following at the moment.

Dislikes: Tom is a rather unlikable character.

And the whole book seemed to try to prove that rich white people hate everyone who isn’t white or rich. This brings a sense of flatness to the individuals in this story.

This brings us to the twist that was advertised for this book. I’m not going to spoil the twist for you. Let’s just say that I wasn’t a fan.

Likes: The best part of this story was Kate’s devotion to the truth.

Conclusion: This is not the best Patterson novel to start with. If you do decide to go with this one, stop right after the verdict. I wish that I did.

James Patterson and Howard Roughan’s Murder Games

Overview: Dylan Reinhart is usually worried about running his classes at Yale. Considering that he is teaching those classes, calling in sick isn’t really an answer. Of course, he has to be contacted by a Detective Needham. It turns out that his book was sent to a crime reporter, with a murder attached to it. This would just be an exciting romp, if the author’s photo wasn’t destroyed as well. Let’s face it, Reinhart is now invested.

Story Telling: This is a murder mystery. Yet it isn’t quite a police procedural.

Dislikes: A couple of things bothered me with this selection. For starters, Mr. Reinhart’s sexuality doesn’t really effect the story. And before you bring up the adoption side-story, you have to realize that international adoptions are nearly impossible for everyone, straight or not. Basically, Tracy isn’t in the story enough for his gender to matter.

And the second is when a police officer asks (paraphrasing of course) “what kind of person calls for an attorney?” Oh sure, the implication is simple, if you’ve done nothing wrong, why would you need an attorney? Unfortunately, that’s not the real world. And the last time I checked, the Fifth Amendment is for every citizen of the United States, and not just the guilty.

Likes: Detective Needham had to grow on me, but she was pretty decent in the end.

The retired judge had hard choices to make. It may seem like he had buried evidence in the crimes, but if it isn’t convincing, or compromised, then you have to declare it inadmissible. You can’t use something that might be a disregard for anyone’s constitutional rights. At the very least the man tried to be fair.

Favorite Character: That would be Julian. His attitude was quite interesting, and he tried to see the good in a dirty job.

Favorite Scene: This is a toss up. Sure, Julian’s set up was cool. But, the Reinhart hunting trip was just fun.

Conclusion: This is an interesting story. For the most part, it’s a murder mystery. Of course you have to deal with Mr. Patterson’s habit of switching between first and third person points-of-view. Enjoy it, when you get the chance.

DeAnna Knippling’s The Third Portal

Overview: A young woman has gone to war through an extra-terrestrial portal, leaving her loved ones behind. Now she’s home, or at least her body is. What is going on?

Story Telling: This is a short story. And it fits quite well into the science-fiction realm, though I would consider it more of a soft version.

Dislikes: The biggest problem is that this story is too short. I had a hard time understanding the differences that the portals caused.

Likes: The emotions of the mother, who we are following, came out very clear. Her anger, hurt, and aggression are understandable, and relatable.

Conclusion: This is an interesting story. I might have enjoyed it more, if I didn’t get so lost easily. Maybe you’ll have better luck.

David Baldacci’s One Good Deed-Archer 1

Overview: Aloysius Archer has just been paroled. He has a list of do’s and don’t’s, and a second chance at life. Too bad his first job ended up so badly. A man is murdered two doors down from him. He really doesn’t want to go back to prison. Guess he needs to find out who did it instead.

Story Telling: This is a murder mystery, however it’s more of a historical fiction based story.

Dislikes: Archer is an annoyance for me. He was given just a few guidelines to follow. And within a few hours of getting into town, he has broken two of them, intentionally. And he doesn’t seem to let his brain lead much, relying on more of his heart and instincts.

Both Hank Pittleman and Lucas Tuttle seemed to be the same man, just greedy, wicked people who didn’t care about who they hurt. Why is it that many of these books portray the wealthy as greedy monsters? Wealth in of itself isn’t a sign of greed, it’s how you use it.

Likes: This is a hard one, as I found many of these characters to be unredeemable. Ernestine seems to be a great woman. And one who tries to help as many of the parolees as she can.

Favorite Character: This is someone who is only referenced in the book. The former Officer Crabtree was a wonderful father. I find it hard to believe that he would have been executed during that timeframe however. Today, maybe, but during the ‘30’s or ‘40’s, not a chance.

Conclusion: This story might work for you. However, if you, or the recipient of this book, are anything like me and don’t prefer noir-like detective novels, then you may just want to miss this one. But hey, maybe you might have fun with the darker tales. Enjoy your reading.

Sewing For Your Home

Overview: So you were just gifted a sewing machine. The question becomes, how do you get started in the craft? You could go looking at patterns. However, why not try house furnishings first? You can get practice with your new machine, and a rather fast project to showcase. This is what this book seeks to help you with.

Story Telling: This is more of an idea book. A rather rare branch of the crafter’s reference books.

Likes: This book works best to get ideas from. However, it also strives to guide you through making your projects.

I especially appreciate the fact that we get to see the differences in fabric weight, and what projects that would work best for them.

Favorite Section: That’s going to be the curtains. Thought each section will get it’s fair share of usage.

Conclusion: Pick this book up for guided inspiration, whether it’s for a gift or yourself. It will make a great gift for those who have been planning on redoing their home decorations.

Catherine Coulter’s Nemesis-FBI Thriller 19

Overview: At JFK airport, a man threatens to detonate a grenade. Meanwhile, back in the D.C. area, a man is murdered–stabbed with a ceremonial knife. Too bad that two of the FBI’s more successful agents, Sherlock and her husband Savich, are on the case. Of course, two cases means that the couple is split for the most part. Sherlock is in New York dealing with the terrorist plot. And Savich is in Virginia, especially after a second body is found.

Story Telling: This is a murder mystery/suspense series. So far, it appears that each book stands on its own

merits.

Dislikes: The head of the Alcott family troubled me from the start. She struck me as a pot-stirrer. She liked to even rile her daughter-in-law up to the point of potential violence, as well as irritating many others.

And anyone who is willing to kidnap an entire family just to force one person to commit a terrorist act, is evil incarnate.

Likes: This is a dual story. If I had to pick just one enjoyable line, that would be Savich’s. Terrorism just isn’t fun to read about, whether it’s fictional or real. Perhaps I’m in the minority in this point. I enjoy the urban fantasies as well as the more realistic stories.

Cain Lewis’s brother-in-law, and boss, was a good man. He reminds me more of a by the book introvert, than a jealous man.

Griffon Hammersmith was fun to follow, as well as Cam. They made a fun trip on both story lines.

Favorite Character: Griffon could really think outside of the box. His quick wit saved a lot of time.

Favorite Scene: That was when Savich met with Delko. Both times were fun to read, though the end of the first meeting was

beautiful.

Conclusion: This is a fun story if you have an open mind. Enjoy it, and perhaps you might want to find other books in the series. I might try another one as well.

501 Quilt Blocks: A Treasury of Patterns for Patchwork Applique

Overview: If you are a new quilter, how do you find new blocks to put together? Or if you are a more experienced quilter, how do you challenge yourself? This book claims to have the answer.

Story Telling: This is a reference or pattern book. You get the life sized template diagrams if you actually want to make the four inch blocks.

Likes: Most of this book showcases the blocks. This makes it easy if you just want to scale up the blocks. And the blocks are separated by, let’s say, family type.

As well, we get several different ways to use these blocks.

Favorite Piece: So far, that would be the shoo-fly block.

Conclusion: This is a fun book for the quilter in your life. I hope you get the same amount of enjoyment and use out of it as I have.

John Sandford’s Phantom Prey-Lucas Davenport 18

Overview: Lucas Davenport is on a stake-out looking for a cruel drug-dealer called Siggie. Then, Weather asks for a favor. A friend of hers, Alyssa Austen, is searching for the person who killed her daughter, Frances. Lucas is bored anyway, so what harm could it cause.

Story Telling: This series is full of suspense thrillers. So that could be a hit or miss for many of them.

Dislikes: The thing is the language of this novel can be off-putting. Yes, I’m aware that there are people who use vulgarity, but this was an overload.

We run into another one of Virgil’s exes. In my opinion, men who have too many partners appear as cheap as a woman who does the same.

I’m not sure how many children Del has, but I caught on to Cheryl’s condition when she was first mentioned.

Likes: The story sounded interesting enough.

And I think that Weather had a very good point.

Favorite Characters: That would be Weather.

Conclusion: You could easily miss this novel if you wanted to. This isn’t the best novel from Mr. Sandford. I hope you have better luck.

J.A. Jance’s Remains of Innocence: Joanne Brady 16

Overview: Liza Matchett has just had a shock. Her mother, who she hasn’t seen since she left high school, has been sent to the hospital. Now, while cleaning the family home, Liza has found a windfall in horded wealth. After receiving a cryptic warning at her mother’s funeral, and a not so cryptic attack to her homes, she’s racing across the country, hoping to find sanctuary with her brother. Of course, Bisbee, where Guy lives, has it’s own problems with a missing man with severe mental disabilities.

Story Telling: This is a suspense novel with a slight mystery bent. It is also part of a series.

Dislikes: While I was disturbed by the Nolan family, it was the fact that the boy, Lucas, likes violent video games. Many people do, but very few of them act out any violent fantasies.

Guy Matchett didn’t seem to have much empathy or sympathy for his sister. I understand that he hated his step-mother, but his sister needed him.

Likes: The whole Underground Railroad that helped Liza was wonderful. They were aware of the nastiness of humanity at its worse, and were still willing to do what was right.

Joanne did try to succeed with the difficult situation that keeps her job from over running her family life. This seems to be something many first responders struggle with.

Favorite Character: It’s Candy Small. When you know the danger someone else is in, and still help, it shows great strength in character.

Favorite Scene: That would be Joanne’s reaction to her daughter’s great honor at the rodeo. It’s great when you see a parent proud of his/her child.

Conclusion: This is more of a thriller than a mystery novel. Keep that in mind, as well as the fact that you can start this series in the middle, like I did, without losing who is who. Enjoy the journey, as this is the more important part of the style.

Sue Grafton’s X-Kinsey Millhone 24

Overview: Kinsey is handling a slow time at Millhone Investigations. But, she’s in luck. A woman needs her help in locating a child she gave up for adoption long ago. And Pete’s widow is having some trouble with the IRS. Maybe Kinsey has found her cure for boredom. Hopefully it all works out for her in the end.

Story Telling: This is a mystery novel, yet it falls under the private detective sub-genre. Kinsey’s story is almost over.

Dislikes: Pete obviously got a raw deal in the last novel. It was quite the jarring reversal of his personality.

Ned was the worst kind of dangerous. Everything he did was based on whether or not he felt rejected.

Also, Kinsey was an idiot. Even though she questioned the IRS story, neither she nor Ruthie even thought to look at the house. With Kinsey thinking that Pete was not a good man, you would have thought that Kinsey would be concerned about Pete’s enemies would come around.

Likes: Pete had honor. He was actively trying to save these women.

And Kinsey did try to help her client. Not sure that I would have, but she did.

Favorite Character: That would be Phyllis, Ned’s second wife. She managed to thrive after her divorce, to her credit.

Favorite Scene: Kinsey’s conversations with the chief investigator at the time of Lenore Lowe’s death was quite informative.

Conclusion: This was an interesting novel. Kinsey could have used her brain and wit a bit more for my tastes, but it’s still a good story.