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Gail DeMarco was born and raised in the small town of Whiskey Creek, California. But she left her home behind to move to Los Angeles and has created a PR empire that lists some of the biggest celebs among its roster. One of those names was Simon O’Neal, until Gail could not handle his self-destruction anymore and told the world her opinion of him. Then Simon’s manager decides to get even with Gail by calling in a few favors. Pretty soon, Gail’s PR firm is starting to crumble because her clients are deciding to use a rival PR firm instead. So Gail decides to apologize to Simon for her comments before her business completely fails. However, one of her assistants decides to spread a nasty rumor about Simon to get even so Gail’s apology ends up being useless. So, to save Simon’s career (and life) and to save Gail’s business, Gail and Simon’s manager concoct a scheme in which Gail and Simon marry!
However, this is not a conventional marriage. It is set to last only two years while Gail helps clean up Simon’s image and Simon sets his life on track in order to see his little boy again. Soon Gail realizes that Simon’s self-destructive behavior isn’t because he’s “Hollywood’s Bad Boy”, but because Simon’s heart is broken by what his ex-wife has and is continuing to put him through. Then after a life-threatening accident, Gail decides to bring Simon home to Whisky Creek, to save their careers and to […]
In The Breakdown by B.A. Paris, Cass is coming home late at night from a party (and taking a short cut on a usually deserted road) and sees a woman sitting in a car on the side of the road. At first she pulls over to see if the lady needs any help but it’s late, pouring rain, and as the lady does nothing to acknowledge her like waving or flashing her lights, Cass drives on. She has heard of motorists getting robbed or assaulted just pulling over to help someone and so she is scared it’s a trap. She means to call the police when she gets home for their help but forgets and in the morning she is horrified to learn that the woman in the car was murdered. Even worse it turns out to be someone Cass recently met. The police ask for any witnesses from the road to come forward but Cass is afraid of being judged for not offering to help the lady so she stays silent. Then she starts getting harassing phone calls and forgetting all kinds of minor things. As time passes she is wallowing in guilt about the murder victim, worried she is getting early onset dementia like her mother had, and convinced that the woman’s murderer somehow saw her that night and is the one harassing her. Cass’ husband and friends try to reassure her (but they do not know she was on that road that night) and try to […]
When a tall figure wearing a black robe and hood appears on the village green of Three Pines, everyone in town is slightly alarmed. The figure doesn’t move, doesn’t talk, but simply stands as if waiting or watching. But waiting or watching for what or for whom? As tensions grow, Armand Gamache, Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, does nothing. After all, this mysterious person has committed no crime. Yet, the figure radiates a sense of intent, of purpose, and Armand Gamache admits to himself that certainly something will go wrong. When the figure vanishes and a body is discovered, it seems that he was right. Gamache must learn the purpose of the figure’s appearance in Three Pines, and he must investigate those living in the idyllic peaceful town to see who had reason to commit murder.
I have been a huge fan of Louise Penny’s work since she first published Still Life, the first book in the Armand Gamache mystery series. Each book she writes is better than the last. Glass Houses is the 13th book in this series, and I believe it is the best to date. Ms. Penny does not shy away from having her characters make hard choices. Her characters are complex, her stories are full of warmth, art, good food, and good friends. Don’t be fooled: the books of the Armand Gamache series are not cozy mysteries. Rather, they explore the hidden depths of the human heart, exposing the truth that anyone is capable […]
Rosalie Lightning is the best book I’ve read this year. It was heartfelt and beautiful but very difficult to experience. Tom Hart’s daughter Rosalie died unexpectedly just two weeks before her second birthday. With words and pictures he recounts those first few weeks after her death. His grief is palpable. It’s raw and gut wrenching at times, but there are moments when he gets a tiny bit of a reprieve. He pays for his daughter’s cremation with his credit card and experiences the indignation of death as a transaction, but when a friend’s toddler plays with Rosalie’s toys he feels an inexplicable joy.
Sometimes I lost the chronology and wasn’t sure about where I was in time. There are no perimeters to the grieving process. Grief is disorderly and nonlinear so it made sense to me to get a little lost. The writing is direct and the variety of drawing styles help to delineate the individual thoughts and emotions that this story pulls you through. I felt my heart in my throat with nearly every page. But, I also felt privileged to share in the human experience of this one man’s love and sorrow.
This short novella When We Touch introduced me to the small town of Whiskey Creek, California and the love stories that seem to happen there in the most unlikely places. The story begins with Olivia Arnold on her way back home from Sacramento to help plan her sister’s wedding. The wedding Olivia was supposed to have to Kyle Houseman, her boyfriend of more than a year. But Olivia decided to experience life outside of Whiskey Creek and moved to Sacramento, in turn taking a break from her and Kyle’s relationship to focus on building her wedding consulting business. Olivia’s jealous sister, Noelle, has always wanted whatever Olivia has had, so Noelle decides to “comfort” Kyle in Olivia’s absence… and ends up pregnant. So, Olivia and Noelle’s parents have asked Olivia to help plan Kyle and Noelle’s upcoming nuptials, even with knowing that Olivia and Kyle were in love, and Olivia (being the good daughter) says yes.
When Olivia first sees the sign welcoming her back to Whiskey Creek, she can’t bear the heartache that is sure to happen over the next week with her sister marrying Olivia’s former intended so she pulls over and has bit of a breakdown. Then, a knock sounds on Olivia’s car window and Brandon (Kyle’s stepbrother, for those of you following along) asks if she is okay. So begins a quick and reckless romance between Olivia and Brandon. First it is a way for Olivia to get back at Kyle for what happened between him […]
The perfect cookie : your ultimate guide to foolproof cookies, brownies & bars by America’s Test Kitchen
As someone who has had a love affair with cookies (especially the dough!) and baked them for decades, it’s hard to surprise me with any recipes I haven’t seen before. But cookbooks are just like running books to me – worth looking through just for that little nugget of information or inspiration that you might not have heard before. So did The
Perfect Cookie: Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cookies, Brownies & Bars by America’s Test Kitchen have lots of new recipes for me to try? No. But I will read anything America’s Test Kitchen puts out whether it’s their magazines (Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated) or any of their cookbooks. I appreciate how they research each recipe and try to make it in different ways so that they can explain why some things work and others do not. The value of this cookbook for me was 2 pages of explanations on brownies-mixing, brown sugar vs. sugar, oil or butter or both, glass or metal pans. The difference all those choices make is amazing and the book shows pictures of the differences. If you are a novice cookie baker or want to gift someone a cookbook on cookies, you could do no better than this cookbook.
Michael Connelly has years of experience writing detective stories, having great success with his Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller books, series that feature tough male protagonists. The author’s newest book, titled The Late Show, features a woman protagonist, which I found to be intriguing. Why choose to write a female character when your male detectives have been so successful? I picked it up to find out. In this series opener, we meet Renee Ballard, an LAPD detective who works “the late show.” Detectives who work this late night shift do not actually work the cases they investigate each night. Rather, they pass along the case files to daytime detectives who will follow through and hopefully solve them. Yet Renee can’t let go of two of her current nightly cases–one involving the beating of a transgender prostitute, and the other involving the shooting of a young waitress. As she doggedly pursues these cases, we get a better idea of how she came to be relegated to the late show in the first place. We also learn more about her personal life as we follow her in her off hours. This being a murder mystery, Renee, of course, solves the crimes. As a female reader of this book, I was dismayed to see the choices the author made in creating this female character. While Renee has some trauma from her past that she is clearly still dealing with, her lifestyle choices would be hard to justify in a male protagonist. For […]
Drums of Autumn is the fourth book in the Outlander series has Claire and Jamie starting out in the New World, aka the Carolinas and the subsequent settling in a harsh and unfamiliar territory. Between pirate raids and Native American friends, the Frasers eventually settle on Fraser’s Ridge and start a new life in the wilderness.
Meanwhile, Brianna is connecting with Roger more and more despite the distance between them. However, things change when Brianna makes a discovery that sends her back to the stones to find her mother without telling Roger. When Roger finds out that Brianna is gone, he enlists the help of his former housekeeper to send him back in time to find Brianna.
With everyone chasing each other thru time, there was plenty of room in the novel for fights, near death experiences, and Claire’s witty humor that made me laugh out loud at times. I really enjoyed this book in the series (like I have enjoyed all of the books so far!) and am excited for what the next novel will bring to the series!
Simple Printmaking is my “go to” book before I start any printmaking project. As a sporadic printmaker who works on their dining room table it’s helpful to be reminded that you don’t need fancy equipment or even a studio to make exceptional art. Simple Printmaking begins with a basic list of materials and straightforward tips that take the anxiety out of setting up. The black and white illustrations are simple but not unsophisticated. They inspire me every time!
This is a great little book for serious artists and doodlers alike. It’s a great refresher for printmakers and a nice, accessible tool for anyone who would like to try their hand at image making.
Jane Harper’s debut novel The Dry is fantastic. It takes place in rural Australia during a bad drought and the author really makes you feel like you are there. Businesses in the small town of Kiewarra are closing because the surrounding farms are failing – crops can’t survive and farm animals can’t be fed or watered therefore farmers don’t have any money to spend in town. Many mortgages and tax payments are in arrears so entities like the police department and the school are also just scraping by. It is in this area that federal agent Aaron Falk grew up and after he and his father were ran out of town, he was never going to come back. However, his childhood friend Luke is now dead and it looks like he not only committed suicide but killed his wife and son first. Aaron’s sad about his friend’s suicide and doesn’t understand why he felt the need to kill his family but knows the drought is changing people and tensions are running high. Aaron’s all set to attend the funeral and get back out of town ASAP but Luke’s parents come to him asking him to investigate the deaths because they don’t believe Luke took his own life or killed his family. Aaron tries to say no (although he is in law enforcement he investigates financial crimes not homicides) but ends up feeling obligated to stay another couple days and look into it. Luckily there is a local police officer […]