Well, March was an odd assortment of books.The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene: I have become my mother’s primary caregiver. Because I know we have to put her in assisted living, I make it a point to go through things on a daily basis (she has lived in her house for 40 years). So, when I found this, as well as The Clue in the Old Album, I decided to reread them – probably 50 years later. What fun! The Hidden Staircase is the 2nd book in the series. I felt it was superior to The Clue in the Old Album (which is #24). In fact, I think The Clue in the Old Album relied too much on coincidences. She must have had ALOT of money too! She flies instead of drives to the next town. She takes off for New York at the drop of a hat, she buys a sailboat for a race. But she seems to always wear a dress and when she goes on a date, she reflects about how much fun she had while waving goodbye to her date from the front porch. However, if I find more of them at my mom’s house, I’ll read them too. On an aside, on each book, I had marked off all the books I had read in the series on the back cover!
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne: I’ve heard this book referred to for years and decided to check it out (literally, from the library). It’s pretty basic stuff about the laws of attraction, but it is worth checking out. It needs to be read slowly. I believe in asking the Universe (or God if you prefer), because if you don’t put it out there, who knows what you really want? The secret to me is you have to be ready to see what is manifesting. I will reread it again, I believe you can get more out of it with each reading.
Fade Away by Harlan Coben: Myron Bolitar is a smart-alecky sports agent that keeps solving crimes that come his way. So when I ran across this in the thrift shop for 50 cents, I decided to go for it. Myron was a superstar in college basketball, but blows his knee out in a pre-season game, so he has never played a professional game. He receives a call from the man who was responsible for drafting him with the Celtics to offer him a job. It seems his star player on the team, Greg Downing, has disappeared, and the owner wants Myron to locate him to ensure they make it to the playoffs. Downing was his nemesis in college football, marrying a girl Myron was in love with (who ended up cheating on Downing – with Myron no less!). The book is funny and fast. Don’t bother trying to figure out “who did it”, you probably won’t even guess what was done to start with!
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult: I have to admit, I got burned out on Jodi Picoult a few years back, but read this as a book club pick (it is a book club at the local library and surprise surprise! All but one had read the book!) Each character gets it’s own chapter, starting with 13-year old Jenna. Jenna is living with her grandmother after her mother has disappeared and her father is in a mental hospital. Jenna enlists the aid of a psychic and a detective to help her find her mother. Her parents ran an elephant sanctuary, her mother has been researching how elephants grieve – which was fascinating reading! It has one of the most surprising endings I’ve read. The clues are all there, but most readers (me included) will get so caught up in the story they won’t notice them. The book is well-researched and very thought-provoking.
The Drop by Dennis Lehane: Apparently this is a novelization of a screenplay that was developed by Dennis Lehane. Set in Boston after Christmas, Bob is a rather luckless guy who tends bar for his cousin Marv and attends mass daily. When walking home after work, he finds a puppy who was abused and thrown in the trash. Bob takes in the dog, but nothing is ever easy. Someone appears and claims to be the dogs rightful owner who wants the dog back. Then a Chechen crime syndicate makes an entrance. The cast is large, including a woman named Nadia, a sociopathic ex-con, and a threatened Catholic parish. The plot is fast and there are some twists and turns. I’m going to have to check out the movie! starring Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini (his final role).
The American Jungle: The Adventures of Charlie Piece by Harvey E. Oyer III: I read this book as part of my quest, to read a book by an author from each state, and this is one of my two selections for Florida. This is a young adult book based on real events. Charlie and his family move to South Florida in the 1870’s and settle near what is now West Palm Beach. Based on actual diaries, Charlie learns to hunt and boat, lives through hurricanes and explores the jungle he is living in. I will explore this further in my blog about authors from Florida.
True Evil by Greg Iles: Alex Morse is a FBI that has just lost her sister. On her deathbed from a stroke, her sister makes a declaration that her husband murdered her. As she looks into it, Alex discovers someone has developed a biological weapon and are using it to kill. She believes Dr. Chris Shepard may be next. There is a large cast of characters, and the premise is almost science fiction, but it is a good tight thriller. And at 500 pages, I kept turning them, not knowing what comes next.
A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard: I chair a book club for a group of women artists. We usually read about art, but when this book came up in a discussion, we decided that writing is art too. Someone in the group had gone to a talk by the author at the local library, saying it was fascinating and the book sold out. See, the book is set in Atlanta, where he was a paramedic from 2004 to 2013 at the infamous landmark Grady Hospital. It made me stop and think about the people that are out to help others that are in those ambulances that race by. The book is dark, but often humorous. the writing style is well crafted, often poetic. I hope to find more stories from Kevin Hazzard. Oh, when the book was mentioned in the discussion, I remembered hearing this story on NPR’s Fresh Air – have a look!
Wishing you all happy reading! I didn’t find any more Nancy Drew books, but I found Anne of Green Gables (which I have never read) and Little Women (another reading is long overdue).