Thursday, July 29, 2010

67. Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart

I picked up Husband and Wife at my library while browsing the newest releases. It sounded interesting, and while a quick enjoyable read, I was a bit disappointed. I give Husband and Wife a B.

From Amazon:
Sarah Price is thirty-five years old. She doesn't feel as though she's getting older, but there are some noticeable changes: a hangover after two beers, the stray gray hair, and, most of all, she's called “Mom” by two small children. Always responsible, Sarah traded her MFA for a steady job, which allows her husband, Nathan, to write fiction. But Sarah is happy and she believes Nathan is too, until a truth is revealed: Nathan's upcoming novel, Infidelity, is based in fact.
Suddenly Sarah's world is turned upside down. Adding to her confusion, Nathan abdicates responsibility for the fate of their relationship and of his novel's publication—a financial lifesaver they have been depending upon—leaving both in Sarah's hands. Reeling from his betrayal, she is plagued by dark questions. How well does she really know Nathan? And, more important, how well does she know herself?
For answers, Sarah looks back to her artistic twenty-something self to try to understand what happened to her dreams. When did it all seem to change? Pushed from her complacent plateau, Sarah begins to act—for the first time not so responsibly—on all the things she has let go of for so long: her blank computer screen; her best friend, Helen; the volumes of Proust on her bookshelf. And then there is that e-mail in her inbox: a note from Rajiv, a beautiful man from her past who once tempted her to stray. The struggle to find which version of herself is the essential one—artist, wife, or mother—takes Sarah hundreds of miles away from her marriage on a surprising journey.
Wise, funny, and sharply drawn, Leah Stewart's Husband and Wife probes our deepest relationships, the promises we make and break, and the consequences they hold for our lives, revealing that it's never too late to step back and start over.

The first sentence of the book's description is what drew me in to the book... I recgonized myself in the gray hairs and the hangover after one class of wine. I often think to myself when did this all change so soon? Ms. Stewart has a wonderful voice and told a great story, but I thought it was a bit wordy. Since both of the characters are writers, I thought some of the prose was a bit over the top and thought the story could have been shown to me more than just told to me. I definitely enjoyed the book, and could relate with both characters, but in the end I wish I had the style of writing had been done a bit differently.

66. Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern

I first heard about Neighborhood Watch on various different blogs. I was intrigued and it sounded like an interesting book. It fell a bit short for me, however, and I can only give it a B.

From Amazon:
Twelve years ago librarian Betsy Treading was convicted of murdering her neighbor, the bohemian loner Linda Sue. After DNA testing finally exonerates Betsy, she returns to her suburban community determined to salvage her life and find the true killer. As she begins to pick apart the web of secrets, lies, and love affairs uncovered in the wake of her trial, Betsy suspects that her tight-lipped neighbors may know something that she has denied even to herself. In Neighborhood Watch, Cammie McGovern captures the nail-biting electricity of the best literary thrillers and zeros in on the subterranean tension abuzz in a town whose dark secrets threaten to obliterate the glossy façade of a perfect life. It is also the story of a woman coming into her own, finding her strength, and taking control of her life. It asks readers, what sort of price would you pay for the sake of your reputation? Intricately woven, psychologically astute, and filled with complex and surprising characters, Neighborhood Watch marks a significant step in the career of this talented author.

The thing about this book was even though it was relatively short, there were so many other story lines running throughout the story, the book left me a bit confused. I was really interested in finding out who the real killer was and thought that the setting was such an important part of the story and the author did a fantastic job of incorporating it in. With that being said, there were just too many different things happening that left me wanting for more and trying to decide why other things were thrown in. So while not my favorite book of the summer, one I am glad I read.

65. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler

I love watching Chelsea Handler's show on E!, Chelsea Lately, and have enjoyed her previous books. I picked up Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang from the library and quickly read it. I give it a B.

From Amazon:
WHAT . . . A RIOT! Life doesn't get more hilarious than when Chelsea Handler takes aim with her irreverent wit. Who else would send all-staff emails to smoke out the dumbest people on her show? Now, in this new collection of original essays, the #1 bestselling author of Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea delivers one laugh-out-loud moment after another as she sets her sights on the ridiculous side of childhood, adulthood, and daughterhood. Family moments are fair game, whether it's writing a report on Reaganomics to earn a Cabbage Patch doll, or teaching her father social graces by ordering him to stay indoors. It's open season on her love life, from playing a prank on her boyfriend (using a ravioli, a fake autopsy, and the Santa Monica pier) to adopting a dog so she can snuggle with someone who doesn't talk. And everyone better duck for cover when her beach vacation turns into matchmaking gone wild. Outrageously funny and deliciously wicked, CHELSEA CHELSEA BANG BANG is good good good good!

While certainly crude, there are several laugh out loud moments in the book. I love the stories about her family, and have to question myself several times on whether or not these stories could actually be true they were so out there. Chelsea always makes me laugh, and while I don't agree with her on everything, it's nice to escape for a short time and just laugh. This was a quick read and I finished it in one afternoon. Be forewarned, though, that there is quite a bit of crude and rude humor in this book.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

64. The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah

Aw yes, another book by Ms. Hannah. I have to admit I almost didn't read this one as I thought it would cut to close to home, and while it did, it taught me a lot too. An excellent, tear-jerker, I give it an A.

From Amazon:
Years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive a child have broken more than Angie DeSaria’s heart. Following a painful divorce, she moves back to her small Pacific Northwest hometown and takes over management of her family’s restaurant. In West End, where life rises and falls like the tides, Angie’s fortunes will drastically change yet again when she meets and befriends a troubled young woman.Angie hires Lauren Ribido because she sees something special in the seventeen-year-old. They quickly form a deep bond, and when Lauren is abandoned by her mother, Angie offers the girl a place to stay. But nothing could have prepared Angie for the far-reaching repercussions of this act of kindness. Together, these two women—one who longs for a child and the other who longs for a mother’s love—will be tested in ways that neither could have imagined.

For over a year and a half, my husband and I have been trying and failing to get pregnant. We're both young and in good health, so it's difficult to understand why this isn't happening. I have to admit to nodding along with a lot of Angie's thoughts and feelings throughout the book, including those that she doesn't understand why God will give children do those who aren't deserving, but not allowing others the privilege of having just one. I think I came to grips with a lot of my feelings while reading this story, and while I understand that it is fiction, I have hope for the future. I have decided to count my blessings, not the things I don't have, and the biggest blessing of all is my wonderful husband. He is more than enough and more than I deserve, and I would never want something like children to drive us apart. Thank you Ms. Hannah for writing such a wonderful story, and one that is sure to stay with me for a long time, hopefully forever.

63. The Chill of Night by James Hayman

I read The Cutting by Mr. Hayman last year and loved it, so I was excited to see he had a new book out. I read through it in a day or so and really enjoyed it. I give it a B+.

From Amazon:
Glamorous young Portland attorney Lainie Goff thought she had it all—brains, beauty, and a fast-track to a partnership in a top-ranked firm that was going to make her rich. But then one cold winter night she pushed things too far, and her naked frozen body is found in the sub-zero temperatures at the end of the Portland Fish Pier.
The only witness to the crime: a mentally disturbed young woman named Abby Quinn who mysteriously disappears the very same night.
With the discovery of Lainie Goff ’s body and the disappearance of Abby Quinn, Portland homicide detective Michael McCabe finds himself on the trail of a relentless and clever killer. A killer he must find before another life is lost.
With The Chill of Night James Hayman returns to tell a gripping tale of evil and deceit and creates characters so real and so human, we want to meet them again and again.

While I have to admit at first I didn't remember much about The Cutting, as soon as I started The Chill of Night, McCabe and his life came rushing back to me. The mystery was well done and I have to admit to being surprised at who the bad guy was. It was suspenseful, and I was surprised more than once when looking up at the page number and couldn't believe how much I'd read... the story moved that fast! All of the characters were enjoyable and I hope Mr. Hayman continues the series.

62. Tomorrow River by Leslie Kagen

Can I just say how happy I am to have discovered Ms. Kagen and her books? I absolutely loved Tomorrow River and have to give it an A-.

From Amazon:
During the summer of 1968, Shenandoah Carmody's mother disappeared. Her twin sister, Woody, stopped speaking, and her once-loving father slipped into a mean drunkenness unbefitting a superior court judge. Since then, Shenny-named for the Shenandoah valley-has struggled to hold her world together, taking care of herself and her sister the best she can. Shenny feels certain that Woody knows something about the night their mother vanished, but her attempts to communicate with her mute twin leave her as confused as their father's efforts to confine the girls to the family's renowned virginia estate. As the first anniversary of their mother's disappearance nears, her father's threat to send Woody away and his hints at an impending remarriage spur a desperate Shenny to find her mother before it's too late. She is ultimately swept up in a series of heartbreaking events that force her to come to terms with the painful truth about herself and her family. Told with the wisdom, sensitivity, and humor for which Lesley Kagen has become known, Tomorrow River is a stellar hardcover debut.

My heart was pounding at times while reading this, I have to admit. The suspense of what was going to happen to Woody and Shenny made me hold my breath and hope for the best, while knowing that it very well may not turn out well. Shenny is a great character, a girl I would love to know, with a spitfire attitude who cares so deeply for her sister. I loved the setting and Ms. Kagen does an excellent job allowing me to imagine myself right there along with them, running and hiding and playing detective. The only thing that held me back from giving it an A was the ending, something I thought I was a bit unbelieveable. I have the only other book I haven't read by Ms. Kagen on hold and I hope it comes in soon. Pick up one of her books... the sooner the better!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

61. Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah

I may have found a new favorite author. I love Ms. Hannah's voice and both of the stories I've read by her are extremely touching. I give Distant Shores an A-.

From Amazon:
Elizabeth and Jackson Shore married young, raised two daughters, and weathered the storms of youth as they built a future together. But after the children leave home, they quietly drift apart. When Jack accepts a wonderful new job offer, Elizabeth puts her needs aside to follow him across the country. Until the sudden death of her father changes everything.Grieving and alone, she retreats to an isolated beach house where she packs away the last remnants of her parents’ lives. There, the pieces of a past she never knew unfold to reveal a tender story of lasting devotion, the kind of steadfast commitment that Elizabeth admits is missing from her own marriage. Faced with her own disillusionment, she makes a terrifying decision, risking everything she has for a second chance at happiness. Enriched by soul-stirring emotion and an appreciation for the simple joy of everyday miracles, Distant Shores is an exquisite reminder of the most precious gifts in life: friends and family, children and lovers, the strength to change, and the courage to forgive–all flawlessly captured by the graceful hands of Kristin Hannah.

Ms. Hannah does an excellent job of making the characters real. While I found faults with both Elizabeth and Jack, I thought that just made them more realistic. Reading this story made me vow to keep working on my marriage each and every day. It's too simple to fall into that comfortable, relaxed, just get through the day mentality. I read this book fairly quickly and have to admit, I have already gone to library and get several more of Ms. Hannah's books. If you haven't read anything by her, I highly recommend you do so and fast!

60. Christietown by Susan Kandel

After reading and loving Dial H for Hitchcock, I decided to check out Ms. Kandel's previous books. I was a bit disappointed with Christietown, however, and can only give it a B-.

From Amazon:
A new suspense-themed housing tract on the edge of the Mojave Desert is about to open, and who better to help promote the Cotswold-cozy development than mystery biographer extraordinaire Cece Caruso? For the grand opening weekend, Cece is staging a play featuring the beloved sleuth Miss Marple. Of course, everything goes wrong, including a leading lady who ends up dead.
All is not well in Christietown; its secrets are as complicated as the truth behind Agatha Christie's real-life disappearance. The developer, an Englishman who claims to be Dame Agatha's descendent, has ruthless investors breathing down his neck. Meanwhile, Cece's got a wedding to plan, a baby shower to give, and an ex-husband who shows up on her doorstep with his fiancée and future mother-in-law. And when another body surfaces, the intrepid amateur sleuth knows she must play the famed detective for real—or suffer the same mysterious fate.

I felt like there was a lot of bouncing around in the book and there were a ton of characters, so at times I had a hard time keeping track of everyone and what exactly was going on. I did like the premise of the story, though, especially the idea of a community that focuses on the famed mystery writer. I probably would have liked the book more if I was more familiar with Ms. Christie's works, but I haven't read anything by her. Horrible I know! Anyways, a good cozy, but not a memorable one.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

59. Run for Your Life by James Patterson

I know I have missed some of Mr. Patterson's newer releases, so while I saw this one on display at my library I decided to give it a go. I read it in one day and it was a pleasant way to spend a warm Saturday afternoon. I give it a B+.

From Amazon:
A calculating killer who calls himself The Teacher is taking on New York City, killing the powerful and the arrogant. His message is clear: remember your manners or suffer the consequences! For some, it seems that the rich are finally getting what they deserve. For New York's elite, it is a call to terror. Only one man can tackle such a high-profile case: Detective Mike Bennett. The pressure is enough for anyone, but Mike also has to care for his 10 children-all of whom have come down with virulent flu at once! Discovering a secret pattern in The Teacher's lessons, Detective Bennett realizes he has just hours to save New York from the greatest disaster in its history. From the #1 bestselling author comes RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, the continuation of his newest, electrifying series

I loved the character of Mike and his over-sized family. I thought the Teacher's spin on things was interesting and you could almost relate with him... at least where he is coming from. This was your average Patterson thriller with short chapters and good story-telling. While not a book that will stay with me forever, a good read all around. Happy Reading!

58. Murder of a Wedding Belle by Denise Swanson

I love Ms. Swanson's Scumble River series and have bene waiting quite awhile for her latest through my local library. I finally got it and started reading it on a scary flight home from Atlantic City. I finished it the next day and was pleased. I give it a B+.

From Amazon:
School psychologist Skye Denison reluctantly agrees to act as maid of honor in her California cousin's over-the-top platinum-style wedding- and is also expected to assist the control-freak wedding planner. But when Skye discovers the planner dead, just one week before the big event, Skye is suddenly working double-duty. While overseeing every nuptial detail, she's also helping the police find out who hated the bridal consultant enough to kill her. Can Skye get her cousin to the church on time-and save herself from a killer who may actually be on the guest list?

You get exactly what you expect from one of Ms. Swanson's novels, a little mystery and a catching up with friends. While not exactly page turning, the book was a fast read and I was happy to see the Simon/Skye/Wally triangle hopefully be put to rest. If you ask me, that is one of the most annoying things an author can do and drag out for far to long (Stephanie Plum books anyone!?!) I always feel safe and warm while I read on of Ms. Swanson's books and I'm glad I got to read this one. If you are looking for a new cozy series, I highly suggest this one.

57. Listen by Rene Guttenridge

I picked up Listen because it was displayed as a new book at the library. The back cover had me intrigued, so I decided to give it a try. I was a bit disappointed and can only give it a C.

From Amazon:
Someone is listening . . . The quaint, close-knit community of Marlo was the ideal place to live . . . until someone started posting private conversations online for everyone to read, word for word. Now it’s neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, as careless comments and hurtful accusations turn the town upside down. Violence and paranoia escalate, and the police scramble to find the person responsible before more people get hurt—or even killed. But what responsibility do the residents of Marlo have for the words they say when they think no one is listening?

I thought that the premise was interesting and something a bit different but it just didn't work for me. The book is considered Christian fiction, but didn't read like that to me. While there were some mentions of praying and God, it was like someone was trying to force religion down your throat. My problem was the writing and the story itself. I thought some things were examined to death that didn't need to be and then more important plot aspects were not thought out and developed well enough. While not sorry I finished this book, I probably would not pick up another by Ms. Guttenridge.

56. Body Surfing by Anita Shreve

While I was looking around at my library, I came across many of Ms. Shreve's books. While I've never read any of hers, her name was certainly familiar to me and I decided to give Body Surfing a try. It was a fast read and ok. I give it a B.

From Amazon:
At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing, she has answered an ad to tutor the teenage daughter of a well-to-do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage. But when the Edwards's two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in a destructive web of old tensions and bitter divisions. As the brothers vie for her affections, the fragile existence Sydney has rebuilt is threatened. With the subtle wit, lyrical language, and brilliant insight into the human heart that has led her to be called "an author at one with her metier" (Miami Herald), Shreve weaves a novel about marriage, family, and the supreme courage it takes to love.

I really didn't like the setup of the book. There was maybe a paragraph or two and then a page break. It took me awhile to get into that and I have to admit, made the story seem a bit choppy. I felt like I really didn't get to know any of the main characters, which was a shame, and didn't allow me to connect to anyone. The story itself was in intriguing and there were plenty of twists and turns and I didn't understand some of the reactions and motivation of the characters until the end of the story. While I didn't fall in love, I may check out more of Ms. Shreve's books in the future.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

55. Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen

I am not sure what to say about Whistling in the Dark other than I absolutely adored and LOVED this book. I give it an A!

From Amazon:
It was the summer on Vliet Street when we all started locking our doors...
Sally O'Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she'd look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls' mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that Sally and Troo are on the Loose. And so is a murderer and molester.
Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things. Who the killer is. And that she's next on his list. Now she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.

I loved the way the book was told through a ten-year-old's eyes. At times I would forget that Sally was only ten, because she had some grown-up thoughts, but it was so refreshing. I have often said I would have loved to live in the 1950s and reading this book allowed for me to experience a bit of that. The descriptions of a quiet and small town during summer reminded me a bit of my own neightborhood and goes to show that while we think things were a bit more innocent and easier back then, that always wasn't the case. I'm so glad I read this book and even happier I read now in the summer, so I can imagine myself playing along with Sally and Troo and the rest of the kids on Vliet Street. Pick this one up if you haven't already. I'm off to check my library's database and see what else they have by Ms. Kagen! Happy Reading!

54. The Punch: A Novel by Noah Hawley

I grabbed The Punch from my local library off of the new release shelf. It seemed funny and something different, but perhaps the timing was off a bit. I give it a B-.

From Amazon:
David believes that at heart, people are inherently rotten. Scott, his brother, believes that his life is going to fall apart, and that everyone he loves will leave him. Doris, their mother, believes that she has nothing to lose by revealing a 60-year-old family secret. This hysterically biting and ultimately redeeming novel by Noah Hawley proves them all right and wrong while answering some of life's biggest questions. Like, how did Scott end up with two wonderful wives simultaneously? And why can't David manage to keep even one dysfunctional relationship going? It all comes down to love and families and what you believe in and, maybe, forgiveness.

As I mentioned above, maybe the timing was off with me because the death of my grandma was so fresh and recent. But because of that, I could also see how several of the reactions and thoughts were quite real. My family (aunts and the like) can be quite out there sometimes and hard to handle and that came across in this book. There was some humor involved and it was that dry humor that I love so much. While I probably won't read anything else by Mr. Hawley (at least I won't seek anything out), I wasn't disappointed with this book. It just probably won't stay with me for long.

53. Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah

I picked up Magic Hour while browsing. While I am sure I'd heard about Ms. Hannah before, I never read anything by her. I'm glad I gave it a go, it was a warm and touching book, one I needed to read while planning and getting through my beloved grandmother's funeral. I give it an A-.

From Amazon:
Deep in the Pacific Northwest lies the Olympic National Forest– nearly one million acres of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. Even in this modern age, much of it remains undiscovered and uncharted. From the heart of this old forest, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she can give no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past. . . .Until recently, Dr. Julia Cates was one of the preeminent child psychiatrists in the country, but a scandal shattered her confidence, ruined her career, and made her a media target. When she gets a desperate call from her estranged sister, Ellie, a police chief in their small western Washington hometown, she jumps at the chance to escape. In Rain Valley, nothing much ever happens–until a girl emerges from the deep woods and walks into town. She is a victim unlike any Julia has ever seen: a child locked in a world of unimaginable fear and isolation. When word spreads of the “wild child” and the infamous doctor who is treating her, the media descend on Julia and once again her competence is challenged. State and federal authorities want to lock the girl away in an institution until an identification can be made.But to Julia, who has come to doubt her own ability, nothing is more important than saving the girl she now calls Alice. To heal this child, Julia will have to understand that she cannot work alone and must look to others–the people in the town she left long ago, the sister she barely knows, and Dr. Max Cerrasin, a handsome, private man with secrets of his own.Then a shocking revelation forces Julia to risk everything to discover the truth about Alice. The ordeal that follows will test the limits of Julia’s faith, forgiveness, and love, as she struggles to ascertain where Alice ultimately belongs.In her most ambitious novel to date, Kristin Hannah delivers an incandescent story about the resilience of the human spirit, the triumph of hope, and the mysterious places in the heart where love lies waiting.

While in some spots a bit predictible, I fell in love with Ellie, Julia, the small twon where the story takes place, and of course Alice. This book was so warm and caring and it was so well written that I felt like I belonged there with the town. While I thought the ending could have been a bit better, I was left feeling happy and sad at the same time and content with reading it. As I mentioned above, while reading it we were planning and then attending my grandmother's funeral and in some ways, the book allowed me to escape but also remember the wonderful things my grandma did. I will definitely be checking out more of Ms. Hannah's backlist (as a matter of fact I already have checked out one of her other books!).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

52. The Dead Lie Down by Sophie Hannah

I've read two other books by Ms. Hannah and enjoyed them both. The Dead Lie Down was not an exception. I give it an A-.

From Amazon:
A breathtaking novel of psychological suspense from the author of Little Face and The Wrong Mother Featuring the return of Sergeant Charlotte "Charlie" Zailer and DC Simon Waterhouse, The Dead Lie Down is another sophisticated, addictive read from the new mistress of the page-turner. Ruth Bussey once did something wrong-horribly wrong-and was nearly destroyed by her punishment. Now, she has tentatively rebuilt her life and unexpectedly found love with a man named Aidan Seed. But Aidan also has a secret-he killed someone years ago, a woman named Mary Trelease. Ruth's horror turns to confusion when she realizes that she knows Mary Trelease, and Mary is very much alive.

There's a lot going on in this story and at times I found it hard to focus, though I have a feeling that has more to do with what's going on with me than the book. I love Ms. Hannah's ideas as they are so unique and different. I wasn't sure where the book was going and there were plenty of twists and turns. Set in England, there were a few slang terms that left me scratching my head, but I was able to pick them up eventually. If you are a fan of Tana French or really any psychological thriller authors, I would recommend you pick up one of Ms. Hannah's books.

51. Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl

I picked up Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl while browsing at my local library. While not the type of book I would normally go for, the cover caught my eye and I decided to give it a try. It was different, and a bit annoying, but still enjoyable. I give it a B.

From Amazon:
Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl is a wonderfully intelligent, sexually frank, rollicking novel that introduces us to Nancy Chan, a turn-of-the-millennium call girl who lives and works on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Nancy is full of contradictory desires; she frequently has to choose between making love and making money. On good days, she gets to do both. Surrounded by devoted, wealthy, and powerful johns, some of whom want more than just sex, and caught between two all-consuming call girl friends who complicate her life, Nancy navigates the tricky currents of the world’s oldest profession. With one foot in the bedrooms of her rich and demanding clients and one in the straight world of her unwitting fiancé, who has started to apartment-hunt and arrange a wedding, Nancy keeps her two worlds from colliding in her inimitable style.

The part of the book that annoyed me was the total and complete overuse of italics and exclamation points. They were used so much that it actually distracted me from the reading and had me counting the number on each page instead of focusing on the story. With that being said, the story was different and weird, but enjoyable. I am glad there wasn't a lot of actual descriptions of the sexual acts because when there were, they were quite graphic, and that the story focuses more on Nancy and trying to keep her two lives seperate. While I see there's a sequel out there, my library doesn't have it, so unless I come across it at used book store, I probably won't read it.

50. Dial H for Hitchcock by Susan Kandel

As a lover of all things Hitchcock, when I saw this book while browsing at my local library I knew I had to read it. While goofy at times, it was the perfect light hearted cozy mystery and one that I enjoyed. I give it a B.

From Amazon:
Cece Caruso—mystery biographer extraordinaire, vintage clothing enthusiast, and part-time sleuth—is in freefall. First, she calls off her wedding, for reasons even she can't explain. Second, her newest biography (of Alfred Hitchcock) is way past deadline.
So Cece puts on a houndstooth suit with peplum and heads out to see Vertigo, only to come home with a cell phone belonging to a stranger named Anita Colby. Nothing if not a good citizen, Cece tries to return the cell phone—only to hear someone push Anita off a cliff.
Now a woman is dead, and Cece is under suspicion (tip: don't leave rambling, incoherent messages on someone's answering machine just before she gets murdered). To clear her name and put the real murderer in jail, Cece's going on the lam, where she'll encounter mysterious strangers, unhelpful strippers, a bottle of blond hair dye, and twists and turns so eerie it's as if Hitch himself were writing the script

I loved all of the little details thrown in about Alfred Hitchcock's life and some of the stories behind his movies. Certain plot lines that occurred in the movies also happen in the book which I thought was real clever. This is part of a series, and while I normally don't enjoy reading books out of order, I thought it was ok in this sense. I think I missed some of the realationship aspects of Cece's life, but I don't think it will bother me. I even went to the library to check out the previous book in this series, Christietown, based on Agatha Christie books. I read this book while sitting at my grandmother's bedside while she was in hospice (we just lost her last night... I'm still numb from it all) and it was the perfect type of book to pick up and read a few pages here and there. It wa a quick read and probably would have gotten a higher rating if it weren't for the silly ending. I thought the ending was lacking quite a bit. Happy Reading!

49. Waiting to Surface by Emily Listfield

I've enjoyed all of the books I've read by Ms. Listfield and have been meaning to read Waiting to Surface for quite awhile. I picked it up from my local library and really enjoyed it. I give it a B+.

From Amazon:
On a steamy August morning, Sarah Larkin drops her six-year-old daughter, Eliza, off at camp and heads to her office, where she works as an editor of a women's magazine. Sitting at her desk testing a $450 face cream, she is just rubbing it into her forearm when the phone rings.
Detective Ronald Brook, speaking softly and deliberately, tells Sarah that her husband has vanished. A keening sound escapes from Sarah's throat as the detective lays out the few facts he knows.
A noted sculptor, Todd Larkin went swimming at midnight off the coast of Florida and hasn't returned. He was staying with a woman. He was drinking. He left behind his keys, wallet, cell phone, and his return airline ticket. They also found two drawings and pieces of a sculpture. But there is no trace of him or his body. The coast guard has been scouring the shoreline, but no one has seen a thing.
Has Todd run off to start a new life or is he dead? Could it have been an accident, suicide, or homicide? Immediately, Sarah's life spins into a world of uncer-tainty, hope, and fear as she grapples with the mystery of his disappearance.
As Sarah tries to discover what happened to the man she thought she knew better than anyone, she is forced to confront the love and resentments, the hopes and disappointments of her marriage. And through it all, she must find a way to help her young daughter deal with the crisis while meeting the demands of the high-powered magazine world.
Based on the author's own experiences, Waiting to Surface is a beautiful and haunting story about coming to terms with loss, learning to live in a world without answers, and discovering the ability to treasure love once again.

As the description states, the book is based loosely on the author's own life... her husband disappeared without ever being heard from again. I thought Ms. Listfield did an amazing job of describing her feelings and thoughts and I guess she would be the best judge of how one would respond and react to that sitituation. While the ending wasn't all that great, it does go to show that we don't always get what we want in real life either.