Monday, June 27, 2011

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

Nobody could have foreseen what would happen the day that Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom in the cafeteria of her daughter's elementary school. Rose dose it to keep a discreet eye on her third grader, Melly, a sweet, if shy, child who was born with a facial birthmark that has become her won personal bull's-eye. Melly has been targeted by the mean girl at their new school & gets bullied every day, placing Rose in a no-win position familiar to parents everywhere: Do we step in to protect our children when they need us or does that make things worse?

When the bully starts to tease Melly yet again, Rose is about to leap into action - but right then, that unthinkable happens, Rose finds herself in a nightmare, faced with an emergency decision that no mother should ever have to make. What she decides in that split second derails Rose's life & jeopardizes everyone she holds dear, until she takes matters into her own hands & lays her life on the line to save her child, her family, her marriage and herself.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Matter of Faith

Jennifer Haigh's new novel, Faith, is further proof of her amazing talent. Faith looks at one family and examines their faith in God, family, and the world through the lens of a scandal that has become all too familiar in the last few years. The narrator, Sheila, leads us through the story of how Arthur, her brother and a Catholic priest, is accused of inappropriate sexual activity with a young boy. All through the book, we accompany Sheila, Arthur, and their brother Mike on this journey through their childhood and subsequent years, seeing Arthur as the family knows him and also as the world views him. Sheila and Mike are sometimes at cross-purposes, and their faith in Arthur tips and sways throughout. The reader is taken along on this emotional ride and allowed to speculate on the truth until the final pages. The book is heartbreaking, sensitive, and somewhat critical of the Catholic heirarchy, but readers of all faiths will enjoy it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Beautiful Boy

From as early as grade school, the world seemed to be on Nic Sheff's string. Bright and athletic, he excelled in any setting and appeared destined for greatness. Yet as childhood exuberance faded into teenage angst, the precocious boy found himself going down a much different path. Seduced by the illicit world of drugs and alcohol, he quickly found himself caught in the clutches of addiction. Beautiful Boy in Nic's story, but from the perspective of his father, David. Achingly honest, it chronicles the betrayal, pain, and terrifying question marks that haunt the loved ones of an addict. Many respond to addiction with a painful oath of silence, but David Sheff opens up personal wounds to reinforce that it is a disease, and must be treated as such. Most importantly, his journey provides those in similar situations with a commodity that they can never lose: hope.

Publisher's Weekly review.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


This book is uplifting, powerful, and surprising. Alan Christoffersen, a once successful executive, awakens one morning injured, alone, and recuperating from a vicious roadside knifing after already losing his wife, his business, and his home. Alan leaves everything he knew behind and sets off on a cross country journey carrying only a backpack. Alan needs several months of recuperation after the knifing and a mysterious woman, named Angel, enters his life and invites him to stay in her home. Angel and Alan form a wonderful friendship and help each other with their problems. As Alan continues walking, he meets a girl who is about to age out of the foster system. Their relationship also becomes very special. This book is all about disappointment and love, giving hope to others, forgiving others, and finding job again.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Hypnotist

This Scandinavian mystery is touted as being the next "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" sensation. It start off with a grisly murder--that of three out of four members of a family. Should the survivors be afraid of the murderer or are they in fact responsible for the deaths of the rest of their family? The detective Joona Linna demands to be given the case. He pushes a psychiatrist who specializes in hypnotherapy to use this technique on the boy as soon as he comes out of a coma. Previously Dr. Bark had promised never to use hypnosis again and in doing so he lets loose a terrifying chain of events.
The first third of this book is a page turner. The next third is definitely slower and confusing at times especially during the hypnotherapy sessions conducted by Dr. Bark. Detective Linna shows himself to be pretty arrogant; he takes on two overlapping cases with help only from a secretary who has a crush on him. There doesn't seem to be other detectives. He also goes over his bosses' heads without a thought and is rude and pushy with the superintendent.
Dr. Bark takes all kinds of drugs on a regular basis and yet no one notices this at the hospital where he works. His wife--the woman with two names--does not demand that he seek rehab. In fact, in spite of the drugs, he bikes all over the city and helps solve the crime. Basically the only likeable character is Dr. Bark's son.
My other problem with the book: except for the snow it could take place in any country. I enjoy Scandinavian mysteries and this one has no sense of place or people. You never find out why the original murders take place and who exactly is responsible for them. In no way does it come close to the novels of Steig Larson, Henning Mankell, or Karin Fossum.
Enjoy it for being a fast read, but don't expect much!