Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Red Book

by Deborah Copaken Kogan

Clover, Addison, Mia, and Jane were roommates at Harvard until their graduation in 1989. Clover, homeschooled on a commune by mixed-race parents, felt woefully out of place. Addison yearned to shed the burden of her Mayflower heritage. Mia mined the depths of her suburban ennui to enact brilliant performances on the Harvard stage. Jane, an adopted Vietnamese war orphan, made sense of her fractured world through words.

Twenty years later, Clover, once a securities broker with Lehman, is out of a job and struggling to reproduce before her fertility window slams shut. Addison’s marriage to a writer’s-blocked novelist is as stale as her so-called career as a painter. Hollywood shut its gold-plated gates to Mia, who now stays home with her four children, renovating and acquiring faster than her director husband can pay the bills. Jane, the Paris bureau chief for a newspaper whose foreign bureaus are now shuttered, is caught in a vortex of loss.

Like all Harvard grads, they’ve kept abreast of one another via the red book, a class report published every five years, containing brief autobiographical essays by fellow alumni. But there’s the story we tell the world, and then there’s the real story, as these former classmates will learn during their twentieth reunion weekend, when they arrive with their families, their histories, their dashed dreams, and their secret yearnings to a relationship-changing, score-settling, unforgettable weekend. ~from the publisher

Reviewed by Lisa for Between the Covers Adult Summer Reading Program:  Interesting read about a group of friends going to their twentieth college reunion, and how their lives have evolved since graduating from Harvard.  4 out of 5 stars

Gun Games

by Faye Kellerman

The Hesse suicide strikes a troubling chord in the household of Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus, now that they've taken in Gabe Whitman—the gifted and brilliant fifteen-year-old son of a killer—whose own unexplained comings and goings only remind Decker that he knows almost nothing about the secretive boy living under his roof. But it's a second teen suicide—a young girl who attended the same exclusive prep school as Gregory Hesse—that points Decker and his detectives down a dark alley of twisted allegiances and unholy alliances . . . and toward a cold-blooded group of high schoolers with a shocking predilection for guns and violence. ~from the publisher

Reviewed by Marie for Between the Covers Adult Summer Reading ProgramDecker/Lazarus novel--a good story.  4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Venetian Betrayal

by Steve Berry

In this novel of suspense, a miraculous healing serum, kept secret by an ancient puzzle and buried with the mummified remains of Alexander the Great--in a tomb lost to the ages for more than 1,500 years--is the coveted prize for a cunning despot unless Cotton Malone, former U.S. Justice Department agent turned rare-book dealer, can beat her to it.

Reviewed by Patrick for Between the Covers Adult Summer Reading Program:  Very good adventure yarn.  4 out of 5 stars

Calico Joe

by John Grisham

In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen.  The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records.  Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever. ~from the publisher

Reviewed by Marie for Between the Covers Adult Summer Reading Program:  Fun, entertaining, unrealistic (!) but a good summer "listen."  4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lone Wolf

by Jodi Picoult

Luke Warren has spent his life researching wolves. He has written about them, studied their habits intensively, and even lived with them for extended periods of time. In many ways, Luke understands wolf dynamics better than those of his own family. His wife, Georgie, has left him, finally giving up on their lonely marriage. His son, Edward, twenty-four, fled six years ago, leaving behind a shattered relationship with his father. Edward understands that some things cannot be fixed, though memories of his domineering father still inflict pain. Then comes a frantic phone call: Luke has been gravely injured in a car accident with Edward’s younger sister, Cara.
Suddenly everything changes: Edward must return home to face the father he walked out on at age eighteen. He and Cara have to decide their father’s fate together. Though there’s no easy answer, questions abound: What secrets have Edward and his sister kept from each other? What hidden motives inform their need to let their father die . . . or to try to keep him alive? What would Luke himself want? How can any family member make such a decision in the face of guilt, pain, or both? And most importantly, to what extent have they all forgotten what a wolf never forgets: that each member of a pack needs the others, and that sometimes survival means sacrifice? Lone Wolf describes the nature of a family: the love, protection, and strength it can offer—and the price we might have to pay for those gifts. What happens when the hope that should sustain a family is the very thing tearing it apart?  ~from the publisher

Reviewed by Lisa for Between the Covers Adult Summer Reading Program:  Very well written story of survival in the wilderness and living with wolves.  Also how a child handles the fate of a terminal parent after a tragic accident.  5 out of 5 stars

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Gods of Gotham

by Lyndsay Faye

It is 1845 and New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever. Timothy Wilde tends bar near the Exchange, saving every dollar and shilling in hopes of winning the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams literally incinerate in a fire devastating downtown Manhattan, he finds himself disfigured, unemployed, and homeless. His older brother obtains Timothy a job in the newly minted NYPD, but he is highly skeptical of this untested "police force." And he is less than thrilled that his new beat is the notoriously down-and-out Sixth Ward-at the border of Five Points, the world's most notorious slum.

One night while returning from his rounds, heartsick and defeated, Timothy runs into a little slip of a girl—a girl not more than ten years old—dashing through the dark in her nightshift . . . covered head to toe in blood. Timothy knows he should take the girl to the House of Refuge, yet he can't bring himself to abandon her. Instead, he takes her home, where she spins wild stories, claiming that dozens of bodies are buried in the forest north of 23rd Street. Timothy isn't sure whether to believe her or not, but, as the truth unfolds, the reluctant copper star finds himself engaged in a battle for justice that nearly costs him his brother, his romantic obsession, and his own life. ~from the publisher

Reviewed by Marie for Between the Covers Adult Summer Reading Program:  Interesting novel of police force formed in New York City--but slow moving.  2 out of 5 stars

An Absolute Scandal

by Penny Vincenzi

An inside view of the greed and social power plays behind the closed doors of upper-crust society. When the money disappears in the thick of a financial crisis, the real story begins. For Nigel Cowper, this means the destruction of his family business; his wife, Lucinda, is willing to do everything she can to help him—except give up her irresistible lover. The powerful, charismatic banker Simon Beaumont and his equally successful wife Elizabeth lose everything they've worked so hard to acquire; but the ultimate tragedy is something that neither one could have anticipated. Yet the well-to-do are not the only ones whose lives are upended: a self-sufficient widow, a single mother, and a schoolmaster find that their lives are also turned upside down. ~from the publisher

Reviewed by Jeanne as part of Between the Covers Adult Summer Reading Program:  Hard to get into, but then a real page-turner!  All about a financial crisis and the effect on several families.  5 out of 5 stars