Monthly Archives: April 2018

My March Reading

I read 15 books this month, not impressive to my daughter if you’ve read my “February Reads” post, however, I felt ok about it! ūüôā¬† My first book for the month of March was “Fifty Fifty” by James Patterson, the second in his series about “Blue” a homicide detective whose brother has been accused of serial murder.¬† She’s determined to prove his innocence, but her temper keeps her away from his case and the courtroom and gets her sent to handle other cases far away from home.

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My second book was “I Survived the Children’s Blizzard, 1888” by Lauren Tarshis.¬† When my daughter was in elementary school we started reading the “I Survived” series together, and even though she’s moved on to Jr. High and bigger books, when I see a new “I Survived” book comes out, I still have to read it, I guess for old time’s sake.

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The third book I read in March was “Bonfire” by Krysten Ritter, a story of a small town Indiana girl turned Chicago environmentalist attorney.¬† The main manufacturer in her hometown, the company that has brought her town back from the edge of poverty and extinction, is now under investigation for environmental pollution.¬† When Abby Williams gets home to Barrens, Indiana, she isn’t exactly welcome home with open arms.¬† Her investigation threatens the economical heart of the town.¬† Things are not going well for Abby in Barrens, she and her team are squabbling, there is an arson fire in the workspace that contains their files and research against Optimal plastics, destroying everything, and Abby’s father, a devout Christian, dies of an apparent suicide.¬† She has to wonder if her being her, investigating a company that no one in the town wants her to investigate, is worth all that she is losing while she’s there.¬† I gave it a 3/5 stars.

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My fourth book was “The Last Black Unicorn” by Tiffany Haddish, which I reviewed in full here.

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My fifth book read was “The Passengers” by Lisa Lutz.¬† I don’t remember reading a book by this author before.¬† This was one of my audio-around-the-house books – I download it from my laundry and play it on my phone while I’m busy around the house.¬† I can play it while I clean, wash/dry/fold/hang laundry, do dishes, prep dinner, bake, dust, carry out trash and recyclables, all but take a shower while listening.¬† I tried really hard to get into it.¬† By the time I realized it was still moving slow, it was still predictable, and it still wasn’t going to get better,¬† I was over halfway done with the book, and just decided to finish it.¬† I can’t give you a great recommendation for this book, and I probably won’t pursue more books by Ms. Lutz.

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The sixth book in March was called “The Tumor” by John Grisham, and he said that its the most important book he’s ever written.¬† After reading it, I have to agree.¬† His book reveals¬†an outpatient ultrasound treatment, while not covered by insurance at this time, could save patients with many illnesses, even those we consider terminal.¬† Terminal patients could have many added years of high-quality life with this treatment.¬† In this book, John Grisham details two differing paths of one patient – his life without this treatment after a brain cancer diagnosis, where his family goes deeply in debt, and the flip side of the coin, where the patient receives this non-invasive ultrasound, covered by insurance, where the costs are manageable, and his life with stage 4 terminal cancer is extended.

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Book seven was “Sworn to Silence” by Linda Castillo, the first book in the Kate Burkholder series.¬† Kate is a former Amish girl turned police chief in the small town of Painter’s Mill.¬† In Sworn to Silence Chief Burkholder deals with a serial killer who carves Roman Numerals into the abdomens of his victims.

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I followed that up with my eighth book, the second book in the Kate Burkholder series, “Pray for Silence”, in which Chief Burkholder must solve the mystery of the death of an entire Amish family, seven people, in one household.

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My ninth book was “Breaking Silence”, you guessed it, the third book in the Kate Burkholder series.¬† I was on a roll…..¬† Parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, apparent victims of methane gas asphyxiation, no, not from dinner (hahaha), but rather from a poorly vented cesspit.¬† Which is totally plausible, until a head wound is discovered on one of the bodies.

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I took a Burkholder break for number ten with “The Quest” by Nelson DeMille.¬† This is a book he originally wrote in 1975, then rewrote in 2013, doubling its length.¬† Two journalists and their photographer are taking refuge from the Ethiopian Civil War in the jungle when an elderly, wounded priest comes upon them, and during the night tells his story of 40 years captivity for knowing the location of Christ’s cup from the Last Supper.¬† He dies from his wounds, and by the time the sun rises the three have decided that they must find this relic for themselves.¬† This trek takes them to and from the Ethiopian Civil War, through captivity, negotiations, escape, Rome and the Vatican, and back to the jungle.¬† But did the priest tell them a fanciful daydream, the fantastic imagination of a man kept in solitary confinement for forty years, or an incredibly detailed memory held on to for decades?

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Book eleven was “Home Sweet Murder” by James Patterson, which details two of the real-life true crime stories seen on the Investigation Discovery: Murder Is Forever show on the ID channel.

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Now into the James Patterson/TV books, I read “Murder Games” by James Patterson for my twelfth book of the month.¬† The new TV show Instinct is based on this book.¬† For the most part, I like the people they’ve chosen to represent the characters in the book, however, there are quite a few cheesy lines in the show, which make it not quite as enjoyable to me as the book.

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For number thirteen I was back to Kate Burkholder.¬† I had previously read book number four as it was the only one available, then this month I read one, two and three.¬† “Long Lost” by Linda Castillo is considered number 4.5 in the series.¬† Its a shorter story, published in e-book form, detailing Chief Burkholder on vacation.¬† She is told the story of a local girl who went missing under strange circumstances, and as one does on vacation, she spends her time interviewing people unofficially outside of her jurisdiction to gain more knowledge about the missing girl.

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Book fourteen was neither the interesting Chief Burkholder, nor James Patterson’s TV/Books, it was “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen (very serious intro by Newt Gingrich). The story is about a college town in a small mountain town in North Carolina, and how they fare after the United States is attacked with an EMP bomb.¬† (Electro Magnetic Pulse).¬† The EMP fries most all circuits in everything electrical.¬† Cars, computers, phone systems, generators, down to the smallest things we take for granted – like a glucose meter.¬† With no running water, electricity, or vehicles from the last 30 years that work, the town is plunged back to the ways of a century ago.¬† Currency is no longer paper money, but bullets and food.¬† How do you run a city when you have no infrastructure.¬† How do you maintain law and order?¬† How do you protect your city and its meager supplies from groups of people who want to take it by force?¬† How do you keep your hospital patients and nursing home residents alive when you have no medicine, no running oxygen/ventilator systems, no electricity, no running water, no alarmed doors to keep the Alzheimer’s patients confined to one wing, and prevent them from leaving the building and wandering out alone?¬† These are things that 95% of the population is not prepared for.¬† How do you gather and ration food for a city?¬† Provide protection?¬† Put out fires when people start cooking in a fireplace indoors with no running fire trucks or water?¬† This book is obviously fiction but written with so much forethought that it sounds like a premonition of something to come.

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The last book of the month, number fifteen, was the continuation of the last story, called “One Year After” by the same author.¬† The small town in North Carolina has survived one year, albiet with a lot less population than they had 366 days prior.¬† They’ve built an infrastucture, and have a few running vintage vehicles.¬† Some of the college students have found old magazines detailing how to build and grow things the “old fashioned way” that have turned out to be very useful.¬† They have gardens, ration cards, most of the sick have died from lack of medicine, oxygen or food.¬† Their borders seem secure, and they now have a small trained military force.¬† They have very basic communication with the towns on either side of them and seem to be gaining their footing in this new world.¬† Of course, something has to come in and ruin that, so the newly formed US government sends in troops to help regain control, establish a draft, and secure national borders which other countries have encroached upon during this collapse.

I have been anxiously looking for the third book, “The Final Day”, which neither my library nor my libraries online e-book or audio Overdrive have, so I will apparently have to purchase it to find out what happens!

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That’s my wrapup for books read in the month of March.¬† I need to have an entirely separate post for the books I acquired during March.¬† Many more than 15, and of course, so many added to my TBR pile from my online book groups and other reader friends!

Have you read any of these books?  What was your favorite March read?

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April 6, 2018 · 12:28 PM

Plum Island by Nelson DeMille

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Plum Island is the first book in the John Corey series.¬† John is an NYPD homicide detective who was recently injured in the line of duty and is convalescing at his uncle’s Long Island Victorian home.¬† He is approached by the local police chief to help with a double murder investigation and he agrees to be a consultant on the case.¬† Of course, he got more than he bargained for.

At first, the double murder of Tom and Judy Gordon looks like a burglary gone wrong, however, the Gordons were biologists at the off-shore animal disease research site, Plum Island, and rumors spread that they stole a bioweapon to sell, or an immunization they could market for millions.  But it could also be drugs or an actual burglary, and now Det. Corey is intrigued.  The Gordons had their own boat that they drove to and from Plum Island instead of taking the work-provided ferry and had recently purchased one acre of shorefront land that could be developed, which are both curious.

During the murder investigation, Det. Corey meets two single, attractive women, a local Detective, Beth Penrose, and a local historian and florist, Emma Whitestone, both of which have a major impact on his life.  The story has parties, lust, love, legends, sex, midnight skinny dipping in the ocean, caves, bunkers, vineyards, and it culminates with a tropical storm and Detectives Corey and Penrose in the storm on a boat headed toward Plum Island, chasing a murder suspect.

This book kept me interested for the entire 500 + pages and had a few twists that I did not see coming.¬† This is the third Nelson DeMille book I’ve read, the others were stand-alone novels, both very interesting, and this John Corey book did not disappoint.¬† I’m waiting on the second book from my local library, and I happened upon the third and fourth books of the series in my library bookstore for $1 each in hardback!

The other Nelson DeMille books I’ve read were “The Cuban Affair” and “The Quest”.

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