Host by Robin Cook

Book Description:

Published: October 20, 2015

Lynn Peirce, a fourth-year medical student at South Carolina’s Mason-Dixon University, thinks she has her life figured out. But when her otherwise healthy boyfriend, Carl, enters the hospital for routine surgery, her neatly ordered life is thrown into total chaos. Carl fails to return to consciousness after the procedure, and an MRI confirms brain death.

Devastated by Carl’s condition, Lynn searches for answers. Convinced there’s more to the story than what the authorities are willing to reveal, Lynn uses all her resources at Mason-Dixon—including her initially reluctant lab partner, Michael Pender—to hunt down evidence of medical error or malpractice.

What she uncovers, however, is far more disturbing. Hospitals associated with Middleton Healthcare, including the Mason-Dixon Medical Center, have unnervingly high rates of unexplained anesthetic complications and patients contracting serious and terminal illness in the wake of routine hospital admissions.

When Lynn and Michael begin to receive death threats, they know they’re into something bigger than either of them anticipated. They soon enter a desperate race against time for answers before shadowy forces behind Middleton Healthcare and their partner, Sidereal Pharmaceuticals, can put a stop to their efforts once and for all.

Review –

I was disappointed in this latest release by author Robin Cook because the subject matter was nothing new. In fact, I’ve read the same story line in a couple of other books in the not too distant past.

It was a good read and I’m glad to have read it but I felt like I was reading a re-run instead of a new release. Just saying!

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The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #10) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: August 26, 2014

Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he’d only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. “There is a balm in Gilead,” his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, “to make the wounded whole.”

While Gamache doesn’t talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache’s help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. “There’s power enough in Heaven,” he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, “to cure a sin-sick soul.” And then he gets up. And joins her.

Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it The land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

I thought as I read this installment of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series that I would rate it four stars but  that all changes within the last ten to fifteen minutes of the story. I had the audio version and it allows me to see how much of a chapter I have listened to or how much is left, it’s just one of the Audible apps’ features that I love.

Within the last minutes of the book a character from the village of Three Pines died, a character that I never really liked that much or became invested in, but when he died I cried, like big tears rolling down my face cried. It was a heart-wrenching moment and it will affect the entire village and especially the spouse, whose character I love. I applaud the author, Louise Penny, for her decision to kill off a person of the beloved village to make the series grow and expand.

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Olivia Helps With Christmas by Ian Falconer

Book Description:

Published: October 2, 2007

Christmas is coming, and Olivia is incredibly busy. She has to wait for Santa, make sure dad sets up the tree, wait for Santa, watch mom make the Christmas dinner, wait for Santa, oversee the care with which the stockings are hung and, of course, OPEN HER PRESENTS! Do you see how hard it is to be so helpful during the holidays? A lovingly-told and lavishly-illustrated Olivia Helps With Christmas is the perfect stuffing for any stocking, and a bright star atop the Olivia series.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

Olivia is such a cute character and very inventive.  She tells her Mom that she will set the table for Christmas Dinner and when her Mother sees it her mouth falls open because for the centerpiece Olivia has cut off the tip-top part of the family Christmas tree and used it. That is just one of the cute things Olivia does in this book.

I’ll be sending this to me niece, Kate, next month to add to her ever-growing Olivia collection.

Fantastic  read!

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Captivated by You (Crossfire #4) by Sylvia Day

Book Description:

Published: April 1, 2014

Gideon calls me his angel, but he’s the miracle in my life. My gorgeous, wounded warrior, so determined to slay my demons while refusing to face his own.

The vows we’d exchanged should have bound us tighter than blood and flesh. Instead they opened old wounds, exposed pain and insecurities, and lured bitter enemies out of the shadows. I felt him slipping from my grasp, my greatest fears becoming my reality, my love tested in ways I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to bear.

At the brightest time in our lives, the darkness of his past encroached and threatened everything we’d worked so hard for. We faced a terrible choice: the familiar safety of the lives we’d had before each other or the fight for a future that suddenly seemed an impossible and hopeless dream…

Review –
I was really disappointed with this installment of the Crossfire series because I thought that once Gideon and Eva were married things would settle down a bit-but instead everything in their lives seems to be causing more friction between them than ever before.
I didn’t know that there was a fifth book in the mix so I was quite upset (to say the least) when this book ended leaving a multitude of questions unanswered.
I have faith in the author that in the next book she will let them have their HEA and that things will also work out for Cary and Trey.
Can’t wait til the next book is released.
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We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Book Description:

Published: March 24, 2015

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed.

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.

Two months to really live.

Review –

In the simplest terms ,We All Looked Up is a story about Andy (a stoner punk who’s in the charmingly named band Perineum), Eliza (the artist with a reputation for being sexually  easy), Anita (the perfect good girl with straight A’s headed to Princeton), and Peter (an athlete having an existential crisis), who are brought together by an asteroid, named Ardor.  The world is thrown into chaos when scientists decide that the asteroid is 66.6% likely to collide with Earth. Everyone has 7 or 8 weeks to just wait for this to (potentially) happen.

I found the majority of the book bland and slow and the chemistry between the main characters was lack-luster. What saved the book for me was the last few chapters when things really ramped up.

You can imagine how  society would break down and violence would become a normal occurence if the end of the word is supposedly a few weeks away. Along with this you have drug dealers and “crazy people” losing it and that doesn’t bode well for one of the four teenagers. To find out with one, you’ll have to read the book.

I was VERY disappointed with the ending-and I won’t say what happened but suffice it to say that I like things spelled out for me.

Good book that makes you think.  What would you do if you had 6-7 weeks left to live?

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I love this cover!

How the Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #9) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: August 27, 2013

A DETECTIVE
As a fierce, unrelenting winter grips Quebec, shadows are closing in on Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department and hostile forces are lining up against him.

A DISAPPEARANCE
When Gamache receives a message about a mysterious case in Three Pines, he is compelled to investigate — a woman who was once one of the most famous people in the world has vanished.

A DEADLY CONCLUSION
As he begins to shed light on the investigation, he is drawn into a web of murder, lies and unimaginable corruption at the heart of the city. Facing his most challenging, and personal, case to date, can Gamache save the reputation of the Sûreté, those he holds dear and himself?

Evocative, gripping and atmospheric, this magnificent work of crime fiction from international bestselling author Louise Penny will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

First I’m going to RANT – I wrote a LONG, INVOLVED  and WONDERFUL (if I do say so myself) review about ten minutes ago and was about to hit the “publish” button when my screen froze. In the past, the post auto-saved, but not THIS  time. Now my mind is a blank and I’m fuming. I’m going to have to calm down before tackling this again. #ihatecomputerssometime

OMG, this has to be the best of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series to date because it is  nail-biting suspenseful, plot driven and the back story that has been building in the last several books comes to a harrowing end.

The murder that occurs in this book doesn’t happen in Three Pines but does involve some of the beloved villagers. The last of five quintuplets  that was born seventy-seven years ago was killed and Gamache welcomes the chance to go back to Three Pines to solve it.

His Homicide Division has been gutted by his nemesis, the Superintendent and Inspector Beauvoir is a full-fledged drug addict now and works for the “bad guy”. His brain is so messed up that he doesn’t realize that he is being manipulated to hate his friend, Gamache, and also to become dependant on pain pills.  Annie broke up with him because he doesn’t think he has a problem and he thinks  that her father, Gamache, told her to break up with him.(paranoid much!)

The crime that sends Chief Inspector Armand Gamache to Three Pines is the murder of the last of the Famous Quintuplets born seventy-seven years ago. I’m sure the author was inspired by the real life story of the famous Dionne Quintuplets born in Canada in 1934. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionne_quintuplets  I love it when history is incorporated into fiction, it’s like getting a bonus.

Along side the murder investigation, there is the story of the evil Superintendent and his more evil boss(read the book to find out who he is) and their plan to bring down on the most traveled bridges in Canada. This storyline come to a harrowing conclusion when Jean-Guy Beauvoir has to shot the Chief Inspector in the back to stop him from opening the door to the schoolhouse and getting killed in an explosion set by the Superintendent.

The end of the story is more upbeat but I won’t give it away because it has been a long time coming in this series and you’ll just have to read the book  to see what I mean.

Fantastic book!!!!!

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Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

Book Description:

Published: July 7, 2015

Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives.

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past.

This time there’s nowhere left to run.

As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by author, Chevy Stevens and I found it a dark journey into abuse, first at home, and then at the hands of the three boys in the small town of Cash Creek and all of this is brought about things get out of hand and the youngest of three sisters kills her abusive alcoholic father.  The girls clean up the mess and bury the body and leave, never to come back. On the way their truck breaks down in the dirty tiny town and two boys who work at a garage offer to fix it for them. The girls need to earn money to pay for the repairs so the boys tell them about a  ranch owned by their father where they could get jobs. The girls work hard and see that the boys are in no hurry to fix the truck so they become wary, but they are kidnapped, beaten, raped and held for five days in an old warehouse until they can escape.

Eighteen years later, the Campbells live under different names in Vancouver, but the past still haunts them. When Crystal, the middle sister, experiences a troubling flashback, she decides to return to Cash Creek to kill the Luxton brothers and is followed by her neice, Skylar, the baby conceived by the rape of the youngest sister. I won’t give away anything but what follows is a NAIL BITER! 
I had to stop listening for a few hours(I had the audio version) because it was dark and suspenseful and I couldn’t stand it.  My heart was almost beating out of my chest.
I highly recommend that you add this book to your TO BE READ list.
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The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: July 2, 2013

No outsiders are ever admitted to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, hidden deep in the wilderness of Quebec, where two dozen cloistered monks live in peace and prayer. They grow vegetables, they tend chickens, they make chocolate. And they sing. Ironically, for a community that has taken a vow of silence, the monks have become world-famous for their glorious voices, raised in ancient chants whose effect on both singer and listener is so profound it is known as “the beautiful mystery.”

But when the renowned choir director is murdered, the lock on the monastery’s massive wooden door is drawn back to admit Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec. There they discover disquiet beneath the silence, discord in the apparent harmony. One of the brothers, in this life of prayer and contemplation, has been contemplating murder. As the peace of the monastery crumbles, Gamache is forced to confront some of his own demons, as well as those roaming the remote corridors. Before finding the killer, before restoring peace, the Chief must first consider the divine, the human, and the cracks in between.

Review –

This is the first book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series where a murder occurred elsewhere than Three Pines. The villagers of Three Pines played no part in this story what so ever. 

I liked that we were taken inside the monastery of Saint Gilbert -Entre-les-Loups and shown hidden rooms and secret gardens. The characters of the twenty-four monks came to life in their daily prayers and chores.

Jean-Guy Beauvoir was there to help the Chief Inspector and we find out that he and Annie, the Chief Inspector’s daughter, have been dating for the last three months but keeping it a secret. He is also off the pain pills and I was so relieved to read that. Jean-Guy is a great character and I hate to see the person he becomes when he’s popping pills.

A day or so into the investigation, the Chief Inspector’s boss (who is a real a**hole and hates Gamache) shows up at the very remote monastery saying that’s he wants to help. HA! He is there to mind f**k Beauvoir and see what he can find out about Gamache that can be used to take him down.

Unbeknownst to Jean-Guy he plays right into his hands and is tricked into taking Oxycontin  and almost overdose and Gamache has to take his gun and badge away  and suspends him because he is argumentative and refuses to go to rehab when they get back to Montreal. The Chief Superintendent overrides Gamache and returns the gun and badge to Jean-Guy and they leave together. I hated when that happened because Jean -Guy, in his condition, can’t see that he is being horribly manipulated. He has turned his back on his friendship with Gamache and that’s the worse thing he could do.

We find out the killer of the monk near the end of the story and it wasn’t who I thought it was so that was good, because I really hated predictable story lines.

I love this series and have started number nine and by the blurb I can see that things are going to get a lot worse for the Chief Inspector before they get better.

Five stars *****

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Corduroy’s Best Halloween Ever by Don Freeman

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2001

Halloween is almost here, and Corduroy can’t wait! He is going to have a party. He and his friends will carve a jack-o’-lantern, bob for apples, and go trick-or-treating! But there is one problem-Corduroy needs to choose a costume. What will he wear?

Review –

This is the book I chose for Camille who with two the first part of December.

Corduroy and his friends help the people in their town decorate for Halloween and everyone is very excited about  going Trick or Treating and shop for costumes but Corduroy can’t decide what he wants to be.  Finally, he buys a dinosaur mask and goes home and MAKES an elaborate costume to match.

The party is about to begin when Puppy comes crying and tells Corduroy that his costume has fallen to pieces. Corduroy sees how distraught Puppy is so he gives him the dinosaur costume.  Everyone comes and the party is a hit but Corduroy has no costume. When it’s time to go Trick or Treating he pulls a white cloth off of the table and cuts eyes and goes as a ghost.

Great story and I think Camille will love it.

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Pippa the Pumpkin Fairy by Tim Bugbird

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2014

Pippa uses her special wand to make pumpkin lanterns with “BOO” faces for the fairies’ annual party. One year, it all goes wrong for Pippa, but instead of telling the truth, she lets the other fairies believe that her lanterns will be the best ever! Soon, everyone is talking about Pippa, but what will happen when the truth finally comes out?
Review –
It’s that time of year again when I send my niece, Kate, and her cousin, Camille, books for Halloween and this one goes to Kate because she’s two and a half and the older of the two girls.
The story is weak but Kate will love it and the illustrations are beautiful with larger than life fairy faces and bright vibrant colors.
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