Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Title: Beauty Queens, Author: Libba Bray Beauty Queens. Finished 3-28-19, 3.5/5 stars, YA, pub. 2011

Unabridged audio read by the author. 14 hours 30 minutes.

From bestselling Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.

Teen beauty queens. A Lost-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to e-mail. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.   from Goodreads

This was on my Goodreads Cleanup list and even though no one said they loved it I stil thought it looked like fun and the library had the audio.  The audio is the way to go with this one.  Author Libba Bray read it and she was so good.  I mean like really good.  Thanks to her I laughed out loud throughout the book.  Each of the girls had their own voice and the “Sarah Palin” character (that’s not her name and it doesn’t mention her, but some of the scenes are recognizable) earns much respect for Bray.

Beauty queens stuck on an abandoned island could have been fun but add it reality show pirates and evil dictators trying to take over the world and you’ve got a story.  The book was too long, but the funny parts made up for it.  Did your state make it?  I’m proud to say that Miss Ohio made it to the end, but not too many did.

 

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Title: The Immortalists, Author: Chloe Benjamin The Immortalists.  Finished 3-21-19, 3.5/5 stars, fiction, pub. 2018

If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.       from Goodreads

Would you want to know the day of your death?  I can see both sides of this argument, but always seem to come back to the same thought.  I wouldn’t want to lose the joy and miracle and possibility of every day by knowing.  We chose not to know the sex of our baby either.  I wonder if there’s a correlation between the two?  Let me know what you think.

Anyway, we’re talking about the book.  So much potential.  Simon, the first sibling story, is by far the best section of the book.  It made the most sense.  He knew he was going to die young, when he had the opportunity to move across the country and embrace his homosexuality, he took it and never looked back.  His story overlapped a bit with Klara’s since they were roomies in San Francisco, so by default, her story also felt genuine.  It was Daniel’s story that derailed a decent novel.  Daniel and Varya both fell prey to too much sensationalism, in my opinion.

I liked it, but did feel like it wasted so much potential, especially the second half of the book.  This feeling was shared by most of my book group and we even had one who didn’t make it through Simon’s story before putting it down.  But hey, at least we had good food and company 🙂

TRAJ1101

True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh

Title: True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, Author: Thich Nhat Hanh True Love. Finished 3-31-19, rating 4/5, mindfulness/Buddhism, 108 pages, pub. 1997

In this little treasure, Thich Nhat Hanh, the renowned Zen monk, offers timeless insight into the nature of real love. With simplicity, warmth, and directness, he explores the four key aspects of love as described in the Buddhist tradition: lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and freedom—explaining how to experience them in our day-to-day lives. He also emphasizes that in order to love in a real way, we must first learn how to be fully present in our lives, and he offers simple techniques from the Buddhist tradition that anyone can use to establish the conditions of love.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, is an internationally known author, poet, scholar, and peace activist who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr.     from Goodreads

What is it about Thich Nhat Hanh that speaks to me?  So many things.  I love his ability to embrace other religions.  I love that I can immediately take his words and use them.  I love the way he calms my spirit and provides insight.  See?  He’s my guy.

This particular book was about the four elements of true love in Buddhism. The first is maitri (love-kindness or benevolence).  The second is karuna (compassion).  The third is mudita (joy) and the fourth is upeksha (equanimity or freedom).  It’s a focus on learning on how to love well and I’m already using his wisdom.

I think everyone has different authors or spiritual guides that speak to their heart.  I know my love for him won’t be for everyone and that’s okay.  He’s written a lot of books, many, like this one, aren’t long so you can give him a try without investing too much time.  He may speak to you too.

 

March’s Movies and $ for charity

Not one trip to the theater in March, but Netflix didn’t let me down during my insomnia week.  I want to add this from the movie Suite Francaise because I found it so interesting…

The film’s postscript reads as follows: Suite Francaise was written in secret as the Nazis occupied France. It was never completed. In 1942 its author Irene Nemirovsky was arrested for being Jewish and died in Auschwitz. Her handwritten manuscript lay unread in a suitcase for nearly sixty years until it was discovered by her daughter. Suite Francaise was finally published in 2004 and became a worldwide bestseller. The daughter is quoted to say: “It is an extraordinary feeling to have brought my mother back to life. It shows the Nazis did not truly succeed in killing her. It is not vengeance, but it is a victory.” Denise Epstein-Dauple

You know the drill, add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity. Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity. Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to. Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.

We’re at $10 right now.  Your charity could be next 🙂

Suite Francaise poster.jpg Suite Francaise, 2014 (Michelle Williams, Mattias Schoenaerts, Kristin Scott Thomas, Margot Robie,  Sam Riley, Ruth Wilson)  Grade B+

Do some Nazis have hearts?

Touching Holocaust story with twist.  (Michelle)


Burnt Poster Updated.jpg Burnt, 2015 (Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Emma Thompson, David Bruhl, Matthew Rhys, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy)  Grade B-

Being the best takes toll.


The Spectacular Now film.jpg  The Spectacular Now, 2011 (Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brie Larson, Kyle Chandler, Bob Odenkirk, Mary Elizabeth Winstead)     Grade B

It’s hard being a teenager.


Triple Frontier.jpg Triple Frontier, 2019 (Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlud, Pedro Pascal, Adria Arjona)     Grade C

Money envy ruins most everything.

Greed always leads to loss.   (Michelle)


SPF-18 poster.jpg SPF-18, 2017 (Carson Mayer, Noah Centineo, Bianco Santos, Jackson White, Sean Russel Herman, Molly Ringwald, Rosanna Arquette)    Grade C-

Teens goof around without supervision.

 

 

 

My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares

Title: My Name is Memory, Author: Ann Brashares My Name is Memory. Finished 3-3-19, 3.5/5 stars, YA, pub. 2010

Unabridged audio read by Lincoln Hoppe and Kathe Mazur. 11 hours.

Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. For all the times that he and Sophia have been connected throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart.

But just when Sophia (now “Lucy” in the present) finally awakens to the secret of their shared past, the mysterious force that has always separated them reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.  from Goodreads

Do you believe in past lives, reincarnation?  This is an interesting take on the idea.  It introduces the concept, past lives included, without going into a ton of detail.  What happens when you’re a new soul and you see your soul mate, but it’s too late?  What if she keeps showing up in your lives, but never in a way that the two of you can be together?  Not only does she show up in your lives, but the brother you wronged does too and he’s holding onto a grudge?

I never really ‘got’ the obsession over centuries, but I did like the current time that Daniel and Lucy had.  I liked the concept of being surrounded by the same people, life after life, only in different ways each time.  I liked the searching and the yearning that made the story move forward.  I did not like, clearly, the maniac and evil brother that somehow broke all reincarnation ‘rules’.

This was a fun listen, BUT, and this is a big but, this story was to be the first in a series or trilogy and no follow up books were ever published.  The book ended with a cliff hanger, not at all resolved and I don’t know that I’d recommend it without a follow up.

 

Goodreads Cleanup #5

Hi everyone! I started this in December and it’s been fun getting feedback from you guys and exploring books that I forgot I wanted to read because they got lost in my Goodreads list.  Here’s an update #1 Kept 2/5 and read 1!  #2 Kept 7/10. #3 Kept 8/10 and tried 1 but didn’t make it very far before moving on.  #4 Kept 7/10 and I read 1 and am listening to another.  Yes, I need to be a bi more ruthless in the removing of titles.

So you know that drill.  Tell me if you think I should keep it on my list or get rid of it to make way for something else.  They have all been on my list since 2012.


How to participate:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  • Order by Ascending Date Added
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or let it go?

Title: Things That Make Us (Sic): The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar Takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World, Author: Martha Brockenbrough Martha Brockenbrough’s Things That Make Us (Sic) is a laugh-out-loud guide to grammar and language, a snarkier American answer to Lynn Truss’ runaway success, Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Brockenbrough is the founder of National Grammar Day and SPOGG — the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar — and as serious as she is about proper usage, her voice is funny, irreverent, and never condescending. Things That Make Us (Sic) addresses common language stumbling stones such as evil twins, clichés, jargon, and flab, and offers all the spelling tips, hints, and rules that are fit to print. It’s also hugely entertaining, with letters to high-profile language abusers, including David Hasselhoff, George W. Bush, and Canada’s Maple Leafs [sic], as well as a letter to –and a reply from — Her Majesty, the Queen of England.

Maybe worth flipping through if I find it at the library?


Title: Vexing the Viscount, Author: Emily BryanDaisy Drake needs Lucian Beaumont. Tired of being “on the shelf,” she craves adventure and Lucian holds all the clues to a long-buried Roman treasure. Too bad the devilishly handsome viscount doesn’t want her help.

Until she masquerades as a French courtesan who offers to teach him all she knows of the pleasures of the love couch. Of course, all Daisy knows about that she learned from the memoirs of a real courtesan, but she’s always been a fast learner.

I love a good historical romance but have no idea how this one made it on the list.  Nothing about it makes me think I need to read it.


Title: Catfish Alley, Author: Lynne BryantRoxanne Reeves defines her life by the committees she heads and the social status she cultivates. But she is keeping secrets that make her an outsider in her own town, always in search of acceptance. And when she is given a job none of the other white women want-researching the town’s African-American history for a tour of local sites-she feels she can’t say no.

Elderly Grace Clark, a retired black schoolteacher, reluctantly agrees to become Roxanne’s guide. Grace takes Roxanne to Catfish Alley, whose undistinguished structures are nonetheless sacred places to the black community because of what happened there. As Roxanne listens to Grace’s stories, and meets her friends, she begins to see differently. She is transported back to the past, especially to 1931, when a racist’s hatred for Grace’s brother leads to events that continue to change lives decades later. And as Roxanne gains an appreciation of the dreams, courage, and endurance of those she had so easily dismissed, her own life opens up in new and unexpected ways.

This looks pretty good.


Title: Undiscovered Gyrl, Author: Allison BurnettOnly on the internet can you have so many friends and be so lonely.
Beautiful, wild, funny, and lost, Katie Kampenfelt is taking a year off before college to find her passion. Ambitious in her own way, Katie intends to do more than just smoke weed with her boyfriend, Rory, and work at the bookstore. She plans to seduce Dan, a thirty-two-year-old film professor.
Katie chronicles her adventures in an anonymous blog, telling strangers her innermost desires, shames, and thrills. But when Dan stops taking her calls, when her alcoholic father suffers a terrible fall, and when she finds herself drawn into a dangerous new relationship, Katie’s fearless narrative begins to crack, and dark pieces of her past emerge.

This could be good, but has anyone read it?

Kathy read it and lied it.


Title: Love You to Death, Author: Shannon K. ButcherIt’s been days since reporter Elise McBride has heard from her sister, Ashley. She’s convinced Ashley has met with some kind of foul play, especially when she learns that bodies of other missing women have surfaced in and around Chicago–all victims of a brutal serial killer. Convinced her sister is still alive, Elise vows to risk everything to save her…

The last thing ex-cop Trent Brady needs is more blood on his hands. Yet when he catches Elise breaking into her sister’s house, full of reckless determination and fear, he knows she needs his help. But just as desire ignites between them, a twisted madman sets his sights on Elise. Hell-bent on possessing her for himself, this psychopath won’t rest until he has his perfect woman.

Looks like a quick escape?


Title: Food, Sex & Money, Author: Liz ByrskiIt’s almost forty years since they left the convent and went their separate ways, but now the old school friends are planning to meet again.

They had almost forgotten how it feels confide in women friends, but back together again, sharing their past lives, their secrets, their aspirations and their deepest fears Sylvia, Fran and Bonnie embark on a creative venture that will challenge everything they thought they knew about themselves and will change their lives for ever.

Gotta say this one isn’t calling to me.


Title: The Rose of Winslow Street, Author: Elizabeth CamdenThe last thing Libby Sawyer and her father expected upon their return from their summer home was to find strangers inhabiting a house that had been in their family for decades. Widower Michael Dobrescu brought his family from Romania to the town of Colden, Massachusetts with a singular purpose: to claim the house willed to him long ago. Since neither party has any intention of giving up their claim, a fierce legal battle ensues between the two families.

When important documents go missing from the house, Libby suspects Michael is the culprit. Determined to discover the truth behind the stolen papers, Libby investigates, only to find more layers of mystery surrounding Michael and his family. Despite their rivalry, Libby finds herself developing feelings for this man with the mysterious past.

This looks like a keeper.


Title: The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases, Author: Michael CapuzzoThrilling, true tales from the Vidocq Society, a team of the world’s finest forensic investigators whose monthly gourmet lunches lead to justice in ice-cold murders

Three of the greatest detectives in the world–a renowned FBI agent turned private eye, a sculptor and lothario who speaks to the dead, and an eccentric profiler known as “the living Sherlock Holmes”-were heartsick over the growing tide of unsolved murders. Good friends and sometime rivals William Fleisher, Frank Bender, and Richard Walter decided one day over lunch that something had to be done, and pledged themselves to a grand quest for justice. The three men invited the greatest collection of forensic investigators ever assembled, drawn from five continents, to the Downtown Club in Philadelphia to begin an audacious quest: to bring the coldest killers in the world to an accounting. Named for the first modern detective, the Parisian eugène François Vidocq-the flamboyant Napoleonic real-life sleuth who inspired Sherlock Holmes-the Vidocq Society meets monthly in its secretive chambers to solve a cold murder over a gourmet lunch.

This looks interesting.

Kathy’s mom liked it.


Title: Homicide in Hardcover (Bibliophile Series #1), Author: Kate CarlisleThe streets of San Francisco would be lined with hardcovers if rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright had her way. And her mentor wouldn’t be lying in a pool of his own blood on the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration.

With his final breath he leaves Brooklyn a cryptic message, and gives her a priceless and supposedly cursed copy of Goethe’s Faust for safekeeping.

Brooklyn suddenly finds herself accused of murder and theft, thanks to the humorless, but attractive, British security officer who finds her kneeling over the body. Now she has to read the clues left behind by her mentor if she is going to restore justice…

I’m not the biggest cozy fan, but this looks fun.


Title: A Grand Murder, Author: Stacy Verdick CaseA Grand Murder is the first book in the Catherine O’Brien mystery series. When a prominent local businessman and friend of the chief of police is murdered on the front steps of his posh Grand Avenue Hill home, Saint Paul homicide detective Catherine O’Brien a pithy, vertically challenged, St. Paul, Minnesota, homicide detective with a monstrous coffee habit and her partner Louise are given two days to find his killer. They soon discover their victim had a list of people with motives to murder him, including his fashion designer ex-wife, his mistress’s husband, and the chief of police. The only evidence they have to go on is a missing cell phone, a stolen book, the victim’s letter opener, and an ugly pair of Alpaca wool mittens.

Can’t say I’m interested in keeping two cozy mysteries this week and I’m leaning toward the other one.


So, help me out.  This is a week with no authors I know or any books currently on my radar.  What would you keep on your list?

 

 

Maria Shriver – I’ve Been Thinking and Ten Things

Title: I've Been Thinking...: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life, Author: Maria Shriver  vs. Title: Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out into the Real World, Author: Maria Shriver

I’ve Been Thinking: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life VS Ten Things I Wish I’d Known-Before I Went Out into the Real World

Titles – Both way too long, but accurate.

Author – I’ve Been Thinking- Divorced mom facing an empty nest.  Ten Things- Working married mother of young children.

Purpose – I’ve Been Thinking Bite sized chapters addressing a multitude of life’s issues always ending with a prayer.  Ten Things– An extended form of a popular graduation speech she gave at College of the Holy Cross.

First and last chapter titles – I’ve Been Thinking- I Am Who I Choose to Become and Hope.  Ten Things– Pinpoint Your Passion and Laughter.

Page Count – I’ve Been Thinking– 225 pages.  Ten Things– 125 pages.

Best Advice – I’ve Been Thinking- “I know it’s hard to pause in our daily lives, to stop and be quiet and truly listen.  I know it’s hard to hear other people’s pain, frustration, anger, and loneliness without internalizing it ourselves or letting our judgments get the best of us.  But when you do listen deeply, you realize that while out experiences are vastly different, our hearts and desires are not”  page 47.  Ten Things– “The love and the laughter are what you need most in your life.  They’ll fill out all the potholes in the road.”  page 115.

Final Analysis – Stick with I’ve Been ThinkingTen Things is a bit dated.

I’ve Been Thinking.  5 stars. Finished 2-28-19.

Ten Things.  3 stars.  Finished 3-15-19

Origin by Dan Brown

Title: Origin, Author: Dan Brown Origin.  Finished 2-20-19, rating 3/5, fiction, pub. 2017

Unabridged audio read by Paul Michael. 18 hours.

Robert Langdon series #5 (1-Angels & Demons) (2-The DaVinci Code) (3-The Lost Symbol) (4-Inferno)

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.  from Goodreads

I love Robert Langdon and I usually enjoy his grand adventures, but not so much with this one.  Maybe it’s because when I read the first four I read so fast that I missed the so-so writing that is impossible to skip when listening.  When you are on a road trip with your husband and he says halfway through that he doesn’t think he can listen to the repetitive writing anymore that is a bad sign.  We did eventually finish separately, but both of us were just meh on the ending.  The great shocking discovery Robert and Ambra were racing to release to the world was not so shocking and really wasn’t going to end religion forever, which is what was continually mentioned throughout the 18 hours.

Okay, what about the story you ask?  Well, Robert is in Spain because an old student, Kirsch, is about to make his discovery known to the world, but disaster ensues and Robert and Ambra are on the run with the help of Kirsch’s assistant Winston.  There are visits to churches and places that I was not familiar with and clues to be solved all while the world watched the chase live.  As for the story itself, Winston was a bright spot.  Was he good, was he not?  By far he was the most interesting thing about the story for me and he wasn’t even human.

So, I will continue with Robert because I love him so, but I will stick to the print version so I can skim past the multitude of parts that need editing.  As I look back over my reviews of past books I see that this is not the first time that I’ve mentioned the need for an editor.  Hm.

 

 

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

Title: Summerland, Author: Elin Hilderbrand  Summerland. Finished 2-26-19, 4/5 stars, fiction, pub. 2012

Unabridged audio read by Erin Bennett. 13 hours.

A warm June evening, a local tradition: the students of Nantucket High have gathered for a bonfire on the beach. What begins as a graduation night celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother in a coma. The other passengers, Penny’s boyfriend, Jake, and her friend Demeter, are physically unhurt–but the emotional damage is overwhelming. Questions linger about what happened before Penny took the wheel.

As summer unfolds, startling truths are revealed about the survivors and their parents, the secrets kept, promises broken, and hearts betrayed.  from Goodreads

When I posted my first Goodreads Cleanup post on Christmas this was the first book listed, the one that’s been on my Goodreads wish list the longest.  I am proud to say that I listened to it and liked it, thus meaning many more Goodreads Cleanup posts 🙂

It begins with the death of a talented junior and it follows the stories of the three in the car with her when it happened and their parents, all friends.  To say this is a bit sad is an understatement.  The cover and title make it seem a bit more happy than it really is.  It felt a bit like a soap opera, but not in a bad way.  I love that the narrator was someone from the small community of Nantucket.  She was giving us an insider’s look at what went down and it worked.

I liked it, but since I didn’t really feel an affinity for any of the characters I can’t say I loved it.  I did feel sympathy, lots of it actually, but no real connection.  Still a good story, but a bit of a downer for me.  I’m glad I read it.  Any story that takes me to Nantucket is worth reading.

 

 

 

Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin and meeting the man himself!

IMG_E5464Last month Ian Rankin came to town and on a cold, snowy night and he had a packed house with fans that came from as far as Pennsylvania and New York.  I must again give a shout out to our library system, who always brings in the big names (this month I’m seeing Harlan Coben and next month Stephanie Evanovich and Heather Morris).  Anyway, I loved Ian’s first Rebus book and really wanted to spend an evening with a legit Scottish accent.  So my mom and I went (he is signing her book here).  He was delightful.  He spoke for about an hour and took a lot of questions, some very serious ones about current affairs, like Brexit, and managed to educate and entertain.

Title: Hide and Seek (Inspector John Rebus Series #2), Author: Ian Rankin Hide and Seek. Finished 3-7-19, 4.5/5 stars, mystery, 272 pages, pub. 1990

Book #2 in the Inspector Rebus series (1-Knots and Crosses)

A junkie lies dead in an Edinburgh squat, spreadeagled, cross-like on the floor, between two burned-down candles, a five-pointed star daubed on the wall above.

Just another dead addict – until John Rebus begins to chip away at the indifference, treachery, deceit and sleaze that lurks behind the facade of the Edinburgh familiar to tourists.

Only Rebus seems to care about a death which looks more like a murder every day, about a seductive danger he can almost taste, appealing to the darkest corners of his mind …    from Goodreads

So, Inspector Rebus is back.  I looked back at my thoughts on the first book and saw that I was concerned about how much alcohol everyone drank.  Well, I’m happy to say that Rebus, at least, was a bit more restrained.  It’s a year later and he has no contact with his family and his girlfriend is gone and he seems…okay?  He gets an invite to the big boys club and he takes it, if a little unwillingly.  He needs to sign off on an overdose and move on to a more cushy job, but he just can’t let it go.

When we met Ian I mentioned how much my mom enjoys dead bodies and he said that his series had a low body count.  That may be true later in the series (it’s over 20 now) but this one seemed to have its fair share of corpses.  All well deserved in my opinion.

As with the first book I love the Edinburgh setting and the often surly Inspector Rebus.  The plot will keep you reading, I promise.  I can’t wait to continue with this series.  And if you get a chance to hear Rankin speak, take it!