06. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Gray Mountain by John Grisham, 368 pages, read by Tracy, on 03/30/2015

The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.

–From Goodreads.com.

06. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tracy

Driving the King by Ravi Howard, 336 pages, read by Tracy, on 03/20/2015

A daring and brilliant new novel that explores race and class in 1950s America, witnessed through the experiences of Nat King Cole and his driver, Nat Weary

“Howard is a talent to watch.” —Washington Post Book World

The war is over, the soldiers are returning, and Nat King Cole is back in his hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, for a rare performance. His childhood friend, Nat Weary, plans to propose to his sweetheart, and the singer will honor their moment with a special song. But while the world has changed, segregated Jim Crow Montgomery remains the same. When a white man attacks Cole with a pipe, Weary leaps from the audience to defend him—an act that will lead to a 10-year prison sentence.

But the singer will not forget his friend and the sacrifice he made. Six months before Weary is released, he receives a remarkable offer: will he be Nat King Cole’s driver and bodyguard in L.A.. It is the promise of a new life removed from the terror, violence, and degradation of Jim Crow Alabama.

Weary discovers that, while Los Angeles is far different from the deep South, it a place of discrimination, mistrust, and intolerance where a black man—even one as talented and popular as Nat King Cole—is not wholly welcome.

An indelible portrait of prejudice and promise, friendship and loyalty, Driving the King is a daring look at race and class in pre-Civil Rights America, played out in the lives of two remarkable men.

–From Goodreads.com.

06. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Tracy

Noah Charney by Jojo Moyes, 369 pages, read by Tracy, on 03/10/2015

What happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened…

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most – whatever the cost.

–From Goodreads.com.

06. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

The Art Thief by Noah Charney, 304 pages, read by Tracy, on 03/01/2015

Rome: In the small Baroque church of Santa Giuliana, a magnificent Caravaggio altarpiece disappears without a trace in the middle of the night.Paris: In the basement vault of the Malevich Society, curator Genevi – ve Delacloche is shocked to discover the disappearance of the Society’s greatest treasure, White-on-White by Suprematist painter Kasimir Malevich.

London: At the National Gallery of Modern Art, the museum’s latest acquisition is stolen just hours after it was purchased for more than six million pounds.

In “The Art Thief,” three thefts are simultaneously investigated in three cities, but these apparently isolated crimes have much more in common than anyone imagines. In Rome, the police enlist the help of renowned art investigator Gabriel Coffin when tracking down the stolen masterpiece. In Paris, Genevi – ve Delacloche is aided by Police Inspector Jean-Jacques Bizot, who finds a trail of bizarre clues and puzzles that leads him ever deeper into a baffling conspiracy. In London, Inspector Harry Wickenden of Scotland Yard oversees the museum’s attempts to ransom back its stolen painting, only to have the masterpiece’s recovery deepen the mystery even further.

A dizzying array of forgeries, overpaintings, and double-crosses unfolds as the story races through auction houses, museums, and private galleries — and the secret places where priceless works of art are made available to collectors who will stop at nothing to satisfy their hearts’ desires.

Full of fascinating art-historical detail, crackling dialogue, and a brain-teasing plot, Noah Charney’s debut novel is a sophisticated, stylish thriller, as irresistible and multifaceted as a great work of art.

–From Goodreads.com.

27. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Death of a Liar by M.C. Beaton, 272 pages, read by Tracy, on 02/19/2015

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

Description from Goodreads.com.

27. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

The White Magic Five and Dime by Steve Hockensmith, Lisa Falco, 326 pages, read by Tracy, on 02/12/2015

Much to Alanis McLachlan’s surprise, her estranged con-woman mother has left her an inheritance: The White Magic Five & Dime, a shop in tiny Berdache, Arizona. Reluctantly traveling to Berdache to claim her new property, Alanis decides to stay and pick up her mother’s tarot business in an attempt to find out how she died.

With help from a hunky cop and her mother’s live-in teenage apprentice, Alanis begins faking her way through tarot readings in order to win the confidence of her mother’s clients. But the more she uses the tarot deck, the more Alanis begins to find real meaning in the cards … and the secrets surrounding her mother’s demise.

Description from Goodreads.com.

27. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Blue Labyrinth by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, 416 pages, read by Tracy, on 02/05/2015

Special Agent Pendergast-one of the most original, compelling characters in all of contemporary fiction-returns in Preston and Child’s new exhilarating novel Blue Labyrinth.

A long-buried family secret has come back to haunt Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast…

It begins with murder. One of Pendergast’s most implacable, most feared enemies is found on his doorstep, dead. Pendergast has no idea who is responsible for the killing, or why the body was brought to his home. The mystery has all the hallmarks of the perfect crime, save for an enigmatic clue: a piece of turquoise lodged in the stomach of the deceased.

The gem leads Pendergast to an abandoned mine on the shore of California’s Salton Sea, which in turn propels him on a journey of discovery deep into his own family’s sinister past.

But Pendergast learns there is more at work than a ghastly episode of family history: he is being stalked by a subtle killer bent on vengeance over an ancient transgression. And he soon becomes caught in a wickedly clever plot, which leaves him stricken in mind and body, and propels him toward a reckoning beyond anything he could ever have imagined…

Description from Goodreads.com.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Night of Thunder by Stephen Hunter, 287 pages, read by Tracy, on 01/30/2015

Talk about a ride!

Woe unto he who crosses Bob Lee Swagger, especially when his daughter’s life is at stake. Forced off the road and into a crash that leaves her in a coma, clinging to life, reporter Nikki Swagger had begun to peel back the onion of a Southernfried conspiracy bubbling with all the angst, resentment, and dysfunction that Dixie gangsters can muster. An ancient, violent crime clan, a possibly corrupt law enforcement structure, gunmen of all stripes and shapes, and deranged evangelicals rear their ugly heads and will live to rue the day they targeted the wrong man’s daughter. It’s what you call your big-time bad career move. All of it is set against the backdrop of excitement and insanity that only a weeklong NASCAR event can bring to the backwoods of a town as seemingly sleepy as Bristol, Tennessee.

A master at the top of his game, Hunter provides a host of thrilling new reasons to read as fast as we can. When Swagger picks up peeling where his daughter left off, and his swift sword of justice is let loose, we find a true American hero in his most stunning action to date. And — in the form of Brother Richard, a self-decreed “Sinnerman” out of the old fire-and-brimstone tradition — Hunter offers up his most diabolical, engaging villain yet. A triumph of story, character, and style, Night of Thunder is Stephen Hunter at his very best.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

The Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, 528 pages, read by Tracy, on 01/20/2015

For 1000 years the monks have kept guard of their monastery in the Himalayas – now their sanctum has been violated, its secret carried off. After a millennium of hiding from the world, the guardians of the treasure will have to turn to an outsider for help. Luckily, Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast agrees to investigate.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Deception Point by Dan Brown, 556 pages, read by Tracy, on 01/10/2015

When a new NASA satellite spots evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory…a victory that has profound implications for U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election. With the Oval Office in the balance, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Milne Ice Shelf to verify the authenticity of the find. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery — a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy.

But before Rachel can contact the President, she and Michael are attacked by a deadly team of assassins controlled by a mysterious power broker who will stop at nothing to hide the truth. Fleeing for their lives in an environment as desolate as it is lethal, their only hope for survival is to find out who is behind this masterful ploy. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.

In Deception Point, bestselling author Dan Brown transports readers from the ultrasecret National Reconnaissance Office to the towering ice shelves of the Arctic Circle, and back again to the hallways of power inside the West Wing. Heralded for masterfully intermingling science, history, and politics in his critically acclaimed, blockbuster thrillers Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, Brown has crafted a novel in which nothing is as it seems — and behind every corner is a stunning surprise. Deception Point is pulse-pounding fiction at its best.

Description from Goodreads.com.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Tracy

Delicious by Ruth Reichl, 400 pages, read by Tracy, on 01/01/2015

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious, the most iconic food magazine in New York and, thus, the world. When the publication is summarily shut down, the colorful staff, who have become an extended family for Billie, must pick up their lives and move on. Not Billie, though. She is offered a new job: staying behind in the magazine’s deserted downtown mansion offices to uphold the “Delicious Guarantee”-a public relations hotline for complaints and recipe inquiries-until further notice. What she doesn’t know is that this boring, lonely job will be the portal to a life-changing discovery.

Delicious! carries the reader to the colorful world of downtown New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors, and from the lively food shop in Little Italy where Billie works on weekends to a hidden room in the magazine’s library where she discovers the letters of Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, who wrote to the legendary chef James Beard during World War II. Lulu’s letters lead Billie to a deeper understanding of history (and the history of food), but most important, Lulu’s courage in the face of loss inspires Billie to come to terms with her own issues-the panic attacks that occur every time she even thinks about cooking, the truth about the big sister she adored, and her ability to open her heart to love.

Description from Goodreads.com.

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

A Song to Die For by Mike Blakely, 352 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/23/2014

A Song to Die For — a rousing tale mixing love, music, and mystery from Spur Award–winning author Mike Blakely.
It’s 1975 and guitarist and singer/songwriter Creed Mason hopes to ride the new wave of Texas-style, Austin-based country music all the way back to the big time. A one-hit wonder whose Nashville career was cut short by a trip to Vietnam, Creed is desperate to get back into the business.  His break arrives when a country legend, Luster Burnett, comes out of a fifteen-year retirement for one last album and tour in order to pay off a huge debt to the I.R.S. As Luster’s new guitarist and band manager, Creed jumps at the chance of a lifetime.

Rosa Martini, a beautiful young mob princess from Las Vegas, is found dead just outside of Austin. Texas Ranger Captain Hooley Johnson looks into the case, only to find a second young woman murdered—a friend of Rosa’s. To complicate things, Rosa’s adoptive brother, mob hit man Franco Martini, is spotted nosing around Austin in the wake of the murders.

Soon it appears to Johnson, and to Creed, that the mob-related murders and the band are somehow connected.  When the band wins an unexpected booking at the biggest casino in Vegas, Creed begins to wonder what kind of contract his band is being set up for—a major-label recording deal, or a mob hit? (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories, Tracy, Westerns

Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories by Craig Johnson, 183 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/18/2014

Ten years ago, Craig Johnson wrote his first short story, the Hillerman Award–winning “Old Indian Trick.” This was one of the earliest appearances of the sheriff who would go on to star in Johnson’s bestselling, award-winning novels and the A&E hit series Longmire. Each Christmas Eve thereafter, fans rejoiced when Johnson sent out a new short story featuring an episode in Walt’s life that doesn’t appear in the novels; over the years, many have asked why they can’t buy the stories in book form.

Wait for Signs collects those beloved stories—and one entirely new story, “Petunia, Bandit Queen of the Bighorns”—for the very first time in a single volume, regular trade hardcover. With glimpses of Walt’s past from the incident in “Ministerial Aide,” when the sheriff is mistaken for a deity, to the hilarious “Messenger,” where the majority of the action takes place in a Port-A-Potty, Wait for Signs is a necessary addition to any Longmire fan’s shelf and a wonderful way to introduce new readers to the fictional world of Absaroka County, Wyoming. (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, 240 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/12/2014

The Pevensie siblings travel back to Narnia to help a prince denied his rightful throne as he gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world. (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, 224 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/09/2014

On a desperate journey, two runaways meet and join forces. Though they are only looking to escape their harsh and narrow lives, they soon find themselves at the center of a terrible battle. It is a battle that will decide their fate and the fate of Narnia itself. (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, 206 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/05/2014

They open a door and enter a world

NARNIA…the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy…the place where the adventure begins.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first, no one believes her when she tells of her adventures in the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund and then Peter and Susan discover the Magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. In the blink of an eye, their lives are changed forever. (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy

The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis, 221 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/02/2014

When Digory and Polly are tricked by Digory’s peculiar Uncle Andrew into becoming part of an experiment, they set off on the adventure of a lifetime. What happens to the children when they touch Uncle Andrew’s magic rings is far beyond anything even the old magician could have imagined.

Hurtled into the Wood between the Worlds, the children soon find that they can enter many worlds through the mysterious pools there. In one world they encounter the evil Queen Jadis, who wreaks havoc in the streets of London when she is accidentally brought back with them. When they finally manage to pull her out of London, unintentionally taking along Uncle Andrew and a coachman with his horse, they find themselves in what will come to be known as the land of Narnia. (description from Goodreads.com)

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Cookie Dough or Die by Virginia Lowell, 295 pages, read by Tracy, on 11/28/2014

Olivia Greyson is the proud owner of The Gingerbread House—a quaint shop that specializes in all things cookie—and her best friend, Maddie, is her sidekick, baking up scrumptious treats for their cookie-themed parties. But now they must take a break from baking and turn their attention to recreating a recipe for murder…

No one is more shocked than Olivia when prominent business owner Clarisse Chamberlain is found dead. It was Clarisse who encouraged Olivia to open The Gingerbread House—and she was one of her best customers. The sheriff is ready to call the case a suicide, but Olivia’s convinced there’s a murder to solve.

Then word spreads that Clarisse left Olivia a large sum of money, along with a collection of valuable, antique cookie cutters. Suddenly, Olivia is the prime suspect, with some fingers pointing to Maddie when the local postman falls ill after sampling one of their cookies. If the cookie-loving duo doesn’t find the real killer, their reputation—and quite possibly their lives—will be battered for good…

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, NonFiction, Tracy · Tags:

Tricks and Games to teach your dog by Sophie Collins, Suellen Dainty, 192 pages, read by Tracy, on 11/20/2014

Who doesn’t want to spend more time playing?! Tricks and Games to Teach Your Dog is the how-to book for dog owners looking to improve their “fun factor” in their dogs’ eyes. Author Sophie Collins, assisted by Suellen Dainty, promise that any owner of a dog—no matter what age, breed, activity level, size or personality—can transform his pooch into an accomplished performer in brief daily five-minute training sessions. In all, the book offers 80 tricks and games, from the tried-and-true rainy-day tricks like “roll over” and “play dead” to out-of-the-box surprises like “lion tamer” and the “commando crawl.” Fully illustrated with color photographs and drawings, Tricks and Games to Teach Your Dog serves as a game plan for busy owners who wish to spend more quality time with their dogs, engaging them in educational games to improve their obedience skills while deepening the dogs’ bonds with their owners. Readers can teach their dogs helpful household tasks, such as the “laundry service,” “fetch my keys” and “answer the door,” as well as games that expand their repertory of manners, such as “say please,” “learning a ‘stop’ signal,” and “dinner time.” The authors emphasize the importance of safety in teaching tricks and games and caution owners to only work with safe objects when teaching fetching or finding games. The book is filled with practical training tips that owners can use throughout their dogs’ lives. Once an owner is confident and aware of his own technique, he will be better prepared to give the dog specific direction and not confuse the dog by giving false cues or misusing body language, tone of voice or hand signals. The level of difficulty in the lessons range from the simplest (“high five” and “stand ten”) to more challenging tricks like “shut the door,” “push the ball” and “freeze.” The unmistakable focus of the book is fun and activity, and no dog (or owner) ever wants to lead a dull, boring existence. To that end, the authors discuss some great fun outings to bring an owner’s play sessions with his dog to an all-time high: camping, volleyball, biking and hiking for starters. And for really adventurous overachievers, the authors provide a brief introduction to the ever-popular obstacle-course sport known as dog agility.

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy · Tags:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, 560 pages, read by Tracy, on 11/15/2014

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?