Wednesday, December 11, 2019

fall reading list

LaRose by Louise Erdrich – Landreaux, always so careful when hunting, takes a shot at a buck and hits something else instead. With his heart in the pit of his stomach he finds his best friend's son and the best friend of his own 5 yr. old son, lying on the ground. The death tears apart the two families and Landreaux falls back on his heritage as a native american for a solution to the pain he has caused and he and his wife Emmaline give their beloved youngest son LaRose to Dusty's parents. Dusty's father, Peter, sees the damage it is doing to LaRose and proposes sharing the boy and in this way over the years the two families start to heal but it is rocky going as Dusty's mother, Nola, half sister to Emmaline, is suicidal and his new sister Maggie and LaRose take on the responsibility of making sure she doesn't succeed. Meanwhile LaRose's two older sisters adopt Maggie as a sister giving her the support she so desperately needs. As the story develops we learn about the very first LaRose, sold to the local trader by her mother Mirage, and her special abilities that have been handed down through the generations to each subsequent LaRose; we learn the story of Landreaux and Romeo, two boys taken off the reservation and put in boarding school and the event that tears these two friends apart and sets Romeo on his lifelong quest for revenge. When Romeo lands a job at the reservation hospital he sneaks and peeks and eavesdrops until he thinks he has the truth about Dusty's death and finally something that will destroy Landreaux and when he reveals to Peter the story he has concocted in his mind, it very nearly does.

Earth by Ben Bova – a sci-fi novel and I still don't get why he titled it 'Earth' as much of the the book takes place in space or Jupiter. And the whole book is as unlikely a scenario as was ever written. Plus, I think he must have written this for a much younger audience. Backstory: Earth is in the path of a death wave sweeping across the galaxy when aliens appear and give Earth the technology to build a shield and survive as well as interstellar travel with the caveat that they search for other life on other planets and give them the shield technology so that as much life can survive as possible and as a result humans have spread across the galaxy. Fast forward to the present: Tray, a young man who is 1,000 years in the future from his own time due to interstellar travel/suspended animation is the only survivor of a starship that exploded killing all on board including his fiance. Tray had been sent out in a pod to make measurements on the other side of the solar system when the explosion occurred and his pod put him to sleep until he could be rescued nearly 400 years later. Back on earth he is in a mental hospital/recovery unit and the doctors decide he is not overcoming his survivor's guilt and want to wipe his mind of those memories. Tray doesn't want that, to lose the memories of his fiance, and so after being invited to a party for a member of the governing council (why would a nobody get invited to this party?) where he meets the second highest ranking member of the council who takes a shine to him as well as a wealthy young woman who also takes a shine to him and he immediately forgets all about his fiance (I've already forgotten all their names), he manages to sneak away from the facility. Anyway, the next day, the President of the council talks the #2 guy, the leader of the opposition against a plan by the President to basically enslave all the other intelligent life they have discovered, into a little vacation going into the ocean of Jupiter to see the leviathans that inhabit it and Tray along with the young woman and her 'boyfriend', get invited as well (?). Anyway, at the last minute before the submersible leaves the ship, the President gets an emergency call from the council and must stay on the ship to deal with it but y'all go ahead on without me. The submersible malfunctions and loses it's ability to rise back to the surface so they must evacuate in special survival suits to be picked up by the ship when, surprise, the opposition leader's suit leaks and he dies. Back on earth Tray and his now girlfriend and her father work to expose the President's murderous work by getting Tray appointed to the council to fill in for the opposition leader (yeah like that would happen) and blah blah blah. Don't waste your time.

I know Who You Are by Alice Feeney – When Ciara was born, her mother died leaving leaving her to the care of her Irish father and brother, a dirt poor family. A week before her 6th birthday after being yelled at by her older brother who has just been traumatized by their father, Ciara runs to the shop to look, once again, at the red shoes she so desperately wants for her birthday. It's late in the day and getting darker when she is kidnapped by Maggie and taken to London where she is given a new name...Aimee Sinclair. Aimee adjusts to her new, better life with her new 'parents' who run a betting shop and has no desire to return to her real family. When she is 6 thugs kill her parents and she is put in foster homes when she keeps her identity a secret. Thirty years later Aimee is a rising star actress, getting her big break, and her husband of two years accuses her of having an affair with her leading man, they have a big fight, and the next day he has disappeared. Aimee calls the police who turn over all sorts of evidence implicating her in his murder. She is arrested when they dig up a body but released when they show her a picture of the two year old dead man who has her husband's name but is not her husband. The story has a big twist/surprise ending but I got very tired of Aimee always going on and on in her head about her secrets and how she is always acting and no one knows her true self and she was finally getting what she always dreamed of. It was OK.

The Boy by Tami Hoag – either I had a hard time getting into this book or I didn't have much time to read because it seemed like the the part I had read never got bigger but then I did get into it. Detective Nick Fourcade and wife Detective Annie Broussard are awakened in the night to attend a murder scene, the 7 year old son of Genevieve Gauthier who had been brutally stabbed to death and the mother attacked as well. Soon after arriving at the scene a rainstorm washed away any evidence there might have been outside and inside nothing was found to point to a suspect. As the investigation unfolds links are found between the mother, the police chief, and the crime scene investigator while the mother's own past raises questions about her possible involvement. Meanwhile, Annie is conducting her own part of the investigation and discovers that the boy's 12 year old baby sitter has gone missing and in her attempt to question a friend of the missing girl, the son of the police chief's fiancee, she realizes he and his mother are physically and emotionally abused. The case seems to be going nowhere with enough animosity between Fourcade and the police chief that nearly gets the detective fired until the very surprising twist at the end that I did not see coming.

The Witness by Sandra Brown – the book opens just after a horrible car accident that Kendall and her 4 month old son survive as does the driver but the woman in the front passenger seat did not. Kendall gets herself and her son out and then barely manages to pull out the unconscious driver before the car continues to slide down slope and into the ravine and is carried away by the water from the heavy rains they have been having. She flags down a car after getting back up to the road and the three of them are taken to the local small town hospital. When the driver regains consciousness he has amnesia and Kendall claims he is her husband. As she is sneaking out to disappear, her 'husband' who suffered a broken leg among other injuries, confronts her and she is forced to take him with her as she goes to ground. Flash back several years, Kendall, a young liberal lawyer who moved to a small town in South Carolina to take the job of public defender and who met and married Matt, was thrilled with how his father embraced her into their family but as time goes by she starts to resent how 'present' he is in everything about her and Matt's life together. Then on the day that she plans to tell Matt she is pregnant she goes to visit one of her clients and discovers that Matt is having an affair. Big fight, Matt storms out, and Kendall decides to forgive him and goes looking for him and stumbles on vigilante justice as they castrate and crucify a young asian man for having consensual sex with a white girl and all the prominent citizens in town are participating including her husband and father in law. Kendall flees for her life and after alerting the FBI, settles in Colorado where the FBI finally find her and are taking her back to testify when the car accident occurs. Her husband and FIL eventually escape, find out about the child, and set out to find the boy and kill Kendall. Will she escape again before the FBI agent recovers his memory, will Matt and her FIL find her? It's an OK book, portions of it held my attention better than others.

The Partner by John Grisham – new partner in a law firm in an unhappy marriage with a child that he learns isn't his after all discovers that the other partners are aiding and abetting a client to defraud the government for $90 million with their cut being $30 million and their plan to fire him and not give him a share. He plans meticulously and fakes his death and disappears to Brazil with the $90 million. Four years later, he is 'found' by the firm hired by the intended recipient of the money, tortured, and returned to the states to the FBI for prosecution but he can't tell them where the money is because as part of his meticulous planning, he doesn't know. His girlfriend has managed that part. It's a pretty good story, all his planning and revenge with a little twist at the end.


  1. I love John Grisham. All his stories have a good ending.

  2. Ben Bova is a very old-school sci-fi writer. To be honest, I didn't even know he was still alive! (But I checked, and he is. He's 87!)

  3. I just finished Conviction, from your last book list. It was really good! Very different from the Alex Morrow series, which I also enjoyed. In both books though, I sort of didn't like the main character at first.

  4. Interesting selection but some seem a bit bloodthirsty foe me.
    btw, I loved your heron box, it’s absolutely beautiful.

  5. Wow, an amazing list and summaries! I went ahead and ordered LaRose by Louise Erdich. Love her.


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