Thursday, August 5, 2021

Book, Books


Yesterday I finished a new book.  It had shown up in a couple of places – my “sale price from Amazon for Kindle” list and Facebook primarily.  Last week I bought it.  As it happens, I seldom ever buy a book by an unknown (to me) author unless it’s less than $1 or free and I paid $2.00 for it!  Historically, the books I buy by unknowns I read for 10 minutes or so and

delete from my library (could be why they’re less than $1 or free).  However, this one had caught my attention each time I read the little opening lines –

“Happily Ever After” wasn’t supposed to come with a do-over option.  But when my husband of 20 years packs up and heads for greener pastures and my son heads away to college, that’s exactly what my midlife becomes.

Magical Midlife Madness
Book 1: Leveling Up Series
K.F. Breene

40-year-old Jessie, with her son having gone to college and her ex-husband moved on to “greener” pastures, has no idea what’s next.  And so, she moves back home with her eccentric parents and discovers quickly this is not where she wants to be.  Then, a friend offers her a position as “caretaker” of Ivy House.  As a child, Jessie had visited Ivy House and felt a true affinity with the place so she accepts the job and moves to O’Brian, a small village in the Sierra foothills.  Now, as an adult, Jessie finds the house is not what it seems.  Neither are the other inhabitants (Earl, the butler, Edgar the gardener) and neighbors.  And, now, the decisions Jessie must make will also change her life.

One of the first things that caught my attention is – Jessie is not a teenager suffering with angst; she is not a gorgeous, svelte, designer wearing 20-something; she is a 40-year-old woman with stretch marks, droopy boobs, a few wrinkles, and a couple extra pounds whose life has just blown up.  I could so identify with many of her concerns and comments.  And, let me tell you, this is a laugh-out-loud book.  Turns out that O’Brian is also home to vampires, shapeshifters, gargoyles, and other magic welders.  I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  And, I’ll never think of Begonias in the same way again!

Family Matters
, The Harry Stark Series
Blair Howard

Okay, this is a book I got from my brother.  So far, I’ve read (actually listened to) six of the Harry Stark books with Family Matters being the latest.  Harry Starke is an ex-cop turned, PI who is well-educated and wealthy. He’s described as tough with good instincts. The series is set in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  So far, the books have been “stand-alone” novels meaning you don’t have to read them in order, however, I suspect that may change soon.  Family Matters is a bit different from any of the other books as it involves a haunted house. 

It all begins when Harry’s girlfriend, Amanda inherits a house on the Maine coast, substantial assets, and a large sum of money from her grandmother. The windfall comes with a request to look into the disappearance of Elizabeth, Amanda’s great-great-grandmother, more than a hundred years ago.  Harry is a skeptic, a down-to-earth investigator who believes only in the facts and has a tough time dealing with Amanda’s thoughts about what is happening in the house? Imagination can play tricks on a susceptible mind, especially when that mind is under stress. But is it just their imaginations?

Of the six I’ve already read, I enjoyed this one the least.  It’s not a bad story but there is so much dithering back and forth between the characters that I was ready to scream.  Honestly, it probably could have been 50 pages shorter (and it’s only 224 pages) if the they had just got on with the investigation.  The end is predictable and as good an explanation as any for ….. well, for the bad guy. 

Finally, I read three Atlee Pine books. 

Long Road to Mercy
A Minute to Midnight

by David Baldacci

These books – you need to read them in order.  Atlee Pine is the lone FBI agent assigned to the Shattered Rock AZ resident agency and is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon.  Three decades previously, Atlee and her twin sister Mercy were attacked in their home in the middle of the night.  Atlee was severely injured and Mercy was kidnapped.  Now, she’s having nightmares, reliving the terrible night. 

In Long Road to Mercy

One of the Grand Canyon's mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon-and its rider missing-Pine is called in to investigate. It soon seems clear the lost tourist had something more clandestine than sightseeing in mind. But just as Pine begins to put together clues pointing to a terrifying plot, she's abruptly called off the case. If she disobeys direct orders by continuing to search for the missing man, it will mean the end of her career. But unless Pine keeps working the case and discovers the truth, it could spell the very end of democracy in America as we know it.

In A Minute to Midnight

After a lifetime of torturous uncertainty, Atlee's unresolved anger finally gets the better of her on the job, and she finds she has to deal with the demons of her past if she wants to remain with the FBI. Atlee and her assistant Carol Blum head back to Atlee's rural hometown in Georgia to see what they can uncover about the traumatic night Mercy was taken and Pine was almost killed. But soon after Atlee begins her investigation, a local woman is found ritualistically murdered, her face covered with a wedding veil--and the first killing is quickly followed by a second bizarre murder. In a small town full of secrets--some of which could answer the questions that have plagued Atlee her entire life--digging deeper into the past could just be more dangerous.

And, in Daylight

Just as Atlee is pressured to end her investigation into Mercy's disappearance, she finally gets her most promising breakthrough yet: the identity of her sister's kidnapper, Ito Vincenzo. With time running out, Atlee and her assistant Carol Blum race to Vincenzo's last known location in Trenton, New Jersey - and unknowingly stumble straight into John Puller's (US Army Criminal Investigator) case. Stunningly, Pine and Puller's joint investigation uncovers a connection between Vincenzo's family and a breathtaking scheme that strikes at the very heart of global democracy. During the case, Atlee finally discovers the truth about what happened to Mercy.

All three books are very good.  Atlee is a dedicated agent and having her assistant Carol Blum with her the whole way, softens her hard edges.  I’d recommend all three.

5 Aug 2021


  1. I do like mysteries and police procedurals. Not woowoo though. However you're so enthusiastic I might try a couple. Thank you.

  2. Well, I went ahead and bought the first book because it sounds RIGHT down my alley. Thanks!

    Also, I've read (I think?) all the John Puller books so I'm interested in the Pine series. Although a little Baldacci goes a long way for me - after a while it starts feeling cartoonish. But since it's been a while since I read one of his books I will definitely check these out!

  3. sounds like good reading..I love and look forward to anything by James Lee Burke..just finished a book called the Quiet Patient good...I thought I would get some reading done this summer but have had gg's all or the other or both...with dylan thrown into the mix just to keep me on my toes.

  4. Thanks for the book reviews, they all sound quite interesting!

    It's been a while since I've actually sat down and read an entire book.

  5. I'm not a Reader but I do Love me a good Picture Book! *Winks* I know, I'm so Juvenile for my Age!