The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie
(Bantam, 2011, 224 pages)
The Cinderella Deal is about Daisy Flattery and Linc Blaise who are polar opposites and end up married. Daisy is a fun, free-spirited artist and collector of lost animals. While Linc is a history professor and is rather uptight. They both live in the same building and mainly try to stay out of each other’s way. It isn’t until Linc interviews for a position at a small liberal arts college in Ohio and tells a lie that he is engaged in order to secure the position that they actually have a civil conversation. Of course, he needs to find someone to be his pseudo-fiancé, which is when he seeks Daisy’s help in playing the ruse of a happy couple. She agrees because he is willing to pay her rent, which helps the cash-strapped Daisy. They figure after Linc’s interview rounds it will all be over, and they can go their separate ways.
Linc’s plan is to tell his new department head that things didn’t work out between them by the time the fall semester starts. Unfortunately, the department head doesn’t see it that way, and orders Linc to go get Daisy from Pennsylvania and they are married. They decide after a year of marriage they can get a divorce and all-is-well that ends well. The only part Daisy and Linc didn’t count on was actually falling love. A funny, quick, chick-lit read—recommended for all romance readers anywhere.
Close Your Eyes by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen
(St. Martin’s Press, 2012, 353 pages)
In Close Your Eyes, The New York Times bestselling duo Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen are back with a suspenseful novel about a once-blind woman with a talent for tracking serial killers.
The FBI doesn’t usually consult with music therapists to solve their cases. But Kendra Michael’s astonishing powers of observation and analysis have made her a favorite of law enforcement agencies all across the country. Blind for the first twenty years of her life, she cares little for investigative work but can’t deny her unique skill, or the results she’s been able to facilitate. Kendra learned at an early age to become hyper-aware of her surroundings, perfecting the art of picking up the most subtle audio, olfactory, and tactile cues in the world around her. Like a secret weapon, she is in high demand.
Former FBI agent Adam Lynch, known as The Puppetmaster, has weapons of his own. He’s a notorious master manipulator, skillfully handling criminals and colleagues alike to get the results he wants. Now he needs Kendra’s special brand of help, but she’s not interested until Lynch reveals that Agent Robert Stedler—Kendra’s ex—is missing and may have run directly into the path of a serial killer. What began as a heinous murder investigation escalates into something even larger and more frightening: a multi-million dollar conspiracy to hide a secret that’s worth killing for, again and again and again.
I really enjoyed this book! This was a great read. Iris and her son write well together. It was very well written. I thought the book was great and the story just flowed along with the right kinds of twists and turns. It was filled with plenty of suspense and excitement that kept me wanting more. Very easy to read. Close Your Eyes was one of those books you don’t want to put down. I found myself staying up way past my bedtime, it was just that good. You just wanted to know what was going to happen next to Kendra and Adam. If you’re a fan of thriller suspense novels, you will really enjoy this read. I highly recommend it.
Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham
(Dutton Juvenile, 2012, 272 pages)
Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham is the third book in the Theodore Boone series for young adults. Theodore is a 13 year old 8th grader who hopes to be a lawyer or a judge when he grows up. Both of Theodore’s parents are lawyers. One of Theodore’s favorite pastimes is sitting in the court room and following various trials. Theodore is also a Boy Scout and a member of the middle school debate team.
With a background like that, it is hard to imagine that Theodore would have enemies or be accused of a major crime. However, someone is out to cause trouble for Theodore. His bike tires are slashed. Some of his property is stolen from his locker. And worst of all, someone stole valuable electronics from a local computer store and made it look like the culprit was Theodore Boone. Theodore, with help from his uncle and friends, must try to find the real criminal.
John Grisham has another hit with his Theodore Boone books. The characters are well-rounded and interesting. The books hold your attention and leave the reader wanting to hear more about Theodore. While Theodore Boone: The Accused was written for young adults, I would recommend the book for any Grisham fan.
Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell
(Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2011, 240 pages)
Sarah Wendell is one of the founders of the website Smart Bitches, Trashy Books – an entertaining site if you’re into romance novels 🙂 I read the previous book she wrote with her co-founder Candy Tan, Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels, and really enjoyed it. This had a slightly different slant than I expected but it was still a worthwhile read. If you enjoy romance novels (or if you’re in library school and need to get a better understanding of the genre) you’ll appreciate this book. Essentially Wendell explains that romance novels have more value than just offering their readers an escape. There were parts of the book that seemed to drag out the point a little bit, but the central message was clear and presented in an entertaining way. Interspersed in the book were excerpts from romance novels to help support a point, and there was a “shopping list” at the end for all the romances referenced.
A quick read, but if you want an entertaining book about the romance genre I’d suggest checking out Beyond Heaving Bosoms instead 😉
The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
(William Morrow, 2012, 432 pages)
This is the most recent romance from Phillips’s “Wynette” series. Lucy Jorik has made a last-minute decision not to go through with her wedding. Ted, the groom, looks perfect on paper but something in her gut is telling her that he’s not the man for her. In an attempt to figure things out she needs to “escape.” She somehow finds herself on the back of a motorcycle with a stranger who goes by the name Panda. A man who says he knows Ted but who is very rough and brash – the complete opposite of anyone Ted would hang out with. The two clash immediately but Lucy stays with him because she can’t handle the idea of facing her family after the wedding debacle.
They part after Lucy decides that she’s going to change her image and try to “rebel” against the confines of the life she led as America’s First Daughter. She took matters into her own hands one night by encouraging a “poor choice” between herself and Panda. After that he leaves her at the Memphis Airport with an envelope filled with her belongings and some cash. Turns out he’d been hired by her parents to act as a bodyguard all along. Now Lucy is convinced that she needs to set off on her own to determine who she is and what she wants to do with her life. This decision ends up having her cross paths with Panda yet again since she decides to stay at his summer house in Northern Michigan. The sexual tension is glaringly obvious, but in the midst of it Phillips does a great job conveying the beauty of Northern Michigan and highlighting the need to know yourself.
An entertaining read, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the title prior to this, Call Me Irresistible. I’d recommend that title if you’re looking for a romance – then, if you’re intrigued, you can pick up The Great Escape since it is meant to follow as a sort of connected sequel to Call Me Irresistible.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander
(Knopf, 2012, 207 pages)
This collection of short stories was diverse and engaging. If there was one “connection” between all the stories it would be that the characters were all Jewish and in one way or another dealing with how that influences their identity – internally and/or as viewed by others. Englander does a great job drawing you in to the stories quickly, which is key with short stories in general.
The audiobook version of this was really nice. Each short story was read by a different narrator which was nice in terms of distinguishing the story and setting the characters apart. Too often a bad narrator can “kill” a story, not so with this title 🙂
Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
(Random House, 2012, 336 pages)
Most people are probably familiar with chef Marcus Samuelsson thanks to his appearance on Top Chef Masters. This memoir recounts his childhood in Sweden and talks about how the support of his family and a stellar work ethic led him down his path to culinary success. Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia and he was adopted by his Swedish parents at the age of three. His mother died after bringing Marcus and his sister to a hospital in Addis Ababa – they were all stricken with tuberculosis and she was the only one who succumbed. Despite being raised in another country, Samuelsson was able to go back to Africa as an adult and reconnect with the world in which he was born.
Yes, Chef takes us through Samuelsson’s world travels as he sets out to make a name for himself as a chef. The reader quickly comes to understand what goes into succeeding in the kitchen, and it’s a lot of grunt work in the beginning. The book ends highlighting Samuelsson’s success with his Harlem restaurant, Red Rooster, and his desire to see more minorities, specifically black youth, incorporated into the kitchens of high-end restaurants.
This was an enjoyable read and I certainly have a deeper appreciation for Samuelsson as a chef after learning a little more about all that went in to getting where he is today.