set me up and slam me down

he said/she said by Erin Kelly; 2017; $25.99; 392 pages; Minotaur Books, New York, NY; 978-1-250-11369-6; ARC purchased on Ebay; 3/4/18-3/8/18

Why did I read this?  Because it is the January selection of the Corner Reading Society, a book club that I belong to.

A popular device in three books that I have read recently is to have the chapters alternate between narrators.  In this case it is a married couple, Kit and Laura, and their narration starts in 1999 at a festival scheduled to coincide with an eclipse.  The entire narrative revolves around eclipses.  While at the festival they interrupt a rape and that confrontation takes over their lives in many different ways.  Secrets are kept and reputations are tainted and tattered.

What is with the title of the review?  I was reading along in one story when I was picked up and body slammed as another story started.  I can usually spot foreshadowing in a story, but it almost seemed like there was little connection between things in the first part and things revealed in the second half of the story.



not a close encounter of the third kind, maybe

Everything We Lost by Valerie Geary; 2017; $15.99; 459 pages; HarperCollins Publisher, New York, NY; 978-0-06-256642-3; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 2/27/18-3/2/18

Why did I read this?  Valerie is a cashier at the bookstore I manage and I read her first book and enjoyed it so I thought I would read this one also.

Lucy is twenty four years old and without a path in her life, since her brother disappeared when she was fourteen.  Her mother has retreated into a bottle and then into ufology.  Her father never wanted children and has retreated into women that are the age of his children.  Lucy is trying to move on with her life, so she is  revisiting her childhood and trying to figure out what happened.  As she does she revisits her high school classmates, her parents, and some of Nolan’s UFO friends.  She finds out much about herself and comes to a conclusion that allows her to move on with her life.

What is with the title of the review?  Nolan may have been abducted by aliens, but there are several other alternatives that also make sense.

Grade 10/10


where is taylor?

Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle, translated by Xan Fielding; 1963, 191 pages; Gramercy Books, New York, NY; 0-517-20948-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 2/22/18-2/26/18

Why did I read this?  After reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and realizing how different it is from the movie we all know, I thought I would explore the books some other movies I like were based on.

Three French astronauts leave our solar system and land on a planet that is remarkably similar to Earth.  Except that the humans have devolved and the apes have evolved.  The places each inhabit on our earth are switched.  One of the astronauts dies almost immediately and two others are captured and take very different paths.  One devolves and becomes speechless and incapable of rational thought, the other becomes friends with some chimpanzees and is brought before a council of apes.  One of the organutangs want to silence him so his chimpanzee friends enable he and his family to escape back to his spaceship.  He takes off  and returns to earth which has changed in the time he has been away.

The Mark Wahlberg/ Tim Burton version of this is closer to the book than any other version I have seen.

Grade 8/10

What is with the title of the review?  I identify Charlton Heston’s portrayal of Taylor in the original adaption of this that it was quite a shock to not see him in this story.

liars figure

Simple Genius by David Baldacci; 2008, $9.99, Kindle Edition, 444 pages, Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; purchased from; 2/20/18-2/22/18

Why did I read this?  Because David Baldacci has gotten me to care about the characters of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell and I want to see what has happened with them.

Michelle Maxwell is feeling something, she doesn’t quite know what, but it leads her to the seediest bar in Washington, D.C.. Once there she proceeds to drink herself to a place where she decides to pick a fight with the biggest guy in the place.  She is kicking his ass and just gives up, letting him kick her ass all the way to the hospital.

Sean finds her in the hospital and talks her into committing herself into a psychiatric facility, where we meet some new and interesting characters. Meanwhile Sean is hired to investigate the death of a genius at a facility that borders a CIA training camp and another top secret installation.  While Sean is investigating that, Michelle is solving a couple of cases at the facility.  Once she does that she declares herself cured and goes to help Sean with his case.  Her doctor however continues to investigate to ascertain the cause of Michelle’s problem, what he discovers adds a chilling new dimension to Michelle’s life.  It will be interesting to see where this goes.

Sean and Michelle solve the case at the genius facility and are able to reward some victims with what they find.

What is with the title of the review?  A couple of the key bad guys use the genius as excuses and their “figuring’ as national security covers.

Grade 10/10

serial killers & civil war reenactments

Hour Game by David Baldacci; 2004; Kindle Edition; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 9780446586658; purchased from; 2/19/18-2/20/18

Why did I read this?  Because I am reading through all of David Baldacci’s series and I had a long plane ride from Portland to Anchorage.

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are hired to solve some burglaries but that gets them involved in a case where a killer is mimicking notorious serial killers of the recent past.  One of the characters is a member of a civil war reenactment society and gets Michelle involved.  This mystery takes a lot of twist and turns and we discover more of Sean and Michelle’s backstories.  They characters are the most engaging parts of Baldacci’s books.

Grade 10/10

don’t take your eye off the sparrow

Split Second by David Baldacci; 2003; kindle edition; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 9780446588362; purchased from; 2/16/18-2/19/18

Why did I read this?  I have become a big fan of David Baldacci’s work and am working my way through his various series.  This is the first book in the King and Maxwell series.

Secret Service Agent Sean King’s attention was diverted for a split second as he was guarding a presidential candidate.  That split second allowed the candidate to be assassinated.  That split second resulted in King’s career coming to a screeching halt, he has now become an administrative lawyer.

Eight years later, Secret Service agent Michelle Maxwell allows a presidential candidate to enter a room unescorted.  He disappears and so does Maxwell’s career.

When Maxwell sees a news story about about Sean King and is struck by the similarities in their cases she begins to investigate.  They end up becoming a team and solving a multi-year mystery that ties them together.

One of the authors strengths is writing characters that you care about.  He begins to give clues about what drives each of the characters.

Grade 10/10

What is with the title of the review?  It is a line from the Baretta theme, but here both agents took their eye off of their protectee and suffered the consequences.

he still gets me choked up

the Dead don’t Dance by Charles Martin; 2006, $13; Kindle Edition; Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN; 9781418566388; checked out from the Multnomah County Library, e book; 2/15/18-2/16/18

Why did I read this?  Because I have read one book by Charles Martin and was thoroughly moved, so I have decided to read his entire backlist.

Dylan and Maggie, fall in love and start a family.  That is where things started to go downhill. At the birth Maggie starts to hemorrhage and their son dies.  Maggie goes into a coma and Dylan doesn’t handle it well.   His friend and Deputy Amos helps him get an adjunct professor job at a local community college.  He connects with his students and he helps them and they help him regain some of his footing.  He begins to see that there is life to still and that the only constant is change.  There is a surprise that I really didn’t see coming.

Grade 10/10

What is with the title of the review?  Charles Martin is batting a thousand for getting me choked up as I read his books.  I have read two by him and I find myself tearing up as I read the books.


Ollie is awesome

Crooked River by Valerie Geary; 2014; $25.99; 326 pages; William Morrow, New York, NY; 978-0-06-232659-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Northwest; 2/11/-18-2/15/18

Why did I read this?  Valerie just began as a volunteer at the Title Wave so I thought I would read her work.

The mother of Ollie and Samantha McAllister has passed away and they move to the country with their father, who lives in a tipi on the land of a family friend.  One day they discover a body in the Crooked River, instead of alerting the police they allow the body to float downstream.  They find clues but instead of telling the police they try and solve the case themselves.  When their father is charged with the murder things start to quickly go downhill.  Each of the girls is different, Sam in very pragmatic while Ollie sees spirits around them.  This is a mystery of many different levels and wonderfully told story which alternates between the viewpoints of the two girls.

What is with the title of the review?  Ollie is a reader who sees spirits around her.  Someone I can relate to.

Grade- 10

it goes to eleven

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin; 2016; $25.99;308 pages; Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN; 978-0-7180-8471-4; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 2/7/18-2/11/18

Why did I read this?  When my sister, Melodie was home I had lunch with her and Kevin Nichols and we got to talking about books and Mel recommended this.  So I picked it up and I am glad I did, the writing was so good that there were spots that I read the book out loud to Ruthann.

The soundtrack for this would be awesome.  As I read I would be hearing the music in my head from Hymns to classic rock.  An itinerant widower preacher and his son travel all over preaching to the masses, until they have a very big falling out and the son goes on a journey of self discovery.  He climbs to the heights of the country music but then loses it all to a corrupt music producer.  After falling about as low as he can  go he returns to his hometown and begins to rebuild his life. He reconnects with old friends, the memory of his father and his heavenly father.

This is the story of the prodigal son, set in our current time.


what is with the title of the review?  Music is an important part of the book and the intensity of the book goes to eleven.  I cried at various places in the story.

What now?

Hellbent, An Orphan X Novel by Gregg Hurwitz; 2018; $26.99; 406 pages; Minotaur Books, New York, NY; 978-1-250-11917-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, North Portland; 2/5/18-2/7/18

Why did I read this?  I have been reading Gregg Hurwitz for the last 20 years and love his writing and try to read everything he writes.

Evan Smoak was the best in the Orphan plan, known as Orphan X, he witnesses the death of his handler and friend at the hands of the current head of the Orphan program.  He finds a message from his handler and discovers a washout from the Orphan program as he is being tracked by the head of the program and at the same protecting innocents and being the Nowhere man.  Evan tries to preserve his life outside the program while being hunted and hunting.  The story continues at a mile a minute pace, never dragging and always exciting.  Several new characters are introduced and we find there is corruption to the highest levels of the United States government.

Grade 10/10


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