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Black Hills

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I love reading Nora Roberts. Some of her books are fantastic and I could read and reread them. This ended up in the ok but not memorable pile. The childhoods of Lil and Cooper started out very sweet but took too long. Lil could have been a fascinating character but her silly bitterness got in the way. I liked the secondary story line of Farley and Tansy. The humor I love in her books came out there. The serial killer story line was very good and it finally picked up in the middle. I've read so many of her books that I love though, it doesn't matter. I'll just go on to the next one.
I'd Know You Anywhere: A Novel

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Wow, this story was great! Other reviewers have already given the plot synopsis so I will just make some comments. With great dignity and insight, Lippman has created a character, a whole family really who are survivors of one of the worst things that can happen. Elizabeth/Eliza, an unremarkable yet curiously impressive character not only survived the kidnapping, but managed to go on to live a great life. Thematically it was super creepy. Although Eliza's parents were tremendously supportive and her husband protective, none of it mattered where Walter was concerned. He found her and sent his minion Barbara out to stalk her. It was disturbing how powerful evil can be.
Aging as a Spiritual Practice

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As a health care worker in a nursing home, I appreciate books that talk openly about the aging process. Too many people ignore or worse, suppress all signs of their own aging in our youth obsessed culture. When it finally sneaks up, many people become depressed, anxious, or outraged. I think everyone should read this inspiring little book and really consider applying some of this wisdom in their own lives. The exercises were very helpful and I thought it was a great idea to include them.
The Doll

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Daphne Du Maurier's earlier work focuses on the study of failed human relationships, especially of the male/female variety. Having read so many of her later books, it is interesting to see the literary roads that took her there. I enjoyed this collection very much and spent two very pleasant days reading. The weirdest story was The Doll. It was a creepy look at a fetish that is used nowadays as comedy. It showed that Du Maurier was definitely not afraid to delve into the darker, ickier aspects of humanity. And Now To God the Father was a disturbing story of hypocrisy in a social climbing clergyman. Tame Cat had a lovely, innocent young lady coming home from school to find a cold mother and her long time lover making passes at her. Mazie is a day in the life of a prostitute. However, not all of the stories were glum. Weekend and Frustration had a lighter, more comic tone and I laughed out loud at the end of Frustration. If you are a Du Maurier fan you need to have this book in your collection.
The Dud Avocado

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A laugh-out-loud book about the misadventures of Sally Jay Gorce during her two years in Paris. She wants "freedom" which in her own words is to stay up all night and eat whatever I want. But freedom can land one in all sorts of hot water but Sally jay manages them all, if not with aplomb, always with humor. I can imagine people being scandalized back in the fifties by Sally Jay but its pretty tame for nowadays. I enjoyed this book very much.
Muškarci koji mrze žene

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Excellent book! It is not one that will be to everyone's taste due to the violence and sadism. One thing I especially liked is that it did not wrap up with the revelation of the bad guy. In fact, it was just getting started.I like that Lisbeth has real and profound mental problems and social limitations instead of being the standard female-with-issues character. She becomes a victim of a nasty crime and lives in a world that is hostile to and grossly misunderstands her. Larsson unfortunately passed away before his trilogy was published but it seems as though he is greatly concerned with the plight of vulnerable women. The violence he portrays is less gratuitous and more of a , "this is what is happening out there, people" expose.
Innocent

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I love anything by Scott Turow and getting to review the sequel to his masterpeice Presumed Innocent was a real treat. All the main characters from the first book were back only about twenty years older and in some cases wiser. Tommy Molto was the biggest surprise. I really liked the guy this time. Rusty is now a Chief Judge of the State Court of Appeals and just as conflicted about his life as ever. His relationship with Barbara seems even stranger what with the fact they stayed married all those years. That was a window into that dysfuntional little world. It was a great story with plenty of twists and turns. I really enjoyed this one.
The Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen's Champion

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This is the first Elizabeth Chadwick book I have read and definitely not the last. It was fantastic! The details and descriptions made me feel I was really there and I didn't want to leave this fascinating time in history. King Henry and his sons fighting over power and the crown and in the middle is William Marshall, a loyal knght being pulled between them. Chadwick certainly knows her history. Wow is all I can say!
In Search of the Rose Notes: A Novel

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Nora and Charlotte were normal eleven-year old girls. Although one was extroverted while the other was introverted, both were obsessed with Time Life’s Mysteries of the Unknown series and pored over the volumes every day after school. Sixteen year-old babysitter Rose was too old for such nonsense but got caught up in recording her dreams and the possibility of alien encounters. She added her own notes to the already overstuffed pages of the Mystery’s books. When Rose disappeared one day Charlotte tried to use her paranormal prowess to find out what happened to her. Sensitive Nora, “the last person to see her alive“, became overwhelmed emotionally and pulled away from friends and family. She began a downward spiral that lasted into high school when a desperate act finally drew her out of the abyss. Years later when Rose’s body was found, Nora was compelled to make the difficult journey home to make sense of the event and find some closure. Staying with Charlotte who taught at their old high school and slept in her same bedroom forced Nora to face some old demons. The old Time Life books were still there. Did they give any clues previously overlooked? Or did events deemed unimportant at the time matter more? Arsenault is a fine storyteller. I liked the way she used the mental development of eleven-year old girls, right at the cusp of belief in magic and understanding reason as an adult. It gave the story an interesting twist to view Rose’s disappearance from that perspective. Young Nora deduced that something was wrong with Rose beforehand, but did not have the maturity to discern what it might be. The false guilt started her slide into depression. Charlotte on the other hand felt she needed to “do” something and her paranormal stuff was all she knew. Her experiments were amusing but done in earnest. Both children were dealing with fear and tragedy in different ways. So different in fact, that even as adults they had trouble communicating with each other. I liked this story. It breezed along and was so interesting that the ending was not the main event. It’s fun and all too rare to just enjoy a thrilling story along the way.
Gentlemen and Players

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Both clever and disturbing, this thriller is set in an exclusive British boy's school named St. Oswalds. The envious child of the former caretaker who used to roam the halls in a stolen school uniform is now back as a teacher and determined to destroy the place where belonging was an impossible dream. The only one who stands in the way is the pragmatic and aging classics teacher Roy Straitley. He is slowly being edged out of his classroom by the new computer department but the intrepid teacher follows the clues to reveal a narcissistic and bold nemesis.The plot of this story is excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it develop. Harris is terrific at characterizations and how people interact in small communities. The various reactions among staff as minor mishaps turned deadly was especially fascinating. Harris revealed that she had actually taught at a school similar to the fictitious St. Oswald's for many years so that must be why it was so realistic. Roy Straitley was by far my favorite character and I rooted for him all the way. I guessed the twist early on but never figured out who it was until right at the end. But since the story was so good it was fun to relax and enjoy every angle.
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