I intended to sit down at my computer and start reviewing books again this morning, following a two month hiatus. April was a very difficult month for our family. There were many trips to Maryland to visit my husband's sister who was severely ill. There were also numerous trips to Connecticut to get ready for a friend's wedding. In mid-April, my sister-in-law passed away, a sad time for everyone, and consequently I wasn't in a blogging mood.
So here I am, finally settled back in New Jersey and ready to work! Still dressed in my nightgown with my first cup of coffee of the morning, I had just turned on my computer when my friend who works for the Mendham Township Police Department called to ask if my husband's car had been parked in the driveway overnight and if yes, had it been broken into!!?? Luckily, George hadn't left for work yet and when he checked, sure enough, his car had been ransacked. How did they even know that?
Well, apparently we weren't the only ones hit last night. A number of cars had been broken into and one had been stolen. The reason that the police called us was that the detective remembered that we had installed a video security system after our home was broken into last August. Still in my nightgown, policemen started showing up to check the backup monitoring system for our cameras. I couldn't figure out how to even reverse the recording on the system's monitor but remembered I could access it on my cell phone.
Scrolling from midnight to this morning, up popped the culprits at approximately 4:22:23 a.m. Two of them walking down our driveway, one going to the side of the car to open the driver's side door and one going right to the trunk to hunt for who knows what. Pretty creepy!
We soon found ourselves surrounded by three local officers, two county sheriff's officers and another sheriff's officer who is familiar with home surveillance systems. Totally embarrassing since I had intended to also clean my office today because unfortunately it looked like IT had been ransacked. No matter, they were soon able to download the footage of the perpetrators onto a thumb drive, and after complimenting us on the really good cameras we installed (apparently the high number of pixels will make it possible to enlarge the size of the stills when they print them, making the trespassers more easily visible), they were soon piling into their official cars and heading back to pursue their leads.
I guess I should thank the person or persons who broke into our home last year. We would never have installed the cameras if that hadn't happened. And if we hadn't installed the cameras, the police wouldn't have been able to know the time frame that the cars were broken into, as well as actually being able to see the people who did it.
Bravo to Mendham Township Detective Taquinto for remembering about our camera system. And bravo to the police and sheriff's department officers who responded so quickly. To my neighbors and friends, we live in a difficult time and there have been so many burglaries locally. Please be aware that we don't live in Mayberry anymore. You need to lock your doors and your car doors and do your best to keep your families safe. Get an alarm, install outside lighting, get a dog or do whatever makes you comfortable, but please pay attention to strangers in your neighborhood and don't hesitate to call the police if something doesn't feel right.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Carter Ross is a reporter for the Newark Eagle-Examiner. He's been handed an assignment to investigate and write about the death of a Newark policeman. Just as he's beginning, the death is ruled a suicide and Ross is pulled from the story.
That should have stopped him, but of course it didn't. The more he learns about Detective Sergeant Darius Kipps, the more convinced Ross is that Kipps didn't commit suicide. In fact, he had everything to live for. Blocked at every turn by the police in his quest, Carter is determined to find out what really happened.
Along with his reporting duties, Ross is constantly side-stepping his boss Tina's quest to have him impregnate her. She's decided that he's the perfect candidate to fulfill her dream of having a child before her biological clock runs down. But while Ross is seriously interested in Tina, he's not willing to settle for just being a stud service.
Brad Parks has injected a tongue-in-cheek humor in his characters and THE GOOD COP is a hilarious pleasure to read. It doesn't hurt that the setting is many of the New Jersey towns any New Jerseyan is familiar with!
I enjoyed THE GOOD COP so much that I've since gone back and read all the rest of the Carter Ross series. I'd suggest you start with an earlier one, but they're all fun to read as Ross tears up the turf in the Garden State!
Pub. Date: March 5, 2013
Hardcover and eBook
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Olivia Donatelli has just lost her autistic son, Anthony and Beth Ellis's marriage has fallen apart. Unkown to each other, they both retreat to Nantucket to try to make sense of their lives and their futures; one without the son she loved deeply and the other without the husband who destroyed their marriage.
As each woman deals with her own grief and sense of loss, their paths cross only fleetingly before Beth begins writing a story in the voice of an autistic boy. Since Olivia has worked as as editor, Beth asks her to review her book and Olivia is shocked at the content. She's convinced that her beloved Anthony is speaking through Beth.
And that's why this book lost me. As background, let me say that I loved Ms. Genova's previous books, STILL ALICE and LEFT NEGLECTED. I read and reviewed both of these books, giving them high recommendations. The author's background in neuroscience lent great credibility to both novels which is why the mystical touch in love anthony was unexpected and jarring.
Needless to say, I was really looking forward to settling down with love anthony. Not in keeping with anything Lisa Genova had previously written, Beth's full book unfolds within the story of the women's lives, in a disjointed and disruptive way. I found myself skipping over the novel within the novel in order to even finish reading Ms. Genova's newest. This was a very disappointing purchase, but if you haven't read the author's previous works, you should. Each was terrific!
Pub. Date: September 2012
Hardcover and eBook
Monday, March 4, 2013
Illustrations by J.C. Suares
YOU'RE MY DAWG, DOG is a charming collection of dog terms used in everyday language.
Mr. Friedman has infused humor and his own embellishments while providing the etymology of "dog words", referencing such luminaries as Groucho Marx, Jean Shepherd, Truman, Pat Boone, Mike Tyson, Sarah Palin and Rihanna, just to name a few. After reading this small tome, you'll be ready for the category of dog terms on Jeopardy!
Abundantly illustrated by J.C. Suares, YOU'RE MY DAWG, DOG is witty, informative and rude at turns........a must for the dog lovers or word lovers on your gift list.
Kudos to Mr. Friedman for reminding us of the richness and wit of the English language. Doggone it, too bad our dogs can't read!
Pub. Date: February 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Don't get me wrong, I have a computer. I've worked my way through DOS, Windows 1.0, Windows 386, Windows XP and now, Windows 7. I loved WordPerfect but finally gave up and switched to Word when my floppy disks wouldn't fit into any of the newer computers, although I tried darn hard! I have more than one email account but even here I'm a little outdated...I still like the user-friendly format of AOL for my email. I pay bills on line, keep in touch with friends on Facebook, play Pinochle with live strangers on line, sell on eBay and even have this blog. I have a smartphone, a Kindle, a Nook and a Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE which I know how to switch from WiFi to cell in order to search the web if I'm in the middle of nowhere during a major downpour! I know how to save data on a thumb drive, flash drive or a DVD. Thanks in large part to having sons who guided me along the way, I know how to work all of these devices to handle most everything I need to do. But, thinking back on some of the jobs I've had in my life, I guess I have to admit that I am pretty old; in fact you could probably call me a dinosaur!
After that, I went through a number of jobs. I was a waitress, I did cold calls for a shop-at-home carpet company, I worked as a collection clerk for a law firm that did all of the collections for the Bambergers Department Store chain and I worked in the offices of the Benjamin Moore Paint Company (stinky job in the industrial section of Newark). All typing required in any of these jobs was done on a manual typewriter. My next position was as a legal secretary for a small law firm and for the first time I worked on an electric typewriter....so cool! Only problem was, no one had copy machines back in the stone ages, and legal documents had to be typed on onionskin paper in copious quantities using carbon paper. If you made a mistake, you had to correct all gazillion copies with an eraser and then line the paper up in the typewriter again and hope you retyped the letter in the right spot. I actually remember making a total mess of a document one day, and after redoing the entire thing, I stuffed the mangled copies under my skirt so I could throw them away in the ladies room which was out in the hallway because I was too embarrassed to throw them into my wastebasket!
Other jobs followed. I worked as a secretary in the Rehabilitation Department of Morristown Memorial Hospital, ran the office for an emergency elevator repair company, worked in the office of the Morristown Senior Citizen's Center and also worked many different jobs as a temp. I was the office manager for a Morristown architectural firm where I met my husband and then for a large law firm in Newark. But the technology during this period remained pretty much the same. Electric typewriters and adding machines were the tools of the day; no more counting on an abacus!
Other jobs followed, but not much was changing in the world of technology, but now we were moving into the realm of HOME computers! Our older son was the first in our family to get a home computer and it was a crazy Atari that worked in DOS. The printer paper was pretty much the size of an adding machine tape and since Al Gore hadn't invented the Internet yet, the Atari really only worked like a glorified typewriter, producing very tiny pages. Around the same time, my husband got his first portable phone; a crazy contraption that took a technician about three hours to install in George's car. The shoebox sized phone was mounted on a post drilled into the floor of the car and if you knocked it off of it's post you better move your foot if you didn't want a large bruise!
Back to where I started and why technology today gives me a headache. It seems that you just barely acclimate yourself to a new device like an iPad or Kindle Fire when it's replaced by something bigger or better or smaller or thinner and you're stuck with this obsolete relic. Forget disposable diapers, I'd like to know how many computers, laptops, eReaders and cell phones are filling up the landfills?!?
I totally lusted after the Sketchbook X app, even though my Android Smartphone isn't all that smart and isn't smart enough to have a stylus. And even though I can't draw anything that looks representative of anything except possibly a flower, I still want that app. My Smartphone isn't even smart enough to have the flashlight feature, and though it takes great pictures, I'm not scheduled for an upgrade with my Verizon contract.
My point is that every time some new and improved technology comes along, by tomorrow or the next day, some new widget or gadget is introduced that makes yesterday's hot item look like a telex machine. I'm just glad I have some brain cells left after the sixties to embrace some of the ever changing devices. This is why new technology gives me a headache!
March 1, 2013 Footnote: My husband asked me how I could have held so many jobs in such a short time. No, I wasn't hopping around from job to job like a bunny! Having grown up in Newark, I was intent on starting a life and the best way to start was to earn money. Most times when I was in my teens and twenties, I had two jobs, sometimes three. For example, when I worked for the collection attorney, I also worked evenings for the carpet company and weekends as a waitress.
Moe Prager is a former NYC cop, a sometimes PI and half owner of a small upscale chain of wine shops. He had almost made detective with the NYPD when he was pensioned out because of a serious knee injury. He and his wife are struggling with their grief following Katy's miscarriage.
Bored to distraction with the retail liquor business, Moe almost doesn't mind when he is bullied into investigating the disappearance of Moira Heaton, a young intern to up and coming State Senator Steven Brightman (a la Chandra Levy and Gary Condit). Wealthy mover and shaker Thomas Geary has his mind set on backing Brightman for higher office and since Brightman is still under a cloud of suspicion because of Moira's disappearance, Geary strong arms Prager into taking the case to clear Sen. Brightman's name.
THE JAMES DEANS is a good mystery, with plenty of twists and turns. But the best part is Moe Prager. He's a likable protagonist, using his luck and hunches to get to the heart of Moira's disappearance as well as providing the reader with the color and flavor of Brooklyn, Coney island and surrounding boroughs. You can't miss with this one!
Lynn's note: My son and daughter-in-law bought me a bag of books for Christmas....thank you so much! Knowing how much I love to read, they're hard pressed to find mystery and thriller authors who are new to me. One of the books in the bag was THE JAMES DEANS by Mr. Coleman.
I was in the middle of a bunch of other books and finally started this one on February 12th. Since then, in the last fourteen days, I've literally plowed through the entire Moe Prager series -- all seven books --and I've loved them all! One of the nice things about Mr. Coleman's series is that Moe Prager lives his life and ages as the books are written, unlike some other authors' recurring characters who seem to live in a time warp.
I cannot believe Reed Farrel Coleman's books haven't been as well recognized as others in the mystery/thriller genre. They are, in a word, TERRIFIC! Try one, you won't be disappointed!
Pub. Date: varies - 2005 - 2008 - 2012 eBook edition
Paperback and eBook
Saturday, February 9, 2013
To be released April 2013
Having just finished a couple of very intense books, I decided to give DON'T GO a try since it was written by one of my favorite legal thriller writers.
Dr. Mike Scanlon is serving in Afghanistan, a handy theme when presenting the reader with hand-wringing drama. He's notified that his wife has died from a household accident, leaving his infant daughter with relatives. Now, Mike Scanlon is a doctor so you have to assume he is working with some brain cells. But Ms. Scottoline's protagonist makes such dumb decisions that you can see very early on just where this book is going and it's frustrating at best. I was actually moaning out loud to a friend that I couldn't believe he went back to Afghanistan and couldn't believe he signed a poorly worded temporary custody agreement with his wife's sister and her attorney husband. My friend kept telling me to shut up and even threatened to turn off her hearing aids since she wanted to read the book after me.
I have to admit that I've always tried to skip over the chick lit books written by some of my favorite mystery and thriller writers; John Grisham, David Baldacci and Lisa Scottoline to name just a few. Without the tension and intrigue of the thrillers written by these authors, the chick lit crossover novels they produce just seem to fall flat. What I realized is that these authors take themselves too seriously for the chick lit genre and fail to add the humor and comedic touch that make books by Jennifer Weiner, Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding such a pleasure to read and a fun way to spend an afternoon.
That said, DON'T GO is trite and predictable and takes itself too seriously. I was forced to finish reading this book to see just how bad it was, and it was bad! I would suggest you DON'T GO to your favorite bookseller or library for this one.
Pub. Date: April 9, 2013
Hardcover and eBook