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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I've written about going to GLASSWORKS before, but I was so thrilled with the bowl I made, I just had to post the photo! I went back again with my friend, Candace. She made a small tray and I needed a large bowl for Connecticut. It had to be big enough to hold five pounds of potato salad which is the amount I usually make for large group meals.

Unlike my first visit to GLASSWORKS in Morristown, this time I was more adventurous and I cut all the glass to size, rather than picking out pre-cut pieces. It takes about a week to get the finished work back because they have to fire each piece twice, once to meld the colored glass to the clear glass base and a second time to get the desired shape.

Well, the size and shape are perfect for what I wanted and I was amazed at how professional my bowl looked considering I am definitely not an artist. Unfortunately, the bowl is almost too pretty to use and it looks great on the counter, so I'm going to have to go back again and make one that's more of a 'clunker' that I won't mind using.

Monday, September 27, 2010


by Scarlett Thomas - available in bookstores

I've been struggling with OUR TRAGIC UNIVERSE for about two weeks. Usually I get engaged in a novel fairly quickly and don't want to put it down until I'm finished; but not this one.  I kept putting it aside and reading other books. 

When I picked it up again over the weekend, I realized that although I was half-way through OUR TRAGIC UNIVERSE, I just didn't care enough about the protagonist, Meg Carpenter, or her silly relationship with her unemployed live-in boyfriend, her attraction to an older man, or her jealousy of her childhood friend, Rosa.
Meg spends much of her time ghostwriting novels while being unable to focus on writing her own.  She goes off on tangents about THE MATRIX, Chekhov and everything else under the sun.  

Ms. Thomas pretty much lost me totally when her character decides that her own novel is just going to be disconnected jottings from the notebook she keeps.  Unfortunately, that's exactly what the author offered us; disconnected dialogs that have no impact on a meandering story line that seems to go nowhere.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


by Dennis Lehane - to be released in November 2010

Dennis Lehane revisits the kidnapping of Amanda McCready from his earlier book, GONE, BABY, GONE. He's brought back Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, Boston private investigators, now married with a child of their own. The economy has hit Patrick and Angie hard since she's returned to school and he has been doing contract investigations for a large firm in Boston. Hopeful that his latest job for the firm will land him permanent employment with benefits, Patrick is sidetracked when Amanda's Aunt beseeches him to find the sixteen year old honor student who's missing again.

While searching for the missing girl, Patrick is forced to once again face the moral issues of having returned Amanda to her mother twelve years earlier, a dilemma he struggles with throughout the novel. Assisted by Angie, his search takes him through the Russian underworld in Boston and a baby selling ring.  Along the way, Patrick begins to reassess his own life and future.

Not quite as good as Lehane's earlier books, MOONLIGHT MILE is still a terrific read.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Author Interviews - BRYAN GRULEY

I've heard from a handful of authors whose books I've reviewed since starting this blog in February, 2010. Recently I exchanged emails with Bryan Gruley, author of STARVATION LAKE and THE HANGING TREE.

Bryan very graciously agreed to let me interview him for one of my Five Minute Conversations. Since we did the interview by email, it seemed more fitting to just start a new section; hence Author Interviews will be a new segment on my blog. The following is basically word for word from our emails. My questions are in italics and his responses are bold regular font. Please bear with me as Bryan did; I'm not a journalist and this was my first author interview so I hit him with the first questions that popped into my head. Hopefully as I do more of these interviews, I'll become more sophisticated with my queries.

As background, Mr. Gruley is the Chicago Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal. His first book, Starvation Lake, was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America and is currently in it's tenth printing. He's a hockey enthusiast and you can read more about him on his blog at Let him know you found his books on Monarch Book Reviews! Be sure to check out his books. I've read them both and loved them.

Lynn: How did you segue from newspaper work to writing mysteries? Was it because you always read mysteries?
BRYAN: Actually I'm not a mystery maven, per se. I read Hammett and Chandler, Connelly and Harris, but I read widely. I've wanted to write novels since I was a kid. I finally wrote one. I didn't set out to write a mystery. I just wrote a story. The publisher told me it was a mystery.

Lynn: When you wrote your books, how much of your own newspaper experience defined Gus Carpenter's job on a small town struggling newspaper?
BRYAN: Not many specific experiences, but a lot of the inside culture and circumstance I've seen working at newspapers helped me draw Gus and the Pilot.

Lynn: Many of us think we could "write a book"; how did you decide that you really would? And how did you find the discipline.
BRYAN: I got out of bed early and started writing. As the words finally began to pile up, I realized I might actually wind up writing a book, which gave me more incentive. It was good as well to have a few friends--especially the non-fiction book writer, Jonathan Eig--reading my stuff and encouraging me along the way.

Lynn: So many times writers inject some parts of their friends or families into their characters. Is this the case with you and do you feel comfortable letting family and friends read your books? Does their opinion affect your writing?
BRYAN: My characters are not direct analogs for friends and family, so I don't have to worry about showing them my work. I frequently use names of family and friends for minor characters or places; for instance, Enright's Pub, Fortune Drug, Evangelista Drywall, and hockey-playing Linke twins are all named for people I know.

Lynn: Why do you write? Does it make you happy? Does it feel like "work"?
BRYAN: Writing is what I do. It's what God put me on earth for, so it's who I am. There are days when it feels like "work," of course, but overall, it's as much a part of my life as eating or laughing.

Lynn: Did you always want to write?
BRYAN: Since my mother gave me the Hardy Boys' mystery, THE CRISSCROSS SHADOW, I have wanted to be a writer. I'm lucky to have made a great living at it.

Lynn: Do you think your characters and/or subject matter would have been different if you hadn't had a full career already?
BRYAN: Undoubtedly.

Lynn: What's your ritual? (A glass of wine, an old typewriter, jelly beans, your favorite baseball hat, windows XP, a pack of cigarettes, a bologna sandwich?)
BRYAN: Get up early, look at email, skim the papers, make coffee, procrastinate, look at email, finally sit down and write for an hour or two. If I get 500-800 words in, that's a pretty good day.

Lynn: How does it feel when you see your book for sale in a bookstore?
BRYAN: Great, especially when it's right there at the FRONT of the store.

Lynn: Are the characters from STARVATION LAKE and THE HANGING TREE going to return in your next book? When is your next book going to be published?
BRYAN: The third Starvation Lake book, THE SKELETON BOX, is in the works. If all goes well, it'll come out in the fall of 2011. Gus Carpenter will return as our guide, along with several of the standing characters as well as some new ones.

Thank you, Bryan, for exchanging emails with me and for allowing me to interview you. It was a pleasure to meet you and I can't wait to read THE SKELETON BOX!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Five Minute Conversations - THANKS FOR DESSERT, DON

I'm finally back in New Jersey after a wonderful, but very hot, summer in Stonington, Connecticut; it's great to be back and see more of my husband, but always sad to have the summer end.

One of my favorite things about Stonington is Noah's Restaurant on Water Street. It's so rare to find a place where a woman alone feels comfortable sitting at the bar and having lunch. Noah's is just that place. On any weekday you can find a half dozen people to talk to or just bring a book. The food is spectacular, the staff warm and friendly and it just feels like "home".

Coming back to Mendham is always a shock because we don't really have any place that has that same "neighborhood" feel; where you can go by yourself and just talk to everyone around you, relax and have a nice lunch.

The one serious thing missing in southeastern Connecticut is a really great mall. There are no nearby large department stores except for Macy's in Waterford. Spending a summer totally mall deprived forced me to make a trip to the Short Hills Mall yesterday. I didn't even buy anything but it was nice to just breath the over processed mall air surrounded by bright and shiny new fall merchandise at Bloomingdale's, Neiman's, and Saks to name a few. If you've been living under a rock and haven't made a trip to Short Hills, I can only describe it as Fifth Avenue in New York City but under a roof. You're surrounded by so much sparkle and bling it's amazing! Handbags and jewelry and clothes, OH MY!

I decided to have lunch at my favorite mall restaurant, Joe's American Bar and Grill. For a Wednesday in September Joe's was really crowded but after exchanging pleasantries with Noreen, the manager, I found an empty seat at the bar. I began reading CURE by Robin Cook (terrible choice, see my review below) while waiting for my order. Just as my club sandwich was being delivered, a couple of young and extremely nicely dressed gentlemen were standing behind me looking for seats. With only one seat available next to me, one of them asked if I would mind sliding over a bit so that they could squeeze in another stool. I was happy to, but laughingly said it was going to be very cozy.

We quickly made the necessary adjustments and the gentleman closest to me offered to buy me a drink to thank me. Although I declined, we started talking. His name was Don and he and his lunch mate are financial analysts for New York Life. We discovered that we had both grown up in Newark, NJ; he attended Weequahic High School while I had attended West Side High, albeit many years apart. We talked about different stores and places that used to be in Newark. He currently lives in Madison and summers on Martha's Vineyard. I gave him one of my blog bookmarks and, promising to visit my blog, he turned back to his co-worker and I went back to my book. I couldn't help but chuckle when Don placed his order because NOBODY is as picky about ordering as I am (okay, friends and family...I finally admit it!). My chicken club included swiss but no bacon with very light mayo on white toast with no onion rings; very different than the standard offered. Well, Don proceeded to order grilled chicken with grilled shrimp. He didn't want it on a Caesar salad and he and the bartender struggled but finally came up with some appropriate greens and dressing.

I had just finished eating when Don insisted he wanted to buy me dessert. I finally relented when he agreed to split it with me.....strawberry shortcake made the correct way, with a biscuit. We chatted a little more and then I paid my check. We shook hands and I left through the restaurant entrance that passes the waitstaff station. Well, Don, I hope you're reading this blog entry because there were two waitresses hopping up and down and talking about how cute you are! I think you made a couple of conquests and should definitely consider going back to Joe's for lunch again soon.

I guess if you look hard enough you can find a place that feels like it should be in your neighborhood and has good food that nice friendly people frequent. I wish Joe's was in Mendham and not a half hour away.

By the way, thanks for dessert.


by Robin Cook - available in bookstores

Part medical mystery, part police mystery and part lecture on America's health care industry, CURE may be the last Robin Cook book that I purchase.

The main character is NYC Medical Examiner Laurie Montgomery, just returning to work from maternity leave. Determined that her first case back is not going to be a "natural" death, she twists herself into a pretzel trying to find another cause. Her reactions and responses are silly and over the top; mostly she's just annoying.

CURE has weak characters, a far fetched winding plot about Japanese gangs, the most bungling Mafia I've ever seen in print and the biomedical industry.

The "cure" for this one is to save your money and buy something better to read.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Some of you may notice a slight change in my profile. Unfortunately I had to give our mini daschshund, Kookie, back to our good friends, Ron and Janis (I sure hope they're still our friends).

Our son, Bill, adopted Kookie a year ago and because of his allergies, she quickly became our part-time dog. Sweet as a button but oh, so stubborn, six year old Kookie came with a myriad of behavioral problems. My husband and I were doing a pretty good job of encouraging her to make her necessary visits outside but Kookie likes to roam around and wouldn't come back when you called her. Because we live on such a busy street that's impossible to fence in, and with the approval of our vet, we installed an electric fence to make all of our lives easier and to keep her safe. Well, I think Kookie may just be the first dog to absolutely flunk electric fence training.

Over the last six weeks I tried everything possible to get her to adjust to the boundaries. The professional who installed the system worked with her and I continued her training, but as soon as we tried a test, Kookie would go right through the flags and get a shock. After this happened a few times, she became a different dog; shivering and shaking and refusing to go out at all. She started sulking (I kid you not!) and trying to hide in her crate all day. People she knows and normally greeted with great gusto were subjected to growls and teeth-baring. Our friend, Pete, couldn't believe his eyes when I laid out little pieces of ham in a trail from her crate to the backdoor to try to entice her to come outside with me. Nothing doing, even Kookie's love of ham wasn't going to get her to budge.

I spoke to the fence installer and she said I should give Kookie a break from the training for a week and then we would try again. Well, Kookie is certainly no dope; as soon as the electric fence collar disappeared, so did her sulking and shivering and she became her happy-go-lucky self, following me around the house and snuggling up when I sat down with my book. However, she seemed to forget that certain bodily functions needed to be accomplished outside.

I was determined to win Kookie over with love, patience and encouragement (not to mention fantastic food treats) and figured that eventually we'd be able to open the door, let her out safely and not worry about her becoming roadkill. So after her week's vacation, I put her collar back on and started the training again, hopping around with a white flag in my hand while saying, "Careful, careful.....GOOD GIRL" about nine thousand times a day. However, Kookie didn't want to be CAREFUL or a good girl and shook and shivered and ran right through the flags, getting a shock and then running back through the flags and getting shocked again, yelping all the way.

I took a look at Kookie a couple of weeks ago and realized that I was miserable and she was miserable and that having a pet is supposed to be a lot more pleasure than stress and knew that it just wasn't going to work. My husband who loves Kookie finally agreed that the decision was mine to make. Luckily for both me and Kookie, Janis and Ron have REALLY REALLY BIG HEARTS and a really small penned in area and lots of other small dogs so Kookie didn't have to go to the glue factory; she was able to embark on a new adventure stealing all of the other dogs' bones and trying to become the leader of a different pack.

Thank you to Betsy for trying her absolute best to make the electric fence system work for us, to Pete for trying to talk some sense into little Miss Kookie, to Candace and Doug and Robert and Stacey and Sue (in alphabetical order) for listening to my tales of woe and frustration, and especially to Janis and Ron for taking Kookie back into their home.

Kookie is a sweetie and she'll be missed but she really did fail Electric Fence 101.


by Mo Hayder - to be released in February 2011

Det. Jack Caffery is called out for a carjacking case when he discovers there was an eleven year old girl in the car at the time. With very few leads, he and his team are doing everything possible to find young Martha when there's another carjacking and this one also includes a young girl.

Police diver Flea Marley has had some serious problems which led to an estrangement from Jack. Because of her lack of leadership Flea's group has become disorganized and disjointed. Pulling herself and her team together, they start their own investigation into the carjackings hoping to not only find the missing girls but to also prove their dedication and improve her team's reputation.

When the "jacker" starts sending notes to the families of the missing girls the police realize this is a much different crime. As they find themselves racing to try to rescue the girls as well as prevent more kidnappings, they realize that the kidnapper knows exactly what they're doing and what their next moves will be. Caffery finds himself even more emotionally involved with the families because of the disappearance of his brother many years ago.

Since I had never read anything by Ms. Hayder before, it felt like this was a sequel to another of her books and that the background between Jack and Flea was missing. It took quite a while for all of the bits and pieces of the cause of the tension between them to surface, which made the story drag a little.

I liked this book and I enjoyed reading it but I'd recommend that you start with the previous Mo Hayder book so that you'd have the proper background for the protagonists' relationships.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


by Elizabeth Brundage - available in bookstores

Hugh Waters is a mess. Unhappily married and working at a dead end job as an insurance underwriter in New Jersey, Hugh Waters suddenly had a bright future; Gladiator Films bought his screenplay for enough money to fuel his fantasies of a better life. But just as quickly, everything changed for the worse for Hugh when the executive producer passed away and was replaced by Hedda Chase. Chase has decided she's finished with violent and sexist movie scripts and axes Hugh's script, sending him a vitriolic letter that sends him into a tailspin.

After Waters receives Chase's missive, he travels from New Jersey to LA to confront her and prove her wrong. Not getting the response he wants, he acts out his screenplay by kidnapping Hedda, locking her in the trunk of her car and leaving her at LAX long term parking with the keys in the ignition and walks away leaving her to chance.

Reminiscent of the movie "CRASH", Brundage weaves narratives by Waters, Chase, a teenage runaway and a troubled young soldier just home from Iraq and working as a parking lot attendant at LAX. While you hold your breath waiting to find out Hedda's fate, Hugh insinuates himself into her life and social circle.

The novel explodes when the characters intersect in this terrific and quirky thriller. I'll definitely be reading Brundage's previous books.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


By Rebecca Skloot - available in bookstores

Harry S. Truman was President in 1951 when Henrietta Lacks died, but her cells and her legacy live on today. Known for years only as HeLa, the first "immortal" human cells grown in culture that continue to grow today. They have been and still are a vital medical research tool. For most of the past 60 years, scientists never even knew the real name of the woman whose cells sparked a spate of research in both the medical and pharmaceutical fields.

A poor, unassuming and uneducated woman, Mrs. Lacks was treated in the Colored Only Section of Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Her husband and family never even understood just what lived on after her death; believing that a part of Henrietta had actually been kept alive. Her cells were used for wide ranging medical research over decades including polio research in the '50s, the effects of the Atom bomb, cloning, gene mapping and testing for the HPV (papilloma virus) vaccine, the first ever cancer vaccine that was approved in 2006, just to name a few.

Add the civil rights struggle to this blend of science and personal information about Mrs. Lacks in Ms. Skloot's fascinating book. The very real human debate in the book centers on the untold millions made from HeLa research and the abject poverty her family faced. Her children were continually tested by researchers, even as they continued to live in poverty and ironically, without medical insurance. Mrs. Lack's legacy is heroic on so many levels, yet she rested for decades in an unmarked grave in her hometown.

Ms. Skloot has written an amazing and thought provoking book that I thoroughly enjoyed and I highly recommend THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


by Carla Buckley - available in bookstores

Ann and Peter Brooks are just a regular unhappily married couple with two children. Newly separated, Ann is an art teacher at her daughters' school and Peter is a university researcher working on an NIH grant.

Peter quickly discovers a virulent strain of avian flu that has begun to spread throughout the United States. Called H5N1, this deadliest form of bird flu kills fifty percent of those infected. The ensuing change in the landscape of every part of life is frightening. Schools are closed and all public gatherings suspended. People are urged to stay indoors in their own homes. Gasoline and food are quickly in short supply as people begin to hoard what they can and fight over what they need. A weeks' long power outage following a winter storm makes everything even more difficult, compounding the isolation and fear. Peter is forced to return to the family home with his research assistant whom Ann fears is his lover.

I don't know why, but I love disaster books and movies. I enjoyed THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE even though it's more women's fiction than science fiction. The author's depictions of the growing crisis and Ann's insistence on trying to keep at least a semblance of normality for her daughters are good. Her characterizations are not as strong, but all in all it was a nice book to read.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


by Dori Ostermiller - in bookstores now

Sylvia Sandon and her sister Allison grew up in California in the '70s in a home filled with lies and deceit. Their mother's long-term affair threatened their stability throughout their childhood. The last thing Silvia ever wanted was to be like her mother.

Fast forward to a grown up Sylvia, married with her own family and living in New England with a very distant relationship with her mother, both emotionally and geographically. An artist, she finds herself unable to focus on her art, except for the portraits she commissions to keep her family above water financially. Her husband, Nathan, is completely obsessed with renovating the county home they bought almost ten years ago while the family continues to live in a rental. His time and their money are invested in the house while Sylvia's discontent grows.

It seems that history is repeating itself when Sylvia's daughter discovers her mother's attraction to Tai Rosen, a local landscape designer. Sylvia finds herself in a struggle to balance her own happiness with the needs of her children and the future of her family.

OUTSIDE THE ORDINARY WORLD is nice women's fiction.


by Amy Bourret - available in bookstores now

Nineteen year old Ruby Leander was leaving Oklahoma for California following her grandmother's funeral. Stopping at a rest stop changed Ruby's life forever when she discovered an abandoned infant.

Nine years later, Ruby is now living in New Mexico with her daughter, Lark, and dating Chaz, a local policeman. A nail technician, Ruby sees a magazine article with a photo of a missing infant that can only be Lark and the parents who have been searching for her for almost a decade. Shocked, scared and unsure what to do, Ruby's decision is taken out of her hands when Lark discovers the article in Ruby's purse.

Ruby's consults an attorney in her quest to do the right thing, even though she can't imagine life without Lark. Complicating matters, she discovers that she is pregnant with Chaz' child.

Ms. Bourret's novel was a delight to read with good characters and strong writing until she injected a ridiculous plot line worthy of King Solomon in the Old Testament.

Downhill from there; you should skip this one.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I've never turned a book review into Lynn's Chatter, but THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood affected me so much that I really had to do more than just a review. Available in paperback, it was first published in 1985. It's a feminist dystopian novel set in the near future. The U.S. Government has been overthrown and everyone is now living in a totalitarian theocracy. My blog entry isn't meant as an indictment of any religion; like some of the internet jokes currently being passed around, this blog entry contains something that can offend everyone.

I'm almost ashamed to admit that I wasn't fully aware of burkhas until the tragedy of 9/11. As with most of us, I'm able to live my daily life without the specter of that awful day. However, every September my thoughts turn to that event and I realized recently that I have become more aware of people wearing burkhas. I honestly don't remember seeing them before, but now they're popping up in the most unexpected places; in the center of Morristown, NJ and in many smaller U.S. towns.

I've thought about how insidious are the lives of the women forced to live with rules that don't allow for any individuality or personal freedoms of which burkhas are just the outward symbol....a symbol of lost hope and repression based on religious practices. I've tried to imagine how that could ever happen in our country, a country filled with strong, resourceful women, most of whom enjoy more freedoms and protection under the law than at any other time in our history. I can't picture the women of Mendham, NJ succumbing to such restraints, or the women in New York City. A number of years ago, the black wife of a friend of ours responded very loudly to something she found objectionable at a school board candidates' debate. Imagining this woman, Joyce, being told she couldn't go out in public without this imprisoning garment, own property, show off her wonderful dreadlocks or even read a book and be completely under the control of her husband and the government. All that comes to mind is, "Yo, WHAT??!!", her response that long ago day.

THE HANDMAID'S TALE is not a new book, having been published in 1985. Sometimes I am just resistant to reading what everyone else is reading until long after it's popular; for this same reason I can't currently bring myself to read "Eat, Pray, Love". I finally read this very intense and disturbing book by Margaret Atwood and I'm glad I waited. Ms. Atwood's tale is almost a blueprint of how severe changes to our very existence could actually occur. It's a good lesson for us to all protect the freedoms we do have and reminds us to not be so quick to jump on the bandwagon of anything that lessens any one else's personal freedom. Just as women all lost their jobs and access to any of their finances and basically became chattel of the men in society in THE HANDMAID'S TALE whether they were wives, handmaids or Marthas you could just imagine how quickly it could happen.

Many religions have restrictive covenants for women. Before some orders of Catholic nuns became more secular, most if not all were enrobed in garments very similar to burkhas. They were not allowed to adorn themselves with makeup and trinkets, took vows of chastity and poverty and in the more restrictive convents, took vows of silence. They lived very basic lives and their rooms actually resembled the rooms of the handmaids described in Ms. Atwood's book. But the difference was that most of these women had a CHOICE to become a nun and live such spare lives, following their own religious beliefs. It wasn't foisted upon the entire population of women who were practicing Catholics.

This is not to say that all women who wear burkhas don't want to. Some wish to modify their lives because of their religion, but just as in Margaret Atwood's tale the key that is missing and is so alarming is CHOICE.

Perhaps the women in Islamic countries didn't notice or become alarmed by the small changes in their lives. Maybe they didn't realize just how desperately things were changing until one day they found themselves swaddled in burkhas.

As you can see, THE HANDMAID'S TALE is a powerful and frightening book and if you haven't read it, you should.

Monday, September 6, 2010


by Barry Eisler - available in bookstores

Ninety-two classified CIA torture tapes are missing, stolen by Daniel Larison, a former black ops operator who is blackmailing the government. Meanwhile, black ops soldier Ben Treven is in a Manila jail after a deadly bar fight. He's visited by his former commander, Col. Scott Horton, who can get him released if he's willing to find and kill Daniel Larison and recover the tapes. The biggest concern is keeping even the knowledge of the tapes from the media and the public.

Ben's not the only one on a quest for the missing tapes, pitting him against the CIA, mercenaries and even the White House. He's matched step by step in his search by Paula Lanier, an FBI agent. Who will get to them first and who in the government is trying to keep this all quiet for their own reasons?

A former member of the CIA, Eisler has written a fast paced, and believable scenario reminiscent of the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up. You'll enjoy this one!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


by Allison Leotta - to be released in October 2010

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Curtis works domestic violence in Washington, D.C. She's trying to convince her newest client, Laprea Johnson, to finally make the abuse charges stick against her boyfriend. Anna is shocked to learn that her own boyfriend, Public Defender Nick Wagner, is representing D'Marco Davis, the accused.

When Laprea lies on the stand to protect D'Marco and then turns up dead, D'Marco is arrested for her murder despite his pleas of innocence. Curtis is determined to find out what really happened.

Throw in a jailbreak, sexual attraction and intrigue and Ms. Leotta's debut novel is fun reading. The only problem is that the plot is a little too far fetched and way too early on you can see where it's going.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Well, now I know.....August is my blog vacation! I've only been doing the blog since February and didn't realize how hectic the summer would be. I've still been reading tons of books, but unfortunately with vacation, summer guests in Connecticut and our niece's wedding in Maryland, August just seemed to disappear.

If you're a regular reader of Monarch Book Reviews, please accept my apologies. I hope that I provided you with tons of great books to read for the summer in my previous blog entries.

Now, it's back to work and I'll be reviewing the books I've been reading so you'll see lots of reviews in the next two weeks.

Hope you had a wonderful and happy summer filled with lots of good books and I hope Hurricane (or is it now Tropical Storm) Earl has passed you by without any harm.

FYI, my husband asked me what color I'd like to paint the milk house in Connecticut, so of course I said I wanted it painted.........COW. George and our youngest son, Bill, painted it for my birthday. Doesn't it look spectacular?! It can bring a smile to everyone's face.