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Friday, December 24, 2010


by David Ellis - to be released February 2011

BREACH OF TRUST is a continuation of the story begun in THE HIDDEN MAN.  Jason Kolarich is remarried with a new family having recovered the the deaths of his first wife and daughter in a tragic accident.  Previously a prosecutor, Jason finds himself embroiled in the affairs of the same Chicago politicos, but this time as a defense attorney.

One of his contacts in THE HIDDEN MAN was murdered and Jason feels responsible.  While doing his own investigation, he is quickly coerced by U.S. Attorney Chris Moody and the FBI to work undercover to expose local government corruption.   Kolarich finally agrees, but only on his own terms and is soon running from the same people he's trying to ensnare.

BREACH OF TRUST is a stand-alone book; you don't need to have read THE HIDDEN MAN first but you might like to.  David Ellis has written another good, solid legal thriller.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Now that the scarf contest is over and the winner's name was announced,  I can share our great news with you!  We had dinner with Margo Petitti and her parents on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Bill made the announcement that he had proposed to Margo at The Top of the Rock just before Thanksgiving and that she had accepted.  We were all surprised and thrilled, especially Margo's father. 

We've been really lucky in the last couple of years.  Our son Robert married Stacey Askew two years ago and she's a wonderful addition to our lives.  It's nice to see both of our sons so happy!

Bill and Margo, congratulations and hugs and kisses to you two!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Well, it's been some day, but we have a winner in the "win a Margo Petitti Scarf Contest"! 

My husband and I drove into the City today to run an errand and planned on having Margo pull the winning entry at 3:00 pm, but unfortunately things didn't go as planned.  I had cut brown shopping bags into squares and written the name of each person who entered the contest,  folded them all and put them into a large envelope to bring to Grand Central Station. 

While my husband parked in a tow away zone, I made a quick stop on Broadway near Houston Street.  All went well and I was waiting forever on the third floor for the elevator to go back to the ground floor.  After a fairly long wait, I followed the mailman into the exit stairwell.  He was much quicker than I was and was long gone by the time I reached the lobby level.  There I encountered a door with a sign that read "PUSH".  I pushed a little and the door was really heavy so I pushed a lot and took a step forward not knowing that there were three marble steps on the other side of the door.  With the momentum I used to push the door open, I missed all of the steps and tumbled into the lobby onto the feet of three nicely dressed men, slamming my left calf into the floor.  No sense being graceful if you can't show it off!

The three gentlemen immediately came to my aid and helped me up, found my handbag, book and gloves and I proceeded to limp outside to the car.  That was pretty much the end of our trip.  Instead of going on to Grand Central and then taking Margo to dinner later tonight, we drove back to NJ and called my doctor.  He advised me to elevate my leg and use ice packs since it doesn't sound like anything was broken.  I've been following his advice since we arrived home about 4:30 pm and just a few minutes ago remembered that we hadn't done the drawing yet. 

I limped into the kitchen and convinced my husband that I absolutely had to draw the winner today.  After much discussion, he pulled out a large mixing bowl and I placed all of the entries into the bowl, mixed them up and pulled a winner.

MICHAEL TONELLO, CONGRATULATIONS!  You are the winner of the wonderful, custom Margo Petitti scarf and I'll be emailing you tomorrow.

Right now I'm heading back to the sofa with my icebag, but I want to thank everyone who entered the contest.  I hope to have some more exciting events in the near future, so please be sure to visit Monarch Book Reviews again and hope you're snuggled up with a good book right now!

Monday, December 13, 2010

ENTER TO WIN! The clock is ticking!

Only two days left!

Click on this link --  for a chance to win this
handmade Margo Petitti scarf! 

If the link doesn't work, just send an email to with your name.

Good luck everyone.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lynn's Chatter - RETHINKING MY CLOTHING Volume 2

On October 22nd, I blogged about how dull my standard "uniform" of black and white is and how I'm determined to colorize my life a little.  With the hectic holiday season, I haven't made too many inroads, but I still have it on my mind.  Last week we were in NYC for the weekend to visit Margo Petitti's booth at Grand Central and to have dinner with her, her parents and our son Bill.  We went in early on Saturday and I decided to splurge and have my hair cut at Vidal Sassoon on West 56th Street.  (Victoria gave me the cut and it turned out great!) 

While I was sitting in the chair waiting for the stylist, this absolute VISION walked by.  At first I only noticed the blue in her hair in the front which looked wonderful with her hair cut in a bob.  As my eyes scanned down I saw her FABULOUS clothing......just what I was talking about; a stunning array of colors that just made me smile and made the gray day brighter!  Oh sure, she had on some's New York after all.  But the black was only an accent for the rest of her ensemble.  Yuka was kind enough to let me take her photo so I could share it with you.  You may not like everything she's wearing but such a wonderfully lighthearted approach to clothing is definitely something I'm going to experiment with in 2011!

Thank you, Yuka!  You look gorgeous!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


by Lisa Genova - to be released January 2011

Sarah Nickerson has it all; a loving husband, three young children, a high powered job, an expensive home and a vacation home in Vermont.  She also has all of the accompanying stress of trying to be everything to everyone.

Rushing as usual while trying to keep all of her balls in the air, Sarah is driving to work in the rain while on her cell phone when the unthinkable happens.  She has a car accident while going 70 mph and wakes up in the hospital with a severe brain injury that has caused a condition called left neglect.  Sarah's brain is unable to recognize left; the left side of her body or anything in her left field of vision. 

LEFT NEGLECTED is more than just the story of Sarah's injury and steps to recovery.  There's the underlying story of the neglect she experienced growing up with a mother who was overwhelmed by depression and grief following the accidental drowning of Sarah's young brother.  As she faces her rehabilitation and her future, she also begins to face her relationship with her mother and the dawning realization that her own family has been left neglected because of the lifestyle she and her husband Rob have chosen.

LEFT NEGLECTED is not all doom and gloom.  Ms. Genova has injected a sense of humor into her characters' dialog that makes the story easier to read and thoroughly enjoyable despite the dark subject matter.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

ONLY Eleven Days Left to Win the MARGO PETITTI SCARF!!!

Only ELEVEN days left to enter for a chance to win the one of a kind, unisex winter scarf designed by Margo Petitti, valued at $210!

Click here to enter

The drawing will take place on December 15th at 3:00 pm. 

Ms. Petitti will be selling her original designs at the Grand Central Station Holiday Event in New York City through December 24th.  Open every day from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Good luck everyone!

Friday, December 3, 2010


by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom - to be released in the U.S. January 2011

Translated from the Swedish by Kari Dickson

Ex-con Piet Hoffman is a covert informant for the Swedish police.  He's infiltrated the Polish mafia and is working his way to the top bosses when someone is murdered during a drug deal gone bad.  Eric Wilson, Piet's handler, now wants him to go deeper into the mafia to uncover their plan to take control of illegal drug distribution within the Swedish prison system. 

Years earlier when they recruited him, Piet had nothing to lose and was willing to take on any assignment despite the danger.  Now that he's married with a family, he's more reluctant but agrees to take on his deadliest mission, despite the fact that using criminals for police investigations is not actually approved of in Sweden.   Meeting with his handler and a very secret group of government officials, he extracts the promise that if he is successful, he'll be free of his commitment to the police and he and his family will be relocated outside the country, similar to our Witness Protection Program.

Problems arise when Detective Inspector Ewert Grens, a sad and lonely colleague of Eric Wilson, is assigned to investigate the murder.  Grens works doggedly despite the roadblocks thrown in his way to keep him from finding out Hoffman's identity and destroying Hoffman's chance of success.   Hoffman's life hangs in the balance between the Polish mafia and the government group that's supposed to be protecting him that now wants him dead.    

If you're a fan of the late Stieg Larsson and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO series, this book won't disappoint.  The interesting duo of journalist Roslund and ex-criminal Hellstrom has created an intense and intelligent Swedish police procedural that gives the reader a glimpse into the Swedish criminal world and prison system.  

If you're only going to read one book in January, THREE SECONDS should be the one! 


by Erin Kelly - to be released January 2010

It's 1990s London and Karen Clarke is a straight A college student with a long summer and bright future ahead of her when she meets aspiring actress Biba Capel at Queen Charlotte's College. This chance meeting changes Karen's life forever. Her middle class upbringing and dedication to her studies are swiftly swept away as she becomes enamored with Biba and her bohemian lifestyle. She soon joins Biba and Biba's brother Rex in their crumbling family home amid the emotional turmoil of their lives; lives filled with drugs, alcohol and lost days that can only end in tragedy in this psychological thriller.

As Ms. Kelly deftly weaves the past and present, we fast forward ten years as THE POISON TREE begins; Karen and her nine-year-old daughter arrive to pick up Rex from prison where he's spent the last decade for murder. The author never drops the ball as the suspense and tension build in this well written novel, right up to the dramatic ending.

Ms. Kelly's writing has been compared to that of Donna Tartt, but while reading THE POISON TREE I also found it reminiscent of BOYS AND GIRLS TOGETHER, a coming of age novel from the '60s by William Goldman.  This is a wondeful first novel and I highly recommend this psychological thriller!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

KILLER INSTINCT - Charlie Fox Series No. 1

by Zoe Sharp - available in bookstores

Charlie Fox teaches self defense to women in a small city in England.  When her friend drags her along to a new club for karaoke, Charlie finds herself using her skills to fend off another patron in the club, which doesn't go unnoticed by the club's owner, Marc Quinn.  He quickly offers her a security job at his club.

The same patron is found brutally murdered and Charlie is drawn into the investigation as more women she's been in contact with turn up dead.  Even as her relationship with Marc is heating up, she's convinced that the murderer is someone connected with his club but can't seem to communicate with the police because of her own background.

KILLER INSTINCT was only okay.  It's one of those stories where the main character keeps putting herself at risk; going to places alone that she shouldn't and confronting people who are dangerous without any backup.  The author has given Charlie Fox supernatural self-defense skills and a very stunted personality with too much anger that makes her more annoying than engaging.

You might want to skip this one.


by Dave Zeltserman - available in bookstores

This noir mystery is the third of Zeltserman's "felon out of prison" trilogy. Originally published in the UK, it was released in paperback here this year.

Despite public outrage, mob hitman, Leonard March, is released from prison after servicing fourteen years, having cut a deal and ratting out mafia boss Salvatore Lombard.  While in prison, his wife passed away and his three children want nothing to do with him. 

Convinced that he'll be targeted by Lombard's crew, March returns to Waltham, Massachusetts, to face whatever is coming.  Working as a janitor while being hounded by the media, he's befriended by Sophie Duval, a young woman interested in his story and everything begins to heat up.

KILLER is written with two concurrent story lines; March's past and present.  Since it was already clear that he was a hitman and had murdered 28 people, you could almost skip over the "past" sections unless you want the gory details.  The chapters of the past just felt like filler the author used to turn what actually is a great short story into a very pricey and slim paperback.