Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Holiday Reads

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical - most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent - and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie - and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

Thoroughly enjoyed this book! Seriously, it is quirky and cute and, I guess, a reminder of that well known saying "What/who we want is not always what/who we need". This is a perfect holiday read :)

In 1911 two wealthy British heiresses, Claire and Dora Williamson, came to a sanitorium in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to undergo the revolutionary “fasting treatment” of Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard. It was supposed to be a holiday for the two sisters. But within a month of arriving at what the locals called Starvation Heights, the women were emaciated shadows of their former selves, waiting for death. They were not the first victims of Linda Hazzard, a quack doctor of extraordinary evil and greed who would stop at nothing short of murder to achieve her ambitions. As their jewelry disappeared and forged bank drafts began transferring their wealth to Hazzard’s accounts, Dora Williamson sent a last desperate plea to a friend in Australia, begging her to save them from the brutal treatments and lonely isolation of Starvation Heights.

In this true story - a haunting saga of medical murder set in an era of steamships and gaslights - Gregg Olsen reveals one of the most unusual and disturbing criminal cases in American history.

Mkay, this was probably a strange choice for a holiday read. It was very heavy. Very. And fairly long. And generally quite upsetting. Yet again people are dreadful and take advantage of others. And what was worse, it never felt like anything was ever done and justice just didn't really feel like it prevailed. This is NOT a feel good story. But, it is still a fascinating read, although the second half tends to drag far more than the first.

Local politics get nasty when a new mayor is elected and Diane Fallon is replaced with an incompetent crony as head of the crime lab. But just as she's adjusting to life without murder, the newly appointed chief of police and the mayor are shot dead. Back on the job, Diane sees, but can't quite believe, the evidence damning the former chief of detectives as the shooter. Someone with plenty to gain intends to get away with more than murder, and as the investigation reveals an ever-widening web of corruption and treachery, Diane realises that no one is safe - least of all her.

Ah, yes, another Diane Fallon. I liked this one too. It feels like they're getting better ... although there is still (predictably) someone out to specifically get her (which is getting a little tiresome for me). But I enjoy all the characters so will continue with the series :)

* This book is part of the Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation series: One Grave Too Many (2004), Dead Guilty (2004), Dead Secret (2005), Dead Past (2007), Dead Hunt (2008), Scattered Graves (2008), Dust to Dust (2009), The Night Killer (2010), One Grave Less (2010)

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event - an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.

With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.

Shew. This is actually a great series! I enjoyed the first one and I really like how the series was continued ... instead of following on, it was the same scenario. But told from another perspective, of someone living in another place.

And, honestly, I think this one was far more hectic and harder than the first one. These books have made me think about what it might be like with a world wide catastrophe. We're certainly not ready or prepared ... I have no idea what I'd actually do. It's a scary thought!

* This book is part of the Last Survivors series: Life As We Knew It (2008), The Dead and the Gone (2008), This World We Live In (2010), The Shade of the Moon (2013)

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