Friday, May 29, 2015

Guest Review of "1st to Die" by James Patterson

[Guest Review by Shirley Ayres]

1st to Die

Lindsay Boxer – Detective
(Women’s Murder Club Cases)

by James Patterson

 Four friends get together to help solve murders.  Founding members, Lindsay Boxer, Homicide Detective with the San Francisco Police Department and Medical Examiner Claire Washburn reach out to Assistant District Attorney Jill Bernhardt and Cindy Thomas, crime desk report on the San Francisco Chronicle, to form the Women’s Murder Club.
          A serial killer has been murdering newly wed brides and their grooms.  It is now up to the Women’s Murder Club to find the connection and ultimately find the murderer.  Their discoveries solve the crimes but at what cost. 
          Short chapters.  Easy reading.  Good characters.  The book kept me up all night until the early hours because I couldn’t put it down.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Narrow Road to the Deep North

Among haiku fans, Basho's Narrow Road to the Deep North is a deeply beloved classic. Although it was written in the 17th century, the poem tale of his journey is remarkably vibrant, heartfelt and funny. 

So, I was very intrigued to see a modern book with that title. 

It is a remarkable book.  Read it. Really. 

I thought the cover was very beautiful. I was surprised to find that there were three other covers that were equally lovely. Here they are: 

Food and Death

This week I read two exceptional books: Eat by Nigel Slater and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Although they seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, both are provocative, comforting,  and beautifully written.

Being Mortal focuses on making the end of life part and parcel of your entire life. By facing hard issues and decisions before major illness strikes we -- and our families -- can make decisions about what we want to do. I especially appreciate that Dr. Gawande addressed the perspectives of doctors and nurses, along with patients and families.

When I finished the book, I thought, "Gee, this guy is really a genius. He should get one of those MacArthur grants." He has.

For more information on this book and the good doctor, go to

Eat is a beautiful cookbook. Cleverly split into sections like In the hand (sandwich) Little stews and Under a crust. At the beginning of each section, he describes the things he makes most frequently (for example, a roasted zucchinin and feta sandwich) followed by recipes. His recipes are simple, clear and utterly charming.

I had never heard of Nigel Slater, before but I understand he is one of the most popular chefs in England (although he insists he's a cook, not a chef). From this book, I know he is clever, practical and fun.

Here's one of his recipes:
Poor Man's Potatoes
For 2. Frugal, rich, nourishing

Wipe 1 pound of new potatoes and halve them. Heat a little olive oil in a shallow pan, place the potatoes in it cut side down and leave them to cook. Halve and see 2 large yellow or red peppers, cut them into long strips and add to the pan. Peel and finely slice a large yellow or red onion and add it to the potatoes and butter along with a large knob of butter. Leave to cook, with the occasional stir, until the potatoes are nicely golden and the onion is starting to soften. Pour in 1 2/3

While you are pondering the large questions raised in Being Mortal, I would advise making something delicious from Eat. Savor, savor, savor!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

NYPD Red 3 by James Patterson

Another review from the intrepid Shirley Ayers, executive director of the Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce: 

"Detectives Zach Jorden and his partner Kylie MacDonald are called upon to investigate the murder of a billionaire’s personal driver.  Along with the murder, the rich man’s son is kidnapped.

"Three generations of the Alden family are involved in the murder/kidnapping; Hutch (the father), Hunter (the son), and Tripp (the grandson).  The plot thickens when Tripp’s teachers at the private academy he attends seem to have parts in the plot.

"Separating the guilty from the innocent is very complicated but our detectives are up to it.

"I love the plot and all the characters."