Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Guest Review: World Without End by Ken Follett

World Without End by Ken Follett

by Shirley Ayres

We are back in Kingsbridge, England, 200 years after the ending of "The Pillars of the Earth." Naturally, some of these 14th-century folks are ancestors of the people from the 12th century. Kingsbridge is a small city controlled by the monks at the priory. Politics, greed and every deadly sin known to past and present humans are suffered and/or enjoyed by the characters.

Tom Builder, the carpenter who designed and built the 12th-century cathedral has direct descendants in the 14th century. The main character is a good, intelligent architect and builder, Merthin. However, his brother Ralph Fitzgerald is a bully from the time he was a child and becomes a rapist and murderer while serving as a knight to the King.

Merthin and his girlfriend Caris are the pillars of the community, but, as adults and lovers, they are both plagued by misfortune and bad political decisions. The whole of England is nearly wiped out by plague.  Kingsbridge is no exception, and Caris, now a nun, has learned how to treat the victims. She and Merthin and his family are not stricken by the illness. Spanning 34 years (from December 1327 to November 1361), the characters are followed from childhood to adulthood and show how some people rise above their circumstances and become leaders, while others become victims.

Very good book. Another long one with more than 1,000 pages and the same teeny, weeny font. But so intriguing.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Guest Reviews: 12th of Never and 14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson

[Guest Reviews by Shirley Ayres]


12th of Never

(Women’s Murder Club Cases)

by James Patterson

Sgt. Lindsay Boxer’s baby girl arrives on the scene in a very unexpected way. After about one week of maternity leave, Lindsay is called back to work on a murder involving a San Francisco 49er football player.

An English professor shows up at the police department and tells Lindsay’s partner, Rich Conklin, about his dreams of seeing murders. Unfortunately, the dreams start coming true. How can this happen? Is he really predicting the future? Does he need to be watched to see if he is the killer?

14th Deadly Sin

(Women’s Murder Club Cases)

by James Patterson

Medical Examiner Dr. Claire Washburn and the members of the Women’s Murder Club are celebrating Claire’s birthday when Sgt. Lindsay Boxer is called away from the party to investigate a murder. Claire reminds Lindsay that she has been called away from the party every year for the past few years. Now, even Lindsay’s husband, Joe Molinari, is caught up in the Claire’s birthday murders. Are they connected? Has the same person committed these murders on this specific date? What reason can it be?

At the same time, robberies and murders are taking place all over the city. Video footage and eyewitness accounts show the criminals dressed in SFPD Windbreakers and wearing masks. Are they really cops?

Attorney Yuki Castellano Brady, no longer working as an ADA has been hired by the Defense League, giving free legal representation to the poor. Her first case is a 15-year-old boy, wrongfully jailed and then murdered in police custody. Yuki finds herself up against her former boss and the entire San Francisco Police Department. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Check it out: The storybook project

NPR is starting The Storybook Project where they ask famous parents to name five favorite storybooks. It is just getting started, but it is a great way to discover new titles. Many of the books are classics, but there already are a few I hadn't heard of before. They will be posting new entries a few times per week, and there is a space for you to contribute ideas as well.

Check it out:

"No matter what kind of day we've all had, this books is like a giant emotional Band-Aid." -- Adam and Naomi Scott, on "All the World"