Black Hills

Black HillsBlack Hills by Nora Roberts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A pretty good suspense story, but just an okay love story. Lil comes across as sort of an immature brat. She has built up a huge grudge because she thinks Coop abandoned her years ago. Well, he’s back now, but she keeps pushing him away, and comes across as pretty unreasonable. So there’s tension between them, but that doesn’t add up to romantic chemistry. I liked Lil’s parents and Coop’s grandparents and actually thought those relationships were the best part of the book. I also liked the little love story between Tansy and Farley, although it wasn’t quite believable. All in all, I enjoyed it as a diversion, but I’m not completely sold on Nora Roberts or the romantic suspense genre. Listened to on CD, and the narrator did a very good job with the various voices.

A summer at his grandparents’ South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year-old Cooper Sullivan’s idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he’s discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Each year, with Coop’s annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying discovery of a hiker’s body.

Twelve years after they last walked together hand in hand, fate has brought them back to the Black Hills when the people and things they hold most dear need them most. An investigator in New York, Coop recently left his fastpaced life to care for his aging grandparents and the ranch he has come to call home. Though the memory of his touch still haunts her, Lil has let nothing stop her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge, but something . . . or someone . . . has been keeping a close watch. When small pranks and acts of destruction escalate into the heartless killing of Lil’s beloved cougar, recollections of an unsolved murder in these very hills have Coop springing to action to keep Lil safe. Lil and Coop both know the natural dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. But now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.

One for the Money

One For The Money (Stephanie Plum, #1)One For The Money by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started off a little slow for me, but when it got going it was a fine ride. I will look forward to more of Stephanie, Vinnie, Joe, and Ranger. And Grandma Mazur, of course. I will also definitely see the movie….

Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash—fast—but times are tough, and soon she’s forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family…

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie’s bail bonding company. She’s got no experience. But that doesn’t matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants, to the time Steph hit him with her father’s Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water—wanted for murder…

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn’t. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she’ll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight—and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man…

The Book Thief

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the coming of age story of a young girl growing up in Nazi Germany during World War II, narrated by Death himself. Although dark and tragic, it is also filled with humor and compassion. It is a story about the power of words both to hurt and to heal, to divide as well as to create community. Death is no sentimental narrator, presenting humans as they are with all their contradictions, capable of both great kindness and great cruelty. The language is almost poetic at times, and there are many scenes and images that will stay with me for a long time. Not a book to be forgotten as soon as it is put down.

Book Description: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

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