Close Is Fine is a collection of 8 short stories featuring people who live and work on farms, at blue-collar jobs, and in the forests and taverns of Wisconsin, especially the area around Antigo and Shawano, and is a good choice for people who appreciate reflective, character-driven stories with a Wisconsin connection. These are not stories of dramatic redemption or tearful endings. The appeal of the stories is in the description of one particular event that happens to an ordinary individual at one point in time.
Vince Flynn is an author I turn to when I am in the mood for action and suspense. Last Man, the author's latest installment in the Mitch Rapp series, was just what I was looking for. It is a fast paced thriller set in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and as in other books in this series, it highlights numerous challenges faced by Mitch Rapp as a CIA operative. And, I do mean numerous. First, the head of CIA operations in Afghanistan is kidnapped and his bodyguards executed. Next, Mitch uncovers a global plot to discredit the United States and expose many of the CIA's hidden secrets.
Need a little holiday spirit? Is the hustle and bustle of this time of year getting you down? Try reading a good book with a holiday theme to make your spirit bright. Two of my favorites this year are A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans, and Angels at the Table by Debbie Macomber. Newly released, and just in time for the holidays, both of these quick reads touch on the true meaning of caring, sharing, family and forgiveness.
Fans of Stuart Woods might enjoy reading the latest novel by Randy Wayne White titled Gone. The greatest similarity between the two authors is the Florida setting, followed by the smooth flowing dialogue. Known for his Doc Ford novels, in which Ford is a marine biologist and sometime investigator, this new novel by White introduces a stunning new character, Hannah Smith. She is a descendant of the legendary Florida Smith women - Sarah, known as the 'Ox Woman' and Hannah, known as 'Big Six'.
Like so many other authors, Karen Robards decided to follow the popular paranormal route in her latest novel, Last Victim. Charlotte "Charlie" Stone is a psychologist studying serial killers for the Department of Justice. She is definitely qualified for this profession because as a teenager she was the only survivor of a killer known as the Boardwalk Killer. Having witnessed her friend's family brutally murdered, Charlie has since dedicated her life to finding out what makes these killers do what they do.
Another great story by one of my favorite authors. As with her other books, reading Porch Lights made me long to visit the South Carolina Lowcountry, specifically Sullivan's Island, the setting for most of her books and where the author was born and raised. The way she describes the grasslands, amazing sunsets, and the gentle ocean breezes make it sound like paradise.
Silver Sparks by Starr Ambrose is a contemporary romance with lots of "sparks". The story begins with Maggie Larkin being groped by arrogant Hollywood playboy Rafael de Luca (Rafe) in a posh Alpine ski resort in Two Bears Mountain, Colorado. Little does he know that he picked the wrong fiery redhead to try and dazzle with his so-called irresistible charms. When grinding her three-inch heels into his toes doesn't work to fend off his unwanted attentions, Maggie is left no choice but to drive her palm up into his perfect, surgically enhanced, nose to get her point across.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a must-read for those who enjoy stories with a plot that keeps you guessing until the very end. To be honest, when I read the first few paragraphs I did not think I was going to like it. Seriously. In the first few paragraphs a man is talking about the shape of his wife's head and how when he first saw it he thought she had a "finely shaped head". OK. Next, he describes how he could picture himself opening her skull, un-spooling her brain, and sifting through it.
Parodies are meant to poke fun at things and Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin (aka Andrew Shaffer) does just that. It doesn't just poke fun at the popular erotic series; it takes aspects of the first in the erotic series, Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James, and raises them to a whole different level - of absurd and outrageous – and outrageous is putting it mildly. I will admit it. I did read James's Fifty Shades of Grey. I wanted to find out what all the commotion was about, and I would have to say I am still not quite sure.