Got a little reading done this summer while travelling. Following is a list of 13 of the books I read (I read a few more than that) and I couldn't leave off the last one (14th).
1. Naughty Neighbor by Janet Evanovich - An early work of Evanovich reprinted by Harper this light read holds up today even with magenta jackets. Some mystery, fun and supporting charactors make this a fun and fast read. Enjoy it for what it is an early Evanovich. It is not Plum but a forshadowing of her.
2. 3rd Degree by James Patterson - Running with her dog on a quiet Sunday morning, Homicide Detective Lindsey Boxer witnesses the explosion that starts a week of terrorism in San Francisco. Carolyn McCormick's performance strikes the right balance of professionalism and horror in Boxer's first-person account. McCormick portrays the detective as both detached investigator and sensitive woman, those qualities fighting for dominance in each area of her life. Other characters also receive careful attention, with a light touch of regional accent here and there to polish their personalities.
3. Separation of Power Vince Flynn - A changing of the guard at the CIA attracts some corrupt politicos with eyes on the White House at the start of this sharply plotted thriller. Unfortunately for the bad guys, upright CIA agent Dr. Irene Kennedy is tapped to replace her dead boss, foiling their illicit fund-raising plans. Corrupt politico number one, Sen. Hank Clark, enlists Irene's envious second to discredit her and the president. Clark and his cronies are also eager to deal with CIA special ops assassin Mitch Rapp, who's stuck on desk duty after nearly losing his life on a previous assignment and seems ripe to be taken out. Mitch accompanies his girlfriend, White House reporter Anna Rielly, to Italy, where he meets up with his former lover, freelance assassin Donatella Rahn. When Rahn is shot, Mitch uncovers a plot linked to the men behind the threats to Irene and the CIA. Meanwhile, reports surface that Saddam Hussein has acquired nuclear weapon components from North Koreans, who are assembling them in a factory buried beneath a Baghdad hospital. This calls for a gutsy mission, one that entails stopping Saddam while avoiding the PR nightmare that bombing a hospital would cause. Irene pulls Mitch into the plans to deal with Baghdad while she grapples with Congress. Flynn knows his politicians and pits his characters against impossible odds with nonstop action and suspense.
4. Lunch at Toad River Moving to Alaska by Sally Lesh - With grace and humor, Sally Lesh deftly describes the true tale of an east coast family who gives it all up to pursue authentic, frontier living in the wilds of Alaska. The author reflects with sharp wit on the joys and tribulations of traveling across country with 8 children in a school bus -- never giving up her 5:00 cocktail -- in pursuit of their dream of starting a new life in Alaska.
5. Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs - Olivia Bellamy decides to spend her summer renovating Camp Kioga, the resort camp that has been in the family for over 3 generations. Her grandparents plan to celebrate their 50th anniversary by "renewing their vows" at the camp where they had first met, but since the camp has been closed for the last nine years it needs an "extreme makeover" before it can host such a huge family event.
6. Close Enough to Kill by Beverly Barton - When the body of a young, raven-haired beauty is found brutalized in Adams County, Ala., levelheaded sheriff Bernie Granger and her new chief deputy, divorced former Memphis detective Jim Norton, work overtime to prevent the killer from striking again. When a nearly identical crime is committed, the peaceful county goes into a tailspin. As Jim and Bernie work longer hours together, their feelings for each other deepen, especially as Bernie becomes involved in the life of Jim's son, Kevin. When a third local woman is killed, Bernie and Jim pull out all the stops to find the killer--before he gets bold enough to target them. The sleepy Adams County setting makes for a pleasant contrast to the unspeakable crimes committed there, and Barton captures the bucolic feel of smalltown life--complete with its shallow pool of eligible romantic partners. Barton succeeds in keeping the killer's identity a guessing game.
7. Act of Treason by Vince Flynn - When an al-Qaeda–style bomb attack on the motorcade of the Democratic presidential candidate, Georgia governor Josh Alexander, in Washington, D.C., a month before the November election kills the candidate's wife and several Secret Service agents, Rapp uses all the tools at his disposal to investigate the claim of the now discredited head of the protective detail that a mysterious figure in a red baseball cap set off the fatal bomb. Rapp soon finds that the motive for the outrage may be personal rather than political.
8. The MacGregor Grooms by Nora Roberts - The family patriarch Daniel MacGregor has his sights set on his three grandsons, cousins D.C., Duncan, and Ian, each of whom is very aware of Daniel's matchmaking machinations, and each equally determined to avoid the tender trap known as matrimony. The MacGregor Grooms comprises three extraordinary stories about the inexplicable attraction of opposites: D.C., the passionate, temperamental artist, and Layna, the coolly beautiful businesswoman; Duncan, the riverboat gambler with the impeccable pedigree, and Cat, the tempting torch singer from the mean streets of Chicago's South Side; and Ian, the worldly, self-confident lawyer, and Naomi, the bookish butterfly just emerging from her chrysalis.
9. Summer by the Sea by Susan Wiggs - Two childhood friends negotiate the rough waters of love in this contemporary romance, which starts out as a typical love-between-the-classes tale, but evolves into something richer. Successful Rhode Island restaurateur Rosa Capoletti seems to have her life in order. Her restaurant, Celesta's-by-the-Sea, has been lauded by the New York Times, she's surrounded by friends, and she has finally achieved financial stability. But when her old flame Alexander Montgomery, whose family name is synonymous with wealth, walks into Celesta's, Rosa realizes that she hasn't moved forward emotionally since he abruptly ended their relationship 12 years earlier. As the two cautiously renew their love, they must come to terms with the tensions between their families and the long-held secret that led to their initial breakup. Although their romance is compelling, sweeter still are the flashbacks of their burgeoning friendship.
10. Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben - Bolitar, a college basketball star turned sports' agent,... has just landed his best prospect, rookie quarterback, Christian Steele. While negotiating his contract, Christian gets a phone call from his assumed-to-be-dead fiance... Throw in a mob contract on Myron's head, and you have one entertaining read. Myron is incredibly witty, and he clearly rubs off on all the other characters in the book.
11. The Woods by Harlan Coben - Paul "Cope" Copeland, acting county prosecutor for Essex County, N.J., and Lucy Gold, his long-lost summer camp love, are still haunted by a fateful night, decades earlier, when their nighttime tryst allowed some younger campers, including Cope's sister, to venture into the nearby forest, where they apparently fell victim to the Summer Slasher, a serial killer. Cope's intense focus on a high-profile rape prosecution of some wealthy college students shifts after one of the Slasher's victims, whose body was never found, turns up as a recent corpse in Manhattan, casting doubt on the official theory of the old case. Cope's own actions on that night again come under scrutiny, even as the highly placed fathers of the men he's prosecuting work to unearth as many skeletons as possible to pressure him into dropping the rape case.
12. The Other Daughter by Lisa Gardner - Professional event planner Melanie Stokes does not suspect that the death of a serial killer in a Texas electric chair 20 years before could have any relevance to her neatly ordered existence. But as it becomes clear that the life she's known (as the adopted daughter of Boston cardiologist Harper Stokes and his trophy wife, Patricia) is based on ugly secrets and bloody lies, her world unravels. With the help of FBI Agent David Riggs, who makes up for his lack of physical agility, the result of ankylosing spondylitis (bad back problems)with finely honed reflexes, street smarts and pure sex appeal, Melanie unearths what an intricately planned 25-year-old cover-up can't hide: the gruesome truth about her parentage.
13. The Husband by Dean Koontz - One morning, Southern California gardener Mitchell Rafferty gets a call on his cellphone from a stranger saying that Mitch's beloved wife, Holly, has been kidnapped and that he has less than three days to come up with $2 million in cash. Of course, he's warned not to involve the police. While Mitch is still on the phone, the kidnapper proves his seriousness by directing Mitch's attention to a man walking a dog across the street. A moment later the man is shot dead. Mitch must walk a fine line—cooperating with the police inquiry into this murder without revealing Holly's plight.
Justice Denied by J.A. Jance - The Seattle special homicide investigator is working three cases simultaneously. The first involves the murder of a wrongly imprisoned ex-con, the second the disappearance of a whistle-blowing electronics engineer who vanished the day Mount Saint Helen's erupted in 1980, the third the deaths of several former felons. Meanwhile, Mel Soames, Beau's female colleague and lover, looks into the unexplained deaths of recently released sex crimes perpetrators as well as the disappearance of a childhood friend's abusive father. Unbelievably, all Beaumont's and Mel's assignments meld into one, except for the case of the missing engineer.
I haven't gotten too much reading done since I got home - time is so precious. I even skimped on this post by borrowing some of the review from Amazon. Like I said - time is so precious.