Friday, October 1, 2010

Janet Evanovich Watch Out !

Liar, Liar by K.J.Larsen

Watch out, Janet Evanovich ! A new player(s) is here. K.J. Larsen the pseudonym of three sisters, has written Liar, Liar, the first in the Cat DeLuca series. Caterina DeLuca, daughter and niece of countless Chicago cops and one cannoli-slinging Mama is a perfect Midwestern successor to Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. The sexy, plucky, owner of the “Pants on Fire Detective Agency: We Catch Liars and Cheats” based in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, finds herself in the middle of a bomb explosion while stalking a filandering husband for a client. When the client ends up dead and the hunky previously-assumed dead husband reappears at odd times, Cat sets out to prove that not only is she not hallucinating, but that an extremely rich man is behind the murders. Larsen has provided a wonderful cast of characters ranging from a mother who keeps her local priest’s phone number on speed dial, a sausage loving pup, neighborhood restaurant owners who provide sustenance to man and beast alike, a recalcitrant political police chief and 2 men who provide all of the sexual tension necessary to this genre. Lots of twists and turns and an inventive ending made for an extremely enjoyable read…hope those girls have a second Cat DeLuca novel in the pipeline.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

In post-World War II Barcelona, Daniel, a young boy who is in despair because he can no longer remember his dead mother’s face is taken by his father to the Cemetery of Lost Books to choose a book that is otherwise likely to be forgotten. He chooses The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax to protect and ultimately discovers that someone is methodically destroying each and every one of Carax’s books. Becoming obsessed with finding out who and why, Daniel soon realizes his life is beginning to strangely mirror that of Carax and his search has opened a veritable Pandora’s box of secrets of murder, doomed love and madness.

Monday, October 1, 2007

My Antonia, a classic American Novel

My alltime favorite book is My Antonia by Willa much so that I spent a week this summer at The Clearing, a folk school in Door County, studying this novel with a group of other readers. Although I had read the novel several times, this week long course greatly added to my appreciation of the novelist and this title, in particular.

To show you what a fan I am of this novel, a couple of years ago, as my husband and I were on our way to visit my daughter in Denver, we stopped at Red Cloud, Nebraska, home of Willa Cather and took the tour. Our guide told us about the house featured at the end of the novel (where a grown, happily married Antonia lives) and indicated on a map where the real house was. My wonderful (long suffering) husband drove out there and let me go sit on the back step of the house (no one was home...I am relentless) and gaze about at the literally empty Nebraska prairie, look at the old orchard mentioned in the novel and pretend i was Antonia. What a joy!

So to begin my blog entitled Ricki's Picks I must, of course tell you about my favorite pick.

My Antonia by Willa Cather
As Jim Burden returns home to the town of Black Hawk memories surround him of his childhood, his friend, the spirited young Bohemian girl, Antonia Shimerda, and the hard times she and her family endured as new immigrants on the Great Divide of Nebraska. This twentieth century classic embodies the indomitable spirit of women pioneers, the beauty and harshness of the land, the power of family and friendship, and the story of one unforgettable young woman