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By Gini Rainey

“Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel” by Patricia Cornwell

Well, as much as I hate to say this and after waiting a year for her newest release, Patricia Cornwell may have lost her touch as a forensic mystery writer, at least, as far as I’m concerned.  She found a formula that worked exceedingly well for her through book after book that follow Dr. Kay Scarpetta and her cast of cronies, but the edge is gone.  In “Chaos,” she never even makes it into the lab

It seems to me that, while there needs to be a bit of character development re-hash in each new book in the series for the benefit of anyone new to Scarpetta and her friends, she be-labors it more than necessary these days.  That being said, at the 25% point (obviously, I’m reading this on my Kindle) in “Chaos,” we still haven’t gotten to the scene of the crime.

This book mostly takes place in one day and goes into a lot of detail of the setting up tents to house the crime scene that began the book. Once you wade through that you find you have read 70% of the book and it feels like it is still just starting. The last bit of the book is about Carrie Greiten and what she is currently doing to threaten the lives of Kay Scarpetta and those near and dear to her.

The one good section in the book is deals with Scarpetta disabling Carrie’s latest weapon with a fishing pole and monofilament line. Unfortunately, because these books are told from Scarpetta’s point of view, we don’t get to read about the capture of Carrie because she is knocked unconscious. We only hear about bits and pieces of it from Kay’s reflections on what she was told. Carrie is not killed so I suppose we will hear about more of her insane machinations in future books, although it is long past time for Carrie to make a permanent departure from the story.

In my humble opinion, Cornwell would do well to return to some of her earlier books and try to write another one with the same vim and vigor those contained. Those were enjoyable and riveting. I’m afraid her formula for success has become flawed.

Rating: 3 of 5, Copyright 2016, William Morrow


“When I Married My Mother” by Jo Maeder

“This book is important to every mother and daughter, and to every woman who wants to be one.” – Maya Angelou

As usual, some of the best things come from some of the most unexpected places.  I don’t exactly remember why I downloaded this book a few months ago, and I kept by-passing it when I started to read a new one.  Why? I don’t know.  However, when I finally did open it and started reading it, I had a difficult time putting it down.  I wasn’t sure what type of Image result for when I married my motherstory I was going to be experiencing in this read.  What I found was a poignant, touching, heart-warming story of a daughter’s determination and courage to turn her life upside down to care for her aging mother.

Unfortunately, I was unable to identify with Maeder’s position with her aging mother who was suffering from Alzheimer Disease, as both of my parents died relatively young.  However, I think everyone who has a “mommy” issue could grow from the wisdom shared in this book.  She says “If you’re not right with your mama, you probably won’t be right with anyone.” It reminded me of one of the last times I visited my mother at her home.  She and I had gone through a bit of a rocky place that followed her re-marriage and still had not gotten back to a “good” place with each other.  As I was leaving, she was standing in her front door with a very sad look on her face.  I asked her what was wrong – did she need something?  She sadly said “I just want you to love me.”  I had never stopped loving her, but I’m pretty sure I had failed to show or tell her.  What a wake-up call.

Maeder describes the purpose of her book a lot more eloquently than I ever could:  “My intention in writing this book was to address what helpful Alzheimer’s care books like THE 36-HOUR DAY cover but told in narrative style. However, you don’t have to have a loved one with this disease or in decline to enjoy it. It’s really about making peace with our parents (or children) and our past before it’s too late. My editor called it ‘a misfit memoir and a great family saga.’ I heartily agree.”

Jo’s story is such a huge lesson – that some of life’s most difficult, sobering aspects, when approached with love, gratitude and humor, can be some of its richest blessings.  This is truly a most personal and inspirational story and is definitely a “must-read” for anyone who is faced with caring for an aging parent.

Rating: 5 of 5, Copyright 2013, Vivant Press

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UT Tyler Seeking Participants for 3rd Year of ‘Born to Read’ Program


Program promotes early language and literacy in young children

The University of Texas at Tyler announced today that it is seeking participants for the third year of the “Born to Read” literacy program, which promotes early childhood literacy in East Texas.

“The purpose of this program is to encourage children’s early language and literacy skills, while also helping parents understand their critical role as their child’s first and most valuable teacher,” said Dr. Kouider Mokhtari, UT Tyler Anderson-Vukelja-Wright Endowed Professor of Literacy Education.

“We provide parents with training and an initial tool kit of books and resources that   help and encourage them to raise children as readers,” said Dr. M. Sathyamoorthy, UT Tyler professor of mechanical engineering, who has coordinated support for the program from the Tyler Sunrise Rotary Club.

The Born to Read program is designed for expectant mothers, parents and legal guardians of children up to 3 years old. The program is free to the first 25 participants who register by Monday, Sept. 30. Participants will be involved in the program through June 30, 2020.

To register or for more information, contact Azalia Perez, or 903.566.7016.

Other program sponsors include Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and UT Tyler K-16 Literacy Center.

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered. With more than 10,000 students, UT Tyler has facilities in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.


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Book Lovers Events: Hot Summer Signings & More


From book signings to Meet & Greet’s, Tyler  offers every Book Lover a lot of fun things to do. Check out these events:

For more events, check out ‘s entire


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Reading the Kids Back to School

By Gini Rainey

“Mischief and Mayhem: Part I of the Faerlands Chronicles”

by S. D. Nicholson

I think you know me by now to know that magical kingdoms and fantasy are not the usual genre of reading that I reach for.  So, when I was approached by the author’s publicist to read and review this book, I wasn’t even aware it fell into this area.  With that being said, I must admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed and been intrigued by the characters and tiny world that Mr. Nicholson has created in his first book.  Without a doubt, the main character, the tiny fae Ophelia, is every bit a heroine as are her six-foot tall counterparts.

I have no doubt in my mind that while the faes and faers of Nicholson’s book are In a struggle to preserve and maintain peace in their homeland, it is also analogous to the struggles we humans face on a daily basis while trying to attain a peaceful coexistence with the other inhabitants of this big blue marble.

The not so terribly hidden messages in Nicholson’s book came through loud and clear to me:  that if we spend quiet time by ourselves, we will be able to find and explore fully what our capabilities are, and additionally, fight for what we hold near and dear.  This is an outstanding read.  Not only will it capture your imagination, but it will also have you start thinking about what undeveloped talents and truths you might not have discovered about yourself.

I read the teaser at the end of the book and am anxious to read Part 2 of the Faerlands Chronicles!

5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Köhler Books

“Big Little Lies”

by Liane Moriarty

This book from which the HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman was adapted, is a pretty slow starter.  Working backwards from an event, the first third of this book was busy building strong characters, exposing bullies (adult-sized and pint-sized), failed and new relationships, and various points of view about the culmination of events.  As usual, Ms. Moriarty isn’t afraid to cooly broach hot topics: blended families, sexual assault, violence against women and children, all carefully tempered with unexpected humor and human emotions.

Set in a rather cliquish, upper-end Australian beach community, the human interests begin to develop by retrospect following a murder at the exclusive private school.  Liane develops some pretty interesting characters using her very successful skills and creating some of the most flawed people this side of Sidney.

Definitely worth the read for anyone with school-aged children as it brings together three moms whose only commonality is their kindergarten-aged children. While pointing out each of the character’s flaws, Moriarty gently has a couple of fingers pointing at the helicopter-parenting skills of modern-day moms that perhaps are creating our current crop of young adults who are clueless.

Without a doubt, this is yet another in a long stream of controversial topics that Liane Moriarty isn’t afraid of writing about and the plot twist at the end will keep you reading till the final page.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2014 – Berkley

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