The Third Coincidence by David Bishop

Genre: Thriller
Subject: political assassinations
Setting: Washington,D.C.
Main Characters: Jack McCall, Commander LW, President Schroeder
Series: no
Dates Read: May 25 - May 29
Number of pages: 288
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, NetGalley Download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Class Schedule

A Supreme Court Justice is found dead in his chambers. Because of his age, a heart attack is suspected but when a second Justice is found with his throat cut and a Federal Reserve Governor meets an untimely death in a c ar crash, the President wants an investigation and calls on his friend, Jack McCall who is a special Director awt the CIA. McCall creates a special taskforce with members from the CIA, FBI, and MPD and together they work to find who is threatening the elite members of the Supreme Court and Federal Reserve. Commander LW of the American Militia to Restore Representative Government sends his threats and demands for the non-elected elite to stand down or he will kill them all.

The nation is frightened, no one wants to be a nominee for the vacant position, putting their names on the hit list. With the assassination spree continuing, resignations occurring and no replacements, the Supreme Court cannot sustain a quorum. Will the nation fall into anarchy before the killer is found and stopped?

This book kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, wondering if this ever happened in the real world, how we as a nation would react - would we demand immediate results or realize that someone that managed to accomplish something this devious would be difficult to track down and capture? It was well-written and seemed well-researched and the characters were well-developed. My only nit to pick was the change in viewpoint was sometimes too jumpy, but once I realized it had changed, there was no problem. This could have been related to the download format from Net Galley. But all in all, a great read.

Thanks to Net Galley and Oceanview Publishing for giving me the chance to read a great book.


Burn by Nevada Barr

Genre: Mystery
Subject: Child prostituton, psycologial recovery
Setting: New Orleans
Main Characters: Anna Pigeon
Series: yes, #16
Dates Read: May 14 - May 28
Number of pages: 579
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, audio stockpile
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Speech Class

I just logged my 1100th book as read in LibraryThing, I wish it had been better. I am a big fan of Anna Pigeon, Nevada Barr's Heroine who works for the National Park service and moves from park to park in each of her adventures. However, it's hard to identify the City of New Orleans in my mind as a National Park - it's really just Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve - more an historic landmark/area than National Park, IMO and Anna isn't even working there, she's on vacation.

The story centers around a woman who is hiding from the law because they suspect her of murdering her husband and children. Anna somehow becomes involved with the woman -posing as a man - who is searching for her children because she believes that they are still alive. They get immersed with child pornography rings and so it goes.

Not one of Anna's best.


Grant by Jean Edward Smith

Genre: Biography
Subject: Ulysses S. Grant
Setting: USA
Main Characters: U.S. Grant, William Sherman, Robert E. Lee
Series: no
Dates Read: May 1 - May 23
Number of pages: 628 + 72 of footnotes
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no, Public Library
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: History Class

Ulysses Grant is more frequently remembered as the Union General who defeated Robert E. Lee in the American Civil War than as a two term President after that war. But the two are so inter-related - Grant's popularity because of his military success lead to his election and his position as the Commander-in-Chief in later years protected the legacy of the Union victory.

Ulysses Simpson Grant neé Hiram Ulysses Grant was the son of a tanner. He attended West Point at the same time as William Tecumseh Sherman, George Thomas, Rosencrans, and Ewell who all served under him in later years as well as James Longstreet who he would fight against. In his early Army career during the Mexican-American War, Grant learned his style of command - sensible discipline, calmness in the face of adversity, and orders in the fewest well-chosen words. Grant also saw the value of a well-planned attack including preparations related to management of supplies as well as manpower. They were lessons he repeated call upon in future years.

When the Civil War broke out, Grant was no longer in the military but volunteer to prepare a regiment using his quartermaster skills of the Mexican War. He was eventually given command of the Illinois volunteers. His command style and training showed his understanding of the difference between regular soldiers and volunteers and achieved the best results.

His first successes were on the Western Front, capturing Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, and Nashville, then becoming Commander of the Army of The Tennessee went on to the battles of Shiloh and Vicksburg. "Vicksburg was Grant's great victory in the West and the turning point of the war, but as one historian noted, the triumph at Chattanooga proclaimed his military genius."

Recognizing his abilities as a leader, Lincoln brought him east to assume command of the Army of the Potomac and take the battle to defeat Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Been named General in Chief, Grant had no "army" that he specifically commanded. His was to issue commands to the other Generals. This caused issues at several battles. While fighting to gain Petersburg, "the fault was not in Grant's plan, but in faulty execution. Corps Commanders were sluggish, orders executed late, halfheartedly, reinterpreted, or not done at all."

The battles that followed were bloody and costly. The toll in dead and wounded at the battles of Cold Harbor and the Wilderness had Northerners wondering of Grant should be replaced, but Lincoln wouldn't budge and on April 9, 1865 the war ended for all intents and purposes with Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Grant went to Washington where after Lincoln's assassination, he worked with President Johnson on Reconstruction. Johnson wanted to try Lee for treason, Grant balked stating "I will never consent to his arrest. I will resign the command of the army rather than execute any order to arrest Lee or any of his commanders so long as they obey the law." He felt that the terms of the surrender needed to be honored and would not be a party to prosecuting any of the officers in the Confederate Army as long as they follow the terms their parole. Johnson realizing Grant's popularity with the people, backed down.

The surrender terms at Appomattox were thought by many to be too lenient. However, Grant was following Lincoln's directions "with malice toward none, with charity for all" so his generosity to the Confederates started the healing process - "Appomattox was Grant's finest hour, his determination to protect those who surrendered there, ranks a close second."

Grant was a brilliant commander but had his flaws as well. Since feelings were that he would be the next President, many tried to ingratiate themselves with him. After the war, he accepted houses in Galena, Ohio and Philadelphia as gifts from a grateful nation as well as a testimonial check for $105,000.

Because President Johnson was not happy about the expectations of Grant's future, Grant lost the support of the Commander-in-chief and frequently had to travel a fine line between the President's favor and that of Congress to get Reconstruction progressing.

Grant's diplomacy was demonstrated in the areas of management of the Southern states, British relations due to the suit for damages caused by the Confederate's Alabama damages, and French occupation in Mexico. He also showed the same ability to choose capable "lieutenants" when creating his cabinet.

As a President, not only did he have to continue with the Reconstructive process, deal with the rising of the Ku Klux Klan, protect the rights of the freed slaves, and prevent an economic collapse on the Gold Market but he did it all honorably.

Perhaps not being a politician was beneficial because when he vetoed the Inflation Bill, his party believed that he had killed their chances in the next election. What his veto showed was that he was opposed to unredeemable paper currency. He took the necessary steps to stabilize the currency and save the nation's credit.

Grant's last crisis came with the election of his successor. Because of the Reconstructive process still ongoing, three states election results were in contention. It was necessary to pass legislation to create a committee of fifteen to determine which elector votes would be counted. The committee consisted (at Grant's suggestion) of 5 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 5 Justices from the Supreme Court (they did make a decision on a presidential election prior to 2000). With the committee's decisions, Rutherford Hayes was elected by 1 vote over Governor Tilden. Thus, Grant was instrumental in calming another Constitutional crisis.

The last years of his life were not easy. He was involved in a Wall Street debacle which wiped out his entire fortune, and was only saved by the offer of Mark Twain to publish his memoirs. Fighting throat cancer, he completed the task only a few days before his death. His funeral was a major event attended by not only those he had commanded but also those he had fought against. The nation grieved for the man who had led the Union to victory.


I read [Adams] by David McCullough and this book ranks right up there with it.
I rarely give a book a ★★★★★ rating but this book was so well-written and so informative, you could see that it was thoroughly researched. Granted, the content is very heavy, but the manner that the information is dispersed, makes it a very easy read that holds your interest even if you know the outcome.

This is definitely the Grant book for you to read. What a fascinating man - so humble and yet calm and responsible.


Collateral Damage by H. Terrell Griffin

Genre: Mystery
Subject: reprisals for old actions, camaraderie
Setting: Florida
Main Characters: Matt Royal, Logan Hamilton, Jock Algren, J.D. Dawson
Series: yes, #6 Matt Royal
Dates Read: May 9 - May 12
Number of pages: 352
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, NetGalley for review
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Class Schedule

Matt Royal is a retired lawyer who lives at the beach on a Florida Key. One morning there is a knock at his door and his visitor is an old army buddy, Charles Desmond (Doc) who saved his life in Vietnam. Doc is here to ask Matt to help him find the person who murdered his son on the beach.

Enlisting the help of another friend, Jock, who is very high in a Federal Agency who can delve into areas that Matt has no access, and working with the local authorities, Matt uncovers connections of Desmond's son's murder with 2 other murders that occurred on the same day. Fighting off 2 separate attempts on his own life, concerns deepen when the local detective that he was working with disappears at the same time as his client.

The action is fast paced, the writing makes the reader feel the hot breezes of the keys as well as the sweltering humidity. Kept on the edge of your seat until the very end, the reader is given a great ride even though the clues are openly presented and the solution easily devised. It's still a great read.

Initially, I was a bit concerned because this is the 6th book in the Matt Royal series and I have not read any of the previous adventures but that will be remedied, most definitely. However, it does well as a stand alone mystery with just a few references to previous adventures that don't seem to effect the story other than character definition.


To Darkness and to Death by Julia Spencer-Fleming


Subject: family estates, conservation
Setting: Millers Kill, NY
Main Characters: Clare Ferguson, Russ Van Alstyne, Sean Reed
Series: yes, #4
Dates Read: May 8 - May 10
Number of pages: 311
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, audio stockpile
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Speech Class

Clare Ferguson, Episcopal priest, ex-army copter pilot, is called in to help with a search and rescue when Millie van der Hoeven is reported missing by her brother, a recluse at Haudenosaunee, the van der Hoeven estate. Millie is expected at the big event that evening to sign over the van der Hoeven estate for preservation. The impact to the environment is highly beneficial but the effect on local logging will effect the employment of many in Millers Kill.

The reader is supplied with all the information - what happened and where is Millie, the specifics of an assault and exactly who's to blame. But certain details are left for Clare and Russ to unravel along with the frustration related to their relationship.

Definitely a good addition to the series.


The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Genre: Historical Fiction
Subject: WWII beginning, Jewish refugees, US preparedness, London Blitz
Setting: Europe pre-WWII, Franklin Massachusetts
Main Characters: Frankie Bard, Will Fitch, Emma Fitch, Harry Vale, Iris James
Series: no
Dates Read: April 24 - May 8
Number of pages: 322
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, loaned from Tina
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Extra curricular activites

This story had three central figures - all female - Frankie Bard, a news reporter, Emma Fitch, wife of the town doctor, and Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, Massachusetts. Even though the title of the book points to Iris as the lead, IMHO, the book is more about Frankie and her reports of the coming of World War II and how events can effect people differently.

Emma is a new bride brought by Will Fitch to his hometown of Franklin MA where he is going to setup his practice. Emma is a very insecure young woman who is fearful of being alone. When Will loses a patient he decides that he needs to do something more worthwhile and heads to London in 1940 to offer his services to the English. Every day he sends a letter back to Emma who grows more frightened as the time grows longer that Will is away.

Frankie Bard works with Edward R Murrow at the BBC broadcasting the news back to the States. She tells human interest stories such as a small boy that she encountered during one night of the Blitz and wen she walked him home, they found the house had been hit by a bomb. Her account was heard by Emma and Iris in Franklin and they were touched by her story.

Their lives come together when Frankie is caught in the underground during a nightly attack and is seated next to Will Fitch. They talk and when they leave in the morning, Frankie watches as Will is hit by a car and he dies in her arms. She picks up the letter that he was going to mail home and she carries it with her the next few months, never sure whether she should mail it or not.

Immediately after Will's death, Frankie is told that she can go on assignment to Germany, France, Belgium to see what is happening with the exodus of the European Jews and to interview them. The ensuing accounts are riveting.

Returning Frankie appears to have shellshock from the experiences and since she still holds the letter she goes to Franklin for R&R where she meets Emma and Iris and the other residents of the town who are unsure of whether there is anything that they need to be concerned about. Frankie seem very true to life - wondering what happened to the people that she had met along the way however, no effort was made to try to resolve that lack of information.

Not having lived at the time that this story is set, I was moved by Frankie's accounts but also found it hard to believe that in actuality, the Americans did not seem to really care what was happened in Europe since we were not involved in the war at this time. Even today we seem to have that same blind eye that is turned to horrors in other nations until we can't not see it.

I thought we were supposed to learn from history.

Thanks to Tina for the loan of the book and Stasia for the recommendation.


The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Subject: reading
Setting: London, England, UK
Main Characters: Queen Elizabeth, Norman
Series: no
Dates Read: May 1 - May 6
Number of pages: 120
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: English Lit

What a delightful book - the Queen of England accidentally visits the traveling Bookmobile, takes out a book (feeling obligated) and discovers that she really enjoys the activity of reading. Forgetting her responsibilities on several occasions, she frequently is brought to task for canceling engagements and even reading along the motorcade route instead of waving to the crowds.

Light-hearted and fun!


The Pirate King by Laurie R. King

Subject: captivity, pirates, early film making
Setting: Portugal, Morocco
Main Characters: Mary Russell, Sherlock Holmes,Randolph Fflytte, Geoffrey Hale, Captain La Roche
Series: yes, #11 Mary Russell series
Dates Read: May 1 - May 6
Number of pages: 120
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: English Lit

"Honestly, Holmes? Pirates?"

The opening words of the latest installment of the Mary Russell series, show the reader that we are in for some fun rather than the heavy dramatic volumes of the last few books. We see again the frivolity of the earlier adventures even though Holmes doesn't really surface until mid story.

How many of us have accepted just about any dutiful activity to avoid time with the in-laws? Mary Russell heads off to perform a favor for Inspector LeStrad to escape two weeks with Mycroft Holmes when he comes for a visit. She heads out to be the assistant to a filmmaker who is taking the story of Gilbert & Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance" and putting it on film. Rather than trying to film in London, the production is headed to Portugal to hire actors to be the pirates.

Russell is overwhelmed with Stage mothers for the many little blonde actresses and the pirates that are hired to play actors who are playing pirates. When they arrive in Morocco however, they women are imprisoned separately from the men and here is where the fun begins.

When I started this book I had great expectations but was disappointed as it progressed at the beginning however, once Mary Russell is joined by the magnificent Sherlock Holmes the book takes off. The dialogue was entertaining throughout and the situations were recollections of the old Russell and Holmes of the early adventures.

The light hearted antics were a pleasant change from the previous books but I hope that Ms. King will return to the deeper mysteries showcasing Holmes and Russell's talents in the future.


I'm still on the roll that started in February and hopefully, I will just keep going. April I actually did better than February and March with 15 books - best since Winter of 2009! I'm finally settling back into my retirement with books and needlework, but I am fitting in other activities as well. Here's my report on April:
April: 4 pre-owned: 9 borrowed: 0 new: 2 ARC - 15 books.
Best of the Month: [Hunger Games]
Least Favorite of the Month: [Elegance of the Hedgehog]
Here's what I read this month:
Superior Saturday ♫ ★★★
Lord Sunday ♫ ★★★½
Hunger Games ♫ ★★★★½
Body at the Tower ★★★½
The Agency: The Traitor and the Tunnel ★★★★
Elegance of the Hedgehog ♫ ★★½
Tuesdays with Morrie ♫ ★★★★
First Rule of Ten ★★★½
U.S. Grant : American hero, American myth ★★★
The Atlantis Code ♫ ★★★
The Necromancer ♫ ★★★½
Beekeeping for Beginners ★★★
Murder Most Frothy ★★★½
The Warlock ♫ ★★★★
Murder with Puffins ★★★
Genre Summary
1 books History
0 book Health
1 book memoirs
Novels: 1
Youth/Children: 7
Mystery: 5
Historical Fiction: 0
Classic: 0
Books for next month:
The Postmistress
Pirate King ♫
The Winter Palace
To Darkness to Death ♫
The Lola Quartet :
The Third Coincidence :
Collateral Damage :
Burn ♫
Lucifer Code &
All Mortal Flesh ♫
Temple Mount Code &
The Solitary House :
Gone to Ground
Tongues of Serpents ♫

Murder with Puffins by Donna Andrews

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Subject: Art, conservation, hurricane preparedness
Setting: Monhegan Island, Maine
Main Characters: Meg Langslow, her parents, Michael, Victor Resnick
Series: yes, Meg Langslow #2
Dates Read: April 28 - April 30
Number of pages: 292
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes,
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: homework

This is the kind of homework I wish I'd had when I was in school. Staying up late at night trying to finish a well-written cozy mystery is far more fun than writing a paper.

Meg and Michael have been overwhelmed with family interruptions and decide to escape to her Aunt Phoebe's cottage only to find on their arrival that her parents, brother, and Aunt are already in residence and that their romantic weekend will be with Hurricane Gladys and her relatives instead. That can't be the only thing that goes wrong, of course, so after Meg's father has a conflict with Victor Resnick, an artist and old beau of his wife's, suspicion seems only natural when Dad disappears at the same time as Gladys comes ashore and Victor is killed.

The interjection of the birdwatchers throughout the story adds humor and whimsy while Meg and Michael wander the island trying to solve the murder and clear her family from suspicion.

My only problem with the story was the constant repetition of the "trudging through mud and fall leaves". Yes, if you are outdoors in the rain before a hurricane and after, it is going to be muddy and trees will have lost leaves. Once or twice was enough, it wasn't necessary throughout the book.

Hopefully, good weather in the next installment!

The Warlock by Michael Scott

Genre: Fantasy
Subject: monsters, evil, magic
Setting: San Francisco, Shadow Realms
Main Characters: Josh and Sophie Newman, Nicholas and Perenel Flamel, Dr. Dee
Series: yes, #5 immortal Nicholas Flamel
Dates Read: April 28 - April 29
Number of pages: 385
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, audio stockpile
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Math class

The 5th book of the Flamel series shows the true danger that threatens Josh and Sophie as well as the humani world. All the mythological creatures of yesteryear have been imprisoned on the Island of Alcatraz and Dr Dee with Virginia Dare are gaining help from Josh to loose them on the city. When it is revealed the reason why Josh is acting the way he is, the immortals are drawn to trying to warn him but are unsuccessful, they must defend the city and the humani instead.

As Nicholas and Perenel's auras start to die as they age, the reader wonders if they will survive long enough to complete their destinies and help the twins to save the world?

Many twists and turns await the reader as the characters themselves change and evolve.

I was so caught up in the story that I had to start the next one immediately after finishing the 4th installment. A tremendously fun series!