Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Needlework Tuesday - Sky Scarf Done!

My sky scarf is done! YAY! I can't believe it's been a whole year since I started it. Today I knitted the final two rows. I still need to weave in some ends, but it's off the needles.

I actually had mixed emotions about casting off and cutting the strands to secure the last stitch. On one hand it was nice to be done.  One the other, this piece was on the needles for a relatively long time. It was a little sad to see it end. 

It's by no means perfect. I know I knitted at least one day twice and somehow I ended up with two extra stitches (started with 50, ended with 52). That's not really surprising because I was knitting with two strands of yarn; it was easy to split them or drop one occasionally, which I also did. I corrected some mistakes as I went along, but mostly I didn't notice. Knitting in front of the TV can be distracting.

Anyway, here's the finished scarf:

Sky Scarf I

Here's all of the leftover yarn:


Quite a bit, eh? Two of the skeins (dark blue and white) are the second ones of that colour.  I'm still working off the first skein of all of the others.   

Since I have lots of yarn leftover, I think I might make another one. Crazy, right? I think it'll be cool to compare the two. If I make it narrower, I should have enough to make it through a whole year. Since the yarn is a tad pricey, I'd really like to use it up and not purchase anymore. Also, I'm going to rethink my choices for certain weather/sky conditions. I'd like to be able to tell overcast from light rain (currently both are white and light grey) as well I'd like to be able represent freezing rain somehow (thanks for mentioning this Heather). Because of these changes, I won't be able to compare the years exactly, but it'll be close enough.

Also, as you can tell better here, a few of the colours, namely the light blue and dark grey, were barely used at all:

Sky Scarf II

I'd like to make more use of them. I'm not sure how yet.

Anyway, I'm going to start recording the sky conditions tomorrow. If I decide that I'm going to make another one for the coming year for sure, both scarves will represent May 1 to April 30. At least that'll be consistent.

I'm still thinking of making a temperature scarf (hosted by Bernat), but I'm stalled at picking the yarn. Heather over at Books and Quilts offered a suggestion as to which yarn I could use, but I'm still waffling. I love her suggestion, but I'm a little worried that the yarn will be too thick to carry the stragglers up the side. If it is, I'll have to cut and rejoin the colours as needed. Can you imagine how many ends that'll leave to weave in? OMG!  I'm going to look into it further.  I plan to (hope to) use historical data for this one so timing isn't critical, but I really want to stop talking about it and start knitting soon. 

By the way, as I post this our rain has turned into snow, flurries for now. According to the forecast , it's supposed to snow overnight and all day tomorrow. *big sigh*. So far, it doesn't look like we'll get as much as the western and northern parts of the province.  5cms instead of 15-20cms.  *fingers crossed* A lot of our winter snow pack melted over the past few days because of some (finally!!!!) warm temperatures, however, it's really hard to tell that it's the end of April. It looks and feels like early March.    Mother Natures needs a smack up side the head!

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts. Tami over at Just One More Thing... is doing some wonderful quilting. Be sure to visit both of them to see what they've been up to.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Need You Now by James Grippando

In Need You Now, Abe Cushman commits suicide after pulling off a 60 billion dollar Ponzi scheme. Patrick Lloyd's girlfriend Lilly is somehow tied to the lost millions which puts both of their lives in danger. They hope they can remain on the run long enough to uncover the truth and evade the powerful people determined to keep their secrets.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked the premise, which played on the notoriety of Bernice Madoff. It probably would have been thrilling if I could have followed it all the way through. There was just too much going on. I have a vague idea about money laundering and Ponzi schemes. The people who set up these things make it hard to follow on purpose. However, with this one, it was almost impossible. It just seemed overly complicated with way too many people involved.

I like it when the author periodically goes over what's known so far in the mystery. That allows me to review what I've already learned, remember what I've forgotten and catch up if I missed anything. That's especially important with complicated plots like this. In my opinion, Grippando doesn't do that enough. At least, he doesn't do it clearly enough for me. I followed some of it, but I got lost many times and had to go back and reread some sections.

Having said all of that, I did find a couple of bright spots. I loved Evan the computer guy or "quant" as they called him. He was awesome, quirky and into computer stuff. I liked that. I also really liked the parts where Andie, the FBI agent, was trying to decipher Evan's research that was up on his walls. It was a little hard to follow (a diagram might have helped), but it was no worse than other parts of the book that I couldn't follow at all.

New Words:
quant (used in a couple of places): an expert in quantitative data.
hawalas (page 280) According Wikipedia, it's Arabic for "transfer". I didn't really understand the concept, but it looks like a way to transfer money outside of regular banking channels. If you are really interested and want to can read it for yourself, click here.

Apparently, the book title was taken from a song from Lady Antebellum called Need You Now. I wasn't familiar with it, so I looked it up on Youtube and listened to it. I'm not sure what it has to do with the story, but it's a pretty catchy tune.

I've read a couple of Grippando's books now and seem to come up with some of the same issues. Here are my other reviews: Afraid of the Dark and Lying with Strangers. The second one is a very early review that's mostly just a bunch of jumbled sentences. Also, it contains some spoilers.

I've come to the conclusion that maybe he's not the right author for me. That's ok, though. He's written lots of books and appears to be really popular with lots of people. As for me, I have lots of other authors to read.

Other reviewers on Goodreads.com really liked the book. However, even with a few bright spots, overall it didn't do it for me.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins website.

For more about the author and his other books, please visit James Grippando's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins for this review copy.

Need You Now by James Grippando, Harper (HarperCollins), ©2012. ISBN 9780061840302(Uncorrected proof), 357p.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Birds of Western Canada by DK Publishing

For Earth Day, Dorling Kindersley (DK) is celebrating all the good things that come from the Earth or live on the Earth by offering some discounts on books in its Earthly Pleasures boutique.

Birds of Western Canada covers over 390 species of birds that inhabit the region. The book offers photographs and detailed information on each of the birds as well as an introduction about birds in general.

I loved this book! It's a perfect field guide for birds in my area. The information is presented in a easy-to-read format with lots of interesting details and photographs. The most common birds are presented on a full page while the rare ones are grouped four to a page.

Each full page spread features the following bits of information:
• scientific classifications: order, family and species
• several labelled photographs/illustrations showing the bird in flight and various colour forms
• small photograph of the bird in its habitat or displaying typical behaviour
• graphic of the flight pattern
• description, voice, nesting and feeding
• similar species
• maps showing the occurrence in North America
• table noting different characteristics such as size (length, wingspan, and weight), social behaviours, lifespan, and status

Each full page also has a space for the birdwatcher to record the date, time and location of a sighting. I really liked this feature. I'm forever forgetting when and where I've seen certain birds. There's only space for writing in a sighting. However, that's ok because I'll probably only want to record the first sighting.

I have a couple of other field guides for identifying birds. The one for birds in North America has too many birds that I'll probably never see. The one for birds in Manitoba (my province) has many of the birds that visit the province, however, more rare sightings or colour variations are not always represented. This book has more information than the others and seems to be the best of the bunch.

One piece of information in this book that's new to me, is the lifespan of the different birds. While some are relatively short-lived (2-3 years), others live longer, 5-15 years, and some longer still, 25+ years. There's even one (Northern Fulmar, a seabird) who lives up to 50 years. I had no clue that some birds could live so long. Very cool!

The book also includes a table of contents, glossary, and index. Both the table of contents and glossary are adequate, however, the index is too short and is missing some entries, in my opinion. For example, you can look up "Grouse" and find a list of all of the grouses. If you happen to know a specific species, you can also look it up by its full name, like "Ruffed Grouse". However, for birds like the California Quail, Gray Partridge and Ring-necked Pheasant, where there's only one type, the index only lists them once under their full name. That is, there's no entry for "quail", "partridge", or "pheasant".

Highly recommended. This book is going to be one of the most well-used reference books in our house. It's a must have for birders in Western Canada.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.

Birds of Western Canada by DK, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2013. ISBN 9781553631941(Softcover), 439p.

Natural History by DK Publishing

For Earth Day, Dorling Kindersley (DK) is celebrating all the good things that come from the Earth or live on the Earth by offering some discounts on books in its Earthly Pleasures boutique.

Natural History: The Visual Guide to Everything on Earth presents "a unique record of the rich diversity of life on Earth." It displays over 5000 full colour entries from rocks and minerals to plants, animals and microscopic life forms. The book also highlights a number of individual specimens and species allowing the reader to get a closer look at their splendor.

This is such a fantastic book. It's large format allow for lots of gorgeous labelled photographs and tons of information on the various living organisms. It's amazing how many different specimens are represented. I love being able to get up close to organisms that I wouldn't normally see (species from other continents) and/or ones that I'd rather not see up close (i.e. snakes).

The introduction starts off with explanations about the Earth in general, evolution, human impact and traditional scientific classifications. The most interesting part of this section is the "tree of life", which shows how all of the living organisms are related.

After the introduction, the book splits off into 5 sections: mineral and rocks; microscopic life; plants; fungi; and animals. My favourite parts into these sections are the feature profiles which examine a single species from all angles. For example, the white rhinoceros is photographed from the front, rear and side as well as in a relaxed pose showing most of his head and body. There are also close-up shots of his eye, ear, mouth, horn, hide, foot and tail. In addition to the photographs, there's also some general information and a table with size, habitat and diet listed.

While reading the book, I came across an animal that I had seen in our yard a few years ago, but didn't know what it was. This book allowed me to finally identify it. I had mistakenly identified it as a pine marten, but after seeing a great photograph in this book, I now know it was a fisher.

I was also able to identify one of the many mushrooms we had growing in our lawn a few years ago. It's a lawyer's wig. I remember it vividly because I had photographed it a number of times during the day as it matured and changed.

The book also includes a table of contents, glossary and extensive index.

Highly recommended. This book is going to get lots of use in our household.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.

Natural History by DK, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2010. ISBN 9780756667528 (Hardcover), 648p.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Compost by Ken Thompson

For Earth Day, Dorling Kindersley (DK) is celebrating all the good things that come from the Earth or live on the Earth by offering some discounts on books in its Earthly Pleasures boutique.

Compost offers information about composting, the different compost bins used, and what to do with the compost after when it's done. It also offers suggestions about how to recycle organic matter without a pile and how to feed your soil.

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand it has lots of information about compost and what goes into making it. On the other, I think the author made composting a bit more complicated than it needs to be. His explanation of the carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N) in various organic matter is detailed and important, but I think it really makes the whole process sound difficult. We've been composting for years with great success and other than making sure we have a good mixture of both "greens" and "browns", we don't give the ratio much, if any, thought.

I didn't love the overall presentation. At times the information was convoluted, repetitive, and/or contradictory. Also, I would have liked to see a clear step-by-step how-to guide on how to make compost that would help the beginner composter get a good start. It's probably all in the book, it's just not as clear and concise as it could have been.

Having said all of that, I learned some things that will no doubt help me make better compost. First, I didn't realize that oak leaves, which we have an abundance of, aren't great leaves for composting (too low in nitrogen and too high in carbon). So far, we haven't had a problem with them, but I'll keep an eye on the bins to ensure the leaves don't cause problems down the line. We've been using various leaves in our compost for over a decade, but oak leaves are relatively new for us. I didn't realize that all leaves were not created equal.

Second, I learned that waste paper can be composted. I sometimes throw tiny pieces of paper into the compost bin, but I hadn't thought of also throwing in full-sized sheets or cardboard, as in toilet paper rolls. I'm definitely going to add more of this and see how it works.

I really liked the green manure concept on page 174. Green manure is "...any crop deliberately grown for a few months and then killed to return the organic matter to the soil." I'm not sure how many people have the space for that or how many want to take up part of their garden for this type of crop, but it's an interesting idea. I'll have to look into it more.

Another interesting idea is to place the compost bin right in the vegetable garden. The soil under the bin will be enriched with the nutrients from the decaying organic matter. Moving it periodically will benefit the soil in various places. (The move can be done when the compost is ready). Also, with the bin in the garden, it's handy for adding garden waste to the compost pile and using the compost once it's finished.

The section on compost bins and piles was quite good. I particularly liked alternative bins, one made from straw bales, the other from old tires.

The book, written in the UK, doesn't cover harsh winters like we experience here on the Canadian Prairies. I hate to keep bringing this up for every gardening book I review, but to me it's important because that's where I live. (Even though it's not covered in the book, you can compost during the really cold winter months. We use black compost bins and while we can't turn the compost in winter, we continue to add to the pile even though it's frozen. In the fall, we make sure the bin is less than half filled so there will be room for all of the stuff we'll add during the winter. The freeze/thaw cycle that happens in the fall and again in the spring helps break down the organic matter. Once the pile is thawed, we turn it, adjust the moisture level as needed, and continue composting.)

The book also contains a table of contents, list of useful websites, and an index. The majority of the websites are UK based.

Recommended. Even though I had some problems with this book, it's still a worthwhile read for novice and veteran composters alike.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.

Compost by Ken Thompson, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2012. ISBN 9780756613419(Hardcover), 192p.

What's that Tree? by Tony Russell

For Earth Day, Dorling Kindersley (DK) is celebrating all the good things that come from the Earth or live on the Earth by offering some discounts on books in its Earthly Pleasures boutique.

What's That Tree features more than 150 trees most common in North America. It shows beginners how to tell various trees apart using the shape of the tree as well as several characteristics of the leaves. The trees presented in the book are most commonly found in towns, parks, gardens and surrounding countryside.

I found this book informative. However, I wanted to be able to identify some of the trees in the virgin forest that surrounds my house and neighbourhood. Because of the incredibly late spring we are having (there are no leaves on the trees), identifying the trees is almost impossible using the methods in the book. I should be able to do much better once the trees get some leaves.

The book start off with ways to identify trees: leaf shapes, leaf margins, leaf arrangements, bark, flowers, seeds. It then launches into the section which goes over the trees themselves. This section is divided into sections: conifers, broadleaves - simple, broadleaves - compound. Within these parts, the trees are grouped by leave shape. The trees are generally presented 2 or 3 to a page, with the odd one getting a page to itself. It doesn't leave a lot of room for information, but the author manages to squeeze quite a bit in.

For each tree, the following information is given:
• description of the leaves and seeds (cones)
• a labelled photo of a leaf or leaves
• the height
• a key to indicate if it's deciduous or evergreen

There's also a "what to look for" list on every second page or so. I didn't find this information helpful. It was pretty redundant and repetitive.

The book is punctuated with 2-page spreads on different subjects: cones, tree life cycle, winter twigs and buds. All of these subjects were interesting and enlightening.

Two items at the back of the book might be somewhat useful for those familiar with the scientific names of the trees. The tree gallery groups the trees by scientific family name, which is then listed alphabetically by that name. It also includes photos, common names and the page numbers. The second item is a table of giving the full scientific names of the trees. I'm not sure how helpful it's going to be because the table is ordered by page number. It would have been much more useful had it been listed alphabetically by scientific name or even common name.

Even though I couldn't find the specific trees in my backyard, I did learn a few things from this book. Did you know that California's Giant Redwoods are conifers? I probably should have known this given their location, but I didn't. I also learned the difference between the some of the conifers. I was using "pine" interchangeably with "spruce". Now I know that they are totally different trees with striking differences.

The book contains a brief table of contents, a glossary and an index. The index is particularly helpful as the trees are listed in multiple ways. For example, the American Basswood is listed under the "A" for American and "B" for Basswood.


For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.

What's That Tree by Tony Russell, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2013. ISBN 9781465402196(Softcover), 128p.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay

In Trust Your Eyes, Thomas Kilbride, a schizophrenic, is obsessed with maps. So much so, he spends most of his time on his computer using a program called Whirl360 and rarely leaves his bedroom. He goes street by street, city by city, studying everything on the screen, memorizing it. That's his life, until he sees an image that looks like a woman being murdered in downtown New York. He shares what he's seen with his brother, Ray, who takes care of him. Ray doesn't quite believe Thomas, but agrees to poke around a little. It soon becomes apparent, though, that Thomas was right. A woman has been murdered and they have stepped into the middle of something very deadly.

I loved this book. Even though I'm a somewhat slow reader, I got through this one in just a couple of days. It was so good I didn't want to put it down. It was suspenseful and psychologically thrilling. The storyline was sort of like a modern twist on the movie Rear Window. It was awesome!

Barclay bounces between storylines and time periods quite a bit in this book. At times, I was wondering how it was all going to come together. It finally did, but not before making many twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat.

Thomas was such a great character. I really felt sorry for him, though. After the death of his father, he was so isolated with no face-to-face contact with anyone but his brother. His extreme interest in maps was very cool. I like maps, too, however, my interest is definitely not at this level. Having said that, I was oddly fascinated and totally drawn in by Thomas's obsession. It was interesting to see how his passion for maps combined with his mental illness lead him to his current state of mind. I loved that his delusions included emails to the CIA, keeping them informed of his activities and progress, and phone calls with President Clinton.

I've read two other books by Barclay. Here are my reviews for those: The Accident and Never Look Away. I loved them both.

I also have a number of books by this author that are still on my to-be-read bookshelf. I know they are going to be good, I just have to find time to read them. It's another case of buying books faster than I can read them.

Highly recommended. Barclay is definitely one of my favourite authors.

For more information about this book, please visit the Random House website.

For more information about the author, please visit Linwood Barclay's website.

Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay, Doubleday Canada (Random House), ©2012. ISBN 9780385669573(Trade paperback), 498p.

The Devil Will Come by Glenn Cooper

In The Devil Will Come, Elisabetta Celestino a young archaeologist, has discovered some astrological symbols in an underground chamber in Rome's catacombs. She thinks that it's evidence of a pre-Christian sect. However, the Vatican is refusing to support any further study. Ten years later, a cave-in occurs in those same catacombs and an amazing discovery is made. Elisabetta, who is now a nun, is called upon to help with the find and uncover its secrets before an apocalyptic event destroys the world.

I loved this book! This story was so amazing. I can't figure out how Cooper comes up with this stuff. I found the overall storyline and conspiracy theory extremely fascinating. However, there were a few times that I wanted the author to focus less on the history and just get on with the mystery. Because of this, this book was probably my least favourite of his so far.

Like this other books, Cooper jumps amongst many storylines within different time periods. In this book, he takes the reader to ancient Rome, 16th century England, as well as present day Rome. This is a perfect format for a story like this. All of the jumping around really added to the suspense of the story.

I find books surrounding the Vatican and its activities particularly interesting. Because their history goes back centuries and they are so secretive about so many things, it's hard not to be curious. Even if Cooper's theories are improbable, they sure are fun to read. I especially liked the brief explanation about Irish Saint Malachy and his prophecies regarding the Catholic church and the popes.

I love it when authors allow their characters to interact with real people. In this book, Cooper writes about Nero, the Roman Emperor, and Christopher Marlowe, the author of Doctor Faustus, among others. Even when I don't know that much about the real life people, as is the case here, the fact that they are featured in this book makes me want to know more about them.

I'm not sure why, but I found the Lemures' physiology was a little off putting. I'm not usually that squeamish, but a few of the descriptions left me squirming a little. I don't want to get into any details that might spoil the book from someone else, so I'll leave it at that.

New word: anorectic (page 361): loss of appetite

I've read a number of other books by Glenn Cooper. Here my reviews for those: Library of the Dead, Book of Souls, and The Tenth Chamber. The first two books from the Library of the Dead trilogy are my favourites, but I also really enjoyed the last on in the list. He is definitely one of my favourite authors.

Highly recommended. I'm hoping to read many more books by this author. I'm especially looking forward to the third book in the Library of the Dead trilogy called The Librarians.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.

For more information about the author and his other books, please visit Glenn Cooper's website.

The Devil Will Come by Glenn Cooper, HarperCollins, ©2011. ISBN 9781554688074(Trade paperback), 440p.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter Bunny Murder by Leslie Meier

In Easter Bunny Murder, Lucy Stone, reporter for the Pennysaver, is attending the annual Easter egg hunt at Pine Point, the private estate of Vivian Van Vorst (VV). She's attending with her daughter-in-law Molly and her grandson Patrick. When the three of them show up, along with many others, something is obviously wrong. The gates are locked and there are no festivities in sight. Suddenly, a staggering Easter Bunny shows up, then collapses before he reaches the gate. When resuscitation efforts begin, Lucy realizes that it's Van Vorst Duff, VV's grandson, inside the rabbit suit. Lucy immediately jumps into her reporter role to figure how what's going on. Her discoveries about what's going on at the estate include inheritances, death, neglect, and nasty relatives. All much more serious than a missed Easter egg hunt.

I enjoyed this book. It was an easy, fun read. I especially liked that, even though there are a number of other Lucy Stone books, it didn't feel like it was part of a series. It really can be read as a standalone book. A newcomer to the series can easily jump right in with this book and not feel lost. Although I have a number of Meier's books, I've only read one other.

One of my favourite parts of the book was the trial. It was interesting and gave a little edge to the coziness in the story.

Lucy Stone is a great character. I loved the descriptions of her job of reporter for a very small publication. She was always rushing around trying to get everything done; writing, reporting and investigating on top of being a mother and wife. It came across as believable.

I liked Lucy, but my favourite character was Fran, the private investigator from New York. I loved her no nonsense, straight-to-the-point, approach. Her role in the story was cut short, though. I would have loved to see her much more involved. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll leave it at that.

Favourite quotes:
Business ethics... It's not actually about right and wrong, it's about what you can get away with, without breaking any laws. (page 144)

I've also read Meier's Tippy Toe Murder (my review). I read it some time ago and I don't remember much about it, but from my very brief review, it appears that I liked it. I also have several other books by Meier on my to-be-read shelf, but haven't read them yet. That's what happens when you can buy books faster than you can read them.

Recommended. I hope to read more books by Meier.

For more information about this book, please visit the Kensington Books website.

For more information about the author and her other books, please visit Leslie Meier's website.

Thanks to those nice people from Kensington Books for this review copy.

Easter Bunny Murder by Leslie Meier, Kensington Books, ©2013. ISBN 9780758229359(Advance uncorrected proof), 263p, includes recipes.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Needlework Tuesday - Knitting, Cleaning, and Fabric

With the exception of keeping up with my sky scarf (only 28 more days to go!!!), I haven't been doing a lot of crafting. I did, however, manage to clean up my craft area a little more. The mess is at least contained.

Craft area 1

Craft area 2

I still have some yarn and fabric in tubs, but at least they are mostly sorted and labelled. Last week, I talked about some issues with having my craft area in the basement. There are two things that I didn't even notice until I got everything down there: the light is not that great; and even though the basement is mostly finished it doesn't smell that great either. I'll have to do something about both of these.

I was hoping to start the temperature scarf (idea/design from Bernat) after I finished the sky scarf, but I haven't even starting getting ready for it yet. No planning, no yarn purchased. I better get a move on if I hope to start soon.

And, finally I received some pretty fat quarters from Heather over at Books and Quilts.  Thanks so much, Heather.  I love them!!!  I haven't decided yet what I`m going to make with them, but I'm sure inspiration will hit me at some point.
Fat Quarters

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts

The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

The Comfort of Lies follows the lives of three woman who inadvertently become connected after one man's infidelity.

Tia had an affair with a married man, Nathan. When she becomes pregnant, he leaves her and she gives the baby up for adoption. Caroline isn't quite ready to be a mother, but her husband insists he wants a child. They adopt Tia's and Nathan's baby and name her Savannah. Nathan doesn't know about the adoption and when he tells his wife, Juliette, about the affair he neglects to tell her about the pregnancy.

All of that was 5 years ago. Now, Juliette intercepts a letter, along with photos of Savannah, that Tia has mailed to Nathan. All of Juliette's old wounds are opened up again when she sees how much the baby looks like Nathan. If he's hiding this...well, she isn't sure she can trust him. She insists that he needs to get to know his daughter, which leads these women to be linked in unexpected ways.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. There weren't a whole lot of happy moments, but the premise was terrific and the story was likeable. That's not true of the characters, though. With the exception of Savannah, I found it hard to like any of the characters. Each one of them, the men and the women, seemed to make a series of bad decisions. At times it was difficult to watch, I mean, read about.

Of the three women, I felt sorry for Caroline the most. However, her agreement to adopt the baby when she clearly wasn't ready to be a mother wasn't her shining moment. Her agony at not having the energy or desire to spend time with her daughter was palpable. I think there's an unfair societal pressure on women to be mothers. At the very least, they are expected to want to be mothers. That's just not true for all of us.

There's quite a few side stories in this novel. I didn't really find any of them intriguing, but I was especially blasé about Tia's job with the elderly. I don't think it added to the story; I just found it depressing.

Even though there are relatively few main characters, I had a hard time telling the women apart throughout the better part of the book. I knew their situations or predicaments, but I couldn't seem to remember their names. I can't figure out why. Anyway, I referred to the character descriptions on the dust jacket to help me keep track of which one was which.

I think I've been reading way to many mysteries lately (if there can be such a thing). When I was reading this one, I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't a mystery; it wasn't likely to take a sinister turn. Not that it would have been a bad thing, but it's probably best that unfolded the way it did.

Recommended. I'd definitely read another book by this author.

For more information about this book, please visit Simon & Schuster's website.

For more information about the author, please visit Randy Susan Meyer's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Simon & Schuster for this review copy.

The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers, Atria (Simon & Schuster) ©2013. ISBN 9781451673012(Hardcover), 323p.