Book review: Finder by Greg Rucka

FinderFinder by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It always (pleasantly) surprises me when I find an author in the thriller genre who develops three dimensional and flawed characters. Greg Rucka is one of those unicorns. The main character in this series, Atticus Kodiak, is an ex-Army professional bodyguard. He suffers a tragic personal loss in the first book (“Keeper”) and is trying to cope with that loss in this, the second book of the series. Let’s just say he doesn’t exactly deserve an A for his coping mechanisms.
There is a mystery/adventure wrapped around the grief as well. And the ending is well-paced and surprisingly ambivalent. For those of you who like clear cut endings (and I’m one of them), the ending works surprisingly well and is fitting.
I like the fact that the main character articulates his faults, rather than just acts like the strong and silent and flawed type. And I also really like the fact that Atticus wears glasses. It adds a significant human touch to his character and the books that he always has to figure out where he put them or worry that they’ve been lost or broken.
I’ve really enjoyed every single book of the author’s that I’ve read. I look forward to reading the third book of this series!

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Book review: A Morbid Taste of Bones by Ellis Peters

A Morbid Taste for Bones (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #1)A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a dim memory of reading this book many years ago and not liking it (I’m not quite sure why). I picked this up (again?) a couple of weeks ago and found myself enjoying it very much.
Brother Cadfael is a Welsh Benedictine monk who is asked to accompany a group of monks to Wales to retrieve a Welsh saint’s bones for their monastery. Naturally, a murder results. And Brother Cadfael–who has a rather unusual background for a monk–sets out to find the murderer. He does so successfully and contrives to further a romance as well.
The book is well-written and the secondary characters are well developed. The plot is tight and convincing as well. The pacing is leisurely (which may be why I wasn’t as enamored all those years ago), but that allows for the atmosphere and period flavor to come through better.
I look forward to reading the second book in the series!

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Best Buddies DC 2014

The annual Best Buddies bike ride/run/walk in DC was held on Saturday, October 18. Best Buddies is a non-profit that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, both socially (hence its name) and professionally, by encouraging companies to hire people with disabilities and by providing leadership development.

The annual event is made up of a bike ride (100, 62, or 20 miles) or a 5K run/walk at the National Mall. Jim’s company put together a team of walkers, and our 13 year old and I arrived bright and early on Saturday morning. (Jim was traveling, and it was Homecoming for our high-schooler.)

Because the DC event is named after Eunice Shriver, I am never surprised when the weather is perfect for the event. (Even God would have a tough time crossing Mrs. Shriver, in my opinion.) This year was no exception. It was sunny and crisp, a perfect autumn day.

After finishing a leisurely 5K stroll, the afternoon events took place at Morven Park in Leesburg, the finishing point for the cyclists. There are all sorts of festivities and food there as well. The kids all ran around like banshees while the adults hung and chatted.

Here’s the group photo of Team Sterling at the walk:

Team Sterling 2014

You can find out more about Best Buddies at

A Baking Frenzy

As those of you who follow me on Facebook know, I indulged in a frenzy of baking over the Columbus Day weekend.  I find baking to be quite relaxing, and it had been a rather stressful week.  And since it was a long weekend, I had the time to do it.  (Although I admit that I did feel like the witch in “Hansel and Gretel” fattening up the family.  Jim was *not* happy when he weighed himself Tuesday morning.)

The following items were baked:

Double Chocolate Muffins


Light Whole Wheat Bread


Chocolate Challah


Chocolate Chip Cookies (without nuts)

“Perfect” Chocolate Chip Cookies (with nuts)


Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting


A friend of mine suggested I put up the recipes on my blog (thank you for the idea, Joyce!).  So there is now a new tab on my blog, complete with recipes.  I will continue to add recipes as inspiration strikes.


Book review: Keeper by Greg Rucka

KeeperKeeper by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am reading the work of Greg Rucka backwards, having started with his Queen and Country series, “Alpha” (the first book in his new Jad Bell series) and now back to his initial series with Atticus Kodiak in “Keeper.” As I’ve mentioned in a previous review, the author is rapidly becoming my favorite thriller genre author, with his fast-paced and interesting plots and low amounts of graphic violence. “Keeper” is the debut of Atticus Kodiak, who is a private bodyguard, and his attempts to keep safe an abortion doctor who is the target of death threats by radical pro-life proponents. The topic is incendiary, but Rucka keeps the politicizing to a minimum and focuses instead on the difficulty of keeping someone safe when people are willing to sacrifice their lives to harm that person. (This is the Secret Service’s worst nightmare, too.)
The book is not as polished as some of the author’s later efforts, but all the hallmarks of his writing are there–well drawn secondary characters, terse but eloquent descriptions, interesting plot, and well-paced action. There are also deftly written scenes with the daughter of the target, who has Down’s Syndrome.
All in all, Greg Rucka continues to be my favorite author in this genre, and I will certainly be reading “Finder,” the next book in the series.

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