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January 3, 2005

Happy New Year!

Posted by admin

Happy New Year albeit a couple of days late. We had a dialup connection when we were on the Outer Banks, which can make it a bit difficult to get much done online! I am amazed at how much I am dependent upon the Internet for information and communication. I will be away and look up recipes on, the news at and I always am researching things that I hear about as we travel. The creeping dialup had me wanting to hurl the laptop on more than one occasion.

Read a lot this trip. Enjoyed Lisa Gardner's new one ALONE, which will be in stores on January 11th. Gardner gets stronger with each title and this one, which is a stand alone, is really powerful. The protagonist is a woman who was abducted as a child and who escaped her accuser. He's out of jail and has an agenda. But who has put him up to it --- and why? Gardner has done her research for this one, which makes it even more compelling. She describes shooting so well that I want to ask her if she spent any time at a range during her research.

Next up was MOST WANTED by a debut suspense/thriller author, Michele Martinez. I met Michele at Bouchercon in Toronto, but regrettably did not have much time to chat with her. After reading this book, I will track her down. It's the start of a series where the protagonist is a young prosecutor, who is grappling with a new baby, a marriage on the rocks and a killer career....Literally. The action is fast-paced and very well-written for a debut effort.

Now I am reading Sandra Balzo's UNCOMMON GROUNDS. I know Sandy in her other life as a book publicist. Though she is an award-winning short story author, this is her first novel. The story takes place in a coffee shop called Uncommon Grounds in a small Midwestern town. On opening day one of the three partners is found murdered. Sandy's writing is punchy and quick and thus this was the perfect book to enjoy during the end of the eight-hour car ride yesterday. I am not a coffee drinker (prefer Coke), but love the descriptions of the coffees, lattes and other concoctions that are served. Starbucks intimidates me to order anything beyond hot chocolate with whipped cream, which I love.

One more coffee story since getting started the day after a holiday takes a while. When we were on the Outer Banks we stopped into Duck's Cottage in Duck for some of the best hot chocolate that I have had. It's made with Ghiradelli chocolate and is rich and heavenly. There's also a great coffee bar and a nice sitting area for lounging and sipping. In this store last year I met Jamie Layton, who is one of the people who runs the place. We talked books for a while --- her favorite website was, which warmed my heart --- and in the course of conversation I asked her to review for us, which she has been doing a great job at. I love looking around her store as she has a keen eye for what to buy and has a terrific selection for a small store. Regret we did not get to see Jamie this trip! We also enjoyed Island Bookstore, also in Duck, which is larger than The Duck News Cafe. I love when a small town has TWO bookstores, both of whom are very supportive of one another. Each has referred me to the other when they did not have what I was looking for!

For the record...the house we are renting on OBX in late March will have broadband. I went through the rental book and found a great house that has this as a feature!