Elephant company : the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II

From Margaret  Mezzacapo

Author:  Vicki Croke

Title:  Elephant company : the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II 

Here’s the engrossing, true story of Billy Williams, elephants and World War II. Williams goes to Burma as a young man. A lifelong fondness for animals blossoms into a deep love for elephants, which are used as beasts of burden in logging operations in the jungle. Williams fights for – and achieves – humane treatment of these magnificent animals. Then, war breaks out. The elephants, known collectively as “Elephant Company,” become an integral part of the war effort, helping rescue refugees and saving many human lives in the process. Both Williams and his elephants overcome formidable obstacles to achieve this. The story is an illustration of how the tenacity of the human spirit can greatly diminish the horrors of war.

Doctored : the disillusionment of an American physician

From Margaret Mezzacapo

Author:  Sandeep  Jauhar

Title:  Doctored : the disillusionment of an American physician  

Sandy Jauhar, author of the bestseller  Intern, has now become a physician in private practice, and quickly finds out that medicine is being practiced in a way that is totally unexpected to him.  As with so many other things, the drive for the almighty dollar pervades the conditions under which he functions. He just wants to practice medicine, but realizes that he needs to perfect social skills so he can get along with his fellow physicians and thus generate referrals and other economic avenues.  Add in a wife, a physician herself , who seems to personify the term “money-hungry,” and Jauhar finds himself immensely impacted by stress, and questioning his own abilities. This is an interesting look into the reality of today’s medical world.

The Christmas Cat

From Margaret Mezzacapo

Author:  Melody Carlson

Title:  The Christmas Cat

Garrison Brown’s grandmother has died, and he returns to her home to dispose of her estate – and her beloved pets as well. In the course of doing this, he meets a cute-as-a-button girl and a courtship ensues. Christmas magic pervades everything and there’s a happy ending – although it seemed sad that cats who had been loved and cared for were now regarded as burdens to be gotten rid of.

Leaving time : a novel

From Margaret Mezzacapo

Author:  Jodi Picoult

Title:  Leaving time : a novel  

Once again, Jodi Picoult presents us with a well-written, engrossing tale. Jenna Metcalf is a teen whose mother disappeared when she was a baby. She becomes obsessed with finding her mother – or discovering what became of her, or why she abandoned Jenna. Both of her parents were scientists, studying elephants, and these large, gentle and frequently misunderstood and mistreated animals figure largely (pardon the pun) in the story.  This is another fine work from Picoult.

Flesh and Blood

From Margaret Mezzacapo

Author:  Patricia Cornwell

Title:  Flesh and Blood

Here’s the latest Kay Scarpetta novel, giving new meaning to the phrase, “If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all.” The usual cast of characters returns and follows the same predictable formula. Kay’s niece, Lucy, is still brilliant and annoying. Her investigator, Marino, is still obnoxious and annoying. Her husband, Benton, is still impeccably groomed and annoying – you get the picture.  And, of course, there’s a nemesis. Patricia Cornwell’s research remains thorough and helps lend a voice of authenticity to the tale. I’m still a Scarpetta fan and will await the next book, but I sincerely hope Cornwell will shake it up a little.

Beneath the abbey wall

From  Eileen Effrat

Author:  A.D. Scott

Title:   Beneath the abbey wall   

This is the third in Scott’s mystery series set in the Scottish Highlands during the 1950’s, when rock ‘n roll and television invade homes.  Featuring the newspaper staff of the Highland Gazette, this latest sequel surrounds the murder of the newspaper’s business editor, Mrs. Smart.  This is unsettling enough for the staff, but things take a turn for the worst when the Deputy Editor is accused of the murder.  The staff unites to prove the police wrong and begin to uncover secrets deeply rooted in Smart’s past.  If you enjoy mysteries with a unique and historic setting, this Tartan Noir series may be for you.   A Small Death in the Glen is the first in the series.

Human : the science behind what makes us unique

From  Ellen Druda

Author:  Michael  Gazzaniga

Title:  Human : the science behind what makes us unique

What I like most about the book are the insights into how the things we think are so human are really just reflexes that have evolved from our chimp ancestors.  Some of the subjects discussed are morality and the arts and their biological components. The author looks ahead into the future of artificial intelligence and robots, and how they can work with neural implants. This is a fascinating and smart book written for the layman. I loved it!