Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 Wrap Up

I read so many good books this year and thanks to the 888 Challenge I broadened my reading genres quite a bit. My very favorite books I read this year were:
1. The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan review here
2. The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright review here
3. Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith review here
4. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich review here
5. Moon Pies and Movie Stars by Amy Wallen review here
6. Stop Dressing Your 6 Year Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark review here
7. Light From Heaven by Jan Karon review here

Books I didn't like so much:
1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde review here
2. Blood of Paradise by David Corbett review here
3. The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon review
4. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky review

I hesitated to put those two classics on the "Did Not Like" list for fear of being branded unsophisticated. However on my sidebar I have the Readers Rights posted and they state that I don't have to justify my reading tastes.I read some great cozy mysteries, wonderful sci fi/fantasy, blood curdling thrillers and horror, and some very funny books! I enjoyed several non fiction books (which I hardly ever read.) All in all it was a great reading year for me!

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Running Blind by Lee Child

From Publishers Weekly: Jack Reacher, the wandering folk hero of Child's superb line of thrillers (Tripwire, etc.), faces a baffling puzzle in his latest adventure: who is the exceptionally crafty villain murdering women across the country, leaving the naked bodies in their bathtubs (which are filled with army camouflage green paint), escaping the scenes and leaving no trace of evidence? The corpses show no cause of death and Reacher's sole clue is that all the victims thus far were sexually harassed while serving in the military. There's got to be some sort of grand scheme behind the killings, but with no physical evidence, FBI agents bumble around until they finally question Reacher, a former military cop who handled each of the dead women's harassment cases. After Reacher convinces investigators he's innocent, they curiously ask him to stay on as a case consultant. Reacher doesn't like the idea, he's too much of a lone wolf, but he has little choice. The feds threaten him and his girlfriend, high-powered Manhattan attorney Jodie Jacob, with all sorts of legal entanglements if he doesn't help. So Reacher joins the FBI team and immediately attacks the feds' approach, which is based solely on profiling. Then he breaks out on his own, pursuing enigmatic theories and hunches that lead him to a showdown with a truly surprising killer in a tiny village outside Portland, Ore. Some of the concluding elements to Child's fourth Reacher outing how the killer gains access to the victims' homes, as well as the revelation of the elaborate MO fall into place with disappointing convenience. Yet the book harbors two elements that separate it from the pack: a brain-teasing puzzle that gets put together piece by fascinating piece, and a central character with Robin Hood-like integrity and an engagingly eccentric approach to life.

My Thoughts: This was a good mystery, it suprised me at the end!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dave Barry's History of the Millinnium - So Far by Dave Barry

Publishers Weekly:
Although Barry retired his column in 2004, he continues to examine current events with his annual "Year in Review" surveys, and the ones he wrote between 2000 and 2006 are collected here. He opens with a 33-page outline of history (from 1000 to 1999) in which we learn that the first book Gutenberg mass produced in 1455 was Codpieces of Passion by Danielle Steel, and that computer pioneer Charles Babbage "died in 1871, still waiting to talk to someone from Technical Support." In 2002, airline industry losses prompted "America West, in a cost-cutting measure, to eliminate the cockpit minibar"; 2003: Jayson Blair, leaving the New York Times"thoroughly disgraced, is forced to accept a six-figure book contract"; 2004: Abu Ghraib photos revealed "soldiers repeatedly forcing prisoners to look at the video of Janet Jackson's right nipple"; 2006: Osama bin Laden released "another audiotape, for the first time making it downloadable from iTunes." As a time line of humor, some of Barry's jokes were probably funnier the year they were written, but it's still a breezy and entertaining read.

My Thoughts: I LOVE Dave Barry's writing. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist, and he deserves the award. If you have ever read his year in review you know what this book is about. If you have never read it you have missed a treat.

Yorkshire Terriers For Dummies by Tracy Barr & Peter F. Veling-DVM

From the cover: So you want to adopt or are thinking about adopting a Yorkshire Terrier. The 6th most popular dog in the U.S., Yorkies are energetic, playful, and loving companions—and they’re cute as a button! But it’s wise to know enough about the breed to determine whether or not a Yorkie is the right dog for you. This fun, friendly guide helps you decide if a Yorkie suits your lifestyle and gives you expert advice on keeping your dog healthy and content.
Yorkshire Terriers For Dummies is for you if you’re thinking about getting a puppy or adult Yorkie and want to know the best way to take care of this perky little pet. This guide gives you the straight facts on everything you need to know about the health and well being of your Yorkie.
My thoughts: I found this book informative, accurate, easy to read and intertaining. If there is a subject I want to know about and there is a For Dummies book on it I usually go there first. I enjoy the bits of humor that are thrown in and the easy to read format. I actually have two Yorkies, one a pup.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where Are You Now by Mary Higgins Clark

No. 100 for 2008!
Book Jacket: It has been ten years since twenty-one-year-old Charles MacKenzie Jr. ("Mack") went missing. He does make one ritual phone call to his mother every year: on Mother's Day. Each time, he assures her he is fine, then hangs up. Even the death of his father in the tragedy of 9/11 does not bring him home or break the pattern of his calls. Mack's sister, Carolyn, resolves to discover what happened to Mack and why he has found it necessary to hide from them. So this year when Mack makes his annual Mother's Day call, Carolyn interrupts to announce her intention to track him down. The next morning after Mass, her uncle, Monsignor Devon MacKenzie, receives a scrawled message left in the collection basket: "Uncle Devon, tell Carolyn she must not look for me." Mack's cryptic warning does nothing to deter his sister from taking up the search, despite the angry reaction of her mother, Olivia, and the polite disapproval of Elliott Wallace, Carolyn's honorary uncle, who is clearly in love with Olivia. Carolyn's pursuit of the truth about Mack's disappearance swiftly plunges her into a world of unexpected danger and unanswered questions.
My Thoughts: If you like Mary Higgins Clark you'll like this one. It was a little tricky, I thought I had it figured out...but didn't. I enjoyed this one, as an easy read.

Foul Play by Janet Evanovich

Description: Originally published under the pen name Steffie Hall, "Foul Play" is the ninth release of Evanovich's early short romance novels. Long out of print, this red-hot screwball comedy tells a tale of love at first sight and a woman's struggle to overcome losing her job to a chicken. When Amy Klasse loses her TV job to a dancing chicken, handsome veterinarian Jake Elliott rescues her with an offer to be his receptionist. Jake just can't resist a damsel in distress, and Amy certainly doesn't mind Jake's charming sincerity.Then suddenly the job-stealing chicken disappears and Amy is suspected of foul play. Amy and Jake search for clues to prove her innocence. But will Jake be able to prove to Amy that love, too, is a mystery worth solving?

My Thoughts: I love all books Evanovich and I wouldn't have wanted to miss this one. If you want to know what happened to the rooster You'll have to read it. I'll have to admit, I was a tad dissapointed at the end (of the rooster), but still the book was a cute quick read.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper by Patricia Cornwell

Jack the Ripper was renowned artist Walter Sickert (1860-1942) according to Cornwell, in case anyone hasn't yet heard. The evidence Cornwell accumulates toward that conclusion in this brilliant, personal, gripping book is very strong, and will persuade many. In May 2001, Cornwell took a tour of Scotland Yard that interested her in the Ripper case, and in Sickert as a suspect. A look at Sickert's "violent" paintings sealed her interest, and she became determined to apply, for the first time ever, modern investigatory and forensic techniques to the crimes that horrified London more than 100 years ago. The book's narrative is complex, as Cornwell details her emotional involvement in the case; re-creates life in Victorian times, particularly in the late 1880s, and especially the cruel existence of the London poor; offers expertly observed scenarios of how, based on the evidence, the killings occurred and the subsequent investigations were conducted; explains what was found by the team of experts she hired; and gives a psycho-biography of Sickert. The book is filled with newsworthy revelations, including the successful use of DNA analysis to establish a link between an envelope mailed by the Ripper and two envelopes used by Sickert. There are also powerful comparisons made between Sickert's drawing style and that of the Ripper; between words and turns of phrases used by both men; and much other circumstantial evidence. Also newsworthy is Cornwell's conclusion that Sickert continued to kill long after the Ripper supposedly lay down his blade, reaping dozens of victims over his long life.
My Thoughts: I found this true crime book very interesting. I hadn't read about Jack the Ripper before and knew only what I had gleaned from TV, which is to say "Not much." I enjoy reading Cornwell's novels and wanted to read this non-fiction of hers. Cornwell researched so thoroughly and presented much information on the Ripper killings and on her theory's and findings. Even so it was not a dry read. You could feel her interest and passion in the subject come through. I feel that her stand on who Jack the Ripper was has a lot of merit. We may never know for sure, but she has given enough circumstantial evidence to persuade many to this view.
true crime, crime, Jack the Ripper

Gale Force by Rachel Caine

Book Description: In this, the seventh or the Weather Warden series, Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin is on vacation when her Djinn lover, David, asks Joanne to marry him. She's thrilled to say yes, even if some others may be less than happy about it. Joanne's premarital bliss ends when a devastating earthquake hits Florida. And she won't ask David and his kind for assistance. The cause of the quake is unlike anything Joanne has ever encountered, and it is fueled by a power even the Djinn cannot perceive.
My Thoughts: I've read all 7 of these and enjoyed them. This kept my interest clear through to the end. Readers of paranormal romance will like this series.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Publisher: David Sedaris's ability to transform the mortification of everyday life into wildly entertaining art" (The Christian Science Monitor) is elevated to wilder and more entertaining heights than ever in this remarkable new book.
Trying to make coffee when the water is shut off, David considers using the water in a vase of flowers and his chain of associations takes him from the French countryside to a hilariously uncomfortable memory of buying drugs in a mobile home in rural North Carolina. In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life — having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger on a plane or armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds — to the most deeply resonant human truths.
Culminating in a brilliant account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection is a new masterpiece of comic writing from "a writer worth treasuring" (Seattle Times).
My Thoughts: This is the first of his books I've read and I thouroughly enjoyed it. It is humorous, with a great sense of the absurb in everyday life. I especially liked the essay called "That's Amore." The old lady in that story is quite a character. I'll probably check out more of his books!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Teacher From the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler

From the back: On the first day of school, a young boy expects the worst when he discovers that his new teacher is the "monstrous" Mrs. Green.
My Thoughts: The kids always enjoy this, it makes us laugh! The boy sits apprehensively at his desk and waits for Mrs. Green to come in. While waiting he falls asleep and dreams of a horrible, green, mean teacher. When he wakes up he finds that all his fears were groundless, Mrs. Green is wonderful.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

My Thoughts: I loved it. The humor Dickens showed in his prose is wonderful. He managed to bring us well rounded characters in a short story. This story shows beautifully the true meanings of family, friends and Christmas which now are sometimes lost now. Read it if you haven't already.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oacar Wilde

Review; A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both? After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man's portrait, his subject's frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray's picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent. After he kills a young woman, "as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife," Dorian Gray is surprised to find no difference in his vision or surroundings. "The roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden."
As Hallward tries to make sense of his creation, his epigram-happy friend Lord Henry Wotton encourages Dorian in his sensual quest with any number of Wildean paradoxes, including the delightful "When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy."
My Thoughts: I know this is a great classic, but I had a hard time getting through it. I found the characters shallow.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Who's That Stepping on Plymouth Rock? by Jean Fritz

From the back: For years, Plymouth Rock sat on the beach without getting any attention. But in 1741, the people of Plymouth decided it was an important landmark, because the Pilgrims must have stepped on it when they arrived in the New World, and its adventures began. The rock was moved, dropped, broken, moved again, and cemented back together before finally being enclosed in an impressive monument, ensuring its place as a solid piece of American history!

My Thoughts: This is one of the books I read each year at Thanksgiving time to my class. I enjoy the different view it presents. The kiddios enjoy looking up Plymouth Rock on the computer and seeing pictures of it after reading this.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blue Heaven by C. J. Box

From the book cover: A twelve-year-old girl and her younger brother go on the run in the woods of North Idaho, pursued by four men they have just watched commit murder—four men who know exactly who William and Annie are, and who know exactly where their desperate mother is waiting for news of her children’s fate. Retired cops from Los Angeles, the killers easily persuade the inexperienced sheriff to let them lead the search for the missing children.
William and Annie’s unexpected savior comes in the form of an old-school rancher teetering on the brink of foreclosure. But as one man against four who will stop at nothing to silence their witnesses, Jess Rawlins needs allies, and he knows that one word to the wrong person could seal the fate of the children or their mother. In a town where most of the ranches like his have turned into acres of ranchettes populated by strangers, finding someone to trust won’t be easy.
With true-to-life, unforgettable characters and a ticking clock plot that spans just over 48 hours in real time, C.J. Box has created a thriller that delves into issues close to the heart: the ruthless power of greed over broken ideals, the healing power of community where unlikely heroes find themselves at the crossroads of duty and courage, and the truth about what constitutes a family. In a setting whose awesome beauty is threatened by those who want a piece of it, BLUE HEAVEN delivers twists and turns until its last breathtaking page.
My Thoughts: I wanted to read this because I like the Joe Pickett novels by C. J. Box. I was not disapointed. This kept me on the edge of my seat with action through out. I loved Jess, the rancher. Box used good v evil to write a suspenseful story. His characters show that the bad guys weren’t always evil and the good guys aren’t always perfect . The end was bittersweet, just about had me in tears.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Medicus by Ruth Downie

From the Jacket
Gaius Petrius Ruso is a divorced and down-on his luck army doctor who has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. His arrival in Deva (more commonly known as Chester, England) does little to improve his mood, and after a straight thirty six hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to a moment of weakness and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner.Now he has a new problem: a slave who won’t talk and can’t cook, and drags trouble in her wake. Before he knows it, Ruso is caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar. A few years earlier, after he rescued Emperor Trajan from an earthquake in Antioch, Ruso seemed headed for glory: now he’s living among heathens in a vermin-infested bachelor pad and must summon all his forensic knowledge to find a killer who may be after him next.Who are the true barbarians, the conquered or the conquerors? It’s up to Ruso—certainly the most likeable sleuth to come out of the Roman Empire—to discover the truth. With a gift for comic timing and historic detail, Ruth Downie has conjured an ancient world as raucous and real as our own.

My Thoughts: This story is not heavy on the historical background - the main characters seem very modern in their thoughts and actions. I found it quite funny in places. Ruso is a most attractive and sympathetic character, as is the slave girl Tilla. You won't learn a lot about life in the Roman Empire, but you'll enjoy this story.

Catwings by Ursula K. LeGuin

From the back: Mrs. Jane Tabby can't explain why her four precious kittens were born with wings, but she's grateful that they are able to use their flying skills to soar away from the dangerous city slums where they were born. However, once the kittens escape the big city, they learn that country life can be just as difficult!

My Thoughts: I read this little book to my kids almost every year. it always catches their imagination. they can't wait to read the next chapter. I love it myself!

The Walking by Bentley Little

Publishers Weekly
The overwhelming sense of doom with which Little (The Revelation) imbues his newest novel is so palpable it seems to rise from the book like mist. Flowing seamlessly between time and place (from the present-day hassles of HMOs to the once-uncharted territory of the American West), the Bram Stoker Award- winning author's ability to transfix his audience while relinquishing scant details about the foreboding evil is superb. Private investigator Miles Huerdeen is on a mission to find a link between the victims in a bizarre nationwide string of deaths dating back decades, his own recurring nightmares and an elderly client's prophetic handwritten list of dead men's names. Miles's world is suddenly turned upside down when he discovers his own father--who suffered a fatal stroke--purposefully striding around his bedroom, naked except for a pair of cowboy boots, having scared off his "God-Fearing Christian" nurse. Miles's obsession with his father's transformation into a zombie leads him to the families of other dead "walkers" and on a supernatural journey into the Arizona desert. Readers will gladly suspend disbelief for Little's deft touch for the terrifying, as he slowly reveals a shocking connection between the mindless army of reanimated corpses and their ultimate destination, Wolf Canyon, formerly a government-sponsored witch colony, where a vengeful resident's evil powers have yet to be fully unleashed. If booksellers are on their toes, they'll tell readers that Stephen King, a big fan of Little's work, was reading another book by this author at the time of his infamous accident. This novel has the potential to be a major sleeper in the horror category.
My Thoughts: Little is one of my favorite authors of horror fiction. He didn't disapoint! This may seem to you, from the reviews, to be another walking dead novel. It's not. Little weaves two stories together to form the greater picture of a small remote town haunted by it's past. I found it to be a great read.

My Big Old Texas Heartache by Geralyn Dawson

From the Back:

Dear Friends and Neighbors:
How did life become so complicated? One minute I'm dating the hottest man in Dallas and the next I'm back in Cedar Dell, Texas, surrounded by grannies, gossip, and green bean casserole -- and helping my dad recuperate from a car accident. Did I happen to mention that I caused a scandal in town when I got pregnant at seventeen? No one has ever forgiven me -- not my hard-hearted father, my brother Mr. Perfect, or my pregnant-for-the-first-time-at-forty sister who's gone totally hormonal.
As if this weren't enough, who should also be back in town but Max Cooper, the former high school football star, who is my teenage son's father. And now he wants to date me?!
Who ever thought that so many new horizons and second chances would open for me during one long, hot Texas summer?

My Thoughts: This was a fun read, with great characters. I truley enjoyed it. However I was a little unhappy with Max, the father of Kate's son. He came off as a real heel. I guess he cleaned up good at the end, but still..... I was also unsatisfied with Kate's father. But don't let these negatives put you off, go read it!

The Year of the Hyenas by Brad Geagley

From the Cover: Year of the Hyenas is a brilliant, original, and unique murder mystery, set in ancient Egypt at the height of that kingdom's glory and power. It is at once a strikingly insightful portrait of a mysterious, complex, and sophisticated society, reminiscent of Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings in its wonderful detail and feel for the past, and a fast-paced detective story that reads like the best of twenty-first-century thrillers.
From the oldest known court transcripts in history, Egyptologists have long known about the mysterious death of Ramses III, involving intrigue, ambition, greed, and crimes of passion on a huge, though hidden, scale. In Year of the Hyenas, Brad Geagley takes this event -- a struggle that nearly brought ancient Egypt to its knees -- as the backdrop for a story that is every bit as captivating as the distant civilization it resurrects.
At the heart of the novel is Semerket, the so-called Clerk of Investigations and Secrets, a detective half-paralyzed by problems of his own, with a reputation for heavy drinking and tactless behavior toward the great, the powerful, and the holy, a kind of Sam Spade of the ancient world, deeply (and dangerously) addicted to the truth. Hard-bitten, deeply flawed, he is retained by the authorities to investigate what is considered an insignificant murder of an elderly, insignificant Theban priestess. They fail to inform him, however, that they don't expect him to solve the case. In fact, they don't want him to.
My Thoughts: I didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I would since I've been reading novels in this vane lately. With that said, the novel kept my attention and pulled me along. I enjoyed the sense of time and place the author skillfullly wound his story through. I plan to get the next in the series to read. Even though Semerket put me off by some of his actions, I still want to know what becomes of him and his wife. This was a  good historical fiction novel.

The Dragon King's Palace by Laura Joh Rowland

From Publishers Weekly: In Rowland's eighth engrossing 17th-century Japanese mystery (after 2002's The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria), Sano Ichiro, the shogun's Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations and People, is roused in the middle of the night when the shogun's mother and Sano's wife, Reiko, are kidnapped en route to Mount Fuji and their escort slaughtered. The crisis is exacerbated by the identities of the two other abductees: the wife of Sano's primary rival, the chamberlain Yanagisawa, the real power behind the shogun; and the pregnant wife of Sano's chief assistant. Sano's considerable deductive, strategic and diplomatic skills are repeatedly tested as he juggles the caprices of his ruler, who struggles with his figurehead status, Yanagisawa's ambitions for succession and the interests of the court's other power players. The organizer of the crimes, who calls himself the Dragon King after a traditional folk tale, makes an unusual ransom demand that only adds to the mystery of his identity and motivation. While her husband races to put the pieces of the puzzle together before the shogun's recklessness imperils the hostages, Reiko, bright and self-reliant, schemes to free herself and her companions. Rowland's masterful evocation of the period enables the reader to identify with the universal human emotions and drives that propel her characters while absorbing numerous telling details of a different culture and era.

My Thoughts: I found this to be another exciting and fast paced Sano Ichiro mystery novel! If you're looking for a good historical mystery novel that will keep you at the edge of your seat, you need not look any further than this book. I enjoyed the sence of history and place.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pieces of My Heart: A life by Robert J. Wagner

From the publisher: In this moving memoir, Robert J. Wagner opens his heart to share the romances, the drama, and the humor of an incredible life.
My thoughts: I have always been a Robert Wagner fan. I've seen his movies and LOVED Hart to Hart. I didn't know anything about his personal life and was surprised to find out that he had had an affair with Barbara Stanwyck . He recounts his life, marriages, affairs, friendships, hardships and career with grace and honor. I truly enjoyed this. If you are a movie buff or just a Robert Wagner fan you can't go wrong here.

Quicksand by Iris Johansen

From Publishers Weekly: The action-packed 12th installment in bestseller Johansen's saga featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan (after Stalemate) is also a sequel of sorts to Pandora's Daughter, which chronicled the life of Megan Blair, an Atlanta physician with burgeoning psychic abilities. Intertwining the two disparate story lines intensifies both, as Johansen pits her two courageous female protagonists against a vicious serial killer who claims to have murdered Eve's seven-year-old daughter, Bonnie, years earlier. When Eve's love interest, Atlanta police lieutenant Joe Quinn, tracks down elusive child predator Henry Kistle to a small town in Illinois, Quinn alerts the local authorities and sets off a series of bloody events that lead Eve and Megan Blair to a remote area in the Okefenokee swamp where they'll either discover the whereabouts of Bonnie's body—or come face-to-face with a psychopath bent on killing and burying them all in unmarked graves.
My Thoughts: I am a fan of the Eve Duncan books so I liked this one. I think that Quicksand is one of the best. Throughout the series I've been fascinated by the communication between Eve and her daughter, Bonnie. At first, we were led to believe that Eve dreamed of or imagined Bonnie and their conversations. Bonnie has been written of, now, as a Spirit and she comes to comfort her mother. Megan, Eve, Joe, and Montalvo (from Stalemate) work to stop the murderer from striking again while working through their own problems and relationships. I found it to be very suspenseful. SPOILER ALERT The ending was a surprise; Joe finally saw Bonnie's ghost. I hope that Joe and Eve will draw closer to each other now.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their timely ghostly teachings. Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead? And then there are things like ghouls that aren't really one thing or the other.
This chilling tale is Neil Gaiman's first full-length novel for middle-grade readers since the internationally bestselling and universally acclaimed Coraline. Like Coraline, this book is sure to enchant and surprise young readers as well as Neil Gaiman's legion of adult fans.
My thoughts: I enjoyed reading this book even though it is listed as a book for young readers. The story of how Bod came to live at the graveyard and why he must remain hidden will spark your imagination and keep you reading. I like Gaiman's off center writing.

Biggie and the Quincy Ghost by Nancy Bell

From the Publisher: The 5th book in a delightful series by Nancy Bell where a young boy, JR, serves as the narrator.In this adventure Biggie Weatherford and her grandson JR go to Quincy to learn about their historical society. That night their host tells them a ghost story about a young woman who went on a picnic and was never seen alive again. The next morning JR finds a body in the hotel fountain. The deputy in charge of the case asks Biggie to help him solve it.

My thoughts: I love cozy mysteries and these Biggie books are among my favorites. Even though Job's Crossing is a fictional town, the stories take place in east Texas - where I live! This was an easy comfortable read, a visit with old friends Biggie and JR.

Witch Hunt by Ian Rankin

Summary: Witch is a terrorist - one of the best - but this job is going to test even her to the very limit. This time her cold calculation may desert her when she needs it most.
On her tail are three very different detectives - one woman, two men. Two at the beginning of their careers; one staking a lifetime's experience on tracking Witch down, following a hunch to the end.
Dominic Elder's hunch takes him from England to Europe and back, but the clues that solve the biggest crimes, dig out the deepest secrets, are often the smallest ones - ones that only the junior sleuths, fresh out of spy school, pick up. But will he listen?
My Thoughts: This is the first of Ian Rankin's books I've read and I was not disappointed. As you follow the detectives and Witch's movements throughout the story, Rankin withholds just enough info to keep you guessing. At the end you even have a little twist. Enjoy!

The Devil's Teardrop by Jeffery Deaver

From the publisher: It's New Year's Eve, December 31, 1999, and Washington, D.C., is under siege. Early in the day, a grisly machine gun attack in the Dupont Circle Metro station leaves dozens dead and the city crippled with fear. A note delivered to the mayor's office pins the massacre on the Digger, a robot like assassin programmed to wreak havoc on the capital every four hours - until midnight. Only a ransom of $20 million delivered to the Digger's accomplice - and mastermind - will end the death and terror. But the Digger becomes a far more sinister threat when his accomplice is killed in a freak accident while en route to the money drop. With the ransom note as the single scrap of evidence, Special Agent Margaret Lukas calls upon Parker Kincaid, a retired FBI agent and the top forensic document examiner in the country. Somehow, by midnight, they must find the Digger - before he finds them."
My thoughts: I've read several of Deaver's books and always come away feeling I've read a good book. This was no exception. Through a couple of twists and turns this keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way through. I even felt a sorry for the Digger, but you'll have to read it to find out why.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Meme, not a Review!

USA Today's Top Selling Books of the last 15 years Meme!
Got this from J.Kaye’s Book Blog.
Here are the rules: Bold what you've read, italicize what you own, star* books on your TBR list!

1 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling
2 Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution - Robert C. Atkins
3 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
6 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
8 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
9 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
10 Who Moved My Cheese? - Spencer Johnson
11 The South Beach Diet - Arthur Agatston
12 *Tuesdays With Morrie - Mitch Albom
13 Angels & Demons - Dan Brown
14 What to Expect When You're Expecting - Murkoff, etal.
15 *The Purpose-Driven Life - Rick Warren
16 The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
17* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey
18 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
19 Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus - John Gray
20 The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
21 Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert T. Kiyosaki
22 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
23 Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - and It's All Small Stuff - Richard Carlson
24 The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
25 Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
26 Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
27 The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
28 The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards
29 The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
30 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
31 A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
32 Oh, the Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss
33 The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz
34 Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
35 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
36 Body-for-Life - Bill Phillips, Michael D’Orso
37 New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
38 Night - Elie Wiese
l39 Chicken Soup for the Soul - Jack Canfield, etal.
40 The Greatest Generation - Tom Brokaw
41 Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
42 The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield
43 Wicked - Gregory Maguire
44 Good to Great - Jim Collins
45 Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
46 Eragon - Christopher Paolini
47 Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells
48 *Your Best Life Now - Joel Osteen
49 In the Kitchen With Rosie - Rosie Daley
50 Simple Abundance - Sarah Ban Breathnach
51 A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer
52 A Million Little Pieces - James Frey
53 The Testament - John Grisham
54 Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul - Jack Canfield, etal.
55 Deception Point - Dan Brown
56 *The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
57*Marley & Me - John Grogan
58 Dr. Atkins' New Carbohydrate Gram Counter - Robert C. Atkins
59 *Life of Pi - Yann Martel
60 The Brethren - John Grisham
61 The South Beach Diet Good Fats Good Carbs Guide - Arthur Agatston
62 The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town - John Grisham
63 For One More Day - Mitch Albom
64 The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg
65 *The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
66 The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow
67 What to Expect the First Year - Arlene Eisenberg, etal.
68 Love You Forever - Robert Munsch
69 Green Eggs and Ham - Dr. Seuss
70 A Painted House - John Grisham
71 The Rainmaker - John Grisham
72 *Skipping Christmas - John Grisham
73* Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier
74 The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
75 Life Strategies - Phillip C. McGraw
76 Seabiscuit: An American Legend - Laura Hillenbrand
77 The Summons - John Grisham
78 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt
79 The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
80 The Runaway Jury - John Grisham
81 Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown
82 The Perfect Storm - Sebastian Junger
83 *Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson
84 *The Giver - Lois Lowry
85 Embraced by the Light - Betty J. Eadie
86 The Chamber - John Grisham
87 You: On A Diet - Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
88 The Prayer of Jabez - Bruce Wilkinson
89 Holes - Louis Sachar
90 Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
91 The Shack - William P. Young
92 The Devil Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger
93 *Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
94 A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
95 The Seat of the Soul - Gary Zukav
96 Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul - Jack Canfield, etal.
97 The Partner - John Grisham
98 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
99 Eldest: Inheritance, Book II - Christopher Paolini
100 The Broker - John Grisham
101 The Street Lawyer - John Grisham
102 A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket
103 *The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
104 Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer
105 The King of Torts - John Grisham
106 The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
107 The Horse Whisperer - Nicholas Evans
108 Hannibal - Thomas Harris
109 The Audacity of Hope - Barack Obama
110 Running With Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
111 The Glass Castle: A Memoir - Jeannette Walls
112 My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
113 The Last Juror - John Grisham
114 The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
115 Left Behind - Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins
116 America (The Book) - Jon Stewart
117 The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
118 John Adams - David McCullough
119 The Christmas Box - Richard Paul Evans
120 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares
121 Sugar Busters! - Leighton Steward, etal.
122 Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
123 The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
124 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life - Don Piper
125 The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
126 *1776 - David McCullough
127 The Bridges of Madison County - Robert James Waller
128 Where the Heart Is - Billie Letts
129 The Ultimate Weight Solution - Phillip C. McGraw
130 Protein Power - Mr. & Mra. Michael R. Eades
131 Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul - Jack Canfield, etal.
132 Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer
133 Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
134 *Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
135 You: The Owner's Manual - Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
136 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List - Patricia Schultz
137 Self Matters - Phillip C. McGraw
138 She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
139 1984 - George Orwell
140 The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
141 The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas J. Stanley
142 The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
143 The Zone - Barry Sears, Bill Lawren
144* The Pilot's Wife - Anita Shreve
145 The Lost World - Michael Crichton
146 *Atonement - Ian McEwan
147 He's Just Not That Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo
148 Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
149 The World Is Flat - Thomas L. Friedman
150 Cross - James Patterson

Look at all the Grishams! I also see a lot of weight loss - which I’ve read - and business books. I can tell by this list that I'm not reading as many new Oprah books, either. Which ones have you read? Any on your TBR pile?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Blood of Paradise by David Corbett

From the publisher: El Salvador: America’s great Cold War success story and the model for Iraq’s fledgling democracy–if one ignores the grinding poverty, the corruption, the spiraling crime, and a murder rate ranked near the top in the hemisphere. This is where Jude McManus works as an executive protection specialist, currently assigned to an American engineer working for a U.S. consortium.Ten years before, at age seventeen, he saw his father and two Chicago cop colleagues arrested for robbing street dealers. The family fell apart in the scandal’s wake, his disgraced dad died under suspicious circumstances, and Jude fled Chicago to join the army and forge a new life. Now the past returns when one of his father’s old pals appears. The man is changed–he’s scarred, regretful, self-aware–and he helps Jude revisit the past with a forgiving eye. Then he asks a favor–not for himself, but for the third member of his dad’s old crew.
My thoughts: The depiction of life in this country and the low value placed on human life is eye opening to say the least. As the story progressed I found myself skipping pages and skimming looking for the next part of the story over the political discussions. I read a couple of other books while in the middle of this one. it is a good book with a message. If you don't mind a thourough discussion of politics between story elements you'll like it. Go here to read what the author has to say about his creation.

The Curse of the Incredible Priceless Corncob #7 (Hank the Cowdog) by John R. Erickson

From the publisher: From rags to riches . . .
When Pete the Barncat offers to trade good, juicy steak scraps for a couple of old corncobs, Hank the Cowdog smells a rat. Why would Pete want to trade -- unless the cobs are worth a fortune? So, armed with his Incredible Priceless Corncobs, Hank sets out to plan his Early Retirement. But retirement and the life of luxury don't come as easily as Hank expects. It seems as though everyone is after his treasure -- even his faithful sidekick, Drover! Can Hank save his fortune without losing his friends, or will he have to give up his riches for the sake of the ranch?

My thoughts: What a hoot! I read one or two Hank the Cowdog books to my class every year. This is the first one of this school year. The class enjoyed it and so did I. The laugh out loud moments are priceless! That Pete the Barn Cat is one sneaky cat.

Jacknife by William W. Johnstone

From the publisher: When a plot to target an all-American superstore outside of Fort Worth, Texas, is uncovered after a raid on a terrorist training camp, John "Jacknife" McCabe, a former Special Forces operative, must blow the perfect terror plan apart.
My thoughts: This was a great action book though a little long on political views. I quite enjoyed it as it kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time. I was somewhat disapointed that Jacknife didn't have as much to do with saving the world as I thought he would, since the book is named after him.

Full Speed by Janet Evanovich & Charlotte Hughes

From the publisher: Posing as husband and wife, Jamie Swift, owner of a local South Carolina newspaper, and her enigmatic partner, millionaire playboy Max Holt, become caught up in a zany new romantic adventure as they become involved with a corrupt minister, a gang of gangsters on the loose, a hound dog named Fleas, and a wise-cracking computer.
My thoughts: I read this because I liked Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I didn't find it as funny but it was charming and a fun read. I don't read much romance unless it is humorous. I think you'll like it. the AI computer, Muffin, is a hoot. Go here to read what the author has to say.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

From Publishers Weekly : Stoker-winner Hill features a particularly merciless ghost in his powerful first novel. Middle-aged rock star Judas Coyne collects morbid curios for fun, so doesn't think twice about buying a suit advertised at an online auction site as haunted by its dead owner's ghost. Only after it arrives does Judas discover that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of one of Coyne's discarded groupies, and that the old man's ghost is a malignant spirit determined to kill Judas in revenge for his stepdaughter's suicide. Judas isn't quite the cad or Craddock the avenging angel this scenario makes them at first, but their true motivations reveal themselves only gradually in a fast-paced plot that crackles with expertly planted surprises and revelations.
My thoughts: I enjoyed reading this novel, it was fast paced and had some surprises for you. The horror was there but wasn't over the top. I've read some horror novels where you couldn't get to the story for the descriptions of the awful things that happen. Not so here. The two main characters were sympathetic. All this and a relatively happy ending. While reading about Joe Hill, I was suprised to find he was Stephen King's son! If you like horror or paranormal thrillers, this is for you.

Junie B., First Grader by Barbara Park

From the publisher: The 18th installment in Barbara Park's popular beginning chapter-book series puts our temperamental heroine into a brand-new class where she has to make brand-new friends. And as if that weren't hard enough, her brand-new teacher, Mr. Scary ("He made that name up, I believe," Junie writes in a journal assignment), figures out that she needs eyeglasses. Will all the other kids laugh at her? Will that obnoxious Excellent-plus-getting May become even more obnoxious?
My Thoughts: I have loved Junie B. Jones books from the first time I read one to my class several years ago. It does not matter which one I choose to read the class always responds to it. I usually read this one if someone is getting glasses or is shy to wear the glasses they already have. Along with a positive spin on glasses (what a great time to talk about kindmess, manners, etc) it is a funny story. Junie B. (she refuses to be called just Junie) is sassy and cute. Read this to your kids or just read it for yourself! Either way, you'll love it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Crusader's Cross by James Lee Burke

From the Back: In Crusader's Cross, a deathbed confession from an old schoolmate resurrects a story of injustice, the murder of a young woman, and a time in Dave Robicheaux's life he has tried to forget. Her name may or may not have been Ida Durbin. It was back in the innocent days of the 1950s when Robicheaux and his brother, Jimmie, met her on a Galveston beach. She was pretty and Jimmie fell for her hard -- not knowing she was a prostitute with ties to the mob. Then Ida was abducted and never seen again. Now, decades later, Robicheaux is asking questions about Ida Durbin, and a couple of redneck deputy sheriffs make it clear that asking questions is a dangerous game.
My thoughts: I enjoyed this as much as I've enjoyed the other Dave Robicheaux books. I find myself rereading paragraphs and sentences to savor the authors descriptions and turns of phrases. This story was somewhat convoluted but good none the less.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pest Control by Bill Fitzhugh

The story synopsis: Bob Dillon is a down-on-his-luck exterminator from Queens who just wants to make a killing with his radical new environmentally-friendly pest elimination technique, involving his hybrid assassin bugs (a very real group of insects). But when Bob decides to advertise, his flyer falls into the hands of a European murder-for-hire broker who mistakes Bob for a professional assassin. Before he knows it, Bob's "competition" targets him for extermination, sending him running for his life from a motley collection of the world's deadliest and most outrageously eccentric contract killers.
My Thoughts: This book was amusing and had a few laugh out loud moments. I greatly enjoyed it and plan to get some more books by this author.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Light From Heaven by Jan Karon

From the publisher: In Light from Heaven, the long-anticipated final volume in the phenomenally successful Mitford Years series, Karon deftly ties up all the loose ends of Father Timothy Kavanagh’s deeply affecting life.
On a century-old valley farm where Father Tim and Cynthia are house sitting, there’s plenty to say grace over, from the havoc of a windstorm to a surprising new addition to the household and a mystery in the chicken house.
It’s life on the mountaintop, however, that promises to give Father Tim the definitive challenge of his long priesthood. Can he step up to the plate and revive a remote, long-empty mountain church, asap? Light from Heaven is filled with characters old and new and with answers to all the questions that Karon fans have asked since the series began nearly a decade ago.

My thoughts: I love these books, they are simple and sweet with lots of good people (with all their quirks), plenty of laughs and much love. Life is good in Mitford and I would love to live there! I haven't read these in order and have still enjoyed them immensely, but it would have been better in order.

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston

From Book Jacket: "Douglas Preston fulfilled a lifelong dream when he moveed his family to a villa in Florence. Upon meeting celebrated journalist Mario Spezi, Preston was stunned to learn that the olive grove next to his home had been the scene of a horrific double-murder committed by one of the most infamous figures in Italian history. A serial killer who ritually murdered fourteen young lovers, he was never caught. He is known as the Monster of Florence." "Fascinated by the tale, Preston began to work with Spezi on the case. Here is the true story of their search to uncover and confront the man they believe is the Monster. In an ironic twist of fate that echoes the dark traditions of the city's bloody history, Preston and Spezi themselves become targets of a bizarre police investigation.
My thoughts: I don't read a lot of true crime but I like Douglas Preston's fiction so thought I'd give it a try. When reading thrillers, they don't bother me because they are, after all, fiction. However this true life account of a serial killer did bother me. It was well written and facinating at the same time. The way the investigations were handled would seem nothing short of comedic if they hadn't hurt so many innocent people while ignoring or burying real evidance. I found this overall to be a very interesting read.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Redwall The Graphic Novel

From Redwall Wiki: Redwall Abbey is shattered by the arrival of the evil rat Cluny and his villainous hordes, Matthias, a young mouse, determines to find the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior which, he is convinced, will help Redwall's inhabitants destroy their enemy.
My Thoughts: This is the second graphic novel I've read and it is from an actual novel that I read several years ago. In fact I've read most of the books in this series. I enjoyed reading this, seeing the pictures, however I remember the descriptions Jacques wrote for the meals and feasts, reading about the kindness in the hearts of the Abby creatures, and descriptions of the various inhabitants of Redwall Abby and Mossflower. The word pictures I remember were more powerful than the drawn pictures.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Library book
From the Cover: "Stalin's Soviet Union strives to be a paradise for its workers, providing for all of their needs. One of its fundamental pillars is that its citizens live free from the fear of ordinary crime and criminals.
But in this society, millions do live in fear ... of the State. Defending the system from its citizens is the MGB, the State Security Force. And no MGB officer is more courageous or idealistic than Leo Demidov whose only ambition has been to serve his country.
Then the impossible happens. A different kind of criminal - a murderer - is on the loose, killing children at will. At the same time, Leo finds himself demoted and denounced by his enemies, and every belief he's ever held shattered. The only way to save his life and the lives of his family is to uncover the criminal. But in a society that is officially paradise, its a crime against the State to suggest that a murderer - much less a serial killer - is in their midst. Exiled from his home, with only his wife remaining at his side, Leo must find and stop a criminal that the State won't admit even exists."
My thoughts: This was a great read, especially with the twist at the end! It was gruesome in places, specifically the descriptions of the murders. The paranoia described as a way of life in 1950s Russia made me thankful I live here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Naughty Neighbor by Janet Evanovich

From Janet Evanovich: "In a previous life, before the time of Plum, I wrote twelve short romance novels. Red-hot screwball comedies, each and every one of them. Nine of these stories were originally published by the Loveswept line between the years 1988 and 1992. All immediately went out of print and could be found only at used bookstores and yard sales. I'm excited to tell you that those nine stories are now being re-released by HarperCollins. Naughty Neighbor is the eighth in the lineup."

My thoughts: Well I can tell you I was glad to be able to read more of Evanovich's writing! These clever, cute little books are fun to read even if it's a little predictable. In this one Louisa, who works as a press secretary, becomes involved with Pete Streeter, her upstairs neighbor, when he steals her paper and gets phone calls at all hours of the night that disturb her. When she confronts him well, you just have to read it!

Go here to see a video of an interview with Janet,

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Deja Demon by Julie Kenner

Library book
Deja Demon: The Days and Nights of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom
If the title doesn't sell you perhaps the blurb on the front cover will:
Saving The Suburbs From Evil - One Fiend At A Time...
These things would have sold me even if I hadn't already read the rest of the series and liked it!
My thoughts: I enjoyed reading the further adventures of Kate the demon killing soccer mom. Working with the husband she thought to be dead, they face a threat from their past. Two demons they vanquished working together (an oddity in this world) for revenge and control. Juggling church responsibilities, her toddler and 14 year old daughter as well as her current husband (the father of the toddler) she finds it all a bit much.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

CC library book

I just finished reading this long book and must say that I really liked it! Science Fiction meets Romance without all the mushy details. Well there was some mush but it was bearable.

In this story the earth has been taken over by beings that call themselves Souls. They are your standard Scifi parasite that takes over the human host and continue on with a human life with the Soul in control. The Soul Wanderer is placed in Melanie's body but finds that she can't suppress and do away with Melanie. They coexist in Melanie's body and soon Wanderer finds herself caring for the people and things Melanie cared for. In time they end up with one of the few remaining groups of "wild" humans that include Melanie's brother and true love Jared. Their story of survival, Wanderer & Melanie as well as the humans, makes for a great read.

My thoughts: Throughout this book the Soul, Wanderer, claimed that Souls were kind, would never hurt anyone. However this view doesn't go with the fact that they took over a whole planet of people and essentially murdered everyone on it. This was never addressed. Even so, I think you will like this book.


Cockatiels at Seven by Donna Andrews

library book
Cute, fun, quick read. I really like this series. The first one I read was the funniest by far: Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon. What a hoot. Do yourself a favor and check out this series.
In this story Meg ends up looking after a toddler when the mother, Meg's friend Karen, asks her to watch him "for just a little while." Hours turn into days and, of course Meg begins to investigate, trying to find Karen. She finds a body, not Karen's. In typical Meg fashion she pursues her investigation, with help or hindrance from her husband, father, grandfather, and various other family members.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Night Watchman by James V. Viscosi

From the back: "Nate Watson is a cop in a bad section of Island City. Responding to a call from a frightened old woman, Nate and his partner Frank encounter a group of teenage thugs playing at black magic on the decrepit rooftops of the slums. Except they're not playing. Defeated by the boys' mysterious powers, Frank meets his death at the bottom of a ventilation shaft. He's the lucky one. The boys drag Nate into a circle of candles and saw him open from neck to waist, playing with what they find inside. When he dies they lose interest, snuff the candles, and depart. The night cools. The crows come to feed on the corpse. But then the candles flare back into life, and the birds take frightened flight, and Nate Watson returns...with a vengeance. "
My Thoughts:When he comes back, as the Night Watchman, Nate finds that the handcuffs he had been bound with now work as retractable chains, extensions of his will. I found this to be an captivating idea. This was a true horror story, complete with grim descriptions, evil beings, ghosts, zombies, and good Vs evil. Once I started it it was hard to put down. The characters and places Viscosi created were engaging, interesting. I would have loved for Yolanda, a psychic, to have had a bigger part. Readers of Horror fiction will like this one.

Friday, August 1, 2008

In Odd We Trust (Dean Koontz) by Queenie Chan

library book
This is the first graphic novel I've read and i found it enjoyable. The character of Odd Thomas, created by Dean Koontz, was recreated here by Queenie Chan very successfully. This story predates the first odd Thomas novel, so his girlfriend, Stormy, is with him.
If you have read the novels you know that Odd is, well, a little odd. He sees ghosts and has "physic magnetism." He comes across the ghost of a frightened boy and is off trying to help catch the murderer.

Daemons are Forever by Simon R. Green

This is the second in the Shaman Bond series. I started reading these because I liked Green's Nightside series. Both are different, enjoyable, fun reads. Think 007 complete with Q (the Armourer.)
In this story Shaman Bond (Edwin Drood of the Drood family) is just back from the last book and takes over leadership of the family. He must fix the mess he caused when he killed the evil Heart that supplied the family with their golden torcs and save the world from the Loathy Ones that plan to bring in the Hungry Gods to take over and destroy this world. He works with an array of interesting family members and strange outsiders to accomplish his goal.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson is a mechanic who owns her own garage and a shape shifter that changes into a coyote. Her neighbor, Adam, Is the Alpha of the local werewolf pack. She was raised by werewolves so she knows more about them than she does her own nature.
She takes on a young werewolf as a helper in the garage and the mystery starts. Soon Adam is attacked in his own home and his daughter kidnapped. Mercy gets there just in time to save his life and takes him to the pack that raised her for help. With the help and hindrance of many types of supernatural beings, a little romance, and a lot of action the story comes to a satisfactory ending.
I enjoyed book even though I thought I was off this genre for awhile. I am looking forward to getting the next book in this series.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark

This book of essays written with humor and sarcasm is a hoot! I laughed all the way through. Not only does she discuss kids and wonder why parents insist like dressing 6 year olds like skanks, she writes about celebrities, Huzzzbands and Southern-Style Silliness.
"Celia Rivenbark is an award-winning newspaper columnist and freelance journalist whose work has been compared to a cross between Erma Bombeck and Hunter S. Thompson." This quote was taken from Celia's home page. You should go there, scroll to the botton and click on Celia on Skank. Watch the video then go get this book!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish

This story follows five women who are instructed by their common friend, Annie Freeman, to take her ashes to places she has detailed in the plans to scatter. They all know of each other but don't really know one another. As they travel they grieve for Annie, learn her deepest secrets and celebrate her life. They also learn about themselves and become fast friends.
I liked the idea of this book, the non-traditional traveling funeral, and found the authors use of words to paint pictures wonderful. However, the book was flat for me after about half way. I found myself skimming and skipping pages.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Kill Clause by Gregg Hurwitz

CC library book
library bookThis book starts out with a tense, emotional scene and doesn't let up. Some of the scenes tend to be graphic, detailed bloody descriptions.
U.S. Marshal Tim Rackley and his wife Dray, a Deputy Sheriff, learn that the body of their seven year old daughter has been found. Soon the killer is found and on a technicality he is released. Whole questioning him Tim came to believe the killed didn't act on his own. He is approached by a group that calls themselves The Commission. They are a group that wants him to join them in delivering justice to killers who have been loosed on technicalities. The current members of the group have all had loved ones murdered, and the killers in each case have been set free. They reevaluate capital punishment cases from the past and decide for themselves if the suspects are in fact guilty. If so the commission would sentence them to death. They want Tim to be the executioner. In return, they will revisit case of his daughter's killer, last.
It was very fast paced and I couldn't put it down. As a teacher of young children abuse in any form of children burns me up. I hated that this story was based on the murder of a child.
3 (582 pages)

Moon Pies and Movie Stars by Amy Wallen

library book
What a cute chick lit book from a new to me arthor this is! In 1976 Texas the widow Ruby Kincaid,is running the bowling alley left to her by her husband. Her daughter, Violet, ran away four years ago and left behind her husband and two children, Bunny and Bubbie. When Ruby sees a television commercial featuring long-lost Violet she and her sassy sister, Loralva decide to go to California to find violet. Friends warn her that, in California, she'll end up "with transvestites licking her ear and stealing her dresses." Violet's awful mother-in-law, finances the trip but only because she feels that her daughter-in-law is now famous and can up her status. Loralva is focused on getting on The Price Is Right.
I enjoyed taking the trip with these three women and the two kids in a Winnabago. The game show was halarious.The search bittersweet.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blood Trail by C.J. Box

library book
Here is the newest, the 8th, Joe Pickett novel! It is the third one I've read. I like the character Joe Pickett. He is and honest, moral, family man. He makes mistakes but sticks to what he thinks is right regardless. It usually gets him in trouble, and that's where he is at the end of this book, in a heap of big trouble.
Joe Pickett is now working directly for the Governor . He is called to go to a murder scene where an elk hunter has been murdered and strung up like an elk after the hunt. While working with his ex boss, Randy Pope Joe discovers that there have been more murders related to this one, all murdered hunters. Enter anti-hunting radical Klamath Moore. While following up on K. Moore Joe persuades the Governor to release his friend, and expert tracker, Nate Romanowski to help track down the killer. It was a good mystery, however I kind of had an idea of who did it early on.
This book is fairly violent in nature, involves hunting and murder. Not pretty.
It is a good mystery/thriller.