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.