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!