Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Sunday Wife by Cassandra King

I read this book because I read The Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King and loved it. I did like it, but not nearly as much as The Same Sweet Girls. It seemed to drone on and on in places in places.

Dean Lynch is unhappily married to a Methodist minister, Ben Lynch. In the first pages, Dean is alone and moving to a trailer in a small town on the Gulf Coast where nobody will think to look for her. Then we are returned to an earlier time, when Dean and Ben are arriving at their new church in Florida. Ben is ambitious and not sure that his wife (who, he keeps reminding her, came from a white trash background) is going to behave well enough for him to achieve his ambitions in the Methodist Church. Dean is quickly makes friends with Augusta Holderfield, who Ben is anxious to bring back to his church. But Augusta is emotional and unstable, and Ben quickly begins to disapprove of her and her growing influence on Dean. Through her friendship with the Holderfields, Dean begins to blossom. Tragedy strikes and Dean finds herself sad but free. I think that Ben's character is too resolutely awful. The author makes the religious people in the book a awful and portrays the people who are basing their lives on the occult as the "wise" ones.

I also think the book was a bit too long. There were whole descriptive paragraphs that did little to add to the story that could have been removed, like the antique napkins getting used to mop up spilled coffee by a one-scene-only character. I ended up skimming and skipping pages.

Reckless Abandon by Stuart Woods

In this book the main character is Stone Barrington, an ex-cop-turned-lawyer. He is helping Holly Barker find a killer Trini Rodriguez, who is hiding in NYC. Holly had faced this guy in the book "Blood Orchids" and thought he was out for good. Now Trini is in the protection of the FBI as a witness.
I didn't really like this book much. It wasn't a very long book, but still managed to ramble in places. I couldn't believe that the main characters were thrown in a basement room by mobsters and proceeded to have sex and go to sleep. Please. He then talked the bad guys out of killing them with a little name dropping. Stone had already talked Trini out of killing them once by saying that everyone would know who did it. Trini left them and went straight to his safd house and killed an FBI agent. I guess he thought no one would know he did that.
I hate to give it a 2, I know this series is popular, but I probably won't try another. Did you read it and like it? 2

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Superior Death by Nevada Barr

This was the second Anna Piegon book written by Nevada Barr, but the last one I read. I have enjoyed all these books and look forward to the newest edition to the series.
Anna is a park ranger and in each book she is assigned to a different National Park. In this book she is transferred Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. Two scuba-diving tourists exploring an old, early 1900s wreck find the body of Denny Castle, who died on his honeymoon night. Anna wonders about the disappearance of Donna Butkus, wife of fellow ranger Scotty Butkus. As Anna investigates the murder and disappearance she comes into contact with several memorable characters. Anna gets herself into a situation near the end of the story that totally creeps me out. Barr explores some socially taboo territory in this book.
All in all I enjoyed this book, but liked the later books better. 4

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Canterville ghost by Oscar Wilde

This was first published in 1887. I found it to be really funny and enjoyed it immensely.
The story begins when Hiram B. Otis and his family move into Canterville Chase, despite warnings from Lord Canterville that the house is haunted. The family includes Mr. and Mrs. Otis, their son Washington, their daughter Virginia, and twin boys. In the beginning, not one member of the Otis family believes in ghosts, but soon they hear and see him. But nothing the ghost does scares the Otises. He thinks of his haunting senarios as if they were characters to act in a play. for instance he plays The Headless Earl, The Strangled Babe, andThe Blood-Sucker of Bexley Moor, all of which have been successful of scaring people in the past. However it doesn't work with this family. For example upon hearing the clanking noises in the hallway, Mr. Otis gives the ghost Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator to oil his chains. The twins play tricks on him and upset him badly. The story is funny and the ending is warm and sweet.
This is a short book, a novella, and is worth a try if you haven't already read it. 4

Blasphemy by Douglas Preston

I listened to this one this weekend on my iPod while I was painting and redoing the little bathroom.

This is the story of a group of researchers at the new US government financed $40 billion particle accelerator called isabella, located on an Arizona reservation leased from the Navajos. They are there to recreate conditions just after the Big Bang. When the accelerator fails to get on-line as quickly as expected, the Feds send in Wyman Ford under cover to investigate. He finds that the group is covering up a glitch. The book moves really fast.

I didn't like that once again christians are written in as idiots and this time as murdering idiots. I'm going to have to read up on Douglas Prestion to see what he believes about God. Does he think science is God? 3 to 4

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Bluest Eye

"Each night Pecola prayed for blue eyes.In her eleven years, no one had ever noticed Pecola. But with blue eyes, she thought, everything would be different. She would be so pretty that her parents would stop fighting. Her father would stop drinking. Her brother would stop running away. If only she could be beautiful.If only people would look at her."
(Back Cover)

Read here why Toni Morrison thinks The Bluest Eye is a book for everyone.

It was a good, thought provoking book that was tragic not only for the character of Pecola but as a statement for the world we live in. 5

The Darkest Evening of the Year

I'm a sucker for most anything involving dogs or cats, so this was right up my alley. Not to mention that I am a Koontz fan and I enjoyed another book of his with a special dog (Watchers.)
Amy Redwing has devoted herself to rescuing golden retrievers through an organization called Golden Heart. Her boyfriend is an architect named Brian McCarthy. As the book opens they are going on a rescue mission to save a golden. They get the dog, Nickie, and the family away from the drunken wife beater. Amy adopts Nickie and soon realizes that she is extra special.
The book goes back and forth between Amy and Brian and the book’s two villains, Harrow and Moongirl. Moongirl kills because she is bored. Harrow is facinated with her. It takes awhile before you learn of the connection between the two couples. Harrow and Moongirl plan to kill both Amy, Brian and one other in a climatic event that will satisfy a need for revenge that they both have. They just didn't realize Amy and Brian had angelic help in the form of a dog.
I really liked this book. 5

Of Mice and Men by John Steainbeck

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After having read The Grapes of Wrath a while back I decided that I needed to read Of Mice and Men. I got the tape from the library and listened to it. Again I can't believe I lived to be this old and haven't read this. George and Lennie (mentally disabled) are migrant workers dreaming of having their own place one day. Lennie wants to tend the rabbits, it seems to be his fondest dream of this idealistic future. Lennie is big and strong and with his child like mentality is unaware of just how strong he is. Given the time in which the novel was written, his handling of the mentally handicapped Lennie is tender and compassionate. George befriends him and tries to keep him out of trouble. They get jobs at a ranch where fortune smiles on them, and their dream seems to be within reach. An accident involving Lennie ends it all. A tragic and memorable book which was, at one time, banned. 5

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Double Cross by James Patterson

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I am a fan of the Alex Cross books, so I enjoyed this instalment. With that said I don't think it was one of Patterson's best, it seemed to be just a stepping stone to the next book.

In this book Alex confronts two serial killers, his old partner Kyle Craig (Mastermind) and DCAK (D.C. Audience Killer.) Kyle escapes from a maximum security prison and goes after Cross. I expect to see him in the next book. DCAK kills people in very showy, horrendous, public ways for attention.

If you are an Alex Cross fan don't miss this. If you haven't read any Cross books before, don't start with this one, I don't think it is up to par with the others. 3

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." - From To Kill A Mockingbird

You've probably already read this book. It is another of my all time favorites, and I will read it again. I love that it was told through the eyes of a child, Scout. It gives it an innocent authority that touches your heart. If you haven't read it try it. If you had to read it years ago for a class assignment try it again. I have found that as an older person, I appreciate the story and Lee's writing much more than I did years ago. 5

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Atomic Lobster by Tim Dorsey

This is the tenth Serge A. Storms book that Tim Dorsey had written. They are all crazy-funny.

Serge is a spree killer who only kills bad guys. In very imaginative ways. This is in between his bouts of sightseeing in his favorite state: Florida. He knows its history backwards and forwards and is always seeking historical sites to visit.

In this book Serge is reunited with Jim Davenport from the book Triggerfish Twist. He admires Jim who is an average family guy. Serge still travels with Coleman, whose only concern is where he can get his next beer or his next high.

The plot is convoluted, might be a little hard to keep up with but is very funny. If you like twisted humor, this is your book. 4

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Heart of Darkness By Josep Conrad

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This short book was as dark as it's title implies. It follows Marlow up the Congo River as he goes to hold down his job with the company as an ivory transporter. He also has another job, unknown to others. That is to bring the violent Kurtz back. Before I read it I read about it on the net and was aware of the problems the story covered. I would suggest you research it a little before you read it.

I was surprised to learn that this book was the basis for the movie "Apocalypse Now." 3