Saturday, December 15, 2012

81 Books

Well, this has been a very interesting year for us. The kids lived with us for 8 months, which was quite a life changing event but one I wouldn't change for anything. My husband and I have both had medical issues this year as well which slowed me down. And now my 87 year old father is in need of care for a broken arm. But God is good and he is seeing us through. God willing dad will gain his strength back and achieve his goal of returning home.

Even with all this I managed to read 81 books this year, quite a few short of my goal of 100 but many more than I thought I'd get to.

I did not post them here and I won't go back and try to put them in. However I kept track of them at Goodreads on my 2012 shelf. If you would like to view the list this is the link:

I will make plans for next year and hope to meet my goals! Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Life Happens

I haven't been here in a cuple of months and have only posted short comments for a while. Last Feb. my great-niece and two great-nephews ( ages 2, 4, 5) were placed in our home. Talk about a life changing event! I don't think I'll make my goal of 100 books this year----LOL. Pray for us!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

About the book: After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

My Thoughts: Oh, my. I can't believe I've waited all this time to read this book. I've never seen the movie either, so it was all new to me.  I enjoyed the setting, the historical backdrop as well as the story of the characters. Dickens broke my heart a couple of times here, what wonderful writing. However, it seemed that the characters lost out a bit to the descriptions of the times. Highly recommened.

Quote: It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo

About the book: Detective Harry Hole embarrassed the force, and for his sins he's been reassigned to mundane surveillance tasks. But while monitoring neo-Nazi activities in Oslo, Hole is inadvertently drawn into a mystery with deep roots in Norway's dark past, when members of the government willingly collaborated with Nazi Germany. More than sixty years later, this black mark won't wash away--and disgraced old soldiers who once survived a brutal Russian winter are being murdered, one by one. Now, with only a stained and guilty conscience to guide him, an angry, alcoholic, error-prone policeman must make his way safely past the traps and mirrors of a twisted criminal mind. For a conspiracy is taking rapid and hideous shape around Hole . . . and Norway's darkest hour may be still to come.

My thoughts: Great read, solid mystery with interesting twists. I recommend it.

Dead Waters by Anton Strout

About the book: Simon Canderous, of the Department of Extraordinary Affairs, is used to fighting vampires and zombies. But the strange murder of a professor has everyone stumped. And it's making some people crazy. Literally.

My Thoughts: Dead Waters is the 4th book in the Simon Canderous series and I enjoyed it almost as much as the other three.  One of the things I enjoy so much is the way the author makes fun of bureaucratic red tape using the Department of Extraordinary Affairs (DEA.) I find the names of the various workshops they have to attend funny as well. The characters are well written as is the world.

"Are you, like the Men in Black"....

"No, they're fictional. You know that, don't you... Because they have a huge budget and unlimited resources."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Elvis and the Memphis Mambo Murders by

About the book:

    Callie Valentine Jones and her cousin Lovie really have their work cut out for them this time. Callie’s mama Ruby Nell has gone and entered herself—and her hunk-a-geriatric-love dance partner—in a Memphis mambo contest, hoping to shake, rattle and roll her way to stardom. And if the past is any indication, she’ll need at least two chaperones.
     But someone at the competition is determined to step on a lot of blue suede shoes. First, a serial monogamist in a bright pink gown does a fatal swan dive from the top of the hotel. Then Callie finds an overdressed diva floating in a famous fountain. Now there can be no question: A murderer is loose in Memphis, and he’s got a lot of killing to do.
        With help from Jack, the mysteriously reappearing ex Callie just can’t get over and her delusional dog Elvis, Callie and Lovie are going to have to track down some answers before mayhem strikes again. And with Ruby Nell in the killer’s sights, they’ll need a little less conversation and a lot more action if they want their family waltzing home in one piece…

My Thoughts: This is my favorite cozy seeries since The Southern Sisters by Anne George. I love Elvis the bassett, the quirky cousins are cute and full of personality and Jack the ex and Uncle Charlie are mysterious. This was a quick, fun read that I would recommend to any one.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ape House by Sara Gruen

About the book:Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongo, Jelani, and Makena are no ordinary apes. These bonobos, like others of their species, are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships—but unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language.

Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn't understand people, but animals she gets—especially the bonobos. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she's ever felt among humans ... until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animal rights protesters outside the lab to see what's really going on inside.

When an explosion rocks the lab, severely injuring Isabel and "liberating" the apes, John's human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime, one he'll risk his career and his marriage to follow. Then a reality TV show featuring the missing apes debuts under mysterious circumstances, and it immediately becomes the biggest—and unlikeliest—phenomenon in the history of modern media. Millions of fans are glued to their screens watching the apes order greasy take-out, have generous amounts of sex, and sign for Isabel to come get them. Now, to save her family of apes from this parody of human life, Isabel must connect with her own kind, including John, a green-haired vegan, and a retired porn star with her own agenda.

My thoughts:  I truly enjoyed this book. I have, unfortunately, not read Water for Elephants yet but I will rectify that soon. The story of the apes was at times joyful and at times I was scared for them. I found the bonobos fascinating and enjoyed learning about these interesting great apes. The author described their appearance and behaviors, and gave each one a personality.I enjoyed the characters, esp the quirky ones, like the Russian hooker. I particularly liked the unexpected funny parts. I will recommend this book to you.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Atlantis Revelation by Thomas Greanias

About the book: Beneath the city of God,  a centuries-old secret awaits.  And every power on earth wants it.

The adventure begins with the wreckage of a sunken Nazi submarine and a shocking legacy of Hitler's quest for Atlantis. Archaeologist Conrad Yeats discovers in the ruins of the Third Reich the key to an ancient conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of every major government. Suddenly Yeats is plunged into a deadly race across the Mediterranean, hunted by the assassins of an international organization that will stop at nothing to ignite global Armageddon and revive an empire. And only Serena Serghetti, the beautiful Vatican linguist he loved and lost, can help him save the world from the Atlantis Revelation.

First line: Conrad Yeats started having second thoughts as soon as they anchored over the discovery.

My Thoughts: I'm usually a sucker for this kind of action adventure story but for me this one was ...... just ok. I never became invested in the characters or the plot. Scott Brick was the narrator for this book.  I've always enjoyed his narration and have listened to him read many books. He did a great job here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

About the book: It’s Christmastime, and the precocious Flavia de Luce—an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a penchant for crime-solving—is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found, past midnight, strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must use every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.

First line: Tendrils of raw fog floated up from the ice like agonized spirits departing their bodies. 
My thoughts: Even though this is probably my least favorite of the series I still found it charming. I love that Flavia is so precocious yet for all that she is still an eleven year old child. In this book this is shown in her attempt to catch Father Christmas and prove his existence once and for all using, of course, her knowledge of chemistry to create an adhesive to stick him to the chimney. If you haven't read any of these yet, start with the first one.

Crusin' Through the Cozies
E-Book Challenge

Saturday, February 18, 2012

61 Hours by Lee Child

About the book: A savage snowstorm and a tour bus crash land Reacher in the middle of South Dakota—unprepared. For the snow, that is. But he’s ready, as only he can be, to risk his life to protect a courageous witness. If she’s going to live long enough to testify, she needs his help. There's a killer headed straight for her and he'll be in town soon...or maybe he’s already there...

First line: Five minutes to three in the afternoon. Exactly sixty-one hours before it happened.

My Thoughts: I'm kind of glad I read this one out of order. The end is a real cliffhanger. This is another of Child's Jack Reacher books. Reacher is a unique character in my thriller reading experience. He is an ex MP who wanders around the country with no possessions. This stems from his military career and childhood growing up on military bases throughout the world: it's all he knows. This one was different from the others I've read in that there isn't as much mayhem, but I found it suspenseful. There was no love interest either, but I think the woman on the phone will be a love interest eventually.

I was rather disappointed with one situation in this book, but I guess Reacher can't win them all. I've always liked this character, he is a good guy trying to do what is right. This is one of my favorite series and I'll be reading more. You might like to try this series if you haven't already.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Worth Dying For by Lee Child

About the book: There’s deadly trouble in the corn country of Nebraska . . . and Jack Reacher walks right into it. First he falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire county into submission. But it’s the unsolved, decades-old case of a missing child that Reacher can’t let go.

The Duncans want Reacher gone—and it’s not just past secrets they’re trying to hide. For as dangerous as the Duncans are, they’re just the bottom of a criminal food chain stretching halfway around the world. For Reacher, it would have made much more sense to put some distance between himself and the hard-core trouble that’s bearing down on him. For Reacher, that was also impossible.
First line: Eldridge Tyler was driving a long straight two-lane road in Nebraska when his cell phone rang.
My Thoughts:This was Reacher as I know him. Lots of fun to read, lots of over-the-top action, lots of bad guys for Reacher to beat up and/or kill. Reacher always sees bad guys in black-and-white, no gray areas. He just takes care of business without any second guesses or regrets. In this one Reacher is in the middle of nowhere in a small Nebraska town where a family has a strangle hold on, seemingly, all the locals. There are a couple of things going on here: the disappearance of a child 25 years ago and smuggling. These things tie together neatly by the end of the story. I'm going to read the one that happened just before this one, a little out of order I know, but oh well.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bonnie by Iris Johansen

About the book: The truth has eluded her for years. . . . Now is she ready to face it? When Eve Duncan gave birth to her daughter, she experienced a love she never knew existed. Nothing would stand in the way of giving Bonnie a wonderful life---until the unthinkable happened and the seven-year-old vanished into thin air. Eve found herself in the throes of a nightmare from which there was no escape. But a new Eve emerged: a woman who would use her remarkable talent as a forensic sculptor to help others find closure in the face of tragedy. Now with the help of her beloved Joe Quinn and CIA agent Catherine Ling, Eve has come closer than ever to the truth. But the deeper she digs, the more she realizes that Bonnie's father is a key player in solving this monstrous puzzle. And that Bonnie's disappearance was not as random as everyone had always believed . . .

First line: "What star is that, Mama?" Bonnie lifted her hand to point at a brilliant orb in the night sky.

My Thoughts: Finally! I am glad to have found out what happened to Bonnie. While reading this one, I found that at least one chapter had been copied and pasted from a previous novel, yikes. There was plenty of action to keep you turning pages but I found some of the conversations taxing.  I've been a fan of this series and so enjoyed it but I'm not sure that I can recommend this book, unless you too are a fan.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Bride Wroe Black Leather by Simon R. Green

About the book: In the secret heart of London, under the cover of endless darkness, the Nightside caters to anyone with any unusual itch that needs to be scratched. But enter at your own risk. The party animals who live here may be as inhuman as their appetites...

My name is John Taylor. The Nightside is my home. I didn't plan it that way. In fact, I once tried to get away. But I came back. And now it seems I'm settling down, with a full-time job (in addition to my work as a very private eye) as Walker-the new Voice of the Authorities in the Nightside-and a wedding in the offing.

I'm marrying the love of my life, Suzie Shooter, the Nightside's most fearsome bounty-hunter. But nothing comes easy here. Not life. Not death. And for certain, not happily-ever-after. Before I can say "I do," I have one more case to solve as a private eye-and my first assignment as Walker.

Both jobs would be a lot easier to accomplish if I weren't on the run, from friends and enemies alike. And if my bride-to-be weren't out to collect the bounty on my head...

First line: I went walking up and down the packed streets of the Nightside, making my way through all the desperate conversations and dodgy deals, through all the damned and the disgraced, all the lost souls searching for something they could buy, then call love; and everywhere I went, people nodded quickly and politely to me, and out of respect.

My thoughts: This is book  number 12 in the Nightside series and apparently the last. I have always enjoyed this quirky, unique series and hate to see it end. As endings go, this one was great. The series was wrapped up nicely with Shotgun Suzie and  and John Taylor getting married, but only after John solves his final case as a PI. It had everything I've come to expect from a Nightside novel: strange beings and places, good vs evil, friends, enemies, friends who could be enemies, over the top action, weird sarcastic banter, and....I could go on but I won't.  This has never been a serious series, but it is lots of fun to read with it's outrageous situations, locations and characters. Here is an example of an ongoing situation: John never gets in a cab, never calls for a cab because might eat him. Yep, that is common in the Nightside. This one had all that in spades. The stories are always a bit on the dark side, which works since the sun never shines in the Nightside. I'll miss this series. I may have to go back and reread them.

  1. "Half my taste buds are still crying their eyes out, and the other half are threatening to sue for post-traumatic stress disorder.""
  2. “After all, you’re only an immortal until someone manages to kill you. After that, you were just long-lived.”
  3.  "...Anyway, Dagon told me he'd Seen something really dangerous coming to the Nightside."   I waited. But that was all he had to say. "Well" I said, "Nothing to scary about that. It's pretty much business as usual, in the Nightside."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

About the book: By the author of the "New York Times"-bestselling "Labyrinth," a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.

In the winter of 1928, still seeking some kind of resolution to the horrors of World War I, Freddie is traveling through the beautiful but forbidding French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Dazed, he stumbles through the woods, emerging in a tiny village, where he finds an inn to wait out the blizzard. There he meets Fabrissa, a lovely young woman also mourning a lost generation.

Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. By the time dawn breaks, Freddie will have unearthed a tragic, centuries-old mystery, and discovered his own role in the life of this remote town.
First line: He walked like a man recently returned to the world.
My Thoughts: I loved it. I have to admit that I was initally attracted to this one by it's lovely cover. This beautifully written story was dark and atmospheric and the setting, the French Pyrenees in the late 1920s and early 1930s, was wonderful.  It is a ghost story, and quite eerie, but it is no horror story. I was compelled to continue reading, I wanted to find out the rest of Fabrissa's story and see how Freddie was drawn to her. I felt so sorry for Freddie stuck emotionally in the time when his brother was lost in the war (WWI.) And Fabrissa, with her story of lost loved ones, drew me in as well.
This is the first work by Mosse that I've read, but it won't be the last.
It is not a long book, it is a quick read. I would love to recommend this one to you.
Quote: “The dead leave their shadows, an echo of the space within which once they lived. They haunt us, never fading or growing older as we do. The loss we grieve is not just their futures but our own.”

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Room by Emma Donoghue

About the book: To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating--a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.
First line: Today I'm five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I'm changed to five, abracadabra.
My thoughts:  This story, told from the POV of the 5 year old child, was not as horrifying as if it had been told from the mother's POV. The child just told everything as day-to-day happenings. (What made this book so horrific to me is that it was loosely based on a real case, the Josef Fritzl case. Fritzl kept his 7 SEVEN children with her. I will post the link to the info below.)
What shined was the mother's love of her child. She spent the days trying to keep him healthy through exercise and feeding him as well as she could depending on what was provided by Old Nick. She also schooled him.  For his whole five years of life, he has never been outside of Room. It is his entire existence and he loves everything in it: Rug, Table, Wardrobe etc. My heart broke for him as he had to learn to deal with life outside of Room.

I listened to this book rather than reading it and found the child's voice....distracting.  
Quote: We do Bowling with Bouncy Ball and Wordy Ball, and knock down vitamin bottles that we put different heads on when I was four, like Dragon and Alien and Princess and Crocodile, I win the most. I practice my adding and subtracting and sequences and multiplying and dividing and writing down the biggest numbers there are. Ma sews me two new puppets out of little socks from when I was a baby, they've got smiles of stitches and all different button eyes.

What's In a Name 5

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

About the book: The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson's internationally best-selling trilogy...

Lisbeth Salander--the heart of Larsson's two previous novels--lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge--against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.
Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

First line: Dr. Jonasson was woken by a nurse five minutes before the helicopter was expected to land.

My Thoughts: Wow. Lisbeth Salander really shines in this one. I learned her story and the convoluted chain that led to her being on trial fighting for her future was detailed and surprising.  You had a mix of  political intrigue, cover ups complete with spies, drug rings, sex trafficking, sanctioned murder, secret organizations within the government and as they say much more. The characters were well fleshed out and very complex. I am so glad I finally read the last two books in this trilogy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

John Adams by David McCullough

 About the book: In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who rose to become the second president of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the most moving love stories in American history.

This is history on a grand scale -- a book about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship, and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.

First line: "In the cold nearly colorless light of a New England winter, two men on horseback traveled the coast road below Boston, heading north."

My thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this biography of our second president. It kept me interested from start to finish and was very readable, almost like reading a novel. My memory of Adams from history classes was sketchy at best so reading this  biography reminded me of what a  great leader he was and showed me he was also a humble man. I enjoyed the sence of time and place that came through in the author's writing giving a great look at the period in which Adams worked. It brought Adams and others of the time to life.

I especially liked the use of quotes from actual correspondance by Adams, Abigail, Jefferson and others to illustrate portions of the book. I highly recommend John Adams.

Quote: "The more Adams thought about the future of his country, the more convinced he became that it rested on education. Before any great things are accomplished, he wrote to a correspondent, a memorable change must be made in the system of education and knowledge must become so general as to raise the lower ranks of society nearer to the higher. The education of a nation instead of being confined to a few schools and universities for the instruction of the few, must become the national care and expense for the formation of the many.”

5x4 Personal Reading Challenge (Presidents section)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Hard Day's Fright by Casey Daniels

About the book: What happened to a teenager named Lucy one night in 1966 after a Beatles concert? She rushed the stage, kissed Paul, started home with her friends, and was never seen again-until cemetery guide and unintentional PI to the dead Pepper Martin sees her as a ghost. Lucy’s spirit can’t rest in peace until her body is found and buried. But how will Pepper track down a missing corpse after forty-five years?

First line: Here's the thing people didn't get about Lucy Pasternak, I mean people who never net her: Lucy sparkled.

My thoughts: This is the 7th book in the Pepper Martin series and the 7th one I've read. I've really enjoyed these paranormal cozyish reads and this one was no exception. It was a quick, fun read. The characters are likable and engaging, the setting is unique  and the love interest is coming along.

What's In A Name 5

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

About the book: Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.

But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and who now becomes the focus and fierce heart of The Girl Who Played with Fire.

As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.
First line: She lay on her back fastened by leather straps to a narrow bed with a steel frame.
My thoughts: As good as I thought the first one was I think this one may have been a little better. It was a top of the line thriller that grabbed me from the start and didn't let up. Which is good since it is a long book. The story line was different from the first book touching on social issues such as human trafficking, and the abuse authority figures can wield over those in their "care" to name a couple. 
I enjoyed "visiting" Sweden through the characters and was surprised at some of the commonalities such as McDonalds mentioned in the book. I did have trouble with names of people and places, but I found that keeping a little list of the secondary players and their roles helped a lot and kept me on track.  I can't wait to get to the next one and regret that it will be the last.
100+ 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Snuff by Terry Pratchett

About the book: For nearly three decades, Terry Pratchett has enthralled millions of fans worldwide with his irreverent, wonderfully funny satires set in the fabulously imaginative Discworld, a universe remarkably similar to our own. From sports to religion, politics to education, science to capitalism, and everything in between, Pratchett has skewered sacred cows with both laughter and wisdom, and exposed our warts, foibles, and eccentricities in a unique, entertaining, and ultimately serious way.

At long last, Lady Sybil has lured her husband, Sam Vimes, on a well-deserved holiday away from the crime and grime of Ankh-Morpork. But for the commander of the City Watch, a vacation in the country is anything but relaxing. The balls, the teas, the muck—not to mention all that fresh air and birdsong—are more than a bit taxing on a cynical city-born and -bred copper.

Yet a policeman will find a crime anywhere if he decides to look hard enough, and it’s not long before a body is discovered, and Sam—out of his jurisdiction, out of his element, and out of bacon sandwiches (thanks to his well-meaning wife)—must rely on his instincts, guile, and street smarts to see justice done. As he sets off on the chase, though, he must remember to watch where he steps. . . . This is the countryside, after all, and the streets most definitely are not paved with gold.
My Thoughts: Snuff is the 39th novel in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. I've read many of them and intend to keep on reading them. I swear this man's creative writing and story telling is the best. Snuff centers around Sam Vines, uh I mean His Grace, The duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. Sam doesn't like the high tone sound of all that but can't seem to escape it, especially since his marriage to the Lady Sybil in a previous book.
This one had me chuckling from nearly the first page which is one of the main reasons I love this series. The story is well paced, the mystery keeps you guessing, and I love the creatures that inhabit the Discworld. Even though Sam had to deal with a dark, disturbing problem the overall story is highly entertaining, it grabbed me and I couldn't put it down.

Quote: Vimes blinked. Things were looking up! Usually Sybil considered it her wifely duty to see to it that her husband lived forever, and was convinced that this happy state of affairs could be achieved by feeding him bowel-scouring nuts and grains and yogurt, which to Vimes's mind was a type of cheese that wasn't trying hard enough. Then there was the sad adulteration of his mid-morning bacon, lettuce and tomato snack. It was amazing but true that in this matter the watchmen were prepared to obey the boss's wife to the letter and, if the boss yelled and stamped, which was perfectly understandable, nay forgivable, when a man was forbidden his mid-morning lump of charred pig, would refer him to the instructions given to them by ins wife, in the certain knowledge that all threats of sacking were hollow and if carried out would be immediately rescinded.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Legacies by F. Paul Wilson

From the back: Repairman Jack isn't your average appliance repairman--he fixes situations for people, often risking his own life. Jack has no last name, no social security number, works only for cash, and has no qualms when it comes to seeing that the job gets done.

Dr. Alicia Clayton, a pediatrician who treats children with AIDS, is full of secrets, and she has just inherited a house that holds another. Haunted by painful memories, Alicia wants the house destroyed--but somehow everyone she enlists to help ends up violently killed. The house holds a powerful secret, and Alicia's charmless brother Thomas seems willing to do anything to get his hands on that secret himself.

First line: "It's Okay!" Alicia shouted as the cab jerked to the left to swing around a NYNEX truck plodding up Madison Avenue. "I'm not in a rush!"
My Thoughts: This is my third Repairman Jack novel and I will be reading more. This one was an action packed page turner and a fun read.  The other two I read had a touch of the paranormal but this one was a straight action/thriller. Jack does not exist on paper so must work beyond the reach of the law, a sort of vigilante for hire with no qualms about killing those bad guys that need killing. Jack "repaired" three situations here in his own unique fashion. He is tough and ruthless when fighting the bad guys and has a soft heart for people in trouble.  His clients are usually people who have no chance of getting help from the authorities. Great escapism.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

About the book: The anchor of The O''Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of incredibly bloody battles. President Abraham Lincoln''s generous terms for Robert E. Lee''s surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln''s dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. One man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.

In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington, D.C., John Wilkes Booth—charismatic ladies'' man and impenitent racist—murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford''s Theater. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country''s most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a brilliant but enigmatic New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices. The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a series of court-ordered executions—including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt. With an unforgettable cast of characters, vivid historical detail, and page-turning action, Killing Lincoln is history that reads like a thriller.

First line: The man with six weeks to live is anxious.

My Thoughts: I found this to be a very engaging, interesting and  easy read. I've never read an account of this event so the timeline in the sub chapter headings was helpful. At the end the authors included a re-creation of the April 29, 1865 Harper's Weekly that was devoted to the death of Lincoln. The feelings of the people were very evident and brought the whole thing closer to home. At the end I found lists of books that were used by the authors to write this however they were not cited in the book. I plan to read another book on this subject.

Quote: page 295 America is a great country, but like every other nation on earth it is influenced by evil. John Wilkes Booth epitomizes the evil that can harm us, even as President Abraham Lincoln represents the good that can make us stronger.

100+ 2012
5x4 Reading Challenge (presidents portion)
Mount TBR Reading Challenge

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Casino Royale by ian Fleming (1953)

About the book: In the first of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, 007 declares war on Le Chiffre, French communist and paymaster of the Soviet murder organization SMERSH.

      The battle begins with a fifty-million-franc game of baccarat, gains momentum during Bond's fiery love affair with a sensuous lady spy, and reaches a chilling climax with fiendish torture at the hands of a master sadist. For incredible suspense, unexpected thrills, and extraordinary danger, nothing can beat James Bond in his inaugural adventure.

First line: The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.

My thoughts: Bond.....James Bond. I chose to read this, the first installment in the 007 series by Ian Fleming, for the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge and enjoyed it. At 192 pages it is a very short book with little room for building characters or for a very deep story. The first half of the book at least is about Baccarat and the nearly silent battle between Bond and Le Chiffre at the Baccarat Table. It might not seem too exciting but Fleming does a great job of describing the game, characters feelings and building tension. The second half of the story seems to almost be another book. The action stems from the conclusion of the card game. The torture of Bond you saw in the movie is described in horrid detail here. The treachery of Vesper Lynd, if I hadn't seen the movie, may have been a twist or surprise. If you are used to the movies you will find that there is comparatively little action here.

This is for sure a product of its time with plenty of hard drinking and lots of smoking. This is also evident in Chapter 15 when Bond speaks against the feminist movement after Vesper is kidnapped.

I recommend this is you want to read a great vintage spy story.

Quote: This made me laugh so I had to use it. It is the only light moment I can remember from this book. (from Bond about CIA agent Felix Leiter) Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them seemed to come from Texas.

The Vesper Martini

3 oz Gordon’s Gin
1 oz Vodka
0.5 oz (Kina) Lillet Blanc

100+ 2012
Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge

Friday, January 13, 2012

Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler

About the book: Liam Pennywell, who set out to be a philosopher and ended up teaching fifth grade, never much liked the job at that run-down private school, so early retirement doesn’t bother him. But he is troubled by his inability to remember anything about the first night that he moved into his new and spare condominium on the outskirts of Baltimore. All he knows when he wakes up the next day in the hospital is that his head is sore and bandaged. His effort to recover the moments of his life that have been stolen from him leads him on an unexpected detour. What he needs is someone who can do the remembering for him. What he gets is . . . well, something quite different.

First line: In the sixty-first year of his life, Liam Pennywell lost his job.

My thoughts: This is my first Anne Tyler book and over all I found it....bland. The main character, Liam, was a benign, somewhat self-centered, clueless, detached, unremarkable character. I finally realized he was like this due to depression and that just saddened me. I could not understand how a man that spent so much time avoiding his own children and knew so little about his grandchild would choose to work as a zayde (grandfather) in a preschool. While the story and ultimately the end of the book left me flat the writing was beautiful. There were a couple of passages I had to reread just to hear the language.

Quote:Either she was admirably at ease anywhere or she suffered from a total lack of discrimination; Liam couldn't decide which.

100+ 2012
What's In A Name 5

Quinn by Iris Johansen

About the book: As a former Navy SEAL turned cop, Joe Quinn has seen the face of evil and knows just how deadly it can be. When he first met Eve Duncan, he never expected to fall in love with a woman whose life would be defined by her dual desires to bring home her missing daughter and discover the truth behind her disappearance---no matter how devastating. With the help of CIA agent Catherine Ling, they make a shocking discovery that sheds new light on young Bonnie’s abduction and puts Quinn squarely in the crosshairs of danger. Eve’s first love, John Gallo, a soldier supposedly killed in the line of duty, is very much alive---and very much a threat.

Emotionally charged, with one shock after another, Quinn reveals the electricity of Joe and Eve’s first connection, and how they fell in love in the midst of haunting tragedy. As their search takes them deeper and deeper into a web of murder and madness, Joe and Eve must confront their most primal fears . . . and test their resolve to uncover the ultimate bone-chilling truth.

First line: Stop me. Find me. Kill me.

My Thoughts: I've read a good many of the Eve duncan books and really looked forward to this (I assume) end of the series trilogy. The first book was Eve and it was a pretty good read through and through. This one, Quinn, was pretty much a filler bridging us to the final one. What action there was good and I liked the tidbits of information gleaned here. The way Eve treats Joe has alwayd bugged me and it did here as well. I'm glad I read it as a bridge to Bonnie.

100+ 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz

About the book: The Pendleton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill at the highest point of an old heartland city, a Gilded Age palace built in the late 1800s as a tycoon’s dream home. Almost from the beginning, its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of madness, suicide, mass murder, and whispers of things far worse. But since its rechristening in the 1970s as a luxury apartment building, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residents—among them a successful songwriter and her young son, a disgraced ex-senator, a widowed attorney, and a driven money manager—the Pendleton’s magnificent quarters are a sanctuary, its dark past all but forgotten.

But now inexplicable shadows caper across walls, security cameras relay impossible images, phantom voices mutter in strange tongues, not-quite-human figures lurk in the basement, elevators plunge into unknown depths. With each passing hour, a terrifying certainty grows: Whatever drove the Pendleton’s past occupants to their unspeakable fates is at work again. Soon, all those within its boundaries will be engulfed by a dark tide from which few have escaped.

Dean Koontz transcends all expectations as he takes readers on a gripping journey to a place where nightmare visions become real—and where a group of singular individuals hold the key to humanity’s destiny. Welcome to 77 Shadow Street.
First line: Bitter and drunk, Earl Blandon, a former United States senator, got home at 2:15 AM that Thursday with a new tattoo: a two-word obscenity in blue block letters between the knuckles of the middle finger of his right hand.
My Thoughts: I have read most of Dean Koontz' novels and have enjoyed them all to one degree or another. I was not disappointed with this one. There was a huge cast of characters, which usually keeps me confused but in this book that didn't happen. I contribute that to the fact that most characters were revisited quickly. I thought they were well developed and came to like them.....well most of them. The story was told in little vignetts moving from apartment to apartment, from person to person. This kept me wanting to know more, kept me turning pages. The monsters were drawn in words, I could just picture. The evil was a mixture of what I expected and something I didn't expect so that was fun. This was horror at its best.
One thing I found distracting was the robotic voice saying "Exterminate." "Exterminate." As a Dr. Who fan all I could picture were the evil Dalek's from the Dr. Who shows waving silly little arms rolling toward them. LOL
Quote: page 213 Overcome by abhorrence and detestation even in excess of what she had ever felt toward the Internal Revenue Service, martha was for a moment paralyzed. (This one had me laughing even in this serious moment. )

100+ Personal Reading Challenge

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Brave by Nicholas Evans

About the book: There's little love in eight-year-old Tom Bedford's life. His parents are old and remote and the boarding school they've sent him to bristles with bullies and sadistic staff. The only comfort he gets is from his fantasy world of Cowboys and Indians. But when his sister Diane, a rising star of stage and screen, falls in love with one of his idols, the suave TV cowboy Ray Montane, Tom's life is transformed. They move to Hollywood and all his dreams seem to have come true. Soon, however, the sinister side of Tinseltown casts its shadow and a shocking act of violence changes their lives forever.

What happened all those years ago remains a secret that corrodes Tom's life and wrecks his marriage. Only when his estranged son, a US Marine, is charged with murder do the events resurface, forcing him to confront his demons. As he struggles to save his son's life, he will learn the true meaning of bravery.

First line: The boy followed the guard along the corridor watching the sway of his wide backside and the belt with the handcuffs and baton and the big bunch of keys that jangled as he walked. 

My Thoughts: This story consisted of several subplots wound around to form the whole. As the book took me back and forth in time, from one character's back stort to another, I found myself wondering at times where I was. It seemed rather disjointed to me. The characters were well written, well fleshed out and I found myself caring about them. I enjoyed the look into 60s Hollywood.  There was much violence and heart break here, in all time lines so it might not be for the feint hearted. All in all it was a good read that I enjoyed and would recommend.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Big Four by Agatha Christie 1927

Original book blurb: Number One was a Chinaman - the greatest criminal brain of all time; Number Two was a multi-millionaire; Number Three was a beautiful Frenchwoman; and Number Four was 'the destroyer,' the ruthless murderer, with a genius for disguise, whose business it was to remove those who interfered with his masters' plans. These Four, working together, aimed at establishing a world dominion, and against them were ranged Hercule Poirot, the little Belgian detective with the egg-shaped head, the green eyes and 'the little gray cells,' and his friend Hastings. It was Hercule Poirot's brain, the 'little gray cells,' which brought about the downfall of the Big Four, and led to their destruction in the cave in the Dolomites.

First line: I have met people who enjoy a channel crossing; men who sit calmly on their deck chairs and, on arrival, wait until the boat is moored, then gather their belongings together without fuss and disembark.

My thoughts: This was a pretty quick read. I didn't like it as much as I've liked others by this author though. It wasn't a who dun it so much as an international spy adventure. I found it to be choppy as Poirot followed clues from one murder to the next, demeaning Hastings many times and keeping him (and the reader) in the dark. If you like Christie you'll probably like this one. If you haven't read her I'd suggest you start with any other of her books.

Quote: Yes, but for my quick eyes, the eyes of a cat, Hercule Poirot might now be crushed out of existence - a terrible calamity for the world. And you, too, mon ami - though that would not be such a national catastrophe.

Personal 100+ Challenge
Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge
2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge