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 .....it 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.