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Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Chase by Clive Cussler

Clive Cussler’s The Chase is a rousing yarn, filled with heroic, dashing heroes, and dastardly sneaky villains. The book opens in 1950. A locomotive is being lifted out of the murky cold depths of Flathead Lake in western Montana. Inside the locomotive are the remains of three men who died in it 44 years earlier. The real mystery is still in the bottom of the lake and as the divers attach cables to the remaining freight car to bring it up, the story opens in 1906.

The Butcher Bandit is terrorizing banks throughout the west. An evil sociopath, the Bandit robs banks, taking only the easy to carry cash, and leaves no living witness behind. He kills indiscriminately; men, women and even children, so no one can identify him. The US government wants bring his reign of terror to an end, so they bring in the best man they can find for the job, Isaac Bell. Bell is the James Bond of the early 20th century. Handsome, debonair, clever and independently wealthy, he won’t rest until the Butcher is brought to justice.

The mystery of the identity of the Butcher is solved quite early in the book. A cat and mouse game ensues in this very enjoyable tale. The book is often written in a way reminiscent of old time pulp novels; some passages are almost courtly with old-fashioned flowery language. The hero is beyond reproach in all ways, the love interest is a beautiful, graceful and intelligent woman, and the villain is simply a cold-hearted snake.

The concluding chapters include a wonderful chase between two trains, which would translate so well to the big screen, I’m surprised a producer hasn’t snapped it up already. Sometimes I finish a book, and think, “This would be a great movie.” The Chase would be a great movie.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I was so thrilled today then the noon news on a local radio station led with the story that gas prices have decreased by a penny ....yes...I said a penny a gallon. Yippee! I can now fill up tomorrow and instead of spending $100.00, its gonna only cost me $99.78. Yowza, I'm super psyched.
*Forehead slap
*Eye roll

I'm reading a Clive Cussler book now, The Chase. It caught my eye because my DH mentioned that someone had told him about it. It opens with a train being salvaged from Flathead Lake in Montana and since I grew up near there, gotta read it I figured! So far, its pretty good. I really want to finish it though, my To Be Read pile is starting to teeter its so tall. Ahh..so many books....so little time.

Possibly the best teaser line ever

This is just possible the very best teaser line ever to describe a book!!

"Eight thousand nerve endings in the clitoris...
and this son of of a bitch couldn't find any of them....."

The book is called Tan Lines by JJ Salem

If you'd like a free advanced reader copy send an email to:

sarah.goldstein at stmartins.com

Subject line:
Tan Lines (Shelf Awareness)

Subscribe to the daily Shelf Awareness newsletter and you'll see a few ads a week for freebies. And who doesn't love freebies!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Headlines to make you...."Say What??"

Britain stripped Zimbabwe President Mugabe of his honorary knighthood. Whoa....that'll show him...

Headlines to make you...."Say What??"

Utah Republican says he's happy he lost primary

"I'm actually pretty happy about last night's results," Chris Cannon told The Associated Press. "I think I'll be able to do many of the things I would ordinarily do in Congress on the outside without having to suffer the sort of difficulties that come with that job."

Say What??? What did I miss? Don't you have to actually decide to run for office, file papers to run for office, campaign for office, etc. Would you go to all that trouble if you didn't really want the job?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex by Pagan Kennedy

The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex by Pagan Kennedy is a compilation of true stories. Glorying in the eccentricities that all fascinating people share, the stories are compelling, entertaining and yet frequently humble. Often contrasting hubris with humility, Kennedy tells us stories of Dr. Alex Comfort, the author of the Joy of Sex, who in his arrogance thought he could permanently re-work the cultural norms of sexual relationships. She brings us the story of Amy Smith, who uses her genius and common sense to make lives better in the poorest countries on earth. We read of Vermin Supreme, who enjoins the anti war protesters to respond with “A Pony”, when they are asked to join the antiwar chant, “What do we want?”. Kennedy’s stories are uplifting, thought provoking and entertaining.

(Posted on LibraryThing June 22, 2008)

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Even though I've read all the Harry Potter books and really loved them, I'm not very familiar with the Young Adult genre. I wanted to see what all the ruckus was about about this series since its been highly recommended by so many "tweens" to teens.

Twilight was an interesting enough book, an imaginative take on vampire lore. Perhaps if I was part of the demographic it's aimed at, I would have enjoyed it more. As it stands, it has just a bit more teen angst than I enjoy, and a few too many flowery declarations of eternal love. I probably would have liked it much more when I was a teen, however, romantic type stories have never appealed to me. I'm doubtful I'll pick up the next book in the series to read. I'm not sure I care enough to see where the story goes.

(Posted on LibraryThing June 21, 2008)

7th Heaven by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

7th Heaven by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro is another in the Women's Murder Club series. As with all the other books, its a fast and fun read, doesn't tax your brain or your eyes too much, and a nicely written little crime novel. Worth reading, if only because its a short one day jaunt, and sometimes we just need a little day trip, not a whole week long vacation!

(Posted on LibraryThing June15, 2008)

Adam by Ted Dekker

Just because we don’t believe in something, does that mean it can’t be true? That is the crux of Ted Dekker’s novel, Adam. Daniel Clark, an FBI profiler, has been hunting a serial killer named Eve who has killed 15 women, and Clark is desperate to stop him. Clark dies in a close encounter with Eve and is resuscitated. He is not the same man as before, and suffers panic attacks and from overwhelming bouts of fear. As the novel progresses, it becomes obvious that Daniel Clark is not one to ever believe in the concepts of God and Satan, and all that is associated with these beliefs. And in this novel at least, disbelief can open you up to a whole world of evil.

The supernatural element aside, the book is a very well done crime novel. The characters are well thought out, interact quite well and Dekker has used some plot devices that came as a surprise to this reader. It was quite easy to get into the skin of whichever character was being portrayed at the time.

The supernatural is, however the main element of this novel. Do we believe? Can we believe in good, without believing in evil? Does disbelief lower our defenses, so we are blind to the reality of evil? In a world as secular as ours, it becomes quite easy to deride religion and believers in general. After all, the only real proof appears to be belief and faith, and in our world, these ephemeral concepts seem just a bit outdated and outlandish. If you disbelieve, this book is well written enough to make you stop for at least a moment and consider your position. If you haven't ever given it much thought, you might be finding yourself considering the possibilities just a bit more often. And if you've come to realize that you do believe in at least the power of good in our world, then you’ll probably find yourself doing a little gut check on your belief in the power of evil.

(Posted on LibraryThing June 13, 2008)

The Deceived by Brett Battles

The Deceived, by Brett Battles is the story of Jonathan Quinn, a professional "cleaner", who is called to a job one day to find the body of his friend, Steven Markoff is the problem that needs "cleaning". Markoff saved Quinn's life once and Quinn now takes it upon himself to find out both how Markoff was killed and why someone sent the body to Quinn. What follows is a great spy novel, filled with exotic locations, cool gadgets, clever plot twists and brave heroics, reminiscent of Robert Ludlum's best.

I was interested to read this book since I'm the type of person who loves series, and yet never reads them out of order. I hadn't read this first book in the series and I was wondering how the author would bring me up to speed. Battles does a superb job. He introduces a new reader to the characters with a deft and subtle hand, giving us enough background on each character with just a few well placed sentences. It is a fine line the author of a series must tread, allowing new readers to get to know the characters, without making loyal readers feel like they're re-reading the previous book, and this author does this very well.

The Deceived is a well done, engaging spy novel. I'll be going back and reading the first book in this series, The Cleaner. Brett Battles and his character Jonathan Quinn have just joined my "must read series" list.

(Posted on LibraryThing June10, 2008)

Songs for the Missing by Stuart O'Nan


Songs for the Missing by Stuart O'Nan, centers around the disappearance of an 18 year old girl, Kim Larsen. The search for Kim, the falling apart and coming together of her family, and the reactions of her friends seemed to be spot on. Kim's family, while flawed, seemed to me to be very much the typical American family. Her parents loved her, yet were no longer very close to her, and her younger sister felt like a shadow next to her. Kim's father, Ed, was very much the man of action, looking for his lost daughter, and I thought his character was very well executed. Her mom, Fran, seems less sympathetic on the surface, with all the PR opportunities she involves herself in, but she too is simply a person like her husband. She feels compelled to do something, to fix this. She's a woman who feels comfortable fixing problems, so she approaches this problem with that attitude. If she can just figure out the correct direction to take, she believes she can fix this too.

It was interesting watching Kim's little sister finally grow into someone other than "Kim's Little Sister". It can be difficult being the brainy, nerdy younger sibling of an attractive and popular girl. Her character was also very well done, she was the good daughter, the reliable daughter, and even though she really wanted to be more like her sister, she seemed to come to grips with herself and to understand that this really was her personality.

Much of the book is quite hopeful, but after a while it changes into a novel more about acceptance than hope. Or perhaps I should say, acceptance tinged with hope for any resolution. I knew from the beginning that it wasn't possible for this book to have the happy Hollywood ending I wanted for it. And even though I would have preferred a bit more detail about Kim's death, the unanswered questions in the end were as realistic as the ending itself was. Ultimately it is a story about a family surviving what can only be described as an almost fatal body blow, and learning how to move on. I felt unsatisfied at the conclusion, as if the book wasn't finished all the way. And then I realized that might just be the point the author is making, something like this happening to a family would never be finished, it would never be over. Even after a parent finds their child and buries them, so many questions would remain for that family, that they would carry it with them forever.

Good book, thought provoking, makes you want to hug your kids a couple extra times a day and remember to take some time for them.

(Posted on LibraryThing June 10, 2008)

The Mercedes Coffin by Faye Kellerman

A former high school geek, Genoa Greeves who is now a Silicon Valley multi-billionaire, opens the paper one day to read of a murder in LA that reminds her of a murder that occurred 15 years before. The previous murder had resulted in the death of the only person in all her high school years who was ever kind or encouraging to her, Dr. Ben Little. "Dr. Ben's" murder had never been solved and Genoa feels that she is now in the position to encourage the police to pursue this cold case with even greater diligence.

Enter our main character, Lt. Peter Decker, along with his usual staff, Marge Dunn and Scott Oliver to attempt to solve this case and earn the big financial windfall for the department that Genoa promises. Along the way, they discover links to the recent case that had piqued Genoa's interest, a long list of suspects and some fuzzy associations between the past and present.

As a frequent reader of Faye Kellerman's, I find myself annoyed lately by the author/publishers insistence on calling her novels "A Decker and Lazarus Novel". In past novels, both characters were pretty much equally involved in the cases, and while I understand that this wasn't a very realistic portrayal of a police officer and his family, it did make for better reading. I have always enjoyed Rina Lazarus Decker's role in this series. I thought I had learned a lot about orthodox Judaism, which having grown up in a tiny Montana town, I knew nothing about. Rina's role in The Ritual Bath as well as other early novels, endeared her to me as a strong minded, intelligent and pretty fearless woman. However, recently she sort of became the cookie baker, picnic maker and gardener. I understand the point the author makes, and as a stay at home wife and mom, I appreciate the importance this role has in the dynamic of her family. Her loving support is priceless to her husband and it enables him the personal stability to really pursue the bad guys with such passion. However, it doesn't really make her a very compelling literary character. It's sort of like reading about me. Yep, I'm important, but darn, I'm mundane and I'd make a pretty boring literary character.

The book is overall an average effort. The plot is interesting, the cast of characters perhaps a bit too long, but since a 15 year old case is being solved, that's probably pretty realistic. Lots of fuzzy connections, and too many "maybe's" remained at the end. Although the case is concluded, it isn't really concluded in a substantially satisfying manner. With all the tentative conclusions, the ending of the book felt timid and bland.

(Posted on LibraryThing May 30, 2008)

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Andrew Davidson’s debut novel, The Gargoyle is a fascinating look into the relationship between a man and a woman that may transcend time.

The novel opens with a spectacular sequence describing a hellacious car accident. The first few pages are so well written, that you find yourself laughing at the absurd reality of the accident, empathizing greatly if you’ve ever been in even the smallest accident and at the same time horrified that you find the humor in an accident that is this terrible. As the book proceeds our narrator is put through the pain of recovery, and again the descriptions of a burn ward are so on point that you feel his dread, pain and fear.

Enter the mysterious sculptress, Marianne Engel, who claims to be 700 years old, telling the narrator the tale of their love from medieval times. Interspersed with the telling of their tale, Marianne guides and encourages his recovery, whilst telling tales of other lost lovers. The story weaves its way through time and distant lands, medieval Germany, Italy during the Black Plague, ancient Japan, and ninth century Iceland. All these stories are woven into the fabric of our narrators life, showing some truth that he feels in his soul, and has never before recognized. The questions we are left, is Marianne simply crazy, or is she telling the truth? Is she telling a truth that only she feels, or is it merely a way to guide our narrator out of his suicidal sadness?

This is a great novel; it takes an unapologetic porn peddler, drug-abusing louse, and gives us insight into his heart and soul. It shows the redemptive quality of love, and especially spotlights what true love is.

(Posted on LibraryThing May 27, 2008)

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

Change of Heart is an interesting novel from Jodi Picoult. The story is told through the perspectives of 4 different people, one of whom is a tragic widow, June , whose first husband died young in a car accident leaving her with a tiny daughter. She then marries a cop she met in the aftermath of the accident and a some years later is expecting another child with her second husband, Kurt. Kurt and her daughter are both murdered just before her second daughter, Claire is born. Claire is diagnosed with a serious heart ailment and by the time she is eleven, will soon die without a transplant. The other voices in the novel include, Michael, a Catholic priest who, as a young college student, was on the jury for the trial of the man who murdered June's family. Also, Maggie, a young idealistic ACLU attorney, with an interesting family dynamic of her own, who takes up the cause of the convicted murderer, Shay. Finally, we hear from Lucius, the prisoner with AIDS in the cell next to Shay. The basic premise of the novel is that Shay wants to donate his heart to June's daughter Claire, but to do that, the method of execution must be changed.

Like many of Picoult's novels, this book doesn't really answer any of the big questions, it simply asks them. Our understanding of Shay varies greatly throughout the book, is he simply a murderer, a messiah, a con artist, a master manipulator, a simple man, or ?
The book is about testing our limits of faith, love and loss. Yes, it does seem just too coincidental that a grown man's heart should fit into a child's body, and I spent a great deal of the book thinking, "oh please". And yes, as previous reviewers have stated, one can see the big plot "twist" coming from a mile away. That plot twist is important though, because it changes your whole idea about the death of Kurt and his stepdaughter that set all this in motion. But ultimately isn't just a simple story about a devastated family. It was about life, and our perceptions of miracles, mundane and grand.

(Posted on Librarything May 16, 2008)

Dead Time by Stephen White

Dead Time, by Stephen White finds the main character, Dr. Alan Gregory is a state of flux. His wife and daughter are heading to Europe in search of her long lost daughter, his newly adopted son, Jonas, is heading to New York to spend time with Jonas' maternal uncle's family, his old friend Sam is drifting away. Alan's ex wife enters the picture, a slightly narcissistic news producer and asks Alan for his help. Our good Dr. spends a good portion of this book with a slightly confused, bemused air. He seems to have some difficulty following what is happening all around him and this gives the book a mildly distracting flavor.

The book was set in Boulder, New York and LA, and I enjoyed the descriptions of the cities. However, due to the confused demeanor of the main character, I found myself slipping into a sort of daydream mode myself. Perhaps because I live in Southern Cal and am familiar with the locations in the book, I couldn't help but wonder how interesting it might be if Mr. White teamed up with Jonathan Kellerman for a novel. I'd sort of love to see the interaction between Drs. Gregory and Delaware, and I'd love to see how Sam Purdy and Milo Sturgis would get along.

Not the best White, but pretty good. Worth the time to read, especially if you're a fan of the series. It moves the series along nicely.

(Posted on LibraryThing May 11, 2008)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

Chelsea Cain's debut suspense novel, Heartsick is a scary, disturbing tale. Archie Sheridan is a police detective kidnapped and tortured for days by the beautiful serial killer Gretchen Lowell. The book brings Archie back into police work to run yet another serial killer task force, this time hunting down the rapist/murderer of teen aged girls. A young reporter has been asked to profile Detective Sheridan during this manhunt, and the author very deftly weaves the reporters young experiences into the story.

The author does an excellent job of involving us in the lives of all these characters. Certain passages were quite disturbing, its almost hard to imagine these scenes of torture and torment coming from the mind of a young female author. In the after word, the author reminds her young daughter that she isn't allowed to read her mother's work until she turns 21. That's a good idea, I wouldn't let my daughter read it either..it would give her nightmares.

All in all, a great debut novel, and I'll look forward to Chelsea Cain's next book.

(Posted on LibraryThing May 4, 2008)

Harbingers by F. Paul Wilson

Somehow I messed up on my Repairman Jack reading and read Bloodlines in 2007 before I had read Harbingers. I really thought I had read all the RJ books as they came out, and didn't ever consider I had missed one. Now Bloodlines makes more sense and I no longer think I suffer from senior moment memory loss! Harbingers, like all of Wilson's Repairman Jack books is a great read. I sort of wish I had discovered them some years in the future though, when the series is complete. I hate waiting for the next book!

(Posted on LibraryThing May 2, 2008)

Gone by Lisa Gardner

Gone by Lisa Gardner is another well done suspense novel by this author. I was pretty sure I had figured out "whodunit" about halfway through, and it wasn't until the last chapter that I discovered how completely wrong I was. Good read, definitely worth the time!

(Posted on LibraryThing April 25, 2008)

Deeper:A Novel by Jeff Long

Deeper: A Novel, by Jeff Long was reminiscent of Ted Dekker's Red, Black and White Trilogy. The book is a sequel to Long's book, The Descent, a decade later. I'll grant you, I don't remember all the details of Long's previous book, too many stories under the bridge in the decade past, but it really wasn't necessary to get the gist of the story.

Fantastical and violent imagery abound in the novel. At times, I found myself wondering about the mind of the author that can conceive of these ideas. The book ends in a way that would make another sequel possible, which makes me wonder if Long is going to try for a trilogy. Due to the almost religious overtones of the book, and my own comparision of it with Dekker's work, I wonder if there is just some compulsion on the part of authors to make these types of books into a trilogy. Sort of an homage to the Christian Trinity maybe?
Then again, maybe I'm over reaching a lot in my analyzing.

I guess the sign of a successful book could easily be when the reader finishes it, says to themselves, "hmm, that was...weird? odd? peculiar?..." And then proceeds to think about it for a while. I'm sort of having trouble moving onto my next book in my stack, and I keep reflecting back on this book while driving, doing mundane day to day chores, etc. I guess the book is a success, disturbing maybe, but a success.

(Posted on LibraryThing April 21, 2008)

The Last Oracle by James Rollins

I was fortunate to receive an Advanced Reader Copy of The Last Oracle, by James Rollins.The book is an interesting and worthwhile read. While it might be slightly helpful to read Rollins' previous Sigma Series Books, enough tidbits are dropped throughout the book to keep you up to speed without making you feel like you're re-reading his earlier books.

For those past readers, all of our favorite cast of characters have returned, Monk, Kat, Gray, Painter, Lisa and crew. This book is action filled from beginning to ending, and yet, has a great deal of heart. I even found myself misting up on one occasion.

Rollins relies upon his own research, and has discovered enough oddity in reality to build an imaginative, yet believable scenario. A book as solidly written and researched as this doesn't depend upon gimmicks and coincidence, as do so many other authors of this genre. Mr. Rollins writes a compelling novel, that causes one to read on after the book has ended. I always figure an author has been successful if I have to hit the internet to read more after I finish the book. Since completing The Last Oracle, I've already googled autism, autistic savants, Chernobyl, etc.

Well done, Mr. Rollins! This one is your best so far, and I look forward to reading your future books!

(Posted on LibraryThing April 16, 2008)

Duma Key: A Novel by Stephen King

I spent a good portion of this book with this awful feeling that the author was going to do something to mess it up. You know what I mean, when you really enjoy a book and then partway through it...BAM! The author does this equivalent of a tv series "jumping the shark" and totally ruins what was a great story. I pleased and happy to report that this was not the case with this book. I really loved it. Vintage Stephen King! I sort of have a love/hate thing going on with King. Loved so many of his books, couldn't stand others. (Gerald's Game springs to mind.)

Duma Key was a compelling read, one of those books that make you stay up way too late and put off daily chores, just so you can read. Time well spent!

(Posted on LibraryThing April 11, 2008)

Through Violet Eyes by Stephen Woodworth

This book caught my eye on LibraryThing. I had never seen it before and noticed it had pretty high ratings with my fellow LTr's, so I thought I'd give it a read. I like series and am always happy to find another one to read.

The book was pretty good, it seemed pretty average throughout, until the ending. The plot was a clever idea, special people with the ability to talk to the dead. The author did a great job relating how rotten it would be to have that ability and try to live with it. But I wasn't too impressed at first. The book seemed a bit predictable and I pretty much figured out where he was heading. Until the ending, which I did not see coming. I always like it when an author does something I don't expect in the end, and conversely, I'm usually disappointed when an author takes the easy way out and ends a book exactly as I thought they would.

The unexpected ending bumped the book up from average to above average in my opinion. It was a good read, and I'll be reading the next book in the series.

(Posted on LibraryThing April 6, 2008)

Monday, June 23, 2008

The 6 Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly

What can I say..once again, you have to suspend all disbelief, and just go with the flow. As in his previous book in this series, the book is simply chocked full of miraculous coincidence heaped upon amazing action. Fortunately, there was much less reliance upon the authors favorite punctuation mark, the exclamation point, compared to 7 Deadly Wonders, still a tad too much reliance on italics, but it was better too. Honestly, we get it, you don't have to highlight every amazing and astounding plot twist with italics, exclamation points, or the author's newest literary ploy......
.....the dot dot dot, new paragraph, dot dot dot.

He did change it up occasionally though. Sometimes we got--

--"astounding moment" action continues.

That being said, I really do enjoy the clever albeit silly plot twists. And I certainly appreciated the spiffy diagrams. Numerous times throughout the book, I felt like I was reading the script for one of the old Batman tv shows, I kept expecting to see a POW!! BAM!!! SPLATT!! placed within the pages. Hmm, now that I think about it, wasn't the actor who played Batman in those old 60's shows named Adam West? ....

And isn't our hero named Jack West? .....

Coincidence? ......


(Sorry couldn't resist, *grin*)

I'm pretty sure, even though I always swear I won't bother reading another one of his books, that I'll be picking up his next new book and reading it. Kind of like going to action flicks that you know are going to be filled with "Oh please" moments, but you just can't help yourself. Maybe Mr. Reilly is sort of the Vin Diesel of literature.

(Posted on LibraryThing March 28, 2008)

Payback by Fern Michaels

Even though I'm reading this series of books, I will confess to being mystified with regards to their popularity! This is the second in the series, and so far both books have shown a lack of plot, imagination and writing. The plot of the book is so absurd, it gives almost superhuman powers to aging spies and governments, and endless humanity and kindness to the heroine, the wealthy heiress. The writing is sort of , southern belle meets gentile handsome gentleman, lots of trite romantic phrases. One can almost imagine some of the female characters occasionally waving their pretty hands over their buxom chests, swooning and saying "Well, Ah declare......" Of course the author attempts to present her ladies as strong, tough as nails women of today, but the effort just falls sort of flat in the middle of all the ruckus about ball gowns, makeup and jewels.

As I said, I don't have a clue why I read this book or why I'll probably read the next in the series. One thing really good about it though, if you're prepping for a colonoscopy and really can't find yourself able to concentrate on anything of substance, this book is the perfect one to take into the bathroom with you. Ridiculous entertainment, but entertainment nonetheless!

(Posted on LibraryThing March 22, 2008)

Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich

Typical fun Plum fare! Any book with Lula and Grandma Mazur is sure to be worth the time it takes to read. Which, by the way, won't take too much of your time. Light funny fare, don't expect any deep thoughts or heavy lifting, just enjoy it and go along for the ride.

(Posted on LibraryThing March 22, 2008)

Blind Your Ponies by Stanley G. West

I've officially given up on Blind Your Ponies. I've been reading a page here and there, and even though the actual story is interesting, I just detest the flowery way that the author writes. I want to smack him upside the face everytime I read one of his stupid ephemisms...gimme a break.....they're called "breasts" not "succulent orchards". Sheesh.....

And lest you think I'm an urban snob, I grew up on a farm in western Montana, lived there for 30 years, my town was so small that there was only 23 kids in my graduating high school class, so I do get it, I just think it was so badly written, that I couldn't make it all the way through!

(Posted on LibaryThing March 7, 2008 and myspace October 5, 2007)

The Adventures of Flash Jackson by William Kowalski

Good storytelling. This book is set in the same small town as the two previous books, so its sort of like revisiting an old friend. Also a well done story, good characters, interesting read. It didn't earn itself my little star on my booklist, which would mean "I gotta get this book for my own library someday" like his first novel did. But it was still certainly worth the time to read. I think this author has written four books, so I'll have to find the last one and give it a read. He's always pretty consistent and so far, I've liked all his books.

(Posted on myspace August 1, 2007)

The 6th Target by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Like all of these "Womens Murder Club" series, the book can be read in about a day and a half. I think to beef up these books and make them look more "book-like" they use wide margins, wide spaces between sentences and a tad larger font. As a series, they're okay, immensely readable, occasionally surprising, sort of standard fare. I always wonder when I finish one, exactly how much of the novel Patterson actually writes. The style of writing is very similar to his, but in a really female author way. Anyway, it was okay, didn't hate it, didn't love it, but it was a great way to pass the time while waiting for appointments.

(Posted on myspace August 1, 2007)

Obsession by Jonathan Kellerman

Another Alex Delaware book, pretty good, not ground breaking, but as is typical of Kellerman's series, worth the time to read.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Since I didn't remember reading this book as a kid, I thought I'd read it when my daughter had to read it for summer reading. The Red Badge was typical of the classics written in the 1800's. Florid, flowery language, certainly a book of great impact for the time it was written. That said though, as a reader, I mean....as a person who really loves the written word, and wants nothing more than to see kids grow up with that same love, it seems to me to be almost counter intuitive to teach a novel like this to a group of 13 year olds.

Its a difficult book to read, archaic language, obscure phraseology, yet with themes that are pertinent today. I guess I feel that its important to appreciate classic literature, but on a very basic level it feels more important to me to foster a love of reading. I'm not sure that a book such as this will encourage kids to read. I don't know that a 13 year old can appreciate this book and will simply write it off as a boring dusty old book that a teacher crammed down his/her throat. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that Junior High kids should be reading only Teen People, Star, XMen and the like, but I think the books we direct them to should be more engaging.

(Posted on myspace July 27, 2007 and LibraryThing March 7, 2008)

The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

"The Good Guy" by Dean Koontz was, as I've come to expect from this author, a pretty good read. Koontz went through a real "dry spell" in the early 90's as far as I was concerned. (Mr. Murder springs to mind.) His books had become filled with levels of gloom and doom, with darker characters. I don't know what happened in his life, (I suspect the addition of Trixie to his family....) but later on, his books were filled with interesting, off beat characters, that you could really like. Many of the books are positively gleeful, which makes for a pretty fun read.

The Good Guy is just that...a great story about a really good guy. I'm not going to do a synopsis of the plot here, I'm sure you can find those aplenty. I was nodding in agreement about certain parts of the plot. The explanation for the conspiracy, and the description of our society with regards to all our well publicized fears rings true. From the "oh my God, we're all gonna die from Global Warming", to "oh my God, we're all gonna die from the Alar in apples, the oil used to cook our movie popcorn, the fluoride in our water, etc. etc. etc." it seems like we are to spend the bulk of our lives quaking in fear. The tactics of those who we've chosen to govern us seem to often employ both the politics of distraction, and the incitement of fears.

I doubt very much that any of our politicians from either party would actually admit to thinking the same thoughts as Koontz's characters expressed above, but I'll bet every one of them privately agrees with the last line. And they all think that they know the proper way to manage our world, so much better than we do.

So--The Good Guy...good book, worth your time to read.

(posted on myspace July 9, 2007 and LibraryThing March 7, 2008)

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, should be required reading for everyone. Infidel exposes the truth that so many Politically Correct idiots refuse to acknowledge. Islam is NOT a religion of "peace and tolerance". I get tired of hearing that line from every talking head and politician eager for votes. We have to understand that this is a religion based in fanaticism, steeped in violence toward outsiders and each other, and filled with illiterate uneducated superstitious people.

This book is effective on so many levels. From the personal story of her life to an overall indictment of the worlds fastest growing religion. When Ali was a child of five, three adults held her down on a kitchen table, while a fourth mutilated her. " In Somalia, like many countries across Africa and the Middle East, little girls are made "pure" by having their genitals cut out. There is no other way to describe this procedure, which typically occurs around the age of five. After the child's clitoris and labia are carved out, scraped off, or, in more compassionate areas, merely cut or pricked, the whole area is often sewn up, so that a thick band of tissue forms a chastity belt made of the girl's own scarred flesh. A small hole is carefully situated to permit a thin flow of urine. Only great force can tear the scar tissue wider, for sex." Culturally relevant some will argue. That doesn't make it any less evil. Slavery was culturally relevant to our plantation owners in the south, that didn't make it anything less than evil. I'm pretty sure that Hitler and his pals would argue that gas chambers were culturally relevant to the Third Reich as well. Evil is simply that…evil. If its done in the name of religion, or a government.

Ali points out the fatal flaws of multiculturalism. Compassion for immigrants merely perpetuates the cruelty and ignorance. Islam has declared their Prophet to be infallible, and since no one is allowed to question this, it has become, as Ali says, a "static tyranny". At least during the time it took for this child to heal up, the almost daily abuse at the hands of her mother and grandmother abated. Can you imagine hogtying your child, placing them on their belly with their ankles and wrists tied together and then beating them with a stick? And then can you imagine this to be an acceptable, wide spread and common practice, to make sure that girls are, above all, obedient in all ways?

As you can imagine, Ms. Ali is not a terribly popular woman with believers in Islam. And, with the case of Salman Rushdie, the Danish comic strip artist whose name I can't seem to recall, Daniel Pipes, etc., she lives with armed guards. As Michelle Malkin says, "The Religion of Perpetual Outrage strikes again!"

In the meantime, in an effort to appear open and accepting, the West does such stupid things. We attack the religions our systems are historically based on while ignoring the evil wrought by Islam. Look around, tiny little examples exist everywhere, even something as simple as banning the wearing of Christian Chastity rings in one London school, while allowing Muslim headscarves on girls. (I suppose if we encouraged the wearers of the Chastity rings to have their genitals scraped off, it would be less offensive than their wish to wear a ring on their finger…) Oriana Fallaci said, before her death from cancer, "the hate for the West swells like a fire fed by the wind. The clash between us and them is not a military one. It is a cultural one, a religious one, and the worst is still to come." Ali takes this even further, she lived it, and now she warns us all. I just don't know if we have the courage to listen.

(Posted on myspace July 5, 2007 and librarything March 7 2008)

The Quilters Homecoming, by Jennifer Chiaverini

Yet another in Chiaverini's series, which I enjoy. Just a nice story, well told.

(Posted on myspace, July 3, 2007)

The Woods by Harlan Coben

Coben's books are always good, this one is no different, didn't make my "oh I gotta buy a copy to keep forever list" but worth the time it took to read it.

(Posted on myspace, July 3 2007)

Somewhere South of Here by William Kowalski

Sequel to Eddie's Bastard. Good book, not quite as good as Eddie's Bastard, but I liked how he continued Billy's story, and sort of finished some unfinished business left in the first book. Worth the time to read.

(Posted on myspace, July 3 2007)

Invisible Prey by John Sandford

Ok, now I just gotta say, I'm probably imagining this, but here goes anyway. About two years ago, I got an idea for an "Author's Quilt". I contacted lots of my favorite authors through email, and asked them if I mailed them a square of fabric, pen and return envelope, if they'd sign it. I sort of ran out of time, and to date haven't sent all of them out yet, but one of the authors I contacted was John Sandford. He was a bit more elusive than most, and the person I corresponded with pretty much told me that he wouldn't be able to do that, however if I took the fabric to a book signing, Sandford would most certainly sign it. Since Sandford had a book signing the next evening in a mystery book store in Thousand Oaks, I headed to T. Oaks. I wasn't able to go to the signing, but I wrote him a letter, and asked the woman in the store to give it to him. In the letter I said that I was a quilter, and described what I'd planned to make. A few days later, I received the fabric square in the mail and put it away for later use. Fast forward two years, I just finished reading the newest Lucas Davenport book, and quilts are all over this book. Quilters, quilt groups, antique quilts, forged antique quilts, along with the usual murder, mystery and mayhem of Sandford books. Hmmm....coincidence? Or perhaps....inspiration?......hmmm... (Oh...and the book's pretty good, typical of the Davenport/Prey series, I enjoyed it.....

(Posted on myspace, July 3, 2007)

America Alone:The End of the World as We Know It by Mark Steyn

Pretty darn good, but it'll bother the bejeebers out of you. I really hadn't given demographics much of a thought with regards to immigration, multiculturism, etc. until reading this book. Its worth your time to read it, I wish a few of our polititcians would do the same.

(Posted on myspace, July 3, 2007)

Eddie's Bastard: A Novel by William Kowalski

Great book!!! Mr. Kowalski tells stories in the same way that Jonathan Hull does, in fact the relationships between his two main characters, Billy and his grandpa, reminded me a lot of some of Hull's characters. I picked the book up when I was at the library, simply looking for anything to read since nothing I had ordered was available yet, and its really a great read! It's a wonderful thing to finish a book and want to applaud! (Of course, that means that the next 4 books I read will probably pale in comparison.....)

(Posted on myspace, June 5, 2007)

7 Deadly Wonders by Matthew Reilly

I'm all for suspending disbelief and I enjoy a good little mindless adventure. It was a lot of fun reading through a book with non stop, albeit slightly silly adventures, sort of allows ones brain take a little holiday. That being said, though, I spent the larger portion of this book wondering where the heck the editor went. I mean wow! This book makes a bigger use of exclamation points than I've ever seen! It's sort of like having a conversation with an excited 11 year old girl! Lets not forget the liberal use of italics! Just in case the exclamation points didn't get the point across well enough! Let's hear it for enthusiastic writers! It was similar to reading a story written by my eleven year old daughter! Actually, I was a little disappointed in the book! I usually really enjoy Reilly's books, but the editing of this one drove me...well..crazy!! Okay, I'll stop with the punctuation now...! (Sorry had to do just one more..)

(Posted on Amazon, March 7, 2006)

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

I was really looking forward to reading "The Historian". It seems to hit all the lists for the "hottest" new novel around. I finally got a copy at the local library, and sheesh, I'm glad I didn't spend any money for this fine doorstop. I've made it to page 256, and I simply give up. I need to clarify, that I read on average over 60 books a year and haven't not completed one since I tried to read Bill O'Reilly's novel "Those Who Trespass" three years ago, Mr. O needs to stick to non-fiction, but that's a whole other review! I had started skimming all the extremely tedious long descriptions of locales by about page 150, and kept waiting for the wonderful suspense filled pages to start up. I simply don't have the time to dedicate to this book anymore, I have an entire world of books out there waiting for me. I thought the editors of this book would have done better if they had removed about a third of the descriptions, and tightened up the entire story, because frankly after about three visits to exotic locations, I no longer cared about the "blue-black sky", the "reading room, surrounded by stained glass like a tall terrarium , in which the students, rare captive plants...", the "sunlight on the faces of the old houses looked eternal in the dry Mediterranean climate with its preternaturally clear light", or the bedroom with the "mixed spartan furnishings with an Ottoman carpet and bed hangings, a minor sketch by van Gogh, and twleve copper pans......etc, etc, etc," Just get to the point for heavens sake.....The actual plot of the story was compelling and I would have liked to have found how it ended, but I simply don't have the required patience and fortitude find out. Time's a'wastin' and my newest stack of books is beckoning.

(Posted on Amazon, August 29, 2005)

The Taking by Dean Koontz

I've found myself thoroughly enjoying the new, optimistic, and yes--joyous Dean Koontz. Don't get me wrong, he still has the squishy gooey creepy bad guys down pat, but after a run of some seriously downer books, its been wonderful seeing the world through the prism of optimism and hope that his latest books show.Even through the optimism however, he still manages to cleverly skewer some of our societies most closely cherished and politically correct ideals. Perhaps I like these books because I really am one of those people who see the cup as half full and consider our world a pretty darn good place. Or perhaps I agree with much of his underlying message about our society. Perhaps I even like the fact that this book actually sent me to my dictionary, something that seldom happens. This author loves words, uses them well and paints pictures of beauty and reflection with them. Maybe that's why the books appeal to me. Then again, maybe I simply like a good story, with honest, ethical,moral, decent and kind good guys. Whatever is the case--I've read a bunch of books so far this year--this is tied for number one! (Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper is the other one--sad, but terrific!!)

(Posted on Amazon, August 23, 2004)

Losing Julia by Jonathan Hull

Just now getting around to reviewing this book. Losing Julia was the best book I read in 2001. What a wonderful book--"Like most bookworms I read so as not to be alone, which often annoys those who are trying to make conversation with me......Books aren't just my defenses, the sandbags I use to fortify my position, they are also the building blocks of my soul, and I am the sum of all I read...." Jonathan Hull "Losing Julia" ....What more can be said.....a simply astonishing book.

(Posted on Amazon, December 29, 2002)

This is still one of my favorite books.

One Door Away from Heaven by Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz seems to have come out of wherever he has been. After a run of cynical and not very upbeat books, Mr. Murder and the like, he seems to be recovering his sense of wonder, hope and even joy. The characters in this book are people that he really seems to like. This book was terrific! It's nice to see some optimism and hope in the world--I was sorry to see the story end and as is usual, the next three novels I read, paled in comparison. Keep it up, Mr. Koontz--it's nice to have you back!

(Posted on Amazon, December 29, 2002)

Hannibal by Thomas Harris

Yuk!! I felt like I needed to take a week long shower after finishing this book. I think that the author has been caught up in the Hollywood-ization of his work, and so he simply cranked out the most violent and incomprehensible swill he could come up with to make into an also disgusting movie. Until this book, I've enjoyed all of Thomas Harris books. I almost wondered if this was a "[descriptive word] you" to all the greedy movie types. You know the old--"You want a movie, fine.. I'll give you a stinking movie..." Would have given it zero stars or a negative rating if possible....

(My first posted review, on Amazon, December 29, 2002 Nope..I never saw the movie when it finally came out..the book was just too awful.)

My brand new blog

Okey dokey, I'm attempting to join the brave new world of blogging. I plan to use this blog primarily for book reviews, hoping I can score some regular readers, and by default get enough traffic to justify publishers sending me free books to read and review. (Love those advance reader copies!!) I suspect I'll frequently lapse into whatever the rant of the day is, but I'll try to keep my focus on books!

I'll post previous reviews I've written and posted at Amazon, myspace and librarything as soon as I can get around to it, as well as the new ones for books as yet unread.