Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another great Dan Brown

This book is one of those instances in which I really regretted reading reviews before reading the book. There were such mixed ones that I read, I wasn't sure about how I was going to like it. But I can assuredly say I loved The Lost Symbol. It was every bit as good as The Da Vinci Code. I am delighted with the my education of the mystical aspects of our national capitol and the religious undertones that came out in this book. The storyline flowed well, entrancing and gripping me to not want to put the book down. I found I was carrying the book everywhere with me so I read as much as I could because I wanted to see what happened next, so compelling. So Robert Langdon finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as a result of a tattooed madman. He gets corralled by the CIA to save the world, thinks he dies but survives and ultimately becomes the only person who is not a Mason to know the secrets of the group. He becomes instrumental in the solving of a mystical quest involving the Masons and the Lost Word. Another symbolism clue hunt with a really unexpected ending. I would like to share a small excerpt that really made me chuckle, though. 'Langdon had once agreed to take care of Solomon's hundred-fifty-pound mastiff, Hercules, during Solomon's travels. While at Langdon's home, the dog apparently had become homesick for his favorite leather chew and had located a worthy substitute in Langdon's study - an original vellum, hand-calligraphed, illuminated Bible from the 1600s. Somehow "bad dog" didn't quite seem adequate.' This book is an absolutely must read. Cool website, too. Library book

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jane Austen rewritten

I was intrigued by this book by something that was written on the back cover in the synopsis. "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read." Up until this point, I had not ever read Pride and Prejudice due to the fact I was told it was long, boring but famous love story. I may not have to now since I read this. What I am sure is that this version was probably much more livelier than the original. So you have the basic story by Jane Austen but with the Bennett Sisters butt-kicking, zombie killers trained in the arts in China, not Japan. What was comical is the fact that if you ventured outside the house, you were pretty sure you would run into a group of zombies. And depending how quick you were, they would have you for lunch, eating the delish part first, your brain. Even going out in daylight was usually impossible. But be sure you are with one of the Bennett sisters, or Mr Darcy and one of the few other characters who were trained in the ruthless killing of zombies if you expected to survive. Seth Grahame-Smith is the revision-er and I give this a good read rating. Library book

Friday, September 25, 2009

New blog name

Just so you know that I was never really satisfied with my blog name from day one so I finally came up with a suitable name for my blog, I think. Of course I am willing to listen to the peanut gallery but I think this one is the keeper. I would really like to know if someone else has this, as I googled and nothing came up.

Evil at Heart

Now, psychological thrillers are really not my forte usually, but this series by Chelsea Cain is gripping. This one had a additional level of mystery with it as far as the killings were concerned. But it also takes a look at the issue of sensationalizing gruesome things like serial killers in the media to the point of being obsessive. This story about Gretchen, the beautiful, dangerously smart serial killer and her stalking of the police detective, Archie, is riveting to the point that I felt glued to the book. He has been technically hiding out in a psych ward to get over his painkiller drug addiction and haunting of the torture he endured by Gretchen. But when she escapes from the prison, he knows deep down that he needs to help find and kill this savage killer. But she is one sick puppy and has been keeping watch over him all along with the help of her twisted minions. This book was a roller coaster and kept me clutching the book, not wanting to put it down. And even though there were a few sickening parts, as there should be, they were not to much over the top. This is a must read and of course there will be more since she is still out there waiting. Library book

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lost Hours

I would have to say I would give Lost Hours by Karen White a 2 hankie rating. I cried twice, towards the end. This book was a haunting, moving story rooted in the deep south during racial prejudice times of the 30's. What starts out as a sisterhood with 3 girls, one black, and the terrible secret that they carried with them until they died. The sad part is they all were deeply affected for different reasons because the whole story hadn't been really sorted out and each felt a guilt that they really didn't have to carry. So fast forward to present day, as the last of the three finally wants closure, she unknowingly admits the granddaughter of one of the other women into her life, and with her help, is able to find closure and understanding and forgiveness. The grand daughter is searching for a kind of closure of her own, as she is a equestrian mangled by a fall from a horse and feels afraid to get back on the horse, so to speak. So this hunt for answers gives her purpose and in the end a whole new perspective on life. It is a must read. Library book

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cats and Quilts

The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse by Leann Sweeney is the first book in a new cozy series starring Jillian Hart, a recent widow who moved to Mercy, S. C. to move on with her life. She makes her living making quilts, mostly for cats, and they sound very inventive. And she owns 3 cats, all who were rescue finds and each has their own funny personality. All named for wines. One of her cats gets catnapped right out of her house and she is frantic to find it, putting up signs only to find that they were immediately ripped down due to a city ordinance. Up until this point she has mostly kept to herself but the need to find her cat puts her out there and she seems overly eager to make friends. And desperate that they like her. After finding out about a man who collects cats, she decides to pay him a visit only to find him brutally stabbed in his kitchen. It was a very cute story with some good twists and cheered her messed up romance with the alarm guy. I expect that the rivalry between her and the lady coroner over the guy will continue as the coroner is a beauty pageant nutcase. I did feel the heroine was a little insecure with her need to be liked by everyone but it was a good light quick read. Purchased book and donated to city library

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pet Psychic calling

So a truly unique cozy mystery series, written by Joyce and Jim Lavene, involves a pet psychic named Mary Catherine. She is a 50 something woman, married 4 times with 4 husbands who died, while married to her, in bizarre ways. She has inherited a house from an aunt, who supposedly had the same ability as her, and moves in, remodeling it into a free vet clinic and apartment upstairs for her. And on top of that, she does a radio program, going out nation wide, on her pet psychic ability and answers questions about people's pets. She gets involved into a murder because of a turtle who calls to her and tells her he is hurt and she responds to find a dead body. The whole thing ends up involving things close to home and she finds kinship with a down and out detective turned PI, who supposedly has some psychic power but thinks he is nuts. Actually a lot of her answers that involved common sense, not really psychic power. It was a very cute story and a good quick read. I checked it out of the library, which is good as I probably would not have read it otherwise. Library book

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spartan Gold

Clive Cussler has started a exciting new series. Spartan Gold features his new heroes Remi and Sam Fargo. Though it wasn't as good as his Dirk Pitt books, this was a very good treasure hunting adventure reminiscent of National Treasure as far as clues taking them to another place for another clue. But these clues were complex riddles written by Napoleon himself. The amount of clues and places they had to go was maybe a bit much, but the book was very riveting with the Indiana Jones type - Macgyer style of seeking the lost treasure. It all was very interesting how the whole story was intertwined through history starting with Xerxes I and his plundering and how Napoleon stumbles upon the treasure by accident. There are even little side finds that make the story entertaining. And of course we have the bad guy, who in this case figured he was a direct decedent of Xerxes and everything rightfully belonged to him. This book is a should read and I will catch the next book when it comes out but like I said, I prefer the Dirk Pitt books more. Library book

Friday, September 18, 2009

Today's Topic: Share your goals for your blog one year from now AND say what you love best about your blog, each in 50 words or less.

One year from now I hope to …

  • have improved my blogging skills,
  • have knocked done my TBR list alot,
  • have at least 25 people following my blog, and
  • have satisfied publishers that I am a sincere reviewer!

I love that my blog …

  • as it gives me an outlet to express my impression of books I like to read,
  • it connects with other people who feel the same way I do about books,
  • gives people a small insight into a book they might not have read otherwise, and
  • actually keeps me a little saner.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cedar Cove revelations

Having lived on Whidbey Island, WA, for a few years, I can relate to the homey, small town atmosphere in the Cedar Cove books by Debbie Macomber. I love these books. I read 8 Sandpiper and 92 Pacific Blvd and am still feeling the goodness and love from these should reads. Yes, they are definitely feel good, happily ever after type love stories, without the steamy sex scenes, but have a little mystery and turmoil mixed in. In each book, you get a taste of the residents with the emphasis on the character that lives at the house in the title. That person is usually in a struggle over their love life and/or life choices. Debbie has a way that you can step into the book and read it without feeling that you need to really go back and read the ones before. But it is a good idea. I have read all of this series and will continue to do so as I do love the story lines and can easily get drawn into the ambiance of Cedar Cove. Oh and I bought her new Cook Book, too. Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove Cookbook. Yummy!!! Purchased these books and then donated them to city library, except for the cookbook. Mine!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend light reading

I hate to say this but there was another one that I started reading and it wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be and I couldn't get into it. I feel bad that I decided to not finish it because it was losing me but that is the way I felt about Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson. This one had been a 'if you liked that one, you probably would like this one' type book and I checked it out of the library, so no great loss. Again I got halfway through it and it wasn't keeping me. The story starts with the conception of a baby from the day 1 and goes from there. I think it was difficult because the main character is a fetus. I didn't finish it, so it is a don't bother. But my weekend did get better. I read Magic and the Modern Girl by Mindy Klasky and I am hooked. It is actually, I think, 3rd in a series, and I will have to backtrack the first two, (OCD) to read. The main character is a librarian, yes I gravitate to those books since I work in a library, and she is a newly unveiled witch. Her mom and grandmother have powers, too, but not as much as Jane has. I felt this book was very modern witchy and fun, with the exception of maybe her creation of a anima, kind of like bringing a doll to life thing. It seems when she was doing the spell, her mind was drifting and the purpose of her anima gets blurred and whacked out of proportion. The final showdown with the anima is a little strange but interesting. The love life issues were breath-holding and the storyline was quite good, with some historical info on the DC area thrown in. It is a should read and I will read more. The other book was a sure thing. I read the next in the Shenandoah Album books by Emilie Richards. These books to me are a good down home, snug in my bed, warm feeling reads. This one, Lovers Knot, takes the reporter from the last book and delves into her traumatic life. She is carjacked, while at a pharmacy getting medicine, and shot twice. She recovers only to decide that her life will never be the same. Her relationship with her husband is strained so she plans to take a timeout at her husbands' grandmothers house up in Toms River, that had been left to him along with a quilt. The quilt unravels a very interesting mystery surrounding the Shenandoah National Park and the removal of people for the building of the park. Again this is another flip the house book, a happy ending book and a very interesting historical mystery of sorts. I will continue to read the series and recommend as a must read. All library books

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fun suggestion from J. Kaye's Book Blog

J. Kaye got this idea from and I thought it would be fun to fill out.

1. What author do you own the most books by? The only author I own all the books from is my good friend Janet Spaeth.

2. What book do you own the most copies of? The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber (I have 2 copies)

3. What fictional character are you secretly in love with? Ethan Gage from William Dietrich's books.

4. What book have you read more than any other? The bible.

5. What was your favorite book when you were 10 years old? The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer.

6. What is the worst book you've read in the past year? That How to Buy the Love of Reading didn't impress me too much.

7. What is the best book you've read in the past year? So far it was is the Dakota Cipher by William Dietrich.

8. If you could tell everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be? Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber

9. What is the most difficult book you've ever read? The Lord of the Rings

10. Do you prefer the French or the Russians? Russians?

11. Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer? Chaucer, if I had to choose.

12. Austen or Eliot? AUSTEN!!

13. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? My friends can't figure why I haven't read the Stephanie Plum books.

14. What is your favorite novel? Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

15. What is your favorite play? Mousetrap by Agatha Christie

16. Poem? The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

17. Essay? Don't have the first clue.

18. Short Story? The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

19. Nonfiction? the Don't Know Much About Series by Kenneth C. Davis

20. Graphic Novel? No idea

21. Science Fiction? I would say a toss-up between Robert Silverberg, Andre Norton and Terry Brooks

22. Who is your favorite writer? Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, and many more.

23. Who is the most overrated writer alive today? Stephenie Meyer. Really I can't imagine the pull these books have. I wasn't impressed with either the books or the movie.

24. What are you reading right now? Sparta Gold by Clive Cussler

25. Best memoir? The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

26. Best history? Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt by David McCullough.

27. Best mystery or noir? Anything by Agatha Christie or Rex Stout.

A cozy here, a cozy there

I bet you were beginning to wonder what happened to me. Long story short, I got a flu bug and have been indisposed for while but I am up and running now. So on to my reading escapades during my illness. So I started the book 'How to Buy a Love of Reading' on Thursday last week. On Friday night, halfway through the book, I closed it and decided that the book was no way turning out to be what I thought it would be and that I couldn't read anymore. From what I did read, it was not that interesting. Having to do with a high school girl with emotional issues, whose parents want to buy her her own book, written by an obscure author, for her 16Th birthday. She has a friend who is a boy that apparently is a hunk, she's overweight, he is a druggie, alcoholic. I have to say, don't bother. I don't feel that way too often. But I will say I might have been the process of getting sick and the book didn't help. So to make me feel happy during my sickness, I read a bunch of cozies. Comfort food for my brain. I am sorry to say I will not go into great detail over them but will give a one line comment of each book and impression. First book was 'Sew Deadly' by Elizabeth Lynn Casey. Very sweet book about the new librarian, from the north, in a small town in the south and her initiation into local society. New series that I will now follow and was a should read. Second book was a second in a new series by Mary Stanton, 'Angel's Advocate'. Brianna inherits her uncles law firm, whose major clients are dead and sent to the wrong great beyond. This was just as good as the first and entertaining. A definite must read and a keeper. Third one was another second in a series, by Julie Hyzy called 'Hail to the Chef'. I especially loved this books' insight into the workings of the chef for the president. Great story and premise and a must read and another keeper. Fourth book was the fifth in a series that I faithfully follow. The Haunted Bookshop mystery, 'The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion' by Cleo Coyle writing as Alice Kimberly. Imagine owning a bookstore where a private detective was murdered and having his ghost as a cohort in detection. This was a ghost story inside a ghost story and great to read. I think I read this all in one day because I didn't want to put it down. Love the series and must read all. And lastly I read one that borderlines cozy. 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" by Suzann Ledbetter, an author that I have read other mysteries by, came up with a cute one about a private investigator who meets up with a short lady burglar who only needs cash to cover her mom's medicare bills, above and beyond her many grooming jobs. The interaction was lovable and storyline was fun. I rounded out my week very well and I am satisfied with this should read. Okay folks I am back to my list and reading 'Behind the Scenes at the Museum'. So far so good. Will let you know. I am thinking of doing author weeks, where all the books I read are from a specific author. And leaving my weekends to cozies since I have many to polish off. And I have the privilege of being sent some ARC's to review which are on my next weeks list of books to read. Have a good one!!! All these books were purchased and then donated to my city library

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I thought it was a cute idea. A place where you can go and pretend you are in Regency England during the Jane Austin period for three weeks and really get into the time. That is what the book 'Austenland' by Shannon Hale is about. Of course our main character's name is Jane and she gets the opportunity to go to said place as a gift from a deceased great aunt, who understand the concept that Jane was looking for her Mr. Darcy who looks like Colin Firth. Going there was like being in a play and really wasn't a set up place, which is what you are hoping is suppose to happen. The book was light and cute, definitely being able to go for teenagers on up to read. Definitely a nice summer read. Library book

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A magicians world

If you have read Maria Snyder's Study series, you have to read her Glass series. Book one in the series, Storm Glass, took a plot line from the Study books and came up with a wonderful, enchanting and mystical story centering around Opal. Opal is a student at Magician's Keep, is mostly a family taught glassmaker and trying to learn what her magical powers ultimately will be. She starts off a little bit on the insecure side, thinking she is only a 'One Trick Wonder' but we soon find out she is capable of many tricks. Her first mission is to find out why the Stormdancer's orbs are shattering. With forensic type thinking she deduces the formula for the melt and what is wrong with it. The glass making procedures in this book are extremely fascinating. And I especially loved the insight of storms and their emotional aspects that was described. Opal finds love in a round about way, perfects her craft and then learns shockingly she can be a either a valuable tool or a terrible weapon. The imagery in this book was good and again I loved the story as I did with Maria's previous books. There may have been a part towards the end dealing with the key that I had to reread a couple of times and then still didn't quite get it (yes it was a small detail but got to me anyway) but otherwise this book is a must read. I can't wait to read her next one, 'Sea Glass'. Purchased book and then donated to university library