Saturday, October 6, 2007

C.J.'s Fate

Okay, this book is more than a little cheesy (it was also published in 1984 and I was only 13) but if you're a Kay Hooper fan, I suppose it's worth a read since it only tops in at 200 pages.
C.J.'S FATE by Kay Hooper (Bantam Books, c1984, ISBN 978-0-553-59048-7) set in Aspen, Colorado features C.J. Adams, a research librarian, who always has her nose in a book and loves her history. Twenty years of matchmaking by her magic circle of friends has C.J. fed up so while they are all in Aspen for the wedding of one of the friends, C.J. decides to beat them all to the punch and picks a hottie from the hallway and takes him as her "lover." Little did she know that Fate Weston just may be her fated destiny.

It begins:
"C.J., can't you put that book down for ten minutes?"

So, you know how I feel about romances and Harlequins, right? Well, gack, this book is right up there with the lot. I actually bought it while I was going on vacation because I read on the back cover that the main character C.J. was a librarian and it was by Kay Hooper. I've read every Bishop special crimes unit novel written by her. I was hoping for something similar. Instead, I got mind numbing relationships ala 3 days and Indians with purple eyes and friends who just don't know when to stop, already!
On the flip side, it did pass my 50 page test and I read the whole thing, so that's saying something...I'm just not sure what!

With all due respect to Kay Hooper, I will patiently wait for BLOOD DREAMS to come out and I will be skipping the other newly released 2-in-1 combo SOMETHING DIFFERENT/PEPPER'S WAY.

Back to the ookie spookies for me. Up next is THE TUNNELS by Michelle Gagnon.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mount TBR (To be read)

I get questioned all the time what I mean when I refer to Mount TBR. And I'm not the only one who prays to this mountain. Many others have their own Mount TBR.

Let me introduce you to my Mount TBR. This is my pile of books that I am currently choosing from. These are books that I have not read. These are books I hope to read in the near future. This doesn't even begin to touch my collection -- these are just the books I can see.
And this was taken in January of '07. It's grown! It's much, much worse!
My husband fears for his life. I tell him that's what he gets for putting the shelves up on his side of the bed.

You should see what's under the bed...and in the closet...and in the trunk of my car...and on top of my dresser...and in tub after tub after tub in the basement.

Can someone say, "ADDICT?" Brought to you by the letter B for book and the number 666 as in the devil made me do it.


My most recent and most enjoyed read in the past two months was THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO: HOW MY MOTHER RAISED 10 KIDS ON 25 WORDS OR LESS by Terry Ryan (Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, c2001, ISBN 0-7432-1123-5). Set in Defiance, Ohio, this book is the story of Evelyn Ryan who wrote jingles and entered contests for more than 20 years to keep her family of twelve afloat. While her husband, Kelly, an alcoholic drank most of his paycheck away, Evelyn would write poems and entries to numerous contests to win small amounts of cash to pay the bills, grocery runs to put food on the table, and numerous other prizes she'd sell for cash or give away as gifts. The book, written by Terry "Tuff" Ryan, 6th of the 10 children is a brutal yet honest depiction of life during the 40's, 50's and 60's illustrating hard times and happy times alike.

It starts:

The ordinarily sleepy town of Defiance, Ohio, emitted an industrious hum on hot days, a subtle pulse of activity - like the buzz of distance bees.

It is unfair to not mention some of the other characters in the book -- Mammy the cat who could open up doors -- Charley the chicken -- Dortha, her first friend from the Affadaisies.

This is a wonderful, feel-good book that I hope everyone reads, but if you're not a reader, check out the movie. It's almost as good.

Crime Seen

Surprise! It's another series...

Victoria Laurie's CRIME SEEN (Obsidian, c2007, ISBN 978-0-451-22201-5) was one of my most recent reads.
The story begins:

The way I see it, there are two kinds of people in this world: cat people and dog people.

In this book, the fifth in the series, Abby is recovering from her gunshot wound from the last book at home in Royal Oak, MI and has agreed to help her boyfriend, Dutch,with some of his unsolved cases to get her feet wet again. What she "sees" while looking at one of her cases causes her to go undercover to help a man who was jailed unjustly years ago. With her new 'partner' in tow, Candice Fusco PI, trouble is bound follow.
This is a typical Abby Cooper romp with all of the usual characters including Eggy the dachshund.


Next up, INFERNO by Karen Harper (Mira, c2007, ISBN 0-7783-2404-4). Set in remote Vermillion, Montana, Lauren Taylor, a pilot contacts the FBI when she sees a picture of a man in a magazine wanted for arson. She calls because she's seen her plane as she flew him into her town. Brad Hale is the hunky FBI agent sent to track down this man that Lauren, and only Lauren, has seen before he sets the drying town surround into a roaring blaze for grins and giggles.

The book begins:

The sound of sirens always soothed his soul.

Here is what I like about Karen Harper's books:
1) Great settings - I enjoy the lush landscape she paints with words
2) General plots - General storyline always makes me want to read the book
3) Characters - Good character development

Here is what I don't like about her books:
1) I always feel like I have to have a huge suspension of disbelief once I hit about page 10

I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that the FBI doesn't allow civilians to get involved on a manhunt for a suspected arsonist/murderer "just because"...
I may read more by Karen Harper but they won't be a priority; they will unfortunately be filler.

Reality TV in a book

It's YA time again!

I'm a big reality TV junkie...I've watched them all and some I continue to watch. (Yes, I am even watching KID NATION) and I can't help it. There is just something so real about it in a very unreal-like fashion and I get reeled in every flippin' time.

So, imagine my excitement when I read a review about a book about reality TV and for kids no less. I couldn't wait to read it!
SURVIVING ANTARCTICA: REALITY TV 2083 by Andrea White (Eos, c2005, ISBN 0-06-055456-8) is about a group of five 14-year-olds who are deprived by chance of the opportunity to continue their education and they reenact Scott's 1910-1913 expedition to the South Pole as contestants on a reality show and aided by a Department of Entertainment employee when things get a little too real.
The book starts out:

What chance did Stephan Michael have of winning his Toss?

Although it's set 75 years in the future, the teens are reenacting something that happened almost 100 years in the past so it made for an interesting mixture of science fiction and history. I think this is a great way to get history lessons to kids of this age -- especially the reluctant reader types. I will be recommending this book to my patrons who fall into exactly this category.

Dirty Martini

I never realized how many series I read until I started keeping this blog, went AWOL for a while and then had to post book after book after book...

I didn't think I read that many series. Guess I was wrong!
The series du jour is the Jack Daniels series by JA Konrath and the book is #4 in the series, DIRTY MARTINI (Hyperion, c2007, ISBN 978-1-4013-0279-5).

In Chicago, Illinois, "The Chemist" is wreaking his own kind of havoc avenging the death of someone he loved. While extorting money from the city he is poisoning the residents with a multitude of deadly toxins by contaminating food around the city.
The book begins:

No security cameras this time, but he still has to be careful.

I'm a big fan of Konrath's and have enjoyed all of the Jacqueline Daniels books. This book, although scary in its own right (because let's face it. Who wants to worry about their greens from the grocery store being POISON free?) but I actually preferred his other three books where the violence and gore was a little more "in your face." I heard that there were quite a lot of people who didn't appreciate the gore and violence however, so he decided to write a book that was 'as' scary but more mental rather than physical. It's too bad people can't keep their opinions to themselves (like moi...)

I will be drinking these until Joe comes out with a new book.

Undead and unpopular

Fifth in the series by Mary Janice Davidson, UNDEAD AND UNPOPULAR (Berkley Books, c2006, ISBN 978-0-425-21599-9) has the regular crew planning a wedding when some European vampires show up to pay their respects and cause quite a commotion. Plus there's a zombie in the attic and Betsy hates zombies! What's a girl to do?

The book's first sentence:

"There's a zombie in the attic," George the Fiend informed me over breakfast.

Easy and entertaining reading, set in my geographical region (Midwest and to the north) -- read in one day!

Beyond Reach


In Karin Slaughter's newest book, BEYOND REACH (Delacorte Press, c2007, ISBN 978-0-385-33947-6) we finally get to read Lena's story. Sixth in the series, taking place in Elawah, Georgia and Grant County, Lena gets a phone call that her Uncle Hank is in a bad way, so she goes home to find out what's going on and what she finds is a meth mess. When she is arrested, Jeffrey Tolliver and Sara Linton come to Elawah to help her and then everyone is in a mess of trouble.
As a side story, Jeffrey and Sara are trying to adopt but she has a nasty malpractice suit hanging over her head.
The book begins:

What had they given her?

The book ended with my mouth hanging wide open, eyes bugging out from shock. For those who like to read the end of the book first, DO NOT DO THAT with this one!
Well, you can do what you want, but OMG, total shocker!
Just fair warning, because the book was a great read but the ending made it for me and had I read the ending first, I would have been totally disappointed in the book; probably would have just skipped it altogether.

The face of death

So I alternate, as I mentioned earlier, between adult fiction (read GUTS AND GORE) and easy on the heart YA fiction. The last book was YA so guess what this is...

THE FACE OF DEATH by Cody McFadyen (Bantam Books, c2007, ISBN 978-0-553-80466-9) is the 2nd book in the Smokey Barrett series.

In this book, Smokey is starting to clean out the ghosts of her dead husband and daughter and move on with her life with her newly adopted daughter Bonnie when a call comes in - a 16-year-old girl has a gun to her head and is asking for Smokey specifically. This begins the story of Sarah Langstrom, orphaned as a child by "The Stranger" and she has lost everyone she loves since to violent ends. When she asks for Smokey's help, Smokey gives it...Smokey style.

The book starts:

I dream of the face of death.

Although this book didn't SHOCK and AWE me like SHADOW MAN, Mr. McFadyen has been permanently put on my list of authors I will read from here on in. A great storyteller with the ability to draw me right into the book, he has found a new and true fan in me.

Kiki Strike

Do you notice a pattern with my reads? How I intersperse adult fiction with young adult fiction? I have actually grown to enjoy my YA reads although I sure railed against it for a long time. Even as a child of eight and nine I was reading adult books. I've always felt that the YA material was too juvenile for me. I'm not sure if I have grown to appreciate it or if I found out that that's not always the case. As in this book.

KIKI STRIKE: INSIDE THE SHADOW CITY by Kirsten Miller (Bloomsbury Children's Books, c2006, ISBN 1-58234-960-6) is a fabulous romp through a hidden subterranean world of New York City. The book includes five delinquent Girl Scouts, each with their own special talents (Ananka Fishbein, Betty, Oona, Luz and Dee Dee) led by Super Spy Kiki Strike. Together they explore the underground tunnels of NYC called the Shadow City - while Kiki has an agenda of her own. The book is also filled with fun and interesting tips including how to follow someone, the perfect disguise, etc. Written for the 12-15 year old set, I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to all of my old peers and co-workers from Camp Tahigwa.

The book begins:
Until the age of twelve, I led what most people would consider an unexceptional life.

Cut to the bone

My next read was Shane Gericke's (pronounced YERKEY) CUT TO THE BONE (Pinnacle Books, c2007, ISBN 978-0-7860-1814-7).

The second in a series after BLOWN AWAY, Emily Thompson (detective) and Marty Benedetti (detective commander) are back in Naperville, Illinois to face a new bad guy (the Executioner) along with their Chief Hercules Branch. This was a quick and very enjoyable read. BLOWN AWAY blew me away...this book cut me to the bone. What's next...heart attack bugaloo? I'll start loading up on my antioxidants early.

The book begins:

Naperville, Illinois
11:58 A.M.

The blue velvet curtain drew back like it was movie night, allowing Johnny Sanders to stare through the bullet-proof window.

High Noon

Next up was HIGH NOON by Nora Roberts (GP Putnam's Sons, c2007, ISBN 978-0-399-15434-8). Set in Savannah, Georgia, this book features Police Lieutenant Phoebe McNamara and Duncan Swift. Phoebe is a single mother of Carly and lives with her agoraphobic mother stemming from an incident when she was young and her family was taken hostage.
Now, Phoebe works as a hostage negotiator and a bad guy is terrorizing her family once again. But maybe he doesn't realize the force that is Phoebe McNamara, (but he will) as she fights back...and with a vengeance.

Exhilarating story -- yet another reason why I am glad that I now read Nora Roberts. This and her JD Robb books. Wow!

This book begins:

Jumping to your death was a crappy way to spend St. Patrick's Day.

Dead Girls' Dance

In the DEAD GIRLS' DANCE by Rachel Caine (NAL Jam Books, c2007, ISBN 978-0-451-22089-9), the second book in the Morganville Vampire series, Shane's dad has come back to Morganville to do some vampire killing and much trouble ensues. The same cast of characters (Claire Danvers, Shane Collins, Michael Glass and Eve Rosser) are featured. While I enjoy these books because of the vampires, they are definitely YA books although they are fun, fast reads.

This book begins:

It didn't happen, Claire told herself.