Thursday, September 24, 2009

September #3 - METHLAND

Title: Methland: The death and life of an American small town

Author: Nick Reding

Publisher: Bloomsburg

Copyright: 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59691-650-0

Series or stand-alone: Non-fiction

Setting: Oelwein, IA and Ottumwa, IA

1st Sentence:



As you look down after takeoff from O'Hare International Airport, headed west for San Francisco, California, it's only a few minutes before the intricate complexity of Chicago's suburban streets is overcome by the rolling swell of the prairie.


This was a very sobering book, although the information wasn't new to me as Oelwein is about thirty minutes away from where I live and work. The author writes about how meth invaded Oelwein and other small towns across the country and nearly ruined them. I was interested to find out, however, that the first "kingpin" of meth in Iowa was not really a king, but a queen. And the sister to a native celebrity to boot. Reding interviewed many people, including the Mayor, Police Chief, Dr. Hallberg, Nathan Lein, some DEA members and several tweakers.
There were some incorrect local references, but overall, this was a compelling book.


Title: It sucked and then I cried: How I had a baby, a breakdown, and a much needed Margarita

Author: Heather B. Armstrong

Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment

Copyright: 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-3601-5

Series or stand-alone: Non-fiction

Setting: Salt Lake City, Utah

1st Sentence:

Many years ago I started a personal website so that I could share my thoughts on pop culture with a few of my friends scattered across the country.


This book is about Heather's decision to attempt mommyhood and all of the lying liars who led her astray.
Heather rocks! I lurve Chuck! I've enjoyed watching Leta grow up and now Marlo has come along. Jon makes me laugh, but not as much as Heather. And Coco, well, Coco is just crazy. That's all I need to say, really.


Title: Kitty and the dead man's hand

Author: Carrie Vaughn

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Copyright: 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-19953-7

Series or stand-alone: #5

Setting: Las Vegas, NV

1st Sentence:

This was embarrassing.


Kitty and Ben go to Las Vegas and Kitty does a live show at one of the hotels. A convention of bounty hunters is going on and Ben is kidnapped. Some of the characters try to kill Kitty but at least one has her back. A typical quick read and I'm on to the next. These books won't win a Pulitzer Prize, but this is one of my favorite current series.


Title: Best friends forever

Author: Jennifer Weiner

Publisher: Atria Books

Copyright: 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7432-9429-4

Series or stand-alone: Stand-alone

Setting: Pleasant Ridge, Illinois and Key West, Florida

1st Sentence:

Dan Swansea came awake in the darkness, not knowing for a minute who he was or where.


For whatever reason, I own several of Jennifer Weiner's books, but this is the first that I've sat down to actually read. I will have to fix that and soon!

Addie Downs and Valerie Adler become best friends when Val moves in across the street from Addie at age 9. But as they grow older, they move apart - Val is the popular cheerleader and Addie the fattie. Flash forward fifteen years when Val shows up on Addie's doorstep claiming something horrible has happened and only she can help.

The book examines the true strength of friendships and although I found some of the happenings within the book to be utterly preposterous, that's okay. I'm still breaking out some her older books.


Title: Beat the reaper

Author: Josh Bazell

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Copyright: 2009

ISBN: 978-0-316-03222-3

Series or stand-alone: Stand-alone

Setting: Manhattan, NY

1st Sentence:

So I'm on my way to work and I stop to watch a pigeon fight a rat in the snow, and some fuckhead tries to mug me!


This was a strange book and nearly a month later and I'm still at war with myself as to whether or not I truly liked it.

Peter Brown, aka Pietro Brwna, used to be a hitman for the mob. Killing people - bad people, lots of people. Then one day he went into the WITSEC program and emerged as Peter Brown, doctor. When a patient at the hospital recognizes him for who he once was, the race is stay alive.

Like I said, it was strange. I liked it, I didn't love it, I made it through it, but I'm not sure I'd put it on my top 10 or even top 25 list for the year.

Maybe I'll like the movie better.


Title: The weight of silence

Author: Heather Gudenkauf

Publisher: Mira

Copyright: 2009

ISBN: 978-1-61523-426-4

Series or stand-alone: Stand-alone

Setting: Willow Creek, IA

1st Sentence:



Louis and I see you nearly at the same time.


One August morning, Calli Clark and her best friend Petra go missing. Calli is, however, a selective mute and has been for three years since a traumatic experience when she was just four-years-old. The book is told from multiple points of view and although it's written in different tenses, it is a great suspense book as we look for the girls and learn what happened all those years ago to quiet Calli.

I would recommend this to my patrons who are fond of Jodi Picoult's books. The best thing about this book, really, is that the author is from Dubuque. I gotta support my Iowa authors and I've been really happy to see all the buzz this book has been getting.

August #3 - DARK PLACES

Title: Dark places

Author: Gillian Flynn

Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books

Copyright: 2009

ISBN: 978-0-307-34156-3

Series or stand-alone: Stand-alone

Setting: Kansas City, MO and Kinnakee, KS

1st Sentence:

Libby Day
I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.


Libby was just seven-years-old when her family was slaughtered and her brother Ben convicted of the crime - devil worship and sex abuse rumors abounding. Now, present day, Libby is out of money and she is approached by a group who are willing to pay her to dig into her past and right some wrongs. And what she finds, may surprise even her.
This was a great story and probably the most "literary" book I've read all year.

My favorite sentence, from page 291:

The air conditioner was blasting, as was a sound system, playing cacophonous jazz, the soundtrack to a brain seizure.
Cacophony is one of my favorite words in the English language.


Title: If there be dragons

Author: Kay Hooper

Publisher: Bantam Books

Copyright: 1984

ISBN: 978-0-553-59050-0

Series or stand-alone: Stand-alone

Setting: Montana

1st Sentence:

"Please, Cody? You're the only troubleshooter I know."


At the request of his friends, Cody goes to the wilds of Montana to check on Brooke Kennedy, a raven-haired, green-eyed psychic beauty with relationship issues. During the course of a blizzard, Cody breaks down Brooke's defenses - and in 251 pages, they live happily ever after.
There was an overabundant usage of the word "shutter", a lot of adverbs, and even though a psychic was involved, it was way too lovey-dovey ("I love you. I love you, too, darling.") for me. It was, however, a reissue of an older book, so I'm blaming that. I know Hooper is a much better writer than this book portrayed.

August #1 - UNDONE

Title: Undone

Author: Karin Slaughter

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Copyright: 2009

ISBN: 978-0-385-34196-7

Series or stand-alone: #1 (Merges the Will Trent series with the Grant County series)

Setting: Atlanta, GA

1st Sentence:

They had been married forty years to the day and Judith still felt like she didn't know everything about her husband.


This book merges the Sara Linton series with the Will Trent/Faith Mitchell series and brings new life to both of them, IMO. I was kind of angry at the end of the last Grant County book but Sara is moving on and I see some possible romance in her future. Women are disappearing and being brutally tortured and the three of them lock together to figure it all out. There's a new twist for Faith and Will, well, he still can't read but that endears his character to me. I have a soft spot for those who rise above their challenges.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Technical difficulties

As you can see my blog looks a little different. Yes, I'm having technical difficulties. Colors have changed but everything else got sorted out. And although I have several books to post, I will not post until I get my blog figured out.

New books to come soon...