Debh2010's Blog

Books and Knitting – go figure

Audiobook: The Cat Who Said Cheese

The Cat Who Said Cheese, by Lillian Jackson Braun.  Most excellent as I usually find her books.  Nicely read, though I have to confess that I didn’t remember to jot down the voice actor who made listening to the story more enjoyable than a straight read.

I don’t have a blurb, and I’m afraid that I’ll mess up a good synopsis, so I’ll just say that Koko and Mr. Qwilleran again team up to figure out a murder mystery, and along the way they save a few lives and  make people happy. 

These books are like comfort food to me.  When I need a boost, or a reward, or it’s been a good day, or a bad day for that matter, Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who… books are like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese.  Pleasing to the literary palette.  Yum.

**** Four Stars out of Five and I know there are more of her books at the digital library, so I’m going to check more out.

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February 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Princess in the Spotlight

Princess in the Spotlight, by Meg Cabot.  This book started out as a replacement for my current book because I’d mislaid that one and needed something to read.  Anyone who reads all the damn time, like I do, knows what that’s like and you can’t stand it.  Anyway, this book is The Princess Diaries, Volume 2 and it’s really good.  I hope by now, you all realize that I have a big thing for the differences between books and movies, and I want to state it clearly that I love the movie, The Princess Diaries, but I equally love the books, and maybe more than equally because there are more of the books to enjoy.  The books and the movies are vastly different in story, but both very enjoyable and refreshing.

Here’s the blurb:  “Just when Mia thought she had the whole princess thing under control, things get out of hand, fast.  First there’s an unexpected announcement from her mother.  Then Grandmere arranges a national primetime interview for the brand-new crown princess of Genovia.  On top of that, intriguing, exasperating letters from a secret admirer begin to arrive.  Before she even has the chance to wonder who those letters are from, Mia is swept up in a whirlwind of royal intrigue the likes of which hasn’t been seen since volume I of The Princess Diaries.”

**** Four Stars out of Five.  If you liked the movie, even a little bit, you’ll really enjoy the books.

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Audiobook: Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer is a really great story.   I had seen it several times on the young adults shelves at various stores, and even reading the back of the book didn’t make me grab it up.  Fortunately, being desperate for something to listen to and the happy circumstance  of it being available for immediate download from the library led us to being formally introduced.  I don’t have the book cover blurb for you, but I’ll synopsize in my flawed, but heartfelt way.

Artemis Fowl is a fourteen-year-old head of a crime family, but he’s really just standing in for his father who has gone missing.  These stories are set sometime off in the future, yet not too far, and have elements of myth and folklore.  This story concerns Artemis trying to restore his wealthy family to their previous billionaire status by exploiting gold from the fairies.  It’s clever and rather ingenious some of the things the young Mr. Fowl comes up with, and it’s 0ne of those weird stories that has you rooting for both the “villian” and the victim to win the conflict.  Actually, I was wishing that they’d get to know each other and become friends.  I think that Artemis needs more friends.

I’m giving it **** Four stars out of 5 and I’m going back to the library database to see if the next installment is available.  Good fun!

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Audiobooks

I’m just coming to the end of finishing two audiobooks in the same day.  I think my ears are seriously squished from my awfully good noise-cancelling earphones, but I’m having a blast….

The first one I finished is The Cat Who Tailed a Thief by Lillian Jackson Braun.  I’m a big fan of hers and I’ve read every Cat Who… book that I’ve ever seen.  I’m going to keep reading them as long as she keeps writing them.  There was no blurb to copy, so here’s a quick synopsis:  Jim Qwilleran is a semi-retired newsman from “down below” who moved to Moose County, Michigan after he inherited an amazing amount of money from distant Scottish relations.  He is slave to two amazing cats “Koko” and “Yum Yum” a male/female pair of Siamese cats.  Qwilleran is also the sporter of an amazing pepper and salt mustache and he’s often called upon or falls into the need to solve mysteries.  Between his own keen intellect, the input from his tingling mustache, and surprisingly sharp input from Mr. Koko, mysteries get solved and bad guys get caught.  The books are in series, but each can be read independently.  They’re excellent romps through  small town living in the Upper Peninsula “U.P.” of Michigan.  **** Four Stars out of Five.  Truly Worthy.

The next book is Paper Towns, by John Green.  Again, no blurb, but I’ll try and synopsize a bit:  Quinton is in awe of, and probably in love with the girl who lives across the street, Margo.  They’re childhood best friends, but now they’re seniors in high school and they travel in different circles.  One night, Margo enlists Quinton’s aid in completing a list of eleven tasks.  They’re out all night creating mayhem (breaking at times, entering other times, but not breaking AND entering) helping Margo get revenge on people who have done her wrong.  Next day, Quinton sleepily goes back to school, but Margo disappears.  The rest of the story is all about how Quinton and company work to find Margo.  In the end, why she disappeared is probably the most important part of the story.  

John Green is a YA author who lives in Indianapolis.  He has a website http://www.sparksflyup.com and he and his brother started a blog/website called Nerdfighters.  They’re all over You Tube if you’re interested, and I really have enjoyed reading about him and getting a sense of what he’s all about.  This is the first time I’ve experienced one of his stories.  I’m looking forward to reading (or listening to) his other stories.  *** Three stars out of five, but not in a bad way.  In fact, it’s the newness factor that’s keeping him out of the four stars range, but I may give it a revision once I read An Abundance of Katherines.

Ordinarily, I don’t post until I’m actually done with a story, but it’s about 20 minutes until the end, and when you’re listening instead of reading, you can do two things at once.  Sometimes not so well, but lots of times it works great.  This is one of those times.  Audiobooks are cool.

February 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Abandonment

My Abandonment, by Peter Rock.  Wow.  Well, let me first thank Karen for recommending and then showing me how to use the downloadable audiobooks from the public library.  Wasn’t easy, but I finally got all the pieces assembled and downloaded and listened to my first one today.  This book had no blurb for me to type out for you, so I’ll synopsize a little.

This is the story of Caroline, a 13-year-old girl who was either kidnapped or recovered by a man who purports to be her father when she was about 8 years old.  The man is a Viet Nam veteran who has post-traumatic stress disorder.  He treats Caroline as his daughter, and there is no pedophile weirdness to deal with.  The thing is, they’re homeless, and since he’s paranoid, he teaches Caroline how to avoid detection by the authorities and they move from place to place, sometimes benignly, and sometimes with frightening results.  He has home-schooled Caroline (and we eventually learn that Caroline is not her real name, but she has been forsworn never to use her “other” name, and the reader is never made privy to that information) and taught her how to survive in the world.  It’s an odd tale, but I found myself really caught up in it.  This was an unabridged audiobook and it took about 11 hours to listen to it all.  It was a good 11 hours, though, and I’m glad I made the investment.

*** Three stars out of five, not for anything bad.   This is worth a read, at least one time.

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What She Wants

What She Wants, by Cathy Kelly.  This is a delight, and so unexpected that I’m almost transported.  I know that somewhere in my background Ireland figures in.  I’m ignorant of my actual family tree, and have lived with supposition about it for a long time.  I guess I’m going to have to go there to visit one of these days or die unfulfilled.  Not that I’m planning to die anytime soon, but one never knows.  Anyway, I cannot believe that I never even heard of Cathy Kelly before, and if it hadn’t been for a bizarre string of unlikely events, I still never would have.  Here – let me synopsize:  We had our friend Karen over for supper last Saturday (which in and of itself was remarkable, since we usually have C.H.A.O.S – or Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome, since we’re all a bunch of clutter bugs, but we actually overcame it for once) and during the course of the evening, Grace completed a rebuild of Karen’s computer.  As we sat on the couch watching a movie, Karen asked if I ever listened to audiobooks (which I do enjoy, since using audiobooks lets you surf the web, knit and have a story all at the same time – delightful!) and then quickly introduced me to the public library’s online lending room with audiobooks.  So the next day, I went on the public library’s site and registered for a new card and was told that I had to present myself at the local library with ID in hand to claim my new library card to complete my registration (which kind of annoyed me, because I don’t like to borrow books – giving them back has always been an issue for me), but as fate would have it, The Kid wanted to meet up with her newly revisited beau for a library date, so off we went.  Once there, I got my card and The Kid found a nice spot for her assignation.  I went to leave and saw the rack that my mother has been telling me about forever – it’s a share rack in the lobby of the library where people bring books they’ve read and that anyone can take home and not have to return.  Of course, the polite thing is to bring books to replenish the rack.  So I went to see what was there, and I found a lovely hardcover of a Heinlein that I don’t remember ever reading, but I knew Grace would enjoy to have, and a big, thick novel by a woman named Cathy Kelly.  I flipped it over and read the blurb, and was absolutely delighted to have found another Irish writer to look at.  Having looked at it over the past two days and devoured it with utter relish, I’m still delighted, and I”m looking forward to finding more of her stories.

Here’s the blurb:  “Hope Parker is married to gorgeous Matt, has two enchanting toddlers (even if little Millie wants to run the family), and a successful job.  But childhood insecurities keep Hope worrying that she’s not good enough.  When Matt suddenly decides to take a sabbatical from his high-paying  ad agency and move the family to a tiny cottage in County Kerry, she agrees despite crushing doubts.  Strangely, though, it is Matt who flounders in Ireland:  The book he’s always wanted to write is depressingly wooden, and the writer’s life is not all he’s dreamed of.  Hope, on the other hand, is flourishing in the village of Redlion, falling in with a wonderful pair of Irish women:  town pharmacist Mary-Kate and her niece, Delphine, who take Hope and another newcomer, the widowed Virginia Connell, under their wings.  But, with Matt growing coldly distant, and her older sister, single career woman Sam, who has always been there by phone and email, having crises of her own, Hope is starting to think she’s the only one in the family who’s keeping a straight head.  Then Christy De Lacy, the hunk who runs the local posh hotel, tries to sweep her off her feet.  Hope has spent her life trying to please others.  Now she needs to ask what she wants for herself…”.

Absolutely delightful.  **** Four stars and a need to restrain myself from running to The Book Rack to see if I can find her other books, since the inside cover says she has five more to read.  Holy cow – I love finding a new writer to read!  Yippee!!!!

February 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Plum Spooky

Plum Spooky, by Janet Evanovich is my latest completion, and yes I realize that means I’ve finished two books on the same day.  You have to understand that reading the Stephanie Plum series is like eating the most delectable eclair or _________________(fill in with whatever you know is too naughty and delicious for routine consumption).  I read them really fast, and enjoy them with a pang of guilt.  Stephanie Plum is an excellent character, and I hope that Ms. Evanovich doesn’t stop.  She’s up to sixteen of the regular stories now, and I think 4 of the between-the-numbers ones and she’s not stalled out yet.

Here’s the blurb:  “Trenton, New Jersey-based bounty hunter S tephanie Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity.  On her current most wanted list:  Martin Munch, a man whose body hasn’t made it out of the boys’ department at Macy’s but whose larger-than-life brain is the means to his business partner’s murderous ends.  Usually Stephanie gets her man.  This time, she gets Diesel, a bounty hunter whose special skills include tracking men and pleasing women.  Now it’s up to Stephanie and Diesel to hunt down Munch through the Pine Barrens and face the legendary Jersey Devil–prowling above the treetops in the dark of night–and find a way to survive cranberry bogs, sand in their underwear, too many monkeys to count…and, of course, each other.”

**** Four stars out of Five and I hope she never stops.  Guilty pleasures for sure, each and every one.  If you want to read the Stephanie Plum stories with me, I recommend you start with the first one, One for the Money, and go from there.  Always on the go-to.  Hell, she’s been on that shelf from the minute I found her.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

McKettricks of Texas: Tate

McKettricks of Texas:  Tate by Linda Lael Miller is just as excellent as I knew it would be.  I’m serious, she’s got a talent for telling a romantic story. 

Here’s the blurb:  “There are barely enough hours for divorced dad Tate McKettrick to run the Silver Spurs ranch, do the suit-and-tie thing for his business and run herd on his beloved six-year-old twin daughters.  But time stands still at the sight of Libby Remington.  When they were high school sweethearts, the wealthy McKettrick couldn’t convince Libby he loved her.  But now they’re both back in Blue River, Texas.  And cattle rustlers, a manipulative ex-wife and a killer stallion can’t keep him from trying again.  Libby has her hands full taking care of her mother–and running the Perk Up Coffee Shop.  Caffeine, she needs.  Tate McKettrick, with his blazing blue eyes and black hair?  No.  Oh, heck–yes.  But can they really hope for a second chance?”

****Four Stars out of Five – it goes into the archives of easily re-readables and will live on the book shelves as long as I have them.

Been a rough day, or I’d wax more rhapsodic.  Have a good one.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment