Debh2010's Blog

Books and Knitting – go figure

Charlie St. Cloud, et al…. Catching up. What can I say?

Sorry I’m so behind, but at least I’m going to keep on with the blogging part of my New Year’s Resolution.  This is going to be a bunch though, since I’ve been reading like a crazy person the past two weeks.  I got a lovely share box from Kim in Florida, and a very nice armful of borrows from a new friend, Jessica.   Thanks to both ladies!  This is going to be a quick and dirty kind of list with just a title and a few words, if that, and my rating.  If you want to know more about a specific title, please let me know and I’ll be glad to share.  I will, I promise.

First up:  Plum Spooky, Plum Lovin’, and Plum Lucky, by Janet Evanovich.  These are the “between-the-numbers” stories, and they’re lots of fun.  *** each and well worth reading if you haven’t.  Just light and summery.

McKettricks of Texas:  Austin, by Linda Lael Miller.  This is the last in the series about three Texas brothers and their romantic lives.  It’s been a very entertaining series, and Ms. Miller remains one of my favorite authors.  ***1/2 stars for the series.

How to Deal, by Sarah Dessen, which is really not the title of any book that she’s written, but rather the title of the movie that was inspired by two of her novels, Someone Like You and That Summer.  Ms. Dessen seems to get her finger on the pulse of young people, and she seldom fails to strike a chord for me.  This book houses both of the named novels.  If you’re new to Sarah Dessen and you enjoy stories about friendship, this would be a good place to start.   **** four stars.  Yep.

The Cotton Queen, by Pamela Morsi.  This is a new author for me, and I thank Kim for the introduction.  This is a very good story about the differences between and the love that binds a mother and her daughter.  Most excellent storytelling.  I was impressed.  I will have to look for more by Ms. Morsi.  ***3/4 stars.  Well, worth the read.

Pay it Forward, by Catherine Ryan Hyde.  The movie for this book was excellent, right up to the last five minutes when it all fell apart.  I’m not sure why I never thought to look for the novel before, but when I saw it on the shelf at a used place, I took it down with anticipation.  I just knew that it couldn’t have played out quite that way in the novel.  I was right.  The book is much better, though the movie was excellent in its own right.  If you have only seen the movie, I strongly recommend finding a copy of the book and having a go at it.  It’s good, if a bit different from the movie.  Very good.  **** Four stars.  I don’t go handing those babies out lightly, you know.  Ms. Hyde did herself proud with this story.

Charlie St. Cloud, by Ben Sherwood, originally published as The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud.  Of course I was inspired to read this book due to the television commercials about the movie.  I’m always more inclined to buy a book than sit in a theatre.  Now, having read the book, I’m thinking I might have to go get offered the senior discount that always honks me off.  I might.  I will certainly watch it on cable.  Here’s the thing:  The commercials are only giving a smell of what the story’s about.  If they do the novel justice, and I think they do according to the author’s notes at the end, the commercials are not going to do much more than drum up support from the Zac Efron fans.  I am very pleased that they cast him as Charlie St. Cloud, and I can see with no difficulty how well he’d be able to bring that character to life.  My reaction to the novel was:  It’s not what I thought it would be about.  Actually, not at all, but I liked what I found way more than what I anticipated.  Very, very good book.  Glad they’ve made a movie about it.  **** Four stars.  I’ve been a very lucky gal lately.

Welcome to the World Baby Girl, by Fannie Flagg.  For those of you not familiar with Fannie Flagg, you might want to consider nudging up next to her from time to time.  She’s great.  Most folks have read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, if they’ve read her at all.  Every time I find something she’s written, I get it.  She’s funny, folksy, down-home and irresistable to me.  Elmwood Springs seems like a great place to live.  Read this one.  Seriously.  **** Four Stars.  Didn’t I say I’d been on a roll?  Very lucky lately.

Third Degree, by Greg Iles.  Whoa.  Good novel.  This guy has got a twisted streak, but I like him.  This story was fast-paced, suspenseful and freakishly good about keeping the reader from anticipating what was coming next.  Very nicely put together.  Thanks to Kim for introducing this guy’s work to me (not with this one, but before).  ***1/2 stars.  He’ll get to four star range – he’s that kind of writer.

Love You Hate You Miss You, by Elizabeth Scott.  This was a tough book to read in more than one spot, but it leaves you on an up note.  I’m thinking it might have been a tough book to write, but she’s done a good job.  Angst can sometimes get boring to read and to write, but Ms. Scott’s kept the pace up and doesn’t let you get mired in the mess.  Good story, good book.  *** Three solid stars.

You ever read a series and wish it would go on and on until the author dies or you get sick of it?  Well, don’t do that, since I’ve done both, and it never comes out good, but Nora Roberts is a master at putting together characters that I consistently want MORE of.  So it is with the In The Garden Trilogy:  Blue Dahlia, Black Rose and Red Lily.  OMG.  For romance, she’s one of my favorites, but when you add in her love for the slightly weird, she just leaps way up the stack.  This novel is about the Harper family:  old Memphis money, plenty of tragedy and scandal, but mostly strong men and women doing the best they can to make their way in the world.  LOTS of great information about flowers in this series.  Ms. Roberts is super at research.  Absolutely super.  ***1/2 stars.  Very nice.  Thanks for sharing them, Jessica.

So that’s been my couple of weeks in books – hope yours has been similar.  READ, READ, READ!!!  It’s good for you, and it’s an instant vacation.

Happy Reading Everybody!

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August 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Loch

The Loch, by Steve Alten.  This is one of the best monster-type scary stories I’ve read in years.  I found it at the Goodwill and it was worth the entirety of the 69 cents I paid for it, and then some.  I had read MEG, also by Steve Alten a number of years ago, and though I was already creeped out from wanting to do more than wade in any ocean from Jaws (both the movie and the book by Peter Benchley), MEG sufficiently reinforced that creepedoutedness to a point where I doubt I’m going to wade much deeper than the tops of my feet.  And now there are great white sharks off the eastern seaboard.  Go figure.  Anyway….

This was a good book and very worth reading.  Here’s the back-of-the-book:  “Loch Ness holds secrets, ancient and deadly.  Does a monster inhabit its depths, or is it just a myth?  Why, after thousands of reported sightings and dozens of expeditions, is there still no hard evidence?

Marine biologist Zachary Wallace knows, but the shock of his near-drowning as a child on Loch Ness has buried all memories of the incident.  Now, a near-death experience suffered while on expedition in the Sargasso Sea has caused these long-forgotten memories to resurface.  Haunted by vivid night terrors, stricken by a sudden fear of the water, Zach finds he can no longer function as a scientist.  Unable to cope, his career all but over, he stumbles down a path of self-destruction…until he receives contact from his estranged father…a man he has not seen since his parents divorced and he left Scotland as a boy.

Angus Wallace, a wily highlander who never worked an honest day in his life, is on trial for murdering his business partner.  Only Zachary can prove his innocence — if he is innocent, but to do so means confronting the nightmare that nearly killed him seventeen years earlier.

Incorporating the latest research and “new evidence,” that leads to real answers concerning the monster’s identity, best-selling author Steve Alten weaves a tale of horror about the most publicized and controversial creature ever to exist.”

***1/2 stars.  Very good story.  I don’t usually read scary things, but since I’m never planning to swim in Loch Ness, it’s not likely to be something that haunts me personally.

Happy Reading Everybody!

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stephanie Plum Marathon Week

I’m just now getting ready to read Sizzlin’ Sixteen, by Janet Evanovich.  I have already sent in my suggestion for the title of the seventeenth novel and I’m excited to be able to read the sixteenth.  This past week I have read all of the Stephanie Plum series from #5 through #15.  I’ve had a blast.  Not sure what I’m going to read next week, but this has been fun.  I’m not going to go all out with a synopsis and so forth.  If you haven’t picked up the first one, the rest of the stories won’t make sense.  I read these for fun, pure and simple.  Great summer reading – action and spice and plenty of humor.  These are some of the funniest things I’ve read on a regular basis.  I’ve probably read the series ten times – seems I re-read them when I’m ready to read the new one.  I do that.  I don’t care if it’s weird, LOL.

Just read.  It’s good for you and will make you grow taller and stronger.  I know.  I’m about as tall and strong as you can get.  Have a good one!

August 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A week’s worth in books

So, I have this nice shiny new job and I’m too tired when I get home to do much on this old time-waster-box.  It hasn’t slowed me down in the reading department, but I haven’t taken the time to blog much.  Seems to me we last left off at The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum.  We pick up a little after that.  I’m just doing quick synopses today, no lengthy analysis.  If you see something you like, I’ll be glad to talk to you about it later.  Here  we go.

After a month of thinking that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling,  was gone forever, I found it misfiled with other hardback books.  This is the one where Harry meets his godfather, Sirius Black and gets to know Remus Lupin and ride on a hippogriff.  Most excellent installment.  Oh, and Hermione figures big in this one too.  I will be proceeding on, but I have been taking books to work and I don’t like to leave a hardback book in the car in this heat, so I’ll save those for home reading only.

Next up was the first two of the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.  Vampire Academy came out in 2007 followed by Frostbite in 2008.  There are more in this series now, but I haven’t had the money to just go get them.  I’m also tardy in taking another trip to the used book store, and if I weren’t such a wastrel, I could probably find what I like at the library, but we are not going there.  I don’t like to give them back.  There I said it.  And, since I’m not big on stealing from the public library, I just won’t borrow from them at all.  Might sound stupid, but I mean it.  The Vampire Academy series is about teenage vampires and their protectors.  It has more mythology and specific terminology and is somewhat different from other vampire stories.  The characters are very engaging and the story lines are pretty good.  I like this series a lot.

Moving on:  I have already read the first four of the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series:  One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to get Deadly and Four to Score.  I am about to crack open the fifth installment, so I figured I’d better get these ones catalogued before I was buried in loose books.  If you are new to the Stephanie Plum series and really enjoy reading funny stories about snappy, quirky, sweet and crazy people, along with a generous smattering of violent crime and general disgustingness, the Stephanie Plum series could be right up your alley.  I have really enjoyed reading them, and this is probably my sixth or seventh journey.  She’s up to Sizzling Sixteen now, but I haven’t read that one.  I’ve been waiting for it to come out in paperback and then I will add it to my collection.  I would love to see movies made out of these books.  The potential for them to be hugely popular and very good is vast, but it would seriously depend on the casting.  I think I’d want Emma Roberts for the lead, but beyond that I’m at a loss.  I just don’t know enough of the twenty-something-aged actors these days to know who would be good to pick.  I do think that Emma Roberts could manage the role of Stephanie very well.

Okay, that was my reading journey for last week and we are rolling on…

Happy Reading, Everybody!

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