Debh2010's Blog

Books and Knitting – go figure

Another Big Catching up session

Last week, an old friend passed away, and though I’m sorry she and I hadn’t been friends for many years, my mind has been pretty busy remembering all the really fun times we shared.  I’m not going to go on and on about those times, but we were all in our twenties, footloose and fairly fancy-free and the fun we had was often a clear reflection of those conditions.  Today I got to have lunch with some other old friends and we had a really good chance to talk.  I’m not sure what great revelations came to pass, but I hope they enjoyed the conversation as much as I did.  Really good friends are a precious gift, even, and maybe especially, when you don’t see them often enough.

Sometimes, I let this blog start to feel like a burden, but I do eventually remember that it is a blessing of mine to be able to read and appreciate the works of others, and a blessing to be too busy to get it all blogged efficiently.  I thought I was about 20 books behind, but it turns out that I’m back by “only” sixteen titles since the last time I blogged.  Oh, and I have one dud to tell you about, but it will be quick and painless.  As usual when I’m behind, I’m just going to give you the bare bones, but enough for you to figure out if you’re even interested in reading it.

The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown.  This is another adventure of symbologist Robert Langdon, and it’s a really good one.  If you liked The Da Vinci Code or Angels & Demons, you’ll like this one too.  I did.  **** stars.

The Keepers, by Heather Graham.  This is the first of a three part series, and the other parts are going to be written by different people.  The first part is a good story about supernatural creatures and people, though you need to have a firm grasp on how to suspend your disbelief, as it will need suspended.  *** stars, just like all other series work in progress. 

The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners, by Luanne Rice.  She just keeps the hits coming.  Ms. Rice really nails the tender spots when it comes to family drama.  In this book, she explores what it means when a mother leaves her children.  Most excellent – poignant, wrenching at times, and very touching, blended with enough humor and interesting stuff that you don’t go screaming off to make it stop.  ***1/2 stars.  I really like her stuff.

Part of the Bargain, by Linda Lael Miller and To Wed and Protect by Carla Cassidy.  After just a short time reading this blog, you know that LLM is one of my favorite all time authors and that she writes romance.  Harlequin has apparently developed this marketing of two novels in one book to pair bestselling writers with emerging ones to get both of them better circulation.  Well, whatever.  Ms. Cassidy’s story is good enough to stand on it’s own.  Both of them were very well written and enjoyable to read.  *** each.

Blood Promise – A Vampire Academy Novel, by Richelle Mead.  I love the stories about Dimitri and Rose.  I like them as much as the stories about Bella and Edward.  In fact, I think the Vampire Academy stories would and would have made a better movie series than the Twilight Saga.  Of course, they’re not paying me for my opinion, but I wish they would!  *** for ongoing series work, but I don’t care, as long as she keeps writing.

DUD ALERT – Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Ancestors of Avalon, by Diana L. Paxson.  OMG.  Snore.  OMG.  I have a famous capacity for my ability to suspend my disbelief and read just about anything with a critical appreciation.  I couldn’t read this book.  The dust jacket assures us that she’s written other books in the Avalon series, but rather than encourage me, it just makes me cringe.  -1/2*

The Loop, by Nicholas Evans.  This sad accounting of the battle between wolves and ranchers and the people caught between the two.  Mr. Evans is good, but some of the details of this tale are almost too sickening for a thinking person to read.  Still I did read it, and it was a worthy investment of my time – and I learned some things about wolves that I didn’t already know.  I know lots of stuff, so that was nice.
*** stars

The Divide, by Nicholas Evans.  Family dynamics to the fore!  Mr. Evans is a smart writer and he manages to address topics that combine family interactions and social drama. ***1/2 stars.

Sandcastles, by Luanne Price.  I’m actually accounting for these in the reverse order that I read them.  I just realized that.  Anyway, I liked this one, too.  This is about a drastic family secret and how it impacts every member of the family.  Most excellent, though I have to admit I saw the ending coming.  Still, I’d read it again.  ***1/2 stars.

When I’m With You, by Linda Lael Miller and JoAnn Ross.  This is a collection of four novellas, and I didn’t think I was going to like them.  Very sexy, and in the case of one of the stories, TOO sexy.  I just couldn’t read a story about B.O.B. the battery-operated boyfriend.  I am no prude, but I just didn’t have the appreciation for that particular story.  The JoAnn Ross stories were good, and I had never read any of her stuff before.  **1/2 stars.

Richochet, by Sandra Brown.  This was a good one.  I’d read it before, but it had been a while and when my friend, Kim, sent me a lovely book care package, this was one of the ones she sent.  This is an excellent cop story about judging a book by it’s cover.  It’s suspenseful and fast paced.  Very good read.  ***1/2 stars.

Deadly Gamble, by Linda Lael Miller.  This is in a series written by LLM about a female private investigator named Mojo Sheepshanks.  I nearly didn’t read it because I thought the name sounded too stupid.  That would have been a shame, since it turned out to be a really good story.  *** stars for ongoing series work.

Smoke Screen, by Sandra Brown.  Another from the Kim Collection, with my grateful thanks.  There are five more in that group coming up and I enjoyed them all, except one and it comes next in my list.  It all starts with a woman waking up in bed with a dead man – goes to hell, but in a good way, from there.  Tight plot, fast moving – excellent way to spend a day or so with a book-friend.  ***1/2 stars.

Triptych, by Karin Slaughter.  I guess I must be getting more squeamish in my advancing age, but I just could not read about this serial murderer.  The manner of death and desecration of the victims was really just too much for my stomach.  I didn’t get very far and I had to stop.  It was literally making me ill.  *1/2 stars – might have been more, but I couldn’t read it.

Sworn to Silence, by Linda Castillo.  THANK YOU, KIM!!  This writer has moved firmly into my preferred list and I will have to find more of her work to appreciate.  I was so drawn in with this story, and though I was glad the end came when it did, I was elated to see that she has another one in the pipeline.  It will be mine.  Sworn to Silence tells the story of Kate Burkholder, a small town Chief of Police who grew up Amish and how crimes from the past, a family secret and the crimes of the present put her and the people she cares about into a great deal of danger.  Way excellent read.  If you like police stories, strong female stories, family dynamic stories – read this!!  **** stars and that doesn’t happen much when I know it’s a series book.

The Keepsake, by Tess Gerritsen.  When I realized that this story was about a mummy (or it started out that way) I almost put it down.  I don’t , as a rule, like “dead guy” stories, but I really don’ t like mummies.  It’s not the standard phobia, but I think it might take too long to explain in this short space.  Suffice it to say that I will never drive to Chicago to see a King Tut exhibit, and I hope I never find myself in a situation where it would be rude of me NOT to look at the dead guy or the dead guy’s stuff.  Oh, holy shit, I feel a rant coming on, but I’ll try and thwart it.  This is a good detective story.  If I tell you much more, it will wreck the book, but things did not turn out the way they looked at first, and I would recommend this novel for those of you who like detective/cop fiction. *** stars.

Sullivan’s Island – A Low Country Tale, by Dorothea Benton Frank.  Well, well, well.  Thanks, Kim.  Sometimes, when I read a writer’s first published novel, I hope they didn’ t quit their day job, but not for this woman.  This is not Kim’s usual kind of story to read, and yet I am getting the sense that Kim’s taste in fiction is broadening – either that or I’m not pigeon-holing her unfairly as a reader any more.  Whatever the case, this is a fantastic work of fiction.  I loved it.  I laughed and cried.  I was angry in spots.  I was ready for justice to be done and delighted when it all came together.  Seriously, seriously good story.  I’m going to have to look for more work by her.  It would be a shame if she shot her wad with this one.  She’s got a voice.  ***3/4 stars.

The Bodies Left Behind, by Jeffery Deaver.  READ THIS BOOK!  There, I just said it.  Read it.  It’s scary and creepy and just absolutely excellent.  I always think I “like” Jeffery Deaver, and then I go about my business and I read other things, and his stuff doesn’t jump out at me on the bookshelves, and then I pick one up.  I can honestly say that once done, I can barely put it down to get anything else done.  This one is exceptionally good.  ****1/2 stars.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print.  May I remind you, at this time, that I do not care if you choose the back of the cereal box, the newspaper or the toilet paper wrapper – READ, READ, READ!!!

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