Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Narrows

456 pages

This is the tenth in Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series, but the first I've read (first of any Connelly books, by the way)
Harry Bosch's friend's widow contacts him because she suspects foul play in his death. In privately investigating the circumstances, Harry meets Rachel Walling an FBI agent who has been called back to Las Vegas to help investigate a series of killings that seem to be the work of an ex-FBI agent/serial killer known as The Poet. The public thinks The Poet is dead, but the FBI was never sure. Now they are certain he is the killer - again. The book is interesting, but not a real page-turner. I didn't find that I cared about the characters, just the plot.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

320 pages

Chinese-American Henry Lee's wife has just died of cancer when he learns that items stored in the reopening Panama Hotel are believed to be from Japanese-American families interned during WWII. The book goes back and forth in time to the days preceeding the evacuation of his Japanese-American friend. The story is very predictable and unbelievable in the coincidences that occur. I only recommend this book for its historical accounts of how Japanese-American families' lives were upended.

Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn
768 pages

I finally read the fourth book in the Twilight series, and I really enjoyed it. SPOILER ALERT. Bella and Edward marry, and Bella gets pregnant on their honeymoon. The fetus grows at an alarming rate and almost kills Bella. That is what 'necessitates' her becoming a vampire. Jacob imprints on the baby Renesme, and life is good as the vampires and werewolves have a common goal - protecting Renesme... until the Voltori (sp?) show up.

The Hunger Games

384 pages

Okay, so I'm the last person to read The Hunger Games. I doubt anyone on this blog needs a review, but here's a short one. Twelve districts must annually send a boy and a girl to The Hunger Games in retribution for their failed attempt to take over the Capitol. Katniss and Peeta are from the same district and must fight each other and the kids from the other districts to the death. The story covers the hoopla before the games as the contestants are made ready, but most of the book is about the actual games, and I found it very interesting! I liked this book as an adult, but I would have loved it as a teen - the intended audience.

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck
341 pages

The men up in the Story Bureau begin a story, which sprites deliver to the true adventurers. The adventurers take the story start, and head off into the Land of Stories, where they will live the story out till it's end. Then the adventurer returns to the Bureau, and recounts his adventure so that it may be made into a fairy tale. But one storymaster, Ormestone, is not happy with someone always taking off to finish his stories...the endings would be so much better if the Bureau would let him finish his own creations. So he sets off to destroy the Trueheart boys, the last in the line of true adventurers. When Tom's six brothers fail to return from their journeys, the twelve-year-old must set off on his own, on his very first adventure.

Loved this book. Had so many classics, such as the Frog Prince, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, with a new exciting twist.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chasing Orion by Kathryn Lasky

Chasing Orion by Kathryn Lasky
392 pages

Wow! Super heavy book for juvenile fiction! Usually I have read book that have two or three conflicts. This books was chock full...almost too full.

1. The next door neighbor girl is in an iron lung. Georgie seriously wants the approval of this true beauty, but she expects she may be evil.

2. Georgie has a new friend after moving to a new neighborhood. But she is really weird, and she wonders if she will be cast as weird too.

3. Georgie doubts there is a God. But she thinks about him all the time.

4. Georgie's favorite person is her older brother, but she is losing him to the iron lung girl.

5. There family has very little money, and they are worried about scholarships, but she has plenty of money to do these amazing dioramas, or Little Worlds.

6. Georgie is meticulously checking herself for polio, but is constantly bored out of her mind wishing she could go to the movies or the pool, which in 1952 Indiana is almost a death wish.

7. They make all these improvements on the iron lung during this time, but is it morally wrong to invent a contraption to prolong a miserable life.

In all honesty, I found this book crowded and chaotic, just too much all at once, although it did peak my interest in the polio epidemic. I actually found myself going online looking for more information. They even had iron lungs in which women could give birth to babies.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins



Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins



Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

426 pages
7 hours

Though it dragged in a few places and I felt that the author was making a couple of characters be a bit too coy, I enjoyed the novel.  My next read will the the sequel.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar

195 pages
2 hours

I read this book because my youngest child recommended it.  From the cover, I thought it would be a silly (as in humorous) book.  But it was actually silly and serious.  I liked it very much!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White

338 pages
4 hours

Just the way I like spooky books -- only a little spooky.  Figured out the mystery about 2/3 of the way in.  Has a Fairly predictable cliff-hanger but I still want to read the next book and find out what happens.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Inkheart book.jpg

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
534 pages

One day a strange man shows up outside Meggie's house. When she goes down to talk to her father, Mo, she is stunned to find that he knows the man who goes by the weird name of Dustfinger. And the adventure begins. Loved this book.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Family Blessings by LaVyrle Spencer

454 pgs
 7.5 hrs

Another Spencer winner.

When Lee Reston loses her oldest son, Greg, in a motorcycle accident, she turns in her grief to police officer, Chris Lallek, Greg's best friend and roommate. As their friendship grows, they must face the difficulties perceived by society and her family because she is fifteen years older than Chris.

The Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason

349 pages
4 hours 20 minutes

I think I wasn't in the mood for the pace of this novel.  It is nicely written but I felt I was slogging through it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Breaker's Reef by Terri Blackstock



Murder and mystery continue in Book Four of the Cape Refuge series A famous mystery writer has just moved to Cape Refuge when a teenage girl is found murdered. Sheila Caruso--ex-con, mother to Sadie and Caleb, and resident of Hanover House--is working for the writer when she discovers that a scene in one of his novels matches the crime scene.
When Police Chief Cade and Blair Owens discover a second dead teenager--mirroring a murder in another of the eccentric writer's books--Cade is drawn into a web of trickery and deceit. Evidence turns up in Cade's own truck, and suddenly he becomes the number-one suspect.
Cade tries to clear his name, but when eighteen-year-old Sadie Caruso disappears, tensions mount to a fever pitch. Can Cade find the real killer before Sadie winds up dead? Is the novelist a demented killer, or a hapless victim? And what does Sadie's own mother have to do with the crimes?
Secrets are uncovered, while lessons are learned about the sins of the father being visited upon his children. Will the consequences of Sheila's life be fatal, or is there redemption and mercy for her and her children?
'Chief Matthew Cade rarely considered another line of work, but news of the dead teenage girl made him long for a job as an accountant or electrician---some benign vocation that didn't require him to look into the eyes of grieving parents.'

River's Edge by Terri Blackstock



The man Lisa Jackson loved most may have betrayed her.
Another used deception to manipulate her.
But did one of them kill her?
Ben Jackson is sure to defeat Jonathan Cleary in Cape Refuge's mayoral race, until his wife turns up missing the day before a major debate. Suspecting foul play, Police Chief Cade launches an island-wide search. But it takes a psychic's 'vision' to point police to the riverside---and Lisa's body.
The evidence implicating Ben in his wife's murder is convincing. But as a local scandal escalates into a national media circus, Cade's instincts tell him to dig deeper. And he's not the only one. Blair Owens of the Cape Refuge Journal is using her investigative skills to uncover a rat's nest of dirty secrets---and more than one person with a motive for murder. But Blair's methods are jeopardizing her relationship with Cade, and an unsolicited prediction from the psychic only adds to her troubles. Is the man's so-called gift truly from God, as he claims?
Did Lisa's murder have anything to do with the mayoral race, her husband's alleged affair, or her decade-long struggle with infertility? Whoever the killer is, he's about to take his evasion of justice to the next, lethal level. And someone else is going to die.

Southern Story by Terri Blackstock



Sequel to the #1 best-selling Cape Refuge
First a dead stranger. Now a missing Police Chief.
Did Chief Cade run off to elope . . . or has he met with foul play?
The body in the morgue had no ID. No one knew who he was or where he came from when he walked out in front of Cade's car. And when Cade learns he had a gunshot wound before he was struck, finding his identity becomes even more urgent.
Then Cade vanishes. Authorities discover the victim's name, and the woman Cade was last seen with turns out to have been the dead man's wife.
Speculation abounds about Cade's relationship to the woman and his part in the victim's death. His disappearance makes him look even more suspicious.
But Blair Owens doesn't believe the rumors. Something has happened to Cade, and she's determined to find him. Saving Cade's life will take faith in a God whom Blair has always doubted---but he may be her only hope.

Cape Refuge by Terri Blackstock



Mystery and suspense combine in this first book in an exciting new 4-book series by best-selling author Terri Blackstock. Thelma and Wayne Owens run a bed and breakfast in Cape Refuge, Georgia. They minister to the seamen on the nearby docks and prisoners just out of nearby jails, holding services in an old warehouse and taking many of the 'down-and-outers' into their home. They have two daughters: the dutiful Morgan who is married to Jonathan, a fisherman, and helps them out at the B and B, and Blair, the still-single town librarian, who would be beautiful if it weren't for the serious scar on the side of her face.
After a heated, public argument with his in-laws, Jonathan discovers Thelma and Wayne murdered in the warehouse where they held their church services. Considered the prime suspect, Jonathan is arrested. Grief-stricken, Morgan and Blair launch their own investigation to help Matthew Cade, the town's young police chief, find the real killer. Shady characters and a raft of suspects keep the plot twisting and the suspense building as we learn not only who murdered Thelma and Wayne, but also the secrets about their family's past and the true reason for Blair's disfigurement.

The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

"My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky." Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams."
Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. The Alchemist is such a book. With over a million and a half copies sold around the world, The Alchemist has already established itself as a modern classic, universally admired. Paulo Coelho's charming fable, now available in English for the first time, will enchant and inspire an even wider audience of readers for generations to come.
The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.
The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, above all, following our dreams.

The Death Cure by James Dashner


The Death Cure by James Dashner
325 pages
Final book in the Maze Runner Trilogy

I loved Maze Runner, and didn't like the second book The Scorch Trials at all. Didn't even plan on reading the final book, I disliked the second so much. But then it started calling me from the shelf, and I couldn't let it go unfinished. Surprisingly, I really liked this book. Tied up the loose ends. I don't like to say too much about sequels, in fear that I may give something up. But...Thomas and his friends are given the choice to get their memories back, in hopes that once more they will understand why WICKED has done what they have done. Some choose to get their memories back, but some at this point would rather not even know. But Thomas isn't given that choice. He is the Final Candidate, supposedly the only one that can save humanity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

375 pages
5.75 hours

Wow!  What a great retelling of an old folk song.  Werlin is brilliant.  This was one of those books where I could barely finished reading pages because I wanted to turn to the next page to find out what happened.  Fantastic!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Is What I Did by Ann Dee Ellis

176 pages
2 hours

I find this book suspenseful while waiting for Logan to reveal what he did.  But I found the end contrived.

Aye Do or Die by Candy Calvert

I read 113 pages of this 255 page book described as a mystery.

You couldn't pay me to read any more!  This author is a terrible writer who's segues are so jerky you think that you missed a page.  This phrase (supposedly from an ER nurse) tells it all:

"My stomach fluttered and I wasn't sure if it was from the rolling seas beneath us, or the fact that Sam had just taken hold of my hand."

Puh - lease!

Matched by Ally Condie

369 pages
5 hours

This book sooo much reminds me of Brave New World.  I think it's fantastic that Condie has created a version of it for a new generation.  Even though the ending is more optimistic than Huxley's book (how could it not be), I can't wait to read the next book.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bullyville by Francine Prose


Bullyville by Francine Prose
260 pages

Bart stays home sick from school one day. He is at that weird age where he can stay home for a couple of hours, but the whole day is a different his mom stays home with him. So she wasn't at work the day the planes flew into the towers. He saved her life. His dad, however, was not so lucky. He becomes famous, The Miracle Boy...the boy who lost his dad, but saved his mom. The local prep school, infamous for its bullies, offers him a full blown scholarship to help in their time of grief. Bart goes along, trying to start a new chapter in his life, trying to make his mom smile again. But it triggers the worst year of his life.
Loved this book...there was no life or death moment, looking on the story...but Francine Prose captures the despair of a boy who is bullied and tormented. I remember being this age...and these events would have seemed like the end of the world.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris

305 pages
7 hours

There's nothing new under the sun.  This was well-written but I found it slow-paced and the ending was predictable.

Off-Color by Janet McDonald

Off-Color by Janet McDonald
163 pages

A story about a girl growing up without her father. Her mother loses her job, so they end up moving to the projects, with a surprise twist on the identity of her dad. The only redeeming quality of this book was that it was only a couple of hours down the drain. I felt that the author tried way to hard...she would have the character texting acronyms, and then every time actually say what it meant in the characters thoughts. There was a lot of name dropping of famous celebrities popular at the time of publication, who now, only a few years later are obsolete. My suggestion? Weed this book now due to outdated material. Very juvenile writing...this is a teen book, but should be juvenile fiction.

Habibi by Craig Thompson

655 pages
5 hours

Not exactly my cup of tea but a striking tale.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson

The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
325 pages

A very fun read, that could go towards juvenile fiction or young adult fiction. The strong belief in the magic of Disneyland, good and bad magic, brings the characters to life, good and bad characters. Finn, and the other kids used to create hollogram hosts must find a way to defeat the witches, pirates, and other villains before they take over the loveable park. Kind of a mix between fantasy and scifi.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead

The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead
385 pages
sequel to The Skin Map, 2nd book in the Bright Empires series

Amazing follow up to The Skin Map. The story continues, following  Kit and Mina through their exploration of ley leaping, a form of time travel. As they search for the map to the different dimensions, they learn a lot about themselves, and a lot about the way they judge others. The Bone House is truly beautifully written.