Thursday, April 28, 2011

Storm Prey by John Sandford

This volume of John Sandford's Prey series gives more attention to the criminals and to Lucas' wife, the surgeon Weather Karkinnen, is part of the team that is separating two Siamese twin babies. Lucas is not in total control of the murder case, he makes mistakes.
A non-too-smart Lebanese ER physician at Weather's hospital is abusing drugs and is out of money. He persuades some bungling low-level crooks to steal about a half million dollars worth of drugs from the hospital pharmacy. They do so, but, being incompetent, accidentally kill one of the pharmacists. While dashing away in a car, they pass Weather who is arriving for the twin's operation. Weather sees and is able to identify one of the bunglers. The crooks decide, among other dumb ideas, to kill Weather so that they would remain unidentified. "My friend," one of them says to another, "you are smarter than you look," and this emphasizes how dumb they really are.
Virgil Flowers, Lucas' assistant and the protagonist of three excellent Sandford novels, plays a role in the book, protecting Weather, but shows little or none of the flare that made him such an enjoyable character in the three Flowers books.
All in all, this mystery lacks the usual humor of the Sandford mysteries, the bungling mars our desire to identify with Lucas, and the story lacks suspense.
2 Stars

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog

With anthropology and especially Native Americans as a love of mine I picked my next book. I have not seen the movie and I don’t intend to.

Lakota Woman is a courageous, potent memoir based on Mary Crow Dog's life, as a predecessor in the American Indian Movement, the wife of a medicine man, and as a woman trying to keep hold of her native traditions, while still moving forward in life. This is the story of her journey, starting with her childhood, spent pent up in missionary school, to her troubled teen years, when she met the people who would change her life. Mary went on to fight at the second battle of Wounded Knee, in 1973, and actually gave birth during the stand off. Truly a remarkable woman, Mary tells her story with a raw honesty that most are hard pressed to find. The is an excellent book to serve as a foundation for understanding the continued need for American Indian and Native rights and I am surprised that it was not on my college reading list.

5 Stars

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Secret Lives of Baba Sega's Wives by Lola Shoneyin

The novel describes the tribulations of a polygamous family. Three of the wives are uneducated while the fourth has gone to and graduated college. Two of the first three are jealous and mean spirited but you don't find out the real reason until the end of the book. The ending left a lot to be desired.
2 stars

The Secret Lives of Baba Sega's Wives by Lola Shoneyin

Friday, April 22, 2011

Light Years: A Girlhood in Hawaii by Susanna Moore

Susanna Moore paints compelling pictures with words. She begins her chronicle with "No memory presents itself of my first acquaintance with the sea. It was always there, and I was always in it." What I soon discovered was that the pictures she paints are not so much of herself, but of the place she happened to be at the time, the oceans that surrounded it, and the books that kept her company.
Moore employs an bizarre arrangement for this book. Following each brief chapter is at least an equal number of pages filled with excerpts from classic stories of the sea, the regular companions of her youth. In her first chapter she says "One summer when my mother was recovering from a breakdown, we lived on the beach..." but never goes into any detail. Later she writes "I was overcome by the idea of shipwreck. I suspect the unconscious was doing its work. My family, while high-strung, was not a shipwreck quite yet, but I divined its coming." I battled through twenty pages of shipwreck tales from Daniel Defoe and John Fiske, anxious to get back to Susanna's own story, only to find that it never really happens.
Although I came away with a very beautiful picture of Hawaii, the "ravishing little world...redolent with romance" but also "an hierarchical, snobbish and quietly racist society," my depiction of the author remained unclear, and each chapter left me wanting more.

3 Stars

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is epic! I absolutely loved this book. The story is so intense you feel as if you are part of it all. I don’t think there was a time where I wanted to put it down!

The Hunger Games introduces us to a family who lives in the famished District 12 that lies in the nation of Panem. The main character, Katniss Everdeen (a hunter and gatherer), is an self-sufficient girl who has taken the task of caring for her family.

Katniss, I feel, was the perfect character. I loved that she was independent, but not hard, as she cares deeply for her family and her best friend Gale. She is a faultless example of what it’s like to be strong and have the will to survive.

Each district has a reaping in which names are picked at random. Those called are hauled off to be one of the contestants for the Capitol’s Hunger Games, a national TV show, (Reminiscent of the Running Man movie) in which each contestant fights to the death to be the last one standing! When Katniss’ younger sister Prim is called at the reaping, Katniss acts upon impulse to protect her sister and take her place in the games

Alongside Katniss fights Peeta Mallark, the boy who had helped her once before. Although they are not friends, there is an association, but all seems lost when the Hunger Games begin.

Peeta is a nice guy and quite likable. I liked him from the beginning, where we learn about Katniss’ first encounter with him. The way Collins describes him doesn’t make him this amazing, out of this world kind superhero. Peeta is an ordinary boy, who just likes Katniss, regards the games as a death sentence, but also has the will power to survive.

I had hope for both characters throughout this book and I couldn’t fathom what would happen next! That is why The Hunger Games kept me on edge at all times and it was just fantastic I recommend everyone read this book.

5 Stars !!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert

Essie, an eighty year old obituary journalist, battles to keep the small town's newspaper in circulation as she follows the story of the vanishing of a young girl, Lenore. The details surrounding the disappearance of the child are dreadfully uncertain. Her mother, Daisy, is a delusional woman who isn't truly dependable to get details from. Some even begin t doubt Lenore ever existed, but only in the mind of her fanatical parent. However, the journalistic mystery story is somehow keeping the little town alive in a depressed economy and attracting spectators from all over who have a wish to help find the young child. Then, rumors begin to surface about the small town being involved in printing the 11th and final book in a very popular book series. When, Lenore's mother Daisy begins broadcasting the reading of what might be a smuggled duplicate of the long awaited book, before its release date, the townsfolk begin to wonder if Lenore's disappearance was all just a fraud to promote the book.

The Coffins of Little Hope is something totally different, with a storyteller who is in her eighties the reader gets a completely different viewpoint. Death and dying, aging and living life to its fullest are all explored in this book. Even though many readers will experience a generational gap between themselves and the main character, Essie, her life challenges are still fun to read about. She's a strong willed with a determined disposition, who is easy to find laudable partly because of her freedom. Essie lives by herself and even still drives a car. Also, many subplots are found in this book, dealing with Essie's granddaughter Tiffany and her long lost mother returning to her life unexpectedly, and the quirky relationship Essie encourages with the author of the popular series are just a few.

The Coffins of Little Hope is a profound and multifaceted book and I would recommend this book to readers who pride themselves in finding hidden significance in books. I know somehow there is quite a bit more to this book than I was able to acquire from it. I read it as a story, taking it at face value, but I think there is another dimension waiting for another day.

4 Stars

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Little Prisoner by Jane Elliot

I had read all of Dave Pelzer's biography's and seeing as how Jane Elliot stated that A Child Called It gave her the strength and courage to write her story I thought I would pick it up. This biography was horrifying to say the least. It was gripping an I could not put it down. The only downfall is the end. It is sort of left on a cliffhanger and I would love an update.
5 stars!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

In the 8th book in the series, A Lesson in Secrets, Maisie is beginning to recuperate from the loss of her mentor and great friend, Maurice Blanche. He left Maisie most of his fortune, including his house outside of London, where Maisie grew up. Maisie is coming to terms with not only Maurice's death, but her new found prosperity.

In the book Maisie is recruited by Scotland Yard and the British Secret Service to go undercover at a small college in Cambridge. The College of St. Francis was established and run by Greville Liddicote, a former author of children's books and well known peace lover. One of Liddicote's books was banished in England during and after the war because it supposedly caused a mass desertion due to its pacifistic nature. And with the rise of the Nazi party in Germany causing much stir on the continent, the secret service and the Yard want to find out if there are any rumblings going on at the small college.

Pretending to be a philosophy professor Maisie ingratiates herself into campus life and finds that things are certainly not as they appear.

In A Lesson in Secrets, Maisie's relationship with James Compton grows. Though I wish Compton was in the story more, we were at least able to see Maisie's longing for Compton the longer he was away from her. Now Maisie must learn to have a serious relationship and a profession that at times can be dangerous.

As WWII looms in the all to near future, I'm looking forward to what Winspear will do with our fearless investigator. It can't come fast enough.

4 Stars

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fast Track by Fern Michaels

Fast Track was well written but it reminded me a little too much of Charlies Angels. It was a quick read and enjoyable but very predictable. Sorry the review is short but it was not that impressionable.
3 Stars

Real Vampires Have Curves by Gerry Bartlett

This is book one in the series. Wildly entertaining. One of the best vampire romance novels I've read in recent history. Glory, our heroin, has been a vampire for a very very long time. She was turned by the love of her life, Jeremiah, who has an on-again off-again relationship. She decided to move to Austin and open up a vintage clothing store when the killings start. A hunter is out to kill as many vampires as possible and wear their fangs as a badge of honor. Glory learns to get in touch with her vamp side, block bad boys from reading her mind, and dress with the best fashion sense possible. A super fun, fast read.
4 Stars

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Restricted: A Novel of Half Truths by Jennifer Kinsel

I received this book from the author herself and I am so glad that I did. I have many, many, many books and this has been one of the best I have read. Writing a book about a touchy subject is always hard. Jennifer Kinsel took her personal experience with anorexia and created a fiction book about it from her own point of view.  

Erin, the main character is dealing with self esteem issues which lead her to control on of the few things she can and that is her weight. Erin goes through intensive Outpatient Therapy twice until she finally discovers her key to handling her disease and getting better. 

5 stars!!!! 
Thank you Jennifer!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Apparently City Of Glass was supposed to be the end of the Mortal Instruments trilogy but after finishing the three I am happy to find out there is going to be another book. I want more and I want it now!

Clary finally knows how to save her mom. It's what she has been praying and hoping for over the last weeks. All she has to do is find the antidote.

City Of Glass was the longest book in the series and I was up until three in the morning drawing out the conclusion as long as I could. I was drawn into the world of the Shadowhunters and Downworlders and I lost track of time. The pressure between the characters and the battles that were either raging or building, drove me to keep reading. I couldn't figure out where the book was going and I loved it.

I gave the first two book 4 stars BUT City Of Glass is the best of the books so far but I have very high hopes for City Of Fallen Angels

5 Stars