January 7th, 2010

Chaos Star

New Year, New Challenge

1. Jeff Lindsay, Dexter by Design, 285 pages, Thriller, Hardback, 2009.

The 4th book in this series about the loveable serial killer/blood splatter specialist who only kills bad guys finds Dexter returning from his honeymoon with Rita and settling into domestic life, including teaching his new step-children the Harry Path, the code of conduct his adoptive father taught him. At work, he finds Miami has a new criminal who likes to leave dead bodies as art – and who puts Dexter in the cross-hairs after he makes a snap judgment with deadly consequences. But now Dexter has a family to worry about, a fact this adversary has no problem exploiting.

I enjoyed the book – no more supernatural musings on the nature of the Dark Passenger, for one thing. I like the way the books have developed Rita’s children, very different from the Showtime adaptation of the series. But Dexter seems to be less a killer than a confused loner this time around. And it seems he isn’t likely to find a balance in his life any time soon. I look forward to the next book, due out sometime in the next year.
did you know you could fly?

(no subject)

Book #2 -- Clifford Chase, Winkie, 240 pages.

Er . . . I don't know what to say about this one. It's one of the most bizarre novels I've read in a long time. Best description I can think of is The Velveteen Rabbit meets Kafka's The Trial. Despite the sheer absurdity of it, it does have its moments of brilliance.

Progress toward goals: 1.9%

Books: 2/100 = 2.0%

Pages: 601/30000 = 2.0%

2009 Book List

cross-posted to 15000pages, 50bookchallenge, and gwynraven
Caleb- snug as a bug!

Book 1: Stones from the River

Stones from the River
Ursula Hegi
Historical fiction
525 pages
Returning to Burgdorf, the small German community she memorably depicted in Floating in My Mother's Palm, Hegi captures the events and atmosphere in the country prior, during and after WW II. Again she has produced a powerful novel whose chilling candor and resonant moral vision serve a dramatic story. With a sure hand, Hegi evokes the patterns of small-town life, individualized here in dozens of ordinary people who display the German passion for order, obedience and conformity, enforced for centuries by rigid class differences and the strictures of the Catholic church. The protagonist is Trudi Montag, the Zwerg (dwarf) who becomes the town's librarian; (she and most of the other characters figured in the earlier book). A perennial outsider because of her deformity, Trudi exploits her gift for eliciting peoples' secrets--and often maliciously reveals them in suspenseful gossip. But when Hitler ascends to power, she protects those who have been kind to her, including two Jewish families who, despite the efforts of Trudi, her father and a few others, are fated to perish in the Holocaust. Trudi is a complex character, as damaged by her mother's madness and early death as she is by the later circumstances of her life, and she is sometimes cruel, vindictive and vengeful. It is fascinating to watch her mature, as she experiences love and loss and finds wisdom, eventually learning to live with the vast amnesia that grips formerly ardent Nazis after the war. One hopes that Hegi will continue to depict the residents of Burgdorf--Germany in microcosm--thus deepening our understanding of a time and place.

I am so glad that we picked this one for our first book club read of the new year! The only reason that I did not give this book five stars is because it seemed to drag and lag on at the beginning and end of the book. There were times that I found Trudi to be annoying, honestly. However, I do not know how it is to grow up in that time period and to be like her, so I cannot say if her reactions to people/things is wrong, but I don't think she had a heathly outlook on things all of the time. If you are into pre-WWII and holocaust survival stories, then I highly recommend this book. I am now reading another book by Hegi, Floating in My Mother's Palm, in which Trudi plays a minor role.
Books, Reading

Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom

Book# 2 of 50; 616 of 15,000 Pgs by December 2010; 2nd Read
Title: Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom
Author: Julie Kenner
Genre: SciFi / Fantasy
Add'l Info: Paperback; 307 pages; Kate Connor, Demon Hunter Series (1 of 5 (so far)).
Synopsis:Collapse )

My Thoughts: Rating: 8 out of 10
Since I now own two more books in the series, I've decided to read the first 3 again. This is my second time reading this book, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. Kate's sarcastic wit, love of family, and (rusty) butt kicking abilities, are an odd but fun mix! Admittedly, some of the plot points are predictable, and I found the final scene in the book a bit lacking, but over all, Carpe Demon is a great introduction to Kate and the cast of characters that make up her life in San Diablo, California.

In Depth: I'm actually not going to do this part this time, as I don't think I can do so without possibly spoiling book 2 in the process. That's the drawback with knowing some of what's ahead.

Up Next: California Demon: The Secret Life of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom

X-Posted @:
As well as: 15000pages & harmonatrix
May also be x-posted @ books & readplease

First Book of 2010

Title: Last Night at the Lobster
Author: Stewart O'Nan
Genre: Drama
Grade: 5/5

Overview (taken from amazon.com):

The Red Lobster perched in the far corner of a run-down New England mall hasn’t been making its numbers and headquarters has pulled the plug. But manager Manny DeLeon still needs to navigate a tricky last shift with a near-mutinous staff. All the while, he’s wondering how to handle the waitress he’s still in love with, what to do about his pregnant girlfriend, and where to find the present that will make everything better.

Review: Collapse )


Collapse )


If you've previously read this book, or do decide to read it, and enjoy it, you might also want to read Snow Angels, also by Mr. O'Nan, it's just as good.
  • maribou

Last Morning

The Last Place on Earth, by Mike "Nick" Nichols
An incredibly stunning collection of photographs of wild places in Africa, published in a very large format (about 16" X 11.5") and with graceful framing text by the likes of David Quammen (who told me to seek out megatransect stuff in the first place) and Mike Fay (the originator of the Megatransect - the guy who Nichols and Quammen were following through the bush - more about him later because I'll be reading excerpts from his journals shortly). Amaaaaaaaaaazing. If you can ogle this you should. As an aside, I do not know what it says about me that I generally find myself most moved by photos of reptiles and amphibians... but this book has some keen shots of those, in addition to the equally gorgeous pictures of chimps, gorillas, leopards, bongos, elephants (LOTS of elephants), etc.

First Darling of the Morning, by Thrity Umrigar
Short, easy-to-read-but-literary memoir (a series of short essays, really) about growing up in Bombay. Powerful and endearing. Recommended but with the caveat that none of the stuff on the cover of this book led me to believe that some of the family stuff (only a few essays, but) would be as dark as it was. May be triggery for those who had a physically or emotionally abusive parent. (I don't usually bring this stuff up, but like I said - there was NO warning of this in what I'd read about the book or saw on the cover before reading it - kind of a shock to read such things when you are expecting more or less "light and happy" and sitting in a public place.... most of the book is quite delicate & cheerful in tone, and it's not that the sad parts don't fit, they totally do, I just wasn't mentally prepared for them. The Booklist review on the amazon page I linked to *does* give a good idea of this content so you may want to read it if you are concerned.)
  • Current Music
    I just listened to an entire Leonard Cohen concert DVD
bloody illyria

My 2010 Reads

So far this year I have knocked out three books, I usually read more than fifty a year. I do keep track of the number of books, but since I read books on my Kindle and from the library, I don't do page counts. I am not sure that these three books could be any more different from each other, but here are my thoughts!

1. Under the Dome - Stephen King
Genre: Fiction?
My thoughts: I have no idea how to classify what this book is really about. I am not sure if it is about survival after a apocalyptic event, a study on small town life, or some sort of science fiction story. It was a book I read on my kindle simply because I didn't want to cart around the massive hardcover book. The book was long and I did feel there were a few spots that slowed the book down, but overall the book was able to keep the action level up despite the length. I think this would be a great movie/mini-series. I really liked the book until the last 15% or so. Without giving anything away, basically I would have preferred a different ending. I am sure many people would disagree with me on that.

2. Push - Sapphire
Genre: Fiction
My thoughts: I have wanted to read this for awhile. However, I think I was the victim of knowing too much about it before I read it. Previews for the movie make it clear that the things Precious goes through is mind-boggling. I can't deny that it is a powerful book, but I think knowing about the story forced me to read it with more detachment than normal. I felt it ended abruptly, but upon further reflection it really fits. This story is not able to be wrapped up in a pretty little bow. It just isn't possible. I would recommend this book but only if you are comfortable enough to deal with the intense subject matter. Some of it is very graphic and painful to read. I kept feeling like this was written about a real individual and I had to remind myself that of the fact that the book is a conglomeration of real experiences people have faced. It was a hard book to read. I don't know if I could read it again.

3. Labor Day - Joyce Maynard
Genre: Fiction
My thoughts: I thought this book was great and I would recommend it as a light and fast read. The story lets you go along for the ride but doesn't require as much emotional effort as the other two books. Click on the Amazon link for more info.
Pam Smiles

No. 2 for 2010

Title: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Rating: 5/5
Book: 2/50 (4% completed)
Book in personal challenge with niun: 3/50 Fantasy, 3/50 Mystery and 0/25 Classics
Pages: 375 pgs
Total Pages 829/15,000 pages (5.53% completed)
Next up: The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening & The Struggle by L.J. Smith

I picked this book up because I want to see the movie and when I realized that they were books, I knew I had to read the book before I saw the movie. It's just the way I am. I like to develop my own ideas of the characters and events, etc.

This book was hard to put down. Each page leaves you wanting to find out if Percy and his friends will make it through their adventure. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

xposted to 50bookchallenge, 15000pages and bookworm84

Collapse )

Books 42 - 44...so close, but yet so far.

I'm officially concluding my first attempt at 50 books in a year...not a solid win, but certainly I read a lot more than I did last year, and isn't that the point? These are the last two entries before I start over again. I'll give it my all this year and see what transpires...

Title: Green Angel
Author: Alice Hoffman
Themes/Topics: Nature, Triumph over Tragedy

This is a little outside of my realm as it is young adult literature, but as it is Hoffman I enjoyed it. She has the ability to paint such a clear portrait of the main character and her transformation from youth through tragedy and loss to an awareness of self. I would define this as a coming-of-age story about the ability of the human spirit to recover from great loss.

Title: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornest Nest
Author: Stieg Larsson
Themes/Topics: Mystery, Conspiracy, Violence, Infringement of Rights

I don't want to say much to fans that have read the first two of this trilogy but this just as imaginative and addictive as the rest. It took me a little longer to get hooked into this book but it was very compelling and a satisfying read. My only disappointment is that Larsson died in 2004 and will not be able to share any more of his creativity and talent with the world.

Title: The Well of Eternity (WarCraft: War of the Ancients Trilogy, Book 1)
Author: Richard Knaak
Themes/Topics: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, War, Evil

As a person who has never played WarCraft, it was interesting for me to read this book. My boyfriend plays and I read it to learn a little more about this game that I find so pecular. It was tough for me to get into this at first, probably because I'm not really into sci-fi. Once I got the hang of the jargon, I found it to be an interesting story and I wanted to see how it would end, which is the most I can ask from any book. I'm sure I'll continue with the Trilogy, but I still am adamant that I will not play the game, just not my style.
  • e_t_a

bookchallenge, round 2

If I'd remembered to keep track, I probably would have reached the goal number the last time around. Oh well. Time for a restart. :)

Let's see now. New time period: from the last week of December 2009 to the last week of December 2010, since I'm including books read in the last month. Goal: 50 books. Children's books will count as 1/2 a book, rereads as a full book unless I change my mind.

1. Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie: These are stories about love, loss, sacrifice, and what shapes us, whether it's basketball, the love for the written word, or infidelity. Mostly happening in and around Seattle, the main characters are Indian, primarily from the Spokane tribe - which makes sense, since Alexie himself is Spokane. I really enjoyed this short story collection; the characters are varied and thoroughly fleshed-out. 5 out of 5.

2. The Summoner by Gail Z. Martin: First in a fantasy trilogy called Chronicles of the Necromancer, the story introduces a nicely built fantasy world of magic, goddesses, and ghosts. While 'a prince on the run and a ragtag group he finds along the way must stop an evil power from taking over their world' is not anything new, the characters are interesting, gender-varied and believable, and I like the system of magic and politics between the various countries. 4 and 1/2 out of 5.

3. The Blood King by Gail Z. Martin: Second in the trilogy. The drama and anticipation built up nicely, but I thought the conclusion itself was kind of abrupt. We'll see if the third book picks up speed or meanders... Even with the pacing, I enjoyed the story and new plot entanglements. 4 out of 5.

4. Witch & Wizard by James Patterson (and in small print Gabrielle Charbonnet): This was a christmas gift from a friend, sweet but misguided. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone else. It seems to be trying to appeal to YA and fantasy readers, but the language and style isn't really coherent. There are randomly invented slang words, abrupt violence mixed with childish language, and no real depth to the story or characters. It feels deliberately dumbed down to create a (false) sense of mystery: if I had to describe it with one phrase, I'd say it was ham-handed. Honestly, there's a distinct difference between a story for young adults and a story that hasn't been written well. 2 out of 5.