January 17th, 2010

dom

Books 1 and 2

Book 1: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
This was my first book of the year and I have been putting off reading since I got it in November. I don't know why I kept putting off, but I read it in a couple of days. The story was pretty basic, but I think with all the different charaters (vampire/mind reader/shape shifter) it made for an interesting cast. I however feel that the cast was let down, mainly by being in the first person. I would have liked to see the opinions of other main/semi characters. 

A major issue for me was the time line, I felt that it just jumped at someparts. I had to re-read certain paragraphs because I didn't know how she manged to be in a different place when she was talking about one thing! I also don't like Sookie as a main character, she just seems so bland. Also the murderer, was someone that was only in the book for a few pages, when I found out I had to re-read because I couldn't remember who he was.

Whats up with the semi love triangle? For someone who doesn't like to date or for her to think men aren't interested because of her talent she seems to have a lot of male attention. The last time I checked she had 4/5?
3/5

Book 2: Presumed Guilty by Tess Gerritsen
This was the first book of the year that I read on my eReader and my second book of the year. I really enjoyed the book. It wasn't all that predicitable either. It has had many bad reviews but I found it enjoyable. Infact I was reading more and more because there were plenty of twists and turns to keep you ocupired.

So the story wasn't the most original. Charged with murder for something you haven't done, trying to prove you inoccence. Yet the book kept me hooked by the way it interchanged the characters and the way that the characters thought. You got a different opinion almost every paragraph just by seeing it through other peoples eyes. It made you think you knew who the murderer was right until the end only to find out that you were totally wrong about it.
5/5
 


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5. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen - It wasn't what I was expecting, I was expecting to be more of a story or even journey but it was just very kind of scattered thoughts and random stories from her experience. It was good, but I actually think I preferred the movie.
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A little late in posting...

I only made it to 33 books last year but most of the books I read were substantial in length and well working three jobs, being a parent and going to school has a way of cutting into reading time. ;)

I read a fun mix of books last year. I tend to stick to a genre or subject but last year I was a little more all over the place.

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I wrote up reviews on Social Library (or whatever it is called) so if anyone is curious about any books I'd be happy to pull those up.

Geoff Johns and a few nonfiction entries

Lately, I've become an avid reader of comics, specifically, those written by Geoff Johns. I'm almost finished with his reboot of the Green Lantern franchise and want to start the Flash series this year. My love for Wally West knows no bounds.

1. Dream a Little Dream by Debra Clopton. Silly, funny romance about a workaholic reporter (Molly) who falls for an interview subject (Bob).

2. The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists by Ravi Zacharias. Nonfiction book that's mostly a response to Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation." It's not bad, but there are better books by Christian apologists out there.

3. Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox. Inspirational read from the actor who's battling Parkinson's disease.

4. Fleeing Fundamentalism: A Minister's Wife Examines Faith by Carlene Cross. Autobiographical account of a woman raised in a fundamentalist religion who eventually abandons it along with her husband and makes a life for herself and her children. She doesn't so much flee fundamentalism as religious hypocrisy, though. Still, it's an interesting read.

5. 52 Volume 1 by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, and Keith Griffen. First of a series that takes a year in the life of DC Comics and tells the stories in real time. Excellent.

6. 52 Volume 2 by Geoff Johns, et al. Second in the series. The storyline with Black Adam is great.

7. 52 volume 3 by Geoff Johns, et al. Third entry. By now, I've developed an unhealthy fascination with Booster Gold. I love Dr. Magnus and the Metal Men.

8. 52 Volume 4 by Geoff Johns, et al. The satisfying conclusion to the series.

9. Green Lanter, Vol 1. No Fear by Geoff Johns. Hal Jordan tries to return to a normal life in Coast City, however, he must deal with both Hector Hammond and The Shark.
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Smartest Tuck Megatransect

Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead
I thought this book had gone off the rails but then I realized it was just that I like Lawhead (at least recent Lawhead) *much much better* when his characters are actually interacting and I'm not just reading pages and pages of GGK-style-plot-description-cum-faux-history. 'Cause he's not very good at that, at all. But the bits where people were actually doing stuff were entirely serviceable - though the bad French spoken by the purportedly Norman characters was kind of wince-worthy throughout. (I actually found myself trying to justify it in various ways as having to be a deliberate effect, but I couldn't come up with an explanation I could buy into.) Definitely not my favorite of his books. On the upside, I now have closure for the trilogy AND they excerpted the first book of an old series of his, The Paradise War, in the back. It seems like it might be my cup of tea, and I somehow never got around to reading it when I was on my Lawhead kick in high school. Yay!
(13/200)

Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, by Chris Ware
When I first started this book I was very enthused about the art, but I hated the story. Somewhere along the way the story won me over, but that meant I didn't pay as much attention to the art. Weird, huh? Anyway, it went from an awful book to a nifty book as I read it, so if you don't have patience for reading stuff you hate, you may want to avoid it. But if you like art and are willing to resent the writing to get the art, recommended. Or maybe I'm just a surly old curmudgeon who doesn't know what she's talking about.
(14/200)

Mike Fay's Megatransect Journals, by Mike Fay, photographs by Mike "Nick" Nichols
Very very interesting. It was a pain trying to puzzle out Fay's handwriting from the journal pages but I recommend doing so, as the excerpted caption-y quotes don't contain some of the stuff I was most intrigued by. I kind of wish there had been a "here are all the journals and we only took out the odd thing that was too personal" general transcription of everything, rather than a coffee-table book version that had more pictures than journal - but the pictures are excellent, and I suspect most people who were willing to shell out the hundred and fifty smackeroons for the set of this & the larger more photo-focused Nichols book would prefer this version to my imaginary version. C'est la vie. Anyway, it's lovely and fascinating and the picture of Mike Fay sitting and brooding in the rain is some kind of iconographic This Is A Field Scientist Here portrait for the ages, I tell you what.
(15/200)
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Hijacked Buses and Slaughterhouses

Book # 1 for 2010



Title:
A Maiden’s Grave

 

Author: Jeffery Deaver

 

Genre: Crime fiction. Suspense.

 

Synopsis (from the book): A school bus carrying eight deaf school-girls and their teachers brakes suddenly on a flat Kansas highway. They should never have stopped. Waiting for them are three heartless men just escaped from prison — each with nothing to lose. And now, with the girls as their hostages, they have everything to gain. They make their stand in an abandoned slaughterhouse, and it is there that Lou Handy, a murderer and the convicts' ringleader, announces his terms: to kill one captive an hour unless his demands are met.

What follows is a twelve-hour siege of noose-tight tension — and a war of nerves between Handy and the FBI's senior hostage negotiator, Arthur Potter.

 

My opinion: I’ve bought this one a long time ago and had put off reading it in favor of J. D. Robb’s In Death series because I’ve always loved a kick-ass heroine. I really miss Jeffery Deaver’s works now.

 

What I loved the most about this book is how Arthur Potter’s nerve-wracking and witty negotiation methods are a fresh change from Lincoln Rhyme’s cool and calculating forensics. I must say that the hostage-taking situation had gotten me more worked up than the regular staple you usually get from crime fiction – I’m not saying that reading about stopping a serial killer is less suspenseful but that’s just how it is for me.

 

One thing I did not like at all is Melanie Charrol’s character. She was very annoying because she appeared to have no backbone at all and she was right when she thought that the teenaged girl Susan was stronger than her in more ways than one. She may have redeemed herself in the end but I could care less.

 

Regarding the ending, I couldn’t decide whether it was unexpected or not, but it fitted very well. It made sense, actually.

 

All in all, the book was a good read. Definitely recommended for fans of the genre and of Jeffery Deaver.
hot drink and books.

o1 : open.

Bit of a slow start for me this year. This is what happens when busybusybusy hits a wall of LAZY. That said, I started out the year with what I think is a surprisingly good book.

( o1 : open : an autobiography; andre agassi. )
I don't follow tennis, and though the name has almost always been familiar, I don't think I've really felt one way or the other about Andre Agassi. When it was brought up as a potential book for the next month's book club, I thought it was a joke (I may be a little bitter after my suggestion of Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood was quickly put down). But no, no joke, and I continued to think nothing of it when my friend said she'd started it and was hooked. Right. Agassi didn't look particularly pleased on the cover of his book. That had to say something.

I was never properly hooked, in the sense that I had little trouble putting it down, but I also loved picking it back up again. Sure, he probably had fantastic editors, but I thought it was very well written. It says something, to me, when someone can write a consistently understandable account. More so when he's talking about tennis, a sport I continue to not understand all that well. There are moments of drama and just as many funny moments. I like that dialog takes place without quotation marks. Normally I would find this confusing/distracting, but he did it well, and I think it suits the book and probably the author. It has a gripping opening that makes you want to figure out just how he got there.

And I found the book thought-provoking. It makes me think about what professional athletes put their bodies through day in and day out, and what they'll look like twenty or thirty years down the road.

Genre : Nonfiction, autobiography.
Length : 386 pages.
Rating : 4/5 = Pretty darn good.

Currently reading : Encouraging Authenticity and Spirituality in Higher Education by A.W. Chickering, J.C. Dalton, and L. Stamm; Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

P.S.: The front cover is still disconcerting. But the back cover is adorable.
hand, butterfly

Books 16 - 20

I'm on a roll right now. I'm already up to 22 books, and I'm slowly marking them off my to-be-read lists. Slowly. Anyway, here's books 16-20 for the year (started September 29).

16. His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novick
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy

I'm not terribly impressed. It was an interesting perspective from a historical point of view, but it didn't have enough action, or romance, or something to really hold my attention. I felt like nothing happened, which I'm becoming used to in the middle of a series, not the start of it.

Rating: 2/5

17. An Offer From A Gentleman, by Julia Quinn
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

I've become obsessed with Julia Quinn. And it helps that this one is another sort of retelling of Cinderella. I'm a bit of a fanatic about fairy tell retellings. Which probably explains why I was so happy about writing my own with Fallon for NaNo. Anyway... it was a nice quick romance read. Not as much trashiness as many other romances I've read, even Quinn's herself. Still, it's a romance novel through and through. Tension between the characters is frequent and characteristic of the novel.

Rating: 3.5/5

18. I Heart Bloomberg, by Melody Carson
Genre: Teen Lit

What do you get when you put a family-focused Latina, a strong Christian girl, a shopaholic, and a young mother (without her child) together? Apparently a lot of uninteresting drama. The writing wasn't good, and the plot was, frankly, stupid. One character is Christian to the point that she seems to mention it at every turn (though I may just be more sensitive to that than the average 20-something). One character seems to have a nice level head at the start, but then loses it and becomes horribly superficial. It's just... stupid. Don't waste your time with it.

Rating: 2/5

19. Club Dead, by Charlaine Harris
Genre: Supernatural, Mystery

My friend is obsessed with True Blood, so she told me to read the series. After the first book, I enjoyed it enough to continue, but it's been a couple of months since I picked up the series. This book was interesting, and it's nice to see Sookie really explore her boundaries and get out of Bon Temps (yes, she did that with the second book, but she was also constantly with Bill). I liked the sexual tension she got herself in, and it'll be interesting to see how that plays out in the rest of the series. I'm officially hooked again.

Rating: 4/5

20. Dead To The World, by Charlaine Harris
Genre: Supernatural, Mystery

In the grand scheme of things, very little happened in this book. I felt bad for Sookie, but the world seemed to go back to how it was at the beginning, with the exception of Jason. I guess I was expecting a little more, so I wasn't as satisfied with this as I was with the last few. Still, it was a small triumph for Eric, even if he doesn't know it :)

Rating: 3/5