January 20th, 2011

Dead Dog Cat

#4

Yesterday, I finished reading a spy novel set in Greece during WWII, called Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst. His novels in general deal with intelligence operatives in the years before and during the war, and they do a terrific job of scene-setting. The characterization is better than most, as well. I recommend any of his books, this one among them.
bleeding

Book #3

Title: Fear Nothing
Author: Dean Koontz
Genre Horror/thriller
Pages: Hardback, 391
Published: 1998
First Lines: "On the desk in my candlelit study, the telephone rang, and I knew that a terrible change was coming."

"Christopher Snow is different from all the other residents of Moonlight Bay, different from anyone you've ever met. For Christopher Snow has made his peace with a very rare genetic disorder shared by only one thousand other Americans, a disorder that leaves him dangerously vulnerable to light. His life is filled with the fascinating rituals of one who must embrace the dark. He knows the night as no one else ever will, ever can -- the mystery, the beauty, the many terrors, and the eerie, silken rhythms of the night -- for it is only at night that he is free.

"Until the night he witnessed a series of disturbing incidents that sweep him into a violent mystery only he can solve, a mystery that will force him to rise above all fears and confront the many-layered strangeness of Moonlight Bay and its residents."
Jacket copy


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Rating: 5/5
Currently Reading: Ravena & the Resurrected by Tami Jackson and Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey
Horro/Urban Fantasy Challenge: 3/24
Current Count:

3/50 books
Pages Read: 1364


Sinn
passion

2011: Book #4- interesting title and content

Swanson, James. BLOODY CRIMES: THE CHASE FOR JEFFERSON DAVIS AND THE DEATH PAGEANT FOR LINCOLN'S CORPSE.William Morrow: 2010.

Quite the title, huh?

But it does indeed describe this nonfiction historical account. Being raised in Illinois,(I even lived in Springfield for a few years as a child), Lincoln has always been a hero. Now I'm living in Alabama; so it was good to learn more about the history here in the Southern states. The book does a good job of handling both biographies, comparing the two fallen leaders, and contrasting the final journeys which shaped their legends and place in history. The plot focus and information about mourning pageants and funeral customs of the time caught my morbid interests as well.
vampires

Book 5: Undead and Unpopular by MaryJanice Davidson

Book 5: Undead and Unpopular (Queen Betsy 05).
Author: MaryJanice Davidson, 2006.
Genre: Paranormal Romance. Chick-Lit. Humour.
Other Details: Unabridged audiobook; Length: 5 hours, 38 mins. Read by Nancy Wu.

Shoe-aholic and vampire queen Betsy Taylor is coming up to her 31st birthday in human years and her first undead birthday. A number of challenges face her including a zombie in the attic, a new baby half-brother, a wedding to plan, deciding to go teetotal on the whole drinking blood thing, a close friend's serious illness, some difficult European vampires arriving to pay their snarky respects and her 'autobiography', which accidentally ended up with a publisher, being heralded by Publisher's Weekly as a "charming anti-Anne Rice tale from a vampire with real world problems!"

As usual quite a fun slice of vampire-lite fluff that kept me entertained for a few weeks in the car. However, when I first began to listen to it I was confused and wondered whether I might have skipped a book as there were characters that had obviously previously been introduced that I couldn't recall at all.

When I got home and accessed the internet I discovered that two characters, Sophie and Liam, had appeared in 'Biting in Plain Sight', a short story contained in the 2005 anthology Bite, and that there also was a novella, A Fiend in Need, contained in 'Dead and Loving It', in which there was significant character development for George the Fiend and a new werewolf house mate for Betsy and friends.

Now fair enough but the introduction to the audiobook made no note of either of these extra stories; so no wonder I felt lost. A few extra lines, even just echoing the introduction of the book (thanks Amazon for the 'look inside' option that let me see this) where MJD does at least mention the novella, would have been of assistance. Even more would have been a bit more exposition in the book itself on the backgrounds for Sophie, Liam and werewolf Antonia. After all, at under 200 pages in print format it's nowhere near the length of some doorstop-sized books produced by certain paranormal romance novelists.
books2

# 3 Sisters of the Sinai


Sisters of the Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels


Janet Soskice




This is the intrigueing story of two victorian-era Scottish ladies, twins, who traveled to Egypt and made one of the most important discoveries to grace the world of biblical scholarship. Within the confines of an isolated orthodox monastary in the Sinai, they uncovered one of the earliest known manuscripts of the Gospels.

I enjoyed these vigorous, independent, self-educated victorian ladies. Their travels were adventurous and fascinating, and their scholarly endeavros amidst the academic jealousies in the exclusively male dominion at Cambridge at tgat tune was interesting and inspiring; cause to reflect on the great strides that women have made since then.

I ahve to admit, though, that this book didn't quite meet my expectations. It's possible that I've read so many simmilar books, but I think it's mroe likely that I've had a couple of other books that have grabbed my attention.

In any case, I don't think that the fault lies with the book at all. In fact it is a testament to Sisters of the Sinai that I read it to the end without abandoning it. I found it interesting enough and enjoyable enough to finish it.

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Book 2

#2: This Charming Man - Marian Keyes (2008, 563 pages)

Since I first discovered one of Marian Keyes' books on a rainy afternoon in 2002, I have enjoyed every book she has written, whether they make me laugh, cry, think, or some combination of the three. This Charming Man is no exception.

Lola, Grace, Marnie and Alicia all have something in common: they all have found themselves at the mercy of Paddy de Courcy, an Irish politician. While he may seem charming and full of winning smiles in public, behind closed doors he is cruel and abusive. Marnie is the first to experience his anger, as a teen, and his lasting impact nearly destroys her life and her family. Lola didn't know that he was seeing anyone else until news of his engagement to Alicia hits the media, and the pain threatens her career, sending her to the far side of the country to recover. And Grace, a reporter, wants to expose de Courcy for the scoundrel he is.

I feel that, as she has continued to write, Keyes' books have only gotten better. While this isn't as amazing as my personal favorite, Anybody Out There?, it is still a great book that features a lot of great twists. It is also heartening to watch Lola's journey to overcome her heartache and learn to love again, while painful to see Marnie's lows. Personally, I related a lot to Grace, because of my journalism background and the desire to expose people who treat others horribly. Not only did Keyes create such strong characters, but she also has given them strong, distinctive voices. 

So if it isn't obvious, I really love this book, and if you're a chick lit fan, you most likely will as well, which is why I give this a strong four out of five vengeful exes.

Total Books Read: 2 / 50 (4 percent)
Total Pages Read: 1,126 / 15,000 (8 percent)

Up next: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (reread)
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Dead Dog Cat

#5

Just before I left for work, this morning, I finished reading Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. forestcats and I had decided we were going to read this, back when we visited Monterey, and I picked up a copy, but it got lost in the bookshelves until I dug it up this week. It's a quick read; only 123 pages, compared to most novels these days at 300 pages or more, but it sets a very discernible scene. The Monterey of that he describes is a blue collar place, as opposed to the resort/retreat that it seemed to have become when we visited. It's worth a read.