July 12th, 2011

Brother Odd & Odd Hours

TItle: Brother Odd
Author:  Dean Koontz
Details:430 pages, paperback, book number 3 in the series.
Book Number: 1



Cover excerpt:

Loop me in, odd one.  The words, spoken in the deep of night by a sleeping child, chill the young man watching over her.  For this was a favourite phrase of Stormy Llewellyn, his lost love, and Stormy is dead, gone forever from this world.  In the haunted halls of the isolated monastery where he had sought peace, Odd Thomas is stalking spirits of an infinitely darker nature.

Review/Commentary/Notes:

Although I'm not much of a Dean Koontz fan, the Odd Thomas series has caught my attention and kept it.  Odd Thomas the character is entertaining, funny in a ironic yet innocent way and unique.  Despite everything, Odd perseveres in life, bringing on adventures that I'm sure most readers only wish they could have (in that retrospective, full of danger-type of way).  Of all the four current novels, this one is my favourite.  However for me, one of the resonating theme's was that not everything is as it seems, and Odd seems to have a knack for getting himself into situations where things most certainly should not be taken at face value.  The typical Dean Koontz trademark of having dogs in his book does show up again.  But in the end, Odd shows us that no matter how much you might try to run from your life, you talents, yourself... in the end, it always catches back up to you.

Title
: Odd Hours
Author: Dean Koontz
Details: 397 pages, paperback, book number 4 of the series.
Book Number: 2



Cover excerpt:

Only a handful of fictional characters are recognized by first name alone.  Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas is one such literary hero, who has come alive in readers' imaginations as he explores the greatest mysteries of this world and the next with his inimitable wit, heart, and quiet gallantry.  Now Koontz follows Odd as he is drawn onward, to a destiny he cannot imagine.  Haunted by dreams of an all-encompassing red tide, Odd is pulled inexorably to the seas, to a small California coastal town where nothing is as it seems....

Review/Commentary/Notes:

By far the worst book in the series.  Although Odd's character continues on in life - developing, learning, experiencing... the storyline does the exact opposite.  Full of holes and unexplained (but hinted at the fact that they will be explained later) references and characters... throughout Odd Hours I found myself constantly going, "I'm sorry, what?"  Despite the fact that Odd is as charming as always, with his companions and his wit, and yes some of his regular trouble does follow him into this book (poltergeists, sad Stormy memories, friends that life has treated unfairly and the such), a large part of the book is left completely unexplained.  The back description is ridiculous and is clearly written to entice readers and in fact, has very little to do with the book,  and all-around, this book sucks.  Avoid if you can.

did you know you could fly?

(no subject)

Book #47 -- Samantha Sotto, Before Ever After: A Novel, 304 pages.

Shelly's husband was killed in a terrorist attack 3 years ago. She is slowly starting to piece her life back together when a man appears on her doorstep who looks amazingly like her dead husband, Max. Paolo shows Shelly a picture of Max and a young boy. The young boy is himself, Paolo explains. The man is his grandfather. Paolo explains that he has been searching since coming across a picture of Max in a book published by a friend of theirs. Recognizing the man to be the grandfather he thought was dead, Paolo has since tracked down another, more recent picture of Max on a restaurant website. Paolo convinces Shelly to come with him to confront the man they both loved. During the trip, Shelly recounts to Paolo the story of how she fell in love with the tour guide in a most unusual guided trip of Europe. The history Max recounts and the stories he tells on that trip take on new meaning for Shelly and Paolo in the context of a man who never changes, and never dies. I absolutely loved this book. It reminded me of the Time Traveller's Wife in tone, although I liked this one even better.

Book #48 -- Carmen Agra Deedy & Randall Wright, The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale, 256 pages.

Skilley the alley cat has an embarrassing secret - he can't stand to eat mice. Instead, Skilley has a different weakness . . . for cheese. Skilley strikes up a bargain with the mice of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Inn - he'll serve as the inn's mouser and protect them from danger, in return, they will keep out of sight of the people and bring him treats of cheese from the locked larder. This arrangement works quite well at first, but soon Skilley discovers that the Cheshire Cheese mice are keeping another secret. To make matters worse, Skilley's mortal enemy, the vicious Pinch, has been recruited as a second mouser, and Pinch is determined to make snacks of all Skilley's friends. With guest appearances by Charles Dickens and other notable personages of Victorian London, this is a delightful novel.

Book #49 -- Will Adams, The Alexander Cipher, 517 pages.

In the same vein as Dan Brown's bestsellers, this historical adventure novel follows the search for the missing tomb of Alexander the Great. Very fun read.

Book #50 -- Jake Wizner, Spanking Shakespeare, 304 pages.

Shakespeare Shapiro leads a cursed life - between his embarrassingly weird parents, his total lack of social grace, and, of course, his utterly absurd name, Shakespeare is the consummate high school loser. About the only thing he can do well is write, which is why he's composing a hysterical memoir for his school's writing competition. But for all that Shakespeare excels at translating his personal upsets into humour, some things just aren't funny, and Shakespeare is about to discover just how serious life can get, and how good he really has it.

Book #51 -- Marie Phillips, Gods Behaving Badly, 288 pages.

The Greek gods are alive and . . . well, not-so-well, in modern London. Times are a-changing, and the previous rulers of the earth are now crammed into a single decrepit townhouse and forced to get day jobs. Artemis is a dog-walker, Apollo is a television psychic, and Aphrodite works for a phone sex company. But, diminished power or not, they're still up to their old tricks, which is unfortunate for Alice and Neil, two shy friends on the edge of becoming more when they're pulled into a jealous competition between Apollo and Aphrodite. But this divine spat won't just ruin the lives of Alice and Neil - it might spell the end for the whole planet.

Progress toward goals: 192/365 = 52.6%

Books: 51/100 = 51.0%

Pages: 16406/30000 = 54.7%

2011 Book List

cross-posted to 15000pages, 50bookchallenge, and gwynraven