Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

Hey fellow book lovers, I am currently listening to the book The Black Echo by Michael Connelly on CD. I read this book years ago, so it is not a new release, but I needed something to listen to and it was a handy grab at the library. If you are not familiar with Connelly's books, he writes the Harry Bosch series, which are set in Los Angeles. They are a mixture of police procedural, mystery, suspense, and crime novels all rolled into one. Harry Bosch is a tough as nails police detective who does not play by the book. He never kisses butt, and is not considered a team player. In addition, he is not well-liked by his superiors, but he always come through for the victims. In The Black Echo, Bosch takes the call to investigate a dead body in a pipe and recognizes the deceased as his former Vietnam tunnel rat partner Billy Meadows. The death was reported by a kid calling 911 in the middle of the night. Billy is a drug user and his death looks like an accidental overdose. However, Bosch is not convinced it's a natural death, and finds suspicious evidence at the scene indicating there was a witness. After digging, Bosch uncovers a link between Meadows and a year-old unsolved bank robbery where the perps broke into the bank from digging a tunnel underground and blasting through the floor of the bank. The robbers spent a long holiday weekend drilling holes into deposit boxes and stealing valuables. Working with Special Agent Eleanor Wish, Bosch wants to find out what the robbers were really after..(why not break into the vault and steal millions of dollars?) but instead drilled boxes for unknown valuables. While conducting his investigation, Bosch also has to deal with internal affairs investigating him. He has two IA detectives following him and messing things up. His witness turns up dead, and another robbery may be in the works. Bosch and Wish have to figure it out before it is too late. It is a good book, although I don't think Agent Wish and Bosch should become romantically involved. If you like FBI/police procedural/mystery novels this book is for you. However, there is bad language and descriptive crime scene gore. I gagged a few times while eating lunch and listening at the same time! Happy reading!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Final Review of Under the Dome

Hi friends, I have finally finished reading all 1,479 pages of the large print edition of King's Under the Dome. Whew! It only took me about a month or so. I have to say I always like King's novels, and some are better than others, but this one ranked pretty high. There were some aspects I did not like in the book, but I will mention those later. I will try to summarize the plot of this book in a few paragraphs, if that is possible...King always has a large amount of characters and many plots going at once, but here goes. One fine Autumn day, an invisible dome comes down around the quaint Maine town of Chester's Mill. Animals and people who are standing where the dome came down are cut in two, and airplanes and vehicles crash horrifically where they hit the invisible barrier. The Military tries different tests to destroy the dome and free the people trapped inside, but nothing works. In the meantime, the people in town are having some power struggles, and sides are taken. One maniacal town leader, who is a false religious person, is hiding criminal activities, and is the villain in the piece. He is always praying and talking about God, while he is really just a fraud. He and his son both commit murders, and his son jokes, "the family that slays together, prays together". The hero of the piece is naturally the enemy of the bad guys, and is actually on his way out of town when the dome comes down. There are many characters and subplots, but it comes down to finding out where the dome came from, battling the power struggles, and staying alive. I never got bored with the story, which is always a good thing! However, one issue I have with the book is the author's political agenda. Just like the power struggles in Chesters Mill, we have the liberal and conservative political power struggles. Reading King's work leaves the reader in no doubt of the author's political views. He makes fun of Fox News, and glorifies CNN and its reporters in the book. The most evil characters are the religious people, who of course are ignorant, narrow minded, and false. One of the heroes is a female reverend who has lost her belief in God, (she prays to "Not There" her private name for God), and most of the other "good" characters are immoral people who end up taking hero status. Beware readers, if you are Christian, this book will massively irritate you! I am a true bible believing Christian who knows there are false teachers out there proclaiming one thing and living another. However, just because of a few bad eggs, we cannot tar all Christians with the same brush. Another issue I had with the book is the old "there is no God, but instead there are aliens out there" theme. Yes, with many inner eye rolls, I had to once again, endure the drivel about aliens. Apparently, aliens are watching and enjoy torturing us as if we are ants under a magnifying glass. Yeah. They were kid aliens at that, enjoying watching our suffering not knowing we are real people with real lives. But begging them to show us mercy just might work? It amazes me that intelligent people refuse to believe in God, but they are sure there are aliens out there, and the aliens have power over us. Hmmm. If you like a good horror story, don't get offended easily, and enjoy King's twisted characters, (especially Junior and his girlfriends in the pantry!) this would be a good read for you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Are you a horror fan? Stephen King is the undisputed King of horror, in my book. I am halfway through his latest effort, and I am loving every minute of it. One thing I like about King's books is they are not predictable. I have no idea what is going to happen, which is keeping my interest at the highest level. I have read the majority of King's work, except for The Cell, and his latest short story collection. I will post more about Under the Dome later when I am finished with the novel.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dracula: the Undead ~ Final Verdict

I finally finished Dracula the Undead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt. I promise to give a fair review of the book on my blog. This will be hard to do without spoiling it for readers who may choose to read the book later. Earlier, I stated that Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, was a character in the book. That is not the only real life person the authors brought in to be a part of the sequel as a character. The famous actor, John Barrymore, Drew Barrymore's great grandfather was also in the book. The authors incorporated many true events and people that are famous, like Jack the Ripper,(apparently Jack is really a lesbian vampire!?!) Henry Irving,a famous actor in theatre, real Scotland Yard detectives from the Ripper era, and many others. Frankly, it literally drove me crazy. The story did keep my interest, even though sometimes I was doing inner eye rolls. I dislike giving a bad review, (good thing I am not a real life editor!) but Stoker Jr. took some severe liberties with his great-grandfather's novel. He literally changed the theme of the original Dracula into a completely different entity. For example, in the sequel, the "true life" events of the story of Dracula was leaked by one of the heroic band of characters that took down Dracula in the first book. Apparently this person was drinking in a bar with Bram Stoker and spilled the beans about Lucy, Van Helsing, the Harkers, and how they all destroyed the evil vampire Dracula. So, Bram Stoker decides to write a novel about it. Dracula is angry (yes, he actually survived!) because the leaked story was all wrong(!?!) Dracula is really a good vampire, and he did not really kill Lucy. Van Helsing killed Lucy with a botched blood transfusion. Not only that, but Dracula did not kill all the sailors on the ship Exeter on his way to Carfax Abbey, it was the plague from rats that did them all in. In fact, Dracula does not drink blood from humans, and is working for God. Dracula knows of a TRULY evil vampire who must be destroyed or she (lesbian vampire AKA Jack the Ripper) will overtake and destroy the world with her girlfriends. I am truly not trying to make it sound silly, but that is what comes down the pike. I did not find affinity with any of the characters, in fact I was hoping Quincey Harker (Jonathan and Mina's son) would get bitten, he was so annoying. Then, not surprisingly, they pulled the "I AM YOUR FATHER" Star Wars line, which had me sighing with resignation. I was never so glad to close a book. Better luck next time, Stoker Jr.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dracula: the Undead by Stoker, Dacre

I was so excited to start reading the sequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula, which was wrote by his direct descendant, Dacre Stoker, and so far I've made it to page 76. It started out slow, which many books do, but I did get interested in the story. However, Stoker "jumped the shark" when he introduced Great-Great Uncle Bram Stoker as a character in the story. In a side note, Stephen King did this to his readers in the Dark Tower series, by having the characters visit himself in the book. That was a bad move for him, in my opinion, because I put the book down and never finished it. I could not wrap my mind around that one!
But, Dracula the Undead is slightly different. Apparently Bram Stoker heard about Jonathan and Mina Harker's horrific encounter with Dracula. He stole their story, wrote a work of fiction using their names, (duh!), and is putting on a theater production of the book. Now the Harkers' grown son, Quincey Harker, who's interested in theater, happens upon the production of Dracula and finds his parents' names, and their friend's names are used in the story. He also hears that the book Dracula may actually be based upon a real person, so he starts researching Dracula...
I plan to finish the novel, just to see how it all turns out, but I am less than thrilled with it, in all honesty. Clunky writing, scattered plots, and no feeling of affinity with the characters have turned me off the book. There is not one character in the story that I like, which I feel is important in a story. I will post a final review on the book when I finish it, to be fair to the book. It could turn fantastic in the next chapter, and I promise to keep an open mind! You should try reading it, and let me know what your thoughts are on Dracula: the Undead!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vampire Alert

Hi friends, I freely admit I love reading scary books and watching scary films. I suspect most women avoid this type of material, unless it's Twilight, which is very romantic. Romantic, hunky, and considerate vampires who avoid biting you because of their deep love for you are definitely a different type of story! More romance than horror, I think! I find it difficult to name five girl-friends who share my love for horror novels and films. Stephen King is the king of scary, in my opinion. His books are riveting and horrific, and yet the films made from his novels just do not measure up to the books. "Misery" starring Kathy Bates was pretty good though! I discovered yesterday, to my astonishment, that I have not read "Just After Sunset", a collection of short stories published in 2008 by Stephen King. I realized this occurred because I have slacked off my pleasure reading since starting college in 2008. I plan to read Just After Sunset ASAP!
A couple of vampire horror novels that are outstanding, in my humble opinion, are "My Swordhand is Singing" by Marcus Sedgewick,and "London Under Midnight" by Simon Clark. My Swordhand is Singing is a good read. I believe both books are teen reads, which makes it slightly less scary than adult books. London Under Midnight was definitely disturbing and more gory than the other. I love vampire novels, (but not zombie novels, no no no!)and I am thrilled to announce that Bram Stoker's direct descendant, Dacre Stoker, has created the sequel to Dracula. It is called "Dracula: the undead". The band of heroes that destroyed Dracula are being hunted down one by one and Dr. Seward, Van Helsing's morphine addicted protege, must figure out if Dracula is back or... Sounds pretty chilling to me! I am opening the book right now! I gotta go....I will tell you about it in another post!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Book Genres

Hi Book Lovers! I have created a Powerpoint presentation on Library genres. There are so many different types of books out there to read! On our trip down Book Lovers Lane, we have to take detours sometimes and take routes we have never explored before, right? View my slideshow and tell me what your favorite genre is...mine is....Suspense!