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!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Harry Potter Series

This book lover has been caught hook, line and sinker for the Harry Potter series! I read and reread the books from time to time. I own all the Harry Potter films on DVD and our family has Harry marathons where we view them in order from beginning to the end. The books are better than the films, naturally. I confess, I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan! For any of you extremely rare species of people who don't read or watch films, Harry Potter is a young orphan boy who does not know he is a wizard. He lives in England with his hateful aunt and uncle, Vernon and Petunia Dursley. Dudley is their spoiled son, who is also mean to Harry. When Harry turns eleven, he receives a letter inviting him to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There he befriends Hermione and Ron, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, many colorful Hogwarts teachers, and fellow students. Harry finds out he is famous because as a baby, he unwittingly defeated Lord Voldemort, the evil wizard who killed many people including Harry's parents. Voldemort's spell backfired on him, which vaporized him, and only left Harry with a lightning shaped scar on his face. No one has seen Voldemort all these years, but all wonder if he is still out there and planning to come back. Each book in the series represents a new year Harry spends at Hogwarts, and clever plots where Harry and his friends try to foil the evil plans of Voldemort's followers to bring back the Dark Lord. Eventually, Voldemort comes back, and Harry, with the help of his closest friends, must find a way to get rid of him for good. These books can be classified as childrens or teen books, but adults love them too! Which Harry Potter novel and film is your ultimate favorite? Let this book lover know!

Thrills, Spills, and Chills = Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz is the undisputed king (in my book!) of thrilling, sometimes supernatural government conspiracy, or just plain suspenseful books. One of his novels, Intensity, has been made into a made for TV movie. He has many novels, some better than others, that are wonderful reads. Relentless is the fictional yet thrilling story of a bestselling novelist Cubby Greenwich, who unwisely approaches a critic, the reclusive Shearman Waxx, who dissed his latest book in his column. Unbeknownst to Cubby, Waxx is a sociopath who relentlessly terrorizes any writer that dares to disagree with his critique. Almost all of the authors who dared to approach Waxx have disappeared or ended up dead. Waxx carries out an elaborate campaign of terror on the author and his family. Read Relentless to find out what happens to Cubby and his family, and let this book lover know how you rated the book?

Stephanie Plum Series

Calling all book lovers! If you like a mystery that provides laugh-out-loud humor, steamy hot romance, and hilariously quirky characters, you have to read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie Plum, former lingerie saleswoman, is now employed by her cousin Vinnie as a bond enforcer AKA bounty hunter. Lula, a former 'ho, rides shotgun for Stephanie on stakeouts. Stephanie's Grandma Mazur, who likes to pack heat and considers funerals social events, even if she doesn't know the deceased, provides belly laughs too. Detective Joe Morelli, tall, dark, and sexy is Stephanie's off and on boyfriend, and Ranger, the sexy, mysterious, hunky part-time bounty hunter helps Stephanie out of tight spots. The characters are well developed, the plots are fun and engaging, and the who-will-she-choose-romance hook will keep you coming back for more. Who do you think Stephanie should end up with, Morelli or Ranger?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sarah Palin's Going Rogue

Whether you love her or hate her, Sarah Palin's new book Going Rogue was a well done and satisfying read. My husband gave it to me for Christmas, and I had it completely read by December 27th. This book was on the best seller list two months before the release date! The New York Times Book Review gave it a positive review. I learned a lot about Alaska, politics, and what really happened in the 2008 McCain/Palin campaign. I am not usually the type to pick up a biography since I am a typical fiction lover, but I was glad I did. It was worth my time. I donated my copy to the local library when I was finished with it, so others can read it too.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

For fans of Stephanie Meyers...

If you are fans of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga, you will love, love, love Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games, and its new sequel Catching Fire. This series is a mixture of several genres including futuristic science fiction, suspense, and horror. Katniss lives in a future North America called Panem where the people are divided into twelve districts. The rulers of Panem control the people by forcing them to participate in an annual televised game called the Hunger Games. One boy and one girl from each district are chosen, and they fight other young people from each of the districts in a battle to the death. The families are forced to watch their loved one die on TV. The winner of the Hunger Games ensures their district will not go hungry for a whole year. Sixteen year old Katniss is horrified when her little sister is chosen for the games, and so she volunteers to take her sister's place. Katniss does not want to kill the other Hunger Games contestants, but she must in order to win and make it home to take care of her family and see her boyfriend Gale again. The sequel, Catching Fire, was so good I could not put it down! A must read!

Twilight Saga

Breaking Dawn is the fourth and final book in the Twilight Saga. It is personally my favorite of all four books. I love how the author made everything turn out, and I am dying to see it on the big screen. Which book is your favorite?


In the Twilight Saga, this is my favorite book. The last book, Breaking Dawn, reveals how Edward and Bella's love story plays out. I will not spoil the ending for you, I promise! One aspect of the book that I really enjoy are the Volturi, and the threat of their arrival and the final scene with the Volturi is awesome! What an awesome ending to a great series. Go Team Edward!

Vampire Romance - Go Team Edward!

It seems the popularity of the Twilight series is gaining new heights with the release of New Moon at theaters. My ten year old daughter Michelle, plans to make the Twilight series characters the theme of her Valentine Box for school this year. She received nice color pictures of all the New Moon stars in a kid's meal from a fast food restaurant, and plans to paste them on her box. She is diligently searching stores for New Moon Valentines to give to her friends, but has not found them yet.

Book #1: Twilight
Book #2: New Moon
Book #3: Eclipse
Book #4: Breaking Dawn

I have read all the books in the series, and I must admit I enjoyed them. I did receive some negative opinions from a few friends, but the majority were positive. I believe the target audience is teens, but many adults like them too. For those of you who have not read the books, the main character is Bella who falls in love with Edward, who turns out to be a vampire. It turns out that hanging around with vampires proves to be challenging and somewhat unhealthy for Bella. Their love story is very compelling with suspense, action, and romance. A good read for tweens, teens, and adults.