Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


By Geraldine Brooks
304 pages
I’m off the teen shelf for a while and on to some adult titles that have been on my list of “must reads” that I haven’t gotten to yet. March had sifted to the bottom of the list somehow, despite adoring Brooks’ Caleb’s Crossing, which I read and reviewed last year. So, I was eager to try it when I happened upon it on the public library shelf. Brooks is a gifted technician, and a wonderful storyteller. She has the unique ability to write historical fiction that doesn’t feel like a history lesson. I never feel bogged down, only anxious to read and learn more.
This Civil War tale is a lovely and tragic extension of Louisa May Alcott's story of the March family. Mr. March goes off to war as a Union chaplin, and the story follows him across battlefields and in a camp of freed slaves who are working a cotton farm for wage for the Union. March runs into ghosts from his past, and leaves the field with new ghosts that will haunt him as he returns from war to Marmee and all his little women. Sad, but impeccably written.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

By Sherman Alexie
272 pages
I’m on a streak of good reads! Another good grab from the teen shelf. Like most YA books, it has more than its fair share of depressing bits, but you get so attached to Arnold, the protagonist, that you want to learn more about Sherman Alexie. The book is partially auto-biographical, and you definitely hear Alexie’s voice and feel his pain and pride in regards to current life on Native American reservations. Fascinating and sad and hopeful. Good stuff.


By Tina Fey
288 pages
Of course this memoir is funny. It’s Tina Fey, right? But what I loved most, besides the hilarity, were the little glimpses into her early career, SNL days and personal life with her kid and husband. Love her even more now.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

By Stephen Chbosky
213 pages
Not at all what I expected. This novel is beautiful, not at all the teen-angsty, predictable-comeuppance-for-mean-kids, the meek-shall-inherit-the-earth sort of book I thought it might be. It is just a wonderful story, told by 15-year-old Charlie. The entire book is a collection of Charlie’s letters, as shared to a person you do not know, and he does not know. He has only heard someone saying the person is nice, so he decides to write that person letters and tell them how high school progresses. Charlie, we learn, has some stumbling blocks – though he is highly intelligent, he confesses to depression and having only ever had one friend, who died by suicide. Charlie is stunted emotionally - he does not read verbal or facial cues well most of the time or know how to react other than to cry when people are nice or cruel. Sounds like a winner of a read so far, no? But trust me, as Charlie’s life expands, and his mind unfurls before you, you grow to love him and the characters that help him progress. I grew attached to him, and felt sorry to leave him behind when the story closed.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

A book that's hard to characterize; it doesn't fit any genre. The book jacket says it's a "love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell's 1984", and I largely agree. The story is set in Tokyo in 1984, and tells several stories simultaneously, with characters converging and revealing complex connections. Each of the main characters is living a rather purposeless life, and have their routines deeply shaken as they inadvertently step into the alternate reality of 1Q84. The story is indeed a mystery, but not in the usual sense. Murakami is one of those masterful writers who makes sharing the journey as intriguing as the storyline. Knopf, hardcover, 925 pages.


I enjoy reading mysteries and I love the Crescent City so I snapped up this book to read as soon as I saw it listed on one of the “best” lists at the end of 2011.

A missing person from Hurricane Katrina brings private detective Claire DeWitt back to New Orleans where she’s obliged to confront her messy past. If this sounds formulaic, believe me, this novel is anything but that.

Claire’s methodology involves dreams, the I-Ching and an unusual French detective who wrote: “The mystery is not solved by the use of fingerprints or suspects or the identification of weapons. These things serve only to trigger the detective’s memory. The detective and the client, the victim and the criminal—all already know the solution to the mystery. They need only to remember it, and recognize it when it appears.”

The novel unravels layer upon layer of mysteries not the least of which is Claire herself. And, yes, I’m really eager for more of this rich character.

Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2011, 273 p.


My granddaughter was reading this book over Christmas and left it for me to read. Part dystopian fantasy, part mystery and adventure, the story is really a coming-of-age story whose main character is a girl of 12.

Ariel and her best friend, Zeke find their lives changed radically when two strangers enter their tight knit village. The book is a beautifully written description of the physical environment of their world and matches in expressiveness the author’s ability to articulate a young woman/girl’s inner feelings. I’m looking forward to book two taking up the further adventures of this engaging character.

Boomsbury, 2009, 372 p.

Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project by Dave Isay

StoryCorps is a wonderful oral history project that I listen to on NPR every Friday morning.  This book is a selection of the first ten thousand interviews by the project founder and radio producer Dave Isay. It portraits ordinary Americans in everyday life, the profound love, joy, sadness, courage and despair, struggle and success. Reading these stories will remind us how precious each day is and how truly great it is to be alive. And learn to listen to one another!

293 Pages

Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West--One Meal at a Time by Stephen Fried

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

Fred Harvey came to this country from England in 1853. He worked at a newspaper selling advertisements, later established restaurants from Kansas to California and was with the Santa Fe railroads, owned his own beef herd.  A true businessman in the American west.  409 pages.

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

A hilarious book about a little girl who always wants to help, but a lot of times gets into troubles, but she does not stop trying and she finally helped her daddy solved the great pigeon war. Love the part when Chementime calles her brother different veggie names because her parents named her after a fruit and thinks her brother should have a food name too.  136 Pages.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney

My 7-year-old son said this is his favorite book. A very funny book looks at a boy's life and his creative ways to solve problems in a mix of words and cartoons.  We will read the other titles in this series for sure. 217 Pages.

Chopsticks by Jessic Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

Jacket Description:
"Glory is a piano prodigy.  After her mother died, she retreated into her music. Her father raised her with the goal of playing sold out shows at Carnegie Hall and across the globe. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to Frank, who moves in next door. She loses herself in his paintings and drawings, mix CD’s and late-night IM conversations. Soon, Frank becomes both her connection to the world--and her escape from reality.  Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song “Chopsticks”; F and G notes moving closer together, and farther apart.  Now, Glory has disappeared. But nothing is what it seems. And we must decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along."

This is a fascinating book not only because of its winding and twisting plot but also because of its large web presence that will enhance the reading of the book (www.chopsticksnovel.com).  There is so much in the book to explore and re-readings will provide clues that the reader missed the first time.

304 pages

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Jacket Description:
Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.  But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

I LOVED this book.  It was Stephanie Perkins's first, and probably better, novel.  It has everything I want in a YA novel.  It was well-written, fun, romantic, and was set in Europe.  It is a lovely story with characters that are both endearing and realistic.

401 pages

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Jacket Description:
"Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.  When Cricket—a gifted inventor—steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door."

Stephanie Perkins writes really enjoyable and fast reads and "Lola" is no different.  It's a really fun book filled with quirky characters.  Though, Lola's quirks can border on annoying.  Overall, I thought it was a really good, light read.

382 pages

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan

Mary McAllister, raped as a young girl, than married to an abusive husband,
develops a severe anxiety disorder that causes her to live out her long life
inside a marble mansion, with little human contact. The book is ineffably
sad because her life should have been full and rich. But in the end, the residents
of the town of Mill River, most of whom had never seen her, come to understand
her influence in their lives.

The writing is sometimes trite, but the story is compelling, and I found it to
be a good read.

Kindle ebook; 466 kb; 282 pages.

2nd Chance by James Patterson

2nd Chance (Women's Murder Club)

This is the second in the Women's Murder Club series. I am just now getting around to reading this Patterson series, and am enjoying it very much. Lindsay Boxer, detective, is assisted by her friends, a reporter, a forensic pathologist and an assistant district attorney, in solving particularly difficult crimes. In this case, a serial killer is targeting people connected to a former policeman who was convicted of a crime and sent to prison. He eventually starts to target the members of the club.

The plot is tight and moves along at a fast clip. The characters are well developed and interesting.

400 pages.

Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson

Kill Alex Cross

It's Alex Cross to the rescue again when the President's children are kidnapped. Of course, Alex gets his man, even though he is stymied for awhile by the Secret Service and the FBI. Formulaic and rather trite, vintage Patterson. I only keep reading because I love Nana Mama and the kids. Even with all the flaws in James Patterson's writing, he is a master at building suspense and keeping the reader wanting to find out what is going to happen next.

I enjoyed the book, and will undoubtably read the next one in the series.
384 pages

The Fault in Our Stars

John Green
336 pages, hardback

I loved this book. It was well written, and makes you ache for these kids. You know unfortunate things will happen and yet you are happy for them and glad they found each other. I cried no less than 4 times. Wonderful! I will try to read the other books he has written, I may have a favorite author to add to my list.

Here is the jacket blurb:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Another bit of serendipity at my local library led me to buy this paperback from the “book sale” section (brand new, never been cracked open, 50 cents). I’d read Le Carre novels in the past but this was a new one to me. I’d also recently heard Gary Oldman interviewed (NPR) about his interpretation of an iconic Le Carre character in a redo movie, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

I was not disappointed; MISSION SONG is a fast-paced, intelligent and surprisingly funny espionage thriller. Told from the perspective of an idealistic (naïve?) young British civil servant, the story’s hero teams-up with a bizarre (yet very believable) cast of characters for a special mission.

Ha! I just realized the author’s clever title meshes the plot’s storyline with the young African/Irish birth story in a religious community.

Back Bay Books, 2006, 337 p.

THE CAT’S TABLE by Michael Ondaatje

Serendipity led me to this book. I saw it sitting on the New Books shelf of my local public library. Some weeks before, I heard Ondaatje do an interview on NPR. Some years ago, I had read The English Patient (after seeing the movie) and I loved it.

The first half of this book tells the story of 11-year old Michael sent alone on a ship from Ceylon to England in the 1950’s. He meets two other young boys, as well as a wonderfully eccentric group of fellow passengers, at the “cat’s table” in the dining area...the “cat’s table” being where the least influential passengers are seated.

The boys’ adventures are told in short eloquent chapters and then, almost without noticing, the reader is transported to the present life of a grown-up Michael whose life story continues to be intertwined with the people he met on that 21-day journey many years previously. Ondaatje’s elegant and beautiful language reads like an elegy to childhood. I loved this book, too.

Knopt, 2011, 269 p.

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

(Posted for Ann Roberts)

This book is all plot, and a compelling one, at that. An amnesiac woman wakes up every morning to wonder where she is, who is sleeping with and how she got there.  Her husband, Ben, exhibits great patience in caring for her, but as memories begin to surface through journaling and secretive sessions with a psychologist interested in her case, what little bit that Christine thinks she knows about her life thus far, comes into even greater question.  I won’t give away any more than that.  You have to read it yourself!
Hardback, 360 pages

Lay Down My Sword and Shield by James Lee Burke

(Posted for Ann Roberts)
I went back to one of my favorite writers of all time, James Lee Burke, to an early (1971) novel.  I have read all of the Dave Robicheaux novels set in the bayous of Louisiana and have been a great fan of Burke’s deeply emotional and beautifully descriptive writing.  This novel did not disappoint. It was classic James Lee Burke, and in reading it I’ve discovered that his style of writing, which appeals to me so much, has been set for many. He didn’t grow into a great writer, he just is. 

This novel is set in Texas, a neighboring state to Louisiana, and in it Burke manages to capture the same imagery of the hot Texas landscape that makes his writings about Louisiana so compelling. The main character, Hackberry Holland, an alcoholic POW, lawyer, and Democratic candidate for Congress finds himself involved in a civil rights case in the Rio Grande Valley, which leads to him assaulting an officer in a picket line and engaging in a torrid love affair with a beautiful labor union organizer, Rie Velasquez. Burke not only writes beautifully descriptive prose, he also is a able to draw the most haunted, broken, and driven male characters, usually living somewhere just inside the law.  Hack, like the Dave Robicheaux character, fights for what is right, but not always by the most conventional of methods. 

It is writing like this that makes me love James Lee Burke:
“I took my three-piece Fenwick flyrod in its felt cover….and we walked through the trees and dead leaves to the river. Comanche and Apache warriors used to camp here on the banks to cut and shave arrow shafts from the juniper wood, and for a moment my eyes became twenty years younger as I looked for the place where they had probably built their wickiups and hung their venison in the trees over smoking fires…Since I was a boy I always felt that the land breathed with the presence of those dead men who had struggled on it long before we were born, and sometimes as a boy, particularly in the late evening, I almost felt that they were still living out their lives around me, firing their arrows from under the necks of war ponies at pioneer cabins that had long since decayed into loam.”   No one can evoke a sense of place and time like this writer. I’m so glad I found this book.
Hardback, 266 pages

Damage Control by J. A. Jance

(Posted for Ann Roberts)

This book was so-so, and true to form, I read it anyway.  I might have enjoyed it more, had I not also read some really spectacular books this month. The Cochise County, AZ, sheriff, Joanna Brady, investigates several things at once, while her husband Butch puts his writing career on temporary hold to care for their infant son. The story opens with an elderly couple driving their car off a cliff, which is, I admit, an attention getter.  A woman shoots a home intruder, a mysterious fire kills an older man and leaves three homeless, and a severed head and body are discovered in the desert.  All of these incidences lead up to a jumbled story, which doesn’t lend itself to much character development or depth in story-telling. Joanna is also dealing with her interfering mother, and the discovery of family secrets about her late father and late first husband.   I think that the author was trying to build a pressure cooker situation, which would evoke some sympathy or interest on the reader’s part, and just failed to do so. 

Paperback, 374 p.

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

(Posted for Ann Roberts)

Henning Mankell writes the kind of dark, brooding story that speaks of long, harsh Scandanavian winters and the excesses of alcohol. In the Skane region of Sweden, Inspector Kurt Wallander is taking on the task of solving the murders of an elderly farmer, and his wife, two very unlikely candidates for the kind of violence that has befallen their quiet, rural farm house. The investigation is complicated by the fact that the wife uttered the words “foreigners” before drawing her last breath and a backlash against illegal immigrants is the result, calling for damage control on that front, in addition to the pressure to find these brutal killers in an otherwise peaceful community. Kurt Wallander divides his time between stake outs in freezing temperatures, drinking, brooding, and dealing with his cranky and sometimes senile elderly father, but perseveres to catch the killers. There’s not much light in this book, but it makes for a good read for those of us who sometimes like to revel in the darkness that early winter nights provide.  This is the first in a series translated from the original Swedish, so I’ll probably be reading more of the adventures of Inspector Kurt Wallander.
Hardback, 268 pages

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Finders Keepers by Catherine Palmer

Antique dealer Elizabeth Hayes is determined to preserve the past. Architect Zachary Chalmers wants to leave the past behind and focus on the future. The struggle is to find common ground in the present. A predictable, but heart-warming love story set in Missouri. Jefferson City is mentioned fairly frequently - including the famous Central Dairy ice cream. A gentle, quick read. 422 pages.

Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin

Lydia and her thirteen-year-old son, Sam, are banished to Wyoming after Lydia misbehaves, embarrassing her father who holds the purse strings. The hope is the remote location will help keep the two of them out of trouble. It doesn't work.

The book deals with a lot of important topics:dysfunctional families, drugs and alcohol, self-esteem,
teen sex and teen pregnancy, . When reading the review for this book, I thought it was described as a rollicking, funny, sometimes sad, coming of age story. Turns out the first word was really raunchiest. 416 pages.

Friday, February 24, 2012

To Have and To Hold by Jane Green

This is a really good book with a lot of twists and turns in the book. She thinks she is marrying her prince charming. But he turns out to be a cheating liar. She decides to leave him and restart her catering company. Then she ends up falling in love with her best friend's boyfriend. It is a good read.

Pages 352.

The Lion King by Don Ferguson

Maddy loves the Lion King. The book is just like the movie. She loves it. One of her favorite books.

96 pages.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Duelling in Missouri History: The Age of Dirk Drawing and Pistol Snapping" by James E. Moss

This little book is in our Missouriana collection and gives a brief history of "duelling" [sic] in Missouri.  Most of these contests took place before the Civil War, many on an island near St. Louis between MO and IL called Bloody Island.  Dueling was illegal in MO, and this island was considered neutral ground for those wishing to participate in such an event.  One of the most famous duels involved Thomas Hart Benton, then a St. Louis lawyer who would later serve as a U.S. senator from our state for 30 years.  He dueled with another lawyer after trading insults for over a year.  The author states that lawyers, politicians, and editors were the usual participants due to personal insults or political differences, not the traditional romantic notion of dueling over a woman.  Dueling seems to have ended in MO, for the most part, after the Civil War.  This was an interesting look at a forgotten part of MO history.  28 pages.

"Unleashed" by Sara Humphreys

The Amoveo are creatures that look and act like humans but shape shift into birds or animals at will.  They also have the ability to dream-walk and communicate telepathically with other Amoveo.  Malcolm is part of the eagle clan and believes his mate to be Samantha, an artist who has recently returned to her small hometown in Rhode Island from NYC.  She moves in with the grandmother who raised her after her parents died when she was a baby and meets her new neighbor, the mysterious Malcolm.  He and Sam are immediately attracted to each other, but the Amoveo are not allowed to have human mates, and Sam is human . . . or is she?

This was a pretty good story with an interesting cast of characters.  Except for some problems with comma placement and Malcolm's annoying nickname for Samantha, it was a pleasant read.  I'll probably be reading the next in the series.  312 pages.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

His life has multiple roles, art student, ex marine, and hired killer who takes out the very worst people. Life is never dull because now there is a contract out on him.  361 pages.

Juliet Immortal

Author: Stacey Jay
Pages: 306
I was a little disappointed in this book to say the least. It is geared toward young adults so there was a lot of drama and self-discovery which was fine but I just found the book somewhat boring and had to force myself to finish it. It wasn't a horrible read but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Here is the book flap description- Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But Romeo didn't anticipate that Juliet would be granted eternital life, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light.
For 700 years, Juliet has struggled to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent, while Romeo has fought for the dark side, seeking to destroy the human heart. Until now.
Now Juliet has found her own forbidden love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy their happiness.      

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pandora Park by Piers Anthony

I have heard quite a few positive things about this author and was on the lookout for a good fantasy. This turned out to be a good choice. Mark is from Albany, New York; Kelsie is from Beijing, China. What is amazing is they can meet in minutes through the magical portal of Pandora Park. This book, written for late-elementary to early-middle school readers, has lots of fodder for discussion. It is also a fun read! I was surprised to learn that some people censor the content. This title is only available as an e-book, but the estimate given was 92 pages (213 KB).

Deadly Gamble by Connie Shelton

Charlie Parker is an accountant who turns into a private investigator when a friend seeks her help. The job was supposed to be recovering a Rolex watch; it ends up being a case to uncover a murderer. A pretty quick, entertaining read. 240 pages.

Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

My classic for the month is Girl of the Limberlost. I once had this title described to me as a romantic western. I think a more accurate description might be a gentle and nostalgic romance. It is set in the early 1900s and focuses on Elnora Comstock. Elnora has had a rough life. Her father died young and her mother is emotionally distant. Finances are tight, so Elnora must pay her own way through school. Still, Elnora has a lot of grit and is determined to make the best of her situation, keeping a firm head on her shoulders, a strong work ethic and hope in her heart. 352 pages.

Simon Said by Sarah Shaber

Nobel prize winner, Professor Simon Shaw, lives a relatively quiet life on campus. He is a bit neurotic and going through a hard time, barely aware of what is going on around him. This changes the day they find a 70-year old corpse on campus. Amazingly, Shaw is able to identify the body and is determined to identify the person who killed her. But, someone else appears to be equally determined to keep that information a secret, putting Shaw's life in jeopardy. A pretty good read. 220 pages.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Farmer Boy Goes West

Author: Heather Williams
Pages: 298

Its hard not to read teen and childrens book when I work so close to the youth consultant :) thanks Naphtali!  It actually was nice to read an extension of the Little House on The Prairie books.  Here is the jacket blurb-  Almanzo Wilder is going west! He looks forward to the train ride that will take his family from their farm in New York to the bustling town of Spring Valley, Minnesota. But when they arrive, life isn't what Almanzo expected---and he misses his horse, Starlight. Is Minnesota the right place for the Wilders after all?  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes

Author- Amber Kizer
295 pages
This book is witty and insightful: here is the jacket blurb... Okay, so here's the deal: there are books about volcanoes erupting and meteorites hitting Earth and plane crashes where the survivors have to eat people—those are extraordinary crises.

That's not what this book is about. I'm more the ordinary catastrophe type. This second semester of my sophomore year, there are basically 7 KINDS OF ORDINARY CATASTROPHES: high school, boys, heartbreak, family, job, friends, and the future.

Well, I guess everyone's life is full of ordinary catastrophes. These are mine. Hi, I'm Gert Garibaldi. Welcome to my crazy life.   

In the Red

By Jade Gruss

So, I'm a bit of a racing kick in my reading.  Not quite sure why.

Anyway the newest book I've read is In the Red by Jade Gruss.  This book is written by Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s PR guy when he drove the Budweiser car. Jade and Dale Jr. co-wrote a book I own called Driver 8 which was about his 2000 rookie season. The book looks at in great detail the infamous 2001 season when Dale Jr. lost his dad to a wreck on the last lap of the Daytona 500.  The first part of the book, of course, is about the details of what happened in Daytona.  Then Gruss takes the reader thru every race of the 2001 season and give us an inside look at the inner workings of the 8 team both on and off the track.

I came away from this book surprised at how internal Dale Jr. was about his dad's death.  He didn't really want to talk about.  He didn’t' want to sign autographs for his dad's items.  He didn't want to be part of any public memorial. 

I also came way with the sheer amount of focus it takes to be a race car driver.  He was so intense on the radio to his crew it was shocking.

I read almost half this book on our Lincoln's Birthday holiday.  I could not put my Kindle down.

This book is a good read if you're into racing.  If you're not I wouldn’t' read it.

304 Pages

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

11/23/63: A Novel by Stephen King

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

How do you go back in time to save the life of a president?  He did. Was this now a better world with a better future or should it have not been done?

842 pages.

The Rising Tide: A Novel of World War II by Jeff Shaara

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

Operation Torch north Africa Generals Patton-Montgomery- vs General Rommel. General Montgomery took over the Allied forces and made a statement about his troops, it reminded me of  what Missouri basketball Coach Haith said. We will not do what they expect  and want us to do. We will use the strength we have and play our best game, so also said General Marshall.

536 pages; 22 hrs. 40 min. audio

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"American Vampire, Volume 2" by Scott Snyder & Rafael Albuquereque

In this sequel to "American Vampire, Volume 1," it's 1936 and the action has moved to Las Vegas where Skinner Sweet and his old world vampire enemies are gaining a foothold in the business of sin.  Meanwhile, Pearl Jones has been leading a peaceful life in northern California with her human husband.  But a visit from members of the Vassals of the Morning Star, an organization dedicated to the eradication of all vampires, may be the end of her idyll.  This is another interesting story with numerous characters from Volume 1 that, along with Albuquereque's detailed drawings, keeps the reader intrigued.  There's even a bit character who looks a lot like Stephen King, one of the authors of Volume 1.  160 pages.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Jacob" by Jacquelyn Frank

This first book in the Nightwalkers series started off interestingly enough but soon got bogged down in too many details and silly dialog.  Isabella is a librarian leading a sheltered life in the Bronx until she falls out of her fifth-story window and into the arms of Jacob the Enforcer, a Demon tracking down one of his own who has been kidnapped by a necromancer.  Demons are not allowed to mate with humans, but their immediate attraction to each other as well as the surfacing of her hidden abilities throws that to the wind.  By the end of the book, Isabella was more like a cartoon character, and Jacob's condescending nickname for her ("Little Flower") was too much for me to take.  383 pages.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Silent Girl / Tess Gerritsen

Set for the most part in Boston's Chinatown, Rizzoli and Isles work together to unravel a decades-old mystery in order to clear up a modern-day series of killings that feature an other-wordly monkey-like creature that both guides and guards. 318 p.

The Impossible Dead / Ian Rankin

I was as sad as any true Rankin fan when he "retired" Inspector John Rebus, but the new protaganist Malcolm Fox, Inspector with the "Complaints" division (internal affairs) in Edinburgh, has me fairly smitten again. In this mystery, Fox begins what looks like a fairly routine investigation of police misconduct only to uncover a widening circle of seemingly tangential crime. In true Rankin fashion, Fox follows all leads to a plausible conclusion, all while keeping the reader guessing. Rankin cannot write fast enough to suit me! 391 p.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Witness by Dee Henderson

I chose this book because I heard the author was good and it was a free digital selection. It starts with fatal shots at a mall where the sole witness is a woman who is on the run. Three years later there are family issues and unexpected inheritances that bring the woman back - and the danger that seems to accompany her as well. This book had me rapidly turning pages throughout its entirety. 400 pages.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"American Vampire, Volume 1" by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquereque, & Stephen King

This graphic novel covers two alternating stories.  Snyder writes about Pearl Jones, a bit player in movies in 1925 Hollywood looking for her big break.  She thinks she can find it at the home of a movie producer who is actually an old world, European vampire.  Although dumped in the desert and left for dead, she lives through the attack and is transformed into a new breed of vampire, an American vampire, one with extra long fangs and can live in the sun.

King writes the story of Skinner Sweet, a ruthless and evil gunslinger in 1880s Colorado who is transformed into this new American vampire after escaping from the law during a train derailment.  He is successfully buried before being awakened 29 years later and seeks revenge against his old lawmen captors and the European vampires who transformed him.

The drawings are the highlights of this book.  Rafael Albuquereque's art shocks and disturbs the reader not just by showing what the authors have described but adding details not told in words.  There's even a tiny allusion to King's bestselling novel "The Shining" in one of the panels.  I'm looking forward to seeing volume 2.  200 pages.