Friday, October 31, 2008

Shoot Him If He Runs by Stuart Woods

Stone Barrington and Holly Barker team up once again in Woods' newest offering, this time to hunt ex-CIA-agent-turned-assassin Teddy Fay at the behest of the director of the CIA, Kate Rule Lee, who also happens to be the wife of President William Lee. Stone and Holly, along with Dino Bacchetti, are dispatched to luxurious St. Marks island, where they spend as much time frolicking in the ocean as they do tracking Teddy. Stone and Holly manage to strike up an acquaintance with Irene Foster, a former CIA employee who was reputed to have had a relationship with Teddy, and her current lover, Harry Pitts. But Stone and Holly soon find themselves caught up in the corrupt local politics, which stand in stark contrast to the balmy paradise the island appears to be. After the chief of police on the island is gunned down, Stone and Holly realize Teddy might be back in business, and the hunt to find him becomes even more urgent.

This has been one of my favorite series for quite a while, but this book just didn't really do it for me. It's been a long time since I read the early books in the series, but I remember them being solid mysteries. After a bit the mysteries weren't as tight, but the characters were so much fun that I still loved them. This one, however, left me feeling like all of the characters were bumbling idiots. They mystery was loose, at best, many things just left me shaking my head.

I will continue with this series though. It is still a fun, quick read as long as you don't expect too much mystery. There are times when this is just what I need. 3 stars

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Booking Through Thursday...

Are you a spine breaker? Or a dog-earer? Do you expect to keep your books in pristine condition even after you have read them? Does watching other readers bend the cover all the way round make you flinch or squeal in pain?

Heck no, I don't damage my books! I baby my books and treat them very carefully. If I bought a book new and was the only one to read it, it will still look brand new. Even when books aren't mine I cringe when people break the spine or bang them up. Since I'm so particular with my books I rarely lend them out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday Thingers!

This week's question: Legacy libraries. With which legacy libraries do you share books? Tell us a little about a couple of them and what you share.

Once again, this is another feature I knew nothing about. With a little searching I found it and I do have some books in common with the legacy libraries. I have Lady Chatterley's Lover in common with Sylvia Plath, Samuel Roth, and Walker Percy. Wuthering Heights was in the libraries of Alfred Deakin, Carl Sandburg and Ernest Hemingway. I also share East of Eden with Ernest Hemingway and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings with Tupac Shakur. My other books that are in legacy libraries are The Good Earth, The Fountainhead, The Monk and Little House on the Prairie.

This was a fun feature to check out and a big thanks to Marie for making me do a little digging on LT to find some new things.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fractured by Karin Slaughter

With its gracious homes and tree-lined streets, Ansley Park is one of Atlanta's most desirable neighborhoods. But in one gleaming mansion, in a teenager's lavish bedroom, a girl has been savagely murdered. And in the hallway, her horrified mother stands amid shattered glass, having killed her daughter's attacker with her bare hands. Detective Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is here only to do a political favor; the murder site belongs to the Atlanta police. But Trent soon sees something that the cops are missing, something in the trail of blood, in a matrix of forensic evidence, and in the eyes of the shell-shocked mother. Within minutes, Trent is taking over the case and adding another one to it. He is sure that another teenage girl is missing, and that a killer is on the loose.

Armed with only fleeting clues, teamed with a female cop who has her own personal reasons for hating him, Trent has enemies all around him and a gnawing feeling that this case, which started in the best of homes, is cutting quick and deep through the ruins of perfect lives broken wide-open: where human demons emerge with a vengeance.

I thought this was a stand alone book, and while it's not really a sequel, a minor character in this book was also in Triptych. I usually am pretty careful about reading books in order, but the main characters are different so hopefully I didn't miss too much...

That being said, I really enjoyed the main characters in this book. They both have many failings, but were very likeable. Not that I need another series to read, but I would like to see another book featuring Special Agent Will Trent.

Karin Slaughter's Grant County series is one of my favorites so I had high hopes for this book and it didn't disappoint. The storyline was well planned and still plausible. I listened to the unabridged audio version and thought the narrator did a very good job. 4 stars

Friday, October 24, 2008

Monique and the Mango Rains giveaway

I loved this book so much that I want to share my copy with others! You can see my review here.

Please leave me a comment to enter. Make sure to either leave me your email address or have it on your blog. If I can't contact you I will choose another winner. As usual, if you blog about the contest and link back here I will give you another entry.

This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada. I will choose a winner using on November 1st, so you have until Halloween to enter. Good luck!
***Kris Holloway has graciously offered to call the book club of winner of this contest for a reading and to answer your questions. Thank you Kris for your wonderful offer!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron

How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.

Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility, (for a cat) and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.
As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.

This is the story of a cat named Dewey, but that's not the only story this book tells. This is also the story of the woman who cared for him and the small Iowa town that loved him.

As an animal lover Dewey's story interested me and his antics made me laugh. However, it was the story of Spencer, Iowa and all that Dewey did for the town and its residents that really got my attention. Small towns usually don't get much publicity and can struggle to survive. The attention Dewey brought to Spencer was invaluable in many ways.

In keeping with Iowa tradition, the language in the book is without frills. Since this book will appeal to a wide variety of readers the simple language will make the book accessible to many. 4 stars

Order Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Thingers!

Today's question: Series. Do you collect any series? Do you read series books? Fantasy? Mystery? Science fiction? Religious? Other genre? Do you use the series feature in LT to help you find new books or figure out what you might be missing from a series?

I love series! I think they are a great way to get more of a favorite character, but I wish more authors would end their series instead of using gimmicky things to try and make their tired characters interesting.

Most of the series that I read are mysteries. Some of my favorite series are the Prey series by John Sandford, the Stone Barrington series by Stuart Woods, the Lincoln Ryhme by Jeffery Deaver and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. There are lots more series that I follow, but on most of them I am at least a book or two behind.

I didn't know there was a series feature in LT so I will be checking it out to see what I am missing in my favorite series.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Kris Holloway

What is it like to live and work in a remote corner of the world and befriend a courageous midwife who breaks traditional roles? Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Mali Midwife is the inspiring story of Monique Dembele, an accidental midwife who became a legend, and Kris Holloway, the young Peace Corps volunteer who became her closest confidante. In a small village in Mali, West Africa, Monique saved lives and dispensed hope every day in a place where childbirth is a life-and-death matter and where many children are buried before they cut a tooth. Kris worked side-by-side with her as they cared for each other through sickness and tragedy and shared their innermost secrets and hopes. Monique's life was representative of many women in one of the world's poorest nations, yet she faced her challenges in extraordinary ways.

In Mali, the maternal death rate in childbirth is one of the highest in the world. True, Malian women average 7 children to the US women's 2 children, but the absence of modern medicine makes childbirth a dangerous activity. That is why Monique was such an asset to her village and to those villages nearby. Her training could be lifesaving to mothers, and to their children afterwards as she counseled on proper nutrition.

This story isn't just about a Peace Corp trip and making life better in one Malian village, it is also the story of a true and lasting friendship. The bond between Kris and Monique is evident as they share their dreams, hopes and fears with each other.

The glimpse into daily life in a Malian village is also fascinating. The descriptions of the village and people are vivid, and the hardships they endure are eye opening and heartbreaking. I highly recommend this moving memoir.

A portion of the proceeds from this book are donated to Monique's children for their well being and for capital in a new clinic in Monique's village.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Booking Through Thursday...

Avid readers know all too well how easy it is to acquire books — it’s the letting go that’s the difficult part. … During the past 20 years, in which books have played a significant role in both my personal and professional lives, I’ve certainly had my fair share of them (and some might say several others’ shares) in my library. Many were read and saved for posterity, others eventually, but still reluctantly, sent back out into the world.

But there is also a category of titles that I’ve clung to for years, as they survived numerous purges, frequent library donations and countless changes of residence. I’ve yet to read them, but am absolutely certain I will. And should. When, I’m not sure, as I’m constantly distracted by the recent, just published and soon to be published works.

So, the question is this: “What tomes are waiting patiently on your shelves?“
Way too many to even count! I currently have 3 book cases filled to overflowing with books that I haven't read yet. I also have stacks of unread books on the tops of all these books cases, stacks on the floor and covering the top of my desk.

Some of these books came from FOL sales. They looked interesting and were cheap. Others were books I couldn't wait to read, but by the time they got to me other books stole my attention away. If I never bought another book (yeah right!) I figure that I have about 8 years of reading in my house right now. I am trying hard to be choosier about which books are must haves, but sometimes its hard!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday Thingers!

Today's question: Early Reviewers- do you participate? How many books (approximately) have you received through the program? Have you liked them generally? What's your favorite ER book? Do you participate in the discussion group on LT?

I do participate and I love the program! I have received approximately 6 books and have generally liked all of them. Actually, I can't think of one that I haven't liked. One of my favorites from the program is Takeover by Lisa Black. Another one that I haven't read yet, it was slow getting to me, that I am really excited about is Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway.

Friday, October 10, 2008

After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival by Robin Gaby Fisher

On January 19, 2000, a fire raged through Seton Hall University's freshman dormitory, killing three students and injuring 58 others. Among the victims were Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos, roommates from poor neighborhoods who made their families proud by getting into college. They managed to escape, but both were burned terribly. After the Fire is the story of these young men and their courageous fight to recover from the worst damage the burn unit at Saint Barnabas hospital had ever seen. It is the story of the extraordinary doctors and nurses who work with the burned. It is the story of mothers and fathers, of faith and family and the invisible ties that bind us to each other. It is the story of the search for the arsonists--and the elaborate cover-up that nearly obscured the truth. And it is the story of the women who came to love these men, who knew that real beauty is a thing not seen in mirrors.

This is a quick read, but it is very powerful! I was instantly drawn into Shawn and Alvaro's story. Some might find the description of the burn treatment a bit much, but I thought the detail was necessary. It wasn't overly graphic, but was honest in showing the amount of pain the boys went through on a daily basis.

My only complaint with the book is that the ending seemed to be a little abrupt. The story focuses mostly on the burn treatment and rehabilitation with less attention being paid to how Shawn and Alvaro get along in their daily lives now. Maybe this isn't as exciting of a story lines, but it seemed to warrant a little more attention then it received.

Shawn and Alvaro's strength of character is wonderful and uplifting. The support they received from each other and their friends and family made their amazing recoveries possible. Although their lives haven't gone back to exactly what they were before the fire I think both young men learned valuable lessons about what they can achieve. 4 stars

Order After the Fire

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday Thingers!

LibraryThing's Recently Added feature: do you look at it? Do you use it for ideas? Is there something listed there now that looks interesting to you? What have you added to your LT library recently?

I primarily use the recently added feature when I add books from BM. Otherwise I really only add books when I have read them if they aren't already in my library. When I'm adding books I do like the ease of adding tags, stars and a review all in one place. I also think it's interesting to see how many other people have the book in their libraries.

My last 5 additions are: The Space Between Before and After, Her Last Death, Firefly Lane, Absolute Fear and Honeymoon with my Brother.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Space Between Before and After by Jean Reynolds Page

Forty-two and divorced, Holli Templeton has just begun to realize the pleasures of owning her life for the first time. But the experience is short-lived. Her son Conner has unexpectedly fled college in Rhode Island and moved to Texas with his troubled girlfriend, Kilian. This alone is difficult to handle, but as Holli begins to understand the depth of the girl's problems, concern turns to crisis.

Conner's situation is worsening, and as if that's not enough, Holli notices signs of serious decline in the beloved Texas grandmother who raised her. She has no choice but to leave the comfort zone of life in New York and return to her hometown in Texas to care for the people she loves.

In the tight space between these two generations, Holli initially feels lost. The journey back stirs so many unresolved hurts from her childhood. But something else happens in this uneasy homecoming. Comfort arrives in the ethereal presence of the mother long lost to her, and Holli is surprised to find that as she struggles to help her son and grandmother, the wounds of her own past begin to heal.

The space between before and after--easily the most challenging place she has ever known--begins to reveal an unanticipated hope for what the future might hold.

This book is filled with layers, and as you read, the layers slowly peel back to reveal a wonderfully crafted family story.

Each of the chapters is told from a different character's point of view. I love this because you really get to see the whole story, not just one characters take on it.

Holli, the main character, tells her story from an adult point of view and Hollyanne, her childhood self, tells her story as she is growing up. This was a wonderful way to bring the past into the present story, as it played such an important role. Also, Hollyanne's chapters were so vividly written I found my heart breaking for her.

Jean Reynolds Page has also introduced an innovative new idea by providing a soundtrack for The Space Between Before and After. She has put together songs that either reflected, or helped shape, the characters in the book. You can read about Page's reasons for each of the songs here and can even purchase the entire soundtrack.

I love the soundtrack and enjoyed the additional insights into the characters. Music plays such an important part in people's lives that it is only fitting that characters have "their" songs too! 4 stars

Order The Space Between Before and After

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Booking Through Thursday...

What, in your opinion, is the best book that you haven’t liked? Mind you, I don’t mean your most-hated book–oh, no. I mean the most accomplished, skilled, well-written, impressive book that you just simply didn’t like.

Like, for movies–I can acknowledge that Citizen Kane is a tour de force and is all sorts of wonderful, cinematically speaking, but . . . I just don’t like it. I find it impressive and quite an accomplishment, but it’s not my cup of tea.So . . . what book (or books) is your Citizen Kane?

The only thing that I can think of recently is On Chesil Beach. This was the first book I read by Ian McEwan and it just didn't do anything for me at all. I wouldn't have finished it if it wasn't so short....I have heard wonderful things about his writing and think maybe his style just doens't work for me.

I'm sure there must be more, but I can't think of them off the top of my head. I have liked most of what I have read lately and that's a good thing!