Thursday, August 30, 2007

This Calder Range

This Calder Range by Janet Dailey
Historical Romance

This Calder Range is the start of a series about the Calders. Benteen Calder is a cowboy from Texas in the late 1800s. This story chronicles his decision to settle on free land in Montana. Calder spends a winter collecting cattle in Texas scrubland before marrying Laura and heading back to Montana.

There are the hardships of the trail and the dangers of Indians. Laura must learn to cope with a lot of new ways. Also old grudges follow them north.

The descriptions of life on the trail were fascinating. Laura turned from a beautiful young girl into an ambitious,intuitive strong woman. Calder was made into a better man because of her.



Night by Elie Wiesel

Night by Elie Wiesel

Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor and pens his memories of those horrendous times in Night. Wiesel and his father stayed in Auschwitz for a period of time, but were also shuffled to and from other camps. He saw babies being burned, people being shot, men starving, and any other human atrocity you can think of.

I can't really even try to review this book, because what I say won't do the book or the subject justice. How can you review a personal account of the Holocaust anyways? It is unbelievable that a human being could do such things to other human beings. What Wiesel describes is at some times so violent and despicable that it is hard to understand such things could happen.

The writing of the book is very fluid and at times even poetic. It is not for the weak of heart though, as it is quite depressing.



Book Meme

Chronicbooker3 also tagged me for a meme :p

1. Total number of Books I Own - more than I can count. I make myself feel better about the number I own by hiding some in the basement. Out of sight, out of mind.

2. The Last Book I Bought - A cute book that was recommended by Chapters as an "after Harry Potter" read. I can't quite remember what the name of it was but the cover is quite sparkly lol

3. The Last Book I Read - Night by Elie Wisel

4. Five Books That Mean Alot To Me -

1. All Robert Munsch books - I have a lot of his books from my childhood collection and I love them!
2. Into Thin Air by John Krakauer - a great book about perseverance
3. Blindness by Jose Saramago - a look into how society would react if everyone was blind. Can we be nicer to each other to stop this from happening?
.. I've been sitting here too long trying to think of 2 more, and I can't. I read book for enjoyment more than to get something out of them besides a good story.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass

Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass

Dr Bill Brockton, the head scientist at the Body Farm in Tennessee, gets called out to Cook County for a grisly discovery. Brought into a cave by the Cook County sheriff and deputy, Brockton finds a body that has basically turned to wax. He brings it back to his lab and determines cause of death and that this murder happened 30 years ago.

When Brockton tries to investigate the murder, he is having troubles determining who to trust. Everyone seems to want to throw his investigation off, including the sheriff. As most mysteries, there are a couple more deaths during the investigation and quite a dramatic conclusion.

I really like books by Jefferson Bass because the characters are so human and likable, and because they explain complex topics so that anyone can understand. The mystery is suspenseful, but I can always guess who did it before it's actually revealed.

One thing I don't really understand however, is why Brockton investigates the crime itself. As the person who looks at the bones to determine what happened to the person, do these people really start to investigate the crime by interviewing others and going back to the crime scene? It seems like that should be left to the police.



Monday, August 27, 2007

Book Meme

Chronicbooker3 tagged me for a book meme so here ya are :)

1. Total number of Books I Own - about 900.I know this is way too many. But I love them all and have a hard time letting go

2. The Last Book I Bought - Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan. I actually went to Goodwill on my birthday and they were having a 50% sale. I mean who could resist so I bought 7 books. I also have a $40 gift card for Chapters that is burning a hole in my pocket

3. The Last Book I Read - The Mark of the Assassin by Daniel Silva

4. Five Books That Mean Alot To Me -

1. Little Black Sambo - a fav from my childhood
2. When We were six - A.A.Milne - another fav
3. a dictionary - I love looking up new words
4. my collection of cookbooks

5. Tag Five People

The Mark of the Assassin

The Mark of the Assassin by Daniel Silva

A jet is blown out of the sky near JFK. This seems to be a terroist plot. But is it? Michael Osbourne, a former field agent for the CIA and now a counter terroism expert, starts to unravel the plot. This is the same assassin who killed his girlfriend. Who hired him? Now it is kill or be killed, but Michael has a wife and maybe children on the way.

This is a great thriller with lots of intrigue and action. It is almost written like a movie script, fast-paced and violent. The conclusion is not neatly 'wrapped up'. So, will we see Osbourne again?



Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Gathering Light

A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

A Gathering Light is a 'coming-of-age' book. At the turn of the century Mattie Gokey has decisions to make about her future. Mattie's mother has passed away due to breast cancer and now the management of the household falls to her. Mattie is torn between familial responsibilities, including a promise to her dead mother, aspirations of becoming a writer and the romantic interest of the neighbouring farmer's son.

Matties is working the summer after graduation at The Glenmore when a murder of a young woman occurs. This young lady has given Mattie a bundle of letters to burn. Mattie solves her dilemmas by reading these letters.

This book 'reads' so well. The reader is drawn into Mattie's life. What choice will she make?

I loved this book and I thought the inclusion of a new word to add to Mattie's vocabulary was brilliant



Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Season for the Dead by David Hewson

A Season for the Dead by David Hewson

When a man enters the Vatican library carrying a bloody bag and lays the skin of a man across the table of his ex-lover, Nic Costa and his partner follow to see what is going on. Costa is an Italian police officer and knows that he has no jurisdiction in the Vatican but he enters the library to help. There is not just one murder, however, but multiple ones where the victims are posed as martyrs and the connection between all the victims is sleeping with one person: Sara Farnese. Meanwhile, Costa has to deal with his ailing father, pain in the ass boss Falcone, and controversial cardinal.
Having read Lucifer's Shadow by Hewson I had high expectations for this one and sadly they did not live up. I found this book disjointed and poorly explained. Some things made no sense and the 'revelations' in the book were underwhelming.
Even though all of that is a reason to stop reading the book, I found Costa to be a very engaging character. He has a strong morale center and connects well with everyone. But this made the ending all the more unbelievable.
I thought that Costa's boss, Falcone, was rough and rude to the point that the character was no longer believable. And Sara Farnese seemed so cold that I don't understand how her and Costa made a connection.
I don't recommend reading this book. Read Lucifer's Shadow instead, which was a much better mystery.



Breath, Eyes, Memory

Breath, Eyes,Memory by Edwidge Danticat

At twelve,Sophie Caco is summoned to New York from a poor village in Haiti. She does not really know her mother and 'saves' her from her nightmares of getting raped each night. When Sophie starts to date, she is 'tested' for virginity just as her mother had been. This severely traumitizes her. It is not until she returns to Haiti with her child that Sophie can overcome this shame.
Danticat paints Haiti with rich verbiage showing us the landscape, traditions and politics. I enjoyed the folk tales and the stories of the Haitians. The story itself was a little too vague for me. This may be because I just could not relate to the story.



Sunday, August 19, 2007

Nineteen Minutes

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Picoult has a knack for writing stories about events and then adding a twist. Nineteen Minutes delivers again. Sterling, New Hampshire is everytown, United States. In nineteen minutes everyone's lives changes. All it takes is nineteen minutes to kill 10 people and injury a lot of others. Peter is the teenager who has been bullied all of his life and finally 'cracks'.

This is a story where everyone is a victim, everyone a hero and everyone a protanganist. Picoult blurs the lines between good and evil. It makes whoever is a parent question their own parenting skills and wonder whether anyone 'knows' their own offspring.

What really is the problem in school shootings? Is it bullying? Is it too much access to violence? Is it ready access to guns? Is it inadequate parenting? Has society done enough to stop the continuing tragedy? When will it ever be okay to be different?



Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hide & Seek

Hide & Seek by Ian Rankin

From Amazon:
At night the summer sky stays light over Edinburgh. But in a shadowy, crumbling housing development, a junkie lies dead of an overdose, his bruised body surrounded by signs of Satanic worship. John Rebus could call the death and accident--but won't. Instead, he tracks down a violent-tempered young woman who knew the dead boy and heard him cry out his terrifyng last words: "Hide! Hide!" Now, with the help of a bright, conflicted young detective, Rebus is following the girl through a brutal world of bad deals, bad dope and bad company. From a beautiful city's darkest side to the private sanctums of the upper crust, Rebus is seeking the perfect hiding place for a killer

Hide & Seek is the sequel to Knots & Crosses and it certainly delivers. The plot is sinister and hard hitting and shows the underbelly of Edinburgh. Rebus disects the crime,casting off red herrings until the threads have finally come together. I am sad to see Gill no longer a romantic interest. Rebus now has a little gentler demeanor. I feel like the length of time Rankin took to write the second book in this series somehow changed Rebus's character. Rebus though still cares about the 'little guy' and this is what makes this book even better



Three to get Deadly

Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich

Stepahnie Plum is always a pleasure to read about. This time she is after Uncle Mo who sells candy to the neighbourhood. What could he have possibly done?

Between eccentric friends and some real hunks things get very 'hairy'. Stephanie is shot at yet again and states she hates getting shot at. What does she do but go back to her job and ignore ny warnings. Although Morelli is hot, hot, hot, I sometimes wonder if the mysterious Ranger might not be a better romantic interest.

This book has a lot of humour intermingled with a lot of dead bodies. I felt this book was a little bit unbelieveable in story line but not enough to not look forward to the next book in the series.



Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Service Included

Service Included by Phoebe Damrosch

Service Included is a book about the food industry. Damrosch shows us the inside world of a 4-star NYC restaurant. We see the machinations involved in producing a true gourmet dining experience. I learned a great deal about how the food is presented and how the staff works very hard to have impeccable service. Damrosch recounts her training for this exclusive restaurant. She must learn how to anticipate the diner's need before they even know what they want. She must also learn how not to interrupt people but still provide service.

Although some of Damrosch's opinions might be offensive; her tips included throughout the book are informative and sometimes very funny.

Damrosch writes about her blossoming love affair with the sommelier. She also tells some great stories about marriage proposals and celebrities. Damrosch relates how even on her day off she is still taste tasting and trying other restaurants.

I don't think I will be one of those people willing to spend $20,000 on one meal but it is very entertaining to read about the experience. This book gives one the insight into what makes a restaurant great.