Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Laura's father is killed in an car accident which is later deemed to be a suicide. Her father has responded to one of the e-mails offering a monetary reward for transferring funds out of impoverished Nigeria. It seems he was pullled further and further into this scam and eventually used all his funds including mortgaging the house.
Laura is a sad and lonely copy editor who wonders just how her Dad got pulled in and sets out to find out what exactly happened. She is the perfect person to avenge his death as she can spot the nuances and spelling mistakes and other mistakes and find the exact person who conned her Dad.
A secondary story is about Amina who travels south in Nigeria from the Sahel to seek a better life for herself and her unborn child, another about Nnamdi who travels north out of the Niger Delta because the oil companies have destroyed his way of life and he wishes to do better and then there is Winston the perpetrator of the e-mails and the schemes and people behind them.
I felt the story was very disjoint at times and at times bordered on boring. I felt Amina was an extraneous ho-hum character maybe a little more character development would have helped. We, in the western world do not realize the destruction caused by these oil companies and their total lack of compassion and caring for the indigenous people.
First Line: "Would you die for your child?"
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum this time finds herself witnessing a robbery by the Red Devil, whom has been terrorizing the city with burglaries and fires. She catches a glimpse of him as he pulls off his mask and is the only one that can identify him. When she finds out that he is part of a gang, her and ex-ho Lula take their car through the bad part of city to see if they can't find the Red Devil. But the gang members don't like her driving in their hood and start banging on her car. Stephanie takes one of them for a ride, almost running him over. A few days later, there's a hit out for Stephanie and she needs to hid. Morelli wants to lock her up in his house but Stephanie isn't having any of that.
This is one of the biggest binds that Stephanie has been in. I don't like it when she cuts things off with Morelli but this time it seemed to only half be a cut off, I'm sure they'll be back together soon enough. Morelli, Stephanie, and Bob the dog make a great family and provide comic relief!
First Line: "The way I see it, life is a jelly doughnut."
The Geneva Option
Yael Azoulay has an interesting job at the United Nations. She brokers deals with the worlds' worst criminals. Presently she is negotiating with Jean-Pierre Hakizimani, a Hutu warlord wanted for genocide. The plan is to bring some stability to the region so the mining companies can extract an important metal, coltan, needed for cell phones.
Yael is so perturbed with the deal she actually sends a protest letter to her boss. This letter finds its way the press and she is fired and further on the run. The United Nations is furthering a potential mass genocide in order to keep the mines working!! This story is a mystery, thriller and conspiracy, all rolled into one.
Yael is the kick ass heroine which keeps the story moving at breakneck speed. This story is upsetting in that the UN probably does have situations like this. Namely the Rwandan genocide and how quickly they reacted there. I enjoyed the story and would love to read a sequel about Yael
First Line: "The wind rose and fell through the airshaft, roaring so loudly it seemed the building was breathing"
Friday, July 26, 2013
To The Nines by Janet Evanovich
Stephanie Plum, a mediocre bounty hunter in New Jersey, is trying to find a recent bond skipper when she happens across a killer. As she is questioning a potential lead with curvaceous ex-ho Lula, the lead gets shot right in the head. Plum's on-again-off-again boyfriend and cop Morelli is concerned for her and between him and fellow bounty hunter Ranger the vow to bodyguard her while trying to find who the killer is. Hunting the killer takes Stephanie to Vegas with Lula and Connie, which is a bunch of laughs.
As usual, this book is a lot of fun. The characters are great and the banter between them even better. You can't help but smile as you read the books in this series.
First Line: "My name is Stephanie Plum and I was born and raised in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, where the top male activities are scarfing pastries and pork rinds and growing love handles."
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
This is a children's book about a mole, a rat, a toad, and a badger. They all live close to the river and are very good friends. Toad is rich and is easily obsessed with ideas. When he sees a motor car, he desperately wants one but can't handle the car and gets in a variety of accidents. Mole, rate, and badger try to stage an intervention but it just doesn't work.
This is a classic but I just couldn't get in to it. While the story of Toad and his need for speed was the dominant one, there were times where that story line wasn't being followed at all and it felt like there was no point to what was going on. Overall the book seemed pretty random to me. The dominant theme being friendship, which was nice, otherwise I could have left it. Perhaps the problem is that the book was written in the 1930s and what appeals to people now is quite different to what appealed to people then.
An additional bonus was that the illustrations in this book were quite cute.
First Line: "The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring cleaning his little home."
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Origin in Death by J.D. Robb
Lieutenant Eve Dallas is in the same building as a murder, when it happens, so she arrives on scene quickly to find Dr. Icove Sr. with a scalpel in his heart. On the surface, Dr. Icove looks like a squeeky clean plastic surgeon. But Eve knows no one can be that clean and starts to dig deeper. While she wonders where Icove is spending his free time, she finds some encrypted patient files on his computer. All of the patients are female, in the same age range, and labelled by a letter and number rather than a name. As Eve begins to investigate this even further, Dr. Icove's son is killed in a similar manner. Eve knows that the two were working on something illegal and needs to figure it out quickly before more people are killed.
This is one of the more futuristic books of the 'In Death' series. I'm not sure I liked it as much as some of the others. It was too out there for me. That being said, the ending surprised me. I didn't think Eve could let something go even if it was morally right but criminally wrong. When the whole series harps on how Eve holds the criminal law in such high regard it's a bit unbelievable that she can put morals and what's right above that for one book. I'm not too sure what to think.
First Line: "Death smiled at her, and kissed her gently on the cheek."
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
The Virgin's Lover by Philipa Gregory
Queen Elizabeth came to the throne after her sister's passing. It seemed that all anyone was concerned about once she came to the throne was finding her a husband so that a King could rule alongside her. There were offers from the Spanish and the Scottish, along with many other noble men. Elizabeth is smitten with her childhood friend Robert Dudley though, and Dudley is a very ambitious man. There's just one problem, he's married.
As the French threaten war, Dudley pushes Elizabeth more to marry him while her advisors push her to marry someone that will help stop a war with the French. The problem is that Dudley is married to Amy Robsart and not available to marry the queen. He tries to convince Elizabeth to give him a divorce but people aren't sure if he truly loves Elizabeth or if he is just ambitious.
This novel paints Dudley as a power-seeking jerk and Elizabeth as a weak female. I'm not sure how true these portraits are. I doesn't make sense that Elizabeth is a weak person when she ruled England for such a long time and with so much success. The true victim here was Amy Robsart. I felt very sorry for her, no one deserves to be treated like that.
First Line: "All the bells in Norfolk were ringing for Elizabeth, pounding the peal into Amy's head, first the trebel bell screaming out like a mad woman, and then the whole agonizing, jangling sob till the great bell boomed a warning that the whole discordant carillon was about to shriek out again."
Monday, July 01, 2013
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Thomas wakes up with no memories but his name, as he's lifted up to an area where other teenage boys help him out of a lift. Welcome to the glade. The other boys all have similar stories to him. They've been there for up to two years and every month a new boy is lifted to the glade. Outside of the glade is a very long maze where the walls close off at night, to help ward off miserable creatures that try to kill you. There are runners that go out every day to navigate and plot the maze, trying to find an exit. These boys try to do everything they can to escape the maze, get back their memories, and figure out who put them in this place.
The day after Thomas arrives, another person arrives to the glade. It's unheard of that two people arrive within the same month, and even more unheard of that it's a girl. She brings a message, and it's not good.
Like The Hunger Games, and Divergent, this book involves teens dealing with an end-of-world type of scenario. This is the same, except the main character is a male. Despite that, I enjoyed the characters in this book as much as its similar novels. The premise is quite interesting as well. What would you do if you were trapped in a maze and couldn't figure out how to escape? And you couldn't remember much? I'm sure it would be quite frustrating.
The only part of this book that I felt left down by was the ending. I didn't like the explanation of why they ended up in the maze and what had happened to the world. Despite that, I would still read the next book in the series.
First Line: "He began his new lift standing up, surrounding by cold darkness and stale, dusty air."