Sunday, December 30, 2007

Carrie Vaughn - Kitty and the Silver Bullet

This is the next installment in the Kitty of the Midnight Hour series. There are plenty of vampires and werewolves to go around. Too many actually. At least the supernaturals are out now so the cops are slowly learning to deal with the really bad guys. Highly recommended.

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Moon - Stephenie Meyer

This is the sequel to Twilight. The story continues with some unpredictable twists. There are more supernatural characters and there is way more teenage angst :)

This novel is PG at worst. I really like Meyer's willingness to avoid the easy clichés of bad language and sex. The book does have some violence, but it's about monsters so you have to expect a little. However, this is still a teen friendly book. Highly recommended.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

An Ice Cold Grave - Charlaine Harris

This is the third book in the Harper Connelly series. Harper and her non-brother Tolliver find more than they bargained for this time when they're called in to find some missing boys. This story has its share of close calls and close contact. It keeps you guessing right up to the end. Very highly recommended.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Wheel of Darkness - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

This is another Agent Pendergast novel, and as always a good one. From the mountains of Tibet to the deck of an ocean liner, the adventure never stops. In this story Constance Greene moves out of the shadows again and contributes much to the tale. The twist at the very end comes from way out in left field. Highly recommended.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Society - Michael Palmer

This book explores the US health care industry in the context of a very good murder mystery. The story grabbed my interest and I found myself following it when I should have been doing other things. Sleeping mainly. Highly recommended with the caveats below.

There are always some things that drive me nuts. One is authors trying to make themselves sound more knowledgeable than they are. For the record Glocks don't have cylinders, hammers you can cock, or safeties you can check to make sure they're off.

I really enjoyed this story right up to the end when the author got on his political soap box and began to daydream about universal health care in this country. When he actually indicated that someday our country may enjoy universal heath care as good as Canada I was tempted to burn the book. Idiots can be authors too.

Friday, December 14, 2007

T is for Trespass - Sue Grafton

Kinsey Millhone is one of my favorite characters. This is another Millhone tale that weaves multiple threads into a very compelling story. Kinsey survives but it's a close at times. Grafton can't kill her off yet. We have U through Z to go! T was well worth the read. Highly recommended.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design - Jonathan Wells

This is a scholarly defense of Intelligent Design (ID) with all the foot notes and references you could want. The book is obviously pro-ID and anti-Darwinism, but it does an excellent job of clearly explaining both sides of an issue that shouldn't really have sides in the first place. If you need ammunition for your next impromptu debate on ID look no further. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Quickie - James Patterson

This story has more twists than a mountain road in West Virginia. Just when you think you have it figured out you have to brake for another curve. You don't know whether to have sympathy or outrage for the protagonist, if you can call her that. It sure keeps you turning the pages though. Highly recommended.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Bond of Blood - Diane Whiteside

This novel adds new levels of complexity to vampire society. The author effectively uses flashbacks to build an understanding of the history behind the characters in her story, but there's not enough detail on her unique vampire society for my taste. Too many questions were left unanswered. Also, the story was liberally sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases. If you don't speak Spanish have a dictionary handy because otherwise you'll miss important nuances. That was a real annoyance. In spite of all this I enjoyed the book. The story was interesting and the two main characters were well developed.

Just a warning, there's a lot of sex in this novel. I would contrast Bond of Blood with Twilight by Meyer. I enjoyed that novel also, but there were no steamy erotic scenes to distract from the storyline. It's sad when authors resort to sex instead of words. Worth reading.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Brightness Reef - David Brin

This novel is my first uplift experience. It's an interesting take on how humans, and other sapients of course, got to where they are. I wonder if we'll ever see the uplift books in a museum dedicated to intelligent design?

As I got closer to the end I realized I wasn't going to find a conclusion in this book. Duh! What did I think trilogy meant? I have the other two books in the trilogy ordered now and they're in my to-read queue. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Twilight - Stephenie Meyer

There are vampires and then there are vampires. This novel is a love story with a twist. How would you handle it if your lab partner in high school biology was a vampire? What would you do if you fell in love with this vampire? How would you introduce a vampire to your parents? What do you wear to meet a vampire's family? What happens when some other vampires decide you're snackable? All good questions and all covered in this novel. I'm looking forward to reading the two other books in this series. Highly recommended.

This novel is suitable for teens. There's no sex and no bad language, but it does get scary at times. However, younger kids probably won't sympathize with this much teenage angst. One reason I read this book was to see if it would make a good Christmas present for my grandkids. I'll let them get a little older before I give them this book, but it's on the list.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Lick of Frost - Laurell Hamilton

This is the sixth book in the Meredith Gentry series. If you've been following this series you know what she's been trying for and you have to read this novel. Now I have to wait for the next book! Highly recommended.

Drop Dead Gorgeous - Linda Howard

This is the sequel to To Die For. Blair is back in danger again. Wyatt is busy protecting her. The question is will they make it to their wedding or not. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson

This book took me a long time to read. I read the paperback, which has small print and 1,139 pages, including the appendix. It's long and seems convoluted at times but it finishes strong. If you're math challenged you can skip all the interesting problems. If you have any interest in cryptography and early computers this book is for you. If you're a WWII buff, you'll find this book fascinating. If you always wondered how global finance and corporate piracy worked, there's something in this book for you too. When I first started reading, I brooded that I wasn't getting very far. In the end, I was disappointed when I ran out of words. Very highly recommended.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

SPAM - way too much

How many of us lose email we want because we have spam filters that accidentally throw it away? I've had an email address since the 70's when I dialed into compuserve with a terminal and a 300 baud modem. I've had a domain since the 80's when I had a UNIX box on my desk at home. That means a lot of people have been able to scam my email address over the years and I get a ton of SPAM. What can you do?

I have a friend who's almost computer illiterate, but I got him on the web with his business back in the 90's and he's got the same SPAM problem I do. I don't recommend this as an experiment, but it sure shed some light on his SPAM problem.

He managed to click on the wrong thing a couple of weeks ago and got a virus. A nasty one that required he have XP reinstalled on the computer. We saved most of his data, but he was off the net for almost a whole week. When we got his email client reinstalled and back online there was an interesting result.

He has one email address that he's had for almost 10 years. He has three other email addresses that I setup for him in the last year for other activities like communicating with students (he's a teacher) and special projects. After a week of not checking, these three email addresses had 24 email messages combined waiting to be downloaded. The 10 year old email address had over 3,000 messages waiting to clog his inbox.

For me the lesson is, if you want to ditch spam change your email address. I know that's not possible in some cases because it's a business address with lots of clients. However, if you get yourself another email address or two, and slowly start weaning your clients and friends over to these new addresses, eventually you can slam the door on the SPAM and free your inbox. You'll have to keep the new addresses close to the vest, and clients will leak them, but it will provide some relief for some period of time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

To Die For - Linda Howard

This book made me laugh out loud a bunch of times. I have a friend who owns a fitness facility and I'll be giving her this book for Christmas. This is a hilarious tale of a southern gal who owns a gym and the police detective who is bound and determined to capture her heart. Along the way there's murder and attempted murder, and (yes it is Linda Howard!) lots of steamy sex. Sorry this is not for kids. I finished this one while I was out of town last weekend and I've already started the sequel. Highly recommended.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Still Life with Crows - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

You have to read this one just to figure out what the title's about! It's another Agent Pendergast novel but this one doesn't take place in New York. Would you believe Kansas? I was up 'till about 02:00 this morning finishing this one. It's hard to put down, as are most Preston & Child stories. Very highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Cabinet of Curiosities - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

This is another Agent Pendergast novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way. Dr. Nora Kelly and reporter Bill Smithback are in the cast of characters. New York is the setting with the Museum of Natural History playing a big part. Pendergast has some family history to deal with -- again. Very highly recommended.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Saboteurs - W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV

Griffin's books have never disappointed me. This one is no exception. What made this particularly interesting was that I'm also reading Cryptonomicon by Stephenson at the same time and the books overlap in time and topic. This is a WWII novel about the OSS. A staple of Griffin's. The cast of characters will be familiar if you've been reading much Griffin, and there's much to read. This book is part of his Men of War series. You can find all of his books on his web site. Highly recommended.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Riptide - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Pirate treasure brings out the best and the worst in people. In this novel the authors do a great job of building suspense. The setting is the coast of Maine and the treasure has an interesting twist. In addition to two billion in gold and jewels there's the infamous St. Michael's Sword. This is a great book. Highly recommended.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson

If you like historical novels this is a gem. This book chronicles the 1893 World's Fair that took place in Chicago, also known as the World's Columbian Exposition. This book also follows the exploits of the serial killer Dr. H. H. Holmes who used the fair as a hunting ground.

The amazing history that took place building up to and during the Columbian Exposition is fascinating reading. The historical figures and technological firsts are like finding hidden prizes throughout the text. The dark side of the book, the young women who went missing before, during, and after the fair, make an interesting counter point. If you're interested in the history of the city of Chicago this book is a must read.

The book gets bogged down in minutia at times, but it was hard to put down when Larson was writing tight. I really enjoyed the stories it contains. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Double Take - Catherine Coulter

This is another FBI thriller featuring the agents Coulter has made famous: Sherlock, Savich, and Cheney. Sheriff Dix is a pivotal character in this one too. Murder and psychics make an interesting mix. Highly recommended.

If you're interested in the other FBI thrillers Coulter has penned check out her web site. Reading them in order is a big plus.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Luck in the Shadows - Lynn Flewelling

This is the first book in Flewelling's Nightrunner series. Unfortunately I read the series in the wrong order but it was still excellent. If you like fantasy and intrigue this is a worthy read. Highly recommended.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Many Bloody Returns - Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner

This is an anthology of short stories based on the theme vampires and birthdays. The volume is edited by Harris and Kelner. The book contains 13 stories by 13 different authors. Some authors I'm very familiar with. Harris is one of them. Others I've never heard of but I'll definitely be reading more of their works.

This book is kind of like an hors d'oeuvers smörgåsbord for readers. You get a little taste of a lot of things. There wasn't a story in here I didn't really enjoy. Some stories were self contained like Vampire Hours by Elaine Viets and The Mournful Cry of Owls by Christopher Golden. Others gave you a peek at a deeper story and I'll be following up for sure. Examples of these are The First Day of the Rest of Your Life by Rachel Caine and Blood Wrapped by Tanya Huff. I can't wait to read more by these authors. Very highly recommended.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

It Takes a Village - Hillary Clinton

Before you can comment on a book you have to have read it. That's as good a reason as any to read this chronicle of Mrs. Clinton's vision for America. After reading it I found the book includes some very interesting pieces that illustrate problems with education, health care, families, and other areas of life in America. My conflict with this book is the premise that more government can solve all of these problem. Government is the root cause of almost every problem this book exposes. Less government will be the solution, not more.

Then there are the wild statistics with no comments in the notes section to justify them. Take for example the assertion on page nine that "135,000 children bring guns to school each day." Just think about that and scratch your head. If this wasn't pulled out of thin air then cite the origin. To compound the lack of credibility, some of the references cited in the notes section are the news media. It's bad enough the Associated Press is cited but when I saw the New York Times I laughed out loud.

I read the 10th anniversary edition of It Takes a Village. I recommend reading it so you'll know what kind of person is running for president this year and what you're likely to get if she's elected. More government, higher taxes, and less freedom.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Bones to Ashes - Kathy Reichs

This is another Temperance Brennan novel. This time the setting is Canada instead of the Carolinas. This book has multiple threads that all converge into an interesting conclusion. There's plenty of mystery and suspense, and Tempe's sister Harry shows up to add some spice to the story. Harry's presence almost makes you wish for illustrations :)   Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Collectors - David Baldacci

This is another Camel Club novel. These are great books. Baldacci is an excellent writer and the mix of characters in the Camel Club is great. This novel features a little spying, a little con artistry, and a lot of murder. Just in case, the first book in this series is titled The Camel Club. I look forward to many more. Highly recommended.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Traitor's Moon - Lynn Flewelling

This is book three in the Nightrunner series. Unfortunately, last year I started with the second book in the series, Stalking Darkness, and now it's on to the first book, Luck in the Shadows.

This is the continuing tale of Seregil and Alec, the lords/thieves/spies that are the main characters in this series. In this novel they make it all the way to Aurenen, Seregil's homeland. If you like fantasy this is an excellent choice. Highly recommended.

One caveat. Flewelling has chosen to make the main protagonists in this series homosexual lovers. There are no explicit sex scenes in this book. Unlike some authors, Flewelling makes the relationships in her stories important to the plot, but the emotional connection between couples is the thread woven into the plot, not their sexual activities. However if you have a problem with this life style you may want to think twice about this book. Especially for teens and younger readers.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Ruins - Scott Smith

This one will give you the creeps. I had to finish it tonight. Now I'll be dreaming of vines! If you like Stephen King and Dean Koontz you'll like Scott Smith. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Exit Strategy - Kelley Armstrong

This is a new set of characters for Armstrong. I've been following her Women of Otherworld series. This book has nothing supernatural about it, but it's still fascinating. We have a new heroine in Nadia Stafford. She's a hitwoman with a conscience. You won't want to put this book down. It's another sleep killer. Highly recommended.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mount Dragon - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Another excellent book by this writing duo. If you're ever worried about the direction genetic engineering is taking read this book. You'll lose sleep because you can't put it down, and later you'll lose sleep just thinking about the possibilities :)   Don't be fooled by the name. There are no dragons in this book. There's plenty of suspense, but nothing supernatural lurking in these pages. This is a high tech thriller that's highly recommended.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On the Prowl - Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance & Sunny

This is a collection of four relatively short stories that all deal with the supernatural side of things. All four stories are great. Highly recommended.

Briggs is an accomplished author. Her contribution may have some familiar characters if you've followed her werewolves in the Mercedes Thompson Series. I plan to keep following :)

I think this is the first story by Wilks I've read. I'm very impressed. I'll be following up with some of her full length novels.

Chance has an amazing sense of humor. I really liked her story of the two-natured. I'll be reading more of her books too.

Sunny has provided another story in the Monere series. You have to have read the others in the series to really follow this story. Of course you could just read Sunny for the sex.

The woman is obsessed with sex. The other stories in this collection have some romance and sex in them, but Sunny is all about the sex. Monere heal with sex, share powers with sex, and even glow in the dark while having sex. I say -- what's wrong with that :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Caught Up!

Finally! I cleared all the books off the chest in the living room and I can take a break. Now I can add books as I finish them, and have time to post some other musings besides.

If anyone's interested in these books let me know. Books should be given to readers who will treat them with respect and pass them along when they're done. I make a habit of gifting sales people that come to my door with books from time to time :)

I gave up saving books for my kids to read. Maybe it skips a generation, but my kids read the TV Guide and that's about it :) OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. I have friends who keep telling me "I'll wait 'till it's made into a movie," and I keep telling them it's not the same. Their loss.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling

This novel shouldn't need any additional hype. All seven Harry Potter books are outstanding. Knowing this was the final book in the series made me a little apprehensive, but Rowling really knows how to finish. This is an excellent final book in an amazing series. Very highly recommended.

Skin - Ted Dekker

This is a novel that has so many twists it's hard to keep up. It's difficult to untangle the story without giving away the plot so I won't try. Just get ready for a wild read that's hard to put down.

That said, this is the first Dekker book I've read and it will probably be the last. The plot was a little too twisty for my taste and when I was done I didn't feel particularly satisfied. I don't think this book is a waste of time but in my opinion there are better story tellers out there.

Break No Bones - Kathy Reichs

This is another book featuring Temperance Brennan. Temperance spends her time as a forensic anthropologist between her labs in Canada and North Carolina. In this novel she's teaching a new crop of archeology students for the summer when they find a body much too fresh for the Native American burial ground they're working in. This leads to the inevitable mystery and science that make Reichs' books so entertaining. Highly recommended.

If you're interested in the other Temperance Brennan books you can find a list on Reichs' web site.

No Humans Involved - Kelley Armstrong

This is book seven in the Women of the Otherworld series. These books could stand alone but I recommend reading them in order. Armstrong's web site has them listed.

No Humans Involved features Jaime Vegas. Jaime is trying to break into TV via a gig on a reality show. She's a spiritualist by trade. The difference is she's a real necromancer and can actually see ghosts. In this story she comes up against some formidable practitioners of black magic. She enlists the help of her friends from the Interracial Council to help in the struggle. This is a book you'll find hard to put down. Highly recommended.

Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports - James Patterson

This is number three in the Maximum Ride series. These are great novels. Check out Patterson's web site for the rest of the titles in the series.

This title just about says it all. You're in for more high flying adventure with Max and her gang. All the expected villains are present with some interesting twists. Highly recommended.

Exile - Richard North Patterson

As usual Patterson has produced an amazing book. Exile is the story of a man who's past is about to come back and haunt him big time. This book takes you from San Francisco to the Middle East and never lets up. Patterson provides a view of the Israeli/Palestinian situation that you won't get from the news media. This is a novel, but Patterson is a rigorous researcher and the maps and facts presented in this work of fiction can open your eyes to just how delicate the balance is in the Middle East. It doesn't answer the question of who's got the biggest grievances, but it does lay out both sides of complicated situation. Very highly recommended.

Undead and Uneasy - MaryJanice Davidson

This is Davidson's sixth novel featuring Betsy Taylor, queen of the vampires. This is a great series of books that don't take themselves too seriously. I've been known to laugh out loud reading Davidson's books, and I'm sure that's what she intended. You have to love a vampire who's more interested in shoes than blood. That said, Betsy has some amazing powers and she uses them for good, unlike some of the vampires she runs up against.

In Undead and Uneasy Betsy is about to get married. There are some things she's not willing to give up just because she's dead! But first she has that pesky problem of her missing fiancé to deal with.

Please read this series in order. You can find a list on Davidson's web site. All are highly recommended.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Harlequin - Laurell K. Hamilton

This is another Anita Blake book. She's the necromancer turned vampire hunter and protector of just about everything were. This is book 15 in the series. If you've been reading them all you have to keep going. If not, Hamilton's web site lists them all in order and you should start at the beginning.

Frankly, I liked the first books in the series better. Anita spent more time raising zombies and killing vampires back then. Now she spends most of her time in bed with vampires and weres of every stripe. Anita is part tiger, leopard, wolf, lion, and beast yet to be determined herself, but she's avoided the actual change so far. If you like intense descriptive sex scenes you'll appreciate the later books in the series. In spite of that, this novel is highly recommended.

Step on a Crack - James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

This is a book that involves assasination, big time hostages, and a police detective with 10 kids and a dying wife. The story is great and so is the hero. I hope Patterson decides to give Michael Bennett a return engagement. This detective would make a great series, like Alex Cross or Maximum Ride and her flying friends. Very highly recommended.

The 6th Target - James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

This is the 6th Women's Murder Club novel. They're the heroes in another of Patterson's continuing story lines, and an excellent one. This time around there are some real nasty bad guys and gals to deal with. You won't want to put it down. Highly recommended.

If you want to follow the Women's Murder Club there's a link on Patterson's web site that lists these novels in order.

Next - Michael Crichton

This is a great story. Crichton seems to have fun using popular fiction to poke at things like common knowledge and conventional wisdom. Just how weird will the future get? Crichton's is a very entertaining view. Very highly recommended.

Cross - James Patterson

If you like to read you have to have crossed paths with James Patterson. Alex Cross is his most famous protagonist. He's got a nose for the bad guys and almost always gets his man. Unfortunately the same can't be said for his woman :(

This is the twelfth book featuring Cross. It would help to read them in the correct order. Check out Patterson's web site and look for the Alex Cross section. He's got them listed in the right order. All of the Cross books are highly recommended.

The Cobra Trilogy - Timothy Zahn

This is great science fiction. This trilogy is composed of three stories: Cobra, Cobra Strike, and Cobra Bargain. I've read a lot of Zahn books and he always provides a good story.

The Cobra trilogy takes a young soldier in an alien war with the Trofts, who is turned into a stealth cyborg or Cobra, and follows him through a lifetime of conflict and peace to whole new worlds and future generations. It's a real treasure. Very highly recommended.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Lesson plans are getting crowded!

I'm going to school to be a teacher. I've been out of college for thirty years now, which some insensitive boob from the alumni associate reminded me of over the phone tonight, but now I've decided to go back and get a degree that will let me teach in secondary education. I've got a year's worth of classes under my belt and I've discovered lesson plan bloat.

I've had classes on lesson planning. I got that.

Then I had a class on Content Area Reading (CAR). In this class I learned that in addition to content area objectives, I should be spending a portion of each class working on reading, so I need some reading objectives in that lesson plan.

Nobody would admit it, but this is basically because elementary education has turned into a big day care center that doesn't teach kids to read because it could hurt their self-esteem. OK, that's a bit if a generalization, but when I was a kid, I learned to read starting in first grade with Dick and Jane, and by junior high I could handle it. Not anymore.

Now I have a class on English Language Learners (ELL). In this class, I'm learning that a significant percentage of my students won't speak English, in addition to not reading. I have to include language objectives in my lesson plans now. How I'm going to teach someone who can't speak English to read, write, and speak English, while I try to teach them science, will be interesting. I'm sure they'll teach me how to do that before I get my degree. OK, not really sure. More like hopeful.

So far, I have to include content area objectives, reading objectives, and language objectives in my lesson plans. I also have to list the state standards I'm meeting for content area, reading, and language. These lesson plans are getting crowded and I still have over a year of school to go. I can't wait to see what additional objectives and standards they'll be shoehorning in before that year's up :)


Lean Mean Thirteen - Janet Evanovich

More Stephanie Plum. Still a bounty hunter and getting a little better all the time. The woman wrecks more cars than Carter has little pills, but that's part of her charm :) Highly recommended.

Twelve Sharp - Janet Evanovich

As you might guess, this is the twelfth Stephanie Plum novel. I love Stephanie books. They're laugh out loud fun to read and still provide a good dose of suspense. Evanovich is a terrific author and from her picture on the back cover a babe. Not a bad combination.

I recommend reading the Stephanie Plum novels in the right order. For a complete list check out Evanovich's web site. All her books are highly recommended.

For a Few Demons More - Kim Harrison

This novel is about all creatures supernatural. Harrison's heroes are a witch, a pixie, and a vampire. There are werewolves, demons, and other interesting creatures in the mix too. This is the fifth Rachel Morgan book. She is the witch. This time around she's got her hands full with a supernatural gang war and a demon she can't seem to shake. I recommend you read the Rachel Morgan books in the right order. You can look on Harrison's web site for that. They're all very highly recommended.

The Cold Moon - Jeffery Deaver

This is a Lincoln Rhyme novel. This is the story where Deaver introduces Kathryn Dance. Look for more of her in The Sleeping Doll. Every time you think Rhyme and Sachs have this one in the bag another twist pops up. This is a great book. Highly recommended.

Earthcore - Scott Sigler

This is a good novel with some interesting characters and an unbelievable premise. I enjoyed the book but I kept thinking "no way" all through it. For some reason I couldn't suspend my disbelief long enough to really get engaged in the story. If you like lots of blood and suspense you'll like this book.

All Together Dead - Charlaine Harris

This is another installment in the Sookie Stackhouse series. It's number seven I believe. You'd be best advised to look on Amazon or Borders or Harris' web site for the right order to read them in. They're all excellent.

Sookie can sort of read minds. An interesting talent that keeps her tangled up with vampires, weres, witches, and all sorts of interesting supernaturals. Unfortunately, her love life is the worse for were. I couldn't help it! Highly recommended.

Grave Surprise - Charlaine Harris

This is the second Harper Connelly novel by Harris. The first is Grave Sight. I recommend you read it before this one. Harper and her brother of sorts, Tolliver, make their living finding dead people, and sometimes ghosts. What's the difference? Read the book :) Harper's gift, or curse, is an intriguing premise and makes for excellent stories. Especially since Harris writes them. Highly recommended.

Sweet and Deadly - Charlaine Harris

This is an excellent novel from an author I really admire. But there are no vampires or ghosts or anything else supernatural in this book. It's a straight up mystery that keeps you wondering right up to the end. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Navigator - Clive Cussler & Paul Kemprecos

This is a Kurt Austin novel. When Dirk got promoted Cussler produced a whole new set of younger heros. Kurt is the leader. He's backed up by Joe Zavala, and supported by a cast of NUMA scientists and engineers. They are every bit as good as the old crew.

This is typical Cussler, if such a mundane word can ever be used when referring to a Cussler novel. You've got ancient Phoenicians, mercenaries, early American presidents, archaeologists, librarians, and evil galore. It's another book you won't want to put down. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Thunderhead - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

This is an excellent novel. Archeology and Native American witchcraft are a volatile mix. This is a book that will keep you on the edge of your chair and up too late at night. Read this before the books in the Diogenes trilogy by the same authors. Highly recommended.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Reliquary - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

This is the sequel to Relic. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the sewers of New York... Wait! When was that ever safe? If you liked Relic you'll like Reliquary. Another Pendergast novel, but not particularly order critical as long as you read Relic first. A very good adventure. You'll want to read it in a well lit room :)

The Ice Limit - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

This is another outstanding book by Preston & Child. This novel is about a hunt for a meteor. Of course knowing the books these guys write it could never be that simple. You'll enjoy every minute of this book. You might even recognize some characters from other Preston & Child novels. They're good and reusing characters. It's nice to find a familiar protagonist from time to time, and of course a villain once in a while too :)

Book of the Dead - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

This is an excellent book. One of six book by the same authors I've read lately. You know how it is. You read a book and really like the way the author, or in this cause authors, think so you go on a reading binge.

Book of the Dead is another tale anchored by Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast of the FBI and his evil brother Diogenes. It includes the usual cast of characters. It would be better to read the books featuring Pendergast and his crew in order. For the Diogenes books that would be Brimstone, Dance of Death, and Book of the Dead. All excellent and hard to put down. Highly recommended.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Brother Odd - Dean Koontz

The latest in the Odd Thomas series by Koontz is excellent. Koontz doesn't have a lot or recurring characters but Odd Thomas is my favorite. Odd attracts supernatural evil like a flower attracts bees. This is a story that you won't want to put down. I recommend reading the earlier Odd Thomas novels first though. They're Odd Thomas and Forever Odd. All three are highly recommended.

Treasure of Khan - Clive Cussler & Dirk Cussler

This is another Dirk Pitt novel by the master of any mystery revolving around the sea. I'm always on the lookout for a new Cussler book because I know I won't be disappointed. Although Dirk and Al are getting a bit long in the tooth, so am I :)  I love reading their adventures. Very highly recommended.

Dead Watch - John Sandford

This is a new area for Sandford. The political thriller. He really pulls it off. Just like his standby Kidd and Davenport novels, this one will keep you awake at night not wanting to put the book down. Highly recommended.

The Husband - Dean Koontz

This story starts out with intensity you can feel and it never lets up. Another vintage Koontz that keeps you up way past bedtime trying to find a breather where you can stop for the night. And talk about the sins of the father? Yikes! Highly recommended.

The Good Guy - Dean Koontz

Koontz has never written a book I didn't like. This is another winner. Take two strangers, shove them together in a run for their lives and you get a story you can't put down. And the villain is just as creepy as they come. Highly recommended.

Demon's Delight - Anthology

This series of short stories features MaryJanice Davidson, Emma Holly, Vickie Taylor, and Catherine Spangler. This is a nice group of stories. You have your witches, demons, angels, and vampires. Of course you have your romance too. As the cover says, these are "stories of devilish passion." They make a good read.

Over the Moon - Anthology

This volume of short stories is authored by: Angela Knight, MaryJanice Davidson, Virginia Kantra, and Sunny. I really like short stories. It's much easier to put the book down after a reasonable amount of time when you have a real conclusion. These stories contain the usual suspects, werewolves, vampires, fae, and Sunny's Monere. This kind of anthology also gives you a chance to sample authors you've never read before. All four of these women write a mean story. I'll be reading more from each of them.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Judge & Jury - James Patterson & Andrew Gross

This is an awesome book. You'll be amazed at the lengths some people will go to in order to avoid jail! This book may change your opinion on situational ethics too. Very highly recommended.

I don't understand the trend lately for some very high profile authors to collaborate on books with a second author. Patterson is doing this a lot, but the quality doesn't seem to suffer. And if it means more books faster I'm all for it. Keep 'em coming.

Gone - Jonathan Kellerman

This is another Alex Delaware novel. Kellerman is a great mystery writer. Alex and Milo are characters you want to keep reading about. I wish Alex would get his love life straightened out though :)

This book features another insane monster that Alex tries to understand in order to catch. It's a twisty turny story. Highly recommended.

I have Obsession on order and can't wait!

Friday, August 10, 2007

S is for Silence - Sue Grafton

I have read Kinsey Millhone from A to S. They are all great. I can't wait for T through Z. These are private detective stories with a female protagonist who isn't overboard feminist. Every time a new Kinsey Millhone novel comes out it's a treat. Highly recommended.

Crisscross - F. Paul Wilson

This is one of the Repairman Jack novels. I have read them all. They are amazing. Try and start in the right order. I recommend going to the Repairman Jack FAQ. If you like a good adventure mystery with a twist, and a hero to look up to, Repairman Jack is the way to go.

The Dead Zone - Stephen King

I know. This book's been out there a long time. But I was watching some of the TV series based on the book on DVD and decided to read the book again. It's still good.

Why is it they never make a movie or TV show based on a King book as dark as the original? I guess they figure too many nightmares :) I read Pet Cemetary and got the willies. I quit watching the movie about half way through and never finished.

The Dead Zone
is worth the read, even the second time around.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cover of Night - Linda Howard

This is a story about the mob, ex-marines, romance, family, and lots of adventure. Howard did a great job. I'll be looking for more books by her. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Spellman Files - Lisa Lutz

This is a fun book. The author has a good sense of humor and knows how to tell a great story. A whole family of private eyes are the main characters. The black sheep of the family is a lawyer. I have to say I agree with that assessment of lawyers :)

Q: Why is a lawyer like a condom?
A: You hope you never need one, but when you're getting screwed, and you do need one, you want it to be a good one.

Mexifornia: A State of Becoming - Victor Davis Hanson

Mexifornia is a real eye-opener. If you've ever wondered how illegal immigration (notice I said illegal) is affecting our country you have to read this book. I'm taking an ELL class right now as part of my requirements for becoming a teacher. I'm glad I read this book first. It's giving me an interesting perspective on the course.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Trade Pact Universe Series - Julie E. Czerneda

This is a trio of stories set far in the future. The novels are A Thousand Words for Stranger, Ties of Power, and To Trade the Stars. They have it all, adventure, intrigue, romance, and lots of interesting aliens and planets.

I really like Czerneda. I highly recommend her Species Imperative and Web Shifters series as well. Just google 'em. You can't go wrong if you like science fiction. After all she's a scientist in addition to an accomplished author.

Blood Bound - Patricia Briggs

This is the second book in the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy is a mechanic who can also shape shift into a coyote. She has vampire friends, her room-mate is a werewolf, and she talks to ghosts. If that sound like the ingredients for a good story you'll love this book. I recommend you find the first novel in the series, Moon Called, and start at the beginning.

Morrigan's Cross Series - Nora Roberts

Morrigan's Cross, Dance of the Gods, and Valley of Silence make up a trilogy of novels about the battle between good and evil. This time there are vampires on both sides.

I know. I never expected Roberts to write a series about vampires and gods, but she did and it's excellent. It's got her signature romance threaded throughout but that's OK. That's what you expect from Roberts and she delivers all that and more. These three novels are well worth the read.

Superman Returns - Marv Wolfman

I never saw the movie but this book is a roller coaster. The story is a very emotional ride. Once again Superman saves the world. Highly recommended.

The Hard Way - Lee Child

Jack Reacher is in the right place at the right time to be pulled into a big mess in this novel. You'll like the twists and turns in the plot. Jack is a love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy but... Read and enjoy.

Bad Luck and Trouble - Lee Child

This is another Jack Reacher novel. I've read them all. I pre-order them on amazon. Jack Reacher is my hero. That said, this is a story about reunion but not the happiest. Please read it and enjoy.

Simple Genius - David Baldacci

I love Baldacci novels. This is another story featuring the ex-secret service duo of King and Maxwell. There are secrets and mysteries galore. Highly recommended.

Raising the Past - Jeremy Robinson

This is the first novel by Robinson I've read. This book takes you in so many directions you can lose track. The story is set in the arctic where the goal is to dig up a mammoth. Where the book ends up is amazing. This novel stretches the imagination to the breaking point. Highly recommended.

Strange Candy - Laurell K. Hamilton

This is a collection of short stories by Hamilton. I really like her writing. This is an excellent opportunity to see what she's like before you embark on a quest to read through her Anita Blake or Meredith Gentry series. If you like vampires, weres, zombies, and all the other creatures of the night you'll like this book. Oh yeah, if you like sex scenes that will steam up your reading glasses Hamilton is the one to read :)

High Profile - Robert B. Parker

Parker has so many series it's hard to keep track. This is a Jesse Stone novel. Jesse is the most laid back police chief you'll ever read about, and he has another high profile case to work. This is a very good mystery.

Invisible Prey - John Sandford

Another in a long and excellent series of Lucas Davenport novels. Lucas is still a super cop for the state of Minnesota. This time someone is killing people right in his neighborhood. Sandford even includes a cameo by Kidd in this story. The Kidd novels are another great series by this talented author. This is a must read for anyone who likes a good mystery.

Carved in Bone - Jefferson Bass

If you like Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell you'll like Jefferson Bass. He writes about forensic pathology from experience, since he runs the real life body farm everybody else writes about. Carved in Bone keeps your interest with plenty if suspense and plot twists. They add some spice to the science and make for a book you can't put down.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Mistral's Kiss - Laurell K. Hamilton

This is another novel in the Meredith Gentry series. Hamilton is an excellent author. I have yet to read a book by her that doesn't please. Her later novels seem to be more about sex than faerie though. The first sentence is "I dreamt of warm flesh and cookies." However, if you've been following this series from the first you have to keep going. I want to know how Meredith's efforts to produce an heir work out. I just don't think I need quite as much detail as Hamilton wants to provide :) I keep coming back though.

The Sleeping Doll - Jeffery Deaver

This is an excellent book. I've read many Deaver novels. He always keeps me up too late at night because I never want to put his books down. Lincoln Rhyme shows up for a cameo, but this book is all Kathryn Dance. She first showed up in Cold Moon, another Deaver book that you should read, but this time she's the star of the show. I highly recommend this book.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism - Christopher C. Horner

This is a must read for anyone who's really interested in global warming and other modern myths. You should have some grounding in science, and some statistics would be good too, but you can just take the book's word for it if you have neither. Unfortunately, that's what most "environmentalists" have done with Algore's movie and the main stream media, and look how that's worked out :)

This book's written at a level most people can follow with no problem, even liberals. Give it a read, and if you have problems with the statistics just let me know. Unlike some books you'll find on the subject of global warning, there are extensive references to every fact you find in this book. I wish every author who stated "facts" would do the same. You out there Hillary Clinton and Michael Moore?

Please read this book.

Mona Lisa Awakening - Sunny

My taste in books is pretty eclectic. Mona Lisa Awakening and the follow up titled Mona Lisa Blossoming are good writing, and I like the way the author came up with a whole new twist on vampires and weres. However, I'm tired of authors who use the supernatural as a backdrop for soft pornography. What ever happened to books where the couple retires to the bedroom, shuts the door, and the story starts back up the next morning? OK, it's healing, power sharing sex, but it's still sex. Sunny has obviously read a lot of Laurall Hamilton. If you want hot steamy explicit sex scenes these books should be on your list. If not, just skim over the hot spots and you can read these pretty fast :) They're worth the trouble.

Debunking 9/11 Myths - David Dunbar & Brad Reagan

The subtitle for this book is Why conspiracy theories can't stand up to the facts. That does a pretty good job of explaining the book. It's an in-depth investigation by the people at Popular Mechanics that shines the light of logic and science on all the crazy theories around the 9/11 tragedy. Rosie obviously never read this and probably couldn't understand it if she did :) If you have any doubts about what happened on 9/11/2001 this is a book you should read.

The Overlook - Michael Connelly

I've read a lot of Michael Connelly books. I've never been disappointed. The Overlook is another Harry Bosch story. If you've been following Harry you won't want to miss it. Harry is one of the good guys.

Kitty and The Midnight Hour - Carrie Vaughn

I like this book and the others in the series a lot. I also read the follow up books, Kitty Goes to Washington and Kitty Takes a Holiday. If you like werewolves and vampires and all the other bumps in the night you'll like these books.

Debt of Bones - Terry Goodkind

If you've been reading the Sword of Truth series you'll enjoy this side trip. Those of us who prefer books to movies or TV appreciate the additional background you get when reading. This book provides background, as a prequel should, but you're treated to a good stand-alone adventure too. Highly recommended.

The Killer Angles - Michael Shaara

This book was recommended by my classmates in a graduate course on teaching content area reading. This book covers the Battle of Gettysburg, which was the turning point in the American civil war. While this book is fiction, it's supposed to be a very accurate depiction of the history of this pivotal event in America's past. There aren't a lot of historical novels I have trouble putting down. This is one.

Guns, Germs, and Steel - Jared Diamond

This is an excellent book. If you've ever wondered why we speak English instead of Cherokee in the USA this is the book for you. I highly recommend it.

Read This First

I decided to give this a try and the one topic I figured I could do justice to was to list and talk about the books I've read. I'm not going to go back past this year. I have a stack of books I finished after the first of the year sitting on a chest in the living room. It's not all the books I've read this year, since I've given away a dozen or so already, but it's most of 'em.

I'm not going to write long gushy reviews. You can google any book I list and get a dozen of those. I'm just going to list them with some comments. If I didn't like a book I'll tell you. If I did I'll tell you that too. Frankly, if a book's on my list I probably liked it, since I don't read books I don't think I'll like. But sometimes you get fooled :)

I'd be happy to discuss any book. I've been reading for about 50 years and I've covered just about every genre there is. Feel free to comment, criticize, or expand on what I write. I've been through flame wars in the 70s and 80s that make today's heated exchanges sound like a church social, so don't be offended if I ignore your criticism :) If you want to discuss a book please leave a comment.