Thursday, December 31, 2009

Witch & Wizard - James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet

Witch & Wizard is another young adult novel by Patterson and someone else. He's been doing a lot of "with someone else" books lately. The story starts out great. By the end, which really isn't the end, I was very disappointed. I try not to miss one of Patterson's books and I really like witch and wizard stories. This was just too juvenile for me to enjoy. After the Maximum Ride series I thought Patterson had young adult fiction mastered. From now on I'll wait to see some reviews, and probably believe them, before I try another kid's book from Patterson. Not recommended.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an amazing book. It's got all the elements a story needs. A girl with tattoos and piercings, computer hackers, injustice, a missing person mystery, and many more. I'm truly sorry that the author, Larsson, died in 2004. He was a great story teller. There are two more books in this series and I'll definitely get around to reading them. This book literally kept me up nights. You never knew what was going to happen next. Very highly recommended.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Throne of Jade - Naomi Novik

Throne of Jade is the sequel to His Majesty's Dragon. Captain Laurence and Temeraire are off to China where a celestial dragon is real royalty. The Chinese ambassador insists that Temeraire be returned to China, but allows Captain Laurence to come along since Temeraire insists. It's months by sea with battles along the way. Then in the Chinese court the two are pulled into intrigues that threatens to ruin their chances to return to England and possibly end their lives. There's a lot of detail to this second story and it's very interesting to see how dragons are treated in China compared to England and the rest of the world. Very highly recommended.

Friday, December 25, 2009

True Blue - David Baldacci

True Blue is a cop story with a twist. Mace is getting out of prison after two years. She was in for a frame job that she can't prove. She used to be an undercover cop and her goal is find out who set her up and get her job back. Her sister Beth is the chief of the Washington D.C. metro police force, but whether that will help or hinder her isn't clear. Throw in some FBI and CIA involvement in a new case Beth let Mace ride along on and it gets real interesting. Baldacci never fails to please. Very highly recommended.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pirate Latitudes - Michael Crichton

Pirate Latitudes was a pleasant surprise. Michael Crichton passed over a year ago and was mourned by the millions who looked forward to his books. This book was found on his computer. It's a rousing pirate tale with all the adventure and suspense you could ask for. I'm sorry this may be Crichton's last book, but very glad I got a chance to read it. Very highly recommended.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Daniel X: Watch the Skies - James Patterson

Daniel X: Watch the Skies is the sequel to The Dangerous Days of Daniel X. The sequel is more of the same. Super hero Daniel X is now after #5 on the list of evil aliens, and his right hand alien #21. They're taking over a town and turning it into a galactic reality show with humans as the actors and the buffet. This is definitely more geared to kids then adults. It was a little too juvenile for me in places, if you can believe that. Almost too Douglas Adams like at times. I don't like Douglas Adams. Recommended.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Breathless - Dean Koontz

Breathless seems like three or four separate stories at first. All the tales are compelling. Finally the threads come together, united by the one event that it seems will unite the whole world. Koontz never disappoints. And yes there is a dog. Lots of dogs in fact. Very highly recommended.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X - James Patterson

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X is the first novel in a new series by Patterson. Daniel X is an alien hunter. Not the kind of aliens that come across the border from the north and south. Daniel hunts the kind of aliens from outer space. The kind that killed his parents when he was only 3 years old. Daniel has super powers that enable him to hunt down evil aliens, and he uses them somewhat childishly since he's still in high school and feeling his hormones. This is a book intended for young adults, but like the Maximum Ride series, still something an older adult can enjoy. Highly recommended.

Monday, December 7, 2009

So Long Been Dreaming - Nalo Hopkinson & Uppinder Mehan

The full title of this book is So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy. This is an anthology edited by Hopkinson and Mehan. The authors of some stories in this collection seemed to have a chip on their shoulder. Others were pretty amazing. My two favorites were Delhi by Vandana Singh and Necahual by Tobias Buckell.

This anthology was focused on stories about societies after they'd been colonized. This seems to mean subjugated for most authors in the collection. Maybe that's a valid point of view, but some authors spread it on pretty thick. The stories weren't limited to space colonization, as one might assume for a collection with science fiction in the title. My favorite, Delhi, was very down to earth. Necahual was more traditional space opera, but still with overtones of how colonialism made an impact on earth. Necahual also illustrated how one good old science fiction standard could provide some valuable lessons. I really enjoyed this book. Highly recommended.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Avatar: The Na'vi Quest - Nicole Pitesa

Avatar: The Na'vi Quest is an adaptation of the Avatar movie by James Cameron. It's a short, 57 page, sparsely illustrated paperback. It's not really a novel. It does provide some interesting background on what to expect from the movie, and it does so without spoiling it for someone who intends to see the picture when it comes out. I look forward to watching the movie to flesh out this brief introduction. Recommended.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shades of Gray #1 Noir, City Shrouded by Darkness - Kristie Lynn Higgins

Noir, City Shrouded by Darkness is one of those books I really struggled to finish. I hate to not finish a book I've started, so I stuck with it. Mistake. The book's got some good points but not many. I'm sorry. I know somebody went to a lot of trouble to write this but I have to ask why? I'm assuming they didn't have an editor because a decent editor would probably still have this in rewrite. My recommendation is don't read this. If you do you'll regret the time you wasted.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hocus Pocus - Fern Michaels

Hocus Pocus is a sequel to Hide and Seek. The vigilantes are back in the USA and masquerading as rock stars to keep from being exposed by a supreme court justice. The justice is being blackmailed and threatens to expose the sisterhood if they don't help her out her jam. It's another convoluted but interesting adventure, with more people joining the vigilantes as things roll along. Highly recommended.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rough Country - John Sandford

Rough Country is the latest Virgil Flowers novel. I have yet to read a book by Sandford that didn't make me lose sleep. This time Virgil is dealing with a murder at a mostly lesbian retreat. This is almost as frustrating for Virgil as trying to find the killer. You know he'll find the killer, but it's not a sure thing whether he's going to get laid or not :) This books got plenty of twists and turns. It keeps you guessing right up to the end. Very Highly recommended.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nine Dragons - Michael Connelly

Nine Dragons is the latest Harry Bosch novel. Wow! Two continents, bad guys, guns, death, kidnapping, and a real twist in the end. Harry's life is changed forever. Very highly recommended.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Grave Secret - Charlaine Harris

Grave Secret is book four in the Harper Connelly series. There are no vampires in this novel, but who needs vampires? This story is part of a great series and this is a great book. Unfortunately when the book was over I was very sad. It has an unbelievable ending and wrapped up many mysteries, but melancholy would be the most positive description I can think of for this story. This book can really put your own life in perspective. Very highly recommended.

And for those who continue to dig for deeper meaning in this and other books, I have one message. Just suspend disbelief and enjoy the story. I love to read, and have since I was barely able to read. The best presents for me when I was a kid were books or bullets. But I hated literature classes because the search for themes, characters, plots, etc. destroyed any pleasure I got from reading a book. I never enjoyed David Copperfield or Moby Dick or Treasure Island when I was a kid, because I couldn't be a pick pocket, a whaler, or a pirate. I had to read for the deeper meaning. As an adult I've read all three and thoroughly enjoyed them. Down with literature. Up with reading. Stick your stodgy old literary analysis where the sun don't shine.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Death from the Skies! - Philip Plait

Death from the Skies! is a book to rid you of your nightmares. It does this by explaining in excruciating detail all the ways the universe can kill you. Some ways kill you slow and some get you very fast. The good part is Dr. Plait also explains the odds on them getting you at all, and that is vanishingly small. This is a fascinating book, but it contains more details than it needed. I would have preferred the Reader's Digest Condensed version, and I don't say that very often. It's still worth a read if you have the time. Recommended.
Publish Post

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pursuit of Honor - Vince Flynn

Pursuit of Honor is a continuation of the Mitch Rapp novel Extreme Measures. There are three terrorists left and the trick is can Mitch and his men find the terrorists before they strike again. You can't put this one down. Flynn ruins my sleep patterns! Very highly recommended.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Void Moon - Michael Connelly

Void Moon is pretty much a one-of for Connelly. He tends to weave characters back and forth between series but Cassie Black is an exception. Except for an unannounced cameo in The Narrows, this is her first and only appearance by Connelly. I went back to this book because it's another one I missed and I'm very glad I did. This is the story of a thief who needs to make the big score and finds herself pushed to her limits. Can you steal too much? She has to rescue herself and someone very dear. Will she do the right thing and which right thing? This is an excellent book. Very highly recommended.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hide and Seek - Fern Michaels

Hide and Seek is number eight in Michaels' Sisterhood series. I jumped into this one in the middle because this is the first book in a trilogy called Rules of the Game, but that trilogy is just part of the Sisterhood series. The book still made sense on it's own. Enough of the back story is filled in to generally understand what came before.

This novel focuses on the Sisterhood, also known as the Vigilantes, who try and bring down a vindictive corrupt FBI director. The women of the sisterhood are a varied group, from truck drivers and florists to judges and lawyers. By the time this novel appears in the series they're also media heroes. This series is a good read. I've already started the second book in this trilogy. Highly recommended.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Narrows - Michael Connelly

The Narrows is a catch-up book for me. This is the bridge that ties Rachel Walling and Harry Bosch to the Poet. I missed this story in the sequence and now I've bridged that gap. Both Rachel and Harry are great characters. Both have some trouble with authority and deal with it in unique ways. This time they team up in pursuit of a serial killer they both encountered before. The difference is Rachel killed him once already. This is a great book all by itself but look into the series that Connelly has woven these characters into to get the full effect. Very highly recommended.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ground Zero - F. Paul Wilson

Ground Zero is Wilson's latest Repairman Jack novel. This is one of the best series I've found. I highly recommend you read them from the beginning because that's the way they're best understood. This is another stay up late, read at lunch, and generally have to finish novel. It's not the last in the series but close, and provides something of a cliff hanger. Excellent story. Highly recommended.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Frankenstein: Dead and Alive - Dean Koontz

Frankenstein: Dead and Alive is the third book in Koontz's Frankenstein series. I say series instead of trilogy for good reason. Read this book and find out. This story continues to follow the problems the new race is creating in New Orleans. There are some new monsters to add to the mix and some old ones to keep things interesting. I really enjoy the pace of this novel. Unfortunately more than I enjoy sleep. This book has been a long time coming and I wish I'd had time to reread the first two books in the series. If you haven't read them do so before reading this one. Highly recommended.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Spartan Gold - Clive Cussler & Grant Blackwood

Spartan Gold is a novel featuring the treasure hunting Fargo family. In classic Cussler fashion this book is part ancient history and part modern technology. The puzzles and action are both intense. Of course the story is completely unbelievable, but this is escapism, not reality. It's good to suspend your disbelief and get into the story line.

Maybe I'm just going through a dark period, but I don't care what kind of designer clothes, fancy cars, and gourmet meals the characters wear, drive, and eat. Maybe less of those trivialities and more substance would be appropriate. I like the book, but those pretentious details were more distracting than supporting. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Living with the Dead - Kelley Armstrong

Living with the Dead is another novel in the Women of the Otherworld series. You really need to start from the beginning of this series to appreciate the later stories. This novel focuses on Hope's friend Robyn. Robyn is a nice normal human PR rep who gets tangled in a plot with clairvoyants, a half-demon, werewolves, a necromancers, and of course the Nast sorcerer cabal. By the times things get untangled Robyn's perspective on the world around her has radically changed. All the novels in this series are excellent. This one is no exception. Highly recommended.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Six Months of Kindle

I received my kindle in February of 2009. I've been using it to read books, magazines, blogs, and newspapers for over six months now. I still read paper books and magazines from time to time, but I actually miss the kindle when I switch back to dead trees.

I've read over 30 books on my kindle so I have some experience to work from. I also have a couple of reference books on the kindle that I search when needed. I subscribe to Reader's Digest on my kindle. For a while there I subscribed to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine too. I read those mystery stories to my Mom. I also tried the Chicago Tribune for a while, but I'm not a newspaper person. I also subscribed to a couple of blogs for a while, but I can follow blogs much easier on my computer. I already subscribe to too many paper periodicals, and in most of them the color pictures are something the kindle can't reproduce, so I'm sticking to paper for magazines.

I really like my kindle. Most of the things I've enumerated below are things you just can't do with a paper book. There's a short list of things you can do with a paper book you can't do with a kindle book. You can't riffle through the pages looking for pictures, diagrams, or maps. If there's a way to do this on a kindle I haven't figured it out. You can't lend a kindle book to someone else to read, or sell one on eBay when you've finished reading it. I miss those things.

I like being able to search kindle books the way I can search other documents on my computer. I like being able to turn pages with one hand and never have the wind blow my book shut or make me lose my place. I like that I can find lots of books for free and most for less than $10. I like the way the battery seems to last forever if I turn the wireless off. I love my tooled leather case from Oberon Design. I like that anywhere I am, I can order a new book and download it in minutes. I like that my kindle is small enough to fit in the pouch of my hoodie and is light enough to carry there.

I like that I can convert just about any file I have on my computer to a format that my kindle can read. I like that I can set bookmarks anywhere I want and go back to them later. They never fall out of the kindle the way they do from paper books. I like that I can read multiple books on my kindle and it remembers right where I am in each one. I like that I can look up a word I don't recognize right there and then, without having to carry around a dictionary. I actually find myself putting off reading some paper books I still haven't read so I can read something else on the kindle.

There are a few things I don't like about the kindle. Note, these are not comparisons to paper books. Rather these are design flaws or missing features of the electronic device or the books provided for it.

I don't like the way some books are not formatted well for the kindle. Some are obviously shoehorned in after the fact and are far from a perfect fit. They're readable, but it's annoying at times. Magazines and newspapers have this same problem when displayed on the kindle.

I don't like that the kindle doesn't have a touch screen. Come on! Even my phone has a touch screen. It's so intuitive these days that it's a huge letdown every time I have to use the little dip stick to navigate. Huge letdown.

I don't like that it can't read PDF files directly. The newer kindles can. It's just software people. Why can't my kindle be upgraded to do what the newer ones can? That's very disappointing.

Finally, the kindle costs too much. For the average person the initial cost is out of reach and the long term savings are very long. According to an AP-Ipsos survey from 2007, one out of four adults didn't read any books that year. If you throw out those non-readers the median for adult readers was seven books a year. I doubt that number has gotten higher in the last two years, so let's figure seven books a year.

Assuming the kindle lets you purchase a bestselling book for $9.99, and assuming the price of that same book in hardback would be about $16 on Amazon, you'd have to read about 50 books for the savings to pay for the current $299 kindle. That means the average reader would take over seven years to recoup the cost of their kindle. Too expensive.

All that said I don't regret buying my kindle one bit. I waited for version two to come out before I took the plunge, and I did a lot of research first. Basically I got what I expected. How many things can you say that about? The only reason I'd give up my kindle is for a touch screen color version. I'm waiting Amazon.

UPDATE: 11/29/2009

I installed the latest software release for my kindle and now I have PDF support. The update also enabled screen rotation, which is helpful for PDF files since you can't zoom in on them. It also extended the battery life by 75%. My battery life was great before because I leave the network off, but more battery life is always better. If you're interested you can win a new kindle at the noobie site.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol is everything I'd expected. More mysteries, ancient symbols, and clues to follow. The action was good. The villain was superb. It will make an excellent movie if they do it right. The only let down was that Brown waxed pedantic at times. They'll leave that out of a movie if they make one. All you couch potatoes won't have to worry about it. Highly recommended.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hostile Intent - Michael Walsh

Hostile Intent is a novel about terrorism, greed, and revenge. Devlin is a super secret agent of the government and he's the last line of defense for the country. He's called on to stop one terrorist act but things only get worse. Are the terrorists out to destroy the country or Devlin himself? The writing is not as great as Flynn, Ludlum, or Connelly but it's good. You don't want to put this book down until you get to the end. Highly recommended.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Finger Lickin' Fifteen - Janet Evanovich

Finger Lickin' Fifteen is the latest in the Stephanie Plum series. There are a few things you can always count on in a Stephanie Plum novel: blown up cars, escaping skips, fattening food, and lots of laughs. The old standby characters are there to please, and Lulu has a new cross-dressing boyfriend. Highly recommended.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Scarecrow - Michael Connelly

The Scarecrow is a novel featuring newspaper reporter Jack McEvoy. He was the main protagonist in one of Connelly's previous novels, The Poet. FBI agent Rachel Walling is back too. She and Jack were lovers in The Poet, and things heat up again.

Jack has just been laid off at the paper where he works and he's determined to write a last best story. When he stumbles on a serial killer called the scarecrow he has his chance. But this killer is part of a team and the team is good at what they do. They make Jack's life very interesting. Very highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hunting Ground - Patricia Briggs

Hunting Ground is a new Alpha and Omega novel. The werewolves of America are getting ready to come out of the closet. Their counterparts in Europe and England are not particularly happy about it. The werewolves hold a summit meeting in Seattle to work out their issues and Anna and Charles are representing America for the Marrok. If that's not interesting enough, throw in the Fae and some vampires and you have a highly volatile mix. Very highly recommended.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fractal Mode - Piers Anthony

Fractal Mode is another book in a series on traveling the virtual mode. The series would be much better if it focused on the science or the magic instead of the personal problems of the main character. I know teen suicide is a big problem. It's not science fiction or fantasy. There are better books to read and I won't spend anymore time on this series. I'm a big fan of Piers Anthony from back in the 70's and 80's. Too bad he veered from the path in the 90's, at least the path I prefer. Still a good read but not my cup of tea. Recommended.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wicked Prey - John Sandford

Wicked Prey is another Lucas Davenport novel. This time his soon to be adopted daughter Letty is one of the main characters. You have the Republican National Convention as a backdrop. Add to that snipers, pimps, teenage hookers, and some really nasty robbers who don't hesitate to kill, even cops. Very highly recommended.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Swimsuit - James Patterson, Maxine Paetro

Swimsuit is a murder mystery that's written from an interesting perspective. Even knowing some of the events ahead of time the suspense keeps you reading late into the night. This book is not for the squeamish. The details are graphic and disturbing but essential to the story. Highly recommended.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Cat Dancers - P. T. Deutermann

The Cat Dancers is a story about cops who crossed the line. When crooks get off on technicalities how does it make you feel? This book explores that and more. High tech, blazing guns, and raging mountain lions. What do they have in common? Very highly recommended.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Glenn Beck's Common Sense - Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck's Common Sense is an interesting read. It had some good parts, I was particularly glad to see someone point out the idiocy of gerrymandering, but Glenn Beck loses something when translated from the TV screen or radio to the written word. I wasn't inspired by this book like I am by Ann Coulter for example. Beck didn't appear to inject any humor and little of the emotion he provides on the radio or Fox News into this book. I was disappointed. I agree with his message but it could have used a better messenger. If you want the message I'll recommend this book as it also contains the original Common Sense written by Thomas Paine. Otherwise find something else to read.

Monday, August 3, 2009

First Family - David Baldacci

First Family is a new novel featuring ex-secret service agents Michelle Maxwell and Sean King. This time they're hired by the first lady to get back her niece. That's just the beginning though. The twists and turns in this story keep kept me up reading way too late at night. Highly recommended.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Roadside Crosses - Jeffery Deaver

Roadside Crosses is a new Kathryn Dance novel. Nobody has this one right at first and then when they think they have it right they still have it wrong. To make it more interesting Kathryn's Mom is arrested for murder in a parallel thread. Very highly recommended.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hunting Season - P. T. Deutermann

Hunting Season is a novel centering on ex-FBI agent Edwin Kreiss. Why he's an ex-FBI agent and what some people are willing to do to make him even more ex are key to this story. Kreiss' daughter goes missing and things begin to heat up. There's plenty of action with dogs, guns, and bombs galore. I'll be reading more from Deutermann. Very highly recommended.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cemetery Dance - Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child

Cemetery Dance is another agent Pendergast novel. The authors claim you don't have to read their books in any particular order. They're wrong about the Pendergast novels. The good news is you will enjoy each and every book. This time is appears Pendergast and Lt. D'Agosta are dealing with zombiis. The usual cast of characters appear, but sadly one dies this time around. Read the story to find out who and how. Very highly recommended.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Relentless - Dean Koontz

Relentless is a story about a man who went against the flow without knowing it. This is vintage Koontz. Like many of his books it begs for a sequel. And in traditional Koontz fashion there's an exceptional dog mixed into the tale. It's not a tongue in cheek novel, but it has plenty of humor to go with the suspense and terror. Give it a chance and it gets deadly serious. Very highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sarah - Kaylene Johnson

Sarah is a short but well written biography of Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin. It covers her life from birth to her election as Alaska's first female and youngest ever governor. It's an interesting and inspiring story. The book has a collection of pictures from Governor Palin's childhood through her election. It gives some interesting insight into the life of a woman who could play a pivotal role in our country's future. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The 8th Confession - James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

The 8th Confession is Patterson's 8th Women's Murder Club novel. As always I really enjoy Patterson's pacing. Reading a book in this series is like sitting down with an old friend. You're comfortable with the characters but still riveted by the story and what will happen next. Lots of twists and turns. Very highly recommended.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gone Tomorrow - Lee Child

Gone Tomorrow is the 13th Jack Reacher novel. It starts on the subway in New York. From there to the ending is one long suspenseful dangerous ride. Jack ends up on everybody's list before it's over. The good guys and the bad guys. The man really knows how to kick ass. Very highly recommended.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Skin Trade - Laurell K. Hamilton

Skin trade is the latest Anita Blake novel. This story felt like old times. Anita spent more time fighting the bad things than having sex with them. There were still a fair number of naked bodies, but there was more action and less introspection. I really enjoyed this book. Las Vegas is having some problems with an old nemesis of Anita's. Add in a whole new list of bad things and it's a story that keeps you reading way past bed time. Very highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Warriors #2: Fire and Ice - Erin Hunter

Fire and Ice is the second novel I've read in a series about cats living in the wild. I enjoy the story and the characters, but I have a hard time with glorifying cats as predators when cats are not natural predators. They're domesticated animals that still have the instinct to hunt. When turned lose in suburban and rural areas they don't live on the vermin that infest homes and businesses. They go for the easy prey like rabbits, baby squirrels, chipmunks, and ground dwelling birds. They have a drastic negative impact on the populations of rodents and birds in areas where they're released to go feral. The author is simply misguided in glorifying something that is not natural and not environmentally sound. I'm not reading any more in this series. Not recommended.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Liars & Thieves - Stephen Coonts

Liars & Thieves is a novel following Tommy Carmellini instead of Jake Grafton. Of course Jake gets into the action before the story is over, but this time the focus is on Tommy. He's in the wrong place at the wrong time and when the bodies are sorted out he's on the run. KGB secrets are the motive for the killings and unless he moves fast Tommy will be next. The twists are amazing and the conclusion is very satisfying. Highly recommended.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Undead and Unwelcome - Mary Janice Davidson

Undead and Unwelcome is book eight in the Betsy the vampire series. This time while Betsy is in New England dealing with the werewolf clan her sister Laura, who just happens to be the spawn of the devil, is causing trouble at home. This is the best tongue in cheek vampire series I've found. You just have to love Betsy. She is so blonde. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Assassin's Quest - Robin Hobb

Assassin's Quest is the final book in Hobb's Farseer Trilogy. Following Fitz from childhood to the tale's conclusion is an adventure. Wit, Skill, and Dragons. A winning combination. An excellent story. Very highly recommended.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris

Dead and Gone is the ninth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Things are fairly settled down with the vampires and the werewolves. The werewolves and other weres even came out of the closet. Some took it well and others didn't. Then there's Sookie's surprise marriage to guess who. She's not too happy being tricked into that one. But this time Sookie's real problem is that the fairies are at war. Since she's a smidgen fairy she's caught in the middle. This woman's life is all kinds of complicated. Very highly recommended.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Virtual Mode - Piers Anthony

Reading Virtual Mode was like meeting an old friend I hadn't seen in a long time. Back in the 70's I read everything Anthony put out. The hard stuff like the Omnivore trilogy and the fantasy like the Xanth series. I still have lots of old yellowed paperbacks from then.

Virtual Mode reminds me of the Xanth books. Magic and fantasy predominate, but then you find a reality with FTL flight and you're back into science fiction. The fantasy predominated though. It's an enjoyable read. Telepathic horses and people who remember the future but forget the past are exactly what I'd expect from Anthony. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic is a science fiction/fantasy spoof similar to Adams or Anthony. This book takes place on Discworld. Discworld is a flat world resting on the backs of four immense elephants held up by the giant turtle of legend. There are wizards, dragons, and tourists. Tourists are where the trouble begins. There are over 20 books in this series now. There are too many others authors I follow for me to read more in the series. Not that I didn't enjoy this book. It's just not the kind of fiction I'm interested in reading right now. Highly recommended.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Royal Assassin - Robin Hobb

Royal Assassin is the second book in the Farseer Trilogy. Fitz is still caught in court intrigue but this time around there's more to lose and more to gain. Fitz has to use his Skill and his Wit to stay alive and keep the kingdom together. Highly recommended.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kitty Raises Hell - Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Raises Hell is another excellent Kitty Norville novel. Number six in the series. Kitty is a radio talk show host with a weekly broadcast on the supernatural. It doesn't hurt that she's a werewolf, is married to a werewolf, and is friends with vampires. In the last book (Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand) she and Ben got hitched in Vegas. Unfortunately they got tangled with a vampire and werecat cult that wasn't completely satisfied with the results of their visit. Now the cult has sent a demon after Kitty and it's getting hot in Denver. Very highly recommended.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb

Assassin's Apprentice takes place in a mythical kingdom where some are gifted with the Skill and some perhaps gifted with the Wit. The former allows mind to mind communication between humans. The latter mind to mind communication between humans and animals. The apprentice in this story is the product of the king's son and a peasant women of unknown origin. Fitz is a bastard and none let him forget it. However he's and blessed or cursed with both the Skill and the Wit and he's pulled into court intrigue that keeps the story very interesting. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this trilogy. Highly recommended.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Liberty - Stephen Coonts

Liberty is a Jake Grafton novel. This time the admiral gets a tip that there are four Russian nukes on the way to America. The president puts Jake in charge of finding them before they explode. The plot is nice and twisty. There's plenty of action and you never quite know what's going to happen next. Highly recommended.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Already Dead - Charlie Huston

Already Dead is a vampire novel. Huston has a very unique outlook on vampires. It's different from any of the current popular novels I've read and certainly isn't the traditional Transylvania style vampire story. Huston is a very gritty story teller. He pulls no punches, so if you're put off by brutal or gory this is not the author for you. However, he tells a story that pulls you in and keeps you reading if you give him a chance.

Joe Pitt is Huston's vampire protagonist. Joe's walking a tightrope between various vampire factions to maintain his independence. Meanwhile he's killing zombies, trying to rescue missing girls, and fighting to keep his girlfriend. He has his hands full. Very highly recommended.

Monday, April 13, 2009

His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik

His Majesty's Dragon takes place in an alternate history where dragons are real and have been put to work as the military's answer to air service. They're intelligent creatures, depending on the breed, and speak and understand. They can be quite large too, again depending on the breed, and can carry a captain and large crew on missions for surveillance, offense, or defense.

His Majesty's Dragon takes place in the time of Napoleon and his attempt to take England from across the channel. This book follows the tale of Temeraire, a dragon who's egg was captured from the French and hatched aboard a British ship. That ship's captain was chosen by the dragon to be his rider and the story unwinds from there. I really enjoyed this book and intend to follow up with others by the author. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Bourne Betrayal - Eric Van Lustbader

The Bourne Betrayal is a followup to the series of Bourne books and movies. It has all the action and suspense you expect. Some pretty unbelievable escapes too. I expect Jason Bourne to be wearing a cape in the next book. And there will be more. He's alive and well and ready for more adventure. Highly recommended.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Dangerous Man - Charlie Huston

A Dangerous Man is the third book in Huston's trilogy featuring Henry Thompson. The first two books were Caught Stealing and Six Bad Things. Henry has turned into someone he really doesn't like. Just being around him is taking your life in your hands. The ending is everything you'd expect. If you can deal with the violence you'll enjoy this conclusion to an amazing character. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hunter Kiss: A Companion Novella - Marjorie M. Liu

Hunter Kiss is the protagonist in a couple of novels by Liu. This novella ties together Hunter and Grant and provides some needed background on both. It's a good story all by itself. How they meet and how Grant convinces Hunter to not kill every demon she sees is explained. This would have been good to read before The Iron Hunt. Highly recommended.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Heat Lightning - John Sandford

Heat Lightning is another Virgil Flowers novel. Virgil works for Lucas Davenport as the crime investigator he uses to clear the heavy stuff. This time he's got his hands full. He's asking himself who the bad guys are, who's going to be killed next, and what happened 35 years ago to get this ball rolling. This one is fast paced, and as usual Virgil is something of a horn dog, but in a nice way. Very highly recommended.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Undead and Unworthy - Mary Janice Davidson

Undead and Unworthy is book seven in the series of books about Betsy -- Queen of the vampires. You spend more time laughing then tensing while reading this series, and that's the way it should be. There's almost nothing serious in these books, from the devil's daughter who goes to bible study, to Betsy who is more concerned with the fact that she died needing a pedicure than that she's dead. Very highly recommended.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wait Till Helen Comes - Mary Downing Hahn

Wait Till Helen Comes is a classic ghost story for younger readers. When you move into an old church with a graveyard in the back you have to expect some ghostly rumbles. When Heather's initials match those on a tiny grave stone hidden under a tree the mystery starts. One of my grandkids will be getting this book for a birthday or Christmas. Very well written and just spooky enough. Highly recommended.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Warriors #1: Into the Wild - Erin Hunter

Into the Wild is a novel about cats. A house cat named Rusty decides to live on the wild side and join a clan of wild cats. Rusty joins the Thunderclan and becomes Firepaw. This is a great story for young readers. There's no sex, no bad language, and while there is violence it's cats and not humans. I enjoyed the story and look forward to reading more novels in the series. My grandkids will be getting some of Hunter's books as presents. Highly recommended.

That said, the problem of feral cats is an epidemic in this country. Feral cats are not a natural predator. As this story makes clear, they kill and eat rabbits, squirrels, birds, and other animals that aren't prepared for this ferocious predator. Barn cats that keep the rodent population of farms under control are fine, but anyone who allows their cats to go outdoors is being irresponsible. Anyone who feeds feral cats and encourages their breeding is dooming the rabbit, squirrel, and ground dwelling bird population in their area. I serve two cats that live in (rule) my house and never go outside. However, when I'm hunting and see feral cats they are shot on site.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Six Bad Things - Charlie Huston

Six Bad Things is the sequel to Caught Stealing. Huston continues the story of Hank Thompson and his 4.5 million stolen dollars. Hank's stay in Mexico comes to an end when he's found by the Russian mob and the local constables. He's on the run again and there are even more dead bodies in his wake this time. The goal -- keep his parents alive. The ultimate solution will blow your mind. Highly recommended.

The Iron Hunt - Marjorie M. Liu

The Iron Hunt is the first in a new series of stories by Liu. The Iron Hunt is about a woman named Hunter Kiss. She's a hunter of demons. She has five demons of her own that protect her at night by prowling with her as she hunts. They protect her by day when they become her shield by attaching themselves to her body as tattoos that are impervious to even bullet wounds. They can even protect her from being hit by a bus. Her demon hunter status is hereditary. It's passed on from mother to mother. Liu is a very imaginative story teller. Unfortunately she goes a little too far in my opinion and throws in too many characters and settings that go unexplained. I still enjoyed the book. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Caught Stealing - Charlie Huston

Caught Stealing is a story that epitomizes the saying "no good deed goes unpunished." You begin to think Hank is never going to see the end. Murder, mayhem, and 4.5 million dollars. Highly recommended.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Kindle - first impressions

I finally took the plunge and got a kindle. It arrived Thursday afternoon and I worked way too late that night, so I didn't get to play with it much until Friday.

My first impression, it's smaller than I expected. I like the screen. The E-Ink® electronic paper is fantastic. I'd have preferred something besides white, but I got a black cover to go with it. I'm impressed.

I like the combination USB cable/charger. Very slick. I ordered a spare only because I know my penchant for losing things. Too bad the kindle end of the cable doesn't match the other dozen or so USB cables I have.

I've tried every feature I can. The text-to-speech is not as bad as I expected. I'm certainly not going to have it read to me, but the male and female voices are clear on most words. They have trouble with names and made up words like you run across in Stephen King stories. This feature can stay experimental from my perspective.

I've loaded some MP3 files in the music folder and the speakers are pretty good if you're right up close. I plugged some headphones into the jack and it's great. I already have an MP3 player with lots more memory, and it fits around my neck while I'm biking or working around the yard or house. The kindle doesn't fit my needs for a music player, and I avoid audible like the plague. MP3 books work just fine for me on my MP3 player. This is another feature I don't need.

The web browser is desperate. If I really had to get to the web and all I had was my kindle I'd use it, but it's going to have to improve before I'll look forward to using it. Enough said.

I've used the to convert a PDF and a DOC to kindle food. One was the US Constitution and the other was the Bible. Both work fine on the reader. I've also directly downloaded a TXT file to the kindle and that reads fine too. There are a ton of places to get free books. OK, they're not all best sellers, but there are some good old classics to be had for free.

I've tried subscribing to a blog and the Chicago Tribune. The blog is gone. I spend over 12 hours a day glued to desk anyway, so why pay for what I can get on the computer for free? The Tribune is interesting though. I like the ability just skim from article to article. I've found a few I read to the end, but not many. Lack of pictures is a drawback. I suspect I'll cancel that subscription also before the two week trial is over.

The display is easy on the eyes. The navigation is easy when reading. I keep hitting the next page button instead of depressing the joy stick though. I'll get used to that after a while.

The single neatest feature for me is the dictionary. I really hate to run across I word I don't know, but it happens. I'm usually sitting back in my chair with a cat, a dog, or both on my lap, and getting up for a dictionary isn't an option. The kindle makes looking up that mystery word a snap. Thank you!

The wireless is a very nice feature. I checked the coverage map before pushing that one-click button, but my home area and my family's area in Indiana are all covered. Besides you only need the wireless to download new content. I've already got enough on my kindle to last me for a few weeks.

I finished King's UR and Dish Served Cold by Deaver last night. The kindle is a pleasure to use. Next up, Caught Stealing by Huston. Free is good :)

My conclusion? Thumbs up. Five stars. Very highly recommended.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

White Witch, Black Curse - Kim Harrison

White Witch, Black Curse is the seventh novel in The Hollows series, featuring Rachel Morgan. I was reading four books at the same time and this one was my bed time story. Harrison's books are hard to put down and I read too late most nights. You want to race to the end, but you're sad when you get there because it's over. Now I start scanning Amazon for the next book in the series. Notice I'm not going to spoil the read for you. The normal witches, demons, banshees, vampires and such are all there. Read it. Better yet, read them all. Very highly recommended.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Dish Served Cold - Jeffery Deaver

A Dish Served Cold is a short story about revenge and remorse, or the lack thereof. If someone told you that a person was out to get you would you be able to think of a reason why? Would you be able to think of a person with a reason to do you harm? It makes an interesting hypothetical problem. Will it stay hypothetical? Deaver does a masterful job of keeping the reader guessing. Highly recommended.

UR - Stephen King

UR is a novella written to promote the Amazon Kindle. King takes a perfectly safe electronic device and turns it into a sinister source of wonder and fear. And pink for cripes sake! This is not an ordinary kindle. This kindle can access not just one UR, but millions. If I ever see a pink kindle it's not going in the trash. I'm throwing it in a dumpster miles from my house. The white ones are fine though. As always King is amazing. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Associate - John Grisham

The Associate is about a new lawyer who's being blackmailed to take a $200,000 per year job. Needless to say, it takes a while to work up sympathy for the main character. In a way this is a cautionary tale about why you should worry about what you do in college and how it will affect your future prospects. Sadly, most people who'll read this book will do so too late to make a difference. Like all Grisham novels it's hard to put down. A very good read. Highly recommended.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cry Wolf - Patricia Briggs

Cry Wolf is the first novel featuring Anna Latham. Anna is a rare omega werewolf. Her character was introduced in a story from On the Prowl, a collection of short stories that Briggs contributed to. This novel tells of Anna's move to Montana, with her new mate Charles, to be part of the Marrok's pack. The move coincides with a rogue werewolf causing trouble in the area and Anna's skills as an omega werewolf may make a bigger difference than anyone can know. Try to read these in order, but don't miss this book. Very highly recommended.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mean Streets - Butcher, Green, Richardson, Sniegoski

Mean Streets is a collection of four novellas that all tend toward the supernatural.

The Warrior is a Harry Dresden story by Butcher. I like the Dresden series and enjoyed this story. This novella is the reason I bought the book.

The Difference a Day Makes by Green wasn't appealing to me. It's the kind of story I associate with an author more in love with their own words than in telling a tale. I won't be picking up any of Green's books in the future. I almost didn't finish this piece.

The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog by Richardson is excellent. It was my favorite story in the book. Richardson goes on my list of authors to look for.

I enjoyed Noah's Orphans by Sniegoski. It's not the type of story I'd normally seek out but well worth the read.

I highly recommend this book just for the Richardson novella. Skipping Green's attempt, the other two stories are just icing on the cake.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ted, White, and Blue - Ted Nugent

Ted, White, and Blue is a hell of a rant. I agree with pretty much everything he says. I've never actually listened to any of Ted's music on purpose. What that means is I've probably heard some on the radio and didn't know it. After reading his book I'll have to give it a try.

From immigration to health care to gun control, Ted is on the money. Too bad he wasn't running for president this time around. I'd pick him over Obama or McCain. If you have a drop of conservative blood in your veins you have to read this book. If you don't, read it anyway and it will piss you off. That seems to be the normal state of mind for liberals. Highly recommended.

I'd love to see what you get when you cross Ted Nugent with Ann Coulter. Wow!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Murder at the B-School - Jeffrey Cruikshank

Murder at the B-School is a mystery involving professors, students, and old money. The detective in this case is Capt. Barbara Brouillard. She's unofficially paired up with Professor Wim Vermeer to dig into an apparent suicide on the Harvard Business School campus. Unfortunately that's the first body to show up, but not the last. I really enjoyed this book. Highly recommended.

The Outlaw Demon Wails - Kim Harrison

The Outlaw Demon Wails is book six in The Hollows series featuring the witch Rachel Morgan. It's hard to imagine a book with this many new surprises in it. There are witches, demons, weres, pixies, elves, and even a gargoyle. My advice is to not read the reviews on Amazon. Some people are intent on creating their own reader's digest condensed version of the story there, and they'll spoil all the surprises. I suggest reading this series in order but read it. Very highly recommended.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Bodies Left Behind - Jeffery Deaver

The Bodies Left Behind is a novel about murder and a struggle to survive in the woods of Wisconsin. Brynn is a deputy who gets an off-duty call to check out an aborted 911 call and finds herself running for her life. The twists in this story never let you off the hook. It's another Deaver "can't put it down" thriller. Very highly recommended.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bone Crossed - Patricia Briggs

Bone Crossed is the 4th Mercy Thompson novel. Mercy is not a werecoyote. She's a shapeshifter who changes into a coyote. There's a difference. She's dating a werewolf, she bought her garage (she's a mechanic) from a fairy, one of her best friends is a vampire, and she can communicate with ghosts. What's not to like?

This time around she's still recovering from her experiences in a Iron Kissed and trying to settle down, but Marsilia (the head of the local vampires) has discovered what she did in the book Blood Bound and she's fighting for her life. To make it more interesting, an out of town vampire decides Mercy would be perfect for his herd.

If you haven't figured it out from the above, you really need to read these books in order. Start with the first in the series, Moon Called, and read them all. They're hard to put down. I started this one last night, after completing another book, and finished it today. Very Highly Recommended.

Run For Your Life - James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Run For Your Life is the third Michael Bennett novel Patterson has coauthored. Michael is a widowed NYC Police Detective with 10 kids. To make his life more interesting he's chasing a mad killer who calls himself the teacher while all his kids start to come down with the flu. That should keep him busy and it does. Very highly recommended.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris

From Dead to Worse is the 8th Sookie Stackhouse novel. This series is one I've been following from the beginning. HBO is now making a TV series based on these novels called True Blood. Still not worth getting TV while I can read the books.

If dating a were, living with a witch, being blood bonded to a vampire, and reading minds isn't enough, Sookie finds herself in the middle of a were war and a vampire war in this novel. She also finds two relatives she didn't know she had. The last one will really surprise you. Very highly recommended.

Monday, February 2, 2009

High Crimes and Misdemeanors - Ann Coulter

High Crimes and Misdemeanors is another well researched and documented book by Ann Coulter. This one sat on my book shelf for a long time, buried behind some other books in my to-read pile. But now that I'm looking forward to reading Coulter's new Guilty I wanted to get it read.

When you read this book you have to wonder why Bill and Hillary Clinton aren't both behind bars. People think that the media is giving president Obama a pass on anything remotely incriminating, but it's clear from this book that the media was holding back on Bill and Hillary as well. I never voted for them and never would. I forgot some of the stuff they pulled and never read about any of it in this much detail. Secretary of state? I wouldn't let that woman clean my house. And I wouldn't let Bill within a mile of any of my daughters or granddaughters.

Read this book. It will open your eyes if you let it. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand - Carrie Vaughn

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand is the fifth Kitty Norville novel. I like this series. I almost missed this one. This time Kitty and Ben are off to Vegas to elope. Now that they're both werewolves and bonded for life, why not make it legal. But nothing is ever that simple. Magic, vampires, bounty hunters, and a host of other problems make for a challenging trip and a great book. Highly recommended.

Jade Tiger - Jenn Reese

Jade Tiger is a novel that looks back on a group known as the Jade Circle. This was a group of women martial arts experts in China who gained their strength and focus from a group of five jade figurines. The Jade Circle was destroyed when the heroine of this tale, Shan Westfall, was a young girl and her mother was a master of the Jade Circle. Shan escaped with her father and the jade tiger figurine to America. Her mother didn't make it. Shan's goal is to recover the other four figurines and unite the circle again. To do this she enlists the help of an archeoligist who has the jade crane. I really like this novel. It was hard to put down. Highly recommended.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Storm Front - Jim Butcher

Storm Front is the first novel in a series called The Dresden Files. This story takes place in Chicago in a somewhat alternate reality. There are some strange characters in Chicago but no wizards that I know of. The main character in Storm Front is Harry Dresden. He's a white wizard. He's got a checkered past, but he's trying to walk the straight and narrow. He's a private eye, and a police consultant on cases that range into the weird. In this book he's caught in a war between the mob and a dark wizard that makes staying in the white a significant challenge. I plan to continue with this series and try some other books by Butcher. Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hotter Than Hell - Kim Harrison

Hotter Than Hell is a collection of short stories edited by Kim Harrison. The collection includes a good short story by Harrison called Dirty Magic. I liked all the stories. My favorite was Moonlight Becomes You by Linda Winstead Jones. The only one I had a problem with was Brother's Keeper by Lilith Saintcrow. It was a good story, but it was like a long chapter from the middle of a book. I wanted the beginning and end. I prefer my short stories to be complete.

Note that this is not a book for kids or even teens. Hotter Than Hell is not referring to temperature. Highly recommended.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Plum Spooky - Janet Evanovich

Plum Spooky is another Stephanie Plum book. This is called a between-the-numbers novel. In addition to the normal cast of characters, Diesel pops back into Stephanie's life and cranks up the adventure level. And don't forget the monkeys! Highly recommended.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Tale of Despereaux - Kate Dicamillo

The Tale of Despereaux is a story about mice, rats, kings, princesses, and soup. It's about characters who don't fit in their expected roles but ultimately find a way to accommodate. This book would be great for bedtime reading to kids not quite ready to read themselves. The chapters are short and make plenty of convenient stopping points. The good is good and the evil is evil, but not so graphic that little kids couldn't understand and learn some lessons from the story. Highly recommended.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Viking Funeral - Stephen J. Cannell

The Viking Funeral is a detective story about a police officer, Shane Scully, who's life is changed when he sees his best friend, who committed suicide two years ago, drive by him on the freeway. From there things start getting interesting. Scully takes more punishment in this book than John McClane did in any two Die Hard movies. He follows his dead friend into a case involving police corruption, drugs, money laundering, murder, and torture. It's quite a ride. Highly recommended.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe - Harris, Briggs, Arthur, Vaughn, and others

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe is a collection of 15 unconventional holiday tales. They all have to do with Christmas and werewolves. There's also the odd vampire, mage, and wizard thrown in to keep things interesting. Some of these stories will scare you and some will make you laugh. Some are even as close to tear jerkers as a werewolf tale can get. My favorite is Keeping Watch Over His Flock, but I also loved You'd Better Not Pyout. All these stories are very good. Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Swallowing Darkness - Laurell K. Hamilton

Swallowing Darkness is the latest Meredith Gentry novel. Many loose ends were tied down in this book. It's almost like this is the final novel in the series. However, I doubt Hamilton would leave us dangling with the twins unborn. This story has all the magic and sex you could ask for. It is a Hamilton novel. I dare you to figure out the title :) I really enjoyed this one. Highly recommended.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Personal Demon - Kelley Armstrong

Personal Demon is another book in the Women of the Otherworld series. Hope Adams is the main character this time around, but the other regulars make an appearance too. Hope is an Expisco half-demon and has some rare talents. She's pulled into some cabal business because of a debt to the head of the Cortez cabal and becomes a spy. Nobody can see the direction this assignment is going to take and Hope is soon using her talents and her wits to keep herself and others alive. Highly recommended.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Everything's Eventual - Stephen King

Everything's Eventual is a collection of short stories. Some not so short. There are 14 tales in this book and all are excellent. It's hard to pick a favorite. I've read the Dark Tower series so I enjoyed hanging out with Roland again while reading The Little Sisters of Eluria. I'd read Riding the Bullet before but you can't read it too many times. I have two cats and two dogs so I was really paying attention while reading L.T.'s Theory of Pets. And then there's 1408. That one should be read only during daylight hours and probably outside in the fresh air. Never in a hotel room. Very highly recommended.

The Black Echo - Michael Connelly

The Black Echo is a Harry Bosch novel. This book takes detective Harry Bosch back to his Vietnam days as a tunnel rat. By coincidence Harry is called out on a dead body and that dead body turns out to be a man Harry knew from his days in the war. But Harry doesn't believe in coincidence. Throw in a beautiful FBI agent and millions in diamonds, and you have an engrossing detective story. The turns and twists in this novel make it hard to put down. Highly recommended.