Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cross Fire - James Patterson

Cross Fire is another Alex Cross novel.  This time Kyle Craig is back and hiding in plain sight.  The action is tense and keeps you glued to the book right to the end.  You have to wonder though, if Alex had just shot Kyle Craig one of the many times he could have done so in previous books and this one, how many lives would he have saved?  And once again there were threads that were orthogonal to the plot, served to complicate the story, and were never tied off.  In spite of that, highly recommended.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pathfinder - Orson Scott Card

Pathfinder is a novel that makes you think hard at times. If you like time travel and time manipulation this book will pop your skull. The main character is Rigg, the son of a trapper from way up river. His special ability is to see the paths that animals have taken. This makes him very handy for trapping, but that's just the beginning of what his ability lets him do. This is obviously the first in what I hope is a long series of books about the planet Garden and it's amazing inhabitants. Very highly recommended.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien

I first read The Hobbit 45 years ago. It became my favorite book then and has maintained that standing ever since. Bilbo, Gandalf, and the 13 dwarfs took my imagination for an adventure that has stayed with me my whole life. I've read this book half a dozen time. I've got multiple paperback and hardback versions gathering dust somewhere on a shelf. Now I have it on my kindle to read and reread some more. Very very highly recommended.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

The Road is a depressing take on post-apocalypse America.  I suppose a book on post-apocalypse anything has to fight not to be depressing, but McCarthy didn't even struggle.  A father and son pair are traveling in a land where nothing appears to be alive but humans, and most of them are bent on killing and eating any other humans they find.  The book never says what caused the apocalypse.  It involved fire, since there is ash everywhere, and it appears there was a catastrophic climate change as a result.  That isn't relevant to the story since the focus is the present and the hazards the main characters have to avoid on their trip to the ocean and what they hope is a warmer climate.  There are some flashbacks involving the mother, but they're depressing too.  I should have know better than to read something that won a Pulitzer prize.  Not recommended.

The Realm Shift - James Somers

The Realm Shift was a good idea with poor follow through.  I like the plot of the book and the characters were somewhat interesting but the writing was spotty at best.  When the writing is so bad that you notice that aspect of the book instead of what the author is trying to say then it's time to move on.  I finished this book because I wanted to see how it came out.  I knew it was a trilogy but hoped there would be some kind of partial conclusion to the first book.  No such luck.  I won't be reading the other two.  Too bad because the concept was interesting.  Not recommended.

Lessons from Armed America - Kathy Jackson, Mark Walters

Lessons from Armed America has useful information for anyone who plans to, or is already, carrying a pistol for self defense. I enjoyed the true stories and the analysis. If I had it to do over again I'd by the paper version instead of the kindle version though. The kindle version was formatted so poorly that I almost gave up at one point. It was atrocious. This is a good book with very useful information, but it was very difficult to read on my kindle. Not the kindle's fault. It's the person who did a half-assed attempt to convert what they had to kindle format. Highly recommend in dead tree format.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Frankenstein: Lost Souls - Dean Koontz

Frankenstein: Lost Souls is the fourth novel in Koontz Frankenstein series. I really thought the last novel killed off Victor and that would be that. But this is fiction so a new Victor is back. Now the new race is starting over again in a little town in Montana. They still hate humans but now they have a whole new way of getting rid of us.  And it seems to be working.  Be aware this is not the last novel.  Once again a book just seemed to stop before it was done.  At least with Koontz I can expect a new installment to keep the story going.  Very highly recommended.

The 7th Victim - Alan Jacobson

The 7th Victim follows Karen Vail, an FBI profiler, on her search to find the Dead Eyes serial killer. I really enjoyed this book.  It's hard to catch your breath things go so fast.  I'm not going to stick any spoilers in here, but you'll never believe who the killer is.  Karen has to deal with an ongoing divorce and her mother's alzheimer's at the same time she's relentlessly hunting a killer.  A killer who stabs each victim in the eyes as part of the killing ritual.  Highly recommended.

The Twelfth Imam - Joel C. Rosenberg

The Twelfth Imam is a book that puts the reader right in the center of the nuclear crisis in the middle east. The novel starts with the takeover of the Iranian embassy back in 1979 and ends in the present day Iran with the nuclear crisis almost at the critical point.  I really enjoyed the book, but it ended abruptly and in my opinion the story is not done.  Since I read this on my kindle, I thought there was a problem with the download, but the abrupt stop was followed by authors notes, acknowledgments, and an author bio.  Strange.  Highly recommended but the ending is disappointing.

Salem's Lot - Stephen King

Salem's Lot is one King novel I missed the first time around.  This is an excellent book.  It's kind of refreshing these days to read a vampire novel where the vampires are the bad guys - Evil, nasty, and scary.  Highly recommended.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Worth Dying For - Lee Child

Worth Dying For is a new Reacher Novel.  Last time around it wasn't clear if Reacher had survived or not.  Now we know he made it out alive, but he's suffering.  Unfortunately for him he passed through a little spot in Nebraska where evil things were happening.  And as usual, Reacher can't leave without cleaning up the mess.  And what a complicated mess.  Very highly recommended.

Curse the Dawn - Karen Chance

Curse the Dawn is book four in the Cassie Palmer series. Now it's really getting interesting. Learning to travel ley lines comes in real handy until one splits open and destroys MAGIC headquarters.  Making a deal with a minor god causes Cassie to swap bodies with Pritkin.  Waking up in a man's body, with something she's never dreamed having, is an experience she won't forget :)  Highly recommended.

Embrace the Night - Karen Chance

Embrace the Night

Claimed By Shadow - Karen Chance

Claimed By Shadow

Touch the Dark - Karen Chance

Touch the Dark Cassandra Palmer.  Cassie is a clairvoyant who was fostered by a vampire, who by the way killed her parents so he could foster her.  Eventually she figures this out and ran away.  Now Tony the vampire is closing in and that's the very least of her problems.  This is a great series.  Highly recommended.

Blog bypass

I've been remiss in updating lately.  Daylight is spent outdoors doing chores and enjoying the fall weather and my beautiful back yard:

When the sun goes down there's plenty to do and reading takes precedence over writing about it. I'll get caught up tonight and see if I can stay there. With daylight savings ending next weekend I'll shift outdoor activities to the morning.  And finally the hours of sunlight will shrink to only the time I get paid to sit in front of a computer screen. Winter is the season of my discontent.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ice Cold - Tess Gerritsen

Ice Cold is a book featuring detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. It's been a while since I read Gerritsen and I have to put her back on the short list. This was a story that had multiple threads but they didn't distract from the main story. Maura is trapped in Wyoming in the dead of winter and fighting for her life. The twists keep coming right up to the end. Very highly recommended.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fractured - Karin Slaughter

Fractured is the first book I've read by Slaughter.  Abigail Campano came home to her fancy estate to find her daughter lying dead in the upstairs hallway.  She's then attacked by the killer and manages to strangle him to death.  Is that really what happened?  It seems that way at first but nothing in this thriller is what it seems.  The mystery begins to unravel when an unlikely pair of law enforcement officers are teamed up to work the case.  One of the detectives has manage to hide the fact that they can't read or write, and strangely this may give the team the big break they need.  Will the break come in time though?  This is one I had a hard time putting down.  Very highly recommended.

The Lost City of Z - David Grann

The Lost City of Z reminds me of the books I used to read as a kid. Stories of explorers in African and South America who searched for elusive new animals or treasures. I really wanted to be an explorer like that. Grann has done an excellent job of bringing the life of one real explorer, Percy Fawcett, into perspective.  I'm not so sure I'd want the insects and poison arrows that he had to deal with in the Amazon,but it makes an interesting and exciting tale.  And in the end it sound like Fawcett and Grann may have found what what they were seeking, even if Fawcett never realized it.  Highly recommended.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Colorado Kid - Stephen King

The Colorado Kid is a pretty short novel but I liked it. The critics seems to have problems, but I thought it was a good change of pace.  Sometimes you're better off not knowing. Maybe this is one of those times.  That said, the series Haven, which I'm watching on Hulu, is so loosely based on this novel it's almost hard to find the connection.  I like them both though.  Highly recommended.

Burned - P. C. Cast, Kristin Cast

Burned is book seven in the House of Night series. This one came after a major cliff hanger.  I got out of sync writing what I read instead of reading.  There is a much more satisfying ending to this novel but it's still like going to the Saturday movies where every week they leave you hanging so you come back the next Saturday.  There are starting to be more threads than I like in a novel but it hasn't exceeded my tolerance yet.  Recommended.

Tempted - P. C. Cast, Kristin Cast

Tempted is the sixth House of Night novel.  Almost too busy to read so I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this.  Go to the link and read the reviews.  This was something you had to read after reading the first five books.  I enjoyed it but talk about a cliff hanger.  Recommended.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Black Powder War - Naomi Novik

Black Powder War
is another book in the series about the dragon Temeraire. Temeraire and his Captain Laurence are on the way back from China when they're commissioned to pickup some dragon eggs the British have purchased from the Ottoman Empire. They decide to go overland instead of by sea, and along the way they encounter deserts, mountains, wild dragons, duplicity in Instanbul, and are caught up in the Napoleonic wars. The continuing dialog between Temeraire and Captain Laurence over the rights and freedoms of dragons is an interesting side thread, and Temeraire's proselytizing among the other dragons they meet is has some interesting consequences.  Their arch nemisis, the white Chinese dragon Lien is tracking them and causing trouble at every turn.  Highly recommended.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Looks to Die For - Janice Kaplan

Looks to Die For is a murder mystery with an unusual protagonist.  Lacy Fields is the wife of a very successful Hollywood plastic surgeon.  When her husband is accused of murdering a woman he claims he's never heard of, Lacy eventually decides she can solve his case better than the police.  There are some interesting twists and turns.  The writing reminds me some of Janet Evanovich's novels.

I enjoyed the story but there is a dark side to this author's writing.  She takes describing girly stuff to a new high.  You never read "she picked up her purse" from Kaplan.  It would be "she picked up her {insert designer name} {insert weird color} {insert material} purse that matched her {insert another designer name} {insert color scheme} {insert size and how well it fits} {insert name for women's clothes I never heard of} outfit."  Yikes!  Reader's Digest could condense this baby by just removing clothing, accessory, and hair style descriptions.  That said I highly recommend this book.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bullet - Laurell K. Hamilton,

Bullet is the latest Anita Blake novel.  I read them because it's a compulsion.  This series started out so good and now it's kind of pathetic.  Too bad.  There are so many other good authors out there I may take Hamilton off my list for now.  Not recommended.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Big Jack - J.D. Robb

Big Jack is another futuristic Lt. Eve Dallas novel. The first one I've read where the title doesn't end in "Death".  The year is 2059 and Eve and her crew have to solve a 50 year old diamond heist in order to solve a pair of current murders.  Highly recommended.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kitty Goes to War - Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Goes to War is the eighth Kitty Norville novel.  Kitty is asked to help some soldiers back from the Afghanistan war, who also happen to be werewolves. While she's dealing with their problems adjusting she's also hit with a lawsuit for libel because she dealt with mysterious happenings around a chain of Speedy Mart stores on her radio show. And wait until you find out what happened to Cormac in prison.  A must read for every Kitty fan.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Killing Room - John Manning

The Killing Room is a great ghost story.  The Young family estate is on the Maine coast.  Something terrible happened there 80 years ago and every 10 years the Young family gathers for a reunion and pays for that terrible event in blood.  Before the next reunion an ex-FBI agent turned private detective is hired to figure out how to stop the dying.  Will she solve the mystery or just become another victim?  How many will die this time?  I lost some sleep finishing this one.  It's hard to put down.  Very highly recommended.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a Novella that parallels the Eclipse novel. It's written from the perspective of the young vampire from Victoria's army who surrendered to Carlisle. Along the way we also meet Fred, another young vampire with an amazing power. It's a good read and adds some perspective to the whole Twilight saga. I'm not one of those readers who goes back and compares time lines and character specifics between two parallel stories. I just read to enjoy and I enjoyed this book. Bree and Fred were characters worth reading about on their own merits. Highly recommended.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Proven Guilty - Jim Butcher

Proven Guilty is the 8th Dresden Files novel.  This time Harry is fighting some nasty phobophages at a horror film convention.  You'll never ever guess who lured them to our world.  Harry and the usual group of friends have to fight their way into the nevernever on a mission to rescue the guilty party.  Meanwhile, Harry is involved in the political intrigue of the white council and fighting for his life once again.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

KnockOut - Catherine Coulter

Knockout is another FBI thriller featuring Dillon and Sherlock, the husband and wife FBI duo.  This time around Dillon is caught in a bank robbery that goes bad.  Then a few days later he's contacted by a little girl who needs some help, but he's contacted telepathically.  Both the bank robbery and telepath threads unwind in parallel and keep Dillon and Sherlock busy.  It's been too long since I came back to Coulter.  She's a great read.  Highly recommended. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Variable Star - Robert A. Heinlein, Spider Robinson

Variable Star is a chance to read one more Heinlein.  Robert Heinlein is one of the greatest names in science fiction.  Spider Robinson is another.  This book is excellent.  How does an 18 year old musician get a ride on a star ship?  What adventures will he encounter on the voyage?  Will the human race survive?  These are all answered in this book, and in a very entertaining way.  I actually read this one twice.  If there could just be more Heinlein.  Very highly recommended.    

Friday, July 9, 2010

61 Hours - Lee Child

61 Hours is the fourteenth Jack Reacher novel.  This is an awesome series.  I have yet to read one of Child's books that I could really lay down without wanting to read one more chapter.  I have to sleep sometime, but really don't want to in the middle of a Reacher novel.  This time he's stranded in South Dakota in the middle of winter.  Just in time to help with some trouble, of course.  The question is will Reacher make it out alive this time.  I've read the book and I don't know.  Very highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sizzling Sixteen - Janet Evanovich

Sizzling Sixteen is another Stephanie Plum novel. The usual cast of characters manage to survive guns, bombs, stampeding cattle, and alligators.  Will the lucky bottle provide good luck or bad? You might get confused when a horde of hobbits come to the rescue, but keep reading, you're not in a Tolkien fantasy :) Highly recommended.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dead in the Family - Charlaine Harris

Dead in the Family is the 10th Sookie Stackhouse novel.  I have to assume you've read the previous novels in this series or you'll be lost.  I have to assume you are not trying to map the books to the HBO series or you'll be even more lost.

This book takes place in the aftermath of the faery war.  Some of Sookie's family died or were banished, and she's recovering from her wounds.  The book goes slower in the beginning but picks up a little momentum as it moves along.  Sookie has to deal with Eric's problems, Bill's problems, bodies buried in her woods, were issues, and lots of little things.  I particularly like the part where Sookie works with her little cousin Hunter to help him with his telepathic ability.  This was a good book and a good pace.  I hope there's still lots more to come.  Highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Darkness Calls - Marjorie M. Liu

Darkness Calls is another Hunter Kiss novel.  I've enjoyed Liu's novels and short stories.  This time it was too convoluted for me to care.  You have demons and zombies and avatars and lightbringers and original humans and time travel and you name it.  I was very happy with Maxine, her little night demons, and fighting evil.  Liu should have left it at that because I doubt I'll read another one of these fantasy soap opera smorgasbords.  If you're desperate for more Hunter Kiss be my guest.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Man Who Smiled - Henning Mankell

The Man Who Smiled is a Kurt Wallander mystery.  I'd never read Mankell before and I enjoyed the book.  Kurt Wallander is a Swedish detective who is considering retiring from the police force because he was forced to kill a man in self defense.  Then a friend is murdered and Kurt can't quit the police with the mystery unsolved.  The case gets more complicated as it goes along with an actual attempt on Kurt's life at one point.

I'll admit to being painfully parochial, but from my perspective this book paints the Swedish police as a bunch of wimps.  How they expect to fight crimes committed by people with guns and bombs when they don't even carry weapons of their own is beyond me.  Life in Sweden is apparently very different from life in the USA.  I'm sure the Swedes consider that a good thing.  So do I.  That said it was a good book and a first rate mystery.  Highly recommended. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tales of the Otherworld - Kelley Armstrong

Tales of the Otherworld is a collection of stories by Armstrong that flesh out some of her ongoing characters and fill in gaps in story lines.  You have the tale of how Clay and Elena met and how Elena became a werewolf.  There's a piece with the details of Lucas and Paige's wedding, a sorcerer and a witch.  Another story explains the beginning of the relationship between the vampires Cassandra and Aaron.  This collection is interesting, especially to Armstrong fans, and the proceeds go to charity.  Highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Dark Is Rising - Susan Cooper

The Dark Is Rising is a book for children and young adults.  It's about a boy in England who comes of age when he turns 11 and finds out he's got magical powers and the world depends on him.  It's a pretty daunting birthday gift.  He has allies that help train him and back him up in his fight against the dark.  Unlike some young adult books, this story actually avoids swearing and sex.  I applaud that.  While parts are hard to believe, remember it's magic and anything is possible.  This book is the second in a series, but I didn't realize that until I finished reading it and the other books were mentioned in the epilogue.  The story stands on it's own just fine.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is the last book by Larsson.  It's the third book in the series that started with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and continued with The Girl Who Played with Fire.  You must read them in order and I highly recommend you do so.  Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander are two of the most interesting characters I've ever read about.  Even given the cultural misalignment that you get at times because the story takes place in Sweden, there is a pace and an organization to these novels that keeps you reading into the wee hours of the morning.  The ending is very satisfying to me.  I wish there could be more but unless someone else picks up Larsson's pen this is it.  Very highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sweepers - P. T. Deutermann

Sweepers is a novel about revenge left to grow very cold indeed.  A navy seal named Galantz, who isn't picked up on the river bank in Vietnam.  A navy lieutenant named Sherman who left the seal behind when under attack.  Over 20 years later the seal becomes a sweeper and the lieutenant becomes an admiral.  This book paints an intricate tale of lies, love, deceit, and murder.  As always Deutermann's story grabs the reader and won't let go.  Very highly recommended.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Medusa Stone - Jack Du Brul

The Medusa Stone is my first Du Brul novel.  His protagonist, Philip Mercer, reminds me of Cussler's Dirk Pitt.  He's a geologist instead of an oceanographer, but they share the same amazing ability to escape from impossible odds, defeat the insane villain, and get the beautiful girl.  This was a great adventure with plenty of action, suspense, and surprises.  Africa, diamonds, kidnapping, and terrorists are a potent mix.  Highly recommended.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Inked - Wilks, Chance, Galenorn, Liu

Inked is a collection of four novellas.  They're all about magic in one form or another, but tattoos are important to each.

Wilks I'm familiar with.  In fact, I've been waiting for some time for Blood Lines to come out on the kindle.  I've read the first two books in that series on my kindle and would like to continue.  Her Human Nature is a good short story to go with the the World of the Lupi series.

Chance I've only read in anthologies so far.  I like this  story, Skin Deep, about war mages and werewolves and all things magical.  It's got a good story line.  I'll add Chance to my list of authors to watch.

Galenorn's Silver Etched contribution is little more than soft core porn wrapped in a magical otherworld setting. Other than all the sex it's suspiciously like the early Rachel Morgan stories by Kim Harrison. Downtrodden harassed female police person overcomes the odds and catches the bad guy. Harrison did it very well. Galenorn not so much. The debauchery is definitely not my cup of tea.

The best of the bunch is Liu's Armor of Roses.  Maxine Kiss is back and traveling in time.  As improbable as Liu's universe is, the characters make it fun to read about.  I read to escape reality and Liu's books make an excellent catalyst for the imagination.

All in all, highly recommended.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hunted - P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast

Hunted is book five of the House of Night series.  This book has lots of big changes in it.  The kids, along with the rest of the world, are in some serious danger.  Zoe and her friends and Grandmother and a Nun have to come together in a new way.  At least this one ends with something of a hiatus so the next book is not needed right away.  I really enjoy this series though.  It's kind of like a modern Nancy Drew with the supernatural, vampyres, and significantly more making out added in.  Maybe not like Nancy Drew after all :)  Highly recommended.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Untamed - P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast

Untamed is the fourth House of Night Book.  The House of Night series is really a big continuing story, but up until this book there was a clear conclusion to each novel.  This time there is a huge event right at the end that changes everything.  Zoe is still becoming stronger and more sure of herself.  The rest of the "nerd herd" is hanging in there with her.  However, the forces against them are getting stronger and coming out of the dark into the open.  Normally I read other books between books in the series but this time I went right to book five, Hunted.  I have to find out what happens after the end of Untamed.  I have a feeling I may be on a House of Night marathon.  Highly recommended.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dead Beat - Jim Butcher

Dead Beat is another Harry Dresden novel.  This time Harry is dealing with some necromancers with delusions of godhood.  Unfortunately if Harry doesn't stop them they may well make their delusions come true, and the rest of humanity would be in big trouble.  Dealing with his own demons is keeping Harry busy too.  It's another story with non-stop action.  You won't believe what corpse Harry has to animate to beat the bad guys.  Very highly recommended.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane

Shutter Island is a thriller with a huge twist, maybe.  The story takes place on Shutter Island, which is home to a mental institution for the criminally insane.  Two federal marshals are sent to the island to help find a missing patient.  What starts out as a locked room mystery soon expands to encompass the whole island.  I've read this novel and I'm still not sure of the ending.  I'm not sure which way I'd like it to end either.  Very highly recommended.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chosen - P. C. Cast, Kristin Cast

Chosen is the third book in the House of Night series.  This series is like a Saturday serial.  Each book is sort of a cliff hanger and you just have to keep reading.  At least they're worth reading.  Zoe manages to alienate her friends and loose all three of her boyfriends this time.  One fatally.  She's getting stronger but still need some maturity to go with that strength.  The House of Night school is almost under siege because two vampyres have been...well read the book.  Highly recommended. 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Betrayed - P. C. Cast, Kristin Cast

Betrayed is the second book in the House of Night series.  The House of Night is a high school for teenage vampyres.  This book continues with Zoe now the high priestess in training and head of the dark daughters and sons.  The dark daughters and sons is part sorority and part student council.  But there's some trouble brewing when teenagers from Zoe's past begin to disappear and turn up as drained corpses.  It's getting more like monsters now.  I like this series.  Highly recommended.

I like this series more than the Twilight series.  I know that's heresy, but this is more like real teenagers with real problems and some weird new problems thrown into the mix.  Twilight was more teenage angst with vampires and werewolves and nothing really normal.  This House of Night series is definitely geared toward younger readers, and I'd recommend it to my grandkids, but then the authors had to throw in the whole blow job scene in the first book Marked, and I don't know why. Too bad.  I guess that makes this series even more like reality, and I should get with the times, but I want a different reality for my grandkids.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Amazon purchase memory

I love Amazon.  I buy everything there from books to groceries to electronics to clothes.  Being something of a homebody it's very convenient.  I particularly like when they remember what I bought and when.  For example, I can answer the question "how long did that last case of tea bags last me?"

However, they remember books you've bought only by type.  So if I bought the paperback version of a novel a year ago and then see it for the kindle, Amazon appears to have no clue that I already read it after buying it from them.  I find that very annoying.

I know.  I should be able to remember what I've read and what I haven't, but I read a lot of books and have burned out quite a few gray cells over the years.   I started this list just so I could go back and see if I'd already read something, and even if I liked it.  It helps but I think Amazon could do better.  After all, they're using computers and I'm stuck with my aging brain.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Dark Tide - Andrew Gross

The Dark Tide is a mystery about a man who dies in a terrorist attack on New York City.  He's got a wife and kids and is sorely missed.  This book is a mystery about a hit-and-run that keeps nagging at the police lieutenant who goes out on the call.  Both of these events, and more, are all tangled up in this story in a way that keeps you reading late into the night.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Marked - P. C. Cast, Kristin Cast

Marked is the first novel in the "House of Night" series.  It's a novel with a new take on vampires, or vampyres as they're called in this alternate earth.  It's supposed to be for young adults, but it's a little too adult for my grandkids.  I enjoyed it a lot though.  Zoe Redbird is marked as a vampyre one day at high school and her whole world changes.  In her new vampyre school she makes new friends and discovers talents she didn't know she had.  No monsters or stakes in this book.  But I suspect the series will get a bit more monsterish as it goes along.  I'll be reading more of this series.  Highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Blood Rites - Jim Butcher

Blood Rites is book 6 in The Dresden Files series.  This time Harry is dealing with black and white vampires and various other nasties.  Imagine flaming demon monkey poop bombs for starters and the action gets a lot hotter as the story moves along.  Harry gets a new pet and finds some long lost family.  Murphy plays her usual part and manages to amaze Harry with her wardrobe in more ways than one.  It's the same entertaining barely controlled mayhem that you expect from Butcher.  Highly recommended.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Strangers in Death - J.D. Robb

Strangers in Death is another Lt. Eve Dallas murder mystery.  I've read a few of the "In Death" series and they're all good.  They take place about 50 years in the future.  It gives them a little science fiction feeling.  Keep in mind that they are mostly detective stories but still a little bit romance novels.  I can live with that.  After all Robb is Nora Roberts.  This time Eve is up against a woman almost as tough and smart as she is, but with the morals of a crocodile.  This story has a twist that makes you wonder how anyone could be that devious.  Just be glad there are cops just as devious as the crooks.  Highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Black Magic Sanction - Kim Harrison

Black Magic Sanction is the 8th Rachel Morgan novel. This time Rachel is under attack from the Coven. The Coven has decided shunning isn't enough. They have more drastic plans for Rachel. And of course she's still dodging demons and trying to avoid romance. I always regret finishing a Harrison book. It's going to be too long until the next one comes out. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Death Masks - Jim Butcher

Death Mask is another Dresden Files novel.  This time Harry is up against the vampires of the Red Council and the Denarians.   Denarians are half demon and half human and all mean.  Not something you want to run into in a dark alley or anywhere else.  And Susan is back.  That makes things even more complicated.  As usual more action and suspense than three other average books.  Highly recommended.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Flashback - Nevada Barr

Flashback is an Anna Pigeon novel.  It's the first one I've read but not the last.  Anna is a park ranger and she's got temporary duty at the far edge of the Florida Keys in Dry Tortugas National Park.  She's temporarily in charge because her predecessor seemed to go insane.  Now she finds herself slipping into a mental fog too.  Finding the cause is just one of her problems.  It turns out that everyone working for her is not what they seem.  There's a little romantic angle to the story but I like that it doesn't interfere with the mystery and the solution.  Highly recommended.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs

Silver Born is a new Mercy Thompson novel.  Mercy has unwittingly borrowed something a fairy queen wants.  To make things more complicated her housemate Sam is having a identity crisis, her mate Adam is challenged for alpha of the pack, and her house (trailer) is burned to the ground.  That's just a few of the complications in this story.  It's another thrilling adventure with all the action and suspense you could want.  Briggs novels are too few and far between.  Of course I'd feel that way if she could bang one out every week.  Very highly recommended.
Publish Post

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Out of the Black - Lee Doty

Out of the Black is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It takes place just a little jump into the future. You're never sure where in the time line you are at first, but the book is so compelling you relish the razzle dazzle after a while. Your typical homicide detective, who has spent his whole live in martial arts, meets the sorcerer's apprentice and his beautiful companion. Then they meet the super sized superwoman clone who was souped up by a dying magical warrior. And it all happens so fast it's hard not to get out of breath just reading. The fight scenes scream out The Matrix or Aeon Flux. There are very few books I'd like to see made into movies, but this one would have to have some awesome special affects. Doty is amazing. I want to read more books by this author but I can't find any. I'll be watching though. Very highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Dangerous Hour - Marcia Muller

The Dangerous Hour is a Sharon McCone novel. It's been a long time since I read one of these. Last time I read Muller, I seem to remember Sharon was a struggling investigator for All Souls. Now she owns a successful agency with offices and a staff. I lost touch. She's still not married to Hy though.

This book is about revenge. Someone Sharon brought down is out to return the favor and he's willing to kill to accomplish it. There's plenty of suspense and the usual cast of characters. I enjoy Muller but somehow I drifted away. Probably because so much time is spent in romantic and family angst. I like detective stories about detecting and not relationships. I still enjoyed the book. Recommended.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Summer Knight - Jim Butcher

Summer Knight is another Dresden Files novel. This time Harry has a new client who happens to be a Faerie Queen. He's looking for a whoever or whatever murdered her Knight, and the chances are the killer is something special. He's got to stop a Faerie war that could bring on a new ice age. And you thought humans couldn't affect climate change! Highly recommended.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rain Gods - James Lee Burke

Rain Gods takes place in Texas after Hurricane Katrina has pushed some of the vice from New Orleans out to the lone star state. It starts with a mass murder and ends with a major shoot-out. In between you have lots of characters; an old sheriff who believes in the what's right, a veteran of the Iraq war who's not all the way back yet, and The Preacher who has a .45 caliber tommy gun and is not afraid to use it. They're all doing their best to catch killers, kill the catchers, and avoid being killed themselves. Very highly recommended.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beneath - Jeremy Robinson

Beneath is only the second Robinson novel I've read. Both books start out in the arctic, but Beneath ends up about as far away from the frozen north as you can get. When an asteroid is found in the arctic that provides clear evidence of life on Europa, Global Exploratory Corporation mounts an expedition to explore Jupiter's moon and see what's hidden beneath it's frozen surface. This is a fast paced book with lots of twists and turns. Frankly you're going to have to really be able to suspend your disbelief for this story. If you can do that it's one heck of an adventure and worth the read. Europa holds some very interesting surprises. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Firefly - P. T. Deutermann

The Firefly is an amazing novel. In this book things are never what they seem. Retired secret service agent Swamp Morgan finds himself investigating a plot to carry out what could be the biggest terrorist attack in history and nobody will believe him. Fast paced and full of twists, this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Very highly recommended.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Split Image - Robert B. Parker

Split Image is another Jesse Stone novel. Almost surely the last, since Robert Parker passed away at his desk on January 18th, 2010. He will be missed by many. I always enjoy his books. This one is no exception.

Split Image has Jesse working to solve two murders in the town of Paradise MA, and working with Sunny on what turns out to be than a kidnapping plus. Throw in two mobster wives known as the "bang bang twins" and it gets very interesting. You don't have to read the first eight novels in the Jesse Stone series to enjoy this book, but it would help. And they're all worth reading. Highly recommended.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Silver - Steven Savile

Silver is a novel surrounding the 30 pieces of silver Judas got for betraying Jesus. The author puts an interesting spin on the 2000 year old story and ties it in with some interesting action in the present. Silver is sort of a spy novel with terrorists and ancient religion thrown in. The author likens Silver to The Da Vinci Code in his notes. The Da Vinci Code kept you almost believing it could be true right up to the end and the story was logically consistent. Silver never made me believe for a minute that the basis for the story could be true and was disjointed rather than consistent. I enjoyed the book, but it's not in the same class with The Da Vinci Code, in spite of what the author thinks. Recommended.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Grave Peril - Jim Butcher

Grave Peril is another Dresden Files novel. This time it's ghosts who are stirring up trouble and vampires who are stirring up the ghosts. Not a good combination for Dresden and his buddy Michael. To complicate things Dresden's god-mother is after him whenever he crosses over into the nevernever and his girl friend Susan is expecting the 'L' word to make an appearance any time now. Unfortunately, Susan will find she has more important things to worry about. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Perfect Swarm - Len Fisher

The Perfect Swarm is a book about complexity theory and how it pertains to groups. It gets a little dry in places but it's an enjoyable exploration of what modern scientists are learning about groups and how they operate. There are some surprisingly useful conclusions and copious notes at the end. It's good to stretch the old brain once in a while. My only complaint is that Fisher obviously buys into the the pseudo science of man-made global warming and some other liberal myths that really don't belong in this book. That undermines his credibility at times. Still I enjoyed the book. Recommended.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New York - Edward Rutherfurd

New York is a historical novel centered on New York city. This is the first Rutherfurd book I've read. Maybe when I'm retired and have more time to kill I'll read another. This story began with Dutch settlers in 1664, when what is now New York was the outpost of New Amsterdam. It follows the history of the Masters family, as you see New York and the United States grow into their current size and shape.

My dilemma is the book was too long. However I want the glaring holes filled in. Maybe I don't have a New York centric view but a novel covering history from the 17th to the 21st century should include something of substance on WWII. Glossed over would be an understatement. Maybe the problem is the span of history covered was too great. At first I was reminded of all the James

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fool Moon - Jim Butcher

Fool Moon is book two in the Dresden Files series. This time Harry is up against all four known types of werewolves and discovers a new one in the bargain. He and Murphy are still at odds after the problems in Storm Front, and Harry even becomes a suspect in what the press is calling the lobo killings. Throw in the Chicago mob and Harry has his hands, or paws, full. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Die Trying - Lee Child

Die Trying is a Jack Reacher novel. Somehow I missed this one so I circled back and I'm glad I did. The Jack Reacher series is one you can read out of order without missing too much. This is actually the second novel in the series. Reacher is in the right place at the right time to get kidnapped along with FBI agent Holly Johnson. An FBI agent who just happens to be the daughter of the joint chiefs of staff and the God daughter of the President. Quite a catch. The Montana militia that grabbed them have big plans and Reacher will do his best, and his best is very good, to ruin those plans. Very highly recommended.

Empire of Ivory - Naomi Novik

Empire of Ivory is another in the series of Novik books following His Majesty's Dragons. I'm reading out of order again. This is the fourth book in the series about Temeraire and Captain Laurence. In this story they return from their travels and discover that the cold that Temeraire had on their trip to China was actually a virulent disease that is killing the dragons in his majesty's corp. Since Temeraire seemed to shake it off around the coast of Africa, they're bound back to Africa to find out what cured him. The adventures they encounter kept me reading late into the night. I won't spoil it for anyone, but I was very sad at the ending. Novik really leaves you hanging. Now to read book three and then I can read book five. So many books and so little time. Very highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mom and Dad

Over 60 years as husband and wife. You were the best parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and friends anyone could ask for.

Over 60 years of sleeping in the same bed, holding hands as you kissed over breakfast, and saying your prayers together at night.

Over 60 years of being there for each other through good and bad, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, ecstasy and pain.

Death claimed you separately, eight months apart. Now you'll spend eternity together, sharing over 60 years of memories.

We love you. We miss you. God bless you Mom and Dad.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Leader of the Pack - Karen Macinerney

Leader of the Pack is the third book in the Tales of an Urban Werewolf series. Sophie's Dad shows up after having abandoned her 28 years ago. He manages to alienate Sophie in less than a day. They do manage to reconcile, but in the meantime she has to deal with a demon, some werewolf politics that almost get her killed, and her Dad being on trial for werewolf murder. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Flirt - Laurell K. Hamilton

Flirt is another Anita Blake novel. Hamilton is up to 18 books in this series now and I've read them all. This book is almost retro in that the focus is on Anita's abilities as a necromancer instead of her abilities in bed. I really enjoyed the flow of the book and the twists that kept me reading it. Hamilton can write very well and this is an example of her best. Short but sweet. Highly recommended.

Monday, February 15, 2010

On the Prowl - Karen Macinerney

On the Prowl is the second book in the Tales of an Urban Werewolf series by Macinerney. It's the sequel to Howling at the Moon. In this story Sophie's been spotted by the Houston pack and they've demanded she do some spying for them, get out of Austin, or die. To make her life more interesting she's been tagged by a trio of made werewolvettes to be their alpha, she's been chosen by the Mexican pack of Aztec werewolves as a human sacrifice, and her new client (remember she is an auditor) turns out to be something other than human. Highly recommended.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fire - Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played with Fire is the sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You should really read them in order. You should really read them. In this book the girl, Lisbeth, is truly the focus of the story, and not an intriguing supporting character. She's back from a year of travel just in time to be named as the suspect in a gruesome murder mystery. The mystery revolves around her life in ways that will make you gasp. She needs all her skills, and the help of her unique friends, to fight the forces that are trying to steal her freedom and her very life. Truly amazing story telling. Very highly recommended.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fast Track - Fern Michaels

Fast Track is book three in Michaels' Rules of the Game series. This time the vigilantes are tasked with solving the theft of billions from the world bank. They manage to run the obstacle course of the press, the FBI, and home land security. They get the bad guy and induct yet another member into their sisterhood. Highly recommended.

I will admit to getting tired of having to believe some of the miracles that take place around these women. It makes a good story, but I strained my ability to suspend disbelief on this one. The Queen of England gets the entire British embassy in Washington DC to close down in order to provide the sisterhood a place to hide? Right.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kitty's House of Horrors - Carrie Vaughn

Kitty's House of Horrors is the seventh Kitty Norville book. This time Kitty and some equally supernatural friends are talked into participating in a reality show. The problem is the reality isn't what it they expected. Weres, vampires, and humans with some interesting gifts are all fair game in this reality, and everybody doesn't make it out alive. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Howling at the Moon - Karen Macinerney

Howling at the Moon is yet another werewolf story. It's a tale about a young woman who's managed to suppress her hairy urges most of the time with the help of her gypsy mother. Sophie is an auditor and her Mom is a witch. While she's trying to solve a murder her Mom's accused of, Sophie runs across the trail of another werewolf, and he's handsome enough to take her mind off of her lawyer lover. The problem is he's dating her best friend. This is a somewhat tongue in cheek, convoluted, but interesting story of an urban yuppie werewolf coming to grips with her wild side. The writing reminds me a little of MaryJanice Davidson. Highly recommended.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Divine Misdemeanors - Laurell K. Hamilton

Divine Misdemeanors is the 8th book in the Meredith Gentry series. Merry is back to being a private detective in LA and this novel contains a good detective story. Merry is pregnant with twins but that doesn't slow her down. She's still in the thick of the action. She's called in by the police on the case of a person killing demi-fey and staging the murders to look like fairy tales. There are plenty of interesting characters, lots of magic, and more than enough steamy sex scenes. I miss the old Hamilton who was more interested in plot than in porn. Highly recommended.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mortal Danger - Eileen Wilks

Mortal Danger is the sequel to Tempting Danger. This time Lily is willing to go through hell to get Rule back after a demon snatches him. Ever wonder where the dragons went? Another page turner. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tempting Danger - Eileen Wilks

Tempting Danger takes place in a alternate reality where magic is a fact of life and werewolves are legal citizens. Lily Yu is a homicide detective who draws a murder that seems to be a werewolf kill. The main suspect is Rule Turner, the local werewolf prince. If only it was that simple. Lily and Rule have a connection neither anticipated and the evil they end up fighting puts them in deadly danger. This book is based on a short story that I'd read some time ago so reading this felt like déjà vu for a while. Since this book is the first in a series I look forward to reading the rest of them. Highly recommended.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

U is for Undertow - Sue Grafton

U is for Undertow is the latest Kinsey Millhone detective mystery. Reading a new Grafton novel is like putting on an old sweater that you've worn to the comfort zone. You can't anticipate the twists and turns she gives to the plot. You can't see the end until you've traveled the length of the tale. You can look forward to some old friends and a story that will keep you reading late into the night. This time Grafton provides Kinsey with a cold case murder/kidnapping and some interesting revelations about family past and present. Very highly recommended.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Frostbitten - Kelley Armstrong

Frostbitten is a story that follows the North American werewolf pack. Elena and Clay, alpha in training and enforcer respectively, are off to Alaska to chase down a mutt when they run into some big trouble. There are more mutts than they thought and some old legends come to life and complicate things. The story keeps you turning pages way into the night. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cravings - Laurell K. Hamilton, MaryJanice Davidson, Eileen Wilks, Rebecca York

Cravings is a collection of four stories by Hamilton, Davidson, Wilks, and York. Hamilton's offering is pretty much female angst and soft porn with a little surprise at the end. I really liked Hamilton's early stuff but it's clear she's obsessed with sex at this point. I have to read her books because she hooked me on her characters while she was still writing about vampire, weres, and fairies with a real story included. I have to know what's happening to Anita and Meredith.

The other three stories are much better. Davidson's typical tongue in cheek vampire tale is great. Wilks presents the reader with a succubus who has a mystery man to save, and York writes of a werewolf in search of revenge who finds much more. All three tales are well worth the read. Highly recommended.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Devil's Punchbowl - Greg Iles

The Devil's Punchbowl is the third book in Iles' series featuring Penn Cage and the town of Natchez Mississippi. This book was like an extension of the first two. Each story almost stole you away from the real world with the need to find out what's happening next. I finally finished The Devil's Punchbowl after 3:00 this morning. This time the villain is more diabolical and the danger is more intense. Vicious dogs, gambling, torture, rape, and murder keep you reeling right up to the end. Start with The Quite Game and read the whole series. Very highly recommended.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Turning Angel - Greg Iles

Turning Angel is the sequel to Quiet Game. Iles wrote three books in a series that tie together, and I liked Quiet Game so much I decided to read them in order. Turning Angel is just as much a barn burner as Quite Game. Same good guys, some different bad guys, and a totally different kind of trouble. Natchez may seem like a sleepy Mississippi River town, but that is a thin veneer indeed. This time Penn seems to have bitten off more than he can chew, or maybe his friend Drew stuffed it down his throat. Either way he's going to have to handle it and how he does is a story I could hardly put down. Very highly recommended.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Quiet Game - Greg Iles

Quiet Game has everything you could want in a mystery thriller. It pulls you in and won't let you go until the last page. Murder, blackmail, politics, sex, and an author who weaves them into an amazing story. It's rare when a book is so good, so engaging, that I page back through and reread sections just to get the emotional punch they provide. This is one of those books. Very highly recommended.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Breach - Patrick Lee

The Breach keeps surprising you every step of the way. The end almost gave me a brain cramp from the twist it took. There's plenty of action, a little romance, and some amazing things to discover. How do you disarm a nuclear device? How do you become invisible? How do you send yourself a message from the future? It's all in there. Patrick Lee is going on my "authors to watch" list. Very highly recommended.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

MAX - James Patterson

MAX is the fifth in the Maximum Ride series. The earlier books were less preachy about the environment and I liked them better. This is still a good book and I have to keep reading the series now. I'm hooked! This time around romance blooms in multiple places and the flock experience some new evolutionary changes. Max's Mom is kidnapped and the flock has to partner with the navy to get her back. There is almost more swimming than flying. And it's clear there will be a book six. Highly recommended.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Strain - Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

The Strain is not just another vampire book. It's the first in a trilogy of stories that shred the glamorous seductive image vampires have enjoyed lately and turns them back into evil ugly enemies of humanity. Doctors from the CDC, a pest control professional, and an old man who's devoted his life to fighting vampires band together to fight the epidemic — the virus that is vampire. They may be humanities last hope. The action is constant and the characters engaging. The war is on and it's not clear who or what is going to win. Very highly recommended.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Under the Dome - Stephen King

Under the Dome is classic King. You have to read this one. Of course we're in Maine, and just down the road from Castle Rock in the little town of Chester's Mill. I'm not going to spoil any of King's surprises, but when an invisible dome cuts Chester's Mill off from the rest of the world you know there's going to be some trouble brewing. It turns out Chester's Mill had plenty of trouble before the dome and now things are really going to heat up. King has one endearing quality that most other authors don't — he's not afraid to kill 'em all and let God sort it out. Read this one and find out how it ends. You won't be disappointed. Very highly recommended.