Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December 2008 Reading

1. THE SNAKE TATTOO by Linda Barnes. (audio) #2 Carlotta Carlyle mystery set in Boston in the 1980’s, which is when this book was written. Carlotta, an ex-cop PI who also is a part-time cabbie, works two cases in this book, one for her policeman friend Mooney, who is on suspension while he’s being investigated for an off-duty incident in which he beats up a guy in a bar that he swears had a knife, but no one else saw it, except a witness who disappeared. The other is the case of a teenage runaway, and Carlotta is hired by one of Valerie Hazlim’s friends. The cases intersect somewhat and are brought to an interesting, if somewhat predictable, resolution in both cases. I like Carlotta and her supporting cast of characters a lot, and I do enjoy the reader too—although my library doesn’t have the third one in the series in audio, so I’ll have to order a print copy instead. A fine way to open up the month of December! A.

2. STILL LIFE by Louise Penny. #1 Armand Gamache Canadian police procedural book set in Three Pines, Quebec, a small hole-in-the-wall village not far from Montreal. Gamache, chief homicide investigator for the Surete du Quebec, along with his team are called to Three Pines early Thanksgiving Sunday morning when the body of much-beloved Jane Neal, a retired schoolteacher and lifelong villager, is found dead. It appears as though it was an arrow that caused the fatal wound, and at first is thought to be the result of a hunting accident, but when no actual arrow is found, foul play is suspected. But who would want to kill Jane? Everyone loved the kindly woman! Of course there is a snake in the grass, and of course I did “know” (with my ‘that’s the killer!’ gut feeling when the baddie was introduced) who it was, but didn’t know why. However, that in no way diminished my enjoyment of this stellar book—a book that I had a very hard time believing was a first novel! I love Inspector Gamache already, although some parts of the book seemed a bit unrealistic. It seemed to me that he allowed way too much latitude to the suspects in that he trusted them with a lot of information and made a lot of his deductions based on information—which could have been false information—they gave him. And it just seemed odd to have very little police procedure detail or mention of any other case they might’ve still been working on. Murders must happen one at a time in Quebec? J Anyway, that aside, it was a wonderfully written book with a lot of things to make you think—about life, the universe and everything—and I’m happy to have the next one here waiting. A+

3. A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by M.C. Beaton. #16 Hamish MacBeth mystery set in fictional Lochdubh, Scotland. This was an ‘afterthought’ I think, since it was the second Hamish book published in 1999. It’s very short (I read it in about an hour and a half) and there’s no actual murder—it’s just a bit of a cozy look at Christmas in the Highlands with a little burglary and some “Bah Humbugs” to keep Hamish busy. Lots of village spirit and goodwill towards men and all that—a nice little “feel good” book but not really much of a mystery. Enjoyable! B+

4. THE BRIEF, WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO by Junot Díaz (audio version) This is the story of an overweight, luckless young man named Oscar de León who grows up in New Jersey in the 1970’s and who was a nerd before being a nerd was cool. Oscar’s family roots are in the Dominican Republic and the de Leóns seem to have picked up a family curse, a particularly bad curse called a fukú, believed to have been placed on the family by none other than Rafael Trujilla, former dictator of the DR. Oscar, while born in the DR, moves with his mother and sister to America when Oscar is only a couple of years old, but the fukú seems to follow them. The book bounces back and forth in time, and is narrated primarily by Yunior, who was a friend of Oscar’s and a boyfriend of Oscar’s sister Lola for a brief time. While the story is primarily about Oscar, we also learn about his mother Bela, sister Lola, and his grandfather, a once-respected doctor who died in a Dominican prison just days before Trujillo’s assassination. We’re swept away to an entirely foreign and bewildering, yet fascinating, culture that I previously knew next to nothing about—the book even prompted me to do some research after I finished it. A powerful, harsh and often bitter treatise about a family affected for generations by the dictator Trujillo’s reign, how far-reaching and pervasive the evil was, its tentacles reaching out even today. It’s the story of a sad, scorned young man that most of us probably know someone similar to. Excellent narrator, though at one point I did seriously consider giving up on the book in audio form, because of the frequent and pervasive use of untranslated Spanish. Long phrases, words tossed in without explanation, probably lots of colloquialisms too, which at times pulled me out of the story. I decided to stick with it, though, and am glad I did. Most of what was said I was able to guess at, given the context, but if the book had one fault, that was it—at least in audio form. A very worthwhile listen, told in a powerful voice. Definitely not a cozy! A

5. THE WHITE TIGER by Aravind Adiga. This year’s Man Booker Prize winner, I received this from Amazon to review, although it ended up not being pre-release review as the publisher released the book early when it won the award. Very interesting story told in a week’s worth of letters written from an Indian entrepreneur (former servant/driver and now his own man and the proud owner of a taxi business and a chandelier in Bangalore) to the Premier of China, who is planning a visit to India, according to the news radio. Balram Halwai (aka The White Tiger) is a peasant from the Darkness, a rural area characterized by abject poverty, cruelty of the landlords and of people scrabbling for what they can get in any way they can get it. He doesn’t want the Chinese leader to be misled by the progressive, prosperous India that will undoubtedly be shown to him by the country’s leaders and tour guides, oh no! He wants him to know the REAL India, his own India, outsourcing capital of the world, and proceeds to tell him how he went from the Darkness to entrepreneurship in Bangalore with nothing but his own sweat and ingenuity, and he doesn’t leave out the part where he’s also a wanted criminal, nor does he deny his criminal deeds. His resourcefulness and humor come through loud and clear right along with his desperation. Adiga portrays Balram as a classically tragic figure, one you feel compassion for and yet one you despise at the same time. Hilariously funny at times, morally complicated and twisted, and an interesting picture of India from the inside. Highly recommended for those who like to go exploring culturally. A.

6. THE MUSKETEERS APPRENTICE by Sarah D’Almeida. #3 in the “Musketeers” historical mystery series featuring the main characters from Alexandre Dumas’ classic swashbuckling tale. I realized once I was several chapters into the book that I had read this out of sequence—having not read the second one yet. By then it was too late to stop. LOL In this episode, Porthos’ young apprentice dueler is killed, found in an alley incoherent and hallucinating and then has a seizure and dies in Porthos’ presence. Porthos believes he was poisoned and his Musketeer friends concur thinking belladonna is the likely culprit. When they find information about Porthos’ ancestry in his pockets—information that is supposedly unknown but that in reality is an open secret, they feel that the boy (he was only twelve!) was manipulated and used to get to Porthos, and the foursome sets out to figure out who would do such a thing—and of course their investigations are sure to rattle some highly-placed noble cages! But the first chore is to find out who the boy really was so his family can be notified of his demise, as he hadn’t given Porthos much in the way of clues and no one recognized the name given by the boy. I found this book somewhat tedious. The first in the series was unique and interesting, but this one…I don’t know. Maybe it was just too many “main characters”—there were all four musketeers in their ‘secret’ guises as well as their real identities to keep straight, and I kept getting them mixed up. There were also a lot of peripheral characters, servants, mistresses, etc. involved, and the author kept referring back to the first two books in the series with footnotes and details of other cases. The writing style also just didn’t flow easily and I found myself having to re-read a lot of passages. I’m re-thinking whether or not I want to continue on reading this series. C+

7. CRONE’S MOON by M.R. Sellars. #5 in the Rowan Gant ‘paranormal’ mystery series featuring the Wiccan computer geek/sleuth and his friend Ben Storm, St. Louis policeman as well as Felicity O’Brien, Rowan’s wife. This book is pretty much the same plot from the previous four books re-hashed—a serial killer is loose, this one taking young, pretty women, torturing them and then in a little twist, beheading them. Rowan and Felicity become involved when Rowan and Ben, on their way to lunch, witness the abduction of one of the victims, who turns out to be none less than the mayor’s daughter. Actually Rowan had been involved earlier, when he woke up on the floor having had one of his seizures—he just didn’t realize at the time what it was about. Rowan and Felicity both end up channeling the victims and having their otherworldly seizures in this one, and once again are sometimes in grave mortal peril, with the clock ticking as the victims try to lead them to their resting place and/or where they’re being held. Ben and FBI agent Constance Mandalay again are bucking procedure, acting outside of the lead detective’s wishes by allowing Rowan and Felicity to assist them, and Lt. Albright, aka “Bible Barb” once again is riding their tails with scorn and derision. While being quite a seat-of-your-pants thriller, since I’ve already read the first few books in the series, I was pretty sure of what was going to happen and I was right. I do enjoy the Pagan aspects of the book and it’s refreshing to have openly Pagan protagonists, and as much as I’ve come to love Rowan and Felicity and Ben, I do wish the plot would vary a little from book to book and that they would find something different to occupy the pages. It’s also a very graphically violent book, and not for the faint of heart—and I’m not faint of heart, but again, it’s just a lot of ‘same old, same old’ from previous books. I understand the next three books are a trilogy within the series that feature Felicity more, so maybe something different will come of them. I’ve got them all here, so I will read them, but if it’s ‘more of the same’ I’ll most likely end up leaving a year or more between reading each book…had I read all these at one time, I’d have likely not continued what with the marked similarity between them all, which leads to predictability of the outcome. C+

8. THE TAIL OF THE TIP-OFF by Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown. (audio) #11 in the Mrs. Murphy mysteries, also featuring Mary Minor Harristeen, postmistress in Crozet, Virginia along with her super-intelligent tabby cat and other critters. It’s girl’s basketball season, and “Harry” and several of her friends are fans of the University of Virginia’s girls basketball team. When one of Crozet’s land developers/construction contractors ends up dead in the parking lot of The Clam (the basketball facility) it’s assumed it was a heart attack—that’s what it looked like! But it wouldn’t be a murder mystery without a murder, and the autopsy shows a small dart-like skin prick and some surprising toxicology results. H.H. Donaldson had been sitting right in front of Harry during the game, and was within sight of her during the walk to the parking lot as well—so Harry’s trying to piece things together and figure out who had the opportunity (and the motive!) to plan such a foul crime. Jealous wife? Jilted girlfriend? Someone dissatisfied with his business dealings? Before many clues are unearthed, a second murder—much more messy and obvious—complicates things. Enjoyable visit to Crozet as usual with interesting and decent (though certainly not quite what you’d call “cozy”) characters, a wonderful reader, and this one even had a bit of a twist to it that I didn’t see coming. I’m lining up the next audiobook in the series on my library list now. A.

9. WHACK-A-MOLE by Chris Grabenstein. #3 John Ceepak mystery set in Sea Haven, New Jersey, and told by Danny Boyle, Ceepak’s young partner on the Sea Haven police force. It’s summer, the height of tourist season and the beach is crowded with tourists, beachcombers and scantily clad young ladies. Danny Boyle is mourning the loss of his ex-girlfriend Katie, who packed up and headed to California, but enjoying his time as a full-time member of the police force. But when a sneaky old serial killer starts leaving his twenty-some-year-old “trophies” (ears and noses preserved in formaldehyde!) on the shelves of some local tourist attractions, things get interesting real fast. When a bulldozer preparing the grounds for the sand castle building contest digs up the burial grounds for some of the killer’s other trophies, the police chief, rather than contacting the FBI and forensics experts, tries to keep things as hush-hush as possible—you certainly don’t want the tourists to know there’s a religious nutter who takes a passage in the book of Ezekiel literally and slices off the ears and noses of promiscuous girls before hacking their heads off! As the chief points out, these crimes are all over 20 years old, so what’s the rush? But when the killer makes a comeback and begins to taunt Ceepak with clues and lets him know that he has a new victim in mind, things move a bit faster. I pegged the killer without difficulty but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. I’m a big fan of Danny, Ceepak, the rest of the crew and especially of Grabenstein’s easy reading style which is humorous but with a serious undertone. Great stuff! I especially like reading about the beach when it’s snowing and colder than heck! LOL A.

10. MASTER OF SOULS by Peter Tremayne. #16 in the Sister Fidelma historical mystery series set in 7th century Ireland. Fidelma and Eadulf have traveled to a small Abbey on the coast to investigate the brutal murder of the Abbess who was stabbed while on pilgrimage with some other nuns. The abbess’s body was left where it was, but the nuns have disappeared. Fidelma was summoned by the leader of the local Ui Fidgente clan, former enemies now at peace with Muman, the kingdom of which Fidelma’s brother is king. Upon arriving at the Abbey, they learn of another death, as one of the elderly venerable scholars who resides at the abbey was bludgeoned to death on the altar. Is there a connection between the two deaths? Of course there is! The struggle is to find it, and that’s no easy task when most of the people questioned by Fidelma and Eadulf are lying or at least not telling the whole truth. When they set out the follow the trail that the Abbess would have taken for the pilgrimage in hopes of finding the missing nuns as well as some clues, their lives are put into mortal danger as they unravel a complicated political plot that plays on old clan rivalries and demands a knowledge of the ancient Irish laws of succession and ancestry. Very enjoyable visit to ancient Ireland as usual—it’s been over a year since my last visit so I always cherish these books. I do have the next in series here—we’ll see how long I’ll be able to resist it. A.

11. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl (audio) Delightful telling of this childhood classic, read by Eric Idle of Monty Python fame. It’s been many years since I read this book, and was surprised all over again how much the movies vary from the book. The newer version is closer, but still much is different. I really much prefer the book to either the Gene Wilder or the Johnny Depp movies, a magical tale of a poor, near-starving boy who manages to win a Golden Ticket for a tour of Wonka’s Chocolate Factory when he finds a stray dollar in the snow and yields to temptation and buys himself two Wonka chocolate bars. Idle’s variable voices characterized the other nasty little children very well and he did an exemplary job with Charlie’s family and Wonka himself as well. A.

12. STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova. ARC for review. Story told from the point of view of Alice, a woman just celebrating her fiftieth birthday, a Harvard professor and researcher in the field of linguistics. Alice begins having memory lapses and word-finding difficulties that she first writes off to menopausal symptoms, but when she at one point finds herself on a jog a few blocks from home feeling totally lost, she schedules a checkup with her family doctor. With a referral to a neurologist in hand, after a barrage of tests, Alice finds herself with a tentative diagnosis of EOAD—Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, which applies to those under the age of sixty-five. Allowing this to sink in for a full ten days before sharing the news with her husband John, Alice does some research and is at first despondent. But share the news she does, and her husband, a research biologist, seems almost more devastated than Alice. Genetic testing confirms this diagnosis, and Alice must now share the news with her three children, knowing full well that they may have inherited this tendency as well. Alice’s mother was killed in a car crash at the age of forty-one and her father was an alcoholic who died at seventy, and she had attributed his confusion to alcoholic encephalopathy, so she isn’t really sure which parent she inherited the defective gene from. A real tear-jerker of a book, very thought provoking and heart-breaking in many ways. So much attention is focused on the caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s, and so little on the patients themselves, especially in the early stages of the disease when they know they’re confused and understand all too well what’s in store for them. Alice sets out to remedy that problem and forms a support group for other younger people like herself and tries to cope as best she can. Recommended highly for anyone who knows someone with this devastating disease—which is horrible at any age, but particularly for those it strikes in the prime of their lives. A.

13. THE REMORSEFUL DAY by Colin Dexter. Last book in the Inspector Morse series, and a re-read for me, though it’s been many years since I last read it. Sometimes scattered, as it gets told in bits and pieces from the points of view of several people, Chief Superintendant Strange asks Morse to look into a year-old death that stymied the police but which may now have some further clues forthcoming as a caller has rung up with some new information. Morse has been on holiday, attempting rather unsuccessfully to deal with his newly-diagnosed diabetes and high blood pressure, his drinking problem and his melancholia, but Strange wants resolution on this case and feels that only Morse can provide it—and also feels that the best way for Morse to deal with his health is to stay busy and keep his mind active. Morse sets Lewis some investigating to do, but Lewis finds at every turn that Morse has already been there and done the querying. Difficult mystery, twisty plot, and of course the end of Morse and the series. Profound and sad and yet in its own way a fitting end. You always hope that your literary heroes are immortal and in some way they are, I guess. *sniffle* A.

14. ON THE WRONG TRACK by Steve Hockensmith. #2 “Holmes on the Range” mystery set in the 1890’s western USA featuring Otto “Big Red” Amlingmeyer and his wanna-be Sherlock Holmes brother Gustav aka “Old Red.” In this episode, the brothers, cattle drovers cum detectives desperate for a job, are hired by the evil Southern Pacific Railroad as spies and private police to safeguard the passengers and freight aboard the Ogden to Oakland run that’s been previously victimized by a ruthless band of train robbers. What Otto doesn’t know is that Gustav has horrible ‘train sickness’ and the boys must work around that malady which isn’t made any easier when they spot someone’s head go bouncing down the tracks as Gustav is leaning over the railing emptying his stomach. When they try to figure out who killed the baggageman and why, they seem to be stymied at every turn by the railroad staff, especially once they find out that the brothers are spies hired by the railroad bosses. A batch of decidedly odd passengers that includes a legendary railroad detective, a Chinese doctor, a couple of caskets, a huge snake and a crate of bricks complicates the plot, as does Otto’s interest in a rather forward, independent young lady whom Gustav warns him not to trust. When the robber gang stops the train and hops on with nothing more than a message for the railroad bosses and don’t actually rob anything, the mystery becomes even more puzzling. Gustav has to try to keep his mind sharp even as he’s physically exhausted, hungry and dehydrated due to his motion sickness, and eventually is able to assimilate the clues and wrap his head around a solution. Which is more than I was able to do—my bad guy antennae must’ve been on vacation while reading this book, I guess. Enjoyable mystery with some slapstick and some subtle humor to lighten it up, packed with action and historical insights. I found this second entry in the series to be nothing short of delightful and was glad that it didn’t succumb to the sophomore slump. I’m looking forward to Black Dove, the third in the series—and I think this is one series I’ll most likely be trying to keep up with! A

15. HIGH COUNTRY FALL by Margaret Maron (audio book). #10 in the Judge Deborah Knott mystery series set in North Carolina. In this book, Deborah is once again off to some remote county to fill in for another judge. Set in the beautiful mountainous area, it’s easy to see why tourists flock there to see the autumn leaves bursting into color all over the hillsides. But nature’s beauty doesn’t offset the usual human vices—greed, lust, and other various forms of avarice that lead to murder. First the murder of a local doctor, which happens before Deborah’s arrival, and then the murder of a developer that Deborah met at a party the evening he died. And Deborah’s cousins, whom she’s staying with during her week there, know the young man accused of the doctor’s murder and implore Deborah to help them investigate to prove his innocence. Deborah uses her week away from Dwight (her fiancé) to think seriously about the wedding and whether it’s really a good idea or not, too. I also like the way the author is able to incorporate Deborah’s love life into the story without making the book into a typical romance novel, too. I very much enjoy this series and was shocked to see that I’ve only got four left to catch up to the current release. The reader, C.J. Critt, is excellent, so the audio versions are my preferred mode of reading for this series, but I’ve read several in print and enjoy those too. Won’t be too long before my next one, that I’m pretty sure of! A

16. THE SEA OF MONSTERS by Rick Riordan. #2 Percy Jackson and the Olympians YA fantasy series. (audiobook) On the last day of a very quiet school year, monsters infiltrate Percy’s dodge ball game and, rescued by his friend Anna Beth, he once again leaves school a suspect in blowing things up and causing mischief. But this year Percy’s been looking forward to summer when he’ll be able to go back to Camp Half-Blood with his friends and train more in the ways of the demi-gods—which he just found out last year he is. His father, Poisedon, has been very quiescent, which troubles Percy somewhat and he longs for a closer relationship with his dad—but how do you get close to a Greek god? Percy discovers that Camp Half-Blood is changing, with their magical pine tree failing and the borders allowing monsters in. However, he’s been having strange dreams about his friend Grover, a satyr, sewing his own wedding dress, and Percy just knows he’s in trouble. Percy and Anna Beth end up helping Clarice, one of their least favorite half-bloods from the previous year, on her quest to secure the Golden Fleece which will cure the magical pine tree that maintains the camp’s defenses—and also to hopefully rescue Grover at the same time. Tagging along is Percy’s newly-discovered younger half-brother Tyson, a Cyclops. This book certainly didn’t have a sophomore slump going—I really enjoy this series and the reader tells it in such a way that it’s hard to stop listening! Lots of interesting information about Greek mythology as well as a great story. A.

17. FULL DARK HOUSE by Christopher Fowler. #1 in the Bryant and May “Peculiar Crimes Unit” mysteries set partly in modern-day and partly in London during WWII. The book weaves back and forth in time from present-day, with an elderly John May attempting to solve the murder of his long-time partner at the Peculiar Crimes Unit, Arthur Bryant, back to the days of the Blitz in London when the two shared their first case. Bryant was blown up in the PCU’s offices with a bomb, and because of some clues he left behind, May believes the answer to his death lies with the first case they solved back in 1940, involving a series of grisly killings at the Palace theatre, which was putting on a salacious version of a Greek tragedy. The story sucked me in right from the beginning and the book was hard to put down and certainly read “faster” than its’ 400+ pages. My ‘bad guy’ antennae remain on vacation as I hadn’t a clue who the killer was until close to the time of the reveal, though the clues were there, delicately spread out throughout the book. Excellent opening to a new series for me, with interesting, diverse characters, historical realism and a well-told story to boot! A.

18.CURSE OF THE POGO STICK by Colin Cotterill. #5 in the Dr. Siri Paiboun mystery series (he’s the national coroner) set in 1970’s Laos. Dr. Siri is up north at a conference, dragged there unwillingly by his boss, Judge Haeng. On the way back, their convoy is hijacked by a band of Hmong rebels who recognize Yeh Ming, the spirit of the ages-old Hmong shaman who resides within Siri. They need him for the exorcism of the leader’s daughter. Meanwhile, Nurse Dtui and Mr. Geung get involved in their own intrigue with a terrorist they thwarted in a previous book who tries to blow them up with a bomb planted in a dead body. Dtui and her new husband, the policeman Phosy, and Dr. Siri’s fiancé Madame Daeng begin tracking this woman, known as The Lizard, down. As usual, a wonderful story filled with wry humor, cultural detail and of course social commentary, too. I found this one especially interesting as we have a rather large Hmong population here in the Minneapolis area so it was interesting to learn more about their culture and history. These books are never long enough to suit me and always leave me wanting more. A

19.DEATH TIDIES UP by Barbara Colley. #2 Charlotte LaRue mystery featuring the owner of her own cleaning business, Maid-For-A-Day, in New Orleans. Charlotte’s sixtieth birthday is fast approaching and she’s feeling a bit down in the dumps about it. Soon she is wrapped up in another murder mystery though, tied to one of her clients, and to Charlotte herself as one of her employees discovers a dead body in a Mardi Gras mask in the closet of a newly-renovated apartment building that Maid-For-A-Day has the contract to clean. The dead body turns out to be that of Drew Bergeron, whom everyone thought had died two years earlier, and Charlotte’s new tenant Louis Robicheaux and her niece Judith end up as lead detectives on the case again. I didn’t like this book as well as the first one—something was just ‘off’ about it, with Charlotte’s frequent worries about her aging, her health, and about her friends and family getting to be a bit annoying. I also wanted to wring her parakeet’s neck by the end of the book; it seems every time Charlotte walked in the door there was a description of Sweety’s welcoming antics. I like Charlotte in some ways, but she’s just way too nosy despite her frequently saying that she detests gossip and seems much too opinionated about her friends and family’s life choices for my taste. Everything was just a little too pat, too many coincidences, and the mystery in this one was not a strong one. I’ll probably read one more in the series but if it continues in the same vein and this wasn’t just a ‘sophomore slump’ I will likely not go on from there. B-

20. BOGUS TO BUBBLY: AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO THE WORLD OF UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld. Received this for review from Amazon Vine, though it was actually released about two months before I got it, and the book isn’t an ARC but a regular old copy. It’s a fairly quick, light read, a sort of journal from the author to explain where some of the ideas for the things in the Uglies series came from with maps, diagrams, descriptions, details about the different cliques, etc. An interesting ‘background’ book that offered some insights into things, into parallels between our present-day world and the world before the Rusties came along—which is a few hundred years into our future. Most of what was said as far as the social commentary involved I’d already inferred to some degree. I had to skip over some parts as there were spoilers about the one book in the series (Extras) that I haven’t read yet and I didn’t want to find out too much about what happened there, so I would recommend that others hold off on reading this until after you’ve completed reading the series. I’m not really sure what the purpose of the book is, to be honest…I mean, it was interesting to a degree, but certainly not necessary, though it was a fun, enjoyable read and I’m glad I didn’t actually pay money for it. I think if I had, I’d likely have been more disappointed as it was a pretty lightweight, bubbly book. LOL B


THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follett. I didn’t expect to DNF this book—it’s the type of book that’s right up my alley and came highly recommended by several people whose taste in books is similar to mine. But I read over 300 pages of it (about a third of the whole book) and just couldn’t get interested, the characters all felt very shallow and the religious and political intrigue just left me cold. I wasn’t at all ‘sucked in’ to the story like I should have been, so decided to let it go rather than slogging through it grumpily.

THE CHRYSALIS by Heather Terrell. I read about 40 pages of this—it was supposed to be a thriller tying the past and present together, but what I read was pretty much poorly-written romance-cum mystery. The old “I hadn’t seen him since college but when I saw him I flushed,” and “the tingle where our hands touched,” and yadda yadda yadda. Tell me the story of how this painting came to be something your law firm is involved in litigation—I don’t care how much you like looking at your new client/old friend. Blech.