Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Ghost by Robert Harris

I don't usually read Reader's Digest Condensed versions of stories, but this one caught my attention and once caught, I looked for a copy of the book. Not finding one, I resorted to the condensed version. That's an indication of how drawn in I was to the story. Layer upon layer upon layer is carefully revealed, drawing the reader deeper into the story. Wonderfully suspenseful and very well-written. The Ghost-writer steps into the middle of a mystery to write a memoir for a politician and finds himself with much more than appears on the surface. It will keep you guessing until the very end. I'll be looking for more by this author and definitely recommend this book.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What I'm currently reading.....

I always seem to have more than one book on the go at any one time. Right now I'm reading The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson, Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy, a story called The Ghost by Robert Harris that I wish I could find the book, but have to be satisfied with the Reader's Digest Condensed version of, and a book about Fathers and Daughters. I'll be reviewing these as I finish them.

How Time Fly's!

Can you believe it's September again!? This past year has been one of lots of changes and many books being read. The reading always continues, doesn't it?

Although this isn't everything, here's a mini-update on what I've been reading in the past little while...

Dragon by Clive Cussler -Another great Dirk Pitt adventure that pulls you in with almost non-stop action and adventure. I say almost because towards the end I felt it lag just a tiny bit and the ending disappointed slightly. Otherwise a great thrill read! That Dirk Pitt can do anything!

Always by Jude Deveraux - Normally I love Jude Deveraux's books, and normally I love paranormal/time-travel type stories but I had a little trouble with this one even after I realized it's part of a trilogy. I was lost with the references to previous storyline and felt left hanging at the end. This book is likely best read in the proper order and I may come back to it once I find and read the others. For this particular book in this particular trilogy, I only give it 3 stars. I recognized the Montgomery name from Ms. Deveraux's other series and love that she follows the same family throughout history. Guess I need to find the beginning and start there!

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times by James Finn Garner - A delightful little romp through those familiar fairytales we all grew up with but this is not how we remember them. I found this politically correct version amusing, quick and light reading. Worth the effort.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Three stars because it is very well written, but it took me a long time to read this book. I found the pace extremely slow-moving and the story somewhat disconnected. I would only recommend this book to those who prefer a more literary experience.

The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Neffenegger - Having been a fan of Time Travel all my life, this book intrigued me by the title alone. It is a love story played out in time. I found it very well conceived and put together. Keeping the different incidents in perspective and connected when one character is moving forward in time chronologically, yet interacting with the time-travelling character who is jumping backwards and forwards randomly is a major feat. I found the date/time and characters ages that preceded each event were extremely helpful in keeping things in perspective. I also liked the assist given at the beginning of each event that indicated whose perspective we were looking at, Henry, or Clare. This is definitely a book I would recommend.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - I originally wanted to read this book because it was and is so popular. I was disappointed over all. I give kudos to Elizabeth Gilbert for having the courage to take a year and go and live in not just one, but three other countries. Who wouldn't love to do that? As for the personal heart-rending and spiritual revelations, I think we all go through that at some point in our lives. We are all searching and some of us even find what we're looking for. Not all of us want to write about it, but Elizabeth does it very well. The books is an enjoyable read and a spiritual odyssey. The one thing I take away from it is the confirmation of something I already discovered for myself in a similar, although less dramatic manner. We need to find our own inner strength, make peace with ourselves and love ourselves as we are. Then we can move forward in the world.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - Ok, so I gave in to all the hype surrounding this book and I must say that it didn't disappoint. I found it a slow start up to about the first 200 pages or so, or about the 5th chapter and was questioning what all the hype was about, but then I found it had drawn me in to the point of staying up most of the night reading a bit, then putting the book down and trying to sleep only to turn the light back on cause I had to read just a bit more. The pace isn't fast, or hard-hitting, but rather a slow steady burn with enough twists and discoveries to keep you interested and drawn along until the end. Now I need the second and third books in this series. I'm sure they will be every bit as good and I heartily recommend this trilogy!

Perfect for the Beach by Lori Foster, Janelle Denison, Erin McCarthy, MaryJanice Davidson, Morgan Leigh and Kayla Perrin - This collection of romances are quick reads designed to take along to the beach, or anywhere else you might be vacationing, and pick up and put down at your leisure. I enjoyed most of the stories, but found I couldn't get interested in one of them. Still, a nice way to spend some relaxation time.

Masquerade by Nancy Moser - I enjoyed this book. A light-hearted historical romance with just enough Christian reference to make it believable and enjoyable yet not overwhelming. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of drawings of fashion that was used in the book. It shows an interest and dedication of the author to the realistic descriptions of fashions of the time the story is set in. The storyline has been done before, but in this case it was very enjoyable. The novel also includes questions for a book group.

The War Memoirs of (HRH) Wallis, Duchess of Windsor by Kate Auspitz - Maybe I'm to much of a romantic, but I've always been intrigued that a man who could be King would give up his crown for he woman he loved. For that reason I requested this book from the ER program. I admit to not knowing much of the history of Wallis and Edward before reading this and maybe that would have put the book in better context for me. Unfortunately through this book I lost a lot of my admiration for Wallis and Edward. The book is well-written and quite realistic so that the reader forgets it is a novel and not a real memoir. I didn't discover the footnotes until quite well into the book and wished I had seen them earlier as I felt that they do add to the understanding along the way. Wallis as the main character is portrayed as vain, selfish and not above allowing herself to be used by those who "handled" her and Edward throughout. I rapidly came to dislike her and her flirtatious, self-centered ways.Edward is there in more of a supporting role and I found Wallis' treatment of him less than admirable. I suppose if the facts are true, then he maybe was somewhat boyish as he seemed to be more interested in entertaining activities rather than world affairs.I did enjoy the many references to historical figures. The world becomes a smaller place when looked at on such a grand scale. What I might have wished for more of would be background details, but being a memoir, I guess that implies a more one-sided focus and the author accomplished that extremely well.

Periwinkle Isn't Paris by Marilyn Eisenstein - This is a wonderful children's book about a young girl who dreams of Paris. She loves everything to do with Paris and wants to go there. Who doesn't have a place they have wanted to go all their life? This one is worth sharing with that special young reader in your life.

Summer After Summer by Ann Defee - A light fun little romance following the main characters from childhood where Jazzy has a crush on one of her best friends boyfriends, Charlie, into adulthood where they acknowledge their love for each other but previous commitments get in the way, and then years later when they return to where it all began. This book is one of Harlequin's Everlasting Love series where "Every great love has a story to tell." A unique perspective and a modern, everyday take on romance. I enjoyed this light-hearted read.

Sheiks of Summer by Susan Mallery, Alexandra Sellers and Fiona Brand - This was a nice light read comprising 3 stories where the male lead is a Sheik. I particularly enjoyed the last story which also involved reincarnation and genetic memory. A little bit of a different twist.

Under the Dome by Stephen King - I haven't read any Stephen King for quite a few years, but decided to give this one a try when it was offered to me. I found the story well-written but lengthy and found myself wishing it would just get to the point. In the end, I was less than impressed with this book. It is not something I would recommend to any but a Stephen King fan.

Stardust of Yesterday (Haunted Hearts Series) by Lynn Kurland - I enjoyed this light fantasy that includes romance, ghosts, and a castle. What more could one ask for in a romantic fantasy. If you believe in ghosts or wish for something a little out of the ordinary, this book is for you. I'll be looking for more by this author.