Friday, April 22, 2011

Postcard Killers

by James Patterson & Lisa Marklund

I just remembered another book that I read in the spring that didn't get reviewed.  This book was pretty sleazy and is one I would have quit if I'd have had anything to read.  I took a book with me to Cedar City when I went to help my sister after her operation.  My mistake was not taking it to the hospital.  In my defense, I didn't know I'd be staying all night but after the operation both my sister and I felt I should stay.  Luckily she had a book she thought she'd feel good enough to read.  She didn't. 

The one good thing about Postcard Killers was that it kept my interest piqued throughout the night and I was able to stay awake.  Being one of James Patterson's, the chapters were short and the writing a bit large.  Many would have finished it in a few hours - it took me most of the night. 

Do I recommend it?  Not really.  There's too many descent books that are really good to waste time of this type of read under normal circumstances.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

by Michelle Moran

I loved this book!  Best book I've read so far this year!

You may be familiar with Michelle Moran's earlier novels: Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter.  All very good, enjoyable reads, took me to places and introduced me to people from history, and were well researched and well written.  Madame Tussaud does all that and more.  In my opinion this is Moran's best work so far.

Perhaps it was the backdrop of the French Revolution that made me love this book.  I feel like I knew so little about that period, though I did read (and love) The Scarlett Pimpernell.  Perhaps it was the main character that I liked so well. Though she is quite different from me, I was able to understand her motives and to sympathize with her roles as daughter, girlfriend, niece, teacher, and her devotion to her work.

The characters in this book are complex.  I think Moran did a superb job of progressively revealing more dimensions to the characters, mainly Madame Tussaud and Robespierre, as the story unfolds.  And the story!  Excellent!  I liked how we see the French Revolution from a different slant than is presented in The Scarlett Pimpernell.  I felt compassion for the Royalty as well as anger.  The progression of Robespierre from an activist to a villainous madman was portrayed with finesse.

I am not doing this book justice with my choppy review.  I need to have my daughter read it and discuss it with me.  Then I could write what I feel but what she can help me express.  I wish I had her gift for putting into words the things she feels about a book.  Suffice it to say in my own befuddled way that I think you will enjoy this book and I hope you love it as much as I do.  I may need to start going to book club again so I can recommend this book.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Dear Strangers

by Meg Mullins

It was a slow start for me getting into this book for a couple reasons.  First, I just haven't been reading the first couple months this year so I was trying to coming out of a reading slump.  Second, this book was a bit confusing at first.

Luckily, I kept reading and finally reached the point where I was hooked.  As the disconnected story lines, as they seemed to me, began to join together I had to keep reading to see how they all finally blended into one.  Usually I really like this technique.  I think I had a harder time this time due to the reading slump.

There was a third reason I had a hard time getting into this book rather than just bobbing along and enjoying the ride was the main character, Oliver.  His father died of a heart attach when Oliver was 6 or 7 just days before his adoptive brother was delivered.  The brother did not stay, so Oliver experienced 2 losses close together.  That I sympathize with but I still thought Oliver was quite overboard in his reaction.  Later in his 20s he's still behaving very weirdly as a result of his losses.

I really liked the characters of Miranda and Mary.  Miranda is working on completing a very interesting art project that requires willing participants that don't ever meet her.  Not going to tell you more!  

Overall, I'm glad I read Dear Strangers.  Definitely liked the last half best but can see the need for the first half.   There were several passages that caused me to pause and ponder the book and life in general.  Meg Mullins is the author of The Rug Merchant.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Moon River and Me

by Andy Williams

This book provided a nice walk down memory lane.  As someone who grew up watching Andy Williams on TV and listening to his music I was delighted when Courtney from Plume & Hudson Street Press offered me a review copy.  I learned a lot about Andy Williams that I didn't know and I enjoyed revisiting the past.  

It's been several months since I read Moon River and Me so specifics have left my old, muddled brain but I do remember liking this book.  The writing was easy flowing and nice.  The chronicle of Andy's life from a poor, small town boy to a world famous singer through a time period that I grew up was most interesting.  I had fun looking up some of the old shows on youtube and the memories came flooding back of being a young girl laying on the floor with my head in my hands watching Andy's Christmas special as well as others of his shows.  Good times!