Saturday, August 7, 2010

What I Read on my Summer Vacation Part II

Yep, I am reading away my summer and I can't think of a better way to spend these hot humid days.  I don't get to the beach as often as I would like but I have spent some wonderful afternoons under an umbrella in my backyard with a cocktail by my side and a book in my hand.  Here is another batch of books I have covered:

Third Degree: A Novel
1. Third Degree by Greg Iles:  This was an audiobook and boy was it good and boy was it bad.  David Colacci was the narrator and he was awesome.  I felt like I was listening to an old time radio show and anytime I had to put it down I was at a cliff hanger.  The right narator makes all the difference in audiobooks.  Too many voices can be as distracting as a monotone.  Sometimes the voice doesn't match what I imagined the character should sound like and that ruins it.  David had a great balance of drama and tone that kept me listening and made this good thriller an edge of your seat suspenseful roller coaster ride.   Greg Iles ruins the book half way in with some of the most cliched plot choices and implausible twists.  The first half of the book I was in for the whole ride and couldn't wait to find out what happens next.  Then she opens the door to her home to be greeted by her husband with a gun. From that point on I kept wanting Mr. Iles to return to the tight believable story he started with.  It felt like he didn;t know how to save any of the characters so he decided to see how whacked he could make them all.  This is a book about reaching your limit and losing it one fateful day.  What would push you over the edge from sanity to murderous rage?  What would pull you back?  How would you survive terrible rage directed at you?  Does anyone really know the person they are married to?  Is an affair really worth the pain? I don't know if any of those issues were well represented in this crazy ride of a book.

Blood Game: An Eve Duncan Forensics Thriller (Eve Duncan Forensics Thrillers)2.  Blood Game by Iris Johansen:  This is another installment in the Eve Duncan series and I gotta tell you it is getting old.  There is nothing new in the story.  Eve is once again tracking a serial killer who seems to know something about the disappearance and death of her little girl Bonnie.  Joe is once again frustrated and conflicted by all the violence and danger surrounding his lover Eve.  Jane is once again an amazing heroine worried about her foster parents.  Oh wait there is a new twist.  Joe can talk to ghosts.  WHATEVER!  Can we please stop taking a straightforward mystery series that has established fictional boundaries and throwing in paranormal elements in because paranormal is trendy right now.  It is cheating. I know Eve has always talked to her dead daughter but I know a lot of people who talk to loved ones who have passed.  I don't think that is paranormal.  I think that is a way of keeping that feeling of connectedness.  Joe talking to ghosts is a whole other story!  If you don't have anything fresh to add to the series then wait to write something when you do. I have started to not care if Eve ever finds Bonnie or come to terms with her death.  I want the story to come to a conclusion.   I know you are on deadline.  I know we all want another Eve Duncan story but DANG don't put stuff out there that isn't up to the standard that made this character so readable to begin with!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter3.  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith:  What an odd historical horror novel.  I can't say I have ever read anything like it before.  It was as dry as a history book and yet I couldn't find myself leaving it alone.  What an interesting literary plot tool.  Take a historical figure during a famous historical era and twist.  Everything that happened to President Lincoln from the  age of nine until after his official death was all because of Vampires.  His grandparents weren't really killed in an indian attack.  His mom didn't really die of milk disease.  John Wilkes Booth was more and less than he really was in the history books.  Mr. Grahame-Smith wrote a very realistic, tight novel that were it not for the history books already written might make one wonder if his history wasn't the truth....honestly.  This was such a fun read I am heading out to pick up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!

The Neighbor: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel4.  The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner: This is an episode in the D.D. Warren series.  It didn't work for me.  The premise is good and well known.  Wife disappears and the husband becomes the prime suspect.  The husband acts suspiciously and the couple has secrets.  Good plot plan.  Then Ms. Gardner brings in a sex offender and he should be made a suspect.  Statutory rape when he was 18 and the girl was 15 does not a murderer make. Stupid? Yes.  Irresponsible? Yes.  Killer?  Not so much. Back to the husband.  He is wiping hard drives and hiding computers.  He is a good suspect.  He is a lot older than his wife who he married when she got pregnant and the baby may not be his.  We get some back story on both of them including the wife's abusive mother who killed herself and a complacent and co-dependent seeming father.  There is suggestion of him being abusive as well.  She severed all connections with him when she married her husband.  There is an affair and extra-marital problems.  There are tons of motives and possibilities with very little connection between any of them with very little reason why abduction or murder would be necessary.  I said at the beginning of this it is a series for D.D. Warren and I didn't feel she was a main character at all.  There is a lot of action and questions in this book just not much thrill or suspense for me.

Holly Blues (China Bayles Mystery)5.  Holly Blues by Susan Wittig Albert::  Ahhh....Susan you are a satisfying read.  I feel like you are one of my girlfriends and you are telling me about the crazy week you just had.  I know China and Ruby.  I want to live in Pecan Springs and if Sheila doesn't want him then I will take Blackie off her hands.  Your stepson Brian and my boys would be great friends.  Just one thing.  You have to stop getting mixed up in all these murders.  Love this book and love this series!

Born of Night (The League, Book 1)6.  Born of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon:  Ms. Kenyon sure has a thing for the greek names.  Nykirian, Kiara, Quiakides are to name just a few.  She carries the greek name theme into her Dark Hunter series.  I don't mind them, however the more complicated ones can take me out of the story while I try to figure out how to pronounce the names, annoying.  Born of the Night seems to actually be a re-release of  an old manuscript from the late 80's that was published with tons of edits and rewrites without her input.  Now that she is a powerhouse writer in the paranormal romance genre she has come back to these old friends and is telling their stories as she originally intended.  I really appreciate that.  I don' t remember ever reading the first incarnation but I enjoyed this book a lot.  It is stuffed with action, not just too much sex.  Plenty of over the top sexy men, reasonable heroines and evil bad guys.  It reads like a freight train hurling toward the end.  There are two more installments to this series and I already have the second one, Born of Night.  I am looking forward to it.

Stay tuned.  I am on a roll.  Reading and blogging!  Woo Hoo!

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