Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More Books and More Witty Comments

Where has my summer gone!?  There I was sitting on the beach enjoying the blue waters and sunshine with book/nook in hand then suddenly people are talking about sweaters and Thanksgiving?!  Aarrgghhh....I want my summer vacation back!
Here are the last of my official summer reads but not to worry my fellow readers Autumn is chocked full of treats both savory and sweet.  I am busily snacking on all kinds of literary delights.  So enjoy the last of summer and then come back soon to see what the Fall brings!

The 39 Clues Book 1: The Maze Of Bones - Library Edition (39 Clues. Special Library Edition)39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Philip Riordan:  I LOVE smart kids books!!!  I mean those books that keep him or her on the edge of their seats and teaches them all at the same time, (okay, keep me on the edge of my seat).  They don't even know they are being educated because the story is so dang good!  39 Clues is one of these books.  A world traversing scavenger hunt begins at the reading of Aunt Grace's will.  Crazy relatives try to beat each other to the next clue and if that means hitting someone over the head with a gallon of ice cream or zapping them with an invention of Ben Franklin's so be it.
Orphans Dan,11 and Amy, 14  are devastated when their Aunt Grace dies.  She was the one person in the whole world they knew loved them.  Following her memorial service all the members of the Cahill clan, including Dan and Amy are called to the reading of her will.  It is here they discover the amazing family tree and history of their family.  They also find out Aunt Grace had left a very unusual will.  She has set up a sort of scavenger hunt.  There are 39 clues that must be collected at the end of which a prize of untold wealth and power will be given to the winner.  If you go for the prize and lose you get nothing.  If you choose not to try you get $1,000,000 and sent on your way.  So begins a roller coaster ride of mystery, treachery, alliances and discovery.  No on can be trusted not even Aunt Grace.  There are 10 books in this series and I intend to read each and every one.  Maybe I will figure out the prize before Dan and Amy do!  The publisher, Scholastic, has created a great website where you can join in the hunt via cyberspace.  Check it out and good luck!

The ConfessorThe Confessor by Daniel Silva:  I wish I could be witty about this book.  I wish I could make light of the sly and sneaky Gabriel Allon, spy extraordinaire but I can't.  There isn't a light bone in this story's body or in the case of this book, bodies.  This book is intense and not because of the suspense of not knowing who is going to get a bullet in the brain.  This book uses the theory of Pope Pius' complicity in the mass murder of the Jews during WWII as the catalyst for a new Pope to make it right and the people who are willing to stop him at any cost.  As a girl raised in the Catholic School system I am shocked and ashamed of our church leaders who not only turned a blind eye to the greatest crime in the world ever committed but there were actual edicts telling European priests and nuns they could be excommunicated if they gave shelter to the fleeing victims.  Mr. Silva deftly intertwines history with literary license to create a story as disturbing as it is suspenseful. It doesn't hurt to have a great twist at the end.  This is my second Allon story and I hope and pray that this author keeps up the phenomenal  work.  I also hope and pray someday we the people of the world will treat each other with compassion and respect.

Undead and Unfinished (Queen Betsy, Book 9)Undead and Unfinished by Mary Janice Davidson:  Unworthy of you Ms. Davidson.  I know in the last couple of books you indicated that you were going to take Betsy in a different direction but not into another universe.  I appreciated wanting to expand and grow a character but Holy Split Personalities!  Batman!  This was not good. I can understand Betsy needing to work out some of the horrible things that happened in the last few books.  Antonia's death, babyjon becoming her ward, Jessica getting cancer and Betsy, herself, going a little crazy after reading the Book of the Dead.  Anyone would have issues.  This book didn't work anything out...AT ALL.
I could see you trying to be funny but you weren't. I could see you were trying to be suspenseful but you weren't.  I could see you trying to be darker and again, for the last time you weren't!
The story is really hard to follow.  I hate the whole time travel concept and the end is horrific.  There is nothing even closely humorous in this story and I hate to tell you but you are the one who started it.  You want to write a dark series about bad vampires and zombies fine go ahead but to take a series 8 books in and now tell us to ignore all before and that characters who I have come to know and love are FAKERS!  How about NO!  How about that is so not fair!  I read another review of this book where the reader felt cheated because this book is a composite of all the other books prior with no reason for the plot change.  I have to agree with her. If you have nothing funny, fangy or fashiony to say don't say anything at all!

Roast MortemRoast Mortem by  Cleo Coyle: I won't say Roast Mortem was a bad book or a disappointment but I certainly wasn't very entertained by it either.  This was my first book by Ms. Coyle.  A friend in my food and wine pairing group recommended it to me.  She and I have enjoyed Diane Mott Davidson's series in the past and have actually used the recipes in the books to great success so I was expecting the same fun and good eats from Roast Mortem.  In this, recipes included, series the main character runs a specialty coffee shop.  Clare Cosi is an attractive barrista, mom, girlfriend, and part time slueth.  When she isn't waxing euphoric over a perfect espresso pull she is helping out her boyfriend Mike Quinn of the NYPD solve crimes.
In Roast Mortem she finds herself involved with the FDNY when a string of arsons are burning down coffee shops and she is in one of the shops when a fire bomb explodes.  This is personal.  Her former mother-in-law/boss was inside too and could have been killed.  Things get complicated when the chief of the local fire house also happens to be named Mike Quinn and is a cousin to Mike the cop AND the two have been feuding for the last 10 years.  In the midst of all this she is whipping up Korean BBQ flank steak, crab cakes and donut muffins.
The story was good but I felt like what Ms. Coyle should really write was a coffee table book of espressos and recipes.  There just wasn't enough mystery to offset the food and beverage writing.  I found myself paying much more attention to how she put the crab cakes together than how she put the suspects together.  I was happy to see she posts her recipes on her website.  The book just wasn't my cup of tea.