Sunday, September 30, 2012

Star Dwellers Released!

Star Dwellers
by David Estes
Book Two in Dwellers Series

     Finally! The second installment to David Estes' Dwellers series for young adults which began with the Riveting Moon Dwellers is released today! I also happen to know that David has finished writing the third book titled Sun Dwellers which is currently in the editing phase but I'm not entirely sure what the tentative release date is for it. Hopefully soon!

     I just finished reading Star Dwellers yesterday and haven't had time to compose a full review but I have to say that Estes continues to amaze me. Much as he did with his Evolution Series, he has brought the fictional characters to life and given them their own personalities using only words and his wonderful imagination. He manages to make me care about the dwellers' situations, empathize with their plight, cry at their losses, and celebrate their victories. David is truly talented and if you haven't read any of his work yet, I strongly recommend that you do.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Click - Review

by Lisa Becker
Genre: Romance

     First impression while reading the book: too funny! The plot is revealed to the readers in a series of emails between Renee, several of her friends, and the assortment of guys who show interest in her profile on an online dating website. The situations are so realistic and horrifyingly familiar that I just had to laugh in many, many places in this story and wonder how the author managed to dig up the emails from when I was dabbling into the world of online dating.

     Mark, Renee's platonic male friend, starts it all by asking her to join the world of internet dating with him. I'm not sure if this stemmed from a buddy system mentatilty or a misery-loves-company scenario. What follow is nothing short of comedic.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Married by Mistake - Review

Married by Mistake
by Abby Gaines
Genre: Romance

     I used to love romance books when I was younger. I think most young women do. Now that I have grown up they tend to annoy me. I no longer believe in Prince Charming, knights in shining armor, true love, or happily ever after. I roll my eyes when the characters get jealous because the object of their affections are talking to a member of the opposite sex.

     Howver, I have begun to realize that when I am feeling down or stressed that it is usually romance novels that I will choose from the plethora of titles on my Kindle. Am I seeking mindless distraction to my own problems? Am I looking for that feeling of hope that romance novels manage to deliver? Am I just grumpy and wanting to love to hate a book? Whatever it was that I was looking for, I choose to read this book one dreary rainy day and I LOVED it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Partner - Review

The Partner
by John Grisham
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

     The reader is dropped into the middle of the story, floundering to play catch up, pressing on to find out the events that led up to this point. The story unfolds through recollections and narratives of the characters until the reader reaches that "AHA!" moment where all the pieces suddenly fit together neatly and everything suddenly makes perfect sense.

     After finishing the book, I could only sit back and think "WOW!" the plotting and planning that went into this story proves exactly why John Grisham stays on the best selling list.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Scruples Two - Review

Scruples Two
Book Two in series
by Judith Krantz
Genre: Romance, Drama

     Granted I'm reading this series at least two decades after it was all the rage. I had bought it when it was on the best sellers list but never found time to read it. I don't understand how it was so wildly popular.

     After Krantz writes Valentine and Spider out of the storyline and concentrates fully on Billy, I lost complete interest. Maybe it is sour grapes on my part. Maybe I am jealous and wish I was filthy rich and could become as self-indulgent, self-absorbed, and entirely hypocritical as Billy becomes. No, I don't buy that theory.

     Bored Billy decides to buy a "house" in France. A twenty room mansion that she feels is the architectural equivalent to a soul mate. She delves into restoring it, working with the contractors personally and not bothering to hire a decorater. While slumming to find bargain rates on antiques and baubles for her new house, she meets a guy. Her beloved house falls to the wayside when Billy finds this new obsession.

     This new guy has no clue who she is and Billy supplies him with the much hated childhood nickname of Honey. Now this charmer she has met, decides that Honey sounds too much like an endearment and they just met after all, so he calls her "babe". Really? Billy does more than omit her true background but makes up a whole new persona. Is this the same woman who went batty when Vito never got around to mentioning a good deal of his past? After 48 hours of lying to this new guy, she dares to wonder if this new relationship, based entirely on falsehoods, could possibly be love. This is even more distasteful than when she was guzzling champagne and brandy while pregnant.

     The big twist at the end of the book I saw coming a mile away but had held out hope that I was wrong. The poor guy that she ends up with at the end of this book deserves so much more than Billy can give him, in my opinion. The sad thing is that if I had read this book 20 years ago when I had bought it, I probably would have loved it. I also would have found out that there is actually a third book in the series, Lovers, which I do not have. I'm sorry but I can't even call up any slight resemblence to curiosity to find out where Billy will end up, and do not plan to read or review this third book.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Animal Farm - Review

Animal Farm
by George Orwell
Genres: Dystopia, Classic, Political, Fantasy

     Absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is the main theme behind this book written by George Orwell during the second world war and contains serious political under currents.

     The farm animals are tired of slaving away for farmer Jones. He is fond of his whiskey and forgets to feed the animals. They run him off the farm and declare themselves independent. The pigs, being the smartest creatures, declare themselves in charge. Seven commandments are laid down as law. Eventually the pigs break all of them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The King of Torts - Review

bookThe King of Torts
by John Grisham
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

     While reading The Summons I noticed French's yacht was named King of Torts and fully expected him to be the main character in this book. While he does make several appearances he is only a minor character.

     Clay is a small time lawyer putting in time at the public defenders office. He is fairly happy with his job. A little overworked maybe but he is getting lots of trial experience. His long time girlfriend is unhappy with his lack of pay. Clay seizes an opportunity to strike out on his own when he lands a settlement case that is a sure thing.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Scruples - Serial Sunday Review

book cover art for Scruples by Judith KrantzScruples
Book One in Series
by Judith Krantz
Genre: Romance, Drama

     Billy doesn't have the greatest childhood. Raised by her widowed father who was more involved with his medical research than her upbringing, Billy is closer to the housekeeper than her own father. She turns to food for comfort and ends up overweight and seriously introverted. A kind aunt helps her to find a household in France for her to spend a year abroad. When Billy returns she is a brand new person.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

News and such

     First off, I want to thank Laura from A Goddess of Frugality for publishing this week's featured author review for me as I was stuck flat on my back with a bum foot.

     I'm sure that regular readers of my blog have noticed the absence of the monthly picks these past few months. Those that receive my newsletter are aware that I have been struggling with a decision to change to making my picks weekly so that the book would still be free for download when I review them. I have been following prices on amazon for this past month to try to figure out the trend. Unfortunately even if I did pick the freebie book on Monday, odds aren't good that the book would still be free when it was reviewed on Friday. The only way I could guarantee that the book was still free for download when I reviewed it was if I downloaded it, read it, and reviewed it all on the same day. Even I'm not THAT good. I started the monthly picks primarily as a way to spotlight the fact that there are so many free books available on Amazon. At the time I was under the wrong impression that Amazon chose books to be free for the entire month. After much thought on this subject, I have decided to continue the monthly picks the way that I started them. Even though the books that I review may not still be free at the time of the review, the reviews themselves show that there are some incredibly talented unknown authors available on Amazon and it is worth the time to explore some of these artists.

     I still have a copy of David Estes' The Moondwellers - Prize package #5 from the Ultimate David Estes Giveaway. Please check your spam folders and keep in mind that anytime you enter a blog contest it might be a good idea to make sure to add the blog's email address to your list of approved recipients so that prize notifications do not end up in your spam folders.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Summons-Review

Ray receives a summons to appear in front of honorable Judge Reuben Atlee, Ray's father. The prospective trip back home stirs up some unsettling childhood memories. While never outright abused, Ray harbors feelings of neglect at his father's hand. Irregardless of how Ray feels, he knows the trip is inevitable. His father has been gravely ill and his days are most likely numbered. Ray discovers much more than his father's already deceased corpse. He also stumbles across the fact that his father had harbored a secret.

This suspenseful story is mostly about obsession, paranoia, greed, and guilt. It also proves the old saying, "Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you". Some of Ray's actions could be considered borderline stupidity, or even well into stupid territory. There are some fairly obvious options that he could have implemented, but he didn't.

This is the second book in a row in which I saw the twist at the end long before it came. I'm not that brilliant so it must have been fairly obvious. There was one point in my life where I had read everything John Grisham had ever written. I have not read any of his newer books in years and was disappointed with this reintroduction.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

911 Finding the Truth - Review

911 Finding the Truth
by Andrew Johnson
Genre: nonfiction, political
June pick

     I downloaded this book expecting to read a history and documentation of how the United States government has harrassed middle eastern countries since the 1970's. How would we as Americans feel if Iraq had military bases on American soil? If Iran had drones flying over our cities? If Afghanistan troops invaded our towns and killed our loved ones because they assumed that we were terrorists? The wars in the middle east are not about protecting our freedoms. It is about protecting our government's interests in the oil fields. I'm not claiming that the attack on the World Trade Center was justifiable. But in light of these facts, it would be a little more understandable.

     This book does not deal with that truth though as I had thought. This book touches upon the research and experiments of several scientists who believe that the attack on the Twin Towers was actually an "inside job" to advance the story of terrorism. Andrew Johnson has basically compiled a bunch of articles from his blog which are ripe with links to videos and articles to those who allegedly have evidence to what really brought down the towers. I decided to not take the time to read the accompanying documentation that he alludes to in order to see if the book stands on it's own. Sadly, it does not.

     Maybe the book should have been titled "Infighting amongst 9/11 truthers" as that is what the majority of this book documents. I find it odd that the author only links to supposed important research but copies entire e-mails that he exchanged with other "truthers" debating whether the Hutchinson Effect is a true scientific anomaly or just the work of a fraudulent magician. If Andrew Johnson had put forth as much effort explaining Dr. Judy Wood's findings as he did defending her when her research was misquoted or misused, I might have a real idea of what her version of the truth is.

     Andrew Johnson goes to great lengths to define the Baker Effect, which is basically Ace Baker's attempt to debunk Judy Wood's support of Hutchinson's experiments that seem to help explain some of the odd effects that have come into question about how the towers fell. He does not bother to explain just what the Hutchinson Effect really is. Personally I think that would have been a better use of his time.

     The author states that he has concluded that one of the main objectives of those individuals involved in the infighting is "To try to tarnish or discredit the reputation of Dr. Judy Wood, as a means of drawing attention away from the evidence she has discussed in her comprehensive pictorial studies." Andrew Johnson is just as guilty of this as he spends most of this book pointing out who said what against Dr. Wood or who turned on whom and how so-and-so has ignored such-and-such. This took just as much of my attention away from the actual matters at hand as this was what the majority of this book contained.

     Steve Jones had suggested that Andrew Johnson write a paper on his views about Directed Energy Weapons being used on 9/11. He was cautioned that "personalized attacks would not be allowed." Andrew replied to this request stating "even if I did write a paper, it would not have any real creditbility". This was stated fairly early in the book. I suppose I should have seen the writing on the wall that if Andrew Johnson was not qualified to write a paper where mudslinging was not allowed, that he was not qualified to write a book and that this would mainly contain mudslinging and petty arguments. Andrew Johnson seems to take it as a personal attack if someone does not agree with Hutchinson's experiments and findings. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I was much reminded of religious zealots, determined to argue with someone until they managed to convert that person to their own beliefs. The idea of beating a dead horse sprang to mind often, maybe that should have been this book's title.

     Andrew Johnson's area of expertise is in computer science. He has no actual theories of his own. He is merely attempting to spread the word about the other conspiracy theories he holds to be truth. If he plans to continue writing, he may want to think about getting an English degree and save readers from toiling through incomplete sentences, and incoherant statements. Maybe even try editing his book instead of beginning it with a disclaimer: "Due to the nature of the way this book has been compiled, some sections/paragraphs and points are repeated a number of times - so I apologise for this in advance (please skip over sections you have read before!)"

     Conspiracy theories have a bad reputation because so many of them are just way out there. I think it is important to think for yourself and not just blindly believe whatever clap trap story the government feeds to the public. However, I also think that conspiracy theories are pointless. Getting the truth into the eye of John Q. Public is not going to change anything. The assassinatin of JFK is the best example of this. Does anyone believe the magic bullet theory? I mean seriously. The majority of the American population thinks something is not quite right with the official story behind this much publicized shooting. Yet even now, almost 50 years later, no one has been brought to trial. There has been no justice dealt for JFK's murder. Publicizing the assorted conspiracy theories have not changed that fact.

     If you are truly interested in this line of thinking, you might be better off reading Dr. Judy Wood's book Where Did the Towers Go? Evidence of Directed Free-energy Technology on 9/11, but I can't speak from personal experience.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Waiting for a View - Review

Waiting for a View
Book One of Bloomfield Series
by Debby Mayne
Genre: Christian, Romance

     Bloomfield is a tiny little town with a population of just under 10,000. Like all small towns, everyone knows everybody - and their business - and has for years. After a bad relationship, Sherry Butler has decided that she is better off alone. Naomi, who has acted as Sherry's surrogate mother since she was young, decides it is time to get Sherry out of her rut. There is also a smaller subplot where the president of the garden club is on a mission to increase the town's rating to a small town, which requires them to get over that 10,000 mark.

     Sherry's situation kind of got under my skin a little bit. On one hand, I can certainly relate to the whole concept of giving up. It is easy to get tired of the whole dating scene, frustrated with the inability to find a decent mate, realization that the relationships in one's past has only added to one's misery instead of increasing the happiness factor in one's life. However, Sherry has only had ONE relationship, not a string of idiots that she has had to deal with. Her ex-boyfriend wasn't abusive and it didn't seem to me to be all that traumatic to justify Sherry's fear of becoming involved. Maybe there was a subconcious fear of finding a man like her dad, but while Sherry was embarrassed by her father's alcoholism she never seemed to fear him.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Jungle Book - Review

The Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling
Genre: Children, Classic

     Surprisingly, this book contains more than the story of little Mowgli that Disney chose to portray in the animated classic movie of the same title. This is actually a collection of short stories that revolve around an assortment of animals.

     The second story tells the tale of a white seal who stumbles across he horrors of man slaughtering seals and eventually leads his kin to a safe haven, far from man.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

National Read a Book Day!

     Even bookworms deserve a special holiday! Celebrate National Read a Book day today by taking time to read a book! Who'dathunk right? What are you reading? I'm currently working on a free kindle book that I downloaded from Amazon this week. It is called Border Crossings by Michael Weems. I chose this book because I had read one of Weems' other books previously and had thoroughly enjoyed it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Playing for Pizza - Review

Playing for PizzaPlaying for Pizza
by John Grisham

     NFL quarterback, Rick Dockery is not having a good year. After taking a hard hit during an AFC championship game, he awakens in the hospital several days later to find that he is the laughingstock of the NFL. The best offer his agent can get him for the next season is with a team in the Italian NFL.

     This book is quite similar to a Movie titled Mr. Baseball in which Tom Selleck portrays an MLB player who is faced with either playing for a Japanese baseball team or retiring. There is an underlying lesson here that sometimes it is the things in life that we try to avoid that turns out to be precisely what we need.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Feature Author - John Grisham

John Grisham

  February 8, 1955
Main genres:
   Mystery & Thrillers, Nonfiction,
  Young Adult.

     Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation.

     Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987.

     When he’s not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

     My introduction to John Grisham's work was in 1991 when The Firm was the monthly selection for Doubleday book club. I quickly became a fan and collected his work as it was published.

This month I plan to review the following books:

Playing for Pizza
Sept 5, 2012
Read review
The Summons
Sept 12, 2012
Read review
The King of Torts
Sept 19, 2012
Read review
The Litigators
Sept 26, 2012
Read review

     Biography facts collected from John Grisham's web site.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lace II by Shirley Conran - Review

Lace II
Second Book in Series
by Shirley Conran
Genre: Romance

     The sequel finds Lili settling in with her real mother and them trying to establish a bond. When Lilli is kidnapped and FOUR men receive ransom notes demandind payment to save their daughter, the official story as to whom her father really is, is put into question.