Category Archives: Book Reviews

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I currently have no novels, television shows, movies, etc. to review for this blog. Thus, I will accept requests for reviews at this time. Send me your requests in the comments section below.

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Don’t be Overdue

There are somethings its easy to do for a head librarian to do, but is solving a murder one of them?

According to Jenn McKinlay in Due or Die, they’re more than able to juggle a new puppy, a job, and saving a friend from getting framed for murder. Lindsey, the library director in Briar Creek, Conneticut walks in with two friends on one’s murdered husband sitting in his chair. Its a race against the clock to solve the murder before someone else is overdue.

Now, before I begin: this book was given to me by my mother-in-law because it has a cookie recipe in the back. I now regret not writing it down before returning it to the library.

Anyways, I very much enjoyed this mystery novel. The pacing was fantastic and Heathcliff (the puppy) was very believable. If a pet chooses you, it’ll do anything to protect and love you. Lindsey learns that the hard way.

Every character was believable and I felt the frustration of having an attraction from a man who wasn’t showing his interest in dating her. Sully and Lindsey’s relationship was part of the nail-biting suspense. Every one of Lindsey’s friends added a bit of fun to the story, pulling more human characteristics out of our main character. The more human she seemed, the more I liked her.

The ending was hard to see coming, though once you know the ending (I’m not spoiling) you can pick the clues up easier.

Unfortunately, no story is perfect. Trust me, I wish this one was:

I felt more suspense from the budding relationship between Lindsey and Sully than I felt for every scene that was involved with solving the crime. Bulking up some of the supsense would have helped, because then I would have needed to keep reading. Instead, it was a “I’m really bored” type read. Due or Die wasn’t a poptart, but it wasn’t as much of a meal as, say a sandwich. It was kind of more of a bowl of Ramen noodles. Filling enough, but you always want more. I guess, its a good thing Ms. McKinlay has more books in the Library Lover’s Mystery series.

I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.


A Well Spun Tale

Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert is about a man named Gabriel, with a secretive past, who is put up against two extraordinary women. His old fling, Frankie, sends her husband, William, to get him to find his son, Robert. Robert’s been the cohort of two women with natures as different as the sun and moon. Gabriel finds himself getting to know these women, but what do they have to do with Robbie’s disappearance?

The book was phenomenal. To me the pacing was fantastically done, keeping the mystery up with clues. However, the clues are not these obvious pieces of literacy, but a hint of a fragrance in the mall. One recognizable, but you’re not sure where from. That is how a mystery and magical book is supposed to feel like. Natasha’s writing style is grand. You get impressive insight into each character, my favorites being Isidore and the two feisty witches. Morrighan and Minnaloushe Monk are these two larger-than-life women whose house is something from my dreams. I want to live in that house, with all the roses and spiders, etc. Morrighan is a risk-taking, daredevil and her sister is this sensual being that all women would love to be.

Natasha Mostert explores several ideas in the book that have their roots in history as well as academia. Everything from the US’ STARGATE program to the memory palaces of old are very well researched. She admits to expanding some connections to make the story smoother, but she does so with spider-like touches. Its like Goliath (the spider in the story that the Monk sisters own) is walking on every word of every page the concepts are mentioned. Season of the Witch makes me want to research it all myself.

I do have a couple of problems with the novel, because nothing is perfect. Gabriel was annoying to me. He did grow and becomes someone better, but the man was annoying me. I cared more about the diary entries and William than Gabriel. Gabriel’s problems didn’t mean a damn to me. As interesting characters go, Isidore should have been the one we saw anything through, but then we wouldn’t have actually had this story. Morrighan Monk was interesting and she does help the reader feel the exhilaration that comes with activities such as bungee jumping. Minnaloushe brings us the femininity that lies within all women. They’re like Yin and Yang. Gabriel did not feel like he was needed for anything more than to introduce these people to us.

Overall, though, it was an outstanding read. I just wish there were more books. There needs to be more about the sisters. Now, I do want to say that I think Natasha put herself in the book as a plucky blond with a kid who wants to write a book. See if you can find her.

I give the book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

Note: Thank you to my wonderful husband for the title of the review.

Also, you can find out more about Natasha Mostert on her website. Her Facebook is here. Her reader’s group is here.


Still Good – A Review of “Still Alice”

Still Aliceis about a woman who has been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease or EOAD. Alice has it all. A husband and three grown children. She’s a tenured professor of Cognitive Psychology and is asked to give speeches regularly. She’s noticed a few memory lapses, but thinks nothing of them until she gets loss in a place she goes to everyday for twenty-five years. When she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease its a conflicted time for everyone. Not just her, but her husband and children as well. Will they be able to make it through or will she succumb without helping others like her?

First, I’d like to mention that this is a textbook for my Sociology class, but I decided to read it early.

Written beautifully in Third Person Limited point of view by Lisa Genova. She easily conveys the emotions that come with any disease as will as the ones that are specifically attached to Alzheimer’s. Alice goes through frustrations, fears, strain from memory loss, and others on a month to month basis.

Separating each chapter as different months was a good device for helping us mark the passage of time as we ourselves grow attached to her as if she’s our own family members and loved ones. We watch her deteriorate with her family and with Alice herself. It is displayed that the victims of Alzheimer’s goes through the same emotions we do, but fifty millions times stronger. You even hear from people from her support group who’ve known they might get EOAD before they get it. The struggles everyone suffer are realistic and strikes a chord in the readers.

You get to really know the characters we follow throughout their months:

Alice was a tenured professor of Cognitive Psychology who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. We follow through her point of view as we deal with her frustrations and rewards. Her ups and downs show us what a patient dealing with Alzheimer’s is really going through.

Joh is Alice’s husband who has to watch his wife deteriorate every day. Through him, though not the point of view character, you see how the direct caregiver goes through every up and down of his or her loved one.

Lydia is their daughter who decided to be and Actress. Through her we actually get to see how even though Alzheimer’s is devastating, it can bring family members together.

Anna is their other daughter who got her law degree before the start of the novel. She’s married to Charlie and through her we see how the burden of the knowledge that you may be diagnosed can weigh heavily on someone, but also how it is possible for the grandchildren won’t have to go through the same thing.

Tom is their son and he’s the medical student int the family. He also comes across as a playboy. Even though the joy of not having the mutation should have lifted the weight from his shoulder, but the knowledge that his sister did kept it there. Shows love, but also the misunderstanding that Alzheimer’s patients need to either rely on someone completely or be completely independent.

Charlie is the son-in-law who just has to go through the knowledge that he may lose his wife as he knows her.

There were many believable situations laid out for us, but I can’t believe that there were be such a large gap in support for the patients.  And if there were, then it may have taken longer for the social worker to get even permission to get permission for the other patients to contact Alice. Other than that, all was believable.

Still Alice gets 4.5 out of 5 bookmarks.


Nicki Heat, a Pop-tart

Nicki Heat, a novel supposedly written by the famed Richard Castle from the television show from the last name. I the television series Castle is portrayed as an accomplished novelist who just needs his muse, Kate Beckett. In the show he is suave and sophisticated, though a little arrogant. Of course the arrogance he had gained through several best sellers. But wait, isn’t this a book review?

My answer is:

Yes, it is. However, in order for you to understand the purpose of this book you must first understand the context in which it came along. You must first see that they gave it a lot of hype on the show, even going as far as to see Detective Beckett reading it in a bathroom stall to hide it from Castle himself. And then they show their reaction to the sequel and it was going to be made into a movie.

I have to say that this book is a really easy read. If you are sitting in an airport, waiting for a plane it may take anywhere from twenty to thirty minutes to read all 158 pages. It would ease the time by quickly, but you would still need something to keep your mind off of waiting when you finish.

I did notice that there were a couple of things that made me stop and go,

“What the hell did I just read?”

The only one of which I am going to tell you about in expressed detail. In this section Nikki is asking Ochoa to come up with a background check:

“Ochoa, how soon can you pull together a background check on our trophy widdow?”

“How’s first thing tomorrow?”

“Ok, but I was kind of hoping for first thing tomorrow.”

 

Okay, “Castle” tell me how this makes sense. This dialogue screams conspiracy in the book editing world. Ochoa suggested that he could get it by the next day, but instead of something that would suggest that Heat wanted the check sooner (something like “I needed it three hours ago”) she just says the same thing he said. I think Ochoa should feel pissed off that his superior took his idea in the first place. There are a few other little areas that made me stop and go “What the hell?” before moving on. According to Castle’s personality on the show he would be scraping over every little detail with a rusty spork and he would gouge his own eyeballs out with it before he published a horrid novel.

Now, before I give my final decision I thought I might define something for you. A “pop-tart book” is a book that has no real depth and no real creative twists to an over used plot. A pop-tart is only to read when there is absolutely nothing to do.

As a stand alone Nikki Heat is a pop-tart. As part of the show its an inside joke. I would strongly suggest that if you want to read it that you should watch the show, otherwise just leave it on the Barnes and Noble bookshelf.