Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Twelve Sharp

It's been a while, so I have a stack of books to review. In memory of my mother-in-law who introduced me to so many great reads, the next few reviews will be authors from her stash. Thank you, Jo. I will miss your gentle wisdom!

Twelve Sharp is another winner from Evanovich. Ranger's jealous wife is after Stephanie. The bail bond's office is short-handed, Stephanie is working overtime to clear up the backlog of fugitives from justice, and Ranger's daughter has been kidnapped. And speaking of Ranger, where the heck is he? As Stephanie works desperately to find Ranger's daughter, she learns much about this man of mystery. Still she's torn between Joe and Ranger. The whole gang is here, Grandma, Sally, Lula, and Connie, along with some new additions. More laugh-out-loud humor. Four out of four bookworms.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

A can't-put-down read, this is my first Philippa Gregory book, but I can't wait to read more. Through the eyes of Mary Bolelyn, Gregory tells the story of Anne Boleyn's rise and fall. We know how it ends, but getting there is fascinating. Siblings Mary, Anne, and George Boleyn are pawns in the Howard family quest for power. George is already a courtier in King Henry's court when his sister, Mary, catches the king's eye. Never mind that she is married. In fact, that's a plus since any pregnancies resulting from the affaire can be pawned off on her husband who must forgo intimate relations with his wife in the meantime. Since Mary's husband is one of Henry's courtiers, he must watch and encourage the affaire. The Howard family and Mary's husband benefit from the liaison with titles, positions, and land awards. Anne coaxes her sister through the affaire and fills in for Mary when she is indisposed because of her pregnancies. After Mary loses the king's interest, Anne finds herself in the king's favor, but she won't be content with an illicit affaire. She will settle for nothing less than replacing Katherine of Aragon as Queen of England. Roles are reversed as Mary now advises Anne on how to win and keep the king. Anne will stop at nothing, not even murder and incest, to achieve her goal. While this sounds like a soap opera, all the political and religious machinations are dealt with as well as a woman's place in the world during that time period.

It's the characters that make history interesting. Unfortunately, when I was in high school, the teachers didn't seem to understand that. It wasn't until I got to college and took history classes from professors who were passionate about history and the people who made history that I developed a love of history. Gregory understands this as well. This book is all about the characters, what makes them who they are and what motivates them--everything behind the dates and places and events that you had to memorize in high school without learning why they happened. This is Tudor historical fiction at its best. Four out of four bookworms.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Certain Prey by John Sandford

My second John Sandford read was another fast-paced adventure. Clara Rinker is a successful hit woman. Carmel Loan is a successful criminal defense lawyer. Carmel has fallen for a married man. Enter Clara, whom Carmel hires to dispense with the wife. One hit leads to another and another and another and another and another and another. (There may be more, but I lost count.) Will they ever clean up the mess they’ve made, or will Lucas Davenport stop them before dying himself . . . of boredom while serving on the Equality Commission?

I hate to say this, but Sandford makes murder sooo satisfying. I loved Clara, despised Carmel. My only problem was that Clara was so smart up to her involvement with Carmel. She got stupid and sloppy with Carmel. Still, the relationship that developed between the two women intrigued me. This Lucas Davenport story centers more on Clara and Carmel than Lucas. Fast-paced and fun. Three out of four bookworms.

Kell’s Creative Musings

I have a good friend who is absolutely the most talented person I know. Kelley has just started her own blog—Kell’s Creative Musings—which showcases her artwork and discusses inspiration, perspiration, and technique. Just when I think Kelley can’t surprise me anymore with her talent, she begins designing jewelry. I’m not even a jewelry person, but she’s hooked me. My daughter, who is a jewelry person, loves her work as much as I do.

Kelley is also a fabulous writer, as you’ll see from her blog. Learn more about her books and works-in-progress at Kell’s Creations.

Thomas Jefferson

Anyone know of a good book on Thomas Jefferson? I’m looking for something dealing with his beliefs and how they impacted his work on the constitution and his presidency. Something not too dry. There’s so much out there on him that I don’t know where to start.

Any direction would be welcomed!

Back to the Bedroom by Janet Evanovich

Before Stephanie Plum, Janet Evanovich wrote romances for the now defunct Loveswept line. None were as successful as the Plum series, but they’ve been recently reprinted by HarperTorch to take advantage of Evanovich’s fame and to give demanding Evanovich fans more Evanovich to read.

In Back to the Bedroom, divorcĂ©e Kate Finn and her new neighbor, David Dodd, meet when part of a helicopter falls through the roof of Kate’s house. Fortunately, David is an unemployed, nurturing, take charge kind of guy who not only puts Kate’s house back together, but her life as well. Back to the Bedroom is a fun read, showing flashes of the quirky characters and humor which Evanovich perfected in the Plum series--Finn’s new boarder, Elsie, and Plum’s grandma have a lot in common. The plot is simple, the conflict easily and quickly resolved as befits a short category romance, but the writing lifts it above the simple plot. Three out of four bookworms.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Shadow Prey by John Sandford

Thanks to my mother-in-law, I have discovered John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport series. My mother-in-law reads different types of books than I do, so reading her cast-offs is a great way for me to learn about authors I normally wouldn’t read. She introduced me to Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, which I love.

Shadow Prey is apparently the second Davenport book. Men across the United States are dying in what looks like ritual slayings. As Davenport soon learns, these killings are a statement. Two Mdewakanton Sioux, Aaron and Sam Crow, are protesting the treatment of Native Americans in the United States by ordering the killings of men known to prey on Native Americans. Their goal is to lure in bigger prey, a prominent politician with a penchant for underage girls. However, the Crows soon lose control of the protest when their son decides to help things along. Davenport loses control as well when the FBI becomes involved and really screws things up. In the end, law enforcement never truly understands what was going on, even after the killings stop. Fortunately, the reader gets both sides of the story. For this reason, I found myself rooting for the “villains” in this novel. I don’t know if I was supposed to root for them. Maybe this is a Sandford trademark. I suppose I’ll find out after reading more of his books. All in all, a fascinating read. Four out of four bookworms.