Monday, July 26, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Marcia at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

I've had a string of good luck lately and won some books from other bloggers...hooray! Here is what came in lately.

From the author's website: I am just crazy about this story, much of that affection due to how I feel about the characters. For me it just doesn't get much better than the feisty redneck Frances Mae going great guns against her sister-in-law, Caroline, the indomitable reigning queen of Tall Pines plantation with Millie running interference, her pockets bulging with Gullah magic. Then let's not forget Frances Mae's four hellcats – can Caroline turn them into debutantes? Will Frances Mae win back Trip's heart and reunite the family? Will Trip do the right thing? Well, all will be revealed in due time. The last time I read Dorothea Benton Frank I was greatly dissapointed but I think that was an anomaly and am delighted to get the chance to read this one! This was a win from Crystal at My Reading Room. Thanks you, Crystal!

From the Amazon product description: Meet Homer Pudding, an ordinary farm boy who's got big dreams-to follow in the footsteps of his famous treasure-hunting uncle. But when Uncle Drake mysteriously disappears, Homer inherits two things: a lazy, droopy dog with no sense of smell, and a mystery.Why would his uncle call this clumsy dog his "most treasured possession?" And why did he put a gold coin on the dog's collar? And who will continue Uncle Drake's quest-to find the most coveted pirate treasure in the world? Join Homer, his sister Gwendolyn, and Dog on an adventure that will test their wits and courage as they leave their peaceful farm and head into a world where ruthless treasure hunters hide around every corner. Where they discover that Dog has a hidden talent and that treasure might be closer than they ever imagined. . . This one has been compared to a few of my favorites like Roald Dahl's books and the Mysterious Benedict Socxiety series. It's a middle grades book so after I read it, I'll get tyo pass it along to Youngest. This was a win from Carrie while she was over at 5 Minutes for Books. Thanks, Carrie! Carrie can stil be found here at Reading to Know.

From the Amazon porduct description: It's 1962, and it seems everyone is living in fear. Twelve-year-old Franny Chapman lives with her family in Washington, DC, during the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. Amidst the pervasive threat of nuclear war, Franny must face the tension between herself and her younger brother, figure out where she fits in with her family, and look beyond outward appearances. For Franny, as for all Americans, it's going to be a formative year. This one reminds me of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie in that it has a child for the main character but I'm not 100% certain it is a children's book because it deasl with some heavy themes from the time period. It is visually very appealing - lots of pictures, song lyrics, and quotes interspersed. This was a win from Michelle at Galley Smith. Thanks, Michelle!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Testimony by Anita Shreve

From the Amazon product description: At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

This was a hard book to read for a couple of reasons. The first has to do with the format of the book. Told in ever changing viewpoints from over a dozen people, it is just difficult to switch gears so frequently. The second reason is the subject matter, there isn't any prettying up the acts that were committed, Shreve only tries at the very end in the last few pages to find some good in the situation, a shred of redemption. The entire book other than those few pages is just watching the relationships in the story go from bad to worse and wondering when the last layer of the story is going to be peeled back so all is revealed and we've hit rock bottom. But the reason most of all that the book was hard to read was how much I aligned myself with the character who was mother to the boy who had potential and threw it all away. It was my worst fears for Tween played out and all the mother's emotions of guilt and love and confusion are things I felt right along with her. She tried to do what she thought was best for her son and he still made the wrong choice with devastating consequences. All the possibilities of the things that could go wrong for Tween keep me in a state of perpetual worry as I try to shield him and the thought is always hanging there, what if my best isn’t good enough? So this book gave me a knot in my stomach as I read it but I kept going, I can't say I had to know the ending because it is one of those books that opens with the "end" and then goes back and reveals the details through recollections but I had to know more. I still would like to know more, I'd like to see how everyone ends up years later. This book, Testimony, is not going on my list of favorite Anita Shreve books but it's not one I am going to forget either so I think that says something!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Honeymoon by James Patterson

From the author's website: How does it feel to be desired by every man and envied by every woman? Wonderful. This is the life Nora Sinclair has dreamed about, the life she's worked hard for, the life she will never give up. Meet Nora Sinclair. When FBI agent John O'Hara first sees her, she seems perfect. She has the looks. The career. The clothes. The wit. The sophistication. The tantalizing sex appeal. The whole extraordinary package - and men fall in line to court her. She doesn't just attract men, she enthralls them. If you dare. So why is the FBI so interested in Nora Sinclair? Mysterious things keep happening to people around her, especially the men.

The majority of my James Patterson experience is with audiobooks; I listen to them in the car and they are fast paced and fun. This print version lived up to that - the first killing happens in the prologue! I had a tinge of envy for Nora's life style - the shopping, the houses, the gifts - wow, she was fun to spend a little time with - especially since she wasn't trying to kill me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

World Without End by Ken Follett

From the Amazon product description: World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas--about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race--the Black Death. Three years in the writing, and nearly eighteen years since its predecessor, World Without End breathes new life into the epic historical novel and once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.

This was a slow start for me but I ended up loving it! I haven't read Pillars of the Earth but I understand they are similar but not necessarily related - does that make sense? You can read and enjoy one without having read the other but they do overlap. I don't know that I would have managed this one in print - it is a chunkster! - so I am happy for audio! Follett weaves such a great soap opera with these characters. The bad guys are deliciously wicked - using their power for sex and manipulation. I do feel sorry for the women they have so few freedoms but a poor woman at this time in history was really in a tough spot - so dependant on the men around her.

This book counts toward the 2010 Audiobook Challenge hosted by the bloggers over at Royal Reviews. Click on the button to see my progress.

This book counts toward the Year of the Historical 2010 Reading Challenge hosted by lurv a la mode. Click on the button to see my progress.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Point Blank by Catherine Coulter

From the Amazon product description: FBI agents Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich face the most dangerous case of their careers in Catherine Coulter's explosive new thriller.

Point Blank's propulsive story takes off when FBI agents Dillon Savich and Dane Carver are nearly killed while trying to rescue popular entertainer Pinky Womack from kidnappers. Lured to a motel in Pumis City, Virginia, by a known snitch, the only thing the agents discover is a glowing red timer. The place is demolished in a catastrophic explosion, but everyone survives.

The same snitch leads them to Arlington National Cemetery, promising the agents Pinky's safe return. The search is interrupted when Savich takes a fateful call on his cell. The mysterious caller taunts Savich with other threats-against him, and against his wife, fellow agent Lacey Sherlock. Up against an untraceable foe-not even MAX can locate him-Savich and Sherlock find themselves fighting an unstable villain with a very long memory.

At the same time, Agent Ruth Warnecki's passion for treasure hunting leads her to Winkel's Cave and a cave chamber that really shouldn't exist-as well as a dead student from Stanislaus Music School, left there for eternity. Some students have wandered quite far from the beaten path, with terrible consequences.

An edge-of-your-seat thriller as exhilarating and frightening as anything she's ever written, Point Blank is Catherine Coulter's finest achievement.

I have to disagree with this being called "Coulter's finest acheivement" - I had to start and restart this one a few times to get going and even then it didn't come to life for me on audio. I've read other Coulter books and enjoyed them more so maybe it's just the difference in medium.

This book counts toward the 2010 Audiobook Challenge hosted by the bloggers over at Royal Reviews. Click on the button to see my progress.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I'd Rather We Got Casinos by

From the Amazon product description: Within these pages are the musings, the revelations, the ruminations, and the reflections of the incomparable Larry Wilmore. Here, collected for the first time, all in one place, are his Black Thoughts. From why black weathermen make him feel happy (or sad) and why brothas don't see UFOs to his search for Black Jesus or his quest to replace "African-American" with "chocolate," Wilmore has finally relented, agreeing to share his unique (black) perspective. Soon, you too will have the ability to find racism in everything. Bring back the Shetland Negro and do away with Black History Month! After all, can twenty-eight days of trivia really make up for centuries of oppression? In Wilmore's own words, "I'd rather we got casinos!"

This one was good but not great. as with most humorists, there's that point where the joke goes just too far and makes me uncomfortable. Particularly so many jokes about race relations have that edge of truth that makes it questionable whether or not the white girl should be laughing. I'll keep my eyes open for more from Larry Wilmore.

This book counts toward the 2010 Audiobook Challenge hosted by the bloggers over at Royal Reviews. Click on the button to see my progress.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Let's Pick A Winner!

As part of Audiobook Week I put a few of my favorite audiobooks up for giveaway. Here's how I picked the winner. First, I put each name on a post-it

Then I assigned each name a number and I rolled the dice ........6... no good!

I rolled again...3! We have a winner. Carol from Carol's Notebook. Thanks bermudaonion and avid reader for entering as well. I'm starting my next stack of slightly smutty audiobooks and I'll give them away on my next blogoversary!