Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination: Helen Fielding

From the author of "Bridget Jone's Diary", this was another slapstick comedic novel. To Olivia, everything in life is dramatic and she imagines worst case scenarios for everything+. Then she actually lands upon a case of terrorism. As a journalist, she is sent to Miami to cover a skin care product and falls for a man she believes to be Osama Bin Laden. He isn't. He is however planning an attack on the Academy Awards presentation. This novel follows her adventures from journalist to becoming a spy for M16. It is all very unlikely, but since the character is such a mess you tend to go along with it.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

And Only to Deceive: Tasha Alexander

Emily, a woman who married right as she reached marrying age, became a widow 6 months later. The story is about learning who Phillip, her husband was and uncovering the mystery. She becomes obsessed with wanting to know what her husband was doing with the boxes of Greek antiques she found in the house and becomes as interested in Greek history as he was. She begins reading his journals and finds threatening notes claiming Phillip was in "grave danger". Two men try to become suitors around the time someone starts following her. One of the men, Colin, is her husband's best friend and the other, Andrew, is interested in some papers of her husband's. He claims he wants to publish them and give Philip the credit he deserves. Soon news of her husband possibly being alive reaches her and she heads to Africa to find him. She tells Andrew she will fund the expedition. In the end she finds out there is a scheme going on where artifacts are being stolen from museums and replaced with fakes. Her husband was devoted to gathering them up to reinstate in the Museums after exposing the fraud. Emily comes near to death trying to determine who is the villain and falls in love with the other. This isn't normally the sort of book I would pick up, but it was very enjoyable because the heroine was sensible.

This Side of Paradise: Scott Fitzgerald

This novel is about Amory Blaine, a boy born to a wealthy family, and how he drops in the world. As a child Amory is arrogant and egocentric. He meets Monsignor Darcy, a suitor of his mother’s turned clergyman, who encourages Amory because he sees his potential. After reaching adulthood Amory embraces his unlikeable qualities and enters Princeton. He falls in love several times, most deeply with a woman who wants to marry into money, and he didn't have enough. He also falls deeply in love with his widowed cousin. His most traumatic relationship was with Eleanor Savage, who, when the relationship ended, rode her horse off a cliff and jumped off at the last minute. In the end, after the war, his mother's death, and trouble staying employed, he realizes he is broke. When he has nothing and doesn't want to work for it, he becomes a socialist. At the end of the book he states that he knows himself, but that is all. It is sort of an unsatisfying ending, because we don't know what he will do with this knowledge. He has fell from great heights from his own self-thought importance and finds out his is simply a man.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Even: Andrew Grant

This Author is the brother of author Lee Child and his books are even more intense and unpredictable. The protagonist, David Trevellyan, is a mix of MacGyver and James Bond, which makes the things he figures out very unbelievable. David works for the intelligence agency in England and is framed for killing an undercover FBI agent. After escaping from custody several times he finds a masochistic woman giving the orders to kill homeless men. She is involved in a social security scam. She’s captured, she escapes, and more of the story uncovers another corrupt deal involving an ex-military man who is making money by harvesting human organs. The two criminals team up and end up killing David's coworker and friend. The novel constantly switches focus and keeps you reading, but it seems farfetched that the main character is THAT amazing.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Grass: Sheri S. Tepper

This was a Science Fiction Novel, that reminded me a lot of Dune though it was nothing like dune, other than people have spread throughout the galaxy to several planets in different stages of livability. A couple is chosen to be "ambassadors" to a planet that was very closed off to visitors. Their secret motive is to determine if the plague that has swept through the other planets is also at Grass. If no cases are found they are to determine if there is a cure. Once on the planet they find it stranger than they could imagine. The bourgeois class seems to be controlled by a local animal that is similar to our horses. The story is unpredictable and the reader is drawn into the book because there are so many things happening and one is not sure how they will connect. Complexity is added when the missing daughters of the elite class start appearing in the local town as a shell of themselves. I am not a huge fan of fantasy novels, but this one was actually very interesting.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Enemy: Lee Child

This is the first book I read from this author and was very impressed. It is a novel about military life. The protagonist, Reacher, is part of the military police and is quickly transferred to a new station. Once he gets there he learns important people throughout the military are being relocated as the Berlin Wall comes down. Suddenly he called on to investigate a deceased soldier, who died at a motel from a heart attack. After learning his schedule, the soldier's appearance at the hotel off the beaten track is questioned and Reacher investigates. The novel was fast paced and action packed. I normally don't like novels where the character's lives are intermingled with the book, but it didn't seem to take anything away from the novel in this case. While on the job Reacher learns his mother is dying from cancer and in the end she does die, in France without her family. Reacher and his brother learn their mother was part of the WWII resistance and she had actually killed a boy when she was just a child. The story continues when Reacher falls for his assistant "summer" in a "James Bond" way. Reacher solves the several odd murders that take place and realizes the "bad apples" are at different levels in the army, and the person at the top responsible for covering up the murders may never come to light.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Big Bad Wolf: James Patterson

Alex Cross is going through his FBI classes when he is put on a human trafficking case. Several women have gone missing, but it seemed like no one took it seriously until the wife of a judge is taken because of her likeness to a famous model. The story goes back and forth between Alex's love life (which doesn't add anything to the book and frankly I found an annoying interruption) and the case. After several statements on how messed up the FBI and CIA are I got annoyed and thought "can we move on please, yes I understand you have an ax to grind". In the end those who are still alive are rescued, but some victims were killed. The smuggling ring ended up including only a few people, the person at top was a surprise. The clients were as twisted as the people caring out the kidnappings, though not all were killers. The story itself may have been good, but it was as though the author didn't think they had enough to make a book and had to add more to it. I left the book at an airport somewhere, hoping someone else would find something good in it.