Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Cloud of Unknowing by Thomas H. Cook

Started: 9/21/13
Finished: 9/25/13
Year: 2007
Pages: 310
Genre: Literature
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "David Sears grew up in the shadow of his brilliant younger sister, Diana, convinced by their father that she would accomplish great things. Instead, she married and had a son, Jason, who-like David and Diana's father-is schizophrenic. Her husband, Mark, a geneticist, never made peace with Jason's condition.
"Perhaps this is why, when Jason drowns, Diana will not accept the authorities' conclusion that his death was accidental. Or perhaps Diana is going mad. She begins to send David faxes and e-mails about ancient murders, driven by her growing belief that the earth is Gaia, a living witness to her son's murder who could give evidence in the case she is building againsst her husband. David soon fears for his own family's safety as the seductive qualities of Diana's manic energy become impossible to ignore."
Opinion: An interesting tale told in present day (conversation with a police detective) and in flashbacks that appear to be current day. A compelling story of how a family deals with schizophrenia and how it effects generations.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Last Talk with Lola Faye by Thomas H. Cook

Started: 9/19/13
Finished: 9/21/13
Year: 2010
Pages: 275
Genre: Fiction/Literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Lucas Page, once an ambitious historian, now resigned to mediocrity, visits St. Louis to give a sparsely attended reading-nothing out of the ordinary. Except among the yawning attendees is someone he did not expect: Lola Faye Gilroy, the 'other woman' he has long blamed for his father's murder decades earlier.
"Reluctantly, Luke joins Lola Faye for a drink. As one drink turns into several, these two battered souls relive, from their different perspectives, the most searing experience of their lives. Slowly but surely, the hotel bar dissolves around them and they are transported back to the tiny southern town where this defining moment-a violent crime of passion-is turned in the light once more to reveal flaws in the old answers. As it turns out, there is much Luke doesn't know. And what he doesn't know can hurt him. Trapped in an increasingly intense emotional exchange, and with no place to go save into his own dark past, Luke struggles to gain control of an ever more threatening conversation, to discover why Lola Faye has come and what she is after-before it is too late."
Opinion: A simple idea: a conversation with someone from the past, turns into a really good novel. Cook does a great job in turning this simple idea into compassion for both main characters.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Quest for Anna Klein by Thomas H. Cook

Started: 9/18/13
Finished: 9/19/13
Year: 2011
Pages: 346
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Thomas Danforth has lived a fortunate life. The son of a wealthy importer, he wandered the globe in his youth, and now, in his twenties, he lives in New York City and runs the family business. It is 1939 and the world is on the brink of war, but his life is untroubled, his future assured. Then, on a snowy evening walk along Gramercy Park, a friend makes a fateful request-and involves Thomas in a dangerous idea that could change the fates of millions.
"Danforth is to provide access to his secluded Connecticut mansion, where a mysterious woman will receive training in firearms and explosives. Thus begins an international plot carried out by the strange and alluring Anna Klein-a plot that will ensnare Thomas in more ways than one. When it all goes wrong and Anna disappears, his quest across a war-torn world begins..."
Opinion: Interesting tale during World War II. It is told between flashbacks and current time which makes it interesting to go back and forth between time. The ending is what made it not be graded a C.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Decadence by Eric Jerome Dickey

Started: 9/14/13
Finished: 9/18/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 350
Genre: erotica/romance
Grade: C
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Four years have passed in the life of Nia Simone Bijou, and she is approaching the height of her artistic powers. A film she has written is poised for international success, the studio is eager for a sequel, and the media are fascinated by her work. Yet her imaginative mind is wandering.
"Though Nia is much desired-by the mysterious, often unavailable international businessman, Prada, with whom she enjoys unprecedented attraction; by the fit local veteran, Brett, who puts her through her paces, most often during grueling road training sessions-her first love, Chris, is never far from her thoughts. When Nia receives an invitation to the exclusive pleasure palace known as Decadence, her romantic world gives way to an abundance of sensory experience she could never have imagined.
"Even as the Hollywood premier of her potentially career-changing film approaches, she is drawn further into this forbidden lifestyle. Under the influence of glamorous, sensuous new friends, Nia abandons all caution, and her ability to balance truth and fantasy becomes increasingly blurred. Will her relationship with Prada survive countless temptations? Will her professional achievements be fiven over to impulsive indulgence? Does decadence know any bounds?"
Opinion: This book has a plot mixed in with a lot of erotic scenes. At times the erotica could be a little too much. In this day and age, safer sex should have been approached more than it was and it made the main character and several supporting characters not care about themselves or their partners. I found that part distracting.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Ghost Hunter's Favorite Cases by Hans Holzer

Started: 7/3/13
Finished: 9/11/13
Year: 2003
Pages: 650
Genre: Paranormal
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): "These gripping tales of American psychic experiences cover a wide range of Han Holzer's ventures in that shadowy area between death and life; from famous Hollywood ghosts; to confused colonial apparitions; to even a few White House visitations.
"These real-life tales of hauntings and ghostly occurrences demonstrate that the Other World is always with us, and that psychic phenomena can happen anywhere, at any time, even in the homes of the most skeptical."
Opinion: Some interesting stories and some odd hauntings. Some stories have been legends and have been retold several times. A good collection of some paranormal cases.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

Started: 9/4/13
Finished: 9/7/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 292
Genre: Fiction/Literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obesessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways.
Opinion: Fairly predictable who is who in the book but done is such an intriguing and delicate way establishing their connection.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

Started: 9/2/13
Finished: 9/4/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 348
Genre: Literature/fiction
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Leslie Anne Greene Carter is the Last Original Wife among her husband Wesley's wildly successful Atlanta social set. His cronies have all traded in the mothers of their children that they promised to love and cherish-'til death did them part-for tanned and toned Barbie brides.
"As if losing the social life and close friends she adored wasn't painful enough, a series of setbacks shake Les's world and push her to the edge. She's had enough of playing the good wife to a husband who thinks he's doing her a favor by keeping her around. She's not going to waste another minute on people she doesn't care to know. Now she's going to take some time for herself-in the familiar comforts and stunning beauty of Charleston, her beloved hometown. In her brother's stately historic home, she's going to reclaim the carefree girl who spent lazy summers sharing steamy kisses with her first love on Sullivans Island. Along Charleston's live-oak and palmetto-lined cobblestone streets and under the Lowcountry's dazzling blue sky. Les will indulge herself with icy cocktails, warm laughter, divine temptation, and bittersweet memories. Daring to listen to her inner voice, she will realize what she wants...and find the life of which she's always dreamed."
Opinion: A great story for anyone, especially women, who are fighting against who they truly are. Good inspiring characterization in Leslie.

Monday, September 02, 2013

The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman

Started: 9/2/13
Finished: 9/2/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 252
Genre: Literature
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Unexpectedly widowed Gwen-Laura Schmidt is still mourning her husband, Edwin, when her older sister Margot invites her to join forces as roommates in Margot's luxurious Village apartment. For Margot, divorced amid scandal (hint: her husband was a fertility doctor) and then made Ponzi-poor, it's a chance to shake Gwen out of her grief and help make ends meet. To further this effort she enlists a third boarder, the handsome, cupcake-baking Anthony.
"As the three swap money-making schemes and timid Gwen ventures back out into the dating world, the arrival of Margot's paroled ex in the efficiency apartment downstairs creates not just complications but the chance for all sorts of unexpected forgiveness."
Opinion: A lot of potential but the story lacked something and I cannot put my finger on it. Some good laugh out loud moments.

Love Saves the Day by Gween Cooper

Started: 8/25/13
Finished: 9/2/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 312
Genre: Fiction/Literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "When five-week-old Prudence meets a woman named Sarah in a deserted construction site on Manhattan's Lower East Side, she knows she's found the human she was meant to adopt. For three years their lives are filled with laughter, tuna, catnaps, music, and the unchanging routines Prudence craves. Then one day Sarah doesn't come home. From Prudence's perch on the windowsill she sees Laura, the daughter who hardly ever comes to visit Sarah, arrive with her new husband. They're carrying boxes. Before they even get to the front door, Prudence realizes that her life has changed forever.
"Suddenly Prudence finds herself living in a strange apartment with humans she barely knows. It could take years to train them in the feline courtesies and customs (for example, a cat should always be fed before the humas, and at the same exact time every day) that Sarah understood so well. Prudence clings to the hope that Sarah will come back for her while Laura, a rising young coporate attorney, tries to push away membories of her mother and the tumultuous childhood spent in her mother's dusty downtown record store. But the secret joys, past hurts, and life-changing moments that make every mother-daughter relationship special will come to the surface. With Prudence's help Laura will learn that the past, like a mother's love, never dies."
Opinion: A sweet and touching story told in a cat's, their main human's, and another human's perspective.