Book Review: The Bone Collection

I used to read Kathy Reichs obsessively. When her books became a TV show I watched that too. Super entertaining in that vaguely smart over dramatic manner I enjoy. Eventually the show leaned to drama with less smarts and I moved away from it. I also hadn’t picked up any of her books in eons. But I saw The Bone Collection on a swing through the library and thought four little novellas could be just what the doctor ordered.

This collection of novellas were definitely written with a purpose. Three of the four stories, according to Reichs comments in an author’s note, were written specifically to bring attention to a concern of hers. Why not? They’re well written entertaining little novellas if a bit preachy at times. But that’s the right of solid authors with a long list of hits behind them, to use their power for causes they think are important. I can roll with that.

Reichs has a slow discovery style, by which I mean, you get a body, and as Tempe performs the autopsy and gets overly involved with the investigation, new facts turn up, which alters the plot. I don’t want to get too specific and give away the twists. It’s a hallmark of Reichs though. If you’ve read enough of her books you know almost where the twist will take you but the reading is still enjoyable.

Two things became clear to me with the 4 novella format. First, in each one she says the exact same line about handing her ID to someone who studies it so long they could have memorized the information. Note to self, watch for lines I over use. The second was a little grating. Tempe gets overly involved in each investigation. As she goes along she makes these amazing deductive jumps providing valuable assistance to the police. Ok, cool. But then at the end, she goes dumber than a box of rocks. She goes to confront someone without back up and frequently lies about it, too. And at this point in the story as the reader, I know she’s going to confront the bad guys. How is it she doesn’t know until they attack her? Bah. It was a little much 3 times in a row.

℘℘℘ – Decent read. I have read her before and will probably read her again when her books cross my path but I won’t go looking for them.

Book Review: three amazing things about you

I randomly grabbed three amazing things about you by Jill Mansell on a breeze through the library one day, simply for it’s title. Because hello, three amazing things about me, love to hear that. Who doesn’t want to hear how amazing they are.

Surprisingly it wasn’t about my good qualities or even how to find my good qualitites and get people to appreciate them. Three things about you is actually the name of a website that gives advice on problems sent in by readers. Hallie, the blog owner, wants three things about each person to help her understand them so she can give quality advice. The secret that Hallie isn’t sharing is that she is almost bedridden with Cystic Fibrosis.

The book is an ensemble with probably ten characters to get invested in. Some I liked more than others. Most I understood because Mansell painted them so beautifully with her descriptions of their actions. The book is gripping I have to admit. I started it one morning and carried it with me all day, reading when I could and then finally spending 2 hours with the book while the hubs played with the kiddo to finish it same day.

I bawled. Loudly. So loudly in fact that the hubs heard me over the video game and came to investigate. I am torn because of this. Mansell has a long list of published works and I suspect they are all as compellingly written as this one but….I don’t like to be made to cry. sigh

℘℘℘℘℘ – Five Pages – read it in one day. Really want to read more but there’s the whole crying thing. Maybe I’ll go for one more of her novels and see if that one makes me bawl. That’s a plan then.

Book Review: Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

I think Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein is supposed to be for kids. Yep, just flipped it over and the age range is 8-12. Whatever. This book was awesomely amusing and I would give my right arm to visit a library like this. Wait, I’m right handed. I would give my left arm to visit a library like this.

Kyle Keely loves games. Board Games. Video Games. Word Games. He just isn’t crazy about homework, reading, or school. So when his best friend reminds him essays to win a chance to spend the night locked in the new library before it’s open to the public are due at the start of school, he only has times to scribble “I hope you have balloons there.” LOL

As befitting a 12 year old who plays lots of games Kyle finds a way to get a better written essay into the contest and gets to spend the night in the library. Of course getting out of the library is where his skills really pay off. You have to read the book from here. I can’t possible give away the plot on a book this fun.

℘℘℘℘℘ – 5 pages – Amusing good time. It was nice to visit my childhood again. I practically lived in the boring library I had access to as a child. I would have moved in to Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.

Book Review: The Zig Zag Girl

I grabbed The Zig Zag Girl on a whim because of the time period, post World War II, is most definitely in my wheel house. After my long slog of cozy mysteries I was hoping this one would not disappoint with weak, holey plots and characters that irritated me. It did not. This is the first in Elly Griffiths’ Magic Men Mysteries but it has none of the common teething issues a new series often suffers from. This book is smooth, well written, and intriguing.

There are a pair of main characters, however Griffiths manages to make even that a surprise. She starts firmly rooted in the Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens and allows the story to bring Max Mephisto in when the plot is ready. It takes skill to allow things to build naturally and Griffiths does this brilliantly through out the book. A series of murders has DI Stephens investigating across half of England and delving into his own painful past. Both characters are demonstrably changed by the events of the novel, which is refreshing for a murder mystery.

I think half my love for this book comes from my own confusion. I always know who done it. Always. And while I had my first flicker of “I know who done it” early on, Griffiths managed to make me change my mind back and forth between 3 characters several times. Griffiths really had to reveal it for me and that is rare for me. I raise my cuppa in her honor.

℘℘℘℘ – 4 Pages – Satisfying read. I will definitely grab the next book in the series.

Book Review: The Boy Is Back

If you say Meg Cabot, chances are people think Princess Diaries. Yeah, ok, she wrote them. But she also has several adult series books that I adore. (1800WhereAreYou, Heather Wells) The “Boy series” is not a typical series. The books are all written. There is no dialogue. She uses emails, journal entries, text messages to communicate the story. And only a few characters bleed over from one book to the next. Generally minor characters appear over and over.

The Boy is Back, I read it in one day. Small town girl gets an unexpected chance with the boy who broke her heart. Awww. It was funny, fast moving, sadly a little predictable. Maybe just because I know how she writes or maybe I just over analyze as I read now. But I still enjoyed the book. In all the boy books there’s this trend of misunderstanding coming between people. It’s very Austenesque. And in this book, Cabot fully embraces Austen, quoting from her novels. It was a nice little turn. Makes me think she might not be writing anymore boy books though. Don’t ask me why, I just get that vibe.

Then again Cabot often comes back to a series after a long spell away to provide closure to her readers. Talk about a win win. Give the readers what they want and they give you more money. LOL.

℘℘℘℘℘- Five Pages. Read it in one day. Will of course read anything she writes. I actually follow her on twitter, not that she’s very active.

Book Review: Frindle

I grabbed this at the library to read with the kiddo fully expecting he would argue but he didn’t. There’s a post coming about that on Friday. LOL.

Frindle by Andrew Clements.

I cannot say enough about this book. The premise is simple but complex. A boy gets the idea that if words come from people then he can make up his own word. And he does. And he gets all the kids to use it. Of course the adults rebel which only makes the kids want to say it more. Along the way the boy learns you can’t always control a rebellion once you start one. LOL But you can use your influence for good.

It’s definitely the kind of book that leads to serious conversations if you have a child like mine. Possibly no matter what kind of child you have. But the book itself is amazingly well done and amusing. I had no idea I would find myself crying until the last 5 pages. It’s just entertainment. And then it sneaks up on you.

℘℘℘℘℘ – Read it in one afternoon. Already picked up two more of Clements books to read with the kiddo. But hey, even if you’re a grown up (or like to pretend you are) this is an awesome book, all about the power of words. Take an hour and read it over coffee or a beer. It won’t be a wasted hour.

Book Review: Kill Switch

I had Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry on my TBR shelf for a couple of weeks waiting for a nice empty weekend. I knew from previous experience, see my review of Patient Zero, that once I pick up a Joe Ledger adventure, there is no stopping until the last bad guy gasps out his dying wail.

In the latest installment, Joe faces an EMP like weapon that works only for a short period of time, that terrorists are testing in the US. A weapon that allows people to take control of other people. Plague, betrayal, murder, suicide, attacks by friends, and over sized enormous albino penguins.

Kill Switch is delightfully long and complicated and just on the bleeding edge of science. Really nothing new for Maberry who turns out brilliant work that gives me night terrors. And makes me jealous as all hell, because he writes like I do, only much better. But I digress from the point of this review.

It’s good. No ifs, ands, or butts about it. The action is harsh, quick, and occasionally breath-taking. The psychological ramifications well drawn. The true horror of war is abundant in this one. And it’s not just that half the team dies, yet again. It’s what happens to those who are left. I don’t know if Maberry is trying to draw attention to the plight of our soldiers but he does an amazing job of it whether he is trying or not.

℘℘℘℘℘ – Five Pages. One weekend read. Always checking his name, every time I’m at the library.