The Girl with Braided Hair by Margaret Coel

I like series. You know, those books that take you through the lives of people in a particular region. Doesn’t matter if they are imagained, real or sci fi. I like knowing how someone else envisions their lives, who the interact with and what they do. This author does a good series. Coel could so easily revert to the tried and true banal of “silly little mysteries”, but instead develops characters and situations that are plausible, maybe even probable. She includes threads of history, both ancient and modern, real life situations facing native Americans, and complicated relationships to tie it all together. Yes, it does have a love affair, another guy who wants the woman, and gossip, but it somehow works in her books. Based on the tragedy of Wounded Knee, from the 1970’s, the story takes you through the discovery of a 30 year old murder and the insuing investigation, complete with death threats, more murders and last minute salvation. A nice read.

Published in: on April 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Mitford Series By Jan Karon

A simple, easy to read series that is one of those that you read and wonder why you wasted the time, then eagerly pick up the next book and do it all again. Plots are easy to predict, characters attempt to be interesting, homey, but end up being sachrine.
The basic plot centers around an episcopal priest, who is what everyone wants in a church pastor. Even though Karon attempts to show his humanness, a sense of impossibility surrounds all the situations. A bit heavy on “altar calls” and prayers, the book reads like most “Christian” novels, do this and you will walk the golden streets in heaven. Still the people are fun, the recipes interesting and the read easy. One can go to work and still read the 8 books in a little over a week.

Published in: on April 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Purrfect Murder, A Mrs. Murphy Mystery

By Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown… the latest in an everlasting series, that highlights the comings and goings and evilness of small town America, this time in Virginia. The typical cozy mystery series, typical action, with the typical cast, though this time a real whiner and bitchy person gets the axe, or knife if you will. Good description of the fall in rural horse country Virginia, including the influx of the rich into typical country life. A simple read, can get it done in a few hours,
not brain stimulating, but a good time waster.

Published in: on April 28, 2008 at 3:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Infinity Beach

3 1/2 Stars

Have you ever noticed that the Mystery and Science Fiction sections are always together, way at the end of the fiction books? That makes sense to me because Sci-Fi books usually have some type of mystery in them. Not necessarily a whodunit sort of story, but a what’s-really-going-on-here type of thing. All the Jack McDevitt books I have read feature this element, Infinity Beach more so than most. Kim Brandywine sets out to discover what really happened thirty years ago when her clone sister disapeared amid interesting circumstances. The book is very good until the end, where is really slows down.

This is a common complaint I have with a lot of books and movies, where they will be very interesting and exciting almost right until the climax or big reveal or whatever, and then go pfft. Sometimes this comes from writers not really having a good explanation for all the weirdness that has been going on (the TV show Lost, for example), but often it seems as it they just get tired of telling the story and give up. It’s disappointing.

ben

Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Ender’s Game

5 Stars

When a science fiction book wins the Hugo and Nebula awards, you know going in it’s gonna be good.  Ender’s Game has all the hallmarks of good sci-fi: a future setting, space battles, neat-o technology, relativistic and gravity considerations.  It also has a well written and engaging story about brilliant children training as soldiers by playing war games.  Imagine Lord of the Flies without all the boring bits.

ben

Published in: on April 15, 2008 at 1:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Storm Front

4 Stars

Book One of the Dresden Files! That was my favorite TV show of last season, so of course it got canceled. Then someone told me it was based on a series of books, so I had to check it out. Not surprisingly, I liked the book version too.

Harry Dresden is a professional wizard, using his magic to solve real world problems, in a private eye sort of way. He also, on occasion, consults for the police when they encounter the unexplainable. Storm Front is a fun read because it explores Harry’s attempts to straddle two worlds, the mundane and the magical, without getting into too much trouble in either, and it mixes in a compelling whodunit in the meantime. I look forward to reading more.

ben

Published in: on April 13, 2008 at 8:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Interesting Times

4 Stars

So my Discworld kick of the last couple months (it’s over now) all started because I got this book from the library. It is the fifth Rincewind story, and made some references to his previous exploits, so I thought I ought to freshen up on his earlier adventures. It turns out that was not necessary. Except for the familiar characters, Interesting Times is its own book entirely. Rincewind gets sent to the counterweight continent, the Discword’s version of Asia, where he gets caught up in a variety of ridiculous and hilarious predicaments. This is the best of the Rincewind books so far.

ben

Published in: on April 8, 2008 at 7:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Douglas Adams’ Starship Titanic

4 stars

Hee! That’s pretty much the entire review for this book. It was hilarious. Douglas Adams, of Hitchhiker fame, tells the story of a large luxury space ship that goes a little crazy. Wacky adventures ensue. There’s really no point going more into the detail of the story line–which is honestly secondary to the witty writing and amusing situations. The book is a fast read, simply because it’s nearly impossible to put down, and you end up laughing through every page. Highly recommended

–Adrienne

Published in: on April 5, 2008 at 3:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Eric

eric.jpg

3 1/2 Stars

From the cover art it appears that this is a parody of Faust. I do not know Faust, but I sure enjoyed Eric. It is about a fourteen year old boy who tries to conjure a demon, but gets Rincewind instead. They travel around and have ridiculous adventures, with a pissed off Luggage following them every step of the way. This is the ninth Discworld book, and it exhibits all the irreverent humor and ridiculous disregard for narrative cohesion that I love about the series. This is an improvement over the previous Rincewind novels.

ben

Published in: on April 1, 2008 at 7:30 am  Leave a Comment