Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mrs. B's 2009 Book Reviews -- 3 Stars (Part Three)

Second Glance by Jodi Picoult (CD).
This was an enjoyable enough book to listen to while driving around. Yeah, it got a bit convoluted and things wrapped up just a little bit too nicely at the end, still, it drew me in and I found myself looking forwarding to driving so I could tune in. I really liked the flip flop between decades (a man from "current times" ends up meeting a ghostly woman from "the past"), and, although I was able to figure out what was going to happen next/predict certain situations, I didn't mind since I never intended this to be a deep read. I found the stuff about eugenics in the 1930s and gene history in the 2000s quite intriguing. This was my first Picoult; turns out she seems to write about genetics/genetic diseases quite frequently (My Sister's Keeper is one that's quite popular now; we've selected it to read in my book club in 2010). Maybe Picoult writes a lot and maybe it's all "formula", but, I took it for what it was worth, entertainment with a bit of education thrown in for good measure.
The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Think of this series as Twilight for adults. I believe this was number five of the series, and things finally picked up between Anita Blake (Vampire Hunter) and her two would be lovers; one a vampire and the other a werewolf (like I said, if you like Twilight...) BTW, this series was begun LONG before Twilight, which got me to wondering if someone didn't perhaps plagerize a bit with the whole (human/vamp/werewolf) menage a trois concept? These books are not meant to be deep and they certainly are not. They are, however, fun to read and good for when your brain needs a break. I did find the author's afterward a bit weird; she was talking about the breakup of her marriage and how it related to the characters in her book. Ok, ODD!
The Secret of the Old Clock and The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew #1 and #2) by Carolyn Keene.
Enjoyable re-reads of a few childhood favorites. Yeah, they are a bit dated but I got a kick out of revisiting them. Plus, each one only took an hour or two to get through. I will say, Nancy seemed incredibly mature to me for an 18 year old!
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb.
Wally Lamb is fantastic at character development. You will either love or hate his characters, but, you will feel something about them. The Columbine (Colorado 1999) story, which I initially thought the book was completely about, turned out to be a back-drop to the story; fine with me because I really didn't want to go there. The best aspect about the book, IMHO, was how the main character discovered things about his ancestors (thanks to a women's studies student who is renting a room from him and finds the papers of his great-great grandmother (who, incidentally, founded the women's prison that his wife is currently serving time in)). There is a theme of "from chaos comes order" running throughout the book; I'm assuming that is where the Columbine story line comes from. Frankly, the overall message of the book (whatever it was; not 100% sure) was not as meaningful to me as getting to know the 10 or so primary characters that figure prominently in the story. A word of warning: It is a HUGE book; 800 or so pages, which would make it a great selection for a long, boring airplane trip.
The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind.
Book seven of Goodkind's Sword of Truth series and the only one of the series that I managed to read this year. Not the most enjoyable of the series, either, as the two main characters only make an appearance at the tail end of the book. My brother, who is also reading the series (close on my heels), mentioned that he felt Goodkind tended to introduce way too many characters and thus loose focus of the overall story. He's probably not going to like this one!
Whew! That is it for the 3 stars. Next up, the best of the bunch; the 4 stars!

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