Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett (read 8/5-8/7)

I read this for my live book club, then sadly I missed the discussion meeting.  This is the story of Sabine (a magician's assistant) after her Magician and husband, Parsifal dies.  She is not handling his death well, and then secrets about his past and his family come out to throw he life even further into turmoil.  I loved Patchettt's writing, and her ability to create a complete character.  Did I understand each character and the characters reasons for who they were.  No not completely, but I still felt that they were a whole character, and like people in real life, not always fully understandable.  I loved the book.  I sped through it in a two nights after work.  It was so easy to slip into Pratchett's world.

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (read 7/10 - 7/14)

First book by author and is semi-autobiographical, it is set in Greenville, South Carolina in the 50's.  For some reason I had originally thought this was the story of a black girl, then realized that Ruth "Bones" Boatwright is white.  This is a story of family and family loyalties, Bone suffers abuse at the hands of her stepfather, Daddy Glen, and this book is about not only how Bone deals with the abuse, but how her whole family deals with it.  Loyalties are tested and hard choices are made.  The family is lower-class and poor in the South in the 50's and 60's and the family members often stick to their traditional gender stereotypes.  I thought it was really well written, and  the story was engaging.  It was a can't put down read for me.  Being such a controversial book, I have read plenty on the story line, and I may have even seen the movie once.  So I knew the general storyline before I read, but that didn't stop me from wanting to know what would happen next.  I cried that whole last chapter because I was so invested in the characters.

The Dark Tower (Dark Tower #8) by Stephen King (Read 7/3-8/5)

Finally, we reach the end of this story!  We are getting back to the heart of the story, ka-tet back together.  Only to be broken in order for Roland to finally reach the Tower.   I think that because I as so unhappy with the previous books that this one had no appeal for me either, although finally King cuts himself out of it, can I get an Amen!
King's writing seems to be a bit more normal but thanks to the distaste of the last two book I couldn't appreciate this one.  The story ends poorly in my opinion and I wish King could have finished this series so much sooner.

Song of Susannah (Dark Tower #7) by Stephen King (Read 6/16-7/3)

Next in the BOTM series read. I think I am starting to get burnt out, I had a hard time with this one.  *SPOILER* probably because King inserts himself quite prominently, and it bugs the hell out of me.  This was written after Kings accident, in my opinion he list his edge after his accident, and writing himself into the story is just vain and stupid.  I wish he had focused on the characters instead of himself.  The whole King portion of this book really turns me off, and makes the whole read a pain for me.
This book focuses on Susannah and her pregnancy, and the effects it has on the ka-tet.  We meet a new personality of Susannah's and seem some more twisting and conniving by the Red King.  There are some good fight scenes, but for the most part I felt that this book did nothing to move the storyline along and I could have been just as happy if I hadn't had to read it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Terminals: Spark by Michael F. Stewart (Read 6/14-6/19)

I received this book from the LibraryThing Member giveaway.  The premise is that when people die, they can communicate for a shot period of time with a psychic, Atilla.  It is by this means that criminals are contacted after death and crimes solved.  Bam!  Who says the death of the main suspect has to bring a case to a halt.  Except that a terminally ill patient has to volunteer to end their life early so that they can communicate.
Lt. Col. Christine Kurzow attempted suicide after eleven soldiers under her command were killed by a suicide bomber, of course she blames herself.   She no has special talents and is recruited into the Terminals as a handler.  Her first case is to convincing a Gnostic Monk to follow Hiller the Killer into the afterlife and find the location of a bus with eleven children he kidnapped before his death.  Does it seem coincidental that she lost eleven soldiers and now must rescue eleven children, tit for tat?  One little problem, this is a highly spiritual job, and Christine is an atheist.
I really liked this book, Stewarts writing style kept the story flowing and the pages turning, I kept getting drawn back in, with the classic line  "Just one more chapter."  I can't wait for the next one in the series.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Rooster by Richard Peters (read 6/14)

This was a story I received from Library Thing's early reviewers.  It is a short story about a survivors in post apocalyptic south Texas.  The main character John Randell is kidnapped by 5 commandos while out on a foraging party.  He comes to find out that camp yea has been sent to is ran by all women.  I love the idea that this camp is run by women has all of the amenities, while the men's camps are living like cave people.  The women essentially rape men to get pregnant, they really have no other need for them.  However, the upper command has no idea that a rebellion is brewing.  This was a surprisingly good novel, there was an actual story line and not just sex scenes.  It was interesting to have the women be the aggressors, as in most romance novels, rape isn't really rape which I think is horrendously misleading, but I don't have a soap box about it either.  I was surprised that when I got to the end I felt it was too short of a story and I wanted to read more and find out what happens with the rebellion.   Peters has good writing, very easy flow.

Wolves of the Calla (Dark Tower #6) by Stephen King (Read 5/29-6/15)

Well I know that I finished this book in June, and things have been crazy, I now have at east 8 other books to write about too.  But I will start with the oldest and just try and catch up.  This whole parenting thing takes up a lot of my time.
This is the next in my BOTM club reads.  This is where I start to dislike the series.   Kings writing really takes a turn for the worst in my opinion. This book picks up after Wind Through the Keyhole our Ka-Tet has come to a small farming community, Calla, that has a major problem.  Every so often, riders called Wolves because of the masks they wear, comes and steals half their children.  Most of the children in Calla are born as twins, the Wolves steal one half of the pair and send it back years later "roont", which means they are now mentally disabled, unusually large, and die at a very young age.  As usual, the Gunslingers are asked to solve the problem, but it is never as clear as just getting rid of some bad people, the Wolves are agents of the Crimson King, and there is the added complication of Susannah being pregnant, and it isn't a wanted pregnancy.
King pulls in a lot of info from his other books and even writes himself into the story line.  That is really annoys me.  It is very egotistical and makes me boil.  King also steals ideas from from other series, in fact one of the weapons is called a Sneetch, Harry Potter Edition.  That upsets me a ton too, King is an established writer, and has fame all his own, does he really need to steal ideas from other writers?  It feels false to me, like King couldn't think up a name for his weapon so he just stole J.K Rowlings idea, but gave a shout out to make it ok.  It just feels sneaky and dirty.  The Star Wars references don't bother me as mush, because Star was has become some a icon and been pillaged and plundered by so many.  So anyways again not a favorite book, and really, if the series had ended with this one, I would have been just fine.