Archive for January, 2007

Sex Money Kiss by Gene Simmons

January 30, 2007

From the Publisher:
Publishers Weekly
Exhibiting an “abiding faith in self” and an ability to think outside the traditional parameters of ethics, religion, rituals and social mores, rock legend and Kiss founding member Simmons (KISS and Make-Up) offers his no-holds-barred life philosophy. Presenting the book as “access to the American dream” of money and happiness and warning that what he says is only “food for thought” and that he’ll be painting with wide strokes, Simmons recounts his rise from an immigrant boy who didn’t speak English until his teens and paid for college buying and selling old comic books, to his current music, recording, acting and publishing successes. Narrated in a distinctive, deep voice and peppered with expletives and frequent interjections of the word “baby” for emphasis, Simmons touches on a range of topics, including investment advice, his brief stint as a teacher and behind-the-scenes Kiss business negotiations, which fans are especially sure to appreciate in audio format. Simmons’s humor, perfectly suited in translation from prose, begins with his “salute” to modern women, who he contends are ultimately slaves to biology, and a funny explanation of why men can’t be monogamous (because “women are from Mars; men have penis.”). Simultaneous release with the New Millennium hardcover (Forecasts, May 19). (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

My Comments:
Other then the continual “marriage is from hell” mantra, I found this book fairly interesting. I’ve never been a KISS fan. I never really cared much about Gene Simmons, but I must confess, I watched his show on A&E last season and was fairly compelled by it. I would be more intrigued by his other book, “KISS and Makeup” because it’s more a straight biography. Gene was raised by a single mother. They were immigrants to this country, and he didn’t even speak English until his teens. He’s had an incredible drive from the time he was a young child. He always had something going on. Some way of making money. It almost seems to be an obsession. But as much as I disagree with him on religion and relationships, the man must be doing something right. His kids and would be wife love and adore him and he adores them. He’s very successful in business and the music industry. He has a sense of self and confidence that is completely foreign to me and I found it a quality I admire.

Keep it or pass it on?:
I’ll be passing this book on. I think Gene would be proud that I bought in on the bargain book shelf at Barnes and Noble and I didn’t even spend my own money on it. Gift Cards rule.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

January 23, 2007

From the Publisher:

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. Most recently, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of honors by voting it the best novel of the twentieth century.

My Comments: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what is the book *about*? As with many classics that I never got around to reading, the back of the book and information from the publisher tells you little to nothing about the story. I don’t even trust myself to do an adequate job and most of you probably know the book already. But just in case… It takes place in a small town in the 1940’s. It’s told from a young girl’s perspective and affords the reader with a clearer view of people their situations and stations in life. Her father is a widower, lawyer and statesman, and he has been chosen to defend a black man accused of raping a poor white woman. The black community embraces the young girl and her brother, while most of the town and their schoolmates definitely do not. There is also the mystery man who lives next door. No one has seen him in years and the siblings and their friend are determined to make contact with him and occupy themselves for many a season imagining what he is like and if he’s even still alive.

Thank goodness I was never forced to read this book in school! I never would have enjoyed it this much. I don’t think I remember a single classic I was assigned to read in school, even though I always loved to read. I’m not the type of person who questions authority at every step. Maybe the teachers I had sucked the joy out of reading with the assignments that went along with it. I don’t know. But I am so thankful that didn’t happen with this book. And I hope I learn a lesson from it because I can’t wait for my 14 year old to read it!

By far, it’s my favorite book of the year. I cried no less then 4 times at the sheer poetic beauty of the characters and their experiences. Atticus was far too self depreciating as modest about his ability to parent his children. Never could you find a more compassionate, loving, brilliant man to be a father. I know I am a better person for just reading about him. It’s been a pleasure reading about Scout, Jem and Atticus, and I’ve grown in character right along with them.

Keep It or Pass It On?: I’m not letting this one leave my shelf!

Betrayal in Death by JD Robb

January 16, 2007

From the Publisher:
At the luxurious Roarke Palace Hotel, a maid walks into suite 4602 for the nightly turndown – and steps into her worst nightmare. A killer leaves her dead, strangled by a thin silver wire. He’s Sly Yost, a virtuoso of music and murder. A hit man for the elite. Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows him well. But in this twisted case, knowing the killer doesn’t help solve the crime. Because there’s someone else involved. Someone with a more personal motive. And Eve must face a terrifying possibility – that the real target may, in fact, be her husband Roarke…

My Comments:
This is the 12th Eve Dallas book, and they are still very good. The killer was a horrible character that made you cringe. They are good, solid little mysteries set in the future, giving this series something to differentiate it from the others.

I just have to say something though. Since this is my book blog, why not? I find it so hypocritial that the author makes guns illegal in the future and in this book she even took it a step further by extemporizing how “guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but owning guns sure doesn’t help”. Great! So in this author’s future, we have no second amendment rights. I wonder what other rights she would do away with? Interesting to note that in her future, criminals still get guns. It’s the law abiding citizens that can’t have them. Okay, now that I have that out of my system…

I do love this series. My grandmother, who has since passed, read every single one and passed them along to me. They have great sentimental value. I made a New Year’s Resolution to read one a month until I catch up. I might not make it, but it’s the thought that counts! I only have 14 more to go.

What took me so long to start reading these again? When Grama was still alive, I got in a kick and read four or five in a row and burned myself out. They started to run together and they seemed very similar. It has taken me years to pick the series up again, but I’m really glad I did. For a while there, they made me miss Grama, and I couldn’t enjoy them without thinking about her. But now I look forward to seeing the characters evolve. Eve and Roarke are a couple I really enjoy coming back to.

Keep or Pass it On?
I decided to go ahead and post to I enjoy them, but not enough to pick up again.

Monkeewrench by PJ Tracy

January 8, 2007

From the Publisher

Haunted by a series of horrifying and violent episodes in their past, Grace McBride and the oddball crew of her software company, Monkeewrench, create a computer game where the killer is always caught, where the good guys always win. But their game becomes a nightmare when someone starts duplicating the fictional murders in real life, down to the last detail.

By the time the police realize what’s happening, three people are dead, and with seventeen more murder scenarios available online, there are seventeen more potential victims. While the authorities scramble to find the killer in a city paralyzed by fear, the Monkeewrench staff are playing their own game, analyzing victim profiles in a frantic attempt to discover the murderer’s next target.

In a thriller populated by characters both hilarious and heartbreaking, a rural Wisconsin sheriff, two Minneapolis police detectives, and Grace’s gang are caught in a web of decades-old secrets that could get them all killed.

My Comments:

I LOVED this book. Love love loved it! My bookgroup was all abuzz over it probably close to a year ago and here I am, finally getting around to this fantastic thriller! Better late then never definitely applies here.

The best side benefit of having a nasty sinus infection is the down time spent reading. Monkeewrench certainly helped me on the road to good health by distracting me from my disagreeable sinus passages.

The premise of the computer game was very interesting. I’m a closet computer gamer. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone. But the characters really drew me in. Especially the Monkeewrench crew. Fun, rich characters that you enjoy getting to know and feel compassion for.

Okay, it’s a mystery right? So how far into it did I figure out whodunit? I’m pretty slow trying to figure things out generally. I like to just enjoy the ride and let the story unfold. I had an idea about a hundred pages from the end, but thanks to twists and turns you just don’t see coming it was an exciting ending to say the least.

I can’t wait to read Live Bait, the next in the series. Oh, and did I mention the author is a mother/daughter writing team? I love that!

Keep it or Pass it On?

My husband must read this book, and I’m sure I’ll be loaning it out once or twice more before giving it to Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because the ending was so exciting, there’s no way I’ll forget who did it, and a re-read probably isn’t in my future. Besides, this book must be shared!

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

January 5, 2007

From the Publisher

“I am Catalina, Princess of Spain, daughter of the two greatest monarchs the world has ever known…and I will be Queen of England.”

Thus, bestselling author Philippa Gregory introduces one of her most unforgettable heroines: Katherine of Aragon. Daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, Katherine has been fated her whole life to marry Prince Arthur of England. When they meet and are married, the match becomes as passionate as it is politically expedient. The young lovers revel in each other’s company and plan the England they will make together. But tragically, aged only fifteen, Arthur falls ill and extracts from his sixteen-year-old bride a deathbed promise to marry his brother, Henry; become Queen; and fulfill their dreams and her destiny.

My Comments

What a wonderful read! After first reading The Other Boleyn Girl, I became completely enthralled with the author and her books about this time period. Having never read historical fiction before, I am so grateful to my online Booklovers Group for suggesting it. It completely opened my eyes to a new genre I adore.

While this novel wasn’t quite as compelling as The Other Boleyn Girl, I really hate to compare them. I was so curious about what Katherine of Aragon was like before she came to court. Before she become King Henry VIII’s queen. My curiosity has been sated!

And while this is historical fiction, the research the author has done really shines through. There is some debate about the facts, and the author has definitely taken literary license, but history has become enthralling! I look forward to reading The Queen’s Virgin, The Queen’s Fool and definitely The Bolelyn Inheritance I’ve heard such amazing things about.

While The Constant Princess takes place first historicially, there really isn’t an order to this “series” and can be considered stand alones.

I’ll definitely be keeping this on my shelf for a while longer. I can’t part with it just yet, but I will be loaning it out to my mother who I managed to addict to Gregory as well. I love sharing a good book!

Sleeping with the Fishes by MaryJanice Davidson

January 5, 2007

The Barnes & Noble ReviewTurning her attention from the customary vampires and werewolves, bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson makes a splash with this delightful mermaid-out-of-water story. Her heroine is no Ariel but Fredrika Bimm, better known as Fred — a cranky 29-year-old who hasn’t gone out on a date in six years. She’s also a hybrid mermaid who figured out a long time ago that her hippie father wasn’t exactly her true parent. Fred has found a good career niche at the New England Aquarium, but with hair the color of the ocean and a tail that emerges in water, she still feels like a freak — until the new water man arrives. Dr. Thomas Pearson is not only cute; he also writes romances under a feminine pen name. Then up surfaces Fred’s putative ruler, Artur, the High Prince of the Black Sea. He wants help in solving the mystery of who’s been poisoning the waters in Boston Harbor. So there’s Fred with two guys, both of whom who actually want her, and a dark mystery to solve. Davidson brings her offbeat humor and sexiness to everything she does, and the full cast of characters, including Fred’s neurotic boss, is a lot of fun. Ginger Curwen

My Comments

I enjoy MJD for the most part. Her Dead series started out with a bang and I remember laughing out loud more then once. But I personally find it ridiculous when the author makes pointed, out of context insults toward Republicans. If it fit with the story, sure! Make your social commentary, but it doesn’t. Republicans read her books too! I bet she would write a hilarious political book. Oh, well. Back to the story.

I thought the idea of a Mermaid protagonist was fun and had a lot of potential. MJD has a habit of making her main characters very cranky. Okay, I’ll just say it. Bitchy. They are sharp tongued and fast witted, but I wouldn’t want Fred for a friend. Or Betsy from the Undead series either for that matter. They are selfish, shallow and mean but funny as hell. So maybe it’s a good thing that her books can be read in a few hours. You wouldn’t want to spend very many days with these ladies!

There just isn’t that much substance. I know going into an MJD that it’s going to be a light, fun read, but for the cost of a paperback (or horrors a hardcover like the last Undead book that was released) I wouldn’t mind having more involved. I probably wouldn’t have bothered to buy it if it weren’t for a Barnes and Noble gift card and my book group was doing a buddy read. I was mildly entertained by it, but it was ultimately forgettable. Darn it!

I’m sorry to say, I’m posting it to Paperbackswap.