Another bibliodilemma.

February 2nd, 2005

A situation in which I rarely find myself is one that continues to baffle me. What is one to do when the book being read currently is displeasing? I am not saying so much that the book is bad. It is...but that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that for whatever the reason I cannot get into this book. It absolutely shames me to admit that I have been reading this book for over a month now (which explains why you've seen no book reviews written in 2005) and I am only 2/3 of the way through it. A 310 page book is causing me such a hassle.

Sure I now get DVDs in the mail, but I think my motivation to see as many as possible is increased due to the idea of reading this book being so unappealing. I do not think I am just reading less because I am watching so many movies. That make sense?

I know my desire to read has not decreased. I have picked up a few books in the past few days and (I have a weird relationship with books) just holding other books was a good feeling. I like the idea of reading and I want to be doing it.

So I visited this issue when I was on page 130, now I am on page 205. My point is that my luck is such that if I put it down on page 130, on page 131 the book will get good. I am not one to put down a book once I've started it. Especially since this book was recommended to me, I want to be able to say that I at least finished it. I will not be accused of not giving the book a fair shot and putting it down pre-maturely.

A coworker and fellow reader gave me her opinion when asked. She told me that she will not waste her time with a book that she does not like and will absolutely put it down and move on.

Am I just nuts? Does anyone else stick it out? Should I just put this down and pick up another?

Book of the Month - February, 2005

January 20th, 2005

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon KrakauerIn April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter...

Buy Into the Wild $10.36

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Live Bait - P.J. Tracy

December 28th, 2004

Live Bait by P.J. TracyMinneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are bored--ever since they solved the Monkeewrench case, the Twin Cities have been in a murder-free dry spell, as people no longer seem interested in killing one another. But with two brutal homicides taking place in one awful night, the crime drought ends--not with a trickle, but with an eventual torrent. Who would kill Morey Gilbert, a man without an enemy, a man who might as well have been a saint? His tiny, cranky little wife, Lily, is no help, and may even be a suspect; his estranged son, Jack, an infamous ambulance-chasing lawyer, has his own enemies; and his son-in-law, former cop Marty Pullman, is so depressed over his wife's death a year ago that he's ready to kill himself, but not Morey. The number of victims--all elderly--grows, and the city is fearful once again.

The detectives' investigation threatens to uncover a series of horrendous secrets, some buried within the heart of the police department itself, blurring the lines between heroes and villains. Grace MacBride's cold-case-solving software may find the missing link--but at a terrible price.

Filled with intelligent, well-drawn characters; sparkling, snappy dialogue; and razor-sharp plotting, P.J. Tracy's stylish, high-voltage new nail-biter will have readers on the edge of their seats.

I want to get this disclaimer out of the way. This was a good book. I did like it. I have listed it as "Don't Read" instead of "Read" because I think though it was good, you might want to read something else.

P.J. Tracy is the pen name for a mother-daughter writing team. Live Bait is their second novel. One time awhile back I happened to be perusing this internet I've heard so much about and came across a recommendation. It read something to the affect of: If you have read all of Jeffery Deaver's books and want something along the same lines to keep you entertained until he releases another, try Monkeewrench by P.J. Tracy. I will try to dig up that review for you as it was written sometime in 2004 B.B. (Before Blog). Monkeewrench, though better than Live Bait, is still not as good as Deaver F.Y.I.

Live Bait, as the description states is surely "filled with intelligent, well-drawn characters"; so much so that there is just too much to juggle. Maybe I had too much on my mind due to the holidays, but I feel that the author(s) tried to track too many characters. You are not only introduced to, but also get at least a quasi-intimate knowledge of detectives Magozzi and Rolseth, the entire Monkeewrench software team (4 people), Marty Pullman and Jack Gilbert. This happens while you try to follow the story of 4 local murders and potentially dozens more world-wide.

Many authors write a book or two, establish themselves in the industry and then develop their serial character (Patterson - Alex Cross, Sanford - Lucas Davenport, Evanovich - Stephanie Plum, Connelly - Harry Bosch, Cussler - Dirk Pitt to name a few), Tracy has made the choice to begin with said character, or in this case characters. From Monkeewrench to Live Bait we see the continuation of 6 different people. Live Bait ends as the 6 characters are established further, readers know there will be a third book and the third book will follow the same 6 people.

The book is 340 pages long. I very much enjoyed the final 70 pages of the book. The first 270 seemed to be more of a jumbled mess than anything else. It was a unique story, another plus; however back to the "Don't Read" stamp on this book, it just took too long to get rolling for me to recommend it to you. If you are more patient than I (I don't set the bar too high) maybe you could enjoy this book more than I did.

Buy Live Bait $16.29

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)

December 23rd, 2004

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)The release date for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is July 16th, 2005. The sixth book in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is already tops on the bestseller lists at both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com with pre-orders.

Order your copy now. $17.99

Book of the Month - January, 2005

December 20th, 2004

The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver

The Coffin Dancer - Jeffery DeaverDetective Lincoln Rhyme, the foremost criminalist in the NYPD, is on the hunt for an elusive murderer, the Coffin Dancer. He's a brilliant hitman who changes his appearance even faster than he adds to his trail of victims, only one of whom has lived long enough to offer a clue: the assassin has an eerie tattoo on his arm of the Grim Reaper waltzing with a woman in front of a casket.

Like his previous bestselling novels, A Maiden's Grave and The Bone Collector, Jeffery Deaver's latest psychological thriller combines spine-chilling forensic detail with a turbocharged plot. In The Coffin Dancer, Rhyme, tragically paralyzed from a line-of-duty accident, continues to tutor his beautiful protégé, Detective Amelia Sachs, in the art of criminal hunting. Rhyme is certain he's seen this killer before, and his suspicion of an earlier encounter fuels a bitter taste for vengeance. When the chameleonlike assassin targets three federal witnesses for death, the stakes reach a new high. Rhyme's brainpower and Sachs's legwork are the only tools they have to track the cunning murderer through the subways, parks, and airports of a darkly painted New York City. And they have only forty-eight hours before the Coffin Dancer strikes again.

With The Coffin Dancer, Deaver--already an internationally bestselling author whose acclaimed novels have been translated into a dozen languages--uses his trademark plot twists to keep this fast-paced, masterly thriller steamrolling along with breathtaking speed. This is page-turning suspense of the highest order.

Buy The Coffin Dancer $7.19

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State of Fear - Michael Crichton

December 17th, 2004

State of Fear - Michael CrichtonIn Paris, a physicist dies after performing a laboratory experiment for a beautiful visitor.

In the jungles of Malaysia, a mysterious buyer purchases deadly cavitation technology, built to his specifications.

In Vancouver, a small research submarine is leased for use in the waters off New Guinea.

And in Tokyo, an intelligence agent tries to understand what it all means.

Thus begins Michael Crichton's exciting and provocative technothriller, State of Fear. Only Michael Crichton's unique ability to blend science fact and pulse-pounding fiction could bring such disparate elements to a heart-stopping conclusion.

This is Michael Crichton's most wide-ranging thriller. State of Fear takes the reader from the glaciers of Iceland to the volcanoes of Antarctica, from the Arizona desert to the deadly jungles of the Solomon Islands, from the streets of Paris to the beaches of Los Angeles. The novel races forward, taking the reader on a rollercoaster thrill ride, all the while keeping the brain in high gear. Gripping and thought-provoking, State of Fear is Michael Crichton at his very best.

For my money, there is no better author than Michael Crichton. A new book by any other writer does not excite me nearly as much as a new Crichton. Who else could get me to actually schedule my reading complete with a deadline so I am able to start his book on its release date? Though seen here my calculations were slightly off...

State of Fear was no exception to the highly scientific style of Crichton's "techno-thrillers". I am not sure I have ever found one of his books more interesting, perhaps because I have never found one more relevant to society today. If you have read any of his work, you know he is impressive with the amount of research he does for his books, but State of Fear even comes complete with a full bibliography of his sources.

Despite my fascination with State of Fear, it is not my favorite Crichton novel. I feel it is fair to say that I had no complaints through the majority of the book. The ending simply left me high and dry. I felt like the story was wrapped up too quickly. Maybe the author had a deadline to meet and rushed through the conclusion, maybe not.

I enjoyed the book very much. I do recommend it in its entirety, but if you will not sit down and read this book I do suggest you pick a copy off the shelf and quickly read through one chapter. Pages 451-460 in the book mark the most thought provoking part of the book. Who knows, maybe reading that might get you interested in the whole thing if you're not already. I would actually type out the chapter for you all to preview if it weren't for those pesky copyright laws. I hope you understand.

State of Fear $16.77

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Roses Are Red - James Patterson

December 7th, 2004

Roses Are Red - James PattersonIn this heart-pounding but touchingly romantic new thriller, Detective Alex Cross pursues the most complex and brilliant killer he's ever confronted--a mysterious criminal who calls himself the Mastermind.

In a series of crimes that has stunned Washington D.C., bank robbers have been laying out precise demands when they enter the building--and then killing the bank employees and their families if those instructions are not followed to the letter.

Detective Alex Cross takes on the case, certain that this is no ordinary bank robber at work--the pathological need for control and perfection is too great. Cross is in the midst of a personal crisis at home, but the case becomes all-consuming as he learns that the Mastermind is plotting one huge, last, perfect, crime.

With twists and reversals that only the mind of James Patterson could create, Roses are Red is by far the most explosive, surprising, and fast-paced novel of his extraordinary career.

I am slowly but surely getting through the Alex Cross series. It is difficult for me to not have finished it so far, but I am sticking to my guns. I said at the beginning I would not try to rush through it. I very much enjoy James Patterson's writing and was afraid that if I tried to read too many of his books in a row I may become tired of the same writing style. This, mind you, would be no fault of the author's.

I actually feel that approaching this series in this fashion makes it more fun for me. I find myself saying, "When is it time for another Alex Cross?" Roses Are Red is the sixth of a ten book series that is definitely picking up steam. The books are getting more and more exciting. If you have read Patterson you know his books are hard to put down.

Roses Are Red was not the best book of this series, though still a very good book in its own right. It was enjoyable from beginning to end and difficult to put down. I will admit that it has been awhile since I have been so excited by the ending of a book as I was when I finished Roses Are Red. I cannot wait to start Violets Are Blue.

You start reading these yet? You should.

| Forum | The Alex Cross series:
Along Came a Spider $7.19
Kiss the Girls $7.19
Jack & Jill $7.19
Cat & Mouse $7.19
Pop Goes the Weasel $7.19
Roses are Red $7.19
Violets are Blue $7.19
Four Blind Mice $7.19
Big Bad Wolf $6.39
London Bridges $18.45

Monday's Dilemma

December 6th, 2004

So here's the deal. I am always reading a book. Whether or not I have one open in front of me, I am engrossed in one. I have 11 pages to go in the book I am currently reading, which is nothing out of the ordinary. I generally stick to reading a book per 7-10 days or so (though slower recently). The best part about finishing a book is starting the next one.

My problem stems from this fact: A book I have been anticipating for some time now comes out tomorrow. I tried to time my current read to be finished tomorrow, but I will finish early.

I will need to busy myself with other things tonight, possibly not reading at all before bed. I read over breakfast every morning and can easily knock out those last 11 pages then before I have a chance to swing by the bookstore at lunchtime to pick up the book.

Do I finish it tonight?

Do I just start something else and then start the new book in a week?

Do I hold off until tomorrow?

Perhaps I will finish the book tonight and then spend my morning hours tomorrow typing the review for your reference...I think that one will win.

Stay tuned for reviews of both books.

The Privatjokr Book Club

December 3rd, 2004

The Privatjokr Book Club, or the PJBC.

The question has been raised of how to obtain membership in this, the most exclusive of all clubs. I am prepared to follow suit, though you may not like the answer. The task is an arduous one, only those serious about their book of the month need read on.

There are two methods by which one may gain entry into the Privatjokr Book Club. You are welcome to take any notes necessary...

1) There is a nomadic peoples who during our winter months may be found in the northeast sector of Cambodia. The people worship a stone relic that is always in the possession of their chief. What you must do is not only follow the tribe, but live among them do what it takes to gain the trust of the people. When you feel the time is right you must request to borrow the relic. Tell them you want to show it to your grandmother, perhaps you need to take it to be buffed and/or polished. The motive is inconsequential, the goal is key. The chief needs to see the absence of fear behind your eyes or the mission is compromised. Bring me the relic. Then we will decide by committee the fate of your membership.

2) When I post a book as "Book of the Month" I include the summary from the book or release from the publisher. Read what is posted as you would if you picked up the book from a shelf in the store/library. If That selected sounds appealing to you, read it. If not, hopefully I'll do better next month.

For discussion purposes you can either comment to the blog post here on the homepage or register for the Forum to post there. (Note: you do not need to be registered at this time to *read* the book of the month forum topic.) Discussion of any and all books is in no way required. Though if you feel you have something to say, discussion is encouraged.

Readers of the forum have indicated they would like the coming month's "Book of the Month" (BotM) to be announced on or near the 20th day of the current month. Argument was made that this gives sufficient time to acquire the book prior to the month for which it has been selected.

Books are selected from a variety of authors from a variety of genres in hopes of reaching a larger population. They are not always current best sellers, they are not always current "new releases". The books picked should be available at your local library, though I provide a link to each in case you choose to buy from Amazon.com. Some of the books chosen I have already read, though not all. In either situation, in no way do I guarantee you'll enjoy the book, but I do hope we all will.

*All policies regarding the PJBC are subject to criticism. We try to keep things democratic and take issues to a vote.

The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands - Stephen King

November 29th, 2004

The Waste Lands - Stephen KingRoland, the last gunslinger, moves ever closer to the Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares as he travels through city and country in Mid-World--a macabre world that is a twisted image of our own. With him are those he has drawn to this world: street-smart Eddie and courageous, wheelchair-bound Susannah.

Ahead of him are mind-bending revelations about who and what is driving him. Against him is arrayed a swelling legion of foes--both more and less then human...

Mr. King, you have my attention, sir.

What a great series. Understand that this is less horror and more fantasy, so do not shy away from it because of what made the author famous. I have now read the first three books and they get better and better.

Roland has sparked curiousity in his travel companions about the Dark Tower. This curiousity keeps them trudging along the path at his side. The same curiousity keeps me reading. I'm hooked.

Read this series, for your father's sake!

| Forum |The Dark Tower Series: |
The Gunslinger $7.19
The Drawing of the Three $7.19
The Waste Lands $7.19
Wizard and Glass $7.19
Wolves of the Calla $23.10
Song of Susannah $19.80
The Dark Tower $21.00