Saturday, August 16, 2014

"The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman

It doesn’t matter that it has been four years since I last made an entry to this blog.  What matters is that I am writing today. 

To explain my absence to anyone who is wondering I will only say that I didn’t die and yet, in a way, I did.  I got sad.  I got angry.  I despaired.  It took me a long time to come to the realization that I didn’t have to go with the flow any longer; that I could make a decision about the direction I wanted to go. 

So, lately I’ve been caught between my old life (still in my old job) and the future (which I’m still hazy about). 

This morning I was thinking about how reading a whole boatload of books years ago by Stephen King were instrumental in jump starting my psychic part of life.  I always wondered how that was possible.  Obviously, it doesn’t happen to other people who read his books.  There are just too many of them. 

But this morning I thought that perhaps the way he writes, the way he snatches at thoughts speaks to my inner being in such a way as to amplify and bring a confused and muddled self into a place where things are a bit more understandable.  A place where I can perhaps not exactly identify them but close enough to where I can hold the focus of my attention long enough that I can get a better look at them.

A week or so ago I was surfing around on the internet and came upon an article where somebody had wonderful things to say about Neil Gaiman.  It was like someone had thrown a line into the lake with a sparkling, spinning fishing lure on it and I bit.  I went online to our Oakland public library and reserved one of his books.  A few days later I got an email announcing that it had arrived at our local branch.  At my first opportunity I checked it out and began reading, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”. 

It is a quick book to read, slender and lightweight.  I couldn’t put it down.  Please read it, not just for the story but for the way this man, like Stephen King, can reawaken memories of childhood.  The magic of being a child that, as an adult, you think is long gone, that in reality is really with you for the rest of your life.

I am practicing trusting in the universe.  I am open to the idea that what we need comes to us.  I am open to the idea that our vibrations attract similar vibrations.  The vibrational writing of Neil Gaiman is something I think I need near me right now.

I think "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" is a book of transformation.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

“The King of Lies” by John Hart

“The King of Lies” by John Hart

Wow. I tore through this book at top speed. I just couldn’t (well, I didn’t want to) put it down.

This is a story of a lawyer and what happens when his whole world goes bottom up. The story tugs at your own heart because even though it is a work of fiction it is also a story anybody can relate to.

All of us are comfortable in our own lives. Our reality has been a certain way for a very long time. We’re used to it. We can walk in the door and not have to face up to old issues that we either don’t want to look at or have forgotten completely.  Granted, we grow throughout our lives, but hopefully, it is just one small step at a time and you don't experience more than a mild jolt.  It is the big steps we have to take that can be most uncomfortable to make.  This is a big step.

It’s an eye opener. It’s like what happened to me when I read, “A Course in Miracles”. Beyond being a riveting story it makes you ask yourself if you are really being true to your own heart or have you been compromising your own truth for years. This book reminds you of what it is like to ask yourself a hard question and take the next step in growing spiritually.

I’m going to seek out more of John Hart’s work. The reading of this particular book began as a nudge from my own Spirit Guides. On my way to work about a week ago they urged me to hang a right on Fruitvale and swing past the library to have a look at the orphan books that had piled up over the weekend in front of the library’s doors. I picked up this book and several others. Books from writers I’ve never read before. Some fresh books and thanks to Spirit for the tip.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

“U is for Undertow” by Sue Grafton

“U is for Undertow” by Sue Grafton. Imagine, A through U. That’s 21 novels Sue Grafton has written.

Kinsey Millhone is a gutsy private eye. It takes me back to when I was a little girl and read the Nancy Drew mysteries. Nancy was my hero, or I suppose heroine. Kinsey is the same. I really admire how she moves through life. I’ve seen her fall in love and out of love in the different books I’ve read. She isn’t an aluminum plated super-hero. She’s as normal and as warped as any of us is, but still, she’s got a courageousness that I admire. I haven’t read them all; just the ones that come my way. And, it really doesn’t matter if you hopscotch all over the alphabet to read her stories.

In this one an emotionally troubled young man has a flashback to when he was 6 years old and brings a case to Kinsey. He can only afford to pay her $500 for one day’s work. He’s read an account of an unsolved kidnapping that happened years before. Every year the town’s newspaper runs an article about how Mary Claire vanished and was never heard from again. When Michael Sutton reads the news article his troubled memory flashes on two men digging a hole. They told the little 6 year old boy they were pirates and were digging for treasure. Michael believed them then, but when he revisits that old memory he realizes it was around that time that Mary Claire disappeared.

And, so the story goes. You can get a good feel for how Kinsey takes all sorts of facts and finally puts the pieces together to make a plausible story.

Sue Grafton’s Alphabet novels aren’t just about the cases Kinsey Millhone takes on. They are about Kinsey too so that as you read more and more of them you get to know Kinsey, the character, in a way that makes her as memorable and as real as she must be to Sue Grafton.

I’m a writer, but I was a reader first and I always felt a sense of sadness as I waved goodbye to the characters I’d come to love in whatever book I was reading at the time. There was this sense of regret that I would never meet them again, so when I am able to latch onto a writer who can’t say goodbye to their people either my heart does a little happy dance and I curl up again with a good book.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

It has been awhile since I did a review. It’s not that I stopped reading because I have not. It’s because my reading changed for a time. Instead of devouring them and then taking the few moments it would take to write a review I began to read books like a chain smoker. No pausing from one to the other.

People have things happen in their lives that jolt them, that somehow make them jump their tracks. That happened to us. Our long time neighbor of 20 years Phil passed away in January. Here it is six months later and I’m still off kilter. I realize that he is okay. I’m a psychic and a channel in my alter life and so am able to speak to him any time I want. So, I realize he has another life and is content and happy, but still I grieved. That grief took me away from much of what I was doing at the time. I have several blogs and several websites and lots of things to do that interest me not to mention a forty hour a week job.

I slipped into a rut that consisted of work and reading. Slowly I am taking small steps to move on. Now, I will try one other thing, a review. Why? Because I read a book that mesmerized me for a time.

In, “Every Last One” Anna Quindlen fleshes out her characters so well that you can almost finish their sentences for them you get to know them that well. Personally I think that is a very difficult thing probably because I have yet to do it myself with the passing attempts I make at writing. But, for me reading is a joy and I learn from each and every book I read (or re-read). I think I might have glimpsed some of her writer’s magic in this book.

From a writer’s standpoint I am in awe. From a reader’s standpoint I couldn’t put it down and from a person who is grieving I could feel hope.

This story shows what happens to a person who is happy with her life. Granted things might be a little different or better, but whose life is like that anyway? Perfect. No, this is about a real person’s life. The mother, the wife, the friend and how she is to each of those people who spin out from her center. But, there at the center of her universe it is safe. Each day flows one into the next. People change and there are regrets. But, really, it is just one day after another, one season after another and one year after another.

Until something so horrifying happens that cannot ever have been foretold. And, the last part of the story is how Mary Beth Latham learns that there can be life after a devastating moment.

I’m recommending it to any who would like to read it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Outlander Series

Like I don’t have enough to do. I started reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon again. I’ve made it though the first 3 books and today have embarked upon the fourth one.

1. The Outlander – Where Claire steps into a stone circle in 1945 and emerges 200 years earlier. Where to save her live she marries Jaime a Highlander and where they fall in love.
2. Dragonfly in Amber – Where Claire and Jaime make their way into the turmoil that resulted in the slaughter at Culloden trying their hardest to subvert the efforts of Bonny Prince Charles to no avail. And, where Claire, pregnant goes back through the stones to her first husband Frank.
3. Voyager – Where her husband Frank has died and Claire is ready to tell her daughter, Brianna who her real father is and where her roots lie. Where with the help of an historian, Roger, Claire and Brianna find out that Jaime never died at Culloden, but survived and was noted in historical documents. And, where Claire goes back through the stones to find him.
4. Drums of Autumn – I’ve just started this one. I know what’s coming up. I’ve read these books several times. They average about 1,000 pages each.
5. The Fiery Cross
6. A Breath of Snow and Ashes
7. An Echo in the Bone

I just today found out that the 7th book, An Echo in the Bone, was published last October, 2009. And, rumor has it there will be an 8th book before the saga is over.

If you love historical romance. If you love time travel. If you love a swash buckling yarn that goes on and on and never seems to stop you will want to read these books.

Friday, December 18, 2009

“Survivor in Death” by JD Robb (Nora Roberts)

“Survivor in Death” by JD Robb (Nora Roberts)
2005, GP Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 0-399-15208-3

Sometimes you are just in the mood for hard, fast and thrilling. That’s what I can always count on when I pick up a book where Nora Roberts is writing as JD Robb.

A family is murdered in their beds. One was missed. Nixie is the daughter and she had invited her best friend in the world, Linnie, over for a sleep over. But, Nixie wanted an orange fizzy and Linnie didn’t want to get up. Nixie went by herself to the kitchen and that was when her world changed forevermore.

Murder was done to all the members of her family and to her best friend. Gone. Blood everywhere. Done in minutes. But, they didn’t see her. They weren’t looking for her. They took out the father, the mother, the housekeeper, the son and the daughter. Except the daughter was hiding, covered with her mother’s blood and instead her best friend had been murdered in her place.

Detective Eve Dallas takes the case and is sworn to both protect Nixie until the murderers are apprehended and find her a place to be in the world. Somehow it all got very personal as memories of the damage done to this family and to this small survivor of madness reminds both Dallas and her husband Roarke of the injustice they also experienced as children.

You get to see yet another side of Dallas, the people on the New York Police Force she works with and a tantalizing glimpse into the near future combined with tough crime fighting that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

“San Francisco – Then and Now” by Eric Kos, Dennis Evanosky and Karl Mondon

“San Francisco – Then and Now” by Eric Kos, Dennis Evanosky and Karl Mondon
2009, Thunder Bay Press
ISBN: 978-1-60710-003-4

I don’t know about you, but I love looking at before and after pictures. Before she lost weight and after. Before the bathroom was remodeled and after. How about history? In “San Francisco – Then and Now” we have an opportunity to look at scenes from earlier days and then on each opposing page of the book, and from the exact same perspectives, the same scene as it is in 2009.

Eric Kos, Dennis Evanosky and photographer Karl Mondon have teamed up for yet another gorgeous book. This one, as the name suggests, is about San Francisco, one of America’s most famous cities.

Evanosky and Kos combed dusty halls and library archives for the historical pictures used in the book. From an original collection of over 300 historical pictures, many not seen in years, the 70 used in this book were chosen. Karl Mondon, a life-long San Francisco native, helped to identify the locations of the old pictures and then tromped about the city of San Francisco to take the incredibly sharp and beautiful up-to-date pictures. The perspectives demanded that he climb atop the San Francisco Bay Bridge and the Ferry Building.

Each set of pictures in the book is accompanied by “Then and Now” stories. Who lived there then and who lives there now. How the sites have changed in years gone by and how some have remained the same.

It’s always fun to learn of a story behind the story. And here's a secret: have a look at the pictures of Alcatraz on pages 24 and 25. That's Evanosky and Kos standing next to the cells.

Even people who have lived in San Francisco their whole lives will find something new to learn about their historic city. “San Francisco – Then and Now” can serve as a good-will ambassador to the rest of the world for years to come.

Good job guys!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

“The Geometry of Sisters” by Luanne Rice

“The Geometry of Sisters” by Luanne Rice
2009, Bantam Books
ISBN: 978-0-553-80513-0

Our library has a book bin outside the front door and in the dead of night people come to leave their orphan books. On my trip to the library the day I checked out “The Geometry of Sisters” I stopped by the box and saw an old textbook of beginning geometry. Geometry was one of my favorite subjects in high school and it had been a long time since I’d done anything with it. I had a yen to explore the world of numbers and angles again.

Then, wouldn’t you know I go inside the library and in the new book section, “The Geometry of Sisters” practically screams my name. Psychic stuff is funny that way. Anyway, I checked out the book and haven’t been able to put it down.

This is a really terrific book. I’ve read other things by Luanne Rice and I do like the way she tells a story. I was not disappointed with this one.
It has to do with the close ties between sisters and how secrets can tear apart relationships and families. How we react to things and do the only thing we can do and we can manage to really mess things up. And, it’s how to fix things too.

I loved the geometry part and was able to slide back in time to where I also got lost in the infinity, the logical sense, the oneness of numbers. I’m looking forward to that old beat up text book too. “Introductory Geometry – An Informal Approach” by James R. Smart.

Friday, December 4, 2009

“Under the Done” by Stephen King

“Under the Done” by Stephen King
2009, Scribner
ISBN: 978-1-4391-4850-1

“Under the Dome” by Stephen King is 1,074 pages long. I weighed it after my wrists started hurting and I had to put on my wrist splints. It is 3.8 pounds. It doesn’t feel like 3.8 pounds. It feels like it weighs about 7 pounds. Now, for the first time in my life I have a better perspective where I can appreciate small losses of weight when I step on the scale in the morning.

Okay, to the book. I absolutely loved it. I positively, absolutely loved it. If you’ve never read a Stephen King book in your life before you will love it. If you are already a Stephen King fan you will know what to expect: horror that seeps out of everyday life.

There are always so many ways to tell a story and I love the way Stephen King does it. It’s like being able to swim underwater for long periods of time. As a writer I can appreciate it not being able to do it myself very well. It’s the ability to give bones to a character and to relationships. To take the time (thus a very long book) to paint for the person reading the book an exact picture of what is going on.

Yet, there is always that underlying talent of King’s where he says to himself, “But, what if?”

Remember when you were a kid and examined a bunch of busy ants? Remember when you and your friend sat there with a magnifying glass and smoked them? When did you start feeling remorse for having done that dirty deed? If ever? Did doing that cruel thing as a child help to develop the upstanding, moral character you are now? Or, do you still kill ants? Personally, I haven’t felt much lately when I squash them as they send their scouts into my kitchen. Now, I’m going to have to do a re-think on the matter. That much really unsettled my breakfast.

I’m not giving anything away here, am I? Okay, the Dome comes down on a small town in Maine one day. Nobody can get in and nobody can get out. Nobody can see it either. People get cut in half as it comes down. People crash into it. Animals do too. So do the birds. Picture this: You’ve got a really bad-ass politician running the town. This is perfect for a grab for power.

There’s a whole lot more to it. I don’t want to tell you the whole thing here. I’m just saying you will enjoy this story. You will probably call upon some unsettling memories you have too. It’s a win-win situation any way you look at it. Enjoyment of a horror story and a little introspective look into your own business.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

“The Rebels: Sons of Texas” by Elmer Kelton

“The Rebels” by Elmer Kelton
1990, A Forge Book
ISBN: 978-0-7653-1526-7

I’ve become a huge fan of Elmer Kelton. Step back into the 1830’s and he will tell you a story of the Lewis family as they meet up in Texas. Years earlier Michael and Andrew left Tennessee for Texas. Times were hard. Stephen Austin had brokered a deal with Mexico for American settlers to come to Texas to live.

It had been 15 years since the brothers had built up their farms and in “The Rebels: Sons of Texas” more family from Tennessee were traveling west to join them. Frank, their cousin, his wife Hope and their children brought a wagon and in the other wagon Andrew and Michael’s brother James and their sister Annie.

Their lives were difficult. Times were fraught with tension as Mexico became concerned with the number of American settlers in Texas. Living in a foreign country with hardly any rights gnawed at the settlers and eventually it became war. This is where they cried, “Remember the Alamo”.

Elmer Kelton showed me the history of the state of Texas in a way I just hadn’t seen it before. He brings the life and times into such a clear focus that you can’t help but gain a better understanding of what people were like in those days.

This is the third in the trilogy of The Sons of Texas. Click on the titles of the first book, "The Sons of Texas" and the second book, "The Raiders: Sons of Texas" to see the reviews I wrote for those books. It would be so cool if Elmer would write more about the Lewis family. I feel I've come to know them.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

“The Raiders: Sons of Texas” by Elmer Kelton

“The Raiders” by Elmer Kelton
1989, A Forge Book
ISBN: 0-765-31525-4

I am a huge fan of Western stories by Elmber Kelton. “The Raiders” is the second in a trilogy called, “Sons of Texas”. I’ve got the 3rd book, “The Rebels” sitting at my side, ready to go and past due at the library. I am considering just letting the fines accumulate so I can finish it up.

Andrew and Michael Lewis came from Tennessee to Texas. “The Raiders” takes place 10 years after they arrived in Texas. Michael has married Marie, but he’s got his father’s wanderlust in his veins. There are times as he gazes off to the west and the urge to travel is upon him. Andrew is concerned for Marie and Mordecai, their son, when his brother leaves, especially now that Marie is pregnant again. Michael does not appreciate Andrew’s concern and is forever telling him to mind his own business.

What Marie and Michael figure is that Andrew needs his own wife. But going out to find a wife in the early days of Americans in Texas is hard.

There are many adventures. Dangerous situations that come to show the truer natures of the people involved in these stories.

Elmer Kelton’s stories have a different sort of rhythm than a romance or a mystery. These stories are not rushed. There’s a really natural flow. This stuff really happened to people, our ancestors from all parts of the world, as they settled the land of Texas.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

“Strangers in Death” by J.D. Robb

“Strangers in Death” by J.D. Robb
2008, G.P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 978-0-399-15470-6

It’s easy to pick up books in the library if you zoom right in on a favorite writer. J.D. Robb is Nora Roberts, but, as J.D. Robb she’s writing futuristic detective stories and the person who is the focal point of all of those stories is Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

It is the year 2060 in New York City and crime is the same there as it is in our own days. Motives just don’t change.

A man, prominent in the community, respected for his work dies in what appears to be a kinky sex session gone horribly awry.

You get to hang onto every twist and turn in the story as Eve, her husband Rourke, and her team of detectives search for motive and for a killer. This is a terrific story.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

“The Mulberry Tree” by Jude Deveraux

“The Mulberry Tree” by Jude Deveraux
2002, Atria Books
ISBN: 0-671-01421-8

“The Mulberry Tree” by Jude Deveraux takes a wealthy woman, a protected and isolated woman named Lillian and turns her world upside down when her husband dies. She and her husband had loved each other and had a fairy tale marriage. Lillian’s husband Jimmie was one of the wealthiest men in the world, but he left his wife a ramshackle house to live in. The rest of his wealth went to his brother and sister.

This is a story of what happens to Lillian, who has to change her name and go into hiding to avoid the press and Jimmie’s siblings who would take from her even the falling down house. She has no interest in fighting the will and wants only to curl into a ball. But, there is a mystery here and gradually she finds out just what has been going on.

As Lillian comes back and makes a life for herself you will be fascinated to follow along.

We tend to think that people who have it all don’t need anything else. This story will show you something else.

I enjoyed “The Mulberry Tree” as I have other books I’ve read by Jude Deveraux.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

“Daring to Dream” by Nora Roberts

“Daring to Dream” by Nora Roberts
1996, Jove Books
ISBN: 0-515-14290-5

Nora Roberts writes a lot of trilogies. I can understand why. The stories about folks are just so interesting that you can’t squeeze them all into one book. It just wouldn’t be right. So, in “Daring to Dream” Nora Roberts begins a trilogy about 3 friends who grew up together.

You’ve got Laura, Margo and Kate. You’ve got the Templeton family who runs beautiful and exclusive hotels all around the world. Laura is the daughter in that family. Kate is the distant relation who as a child lost her own family and came to be a part of the Templeton family and Margo is the housekeeper’s daughter. The three girls grew up together and consider themselves to be more sisters than friends.

Margo had gone away at the age of 18 to make a name for herself. She knew that Mr. and Mrs. T (the Templetons) would have been happy to help her, but she didn’t want their help. She didn’t want to accept the help of anyone and on her own did become a famous model. Except, it all went horribly wrong.

This is the story of what happens when Margo comes home to pick up the pieces and when she and Josh, Laura’s brother, find themselves attracted to each other.

Terrific story. I’m looking forward to getting the next 2 books to read.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

“True Believer” by Nicholas Sparks

“True Believer” by Nicholas Sparks
2005, Warner Books
ISBN: 0-446-53243-6

“True Believer” by Nicholas Sparks is a terrific love story in only the way that Nicholas Sparks can write them. You just can’t go wrong with him telling a story to you. It feels that way too, just you and the book and shut out the rest of the world while you devour this book.

Jeremy Marsh is worldly and works as a free-lance writer who has come to excel at uncovering hoaxes. His latest expose was in the field of the paranormal, specifically with a channel. Interestingly enough, that’s what I do, so finding this particular book was doubly interesting to me. In any case, he receives a letter inviting him to come expose a ghost story in a sleepy little town in North Carolina.

Ghostly lights is what they are. They show up in a haunted cemetery. Jeremy takes the bait and is drawn into the lives of people who have an entirely different rhythm to their lives than he does.

He also meets Lexie who is the librarian and is in much the same boat as he is in as far as a satisfying love life goes. Neither expects much to happen. He is only there to do the story for a few days. She is not at all interested in having a short fling. But, you never know what’s going to happen when sparks fly and souls cleave together.

As always, the sign of a really good book for me is when I cry at the end. And, I cried with this book a long time after it was finished.

Friday, September 25, 2009

“Oolong Dead” by Laura Childs

“Oolong Dead” by Laura Childs
2009, Berkeley Prime Crime
ISBN: 978-0-425-22599-8

“Oolong Dead” by Laura Childs is number ten in the Tea Shop Mysteries. I found myself entertained by Theo, short for Theodosa, a middle-aged lady who owns a tea shop. She is inevitably drawn into murder investigations. Turns out she’s done this before, but always as an amateur sleuth.

The eye of suspicion looks her way as she is the first to discover the body of a woman who didn’t have nice things to say to Theo. It also didn’t help that the dead lady in question was also the sister of Theo’s ex-boyfriend. Unraveling the stories people made up and uncovering the motives behind what they did takes up the pages of this book. You will be on edge even to the last pages. I enjoy a book like that.

Because Theo’s first interest is the tea shop there is great attention given to different teas they serve at the Indigo Tea Shop and the goodies they serve with the tea. Best of all is a collection of recipes at the end of the book.

You can’t go wrong where ever you start with this series. It’s like a wonderful Southern welcome from Theo and her friends as you join them in a good old fashioned whodunit.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

“Many a River” by Elmer Kelton

“Many a River” by Elmer Kelton
2008, A Forge Book
ISBN: 978-0-7753-2050-6

What happens when 2 young brothers find their family torn apart viciously during an Indian attack? After their mother and father were murdered Jeffrey, the older brother hides and Todd, the younger brother is kidnapped by the Indians.

In “Many a River” by Elmer Kelton, the story follows the lives of these two boys as they cope, as they adjust, as they cling to survival in the aftermath of the destruction of their family. Neither knows the other is alive.

Years pass and the Civil War explodes upon the country. One brother is with Union sympathizers and the other with people of the Confederacy. Follow this incredible story of life during the 1800’s in Texas and New Mexico.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

“Together Alone” by Barbara Delinsky

“Together Alone” by Barbara Delinsky
1995, Avon
ISBN: 978-0-06-171354-5

“Together Alone” by Barbara Delinsky centers in on the stories of three friends. These women are each faced with choices that require them to look at the most basic of life situations and once the decisions are made propel each of their lives in dynamic directions.

Emily and Doug’s daughter is going to college. Now, Emily’s attention turns toward her husband who has become a workaholic. At the heart of their relationship is a grievous ache that has never been solved or healed.

Kay is a teacher. She is involved in many activities related to school but is confused as her husband begins asking her to look at their relationship in a new way.

Celeste is a single mother. Her daughter, too, is going to college for the first time. With the need to totally focus upon her daughter no longer there she thinks that she would like to have a relationship. The question, though, is who?

This is a page turner you won’t want to put down. I enjoyed this book.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

“First Impressions” by Jude Deveraux

“First Impressions” by Jude Deveraux
2005, Atria Books
ISBN: 978-0-7434-3714-1

I started it yesterday and finished it today. “First Impressions” by Jude Deveraux is a fast paced romantic mystery. I also like that the heroine and the heroes are getting along there and are solidly middle-aged.

It’s a terrific triangle of the heroine Eden Palmer and two, count them two heroes, Jared the FBI agent and Braddon the local lawyer.

Eden is bequeathed a very old house in North Carolina by a woman she hasn’t seen in years. But, the house doesn’t come to her peacefully. There is someone out there killing people and Eden finds herself being watched by the FBI.

The action is fast and furious at times. And to watch those two heroes vying for Eden’s favor and love is rather interesting. Lovely to have two men fawning over you at the same time whatever age you are.

It’s funny. It’s heart warming. It’s a really good story.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

“Seducing an Angel” by Mary Balogh

“Seducing an Angel” by Mary Balogh
2009, Delacorte Press
ISBN: 98-0-385-34105-9

“Seducing an Angel” by Mary Balogh is a Victorian romance set in England. Cassandra Belmont is known far and wide as having killed her husband with an axe. Polite society tends to give her the direct cut and it almost doesn’t bother her anymore. What does bother her, is that the people closest to her, her once upon a time governess Alice who stuck with her through thick and thin, her maid Mary and her little girl Belinda and Roger a maimed, but loyal and loving dog have no one else to support them. The only answer is to find a job. Except, no one would hire Cassandra.

She feels the only answer is to acquire a protector and become his mistress. It sounds cold blooded, but if you think about it sometimes circumstances almost seem to force people into doing things they would not normally do. She picks Stephen out as her mark and spends a great deal of effort seducing him. It sounds sordid and you wonder how anybody can bear to show their face in public. I’d have a hard time doing it, I have to say.

This story has a happier time of it to show that the underlying goodness, the underlying moral character of a person will surface and be that trait best known to represent people rather than a mask they feel forced to wear.

Also, it has some juicy sex. I digress. Anyway, good book. Part of a series I think, but it seems like when Mary writes she just uncovers so many interesting stories about the people in her books that they just don’t fit into one book.

Friday, August 28, 2009

“Twist of Fate” by Jayne Ann Krentz

“Twist of Fate” by Jayne Ann Krentz
1986, HQN – Harlequin
ISBN: 978-0-373-7229-2

In the area of romance books I’ve noticed that back in the 1970’s and 1980’s the romantic relationship between a man and a woman was sometimes touched with a heavy brush of macho. It masqueraded as forcible love making which bordered on rape at times and I don’t find that I am entertained by reading stories like that now. However “Twist of Fate” by Jayne Ann Krentz was a lot different than the run of the mill romances of that time. I grimaced just a little bit when the first bit of macho loving showed itself, but was quickly diverted and found the story had redeemed itself when the subject turned more solidly toward the power of an individual woman. Now, that was not something I had seen very often in those decades.

Being as how I worship the ground Jayne Ann Krentz walks on and will read anything she’s written that I can get my hands on I was really pleased that even though there was a hint of stereotypical male macho strutting about, “Twist of Fate” did turn out to be a delightful story.

You will get caught up with Hannah and Gideon as they grow to love one another in the unlikeliest of love stories.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

“Son of a Witch” by Gregory Maguire

“Son of a Witch” by Gregory Maguire
2005, Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-06-054893-3

One of the first books I remember reading was, “The Wizard of Oz”. The absolute very first movie I ever watched was, “The Wizard of Oz” with Judy Garland as Dorothy. I was six years old at the time. Many is the Thanksgiving that you can find me settled in front of the television watching that beloved old movie again.

When I caught wind of a different story that had been published about the Wicked Witch I just had to read it. The title of that story by Gregory Maguire is, “Wicked”. I read it and it was fabulous. I had to have more. The second in the series is called, “Son of a Witch” and centers in on Liir. He doesn’t know for a certainty that he is Elphaba’s son (Elphaba is the Wicked Witch, by the way) but we, the dear reader, do know. Or rather Gregory knows and he is the one telling the story.

These are the old characters you know but more of their stories and of their hearts is told than we first knew from Frank Baum. They are just as magical as they were then, but there is that bit of us in them too. It’s like we are all related and the DNA is the same once you get down to brass tacks.

This is just fabulous. You know what else it has? It has magic. While I was reading it there were times when I almost felt the psychic thing going on where I could remember or, at least, relate to the magic of the people and Animals in Oz. It was an odd feeling, one that I don’t often feel while reading. It’s almost as though a molecular shift is going on deep inside. It happened when I read, “A Course in Miracles” and danged if I couldn’t feel it happening with this book too. Then, of course, maybe it was just my imagination.

But, I’ve got the third book to read now. It’s called, “A Lion Among Men” and centers in on the Cowardly Lion. It’s like having lots and lots of dessert. As much as you could ever want.

My recommendation to get the fullest enjoyment from this trio of books is to read them in the order they were written. Sometimes you can read a series out of sequence, but this is not one of them. Enjoy. I did.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Woman's Place by Barbara Delinsky

A Woman's Place by Barbara Delinsky
1997, Harper Collins
ISBN: 0-06-17506-0

One of the readers here at my blog recommended I read Barbara Delinsky. On one of my trips to the library I sought out her place on the shelves and picked, "A Woman's Place" to read.

It is a woman's story, it is a family's story, it is a story of change. Claire Raphael is a very busy woman. She is a wife, she is a mother and she owns her own company. Into this busy life her mother is dying. If you can imagine how distracted and upset you would be with these circumstances, can you imagine now what it would be like to be served with divorce papers by your husband? And, he not only wants custody of your children, but he wants your business as well.

This is a heart aching journey where even at the greatest despair we can still love and learn. I really liked this book and will look for others by Barbara Delinsky.

Monday, August 17, 2009

“The Choice” by Nicholas Sparks

“The Choice” by Nicholas Sparks
2007, Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-44-57992-6

“The Choice” by Nicholas Sparks is about the choices we make that affect our lives forevermore. Travis Parker lives by himself. He is not a hermit because he enjoys spending time with friends who go back many years. They are all married and all have kids, but he is a bachelor.

Gabby moves in next door. When the two of them meet it is both embarrassing and a clash of natures that you would think would totally ensure they would never exchange a civil word to each other in this lifetime. However…..

This is a wonderful story about falling in love. I have enjoyed pretty much everything I’ve ever read by Nicholas Sparks. I was not surprised that this was such a good book. And, for those who can understand…I shed a few tears as I made my way through it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

“Raisins and Almonds” by Kerry Greenwood

“Raisins and Almonds” by Kerry Greenwood
2007, Poisoned Pen Press
ISBN: 978-1-59058-168-1

This was a first time reading anything by Kerry Greenwood. “Raisins and Almonds” is part of a detective series featuring a lady named Phryne Fisher (pronounced Fry-knee). She is Australian and this story was set in the land down under.

It takes place in the days before World War II and gives an interesting view of those times. Phryne is a sort of a high society lady who rose from rough beginnings and who has a heart big enough to love and care for a great many people from all walks of life.

Into a Jewish neighborhood walks murder. The owner of a bookstore is accused of the crime. A man who is influential in the Jewish community approaches Phryne and asks her to find the killer and free the book mistress.

At the end of the book is a terrific bibliography and a glossary of Yiddish words. All my life I have known the word megillah. I never knew how to spell it. I just knew if you said, “The whole megillah” you meant the whole thing. In the glossary it is defined as: the whole long tale. I never knew it was a Yiddish word.

I will read Kerry Greenwood again. She is a prolific writer with 16 (so far) books in the Phryne series and over 40 novels written in total.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

“White Lies” by Jayne Ann Krentz

“White Lies” by Jayne Ann Krentz
2007, G.P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 0-399-15373-X

“White Lies” by Jayne Ann Krentz is an Arcane Society Novel. This story is centered around people who have natural psychic senses that are more developed than the rest of us.

Clare Lancaster is the heroine. Clare’s special psychic talent is that she can tell when people are telling lies. Jake Salter is the hero. His special psychic talent is that he is called a hunter. Together the two of them get involved when Clare goes to visit her father and his family.

The thing is, is that Clare’s mother and her father had a one night stand together and Clare was born as a result of that meeting. Her father did not even realize she was alive until Clare showed up. Right away Clare realized that her sister Elizabeth was in a world of trouble. From that moment on people dropped left and right.

This is a mystery trying to find out who is killing all these people.

If you read this one I wish you as much enjoyment as I experienced.

Monday, July 27, 2009

“The Perfect Poison” by Amanda Quick

“The Perfect Poison” by Amanda Quick
2009, G.P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 978-0-399-15580-2

“The Perfect Poison” by Amanda Quick. Brisk. Perky. Lovely psychic stuff. Mystery. Love with the unlikeliest of people. Handsome and yet not too handsome, beautiful and yet not the fashion at all. These are all elements of the stories by Amanda Quick. But, when she signs her name as Amanda you’ve got a mystery set in the 1800’s.

Lucinda Bromley has the ability to be able to detect poison. She occasionally helps the police with cases, but she herself is viewed with horror by polite society. This is because her father was accused of killing his business partner and then committing suicide. Then, her fiancĂ© was poisoned and it was commonly felt that she did the poisoning. She didn’t do the dastardly deed, but that is beside the point. Society thinks she did.

The bad trouble starts when she detects a very rare fern stolen from her greenhouse several months earlier had been used in a poison used to kill someone in high society. She told the police officer she works with that the person had been poisoned. What she didn’t tell him was that she suspected that the poison might have been made from her stolen fern.

Lucinda went to Jones Psychic Detective Agency and hired Caleb Jones to help her track down her fern and then to find a murderer. When Lucinda and Caleb meet the sparks begin to fly.

The psychic stuff comes in with a bunch of stories called The Arcane Society Novels. I love when the heroine doesn’t understand the subtleties just like they can often fly by me occasionally. Still, at the age of 54, I can learn from these characters on how to bounce back with aplomb from a faux paus.

It’s not just a story. It’s a box of chocolates.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

“Death goes on Retreat” by Sister Carol Anne O'Marie

“Death goes on Retreat” by Sister Carol Anne O'Marie
1995, Delacorte Press
ISBN: 0-385-31047-1

I’ve always been a great fan of the religious. Once upon a time I aspired to be one, but those were girlhood dreams and were a long time ago. My husband and I have been married over 30 years and I morphed in my middle age into a psychic, so, presumably I am as far away from being a nun as I could possibly be. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t still be a fan.

This is a mystery with nuns at the center of the tale. It’ called, “Death goes on Retreat” and it was written by Sister Carol Anne O’Marie. A co-worker told me about her because she had recently passed on in May of 2009. She helped to co-found and run a homeless shelter for women in Oakland called A Friendly Place. Sister was from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet religious order.

Central to “Death goes on Retreat” is Sister Mary Helen who is an elderly nun on retreat who somehow becomes involved in a murder investigation. While the detectives come to investigate Sister Mary Helen and her friend Sister Eileen begin their own investigation. They have already gained a bit of notoriety as sleuths in another murder and so know how to ask the right questions.

The story lets you peek into the lives of the clergy, the priests and nuns in the story. It also shines with love and compassion. It’s one of those books to read when you’ve grown tired of sirens and serial killers and mass murder.

Curl up and pick up one of Sister O’Marie’s books. She wrote 11 of them. Your library should have at least one of them for you to read. Mine did.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

“Straight Into Darkness” by Faye Kellerman

“Straight Into Darkness” by Faye Kellerman
2005, Time Warner Book Group
ISBN: 0-446-53040-9

Tell me a story and I’ll be interested. Tell me a story by Faye Kellerman and I’m riveted. “Straight Into Darkness” takes place in Munich, Germany just before Hitler came to power.

The story focuses upon Axel Berg who is a police detective and a number of murders he is trying to solve. What is interesting is to see how the German people are reacting to Hitler’s rise; how many agree with him and his hate and how many of them can’t abide him or his views. This gives you the advantage of seeing history unfold before your very eyes and all you want to do is to say to the people in the story, “Don’t take anything for granted. Treasure your loved ones. There is worse coming.” This story also provides a sharp elbow jab to your side about how complacency can be the best thing a despot could hope for.

Not only is this a really good who-done-it, “Straight Into Darkness”, is a very secret look into the soul of a people on the abyss of something very much worse than a serial killer.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Promises in Death" by JD Robb

"Promises in Death" by JD Robb
2009, GP Putnam's Sons
ISBN: 978-0-399-15548-2

Dallas, Lt Eve. It doesn’t take long until you are understanding cop speak in the year 2060….way into the future where cars go straight up when you want to get somewhere quickly.

These are series books and this one is, “Promises in Death”. The misery here is the DB (dead body) is a policewoman. She is not all that well known to Eve, but her murder falls to Eve to solve.
Morris, who is the chief medical officer was Amaryllis Coltraine’s sweetheart and he is a friend of Eve’s. To help him handle the grieving Eve invites him to help solve the mystery and put Amaryllis’ killer behind bars. In fact, for a woman who doesn’t mingle well and who doesn’t feel comfortable with lots of people she has a great number of them to help her with solving this crime.

Even is you’ve not read any of these books before J.D. Robb draws you into the group of characters in this book, many who will be in the other Death books. There’s a whole slew of them so if you end up liking these (some do and some don’t…I definitely do!) you’re set for a large collection of books to plow through. On the book jacket it said J.D. Robb, a pseudonym for Nora Roberts, has written 150 books. I can’t even imagine that. She’s got to do it in her sleep!

Good story. Goes quickly. I was done in 2 days. Eat books.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

“Finger Lickin' Fifteen” by Janet Evanovich

“Finger Lickin' Fifteen” by Janet Evanovich
2009, St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 98-0-312-38328-2

I don’t often buy the books I read. I sort of ran out of room to store them and then I ran out of book money. Mostly, lately anyway, I get them from the Dimond branch of the Oakland Public Library or from the little library at the Curves I go to in the Dimond. This one, though, I flat out bought new. I was over at Luann’s book store, across the street from where I live. She keeps about one copy of everything. But, this just jumped out at me from where it was on the shelf and I didn’t even have to think twice about waiting for it to come out in paperback. No, I must have it even at top dollar which was $27.95

I’ve read all of the Stephanie Plum books. Each one is fabulous and this was no exception. Stephanie is currently on the outs with Morrelli and the smokin that’s going on with Ranger is exceptional. Lula witnesses what looks like a mob hit and from that moment on they’re after her. She sticks close by Stephanie and, as usual, it’s like Lucille Ball on wheels. I even read half a page to a co-worker at lunch today. Her eyes got real big. Now, I’m going to lend the book to her and I’m betting they’ll get a lot bigger.

If you have never read one of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels go read one now. It doesn’t have to be this one. It could be any of the previous fourteen. I believe I started with number five when I first started reading them. These are so good that I will often read them more than once. It’s sort of like a chocolate attack. Nothing will do but chocolate and sometimes nothing will do but some huge laughs with Stephanie Plum.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

“Lavender Morning” by Jude Deveraux

“Lavender Morning” by Jude Deveraux
2009, Atria Books
ISBN: 978-0-7434-3720-2

I have two great things I love to do. I eat and I read. Today I almost ate this book. “Lavender Morning” is a huge romantic mystery. I can’t tell you the end because that might spoil the book for you, but I can tell you that you’re not going to be able to put this one down.

At the heart of it is a gentile old woman named Edi and a young girl named Jocelyn. Edi takes Jocelyn under her wing when Joce was about 10 years old. Joce’s family doesn’t pay too much attention to her anyway, so they don’t miss the time she spends with Miss Edi. The love these two have for each other is endearing.

And, then the old woman dies. And, in her will she leaves something of extraordinary value to Joce.

Read this book to see how a lonely and grieving young woman can follow the last wishes of an older woman to find her destiny.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

“Innocent in Death” by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)

“Innocent in Death” by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)
2007, GP Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 978-0-399-15401-0

I think this is the second novel I’ve read by Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb. Central to the story is Lieutenant Eve Dallas. She is a cop in the future. I think about 2060 or so.

In “Innocent in Death” Eve with her trusty second in command, Peabody, get a case where a teacher has been murdered in a trendy private school. As the clues are discovered it seems that the killer is in plain view. Except, then he is killed.

And, the questions move forward: Who is the real killer?

What is interesting to me are the other characters in the book. Lieutenant Dallas’ husband Rourke who appears to have a mysterious past. There’s an old flame of his who pops on the scene to create problems between husband and wife. There are other characters who come into the novel who obviously have had greater roles in other books. There’s a whole bunch of them with Lieutenant Dallas and I’m looking forward to reading them. I hope you might give one of the futuristic mystery novels by Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb a try.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

“Just After Sunset” by Stephen King

“Just After Sunset” by Stephen King
2008, Scribner
ISBN: 978-1-4165-8408-7

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a short story, but, here I am and I’m having a ball. This collection is by Stephen King and right now, I just finished the first one. It’s called “Willa”. You need to read this. I’m a psychic and I’m saying you need to read this.

As I started it I wondered at the actual construction of a short story. Of course it’s going to be shorter than a novel. With a novel you settle into a chair, curl your legs up, draw a blanket over you and get comfortable. It’s going to be awhile. But, with “Willa”, Stephen King just dropped me into the middle of a situation. It was very much like walking into a crowded room. Generally, I’m a wall flower and tend to cautiously, very cautiously move out into a party area. I felt the same with this story.

Stuff was going on. Stuff I wasn’t aware of, but everybody else seemed to already know. And yet, they knew nothing. I knew nothing and yet this story was moving forward. Suddenly I got a creepy feeling. I thought, “What if?” Then, as the story moved forward I thought, “No, that couldn’t be right.” But, it was right. And, it was crafted so wonderfully, as only Stephen King can, that it slowly dawned on me what was going on.

This was such a surprising story. It was such a delight and as a psychic I absolutely loved it. Now, on to the next story. Not sure if I will write of every one or just a few. There are 16 in this book. I’m certainly going to enjoy each and every one of them. Stephen King has got to be my all time favorite writer.


Okay, so now I’m almost half way through the book. I’ve read several of the stories. Some were short. Some were of the slasher type where I had to force myself to keep reading only because I knew in my heart the end would be good; and I was not disappointed. However, I was not inclined to comment on them. But, this story is different and I’d like to talk about: “Stationary Bike”.

I think people are always interested in hearing stories they can relate to. I could relate to “Stationary Bike”, because it was about getting fit and healthy. I have to force myself to do this and it just is not ever any fun. According to a friend of mine who is a psychotherapist I need to get to the psychology behind it all in order to make it work. I can go on any diet in the world, but somehow, somewhere along the line I sabotage it. That’s where this story got to me. It was interesting to see somebody ending up the way I end up every single dang time. However, it’s got that special Stephen King twist and Richard Sifkitz dips deeply into his artist’s imagination to create a place where he actually likes to exercise, where the motivation is there and the only motivation is because it feels good. I give this one a big ole thumbs up. Especially because at the end of it you’re thinking, “You know, this isn’t so far fetched. I bet it really could happen.” That’s what makes the stories Stephen King writes so scary.

Reading…reading…and, now I’m finished. Not a minute too soon either. The book was due back at the library 2 days ago and I think the fines on the 7 day hot picks (I got to renew it once) are 25¢ a day…maybe more. I will return it this afternoon and fork over whatever I owe. Totally worth it. No way was I going to read this one through half way.

Anyway, I absolutely loved every one of the stories in this book. I’ve been wondering for the last 2 days if much, much more of what I do isn’t obsessive compulsive behavior rather than just habit or rut. Stephen King has always pushed my buttons. I absolutely love it. The reviewer says, “Read this book.”

Thursday, June 4, 2009

“The Day the Cowboys Quit” by Elmer Kelton

“The Day the Cowboys Quit” by Elmer Kelton
1992, Bantam
ISBN: 0-553-29669-8

I was surprised to even think of a cowboy going on strike, but that’s exactly what these cowboys did. Texas, time enough for men who fought in the Civil War to be middle-aged. It was a time of transition from when cowboys worked small herds to when the bankers from the East came flooding West to form huge ranches.

The hero in our story is Hugh Hitchcock. He has a wise head on his shoulders, but even so through loyalties to other cowboys is pulled in many directions, towards the individual cowboys who want to strike for better wages and better respect to the man, Charlie Waide, who ran the W’s ranch. Charlie’s arm was twisted by the bankers. He was forced to side with the big ranchers and Hugh ended up on the other side with the cowboys.

Hard fought battles, but in the end it was loyalties that won out, it was respect for the individual and it had a really good ending.

I’ve enjoyed all the Westerns I’ve read by Elmer Kelton and will keep my eyes peeled for more. I sure would like to read more with Hugh Hitchock in them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

“Dewey” by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

“Dewey” by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter
2008, Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-446-40741-0

“Dewey”. Read it. Like it. Cry at the end. See how short a book review can be? I’ll say more.

Somewhere on the internet several months ago I read a review somebody had posted about “Dewey”. I don’t remember who it was. That is part of the magic of the internet. I immediately logged onto my account at the Oakland Public Library and put a hold on the book. Twelve people were ahead of me, but I have the patience of a cat. It paid off last Friday. I checked out the book and read it on Memorial Day.

This is the story of Dewey who, on a frost bitten day in January, 1988, was rescued from the very, very cold book drop at the public library in Spencer, Iowa. The librarian Vicki and her staff thawed Dewey out. He immediately captured their hearts and became the library cat.

This story shows how Dewey recovered and thrived but also how many, many people in the town of Spencer and throughout the world came to know of him and to love him.

If you like to hear about cats you’re going to love this story. Dewey lived to the ripe old age of 19 but he was the library’s ambassador for all the years he lived in the library. There wasn’t one person who walked through those doors Dewey didn’t go say hello to. He would stay around for a quick pat. He’d curl up in their laps. He’d chase after the keys in the librarian’s typewriters. When they moved to computers he’d bask in the heat given off of the monitors. A film crew came from Japan to film him. People would go hundreds of miles out of their way to visit with him.

But, mostly he thawed the ice between people, for folks who didn't talk much when they came to the library became folks who opened up to Dewey and the staff. For special children with handicaps Dewey helped them to break out of their prisons and experience something more. Dewey healed a lot of hearts in the time he lived in the library. I know just reading about him helped to make me feel better.

Vicky Myron has written of what a special cat Dewey meant to her and her family. I felt an instant empathy with her. We have 5 cats in our family right now and each and every one of them is special and unique.

I believe you will enjoy this book. You can get more information about Dewey at the Spencer Library website. Also, take a look at The Library Cats Map where cats all over the world who live and lived in libraries are listed.

The picture I took of Dewey's book has my own Shelby interested in what is going on inside.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

“The Witch’s Trinity” by Erika Mailman

“The Witch’s Trinity” by Erika Mailman
2007, Hodder & Stroughton, Ltd
ISBN: 978-0-340-96221-3

This is a scary book. It’s a story of fiction, but the events that unfold are true. We know of the Inquisition. We know women had a hard time of it in the 16th century. We know the hunt for witches was sweeping. What Erika Mailman tells in this story is what it might really have looked like.

During times of hardship many people become what might be thought of as their baser selves. Suddenly generosity and good will in times of plenty does not exist anymore and it becomes a dog eat dog world. Hardship, desperation, famine can bring out the worst in people and this is what happens in this book.

What is interesting to me is to see normal people, people who are most definitely not witches, tap into what might be construed other than normal behaviors. As a psychic I recognize that people can communicate in their dreams, that messages not understood by the conscious self can be delivered by the unconscious self, that astral traveling is a very real thing.

I mourn for those who endured the trials. I am sorry for the role the church played in the Inquisition. I sincerely hope those who hear of these times from history know the importance of not repeating those same lessons. And, I am so very glad in my heart that I can live a life where I can talk to dead people and not be condemned to die in flames.

Read, “The Witch’s Trinity” and you will be drawn into a story told in the manner of a woman who lived in the early 1500’s. You will be able to relate easily to these people even though more than 500 years separate you from her life. As a psychic I know you lived even then. Be reminded of what it was like and hope it never happens again.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

“The Stand” by Stephen King

“The Stand” by Stephen King
1991, Signet
ISBN: 0-451-16953-0

“The Stand” is one of my all time favorite books. I have read it many times over the years and each time I enjoy it just as much as the first time. For the last 2 weeks I’ve had the flu. I had a paperback copy of, “The Stand” on a bookshelf here in the house and I figured, “How appropriate.” So, I hauled it out and in between hacking my lungs out and blowing my sinuses into 4, count them, 4 boxes of Kleenex I read, “The Stand” once more.

The question posed is: What happens when a SuperFlu is released by accident by the US military? Life as we know it is over.

The story draws on several sets of characters scattered all over, from Texas to Maine and New York City. These are the people who survive and who are drawn together.

The fight is on between good and evil. Good is represented by Mother Abigail, a 108 year old woman who lives in Nebraska. Evil is represented by Randall Flagg, the Walking Dude, of Las Vegas. Survivors all over the country are dreaming of both of these people and are being drawn toward them. Our 4 characters, Stu Redmond, Nick Andros, Frannie Goldsmith and Larry Underwood all end up moving to Nebraska. Mother Abigail tells them that they aren’t done yet and they must all gather in Boulder, Colorado for the big showdown.

This story shows people who are much stronger than they think they are. Faced with terrible odds of survival they seek the goodness and will not accept the idea that evil has a place in their lives.

What I love about how Stephen King writes is how he seeks the humanity in horror. Where the ordinary guy can be a hero or a villain, and how those roles can change too as the characters change.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading, “The Stand” again. It won’t be the last time.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

“At First Sight” by Nicholas Sparks

“At First Sight” by Nicholas Sparks
2005, Warner Books
ISBN: 978-0-446-69846-7

I think the sign of a great storyteller is the ability to grab onto the most mundane thing and craft a story out of it. Nicholas Sparks does a really good job with, “At First Sight”. Don't get me wrong, love is not mundane, but there are lots of love stories out there and this one is definately different.

I loved, too, the look into the mind of a writer. Being one (unpublished, but one nevertheless) I love to hear of writing related experiences and to see just how a master storyteller weaves a story.

Jeremy and Lexie meet and fall in love. Fast. Within weeks she learns that she is pregnant and they determine to marry. His family and friends are alarmed and seek to caution him about the dangers of tying the knot too soon. He will not listen, but what happens is that seeds of doubt are planted.

This is a story about learning how to love despite misunderstandings and anger. It is learning more about yourself as an individual and about how to be a couple.

This is a terrific book for young people just starting out their lives as adults not sure of themselves in a world full of people of the opposite sex. I wish I’d come upon it when I was in my 20’s.

Monday, May 4, 2009

“Nightshade” by Susan Wittig Albert

“Nightshade” by Susan Wittig Albert
2008, Berkley Publishing Group
ISBN: 98-0-425-21956-0

This is the 16th book in the China Bayles mystery series. China used to be an attorney, but when she decided to leave that field she decided to center in on her love of herbs and opened a shop called, “Thyme and Seasons”. Her husband, McQuaid, is an ex-policeman turned private investigator. The two make a formidable team.

In this story China and McQuaid are launched into a terrible mystery to find out why her brother Miles has just been killed. The whole story reaches back years and years to when her father had also died. Her father’s death had been ruled an accident, but the information Miles had recently uncovered pointed to much more than just an accident.

The pace is quick, China is quirky and I think you will like this story.