March 31, 2009

Book #25: Last Scene Alive

Last Scene Alive is the seventh book in Charlaine Harris' Aurora Teagarden Mysteries.

Widow Aurora Teagarden is the only one in her tiny Georgia town that's not excited about the movie production coming to film. But that's probably since the movie is based on a bestselling book- about the serial killer that she was nearly a victim of. However, Aurora is glad to see former flame, Robin Crusoe, author of the bestselling novel.

Aurora makes some big decisions in this novel, while of course, stumbling upon bodies and helping to solve a murder. But overall it's a much more light-hearted story than the last couple of volumes in the series.

March 25, 2009

Book #24: An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green is the second of his novels that I've read. And at the risk of spoiling something for you, in the previous novel, Looking for Alaska, someone dies. And as a result, I spent the entire time reading An Abundance of Katherines cringing, worrying that someone was going to be killed off at any moment.

Luckily, when not worrying about impending doom, I was laughing my ass off.
"We fatties have a bond, dude. It's like a Secret Society. We've got all kinds of shit you don't know about. Handshakes, special fat people dances- we got these secret fugging lairs in the center of the earth and we go down there in the middle of the night when all the skinny kids are sleeping and eat cake and fried chicken and shit." -from An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Fat people lairs! Awesome. And where's my map?

Colin Singleton is a former child prodigy who's having trouble coming to terms with the fact that he's never going to be a genius. And immediately after graduating from high school, he's been dumped for the 19th time by a chick named Katherine. Dude doesn't know when to quit a losing streak.

In order to get over his breakup and work on his newest theorem, he and his best friend Hassan take off on a road trip out of Chicago and end up in nowheresville, Gutshot Tennessee. Due to an odd set of circumstances, they end up getting jobs and sticking around Gutshot for a while.

I don't know how you feel about footnotes, but if you don't care for them, you won't like this book. The book is covered in about eleventy hundred footnotes. Everything from definitions, encyclopedic descriptions, and translations of several different languages, to explaining the jokes. You remember the old saying, right? If you have to explain the joke, it's probably not funny? And then, there are the graphs, holy God, the graphs... I'm sure it's supposed to be clever and entertaining. I found them a bit twee.

But my favorite thing that John Green does is secondary characters. So far in the two novels I've read of his, I didn't care for the main character. They're teenage boys, so I'm not exactly going to identify, and man alive are they some self absorbed nerds. But the sidekicks and the love interests are great. The sidekicks are hilarious and get all the best lines. The girls are written mysteriously complex (which of course is why the boys fall madly in love with them). But I found them fascinating too, especially Lyndsey Lee Wells in An Abundance of Katherines. Someday I would love to read her story.

Book #23: A Dangerous Love

The ninth book in Brenda Joyce's de Warenne Dynasty, A Dangerous Love moves on to the now grown de Warenne children. And based on the ridiculous description (and that's saying a lot, considering...) of the final book in the de Warenne series, I think this one will be my last.

Ariella de Warenne is the illegitimate, educated, and privileged daughter of a pirate (Cliff from A Lady at Last), and a jewess harem concubine. Yes.

Viscount Emilian St. Xavier is the illegitimate son of an English nobleman and a Romanian gypsy.

They're oh so exotic. She's so very eccentric. And he has serious anger issues. They fight, they have an ill-advised affair, he uses her for revenge, they both face bigotry directed at gypsies. Will these two crazy kids end up together? Guess.

March 15, 2009

Book #22: A Fool and His Honey

The sixth book in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, A Fool and His Honey continues on in a progressively depressing series. I've continued with all of the Charlaine Harris novels simply because I've loved the Southern Vampire Mysteries so much. But the other series aren't striking the same chord in me.

Part time librarian, and unintentional mystery solver, Aurora "Roe", and her wealthy older husband Martin receive quite a surprise when his newly married niece shows up on their doorstep with a baby, but without her husband in tow. And within a few hours, the niece promptly disappears as well, leaving her baby behind. Roe has always been a bit sad about her inability to conceive but with a baby foisted suddenly on her inexperienced self, she's not exactly thrilled.

Once a dead body shows up on their property, and with nothing quite adding up, Roe and Martin head back to Martin's hometown in Ohio to see if they can get to the bottom of the missing niece, the abandoned baby, and the dead body.

Danger and suspense follow Roe per usual, but by the end of the book, there's one unexpected tragedy too many. I'm not sure if I feel like continuing on in this series.

Book #21: Promises in Death

Promises in Death is the 29th book in Nora Roberts' In Death series. Seriously, 29th. The earliest ones in the series are my favorites, the ones I've re-read the most. The last few in the series have felt a bit lackluster, but this addition is more true to form.

Eve Dallas, heroine of the In Death series, is a New York City homicide cop in the year 2059. In the future, we have off planet penal colonies, cars with air lift options, and auto-chefs (a sort of microwave that can pretty much whip up gourmet meals), but we still have good old-fashioned murder.

Eve tries not to let her cases get too personal, though they inevitably do, especially when they involve cases of abuse like the kind she experienced in childhood. But this time, the case hits too close to home when the victim has been dating one of her closest friends. She didn't know the victim well, but promises to find justice, even if it means investigating other cops.

This is one of my favorites series because of how completely Eve kicks ass. She's definitely one of the toughest literary characters around. But as a result, she's completely out of her element with the girlie stuff. In this book, Eve faces down the killer with more courage than she does the bridal shower she's agreed to host.

March 09, 2009

Book #20: The Time Traveler's Wife

I might be the last person on Earth to read Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife. This was a thoroughly engrossing novel about one couple's love affair that spans decades, and ages.

Clare is six years-old when Henry first visits her in the field near her parents' home. He is in his 40's. Henry visits her throughout her life as she ages. Sometimes Henry is in his 40's. Sometimes he's older, and sometimes younger.

Henry DeTamble is a libarian and unwilling time traveler. He frequently has very little warning and absolutely no control when he disappears from his life and ends up somewhere else in time, naked. Often he visits his wife Clare, as she's growing up. Sometimes he visits his family, even reliving his mother's gruesome death. And sometimes he visits himself, at different times in his life.

I found it a little hard to follow where the characters are supposed to be at in their lives, when Henry jumps around in time. But it's possible that's just because I'm very bad at math. The most haunting part of this book for me, was how lonely it is to be the wife who's left behind, never knowing when or if your husband will join you again in your present.

Book #19: The Perfect Bride

The Perfect Bride is the 8th book in Brenda Joyce's deWarenne Dynasty. It features Rex deWarrenne, the last of the deWarenne siblings. The other deWarennes were featured in the previous novels in the series.

Rex de Warenne lost a leg in the Napoleonic wars and has been pretty much drunk in isolated Cornwall ever since. Well, he's managed to find time to have scandalous affairs with house maids.

Lady Blanche Harrington is the perfect daughter and the perfect hostess. She's successfully avoided marriage until age 28. But now that her father has died, she needs a husband to run her vast estate. Oh, she's also sufferring from a delayed form of post traumatic stress disorder due to witnessing her mother's murder when she was a small child. Except they didn't have PTSD in the 1800's, so she thinks she's going insane.

People in romance novels sure do have to suffer a lot to get their happily ever after.