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Black Wind by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler

>> Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Series: #18 in the Dirk Pitt Series
Genre: Adventure
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 639
A-Z Reading #26 (B title), What’s in a Name Challenge #6 (Weather), TBR 2008 #8, Chunkster Challenge 2008 #3

Typical Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt, but the series is moving on to the second generation from both sides. This installment focuses much more on the children of Dirk Pitt. He’s still around, but in more of a secondary character role until called in to be the hero, of course. His adult children, Dirk Jr., and Summer take on the major roles. On the author side, Clive Cussler’s son Dirk (yes, that’s Dirk #3 in one paragraph) joins his dad in writing this one.

Despite the differences, the storyline remains much the same. See any other review of a Cussler book and you’ll get the basic plot. Same formula, but it’s still fun escapist reading. I enjoy these for the adventurous brain candy that they are. Being able to use this book for 4 challenges just added to the fun.


It's Tuesday - Go to Raidergirl's Blog

Every Tuesday Raidergirl3 posts an "It's Tuesday, Where are you?" post. This has become one of my favorite regular blog visits.

Folks post comments telling where they are in their current books. It's a fun post to watch.

Go to today's post and tell us where your reading is taking you today. Hope you join the regular Tuesday group.


The Borrowers by Mary Norton

>> Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Publication Date: 1952 (originally), 1988 (this edition)
Pages: 180
Heart of a Child Challenge #4

Another enjoyable read down memory lane thanks to Becky and the Heart of a Child Challenge. I had to add a couple of extras for this challenge since I was having such fun.

Mary Norton’s The Borrowers was a fond memory for me. It was still delightful so many years later. Arrietty, and her parents Pod and Homily and their little home beneath the floorboards made me smile. I never read any of the sequels, partly because the ending of this one was delightfully open-ended, leaving the reader to decide what the outcome was or will be.

I loved this:

Mrs. May looked back at her. “Kate,” she said after a moment, “stories never really end. They can go on and on and on. It’s just that sometimes, at a certain point, one stops telling them.”
I think that’s one of the reasons I love reading – even when the book ends, the story in my head doesn’t have to.


Lap Size Afghan for Susan for the beach house

>> Monday, April 21, 2008

Yarn Red Heart TLC Lustre
Color - Light Sage


Florida Roadkill by Tim Dorsey

Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 273
A-Z Reading #25 (D Author), Decades 08 #5 (1990’s)

Think of Pulp Fiction taking Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride through Florida.

Trust me, if you didn’t laugh at the movie Pulp Fiction, you won’t like this book. It kind of starts in the middle of the story, then flashes backwards and then on through. It’s hyper, fast paced, filled with a large cast of characters that are difficult to keep straight. The humor is dark. Very dark. The violence is brutal and cringeworthy, and the drug use rampant, but darn, if I don’t want to read the next book – I think it’s a series, but like this book, the author’s website says it’s non-linear. I laughed as much as I cringed, and then told my husband he needed to read this before it’s due back at the library.


Non-Fiction Five 2008

>> Sunday, April 20, 2008

Joy’s doing it again. I had such fun with last year’s NF5 challenge that I turned it into a NF NINE instead of five. When Joy announced that she’d hosting another Non-Fiction Five challenge for 2008, it took me about a nanosecond to decide to join in again. This year I’m going to control myself a little better and stick with five books so I can leave room for other challenges that might come up.

The rules are simple:

  1. Read 5 non-fiction books during the months of May - September, 2008
  2. Read at least one non-fiction book that is different from your other choices (i.e.: 4 memoirs and 1 self-help)

Here are the books I’m planning to read – I’ve listed six in case any of them turn out to be a dud:


342,745 Ways to Herd Cats, or tl;dr

>> Friday, April 18, 2008

The post announcing this challenge was so darn entertaining that I just had to join in. Trust me and just go here to read it. Besides, I had to have that adorable button on my sidebar.

Renay at Bottle of Shine is hosting this challenge in which the reading list to choose from will be made up of books submitted by the participants.

Here are the details:
1. Make a list of ten books you love. That's the only qualification; you had to love (or at least like it) the books on the list.
2. Share the list
3. Browse the lists created by other participants (
Reading lists by participant or Master Reading List)
4. Between May 1st and November 30th read at least 3 books recommended by other participants.
5. Write reviews of the books you read.
6. Share the links to your reviews.

It just sounded like too much fun to pass up. I managed to come up with a list of 10 books I loved. It’s not necessarily my all time top 10 because some of those have already been listed by other participants, but it is books I have thoroughly enjoyed, recommended to others and in some cases read multiple times.

Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd (I’m actually planning on re-reading this one myself soon)
One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash
Hell at the Breech by Tom Franklin
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I know a bunch of folks have already listed it but I can’t not include it)
Homestead by Rosina Lippi
The Girls by Lori Lansens
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (but only if you read the Richard Pevear Translation)
Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
Centennial by James Michener

I haven’t decided on what 3 (or more) I’m going to read yet – I’m waiting to see more of the recommendations before I decide.

Update 5/6/08 - Here are the books I've chosen to read for this challenge:

Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood – recommended by 3M
War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells – recommended by Becky
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster – recommended by Corinne


Lottery by Patricia Wood

>> Thursday, April 17, 2008

Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 305
A-Z Reading #24 (W Author), Themed Reading Challenge #4

First of all I need to express a huge Thank You to both Bookfool and Les. It was their reviews of this book that convinced me I needed to read it. I’m so glad I did. This was just an utterly charming book. It had me laughing, crying, writing down words of incredible wisdom spoken by the main character and being torn between wanting to read faster and not wanting the book to end.

Perry L. Crandall is not retarded. His number is 76 and if your number is above 75, you are not retarded. Perry L. Crandall (the L stands for Lucky according to his Gram) is just slow. Perry is a wonderful character, somewhat Forrest Gump-like, yet completely different. When his Gram dies and he’s on his own for the first time at age 32, it’s not as bad as it could have been. He still has his job at the marine supply. His boss, Gary keeps an eye on him. He also has his fat, foul-mouthed, flatulent friend Keith on his side. It’s a good thing because his family is only interested in getting Gram’s house and land that she left to Perry.

Then things change – Perry wins the Washington State Lottery. Suddenly people who wouldn’t look him in the eye before are treating him differently and his conniving family suddenly wants to be very involved in Perry’s finances, but not necessarily his life.

Perry is a wonderful narrator. His knowledge of words comes from studying the dictionary every day. His Gram has taught him a lot and Perry has built that into a wisdom that is all his own.

A few of the quotes I marked along the way:

Vacations are when you stop being in a hurry to go to work and start being in a
hurry to go someplace else.

Keith's gray hair is long, greasy and tied in a ponytail. I think he
looks like Willie Nelson from the back. From the front, he looks like an
old fat white guy, but I do not tell him this. It would not be nice.

With Gram gone I have to not forget. Not forgetting is hard. I have
to work hard to not forget. Remembering is different than not
forgetting. It is the opposite of. Remembering is like a
little movie that comes back to you. It is something special and
unexpected. Like when I remembered the first time Gramp took me
sailing. A little movie.
I spent the first part of the book fearful that it would be either an overly sappy feel-good story, or a heartless real world crushes the nice guy story. I’m happy to say that neither of these is really true. It’s just a wonderful book to enjoy.


Russian Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

>> Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I’ve completed another challenge. Hosted by Sharon at ExLibris, The Russian Reading Challenge caught my attention as soon as it was announced way back in August or September. For this one, we had to read 4 books but the rules were quite flexible.

Both fiction and non-fiction are acceptable here, as well as short stories and poetry. Authors read should either be authors who wrote (write) in Russian or authors who wrote (write) about Russia and Russians.

I read these 4 books:

Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak because it’s a classic that I’d never read (nor have I seen any movie version). I thoroughly enjoyed it. A great wintertime read.
Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie because it’s been on my shelf for years unread. It’s a huge book, but he was a huge man (both literally and figuratively). A fascinating story not only of Peter, but also of the world at the time he ruled
The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin because I wanted to read a contemporary Russian author. It was different, but yet had a definite classic Russian writing feel to it. I might read more by this author
The Eternal Husband by Fyodor Dostoevsky because I wanted to read some short stories for the challenge. This was a novella and 4 short stories. Worth the effort it took to read, even though short stories are not my favorite genre.

They were all quite different and so it’s really hard to say what I liked best. They all had their merits and I’m glad I read all of them.

Big thanks to Sharon for giving me a reason to read a couple that have been on my bookshelf or TBR shelf for years (Peter the Great and Dr. Zhivago) and to also expand my horizons a bit with Akunin and Dostoevsky’s short works.


Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

>> Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Genre: Fiction

Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 418
A-Z Reading #23 (V Title), TBR 2008 Alternate #3

Once again Jodi Picoult tackles a subject, or in this case multiple subjects, and makes me consider them from multiple viewpoints.

Delia Hopkins is living in New Hampshire with her daughter and father. She’s engaged to be married and her happy life seems to be ready to continue. Then she learns that her life is not what she thought. Her father is accused of kidnapping her when she was 4 years old. He never took her back to his ex-wife after his normal visitation weekend and instead took her across the country and raised her on his own, telling her that her mother died in a car crash.

This story is told by multiple narrators. It’s primarily told by Delia and the 3 men who love her most; her father, her fiancé, and her best friend. In a convention that worked well in My Sister’s Keeper, each narrator is represented in the book by a different type font which makes it easy for me as a reader to make the shift when the next narrator picks up the story.

There are many aspects to the story including, trust, truthfulness, how memories work, what honesty do you owe to family, lovers, friends. This was one that I was always disappointed when I had to put it down and go back to work, or whatever needed doing. I would have loved to just sit down and read this one straight through.

I realy enjoyed this book. The sections about Delia working with her bloodhound Greta in search and rescue were quite interesting.


Audiobook – Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich

>> Monday, April 14, 2008

Series: #10 in the Stephanie Plum series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2004
Ready by Lorelei King

This is actually my second time through with this book. I’ve read through #13, but my Husband only listens to the audio versions when we go on road trips. We had a quick weekend trip to Southern Oregon to see
Coriolanus at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Excellent play, excellent production, by the way. This book worked out well for road listening and was fun even for the second time.

This was probably one of my favorites of the series because it gave the reader some more insight into the mysterious life of Ranger (pause for swooning). It’s odd to switch readers partway through a series, and although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to C.J. Critt read the earlier books, I’ve gotten used to Lorelei King after a couple of books. Each reader does some of the characters better than the other so for me, it’s a toss up.

Fun road trip listening.


London Bridges by James Patterson

>> Friday, April 11, 2008

Series: #10 in the Alex Cross series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 378
A-Z Reading #22 (L Title), What’s in a Name Challenge #5 (Place), TBR 2008 #7

This was the perfect kind of brain candy book for me to pick up after Dostoevsky. I needed something fast paced, quick to read and set in present time.

I’m not going to bother with much in the way of comments. If you’ve read this far in the Alex Cross series or much from Patterson at all, you’ll know what to expect. It’s formulaic, it’s fast, it’s got a likeable hero (even though I want to smack him sometimes) and it’s a quick read that you can blast through in a short time. It’s what I turn to when I need to re-set my head after a book that I’ve had to use more thought process to read. I don’t need much of that with Patterson, but he does entertain me.


The Eternal Husband and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoevsky

>> Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Translated by: Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Genre: Novella/Short Stories
Publication Date: 1997
Pages: 308
Russian Reading #4

I don’t read many collections of Short Stories or Novellas, but I wanted to include some for the Russian Reading Challenge. This book was not an easy read, but I expected that. It included 4 short stories by Dostoevsky along with the novella The Eternal Husband.

The Eternal Husband was really the centerpiece of the book. It’s a story whose two main characters have an interesting connection. One is the widower of a woman who died about 3 months prior to the beginning of the story. The other man is her former lover who had not seen her or her husband for 9 years. The two men meet in St. Petersburg and as the story progresses their relationship is observed. Are they friends? Are they enemies? Does the husband know about the affair? What does he want from the other man? These questions drive the story and it makes for interesting character study.

The other stories in this book are “A Nasty Anecdote” which is a satirical look at the efforts of a civil servant to demonstrate his kindness for the lower class by crashing the wedding of one of his employees. “Bobok" is the story of a writer who overhears the conversations of the recently deceased in a cemetery. “The Meek One” is a sad tale of a man tyring to understand his young wife’s suicide. “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man” completes the collection and is a wonderful story of a man who is contemplating suicide himself and the dream he has.

None of these were quick easy reads and at times I struggled to continue with the book. I think I enjoyed Bobok and The Dream of a Ridiculous Man the most. They are both darkly satirical. It was a book that was quite a departure from my usual reading, but a detour that ultimately I felt was worth the effort, even if not necessarily one I’d want to take on a regular basis.


The Initials Challenge

>> Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I’ve completed a couple of challenges and making progress in others, so I’ve got room in the reading plan to add another one.

The Initials Challenge is hosted by Becky who has set this one up with it’s own blog for posting reviews. The Rules are simple and flexible – I like that in a challenge:

April 1, 2008 - November 30, 2008
Read five to eight books by authors who publish under their initials.
Examples would be: C.S. Lewis. A.A. Milne. J.R.R. Tolkien. L.M. Montgomery. E.M. Forster. T.H. White. J.K. Rowling. R.L. Stine. e.e. cummings. D.H. Lawrence. J.D. Salinger. H.G. Wells. E. Nesbit. T.S. Eliot. E.B. White. P.G. Wodehouse. J.M. Barrie. W.B. Yeats. V.C. Andrews. G.K. Chesterton. T.E. Lawrence. O. Henry. H.A. Rey. Etc.You don't have to choose an author from the above list. But those are the ones I was able to think of at the time of the posting!

No lists are necessary.
Sign up at any time between now and November 1, 2008.
Read as many books as you like, as long as you meet the minimum requirement of five books.
Your books can count towards other challenges you're participating in.
A blog is not required.

I looked through my currently scheduled challenge books and the TBR spreadsheet and was easily able to come up with five books. I know I don’t have to pre-post a list, but I will since I’m free to change it later if I want.

These are the books I’m planning to read:


Audiobook – The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

>> Monday, April 7, 2008

Genre: Fiction / Chick Lit
Publication Date: 2003
Read by: Bernadette Dunne

This was an OK diversion for driving around town listening, and while it was enjoyable enough to listen to, I don’t think I would have stuck with the printed version. The beginning was interesting enough – just out of college Andrea goes to work for Boss from Hell fashion magazine publisher Miranda Priestly. For some reason she’s convinced that if she puts in a full year of torture as Miranda’s personal assistant, she’ll get a recommendation for the kind of job she really wants at The New Yorker. The end was OK too. I could have easily listened to the first 2 cds and the last 2 and not missed a bit of the plot. The whole middle of the book is repetition of Miranda’s unreasonable demands and everyone’s ridiculous efforts to meet them.

I’ve heard that this is a case where the movie is better than the book. I haven’t seen the movie, but I might get it someday for when I need something to watch while I’m on the treadmill – it seems like it would be the perfect kind of mindless TV.


A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George

>> Thursday, April 3, 2008

Series: #1 in the Inspector Lynley series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 1988
Pages: 413
A-Z Reading #21 (G Title)

For years, I’ve had people tell me that this series is wonderful, and I’ve even had this book on my shelf for a long time. Now that I’ve finally read it, I wish I’d started this series a long time ago. I’ve already added the rest of Margaret George’s books to my TBR list and The Hubster’s too.

When Roberta Teys is found in the barn of their Yorkshire farm with the decapitated body of her father, her only words are "I did it. And I'm not sorry." The local priest and many of the villagers insist however, that Roberta could not have killed her father. Scotland Yard’s Inspector Thomas Lynley and his newly assigned partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers are assigned to the case.

There is much more to this book than the mystery of the killer of William Teys. The story unfolds both forwards and backwards. Not only does the reader learn the history of Roberta, her family, and the village of Keldale, but the pasts of both Lynley and Havers are gradually revealed. It is a complex story with lots of characters and intertwining storylines, but I had a hard time putting it down. This was a wonderful first novel and lived up to the recommendations I’ve heard over the years. I’m already looking forward to the next one in the series.


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