Thursday, April 30, 2009 4 comments By: Suzanne

Home Story: My "hits" counter

At some point I put this little counter on my blog just to see if people were actually reading what I wrote. Every once in a while it's fun to go check it and see just how many people visited my site that day. I noticed a couple days ago I was getting close to 1000 but thought I'd wait to celebrate, thinking it would take another week or so to hit it. It happened when I wasn't looking! I just looked again and it was 1028!!!!! Apparently yesterday I got 25 hits! Now from what I've read at other blogs, this would be a disappointing day but this wonderful to me. If I am ever disappointed in just 25 people reading what I write, I will shut this thing down. Not sure why there are days when no one reads and days when what I say is fascinating because I can't figure it out. The best weeks I;ve had were the week of March 15-21 and November 30 - December 6. I can only guess what brought people those weeks. In that first week of December I wrote about New Moon (bashed it actually), We the Living, and had my second ever Friday 56. It was a big week!! In that week in March I wrote about Aurora and Lucina in separate posts as well as participating in more than one meme and my review of the Secret Life of Bees. I don't think I could keep that kind of output all the time to have weeks like those. I don't think I would be happy trying to keep it up. But I'm happy when I feel like it and people come to read it. Thank you all!!

Reading Professional Book Reviews

Can someone please tell me who and where writes actual reviews in the professional world? I have been trying to read some lately but they sound like advertisements for the book: a long detailed description of the book followed by some witty remarks but never once a "this is good" or "this is bad." Are these people being paid by the publishers to advertise or by the papers to let us know what they like or don't like. It's realy frustrating! No wonder there are so many amateur bloggers who wonder if it's ok to write a "bad" review. What we see in the professional world has no bite. I want opinion. I want to know what you really think. I don't want you to sell me the book.

Now just after I wrote the above, I finally came across a good review by Michiko Kakutani at the New York Times. Here's my favorite part (speaking of the "scary" element in The Ruins, which I just review): The problem is these Wicked Plants — who can speak German as well as English, and who can mimic cellphone ring tones as well as human voices — are so ludicrous that they undercut all of the suspense Mr. Smith has managed to create in the well-turned opening sections of the novel. For that matter, they turn what might have been a gripping summer beach read into a silly, bloody farce.

It's refreshing after reading all these terrible reviews to see someone who can think for himself.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 4 comments By: Suzanne

Audio: The Ruins by Scott Smith

In the wild interior of the Yucatan, far from the lazy beaches of Cancun, two young couples and some newfound friends venture to the site of an ancient Mayan temple, in pursuit of another in their group.What started out as a day trip spirals into a nightmare when they reach the ruins...and discover the terrifying presence that lurks there.

I'm not quite sure what to say about this book (but I'm sure it will come to me as I write). It was a good story but I can't necessarily recommend it. I like horror, I love horror, but to me horror is about not knowing what's happening. The psychological factor in horror is so much scarier than the blood and guts. This book was all blood and guts. At one point I simply had to turn it off for awhile because it was truly disgusting. The long, seemingly never-ending descriptions of how one of the guys cuts himself (over and over), the very detailed descriptions of horrific death, and the constant reference to all types of bodily fluids just about did me in. This is gross not horror. And yes, it would be horror if it was happening but listening (or reading about it) doesn't make this a horror book, just a gross book.

Besides all this though, the story was well written. There were no parts that I thought had dubious explanation. It was well thought out and every thing that happens is believable. Unfortunately, I got the impression Smith wrote this to be a movie instead of a book. In fact, there is a movie based on the book, which I'm sure is even grosser than the book. I won't be seeing it.

Where are you and Teaser: 4/29/09

Yes, I am very late this week!

It's Tuesday, Where are you? is hosted on An Adventure in Reading.

I am still on the planet Annares in the city of Abbenay, a Utopian but anarchist society, learning physics but I have also just died at the haunted Mayan ruins in a little known part of Mexico.
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin and The Ruins by Scott Smith

The Teaser is hosted at Should be Reading.

This from Le Guin's book again (as the other is disgusting and was on audio).

They shot the dead man who lay nearest the word, and later on when the Directorate was restored to order the word was washed off the wall with water, soap, and rags, but it remained; it had been spoken; it had meaning.
pg. 302
Friday, April 24, 2009 8 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: 4/23/09

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


This is from Yarrow by Charles De Lint but there's only 4 sentences on page 56 so I used the first on page 57.

Lisa Henderson hurried south along Bank Street, turned left on Sunnyside then right on Willard. She glanced at her watch: 9:45. Her mother was going to kill her.

Trust me, this does not do Charles de Lint justice.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

Where are you and Teaser: The Dispossessed

It's Tuesday, Where are you? is hosted on An Adventure in Reading.

Today I am on the planet Annares in the city of Abbenay, a Utopian but anarchist society, learning physics.
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Teaser is hosted at Should be Reading.

This week's teaser is from page 246 of the same book.

To maintain genuine spontaneous fidelity in a society that had no legal or moral sanctions against infidelity, and to maintain it during voluntary accepted separations that could come at any time and might last years, was something of a challenge. But the human being likes to be challenged, seeks freedom in adversity.
Monday, April 20, 2009 4 comments By: Suzanne

Audio: The Undomestic Goddess

After listening to The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella (the second of hers I've listened to now), I've come to a realization. I think I might like chick literature. Silently screaming "NO NO NO" right now. Maybe it's simply because I listened to them. I've never liked chick lit before. It's kind of like being able to watch Bridget Jones while I drive (which I don't recommend, of course). Or maybe Sophie Kinsella is a better writer than most chick lit authors. I also realize that using the term "chick lit" is slightly demeaning, but hey, that's what it is. From the back:

Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She's made a mistake so huge, it'll wreck any chance of partnership. Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she's mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as a housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they've hired a lawyer - and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can't sew a button, bake a potato, or get the *&%&^$ ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

Now I'll admit, it was very predictable and I've said in the past the reason I don't like mysteries is because they're so predictable. But maybe that's not the full reason. It WAS predictable but not in a way that Samantha should have seen all along. When she does start to get hints that something's not right, she doesn't waste 500 pages looking in the wrong direction (as often happens in P.I. and mystery books), she immediately starts to figure it out. Also, it was simply funny. I found myself laughing full out while stuck in traffic. You can't go wrong with a book like that.

Here's one of my favorite moments. It's about the gardener.

Great. One look at his body and I have a full-blown crush. I honestly thought I was a bit deeper than that.
As I shower and get dressed the next morning, I'm totally fixated by thoughts of Nathaniel. I'm aware I've reverted to the behavior of a 14 year old, that next I'll be doodling "Samantha loves Nathaniel" with a heart dotting the "i," but I don't care.

Columbine - 10 years

Can you believe it has been 10 years since the tragedy of Columbine? I was not personally involved in any way with this but for some reason it struck me very hard. I had a hard time getting away from the news reports of it. I would just sit there and listen over and over again to the things I had already heard. Every time there is a new story about it, I have forced (by something outside of myself yet a part of me) to watch. I read Wally Lamb's book The Hour I First Believed when it first came out. I had been excited simply when I found out he had a new book coming out and then when I learned the subject matter, it became almost a need. I sure probably feel weird about this obsession but I don't and I think the reason is that there are a lot of people like me out there. It was awful and we can't seem to get away from it.

So with the 10th "anniversary" upon us I was curious if there were any reactions to Lamb's book posted on the web by victims or family members from Columbine. Instead I found this site. It is a reaction to Dave Cullen's new book about Columbine. I found this mother's post moving.
Saturday, April 18, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

Audio: The Cabinet Of Wonders

I have found something to fill the void left by the ending of Harry Potter!! I picked up the audio version of The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski recently at Half-Price Books because I was out of things to listen to in the car and thought, "Hmmm, sounds kinda interesting."

Petra Kronos has a simple happy life. but it's never been ordinary. She has a tin spider...who likes to hide in her snarled hair. Her best friend can trap lightning inside a glass sphere. Petra also has a father in faraway Prague who is able to move metal with his mind...Petra's life is forever changed when, one day, her father returns home - blind. The prince has stolen his eyes, enchanted them, and wears them. But why?
Petra doesn't know, but she know this: she will go to Prague, sneak into Salamander castle, and steal her father's eyes back.

This book is supposedly written for children but (and maybe this is because it was being read to me) I didn't feel like it was a "children's novel." What I mean is that I think adults would enjoy this book too (as many of them did with Harry Potter). I'm not sure if the author meant to write a book for children or she was simply writing a book that, when finished, was so easily aimed at children. This is her debut novel (unfortunately the next book isn't out yet, booooo) so I'm not sure if she is solely an author of children's fiction. What I do know is that I loved this book. I have picked up a few other "children's novels" in the past and felt the author was talking down to the audience, as if he didn't expect children to understand him. This is not the case in this book. The language is not above a child's head but it is also not "talking down." I think that is a hard thing to do for most people. It was only 7 hours of audio (unabridged) so I'm sure the book is a fairly quick read. Pick it up and read it soon! The next book in the series, The Kronos Chronicles, will be out in August.
Friday, April 17, 2009 2 comments By: Suzanne

Home Story: Reviews for fun?

When I started this blog it was because I just loved books so much that I wanted to share that with as many people as possible. I've always been the kind of person that would try to get all her friends to read the book I just finished "because it was just amazing, and let me tell you why!" With a blog I could talk as much as I wanted about these books and if people got bored they could just stop reading. I could continue to say what I wanted and never know the difference. Every one's happy! The more I got into this blogging thing, the more I realized there were people everywhere that felt the way I do about books. There are a million book blogs on the web! (of course this is not an official number, just one of Tonya's meaningless statistics). As I read these blogs I became interested in how some of these people got Advance Review Copies of books. This sounded wonderful and I wanted in on it. Well, now I am. I have received a few ARCs and have a couple more on the way but after those I'm done. I'm not saying it hasn't been wonderful to get all these free books (and some of them before their actual release date) but it feels more like work than fun. Reading should be fun. This is how I want to feel about books:But this is how I have been feeling lately:

It reminds me a little of when I was in school. I read all the time in school. I spent more time in class reading than I did listening to what the teachers were saying. The problem was, I wasn't reading anything related to what the class was about. I never read required reading in school if I could get away with it. For the most part, those books sucked but even the ones that didn't for some reason I just couldn't read. What's the problem? I have a personality disorder. If something feels like work I don't want to do it. If it's fun I'll do it all day long. Being required to read something I wouldn't otherwise read on my own, just not fun. I remember in 8th grade (I think that's the right grade) we had a chance to read both Tom Sawyer and Homecoming. I'm sure they're both wonderful books but for some reason I have never finished either one. I read half of each. It was enough to pass. I know, weird. Looking back I probably would have really liked Homecoming. From what I remember of it, the story was wonderful and heartbreaking. I may go to the Library and see if I can find it...

Ok to the point! What does all this mean? It doesn't mean I won't be reviewing books anymore. I love doing this too much. It simply means I am only going to read books I want to read or am signed up in challenges to read (because those are fun too). I means that I get no more free books (BOOOOOO) but I will have time to read the 6 books I have sitting on my shelf looking at me right now. It means I may have a chance to finish the Twilight series and annoy Stephanie Meyer's fans some more!

The Friday 56: 4/17/09

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


This week's is from The Dispossessed by Ursula k. Le Guin. Out of context it is...interesting.

Down in Southeast, after he had got used to the steady physical labor, and had stopped wasting his brain on code messages and his semen on wet dreams, he had begun to have some ideas. Now he was free to work these ideas out, to see if there was anything in them.
Monday, April 13, 2009 3 comments By: Suzanne

Audio: The Forgotten Man by Robert Crais

YAYYYYY!!!!! A book that I have nothing bad to say something about! From the back of the box:

Los Angeles, 3:58 a.m.: Elvis Cole receives the phone call he's been waiting for since childhood. Responding to a gunshot, the LAPD has found an injured man in an alleyway. He has told the officer on the scene that he is looking for his son, Elvis Cole. Minutes later, the man is shot dead.

Haunted throughout his life by a lack of knowledge about his father, Elvis turns to the one person who can help him navigate the minefield of his past - his longtime partner and confidant, Joe Pike. Together with hard-edged LAPD detective, Carol Starkey, they launch a feverish search for the dead man's identity - even as Elvis struggles between wanting to believe he's found his father at last, and allowing his suspicions hold him back. With each long buried clue they unearth, a frightening picture begins to emerge about who the dead man might have been, and the terrible secret he's been guarding.

If I had to come up with a "problem" to talk about with this book, it would be to say that it's a little predictable but only because the story in the prologue seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the book. When I stopped to ask why, I figured out the mystery of the book.

What I loved most about this book was that Crais was able to give a unique voice to each character. It probably has something to do with James Daniels (the reader on the audio book) but I think Daniels was able to read each character this way because of the material Crais gave to work with. At one point in the story, Carol Starkey makes a phone call to Elvis Cole. I won't tell you what was said because that will give away an important part of the story, but I was impressed with how Crais wrote Starkey's lines in her own unique voice while still writing from Cole's point of view. The exchange was also a perfect example of the miscommunication between a man and a woman that showed both sides. I thought to myself, "How can this man know how to write a woman so well?"

Speaking of unique voices, I must also mention that Daniels is fairly talented at voices. I loved the different voices he used to each character, especially Joe Pike. He sounded like a cross between Kris Kristofferson and Clint Eastwood.

Like I said, I predicted the end of the book but this did not stop me from enjoying the book any. I highly recommend this book.
Saturday, April 11, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser

I received Words Unspoken from the March batch of Early Reviews from LibraryThing. This is my very first ARC. I was so excited! I know that a lot of people get advanced copies but it's never happened to me before so I was thrilled. Unfortunately, I didn't know this author or any of her previous works. I just signed up for this book based on the description. It sounded intriguing:

Lissa Randall's future was bright with academic promise until the tragic accident that took her mother's life - and brought her own plans to a screeching halt. Eighteen months later, she still can't get back behind the wheel.
A casual recommendation to Ev McAllistair's driving school sets in motion a cascade of events...until Lissa begins to wonder if maybe, just maybe, life isn't as random as she thought.

I was not aware that Elizabeth Musser writes Christian Fiction when I signed up to get this book. There's nothing in the description of the book or on her LibraryThing page that would have led me to believe she was Christian Fiction author. I have nothing against Christian Fiction, per se, but since it is not my faith I have a hard time enjoying books with such a strong Christian theme.

The story is actually pretty good and I got very engrossed in what was happening with Lissa and Ev and all the other characters revolving throughout their lives. I found that I even enjoyed Musser's writing style in spite of the constant pressure to believe that the only way to live a moral life is to live a Christian life. I guess that's the biggest problem I have with Christian Fiction. It IS possible to live a moral and non-materialistic life without being Christian but often in these books the people who are immoral or living life for monetary reasons are the ones who aren't living a Christian life. The people who have everything work out in their favor are the ones who either are already living a Christian life or come around to it in the end. I understand the reason these authors are writing in this style is to get across a certain message, but I feel slightly insulted to have someone infer that my life is being lived immorally or simply incorrectly because I am not Christian.

The only real problem I had with the story itself is the way in which non-white people are portrayed. The only black person in the book is a porter or butler (that's never made clear) at a country club. In my mind, a person in a prominent position like this needs to be at least a little educated and would speak as if he was. Musser writes his lines in phonetically. For example, one of the things he says OFTEN is "Sho' Nuf'." It is obvious that she is writing his lines with not only his accent emphasized but also to show that he is not educated. She mentions several times the accents of other people but does not write their lines phonetically. This is a major problem for me. Why is only the 1 black person treated this way in your novel? The other "non-whites" are a few Muslim women that one of the characters is a missionary to in France. Here's a another instance where I was insulted that it is inferred they are only worth something because they've come to the "right" faith and left the "wrong" one.

Seriously, though, other than this main problem and my not agreeing with the message of the book, I enjoyed the story. If you can get passed the way the porter/butler is treated and enjoy Christian Fiction, I recommend you pick up this book.
Friday, April 10, 2009 5 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: 4/10/09

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


I really like this week's 56. It sums up this book perfectly! I think it's wonderful how that happens sometimes.

From Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser:

She's not ready to go any further than that. She's just so fragile.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009 0 comments By: Suzanne

Audio: The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry

I have made a habit of not listening to books that I know I would love if I read if they're not unabridged. At first I tried to make sure I was not listening to abridgements at all but that narrows the list of books I can listen to considerably so I opened up my "policy" to abridged audio books if they are ones I wouldn't normally read. Maybe this has played into my not liking a few of them. Maybe they would have better if it wasn't abridged. I don't know. Maybe it simply left out the stuff I REALLY would have hated! Whichever it is, Steve Berry's book The Romanov Prophecy was interesting in the concept but fell flat in the actual telling. From the box:

Atlanta Lawyer Miles Lord, fluent in Russian and well versed in the country's history, is thrilled to be in Moscow on the eve of such a momentous event. After the fall of Communism and a succession of weak governments, the Russian people have voted to bring back the monarchy. The new tsar will be chosen among the distant relatives of Nicholas II, and Miles' job is to perform a background check on the tsarist candidate favored by a powerful group of Western businessmen.

Suddenly Miles is racing across continents, shadowed by nefarious henchmen. At first his only question is why people are pursuing him. But after a strange conversation with a mysterious Russian who steers him toward the writings of Rasputin, Miles becomes desperate to know more. His only guide is a cryptic message from Rasputin implying that the bloody night of so long ago is not the last chapter in the Romanov's story.

This summary sounded wonderful. I am not the only one who is still fascinated by the Romanovs it seems. However, after I started this book I had a few questions that were never quite resolved. Why exactly is an American so involved in the return of the Tsar to the Russian throne? Simply because he is well versed in their history and language? That's just not a good enough reason. The reason given other than that is because his boss is deeply involved, but that only makes me wonder why that particular American is involved with what they call the Tsarist Commission. It's never answered. Another problem is at one point Miles and a Russian woman who is on the quest with him flee to San Fransisco on the trail of the Romanovs. I won't say why, but the reason given just didn't hold water with me. Seriously, San Fransisco in 1918 just doesn't seem like it would be the banking mecca for anyone, but I might be wrong here. The part about this that really bothers me is that supposedly there are many people after them. These are not just the typical "bad guys" but people in power. Miles is later told that they are able to get the FBI involved and he has been charged with murder. Ok, great! So how did he get out of Russia with his own name on the plane ticket? How did he enter the US through customs and no one stopped him or the Russian woman? How did she just happen to fly through into the US without any questions? Does she even have a passport? THEN they get on another plane from San Fransisco to Atlanta after running from the Russian embassy and having the FBI on their tail. WHAT???!! Who let these supposed criminals on the plane? What happened to heightened security? I won't give anymore away but I will say that for a lawyer, Miles Lord is not very smart in the common sense area. It's amazing he doesn't die in the first chapter.

But I actually kind of enjoyed the story. Except for the parts that were a little frustrating, it was fairly interesting. I just think maybe I should go back to reading what I know I like, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and thrillers. Right now I'm reading one I got an ARC of from LibraryThing and it's another that I think "maybe I should just stick to genres I know I like." I'll tell you about it in a few days.

Where are you and Teaser: Power of One

It's Tuesday, Where are you? is hosted on An Adventure in Reading.

I am again in Africa this week but am now 6 years old. I am alone on my first train ride after leaving hell (AKA boarding school) on my way to my new home. I just met the man that will change my life.

The Teaser is hosted at Should be Reading.

This week's comes from The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Hoppie had sensed my need to grow, my need to be assured that the world around me had not been specially arranged to bring about my undoing. He gave me a defense system, and with it he gave me hope.
pg. 103
Sunday, April 5, 2009 3 comments By: Suzanne

Lemonade Stand Award

I got the Lemonade Stand Award from Kristi at Books and Needlepoint today!

The Rules:
1) Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post
2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude
3) Link to your nominees within your post
4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog
5) Share the love and link to the person from who you received your award

So, this is difficult but here are my nominees:

1. Rebecca at Just One More Page...
2. Mizb at Should be Reading
3. Ruthanne at The Genco Journal
4. Bluestocking on her Guide
5. Stacy at her Bookblog
6. Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings
7. Lisa at Books and Cooks
8. Sharon at Unraveledagain
9. Heather at What was I reading?
10. Jen at her family's page, which you can't see unless she invites you. Sorry!
Saturday, April 4, 2009 4 comments By: Suzanne

Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz

I listened to Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz in the car. There have been few audiobooks I've listened to lately that I didn't at least like a little. This one made me want to slam my car into the ones closest to me at high speeds. Seriously, I used to like Dean Koontz, but I think lately he's simply trying too hard. It' not working. From the back of the box:

At thirty four, Internet entrepreneur Ryan Perry seemed to have the world in his pocket - until the first troubling symptoms appeared out of nowhere. Within days he diagnosed with incurable cardiomyopathy and finds himself on the waiting list for a heart transplant; it's his only hope, and it's dwindling fast. Ryan is about to lose it all...his health, his girlfriend Samantha, and his life.
One year later, Ryan has never felt better...Then the unmarked gifts begin to appear - and the chilling message:
Your heart belongs to me.
Ryan is being stalked by a mysterious woman who feels entitled to everything he has. She's the spitting image of the twenty-six year old donor of the heart beating steadily in Ryan's own chest. And she's come to take it back.

Ok, I went against what I said in my last review and typed out most of it because in this case, not only do I not care if I give too much away (I don't think it does) but I also need someone else to explain the story so I could launch straight into why I don't like this book.

Like I said, I think Koontz is trying to hard with this book. He is obviously trying to write in the style of Edgar Allan Poe. It was obvious throughout the book, that he was trying to write a book that was not only mysterious but creepy and with a message at the same time. There's even a character who is a fan of Poe. It's a very big moment in the book. One where Ryan begins to make sense of some weird happenings. It just annoyed me.

The problem was he kept trying to explain the message. If there is a message in the story, readers are not stupid. We'll see it. We'll get it. Stop telling me what the message is. Also, the book is peppered with too many instances of Koontz trying to be clever with the language, to the point that it was distracting and I kept rewinding parts so I could write it down and find out if I was right (no, that doesn't really make sense) or if I was wrong (actually, that word does work there but you didn't know this obscure definition). So here are some examples and you tell me if you think I'm right or wrong:

1. Her "eyes were lustrous with grief."
I can't explain exactly why I think this is wrong except I don't think that's how lustrous should be used. Stars are lustrous with the light the shine down, eyes can shine when reflecting light but lustrous seems wrong. I might be reaching on this one but definitely not the next.

2. The "night was narcoleptic."
The night can not be narcoleptic. A time of day cannot have a disorder that makes it fall asleep instantly.

3. "He had narrowed his many possible futures to this one aneurysm in the time stream."
Ok, I about ran off the road when I heard this one. Really??? Here's the definition of aneurysm: A localized widening (dilatation) of an artery, vein, or the heart. At the area of an aneurysm, there is typically a bulge and the wall is weakened and may rupture. The word "aneurysm" comes from the Greek "aneurysma" meaning "a widening."
Koontz actually contradicted himself and I don't think he knows it.

4. "Light shaped the room, smoothing every sharp corner with a radius."
I looked this up just to make sure, but in NONE of the definitions of radius does it make it synonymous with curve, which I think is what he means here.

There were several more before I started writing them down, but I simply couldn't make myself listen to the beginning again just to get them for you.

Another thing, the girl that is after him talks about a type of religion in China that has been outlawed and many people are going to prison over. He calls this "Falanga." I might be spelling it wrong, so please let me know if I am, but all I could find when I looked this up was torture:
Noun1.falanga - a form of torture in which the soles of the feet are beaten with whips or cudgels
Koontz makes it clear he's naming the practice that sends these people to jail not the torture they receive once they get there.

The thing that really did me in was the end. Ryan's big "Ah-ha!" moment comes when one of the other characters tells him he needs to "offer yourself as a victim all the rest of your life" in order to set things right in his life. WHAT??!! I realized later what was probably meant was for him to live his life for other people instead of the selfish way he had been living. This does not mean being a victim. Those are completely different things. Then at the end comes the overall "meaning" of the story. It was just so arrogant and self serving I couldn't believe it. It basically boiled down to this: I now know the meaning of life and am going to tell you what it is. You should listen to me because I lived through my horrible experience only so I could pass this on. That means I know what everyone else needs better than they do.

Uggghhhh, I apologize to anyone who might have read and liked this book. I am very harsh in my criticism of books I don't like. I welcome all comments, good and bad!
Friday, April 3, 2009 2 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: 4/3/09

WOW! I'm so late with it this week! I had a very busy day a completely forgot. Here ya go...

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


This week's comes from The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, which I am enjoying. Unfortunately, this quote is not so interesting! Oh, well. I can't always have weeks like the one when I got out the Symptoms book!

"A thousand apologies, Mevrou. Have you been waiting long?" he said, making a fuss of unlocking the padlocked doors to the shop.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 0 comments By: Suzanne

Lords of Corruption by Kyle Mills

Normally I would include the blurb from the back of the book or the inside jacket but in this case I think it gives way too much away (and is simply too long, who wants to read it?). Lords of Corruption is the latest book by Kyle Mills. He is the New York Times best selling author of Darkness Falls and several other books, although since I had my nose buried in Sci-Fi/Fantasy until recently, I have never heard of him.

Josh Hagarty is a recent MBA graduate with an impressive resume who can't find a job because of his past. He has a sister, Laura, to look after and mounting debt. When an African charity organization offers him not only a job but a way to take of Laura, he jumps on it even though he knows nothing about Africa, charity work, or farming (the job he will be doing). He learns from the very first day that not all is as it seems in Africa and the charity he works for may not be so charitable. It quickly becomes apparent that they may have hired him because of shady past, not in spite of it.

The first few chapters of this book were a little slow going. I think the story gets bogged down in the details for awhile, trying to paint a certain picture. It didn't take long, though, for me to become completely engrossed in the story. When I saw how short the book was (310 pages, hardback, large print) I thought, "I'll have this finished in two days." Not quite, but once I got into it I finished it pretty quick. I just couldn't put it down. I read last night while the t.v. was on. I don't even remember what I was trying to watch! The one thing that was irritating for me in the beginning, helps the story along through the end. The chapters are too short. There are 51 chapters, a prologue, and an epilogue. This works out to less than 6 pages per chapter (yes, I'm anal and figured it out). Each change of scenery or thought by the main character gets a new chapter. It makes each chapter ending have the feel of a season ending cliff-hanger on a television series. It gives a constant sense of dread, which is just too dramatic for the beginning of the book, making it ring a little false. It also breaks up the story too much. This works after the action gets going though and there really is something to be dramatic about. At that point it helps the pace move along at a point when it could easily drag.

There were a couple continuity problems that weren't too major but bothered me. Both dealt with his replacing someone else on the project he's hired to work on. In the Prologue, Josh's predecessor dies before the field can be cleared. However, when Josh arrives part of the field is growing corn. The corn is already high enough to be ready for harvest. The rest of the field is being cleared by a team of people working with a variety of hand tools. Exactly how much time has passed? The story is told in a way that a makes it seem like a matter of a couple weeks at most, but there's no way this much work could have been in that time (especially if they;'ve been working with hand tools!). Who was the project manager in between Josh and his predecessor? Why didn't the charity keep that person on if he was doing such a good job? The action and pressure in the story come from Josh discovering what the charity he works for is really up to. These are things they would like to keep hidden from him. If someone else could do this job without compromising their actual agenda, why did they bring Josh in in the first place? There is only one sentence in the book that addresses this. When things are starting to get a little out of hand, Josh's boss says to him, "I don't remember there being these problems when Gideon was in charge." (not a direct quote but close enough, I didn't mark it and can't find it!) Gideon is a relative of the president of the country and Josh's assistant. If Gideon was doing such a good job, why did they need a foreigner in the first place? These questions don't hurt the story but I'm sure it could have been easily explained in just a few lines.

The other related question was dealing with the people clearing and working the field. After tragedy strikes, Josh talks of these people as if people he's been working with them for months so he knows them pretty well. This is not true. He's been there only a few days and spent very little time at the project site. Ok, not a question but an observation.

Except for this continuity problem, I greatly enjoyed this book. I'm not much into mystery and action books, because they are generally predictable and slow. This is neither. I never felt I had all the answers and was just waiting for the author to provide them as I do with most mysteries. For me, that makes great storytelling! The author also has a sense of humor that comes through in the midst of terrible things happening. I'll leave you an example:

His badass act must have been coming off better than he'd expected. Who would ever have thought that things he'd learned in prison would be so much more valuable than things he'd learned in school?