Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Love You, Miss Huddleston, and other inappropriate longings of my indiana childhood

I Love You, Miss Huddleston and other inappropriate longings of my indiana childhood

Philip Gulley

5 out of 5

Philip Gulley can definitely make you laugh out loud with this book. Back in the 1970's when we were "free range children" and allowed to have a childhood, life was much more interesting. Granted, your mom would know your indiscretions before you even hit the back door, but that was the price you paid for having fun.

Gulley tells his tales, he admits that these are the parts that he remembers and that's what he is sticking with, of living in Indiana and that it was pretty much heaven on earth even with the flannel graphs in Sunday school. Maybe that is why this good Catholic boy became a Quaker minister.

Hysterically funny from beginning to end, Gully takes us through his growing up years in short story vignettes pretty much in the same venue as Robert Fulgrum. Gully introduces us to his band of compadres who never seem to have real names, but make life all the more interesting.

And who knew that shooting a can of bug spray is pretty much the equivalent of an Indiana farms Atom Bomb.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Living Dead in Dallas

Living Dead in Dallas

Charlaine Harris

4 out of 5

Sookie Stackhouse isn't phased by much but when the body of a dear friend in found in the parking lot Merlotte's and she is asked to go to Dallas to help out the local chapter of the vampire guild, things seem to get a bit out of hand. Especially when you throw in a bar loving maenad.

Arriving in Dallas with Bill at her side, Sookie sets out to find a missing vampire and bring him back to the nest. Sounds easy especially with her gift but of course she finds herself a captive of a church/fanatical group called the Fellowship of the Sun. Their main purpose is to destroy all vampires and those that are associated with them. Well, obviously, this puts Sookie in a difficult situation.

This book actually has two storylines, the first being the Dallas part and the second being back home in Louisiana with the investigation around the death of Lafayette a cook from Merlotte's. Since Lafayette is found dead in the back of Andy Bellefleur's car, and Andy being a local policeman, things aren't looking so good. But true to Sookie's word of taking care of things, she is once again thrown into the middle of things and learning a whole lot more about her fellow neighbors of Bon Temps. But that fun loving maenad is there to help and Sookie may not be so judgmental if the raving mad woman can help her.

A little bit more is discovered about the main characters. Harris does a wonderful job in slowly developing her characters and letting the reads know just enough to keep them coming back for me.

The Help

The Help

Kathryn Stockett

5 out of 5

I'll be the first to admit that when an author writes in multiple voices it takes me a couple of chapters to keep everyone straight, with that being said, The Help is the exception. Katheryn Stockett clearly voices each character and smoothly transitions between them all in a way that has them portrayed more along the lines of real live people then just single dimensional characters in a book.

1962 Mississippi is no place to be, white, privileged Eugenia, more commonly known as Skeeter because of her likeness to a mosquito has recently returned home from college and much to her mothers disappointment there is no ring on her finger. Aibileen has just returned to working for a white family since the death of her own child and Minnie, the best cook in the county is quite hard pressed to find a family to work for since she has quite of habit of speaking her mind, something that a white family just won't put up with.

As each woman's story is told a truer picture of the segregated south emerges. When they decide to work in unison to write a book from the black domestics perspective looking at the white families they have loved and served a whole new picture emerges. The fear of being discovered, of actual prison time becomes all to real, but it's a story that has to be told. A story that in a way will free them all.

At times you will be shocked, mortified, and laughing out loud, these women will have you hearing what they have to say for a very long time.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Associate

The Associate

John Grisham

4 out of 5

Grisham really played it safe with this book. Unfortunately, with this book he didn't push the envelope enough. As I was reading the book my mind kept flashing forward wondering which twist he was going to add, which alley he was going to lead Kyle McAvoy down, but he didn't do it. We ended up with more of a happily ever after type of ending.

Kyle is the top of his class at Yale, editor of the Yale Law Journal, already has his life plan in order, working for a couple of years doing pro bono work then maybe joining his dad's firm working in small town law. That all changes when he is approached with a video tape showing a college night that got out of control. Now Kyle finds himself taking a job at a mega firm and forced to steal confidential information.

What ensues in a lively game of cat and mouse with occasional support characters that could of been rounded out a little bit more and a finale that you wonder "is that all there is". A very good book, a very quick read, but a rather lackluster finale.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

All The Living

All the Living

C. E. Morgan

2 out of 5

I kept waiting for this low moving book to get better. Its monotonous style never sparked an interest in me for either of the two main characters.

Living a life of no one ever wanting her, Aloma jumps at Orren's offer of coming to his farm and living with him. Unfortunately, the hope of marriage is not Orren's intentions, he is still reeling from the death of his mother and brother and is ill prepared to take over the family farm with all of its obligations and financial strains and having a wife at the same time.

This southern farm turns into Aloma's own nightmare, but she finds solace in a church piano. But with that gift also comes the local preacher. After a painful confrontation with the preacher and an emotional evening with Orren, Aloma now sees what her future will be. It might not be happily ever after, but all good things are worth waiting for.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dust and Shadow

Dust and Shadow

Lyndsay Frye

5 out of 5

A fabulous atmospheric historical mystery told through the eyes of Dr. Watson as Sherlock Holmes is entangled with and eventually solves, in only a Holmesian way, the mystery of Jack the Ripper.

In 1888 Inspector Lestrade calls on Holmes to help with the investigation of two murdered prostitutes. What follows is a dark look at the times and people of London as Holmes enlists the help of additional characters that liven up a time that has almost brought Holmes to his knees. Between opiate abuse and being accused of the murders himself, Holmes must survive both physical and emotional attacks to solve the crime of the century.

Faye does a admirable job inputting voice to Dr. Holmes as he , with the reader, seems to be a step behind the great investigator.

I hope that this is only the first of many wonderful books for Faye.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Twenty Wishes

Twenty Wishes

Debbie Macomber

3 out of 5

Just when I was beginning to enjoy this series, along comes this book that makes me wonder "what was I thinking"

Being almost 40, Anne Marie a local bookstore owner needs something to spark up her life. During a separation from her husband who refuses to have a child with her Ann Marie's world is rocked when he suddenly dies and there is no child for her, no resolution to her feeling of unfulfillment.

As a way to not feel lonely on Valentine's Anne Marie invites over other widow's who all decided to make a list of twenty things that they would each like to accomplish, dreams that they had, but were never realized. In an attempt to realize one of her dreams she becomes a lunch buddy to a struggling eight year old who is being raised by her grandmother. This one act of kindness will spark Anne Marie in the direction that she has always wished to journey.

With a cast of characters that really don't have anything in common, each story surrounds their own lives, the wishes really are not an important part of the story and then they all live happily ever after - in typical Macomber fashion.