Mary (rxkicker) - , - Reviews

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Forty Words for Sorrow (John Cardinal, Bk 1)
Forty Words for Sorrow (John Cardinal, Bk 1)
Author: Giles Blunt
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 48
Review Date: 9/26/2008
Helpful Score: 4


The only 'creepy' books I read are by Giles Blunt. (But I don't read them at night!) The language and mood are beautiful. I don't know much about snow... but felt I did after reading one of his books. Set in the Algonquin Bay area of Ontario.


Girl With The Phony Name
Girl With The Phony Name
Author: Charles Mathes
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 12/19/2008


Motel reviewer Lucy gets laid off, then -- through improbable circumstances (but, hey, it's fiction) -- gets a job in a suburban funeral home. She is an orphan with only one clue about her background: a brooch. After constant searching, she finds her father. (And, as always in a mystery, we have to wonder... But is he really????) Multiple plot twists and a happy ending. Interesting minor background information about funeral homes.
I hoped this was the first in a series. Apparently it is a stand-alone. I read that this author's protagonists are young ladies who have to discover something about their pasts.


The Grand Complication
The Grand Complication
Author: Allen Kurzweil
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 1/25/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Set in present day, but has the slow, elegant feel of an historical. Not a traditional mystery. The sleuth, a librarian, solves the problem of a missing item (turns out to be a watch), partly with his knowledge of Dewey classifications. Funny funny description of the staff post-inventory party, which includes a Dewey classification competition called Class Struggle, and a 'chariot' race around the Reading Room. Class Struggle winner gets to run the library any way he wants for the rest of the party; he takes his oath on a copy of the _ALA Handbook_.
Like the janitor on _Scrubs_, the library janitor knows far more than most people suspect, and can assist in ways only the janitor can. If you know (or are) a reference or catalog librarian, you may like this. I like the librarian, adore the janitor, am ambivalent about the watch-seeker, and sometimes want to smack the wife. Clever (but fiction, so improbable) mental revenge aided by way-modern technology. Usually I like all loose ends wrapped up. This has some uncertainty at the end, but it seems appropriate to the book.


Hallowed Murder (Jane Lawless, Bk 1)
Hallowed Murder (Jane Lawless, Bk 1)
Author: Ellen Hart
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 7/4/2009


Description currently posted is not correct. This first Jane Lawless mystery occurs in/around Jane's (fictional) sorority house at Univ of Minnesota. (She's an alumna adviser.) Not much detail about her former partner. Not much detail about her restaurant.
Plot develops well, with clues fairly sprinkled throughout. The identity of the murderer is a surprise. -- NOT an unfair, motive-from-left-field, what-a-coincidence kind of surprise.


Here Lies the Librarian
Here Lies the Librarian
Author: Richard Peck
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 7/17/2013


Intended for YA, but I liked it, too. Set around 1914 with interesting girls as characters. Rich college girls (who drive!) come to a small Indiana town to interview for the job as librarian. One of the visitors takes an interest in the central character, Peewee. Turns town-girl Peewee from a grease-monkey mechanic to a girly-girl who can fix a car while wearing a lavender tea dress. Well, formerly lavender. The visitor also arranges a few events that change the lives of several people.
Charming story. This would be an excellent choice for a young lady who is interested in cars and racing cars. Nice epilog set 60+ years in the future (1978) so we learn what happened to the characters.


Hey, Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky? Audio Book
Hey, Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky? Audio Book
Author: Baxter Black
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 12/14/2008


This audiobook is read by the author. Sometimes that's not a good thing. Here, it is a GREAT thing. This is one of the funniest books I have ever heard. It is one of the few I get from the library repeatedly.
Cody & Lick, pro rodeo, a camel with a sore tail, a never-been-ridden bull, a sartorially resplendent hitman, a genie in a snuff can... and so much more.
The book (on paper) is funny. The audiobook is laugh-till-I-cry funny.

Update: the audio book is severely edited... about half the book's text is left out. The story does not suffer. The editing makes the audio version Safe For Work listening.

** The only other audiobook similarly funny, IMO, is Donald E Westlake's _Bank Shot._


Hockey Sur Glace: Stories
Hockey Sur Glace: Stories
Author: Peter LaSalle
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 8/16/2009


Short stories about ice hockey, set in New England and Canada. Back cover blurbs includes these words: passion, meditative rituals, vanished culture, poignant, vivid collection.


I Never Loved Your Mind
I Never Loved Your Mind
Author: Paul Zindel
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 2/17/2008


As with most of Zindel's YA book, this empowers kids dealing with typical teen angst.


Identical
Identical
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 67
Review Date: 10/27/2010
Helpful Score: 2


The audio version has 11 disks. Halfway through the first disk, I figured what the twist would be. Skipped to the final disk. Glad I didn't bother with the in-between. If you spotted the twist in _Gentlemen and Players_, likely you will intuit this one.


The Jesus Injection (Buck 98)
The Jesus Injection (Buck 98)
Author: Eric Andrews-Katz
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 12/18/2012


Author describes it as "gay James Bond parody." Lots of plot in the slim book. Interesting characters... parody-style, but not cardboard. Good mystery with fair clues. Didn't figure out the 'who' in 'whodunit.'
Not quite sure what is the plot meaning of the last paragraphs. Guess I will have to wait for the sequel!


LA Guerre, Yes Sir! (Anansi Fiction Ser 10)
LA Guerre, Yes Sir! (Anansi Fiction Ser 10)
Author: Roch Carrier
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/26/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Quebec soldier Corriveau died fighting the Germans. Now seven Anglais soldiers bring him home. This novella-length story describes tension between the villagers and soldiers. Neither group speaks the other's language. Much of the story reminded me of the Magical Realism style. Apparently the story is full of symbolism and social commentary. I'm afraid I've been out of school too long to get most of it. The translator's note explains French-style cursing, which is left in French, not translated.


The Ladies of Missalonghi
The Ladies of Missalonghi
Author: Colleen McCullough
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 12/14/2008


This is a sweet story. Reminds me of the Anne of Green Gables books.


The Line Painter
The Line Painter
Author: Claire Cameron
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/5/2009


From the back cover blurbs: "An old B-movie premise -- Car Breaks Down in the Middle of Nowhere -- is given a fresh, distinctly Canadian twist in this wicked little first novel."

Bought it because bookseller recommended it. Delayed reading it because I thought it had a scary psycho-thriller plot. The first few pages are tense. (Then I read the ending.) The worst scenes involve (1) up-chucking after drinking and (2)Carrie falling asleep on disgusting ancient orange shag motel carpet. Plot has some tension, but no blood, gore, or violence.

In the first pages we learn: Carrie is running away from something at home (Toronto). The car breaks down in an isolated area. Girl in dangerous situation does stereotypically dumb-girl thing: she stops to pee -- and makes a phone call before she finishes & has her pants up. Of course someone comes along: A guy in a truck that paints lines on the highway (hence, the title). Have to read some tense pages before we have a better idea of what is happening. Tense episodes recur periodically. Author dribbles out details of why Carrie is running away. Characters spend/waste a lot of time smoking in freezing weather.

Does not have a 'happy ever after, heartwarming, all faith in humanity restored' ending. Does have an ending -- not depressing or vague -- appropriate to the characters and plot. A sequel or series is unlikely.

Good to know: Transport Ontario provides appropriately warm coats for its crews.


The Lithium Murder (Periodic Table, Bk 3)
The Lithium Murder (Periodic Table, Bk 3)
Author: Camille Minichino
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 5/16/2007
Helpful Score: 1


The sleuth is a consulting forensic physicist? I couldn't imagine how that could be interesting or how it could be turned into a series. I was wrong. I hope to see a lot more in this series, even as the author starts her new series. I'm a science geek, and believe the series will be interesting even for people who are not.


M. I. A.
M. I. A.
Author: Michael Allen Dymmoch
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/2/2009


Short chapters alternate first-person points of view: Rhiann, Jimmy (her son), and John (the mysterious next-door neighbor). Characters are developed well. Multiple plot threads from past and present are woven together well. Most of the characters are men who have been in love with Rhiann for years. Nice surprises about some of the characters. Happy ending for all the good guys.

Ms Dymmoch said one day she saw a young man driving a big, older car that had an MIA sticker on it. She thought about how that might have happened, and this book is the result. Rhiann's first husband enlisted and was MIA, then KIA in VietNam. That's the only plot connection to war.

Fast to read because of the short chapters. Some description of fights (past and present), but the violence is not excessive and is not gruesomely described. Minor description of prison life and high-school bullies (past and present).


The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
Review Date: 9/22/2008
Helpful Score: 1


William Smith had a fabulous combination of background, interest, and opportunity. This is a fascinating story of how he developed the concepts of geology as science. The paperback version has good maps. The hardback has beautiful maps.

I read this because I liked _The Professor and the Madman_. Now I read anything by Simon Winchester.


Mastering Microwave Cooking
Mastering Microwave Cooking
Author: Maria Luisa Scott
Book Type: Unknown Binding
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/2/2009


Published in 1976. Includes b/w photos of microwave ovens then on the market, with description of prices and features. The selection includes an 'economy priced' model (with an opaque door!) at $198.
(From the 'Vegetables' section "Over 15 percent of Japanese households have microwave ovens, which means Japan leads the world in microwave cookery."
Quaint, by current standards. Recipes still seem valid.


The Midnight Special (Dr. Thomas Purdue, Bk 3)
The Midnight Special (Dr. Thomas Purdue, Bk 3)
Author: Larry Karp
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 12/15/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Lots of interesting information about music boxes. Interesting characters: a twitchy synesthetic skylight burglar (he sees sounds), a post-stroke music box restorer/builder who needs assistance, a way shady dealer, an overlooked dealer, and more. Sleuth, an academic neurologist, seems to have more time available than any academic-type I've ever known. Plenty of time to solve the crime(s), fortunately for the story. Thomas' solution achieves justice for most and hope for many. The bit with the silk painting was confusing, but apparently each person got what he/she needed/deserved.


Miriam the Medium
Miriam the Medium
Author: Rochelle Shapiro
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 2/8/2009


The best word to describe this book is: gentle. A gentle story with gentle characters and a gentle ending.
Primary characters: Miriam the Phone Psychic; her pharmacist husband Rory; their teen daughter Cara; Miriam's deceased bubbe (grandmother) who also had the psychic gift/curse.
Cara is embarrassed by her mother's abilities & job. Miriam worries about the family's finances. Rory doesn't trust Miriam's abilities. Most problems are resolved when Something Happens.
Good ending with Miriam getting the blessings of people who love and loved her. Many minor characters (including some not-gentle, not-nice ones) and subplots add depth and interest to the story.
The person who sent it said, "It wasn't my cup of tea." I wasn't sure it would be for me, either. I read the first few pages. Then a few more. Then some from the middle. Then some toward the end. Then the whole thing front-to-back. In one day.
It's not paranormal or romance or mystery. It's just a nice story.


Murder at Osgoode Hall: An Amicus Curiae Mystery (Amicus Curiae Mystery series)
Review Date: 9/30/2008


A bookseller said, "It has a cat but it's not cutesy." I liked it and bought the next two as soon as they were available. Narrator is Amicus, a smart, cynical cat. His human, Ted, is a Justice in Toronto. Good plot with not-obvious bad guy. Clever use of language. The first book I ever read that had _no_ errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation.


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