Ravings of a Book Junkie

An avid reader, if books were sustenance I'd be fat as a hog. I mainly read dark urban fantasies, but like to mix things up book-wise, just never enough time to read all the books I want to read!

The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger I read this sometime in 2007 and it was one of the most difficult yet satisfying reads I've ever had the pleasure to experience. Many may find this book hard to comprehend, but if you stick with it, you'll never regret it. It is a tale of loneliness, patience, family, and at its heart, an unusual romance. All this is interwoven with the facet of time-travel. It's not what I'd term science-fiction, but it is, without a doubt, a well-crafted, highly-imaginative, and poignant story. My grade: A+

Water for Elephants: A Novel

Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen This was a wonderful book to me, I was hooked from the beginning where we're introduced to Jacob Jankowski, a 93 yr old curmudgeon living in a nursing home. He tells us about his life through flashbacks of his years spent caring for circus animals during the Depression era. We get an insider's view of the sometimes harsh reality for both animals and circus performers. We're introduced to an unique collection of individuals: freaks, acrobats and grifters.

Undead and Unworthy (Queen Betsy, Book 7)

Undead and Unworthy (Queen Betsy, Book 7) - MaryJanice Davidson Undead & Unworthy, the 7th (for Pete's sake) in the QB series is a real disappointment. Betsy isn't cute anymore, she's annoying. As are the two page long chapters her author is penning. Wth is with that? It's been two months since her official wedding to Sinclair and she's setting up house (all regular roommates included) and getting used to the idea of who she is, otherwise it's the same old crazy life as usual. This time her wicked step-mother is haunting her and the feral vampire Fiends are wanting her dead for good. Garrett, the fiend who got much better after Betsy gave him her blood, has been feeding his fellow fiends his improved DNA and now they are awake and pissed off. They can't believe she just left them in their pig-blood drinking barn squalor and went merrily about her undead way. Betsy feels terrible, of course. But busy helping Nick, her best friend's cop-boyfriend (who hates her & Sinclair) she continues to neglect the Fiends who end up killing innocent bystanders and not just human ones. From one page to the next, the situations and her reactions just get more & more unbelievable. Coupled with her ever-growing (though always mysteriously acquired) powers - she can cure cancer, can turn centuries old vampires to ash without really thinking about it, can make a non-shifting werewolf regain her shifting ability, can knock a roomful of friends unconscious, can wear religious icons, etc - which are granted to her without any sort of explanation, it has all begun to ring false. What is the author doing? Turning Betsy into a god of some sort? All this and her & Sinclair and having sex mere moments after the deaths of TWO of the roommates is ludicrous, especially since Betsy's supposed to be a "sensitive" kind of vampire. Puhhleeese. Maybe it's me, or the glut of vampire themed books out these days has gotten stale, but this installment by MJD really doesn't deliver, and frankly, if this is what we can expect from herein of the Queen Betsy series, well, I'm done. Grade D+

Hot & Bothered

Hot & Bothered (Marine # 3) - Susan Andersen A fun way to waste an afternoon, I was hooked from page one!

Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)

Twilight  - Stephenie Meyer Being a long-time reader of the paranormal genre and a fan of many different authors; i.e. Anne Rice, Stephen King, Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, etc., I had high expectations of Twilight, perhaps too high. This book is definitely not for the mature reader but should find huge fans among impressionable prepubescent girls, imo, it's very mild, and frankly, immature. The Cullen characters are not really vampires (or not in any sense I'd term them as such) they don't consume human blood, they don't sleep from dawn to dusk, and they can withstand the sun. Albeit, they only venture outdoors on overcast days because, unlike traditional vamps who'd combust and die if caught in direct sunlight, Edward and his family will "shimmer." Really? (I'll admit that made me laugh out loud). However, I imagine it makes a 12 year old girl's heart melt. Other plot points I found hard to fathom were Ella's lack of personality yet immense appeal to all the school boys and Edward and his boorish attitude and lack of respect towards her. Oh, and that he loves her not for her kindess, intellect, beauty or great sense of humor, nope, it's her smell. Hey, maybe it's just me but EWWW, ok? I can definitely understand whyTwilight appeals to the young teens with its broody male characters (teen girls love their bad boys) and their aloof, but so cool, attitudes. But why so many adult women are gaga over this book (or Edward) eludes me. There were a couple of points I did enjoy, such as, the baseball game and the heart-racing chase given by roving "bad" vampires who were more true to form to vampire lore. This, and the mystery behind the Blacks (ex. Jacob) was interesting. That werewolves are alive & well in Grand Forks will have many buying that next book. Not me though, I'm done. Keeping it real high school style, for this reader, Twilight barely merits a grade of C.

Be My Baby

Be My Baby - Susan Andersen Excellent book! The characters sizzle whenever they're together, a fun, fun read.

Every Dead Thing

Every Dead Thing - John Connolly I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who doesn't enjoy the writers Stephen King or Dean Koontz, but with that said, I think Mr. Connolly ranks right up there in skill with those aforementioned authors. His writing is dark and graphic but it is fluid and hypnotic as well. This book isn't a light read and may take you places you don't want to go, places that spook you. The early part of this book contains the murder aftermath of a young child and her mother, which sets the tone of the book and a deadly goal of vengeance for the protagonist. Determined to find his wife and child's killer, Charlie Parker, a NYPD officer, will follow clues his nightmares provide from the streets of New York to the swamps of the deep South. Along the way he'll enter into surprising friendships with some old enemies that lead to scary revelations about old friends. Grade: B+

From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 8)

From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse #8) - Charlaine Harris Harris continues to keep this storyline fresh and entertaining and delivers another satisfying read.

Fire Me Up (Aisling Grey, Guardian, Book 2)

Fire Me Up - Katie MacAlister A wonderful introduction into the mishap-filled world of Aisling (pronounced Ash-ling) Grey, a courier in her uncle's business, she travels to Paris where she discovers, along with the dead body of the customer she was making the delivery to, she is a Guardian of the gates of Hell. Lots of funny hi-jinks ensue mixed with steamy encounters with a hunk named Drake who makes her toes curl and her blood boil.

Cutting Loose

Cutting Loose - Susan Andersen Susan Andersen is one of my chick-lit author faves! This book was jumping! to be succinct. I literally read from start to finish it in one setting. Highly recommend! A+

A Dirty Job: A Novel

A Dirty Job - Christopher Moore This wasn't as good as the previous Moore book (Lamb: the gospel according to Biff) I read, but it had its good points. In this, Charlie Asher loses his wife, gains a newborn daughter and becomes a Death Merchant, all on the same day. As the years go by, Charlie, collects soul vessels and keeps them in his San Francisco pawnshop, Asher's Second-hand Items & Apparel, where he works with quirky misfits, Lily & Ray, and sells them (souls are contained in various riff-raff, such as a ceramic frog or Converse tennis shoes) to the appropriate soul-lacking customers (turns out we're not all born with souls). As the years go by Asher see signs that the minions of the Underworld, they live beneath the streets in the sewer tunnels, are gathering more powers and knows someday (this from the instruction manual he got in the mail) the Luminatis will have to fight them. Charlie's convinced he is the Luminatis, else why else did the hulking Hellhounds show up in his apartment? This and other wacky happenings make the last half of this book an enjoyable read. Grade: C+

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal - Christopher Moore A satirical and imaginative take on years 6 thru 33 of Jesus's life. The various religions that Christianity has borrowed from Moore creatively weaves into his narrative by having Biff and Jesus travel to find the three wise men or Magi so Joshua (Jesus) can learn what he needs to do to be the Messiah. From a stone temple carved into a desert mountain to the cliff caves in India, Biff and Joshua do everything from learn magic from a youth-obsessed magician and his nubile harem members to rescue a group of kids from a violent sect of the goddess Kali worshipers. All this is told from the pov of Biff, Christ's best friend. I laughed a lot reading this, and though I'm not a religious person, I really hope that if Jesus H. Christ did exist that he had a friend like Biff, someone that saw him as Joshua, someone who'd stick with him through the highs and lows - we all need that - but someone saddled with his burdens especially needed it. For those of you who are religious and think reading this might be sacrilegious, it might surprise you and teach you a thing or two ... like the story behind evolution and what the 'H' stands for. *giggles*

The Face: A Novel

The Face - Dean Koontz It's unfortunate that the rating only allows for 5 stars this work deserves many more, in my opinion. This is Koontz most outstanding work to date; from the beginning I was completely taken with his two main characters, the plot, and the unusual twist involving a guardian angel of questionable merit. The whole book was a real page turner. It is filled with memorable characters that I really hope that Mr. Koontz will share with us again in future novels.

From the Corner of His Eye: A Novel

From the Corner of His Eye - Dean Koontz This is a wonderful, wondrous novel full of tragedy and triumph and a twisted villain that only Dean Koontz or Stephen King could dream up. This is one of my favorites by D.K. just when you think he couldn't get any better he goes and surprises you.

We All Fall Down

We All Fall Down: 8.95 - Rosemary Friedman If profanity offends you, don't pick up this book. If scenes of graphic torture by the Christian sect offend you, don't pick up this book. If realistic scenes of humans at their worst offend you, then please, don't pick up this book. Though this is a book based on the end times as foretold by the Christian bible, it's not one I'd recommend for the true believer, especially if you think Christians are kind, gentle and righteous in all situations. That said, this is the kind of book you either love or hate, I happen to love it myself. Being an atheist I can relate to the book's protagonist, Jimmy, a non-believer who sees the Rapture take his girlfriend, family and friends and who though makes to the fabled Petra himself is disgusted by his fellow escapees. Given an opportunity to rescue an old girlfriend from what used to be Chicago, USA, Jimmy decides to forfeit his guaranteed entrance to Heaven and takes the "mark" to insure safe passage on a prison ship and leaves behind Petra and its security. *Jimmy uses the F word A LOT, but it fits his character, the modern setting and the dire situations he endures. This book is graphic, intense, and a read I won't soon forget.

Grave Sight (Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 1)

Grave Sight - Charlaine Harris Thought this was a uniquely different book from the current glut of paranormal vampire/werewolves/witches out there in book market now. It is also very different from her Sookie Stackhouse series though both lead characters have a mental ability. I found this book fast-paced and smart. Read it in an afternoon and looked forward to the next two.