Barbara's Booky Blog

I'm a reader not a blogger so this could prove to be interesting.
I read mostly mystery, paranormal, fantasy and romance but I've been known to give almost anything a try except biographies and non-fiction unless forced.
Kiss Me, Kill Me - Maggie Shayne Though this book stands on it's own, it would help with the back story if you read the first two in the series first.

Dr. Carrie Overton has basically been on pins and needles for 16 years because of the secret that could yank her medical license. When a young girl gave birth on the side of the road and promptly disappeared (late to wind up dead), childless Dr. Overton took the baby and named him Sam at the mother's request (via a note left with the baby). Now 16 years later, teenage kids are disappearing and Carrie is terrified that Sam will be next. Enter hippie Gabriel Cain, musician and drifter who just happens to be in town looking for the missing baby from 16 years ago.

This is a suspense driven mystery with a romantic backdrop of both the main characters and their teenage son. I totally loved this conclusion to the Secrets of Shadow Falls trilogy though I must say that I usually do love Maggie Shayne's writing. This one just grabbed me from the first chapter (heck the epilogue really) and kept me turning pages faster and faster as the danger increased.
Emissary - Fiona McIntosh I had the same issues with book two as I had with the first book - I hate the whole harem thing and the way the girls are treated as well as the unnecessary brutality of this way of life. That aside, I really like this series. Of course, Lazar is my favorite character and what he has gone through is heartbreaking and unfortunately unending. And poor Ana, stuck in the harem, enslaved by the Zar and in love with Lazar. Will she ever catch a break?

I found myself screaming and wanting to slap the heck out of Valide, what bitch! I'm not a religious person but I like the whole Lyana vs Zabar thing. I find it interesting how Ms. McIntosh is drawing out the suspense as to who and when though we clearly know the why. I like that it isn't obvious who are the main players in this though knowing the main characters of the book, it's sort of clear who will be involved just not how exactly.

Like all fantasy books, this is a slow read that takes time to digest what is actually happening, as well as what is being put in motion by the various factions - good, bad and otherwise. I loved how this one ended and can't wait to get my hands on the conclusion.

Z for Zachariah - Robert C. O'Brien Ann Burden is seemingly the last person alive after a nuclear holocaust. She is living in the only green valley in which life is possible and surviving nicely. Of course, she's lonely so when a man suddenly appears in a safe-suit up on the hill, she is both excited and terrified. The questions is, is he going to be a positive force in the valley or tear Ann's life apart?

I disliked Mr. Loomis from the start and many times wondered why Ann didn't just shoot him instead of running for the hills and hiding. This is the one sticking point of this book. I don't care how alone you are, it's better to be alone than to be a victim of a mysogynistic creep. I mean Ann was doing just fine in her little valley, growing crops and vegetables, providing for herself, keeping herself busy and in walks Mr. Loomis who disregards her knowledge and repeatedly belittles her. I wanted to shoot the bastard myself.

After finishing the book, I was rather disappointed at the ending. But then I found out that the author died and someone else wrote the ending which kind of made sense. To start, Ann was such a strong heroine but Mr. Loomis turned her into an idiot and it really annoyed me when she left her own valley and headed into the unknown.
Rebel - Zoe Archer In the mountains of Western Canada, Nathan Lesperance is rescued by former Blades of the Rose agent Astrid Bramfield, who after losing her beloved Blades husband Michael, has retreated from life itself. The Heirs of Albion are hot on Nathan's trail and Astrid must once again join the human race and help Nathan escape or flight the Heirs though neither knows why they have targeted Nathan. Of course, the attraction between them was instant and the chemistry is off the charts. Will Nathan be able to pull Astrid back among the living?

This is a rip-roaring adventure in 1875 that has just what you'd expect during that time period, well except for the shape-shifters of course. I love the gadgets the Blades use to defeat the Heirs. Too cool! And I like the fact that the Blades don't always win when facing the Heirs. It just makes it more realistic and provides greater adventures and a more suspenseful experience.
Aunt Dimity's Death (Aunt Dimity Mystery) - Nancy Atherton

Awhile ago I needed to read a book set in New Zealand so I picked up Aunt Dimity Down Under by Nancy Atherton (Book 15 in the series) which I enjoyed. It left me with a desire to find out how the whole thing started and just who the heck Lori was, as well as Aunt Dimity. So I decided to start at the beginning and read Aunt Dimity's Death to get my bearings.

Unfortunately I found that I didn't really like Lori as she's rude and childish. Oh sure she's had it rough and is doing her best just to survive but that's no reason to act like she did to Bill Willis, the lawyer who is helping her collect her inheritance. She was all talked up (so wonderful and special) and everyone was falling all over themselves to help her but I just didn't see it. To me it felt more like an ideal than reality. Of course her mother (and "godmother") think she's terrific but she didn't live up to that image. She did finally grow on me (as did Bill) but it took quite a while to get past her unnecessary attitude.

And even though the front cover claims this is one of the 100 best mysteries of all time, it wasn't really a mystery but more like a romantic ghost story with a slight mystery dumped in as an after thought. And I say slight because it was too easily solved.

I did like the fact that Lori had to jump through a few hoops to claim her inheritance. It was very Cinderella-ish but not a fairy tale per se as she really did have to work for it.

Now that I know who Lori is and why Aunt Dimity is haunting her, I will continue the series as it's cute and a quick read.

When is a Pig a Hog?: A Guide to Confoundingly Related English Words - Bernice Randall Well it's no wonder foreigners have difficulty with the English language. All in all, a useful book that clarifies some English terms but for the most part it just defines two words that are interchangeable and basically mean the same thing. Will I remember any of this stuff? Probably not but it was interesting to read.

Human & Not So Human Beings was ambiguous at best. Most of the entries didn't clarify anything - one word is basically a synonym for the other while other entries had merit.

Astronaut vs Cosmonaut - A cosmonaut, like an astronaut, is a person trained to make rocket flights in outer space, but he or she is likely to be stationed in the Soviet Union. p23

Judge vs Arbiter - The word judge is not limited to one elected or appointed official with authority to hear and decide cases in a court of law. One of it's other meanings applies to a person whose expert knowledge in a certain field gives him or her the authority to settle controversy or determine the winner of a contest. Arbiter, as applied to a person fully authorized or qualified to judge or decide something, suggests indisputable influence in a particular matter. p22 (sounds like the same thing to me)

Here & There
Capital vs Capitol - A capitAl is a city or town that is the official seat of government of a state or nation. (p48) A capitOl is a building where a legislative body meets. p49

Cape Canaveral vs Cape Kennedy - Cape Canaveral is a proving ground for U.S. missiles and spacecraft. From 1963 to 1973 the Cape was called Cape Kennedy after President John F. Kennedy.

Things
Street vs Avenue - A public thoroughfare in a village, town or city is generally known as a street, particularly if it is paved and has sidewalks and buildings along one or both sides. A broad, principal street is often called an avenue. In many American towns and cities, avenues run at right angles to streets. Who knew a street and an avenue weren't the same thing? Not I.

Concepts, Actions & Intangibles
Part vs Portion vs Piece
A part is any of the components of a whole. A portion is specifically a part allocated to someone. A piece is a part separated from the whole.

Hara-Kiri vs Seppuku - means virtually the same thing. Hara Kiri is literally hara "belly" + kiri "cut" while Seppuku is setsu "cut" + huku "belly".

The Arts - this is not something I care about at all so I just skimmed these 30 pages.

Nature & Science
Here we finally come to an answer for the title.

Pig vs Hog
A pig is an immature swine weighing less than 120 pounds, whereas a hog weighs over 120 pounds.

Our Bodies & Medicine
I always wondered what the difference was between Sadism and Masochism. Well here's the answer... Sadism is getting sexual pleasure from dominating or hurting someone else while Masochism is getting pleasure from being beaten or dominated. Hmm neither one is for me.

Organizations & Institutions
I learned a couple of things, such as the difference between a grand jury (more than 12 people who investigate accusations against people charged with a crime) and a petit jury (less than 12 people who weigh this evidence and decide the outcome of a trial in court). Though most of the remainder was pretty common or common sensical.
Master of Darkness - Angela Knight In the final book of the Mageverse series, werewolves William Justice and Miranda Drake have to fulfill a prophecy to defeat Warlock, who just happens to be Miranda's father who has terrorized and abused her for years. So we have daddy issues which correlate to man issues. Justice is also an alpha male who has the potential to be abusive (in Miranda's eyes). I liked this concept (the fact that there was a detriment to the relationship not that Miranda was abused) but I felt that it was resolved to quickly and too easily.

All of Mageverse hasn't been able to defeat Warlock but now Justice and Miranda must decipher the prophecy and get the Mother of all Fairies to help them by providing the magic weapons that will ultimately do the trick. I liked the fact that Justice and Miranda had to "find" the weapons hidden among a ton of other weapons.

I loved the great creatures Warlock created - a seventy foot cobra, a Clydesdale-sized centaur and a dinosaur - to fight King Arthur's vamps and weres. Too cool. I also liked the set up for the next series featuring the fae. I really liked Conal and even the Mother. It should be interesting to see where Ms. Knight takes them.
The Crystal Cave (Merlin, #1)  - Mary Stewart I've always liked anything to do with Arthur Pendragon, Camelot and Merlin so when I saw this book, I snapped it up. Of course, it's taken me years to pull it off the shelf and actually read it. God knows why. This is Merlin's story not Arthur's and is basically a coming of age tale of Merlin's early learnings of trickery instead of magic itself. Honestly I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to enjoy this series starter which actually ends with Arthur's beginning. Hmm I wonder what [b:The Hollow Hills|116343|The Hollow Hills (Arthurian Saga, #2)|Mary Stewart|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348816177s/116343.jpg|1282681] will teach me.
Forced to Kill - Andrew  Peterson I received [b:Forced to Kill|11482181|Forced to Kill (Nathan McBride, #2)|Andrew Peterson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1328645641s/11482181.jpg|16417192] as a promotional giveaway and even though I haven't read [b:First to Kill|3931026|First to Kill (Nathan McBride, #1)|Andrew Peterson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347557781s/3931026.jpg|3976550] yet, I needed something to listen to in the car so I grabbed book two. Without the first book to compare it to, I'm going to say that this was action-packed and I really liked both Nathan McBride and his side-kick Harvey. Not having read the first book, I enjoyed the flashbacks which gave a little insight into Nathan's PTSD which I'm sure those who read the first book found excessive. Let me rephrase that, I enjoyed learning what caused Nathan's PTSD not the fact that he was tortured. I can honestly say that I wanted to reach through the pages and tear Montez apart with my bare hands so I can only imagine what Nathan wanted to do the crazy a**hole. This story isn't for the faint of heart as there is graphic details of torture and sadism that seems entirely too real and possible. I will definitely be reading [b:First to Kill|3931026|First to Kill (Nathan McBride, #1)|Andrew Peterson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347557781s/3931026.jpg|3976550] in the near future.
The Woman Who Swallowed a Toothbrush: And Other Weird Medical Case Histories - Rob Myers I expected some really wild and crazy emergency room encounters but only strange anomalies prevailed. Though there are a few totally bizarre incidents such as...

    the boy whose intestines were sucked out his rectum by the suction hole in the bottom of a swimming pool; or the man who ruptured his rectum after having sex with his prize boar; or the guy who committed suicide by leaning his body out the car window and being cut in half by the speed limit sign (my personal favorite...so creative!)

It must be interesting to work in the emergency room though I'm sure events of these nature aren't every day occurrences. And I do think the creators of Grey's Anatomy have read this book as it definitely sounds like something they've come up with in the past.
Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled - Dorothy Gilman This is a cozy mystery series featuring an older (think senior citizen) lady who believe it or not, works for the CIA. Here latest adventure takes place in Syria where she is asked to discover if a kidnapped American, Amanda Pym is in fact still alive and being held captive by terrorists. Of course, the story is slightly ridiculous (an elderly lady overcoming tried and true terrorists) but it's fun and quick to read. Don't get me wrong there is evident danger and Mrs. Pollifax and John Farrell get captured and tortured but the details are slim and the story advances. I would definitely read of further adventures in Africa with Mrs. Pollifax and possibly Amanda and even Joe.
Unzipped - Lois Greiman OMG what a fun book! Chrissy's one-liners were priceless. And I loved the fact that she kept messing up Rivera's name (which really pissed him off though he did his best not to show it.) I just loved Rivera - what a hoot. I will definitely continue this series as I have to know how they get on once they are a couple.

The storyline is enjoyable and the mystery flows nicely though it is surprising (well sort of anyway) that Chrissy is more interested in clearing her own name than finding out who actually murdered Bomber. Chrissy is a little bit ditzi for a psychologist but then again she did start out as a cocktail waitress -- kinda the same job when you think about it.
The Red Heart of Jade  - Marjorie M. Liu I've read a couple of Marjorie Liu's books and honestly haven't rated one above three stars (and that was stretching it). Her premises always sound exciting and promise to draw the reader in but they just fail to do that. I find myself drifting off and literally have to force myself to finish her books. I can't pinpoint why this is as she has hunky heroes, kick-ass heroines and great plots so it makes no sense but I guess I just do not like her writing style.

In this one, someone is torching people all over Taipei and Dean Campbell, agent extraordinaire is in Taiwan investigating. Dean is a clairvoyant and his partner, Koni is a bird shifter. As they are investigating, Dean realizes that his long lost (and thought dead) first (and only) lover may mysteriously be alive. So now he's searching on two counts. Looking for Mirabelle Lee and searching for the person (thing?) that is killing people left and right. Sounds interesting...right? Well it totally falls flat and once again, Marjorie Liu just doesn't do it for me.
The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #2) - Nora Roberts I loved the First Boyfriend/Last Boyfriend concept. What a great idea for a romance novel and I felt that Nora Roberts did it justice. Since it isn't the romance of the century Ms. Roberts didn't play it that way. Just the boy next door who was the girl next doors instant love. With the "I'm gonna marry him one day" thing going on, it just flowed for me and felt right. I loved that Owen knew without really knowing that Avery was the one and though he didn't actually wait for her, he did know that no one else was the right one. And though Avery was intent on her career (to a crazy degree) and never had time (or made time) for romance, she made time for Owen. So both of them, without even realizing it were always waiting for the other one. To sweet and so romantic.

I'm not much on buildings and/or renovations but I really loved the overhaul of the Inn and the upcoming restaurant - heck even the gym. I can't wait to read Hope and Ryder's story. That is definitely going to be a roller coaster ride to the finish line.
Utterly Charming - Kristine Grayson I love fairy tales and the new idea of spinning them on their sides and making them a thrilling modern adventure just adds to the fun. Unfortunately, when I picked up this book I was expecting more than I got. Don't get me wrong it starts out great. Initially I really liked Blackstone and Sancho and even Nora but by the "Now" section, I was disappointed with Nora, Blackstone and Sancho.

Nora Barr is a young promising lawyer who takes possession of a VW bus and told to hang onto it until her new clients (Blackstone and Sancho) return. Instead ten years later she is given a letter with instructions to wake Sleeping Beauty (of course, her coffin's in the bus). Emma (Sleeping Beauty) has been in a coma for 1000 years and coming out of it is bitter and very upset that Blackstone imprisoned her for 1000 years while he continued to live. She doesn't want anything to do with Blackstone and refuses to even speak to him. Therefore Nora feels it is her job to acclimate Emma to this time period while keeping Blackstone, Sancho and the evil step-mother away from Emma until she could make up her own mind. Sure it sounds like it could be good but it's really not. I just found it rather boring and where the heck was the romance? This is supposed to be a romance novel but at this point I had no idea who the "hero" was even supposed to be. Heck there isn't even any romance until the final third of the book (and then only a kiss) and then whammo they're in love. It just didn't feel real to me and I couldn't get my head around the suddenness of it all.
Capture My Heart - Bobbi Smith It's been years since I've read anything by Bobbi Smith. I remember enjoying the other books but this one just didn't cut it for me. Heck the hero barely made an appearance in the first 200 pages and the heroine didn't appear at all. The entire story was about his aunt, his grandfather, and his evil parents. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the plot centered around a despot's harem which is a theme that I absolutely hate. The last 100 pages were good but the build up wasn't worth the 8 hours of reading to get there.

I did have one major issue with the ransom note in the beginning. The thugs were only supposed to kidnap Alexander and I'm sure the note they left was written by Avery since in the 1700s thugs didn't read or write. It just wasn't possible for the thugs to have left a note claiming Alex and Catherine were kidnapped and asking for ransom for both of them when that wasn't the plan at all. Even if they could read and write, where would they have found paper (velum or whatever they used then) out in the Duke's backyard? Hmmmmmm