Thursday, September 6, 2012

Big Sister's August Reads - 2012 Edition

It was a good month - 12 books, plus several assorted magazines and LOTS of online blog reading...  I love it when I have the time to read a lot...  and not one Kindle book this month!!!  Not one!

Then Again, Diane Keaton - I started this several months ago, but didn't really get into it much.  I had some down time at the end of August and determined that I would finish this book, no matter what.  It was good, easy to read, but it took a while for me to get into it.  There's a lot of history at the start of the book, a lot of background about her parents.  Since I knew nothing about them, it caught my interest but it wasn't an easy read.  Then I got to the meat of the book, and Diane began including excerpts from her mom's journals.  Now THAT was interesting, to hear her in her own words...  Of course I was eager to read about all of Diane's great loves:  Al Pacino, Woody Allen, Warren Beatty...  She never married because, and go figure, the men didn't want to marry when she was with them...  It's more than just a celebrity bio, there's a lot of depth.  And the funny part - I never noticed that Anna Quindlen was a contributor until AFTER I finished the book!!!

Catching Fireflies, Sherryl Woods - One in The Sweet Magnolias series, this one has a special place in my heart, not because it's a particularly wonderful read (it's fine, I love Sherryl's sweet romances) but because the underlying theme is bullying.  I feel so very strongly about bullying and would love to work with children or with schools or with teachers to combat bullying.  I don't know why I feel so strongly; I had a pretty idyllic childhood.  I don't remember any particular trauma, no bullying...  But I feel as though if I were younger, it would be a calling, enough to lead me in a career path if I was to start all over.  This book is about teacher Laura Reed and pediatrician CJ Fullerton, how their lives intersect as they try to help a young girl in town.

I read (and will be reading) QUITE a few books by Susan Mallery.  You'll notice there are two series she's written - the stories are cute enough that I'll read them all...  I love to follow the same characters through several books; it's like you become a family...I'll lump them together here:

     Summer Days - Fool's Gold #7:  Heidi has put down roots on Castle Ranch and is quite happy raising goats, making cheese, making a home for herself after living a childhood on the circus route... No one, not even Rafe Stryker, will run her off her land.  UNTIL they find out "her" land isn't "hers" after all...

     Hot on Her Heels - Lone Star Sisters #4:  This is the last in the series and I actually read it first but it was okay.  Dana Birch has never been a girly girl, and in fact, she's the deputy in town.  Garth Duncan was a bad guy in the first three books, but eventually in this one, we see he's not all bad!  And of course, the not-so-bad-guy always gets his girl!  They met because he was dedicated to ruining Dana's friends' family (three sisters and their dad) because unknown to the girls, Garth was their father's illegitimate son and their dad (NOT a very nice guy) threw teen-aged Garth out of his house when the young boy came to save his mom, who was suffering from some sort of brain tumor and the insurance had run out.  Of course, being refused had tragic consequences and Garth has sworn revenge...

     Under Her Skin - Lone Star Sisters #1:  Lexi Titan has 30 days to come up with $2million to save her business.  Who knew the mysterious investor who helped her BUILD the business would call in the note with 30 days warning?  It's almost as if he were determined to ruin her...  But little did he know that Lexi had connections:  Cruz Rodriguez, a voice from her past, agrees to lend her the money...  as long as they can pretend to be engaged and she agrees to introduce Cruz to all her father's influential friends...

     Straight from the Hip - Lone Star Sisters #3:  Izzy Titan is blinded in a terrible accident on an oil rig where she was working.  She's sent home on medical leave and is eventually brought (against her will!) to a survivor training camp, which, by the way, only maquerades as a survivor training camp.  It actually serves a much more noble purpose:  a "dude ranch" for at risk children...  and Nick, her instructor, is determined to help her decide on sight-saving surgery while helping her adjust to her current blindness.  But WHY is he helping her?  She'd better not find out...

     Lip Service - Lone Star Sisters #2:  I finally finished the series!  Skye Titan left Mitch Cassidy for another man years ago.  But now he's home and he believes her daughter is his daughter!  There's immediate attraction, AND immediate anger and conflict between Skye and Mitch.  The best part of this book is that Skye learned to stand up for herself and take no crap from her domineering father...  LOVE that kind of character development:  God gave you two legs - stand up for yourself!!!

Odd Apocalypse, Dean Koontz - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Odd Thomas series!  It's an awesome blend of Koontz's traditional horror with an awesome soupçon of philosophy thrown in AND some of the best character development I've ever encountered!  I was always a fan of his books; even the "straight horror" titles always had a twist of some sort that was mindblowing (Mr. Murder, anyone?!?!?).  In this one Odd encounters the ghost of Nikola Tesla, who invented the "time machine" and all sorts of other wonderful inventions that play such a huge role in this book.  Did you ever wonder if there was an alternate universe, right here, and you were living there concurrently?  And did you ever wonder if anyone or anything could cross over from that universe to this one?  And would they be the same here as they are there?  (FYI, in past books he's met the ghost of Elvis Presley, and another one makes an appearance in this book:  Alfred Hitchcock, who I'm willing to bet will play a pivotal role in the NEXT Odd Thomas book...)

Sweet Talk, Julie Garwood - I'm a fan of her current fiction; I've moved away from the historical romance genre...  Who's scarier?  The FBI or the IRS?  I guess it depends on where you are in life, but in this case, Olivia's determination to bring down the bad guys who are benefiting from a Ponzi scheme that is just a little too close to home.  And Grayson Kinkaid, FBI, crosses paths with her on a different but related case...

Haven, Kay Hooper - LOVE the Bishop/SCU series!  Big twist at the end of this that I really didn't see coming!  Supernatural talents help these good guys solve crimes and find the bad guys, and in this instance, brings two sisters back together after years apart, before...  Nope, not giving it away!!!  Suffice it to say BOTH Emma and Jessie Rayburn are targets before the end of the book, and while one is very aware of her psychic abilities, the other?  Not so much...

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn - This is another example of one of those books getting SO much press that I was really determined not to read it, until a couple of blogger friends started ranting and raving about it...  They made it sound interesting, so...  (And it turns out Little Sister read it this month, too!!!  Just wait for her review!)  I'm going to do my best NOT to include any spoilers...  Let's see...  Boy meets girl.  Boy and girl get married.  Boy and girl are so very happy in NYC.  The economy tanks and boy and girl aren't so lucky any more.  Family tragedy brings boy and girl to Missouri (not exactly NYC).  Boy and girl are moderately happy there, adjusting to their new circumstances.  Or are they?  HUGE plot twist (another I admit I didn't see coming!) halfway through the book, and a surprise (to me!) ending!!!  REALLY makes me want to run over to school right now and give my awesome hubby a big hug!!! 

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