Friday, December 31, 2010

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter, #1)Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I put off reading this because I had tried to watch the TV series and didn't like it. I had heard the books were not as good. I enjoyed this book ALOT. The characters were witty and smart. The plot was original. It was good writing that made the pages almost turn themselves. Definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

Pub. Date: July 2004


Series: Dexter Book 1
 
Synopsis: Dexter Morgan isn't exactly the kind of man you'd bring home to Mom. Though he's palyful and has a wonderfully ironic sense of humor, Dexter's one character flaw (his proclivity for murder) can be off-putting. But at heart Dexter is the perfect gentleman, supportive of his siter, Deb, a Miami cop, and interested only in doing away with people who really deserve his special visit. Dex is quite good-looking but totally indifferent to (and, frankly, a bit puzzled by) the attentions paid to him by women. Despite the fact that he can't stand the sight of blood, he works as a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police department, a job that allows him to keep tabs on the latest crimes and keep an eye open for his next quarry.
 
Dexter's well-organized life is suddenly disrupted when a second, much more visible serial killer appears in Miami. Dex is intrigued, even delighted, by the fact that the other killer appears to have a style reminiscent of his own. Yet he can't help but feel that the mysterious new arrival is not merely invading his turf but reaching out to him as well. This new killer seems to be doing more than copying Dexter - he seems to be saying, "Come out and play." Dexter's secret life makes for a lonely existence... even a lovable monster can be intrigued by the prospect of finding a friend.
 
Recommended Reading:
Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay
Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay
Dexter is Delicious by Jeff Lindsay
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Last Lecture

The Last LectureThe Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I struggled with this book at the beginning. Once I got over my fear of it being another sad story about someone dying from cancer (and only about dying from cancer) I enjoyed the book very much. The book was broken up into sections and the chapters in each section flowed well. I found the writing style unique, it was a good mix of "to the point", humor and smarts that kept the book from being too emotionally heavy.

Pub. Date: April 2008


Synopsis: "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." —Randy Pausch

A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave—"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"—wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form.

Recommended Reading:
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Half Broke Horses

Half Broke Horses: A True-Life NovelHalf Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't expect to like this book, but I was hooked from the first page. This is so much more than a story about horses (in fact, horses only have a small bit to do with the story). It's a story about another time, a woman who lived her life by her rules. The main character's voice was so clear and stayed so true to character. The author really did an amazing job bringing her grandmother off the page.

Pub. Date: September 2010


Synopsis: "Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did." So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, Jeannette Walls's no nonsense, resourceful, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town — riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car ("I loved cars even more than I loved horses. They didn't need to be fed if they weren't working, and they didn't leave big piles of manure all over the place") and fly a plane. And, with her husband Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle.
Lily survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy. She bristled at prejudice of all kinds — against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn't fit the mold. Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette that she was like her grandmother, and in this true-life novel, Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit.

Recommended Reading:
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd
Day After Night by Anita Diamant
A Gate in the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
Ape House by Sara Gruen

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Battle of the Labyrinth

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4)The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book more than any of the others. There was more of a natural feel to Percy's reactions and thoughts in this book than any other. The plot was better fleshed out than any of the others. The action scenes were better written. It was just a better book all the way around than any of the others in the series so far. (Although The Spawn tells me The Last Olympian is "gonna blow my mind".) One thing that I love about this writer: he uses correct grammar while not making his writing stiff.

Pub. Date: April 2009


Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book 4
 
Synopsis: Percy Jackson's fourth summer at Camp Half-Blood is much like his previous three-high-octane clashes with dark forces, laced with hip humor and drama. Opening with a line for the ages-"The last thing I wanted to do on my summer break was blow up another school"-this penultimate series installment finds Percy, Annabeth and the satyr Grover furiously working to prevent former camp counselor Luke from resurrecting the Titan lord Kronos, whose goal is to overthrow the gods. When the heroes learn that Luke can breach Camp Half-Blood's security through an exit from Daedalus's Labyrinth, they enter the maze in search of the inventor and a way to stop the invasion. Along the way they encounter a lifetime supply of nightmare-inducing, richly imagined monsters. Grover's own quest to find the lost god Pan, meanwhile, provides a subtle environmental message. Percy, nearly 15, has girl trouble, having become something of a chick magnet.
 
Recommended Reading:
The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Slow Going

I've been struggling with reading lately. Blame Farmville. Blame work. Blame the kids. Blame housework - no, on second thought, don't blame housework. I'm not doing much of that either. You could even blame The Boy, except I don't see him much either. Point is: I'm a busy girl. I'm not in the mood to read lately.

I'm way below my goal for the year, oh hells, this year is the least I've read in about six years - including the year that I worked two jobs and had a baby. Looking ahead to 2011, I don't see things getting better as I'm adding college and (hopefully crosses fingers and toes) buying a house.

I definitely did not achieve the "other" reading goal I had: re-reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, the Twilight series or Dickens' Tale of Two Cities (one of my favorite books from high school English). I have, however managed to cut my TBR shelf down to under 30.

The elephant in the room is still the totes and boxes of books in my closet. Unfortunately this has grown into a few piles scattered around my bedroom as well. I put my book swapping account on hold in April and haven't made it active again. I will need to do something about this soon. I have no desire to move all of those books just to shove them into a closet.

I have a bit of thinking to do about what my goals will be for 2011 and how I want to accomplish them. For the next few weeks I'm going to try to read a little more (wish me luck - this is my last free weekend until mid-January) and then I should be back to fill you in on what I've decided!