Sunday, July 27, 2014

Run For Your Life

This was the second of the detective Michael Bennett series. The character is still fresh, I was looking forward to reading this book to see more about the character, and I kind of have a crush on his Irish au pair :)

the story line was fast paced and exciting all the way through and of course, like most Patterson novels, once you are in the story, you are in for the long haul - which is not all that long, one of my favorite ways about his writing style.

There's no need for a big long thing here, if you like a good thriller and want something that moves along nice a quickly but and hold your attention throughout - oh, did I mention a nice twist?


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Sweet Smell of Psychosis

Dubbed a "Novella", the size of a large pamphlet (89 pages), I read this on the plane en-route to Las Vegas. I picked this one up on a recommendation noting that is was "odd and a quick read"; both were understatements.

I feel like I should offer up the brief synopsis provided by the publisher, this is the paragraph they are using to "sell" the book:

"A brief and brilliant satire of magazine hacks and fashionistas, The Sweet Smell of Psychosis shows Will Self - a writer acclaimed as "a masterly prose-maker" by London's Sunday Times - at the top of his form. It looks as if it's going to be quite a Christmas for Richard Hermes, powdered with cocaine and whining with the white noise of urban derangement. Not so much enfolded as trapped in the bosom of the most venal media clique in London, Richard is losing it on all fronts: he's losing his heart to Ursula Bentley, a nubile and vacuous magazine columnist; he's in danger of losing his job at the pretentious listings magazine Rendezvous; he's losing his mind courtesy of Colombia's chief illegal export; and, worst of all, he's losing his soul ... to Bell. Bell is a newspaper columnist, radio host, television personality - but more than that, he is the kingpin guiding the ship of media scandal through the lower depths. From his headquarters in the Sealink Club he pulls the strings that control the disseminators of drek and gatherers of glib. And he has had Ursula Bentley and just about everyone else, female and male. As Richard pursues the Jicki perfume wafting from Ursula, he is in fact being drawn into a much more sinister web. Murky, paranoid, and hilarious, The Sweet Smell of Psychosis is Will Self at his best."

Depending on who you are, that has the potential to at least sound somewhat interesting, right?

I might recommend that if the synopsis above is even the least bit interesting to you, that you might want to just stop there - reading the book may just end up disappointing you. This is a poorly written story that reads like you had the displeasure of getting trapped in an elevator with a sad sack who on the brink of a breakdown decides to pour out his tortured soul and all you could get from it is how bad you wished you were deaf and mute.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fearless Fourteen

I grabbed this for some light reading after a few heavier things. In previous reviews of the book or two before this in the long running Stephanie Plum series of books by Janet Evanovich, I talked about how they are somewhat boilerplate and may have reached their full potential already. If "Fearless Fourteen" is any indication of what may follow (as of this writing, there are 7 more already published), then I am happy to admit being wrong.

This book was great! Why? It did everything I want a book to do, kept me interested in something from page 1 to the last page. I laughed out loud reading this book, I mean guttural belly laughs. Aside from some of the regulars, a few new characters appear here that are sheer entertainment.

If you've been reading the heavy stuff lately, you know, the Walter Isaacson, David McCullough, Stephen King, or other deep into it big story or biography and just need a little break with something that will make you laugh and still manage to have a story, and a mystery - go ahead and grab this book - there's no prerequisite for ever having read any of the 13 books int he series that came before.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Black Moon

This book came to me in one of my favorite ways, it just stared me down on the new release shelf at the library. I kept looking, then walking away. Finally, I picked it up and read the inside sleeve:

"Insomnia has claimed everyone Biggs know. Even his beloved wife, Carolyn, has succumbed..." What the heck is going on here? I internally bellowed, then moved to another area of the library, further in the back.

I grabbed a bit of light reading off the shelf, knowing it had come time to read something light to balance some of the other stuff I've read recently. As I got back to the front of the library, it stared me down again, again I opened the flap and read further:
"He ventures into a world ransacked by mass confusion and desperation, where he meets others struggling against the tide of sleeplessness..." I continued to read, placed the book back on the shelf, took two steps toward the circulation desk and then went back and grabbed it. I don't know if it was the eye on the cover, the unique concept I saw on the inside cover or some mysterious aura - regardless, I felt compelled to give this book a go.

What I loved most about this book is that it does not suffer from what so much of what has flooded the book and especially the film world in the last few years - an amazing lack of originality. The originality concept alone grabbed my attention and even held if for the most part. I made a point of not reading any other reviews of this book until I finished it and I am glad that I did so.

I agree with some of what's been said, it's not perfect - but really, who the heck am I to make such a claim? In the end, there was never a time I didn't want to see this story to it's end and while I wish I were somewhat more fulfilled at the end, I still feel like the originality was enough to keep me interested throughout.

There came a point where I started to see this book as an alternate take on the all to common, especially in the current mainstream, zombie story and it turns out, others saw this as well. For me, zombies are so over done, I have zero interest in anything to do with them but this book really is much more than any of that. One of the key elements that makes this story interesting is that as far out as the underlying concept of insomnia as an epidemic may be, as it is depicted in Black Moon, it feels to me like something that could really happen and that, adds just the right amount of terrifying to the already interesting.

The back flab bio of the author, Kenneth Calhoun, indicates he is from my neck of the woods and teaches as a college just a hop, skip and a jump from where I work. A fine first novel worthy of a read in my all too humble opinion.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Paul Stanley- Face the Music:A Life Exposed

Earlier this year I read both Ace Frehley's and Peter Criss' autobiographies. I've been a Kiss fan for almost the entire 40 years they've existed - so I remember a bit of how I felt when they went through so many of the changes and I recall the hype, the press, so much of it.

What I recall of course, is my perspective. What reading these three books gave me, was their perspective. I have to admit, there was a part of me after reading Ace and Peter's books and the whole Rock and Roll hall of fame drama unfolding at the same time, I was prepared to think that maybe Paul Stanley, someone I've always admired, was kind of a dick.

A few weeks ago, I was at dinner with a friends and among the crowd was a musician that worked with Paul Stanley and he had only wonderful things to say about Stanley and his character. then, I read this book and it gave me a sense that maybe Ace and Peter are asshats. Don't get me wrong, I'm still their fan, but their words along with Paul's version kind of make it pretty clear to me that they are pretty jerky and make it hard for me to feel bad about them in any way.

Of course, I have to take this book with a bit of a grain of salt as well, but in general, I found myself believing what I read and gaining a new respect for Stanley completely outside of the scope of his being the guy in Kiss I've know for the past four decades.

I think this is a good read, while there are some things about it that are appealing beyond his fan base, getting to them will require the dedication to read all 450 some pages. For me, it was a no-brainer, I enjoyed it all.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Earlier today, a friend of mine posted some political article. I told him I had no intention of reading that when I was totally immersed in a hysterical cancer memoir. I wasn't kidding.

Five years ago, "Bald" Bryan Bishop was told he had in inoperable brain tumor and given a scant 6 months to live. He had only recently proposed to Christie, the love of his life and they both thought they had their whole lives in front of them.

This book is not only a story of survival, beating the odds, staying positive, true partnership, and chock full of great "Tumor Tips" right from the chrome domed young man himself - it is also truly one of the greatest modern day love stories I've ever read.

I was amazed at just how much I laughed through this book, Bishop's wit and ability to add levity to such a serious story I think tells much about the man himself. Let's not forget Christie, his love, his partner, who remained not only by his side, but demonstrated a love, a true and deep love and devotion that you just don't witness as often as you should in this world.

Kudos to you Bald Bryan, what a wonderfully told story and what a great gift not only to your fans, but to everyone who reads this book.