Thursday, April 20, 2006

Catch Me When I Fall

Catch Me When I Fall by Nicci French

Utterly depressing. I simply could not get through this book. It’s obvious from page two that the main character is a manic depressive. She gets herself into some horrible scraps that seem to go on and on. After a third of the book I skipped to the last couple of chapters to see how it turned out. I usually don’t do this. I usually just move on to the next book without needing to know the ending. But for some reason I forged on and discovered the voice changes to that of the friend and her views of the manic depressive’s behavior. Sadder still is the fact that the main character has learned nothing and is still unable to control her self destructive behavior as she accidentally sets her friend’s in-laws’ house ablaze with fireworks to celebrate her friend’s wedding. Skip it ya’ll, that’s about all I’ve got to say. –Flourish

Monday, April 17, 2006

Night Swimming

Night Swimming by Robin Schwartz

I had high hopes for this book but I should have had a clue to its ending by the cover. Two hundred and fifty three pound Charlotte Clapp goes to the doctor for her annual checkup only to discover that she has less than a year to live. Having grown up in a small town where nothing much happens she doesn’t want to lie on her deathbed with life regrets. In a fugue state she proceeds to rob the bank that she has worked at for fifteen years and makes off in the dead of night to Hollywood with two million dollars. She meets some interesting characters along the way in the Mississippi Delta and the Big Easy. When she gets to California she buys an apartment with cash and begins her new life, sort of. This is where the plot loses me. I keep hoping that she would continue her trend of doing interesting things and meeting interesting people like she did on the trip out west but this just doesn’t happen. Instead this book turns into one of those fat girls loses a bunch of weight and then gets the guy books. I was disappointed by the predictability of the plot and I found the change to her assumed name halfway through the book and then back again at the end simply annoying. She spends most of her days lolling by the pool covertly staring at the pool guy all the while falling in love with him. She doesn’t even know him and, by the way, he is married. She starts swimming at night and loses 128 pounds. That’s when she gets a makeover including going blonde and then gets her pool guy. Yuck.

Here is how I would have written it: In Hollywood she would meet a funny, down to earth drag queen who would introduce her around to his/her friends and she would be inducted into the club night world where she would become a popular torch singer. After singing to her adoring fans she would go home to unwind by night swimming. Sounds better, don’t you think? The dialogue becomes tedious by the end and the situations after she is caught are simply ridiculous. And that book cover that I mentioned? Her legs are awfully skinny, too skinny, in fact, for a 253-pound person. Overall I would say forget this one. It could have been great but it ends up falling flat. -Flourish

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Dead to the World

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Sookie hasn’t ever been in this position before. She’s got an ex-boyfriend to deal with and a naked man is running down the road on New Year’s Eve. It turns out that a Witch’s spell has caused vampire Eric to lose all memory about who he is. Naturally he turns up right in Sookie’s path so she’s forced to deal with him. It seems that these are some truly bad Witches that are hell bent on moving into and taking over the vampire’s money making businesses. One of the Weres goes missing then a vampire too. These two very different supernatural beings are forced to unite together against the mutual Witch threat. Oh boy, this is gonna be a challenge! Vampire Bill’s off to Peru to work on his major project for the Queen and Sookie’s brother Jason disappears rather quickly from the story too. Rather too quickly if you know what I mean. Did the Witches take him? The father of one of the many girls he’s been out with? Where is he? Sookie is starting to wonder if she can keep her New Year’s resolution to not get beat up. And Eric just isn’t Eric anymore. He’s a lot sweeter and a lot kinder which is what Sookie really needs right now. But in her heart of hearts she knows that this isn’t the real Eric and sooner rather than later there will be a big ol’ show down between these supernatural beings with the resulting return of Eric’s memory. Alcide is still on the scene along with his supposed ex-girlfriend Debbie Pelt, that bitch who tried to kill Sookie in the last book. We’re introduced to another set of interesting locals living at the crossroads Hotspot. We’ve also got another fun filled cameo from that famous vampire face Bubba.

The complexity of the world Charlaine’s created is thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking. You never know what she is going to come up with such as odd moments of Sookie’s thoughtful clarity. Sookie stands at the beginning of the battle between the Vampires and Weres against the Witches and she marvels at the fact that she is there at all. She thinks to herself that if she had met the Witches first she could very well have been on the other side of this battle. -Flourish

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Officer Buckle and Gloria

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

Safety officer Buckle has a tough time getting his school aged audience to listen to his safety speeches. Then one day doggie Gloria is assigned to him and together they give the presentation. Unbeknown to him Gloria is acting out the horrible things that can happen to you when you don’t follow safety rules. The audience loves the show and it very impressed. Then one day he sees his speech on the news and realizes that everyone has been applauding for Gloria not him. He is dejected and sends her out alone to the next school. No one is impressed. Officer Buckle realizes that working as a team gets their safety message across. What a cute little book. Lovely drawings and how can you not love a dog story? Perfect for young, single digit children. -Flourish

Friday, April 07, 2006

Round-Heeled Woman

A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance by Jane Juska

Whoa, now here is a woman who tells it like it is. This is the story of a woman who at the age of sixty-six decides she wants to have sex with men that she actually likes. She puts an personal ad in the New York Times Review of Books and away she goes. This book is not for the faint of heart. This memoir retraces her life and work in a sexual context. She leaves not a whole lot to the imagination so be prepared to get hot under the collar during several steamy passages. She addresses people’s need to be loved and touched even when they get old. This book shares the author’s intimate thoughts and makes the reader truly look at these issues from a different perspective. Human beings who enjoy love and sex will find this book engaging. Mom, I think you would really get a kick out of this book. -Flourish

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Decorating on a Dime

Decorating on a Dime by Christy Ferer

This little decorating book is excellent for tucking into your bag for when you’re stuck in the doctor’s waiting room and you need some creative inspiration. While small enough to fit into your everyday bag it is also stuffed with a lot of groovy ideas. This is not just a book of inspirational pictures as is typical of decorating books. Christy actually gives detailed instructions and a list of supplies for the crafty decorating projects including variations on the original ideas. This tiny tome includes a plethora of ideas so next time you’re in the library keep your eye out for it. -Flourish

Monday, April 03, 2006

Club Dead

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

It seems that vampire Bill (VB) has been working on something secret that requires him to go on a little trip. Turns out that he gets himself involved with his ex who also just happens to be a vampire which is fairly unheard of in that world. Bill is captured and tortured by a Mississippi group of vampires and guess who has to save the day? You got it, our favorite heroine, Sookie Stackhouse, cocktail waitress extraordinaire from rural northern Louisiana with a bit of a telepathic disability. Thankfully her mind reading works best with humans and not at all with vampires (yet, that is). Sookie goes to rescue VB even though she is hurt and pissed at his betrayal of her. Naturally, she saves the day, but not without a lot of pain and a lot of help. The help comes in the form of Alcide, who happens to be a Were, as in werewolf except that not all Weres are wolves, do you follow? Anyhow, Alcide is a real man’s man or maybe that should be he’s a realy lady’s man. Regardless, he is tough, kind, strong, sweet, and has manners. Sookie could really enjoy that except for her boyfriend, vampire Bill, and Alcide’s ex something, Debbie. That would be Debbie Pelt, shape shifter and all around bitch. I sense a cat (wolf?) fight coming on but not until much, much later.

An amazingly terrific cameo from the Man from Memphis aka Bubba, who is never referred to directly by name since it upsets him. Seems that something didn’t go quite right when he was brought over and this has left him a little off with a penchant for cat blood rather than human. He’s real sweet though and extremely protective of Sookie.

How does Charlaine come up with all this stuff? Just when I think that she’s used up all her surprises there are still yet more. She’s really done a great job of figuring out the nuisances of the Sookie’s supernatural world and she reveals many of them in this book. If I haven’t convinced you by now then stay tuned tomorrow and see if you’ll enjoy the next review. -Flourish