Sunday, June 26, 2011

I'll Walk Alone, by Mary Higgins Clark

I usually spot the newest release by Mary Higgins Clark on an endcap at my local Kmart.  When I saw this one, I immediately placed a hold on it at my library.

I had to wait a while for it, but it was well worth the wait!

When I read the description on the inside cover, I must admit I was a little disappointed.  It mentioned identity theft.  How interesting could that be, I wondered? But, I've read just about every single one of her 30 books (the ones my library has, anyway) and couldn't pass this one up.

I'm so glad I didn't! This followed her same style, with twists and turns and additions to her growing puzzle along the way! She weaves a tale of a young woman who's lost her son, and now has strange charges to her bank accounts and credit cards, when a picture of her son being kidnapped shows she's the one who did it.  She knows she's not crazy, but the rest of the world thinks she is.  With the help of her friends (no thanks to the detectives on her case), the mystery is solved and.... I'm not going to tell you what happens! It's a must-read, that's for sure.  The only thing I found to be a slight let-down was the criminal's motive - I thought it was a little weak.  It's like you hit a big climax, only to have your balloon wither and deflate slowly.  Other than that, it was a very good read. 

If you're a fan of mystery or of Mary, herself, this book won't disappoint.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith

If I had to describe this book in one word, that word would be ridiculous. 

I had to really force myself to get it finished.  It wasn't that it wasn't well-written, I can only say that it was, as far as putting together a story and doing one's research goes.  But by the end, every time I read the word "vampire", I wanted to gag.  If I never read another vampire book as long as I live, I would be just fine. 

If you read the cover, and you tend to lean towards the naive side of the scale, you'd probably find yourself wondering how true this book is.  The author claims it's true.  Says these are facts.  He even goes so far as to insert himself into the story.

But, really? Abe being a vampire slayer? Ha.  

I know it's fiction, and perhaps I tend to take certain books too seriously, but I had a hard time with this one.  I don't know much about President Lincoln, and perhaps should have done some research before attempting to read this book.  To me, it was just hard to take.  What I do know, he was a highly respectable man.  How could someone make Abraham Lincoln out to be so cold-blooded? So against God? So dishonest, even? Again, it's fiction.  It says so on the copyright page.  The author even lets on that it is in this interview.  He claimed to have high respect for Lincoln, when all throughout the book he makes him look like he has serious mental issues.  I guess I need to lighten up, eh?

Well, the book was about Abe's life.  Supposedly, his mother, aunt, uncle, sons, friends, etc.  were all killed by vampires.  Supposedly, his axe was his greatest weapon against them.  Supposedly, he becomes a vampire himself.  I had to laugh at this.  This really put the book over the edge into ridiculous land.  

I don't recommend reading it.  If you are interested in Lincoln, I came across this blog that has true facts about him and his presidency and I intend to find a decent biography, as well.  An autobiography would be most excellent. 

I really wouldn't waste your time with this book.

Monday, June 6, 2011

RPE rocks the barn

I'm a big Richard Paul Evans fan. Huge.  But you probably figured that out already.  ;)

My husband was browsing one night and found one of his books I not only didn't own (I own all of his books), but haven't even heard of.

So, I did some searchin'. I was only able to find it on used, starting at $63.00. I couldn't find it anywhere else.

I wasn't about to pay that, so I did the next best thing. I emailed Richard. Ok, not Richard, himself, but someone who takes his emails for him.

She told me it was out of print but she just happened to have one. She said send me a check and she'll get it right to me.

$5.00 and a couple weeks later, I have it. :)

I even got another autograph out of the deal! :)

Madame Tussaud, by Michelle Moran

This was one intense book.  I never knew much about the French Revolution, but several years ago I read a few books on Marie Antoinette.  I found that fascinating and this book was equally a page turner.

Madame Tussaud was a name I knew, but didn't know anything past that.  She was a famous show-woman who worked with wax.  Her specialty was creating real looking images of famous people.  She used her shop in France to report news on the happenings of the times, which happened to be when the people of France were revolting against their king and queen.

The bloodshed that happened during this period in history is unbelievable.  The author makes mention that about half a million people lost their lives for the cause of "liberty", or what some thought was liberty.  She said approximately 40,000 were guillotined.  Among these numbers were many women, children, people of the church - the innocent.  It's amazing the evil that can take hold of people if they let it, and people did in this historic time.  All of the major events and characters in this book were real.  The author's extensive research to put this together is simply exhausting for me to even think about! :)

Having read books about Marie Antoinette that were basically from her point of view on the events that took place around that time, it was nice to be on the other side, from the "commoner's" point of view.  Marie Tussaud was fortunate to escape death when she did.  It's amazing she survived as long as she did, trying to play both sides of the political fence.  She was a tutor to the king's sister, Elizabeth, while trying to support (or appear to support, to avoid imprisonment or death) the "patriots" seeking freedom from the monarchy.  She had to make death masks of people she cared for after they were beheaded, a job she never relished, as one can imagine.  She had to part with family either by choice or death for safety reasons and even parted with the one she loved due to her devotion to her work and family.  She married a man she met in prison, gaining her last name Tussaud, only to find he was an excessive gambler once they were free.  She had three children by him, two sons who survived, and after realizing her marriage wasn't going to work out, joined her first love to travel with her show. 

She has many wax museums around the world and is still famous today for her work.  The last figure she created before she died was one of herself. 

I love Moran's way of making what she writes seem so real, like she was there taking notes while these historic events were taking place.  This book was a little more disturbing to read because of the reality that was the French Revolution, but it was very informative and entertaining, nonetheless.  I do recommend reading it.  :)