Category Archives: Mini-Spoiler-Free Book Reviews

Reviews

Can We Talk Jack Reacher?

MV5BMTM1NjUxMDI3OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjg1ODM3OA@@._V1._SY317_CR3,0,214,317_I’ve had the Jack Reacher novels recommended to me for some time now, and for no reason whatsoever, I have resisted. I don’t know if it was my love affair with Alex Cross or that I just couldn’t be sure that he would appeal to me, but I just wouldn’t read the books. Until now.

The movie Jack Reacher is coming out and fans have mixed emotions about Tom Cruise playing Reacher, so I had to read the first Reacher novel to find out why there was such a hubbub among true Reacher fans. I get it now. There’s a big deal in the books about Reacher’s size. He’s a big guy. Over six feet tall. Tom Cruise, no offense, is a Hobbit next to Reacher.

Cruise can pull off the badass anti-cop all for the good of everyone guy… but can he pull of a no rules really big and intimidating guy like Reacher? Time will tell.

I will see the movie, mainly because my son is dying to see it. Will it hold up? I’ll let you know. For now, I will likely work my way through the Reacher novels between new reads. If you like fast paced, not really police procedurals, but mystery/suspense/action novels, and especially if you have given up on Alex Cross (I still hate you, James Patterson, for giving in to the almighty dollar and sacrificing quality books) ever being the man he once was, you might give Reacher a try.

Happy Reading from the Verge!

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Vacation… and Lots of Reading

I’ve just returned from Mexico and managed to read a couple of books while I was away. None of them were the ones I was supposed to read, but vacation is for fun, and there were some books I was anxious to read so…..

Expect updates about Jonathan Kellerman’s Victims and Carol O’Connell’s Chalk Girl soon. I’m 65% (thank you, Kindle) through Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children at the moment, and enjoying it very much….

As soon as I scale the laundry mountain and get my work schedule sorted out, I’ll give  you some thoughts about my current reading list….

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Fifty Shades of Poorly Written Erotica… and One Kickass Parody

Yes, I did it. I read Fifty Shades of Grey and it’s sequels. I thought it wise to read it before joining in on the conversation. Now, before you get your panties in a twist over the fact that I called it poorly written, that is my opinion and I am simply expressing it. It’s crap. I mean no disrespect to fanfiction writers who are decent writers, but this novel, adapted from fanfic, is just awful.

Without “spoiling” it for you, this is mild BDSM and lots of abnormal psychology. Both main characters appear to be schizophrenic because they fall in love in seconds, cure a fetish, and the woman alternately wants/doesn’t want to be with the messed up guy. If that isn’t enough for you, NOBODY wants to have that much sex. Ever. Nobody. I’m telling you now, I don’t even want to READ about that much sex. One more “thrust” and that book was going in the bonfire. So, if you want to know what all the fuss is about, go ahead and read it. But don’t come here and ask me to explain what a butt plug is.

After I suffered through Fifty Shades of WTF, I read Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Andrew Shaffer writing as Fanny Merkin.  It was worth reading the over the top erotica just so I could enjoy this parody. It was hilarious and played off of the books perfectly. It is the only real reason to read Fifty Shades in the first place. Trust me. It won’t hurt a bit.

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The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

I read this one for my book group… and by the title I feared I was going to be bored out of my mind. Surprisingly, I wasn’t. Unsurprisingly, I was one of the only people in my group who enjoyed it.

I love my book group, but they tend to like a nice safe read like The Help. I like to read things with a little more edge, but I love the discussion, the diversity of the women and their opinions, so I stick with it. Just FYI.

Anyway, The Lace Reader was less about reading lace and more about blind faith, cult worship, witchcraft or the perception of it, and sanity. I found it intriguing. Warning: buy it on kindle. The cover is kind of wimpy looking. I’d love to hear what YOU think of it. Give it a try and let me know.

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A Break from the Seriousness

After reading The Lace Reader for my book club (I’ll post about it ne

xt) and the JFK book from King, I was in need of some light reading. I grabbed Janet Evanovich’s Smokin’ Seventeen and Explosive Eighteen and read them both within a week. Stephanie Plum, inept bounty hunter with an ex-ho spandex clad sidekick and two hot

 

men after her never fails to make me laugh. And while Steph is fun, the books wouldn’t be anywhere near as hilarious without Grandma Mazur, Lula, and Mooner (wish he was in more).

So, if you have been re-reading Oprah’s depressionfest of books or too many serious novels or nonfiction, grab a Plum, have a seat, and enjoy.

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Stephen King and… JFK?

Well, I finally finished Stephen King’s 11/22/63.  All 849 pages of it. I’m pretty sure my biceps are buffer than when I started. That is one bigass book.

Size aside, this is not typical King fare, so if you are looking to be scared to go to the bathroom during the night or not let any of your limbs dangle over the side of the bed, this book won’t do it. Sure, there’s some hinky stuff in there, but this isn’t horror. This is about time travel, the butterfly effect, fate, and what really could happen if someone could go back to the past and right a wrong. Will it make things better? Well, Mr. King has a way with words and he kept me asking that question for 849 pages. And I have to say that every page was worth it because the man is one hell of a writer.

Don’t read this if you are looking for the next “IT”. But read it if you enjoy reading.

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Shock Wave by John Sandford


The latest Virgil Flowers (aka “that f*ckin’ Flowers) novel from John Sandford is awesome. Yes, I said it. Awesome. I have found that I like Virgil Flowers even more than Lucas Davenport from the author’s Prey series. The laid-back, unorthodox detective faces the challenge of finding out who is trying to keep a large megastore (think Walmart) from being built in a small town via bombings. Virgil is unorthodox and appealing. I highly suggest crime thriller lovers read this one!!!

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Todd Keisling – A Life Transparent Book Club Interview

Last Thursday, Todd Keisling, author of A Life Transparent, was brave enough to meet (via technology) with my book club, the Pageturners. Skype failed us, but luckily my iPhone on speaker worked out just fine. My group not only liked the book, they were hassling Todd for previews of the sequels!

On the surface A Life Transparent might not look like a book club book. It kind of seems like a creepy, scary, very un-book club-like tale. But once you begin, you find that it is more fable than fear. As is my custom, I will not spoil the book for you, but trust me, if  you and your group look beyond the superficial, you may just find A LOT to talk about. Oh, and Todd’s publisher even provided a reader’s guide!

As for Todd, he was charming, forthcoming, and honest. He answered every question, no matter how personal or probing, with kindness and humility. We, as a group, highly recommend ALT as a book club selection or an independent read… Of course if all you ever read is non-fiction you may find yourself in the Monochrome…

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A Discovery of Witches – Mini-Spoiler-Free Review

I finally finished A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It’s a long one and tough to read over the holidays when things are really busy. This book was highly praised and touted as “Harry Potter for adults”. I disagree.

The story was good, for the most part, with witches, vampires, and daemons. The problem was that the author apparently felt the need to not only capitalize on the HP success, but Twilight as well. A big romantic entanglement is the stimulus for many of the events in the book.

Basically, and without spoiling anything, a witch who has denied her powers must learn to use them when she discovers a book that has been hidden. She also has to deal with falling in love outside of her species.

It ends with a cliffhanger, so if you aren’t ready to commit to a series, avoid it. If you don’t mind an

HP/Twilight hybrid, this may be right for you.

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Mindfulness – DBT Books

If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or similar conditions (I do), you may find Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to be helpful. There are many books available on the subject, many from Shambhala Publications. I recommend The Mindfulness Revolution, The Five Keys to a Mindful Communication, and Awake in the World.

Mindfulness is the key to DBT and is truly helpful. Awake in the World also incorporates balancing life and using meditation and yoga. I LOVE yoga! In fact, Shambhala also has Yoga for Emotional Balance, which I also find to be very interesting and helpful.

While these books are informative and interesting, they will not replace the need for therapy or medication in severe cases of depression and/or anxiety. Think of them as a supplemental resource. Mindfulness can change your mind… and your life.

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