Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Booktender 2010: The August That Was

OK, frankly, I don't remember much about August.  I was sick.  Then I was on vacation (Hi Mom!)  Then I was sick again.  I'd tell you that I was actually a bit sick while on vacation, but I don't want to worry Mom. 

Ooops.   Sorry Mom

If you have read the news lately, you know that Arizona is one tough state. We got beheadings in the desert. We got terror babies. We got rattlesnakes-get-in-free night at Diamondbacks games.

We got a sheriff that ain't afraid a no Homeland Security.  We got a Governor that ain't afraid a no Constitution. 

Most importantly, we got shit for gun laws.  Yep, you all can mosey on over here to the wild west and conveniently carry your weapon either in the open or concealed.   In a bar or wherever your destination may be.  Loaded.  We don't pay no nevermind.

Guns have, in fact, become extremely fashionable with the wimmens hereabout.  Let's take a look:

Here we see Annette.  She just returned from a trip from San Diego and what a trip it was!  She and Frankie broke up.  But that didn't get our girl down, no sir.

Upon her return to the state of sanity known as Arizona.  Annette picked herself up, dusted herself off, and headed straight for rifle range

Take that Frankie!  And that!  And that!

While feisty, a good Arizona woman also knows her place.  After all, Annette wasn't really using the breakup for a fun excursion to the shootin' gallery.  Oh no. 

Annette was angry at herself.  She'd taken all the time to doll up and prance around and Frankie still hadn't given her the lovin' she was lookin' for. 

Belatedly, Annette realized that what Frankie really wanted, and what she so desperately wanted to give, was a thorough demonstration of her housewifely skills. 

I'm here to state that this state is wild about the state of our guns.  We polish them, we pamper them, we rock them in cradles like babies.  When someone protests something we disagree with, we like to make sure they can see the size of what we're carryin'

But this is not to say Arizona is an unsafe place!  No sir.  We do have our priorities.  Keepin' our guns all hid away from the light of day just isn't one of them.

And that's my state of the State statement for august.

         Happy Trails!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Frozen LOLcats

Terminal FreezeTerminal Freeze by Lincoln Child

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a fun and quick read. There is a lot of action and suspense that is very appealing. Unfortunately, one major plot fail made it difficult to finish. Without giving away details, let us just say that an old military installation filled with people making a documentary would have easily used a certain tool that would have resolved the problem quickly.

I can see why Child left this tool out of the book. Using the tool would reduce the book's length greatly and make it much easier to defeat the horror that is unleashed. This lack of technology bothered me throughout the book.

The characters are fairly well fleshed out. They give the book its most interesting parts. Scientific exploration vs. media exploitation is a timely theme that runs throughout the book.

Another interesting theme that runs through the book is the idea of rank. Military personnel stationed at the base have their own ranks, of course, but that is not explored. What is more interesting is how the documentary crew overrules the scientists and even, on occasion, military personnel. Scientists and academicians from less than prestigious schools are sometimes overruled by those with more prestigious credentials. And the horror unleashed outranks everyone by nature of its predatory and killing skill. Fun from that standpoint.

Sadly, both the action and the character development fade considerably about 2/3 through the book. I confess: I skipped to the end and then went back and filled in. The ending was also far too ambiguous for my taste. Horror should have a "but is this really the end of the terror?" ending. At the end of this book, too many possibilities are left hanging and the spiritual elements - which are only at the very beginning and very end of the book, seem to be a sideshow.

I did find the "enigmatologist" to be an interesting character. With the ambiguity of the ending, one wonders if Child will make more books with this character.

Would I recommend this book to readers wanting fiction about indigenous people in Alaska? Not particularly. While they are briefly mentioned at the beginning and end of the book, there really isn't a thing about the real reasons behind their spirituality, their living conditions, or their history with people from "outside."

Would I recommend this book to people who also like the show "Ice Road Truckers?" Naw. They'd pick it apart in no time and be dissatisfied.

Would I recommend this book to someone looking to fill up time in an airport or on an airplane? Yes, especially if they like horror. It is engaging, except for the aforementioned lull, and yet does not require total concentration.

Would I recommend this to a man in a bear suit? Undecided. It would depend on whether the guy was in a polar bear suit or brown bear suit. Polar bears do make cameo appearances in the book.

Would I recommend this book to someone in an airport looking to fill time?

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Emotionally Sleepwalking

NightwalkerNightwalker by Heather Graham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For my taste, the emotional attachment between the hero and heroine never quite clicked. There were some hints of physical attraction that were explored early on but just briefly. In fact, the characters of the grandfather and Ringo were more fleshed out more than the main characters.

As a fan of contemporary romantic suspense, this did not sit well with me. However, this book can also be seen as a romantic suspense/paranormal crossover book. That may have been what prevented me from really enjoying the book to its fullest. Crossovers between genres are tricky.

The storyline was good. The circumstances under which events take place "today" and the parallel action that took place "back then" made for just enough complication to keep the story interesting.

I will say that "nightwalkers" intrigue me and that is something that also kept me with the book to the end.

The book is a light and quick read and a bit of fun. I will try a couple more Heather Graham books in this developing series to see if I want to continue.

Would I recommend this book to a fan of historical fiction? Not particularly. The changing back and forth between now and then might not appeal

Would I recommend this book to a reader of paranormal fiction? This would depend on the reasons the reader reads paranormal fiction. If they are looking for ghost stories with a native american twist, this will fill the bill. If they are looking for vampires and more action, this will not.

Would I recommend this book to a native american interested in reading fiction about his/her modern culture? Absolutely not. The story takes liberties with traditions and how they work with tribes local to the area. This is not to say that is bad. In any genre fiction but regency, historical accuracy is not vital. I do think some native americans would be a bit annoyed.

Would I recommend this to a man in a bear suit? No. Anything paranormal he is looking for is probably beyond the realm of a contemporary suspense/paranormal crossover book.

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