Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn

Something you should know about me: I judge.

When I read the author’s bio (which I always do), I look at the photos. And I judge. I decide whether or not I could be friends with the writer, based on how they look in their photo. Deanna Raybourn and I would not be friends. She looks a tad airbrushed, and she’s wearing a bad ’80s sort of Twilight-meets-Mr. Rochester’s Wife get-up that annoys me.

She’s from Texas, which makes me wonder if her little costume speaks for how she thinks writers of gothic romances ought to look.

However, I do enjoy her books.

If you have not read her Lady Julia Grey series (Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary and Silent on the Moor), DO IT. They are pretty well written, entertaining, have a good hook for their mystery, and she keeps you waiting for the romance between Julia and Nicholas Brisbane (who I picture looking like Clive Owen, for some reason).

Speaking of which, do you do that? Do you picture movie stars as the characters? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Back to The Dead Travel Fast. I totally understand the “dead” part of the equation, but not so much for the “traveling fast.” All of the dead seem to be from the tiny village in Transylvania, where the story is set. Theodora Lestrange (I blame Texas for that name – and before you Texans besmirch me, think of your own animus against the other 49 states in the union) is a ripe old spinster at 23, so, itching for an adventure and for a spark to her nascent writing career, she sets off for Romania to visit an old school chum. Naturally, she meets a tall, dark, gloriously handsome but maddeningly mysterious man, named Count Andrei Dragulescu. I think we’re supposed to draw a line between Count Andrei and Count Dracula, because there are suspicions that Andrei the Hottie might want to suck your blood.

Or something.

But back to the story.

Theodora gets caught up in a murder mystery, as well as the mystery of Count Andrei’s family and the legends surrounding it. Are they vampires? Werewolves? Something worse? Something better?

I enjoyed this one. After the Lady Julia books, I’d grown accustomed to Deanna Raybourn’s propensity to drag out romance and make you yearn for some lovin’, touchin’ and squeezin’. There is not much more of it here, but there is one scene that will get your blood flowing.

Like a lot of romance novels (although I bet Deanna Raybourn does not think of herself as a romance novelist), The Dead Travel Fast features a preternaturally gorgeous and masculine love interest, the type you wish existed in real life. There were a couple of twists to the book, one of which I saw coming a mile away, but the other was a pleasant surprise. And picturing Andrei makes it fun.

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Filed under deanna raybourn, mystery, romance

All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

I’ll write another post about the first Kristan Higgins book I read, My One and Only, which I loved so much. I found All I Ever Wanted, and, because of my love for My One and Only, I grabbed it.

And … it wasn’t My One and Only.

Callie Grey is about to turn 30, she expects her boss, with whom she shared a quick, commitment-free fling, to propose to her. OF COURSE SHE DOES. And of course we readers know that he will not do such a thing. So Callie heads home, ready to head to the 30th birthday party her mother is throwing her in the family funeral home.

I’m serious.

But she meets a veterinarian, Ian MacFarland, who is quite tightly wound. I bet you can predict what will happen next.

In My One and Only, I knew what would happen, but it was still so much fun to read. It isn’t that All I Ever Wanted is boring or unentertaining, it’s more that it sort of pales next to My One and Only. Maybe if I’d read this one first, I would have liked it more.

It’s cute, though, with some sex scenes that are not graphic, but nonetheless rather hot. If you’re looking for a fun read, go for it.

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Filed under kristan higgins, romance

Innocent by Harlan Coben

I first “met” Harlan Coben through Deal Breaker, the first of his Mickey Bolitar series. I really enjoyed that one (Mickey is a sports agent, whose ex-girlfriend comes to him hoping he will help uncover the mystery of her missing sister), so when I saw Innocent in the bookstore, I picked it up.

If you enjoy a good mystery, you will enjoy Innocent. I really like the way Coben writes; it’s entertaining without taking itself too seriously, and the twists are true surprises.

Innocent is about an ex-con named Matt Hunter, who went to jail for killing a boy at a fraternity party. The circumstances of that night unfold throughout the book, because they frame Matt’s personal story. After getting out of jail, he meets Olivia, marries her, and, when the book begins, she is newly pregnant with their first child. But then his cell phone rings, and from that one call, Matt finds his life turned inside out.

Get ready for a ride with this book. There are a lot of characters, and each one comes alive. It’s a fun, gripping read, and you will not want to put the book down until you find out what happened and who was involved.

Run, don’t walk.

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Filed under Harlan Coben, mystery

Confession by John Grisham

My sister-in-law recommended this one, so I picked it up over the summer. I got to it last week and, well, I skimmed. A lot.

I enjoy Grisham’s novels, but I have to say that I don’t read them unless someone else suggests it. The Confession did not turn my crank, and I found myself skipping through whole pages.

It’s about a guy named Donte Drumm, who apparently murdered a high school cheerleader classmate of his. The problem is, Donte confesses (that’s THE CONFESSION, you see) to a crime he did not commit. Enter the Reverend Keith Schroeder, who hears a would-be parrishioner admit to the murder some nine years after it occurred (that’s a second CONFESSION – see? two confessions for the price of one book). This confessor happens to be a parolee with a line of charges and convictions as long as a football field. Not the most reliable source, shall we say. But Keith believes him, so he sets off for Texas, where Donte is due to be put to death in three days. Does he get there in time? Is Donte saved? Well, you have to read the book.

This is typical Grisham fare. Lots of characters, interwoven together. Lots of legalese that is simply discussed in a way that even I could understand it. A twist or two that you should not see coming. Only I did see one of them, and I was not amused.

This is not a bad book, but it isn’t particularly good, either. I finished it, but I admit that I skimmed more than a chapter or two along the way.

3 books out of 5

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And we’re off …

I love books.

I love them beyond reason, beyond explanation. And to demonstrate my love, I read ALL THE TIME. I read when I’m blow drying my hair (which, if you saw my hair, you might understand, because the care and flatironing of that hair is a process, people). I have a book with me every time I leave the house, just in case I am in a line. I’ll read in the drive-thru, read at long traffic lights, read while waiting for my children. I read during their activities, I read while eating, and I read when I’m in the car (someone else has to be driving – I’m not that stupid).

I love books so much, that nearly 20 years after I graduated from college, I went back to school and got a teaching degree. I wanted to teach high school English, just so I could talk about books.

Books are my favorite gift to give, and my favorite to receive. Yes, even above shoes, and I do love shoes.

So I started this here blog to rave about books and what I’m reading. You will discover that there is no general theme to what I read, because I read everything. Sometimes I’ll go on a cheesy romance novel kick, sometimes I want nonfiction, and sometimes I want young adult lit. If it’s printed and bound, odds are that it will find its way into my clutches.

Please let me know about books you like to read. In my continued efforts to pay Amazon.com’s rent and to keep our local bookseller in business, I always look for new books to purchase and read.

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Filed under all about me