Feb 8, 2012

Opening sentences: Pineapple Grenade by Tim Dorsey

Title: Pineapple Grenade: A Novel
William Morrow (Jan. 24, 2012), Hardcover, 352 pages
Rating: 3/5

Opening sentences in a novel can set the tone and help readers decide about the book.

"A prosthetic leg with a Willie Nelson bumper sticker washed ashore on the beach, which meant it was Florida.

Then it got weird.

Homicide detectives would soon be stumped by the discovery of the so-called Hollow Man. Empty torso with no external wounds, like all his organs had been magically scooped out. Little progress was made in the case until a TV station began calling him the Jack-O'-Lantern Man, which immediaely doubled the number of nicknames.

But right now, the victim had yet to be found. In fact, he was still breathing." (prologue)

From the 15th in the Serge Storms Mystery Series.

Comments: A very strange homicide situation and even stranger main characters. My first reaction was - Florida is another country! Car hijackings and robberies of unwitting tourists off the highway leading from the Miami airport , for instance. An old news item, I thought. Is this really still going on, or is this part of the fiction of this mystery novel?  In any case, the writing and characters did not grab me. I had a hard time getting into the book. But his other books have made the author a New York Times bestselling author.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book.

Feb 7, 2012

Left for Dead, a Novel by J.A.Jance


Title: Left for Dead: a Novel by J. A. Jance
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 7, 2012; Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Genre:mystery- thriller

Today is the release date for J.A. Jance's new thriller, Left for Dead. I received a review copy and am looking forward to it. I've liked many of her previous mysteries.

Book description: When Santa Cruz County deputy sheriff Jose Reyes, Ali Reynolds' classmate from the Arizona Police Academy, is gunned down and left to die, he is at first assumed to be an innocent victim of the drug wars escalating across the border. But the crime scene investigation shows there’s much more to it than that, and soon he and his pregnant wife, Teresa, both fall under suspicion of wrongdoing. Another victim left for dead is also in the hospital. Ali investigates these two shocking cases of victims brutally left for dead despite pressure to drop the case.

Book Review: We're With Nobody by Alan Huffman and Michael Rejebian

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to choose sentences at random from your current read.

"Political research is about searching for evidence of both hypocrisy and nobility on front porches, in smoky conference rooms, and in courthouses, bars, deer camps and roadside cafes. It can be grueling, corrosive, satisfying and entertaining by turns." (ch. 1)
Title: We're with Nobody: Two Insiders Reveal the Dark Side of American Politics by Alan Huffman and Michael Rejebian
Published January 24, 2012; William Morrow

Comments: I found this non fiction book by two political researchers to be very revealing. They write about "opposition research" and declare neutrality as they accept jobs to hunt down information nationwide on political candidates - interviewing far and wide, going through newspaper stories, court records, delving into the detailed backgrounds and lives of candidates, large and small, to find the truth. So this is how they do it! A timely book! I give this a 4.5/5 rating!

Book description:
For nearly two decades, former journalists Alan Huffman and Michael Rejebian have been uncovering the buried truths about political candidates, from presidential appointees all the way down to local school-board hopefuls. We’re with Nobody is the eye-opening account of their life as opposition researchers—a remarkable adventure across the American political landscape and through the often seamy underbelly of U.S. politics.

From doing battle with reluctant, sometimes purposefully misleading bureaucrats to arriving in an unmarked police car for a clandestine meeting on the New Jersey waterfront, We’re with Nobody offers readers a revealing slice of national and political life: a close-up look at today’s political process, the fallible men and women we often choose to represent us and the little-understood industry of trying to bring candidates’ weaknesses to light.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book.

Feb 6, 2012

Book Tour: Casey and Kyle by Will Robertson


Title: Casey and Kyle: I'm Saving Up for a New Brother
Author: Will Robertson
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (May 8, 2011)

Description: A new collection of nearly 300 cartoons from the web-comic "Casey and Kyle".  Casey and Kyle is a self-syndicated cartoon appearing both online and in print.

Comments: Casey and Kyle sometimes wreck havoc in the house with their dart guns. Lamps may hit the floor, for example.  They may sometimes start playing with the water hose outside in 30 degree weather, much to the dismay of their mother. We follow their antics through the year and through the seasons and various holidays. This is a family comic with humor, as Casey and Kyle and their parents and friends interact in an amusing and sometimes wry way. Cute and clever.


Author and creator Will Robertson enjoys playing music and tennis. He is an avid mini golfer and an aggressive bumper car driver. He lives with his wife and two children in Oregon's Willamette Valley. He has published two other Casey and Kyle comic books, in 2010 and 2011. Visit www.caseyandkylecomics.com

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book for a review copy of this book.

Feb 5, 2012

Sunday Salon: The Dead of Winter?

The Sunday Salon.com Welcome to the Sunday Salon.

It's the beginning of February and unlike last year when there was a lot of snow, there is only a thin layer of frost on the green grass glistening in the morning sun. Is this the dead of winter? I sort of like it although I sometimes like lots of white snow too, on occasion, that is. I'm looking at the news of too much snow in Europe this year and know how they feel. I should be feeling lucky here in the Midwest.

In any case, what's new is that I have been chosen a book giver for World Book Night on April 23, when I'll be hitting the mall and a hospital waiting room to give away about 20 free books, courtesy of WBN. Tomorrow, Feb. 6, is the last day to sign up. World Book Night will be held across the U.S., UK and Ireland.

I chose three books and wonder if I'll get 20 copies of the same book or a mixture of all three. The books I requested were The Poisonwood Bible, Bel Canto, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The question is, how will I make sure I give the books to the targeted group - non readers or those who don't normally read much. Should I ask, "Excuse me. Do you have a library card?" Any suggestions?

Today is the Super Bowl and I've just read and reviewed a really interesting legal thriller, Paydirt by Paul Levine, who also writes the Jake Lassiter thriller series. Paydirt is about betting on the Super Bowl, big bets that can make or break the people involved. It's also about a lawyer tired of getting his father-in-law's football team members out of trouble by bribing witnesses, paying off complainants, doing whatever it takes, legal or illegal, to keep the team members out of the tabloid news. Interesting stuff, and also better appreciated by those who really understand the game and how it's played.

I also discovered a well known, well known except to me, crime writer after receiving a copy of Raylan by Elmore Leonard, his newest novel. Evidently his books have made it on screen or on TV, as I gathered from a few comments from readers.

I'm now reading a really good cozy, Double Booked for Death (A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery) by Ali Brandon, a seasoned crime writer who has started a brand new series with this book. She writes under various names and is the author of the Leonardo da Vinci Mysteries.


What have you been reading/doing this past week?

Feb 4, 2012

Book Review: Paydirt by Paul Levine


A Super Bowl thriller...
Bobby Gallagher has it all...a great job, a loving wife, and an adoring son. Then he’s fired; his wife divorces him; and he goes bankrupt. Now, to reclaim his life, all he has to do is rig the Super Bowl, win a huge bet, and avoid getting killed. (book description)

Paydirt: a Novel by Paul Levine
CreateSpace (2011), Paperback, 338 pages
Free on Kindle for two days, including today Feb. 4
Objective rating: 4.5/5

Comments: Easier said than done, to leave his job, as Bobby is employed by his wealthy and influential father-in-law who also owns the football team going to the Super Bowl. The father-in-law is not happy with Bobby's leaving and sees it as a betrayal. Bobby also becomes estranged from his wife because of this and works hard to keep part custody of his young son. Falling to the lowest level of his career possible, Bobby somehow fights to get his family back and to thwart his father-in-law who is set on destroying him at the Super Bowl.

I learned a lot about how betting is done on football games, what the rules are, and how sometimes they are broken. This is fiction, but the legal aspects keep you on edge as you watch Bobby fight to keep his principles intact and get back up on his feet. I found the romantic aspect - Bobby's continued love for his wife who doesn't seem to know what's going on between Bobby and her father-  a bit unrealistic and slightly sentimental, but overall this was an enjoyable thriller and just in time for the real Super Bowl.

I received a review ecopy of this book.

Feb 2, 2012

Book review: Raylan, a Novel by Elmore Leonard


"It's so green...the trees in the hills come so close. Like they want to envelop us."

"Pretty soon," Raylan said, you'll see the ridge going bald, but it still causes people living below to fuss. Now they have bare rocks and bare earth envelopin them." (ch. 17)


Title: Raylan: a Novel by Elmore Leonard
Hardcover: 272 pages; William Morrow (January 17, 2012)

Elmore Leonard from Michigan has won the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America and the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA, but this is the first book of his I've read and I must say, I really enjoyed it.

The novel touches on Kentucky horse racing, modern coal mining operations and its effect on the environment, and poker playing. Leonard has it all in this book, set in Harlan County, where U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens keeps the peace. The book is really three separate stories of Raylan's detecting. The first crime involves Raylan catching the persons behind the harvesting of kidneys from doped up but live donors, who are then offered their kidneys back.... for a price. The second crime story deals with coal mining and the people involved, and the third about a young woman who would rather play poker for a living than anything else.

The local dialect and slang is used throughout the novel to add atmosphere and give authenticity and a sense of place. It is entertaining fiction that I recommend to mystery lovers.

Publisher's description: "The revered New York Times bestselling author, recognized as “America’s greatest crime writer” (Newsweek), brings back U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, the mesmerizing hero of Pronto, Riding the Rap, and the hit FX series Justified.

With the closing of the Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mines, marijuana has become the biggest cash crop in the state. A hundred pounds of it can gross $300,000, but that’s chump change compared to the quarter million a human body can get you—especially when it’s sold off piece by piece.

So when Dickie and Coover Crowe, dope-dealing brothers known for sampling their own supply, decide to branch out into the body business, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to stop them. But Raylan isn’t your average marshal; he’s the laconic, Stetson-wearing, fast-drawing lawman who juggles dozens of cases at a time and always shoots to kill.

The bad guys are mostly gals this time around: the nurse who collects kidneys and sells them for ten grand a piece;  a coal-mine executive not above ordering a cohort to shoot point-blank a man who’s standing in the way; and a beautiful sometime college student who can outplay anyone at the poker table and who suddenly finds herself being tracked by a handsome U.S. marshal.

Dark and droll, Raylan is pure Elmore Leonard—a page-turner filled with the sparkling dialogue and sly suspense that are the hallmarks of this modern master."

I received a complimentary review copy of this book.

Why I Never Finished My Dissertation by Laura Foley: Poetry Book Tour

  Laura Foley, author of WHY I NEVER FINISHED MY DISSERTATION, on tour April 2021  By  TLC Booktours   Why I Never Finished My Dissertation ...