Tell No One: Harlan Coben

Book style: Suspense/thriller

Beer pairing: Kinkader Devil’s Gap (jalepeno ale)

This book is about Beck and his wife Elizabeth. The two knew each other throughout childhood and were eventually married. Soul mates, if you will. But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and Elizabeth, during the couple’s anniversary, is kidnapped right in front of Beck.

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Heart-Shaped Box: Joe Hill

Book style: Horror/suspense/ghost

Beer pairing: Sierra Nevada Black IPA

This book is written under a pseudonym, and for good reason. *Spoiler alert** – this book is written by Stephen King’s son. But if you know much about Stephen King, like you’ve seen his face before, you’d probably figure this out by looking at the back cover. Mr. Hill had his picture taken and looks like an exact replica of dad. So much for the pseudonym I guess. Also, not much of a spoiler I guess, either.

Anyway, I digress. Knowing who Mr. Hill’s dad was, I tried to step away from all of the Stephen King books I’d read and take this book at face value, and not compare the two authors. But honestly, this was really hard to do, especially since Mr. Hill decided to write in the same genre.

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She’s Come Undone: Wally Lamb

Book style: Coming-of-age drama

Book pairing: A tough ale

When I first volunteered at my local library when I was around 14, which would be in the mid to late 90’s, I put this book away often. It was published in 1992 and hit Oprah’s list in 1997, so naturally it got checked out a lot. I was always intrigued by this book because of the cover (which is how I pick out my wine and beers). For some reason though, I forgot about the book and never read it.

I happened upon this book at a Half Price Books so I decided to finally just buy the thing and read it. And even though I’d seen this book a hundred time, I didn’t really know what it was about.

This book revolves around Delores Price and her pretty shitty life. Granted, many of the things that made her life shitty was because of the choices she made, but some definitely were not. She was handed a lot of crap, and dealt with it the best way she could, but when your life leaves you angry and resentful, it’s hard to do a good job at dealing with all of it.

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The Long, Hot Summer: Kathleen MacMahon

This is my first book by Irish writer Kathleen MacMahon. It was one of those books I picked up because of the cover. Sometimes, if I go to the library and I don’t have a specific list of books I want to check out or read, I’ll surf the shelves for something that pops out. It’s how I pick out my wines. So far it’s worked out pretty well.

sunset-in-dublin-hdr

This book is about four generations of a family and their dynamics and dysfunction over the years. And although each one has their flaws, make mistakes, and have their differences, in the end, family brings them all back together again.

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End of Watch: Stephen King

I was lucky and found this book available for check out at the library. This is the third of the Bill Hodges detective series. Since I don’t know how many of you have read any of the series I’ll try to keep it vague but informative.

This is a detective series by Stephen King, veering away from his usual horror-style, but still giving it a supernatural twist that Stephen King does so well. Brady Hartsfield is still alive and has spent the last few years in a hospital, a veritable vegetable. Or so most people think. A few people, including Det – Ret Hodges thinks there’s still brain function within Brady, and possibly some other sinister activity within his brain. Nurses see things that don’t make sense, like faucets turning on and off by themselves and blinds tilting. Many of the nurses feel something dark within Brady’s room, and some refuse to tend to him.

Then the deaths come. Not in murders, but in suicides. The suicides are mysterious in the fact that the ones who are committing suicides were also past victims of Brady during the first killings. Hodges thinks there’s something else going on, but he doesn’t want to believe, or doesn’t think he can believe it would be something paranormal.

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Let Me In (Let the Right One In): John Ajvide Lindqvist

If it wasn’t so G-D cold in Sweden, I might just want to live in the Nordic wonderland. Now, as far as Swedish authors go, I’ve only read this guy and Steig Larsson, but man, they’ve been great. I will definitely be reading more of this author’s work.

The Swedish version of the book is called Let the Right One In, and in the U.S., the book is called Let Me In, and yes, they made a movie out of it, but like most movies from books, about half the book is missing. There’s so much more to this book than what I remember in the movie. One factor that was different was that the movie made it clear that “Abby” in the movie, who is “Eli” in the book is a female. In the book, the gender isn’t always clear, which reveals an entire history of where this character came from. The book also goes deeper into the lives of  all the other characters, how they act, why they act how they do, but it still leaves mystery. I left me wanting more. I wanted to find out what happened next.

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Boomsday : Christopher Buckley

Wowee, I’ve been gone for a while, and longer from reviewing a book. I’ve read a few since the last one I reviewed, but I’ve been crazy busy with life matters. Since my last review, I sold my house, moved to another state, and started a new job, oh and bought another house, which we will be moving into in about 12 days, meaning I’m sure I’ll stumble again with a regular blog post.

So let’s get this ball rolling in the right direction again. I just finished reading Boomsday by Christopher Buckley, who is the author probably best known for Thank You For Smoking, the 2005 movie with Aaron Eckhart. Although I didn’t read that book, I assume it would have the same tone as Boomsday, because as I read the book, I recalled parts of the movie, mainly from the dialogue and the overall tone of the book.

This story follows Cassandra Devine, a 29-year old, who finds her world quickly changing directions when her dad decides to use her college tuition money plus the family mortgage as startup money for a business. This creates a permanent rupture in her and her father’s relationship and she takes his actions out on all baby boomers. She comes to the conclusion that the baby boomers are causing, and will cause, her generation enormous amounts of financial pain, and possible ruin, because they now live longer than they used to.

She enlists in the military with the idea of getting college paid for through public service. She goes into the Public Affairs career field, which leads her to a deployment to the Middle East, escorting distinguished visitors from the U.S. around the base. Her world again takes a turn when she meets Randy Jepperson, a young and defiant senator who disregards all protocols. She and Randy end up getting blown up and an IED. Both her and Jepperson survive, but she is booted out of the military and is left jobless in the hospital back in the U.S. She is approached soon after by Jepperson, who offers her a job in his office.

The shenanigans persue and her desire to push her agenda is let loose.

Overall I thought the book was entertaining. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a political satire fiction book, as I usually steer away from books with any hint of politics, but I enjoyed this. A lot of times I found myself chuckling thinking, ‘It’s funny because it’s true’. But sadly a lot of it is true. I could see the makers of House of Cards reading these books before writing the series.

Rating: 8/10

Far North: Michael Ridpath

Note: This book is called 66° North in other countries – this is the US version.

This is the second book in the Fire & Ice Series – the book previous to this is called Where the Shadows Lie.

Now that Magnus has spent some time in Iceland, he’s become a little more familiar with the culture but often still refers back to his American training, which sometimes gets him in trouble, but sometimes turns out to be the thing they needed. In this book, Magnus reaches back to his past to try to find out who killed his father so many years ago, and who is behind the murders of the country’s top bankers and financiers.

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Gratitude: Oliver Sacks

This is a collection of four short stories, or reflections, that Mr. Sacks wrote during the last few years of his life. The book read like a reflection on what really stood out in his life and what was important during those last few months on the earth. The musings he wrote were entertaining, insightful and sometimes humorous. For example, Oliver was a scientist by trade and had a love of the elements, so each year for his birthday, he would reflect on the element number of his age. His last one, 82, was Lead.

He also took an uplifting approach to life after learning that his cancer had returned again in his 80s. He reflected on the good in his life, and the gratitude he felt for the years that he had lived.

Even though I had different expectations for this book, it was still a good read and a great reminder to focus on this important things in life, to not worry about all the little piddly things that happen, and to be grateful for the day to day occurrences in our lives.

I’d recommend this short read as a reminder to seek out gratitude always.

Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life. On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.

Rating: 7.5/10

 

Lay Down Your Weary Tune: W.B. Belcher

I listened to a lot of David Ramirez when reading this book. It just fit with how I felt the writer was portraying the mood of this book. Although there were some funny parts, where I found myself quietly laughing or smiling, there was an underlying tone of sad reminiscence, remorse, regret, and the chances we have in life that we miss.

Jack Wyeth is a college grad who has done practically nothing with his life. Nothing that makes him exceptionally proud. In his college years, the highlight of his time was meeting the famous Eli Page, when Mr. Page came to perform at the school. Continue reading “Lay Down Your Weary Tune: W.B. Belcher”