You’ve Got a Book in You: Elizabeth Sims

Book style: Non-fiction

Beer style: None – I read this book off an on for over a year

There are probably a million and one books on how to write a novel, so figuring out which ones to read can be difficult. This one actually came as a gift from the hubs, which I found wonderful and sweet. He’s an analyst so he of course did a lot of research when purchasing some books for me. He told me that this was one of a few he’d bought for me that topped the list of books to read about writing.

I finally finished it in just over a year, but don’t take that as it wasn’t a good book. It was a very good book ( I have a ton of spots marked with a sticky note for further reference. Which is definitely what this book feels more like: a reference book to come back to later. And although it’s completely different than Stephen King’s On Writing, it brings a good perspective. On Writing was a mix between Mr. King’s past, how he became a writer, the challenges he faced, and his style of writing. You’ve Got a Book in You is more like a helpful guide and a friendly pep talk, but not in a “Do these steps and you’ll be on the NY Best Seller’s List” kind. Real advice, about writing because you love it, and putting in the effort needed to create some great work.

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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.

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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

Reading instead of reviewing

I’m going to be taking a small hiatus from reviewing books, because unfortunately, I have to read a dry, boring, but necessary book for work. I work in the IT security world, so I have to keep up with the terminology, technology and everything that goes on with it.

I’m slated to take a rather brutal test, the CISSP exam, within the next couple month so I need to hunker down. I like the world of IT security, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy reading 900+ pages of terminology, policy and information about legacy systems. BUT, it has to be done. So I’m doing it.

Which means fun books will be put to the side for now for this beast.

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Wish me luck!

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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