Sunday, April 29, 2007

if I hadn't promised to write about every book...

Title: Body Double
Author: Tess Gerritsen

Maura's a medical examiner, and has been on vacation in Paris for a bit - she arrives home and finds her house surrounded by police, because a body was found that looks exactly like her. Turns out it's her identical twin sister that she didn't know existed. Totally freaks out everyone else on the ME's staff.

So I'm pretty sure I finished this book, but it was a while ago and I don't really remember much.

Her long-lost mother is a serial killer, in prison and supposedly schizophrenic, but I'm pretty sure Maura figures out that she's faking it. There's also a long-lost brother of some sort who's carrying on the family tradition of serial killing, a pregnant detective who almost dies, and some other people who do die. Ta-da!

Someday I will write a non-worthless review. :-)


posted by ket at 12:05 PM


Monday, April 23, 2007

somewhat out of character

Title: Act of War
Author: Dale Brown

Stolen nuclear weapons are used to take out a Haliburton-like complex (and a radius of several miles surrounding it). The country goes on the defensive, and Jason’s top-secret project gets called into action while still in development – robot-like contraptions that a person rides in and controls, so they’re essentially super-human.

There’s lots of intrigue and conspiracy and a group of environmentalists that are blamed for the nukes because they have an infiltrator who wants revenge for someone taking over something in Russia, and the President’s almost killed a few times, and he’s got a traitor near the top, etc., but Jason and his team save the day in the end.

Half the reason I made myself finish this book is because it’s NOT a trashy novel. But I like those. This was okay, but a bit too serious for what I’m going for when reading fiction…

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posted by ket at 11:42 PM


meant to start doing this a long time ago - but now's as good a time as any

Books I got out from the library but just didn’t have enough motivation to finish (or in some cases, start):

Title: The Dirty Girls Social Club
Author: Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
It has a lovely, colorful cover, but I kept reaching for other books from the pile.

Title: I Like You – Hospitality Under the Influence
Author: Amy Sedaris
I’ve read chunks of this at my friends’ house. It’s hilarious. Again, I just kept reaching for other books in the pile.

Title: Savannah Blues
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Got halfway. Not motivated to finish. Southern gal dealing with divorce, accused of murdering her replacement. Eh.

Title: Jude’s Law
Author: Lori Foster
I really tried. Jude’s a champion cage-type fighter who transitioned to movie star, May’s a “real woman” (aka she’s pudgy), and someone’s trying to kill him using her whiny brother who has tons of gambling debts. The plot’s more absurd than usual, and there’s way too much of the macho men and the timid women floating about for me to keep reading.

Title: Simply Sexy
Author: Carly Phillips
Maybe I don’t like divorcees? Didn’t enjoy either of the romantic leads, and promptly lost interest.

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posted by ket at 11:39 PM


Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Reason for Diseases

Title: Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease
Author: Dr. Sharon Moalem with Jonathan Prince

I listened to an interview with the author of this book on NPR and immediately ordered it through my library. I'm not at all up on medical jargon but I found it quite easy to read. This book is written so that it is accessible to the general public, extremely hard to put down, and quite humorous. That's hard to find in a non-fiction book, and I definitely say this one is a must-read!

Moalem discusses the reasons behind the development of certain diseases - or at least what he suspects are the reasons based on a standpoint of evolutionary biology. For example, diabetes - where the body keeps more sugar than necessary. This could be very beneficial in extreme cold because higher quantities of sugar lowers the freezing point of water. Thus, all this sugar could be keeping the body from freezing. Of course, this was only really important during the last ice age when humans also had brown fat, which converted any excess sugar immediately into heat.

Okay, that's my attempt at an explanation, but you really need to read the book to truly understand this stuff.

Some other fascinating tidbits include:
1. Wearing sunglasses makes you more likely to get a sunburn because your pituitary gland, which controls the melanin in your skin, gets its info about the amount of sunlight from your optic nerve. So if you're wearing sunglasses, your pituitary gland thinks, okay, not too bright out, so we don't need to produce as much melanin.

2. Want to increase your sex drive? Get herpes! Researchers are looking into the possibility that herpes might increase sex drives because it wants to increase the likelihood that it will spread from person to person.

You'll also be quite surprised by what some creatures go through to keep their species alive - or at least, I certainly was. There's a worm that lives in sheep and cattle livers. Its eggs get excreted in the animal poo and eaten by a land snail, where they hatch and are excreted as slime. Then that slime is eaten by an ant which winds up with a hatched worm in its brain. That newly hatched worm then manipulates the ant into the seemingly suicidal behavior of climbing to the tip of a blade of grass every night to be eaten by a cow or sheep - and thus start the process all over again.

Lots of fascinating stuff in this book, and the above is only a tiny part. This really is one of the best books I've read in a long time.

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posted by Kate at 4:23 PM


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Innocence, huh?

Title: Innocent in Death
Author: J.D. Robb (really Nora Roberts)

Eve and Roarke’s marriage is tested when one of his old flames comes back into town and tries to tempt him.

Eve’s also investigating a string of murders at a ritzy elementary school.

Roarke finally sends Maggie on her way, and he and Eve work together to solve the murders.

(spoilers ahead)

Turns out it’s a brilliant and sociopathic 8-year-old girl doing all the killings. She killed one of her teachers because he gave her an A- instead of an A. She killed another teacher because he had an affair with her mother, and that was icky. She tried to kill her mother with sleeping pills so she’d look like the guilty one. Turns out she also pushed her little brother down the stairs a few years ago and killed him because he was taking the focus off her. It takes some tricky maneuvering on Eve’s part, but she gets the girl to brag/confess to everything.

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posted by ket at 11:02 AM


A large part of me wants this series to finally end

Title: Breaking Point
Author: Suzanne Brockman

There’s some random kidnappings, and the characters end up in Indonesia fighting terrorists with a tank. See previous novels for the basic plot points. There’s only one thing that you really need to know.

Max and Gina finally get together. The end.

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posted by ket at 10:57 AM


we've moved on from muffins to booze

Title: Motif for Murder
Author: Laura Childs

More of the scrapbooking and recipes. This one’s been in the pile for reviewing for quite a while. All I really remember is that Carmella’s husband (whom I really don’t think I like) gets kidnapped, and his sister acts like a giant bitch (I definitely don’t like her), and Carmella and her friend Ava rescue him from the bad guys, and there’s a big conspiracy that somehow Carmella solves before the police do.

More importantly, I need to try a few of these recipes. Like “Ava’s Dixie Julep” – 2 oz. bourbon, 1 tsp. powdered sugar, and 3 sprigs mint, served over ice. Mmm… alcohol, sugar, and mint – how can you go wrong?

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posted by ket at 10:54 AM


maybe I should try this...

Title: Manhunting
Author: Jennifer Cruise

I feel like I’ve read this one before, though not recently. Eh, whatever.

Kate’s a type-A, overachieving financial planner. She decides it’s time to get married and settle down and stuff, so she goes off to a ritzy resort in the country to meet rich, eligible bachelors (I think I might need to try this…).

All the guys staying at the resort that she meets are assholes. Fortunately, she seems to be bad luck, and they all suffer unfortunate accidents when out with her (falling down a ravine while hiking, sprained ankles during golf, etc.). And she quickly finds an ally in Jake, the apparent handy-man, who lets her tag along when he goes out “fishing” for a few hours every morning on the lake in a small boat (“fishing” because he doesn’t use bait because he doesn’t really want to catch anything).

Kate’s do-gooder side takes over, and she decides to help Nancy, the owner of the town bar, expand her business, which somehow involves her waitressing there.

Everyone in town’s thrilled to see Jake with a good woman, because he’s actually the brother (and silent partner) of the resort owner, who used to be a high-powered accountant.

Various things transpire, and since Kate and Jake are both incredibly stubborn, she goes home and they both end up miserable, until they realize their mistakes, make a few compromises, and come back together in the end.


posted by ket at 10:54 AM


yay vampires?

Title: Valley of Silence
Author: Nora Roberts

This is the conclusion to the trilogy that I started reading here. I apparently managed to miss the middle book. That would be when the second couple got together from among the 6 main characters. This being the conclusion, the last two inevitably end up together.

The last two characters? The queen of a magical land in an alternate universe (Moira), and a vampire (Cian).

We can gloss over this one pretty easily. There’s an epic battle in Geall, Moira’s kingdom, between the vampires and everyone else. Lots of people die. Moira knows Cian can’t and won’t stay with her. They defeat Lillith. Cian goes home to modern-day NYC and Moira stays in Geall, both miserable. And then Morrigan, the goddess who started them all on this quest to defeat Lillith, visits Cian and makes him mortal again. So he goes back to Geall and he and Moira live happily ever after, though not forever, since he can die now.

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posted by ket at 10:51 AM


Is this the real premise behind Survivor?

Title: Surviving Demon Island
Author: Jaci Burton

Holy god, this might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. And that says a LOT.

Gina’s a movie star who does lots of action movies; she’s in fabulous shape and does all her own stunts. She’s recruited to do a reality show where she and her other contestants battle “demons,” so she goes off to an island with the other contestants and they start the pre-show training.

Immediately she’s drawn to Derek, their head trainer type guy. He’s grumpy, and think’s she’s probably spoiled.

On their first night fighting the “demons,” things take a turn for the worse when the REAL demons arrive. That’s right. It’s not really a reality show. The organizers are part of some centuries-old group that fights demons. They were supposed to be able to practice a bit longer before the real battle, but the demons decided to step things up a bit.

The demon fighters were chosen because all of them lost their mother at a young age. As it turns out, all of their mothers were captured by demons to breed more demons.

They use high-powered lasers and stuff to microwave the demons, or chop them in half. Derek and Gina learn to trust each other, though that’s long after they’ve started banging each other in supply sheds…

And then the real twist shows up! (spoilers ahead, if you really thought you’d read this)

Derek’s strength and other abilities have been increasing exponentially recently. When Gina’s captured by the Demons, he tunnels underground and enters their network of caves to rescue her. That’s where he meets the head demon, who also happens to be his father! Derek’s half demon! And he’s been killing his siblings and cousins for years!

So Derek has to fight his demon instincts, which he can do because of the power of Gina’s love, and he kills his father. And he and Gina escape the demons’ temporary hq and survive to go on hunting more demons.

And there’s going to be a sequel!! Derek’s dad disappeared when he was a kid, and that’s why he didn’t know he was a demon. At the same time, his little brother also disappeared. Now the demon hunters are going to find his brother, and see if he’s demon-like, or a good guy, or something. Hooray!

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posted by ket at 10:50 AM


Incredibly Bad

Title: Born to be Bad
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Remember this book? Yeah, so the current one is actually three short novellas involving people from the same “agency.”

First up, Samantha’s sent after Jason, an agent who’s suspected of having gone rogue. Of course, having worked together for a few years, there’s always been a great deal of sexual tension that wasn’t acted upon. They’re in Germany, where Samantha quickly learns that Jason was set up, and the two of them end up on the run from the real bad guys. They spend a lot of time, when they’re not running, naked and in bed, and the bad guys are stopped in the end.

Then Kyle’s on an island for R&R, and he’s bored out of his mind. Marianne’s also on the island, having won a contest from the back of some romance novel to get to live out her favorite book. Kyle sees Marianne and immediately falls for her; she’s already bored with her “vacation” because her favorite book involves the super-hunky agents I too seem to enjoy, and the actor/models they hired are not up to snuff. Kyle kidnaps her from her fake kidnappers, and then they spend a few days hiding in a cave and having sex. I didn’t really read this one because it was so preposterous.

And finally there’s Rhea, an agent who’ll be sent undercover to get info from a terrorist, but she’ll be going undercover as a dominatrix, so she has to learn how to be a convincing one. Of course, Ace, another agent, will help out with the learning process. Again, they’ve never acted on the sexual tension that’s been around for years, but put her in pleather with a whip…

If I hadn’t been bored and in need of some really mindless reading (and had had any other books…) this would have joined the long list of books I start and don’t bother finishing. Maybe I should start a separate category for those…

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posted by ket at 10:48 AM