Wednesday, May 25, 2011

36. Year of Disunion

By:  Blythe Forcey Toussant
Rated:  Still reading
From:  Gayla
Format:  Book

From Back of Book:

On the morning of July 21, 1861 several hundred civilians set out to Centerville, picnics packed, to watch the Battle of Bull Run.  Year od Disunion is a novel who explores who these people were and what their experience must have been.  The story opens in Vermont as two very different sisters, Lettie and Roxana, reunited after years spent apart.  Changes caused by the war take them to Washington and an invitation to watch the battle, along with their five young children.  Things do not go well for the spectators.  Visions of champagne toasts to celebrate  a glorious easy victory are shattered as inglorious retreat drives the civilians from the field along with the soldiers.

After the battle, Lettie is pursued by her abusive husband and Roxana travels south to find her husband, chaplain to the 2nd Vermont, who has been captured and made a prisoner of war.  Events lead the characters into wartime Washington D. C.; Raleigh, N.C; Cairo, IL; and the North Carolina Outer Banks as they respond to "disunion" the war brings to their lives throughout the remainder of 1861.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chasing Fire - DNF

By:  Nora Roberts
Rated:  DNF
From Library
Format:  Book

Almost forgot to list this one.  I got about 30 pages into it and started asking myself why I was bothering to read it.  It just seemed so trite.  A Cut and Paste job from 1000 books she has written before. :(

Guess it's time to check out Mary Balogh out and see if she has another book out.  Joan Wolf has, of all things, a christian themed romance out.  I guess she is writing what publishers are putting out now days.  Still I like her well enough to check it out in spite of my aversion to christian themed books.  Most of them are so badly written.

I really need a romance book fix!

The number-one New York Times-bestselling author delves into the world of elite firefighters who thrive on danger and adrenaline-men and women who wouldn't know how to live life if it wasn't on the edge.

There's little as thrilling as firefighting-at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are in Rowan's blood: her father is a legend. She's been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday. At this point, returning to the wilds of Montana for the season feels like coming home-even with reminders of the partner she lost last season still lingering.

Fortunately, this year's rookie crop is one of the strongest ever-and Gulliver Curry's one of the best. He's also a walking contradiction, a hotshot firefighter with a big vocabulary and a winter job at a kids' arcade.

Everything is thrown off balance when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year's tragedy. Rowan knows she can't complicate things with Gull-any distractions in the air or on the ground could mean the end-but if she doesn't find someone she can lean on, she may not make it through the summer.

35. DOC

By:  Mary Doria Russell
Rated 5 Stars
From:  Library
Format:  Book

This book changed by whole conception of Doc. Holliday.  Not that I really knew all that much about him since Western history and books written about the west are really not my thing.  Lonesome Dove excepted of course.  I have visited Tombstone and with the exception of the cemetery wasn't much impressed.  It looked like a movie set and the Erps and Doc. Holliday were pretty much unreal made in Hollywood on some B movie lot.

And now this book . This is a sad book.  Doc Holliday was a sad, lonely and tragic figure and sort of makes the point with me that how ones life turns out pretty much depends on the spin of the wheel of life.  Had he not become ill he would have probably lived a long, happy and uneventful life in Georgia married to the girl he loved and no one would have ever heard of him.

Publishers Summary:

The year is 1878, peak of the Texas cattle trade. The place is Dodge City, Kansas, a saloon-filled cow town jammed with liquored-up adolescent cowboys and young Irish hookers. Violence is random and routine, but when the burned body of a mixed-blood boy named Johnnie Sanders is discovered, his death shocks a part-time policeman named Wyatt Earp. And it is a matter of strangely personal importance to Doc Holliday, the frail twenty-six-year-old dentist who has just opened an office at No. 24, Dodge House.

Beautifully educated, born to the life of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday is given an awful choice at the age of twenty-two: die within months in Atlanta or leave everyone and everything he loves in the hope that the dry air and sunshine of the West will restore him to health. Young, scared, lonely, and sick, he arrives on the rawest edge of the Texas frontier just as an economic crash wrecks the dreams of a nation. Soon, with few alternatives open to him, Doc Holliday is gambling professionally; he is also living with Mária Katarina Harony, a high-strung Hungarian whore with dazzling turquoise eyes, who can quote Latin classics right back at him. Kate makes it her business to find Doc the high-stakes poker games that will support them both in high style. It is Kate who insists that the couple travel to Dodge City, because “that’s where the money is.”

And that is where the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp really begins—before Wyatt Earp is the prototype of the square-jawed, fearless lawman; before Doc Holliday is the quintessential frontier gambler; before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral links their names forever in American frontier mythology—when neither man wanted fame or deserved notoriety.

Authentic, moving, and witty, Mary Doria Russell’s fifth novel redefines these two towering figures of the American West and brings to life an extraordinary cast of historical characters, including Holliday’s unforgettable companion, Kate. First and last, however, Doc is John Henry Holliday’s story, written with compassion, humor, and respect by one of our greatest contemporary storytellers.

Friday, May 20, 2011

34. One Was A Soldier

By:  Julia Spencer-Fleming
Rated:  4.5 Stars
From:  Library
Format:  Book

I really had to think about how I wanted to rate this book.  On one hand I wanted to give it a full 5 stars because I loved the book and thought the mystery was very, very well written

On the other hand I though that Ms. Spencer-Fleming had an anti-war message and got a little heavy handed with it.  I am anti-war myself but when I am reading a book of fiction for entertainment I don't particularly like being hit over the head with public service announcements from the author.  So I rated it down .5 stars and that was pretty much an act of charity on my part because it probably deserves only a 4 because of the clumsy way the message came through.  To me at least.

One other thing, I sure do wish that Flynn and Hadley would stop dancing around each other and get on with things.

Regarding the news Clare got at the end of the book?  Cool! :)

Publisher's Summary

On a warm September evening in the Millers Kill community center, five veterans sit down in rickety chairs to try to make sense of their experiences in Iraq.  What they will find is murder, conspiracy, and the unbreakable ties that bind them to one another and their small Adirondack town.

The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star, faces the reality of life as a double amputee. Orthopedist Trip Stillman is denying the extent of  his traumatic brain injury. And bookkeeper Tally McNabb wrestles with guilt over the in-country affair that may derail her marriage.

But coming home is harder than it looks. One vet will struggle with drugs and alcohol. One will lose his family and friends. One will die.

Since their first meeting, Russ and Clare’s bond has been tried, torn, and forged by adversity. But when he rules the veteran’s death a suicide, she violently rejects his verdict, drawing the surviving vets into an unorthodox investigation that threatens jobs, relationships, and her own future with Russ.
As the days cool and the nights grow longer, they will uncover a trail of deceit that runs from their tiny town to the upper ranks of the U.S. Army, and from the waters of the Millers Kill to the unforgiving streets of Baghdad.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

33. The Long Ships

By:  Frans G. Bengtsson
Rated:  4.8 Stars
From:  Library
Format:  Book

Not quite King Hereafter but darn close!

Publisher Summary:

Frans Gunnar Bengtsson’s The Long Ships resurrects the fantastic world of the tenth century ad when the Vikings roamed and rampaged from the northern fastnesses of Scandinavia through the Straits of Gibraltar to Byzantium in all its fabled splendor. Bengtsson’s hero, Red Orm, is a boy when he is abducted from his Swedish home by the Vikings and made to take his place at the oars of the dragon-prowed ships. He then has the misfortune to be captured by the Moors in Spain, where he is initiated into the pleasures of the senses. Escaping from captivity, Orm goes to Ireland, plays an ever more important part in the intrigues of the various Scandinavian kings and clans and dependencies, helps defeat the army of the king of England, and returns home an off-the-cuff Christian convert and a very rich man. Packed with pitched battles and blood feuds, founded in history and told with high good humor, Bengtsson’s book is a fantastic adventure that features one of the most unexpectedly winning heroes in modern fiction.

Monday, May 2, 2011

32. Soul Survivor

By:  Bruce and Andrea Leininger
Rated:  Barely 2 Stars
From:  Library
Format:  Book

This is an prime example how what could have been a compelling story was made  practically unreadable by bad writing.  Generally I can wade through some pretty bad writing if the story is there.  In this case there was just not enough of the real story and way too much from parents who thought that in spite what was happening to the kid it was really all about them.  And they are so boring.    It's a real shame.

I would however recommend it for someone who has been forewarned and has the patience to read through all the minute trivia about a couple of silly and self absorbed parents and pick out the story of the child that is scattered through the book in small segments. The story of the child is fascinating but it is practically overwhelmed by the idiot carryings on by his parents who tried their hardest to make the book all about themselves.

Publisher Summary:

This is the story of James Leininger, who-- a little more than two weeks after his second birthday-- began having blood-curdling nightmares that just would not stop. When James began screaming out recurring phrases like, "Plane on fire! Little man can't get out!" the Leiningers finally admitted that they truly had to take notice.

When details of planes and war tragedies no two-year-old boy could know continued-- even in stark daylight-- Bruce and Andrea Leininger began to realize that this was an incredible situation. SOUL SURVIVOR is the story of how the Leiningers pieced together what their son was communicating and eventually discovered that he was reliving the past life of World War II fighter pilot James Huston. As Bruce Leininger struggled to understand what was happening to his son, he also uncovered details of James Huston's life-- and death-- as a pilot that will fascinate military buffs everywhere.

In SOUL SURVIVOR, we are taken for a gripping ride as the Leiningers' belief system is shaken to the core, and both of these families come to know a little boy who, against all odds and even in the face of true skeptics, harbors the soul of this man who died long ago.