Tuesday, September 27, 2016

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

The rest of the title to this book is How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Live an Awesome Life

I'm torn on my thoughts about this book. I forget who recommended it and I didn't hate it but I didn't run away, clutching it to my bosom, ready to change my life.

Here's the thing: Sincero went deep into a "Source Energy" of the Universe that you basically need to channel and turn everything over to because this energy of the Universe will provide you with everything you ever desire in life, including happiness and money. But ONLY if you really want these things and only if you operate at a "high frequency" so the Universe knows to tune in to your frequency and respond to it.

Hmmm.

As a Buddhist, I firmly believe in the karma "rule". What you put out into the world, in your words, actions and thoughts, is what comes back to you. Good or bad. Karma is not a bitch. If you feel like karma is a bitch, it's probably because you're a bitch. So in that aspect, I kind of get Sincero's source energy thing. What you give, you get.

I also appreciated the concept of START NOW. That's where I personally have trouble. I procrastinate and promise myself I'll start that class tomorrow, lose that weight next month, etc. I do need a kick in the ass to get me going. It felt like Sincero gave me a hearty slap instead of a kick.

I also appreciated the chapters on facing your fears. I'm in my Fearless Forties now and am really taking that bull by the horns. But I did that prior to reading this book. Still....kudos.

So I guess I'm saying, I've heard a lot of this before, I know, as a person who wants to make significant changes, that I need to hear this. But I think there was too much "turn your life over to the Universe or live in the Big Snooze forever" to make me feel motivated.

We'll see. I wrote down some key points and will really make an attempt. Like I said, some places she was spot on

“If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse.” 

Others.....

“Surrendering is the free-falling backwards into the unknown and trusting that The Universe will catch you.” 


But let's end with


“There’s nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of fuck-yeah.” 

Fuck yeah.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Flesh and Blood by Jonathan Kellerman

Published in 2002, I have no idea how long I've had this book but the references to cassette tapes and phone booths made me laugh.

I've always enjoyed the Alex Delaware series and I'm not sure why I fell away from them. Perhaps I need to pick them back up. Flesh and Blood is #15 in the series.

Delaware is a psychologist who consults with the police, specifically with homicide detective Milo Sturgis. This case is a missing woman who Delaware treated for 2 sessions 10 years previous. It's not something he should be invested in, but he gets very deep into the case especially when the woman is found murdered. I don't remember if Delaware was always somewhat reckless (or "intense") but I felt like shaking him several times during the book for the foolish things he was doing. To the detriment of his relationship, he puts all his waking hours into this case.

We have prostitutes, strippers, soft porn magazine honchos, murder, and craziness. All of which makes a good mystery to solve along with the characters.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bones on Ice by Kathy Reichs

This is a novella, a very short Temperance Brennan story, that unfolds in 104 pages (or 3.5 hours if you do the audio). I needed something short, sweet and intriguing and I got it.

Reichs is such a good storyteller. She builds suspense like nobody with each chapter ending in a way that MAKES you have to read "just one more chapter". Even though this was a short novella, she didn't skimp on what makes her so great.

Brennan is asked to identify a body that was found on Mt. Everest that probably belongs to a very wealthy woman's daughter. Should be simple, yes? Oh no. Brennan ends up down the rabbit hole of intense climbing feats, shady business dealings, murder and .... well, I don't want to spoil it because I was very excited when I figured out what happened.

If you like the full length Brennan books, you will like this. Just a taste to keep you going until the next one comes out.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

I finally caught up on all of the Cormoran Strike novels (when IS the next one???) and, while this one was rather brutal, it was still wonderfully good. Again with the audio book because the narrator is just phenomenal.

We know Robin - Strike's secretary/partner in the detective agency. She's marrying Matthew (whom no one likes) and is caught up in wedding planning when she's asked to sign for a package outside of the agency. She hurriedly does, assuming it's the disposable cameras she ordered for the reception, and goes into the office.

Well, folks, it turns out that package contained a human severed leg.

With a horrifying scream, we begin our mystery.

Strike has 3 men in mind who could have - and would have - sent the leg. That really tells you the kind of life he leads, right? If I was sent a body part, I'd be hard-pressed to think of 1 person who would do that.

Noel Brockbank - child rapist who Strike clobbered when he arrested him, resulting in brain damage and seizures but, unfortunately, not stopping his pedophilia.

Donald Laing  - another horrible person Strike met in the military who tortured and held captive his own wife while raping other women.

Jeff Whitaker - Strike's step-dad who, more than likely, killed Strike's mother. Another absolutely horrible person. I could smell his odor coming from my iPod.

Strike and Robin set out doing what they do best but this killer is still getting the best of them. More body parts are sent and, suddenly, London realizes it has another Jack the Ripper on their hands.

There is a great amount of detail in this novel, including finally delving into the past of Robin and Strike. My heart broke for them both and I was actually worried for a bit that this killer would get the best of them.

Fantastic series! Please, JK, write more!!


Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Stand by Stephen King

One of my reading goals for this year was to re-read The Stand. I read it back in 1990-1991, as a freshman in High School. Twenty-five years later, I started reading it again. I have the hardback, uncut edition but I was so slow reading it, until I realized it's so damn HEAVY to read comfortably in bed. So I switched to the Kindle version (also uncut) and zoomed through it.

I've always maintained that this book is my all-time favorite book ever. I recommend it all the time but I think the size has daunted people. With the advent of e-books, this shouldn't be a problem anymore. Heck, people are whizzing through the Game of Thrones books now. So I'll say again, don't be overwhelmed by the size. This book is fantastic and even more meaningful now.

I was surprised at how much I had forgotten but as I read, there was a feeling of deja vu. I realized how much I missed my "friends" Stu, Fran, Larry, Nick, Tom...... and it was so good getting back with them. (Yes, I love books that much)

The basis of The Stand is the apocalypse. Interestingly enough, with the Walking Dead franchise being so popular, the apocalypse is kind of a "thing" now. People are getting prepared for zombies, but in my mind, The Stand is more realistic. It's hard to prepare for Captain Trips.

The military/government created a superflu and it was 99% contagious and fatal. Think about that. About what that would do the population of the world. Somehow, the virus gets out. Before it can be contained a soldier flees the base to get his wife and daughter and get out of dodge. Right there, in that moment, is how the world collapsed, thanks the the actions of one scared man.

We travel around the US and meet our main cast of characters. Stu Redmon from Texas. Fran Goldsmith from Maine. Larry Underwood from California/NYC. Nick Andros, a traveller. Once the US has been wiped out with very few survivors, people start dreaming. Scary dreams involving The Dark Man aka Randall Flagg and comforting dreams starring Mother Abigail in Nebraska. Because humans never change, the survivors start splitting into two groups: good (travelling towards Mother Abigail) and evil (Flagg supporters).

War between good and evil is inevitable, even with 99% of the population dead and rotting. Flagg and his minions take over Las Vegas and Mother Abigail and her folks take Boulder, Colorado. We work with both sides, through the process of getting power back on, creating communities after everything has fallen apart, and trying to prepare for war against the other side.

King had time and space to create a story that forces you to become an active participant. You get to know and love/hate the characters with a ferocity but, since it's King, you understand not to get too close because not everyone can survive the fight between good and evil.

I will always enjoy my zombies but The Stand affects me more because it can happen. Plagues have happened in the past. Government and military operations have been underhanded and diabolical in the past. Evil exists and when people are broken, they are easily manipulated. But despite that, I feel that good will always win. Whether it's the hand of God or not, good will always triumph in the end. Even in the absolute end.

I will fully admit to hugging this book when I was done with it. I still adore it, I still adore the characters, ne FRIENDS, that I traveled the country with.

Tackle this one. You won't be disappointed. Don't let 1,100 pages scare you away.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

LOVE Cormoran Strike and love Galbraith (*cough* JK Rowling)

Second in the Strike series, we get a little more involved in the case rather than getting to know Strike and Robin (the first book sets you up for those). I listened to the audiobook from the library and it was fantastic. The narrator was really top notch.

Mrs. Quine approaches Strike to help find her husband, Owen. He's a novelist who, while tending to run off by himself, has been gone much too long. Strike is fairly famous at this point for solving the Lula Landry case in the previous book so he's doing fairly well with business. Most of it is rich people cheating on each other so, despite Mrs. Quine not looking like she can pay, he takes her case for the interest.

And interesting he got. Owen wrote a novel that skewered every one he knew and lawsuits were piling up before the book could even be published. Seems like a good time for a novelist to disappear.

Strike eventually finds Owen and he's not among the living anymore. The missing person case has turned into a gruesome murder case and there are too many suspects to sort through.

This was a long book (455 pages or 17+ hours of audio) but it was intriguing all the way through. I enjoyed the ending wrap up because Galbraith made sure we had no idea what Strike was thinking or planning when he figured everything out. Excellent hard-boiled mystery!


The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks

This one wasn't up my alley. It was a very short book and it has a good premise (What would you say to that bully 20 years later??) but it seemed to fall short.

Caroline is a meek, mouse of a woman who, one day in PTA, suddenly drops the f-bomb to the head of the PTA. I'm guessing this has built up over time because that seemed odd. When Polly, Caroline's daughter, gets in a fight, Caroline pulls her out of school and several states away so Caroline can deliver the "perfect comeback" to HER school bully.

The characters didn't really work well for me. I get why Caroline would want to go back and tell off her bully (who used to be her best friend) but it didn't seem to go where I think it could have went with the idea and characters. There are some fun characters who pop up but they don't really add to the story.

I think this would appeal to folks who like chick-lit, but it really didn't appeal to me.