The following are reviews of books that I have read and enjoyed. I have organized them by author, but some authors have more than one review. I did not list the titles, it was just too long a list. Click the author's name to jump to their review.
I have read "Track of the Cat" by Nevada Barr. This was her first in the series involving the character Anna Pigeon. Anna is a park ranger and a mystery solver. Even though I worked my way backwards in this series, Nevada Barr shot out of the gate with this winner and hasn't slowed yet. "Track of the Cat" was an unbelieveable first novel! Having read her later novels, I can tell you that she did a great job on this first one! Read it! I also have finished "Blind Descent" by Nevada Barr which has Anna deep in an underground cave with an unknown murderer. Anna is an easy character for me to identify with, being close to her age. Nevada Barr's "Deep South" is the most recent in the Anna Pigeon mysterys. I love this series and this one is really great! It takes place in Mississippi, where I lived for a couple of years (different city - gators too!). For more on this series see the recommended readings page. The best thing I can say is that I have read all of Nevada Barr's books and now buy them as soon as they come out in hardback.
I have read "A Pirate Looks At Fifty" by Jimmy Buffett. What a lot of fun to read! Parrotheads can't miss it and others will love the adventurous journey he took in honor of his fiftieth birthday. It also has tons of pilot stuff which I recommend to my husband, a new and certified pilot as of 4/20/00!
I have read "Unnatural Exposure" by Patricia Cornwell (who incidentally graduated from the same high school that my daughter just graduated from). Her main character in this series is Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the chief medical examiner with the state of Virginia. She along with Marino, detective with the police, and Wesley with the FBI, investigate crimes from the medical evidence standpoint. This particular book covers the very timely subject of biological hazards and terrorism with an unexpected killer. Check this one out! I have read them all thru this one so far and like them very much! Some of the medical examinations are indepth but it is very interesting at how evidence alone can help find and convict someone. She has also written in several of her books about a serial killer named Temple Gault from Albany, Georgia (I used to live there... Hmmmmm....). I love this series of books and highly recommend them.
Michael Crichton's "Timeline". What can I say? This man has so much imagination and researches a subject so incredibly well! Check out the bibliography in this book if you don't believe me. I love this kind of book, time travel that is not really time travel. Read it to find out what I mean, cause it is more complicated than I can convey. The story is soooo good! Loved it! Bought it in hardback, enough said!
I read "Serpent: The Numa Files" by Clive Cussler. It was great! Mr. Cussler has taken on a writing partner, Paul Kemprecos, for this series, and it lives up to his previous writings (see more on Clive Cussler books on the recommended readings page). Though I hope he will always continue with the other series, this is a great start to something new! Check this one out! This was every bit as adventuresome as the Dirk Pitt series, but with different characters. The new characters were great and since you haven't read them before, they aren't too predictable in their actions and reactions. "Blue Gold" by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos is the second in the new series. It is a highly adventurous book, involving a mystery, world domination, the rainforest, and a great adventure. I love it! Also read is Clive Cussler's "Atlantis Found". Cussler keeps up the heat in this one! I won't spoil it for you, but not even accounting the great adventure here, his main characters are making a few changes in their lives. This, I suppose, must be addressed since this series has gone on for sometime. The idea of where Atlantis was found was really intriguing. Can't wait for the next one...
I have read "Silver Wings, Santiago Blue" by Janet Dailey. It is a fictional book with historical facts as background. It is about the women pilots that flew for the Air Force during WWII, ferrying planes to various places and towing targets for gunnery practice, so that the male pilots could all be in combat. It was very good and since I have flying on the brain (my husband is a pilot), it seemed appropriate. If you want to read it, it will be hard to find as it is out of print. I found this copy at an Ebay auction.
I finished reading "Into the Wilderness" by Sara Donati. It is a really good historical romance novel. And not too unrealistic in the romance department. I really hate it when the author goes overboard and the heroine is totally helpless without her "man". You will not find that in this book. First, Elizabeth is 29, practically old in this type of book and secondly, she has a mind of her own and uses it. That makes this book very appealing. I loved the adventure when she was in the "wilderness" part of this book. And I very much look forward to the sequel to this book called "Dawn on a Distant Shore".
Bird in Connie May Fowler's "Before Women Had Wings" is one of the most unforgettable characters that I have ever read about. She is a child, but with such beautiful insight on life. Her life is very difficult, but I loved this book. I know that Oprah produced this book as a TV movie, but I have not seen it. Trust Oprah to find the most profound works around! Read this book and see how beautiful Bird is!
Finished is "The Street Lawyer" by John Grisham. This one is one of his best, and you will never look upon the homeless in quite the same way. So if for no other reason, read this book because of that. I have read all of his works, and he is so consistantly good. My favorite is still "The Firm", but "Runaway Jury" is close! It has now been several months since I have read this, but the points John Grisham makes on the homeless have stayed with me to the point that it does change how I view their plight. Please read this book. I have also read "The Testament" by John Grisham. I wasn't sure how a spiritual journey could be combined with a legal novel, but now I know! Mr. Grisham has become so much more than just a "legal novel" writer. He, in this book, combined a man's journey out of addiction via a trip through the South American area known as the Pantanal, which is the world's largest wetland, with a great legal battle. The Pantanal of South America is one of the most immense, pristine and biologically rich environments on the planet. And I'm sorry to say that I had never even heard of it. We all know of the Amazonian river basin and it's treasures, but not of the treasures of the Pantanal. And I thank Mr. Grisham for the great book and for the knowledge of the Pantanal. So here is a link for more info on the Pantanal.
I picked up "Hannibal" by Thomas Harris, which I've been dying to read since I read that they would be filming part of it at "The Biltmore Estate" here in town! Also who could ever forget Anthony Hopkins portrayal of Hannibal Lector??? ...I finished this book today. What can I say, I now know of more strange ways to kill people than I ever thought possible. This book is in no way predictable, so don't think you can. Strange, bizarre and totally captivating. Could not finish this fast enough, except I did have to stop and go to work. It is not a typical sequel, in that it is not the same story rehashed, but very much a great new story. How do some of these writers think these things up???
I have read "Modoc" by Ralph Helfer and it is the story of one man's life with one elephant's life. I'd heard it was a very moving true story and have found this to be true. I can't believe all that happens to one elephant and one man. Though the author states that "a little poetic license is taken", it is a true story. Even if you kept to the straight facts, this is an astounding adventure. But it is more than an adventure and biography but a deeply emotional book. For example Bram's (the boy/man in this book) father's advice to him on elephants, life, and spiritualism: "This is also a good time to find the spiritual way of the world. A place few people ever find. When you learn to hear the voice of nature instead of your own, you will be allowed to enter through the door of the metaphysical world. Bram, listen to Modoc; she will teach you how to cross over into her world." Now when was the last time you heard such good advice? This book was with the nature and animal books in the store. Not the fiction. Read it, it has more great advice about life throughout the book.
I have read "Man with a Squirrel" by Nicholas Kilmer. It is his second book using his character of Fred Taylor, and hopefully there will be more. Fred collects works of art for his employer and solves a mystery in his spare time. This book uses a lot of art history in it, but it is never dull due to Fred himself. He, Fred, has a dry wit and is in a very interesting relationship. I have enjoyed it very much, especially since this is a series and I have more to read. Though, I have not found any of his books in the bookstores here, but Ebay and the online bookstores all have them.
"Bag of Bones" by Stephen King was great! The comment on the back of the book sums it up greatly - A haunted love story. I always like reading Stephen King's books, in that they are entertaining, but this one was very good! It starts off sadly, about a man who's wife dies and the grief that he suffers, which is deep and encompasses all aspects of his life. He then goes to their summer home, and there many ghostly things happen. He meets someone who gets his life going again, but she is tied into the past in ways that he doesn't understand at first. This is all I will tell you. So read the book! I have read Stephen King's "Hearts in Atlantis", which I had heard good stuff about. I really liked how the different stories were related by the different characters introduced in the first, and best, story in the book. The first one took place in 1960 and definitely had a sci-fi influence, but the others, taking place up to the 1990s, were more haunted by the Vietnam war than anything else. I finished reading Stephen King's online book "The Plant", which was done in installments. It was good and was a very interesting way to read a book. But I don't think it will ever replace the traditional book. I would miss the great explorations of the bookstore! Also the computer is kinda heavy for me lug into the spa to soak and read, and with the electricity and water thing, it could get messy... I had downloaded part 5 to find out that he was stopping with part 6 to finish other works in progress. I admit I was mad when I first read that, because he had lead you to believe it would be longer, BUT when I read the news at his site that it was because he wanted to finish "Black House" (the sequel to "The Talisman", written in collabo-ration with Peter Straub), I wanted to jump for joy! I loved that book! Also he alludes to picking up where "The Plant" left off sometime in the future...
I finished reading "Pigs in Heaven" by Barbara Kingsolver. How did I pick this one? In the summer 1999 my daughter had required reading for school, "The Bean Trees" by Barbara Kingsolver, and she read it in like 3 days. So I knew it was good and she bought "Pigs in Heaven" (continues the story of Taylor and Turtle Greer from "The Bean Trees") and read it in no time too. She told me to read it! And I did. Wow! I zipped through "The Beans Trees" and zipped through "Pigs in Heaven". Such memorable characters. My daughter and I would discuss "Turtle" and "Taylor" around the house till my husband kept asking who they were? Like it was someone we had met. And I have finally read "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver and it was great, though I found it somewhat sad as compared to the more upbeat "Pigs in Heaven". Poisonwood really has alot of background info on the Congo, but it is mostly about spiritual growth. I also read Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal Dreams". Her work involves so much emotion in a great story! Her characters have much depth, but you probably could have guessed that with her "The Poisonwood Bible" being on the bestseller list forever and being an Oprah picked novel.
I finished reading "1916" by Morgan Llywelyn. It is a novel of the Irish Rebellion in the year 1916, led by poets and school teachers. I will admit that I have not been able to forget about one of the real people, Padraic Pearse, in this book. I have read some of his poetry and writings, which are pretty hard to find. This book is a fictionalized account of what happened through the eyes of Ned Halloran, who at the start of the book is 15 years old and on the Titanic. There are real historical people as well as fictional characters in this book, but the facts are real. This is a very entertaining book as well as informational. The author has researched this book very well as per the footnotes and bibliography. It tells of the Irish Rebellion, that you will not learn of in school in this country, since the time period was overshadowed by World War I. And since I had so many ancestors from Ireland, this book caught my eye.
I have finished reading "Cat and Mouse" by James Patterson. It has Dr. Cross of the Washington P.D. and involves his investigation of crimes committed by a serial killer that stalked him in the past as well as a new serial killer. This book has a couple of very unexpected turns in it. After you read a particular author with an ongoing character, you think you can predict what will happen, as in the main character will always come out of things okay and in the same way. Not true here, which makes it why it is so good to read a book that definately takes some chances with its main character. Loved it, but it is a little gruesome. Actually I like that some. I have read some of James Patterson's stuff in the past, "Along Came A Spider" and "Kiss the Girls". He can write of some of the weirdest things that the killers do that I have ever read. Needless to say, you will be surprised... Cause I have never heard of some of the things that happened in "Kiss the Girls"... Suspenseful to say the least. I also read "Pop Goes the Weasel" by James Patterson. It was his most recent book involving Alex Cross until the release of "Roses Are Red". Alex Cross is a really great character that you look forward to reading about again, which is probably why Mr. Patterson is so successful. He does seem to run afoul of the most gruesome killers. I worry for Alex Cross's kids, and it is only a novel! Very intense and realistic. And in quite a different turn is "When the Wind Blows" by James Patterson. This novel could be refered to as a sci-fi, in that the science used is still a bit futuristic. Mr. Patterson has taken a very new twist here with new characters and involving biotechnology. I really loved it. Especially Max, but I won't say more about her, that would spoil it. (Think bird...)
I love "Seeing A Large Cat" by Elizabeth Peters. This is also a series mystery involving a husband and wife team of archeologists in late 1800's to early 1900's Egypt. This was a great mystery in a series that has evolved from when Peabody (her) and Emerson (him) first met through to their marriage and through to their having a child who is now almost grown. The couple, their son, and adopted daughter (be sure to read how she became their adopted daughter in "The Last Camel Died At Noon") are back in Egypt for their yearly dig when a most interesting mummy is found. Thereby a mystery ensues. Egad! Check it out!
"The Black Cat" by Robert Poe is an updated novel length story of the original by Edgar Allan Poe written by his real life descendant Robert Poe. It is the second in a series of books about a fictional descendent of E.A. Poe that gets involved in mysteries that seem to follow the line of the original stories by E. A. Poe. It was very good! It is lighter in theme than the original, in that the main character is very easygoing and relaxed, but the characters he deals with are just as mentally tortured as in the original E. A. Poe story.
I finished "Riptide" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It was a great adventure/mystery book. If you have ever heard the legend of the money pit of Oak Island, this book is based on that somewhat. It was so good that I read the whole thing before I could blink. The legend involves a buried treasure on a small uninhabited island. The legend dates back 200 years, and is somewhat based on fact.
I read "The Cobra Event" by Richard Preston. It is fiction, but with a lot of very scary scenarios that could happen easily concerning biological warfare. This novel shows how easy it would really be for an individual to become a biological terrorist. With the point of this book being, that it is a much more likely scenario for global distruction than atomic bombs.
I also read "Tall Blondes" by Lynn Sherr. It is a non fiction book about giraffes. It was excellent, but then Lynn Sherr is a correspondent for 20/20 and she is very good at this sort of thing - information delivered in a very entertaining way. So if you are at all interested in giraffes, this book will give you a great background on them.
I have reread "The Seventh Scroll" by Wilbur Smith. Loved it the first time around and love it even more now. History, adventure, mystery, and a love story. It's got it all! I have read the prequel to this book, "River God", too. "River God" involves ancient Egypt, the pharoahs, and a slave named "Taita" who manages to build and hide the tomb of his pharoah and all his great treasures. "The Seventh Scroll" involves the current time and a hunt for this undisturbed tomb and its riches. It is a race to find and retrieve the treasures before the ruthless villians. Good one, but read "River God" first to get all the background on this mystery!
I have finished reading "Message in a Bottle" by Nicholas Sparks. Oh, how wonderful! It was soooooo good! My friend who recommended it was so right about this book. "Message in a Bottle" was such a good book about relationships, love, and the courage to face some very tough situations. I have also read "The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks, and it is a great story! This guy can tell the most endearing and compassionate of stories. In "The Notebook", Noah reminisces about his life through a notebook containing the story of his love for Ally. I will not spoil this for you by telling you too much, but we all should hope that someone should love us in this way throughout our lives.
Well, I have read "Perfect Harmony" by Barbara Wood. I have a few of her books and have read even more. This one concerns a mystery surrounding a Herbal/Chinese company that reaches back into the main characters past. It is good, but not my favorite of hers, that would probably be "Green City in the Sun".
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