Vacation Book Reviews...

So, I managed to read a lot of books on vacation.

Books from home (not the library! gasp!), books on my Kindle, books on Dad's Kindle...it was great.

I think I read something like...23 books? 24?

It's been a while since I put away so many books in such a short time! Yay for vacations!

So, let's get going on some micro reviews, at least (especially since it's been a few weeks since I read many of these, some from even before vacation!)

(don't know why Blogger and Amazon aren't playing nice tonight - apologies for the lack of linkage and book covers)

Tall, Dark and Devastating by Suzanne Brockmann

This combines two previous novella length stories from Brockmann into her "Tall and Dark" series - once again with Navy SEALs front and center, and the women who fall for them. Though these don't have the same "meaty" storylines as her other novels, this was a great addition to the Brockmann oeuvre with manly men, strong women, hot sex scenes and just enough tension to keep in interesting!

Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell

This was a great memoir that didn't take me long to devour. Gail forms a lasting friendship with a fellow author, recovering alcoholic and dog lover in Caroline Knapp. She chronicles the beginnings of their friendship, the bond between human and dog, nature, and most wrenchingly, the untimely death of Caroline from cancer. A great testament to frienship, canine companionship and great writing. Recommended!

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Rob's autobiography - have loved him since I was, like, 8...and thus, love this glimpse into his early career, his break in showbiz, and some obligatory name dropping. Love Rob, love the book, love the stories - recommended!

The Future of Us by Carolyn Mackler and Jay Asher

So, I a little (but not a lot) ashamed to say I, um, liberated the last copy of this title's advanced reading copy from the ALA conference earlier this year without permission, based on the strength of these two author's names. This is the story of Emma and Josh - best friends in 1996 who, through a strange twist, discover themselves on Facebook - 15 years in the future. It's hard to explain, but the premise and the writing just flow so that you can see how past decisions affect the present (and vice versa!). A great young adult read, with relevancy to the electronic age of today, while still keeping romance in the mix. Great premise!

Shelter by Harlan Coben

This was another ALA title - this time, featuring Coben's first foray into young adult fiction. Coben's protagonist is Mickey Bolitar, nephew of Coben's popular adult protagonist, Myron Bolitar. Mickey is the lowest of the low with family upheaval and a new high school, until he meets Ashley. When she disappears, he enlists the help of several misfits to solve the mystery of her disappearance. I thought this was a highly entertaining, wry young adult novel - and while Mickey was fine, the supporting characters absolutely steal the show. Just enough wackiness, wryness and mystery to keep it interesting - I really enjoyed this read! It's Coben - c'mon! Of course it's good!

North of Nowhere by Steve Hamilton

When I read that Steve Hamilton was bringing back his popular character, Alex McKnight, it wasn't much of a blip for me...until I learned that the entire series takes place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan! Winner! This was the first of two Hamilton novels I read, and both were excellent! The setting of the UP I know so well, a unique main character, an intriquing mystery ( a poker game gone wrong with a burglary, a shooting and a big ole whodunit), and snappy, fast writing and pace made this read a winner! A week or two later, I read...

Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton

Which was I think my favorite of the two - a series of linked but mysterious deaths, a frozen tundra, a  lot of unanswered questions...and a the return of a memorable character like McKnight. I'll definitely be buying more of this series for the Kindle...

Missing Persons by Clare O'Donohue

This is a stand-alone mystery from the author of the "Someday Quilts Mysteries", which I enjoy, so I grabbed this new title from the library shelves. Kate Conway is the producer of a true crime series, and is uncomfortable when the spotlight is put on her in the death of her ex-husband. Between dealing with Frank's death, Frank's girlfriend, and the mystery her television crew is trying to solve, Kate has a lot going on! I liked this story fine, but didn't find it as engaging as the Quilts mysteries - in fact, I had to look up the premise on Amazon to remember what it was about. Oops. Not bad reading, just not memorable to me...

Fearless by Diana Palmer

A woman abused as a child, an undercover cop-turned-cowboy, a tissue-thin plot, a doormat of a woman, and a lot of unbelievable emotional connections and sex and posturing. Yeah, this didn't do it for me - and I see that Amazon reviewers agree with me...

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

I've read Perrotta's previous works, which are always thought provoking and give a new spin to "life in the 'burbs", as does this title. One day, a type of Rapture occurs, with scores of people disappearing with no explanation. What follows is this story about families trying to soldier on, cults forming, a ye-haw attitude for those left behind, and a lot of just...strange storytelling. After I was done, I wasn't sure if I liked this novel or not - interesting premise and thought-provoking, yes, but...did I *like* it". I don't think I did - not really. But it's worth reading, regardless! Really!

Should've Been a Cowboy by Vicki Lewis Thompson

As publishers tell us, this is the "year of the cowboy", so I included this novel from ALA in my luggage. I was always a fan of Thompson's "Nerd" series, so, cowboys? Sure! This slim novel (novella, really) is a bit silly and a lot predictable and a little unbelievable, but for a short, cowboy-driven story? Sure! Not "Gone With the Wind", but a fun diversion for a few hours!

Shoot Him If He Runs by Stuart Woods

Another Stone Barrington/Holly Barker novel, this time in the tropics with all the usual suspects along for the ride - and another mystery that only Stone can solve. A guilty pleasure audiobook listen! Love this series - especially in audiobook form!

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