Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Liberty: A Novel of Lake Wobegon [Keillor]

Book: Liberty: A Novel of Lake Wobegon
Author: Garrison Keillor
Reason for Reading: book club
Genre: Fiction

Review: Meet Clint-he's a 60 yr old mechanic and head of the 4th of July planning committee. He rules with an iron fist, upsets his fellow townsfolk left and right, but puts on a parade so unbelievable that CNN covers it. Having a mid-life crisis later than most, he embarks on an affair with 28 year old Angelica (who participates in the parade as the statue of liberty) and considers leaving his wife of thirty plus years and moving to California.

While this book was well written and witty, I didn't connect with any of the main characters and almost 300 pages about a parade was just too much for me. This could have been a decent short story.

Recommend: if you like the Prairie Home Companion series from NPR (Keillor wrote them), you'll probably enjoy this. Otherwise, stay far away!

Book Junkie's Grade: C+

Dakota Home [Macomber]

Book: Dakota Home [Dakota book 2]
Author: Debbie Macomber
Reason for Reading: for fun
Genre: Romance

Review: The second book in Macomber's Dakota series centers on Maddie Washburn, Lindsay's best friend from childhood. Leaving a stressful job in Savannah, GA as a social worker, Maddie purchases the local grocery in Buffalo Valley and is ready for a fresh start. She is quickly intrigued by Jeb McKenna, a local recluse who lost his leg in a farming accident years earlier. After a blizzard strands Maddie and Jeb for a few days, their relationship takes on a new level.

Like Macomber's previous books, 'Dakota Home' is filled with overly wholesome people who are too good to be true. However, certain aspects of the relationship between Maddie and Jeb ring true, while a side story involving an unhappy teen has glimpses of reality. Overall, the book is predictable, but still a fun read.

Recommend: Yes

Book Junkie's Grade: B

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dakota Born [Macomber]

Book: Dakota Born [Dakota book 1]

Author: Debbie Macomber

Reason for Reading: for fun

Genre: Romance

Review: After coming to the realization that her long term boyfriend will never marry her, 29 yr old Lindsay accepts a teaching assignment in her father's hometown, Buffalo Valley, ND to heal. Born and raised in the south, Buffalo Valley is a big change for Lindsay. The town is declining due to economic troubles but Lindsay is determined to make the best of it. Lindsay quickly revitalizes the community and provides the town with a sense of hope. As she develops friendships and beings a romantic relationship with a local farmer, Lindsay needs to decide where and what "home" truly means.

Recommend: Similar to Macomber's other books, this is wholesome, quaint and fun to read.

Book Junkie's Grade: B

Undercover [Dane]

Book: Undercover
Author: Lauren Dane
Reason for Reading: for fun
Genre: Romance -Erotica

Review: The premise of this book is so preposterous I'm going to copy the summary from Amazon:

"As a lieutenant of the Federation military, Sera Ayers is more accustomed to giving orders than taking them. Now she must obey the one man she can't stand--and can't stop thinking about.

With the enemy Imperialists gaining ground, a new covert team is assembled by Ash Walker. Ten years before, Sera had lovingly submitted to Ash's dominance in the bedroom. But when he was forced into a political marriage, she left him rather than become his mistress. His marriage now over, Ash wants Sera on his team--and back in his bed.

The third team member, Brandt Pela, has an elegance to match Ash's savage sexuality. And when their undercover plan requires Sera to pose as Brandt's lover, it ignites a passion among the three of them more dangerous than their mission..."

To give you even more background-the team is forced to go to a planet with cameras EVERYWHERE and Sera is forced to work undercover as a concubine for both men. They 'have' to be physical with each other or their cover is blown. I will give Dane credit for trying a science fiction angle and writing some inventive erotic scenes, but overall the writing was poor and there was little depth to the characters.

Recommend: no

Book Junkie's Grade: D

Only Pleasure [Leigh]

Book: Only Pleasure
Author: Lora Leigh
Reason for Reading: for fun
Genre: Romance - Erotica

Review: Two years after an emotionally draining divorce, Kia Rutherford reconnects with Chase Falladay. Dark, dangerous and a member of a secret club with exotic tastes, Chase offers Kia pleasure but cannot surrender his heart. Kia soon finds herself tangled in Chase's web and can't resist falling for Chase. Will Chase realize his true feelings for Kia before a series of attacks by an unknown person turns deadly? Engaging, erotic and extremely sensual, this book was stronger than 'Wicked Pleasure.' Strong personalities by both lead characters and engaging dialogue (at least a far as erotic novels go) make up for the predictable mystery.

Recommend: If you are a fan of erotica, give this one a try!

Book Junkie's Grade: B-

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dexter in the Dark [Lindsay]

Book: Dexter in the Dark
Author: Jeff Lindsay
Reason for Reading: for fun
Genre: Thriller

Review: Dexter Morgan, blood spatter expert for Miami PD and vigilante serial killer, is called to a crime scene when something unexpected happens. His Dark Passenger, the voice in his head the urges him to kill, becomes silent. Alone for the first time in his life, Dexter tries to determine if the Dark Passenger is a fragment of his psyche or its own entity. At the same time, he is working with his sister to solve a series of murders, discovers he is being followed, is planning a wedding and tries to be a good father to his soon to be step kids.

The third installment in the Dexter series, this book was darkly funny and well written. Unfortunately, it was not engaging and the overall story lacked the spark of its predecessors.

Recommend: no

Book Junkie's Grade: C

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Deep Dish [Andrews]

Book: Deep Dish
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Reason for Reading: for fun
Genre: Chick-Lit

Review: Gina Foxton, 29 year old chef and star of the cooking show 'Fresh Start', has a pretty good life: her show is a regional success, her hunky producer is her boyfriend and she has a condo in Buckhead. That is, until her boyfriend gets caught sleeping with their sponsor's wife and the show is cancelled. When the Food Network comes to check out Gina and ruggedly handsome Tate Moody (star of a hunting and cooking show 'Vittles') to see if either of them have what it takes to make it big, food isn't the only thing flying in the kitchen.

Recommend: While predictable, this was a light, fun, entertaining book filled with colorful supporting characters and main characters I could route for. A great choice for a beach vacation. Beware..there is a lot of food in this book, so if you are hungry, watch out!

Book Junkie's Grade: B

Monday, July 6, 2009

Nature Girl [Hiaasen]

Book: Nature Girl
Author: Carl Hiaasen
Reason for Reading: for fun
Genre: Fiction

Review: After a rude telemarketer interupts dinner with her son, Honey decides to teach him a lesson on manners. She tracks Boyd down and posing as a telmarketer herself, offers him a free ecotour vacation in FL. Boyd accepts and brings along his mistress, Eugenie, a once famous mistress of a convicted murderer. The small group takes off kyaking in the Everglades, only to be followed by a Honey's ex-boss (who is obsessed with her), a PI hired by Boyd's wife to get evidence of his infidelity, Honey's ex-husband Perry and their 11 year old son, Fry. Add to this mix a half white, half Seminole Indian who is trying to get away from it all and his willing 'hostage', a college co-ed interested in more than just camping.

Once you get past the ridiculous concept of Honey tracking down Boyd and him falling for her scheme, as well as the ridiculous names of almost all the characters, this is a quick, easy, sometimes humerous read.

Book Junkie's Grade: B-

Dearly Devoted Dexter [Lindsay]

Book: Dearly Devoted Dexter
Author: Jeff Lindsay
Reason for Reading: for fun
Genre: Thriller

Review: Book 2 in Lindsay's Dexter series follows Dexter Morgan (dedicated boyfriend, brother, blood spatter expert, serial killer) as he is stalked by a co-worker, Sergeant Doakes. With Doakes' unwanted attention, Dexter cannot give in to his favorite past time (killing) so he becomes a couch potato, drinking beer and spending more time with Rita and the kids. However, when a sinister killer arrives in Miami, Dexter realizes Doakes is somehow involved. When the feds arrive to track down the killer and his sister asking for her help, Dexter works overtime to track the killer and try to resolve his situation with Doakes.

Recommend: darkly humorous and well written, this was better than the 1st book. I can't wait to read book #3!

Book Junkie's Grade: B+