Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dead Over Heels by Charlaine Harris: A Review

Book five in the Aurora Teagarden series, this installment features the same charming characters, the plot is a bit thin.  Aurora's nemesis Police Detective Jack Burns drops in on her (literally, as he's thrown from an airplane and lands in her yard.)  Her past quarrels with the detective make her a suspect for a time.  Other strange and disturbing events begin to happen, and Aurora is sure that her bodyguard Angel is the target.  Her sleuthing skills solve the mystery in the nick of time.  The motivation of the killer is completely out of left field, given the details provided to the reader.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reality Check by Peter Abrahams: A Review

Cody Laredo (perhaps the worst name in recent fiction) is a great protagonist.  A kid from the wrong side of the tracks, Cody has made good through his talent as an athlete, particularly a football player.  He is dating Clea, the richest girl in town and is truly in love.  Although his grades aren't stellar, they're good enough to keep him playing, and major universities are starting to look at him as a realistic prospect.

Things are pretty great for Cody until everything falls apart.  Clea's father ships her off to live with a relative for the summer, then off to an Eastern boarding school in the fall.  Cody blows his knee in a football game and eventually drops out of school.  He manages to find a job, but he basically considers his life to be over.

The he finds out that Clea is missing from her exclusive boarding school. He immediately loads up his car and goes to find her.  He encounters a mystery that keeps him and the reader guessing until the very end.  Nothing is as it seems, and it is difficult to determine who to trust.

Cody is a likable and believable protagonist.  The plot is riveting until the end, when the reader figures out things a bit before Cody does.  The events taking place, however, or so exciting, you will keep on reading until the end.  The resolution is a bit weak, but otherwise, this is a standout young adult novel.

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern: A Review

If you simply need a laugh, this is the book for you.  Short and full of funny and sometimes poignant stories, this book is the antidote to a rough day.  This is not a book for those who are easily offended by language!

Halpern's dad, a specialist in nuclear medicine, served in the Navy.  It's important to know this as you read this book, because the man cusses like a sailor.  There numerous examples of his father's profane observations about Justin's life: reaching puberty, sports, the condition of his room, dating, and the list goes on and on.  There are times when the father's comments seem almost cruel...too harsh to really be funny.  But there are other times when his father is tender, supportive, and generous.

A Little Death in Dixie by Lisa Turner: A Review

I kept seeing A Little Death in Dixie.  It was recommended to me by Amazon, based on my previous reading habits; it was featured in my book club brochure; it was reviewed in several magazines.  Somehow, the book just didn't appeal to me, but then, I read it!  This is a wonderful mystery with appealing and despicable characters, interwoven mysteries, and a bit of humor at just the right places.

Mercy Snow has returned to Memphis at her sister's request.  Mercy left years ago and has made it on her own, beginning a bakery in Atlanta.  Her mother and her sister have always treated her as the ugly duckling.  Mercy has built up her self esteem, but is till battling bitterness. 

Billy Able, a young homicide detective, has recently ended a long-term relationship and is worried sick about his partner whose recent divorce seems to have driven him over the edge.  Lou's behavior goes from erratic to dangerous, leaving Billy angry, puzzled, and hurt. 

Billy and Mercy come together after the disappearance of Sophia, the beautiful sister.  Bodies begin to pile up and mysteries interweave.  This mystery keeps you guessing until the final chapter.