Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I haven't taken the time to do much reading this month. I have been crocheting hats both for Christmas presents and to donate and it's hard to read or use the computer when doing that. It had been years since I crocheted but seeing some cute ideas on Pinterest got me inspired again. I tried several different hat patterns and it was a lot of fun. I've also done some holiday baking which the family really enjoys - pumpkin bread with dates and black walnuts, cherry chocolate cookies, and homemade dinner rolls. I'm sure everyone will find something they like. Our son and his wife will be here for dinner later today (Christmas Eve) and then they'll go to her folks'. Jim and I will head to my sister's for a soup supper. It's nice to spend the holidays with the family.

I've also been fighting a bad pain in my right leg. I went to the doctor about it several weeks ago and she gave me a steroid which really helped. Only problem is once the pills were gone, the pain came back. I guess another visit to the doc is on the calendar after the holidays. Limping around is NO fun.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. Spend it with those who mean the most to you, enjoy your presents and don't eat too many goodies.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Second Nature

Written by Alice Hoffman
© 1994 Published by Berkley
ISBN: 0-425-14681-2
290 pp.

From the book cover: "He was beautiful. He was innocent. And in the locked room where the psychiatrists kept him, he was treated more like an animal than a human being. Robin Moore, coping with a divorce-in-progress and a troubled teenaged son, surprised even herself when she impulsively rescued this man, who'd been raised in the wilderness and had no more sophistication than a child. She spirited him home to her suburban town where she could keep him safe. But with the strange, uncivilized man's arrival came a streak of wild, uncontrollable events that disturbed the peace in this perfectly ordered neighborhood - and changed all of Robin's ideas about love and humanity...."

Hmmm, what would you do? The person referred to as 'Wolfman' who has been locked up for months in a mental hospital and who had never spoken to anyone before, quietly asks you to help him. Without even thinking, Robin Moore takes him home and hides him. She slowly learns some of his background and how he came to live in the wild. She also, of course, falls in love with him. She has plenty to deal with - her estranged, cheating husband who's also a local cop, her love-sick 16-year-old son, her contankerous, ailing grandfather, her very limited income as a landscaper, and now the strange man in her guest room. Adding to that, some sicko is killing the town's pets, including Robin's much-loved cat, Homer.

This book was an easy read and I read it in one day. There weren't too many surprises in it but it was a good story. A little bit romance and a little bit mystery, the ending was kind of sad but there wasn't really any other way to write it.
 
I picked this book up at a flea market. (I apologize for the poor photo.  I'm having camera problems and didn't find a good photo on line.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dark Mountain

Written by Richard Laymon
©1987 by Leisure Books
ISBN: 0-8439-6138-4
321 pp.

From the book cover: “For two families, it was supposed to be a relaxing camping trip in the California mountains. They thought it would be fun to get away from everything for a while. But they’re not alone. The woods are also home to two terrifying residents who don’t take kindly to strangers – an old hag with unholy powers, and her hulking son, a half-wild brute with uncontrollable, violent urges. The campers still need to get away – but now their lives depend on it!”

I’ve never been much of a camper. A long time ago we had a pickup topper and went to Mt. Rushmore and a few other places but we never tent-camped. To me a tent always seemed so vulnerable and after reading this book, you’ll NEVER find me in a tent.

Buddies Scott O’Toole and Arnold ‘Flash’ Gordon decide to take their families on a backpacking trip. The group includes Scott’s girlfriend, his teenage daughter and his younger son and Flash’s wife, teenage son and younger twin daughters. They’ve all camped before but not together and not in this area. They plan on making a week of it, hiking up the mountain trails by day and camping by different lakes at night. They spend their evenings telling spooky stories around the campfire. Big mistake, right there! LOL Before they know it, they’re living a worse story than any they could have made up.

I didn’t enjoy this Laymon book quite as much as After Midnight (reviewed here) even though it started out great. It was good as far as the spook factor but I thought he was a little short filling out the story. He didn’t give hardly any background on the old woman and her son like where they came from or what they were doing in the mountains. He gave some background on Scott and his girlfriend and the Gordons but I feel he could have told a little more to flesh out the story.

Friday, November 25, 2011

After Midnight

Written by Richard Laymon
© 1997 by Leisure Book
ISBN: 0-8439-5180-X
438 pp.

From the book cover – “Alice has quite a story to tell you. That’s not her real name, of course. She couldn’t give her real name, not after all the things she reveals about herself in this book. All of her … adventures. And all that killing. She wouldn’t want the police to find her, now would she?
It started out so nice. Alice was house-sitting for her friend, enjoying having the whole place to herself, with the sunken bathtub and big-screen television. But everything went wrong that first night, when she looked out the window and saw a strange man jumping naked into the swimming pool. Alice just knew he would be coming to get her, like all those other men before. But she would never be a victim again. Not after she remembered the old Civil War saber hanging in the living room …”

Oh … my… God! This book is one of those that genuinely gives you the creeps and makes you get up and pull your curtains and check your locks. Have you ever gotten up to lock the door and been SURE someone was just on the other side? That’s the feeling I got from reading the first chapter. No spooks, no aliens, no four-legged creatures … just real people who can sometimes be real monsters.

I have to say this author has quite the imagination, even more so than King or Koontz. Alice is her own worst enemy making herself scared which causes the death of the first person. Then she tries to cover that death up and one thing leads to another and another. The methods of death in the book are very graphic and made me squirm at times but I loved the book. I have another Laymon book to read next, Dark Mountain. I hope it’s just as good.

I borrowed the books from my sister who shares my taste in books. Thanks Anne.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In Her Shoes

Written by Jennifer Weiner
© 2002, Published by Pocket Books
ISBN: 0-4165-0334-X
521 pp. followed by questions with the author

From the book cover – “Rose is a thirty-year-old attorney with a secret passion for romance novels. She’s going to start exercising next week, and she dreams of a man who will slide off her glasses and tell her she’s beautiful. Maggie is twenty-eight and drop-dead gorgeous. Although her stardom hasn’t progressed past her hip’s appearance in a music video, she dreams of fame and fortune. These two sisters claim to have nothing in common but DNA, a childhood tragedy, and a shoe size, but when they’re forced into cohabitation, they may just learn that they’re more alike than they thought.”

I love Jennifer Weiner’s books. She doesn’t hesitate to tell it like it is and In Her Shoes is no exception. Rose and Maggie lost their mother at a young age and Rose has always tried to look out for her sister. That’s hard to do when Maggie has such a different lifestyle. She’s dyslexic and to make up for poor performance in school, she uses her looks to get what she wants. When she does have money, she spends it on partying, makeup and clothes. She can’t hold a job or keep an apartment, has a bad habit of snooping whenever she can and doesn’t hesitate to ‘borrow’ money or clothes without asking. She ends up on Rose’s doorstep at a very inopportune time. On the other hand, Rose is somewhat of a stick-in-the-mud. She packs a few extra pounds, dresses very conservatively, and only splurges on great shoes and romance novels. The last thing she wants is her unreliable sister intruding in her life again just as she’s finally found a boyfriend.

I couldn’t live with someone like Maggie without wanting to throttle her daily. I was surprised Rose put up with her as long as she did. When something happens that blows their relationship apart, you have to wonder if they’ll ever speak again. Throw in a ‘wicked’ stepmother, a long-lost grandmother and her retirement community buddies, an unlikely suitor, and a few dogs and you have a great story.

I bought this book at a flea market. Jennifer Weiner is also the author of Good in Bed and Little Earthquakes.