Book Review: Killer Dreams

Title: Killer Dreams

Author: Iris Johansen

Format: Hardback

Published: 2006

I acquired this book on a random eBay search one day and the description peaked my interest.  The first thing I will say is now this author, Iris Johansen, is on my to-read list!!

So I am going to be frank and just tell you how this book starts out.  We meet Sophie; married, one child, and loves her family.  She is on a quick fishing trip with her parents which ends in her father killing her mother, attempting to kill herself and her son, and then turns the gun on himself and kills himself.  What?

The book flashes to 2 years down the road where we find out she’s divorced and married to her work.  She is a top sleep therapist and she specializes in life-threatening night terrors, which her son happens to suffer from.  She is focused on her work and we learn she enjoys her work in the hospital setting.  She previously worked for a pharmaceutical company and one is trying to steal her away from her job again except she absolutely refuses.  Hmm.

The pharmaceutical company (rather, two men) will take center stage in this story.  Sophie was working on a special project in which it started to get out of hand.  Sophie left the company and left the man in charge wanting to persuade her to come back to finish the project…or kill her.

Sophie has been under the protection and watchful eye of a semi-retired hitman named Jock.  He has been teaching her how to take care of herself and by that, I mean shoot a gun and kill someone.  He helps her take care of her son and is looking to return to Scotland to fully retire but is hesitant to until he knows Sophie will be safe.

Here is where the book takes off.  The men are coming after Sophie, hard, and will kill her or anyone else in their way to get what they want.  It becomes a whirlwind and eventual worldwide adventure where we are introduced to Royd, who enters the picture by saving her life.  The two become an unlikely pair and are bound and determined to take down the people coming after Sophie, each for their own personal reasons.

I could go on but then I would be giving too much of the book away.  It is filled with lots of killing and action.  It was fairly predictable, nothing that had me on the edge of my seat, but, I was flipping through the pages like crazy to see what would happen with Royd and Sophie.  I loved the ending and was holding my breath for the entire last chapter.  I also absolutely appreciated the epilogue in this book, I LOVE seeing how things turn out in the long run!  I am giving this a solid 4 out of 5 and if you happen to come across this book, read it!  Next week will be a surprise on what will be reviewed, I’m not too sure yet!!  I have been on a cruise and packed my Kindle along with some paperback books so the world is my oyster!  Catch me next Thursday for a to be determined review!

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Books Review – The Bride’s Little Book of…

Title: The Bride’s Little Book of Cakes and Toasts
Title: The Bride’s Little Book of Customs and Keepsakes
Presented By: Brides Magazine
Format: Hardback
Published: 1993-1994

This review is a two-fer.  I was looking for better wedding books at the library and came across The Bride’s Little Book of… series in the online directory, so I placed holds on both of them.  When they got to me, I realized they were much more little than I expected, but I checked them out anyway, hoping they’d be even a little bit useful for a minute.

oh lordt.

So, for starters, I’m going to recognize the fact that the books are almost 25 years old, which is an eternity in something like weddings, which change stylistically all the time.  But the type of information I wanted from these were things I thought could transcend that, so I opened the book.

They’re both short-short.  Like 40-ish pages each.  And they’re both small.  Like four or five inches, and barely thick at all.  And since they brag about having “Over 30 images of…”, there’s an understandably small amount of space left to hold any actual information.    Y’all, it’s all so dated-traditional that I don’t think this stuff was useful at the time.  Seriously, I don’t think anything in this book was cutting age when the thing rolled off the press.

I had expected information like who should do toasts, what to expect from them, etc…  What I got was one page of quotations that were so overused that they were beyond clichee.  (May the road rise up to meet you…)  Come on.  We can do better than that.

These books *did* have a bit of cool historical information.  Like the origins of ___.  Which was neat, but not what I was going to these books for.

Which brings me to the saddest ratings ever.  These could have been those tiny gift books we find today boxed with weird trinkets.  (Customs and Keepsakes, complete with blue ribbon and old penny!)  But they weren’t.  They were just sad.

If you come across them at a yard sale, give somebody a nickel for them and then throw them in the trash to better weddings everywhere.  I hope these were better when they were originally published, but they absolutely fail the test of time.  I’ll give them a very overly optimistic 2/5 for the historical tidbits and nothing else.

 

 

Book Review – Lexicon

TITLE: Lexicon
AUTHOR: Max Barry
FORMAT: Hardback
PUBLISHED: 2013

 

Poets.  No, not the type that string words together into iambic pentameter.  Worse.  These poets understand words and language in ways that laypeople do not.  They can talk to somebody for ten minutes and understand what their segment is and know what words need said to end them entirely.

Wil Parke is a man on the run, and he doesn’t know why.  He’s got total amnesia.  Hell, he isn’t even sure that Wil Parke is his real name.  Oh, and a poet has gone rogue and wants him dead.  So two men kidnap him from the airport and spend much of the book just trying to keep his sorry ass alive.

The book flips between two story lines – one starts with Emily Ruff, who is recruited in California and becomes a poet.  The other story line centers around Wil.  Who is he, how can they keep him alive, and why does somebody want him?

The two stories come together in two places about as different as they can be – Broken Hill, Australia, and Washington, DC.   I know I’m not doing a good job explaining this, but really, I don’t want to give things away too much, and I’m not smart enough anyway. Max Barry was a friggin’ genius with this story.

I loved the background about the poets and that setup, and a lot of the information they were sharing about words is true. So it made the book extra realistic.

That said, I saw how the two stories were going to come together about halfway to when they did.  I didn’t mind, and I still enjoyed the book, but I could see how that might upset some readers a little bit.  Still, I thought the book was strong enough that it didn’t matter.

Max Barry is good about making you care about his characters, so even though you’re expecting xyz, you still want to see how it plays out.

Very happy with this one.  I give it 5/5.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review – 101 Two Letter Words

TITLE: 101 Two Letter Words
AUTHOR: Stephin Merritt
ILLUSTRATOR: Roz Chast
FORMAT: Hardback
PUBLISHED: 2014

Okay. I have to say that as a writer, this book caught my eye immediately. (Also because I have 98% of the two letter words in Words With Friends and can’t figure out which 2% I am missing)

The book is arranged pretty simply. There’s a two-letter word, an image, and a little four line rhyming poem that utilizes the word somehow. It starts with AA (which is apparently a jagged kind of lava) and ends with ZA, which we all know is apparently an acceptable abbreviation for pizza, but nobody ever ever ever says it.

The rhymes are cute and the illustrations are simple but sweet.

-insert heavy sigh here-

So here’s my issue. Since everything is cutesy little rhymes, nothing seemed to stick much in my head as I looked it over. I mean, I liked the book and someday I might end up with a copy on my bookshelf, but I queston the book’s actual usefulness. No real help on pronunciation, so we can guess and mostly be right but on a few of these it’d help.

In the end, I’m going to give this book a 4/5. It’s the type of book you’d give as a silly gift or pick up at the library, but I don’t see a lot of people rushing out to buy it as reference material.

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