Sunday, October 16, 2011

What's Behind the Story These Days?

I reviewed my recent blog postings and I noticed that there was far more 'story' than 'behind the story' lately.  That means I'm reading alot of books and that makes me happy.  But I must be doing other things, but what?  I had to think.

I've been sick, really sick with a bad chest cold and some kind of nasty virus according to the doctor.  My daily bike ride with Richard had been crossed off the agenda.  When I couldn't stand being cooped up in the house any longer I decided to take my bike out for a short spin.  Only to find out the tire was flat. Back  in the garage Richard handed me the pressure gauge.

"Check the pressure," he said.
I bent down, unscrewed the cap on the tire and pressed the gauge in.  The end popped out.
"What's the pressure?  C'mon hurry up.  What's the pressure?"  That's Richard always in a hurry.
I studied the gauge and then turned it over to look at the other side.  And then the other side just to be sure.
"It's in Chinese. I have no idea what the pressure is." On four all sides of the white stick were red Chinese characters.  No numbers only characters I couldn't read.  I handed him back the gauge and went back inside to bed.
"No wonder the tire store gave you that for free."  Richard is big on getting free stuff.

A few days later, Richard decided he needed a new phone.  His Motorola Razzor was on it's last legs.  The guy at the phone store said Richard was seven years overdue for an upgrade.  He's never known anyone to keep a phone that long.  Richard, not being very computer savvy, picked out the most basic of phones for $29.95.
 The clerk handed me the manual to read while he transferred the phone numbers.
"Hey, look Richard.  I can set your phone to remind you when to take your pills."
"I don't take any pills," he answered.
"I know.  But you're an old fart.  I'd probably have to download an app for $3.99 to get a pill reminder on my I phone."
Sometimes less is more.

Yesterday we went to the Art in Sand at the Space Coast Stadium.  After our stomachs were full with  baseball style junk food, we headed to the field to view the sand.  It's pretty amazing what can be sculpted in sand.  We were impressed to say the least.  Until I spotted a mound covered with a tarp.

"Richard.  The pitcher's mound.  Let's check it out."
We raced each other to the top of a major league pitcher's mound and pretended to throw a pitch.  Home plate is very far away.  Then we strolled out to center field.  A baseball field is a huge place and those outfielders have a large territory to cover. Walking the field left us even more in awe of our favorite pastime.
"Let's go home and watch the game."  Even though our beloved Tampa Bays Rays were out of the running the playoff games captivated us.  And then it hit me.

That's what I'd been doing.  Laying on the sofa, nursing my cough, watching legends being born in October.  Ahhh I love baseball.  

Blood Rights by Kristen Painter

Initially I thought I could hide behind my usual excuse, "I don't normally read vampire stories" in this book review.  Until I realized I'd read a few vampire stories over the past few months. Maybe I'm bordering on being an expert and didn't know it.  I don't think so.  Uhmm.  Maybe. Vampire novels however, throw me back to my days rushing home from school in time to watch Dark Shadows.  That was in the days before DVR's so if I missed it I was out of luck.  Something really important had to happen before I missed Dark Shadows.  Blood Rights contained some images that threw my photographic memory back to some episodes I clearly remember about a detached hand and a ring. (I don't want to give away anything more!)

Anyway, enough about me.  Blood Rights is an action packed mystery, thriller, romance with blood and fangs at the heart of it all.  Chrysabelle and Mal become unlikely allies in the hunt for a murderer.  As a comarre, a person who is bred for pure blood rights which are purchased by vampire nobility, Chrysabelle lives a life full of secrets.  In order to save herself and her aunt, the secrets must be peeled away like the skin of an onion.  It makes for a fast paced story full of unexpected twists and turns.

Kristen Painter is a talented writer expert at crafting a dark and dangerous world filled with captivating characters and creatures.  Blood Rights is a page turner even for a vampire novice, uh lover, like me.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

The first chapter of this novel had me at 'Hello'.  A woman and her husband viewing a display of photographs taken in the New York City subway twenty some years ago.  They recognize an old friend.  He looks sharp, crisp, well off as they remember him.  Further down the wall they see him again.  He seems to have fallen from grace.

The story that unfolds is Katey Kontent's version of the downfall of Tinker Grey.  And I loved most of this story.  The author is gifted in setting the scenes and bringing the characters to life.  It just seemed to drag on too long to get to the end.  The majority of this book is lively and entertaining.  I felt let down by the time I reached the end.  I understand that life doesn't wrap up and get tied up in a neat little bow.  But Rules of Civility left me unsatisfied in the end.

Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt

This is one of those books that frustrates a fledgling writer like me.  I can't remember how I came across this title or why I downloaded it to my Kindle, but I'm sure it looked interesting to me. 

The story started out fine, two marriages about to collapse and a little boy caught in the middle.  A car accident that leaves a mother dead is the catalyst to the rest of the story.  And I enjoyed the story... for awhile.  The writing deteriorated into something just this side of a wet dishrag.  The characters followed suit, becoming dull and uninteresting.  And if the author used the expression 'cupped his face' one more time I might have stopped reading.  She used the same description over and over again that it detracted from her ability to tell a story. 

And then one simple bit of research that the author didn't bother to do, set me over the edge.  Charlie goes to Pittsburgh to find the man his dead wife was having an affair with.  The man tells his side of the story and that his own wife is a nurse at McGee Women's Hospital.  Most readers wouldn't even give the name of a hospital a second glance.  I, however, was born in Pittsburgh at Magee Women's Hospital.  As soon as I read it, I knew something wasn't right. 

As a writer myself, I work hard at giving  readers what makes them happy.  This author seemed to shove out words without a thought and still got published.  Arrggghhhhh!!!!

City of Thieves by David Benioff

City of Thieves by David Benioff It's World War II in Leningrad, Russia.  17 year old Lev elected to stay behind in the city when h...