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75)Peter Heller.  DOG STARS. Kpnof: 2012

76) Bram, Christopher. THE NOTORIOUS DR. AUGUST: His Real Life and Crimes. Harper: 2001.

77) Brom. THE CHILD THIEF. Harper 2010.

78) S. G. Browne. I SAW ZOMBIES EATING SANTA CLAUS: A Breathers Christmas Carol. Gallery Books: 2012.

Book #74

Nov. 13th, 2012 04:08 pm
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74) AGE OF MIRACLES. Karen Thompson Walker. Random House: 2012.

This melancholy debut novel examines the impact of a global natural disaster on ordinary people. When the earth's rotation slows to a crawl, resulting in longer days, civilization begins to unravel. Eleven-year-old Julia documents society's steady decline while coping with the challenges of everyday life, such as friendship and first love. VERDICT Beautifully written and with great appeal for both teens and adults, this combination of an end-of-the-world story line with coming-of-age fiction equals a tour de force.

I think this one made me feel more uneasy than the serial killer thriller I finished just before...because it seems more "real" or likely to happen, or the fact that it would happen to everyone.

Book #73

Nov. 11th, 2012 08:45 am
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#73) Thilliez, Franck. SYNDROME E: A Novel. Viking Adult: 2012.

Wow; this one grabbed me. First English translation of bestselling French author Thelliez (and there had better be more). The book has already been optioned for film (which considering some of the plot and themes, if handled as skillfully as the novel, could make for one serioulsy deep and creepy movie.)  SYNDROME E is a police procedural, serial killer thriller; medical/scientific subgenre twisted up with touches of espionage and cinema noir. Compelling complicated protagonists.

Book description:
Already a runaway bestseller in France, Syndrome E tells the story of beleaguered detective Lucie Hennebelle, whose old friend has developed a case of spontaneous blindness after watching an extremely rare—and violent—film from the 1950s. Embedded in the film are subliminal images so unspeakably heinous that Lucie realizes she must get to the bottom of it—especially when nearly everyone who comes into contact with the film starts turning up dead.

Enlisting the help of Inspector Franck Sharko—a brooding, broken analyst for the Paris police who is exploring the film’s connection to five murdered men left in the woods, Lucie begins to strip away the layers of what is perhaps the most disturbing and powerful film ever made. Soon Sharko and Lucie find themselves mired in a darkness that spreads across politics, religion, science, and art while stretching from France to Canada, Egypt to Rwanda, and beyond. And just who is responsible for this darkness will blow readers minds, as Syndrome E forces them to consider: what if the earliest and most brilliant advances and discoveries of neuroscience were not used for good—but for evil.

With this taut U.S. debut, Thilliez explores the origins of violence through cutting-edge and popular science in a breakneck thriller rich with shocking plot twists and profound questions about the nature of humanity
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71) KRAMPUS the Yule Lord. Brom. Harper Voyager: 2012.
Loved it.

72) RULE 34. Charles Stross. Ace Books 2011.
More cyber sci-fi.

Book #70

Oct. 25th, 2012 04:57 pm
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70) Doctorow, Cory and Charles Stross. RAPTURE OF THE NERDS. Tor: 2012.

Cyber Science Fiction. Pout. I usually really enjoy Doctorow, but the cyber-tech-geek aspects of this one baffled me. This is satire, serious criticism, and a bizarre adventure. While its tone is light and breezy, (ala Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) the density of the ideas make for a challenging read.

I am stealing this review snippet from James R. Caplan (Rockville, MD USA)'s Amazon customer: "I would describe it as a post-singularity coming of age story. The puns are atrocious, the references obscure, and the plot line, multi-dimensional. .. the reader will find he can't tell the players without a DNA scan. If you are prepared to read this with your browser open to Google and a background in gaming and technology, this (could) be fun."

Book #69

Oct. 15th, 2012 07:23 pm
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69)Middleton, Haydn. GRIMM'S LAST FAIRYTALE. Thomas Dunne Books: 2001.

In a compelling historical novel, Haydn Middleton re-creates the life story of literature's most famous brothers. It is a history that could almost be a fairy tale itself, with its fabulous changes of fortune, tests of duty and honor, arrogant princes, lost loves, and twisted family relationships-- all unfolding in a world of dark forests and even darker politics.

Book #68

Oct. 12th, 2012 10:32 am
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68) La Velle, Victor. THE DEVIL IN SILVER.

Bound to be compared to Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, LaValle skillfully mixes an indictment of the mental health system, eccentric and diverse character studies, and horror thrills in a freewheeling novel.

Book #67

Oct. 11th, 2012 09:42 am
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67) Zeltserman, Dave. MONSTER: a novel of Frankenstein. Overlook Press: 2012.

A good read for October and Halloween season! A retelling of the the classic story, this time from the Monster's perspective.

Book #66

Oct. 10th, 2012 09:41 am
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66) Doig, Ivan. THE BARTENDER'S TALE. Riverhead: 2012.

“With this expert novel, [Doig] sets himself a larger canvas and fills it with a diverse cast… Fact and fiction are skillfully fused to document a boy’s last days of youth and a history his father can’t leave behind.“ (Newsweek) "Doig expertly spins out various narrative threads with his usual gift for bringing history alive in the odysseys of marvelously thorny characters…Possibly the best novel yet by one of America’s premier storytellers.” (Kirkus Review)

Doig is my favorite Western author (Western as in regional fiction--not just cowboy stories). This one, quite fondly, made me think of a Montana version of "Dandelion Wine"; both Bradbury's and Doig's novels are wonderfully nostalgic and lyrical.

Book #65

Sep. 29th, 2012 04:44 pm
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65) Cain, Chelsea. KILL YOU TWICE. Minotaur: 2012.
Fourth novel in the Archie Sheridan (detective)/Gretchen Lowell (serial killer and serial prison escapee) series. What can I say, serial killer thrillers are one of my favorite genres.

Book #64

Sep. 14th, 2012 11:46 am
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64) Picoult, Jodi. LONE WOLF. Emily Bestler Books/Atria: 2012

Luke Warren has spent decades learning the inner workings of wolf packs. Yet his relationship with his own family is strained. Divorced from his wife and estranged from his son, Edward, Luke remains close to his daughter, Cara. When the two are involved in a car accident that leaves Luke in a coma, Edward must return home to make important medical decisions regarding life-sustaining measures. With facts that aren't always clear and emotional baggage getting in the way, Cara and Edward find themselves on opposite sides regarding what is best for their father. VERDICT Picoult (Sing You Home) once again has written a compelling story involving current issues and family drama with a unique twist. The inclusion of Luke's relationship with wolves adds an element of depth, and details like these are why readers find Picoult's books impossible to put down.

Book # 63

Sep. 11th, 2012 10:38 am
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63) Mitchell, David. CLOUD ATLAS. Random House: 2004.

Mitchell's ambitious novel weaves history, science, suspense, humor and pathos through six separate but related narratives. Each of the narratives is set in a different time and place, each is written in a different prose style, each is broken off mid-action and brought to conclusion in the second half of the book. The author has a gift for creating fully realized worlds with a varied cast of characters. Interesting reading; interesting writing.

Note to self: movie version of this story opens OCt 16th; good directors, good cast...

Book #61

Aug. 21st, 2012 09:12 am
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61) Starling, Belinda. THE JOURNAL OF DORA DAMAGE. Bloomsbury: 2007.

Belinda Starling's debut novel is a startling vision of Victorian London, juxtaposing its filth and poverty with its affluence. In Dora Damage we meet a daring young heroine, struggling in a very modern way against the constraints of the day. With her husband ill and crippled, his book-binding business in debt and his family in danger of entering the poorhouse, Dora resolves to rescue her family at any price - and finds herself illegally binding expensive volumes of pornography commissioned by aristocrats. Then, when a mysterious fugitive slave arrives at her door, Dora realises she's entangled in a web of sex, money, deceit and the law.

I enjoy books about books, and the descriptions of the bindings Dora creates were lovely and sensuous (as opposed to the contents of the texts being bound). Which I suppose was kind of the point.

Book #60

Aug. 17th, 2012 03:22 pm
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60) Weaver, Lila Qunitero. DARKROOM: A MEMOIR IN BLACK & WHITE. University of Alabama Pres: 2012.

Seeking to understand both a foriegn country and the inequalities of our nation's race relations, the author chronicles her life as a Latina girl (from Argentina) in early-60's rural Alabama. A well done memoir in graphic novel form; the book succeeds both historically and visually.

Book #59

Aug. 15th, 2012 04:40 pm
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59)Simmons, Dan. FLASHBACK. Little, Brown & Co.: 2012

"skiffy" (how one of the characters pronounces "sci-fi"), action, thriller, hints of detective noir, near-future dystopian novel. Kept me intrigued and interested. Am still thinking about it the next day, so intelligent enough as well.

(from descript blurb) "The United States is near total collapse. But 87% of the population doesn't care: they're addicted to flashback, a drug that allows its users to re-experience the best moments of their lives. After ex-detective Nick Bottom's wife died in a car accident, he went under the flash to be with her; he's lost his job, his teenage son, and his livelihood as a result. Nick may be a lost soul but he's still a good cop, so he is hired to investigate the murder of a top governmental advisor's son. This flashback-addict becomes the one man who may be able to change the course of an entire nation turning away from the future to live in the past.
A provocative novel set in a future that seems scarily possible."

Book #58

Aug. 10th, 2012 07:13 am
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58) Joyce, Graham. INDIGO. Pocket Books: 1999.

I really like the way this author writes.

Book #57

Aug. 9th, 2012 03:50 pm
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57) Joyce, Graham. SILENT LAND. Doubleday: 2010.
Award-winning novelist and cult favorite Joyce pens a gently haunting fantasy thriller which transports readers to a mysterious world of isolation and fear with a hypnotically dark story about a young couple trapped by an avalanche in the remote French Alps . . . a daring and powerful novel about love, loss, and rebirth. Told with a slow pace and beautiful prose, the story build to a clever final bittersweet note.

Book #54

Aug. 5th, 2012 04:39 pm
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54) Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown. BECOMING SISTERWIVES. Gallery Books: 2012.

Story of the Brown family (Kody, his four wives, and their seventeen children)from TLC's reality series Sisterwives, their openly polygamous plural marriage, and the struggles and joys that go with it.

Book #53

Aug. 1st, 2012 02:40 pm
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53) Harper, Bob. THE SKINNY RULES. Ballentine Books 2012.

I make it a point NOT to watch The Biggest Loser, but I do kinda like tattooed vegetarian trainer Bob Harper. Book is mostly good/sensible nutritional advice (and recipes).

Is it too hypocritical to still read diet books and hold with a Health At Every Size perspective?
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51) Lippman, Laura. EVERY SECRET THING. William Morrow: 2003.

Murder mystery.

52) Joyce, Graham. SOME KIND OF FAIRY TALE. Doubleday: 2012.

Contemporary fiction with a urban fantasy flavor.

Sorry, not much of a review here (busy) but both were good intelligent reads.


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