Saturday, December 31, 2011

...And Then I Surpassed It! Book #36: Cat Lover's Daily Companion: 365 Days of Insight and Guidance for Living a Joyful Life with Your Cat by Kristen Hampshire, Iris Bass, and Lori Paximadis

I began "Cat Lover's Daily Companion" on January 1, 2011 and planned to read each day's entry. Of course, I would get behind and end up reading a week's worth at a time.

I kept the book by my bed all year and loved the variety of entries it offered. Every day (or week) I could look forward to a different topic. Mondays would be about practical information regarding cats. Tuesdays were probably my favorite, as they discussed felines in history, literature, and art. Wednesdays dealt with health and wellness. Thursdays were the ones I would find myself sometimes skimming, as those topics were about crafts and decor. Fridays introduced a different breed every week and was very informative. Saturdays and Sundays were lumped together for the weekend and were focused on bonding and relationship building between a cat and their human.

The fact that there were different topics for different days kept the book interesting. I learned quite a bit and plan to keep the book handy so I can look back through when I have a question about something. It's a wonderful guide for both new cat owners and experienced pet parents. This would make a great gift any time, but especially as a welcome home gift for a new cat. There is even a spot on the cover to add your cat's picture. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this book at my bookstore!

I Met My Goal Again! Book #35: Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

I hit my goal of 35 books read in 2011 with another of the Stephanie Plum novels. "Twelve Sharp" by Janet Evanovich was a hit, as they always are.

In "Twelve Sharp" Stephanie is back working for Vinnie at the bonds office. She has quite a mystery on her hands, but it doesn't have to do with one of her skips. This time it's all about Ranger. She has to come to his rescue and help him out, while he is once again watching out for her. And don't forget, Morelli is always there too. In this novel, Stephanie and Morelli reach a new level in their relationship.

For some reason, this book had a different feel than the others. I never could put my finger on it. The only thing that stood out to me was that the language Stephanie used seemed to be a bit harsher at times (although that didn't bother me). It wasn't as laugh-out-loud funny as previous books had been, but the great plot and mystery made up for it. I didn't want to put the book down!

I think Ms. Evanovich did a great job keeping the storyline fresh this far into the series. Most of the time the books stand alone, but at this point in the series I think it's best to have some background on the characters. I not only recommend this book, but I recommend the entire series.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Book #34: Eleven On Top by Janet Evanovich

My 34th book of the year was another installment of the Stephanie Plum series, "Eleven On Top" by Janet Evanovich. In the eleventh novel of the series, Stephanie has quit her job as a bounty hunter and has decided to get a "normal" job. Unfortunately, she still ends up being stalked by a maniac who seems to want to blow her up. And yes, there are car explosions in this book!

It was a nice change to the series to have Stephanie trying different career paths while trying to stay alive. Lula still comes around to have Stephanie assist with some apprehensions, but that isn't the focus. Morelli and Ranger are still in her life as well, keeping things hot and complicated.

"Eleven On Top" was funny, as always and left me excited to read the twelfth book in the series. I wonder if Stephanie will go back to work for Vinnie or stay with the job she has. I'll have to read the next one right away to find out!

Book #33: Entanglements by P.R. Mason

I like it when I'm able to step outside of my reading comfort zone and read something I wouldn't normally even consider. That's what happened when I read "Entanglements" by P.R. Mason.

"Entanglements" is a young-adult paranormal/fantasy book that forced me to try to believe things that I can barely grasp. It follows teenager Kizzy Taylor as she discovers alternate dimensions and has to save her stepsister after she accidentally opens a vortex and her stepsister is sucked away.

Not being familiar with the idea of vortexes (vorteces?) or alternate dimensions, "Entanglements" was a good way for me to venture into the genre. P.R. Mason does a great job of explaining the ideas succinctly yet clearly so that even a noob like me could understand what was going on. In actuality, it made me a little curious about these types of theories. I can't wait to read what she writes as a follow-up!

There was also a bit of romance involved in the story, but it was just under-the-surface enough that it didn't get in the way of the storyline or seem cheesy. It simply added a bit of realism to the characters, even if one of them was not of our dimension.

"Entanglements" is a great book for teenagers and for those of us not familiar with the paranormal/fantasy genre.

Book #32: Blockade Billy by Stephen King

Once again, I got behind on my book reviews so today is catch-up day!

For book #32 of 2011 I read Stephen King's "Blockade Billy." The only other Stephen King book I have read was about baseball, so when I saw this on the shelf at the bookstore I knew I had to read it.

"Blockade Billy" tells the story of a catcher, William Blakely, who played for the New Jersey Titans for a very short period of time. He was an amazing player, but his existence has been removed from the record books because of his horrific story.

"Blockade Billy" is written in a way that should only be read in a single sitting. It isn't long and there are no divisions of the book such as chapters. It's written like an old man is sitting there, telling you the gruesome story.

In addition to the baseball story, there is a bonus story included at the end titled "Morality." It's also a very short story, this one about a couple who has to decide if they are going to accept an offer to make a large sum of money.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Blockade Billy" and would recommend it to anyone who likes short horror stories or baseball. It's a quick read and would be a great book to read on a short flight.

By the way, I still have not figured out if William Blakely actually existed or if he was a character completely from the mind of Stephen King.