Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Book 22 - The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

I tell you, I've been on quite a roll this vacation and finished up my third book. The latest has been Alan Bradley's second book in his Flavia de Luce series The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag. Since this was an actual book that I read and not from my Kindle, I can provide you with the write-up from the back:

Flavia de Luce, a dangerously smart eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders, thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop's Lacey are over -- until beloved puppeteer Rupert Porson has his own strings sizzled in an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. But who'd do such a thing, and why? Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she's letting on? What about Porson's charming but erratic assistant? All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local contables can't solve -- without Flavia's help. But in getting so close to who's secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head?
I have to admit that I do enjoy a good mystery and the Flavia books seem to provide that in an Agatha Christie sort of way....if Agatha Christie wrote her main character to be a highly intelligent child with a passion for posion and a history of being tortured by her older sisters. I would recommend this book to folks if they wanted a light read with a little meat on its bones. The plot is pretty good and the character development is quite impressive. I look forward to getting the next in the series A Red Herring Without Mustard...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2011 Book 21 - The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland

So, I actually finished two books during my recent travels. The second book was a really quick (and interesting) read titled The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters. Here is the book's description:

This comedy mystery, the first in a series of criminally funny fables, is set in Miami and London. Fans of Stephanie Plum will cheer for Alice as she watches her back in attempting to keep her head, while being stalked by Nigel's daft ex-wife and inept, but dangerous mobsters. Alice's world is filled with memorable characters strangely reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. She's guided through her dangerous adventure by her own Cheshire Cat.
Nigel, a chubby John Cleese with serious dress-code problems, whisks Alice to England. Alice sees him as her White Rabbit rescuer. The plot trips along at a cracking pace with Alice flinging zingers like a drive-by shooter.
After Alice discovers a gangster's freshly beheaded body in his Miami mansion, she launches a desparate self-defense in a kangaroo court. The main witness against her is Algy Green, a bumbling cockney swindler who super-glues his bat wing ears to his head and commits perjury for theme park tickets. But in the middle of the trial a small piece of evidence opens her eyes.

This book was actually recommended to me by a friend and I didn't actually read the description before I read the book...and actually not until just now as I write this up. So, as I was heading home from the airport yesterday and telling Sara about the book, I actually did reference Stephanie Plum as being similar. In short, this is a really quick read that has some cute parts, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you are looking for some simple brain candy.

2011 Book 20 - The Forever Queen

I finished off Helen Hollicks book The Forever Queen while on my latest trip to California. That is the beauty of taking a relaxing vacation...being able to just read and relax is heaven. Oh wait, I'm not talking vacation yet, this is about the book, so here is the write-up:

Married to a king incompetent both on the throne and in bed, Emma does not love her husband. But she does love England. Even as her husband fails, Emma vows to protect her people - no matter what. For five decades, through love and loss, prosperity and exile, Emma fights for Englan, becoming the only woman to have been anointed, crowned, and reigning queen to two different kings, the mother of two more, and the great aunt of William the Conqueror.

I really enjoyed this book. Like with other historical novels, there are of course slow parts, but in general it is an interesting tale. Nothing like a good book where the primary character is a strong female. I recommend this to anybody who wants a romantic look at early English history.