Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Hot Zone Written by: Richard Preston

For those of you dedicated readers who have been reading this blog. You know as of late, I have read some rather disturbing and at times down right chilling books. Well, The Hot Zone written by: Richard Preston takes the cake. Where once I thought only fiction could really scare the hell out of me on a global scale Mr. Preston has managed to push me a bit further. This book is just as the book jacket claims. "A Terrifying True Story." The events and characters in this book are 100% real. Mr. Preston is merely telling us what happend. I had to google and research this book while reading it. A part of me was going "No, this can't be real, no way this really happened." It was something out of a Del Toro book, or another horror authors tale. I saw Contagion recently, and that left me chilled, but to learn that that could possibly happen, and what happend to those people was a mercy? Even the movie Outbreak the deaths of those people cannot compare to what Mr. Preston wrote about. What did he write about you may ask? Well he wrote about a few things, but basically a Virus. The Virus' tale begins and only gets scarier and scarier, not to add too much humor to this, but it reminded me of an episode of the Simpsons I saw a long time ago. The episode where Homer's kids Bart and Lisa are playing a classic child's hand game "Miss Mary Mack." Everytime the kids gets close to saying a curse word, they say something else, and Homer breaths a sigh of relief, but we know these kids will eventually tire of the small game, and actually take to cursing as most children do. Why is this similar? Well, you will have to read the book and see for yourself. Now imagine this. "It is a Virus that kills nine out of ten of its victims so quickly and gruesomely that even the bioharzard experts are terrified of it." I will give away what the Virus is simply because people should be aware of this virus and realize this is a very real very possible virus that could easily wipe out the human race. Ebola Zaire is the big scary one, the one that 9 out of 10 people will not survive. I wonder if Stephen King and Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, and other authors have read this book and used these concepts in their ideas. There are different strains of Ebola but they are so similar in how they kill you that I am certain my mind is trying to protect me from fully imagining it. I apologize by the way for not ending with the year with a Happy Christmas or Holiday tale. Oops!

I actually had a friend tell me to "Put the book down, and walk away!" The characters again are real in this story and at times I found myself staring in shock at how easily these viruses could escape and make it to the public. It only takes one idiot, and in this story you learned it was more than one idiot who made multiple mistakes that could have ended it all. One of the outbreaks with a strain of the Ebola virus even breaks out right near Washington DC. not in some far back time, but during the late 1980's! I also learned an outbreak of Ebola was also in the year 2007 not in the United States but in Africa and this is only because it was documented. This was an amazing book, it read like a report but added a few human twists, and really wanted to make you thinks "It's all over man! It's all over!" Thankfully since I'm writing this, it obviously wasn't. To add to my paranoia while reading this book I learned a team of scientists were told to see if the Bird Flu could be streghtened or mutate to kill the human populace, well they apparently did just that. Hurray! Why would you do that? When it is already true that nature can do this without our help. Anywho... Great book, and a good entry into wanting to learn more about the world and how it can kill you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lost December Written by: Richard Paul Evans

And, now, time, for.... another Christmas book! Well, where the last book I read by Mr. Richard Paul Evans was just utterly depressing and left me in a puddle of tears. Lost December thankfully did not leave me feeling so utterly depressed. It actually left me hopeful and a bit happy. I even used his other book as revenge against my mother in Law. (She gives me a lot of life lesson/depressing books. Amazing, but depressing)

 Lost December was in danger of becoming just that depressing, but the author seems to realize this is Christmas time so let's bring some joy into the tale. The story is short and quaint. It is a tale of the prodigal son who is lost and it is not entirely his own doing. He's not your typical son with a silver spoon in his mouth, there is more to him, but due to a few poor choices and even poorer friends he finds himself utterly destitute and without his best friend, his father. This was a cute read, it lacked a bit of detail, but the story itself flows and you find yourself as the reader seeing exactly where the main characters Luke life is going, but there's nothing you can do, but shake your head and pray he gets a second chance. I could easily see this movie becoming a Hallmark movie found on lifetime, but as far as a Christmas book goes this seems like it was just an excuse for a time setting. I enjoyed the story in the end, and there were quite a few characters I enjoyed, but overall the whole Christmas joy and story seemed a bit lacking. It was a decent book, but not one of my favorites.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sellevision Written by: Augusten Burrough

Holy cow! I am just blushing and giggling over this book. I feel like running around, but I'm on my lunch break, and I'd look rather ridiculous doing so. Instead a review. The author really captured the lives of his characters. This book is a dark comedy, but compared to the books I have been reading it's positively beaming light. I'll never look at a home shopping show quite the same way again. Rarely have I ever watched an order from T.V. show, the jewerly is always so bright and gawdy, and the new highech machines so bizzar. The book is written very savy and quite funny. Somehow though, it never fully pushes the envelop. It sure nudges it every page, but then it will splash back and try again. Several times I laughed out loud, I could not stop thinking about the story and what was going to happen. The main cast Max Andrews, Peggy Jean Smythe, Leigh, Bebe, and Trish are just priceless. They were so incredibly real in their own ways, and each of their inner voices was unique in my mind. Sadly, very quickly I realized this book was going to have to end. I just wanted to keep watching, yes the book is written so well I felt like I was watching these people as if they really were on camera and not on the pages of the book. The back description of the book says.

"Darkly funny and gleefully mean-spirited, Sellevision explors greed, obsession and third-tier celebrity in the world of a fictional home-shopping network."

Yes, the Author does this and so much more. I only wish this book was longer so I could see the stories behind the stories. I needed a lighter book and this wasn't gooey, or too hallmark card, rather it was just plain and simply Shit happens.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Handmaid's Tale Written by: Margaret Atwood

Never before,...a moment please. Never before have I been so appalled and lured into a story with such passion as I was with this book. The story of Offred the main character in this book was maddening and had me fighting the story every step of the way. I actually found myself in the real world rebelling just to do so simply because in this tale Offred, whose name isn't actually her true name. This novel brings forth some of the darkest possible futures for our present and future society. The writing was so real, I felt like the author became her story rather then told it. I am not familiar with other works by Margaret Atwood, but it was just so real, and perfectly written. I kept wanting to tell myself none of this would ever be possible, but being a female myself and having seen how history has subjected women to such ways of life before, there was a nugget of doubt that grew as I read this book. It happened in the past to so many women, why could it not happen to the future of a once enlightened society? The fact she takes issues of today, the author I mean, and takes them to logical and disconcerting conclusions that I pray never become possible. I have not done this yet, but I am going to read what the book jacket says about this story only because I picked this book up almost a year ago and was so disgusted I wouldn't read it, but I picked it up finally and once I did I kept reading and could not stop even when I wanted to rip the pages from this book and burn them simply because I needed to rebel. I was disgusted with how easily some people just gave in, but would I rather submit than take the risk? The risk of what? Sometimes death is an actual freedom as we've learned throughout history. Here is what is written on the books jacket.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...

You can see why I could barely bring myself to read this book, the cover is so odd in the fact it looks like it could be the cover of a fairy tale, or folk lore. How odd such a simple cover could contain so much vulgarity. I praise this book in its creativity and will probably purchase my own copy as it was a very...I don't know, but it was certainly something this book. I will also probably seek other works by Atwood. Also, I must yet again thank my husband for putting up with my mood changes due to a book, he is awesome.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fingersmith Written by: Sarah Waters

Communication, yes, it all comes down to communication, and being clear in your arguments. Fingersmith was a labyrinth that was so twisty and full of odd turns, and plans long in motion. The story is very daring and so twisted. I felt myself wanting to call out to these people to wish I were some book God and pick the characters up and right them properly. I have read a few Victorian books, and this book read like it was written from this time. The voices of the main characters was so distinct. Some may find themselves torn between the main female leads, or even with the lesser female characters. Perhaps some may even take pity on those the main characters use for their own profit. Also, the love that was displayed and the thoughts of the characters was heart breaking at times. Perhaps a queer kind of love as our author would write, but still love in a tarnished form, but with a little shine...maybe it can be pure again. After reading this book, I cannot say who was really right in all this, and who was wrong, so many factors over such a long period of time, and each side having their reasons for what they did. I enjoyed this book, the writing as I said felt like it was written during the era itself, and the author should be recognized for this. I could imagine the world of London and its countryside not nearly as romantic as most made it out to be, but rather dirty, polluted, and populated with so many poor and wretched souls. There is also a place in this book that is set in a mad house,and I loathe old fashioned institutions with all my being, to think what we would consider absolute torture now was common forms of care and the nurses who tended to these poor ladies and men were no more than sick, twisted, bullies, who for whatever reason were hired and able to indulge themselves fully. If you enjoy a good book that twists, and are not faint of heart, this book is so for you.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

1225 Christmas Tree Lane Written by: Debbie Macomber A Cedar Cove Novel

Cedar Cove, well let's kick this Holiday seasons off right. The last time I read a Christmas/Holiday themed book, it left me so emotionally distraught that of course I had to share it with my mother in law (inside joke, I'll explain someday) So, now that I am blogging, I thought well, let's try again. My husband and I looked through the books at the store, and I happily found one. This book though, alas, I did not read the inside jacket well enough. Turns out this is the last book in an running series about the town known as Cedar Cove. Now, look at all those very cheesy and beautiful Holiday Cards you receive. The enchanting snow covered forests, the classic horse drawn sleighs, the houses covered in twinkling Christmas lights, and all that makes a family's holiday special. This book was basically all of this. Debbie Macomber wrote a very lovely story that from what I can tell incorporated all of her previous books characters and their stories tying up loose ends and wrapping it up with perfect paper, a pretty bow, and subtle love/Christmas note to her fans. I kept seeing how Christmas should be and celebrated by a community and individual families. The holidays should be special even if it's only two people together making their own traditions and living old ones. I warn you though future readers, this book is so sweet I found myself getting a toothache corny but true, it was absolutely cute. Since I haven't read the previous books the names and other stories other than the main one at times confused me. This is no fault of Debbie Macomber, but my own so I cannot penalize her. If you have ever watched the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" you know Warner Bros. and Disney worked together, but could not agree on a main character and thus was born Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit, and a few others. It seems this is what happened in the main plot, the author simply couldn't pick a favorite to write about as the central plot. So we introduce Beth Morehouse. The writing seemed a little young, but the author painted such a beautiful holiday scene, and I could follow the stories of all the characters that eventually I found myself wishing I could live in a town like Cedar Cove. So, I hope this kicks off everyone's holiday season, and I wish you much luck beginning the preparation for your special times. Now, back to our regular reading.

ps. There are a lot of dogs in this book and ten puppies! Trust me if you're a dog lover you'll fall in love.