Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman

First sentence:

"Anyone born and bred in Massachusetts learns early on to recognize the end of winter."


"The women of the Sparrow family have lived in New England for generations. Each is born in the month of March, and at the age of thirteen, each develops an unusual gift. Elinor can literally smell a lie. Her daughter, Jenny, can see people’s dreams as they’re dreaming them. Granddaughter Stella, newly a teen, has just developed the ability to see how other people will die. Ironically, it is their gifts that have kept Elinor and Jenny apart for the last twenty-five years. But as Stella struggles to cope with her disturbing clairvoyance, the unthinkable happens: One of her premonitions lands her father in jail, wrongly accused of homicide. The ordeal leads Stella to the grandmother she’s never met and to Cake House, the Sparrow ancestral home full of talismans and fraught with history. Now three generations of estranged Sparrow women must come together to turn Stella’s potential to ruin into a potential to redeem." - from the back cover

My thoughts:

I loved this book about family, history and magic. Each character has a rich story to tell and Hoffman gives them the space to tell it.

Date read: 3/20/2013
Book #:8
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0345455916
ISBN-13: 9780345455918
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Year: 2003
# of pages: 322
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille by Steven Brust

First sentence:

"Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille has the best matzo ball soup in the galaxy."


"So you've had a hard day?
Your planet's just been nuked?
Welcome to Cowboy Feng's!

. . .If you can find it, that is. Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille is a great place to visit, but t tends to move around a bit--from Earth to the Moon to Mars to another solar system--and always one ste

Still, Cowboy Feng's s worth tracking down. Not only does it dish up the best matzo ball soup and Irish music in the known cosmos, it may also be humanity's last hope for survival. . ." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this books about musicians in a traveling restaurant. I liked the character interactions, especially between Billy and Libby.

Date read: 3/19/2013
Book #: 7
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genres: SF, Thriller

ISBN-10: 044111816X
ISBN-13: 9780441118168
Publisher: Ace Books
Year 1990
# of pages: 223
LibraryThing page

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ghosts of Cape Sabine by Leonard F. Guttridge

First sentence:

"It was 18 September, 1883."


"Twenty-five men went north. Only six returned alive.

In July 1881, an expedition compose mainly of American soldiers sailed off to establish a scientific base in the remote Arctic region of Lady Franklin Bay. What happened afterward is a remarkable saga of human achievement and human frailty, of heroism, hardship, bad luck and worse judgment. Compounded by deliberate political negligence back home, especially on the part of Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln, son of the late president, and increasingly fierce dissension in its own camp, the expedition's fate, and that of its would-be rescuers, eventually encompassed starvation, mutiny, suicide, shipwreck, execution. . . and cannibalism.

The story has been only partly known, and full of dark riddles, but more than seven years of research by acclaimed historian Leonard Guttridge have uncovered journals, letters, diaries, and other documentary material that for the first time provide intimate day-by-day details of the swirling events surrounding that ill-fated voyage, from turbulent birth to bizarre and tragic finale. The result is a work of nonfiction narrative that reads like a novel--a raw, vivid, harrowing adventure, brilliantly told." -- from the inside flap.

My thoughts:

Last year I read North by Roger Hubank, a fictional account of the Greely expedition. Afterwards, I wanted to read an historical account of the Greeley expedition. In this book, I learned more about problems with the first two relief attempts. I liked Guttridge's detailed end notes describing the sources from institutions such as the National Archives and the Library of Congress.

Date read: 3/12/2013
Book #: 6
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: History

ISBN-10: 0399145893
ISBN-13: 9780399145896
Publisher:G.P. Putnam's Sons
Year: 2000
# of pages: 354
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page

Monday, March 11, 2013

Crimnal Elements edited by Bill Pronzini and Martin H. Greenberg

First sentence:

"'I'm very glad she's dead,' the man said."


Thirteen of the best mystery writers today chronicle tales of crime and punishment.

Isaac Asimov - The Cross of Lorraine
P.D. James - A Very Desirable Residence
Ed McBain - Sadie When She Died
Donald E. Westlake - Sniff
Peter Lovesey - A Man With a Fortune
Sue Grafton - She Didn't Come Home
Richard S. Prather - The Double Take
Marcia Muller - Dust to Dust
Francis M. Nevins, Jr. - All the Bagworms on the Block
Edward Gorman - The Reason Why
Susan Dunlap - Hit-and-Run
Joseph Hansen - The Anderson Boy
Tony Hillerman - The Witch, Yazzie, and the Nine of Clubs -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I like this anthology of mysteries. My favorites include Sue Grafton's "She Didn't Come Home," and Peter Lovesey's "A Man With a Fortune."

Date read: 3/10/2013
Book #: 5
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Mystery

ISBN-10: 0804101272
ISBN-13: 9780804101271
Publisher: Ivy Books
Year: 1988
# of pages: 294
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page