Thursday, July 29, 2010

Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice

This is a charming book. Mary Russell, as a young, sharp witted, smart 15 year old girl stumbles, (actually trips over), a retired Sherlock Homes while he is studying a hive of bees. She sits down, and makes a simple comment about the dots Homes has painted on the backs of some of the bees, and a friendship is begun. Things quickly progress and, unbeknownst to Russell at first, she becomes his apprentice and is taught everything from telling the difference in soil samples to reading foot prints for weight, gender and height. (She would put any CSI computer to shame.). The first part of the story follows her life, thoughts and the relationship with Homes, but like any good Sherlock Homes story, eventually there is something afoot and a case must be solved. As Mary figures out how the game goes, and Homes adjust to having a partner, the danger lurks around the corner with bombs, disguise and a very vulpine antagonist. However, it really is quite a bit more than a typical Sherlock Homes story, it is a story about a girl growing up and coming to herself. Trusting herself and even putting herself through, and suffering heartbreak, to do what she has to do. Homes is also very different than the truculent detective we now see in the movies. He is personable, and worthy of Russell's respect. We see a caring side and the motivation of why he does what he does. I enjoyed reading the story from a different perspective.

I also found it more of a challenge to read as it wasn't the "fast read" I'm used to. It did require a bit of patience. And I learned a bit of vocabulary with it...

Some of my favorites:

verisimilitude - realism, quality of appearing to be true.

reticent - inclined to keep ones thoughts and feelings to oneself.

obfuscate - to make so confused as to be difficult to perceive or understand. To perplex. (I.E - Law forms are obfuscating.)

The Beekeepers Apprentice

Currently reading - The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes

Monday, July 26, 2010


I was reading Lee Child's Gone Tomorrow and the term, and origins, of "parabellum" caught my attention. In the book, and Child's other books, it gives the idea that a parabellum is a kind of ammunition. When I asked my husband about it, he said he'd never heard of it, when I showed him the Wiki page though, he knew exactly what I was talking about. Here's what Wikipedia had to say..

The word Parabellum is a noun coined by German arms maker Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken and is derived from the Latin saying si vis pacem, para bellum, meaning If you wish for peace, prepare for war. The term has been used in the naming of a number of cartridges.

* 9x19mm Parabellum, the pistol cartridge adopted by NATO but the 9 mm NATO has different parameters than commercial makes (dimensions and pressure).

* 7.65x22mm Parabellum, also called .30 Luger in the USA, from which the 9x19mm cartridge was derived.

The term may be used to refer to one of these cartridges, or to a German, Austrian or Swiss pistol chambered for one of those cartridges. The 9x19mm Parabellum is one of the most widely used pistol cartridges in use. The phrase a Parabellum usually refers to the Luger P08 pistol. The term may also apply to the Parabellum MG14 machine gun.

What I thought was interesting was the saying "si vis pacem, para bellum" and the meaning "if you wish for peace, prepare for war". It seems a contradiction in terms, but I think it's probably somewhat accurate. We want peace to just fall in our laps, and have everyone "just get along", but that's not how the real works works, (as much as we wish it did). It seems the German arms makers figured that out.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I tend to read a lot of series books, so I find myself reading a lot of books, but they all come from a handful of pretty well known authors. On the current list, I have J.D Robb, Lee Child, Janet Evanivich, Iris Johanson, Tess Gerritsen, David Baldacci, and the occasional John Grisham among a few others. I also have some Jeffery Archer and Jeffery Deaver books I haven't gotten to on the shelf. Pretty much though, I can picture how my bookshelf is laid out and tell you what authors I read because they are all lined up by series.

I want to branch out though, and find some not as well known authors that might be just a bit different that what I normally read. So, from the whole almost handful of people out there that pop on here, what do you recommend?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Nora Robert's The Search

Normally, I don't read Nora Roberts, (although I do really like her alter ego J.D Robb), but this particular book was about search and rescue dogs so it had a good bit of appeal to me. It always amazes me what dogs are capable of, and I'm convinced we don't give them near enough credit. We keep them around, mostly in the back yard, ignore them, feed them whatever cheap food is easy to get a hold of, and regardless, they want nothing more than to be our best friend. They can, and will do, whatever we ask and teach them, and are capable of doing important finding missing people, but we often don't invest the time to let them. However, I'm getting off track and on my soap box again...back to the story..

Fiona Bristow lives alone on an island with her 3 lab retrievers that are search and rescue dogs, she is also the only survivor of a serial killer, who is now serving several life sentences in prison. She's tough, successful, and refuses to be a victim. Enter Simon Doyle, a handsome, tough, brutally honest, rugged woodworker with a feisty and fun loving puppy, (given to him by his mom), in desperate need of training. Simon doesn't necessarily want the puppy, but is determined to make it work, and Fiona thinks the puppy would make a great S&R dog, and takes both owner and dog on. Things are happy, and Fiona and Simon are getting to know each other. However, as in all mystery stories, things can't stay that peaceful, and soon, the police show up to tell her that a body was recently found with all of the same signatures that her attempted killer used. A copy cat who knows not only what the press told the world, but also what they didn't. Fiona once again has to fight for her life, and learn to let others fight with her as her and Simon figure out where their life is going.

It's a sweet story, and anyone that loves dog can relate, and will laugh, at the antics of the puppy and the frustration that goes with having one. As I once heard on Veggie Tales..."I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob".

The Search

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


My wonderful husband found this one for me.

dis·sem·ble (d-smbl)
1. To disguise or conceal behind a false appearance. See Synonyms at disguise.
2. To make a false show of; feign.
To disguise or conceal one's real nature, motives, or feelings behind a false appearance.

The sentence he used it in, and I've found I like...

One must not attempt to dissemble another who is previously, and more compitently, engaged in same.

Anyone care to guess the translation?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

I'm not sure if I liked The Killer Inside Me or not...I'm thinking more not. It was an interesting read though getting inside the head of a serial killer like that. Honestly, I'm glad it was fiction.

Lou Ford is an easy going, good natured Texas county deputy, so calm and even tempered that he talks down agitated drunks when he has to take them into custody. Or so he seems. What people don't see is the "sickness" that requires a different kind of victim and the inclination to violently kill when that victim becomes available...and of course, it does. And, as it does, we get to experience Lou's thoughts and feelings about the matter. His reasoning as to why the victims deserve to be killed. It's intriguing, and chilling, and a bit of train wreck that won't let you stop reading even though you're not sure you want to keep going.

Jim Thompson does a good job of getting the zeitgeist of it I think, even though the characters were a bit hard to relate to. I had to keep in mind that it was a little backwater town in nowhere Texas. Very different from the city, sock hop, Elvis, Happy Days 50's we are used to hearing about.

Speaking of Happy Days, I think I need to find a nice happy book to read...I'm just not sure I own any I haven't read.

The Killer Inside Me

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Lighthouse trilogy by Adrian McKinty

This trilogy was quite a journey, and for the most part, not what I've come to expect from McKinty as far as story line. When I started the series, I wondered if he'd pull of science fiction, and not being a big science fiction fan, I felt a bit desultory about reading it. None the less, he did, and I enjoyed it. So much so that I read all three back to back in less then a week. I had to know where the next story was going to lead.

Since all of the stories are now running together in my head and I can't remember where one starts and one ends, I'll just throw out a generalized summery. Jamie O'Neill and his mom, Anna, inherit an island, (yes, a whole island), with a house and lighthouse, off the Northern Ireland coast. They pack up and move from New York, where life stinks, to start over. Jamie meets his new best bud, Ramsey, (who quickly becomes my favorite character), and they discover an object in a hidden room in the lighthouse that allows them to travel to an unknown planet...Altair. Throughout the 3 books, they go between Earth and Altair saving an alien race from the lord Ksar, (who does a wonderful impression of a soap opera villain by somehow always returning to life). Throw in a girl and a boy becoming a man and you have it.

I know that sounds pretty basic, but throw in McKinty's wit, dialogue, intellect and writing style and it makes for a pretty good read. Not to mention, you're bound to learn it's vocabulary, (perspicacity comes to mind), convergent evolution, or scientific theories, it's there, and it's there in an interesting way. I might even have to throw a few of them into a blog later.

The next book on my reading list...I'm not sure. Maybe The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson, or a Jack Reacher novel, or maybe Ice Cold by Tess Gerritson...hum...decisions, decisions...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Nathanial Pepper

The idea for this blog came from Adrian McKinty's post about The Lamb Enters the Dreaming. I've found recently that some research is helpful in coming up with a reply to some post, and in looking a few things up, Nathanael Pepper's story became of interest to me. Mr. Pepper was a Wotjubaluk Aboriginal who converted to Christianity. If you don't know anything about Aboriginal beliefs, I'll tell you, they are nothing similar, in any way I don't think, to Christian beliefs. Not even remotely. Aboriginal beliefs consist of...well, Wikipedia puts it's better than I can

Aborigines traditionally adhered to animist spiritual frameworks. Within Aboriginal belief systems, a formative epoch known as 'the Dreamtime' stretches back into the distant past when the creator ancestors known as the First Peoples traveled across the land, creating and naming as they went.[40] Indigenous Australia's oral tradition and religious values are based upon reverence for the land and a belief in this Dreamtime.

The Dreaming is at once both the ancient time of creation and the present-day reality of Dreaming. There were a great many different groups, each with its own individual culture, belief structure, and language. These cultures overlapped to a greater or lesser extent, and evolved over time.

It doesn't sound like an easy task to reconcile those kinds of beliefs with Christianity, but I suppose he managed to do it, and I hope to track down the book to read the story of it. What an amazing point of view he must have had.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tess Gerritsen's In Their Footsteps & Thief of Hearts

In Their Footsteps and Thief of Hears were different than what I'm used to in Tess Gerritsen's books. The only other books I've ready by her were the Jane Rizzole/Maura Isle books, which deal mainly with medical forensic who done it stories, this one wasn't like that at all. It was more of a try at mystery romance I think. I can't say it really succeeded completely, but it was a nice attempt. The stories seemed to move too fast, there was more of a short story feel to it than 2 full novels, which wasn't bad, it just didn't quite hit the mark. None the less, I enjoyed them for what they were, and at the end wasn't disappointed.

In Their Footsteps is basically the first part of the story in which Beryl and Jorden Tavistock unravel the truth about their parents murder, with the help of handsome and clever Richard's not hard to figure out where that story is headed right?

Thief of Hearts is the continuation of the story so that Jorden Tavistock can have his fun too...when he and a female thief are both secretly retrieving things from a third parties house at the same time.

As obvious as it is where both stories lead, they are enjoyable and quick reads, and a good way to kill a couple of hours before bed.

In Their Footsteps and Thief of Hearts

Currently reading- The Lighthouse Land by Adrian McKinty

Friday, July 2, 2010


Parity, another word that I had to look up in someones blog reply. Now, most people know this word as meaning something like equality, or, if I'm using my recently learned vocabulary words, thanks to Seana, fungible, (no we're not talking about fungus..go look it up for yourself if you don't know the meaning). But, one of the definitions struck me..

par·i·ty 2 (pr-t)
1. The condition of having given birth.
2. The number of children borne by one woman.

This form is from the Latin parere, to give birth, or bring bring forth. Not what I think about when we're talking about a word that also means equality. I mean, I have 2 kids, and I can tell you from experiences with my friends with more kids, having 2 is by no means equal with having 4, (although I at times wonder if one of my kids is equal to several on his own, but that's another story altogether). No, that's not exactly what they meant. Something more like..."Consider the parity of the moms when getting a mom's group together so you know how many kids to expect" would probably be more like it. So, after all of that, parity is not always equal.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I know I've posted about Lee Child's Jack Reacher books once already, and I don't want to bore you with repeated post, since in general his books are pretty similar. Reacher comes into town, trouble of some sort finds him even though he doesn't ask for it, he meets a girl that'll help him, and takes care of business using his previous Army MP experience. He doesn't worry about the law, which honestly, should normally be on his side anyway, and he doesn't worry about what people will think. He just goes about setting things right. I find more and more that I really enjoy Reacher's world. It's the simplicity of it. In his world, the rules are simple, "if you mess with me, I'll mess with you". He owns only what he carries with him, which is a folding tooth brush and ATM card and he buys a set of clothes, wears them for a few days, buys new ones and throws the old ones away..(I'm always hoping he doesn't wear his underwear that long in a stint). It's simple. It's the kind of world we often wish Jack Bauer had.

In Nothing to Lose Jack Reacher wanders into a town Called Despair to get a cup of coffee, and they immediately arrest him, take him to court, and throw him out of the city on a vagrancy charge. This, of course, gets Reacher's attention and he can't resist going back to see what's going on. That's when he meets a female law enforcement officer in the next town over, and the puzzle starts getting solved in the familiar Jack Reacher fashion. I liked this one, it seemed to flow well and didn't slow down as some of his earlier books do, (the later books in the series seem to do better in that way). All in all, it works for me, I enjoy being in that world for awhile, and I look forward to reading the next Reacher book I have sitting on my shelf.

Nothing to Lose